retail news

First look: Louis Vuitton London Maison





When I mentioned the opening of the Louis Vuitton UK flagship to D (aka Mr Disneyrollergirl) on Tuesday, he didn’t hide his disdain. “I’ve seen it. I passed it yesterday, it looks like something out of Dubai airport via Stanstead. Deeply tacky,” was his damning assessment. He may have curled his lip. (more…)



Levi’s gets its groove back




Last week I blogged about the heritage of Dr Martens. This week, the heritage baton gets passed to Levi’s. I was treated to a pre-opening store tour of the refurbed Regent Street flagship a couple of weeks ago and the main message seems to be… Levi’s is keepin’ it real.

From its industrial factory-replica refit to its new name for its denim experts – ‘drapers’ and ‘artisans’, Levi’s has realised that its customers respect its roots and is capitalising on that. OK, the ‘artisans’ moniker is a wee bit pretentious but I’m prepared to let that go. For a while, Levi’s was guilty of trying too hard to compete with the Diesels of this world but – guess what? – Levi’s isn’t about ‘sexy’, it’s about utilitarianism and authenticity. Thankfully, it is now properly embracing its workwear heritage and amen to that. A particular highlight of the flagship store (along with the visible warehouse dedicated to 501s) is a 90-something-year-old pair of Levi’s on display in the basement. Unearthed from a mine in the Mojave Desert, I ask you, how many other denim brands can boast one of these?

When I previewed the SS10 collection six months ago, I was overjoyed to see so many old favourites. Hello classic denim jacket sans faux-faded patches! Hello western plaid shirt! Hello straight-out-of-CBGBs leather biker jacket! The Guardian recently reported that Levi’s will never be cool again but I disagree. Acne may be popular with fashionistas and Uniqlo with the downtown hipster set but Levi’s has its incredible heritage and that makes it relevant again (BTW, ‘relevance’, like ‘heritage’ is a key word being bandied about right now). Its latest campaign is also a bit of a looker. As a lifelong supporter I may be biased, but I think Levi’s is ready to have it’s moment once more.

Levi’s SS10






Industrial storage
The 501s-only warehouse visible from the shop floor

Unisex fitting rooms and utilitarian seating
THOSE 100-year-old jeans


Primark vs New Look



Newsflash: Primark’s arrival in Marble Arch is imminent, as the store frontage is up and the battle looks set to commence between Primark and New Look. I’ll be interested to see how they battle it out. Pros and cons…

NEW LOOK
Good points – they have Giles and Lily Allen doing exclusives with them and their new Shoe Heaven range is a massive hit
– they are soon to start selling online
Bad points – merchandising leaves a lot to be desired and those weird trolley things – what the hell are they about?

PRIMARK
Good points – they are so stupidly cheap you can’t not buy something
Bad points – the stupidly cheap bubble is sure to burst as clearly, if it’s cheap it can’t be ethical
– queuing is traumatic to say the least and the mess…can it really be worth it?
-everyone and her granny will be shopping there

Hmm, New Look are winning so far, let’s see how it all pans out…