American fashion brand and retailer Michael Kors has dipped its toe in the distinctly chilly waters of standalone stores with the opening of its first UK shop, in a unit on New Bond Street.
Housed in the space formerly occupied by upscale knitwear brand Ballantyne and designed by the Michael Kors team in New York, the objective – according to Clements Retail, the shopfitter that worked on the project – was to create a “bright” store using a mix of high-tech materials and selected vintage pieces.
The store design pays more than a passing nod to the 1930s deco of nearby luxury hotel Claridge’s, with the extensive deployment of white marble, macassar wood, polished stainless steel and acrylic fittings.
This is a long, narrow store where the linear arrangement of the mid-shop display cabinets act as sight lines to guide the eye deep into the interior. And along the way, it would be hard to miss the spread eagled zebra skin, which divides the space between the internally lit and recessed shelving, situated in niches with stainless steel surrounds. The vintage pieces that have been used include a 1950s sofa, as well as art deco mirrors and crystal chandeliers.
It would be easy to dismiss this kind of slick, glossy treatment as being just another instance of an international brand seeking to make an impact by throwing money at an interior. But when considered in the context of the very high design and fit-out standards to be found in this select part of central London, the Michael Kors store still manages to stand out.