Stepping into the new GIVe store on Regent Street is a bit of an emperor’s new clothes moment.
Stepping into the new GIVe store on Regent Street is a bit of an emperor’s new clothes moment really.
There’s been a lot of pre-opening noise about this one and expectations, given the location, were inevitably high.
The trouble is, while the stock looks perfectly respectable and comes in an 8-18 size range (although it’s difficult to understand why this familiar way of indicating fit has been abandoned in favour of GIVe’s I – VI sizing), the store itself is absolutely nothing to write home about.
The majority of shops along Regent Street range from good-looking to grand, but GIVe eschews such blandishments in favour of a very basic black and white shopfit with a grey tiled floor. Again, nothing wrong with this, in the normal run of things, but this is quite possibly the capital’s most glamorous shopping street and as such, you might be forgiven for expecting a little more.
Supporters of the George Davies GIVe format will no doubt rush to point out that this is a proposition that majors on service and that a swish store is not really that important.
This may be true, but there is the small matter of getting people into the store in the first place.Regent Street has many distractions and to make an impact, you really need to have a substantial VM shout.
Again, given that GIVe purports to be about “affordable luxury”, the window displays don’t really measure up to neighbouring stores and it might even be possible to wander past this one without noticing.
This may sound harsh, allowing for the fact that the man behind this has a string of retail successes notched along his cash and wrap counter, but you do have to wonder what was passing through Davies’ mind when this store design was being considered.
And one of the other weaker-looking links on Regent Street at the moment has to be French Connection, which has created a window with packing crates and yellow fluorescent tubes in a way that is reminiscent of the Doctor Martens pop-up in Spitafields. Not as good though and certainly unlikely to compel shoppers to walk through its doors.
The good news however is that Regent Street continues to be a destination that there is every reason for visiting.
The new Guess store looks great and Gant has a flagship in the making about halfway down. Couple this with an autumn display from National Geographic that does manage to capture what the season is about and a walk along this thoroughfare remains a retail essential.