You know a shop’s posh and going to involve heading for the deeper recesses of your wallet if the words “by royal appointment” appear somewhere in close proximity to the store name, and Smythson on New Bond Street is no exception.
This is a stationery and leather goods shop that, even before its recent makeover, had the ability to make you mull over a purchase.
Now that tendency is likely to be even stronger, thanks to collaboration between the retailer and architect Thomas Bartlett from London-based design studio Waldo Works.
The store has doubled in size to 3,300 sq ft and, as well as having arcade-style windows, unusual these days owing to the implications as far as space usage and cost are concerned, its interior is intended to remind the onlooker of “great London houses”.
An initial ‘hall’ that uses a matt marble and grey palette, and which serves both as the introduction to the store and as a leather goods area, is followed by a series of departments and rooms. The latter carry everything from a ‘diary wall’, filled with leather-bound tomes, to a travel department.
Handbags are displayed in the Round Room, while the Blue Room is about bespoke stationery – this is where items are monogrammed.
In total, this is a store design that is expensively minimal and which lets the stock, for the most part, do the talking.
And in truth, Smythson probably still looks more like a natty Bond Street emporium than a great London House, but it is nonetheless worth visiting, if only to get an idea of the kind of diaries and notebooks that the monarch considers worth giving the thumbs up to. It also looks distinctively Smythson – the brand’s Bond Street heritage has been preserved.