Luxury department stores Harrods has taken the wraps of its new 41,000 sq ft "Mens Superbrands" department housing 19 boutiques for some of the world's foremost men's brands.
Mirroring women's Superbrands which launched in 2015, the department is home to Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga and Ermenegildo Zegna among others. In February Burberry will open a boutique in the space while the first Dior Home boutique, under new creative director Kim Jones, will be unveiled in April.
"We wanted to create a menswear destination like no other – somewhere that men want to visit, will enjoy visiting, a space to inspire and excite, but most importantly offers an excellent service and product proposition. The boutiques are flagship store concepts, not department store concepts," explained Simon Longland, Head of Menswear at Harrods.
‘When you enter the boutiques, you are totally immersed in the world of the brand – however as these are flagship concepts, it is amped up on a scale not seen in any retail environment. We’ve focused on furniture, not fixtures, to elevate the boutique experience to something that feels domestic with lounge chairs and side tables," Longland added.
As part of its introduction of men's Superbrands, the menswear department has relocated from the ground floor of the iconic Knightsbridge store, where is has been based for 80 years, to the second floor. Representing the debut phase of a seven-phase menswear transformation, this has been the biggest investment in menswear in the store's history.
Over the next two years, Harrods is undertaking the complete redevelopment of ,enswear, as part of Harrods’ store-wide £200m investment project and upon completion in 2020, the entire second floor will be the new home for Menswear and Sports, and at 155,000 sq ft the store says it "will be the ultimate menswear destination in the world".
“Menswear has experienced a quiet revolution over the past few years in terms of innovation and customer demand. Menswear within Harrods has gone from strength to strength, and we want to match this growth with the investment in a truly unique destination. The launch of Mens Superbrands is the first step in this exciting journey, which will create a new home for the Harrods Man by 2020. Mens Superbrands has been specifically designed to provide the most exceptional shopping experience," said Harrods managing director Michael Ward.
As well as increasing the square footage of the space the new area also offers an elevated customer experience with brands taking the opportunity to introduce new services. Berluti’s boutique features a bar, a football table and virtual reality screens, whilst Louis Vuitton has designed a personal shopping suite that can be privatised for any customer looking for the ultimate shopping experience, or opened to provide additional seating areas for clients.
The space was designed by the David Collins Studio, which carried out extensive research of Harrods' architectural features and its archive inspiring elements of the design concept. The Harrods logo subtly permeates the details, appearing in stitched leather, marquetry and bronze inlay in stone.
"My vision was to create a series of experiences throughout the design to ensure there is always a sense of drama, intrigue and excitement. Classic club interiors and traditional British architectural styles were extracted and adapted to result in a very unexpected combination of discreet calm and bold energy," said Simon Rawlings, Creative Director at David Collins Studio.
"The drive to redevelop menswear follows a truly golden age within the industry, with some monumental changes taking place at brands, but also, a seismic shift in how customers shop menswear. Last year, menswear was the highest growth division in Harrods and this is because we now recognise that our men want to shop and they like to shop," added Longland.