French Connection opens West End concept space as experiential flagship
French Connection may have been closing stores, including its Regent Street flagship, in recent periods, but the company is also focusing on opening some new spaces and particularly on making these as innovative as possible.
And to this end, it has just opened a new retail studio space in London's West End with the firm’s previous Oxford Street flagship having recently reached the end of its lease.
The new French Connection Studios space is more than just a store and the company has described it as “a unique brand experience unlike any store seen before from the brand, breaking the premium high-street norm” and reinforcing the label’s new shop as “a contemporary fashion and lifestyle destination.”
Bold words indeed, but what exactly does all this mean in practice? The new shop is “located within a characterful, period property” on Duke Street, North Mayfair, close to Bond Street station that should see surging footfall once the new Elizabeth tube line finally opens. Moving from Oxford Street to Duke Street also adds to the upscale image of the brand as it's away from the mass-market labels that dominate Oxford Street.
Split across two floors, the store covers 4,000 sq ft and the space “offers a unique product mix across womenswear and menswear apparel and accessories, homeware and fragrance.”
French Connection homewares sit at the front of the store in their own dedicated area while the “marketplace” studio offers a wide selection of “pick-up items” such as books, magazines and cards. These product categories are key in attracting shoppers through the door who might not be drawn in just by the fashion offer.
But fashion, of course, remains key and there are also exclusive products here with a selection of dresses designed for the French Connection Studios store that take inspiration from the brand’s best-selling designs, with a limited number of each style available.
The store also houses a photography studio, where the in-house team will shoot digital and influencer content, “giving customers the opportunity to browse the store, whilst also getting a glimpse behind the scenes of a fashion brand and to see the latest collection, before this launches in-store.”
For relaxation, an important part of any shopping trip these days, the retailer has partnered with London-based Fernandez and Wells, an artisan coffee shop and cafe, with both indoor and outdoor seating.
French Connection CEO and chairman Stephen Marks said the new location is “better suited to [our] premium high street aesthetic. French Connection Studios Duke Street is a great space, perfect for creating a fresh look and brand experience for our consumers.”
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