Out & About
We take a look and share our thoughts on 3 new and exciting store openings this month: Clarks Originals, KITE eyewear and L'Occitane en Provence.
Sub-brands first store - Clarks Originals Store, Berwick Street
First up British shoe brand, Clarks opened its first permanent standalone Clarks Originals store in the heart of Soho. The new concept store is the first of its kind for the brand and houses both its men’s and women’s styles, including heritage designs the infamous desert boot and Wallabee silhouettes.
Clarks Originals is like Clarks youthful brother, it's fashion forward and you definitely won't be finding your child's school shoes here. They've lost the script font and opted for a contemporary sans serif, refined and sophisticated. Warm timber panels and perforated metal sheets cover the walls and create beautiful product backdrops. Although the interior is quite masculine, it's refreshing to see that token foliage hasn't been added to soften this.
The store manages to portray an independent store feel and in doing so suits the fashion-conscious Soho shopper. Clarks Originals is dipping it's toe into the market and we're intrigued to see what comes from this.
Elevating eyewear - KITE, Redchurch Street
This is Kite's first physical space, a Scandinavian inspired concept store on Shoreditch's fashion destination, Redchurch Street. A central timber bar dominates the store and heroes service, encouraging vistors to take a seat and enjoy a complimentary espresso or prosecco. The one-on-one consultations allows for quality decision making time and a second opinion to find your perfect frame.
It feels high-end but relaxed with a gallery-esque and minimal aesthetic showcasing the product. All Kite’s frames are designed in Soho and handmade in Italy and a pair of prescription specs or sunglasses cost between £150-£200. If you haven’t had your vision tested lately, you can head through the back and try Kite’s state-of-the-art tech.
It's personal concept that puts service at the forefront without compromising on design. Future exhibitions and workshops are planned to create a trasnsitional venue that takes retail in new directions.
Sensory retail - L'Occitane en Provence, Regent Street
L'Occitane has opened its debut UK flagship store on London's Regent Street, taking customers on a multi-sensory journey through the textures, fragrance and sounds of Provence. It's the French beauty company's largest in the world, spread across two floors and offering exclusive services including engraving, gift wrapping and personalised messages. Customers can enjoy massages using L'Occitane's hand creams at the hand and arm Massage Bar, with treatments accompanied by a macaron as part of the company's collaboration with pastry chef Pierre Herme.
Famous for his experimental flavour combinations, the macaroon collections reference the natural fragrance ingredients such as lavender. It's a nice touch as for non-food retailers, the addition of a café or restaurant can boost dwell time and can provide creative inspiration.
We love that the fragrance-filled store showcases ingredients and offers a unique product testing experience however the selfie station could maybe feel misdirected and added on. Covering an impressive 6, 450 square feet, the sensorial flagship successfully streamlines a multitude of trends such as sensory retail, product play, personalisation and escapism. Next time you're on Regent Street it's definitely worth a visit.