LONDON — Little Marlborough Street, a narrow, anonymous passageway off Carnaby Street, has served over the years as a smokers’ alley, a rat run for busy locals hotfooting their way through London’s Soho and a delivery bay for the department store Liberty, which backs onto the street.
All that changed earlier this summer when Liberty broke through its back walls, installed big glass windows facing the street and opened an accessories hall. The 2,000-square-foot space showcases a host of brands new to the store, including Carven, Coach, Kenzo, Lanvin, Loewe, Valentino and Sophie Hulme, in addition to old favorites such as Stella McCartney and Givenchy. The space also stocks scarves, sunglasses and small accessories by brands including Paul Smith, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Saunders.
The opening of the accessories hall is just one step in the ongoing transformation of the store, which is located near Oxford Circus, including the doubling of the fine and costume jewelry area to 4,000 square feet. “We wanted this room to be one giant explosion of original thought,” said Ed Burstell, managing director of Liberty, and the driving force behind the expanded accessories spaces. “We can’t compete with the bigger stores and the brands they carry. What we want to do with the jewelry in particular is to celebrate design and craftsmanship and launch new names.”
Besides some of the bigger jewelry brands like Pomellato, the expanded jewelry room also carries New York-based Daimyo, which specializes in silver unisex pieces; London-based Pippa Small; Carolina Bucci, who weaves gold together with yarn to make jewelry that feels more like fabric, and Arman, an Armenian label with a Byzantine feel.
Unlike some of its larger competitors such as Harrods and Selfridges, Liberty owns 90 percent of the jewelry on offer, with the remaining 10 percent made up of concessions. The average price for the jewelry is 500 pounds to 1,500 pounds, or $785 to $2,355 at current exchange. The store plans to add watches by the end of the year. The accessories category, including jewelry, currently generates 15 percent of Liberty’s sales, and Burstell said he’d like to increase that figure to 25 percent.
He declined to reveal the company’s sales. However, according to industry sources, 2012 sales at the flagship are projected to be 75 million pounds, or $118 million, at current exchange.
By next spring, Liberty plans to add an additional 1,500 square feet of retail space by breaking through more back-office space that faces Little Marlborough Street. Burstell remained mum on what merchandise would go there.
Whatever category is ultimately selected, it likely will not be the only new merchandise on the street. Shaftesbury plc, the publicly listed company that owns large swaths of central London real estate, plans to develop its holdings on the other side of Little Marlborough Street next year. The stores have yet to be confirmed, but there’s no doubt that the street’s dark age has finally come to an end.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)