BIG HEART: Designer Bella Freud is teaming with the department store Fenwick of Bond St. to launch her new fragrance, Close to my Heart, with a pop-up shop in the contemporary area on the third floor for the month of September.
This is Freud’s fourth fragrance and will be sold exclusively at Fenwick. The scent features deep, oriental-inspired base notes such as oud, black musk, sandalwood and moss, entwined with feminine, sweet accents of jasmine, neroli and tuberose absolute.
“I wanted to emphasize a mood of intense, preoccupied femininity,” Freud told WWD.
Coinciding with the launch, Fenwick has also worked alongside Freud on a pop-up store and a window takeover featuring a series of monitors playing films from the designer’s archives. The films show the brand’s famous friends, ranging from Jodie Kidd to Laura Bailey and Olympia Campbell.
Mia Fenwick, the store’s director, said the project was initially focused on fragrance, but gradually grew to include Freud’s knitwear, tailored clothing, candles and other perfumes. “It was a great way to express the brand, because she’s so British, she’s so creative. I love that anyone can wear a Bella sweater, but it’s still a little bit rock ’n’ roll. This aesthetic appeals to a very British customer,” said Fenwick.
The store has been growing its beauty business, focusing on providing a curated edit of niche fragrance and skin-care brands and championing British labels including Bella Freud and Charlotte Tilbury.
“There was no beauty on Bond Street. What we tried to do is edit in different ways because the thing about the store is that it’s not too big. We are not doing everything, but doing what we do really well by developing a niche fragrance business and niche skin care; we don’t do big brands,” Fenwick said.
“I hear the customer who says, ‘I love the discovery. I love the edit you guys make,’ and we’ve really harbored that environment. You’ll see the brands you recognize, but you’ll also always find something you’ve never seen before. And that’s important, we like that boutique feel.”
The pop-up space spans 350 square feet and sits next to brands such as See by Chloé, Markus Lupfer and Frame Denim. Its aim is to conjure the intimate feel of Freud’s Marylebone boutique, which was designed to resemble the designer’s private home. There are bespoke brass rails, a cube Saratoga lounge chair by Italian designer Massimo Vignelli, and custom dyed velvet carpets.
Fenwick said the positioning was a decision made by the designer, who was drawn to the less polished look of the contemporary department, which features raw ceilings with exposed piping.
“The best thing was that the creative directors of Fenwick let me get on and do what I liked. That is why it looks authentic and I feel it shows my work really well. We had things made specially, like the brushed brass fixtures, and used the same velvet pile carpet as the Chiltern Street shop. We spent six hours in there on Sunday night putting everything together,” said Freud, pointing to the store’s relaxed atmosphere as one reason she felt they were the right partner for the project.
“Fenwick is quite an intimate department store. It’s relaxing and easy to discover great product. It is a family-run business, and there is an attention to detail that sets it apart from other department stores.”
The store stocks the brand’s signature intarsia sweaters, as well as an exclusive item — a bright red cashmere sweater with a “Close to My Heart” intarsia — marking the launch of the new perfume. The perfume and candle collections in their entirety and key tailoring pieces from fall 2016, such as shirtdresses and tailored trousers, as well as an exclusive knitted sweater, are included.
The fragrance is priced at 95 pounds, or $126, and the cashmere sweater retails for 300 pounds, or $400.
Freud has more collaborations in the pipeline, including an eyewear collection with Cutler and Gross and a capsule collection with Fred Perry, a continuation of their partnership launched in 2014. She also plans to release three new candles in the next year and expand the lifestyle category of her brand, which includes homeware items such as pillows featuring her cult prints.