“The only way my mother could convince him to go shopping was to take him to Harrods, where he would go straight to Pet Kingdom and talk to the parrots,” said the designer during a small dinner to mark the launch of her space at the store – and a debut evening collection.
“To be honest, I liked spending time with the parrots, too,” admitted the designer before dinner at Mark’s Club in Mayfair on Wednesday.
Hulme didn’t have as much trouble getting her architect husband Edward Swift – whom she married in May – through Harrods’ door. He was the one who designed the interiors of the 355 square feet space on the lower ground floor.
Hulme, a great fan of Donald Judd, said she was inspired by the artist’s spare aesthetic. There are white shelves and cabinets adorned with bits of gold hardware resembling the details on Hulme’s boxy bags and shoppers; felt-upholstered Arne Jacobsen chairs; and tonal plant silhouettes adorning the walls.
There are terrazzo marble display tables inlaid with laser-cut brass versions of the signature Sophie Hulme charms. Swizzle sticks, little French fry forks and bubble blowers are all suspended in acrylic glass on the table tops.
The opening follows Hulme’s year long pop-up at the store, and is the first permanent retail space for the brand, and the template for future brand interiors.
The Harrods space was Swift’s first foray into retail: He spent five years working on Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, which won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2016, and the artist’s Pharmacy 2 restaurant in Vauxhall, south London. Swift set up his own architecture practice at the beginning of 2016.
The boutique launches with worldwide exclusives from the resort 2017 collection, brand classics, and the designer’s recently launched evening wear collection. Harrods’ GMM of women’s wear Caroline Lyons called the store opening a “milestone” for Hulme and a logical step following the success of the pop-up.
Asked about her next steps, Hulme, who launched her eponymous accessories label in 2011, said she’s keen to consolidate her wholesale base. She creates four collections per year which are made in Italy and Hungary from leather and 24-carat gold plated hardware. The designer sells on sophiehulme.com and through a network of 230 retail locations in 23 countries.