Juicy Couture’s British Invasion

Brand opens first London flagship in Mayfair.

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LONDON — Juicy Couture’s first flagship here is a girly fantasy full of British flair in the form of customized antiques, glass candy-filled jars and stuffed peacocks and foxes dripping in jewels.

This story first appeared in the July 23, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“It’s Juicy goes to London, and it’s the most beautiful Grade II listed Georgian town house. It has an amazing depth and sense of history,” said Gela Nash-Taylor, who cofounded and codesigns the line with Pamela Skaist-Levy. “I always like a store that feels fun, eclectic and homey.”

The town house, built in 1793 as a private home, is located at 27 Bruton Place in Mayfair. Neighbors include Stella McCartney, Matthew Williamson, Martin Margiela, Diane von Furstenberg and Miller Harris.

The building has been restored to its former glory with the help of The London Heritage Society. Many of the building’s original features, including eight fireplaces and the black-and-white marble flooring in the entrance hall, have been reconditioned and integrated into the design scheme — along with some quirky touches. Mannequins are posed in outlandish positions: Some are doing handstands in the windows, while others are trying on 16th-century armor.

And the mayhem doesn’t stop there.

A moose head, which adorns one wall, has been splattered with multicolored paint, while an antique marble horse’s head has been painted with the Union Jack. “Viva La Juicy” has been spray-painted onto the upholstery of the Baroque furniture.

The ground floor has a light, airy feel, while the second floor’s green and red plaid carpet and original wood-paneled ceiling add a stately air to the surroundings. The apparel is displayed in white lacquer units and on freestanding brass rails.

The building has 4,200 square feet of retail space and 2,800 square feet of office and showroom and stockroom space. It carries women’s and children’s apparel, sleepwear and accessories such as handbags, jewelry, sunglasses and shoes. The flagship also stocks the label’s high-end streetwear line, Bird by Juicy Couture, as well as exclusive products including key rings and bracelets with charms such as red double-decker buses and phone booths, royal crowns and Wellington boots.

Ellen Rodriguez, Juicy’s senior vice president, international and licensing, declined to give first-year projections, but said the division of Liz Claiborne Inc. was “very pleased” with the performance to date. The store had a soft opening last Thursday.

According to real estate sources here, Juicy will be paying 320,000 pounds, or $527,000, in rent a year.

“Our U.K. business is probably the most advanced in Europe to date, and we felt that London was the best place to enter with a flagship,” said Rodriguez. “The label is very well understood by the British consumer.”

Juicy wholesales its collections in the U.K. to such stores as Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

The brand has 61 stores in the U.S., and plans to open another five by the end of the year. There are also stores in Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Dubai. A further 10 international doors will be opened in Asia by 2010, taking the number of stores worldwide to 93.

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