Liberty of London Opens First Boutique

Liberty's in-house luxury accessories brand, Liberty of London, has unveiled its first dedicated flagship on Sloane Street here.

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LONDON — Liberty’s in-house luxury accessories brand, Liberty of London, has unveiled its first dedicated flagship on Sloane Street here.

This story first appeared in the June 30, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The store is the initial foray for the brand, which plans to roll out the concept.

“We needed to find a way to reinterpret it in a very contemporary way,” said Tamara Salman, creative director of the brand, who conceived the opulent, 2,000-square-foot store with Paris-based architects Pierre Buecler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli.

The space, set in a Seventies building, has a light eclectic feel featuring a spiral staircase, white stucco walls taken from Liberty heritage print designs, combined with modern touches such as Sixites-inspired chandeliers and a statement curtain of acrylic beads that runs down from the double-height ceiling.

“There is a lot of detail but we didn’t want to overdo it,” said Salman. “We didn’t want to overwhelm the product.”

Special features include Orient Express train seat-style changing rooms with deep purple velvet curtains and benches. Product is also displayed in reclaimed black oak Arts & Crafts movement cabinets, while scarves are displayed in mirrored lit frames on the walls.

For Salman, the new store was an important step in reinforcing the brand’s identity as distinct from the Liberty store.

“It’s an enormous help being part of Liberty because we are very instantly recognizable and known,” she said. “The challenge can be that people think of it in only one way. It’s clearing up people’s perceptions. We want it to be a global luxury brand in its own right.”

Part of this, for her, was the location. “We looked at Mount Street, but Sloane Street is far away geographically. It also has an international clientele.”

Neighboring stores include Louis Vuitton, Alberta Ferretti and Prada. She added that the store was a test for further units in key cities such as New York and Paris. “We want to see how this goes first, get it right then look at other places,” she said.

The flagship houses the full Liberty of London line, including men’s and women’s accessories, ready-to-wear, stationery and costume jewelry. The ground floor holds the women’s offering, including jewelry, swimwear, bags and small leather goods, while on the second level a dedicated area takes a more masculine feel with black lacquer paneling, bell jars to display accessories and velvet sofas to lounge on.

“I wanted it to be warm and inviting,” said Salman, “bright, friendly and happy.”

Prices at the store run from 75 pounds, or $146.92, for a men’s tie, to 1,200 pounds, or $2,350, for a women’s python bag.

Liberty of London was launched in 2005 and today has annual retail sales of 5 million pounds, or about $9.8 million. The brand also wholesales to 100 stores globally, including Le Bon Marché, Jeffrey, Corso Como and Dover Street Market. In April, the store launched libertyoflondon.com.

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