LONDON — Five months after making his Mayfair debut in Burlington Arcade, Manolo Blahnik is planting his heels in yet another high-end retail patch: Selfridges on Oxford Street. The shop-in-shop, which opens Monday, is 753 square feet and located on the second floor, just outside the east entrance of the Shoe Galleries, by the luxury designer brands.
The space reflects the designer’s love of the Georgian architecture of Bath, England, where he lives, as well as his fondness for monochrome accompanied by bright splashes of color. He designed the shop with Nick Leith-Smith Architecture and Design, a company he’s been working with for many years.
The men’s collection will get double billing at the store: It will be sold in the men’s shoe department and at the new salon as well.
An exclusive, limited-edition shoe will mark the opening. It’s a black patent circular-detail sandal with white piping. After buying a pair, customers will be handed a framed sketch of the style, drawn and signed by Blahnik.
“I am sure when people enter the space they will feel the spirit of Manolo,” said Kristina Blahnik, chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik International. She said the brand is pleased to be “adding to our current presence in central London.”
Eleanor Robinson, head of accessories at Selfridges, called Blahnik “an industry game-changer and true fashion icon. The brand is a great addition to our luxury offer.”
Blahnik has 290 points of sale, in 33 countries, 11 stand-alone stores, and an e-commerce platform that launched earlier this year. The brand has traditionally kept a low retail profile in London, however, operating until very recently from its longtime store on Old Church Street in Chelsea.
In February, the designer opened the doors to his second London store in Burlington Arcade. “It took 28 years to find the right location,” he told WWD at the time.
Unwilling to settle for a more commercial venue, such as Bond Street, Blahnik said he wanted to wait until he could secure a spot linked to history and tradition. The 19th-century arcade next to the Royal Academy fit the bill. Customers are clearly loving it: According to the company, in the first four months, the store has already exceeded 2016 targets, with the main fashion collection outselling the classic styles and full-price sales 51 percent ahead of targets.