LONDON — Jessica McCormack is making space for all those brides, loved-up couples, and joyful singles who put their romantic moments on hold due to COVID-19. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are tapering, international travel is back on, and people no longer have to say “I do,” through a mask, many are in the mood to spend.
McCormack, who specializes in diamond jewelry, has created a dedicated bridal space on the second floor of her grand townhouse on Carlos Place in Mayfair, where customers can browse and shop for engagement rings, wedding bands, wedding day jewelry, and gifts.
The space is about 690 square feet — and takes up the entire second floor. It features bespoke textiles, a mix of Edwardian-era and bespoke display cases, and Polynesian “tapa” cloths, a wink to the designer’s Pacific Island roots. McCormack is a native New Zealander based in London.
A wool and silk bespoke rug by Sussy Cazalet covers the floor. The rug is green with a pop of blue, and mirrors the overall color palette, which is meant to be calming and reflective of the natural world.
An emerald-green hallway leads clients from the existing retail floors into the bridal space, which is also filled with important art, like the rest of the townhouse.
The walls are covered with black-and-white vintage photography and female nudes by the artist-photographers Sally Mann, Erwin Blumenfeld, Edward Weston and Francesca Woodman.
A contemporary mirror installation by Dutch-New Zealander Sabine Marcelis stands in the space. Depending on the light, the mirror both reflects, as a normal mirror does, but also appears slightly transparent “providing a sensory experience for those that stand in front of it,” according to the company.
Asked why she created the bridal space now, McCormack said that an engagement ring is often someone’s first diamond purchase “and in our new space we’ve worked hard to take that intimidation factor away. It should be a simple, fun, and stress-free experience. But it’s also an incredibly special investment, and needs to be treated that way.”
McCormack pointed to the cabinet that houses her Button Back rings — solitaire diamonds of all cuts and sizes, that shimmer from narrow gold bands. She’s put the prices underneath the rings, similar to what she does on the website. “It is such a simple thing but helps clients to feel comfortable. We want people to feel informed and included here.”
The opening price point for engagement rings is 2,200 pounds, while wedding bands start from 490 pounds.
McCormack added that the space “goes so far beyond engagements. It offers clients gifts for special anniversaries, for bridesmaids, wedding bands and jewelry for the day itself. It’s about celebrating all sorts of love. Not just those big moments.”
Colleen Caslin, chief executive officer of Jessica McCormack, noted that bridal “is the cornerstone of all fine jewelry businesses. Diamonds are our core proposition, and we see the brand as being the architect of first memories.”
Caslin added that Jessica McCormack engagement rings have contributed to double-digit revenue increases year-on-year, and account for 25 percent of annual sales. “We have ambitious plans to double the bridal business,” she said, adding that the brand is also looking to attract a younger audience.
The new space also speaks to future trends. “Given that nearly all fine jewelry purchases in the next five years will be influenced in some part by digital channels, sharpening and expanding omnichannel propositions is key for us,” said Caslin, adding that the “bridal momentum” is set to rebound further in the next year, as more restrictions lift.
The brand has launched a campaign called “Love Beyond” to dovetail with the opening of the new townhouse space, and brought out 25 new engagement ring styles. They include a tilted pear-cut diamond, a blue spinel with a halo of baguettes, and an emerald and sapphire three-stone ring.
McCormack has created three new styles of wedding bands in Fair Trade Gold, as well as wedding day jewelry. There are diamond hair pins, pearl earrings and bespoke “jackets,” which can fit onto the original jewel and create a new look.
There is a new bridal hub on the brand’s website, which offers McCormack’s take on stones, settings and advice about how to buy precious stones.