LONDON — Designer Neil Barrett has come home to London, opening his first European store on Conduit Street here, with neighbors including Vivienne Westwood, Dsquared2, Goat and the Westbury Hotel.
Barrett designed the 2,160-square-feet store — with its mix of hard and soft edges — in concert with longtime collaborator Zaha Hadid Architects. It is a study in geometry and rich materials.
“Being British, it is obviously a huge milestone to have my own concept store in London. I’m very happy,” said Barrett, who is marking the 20th anniversary of his brand this year, and who took London — and its myriad subcultures — as the inspiration for his fall 2019 show in Milan last month.
The store, which had a soft opening on Feb. 1, stocks his full offer, including men’s, women’s, children’s and activewear as well as accessories. It is currently carrying the designer’s pre-spring 2019 collection, a chic lineup of Barrett signatures including sharply tailored navy overcoats, black trousers, spongy T-shirts and leather backpacks.
The brand already has 31 stores in China, Macau and Japan, and its only other stand-alone outlet is an 864-square-foot pop-up on Milan’s via Santo Spirito, which has been operating for the past four years — quite possibly the longest-running example of that retail format.
Carlo Barone, chief executive officer of the brand, said it was the right time to open in London. He said that, usually, when the brand hits a 70 percent sell-through at department stores and other wholesale accounts, it’s time to open a stand-alone store.
Barrett opened a 480-square-foot shop-in-shop at Harrods, designed by Zaha Hadid, in 2015. At the time, he told WWD that the design was in line with his design ethos: “I’m a non-color person, and I like to surround myself with a combination of the fluid and the linear.” At Harrods, Hadid used materials including Corian, nickel, velvet, Ecosuede and mirror.
Barone added that he’s expecting the Conduit Street store to generate between 1.6 million euros and 1.8 million euros in first-year revenue. The brand, which remains privately owned, generates about 80 million euros in annual turnover. New European openings are in the pipeline for 2020, he said.
The store, housed in a former French restaurant, has brown Damasco marble floors near the entrance that segue into cement ones. The place is dotted with copper-toned velvet chairs, mirror and black lacquer showcases and cubes inspired by Donald Judd sculptures. There’s a curving copper wall at the back and behind that are voluminous dressing rooms hung with long velvet curtains.