LONDON — Brexit aside, retail remains robust across Mayfair and Trophaeum, the London-based asset management company, has big plans to turn Stafford Street into a shopping destination of its own with buzzy fashion, lifestyle and beauty openings.
London-based designer Natasha Zinko is among the first to join Stafford Street, which connects Bond and Albemarle streets, adding her brand of colorful, edgy clothing to the luxury hub.
Zinko, who already has a store on nearby Maddox Street, said she was drawn to the possibility of taking her retail concept a step further with the new space, which spans 1,880 square feet over two floors.
“This space has windows — and that’s what I’ve been missing,” said Zinko. “Now we can show everything that’s going on inside. What I’ve been thinking is to maybe incorporate more art projects, and I plan to change the space quite often and collaborate with some new designers who might be based in L.A. and who want exposure in London. There is space, so I don’t want it to just be me there, but use it to support other people, too.”
Zinko added that she also wants to open a small café within her new store. “Because you have the windows, I want to have an element of theater going on inside, not just a regular store with garments in it. I think we’re just going to make a schedule for the whole year and go for it.” She plans to move into Stafford Street over the summer.
Zinko said she was also drawn to the location, which is in between the big luxury names on Bond Street and the more under-the-radar Albemarle and Dover streets, home to an eclectic mix of boutiques such as Acne, Paul Smith and Aquazzura, as well as buzzy private members’ clubs like the Arts Club.
“It’s still Mayfair, but not the main street. It’s a little farther inside, and I prefer that. For me, it’s cooler to be there and not on Bond Street. You’re around different kinds of brands and it’s still comfortable for people to pass by, but you remain a little bit more hidden,” added the designer.
It’s the right moment for the brand to make a bolder retail statement: Zinko has continued to grow her wholesale business, which includes partnerships with the likes of Browns, Selfridges and Harrods. She has also broadened her collection to include a men’s wear line designed in collaboration with her 11-year-old son, Ivan, and plans to launch e-commerce later this year.
In addition, both Zinko and Ivan keep growing their online followings and have created a dedicated community for their bold streetwear — which often comes with printed logos in Cyrillic, eccentric prints and casual takes on tailoring. Next up could be a YouTube channel, said Zinko.
Despite her success online, the designer added she still believes in the importance of retail, and has found that customers love the store experience.
“We are now having more and more customers coming to the store and they are happy to discover the space and come to us personally. This was a big question for me last year: I was questioning whether customers still need stores, but at the end of the day, I like communicating with people. When they come into a store they can really see who I am and it’s more complementary to the clothes they buy.”
The Zinko opening is part of Trophaeum’s broader vision for Stafford.
Trophaeum has bought and built up much of Albemarle Street, installing shops such as Self-Portrait, Aquazzura, Thom Browne and Agnona, and bringing in the restaurant Isabel Mayfair and Robin Birley’s private members’ club Oswald’s.
It secured space for Alaïa and Chloé on nearby Bond Street and worked with brands on Bond, convincing them to break through and create entrances on Albemarle, with Cartier and Givenchy having opened a double frontage earlier this year on Albemarle.
Trophaeum is now turning its attention to Stafford, having acquired the majority of stores on the street. Its first move was to bring in Maison Bonnet, the heritage French eyewear house that specializes in bespoke designs. Bonnet created Jackie Onassis’ big black sunglasses and Yves Saint Laurent’s chunky aviators, among other designs for celebrities.
According to Matt Farrell, director at Trophaeum Asset Management, the company is set to sign two more brands this year, and is looking in particular at footwear and cosmetics companies, especially ones that are opening for the first time in London.
“We love lifestyle brands,” he said, adding that footfall on the street is robust, and the prices are 50 percent cheaper per square foot than in the arcades that link the big Mayfair streets.