LONDON — Browns is putting its quirky, colorful touch on a host of categories for the upcoming spring season.
As of January, the famous British boutique will introduce a bridal section for the “unconventional,” fashion-forward bride.
“Everybody just seemed to be getting married and coming to us to say that they don’t want to go that classic route,” said Ida Petersson, buying director at Browns.
Those requests have generated a fully fledged offer that includes dresses for all different types of wedding events that can also be re-worn in the future — insider favorites like Magda Butrym, Rejina Pyo, Alessandra Rich and Alexandre Vauthier, who created an exclusive capsule for the occasion, all feature in the retailer’s offer. There’s also a range of accessories exclusives by the likes of Simone Rocha, Rosantica, Sophie Bille Brahe and Amina Muaddi, one of the retailer’s best-selling shoe brands.
(That offer remains separate from Browns Bride in Marylebone, which is still owned and run by Caroline Burstein, whose family founded Browns in the Seventies).
The retailer will also enter the world of interiors with the launch of Ambiance, a category that will feature candles, fragrance, healing crystals and loungewear.
Anissa Kermiche’s vases, which have been shaped to resemble female body parts, L’Objet decor items, Boy Smells candles and crystals by the company She’s Lost Control will be added to Browns’ offer, alongside luxe loungewear by the likes of La Perla and Märta Larsson.
“We’ve been dabbling in fragrance and candles for some time, but with so many fun developments in the sector we wanted to really own it and go about it in a Browns way,” added Petersson.
Alongside the homeware, the retailer will unveil a sparkly festive offer this year featuring collaborations with artists. Crystal artist Sara Shakeel created a capsule that involves everything from prints to jewelry and clothing; Dan Jacobs, also known for his flair for crystals, created customizable crystal-encrusted sneakers; while Heron Preston, among many others, made pet toys.
“Having developed a team dedicated to collaborations, we were able to just go to town this year with Christmas,” said Petersson.
Highlighting environmentally conscious brands will be another big focus for the retailer, which has already started spearheading a number of sustainability initiatives including the launch of a documentary series featuring designers innovating in the space and a partnership with up-and-comer Duran Lantink, who created a capsule using old stock from the Browns warehouse.
Next up is the lab-grown diamond brand Kimai; Mariah Esa who creates outerwear pieces using old fast-fashion labels, and Ancuta Sarca known for creating made-to-order mules from upcycled trainers and vintage heels.
“Most of the innovation is currently happening in this world, how these young designers are using fabrics is incredible and we’re keen to highlight [them] as the end-customer doesn’t always have time to do the research,” said Petersson.
There’s also a big push on the accessories front for spring 2020, with more than 70 brands being added to the mix from contemporary bag labels, to costume jewelry brands, luxury watches and buzzy Korean shoe labels.
Among the highlights were customizable watches by Mad Paris, a brand that has already had high sell through in the men’s department and a host of new handbag labels including Kassl, The Sant and Venczel.
“The bag world is so dominated by big designers that when we look for newness, brands really need to have a point of different. If you do a contemporary version of a Saint Laurent bag, it really doesn’t work,” said Hollie Harding, the retailer’s new women’s wear buying manager of nonapparel.
Costume jewelry is also having a moment, with a brand by stylist Nausheen Shah that specializes in statement earrings among the standouts.