LONDON — Burberry has a new home in the heart of Knightsbridge, and the mood is weekend luxury. There are exclusive cashmere knits, cozy quilted jackets and a Tartan room where customers can order bespoke kilts for a Saturday night of Scottish reeling.
The store, which opened early last week, is located across the street from London’s retail icon Harvey Nichols and near to that other icon, Harrods. It’s housed in the former Scotch House, a Burberry subsidiary, now closed, that for years was a mecca for fans of Scottish tartan and cashmere. The site is Burberry’s third London flagship after its stores in New Bond and Regent Streets.
“This concludes our London retail strategy,” said Burberry chief executive Rose Marie Bravo during a walk-through last Tuesday. “It’s a more residential area, so we’re expecting more customers from the neighborhood, more young families with strollers — compared with the Bond and Regent Street stores, which draw a higher percentage of tourists.”
To adapt to the different environment, the two-floor, 10,000-square-foot store has a larger children’s area than the other Burberry units and a wider selection of casual and weekend coats, as well as soft accessories like scarves and wraps. It also offers an exclusive cashmere knit collection for men. “We wanted to capture some of the classifications of Scotch House, and those sweaters, made in Scotland, were the hallmark of that store,” said Bravo.
But this isn’t just another Burberry flagship. The Knightsbridge store is the only Burberry unit where customers will be able to have bespoke kilts made in their family’s tartan; the Tartan room is another legacy of the former Scotch House. It also features the company’s new home collection — Christmas ornaments are already sold out —and the relaunched Burberry watch line. And while it carries all merchandise categories under the brand’s London and Prorsum collections, it also will offer a made-to-measure trench-coat service for men and women, and a tailoring service for men.
Stanley Tucker, senior vice president, men’s wear, said some special lines and classifications have been developed especially for the store. “We’ve used leather for English icon products like the duffel coat, reinterpreted the check for men in crewneck and turtleneck sweaters and expanded the offering of tailored clothing.” Tucker also pointed to a shiny case filled with antique cuff links that he discovered himself at markets in Britain.
The interiors were designed by Mark Pinney Associates and Burberry’s visual and store planning team.
The facade is a blend of classic and ultramodern. There are 10 windows facing Brompton Road and Knightsbridge, with a two-floor glass facade at the fork formed by the two streets. Bravo said the facade will be a “canvas” for Burberry’s mood of the moment. The first theme will be — what else? — Christmas.
Burberry’s new watch collection, made by Fossil and launched earlier this month, is located on the ground floor and features three design groups. There are Thirties- and Forties-inspired timepieces, sports watches that Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton would have been proud to wear, and ladylike designs with an engraved trademark check.
Burberry design director Christopher Bailey called the watches “important” styles that are destined to endure. “These are not just fashion watches, they’re classic. They’re meant to last and be passed down through generations. It’s about endurance and heritage, not gimmick,” he said last week during an interview at Burberry headquarters in Haymarket. He was wearing a chronograph with a perforated leather strap.
Each watch has a serial number that can be traced to the owner and point of sale, and which will make servicing easier. Prices range from about $300 to $800, and can go as high as $2,000. The watches will be sold in all of Burberry’s directly operated stores worldwide and a selection of wholesale retailers.