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Browns unveil new Mayfair flagship store

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Luxury boutique Browns has unveiled its new “forever home”, Browns Brook Street in the heart of London’s Mayfair, which features a curated world of fashion, fine jewellery, fragrances, food and culture, including a new sustainable restaurant.

The reimagined flagship boutique is moving from South Molton Street, where Joan Burstein opened the doors in 1970, to 39 Brook Street on the corner of Brook Street and Avery Row close to five-star hotel, Claridge’s.

Browns has become known for its experiential retail over the years, and the new-look flagship aims to celebrate the future of luxury physical retail with a new innovative redesign that emphasises technology and the power of personal service.

Housed in a Grade II listed building, the space, which is not much bigger than the original store, spans four floors and includes a courtyard garden that has been reimagined into a secret forest in the city.

The heritage building dates back to 1720 and has an illustrious history as it housed influential British decorating firm Colefax and Fowler. Browns explains that the retail design, led by architecture and design studio, Dimorestudio, draws on the historical aspects of the building and retains some of the site’s original grandeur, with some areas being left completely untouched, “blending old decadence with a contemporary mood”.

The interior elements of Browns Brook Street have been designed to offer a regularly rotating edit of the best in luxury fashion. The fashion, will not be merchandised by brand, instead, the space will pair next generation and established designers to promote discovery. The boutique will open with a host of brands spanning ready-to-wear, footwear, bags and fine jewellery.

Browns, buying director, Ida Petersson, said in a statement: “Today, more than ever, people are experimenting with fashion and I am so excited to apply this approach to the edit in Browns Brook Street. Browns has always been about the unexpected and with the new way of merchandising, we will be able to amplify the buy team’s vision to the next level.

“My hope is that as they enter the store each customer will feel the same energy and excitement that we felt putting the buys together and are compelled to engage and experiment with our products beyond their wildest dreams.”

Browns Brook Street aims to seamlessly merge digital and physical retailing with new flagship store

The flagship will also be focused on more than fashion, positioning itself as a curated lifestyle space that includes art, furniture, fragrance, homeware, and lifestyle. This is highlighted with the introduction of a concierge, which aims to offer curated one-of-a-kind experiences for its customers.

The store will also feature new style advisors, described by the retailer as a “world-class customer service from a team of true fashion specialists and experts,” who will be assisted by “continuously evolving technological innovations that will add a rich new layer to the in-store experience”.

The aim is to seamlessly merge digital and physical retailing with changing customer desires and preferences, as Browns explains that its customers’ shop and engage in a multi-channel way. This will be achieved through a tech-enabled customer experience, connected by Farfetch, that links its website, sales associate and consumer apps, as well as the connected mirrors.

Browns customer experience director Lee Whittle, said: “We don’t want to replicate what other brands do. What we do is instinctively Browns. With five decades of customer service both offline and online we are in a unique position to connect with our clients in a bespoke and tailored way through curated and one-of-a-kind shopping experiences all with service at the forefront.”

The store will also house ‘The Club’ on the top floor, described as “a haven for our most valued customers” that includes ‘The Parlour’, a bar and three personal shopping suites.

Inside the new Browns flagship in London

Browns Brook Street will also offer Residencies, an inclusive, engaging and diverse programme of in-store experiences and regular events to inspire and engage its community, promising that “no two visits will be alike”.

This is highlighted within the movable features in the store design, such as The Focus on the ground-floor that will showcase capsule collections, collaborations and new talent, and in The Yellow Room, it has movable ceiling height copper structures to transform the room it into an opulent event space.

Holli Rogers, chief executive of Browns, added: “I am thrilled to see us open our flagship, Browns Brook Street, as we kick-off 2021. There is an overall feeling of optimism for this new year and I can’t think of a better way to honour our role in luxury fashion over the past five decades, as well as set the tone for our next 50 years by clearly placing our foot firmly in the future of luxury retail.

“Our new magical home will inspire customers as well as usher in a fundamental shift in the way people shop as layered into this connected, tech-enabled experience is a thoughtful and human side – which is so crucial in the current landscape where personal and personalisation is pivotal. At such an inflection point, it is incredible to see the reality of this store come to life in a revolutionary space which blends the past and the future seamlessly. The space is truly sensorial; sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – offering a unique experience through each visit. The customer is truly at the core of what we do, and we hope that our new home will be one that you never want to leave.”

Other highlights of the store layout and design includes a fine jewellery and watches room featuring its recently launched Virtual Try-On for timepieces via the Browns Fashion app using AR technology, a fragrance corner, and a gender-fluid shoe room on the ground floor. There is also a floor dedicated to womenswear and menswear that will include a made-to-measure area, launching next summer.

The store will also house a sustainable restaurant, Native by Head Chef Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Imogen Davis that centres around zero-waste. The restaurant will champion seasonal produce and ethical dining through a selection of closed-loop small plates, natural wines and foraged cocktails.

José Neves, founder, co-chairman and chief executive of Farfetch, added: “This is such an exciting milestone for Browns and for the Farfetch vision for Luxury New Retail, which we believe is the future of retail. Our Farfetch Platform Solutions (FPS) and Store of the Future Teams have worked with Browns to bring Farfetch’s state-of-the-art omnichannel retail technologies to the store to serve the changing needs of the luxury customer - both online and in this incredible physical space.

“Browns has always been an innovative retailer and since we acquired the company in 2015 Farfetch has worked together with the team to keep this spirit alive and pioneer new ways of engaging customers - both online and offline. The Brook Street store is a testament to the vision the team had of creating a physical space which could engage customers in new and enchanting ways.”

Images: courtesy of Browns