Mike Ashley to Turn House of Fraser into ‘Harrods of the High Street’

AIMING HIGH: Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, who purchased House of Fraser for 90 million pounds last Friday morning, revealed in an exclusive post-purchase interview with British tabloid The Sun, that he wanted transform the retailer into “the Harrods of the high street.”
He said his plans are to stock luxury labels such as Gucci and Prada. According to Ashley they are “the biggest thing missing” in the department store today and that stocking those brands “will make a big difference.”
Not surprisingly, industry observers were skeptical.
George Wallace, chief executive of MHE Retail, said in an interview he thinks it will be very difficult for House of Fraser to attract luxury brands.
“The level investment that’s required in those stores to get to a standard where the likes of Gucci and Prada would be prepared to be present is really a massive amount, bearing in mind the size of the stores. Selfridges and Harrods have poured in hundreds of millions of pounds to create an environment supportive of a luxury product.”
He added: “The concept of big department stores in mid-size towns is under serious threat and past its use-by date. Having a luxury department store in a provincial city is not commercially viable.”
He

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Harrods’ ‘Rarity’ Exhibition Will Highlight One-of-a-Kind Treasures

HIDDEN GEMS: Harrods is looking into the meaning of luxury with Rarity, a storewide campaign displaying rare finds from fashion to jewelry to homeware. The campaign runs in-store and online until Aug. 16.
It features more than 60 exclusive products that have been selected by Harrods from around the world including Hawaii, the Netherlands, Panama and Yorkshire, England.
Exclusive couture pieces are being highlighted in the fashion department, including an evening gown by Ralph & Russo, Bottega Veneta’s Knot Clutch in 18-carat gold and an embellished jacket from Balmain.

Harrods ‘Rarity’ – Balmain, De Beers and Millionaire Gallery 
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There are also limited-edition pieces such as a redesign of Coco Chanel’s clock as well as unique accessories such as an Excalibur Aventador S Blue watch from Roger Dubuis.
“With Rarity, we wanted to ensure that our curated selection of rare finds showcases that ‘rare product’ can take many forms,” said Michael Ward, managing director at Harrods.
“Further to this, the way in which we consume products has taken a seismic shift the last decade. With the rise of digital, owning and purchasing goods can be instantaneous, but comes with the risk of increasing homogeneity. So we wanted to ensure that customers had a sensory experience to compliment

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Vetements to Fill Harrods Windows With Discarded Clothes

Even if Vetements sends its edgy, pseudo-ironic collections hurtling down the runway at breakneck speed, please don’t call it fast fashion.
Continuing to trumpet the environmental perils of a world clogged with cheap, disposal clothing, the indie brand plans to fill the main windows of Harrods with piles of donated clothes that are to be upcycled in aid of NSPCC, a children’s charity in the U.K.
Slated to run from Feb. 8 to March 2, the display kicks off a year during which Vetements chief executive officer Guram Gvasalia plans to use the brand as a vehicle to promote sustainability and encourage consumers to buy less.
He told WWD the company is “taking the concept to local communities worldwide” and planning to mount 50 different installations this year.
“Overproduction and market oversaturation is one of the biggest environmental problems of today,” according to Gvasalia, who runs the company, now headquartered in Zurich, with his designing brother Demna. “Brands are overselling in a constant pursuit of growth, artificially inflating their numbers and reporting high demands while in reality overstocking retailers and their own stores.” He estimated that 30 percent of merchandise produced by fashion brands is never sold and ends up in landfill.
Passersby, along with store

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Stella McCartney Unveils Men’s Shop-in-Shop at Harrods

ONE FOR THE BOYS: Stella McCartney has launched a first space dedicated to the brand’s new men’s wear collection, at Harrods.
The 350-square-foot shop-in-shop is located in the Advanced International department on the store’s lower ground floor. It carries tailored blazers, knitwear and slogan T-shirts from the designer’s fall 2017 men’s wear range.
Eight styles are exclusive to the store, including blazers, a cardigan, trousers and shirts. The space has been designed with dark textured walls and soft seating, a mirror column and soft carpeting. The label’s women’s wear boutique is located in the International Designer Room on the first floor, while children’s wear is sold in the Mini Designer Room on the fourth floor.
“Stella McCartney has long been established in Harrods as a brand that champions British style with modern flair,” said Helen David, chief merchant.
“Now, we are very excited to welcome her new men’s wear label with the first stand-alone boutique in the world. The collection’s aesthetic, design and nod toward the growing seasonless wardrobe trend is an evolution that our men’s wear customer is increasingly looking for, so we are excited to see the brand’s growth within Harrods.”

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Deborah Lyons Introduces Debut Line at Harrods

FRESH START: Deborah Lyons, the designer previously known for her footwear label Mechanté of London, is coming back to the industry with a ready-to-wear brand.
Drawing from the lessons her time at Mechanté and from a line of jackets she did in collaboration with Misha Nonoo, Lyons is now focusing on curated collections with a clear customer in mind.
Her eponymous label takes a feminine approach, with girly touches for staple pieces that aim to take women from day to evening.
Some of the key pieces include pussy-bow shirts, bodysuits and slim, high-waisted trousers with playful velvet ankle ties. Outerwear is another key category, with smart tweed jackets with velvet panels and coats with interesting detailing such as exposed seams, ruched panels or balloon sleeves.
Lyons said the inspiration for the line came from all the entrepreneurial women in her friendship circles: “The line is designed to be worn in any environment that defines the customer, whether it’s in the Middle East, London or New York,” Lyons said. “I see the clothes playing into their lives and therefore they need to function wherever you are going.”
Many of her friends have started having children, which inspired the designer to include a “minis” capsule range for

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Donatella Versace Hosts Book Signing at Harrods in London

DOTING ON DONATELLA: A crowd of Versace-clad fans headed to Harrods Monday afternoon to meet Donatella Versace at the signing of her book “Versace.”
The designer didn’t keep her admirers waiting, arriving promptly at 1 p.m. to greet 100 men and women, with some decked in the brand’s boisterous apparel. Some shoppers started gathering as early as 11 a.m., as only the first 50 customers who visited the boutique would have a chance to meet briefly with Versace and to have their book signed and picture taken.
Dressed in head-to-toe black , she sat behind a desk inside the Versace boutique in the International Designer room of the Knightsbridge retailer.
“I have always created stories through images, in both collections and advertising campaigns, and I’ve always been in charge of the image-making for Versace,” she said. “The book highlights this aspect of my creative process.”
Versace said working on the book took about two years and added it was difficult to choose from the various images shot by numerous photographers she has worked with. She also insisted that the book feature lots of pictures of Audrey — her beloved Jack Russell.
“I love the first chapter,” said Versace, about her favorite part of the book.

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Sophie Hulme Unveils Harrods Shop, Evening Collection

FAMILY STYLE: During a party co-hosted with Harrods, Sophie Hulme recalled her childhood and the effort it took to get her father through the doors of the Knightsbridge store.
“The only way my mother could convince him to go shopping was to take him to Harrods, where he would go straight to Pet Kingdom and talk to the parrots,” said the designer during a small dinner to mark the launch of her space at the store – and a debut evening collection.
“To be honest, I liked spending time with the parrots, too,” admitted the designer before dinner at Mark’s Club in Mayfair on Wednesday.
Hulme didn’t have as much trouble getting her architect husband Edward Swift – whom she married in May – through Harrods’ door. He was the one who designed the interiors of the 355 square feet space on the lower ground floor.

Sophie Hulme’s corner shop at Harrods 
Gilbert McCarragher

Hulme, a great fan of Donald Judd, said she was inspired by the artist’s spare aesthetic. There are white shelves and cabinets adorned with bits of gold hardware resembling the details on Hulme’s boxy bags and shoppers; felt-upholstered Arne Jacobsen chairs; and tonal plant silhouettes adorning the walls.
There are terrazzo marble display tables

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Contemporary Shirting Label Monographie Launches in Harrods

MODERNIST ATTITUDE: Monographie, the new Paris-based label that focuses on shirting, has launched in the contemporary department at Harrods.
The label, founded by Aude Casteja, offers different iterations of the classic shirt: There are minimal sleeveless versions in baby blue and white, feminine ones that come with contrasting pleated panels and more conceptual, deconstructed pieces that are sliced and buttoned back together.
Casteja, who has previously held press and marketing roles for luxury brands such as Céline said that she wanted to create a brand with interesting, identifiable visual handwriting.
“My background broadened my instincts and helped me create a strong identity for my collections, from the concept, to the story and the campaign images. Céline is a great example of perfect branding, so it was a good school, but it didn’t affect the identity of my brand directly,” said Casteja, citing minimalist artists such as Agnes Martin as her main source of inspiration. “It’s about lines and graphic contrast.”
She was drawn to shirting because of the freedom of interpretation it allows. “Shirting speaks to everyone, people can wear the shirts in their own way and style. It gives a lot of freedom, you don’t need to tell the customer how to wear

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Harrods Unveils Men’s Wear Campaign, Cover to Cover

TOP MAN: Harrods has unveiled its first storewide men’s wear campaign in response to a market category that has grown “beyond comprehension,” according to Jason Broderick, the store’s director of men’s wear, sports and fine watches.
Harrods Man Cover to Cover is a storewide takeover that includes all departments ranging from luxury and tailoring to contemporary and active.
For the first time, the October issue of the biannual Harrods Man Magazine will have 12 covers, created by Tom Ford, Burberry, Gucci, Valentino, Prada, Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, Corneliani, Paul Smith, Giorgio Armani and Brioni.
Each of the covers will have their own window at Harrods, facing Brompton Road.
Throughout the month, there will be a series of in-store events and personal appearances. There will also be exclusive capsule collections from Burberry, Balmain, Giorgio Armani, Neil Barrett, Dsquared2 and Givenchy, and limited-edition pieces from Fendi, Moschino, Christopher Kane, Versace, Balenciaga and 3.1 Phillip Lim.
Broderick told WWD the men’s wear category “has evolved beyond comprehension and the drive from our customers to embrace this new world has led us to further expand our footprint of men’s wear in the store. The story-telling of men’s wear has become so prolific that we felt now is the

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