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Inside LK Bennett founder's exclusive Atelier 75

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Sitting moments from London’s bustling Regent Street, newly opened boutique Atelier 75 is a carefully curated new retail venture co-founded by LK Bennett founder Linda Bennett.

The serenely chic boutique, Atelier 75, is nestled in the heart of Fitzrovia, surrounded by luxurious Georgian flats and grand embassy buildings, moments from Regent Street and minutes from the bustle of Oxford Circus.

Created by LK Bennett founder Linda Bennett and her friend, Jo Ogden, the 750 sq ft store opened its doors at 75 New Cavendish Street in March.

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In its first two months of trading, the store has garnered a burgeoning local following from the wealthy, international neighbourhood residents, who are drawn to the luxury brand mix and curated offer.

With 15 brands in total in the store, including Sophie D’Hoore, Album di Famiglia and Jamin Puech, Atelier 75 has a tightly curated offer. Bennett and Ogden select British and European brands made from natural fibres. They only work with brands and products that offer simplicity and quality.

Under a striped awning, the Edwardian frontage of the store is dominated by dramatic window displays. For the official launch party on ealier this month, this was a dramatic cascade of coloured grass and wild flowers from the florist Adolfo Ramos and Tremulous Dew.

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Inside, the store is an oasis of minimal calm. Beneath the high ceiling, white walls are lined sparingly with colour-popping clothing, and display walls for shoes and hats are arranged on the walls. The overall effect is minimal but dramatic – the neutral backdrop highlightis the bright colours and high quality of the product.

Two lacquered wood and glass cabinets showcase the accessories offer, and a dramatic two-tier chandelier hangs in the centre of the space casting a warm glow over the already bright store.

Downstairs, the three cosy fitting rooms act as a sanctuary for shoppers. Soft grey, felted curtains cocooning the cubicles and seats lend a luxurious sensibility. Water, champagne and the mysterious Atelier 75 cocktail (a secret recipe) are on offer to guests as they change.

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Despite sharing a founder, Atelier 75 is not related to the main LK Bennett business, but shares a similar sense of luxe sophistication in its brands. Bennett founded her eponymous womenswear brand in 1990, and opened its first store in Wimbledon, south London.

Having initially sold the business to private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners in 2008 in a deal estimated to be worth £80m-£100m, Bennett reclaimed majority ownership of the business in September 2017. LK Bennett currently has 260 shops and concessions in more than 30 countries, and is led by CEO Erica Vikauls, who joined in March. 

Linda Bennett: why I opened Atelier 75

Tell us about Atelier 75

Atelier 75 is primarily about effortless fashion. Our combined love of travelling, and sourcing unique and original designs from the UK and Europe, have led to the boutique’s curation of distinctive brands.

What made you want to open?

We opened in March 2018. We felt it was right to showcase the labels we love, in a dedicated space we love to be in.

How would you describe the ethos of the store?

The store edit is devoted to exquisite quality. There is a sense of tranquility and modernity in the store, marrying pieces that are both relaxed and fashion forward.

What do you look for in the brands that you stock?

It’s important for us to highlight under-the-radar labels that are not widely available. The designs we have sourced have a clear point of view, and we’re stocking pieces we feel had a twist, while remaining very easy to wear.

Who is your target customer?

Atelier 75 is for women of all ages and shapes who appreciate style and fashion, and who find a real connection with our labels. Our customers, so far, are from around 25 to 65.

What sets Atelier 75 apart from other stores. What is your USP?

Our emphasis on high quality and fashion newness allows our customer to discover lesser known brands and unique “few of a kind” purchases. The collections we stock are from such a personal edit.

You say you place “emphasis on stocking a comprehensive size range”. Why was this important to you?

Being size inclusive is important to us because we have always felt successful stores carry a comprehensive size range and it’s becoming more prevalent in customer shopping needs. 

How does the store relate to LK Bennett or is it entirely separate?

Both businesses are entirely separate ventures, however, any existing retail experience is always invaluable.

We hear a lot about the high street being in a tricky place. So why did you decide now was the right time to launch?

We like to be countercyclical, so setting up a shop at such a challenging time wasn’t a deterrent for us. We strive to provide exceptional service and quality with a real experience – all aspects that are very important to us.

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