Take a look inside Harvey Nichols’ revamped womenswear floor, the latest phase in a multimillion-pound refurbishment at the Knightsbridge institution.
Black-clad sales assistants are on a tour gleefully taking in their new workplace when Drapers arrives at department store’s revamped – and very much improved – first floor womenswear department.
The space has been closed for the past 15 weeks as it underwent an extensive refurbishment, following in the footsteps of the menswear department, which was overhauled in April 2016, and an overhaul of its beauty-focused ground floor last year.
The result is a considerably lighter, brighter space that feels fresh and easy to shop. Stockrooms and offices that once lined the periphery of the 22,000 sq ft floor have been stripped out, adding space and exposing once-covered windows that bring daylight flooding in.
New brands have been added to help lure shoppers to the first floor, including Off-White, Chloé, Calvin Klein and 205W39NYC.
Heavily branded, blocky shopfits have been dropped to create a boutique feel that flows and encourages customers to move easily from one brand to another. To delineate different sections for luxury labels, the department store has introduced understated screens bearing their names.
Designers have put their own stamp on the screens to provide a point of difference, such as cool grey with stark black lettering for Balenciaga and shiny marble with gold highlights for Versace.
Brand-specific furnishings, including a burnt orange rug at Stella McCartney and bright toned furniture at Calvin Klein, allow brands to add personality without threatening to overwhelm the space. The result is undoubtedly polished and high end, but not intimidating.
One of the most impressive new additions is a new footwear area, housed under silver archways just off the main womenswear department. A clever use of cornflower blue seating – complete with plug sockets to allow customers to charge their phones as they shop – set against robin egg-coloured walls create an eye-catching space that feels unique to Harvey Nichols.
London’s luxury department stores are battling to attract shoppers, and nearby rivals Liberty and Selfridges have also embarked on extensive refurbishments. This design-led, sophisticated space creates a modern shopping experience that should help Harvey Nichols stay in the competition.