Jaeger has been through tough times in the past couple of years.
Address 200-206 Regent Street, London W1B
Brands A variety of third-party labels alongside Jaeger’s Boutique collection
Ambience 1960s Bond-esque glamour
This is a retailer everybody knows and it has a venerable history, but that doesn’t seem to have translated into forward movement.
This is possibly as much due to the problem of marketing what is, in effect, a heritage brand as it is to the nature of the collections that are on offer; Jaeger has not been able to convince shoppers that it should be on their shopping list.
However, the revamped second floor in Jaeger’s Regent Street flagship shows that, whatever its recent shortcomings, it is still worth looking at what Jaeger is doing. Dubbed ‘The Boutique Gallery’, the store’s top floor has been devoted to promoting the efforts of up-and-coming new brands. If you want to see this kind of thing in a winsome interior, look no further.
01 VISUAL MERCHANDISING
Two single shoes demonstrate the care and attention that has been given to the display of product. With a Perspex block in front of them on which the words ‘French Sole’ have been inscribed, the shoes sit on a copper rectangle, which is perched on top of a large, white, high-gloss, kidney-shaped fixture.
This imbues the shoes with a precious, jewel-like quality. There is space wherever you look, whether it’s the jewellery in museum-style cases, or the garments sparingly displayed on side-hanging rails. The Gallery itself features coffee table books and a 1960s and 1970s history of the brand in graphics around the wall.
It all feels very new, in a sort of 1960s jet-set sort of way.
The left-hand side of the floor is a wall of light, thanks to the huge windows. Near the windows is a freestanding coffee bar and some posh occasional chairs and tables that have the whiff of modern design classics about them. The rest of the floor is devoted to the merchandise: jewellery and clothing. The layout is freeform, allowing shoppers to meander around the space. The whiteness of the decor adds to the contemporary-retro feel.
The good news is that almost as soon as you arrive on this floor you spot the coffee and seating area and this is followed shortly afterwards by the offer of a warm beverage. This is actually a pretty chi-chi floor and you’d be hard pressed to not yield to the offer. The staff are attentive and ready to help, as you’d expect in an offer of this kind, but they don’t press the sale - which in itself is a pleasure. This is the kind of understated service you’d expect from a retailer of this kind.
Stripes, brights and a lot of prints make up the bulk of the offer, with multiple iterations of the shift dress in evidence. Although Boutique is about womenswear, the good thing about the collections is that though they are not young fashion, neither are they fringe designer label frump.On the accessories side, the shoes tend to be ballet pumps and flats, and there is a strong selection of scarves. The best thing about this offer is that, despite it being the work of many designers, it hangs together as a cohesive whole.
There is a great deal of competition for the money that could potentially be spent in The Boutique Gallery.
On Regent Street, the competition includes everything from Anthropologie to Ted Baker by way, perhaps, of Esprit (which was being remerchandised on the day Jaeger was visited). There is a lot that’s good about what’s on offer in this new space and for those who make it up to the top floor, the chances are good that a purchase might be the outcome. However, it seems only fair to comment that it’s quite a trek to the top of this store from ground level on Regent Street.
06 VERDICT: THE PROSPECTS ARE GOOD
Jaeger has long been trading off the strength of its name, instead of being a pace-setter for the well-heeled woman in search of style. There is a sense that this retailer is to fashion what Heal’s is to furniture - comfortable, but pricey. That said, The Boutique Gallery has restored faith in the retailer’s ability to innovate and to come up with something that would make a diversion into the store worthwhile. It’s also a good idea for a label so quintessentially associated with the UK to base an entire floor on collections from emerging British brands.