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Celine at Harrods, London

Celine returns to Harrods with a ready-to-wear shop-in-shop that aims to stand out from the crowd.

After a two-year absence from department store Harrods, luxury French brand Celine has staged a comeback with a shop-in-shop for its ready-to-wear range.

Nestled between Laurèl and Hugo Boss in Harrods’ Knightsbridge store in London, the new 450sq ft space instantly catches the eye.A lightbox pillar featuring Celine’s spring 08 ad campaign stands bright in the centre of the carpeted area, while a white neon logo on the back wall offers a strong contrast against Celine’s signature chocolate brown palette.

Maximising the Celine branding was key when developing the new shop-in-shop, with a print of the brand’s iconic logo – known as ‘The Blason’ and inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris – monopolising the light brown carpet.

“Bringing a sense of the brand to the shop-in-shop was very important because we needed to ensure Celine stood out against the other brands,” says Celine president and chief executive Serge Brunschwig. He points to the chunky brown leather floating fixtures as unique to his shop-in-shop, in contrast to nearby concessions, which have opted for simple, thin metal rails. “About 99% of what we proposed was accepted by Harrods. It was signed off by [Harrods owner] Mohamed Al-Fayed himself. I take that as a compliment,” Brunschwig smiles.

At the front of the space, life-like mannequins show off Celine’s spring 08 collection and are designed to make shoppers relate to the brand.

“The mannequins are supposed to demonstrate an attitude and a proximity to Celine customers, who we believe are strong women,” says Brunschwig. “That’s why we used heads on the mannequins and made sure their facial features were obvious.”

The use of mannequins is also cleverly exploited to maximise sales of other product categories. One mannequin, sitting cross-legged, sports shoes from Celine’s footwear range, while another carries a Celine bag. Neither category is sold at the ready-to-wear shop-in-shop, but interested customers are redirected to Harrods’ accessories area or to the brand’s flagship on New Bond Street.

Product is split by category, with macs and coats along the right-hand side, while tops and dresses hang on the left. A TV showing Celine’s spring 08 catwalk collection in Paris leads customers to the fitting room, which is designed to create a sense of feminine luxury with silk organza curtains in muted shades of brown and cream. The brand has also ensured part of its range is strategically positioned at the entrance to entice customers who are trying on clothing from other brands.

The return of the shop-in-shop has inspired Brunschwig to expand Celine’s UK presence, with a second standalone store in London pencilled in for later this year or early 2009. “I’m always looking for spots on good London streets and we’ll be refurbishing our New Bond Street store,” says Brunschwig. “We’re also very active in China, where we’re opening three to four stores a year.”

Celine Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X

Essentials:
450sq ft:
Total floorspace of Celine’s ready-to-wear shop-in-shop in Harrods
4: Number of Celine shop-in-shops in the UK
1: Number of Celine standalones in the UK
130: Number of Celine shops and franchises worldwide

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