The Harvey Nichols team gives Drapers a guided tour of its new and improved menswear department in Knightsbridge.
There is a new menswear world at Harvey Nichols’ London flagship in Knightsbridge, which opened its stunning new department on April 7.
“It’s a total voyage of discovery,” says group property and facilities director Barry Tallintire of the sleek new space, which blends a boutique-cum-gallery vibe with a modern luxury experience.
The enlarged department is completely unrecognisable from the claustrophic spaces that housed its old men’s offer.
“I’ve never seen a shift change in menswear like this. It’s been a massive journey transforming this 200-year-old building,” says group stores and trading director Paul Finucane.
That included completely changing the architectural integrity of the space: the steep stairs have been replaced by sweeping escalators, walls have been removed and new, dedicated entrances created from street level directly down to the two menswear floors.
With a similar scheme to its new Manchester store, which opened in July, the space focuses on an industrial look elevated by luxurious details and materials. Think brutalist resin floors, concrete walls and pebble-dashed structural posts contrasted with the chicest expanses of marble, shimmering glass and reflective copper. Statement walls are key, the most unusual being 5,000 egg cups arranged in geometric formation.
I’ve never seen a shift change in menswear like this. It’s been a massive journey transforming this 200-year-old building
Group stores and trading director Paul Finucane
The department’s fixture system is also totally interchangeable, meaning every rail, shelf and mirror can be rearranged, while 160 bespoke mannequins come in stone, velvet and copper; each one unique and a piece of art in itself.
“We tried to take it back to what Harvey Nichols used to be, which was a beautiful place to find new and interesting brands. We looked at each area as if it were a boutique as the traditional shop-in-shop formats have gone,” says head of menswear Darren Skey of the new layout.
Sales assistants and unsightly tills have also gone, replaced by “style advisers” with transactional tablets. Changing rooms are extravagantly enlarged and uniquely furnished with “modesty cupboards”, featuring two doors that allow staff to place items into shoppers’ wardrobes without disturbing them.
This is the first step in a four-year plan to modernise the entire store. The next step will be the opening of Project 109 in May, a men’s concept store including books, fragrances and other lifestyle products, as well as a barbershop and cafe, followed by the refurbishment of the entire ground floor.
Harvey Nichols menswear by numbers
- 28,000 sq ft across two lower ground floors
- 9 months of refurbishment
- 270 brands including a host of exclusive collections
- 50 new brands for launch including Casely-Hayford, Corneliani and Facetasm
- 160 bespoke mannequins designed by head of visual merchandising