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Massimo Dutti: An Exercise in Elegance

Its revamped flagship offers the clearest example yet of Massimo Dutti’s premium lifestyle aspirations.

Boasting a prime corner site on Regent Street, Inditex-owned Massimo Dutti has gutted its UK flagship to create a more premium lifestyle-oriented shopping environment as it looks to compete with neighbours including Brooks Brothers and J Crew.

Overhauled at an undisclosed cost, the marble-fronted two-floor store at number 156 has 10,000 sq ft of selling space with a 760 sq ft showroom in the basement. The shopfit has been devised by Inditex’s in-house team to appeal to a more upscale shopper by offering a pared-down, mature aesthetic with touches of luxury.

The large window displays along the 50ft façade reflect an aspirational lifestyle, with elegantly seated mannequins surrounded by plush interiors. Accompanied by figurines of dogs and horses, the autumn 14 collection has been layered onto the mannequins, with fringed suede jackets and fine-knit separates, right down to jewellery and accessories including a rose gold watch and chain necklace. Each part of the Massimo Dutti offer has window space devoted to it, from womenswear and menswear to accessories and kidswear.

Inside the store is a combination of floor-length mirrors, marble floors, cream walls and walnut wood fixtures, with product hanging on freestanding rails and on wall-mounted shelves to increase the feeling of space. While the renovation has allowed Massimo Dutti to expand the ground floor from 4,441 sq ft to 5, 124 sq ft by stripping back dividing walls - with the added benefit of greater natural light - it has chosen to sacrifice overall selling space by using fewer fixtures and walls on which to hang product.

The retailer reports an “exceptionally good” response since the store concept was unveiled on June 13, with sales up 25% year on year. An Inditex spokesman said: “The store image is based on a progressive evolution of the boutique concept. The change is based primarily on finishes and shapes that aim for warmer, more contemporary spaces and environments.

“Walnut wood, brass, leather and dark marble are the dominant materials in the new architectural design that blends modern lines and classic details, the signature of the firm.”

The store leads with womenswear, a focus that was adopted five years ago after Massimo Dutti recognised a strong reaction to its womenswear, which has proved successful worldwide. Despite starting life in 1985 as a menswear label, Massimo Dutti’s sales split has gradually shifted and is now 60% women’s versus 40% men’s.

The long, slim shape of the ground floor is defined by carpeted areas and table sets. A decision was made to remove free-standing shelves to create a cleaner look. Space is a necessity as the flagship will carry the full Massimo Dutti collection, available one week before other UK stores. The mainline womenswear collection ranges from £24.95 for a T-shirt and £44.95 for trousers to £225 for a suede jacket.

Displays of women’s casual and formal styles lead through to kidswear, which is only available in the UK at Regent Street. The company sees the kids’ collection as a “great convenience” for customers with children to get everything under one roof. Product is merchandised hanging or folded on tables with kids’ mannequins sitting astride bicycles.

This premium product is a scaled-down version of the adult collection, with a price tag to match. While a girl’s vest is available from £12.95, it will cost parents £145 for a boy’s leather jacket. According to Inditex, it aims to keep the pricing in each market affordable and competitive.

The theme of gentlemanly pursuits epitomised by installations of bicycles is carried through into menswear on the first floor, accessed by a grand central staircase. A cluster of leather sofas denotes the footwear and accessories area, which is located in front of a large corner window overlooking Regent Street. Men’s footwear is priced from £79.95 for a tan suede moccasin to £145 for a buckled boot, while accessories start at £22.95 for a wool/silk handkerchief to £295 for an embossed leather bag. From here, the store progresses through its casual look for men to more formal pieces, with prices spanning £29.95 for a polo shirt up to £265 for a nappa leather jacket.

Tucked away at the back of the shop is a dedicated personal tailoring area, with two exclusive changing rooms and a customers’ toilet. “The area dedicated to this service gives the customer privacy and comfort, with a luxurious retro-style desk and chairs,” explained the spokesman. “The spacious changing rooms have three mirrors so the customer can view the fit from every aspect.”

The press showroom in the basement is dominated by an installation of snow-covered fir trees, showcasing Massimo Dutti’s debut Après Ski collection. Set to go on sale in October, the limited edition range of luxury technical garments will be restricted to 50 pieces each for men and women, with prices yet to be finalised.

Doubling as an events space, the press showroom also features the autumn 14 Equestrian collection, now in its third season, which will arrive in store over the next three weeks. Released twice a year, it features fashionable equestrian garments like luxury jodhpurs and capes, from £9.95 for socks to £265 for a leather jacket. The showroom also presents the exclusive New York collection. Launched three years ago, Massimo Dutti says it is designed to offer its customers luxury with a contemporary twist.

Having opened its first UK premises on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge in 2002, Massimo Dutti now has 12 stores across the country. While there are no firm plans to refit other stores in the flagship’s image, Inditex says it is essential to continuously refresh its look to keep pace with fashion-hungry British consumers.

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