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Shopwatch: Kensington stores

A spate of openings have upped the fashion kudos of The South Kensington Estate in London.

New store openings in the Wellcome Trust-owned South Kensington Estate are reinforcing the London shopping district’s reputation as a prime retail destination.

The area, which includes among its mix of residential and commercial properties one side of Old Brompton Road, Walton Street, and the more upscale Brompton Cross and Pelham Street, saw the opening of Carven and 3.1 Phillip Lim stores at the end of November last year.

The 1,600 sq ft Carven store at 85 Pelham Street is the French designer brand’s first UK store, the result of a joint venture with luxury retail company Club 21. A light-coloured wooden floor, white walls and large windows flood the store with light, while 360-degree mirrored changing rooms are a focal point. In the womenswear department, skirts are priced from £210 to £330, with dresses between £300 and £700, coats from £570 to £1,000, and shoes £340 to £350. In menswear, trousers are £240, sweaters £180, jackets £1,100 and knits from £200 to £350.

US designer label 3.1 Phillip Lim also teamed up with Club 21 to open its first UK store at 91 Pelham Street, where it is showcasing a new retail concept designed by Lim himself in collaboration with design agency Campaign. Earthy tones dominate the 3,200 sq ft store’s interior, with a sandy concrete and marble-tiled floor in brown, grey and blue, while white walls and large shop windows ensure a light and airy feel. Sale stock is displayed towards the back of the store, with the new season collection at the front. The shop is just receiving deliveries of its men’s collection, but its womenswear retails at £180 for tops, £300 to £600 for dresses, £1,200 to £1,600 for leather jackets, £325 to £345 for footwear and £2,240 for a rabbit fur coat. The brand will open a second store this year, but the location is yet to be confirmed.

Neighbours include Chanel, Stella McCartney and Acne Studios, which opened its second UK store, a 2,289 sq ft boutique, at 93 Pelham Street last July.

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