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Shopwatch: Roksanda

Mount Street’s latest addition is an eye-catching combination of colour, art and architecture - and will soon be showcasing more than just clothes.

Womenswear designer Roksanda Ilincic is famed for her bold, confident silhouettes and use of colour. This striking style, combined with her love for experimental architecture, means her first store is a blend of these twin passions.

The London-based, Belgrade-born designer opened her flagship at 9 Mount Street on June 10. The opening - attended by 300 people including fellow designers Christopher Kane, Roland Mouret and Nicholas Kirkwood - coincided with a rebrand in which the designer dropped her surname from her brand, which is now simply Roksanda.

The 2,500 sq ft store, designed in collaboration with British architect David Adjaye, is located just a stone’s throw from opulent Berkeley Square in London’s Mayfair on what is fast becoming one of the capital’s prime luxury retailing streets, second only to Bond Street. Other designers on Mount Street include Jenny Packham, Solange, Carolina Herrera, Nicholas Kirkwood and Lanvin, and Ilincic’s shop is just metres from the five-star Connaught hotel.

The window display when Drapers visited was striking but simple. Created by set designer Gary Card, a maroon dress featuring hand-sewn matte rubberised components and lightweight, light-reflecting folded gloss plastic geometric shapes hangs from a bespoke purple wooden crane. Store director Marc Adams-Facchini says the dress was made specifically for the launch and only completed the night before. It is now being sold for £4,500.

Entering the store, shoppers are immediately struck by the use of contrasts - both in colour and texture - that mirror Ilincic’s collections and demonstrates the influence of her study of architecture
in Belgrade.

The two-storey shop has distinct halves. The spacious, clutter-free ground floor has a design featuring exposed concrete and rough edges, with its grey, black and white colour palette dashed with pops of bright purples, pinks and bronze. The walls are dramatic, made from layered, dark grey cement lintels sliced through to create a jagged texture. Protruding from these are uplit bright pink or bronze-coloured shelves. On the left side of the store these each display a single pair of shoes, while on the right they display bags.

The terrazzo floor - laid in a herringbone design in black, white and grey that matches the common herringbone pattern found on fabrics in Roksanda’s collection - is also a distinctive feature. Bronze-coloured clothing rails zig-zag down its centre, holding four to six hangers each, separated by mirrored pillars.

Aside from the rails, there is a till, a concrete sofa with purple cushions, a couple of smaller pink and purple seats and three display tables - each in a different bold shade of pink and designed to mimic the style of the wall with their layered structure - featuring accessories and swimwear. The back wall is made from glass, with a door leading into a courtyard garden, allowing light to flood into the store from two sides. This private garden was used to host drinks on the evening of the store’s launch.

Approaching the stairs leading to the basement at the rear of the shop the mood changes, taking on a soft, feminine feel. The staircase is lined with plush pink carpet and, once downstairs, the walls are covered with padded blush pink and cream wool felt. At the foot of the stairs, hidden behind a sliding felt-padded door to the left is the VIP room. Soothing classical music plays and light pours in from a window high in the back wall that looks up into the private courtyard garden above.

The room comprises a seating area and table with fresh flowers, a wall of discrete cupboards to store bespoke designs created for top clients - celebrity fans include Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, Cate Blanchett, Keira Knightley, Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron - and an adjoining dressing room. Alongside the VIP room are three spacious changing rooms and the stock room.

Immediately under the stairs and in stark contrast to the pastel hues across the lower floor is a lime green display featuring Roksanda’s kidswear range, Blossom.

The pre-fall collection on sale is as striking as the store itself. Ilincic, who has been showing her womenswear collections as part of London Fashion Week since 2005, has picked green, purple, orange and maroon as the staple colours, alongside monochrome. Embellishment is also a key trend.

Standout items include the Malha dress in maroon, which borders on couture - only three have been made and will be sold exclusively at Mount Street. It features acetate and plastic floral embellishments, and has a price tag of £2,110.

The Reiley dress, made from black silk with a herringbone orange and purple design, is available for £895, alongside the Midi Naida one-shoulder, monochrome silk dress with cotton panelling in orange, purple and white for £1,160.

With Ilincic’s love of art and architecture, the store will be used to host events starting at the end of the summer, including collaborations with names from the worlds of art, architecture and theatre.

The design is both visually impressive and completely symbiotic with the designer’s style and collections, so even if you aren’t a Roksanda fan it is worth a look - if only to appreciate how a dramatic store design can enhance, rather than detract from, a collection.

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