Kat Von D rolls out concessions in Debenhams

Kat Von D Beauty has rolled out concessions across 26 UK Debenhams stores. Founded by celebrity tattoo artist Kay Von D and owned by Kendo, the beauty brand wanted to provide an engaging environment for consumers to explore and experience its products.

Taking inspiration from Kat’s tattoo style, the brand’s aesthetic is bold and rebellious, referencing traditional tattoo style typography and intricate patterns in black, deep red and antique gold.

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'We needed to develop an overall aesthetic that was identifiably Kat; we needed to juxtapose a rebellious "hardness" with the softer and more emotive side of the brand identity. We drew inspiration from the brand’s graphic identity, which is representative of the many facets of both Kat herself, and the Kat Von D Beauty brand,' says Michael Sheridan, chairman and founder of Sheridan&Co, the design agency responsible for the concept.

'With a cursive font that echoes medieval calligraphy, a mood of gothic romance, magic and mysticism is conveyed. Within the retail space, we wanted to make this something that was tangible using materials and tools that played upon the ying and yang theme of contrasts and contradictions,' continues Sheridan.

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Detailing was based on classic gothic and baroque styling. Oversized 16th century cathedral-style arches feature heavily within the space and, inside, glossy black lacquered tables with curved legs showcase ornately detailed product testers – a gothic playground of richly coloured makeup.

Crisply illuminated arched mirrors line the consultation tables, enticing visitors to sit down and try the latest shade. Gold-framed, baroque-inspired mirrors and photos clad the walls, hung on a bold red wallpaper with a custom-designed pattern by Kat (a damask pattern layered with skulls).

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'Working from sketches provided by Kat, our design team developed a stylised combination of scrolling and skulls heads, used as a surrounding detail for furniture elements and the framing of graphic areas such as light boxes, headers and even down to table leg detailing,' says Sheridan. 

'The table legs are cast metal and nod to the ornateness of Victorian design furniture. Most components are black with gloss red being used to highlight product areas within wall bays and on table tops. The sites utilise architectural and furniture design that differentiates the KVD brand from its competitors – a powerful tool in the marketing chain. The gazebo design utilised for the Dublin store is a first in the context of beauty site concessions in Debenhams and, looking across other sites, you can see the diversity of the design which has outstanding brand presence but also has the ability to morph without losing anything of the overall identity.'

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The final effect is bold, with the gothic romance of the brand inherent in the retail design, while still staying relevant to modern tastes with refined edges and clean lines.

Earlier this year, the new Kat Von D temporary concession was launched in Sephora Champs Elysees, Paris, following on from a permanent installation in Debenhams’ flagship department store in London’s Oxford Street last year. Further sites will be rolled out across nationwide Debenhams stores in the UK this year, with the Dublin store launching the concession this month.

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