Project: Stella McCartney, Old Bond Street

Design: In-house
Opening date: June 2018
Store size: 700 sq m

British fashion designer Stella McCartney opened her new global flagship store in June in a grade II listed, 18th century building on Old Bond Street, London. Spread across four levels, the 700 sq m store replaces the brand's nearby Bruton Street location and is built with customised experiences at the core, offering visitors new, unique and multisensory ways to engage with the world of Stella McCartney.

As the new global flagship, 23 Old Bond Street houses all of the brand's collections, including women's and menswear ready-to-wear, accessories, lingerie, kids and fragrance, amidst artistic, graphic and sound installations.

Designed by Stella McCartney and her team, the space celebrates the spirit of the brand, reflecting its modern approach to design, innovation and sustainability.

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The building's original facade, including an ornate Edwardian entryway and a planted balcony, has been carefully preserved, providing a sharp contrast with the contemporary interior, which plays on texture, volume and light.

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At the rear of the store, an imposing sculptural spiral raw steel staircase disrupts the space while guiding customers to all other floors. Meanwhile, fluted concrete walls in a range of texture from top to floor complement glass cubes cases, linear brass railings, and colourful ceramic gemstone fixtures, inspired by memories of McCartney's childhood playing with pebble dashed walls. All of the features are interchangeable to allow a fluid and reactive canvas for the merchandise on display.

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The space epitomises the brand's playful spirit, from the so-called 'Stellavator', which is lined with pink Fur-Free-Fur material from previous collections, to the monochrome ball pool and climbing wall on the lower ground floor. Personal touches also decorate the walls of the fitting room, with hand embroidered 'Hands of Love' prints, created by Stella McCartney teams members from around the world.

Further bringing personal emotion into the space is the use of sound, light and smell to create a multisensory experience. Speakers strategically cast into concrete play spoken word recordings and an original sound collage specially created by Paul McCartney, while on the second floor, alongside the menswear collection, handmade reggae-style speakers designed by artist Swifty, play tracks from Stella's personal vinyl collection.

Staying true to the brand's commitment to sustainability and innovation, every effort has been made to move away from traditional luxury materials, and to use more handmade, organic and sustainably sourced elements in the store design, in the same way that McCartney approaches her designs. This includes the introduction of Airlabs technology, which reduces exposure to air pollution inside buildings. The store is the first indoor commercial space in London to provide clean air using the technology, which removes 95 per cent of the air pollutants and harmful gases inside the building.

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Other innovative design elements found throughout the store include bespoke decorative wall panels made from papier-mâché that has been recycled from the company's office paper waste, foam furniture made of recycled materials, BNATURAL by Bonaveri biodegradable mannequins, and a bespoke indoor rockery named 'Stella Rocks'. The installation, on the ground floor, acts as a natural air purifier consisting of black limestone from a quarry in Stanhope in the country of Durham, and carefully selected rocks sourced from the McCartney farm in Campbeltown.

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Finally, hidden behind a concealed door on the second floor is a 'Members and Non Members Only' club, which houses McCartney's personal family photos and furniture, allowing customers to further connect with the designer and the brand in an intimate and personal setting. The club will act as an interchangeable space that enables customers to further connect to the designer and the brand through various events and exhibitions.

Commenting on the new store, McCartney says: 'Old Bond Street, it's probably one of the most prestigious retail locations in the world. And for me being born and bred in London, and having our business headquarters there and design studio, it's incredibly prestigious for us. this store really tells the story of the World of Stella McCartney; incorporating sustainability, fashion, desirability and luxury.'

The flagship marks a new phase in the brand's continued retail expansion, following the store openings last year in Madison Avenue, New York, Rue St. Honore, Paris, Florence and South Coast Plaza.  

Photography: Hufton+Crow

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