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LONDON — Topshop has landed in Harrods and Harvey Nichols country.
The British fast-fashion retailer is upping its game with a new, 14,000-square-foot Knightsbridge store — complete with a circular staircase made from granite, steel and glass inspired by the one at the Louvre.
The unit, which opened for business Thursday, stocks edited, fashion-driven collections. “We’ve taken Topshop to the next level,” said owner Sir Philip Green, who cut the ribbon Wednesday evening with a party at the store, followed by dinner for about 140 at Zuma, the buzzy Japanese restaurant around the corner. “It’s a very high-profile location. This kind of opportunity rarely comes up.”
The store is located in a previously empty space not far from Burberry, French Connection and Monsoon on the busy Brompton Road. Topshop’s main entrance is directly across the street from Harrods.
Green said he’s expecting customers to be tourists who don’t bother to visit Oxford Circus — home to Topshop’s 100,000-square-foot flagship — and “mums with daughters” who shop at Harrods.
Asked about first-year projections, Green said: “Call me Sunday morning,” after the store’s first major day of trading. Topshop’s Oxford Circus flagship, which also houses a Topman, is expected to have annual sales this year of about 150 million pounds, or $215 million at current exchange.
The new store is better organized — and far less crowded with merchandise — than its Oxford Circus counterpart. The ground floor carries makeup, accessories, jewelry, the latest seasonal trends and a collection of limited edition embellished dresses that start at 130 pounds, or $187. The dresses are exclusive to the new store.
The upper floor features Kate Moss for Topshop, lingerie, Unique — Topshop’s in-house designer brand that shows during London Fashion Week — and capsule collections by designers such as Meadham Kirchhoff. There is also a personal-shopping suite with a separate entrance. The basement stocks denim, jersey, cotton and casual collections.
The interiors are a mix of black and gray, with exposed ceilings and brickwork, neon light rods crisscrossing the ceiling — and a lot of highly polished bronze mirrors. A big glass sculpture in the shape of a lightning bolt — Green and his team call it “The Shard” — cuts through all three floors. It was designed by Tim Whitmore, Topshop’s visual director.
“There are a lot of raw edges here. It’s a tough environment — with vibrancy,” said Guy Smith, head of design at Arcadia Group, Topshop’s parent. “We want customers to feel like they’ve come to an exhibition. This is about event retailing.”
“I loved the whole experience. The store impressed me — and I’m not often impressed these days,” said Marigay McKee, fashion and beauty director at Harrods, adding that she scooped up three sets of lingerie, three mini nightdresses and a tux jacket with shorts during the cocktail party.
“The store has soul and that is important in retail,” she said during the dinner, which ended with a performance by Ellie Goulding, the English singer-songwriter and guitarist. Guests included Moss, Eva Herzigova, Bryan Ferry, Bella Freud, David Tang, Fuschia Sumner, Dinos and Tiphaine Chapman, Minnie Driver, Sheherazade Goldsmith and Tom Parker Bowles.
Asked about the top picks from her eponymous collection, Moss said: “I love the little embroidered jackets, and this one, too,” pointing to the skinny black jacket she was wearing. “It comes in white, too.”
The next Topshop store is set to open in June in Bath, England, and will span 22,000 square feet and include a Topman. In October, a 25,000-square-foot space housing Topshop and Topman will open in London, opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral.
A 40,000-square-foot unit will open at the Westfield Stratford City mall, which is under construction and is expected to open next year in time for the 2012 Olympic Games, which will be held nearby.