lifestyle brand

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Nixon NYC
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From high visibility storefronts to customisation bars, plus a new wave of European-originated luxury, we highlight the most inspiring recent US watch retail openings.

  • Window onto the Atelier: Californian watch brand Nixon has opened its debut New York store on Prince Street, SoHo. Designed by British agency Checkland Kindleysides, the space is the latest roll-out of its concept The Horizon, which subtly references the rhythm and flow of the ocean in a nod to its surfer following. To avoid the alienation of encasing the product behind glass barriers, all the watches are displayed on a sculptural centrepiece of undulating plinths, which appear to emerge from an under-lit blue tank. That visibility is echoed in the all-glass frontage of the 279 sq ft store, which gives passersby a clear view onto the brand’s workshop-style aesthetic. It also boasts a customisation bar at the rear of the space.


  • Crisp, Calm & Customisable: Anglo-Swedish contemporary watch label Larsson Jennings has opened its first US concept store in Nolita, New York. Also featuring a predominantly glass storefront, the space includes modular displays hand built in Oxfordshire, England, which replicate the aesthetic of the brand’s crisp, minimal London flagship. The stark white interior showcases its full product range, including the LJX Custom area, where shoppers can choose from a selection of straps and hardware for bespoke timepieces.


  • Cinematic Flair on Rodeo Drive: Two luxury Swiss watchmakers – IWC Schaffhausen and Audemars Piguet – have unveiled stores on Los Angeles’ high-end retail strip Rodeo Drive. IWC’s two-storey destination marks a new retail concept for the brand that reference’s LA’s cinematic heritage via an Art-Deco-inspired interior, film-themed lounge and a gallery of photographs, props and memorabilia charting the brand’s history in the film industry.

Meanwhile, Audemars Piguet’s 1,342 sq ft, three-floor boutique flagship presents a more straightforward ode to luxury in oak, stone and luxurious metallic surfaces.


  • Promoting Domestic Production: Cult Detroit-based watchmaker and lifestyle retailer Shinola has opened its first San Francisco location in Palo Alto, California. Reflecting the brand’s commitment to conveying American heritage, as well as echoing its other destinations, the store design and visual merchandising is rooted in wooden worktables, vintage memorabilia and industrial fixtures. This space precedes a 3,200 sq ft megastore due to open in the heart of the city at the end of February 2016, which will feature an area dedicated to US products.


Guest post by Alison Gough & Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - The Line
Image source: SMG

A new project for New York-based lifestyle retailer The Line is taking virtual reality (VR) from the realm of immersive marketing into engagement with the potential for direct monetisation.

Displayed via a pop-up at advertising festival Cannes Lions in June, the concept, devised by multinational brand experience agency Sapient Nitro, allowed attendees to virtually tour and shop ‘The Apartment’ – a residential-style furniture store.

Visitors were able to explore the store remotely which, according to the brand, was designed to combine the ease of e-commerce with the thrill of real-life shopping. Using Samsung Gear headsets, 360-degree motion-tracking video technology allowed users to virtually roam the apartment. They could access information about each product simply by focusing their vision on diamond shapes overlaid above them – placing items into a virtual shopping basket with a tap on the side of their headset. Once they finished exploring, all of their choices appeared in a basket, taking them through to the checkout.

Such immersive contextual shopping experiences will continue to boom in value. According to Digi Capital, a US digital advisory agency specialising in augmented and virtual reality, VR is predicted to grow from $4bn in 2015 to a market value of $30bn by 2020.

Guest post by Katie Baron

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Ralph Lauren Hybrid Flagship
Image source: Ralph Lauren’s VIP hybrid flagship, Milan

American luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren is set to open an appointment-only concept store in Milan that will bring hospitality and retail under one roof – solidifying its stance as a full lifestyle brand. The store was conceived as a more immersive brand experience for its most premium shoppers.

Dubbed Milan Palazzo, the 11,840 sq ft flagship will open this September on high-end shopping street Via San Barnaba in the centre of the city, occupying a former private townhouse built in 1941. It will retain many of the building’s architectural features, including the original fireplaces, while the interiors will be decorated with soft furnishings and furniture from the brand’s own Home collection.

On arriving for a one-on-one consultation, guests will be invited to have lunch or drinks on the spacious terrace or in the salon area of the building. From there, staff will present a curated selection of items from the brand’s womenswear and high-end menswear Purple Label collections – and, on occasion, exclusive pieces debuted during New York Fashion Week, just days after the shows. The store will also offer a number of complimentary services including alterations, customised accessories, and made-to-measure suits for men and tailoring for women.

In a similar, albeit much less exclusive version of luxury-focused, mixed-purpose retailing, Burberry has unveiled a two-storey café in its recently extended store on London’s Regent Street. Dubbed Thomas’s in homage to the brand’s founder Thomas Burberry, the cafe operates seven days a week and focuses on British classics with an upmarket twist, such as Mersea rock oysters and lobster and chips. The space also houses a gifting area comprising the British brand’s travel, homeware and stationery lines, and a personalised monogramming service.

According to the brand’s chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, the space was conceived to let consumers “enjoy the world of Burberry in a more social environment”.

Ralph Lauren and Burberry are the latest in a growing number of luxury brands endeavouring to broaden their appeal by incorporating hospitality experiences, including British menswear brand Alfred Dunhill, Italian fashion label Roberto Cavalli and Ralph Lauren’s own café concept, Ralph’s Coffee.

Guest post by Samantha Fox