Covering four floors, 121 Regent Street is the biggest Burberry branch in the world and is twice the size of its New York counterpart.
Described as where “the digital world meets the physical” — using technology from the Burberry World website — the store includes a 22ft-high screen — believed to be the largest in a shop, 500 hidden speakers and a hydraulic stage.
However, the cleverest piece of technology is the use of RFID microchips — radio-frequency identification — in some of the clothes. When shoppers wearing the pieces approach one of the so-called “magic mirrors”, the mirror transforms into a screen that shows a film of how the garment was made and what it looked on the catwalk.
“It’s a store of real contradictions. A very big imposing space, but we’ve tried to make it very small, welcoming and intimate,” Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer, told this week’s Deluxe edition of ES Magazine.
“Behind all the craftsmanship you have miles and miles of cabling and technology, all hidden. You have innovation in this beautiful, historic space. I love the contradiction of a historic, heritage-driven, 156-year-old brand with real modernity.”
Other highlights include an area where shoppers can design a trenchcoat in more than 12 million combinations, a beauty and fragrance room, a men’s tailoring room and a shrine to shoes. The shop is in Westmoreland House, which was built in 1820 for the Prince Regent.
It has served as a livery stable, church, art gallery and cinema. Bailey restored the original projection suite which will allow the shop floor to be turned into a venue for bands, talks and screenings.
The grand opening marks the start of a major expansion for the fashion house founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry in Basingstoke.
More recently, Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne have modelled its collections, while Kate Bosworth and Andy Murray were in the front rows of its shows last year.
Bosses hope the flagship shop will boost Burberry after it issued a profits warning this week because of a global slowdown in spending.
Its first big test will come on Monday when the store will screen its catwalk show live from London Fashion Week, which starts tomorrow.
Source: Evening Standard News