From the striking custom light installations to the intricate floor design comprising Italian marble, wood, slate and tile, it is obvious that no detail or expense has been spared in creating Flannels’ long-awaited Oxford Street flagship.
The opening of the 18,000 sq ft four-storey luxury mecca, located at the junction of Oxford Street and Poland Street, below Sports Direct Group’s London office, has been three years in the making as the retailer sought to create a perfect showcase of its luxury prowess. It has certainly achieved that.
Moving away from the neutral tones and finishes of many luxury retailers, the store, designed by Italian studio P con P in partnership with artist Riccardo Previdi, is contemporary, colourful, vibrant and fun. Clashing prints inspired by French symbolist painter Odilon Redon adorn the walls and large Persian rugs cleverly separate different brand areas without creating barriers for the customer.
The brand mix itself is a veritable “Who’s who” of luxury contemporary and streetwear designers, such as Balmain, Burberry, Gucci, Off-White, Versace and Vetements.
The ground floor features handbags, footwear and luxury womenswear, while the lower ground floor comprises luxury womenswear, ready to wear, accessories, fragrance and jewellery. On the first floor, shoppers will find luxury menswear, ready to wear, footwear and accessories. Streetwear, accessories and a concept space are housed on the second floor.
As well as a high-end shopping experience, the group aimed to create an immersive, interactive space with good old-fashioned retail theatre at its heart. The concept floor will host a range of services and experiences with permanent and guest collaborators and concessions, including exclusive customised sneakers by the Shoe Surgeon, curated watch edits by Watch Anish, technology by Bang & Olufsen, and luxury home accessories.
An interactive space on the second floor will house a changing line-up of immersive experiences and events, including art installations, as well as DJ nights every Thursday and Saturday. To kick off the launch, Flannels is partnering with US sneaker store Flight Club for its first-ever retail space in Europe.
The second floor also features Flannels’ Style and Collect offer – a click-and-collect service includes personal styling with a member of the team.
Not to be outdone by the grand interior décor, the exterior of the store is also a striking talking point for the east end of Oxford Street.
It features a three-storey wall of digital screens which will host W1 Curates – one of the world’s biggest permanent digital public art installations. The programme will give established and emerging artists a platform to exhibit their work. The first artists to feature will be British artist duo, SNIK, who are renowned for creating large scale outdoor murals.
The Flannels flagship is everything you wouldn’t naturally associate with its owner Sports Direct: contemporary, opulent and luxurious. When Drapers interviewed Sports Direct Group’s head of elevation, Mike Murray, and Flannels’ head of brand, Carl Tallents, in March this year, they said they wanted Flannels to be “the biggest global luxury retailer”, and its Oxford Street store is certainly a statement of intent.
The flagship is Flannels’ 44th store following openings in Newcastle and Chester earlier this year and the retailer intends to open a further 16 shops across the UK in the next year before turning its attention to key global cities. The Flannels team is ambitious and Sports Direct has the deep pockets needed to back up the investment, making it a threat its luxury department store rivals will be keeping a close eye on.