Foam furniture made of recycled materials dotted around rooms lined with scrap papier-mâché. An indoor garden of rocks and moss. Meditative recordings emanating from the fitting rooms. Air purifiers filtering out pollutants and, providing fresh air. Biodegradable mannequins.
No, this is not one of those hippie eco-stores selling hemp clothes, dreamcatchers and incense sticks. This is the future of high-end fashion retail.
Stella McCartney has flung open the doors to her new flagship London store at number 23 Bond Street.
From the outside, the grade II listed 18th-century facade is a sharp contrast to the contemporary interior spread across the 700 square metre store inside.
Aside fromoffering all of the brand's product categories, including women's and men's ready-to-wear, accessories, lingerie, swimwear, childrenswear and eyewear, the new flagshipreflects the luxury brand's philosophy to reclaim, re-use and recycle.
It's high fashion – done honestly.
The historic building’s original façade, including an ornate Edwardian entryway and a planted balcony, has been carefully preserved.
Next, all of theoffice waste paper was shredded and turned intopapier-mâché wall panels that decoratethe wall of the women's wear first floor.
Prized vintage second-hand furniture Stella has acquired over the years has been given a home next toreclaimed timber plinths, silicone installations, foam speakers andfoam furniture made of recycled materials.
In an effort to reduce exposure to air pollution inside buildings, the storeis the first indoor commercial space in London to feature Airlabs – offering the cleanest air possible.The low-energy, low-maintenance filtering process removes 95% of the air pollutants and harmful gases through a hidden ventilation system with a nano carbon filter.
Further celebrating a love of the outdoors, guests are greeted with an indoor rockery on the ground floor,comprising rocks sourced from the McCartney farm in Campbelltown and replanted moss and thyme.
Natural light floods the shop’s urban indoor garden on the first floor, where silver birch trees sit alongside ferns, wild ginger and moss from Scotland.
Informative messages on sustainability can been seen throughout the store in signage and projected moving images, further highlighting the brand's ethos.
Eventhe mannequins are biodegradable – made froma bioplastic material composed of 72 percent sugar cane derivatives.
Meditative recordings can be heard coming from the fitting rooms, through the voice ofBob Roth, who taught Stella McCartney's children how to meditate.
There are many of these personal touches – from the colourful ceramic gemstone fixtures that are inspired by Stella's own childhood memories spent playing with pebble-dashed walls to her father Paul McCartney's voice woven into a sound collage that he created specially for this store.
You can even find some of the designer's personal family photos and furniture in the'Members and Non-Members Only' room,which is hidden behind a concealed door on the second floor of the store. This spaceoffers customers the chance to connect with the designer and her brand in an intimate and personal setting– though it is strictly by invitation only.'M&NMO' will also feature various events and exhibitions, starting witha private atelier housing 23 lily-white and 23 onyx-black dresses inspired by the Duchess of Sussex’s history-making evening wedding dress.
Adding to the shop's design, fluted concrete walls in a range of textures from top to floor complement glass cube cases and linear brass railings.
Contrasting accent details include silicone tables in shades of pink, substantial reclaimed wooden blocks and exposed original brick walls – plus gorgeous pinkMario Bellini sofas and pieces byAngelo Mangiarotti.A sculptural spiral raw steel staircase anchors the space.
Stella McCartney's playful spirit is also evident – particularly in the pink faux fur lined 'Stellavator', upholstered in Stella's signaturecruelty-free pink Fur-Free-Fur that's recycledfrom previous collections.
The overall design is a textural feast –and that’s not even taking into account the ball pool and climbing wall in the children’s department on the lower ground floor.
So what's inspired this radical design?Stella McCartney's philosophy is simply that if something is able to be sustainable, why wouldn't it be? If there are sustainable mannequins out there, then why wouldn't you use those instead?
Stella says, “Everything that I do is a commitment to sustainability and to being responsible and ethical.” Her collections echo the same approach to her store design.
Could this innovative store design be marking a new phase in retail? We hope so.
Stella McCartney's new flagship can be found at 23 Old Bond Street, London, W1.