HARRODS MENSWEAR’S NEW MAKEOVER
IS THIS NOW THE BEST MENSWEAR DEPARTMENT IN THE LONDON?
Harrods' menswear department has had a major facelift. Over two years in the making, I honestly believe Harrods is back in the running for offering one the best menswear departments in the city. There is a vast selection of brands, cleverly displayed creating a whole new atmosphere. The physical placement of a menswear department in a huge store, like Harrods, is always extremely difficult. When it comes to buying and visual merchandising, menswear is never offered the same amount of square footage as womenswear, for obvious reasons. However with the sales records exploding over the last 5 years, it has been impossible to ignore and therefore stores have had to stand up and pay attention. Like other stores including Liberty and Harvey Nichols, the main area of menswear in Harrods is situated in the basement of the building.
There are major challenges which department stores face when it comes to displaying brands in a basement. They will have issues with light, space, ceiling height and physical obstacles such as bollards and pipework. Harrods have done a great job working around their obstacles in order to provide a light and spacious area to shop. It doesn't feel cluttered or claustrophobic.
Having spoken to Harrods about the design decisions, they apparently took inspiration from minimalist designers such as Celine. For example, in the new denim gallery, surfaces are topped in solid marble and the metal clothing stands are finished in brushed matt black. All in all it looks very smart and very appealing to the eye. When talking to people about Harrods, I think many have the view that it has previously been slightly behind in the times when it comes down to decor. Harrods has a huge history but they need to compete with more modern interiors and fresh ideas. With the extensive renovations Harrods has renewed itself and created a stress-free environment for men to shop in. I think something all men would appreciate!
Walking through into the newly refurbished international gallery you firstly step into a wooden cavern of luxury for none other than Louis Vuitton. From wooden walls it is transformed in to faux slate for one of Europe's largest Givenchy concessions. It is a beautiful space full of their infamous printed t-shirts and sweaters. Then you move on to the increasingly popular Neil Barrett - this space is the largest in Europe and has been designed by Zaha Hadid. From the international gallery you follow through to contemporary collections section where brands like McQ, Ami, Solid Homme (a Harrods exclusive) and Kenzo are all proudly on display. It definitely creates a feel of a 'shop inside a shop' as each brand has their own designated area and each section has been designed to mirror the style of the brand. The new denim gallery stood out for me as a major improvement, it feels very spacious.
Denim shopping is normally a nightmare so it is extremely important to keep things as simple and accessible as possible. The middle stands are full of organised denim brands including their best sellers; Citizens of Humanity and Nudie. Surrounding this central aisle are other brands such as Diesel and 7 For All Mankind. The sales assistants are extremely welcoming and are on hand to help with styling and also aim to help you choose your perfect pair of jeans. The rest of the menswear has remained the same for now but overall everything feels a lot more modern and up to date. This was a huge challenge for Harrods and even though it is still a bit of a rabbit warren, you can wander around and enjoy the delights of some exciting brands. Harrods menswear department have done a fantastic job and I look forward to seeing any more changes in the future.