The year 2018 is one to remember for Givenchy. Clare Waight Keller, who stepped in last year as the artistic director of Givenchy and became the first woman to hold the position, has been recognized for her work through awards and nominations. The maison also had its big moment when Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, walked down the aisle in a Givenchy garb. A few weeks before the conclusion of the year, it has unveiled a flagship store right in Mayfair. It was a historic opening—it is the first London flagship for the fashion house.
The move is perfect, especially when Givenchy is still basking under the success of what may be the most talked about wedding dress of the year, not to mention the continued patronage of the Duchess of Sussex. After wearing the very personal Givenchy dress for her royal wedding, the duchess has been spotted donning Givenchy more than once for her public appearances. The influence of the royal family over sartorial trends has been well-documented, and Markle’s picks are among the most closely watched. The attention Givenchy is receiving for dressing the duchess is expected to translate into increased profit, similar to the rise in sales that Alexander McQueen enjoyed when Creative Director Sarah Burton was commissioned by the Duchess of Cambridge for her own wedding dress.
Givenchy occupies two buildings erected in the 18th century, furnished with modern details while it still upheld some of its original features to create an Instagram-worthy store. Bow windows, fireplaces, and wooden ceilings have been preserved on the new store, creating an interesting aesthetic alongside vibrant constructions such as the red stairs, illusion-creating mirrors, chic pink tiles and geometric tiles imitating kaleidoscopes. It is set to appeal to its millennial customers, a market that has been increasing through the years. The 165 New Bond Street flagship will be housing garments for both men and women, as well as accessories, but it has a special treat for Londoners and visiting shoppers in the form of a mini bucket bag. It will just be the first of the many exclusives on the store.
Bringing Givenchy to London is a decision that is reached partly because of Waight Keller’s British heritage. In an interview with Business of Fashion, Chief Executive Philippe Fortunato said that the artistic director was intent on bringing the fashion house to the United Kingdom. But the move is also in line with the LVMH desire to make a bigger business out of Givenchy. While brand revenue is traditionally kept confidential among luxury brands, Givenchy is pegged to be among the smaller businesses under the LVMH wing. Fortunato previously used the scale of Dior as a point of reference when he talked about his plans for the house with BOF earlier this year.
The economic impact of Brexit is not of great consideration for the opening. Even in the midst of finalizing Brexit and the state’s weakened currency, luxury spending in the UK remains among the highest worldwide. London’s repute as a fashion capital is also difficult to eclipse. Fortunato reasons out, “London is one of these international cities where you want to have a strong statement because it’s a fashion capital of the world… where the trendy, fashion savvy customers are gravitating… Brexit or no Brexit, it’s a must-have as a retail destination.”
Image credits: Givenchy, JC Vincent, Getty Images, Chris Jackson, Max Mumby / Indigo, Richard Grassie, Worth