Sketch in London, is situated at 9 Conduit Street, and is now a French restaurant which canals be found in Paris. This connection with France originated from the previous owners of Sketch; Dior. This townhouse used to have a design legacy around 1900’s, and was designed to be a very new, and quirky designers house. Max Clendinning was the architecture designer, but also created display cases for Dior’s ready-to-wear clothes and accessories, making a name for the ‘pop interior designer’. The whole room was painted in a mid-grey velvet to create a real sense of luxury: “throw the clothes into sharper relief, and seems to conform with the classical, refined elegance of the House of Dior itself.” This building will always be a part of the development of Dior and will also be a special place within the company.
Despite the wet and windy weather on Monday, I headed out at 9am to gain a true understanding on where shops are placed within central London; looking and individual brands and their key locations. How fashion brands create a visual presence on the hughstreet and the shopping districts; creating a strong and well developed awareness of the market level clusterings. In particular, I was focusing on Dior and the way the company had presented themselves to the audiences, and how they enticed their target market in competition with other big brands.
To start the exercise off, I started at Oxford Circus, making my way to Conduit St, which is where a lot of luxury brands are found – Vivienne Westwood, Donna Karan, Moschino, and most importantly Sketch – which is the original show room in London that Dior used to use; a lot of presence of the Dior company still lies there, and the feel of the brand is very much still present. Down this hughstreet is one of many Dior stores; this one predominately selling shoes and bags – which allowed me to explore the new Diorissimo bags for the first time. Then onto Saville Row – the home of tailoring in London, and where Henry Poole & Co and Norton & Sons can be found; all lined up offering something different with their tailoring. Each and every store looked sophisticated and well thought out – which is vital in that particular section of the fashion market. What was also very interesting is that I was able to watch a lot of adjustments and actual tailoring take place, as the lower level of the shop was visible from the street; letting the customers have a more personal experience with the individual store.
With this close knit shopping sector, there are many different classes of shops; Haute Couture all the way to Economy, which was very interesting to look at the precise grouping and classes and where each shop was placed within the market. Stella McCartney is several doors down from the famous Hartnell Gallery, which sat right next to Matthew Williamson; this close connection between the shops is a clear grouping of the Brand Diffusion market. The hierarchy of fashion is something that is taken very seriously, and walking along Bond Street, Mayfair, Oxford street and even Conduit Street, it is very easy to identify the target audience for that particular street – a very in-depth and personal shopping experience.