The first thing to note is its size – a giant 44,000 square foot behemoth is the British luxury brand’s largest store in the world. The four-floor cathedral to consumerism houses 24,000 products at any one time, spanning womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, beauty and cosmetics, along with the piéce de resistance: a bespoke area where customers can customise their own trench in a dazzling array of colours and finishes.
Technology has been at the forefront of Burberry’s development in recent years, and the store is designed as a concrete reflection of this; in the words of Creative Director, Christopher Bailey, it is “future-proof”. Looking at the in-store experience, each and every one of the 260 staff carries an iPad containing all of your purchasing history (if you are fortunate enough to have any) to help tailor and predict your choices. The useful idea also means gone are the days of tedious waits and “going in the back” to check stock levels. Many items in-store are equipped with electronic tags that automatically activate themselves when you’re checking yourself out in one of the sleek mirrored panels, transforming your reflection into view of a Burberry glamazon modelling that exact item on the catwalk, so you can pretend for a few seconds that you are actually Cara Delevingne or Eddie Redmayne working that classic trench. Bailey has always been keen on promoting young British talent from every corner of culture, explaining the presence of a giant 22-foot-high screen around which a hydraulic stage can be raised and lowered. This multi-media set up is set to play regular host to Burberry Acoustic— Bailey’s project which spotlights British musical talent, through special gigs, talks and of course, the live streams of bi-annual catwalk presentations. To top it all off, in case you somehow forget Burberry is a British brand at heart, digital rain showers activate at random intervals, with a sophisticated surround sound system projecting a thunderstorm throughout the store, with the screen and the mirrors forming the visuals.
Burberry has marked the opening of the flagship with a special Regent Street Collection, available exclusively from the store. For les femmes, it includes a line of gorgeous trench coats, reworked in everything from feathers to metallic studs, whilst for the men, the outerwear is styled in alligator skins, ostrich hides and crocodile leathers. The Collection also features a to-die-for accessories line of handbags and heels in python, studs and woven leather, to name but a few. If this is how we will be shopping henceforth, mirror-screens, iPads and personalisation to boot, our bank balances are set to be permanently in the red.