Burberry. Under the magnifying glass

The other week I finally made it to the new Burberry flagship store on London’s Regent Street. As shopping environments go it is an impressive space. The building’s restoration and the craftsmanship a real tribute to the love (and money) Burberry have poured into the project.

When I visited traffic was very light and very international and this probably gave the impression, upon walking into the main hall, that you were entering a museum space rather than a store….I almost expected the skeleton of a large whale to be hung from the ceiling.

Burberry have rightly earned “their chops” as a brand which has embraced the ‘digital’ and as if to reinforce that every store employee had an iPad slung around their necks in a very utilitarian black leather case with strap. It reminded me a bit of old fashioned bus conductors (showing my age a bit) and I wonder if they have missed a trick here. Better to have the iPads “dressed” in the many fabrics contained in their collections. A very effective way of introducing some tactility. But perhaps that would spoil the aesthetic and, on this, I am no expert.

Much has been made of the in-store experience being heavily digitised. The large screens are impressive and imagery and film was coordinated throughout the store – including all of the collection nooks which I enjoyed most of all

iPads on stands have replaced simply descriptor labels but they did not do anything when touched and I got the impression that this was just technology for technologies sake.

There was one incredibly effective use of “technology”, however. Large, retro magnifying glasses held at eye level on brass floor stands which were positioned in front of the item in question to show some detailing on the clothing.

A masterstroke.

Exquisite and perfect stitching there for the eye to see. The weave of natural fibres. Not captured and brought via electronic pixels but enlarged and within touching distance.

It’s a reminder that the future is bright for luxury brands built on strong substantiation. Froth is good but the intrinsic reasons to believe and buy must be apparent to the customer. For Burberry that starts and finishes with quality and heritage.

A magnifying glass is a good start.

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