Eric Musgrave

Since 1980, menswear & fashion retail commentator, opinionated thought-leader,
event host & all-round top bloke. Contact me to discuss working together.

Harvey Nichols menswear goes big & bold

While it is regularly bracketed together with Harrods and Selfridges, Harvey Nichols is a much smaller department store than its London rivals. It sees itself as a large boutique rather than a huge emporium. This philosophy is reflected in the new menswear area that covers the two lower ground floors of the Knightsbridge building.

HN Menswear 01Harvey Nichols New Menswear Destination - International Designer 2Harvey Nichols New Menswear Destination - International Designer 1Harvey Nichols New Menswear Destination - International Designer 3

It took nine months to remodel the 28,000sq ft space to the design of Virgile + Partners, the interior design agency responsible for Harvey Nicks’ very impressive store in The Mailbox centre in Birmingham, which was opened in July 2015.

Harvey Nichols New Menswear Destination - Denim 2Harvey Nichols New Menswear Destination - Denim 3

The London store displays the same techniques, especially the lavish use of eclectic surface finishes, custom-built fixtures and mannequins, and a general air of complete stylish confidence. In these pictures we see (from the top) the International Designer area, the Denim department and the Off Duty section.    Harvey Nichols New Menswear Destination - Off Duty 1Harvey Nichols New Menswear Destination - Off Duty 2HN Menswear 02HN Menswear 06

I was pleased – and surprised – to see that there is no space for the biggest brands’ corporate shopfitting; even Polo Ralph Lauren gets just the subtle branding like everyone else.

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The result is that, despite its expanse, the new menswear area does have the feel of an independent boutique, albeit one that has been put together with a hefty budget. I liked the way in which the products are allowed to be seen clearly and cleanly. The designers display a real understanding of how most men like to shop – “Just show me what you have and I’ll make up my own mind”.

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As well as the huge scale being impressive, the small and not-so-small details like the display furniture and the hundreds of unique mannequins make the space interesting and surprising.

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Even the bases of some rails are used as display units for nostalgic boys’ toys and memorabilia.HN Menswear 10HN Menswear 11HN Menswear 12

The changing rooms reveal the astonishing attention to detail for the department, which boast 270 brands, including 50 that were new brands for the launch.

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Hats off to Harvey Nicks’ CEO Stacey Cartwright, her team and the clever folk at Virgile & Partners for this bold statement of confidence in physical retailing. You would not get this sensory experience from a website.


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