In this series, Georgia Barretta, design director of Geometry Global, takes us on a journey through the 10 best shops in the world. Much has been made about the challenges facing the high street, but here we look at the ingenious stores that are delivering an engaging brand experience through stunning store design.
In her quest to find the 10 best shops in the world, Georgia Barretta-Whiteley may just have found her favourite store yet. Come with us as we enter a grade two-listed sartorial paradise...
Alfred Dunhill, Bourdon House, 2 Davies Street, London, EnglandDunhill. (Singular) Not the plural-crumpled-pack version of the same word you’d find in Hunter S. Thompson’s back pocket. It’s Dunhill. Alfred Dunhill. Eminent luxury fashion brand geared towards the discerning modern gentleman. Representing all things masculine and functional – hinged together with a good bash of quality Britishness. It’s deftly modernised classicism.‘Committed to advancing the pursuit of male indulgence’, Alfred Dunhill has here presented us with a unique global concept that embraces an ultimate in masculine luxury and retail lifestyle – the Homes of Alfred Dunhil. Not to sound too worthy, but I’m saying these Homes represent the third dimension of luxury – The Experience – one to be had in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and London. This one, Bourdon House, in London’s Mayfair, is the true spiritual Home of Alfred Dunhill – the grade two-listed kind.
Appropriately, the former noble London residence of the Duke of Westminster, Bourdon House has long since represented grandeur and distinction in British heritage. A love affair with the rag-trade has been steeping here since Duke W’ spent nearly half a decade wooing Coco Chanel – her first cat-walk show parading down a certain spiral staircase between floors two and three. The place underlines Alfred’s own legacy as a curator of the very finest offering not only superlative product but the ultimate in service and experience too. As you’d expect, the retail aspect – which is democratically open to everyone – is accomplished with an irresistible, seductive charm over three floors.
The ground floor boasts the thoroughly impressive Dunhill emporium – iconoclastic menswear, leather, accessories, then a few other less-ballsy gifts, gadgets and gizmos - because eurostacratic people like them.The second floor – a bespoke tailoring room, which comes complete with the polished theatre of an aproned, sheers-wielding suit-smith. Tidy for somewhere around £1000. An example of Dunhill’s commitment to personalisation, luxury and exclusivity.
A handsome two treatment roomed spa, smelling just so wonderfully like man, a traditional gentleman’s barber and the Discovery Room – a mise en place of apex products and an elegant museum with bits from the brand’s archives. It feels like a room in which very good things can happen.
The basement accommodates a subterranean private cinema where you can either watch the polo or drop your kiddies in front of nickelodeon while you're measured one floor up. There’s the Cellar Bar whose service continues on to the Home’s front courtyard and most politely manages to thrill you with its whisky swilling, cigar smoking set when you first arrive. Then its most stimulating gesture – a cigar keep. The one where Winston Churchill’s cigs are still kept, the one that smells so thick with the sort of cigars that manly-Dunhill men would puff, frown and nod over. And where they gather guests to tell stories about their resident 18th century ghost at the annual Halloween bash. (Can’t wait!)
Glorifying the brand in this illustrious circa 1720, an homage to opulence, hospitality, charm and style - the Home of Alfred Dunhill presents a superior and inimitable experience. Distinguished by a range of considered services and Dunhill’s signatory attention to fine detail. Georgia Barretta-Whiteley is head of design at Saatchi & Saatchi XMore stores in this series: #1 Penhaligon’s English Perfume House, London#2 Comme Des Garçons, Hong Kong#3 BMW Welt, Munich