Celebrate Longchamp & Win The Amazone

World-renowned for its leather goods, footwear and high-end women’s ready-to-wear apparel, Longchamp unveils its new Amazone line inspired by powerful women who defy the status quo. Women who dare to wear a look that’s sophisticated, modern and sleek like Kendall Jenner, the new campaign ambassador. That subtle dance between refined chic and today’s fashion is what makes the collections premiere bag totally irresistible.

To celebrate the launch of the new Amazone Collection, Longchamp invites you to take part in an in-store competition for the chance to win your very own Amazone handbag, as well as a signed photo of their new Brand Ambassador, Kendall Jenner.

Visit the Longchamp Boutique on New Bond Street between 24/09/18 and 14/11/18 to enter.

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Mr Armani’s New London Emporium

London Fashion Week is in full swing with all the key events taking place at the Store Studios on The Strand. And last night, (September 17), things reached fever pitch as Giorgio Armani moved his Emporio Armani catwalk show to London for the very first time. The headlining show, which received rave reviews, was designed to coincide with the opening of the newly refurbished Emporio Armani Bond Street store, which despite a soft launch earlier this month, officially opens today.

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I’ve been given a sneak preview of the new-look boutique, which feels radically different to the store that existed before, though the address is still the same of course. Spanning over two floors and measuring 905 square metres, it feels bright and airy thanks in part to the two colossal street level windows. They drench the entranceway in natural light, which seems to carry you down the wide glass staircase to the womenswear department on the lower ground floor. This then leads to something rather rare in central London – leafy outdoor space. I’m told that Mr Armani personally saw to every design detail throughout the store, working closely with his team of architects. And it shows.

Both men’s and womenswear in the current A/W 2017 collections are arranged on racks in carefully edited, easy to read groupings, showing more than one way to wear an outfit. London’s experimental fashion style has also been taken into consideration and there’s a less formal feel to the current window display. As one assistant tells me in sotto voce, Mr Armani rarely puts jeans in the windows. Here though, they are styled with a beautiful cashmere coat – something you wouldn’t see in more conservative cities such as Milan. Pieces made with eco-friendly leather and faux fur are also given pride of place in this London flagship. Meanwhile, gadgets such as skateboards, Polaroid cameras and segways emblazoned with the distinctive EA logo, are clearly aimed at a hip, London male.

From today, the store will be selling a capsule collection called ‘New Bond’. It consists of three pieces designed by British fashion students and handpicked by Mr Armani as part of a competition organised with the British Fashion Council and some of the U.K’s leading fashion schools. As part of the design brief, students were asked to “bring the essence of British style” to three iconic Emporio Armani pieces. The winners, Boyeong Lim, Kameel Shahjhan and Dmitry Gotsfrid created a bag, a pair of shoes and a bomber jacket respectively. The winning pieces (shown here), will also go on sale at Emporio Armani stores in Manchester and Glasgow as well as the Armani.com website.

Armani has long supported emerging talents fresh out of fashion school. The 83-year old designer says: “British design schools are among the most interesting in today’s arena. They produce unique talents, by encouraging the originality and individuality of each student. I believe that to be successful in fashion, creativity must go hand in hand with a pragmatic and realistic approach; I would like to use this initiative to encourage a dialogue between these two elements, giving the winners a useful opportunity to succeed and move forward in their careers.’  Bravo!

Emporio Armani, 51-52 New Bond Street.

SHOP TACTICS WITH BORA AKSU

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Bora Aksu, the Turkish born, London-based fashion designer is a regular fixture at London Fashion Week. His eclectic womenswear has been gracing the runways here since February 2003.

“London Fashion Week is best known for launching new and exciting talents,” says Bora. “London is fortunate to have incredibly powerful fashion colleges, which also play an important part in this. In my case, Central Saint Martin’s helped shape me and find the perfect balance in my design philosophy.”

Bora’s designs fuse traditional elements with the new to create a whimsical beauty. For his S/S 2018 collection, the self-confessed romantic takes inspiration from the 19th Century Turkish painter, Mihri Müşfik Hanım. This extraordinary woman, a true Bohemian, is said to have given up a privileged life to pursue her passion for art.

Meanwhile the Bora Aksu brand is surging ahead. In addition to the 13-flagship stores spread across the Asia Pacific region, another two– one in Singapore’s Marina Bay, the other in Korea – will open in early 2018. To keep an eye on his expanding business, Bora now flits between East London and Hong Kong’s Harbour district, where he has offices and a design studio in both places.

“Hong Kong has such a lively fast speed style on the surface, but if you go underneath it’s possible to discover a serenity and calmness. I do love it when I’m there but I also miss London, which is my home.”

Looking further ahead, Bora is putting the finishing touches on a new capsule collection for children, simply named; ‘Bora Aksu Kids’. A selection of pieces from the ready-to-wear collection will be produced in mini sizes, launching in Bora Aksu stores next year.

It’s a wonder the busy designer has the energy for anything else but he will always find time to paint. “I find painting is the best way to recharge my batteries in a ‘non-fashion’ way.” Not one to sit and watch the oil paint dry, you are more likely to find Bora at the following hotspots:

The Cafe at Sotheby’s 34-35 New Bond Street

In the busy entrance lobby of this famous auction house this discreet cafe is perhaps hidden from eyes and not a very obvious choice for Mayfair. The space is small but stylish. Decorated with iconic black and white photographs it really is an amazing place to come and relax in a calming environment.

Charbonnel et Walker, One The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street

I have always had a sweet tooth and Charbonnel et Walker fulfil all those chocolate cravings. Even when I’m not really in the mood for chocolate, I’ll still go there and treat myself to something from the wonderful display of confectionary in the window.

Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street

Whenever I am in the Bond Street area I like to wander down to the Royal Arcade. With its beautiful architecture and quirky shops, it feels like you are stepping back in time, straight onto the pages of a Charles Dickens novel.

Wild Things flowers, 47 Davies Street

Flowers have always been an amazing source of inspiration to me. For my S/S 2017 runway show, we covered the entire backdrop with real ivy from Wild Things. Another season, all the models wore fresh flower crowns made to order by this beautiful florists. Wild Things always has such incredible displays, which often spill out onto the pavement.

Erskine Hall & Coe, 15 Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street

Ceramics always fascinate me and Erskine Hall & Coe is the perfect spot to drop in and see the latest in contemporary design. It specialises in contemporary and 20th Century ceramics work and often showcases up- and-coming British artists.

The Rise of the Gucci Superfan

It is the first day of September and under a cloudless blue sky, Bond Street is buzzing with lunchtime shoppers. With new season pieces being dropped into stores at regular intervals, there appears to more of a heightened sense of retail fervour than usual. Such is the case at the Gucci flagship boutique where a steady stream of chauffeur driven Jaguars come and go, dispatching shoppers directly to the front door.

For several months, stanchions have become a common fixture outside this busy Bond Street address. More likely to be seen at red carpet events, the cordons are there to enforce ‘crowd control’ as ever growing numbers of Gucci aficionados flock here from all four corners of the globe.

The rise of the ‘superfan’ – affluent twenty somethings mostly, still living at home – are enthusiastic followers of fashion. Their loyalty lies with their leader, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. Since taking up the post in January 2015, the Renaissance man has turned the Florentine fashion house on its head, by introducing a wide range of covetable items at accessible price points. In doing so, he has re-ignited the brand’s cult status and attracted great swathes of millennials, hungry for news.

With big hits such as the Ace sneaker, double G buckle belts and signature florals, snake and butterfly motifs, each new piece is instantly propelled into the Gucci fanosphere via the power of social media. Today, some 17.2 million devotees follow the Gucci Instagram feed. Meanwhile, Gucci sales have seen a rise of 43 per cent in the first six months of this year alone.

Curious to know what makes this celebrated luxury brand so successful right now, we asked this trio of diehard fans to show us their purchases and tell us why they ‘heart’ Gucci so much.

Name: Lachlan Dix

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Age: 18

Occupation: Student – business marketing.

Lives: London

I am the first to admit to being a Gucci ‘superfan’. The Gucci brand has risen up under Alessandro Michele. He has made it cool again and introduced a whole new series of must-have products to the mix. There is so much diversity in the Gucci men’s collections now. The clothes are no longer beige. Instead they are bright and colourful. I came here looking to buy a white suit jacket to wear to a dinner party tonight. I couldn’t afford anything from Gucci until recently and now I own so many pieces including the Ace sneakers, track pants, and my most treasured item, a Gucci double G silver necklace. I am prepared to wait for the latest pieces. I waited two months for a shell suit hoodie from the S/S 2017 collection to arrive in store and have already chosen some pieces from the online A/W 2017 lookbook. I subscribed to the website and that’s where I get all the latest Gucci news. Then there is Instagram of course. Alessandro’s use of ‘memes’- images of animated GIFs, often with text splashed across them and then shared on social media – makes Gucci completely different to any other brands currently out there. He is a genius!

 

Nicole Jeary

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Age: 23

Occupation: Content writer at the Investment Observer

Lives: London  

My mother is Italian and has always been a fan of Gucci and its Italian heritage, so I grew up admiring her Gucci bags and boots. Gucci today is very contemporary, eclectic and fun – I really like their new direction, it’s a fresh, youthful spin on the classic style of the house. I just got a promotion at work so I came to buy myself a card holder to celebrate. I’d already done a bit of research before coming here today and knew for a while that I wanted this particular design. The blush pink colour is a nice change from black, which I would usually have opted for. It is actually my first Gucci piece, so I’m really excited about it. For a luxury goods brand, the accessories are at a good price point and are something special that you’ll have with you for a long time. Alessandro Michele has really revitalised the brand in recent years. I like the fact that he is not afraid of colour. And I reckon I’ve probably liked every one of Gucci’s Instagram posts.

 

Name: Selina Lalin

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Age: 21

Occupation:  Student – business management

Lives: Thailand

I make sure I come to London every month for shopping. Bond Street is where all the big brands are located in one convenient place. I love Gucci. It is one of my favourite luxury brands. I came to the store today to buy a hat for my next beach holiday. It is packed in a really beautiful box, which they then put in this enormous shopping bag. I really like Gucci’s use of embroidery throughout the women’s collections. Everyone is wearing the Gucci Ace sneakers – I like the ones which have a bee motif embroidered on the side. Alessandro Michele has really taken the brand in a new direction over the past few seasons. What I like about Gucci now, is that it still carries the classic Gucci pieces such as the double G logo bags but Alessandro has made sure it is really fashion-forward by adding really modern pieces such as shoes, sunglasses and T-Shirts. When everybody tends to look the same these days, Gucci really makes you stand out from the crowd.

Mulberry Mini Amberley Satchel

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As the schools go back and the leaves begin to turn, what better time to invest in some new season kit of your own? Take Mulberry’s decidedly grown-up Mini Amberley Satchel (£475) for instance. Designed by creative director, Johnny Coca, this compact little number might be the baby in Mulberry’s Amberley bag family but it has all the features and functionality of its larger counterparts.

The bijoux satchel style also features Mulberry’s new signature hardware, the Rider’s Lock, reminiscent of the metal you see on horse bits and bridles. Crafted from soft croc print leather in a deep amethyst hue, the Mini Amberley deserves to go straight to the top of the class.

Mulberry, 50 New Bond Street

Inner Beauty – Chris Levine’s new portrait series at The Fine Art Society’s London gallery, puts celebrities in a whole new light.

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Sir Paul Smith, image courtesy of Chris Levine and The Fine Art Society 

Canadian born Chris Levine is best described as a pioneer in the field of light art. In recent years, his distinguished subjects have ranged from the Dali Lama to Grace Jones. But there is one standout piece for which he is perhaps best known – Her Majesty the Queen, ‘Lightness of Being’. Taken in 2012 and featured in The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘The Queen Art and Image’ exhibit, it has been described by some critics as one of the most iconic images of a royal taken by any artist this century. High praise indeed!

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Photo courtesy of Chris Levine

Levine, who now lives and works in Northamptonshire, graduated from Central Saint Martin’s School of Art in the 80s with an MA in computer graphics. Since then, he has worked extensively with laser light, exploring its capacity to both produce illusions and elicit a subliminal response in the viewer and has pioneered new mediums such as light boxes, holograms, and lenticular lenses, creating new mechanisms and technologies to express his ideas.

It is this marriage of art and photography, which sets Levine apart. Look a little closer at each familiar face staring back at you in his current show Who are wE_+ at The Fine Art Society’s Bond Street space and you will see the painstaking detail into which the artist goes to unlock each sitter’s ‘inner light’. For instance, a colour portrait of Kate Moss (print, £9,000) or light box (£42,000) is composed entirely of small dot matrices filtered to represent the particles of energy that make up her body. A series of Naomi Campbell images, also available to purchase as a lenticular light box (£42,000) or as inkjet prints (£3,000), is the result of interlacing multiple images taken on a track and motion camera, from a variety of angles, to create the illusion of depth and dimension.

Images courtesy of Chris Levine and The Fine Art Society

Personally, I find the large holographic image of Sir Ranulph Fiennes – the sheer scale of the celebrated British explorer’s face, which beams out at you in 3-D effect, a little unnerving. In contrast, there are more jovial portraits of Sir Paul Smith. Available as a black and white lenticular print (£11,400) or as a light box (£33,600), Levine captures the inner glow of another of our national treasures spectacularly well.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, image courtesy of The Fine Art Society

Of his latest headshots Levine says: “Increasingly the direction and enquiry of my work is leading me to the ultimate realisation that we are beings of energy. The question of who we are is a mystery I feel is beyond our bandwidth of perception. My objective in creating a portrait is to get closer to the soul and in so doing express the Truth of who we really are.”

Who are wE_+runs until May 19th at The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street

 

Chairman’s Speech BSA AGM 2016

Welcome to the Bond Street Association’s AGM & lunch, an event that I particularly enjoy each year, as it is such an excellent opportunity to see our members and to update you on all the activity of the BSA over the past year and our plans for next year.

It is also a great opportunity to chat and network with Bond Street colleagues, friends, and neighbours in this beautiful setting. I particularly want to thank Paul Jackson, the GM here at Claridge’s, not just for working with us to host this AGM, but also for his commitment to working with the BSA and joining our Council.

2016 has proved to be a challenging year, many of us are concerned about the economy following the Brexit vote and of course we have not seen the real outcome of that yet. It is encouraging that in the past few weeks there has been an uplift in visitor numbers, which many put down to overseas visitors taking advantage of the weak pound, and while London is one of the most popular visitor destinations in the world, we need to work hard to ensure that London retail and particularly Bond Street remain the worldwide attraction they are today.

The £10m investment in Bond Street’s public realm is set to commence in 2017 spearheaded by NWEC and Westminster City Council. This work is key to ensuring Bond Street’s future as a world-leading shopping destination. We have seen Bond Street fall behind our neighbouring streets over recent years, as Grosvenor and The Crown Estate invest into Mount Street and Regent Street, so I am delighted that the funds have now been raised and the much needed public realm upgrade for Bond Street can begin. – This is something the BSA has been very instrumental in, and I am particularly proud of instigating with my team.

This street improvement work, together with the Crossrail project and the opening of the Elizabeth Line, will bring an additional 60m visitors to the West End annually, boosting retail sales by £10bn a year.

I am delighted to be part of the Bond Street Development Group, headed by Paul Dimond, Chairman of DAKS, collaborating with NWEC, Westminster City Council, The Mayor of London, the Metropolitan police, and other organisations to help create a thriving, safe and unrivalled luxury shopping destination.

I am often asked what the BSA does! So I will as quickly as possible tell you!

We are about connectivity, working with your neighbours, partners, and like-minded organisations to bring improvement, collaborations, and progression, and of course being a thorn in the side of inertia.

Now in its 92nd year, the Bond Street Association offers its Members a host of opportunities including PR & marketing, brand collaborations, professional seminars, workshops, social networking events, training and development, as well as links to Westminster City Council and other governing bodies.

The official Bond Street website attracts between 20,000 – 30,000 thousand visits per month and is supported by our growing social media platforms.

We have an on-going media partnership with the Mayfair Magazine, which sees BSA Members receiving preferential advertising rates as well as being listed in the magazine’s two annual Mandarin and Arabic issues. I also sit on the judging panel for the Mayfair Awards, which celebrate excellence across businesses in Mayfair.

Bond Street News, our consumer newsletter, edited by the luxury journalist, Lucie Muir continues to draw people to the street. This year we have interviewed many famous Bond Street personalities and celebrities who shop our street. If you don’t receive this, please let us know, as it really is fun and informative.

We continue to bring VIP shopping groups to Bond Street through the Bond Bespoke program, connecting with travel companies, Concierge groups, hotels, and businesses. This year’s groups have included; Morgan Stanley, University Alumni groups, a group of international F1 followers, as well as tour groups from Asia and America.

We have just instigated an exciting new partnership with Moët Hennessy, giving our Members preferential rates on purchases as well as access to their exclusive events and experiences. We will be revealing more on this partnership over the next few months.

In June we celebrated Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday with a special publication entitled A Royal Life, acknowledging Bond Street’s contribution to the Royal household via the many Royal Warrant holders and suppliers to the Royal family.

The BSA supported Brown’s London Art Weekend in July, a fantastic initiative – now in its third year – in which leading galleries and auction houses across Mayfair and St James’s open their doors to a weekend of tours, talks, walks and VIP parties. The event brings opportunities for innovative collaborations between galleries and retailers such as La Perla’s unique tour and Gallery Hop party for 200 young collectors.

Over the year Members were invited to business forums focused on Fraud & Theft Prevention, Retailing in a Multi-Channel World, and most recently The Art of Luxury Service in partnership with Debrett’s Academy.

The Bond Street Association’s diary of social events are always well attended and are an enjoyable way to network. From sales previews, Cheese & Wine Pairings with Berry Bros & Rudd, a performance of Shakespeare in the St James’s Square, to jazz and salsa dance nights at 100 Wardour St and Quaglino’s, and of course our annual Quiz Night.

Remember to add December 14th to your diaries for the final event of the year, the Three Associations Carol Service at St James’s Church on Piccadilly, which is a wonderfully festive end to the year.

I would like to thank the Bond Street Association Council who in attending our meetings give their valued time, ideas and opinions. My particular thanks go to Sophie Grounds for her amazing contribution to the BSA’s involvement in Brown’s London Art Weekend. Sophie, you have been a hugely valued member of the Council for many years, and we all wish you the greatest of happiness for the birth of your first child.

And remember to breathe…

I would also like to give a special thank you to the Directors of the BSA who attend very regular meetings and ensure that the BSA continues all its great work, my thanks to Pauline Hudson-Evans, Simon Fitzpatrick, and Alex Bergholz-Gander and of course to Katie Thomas who is responsible for all our PR, Marketing, and Communication activities.

The Bond Street Association is an important voice for the retailers and businesses in and around Bond Street, working with the NWEC and Westminster City Council to ensure your needs and expectations are met. We can only continue to represent and support you if you support us through your annual subscription and an on-going engagement with us.

On that note, may I wish you all a very successful Christmas trading period and very much look forward to working with you in 2017.

Lord Bruce Dundas.