Matchesfashion.com has opened its latest store at 5 Carlos Place, a prime pitch in London’s Mayfair, that takes the idea of experiential retail to the next level.
Housed in a grand five-storey townhouse, elegantly refitted to allow shopping, live events and art exhibitions, the store also features in-built recording facilities, a fully functioning kitchen and a courtyard garden.
“The house becomes a place where there’s a full experience every second of the day. Everything is built around the lifestyle of the luxury consumer,” says Ulric Jerome, CEO of the brand.
The first two floors will be open to the public, featuring retail spaces in a state of constant churn, with total product refreshments every two weeks.
Crucially, much of it will be exclusive to the store. Sometimes that will look like a full brand takeover, like a collaboration with Prada this week, bought to life by set designer Robert Storey, or the vision of specific curators. Names confirmed so far also include auction house Phillips and designers Hillier Bartley and Grace Wales Bonner.
Those floors will also stock the company’s new homewares line, delivered in monthly drops throughout the year, while the opening events programme includes a Phaidon book signing planned with Kate Moss and Mario Sorrenti, a floristry masterclass with Scarlet & Violet, and a series of talks on sustainability during London Fashion Week.
Meanwhile, upstairs are two floors dedicated to appointment-only private shopping (including 90-minute delivery for anything that’s not there already) and advice from in-house stylists, and an attic that houses the broadcasting space for the brand’s podcast, pop-up cafés and further events, including supper clubs with chefs such as Skye Gyngell.
All of the Carlos Place store’s events will be streamed live on the website and available thereafter, enabling anyone to tune into what’s happening. Such a move follows a test from the brand with a series of live events in 2017 when it celebrated its 30th anniversary. This saw pop-up stores featuring different experiences over five days each in Paris, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. The initiative reached 1.27 million people through the Facebook Live stream alone.
This also ties to the fact the brand considers itself an e-commerce company first. Today, despite having four stores and a private shopping townhouse in London, 95% of its sales are made online, 82% of which are from outside of the UK.
MatchesFashion.com’s latest results show revenues up 44% year-on-year to $394m, driven mostly by international growth. In September 2017, it also hit the headlines when funds advised by Apax Partners acquired a majority stake in the company, valuing it at a reported $1bn, making it one of the UK’s few unicorns (a start-up valued at more than $1bn).
While it is the online drive that is really powering MatchesFashion.com forward, the business remains bullish on bricks and mortar, explains Jerome. “There’s no such thing as digital versus physical. It’s really combined. We just call it commerce. It’s just how you make it work together.”
A full version of this story appeared online and in print for Wallpaper magazine this month.
How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.