A round up of eleven of some of the most compelling retail concepts in Europe, including Colette, Dover Street Market, 10 Corso Como, Simple and Podium.
In the past two decades concept stores have popped up in all corners of the globe. Following in the footsteps of famed boutiques Colette and 10 Corso Como, the concept store focuses on providing a consistent and carefully selected array of merchandise across a variety of product categories. The idea being that a consumer who resonates with the attitude and style of the store, now has a one-stop-shop for clothing, music, film, art, accessories, collectibles and more.
Many have incorporated bars, restaurants, performance areas and gallery spaces, to provide clients further incentive to visit even when they don’t intend to shop. And whilst many stores them borrow from the same idea pool in terms of designers, categories and peripheral interest material, it is the individual curation of the buying team, a careful mix of brands and bespoke store designs that sets each of the below stores apart.
Luxury Society investigated concept stores and presents some most interesting boutiques in Europe. For a complete listing of concept stores, we invite you to explore the Luxury Society directory and discover further stores around the world.
The concept at Colette is “styledesignartfood”. Launched in 1997 the three level, 700sqm retail space is one of the most carefully curated in the world. The style selection is represented in two categories, with a focus on premium streetwear alongside luxury ready-to-wear and accessories. The store also houses watches, cell phones, lomography cameras and collectible gadgets, as well as limited run art and design books, stylish magazines and a cool mix of old and new DVD titles. Photography and art exhibitions are frequently found alongside the merchandise, as are signings and in-store appearances.
Not resigned to being just a boutique, the basement level of the store is home to a Water-bar, offering a café menu alongside an extensive array of branded waters from around the globe, ranging from €5 to €50 a bottle. The brand also has a strong presence online, utilising the e-commerce site to promote it’s own Podcasts, TV Channel, food focused events (Cooklette) and exercise programs (ColetteGym). The site also hosts blogs by artists, writers and general interesting people from all corners of the globe, to keep readers informed and entertained about fashion, food, film and art.
213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
10 Corso Como, Milan
Launched in 1990 by Carla Sozzani, sister of former Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, 10 Corso Como is self-described as ‘a network of spaces rolled into one experience’. Located over 1200sqm in an industrial building, in the inner courtyard of a traditional Milanese Palazzo, the concept incorporates a gallery, bookshop, cafe, garden, retail space, restaurant and three-room hotel. It has been designed as a multifunctional area, where customers and visitors are encouraged to meet and exchange culture, ideas and experiences.
The concept has since expanded to Tokyo and Seoul as well as opening a Milan based Outlet, which houses out of season stock from the stores as well as vintage designer pieces up to 80% off. The store boasts Roger Vivier, Manolo Blahnik and Azzedine Alaia to name a few, however testament to its success is its in-house collaborations with brands like Coca Cola, Alessi, Comme des Garçons, Lomographica, Paul Smith, Swatch and Zippo, designing products as varied as dominos, umbrellas, handbags, suitcases, packaging and apparel.
Corso Como 10, Milan 20154, Italy
Website: 10 Corso Como
Dover Street Market, London
Over six floors of stripped industrial space, Dover Street Market is the retail brainchild of Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. It is frequently described as an ‘art gallery of fashion’ or ‘ready-to-wear theatre’ and plays host to some of the most serious fashion labels from all over the world. The designer roster includes Carven, Giambattista Valli, Hussein Chalayan, Rodarte and Haider Ackermann, alongside big names like Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent. The warehouse space is decorated in different themed floors, where each particular space is given it’s own identity to showcase it’s respective category. The fourth floor hosts an outpost of The Rose Bakery, an English style bakery originally made famous in Paris.
Kawakubo remarked “I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos: the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision. We hope to make DSM more and more interesting, I would like for DSM to be the place where fashion becomes fascinating.”
17-18 Dover Street, London W1S 4LT, UK
Website: Dover Street Market
The Corner, Berlin
With stores on the East and West sides of Berlin, boasting labels such as Balmain, Balenciaga, Chloé, Lanvin, Alexander Wang and YSL, it comes as no surprise that The Corner is often referred to as the Colette of Berlin. The two stores offer the necessary conceptual selection of coffee table books, niche perfumery brands, electronics, music, film, magazines and art, alongside a carefully styled collection of ready-to-wear, leathergoods and accessories.
Labels such as Guiseppe Zanotti, Marcus Lupfer, Rick Owens and Thom Binns can be found alongside the East Berlin store’s all day in-house bar and restaurant ‘Eat at the corner’, offering views of the French Cathedral opposite on Gendarmenmarkt, a public square that is also the site of the Konzerthaus and the German Cathedral. The store caters to both women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, footwear and accessories.
East: AM Gendarmenmarkt, Franzoesische Strasse 40, Berlin 10117 Germany
West: Charlottenberg, Knesebeck Strasse 32, Berlin 10623 Germany
Website: The Corner
Andreas Murkudis, Berlin
Brother of fashion designer Kostas Murkudis, formerly the ‘right-hand’ designer at Helmut Lang, Andreas Murkudis owns three stores in Berlin, as well as overseeing the city’s Acne boutique.
In July 2011 Andreas Murkudis opened his new store in Potsdamer Strasse 81 E in Berlin Tiergarten, located in the former premises of the Tagesspiegel newspaper. After 8 years hidden in the historic courtyard in Münzstr. 21 in Berlin Mitte, moving west was a further development of the concept. The new store was developed again in collaboration with the architects AAS Gonzalez / Haase.
The 1000sqm space offers a wide range of fashion and accessories, perfumes, cosmetics, design objects, furniture, luggage, art, fine glassware and selected porcelain manufacturers, liquors, jewelry and sunglasses, books and art editions, carpets and interior objects.
AM Potsdamer Strasse 81 E 10785 Berlin
Website: Andreas Murkudis
Possibly the starkest concept store in Europe, Park offers 50sqm of contemporary design on two floors designed by the architects SPACE+. The white walled, floored, curtained and coat-hangered store focuses primarily on ready-to-wear and accessories, by up-and-coming independents as much as the established houses. But to ‘show the design area from a different angle and complete it’ they also offer art books, fiction, magazines and periodicals.
All the typically represented concept store brands are at Park: Hussein Chalayan, Haider Ackermann, Ann Demeulemeester and Peter Pilotto to name a few, but it is the small and thoughtful details that differentiates Park, such as the inclusion of book recommendations from the designers they carry to offer an extra level of personal insight.
Mondscheingasse 20, A 1070 Wien, Vienna
Simple is self described as inspired by an admiration of Colette, the Prague outpost for all things boutique and fashionable proclaims that the Parisian institution on Rue Saint Honoré was ‘the first to come up with a new way to sell luxury products and services’. As a result, a stylish selection of new season ready-to-wear is supplemented with luxe accessories, books, music and cosmetics. The boutique also features a Tattinger Champagne bar for those that like to finish their shopping day with a relaxing glass of premium bubbles. Part of the Carolinum group portfolio, the Simple concept store aims to bring to Prague the best French fashions from legendary labels such as Lanvin, Balenciaga, Chloé, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior Homme.
Pařížská 20, Prague 1 110 00, Czech Republic
Website: Simple Concept
Fashion Clinic, Lisboa
In a city with a relatively small luxury brand presence, Fashion Clinic is the only concept shop in Lisbon city. The 400sqm space houses mainstream ready-to-wear lines, such as Miu Miu, Prada, Valentino, Marni, Paul Smith and Celine. The store also boasts a sophisticated collection of accessories, cosmetics and CDs typical of the concept store, however remains much more fashion focused than that of it’s Colette and Corso Como counterparts. Located on Avenue da Liberdade, Lisboa’s petite answer to Paris’s Champs Élysées, it keeps company with a handful of the big designer brands, but offers a far more varied selection of labels and merchandise, alongside it’s cross-over interest pieces.
Avenue da Liberdade, Tivoli Forum Ioja 5, 1250-146 Lisboa
Website Fashion Clinic
San Carlo 1973, Torino
With beginnings in 1973, San Carlo is arguably the first multi-brand concept store in the world. Combining the collections of designers Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Sergio Rossi, Issey Miyake and Jil Sander, with cosmetic excellences, books, art exhibitions, and fashionable happenings, the store now operates over
Stocking luxury candles and fragrances by Diptyque alongside cult cosmetics from Kiehl’s, the womenswear store now occupies 3000sqm over three carefully merchandised floors, at the original 1973 address. Menswear is a short walk on the same street, featuring Massimo Alba, Dior Homme, Prada, Y3 and Car Shoe to name a few. The brand also operates the more casually edited Scuderie, and design focused Ognicosa, on Via Lagrange.
Women’s Store: Piazza San Carlo 169, Turin 10123 Italy
Men’s Store: Piazza San Carlo 197, Turin 10123 Italy
Website: San Carlo
The RA concept store is the brainchild of two ex-students of the Fashion department at Royal Academy of Art, Belgium, Romain Brau and Anna Kushnerova. The same department that has delivered concept store favourites Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela and Peter Pilotto. The 800sqm space is situated in the Kloosterstraat, between second hand furniture shops and galleries and a stone’s throw from the Academy from which they graduated.
Spread two levels, there is 300sqm allocated to fashion, featuring high end hard-to-find labels high end labels like Hannah Marshall and Louise Goldin and more affordable labels by Henrik Vibskov and b-store. The remaining 500sqm comprises an exhibition space, bookstore, music corner and food corner, featuring a thatched roof hut at the centre of the space designed by Mathieu Lehanneur and a roof garden by Ben Berckmoes. The store also produces a portfolio of collaborative products, site-specific projects, exhibitions, installations and performances to promote and enrich the creative and cultural discourse.
From it’s first concept boutique launched in 1994, the Podium brand now operates 28 stores across its Concept, Jewellery, Sport, Home Interiors and Vintage brands. Operating in Moscow City as well as Paris, Courchevel, Kiev, Saint Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, the company now employs over 1300 people.
The Moscow flagship occupies five floors in a historic building in the heart of the city, a self-described blend of fashion, luxurious jewellery, outstanding interior design objects, exclusive cosmetics and perfumery and rare art and fashion books. Each Podium store is designed specifically for the building and area, with a carefully curated selection of merchandise to suit the location and brand, achieved through a very selective approach to building its brand portfolio. Despite the selective nature the company now represents and sells over 350 premium brands.
Ulitsa Kuznetskiy Most, 14, Gorod Moskva, Russia 107031