After the delicious revamp of its Beauty Department, Fenwick of Bond Street continues its historic repositioning with a glossy new Shoe Corner. And a couple of weeks ago, I was allowed a sneak peak of what is set to be a jewel in the store’s crown. First impressions? The title seems wholly inadequate: Fenwick’s ‘corner’ is in fact over 4,000sqft of the flagship’s ground floor transformed into a palatial Gatsby-esque playground for shoe lovers.
The palette of feminine greys and pinks, custom-made, combined circular chairs (all the better for comparing shoes with mates) and marble topped tables poised on delicate gold bars recall a playful, glittering 1920s London. It’s intentional: designer Shayne Brady was inspired by the original Mayfair Fenwick Town House at 63 New Bond Street. What may not occur to visitors dazzled by the shine is the Shoe Corner’s position, unique amongst department stores, on the ground floor. It’s a tacit recognition that shoes and accessories remain key to the future of luxury retail – and boy, is it handy.
Then, of course, there are the shoes. ‘Our founder Mr J.J Fenwick said back in 1891 ‘it’s not the size of the offer; it’s the quality of the edit.’ This is something that remains fundamental,’ says MD David Walker-Smith. ‘Our shopper is time-poor so we have micro-curated a key edit to ensure they have a shoe relevant for every element of their busy life.’ From luxury brands Valentino, Proenza, Chloe, Jil Sander and Michael Kors to youngbloods Nicholas Kirkwood and Sophie Webster, from the confections of Gina to the everyday wear of Kurt Geiger, this is a carefully picked selection of shoes. And I got to try some of them on. Want to know what a kid in a candy shop looks like? Here she is.