While Bond Street has been synonymous with London fashion since the 18th century, this street in Mayfair has grown from a collection of boutiques and small shops into an epicentre of luxury retail and a major tourist destination in and of itself. A series of megastores – for brands like Chanel, Dior, and Fendi – have been slated to open in the coming year, joining the noted Louis Vuitton flagship.
Louis Vuitton opened its London flagship store called “Maison” in May of 2010 at the junction of Clifford and Bond Streets. Marc Jacobs, the creative director of Louis Vuitton, described the megastore as “probably one of the most magnificent retail stores in the world for the best luxury house, the greatest luxury brand."
The coming Bond Street reinvention, like the "Maison" store, will feature architecture from design mastermind Peter Marino, taking shoppers to a larger-than-life luxury wonderland. With notable artwork commission tabs ranging up to $3 million and demanding complete collaboration for his bespoke boutiques, Marino explains, “I think luxury brands want people to equate anything exquisite in life with their product."
London currently draws in more than 15 million foreign visitors per year, making Bond Street a targeted strategic focal point for global luxury brands. This reinvention encapsulates the recent unabashed ambition for luxury branding and offers customers an unprecedented level of luxury retail that has yet to be seen in the Western world. Perhaps this growing standard is an influence from the Eastern shopper?
Suleman Anaya critically describes the importance of the Bond Street megastores as a premier luxury showcase in a recent article on the Business of Fashion, writing: "Indeed, Bond Street is now at the centre of a number of powerful crosscurrents that have transformed the once-quaint street into a thoroughfare of international significance. As such, the new luxury megastores going up on the street are much more than outsized local flagships; they are beacons intended to project their brand’s international clout and ambition to a global audience. Perhaps more that anything, this explains their unprecedented scale."