The first floor has been conceived to look like a display case with bright lighting courtesy of ceiling panel lamps and floor-to-ceiling windows. Interiors-wise, it’s as industrial as you’d expect from the brand. Minimal grey furniture, metal shelves and a system of conveyor rails upon which the collections will be hung contrast against aqua-green carpet. Downstairs it's the same story, but with burnt orange floors helping to create an “atmosphere of public space in a private setting”.
The London outpost is the latest in Balenciaga’s “worldwide architecture project” and expresses “Demna Gvasalia’s interest in the look and feel of diverse retail environments”, according to the brand. As the creative director told Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen after the autumn/winter 2019 show, in which he sent Balenciaga carrier bags and quilted handbags that resembled grocery shopping nets down the runway: “Balenciaga is for people who actually love fashion and go shopping. That’s what I do.” For a designer who loves the thrill of retail as much as his customer, the Sloane Street outpost must have been a joy to design. Expect the bags – particularly the 30 iterations of the Shopping Tote XXS with the word London stamped underneath Balenciaga's logo – to fly off those conveyor rails.