Thursday, March 15, 2018

Self-Portrait Opens Its First London Store

In under five years, Self-Portait, founded by Central Saint Martins graduate, Han Chong in November 2013, has fast become the go-to occasion wear brand for the discerning, modern woman. Already stocked everywhere from Selfridges, Matches Fashion and Net-a-Porter to Barneys Japan and Nordstrom, this month the London-based label opens its first freestanding store in the heart of Mayfair, at 49 Albermarle Street. "I always knew that I wanted to open my first store in the Mayfair area," Han Chong, founder and creative director of Self-Portrait explained to Vogue. "I used to go to all these shops in the neighbourhood that I couldn't afford when I was a student. Now, I wanted to bring our brand to the area where customers can have that luxury shopping experience but at our price point. I chose Albemarle because it’s off of Bond Street and I liked being slightly off the beaten path."

The just-opened 233-square-metre space has been designed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects, who have worked with the White Cube galleries and Céline. Set over the ground and lower ground floors with a sequence of elegant areas flowing into each other, the store offers personal styling appointments, a tailoring service and 90-minute door-to-door delivery within London. Your last-minute Saturday night party dress panic is now a thing of the past. "A physical store like the one we've created at Albemarle allows us as a brand to really let our customers see how the brand lives. It's like inviting someone to your home," Chong continued. "In today's world you think you know someone really well because of social media and you definitely do know aspects of them, but being in someone's home allows you to know them intimately. I wanted to invite everyone to get to know Self-Portrait personally."

The store will carry the brand's luxury ready-to-wear as well as accessories collections and to celebrate the opening, Self-Portrait has designed a selection of exclusive styles from the SS18 collection. But for those who can't make it down to Mayfair, fear not, as Chong has plans to open stores in other cities in the near future. Additionally, the designer has some special collaborations hidden up his sleeve, teasing us with the promise that "there are some exciting projects that we are working on at the moment that I can't wait to share with everyone when the time is right."

So what has been the key to growing a hugely-successful global brand in less than five years? "I think it's really having a clear vision and identity. You have to create a handwriting that is distinctly your own that customers will connect with your brand. Also, in my case I really made sure to always think of our customers first. Making sure that they feel the love in the work that I do."

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