|British Fashion Awards’ ‘Shop of the Year’, b Store on Savile Row, is a boutique like no other. Known for supporting the crème de la crème of emerging and established fashion design talent, b Store’s Kirk Beattie and Matthew Murphy have seen numerous labels and designers including Roksanda Ilincic, Richard Nicoll and Peter Jensen go from unknown to iconic with their support. With their own men’s and women’s clothing and footwear line, a dedicated magazine and monthly art and fashion in-store installations and exhibitions, b Store has proven to be an unstoppable, ever-evolving creative entity. The duo behind the London mecca for innovative high-end fashion gave farfetch.com the lowdown on their boutique, past and pending. |
b Store is renowned for showcasing the wares of some of the most innovative, exciting young designers from around the world. What was the concept behind the b-Store boutique originally, and when did it launch?
Matthew Murphy and Kirk Beattie: It launched in August 2001 as a flagship for the b store shoe collection. The concept was a launch pad for the brand and the collection sat alongside young graduate designers and artists that we felt complemented the shoes.
You stock a lot of cutting edge labels, from well-known designers to emerging talent – how do you decide on the brands you buy for the store?
Murphy and Beattie: We are always looking for individualism – we are not just on the look out for brands that would generally be positioned together in other shops, b Store has a particular vision and taste level - we generally have a good idea of how new designers will work with others we have in the store.
You are known for nurturing burgeoning fashion talent – who are some of the designers you have taken on and seen evolve into successful brands?
Murphy and Beattie: We have been very lucky to work with many talented designers – some grow and evolve into labels that are better placed in other shops, such as Boudicca, Roksanda Ilincic and Richard Nicoll, and some are still part of the b Store family such as Peter Jensen, Bernhard Willhelm and Peter Perrett
b Store has something of a cult following – why do you think people have been so receptive to your boutique, what sets it apart from other stores?
Murphy and Beattie: Our service and passion sets us apart, the two of us (two of the three partners), still work on the shop floor daily and with the other staff. We manage to create a very personal and special atmosphere.
Can you tell me about your numerous in-store exhibitions and installations – including your recent collaboration with the London Design Museum? How did these exhibitions begin, and what inspired you to have this fashion and art crossover at b Store?
Murphy and Beattie: At our original store, we made a conscious decision to steer away from more obvious window displays. We transferred the idea of supporting young fashion designers to the window space – offering it to graduate and young artists to showcase installations. We gave them complete creative control and let the installations’ theme run independently to what was stocked in the store. This premise grew to having some artists take over the store through exhibitions, and when we moved to our bigger location in Savile Row, we were able to dedicate more space to installations, which change on a monthly basis. Through this support of young artists we’ve gained a reputation within the art world, which led to us being invited to be part of the recent Design Museum exhibition. We were asked to map out b Store's London, the people and places that we felt made contemporary London. We have been very fortunate to be able to showcase some great emerging and established art and fashion talent.
|What have been some of the most standout events, collaborations or exhibitions you have held at b Store? |
Murphy and Beattie: A stand out was the Shona Heath and Tim Gutt exhibition, which was both beautiful and a great opportunity to work with a duo of respected artists. To coincide with the Frieze Art fair in October last year, we held an exhibition hosted by Paperback Magazine featuring work by Japanese cult artist, Yamataka Eye. We had an amazing mix of people at the store, with many faces from the underground New York art scene attending unexpectedly. It felt like a special event that will be hard to repeat in the future.
What exciting upcoming projects are on the cards for b Store over the next few months?
Murphy and Beattie: We have just launched an exclusive collaboration for Dover Street Market in London and Corner DSM in ISETAN, Tokyo. The collection is a limited edition of 10 pieces, 10 of each style with signature design reference details from previous b Store menswear collections. In store now, we have a beautiful installation and retrospective of London-based graphic design team STUDIOTHOMSON. They have designed a limited edition note book to complement their installation entitled LE COMMUNICATION VISUELLE EST DU TEMPS PRESENT. For Christmas, we have a very festive installation launching on the 10th December by London-based collective NEW POWER STUDIO, it will be Christmas with a twisted, dark sense of humour. Also, look out for the launch of the b Store book corner; curated by independent publisher and art aficionado, KRIS LATOCHA.
What inspired the launch of the b Store clothing line and how would you describe its artistic direction?
Murphy and Beattie: The concept was to offer a collection of basic, traditional, utilitarian designed staples for a modern man's wardrobe. In response to the success of European labels such as APC and ACNE - which both offer their vision of timeless basics - we wanted to create a brand that sat with these contemporaries, but with a decidedly English feel.
How has the b Store clothing line evolved and what do you feel are its strengths alongside the other labels you sell in store?
Murphy and Beattie: The brand has grown to a level that we never initially realised was achievable, resulting in the collection growing in size and categories. We are currently in the process of developing an extended women’s collection and an 8 piece men’s basic collection of best selling key styles.
In terms of your new winter stock, what are some of the most exciting pieces or designers you have in store?
Murphy and Beattie: All of the polka dot items within the b Store collection are major pieces for winter along with the exclusively for b Store Peter Perrett Oxford cotton military shirts; Sophie Hulme’s quilted cocoon coat with matching rucksack for girls; and the arrival of Stephan Schneider's women’s collection for the first time at b Store.