Karen Millen’s new identity


Karen millen london flagshipKaren Millen has opened a new Australian store at Melbourne’s Emporium, off the back of the launch of its latest flagship on Brompton Rd, London.

There are now 13 Karen Millen stores in Australia.

Louise Mitchell, Karen Millen’s country director for Australia, told Inside Retail PREMIUM the new concept is more streamlined, clean and inspiring.

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“In the past our stores have been very much structured back. This is more about being able to move the store season to season and make the customer’s experience different depending on the trends and the looks,” she said. “It’s just beautiful.”

At more than 8000sqft and spread over three levels, the London store showcases the entire Karen Millen range with an experiential space on the lower ground floor for Atelier Concepts, customisation projects, collaborations and special events.

A second flagship will open later this month in Fifth Ave New York, set over 5000sqft, including an adaptable space to house pop up concepts and events.

The design of the new flagship stores is representative of Karen Millen’s emerging lighter and more relaxed aesthetic.

Over the past few seasons, the brand has undergone a significant transformation in order to create a new visual language that defines Karen Millen today.

While best known for mid-market corporate dresses, the brand has expanded its collections to include jeans, leathers, and separates.

“It’s definitely a wider range of customer that is starting to shop with us,” said Mitchell.  “She’s not going to wear head to toe Karen Millen, great if she does, but actually she’s shopping high street. She’s shopping lux and she’s shopping Karen Millen in between.”

Globally, new stores will each have their own individual identity, while a palette of natural materials in matte finishes and muted tones will remain constant.

“It’s about the customer experience. It’s more indulgent and actually allows the product to talk to itself,” said Mitchell.

Founded by a British designer of the same name in 1981, Karen Millen is today found in several markets, including the US, Denmark, and Russia.

International expansion is continuing into Canada, Norway, India, and Taipei in 2014.

This article first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 1997.




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