July 5, 2019
Italian fashion label Fendi is the latest high-fashion brand to use an immersive approach to retail marketing, as it takes over British department store Harrods. But its strategy of tapping a multitude of different pop-up styles in one launch is what makes this endeavor stand out.
Fendi and Harrods are working together on an extensive summer takeover launch, tapping artist Joshua Vides as he gains prominence with luxury brands. The Italian fashion label’s presence is notable throughout Harrods’ Knightsbridge store, from its exhibition windows all the way to its shoe department, with four different pop-up locations.
"When you look at a pop-up, they tend to be relegated to a smaller area of a store or even in a freestanding operation," said Kimmie Smith, cofounder, creative director and stylist at Athleisure Mag. "They don’t usually integrate with the brand of the store/space that they occupy.
"This pop-up being seen throughout Harrod’s from the Exhibition Space, Windows, Ground Floor, Fendi Caffe, Shoe Heaven and Men’s Superbrands allows shoppers to see the world of Fendi throughout the department store as a way to enjoy an immersive experience. In this manner, it transcends a pop up to being more of a takeover."
Ms. Smith is not associated with Harrods or Fendi. Harrods and Fendi were reached for comment.
Pop-up shops have become an exceptionally important and favored strategy of fashion and other brands.
Fendi is one of many brands who are ramping up their pop-up endeavors this summer, and its work with Harrods is extensive.
The brand has commissioned Mr. Vides, who is known for his artistic style in turning physical objects into 2D black-and-white images. The World of Fendi at Harrods includes four locations in the store, with two featured in black-and-white two-dimensional style.
Fendi’s Peekaboo Bar, open until July 28, focuses exclusively on the iconic Peekaboo bag. As the label touts the bag this year, Harrods’ exhibition windows feature a number of designs of the bag, allowing shoppers to mix-and-match their styles and brand Defender covers with their own initials.
Peekaboo Bar in Harrods. Image credit: Harrods
The bags are set against a backdrop created by Mr. Vides, as well as alongside a few Peekaboo Bags in that style.
In addition to the Peekaboo bag, Fendi is showcasing the Baguette bag in sequins within the exhibition windows. Fendi has been pushing the popular 1990s style to a new generation.
To ensure shoppers have a memorable experience that extends beyond shopping, Fendi is also taking over Harrods’ Brompton Deli until Aug. 31, rebranding it the Fendi Café. The “FF” logo covers the restaurant from the floor to the ceiling in Mr. Vides’ style.
Situated on the fifth floor, the Fendi Café will also serve an Italian menu to fit with the brand's heritage, featuring dishes such as fresh Burrata and beef Carpaccio.
The Fendi Cafe in Harrods. Image credit: Harrods
Mr. Vides transformed these two locations inside Harrods’ department store in London at the request of Fendi, who proposed the idea early this year, according to a Hypebeast interview with the artist.
But Fendi is not the only luxury brand to partner with the artist.
German automaker Mercedes-Benz turned a car wash into a permanent art installation, showcasing the idea that art does imitate life.
As part of the Mural Festival in Montreal, Canada, an annual street art festival in June, Mercedes worked with Mr. Vides on an installation. The project transformed a car wash on Laurier Avenue West into what looks like a 2D black-and-white drawing (see story).
Experiences at Harrods
Harrods takes its responsibility as Fendi’s host seriously, and has added the Fendi pop-ups to its store map, noting Fendi locations with an “FF” symbol.
In addition to the other two branded Fendi locations, the department store’s Shoe Heaven Pop-Up will feature the most in-demand Fendi footwear, from now until December. The pop-up is located within Harrods revamped and extensive shoe department, and will feature a range of Fendi styles including sock sneakers, the slant-heeled FFreedom ankle boots and tech mesh Colibri slingbacks.
The Piazza Pop-Up gives in-store customers a special preview at the fall/winter 2019 accessories collection. Located in the Men’s Superbrands department on the second floor, the space shows the Baguette bag in its menswear form, with multi-purpose straps and buckles.
Similarly to many other department stores, Harrods has been focusing on experiential offerings lately as retail has changed. The store recently took a journey through time with an in-depth experiential dive into luxury watches.
As bricks-and-mortar stores are leveraging their physical presence to create interactive initiatives, Harrods used its luxury timepiece knowledge to hold a series of talks on the subject. Discussions and events were held in the Fine Watches rooms in Harrods’ ground floor (see story).
"From a consumer experience, being able to shop, see and even eat in a café that has the elements of Fendi that are iconic, it takes the things that they enjoy about Harrod’s to another level," Ms. Smith said. "As Fendi is throughout Harrod’s it creates an element of a scavenger hunt where guests look to see where else they can see the brand and may even encourage them to go in more areas to see if there are more places that Fendi has collaborated in.
"Even when they enter an area that is not part of the collaboration, it provides visibility to other vendors within Harrod’s that may not have been seen."