12 Floral Street has been transformed – much like British brand Kent & Curwen has transformed the face of modern menswear. But, where the heritage clothing company had new life breathed into it by creative director Daniel Kearns, and David Beckham, the brand’s new flagship store has seen Parisian retail architects ‘Architecture and Associes’ take the reigns of revamping.
A studio well-known for their award-winning store design for many of the world’s most prestigious fashion brands, the French company overhauled the Covent Garden location to ensure that Kent & Curwen had a store as signature and striking as the clothes it contains.
A Victorian building, the store was originally built as the Adelphi School for Boys in 1860. Kent & Curwen, always keen to showcase and explore their own heritage, found this history fascinating, and instead of stripping back the store, decided to embrace the rustic aesthetic – albeit through a modern lens. As such, the refurbishment saw the addition of aged and distressed wood panelling, hand-blown green glass screens and white-washed brick walls.
This raw aesthetic – that has a distinctively masculine feel to it – runs throughout the establishment, where industrially welded steel fixtures and clothes rails reminiscent of vintage gym equipment – using reclaimed oak with brass detailing – keep the look both clean and cool. Even the green and cream tile detailing that adorns the walls is a subtle nod to the traditional Pie and Mash shops of old.
“The intention was to suggest the heritage of the building as well as the brand, highlighting our influences and inspirations, without being in any way pastiche” says Daniel Kearns. “We have created a space that feels traditional yet modern, luxurious yet grounded – it matches the product which follows the same ethos.”
“Daniel and I have been searching for the perfect location for some time,” adds Beckham, “and I believe we’ve found it on Floral Street. A long time, iconic London shopping destination, Floral street is at the heart of this great city and we’re excited for Kent & Curwen to be at the forefront of it.”
Kent & Curwen’s latest move follows an established tradition of shaking up menswear. When the brand first launched in 1926, it made neckties boasting unexpected colour combinations, and Eric Kent always favoured mixing sportswear with his formal suits. And, in 1932, Kent & Curwen purchased a knitwear factory in London to create the first ever cricket sweaters, a style that would solidify their reputation around the world. Since then, the Kent & Curwen cricket sweater crossed over from sport to become a global standard.
Opening their flagship on Floral Street is just as significant a step – so why not pop down before Christmas to take a look?