Editor’s view: Selfridges puts lingerie on the map

On Monday Selfridges opened its long-awaited Body Studio, a new shopping space dedicated to lingerie, activewear and sun and swimwear creations.

Spanning 37,000ft2, it is the largest department Selfridges has ever opened and promises to transform the way women shop for the body. Knowing this, Lingerie Insight couldn’t keep away.

Designed by London-based architects Neri & Hu, the third floor concept space echoes the theme of this year’s big in-store campaign, EveryBody, celebrating the beauty and strength of the female form through environment, product and experience.

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The studio entrance features an entire room dedicated to activewear, with mannequins seen in athletic poses and layered with leisurewear, from sports bras by Puma to jersey tops by Sweaty Betty and leggings by Falke.

The activewear section is seamlessly merged with the swimwear room, which taps into thriving SS16 trends.

This section opens with sporty, neoprene styles featuring mesh details, zips and high necks, and moves into colourful, 80s-inspired silhouettes with asymmetric lines, denim prints and bubble jersey fabric.

The swimwear room, with its skylights and picture windows, is flooded with light to create a feeling of being outside, in the sunshine. This theme continues in the resort room, where I found kimonos, kaftans and accessories by brands such as Melissa Odabash, Moschino and Seafolly.

Facing the resortwear room is a wellness cafe, named Hemsley & Hemsley. The eatery serves a day-to-night menu from 9.30am–9pm with recipes from Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley’s international bestselling cookbook, The Art of Eating Well.

The opening is a clear sign that healthy eating and well-being are being integrated into customers’ lifestyles and shopping habits.

Next door, the theme of wellbeing continues at a brand-new hair and beauty destination, courtesy of renowned hair stylist Daniel Galvin.

The Body Studio is a place to feel good in – and Selfridges has really thought about the experience its customer will have there. It’s not just about product.

Moving on from resortwear, we are led to comfortable loungewear with simple colours and prints. This is merged with everyday lingerie and leisurewear, seen layered on mannequins to reflect the crossover between these bodywear categories.

Beyond the escalator we find everyday, fuller bust and luxury lingerie. There’s even a colourful knicker bar, where customers are invited to pick and mix their underwear. The Body Studio clearly sets out to deliver solutions to every woman and every situation.

The department shifts in atmosphere when we reach the plush confides of the carpeted tights bar and the Fit Studio – manned by dedicated sizing experts.

Premium loungewear is also a focal point in the circular terrazzo walkway, where luxury product from Olivia von Halle, NK Mode and Dear Bowie hang from brass rails.

There’s even a La Perla shop-in-shop featuring the crème de la crème of luxury lingerie and nightwear.

The mood changes again when we reach the intimate boudoir room, with sultry product hanging in cages to reflect the strapping details on the lingerie and the architectural lines of the female form. Once again, the female body is celebrated.

But it’s not just the body that is being celebrated in the studio – it’s the bodywear itself. Department stores tend to hide their lingerie spaces in the back left-hand corner, out of the way. At the Body Studio, it sees the light of day.

The Body Studio puts bodywear in the spotlight, demonstrating to consumers that it is a vital segment in the shopping journey, not just an add-on accessory to outerwear.

It also reaffirms the fact that consumers want more than just product – they want an unforgettable shopping experience, which is what all stores should be offering.

Finally, and perhaps crucially for today’s industry, it is set to encourage retailers of all shapes and sizes to raise their game, ensuring that intimate apparel garners the same amount of energy and effort as beauty and fashion, and considering innovation in design and technology across the entire floor space.

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