The digital conveniences of online shopping means we have little need to trudge around the bustling streets of the West End, but there are exceptions to the rule that beckon - Burberry’s new digitally enhanced flagship store on Regent Street. The recent opening was a timely prelude to the brand's S/S 2013 womenswear collection debut at London fashion week yesterday.
Taking over two years to complete, the behemoth 44,000 sq ft space is an enterprising blend that blurs the line between the physical and digital, effectively creating an virtually-enhanced experience in store.
Sited in what used to be an old cinema, the vast space eschews the stuffiness of a high fashion boutique, creating an emphasis instead on browsing - cue the appealing display of trench coats dating back to the early 1900s. There are no real till points as such, just a team of staff accessorised with an iPad and a credit card machine for transactions.
Dubbed 'Burberry World Live' by the brand, digital highlights include a series of full-length screens scattered around the store which can smoothly be switched to act as mirrors when needed and a giant screen within the centre of the atrium around which a stage can be erected in order to host in-store gigs. Meanwhile, many clothing items have also been chipped with radio-frequency identification technology, allowing for multi-media content (such as a catwalk clip of your item) to be triggered when placed near a mirror.
And with amusing elements like electronically orchestrated 'digital rain showers' timed to occur, along with a bespoke section where customers can customise their own coats, 'Burberry World Live' is more than your run-of-the-mill store, confirming the innovative brand has successfully integrated the conflicting worlds of digital and physical.