Selfridges has unveiled the first phase of what it boasts will be the largest “handbag hall” in the world, as part of a £300m refurbishment of its flagship London store.
The retailer’s existing luxury handbag and accessories department at the Oxford Street store will triple in size by 2018 to 5,750 sq m (61,000 sq ft), will be longer than the football pitch at Wembley Stadium and will be big enough to stock more than 70,000 bags, luggage and scarves.
Designed in collaboration with Turner Contemporary architect David Chipperfield, the vast white marble-floored space will open gradually in three main phases.
Selfridges said the masterplan was created around the never-realised ambition of its US founder Harry Gordon Selfridge to create a unified block within the Oxford Street, Orchard Street, Wigmore Street and Duke Street quadrant.
The eastern Duke Street facade will undergo a dramatic refurbishment which includes a new triple-height entrance directly into the accessories hall. At the heart of the hall is the Fount – a 14-seat circular bar.
Brands ranging from Charlotte Olympia, Sophie Hulme and 3.1 Phillip Lim, through to luxury powerhouses including Hermès, Chanel and Céline, feature in the new hall. Prices will range from £30 for an Anya Hindmarch embossed leather sticker, to handbags and clutches priced at an eye-watering £20,000-plus.
“The completion of this phase offers the first glimpse of our wider project for the accessories hall,” said David Chipperfield. “Inspired by the timeless classicism and grand scale of the original building, the scheme will unify the accumulated building structures that make up the department store. This singular identity is further underlined by the introduction of a series of screens that unite the brand concessions.”
Selfridges reported a drop in full-year profits last month following the company-wide investment programme. The retailer said operating profit fell by 1.9% to £152m in the 12 months to 31 January, compared with a year earlier, despite seeing a 5% jump in gross sales to a record £1.4bn.
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