This month’s best experiences come from Esquire’s London townhouse, the ever-glamorous Frieze art fair, cycling app Peloton, Nike in Shanghai and Gwyneth Paltrow’s first UK outpost for Goop.
Esquire’s exclusive members’ club is back for another year with a brilliant line-up of guest speakers and events.
What we love
It’s behaving like a brand. Rather than behaving simply like a magazine, Esquire has realised that to be really competitive today it needs to become a brand that owns the conversation around men’s fashion and lifestyle IRL. It needs to build its community and become the ultimate conduit for conversation amongst that community – the townhouse initiative achieves this.
The varied guest speakers. From the roundtables with the male style icon David Gandy, to talks from explorers the Turner Twins and performances by the likes of Tom Odell, the schedule has something for everyone and recognises Esquire’s equally diverse readership. This townhouse will hopefully reinforce the existing readership’s loyalty and gain Esquire a few more fans.
Not quite retail, unless you’re in the business of buying really expensive art (although maybe you are, who knows!), but Frieze is certainly an experience that seems to get bigger every year.
What we love
The people watching. The recently finished ‘Fashion Month’ may be the best place to spot the quirkiest runway looks, but Frieze is the best place to see said looks worked IRL. We loved spotting the multitude of Balenciaga trainers, a handful of Vetements jackets and Chanel handbags.
The art. It’s almost as fun to marvel at the good stuff (Zadie Xa – Union Pacific installation is contemporary art at it’s best) as it is to chuckle at the weird stuff –Unemployment by Josh Klein is a sculpture of a guy in the foetus position wrapped up in clear plastic – odd.
The food. A plethora of high end and accessible restaurants offered Frieze-inspired gastronomy over the weekend. From Michelin stared The River Café to GAIL’s, there was something to suit every budget. It was good to see Frieze Masters host official pop-ups in a range of restaurants as well – a fun, sociable and delicious way to enjoy the fair.
Peloton is a cycling app that allows users to bring personal training into the home. It also sells its own static bicycles and has now launched a showroom in London where guests can book in for a one-on-one session.
What we love
It’s a great way to retain users. Sometimes downloading an app seems like a great idea, however using it regularly is another matter – apps have to try really hard to stop people from pushing the uninstall button. By inviting prospective customers into a space that allows them to get to grips with the all the apps features and understand how to use the bike is a sure-fire way to engage and retain users.
The home-inspired interiors. Each room has a homely feel, so you can cycle in a living-room inspired space. This is a nice departure from the super hi-fi, dark and intense environments we’ve come to associate with spin studios. It feels welcoming, unintimidating and inclusive.
It’s a strong way to launch in the UK. Peleton has already taken the US by storm and garnered high profile fans, such as Hugh Jackman and Ellen Degeneres. By inviting customers into the Peleton world it’s kicking off the UK arm of the business with the sort of experiential retail that works today.
Nike Shanghai 001
What we love
It’s another iteration of Nike’s hyper-local strategy. Dubbed the House of Innovation, this store brings a number of innovative ideas to life. Not only does is its stock tailored specifically for customers in the city, but the store will also be full of exclusive product and be one of the first places to receive limited edition drops.
The next-level customisation service. Customers can book appointments to sit down with a designer and create their own unique pair of trainers adding dip-dye, embroidery and a host of other embellishments. This gives the store a real point of difference and is a step up from the brand’s original ‘Nike ID’ customisation service.
It’s a community hub. The space will also be somewhere where Nike can host events, panel discussions, live podcast recordings and more. It’s good to see Nike making experiences like this a key part of its offer moving forward.
Gwyneth Paltrow was ahead of the curve when she launched wellness website Goop eight years ago. A store in LA opened last year and now Paltrow has launched a London pop-up space in Notting Hill that will stay open until January 27th.
What we love
It’s a mecca for Paltrow fans. GP, as she’s referred to at Goop, can be felt throughout the store. On entrance, her mission statement is scrawled prettily on a mirrored wall and her cookbooks and health manuals are dotted around the space. Customers can also buy Gwyneth-approved edits of products and pick up a copy of Goop’s first magazine – launched this September.
It feels as if the website’s content has come to life. Goop is renowned for the varied topics it covers and this store promises to be an introduction to the truly holistic approach to wellbeing Goop champions. From cooking utensils to beauty products, clothes and even sex toys, it was great to see most aspects of wellness catered for. It was quite refreshing to see sex toys merchandised next to shampoo, and this relaxed approach echoes the website’s tone.
The timetable of in-store events. For the duration of Goop’s stay in Notting Hill, there will be a series of events taking place in the store. Including talks from influential women, beauty treatments, yoga classes and much more. It’s a great place for Goop to get to know its customers more and provide a sort of clubhouse for them to come and hang out.