Retail Reporter: Elie Saab Opens First Haute Couture Salon in London

Elie Saab - Getty - H - 2016
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Brexit didn't sway the designer's choice to open up shop in the U.K.

Situated between London’s famous Bond Street shopping thoroughfare and the manicured confines of Berkeley Square are two entrances to Elie Saab’s newly opened flagship in a neoclassical townhouse at 24 Bruton Street. One is the store’s main entryway, inviting visitors into a spacious, marble-floored and chandelier-hung room lined with ready-to-wear clothes, glass-encased jewelry and leather goods, scarves and perfume. Another is a smaller, more discreet entrance — one reserved exclusively for appointment-only high-rollers ushered to the upper floors.

Elie Saab anticipated enough VIPs that he decided to open a full fledged haute couture salon on the building’s uppermost floor — the Lebanese designer’s third after Beirut and Paris, and the very first, to anyone’s knowledge, in London. (Most couture salons are located in Paris, where the tradition of made-to-measure haute couture began.)

Between two appointment rooms and a generously sized fitting room walled in mohair, customers can select and be measured for garments, which are then made and shipped from the company’s design atelier in Lebanon.

Saab, whose designs are a favorite of celebrities including Halle Berry and Hilary Swank, said via email that he wanted to open a London couture salon to better serve his clients.

“The London woman, and the woman who travels to and loves London, is different and unique from our other European clientele. It’s important to us to cater to all of our customers globally, and we wanted to build and create a space that felt personal and specific,” Saab said. 

Beyond the three rooms devoted to couture, there is a lower floor dedicated entirely to Mr. Saab’s specialty, bridal — a dream-like space with mirrored walls and plush dove gray furniture in dove gray — and a first floor displaying cocktail and eveningwear. Each space juxtaposes modern and traditional elements, setting plate glass and aluminum chandeliers against elaborate moldings and Empire-style furniture.

Saab and his team spent three years looking for the right building. “Mayfair was always top of mind as its elegance and flair very much reflects our brand DNA,” he wrote, adding that the U.K.’s recent decision to leave the E.U. did not impact the company’s plans. “We planned the opening of the salon for over a year and didn’t feel the need to postpone or reevaluate because of Brexit.”

The location is the designer's largest flagship to date at 10,000 square feet.