There aren’t many brands that seem to understand how men want to shop. It doesn’t seem to me to be the most difficult thing to figure out, but it is rare that I find a place that captures the desired environment that, as a guy, just feels right. If I were to do a case study on how to do retail for men I would undoubtedly turn to Dunhill and their tremendous retail “homes” as the shining example of how to get things right.
Last year I stopped in on the Dunhill home in Shanghai, which is about as enchanting as a store can be. Then recently I paid a visit to the brand’s flagship London property, Bourdon House. It’s worth making a detour for even just for a look around and a cup of tea in the courtyard cafe. It’s good to know that someone out there is willing to be logical and do menwear retail right.
Bourdon House had an interesting array of vintage Dunhill items from the archive, including different types of leather goods from various decades displayed throughout the second floor. I found these old archival items particularly inspiring and could have spent hours looking through everything. In addition to the leather goods, the house also has a custom tailoring shop, and a standard off the rack retail floor with clothing, accessories and other small items on the ground floor.
The upper floors have more handsomely decorated spaces with the aforementioned leather goods, including a custom area where you can have your wallet or briefcase customized and monogrammed. There is also a spa and barber shop tucked away on the second floor. Downstairs is a small bar, cigar shop / pipe room.
Typically I think a barber shop, smoking room and café can run aground, with the referee giving the signal of trying too hard. But I don’t know if it is me getting caught up in the British-ness or the earnestness of the place? But the tone at Bourdon House is perfect and Dunhill hits all the right notes with these retail homes.
All together, Bourdon House is the perfect place for a guy to spend an afternoon away from the madness of the day. Next time you are in London, stop in and see mens retail done right.
The picture below on the left shows the Dunhill shop which was badly damaged by a German bomb during The Blitz. Undeterred, Alfred Dunhil brought his desk outside into the street and re-opened for business. The photo below right shows Dunhill outside helping customers. That very desk sits near the tailor studio on the second floor of the second floor of Bourdon House.
Bourdon House | 2 DAVIES STREET, MAYFAIR LONDON