Interest for designer menswear is flourishing – and it's all because of the rise in smartstyle male purchasers, for whom only the most recent catwalk pieces will do.
Leather flooring, oak panels, swish sofas that wouldn't look strange in a costly hotel: the new men's shoe department in London's flagship Selfridges store obviously means business. Some portion of a major revamp of the whole Selfridges menswear floor, the new shoe area will sell in excess of 3,000 styles, from bespoke Tom Ford boots to £25 flip-flops. It will be the greatest men's shoe department in the world, and its unveiling this week will carry with it in excess of an amazing 72,000 sets of shoes – it additionally heralds another era for the way men shop for fashion.
Prepared across 10,000 square feet, the Selfridges shoe department has been structured by Belgian architect Vincent van Duysen and includes a made-to-order salon highlighting floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors. Its painstakingly manicured structure mirrors a deeply desire among male purchasers for high-end, avant-garde fashion.
"It's an amazingly exciting time," says David Walker-Smith, director of menswear for Selfridges. "The presentation of London Collections [men's fashion week] has been a significant advance forward for the industry and shines a spotlight on British fashion."
Exclusive products by a different combination of labels, from Versace to Dr Martens, will go on sale while in early 2013, while the first Christian Louboutin boutique for men will also open there. Directional fashion, from leggings to £3,000 cashmere coats, is likewise doing a shockingly swift trade on the shop floor. Adam Kelly, purchasing director for men's designer wear, says "There is definitely a demand for more catwalk fashion," he says. "We now get customers coming in with catwalk images from style.com and telling us which pieces they want to buy from the collections."
It's a trend that extends beyond the looming walls of the central London department store. "We have definitely spotted the rise of an increasingly fashion-literate men's customer, who follows the runways and comes into the store knowing what the key pieces for the season are,"says Stacey Smith, menswear purchaser for high-end boutique Matches.