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The happy ritual of Chelsea's lunching ladies - whereby a table with a bottle of pinot on ice at Bluebird was followed by a swift bout of purchasing ahead of a holiday, a wedding, a day at the Races - is no more. They'll now have to make the journey "to town"; specifically, to Floral Street, where The Shop At Bluebird has just opened its new flagship in the stunning Grade II-listed confines of a former coach house.
Opening in Spring 2018, this 15,000 sqft oasis will offer up inspiration, escapism and hidden gems amid spectacular décor, including a triple-height day-lit atrium. Customers can browse two dedicated retail floors and a large restaurant on the upper floor.
The design of this flagship store drew on the rich heritage of the Carriage Hall, embracing the original architecture, archways and beams. Elements representing the building's Victorian architecture have been boldly interwoven with the Art Deco style of the King's Road venue: draped curtains, rich velvet textures and ornate patterns meet geometric shapes and sweeping curves.
Set over three floors, the shop's architectural pull centres on a cobbled courtyard with a vaulted glass ceiling, complete with the original carriage pulley systems and gates that hint at the yard's former life as a coach house.
The ground floor will introduce customers to new, contemporary or seasonal brands such as Forte Forte, Isa Arfen, Rixo and Ganni (niche labels you don't see everywhere have always been Bluebird's calling card), beauty and homeware.
A staircase winds up to galleries boasting a Blink brow bar, Light Salon therapy rooms and more big ticket designer collections including Alexander McQueen and Chloé.
Meanwhile the lofty top floor plays host to a cocktail bar and restaurant (unaffiliated with the original Bluebird brasserie) and an impressive roof terrace, lush with plants.
"The idea is that a customer comes into Bluebird and sees something they haven't seen before," said Miles, pointing out the site for an eight-foot-tall embalmed tree which will stand proud in the courtyard, and the wall where the Fashion Illustration Gallery will curate an edit of original illustrations and prints. "We are a sort of curiosity shop, where you can come in and explore."
"The key difference now is that you need to give customers an experience. We will be offering pop-ups of brands our customers have never seen before, connecting them with designers we stock who have a story or a passion or a skill, as well as a space where they can come and spend time without any pressure or expectations, somewhere they can have a bite to eat and wander around."