A Royal Heritage

  • Shaun Tolson

When Frank Smythson opened his namesake retail shop on London’s Bond Street more than 125 years ago, he advertised it to be a place where customers would be granted attentive, personal service and where they could purchase “fancy articles of a high-class character.”

The 3,300-square-foot Smythson (www.smythson.com) flagship store underwent a complete redesign in 2012. Now, according to Waldo Works, the architectural design studio that spearheaded the transformation, it reflects the “great London houses lost in the war.” Laid out as a series of private rooms, the store incorporates items from the brand’s historical archive, such as portable diaries and bespoke stationary from the early 1900s, which are interspersed among its contemporary lines of leather handbags, journals, and accessories for sale. “From the many options of product personalization to the quiet calm of the grotto archive, heritage and impeccable customer service form the core of Smythson’s philosophy,” says Andy Janowski, the brand’s CEO.

Loyal customers have always been drawn to the brand for its attention to detail and its commitment to handmade craftsmanship, not to mention its storied past as a holder of four Royal Warrants. The gallery now reflects that history; and with its location directly across from Frank Smythson’s original storefront—a location that it’s held for 17 years—the gallery can provide nostalgic customers with a glimpse of the brand’s modest beginnings.

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