7 Burlington Gardens
7 Burlington Gardens is a Grade II* building in Mayfair, London. Formerly known as Queensberry House, it was later called Uxbridge House. The building is now home to the London flagship store of the American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.
The address is in the Mayfair district of London. Although the official address is 7 Burlington Gardens, it is also on Savile Row and Google Maps labels the location as 42 Savile Row, Westminster. On the side of the building facing Savile Row, a sign reads Savile Row W1. On the facade of the building facing Burlington Gardens, it reads "Burlington Gardens W1".
1725 to 21st century
The building was first erected in 1725 as a home. In the subsequent years, there were many additions and alterations to the building. At some point, it was made a branch of the Bank of England and staircases and vaults were added in the interior.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch leased the location in 2005. Seldorf Architects were hired to design the location in a way that both the A&F and English cultures could collaborate while maintaining most of the original architecture. Overnight in May, a two story construction wall was erected around the building and was plastered with half-naked men and "Abercrombie & Fitch". The building then underwent an 18-month-long restoration project to convert the location into an aspirational flagship. Numerous London buses decorated with A&F imagery (announcing the opening of the flagship) ran throughout London's streets.
When the store opened on 22 March 2008, it generated a volume sales of $280,000 USD in the first six hours. A crowd of people waited outside the building all day. In April 2008, A&F Quarterly, which was discontinued in 2003 in the USA, was relaunched for the UK.
The retail space occupies two floors within the building. Shirtless store greeters welcome at the entrance. The interior is noticeably dark and on walls hang massive paintings of semi-nude males similar to their Fifth Avenue store. Electronic dance music is played inside the store and A&F scents are sprayed. The employees have been labelled "models", the "impact team", and the "overnighters" by the company. There is a dance platform where models are instructed to dance for long periods of time - these were featured in a promotional video.
Abercrombie and Fitch's presence on Savile Row was initially criticised by the bespoke clothing manufacturers of the street. The Savile Row Bespoke was formed with permission of the City of Westminster to join Row tailors in protecting the image of Savile Row. Mark Henderson, CEO of Gieves & Hawkes was made Chairman and he commented that “Exploiting the Savile Row name to attract high-paying retailers and businesses, at the cost of this world-esteemed industry [Savile Row tailoring], is shortsighted." Another Row tailor, Thomas Mahon, negatively commented on the situation to The Times: “If the Bespoke businesses were driven out by crappy retail stores selling poor-quality clothes...then Savile Row’s name would be irreparably damaged.”
Painting by Thomas Malton, in 1801.
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- Poseurs Paradise! What's it really like to work at the new Abercrombie & Fitch store?