Kookai, the nineties favourite, is making a comeback after disappearing off the radar in recent years with the opening of its new London flagship store and website.
The Marylebone flagship store, located on 18-19 St Christopher’s Place, officially opened on 21 November, with plans to stake a claim on UK shoppers once again.
When Kookai came to the UK in the 1990s it was considered to be the epitome of cool and as a teenager I remember saving to buy its branded logo tees and shoppers.
It has come a long way since then and now claims to draw on its French heritage of over 25 years of experience, ‘allowing women in their thirties to express their individuality with a brand they can understand and find approachable, with clothes that focus on the quality and cut’.
Speaking to Handbag.com, Emma Churchill, Kookai’s UK Head of Product stated, ‘The brand is contemporary, subtle and affordable, the French twist is still there within a collection marked out by exclusive prints, luxury fabrics, and trend-led products that are a step up from Kookai’s former offerings’.
Kookai’s mission statement is to offer ‘beautiful designer clothing, full of seduction and style a la francaise at an affordable price.’
Wanting to see for myself and with this in mind I headed to the store. My first impression was how small the boutique was for a flagship, but at the same time how similar it looked to its nineties counterpart.
Stepping into the store I was taken aback by the strong smell of lavender, how unwelcoming the staff were and the lack of colour, with row upon row of black.
Considering Kookai claims to be affordable I was shocked to find a plain white vest would cost me around £20 and over £100 for a black puffa jacket, neither of which were anything special and certainly not fashion forward as the brand suggests.
The layout and décor of the shop also failed to grab me. Of what I could tell there was one small rail of evening wear, consisting mainly of black sequined dresses, a tiny selection of footwear at the back of the store, and several rails more of unspecified black garments .
As they say first impressions count and mine was not a good one.
Kookai’s re-branding may have been successful in France but what with the recession and the success of Jimmy Choo for H and M it seems Kookai may have a lot of work to do in order to repeat their nineties success.