Esprit Regent Street grand reopening with a performance by Natasha Bedingfield
San Franciscan brand Esprit reopened their Regent Street flagship store with a bang last night. It was a lavish affair with velvet ropes and uniformed doormen struggling to keep a slew of paparazzi and the gathering crowd of curious onlookers at bay, who were all trying to catch a glimpse of just who was inside!
Once past the doormen and the guestlist check, we were greeted by pink polo-shirted wait staff offering canapés and cocktails or wine. Ice buckets dotted all over the store provided beers, mineral waters and handmade lemonades. Esprit really went above and beyond in providing their guests with a top quality experience; this will surely rank as one of the most well put on parties of the year.
A range of interactive crafty activities had been arranged for guests to get involved in, including hand printing eco tote bags and decorating cupcakes which were even boxed-up for guests to be able to take home; my attempt at bag-printing was somewhat a failure but I fared rather better at cupcake design; the result of which I was quite proud of until, of course, I immediately smudged it even in its protective box.
As the well dressed and very fashionable crowd busied themselves with these activities and shopped the latest Esprit collection, taking advantage of the 20% discount offer on the night, the paparazzi chased several members of the TOWIE cast down Regent Street and singer Dionne Bromfield managed to slip by them and into the event looking very pretty in blue. Male models Jay Camilleri and BB from E4’s Dirty Sexy Things were enjoying themselves (and the wine) working the crowd which gradually began to congregate around the stage that had been set up for what was undoubtably the main event of the evening — a performance by pop star Natasha Bedingfield.
Bedingfield is one of the few UK singers who have achieved notable success in the US; her track Unwritten was used as the theme tune to the reality show that started them all — The Hills. She went on to have two very successful albums and so it was with due cause that by the time she came on stage for her live acoustic set the crowd had worked itself up into quite a fervour. Natasha’s performance was, to say the least, amazing. She sang not one, but five of her hits and welcomed her brother to the stage to beatbox to her performance of Unwritten at which point she had the entire crowd singing along very enthusiastically. Ms Bedingfield brought the house down by finishing off with a rendition of Purple Rain that truly showcased her impressive vocal talents and had her audience whooping and screaming their appreciation. A beyond-par performance from a lovely lady.
Post-performance, the crowd made for the exits, waylaid by mini ice-cream cones and a coffee cart serving espressos and coffee to help counter-act the alcohol thus consumed, collecting gift bags on the way out that contained Esprit giftcards, mini Jo Malone votive candles and a copy of Angel Adoree’s Vintage Tea Party book.
The new store is an airy shopping delight, part of the brands “back to the roots” restructure, Esprit have certainly achieved what they set out to do. Wandering across the two floors of the open plan store, it certainly does not feel as if you are in the UK, rather, through lighting, architecture and design, Esprit have created a very American ambience. Californian cool is the key here; laid back, pared down chic clothing is showcased in an easy manner in a very “natural” environment that is emphasised with the use of natural and sustainably sourced wood, hand-painted mannequins and wall art montages depicting scenes of the Golden State from which Esprit hails (the first Esprit collection in 1968 was sold from a VW bus in San Francisco!).
For a sunny dose of California visit the new store for yourself on Regent Street, or shop Esprit online here.
Ian Michael Turner
Photos: Ian Michael Turner