Space NK has been gathering momentum over the last decade. There are now over 60 stores in the UK, of which nearly 30 are in the glossier parts of London. Recently a handful of boutiques have been opened in the US (see report on the Soho store); it will be interesting to see if the concept can be as successful on the other side of the pond.
The founding principle of Space NK was to offer customers a relaxed, unpressured shopping experience. You don’t get pestered by pushy sales assistants (at most, one polite ‘Can I help you?’, and then you’re left alone.) Their stores offered tissues and cleansers, long before this became standard practice in other cosmetics outlets. They sell a limited range of high-end products, usually the hot new names that are just getting famous in the UK, and they don’t make any attempt to push particular brands or special offers.
There is an oddity about Space NK stores, though, which is that, outside a core cosmetics inventory (Laura Mercier, Eve Lom, By Terry), individual stores can carry items that you don’t find in other stores, or even in the catalog. Whether this is down to managerial freedom or some kind of stock control philosophy, it does add interest to a Space NK visit.
Space NK carries an interesting range of perfume. They’re often the only UK stockist of a niche house, such as Antonia’s Flowers or Norman Hartnell. For a while, they were the only place you could buy Parfums DelRae in Britain. So they’re stores well worth visiting for the ardent perfumista.
The one in Hans Crescent is especially interesting, as it’s right outside Harrods cosmetics hall, and frankly rather a relief after the heaving masses in Harrods (Space NK shops are lit brightly and have lots of space between displays; they rarely seem crowded.) The Hans Crescent store is an excellent store for perfume, and often has niche excitements you won’t find in the other branches.
Fragrance brands: On my most recent visit, the store’s perfumes included Acqua di Parma, Annick Goutal, Antonia’s Flowers, Chantecaille, Diptyque, Emilio Pucci, Hampton Sun (Privet Bloom), Kiehl’s, Laura Mercier, Nasomatto, Robert Piguet, Serge Lutens, Tocca and Tom Ford, as well as Space NK’s in-house line of scents.
Getting there: Nearest tube is Knightsbridge. Follow the signs for the Harrods exit; when you emerge, Space NK is about fifty feet away on the left.
Not to be missed: The fabulous patisserie just a few doors down.
Nearby: Harrods is a quick dash across the pedestrian-only road.
— images & report filed by Nina.