Celebrating attention to detail on a personal level is an experience that customers can sometimes lose in today’s digital age, but that is something that Harrods’ managing director Michael Ward hopes to change with the store’s Rarity celebration this summer.
“To me, ‘rare’ is a product or experience, unique in design or story, that may be one of very few left in existence or can only be experienced at a specific moment,” says Ward. “Most importantly, something rare should create lasting memories that you can treasure or can be treasured by future generations.”
The storewide campaign shows truly individual finds from fashion and jewellery to homeware and food, displaying over 60 exclusive products that have been selected by the Harrods teams from as far away as Hawaii and Panama to the home turf of Yorkshire.
“Throughout our celebration of Rarity, we have made sure that each and every product and experience within our curated list showcases true craftsmanship, as well as being exclusive,” adds Ward.
The Oulton Arthur Conan Doyle trunk is an example of what Harrods hope to achieve; a piece of true artisanal craftsmanship. Goyard design the trunk in the late 1800s with the author when he was alive and this is the final one of seven available to purchase in the world.
The store’s fashion department has also been transformed into a veritable goldmine of exclusive couture pieces. A Ralph & Russo evening gown, an embellished jacket from Balmain and an 18ct gold Bottega Veneta Knot Clutch are pieces to keep an eye out for.
There are also limited-edition pieces such as a redesign of Coco Chanel’s clock as well as unique accessories in the form of a Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S Blue watch.
As for spectacular pieces of jewellery, Bulgari have presented a striking Secret Mirror necklace centred around a 26ct sapphire from Sri Lanka set into rock crystal, supposedly inspired by the lavish parties hosted by Princess Cornelia Costanza Barberini at her Roman palazzo in the 18th century.
Alex Dower, director of food and restaurants, explains that his category not only serves to display some of the best food and drink but celebrates the somewhat rare ideal of enjoying a moment ‘in the now’, “as the perishable nature of food products means you ultimately have to consume for it to be at its best”.
“Penfolds is a great example as it only releases its Special Bin Cuvées in the most exceptional vintages,” adds Dower. “The last time it produced a Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz was in 1966. Now, more than half a century later, a special two-bottle release of the 2008 Bin 620 is available in Harrods and presented in a specially commissioned Tasmanian oak box complete with a letter from the current Penfolds chief winemaker, Peter Gago.”
Customers will be able to see the finds throughout the store, as well as presenting over 20 bespoke experiences spread throughout its fashion, watch, jewellery, home and food departments, while its Brompton Road displays will set the scene with elaborate window dressings.
“Experience has been a key trend this year,” Dower adds. “We know our customers enjoy purchasing when there is theatre to compliment the experience and that’s why this year we have ensured there are food focused experiences on the shop floor.”
Such experiences vary from the Tea Tailor, an area where customers are invited to create their own customised tea blend, and wine-pairing master classes to personalised bread loafs from master baker Lance Gardner and a lesson on how to make the perfect cup of coffee from master roaster Bartosz Ciepaj.
The Harrods team want to celebrate these momentary experiences that will create ever-lasting memories, “whether it’s designing your own lipstick shade to spending precious time with family and friends,” says Annalise Fard, director of the home and beauty department, where customers can purchase a bespoke fragrance after exploring the different ingredients and selecting their own unique combination. Yet another example of the memories and experiences which Harrods hopes to champion long after the celebration has ended.