In 2012, Lover’s Nic Briand and Susien Chong opened their flagship store in The Strand Arcade. For a label that began as an unassuming local market stall, to launch Lover in The Strand would have felt all the more momentous. The late-1800s building has all the trappings of Victorian-era Australia, from carved cedar shopfronts and balustrades to marble pillars and ironwork.
In spite of a difficult retail climate, Lover is expanding. The second store, on Level 3 in Westfield Bondi Junction, marks the beginning of a national rollout. Designed by Kelvin Ho and his team at Akin Creative, the aim was to recreate something like the Art Gallery of NSW. Attempting to emulate some of the gallery’s warmth, calmness and sense of discovery, the store’s glassy walls are closed in with travertine marble and change rooms are cast in wood. Clothing racks, based on what Briand calls “tech photographic equipment”, offset exquisite lace dresses and separates.
“We’ve spent the past two years in our flagship store, understanding the rhythm of retail, working out any issues with supply chain and creating our blueprint,” says Briand. “We’ve been around for almost 13 years and have a strong following and product … the foundation of any business’s growth.”
A genuine, concrete interaction between consumers and garments has been key to Lover’s popularity. The ladylike garments with clever detailing are never brash or too preoccupied with trends. The expansion into Bondi Junction is a way for the brand to connect with a new breed of romantics.
“We want them to enjoy the whole experience,” says Briand. “In many cases they have already started to fall in love with the product [via] our website, Instagram, or a magazine. Once you add a beautiful, engaging space, great music and approachable staff, you get to experience the brand [in the flesh]. The customer becomes a part of it.”
Westfield Bondi Junction
Shop 3062, Level 3, 500, Oxford St. Bondi Junction
(02) 9369 2926
Mon, Tue, Wed and Sat 9.30am–6pm