Backstage at Karen Walker Fall 2011/12. Photo: Katherine Lowe
Karen Walker's Newmarket store is about to go from quite big to really, really big, in the form of a 200 metre-plus expansion named Playpark – achieved by knocking down the Southern wall and taking over the recently-emptied space next door. "We were running out of space in Newmarket, and there are a lot more brands that we want to sell," says Karen Walker's husband and creative director Mikhail Gherman. "There are about 15 or 20 brands that have been lurking in the background that have a relationship with us either through us being friends with the designers or just admiring what they do."
Those brands include Marc Jacobs' accessories collaborator Katie Hellier (who will soon design some handbags with Karen Walker), Steven Alan, Cacharel, Rittenhouse and a larger selection of Topshop. "It's more or less how people shop these days," says Gherman, "High and low together. All under one roof. It's a bite-size edit of our favourite stuff."
Long term Karen Walker store designer Katie Lockhart has done the fit-out, which features a giant rocket ship and a jungle gym. "We want it to be like a fun shop-o-rama type thing," says Gherman. "Keep it fun and changing and moving all the time." All going to plan, the store will open on Saturday this week, with entrances on both Balm and Nuffield Streets. Let the games begin.
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