A big tease only works if there’s an equally big payoff at the end. And that’s exactly what British women are expecting when the curtain finally rises this week on Boux Avenue, the UK’s newest lingerie retail powerhouse.
Boux Avenue has been tantalizing shoppers for at least six months with a peek-a-boo marketing campaign that has so far revealed very little about the brand while managing to drum up almost feverish anticipation.
The company has been blogging and tweeting like mad for months, running Facebook contests and feeding teensy morsels of info to the British press. Last night, the company held a lavish burlesque-style launch party at a packed London club to finally kick things off in style.
Despite the build-up, only a handful of product photos (that’s one above, featuring brand spokesmodel Jacqui Ainsley) have been released to date — even though the first of six Boux stores and its online webshop are slated to open tomorrow.
Founded by big-spending entrepreneur Theo Paphitis (right) of Dragon’s Den fame, Boux Avenue is being billed as a mid-market luxury brand with a strong vintage component and an emphasis on glamorous, old-Hollywood styles (ie., we know there’s a Harlow collection.)
With pent-up demand from curious shoppers, Boux is expected to make an immediate splash on the crowded UK lingerie market, likely denting sales for mall brands like La Senza and department chains such as Marks and Spencer and Debenhams.
Still, the somewhat tardy arrival of Boux Avenue is being eagerly welcomed by the retail trade: the brand has reportedly taken on up to 1,000 employees and is one of the first new UK retail chains to debut during the recession.
But Paphitis (who cashed out his £100 million stake in La Senza a couple of years ago) is looking far beyond this week’s glittery opening festivities to bigger battles ahead.
Lingerie retailers across the UK are nervously preparing for next year’s opening of a flagship Victoria’s Secret store in London, which is likely to be only the beginning of the U.S. giant’s incursion into Britain and even Europe. And industry watchers believe the deep-pocketed and well-connected Paphitis might provide the strongest bulwark against the coming U.S. invasion of the British knickers market.
Think Boux Avenue isn’t girding for battle? Last week, the company unveiled its sleek pink shopping bag (see photo below), which bears an uncanny resemble to you-know-who’s iconic bag.
But will Boux’s big reveal justify all the pre-launch hype? Time will tell, but the first battle — creating demand for the product — has already been won.
Below are the few images already released showing Boux Avenue’s product line. We’ll have more this week once the brand launches.