Pub gets metallic makeover for London Fashion Week

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tailor-made: Mayfair's Running Horse pub underwent a major transformation to provide the backdrop for a London Fashion Week show.
Tailor-made: Mayfair's Running Horse pub underwent a major transformation to provide the backdrop for a London Fashion Week show.

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The Running Horse pub, in Mayfair, in London's West End, closed for three days so that it could be transformed into a tin-foil covered backdrop for a London Fashion Week installation.

Owner Dominic Jacobs, who previously ran the fifth floor at luxury department store Harvey Nichols, has previously collaborated with fashion houses for launches and after parties.

However,  involvement with MM6 Maison Margiela's Autumn/Winter 2018 installation on Sunday 18 February marked the first time his pub has featured as part of a show.

Jacobs was approached by a company responding to a brief to find a Mayfair pub that could be covered in tin foil to represent the collection's concept that something classic can be totally reinvented when recreated in something silver or metallic.

During the two-and-a-half-hour presentation, which featured models in silver-lacquered garments, guests were encouraged to take their own photos on Polaroid cameras that had been distributed around the transformed space.

Jacobs commented: "We've been interested in working with the fashion sector for a while and there aren't many independent publicans in the area who'd be willing to take on interesting installations like that - but from my side, I see great value in it.

"Pubs are iconic venues in their nature and have many different potential uses for fashion houses.

"In the past we've worked with British heritage brands looking for the perfect setting to show off their styles or new launches or partnerships, but in this case it was being used more as an iconic space, something that represents British pubs and something that regardless of what you do to it, when you walk in the room you know it's a pub. 

"It's more about transforming a space that was very familiar into something that's still familiar regardless of the fact that it's covered in foil."

The fashion brand provided tin foil and staff to transform the pub, however Jacobs' team got involved in the "huge job" which led the pub to close for three days to accommodate the transformation and the fashion show.

Jacobs added: "It wasn't just a little covering, it was every single surface. From standing in the room you wouldn't see any item at all that wasn't covered.

“It took two full days, including working into the night and in the morning, and then up until the actual fashion show - it was probably completed about two hours before the show - a good two- and-a-half solid days."

Driving footfall at typically quieter times

Jacobs added that the decision to close wasn’t taken lightly and that far from being annoyed by the closure of a regular haunt, customers have responded positively.

"We know our regulars very well and of course we hate closing to the public because they support us all the time - so we don't take it lightly at all.

"However, in this scenario, it's nice for our regular customers to see their pub doing something different and to see it being enjoyed in different ways.

"The reaction from them has been incredible through our social media channels and through feedback from people who've come in every day and obviously couldn't while work was underway - they weren't angry, they were kind of in awe of it.”

Jacobs says that the pub will welcome any opportunities to work with London Fashion Week in the future as events help boost footfall in what are typically less busy months for pubs.

"Mayfair is very much the hub of Fashion Week, whether it be London Men's Collection, or London Fashion Week, which happens in February. We've got the opportunity to increase revenue at a time of year when traditionally the pub would be quiet.”

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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