The Harvey Nichols StoryOnce upon a time in London...

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CHAPTER ONE: IN THE BEGINNING
We are Harvey Nichols.

We are fearlessly stylish.
And have been since 1831.

Once upon a time, clothes were made at home or by specialist dressmakers but by the 1830s shopping for fashion had evolved into a pastime, rather than a necessity, and Harvey Nichols began carving out a reputation as one of the very finest shopping destinations in London.

Merchandise was exhibited in glorious displays for the customer to experience and marvel at. Gloves lay on suede cushions that had to be washed with shampoo and items were ceremoniously presented to customers on top of counters, before being hidden away again for safe keeping.

First known for linens, and later for fancy lace, ribbons, hosiery and haberdashery, Harvey Nichols stocked items so desirable that on 22 December 1871, 28 year-old Albert Busenden, stole “40 yards of silk and other articles” – the first recorded robbery at the store. Oh my!

As Harvey Nichols grew in success, the original store expanded to take over the entire terrace in Knightsbridge, making way for an iconic new building. The same building remains today, with the external façade fundamentally unchanged since 1889.

Did you know?

When the Knightsbridge store was refurbished in the 1990s, a Victorian wedding dress was discovered hidden in the walls, unworn and still in its original packaging. Whatever happened to the bride, we wonder?

CHAPTER TWO: TO BE THE BEST IS TO BE THE FIRST

Harvey Nichols has never done things by halves.

Ever since we first opened our doors, we have been breaking new ground in the fashion industry – playing it safe just isn’t our style.

In the early 1970s, Harvey Nichols raised the bar in the social stakes, bringing an element of fun to high-end shopping with after-hours parties and catwalk shows on the escalators. We were the first British retailer to open a restaurant in our store in 1975, further cementing our status as the most stylish spot in the capital. After all, shopping is far sweeter with Champagne.

We have always sought to provide a unique experience for our customers, and in the late 70s, we became the first British stockist of Cartier, which kick-started a whole host of exclusive firsts with Lanvin, Balenciaga and the great Alexander McQueen all making their UK department store debut in our Knightsbridge store. More recently, we have championed cutting-edge designers such as Mary Katrantzou and Burberry Prorsum and are always on the lookout for the next big thing.

You’ll never forget the first time you shop with us.

Did you know?

In 1914 we pioneered the Harvikorset, a corset crafted exclusively from the finest materials, and we soon became known for boasting the most luxurious lingerie department in London. At the time, no other retailer had ever designed its own custom lingerie. We were the first.

CHAPTER THREE: WINDOWS TO THE SOUL

“The window is like the jacket of a book. If it’s attractive it does its job, you buy it, open it, and there’s the story.” - Janet Wardley, Head of Visual Display at Harvey Nichols

Window displays – the calling card of any great store, are an inviting and enticing way to unveil the season’s must-see pieces.

Providing a peek into the world of the Harvey Nichols, our windows are world famous. From exclusive launches with the likes of Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen and collaborations with legendry artists such as Thomas Heatherwick; to award-winning displays and Christmas windows, a trip to see the Harvey Nichols windows in Knightsbridge is a must for any London-bound shopper.

Our display team collectively travel over 3,000 miles to install the Christmas displays in our UK regional stores and an average of 250 mannequins are re-sprayed, re-wigged and dolled up for each new scheme.

Did you know?

It takes our window wizards two months to bring a new display to life – from sketch to set design. Together, our 18-strong team has over 152 years of experience with Harvey Nichols between them, so it’s safe to say they know to keep the windows looking fearlessly stylish.

CHAPTER FOUR: A BOLD REPUTATION

At Harvey Nichols we like to break rules.
You won’t see vacant fashion models in our adverts.
Oh no.

Instead, we celebrate all the absurdities of the high fashion world in our distinctive, playful style. As far back as 1939, our risqué humour was causing quite a stir with one advert in Country Life Magazine declaring, ‘Even a man would know that these frocks had a lot of style.’

But it was in the 1980s where we earned our reputation. We were so tongue-in-cheek that we even declared ‘Our designers only fleece the sheep’ while an advert for a lingerie show promised to be ‘as brief as possible’.

In 2013, our campaign poked fun at the celebrity trend for carrying small dogs in oversized handbags. We swapped the clichéd Chihuahua for a hefty British bulldog because, in true Harvey Nichols style, our hounds carried more weight.

Our Christmas virals also like to cause a stir. Our comically mean-spirited, 2013 Sorry I Spent It On Myself campaign caused the hashtag to trend online for two full days while it went on to win four Grand Prix Awards at The Cannes Lions Film Festival. Harvey Nichols advertising campaigns are now one of the most talked about and awarded of any fashion retailer in the world.

But think you’ve seen it all? You’ve seen nothing yet.

Did you know?
Earlier this year we used real-life CCTV footage of shoplifters in our stores as part of the viral campaign to launch the new Rewards by Harvey Nichols app.

CHAPTER FIVE: THE NINETIES

The Nineties may have a reputation as the decade that fashion forgot, but this couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Harvey Nichols. For us, the Nineties were absolutely fabulous.

The arrival of Eddie, Patsy and Saffi on our screens showed what it could be like to live a fun and luxury lifestyle… and everyone wanted in.

In 2013, our campaign poked fun at the celebrity trend for carrying small dogs in oversized handbags. We swapped the clichéd Chihuahua for a hefty British bulldog because, in true Harvey Nichols style, our hounds carried more weight.

Eddie: Oh, sweetie, sweetie... Oooh, sweetie, darling... Darling, they're gorgeous. Where did you get them, sweetie? Hmm? Was it Harvey Nichols, darling?
Saffron: Yes.
Eddie: Well, you should tell me. I can get a discount there, sweetie.
Saffron: I'm glad you like them.
Eddie: Well, darling, they're hardly the ill-judged tat you normally give me. I mean, Lacroix, darling... They are Lacroix, aren't they, darling? They're not just something you put in the box, are they, sweetie?
Saffron: Do you like them or not?
Eddie: I like them if they're Lacroix.
Saffron: Well they are.
Eddie: Oh, good. I like them, darling.

There was now everything a fashionista desired under one roof. You could shop for that dreamy designer dress and matching bag then get a manicure and blow-dry before stopping for a quick drink before heading out. But as with all good things, the Nineties had to come to an end.

But the decade was in fact only the start of a brand new era of expansion and in 2005 we arrived in Hong Kong.

CHAPTER SIX: THE HERE AND NOW

It’s been 184 years.

184 years of fearless style, innovation and excitement.

There have been many changes for Harvey Nichols since Benjamin Harvey first opened his linen store in 1831. Though we believe in celebrating our past, we aren’t ones to dwell on it.

HELLO HARVEYNICHOLS.COM!

One of the biggest developments for the store was the launch of its online shopping portal, harveynichols.com. Taking the luxury Harvey Nichols experience into the digital era, style-hungry shoppers from near and far could now get their hands on the the best edit in town, delivered straight to their door.

More than just shopping, harveynichols.com has also become home to our exciting and exclusive content. From designer interviews to can’t-be-found-anywhere else collaborations and fashion shoots, our online site is also the place to be inspired, informed and amazed.

Welcome to our world.

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