Paul Hickman designs Playboy London flagship

Playboy Enterprises will open its European flagship store in London next week.

Australian retail design consultancy Paul Hickman Designs is creating the interior of the 370m2 shop, which is arranged over three levels of an Oxford Street location. The store will offer men’s and womenswear, jewellery and accessories.

The biggest of Playboy’s eight global flagship stores, the London shop is the first to be arranged over several levels. It will feature a 6m-wide spiral staircase linking the lower ground, ground and first floors.

Playboy will occupy all five floors of the 19th century Dutch-gabled building, using two levels as office space.

Outside, a glass and metallic façade, limited to the ground floor, will give way to an interior colour scheme of grey, white and chrome which also makes ‘extensive’ use of Playboy’s purple colour, Black Magic.

‘Most flagship Playboy stores are very sleek and white, but the London store has a different look,’ says a Playboy spokesman.

‘The building’s tall, narrow shape actually afforded the designers a lot of flexibility, giving us the opportunity to make the spiral staircase a real focal point.’

Fixtures and fittings are themed on the Playboy rabbit head, while fitting-room mirrors feature the Playboy masthead ‘so that customers …can view themselves as if on the cover of Playboy magazine’.

The London retail space is Paul Hickman’s third Playboy flagship store, designed in consultation with the company’s creative director Christopher Chronis, including the company’s most recently opened Auckland shop. Playboy aims to open three shops a year ‘for the next few years’.

The first Playboy flagship opened in Tokyo in 2002,
followed by Las Vegas and Melbourne in 2005, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in 2006 and Auckland in 2007. Playboy London opens on 14 September.

In October 2006 Playboy opened a larger entertainment complex in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, featuring a nightclub, ‘boutique casino’ and lounge, all themed on the Playboy rabbit head.


• The Playboy bunny outfit is allegedly the first service uniform registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office

• The tight costume required wearers to bend at the knee, not at the waist, resulting in the so-called ‘bunny dip’

• The list of famous ex-bunnies rumouredly includes Carol Cleveland, Sherilyn Fenn, Debbie Harry and Pauline Quirke


• Hugh Hefner launched Playboy magazine in 1953, marketing it as ‘the handbook for the urban male’. Now, 80% of Playboy Enterprise’s customers are women

• Hefner’s daughter Christie has headed the company since 1988

• The licensing division emerged in the 1980s with bunnybranded lingerie and gadgets in more than 150 countries. This year, licensing helped to edge the company back into profit after the division rose 36% to reach $5.5m (£2.7m) in the second quarter

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