Duchamp is a great British success story. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014, the company traces its origins to France and the chance discovery by the founder of a cache of 10,000 vintage cufflinks in a Paris flea market back in 1987. This led two years later to the launch of a London-based luxury goods business concentrating on men’s accessories. Appropriately enough, the founder was reading a book about Dadaism at the time, and decided to name the new company after the French surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp.
The early collections were rapidly snapped up by the likes of Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols and three years later Duchamp launched its silk tie collection. This was rapidly followed by the woven silk eveningwear collection.
By 1998 Duchamp had opened its first stand-alone store in Ledbury Road in London’s Notting Hill, heralding the next phase of the company’s expansion.
Despite the name, the ‘Britishness’ of the brand was a given from the word go and continues to be one of Duchamp’s greatest strengths. The same craftsman in Birmingham has produced the cufflinks since the company was founded, while all of the ties are handmade in England. The fabric is woven in England by a Suffolk based company that dates back to the early 1700s and is one of the oldest still designing and weaving silk in the UK.
The next few years saw the company grow further and expand its range. The brand was now ready to be taken to the next level. Duchamp opened its flagship store on London’s Regent Street, which was awarded the “Best Small Store Design” at the Retail Interior awards the following year.
Now there are two stores in London – Westfield White City and a boutique store on Jermyn Street. Duchamp is also carried in the world’s most prestigious department stores, including Bloomingdales in the USA, Barneys in Japan, Holt Renfrew in Canada and David Jones in Australia.. But by far the biggest investment has been in design. The company has gone on to launch leather goods, swimwear and underwear and in 2009 thanks to customer demand, jackets were introduced. With the launch of its range of ready-to-wear tailoring in Spring 2011, Duchamp legitimately laid claim to be a head-to-toe, socks-to-scarves menswear designer brand.
Although Duchamp now offers everything from trench coats to trousers, the core of the collection is very much occasion wear for men who love dressing up, with velvet tuxedos and evening dress shirts for events from big nights out to a day at the races.