Whose in the house?: What's in store

Once an anonymous office block, now a one-stop shop for fashion and food: welcome to Harvey Nichols in Leeds

Harvey Nichols caused a stir when it first opened in Leeds in October 1996. It was an integral part of the London fashion scene, and had won national recognition thanks to the patronage of Ab Fab. But could the formula survive beyond Knightsbridge? In fact, Leeds has embraced the store with open arms. When we visited in July, it had already sold out all but one of their Prada coats for autumn/winter 1999, and, like its London counterpart, it also features a successful personal shopping department for ladies who want to find the perfect black skirt, and for men who hate shopping altogether.

The Leeds Harvey Nichols store is part of the Victoria Quarter, which includes a renovated Victorian arcade. The task of redesigning the building was given to the architects Hosker, Moore and Kent. They preserved the period details but demolished a Sixties office frontage and built a glass wall across the facade of the building, stretching up all four floors. Due to their success in Leeds, Harvey Nichols has plans to expand further afield, with a site confirmed in Edinburgh, and a new shop opening in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

Who's in your house?

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Elspeth Donnachie (left), manager, Trish McEvoy make-up counter, ground floor. Has worked here since November 1998. Natalie Bootle, make- up artist. Has worked here since March 1998

Trish McEvoy make-up comes in natural, neutral colours and the design of the stand reflects this, with natural wood flooring and display areas, "rather than bright fashion colours", explains Elspeth Donnachie. There is an open-plan layout, with display counters and large mirrors for customers who are trying on make-up. The counters serve as "a station to work from as opposed to just a display area".

Andy Buchanan, head barman, Fourth Floor Bar. Has worked here since January 1998

The Fourth Floor Restaurant opened in October 1996 and has a contemporary feel. A cocktail lounge was added in July this year, offering a selection of 60 cocktails. "Ninety per cent of the people who come to dinner have a cocktail at the bar first," says Andy Buchanan, who won Absolut Northern Barman of the Year 1998-99. The bar top is a huge piece of curved red cedarwood, running alongside one wall of the restaurant. The lounge area has dark red leather banquettes and matching stools.

Jill McManaman (right), personal shopping manager, second floor. Has worked here since October 1996. Dorothy Shipley, customer

The personal shopping department aims to create a relaxed atmosphere, with a simple decor of cream and beige. Here you can watch television, read the paper, drink Champagne and even look at clothes. "In this room we'll have a chat, have a coffee together and then walk around the shop floor pulling stock out and bringing it back here," says Jill McManaman. In her opinion, "people seem to like it better than on the shop floor."

Christopher Tottie (not pictured), creative director and hair department manager, Aveda Concept Salon, fourth floor. Has worked here since October 1996

"The layout was organised by George Hammer, who owns the company," says Christopher Tottie. "It is very much influenced by Feng Shui, the fish tank with the water meaning prosperity and the mirrors reflecting positive energy. The beechwood flooring echoes the natural Aveda products which are made from pure plant extracts. There is a mixture of warm and cool lighting, which is important for hair colouring." n

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