French fashion chain measured up for George Street

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A FRENCH retail chain that offered former Libertines frontman Pete Doherty his first step into the fashion world is to open its first Scottish store in Edinburgh.

The Kooples, the fast- growing “rock and roll fashion” chain that takes its name from the way ‘couples’ is pronounced in French, has announced plans to open in George Street in the latest boost to the burgeoning upmarket street.

The Parisian brand has been growing rapidly since opening its first UK stores in London in 2010 but the new shop will be its first full standalone store north of Birmingham.

It will take up space within the unit currently occupied by Spirited Wines, close to the junction with Hanover Street.

News of the firm’s move to George Street follows hot on the heels of separate deals that have seen designer clothing chain Hollister, women’s clothing brand Anthropologie and the shirtmaker Charles Tyrwhitt all open up on the street.

Isla Monteith, an associate at property agents Cushman & Wakefield, which represented The Kooples, said: “The Kooples is one of the most exciting new brands at the moment.

“George Street is undoubtedly the place to be located for upmarket fashion brands and the store will fit perfectly next door to Anthropologie and near the new Hollister store, which is currently being fitted out.

“Brands like these appreciate that George Street is very much a lifestyle location with lots of great bars and restaurants.”

The founders of The Kooples are three brothers – Alexander, Laurent and Raphael Elicha – whose parents founded the renowned Comptoir des Cotonniers women’s wear chain.

The company has used a popular advertising campaign featuring real-life couples to build up interest in its brand, while also launching a mini collection designed by Pete Doherty.

The brand is aimed at the mid-upper end of the market, with prices typically starting at around £65 for a t-shirt.

Josh Miller, chairman of the George Street Association and joint managing director Charlie Miller, said: “It is great news for Edinburgh that it has been chosen as the first Scottish location and I’m delighted to see the area continue to grow with new brands.

“George Street continues to attract more modern, stylish brands, with Hollister opening up soon and Anthropologie being another example.

“When you get all these brands it continues to make George Street attractive and helps to differentiate both George Street and the city centre from out-of-town shopping centres and gives a good reason to come into town.”

Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “It’s further proof of our resilience in tough times and how well the city is perceived.”