Shop Talk- The Saints come marching in

Well, we were saddened when we heard that another multiple retail name was taking space on Westbourne Grove, particularly as this store move was displacing a unique collection of traders in an arcade that served as a key part of the posher end of Portobello Market. Our quirky and historical patch of London is swiftly coming to resemble Oxford Street and its making us feel blue. I guess it’s progress of a sort, but it does make me wish for the old days when it was all a bit shabbier and a bit shadier in W11…

As of December 2009 a huge section of Westbourne Grove, up to the corner of Portobello Road, is now an All Saints store. It’s a behemoth of a retail space across two levels, containing womenswear, menswear, kids, undies and a smattering of homewares across 10.000 sq ft. I had never realized that they had so much product in their collections, but barely any styles are multiply displayed.

The interior mood certainly builds on their dark and slightly gothic signature shop fit, but there is an interesting additional feature. In what seems like small homage to the history of the area (one of London’s best markets for ‘antiques’), the windows don’t feature mannequins sporting the latest look. Instead there are rows upon rows of beautiful old fashion Singer sewing machines. These continue instore, covering much of the back wall and surrounding the staircase. So, we have to give credit where credit is due. They have slightly tailored their retail statement to make it feel appropriate and empathetic to the surroundings. It is a very cool shopping experience, just not the experience I’m looking for when I wander down Portobello Road.

All Saints, Westbourne Grove

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