It's not just pretty pastel houses and Instagram-famous brunch. Notting Hill is a world-renowned shopping destination for both up-and-coming and established designers.
Notting Hill and Holland Park has been a fashion force to be reckoned with since its Bohemian era of the 1980s, when Portobello Road became the place to find one-off pieces in both the small boutiques and famous market. Fast-forward a decade or so and internationally acclaimed designers have now made themselves quite at home here. Take Paul Smith, for instance, who opened his UK flagship store on Westbourne Grove in 1998, or “Queen of the wrap dress” Diane von Furstenberg, who established her first London shop on Ledbury Road in 2003.
Sophie Gass, Ladbroke Grove
Located on the tree-lined street of Ladbroke Grove, Sophie Gass is a one-stop shop for those who want a different experience from a traditional spa, but might also be interested in buying a hand-tied flower arrangement or a one-off piece of clothing from the designer’s own brand. After realising that such a unique concept store was missing in the local area, the former banker opened her eponymous boutique in October 2012, welcoming shoppers (both male and female) to its luxe nail bar, home and fashion accessories trove.
“I’ve always thought of myself as the target market, and asked myself, ‘What would I like?’ Excellent treatments, but with an atmosphere that is more than just ‘getting your nails done’," explains Glass. But why did she choose this area for its base? “Having lived here for 11 years, I knew there was a gap in the market. Holland Park is an amazing place; we have so many interesting clients from all over the world,” she says. “Opening the shop was so great – I finally got to meet all the locals and now I really feel part of the community.”
4 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 3BG, sophiegass.com
Opening its London flagship in 2014 in the heart of Notting Hill, WtR offers womenswear and homeware pieces – a lifestyle store that is elegantly classic and has timeless appeal. The womenswear collection strikes the perfect balance between fashion and function, and is ideal for both more formal occasions and workwear. But why was Westbourne Grove picked as the brand’s first location? “We like the village atmosphere,” Vanessa Toms, managing director of the store, explains. “It sits in with our lifestyle and customers. As it was our first store and flagship, we wanted it to capture the essence of our brand. We did a lot of work on the store itself to ensure all elements we wanted were there.”
188 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RH, wtrlondon.com
After studying in London in 1999, French-Cambodian sisters Val and Vanda Heng Vong wanted to address the absence of Parisian labels and products in London. Their idea of a multi-brand lifestyle boutique, that could showcase the best of French design, soon evolved into a curated Parisian boutique, Aimé, in Notting Hill.
The boutique stocks home and lifestyle pieces with luxury womenswear to create a Parisian lifestyle within the store. Alongside French designers like Herbarium Paris, Etoile, Isabel Marant and Repetto, the stores now stocks global luxury labels including Ulla Johnson and BSBEE. In 2013 the brand expanded from its West London home across to Shoreditch on Redchurch Street, opening their second London-based Parisian boutique.
Aimé, 32 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AB, aimelondon.com
Couverture & The Garbstore
Run as two separate stores within the same building, Couverture & The Garbstore was founded by couple Emily Dyson and Ian Paley, who met while working together at Paul Smith. Set in a three-storey period townhouse, the boutique champions emerging designers and cult labels, many of which are exclusive to the store. Head here for unique gifts, adorable childrenswear and independent fashion with a focus on craftsmanship, plus the boutique’s in-house ‘No Chemicals’ fragrance line.
Couverture & The Garbstore, 188 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, W11 2ES, couvertureandthegarbstone.com
Native & Co
On Kensington Park Road is an independent homeware store that offers an array of tableware, kitchenware, textiles and accessories sourced from the far east. Traditional craft with contemporary and high-quality design is at the heart of Native & Co products. Founders of the homeware brand, Sharon Jo-Yun Hung and Chris Yoshiro Green, work closely with specialists and craftsmen to acquire pieces that are simple in design with subtle detailing, whilst remaining connected to their Japanese and Taiwanese origins. Alongside curating pieces from Japan and Taiwan, the founders design and make some of the items themselves, adding to Native & Co’s unique collection of homeware treasures.
Native & Co, 116 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, W11 2PW, nativeandco.com
One of three brick-and-mortar shops from luxury e-tailer matchesfashion.com, this capacious boutique showcases a curated edit of menswear and womenswear from the site’s most popular labels including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Valentino, Vetements and Dolce & Gabbana. The boutique is also home to the in-house fashion brand - Raey - designed by Rachael Proud, former creative director for Christopher Kane.
Matches Fashion, 60-64 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AJ, matchesfashion.com