For the last few years, the address 59 Brook Street has been scrawled in the little black book of brides internationally, a sacred space where the newly-engaged would head to fulfil fantasies of wearing Vera Wang on their big day. Before the iconic wedding dress designer set up shop, there was Rei Kawakubo’s label Comme des Garçons. Tough acts to follow, by any measure.
But womenswear designer Gabriela Hearst has taken up the challenge of making the space her own. Working with influential British architect Norman Foster, the boutique (located opposite Claridge's) was designed to frame Hearst’s elegant, grown-up gowns, fluid silhouettes and neat tailoring in deliciously wearable neutral shades. The duo both take an ‘actions speak louder than words’ approach to sustainability, and worked together to incorporate environmentally friendly features into both the structure and the aesthetics of the shop – upcycled wood from a military barracks in Shropshire have been transformed into a light parquet floor; blonde wood display cases are hand-carved in Hungerford from trees that fell during a storm. The recurrence of curved corners in everything from surfaces to ceilings also takes on Rudolf Steiner’s alternative school of thought, that there are no rectangular edges in nature.
From recycled hangers and biodegradable packaging to ethically-produced fabrics (such as wool sourced on her own family farm), clients take home more than just tactile designs that they’ll keep forever when they invest in Hearst’s clothes. They take home a success story, one that tells the tale of a pivotal moment during which the fashion industry must re-examine its effect on the planet. A self-described ‘seamstress’, Hearst’s attention to detail not only hones in on the look and feel of her clothes, but where the raw materials are sourced, by who and how they are transformed into collections.
With a cult following including clientele such as Meghan Markle, Gillian Anderson and Oprah Winfrey, pieces like Nina bag and the Cora dress, which has morse code for ‘love’ stitched into the sleeves, sell out in a matter of hours online. The bricks and mortar property in London gives shoppers the opportunity to explore Hearst’s limited stock and find their own super-wearable key pieces that are well-deserving of wardrobe space.
Gabriela Hearst, 59 Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HS; gabrielahearst.com