It may take a village to raise a child, but it only takes one (formidable) woman to raise a village. Anya Hindmarch has done it again. The woman who conceived the first eponymous, accessories-only designer brand, fully immersive fashion shows and DIY designer customisation has taken over Pont Street, renaming it ‘The Village’. To be precise, it’s not just any old village, but her very own village.
On Pont Street – a winding jugular weaving parallel to Knightsbridge in the burgeoning backstreets of Belgravia, fashionistas and St Martin’s undergrads flock to the greasy spoon she’s renamed The Anya Café, as ladies who lunch, (but not after gaining all those extra lockdown pounds) sit under retro hairdryers in her collaboration with Neville hairdressers, named, “Anya Hair Salon – Shampoo and Therapy”. It’s the first incarnation for ‘The Village Hall’ an evolving event and concept space, currently daubed with the words “If in Doubt, Wash your Hair” – the title of her hot off the press hardback book, of which ne’er a truer word was spoken than in jest…
Everywhere’s scrawled with blue, mainly (Anya Blue?). If a shopfront imbues real world brand recognition in the increasingly dominant world of e-commerce, taking over a Knightsbridge street extends the concept to its retail apex. As Hindmarch states: “If retail is to exist in a digital world, there needs to be a reason to visit.” Pertinently, The Village seems to embody everything about Hindmarch and her brand. Blow dries at dawn. The very London feel of her greasy spoon. The super-sustainable Plastic Store, featuring her inaugural “I Am A Plastic Bag” hero collection, in which soft-to-the-touch totes are reconfigured from plastic bottles and coated with resin from car windshields. Then there’s ‘The Labelled Store’, where the designer’s organisational accoutrements and essentials are gathered in one space and, never forgetting, the original, flagship, bespoke only boutique at its heart.
“I feel that the next ten years are going to be about ‘localisation’ not ‘globalisation’ and it feels so right to return to the Brand’s roots here,” says Hindmarch. Overarchingly, though, The Village is a fun, tongue-in-cheek and relevant destination and astonishing display of highly imaginative personalisation in and of itself, which is, of course, perhaps, the concept that Hindmarch is most famous for.