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Stroll through the streets around Shoreditch High Street Overground station in east London, and you'll find a host of alluring retail delights. Should you be lucky enough to take a stroll down Chance Street, you'll be drawn to the orb-like glow of a huge moon pendant lamp by Davide Groppi, illuminating the eclectic fashion on display inside new boutique Gentlewench, a luxury multi-label concept store opening in summer of 2018 in Shoreditch.
The name captures the dual character of the store, and the dual character of the woman we dress; it is the refined lady of splendour, but also the audacious woman of hedonism. We explore and celebrate what these women have in common, bringing together their traits through clothing and homewares.
"We have a different point of view; a sense of surprise. The product mix includes both established and emerging brands. With our constant research into exciting designers and makers, we have created our unique Gentlewench brand offering, and it's always evolving. We wanted the space to have a feeling of a walk-in wardrobe for our specific customer.", explains Gentlewench's buying director Tijana Djordjevic.
Before being recruited by the boutique's owner Wei Yue, Tijana had worked for a range of retailers including Browns, Dover Street Market and Mouki Mou. 'We were trying to facilitate the concept of two ladies,' she adds, of the term which alludes to antithetical ideas of sophistication and a more shocking, outré sensibility.
The warm glow of the Groppi lamp in the centre of the boutique, brings a living room-like ease to the space. Its interior was conceived by Fred Rigby and Dunstan James of Projects & Design.
The store also features a a pair of slate tables by Pia Manu, bound and wrapped seating units by Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba and shoppable figurative vases by Jude Jelfs.
Custom fixtures and fittings display clothing, including a curving central rail suspended like a cloud. 'We conceived the space in a very experimental way,' Djordjevic says. Whether gentle or more gregarious, we can't wait to explore.
This intention culminates in a remarkable buy brimming with niche labels, be they more colour and print inclined, or more artisanal and everyday. At Gentlewench, you can also find elegant and chic labels such as Ports 1961, Lemaire, or Andrea Jaipei Li - whose designs are modern with luxurious textiles. Brands like Nehara capture an airy femininity that's channeled through strong and defiant reference points; they have fabrics that flatter the body, hugging the silhouette while offering liberation elsewhere. Also think Georgian label Lado Bokuchava, whose designs feature bold 1980s jackets with inbuilt gloves, Israeli menswear designer Hed Mayner, who specialises in upcycled workwear, and Overcoat, an outerwear-focused label launched by a former Comme des Garçons pattern cutter.
'It's important to us to support brands that are lesser known,,' says Djordjevic. 'as we sell for the woman who wants something new.'