FT Weekend Article
Chooses The L Boutique as ‘Cult Shop’
Barely had Sting’s party invites landed on their marble hall floors than many of his coterie were off to The L Boutique to snap up an outfit guaranteed to out-glam the other partygoers. The singer’s neighbour bagged a pair of ruby-red, bias-cut, silk lounge pants and Twenties kaftan with gold passementerie. Another bought the entire window display: a Thirties lilac-sequined shawl and amethyst and ametrine-encusted choker pendant.
In other words, for something innocuous for your next yawning corporate bash, The L Boutique, just off Westbourne Grove, is probably not the best place to look. Every piece of Lucia Silver’s made-to-measure and off-the-peg, new and vintage clothes and accessories makes a statement. Moroccan Thirties-style organza coats (from £395), Italian embroidered suede scarves (£259), French silk satin camisoles (£275), hair pieces brimming with ostrich plumages (from £259), single feather corsages (£95) and chokers studded with semi-precious stones (from £500) are draped around her boudoir-style shop.
It certainly lives up to its ‘irresistibly superfluous’ tag. ” That came to me even before I’d opened the shop,” explains the deeply glamorous Silver, her blonde locks flowing over a silk camisole.
“It’s all about sumptuous feminine luxury.”
It is this sumptuousness which is attracting as many professionals as party girls, women who want to add a touch of glamour to their working wardrobe. One lawyer insisted she hardly ever left the office, yet proceeded to select a massive belle epoque choker,” Silver recalls, ” a whole neck of deep red, blue and purple Swarovski crystals.”
Silver says the recessional cloud hasn’t stopped her female clients from seeking “comfort in indulgence”. Her boutique is, she says, the fashion equivalent of tucking into a tub of chocolate ice cream in bed. “If a piece makes my heart melt, it’s sensual and individual enough for our customers.”
Her CV shows she is well-placed as an arbiter of feminine chic. She modelled in Paris for two years, became European account handler for an advertising agency, then went to work in Antigua in 1998 before returning to a freelance styling career in London.
Her speechwriter father and ex-model mother Justine (who is involved in the business and is currently in India buying semi-precious stones for the new handbag collection) brought her up in hip Holland Park in the Seventies, “This area is still individualistic compared with Chelsea,” she says with pride.
The L Boutique’s current colour schemes are smoky pastels – soft greens and pinks – dark red, burgundy and burnished coppers. Some customers opt for a made-to-measure piece like the devoré silk crepe kimono (from £700), which takes at least three weeks to make. But placing an order for something requires no further effort than lounging on a sofa under a pair of ornate 18th century chandeliers from Italy. “My mother is brilliant with women and often we end up having long sofa sessions with customers,” says Silver. “It’s as much a part of the experience of The L Boutique as leaving with something.”
The Cult Shop – by Shireen Jilla