It is always a pleasure to discover a new independent boutique, even more so to discover one that stocks smaller and harder-to-find labels. I found Viola because it was the only London stockist of the eco-chic LA label St Roche, recently featured in a post by US-based stylist, Natalie Decleve. Then I went there and was immediately charmed by it.
It is a tiny shop in a backstreet near Hyde Park, nestled alongside equally pretty neighbours – a gorgeous hat shop, a florist, pavement cafes. I got a friendly welcome, including an invitation to check out the mid-season sale in the cosy back room. The labels include Rachel Comey, David Szeto, L’Agence and Tsumori Chisato and would please a range of tastes, from minimalist to preppy to 70s disco queen (see the shop’s blog for the ultimate disco moodboard). There are accessories by Pedro Garcia, Philippe Model and Eddie Borgo as well as posters, arts, toys and vintage books. It’s a great combination that, together with the whole atmosphere of the street and neighbouring shops, makes for an eclectic and fascinating browse.
What really cinched it for me though was seeing the range they stocked from another LA designer, Raquel Allegra – t-shirts, jumpers, dresses that I haven’t seen elsewhere. I will definitely be going back on a regular basis.
As I was leaving (with my Raquel Allegra purchase) I noticed piles of Rupert Sanderson boxes sitting tantalisingly, in the course of being unpacked. I restrained myself – just. But I can’t guarantee such restraint on my next visit.
Viola, 25 Connaught Street, London W2 2AY