What I Know About Style

Leitizia DiGuardo



Letizia di Guardo, owner of her eponymous store, DiGuardo, on international shopping techniques and beating the recession

Where are you from?

Catania in Italy.

Who got you hooked on fashion?

My grandfather worked as a tailor and my uncles have fashion stores selling designers such as Versace and Gucci. I love the female form and femininity. I also really believe in independent designers, so that’s the philosophy behind my boutique.

You stock Italian, English and American designers. How do you think women’s style from each of these countries differs?

The English are more practical than the Italians. I’ve noticed that when it comes to shopping the Americans tend to buy something if they like it whereas the English will often dither; taking time to decide which colour or cut they want. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people of different nationalities presume that just because something is made in Italy or designed by an Italian, then it’s automatically going to be of great quality. That just isn’t true, which is why I stock designers from different locations.

What were you up to before launching this store last year?

I was in Oregon, USA, with my cinematographer boyfriend when I thought it was time to do something like this. I found Lorick [the Gossip Girl designer] while I was out there and my store is now the only UK stockist of her clothes.

You launched in winter in the middle of a recession? Do you think this has affected your choice of what you stock?

No. My business is new and I’m located in a street with long-established boutiques and I’m also selling new designers, so it is tough. People are spending less but now prefer to buy high quality items. Luckily, the designers I stock are affordable but use quality fabrics. Plus, many of the designers are exclusive to my shop in the UK.

Why have you chosen Notting Hill for your shop?

I’ve lived in Notting Hill for seven years. I love the atomosphere of Portobello Market and the independent shops on Kensington Park Road.

Can you name-drop any celebrity customers?

Neve Campbell came in the other day and bought a Lorick dress.

What should we be buying this summer?

A classic but modern Lorick dress!

Tell us about your fashion and craft workshops…

We ran some knitting classes and offered cookies and tea last winter – they proved really popular. The teacher has moved back to the US, but we’ll be offering classes again this coming winter. I’m also planning a designer showcase soon.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I have 120 pairs of shoes – I should have opened a shoe shop! I’ll just buy something that catches my eye whether it cost £5 or £200.

DiGuardo, 212 Kensington Park Road, W11; www.diguardo.co.uk; 020 7243 9274

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