What I Know About Style

Lily Gardner

Lily Gardner


New Zealander Lily Gardner on Kermit the Frog and screaming nuns

Where do you live in London and why?

I live on the Acton/Bush border. It’s the last really quirky bit of west London – there’s the sophisticated stucco elegance of Ravenscourt Road a few metres away; it’s Beirut meets Belfast.

You haven’t always been into jewellery and fashion. What were you doing before?

I used to be a global PR director and once even played the London minder for Kermit the Frog when he came over to be interviewed by Mariella Frostrup – one billion people tuned in!

Your boutique is situated amid the gorgeous Chelsea Farmer’s Market. Why did you snap up this site?

It’s like an off-Broadway play. Just around the corner from King’s Road, it’s a little oasis of calm opposite the open-air Marketplace restaurant. Plus, the apple sorbet at the new DriDri gelateria next door is the best there is.

Where are your inspirations from?

Everywhere. The key is time away from the nuts and bolts of business to clear your head. In the past ideas have come from a trip to Pennsylvania, an article on Polish paper cutting techniques and a Camden salvage yard.

What makes your shop unique?

My customers say it is a beautiful environment with beautiful pieces. Hopefully you will find something that will make you stand out in the crowd, but discreetly! It has evolved over the years. Originally I just had my jewellery but now I also stock guest designers, beautiful handmade scarves and classically tailored white shirts. My style is a fusion of classic pieces and modern arty numbers. But most importantly everything is exquisitely wearable.

Who are your customers?

We get a real mix of people coming in including a lot of west London ladies and Chelsea locals. Kim Cattrall came in a while ago, Tara Palmer-Tompkinson often window shops and Michael Caine’s wife loves our white shirts.

What are you most proud of?

Completing my first 10km race in Barcelona last month, particularly as it was an unexpected 26 degrees at the time.

What’s your dream holiday destination?

A week at Hotel Gutowski in Ortigia, the ancient Mediterranean capital next to Syracuse in Sicily – a magical spot; island-ish hemmed by delicious seafood restaurants.

Where would you send a tourist in London for 24 hours and why?

After they had completed the requisite bus tour for an overview, it would definitely be for a Chiswick/Hammersmith riverside pub walk followed by a wander through the V&A. Then perhaps a trip up Regent’s Canal, topped off by Borough Market. A busy day!

Which west London businesses could you not live without?

For food I love Brindisa Tapas in South Kensington for simple snacks and beautiful wine. 101 Thai in Hammersmith is easily the best Thai restaurant I have ever been to in my life. It is a little known secret for Thai food lovers. Order the ‘screaming nun’, their very hot tempura-dipped aubergine – it is to die for. I also love Hoss Intropia and Anthropologie and I adore the shopping experience in Designers Guild. It flows so beautifully and the florals are marvellous. Green & Stone is also great for arty types.

Tell me something I do not know about west London…

Rule Britannia was reputedly written in The Dove at Hammersmith.

What is your hot product for summer?

Amet et Ladou-printed embroidered cashmere shawls.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I would like to be spending six of the warmer months here and six of our colder months in my native New Zealand – sort of an eternal summer.

What are your trend predictions for the upcoming months?

Now that would be telling, but I am playing with lots of materials at the moment. I like the idea of mixing gold and silver together and bringing leather into some of the designs. Watch this space…

Lily Gardner, Chelsea Farmer’s Market, 125 Sydney Street, London, SW3;  www.lilygardner.com; 020 7352 8786

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