The fashion designer has evolved her glamorous fashion label into a chic lifestyle concept
Womenswear designer Amanda Wakeley has a crystal clear vision for her eponymous label, so it’s only ﬁtting that her newly launched Mayfair store encompasses all aspects of her style philosophy. ‘A beautiful West End ﬂagship store has always been the plan,’ she explains ‘but it took until now to ﬁnd somewhere that felt like home.’ Having just launched the boutique on the culturally rich Albemarle Street, Amanda has been able to immerse herself in the area’s history whilst making the space feel like her own. ‘The store was once home to a couturier, who installed the stunning 20s sweeping staircase, and this heritage felt so right for us,’ she muses.
Just two short months ago, the store was brimming with well-known faces celebrating the launch – from her close friend Tracey Emin to Kelly Hoppen and Elizabeth Hurley. It’s no secret that Amanda’s designs prevail among high proﬁle women. Diana Princess of Wales was photographed wearing a deep green Wakeley suit back in 1993, and when fashion writers praised Kate Middleton’s chic charcoal dress on her visit to the Imperial War Museum, they were applauding another Amanda Wakeley creation. Now, at the Mayfair store, those outside royal and celebrity circles can fully appreciate her designs.
Amanda curated the store’s interior in the image of her brand, hand-selected furnishings that work in harmony with her design aesthetic. ‘One piece that I am particularly proud of is the draped chain chandelier in the drawing room. I ﬂew to Italy to work with the craftsmen on draping the chains and perfecting the balance,’ she says. Both classic and fresh, the architecture has original 20s touches alongside contemporary installments. For Amanda, it’s all about tying in the atmosphere with the desires of her customer. ‘I have named each of the main rooms as The Hall, The Gallery, The Landing and The Drawing Room to reinforce the feeling of familiarity and homeliness,’ she says. ‘I didn’t want the store to feel imposing or austere, but somewhere my customers would feel comfortable shopping and spending their time.’
Once inside, it’s a pleasure to see Amanda’s vision come to life. The Amanda Wakeley ﬂagship store offers a luxurious ethos and this coincides with the brand branching out into everyday essentials. ‘We have just taken it to the next level and created a complete lifestyle concept,’ she says. Amanda was keen to expand her label in order to provide a wider choice for her customer, whom she fondly refers to as the ‘Amanda Wakeley woman’. Amanda aspires for the brand to be each woman’s ‘go to’ for every occasion. ‘I wanted to cater to every aspect of our woman’s life. From workwear to cocktail, après ski to beach.’
For AW14, Amanda Wakeley has designed a cruise collection to satisfy even the most adventurous woman. The pieces ‘cater for our woman’s jet set lifestyle while giving her staple pieces for everyday styling,’ Amanda explains. Incorporating bold African inﬂuences and rich prints, Amanda describes the look as ‘safari chic with a tribal edge.
The prints take on a more literal interpretation with a muted zebra and safari inspired colour palette.’ Her visits to the continent never fail to inspire her, and this time she felt a particular afﬁnity towards Africa’s cultural symbolism, ‘it felt very right for this season,’ she says.
The cruise collection will undoubtedly appeal to any woman searching for an off-duty yet glamorous holiday wardrobe. The collection of muted sand and camel tones is offset with the occasional blaze of a jumpsuit in royal blue or acid green. Hints of 70s glamour come through in metallic tribal prints or ﬁnishes and the pieces manage to look luxe whilst offering a slouchy and relaxed shape, perfect for lounging in the sun or trekking out on a jungle safari. Amanda recognises the importance of ﬂexible design. ‘I adore the satinised georgette utility jacket and matching wide leg pant in khaki,’ she says. ‘It enables ‘jumpsuit dressing’ with the versatility of separates.’ She has also created a range of essentials which complement the main collection and offer ‘a taste of luxury and craftsmanship-quality that has always been so synonymous with the brand,’ she says.
Within the collection there is something for every Amanda Wakeley patron, and even a little extra. For the brand, that once established itself as the essential destination for elegant eveningwear and cocktail dresses, has begun to expand into daywear staples for the chic urbanite. It’s still Amanda’s signature ‘Clean Glam’ style, of course, but it has been tailored with the fashion-forward in mind. ‘I think it will definitely reach out to a new customer,’ Amanda says. ‘There is no doubt that this will change many peoples’ perception that we only offer beautiful eveningwear.’
Her striking yet minimalist designs have captured the hearts of countless women, and no doubt Amanda Wakeley’s flagship location will offer a desirable style of living to many more. It may have been a long time coming, but Amanda’s affiliation with both the building and the area make it worth the wait. ‘Having Browns Hotel opposite the store is brilliant, as I have been able to dash over to Hix restaurant at the end of the day for a supper with my partner Hugh,’ she says. Surrounding herself with the gastronomical greats Albemarle Street has to offer appears to have complemented Amanda’s business in creative ways, too. ‘Mark Hix is a great friend and he created the menus for our launch party, including an evil new drink, the Eightini,’ she reveals. The quintessentially British Hix restaurant and bar is located on 18 Albemarle Street, and is the perfect place to wind down with a glass of champers after a busy day of shopping.
However, for Amanda, there is no place more like home than her native Chelsea. The designer supports the excellent local eateries the area has to offer, including independent Italian restaurant Lucio’s. ‘Not only is the food great, Lucio warmly welcomes you and your dog, which is always a winner in my book as our black Labrador Lola comes almost everywhere with me!’ she laughs. For shopping, it’s got to be Old Church Street in SW3. ‘I love the Manolo Blahnik store. Each shoe is a perfect gem,’ she sighs. Sounds familiar to us.
All the clothes as available to buy at the new Amanda Wakeley ﬂagship store at 18 Albemarle Street, and at amandawakeley.com