Online shopping is glorious. You can buy and search for the latest styles from the comfort of your own home – that means pyjamas and a cuppa for me. But the idyllic scenario’s bubble gets popped when your highly anticipated item arrives in your lap and looks nothing like its on-screen companion.
That is why the real-life store still has an irresistible advantage to me.
You just can’t beat trying something on in person and surprising yourself with what catches your eye. I’ve bought so many items that I would never think twice about clicking on if I were shopping on the internet, and my wardrobe is all the better for it.
Annoyingly though, some brands are only available online. There’s ASOS, Boohoo, Missguided… So, it came as a pleasant surprise last month when I heard that a new concept boutique was opening in Knightsbridge selling online exclusives, including festival goers much-coveted, For Love & Lemons!
ELA London is the ingenious creation of designer Elena Antoniades and her husband, Ian Hart – an ex-city trader. The store is built upon the concept of a glamorous girl getting ready in her bedroom. Opulent boudoir decor creates a dreamy atmosphere for the extravagant clothing hanging delicately upon rails.
When I arrived for the store opening, I was instantly drawn to the glass cabinets full of glistening jewels in rich colours. Elena greeted us instantly with a warm, friendly smile on her face. Her enthusiasm for her work shone through and it was infectious. I was excited to see all the wonders hidden inside this intriguing room of treasures.
It was clear that Elena is truly passionate about the brands she stocks and the image of the store. She took us over to see the latest collections from her own clothing line as well as For Love & Lemons. I’d only ever seen their dresses online and in magazines so it was great to see the intricate embroidery in real life. Elena’s collection was also stunning. A delightfully bright palette from sky blue and soft green to zesty yellow and dainty pink.
Originally from Cyprus, Elena is determined to support fellow Greek artists and designers. The store brings together both fashion and art, and she is just as eager to talk about the fine art she stocks as she is about the clothing. Placed proudly throughout the two-floor boutique is the work of Greek designer, Maria Anaxagora. Her tapestry textiles add a unique touch to the store, enhancing the sense of exclusivity.
Alongside this is a collection of hand-painted Panama hats from Greek fashion artist, Louisa Orphanou, who started creating exclusive designs just for ELA. The hats are a perfect statement accessory for a holiday with their eye-catching and fun motifs.
ELA London do the Greeks proud, but they love to discover brands from all over the world. They were quick to realise the Australian fashion markets increase in popularity and have just started stocking rapidly rising star, Thurley, as well as celebrity favourite, C/MEO Collective.
There’s also Lebanese label, Mlle Epaulette, whose gorgeously feminine clothing is both fashion-forward and wearable at the same time. And our own British representative, Subella London, who combine our style sensibilities with Italian artistry to create the most elegant bags.
For a dainty London boutique, there’s a lot of creativity and culture going on inside. Along with its union of fashion with art, ELA London is a must-see fashion destination.
To top off my experience meeting Elena and seeing the new store, she was kind enough to gift me a little thank you for the visit. And her generosity really does reflect her thoughtful personality.
To find out what glistened inside the gift bag, visit my April Favourites!
A F E W W O R D S F R O M E L E N A
How did the idea for the shop come about?
We have always liked the idea of a concept boutique – something that the Knightsbridge area lacked. We initially rented the space as a pop-up shop and then when the lease became available we took it!
Combining fashion and jewellery with art is a concept that has been developing more in Europe in the last 10 years. The idea of entering a store and finding something to buy, whether that’s a piece of jewellery, a lovely outfit, or even a painting makes sense. A lot of stand alone brand stores, in our opinion, don’t offer that option and people do like variety.
What is the ELA store’s vision?
ELA has been a longtime dream and now that it’s a reality we are enjoying every minute of it – we have a lot of returning clients every week which is a great sign, so that gives us hope for expansion . Quoting my motto in life, “ Trust the timing of your life.” Everything happens when it’s supposed to.
What are some of your favourite pieces from the latest collections in store?
We are also looking forward to stocking the amazing Subella London collection of luxury handbags in pastel colours – made exclusively for ELA London! (available from mid May)
If you liked this post, check out: Behind The Scenes At Fashion Street
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