Replonology

Immerse Yourself in Connaught Village: The Gateway to Luxury

Connaught Village is a unique luxury destination which is just a stone’s throw away from the famous Hyde Park. The village features a range of fascinating, boutique shops, designed to please everyone, with fashion, beauty, food and drink or some truly wonderful art exhibitions on offer.

Located in London’s West End, Connaught Village is full of shops and personnel who boast a vast amount of knowledge and expertise, and LUX had the honour of taking a trip around the area, looking to tap into the minds of the experts and explore why the area is such a sought-after destination

Kicking off our journey, LUX went to view the innovative and captivating artwork of Rob and Nick Carter, who have long been producing informative art, presenting pictures which depict a real story, whether it be of love, life or happiness. Our interest was piqued by some of the Paint Pigment Photography that the artists have produced. These thought-provoking pieces of art examine and explore the unpredictable interaction between colour, form and light. Creating compelling pieces of art, the Carters create their own coloured clouds, and when seen together as a body of work, the enthralling pictures create mesmerising images that are sure to be imprinted eternally. Possessing a varied collection of art, Rob and Nick also produce fantastic transformation art which brings still paintings to life, often making observers look twice. However, the artists’ striking ability to mesmerise their audience does not stop here, and they are redefining art with some incredible 3D creations, including a reinvention of Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers. Excitingly, Nicky was keen to shed some light on the Paint Pigment photography, and what the inspiration was behind their work.

“As light and colour artists we have always been fascinated by the Hindu festival of Holi. Our idea was to abstract this festival of colour by spontaneously throwing raw paint pigment from India into the air and capturing it photographically. The end result retains the energy of the act itself, suspended in space, part performance, part painting and part photography.”

The perfect refreshment after taking in such captivating pictures was some delicious and wonderfully prepared tea and coffee at Saint Aymes, surrounded by the delightful décor and beautiful artisan chocolates.

Whilst sampling the delicious beverages, our eye was caught by the appealing artisan chocolates, which make you feel guilty for eating them, such is their beauty. The chocolates are hand-painted by the owners; London born sisters Michela & Lois AymesWilson, with 23ct gold, enriched with opulent colour. For those who appreciate iconic beauty, the chocolates on show at the venue, which are inspired by some of the world’s most visionary creative, are considered to be standalone structures of art, drawing in customers and tourists from all over the world.

The next stop on the journey was The Place for Men, owned by Simon Burstein, and The Place for Women, located just two doors down. These boutique shops offer a handpicked selection of clothing brands, including some eye-catching designs from notable designers. Providing high-quality clothing wear, Simon talked us through some of the exciting history behind the clothing shops which have become an integral part of the busy and thriving Connaught Village. Additionally, discussing the range of Leathersmith of London wallets, bags and coats, Simon told us how these luxury, yet affordable items are attracting clients and tourists from all around the world.

One visit that you cannot afford to miss as you traverse the gem that is Connaught Village is KOKORO London. Located on Connaught Street, the shop window instantly entices you to explore inside, with this luxury womenswear fashion label is ready-to-wear fusion of fashion and culture. Having worked with some highprofile designers, it is clear to see that owner Dawn, who is quick to praise the thriving community, will stop at nothing to produce
excellence. Taking its name from the phrase ‘heart, mind and spirit’, only KOKORO designs which are made of the highest quality of fabric make it to the shop floor, whilst clients and visitors also have the option of their own private dressing room in which they can create their own luxury wardrobe. Utilising traditional printing techniques, as well as collaborating with and being inspired by acclaimed global artists, KOKORO produces individual pieces which you would be proud to wear. This is fashion that crosses cultures.

Just across the road from KOKORO, visitors are drawn in to explore luxury footwear from Lucy Choi London, niece of renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo. Hosting several VIP events, the shoe designs within the shop attract clients from all over the world, and there is clearly still so much more to come as the designer continues to bring out unique, one of a kind designs to the shop for her discerning customers. Using only the finest fabrics, Lucy has learnt from her heritage and is able to create wearable classics for every occasion. With her shoes being presented in the range of shops around Connaught Village, Lucy Choi London is at the heart of the thriving community which continues to demonstrate itself as a hub for excellence in both quality and customer service.

As lunch time came around, the hospitable and friendly staff at Stuzzico were delighted to produce some Italian classics with a modern twist for us to try. When you walk through the door, you immediately feel a positive vibe emanating from staff, and are welcomed by Luca, the warm and friendly Co-Owner and Manager, who ensures that customers and guests receive excellence.

Having eventually made the choice of the Linguine Cacio e Pepe and Linguine alla Bolognese, LUX cannot praise the food highly enough, as the taste buds were left salivating at the thought of more, and it is an establishment that leaves you hungry for more. Stuzzico’s warm and friendly atmosphere has established it as a local Italian favourite in Connaught Village. Additionally, Luca was more than keen to explain that he loves being a part of the area, with the locals regularly coming in to try the various options on offer, and is also eager to explain how the local owners and shops around are more than happy to communicate and help each other out. Sincerely, words do not do Stuzzico and the rest of Connaught Village justice.

What else do you need after such an enjoyable lunch? Well, the answer is a relaxing, professional and unbeatable massage right next door at Fé Hair and Beauty Salon. Offering specialist hair, beauty and make-up services, the professional and highly qualified staff deliver on their promises of making you feel truly relaxed. Welcomed by Samira, we were offered refreshments and a variety of magazines to keep us relaxed, before being treated to a massage which makes you feel right at home. Providing everything you need, from music
which creates the perfect atmosphere to all the refreshments needed, the staff at the salon go out of their way to guarantee excellence. A full client book of eager clients requesting appointments on a daily basis is indicative of the reputation and standing that the salon holds within the community and beyond.

Leaving no stone unturned, Samira and her team work incredibly hard to gain an understanding of the client’s requirements, and in turn can adapt and tailor specific requirements to suit. Utilising the best oils, sumptuous products and taking the utmost care, the only word that can sum up the venue is luxury. Furthermore, the clients within the salon can only praise and talk up the staff and the services, and Connaught Village would not be the wonderful location it is without this salon. Still feeling relaxed from the glorious massage, the next stop on the journey was the interesting Mud Australia, featuring handmade porcelain kitchenware which caters for all events. Exploring the shop, there are some remarkable designs for teapots, bowls and plates, and many would consider these the perfect wedding gift. Boasting a global presence, the unique designs and materials are suitable for the dishwasher, oven and microwave, and as such are both beautiful and functional. Upon entering the shops, the team lay out certain table sets in a range of colours, giving you the entire range to choose from. Maintaining a strong belief in the values of craft and community, this friendly business places an emphasis on putting the customer first, and as such the team build long-term relationships with customers, the local community and beyond.

For those looking to explore the blooming area of Connaught Village, a must visit is Buchanans Cheesemonger. Proud of their bespoke approach, staff at Buchanans ensure that they put the customer first, placing their focus firmly on delicious food and personal service. Taking the opportunity to sample the variety of artisan cheeses on offer, all of which are sourced and matured from the UK and Europe, a favourite of the LUX team was the Mimolette, which was exquisite. A real staple of the community, they offer a monthly cheese and wine pairing masterclass in addition to occasional supper clubs and Meet the Maker evenings.

After sampling some delicious cheese, the day called for an exploration of one of the finest ranges of unique, carefully selected wines from France and Italy. Thankfully, located opposite the cheesemongers is Connaught Cellars, and we took a step inside this French style wine shop, admiring these prestigious bottles of wine, and taking some tips from the knowledgeable member of staff on what to choose. Supplying wine from acclaimed wine makers, Director David Farber possesses a wealth of experience in wine portfolio management, and can advise customers on the best wine, whether it be for a formal occasion or a simple dinner with friends.

Ultimately, exploring this gateway to luxury is highly recommended, with the friendly, knowledgeable staff and designers all happy to help with any queries or customers. Perhaps Connaught Village’s most striking feature is the friendly atmosphere, with shop staff and experts all exchanging information and advice with each other, and providing support to ensure that this unique community continues to thrive. The surrounding areas are also something to be admired; with Hyde Park just a short trip down the road, making Connaught Village the perfect stop during an engaging trip to England’s capital city. 

If you are looking to learn more about this remarkable community, visit: www.connaught-village.co.uk