A former buyer for London designer independent The Cross is to launch a womenswear boutique called Viola at central London indie hotspot Connaught Village.
Sara Lauchlan will open the 900sq ft shop at the end of the month, joining the likes of footwear retailer Jimmy Choo and designer boutique Crimson at the upmarket shopping area near Marble Arch.
The multi-brand Viola store will sell a mix of established, niche and exclusive labels including Olivia Morris footwear, Les Prairies des Paris womenswear and knitwear from Queene and Belle. It will also sell some homewares, books and art.
Lauchlan has previously worked as a freelance stylist, and as a buyer at contemporary retailer Paul & Joe in Paris and at womenswear indie The Cross in Notting Hill, west London.
“People said I was mad to open a shop at this time but I think it’s the right time,” said Lauchlan. “If you’re a good stylist you end up pulling collections together from different shops for your clients, so it’s really like buying for a shop.
“The shop is very small and personal. It’s for anyone who’s interested in updating their wardrobe with niche labels.”
She added: “This area isn’t saturated with fashion, so you’re not restricted with the labels you can have.”
The shop’s opening is part of a strategy by the Church Commissioners for England, which owns Connaught Village, to create a shopping area with independent and boutique businesses.
The Church Commissioners, which manages the Church of England’s historical assets, is looking to fill four more units in the area.