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27 Bernard of Esher

4-8 High St, Esher, Surrey

Who you need to know

Owner Helene Rapaport (left)

Brands include Alexander McQueen, Belstaff, Carven, Chloé, Givenchy, Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney, Vanessa Bruno

Tucked away on a busy high street in Surrey’s stockbroker belt, Bernard of Esher brings a touch of stylish urban cool to its customers.

Buyer and owner Helene Rapaport is renowned in the industry for her great eye and adventurous style. Refusing to be dictated to by trends, she professes to buy only what she loves. It is obviously a strategy that is working as Bernard has recently expanded its shop to include an accessories and footwear area and launched an online store.

Set up 32 years ago by Helene and husband Barrie, the Esher store started out selling big designer brands such as Versace and Escada before switching to a more eclectic brand mix in the late 1980s, which still holds true today and which marries designer with more contemporary brands. The store went on to win the Drapers Awards Best Designer Store accolade in 1997 and the Best Independent Buyer category a year later.

Now established as one of Surrey’s most talked-about destinations for directional womenswear, the store

has grown from a small boutique to a 3,000 sq ft space that spans three interconnecting units - divided into a Mainline room, a Diffusion room and the new footwear and accessories area.

Despite her many years in the business, Rapaport shows no sign of slowing down. She says: “I am more passionate than ever, the older I get the more determined I am to keep the labels and the edit fresh, modern and edgy.”

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