A PLAYFUL METAL SCULPTURE BY ISAMU NOGUCHI ZIGZAGS FROM A SQUARE BASE... A TURQUOISE RUG BY JEAN LURÇAT, DETAILED WITH FIGURES OF HORSES ALONG EACH EDGE, IS PAIRED WITH A VELVETY GIO PONTI SOFA AND TWO ARMCHAIRS UPHOLSTERED IN GREEN PONY FUR, BY PIERRE JEANNERET.
The arching windows at 15 Carlos Place, Mayfair, reveal a glimpse of coats in neutral tones: beige, navy and black. An oval light installation by James Turrell floats against a white wall in the entranceway, softly shifting in colour. This meeting point of style, art and design comprises the new London store of The Row, which opened in September 2019 as the brand’s first European outpost, joining their stores in Los Angeles and New York. The space balances a refined placement of pieces from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s luxurious clothing line with a whimsical arrangement of contemporary art and mid-century furniture, together creating the sense of a dream playhouse in a calm, sophisticated register.
A twisting sculpture made from a crushed car by John Chamberlain is mounted high above two rustic wicker armchairs from France, designed by Michel Buffet. Leather handbags are placed reverently on plinths, and along one wall, folds of cashmere, chiffon and wool – cut in the form of elegant coats, jumpers and blouses – invite an inquisitive touch. In the centre of the space, a playful metal sculpture by Isamu Noguchi zigzags from a square base as an abstract Jack-in-the-box, and a turquoise rug by Jean Lurçat, detailed with figures of fantastical horses along each edge, is paired with a velvety Gio Ponti sofa and two armchairs upholstered in green pony fur, by Pierre Jeanneret. Another small Noguchi sculpture near the fitting room portrays the simplified silhouette of a squirrel, while to the right, sunglasses created in collaboration with Oliver Peoples are displayed in glass cases, and delicate earrings in gold and diamond by Ana Khouri glitter in mounted vitrines along the wall.
The design of the AW 2019 collection was inspired in part by French modernist furniture; the clothes have been paired with mid-century icons, particularly French, with sprinkles of Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Art Nouveau pieces. In the downstairs space – a relaxed and domestic counterpart to the gallery upstairs – a Jean Prouvé daybed and Pierre Jeanneret rattan arm chair are set alongside the store’s shoe display, where boots, sandals and slip-ons rest on backlit shelves of frosted glass. Elsewhere, a 1930s room divider, fitted in red ochre leather and set behind two chunky Art Deco armchairs, serves to soften the ambiance. Many of the mid-century pieces have been sourced from galleries, such as Galerie Patrick Seguin, while some, such as the writing desk topped in red leather, have been selected from the private collection of the Maharaja of Indore.
The Row’s comparatively young menswear line – the first full collection was launched in 2018 – inhabits the adjacent room. A long dining table to one side is flanked by two more Jeanneret armchairs in black fur, and populated with jagged, crystalline Arts and Crafts jugs. The brand’s signature shades of black, navy and grey continue along the rails. A 100% cashmere roll neck feels like a caress against the back of the hand, and a suede trench coat appears supple even at a glance. In the fitting rooms at either end of the Charlotte Perriand table, vintage wardrobes and a navy silk dressing gown welcome the visitor. Although elevated, it feels as comfortable and familiar as a home.
PHOTOS: Rich Stapleton
WORDS: Ollie Horne