I've had nothing but postcode gamble on my mind lately as I restart my search for casa Lau slash Salter. Pushed out of E5/E8/E9, I'm now venturing further out towards E17/E10/E11, lands beyond my comfort zone of familiarity but apparently bursting with "up-and-coming" vibes and "bags of potential", to use some odious phrases of estate agents. Once you start imagining ridiculous notions such as ""Fifteen years ago I could have afforded to buy x/y/z with this amount of money...", it becomes an even more of a slippery slope. Thoughts of this painful lottery game struck me again when I was speaking to the French-Cambodian sisters Val and Vanda Heng-Vong, who opened up their store Aimé in Notting Hill fifteen years ago, when it was still not quite the chi-chi, yummy-mummy, uber-chic cosseted haven that it is today. Now they've turned their attentions to the semi-established Redchurch Street to open their second Aimé store, bringing a selection that complements the street's tasteful wares of A.P.C. clothing, Sunspel tees, Aesop products and on the foodie front, fresh pasta from Burro e Salvia. I say semi-established only because there's still persistent rumours about the likes of Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Prada sniffing around the Redchurch Street area for a spot, which would obviously notch up to the status of "retail destination", to use more estate agents speak. It's a painful game to play if you start thinking "Fifteen years ago I could have afforded to buy x/y/z with this amount of money..."
It's also funny to think that when Val and Vanda first started Aimé, they were buying in labels that feel like such well-established staples in London's fashion landscape today - labels like A.P.C., with its burgeoning network of stores, and more significantly Isabel Marant, which back then was still a small boutique label and now is about to enter into a new level of frenzy with their upcoming collaboration with H&M. Big isn't the goal for Aimé though as they have retained the intimate vibe of their Notting Hill store at their new Shoreditch outpost.
Val and Vanda clearly are still on the hunt for the "new" as I discovered the label Ever Rêve at their Shoreditch Aimé store. Ever Rêve is designed by Michelle Urvall Nyren, who's originally from Sweden and studied textile garment design at Steneby, Gothenburg University of Arts and Craft and worked as a freelance illustrator for Amelia's Magazine and Cellardoor Magazine. Their S/S 13 collection seen here is the fruits of Nyren's labour and obsession with the intricate and delicate methods of silk painting on crepe de chine as well as techniques of batik and silk screen printing. They're beautifully depicted in their "Process" video which you can see below. The S/S 13 collection centres around a wistful and poetic story. I'm not going to lie. The narrative does make me cringe somewhat, furling up into a gut-reaction against such tweeness.
The rose petals have a baby-skin like colour. Covered in silk. Their fragrance and the bees humming hammer on the head. It is a pleasant escape and she tries to ignore her mother’s voice. You’re such a dreamer. Why live in your own head, when you have so much potential?
The clothes though justify the written tale. The strokes of subtle watercolour prints and resist-ink geometric patterns are beautiful. The narrative, the lookbook images and even the name Ever Rêve forms one big bundle of indulgence, for dreamer girls to think about waft around in fields, blowing dandelion seeds and doing stuff that Lizzy Caplan does so well in my favourite fashion film of the year. Thankfully, it's not all dreams, petals and soft-focus sunlight. Ever Rêve's A/W 13-4 collection is a bit more meaty. For now though, you can waft away either through Aimé, who is their exclusive UK stockist or through Ever Rêve's online shop.