Back in the 90s, The Cross was one of the very first independent London lifestyle boutiques, selling an eclectic mix of fashion, homeware, gifts and childrenswear. When I was an editor on Conde Nast Traveller, on my very first magazine job, it was the store in London, breaking new designers from abroad, and stocking amazing lifestyle pieces. Today, The Cross still manages to delight and surprise its customers with its ever changing beautiful pieces from some of my favourite fashion labels including Zero + Maria Cornejo, Penelope Chilvers, MiH Jeans and J Brand.
I’m thrilled owner Sam Robinson has given us an insight into what it’s like as a buyer in Paris for a fashion store during Paris Fashion Week, a career I know quite a few of my readers are interested in pursuing. For the rest of us it’s just fascinating to get a window into someone else’s busy working life..
Over to you Sam…
Straight off the train at Gare Du Nord, Sophie Daoud my assistant buyer and I head to our first appointment at the Thomas DuFour showroom. We see many labels here, one being our bestseller Forte Forte. It did not disappoint: Next season comprises of gorgeous tailored jackets, ethereal layered skirts and lightweight cashmere knitwear.In particular, we are lusting over their soft tweed jackets in blues and greys.
After our appointment, we headed to one of our favourite spots in the area, Images and Portraits, 37 Rue Charlot, a print shop selling one-off vintage snaps by anonymous photographers. You could easily while away an afternoon here flicking through all the pictures.
That evening, we had dinner with Anna Park of ANNA boutiques, and Jane and Denise from Chiltern Street Studios, an agency we buy some of our favourite labels from, and spent the night swapping retail tips over a bottle of Bordeaux and a plate of pomme-frites
Our first appointment of the day was at D&A Paris. Here, we saw Matta NY. We loved the ikat patterns and embroidered cottons in the collection. Our first time at this showroom, we loved the presentation of cardboard furniture and gorgeous flower arrangements.
After a quick bite at the cafe in Merci on Boulevard Beaumarchais, we headed to trade show, Tranoi at Carrousel de Louvre where we see many of our labels. We loved the presentation of the Pero by Aneeth Arora booth. Her collection had pretty neon pink accents, so her booth was decorated with neon pink spots to match. I had to buy a few dresses for my little girl, from their kidswear line.
Since we were so near Rue Saint-Honoré, a trip to Colette seemed like a good idea. It’s always great inspiration for us to see what Paris has to offer, and Colette has an eclectic mix of high end fashion and kitsch gifts.
That evening, we had dinner with my sister-in-law Marysia Woroniecka, partner of Zero + Maria Cornejo, and her wholesale director, Jennifer. The chosen spot was Alain Ducasse’s Aux Lyonnaise, a traditional French bistro serving up delicious, Lyonnaise food. What we loved most about this bistro was the old-fashioned décor of rose tiled walls, vintage posters and the zinc bar. We had roasted chicken and root vegetables.
At the Cross, we are perhaps most famous for stocking Dosa, a clothing line designed by Christina Kim. Dosa was our first appointment of the day, and the collection was simply stunning, with inspirations taken from the Joshua Tree. As always, it’s great to see the presentation of the collection, as it is always so creative and inspirational.
Since we were near Boulevard Beaumarchais, we went to our two favourite Parisian stores, Merci and Bonton.
Merci (above) had a fabulous visual display of the autumn winter Swildens collection (another Cross label). There was a definite Navajo vibe, a trend we see continuing next year.
A trip to Bonton is always very inspiring: Their mini cashmere cardigans and gorgeous velvet dresses are too adorable to resist. Next we headed to tradeshow Premiere Classe at Jardin des Tuileries (below).
At this trade show, we stock up mainly on all our accessory labels from Avril Gau shoe and Claramonte’s fringed leather bags to Anthony Peto’s straw hats. After an extremely long day, we had dinner at La Briciola on Rue Charlot, a rustic pizza restaurant.
Our first meeting of the day was at Zero + Maria Cornejo. SS14 looks really strong, and we were delighted that our bestselling trouser is being reproduced in more colours and prints. Watch out next season for the cult trouser, the Gabi.
After a quick lunch at the Jardin du Palais Royale, with the Zero team we headed to our next appointment with Akira. Akira is the most talented print and textile designer, and next season’s shibori designs are looking fabulous.
Next we headed to a showroom on Rue de Rivoli. In an incredible apartment with stained glass windows, an 18th century elevator and amazing views of Paris, we saw labels Megan Park and Jane Wheeler. That evening we went took refuge from a crazy storm in Hôtel Costes for appetisers and cocktails. Everybody involved in Paris Fashion Week seems to round up here and hide from the madness; it’s the perfect spot to people-watch and great to unwind with an ambience of jazz music and scented candles – bliss.
This was our last day in Paris, free from appointments. We took advantage of the spare time before our Eurostar train home and headed to Saint Germain. After brunch at Café De Flore, we flitted around the shops, including visits to Avril Gau, Liwan and Bellerose.
Lastly we stocked up on treats: Chocolate from Pierre Marcolini, tea from Kusmi and of course for the girls in the shop, we got macarons from Ladurée. Heaven.
The Cross Shop
141 Portland Road
London W11 4LR
+44(0)20 7727 6760