"International designers and in house specialties, right in the heart of Kensington"Review Rating: Reviewed by Directionless
Welcome to Mooi, London’s new destination store: international designers and in house specialties, right in the heart of Kensington.
Set just off the high street, this is a shop for the select. Many of the products are one of a kind, and all have been hand picked by a fashion elite. The scene at the launch is what you might expect of a contemporary Fitzgerald set: women in glaring outfits flitting through the dusk with thin glasses of champagne.
Founder Deet Sahni first went into business selling Indian jewelry with her sister and clearly has an eye for rare items. She speaks of early trips to source their stock and the thrill of spotting a real find amidst the tat. There are echoes of these early ventures right through the shop, the eye of a true connoisseur evident in the dialogue between colours, designers, fabrics and cuts.
Sahni obviously has a vision, and firmly tells me that she plans this shop to be the first in a succession. If this is the prototype, then things bode well. The space is immaculate, spread over two floors with long windows and a sweeping pine staircase. There is a garden at the back, carefully laid out with a tasteful minimalism. In good weather it allows customers a tranquil spot in which to sit down and consider their purchases.
When talking of her methods of choosing what to stock, Sahni speaks of following a gut instinct. I am given the impression that her ethos is very much one of style over trend. The range displays an exquisite taste that clearly follows no one and creates a fashion unique to itself.
Her collection of scarves are to die for. I am taken to one that took 9 months to weave. Even Sahni admits that these are items she herself aspires to. It’s a case of true quality and the realms of rarity that one can be taken to with the right cash flow. There are labels here that are available nowhere else in the UK. Sahni shows me her choice of this season’s Asibelua, lined up to be featured in the September issue of Vogue.
Something that stands out particularly about Mooi is the feel that you are among a distinct group of creative’s who are giving life to a project. Sahni has brought in a number of friends to contribute, making you realize that these women sipping champagne really are forming a set of their own.
One friend is supplying Mooi with a stunning selection of handmade jewelry. She speaks of a love of jewels that stems from early childhood. She describes a trip to Venice when the colours dazzled her to the brink of ecstasy. She began her career by designing plastercine motifs, and graduated to harder materials as she grew up to study jewelry making as a professional art. She gives a profound sense of how every stone is different and that this really is a craft requiring delicate skill and precision. Her best story is when she talks vividly of gem markets in Thailand where the stones are piled up like fruit and punters cut their deals between the stands.
I am also introduced to Kim Patterson who is designing scarves to be sold by Mooi. Her theme is the celebration of women – but this is no cheesy attempt at a jaded feminism. Patterson’s women are a vibrant, curvatious bunch who beam out of her artwork in vibrant greens, reds and blues. Her first series follows a succession of nudes while the second feature Shakespeare’s women: Juliet and Ophelia, and the three witches magnificent and wicked in a spa. Patterson has had her designs shrunk to postage stamp size and duplicated so the initial impression is a blaze of colour and it’s only with a closer look that the motifs wink out at you.
Even in these early days it is clear that Mooi has got something unique to offer. The minds behind it are alive with a real romance around the role of contemporary women’s clothing. It touches the edge of the glossy fashion creations in the high-end magazine shoots. It would be a safe bet for an item that’s going to make you stand out gloriously at any occasion.
Directionless reviewed Mooi on Tue 07 Jun 2011