Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large
In the same week that Aimé, the boutique which introduced Isabel Marant to London, opened a new outpost in Shoreditch, H&M announced that their latest designer collaboration would be with.... Isabel Marant. You might think that Val Heng-Vong, who founded Aimé in Notting Hill with her sister Vanda fifteen years ago, might be indifferent to Marant's new venture. But indifference would be the attitude of a mere stockist, someone who just sells Marant. It's quite clear though that Val lives and breathes the Marant life which we are all getting so excited about being able to buy into for £30 come November. "The collaboration is great. Isabel is a real artist. Even now that she's under so pressure, she never has a bad season" Val tells me, just days after the announcement, "she always has what you want. She's amazing."
|Isabel Marant at Aimé, Redchurch Street|
|More Marant at Aimé|
|A great silky jacket by Masscob|
Aimé has evolved with the Notting Hill times over the years. "When we opened the only other shops in the area were antiques and newsagents, it's changed a lot" Val says of Ledbury Road, where Matches and Village Bicycle are now among their neighbours, as well as their kids shop Petit Aimé . Redchurch Street could be going the same way. It's a sleek area already, backing onto Shoreditch House with Aesop and APC among the others along the road. There's a huge building project going on just down from Aimé and there have been rumours that the likes of Prada and Christian Louboutin have their eye on spaces on the street. When I went for the store's launch, it was bustling. A crepe van was parked outside, people were hanging out on the sweet little bench at the front of the shop. You can imagine it being quite a hub.
Like all the best shops, Aimé is about more than products. Val is acutely aware of the thrown together yet immaculate Parisienne chic thing whose poster girls are Marant and Emmanuelle Alt and of which she and her sister are possibly London's most authentic example."We're pretty classic in our style, it's the grooming which is important. You would so rarely see a Parisienne with chipped nails, or anything like that. It's how we grew up" explains Val when she's asked to proffer advice on style. She can't sell you her elegant but ruffled brunette hair, nor her bright skin. But her Isabel Marant embroidered top is hanging on the rails in Redchurch Street right now.