November 07 2010
Amid the boutiques and traditional suppliers that surround Chelsea Green is a stark grey box with a distressed wood and glass door. This is Felt, one of London’s most original shops, with a reputation far bigger than its tiny footprint. Felt has built up an enviable clientele of cognoscenti, from magazine editors and stylists to models and Hollywood A-listers. “Well, you can never have too many jewels,” grins Eliza Poklewski Koziell (pictured), who opened the shop in 2006 with fashion director Jayne Pickering.
The jewellery that festoons the grey felt walls ranges from enamel flower earrings (£45), tiny jewelled spiders and flies (from £25) and brooches (from £35) to designer costume jewellery including Kenneth Jay Lane’s 1971 moving owl pendant (£375) or Marni’s contemporary Bakelite chain necklace (a steal at £65). If you’re already thinking about Christmas, jewel-coloured friendship bracelets and gold chains with charms, shells and semiprecious stones (both under £40) are bestsellers. Felt also stocks the latest offerings from hot young designers such as Anna Hiscock, whose rolled-silk necklaces with snakeskin ovals cost £117.50.
Apart from jewellery, Poklewski Koziell has built up an eclectic mix of products that have made Felt a hot destination for present-searchers. Having worked for maverick movie director Peter Greenaway – revered for visual feasts such as The Draughtsman’s Contract – her eye is quirky but unerring. There are art-deco teapots (from £30), coffee pots (from £38) and champagne glasses (from £18). There are furs – a Givenchy mink (£2,500) or a white rabbit cape (£50). Hand-woven Nepalese cashmere scarves in vibrant colours (from £115) or soft cotton scarves (£15) also make generous stocking fillers.
For babies there is an irresistible cream linen vintage frockcoat (£45) and hand-knitted matinée jackets with matching bonnets and bootees (from £75). For men, Felt stocks silver Marmite, ketchup and mustard tops (from £38), beautifully bound antiquarian books (from £100) and illustrated classic hardbacks such as The Picture of Dorian Gray (under £10).
“I pride myself on having something for an eight-year-old or an 80-year-old,” says Poklewski Koziell. The shop is certainly busy while I’m there – a woman buys a felt spectacle case for her husband’s stocking (£10), a man picks leather bracelets (£20 each) in olive green, fuchsia and orange for his goddaughters, and a teenage girl buying a felt iPhone case (£40) for her sister can’t resist a pair of paste earrings for herself (from £50).
Felt’s cult status has arisen not just from Poklewski Koziell’s magpie instinct, but also from the fact that she barters. Take in your old jewellery and choose anything you like to the same value. She’ll also remodel and repair jewellery. “Nothing is too much trouble,” she proclaims. “We passionately love what we’re doing.”