December 04 2009
Never go to The Shop at Bluebird in a hurry. The 10,000sq ft space is such a vast happy hunting ground of quirky individualism in every field from fashion and beauty to interiors, books and music that having too little time is frustrating – and that was never owner Belle Robinson’s intention.
The co-owner of Jigsaw opened it five years ago because she felt London lacked “a good, accessible lifestyle store”. The initial design was by Andrew Martin with subsequent installations by names such as Carolyn Quartermaine and, currently, Abigail Ahern and her whimsical homewares (Jonathan Adler bud vase, £28.50). Scattered round are fittings which are for sale – sit on a restored French-style chair or stool (from £165) covered in vintage fabric by Baileys (you may find yourself relaxing next to customers Richard E Grant, Rufus Sewell or Kylie Minogue), buy a cast-iron and slate console table by Retrouvious (£1,600) used for display or let a vintage pedal car (from £240) amuse offspring while you shop.
What is at first a little daunting has not only a system that you discover as you browse but also helpful, knowledgeable staff – most of whom, says Robinson, are “part of our buying team and have a real passion for items they’ve helped discover”. Turn right as you enter for menswear, with cool brands such as Kris van Assche (cord and jersey jacket, £955), Comme des Garçons (shirts from £169) and Rick Owens (alpaca/merino mix scarf, £165) plus de luxe pieces from Missoni (cashmere sweater reversing to signature stripe, £605, scarves from £105). Gifts include scented candles from hip Japanese/French brand Kitsuné, a huge back wall of books on design and lifestyle and an eclectic music collection. Or just chill out on a leather sofa with cushions made from vintage flags by Covelli Tennant (from £140).
The larger area is womenswear. Robinson picks slightly edgy, feminine brands with a word-of-mouth profile, such as Charles Anastase (leopard-print fur coat, left, £1,239) and Vanessa Bruno (skinny leather trousers, £765). She was one of the first to support British-based designers Erdem, Peter Jensen, Jasmine Di Milo and Richard Nicoll (crêpe T-dress, £345). On stands and tables are ceramics by Kühn and fun accessories, such as stripy knit Missoni bears, £105, and Bobbydazzlers – soft toys hand-knitted to resemble a personality or your nearest and dearest.
At the far end is a jeans area with good fitting advice, and casual weekend clothes. There’s a large beauty bar with interesting brands, including old-school Bigelow Chemist and Micheline Arcier’s aromatherapy-based products. Exceedingly discreet is the spa area, the first outside Arcier’s Knightsbridge base to offer her treatments. It’s the perfect way to round off a Bluebird afternoon.