Singapore has many things to recommend it: great weather, reliable infrastructure, some of the world’s best street food. But even its most zealous advocates would be hard-pressed to rank “style capital” high on its list of attributes. Very few retailers here – of fashion, accessories or home decor – have managed to make statements original enough to merit international recognition, let alone praise.
So the case of interior designer Florence Lim, owner of a treasure trove called Edit Lifestyle, is all the more significant. “When I moved to Singapore six years ago after 16 years in London, the retail scene struck me as same-old, same-old. I really missed that funky one-off shop experience that’s everywhere in Shoreditch and Marylebone and Notting Hill.” So in 2012 Lim (first picture), who had no previous retail experience, began bringing the quirky and one-off to the Lion City: via the occasional pop-up shopping evening at a friend’s gallery or house; then in an appointment-only space.
When a boutique opened up in a heritage complex on pretty Tanglin Road in 2013, she took it on, reimagining it as a whitewashed, resort-y backdrop to the riot of expertly merchandised colour that fills every hanging rack and surface.
Her multibrand selection of independent makers and designers ranges from jewellery to sandals, correspondence cards to fragrances, introducing the likes of limited-edition swim trunks (from £135) by Orlebar Brown, scents (from £55) from the Capri-based Carthusia and hair products (from £16) from Fourth Floor in Clerkenwell.
There are deconstructed T-shirts (£155) and webbed cotton and linen dresses (from £315) by emerging California designer Raquel Allegra, throw pillows (£149) from Bloomsbury’s Darkroom and the delicate gold-plated jewels (from £245) of Greek designer Ileana Makri.
A core element of the edit at Edit is Lim’s eye for swimwear: she hand-picks bikinis (from £176) and maillots (example in second picture, about £259) each season from Eres, Melissa Odabash, cult French brand Bronzette and, a new addition, Lisa Marie Fernandez
But the star of the line-up is Alba, Lim’s own line of resortwear. “It was born as an adjunct to the swimwear; I thought women would want beach cover‑ups or dresses that weren’t all from the same designers as the swimwear.” Graphic prints and colour juxtapositions are the range’s signature: the Maya T-shirt dress (£75) boasts a saffron and orange geometric design; tailored short shorts (from £35) come in tiny rhomboid repeats; while the diaphanous Celine dress (£105) showcases a beautiful honeycomb motif in turquoise and white. Pair any of them with edgy, directional jewels by New York designer Pamela Love – one of Lim’s favourites. The Five Spike earring (about £310), in gold-plated silver studded with pearls, is quite a statement for this most staid of cities. Just the way Lim likes it.