When my plane touched down in London a few days ago, I had already made a very definite mental note as to one place I simply couldn’t leave without visiting. While it wasn’t the only shop I’d set my sights on to venture into – a much-needed dose of retail therapy came in the form of Oxford Street and Westfield, while I relied on Carnaby Street’s Leon to re-boost my energy levels after throughly exhausting the former – I had heard a plethora of warm comments about V V Rouleaux, and my apartment was already near one line that would bring me quite close to the area, so the route was (in theory) not at all strenuous.
Unfortunately, a stumbling block came just as soon as my shopping partner and I had arrived at the tube station: the line we were en-route to take was experiencing ‘severe delays’ due to a badly-timed signal failure, and the majority of other underground lines were part closed because of the same issue. I really wanted to reach the place but, at the same time, I wasn’t really sure at what hour I’d make it there if at all – so I turned on my heel in the other direction, slipped on a pair of comfortable shoes, and began a one-hour trek to Marylebone Lane (one that was surprisingly doable, might I add, and was very enjoyable passing by Hyde Park in all its green glory – if a similar ailment befits you on your way to the shop and you’re game for a bit of exercise, I’d recommend this route for sure).
When I reached the street, I passed by a number of intriguing little shops before V V Rouleaux finally greeted me, its shopfront illuminated in the cloudless sunlight. Even behind a barrier of glass, the interiors looked warm and vibrant, and needed no further encouragement to step inside.
When I entered the shop, I was properly spellbound. I’ve visited a reasonable number of haberdasheries in different cities, but I had never seen such vibrancy, such never-ending selections grouped in just one boutique. While V V Rouleaux is a bookmarked favourite of celebrities, fashion/interior design insiders and photo-shoot stylists, it’s crystal clear that by no means does the passementerie alienate any other forms of customers with varying budgets (why, one of the trimming rails housed velvet ribbons in every shade & size under the sun, with some priced at just a couple of pounds per metre) – the clientele really isn’t of a set category, which makes the boutique all the more interest-piquing and accessible. After visually drinking in all of the ribbons, vivid attachable birds & flowers that the entrance level had to offer, I made my way downstairs to the Atelier.
On the lower level, the scene was no less eye-catching – the nearly-kaleidoscopic range of ribbons, pom-poms and tassels were set off by icy, silver trimmings and flower embellishments. The atelier was full-to-the-brim with covetable items yet entirely spacious; a selection of colourful masks graced one wall; a rainbow of cord-like trimmings were on display in a cream cabinet topped with embellished mannequins. During my wide-eyed encounter with the trimmings I also had the pleasure of meeting Derek Lawlor, an emerging yet already-highly-acclaimed knitwear designer who handles consultancy for V.V Rouleaux.
My experience in V V Rouleaux left me stupefied, in the best way imaginable – if you’re a DIY/sewing lover you might resonate with the feeling of being so in love with so many items in a haberdasher’s that, if you haven’t visited the place for a specific reason or requirement, you can truly feel a conundrum of whether to splash all your cash on whatever catches your eye or to not. It’s a feeling I’ve undergone before but, standing in the shop, it felt heavily multiplied in comparison to how I’ve felt before in similar situations – I literally wanted every single item that I came across!
The immaculate attention to detail throughout the sewing boutique was such a gorgeous sight to behold; the beautifully-written notes dotted around the shop, black-and-white floral brocade pieces of paper detailing prices or friendly explanations of the items they were placed with. The boutique quite literally has any sewing or DIY requirement you could possibly seek – whether you’re searching for simple or more intricate ribbons to adorn a piece you’re designing, making three-dimensional embellished cards or want a unique-looking headdress for the upcoming festival season or weddings (they even hold classes on making the latter each month, as well as hosting hen nights – imagine how unique an evening that would be, spent with all your close female friends making something to wear on the wedding day!) – V V Rouleaux truly caters for everyone, from every walk and stage of life. If you’re in the shop and have a vague idea of what you require for, say, a garment you’re sewing up, but aren’t quite sure which direction to go regarding colours and textures, you can rely on the staff to give you a knowledgable helping hand in that regard. I found them to be very pleasant but not overly pushy, which I’ve always felt is the perfect mix – in fact, I’ve felt in the past that over-fawning on the shop assistants’ part rather puts me off re-visiting a place altogether!
VV Rouleaux can be found at 102 Marylebone Lane, London – one of the nearest tube stations you can reach to go to the boutique is Bond Street, one stop before Oxford Circus on the Central Line and the stop I had envisaged making my way to (you can find full details regarding directions and so forth “here”) – or you can walk from Shepherd’s Bush! Alternatively you can find a smaller selection of the label’s trimmings in both Liberty and various John Lewis branches across Britain. You can follow the passementerie via Facebook and you can further unearth its history, along with certain products, on the shop’s website “here”. If you’re stuck for embellishment ideas, want to find that specially-sourced ribbon or simply want to experience the incredible vibe you get from walking around the shop, I highly recommend you make a beeline to VV Rouleaux whenever you find yourself in the city – you’ll quickly discover the various awards the boutique has clocked up during its 20+ year life span certainly weren’t bestowed for nothing. ♥