Willa Keswick Launches concept boutique Village Bicycle

by Katie on May 23, 2011

Willa Keswick greets me at the door of ‘Village Bicycle’ with a delightful raspy air, full of enthusiasm for her latest venture and stumbling on the most terrific scarlet velvet Senso Diffusion shoes – “These are going to be one of the new brands we stock….they’re great aren’t they?”, she gasps.  Yes, they are Willa, I have to agree.  They’re quite something. Just like their owner, they’re both charming and command your attention – original, cool and fun.
Willa Kewsick, if you don’t know this, (and we have to get it over with) is a Tatler listed socialite known for her wide array of well connected aristo and celebrity friends and defines cool and connected in that circle.  She’s also known for her constant mentions in the love-it-or-loathe-it column by Richard Dennen in The Evening Standard.  She’s the girl who always knows where the best parties are and the coolest places to hang out.  Her last venture, ‘Willa’s’ club in London’s Swallow Street, was short lived and she admits, “after a few weeks I knew it wasn’t for me….the constant late nights.”  I guess it was a headache.  

The experience taught her exactly what she wanted to do and more importantly, how to do it. She delved into a business course and, with her love of travel and the inspiration it brings, has created a concept store that she would love to be seen as a destination store…a hang-out for those inspired and inspiring.  I proffer names such as Corso Como in Milan and Colette in Paris and both Willa and her co-buyer, Emily Lobell, both agree completely that that is the vision – “You know…like those stores in the ’60’s and ’70’s like ‘Granny Takes a Trip’ and Biba where you’d go to be enthused and to experience the scene.”   Those are high benchmarks, I note, but this is a business brought about by love, enthusiasm and a core idea and energy to offer something just a little bit different.

Willa describes the store as “My fantasy shop!  I was bored of intimidating and middle-aged boutiques, so I decided to open a shop full of everything that I would love to wear or have – from fashion to music to art, all under one roof. It’s about not taking life (or shopping) too seriously. I think that’s sexy.”  And will it work?

Well, the concept is spot-on and the destination is hot, not to mention the original designers Willa will have on board.  She hopes to breathe new life into this fashion centric neighbourhood with her new baby and believes the name and vibe of the shop will attract a new kind of shopper to the area, which is already a huge shopping destination with Matches, Joseph, Sandro, DVF, Wolf & Badger and Anya Hindmarch next to them.

As well as having a relaxed approach (there will be banquette style seating for people to hang out, along the windows), the store aims to offer a range of exciting and emerging talent from the catwalks of London, New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo.  Hot designers such as Felder Felder, BodyAmr, Mark Fast, Todd Lynn, Craig Lawrence, Tom Binns and Eleven Paris, as well as exclusive collaborations and own brand designs, will all feature in store offering products ranging from evening wear to vintage.  Other lines will include jewellery, sunglasses, books, music, art and furniture.  Prices range from £2 to £2500.


Situated over two floors, the unique selection of handpicked collections aim at capturing a creative hip crowd, who love art, culture and having fun with fashion. Willa’s friend, Tyrone Wood, owner of Scream and Whisper galleries, will be curating the art in the store making Village Bicycle an essential ‘pop in’ destination to check out what’s new.  Willa also mentions that Tallulah Harlech (daughter of style icon Amanda Harlech) has helped create the Village Bicycle canvas totes (bound to be a sure fire hit) whose profits will all go to charity.

The Village Bicycle website will also combine an exciting E-zine and (launching in September) an online store, giving browsers a fresh look at the latest news, talent, interviews, parties and blogs.  The online store itself offers international delivery. 

The upcoming launch promises to be a Baz Luhrmann-inspired extravaganza with guest DJ’s and a stylish mix of the coolest and most influential names around in the worlds of fashion, art, music and photography.  I can’t wait.

Watch this space.

Village Bicycle opens in Ledbury Road, Notting Hill on 25th May 2011.



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cherie City May 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I LOVE the look of Willa’s store!

It’s great that she’s investing in the future of young designers and exposing them to a new market, while placing them alongside more established brands.

Sounds like a great venture, I can’t wait to go and see it.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm

It definitely helps being a well-connected Tatler listed socialite and having lots of wealthy famous relations gives you an even bigger leg up.
It’s a little bit harder for those of us who have all the taste and originality but not the upper class pedigree.

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