There is much to love about Primrose Hill. It has exquisite, battenberg coloured houses, beautiful green spaces and endless street cafés – plus it’s a cheap cab ride into town if you can’t be bothered to walk across the magnificent Regent’s Park to get there. But what I love most is the fact that the high street doesn’t (yet) look like every other high street in the country. Here you can find some genuinely independent, interesting boutiques with passionate owners who remain at the heart of this rather special neighbourhood.
One such place is PRESS, a small but perfectly formed womenswear store run by Melanie Press, who cleverly combines ultra-wearable basics with new designers and vintage finds. It was here, 8 years ago, that I bought my first high-waisted jeans (by Nobody…I have yet to find a pair I like better), here that I discovered R13 (the most I have ever spent on a t-shirt…and the most-worn item in my wardrobe) and where I recently stumbled across NLST (more about that later).
This lady has her eye on the ball and her team are great (don’t let the buzzer at the door put you off – just ring the bell and a friendly face will let you in). Melanie, Amelia, Charlie and Laura all have their own distinct style which means they can all give you a different intepretation on a piece. The people I shop for are all different, but I can find something for each of them here.
This week I went to PRESS to see their autumn-winter collections. Here’s what I found…
R13 skinny boy jogger. £319 (above and below). I’ve always loved the R13 brand for its lived-in, cool vibe and these luxury joggers do not disappoint. They’re subtly waxed to look a little bit like an old pair of leather trousers, they’re warm, slouchy and narrow on the leg so the shape is refined enough to wear with heels. They have a non-bulky drawstring waist, great for hiding winter comfort food. And since I have yet to find any interesting jeans this season, these will be a great substitute.
Mr Start belle pique shirt. £149. (Above). A terrific cut. Oversized but flattering, in crisp, white poplin. The most perfect white shirt.
Gat Rimon navy sweater. £120. (Above and below). Unless you want to spend a small fortune on a Proenza or Barrie knit, winter woollies are usually pretty dull. So I was thrilled to find this chic sweater which happens to be a great basic with a bit of detail. It’s 100% merino wool (the soft type, not the itchy type), it’s washable (by hand) and the sleeves are lovely and long to cover part of the hand when you’re hugging that hot mug of tea. It’s fitted enough to tuck into a midi-skirt, loose enough to wear over jeans. Also available in grey and black.
NLST sleeveless peacoat. £989. (Above and below). I can already hear you saying ‘I’d at least want sleeves for that price’, but the beauty of this is that you can throw it on over anything in your wardrobe and feel instantly cool. The heavy Japanese wool makes it warm (honestly) and snug, it has muff-type pockets lined in ultra soft corduroy and it’s got slits at the side so you can get in and out of the car without it all bunching up. I never want to see a cardigan again.
NLST stripy T-shirt. £140. (Below). My NLST obsession continues with this t-shirt. It’s relaxed and oversized but you still wear it rather than it wearing you. It feels light and soft (the fabric is a cashmere blend, hence the hefty price tag) and it’s just so easy.
Vanessa Bruno danaid black leather skirt. £380. (Above). Squidgy-soft leather, with pockets (another obsession of mine) and endless possibilities for styling: A chunky aran sweater, tights and ankle boots – a sexy silk blouse, bare legs and heels – or a simple vest and flip flops in summer. Plus, the elasticated waist means it can be worn on the waist or the hips, depending on how much leg you want to reveal.
Speaking of revealing a bit of leg…
Gat Rimon Ruth kimono. £195. (Above). Sex this up by turning it into a dress (belt at the waist, add heels and you have the quickest, easiest evening outfit of all time). It’s short but the fringing adds just enough length and stops it looking like a dressing-gown. It could also be worn dressed-down, to liven up a pair of skinny jeans and a simple white t-shirt, with scruffy old Converse or some cute flats. Christmas party? Summer festival? A year-round, throw-on party piece that comes in solid colours too, if the print is a bit much for you.
Citizens of Humanity stereo jumpsuit. £365. (Above and below). I am still not bored of onesies and boiler suits. This one is soft, slouchy and feminine. It has buttons at the back so you can adjust the boy-fit and the fabric is lovely and light with just the right amount of distressing. I like that it can be worn with sandals in summer or layered over a polo-neck for warmth in winter. Another year-round piece. If you’re indecisive, this is your outfit. One cool item, add shoes. You’re done.
A final word about neighbourhood shopping in general. Remember these are smaller stores that don’t carry vast amounts of stock, so if you find your size in something you like you gotta be quick!
Sweet things at PRESS. 3 Erskine Road, London NW3 3AG.
+44 (0)20 7449 0081
Photography: All photographs by Catherine Naylor-Leyland unless stated otherwise.
Please note: I take no responsibility for availability of any of the items featured or the prices quoted. I am always interested to hear your views on my selections and suggestions. If you like what you see here, please feel free to share it and credit me as the source. Thank you!