Right now, London is cold – and a little forbidding, but then again, it’s quite often like that really. People are busy Christmas shopping, a surprisingly aggressive and for many an almost military activity. But just when I thought I’d had enough of high prices, pushy shoppers and napping staff, I found what I didn’t even know I was looking for: May.
It’s a boutique on Lancaster Road just a few seconds from the ever-popular and still-remarkable Portobello Road. Inside I saw shoes, bags, dresses and separates that are inspiringly simple. Instead of the clothes clamouring for attention, the carefully cut and draped fabric just makes the person inside them look their best. That in itself is quite a trick. I had a chance to speak with the designer Peter May and he was all kindness and knowledge – a wonderful change from most shops. He was dressed simply in black, and only accented by a surprisingly retro pair of what I think were Oakley glasses. He dropped no names and didn’t try to impress me with lots of fashion speak. He was only too happy to talk about his approach and was full of praise for his customers – who include the likes of a popular television cook with curves most women simply dream about.
I left the shop reassured that good design can be both personable and affordable. And that resonates with what me. In my life as graphic designer I try to give people quality and style they can trust and service that’s just as good, and it’s nice to come across someone who aspires to that in another industry. All in all a great little find, and some great presents for the wife!