Spend a Couple Minutes »Cassie Mercantile and Story

story londonIn a whirlwind of shopping there were two concept stores in London that stood out the most and deserved my special recongnition: The Story and Cassie Mercantile. At opposite ends of town, (Cassie is in Notting Hill, The Story – the east end) they also evoke totally different vibes but are similar in that they represent the creative vision of their owners.

Cassie Mercantile is an adorable appointment only gem of a shop that is hidden down a small alley beyond a little garden perfect for sitting and feeling wonderful. “Cassie” is actually Graham Cassie, an affable man whose taste for nomadic treasures brightens every corner of the tiny two story shop. Among my favorite treasures layered were this cloth necklace and an original Yoko and John “War is Over!” poster. My friend picked up some woven bracelets and a tiny orange skateboard from the late 60's.

While lots of the wares are price prohibitive for the average consumer, it's worth a stop by for inspiration. It's a favorite among fashion designers who can justify the prices as pieces to inspire collections and I assume it's a paradise of creative magic for anyone that works for Ralph Lauren as some of the walls seem set up to exactly reproduce the company's adventurous yet classic character.

Story's a very different experience, more like a Victorian dream splashed across driftwood and ivories than a store at all. The owner, Anne Shore, is a spectacularly elegant woman wearing (I think) Demeulemeester with flowing salt and pepper hair, who despite seeming initially intimidating with her flawless composure perfect life (not only does she run this amazing store that must be a blast to set up each month, but she's responsible for the most amazing pizza shop around the corner AND is a stylist for Italian Vogue!!), is actually as friendly as all the other great people we met in our short trip.

Here too, many of the pieces are extremely expensive. Even for my birthday I could not come to terms with purchasing a $700 necklace made up of several old Victorian crocheted and lace neck pieces sewn together with jet beads. Trust me it was tempting, but instead I went home with a hair piece bundle of lovely old Japanese rice paper roses and a thick lemon, pansy and marigold hand cream Shore makes herself.

There's very little information online about Story except for this stagnant page, and its hours can fluctuate daily, but it's located at 4 Wilkes St – stop by if you're ever in the neighborhood (just don't bring a dog like a family of four tried to – everything's too delicate for that business).

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Posted on February 23, 2009

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