Regulars to this blog will know, Mr. Hare opened #MrHareWesside in July 2014 on Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London. In January 2016, we vacated that spot undercover of darkness with little warning and I am sure many people thought that another brand had come west without adequately doing the sums. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
In the 18 months we inhabited the Ledbury Road Store it was clear that Mr. Hare had found its spiritual home. I have been a West London Resident since 1995 and the relaxed mix of Downtown and Uptown in the vicinity of Ladbroke Grove is way more Mr. Hare than the 24-7 Lux/Retail complex of Central London. The only problem was that our cute little shop in Ledbury road was impractically small to run a dedicated shoe emporium from. We also had our head office on the other side of town in Shoreditch which was a daily grind I didn’t need. So when a massive new store became available just over 300m away, I wasn’t going to let perceptions get in the way of the new truth as I saw it, and under cover of darkness Mr. Hare metamorphed.
The New #MrHareWesside is at
22 Powis Terrace Notting Hill, London W11 1JH
tel: +44 (0) 20 7221 4025
Behind this low key fascade in Powis Terrace now resides the new home of Mr. Hare. A street steeped in real Notting Hill history and culture that we hope to add to over the coming years. The second floor of the house you see reflected in our window is where David Hockney Resided straight after graduating from the Royal college of Art in 1963 until moving to LA in 1978. A huge volume of his work was created right there and his time in Powis Terrace is well documented in the photographic journals ‘Checkered Past’ and ‘A Photograhic Memory 1968 – 1989’ of his partner of the time, Peter Schlesinger.
“Through the 60s Powis Terrace gained further renown from David Hockney’s studio, the cafe in ‘The L-Shaped Room’ (now the dog boutique), ‘Jungle West 11’, residences of the hippy fashion designer Ossie Clark, the occult rhythm’n’bluesman Graham Bond, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger (of the Trinity ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ fame), a ‘Performance’ influence Great Train Robber hideout, hells angels, heroin dealers, Rastafarians, the jazz record shop and the London Free School.”
Read More at Colville Community Forum
Inside the new store I was keen to find a happy balance between the old world lux of our Mayfair store and the stark galleryesque finish of our departed Ledbury Road store. My starting point was a early Bauhaus painting and a tiny budget. A good store should never be considered finished, designwise, as it grows in character with every passing day and with every passing visitor, so my job was just to create a space with enough about it to be pleasant to spend time in and humble enough to let the shoes do all the talking.
I will let you judge for yourselves.
The store is a very light, airy space with floor to ceiling windows at the front so I reckoned all that light should have some colours to bounce off. In Mayfair we have green marble on the front of the store so I figured we should bring some green to Powis Terrace too, from Exhibitions and our Ledbury Road store, I knew that shoes always look good on a white background but a whole shop of it can be a bit ‘dental surgery’ so as Mr. Hare is a Black shoe company, and home of the ‘PRO BLACK’ shoe shine, I knew some Black features would be necessary. Then Red just seemed to fit right in there too, so…
I went for laminated plywood in all the furniture because I am well familiar with taking a natural material with its faults and character traits and attempting to make it compliant and almost uniform with flat, smooth colour, however we all know that control against nature and time is just a human conceit, so I left a lot of natural wood on show, just like I use a lot of Vachetta leather, because I think nature is the ultimate luxury, more than the idea of luxury itself.
My biggest learning from being a retailer is that even in a little specialist store like a Mr. Hare one, your carpets take a pounding.
Forget about any natural fibres, unless you want to change the carpet every 18 months. With this knowledge in hand I fastidiously explored ways to get creative with industrial man made carpet tiles. I found these gorgeous tiles that have an almost boiled wool texture to them and spent an entire afternoon making floor patterns on my laptop. It was the most fun part of the whole job.
I purposely kept a lot of free wall space because I am mad keen to exhibit art work by working artists. Yes it is a shoe shop but it is also a very nice space with lots of light, so join our mailing list to be invited to all our future events and exhibitions. I am also taking submissions and will happily donate space to work that lights my fire.
What might have been considered a dead space under the flat aboves stairwell, now houses the sexiest cash wrap desk in all of Notting Hill, and beyond I suspect, and as this is 2016, yes, that is the till.
You are looking at a sneak preview of shoes from our AW16 collection. These are the new ‘Piet’ Suede low tops which will be available in store in July.
These are the new Mr. Hare ‘Jamaica Edition’ New Era Fitted and Bucket Collab joints. Available as soon as the doors open. Reason enough to get down to the new store without delay, because come carnival, there won’t be any left.
Finally for all our worldwide Online shoppers, this is the basement where all that Ecom magic happens. Does that look like the offices of an evil multinational conglom? When you order from Mr. Hare you are dealing with a little company where the guy whose name is on the shoe is sitting by the boxes, and when you dial the number, this is where the phone is answered. So stick one to the man, and support local businesses !!
Just to prove how local we are, here is a little mappette to show the tiny distance we have moved from our previous location in Ledbury Road.
So in conclusion…
From Friday 29th April at 10 am, the doors of Powis Terrace will be open and ready for you to visit and we welcome you all with open arms.