ON THE ROAD: The King’s Road is getting a new fashion jolt with the opening this week of Cefinn, Samantha Cameron’s brand; Rixo London, and the Belgian label Essentiel Antwerp. Other brands to join the street, a symbol of pop culture, punk and posh society, include The Cotton Story, which sells cotton basics for men and women, and The Fashion School, which teaches students to sew and create long-lasting garments.
Kobox, SoulCycle and Peloton have also joined the thoroughfare, once the private road of King Charles II, while the first Costes hotel outside Paris will open nearby, next to Sloane Square station, in 2020. Chelsea Old Town Hall is one of the many buildings undergoing restoration, while a security and recycling network has been introduced, with a pledge to reduce the environmental impact.
The private property estate Cadogan has been spearheading the re-branding and revitalization of the street, which over the years had fallen victim to too many mobile phone shops, fast-fashion chains and mediocre places to eat. Along with other major landowners, local businesses and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Cadogan wants to shout about the street’s history and refashion it as a stylish hub.
Hugh Seaborn, chief executive officer of Cadogan, said the aim is to create “a cohesive brand identity and vision that will keep the King’s Road relevant and unique. This includes looking at everything from the retail mix, public realm, experiences, events and identity. The King’s Road must balance its iconic heritage with an openness to creativity and innovation.”
He added that “sustainability and community” will also be priorities going forward.
Cadogan is restoring the Rossetti Studios on nearby Flood Street, named after Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as subsidized space for working artists. There are also wider plans to bring back studio space and provide working artists with capped, affordable rents.
During the 1600s, access along the King’s Road route was exclusive — one had to carry a token with the king’s initials, according to the Cadogan Estates’ web site. In 1830, the route became open to the public; settlers in the area during this period included artists and bohemians. Mary Quant, the Sex Pistols, Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes were all King’s Road regulars.
In keeping with its aims, King’s Road is the main sponsor of the upcoming Mary Quant retrospective, which runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, starting April 6.