In Conversation With Simon Burstein

One year on since we last sat down in conversation with Simon Burstein – the founder of The Place London for Men and Women – we catch up on more about his background and the best which is yet to come, including customers, designers and SS18 collections.

1) How do you choose the pieces that you feature at The Place London (for men and for women)?

It’s a combination of gut feeling, experience and knowledge of the customer. I love to discover talent.

2) Which designers do you admire and why? 

Designers that have a true style. Having run Sonia Rykiel for 20 years and worked closely with Mme Rykiel who was a true designer, I understood what and how a creative person thinks. The late Azzedine Alaïa was another giant.

3) What is your favourite piece from current collections?

Style ‘Grace’ is an embroidered long tulle dress with bright lemons with a silk printed fruit potions underdress by Alice Archer.

4) Why did you choose to base your business in Connaught Village?

I discovered the area because I would have my Bristol car hand-washed by Leller’s, the best hand car wash in London, and have coffee at Cocomaya (now Roni’s). The street has a lot of character, with its Georgian terrace houses, eclectic shops, a community atmosphere, plus no big high street names. It’s also near the most magnificent park, Hyde Park, and only 10 minutes from the West End.

6) What staple piece do you believe everyone should have in their wardrobe? 

Women have different needs for their busy day. In the morning when they take their children to school, they put on a performance legging or tracksuit bottom (Ana Heart) with a big parka (Herno) to work, soft wool dress with a short jacket (Sofie d’Hoore) and for the evening at home a silk embroidered Kimono (by Alice Archer) worn with jeans and a t-shirt .

7) Which 3 words would you use to describe ‘The Place’ (for men and for women) to someone who had never visited before?

Curated, Creative, Welcoming.

8) What’s the best advice you have ever been given and what advice would you give people starting out in the fashion industry?

Listen to people and remain true to yourself.

9) What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

Knowing when to pull the plug on a business that’s failing and starting over again.

10) What has made you most proud throughout your career? 

Building teams in the workplace.

11) Where would you recommend getting your morning coffee from in Connaught Village?

Abasto (Argentinian atmosphere), Le Pain Quotidien (healthy menus), Roni’s (friendly and efficient) and Markus (for Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee beans).

12) Where did your initial interest in fashion and design originate from?

At the French Lycée where you didn’t wear a uniform. We started trends – girls in 1960’s wore short kilts with bright cropped Shetland sweater and the boys Newman velvet jeans with Shetland crew neck sweaters. My parents had ‘Netawear’, a forward-thinking chain of fashion shops where I worked during my holidays, and then Browns which was where I started my career as a Saturday sales assistant when it belonged to Sir William Piggot-Brown. A year later, my parents bought the company and I started work there at the age of 17.

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