Alex Eagle's

Christiaan Houtenbos
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The Emperor
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The term eagle-eyed finds new meaning in curator and retail guru, Alex Eagle. Cool, collectable and oh, so chic, she even lives laterally - and this week she lets us into her carefully curated home and studio. Known for her eponymous store, Alex Eagle Studio, in Soho, and her collection of conceptual shopping experiences; The Store - in London, Oxfordshire and Berlin - it is clear upon meeting Alex in her natural habitat – a loft apartment above the busy streets of Soho – that there is a reason her opinion and her careful selections are some of the most coveted in the creative industries, that conveniently seem to unify in the spaces that she so carefully creates.

Whether it be the perfect placement of a plant pot, or the designing of her own products, the logic with which Alex navigates every decision is seemingly signified by the attention to detail that she applies to every space she is entrusted with, which - exemplified perfectly in the towering cactus in the corner that has been playfully reimagined as a hatstand - always seems to see her deconstruct the familiar to reimagine it as something different or to understand it in a different context.

Now the namesake designer of her own luxury clothing and homewares, that are utilitarian in intention “with an actual functionality to them” but still of the highest quality in nature, Alex is uninterested in designing clothes to the restraints and deadlines of the typical fashion calendar. Instead, she seeks out longevity and strives to find it in the highest quality design and materials, taking the time to ensure that every aspect is perfect before the item is offered for sale for an indefinite amount of time.

A professional at providing hospitality, this week we - and you should too - feel very welcome into Alex’s home and studio, as she shows us around and unpacks what it really is to curate your own luxurious living space.

Semaine: So, where did it all begin?

Alex: My mother used to say that she’d come into my room in the middle of the night, and I’d be moving all my furniture around with a very serious face, but I’d be very proud of myself and admiring my work, until the next week or the week after where I’d move it all around again. I always liked seeing things in a fresh way.

Often there’s no need to change things in life, you can work with what you have. If you buy less and just buy the things you genuinely love and live with nothing until you find the things you really really love, then it means that when you move it to a different position and into a different corner, you can enjoy it fresh from a new angle all over again. I can move one chair and a coffee table and a light and then feel incredibly smug and happy about it for days. No-one else will even notice, but it gives me so much joy.

Semaine: How did the concept of The Store originate?

Alex: I started to accidentally do what I’m doing now. Friends would come round and I’d style them for events, and they’d end up buying the coffee table or the mirror, or the photos on the wall, and while I didn’t really understand about margins, and just saw it as a really good opportunity to just sell something. I just recognised that this was something that I really enjoyed and that maybe it was something that people really liked, this idea of shopping for furniture or art while shopping for clothes or being inspired by glasses by having an actual drink, shopping from a home. So I moved my flat into a shop!

However, it was really important for me to feel like I wasn't creating a shop. I really wanted to make a place where you could come and hang out and feel like you were really welcome. There is no hard sell, you don’t have to buy something then or even the next day. When you’re not dealing with seasonal clothes that are going to be thrashed in price and put on sale, you’re not under the pressure to sell in such a fast and manic way. So we do find that people come and they browse and spend time and hang out, and most people that come do turn into clients, but it’s not all about that, we do want people to be able to come and spend time and enjoy without feeling the pressure to buy. Like the Store in Berlin–it is a place where you can come with your laptop, plug in and spend all day and then “oops!” you might just buy a Jil Sander cashmere coat. It’s not about buying something and consuming, it’s about being part of something and taking time.

Semaine: You talk about creating spaces of comfort and luxury that inspire the same feeling of being home, what does home mean to you?

Alex: I think home is where you feel really comfortable, where you can rest, a place that you can get to and it just feels like you don't have to worry about things. I don’t think home has to be full of familiar things, or make you feel nostalgia or make up your past. It’s having a few things that embellish your life.

There are obvious things that remind me of home, I’ve got this candle that I made with Jehanne de Biolley that if I light, I instantly feel transported as if I'm at home. If I put it on in a hotel I instantly feel very comforted by it. I always invest in really nice pillows and duvets - that's something that helps feel like home. But honestly, I know it’s cheesy, but for me, wherever my family are feels like home. I’m lucky to have a little cottage in the country which feels like a home for life and I love this loft and hope to be here forever, but really it’s wherever my family is.

Semaine: What is luxury to you?

Alex: Modern luxury is really light and space and having time to breathe. We tend to live in tiny places, get on packed tubes, real luxury is this feeling of space, and not being overwhelmed. I think this idea of an edit is something that people find really luxurious. I think one of the nicest things is treating yourself as if you were your favourite guest. Picking your favourite mug, a beautiful linen oversized napkin, a Venetian glass, you know, making a cup of tea look so pretty as if you had a guest coming. Enjoying that and taking the time to make the tea, and make it look pretty and enjoying that. I think that’s one of the biggest luxuries, giving yourself the respect and time, using the beautiful things you have for yourself as well as for a guest.

Semaine: You have a long list of collaborations with some of the most talented artisans and companies in the world, what is it that inspires you to collaborate and how has this shaped your own collection?

Alex: I thought I may as well go to the originators of these great things, rather than trying to emulate or copy them. They have decades, and in some cases over a hundred years, of experience in making. So, why not use their skills, why compete? And why not design something new as well that gets them seen in a new light, on a new platform to new clients?

My own collection has been evolving. And everything really works with the collaborations, whether it be home-ware or clothes. The collaborations are very much key to the core and the collectivity in the shop. My idea for the clothes was to create these cohesive building blocks for your wardrobe. I never wanted to feel under pressure to create seasonal fashion and create whole collections. So what has evolved and grown is a collection over the years, thinking about what the real key components are to our lives are and what we really can’t live without. That collection has been growing steadily over the years, we’ve just launched bespoke tailoring with a Savile Row tailor, making men and women’s bespoke suiting. It’s all created upon this idea of no-waste, something is created specifically for someone. We’re only using Loro Piana fabrics, form the chicest black and blues and pinstripes and vibrant lovely bright blues and mustard yellows, so I’m really keen on that feeling of buying something that lasts forever. Which is something that has been really at the core of what I believe of this idea of really genuinely less is more, buying one thing perfectly and letting it grow and adapt with you, this idea of real luxury.

I think I hope to transpire this vision of enjoying life and picking things that you really love, and in the end, things really become a part of your life’s DNA, be it a cup, or a candle. I think it’s this idea of not having to constantly consume but waiting and saving and buying something and really having it as a part of your life. I want to inspire people to enjoy luxury. Collecting things over time you can make a collection of something that lasts forever. I think it’s this idea of more or less, less is more.

Semaine: And finally, what is your best piece of advice to give?

Alex: Once you find something you love, make it your life - then everything you do is going towards creating something that will last and that belongs to you, and make it belong to you by researching it, and really reading around the subjects, so that you can develop your own original thought and your own ideas based on learning about it.

By Kezia Navey for Semaine.

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Interior

Interior

I'm in the dream

Alex always means the dream, but this week you are actually invited into the dream home. Situated in Soho, the heart of central London. Just a stone's throw from The Alex Eagle Studio, Alex's home is every level of chic that you would expect from the curator of one of London's most renowned concept stores. Take a look for yourself, and even immerse yourself in a 360-degree tour of it, and then shop everything you didn't know you needed, right here...

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Essentials

Essentials

I Mean the Dream Essentials

Only the best picks from Alex Eagle, the creative eye who oversees some of London and Berlin's most shoppable and covetable spaces. This set of essentials is the perfect selection, so why not shop it now?

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Routine

Routine

24 hours with Alex Eagle

What do most days look like for Alex Eagle? This particular segment is perfect for those of us that love to understand (have a nose into) what it is exactly that successful people do on a daily basis, in order to stay successful. They're obviously doing something right, but what exactly is it they are doing right? Perhaps you can decipher it from Alex's daily schedule.

7am

I get up super early so I get some time with my son before work. So we often get up at seven and go for a walk. I’ll grab a coffee and maybe a little banana for him and we’ll wander around Regents Park. We also sometimes go to a beautiful cafe up Mount Street, they do lovely little things like turmeric lattes, and then we’ll walk through Hyde Park.

9 am

Then I’ll go into the office. My days always change, so one day I’ll be with the Alex Eagle team, the next I’ll be with The Store team, then on Wednesdays will be a mix, Thursdays will be meetings so that it doesn’t overtake my whole week, and then Friday I keep flexible for travel and stuff like that. So it’s a mixture, one day I’ll be with the pattern cutter and the tailor, one day I’ll be with the buying team, it really varies, but I’ll try and have a structure so that I can keep to it, otherwise nothing gets done.

1 pm

I'll run back home quickly to give my son a squeeze when I can.

6 pm (ish)

In the evening, I often get boxes delivered by Spring Green London which is a friend of mine, Bonnie Stowell, so I don’t to worry too much about getting all the nutrition in, it’s all delivered for you, to your house. It’s organic and seasonal and delicious. And then the Store kitchen, which is at 180 The Strand do delicious food which is all local, ethically sourced and farmed, seasonal delicious food, so I’ll try and eat there as much as possible and take a box home from them. My husband loves whipping up fresh soups and I’d say a chicken soup is my speciality… Other than that I’m more of a scrambled eggs on toast type person but I do love making very simple dishes look pretty on a plate.

7 pm

I’m the type of person that could spend hours laying the table, that’s what I do to relax. Lay the table and pour wine into decanters, put fresh water into lovely big fish jugs, lay out fresh linen napkins, and I try and do that even if it’s just me and my husband, I’ll always treat it as if I have thirty guests, lay the table and make everything as pretty as possible.

So that’s my London week. I try to fit in yoga classes and pilates glasses and try to walk as much as possible. I try to go to the theater and go out to try new resturants at least once or twice a week, and at the weekend I’ll often go to the country where I’ll have friends come to stay and that’s quite a wholesome life. Chicken, lots of roasted chicken, and gardening going down to the farmers market and going down to my shop at the Soho Farmhouse as well, doing long walks and stuff like that.

SHOP ROUTINE

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Bookshelf

Bookshelf

On my coffee table

Few coffee tables rival that of Alex Eagle. This could partly be because there are most definitely more books on the table than room for our coffee, but we will let it slide (and hope not to spill on any pages) because the selection is really quite something. From Picasso to the inner workings of Il Pellicano, there is no way you could possibly be stuck for something to read in Alex's household.

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Recipe

Recipe

The Store's Chickpea Cauliflower & Celery with Kefir Dressing

Alex has been wanting to give us a chick-peice of her mind for a while... Here is a recipe straight from The Store - a space that is, of course, her brainchild.

Ingredients

Serves about 5

  • 300g dried or a large tin of chickpeas
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1 litre of kefir
  • Measure of cheesecloth
  • 3 radishes
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • Sumac
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Glug of peppery olive oil
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Handful of chopped tarragon
  • Maldon salt and black pepper

Method

01

If chickpeas are dry leave soaking in cold water overnight - remember they swell up so make sure the container is big enough!

02

Tie the cheesecloth securely around a deep container and pour kefir in carefully - leave to strain overnight in fridge to make labneh

03

Wash all the veg

04

Chop cauliflower into florets

05

If using dry chickpeas, simmer with some garlic and star anise until cooked al dente

06

Parboil the cauliflower in salted water then roast in a very high oven for colour

07

If using tinned chickpeas, open and rinse

08

Leave everything to cool

09

Slice radishes finely

10

Peel and dice celery

11

Emulsify oil and lemon juice

12

Scrape labneh out of cheesecloth carefully - you can keep the whey at the bottom of the container to cook with or use in smoothies

14

Combine labneh, oil, lemon, salt, pepper and sumac

15

Gently fold dressing through the chickpeas, celery, radish, parsley and cauliflower

16

Season to taste

17

Finish with more sumac dusted over for colour

18

Enjoy!

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Travel

Travel

What Dreams Are Made of

Alex Eagle may actually take flight as often as a real life eagle... well, she does travel a lot. Either way, here is a selection of destinations all over the world that Alex feels you must visit.

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Bye, darlings!

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