All roads lead to . . . Margaret Howell | 23.10.14

Margaret Howell’s shop on Wigmore Street, just north of the John Lewis Oxford Street mothership, might just be the most formative shopping experience I have ever experienced. If the term ‘lifestyle store’ hadn’t been so roundly abused then it would be an apt description. The clothes are great, it kind of goes without saying, but it is the books and objects that sit alongside that soften the edges (and prices). For a clothing brand it is perhaps surprising that it is a selection of books that greets you as you enter, in the low ceilinged fore of the shop before the vaulted and top lit back space opens out.

Their sample sales are the place to pick up old season clothing; I have a wool reefer style coat that I picked up at a sale in 2005 that is still my default cold weather coat. From the selection of household goods I once bought a circular birch ply tray that has remained a cornerstone of our kitchen. These plywood trays by Asaf Tolkovsky from Bridport are now, proudly, available from Black Bough. A whole nesting set would be a lovely (wedding) gift but they work beautifully as individual trays as well.


It was a chance Margaret Howell mailing that led me back to Asaf’s work. While idly flicking through the latest MHL catalogue (MHL being the Margaret Howell diffusion line) I chanced upon the photo credits and noted his name as the model. So . . . when he’s not busy making furniture and products in his workshop he has a sideline in modelling.