Ludlow: fashion capital
PUBLISHED: 12:54 14 September 2012 | UPDATED: 12:14 28 February 2013
Renowned for its food festival and high quality restaurants, Ludlow is fast gaining a reputation as a fabuous fashion destination too. Sarah Hart went window-shopping
The town of Ludlow, recently christened the second best market town n in the UK in the Countryfile awards, has long revelled in its status as a food capital par excellence. But theres more to Ludlow life than eating...theres dressing up too. The clothes-conscious of South Shropshire and beyond are increasingly making a beeline for the town to check out its growing roster of exceptional and exciting independent fashion retailers.
Leaf Bull Ring
The latest womens boutique to open, Leaf stocks Seasalt clothing as well as other brands, including Heavenly Body jeans that claim to help you drop a jean size.
Leaf was founded in July by father and daughter Glyn Price and Kezia Lloyd Price who also run Frank Lloyd menswear and Red Apparel on the same street and a string of other clothing shops in Mid Wales.
Oska Castle Street
Bringing a touch of the Kings Road and Harrogate to Ludlow, this is OSKAs first concept shop in the UK, selling not only the OSKA brand but other luxury labels that fit with OSKAs ethos of effortless elegant dressing.
In fact its one of just a handful of placesoutside London where you can buy French Fogal tights, the worlds most exclusive hosiery brand. And its the only UK boutique outside of London where you can find exquisite French scarves by Traits or coats by the German label Raffauf.
Other lovely clothing brands include Velvet and Majestic, Hudson jeans, stunning shirts and blouses by 0039Italy, Marion Foale knits and refined Italian-made garments by Crossley. Stunning 1940s and 50s-inspired dresses by the designer Samantha Sung will be a sought-after addition for spring/summer 2013.
OSKA opened in Ludlow in September last year, so the shop has just celebrated its first birthday. OSKA already had a well established following in the town. The label had been sold for many years by the independent boutique Antony Sheppard that occupied the same premises. So when OSKA discovered Antony was moving on, it seized the opportunity to open its own branded shop.
Antony had a strong following. Weve retained that and also attracted new customers, says shop manager Sally Payne who also worked for Antony Sheppard. The shop meanders through a labyrinth of little rooms over two floors of a beautiful period building, just off the market square.
Voulez Vous Broad Street
Every woman deserves beautiful underwear and theres nowhere in Ludlow selling more beautiful lingerie than Voulez Vous.
The boutique was opened by Vicki Owen, former proprietor of luxury lingerie shop Mystique in Shrewsbury, in November last year.
Simply stepping into this stylish boutique is a pampering experience, with its velvet drapes, gilt mirrors, crystal chandeliers and sumptuous tones of gold and mulberry.
Vickis passion for what she does is infectious. Shes been in the lingerie business for over 20 years. Everything she sells here has been carefully selected for its beauty, wear-ability and stunning fabrics. Her luxury lingerie labels include Marie Jo, Prima Donna, Lejaby and the French label Lise Charmel, famous for its hand-finished, delicate embroidered designs. Theres everything from itsy chemises to lacey shape-wear.
Voulez Vous also sells a range of stunning swimwear including pieces by Italian label Save The Queen, Gottex, Rasurel, Ted Baker and Miraclesuit which claims to make you look 10lb lighter.
Vikis clothing range encompasses stylish easy-to-wear luxury labels, such as Stefanel, to tailored evening dresses by Bastyan. Soon to come is the youthful Italian label Twin-Set thats taking Italy by storm. Voulez Vous sells luxury hosiery by Wolford, La Perla fragrance and body products, Cocorose shoes and eye-catching jewellery. Among the jewellery are unusual pieces by The Branch, made out of polished Indonesian rosewood with semi-precious stones set into silver.
Voulez Vous will soon be selling online.
Bodenhams of Ludlow Broad Street
Bodenhams is synonymous with Ludlow. The best-known corner shop in South Shropshire, its been straddling the curve of Broad Street and King Street since 1860, making it one of the oldest stores in Britain.
But dont let the 600-year-old beamed ceilings or creaking oak floors deceive you. Bodenhams may look traditional on the outside, but on the inside it stocks outfts for shoppers with modern tastes.
Womens labels cater for stylistic palettes ranging from classics, such as Olsen, to more cutting-edge, easy-wear Danish brands Fransa and Masai. Among the lifestyle labels are Joules, Barbour and the tummy-flattening, bottom- lifting Not Your Daughters Jeans. Shoes include Hush Puppies and new this year are Emu sheepskin boots. Emu clothing will follow next spring.
Bodenhams is also a destination for lingerie, ranging from well known reliable brands such as Playtex and Triumph up to something a bit more special, such as the American label Wacoal thats also stocked by Harrods.
The mens department houses a broad selection of stylish Barbour as well as traditional suits and tweeds, Camel Active jackets, Wolsey knits and Alfred Sargent and Rockport footwear. Joules for men has also just arrived.
Bodenhams has seen countless shops come and go in Ludlow over its long history. It started life as a department store, being three times bigger than it is today. Back then, founded by farmers son William Bodenham, it employed 100 people. But when it was their turn to take over the family business, Williams sons fell out, resulting in the sell-off of two-thirds of the rambling building. Today Bodenhams is run by the 5th generation of family members, Williams great great grandson Roger Curry and his wife Monica along with a little bit of help from Rogers mum Muriel, who at 86, still drops into the shop every day to keep an eye on things. A year ago Bodenhams launched its online shop.
Weve gone back to what we were doing 100 years ago, shopping by post, says Roger. Although back then wed send out a horseman!
55 Mill Street
Recently raved about on Twitter by the Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis, this is a labyrinthine antique emporium full of beautiful vintage clothing and lovely things for the home. Here you can snap up a stunning tweed jacket for a snip, or a stylish handmade 1950s dress for a fraction youd pay for a brand new garment of similar quality. Why look to the High Street for vintage inspired clothing when a leisurely rummage through the rails at 55 can turn up the real thing?
The shop trails through a maze of little rooms over three floors with something to discover at every turn.
Previously known as The Wearhouse, the business acquired a new properietor back in June. Nina Hely-Hutchinson has freshened up the place with tweaks here and there, while continuing The Wearhouse philosophy of offering quality decorative antiques and vintage clothing and textiles collated by different sellers. The shop features some new sellers as well as an area selling designer-maker craft items, such as hand-thrown ceramics. The Wearhouse founder Sue Humprhies has retained a French-inspired brocante on the top floor.
Brides of Ludlow 5 Parkway, Corve Street
For the first time in years Ludlow has a bridal boutique. Brides of Ludlow opened in mid September, born out of one young womans search for her own wedding dress.
When Georgina Fitzgerald began looking she discovered there was nowhere to go in her home town of Ludlow. The nearest bridal boutiques were in Much Wenlock, Shrewsbury or Hereford. We thought Ludlow missed out on not having its own bridal boutique, explains Georgias husband-to-be, Steve Crompton, also her business partner.
Brides of Ludlow specialises in both bespoke designer range gowns and beautiful off-the-peg dresses. The men dont miss out either because the shop also provides a menswear formal hire service. There are page boy suits for hire too. For more information visit www.bridesofludlow.co.uk.
Spirit of the Andes High Street
This small British company opened its Ludlow shop last spring, introducing classic dressers to beautiful knitwear produced by artisan knitters in Peru and Bolivia.
Mistral King Street
For pretty, country-inspired, easy-to-wear jersey dresses and separates. The Wiltshire-based family-owned company opened here, within spacious 15th century premises, in September last year. Mistral clothing is in a similar mould to Joules, Boden and Seasalt. All garments are designed in-house.
View High Street
View is an old Ludlow favourite that has been selling affordable, stylish, boutique clothing for nine years. Labels include Noa Noa, Firetrap, Nougat, Sandwich, Great Plains and French Connection with something to appeal to a broad spectrum of ages and tastes, from savvy teenagers to fashion-conscious seniors.
Accessories include Drift handbags that are made in Scotland, Vagabond and Cara footwear, Ted Baker purses and Bohm jewellery. Owner Becky Rumsey also has shops in Leominster, Hereford and Ledbury.
Frank Lloyd and Red Apparel Bull Ring
Were interested in nice clothing at a nice price, is the best way Glyn Price explains the philosophy behind Frank Lloyd and Red Apparel.
These two shops are next door to each other Red Apparel appealing to the fashion hungry shopper in their teens and early 20s and Frank Lloyd attracting male clientele looking for something smart and more classically cut.
Most guys are dressing better than theyve ever done and they want good clothes, comments Glyn.
Frank Lloyd stocks affordable quality European and British brands such as Wilson and Sloane and Le Breve.
Pepper Lane Vintage Clothing Pepper Lane
This little shop, complete with its suitably 50s attired and hair-styled shopkeeper, is a must for a mooch. Its stuffed full of elegant vintage clothing and ideal fancy dress items such as military jackets and bowler hats.