29 November 2011

Sloane Rangers: Peter Jones

As you know, when I was much younger I shopped at Peter Jones in Sloane Square. In fact one of my first serious girlfriends would take us there most weekends. I could have sworn Laura Ashley goods were on her shopping list, but I am told Peter Jones did not sell LA. Oh well, my memory must be shot. Later on I became a regular for shirts, ties, and suits. The 134-year old department store has now been refurbished. The Daily Telegraph recently covered the introduction of the 'new' Peter Jones:

Peter Jones straddles Britain's swankiest fault line, where Belgravia meets Chelsea. Diana, Princess of Wales shopped here, as does - claim the regulars I spoke to recently - Prince Harry and his newish sister-in-law. According to Tony Wheeler, the department store's managing director, 40 per cent of its clientele lives within walking distance. Which - given this neighbourhood's affluence - explains why it is the strongest financial performer of all John Lewis stores. As well as being local, Peter Jones customers are loyal: from their first pair of prep-school shoes onwards, they shop here for life.

Last night, many of those customers were invited to a party thrown to celebrate the end of a 10-year, £100 million refurbishment. David Cameron donated one of his Prime Ministerial fountain pens for a charity auction, and a choir - from a local, Peter Jones-shod prep school - was due to provide the music. The final flourish of this spruce-up took place in the menswear department, which now boasts trendy Danish furniture in the changing rooms and a strong, Sloane-friendly collection of Ralph Lauren, Gant, Hackett, Tommy Hilfiger, Thomas Pink and Mayfair Richard James suits. To mark the occasion, the store has produced a special collection dedicated to its core customers, those fountain-paddling Sloane Rangers. It includes a red-white-and-blue trimmed Barbour, a paisley lined wax Cro'Jack jacket, Eton shirts, a Chelsea boot by Grenson and even - rather suspiciously - a "heritage Sloane Ranger eye-mask".

When Peter York and Ann Barr wrote their Sloane Ranger handbook, these items and their contemporary equivalents comprised a highly evolved localised dress code that quickly set apart the U from the non-U. For men, the key Sloane Ranger kit included a tweed jacket, "worn in all situations, particularly with jeans"; the covert coat, "a vital garment because only Sloanes wear it"; and a green, oiled Barbour that "smells of dogs". By wearing these garments, Sloanes could recognise their own kind, and never fall into conversation with ideologically suspect Hampstead intellectuals.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010

6 comments:

Kiki said...

I was married in a Laura Ashley wedding dress. Loved it.

Bourbon&Pearls said...

Forget my gripes about compulsive shoppers, I want everything from Peter Jones, I loved that shop, it was so comforting.
Laura Ashely: I had that same white blouse that Princess Diana sported - ok let's get some Duran Duran playing!

The Dandy Man Can said...

I grew up very close to Pimlico Road, within walking distance of Peter Jones. It's a long established part of Chelsea & may long it continue. Fantastic that they're now selling Danish furniture too!

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, On of the best things about the refurbishment is the new cafe built out of what I suppose was the attic - wonderful views over Chelsea rooftops as far as The Oratory and beyond!

La Sombra Sofisticada said...

I have never been to the shop, but I really appreciate reading about it. Great story!

Anonymous said...

I just returned from London, and stayed at the Cadogan Hotel on Sloane Street, down from Peter Jones. I must say the refurbished Peter Jones looks great and is all decorated for the Christmas season!