Kevin Martel has been the Creative Director of Harrys of London since 2005, growing the brand from a tiny office in Carnaby Street – where the team consisted of himself and an assistant – to a global footwear brand with multiple stores and an enviable wholesale repertoire. We caught up with him for the latest in our ‘My London’ series.
I am quite in love with my neighbourhood – the Motcombe Village section of Belgravia. It really has a ‘neighbourhood’ vibe and everyone on my street knows each other – which I find very special for central London. We also have great pubs!
Favourite place for brunch:
Again – rather partial to my neighbourhood – I can always be found at the Pantechnicon on Motcombe Street with friends on the weekend. The food is excellent and I always see friends and neighbours when I am there.
Best coffee in London:
La Bottega – I have spent half of my life working in Italy – so I am quite particular when it comes to a good espresso. The VERY Italian staff at La Bottega on Ebury Street near my office are absolute pros. The food is also great.
Favourite gallery or museum:
I favour the V&A. There is a tapestry room there that I often go to on the weekends just to sit and marvel at the workmanship and the quite, almost monastic atmosphere. The quality of the collection at the V&A will humble any designer and remind us all that quality and exceptional design is what will last over time.
Tell us a secret:
If I did – then it would no longer be a secret…
Favourite place to shop:
It may sound like a cliché – but Harrods is one of the most amazing stores in the world. I think most people are put off by the hordes of tourists to really take the time to go there and explore. Try it on a Monday evening, when things are quiet. There is a level of luxury and selection there that you cannot find anywhere else – and the customer service is exceptional.
Favourite place to find inspiration:
I always find that a good walk in the park clears the head. I have a dog – so weekend trips to Kensington Palace Gardens and the path around the Serpentine are part of my routine.
Best London destination for a date:
Speaking of Hyde Park – I think the outdoor Beer Garden at the Serpentine Kitchen is a great place to take friends or a date on the weekends. The view is great and it has a relaxed picnic feeling instead of a pretentious restaurant. I love a good picnic table…
Again – I prefer Hyde Park because it has become so much a part of my routine over the years – however, St. James Park is so beautifully designed it can take your breath away when it is in full bloom in the spring.
Favourite food market:
The Saturday farmers’ Market in Mozart Square (Pimlico Road) is great. Not too big, not too crowded and great meat and produce. Although, I have been known to appreciate the butcher in the Harrods Food Hall when looking for a particular cut of meat for special occasions.
Your sanctuary in the city:
My flat on Kinnerton Street. I travel a great deal for work – so when I am home from a week running around factories, I cherish a quiet weekend ‘in the hood’. I couldn’t care less to leave my postcode on the weekends – It has everything I need.
What inspires you?
I am a designer – I am inspired and influenced by everything around me, everywhere I go and everyone I meet, the good and the bad. That may sound vague – but I like to live with my eyes and ears wide open at all times.
This season I’m loving:
Rugged boots! My weekend trekking in the park will require a certain ‘rugged’ footwear as the weather turns – so I am always prepared with a good sturdy boot and have selfishly designed a new collection for the season with myself in mind. As they say – there is no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothing…
Harrys of London new ‘Rugged Weekend’ collection for Autumn/Winter 2015 featuring a lightweight Vibram® Gumlite® sole. Great for city and country pursuits as well as weekend jaunts to the park with Erik my French Bulldog.