Simon Burstein was raised in Kenwood, Hampstead. His retail career began at an early age, working as a junior sales assistant Browns, which at that time was still owned by Sir William Piggott Brown. The experience led Burstein, then 17, to leave school and work full time at the store his parents owned, Feathers. In 1970 Simon convinced his mother and father to buy Browns, which under their stewardship became the now-iconic boutique on South Molton Street. As Burstein used to assist his mother on buying trips to Milan, New York and Paris, he cultivated an instinct for spotting emerging talent. Fast forward to 2015, and he was able to secure a shop at 27 Connaught Street, a former framers studio north of Hyde Park, for Alice Archer (a rising star in British fashion) to have her studio. Today, the premises houses a must-visit boutique The Place London Women as well as Archer’s atelier, with further locations at number 31 (The Place London Men) and 59 Brook Street (men and women).
We caught up with Simon for the latest in our ‘My London’ interview series.
Notting Hill Gate especially on Saturday morning with hundreds of tourists searching for Portobello market.
Favourite place for brunch:
Piazza East the open fire pork belly is delicious and excellent with a bloody Mary.
Best coffee in London:
Markus on Connaught Street in Connaught Village, he’s been grinding his coffee there for the past 60 years.
Favourite gallery or museum:
Tell us a secret:
My yoga app.
Favourite place to shop:
Fortnum and Mason ground floor for biscuits and teas especially at Christmas.
Favourite place to find inspiration:
Goldborne road for the diversity in food, coffee shops and antiques.
Best London destination for a date:
St Pancras Station then whisk her off to Paris for dinner.
Primrose Hill, the view over London is spectacular.
Favourite food market:
Whole Foods Market Kensington.
Your sanctuary in the city:
Chelsea Arts Club, sitting in the garden even in the Autumn. It’s best when the sun shines.
What inspires you?
The Women in my life – I have 3 daughters, my ex-wife, my 92 year old mother and my beautiful French girlfriend.
This season I’m loving:
Paul Auster’s gigantic novel 4321.