Browns is the essence and legend of the fashion business at the same time, a shop that has literally stood by the cradle of success now enjoyed by a number of popular brands - if you can bring yourself to imagine a time when - to mention but a single example - the name Giorgio Armani didn't mean anything to anyone, that is. In 2006 Browns celebrated its 35th anniversary. This chain of shops that occupies eight South Molton Street buildings (the numbers 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 38, 39, 50) was founded by Joan Burstein (otherwise known as Mrs B) with her husband Sidney back in 1970, when they bought their first property here. Not only Mrs B was the first in London to sell stuff by the above mentioned Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan and Comme des Garçons but she also was brave enough to buy a few designs by then student John Galliano (who still calls her his fairy godmother).To an extent she may be considered to have laid the cornerstone of Galliano's career by buying and displaying in the Browns shop windows Les Incroyables, the graduation collection that earned him the diploma of St Martin's College of Art and Design. In a way Mrs B has contributed to Alexander McQueen's career as well.
Today Browns is already a chain of shops. While the main shop offers a choice of brands like Balenciaga, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni etc., the nearby Browns Focus carries collections by more conceptually inclined designers like AF Vandervorst, Hussein Chalayan, Dries Van Noten and others. Regardless of its scope, Browns hasn't lost its intimate character and is still famous for its knack for discovering new names. The shop's policy also remains the same - choosing from the designers' collections only the items they literally can't tear their eyes away. And this is exactly the reason why at Browns you sometimes see things you won't find anywhere else.
23-27 South Molton Street
Keywords: London, shop, fashion, store, clothing shop