Nine-hundred alfresco seats, rainbow bunting, festoon lighting and seasonal installations are in place across the area, adding to the celebratory atmosphere. Sloane Square’s pop-up is open – a collaboration between The Royal Court Theatre and local restaurants Colbert and The Botanist to bring delicious drinks, pizza, crepes, petanque and playwrights to the Square throughout the summer. Pavilion Road is now permanently pedestrianised, emphasising the value of its independent artisans to the community.
Cadogan has been investing steadily in Chelsea over the past year, helping its current retailers with rents, and introducing new brands to the neighbourhood. Newcomers this spring and summer will include Ralph Lauren’s new World of Ralph Lauren opening its newest flagship in Sloane Square, and Burberry and Balenciaga openings on Sloane Street. The King’s Road will welcome a Ganni store, while Rixo has signed a permanent lease following the success of its long-term pop-up on the street.
Cadogan: Welcome back to Chelsea.
To celebrate reopening and the joy of being able to shop once again in person, Sloane Street commissioned ‘They Speak to Her’, a poem by Ella Frears.
Frears, whose debut collection, ‘Shine, Darling’, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, pays tribute to the sense of exhilaration that comes with the purchase of something beautiful, lavishly wrapped and handed to you in person.
With the easing of national restrictions promising the chance to get dressed up to go out again after so long spent in loungewear, ‘They Speak to Her’ distils the unique power of bricks-and-mortar shopping to spark a fantasy about the possibilities of who you might become when dressed up in a new purchase.
It is a reminder of the intoxicating sensation that a new storyline in one's life can begin with a purchase made in-store. An experience that simply can’t be replicated when you checkout online.
"I love clothes. I regularly fall head-over-heels for heels. I wanted to conjure the atmosphere of the shopping experience as well as that thrill you get when you try on something perfect and you can see your future self wearing it – the joyful, carefully wrapped weight of that purchase as you carry it home," said Frears. "It’s been a difficult year for so many and there are lots of important things to worry about. Having said that, I have missed impulsively wandering into a shop and buying something beautiful.”
After a year of uncertainty, isolation, travel bans, tragedy, Zoom meetings, home-schooling, and rules, the poem is about deserving something beautiful, frivolous, fun and joyful as we move towards freedom in the wake of pandemic restrictions.