Sloane Street, home to some of the world’s most iconic luxury brands, has a rich heritage shaped by the many creative and unique patrons who have frequented it throughout history.
Oscar Wilde, one of the greatest writers of the Victorian age, held Sloane Street in high esteem- staying in his ‘home away from home’, room 118 at the Cadogan Hotel, whilst creating some of his finest works. As fate would have it, he was also arrested there in 1895, which inspired a poem by Sir John Betjeman who was present at the arrest. Cadogan are proud owners of the original poem, which is displayed in their offices.
““Mr. Woilde, we ‘ave come for tew take yew
Where felons and criminals dwell:
We must ask yew tew leave with us quoietly
For this is the Cadogan Hotel.””
Sir John Betjemen in ‘The arrest of Oscar Wilde a the Cadogan Hotel’
Existing now as a literary legend, Wilde would have celebrating his 159th birthday in October. The fêted author of plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere’s Fan, Wilde was known not only for his gift of language, but also for the flamboyant character that led to his down-fall.
““Life imitates art much more than art imitates life””
Oscar Wilde in The Decay of Lying
A tale of great splendour fused with great tragedy, Wilde’s life unfolded amongst the wealthy and influential members of high society in Victorian London. He led an extravagant lifestyle and was infamous for his outspoken opinions, factors that all fuelled rumours of his homosexuality. He was arrested on such charges by the Marquess of Quensberry and spent two years in prison from 1895-1897. He would never regain his social stature and died in exile in Paris at the age of 46.
Remaining a fashion icon and inspiration to designers today for his impeccable sense of style and unique and provocative aesthetic, Wilde can be viewed as a pre-curser to the luxurious fashion houses located on Sloane Street today.
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated” Oscar Wilde”
Oscar Wilde in Phrases And Philosophies For The Use of The Young.
Sporting green carnations in his buttonhole, flamboyant finger rings and luxurious coats with fur collars, Wilde cut a distinguished figure on Sloane Street. A fan of bespoke tailoring, he would order his luxurious outfits made-to-measure. Though much has changed since the days of Wilde, bespoke tailoring is enjoying a resurgence on Sloane Street, with many of the houses, including Tom Ford, Prada and Ermenegildo Zegna, offering exclusive services in store.
Today Oscar Wilde remains part of the unique history of Sloane Street, as new chapters continue to be written in one of the world’s most sought after postcodes.