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A tour around The World’s Smallest Department Store with Anya Hindmarch

The latest addition to Anya Hindmarch’s The Village is an ode to the heyday of the traditional British department store

Anya Hindmarch has opened the doors to The World’s Smallest Department Store, a new permanent addition to The Village on Pont Street. Inspired by the classic British comedy, Are You Being Served?, the store is a charmingly nostalgic homage to the glory days of the traditional British department store. 

The kind of immaculate service that would make Captain Peacock proud is a hallmark of the experience at The World’s Smallest Department Store, and a line-up of beautiful British-made classic luxury products – each with an Anya twist – is at the heart of the concept, alongside pieces from Anya’s own collections.

Within the sleek wood-panelled walls of the compact space, you’ll find a series of capsule collections from iconic British brands, covering multiple categories – from Panama hats to pyjamas, and from brollies to gloves made by Cornelia James, Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite glover. Each brand has worked closely with Anya on products that not only reflect their remarkable craftsmanship but, also, the fastidious attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from every new addition to Anya’s Village. 

We asked Anya to show us around the new space and introduce us to a few of the highlights in the store. 



I am rather sad about the demise of department stores. I wanted The World’s Smallest Department Store to have that sort of timeless, seasonless feel.



Are You Being Served? was part of the fabric of my childhood. It was such a wonderful programme and it’s heartbreaking that the younger generations aren’t familiar with it. I remember one of the funniest nights of my life was a sleepover in the bedding department of Peter Jones. We did this competition where we had to run around the store and do various challenges – all set to the theme song of Are You Being Served?, with those wonderful cash registers ringing and the elevator voiceover. 

You can see nods to the show in the shillings and pence ticketing around the store, and the sign for our pretend lift, which suggests that we have other departments on other floors, including a tea room in the basement and a bar on the rooftop. It’s a terribly misleading bit of fun! 

We wanted every detail to be reminiscent of the proper grand department stores of old. Even the opening hours signage on the front door was hand-painted with brushes, not vinyl. 

The man who crafted the circular glass and wood cabinet, which is like a little stage, took weeks and weeks to make it. When he came in, he checked to make sure that all the levels were perfect, then looked at it as if it were his favourite child. I don’t blame him.



Finding craftspeople is my absolute passion, I just get such a kick out of it and working with very lovely brands. 

If you look at what it means to reach carbon-neutral by 2030, you actually have to make things in England. So that means starting to make things in this country and finding the people and manufacturers who can do that. 

And, you know, some of these brands might only have eight people left in their factory. That’s it. So actually, it’s rather lovely to work with them. In fact, there have been some amazing outcomes from this project. Initially, they might have been worried about not being able to keep up with orders, so then what happens? They have to employ more people. And [the industry] sort of naturally grows, so it feels like such a nice thing to do. 



I like to do things that are interesting and actually special. For me, things that do harm can’t be luxurious. So they must do good. I think it’s about having one beautiful thing: to love it, treasure it, enjoy the craftsmanship and respect the craft in it. And it’s just really fun. 

We worked with Mason Pearson, which makes these lovely hair brushes in Rainham, in Essex. It has been making brushes for 130 years and was the first company to do this sort of padded system for hairbrushes. We have a special-edition hairbrush made with wood from London plane trees by a violin-maker. 

I love rediscovering, collaborating and working with British brands and brands made in the UK. For example, Bowhill & Elliott is a slipper-maker based in Norwich. It makes them completely by hand. We collaborated with it on two slipper silhouettes for the store, each crafted in our own exclusive fabric and lining combination.

Ferguson’s Linen in Ireland is really just the most beautiful Irish linen – we have some lovely hankies hand-cut and stitched in Northern Ireland, made with the same techniques passed down through the generations for 160 years.

At Cornelia James, mentioned earlier, it’s got eight ladies making the gloves from start to finish, following the same process designed over half a century ago. When we place an order, they’ll say, “Oh, we’ll make them one day and deliver them the next day.” It’s so perfect. 

There’s also Pantherella, a company which makes socks in England. You can have a whole selection of them in what looks like a fabulous sweetie box. Such beautiful socks in wool, cashmere or cotton and you can have them monogrammed, which is just a really lovely, lovely present. 

We have scarves from Lovat, one of Scotland’s oldest working mills, and two exclusive hat styles from Christys’, which has been making hats since 1773. There’s a smart coffee wool fedora, and a sleek Panama with hoods made exclusively in Ecuador – both steamed and blocked by hand on its 100-year-old machinery in its factory in Oxfordshire, and both come in Christys’ wonderful red boxes.

Then there are these pyjamas from Somax, an amazing pyjama-maker that has been making PJs since the early 1900s. Ours are cut in a traditional style in a fun striped cotton with an old-fashioned hand-plaited drawstring at the waist. I mean, I just love this fabric with its ’70s colours. They really are like your grandad’s pyjamas! 



We will continue to work with these British brands, but there are also a lot of other collaborations underway, and more products. I want it to be eclectic. I don’t want it to be seasonal, but we will, of course, nod towards summer or winter. The stock will be timeless. But there are loads more bits coming and lots of really interesting projects in the pipeline, so it will always be evolving and changing, which is quite nice, I think.

The World’s Smallest Department Store, 7 Pont Street, SW1X 9EH

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