egg opened its doors in 1994, a converted dairy on a quiet Belgravia street. Founded by Maureen Doherty, who wanted to create something that encapsulated her vision of what a shop should be, to sell the beautiful and everyday.
egg makes and sells timeless pieces, clothes and objects. Drawing on traditional skills from around the world, it is about the pure enjoyment of shapes, colour, materials and making. In two collections a year, inspiration may come from a found photograph, a child's crayon or a poem, a process of research and design, a journey to find the perfect makers of yarn, fabric, dye and colour.
Visitors who make their way to Kinnerton Street, find a place that is both calming and inspiring. egg is welcoming in a way that shops used to be. Clothes, pots, books, boots, scarves, bags, jewels, pencils and the odd jar of flowers are organised, or piled, throughout the rooms. Clothes on hooks, rails and stacks invite exploration and touch.
egg is as much about the senses as the view. Coffee is freshly brewed and meals are cooked in the kitchen upstairs. egg has always been a haven, a secret in the centre of London, a place for young makers and designers to experiment and find their feet. It is a story of craft and colour, youth and experience, giggling and learning, that make egg so inviting. Since the beginning, supporting makers is integral to the life of this company.
egg was the first place that potter and author Edmund de Waal had a one-man show, where Keiko Hasegawa made one thousand pots in a year to set in rows on the floor and where the masterly silversmith Bill Phipps hand forged silver spoons big enough for giants to stir their tea.
The clothes made by egg and their small group of collaborators are simple, playful and beautiful. Volume and shape, weight and colour, fabric and feel. Inspired by workwear from around the world such as the white uniform of a Rajasthani milkman or a French gardener's jacket.
The clothing evolves through the seasons. In winter cloth becomes thicker and warmth is added with layers, cashmere and knit. In summer, cotton, linen and silks become super fine and airy. Clothes are tied, buttoned and wrapped, allowing the wearer to find their own way to dress.
These are clothes that get better with time. They are loved and distinctive, often passed down through generations. There is something truly egalitarian about egg clothes, they are for men and women, young and old, large or small. They become your own.
Maureen is an instinctive shopkeeper, a visionary and a storyteller. Since her late teens she has worked in fashion, bringing designers such as Fiorrucci, Valentino and Issey Miyake to prominence in the UK, Doherty was trusted with eponymous stores and eye watering budgets. It is with Issey Miyake with whom Maureen had the most affinity, becoming a mentor and a friend.
While living in Paris, Doherty worked on special projects for Issey, coordinating all aspects of Miyake, from ballet costumes to new store openings and perhaps most significantly the scent, L'eau D'Issey. Maureen also introduced Miyake to potter Lucie Rie. This began a life long friendship and a love of ceramics which influenced many of the subsequent exhibitions at egg. After a period of learning to make pots in France, Maureen returned to England and found the building to begin egg. With her business partner, Asha Sarabhai, who made for Miyake and Hermes in India, they stripped back the shop in Kinnerton Street to reveal the beautiful blue tiles of an old dairy. The simple love of shop keeping and of dressing customers remains with Maureen today, creating the perfect atmosphere, the unseen that makes something work, seem to be second nature. Doherty’s art is not about what is fashionable, although she certainly knows the answer, it is about what feels right and what makes you happy.