Imagination takes flight in the haberdashery of Annabel Lewis. A range of adornments makes V V Rouleaux the destination of choice for embellishing special objects and occasions.
Marking moments with a wisp of organdy or a length of velvet is a way of life for Annabel Lewis. Her popular London boutique, V V Rouleaux, offers a breathtaking array of ribbon, tassels, braids, millinery accents, and more. Annabel began as a florist, operating shops in southwest and central London. But by 1990, the mother of four had grown weary of waking in the wee hours of the morning to prepare flowers. The affluent borough of Westminster was growing into a haven of specialty businesses, so she decided the time was ripe for shifting her focus from blossoms to embellishments.
Skeptics who questioned Annabel’s decision to open a store devoted to trims now credit her with sustaining the trend of incorporating these elements into home décor, fashion, and event planning. Her two-story emporium, on Marylebone Lane, has become a treasured source for interior designers, costumers, brides, stationers, and crafters.
Whether it’s a gentleman stopping by for a band of striped grosgrain to add to his Panama hat or a uniform company seeking custom cording for school blazers, the proprietress prides herself on delivering perfect coordinates. “Choice is our selling point,” she says. “We have one hundred beautiful colors in our collection, and you can select from twenty to thirty different products in each.” To illustrate, she explains that only ten hues were available for spools of satin when V V Rouleaux opened, but today the boutique carries fifteen shades of pink alone.
Among her most notable patrons are several of England’s royals. Annabel created the floral arrangements for the wedding of Lord Frederick Windsor and actress Sophie Winkleman—including an alabaster bridal bouquet tied with pure silk satin. The groom’s mother, HRH Princess Michael of Kent, is a longtime customer.
As an accessories buyer for British retailer Jigsaw, the former Catherine Middleton would phone the warehouse to inquire about inventory. Later, Prince William’s betrothed visited the atelier to choose trim for her bridesmaids’ dresses. “She knows exactly what she is looking for,” says Annabel, reflecting on those memorable interactions with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. “I do hope Princess Charlotte has some of our ribbon.”
Photography Kate Sears
To learn more about V V Rouleaux read “A Rainbow of Ribbons” on page 109 of September 2016 issue of Victoria.