Inside this week's ES Magazine: Earl cave and the shocking demise of Matches

 (ES Magazine)
(ES Magazine)

Two weeks ago, the much-loved luxury fashion platform Matches went into administration. The news came as a big shock, not least because the company had only just been bought by Frasers Group for £52m.

It’s a major loss to the fashion industry and all loyal Matches customers (who didn’t enjoy its 90-min delivery service?). It also stung personally: Matches was the first partner for my own Tiger of Sweden collection (this week’s cover star, Earl Cave, models it perfectly). More than just a store, Matches was an incubator for emerging designers, taking a punt on their early designs and mentoring them into the big, bad commercial world. What other retail space will continue that nurturing spirit?

The bigger question is, with fellow retailers like Farfetch and Net-a-Porter also in financial freefall, are we witnessing the bursting of the e-commerce bubble? The retail Gods predicted that bricks-and-mortar cathedrals would crumble and that the future was clicking add-to-basket; that binary thinking now seems over-simplified, much like the print vs digital debate. What a surprise, humans still love an IRL experience — as long as it’s not organised by the brains behind that Willy Wonka shitshow in Glasgow.

Time will tell, but our in-depth report on Kensington’s brilliant Biba store proves one thing: when it’s gone, it’s gone. So, Londoners, let’s get out there and enjoy pleasuredomes like Harrods, Liberty and Selfridges while we can. Actually, I’m in the market for a new pair of glitter wellies. According to my mother, I was never out of my Biba ones.