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liliane fawcett

art that came after that,” she

metal and lead; now we have

Owner, Themes & Variations

explains. “The business grew out

Ralph Lauren so it is not quite

of a love and passion I had for

the same, things have changed.”

“I choose things that I like,

this type of art but also because

Fawcett laughs.

otherwise it would be impossible,”

I wanted to be an art dealer.” A

explains Liliane Fawcett, art

lack of capital saw Fawcett turn to

area ever since she opened the

dealer and owner of local design

“the cheapest option”, the 1950s.

shop and now lives just around

institution, Themes & Variations.

“It was only identified as a style by

the corner from its site. “I think

“I am not interested in following

very few people so you just had

Notting Hill has a great mix. There

a mass market.”

to buy what interested you. And

are lots of new fashion shops,

most of the time I got it right and

which are great, but you still have

sometimes I got it wrong.”

some interesting little shops that

Following the masses is not something that French-born Fawcett knows how to do. Having

Fawcett has based herself in the

make the area so unique. It has

Themes & Variations has been

studied for a PhD in law in Paris,

based in Westbourne Grove since

she gave up the idea of a career as

1984. “We were looking for a large

a university professor, becoming a

gallery and this used to be a [car]

dealer specialising in post-war and

garage so it was a particularly

contemporary design instead.

large space,” she explains. “When

become far more sophisticated and luxurious in recent years, but

at the time it was too expensive,

merchant next door who had

so I decided to venture into the

a sign outside with the price of

when we opened we had a craft metal merchant next door, now it’s ralph lauren, so things have changed

mary maglia

they would in a normal boutique

taking place in each of its

Manager, Fara charity shop

so that people feel enticed to

stores to help raise money and

come in,” explains Maglia. “It

awareness of its cause. Every

There is a handwritten sign stuck on

has the sense of being a high-

year Fara takes its managers to

the door of the Notting Hill branch

end shop but without the price

Romania to see first-hand what

of Fara which reads, “Dear Thieves,

tag. We also try and create an

the money is used for and it is

have you heard of karma?”

atmosphere that is very friendly.

clear that for Maglia, this is more

It’s very important to me that we

than just a job.

“I was interested in Art Deco but

we opened we had a craft metal

Fara, a non-profit organisation, is all about karma. With its sole

are able to make our customers

mission to raise money to help

feel welcome.”

change the destiny of children

it’s a high-end shop without the price tag. We create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere

All the clothes, books and

with Portobello always looming in the background there will always be that bit of spice.” 231 Westbourne Grove, W11;

“Seeing the children [in Romania] smiling because of what we do and being happy

in Romania, the Notting Hill

bric-a-brac are donated by

with the simplest of things,

arm of the charity shop has just

local residents. From Prada to

it really is my motivation to

opened a dedicated Kids and

Primark, the shop’s stock reflects

work hard. No matter how hard

Baby store around the corner on

its location. “What I like about

my day can be at work, my

Ledbury Road. Both shops have

Notting Hill is that it is a very

motivation is the smiles of

a chic boutique feel which gives

cosmopolitan area... in the shop

our children.”

Fara the edge over other charity

there is something for everyone.”

shops. “We try and keep all the

This year Fara is celebrating

shops and displays looking like

its 20th anniversary with events

Fara, 10 Elgin Crescent, W11; Fara Kids and Baby 39-41 Ledbury Road, W11

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