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How Britain’s answer to Hermès reinvented itself for the modern woman

To start, let’s go back. In the 1990s there existed a small store, situated off London’s Belgrave Square. Inside, seriously well-heeled types stocked up on high-quality essentials; sweaters, shirts, belts, briefcases. They also stocked up on the non-essentials: jump leads designed by Sebastian Conran, car shoes imported from Italy; an in-car espresso kit. Everything at the Connolly store suggested the upper cut: the materials, the mood, and most pertinently the price tags. Valentino shopped there, Ralph Lauren was a fan, Princess Diana a regular.

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