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di Moda, Orpington
True to the spirit of her shop di Moda, (Italian for high fashion), Valerie Wilkinson returns from Italy every month, with the latest designs, which are in the window of her Orpington shop within four days.
With her expert eye for fashion, and knowing what her customers like, she saves us, her loyal clientele, hard work. She stocks what she likes to wear – sleek and stylish with lots of layering.
If you’re like me – and that doesn’t come naturally – then you need Valerie’s personal service. She’ll show you how to ‘elongate’ your body with a vest top, add a shorter top over it to keep the slimline silhouette, especially on the hips, and then finish with a flattering knotted top.
Valerie has a naturally creative flair, having started her career in hair and beauty.
“I love window dressing,” she says, “It’s one of my favourite parts of the job, and I sell a lot from the window, probably because I put the whole look together with key pieces such as jewellery, belts, handbags and scarves.”
Valerie has no favourite designers, but likes Kontatto for its lovely soft T-shirt fabrics for her vests and tops, and its sloppy jumpers. The Holiday Jeans brand is always popular; they fit well, whether you’re a size 8 or 18.
Di Moda is a relaxing experience for the shopper – especially with a sofa in the store and coffee on offer. No wonder come Christmas, ‘regular husbands’ sip her coffee and read the paper, while Valerie chooses a gift for their wives who are regulars. Until such time as your other half tunes into this, there are always gift vouchers! Business comes largely by word of mouth.
“There’s no point in being pushy,” says Valerie. “I’m more interested in establishing a rapport. Women enjoy browsing in a relaxed environment, but the challenge is to move clients on, taking them out of their comfort zone and showing them new ways of dressing.”
Valerie knows when her customers are happy, as they can’t wait to see the new collections when they arrive.
di Moda, 201 Petts Wood Road, Orpington. BR5 1LA. Tel: 01689 822077.