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Inside Arterton, a London Menswear Shop That You Can Leave With Everything But Clothes

Arterton sells everything a dedicated clotheshorse could want—except clothes. Rather, it trades in what founder William Wong lovingly dubs “desiderata”, a Latin word translating to “things desired.”

If that sounds vague, shoppers can now see such objects of desire firsthand at the new Arterton showroom at 12 Princes Arcade, which opened in December. Within its small, high-ceilinged space, wooden cabinets are stocked with shoe creams by the Swedish maker Paul Brunngard, eco-friendly stain removers from Britain’s Clothes Surgeon, and shapely beechwood clothes hangers made by Japan’s Nakata Hanger.

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RR_Arterton_Interior

Above them, boxes that hold snuff suede Chelsea boots made in India by Bridlen or hand-welted oxfords from China’s Yearn Shoemaker are stacked to the ceiling. Luckily, a solid walnut library ladder rests against the merchandising cabinet for staff to retrieve them.

Arterton may have stitched together a veritable United Nations of fine clothing accessories, but it all began with a garment bag. Or rather, the lack thereof. Unimpressed with what the market had to offer, Wong—then a PhD student at Cambridge—decided to design his own. The result was released in 2021 as Arterton’s first and still best-selling product, the signature garment bag made from 10 oz waxed cotton with a dual-zip opening and holes enough to accommodate three hangers.

“Sometimes you want a very specific thing, but you can’t find it,” says Wong of the business’s genesis.

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RR_Arterton_Shoe_Split

Now, it’s not entirely true that clients can’t purchase clothing at Arterton—they just can’t walk out of the door with it. The showroom also serves as the permanent workspace for Matthew Gonzalez, a California native who was for years the only American-born tailor on the Row, where he cut his teeth cutting for Hunstman before striking out on his own. The expat now practices his signature Anglo-American cut in a mezzanine visible to showroom visitors, who might catch Gonzalez cutting a pattern or constructing a basted fitting with a cast-iron sewing machine.

Gonzalez’s elevated, front-and-center position is an inversion of the typical Savile Row experience, where tailors work underground and out of sight. “I think there is something really beautiful about walking in and seeing all of these amazing products at your eye level, and then having the symbolic craft above you,” Gonzalez tells Robb Report.

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RR_Arterton_Exterior

The Arterton experience continues across the hall at 13 Princes Arcade, which serves as a private lounge for Wong and Gonzalez’s clients. Hidden from street level, visitors may access it by mounting a spiral staircase that opens to a pocket-sized space with plush carpeting, a well-stocked bar, and a set of vintage McIntosh speakers. It’s a fitting backdrop for customers—or as Wong calls them, “enthusiasts”— to commission a new jacket (£3,750, or about $4,800) or suit (£5,100, around $6,500) from Gonzalez, or a customized accessory like an embroidered garment bag, an engraved Nakata hanger or a made-to-order shoe in a particular leather.

Just as importantly, it serves as a retreat where the Arterton community can kick back with a good scotch or a double espresso in hand. “When you’re sitting in this space, you instantly forget that there is the hustle and bustle of Picadilly that’s just 50 yards away,” Gonzalez says. “It really does feel like an oasis.”

In the year to come, Arterton’s desiderata will grow with new lines including its first-ever luggage offering, consisting of a briefcase and weekender made from waxed cotton with leather trimmings. Gonzalez, meanwhile, is planning for his first trunk shows on American soil. But for now, anyone with a desire for the finer things will be well-served with a visit to 12 and 13 Princes Arcade.

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