Languages are your first love, so how did you end up in fashion? “I had an amazing opportunity when I was 14 to learn Mandarin and ended up studying languages for my master’s degree, along with cultural civilisation and economics. A love for different cultures led me to New York, where I studied at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology]. I ended up working with Nicolas Ghesquière, at Balenciaga, where I was part of the creative studio, handling everything from stores to tags in the clothes. It was a huge learning experience.”

What is it about The Webster that resonates with luxury shoppers? “We opened during the recession, a time when people wanted to refocus on quality and long-lasting pieces. The Webster is about curating a wardrobe, and offering a selection of timeless pieces. It’s not a concept store – it’s more about putting looks together using pieces that are here to stay. Because of this people keep coming back to us.”

How do you find new designers? “I go with my instincts. My clients really like my style to start with and that helps. I create my own world based on this. When it comes to young designers, I build relationships. I don’t jump around to the next big flavour of the month – I am loyal to those I admire. For example, we have been working with Olympia Le-Tan since she was unknown and now she is a star!”

How has e-commerce changed the business for bricks-and-mortar retailers such as yourself? “Funnily enough, the success of online shopping has brought me more clients and I think that’s because of the personalisation we offer. Today, department stores are suffering as they have the same offering as online. I am going against the grain. It’s nice for clients to be able to find a place where time stops, and an environment where they feel pampered and comfortable.”

What are the biggest challenges for retailers today? “‘See now, buy now’ has become so confusing. Either everyone should be doing it at once or not at all. It’s like everyone needs to stop and start from the beginning again. I don’t think it’s sustainable for designers. The pace of fashion has to slow down in general because it’s diluting creativity and quality. The designers are exhausted and they are losing the DNA of themselves and their brands. Clients don’t even recognise a beautiful product anymore.”