Beloved by those in-the-know for its haute couture aesthetic (minus the haute-my-gahhh'd price tag), Self-Portrait has been the primary port of call for savvy Royals and us mere mortals alike, since first opening its metaphorical doors in 2013. 

Now, the brand celebrates a milestone with the launch of its first bricks-and-mortar store in Albemarle Street – otherwise known as the stylish melting pot in the heart of Mayfair. Further to the expansive offering you'll already find online, this swanky new residence – 233-square-metres designed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects, of White Cube galleries and Céline notoriety – will also house in-store exclusives and those accessory collaborations that have cultivated 'cult' status over the past year or so. 

In between dancing our merry way around London's newest retail haven, we spoke to designer Han Chong to find out precisely what makes Self-Portrait quite so special – and why he's chosen The Capital as his spiritual sartorial home.

You’ve been a London local for quite some time now. Is that the reason you’ve chosen it for your flagship opening?
There was no doubt that London would be where I first opened a Self-Portrait store – I love London and have lived here since being a student at Central St. Martins. The energy of the city inspires me.

I wanted our customers to see the Self-Portrait brand beyond the digital space; a lot of the time, we think we know people or brands because of their social media, and while we can definitely know certain aspects about them through those mediums, creating a physical space where our customers are able to interact with our pieces and get to know who we are as a brand is so important. It’s more personal. I want to invite everyone – existing and new customers – to get to know Self-Portrait in a more intimate way.

Your sartorial raison d’être has been to create luxury pieces with a more accessible price point. Was that your manifesto from the beginning?
From the start, I really wasn’t seeing that combination out there in fashion and neither did any of my friends. Women should be able to feel beautiful and wear amazing clothes without breaking the bank.

I always want my customer to feel beautiful and confident while wearing Self-Portrait. She should be able to express herself through the clothes and let her style be a reflection of who she is. All of our pieces can be worn differently, so each individual woman can put her own spin on them.

Every aspect of the new store was carefully thought out, and designed to match the brand’s aesthetic and identity. I wanted to make sure that every part was true to the brand – a place that our customers could go and experience this Self-Portrait world.

What makes you unique as a designer? Are there any particular lessons you have learned along the way?
I think the most important lesson is to always be true to who you are – even if something turns out to be a mistake, you can stand behind the decisions that you made.

With each collection, I am constantly conscious of what the modern woman wants in her closet and try to imagine what she’s doing, where she’s going, and how she’s feeling. 

Complete the sentence: ‘I do what I do, because…’
I do what I do, because… I love what I do!

Visit the Self-Portrait flagship store now at 49 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4JR.