Nikki Tibbles’ wardrobe is as vibrant as you’d expect from the woman behind Wild at Heart, the luxury florist that has occupied the Instagram-famous turquoise ‘island’ on Westbourne Grove in London’s Notting Hill for 25 years.
‘I love colour, prints, anything floral. And I love anything striped or spotted,’ she says. ‘Like my flowers, I’ve never been one to put things together that are meant to go together.’
She has lived in the area for three decades, at one point in a flat above the fashion designer Rifat Ozbek, from whom she’d buy catwalk pieces at wholesale prices. They are still among the most treasured items in her wardrobe.
‘It was around the time he was British Designer of the Year,’ she recalls. ‘I still have some beautiful clothes of his that I treasure and wear. I was also lucky to be invited to the [invitation-only] Chanel sales, so I have three or four Chanel suits, and bags and shoes that I still wear from 25 years ago. So I don’t ever feel I really need to buy any more clothes.’
Accommodating these pieces requires more than a wardrobe, it is more accurate to describe it as a ‘wardroom’ – a spare room lined with clothes rails and obsessively ordered.
‘I’ve all the same wooden hangers, and they all face the same direction,’ she says. ‘All my dresses are organised by colour, my skirts and shirts into patterns and plain; trousers folded, jackets and coats all in order – I have a place for everything.’
It’s bursting at the seams all the same, because, she admits, ‘I never throw anything away. If I have a Prada dress or a Louis Vuitton skirt from 20 years ago, I will still wear it.’ It helps that Tibbles has a clear understanding of what suits her. ‘I have quite a straight body, so I look better in things that are more tailored,’ she says.
‘I don’t wear oversized clothes; I can’t wear big puffy sleeves and lace. I do have a beautiful Richard Quinn skirt, which is huge, but I wear it with a fitted shirt.’ She has never been a high-street shopper.
‘I’d rather have one amazing thing than lots of clothes,’ she says. But she isn’t precious about her garments: with six rescue dogs, adopted through her dog rescue charity, the Wild at Heart Foundation, that is not really an option.
‘What I tend to buy now are more casual clothes,’ she says. ‘I’ve been buying clothes from Marco Ribeiro, who did the Pleasing range with Harry Styles. Acne Studios does great bright-coloured jumpers, and trousers and jackets from Kinder Aggugini, a friend of mine, if I need a smart suit.’
Her day-to-day work clothes must be practical, too. She goes to her office every day, but she has never had to dress for ‘the office’ in a formal way.
‘If I’m working on an event or I’m doing landscaping, I wear jeans [a straight-leg style by Re/Done or Khaite] and a T-shirt or sweatshirt, but then I’ll probably wear that to a meeting as well. If it’s a very smart meeting, I might wear a dress or skirt.’
Most days, you’ll find her in a pair of Birkenstocks or Adidas Gazelles, both of which she has in myriad colours, but the collection doesn’t end there.
‘My go-to heels are a pair of Manolo Blahniks, very kindly given to me by Kristina Blahnik [the designer’s niece and CEO of his brand],’ she says. ‘One great pair of shoes, a great bag, and you can wear almost anything.’
Clockwise from top left: Bow dress, £285, Yolke; butterfly knit jumper, £360, Acne Studios; Re/Done 70s high rise straight-leg jeans, £265, Net-a-Porter; signature dyed tee, £66, Pleasing; Arizona suede embossed sandals, £115, Birkenstock; Adicolor 70s Montreal track top, £85, Adidas