We’ve been eager to learn the story behind this multi-purpose space, owned by Catherine Vaucher and her nephew Damien Chauvin, and caught up with her over a coffee and a slice of apple cake. Well, it would have been rude not to.
Originally from France, she moved to east London fifteen years ago, having lived in St Albans for a dozen years prior. “I grew very fond of the multicultural diversity this area offers, and decided to settle in Leytonstone, where I’ve met fantastic people from all walks of life,” she explains. “A year ago my nephew Damien moved to London, symbolically the same age – 23 – as I myself arrived in the UK.”
Having worked in retail in France, and sharing a passion for vintage and retro styles, the pair decided to join forces. “In July 2014, we were walking down High Road Leyton and noticed a shop for let. We called the landlord and two days later we signed the lease, not yet having a clue what to do with the place,” says Catherine.
Between them they transformed the former barber’s shop into a vintage style café and opened for business on the last Monday in September.“La Petite Robe Rose was born from a wonderful summer spent with my nephew between vintage clothes shops, antique dealers, charity shop and B&Q.”
Now the venture is well and truly up and running Damien works in the café from Tuesday through Sunday, and is one of the warmest, most welcoming hosts in London, never mind Leyton. Catherine’s role is firmly in the background, looking after the finance, PR, marketing – and baking those delicious cakes.
More than just a (seriously cute) café, it’s perfectly possible to pop in for an espresso and leave with something lovely to wear from the carefully curated vintage offerings from Fox & Bear Vintage, Ella’s French Vintage and Danny’s Pop Up Wardrobe. Coming soon for spring you’ll also be able to pick up a posy of wildflowers; and in summer the plan is to add Italian gelato to the mix.
If you fancy getting social, there are regular events including crepes Bretonne evenings, Gratin Dauphinois dinner parties (the next one’s on Thursday April 30th at 7.30pm), a French conversation gathering with wine and cheese (Thursday April 23rd, 7pm), a monthly knitting club (Wednesday April 29th, 2pm), a bible study group (yes, really) and a weekly mum and dad discussion group (every Friday 2pm – 4pm). You can even hire the space for your own event.