AHL INSIDER

Alex Eagle

Creative Director of The Store X and Oakley Court

Alex Eagle

5.20.21

Since opening her eponymous shop in 2014, Alex Eagle has transformed the meaning of luxury retail into an experiential platform for creativity. The concept is that of a shoppable (dream) home where everything is for sale, from the books on display to the art on the wall — an informal vibe that is worlds away from a traditional and often stuffy experience of a high end boutique. Heritage brands mingle easily with works by emerging artists, fine jewelry alongside designer watering cans.

Which is not to say that the curation is anything less than a highly considered edit. Indeed, Eagle’s ‘less in more’ philosophy and focus on timeless pieces, rather than seasonal fashion, is intuitively sustainable in its approach. What does change seasonally, however, is an ambitious program of world-class exhibitions and events on offer at The Store X, which have made the two London locations — and outposts in Berlin and the Cotswolds — cultural destinations in their own right. For Eagle, the natural next step was to open a hotel, and this summer sees her first project — Oakley Court — designed in collaboration with her interiors business partner, Sophie Hodges. AHL’s UK and Culture Editor, Caroline Lever, caught up with Eagle as she excitedly prepared for the opening.

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Oakley Court Hotel
Oakley Court Hotel

Caroline Lever: How would you describe Oakley Court?

Alex Eagle: A luxury gothic pile, set in acres of green, with a walled garden, tennis courts, kitchen garden and a lawn directly onto the river Thames. Recently refurbished by Sophie Hodges and myself through our company Eagle & Hodges.

Caroline Lever: Please can you tell us a bit about the history of the building and how that informed your design of the space?

Alex Eagle: The main house was built in 1839, the time of Arts and Crafts movement, which was a moment for exotic textiles, chinoiserie, and a hodgepodge of decorative and fine art. Because of its origins we embraced the mix of arts and crafts furniture adding mid-century pieces and modern designs. We decluttered and brought in furniture made or refurbished in Britain and covered in Eagle & Hodges British made fabrics. Our influences are Continental design blended with British taste, eclectic but curated.

Oakley Court Hotel
Oakley Court Hotel
Dining at Oakley Court
Dining at Oakley Court

Caroline Lever: What made you want to do a hotel project?

Alex Eagle: I have always dreamt of working on a hotel project and this building has the most beautiful architecture — a great starting point. Flooded with light through gothic windows, the rooms have spacious harmonious proportions and lofty ceilings. I love its gothic style and sweeping grounds. The location is unparalleled.

Caroline Lever: Was it a natural extension for you?

Alex Eagle: It was natural extension of my work and interests to take on this project and a great excuse to work with Sophie Hodges. Sophie is an amazing interior designer and it has been so inspiring working alongside her, she teaches me something new every day and we really complement each other.

Dining at Oakley Court
Dining at Oakley Court

Caroline Lever: This hotel is the first designed by Eagle & Hodges, and I believe some of the pieces will be for sale. Where should we look to buy them?

Alex Eagle: Eagle & Hodges furniture will be for sale through Alex Eagle Studio, at Store X, 180 The Strand, Store Berlin and Store X Farmhouse.

Caroline Lever: Did you design with a guest in mind?

Alex Eagle: We designed the hotel as a private home. I am my best and worst guest. I am always designing with myself in mind and try to cast a critical eye over everything. Because of this I don’t feel the place will ever be ‘ready’ and we will be working on it forevermore.

Dining at Oakley Court
Dining at Oakley Court
Oakley Court Hotel
Oakley Court Hotel

Caroline Lever: Can you tell us about the food and beverage offering at the hotel?

Alex Eagle: The kitchen garden is the biggest influence on the menu. We plant and grow as much as possible and more every day. We use seasonal food grown in the kitchen garden to populate the menu and local farms and British produce wherever possible. This keeps the menu seasonal, fresh and ever changing.

Caroline Lever: What are some of the activities on offer at the hotel?

Alex Eagle: We have a series of fun outdoor activities planned for the summer: rowing, tennis, badminton, al fresco yoga and Pilates. We are launching Jeremy Deller’s sculptural installation of a magnificent bouncy castle called Sacrilege. It is a full-scale, inflatable replica of Stonehenge and will be exhibited this summer at Oakley Court. We will also have activities for kids.

Oakley Court Hotel
Oakley Court Hotel

Caroline Lever: What makes a great hotel?

Alex Eagle: Light and space, friendly staff, great sheets and fresh food.

Caroline Lever: What else is happening in the many worlds of Alex Eagle?

Alex Eagle: Alex Eagle Studio is finally re-open for visitors on Lexington Street. Our next venture at the studio is to open a café working with some very special Japanese collaborators on a vegan Japanese menu. We are also opening Alex Eagle Sporting Club next door offering classes in fencing, Pilates, boxing, yoga and other fun activities. Following on will be a branch of the sporting club at Oakley Court and 180 The Strand. Accompanying the club will be merchandised and classics sporting clothes made on site in the Alex Eagle Studio.

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