Cult Shop: a temple to ultra-minimalist accessories in Copenhagen
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I find calm when I’m not surrounded by things that overstimulate my senses,” says accessories designer Yvonne Koné of the atmosphere inside her namesake store in Copenhagen’s Indre By district. Beyond the grand 19th-century façade, the shop is true to Koné’s minimalist tastes: her leather shoes and bags are displayed on simple white shelving or modernist cubed units, floors are lightly whitewashed, and a few totes hang on glass hooks. An annual change in the wall colour nods to the chromatic mood of each collection. “I felt there were people who would love to have a shopping experience where they enter a calm space,” she says.
Koné founded the brand in 2011, and her clean-lined, cool-toned aesthetic is driven by the question: “How bare can you make a product while still creating something special?” she says. Just six simple styles comprise the shoe collection: the Benedetta, Anna and Giana sandals with cylindrical leather straps; the Pernille heeled clog; and the classic Chety and Fabio heeled pumps. Colours vary around powder blue, several shades of peach, ink black and milk white.
While the bestselling array of classic totes in the neutrally toned “Vitello clay” and “Rio chocolate” are intended for office life, more playful creations include a coral-pink suede bucket bag with a twisted top handle (€512) and a sage-green pouch that can be worn at the waist, low on the hips or across the body (€458).
Koné’s design philosophy was partly informed during a trip to the Ivory Coast, her father’s birthplace, in 1993. “I felt so crazy-inspired by the colours and an aesthetic that felt effortless,” she says. On returning to Copenhagen, Koné signed up for drawing classes, and then went on to study at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
If Africa was the inspiration, artisanship has remained the guiding principle of her evolving design practice. She works collaboratively with two family-owned businesses in Italy, which iterate her supple leather designs. She visits regularly, testing details such as handles and stitches as the pieces are made. “The dedication they have for their craft, the precision, the love they put in every single day, the consistency and patience – it’s humbling to see,” she says.
The shop itself on Store Strandstræde is small, but it’s attracting big names. The district, famed for the pastel-coloured houses that line the port, is also home to Amalienborg Palace, where the Danish royal family resides. When asked about her celebrity clientele, Koné demurs, but says simply, “the castle is around the corner”.
“What [my customers] all have in common is that they are independent and like something understated,” Koné says. “They don’t want fast fashion; they value the craft and the colours, and are super-curious about how the product is made.”
Wherever they come from, customers are inevitably drawn to Yvonne Koné because it remains a cool sanctuary. As she says: “My intention is to stimulate people in a quiet way.”
Store Strandstræde 3, 1255 København, Denmark; yvonnekone.com