Behind the Counter is a series of articles we started back in 2017 to take a look at the inner workings of Lindfield’s most-loved shops, and get to know the people who run them. In this latest edition we meet Nicola O’Rourke – the mastermind behind #thewindowat62 and the worldwide renowned bridal shop, Mathilda Rose.
By Joe Wayte
Born and bred in Lindfield, Nicola’s parents owned land near Lyoth Lane. She was educated locally both at Great Walstead School and Ardingly College before moving to London to study Textile Design. “I started at Chelsea College of Art and Design to complete my foundational year,” Nicola explained, “before getting a prestigious place on a degree course at Central Saint Martins School of Art.”
If you want to be well-known in any form of art, Central Saint Martins is the place to be with courses that are incredibly sought after and incredibly competitive to get in to. “There were only eight of us on my course,”
Nicola added, “and as part of the selection process my group of applicants had to create a runway look for a model using only a deck chair, and within a very short amount of time!” Included in the eight studying with Nicola was Alice Temperely, now MBE and once described by American Vogue as ‘the designer making the biggest waves in British fashion’.
After attaining her degree, Nicola started work in the commercial world by accepting a place on the Marks and Spencer graduate scheme. She gained experience across a variety of departments and then settled as a Buyer – a role she stayed in for over ten years. She spent another six years as a Buyer for many well-known retailers before realising her dream of owning her own bridal store. “In those days, if something went wrong in a factory that was supplying your fabric you were expected to get on the next plane to go and fix it,” Nicola said with an air of exhaustion. “At that time most of my suppliers were in China and balancing being a mum while frequently flying to China became too much.”
[Full article printed in the September 2019 issue of Lindfield Life magazine]