Claire de Rouen Launches Radical, Women-Focused New Bookshop

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Claire De Rouen
Claire De RouenPhotography by Ten Chiang

Opening this week in east London, the cult bookshop’s new space is committed to “foregrounding radical desire” through printed matter

This week, cult Independent bookshop Claire de Rouen turns the page with a new space opening this week in Bethnal Green, east London.

Now under the directorship of Lucy Kumara Moore and Lilly Markaki, the pair are building on the legacy of the initial owner, Claire de Rouen, who passed away in 2012 after a short illness. First established in Soho in November 2005 – the bookshop launched with Bruce Weber’s book Blood, Sweat and Tears – it quickly became a cult favourite among photographers, artists and students as the original specialist photography and fashion bookshop in London. 

The shop’s first location, hidden out of sight above a sex shop in a small space near Tottenham Court Road station, acted as a haven for fashion image fanatics; an L-shaped treasure trove of printed delights, where visitors would be welcomed by de Rouen behind the till – a wise Egyptian-Italian woman of impeccable taste, with dark eyes partially obscured by a severe black fringe. 

Trailing its fashionable devotees across town, the bookshop later moved to east London – first to a small studio on Hackney Road, and now on Globe Road in Bethnal Green. Since its new directorship, the shop has expanded its stock to include art books, owing to Kumara Moore’s artistic background with degrees in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art and as co-director at Sion and Moore gallery. The store now sustains its unique point of view – championing authenticity with a female focus – with books by Martine Syms, Jet Swan, and rare and signed editions from artists like Peter Saville and Harley Weir

“Our new home at 260 Globe Road, Bethnal Green, feels like a magical gift! It’s a beautiful Victorian shopfront on a historic road, but more importantly the local residents have been so welcoming and we feel very lucky to be here for that reason,” Kumara Moore tells AnOther.

“Claire de Rouen is reaching its 20th birthday soon, and has always championed progressive and intelligent photography, fashion and art publishing. Since Lilly Markaki joined me as co-director in 2021, we’ve refined our focus and feel especially committed to foregrounding radical desire, the female intellect, and authenticity in all we do.”

Claire de Rouen can be found at Bethnal Green, London, E2 0JD. Head to the gallery above to see photographs from the launch of the new space, taken by Ten Chiang.