Former Barney's fashion director Amanda Brooks is set to open Cutter Brooks, a lifestyle boutique that will bring a curated selection of international brands and artisan makers to Stow-on-the-Wold, an English market town nestled in the Cotswolds, writes WSJ Magazine.
“I’ve wanted a shop since I was 23,” says Brooks, now 44. “I love selling. I love sharing my point of view and my passion.” Set in a 17th-century building, Cutter Brooks (the moniker combines her maiden and married name as wife of artist Christopher Brooks) will capture Brooks’s take on the English countryside aesthetic: “A little bit bohemian, a little eccentric,” she says. “But more farmhouse than stately home.”
Brooks' journey to the Cotswolds began in 2012, when Westchester-raised Brooks and her family left New York for a yearlong sabbatical in the English countryside. Their time was spent at her husband's home Fairgreen Farm.
“Amanda has an almost 1950s take on England, with all her domestic pursuits,” says Carole Bamford, founder of the Daylesford Organic Farmshop chain and one of Brooks’s Cotswolds neighbors. “She’s more English than the English.”
The jam recipe is included in Brooks’s new book, Farm From Home: A Year of Stories, Pictures, and Recipes From a City Girl in the Country (Blue Rider Press), out June 5. The volume features candid accounts of the ups and downs of farm living, accompanied by personal photos. “I’m an aesthetic perfectionist,” admits Brooks. “My pictures tell the fantasy version of the story, while the writing is more forthright.”
Brooks compares her life in New York with her changed life in England. “In New York I felt like a chameleon: I could be anything to anybody,” she says. “When I moved here it defined me in a way that was very grounding. I got my time back, and I was able to find a much greater sense of self in a quieter existence.”
“It is so worth coming up on the train for a day or a long weekend,” says Brooks, noting that she’d happily travel hours to see a smart shop. Soon there’ll be even more of a reason to hang out at Cutter Brooks: a garden café where, she says, “You can get a really good cup of coffee and a terrific scone.”