European women are renowned for their effortlessly elegant styling, and it’s a look that can be difficult to emulate from the rails of High Street retailers. However, that’s not a quandary for fashionistas shopping at Cuckoo Clothing, which stocks a wealth of labels from the continent, meaning channelling Parisian chic or Scandi minimalism is a breeze.
Cuckoo was the brainchild of Michelle Veenman, who having sold vintage clothes on Portobello Market, was disappointed at the lack of diverse fashion in Cambridge. Opening her first boutique 12 years ago at Indie enclave Burwash Manor, Barton, Michelle was joined by business partner Kate Bols two years later, and their city centre store in bustling St Mary’s Passage launched a couple of years after that. Today, Cuckoo offers an eclectic range of clothes, bags, footwear, jewellery and fragrance, with a focus on pattern, strong colour and wearability.
Bestselling lines include Two Danes (relaxed Scandinavian layered looks); Ottod’Ame (quirky Italian design with a vintage twist); and Stella Forest (Parisian boho meets romantic). Ilse Jacobsen’s raincoats are a hit with the Cambridge cycling fraternity, while Lofina’s grunge-style boots and Cuckoo’s pretty patterned Dutch Pom and French Inouitoosh scarves are quickly snapped up each season.
There is plenty of affordable attire, and Cuckoo’s staff (10 of them in total) are a cheerful bunch, who offer award-winning service and are dedicated to finding flattering ensembles to suit each client.
Cuckoo is committed to supporting various charities, from Wintercomfort (for the homeless), Cambridge, to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, through various fund-raising events.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Michelle and Kate are currently collaborating with store managers, fashion designer Debora Rodriguez and dressmaker Annette Broad, on Cuckoo’s first ever own-brand label. Watch this space!
4, St Mary's Passage
Tel: 01223 364345
Always a good idea to check holiday opening times.