There are some people who have a gift of making you feel special, they take time when they speak with you and look you in the eye – it sounds so simple but it’s become so rare, so when it happens you fall under their spell and you can’t help but adore them. Joan Burstein is the face, heart and soul of Browns. She and her husband Sidney created Browns 1970 with a small boutique on the ground floor at 27 South Molton Street, the shops grew and now there are five connecting townhouses with number 23 being exclusively for men. Browns is one of London’s most important fashion destinations: not just for shoppers but for designers as well: if your collection is in Browns it’s like a stamp of approval. Joan Burstein is credited with discovering such talents as Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan and Commes des Garcons: she first spotted John Galliano at his degree show, and gave a teenager, Manolo Blahnik a job in her jeans department. She always had pieces that are exclusive to Browns and she cultivates her relationships with designers, helping them to grow and develop. Most of all is she’s very kind. She makes you feel at home in her shop – all her staff are like that – it feels very genuine, she knows her designers and understands her customers. Although Browns is very well established it still feels like one of London’s best kept secrets. I think some Londoners are intimidated by the shop, they’d feel more comfortable in a big department store where you’re anonymous and nobody speaks to you – but once you get past this fear and walk through the doors of Browns it’s like you’ve come home. I think I was a bit nerves the first time I went into Browns – you know it’s special and important but none of the staff are pushy or condescending, it’s just warm and welcoming and just being in there makes you feel special. Marcio & Mrs Burstein are in the photo.