Today Brooks, known as Amanda Cutter in her Manhattan days, is passionately, proselytizingly rural. Out this month is her book Farm from Home: A Year of Stories, Pictures, and Recipes from a City Girl in the Country (Blue Rider Press).
Think A Year in Provence sans espadrilles. There’s a brick-and-mortar component, too: Cutter Brooks, a smart little style Mecca, opens this month in a 16th-century building in Stow-on-the-Wold, not far from Fairgreen Farm (AD, September 2016), the romantic demesne that has been in her husband, Christopher’s, family for generations.
“People kept saying, ‘Write a book,’ but I still didn’t know anything about anything,” says Amanda Brooks, the former Barneys New York fashion director who married an Englishman in 2001 and, 17 years and two children later, immersed herself in her husband’s native Cotswolds. “I had no focus other than my Instagram @amandacbrooks.”
“This is the first I’m really working full-time in years, and it feels great,” Brooks says, adding, “I’ve always wanted to run a clothing shop. Cutter Brooks has an English theme but no Wellies – everyone here owns those in spades.” Instead she’s got 1940s Fair Isle sweaters, inviting installations with cottage-chic dinnerware (“I love setting tables”), and contemporary fashion brands (Le Monde Beryl shoes, LSJ recycled vintage clothing, Loretta Caponi night-gowns) edited for country life. “When I moved here I was a total tomboy, but now I’m in skirts and dresses.”
The entrepreneurial Brooks is tapping into a Cotswolds renaissance that has led wits to dub the region (80-some miles northwest of London) “Poshtershire.” Michelin-starred restaurants like The Wild Rabbit in Kingham attract road-tripping Londoners, as do Lady Bamford’s Daylesford Farmshop Café and Soho Farmhouse hotel and private club.
“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.” cutterbrooks.com