Where To Shop and What To Do Over Fashion Week
With fashion week upon us yet again, I’ll be packing my bags and heading back to my home town (more or less) of London. I spent my formative years in London, studying at Central St Martins and setting up my own label in Shoreditch (the same neighbourhood as then emerging designers and artists including Alexander McQueen and Tracey Emin) so I have very fond memories of the city. I’m lucky enough to return pretty regularly for work, and my next trip coincides neatly with London Fashion Week so I thought, what better time to put together a quick list of some of my favourite places, old and new:
After travelling for over half a day from LA to London, I often prefer to stay in west London (nearer the airport) rather than head east immediately and my new favourite find is The Wellesley. In the heart of Knightsbridge and a stones throw from Harvey Nichols (so Ab Fab!) and Harrods along with a host of other boutiques and stores, The Wellesley blends art deco glamour with contemporary luxury and is heaven after a long flight.
While in this neck of the woods, I always try and squeeze in a visit to the V&A Museum. Known predominantly for it’s incredible fashion and textiles archive and collection, the museum is actually an enormous cavern of treasures, artworks and artefacts and takes me back to my days studying fashion. I’m SO looking forward to the McQueen exhibition in March as I missed it in New York and have regretted it ever since. And why on earth WOULDN’T the exhibition show in McQueen’s home town! So pleased I get a chance to see it again.
If – by some rare chance – I have a day off to do some shopping for myself, there are a wealth of destination stores this side of London. Matches in Marylebone has always been a favourite boutique of mine and I’m so delighted that they took the store online a few years ago (they deliver to the States too which is fantastic!) Mount Street in Mayfair has become a definite ‘go to’ for the hottest younger designers in London. One of the jewels in London’s fashion crown Christopher Kane has just opened his first flagship store in time for fashion week joining shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood and womenswear designer Roksanda Ilincic. Rumour has it the next designer to set up shop in the area is Erdem – watch this space…
As I head deeper into town, it’s so easy to get distracted by all the fantastic stores and galleries. Liberty is incredible – it’s an icon of quintessentially British retail and effortlessly fuses tradition and quality with contemporary and cutting-edge style. It’s impossible to leave Dover Street Market without making a purchase. Their exquisitely-curated selection of womenswear, jewellery, accessories and a whole variety of objets d’art is hypnotic. Hauser & Wirth is one of my favourite of the newer gallery spaces. They are situated on Savile Row and are renowned worldwide for their support of emerging contemporary artists.
On the opposite side of the street is the Royal Academy but before any further activity can take place I down tools and head to Cecconi’s situated conveniently opposite for lunch. Cecconi’s is a real ‘scene’ and there are tables full of London’s leading media and PR’s – along with the ladies who lunch – so I always find myself bumping into someone I know there. Otherwise I also love Dean Street Townhouse in Soho – it’s so typically London.
Before I head further east, I try and get myself a booking at George Northwood’s hair salon. He also does Rosie’s hair so I know I’m in extremely good hands and we always have a laugh together.
As I get to my old stomping ground of Shoreditch one of my newest finds is House of Hackney on Shoreditch High Street. What started originally as an interiors brand with their unique and whimsical prints has expanded into clothing, most notably a recent collab with Puma. The area has changed remarkably since I had my studio there and what was once a fairly rough rag-trade area is now a gentrified hub of some of the coolest, most interesting stores, bars and restaurants. After all this shopping, I head even further east to Hackney Road and The Hemingway – a ‘gastro-pub’ whose sumptuous cocktails and menu provide blessed relief to those who have been on their feet all day!
So there you go – I hope those give you some good ideas on where to go should you find yourself in London.