Where to Shop, Eat and Play During London Fashion Week
From where to eat with the London cabbies (a recommendation from designer Anya Hindmarch), to the brand-new Tom Dixon-decorated Bronte, the must-visits.
The second — and shortest — of the four major fashion weeks kicked off in London on Friday, welcoming press, buyers and other industry members to the U.K. capital for five packed days of shows. We polled some of London’s chicest individuals in-the-know, including designers Anya Hindmarch and Mother of Pearl’s Amy Powney, Moda Operandi’s Hayley Bloomingdale, Matthew Williamson’s Rosanna Falconer and editorial consultant Elle Hankinson on the best places in town to dine, shop and tour now.
TO EAT & DRINK
“For me, the small green wooden taxi huts dotted around London to serve our cabbies are completely synonymous with this city,” says leather goods designer Hindmarch, who likes to stop in for “one of the best bacon sandwiches and mug of tea” on her way into her Bespoke Store a few doors down in London’s super-posh Belgravia neighborhood. But don’t bring a group: “You can get a maximum of about 10 people in them,” she warns.
17, 15 Pont St., London, SW1X.
According to Bloomingdale, Juan Santa Cruz’s glossy Argentinian-inspired eatery is “definitely the hot spot in town right now” — and as U.K. communications director of luxury retailer Moda Operandi, she should know. The restaurant’s copper-covered walls and slick mirrored bathrooms in no way outshine the spectacular food and cocktails — Bloomingdale recommends the whole fresh artichokes and Cajun smoked chicken. “And don’t skip the pudding,” she advises. “The raspberry souffle is melt-in-your-mouth good.”
123 Clarendon Road, London, W14JG, casacruz.london.
The recently opened Tom Dixon-designed restaurant, overlooking Trafalgar Square, is pure delight for the eyes — so it’s little wonder that Powney, creative director of the sporty-meets-feminine label Mother of Pearl, is a fan. “I am totally obsessed with a green and pink color palette at the moment and can get my fix here,” she says, referring to the spot’s emerald-hued leather booths and cotton candy-colored concrete counter top corralling the bar. The decor is expensive, but the food isn’t: The chorizo scotch egg (£6) and beer-battered haddock and chips (£14) are two of the more popular items on Andrew Lassetter's menu.
1-2 The Strand, London, WC2N 5EJ, bronte.co.uk.
Chiltern Street Firehouse
There are at least two paparazzi stationed outside this celebrity hotspot every night, hoping to catch a glimpse of regulars like Kate Moss, Lily Allen and a smattering of London’s better-known designers, like Mary Katrantzou, whom we have spotted here in fashion weeks past. The New York-style brasserie from André Balazs reliably serves up favorites like the Firehouse Caesar (£12) and slow-cooked lamb (£28).
1 Chiltern St, London W1U 7PA, chilternfirehouse.com.
Those seeking a traditional afternoon tea service can find it in the cozy, wood-paneled rooms of Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, replete with scones, small sandwiches and a selection of delicious tarts and cakes (£52.50).
33 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BP, roccofortehotels.com.
This unassuming gem just off Vincent Square is “buzzing with politicos discussing the day over the best spaghetti vongole in town — actually, make that in the U.K.,” gushes Falconer, business director and muse to designer Matthew Williamson. Finish your evening with authentic gelato from Olivogelo, then (if your show schedule is really light) grab a flick at the sumptuous new Curzon cinema on Victoria Street.
35 Willow Pl, London, SW1P 1JH, ristorantegustoso.co.uk.
Located in London’s well-manicured Chelsea neighborhood, this airy, spacious boutique from stylist Alex Eagle combines a not-to-be-missed assortment of art, homewares and high-end fashion and accessories from designers Christophe Lemaire, Hillier Bartley and Rosetta Getty.
6-10 Lexington St., London W1F 0LB, alexeagle.co.uk.
This appointment-only boutique, tucked away on a side street in Marylebone, is a favorite of stylists and editors on the hunt for pristine vintage from the likes of Balenciaga, Dior, Galanos, Halston and Yves Saint Laurent.
2 Marylebone St., London W1G 8JQ2, williamvintage.com.
Situated less than a five-minute walk from William’s Vintage, this two-story bookstore has an entire floor dedicated to travel books, as well as a well-curated selection of new fiction. “It's such a beautiful space, filled with well-chosen books with a very knowledgeable staff,” says Hindmarch.
83-84 Marylebone High St., London, W1U 4QW, dauntbooks.co.uk.
House of Hackney
Few interiors in London rival that of this home goods and fashion shop, which regularly updates its elaborate, often Victorian-inspired decor. Come to gawk at the wallpaper, and leave with a velvet pillow or two.
131-132 Shoreditch High St., London E1 6JE, houseofhackney.com.
Dover Street Market
The brainchild of Comme des Garçons’ famously reclusive designer, Rei Kawakubo, this concept store recently decamped from its original six-story location on Dover Street to an even larger space in central Piccadilly. You’ll find a nice assortment of Céline, Erdem and Valentino alongside hard-to-find, up-and-coming talents like Grace Wales Bonner and Ryan Lo. Those looking for more affordable souvenirs can head to the sneaker floor for exclusive collaborations from the likes of Adidas, Nike and Vans.
18-22 Haymarket St., London SW1Y 4DG, london.doverstreetmarket.com.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Wardrobe at Buckingham Palace
If you ever wondered why the Queen wears such bright colors, or such eccentric-looking hats, your curiosity will be fully satisfied after touring the state rooms of Buckingham Palace, which are currently playing host to more than 150 outfits worn by the Queen over her 64-year-reign. Highlights included her elaborately embroidered, pearl-encrusted coronation gown, designed by Norman Hartnell, as well as her immaculately tailored riding garb. Pre-booking required.
Fashioning a Reign, 90 Years of Style from the Queen's Wardrobe, through Oct. 2, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, royalcollection.org.uk.
Georgia O’Keefe at the Tate Modern
In June, the Tate Modern took the wrapping off its 10-story extension, dubbed the Switch House, which greatly expands the museum’s representation of international and women artists. While checking out the new space, buy a ticket (£19) for the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition, which features an impressively vast assortment of the painter’s works from the very beginning to the end of her career.
Georgia O'Keefe, through Oct. 30, Bankside, London SE1 9TG, tate.org.uk.
Newport Street Gallery
On display at Damien Hirst’s privately owned — and free to visit — gallery just across Lambeth Bridge in Vauxhall is a wide range of works by American artist Jeff Koons, including more than 30 paintings, as well as drawings and sculptures dating back to 1979, many of which have never shown in the U.K. before. “The building itself is striking, and be sure to take a picture from the top of the three spiral staircases — ovoid pathways of perfection,” Hankinson, a consultant to companies like Nike and i-D magazine, recommends. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat at Pharmacy 2.
Newport St, London SE11 6AJ, newportstreetgallery.com.