Burberry’s creative director explains to Dani Shapiro how a daily stroll through London harmonizes his life and work.
From my home in Old Mayfair, I have a panoramic view: Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Wellington Arch, Buckingham Palace gardens, and the big wheel. It’s why I chose to live there. On my walk to the Haymarket each morning, where the Burberry offices are, I love that I can connect with that traditional part of England and nature at the same time—all right in the midst of the city. It’s a ten- or fifteen-minute walk straight down Piccadilly.
Sometimes I skirt through Green Park when I want to see a squirrel. I’m from Yorkshire, the countryside, so parks are very important. Nature grounds you. As I make my way to the office, I also pass the Royal Academy, and in the warm weather they have outdoor exhibits in the courtyard. People on the streets inspire me as well, though it isn’t always a conscious thing. Juxtaposing young, modern fashion with tradition and history is what I do at Burberry. We all have this little memory bank and we don’t always know what’s in there, but things rise to the surface. It’s very easy to walk through the world with eyes open but not seeing. I try to take things in.
Where to Eat
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an English high tea starting at 3:30. It’s a beautiful old building that used to be a car showroom in the 1920’s. I favor the steak and chips, but all the meals are amazing. 160 Piccadilly; 44-20/7499-6996; dinner for two $130.
Where to Shop
It runs north from Piccadilly, and is filled with little specialty shops. My favorite is a perfumer, Penhaligon’s. Try its Blenheim Bouquet. On Piccadilly near Old Bond St., 44-20/7630-1411 (Penhaligon’s; 44-20/7629-1416).
Fortnum & Mason
A local department store that’s unique and very British. The food hall has cheese from all the British Isles, and an amazing selection of English teas—their English Breakfast is my choice. 181 Piccadilly; 44-20/7734-8040.