Shopping in London
Published: August 2013
By Christine Ajudua
T+L asked London’s tastemakers to open their little black books—here are our favorite tips.
Made in the U.K.
Where to go for locally crafted goods.
Tatty Devine: If you think of jewelry as wearable art, you’ll love the whimsical, laser-cut acrylic and precious-metal creations from this East London–based line. 236 Brick Lane.
Patricia Roberts Knitwear: The tiny Belgravia boutique is known for women’s and children’s sweaters, hats, and gloves knit by hand using natural, house-spun yarns. 60 Kinnerton St.
Penhaligon’s: The historic perfumer is a favorite of Patrick Grant, creative director of Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons. His pick? The spicy Sartorial Eau de Toilette. 16-17 Burlington Arcade.
Cabbages & Roses: Former British Vogue Living editor Christina Strutt designs cotton T-shirt dresses, cushions, and quilts adorned with bees, stripes, or flowers at her Chelsea shop. 3 Langton St.
An Insider’s Guide to Portobello Road
As one half of the husband-andwife design duo JamesPlumb—responsible for the interiors of Shoreditch’s avant-garde men’s-wear boutique Hostem—Hannah Plumb is a regular at Notting Hill’s legendary antiques market. Here, her tips on navigating it like a pro.
Timing is everything. “Early Friday morning is the best time to visit. Forget Saturday—it’s a watered-down version of the market and full of tourists.”
Go off the beaten path. “One section that always draws me back is under the overpass by Portobello Green, a little hive of about 50 dealers selling fantastic English, French, Indian, and Turkish antiques, secondhand clothing, and everything in between. We source a lot of textiles—linen sheets; pinafores; brocades—from Su Mason. Her lovely little dog, Pepper, helps man the stall.”
Know your price point. “Educate yourself about what you’re buying and what you’d be willing to pay for it. I’m always picking dealers’ brains about the provenance of each item and how it came into their hands.”
Spotlight: Late Night Chameleon Café
It may be located in a basement in Dalston (i.e., far-east London), but LN-CC is a haven for high-design locals. Book an appointment to visit the tunnel-like spaces filled with fashion-forward pieces from Ann Demeulemeester, Maison Martin Margiela, and more. A recent expansion added a vast shoes and accessories area—and a mezcal bar. 18 Shacklewell Lane.
Shop This Block: Lamb’s Conduit
The partly pedestrianized street in Bloomsbury is (thankfully) free of chain stores. Instead, you’ll find this fresh crop of indie boutiques.
The stock at Wren (No. 47) might include 1930’s club chairs in a harlequin-lime velvet and locally designed Dasmarca trilby hats.
The popular men’s shop Folk Clothing (No. 53) now has a spot for women just two doors down, with looks by the likes of Carven and Tsumori Chisato.
Darkroom (No. 52) is a study in geometric design: two-tone leather clutches by homegrown label M.Hulot and cushions from African textiles.
With military-style jackets and Lancashire tweed flat caps, Private White V.C. Shop (No. 55) is among our favorite new British men’s brands.
The first shoe shop from Oliver Spencer (No. 58) features classics (Oxford boots) and global collabs (nubuck sneakers with Italian brand Superga).
Need a book for the plane ride back home? Persephone Books (No. 59) showcases works by lesser-known 20th-century female writers.
Father-son team Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford work together to produce nonconformist men’s wear—but when it comes to their go-to spots, it’s a matter of personal taste.
Top Specialty Shops
“E. B. Meyrowitz has made bespoke and ready-to-wear eyewear since 1879; clients have included Churchill and Eisenhower.” —Joe Casely-Hayford
“Foot Patrol has the world’s most exclusive trainers: collector’s editions, limited ranges by niche Japanese brands, and rare dead stock.” —Charlie Casely-Hayford
Destination for Design
“Two Columbia Road, for Midcentury Modern furniture and artwork; fans of Wegner, Eames, and Caulfield are likely to find something to treasure.” —Joe Casely-Hayford
“Larache (44-20/7729-7349), where photographer Hassan Hajjaj juxtaposes his witty Moroccan sensibility with urban references in clothing, paintings, and jewelry.” —Charlie Casely-Hayford
“At the Vintage Showroom, you can buy (or just marvel at) an 18th-century hussar’s jacket or original post-punk Public Image Ltd T-shirt.” —Joe Casely-Hayford
“Machine-A provides a rare chance to collect pieces from the future fashion Establishment. Look out for Shaun Samson, Dominic Jones, and Sibling.” —Charlie Casely-Hayford
“East London’s art and fashion community loves the organic British food at Rochelle Canteen. Try the skate wing with monk’s beard.” —Joe Casely-Hayford
“Beagle, set under railway arches in Hoxton, is my new spot. Chef James Ferguson, who came from Rochelle Canteen, makes a great rabbit with beetroot and butter beans.” —Charlie Casely-Hayford
What Defines London Style?
“It’s a mix of old and new, spun with originality and wit. It’s artistic gents in tweed suits and brogues with neon socks; girls who dress up like boys; luxury hotels steeped in history, serving ridiculously delicious cocktails; mugs of tea and bacon butties; double-decker buses; a certain insouciant and scruffy attitude to the idea of ‘chic,’ with polish where you don’t expect it.” —Jenny Dyson, Founder of London-based fashion magazine Rubbish and creative director of Pencil, a “couture content” agency.
We asked a couple of London tastemakers what they would buy with £20, £50, and £100. Here’s what they said.
Patrick Grant, creative director of historic Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons and men’s ready-to-wear label E. Tautz
£20: “I’d go to Berry Bros. & Rudd and buy a bottle—can I have two?—of Good Ordinary Claret (£9). The shop in St James’s is a veritable Dickensian time capsule complete with ancient bottles of tokai, a wonky wooden floor, and coffee scales on which customers are weighted (a tradition that dates back to the 18th-century health boom).”
£50: “We Brits love a good cuppa. There’s a Japanese proverb that goes ‘If a man has no tea in him he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.’ The East India Company’s Li Shan Oolong Loose Tea (£50) is grown on one of the world’s highest tea plantations in Taiwan and is picked just twice a year in very small quantities.”
£100: “Penhaligon’s Sartorial Eau de Toilette (£85) is based on the smell of the tailoring workroom at Norton & Sons (oiled shears, leather, pressed chalk, beeswax), so if you can’t afford a hand-cut suit you can at least take away a little olfactory souvenir of Savile Row.”
Greek-born, London-based women’s fashion designer Mary Katrantzou:
£20: “I’d buy a ticket to the Design Museum (£10.85). I am inspired by all forms of art and design—by those who push the boundaries of their chosen discipline or interpret an idea with real intelligence. With my change, I’d go for a cappuccino at a café on Southbank overlooking the Thames.”
£50: “I love wandering around London’s old department stores, especially Liberty, where I’d treat myself to a Gardenia-scented Diptyque candle (£40). Looking up at the Tudor architecture from outside you feel like you have taken a step back in time, but walk in and you’ll find such an intelligent blend of modern brands and new designers mixed with classic products and the famous Liberty prints. For me, it is the epitome of a retail experience.”
£100: “There is nothing nicer than spending the evening with good food, wine, and company. I would take my partner to dinner at this amazing little Argentinean restaurant called Buen Ayre (50 Broadway Market; dinner for two £60), in Hackney. It has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.”
Maltby Street Market
Over the past few years, artisanal vendors have been setting up under the railway arches around Maltby Street and Spa Terminus, in the emerging district of Bermondsey. The result—a less-than-obvious answer to overcrowded Borough Market—is now a Saturday favorite among insiders. Here’s what not to miss.
St. John Bakery: Chef Fergus Henderson’s noise-to-tail restaurants are as beloved for their slow braises as they are for their fresh-baked madeleines. It was only a matter of time before he opened a standalone bakery. Rise early for the doughnuts, which tend to sell out. 72 Druid St.
Bar Tozino: More than 100 Spanish hams hang from the exposed-brick ceiling at the latest spot from the master jamon carvers behind Tozino. Also on the menu: tapas, cheese, wine, and sherry. Lassco Ropewalk, Maltby St.
40 Maltby Street: This biodynamic wine shop doubles as a restaurant and bar—only there’s just one communal table and no reservations. The daily-changing menu (we love the eggplant fritters with salt cod) is worth any wait.
England Preserves: Sky Cracknell and Kai Knutsen craft jams using only locally sourced fruits, including blackcurrants, damson plums, and gooseberries. Arch No. 2, 148 Spa Rd.
The Kernel Brewery: On Saturday, the cult-favorite microbrewery turns into a bar, serving whatever is made that week—ales; porters; stouts; table beers—by the bottle or on tap. 01 Spa Business Park, Spa Rd.
Spotlight: Beauty Mart
New to Harvey Nichols and the pop-up shopping mall Boxpark Shoreditch, this concept store carries cult-favorite beauty products from around the world such as DHC skincare from Japan and exclusive fragrances from British makeup artist Mary Greenwell. Founders Anna-Marie Solowij (formerly beauty director at British Vogue) and Millie Kendall (of Ruby & Millie cosmetics) plan to unveil Beauty Mart vending machines everywhere from hotels and nightclubs to airports and train stations across London.