Once the home of London's airline offices, Conduit Street now spans the globe in a different way, with an international mix of shops and restaurants. Algerian Mourad Mazouz (of London's Momo restaurant) and Parisian chef Pierre Gagnaire (Hôtel Balzac) conceptualized the sprawling, neon-lit Sketch (No. 9; 44-870/777-4488). Scenesters and socialites flit between its art gallery, patisserie, two bars, and Lecture Room restaurant, where Gagnaire prepares such dishes as Charolais beef with beetroot sorbet. Tokyo's Yohji Yamamoto (No. 14-15; 44-207/491-4129) brings his Asian sensibility westward. Cinched silk dress shirts and skirts, with hand-painted frogs and fish, are sold alongside the striped, low-top sneakers that the designer created with Adidas. Dutch industrial architect Marcel Wanders has designed the first U.K. outpost of Italy's Mandarina Duck (No. 16; 44-207/495-8288). Ambient drum-and-bass sets the mood for urban travelers stocking up on rubber-and-metal backpacks and aerodynamic luggage. The grande dame of Britain's punk generation, Vivienne Westwood (No. 44; 44-207/439-1109) still makes use of safety pins and corsets in her collections, but she also creates sophisticated embroidered shirts, satin ball skirts, and fur-trimmed jackets. Gibo (No. 47; 44-207/734-2340) is devoted to the artwork and clothing of Paris-trained fashion illustrator Julie Verhoeven. Her eighties-influenced pieces—cowl necks, lacy suits—hang alongside her psychedelic drawings and paintings. And, should you want to jet out of town, Air Mauritius and Biman Bangladesh Airlines still have satellite bureaus down the block.
—Bonnie Tsui