Almost every style-setter who comes to London checks off the same only-in-the-U.K. shops before leaving. Here are the must-visits.
A girlish paradise of bags, baubles, and dresses by upstart and pedigreed designers—and floral-printed everything—this 1920s Tudor revival building is a fashion lover’s dream. A flower shop, hair salon, and pedicure spa make it even more appealing. When in town for fall fashion week, editors spring for Christmas ornaments from a glittering array on the top floor; in spring, they might pick up a Liberty-print wash bag, tea towel, or soap or a candle or candelabra by British designer Tom Dixon. Liberty is located on Regent Street—one of London’s main shopping drags—and a stone’s throw from Cos, whose minimalist dresses, tops, and trousers make it another insider’s favorite; the London stock is more architectural than the stuff in the Los Angeles and New York stores.
Dover Street Market moved away from its namesake street last year and into a shop three times the size of the original location. All the more room for an outpost of Anglo-French Rose Bakery (which eases editors onto their all-carb Paris diets), the convenience store–like Pocket Shop, and dedicated spaces for designers on the store’s five levels. A few young, new-to-Dover designers have even built their own standalone spots: Simone Rocha used Plexiglas and rose cornicing, and Jonathan Anderson decorated his area with a climbing frame and slide. Fashion folk look out for limited-edition sneakers—particularly experimental Nike styles—and a wide range by Commes des Garcons, the forward-thinking Japanese brand that owns the shop.
3. Alex Eagle
As with several favorite fashion stores of the moment (namely The Line), Alex Eagle feels like a friend’s ultra-aspirational home turned into a shop and gallery, where everything from the candle burning by the register to the record spinning upstairs is for sale. Eagle, an alumna of Harper’s Bazaar and Joseph, is also creative director for the new Store x Soho House Berlin. Suffice it to say she’s got great taste, and that bears out in the contents of this three-story space. There are angular Philip Arctander Clam chairs and vegan Veja trainers along with exclusive own-label clothes and collaborations: Eagle has made new products with everyone from Venetian slipper-makers to the British luggage line Swaine Adeney Brigg, which dates to 1798. In this era of fast fashion, insiders are heartened by the thread tying the shop together: Everything’s made to last.
Ever wanted your bathroom papered in palm trees, or your couch upholstered with British birds? A printed paradise on Shoreditch High Street in East London, House of Hackney is nothing if not over the top: There’s nary a plain item in the whole shop. But somehow it still appeals to even the most minimalist of fashion people. They might not leave with a roll of wallpaper, but it’s hard not to take away something smaller, like leopard-print bone china mugs, a set of bath towels emblazoned with English roses, or a skirt patterned like an Oriental rug. If nothing else, a stop into this store is a flight of fancy—and perhaps just the inspiration needed for next season’s photo spreads.
5. E. Tautz
Not all fashion editors are women, and no male style aficionado could visit London without surveying the famed stretch of suit makers on Savile Row. In E. Tautz, they’ve found a nice place to dip a toe into British tailoring without ponying up for a custom suit. The brand is known for playing with boxier, minimal shapes in jackets, trousers, and even suits, and it also does excellent outerwear, from short jackets to duffle coats. Subtle but very modern, its clothes seem perfect for a certain type of editor: While averse to flash, this guy would also never deign to blend in with the crowd.
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