By Anton Constantinou
London Fashion Week starts tomorrow, in what will inevitably prove a dazzling six days of catwalking and flash photography.
The annual event is one of four held around the world, along with those in New York, Milan and Paris, and continues to draw some of the biggest and best designers in the world. With it, come new trends and new collections as Brits flock to high-end stores in search of the latest must-have items.
We love fashion and, with the help of our luxury London shopping guide, you can too. Here’s where to go for the finer things in the city:
Nearest tube station: Oxford Circus
Best for: fragrances
This world-famous department store is recognisable a mile-off thanks to its distinctive black and white design. Adorning its window displays are designer fragrances and cosmetics, while inside you’ll find clothing, homeware, furniture and artwork. Liberty London is located on Regent Street, close to Oxford Circus tube station, and in walking distance of Carnaby Street.
Fortnum & Mason
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus or Green Park
Best for: hampers
If there’s one thing Fortnum & Mason does well it’s teas and specialist hampers. As the official grocer to the Queen, its shelves are stacked high with the finest food money can buy. There’s also an award-winning bar and various private dining rooms for hire. There is also wide choice of grooming products, jewellery and accessories, so why not treat a loved one to a wet shave or charm bracelet?
Nearest tube station: Knightsbridge
Best for: afternoon tea
For many, a trip to Knightsbridge means one thing – a visit to Harrods. Starting as a simple grocery shop in 1849, Harrods now boasts more than 330 departments over seven floors, and a variety of specialist services like personal styling and menu creation. Children love the store for its Christmas grotto, cuddly toys, gadgets and board games. For us, it’s all about the lights out-front.
Nearest tube station: Sloane Square
Best for: fabrics
Where do the Made in Chelsea crew shop? Simple – the King’s Road. For decades, this major street has been serving London’s rich and famous, attracting style icons with its trendy boutiques and antique shops. Fabrics, spa treatments, designer clothing, furniture, you name it – they can all be purchased on King’s Road. Famous stores include Vivienne Westwood World’s End and Reiss.
Nearest tube station: Farringdon
Best for: jewellery
London’s historic jewellery quarter has been around since the medieval times and is world renowned for its engagement and wedding rings. Hatton Garden’s jewellers offer a variety of services including repairs, polishing and resizing. So, if you’re planning on tying the knot, this is the place to come.
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus
Best for: men’s tailoring
Savile Row prides itself on delivering the best in men’s bespoke tailoring. Everything from a dinner jacket to a tuxedo can be fetched on this Mayfair street, where attention to detail is second to none. The great Winston Churchill used to visit Savile Row for his pin-striped suits, as did Mick Jagger for his tight, high-waisted trousers.
The Royal Exchange
Nearest tube station: Bank
Best for: watches
Those working in the City of London should be all too familiar with The Royal Exchange. This luxury shopping arcade is architecturally beautiful, notable for its impressive structure and central courtyard. All the latest footwear, technology and watches can be purchased here. It’s also known for its lavish bars.
Nearest tube station: Knightsbridge or Sloane Square
Best for: handbags
Sloane Street retains a global reputation for exclusivity when it comes to shopping. The flagship stores of Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, Valentino and Gucci are based here, and share a site with townhouses and exquisitely manicured gardens. Sloane Street is a must visit for designer handbags and couture fashion.
Dover Street Market
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus
Best for: streetwear
Yet another Mayfair haunt, this time in the form of a six-storey fashion emporium, packed with high fashion brands like Balenciaga, Lanvin, LOEWE and Saint Laurent. Some compare the centre to a Harajuku shopping complex, on account of its Japanese owner, Rei Kawkubo, and vending machines stocking DSM brand T-shirts. Other Dover Street Markets lie in Tokyo, Singapore and New York.
Nearest tube station: Shepherd’s Bush
Best for: footwear
It’s hard to talk about luxury shopping without mentioning Westfield London. The Shepherds Bush plaza has a staggering 150,000 m² of retail space, comparable in size to 30 football pitches. Some 360 shops can be found at Westfield London, including Louis Vuitton and Mulberry, along with 50 food outlets. East London has its own version in the form of Westfield Stratford.