London probably boasts a larger number and a bigger variety of fashion stores than any other European city. The multicultural, multiracial nature of the city is reflected in the multitude of styles and trends in clothing on sale there.
London’s fame as the city at the forefront of the creation of new trends is reflected not just in the clothing in its stores but also in the decoration and design of the stores themselves. The most modern stores exist side by side and with classical establishments that have managed to adapt to changing times and continue to offer up to date clothing without losing their own character or style.
Louis Vuitton, Bond Street
There are several distinct shopping areas, which are in continuous expansion throughout the city. As London continues to grow the appearance of new districts leads also to the opening up of new shopping areas where you can find cutting edge fashion stores.
MAYFAIR. The rectangle formed by Oxford St., Regent St., Jermyn St. and Bond St. brings together a large number of luxury fashion stores in a very small area, all of them based in buildings with fine architecture. Polo Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen and Salvatore Ferragamo in Bond St., among others, are in buildings which are worth visiting for their external appearance alone. The same goes for, Miu Miu,Donna Karan and Mulberry.
Dior, Sloane Street
Parallel to this area is Savile Row, where traditional tailors are concentrated alongside more modern stores such as Richard James and the cutting edge multi-brand b store. Running perpendicular to both these streets, Conduit St. is also home to such important designers as Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyaka, Krizia,Moschino and Vivienne Westwood in just a few square metres.
On the other side of Bond St., Conduit St. changes its name and becomes Bruton St., but its significance as a centre for a fashion is maintained. Two reference points for British fashion, Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson, have their stores there, and classics such as Brioni and cutting edge Belgian firm Maison Martin Margiela are based nearby. Mount Street with Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Loewe, Carolina Herrera,Lanvin.
Bottega Veneta, Sloane Street
It is also worth taking a stroll through Dover Street Market. The multi-brand store created by Rei Kawakubo, designer for Comme des Garçons, in the former produce market on this street offers four floors of the very latest in fashion.
South Molton St. is a pedestrian area dominated by another of London’s benchmark multi-brand stores:Browns, together with men’s multi-brand Vertice.
Further up in Oxford St., lovers of department stores will find Selfridges, which offers one of the best selections of designer clothing to be found anywhere in stores of this kind. Further east on the same street are House of Fraser and John Lewis. Fenwick, in Bond St., is another benchmark for department store fashions.
In Regent Street you will find such updated British classics as Burberry, the beautiful building occupied byAquascutum and the Liberty department store. At the southern end of this area, Jermyn St. also exudes a distinctly British style aimed particularly at London executives, with Church’s shoe store, Dunhill and the inimitable Fortnum & Mason, where there is something for everyone.
Alexander McQueen, Bond Street
BELGRAVIA AND KNIGHTSBRIDGE. South of Hyde Park lies London’s second most important shopping area in terms of luxury designers. Flanked by two top department stores that are a must for visitors,Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge and Harrods in Brompton Road, Sloane St. is similar to Bond Street in that it is home to one store after another selling the most exclusive brands. Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Jitrois,Prada, Bottega Veneta, Dior, Marni and Jimmy Choo are on one side of the street and Valentino, Alberta Ferretti, Versace, Emilio Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton on the other.
Next to the peaceful Cadogan Place, Pont St. has two major reference points for British designers: the lingerie of Agent Provocateur and the handbags of Anya Hindmarch.
Stella McCartney, Bruton Street
Further south, Elisabeth St. has stores selling fashions by British designers such as Boyd and Ben de Lisi, and the unrivalled hats of Philip Treacy. At the point where Sloane St. reaches Sloane Square, Chloé and updated British classic Pringle of Scotland can be found next to Paule Ka and Paul & Joe.
CHELSEA AND SOUTH KENSINGTON. Brompton Rd. and Fulham Rd. run parallel to King’s Road. In Fullham Road you can find the British minimalism of Margaret Howell. Other interesting streets between them include Walton St., Sloane Ave., home of Kenzo and Paul Smith among others, and above all Draycott Ave., which not only offers such brands as Jean Paul Gaultier but also features another benchmark London store: Joseph.
Church’s Bond Street
At the end of the area in Brompton Road is one of Chanel‘s London’s stores.
COVENT GARDEN AND SOHO. Alongside stores selling more urban fashions such as those of the denim king Diesel, leading designers such as Agnès b. and Hugo Boss have stores in the bustling Covent Garden. The stores of ultra British designer Paul Smith in Floral St. Soho maintains its atmosphere as a modern area thanks to stores with a markedly young, cutting edge air.
Dolce Gabbana, Sloane Street
THE CITY. Londoners love to shop, and time out from work can always be found to go fashion shopping. With this in mind, several major brands have set up shop in the City, mainly in the triangle formed by The Royal Exchange. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Paul Smith, Loro Piana, among others, have stores in this area. These stores are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays because in this area no working in means no shopping.
Browns, South Molton Street
Other areas. Marylebone, the area north of Oxford Street is also increasingly strong as a centre for fashion stores, with top brands such as Agnès b. and Paul Smith.
Further north still, in Upper Street, you will find other major multi-brand stores such as Diverse andSefton, and in Wimbledon the language of sport prevails, but not just tennis: Matches has four stores in the area, all of which offer a wide range of fashion brands by leading designers.Finally close to Shepperd Bush you will find the ultimate British super mall: Westfield.
Paul Smith, Marylebone High Street