The latest and greatest of London shopping

Apr 07, 2011


London, for me, is the most fascinating shopping city in the world. It’s the home of every grand global designer name and the world’s best high street brands. Choice aside, what makes it unique is the incredible department stores, quirky markets, adorable vintage boutiques, and charming individual shops.

Here are my favourite shopping haunts, found are the result of four years of London living: some secret, some not so secret.

Central London

For high street heaven, the big department stores and hidden gems

London visitors swarm to the horrendously busy Oxford Street as it really is high street heaven. For me, the best are Zara, Uniqlo and Massimo Dutti. Selfridges is top of my list for Oxford Street department stores with its dizzying array of product. Its new Shoe Galleries, stocking 55,000 pairs of shoes, is like a small city - it even has its own restaurant.


400 Oxford Street.
+44 11 3369 8040.

Who shops here:Style-seekers after the vast amount of fashion on offer

Veer off full-on tourist strip of Oxford Street, and you’ll find charming streets like Marylebone High Street. Visit the pretty store By Malene Birger housing the Danish designer’s vintage-inspired pieces.

By Malene Birger
28-29 Marylebone High Street
+44 20 7486 4000.
Who shops here: yummy mummies Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer and TV and pop star’s stylists.

For the latest in contemporary jewels, peruse the quirky young designer pieces at Kabiri. The roster of cool names changes with every new fashion wave.

37 Marylebone High Street.
+44 20 7317 2150.
Who shops here: cool hunters looking for the next big thing in jewellery.

On South Molton Street, Browns, the fashion empire of style legend Mrs Burstein, is housed in a string of terraces.

24-27 South Molton Street.
+44 20 7514 0016.
Who shops here: the well-heeled fashionistas; from pop-stars (Beyonce, Cheryl Cole) to actors (Anna Friels, Rosamund Pike) and three generations of loyal customers.

Plunge into Bond Street and you’ll find the big designer names Burberry, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton. For me, the most practical shopping destination is department store, Fenwick, a refurbished oasis of chic lesser-known designer brands from Europe, such as Sofie D’Hoore, and Rue du Mail. It’s fabulous for the fashion conscious 40 plus woman, so under-catered for elsewhere.

Fenwick of Bond Street
63 New Bond Street.
+44 20 7629 9161
Who shops here: writer Maggie Alderson, and smart Englishwomen seeking modern clothes without the logos.

Just off Regent Street, a must-visit is the small department store Liberty. Winner of Time Out’s best store in London 2010, it combines heritage with hipness. You’ll still find signature Liberty fabrics in wood panelled rooms, while on its updated fashion floors there’s the coolest designer clothing by London wonder boys Christopher Kane and Richard Nicoll (along with many other must-know names). Peruse the scarf room for collaborations with Ronnie Wood (of Rolling Stones), Hermes and Manolo Blahnik or sigh over the delicious jewels, such as the reworked Victorian gold charms of Annina Vogel.

Great Marlborough Street.
+44 207 734 1234.
Who shops here: everyone from the hippest fashionistas to quilt-mad grandmothers.

Find the elusive Dover Street, now the super-cool shopping street. Dover Street Market, owned by Comme des Garcons and housed a cool warehouse, has a superb mix of the world’s most coveted labels like Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent and Celine. Recently I found myself shopping next to one of the world’s most beautiful women, Queen Rania of Jordan.

Dover Street Market
17-18 Dover Street.
+44 20 7518 0608.
Who shops here:Middle-Eastern Queens and supermodels looking for anything from a pair of plimsolls (by Lanvin, of course) to a major diamond ring.

Down the road, you’ll find the very cool Acne, the Swedish brand for the seriously hip, who love its cult jeans and fashion forward frocks.

Acne Studios
13 Dover Street.
+44 20 7629 9374 .
Who shops there: those in the know such as television fashion guru Mary Portas and leggy models of both sexes.

On Bruton Street where you’ll find the flagship store of Stella McCartney housed in an old townhouse. Here you’ll find her cool tailoring with a dash of rock chick, eco friendly yet cool non-leather bags and shoes.

Stella McCartney
30 Bruton Street.
+44 20 7518 3100.
Who shops here: Stella’s posse of movie star friends - Gywneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler and Kate Hudson,.

For a treat, go to Mount Street in the poshest part of Mayfair. The quintessential old world London street is fast being filled with chic boutiques such as every style queen’s most loved label Lanvin, full of Parisian charm and expensive raw edged luxe.

Lanvin Boutique
128 Mount Street.
+44 20 7491 1839.
Who shops here: women in love with Lanvin’s deconstructed elegance such as model Yasmin le Bon, and actor Kristin Scott Thomas

Just opposite is the huntin’ shootin’ fishin’ Englishness of William and Son. Just perfect for a lizard skin handbag for a dowager duchess, the wedding list silver for a society bride or having your shotgun custom made.

William and Son
10 + 14 Mount Street.
+44 20 7493 8385.
Who shops here: old money, English aristocracy and those aspiring to the aforementioned.

Knightsbridge/Sloane Street

For the super-rich, and the ‘just looking’

This is the home of the world’s most famous department store, Harrods; the Ab Fab fave Harvey Nichols; and Sloane Street’s line-up of big international brands: Prada, Gucci, and so on.

Take a detour to Elizabeth Street in Belgravia, and feast your eyes on dazzling costume jewels creations of Erickson Beamon, whose bright brooches are a staple of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Erickson Beamon
38 Elizabeth Street.
+44 20 7259 0202.
Who shops here: pop stars such as Rihanna and Roisin Murphy, starlets like Emma Watson.

For beautiful new classic dresses in jewel silks, visit Emilia Wickstead who makes her designs to order.

Emilia Wickstead Atelier
28 Cadogan Place.
+44 20 7235 1104.
Who shops here: favoured by British Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron, high society brides and corporate high fliers.

Close by is the beautiful old world store of British handbag queen, Anya Hindmarch Bespoke where you can have beautiful classic bags, and leather goods, made to order. Have your name and personal message embossed in your choice of leathers, for your own English heirloom.

Anya Hindmarch Bespoke
15-17 Pont Street.
+44 20 7838 9177.
Who shops here: well heeled establishment types searching for a special gift to celebrate a wedding, birthday or anniversary.

Near the V& A Museum, find Few and Far, owned by Priscilla Carluccio (Terence Conran’s sister), who mixes artisanal home wares with ethnic kaftans, handcrafted clothing and accessories.

Few and Far
242 Brompton Road.
+44 20 7225 7070.
Who shops here: London hotelier Kit Kemp (of Covent Garden and Soho Hotels), and artistic aesthetes.

Notting Hill

For ‘It’ girls, well-heeled internationals, fashionistas and market eccentrics

Notting Hill’s Westbourne Grove and Ledbury Road area is my favourite London shopping haven for fashion and food. And it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the craziness of Portobello Market.

The best Joseph store is here, full of designer clothes, shoes and bags by Givenchy, Balmain et al plus their own smart house label.

236 Westbourne Grove.
+44 20 7243 9920.
Who shops here: Kate Moss, movie stars, stylists and the local fashion fanatics

Go to Ledbury Road for a street full of secret shopping haunts. Browse Wolf and Badger, which offers cool young designers a chance to show their clothes and accessories at minimal cost.

Wolf and Badger
46 Ledbury Road.
+44 20 7229 5698.
Who shops here: stylists on the hunt for up-and-coming British designers, rapper Eve, and Sadie Frost.

For the contemporary fine jewellery with pizzazz, visit the stylish Fiona Knapp in her sleek black jewel box of a store.

Fiona Knapp
178a Westbourne Grove.
+44 20 7313 5941.
Who shops here: pop stars Robbie Williams, Ben Harper and wife Laura Dern and superglam Notting Hill set.

For designer heaven with stunning Alexander McQueen and Erdem creations and lots more, go to Matches.

60-64 Ledbury Road.
+44 20 7221 0255.
Who shops here: mega-fashionistas such as Victoria and David Beckham, Sienna Miller and international bankers

Tucked away in Colville Mews you’ll find the beautiful organic jewels of Pippa Small.

Pippa Small
11 Colville Mews.
+44 20 7792 1292.
Who shops here: soulful Buddhists, magazine editors, and the fashionable arty crowd.

On Westbourne Grove you’ll find the London ‘it’ girls favourite Twenty 8Twelve, designed by Savannah Miller and her movie star sister Sienna.

172 Westbourne Grove.
+44 20 7221 9287.
Who shops here: cute young London girls with stars in their eyes.

On Saturdays, do go to Portobello Road Market. Yes, it’s insanely packed with tourists but it’s still the most incredible treasure trove of fabulous vintage and antique finds. For fine jewels go to Central Gallery or for vintage delights peruse the stalls in Admiral Vernon and Red Lion.

Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road.
+44 20 7229 8354.
Who shops here: famous designers looking for inspiration, world travellers, and movie stars.

At Portobello’s end, you’ll discover down-at-heel but fast upgrading Golborne Road. Look for Rellik, the vintage store, under the iconic and ugly Trellick Towers. Not the usual tat, here’s the place to buy collectible designer labels such as Ossie Clark, Vivienne Westwood and Alaia.

8 Golborne Road.
+44 20 8962 0089.
Who shops here: Kylie Minogue and Kate Moss love it as do stylist Katie Grand and designer John Galliano.


For hipsters and vintage hunters

Venture down to the East End around Shoreditch where you’ll find the famed Brick Lane, a go-to location for vintage seekers.

Go to the Start fashion boutiques, where self-styled ‘twitter laureate’ Brix Smith-Start can match any derriere with the right pair of jeans.

42-44 Rivington Street (menswear at 40 and 59).
+44 27729 3334.
Who shops here: pop princesses, rock stars and the East End cool set of both sexes

Jane de Teliga offers special London shopping services.

Find airfares to London and check out our destination guide for more popular things to do.

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