Sunday, 21 October 2012

Central London W1 - What to Wear When You're There

Photographers at London Fashion Week
Me at London Fashion Week
Where? London
Exactly? Central, W1, Zone 1
When? October 2012
Why? London Fashion Week and it's the city I live in!
How? As Central London is such a huge section i've split it into five parts, What to Wear When You're There & Street Style below, Eating,  Shopping,  After Dark and The Map.  Enjoy London!

What to Wear When You're There...
When it comes to London, the fashion rules are, there are no rules. London is one of the most creative, free spirited capitals in the world, pretty much anything goes. Mix and match you're clashing colours, prints and wear what you want. I live and work in London and this is one of the reasons I love it here. It was hard work picking streetstyle shots in my own home town, so I thought I'd cheat a little and take pictures of some of my fashion editor and blogger friends during London Fashion Week. 

Fashion guru Yasmin Sewell mixes prints with block colours

Andy from Style Scrapbook takes on graphic prints
Natalie Hartley wears double denim
Love these Tata Naka shoes as seen on Donna from Elle
Susie Bubble looks cute in mashed up prints
Wear white with silver - the new purity trend
Jewellery designer Daniella Dezco in neons at Browns
Alfie and Marcus ( are the perfect English gentlemen

Fashion bloggers - Stella on right (StellasWardrobe) and Friend
Naomi (Vogue) in comic book chic
Photographer Alistair in a cornflower blue blazer
Robyn (InStyle) wears a printed trench
Kristin (TheClothesWhisperer) wears sequinned trousers
Stylist Natasha in pink and polka dots
 Anna Dello Russo rocks sequins at 10am in London! See, anything goes!

Central London W1 - Eating and Restaurants

The deceptive entrance to Soho's restaurant of the moment, La Bodega Negra
Central London - Where to Eat - Day
There are literally thousands of places to eat and drink in central London. It was a very tricky task dwindling the choice down to just a few restaurants. So bearing this in mind here is TheStyleTraveller's choice of the best London fashion hotspots to eat and drink.

Breakfast and Brunch
The Riding House Cafe, located helpfully on Riding House Street (just a few blocks behind the Topshop Flagship) is the fashionistas breakfast hang-out du jour. Enjoy smoothies in retro milk bottles and avocado on toast with fresh chilli, in the diner/school dinner hall interior.

The Wolseley is the refined fashionistas choice for an early morning tete a tete. Full to the decadent chandelier covered rafters, with fashion editors and LA celebs who are staying next door at the Ritz, the atmosphere is always buzzing. I recommend the sweet pancakes with fruit and maple syrup. The Delauney, just off the Strand is the newer sister restaurant to The Wolseley. The interior is reminiscent of a 1930's first-class-train-carriage, dining here makes you feel like you're part of an iconic Hollywood movie set. The Delauney is great for breakfast but also try the schnitzel at lunch.

American style luxury diner on Mayfair's trendy Dover Street. Tuck into a huge New York sized portions. You have to try the poached eggs and home fries, with a touch of paprika to give your morning a kick start!
Apple tea anyone?
Lunch on a budget  
In the heart of media land, surrounded by TV, magazine and publishing houses, Comptoir Libanais has just opened its latest restaurant in Soho. It's the fashion girls choice (Other than Leon and Itsu of course!) for a quick cheap lunch. Its location just off Carnaby Street is perfect for style traveller tourists checking out the area too.

Refurbished last year to reinstate its original pre war decor, Lina Stores is the quintessential Soho Italian deli. They've just opened a second cafe in The Photographer's Gallery. You must try the pumpkin ravioli! And one for the international followers of my blog, you cant leave London without the obligatory coffee at the iconic Bar Italia. It's a great place for a post partying panini and expresso, as you watch the Soho party scene unfold around you.

Disco balls and seafood at Randall & Aubin
Champagne and Oysters
I'm a huge champagne and oyster fan and Randall & Aubin is the first place I went to in Soho when I moved to London. It still serves up delicious fresh seafood accompanied by a thumping house music playlist and a mirror ball on the ceiling! 

Where to Eat - Evening

Cardboard art installations at La Bodega Negra

La Bodega Negra is London's A-list restaurant of the moment! Fiery traditional Mexican dishes given a fresh healthy spin. Try the melt-in-your-mouth tuna ceviche, accompanied by the best frozen margaritas in town. Be warned though, it's London's hot ticket right now, so you may have to call in some favours to get a table (or just book well in advance!)... Oh and you have to find it too. Here's a tip...if it looks like you're walking into a restaurant, you're in the wrong place!

Nobu Berkeley
An oldie but a goodie. Mayfairs celeb friendly Nobu Berkeley is my favourite restaurant in town. There's more atmosphere at the Berkeley Street restaurant, than at its minimal sister restaurant at the Metropolitan Hotel, but the black cod in miso (obvious, I know!!), shrimp tempura and lychee martinis at both, are to die for!

Hotdogs and champagne anyone?
Eight pages of champagne and alcohol on the menu verses one page of hotdogs. Bubbledogs is a quirky new addition to the Charlotte Street area. As is the trend with many of London's 'cool' new restaurants, you can't book. The atmosphere is perfect for a pre-partying dinner. Not great for vegetarians I'm afraid, but spot on for meat-eating hot-dog lovers! And most of all, it's quick, cheap and fun, so after dinner you can sample some of the bars and pubs Fitzrovia has to offer.

With a new restaurant planned in Clerkenwell later this year, B&L Dean Street is the latest venture from the ever expanding Burger & Lobster franchise. Again there's a no table booking policy, but it's in the heart of Soho and right opposite Dean Street Town House so need to worry if it's packed. As the name suggests the menu is a choice of the most ludicrously tasty Lobster in brioche or a succulent beef burger, both served with salad and fries. Both choices are £20 and utterly delicious!

And if none of the restaurants above tickle your taste buds, (gosh you're hard to please!!) some other firm fashion favourites you might want to look into are:

More Fashion, Fun and frivolous - Spuntino, Momo's, Bob Bob Ricards, Roka, Yauatcha.

Old School and Grown Up - The Ivy, J Sheekey, Scott'sLe Petit Maison.

Areas filled with restaurants - Market Place, St Christopher's Place and Heddon Street. Chain-y but you wont blow the budget!

Central London W1 - Shopping

Dover Street Market
London Shopping
Renowned as one of the world's fashion capitals, London boasts a plethora of shopping experiences. The choice is endless from high street to high end, vintage boutiques, street markets, flagship luxury department stores to obscure pop up shops. There are just too many options to write about each one so, if you are only in London for a long weekend this is my choice of whats hot and where to shop......

The Main Areas

Topshop Flagship store on Oxford Circus
The High Street
Lined with international shops and department stores, Oxford Street and Regent Street are the two main high street shopping streets in central London. For my foreign (and non-London) readers this is also where you'll find the flagship Topshop, H&M and Zara stores. The original Selfridges & Co department store is here too, nearest to Bond Street tube station. Other central London high street shopping destinations include Covent Garden (great for shoes, urban wear and holistic stores), Westfield Shopping Centre, Marylebone High Street, High Street Kensington and Kings Road.

The High End

If you're more into your Gucci than your Gap and know your Marni from your M&S, you need to head to Bond Street and Sloane Street. The two luxury shopping areas are filled with international designer names - Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, the list goes on. Other more niche designer destinations have sprung up in recent years, namely Mount Street and Dover Street, where the well versed fashion hunter will find designers such as Balenciaga, Acne and McQ. 

Marylebone High Street

Head to Savile Row for a quintessentially British tailoring experience

The brain child of Rei Kawakubo aka Comme de Garcon, Dover Street Market is a concept store where creators and innovators from different fields can exhibit and sell their creations. Housing art installations along side vintage finds, rare jewellery pieces with cooking utensils and taxidermy next to cakes! it's a concept store and then some. Oh and did I mention theres a Celine concession in there?

Shop and view art installations at Dover Street Market
Wolf & Badger on Dover St
Dover Street has been welcoming many new comers of late, such as McQ, Wolf & Badger, Vanessa Bruno, APC and Acne who have all taken up premises on the Mayfair street.

Three floors of heaven on Dover Street!
South Molton Street - Browns
The jewel of South Molton Street is Browns and Browns Focus. Established in 1970 by fashion doyenne Joan Burstein, affectionately known in the industry as Mrs B, Browns and Browns Focus have been championing young designer talent for over 40 years. She is famed for bringing much loved brands such as Comme de Garcon, Armani and Donna Karen to London. Browns Focus which opened in 1997 is a hotbed for emerging fashion talent in the UK.

Mount Street
Another niche Mayfair shopping destination which has been expanding in the last couple of years is Mount Street. The location of Londons first Marc Jacobs store, the upscale area now also houses Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and The Connaught Hotel (which is where editor of US Vogue, Anna Wintour stays when she's in London for fashion week!) If you're feeling flash with the cash have breakfast at The Connought and lunch at Scott's!

Soho and Carnaby

You've all heard of Carnaby Street for it's swinging sixties credentials, today filled with tourists, it houses mainly high street and mid range labels, including Office, Monki, Kooples, and Pretty Green (Lian Gallagher's modish clothing label). The independent boutique 'B Store' on Kingly Street, just by Liberty is worth a look if you're in the area.

'Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper' Oscar Wilde once said of Arthur Liberty's famous department store established in 1875. Its magnificent tudor frontage is instantly recognisable and the magical displays inside bring together art, english eccentricity and commerce. Liberty has always been one of my favourite stores in the London.

For the quirky shopper, Kingly Court is filled with tiny boutique labels, tea shops, holistic stores and of course a rockabilly hairdressers! The smallers streets leading off Carnaby Street and Foubert's Place are filled with smaller boutique and independent brands.

Fairy lights at Kingly Court 
And finally.... The Markets
Not Officially in W1, but they are central, shopping tourists should try and visit at least one of the famous Markets in London. 

Portobello Market
As seen in the film Notting Hill. Open all week, Friday and Saturday are the fashion market days. 8am - 6.30pm. Friday is always quieter and better for bargain hunting. Best for? Vintage clothes, accessories, antiques and old jazz vinyls (if you have a record player). It's a London treasure, a must for tourists!

Camden Market

Not specifically one market, there are a few in the area. Have brunch in nearby Primrose Hill, then head to camden for a browse around the markets, maybe a pint at the Hawley Arms (which used to be Amy Winehouse's hang out) or the Lock Tavern, is a chilled way to end your long weekend of shopping in London.

East London 
If you're a Londoner and have these places on your fashion radar already, or if you're interested in the up and coming side of London... why not check out my guide to Shoreditch, East London
Celine concession at Dover Street Market

Central London W1 - After Dark & Sleeping

If you can't find the door you're not coming in! ECC - The Experimental Cocktail Club

Central London W1 - Where to Party - Bars and Clubs
There are thousands of bars and clubs in central London, to get full listings check out Time Out London. But as you may not have time, here is an edit of my favourite London party places aimed at a StyleTraveller! My choices range from dive blues bars to upmarket cocktail bars, but the key factors are that they all have a cool crowd, great atmosphere, aren't too pretentious (normally!) and most of all they are FUN!!! oh and dress code? It's London, there isn't one!
Where Londoners hang out (if we're 'staying central') -
Kingly Street - Near Oxford Circus. Best hang outs? 2 Floors, The Blues Bar and Aqua.
Charlotte Street - Bourne and Hollingworth. The whole road is full of trendy bars & old man pubs.
Market Place - Near Oxford Circus. Favourite hang outs? Market Bar and The Social
Heddon Street - Off Regent Street. Best hang out? Kemia Bar at Momo's.
Soho - Old Compton St and the streets which run perpendicular to it - Dean, Greek, Wardour and Frith - are filled with hundreds of bars. If the choice is too overwhelming, head to Cafe Boheme (below members club Soho House), they're the best for people watching. For secret London see if you can get into Trisha's (This one is for dive bar loving hipsters only - lets call it ironic chic)!

Vials at ECC
Behind a broken old door in the centre of China Town (Rupert St) lays three floors of hidden experimental cocktail making fun! There's often live music and lots of vials full of ready made cocktails, the mixologists are quite nice to look at too! The crowd is chilled out, fun, Londoners in the know. You'll love it...but you'll have to find it first!

Literally behind Oxford Circus Tube station is the swanky Aqua Bar. Housed on the fifth floor of an office building, take your pick from the Japanese (Kyoto) or Spanish (Nueva) restaurants on offer. This is definitely a summer venue recommendation, the roof top terraces boast amazing views of London. Be warned, with the expensive decor, post code and chi chi clientele comes an expensive wine and cocktail list with optional service charge...which is not so optional.

One of the roof terraces at Aqua

This tiny, sweaty dive bar on Kingly Street is London's original blues bar. There's live music every night of the week, the atmosphere is unbeatable, especially when people start dancing on the tables and it's free to get in before 9pm. Whats not to like?... well the wine isn't the best (although I've been informed that they have changed the wine list recently!) and I wont mention the toilets...Oh and don't get on the wrong side of Bonko the door man! Other than that it's one of my favourite nights out in London! Dress code? Leave your Manolo's at home, they'll get trashed!

The Charlotte Street area is wall to wall bars, pubs and restaurants, but look for a little iron railing and secret stair case and it'll lead you into a pre-war grandmothers living room, fantasy world. You may be expecting tea and cakes, but the currency here is cocktails and hard liquor! Ask for your cocktail served in a china tea cup to help you get into the mood! If you're looking for a proper British old mans pub with real ale (blah, blah, etc etc....) The Marquis of Granby across the road is as close as you'll get outside of east London.

Other bars that should get a mention 
Purl - secluded, dark and seductive drinking hole by Marlebone High Street, great cocktails but a one stop destination due to it's location.
Crazy Bear - Decadent eccentric mirrored bar downstairs from the restaurant, just off Tottenham Court Road, great first date venue.
The hotel bars - Long Bar at The Sanderson,  Light Bar at Saint Martins Lane Hotel.

The Box
Late Night and Dancing
For late drinks and dancing many of the bars listed above have a late licence. However if you're looking for a proper club with dance floor and glitter ball and enough room to throw some serious shapes try out the following:

The Box New York club The Box hits London with its mix of house nights and gruesome cabaret acts. The entertainment can be a little off the wall but music and dj's are pretty good

Also in the area - check out The Kemia Bar at Momo's and Madame JoJo's (make sure you check the listings though, JoJo's do a drag/cabaret night which is equivalent to a very painful hen party!!)

Kemia Bar at Momo's

TheStyleTraveller also recommends:
Private members bars and clubs
- Dover Street Arts Club, Soho House, Paramount club.
TheStyleTraveller does not recommend Funky Buddha, Movida, Mahiki, (unless you want to hang out with Prince Harry of course...) and as i'm not a huge fan of any of these places you can look into them yourself!

My advice is if its got to 10.30/11pm and the centre of town is proving a little commercial for your tastes, jump in a cab, head to East London and party with the cool kids in Shoreditch! See Shoreditch section

Madame JoJo's
Sleeping and Hotels
My three favourite fashion hotels in central London are:

The Sanderson
The first London hotel designed by the Phillipe Starck / Ian Schrager partnership, The Sanderson has withstood the fashion test of time and is still a firm favourite on the hip hotel scene. If you check in on a weekend night be prepared to join the party at The Long Bar.

Bedroom at The Sanderson
Rooms at Dean Street Town House
Part of the Soho House Group, the rooms at Dean Street Town House make you feel like you live in Soho! Its homely, in an incredible location for getting a real taste of London. And best of all it's not as expensive as you think.

Ok I know it's in Leicester Square but as a tourist you can't get much more central than this. And as is always expected and delivered from a W Hotel the service and styling is impeccable.

TheStyleTraveller also recommends:
St Martins Lane Hotel, Charlotte Street Hotel, Soho Hotel, The Langham.

Good night London...

Long Bar at The Sanderson