Discovering London’s Seven Dials
A myriad of streets lined with select restaurants, stylish boutiques, pop ups and swanky coffee shops, Seven Dials, enclosed between Shaftsbury Avenue and Covent Garden is a maze away from the masses of Piccadilly and Soho. Absent are the stores replicating every other high street across the country; Seven Dials is classy, cute and a magnet for brands internationally. Cote Azur / minimalist chic, Club Monaco perches near to Fresh on Mormouth Street – a new cosmetic brand that has recently opened up in the area. The pretty, feminine store, scattered with candy floss pink roses describes itself as ‘a beauty brand seeking to provide a sensorial experience that is as indulgent as it is effective.’ Booked in for their lip ritual (a non invasive procedure) we skipped through the stages in hope of the softest lips, although one stage admittedly just felt like rubbing in expensive sugar. Beautifully wrapped soaps, so pretty that they could be found under a Christmas tree, lined the back of the store and their range of signature perfumes stood proudly in the corner. The sensory experience continued with samples of rose flavoured marshmallows with rose lemonade, a friendly and appealing brand and with a considerably high price tag.
A few doors down is the French brand Caudale. A charismatic and appropriately French gentlemen led us through the history of the brand with something of more depth and interest gained than I had initially thought; despite my guest already being a fan. The concept of this no fuss cosmetics brand routes from a particular vineyard in Boudeaux. Discovering highly concentrated and skin friendly ingredients from within the grapevines, they set about producing grapes and vines for a unique and totally new range of cosmetics extracted from the sap of the stems and the grape seeds. The fairy-tale story led me onto a personalised skin consultation, listing products that would be best suited. I left with their foaming face wash – something of much more sophistication that sat in my bathroom last week.
Concealed between Seven Dials two main streets, the famous Neals Yard plays hide and seek and is arguably a hard one to find for those who don’t know it. Bounding with life amongst the brightly coloured buildings, Salad Pride is one of the newest non-carb, healthy breakfast and lunch spots to hold membership of this exclusive residence. Run by David Bez, the man who ‘sexed up salads’ Salad Pride started as a blog with an aim to demonstrate that salads can be creative and balanced, whilst remaining healthy and tasty. His blog has also recently translated itself into a salad inspiration hardback: Salad Love. With an aim to inspire people to assemble working lunch salads, sat outside and waiting for our order I found myself encapsulated with these salads and scrolling through leafy concepts I could see why this one man salad band has become the success he is today.
At Miller Harris perfumes, Stacey enthusiastically sprizted her way through the collection displayed within the boutique retail outlet. Unlike you would expect with many fragrance brands, she explained to us that Miller Harris doesn’t have the old family heritage but instead is a young, female orientated brand. Their Seven Dials store is described as the quirky boutique out of the small collection they have across the city – representing a mirror image of the area itself. English founder Lyn Harris trained in Paris before setting up the brand back in 2000, she has moved on since but the innovative fragrance approach still remains and their audience continues to build, another popular brand representing Seven Dials.
Originally laid out and constructed to be a handful of streets attracting affluent residents, previously Seven Dials has struggled to maintain such opulence. In the last handful of years the area has particularly blossomed and built a genuine identity for itself. With its spider legs linking off many parts of surrounding central London areas, there is no surprise why Londoners in particular have embraced these once modest streets. Trendy shops and restaurants intentionally do not attract the masses and allow for a bubble of solitude away from the circulating madness; attracting lesser known and individual brands to its historic web of cobbles.
Address: Seven Dials, London WC2H 9HD