Words by Genevieve Madeira
Since moving out of London to the country a few years ago, visiting always seems to be somewhat of a whirlwind, but it never fails to draw me back, whether for work or fun. In truth, I adore this ever-changing city, and love nothing more than roaming its historical streets while moving around my daily business, taking in the culture, architecture, the people, and the wonderful independent shops and restaurants. Here is how I did it in style, in just 24 hours.
So, I was lucky enough to receive an invite to a London Fashion Week show, which was just the excuse I needed to pop into London. It was great to get a first-hand look at emerging trends and talent at On|Off Presents, which is a platform for discovering the next big thing in fashion. Lee Lapthorne and his 20-year-old business, On|Off, has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest talents in the business, including the likes of Peter Pilotto, Gareth Pugh and J.W Anderson.
The Autumn/Winter 2020 collections, featuring talent, including the wonderful House Of Sheldon Hall and 404 Studio, among others and certainly gave us a great insight to knitwear and eveningwear trends for the season ahead.
The fashion week weekender is a public event, which follows immediately after fashion week. If you might also be keen to use fashion week as an excuse for a visit then look into this. And remember to travel slowly!
I had a reservation at nearby Spring, a stone’s throw away from the Fashion Week venue and an exquisite gem hidden within the glorious surround of Somerset House, on the strand. It has been open for some time and I have been meaning to visit since celebrated Australian Michelin star chef Skye Gyngell took over.
The restaurant itself is elegant and light, some might say slightly cold, but this is soon overturned by clattering of cutlery and chitchat among friends at neighbouring tables.
Skye’s kitchen is distinctively seasonal, with dishes being cleverly created by what she sees growing and blossoming around her – her menu is extremely easy on the eye.
Do not miss
Grilled lamb with charred aubergine, chickpeas, salsa rossa and crème fraîche.
I have to say, I was very excited to be trying By Rotation out for the very first time during this visit. By Rotation is a new concept, which allows users to rent clothes for a required period of time. I had pre-ordered a look from Ganni for the evening, which my hotel informed me, had arrived, and was awaiting me in my room.
In the meantime, I made my way to good old favourite, Dover Street market, the mecca to literally everything that is ‘working’ in fashion right now.
My final stop was a blow dry at the Glasshouse Salon, Broadway Market. This salon takes sustainability seriously, using local brands where possible to reduce carbon footprint and their colour formulas are also ammonia and resorcinol free.
Never underestimate London vintage shopping. Always take to Crisis and Oxfam stores in well-heeled neighbourhoods, including Notting Hill, Mayfair and Islington.
Paradise, Soho is a newbie restaurant on the block. A cosy, contemporary Sri Lankan restaurant, serving up delicious street style food and drinks with dishes so deftly spiced you can taste each and every component. I enjoyed drinks and dinner with a couple of friends and we all felt Paradise provided the perfect warm up for the night ahead. Great food, great ambience and design perfection.
Another lovely invite, this time an after-show party in celebration of ground-breaking, sustainable fashion brand, ToBeFrank’s collaboration with Amy Molyneaux of UK based, Womenswear label PPQ. ToBeFrank x Molyneaux draws on a shared ethos and framework of making clothing that aligns with innovation, responsibility and transparency. That aside, what fun was had, much dancing and much laughter at the basement bar of The Conduit.
After show parties aside, this joint is fun and the perfect little spot for a nightcap or two. It has a roof terrace, with far reaching views across London and is buzzing and brimming with interesting, creative types.
The Andaz, London, is a five-star hotel located at Liverpool Street, recently opened by the Hyatt Group. Formally the Great Eastern, it lends itself mostly to business types escaping for both work and downtime. The décor is modern, if not a little fancy and there are several bars and restaurants to choose from at the hotel and also nearby. Rooms are spacious, beds are comfortable, and most notably there is zero noise, so sleep is entirely uninterrupted, which is surely unheard of in a London hotel!