London is a hotbed of fashion. Thanks to big names such as Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, there’s always something trendy making headlines from across the pond. The markets may have gone into full swing in spring, but the summer sales get rolling in July. If you’re heading to London to shop, here are a few essential finds:
Marylebone High Street
Oxford and Regent streets are the most popular shopping spots in London, but the smaller yet just-as-shop-able Marylebone High Street is where you’ll find a lot of great London stores (at equally luxurious prices). Stop into Margaret Howell for vintage basics that are still stylish today, or Gallery 1930 for one-of-kind gift ideas dating back to the 1930s. If you’re here on the weekend, hit the Cabbages & Frocks market, set up at St. Marylebone Church on Marylebone High Street. You can snag yourself fresh produce and designer fashion, all in one fell swoop.
In Covent Garden is the hidden Monmouth Street, where vintage second-time-around boutiques are flanked by boho-chic coffee houses on one side and racy lingerie stores on the other. Peruse Pop Boutique for a wide range of clothing, shoes and accessories from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. You’ll be surprised at how much is back in style — and how little it costs. Don’t miss the collection in the basement of the store, where everything from Christian Louboutin to Halston Heritage lines the shelves. If you want something slightly more modern, stop into Poste Mistress for some shoe shopping.
Over at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Savoy, located just off King Street in the Strand section of town, boutiques, restaurants and theaters line the way for guests and Londoners. A few new and notable shops opened next to some famous staples. When asked for a few favorites and hidden gems, the butlers and head concierge told us to head to Penhaligon’s — a generations-old perfumery that dispenses scents for ladies and gents, and stocks collections of perfumes, eau de cologne, candles and gift sets — which recently debuted a new store in the nearby Market Building; Venchi, an Italian chocolatier that opened in the Market Building as well; Brora on Upper Street in Islington for cashmere; and Emma Hope on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill for top-notch footwear.
While we’re big fans of hidden gems, you can’t argue the shopping appeal of one of London’s most famed stores: Harrods. No, nothing will be on sale and, yes, it’s always busy, but you can’t beat the glitz and glamour that is Harrods shopping. New to Harrods is Urban Retreat, a spa located on the fifth floor. It’s the perfect place to rejuvenate after a day of shopping, or the ideal spot to come and hide when your credit card is starting to flame up. Secret shopping tip: If you’re at Harrods, leave from Door 6 and cross the street. At the corner of the alley (next to the coffee shop) is retail space that changes up quarterly with a new pop-up shop experience. Past pop-ups have included London’s favorite fashion warehouse, TopShop, and an all-plastic shoe store.
If harried Harrods is too much for you, head one block toward Knightsbridge and stop into Harvey Nichols. The London-born store has everything you’ll need to fulfill your shopping needs at a much less chaotic pace.
Photos Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group LLC