Monday, June 25, 2007

London review 1.

Hi all,
I just come back from a week in London. As always there is a lot to see, and the size of the city limits you to what you can do per day. I managed to split the central city into 4 areas for 4 days:

1. Liberty/Carnaby/Newburgh st.

2. Harvey Nichols/Harrods and Sloane Sq.
3. Covent gardens and Soho including china town.
4. Marylebone High st/ Selfridges and new bond st areas (oxford high st on the way).

Unfortunately, i got sick and didn't get to Portobello Rd or Brick Lane & Knightsbridge, all areas which i feel also should be included in any VM map of the city.

Over the next 4 days i'll go over each area and what i saw and felt there. So to begin:
1. Liberty/Carnaby/Newburgh st.

A generally great area for shopping and VM. Liberty has surrounded itself with wonderfully creative examples of street level fashion and contemporary designs. As a 29 yr old it fits me to a tee.. so much so, i felt like i had walked into a target market.... Liberty itself is a great place for viewing well presented merchandise (mainly high end fashion on the first few floors ) and alluring displays throughout. The luxury of the store is punctuated by quirky and whimsical displays, like the forearms of mannequins sticking out like coat hooks from the wall holding all sorts of wonderfully expensive bags and coats and scarves.. The window displays this time were quite subdued and product based, but here is a pic of quintessential liberty's from my last visit in Sept 06'

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Liberty is very theatrical, but imagination and wonder rests in the little stores tucked around this area... Personal favourites include Beyond the Valley, Concrete and 59. All have a great sense of merchandising, shop designs that include quirky features that elevate and interact with the stock and innovations in what a store provides in terms of merchandise and experience.

I'll focus on Beyond the Valley as the example of the stores in the area...
Here, new artists and designers have the opportunity to display short run, 'before mass- manufacture' style items, each with a sense of purpose and imbued with all the time and effort it took to make them.

The day i was at Beyond the Valley, half the store was being transformed into a new art installation. Its a great place to see the beginning what everyone else will pick up in 2 years time:) The shop itself is half gallery and half shop and the change rooms are part of a wonderful collage of old chests of drawers and bookshelves that cover the entire wall. Very cool.
It was particularly nice to see the inclusion of Kyo Hashimoto jewellery and Donna Wilson toys, both of whom were also a part of my own pop up shop Seasonal Fruits.

I'm sorry to have to be so brief, i'd be happy to discuss the area further in future posts but for now, its enough to take in:)

all the best,

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