3. Covent gardens and Soho including china town.
There is always alot to see in this part of London city centre. And you really do need a sense of adventure as most of the great places are tucked away behind the main streets. Many mid size chain stores appear in the covent gardens area due to the touristy nature of the place, however if you walk away from the tube and walk down into neals yard you begin to discover some great little shops.
Two-see is always a winner in VM with their eclectic mix of designers (preen, burfitt to name a couple) Last time i went in they had all these horrid looking stuffed birds and glass domes covering their jewellery, needless to say i was pretty impressed:) This time, the avant garde fashion was matched to the interior. Large cartoon cats that appeared on the clothing also appeared in the window and in response to the sculptural and belted mens looks, they had taped up most of their mirrors with electrical tape.. it made you wonder if the mirror had shattered or it was just a frantic flight of fancy by the shop folk:) very fun..
Two doors down we find Coco la Mer, where this last visit, i was greeted by rope bound mannequins hung from the ceiling.. Inside, the old gold full-frontal mannequin was noticeably missing, but the rest of the boudoir was as lavish as ever. Chantal Thomas lingerie was hung sparingly on racks with the new range of bondage style leather accessories, books about fetish culture and art sit alongside sleepwear and feather ticklers..just gorgeous.
Not surprisingly the high street stores again failed to charm in this area, and overall I found the covent garden vibe a little commercial. Nice to see Paul smiths floral st windows filled with horseshoes to play up the opening of the new shoe store. They always do have a slightly left of field view of the world:)
Soho was packed with grungy little street stores, but that is the charm. I loved Cosh gallery with their street art and Japanese art prints.I really liked the layout of the tiny gallery, as there is not that many prints, but each one is beautifully considered and given room to shine. The knee high black 'c o s h' letters, that can be moved around the space, add a sculptural element to otherwise a wall art based gallery. The folk in here were really lovely and the art was quality contemporary work:)
China town was a wash of cheap wears and flashing lights but it gave me a sense of being back home in Sydney (in that there were plenty of nasty cheap things to be found, in the various warehouse style shops, to use en-mass in some fun window display.)
My favourite place here is not a shop but the lady making the fresh dumplings in the window of her dumpling shop. Its such a methodical and meditative thing and its lovely to watch.. even nicer to go inside and get some steamed for a cheap lunch.
Again, apologies for the superficiality of the sum-up of this area, but its such a diverse region and I'm sure you could go on for ages!
Have a great weekend,
See you monday!
thanks to the anonymous commenter! much appreciated!