A personal stylist's guide to shopping contemporary British designers
Insider guide by Maria Viader, personal stylist and host of our Mayfair shopping experience in partnership with The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences
London’s Mayfair is one of the most famous shopping destinations on the planet - home to the world’s finest creators of luxury goods and the biggest names in couture. This guide is focused on shopping some of the city’s most iconic and celebrated home-grown designers in their own dedicated stores.
Read on for my round up of the British designer flagships not to be missed, and allow yourself to be inspired by the beautiful retail spaces and the creations housed within them.
The beautifully laid out Victoria Beckham flagship on Dover Street is, like its namesake proprietor, an icon unto itself. Designed by renowned architect Farshid Moussavi - who previously worked on London’s Olympic Park - the space echoes the structured simplicity that Beckham is celebrated for. An imposing atrium is at the centre of the three-floor building, with the designer’s handbag collection and diffusion line Victoria by Victoria Beckham on the ground floor and the runway collection displayed on the first floor. On the lower level, you will find a personal shopping suite and a rotating diary of pop-ups and collaboration showcases. Adding to the experience is the tantalising knowledge that you may run into Beckham herself, as she is frequently spotted in the store.
The UK’s only Alexander McQueen store is a warm but contemporary space featuring muted lighting and natural materials that provide a contrast to the house’s famously avant garde aesthetic. The store includes an experiential space which hosts a diary of exhibitions, talks and events aimed at inspiring fashion students and aspiring designers, showcasing the the treasury of ideas and clothes by the label’s eponymous late founder, Lee Alexander McQueen, through to the inspiration and creative processes developed and used today by his successor Sarah Burton.
The flagship store of award-winning British shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood is on Mayfair’s Mount Street, one of the city’s key destinations for London’s cutting-edge of accessories and fashion designers, with names such as Christopher Kane (more details below), Roksanda, and Jenny Packham. Kirkwood, whose atelier is above the store, is famous for his eye-catching sculptural and embellished heels, which make a timeless - but undeniably bold - statement. The store’s interior reflects the designer’s inclination towards the striking and geometric. A marble and wood chevron-patterned floor and hexagonal shelves designed by Kirkwood himself echo the brand’s key motifs and insignias, while tunes curated by DJ Benny Blanco, of the music collective, Nonsense, set the mood.
Across the street from Nicholas Kirkwood, you will find the flagship store of another icon of contemporary British fashion. Christopher Kane was founded by the label’s namesake Scottish designer and his sister Tammy. The designer is lauded by none other than Donatella Versace - who has likened Kane to her late brother, Gianni - and though it’s a relatively new name in fashion, the house has had collaborations with luxury brands ranging from Manolo Blahnik to Lancôme and Swarovski.
J & M Davidson
Founded in the 1980s in Notting Hill by husband and wife team John and Monique Davidson (a photographer and a designer respectively), J&M Davidson mixes British sensibilities with French flair. Timeless style, luxe materials and exquisite craftsmanship are the hallmarks of this London label, whose notable early fans included Princess Diana and Jerry Hall. Starting with a single design - a leather belt - J&M Davidson is now most famous for its bags and small leather goods, though there is also a ready to wear collection to explore.
Vivienne Westwood - punk icon and fashion legend who likely needs no further introduction. The designer’s flagship store on Conduit Street houses her women’s Gold Label, her menswear line, her accessories collection, and her two more affordable diffusion lines Red Label and Anglomania.