Brian Wolk and Claude Morais of Wolk Morais write in with their cheat sheet to London’s food and fashion scene. In town for LFW? Below is the duo’s whistle-stop itinerary of one of their favorite cities.
Oscar Wilde said, “Fashion, by which what is really fantastic becomes for a moment the universal” and there is no city whose sirens of style are heard louder than London during Fashion Week. If London is the cradle of Western Civilization, Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design is its incubator. A pantheon of formidable creators of mode have emerged from its famed halls — including Sarah Burton, Hussein Chalayan, John Galliano, Stephen Jones, Stella McCartney, and Gareth Pugh.
London Town is a garden of earthly delights filled with inspirational shopping, theatrical fantasies, culinary delights and Elysian pleasures. In preparation for LFW, we have sifted through all of the English finery for you into this palatable list of must-see’s and experiences whilst you’re in town.
Minding the gap between New York and London has never been a more flawless experience. Delta Air Lines‘ nonstop flights between JFK and Heathrow make this epic journey as tailored and luxurious as a bespoke suit from Saville Row.
Our fashion pilgrimage began the moment we slipped out of our car, whisked through Delta One’s priority check in, and made our grand entrance at the beautifully appointed Delta Sky Club. The commanding Sky Deck afforded us front row seats to a glorious sunset while we sipped gin and tonics with our fellow travelers.
After settling into our Delta One Suite we adjusted our ambient lighting to a fine dining glow and enjoyed a delightful feast, including delicious vegetarian four-cheese caramelle pasta served on custom-designed Alessi dinnerware. Our culinary adventure was accompanied by wine pairings curated by in-house sommelier Andrea Robinson. Following our lovely dinner, we slid our cabin doors closed, illuminated our ‘Do Not Disturb Signs’ — and caught up on some of our favorite programming displayed on a compelling 18″ monitor with LSTN headphones. Before we knew it we drifted off to sleep in our 180-degree flatbed seats, swaddled by our Westin Heavenly Duvets in total seclusion. There is nothing we look forward to more than disconnecting on a trans-Atlantic flight. Before we knew it, our journey had ended.
Where to Stay
Located in newly fashionable neighborhood of Kings Cross, directly across St Pancras Station, The Standard London’s playful decor is in stark contrast to the building’s brutalist architecture. Occupying the former Camden Town Hall Annexe, Shawn Hausman Design managed to create one of the most dynamic hotels in the city that artfully pays homage to the neighborhood’s seedy past in a way only The Standard brand could pull off.
The lobby is filled with London hipsters, 70s library consoles, and technicolor Soviet-esque inspired murals, creating a post-modern study hall that is a de rigueur experience for the dedicated follower of fashion. The Junior Suite is the perfect pied-á -terre for London Fashion Week. With an ample indoor entertaining area and an outdoor terrace replete with panoramic views of London (and an al fresco bathtub!) work and pleasure can go hand in hand. Whilst at the hotel, make sure to have a cocktail at Double Standard, where the mosaic tile work is as stirring as the exquisitely shaken Martini.
Part restaurant, part live music venue, part cultural institution; this #NotSoPolished membership club for creative and thinkers founded by Notting Hill-based artist Taz Fustok has quickly become the melting pot for A list bohemians. Designed by Bella Freud and frequented by Kate Moss, David Beckham, Idris Elba, Rita Ora, and a host of others, Lay Low will surely be the center for London Fashion Week’s glitterati.
Madera at The Treehouse London
This striking new restaurant offering haute organic Mexican cuisine does not only have commanding views of London, but the most commanding crowd. The little sister of L.A.’s Toca Madera is sure to bring a bit of Hollywood glitz to London Fashion Week.
This Charming Portobello neighborhood restaurant and late night bar — situated in a story building with indoor and outdoor dining options — focuses on seasonal plates and artistic eclecticism. Think shared plates of locally resourced vegetables cooked over open fires. Inventive, humble, and delicious!
Electric Cinema & Electric Diner
Since 1910, this divinely gorgeous movie house has been the center of London’s entertainment industry. In the 1960s, it was the host of the avant-garde cinema movement, and these days the folks at Soho House have brought it back to its Edwardian Baroque grandeur serving cocktails and fine fair. If you’re peckish before or after your screening, head next door to the Electric Diner for their Anglo take on American cuisine.
For the best Sunday roast in London, look no further than Smokes House. The tender beef and roasted vegetables are not only Keto-friendly, but also a London tradition.
The TowPath Cafe
This cult, canal-side London cafe is the perfect spot for winter dining al fresco. Watch the hipsters come and go, talking about Michelangelo on Regents Canal.
Parks & Recreation
A cornucopia of peacocks, Japanese gardens, and fountains will delight the senses in London’s most exclusive neighborhood park. It’s in the backyard of Patsy and Edina’s Ab Fab townhouse — in addition to Mario Testino, David Beckham, Valentino, and our very own Elizabeth Saltzman’s homes — a promenade through this playground of London’s finest is a must during Fashion Week.
André Balazs’ luxury hotel and restaurant is still burning hot amongst the fashion folk. Kudos to those who can score an invite to the Laddershed Club. If not, most cool kids could be found in the basement on the smoking porch.
The Globe Notting Hill
Established in 1960, this Jamaican-inspired neighborhood dive bar and dance institution pumps old school disco to the wee hours of the morning. No need for fancy dress, and perfect for large groups.
The Scotch of St James
Since 1965 this institution has been the center of the London rock ‘n’ roll scene. The list of patrons and performers includes everyone from The Rolling Stones to Cher. These days the fashion folk have claimed the venue as their club célèbre and on any given night you can find the likes of Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Harry Styles, and Keira Knightly.
Victoria & Albert
With its diverse repertoire of exhibitions ranging from ancient to modern, The V&A is a one-stop history lesson in English arts and culture. Fashion Week is the perfect time to check out their incredible jewelry collection — and will be your last chance to catch the Mary Quant exhibition.
Crossing the River Thames on the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern a rite of passage. This colossal museum is a wonder of the world! In addition to its mesmerizing permanent modern art collection, the concurrent exhibitions of Dora Maar and Dóra Maurer (who names sound the same but whose work couldn’t be more different) is truly a once in a lifetime happening.
Part retail space, part gallery, and part immersive cultural center, Browns East has successfully tapped into the zeitgeist of a new generation of retail. Their highly-curated, gender fluid shopping experience crosses the boundaries of fashion, art, furniture, and fragrance.
In the shadows of Trelick Tower on Goldborne Road, just a hop skip and a jump from Portobello Market, is Rellik; the vintage store that dreams are made of. The selection is second to none, with an edited selection ranging from 1930s bias-cut gowns to the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Commes De Garçon, and Pierre Cardin.