London – home to Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Burberry – is undoubtedly one of the fashion capitals in the world.
But with so many options available, navigating the retail scene in the British capital can be a bit of a minefield, so we spoke to Isabella Charlotta Poppius, Scandinavian fashionista and cool hunter, to give us the scoop.
Also dubbed ‘lifestyle curator’, Isabella has worked at the forefront of the fashion and art scene over the last 10 years, frequenting best dressed lists, so we followed her around London, finding its best shopping spots.
ICP: This lifestyle boutique on Redchurch Street founded by Nazifa Movsoumova, is the ‘Colette’ equivalent of East London. Having worked on pop-up stores prior to opening a permanent location, Nazifa has the experience to create a welcoming ambience – there’s a cute café, the staff are very friendly and the decor blends contemporary and vintage seamlessly. What I love most is that they have such a great edit of wearable brands – jewellery by Alighieri, tees by Salt Surf and cool girl staples by Sandy Liang and Rejina Pyo. Also, their online store is perfect for building the foundations to your wardrobe.
ICP: I was sad when I heard that Browns Fashion closed its Sloane Street location, but then I learned that they opened this location instead – their first new bricks-and-mortar store in 20 years, which they call the ‘Store of the Future’ is a new augmented reality concept. Just off Redchurch Street, this is a place you would come to find pieces that no one else has – Browns often stock unique, limited edition items – perfect for street style stars in the making. The interiors I think are truly wow-worthy: there’s art on the walls that you can purchase and they even have a ‘quiet corner’ on the second floor if Gucci sequins and abstract Sies Marjan platforms have raised your blood pressure levels too high. Do not leave without grabbing a sweet treat from their downstairs café, run by Fatties Bakery.
Moda Operandi London
ICP: The moment you step into ‘Moda Mews’, you feel far removed from the outside world. The super chic location in Belgravia is an extension of their online presence and it works as a private showroom where they host events and trunk shows (to mention some examples, Sandra Mansour, Carolina Bucci and my absolute favourite, Johanna Ortiz). They also keep a really well curated selection of bags and jewellery on hand. I find that Moda is THE place to find your inner fashion editor and if you’re looking for fashion-forward occasion wear, this should be first on your list. The stunning interiors are definitely ‘Instagram goals’ and the personal shoppers make you feel at home – even stepping up to ‘gram duty.
ICP: H&M’s latest brand is the upscale Arket, which makes it the eighth (!) brand for the Swedish fashion conglomerate. The minimalist brand is basically an archive (‘arket’ meaning archive in Swedish) of perfectly edited Scandinavian staples. A lot of their items could pass for ‘The Row’, but at a fraction of the cost, with prices ranging from £89 for an ecru cable knit jumper to £250 for a classic navy wool pea coat. By now, it goes without saying that I am a fan of the in-store café concept, and Arket’s execution does not disappoint. When I feel homesick, the cinnamon buns as well as the cardamom cookies and grain bars hit the spot. Although only months old, Arket has now become a regular fixture on my shopping route as the Regent Street location is conveniently opposite another favourite of mine, ‘Liberty’.
ICP: Fellow Scandi, stylist-turned-retailer Pippa Vosper, has really impressed me with her concept store, which offers the opportunity to shop past season and also for runway samples during month-long brand residencies. In addition to sample sales, up and coming brands offer current collections by hosting week-long pop-ups at her store when they wish to dip their toes in London’s retail scene. Vosper obviously has great taste and carefully selects the brands she works with – Gül Hürgel, Adriana Degreas and German minimalist shoe brand Ayede have all been featured in the contemporary Notting Hill space. Follow the store’s Instagram account to keep track on what goes on sale when, and make sure you go in the first few days of the residency to avoid disappointment as stock is understandably limited. Also – the store’s millennial pink velvet curtains provide a great backdrop for selfies!
Dover Street Market
ICP: My list would not be complete without Dover Street Market – the holy grail of street style extraordinaires. DSM launches trends, it does not follow them and this is so clear in their avant-garde selection of designers. The best part is that they offer their Alaïa and Celine alongside streetwear brands like Bianca Chandon and Gosha Rubchinsky. This creates a wonderful mix of clients – teenage skater boys and girls, stylists and tourists all intermingling across five levels of retail bliss. Events like book signings happen throughout the year and since most of the brands have their own dedicated space – some of them will host special art installations which are definitely worth the visit. The staff members are genuinely cool and friendly and after a few visits you can already count them as BFF’s. The God of in-store cafés, Rose Bakery, is the stuff of legends – to the point that co-founder Rose Carrarini has two cookbooks published by Phaidon.