Chainstore-itis might be the scourge of London’s famed shopping precincts, but venture beyond the High Street and you’ll soon see independent retail is indeed alive and kickin’ in the capital. Here are three top shops, all beloved by the uber fash set (and us) for their flair, air and devil may care ‘tude. Take it away…
Channelling more chic artist’s loft than store, everything in Alex Eagle’s inviting Soho retailvana is for sale. Alongside Alex’s own line (in collab with best-in-world artists, designers and craftspeople) is a finely edited stash of upscale glad-rags and beauty booty, vintage vinyl, homeware, art and fashion photography by the likes of David’s Sims and Bailey.
Flex Aunty Amex on a Courrèges biker jacket, boho tasseled frocks by Vita Kin, stagger jewels by Fernando Jorge, or even a Picasso ceramic or two. There’s a studio and showroom, which double up as event spaces should the party be calling. Or simply drop by and hang out out… your wallet might not thank you, but your wardrobe sure will. 6-10 Lexington St, W1. +44 20 7589 0588. alexeagle.co.uk
Repping the titans of the avant garde, this immaculate temple à la mode shelves a rotating collection of bold men and women’s garb displayed alongside specially commissioned artwork. The envelope pushers are all here – CdG, Yohji, Raf n’ Rick – but it’s the offbeat (and often one-off) pieces by lesser-known labels like Amy Revier or Atelier Bâba that have us bowled Helmut-over-hightops. Stellar fash-mag endorsement and starry-but-styley clientele underscore this East Londoner’s street cred. 28 Old Nichol St, E2. +44 20 7729 4098. hostem.co.uk
For nigh on eight years, Sophie Merchant has been the designer and stylist go-to for delicate, rare vintage. And at her sleek boutique in Notting Hill you too can mix n’ match your finds with her glossy, Balenciaga-inflected house label of structured separates infused with deep colour. Eagle-eyed Sophie sources from a network of trusted vintage dealers, selecting every piece herself, while living the look by mixing pre-loved pieces with the new – simply follow her cue. 19 Kensington Park Rd, W11. +44 20 7229 9006. facebook.com/merchantarchive
For more of London’s top shops nab a copy of the LUXE London guide…