Christmas…what to get her?
Deborah steps out of the ‘goldfish bowl’ to offer a mini guide of Mayfair shopping.
Being based at No. 1 is a great excuse to enjoy all that makes London such a great city to live and work in. With Christmas fast approaching thoughts turn to shopping and where best to go, to find wonderful gifts…so here are a few of my personal favourites from all that Mayfair and its environs has to offer.
Gentlemen take note, gifts for the ladies first…(your turn next week).
It’s always good to have a plan and a base to start from. So why not use Gieves & Hawkes as your base? Comfy chairs, relaxed atmosphere, papers to read and good music – plus an opportunity to pick up a few bits and bobs for the men in your family from cufflinks and wallets to socks and slippers.
Now where to go? A short stroll up Regent Street takes in Anthropologie’s eclectic fashion/homes store combo; Hamley’s, still the ultimate toy store experience; Cos, for asymmetrical fashion layers and striking colours; and Liberty, which epitomises the very best of British craft and design. (We are delighted to see that Liberty has bought the hat company Christy’s and has plans for a women’s collection – I have a natty brown bowler from them).
Left off Regent Street, Conduit Street offers up Vivienne Westwood, Belstaff and Issey Miyake whilst Bruton Place has stunning heels at Rupert Sanderson and dresses at Matthew Williamson on Bruton Street. Keep heading for Berkeley Square and Jack Barclay’s showroom will distract even the most dedicated shopper for a few moments, so avert your eyes from the great big, gorgeous gleaming cars!
Stay on track and instead head along Vigo street to the very beautiful, Dickensian Burlington Arcade. The longest covered shopping street in Britain, it is packed with the finest luxury goods companies from N. Peal to Penhaligon’s and is a great place to browse as you cut through to Piccadilly. (I particularly love Penhaligon’s evocative townhouse packaging and windows – very Christmassy!) Dating from 1819, Burlington Arcade is an architectural masterpiece and pioneer in retail trends. A multi million pound restoration programme next year will see the Arcade restored to its original glory. Exciting times and we are looking forward to following the transformation.
Perhaps my favourite area, next to Savile Row of course, is around Old Bond Street or ‘The Diamond Mile’ as I have nicknamed it. This is a girl’s idea of heaven…Richard Ogden (strictly speaking in Burlington Arcade, but such lovely antique jewellery), Mappin & Webb, Asprey, Bulgari, Chopard, Graff, Boucheron, Chanel, Cartier and of course Tiffany’s…the finest jewellery to suit classic and contemporary tastes…I use the latter as an excuse to take an Audrey Hepburn moment and to hum ‘Moon River’, croissant in hand!
For the more unusual gift there’s art from the Haunch of Venison Gallery, Cork Street’s Fashion Illustration Gallery, an objet from Paul Smith on Albemarle Street or Dover Street Market.
Finally, fall contented into The Arts Club for a well-earned hot toddy…, your work is done!
And on that note, until next week, happy shopping gentlemen!