Take a stroll along Mayfair’s Mount Street and the first thing likely to strike you is the architecture. Beautiful town houses line the street, presenting a vision of classic Britishness, seemingly untouched for a century. But take a look inside these buildings, and those on the adjoining Carlos Place, and you’ll soon discover that nothing could be further from the truth. Now home to many of the most exciting flagships in London, the area has been transformed into one of the city’s top fashion destinations. Those in the know are now eschewing Bond Street and the like in favour of these unassuming Mayfair streets, where today’s British fashion stars are making a home for themselves.
Simone Rocha has won over the fashion world with her feminine yet edgy aesthetic. Her choice of Mount Street as the location for her debut store was perhaps not the most obvious, but it proved perfect for the designer. Echoing her catwalk collections, historic elements are juxtaposed with the truly new; the original features of the town house have been embraced, providing a stark contrast to the Perspex display cases, modern artworks and caged mannequins that are dotted throughout the space. Finished with generous touches of powder pink, the boutique feels truly accomplished – the perfect place to explore Rocha’s ready-to-wear collections.
Rocha is in good company on Mount Street. Just down the road is the flagship of womenswear designer Christopher Kane, the fashion crowd’s favourite. Kane collaborated on the boutique with respected architect John Pawson, whose signature minimal aesthetic provides a classic and ever-elegant backdrop for Kane’s bold and imaginative collections. Nearby is the London boutique of Nicholas Kirkwood, who is known for his sculptural heels and has twice been named Accessory Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. Kirkwood designed his store concept himself, choosing stark white fittings and cabinets to display his eye-catching shoes and handbags. Also flying the flag for British footwear, Sophia Webster began her career as Kirkwood’s design assistant and is now his newest neighbour, since the opening of her first-ever stand-alone store on the street this May.
The wealth of boutiques that truly epitomise their brands is something that really makes this area stand out. For Roksanda Ilincic, a unified concept between brand and boutique was paramount, so much so that she actually relaunched her brand – dropping her surname and expanding her offerings – on the same day she opened its doors. “I wanted to make the store a place to have the full Roksanda experience,” she explains. “Nine Mount Street has given me the freedom to experiment and introduce new categories to my brand.” Ilincic’s expanded offerings – which include everything from ready-to-wear to accessories, jewellery to leather goods – truly come to life in her boutique, which features the striking colours, bold shapes and mix of structure and softness for which she has become famous.
Strikingly different yet equally beautiful is jewellery designer Jessica McCormack’s boutique, just around the corner on Carlos Place. A diamond specialist, McCormack’s approach to jewellery design is anything but traditional, and it comes as no surprise that the same is true of her boutique. “I think jewellery should be enjoyed in an intimate environment; I want there to be an air of familiarity and comfort,” says McCormack of the town house, which she has lovingly restored to reflect its former glory as a Victorian family home. Decorated by the designer herself, the space is home to a stylish curation of art and furniture, with antiques and contemporary pieces juxtaposed in a way that proves McCormack’s excellent taste extends beyond jewellery. Comprising the brand’s design studio, workshop and boutique, this is really the home of the brand, and McCormack wants her clients to feel at home too. Pop in and you’ll likely meet the designer herself, who will invite you to browse – and touch – precious stones as well as her creations, which cannot be bought anywhere else in the world. It is, as she says herself, “something quite special”.
It’s not surprising that Mayfair is having a resurgence. As the streets of London become ever busier, the space and quiet offered in this neighbourhood feel like the biggest luxury there could be. And as the best names in British fashion make their home here, it can only continue to thrive. As if more proof were needed that this is the place to be right now, Jenny Packham has just expanded and renovated her Carlos Place boutique. Known for dressing countless celebrities, as well as the Duchess of Cambridge, Packham is loved for her elegant evening wear and has also become famous for her exquisite bridal gowns. Previously in Belgravia, the brand’s bridal boutique is now housed in the Carlos Place town house, along with the best selection of Jenny Packham ready-to-wear, accessories and lingerie in London. Why the move? “Mount Street is home to the best of international luxury fashion,” says the designer. She’s right. This is the best of international fashion. It just so happens that the best are all British.
Those in the know are now eschewing Bond Street and the like in favour of these unassuming Mayfair streets, where today’s British fashion stars are making a home for themselves.