The historical streets of Mayfair are set for an injection of fashion adrenalin this season. The area has always been a magnet for glossy superbrands and the raft of stores opening this spring confirms once again that Mayfair is the centre of the fashion world in London.
In recent years, it has seen serious contenders – the rise of east London as a style haven (with reports abounding that Prada and Ralph Lauren were set to open stores there), the creeping dominance of west London. But Mayfair is proving deftly that it’s still at the beating heart of luxury retail with new launches not just among international names but British stars too.
Kane is able
‘This is an incredibly exciting time for us,’ say London Fashion Week superstar Christopher Kane and his sister Tammy Kane, deputy creative director of the label. ‘To have our own retail space gives us the chance to showcase our collections and to really express our vision. To open in London first was really important to us as this is where our label was born.’
Christopher Kane, widely acknowledged as one of London’s most visionary creatives, is set to launch his flagship store in Mayfair’s Mount Street this spring. What’s notable about this move, which follows the backing of the young Scottish designer’s business by French luxury conglomerate PPR, is that it proves just how successful a homegrown London fashion talent can be; the designer only launched his namesake label in 2007.
Mount Street moves on
The move also cements Mount Street’s status as Mayfair’s most prestigious positions; once a rather conservative, grand old offshoot of central Mayfair (some traditional labels still reside there), it’s now a high-voltage fashion arena, with Lanvin, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Roland Mouret and Oscar de la Renta all in the vicinity.
Kane’s move will, in early 2014, be mirrored by Roksanda Ilincic, another London Fashion Week favourite. Ilincic, who is, like Kane, a graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, is bringing her fluid, feminine, colourful womenswear to Mount Street. It’s a feather in the cap of London fashion that the city that once languished as a backwater is now producing young designers with such kudos that they can set up flagship stores in the sixth most expensive city in the world.
Spicing up Mayfair
Venturing further south to Mayfair’s Dover Street, another British designer, Victoria Beckham, is set to open her debut own-brand store in April 2014. Since launching her brand in 2009, the former Spice Girl has won over the fashion elite with collections that focus on dresses in streamlined shapes with minimalistic detailing and jolts of electric colour.
A diffusion line, Victoria by Victoria Beckham, caters to a more whimsical woman, with eclectic prints and softer shapes; the store is thought to be hosting both labels under its (suitably polished) roof. It’s further confirmation that Beckham is now a big-league fashion name and no mere celebrity dabbling in the art; fans including Beyoncé, Cameron Diaz and Gisele Bündchen are also testament to that.
Mayfair’s newcomers are among stellar company. Another recent addition at the end of last year was Tom Ford, who further cemented the British capital’s place as the world’s most enticing shopping destination when he chose London over any other city to launch a flagship womenswear store – a significant seal of approval.
Designed by architect William Sofield, the boutique is as exactingly crafted and pristine as the designer’s own work, in stark monochrome and gleaming steel. Those who can’t quite stretch to one of Ford’s punchy, colourful dresses can always take home the perfume designed to celebrate the London store launch: Private Blend London.