BEING ARTY: With over 250 museums in the city, one is never far from culture — and fashion — in London. Even at the venerable British Museum, Kate Moss has the spotlight. A solid gold sculpture of the model in a complicated yoga pose, by artist Marc Quinn, will be at the museum’s Nereid gallery near a statue of Aphrodite, in the exhibition “Statuephilia” through Jan. 25. At the recently reopened Fashion and Textile Museum in Southeast London, an exhibition celebrating whimsical designer Bill Gibb, entitled “Billy: Bill Gibb’s Moment in Time,” spotlights the designer’s ultraromantic wedding dresses and knitwear designed with Kaffe Fassett until Jan. 18. For a taste of London’s design evolution, the Design Museum’s “Design Cities” runs until Jan. 4, highlighting seven cities that played roles in modern design, like London in 1851 and 2008, Paris in 1936 and Tokyo in 1987. Pieces include Eames chairs, tiles by William Morris, and steel Alessi tea and coffee “towers.”
CHOW TIME: In these challenged times, Londoners have turned to low-glitz restaurants. Tierra Brindisa, the Soho outpost of the well-known South London restaurant Tapas Brindisa, opened last month, offering delicacies like carpaccio of cod with orange, red onion and marjoram salad, battered hake with allioi and chorizo with piquillo pepper on country toast. The nearby Giaconda Dining Room on Denmark Street — known as Tin Pan Alley, thanks to its music shops — has earned Australian chef-owner Paul Merrony rave reviews. The menu focuses on simple, hearty dishes like steak tartare with toast and chips, penne with pork sausage and roast chicken. But there are plenty of new spots at the more rarefied end of the dining scale: Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant group opened Murano in Mayfair this year, headed by chef Angela Hartnett. The restaurant offers dishes like cromer crab with squid ink tagliolini and John Dory with Parma ham tortellini. The restaurant’s decor lives up to its name, with chic chandeliers made from strips of metal set with blown glass.
This story first appeared in the December 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WHAT’S IN STORE: Aside from glittering flagships on Bond Street and department stores Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, visitors flock to London for its eclectic markets. Spitalfields market in East London showcases up-and-coming designers, while nearby Brick Lane is lined with vintage shops. Gray’s Antique Market, across town near Bond Street, offers Victorian jet jewelry and Sixties Dior dresses, while Alfie’s Antique Market in Marylebone is a must-see for furniture. Many labels have borrowed the market model for their new stores — Rei Kawakubo’s Dover Street Market carries clothing, perfume and jewelry alongside vintage books and gardening tools. Designers including Rick Owens, Wunderkind, Balenciaga and Christian Louboutin are among the openings bringing cutting edge glamour to the 19th century buildings on Mount Street in Mayfair.