LONDON — This won’t be the usual London Fashion Week: With a lighter schedule, new government restrictions and barely any international visitors, the usual socializing will likely give place to one-on-one meetings and early nights.
Yet as London Fashion Week begins, locals are ready to get out of their apartments to meet and support the city’s designers — while maintaining the appropriate distance — and experience the city, which has been trying to get back on its feet. Retailers and restaurateurs have been forging ahead with new openings and introducing new concepts.
Here, WWD rounds up the best new spots in town, to check out in between those socially distanced appointments, digital showcases and Zoom calls.
EASTERN FLAIR: The concept store Koibird is back, with a new destination-themed retail concept.
This time it’s taking its audience of discerning consumers to Eastern Europe, by way of Marylebone, transporting shoppers to a local grandmother’s charming, all-floral living room, similar to ones founder Belma Gaudio remembers from her childhood.
Gaudio — who hails from the former Yugoslavia and who fled the country in the Nineties — also created an edit that celebrates regional designers such as the Georgian up-and-comers Mach and Mach, Anouki, George Keburia and Matériel, as well as the Poland-based Magda Butrym.
The debut of the new concept comes at a challenging time for physical retail. Yet it’s also a time to rediscover the joy of shopping and one-of-a-kind experiences, Gaudio said: “I will always believe in the in-store experience like I believe in human relationships and a human touch. No matter how digital we get, we will continue to long to see other people, touch things we like and try on clothes to make sure they are right for us.” — Natalie Theodosi
NEW VISION: Linda Farrow has joined the likes of Chanel, MSGM and Joseph in London’s South Kensington neighborhood. The eyewear label has opened the doors to its biggest space in London — allowing for plenty of social distancing — located a stone’s throw away from the Chanel boutique and some of the area’s longstanding hot spots, including Daphne’s restaurant and the buzzy KX gym, attracting local traffic. The new store has minimalist and very photogenic interiors, with blush pink walls and gold accents. It stocks the label’s full eyewear and optical ranges, including a series of collaborations with labels-of-the-moment Magda Butrym and The Attico. — N.T.
REFINED DINER: Mayfair’s Stork restaurant mixes West African and East European influences with traditional British cuisine in an eclectic menu of fusion dishes. Located among Cork Street’s art galleries, the restaurant spreads over two floors and can welcome up to 120 hosts. Owners Michael Adjovi Kalu and Nadina Grigoras aimed to create a refined yet intimate place for customers, with an open kitchen and counter enabling guests to have a peek at the chefs’ work.
The restaurant takes its name from a bird that migrates from Eastern Europe to Western Africa, while the menu blends the owners’ Nigerian and Moldovan cultures.
Run by chef Adebola Adeshina, the kitchen proposes varied delicate courses such as a Scottish lobster and a shredded suya lamb shoulder. — Léana Esch
ROCK N’ ROLL NEIGHBORS: The Rolling Stones have opened a flagship store at 9 Carnaby Street.
The store, “a world first,” features merchandise and fashion items by the Stones’ new brand, dubbed RS No.9.
Collections by the new label will span men’s, women’s and children’s fashion and accessories, as well as special collaboration pieces, such as glassware developed in partnership with Baccarat and engraved with the Rolling Stones tongue or raincoats and hats from premium Swedish raincoat brand Stutterheim.
To mark the opening, there will also be a capsule done in the “Stones Red” Pantone color, which is featured all over the new store’s interior alongside album artwork in the fitting rooms and lyrics from the famous band’s songs engraved on the glass floor. — N.T.
CULTURAL MAINSTAY: Newly developed concept store Pantechnicon blends Japanese and Nordic cultures through food, retail and design in the eponymous arts and crafts center building on Motcomb Street, Belgravia.
Developed over five floors, the store showcases more than 150 Japanese and Nordic brands, all creating handcrafted gifts and products. The selection ranges from fashion and beauty brands to lifestyle and tech labels, like the Danish accessories label Aesther Ekme or the Japanese homeware brand Kaikado.
“Both cultures have a lot in common including their geographies, their relationship with nature and their passion for simplicity and functionality in design,” said cofounder Barry Hirst.
“Our mission is to have fun creating a platform for new creative talent from Japan and the Nordics and to share our discoveries with everyone, all in one place.”
An experimental space is dedicated to workshops and pop-ups; a gallery space offers lunch and dinner at Little Sachi, and Nordic restaurant Eldr proposes a menu inspired by traditional cooking techniques.
The place also welcomes the first permanent Café Kitsuné in the U.K., the bar and boutique bottle shop Sakaya, as well as a dining roof garden — L.E.
TAILORED OFFERING: Thom Sweeney is opening a new tailoring town house on London’s Old Burlington Street.
The new store will offer a bespoke tailoring workshop and made-to-measure lounge in addition to the label’s ready-to-wear collections. A cocktail bar, barber’s shop and shared courtyard with members’ club will complete the town house’s offering.
“We’re looking forward to presenting a modern vision of a tailor’s shop, with space to unwind as well as to meet our team and browse the collection,” said cofounder Thom Whiddett, adding that this new development was designed to be “as much a home from home for [the brand’s] customers as it is a hub for bespoke tailoring.”
Thom Sweeney’s cutters and coatmakers will also revel in this new retail experience, with the lower ground floor dedicated to the bespoke workrooms and fitting rooms.
Down the road, women’s wear tailoring house The Deck has brought its atelier to the famous tailoring hub, offering a new space for private client appointments. — L.E.
GOTHAM HERITAGE: Coach is further establishing its roots in London with a new pop-up space in Harrods. Located on the lower-ground floor of the department store, the 500-square-foot space has been developed in the store’s Egyptian room and showcases the brand’s accessories and lifestyle collections.
The concession has been designed to reflect the brand’s New York heritage and style and displays an array of women’s handbags and small leather goods, including an exclusive line, designed to mark the launch and featuring the label’s Rogue and Troupe totes in exotics, as well as some other signature styles from the Tabby and Hutton families.
The label plans to keep on growing in the U.K. and will expand its tie-in with Harrods online too. — L.E.
AFRICAN EXPERIENCE: The Ikoyi restaurant immerses guests in an authentic spice-based cuisine.
Owner and chef Jeremy Chan, previously at Noma, created a menu, focusing on sub-Saharan, West African sourcing. British influences meet African aromas, with dishes such as beef brushed with crayfish butter, the Exmoor caviar or the Orkney scallops.
Situated in the heart of St. James’s Market, the Michelin-starred restaurant offers a large array of tastings, from a lunch menu to a seven- or nine-course tasting menu and a range of drinks, designed with West African influences in mind. — L.E.