SPIFFING UP: George Bamford has opened his first stand-alone store, a men’s grooming hub called Bamford Grooming Department in London’s Royal Exchange. The store is the fruit of a collaboration with his mother, Carole Bamford, founder of the Daylesford Organic Farmshops and Bamford brands.
Housed in a former cigar shop, the store’s walls have been stripped and distressed. Original features such as the parquet flooring and the green wall tiles sit alongside the sleek, minimalist fixtures and fittings.
“I just love that rustic vibe with a modern twist,” said Bamford, whose store sells Bamford men’s grooming products, accessories such as headphones and stationery. He’s also added his fine watch customization service into the mix.
Bamford has a well-established business working with brands such as Bulgari, Tag Heuer and Zenith, and helping customers design their own watches. He offers that particular service to customers every Thursday.
“I love the idea of retail: People keep on saying that retail’s dead — but it’s not dead. This is discoverable retail. We all have to be a little bit different with how we’re doing retail — and how we’re doing anything,” he said during a walk-through.
The store spans two floors. The first floor is dedicated to sales, while the lower ground is for one-to-one appointments and pop-up partnerships.
“I want people to say, ‘I discovered this.’ I want them to see this as a different type of concept store. I sell the things I like, and I hope people come into this world and say they like them, too. I see myself as a customer of my own product.”
The store stocks the full range of Bamford’s grooming products — such as shampoos, body washes and colognes — inspired by his own needs. “I wanted a masculine product for me, something that felt like if I was grabbing it out of the shower I would know that it’s mine.”
Bamford said he plans to release further products, including sunglasses, within the year. Asked if he plans to open more grooming shops he said: “It’s got to be the right space. You can’t find another shop just anywhere.” — SAMUEL BURNS
Bamford Grooming Department
33 The Royal Exchange
HIT PARADE: More than 60 of Azzedine Alaïa’s greatest hits have gone on display at the Design Museum in Holland Park in the first show of the designer’s work in London. Alaïa, who died in November, had worked closely on the show with his old friend Mark Wilson, chief curator of the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.
Wilson said the point was to highlight cut, seaming and all of the details that went into a dress made by Alaïa, who Wilson refers to as “the master perfectionist. This is an opportunity to see all the variation in how he refined and refined and refined.” He added that there was never any question that the show would go on following Alaïa’s death.
Looks include the spiraling zipper dress, the buttery leather pieces with metal grommets, and timeless dresses with fine knife pleats and gossamer knots. The hand of the designer is everywhere, from the spare and sculptural silhouettes to the sophisticated engineering right down to the elegant custom-made mannequins.
The show runs until Oct. 7, and for Alaïa fans there is more to come: Carla Sozzani, a close friend of the late designer and the cofounder of the Azzedine Alaïa Association (soon to be a foundation) has another exhibition planned in July to coincide with the couture shows in Paris.
The title of that show will be “The Alchemy of a Collection.” It will spotlight the 12 months of work ahead of a collection launch. Like “Azzedine Alaïa: Je suis couturier,” which opened in January, it will take place at 18 Rue de la Verrerie, the gallery adjoining the designer’s studio and historic boutique. — SAMANTHA CONTI
Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier runs until Oct. 7
The Design Museum
224-238 Kensington High Street
London W8 6AG
NATURAL INSTINCTS: The big conversation in fashion right now is sustainability, and the Victoria & Albert Museum has chimed in with an exhibition that explores the longtime relationship between fashion and nature, with objects dating back to the 1600s.
Curator Edwina Ehrman said she was intrigued by how fashion has been inspired by nature and said she wanted to create an exhibition “that could be a forum for debate and discussion.”
There are more than 300 pieces on display, including the Calvin Klein dress made from recycled plastic bottles that Emma Watson wore to the 2016 Met Gala as a part of the Green Carpet Challenge with Eco-Age and the floral dress from Erdem’s Green Carpet Challenge collection. There is also an upcycled dress by Christopher Raeburn.
The show spotlights innovative materials such as Ferragamo’s use of orange fiber, made from waste from the Italian citrus industry, and an H&M Conscious dress made from recycled plastic. The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion and UAL have also created two installations allowing visitors to experience the impact of fashion production and sales on the natural world. — LORELEI MARFIL
Fashioned from Nature runs until Jan. 27, 2019
Victoria & Albert Museum
London SW7 2RL
NEW LANDMARK: Soho House continues to crop up across London, adding its flair for cozy hangout spots, colorful, mix-and-match interiors and sunny rooftops to landmark locations across the city.
After the reopening of the group’s outpost on Soho’s Greek Street, Nick Jones looked to West London for his next project.
The result is White City House, the newest addition to the cluster of Soho House members’ clubs, which is located inside the former BBC Television Center, one of the most recognizable buildings in the area.
The club stretches across two floors and includes a rooftop pool and bar; a cinema; an events space; a 24,000-square-foot gym complete with an indoor pool, sauna and hammam, and, as per Soho House tradition, an array of laid-back spaces for members to work, eat and drink.
Jones said when it came to designing the space, his focus was on celebrating the building’s rich heritage. “Each house is designed for the neighborhood it’s in and there’s so much history in this site that we wanted to keep that alive and celebrate it. The design here is taken from the history of the building and its Fifties and Sixties heritage, with cues from the BBC hidden all around,” said Jones, pointing to custom-made rugs inspired by the BBC test card, a series of artworks commissioned to honor the BBC television artist Tony Hart and upholstered fabrics by the design company Tibor, which used to also create patterns for the BBC.
The building includes 45 rooms and a ground-floor restaurant and bar, the Allis, that is open to the public, in line with the group’s more democratic approach.
“White City House is for the local creative community, we’re inclusive not exclusive. We want the House to represent the neighborhood in our membership, design, the food and drink and events — we’re also going to be offering mentoring and paid placements through our members for young people in the area,” added Jones. — NATALIE THEODOSI
White City House
101 Wood Lane, White City
London W12 7FR