LONDON — London Fashion Week, running from Feb. 18 to 22, kicks off this weekend. Here, WWD recommends where to eat, drink, read, view — and experience — between all the live events and digital shows.
A FRESH PERSPECTIVE: Designer Osman Yousefzada’s first book, “The Go-Between: A Portrait of Growing Up Between Different Worlds,” (Canongate) about life in a tight-knit Muslim Pashtun community in inner-city Birmingham, England.
As a young adult, Yousefzada would leave that community behind, get degrees in South Asian studies and anthropology at SOAS University of London; fashion at Central Saint Martins, and a Masters at Cambridge University.
“I always feel like this go-between: I come to London and to this glitzy, arty fashion world, and then I go back — nearly every weekend or every other weekend — to Birmingham and to this kind of ghetto, so it’s like navigating two different worlds. You don’t really feel like you’re accepted anywhere, to some extent,” he said in an interview.
The coming-of-age book was supposed to come out in 2000, but due to COVID-19, it was postponed until this year. It has been released in the U.K. and will make its debut in April in the U.S.
LAYING DOWN ROOTS: Following a pop-up last fall, Zilver is here to stay. On Friday, Pedro Lourenço’s sustainable label will open its first flagship location at 19 Air Street in Soho. The store spans 430 square feet and the exterior features a vertical “living garden” meant to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions from the busy, traffic-y neighborhood.
Aluminum clothing rails have been embedded with LEDs to light up the clothes, and give the store a futuristic feel. A kitchen extractor fan, meanwhile, has been repurposed into a changing room area. it’s adorned with silver curtains meant to resemble NASA fabrics. Seating has been crafted from discarded tennis balls, which have been shredded and bound together to create a soft foam.
“This is a really exciting and momentous time for the brand, opening the first permanent London location in the heart of Soho,” said Lourenço. “The space gives customers a chance to connect with the brand beyond the digital world. Zilver’s sustainable ethos is threaded throughout the store’s identity referencing the brand’s futuristic approach and leaning toward a space-inspired theme. One of the most exciting things about the store and what has fulfilled the whole process is the idea of the vertical garden, bringing a much needed injection of vibrancy to the concrete jungle. Our city needs a new way of thinking, and I want to encourage this.” The store opening coincides with the launch of the spring 2022 collection titled Virgo.
Zilver, 19 Air Street, Soho, London W1B 5AD
DRAWING ROOM: An exhibition of original work by the British fashion illustrator Gladys Perint Palmer is on display at Cromwell Place in London, organized by Gray M.C.A. The exhibition, “A Fine Line in Fashion: The Art of Gladys Perint Palmer,” highlights the strong lines, bold colors and charm of the artist who has been capturing ready-to-wear, couture shows and fashion personalities for 50 years.
“Give me a big, beautiful nose any day — and I love drawing funny teeth,” said Perint Palmer during an interview last year with WWD. “I don’t like pretty-pretty. I like what the French call ‘jolie laide.’” Pens and brushes in hand, she’s still ferreting out life’s glorious imperfections in her work (which is now done mostly on commission) and teaching aspiring artists how to draw via interactive online masterclasses with the gallery.
Cromwell Place, 4 Cromwell Place, London, SW7 2JE
SPICE ROUTE: Want somewhere polished in Chinatown, where you can eat and even do a little photo shoot during London Fashion Week? Then look no further than Chuan Royal China, the new outpost of the well-known Chinese restaurant chain. Not only does this lavishly decorated spot serve some of the best handmade dim sum in town, but it also offers authentic dishes from Sichuan, the northwestern part of China. The menu is five-alarm hot, and includes dishes such as sautéed chicken with Sichuan pepper, and king prawns on crispy rice. For those who cannot handle the explosive sensory experience, there are also Chinese classics such as sweet and sour chicken, Peking duck, and crispy noodles with beef in black bean sauce.
Chuan Royal China, 30 Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JS
SINGAPORE SOJOURN: The new luxury hotel Pan Pacific is adding Singapore flair to London’s Liverpool Street. This is Pan Pacific’s first European flagship and is a short walk away from many designers’ studios in Shoreditch and Hackney. The hotel comes with a stunning view of the London City skyline, while the in-house restaurant, Straits Kitchen, serves some of the finest Singaporean dishes outside the country. The Hainanese chicken rice and the creamy lobster laksa is a must. If it’s a special occasion, then don’t forget to add the double-boiled soup served in a teapot; wok fried chilli mud crab; and the street food staple Char Kway Teow — spicy flat noodles with seafood.
Pan Pacific London, 80 Houndsditch, London EC3A 7AB