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shoe space at LN-CC

Top 5: London Fashion Concept Stores

22 February 2018 Suzanne Frost

What is a concept store? It is a shop that sells a carefully curated and unique selection of products that connect to an overarching theme. Handpicked products are pulled together from different brands and designers, and they usually span different lines, such as fashion, beauty and homeware. Many of them offer extra cafés or events spaces, which help build a community around the lifestyle they embody. Concept stores are about discovery and experience rather than just shopping. So here is a selection of tips for fashion lovers seeking an inspiring experience:

Wolf & Badger

Wolf & Badger Mayfair, (c) Oliver Holmes

Described by bloggers as “the store fashion girls really would prefer to keep a secret”, Wolf & Badger may sound reminiscent of cute woodland creatures but the founding brothers, Henry and George Z Graham, have excellent noses for trends. Working only with independent brands, the stores (one in Notting Hill, one in Mayfair, one in New York City) offer an eclectic and highly curated line-up of products, from niche designer handbags to trinkety jewellery collections, stationary, menswear and homeware with prices ranging from highly exclusive to actually very affordable so it is a perfect place to find unusual gifts or souvenirs you won’t get anywhere else. The store can be overwhelming, especially the cabinets overflowing with jewellery, but everything is neatly organised online if you prefer to familiarise yourself first.
Wolf & Badger Mayfair is at 32 Dover Street, W1S 4NE, the Notting Hill Store is at 46 Ledbury Road, W11 2AB

(c) Goodhood

This 3,000ft split level Shoreditch concept store, founded in 2007 by former denim designers Kyle Stewart and Jo Sindle, houses an impressive selection of designer brands with a relaxed outdoorsy Scandinavian feel. A big focus is on skate and streetwear with brands such as Neighborhood, Stüssy and Vans. The lower ground floor is dedicated to homeware, beauty and grooming from the likes of Aesop and Malin & Goetz. There is a small selection of books and records and a café serving restorative flat whites to fatigued shoppers. Goodhood also showcases their own label Goods by Goodhood, offering jewellery, T-shirts, mugs and canvas bags and collaborations with other exciting brands.
Goodhood is at 151 Curtain Road, EC2A 3QE

Proudly calling itself a “destination” rather than a store, the Late Night Chameleon Café is really something to see, taking the promise of a shopping experience to a whole new level. Created by set designer Gary Card, entering this basement in Dalston feels more like stepping onto a very stylish spaceship. The centrepiece is a bright neon lit whale skeletal tunnel with separate rooms branching off. The mainline room showcases big names in fashion, Gucci, JW Anderson and Saint Laurent, with a pathway sneaking through the carefully curated rails curtailed by pebbles shimmering like mysterious black kryptonite. There is a streetwear room with lots of deconstructed Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Maison Martin Margiela and, designer of the moment, Vetement. The carpet room has a lot of Acne Studios, fragrances by Le Labo, Unum and Comme de Garcon leading towards a shoe space. There is an eclectic sunglasses collection a selected rare books and records room and a pathway framed by ashen trees leads towards the Conscious room, dedicated to ethically sourced or dyed brands. A bar and events room in the back lends itself to probably the most stylish space ship parties imaginable. Out of this world!
LN-CC is at 18-24 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EZ

Shoe Gallery at Selfridges, (c) Jamie Fobert Architects

Strictly speaking, Selfridges is of course a department store. But with the way this iconic Oxford Street staple is set up, you might call it the mother of all concept stores. Mister Selfridge famously wanted his store to feel like a theatre, with every department setting a different scene and products displayed as set pieces. Selfridges regularly hosts events and follows themes all through the store, such as Music Matters supporting dwindling independent music venues in London, or Project Ocean making the entire store plastic bottle free. Selfridges is a fashion Mecca boasting the largest accessories hall in the world, a shoe gallery reaching as wide as the eye goes, an entire floor dedicated to menswear, a hair salon, personal shopping, a gigantic food hall and a roof terrace. But apart from stocking every designer you could possibly think of, Selfridges is a store with a personality where parting with money is inevitably an experience.
Selfridges is at 400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB
Dover Street Market

Speaking of department stores, Dover Street Market is a massive multi-level retail space of luxury developed by Comme de Garcon designer Rei Kawakubo. A strong focus is therefore on Comme de Garcon collections and fragrances as well as other Japanese designers such as Junya Watanabe. With artists and designers creating new visuals for the store every season, the whole place changes its look completely twice a year so you can always discover something new. With only the tiniest corner on the top floor devoted to homewear and the Rose Bakery café, the rest of the 5 floors are entirely devoted to fashion, stocking all the big international designer brands from Alaia, to Prada to Gucci to Valentino. This can be intimidating when you show up in your Balenciaga from Zara but there are really extravagant fashion folk shopping here which is quite a sight.
Dover Street Market is at 18-22 Haymarket, SW1Y 4DG

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