Stylist Ruth Forsyth shares her favourite spots after returning from a recent scouting trip.
For me, the best way to start your day in London is with breakfast in the fin de siecle grandeur of the Wolseley, where great food and perfect people-watching come together in a magnificent setting that was once the Wolseley car showroom.
After breakfast, head past the whimsical window displays of Fortnum & Maison to arrive at Maison Assouline. Behind the heavy wooden doors of this unique publishing house you’ll find one of the most beautiful stores in London, where you can browse through magnificent books, large and small, while sipping a coffee or cocktail at their beautiful Swan bar. Be sure to pop upstairs and use the loo – and sneak a glimpse of one of the most incredible hidden interiors, rich with esoteric objets d’art.
Just nearby, Connolly had reopened, no longer on Conduit street it’s now around the corner on Clifford Street. Selling the most beautifully pared back clothes (designed for men but suitable for women), plus leather goods and accessories. Their infamous men’s shirts are still my husband’s favourite. Again, don’t miss upstairs, for their elegant modern furniture collection, designed by the architects of the shop – Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier.
Next stop: Mount Street. I adore this street. My parents used to go to mass in the gorgeous church on Farm street when they lived in London over 50 years ago, and I later got engaged in Mount Street Gardens! All the top fashion houses are here but my favourite has to be Simone Rocha, not just because she is Irish but because the shop feels like a Louise Bourgeois installation – I want it all.
Continue down Mount Street and cross over to Purdey… only in London can you find a shop like this. I don’t shoot, hunt or fish but I’m tempted to start just so I can shop here. It’s worth a visit for the taxidermy alone. Need a pit-stop? Pop into the gorgeous Mount Street Deli for coffee and cake or book Scott’s for a proper lunch, in another stunning interior.
Moving East, I love Redchurch Street, a short street crammed with great shops. Labour & Wait a must-stop for balls of string, dustpans and the like, while Monologue is great for beautiful glass, different pieces of small furniture and pretty desk accessories . But the best shop on the street is Elementary – their collection of elegant, simple glassware and quirky animal hides is hard to beat. I have a pink one hide and a green one; they deliver to Ireland. They also stock smart cabinets and a whole host of wonderful pieces you will never need but will definitely want.
Then on to Brick Lane for one last fashion find – the design den of Italian Ilaria Lepore. Her (almost all black) pieces are beautifully crafted, and reasonably priced. I have several pairs of her drop-crotch/Rick Owens-esque trousers. The shop is raw and edgy, and she is lovely, the whole thing just works. London, you rock.
For more London tips, pick up the March/April issue of Image Interiors & Living, where London-based Irish creatives share their favourite haunts.