Famous for his rebellious and avant-garde approach, force of fashion Jean Paul Gaultier can’t get enough of London. He travelled so often to the city in the 1970s that people just assumed he lived there. This love affair is still going strong: his flamboyant designs cheekily borrow a healthy dose of British quirk. Need a touch of cross-Channel inspiration? From style icons to must-have chapeaux, here are five spots in London that tune in to the couturier’s free spirit.
What could be more British than bacon, sausage and eggs? This Farringdon café rustles up what might just be the most photogenic all-day breakfast in London. Rare-breed streaky bacon, free-range sausages and perfectly poached eggs are dished up alongside an organic hash, slow-roast tomatoes and baked beans. Drop in before a culture fix at the Barbican Centre just down the road.
Forget the beret: discernibly domed, bowler hats are making a comeback on the catwalk. Founded in 1676, this St James boutique is the oldest hat shop in the world and supplies their Royal Highnesses Philip and Charles with classic hard hats. They’ll set you back a pretty penny, but you can also pick up cashmere beanies to last a lifetime at prices not that far off the high street’s.
The Queen may be the biggest icon in town, but you needn’t go OTT with extravagant hats and matching shoes for a splash of royal style. Smythson’s been supplying the Royal Family with leather goods in a rainbow of Maj-friendly colours since 1964. If you can’t quite splurge on a bag, the more affordable travel wallets and luggage tags can be monogrammed with your initials, too.
British eccentricity mixes decades, genders and a healthy dose of irony for an individual look. Crammed with rare and wonderful gems, this vintage shop always delivers: stylists and collectors flock here in the footsteps of McQueen, Lagerfeld, Gaultier and co. If you’re in the market for a once-in-a-lifetime outfit, book a personal appointment for a browse of Met Gala-worthy frocks.
Brits are cheekily called rosbif by their Gallic cousins – and with good reason. Across the capital, chefs are elevating the homely Sunday roast to a gourmet feast. Roasted over English oak, Blacklock’s version is served on big platters alongside generous helpings of Yorkshire puddings, duck-fat roasties and bone marrow gravy. For the perfect pairing, sip on a beefy Bloody Mary zhuzhed up with house spices.