Tracking the trends of two British powerhouses
When it comes to shopping in London, an undisputed fashion capital of the world, no other retail district receives as much global recognition as Knightsbridge. Nestled between Belgravia and Chelsea, Knightsbridge is an area of London that not only exudes but originates notions of exclusivity, prestige, glamour and opulence. Home to many luxury flagship stores — Marni, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Seiko, Fendi, Chanel, Miu Miu, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Valentino, Anne Fontaine, — the place oozes fashion. An air of high sophistication permeates Upper Sloane Street, Beauchamp Place, Pont Street, Old Brompton Road and every tucked-away mews and square in between — an air that is distinct and quickly recognizable to any well-heeled shopper with a keen sense for high-end design and la creme de la creme.
Knightsbridge is home to two iconic London institutions: Harrods and Harvey Nichols. While these high-end department stores have, to a degree, become tourist attractions, they are still a go-to destination for the world’s most fashionable elite. It’s simply a matter of knowing how to navigate the many floors, which escalators to take, and which departments to avoid.
Harrods may well be the most well-known store in the world. It’s handsome facade, dating from the early 1900s, is internationally recognized. It is Europe’s largest department store, spread over a total of five-acres of floor space with over 330 departments. Far away from the tourist-filled Food Halls, on the first and fourth floors (known as the second and fifth floors to Americans), are the best places to shop for women’s fashion. There are several entrances to Harrods, but for unharried access the best option is “Door 3” off Basil Street on the eastern flank of the building, just below the Ecuadorian Embassy. From there, hop on the escalator and you will emerge, with Prada to the right and Dior to the left, in the Designer, International Designer, and Advanced International Designer departments. Mini showrooms lead from one to the next, from Alexander McQueen to Elie Saab to Celine. Two floors up you will find the The Fashion Lab (formerly known as Way In) which showcases the world’s most desirable contemporary labels – from Zadig & Voltaire to The Kooples.
Just one block away from Harrods, where Sloane Street meets Old Brompton Road, is Harvey Nichols. Harvey Nicks, as it’s affectionally called by locals, is the younger, and some may argue, more fashionable cousin of Harrods. It is the place for shopping the latest trends and collections, including those by Tom Ford, Gucci, Valentino, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, and Polo Ralph Lauren. From it’s artful window displays to its chic dining options to the frequent celebrity sighting, Harvey Nichols provides the ultimate shopping experience.
Shop the latest spring trends — from metallic brocade to fanciful frills — currently available at both Harrods and Harvey Nichols:
– Trend Watch: SHEER DELIGHT –
ERDEM Lyndell Dress
Alexander McQueen Skirt
Maison Margiela Wool Jacket
– Trend watch: BROCADE DAYS –
Dries Van Noten Ricks Coat
Dries Van Noten Poumas Trousers
Dries Van Noten Scola Pencil Skirt
– Trend Watch: TIMELESS TAILORING –
Balmain Tweed Jacket
Isabel Marant Keren Blazer
Balmain Wool Blazer
– Trend Watch: FLORAL, FRILLS & FANCY –
Valentino Chiffon Dress
Dolce & Gabbana Floral Gown
Giambattista Valli Chiffon Gown