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Casinos, Celebrities and Pork Belly: A Journey Through London Fashion Week

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 10:00 am / Posted by

Chic Plane-mates: Imagine my surprise as I was scooping up some magazines to read on my flight to London when I saw Anna Wintour clad in custom Prada and Manolo Blahniks doing the same. I just couldn't [...]

 

Chic Plane-mates: Imagine my surprise as I was scooping up some magazines to read on my flight to London when I saw Anna Wintour clad in custom Prada and Manolo Blahniks doing the same. I just couldn't resist taking a picture on my phone (it's just slightly inappropriate to post) but obviously, the trip was off to the right start. 

 

Necessary Tourist Trap: Yes, Harrods is always bustling and crammed with tourists, but there's a reason for it. After all, the slogan for the iconic department store is "There's only one Harrods." The [...]

 

Necessary Tourist Trap: Yes, Harrods is always bustling and crammed with tourists, but there's a reason for it. After all, the slogan for the iconic department store is "There's only one Harrods." The window displays included a shrine to the stunning Céline pony hair luggage tote, which gave way to floors of luxury goods. Pictured here is the famous Food Hall, where you're likely to find £200 pound truffle covered foie gras. I took a late lunch at the Steakhouse, which is straight to point. You order by the gram and you certainly pay the price—but it's beyond worth it. 87–135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge; harrods.com.

 

Best Historical Spot: Yes, sure, you can make the trek to Stonehenge, but if you want a piece of old England with some rosé on the side, head to Gordon's Wine Bar. The oldest wine bar in London features [...]

 

Best Historical Spot: Yes, sure, you can make the trek to Stonehenge, but if you want a piece of old England with some rosé on the side, head to Gordon's Wine Bar. The oldest wine bar in London features a relaxing patio perfect for a midday break, but the best part is inside. It looks (and feels) like an old dungeon—but in the most pleasant way possible. This was the perfect spot to take a break from the fashion folk. 47 Villiers Street, London; gordonswinebar.com.

 

Best Party: After hearing about the Polynesian themed London hotspot Mahiki for years (this is where Prince William and Kate Middleton used to party), it was great to go to the spot for the GrandLife [...]

 

Best Party: After hearing about the Polynesian themed London hotspot Mahiki for years (this is where Prince William and Kate Middleton used to party), it was great to go to the spot for the GrandLife Hotels and My Beautiful City-hosted party, "This Is New York." Hosted by chic folks like Alexa Chung and Susie Bubble, drinks served in tiki glasses flowed as everyone stormed the dance floor. 1 Dover Street, Mayfair; mahiki.com.

 

Most Random After Hours Spot: Aside from private events, it's difficult to go out after 2 a.m. in London, which is obviously quite jarring for a New Yorker. After struggling to find an appropriate late [...]

 

Most Random After Hours Spot: Aside from private events, it's difficult to go out after 2 a.m. in London, which is obviously quite jarring for a New Yorker. After struggling to find an appropriate late night destination, my eyes lit up when I came across Hippodrome Casino—an establishment with twenty-four-hour food and drink. While I expected to revel in the company of some trashy Londoners, I discovered a classy international crowd enjoying French Martinis and delicious snacks. Random? Yes. Awesome? Yes. Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square; hippodromecasino.com.

 

Best Impromptu Rock Concert: At the 125th anniversary party for legendary British brand Smythson located at its glamorous store on the famed Bond Street, we were treated to a performance from Bryan [...]

 

Best Impromptu Rock Concert: At the 125th anniversary party for legendary British brand Smythson located at its glamorous store on the famed Bond Street, we were treated to a performance from Bryan Ferry. Afterwards, we left happy, with gift bags including the brand's coveted leather notebooks. In terms of celebrity spotting, this was quite a treat as Bond girl Rosamund Pike made an appearance. 40 Bond Street, London; smythson.com.

 

Swankiest Spot: The London club scene is certainly a blast, but it's also incredibly chaotic. Music tends to veer towards the "EDM" side of things, so unless you're ready to dance—and sweat—all night, [...]

 

Swankiest Spot: The London club scene is certainly a blast, but it's also incredibly chaotic. Music tends to veer towards the "EDM" side of things, so unless you're ready to dance—and sweat—all night, sometimes a more low-key option is necessary. I was lucky to attend an event for Burberry at the Soho House Basement, a welcome refuge. While passed hors d'oeuvres at New York events tend to be boring and tiny, I was greeted with platters of fish and chips here. Yes, please. 17 Old Compton Street, Soho; sohohouselondon.com.

 

Best People Watching: Most of the fashion week festivities occur at the scenic Somerset House, so if you want to catch a glimpse of the elite, there's no better place to dine than Tom's Kitchen at [...]

 

Best People Watching: Most of the fashion week festivities occur at the scenic Somerset House, so if you want to catch a glimpse of the elite, there's no better place to dine than Tom's Kitchen at Somerset House. Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens pulls out all the stops, and if you know what's going for you you'll splurge on the slow roast pork belly or salmon ceviche. Somerset House, Standard; tomskitchen.co.uk.

 

Hot off the heels of New York fashion week, I headed across the pond to London to see how the Brits do it. From the moment I saw one of my plane-mates was none other than Vogue editrix Anna Wintour, I knew it would be an interesting trip.

Naturally, London’s fashion culture is far different from my homebase of New York. While everyone in Manhattan gallivants around in basic black and stilettos, the London folk prefer bold colors, insane hair and shoes with inverted heels. Needless to say, people watching was exemplary.

As a London fashion week virgin, I had no idea what to expect, but I quickly found out it’s a great time to visit the city. The restaurants are buzzing with chic people, you’re sure to run into someone you know and it’s a welcome departure from the states.

A rather quirky city with a plethora of restaurants, shops and sightseeing, I got to experience everything from exclusive members only clubs to late-night gambling spots. For more on my London long weekend, click through the gallery above.

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