ITINERARY: THE BEATING HEART OF LONDON'S SARTORIAL STYLE
300 years ago, the dandies and fashion leaders of the aristocracy strolled through Mayfair showing off their latest look. Very little has changed today: the area's fashion credentials range from the famous bespoke tailors clustered around Savile Row to the best couture brands and jewellers on Bond Street. It has the highest concentration of luxury hotels in the capital, and most of its Michelin-starred restaurants.
Start your day on Piccadilly, one of London's most famous thoroughfares. Indulge in a fabulous breakfast at The Wolseley (160 Piccadilly), a city institution. Then it's a brief walk to the smorgasbord of excellent shops on Jermyn Street, second only to Savile Row for tailoring and full of lovely stuff for men, including shoes from J M Weston, formalwear from Favourbrook and luxury tailoring from DAKS.
Head back to Piccadilly and pop into the glorious Royal Academy of Arts to catch one of its excellent exhibitions, or try the Burlington Arcade, a covered street that gives a delicious slice of Victoriana and still has traditional uniformed beadles. You'll find the softest cashmere from N.Peal, swimwear from Vilebrequin and bespoke scents from master perfumer Roja Parfums.
Piccadilly Circus, London
You're very near Savile Row now, the epicenter of bespoke tailoring since the 1790s. But before you start, fortify yourself with lunch at Sartoria (20 Savile Row), a supremely elegant Italian restaurant that offers an excellent set lunch. Afterwards, head to the impeccable Gieves & Hawkes (1 Savile Row), representing the best in men's tailoring and a favourite with the Royal Family. You'll also find Alexander McQueen's flagship menswear shop.
It's time to head to Bond Street (strictly Old Bond Street and New Bond Street), with possibly the highest concentration of luxury shopping in the world. The choice here is phenomenal. Starting from the Piccadilly end, you'll find Italian powerhouse Gucci's flagship store as well as those of Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. Chanel has their beautiful flagship here plus their Chanel Fine Jewellery, and don't miss Dolce & Gabbana. Cult labels Eres and Bottega Veneta are further up, plus US favourite Tory Burch. And we haven't even touched on the jewellery: you’ll find not just Chanel but Boucheron, Damiani, Boodles and many more. And the same if true of watches with big names including Breguet, Patek Phillipe, Watches of Switzerland... a horologist could not ask for more.
An afternoon well spent shopping at Chanel
Turn off New Bond Street onto Bruton Street. This exclusive address is home to the ultra-hip Stella McCartney, Elie Saab and Isabel Marant. To the right, Conduit Street features Christian Dior's fabulous flagship, Nicole Farhi, and just north of here, Chalayan and Swiss success Rohmir.
On Conduit Street you're seconds away from two superb Michelin-starred restaurants: Wild Honey's epicurean heaven European offering (12 St. George Street) and Jason Atherton's much-lauded Pollen Street Social (8-10 Pollen Street). You're also on the same street as the fabulously decorated Sketch (9 Conduit Street), still one of the coolest places in London for a cocktail – we love the fresco-painted The Glade bar there. Or head back to Piccadilly for burgers and live music at the Hard Rock Cafe (150 Old Park Lane).
Wild Honey, 12 St. George Street