KELLY ENGLAND WEARING VERSACE TALKING LONDON AND DOWNTON ABBEY
English Roses, Alexander McQueen, Afternoon Tea – they all belong to the great city of London. Join British Fashion Ambassador, Kelly England on her top must do’s in the incredible British capital.
In London, style is understated and less is more. It is out with overt glamour, and in with more of a personalised take on fashion. Get creative and merge the old pomp and glamour of historical England with the latest trends before they happen in the first frontier of cool.
For a feeling of your own private episode of London filmed Absolutely Fabulous, start your day at Stella McCartney (91-97 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London SW3 6RH). Following her latest show at Paris Fashion Week, the Stella McCartney SS2018 collection has been hailed as commercial success story, so check out the irresistible eighties references and highly wearable yet quirky fashion. As one of the biggest designers to make a habit of championing sustainability and animal rights in the industry, you will also be ahead of the curve. Then hit JOSEPH (77 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 6RE) which is the perfect pit stop for modern, luxury essentials. Each piece has serious attention to detail, and it is a favourite for London girls that need to look the business without compromising style.
For a delicious lunch, the Fulham classic, Daphne's (112 Draycott Ave, Chelsea, London SW3 3AE) is a Chelsea institution with a beautiful atmosphere and mouthwatering seasonal Italian dishes. Now the iconic destination is owned by dining tycoon Richard Caring of Caprice Holdings who is known for his sense of style. In its early days Daphne’s was a favourite of Princess Diana and now it is a more discrete hangout for fashionistas that enjoy the glamorous design and wonderful service. Even better, four pawed hounds are invited too! Teaming up with creative British designer Lulu Guinness, deservedly spoiled dogs are welcome to enjoy time with their well dressed parents in the beautiful conservatory during afternoons. Plus, well behaved dogs are further rewarded with delicious Doggie Biscotti’s too – so cute!
KX Private Members Health Club (151 Draycott Ave, Chelsea, London SW3 3AL) is a hop and a skip away, and it possibly the coolest gym in London. Home to supermodels and serious powerplayers, a body honed to perfection has never been more glamorous to obtain. Super private and discrete, KX is also home to a fantastic spa and restaurant. Founded 25 years ago, yet extremely modern inside – giant lights hang down from a high ceiling over a long marble table, adorned with vast vases of flowers. Gwyneth Paltrow, Kylie Minogue and most of the British A List have all been seen there or papped outside. This is the gold standard of glam gyms.
Wizz up to Mayfair and enjoy the serenity of Old Bond Street. Cartier (40-41 Old Bond St, Mayfair, London W1S 4QR), under the excellent guardianship of Laurent Feniou, is one of the essential visits for luxury shoppers to London from around the globe. Known for the excellent discrete service and for talking their time to help find the perfect gift for a loved one – or yourself. One of the most iconic places to choose something for your life that sparkles. Enjoy a fairytale moment on one of the oldest shopping streets in the world at Cartier.
Seek out unique British based Fashion, and you will find that Daniella Helayel’s new label, Dhela is making serious waves. Daniella’s previous brand Issa was catapulted into the spotlight when The Duchess of Cambridge famously stepped out in an Issa dress back in 2010 while celebrating her engagement. The blue wrap, silk-jersey dress quickly became iconic, with Issa items selling out in more than 43 countries around the world in the weeks that followed. Halayel’s design philosophy at Dhela continues as she creates well-cut, timeless clothes that empower women. All the pieces are glamorous, beautiful and elegant. The AW2017 collection is immersed with brilliant, vivid oranges and bright reds.
If you are a watch lover and have the highest expectations of precision, you'll be in your element at the British watch brand Bremont Boutique (29 South Audley Street, London W1K 2PE). The store is a dream and even has a Martin Baker ejection seat on the shop floor. Immensely precise, reliable and durable, Bremont watches are hand built in limited numbers. Nick and Giles English, Bremont Co-Founders, who l recently met in Hong Kong, are inspired by a love of flying historic aircraft, watches and all things mechanical, and these timepieces are tested beyond the normal call of duty. This is British craftmanship at it’s best and with superb collections for gentleman and ladies, they are of uncompromising quality.
The new trend alert in the UK is highly stylish vegan shoe, and the master brand is Wills London which takes its name after its owner Will Green, and was only established a few ago, yet has already managed to gain popularity around the globe for making the most beautiful and elegant vegan shoes. You will not know they are vegan from appearance or feel and superfans go back for repeat orders and spread the message through their friends. The men’s Handmade, Goodyear Welted Fine Derby Shoes are supremely stylish and also kind to animals.
Afternoon tea is a must when in London and it is recommended to enjoy a different location for each day of your trip for the full experience. Allow time in your schedule so you can maximise the pleasure. First suggestion: Claridges Hotel is a must do, and the ambiance and historical significance of any visit will make any heart swoon. They have been doing tea for over 100 years. If you ever thought of High Tea - this is the place. Dress Code - men must wear a jacket, ladies wear dress or a smart suit. You definitely need a reservation. Secondly: Fortnum and Mason have an epic tea time surrounded by all the delicious gourmet treats anyone could wish for. The gift buying opportunities are unlimited here too! Everything is packaged like a dream. Fortnum’s, as Brits often call it is headed by the charming Ewan Venters who delights maintaining this British institution with full beauty. The light live piano music in the background make the perfect ambiance. Enjoy a glass of champagne to make the day pop even more wonderfully. Finally: When in Covent Garden, pop into Whittards (17 The Marketplace, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RB) and enjoy the delights of the beautiful new tea bar serving a full-scale afternoon tea menu. With 100 loose leaf teas even the most serious tea connoisseur will find something that will delight them.
Dinner at China Tang (53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA) created by Sir David Tang is always a delightful treat and for what many consider the best Chinese food and ambiance in London. Plus, it is reassuringly dark and low lighting if you are fighting jetlag too - bonus. The iconic, art-deco interior is designed in a romantic Thirties mood, which is fun for selfies. The quirky décor also showcases a collection of special traditional and contemporary Chinese art. The all-day dim sum menu is a hit for out-of-towners suffering Chinese food withdrawl symptoms.
Whilst at dinner, consider staying at The Dorchester, the iconic London flagship of Dorchester Collection, which is at the centre of the action in London's Mayfair on Park Lane and is perhaps the best place to stay in London. The Park Suites defy expectations of luxury and have incredible with panoramic views views of leafy and wild Hyde Park, home to dog walkers and horses enjoying gentle exercise.
No trip to London is complete without a visit to Highclere Castle (Newbury RG20 9RN, UK) one of the most beautiful private homes in England and just a short and worthwhile drive out of the city. The inspiring Lady Carnarvon just launched the must-have book named ‘At Home at Highclere: Entertaining at The Real Downton Abbey’ based on the precious family records going back some 300 years. Throughout the centuries, Highclere has welcomed Royalty, Statesmen, Egyptologists and pioneers of technology along with the most interesting men and women from the worlds of music, art and culture. Highclere is a truly magical place for fans of Downtown Abbey and quintessential English culture. The drive into the Castle alone is spectacular for history lovers.
Back in town, get your hair ready for the London scene with a visit to Nyumba by Michael Charalambous (1 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8EE) which is one of London’s leading lights for beautiful, bespoke hairdressing and beauty. With an enviable client list ranging from rockstars to royalty, fashion insiders, TV celebrities and loyal regulars that all want one thing – the very best salon experience. It is also known as the UK’s most expensive salon, so prepare for something special. Michael knows everything about the bounciest cut, and his wife Giulia Zuccaroli heads up the colour team. The salon is designed in an exotic Tanzanian vibe inspired by Africa with seashells from Zanzibar, statues of Masai warriors and art which make a trip to this salon like no other. Delicious smoothies get freshly delivered from The Botanist (often seen on TV’s Made in Chelsea), next door and the salon has reflexologists on standby while you're waiting for your colour to set – dream scene!
After all the fun, you may feel like a night away from the bright lights of London, so you can stargaze into the English night sky. Stoke Park is only 7 miles from Heathrow, yet is set among 300 acres of glorious parkland, lakes, historic gardens and monuments created over the past one thousand years. The grounds are tranquil and it is the perfect place to enjoy relaxing retreat with a country club atmosphere. Take a breath from your trip and enjoy!
Kelly England wearing Versace
Photographer: Paolo Guadagnin
Assistant: Michele Roma
Hair: Andy Lau
Makeup: Sue Koo