Travel Spotlight

Neighborhood Walk: Mayfair's Clifford Street

Blink and you might miss Mayfair’s Clifford Street, a gem among the marble palaces (Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior) that line the famous New Bond street. But the small, charming road is chock-full of very British, well-curated shops that are worth seeking out. Here is a round-up of some of the best boutiques that inject a sense of fun and discovery into the jaded retail world.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Connolly London Image Courtesy Connolly[/caption]

The news at the moment surrounds the reopening of Connolly, a leather and fashion shop that is owned by the talented Isabel Ettedgui. Connolly is all about quality, cut, fabric and casual elegance, and the store boasts beautiful holiday windows. “I think there’s no soul in so many of these huge stores. They’re so big and so full of product that you lose sense of what the brand is and what it’s about,” says Ettedgui. This could not be less true at at Connolly, which began in 1878 as a leather manufacturer for the British car industry. Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar and Daimler were all fitted with Connolly’s super-soft, high quality leather, as were the benches in the Houses of Parliament. “The members of no less than 14 Parliaments around the world rest their esteemed backsides on Connolly leather” states the company’s web site.

In the early 1990s, Isabel and her late husband, Joseph Ettedgui, the retail genius behind the Joseph brand, launched Connolly. Loved by many, the brand’s flagship boutique on Conduit street closed in 2010, shortly before Joseph died. Isabel kept the trademark, waiting for the right moment to bring Connolly back.

The new, three-floor shop is still very much focused on beautiful leather goods and fashion. Parisian designer Marc Audibet has created a sophisticated unisex line, and the store also stocks everything from thick Arran fisherman sweaters to driving gloves, goggles, boots and Connolly key chains. Upstairs is a chic living room where everything is for sale, including the furniture designed by the shop’s Parisian architects Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier and the stark, evocative photographs of English coal mining families taken by Chris Killip.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Anderson & Sheppard London image Courtesy Anderson & Sheppard[/caption]

Across the street from Connolly is men’s shop Anderson & Sheppard, the haberdasher arm of the Savile Row tailors of the same name. The menswear store sells a wide array of covetable goodies including 52 types of sweaters. There’s a travel jacket with masses of pockets and secret compartments, brightly patterned bathing suits, linen shirts, espadrilles, long dressing gowns, pocket squares and made-to-order French leather gloves in peccary, lambskin and goatskin.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Scheider Boots London Image Courtesy Schneider Boots[/caption]

Schnieder Boots is an eclectic shop tucked away on the second floor of 16 Clifford Street that sells everything to do with horses, including boots for the Queen and the “Household Cavalry.” Rudolph Schnieder is the third generation to run the shop and Northampton factory, where over 2,000 pairs of equestrian boots are made. On a recent visit, the twinkly Mr. Schneider took me into the back of his shop to show me the wooden boot moulds he has for the Queen, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.

Published onDecember 16, 2016

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