Avery Fine Perfumery
Located on Avery Row, a quiet back street in Mayfair, this innovative perfume shop is a play on the word aviary, an airy home for exotic birds. And like birds, scents travel weightlessly through the air. As people pass close to the shop’s windows, interactive technology causes a perfume bottle to emit a virtual spritz of scent outside the shop. There are birdcages in the window and taxidermy birds on the shelves, but the collection, with lots of niche brands from Italy and France, is focused, beautifully presented and worth a sniff (or two or three).
Gray’s impressive red brick building stands proud in the heart of Mayfair’s shopping streets and is home to around 200 arts and antiques dealers–the perfect place to pick up an original memento of your visit to London. A lost tributary of the River Tyburn, which flows from north London down to the Thames, was discovered in Gray’s adjacent mews building, and has been developed into an interesting feature of this fascinating emporium.
House of Hackney
This glorious flagship store in the heart of Shoreditch is well worth a pilgrimage from West London, although the most devoted fashion mavens willingly cross entire oceans to stock up on finds here. Vibrant floral arrangements greet patrons as they enter, and the visual feast continues with a parade of House of Hackney’s iconic print collections (the brilliantly quirky Hackney Empire and Dalston Rose prints are modern day classics.) Almost everything, from the wallpapers and furnishings to the fashions and fabrics, is made in Great Britain.
Karl Lagerfeld made a grand entrance in 2014 with his Regent Street flagship store. The shop pays homage to Lagerfeld’s stylish eclecticism, selling mugs, candles and iPhone covers featuring his own image, and outfits similar to the late couturier's trademark suits and fingerless gloves. In addition to the kitsch, however, is Mr Lagerfeld’s ready-to-wear collection along with some pieces created especially for the UK.
Labour & Wait
Redchurch Street in London’s reinvigorated East End is studded with gems such as the household goods shop Labour & Wait. It has a stripped-back postwar aesthetic and features a range of useful products from Brown Betty teapots to Welsh blankets, leather tool bags, fishing bags and traditional household items.
Just off Brick Lane sits London Undercover, a sleek men’s store that showcases books, accessories. Owner Jamie Milestone also creates handcrafted umbrellas, which can be customized to customers’ liking. An additional location can be found in Bloomsbury at 28 Lamb's Conduit St.
Peter Layton London Glassblowing
It is unusual to find a working artist’s studio in the middle of a commercial area. Take a small detour from the South Bank and Borough Market to visit Peter Layton’s glassblowing studio, where visitors are encouraged to watch glassblowers turn blobs of molten glass into eye-catching works of art. Bermondsey Street, also home to the Fashion and Textile Museum, is worth a visit in itself.
Tucked away on Kinnerton Street in Knightsbridge is this shop for bespoke and whimsical scented candles. Rachel Vosper and her talented team design collections around seasons and special scents, and also offer a bespoke service.
Part exhibition-space, part-shop, this longstanding yet perennially hip concept store is brimming with beautiful furniture and innovative home accessories—look out for exquisite wallpapers and painstakingly sourced vintage Moroccan rugs. SCP should the first port of call on Curtain Street—a road that every design lover should get to know.
The Organic Pharmacy
Those in search of gifts should keep an eye out for The Organic Pharmacy. The six London stores are stocked to the rafters with indulgent organic products that really work, created by founder Margo Marrone. Each also houses a clinic and beauty rooms.
The Peanut Vendor
Since opening in 2008, The Peanut Vendor has become every fashionable East Londoner’s go-to store for early 20th century and midcentury modern furniture. Pieces for sale are frequently originals by sought-after makers like Jan Vanek, Ernest Race and Peter Hvidt. The shop's owners also cherry-pick beautiful ceramics, artwork and accessories by local and up-and-coming designers, making The Peanut Vendor a great destination design store for international visitors hoping to take a slice of European interior design home.