Getting the London Look

One aspect of London that I did not expect at all was how upscale it truly is. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the full availability of high-fashion here in England. From Haute Couture stores like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Dolce & Gabbana, to huge department stores such as Harrod’s or Selfridge’s, and trickling all the way down to more affordable high-end stores like Zara and Topshop. London as a fashion capital, really does have something for everyone. There are a whole bevy of upper-class sections in London that cater to the sophisticated elite such as Bond Street near Piccadilly and several shopping sections around Kensington Palace, which I found quite fascinating. Bespoke (custom made and tailored clothing) brands litter roads like Savile Row, which resides in the menswear section of London, and are extremely popular with the upper class. Street style wise as well Londoners are very fashion-forward and trendy. I’ve noticed a lot of women wearing Chanel flats with flowing colored pants and a simple designed sheer top. The bags here are very economical and small as it is kind of hard to maneuver here with a big bag especially on the Tube (a lesson I’ve learned the hard way). Another kind of bizarre rule that I ran across was the fact that numerous stores in London but especially the more exclusive stores do not want large groups to wander together through their stores together. I assume this is because they don’t want people to steal from them (as this is easier in bigger groups and there are no security sensors at the doors). Some other fashion related tidbits I have learned relate to how the Royal Family influenced fashion throughout the ages. An exhibit in Kensington called “Fashion Rules!” detailed how the clothes worn by Queen Elizabeth and her sister Margaret as well as some of Princess Diana’s own gowns and how they influenced trends as well as changed along with the times. After seeing Diana’s dresses I finally understood why she was such a huge fashion icon for so many people during her lifetime as well. Our group was also incredibly lucky to be able to visit the Worldwide Global Style Network (WGSN) which forecasts and discovers trends across the globe. This was another extremely unique experience in London because the company only has centers in London, Los Angeles, and  New York. However, the company was started in London as a way to determine what macro and micro trends in  fashion were occurring worldwide in order to give designers a leg up for competing on a global stage. Used by numerous fashion houses to help select the newest and trendiest hues and cuts for their clothing, the website also showcases which designers have been the most influential for creating trends as well. After we had explored London for a couple of days, our group took an excursion to the city of Bath two hours outside of London. Bath was fascinating for several reasons, the foremost being that every single building in the city according to their laws had to be built out of the same kind of locally grown limestone for aesthetic purposes. As a city Bath itself was rather beautiful, which made sense to me after I learned that Bath used to be one of the most premiere cities to visit in England due to the fact that it housed the only naturally occurring hot spring in all of the country. While in Bath we got to visit the Fashion Museum, which was home to  several Georgian era gowns and suits worn by the extremely rich during that time period. In the museum we saw how the styles of this age waxed and waned between overly decorated, to more staid styles depending on the economic conditions of the time. Overall, I would say that the various fashion exhibitions and sites of London have really solidified London as a very relevant city for trendy fashion followers in my own mind.

A window display at Dolce & Gabbana

One of Princess Diana’s gowns at the V&A Museum

A window display at Harvey Nichols

This dress featured prominently in the Fashion Museum in Bath’s ads.

Entrance to the Roman baths in Bath.

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