Shoppers’ guide to London 2012: Ten fashion stops not to miss
LONDON, July 13 — The London Olympics (July 27-August 12) are nearly upon us, and Chanel is just one of the latest big names to announce its pop-up plans in honour of the games. For shopaholics descending on the UK capital, Relaxnews presents a guide to the best places to shop in the city, from pop-up shops to luxury department stores.
French luxury house Chanel will open its first-ever dedicated perfume store in Covent Garden later this month to coincide with the start of the Olympics. The two-floor pop up shop in the tourist hotspot of Covent Garden will offer classic fragrances and beauty collections. There is not yet an exact opening date; the store is set to stay open for six months.
Also based in Covent Garden will be US specialty boutique Opening Ceremony's first European flagship, a pop-up shop opening on July 19 and set to remain into the fall. Special products to mark the Games have been developed exclusively for Opening Ceremony London by brands including Proenza Schouler, Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony and Band of Outsiders.
Covent Garden will also be host to the first of high street retailer H&M's two pop-up stores dedicated to sportswear. The Covent Garden location opened July 6 for ten weeks, while the second in the Westfield Stratford shopping centre — situated at the gateway to London's Olympic Park — opened its doors July 7 and should remain open for business on a permanent basis.
Also worth checking out at Westfield Stratford is London department store Liberty's first pop-up store. The iconic shop, which was named number one of the 100 best stores in London by Time Out last year, opened up at the mall May 28 and will be in place until September 12. Situated in main promenade The Street, the shop will echo Liberty's prestigious flagship store on Marlborough Street.
Shoppers in the Olympic Park neighborhood in pursuit of something less mainstream should try the Boxpark pop-up mall in Shoreditch, which brings together independent streetwear labels including Abuze and Boxfresh. The mall will be showing free musical performances from some of London's best rising talents during the Olympic Games, and on August 1 will launch an exclusive exhibition to allow tourists to meet local London art critics and artists.
Ladies looking for a quirkier aesthetic should also head to the eclectic markets in the East of the city such as Brick Lane and Spitalfields, whose array of quirky independent retailers regularly attract Brit style icons such as Alexa Chung and Florence Welch.
If it is something higher end you are looking for though, why not escape the bustle of the Olympic neighbourhood and visit the more tranquil Westfield Shepherds Bush in the West of the city, which hosts high-end section The Village, with stores including Dior, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo.
And no visit to London would be complete without a trip to famous Oxford Street in the centre of town, which welcomes over 100 million shoppers from 200 countries every year and hosts flagships from high street retailers including American Apparel, Topshop and Urban Outfitters.
One of the street's best loved department stores is Selfridges, which is home to two must-see fashion events this summer. Running throughout July and August, its “Wonder Windows” will showcase the Britain Creates 2012 Exhibition, where leading designers such as Paul Smith and Matthew Williamson have each teamed up with a leading contemporary artist to create a work of art to represent London as a capital for creative excellence.
Plus, on July 24, three days before the games commence, Karl Lagerfeld is slated to make a personal appearance at Selfridges to inaugurate a dedicated space to his signature brand, and launch the new premium line Karl Lagerfeld Paris Man. Various Lagerfeld-themed attractions will include a pop-up space on the third floor in the contemporary women's wear department, and an Olympic-themed capsule line of apparel under the banner "Team Karl." — AFP/Relaxnews