The 100 best shops in London: 10-1
Going shopping in London? Plan where to head with our round-up of the city’s finest retailers, from cheap vintage shops to world famous department stores
Fri Feb 7 2014
High fashion from high street to designer under one roof
The denim studio
In the past year, we’ve gathered lists of favourite shops from celebrities, designers and fashion civilians, and one name has recurred as the shop to rule them all, to the point where we’ve often re-worded our question to ‘Apart from Selfridges, what is the best shop in the world?’ to break up the monotony. But if you can’t beat them…
Our love affair with the enduringly charming Liberty, winner of 2012 and 2011, is by no means over, but this year has truly belonged to Selfridges. It even starred in a television series about its genesis – a period drama focusing on founder Gordon Selfridge, whose mantra ‘Selfridges is for everyone’ seems to have impacted on the store more than ever in 2013.
The reason Selfridges takes the shopping crown this year is that it really is for everyone – alongside its designer labels and luxurious services it has clip-in hair extensions, cheapo nail bars and a ground floor busting with fashion that is well within the reach of a teenager’s purse.
Gordon Selfridge’s passion for the theatre of shopping has survived intact – in 2012, a giant confectionary golf course was built on the roof by Bompas and Parr. This year, the shop hosted a floor-takeover by Hong Kong fashion giant I.T. as well as Bright Young Things – a creative mentoring programme for talented Londoners. There is always something happening, whether a shoe-tattooing service or the best make-up artist in the world doing free lippy applications.
Stunts aside, if you can’t find something to buy in Selfridges you simply aren’t looking hard enough. In June 2013, it unveiled what is unquestionably the capital’s best denim department on the third floor – a vast sweep of jeans that runs the gamut from Primark skinnies at £11 a pair to ludicrous diamond encrusted Paige bootcuts at £11,000. It’s hard to imagine another department store putting aside snobbery and allowing a raft of Primark products on their shop floor.
In August 2013, the paltry toy offering was buoyed by a fun new department complete with a messy Play-Doh station, car-racing track and a regular programme of events like a bear-fixing-hospital and Makies 3D printing, meaning the place is now as much a children’s playground as an adults’ one. If all this talk of egalitarian shopping experience leaves the luxe customer yearning for a little exclusivity, take heart: Louis Vuitton recently unveiled a three-storey townhouse within the store – a London first.
Take a tour of Selfridges’ denim studio
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