London, E1 6LZ
The many class acts at work in the Topman General Store made it almost impossible to go wrong – and it didn’t. Topman’s already excellent menswear team, led by Creative Director Gordon Richardson, joined forces with Matthew Murphy of B-store, and handpicked a ministry of all the menswear talents, from Pendleton to Norsea Industries, to populate the shelves alongside the very best bits of Topman. The Topman branding is conspicuous by its absence, and any passers by could easily mistake this stylish, artfully-weathered shop for nearby Albam or APC. Until they stumbled upon a pricetag. Now we want a Topshop general boutique please.
This year, London proved that it doesn't need the long established fashion powerhouses to showcase incredible fashion talent. Milan can have Marni, Paris can have Chanel, but we have Giles, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll and, of course, our very Burberry, all competing for show of the season. This year, LFW had it all – its glorious Somerset House home for once bathed in sun not rain, Beyoncé at Selfridges, A-listers in the front row, and a cobbled courtyard full to the brim with quirky bloggers fighting for some lens attention. Brilliant.
3 Chichester Rents, London, WC2 A1E
A new nail bar seems to pop up every week – and there's a limit to how excited you can get about the same rows of OPI lined up against a stack of OK magazines. But MW Nails had us squealing with delight and laughing our heads off at the same time. Tucked down a Clerkenwell side street, it’s a nail bar decked out entirely from the salvaged innards of a Boeing 737. Polishes come round on hostess trolleys, customer coats go up in the hold and beauticians are dolled up like the cast of Pan Am. We have no idea why the owners decided to make a nail bar out of a plane, but we’re very glad they did.
Great Eastern Road, London, E20
Yes, Westfield builds monstrous, enormous, personality-free purchasing engine rooms. But bringing facilities to this neglected part of London can only be a good thing. Come early in the morning and you can get a good look at the Olympics site, have a very civilised nosey around John Lewis, enjoy a frozen yoghurt from Pinkberry, get your iPhone fixed queue-free at the Apple store and do your shopping at Waitrose. This might be old news to those in West London, but to East Londoners, it’s life-changing. Or at least lifestyle-changing.
Chatsworth Road Market, London, E5 0LH
As Broadway Market becomes almost dangerously overcrowded and the Saturday morning espresso queue stretches nearly to Bethnal Green, it’s good to see Chatsworth Road offering an alternative. After a long campaign, the Traders and Residents Association of Chatsworth Road, E5 this year gained approval from Hackney council to reclaim their pavements and revive the market on Sundays after a decade's absence. The offerings are still limited, with a handful of vintage sellers, local food purveyors and coffee vendors given plenty of pavement room, but the market is rapidly growing. Around the same time as the relaunch, the brilliant Russell’s of Clapton opened; a boutique B&B that, having noted the street's potential, has been booked up ever since. Definitely one to watch.