This is the less frenetic third of Oxford Street, with the glamorous Selfridges providing a shoppers’ paradise of must-see labels, pop up shops and chic refreshment areas, and slightly quieter flagship branches for high street brands like River Island. That is until you get to the positively gigantic Primark store – the Marble Arch monster of cheap clothing, where sometimes the crowds make it difficult to even get in the door.
360 Oxford Street, W1C 1AB
This US chainstore arrived in Oxford Street in 2011, hoping to give Topshop a run for its money. The bright white lighting and tightly-packed rails of cheap and cheerful clothing mean it’s aimed squarely at the late teens/early twenties market (no-one else looks good in polyester under a fluorescent light). While competition for those monthly allowances is stiff on Oxford Street (Topshop, H&M, Miss Selfridge already do a good job of servicing the young with skinny jeans and R&B) Forever 21 has been a hit.
Provenance is a butcher’s shop in Notting Hill run by a bunch of young enthusiasts who gave up desk jobs to train as butchers and charcutiers. Struan Robertson is the founder, an alumnus of the School of Artisan Food in Welbeck, Nottinghamshire. The rest of the team – Tom Gibson, Guy Gibson, and Erin Hurst – are all Kiwis, which partly explains the grass-fed wagyu beef burgers from New Zealand that are flying out the doors in barbecue weather. A lot of the meats are value-added, such as marinated whole chickens and lamb kebabs, to offer what Struan calls ‘meal solutions’ for local shoppers (well, he is a former advertising man). The meats are all free range, the charcuterie supplied by British makers. Give it a look.