Monday, 22 August 2011
Shopping like a grown-up
There comes a point when you realise there's more to life than fashion. That homewares are important too.
So say hello to my new favourite shop, Darkroom. It's a lifestyle store - a place where 'creativity is developed.' You can find it on Lamb's Conduit Street in London - and online too - which I've only just discovered, is owned by Rugby School. But don't let that put you off. This is not a place for sporty Bullingdon-toff-types, 'They have a policy of only renting the shop spaces to independent retailers,' says Darkroom director, Lulu Roper-Caldbeck, ' The street is a fascinating mix of old and new boutiques, restaurants, cafes, tailors and even London’s oldest funeral parlour - which incidentally buried Lord Nelson! There's a level of friendliness often not found in the bustle of London’s busier shopping districts.'
I give you the perfect spot for some grown-up retail action:
At Darkroom, there are no jam-packed rails or rowdy teenagers, just shelves filled with carefully curated items: gorgeous jewellery, bags and textiles from Parisian trade fairs, degree shows and crafts people around the world. It's easy to while away the time, browsing elegant nick-nackery or flicking through the magazines, though owners Lulu R-P and Rhonda Drakeford may not thank me for telling you that. The knitted pouffe above (also available in mustard), and Established & Sons containers (below) are on my wish list.
If you're in London, Lamb's Conduit Street is a brilliant place to shop. Here you'll find, 'Young fashion-led students and 70-year-old 'Bloomsbury' ladies and everything in between.' It's pretty central, yet crowd-free. And while you're at it, check out some of Lulu's favourite local places:
The Espresso Rooms - serves the best coffee in Bloomsbury if not London.
31 - 25 Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3HZ
Folk - a standalone womenswear store selling own-brand casual clothing & footwear, as well other known designers such as Acne. And Aesop beauty products.
53 Lamb's Conduit Street, London
Ben Pentreath - an unusual mix of gifts and things for the home.
17 Rugby Street, London WC1N 3QT
Persephone Books - reprinted classics by mostly by 20th century women, bound in their signature grey slip covers.
59 Lamb's Conduit Street, London
Do you have a favourite shop?