Shopping in Covent Garden this weekend? Of course you are! (And if not why not?) The one-time tacky tourist trap is becoming something of a fashion and foodie mecca with Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Meat Market and Laduree all setting up shop in the last year or so. This winter also sees the arrival of Keith McNally’s Balthazar rezzo but that’s a post for another day.
For the fashion set, the place to be is King Street, especially as of last week when Opening Ceremony arrived to open a pop-up. Why a pop-up when there’s a permanent store opening in October a few doors down the road? “We wanted to open as a pop-up with special products, almost as a souvenir shop,” said Opening Ceremony’s co-founder Humberto Leon, pointing out that although this is a pop-up, it’s certainly no ramshackle, thrown-up-overnight affair. As with everything Opening Ceremony does, there’s attention to detail everywhere you look; takeaway postcards and storage jars full of cute knick-knacks were just two of the touches I spotted. And it’s great to see a Claire De Rouen bookshop here. The cult Charing Cross Road store has a presence at Opening Ceremony in a corner of the basement. “Books are a part of culture that’s always incorporated in the space. There’s always a price point you can buy to make people feel welcome,” said Leon. Also key is the notion of collaboration and for this pop-up Leon called on some of his favourite young Brit talents (including Henry Holland and Christopher Shannon) to make special Olympic-themed pieces, not to mention some sports-centric contributions from Norma Kamali and Chloe Sevigny (whose greatest Opening Ceremony hits include an entire rail of Vision Streetwear skate sweats).
Over two floors there’s a lot of eye candy and it reminds me of what Marc by Marc Jacobs used to be when it first arrived here; a focused high-low experience of desirable and wearable clothes, accessories, books and toys. Feast your eyes on the photos below and don’t miss my other Covent Garden recommendations at the end…
My other Covent Garden favourites
Kastner & Ovens – a healthy deli cafe where you can grab a slice of quiche and salad on the hoof or perch at the table out the back
Fire & Stone – my guilty foodie pleasure. ‘World-themed’ pizzas from the Bombay Curry to the Peking Duck. Not for pizza purists obv but crispy duck on a pizza is actually quite delicious
Monmouth Coffee – if you want a coffee in Covent Garden, you have to go to Monmouth Coffee in Seven Dials. Great coffee and cosy atmosphere
The Vintage Showroom – my favourite vintage shop in London. A very specific heritage-y point of view, good for heavy-weight utilitywear and no filler. Alas, it’s mostly menswear but some of the sizes come up small
Paul Smith – always good for a nose round, especially for gifty items and limited edition photo books
OPENING CEREMONY POP-UP IS AT 31-32 KING STREET, WC2