The King’s Road just got cool (ish) again…

Following the opening of its first London store in Regent Street, Anthropologie opens its King’s Road store on 19th March.

This is quite important, not only because it’s another Anthropologie store (AKA, the most beautiful-looking chain in the world) but because it will bring footfall to the King’s Road and other stores are sure to follow. What do we have in the King’s Road already? The Shop At Bluebird of course, towards World’s End and Jack Wills in the middle. Even if you’re not the Jack Wills ‘type’, there’s no denying that the stores, styled to the nth degree, are something to behold. The King’s Road branch has a coffee shop on the top floor (but shhh, don’t tell anyone) and hosts gigs in the basement. The fixtures and fittings are the best type of antiquey shabby-chic with a bit of faux-punk rebellious teen thrown in. There have been rumours of A Very Well Known US Designer sniffing around for a store nearby too but I’m not sure how reliable they are.

Back (way back) in the day, there was a clutch of superb shops between Vivienne Westwood’s World’s End shop and where The Shop At Bluebird resides now. As well as American Classics (the best used Levi’s 501s this side of the Atlantic), there was The Emperor of Wyoming (more vintage Americana), Liberated Lady (’80s interpretations of ’50s fashion) and Johnny Moke (the shoe dude). A bit further along was Eat Your Heart Out, another vintage store where I once bought a long black crepe Biba dress. Funnily enough I recently found out that it was run by vintage dealer Graham Cassie who now runs Cassie Mercantile. He probably sold it to me and I recently donated it back to him!

Not far from where Anthropologie is opening – on the former site of Antiquarius Antiques – was Flip, a smaller outpost of the legendary Covent Garden second-hand Americana store. This was the place to find love-worn baseball jackets, sweatshirts, prom dresses and tube socks – absolute bliss…

Of course Anthropologie is a far cry from those vintage dens and characterful hangouts but the point is, it’s a start. Retail needs to get people interested in discovering shops again, whether they’re vintage stores, toy shops, bookshops or funny little cowboy boot shops. Let’s see who else arrives in the King’s Road after Anthro…

Out of Africa

I have always loved trad African prints, ever since seeing Kenny Scharf posing in a mad-mix trouser outfit in one of his hand-painted cars (of course, can I find the postcard I’m referring to, to scan? No I can not).

You can buy the fabric by the metre in Shepherd’s Bush to magic up all sorts of sartorial delights or you can scroll through Junya Watanabe’s ss09 collection on and marvel at his interpretations. You can also (as I will) scurry down to the Malick Sidibé exhibition when it opens at Lichfield Studios (133 Oxford Gardens, W10) on 11th March. If that isn’t Afro-chic heaven, I don’t know what is.

ASOS has tapped into the trend but taken it a step further with its new ASOS Africa initiative launched last week. The team went to Africa last year to hunt out artisans and small producer groups to work with. The resulting collection will generate an income and build businesses for those local groups as well as highlighting their craft skills.

Finally, I can’t resist adding this pic from Isabelle O’Carroll’s blog – is it me or do these look like prehistoric rollerskates?