Letters From London: Rebecca Tay Reports Her New Fashion Favourites

The Vancouver writer decamped to London and found new style inspiration

Mulberry Spring 2012 yellow bag

Photo by Anthea Simms

Royal Mail Fashion Stamps Vivienne Westwood

Vancouver writer Rebecca Tay decamped to London to immerse herself in the stylish sights and sounds of life across the pond. She’ll be sharing her fashionable exploits in a new bi-weekly column.

Ahh, London. Land of crumpets, high tea, and the Queen. Also: Kate Middleton, Topshop, and fashion talent like Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Burberry, and Stella.

There are myriad things I’ve come to love about London since moving here last fall—but also a few things about home that I miss dearly. So, without further ado (to adopt the words of another famous Brit, good ol’ Shakespeare), here are my new London faves and a few fond fashion memories from Canada.

1. Fashion is taken very seriously here. From the exhibitions to fashion week to the throngs of shoppers who hit the high street (def: any main street lined with shops) every lunch, evening, and weekend (and, in the case of Oxford Street, every freaking hour), the fact that fashion is a £20-billion-dollar industry in the UK is not taken lightly. Samantha Cameron, the prime minister’s wife, attends fashion shows (front row, natch) during London Fashion Week, and the Royal Mail’s has just issued new collection of stamps that celebrate the best of post-war British fashion. These aren’t just any old postage: Each of the ten stamps features a faceless model, shot by Sølve Sundsbø (the guy behind campaigns for Tom Ford, YSL, Dior, Gucci, and Hermès), wearing creations by top British talents like Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and Tommy Nutter.

See all 10 fashion postage stamps

2. Mulberry. One of the ultimate Brit brands making it big worldwide. These amazing bags, made in nearby Somerset, count pals like Lana del Rey, Alexa Chung, and Michelle Williams among a loyal following that also includes every other (normal, non-famous) girl on the tube.

3. Unique department stores and boutiques. Where else can you find a store where designers curate their own sections each season (hello, Dover Street Market) or where brands like Christopher Kane and Isabel Marant are housed in a classic Tudor building in the centre of the city (god, Liberty, you’re so beautiful it makes me cry). Same goes for LN-CC, the appointment-only “chamelon café” store that sells so much beautiful Haider Ackermann it hurts.

Fond memories:
1. Club Monaco. Yes, I know it’s available at Harvey Nichols and online—but it just isn’t the same. Prices are way, way higher and the atmosphere isn’t there. (Plus: I miss their legendary sales.)

2.  Lululemon. I was seriously chided for saying I missed my Lulu. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m more motivated to work out when I can buy something new to wear first, but I haven’t found a new go-to workout wear brand yet—somewhere I can go and buy the same cropped leggings I’ve always worn, but in a different colour that I just need to have. The most promising alternative so far is Sweaty Betty, which has shops all over London.