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Getting down to business in London brings you to several different neighborhoods, with a variety of shopping opportunities. One of my favorite neighborhoods is Notting Hill for both classic and modern style. Laundry Industry, 186 Westbourne Grove, is probably the best source for fashion that incorporates both urban hip and soft feminine styles. Laundry Industry is a Dutch design house that produces a limited quantity of their designs. The sweaters and print slip dresses are the perfect items for transitioning into spring. J & M Davidson, 42Ledbury Road is where to go for fashion forward leather handbags made in traditional English style. They also stock a great assortment of cotton sweaters and dresses with a tribute to retro styling of the 1950s and 60’s. Just across the street, Paul & Jo, Ledbury Road, an intimate two-story boutique filled with the latest clothes and accessories for the young at heart and young in years. Ballantyne Cashmere, 303 Westbourne Grove, has put a new face on what was a traditional cashmere brand. The colors are like candy, the prints are fun, the styles are clean, and the best part is the quality has not changed, these sweaters are made to last. Titina Penzini, 52 Ledbury Road, features jewelry inspired from nature, the collection includes mother of pearl, feathers, and coral. Michel Guillon, Ledbury Road, is a great source for eyeglasses. The shop is a blue illuminated narrow hallway and the glasses are all on display in draws that randomly open automatically to display the latest styles. Paul Smith’s Westbourne House. 122 Kensington Park Road is always a treat to visit; the merchandise is mixed with his own furnishings so you have the feeling of a personal visit with the designer. Spiderman is scaling the window of this shop, another insight to the designer’s sense of humor.

Kensington is another neighborhood good for shopping. Walton Street is full of colorful storefronts featuring apparel, jewelry, and home furnishings. Tashia, 178 Walton Street is a great source for the design conscious hippie. You can be sure to find unusual handbags, sandals, and adorable scarf print dresses. Catherine Prevost, Walton Street, has some very unique jewelry, and accessories. My favorite things in this shop are the Venetian style slippers and the hand painted lacquered clutches. Arabesk, 156 Walton Street, carries many different jewelry designers, but it is best for reproductions of 1950s and 60s style vintage earrings.

After roaming the more eclectic shops, I always head for some traditional luxury in Knightsbridge and Belgravia. At Tanner Krolle, 5 Sloane Street, QuentinMackay is busy designing the new classics, by injecting a lot of sass into the classic handbag. The handbags feature the style elements from the archives of this 148-year-old leather goods company, but the execution is totally cool. The limited editions are my favorite bags; these bags are made from a variety of exotic furs, leathers, and colors. Who could resist a Ferrari yellow Cutter bag, which features a gate lock closure? One of my favorite streets in this neighborhood is Ellis Street, where you will find “made in England”, LuluGuinness, 3 Ellis Street, who we love for her cheeky designs, Selina Blow, 1 Ellis Street, for her interpretation of modern English jackets and coats in unique fabric patterns, Georgina von Etzdorf, 4 Ellis Street, for scarf’s hat behave like jewelry, and the French Sole, 6 Ellis Street, for the symmetrical ballet flat done in many patterns and colors. The best part of this street is the storefronts, which are painted in beautiful bright colors. This is a good place to find a gift from England. Another great little street in the neighborhood is Pont Street; AllegraHicks, 28 Cadogan Place, (entrance on Pont Street), is an elegant two story house filled withfashion and home furnishings, lots of great gift ideas, and Anya Hindmarch, 15-17Pont street, continues to surprise us with images we may otherwise find somewhat perverse until she puts them on our accessories. Liza Bruce Swimwear, 9 Pont Street, for made to measure swimwear, the ultimate in making a bathing suit work.

There are a few other interesting things to do in London besides shopping. A must stop is the exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, to see the Turks, through April of this year. This exhibit brings you through a thousand years of history of the Turkic people. On exhibit are many of the items they collected along the Silk Road as they moved westward. I was particularly impressed with the robes and tunics, so luxurious and so well preserved. A ”suit of armor”, a tunic made of gold brocade silk and lined in sable was for sure made by the “petites mains” of the Ottoman Empire. I don’t actually think this went to war, but it was worn in pageantry and it is something I would love to have in my closet. At the Comedy Theater, Kim Cattrall is starring in "Whose Life is it anyway?" a thought provoking and intense play, quite a twist from her “Sex and the City” character, Samantha, but with some of the same “desires”. She plays the character well and keeps the play “alive”.

London is one of the greatest cities in the world for dining. Some of my favorite restaurants which are relatively new on the scene include, Amaya, Halikan Arcade, Motcomb Street, SW1, this is the best Indian food I have ever tasted, and I have been told by two Indian friends that it is the best not only in London, but it is better than any Indian restaurant in New York and India, that is a recommendation! Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin frequents this restaurant, so you know it is not only good food but also very happening. Cipriani, 25 Davies Street, W1K3DE, for the buzz and of course the traditional Harry’sBar fare, which you can never go wrong on as long as you don’t mind exchanging “platinum” for pasta, but believe me this is the spot of London’s social register. Yauatcha, 15 Broadwick Street, W1, for dim sum, just be careful making your way to the subterranean space, getting into and out of your seat in very narrow spaces and making it through the narrow passages to the restroom in the dark requires some ingenuity, but the food is interesting and the bar upstairs is atop an aquarium which is way cool for sipping one of their exotic tea drinks. I like the Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, W1, for modern British fare and traditional British atmosphere. The Wolseley is in a former auto showroom with beautiful wood and marble finishes and a very fanatic buzz.









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