I am rousing myself from my post-London Design Festival hangover and attempting to compose a love-letter to this city by the Thames. Having spent five days absorbing and devouring as much as I could you’d think I’d be sated. Impossible. Not even close. That’s how much London means to me. It’s a city in which design seeps through every cobblestone and lurks around every corner. If you haven’t been for awhile, please let me try to explain. London is pithy and precise without being prim. It’s bohemian chic standing (or slouching) proudly next to centuries old buildings in which there are contemporary designs and upstart brands delivering on the promise of what good design should be.
It is graffiti-strewn walls and street art that is breathtakingly beautiful and done in such a happenstance way that if you don’t know to look, you’ll miss it. It’s whitewashed brick exteriors with wrought iron fences and black enameled doors that are lined up as perfectly as any of the Queen’s horsemen.
It’s a city where an older gentleman sits for a moment, lost in thought, surrounded by color and life and design and seemingly not affected by any of it. It’s street performers and street-writers-for-hire. It’s gritty and run-down and teeming with young people who seem to have been born with their own innate fashion sense – whatever that might be. Nothing is off limits, nothing is to be sneered at, and all fashion attempts are welcome.
Fashion is an amalgam – there is no other way of describing it. If tartan and flannel and cashmere and leather were thrown into a washing machine with some Doc Martens – what comes out is what a fairly typical Londoner might look like.
London is funky antiques married to contemporary design in an open marriage; each is allowed to pursue others with wild abandon because whatever it is they bring back enhances the other.
It is a city where you can see a bride in a traffic-stopping corseted wedding dress casually being photographed on the street – no big deal.