London Treasure Hunt
Everything old is new again in London, a city peppered with shops that tell stories of decades past. Here, we unearth the best vintage clothing, most unique curiosities and priceless collectibles in spaces and districts brimming with charm.
Shop A Landmark
Start your search at LASSCO (London Architectural Salvage and Supply Co.), where you’ll find exquisite rare antiques such as 19th-century prints and 1930s pendant lights. Entering the Brunswick House locale at Vauxhall Cross – set in an impeccably restored Georgian mansion – feels like stepping on the set of The Crown. Reserve ahead to have lunch (and admire your findings) at the in-house restaurant, a regal spot with a seasonal British menu and elegantly mismatched decor.
Antique basket bowl on display at the Silver Vaults
Step Inside The Silver Vaults
Going underground – and back in time – is a must to obtain a piece of history. At the Silver Vaults market in London’s Square Mile, the subterranean shops used to hold priceless goods for the Chancery Lane Safe Deposit in the 1800s, before the building was destroyed in World War II. The surviving vaults are now home to the world’s largest retail collection of antique silver, so you can pick up a cocktail shaker, animal figurine or jewelry box that’s literally a piece of London’s past.
The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel
Guests at The Savoy can shop London without leaving the lobby, thanks to curated cabinets featuring the best in British brands (including Paul Smith, Penhaligon’s and Aspinal of London). Those who want a stylish day out on the town can create a custom shopping itinerary or tour local artisans’ ateliers with help from Savoy partner Yellow Moon Tours.
Classic YSL from William Vintage
Try On Timeless Looks
Book an appointment with the in-house stylist at William Vintage in Marylebone, whose famous fans include Emma Watson and Gillian Anderson (who wore a 1956 Sybil Connolly gown to the BAFTAs). Or time your trip to visit the most famous auction houses on the planet, Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The latter even has a division dedicated to designer handbags.
Collectible leather luggage sets at Alfie’s
Explore The Markets
Head over to the South Piazza’s Jubilee Market on Mondays, when veteran dealers present treasures from every era, from Georgian to Art Deco. Discerning antique buyers are also faithful to Alfie’s, a four-level indoor market that opens from Tuesday to Saturday and features over 100 vendors of opulent goods (a favorite of Kate Moss and late musician Prince). Savvy shoppers can acquire treasures such as The Queen’s coronation bunting and shipwreck-salvaged Ming dynasty porcelain.
1967 “envelope” dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga
Get Inspired By Style
To witness the best of a fashion legend, consider a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Here, a fascinating exhibit on fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga (running until February 2018) dives deep into the classic couturier’s obsessions and displays his silk taffeta creations via X-ray. Antique fans will also be satiated by the museum’s collection of six centuries of furniture (think Chippendale chairs and Ranjit Singh’s golden throne).
Written By: Eve Thomas
Photo: Iro 1967 (Balenciaga dress)