London Fashion – a guide to its recent history


London became a major player in the world fashion game back in the 1960s, when the likes of Mary Quant and Tommy Nutter introduced radical new ideas for men and women’s clothing.

In a recent survey, London fashion and design schools bagged an impressive four of the top dozen places in the world, with Central St Martin’s taking the top spot. Many of the famous alumni of London’s fashion schools have opened flagship stores in the city, so grab your Oyster card and take a tour of what London fashion has to offer.

Jimmy Choo attended London College of Fashion, before his name became synonymous with fabulous footwear. Explore his flagship store in New Bond Street for Women’s, Bridal and made to measure footwear and accessories. His Dover Street flagship store stocks his men’s footwear collection.

Philip Treacy followed Zandra Rhodes and Ossie Clark at The Royal College of Art. Society photographs are full of his work, and no fewer than sixty-six of his creations were worn at the wedding of prince William and Kate Middleton. As well as his studio in Elizabeth Street, Philip Treacy stockists include Harrods and Fortnum and Masons

Christopher Bailey gained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Westminster and followed it with a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Art. He has been responsible for the transformation of Burberry, having become its CEO in 2013. He is responsible for Burberry’s global business, as well as overseeing the design of Burberry’s collections, marketing and architecture. Visit Burberry’s Regent Street store for a full-on Christopher Bailey experience.

Central St Martin’s counts three of the biggest names in fashion among its graduates.

Among his diverse clientele, Alexander McQueen dressed Mikhail Gorbachev, Björk and Lady Gaga and he headed the Givenchy fashion house from 1996 to 2001. His designs turned many accepted fashion conventions upside-down, and sold all over the world. Following his tragic death at the age of forty, his Alexander McQueen stores can be found on every continent. You can visit his flagship stores in London in Old Bond Street and Savile Row (menswear.)

John Galliano headed design at both Givenchy and Dior, in the late nineties and up to 2011, as well as creating his own label. Following alleged anti-semetic comments made during a drunken night out in Paris, he spent some time in the wilderness, returning in 2013 as creative director for Paris-based Maison Margieta. His 2015 collection, shown at the London menswear fashion week marked his comeback. Look for the John Galliano name in Harrods, Selfridges and Dover Street Market, but if you want to see his latest work, you will need to visit Maison Margiela in Bruton Street.

Stella McCartney’s graduation collection at Central St Martin’s was modeled by her friends Kate Moss, Yasmin Le Bon and Naomi Campbell. In spite of early skepticism from the fashion industry, McCartney has proved herself talented in her own right, and not just the indulged daughter of a major celebrity.

Her designs use no leather or fur, although she does use animal derived products, such as wool and silk. She is a committed vegetarian, environmentalist and supporter of sustainability. Her designs have won major awards, and she was the first designer to design sportswear for a whole Olympic squad, when she was put in charge of all the apparel for team GB in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

She currently has forty stores around the world, selling her off-the-peg womenswear, accessories, sportswear, children’s collection, lingerie and perfumes. Her London flagship store is in Mayfair.