LONDON (Reuters) – London’s Autumn/Winter 2013 Fashion Week runs from February 15 – February 19 and is one of the best times to visit the British capital, abuzz with fresh designs and creativity on and off the catwalk.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge show how to make the most of a short visit to the British capital and where to find good food, fun and of course fashion.
6 p.m. – Whether you’ve just checked into your hotel or spent the day devouring designs from the catwalk, celebrate the first day of shows with oysters and champagne at J. Sheekey Oyster Bar. A stone’s throw away from Somerset House – where most of the fashion action happens – you’re bound to run into a few fashionistas out on the town. (www.j-sheekey.co.uk/)
8 p.m. – The Victoria and Albert Museum of art and design houses the world’s largest dress collection and is a must-see for fashion fiends. On Fridays visitors can enjoy live performances, installations, cutting-edge fashion, debates and guest DJs at the museum’s late-night exhibition opening.
9 a.m. – Wake up bright and early to get nimble with a reformer pilates class at Ten Pilates in up-market Mayfair. There’s no subscription or joining fee, so it’s perfect for those passing through town. Don’t overdo it – make sure you choose the right class out of beginner, intermediate and advanced. (www.tenpilates.com)
11.30 a.m. – Head to Liberty London, known locally as “Liberty’s”. The department store’s founder nurtured the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau scene and it is famed for its floral and graphic prints. Nowadays Liberty’s Tudor-style beams are home to irresistible designer collections. Get a blow-dry and manicure worthy of London Fashion Week’s front rows in the atelier of celebrity colorist Josh Wood, recently launched in store. (www.liberty.co.uk)
4 p.m. – For more avant-garde designer pieces, sashay down to Dover Street Market near Green Park underground station. Brainchild of Comme des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo, it stocks London Fashion Week favorites Christopher Kane, Erdem and Simone Rocha. (london.doverstreetmarket.com)
5 p.m. – Around the corner is the Royal Academy of Arts where you can admire Japanese sculptor Mariko Mori’s critically acclaimed exhibition “Rebirth”. (www.royalacademy.org.uk)
6 p.m. – Tuck into a pre-theatre ceviche at the Peruvian restaurant of the moment Lima before catching Helen Mirren resume the role that won her an Oscar in 2006. In a limited season, she stars as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” – a play about the monarch’s private meetings with British prime ministers. (www.limalondon.com) (www.theaudienceplay.com)
10:30 p.m. – The stunningly designed Sketch restaurant and bar on Conduit Street is sure to be a fashion week hangout for those in the business. Go late doors to soak in the atmosphere and have a few cocktails. The gallery, created by Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, is one of Sketch’s five spaces and is at once an exhibition, an artwork and a restaurant. (www.sketch.uk.com)
11:30 a.m. – Join the long line of hipsters queuing at the inconspicuous door of the Breakfast Club tucked away on Artillery Lane in Spitalfields. Sip a “morning mojito” spiked with gold rum alongside your eggs royale.
If you find yourself there in the evening, sneak behind the big SMEG fridge door – and you’ll be in basement speakeasy The Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town. (www.thebreakfastclubcafes.com)
1 p.m. – The London fashion experience would not be complete without a vintage find – Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair (www.clerkenwellvintagefashionfair.co.uk) takes place on the Sunday of Fashion Week at the beautiful Old Finsbury Town Hall.
4 p.m. – Stop by the brutalist Barbican to experience what it’s like to control the rain in Random International’s popular art installation. (www.barbican.org.uk)
7 p.m. – Round off your trip with some modern British food at trendy Hix at the Tramshed, run by seasoned English chef and restaurateur Mark Hix. Not one for vegetarians, the menu is cheekily echoed in a large, specially commissioned art work by British artist Damien Hirst in the middle of the restaurant – a cockerel perched on a cow in a glass tank of formaldehyde.
(Reporting By Dasha Afanasieva, editing by Paul Casciato)