Even though I’m a born and bred Londoner, there’s something special about having a staycation in the capital. I’ve always lived in Zones 3 and 4, so used to see a trip into the centre as a bit of an adventure. My family and I would make a special journey to see the Christmas lights, wander around a gallery or just something touristy like the London Eye. Now I’m at a point where wandering around certain areas is like second nature (I can just about tackle Soho without checking Google Maps), but sometimes I’ll still look up, see somewhere like The Mall and think ‘Wow.’
Recently I got to stay at the Sofitel London St James over Fashion Week (I’m still pinching myself) and it was definitely an improvement on my usual commute. There’s so many mysterious grand buildings around, but being able to check into one really gives you an insight into a different era. It’s a listed building, previously a Cox and Kings bank built in 1923 and apparently the windy upstairs corridors made it easier for the police to catch burglars. Now it’s a mixture of British and French design, with Art Deco touches and even a bar inspired by Coco Chanel’s Parisian apartment. I like to think that my velvet suit coordinated with all of this decadence nicely.
What I like about the area around the hotel, is that it’s central but not right by the crowds. I could get my Ping Pong fix nearby, pick up any emergency items and walk to most of the fashion week events. The room itself had everything you could wish for, comfy beds, Hermès toiletries (the smell had to be one of my favourites) and super-fast wifi. Handy when your Internet at home doesn’t want to cooperate and you need to upload a video in a rush.
So how did my fashion week go? To be honest my experience was a little more low key than previous years. The way we consume content has changed radically and you have to be a bit more strategic about how you spend your time. What I am interested in is the bigger picture. It’s crazy that bloggers used to be banned from the press room and now everyone’s a content producer. There are so many lounges connecting bloggers with brands, exhibitions run by powerhouses like Burberry and promotional activities all over the city. It’s fascinating to see how much has changed and there’s still so much more that can be done.
I stuck to the Apartment mainly. Within 30 minutes of arriving their Chinatown space, I’d chatted all things Instagram strategy with Kitty (she’d wangled some tips from an employee) and bonded with Danielle who used to work in design like myself. It reminded me of how generous the community can be and inspired me to think out of the box a little when it comes to my own career. Perhaps it’s a sign that I had a dream about designing my own label again? After seeing how things have evolved over the last eight years that I’ve been attending, it seems like anything is possible…
With thanks to the Sofitel for hosting me as a guest at the Sofitel St James and sponsoring this post. They’ve compiled a city guide which features many of my favourite haunts, hello Sketch!