For over 20 years Bond Street was effectively my local high street. Before Condé Nast – publishers of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Tatler and GQ, of which I was editor-in-chief – closed down their HQ, and centred all their operations in New York, three times a week I would walk from Hanover Square over to the top of New Bond Street and work my way down to Piccadilly, first stopping at Dolce & Gabbana and then likely Chanel, BOSS, Tod’s and Smythson.
Sometimes I’d window shop and sometimes I’d really shop, but I was continually spurred on by the thought that there was always another luxury experience just a few yards away. My favourites were invariably selfish choices, I confess – I love going into Dolce & Gabbana as I know I’m always going to find something I like. I tend to wear a lot of their clothes, not least because they tend to be black. They also have a fine selection of shoes and coats.
“For over 20 years Bond Street was effectively my local high street”
Occasionally, after a bout of retail therapy, I would retire to Claridge’s for a restorative pot of tea. These days, since its recent renovation, it’s even more of a destination and decidedly a special treat. It was always one of the best hotels in London, but in the last few years it’s managed to become even more glamorous. If Claridge’s was full, and I hadn’t booked, I’d wander over to Brown’s Hotel or The Connaught for an equally satisfying rest and recharge.
At this time of year, those breaks can be essential as the business of shopping is hard work. Having everything you could wish to gift in one street is a real bonus though. Also, at Christmastime I do recall that, were I feeling naughty, and my next meeting was cancelled, I’d sneak into the Royal Academy, Sotheby’s or Bonhams and kill a secret hour. Sometimes I’d get so absorbed in a show at the RA that I would still be there come chucking-out time, when a concerned security guard would ask me – oh so politely – if I wouldn’t mind, you know, pushing off. I would always smile, apologise and then quickly walk back to Vogue House, contented and culturally fulfilled.
Today, I still make a point of visiting Bond Street. The Elizabeth Line has a station there, and as I live in Paddington and work in Liverpool Street, I find Bond Street to be a perfect halfway house. It is great for jewellery (for gifts in Tiffany or Harry Winston), great for menswear (when I’m selfishly shopping for me), great for womenswear (when I’m shopping for my wife or my two daughters) and even great for dogs (just check out all those canine gifts in Ralph Lauren; I know my Maltipoo, Louis, has). It’s also a great street for watches, which I have to admit, are something of a weakness in my world; seriously, how can you pass a Rolex shop and not walk in for a browse?
“Bond Street has always been the very heart of Mayfair, and although there are competitors, it is still number one”
Then if a lunch or dinner is called for, Bond Street has a lot to offer gastronomically. The restaurants may change occasionally but they’re just as good as they’ve always been, while many are better. Some of my favourites are Scott’s, Cecconi’s, Hakkasan and Isabel.
Bond Street has always been the very heart of Mayfair, and although the likes of nearby Mount Street and Albemarle Street are making a fair fist of being worthy competitors, it is still number one.
Long shall it remain that way.
Dylan Jones is the editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard and was formerly the editor-in-chief of i-D, Arena and British GQ