Kate Foley Takes Us On A Tour Of Her London

Photographed by Georgina Martin in Portobello Market.
With her offbeat yet ladylike aesthetic, British-bred Kate Foley has become a fixture in the New York fashion scene. Formerly a stylist at Vogue Turkey in London, she first ventured to this side of the Atlantic for a buying position at Opening Ceremony more than six years ago. Today, she's a freelance stylist and consultant with a roster of fashion brands and publications as clients around the world. She's a well-traveled pro at this point, but when it comes down to it, she's still a Brit through and through — a cup of Earl Grey every morning (with milk, of course), a penchant for peonies, and an undying love for Marks & Spencer.
So, when Foley recently traveled back to Notting Hill for a quick trip before visiting her family in Slindon, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the area through this local's gaze. From a rundown of the best places to eat and shop around the 'hood to the essentials she'd never leave home without — think her signature midi-skirts and her favorite Jimmy Choo shoes — this fashionable Brit shows us a thing or two about exploring London in style. Click ahead, and start mapping out your next trip across the pond.
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at The Portobello Hotel.
The Portobello Hotel
22 Stanley Gardens, London, W11 2NG, United Kingdom

When you come back to London, do you typically stay with your friends or at hotels?
"Normally hotels. And, I take so many taxis, I feel more like a tourist! I usually stay in the Mayfair area, but this time, I stayed in Notting Hill at The Portobello Hotel. All of my friends live here, and it’s just such a beautiful area."

You do styling work and creative consulting for different brands and publications around the world. How often are you traveling to meet with them?
“I’ve probably been traveling for most of the year. It actually got to the point where it was kind of like, 'Okay, I really want to be home for a bit.' I was in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Paris, Miami, and L.A. — I can’t even remember half of the places. Oh, and England time and time again."
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at Portobello Road.
As someone who visits so often, do you have a morning routine when you're here?
"My favorite breakfast spot is Tom's Kitchen in Chelsea. And, definitely tea in the morning! Either Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchong, which is a really smoky black tea — you either love it or you hate it. And, I always have my tea with milk. When I'm traveling, I'll even carry tea bags in my handbag, like, bags of ginger tea. I normally have it in my handbag for my day-to-day as well.”
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Photographed by Georgina Martin in Notting Hill.
Please tell us you've cracked the code to beating jet lag...
"You know, sometimes, being jet-lagged is not an option. I went through lots of red-eye flights, and then not showering and going straight into meetings. Just throw yourself into [the scene] so you don’t have time to get jet-lagged.”

Right, but what about looking jet-lagged? You look, for the record, impossibly awake.
“A good mix of illuminator and moisturizer, and makeup. I always bring Embryolisse's Lait-Crème Concentré — on the plane, in my bag, everywhere I go. It’s really basic, but it's the best. If I’m feeling really drab, I'll wear red lipstick to attract the attention away from my face."

Marques'Almeida top, Issey Miyake skirt.
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Your look is so unique — how would you describe your aesthetic?
“In one word: eclectic. It's a lot of basic shapes and styles. I always find myself wearing midi or long skirts and dresses in different prints — simple and crazy ones. I love to wear beautiful, bright colors, and that says a lot about my accessories. I’ll happily wear a bright blue dress with a yellow bag and add a pink keychain to it."

What about when you're traveling? What's your hitting-the-road staple?
"Black midi-skirts. I just wear one on the plane and then the next day with heels or something different. It’s like my version of jeans. And, I normally steal my boyfriend’s cashmere V-neck jumpers.”
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202 London
202 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2SB, United Kingdom

You were only in Notting Hill for 24 hours before heading to Slindon. How do you make the most of a whirlwind trip like that?
"I usually know exactly who I really want to see and where I really want to go. Like, I wanted to visit 202 in Notting Hill this time. It's a cute concept boutique. It has clothing, books, a little café — it’s a nice, laid-back spot.”

And, a great place to do some people watching.
“Yeah, I take a ton of photos — like everyone else in the world, with their iPhones snapping away like crazy. And, if I see something that truly excites me, it gets logged into my brain."

Vince top, Suno skirt.
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Photographed by Georgina Martin.
Like New York, London is big a walking city. What was in your shoe arsenal for this trip?
"Half heels and half flats. I used to wear heels every day when I was at Opening Ceremony, but now that I spend more time going to meetings and being on my feet, I've been wearing flats more. I still love heels, and these black, pointy-toe ones are great. They're simple, but the crossover straps make them really interesting. And, they're actually comfortable, which was definitely a nice surprise with heels!"
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at Portobello Road.
Portobello Market
Portobello Road, London, W10 5TE, United Kingdom

How is the street style in London different than in New York?
"There’s a kind of coolness to the way people dress in London that feels very easy and looks good. People are a little more adventurous, like to have a little bit more fun, and will wear something a little bit more crazy without feeling self-conscious."

There's more to Portobello Market than the blue door and travel bookshop from Notting Hill. As a local, what makes this place special?
“I feel like I’ve been going to Portobello since I first started shopping in London. The market has a great atmosphere — it’s so quintessential London. It's got an amazing selection of jewelry, vintage clothing, and bits and bobs.”

Zara dress.
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at Portobello Road.
Do you buy more clothes or accessories when you're here?
"More clothing. It’s that thing where you feel justified, like, 'Oh, I’m on vacation! It doesn’t really matter how much I spend.'"

We heard you have an epic collection of vintage black skirts. Do you thrift and shop vintage often?
"I love vintage, but I don’t love sorting through stuff. I can deal with small shops, like these in Portobello Market, because they feel really organized. I’m not someone who will spend hours rifling through things because I simply don’t have the patience.”
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at Portobello Road.
What are some of your other favorite shops around Notting Hill?
"I really love the store Joseph, which has a New York location, too, but it's smaller. And, outside of the area, actually, I love Dover Street Market. The Rose Bakery there is great, too!"

When you're shopping at mass retailers abroad, do you ever notice that the inventory is different from the stock you'd find stateside?
“Yes! In London, for some reason, high-street stores like Zara and Topshop are much better than in New York. I don’t know if it’s the merchandising or something, but there’s something different. It’s really weird. More people buy into trends and experiment with style in the U.K., I think."
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at Wild At Heart.
Wild At Heart Flower Shop
222 Westbourne Grove, London, W11 2RJ, United Kingdom

This gorgeous flower shop is a few minutes' walk down Portobello Road. Do you have any fave florals that you pick up from there?
"The stall is very English. My favorite flora are peonies and lavender — I really love all of those beautiful English-y, soft-toned flowers. My mom actually makes me lavender bags from our garden in Slindon. I keep them with me in my handbags."

Tory Burch dress.
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at Portobello Road.
Portobello Road is such a scenic street. What makes it so quintessentially 'Notting Hill'?
"There's a part of the area where all the houses are painted different colors on both sides of the street. They’re all soft, beautiful colors, and it’s the prettiest, most perfect street. If you’ve gotten off the tube and you’re walking into Notting Hill, you'll feel like, 'Okay, now I’m in Notting Hill.' It’s so different from the rest of London.”
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Photographed by Georgina Martin at Portobello Road.
So, with this trip coming to a close, where are you off to next?
"Well, it's 'Fashion Month,' so I'll be in and out of New York, London, and Paris. Maybe Milan, too — not sure about that one just yet. And, I'd really love to go to India for fun later. It's an amazing, totally different country with so much culture."