Having grown up zipping in a station wagon across the United States, I can proudly say that I've visited a grand total of 49 states. But when it comes to my jaunts abroad...let's just say that my passport is woefully under-stamped. But on the good graces of Visit Britain under Transatlanticism, I got an opportunity to fit in everything I've ever wanted to do, see, taste, touch, buy, and get lost in London and Glasgow--all in five short days. How'd I fare? Take a look at my photo diary for a small snippet of my adventures...
Jet-lagged and running on two hours of sleep, there's nothing like a freezing cold shower in the morning for the out-the-door ass kick I needed (don't worry, the Arch London hotel totally had the pipes working again upon my return that afternoon). Behind me you'll see the TV-in-the-tub feature where I nearly drowned while falling nodding off to British infomercials.
The hotel was located in Central London, and immediately after stepping onto Oxford street, I was greeted with a girl after girl in some of the most creative rainy-day gear I've ever seen. Akiko's pinned coat looked unbelievably warm, and I was ready to rip the tassels off the hotel drapes to imitate Caroline's scarf.
Also, make sure you check out the Eley Kishimoto pop-up shop, also located in Carnaby. Get shirts, wallets, bags, and toys all patterned with Kishimoto's signature pop-art prints. Say hello to the cute showgirls, Harrie and Jemma, who are almost more adorable than the goods they sell.
I traveled down into the bellies of jewelry shop, The Great Frog (these guys outfitted everyone from Metallica to Black Sabbath). Amidst the skulls (both real, human skulls and silver, replica baubles) were tons of great inspiration.
Also from The Great Frog. How rad is the giant tarantula?
London is in the midst of a little Alice in Wonderland love affair (as prompted by Tim Burton's March movie release). We might be in the deepest pits of winter outside, but indoors at Beatrix Ong, it's all bunnies and springtime. The furry carpet is also great for passing out from adorableness.
I was told that I had to stop by Kokon To Zai, located in Soho (fun fact: Soho is definitely not short for "South of Houston," but it's rather a hunting call used by British gentry back in days where you could actually go hunting in downtown London). The shop carries hard-to-find Japanese and Belgian designers as well as their in house brand. I picked up the wool jacket on the right outfitted with two rows of brass balls. Yep. Brass balls. I'm in love.
Also in Soho is this incredible store filled with vintage magazines dating back to when the pages were peddling lace-up corsets. The name? Vintage Magazines, naturally.
I stopped what's been told to me as "The Greatest Department Store Ever," Selfridges. They had a section devoted entirely to '90s merchandise. I couldn't decide which was more of a hoot—Leo or that plaid and fur Gaultier onesie.
The chandelier above my table at Rhodes W1 by Marble Arch. This was the only photo I snapped during dinner because I was too busy devouring my guinea fowl.
London's East End fashion tends to be a little more offbeat. Lina's cape was in the most perfect silhouette, and the Laden Showroom's Lucy has the most striking topknot I've ever seen.
The vintage shops in London might be stocked full pieces shipped from America, but I've never seen such an extensive collection of colored blazers, skirts, boots, and luggage bags like I did on Brick Lane. For those visiting, Beyond Retro, Absolute Vintage, Spitalfields market, and Rokit are the best stocked.
Of course, not everything in London is posh and glam. On the left: The contents of "Swishy" are nearly as gross as the name. On the right: No, you eyes aren't deceiving you. That's Christian Audigier-branded wine. Ack.
The Colonel would not have been pleased.
A common sight during the five days in London. Here's a cheese plate from Glasgow's Fifi and Alley. Now you see it...
...and now you don't!
Of course, cheese wasn't the other thing I was eating. Here are my attempts at food porn...thick cut bacon benedict, pork belly, spicy Indian curry, scones and tea—not to mention all the deliciousness not captured on film. Swoon!
I stopped by Trongate 103 art gallery in Glasgow, and couldn't help but snap this photo. I call it, "Vikram Encounters An Ursine Surprise While Picnicking."
And what's a trip to Scotland without whiskey tasting? I ended the trip in a woozy, boozy state, with my pocketbook empty, but my inspiration cache full of notes and photos—just the kind of state to head into a new fashion season. It's been jolly good, UK. Be back soon!