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The Shopping Issue / December 2012


Issue 2 of the newspaper for Victoria that celebrates the people, places and spaces breathing new life into this vibrant neighbourhood

Jimmy Choo

Inside the Victoria Street headquarters of one of the UK’s most respected fashion labels (despite being a mere 16 years old)

A-Z of gifts

The best clothes, accessories, fragrances, homewares, gadgets and foodie treats – plus that winning present for a special him or her


Lady Lucy French on the St James Theatre – the first to open in central London for 30 years – plus all the best seasonal performances

If the shoe fits… New ideas, brilliantly and quickly realised, creating a stylish buzz… no wonder iconic footwear company Jimmy Choo decided to move its headquarters to 123 Victoria Street w o r d s E m m a O ’ K e l ly

A bove r ig ht An im age f rom Jimmy Choo’s A/ W12 c ampaig n Opposite lef t T he fa shion company’s new ba se: 123 V ictor ia St reet

The first step was calling in the hawk man. He came with his birds and chased away the pigeons that had colonised the square in front of Westminster Cathedral. Then came new shops under a floating Corian walkway on Victoria Street, and finally, this autumn, number 123, an iconic Seventies building, swished open its doors, announcing Jimmy Choo had moved in. The shoe empire’s arrival follows in the footsteps of Tom Ford, Burberry and LVMH, all of whom have established HQs in the neighbourhood recently, and it’s further proof that Victoria is becoming London’s fashion business hub. For Pierre Denis, Jimmy Choo’s CEO, the move was a no-brainer. ‘With the new redevelopment of Victoria, 123 was the logical choice for an office relocation, in terms of square footage and positioning,’ he says. ‘We are all looking forward to becoming a part of Victoria’s new diverse community.’ Like others, he is ‘proud’ to be supporting Land Securities’ 10-year plan to transform the area. The £150m refurbishment of 123 Victoria Street from grimy concrete box into a 227,000 sq ft symbol of modernity marks the first of many architectural transformations that will improve the area’s skyline dramatically. Architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson revamped the core of the building and Morey Smith masterminded the sleek reception areas

and public spaces. ‘Our brief was to lift the aspirations of the building and widen its appeal to everyone from bankers to media companies,’ says practice architect Nicola Osborn. Glass elevators, a tripleheight atrium and regular sightlines through from one side of the building to the other are headline features. Osborn adds: ‘The main reception was depressing and dark, and – unbelievably – didn’t even open on to the cathedral square.’ With its boxy glass façade, concrete pilotis and impressive length (it is one of London’s longest buildings), it now stands as a complementary yet futuristic neighbour to the decorative 19th century cathedral next door.


For Jimmy Choo, the timing was perfect. Since 2007, its 200 staff had been working from a nondescript office in Kensington. For five years, growth had been so rapid that it could hardly keep up with itself. Plus, it had evolved organically rather than following a typical corporate trajectory. In 1996, couture shoemaker Jimmy Choo, who was making bespoke footwear for a small, jet-set group of royals and celebrities from a humble studio in the East End, founded the Jimmy Choo brand. With his niece Sandra Choi overseeing creative direction, the brand evolved into a global phenomenon. Choo himself quit in 2001, but the brand

Welcome to the VICTORIA newspaper, your regular update on the transformation of Victoria. A vibrant district is emerging that’s fast becoming one of London’s most desirable to live and work in. The VICTORIA will keep you informed of the progress of Victoria’s exciting new buildings, as well as events in the area. It will also introduce you to some of the people who live and work here; point you to hidden gems dotted around the local streets; and let you in on some of Victoria’s secret history. The VICTORIA newspaper is brought to you by Land Securities, the largest commercial property company in the UK. As part of our long-term commitment to Victoria, we are working closely with Westminster City Council helping local charities, community and employment initiatives. To find out more visit

Jimmy Choo archive, but the current collaboration with US pop artist Rob Pruitt is its largest yet. Launched in November, Pruitt’s capsule collection comprises 19 designs of shoes, bags and accessories, adorned with his signature motifs: pink pandas, glittery leopard and zebra prints and brightly-coloured lace. This is bound to appeal to the newly booming markets in the Middle East, China and Russia, which the shoe empire is openly targeting. The highlight of Pruitt’s collection is a limited edition pair of angel and devil panda minaudières, featuring more than 11,000 handapplied crystals, each numbered and signed by the artist. It’s not only 123’s new residents who are bringing a dash of glamour to the area. In the not-too-distant future, Victoria’s streets will be lined with bistro dining and shops to match. ‘We aim to get away from the usual high street fare; the same old, same old,’ says David Atcherley-Symes, Retail Leasing Director at Land Securities. ‘But it doesn’t happen overnight. Many of the people who work in the area are London-savvy folks who expect more than a regular high street.’ Anchors such as M&S and House of Fraser will be complemented by London’s latest aspirational fashion and food brands. Atcherley-Symes is also cutting back on the mobile phone shops (too many), replacing the predictable coffee chains with the next generation of independents and working with Westminster Council to breathe new life into Victoria’s markets.

a r t i n v i ct o r i a

CO N RAD S H aWCROSS wo r d s e m m a o ’ k e l ly

Some passers-by think they are

after Emin and Hirst, his works have

rotating snowflakes, to others they

appeared in the Saatchi Gallery,

look like tiny flowers, but for their

Turner Contemporary in Margate and

creator Conrad Shawcross, the three

art exhibitions across the world.

‘Canopy’ sculptures in the reception

It was his ‘Slow Arc in a Cube’,

areas of 123 Victoria Street are

a piece on show in the Victoria Miro

simply minimal abstract patterns,

gallery in 2008, which led to the

inspired by the rose windows in

commission at 123. The work

Westminster Cathedral next door.

featured a naked bulb rotating in

‘I have always been interested in

a wire cage that cast spidery

the way light passes through

shadows on the walls. ‘I didn’t

stained glass, and how it divides

approach anyone else. Conrad was

when it hits rose windows,’ says

the obvious choice,’ says Patrick

Shawcross, ‘so the cathedral was an

Burrows at Art Source, which

obvious starting point.’ It was built

commissions many of Land

between 1895 and 1903 in a

Securities’ artworks, among them

Byzantine style and, despite being

the giant ‘Nail’ by Gavin Turk

the largest Catholic church in

outside One New Change in the City.

England and Wales, is somewhat

Shawcross is glad passers-by are

forgotten, overshadowed by

still intrigued by his ‘Canopy’

neighbouring Westminster Abbey.

sculptures. ‘People find them hard

Thirty-five-year-old Shawcross

to define, which is good. I was

is known for making mysterious

trying to recreate the dappled light

machines and sculptures inspired by

that you get when you lie under

geometry, philosophy and physics.

trees on a summer’s day. But they

They often utilise unusual or

also feel almost celestial, like a

hi-tech materials, but also have

supernova, or a solar system, or

a playful element. As one of the

a huge Milky Way.’

leaders of the artistic generation

w w w.conrad sh awcros

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reached new heights, and created the notion that every woman covets a pair of towering five-inch heels. Soon, Jimmy Choos were spotted on catwalks and red carpets everywhere. Last year, Swiss luxury group Labelux bought Jimmy Choo for £500 million. Simon Holloway, who had worked for the likes of Narciso Rodriguez and Michael Kors, joined Sandra Choi as joint Creative Director. Under the new regime, it has been going from strength to strength. There are now more than 150 Jimmy Choo stores in 32 countries and, this year, it posted a 19.2 per cent leap in profits to £26.9m and a jump in turnover to 34 per cent. Its ‘stylemaker’ website, in which dedicated Choo wearers post pictures of themselves from around the world and are rated by other visitors, is their first foray into social media, and next May, a store dedicated to men’s shoes will open in London’s Mayfair. The move into futuristic new offices in the beating heart of Victoria is a potent symbol of its new direction. Staff occupy the top six floors of 123 and have views across central London to the east and immediately over Phillips de Pury auction house to the west. Being right next door to one of London’s major art establishments was a huge draw. In recent years, Jimmy Choo has collaborated with many contemporary artists, from Richard Phillips to Marilyn Minter. Last year, contemporary artist Nan Goldin photographed the ad campaign for Icons, a limited collection of classic heels inspired by iconic styles from the

christmas shopping

the best things Determined not to panic-buy on 24th December this year? Cosmopolitan’s Sophie Goddard makes it easy by choosing her ultimate gifts for Christmas

Lulu Guinness ‘Lips’ shoulder bag £375 at House of Fraser

Daisy Knights studded ring £252 at Goldsmiths

Eve Lom luxury collection gift pack £85 at Space NK

Steve Madden ‘Studlyy’ pumps £75 at House of Fraser

The classic Lulu Guinness ‘Lips’ bag has had a makeover and, boy, do we want a piece of the action. Perfect paired with a slick of lipstick (naturally!) this is the bag to make her knees wobble.

Daisy Knights is the jeweller of the moment, with stars including Alexa Chung and Rihanna spotted rocking her trinkets. This statement gold-plated ring is my favourite bit of bling.

This pampering pack from Eve Lom includes the cult cleanser (one of the best eye make-up removers there is), muslin cloth, TLC radiance cream and a rescue mask (perfect for post-partying fatigue).

Every Christmas needs a splash of sparkle and they won’t come any more fabulous than these silver-studded pumps by US shoe designer Steve Madden. Perfect for the magpie in your life.

Liberty’s menswear buyer Ben Andrew reveals his Christmas gift shortlist, ideal for those difficult-to-buy-for men in your life

Barbour Bag £165 at House of Fraser Barbour is best known for its iconic jackets, but the company also produces great accessories. This striped wool satchel is perfect for the office and the weekend.

Nike Element Shield top £74 at Runners Needs

Anderson Brogue £200 at Jones the Bootmaker

Ski tuke III beanie £24 from The North Face

Neon is big trend in sportswear and this Nike zipthrough jacket will ensure high visibility and suitable warmth when running off those Christmas indulgencies.

For any discerning man, shoes are one of the most important aspects of the wardrobe - you can’t go wrong with a wing-tip brogue, and particularly this great interpretation.

Fashion meets functionality with this beanie from The North Face. The technical fabric keeps the head warm; the snowflake print keeps the wearer looking good.


s h o p p i n g & DI N I N G in victoria

STAYING: Victoria’s new crash pad

V i ct o r i a i s e m e r g i n g as o n e o f t h e C a p i ta l’ s m o st v i b r a n t a n d st y l i s h d e st i n at i o n s , w i t h a n e v e r - e x p a n d i n g r a n g e o f r e ta i l e r s a n d e at e r i e s i n a n d a r o u n d ca r d i n a l p l ac e

T he new Intercont inent al in V ictor ia

With great shops, restaurants and theatres, Victoria is fast becoming a destination you won’t want to leave. The good news is you won’t have to, as Intercontinental launch heart of St James’. Minutes from Victoria Street and within sight of Westminster Abbey, this will be the first new hotel from the group in 36 years. And it’s certainly been worth the wait, with a design that reflects its location at the heart of British government, with many nods

Accessorize 96 Victoria Street London SW1E 6SH

Goldsmiths 90 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL

Marks & Spencer 10 Cardinal Walk London SW1E 5JE

The North Face 28 Palace Street London SW1E 5JD

Boots 5 Cathedral Walk London SW1E 5JH

Hawes & Curtis 94 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL

Molton Brown 92 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL

The Phoenix 14 Palace Street London SW1E 5JA

Browns 2 Cardinal Walk London SW1E 5AG

Hobbs 3 Cathedral Walk London SW1E 5JH

Monsoon 88 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JE

Topshop 86 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL

Clarins Studio 101 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QX

House of Fraser 101 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QX

Phillips de Pury Howick Place London SW1P 1BB

Wagamama Cardinal Place London SW1E 5JE

Clarks 149 - 151 Victoria Street London SW1E 5NH

Jones the bootmaker 84 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL

Runners Need 24 Palace Street London SW1E 5JD

Zara 82 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL

towards political history with specially commissioned artwork. The bustling lobby is sure to be a popular place for meetings or a leisurely afternoon tea, with the relaxed Emmeline’s lounge the perfect spot for a cocktail. But, for many, the hotel’s crowning glory will be the Blue Boar Smokehouse, a restaurant and bar that takes inspiration from the great American pit masters, but delivers dishes with a distinctly British twist. Head Chef Jon Ingram uses his secret recipe glazes and rubs on the best cuts of meat and freshest fish, with signature dishes

CycleSurgery 26 Palace Street London SW1E 5JD Edward Goodyear 6 Cathedral Walk London SW1E 5JH

St James theatre Brasserie 12 Palace Street London SW1E 5JA L’Occitane 2 Cathedral Walk London SW1E 5JH

including treacle-marinated 12-hour roasted beef brisket and honeyglazed rare-breed pork belly – served with Coleman’s English

Space NK 4 Cathedral Walk London SW1E 5JD

mustard, of course. With 256 guest rooms and 44 suites over six floors, the hotel is wonderfully spacious and can cater

Specsavers 1 Cathedral Walk London SW1E 5JH

for a quick post-theatre stopover, or a luxurious long break from which you can enjoy everything that Victoria has to offer.

the shopping issue

a brand new luxury hotel in the

s h o ppi n g a-z


has Christmas shopping covered W o r d s ta m s i n c r i m m e n s


Neck tie

A versatile gift choice, whether it’s classic

Sometimes the oldest ideas are the best.

cufflinks at Hawes & Curtis, pretty purses at

A classic tie from Hawes & Curtis will be

Accessorize or sophisticated scarves at Hobbs.

appreciated by stylish professionals.


Original art

Give a helping hand to someone determined to

More than just a gift, buying contemporary art

get fit with a bicycle from CycleSurgery.

can be a clever investment. Look to Phillips de Pury & Company for exclusive collections.

Cashmere Nothing says Christmas quite like cashmere, and


Marks & Spencer has a range of quality pieces at

A scent makes a romantic and thoughtful gift.

reasonable prices for hard-to-buy-for mums.

Try Boots for much-loved perfumes or Space NK and Molton Brown for something more unusual.

Diamonds If you’re looking to impress someone special,

quilted throw

head to Goldsmiths for sparklers to smile about.

House of Fraser has throws by Kylie Minogue and Kirstie Allsop, ideal for cuddling up in the cold.


running gadget

Stylish frames can transform your look and

A Runners Need gift will go the distance, whether

Specsavers has a range of designer brands.

it’s for a serious sprinter or a just-for-fun jogger.


Scented candle

Flowers never fail and Edward Goodyear will design

Splash out on a rose candle from L’Occitane or

a bouquet guaranteed to deliver brownie points.

the festive Myrrh Muske candela by Molton Brown.

Gloves Good-quality gloves make great gifts. Find classics

trinket box

at Marks & Spencer or quirkier styles at Topshop.

Tiny trinket boxes will delight lovers of eclectic interiors – Monsoon has some little beauties.

Heels New shoes never disappoint. Try Jones the


Bootmaker for the perfect pair for New Year parties.

A prettily patterned umbrella from Accessorize is ideal for friends who love stylish rain protection.

ice-cream maker


An unusual gift for cookery lovers that is bound to delight. Pick one up at House of Fraser and

It’s hard to go wrong with a gift of nail varnish.

look forward to sampling home-made flavours.

Space NK has gorgeous colours to choose from.



Buying jewellery for Christmas is an affordable

Goldsmiths has a selection of digital and

option with high-street stores such as Topshop,

traditional timepieces to suit all styles, from

Accessorize and Zara all stocking fun designs.

vintage elegance to cutting-edge modernity.


Xmas decorations

Outdoorsy types will love a gift from The North

A gorgeous Monsoon tree decoration is perfect

Face, where you’ll find all you need for skiing,

for those challenging Secret Santa presents.

snowboarding, hiking and mountain-climbing.

Lingerie A chic and sexy gift. Marks & Spencer has styles in all sizes to suit the most discerning tastes.

military coat A key trend for winter, Hobbs’ military coats come in a range of styles and colours.

Clockwi se f rom top lef t: A z tec G em clutch , Acce s sor ize; Felton Tr iClim ate jacket , T he Nor th Face; t r inket box, Mon soon; tie s, Hawe s & Cur ti s; Kylie Minogue Ion a throw, Hou se of Fra ser ; headlamp, Runners Need; My r r h Mu ske c andela , Molton Brow n; men’s leather g love s, Mar k s & Spencer ; black stone ear r in gs, Z ara; de sig ner f rame s, Spec s avers; milit ar y coat , Hobbs; pure c a shmere c at-pr int jumper, Mar k s & Spencer

YSL gift set Spoil someone special. Give an indulgent treat with an Yves Saint Laurent gift set from Boots.

zara belt Zara’s peplum belt paired with a pencil skirt and plain tee gives an instant update to any fashion follower’s wardrobe.

the shopping issue


Atelier_Victoris_ADS.indd 1

09/11/2012 14:28

Conceived by architects Pelli Clarke Pelli, this multi-faceted, 11-storey modernist building on Victoria Street will provide elegant office space, brand-new shops at street level and inviting outdoor public spaces. The development is a spectacular new addition to Victoria’s transforming skyscape.

P hotog r a ph y g u y s t e p h e n s

6 2 b u c k i n g h a m gat e

t h e b i g p i ct u r e

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Work / Life inte r views r o s i e s t e e r P hotog r a ph y j o s s m c k i n l e y wo r king in victo r i a

l iving in victo r i a

W i ll i a m J o r d a n

Da i s y L e w i s

Ganger Man


Where do you work? I work at 62 Buckingham Gate. I’m a Ganger Man, which means I look after all the labour on site and deal with waste management. What do you like about Victoria? The area is being transformed into a new, modern Victoria; the buildings being constructed are really improving the environment. Do you think it has changed much? Since I started working on the project nearly two years ago, I’ve witnessed a lot of changes going on around me, such as the Howick Place development and 123 Victoria Street. I’ve been watching 62 Buckingham Gate since it was just a hole in the ground – once it is complete I’m sure it will be great for the area. It should give Victoria a few more stars! What is it like to work in the area? It’s really good to work round here, Victoria is nice and local for me and it’s easy to get to – if the train is on time. Can you recommend any hidden gems in Victoria? There are some brilliant cafés in the area – the Regency is great for a quick

and simple lunch. I’d recommend The Albert pub for after-work drinks. How did you get involved in 62 Buckingham Gate? The Jobcentre suggested a course at Lambeth College, as a way of getting into construction. Then a work placement with Alandale led to a two-week trial with building and engineering company Sir Robert McAlpine, where the project manager offered me a permanent job. I’ve been working for them ever since. What role has the Land Securities Employment Scheme played in your career? It has worked really well for me. During my first year as a labourer at 62 Buckingham Gate, the scheme helped me earn my NVQ Level 1 in Logistics. Then I was promoted to Ganger Man and am now working on my Level 2. I learn a lot from the subcontractors on site about the different trades and how everything runs. I was also nominated for an employment award and made the final shortlist – I didn’t win but it was great to make the final cut. I’d like to thank Sir Robert McAlpine and Land Securities for keeping me on and giving me the chance to improve my prospects.

Where do you live? I live on Warwick Square. It was my grandfather’s place and has been in our family for decades. In fact, my family has been in and around this area for about 30 years. What do you like about Victoria? I love the location, being so central. You’re right in the middle of London yet it has a village feel; there’s a real sense of community. It’s really bustling but still local, with lots of independent shops. There’s the famous Rippon Cheese Stores and Chocodeli, an amazing chocolate shop, and so many great places to eat. I think my neighbourhood is the bestkept secret in London. I don’t want anyone else to know about it! Do you think it has changed much? Victoria has definitely changed. It’s a lot smarter and there’s more art and culture in the area, which there wasn’t before. All the good things haven’t changed; away from Victoria Street you’ve still got lovely shops. It was just a station before, but now it’s more of a destination. What is it like to live in the area? It’s really family-orientated, what with all the residential squares; it’s quietly

chic, but not overtly trendy. Because of the transport links, it’s a very easy place to live. There’s also the river close by and you can walk across the bridge to Battersea Park. You’re slap bang at the centre of everything, yet you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of it. Where would you recommend to first-time visitors? I would definitely tell them to visit Winston Churchill’s house on Eccleston Square, just to see where he lived. There are so many blue plaques round here commemorating a real mix of people, from politicians to artists. I’d tell them to go to the farmers’ market on Orange Square at the weekend. Can you recommend any hidden gems in Victoria? You’re spoilt for choice in terms of restaurants. On Wilton Road alone there are two Lebanese (Kazan is incredible), a Mexican, an amazing Indian and a Thai, while on Churton Street there’s Grumbles – completely delicious. Pimlico Fresh and Uno are fantastic for brunches. For the most beautiful vintage designer clothing, such as Chanel jackets, there’s the brilliant charity shop FARA, on Tachbrook Street.

the shopping issue

tat e b r i ta i n a r t i c o n s , No . 2

Ophelia Sir John Everett Millais (completed between 1851-1852)

Lady Lucy French writes for the Victoria newspaper ‘Well, December is here and the St James Theatre is three months old! Creating a brand-new theatre in the heart of Victoria has been an extraordinary, exhilarating

Words Amy R aphael

experience. The overwhelming thing I have discovered about SW1 is the amount of change the locality is undergoing – buildings are going up, people are moving in, retail is booming, things are happening and it feels like the place to be. The creation of the St James Theatre has, I hope, added to the frenzy of activity and provided a cultural hub, a gem in the emerging, glittering display. Now, if you are thinking, “What’s the big deal – just another theatre”, I urge you to think again. The first newly built theatre complex in the heart of central London for 30 years is a 21st-century dream. In the main house, Cinderella: A Fairytale opens on 12 December (until 26 January). It’s most unlike the average pantomime – think pink Dr Martens boot rather than glass slipper! The classic play Our Country’s Good follows in a 25th-anniversary revival. Did you see it first time round? I was just a wee thing then, of course. I cannot wait to see it… So what else? A 100-seat studio where Thursday offers comedy,

In 1851, before he had completed ‘Ophelia’, Sir John Everett Millais sold the painting to Henry Farrer for 300 guineas. Now one of the most famous and popular pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world, it is said to be worth around £30m. Born in Southampton in 1829, Millais was barely into his twenties when he painted ‘Ophelia’. But then he was precociously talented: he joined the Royal Academy of Arts at 11 and remains their youngest-ever student. He first exhibited there aged 16 and won his first RA gold medal the following year. In 1848, along with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, Millais was a founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They radically rejected Renaissance artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo and found inspiration in literature and nature. Millais was taken by the plight of Ophelia, who falls into the stream and

drowns in Shakespeare’s Hamlet; in the play, her death is only alluded to by Queen Gertrude, allowing the artist to create his own visual interpretation of a women broken by love. Millais painted her floating body in a stream (recently revealed to be the Hogsmill River at Old Malden in Surrey) surrounded by dozens of different plants and flowers painted with painstaking accuracy. In Hamlet, the Queen, who informs Laertes that his sister Ophelia has drowned, describes the setting thus: ‘There is a willow grows aslant the brook… crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples/That liberal shepherds give a grosser name.’ The willow, a traditional symbol of forsaken love, reaches out over Ophelia’s dead body in Millais’ painting, as if nature is protecting her in death. Art historians have examined the significance of flower symbolism in ‘Ophelia’, questioning how much

inspiration Millais took from Hamlet itself (the field rose on the bank may refer to Laertes calling her ‘rose of May’) and how much he has embellished (the poppy is a symbol of death not mentioned by Shakespeare). The attention to detail is astonishing, the colours lush, the pain in Ophelia’s floating body apparent. It remains a potent image of tragic love. Millais’ iconic painting was executed in two parts. He painted the landscape out by the Hogsmill River and then, back in London, 19-year-old Elizabeth Siddall posed for the figure of Ophelia lying in a bath filled with water. Siddall, who would become Rossetti’s wife, was a typical PreRaphaelite beauty with unruly, thick, reddish hair and sensual lips. When Siddall caught a chill from excessive hours in the tub and the model’s father threatened to sue Millais, the artist agreed to pay her doctor’s bills. After all, he had sold his painting for 300 guineas.

Friday, jazz, and Saturday, cabaret. And all this fuelled by dinner in the excellent restaurant, or tapas and drinks in the St James Bar. Get ready to be fed, watered and entertained…’ L ady L ucy French i s D irector of Development at the St Jame s T he atre; s tjame s the

T he t heat re ent rance on Palace St reet

Street style

Victoria is a hub of creative talent, with style to match. We hit the streets to scout the area’s best dressed locals P hotog r a ph y Ph i l l T a y l o r

BEN WYKES Designer



the shopping issue



Cover story


Shepherds Bookbinders & Paper Merchants brings the finer things of life to Victoria, with a traditional bindery and now a brand-new paper emporium W o r d s c at e l a n g m u i r

Rob Shepherd’s links with Victoria go back a long way. As a boy, he used to play in St George’s Square, where his uncle lived, never imagining that one day he would start his own business just around the corner. It was evening classes that gave him the bookbinding bug, and Shepherd followed his course with a career as a restorer, eventually – in 1988 – opening his own bindery on Rochester Row. Ten years later, he realised a dream by taking over two prestigious binderies – Sangorski & Sutcliffe and Zaehnsdorf: the most important hand-bookbinders of the 19th and 20th centuries. Sangorski & Sutcliffe alone came with an archive of 15,000 items. In the years since, Shepherd has done all he can to revive the art of bookbinding, working hard to maintain the exceptionally high standards set by these companies. His replica of The Great Omar – a bejewelled biography of Persian poet Omar Khyyam that took Sangorski & Sutcliffe two years to finish, only for it to sink on the Titanic – sold at Sotheby’s for a five-figure sum. That bookbinding is burgeoning comes as something of a surprise in this world of e-readers and tablets. ‘I think it’s a reaction to the digital age,’ says Shepherd, who also runs training workshops in the art. ‘I find people are more interested than ever in fine papers, books and centuries-old craft. They keep us busy at Rochester Row, dropping in with a repair or for a bespoke design.’ Indeed, behind the scenes, there’s a team of master craftsmen and women, using techniques that have changed little in centuries. ‘We make everything ourselves with materials imported from all over the world,’ Shepherd explains. ‘The best goatskin, for example, is from northern Nigeria – it’s the Rolls-Royce of leather – while sumac bark is the most environmentally sound tanning agent.’ The craftsmanship is 100-per-cent British, though, and that chimes well

A Christmas Celebration Westminster Cathedral 19–20 December T icket s sell out fast for this annual event featuring the We st minster C athedral Choir and Orche st ra , conducted by Mar tin B aker.


Last Exit Plus One Gallery 5 December to 5 January Andrew Holme s exhibit s his hy per realist pencil drawings in the last show of the year at this Pimlico Road contemporar y-ar t galler y.


A Christmas Carol St James Theatre 11–16 December Clive Francis st ars as Ebenezer Scrooge in this remark able one-m an production celebrating

Clockwi se f rom top: t he bookbinding team wit h Rob Shepherd (back row, in shir t and t ie) at Roche ster Row; t he gold tooling proce s s; leat her par ing at t he binder y; rack s of decorat ive paper at t he G illing h am St reet store

with the current trend for all things artisanal. But bookbinding is a small, rarified world and Shepherd wisely expanded and diversified in 2003, with the purchase of Falkiners Fine Papers. Fine-art paper and materials are the focus at the new Gillingham Street store – a temple to colour and pattern. The sumptuous designs and intense hues on display, including richly patterned Japanese varieties, are just a selection of the 3,000 types in stock – which is useful for the bookbinders too. ‘We have everything we need in Victoria now,’ concludes Shepherd. ‘We will also run tutorials at Gillingham Street in general-interest techniques, such as creating handmade invitations.’ It’s a new chapter for the bookbinders and one that is sure to be a page-turner.

the bicentenar y of Charle s Dickens.

Shepherds is at 76 Rochester Row

from Hotel Chocolat, The Perfume Shop,

and 30 Gillingham Street, SW1,

House of Fraser and many more.

and online at


Jack Frost’s Christmas Adventure St John’s Smith Square 27 December – 6 January T his historic venue in Victoria has commis sioned a brand new musical that is guaranteed to get the whole family in the fe stive spirit .

Savvy Shopping Shopping and socialising in Victor ia just got even easier, with the launch of the Victoria Privilege card, which gives users exclusive offers on dining, shopping and leisure activities in the area. Go online to see the latest offers

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The Dinner


9th February 2013

London Victoria

The Golden Age of Travel by Steam


14th February 2013

London Victoria

Valentines Day Dinner


22nd February 2013

London Victoria

The Golden Age of Travel


24th February 20133

London Victoria



1st March 2013

London Victoria

The Golden Age of Travel by Steam


2nd March 2013

London Victoria

Historic York


7th March 2013

London Victoria

The Dinner


10th March 2013

London Victoria

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea


10th March 2013

London Victoria

Mothers Day Lunch


13th March 2013

London Victoria

Bristol & Brunels ss Great Britain by Steam


13th March 2013

London Victoria

Historic Bath by Steam


22nd March 2013

London Victoria

The Golden Age of Travel by Steam


28th March 2013

London Victoria

Discover Folkestone


26th April 2013

London Victoria

Cornish Weekend featuring St Mawes & Tregothnan


26th April 2013

London Victoria

South Devon Weekend


26th April 2013

London Victoria

Cornish Weekend featuring Padstow


To book call 0845

077 2222 or visit

operated by venice Simplon-orient-Express ltd. Subject to availability. All bookings are made subject to our terms and conditions which are available on request and can be viewed online at

the shopping issue

Step aboard the luxurious British pullman, sister train to the legendary venice Simplon-orient-Express and enjoy sumptuous cuisine and the finest champagne as the glorious British landscape sweeps past.

“In Victoria you have Eaton Square at one end, Westminster Cathedral at the other – so life here is a wonderful cocktail”

Alessandra Greco Philip Treacy Press & Marketing Manager

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Victoria Newspaper December  

Victoria Newspaper December