Vivienne Westwood has always been keen on what is contrary: When the hippies were in, she dedicated her designs to Elvis Presley. When shoulder pads were in, she highlighted the hip. When the heroin chic was in, she revived the rococo. Even today she still doesn't give a damn about traditions, designing fashion that is as opulent as it is eccentric, as unusual as unwearable. Vivienne Westwood's credo is anti: anti-establishment, non-conformism and anti-fashion. Despite or because of it she has been nominated one of the six major fashion designers of our time. And justly so, because her fashion is art and statement at the same time, a political manifesto, so to speak, to be hung in your wardrobe. Her numerous shops all over the world display her radical chic. You can also touch it at Mayfair's, her flagship store. There, the shop assistants are as cynical as Westwood's style, but the shop is worth a visit anyway for the sake of its dramatic interior, its exclusive clientele and of course, for its couture. While you won't be able to afford or wear it, you can at least have a close look at it.
Cynics say Dover Street Market is just another shopping mall. There are six floors, there is something like a café and there are shops and labels in the shops. But it's not that simple as Dover Street Market offers an ultra cool concept store instead of the usual shop windows. With unique items instead of off-the-peg clothing it offers something like shopping 2.0 for intellectuals. The construction-site look does make you wonder though whether the shops are open already, but one glance at the label shows you that you are at the right place - at Nina Ricci's, for instance, or Ann Demeulemeester's - despite the casual industry-look interior. Even Ferragamo has found out that shoes can sell in a minimalist, non-Baroque atmosphere as well. And while the fashion by Comme des Garçons has the effect of being thrown into the room, there is a sophisticated and avant-garde concept behind it that draws exactly these kinds of clients: eccentric but perfectly styled.