Fleur Britten is the senior commissioning editor of Sunday Times Style magazine, where she writes lifestyle features and covers social trends. She also writes seasonally for the International Herald Tribune and has penned five books, including A Hedonist’s Guide to London and On the Couch: Tales of Couchsurfing a Continent. She lives in London, where she likes to dip into the fringe arts scene with what little free time she has leftover.
What’s hot right now?
Austerity chic. Post-recession, flashy over-design is deemed a bad look—enter an aesthetic of fleamarket finds and Ebay treasures pulled together in a kind of East Berlin vibe. That goes for bars (especially impossibly hip Dalston dive bars Visions Video, Vogue Fabrics, Dalston Superstore), cafes (Leila’s in Shoreditch is totally lovable) and even hotels (the fittingly named Rough Luxe in King’s Cross has peeling wallpaper and ’70s TVs amongst beautiful works of art). Also the post-Hirst world is seeing much more detail and craft, as if to prove that a piece couldn’t have been produced factory-style.
Who are your favorite young designers from London?
Simone Rocha (yes, daughter of John) produced some ambitious and beautifully romantic pieces at Fashion East’s group show at the most recent London Fashion Week—I’m sure we’re going to hear much more about her. It feels like cheating to cite a label from the Fashion East stable, since any designer that graduates from there generally goes on to achieve great things. Including, it’s predicted, the director herself, Lulu Kennedy, with her line Lulu & Co.
What’s your most recent fashionable discovery in London?
Not Just a Label, the net-a-porter of emerging designers. It actually has a global reach, but HQ is in Shoreditch, so it feels like ours.
What are your favorite spots in the city?
Lucy in Disguise—Lily Allen’s new vintage shop in Covent Garden—has some gorgeous, original pieces that you can rent, as opposed to buy. The ICA bookshop is excellent for zines, art house movies and eavesdropping on chin-stroking types. Polpetto, the even smaller outpost of Polpo, a Venetian tapas bar that has practically single-handedly knocked fine-dining off its perch. Cocomaya, ex-Agent Provocateur designer Serena Rees’ new edible venture, is a bijou bakery in Blair-ville Marble Arch selling exquisite cakes and chocolates.
What is your fall style staple?
I’m going to struggle to stop wearing my new glazed cotton black pagoda-sleeved, cupcake-skirted dress by Beyond the Valley, a quietly unusual fashion and design boutique that specialises in giving up-and-coming designers much deserved airtime (the dress was by its inhouse designers).