South African-born Alexis Barrell debuted her first fashion collection in London in 2013, and the city has since become her home. Her style: modern, elegant pieces with breezy cuts and unusual shapes.
You’re a bit of a nomad, having lived in Cape Town, Paris, New York and Athens before founding your label in London. What makes the city stand out? London is endless and boundless. For restless souls like me, that constant movement and change is perfect. If you’re bored here, it’s probably because you yourself are boring. How would you describe London’s fashion scene? Which boutiques do you shop at? The London fashion scene is one of the most exciting and innovative scenes in the world. That being said, now that independent designers and creators can present their work on the internet and on social media, the city has become less and less of an incubator for emerging talents. As for shopping, I rarely buy anything in boutiques, but I do love the Alex Eagle Shop on Walton Street. For vintage pieces and its general atmosphere, I can recommend Portobello Market. 91 Walton Street, www.alexeagle.co.uk Where do you buy accessories that are a perfect match for your clothes? As an accessory I always have a printed scarf with me that I tie around my waist, my neck or my handbag. That’s the perfect addition to my clothes. I’d buy it at Liberty – they have the best range. Because I travel a lot, you’ll often see me with a trolley case. They have the best-looking ones at Globe-Trotter at 35 Albemarle Street. A personalized Smythson travel notebook is also a must and their shop really is an experience for every visitor to London (141 Sloane Street). Regent Street, www.liberty.co.uk What’s your favourite part of London? Which small cafés and bars could we find you in? Notting Hill: that’s where I live and work. On Mondays you can find me in The KPH pub listening to live jazz. The Shed has a good glass of wine and excellent snacks (122 Palace Gardens Terrace); I like to sit outside there. The Portuguese patisserie on Goldborne Road serves good coffee and traditional custard tarts. The Bluebelles is also a nice café (320 Portobello Road). 139 Ladbroke Grove, www.thekph.com Which restaurants do you recommend? My favourite place in London will always be the oyster bar at J. Sheekey. The Wolseley comes in at second place (160 Piccadilly) because of their eggs Benedict with spinach, which are served until late in the evening. Another nice and cosy place is Kitty Fisher’s (10 Shepherd Market) with its menu by virtuoso chef Tomos Parry. 28–32 St Martin’s Court, www.j-sheekey.co.uk You studied architecture before switching to fashion. Which architectural highlight should we definitely see? The ground floor of the Tate Modern, which was designed by the architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron: unexcitingly beautiful and a welcome change from the city’s otherwise in-your-face architectural icons. Bankside, tate.org.uk The best place to spend a relaxed afternoon in London? Walking through the Victoria and Albert Museum after a coffee at the Morris Room. The museum’s mosaics, glass paintings and piano music make me forget any stress I’d been feeling beforehand. If you get there early enough in the morning, you can avoid the masses. 49–50 St John’s Square, thezettertownhouse.com