London is, according to property investment giant CBRE, the world’s number one luxury destination. Its culture and commerce woo overseas visitors and investors; while for those of us who live here, London constantly fizzes with vibrant, creative energy. No other city in the world is driven by quite the same feeling that something is always going on.
You can hardly turn a corner without discovering a hip happening or a novel trend everyone’s talking about, or noticing the cool crowd flocking to a gallery opening, hot restaurant or palace of high-end hedonism.
The more interesting question is not what’s happening, but why? The CEO of one of London’s shiniest luxury brands has it that it’s because creativity is London’s lifeblood. And not just the kind of creativity that fills galleries and concert halls – London is also home to Britain’s growing army of creative entrepreneurs. In fact, in a recent Natwest study, two thirds of people in Britain thought London was the best place to start a new business.
Among the high-rise buildings springing up along the Thames, away from the chic fleshpots, Londoners are working away, building innovative, creative businesses that challenge and disrupt the luxury landscape.
Some of these will become Britain’s luxury brands of the future, like those on Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow programme, which helps nurture creative businesses – Flowerbx, which recently covered Annabel’s in pink hydrangeas; Cubitts on Jermyn Street, the London-born eyewear designers; whiskey bonders J.J Corry…
Meanwhile, heritage brands such as Gieves & Hawkes and Drake’s deftly balance years of heritage with modernity and relevance. It is luxury businesses like these that make London a calling-card for creativity. What a spectacularly inspiring city it is. Long may it continue.
Helen Brocklebank is CEO of Walpole, the sector body for British luxury brands.