Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Ho, Ho, Ho – Fill that Sleigh with Top London Weekend Sales

December 1st, 2016

Happy December! Christmas is upon us. Stop panicking. Your Secret Santa is here.

I have selected four one-off, unusual sales/shops to buy things for that choosey friend where a scarf from Harvey Nick’s, a hamper from Fortnum’s or a candle from Jo Malone just won’t do, the kind of friend where you must prove your devotion by the effort and originality you expend. These friends are demanding, but we’re, I mean, they’re worth it.

Top on my list is this jewellery sale tomorrow at 61 Victoria Road from 11am-6pm …


For those who don’t know Elie Top, he was accessories designer at Lanvin for 15 years, collaborating closely with Alber Elbaz. Inspired by 18th c. French and Italian Renaissance, Top, who launched his own label last year,  is known for his large metal pendants inlaid with precious stones and diamonds.




If, on the other hand, your discerning  friend is into funky town beads, Indonesian head dresses or pompoms sported by the flamboyant flamingoed Iris Apfel, then head to Peter Adler’s Pebble London Christmas sale this weekend where everything is 10% off.


Bead lovers need never despair again with Adler’s Cave of  hanging treasures. Fancy some Afghan tribal trinkets …


or perhaps something still vibrant but a tad more conventional …


Not feeling colourful? No problem …


Now if your someone special devours Pinterest, gets excited by tangerine roses in a bud vase, a new coloured moleskin journal, you know the type (Kate, Lauren, thinking of you), then interiors shop Pentreath & Hall on Lamb’s Conduit Street is just the ticket.


Recently featured in NYT’s T Magazine, the shop is owned by the multi-talented Ben Pentreath, who in addition to being decorator to William and Kate, is a skilled architect, interior designer and blogger. These alphabet pots above make organising fun – especially for you know who (Kate, Lauren, party time!)

Fuchsia hued Merino wool coasters will make your design-devotee pal blush …


while  decoupage plates and slick lacquered trays will send them to the moon.


What’s more, today only (Thursday, December 1st) from noon to 8pm all the quaint shops on both Lamb’s Conduit and Rugby Street are offering a 10% discount.

Final stop on Secret Santa’s mystery tour is for that friend who’d prefer  something on the wall to something on the bod.

Pop-up House of Voltaire on Cork Street


is selling a cornucopia of artist donated pieces. With over 150 artists and designer contributions including Carsten Holler, Simone Rocha, Phyllida Barlow, Michael Craig Martin, Chris Offili, Ed Ruscha and a host of others. From limited-edition prints by the likes of Belgian superstar Luc Tuymans


and Trafalgar Square’s Forth Plinth artist David Shrigley


to a festive lambswool blanket by Jonas Wood


or a  prison tray by London-based Argentine artist Pablo Bronstein (my personal fave),


there’s a lot to choose from for that certain visual someone.  House of Voltaire runs until December 18th. Money raised goes to the London-based arts charity Studio’s Voltaire gallery and education programs.

Happy Hunting!

December, 2016