Monkey business in the UK

Updated: 2016-02-29 08:13

(China Daily)

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Monkey business in the UK

Chinese shoppers find a warm welcome and plenty to buy in London's most exclusive shops.[Photo provided to China Daily]

While the traditional image of a Bond Street merchant is a veteran tailor who looks vaguely like Sir John Gielgud, I wanted to visit a broad mix of shops and artisans since I was looking for a good story instead of an expensive suit.

Which is why I'm now staring at ladies' shoes so amazing that I've almost forgotten the monkey-shaped cookie I was given on arrival at Stella McCartney.

The shoes are mounted on high-platform soles. The undersides are serrated like shark's teeth. I've seen them-they have become a McCartney signature-but never touched one.

"Not sold on it?" says store manager Joanna Pitt with a big grin.

"Don't worry, you're not the first. When Stella first came out with these, everybody went 'Wha-a-a-a-at?' But she dragged all of her friends in here to buy them, and now some come back every season for the newest design. Now it's probably our best-seller."

Our champagne tour includes walking through the delightful children's room, where the animal motifs and creative colors come to life for kids while mommy shops. We're also introduced to some of Stella's pet causes, including the store's Meatless Mondays and luxuriant faux furs. No animal ever suffers for fashion's sake here.

Our Bond Street adventure had started at another unlikely spot for a 50-plus male tourist: Floris, the perfumer who has an exclusive royal warrant to provide soaps and scents for Britain's most exclusive family. Edward Bodenham, the seventh-generation owner in the Floris family of shopkeepers, does his work in a cocoon of mahogany wood and glass, where apothecary jars, century-old scales and weights, and a flotilla of pretty bottles and scent strips have pride of place.