Spotlight, 22 June 2021
In this series, ‘Word on the Street‘, we share an insider’s view on the King’s Road. Musicians and models, politician’s and hall-of-famers from all walks of life have trod this road and we hope that the each individual’s insight will surprise, inspire and delight so that you too, can become part of the King’s Road story.
In this latest edition, Rosie Fortescue– influencer and female entrepreneur known for her jewellery brand full of colour – shares her thoughts on a summer most stylish on the King’s Road.
“Some of my earliest memories hail from the King’s Road. Leaving boarding school at the weekend to get dressed up and meet with friends on the King’s Road was a highlight of my teenage years. Whether it was to shop, have lunch or to party when I was old enough, the King’s Road was THE place to go and be seen. In fact, my first Saturday job was at a cupcake shop opposite The Bluebird.
The King’s Road was the birthplace of the 20th Century’s iconic cultural and fashion movements. Mary Quant is quoted as saying “we wanted people to stop and look, we wanted to shock people.” And that’s certainly what she did! Quant opened her shop Bazaar at 138a King’s Road in 1955. Many credit Quant for the mini skirt, which truly to me is what the King’s Road was known for in my youth. Quant actually studied illustration at Goldsmiths where is where I too studied my degree in History of Art. From the 1950s to the 1970s, nowhere could rival Chelsea for it’s cutting edge fashion.
These days, the fashion muses of the King’s Road are the chic women in their late twenties and thirties waltzing into Granger & Co for breakfast, or my personal all-time favourite restaurant La Famiglia for dinner. This is an absolute essential – especially for dinner if you are looking for the best Italian food, with the best vibe! Make sure you have the spaghetti vongole – I promise you won’t regret it. Their garden is divine and it’s great for people watching too! These must-be-seen destinations also include Colbert for a quick lunch where you can watch the world hurry by (the chopped salad is super yummy if you haven’t got much time), or The Ivy Chelsea Garden for an afternoon cocktail with some celebrity spotting. The choices are endless, as are the shop and ways in which to fill one’s day on one single street. If you’re up for a wander, then Pavilion Road just behind Sloane Square is super cute and it is essential to get an ice cream from Parlour by the Ice Cream Union. Best ice cream around, fact!
Some shops have been there forever (Ad Hoc takes me back to my youth) and some have been replaced by on-trend brands such as RIXO that have filled the wardrobes of the young. I will never forget the days at boarding school planning our outfits during the week for what we would wear on the weekend to meet up with friends on the King’s Road. I remember this belt that was circular leather with metal features in the middle that the likes of Kate Moss and Sienna Miller were wearing at the time, that we all insisted we must have. There was a shop I believe called Vanilla in the arcade opposite McDonald’s that sold these belts and – WOW – they must have made a killing. Every teenage girl in sight was wearing them! It’s funny to think how militant we were back in the day to trend pieces, but these days I think there’s so much more on offer boutique to boutique that it’s easier to generate a style for oneself.
It’s safe to say there is something for everyone. Sandro is my go-to for Parisian chic and Jimmy Fairly for the coolest sunglasses. There are always amazing pop-ups on the King’s Road too and of course, exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery to fill your days.
With a vast array of al fresco eating or drinking spots, or whether you’re taking in the sights of the latest display of life-sized elephants, there’s always something to see or do this summer in Chelsea. With life opening up again and British weather doing us proud, the opportunities are endless and I for sure will be making more memories on a Road that already holds such fond memories from the past.”