Destination / Wish You Were Here

R.M.Williams’ Jeremy Hershan in London

To celebrate his debut collection for R.M.Williams, head of design Jeremy Hershan offers us a glimpse of his ideal London sojourn.

See …
The Barbican Centre. Post War Brutalism at its best. Designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon in the late 1950s as a utopian vision to transform an area of London devastated by the bombing of WW2, it’s a true architectural wonder of the modern world. Catch a performance in the concert hall and marvel at the Robin and Lucienne Day interior. I was lucky enough to catch Spiritualized perform their hypnotic symphony ‘Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating in Space’ there backed by orchestra and gospel choir and it was nothing short of life-changing.

Stay …
The Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel, which is set in the heart of the old East End. I lived in the neighbourhood for eight years and since leaving, the Town Hall has become like a second home. My wife and I were married there in the old council chamber so it holds a special place for me. There is a resident greyhound named Dizzy who stalks the hallways. The restoration was done with the utmost respect and there are traces of the past everywhere. It’s also close to all my favourite haunts, namely Bistrotheque, The Hemingway, Ombra and Broadway Market.

Take …
An umbrella, for obvious reasons. If you happen to forget, pay a visit to James Smith & Sons, purveyors of fine umbrellas since 1830. Foul weather gear in general comes in handy so a waxed jacket and quality rubber soled Chelsea boots, which for me is a pair of R.M. Turnouts in Roughout suede.

Taste …
Wilton’s on Jermyn Street is a door to another world. I spent years studying the subtleties of English dress and this is by far my favourite place to sit back and observe while enjoying the best of British. The carving trolley is something to delight over. There is a ‘no mobiles’ rule, which I regularly disobey to document the old boys and girls in all their splendour. Just don’t get caught.

Shop …
The Vintage Showroom. I have been visiting Doug Gunn and Roy Luckett since their days at Portobello Road market. They have since gone on to establish a retail store by Seven Dials in Covent Garden and publish two beautiful books documenting their archive of early mid 20th century menswear. As much as I hate to give the game away, the store in Earlham Street is a must for admirers and collectors of vintage clothing alike.

Insider’s tip …
The city truly comes alive in the summertime. Long days and long nights bring the people of London out onto the streets, creating an incredible atmosphere. On any given sunny weekend you’d be forgiven for thinking the crowds that invade the cities parks and gardens belonged to large-scale music festival. Spend the day lounging about in London Fields or Victoria Park … BYO picnic rug, booze, tunes and portable BBQ. Don’t forget to clean up after yourself though.