A London summer is a romantic affair; anticipated for months and reminisced upon fondly, its taste still lingering even on the precipice of a new season. Australian model Jess Gomes is someone who knows intimately how to maximise a summer in the English capital, a city she's spent many seasons visiting both for work and pleasure. Whether she's dancing the night away at a Lana Del Rey gig, or secretly indulging in a getaway to the countryside, she tells RUSSH all of her insider tips on where to stay, eat and play in London.
Tell us a little about being in London at this time of year – what's the energy like?
London is on FIRE. Summer is pumping and it feels like everyone is in such a happy mood to be outside and enjoying the divine weather.
Where are you staying?
I'm staying in a cute area called Little Venice, which is near Notting Hill. However my favourite area to live would have to be Hampstead Heath because of the beautiful parks and rose gardens.
Do you have a favourite place to stay in London?
I adore the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone and have been spending a lot of my nights there. It's a great place to have meetings, but also hang with friends and also a great after party location. I am also quietly obsessed with the English countryside. I went out to Bath and spent a weekend in a cottage at the The Pig Hotel! It was so peaceful and I just love being surrounded by nature out there – it's totally different to anything back at home.
What has been your favourite moment from the trip so far?
London has the best music scene. So for me, it's all the live shows I've been to, and festivals. I went to a great DJ set at KOKO that Hot Chip played. I also saw BLACKPINK and Lana Del Rey at Hyde Park – that was wild. Every event you go to they have the best music playing. I'm super into the Grime scene, so am loving artists like Skepta and Stormzy too.
What sights were on your to-do list when you first landed?
I have a lot of friends in London, so it was just straight into hanging out with them and catching up. Lots of pubs: The Cow, The Pelican.
I've been to London many times and ticked off all the touristy stuff. But I just love really experiencing the neighborhood vibes and spending a lot of time with my friends in Notting Hill. One thing I really wanted to do was go to Harry Potter World, which is still on the to-do list. Of course, I always love spotting Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and also the London Eye. But most of all, for me, I really just enjoy the simple things about London: the cute pubs, the tube, and the lush green parks.
Do you have any hidden gems that you have discovered?
I recently discovered the Little Village in Hampstead Heath. Daunt Bookstore. I bought Rick Rubin's book The Creative Act from there, which I then enjoyed reading in the park. There are so many hidden gems in the park: swimming holes and enchanted little forests.
I also love all the vintage stores on Portobello Road.
I ate at this amazing place in Notting Hill called Dorian. It's owned by an Australian guy from Melbourne, which makes sense because the food was sooooo good. It has been fantastic just soaking up the British culture, which is similar in some ways to Australia, but so totally different at the same time. I went and saw The Pillowman at the Duke of York Theatre with Lily Allen. It was such a good play!
What was the most unforgettable meal you've had so far?
My hands down, favourite meal was in the Cotswolds' Chequers Pub. Best roast you will ever have!
What's your go-to London outfit in the summer?
I've been living in my St Agni simple, tailored, light pieces. An oversized pinstripe blouse from The Frankie Shop and my Acne Studios jeans. My Beare Park cap and black Ray Ban wayfarers. Some Missoma gold chain jewels. My Celine black bag.
Right now I am wearing a lot of light-tailored pieces. I feel chic and put together yet keeping cool in the heat of this big city.
What was it like shooting in the oldest rose garden in Europe for the Lucy Folk x Perdrisat Fleur de Sel Perfume launch?
I am obsessed with Regents Park, the most beautiful park near where I am currently staying. I could lay in a rose garden for hours and let my mind dream all things romance. I just adore both Lucy and Callum, so for me it's all about supporting my friends and people who are creating magical stories and producing beautiful, carefully curated and well-made products. It is important for me to support small businesses and creatives, as I know how it feels to be a small business owner.
You have a beautiful sensorial connection with roses – when did your love for them begin?
From when I was a little girl. I had a babysitter called Pauline. She would let me pick out cute rose floral china from her cabinet and we would have tea parties with dyed blue sugar. And she also had a rose garden at her house. She was English. That's where my love affair started with roses and British nostalgia.
What does the rest of 2023 look like? Do you have any travel plans?
I'm heading to Los Angeles for work. I was just in Paris for the weekend. No plans right now, I am just following where the universe takes me, and being open to wherever that leads me feels very empowering. I'm just happy to be connected to the world again.