March 9th, 2020
Covent Garden has certainly changed since its establishment in 1654 as a fruit and vegetable market. Originally the land was an orchard belonging to Westminster Abbey and Convent, where it’s original name “Convent Garden” came from.
The land was seized from the Abbey in 1552 and granted to the Earl of Bedford who commissioned Inigo Jones to build fine houses to attract wealthy tenants. He designed the elaborate Italianate arcaded square along with St Paul’s Church – they are all still standing today. The design of the square was new for London and influenced town planning going forward. However, over the years the area and the market fell into disrepute and by the 18th century was well known as a red-light district.
After an act of parliament to clean up the area the neo-classical central building was erected in 1830. Over the next 75 years further buildings were added. However by the 1960s traffic congestion was a major issue and the historic fruit and vegetable market relocated to Nine Elms in 1974
It then became known as a shopping area, based around the Royal Opera House, with the central building reopening in 1980. The first shop to open was Pollock’s Toy Shop shortly followed by the Punch & Judy Pub, cafes, small shops, the Apple Market for crafts and Jubilee Market for more general items. Known more for street entertainers and small, quirky shops, the area had another resurgence at the start of the 2000s, attracting high-end names and now completes with Bond Street as a shopping destination.
The Evening Standard once said “every cosmetic expedition should start with Covent Garden’s beauty quarter”. Here’s our roundup of the cosmetic and beauty stores you should check out on your next visit.
Charlotte Tilbury – the first flagship store can be found on St James’ Street – a British home for an award-winning British brand
MAC – one of the brand’s two pro stores in the UK based on St James’s Street
KIKO Milano – also on St James’ Street, the Italian brand leaders offer makeup and skincare lines
Dior – the brand’s beauty boutique is also in the Market Building offering full makeup lessons and fragrance services
Glossier – only founded in 2014, the hit brand can be found in Floral Street
Nars – known for their highly-pigmented colours, the store is on King Street
Kryolan – established in 1876, their makeup emporium for both theatre and everyday makeup is located in a historic building on Tavistock Street
Chanel – the brand’s first ever beauty and fragrance boutique is located in the Market Building
Tom Ford – Based in the Market Building, Tom Ford Beauty offers cosmetics, fragrance and male grooming services
Beauty & Skin Care
Deciem – based in the Market Building stocks all of their brands, including the cult hit The Ordinary.
Molton Brown – found in the Royal Opera House Arcade, the ever-popular brand offers a range of luxury unisex perfumes, bath and shower products, hand care and candles.
L’Occitane – in the Market Building, the French brand showcases it’s body and skincare products from Provence.
Aesop – their flagship boutique in King Street is totally instagrammable and stocks the Australian brand’s skin, hair and body care ranges
Boots have opened a Wellness flagship store on Long Acre with cosmetic and beauty consultations front and centre. Brands stocked include Fenty Beauty, Urban Decay, Smashbox, BYBI and Skyn Iceland, and also features a Beauty Kitchen refill station.
For more information click here.