London Fashion Week gets under way on February 17, offering a fresh incentive to the city's fashion-loving shoppers to splash their cash on their wardrobes. But once those glossy carrier bags have been unpacked and the pastel tissue paper discarded, where are all those glorious new clothes going to be stored?
Here, we seek out new homes with built-in wardrobes, walk-in closets, lighting and storage innovations as fresh and exciting as the clothes they will hold.
Light and airy
At Chelsea Island, Harbour Avenue, SW10, smart new homes by Hadley Property Group celebrate "understated, detailed and above all British" styling that is "quintessentially London".
The group's James Taylor says new apartment owners want space to "enjoy and appreciate their new clothes — their prized new possessions.
"Our number one trick is wardrobe rail heights. We always discuss these with clients in advance and fix them before completion, depending on the contents of the wardrobe and the buyer's social life. For example, if they go to a lot of black tie events, the women will want more long hanging storage.
"Lighting is crucial. We install ceiling spots and diffusers, and wardrobes contain soft-lit LED strips so owners can distinguish between black and navy outfits. Wardrobes and dressing areas are important to both sexes, and flexibility is the key, and easy access. Busy people need to be able to find everything quickly. Pull-down rails are important.
They allow you to put the clothes you do not wear very often away at the top, but they are still on view."
For the show home's look, Taylor says: "We've used a light, airy palette with stripped oak and light walnut, a pared back look that's almost Scandinavian." Ready by next year, service charges are about £6 a square foot for one-bedroom flats starting from £925,000. Call 0800 540 4377.
At Hampstead Manor, Mount Anvil has transformed Kidderpore Hall, built in 1843 for John Teil, a leather trader who made his fortune in Kidderpore, India.
Dressing rooms double as "privacy barriers" between bedrooms and bathrooms. Clear glass wardrobes showcase clothing with open shelving that's practical and aesthetic.
"People love their clothes. Women see their accessories as a thing of beauty and like celebrating their handbags, shoes and hats," says a spokesman. "It seems odd to spend all this money on what you wear then put it all in a box." Compartmentalised spaces are a priority, and there's dedicated space for tie racks and jewellery drawers.
Further storage challenges came when reconstructing the library and chapel. Neat storage tricks include using the library's floor-to-ceiling shelving to conceal a staircase leading to a mezzanine.
"One of our main principles is storage, it's what makes homes work." Hampstead Manor apartments are ready this year, from £755,000, plus service charges of £7.50 per square foot. Call 020 3582 5461.
Old crafts, new looks
Richard Angel of Alexander James designs many London high-end new homes interiors and is often surprised at the lack of storage. "In some you don't even get a wardrobe in the second bedroom — wealthy people own a lot of stuff."
At Landmark Place in EC3, Angel has covered wardrobes and storage units with parchment, a craft dating back to the 14th century.
There's a nod to Art Deco and references to mid-century design, adding an indulgent feel. A neutral palette with greyed and whitewashed oaks remains a strong trend, while fabrics are influenced by iconic London design including the classic Tube map and Routemaster bus textiles.
Landmark Place apartments start from £810,000. Call Barratt London (020 7423 1211).
Integrated dressing tables - that's a first
Designer Giacomo Ribolla created the look, inspired by the catwalk, for One Tower Bridge. Walk-in wardrobes feature integrated dressing tables, an emerging trend that Ribolla says is "all about opening up wardrobes, not shutting them down".
British designers and London creativity is showcased with ivory, beige and grey in the Burberry bedroom, stripes for the Paul Smith bedroom and handpainted silk scarves lining walls in the Alexander McQueen room.
Homes ready this year, from £5.35 million plus service charge of £8.36 per square foot. Call Berkeley Homes (020 7871 0011).
A 'real' home for £25m
The redevelopment of a Grade-II listed Belgravia townhouse by Residence One, run by brothers Nick and Ben Wilson, 70 Chester Square contains bespoke British crafted furniture and sumptuous fittings worth £1 millionplus. Italian marble and silk wallpapers reflect timeless, classic design.
Nick had his in-house design team create "a real home" where storage is key: "The staircase runs across the property's width creating deep, generous landings with storage on every floor. There's space for winter and summer clothes."
Behind an upholstered silk headboard, an oak veneer wardrobe has bevelled mirror panels and alcoves with drawers for shoes, ties and accessories. "Wardrobes tend to dominate, we've hidden them so they're unobtrusive," adds Nick. Priced £24,950,000. Call Savills (020 7824 9020).