In London, if you find yourself in a place where you're given a red carpet just to wander around the outside of the shops and where the well to-do discuss their winter sun plans you should really take a second look around. You've probably wandered into one of the most prestigious and established areas of the city's style history. This place is the Burlington Arcade.
Surrounded by a variety of dialects one of the first things you may notice is that there are no prices in the windows of the jewellers, of which there are many. If you have to ask you can't afford. Here people still get their shoes shined by a human sat on a box, the arcade even has a door man though there is no actual door. However the staff look, frankly quite bored and while a Monday afternoon may not be the typical time for a peruse of possible purchases, shouldn't there still be a little more buzz about a place that has such an institutional reputation?
A closer inspection reveals a more concerning trend, shops closing down or, gasp, moving out! Which only further begs the question....Are things OK in the arcade?
Across the road Fortnum and Mason is also fairly quiet but this somehow feels different, deliberate even. Maybe it's the music softly playing in the background of the centre, or that you can hear the clinking of those cheerfully taking afternoon tea which makes the atmosphere more a calm tranquil place rather than a seemingly abandoned shopping gallery.