New documentary unveils how Bond Street bounced back after THREE lockdowns

44006447 9665625 A new documentary has unveiled how Bond Street running between L a 51 1623234231796
44006447 9665625 A new documentary has unveiled how Bond Street running between L a 51 1623234231796

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Bond Street was the most expensive street in Europe and the third in the world, topped only by Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and Upper 5th Avenue in New York in 2019 – so, perhaps it’s of little wonder that even a pandemic couldn’t dampen its appeal.

A new documentary has unveiled how the luxurious strip, running between London‘s Oxford Street and Piccadilly, bounced back in style following England’s three lockdowns.

Sales made once non-essential shops reopened on April 12 included a £310,000 James Bond car, a Banksy costing £250,000, a £22,000 map of the capital as well as jewels galore – such as a stunning pair of £15,000 diamond drop earrings.

And if that wasn’t enough, queues wrapping around the side of buildings at Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior confirmed the street was back in business during footage filmed for ITV’s Billion Pound Bond Street, which airs tomorrow at 9pm.

It comes after the wealth of the super-rich was estimated to have increased by 25 per cent during the pandemic. 

A new documentary has unveiled how Bond Street, running between London's Oxford Street and Piccadilly, bounced back in style following England's three lockdowns. Pictured, Michael Wainwright of British Jewellers Boodles examines a pink diamond valued at 3.2 million pounds

A new documentary has unveiled how Bond Street, running between London’s Oxford Street and Piccadilly, bounced back in style following England’s three lockdowns. Pictured, Michael Wainwright of British Jewellers Boodles examines a pink diamond valued at 3.2 million pounds

Pictured, Bonhams Auctioneers flagship saleroom in New Bond Street

Pictured, Bonhams Auctioneers flagship saleroom in New Bond Street

Following their reopening, Dior’s store director Christopher Watney says: ‘All the private rooms are fully booked all week actually, so really, really pleased to see that.’

British luxury jeweller and family-owned Boodles already had its appointment book filled after opening its doors once again.

For the last resident of Bond Street, Ollie Claridge, who has a protected lease inherited from his father, it was no surprise that the super-rich rushed back to the area in their glamorous Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce cars. 

‘I think people haven’t had enough things to spend their money on and now by doing that and going home with a bag with Cartier on it, suddenly they are alive,’ he tells director Michael Waldman.

‘You poor things,’ he utters as he walks past a large queue of customers waiting to shop at Louis Vuitton. 

‘I have half a mind to ask them what they think they’ll find when they get inside? Wouldn’t it be great if they got inside and it was a branch of Greggs,’ he jokes.

Adam Lees (pictured) Chief Chocolatier at royal chocolate maker Charbonnel and Walker said the Queen has a list of favourite chocolates with the company

Adam Lees (pictured) Chief Chocolatier at royal chocolate maker Charbonnel and Walker said the Queen has a list of favourite chocolates with the company 

Pictured: British Jewellers Boodles store in New Bond Street

Pictured: British Jewellers Boodles store in New Bond Street

The glamorous half mile between Oxford Street and Piccadilly boasts more luxury brands and more royal warrants than any other in Britain. Pictured, Rolls Royce parked in New Bond Street

The glamorous half mile between Oxford Street and Piccadilly boasts more luxury brands and more royal warrants than any other in Britain. Pictured, Rolls Royce parked in New Bond Street

‘I think people are quite desperate to get out and spend,’ says one staff member from Boodles.

One florist on Bond Street, Pete Watkins, admits they’d been ‘busier than he thought’, adding: ‘We’ve got some lovely clients, and they’ve all come back.’

Customers returning to the luxury stores reveal they were buying glamorous items such as gold rings, and even slippers from Louis Vuitton.

One woman admits: ‘[I’m buying] one of the Chanel bags that were released last month. It’s a post lockdown gift, [costing] £5,500.’ 

During the programme, a James Bond car, used in one of the films, sells for £310,000, while a Banksy piece goes for £250,000.

The Mercury Cougar Convertible was one of a handful purchased by Eon Productions for use in the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

‘We’re still in shock. We’re a bit numb,’ say the owners, after the vehicle sold for much higher than the reserve.

Bond Street has been London's most exclusive shopping street for 300 years. Pictured, New Bond Street road sign

Bond Street has been London’s most exclusive shopping street for 300 years. Pictured, New Bond Street road sign

Pictured, father and son Pete and Pete Watkins own the flower stall at the top of Bond Street

Pictured, father and son Pete and Pete Watkins own the flower stall at the top of Bond Street 

Commenting on the boom in Bond Street, one pop-up antiques shop owner says: ‘The stock market has boomed… all assets have gone up so people who had money have more money.’

While resident Ollie says: ‘It’s not a flash in the pan, this street will be here when humanity’s gone.’

And it’s not just expensive clothes and jewellery available on the street; at Royal chocolate-maker Charbonnel et Walker, a box of chocolates can cost up to £280.

The company owes its very existence to the Royal sweet tooth – it opened in Bond Street in 1875 when Edward VII asked his favourite chocolate maker Madame Charbonnel to move from Paris to London. 

Chief chocolatier Adam Lee explains: ‘We have lots of pictures of The Queen and the Royal Family around the shop, given to us by The Palace. 

‘The Queen does have a list of favourite chocolates with us…I can just say that she has very floral tastes.’

Mr Lee adds: ‘The Queen does have a list of favourite chocolates with us. But I’m not allowed to divulge that directly to you.

‘However, I can just say that she has very floral tastes, which may become evident if we look at the chocolates a little bit later… but maybe we should start with our two most popular chocolates, which are rose and violet creams. I never said a word, never said a word.’

There are almost no residents left on Bond Street, with the exception of garden designer Olilie (pictured), who has been a resident for 20 years thanks to his unique rental arrangement on a flat after taking the original 1970s lease over from his father

There are almost no residents left on Bond Street, with the exception of garden designer Olilie (pictured), who has been a resident for 20 years thanks to his unique rental arrangement on a flat after taking the original 1970s lease over from his father

Ollie (pictured) can no longer use the old Bond Street entrance way to his flat – it was blocked off by the building’s owners because, he says, the space behind it commands £150,000 a year in rent

Ollie (pictured) can no longer use the old Bond Street entrance way to his flat – it was blocked off by the building’s owners because, he says, the space behind it commands £150,000 a year in rent

Michael Wainwright of British Jewellers Boodles hold a pink diamond valued at 3.2 million pounds (pictured)

Michael Wainwright of British Jewellers Boodles hold a pink diamond valued at 3.2 million pounds (pictured)

British luxury jeweller and family-owned Boodles already had its appointment book filled after opening its doors once again. Pictured, a pink diamond valued at 3.2 million pounds

British luxury jeweller and family-owned Boodles already had its appointment book filled after opening its doors once again. Pictured, a pink diamond valued at 3.2 million pounds

The rents and rates on Bond Street are huge but the luxury designer brands all want to be there. 

As one shopper explains: ‘You don’t go to Dior just for a bag, because you can buy it online. You go for an experience.’ 

Inside the flagship Christian Dior store, where dresses are considered ‘art pieces’ and prices are concealed inside garments, the Champagne cork is popped from 11am onwards. 

Store manager Christopher Watney reveals: ‘We offer drinks to all of our clients. Any client that comes into the House of Dior.’ 

With a billion pounds being spent on Bond Street every year, the eye-watering rent is perhaps not surprising. 

Chanel recently bought the freehold to their store for £310million in a property investment bidding war, despite having already spent over £40million fitting out the shop as tenants when they opened four years earlier. 

Past residents of Bond Street have included Admiral Lord Nelson, while composer Handel and musician Jimi Hendrix lived just round the corner. 

But now there are almost no residents left, with the exception of garden designer Ollie, who has been a resident for 20 years thanks to his unique rental arrangement on a flat after taking the original 1970s lease over from his father.

He can no longer use the old Bond Street entrance way to his flat – it was blocked off by the building’s owners because, he says, the space behind it commands £150,000 a year in rent – so eight years ago Ollie found a solution.

‘I now use a discreet entrance round the back, like a film star, or someone visiting the plastic surgeon again.

‘Guy Burgess the spy lived here, in this flat, until his flight to Russia, I think he had a lot of parties here. Then I think it was a brothel after that. It was quite insalubrious, Bond Street. Sadly, not anymore,’ he says.

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