Tamara Beckwith

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About Tamara Beckwith…”…

I am a gallerist, columnist and occasional TV presenter as well as the mother of two gorgeous girls Anouska and Violet.

When I´m not dashing off to some fabulous location on a photoshoot, writing assignment or to attend a friend's event, I am busy juggling work at my photography gallery, The Little Black Gallery in Chelsea, with keeping my Italian husband Giorgio and our three-year-old daughter Violet happy and fed. Writing up the previous evening's adventures is not so easy if I break the cardinal rule of no drinking on a school night!

www.thelittleblackgallery.com

October, 2012

31 October
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Love for Legoland and glamour at Skyfall

Having had a blissfully quiet weekend with lots of downtime with my youngest daughter Violet, I resumed our crazy pace with an early start on Monday morning, to Legoland.  Now I clearly have no recollection of my younger sister and I being taken to any such places.  As a result I have no sentimental feelings towards these theme parks and actually get little pleasure from them other than completing the day and getting home – but I now have to eat my hat! Legoland has certainly put Britain into the big league and I was absolutely shocked with it all.

 

Me and Violet ©TamaraBeckwith

Not to bore those of you without kids but even without the treasured Q box (a queue jumping aid you pay for and apparently not available on Mondays), my girlfriend Grainne and I had a blast with our two little ones.  Did I mention it was a grey sky with intermittent drizzle? Yet nothing could dampen our kids’ joy as we faced no queues longer than 20 minutes which, in my book, is a breeze.  Violet and Theo were mesmerised by the live Pirate Show, it was a first to see really engaging young students with incredible gymnastic skills and quite daredevil stunts perform– diving from a very high look out post!  Their new ride Atlantis was wonderfully presented and interesting even to us adults.  All in all a wonderful day with a delicious carb filled lunch at the Legoland hotel whilst we warmed up and the little ones ran themselves ragged.  Job done!

 

Violet and her new Lego friend ©TamaraBeckwith

Back to London and it was a quick turnaround for another Monday night out.   (So much for the no plans on a Monday night rule).  A great friend, Scott Curie was over from New York looking after the “Queen of Mean” Joan Rivers.  I have never seen her perform her comedienne role before and so quite naively I thought it might be a bit vanilla – was I ever in for a shock!  Sitting in a box with some of her other guests I almost choked within the first 5 minutes. Nothing is off limits with Joan.  She was speeding across the Royal Albert Hall stage in a dazzling coat of fuschia sequins with such fury I could not accept her telling us she was, in fact, 79 years old.  One of my favourite lines was how she is thinking of setting up a “Feels on Wheels” service for the elderly. Sadly the rest of her act is totally unprintable but I have been imitating her all week to various friends and get so involved I don’t realise it’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ kind of nights!

Me with Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa

 

After the show I went down to Joan’s post-show party to meet her and her daughter Melissa.  To say they are weeny is a gross understatement, but so sharp and naughty. Also very warmly chatting to Louis Walsh and my favourite interiors whizz Lady Jane Spencer Churchill. Their work schedule is intense and Joan had just been touring England back to back for the week.  I had a couple of glasses of champagne and couldn’t resist stealing a Joan Rivers cupcake. A new convert I will proudly admit it, she was simply sensational.

 

Me on the red carpet at the Skyfall premiere

 

I was still finding the whole night hilarious when I woke up the following day but had to get my skates on to meet Daniel Galvin Jnr – a good friend and hairdresser.  We are hosting a little Halloween party on the 31st to launch his new Organic Hair products for Children, Duble Truble.  We were in the middle of trying to agree decorations and entertainments, etc when in breezed Made In Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh.  I had actually just seen her with her beau Professor Green at breakfast that weekend.  She was super pretty and polite and was obviously a regular. We agreed on all the details and I was home to get ready for the premiere to end all premieres, Bond’s new Skyfall.  The reason it was trebly special was because it was the 50th Anniversary of the James Bond films and in celebration the premiere was being held at the Royal Albert Hall.  My escort for the night was my long term agent and business partner Ghislain Pascal.  Dress was black tie as the evening was in the presence of the Prince Charles and Camilla. So far so glamorous.

 

Me at paparazzi time at the Skyfall premiere

Even my jaded eyes were out on stalks as we made our way up the grand back staircase of the Albert Hall.  Red carpet heaven as the best of the best posed in front of a bank of photographers worthy of the Oscars.  Naomi Campbell and her handsome beau Vlad were in matching tuxedos whilst actress Helen McCrory (she appears in the movie) was a little girls dream in a fairy tulle puff by MarchesaHolly Valance, recently back from her wedding, was one of my favourites in a super chic orange Tom Ford outfit. The throng of people was a huge nod to the producers Barbara Brocolli & Michael Wilson and to the fact that they had done something very clever with their father’s Bond legacy. Rachel Weisz, beautiful in jaw-dropping bejewelled lilac, was so discreet she actually reunited with her Bond, Daniel Craig inside the hall before he had to shake Prince Charles’ hand. Rachel and Daniel are notoriously private and she is a huge star in her own right.  What a wife!

 

Me with Nadja Swarovski and Assia Webster

Once in my seat, I must add I was in the front of a box only four or five down from the Royal Box and couldn’t stop sneaking a look to see if the royal couple were enjoying the film. Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes is very unfluffy, slightly dark and heavy on action but I, for one, would just have liked a little more sexiness, but I guess the Box Office will be the judge.  Off to the after party at the Tate Modern, Ghislain and I had a riot with Assia and Stephen Webster and Nadja Swarovski with her suave husband Rupert Adams.  An immaculate vintage grey Aston Martin was there for the guests to admire and we all took silly photos, they even had thoughtfully created a Skyfall photo booth.  I bumped into Tony Broccoli, a very old friend from LA and the brother of Barbara.  The party was full on with trays of cocktails and I was thrilled to see my friend Kate Driver who was with her sister Minnie Driver in a scarlet satin sheath.  I was on a mission to find my new friend Bruce Bozzi who had come in from New York.  Much searching later he was unearthed in the inner sanctum with Daniel Craig and his posse.  Stephen Webster went over to say hello, as his jewellery had adorned the latest batch of beautiful Bond Girls.  I was happy to catch Assia’s eye as it was yet another school night and we made the brave decision to call it a night.

 

I was again up with the larks as I finally had to do something dull – hunting for all my receipts for a VAT return (not my idea of a couple of hours well spent). Another weekend of chilly country walks, a little horse riding all in time to replenish my energy for a sexy Agent Provocateur runway show and a Halloween party for the little people, oh and a little Lionel Richie….

25 October
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Partying with princesses and catching some Cabaret

The week started off with the husband flying out of town and one very dear girlfriend flying in to stay with me!  With Violet at her grandparents in Milan, I almost felt like a twenty-something single girl again.  Former supermodel Claudia Mason had flown in from New York for some meetings and I was thrilled to have time to hang out with her – and  finally be introduced to the era of Instagram.

 

She was very patient and explained everything as if I was about eight years old.  Still not quite sure what the point is but I will soldier on. When Giorgio is gone I make time for all my girlfriends, who I just don’t get to see enough of. I have also resumed Jo’s Dance class. It’s a great high impact class and I really do work up a sweat. Not that I look anything close to Beyonce, who we were supposedly imitating!

Me and Jenny Halpern

That night was another great friend’s birthday party. PR supremo Jenny Halpern loves a dance, usually with a pole involved, but her divine husband Ryan is more conservative and so a chic soiree at her beautiful London home was the order of the day. Saffron Aldridge was looking very cool wearing a heavenly pair of Valentino bow boots – I don’t really think of Saffron doing bows. Interiors goddess Tara Bernerd was as usual exasperated with her workload. I think all of us with little ones make her silently chuckle that we are ever short of hours in the day! She’s heading off to David Furnish’s upcoming 50th celebrations  in New York, which prompted me to say she was a little hopeful if she thought she had much chance of meeting any appropriate single men there. I chatted away to my friend Kate Driver (sister of actress Minnie) who seems to have re-entered the workplace with abandon.  She is a clever film producer and has long harboured a desire to manage young up and coming talent -  she would make a great mentor!

 

Me with Emma O’Byrne (make-up) and Snowden Hill (Hair)

 

The food was delicious and it was quite a rare occasion to see all the girls tucking in so freely.  Not so when I had to be up with the larks the following morning to shoot a new campaign for Calzone at Pizza Express. The absolute glamour of it all… Arriving at the restaurant in the Strand all dolled up but with rollers in situ is just so wrong!  The photographer was a hoot and my chef or pizziolo Adriona was fabulous.  He got to eat three piping hot Calzones and all I was allowed was to hold a single solitary slice! Although at 9am, I am not sure I quite had the stomach for it…

 

I had a meeting later that afternoon about a charity event I will be co-chairing in the Spring for a Children’s hospice and we were all challenged to come up with a theme.  Sad that at 40 I still love a theme!  Will this ever change? I just feel that if you are asking people to give generously it somehow makes it less painful to do so in full costume.  “Military and Medics” seemed to be the path we were heading down.

Claudia Mason and me

My lovely house guest Claudia wanted to take me for dinner to say thank you, but first we planned to drop in at The Brompton Club en route for a preview of Beulah London’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection and launch of their Hennessy Gold Cup scarf for charity.  I explained it was casual, but this is Chelsea we are talking about. I slipped on some leggings, a leopard tee and a furry jacket. It felt casual although my girlfriend gasped when we met at the bottom of my stairs. She was in New York ‘casual’, skinnyjeans and a jumper. As she is an ex-supermodel, whatever she put on would look fab, to be honest.

 

We arrived at the party to be greeted by 20 photographers, leaving her looking a little unamused!  Getting into the party was a feat in itself. Trillions of gorgeous 20-somethings (including some of the Made in Chelsea lot) in head to toe Beulah; glamour exemplified.  The two founders Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan were charming and seemed thrilled with the response to their ethical line. Princess Eugenie was there as was Chelsy Davy. Claudia asked for a ginger ale and it came with a healthy glug of brandy.  She was in hysterics at how we speak the same but hugely different language.

Princess Eugenie and Chelsy Davy

Zuma was a mob scene. The maître’d was as helpful as he could be but we still looked like we were there to be picked up!  Too silly for words. I bumped into my good pal Caroline Stanbury. She was in an itsy bitsy Herve Leger mini and sky scraper heels. Not sure if she was off to a  party but way over the top for dinner.  She is beside herself with excitement as she has just landed a huge American reality TV show. She won’t mind me saying this but she talks about herself incessantly now.

 

God help us when the show starts!! With the weekend looming Claudia and I had one last hurrah – a night at the Savoy Theatre to see Cabaret, with Will Young as its star.  We were joined by Valentino, Giancarlo Giammetti and their clan, including VBH jewellery and handbag designer Bruce Hoeksema and ex-model Charlene de Ganay. Valentino is a die-hard musical fan, and with my family’s theatre connections, I try to take him to see something new whenever he is in town. He thought he’d died and gone to heaven when he saw Singin’ In the Rain!

Claudia Mason and Valentino

I was not prepared in any way for the show but I can only say you must see it.  It’s truly brilliant; the choreography, the costumes, the lighting, and Will Young is staggering.  After the show we headed off to,  yes you guessed it, Loulou’s nightclub at 5 Hertford Street – so hot that it’s almost becoming a nightly staple among my crew!

THE place to be, 5 Hertford Street

Can’t wait to tell you all about my double whammy at the Royal Albert Hall – one with the “Queen of Mean” Joan Rivers, herself, and the other with James Bond at the premiere to end all premieres. How can we ever go back to Leicester Square….

18 October
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A bittersweet London memorial and a wonderful Milanese wedding

DINNER WITH TOMMY HILFIGER AND THE SOFTER SIDE OF GORDON BROWN:

Paris having been a whirlwind of chicness, fashionistas and massive parental pride I found myself back in a chilly London. Mondays are usually strict no go zones as far as socialising is concerned but my darling husband Giorgio had planned a business dinner with Tommy and Dee Hilfiger at trendy new club 5 Hertford Street, so hey ho when the husband decides to change the rules…

Me and Giorgio

We arrived and lo and behold it turned into a jolly dinner, except Dee and I were the only females – joined by five men! I suppose, at least it made us look good. Tommy kept us all entertained with his wicked sense of humour and spot-on imitations of his friends. The actor Christopher Biggins arrived very late for a post theatre supper – having just been to see Rupert Everett’s latest offering, The Judas Kiss.  He was swift to tell me there were lots of naked bits on show!

Tommy and Dee HIlfiger

I was back at 5 Hertford Street later in the week for one of my best and naughtiest girlfriends, Lindy Loo’s birthday – her devoted husband threw a very intimate dinner but yet again we seemed super men heavy (not that we should be complaining!). Anything’s better than New York where the men-to-women ratio is something ghastly like 1-7!!!  I was beginning to feel like an early night would be a blessing in another life as we had a very long-standing memorial dinner scheduled for Saturday evening.  The nature of a memorial party is something of a conundrum because, naturally, it is tinged with sadness. On this occasion, however, the widow in question, Lucy Doughty, threw what I can only describe as an exemplary royal send off for her beloved late husband, former Nottingham Forest owner, business supremo and Labour Party donor Nigel, who died suddenly earlier this year, aged just 54.

Ed Miliband with his wife Justine

Labour heavyweights in attendance included current leader Ed Miliband and ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. We got to see a side of the taciturn Scot you don’t normally see – he was soft and charming and, blow-me-down-with-a-feather, came across as highly loveable and a totally normal hands-on papa with his lovely wife Sarah and sleepy son. He made a wonderful welcome speech and acted as a sort of master of ceremonies. Usually I am able to bite my tongue but he was really rather incredible and I felt compelled to tell him so. He actually won me and a great many other guests over that night. To end the evening on a high we were totally spoilt by the Doughtys’ great friend Stevie Wonder flying in especially to perform all his greatest hits. As you may be able to tell, the whole evening was actually a little bitter sweet.

Me and fabulous jeweller Stephen Webster

As if London needed any more excuses to get busier, Frieze art fair was upon us.  It started off with a Stephen Webster Preview of his couture jewellery line at ESPA in the Corinthia Hotel.  How was I to know this is where the X Factor Contestants live?!  Hoardes of youngsters all clutching cameras and printed photos swarming outside as I arrived, none the wiser. Popping by to say ‘hi’ to Stephen and his charming Russian wife Assia, I bumped into the beautiful Malin Jefferies, who was then off to support her dapper gallery owner husband Tim.

The beautiful Malin Jeffries

I had not managed to find a minute to get to his stand at the Palladium of Art and Decoration (PAD) in Berkeley Square, but then again I hate looking at things I have no way of ever buying anyway. I was also trying to hold onto my reserve energy tank to host what has become an annual Frieze lunch at my own gallery, The Little Black Gallery.

Stephen Webster, Assia Webster, Daniel Galvin and Sue Harmsworth

I try to invite a clutch of carefully chosen girls who all have some sort of business situation.  I also promise them that it’s one hour in total. Pretty important as time is precious and I know all my girlfriends like to pick up their little ones from school or nursery.  First through the door was the most rock‘n’roll jeweller in the world, Loree Rodkin. We caught up on all our mutual friends back in LA, and naturally I wore one of the precious snake rings that she had custom made for me. The new muse for Dolce Gabanna Alta Moda, Marpessa Hennink – she is a legend – came and kept all the girls laughing and in awe at how she looks so cool. Tabitha Somerset-Webb (her handbags are to die for) and my great friend fashion designer Alessandra Vicedomini (a really smart cookie with a must-have collection for this winter) talked shop with new jeweller on the block to the Chelsea/Mayfair crew, Mimi Baldwin.  All in all we had a hugely productive lunch.  They came and viewed my Vee Speers Photography show and then got a chance to eat at the delicious Italian “Eleven” whilst making new friends…

 

Me and the ladies at the Frieze lunch held at Italian restaurant “Eleven”

 

MILANESE MARRIAGE!

If dressing beautifully for Paris is a stretch then Milan is a whole different effort level. Naturally, being married to a Milanese man, I can’t risk the shame of bumping into one of his friends looking typically Tamara and crumpled. So packing involves military-style measures. Italians are totally unconcerned with teeth, hair and manicures but when it comes to looking great in clothes they lead the world. I made the huge mistake of wearing a fabulous olive green faux fur jacket – sweltering before I even got to our hotel. Of course, with the time change we flew into our room and had to get ready straight away.  This is the story of my life with an Italian, always rushing!

Me and the darling Robert Kass

The wedding of the beautiful Hannah Colman (Jimmy Choo’s President of Europe) to the irresistibly naughty but delicious Eduardo Polli kicked off with a huge dinner at Nobu. Hannah was in tight cream Tom Ford frock complete with Gwyneth Paltrow mid cape. How chic is that for a wedding look? The guest list was full of uber glam Euro characters: Fiona Swarovski, still with the best legs I have ever seen; Robert Kass from LA; Tamara Mellon in sexy black leather Valentino squired by her seriously successful beau Mike Ovitz in from New York; Von Bismarcks of all ages; Arun Nayar with his lovely leggy brunette Kimberly; Amanda Ferry minus Bryan; Giorgina Brandolini; the knockout Hilde Polli (Eduardo’s previous wife); Mogens Tholstrup – the list was endless…The smoking was, too – Milan seems to be a rule unto itself with the smoking ban.

 

Me, Amanda Ferry and Kimberly Johnson

The food was skimpy to say the least but Eduardo is renowned for liking his girls thin!  The party was a riot and we all ended up at a new nightclub called Byblos.  Rahim Aga Khan was having his birthday party and so, of course, we couldn’t say no.  Our gorgeous girlfriends Caroline Habib and Arabella Spiro were all up for some trouble so we dragged Tamara Mellon and a slightly resisting Mike with us. Need I add some of us were responsible and some of us were not! The next day was a little foggy so Giorgio had booked a long table at Il Salumaio.  Glenn Spiro, a truly amazing jeweller, came and found a kindred spirit with American artist and best friend of Peter Beard, Peter Tunney.  My good friend Cavan Mahony Linde arrived wearing incredibly cheeky shorts with her husband Stefan. They have the Missoni concession here for London and so inevitably talk turned to fashion.

Me with Caroline Habib

 

One of the husbands was feeling ridiculously generous or guilty for having left his wife behind at home and had been talked into buying her the virtually unobtainable latest Hermes cobalt blue matt crocodile Birkin.  Did I want to go with him to look at it? Er, no thank you!  I was off like a flash to the Valentino store where a red catsuit was being altered for that night. Yanet, the most efficient and honest shop assistant ever greeted me like the biggest spender ever (sadly, not the case) and produced my pantsuit. Heavenly and fitted like a glove.Heading back to the hotel I almost flew off my 9″ suede skyscrapers whilst starring at a giant poster of our friend Stephen Dorff in the new Hogan campaign.  He had found us in Capri in the summer having just shot it!  He looked every inch the real McCoy American Movie star.

Giorgio was off to show our British friends the Duomo. I politely declined. Arriving that evening at Palazzo del Senato was like a dream.  From the outside it appears far from special and is almost unnoticeable.  However, once you step through the ancient doorway into an open courtyard with imposing pillars, the beauty of the place really hits you.  Our bride Hannah was now in another Tom Ford creation, which Giorgio thought too chic for words. Jewels dripped from earlobes and wrists were encased in bejewelled cuffs.  The ever-charming playboy Philippe Junot was all smiles and Princess Lilly Wittgenstein and her husband Lambros were dispensing lots of kisses to all and sundry  – the night was off to a great start.  As we were ushered through to dinner under a canopy of twinkling candles and enormous hoops of flowers it was hard to disagree that Italians do do it better.

The girls and I in our wedding outfits

 

Thankfully the travelling is over for a while and London looks very welcoming.  However, although I waffle on about wanting a quieter pace of life I obviously secretly love the hustle and bustle. A less hectic week ahead with an unusual photoshoot, another girlfriend’s birthday, and, oh, a wonderful night out at the theatre…

12 October
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The Paris Whirlwind: photography, food and fabulous people

I had just got all the clothes sent back to their various destinations after the HELLO! photo shoot when I hit trouble, making the mistake of personally dropping off 202’s on Westbourne Grove. I arrived with 2 bags of returns and somehow left with 3 bags of amazing new pieces! Violet had been allowed a carte blanche to play with whatever she liked and had found pink suede sunglasses – I never fail to find something fabulous in there! Packed and ready to board my Eurostar to Paris, I managed to catch up on tons of emails and even wrote the foreword for a new coffee table book that I have been taken on to write.  Mentally I tried to dress a bit more chic-ly for my trip, as my daughter Anouska had primed me that all Parisienne women are never without their glasses and lipstick. However, I refuse point blank to travel in heels.

Champs Elysées, Paris

Wonderful Paris

After pulling into the Gare du Nord, I headed straight to the San Regis Hotel off Ave Montaigne and then tea with all Anouska’s new friends who form World Wide Women. Heading to the 5th district I was excited to see her company’s first photography show. The space was amazing and each of the 8 girls were all as beautiful as the next. You could feel the stress in the air as the picture hanging hadn’t even started yet. Before the show began I enjoyed dinner with my husband, my daughter Noushy and friend Lulu at Société. It was a delicious meal, though we were all a tad preoccupied by a long-bodied Swedish model sitting next to us whose legs didn’t even fit under the table.

 

Goga Ashkenazi and Tamara Beckwith

The lovely Goga Ashkenazi and me

 

Next morning I was up and again, dressed in my new semi-couture skirt and heels, it was taking me a lot of planning to dress like that 24/7! Off I went in a taxi to see my great friend Goga Ashkenazi’s first collection as owner of VIONNET and the poor girl was absolutely terrified.  I liked a few pieces, loved a couple and was blah blah by a few.  Then my next stop was dropping by to see my lovely pal Snowden who was squeezing us in after he had done the DIOR show. I was texting my friend Eva Herzigova and trying to get her to stay for a couple of extra hours in order to make Anouska’s show. Then before we knew it, showtime had arrived. My father (who had arrived from London to show his support) and I managed to get there in 20 mins. The traffic in Paris over Fashion week is beyond hideous – the night before I had been trying to get to Sonia Sieff’s photography show but had to abort the plan after being stuck in a tunnel of traffic for 30 mins without moving!

 

Vionnet, Paris

Vionnet, Paris

 

Pulling up outside Anouska’s gallery there were already swarms of pretty young French things, all smoking, all thin and super glamorous. The place filled up so fast I couldn’t manage the leisurely browse I’d hoped for.  Waris Dirie (who was their guest of honour that night as a supermodel and UN spokesperson) was just charming as she gave a short speech about her own harrowing story.  Now a happy mother to 3 boys and living in Poland, Waris was refreshingly down-to-earth and so warm. Natalia Vodianova, another fabulous superwoman and multi-tasker extraordinaire, had promised to swing by and did – love her! The pictures were selling and I must admit to having been totally overwhelmed as many of my friends had come along to show their support. Anouska and her business partner, Alessandra Castrucci, looked gorgeous in their Valentino outfits.  Jamie Burke, Calvin Klein model and singer, had flown in from NY especially to play at the show and Deborah Anderson, famous photographer, had just shot Pink for her new album and then jetted in for Noushy’ event.  Luciana Gimenez came by with club impresario Jeffrey Jah and we found them later on at the chic Paris hotspot Raspoutine.

 

Tamara Beckwith, daughter Anouska and friends

Me, Anouska and some of the lovely ladies

I was so proud of Anouska’s night, the show and their tremendous hard work. Naturally I was even happier for her knowing that she had sold all her pieces that night. I decided to make Voltaire our ‘last lunch’ destination for fabulous French cuisine in an old school, charming bistro on the bank of Seine.  It was the cherry on the cake when we noticed US Vogue’s Grace Coddington was seated at a table right next to us – you can’t get more fashion than her!

A quick dash back to London before re-packing and flying to Milan for a beautiful Milanese Society Wedding.  So many old friends are flying in so it will be another fun one for sure!!!

 

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