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

November, 2012

26 November
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A diamond dinner and a Parisian perusal

I wish I had never mentioned the ‘we never go out on Mondays’ rule considering I have had a plan every Monday. This Monday, I attended a beautiful dinner hosted by Fawaz Gruosi, the undisputed king of all that glitters, and founder of De Grisogono jewellery – which is worn by the bold and beautiful all around the world.  He had flown into London to host the dinner at 17 Berkeley Street. Fawaz is a very good friend of mine and Giorgio’s and in fact made my engagement and wedding rings.  On top of that, he also happens to be one of the most fun men in the world.

 

Me with Fawaz Gruosi

 

My oldest and best friend Emma Gold of GSP had organised the party, and it sounded like we were in for a treat. Ready to join in the celebrations, financier Robert Hanson was in town with his glamorous wife Masha. A jeweller’s party would not be complete without a girl’s best friend, so it was no surprise when the ladies swooned over a certain pair of diamond drop earrings, which I have sweetly photographed for you to stare at. The cocktail brigade were out in force and I was in a knockout midnight blue Pucci number – it was skintight to say the least and I had a rather unfortunate wardrobe malfunction later on.

 

Diamond drop earrings

 

Fundraiser Ella Krasner was also at the party, and full of excitement at how well her own night The Place for Peace had gone the previous weekend. The amazingly glam event was co-chaired by its founder Forest Whitaker. Model Christina Juffali is also a huge De Grisogono devotee, and snuck in just as we were called for dinner. We had fun with our good friends the Stevensons and the Agags who had arrived from Madrid. Alejandro Agag is the man responsible for bringing us the Formula Electric Grand Prix – watch this space – It will be amazing.

 

Me and Lucy Doughty

 

After a chic fashion show with very tall, severe-looking models dripping in rocks we had a jolly sing song and were sent on our merry ways relatively early.

Next morning and I was off to a property review meeting with my Dad, who is a veteran property developer himself. Thank goodness I had been super reserved at Fawaz’s. There was quite a lot of information to take on board and digest.

My new treat is a wonderful nutritionist called Gabriella Peacock.  She looks the picture of clean and serene living but I happen to know she has the odd drink, which is a perfect fit for me. She has not tried to reinvent the wheel in terms of what I eat but has just made some easy to follow suggestions that I can hand on heart say have made me feel full of energy. Her secret trick of snacking on “protein bombs” has been revolutionary.

I had been to a very worthy girls lunch to raise money for cancer a few months ago, which was hosted by Tatler’s editor, and coincidentally an alma mater of my old school, Cheltenham Ladies College, Kate Reardon. Designer label Coach had gifted us all a bag and mine has just arrived. It’s not only chic in camel leather but also the most useful size for me.  I felt so spoilt being sent such a nice present, and it’s even more fabulous that I love it so much I can use it to death.

On the subject of bags, Giorgio and I had to drop into Bottega Venetta to see another of his great pals, Marco Bizarri, who is the CEO of the Bottega brand, as they were launching their designer Tomas Maier’s new coffee table bible. Bottega Venetta is almost too cool for school and their cocktail crowd so chic and sophisticated that I was delighted to run into one of my favourite boys and London’s top stylists Gianluca Longo. He and I have worked together on many shoots and he is every girl’s best friend. TV presenter Noelle Reno was also there and I was just desperate to find a suitable birthday gift for a friend. Four books and one gift later we headed off to our birthday dinner.

 

Anouska outside the Paris Photography exhibition

 

Up again with the larks as I wanted to walk my little one to nursery as normal since I was heading for Paris. Of course, now my eldest daughter Anouska lives there I have much more of an affinity for one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I headed to Paris Photo, which is regarded as the most important photography fair in the world. Now my own gallery, The Little Black gallery, is five years old, I felt it important to go and meet with some new photographers for the shows next year. Naturally there was fun on the agenda with gallery owner Tim Jefferies. I love Tim dearly and whatever he does is so stylish and usually wicked fun. Anouska and I were both invited by him to have dinner at the Hotel Costes on Rue St-Honoré.

 

Anouska and Iris Della Roca at the Paris Photography Exhibition

 

Lucy Doughty, one of my other girlfriends from London, was also there and we made a plan to hit the Alaia Headquarters the following day, the home of Azzedine Alaia, the great Tunisian-born, Parisian designer. I was sat next to the German photographer Christopher Thomas later on at dinner, whom was absolutely captivating and huge fun. The Costes itself makes you want to behave badly, and tempted me into having a sumptuous feast and a large number of guilt-inducing delicacies. Having had enough red wine to float a small island, I decided to head back to my own hotel on Place des Vosges. is a boutique hotel set up in the typical Parisiene courtyard. I had a small loft and I cannot tell you how amazing my stay was. Who still has an honesty bar? The Le Pavillon de la Reine was absolutely private, small and delicious, and I will from now on head there. I cannot recommend it enough for anyone looking for a really special experience that doesn’t cost the earth.

 

 

A forbidden breakfast of croissants with Anouska and her best friend Lulu and we finally got ourselves to the Grand Palais. The museum just proved how the French just do it bigger, better and grander. I missed last year’s Paris photo fair, and hadn’t seen it since its new home. The fair is huge, but in this magnificent building you could happily wander around all day.  I found many new pictures that have swiftly been added to my ‘I will have one day’ list and had a couple of interesting meetings. My business partner Ghislain Pascal arrived the following morning on a silly o’clock Eurostar.

 

 

But first, we had a frantic morning dropping in on a fabulous boutique called The Space on Rue Bonaparte. Fashionistas Julia Van Hagen and Tallulah Rufus-Isaacs have taken on this Sixties store, which was once owned by movie legend Elizabeth Taylor and her best friend Vicky Tiel. The shop even have a pair of incredible flamingo pink and leopard print original armchairs, which I was captivated by. Whilst I had a sneaky shop, Anouska spent time hanging the  WorldWideWomen pop up show at The Space. Once reunited, we decided to be typically English and lunch before another round at the Grand Palais. Brasserie Lipp in Saint-Germain fitted our requirements perfectly and we ate the plat du jour!  How touristy can one get?

 

After another four hours at the photo fair, we somehow managed to leave empty handed – miracles do happen. Keeping an eye on our watches we had one last meeting with our new photographer, the amazing Australian, Vee Speers. She and her husband invited us to their apartment where we were spoilt with homemade canapés galore.

Leaving Paris and my daughter behind is always a bit sad, but Paris had, as always, left me very happy.

14 November
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Enjoying the yin and yang of life…

The heavenly thing about November, other than all the autumn leaves and wonderful colours in the Parks, is that it really starts to get me feeling festive. Once Halloween is over it’s straight onto Guy Fawkes… are we even allowed to call it that anymore?  Well my great girlfriend Linda Johnston and her divine husband Nick decided to throw a small, 150-friend fireworks party at their chic estate in Oxfordshire. Vivi was so excited as they have naughty twin boys who she is terribly fond of.  There was even more excitement as Nick had lovingly restored 2 old Land Rover fire trucks so that they were shiny and red, with more bangs and whistles just like the modern day fire engines. The kids were scrambling over them with juicy cheeseburgers oozing ketchup everywhere, as if they had never seen anything so magical. Even Violet, who is usually ultra girly, was beside herself with excitement.

 

One of the wonderful restored firetrucks

The BBQ was hyper efficient and the sausages were too delicious to be ignored (so much for my holier-than-thou etox juice diet!). A great gaggle of guests surrounded  Ed Allen and his brood, feral I believe is the word he uses for them! Kate Driver was there with her gang of trendy little Notting Hill babies and Emily Oppenheimer with both her beautiful boys, Theo and Marlowe. They had built a tall and robust bonfire with a real-life, stuffed Guy sitting on the top of it. The fireworks were every bit as exciting and thrilling as I always find them. Vivi, however, found it all a bit loud and chilly and was more than keen to sneak back to the twins’ enormous, cosy playroom, packed with toys.

 

Twinkling fireworks for Guy Fawkes

Back to London and I was thrilled to finally get my hair re-blonded by my team  at Atelier. Josh Wood has been in charge of my unruly mop for over 15 years and he is the only one who can create his legendary “baby blonde” for me. I’ve had a black streak in my hair for about 4 years but people still act as if it’s brand new! Josh is in charge of some of the most important heads in fashion and show business so I find that the 2 hours in his chair flies by as I’m privy to the most fabulous stories. He is a true legend!

 

Josh Wood and me

The following morning I was off to view a potential new school for Violet.  She is a strong character and I feel quite anxious that I choose the right next school. It goes without saying that my dear, Italian husband cannot get his head around the hoops I have to jump through to get her into a London school! Fingers crossed she gets a place somewhere come January – I don’t think home schooling would work for us…

 

Me at the Corinthia Hotel’s spa, ESPA

It’s a rare treat for me to ever go to a spa so I decided that, since my younger sister Clare has just had a milestone birthday, I would take her to the Corinthia Hotel’s Spa, ESPA. As it’s in Whitehall it doesn’t feel too local, so there’s no guilt attached. However, I had no clue all the X Factor contestants were in residency. Loads of young fans were penned in outside and Clare and I were given longing looks as if they wanted us to help sneak them  in. Once in the magnificently grand, white marble, state-of-the-art Spa we finally turned off  phones and gadgetry and took deep breaths. We felt a little bit like skiving school girls. After all, we had a gazillion things we could be doing but quality time together as sisters is rare without our girls, so it’s very treasured. Laura Martin, the SPA manager, came over to say ‘Hi’ and then our therapists snuck up and whisked us off for our various treatments. We were reunited a few hours later in terry robes for some light lunch. It was absolutely delicious and hilariously filling enough for us to ask to take it home in a doggie bag. Afterwards, lying on the heated marble day beds, we agreed that this should be a monthly ritual!

 

My sister Clare enjoying some spa time at ESPA

Life is all about yin and yang, and so, having de-compressed, I was ready to take on the world. Giorgio and I had been invited to a very select dinner in honour of the wonderful designer Prabal Gurung from New York. Uber party hostess Elizabeth Saltzman, who knows just about anyone who’s anyone in the whole World, was in charge. Nightclub supremo Piers Adam - a very old friend of mine – was letting her throw a dinner in his new cool Supper Club – Bodo’s Schloss.  It’s the new place of about 2 weeks. Rumour has it there is a secret tunnel direct to Prince Harry’s apartment in Kensington Palace a stone’s throw away. Arriving at the Austrian ski chalet we were greeted by two handsome men with very little on but oversized fur trapper hats and huskies by their sides. Girls in cheeky dirndls looked ravishing with long, plaited hair -all very themey!

 

Piers Adam and Giorgio and at Bodo’s Schloss

Once inside, we felt like we had arrived up a mountain and were about to tuck into a calorific cheese fondue.  The decor was spot on and there was a real mountain, bubble-lift on the dance floor. I must say, the crowd was a who’s who as always with Gwyneth Paltrow beautiful and bare faced, Geri Halliwell on great form and I am sure I spied the fashion darling Henry Holland. Alice Temperley looked very boho in pink and Tim Jefferies was celebrating his birthday, so the men with bell ringing talents went wild with the Happy Birthdays. Giorgio was beyond thrilled with his table placement, next to the beautiful actress Annabelle Wallis and I was lucky enough to get her musician/model beau James Rousseau, a handsome cheeky chappy with a little gap in his front teeth. We had been blessed to join actor Luke Evans fresh back from the Fast and the Furious 6 film set. Elle Macpherson was newly blonde and Sophia Hesketh had on the best shoes ever! As always I was just getting into the swing of things, the dance floor was warming up when Giorgio eyeballed me and swiftly frog marched me home. As I turned around for one last goodbye, who should be emerging from the Ladies room but the divine Cameron Diaz, fresh from the red carpet of her new movie “Gambit” – Giorgio I know was half tempted to give in!

 

James Rousseau, Annabelle Wallis and Luke Evans

However, heading home turned out to be a brilliant call as the next day I was hosting a ‘girl’s’ lunch for luxury fashion brand Missoni at the Sloane Street boutique. My friend and owner of the store, Cavan Mahony Linde, was adamant about having legendary session stylist Snowden Hill in situ to keep our girls happy. Oh and Pooja and the girls from Blink eyebrows were on hand as well.  First through our doors was artist and philanthropist Amanda Eliasch. She was drop-dead glamour with shades so dark I don’t know how she got around. Amanda Sheppard and model Kimberley Johnson popped in for a browse and jeweller Katie Braine came and made a new friend! Jackie St Clair held court upstairs with a few old friends and Lady Masha Hanson, looking very chic in dove grey mink found even more grey things she seemed to like. My great girlfriends Lilly Becker and Lilly Hodges arrived together and left together having sampled everything and tried on so many Missoni combinations I lost count. The day was a great success and Raj, the store manager was such a trooper.  Luckily a quiet weekend beckoned…….

 

Me with my wonderful Missoni lunch co-hostess, Cavan Mahoney Linde

Next week it’s all gigantic bling, Hollywood and more rocks before a job in Paris…..

10 November
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Latex lingerie, car trouble and Halloween fun

So with half term over, life can be a little more regimented and back on track.  Still husbandless, I was invited to Lingerie London with the big-billed return of Agent Provocateur to the runway – their last show was 4 years ago. This year Atsuko Kudo’s new risqué latex lingerie show was part of the attraction when I asked one of my best friends Karim Halwagi to come with me. We have been thick as thieves since we were 15 and so I knew he would be a suitable catwalk companion. It’s a huge bonus to take someone who you haven’t seen for ages as you get to have a mammoth chit chat. I decided to wear an outfit by one of my favourite new brands, Beulah London. It was a purple and white, patterned satin sheath with a massive slit – I hadn’t noticed the slit until I slipped it on. White legs are not my best look but with 10 minutes to go I was stuck! The Red carpet was very funny as I was asked all sorts of lingerie-related questions and as I have little knowledge in that area, I kept trying to sound somewhat aloof!

Me in my gorgeous purple Beulah London dress

Then, finally, I attended the fabulous cocktail party at the old Billingsgate Market. Trays full of brandy cocktails were wafted around but I decided to steer well clear. My girlfriend, model Claudia Mason, had been flown in from Milan for the show and she was excited that we were going to be in the front row, or so she said… I was thrilled to bump into uber glamorous Andrea Dellal and we set about comparing our Charlotte Olympia shoes. I was being super brave by wearing my purple metallic pair as I am a tad wobbly in them but Andrea’s looked awesome. Charlotte had designed the shoes for the Agent Provocateur show and made a later entrance with her signature red hair. Football legend Peter Crouch was mooching around in anticipation of his sparky wife Abbey Clancy’s runway moment. The much revered stylist Katie Grand had done the casting so we expected great things. Newlywed Patrick Kielty was our host for the night and gave the crowd a telling-off for not being enthusiastic enough. He then made the bold statement of disappearing behind the curtain and then re-appearing. I thought it was quite funny! Then finally the lights went down. To describe it all would take too long but the girls in the first part for Atsuko Kudo were amazing – the feathery light latex was inspirational. The clever lace designs, again all in fine latex, were absolutely on the money and all the girls on my table, including my old friend and PR whizz Inge Theron, agreed.

 

Abbey Clancy, Claudia Mason and me

Agent Provocateur’s show was opened by a demure Peaches Geldof in a pale grey Miss Havisham-esque lace number. Then a striding, unrecognizable Sarah Harding took it up a notch gracing the catwalk as a saucy military style policewoman. The show was high energy and skimpy outfit after skimpy outfit came out on one gorgeous-looking model after the other. Olivia Inge, Marie Helvin and Claudia looked amazing and Abbey was stunning. The burlesque star Modesty Blaise was quite simply sensational – her ample curves were really sexy and she certainly worked the room…Feeling I had had quite enough flesh for one night we whisked backstage keeping our eyes diverted, and found Claudia to congratulate.

 

Our host Patrick Kielty and me

I had a truly idiotic blonde moment a couple of days later when I was heading to the airport to collect my beloved husband. My car started to pull back a little as I raced in the fast lane, trying not to be late. To my horror the petrol gauge and my “how many miles I should have left in the tank gauge” were not correctly aligned and so I had to use my trusted AA yellow card after 20 yrs of having been signed up as a member. Shamefully I had to say that I was precariously parked on the hard shoulder of the M40 with a small child on board. They were amazing and arrived to rescue us within 35 minutes! My husband has still not quite forgiven me but my little girl has told anyone who will listen that “Muma ran out of gas and we got rescued!”

 

Having embarked on a wonderful but never conveniently-timed “Detox Juice” week, I was hoping I wouldn’t become too irritable and starving. The detox company, Raw Fairies, was recommended to me by a good girlfriend and they deliver a small bag of fresh raw juices just for that day and a salad every morning at around 7am. Other than missing sitting down to eat, so to speak, it was relatively easy. I found going out for dinner a bit dull though as I would be sipping my juice whilst those around me were tucking into delicious hot plates of yumminess. Going to the Lionel Richie concert at the O2 with my Uncle John and his daughter Nicola was almost an ask too far. I was loving the show, as of course I am a huge fan and even interviewed him years ago for the Big Breakfast, but being unable to have any naughty burgers, nachos or even a coke was dire! Why I hadn’t thought about this before starting the detox, I don’t know…

 

Me with my good friend, photographer Alistair Taylor-Young

Tuesday was a work night as we had the opening at my gallery, The Little Black Gallery, for our new show ‘Holiday’ by my very good friend and truly fabulous photographer Alistair Taylor-Young.  The night was a great success with the pictures flying off the walls. The show features some of his many stunning pictures shot for Conde Nast Traveller – who are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year. Alistair whizzed there on the Eurostar from Paris where he had been working, only to arrive 5 minutes before the end of his own private view – what a diva! However, he was in time for our post-show dinner at our lovely local Eleven Park Walk where everyone, apart from me still on my detox, dined on scrumptious Italian food and drink into the early hours of the morning. I left Alistair propping up the bar with my business partner Ghislain Pascal and our Park Walk neighbour Danny Shahaf of World Club Travel, who had very kindly sponsored the show.

 

Dining at Eleven Park Walk

Lastly we had Halloween. My little girl Violet was so excited as this was the first year that she was able to totally grasp the American tradition. My lovely friend and International hair wizard Daniel Galvin Jr had asked me to throw a children’s party at his bespoke salon in Belgravia to launch his new “Dubble Trubble” children’s organic hair and body washes. What is extra special is that he has done it under his patronage of the Prince’s Trust with a percentage going to the charity. We had Darren Black work his creative magic, turning the salon into a witch’s lair and it looked spectacularly spooky. Violet was in heaven with face painter Carragh Buxton transforming all the children into whatever their hearts desired. Davinia Taylor arrived with 3 naughty little skeletons and Donna Air popped by for a blow dry with her pretty daughter Freya. Yasmin Mills’ youngest, Maddie, was laughing about how she was a bit too old to join in. However, she had on the most wonderful costume and had been working on it all day! There were delicious cookies and evil cupcakes by Bunny and Boo Cupcakes. All us Mummies decided we wanted our faces painted too – I guess there are some things you never grow out of…

Getting my face painted for Halloween!

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