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

December, 2012

21 December
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Missoni, Ferragamo and rose petals

Being a true Missoni fan and delighted at the prospect of re-meeting Angela Missoni, the head designer of the Italian family-run luxury brand, it was with much excitement that I rushed to arrive on time at the new Privatus headquarters in Grosvenor Square. Run by another old friend Mark Brooke, it is a new Private Auctioneers for all collectables.  The elegant 1st floor reception room had been given a wonderful Missoni boutique makeover and my darling girlfriend and PR expert Amanda Kyme was there to greet us all.  A seriously covetable Stephen Meisel photographic exhibition adorned the endless white walls and it was hard not to want one, if not a couple, of his iconic images.  Cavan Mahony brought Angela in to meet the gaggle of chic women who had been, up to this point, shopping and catching up before the last hit of Christmas.   I had a wardrobe malfunction and had to be smuggled up to a vacant office as my zip had come a cropper! So chic, whilst trying to find a suitable replacement outfit I managed to wriggle free and fix the offending zip. I then rejoined the even larger group of girls before we were asked to sit down.  Davinia Taylor in a very sexy Roland Mourret style dress was thrilled to have been sat opposite Angela with Lilly Becker next to her.  Assia Webster had arrived and was full of stories of her mad travels with husband and jeweller supreme Stephen Webster.  I was very happy to catch up with Amanda and Celia Dunstone – who is happily pregnant and seemingly very relaxed about the arrival.  Lunch was delicious and a light risotto seemed to hit the right spot.  Happily I met a new girl who was very keen to get to my gallery as she has just moved to London and needs some pictures. All in all a lunch worth trekking to Mayfair for.

 

 

As Christmas fever has taken over, I am surprisingly oblivious as I had started filming the new series of the hit CH4 show “Four Rooms” – which I have joined as one of the new dealers.  My co-dealers, Raj Bisram, Peter Ratcliffe and David Sonnenthal were a hoot and a holler but it was like sitting exams again as there was an awful lot of information to digest daily to be up to speed on all the items we were to bid on. Some genius sellers came through our doors and some a little delusional on the exact value of their items. One or two utterly fabulous characters arrived in what I would call full theatrical mode.  Naming no names as the show doesn’t air until the Spring but I found some items impossible to resist, more down to the sellers performance than what they had to sell!  Our Presenter Anita Rani was great and really made an effort to include us.  All in all I had a blast and I hope it’s a huge success. Leaving the studio every night around 7pm, at the earliest, was a big pull on what I chose to make socialising wise.  Early mornings and long days are not ideal for a witty and energised Tamara come nightfall.

 

 

I have been a Wolford Ambassador for a while and so the opening of their new store on Regent Street I had no choice but to make the effort.  Of course changing into a small black Wolford dress in my car was out of the question but to leave the studio dressed to the nines felt even sillier!  The heavenly British model Olivia Inge had already been and gone by the time I was dropped off but Yasmin Mills and Assia Webster had dropped by on their way to another cocktail party.  A glamorous Vanessa Arelle and lady in red lace Noelle Reno also put their faces in on what was a foul London night.  My lovely PA Alistair had taken charge and was I think rather enjoying the meeting and greeting.  Sidonie – head of Wolford’s PR & Marketing definitely took a shine to him and if she dares steal him…

 


 

My husband and I were quite enjoying our new routine of early supper and early movie before I would hit the pillow but we had one further dinner we absolutely couldn’t say no to.  Ferragamo is another very established and chic luxury brand and they too chose to have a Christmas dinner with a difference.  The cocktail party was at their store on Bond Street but the dinner for 200 (!!) was in the Burlington Arcade.  Quite a feat under the rather chilly weather conditions but it was faultless.  Red roses packed so tightly and stretched the entire length of the table were so spoiling and frivolous and quite a talking point.  The guestlist was terribly chic with Jessica Alba as their guest of honour.   Both Ferragamo brothers, Leonardo and Ferrucio were also there.  I had a lovely interlude with the doyenne of fashion Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune and was more than happy I had opted for my Beulah midnight blue catsuit.  Whilst many more skimpily dressed guests were freezing I was just hunky dory.  The dinner was magnificently served and I have no idea how they pulled it all off… Kate Driver and Sarah Whitehead had been in charge of creating a diverse but young group of London’s faces and the stylish Yasmin Le Bon and daughter Amber I saw briefly at the cocktail but that was it! The weather had not ruined the party and we all agreed it was a genius if not very brave venue.  Such was our mood we all headed off to Hertford Street for one last nightcap……

 

Me with Noelle Reno

 

Finally work is over and I have more Father Christmas fun, a must-see Christmas panto and some serious family time in Milan ahead….

11 December
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Va-va-Valentino

Christmas is zooming closer at an alarming rate and so my two lovely friends Astrid Harbord and Alice Naylor Leyland and I decided rather last minute to organise and host a cool Christmas Bazaar. We chose to have it at my gallery The Little Black Gallery and due to the number of designers wanting to participate I asked our divine Italian restaurant next door “Eleven Park Walk” if we could use their beautiful space as well. Needless to say that what started off as a little idea became a huge production and before we knew it we had 18 brands. Lotty B, of Mustique fame, arrived bright and early with her charming husband Dr Michael Bunbury firmly in tow. Her famous swimwear and wild kaftans were a massive hit. My girlfriends Mimi Baldwin and Zara Simon had very different but very special jewellery corners along with Feidt (an achingly cool Parisian brand). Another good friend Alessandra Vicedomini had tempting rails with dresses and cashmere galore. Alberto Moretti and Fiona Dreesmann of My Slippers shod our feet and the charming Charmian Taylor had a wonderful display of her florist line Scent by Design.

 

 

The food was taken care of by the fabulous Roberto at Eleven and they even set up a pop-up café for the ladies with mouthwatering teeny portions of scrambled egg with truffles! Our great friend Sarah Ferguson popped in for tea and also to do an unofficial signing of her latest children’s book “Ballerina Rosie” for her charity.  She was a roaring hit and actually ran out of copies. We were thrilled she came as she is always great fun and Princess Eugenie popped in for support. Amanda Ferry slunk in, head to toe in gym kit, with her gal-pal model Kimberly Johnson and even Cath Vialli and her sister made an appearance. It was of course not without drama when Vivien Duffield swung by and brought lots of goodies for her Christmas list. One phone call later and we were on our hands and knees looking for a lost diamond necklace!! The day was a huge success and we even managed to raise around £1,070 for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital’s Wish list appeal. Shopping with a feel good factor…all boxes ticked!

 

Princess Eugenie and her mother, Sarah Ferguson

 

I was obviously feeling still in a ‘do good’ mood when I went off to help at my daughters Christmas Fair. I was planted on the cake stand with a hundred different prices for all the home baked treats and my mind boggled at trying to remember it all. The big mistake was that the table was kiddie height and so many little angels got their paws onto the cupcakes that parents were constantly having to shell out! It was funnily enough the homemade brownies that were in huge demand. So, a note to all you Yummy Mummies, a bake off is way too sophisticated for a Nursery Christmas fair!

 

A beautiful Valentino design

 

My most exciting night and one I had been getting all overexcited about for weeks was Valentino’s retrospective opening at Somerset House, “Valentino: Master of Couture” (somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts-valentino). Giorgio and I are good friends with both Valentino and his longtime business partner Giancarlo Giammetti and so have been lucky enough to have seen their shows in Paris and Rome. However, nothing could prepare us for the ‘wow factor’ that they had created for London. I cannot tell you how massively urgent it is to get there and see it for yourself. The curators and creative team consisted of Patrick Kinmonth, Antonio Monfreda and Alistair O’Neill.

 

Johannes Huebl and Anouska at the Italian Embassy dinner

 

The idea is for the visitors to be walking down a runway and the mannequins are in fact dressed in Valentino’s creations and are the audience at the show – all very clever and of course a treat for sore eyes. There was of course a small intimate dinner at The Italian Embassy, thrown by Giancarlo afterwards for their close personal friends and a decent smattering of young cool London scensters. It was a visual treat spectacularly created by Emma Gold of GSP. Musician/model James Rousseau was there without his delightful girlfriend the actress Annabelle Wallis who was caught up filming.

 

One of the Mannequins at Valentino’s retrospective

 

Fashion darling Olivia Palermo and her beau Johannes Huebl had flown in from New York and were ready for fun. Alexa Chung looked amazing in her Valentino dress and Dita Von Teese was truly the business. As always with the Valentino crew the atmosphere was as if we were at one of their beautiful homes so it was absolutely no surprise when we headed down the sweeping staircase for dessert. A room dedicated to naughty treats and sweets greeted our eyes – so beautifully and artfully tempting that I can’t think of a soul who declined! A coy Victoria Beckham was on hand in her own line but it was down to the elegant Valentino to kick off the dancing. He is a fabulous dancer and adores dancing – novices step forward at your peril…

 

Violet in Harrods

A delighted Violet in Harrods. ©TamaraBeckwith

Too much fun for one girl to digest. I rounded off a full week by taking my little Violet to see Father Christmas at Harrods. This has been an annual pilgrimage for as long as I can remember. This year was to be different! All went swimmingly as I had of course been smart and pre-booked months ago. She loved meeting Father Christmas and was ecstatic to be told she may indeed receive a hamster! No such luck I assure you..  Anyway since we were with friends we decided to have a brunch in the Terrace restaurant.

Violet and Father Christmas at Harrods ©TamaraBeckwith

I decided Violet needed a loo trip and so off we headed through the dog/pet department. Standing in the queue Violet decided she didn’t need to go after all and hotfooted it out of the room. I held my maternal ground and gave her 3 mins! Panic struck as I realised she had called my bluff – the little monster had run off! Now I hope you can all imagine a Saturday in Harrods on a Christmas shopping day! A nightmare as you have no clue which way to look – I will keep the story short but thankfully she was only missing 8 minutes in total. They were the longest 8 minutes ever but my fear was compounded by knowing Harrods has no tannoy… She had of course gone off to see the puppies and then returned. She has no clue what all the fuss was about and is still pretty unrepentant!!!

 

Busy next two weeks filming new series of Channel 4′s ‘Four Rooms’ plus having to squeeze in a few pre-Christmas nights out! Not sure how I am going to cope ….

 

04 December
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TV stardom and a Winter Wonderland

Excitingly I have landed a coveted spot as a dealer on the new series of Channel 4’s ‘Four Rooms’. It starts filming next week but I was up and ready to go in my Downton Abbey ensemble when my Producer Titus Ogilvy met with me for us to shoot the teaser. For those who that means nothing to – translated that means a long day of shooting roughly the same sequence for the opening of all the upcoming shows…Not exactly high octane action or glamour for that matter. However, more excitement was generated when we all rocked up at The Little Black Gallery and Titus said my outfit was not going to work due to the strobe lights! I decided not to panic or throw a wobbly and so we duly headed to my own closet and re-styled me. The rest of the day went smoothly and I am totally excited to get cracking next week.

 

Me and Alesha Dixon at the “Empowering Women Awards”

 

The next morning I had to get over to Holborn for a very important meeting with my cousin and Great Ormond Street Hospital (gosh.org). She has a huge charity event next spring at Highclere, the beautiful house in Downton Abbey. She is a wonderful mother and a super trooper who has raised over £5 million for the children’s hospital so far. Getting to Holborn was a whole project in itself and I managed to arrive just as they sat down. I am always humbled by Charity work and was especially moved as we were given an opening speech by some of the surgeons who had helped my cousin’s own little boy. We were full of ideas on how to make a big dent in the figures needing to be raised as GOSH needs £50 million alone just to run and keep the research programmes going. I left full of admiration and headed to meet my friend Tania Fares for lunch. Tania and Kim Hersov, the fashion stylist and Fashion Editor at Harpers Bazaar were already busy discussing this seasons trends and whose styles they admired and those more importantly that they didn’t. Sadly my lips are sealed but it would make a very interesting reading. I only mention this as we were at Scott’s (scotts-restaurant.com), a delicious fish restaurant in Mayfair and I was tempted by a shrimp burger. These girls lunches aren’t renowned for huge quantities of food being consumed. It was beyond delicious and all carb free.

 

 

Alesha Dixon and Jahmene Douglas at the “Empowering Women Awards”

 

The next day I was invited to attend the “Empowering Women Awards” hosted by Avon and Women’s Aid, (womensaid.org) by my great friend Jenny Halpern Prince. Tea at Claridges is always a treat but I had no clue just what an emotional afternoon it would turn into. I arrived and met Alesha Dixon, who in the flesh is extraordinarily pretty and very dainty looking. She was super warm and friendly and had a sexy new bob.  Actress Tina Holby was there with her sweet mum and we ended up having a lovely chat about little girls. Jahmene Douglas from X Factor was one of the presenters as was the wonderful Will Young. I kept on wanting to tell him how fabulous he had been in the performance of Cabaret that I saw a month or so ago but felt it was a bit inappropriate. The awards are a platform for survivors of domestic violence. The winners all had very traumatic stories to tell but the overriding message was that despite the odds, they had achieved amazing things and had all been incredibly brave. It was a very sobering afternoon.

 

Vivi on one of the rides at Winter Wonderland ©TamaraBeckwith

 

 

Back home I rounded Vivi up as we were off to the opening night of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (hydeparkwinterwonderland.com). I take my hat off to the Royal Parks Committee as they have found a way to include everyone within the parks and generate much needed funds for the running of our beautiful Parks. I think I am correct in saying that Winter Wonderland generates around £5 million. Not a shoddy sum! It does get very cold there though and so we wrapped up very warmly and even wore wellies. We bumped into my good friend Tim Attias and his son almost immediately and then practically got stampeded by young girls when we crossed paths with the X Factor hopefuls! Talk about bad timing.

 

Me and Vivi on the beautiful carousel at Winter Wonderland ©TamaraBeckwith

 

We found all the smaller rides and Vivi was in heaven with her little friend Lola SofiaPenny Lancaster was there with Rod Stewart and their two boys looking suitably glam with her flowing blonde mane. Noel Gallagher and his wife Sara were escorting their son and looked very happy to blend in.  On the beautiful old fashioned Carousel I found my other Tim, Tim Jefferies with his lovely little Swedish daughter Coco. Vivi and Coco are good friends and were thrilled to find each other. If it’s even possible I’d say it topped last year’s Winter Wonderland.  Looking at our watches it was well past normal bedtime so we quickly grabbed some huge hotdogs and rushed home.

Lastly I was all dolled up in a Missoni mini and heading off to join our friends Boris and Lilly Becker for his birthday. Giorgio was off in America again so I was solo. Loulou’s was full of his friends who had flown in from all over the world as far as I could gather. Lilly looked gorgeous as always in a Stella McCartney frock and was happy to sing him a very loud ‘Happy Birthday’. I had a delicious dinner and made some new friends but was not tempted to close the place down!

Next week I have an amazing Christmas Bazaar at my Gallery with a surprise book signing, a wowee evening with Master of Couture, Valentino and I have fun manning the cake stand at Vivi’s school…

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