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

April, 2013

25 April
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Sunny Miami and Beautiful Art

Arriving at Miami airport is an endurance test, pure and simple. As if flying 9 hours isn’t trauma enough with little people – the battle to get to the Passport Control first is an olympian task in itself. This trip was no different! We must have still waited in line for a good 30 minutes, bearable compared to one poor friend who stood for a mind-boggling 2 hours before getting that precious stamp and smile!!

Once we arrived at our hotel the SLS Hotel South Beach all my stress disappeared and Vivi, Bea (my rather too cute 22yr old Italian Nanny) headed to the pool to watch our first Sunset. As I knew the PR girl from Harrison & Shriftman back from my old LA days, we were literally treated like the Middleton’s relations. A perfect white-smiling, red-carpet genie called Leo Demarsh checked us in and literally never left my side. He was drop dead handsome, charm personified and was absolutely what a great concierge should be.

 

The fabulous SLS hotel

The fabulous SLS hotel

 

 

The hotel is the latest cool place on the uber hip South Beach and I hadn’t quite taken on board the heady mix of a Philip Starck Hotel in collaboration with the one and only Lenny Kravitz, meaning it was hardly a kids’ place! Not that Vivi cares terribly much! She finds fun wherever she goes and the beach was fantastic. All the staff, notably Terry, Andrea and Leo all made Vivi feel very special as she was usually the first by the pool in the morning. Our saving grace was also that a lot of my great friends were there with their children. We made a plan for everyday and heading off to various other hotels makes you realise where would have been a more sensible choice!

 

Our beautiful hotel room

Our beautiful hotel room

 

We arranged to see my dear friend PR whizz Jenny Halpern Prince with her delicious twin girls. We had a mad and much needed dip at The W Hotel before lunch  –  it was also where Nick and Holly Candy were staying. We bumped into another friend Damian Aspinall who had all three of his girls with him. The food was delicious and totally geared towards the kids and we spent a great afternoon with the girls leaping in and out of the pool.

 

Me, Giorgio and Vivi ©TamaraBeckwith

Me, Giorgio and Vivi ©TamaraBeckwith

 

That night my husband Giorgio was flying in from New York and some friends had planned a dinner at Mr Chows. The table ended up girl-heavy but Robert Hanson, who has moved to Miami with his lovely wife Masha and their little boy Max, was quite capable of handling us all. Our friends the Stevensons were off the following morning so actually it was relatively quiet. Nick Candy stopped by and was funny about the service at the W being so hopeless. Giorgio finally arrived rather bleary-eyed but by that time I was incredibly tired and so we jumped into a taxi and headed home.

 

Bara Boheme gorgeous glass bracelets

Luis Morais and Bara Boheme bracelets

Of course, staying right on South Beach means you have the famous boardwalk right on your doorstep. It is ideal for early morning runs or just watching the world go by. There are also quite a lot of street traders now. I had taken Vivi off for a morning jaunt and we came across a lovely lady, Bara Boheme who had made some really pretty pieces with coloured opals. Being as keen a shopper as her mother, Vivi picked some out for her cousins, one for her and one for her mummy!

Another plus to holidaying in Miami whilst your husband works, is that if the weather isn’t amazing, there is still plenty to do. One such day arrived and so I decided I would take Bea and Vivi to Jungle Island. Sat Nav or no Sat Nav I still didn’t listen to the very simple instructions. Robert and his son had called to say they would meet us there and so off we headed…a slight diversion and we added 20 mins to what should have been a speedy little trip!

 

Flamingos at Jungle Island!

Flamingos at Jungle Island!

 

Once parked and inside the first monkey shed we were in heaven – Americans really do do theme parks brilliantly. The humidity was a problem but over the course of three hours we saw every animal imaginable. A small lake covered in flamingos, parrots & cockatoo’s galore, lions, tigers, snow tigers, jaguars, leopards and cheetahs. However one feels about animals in captivity it is still quite something to see these magnificent animals up close. Apparently there are more big cats bred in captivity or kept in captivity than there are in the wild! That’s quite a sombre fact.

We caught the Wild Encounter cat show which, of course, had Vivi transfixed. Bea and I were about to pass out from dehyrdration but Vivi was far from done! Robert and Max had long gone but the sweetest bit was when we had finally convinced her to leave and were just paying for some drinks, Vivi piped up “Oh and Mummy can we buy a baby Cheetah?”

 

NEST

NEST

 

Although it all sounds lots of fun I was actually in Miami to work! One of my great friends Sara Colombo has an amazing new interiors showroom in the design district called NEST.  She and I had been collaborating over a Terry O’Neill show she thought would be perfect for her Miami market. As Terry is a very old friend of mine and The Little Black Gallery, he was thrilled to come over on his way to another show in Brazil. I was shocked at how much press he generated! Sara had sent out beautiful, chic invitations and we just hoped the show would be a huge success.

 

Me, Sara Colombo and Terry O'Neill

Me, Sara Colombo and Terry O’Neill

 

Terry and his business manager Robin Morgan arrived late – another passport control nightmare – but were staying with me at SLS. Sara and I had decided to take them on their first night to the most beautiful restaurant in South Beach, Casa Tua, owned by a very naughty, handsome Italian called Miky Grendene. It also happens to be one block from the hotel. He is thick as thieves with London naughties, Arki Busson and Tim Jefferies. Sara and Terry hit it off immediately and he adored the charming flowery terrace.  Miky was his usual charming self and had arranged a wonderful feast and actually sat with us. Fawaz Gruosi (owner of De Grisogono jewellery) arrived for his gang’s dinner and my husband’s great pal Marco Bizarri was hosting a think-tank for luxury label Bottega Venetta. As if we needed any further glamour, ex-supermodel Elsa Benitez arrived in a teeny red Herve Leger to celebrate her birthday.

 

Me, Miky Grendene and Terry O'Neill

Me, Robin Morgan and Terry O’Neill

 

The night of Terry’s “It Girls & Boys” show arrived and I arranged a car to take us to the Design District. Terry was such a trooper arriving not a single minute late, and I remembered to get a quick shot on the steps of the hotel for posterity. Sara’s showroom is absolutely sensational, beautiful Italian style furniture with very expensive looking accessories stylishly dotted around. Terry’s iconic images looked amazing. Bridget Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton and Bowie – all instantly recognisable.

 

Me, Sara Colombo, & Masha Hanson

Me, Sara Colombo, & Masha Hanson

 

The party was crammed full of Miami faces, decorators and in the middle of all this were the few Londoners who had come to make Terry feel loved. Jo Wood and her sister Lizzie slipped in and bought books for Terry to sign. The glamazon Masha Hanson made a very stylish entrance and the seriously sought-after Luis Morais (another very cool jeweller) came by in a fabulous black leather ensemble. He is a huge star and a trip to Miami is never complete without visiting his studio!

Blaine Trump, Steve Simon and Bambi and Nigel Goodhew

Blaine Trump, Steve Simon and Bambi and Nigel Goodhew

 

Miky and Fawaz came by as did art collector Guido Orsi who was holding court, and there were a huge amount of rather pretty, tanned limbed females! My favourite sighting however was Blaine Trump and her dashing partner Steve Simon. They really are quite a knock-out couple. We finally headed off to the after dinner at Bazaar with Terry and Robin, Jo and Lizzie and Sara’s lovely parents feeling we really had earned a delicious feast….

16 April
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Family, fun and sun!

You may or may not know I am cuckoo for a West End musical and luckily have some equally nutty friends who accompany me to these nights of bliss. I was thrilled therefore to be invited to see Chorus Line at the Palladium, it hasn’t been in London for 30 years. Unsurprisingly it has been one of the most successful Broadway shows of all time so I was beyond excited to see it. The opening scene was so fast, showy and complex with such incredible energy, I just knew it was going to be a wonderful evening. The storyline was pretty simple but the fact that there was no interval and that these incredible dancers literally never got to rest just took my breath away! I adored the actor John Partridge who was playing Zach, the ambitious choreographer (based on the famous Bob Fosse) – he was just phenomenal.  In fact the whole cast was utterly watchable – I couldn’t wait to know what was coming next. The costumes for the finale are worth going to the show for alone!

 

The fabulous actor John Partridge playing Zach in Chorus Line

The fabulous actor John Partridge playing Zach in Chorus Line

 

Next morning I was up bright and early, ready to head to the West London Shooting school with my old mucker Grainne Stevenson. She is a great girlfriend and is always up for any of my mad ideas! We have entered an all-girls team for a clay pigeon shoot at Highclere (the beautiful Estate where they shoot Downton Abbey) in a month and I have never shot before! My cousin Nicola Bearman is a tireless charity girl and is putting on a beautiful day to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. I have always wanted to shoot, not live things I hasten to add, and so I jumped at the opportunity. Of course, the weather was beyond freezing and once I had been introduced to my instructor Pat he immediately disappeared to bring me an extra coat! I had also forgotten gloves. Despite the severe weather, I loved it from the moment he showed me how to hold the gun. I found it quite hard to follow the clay but once I had hit a couple I was encouraged to keep at it. Grainne has shot many times and was therefore popping away. Pat was a hoot and a great teacher. I left with a total understanding of how addictive the hobby could become. I’m already looking forward to my next lessons.

 

Me, Pat and Grainne at Highclere

Me, Pat and Grainne at Highclere

 

From country pursuits to London life – I have a new TV show on Channel 4 called Four Rooms coming out the end of April and so the press bits have started. A portrait shoot at my home for the Telegraph Magazine and I was being my very unusual relaxed self. I am far from uncontrolling but instead had got my two looks ready for the photographer to choose from. He was a super chilled guy and I think it rubbed off on me. I usually want to see the frame and check every detail but instead I just let him get on with it!

 

Me at a shoot for The Telegraph

Me at a shoot for The Telegraph

 

Finally the Easter weekend beckoned and Vivi and I packed our numerous bags with glee. We were off to Milan to see her beloved grandparents and then off to the sunny shores of Miami. Milan was freezing and of course Miami would be searing heat. The luggage was ridiculous…

Getting to Milan is almost like an immediate decompressor for me as my parents-in-law literally take Vivi off to play from the moment we arrive until the moment we leave. Giorgio had been in Rome for work and so we all met at his home for some serious Italian home cooking and downtime. We also have our ritual of going to his old friend Christian’s pizzeria in the village. Vivi especially loves going there as she gets to play waitress!

 

The beautiful Rubiera in Italy

The beautiful Rubiera in Italy

 

On Easter Sunday Giorgio is quite particular about Vivi going to Church. Like a good Italian papa he likes her to be dressed properly and then go to see everyone. She actually likes to go and there are always loads of other children. She has just twigged about Jesus and also likes to light a candle or two for my lovely mother.

 

The beautiful church in Italy

Our beautiful church in Italy

 

There is something very embraceable about church-life in little villages and I am always happy to go. The church was absolutely rammed and even standing room was tight. So much for the decline of the Roman Catholic faith!

 

Me, Giorgio and Vivi ©TamaraBeckwith

Me, Giorgio and Vivi ©TamaraBeckwith

 

Easter lunch is an amazing feast and we often head to the world renowned Arnaldo’s. Again, children are encouraged to play and wander around (my idea of heaven) and the food is really delicious. It’s a family run hotel and the two sisters who are now in charge are like characters out of a movie. Both are very glamorous!

 

Lovely Easter decorations

Lovely Easter decorations

 

As always when we have to leave, Vivi’s grandmother cries. She always asks if Vivi can stay behind but this time Vivi was definitely coming with us to get some much needed sunshine. I was never a girl to care too much about the sun before but now I am a devotee. England’s horrendous weather has just been enough already!

 

Vivi playing in Arnaldo's ©TamaraBeckwith

Vivi playing in Arnaldo’s ©TamaraBeckwith

 

Off to mad Miami we headed… It wasn’t to be all play as I had a very exciting first collaboration show in America for The Little Black Gallery with my dear old friend Terry O’Neill at my girlfriend Sara Colombo’s new showroom “Nest”. So although the beaches beckoned there would be time to work too even if done poolside in a bikini!

 

05 April
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Easter bonnets and a decadent Indian party

Back to work and I had my usual meeting at my gallery with my long suffering partner, Ghislain Pascal. We meet weekly to discuss what plans we have to keep our gallery moving forwards. We were also rather proud of our new show by the very talented photographer Martin Usborne, entitled “The Silence of Dogs in Cars”. Our preview was that night and, as always, with these far-planned events it’s almost a miracle to not end up clashing with something else. Regardless, his deeply studied and beautiful dogs had already garnered many column inches so we just go through who we think they may be right for and which of our collectors would not be able to survive without owning one! That done, I had to head to the greengrocer as my persistence in drinking healthy greens for my breakfast has not slipped yet – in fact I’ve grown quite fond of  kale, spinach, ginger, kiwi, the odd apple and spirulina. I also had to nip into my local toy shop, well I say toy shop in a very vague sense of the word but it really is a piece of children’s heaven if I wish to label it correctly. Semmalina on Ebury Street, no Chelsea Mother can avoid it!

Martin Usborne and Tamara Beckwith

Me with Martin Usborne

It dawned on me that, whilst I would be busy hosting that evening’s preview at the gallery, I would have to produce a decent (well, better than last year’s effort at the very least) Easter Bonnet for Violet’s Easter Parade the following morning at 9am. Dreadful timing as always with these things! Now, I’m sure that many mothers feel no guilt at passing this duty off to an elder and more talented off-spring, or equally the nanny, but I feel quite strongly that I must make this myself. Baking is not my strong point and needlework at school was torturous, but creating a Philip Treacy or Victoria Grant-esque head piece I feel is within my grasp! So, whilst I chatted to shop owner and good-friend Sarah Standing, I grabbed what I deemed to be brilliant ideas for my four-year-old’s bonnet and headed back with 2 hours to get cracking.

My Easter bonnet supplies

My Easter bonnet supplies

It went quite smoothly as I have now learnt sewing the animals, flowers, etc is far better than gluing! I almost felt it had a teensy bit of style. Leaving it to dry, I scrambled to get ready for our Martin Usborne Preview. Vivi’s bonnet was a huge hit and I was asked by all the mothers how many weeks I had been preparing for it! One mother asked if I really had made it myself! I would imagine you can judge for yourself …..

Vivi and her Easter bonnet

Vivi and her Easter bonnet ©TamaraBeckwith

The Gallery was filled with new faces and lots of questions – always a good sign. Martin and his super wife Anne seemed to be enjoying themselves and were more than happy to meet the crowd. All in all, a good night. The next morning it was time for a training session. Now I am renowned for cancelling training sessions with some legitimate excuses, but equally with some darn lazy/cannot-be-bothered excuses! However, it did make me laugh that whilst I was still scared enough of the trainer that I arrived early, said trainer had not even been told I was coming – serves me right! Well, I got on the treadmill and whooped it up, even adding an incline – enough to make my heart race and my face turn puce.

That night I was having a pretty rare girl’s night out. One of my great girlfriends Katya had just had a birthday and we were both dying to see Rupert Everett in “The Judas Kiss”, also starring Freddie Fox. Bearing in mind how much has been spoken about the naked boys on stage, we thought it far more enjoyable to watch it just the two of us. From the opening scene you are transported back to a time when decadence was everywhere and the staging and the setting were gloriously sumptuous. The moment Rupert Everett makes his grand entrance as Oscar Wilde, you know he was born for that role. Vanity aside, he was glorious too! The young and wicked character Lord Bosey, played by Freddie Fox, was equally enjoyable. Without recounting the whole play, I can hand-on-heart recommend it.

Me and Grainne Stevenson sari shopping in Southall

Me and Grainne Stevenson sari shopping in Southall ©TamaraBeckwith

Another early morning and I was off to Southall with my girlfriend Grainne Stevenson. We had a huge 40th Birthday party to attend, entitled “A Touch of Indian”, and we had decided, in honour of the birthday boys (Dino Lalvani and David Peacock), that we would be authentic! In Southall we were drawn to a very bejewelled window of incredible wedding saris. Once inside of course we went a bit nuts. The shop owner and his very pretty assistant, Sharon, were more than helpful, pulling out a whole array of colours, materials and styles for us. Learning to put it on was a hurdle I knew I would fall at on the night, so rather ingeniously I asked one of the girls to film it on my iPhone! My eyes were, of course, out on stalks with the wedding saris but I was determined that there would be a modest budget. After all, it wasn’t even my own party. Saris done, we flew across the road and stockpiled bangles, bindis and hair jewels. Mission complete.

Fabulous accessories from Shagoon Jewellery

Fabulous accessories from Shagoon Jewellery

Finally it was the night of seriously successful business boys Dino and David’s 40th Birthday Party at No1 Mayfair. The entrance was enchanting with both boys in full costume, and candles twinkling everywhere. Dino was dressed as Maharaja and David as an Imperial Colonel. I love it when a party really does the costume justice and this party was exactly that. Everywhere you looked the girls had gone all out with bedazzled faces, nose rings, henna-decorated hands and glorious colours everywhere. Princess Beatrice and her longtime beau Dave were present and looked sparkling. Malin Jefferies was dressedin a beautiful powder pink sari with a Swedish twist in her blonde hair.

GrainneStevenson, Arabella Spiro and me

GrainneStevenson, Arabella Spiro and me ©TamaraBeckwith

David Ross looked incredible as an Imperial Colonel, Andy and Patti Wong almost stole the best dressed award. Lady Victoria Hervey had flown in from LA and looked suitably Indian-inspired. My sari was giving me a little trouble as my pinning had gone awry on the shoulder. I must confess it was quite an effort to hold the old tummy in too! The gorgeous Mrs Gabriella Peacock cheated slightly I am sure, by wearing a sexy Pucci number, as did uber-chic stylist Sophia Hesketh!  The debonair Arun Nayar had a head start with his Sherwani (a traditional indian wedding outfit for men) and looked sensational.

Gabriela Peacock and me

Gabriela Peacock and me ©TamaraBeckwith

The naughty but glamorous Dori Cooperman, who had flownin from New York, was whirling and twirling in fuschia pink and shooting Instagrams incessantly. Rather a few too many gin cocktails later, I decided that most people look rather gorgeous dressed up like that and that maybe we should make it a permanent thing. No takers? At some point we were rounded up in small couplings to make a music video for the boys! Hilarious but having now seen the link, I know it was utterly genius!

Me with Dori Cooperman

Me with Dori Cooperman ©TamaraBeckwith

 

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