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

February, 2014

28 February
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Dinner with Giorgio, a new friend and Fashion Week

I may be biased but Italians seem to love everything more passionately than any other nation.  Fashion and food obviously being their big ones.  Being invited to see Milan Fashion Week in action was an invite I just couldn’t resist.  PR supremo Warly Tomei, a Brazilian with a heart of gold, enticed me with Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana’s shows, both of which I knew would be off-the-chart wonderful.

 

Arriving at the Baglioni Hotel and having left Vivi with her beloved grandparents in the countryside, Giorgio and I dared to be different and slipped into a heavenly courtyard bistro called Bacaro del Sambuco on Via Montenapoleone.  Discreet and intimate I felt it was perfect for a clandestine rendezvous!  Everything on the menu was light but more importantly, delicious.  I left Giorgio to head to the Cavalli HQ for a fitting.  I was beyond thrilled and relieved, I admit, that I could get into the dresses (well, a teeny bit snug!) pulled for me by their stylist Gregoire.  I also found a new friend, the stunning society blonde with Cara D eyebrows, Ginevra Rossini, 22 years old and with the manners of a true young lady.

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With Gregoire for Cavalli fitting

Back to the hotel to have a quick soak and then off to the Hotel Principe de Savoia for an early supper with Giancarlo Giammetti and Valentino and their crew.  Giancarlo is still on his world domination tour for his book “Private”, and the Editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani, was hosting him a cocktail party that night for all the great and gorgeous of MFW.

 

Valentino’s dinner was hilariously short and light with the beautiful Charlene Shorto, Afef Jnifen, Naty Abascal, Georgina Brandolini, and a little late, Bianca Brandolini (in runway Dolce & Gabbana spots).  All the rest of us in Valentino, of course.

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Naty Abascal, me, Giorgio & Valentino 

We headed to the party heavily cordoned off with the largest security where Franca greeted Giancarlo like a star.  Anna Wintour arrived and I was a tiny bit in awe.  However my divine friend Gianluca Longo (fabulous stylist) encouraged me to take a photo. She was, contrary to the old wives’ tales, friendly and gracious, and my photo of her with Giancarlo was one of my favourites.  In one booth the new dandy (after Vogue’s Hamish Bowles crown) Derek Blasberg, was courting the beautiful Joan Smalls, Tabitha Simmons and Georgia May Jagger.  The most down to earth girl, make-up queen Pat McGrath, arrived in her usual head to toe black, and I have to confess to stealing her to sit with me and Marpessa Hennik (ex supermodel and Dolce & Gabbana muse).  There were so many important fashion players that I got a bit lost in a sea of Prosecco on ice.  My favourite had to be Anna del Russo, who was wearing a frivolous Hiawathaesque feather headband. Only a true fashionista would dare!

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Giancarlo Giammetti with Anna Wintour at the launch party for his book ‘Private’

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Giancarlo with Anna del Russo

 

The Cavalli day arrived and they were so worried about us Cavalli “Angels” looking less than perfect that we were collected and dropped at the legendary Aldo Coppola for hair and make-up. Of course, it ran late and Ginevra and I had to race back to the Principe to get ready at break-neck speed.

 

Arriving at the Arco della Pace was madness the like I have never seen; people everywhere posing in outrageous outfits, bloggers in creations that beggared belief and fashion students swarming the guests holding on to precious tickets!  Once inside I caught my breath – a circle of fire literally around a pool of water.  The enormous circus style tent was full to bursting but I was more excited to see the 90’s supermodel Nadège, looking fresh and head to toe in Cavalli leather.  Cavalli had a heavily Brit front row including Cheryl Cole, Ellie Goulding and the actress Samantha Barks.  The show itself was breath-taking with reed-thin models with endless legs stomping past us in wafts of leather and body skimming beaded fringed frocks.  I fell in love with more than one red satin evening dress.

 

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 Me in Milan, wearing Cavalli

That evening we were delivered in another evening dress to their new flagship boutique on Via Montenapoleone.  Five floors of Cavalli creations, children’s wear, sportswear – you name it, there is a floor for it!

 

My friend Magda Pozzo and I decided to head to the dinner early and got caught by Roberto at the door. His marvellous bejewelled walking stick was obviously a talking point.  The dinner was at one of Milan’s most desirable hotspots, Il Salumaio.  A very beautiful old Milanese stone walled dining room with luscious full roses in simple vases.  Russian model Irina Shayk one of the Cavalli’s favourites was there and both sons, Daniele and Robert, hosted tables.  His wife Eva was an excellent hostess in her de rigeur black evening trouser suit.  A beautiful Italian feast followed and even better I was home by midnight.

 

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 Magda Pozzo, myself, & Roberto Cavalli

The following morning I had to pack which was no mean feat as I had gone a little bonkers in the shoe department. Gianvito Rossi being a firm new favourite … oh and some gold lame Dolce & Gabbana slingbacks – irresistible.

 

Warly collected me and my luggage as we hit first a Franca Sozzani Brunch for a new designer called Erika Cavallini in the most spectacular building called the Circolo della Stampa.  Magical and truly only in Italy.  Mini smoked salmon bagels were consumed in vast quantities.

 

Next we did a drive by the Hogan fashion show – there they had the genius idea of having all the models standing as if window mannequins and then doing semi walks, finishing with a mini fashion shoot.  All very intriguing.

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Hogan models

 

Lastly, we finally got into Warly’s car to go to the Dolce & Gabbana show which I was thoroughly over excited about.  Their clothes have become something of a staple in my wardrobe and their heavy Sicilian influence is sexy and feminine.

 

If I thought it was bonkers elsewhere, this was a zoo.  Everywhere you looked there were fabulously dressed girls and boys in creations each crazier than the next. I was, of course, stupidly impressed. The show waited for the actress Monica Belluci to arrive, as she is one of the design duo’s muses and then the music began.  Words failed me as “Once upon a Time in Sicily” started. The set was a fantasy forest. The girls were all medieval fairytale characters with Little Red Riding featuring heavily. My jaw seriously hit the floor!

 

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 Dolce & Gabbana Show

Model after model came out with the loud classical ballet themed music creating the scene.  Reds and purples and deep greens all bejewelled to death.  The finale was literally an army of silver and black girls storming the runway… staggering.  Show over we flew backstage, kissed Stefano Gabbana and found Marpessa and David Gandy. Eva Herzigova (in this season’s campaign) was there with Bianca Balti – too much beauty in one room. I was in heaven but had a train to catch.  In a flurry of heels and Dolce lace I just made it to the train in time for my journey back to the real world.

 

 

20 February
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Throwing birthday parties and heading to a book signing

Throwing birthday parties are my Achilles’ heel.  Not necessarily mine either. Even when my oldest daughter Anouska was young I always had to go the extra mile..  A Grease theme party when she was nine or her favourite, a cowboy party held in Wimbledon, complete with hay bales and real line dancing.  So my youngest Vivi may have only just turned five but, try as I might, it eludes me to keep it simple and homemade!

 

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I scoured the web for white furniture for children and came up with Birthday Dreams and a great site called Carousel, with lots of gorgeous, pretty things and genius pressies.  The Church Hall at the Brompton Oratory was transformed into a mini girls’ disco courtesy of The Giggle Company and all the little girls +  three token boys had a ball.  Bubbles, balloons and dancing galore for many little Princesses.

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Vivi enjoying party games ©Tamara Beckwith 

Following a celebratory theme, it was with great enthusiasm I headed out into the foul London night with my young friend Alice Naylor Leyand (technically she’s Anouska’s girlfriend but I am allowed to borrow her) for the infamous Lapo Elkann’s book signing of “The Italian” by Wayne Maser, which features photos of Lapo. It was taking place alongside an exhibition of self-portraits by New York socialite Anh Duong.

 

Lapo is a real character and one of my husband’s old friends.  Stylish doesn’t even begin to describe him and neither does naughty!  Robilant & Voena, the Mayfair gallery, was rammed to the rafters and I was only able to see the entrance by looking at a perfectly pedicured foot owned by none other than Elizabeth Saltzman.  A girl of many trades, she’s contributing editor at Vanity Fair and personal stylist to Gwyneth Paltrow, to name a couple.  She was just leaving with the dashing hotel supremo Andre Balzas and model Lily Cole.  We managed to squeeze in and grab copies of both Lapo’s book and Anh’s catalogue.

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 Lapo signing his book for me

Lapo greeted me wondering protectively where Giorgio was. He signed my copy with a wonderful flourish and we then headed towards the crush at the bar, where I found our good friends Eva Herzigova and her husband Gregorio Marsiaj. As it was still tipping down outside, I cheekily asked if we could jump into their car to head to the private dinner being thrown at Downtown Cipriani.  Charles Finch, the urbane agent and PR mogul, was hosting it in honour of Lapo and Anh with Hollywood actor Matthew Modine thrown in for good measure.

I was honoured to be seated at Lapo’s table with Eva and Gregorio and the wonderful Nick Mason (drummer of Pink Floyd) and his wife Nettie.  I lost Alice as she was whisked to another table.  Marpessa  Hennink, one of the original supermodels and now head muse for Dolce and Gabbana was there and I just have to see her twinkly eyes to know I need to head home early!

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 Lapo at Downtown Cipriani

Italians are a breed unto themselves. My husband Giorgio loves his birthday and this year was to be no exception.  A week before the big day arrived he wants to know what I had planned…a big nothing!  So within minutes he had drawn up a guestlist and spoken to the PR girl of the coolest new lounge and private members’ club, Rififi in Mayfair.  Remarkably, many of our fun friends were in town and able to make it.

Some beautiful flowers – dark red roses dipped in glitter – from Nikki Tibbles at Wild at Heart, gave the tables a splash of Valentine’s Day glamour.  Rose Martinis on arrival and a wonderful jazzy pianist called Jonathan created a lovely intimate feeling.  Emily Oppenheimer was one of the first to arrive and almost matched me in a white lace dress. Tim and Malin Jefferies arrived and Malin’s skintight leather number left little to the imagination!  Eva and Gregorio arrived full of beans and Patrick Cox was fast to pop her on his knee.

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 Left to right: My sister Clare, Gregorio Marsiaj, myself, Patrick Cox

 

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 Left to right: Tim Attias, Tim Jefferies, Arki Busson, Giorgio Veroni

The night was full of laughter and sweet speeches.  Italians were heavily represented with our divine Giancarlo Giammetti fresh off the plane.  I finally brought out a heart covered cake which was demolished in a blink.  A few late guests popped by, including Uma Thurman and Arki Busson, and gave Giorgio more birthday kisses. All in all, a wonderful Happy “last minute” Birthday celebration for a very good boy!

04 February
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Partying with a Made In Chelsea star, a photography legend and an influential make-up artist

It’s incredible but every single time we have a Terry O’Neill show at The Little Black Gallery it goes through the roof. Both in terms of sales but also footfall. People travel miles and miles to trek to Chelsea to view his iconic images. This show has been no different and even our private view, which was not aided by torrential showers, seemed to hardly suffer. Terry is a dear friend and couldn’t be more down-to-earth or normal. He finds all the press attention and fawning a bit odd.

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Above: with Tania Bryer and Terry

The Youngs were out in force, Paul and Stacey with their gorgeous daughters, Levi and Layla, and with them an entourage of Michelle Collins and Paul McKenna.
Mark Vandelli popped his perfectly coiffed head in and couldn’t decide which print he liked.

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Above: With Made in Chelsea’s Mark Vandelli

Similarly Melissa Odabash arrived with her girl posse of Kelly Hoppen and her daughter Natasha Corrett. The large Bridget Bardot was definitely a talking point. Just as we were closing the seriously glamorous Von Bismarcks, Debi and Leopard dropped by. Both great friends of Terry and rather sad to have missed him. However, they made sure not to leave empty-handed.

January seems to be action-packed with lots of catch-up meetings. Our women’s cancer charity campaign to raise awareness for all gynaecological cancers, has been gaining momentum. I’m helping to get it underway with a group of like-minded friends, including my sister Clare Van Dam, Astrid Harbord, Mika Simmons, Jenny Halpern Prince and Kate Percival.

Still underwraps titlewise it has suddenly got some legs! It helps that my divine PR friend Jenny Halpern Prince is a serious time manager.
One of my favourite new PR couplings is Jeanette Caliva and Heather Kerzner.

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Above: With my friend Heather Kerzner

They threw an evening viewing for maternity fashion label Madderson – again the weather was beyond revolting but we all managed to get there and the flowers alone were worth the effort. The two Madderson girls, Helen and Sara, were charming and thrilled to meet everyone. Their collection is very Palm Beach and made us all dream of spring. Martha Ward was her usual stylish self, and Heather and I quietly slipped off to our great friend interiors whizz Tara Bernerd’s small birthday dinner at Harry’s bar.

More meetings where I fear I have over promised my contributions! When will I learn to say ‘No’ to being helpful! Finally the end of the week arrived and with much excitement I got my glad rags on, including some serious Saqqara diamond chandelier earrings and a black leather Ralph Lauren evening dress. It was Claire Caudwell’s birthday and although she is a rather new friend we share many others.

Rob Van Helden had surpassed himself with fuschia pink orchids; literally the tables were heaving with them. Claire and her husband John had really gone mad. She looked every inch a Marilyn Monroe movie star in white crystal Ralph & Russo with a marabou tail! Fabulous.

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Above: my husband Giorgio, Claire Caudwell and Pat McGrath.

Giorgio and I were very happy to be sitting with so many old friends. Tania Bryer, the happiest girl in the world now she has found boyfriend Rod Barker. Make-up legend Pat McGrath, always a fun dinner companion, and the Fennells, Louise and Theo. I could talk to Louise forever and am an avid reader of her novels. Rob Van Helden had pride of place as we ruffled his ego about his genius flowers!

The evening was jam packed with personal touches and entertainment but when Mick Hucknall came out and sang the whole ballroom went crazy. Claire, needless to say, was up on that stage and loving every minute!

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