A trip down memory lane, a restaurant opening and the WOW festival
Back in springy London with a bump and I was straight into my Gallery to take a look at the hanging of our new Vee Speer’s show. She is terrifically talented and a huge character to boot. Her new show Bordello is extremely provocative – my business partner Ghislain Pascal and Tim Blake of John Jones Framing have done a genius job with the framing.
Very 1920’s with prohibition, masks and voluptuous real women. The opening was a little like a crazy cocktail party, however Ghislain was happily preoccupied with his invoice pad. I was delighted to see an old friend from L.A., the actor Michael Wincott. His voice is legendary and he seemed equally stunned to see me in my Gallery. We had a wonderful reminisce down memory lane. Lots of Vee’s collectors had come from afar to see the show and we felt it kicked off to great expectations.
Director Mike Figgis, interior designer Sera Hersham, actor Michael Wincott & I at the Vee Speers: Bordello opening at The Little Black Gallery © Gabriel Lovas
The following evening I was taken by another L.A. friend Adam Bernhard with his fiancé for dinner. Giorgio still being away, I invited my great and dear friend Wagi to escort me. Adam always calls me and says, “What’s up and what’s new?” – I then have to scramble to arrange a table out of thin air. Uber hotelier Andre Balazs’ new London hotel, ‘The Firehouse’ in Chiltern Street had literally opened for preview business and I decided that since we all had spent endless, fun evenings at his Chateau Marmont in LA back in the 90’s, that it would be fun to compare.
Chiltern Firehouse © Nicholas Kay
Just entering the privately gated courtyard garden you could tell Andre had reworked his legendary magic. He seems to be able to click his fingers and great ambience, cool, on-it staff (some quite familiar from London Café Society) all magically appear. Their Front of House man (sadly I selfishly won’t reveal his name) came to my rescue as the restaurant bar was a serious crush. He whisked Wagi and I through into what will be the Residence’s bar. Dreamily decorated in his recognisable style with a seriously welcoming 50s-esque marble bar in a pretty champagne colour. Dangerously low and complete with comfortable perching sipping cocktails kind of stools. If Frank Sinatra had mooched by I would not have been surprised. Wagi and I felt compelled to try a bespoke martini.
The dining room is very much a working one, with a very open kitchen. Necks were craning albeit nonchalantly. Stephen Fry was doing quite a bit of greeting and the infamous Guy Ritchie was playing his part to a tee. PR supremo Matthew Freud was dining a-deux with Heston Blumenthal. I was just happy to see my friends the Bertarellis who were in town just for Kirsty’s birthday. The evening was a great success; Adam, Wagi and I all ate well, drank very well and managed to take the group decision that staying for a nightcap was a BAD if not dangerous idea.
Anouska Beckwith & Lulu Barsotti at WOW Festival
Up bright and breezy, (not a single headache all week!) and I was off with Violet and a girlfriend Annabel to visit my elder daughter, Anouska’s Stand at the WOW festival at the South Bank Centre. She has created a beautiful Collective of Women artists called World Wide Women and has been inundated with creative women who want to be part of something so special, their aim being to set up shows all over the World to help promote Women in the Arts. The WOW Festival is highly regarded and she was very touched to have been included. Her friend and fellow artist Michaela Meadow were there for three days and had numerous inquiries and felt they were definitely onto something good. I, as a proud Mother, felt pure happiness for her as she got about the business of selling her photography and fielding questions.
Michaela Meadows & Anouska Beckwith of World Wide Women at WOW Festival
Thrilled to get a late night phone call from one of my oldest fellow Ariens, celebrity interiors guru Martyn Lawrence Bullard. He is incredibly over the top but has fabulous taste and I adore him. He loves and breathes L.A. since that is where he has his successful business and sometimes pops over here to make award winning TV makeover shows for Channel 4! He was here for Design Week at Chelsea Harbour and suddenly realised he had a spare dinner slot! I of course rallied and brought a mutual girlfriend of ours, PR Queen Amanda Kyme. A clandestine rendezvous at the scrumptious Eight Over Eight was hurriedly arranged and it was a joy from beginning to end. Martyn always had fabulously wicked stories to share of his diva clients, of which I sadly cannot share. The lychee/rose martinis are one of the restaurants specialities and I have to sadly remember just one is plenty for me these days!
Afterwards a quiet weekend beckoned…