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

May, 2014

29 May
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Dinner with the girls, the Butterfly Ball and Cartier’s Chelsea Flower Show dinner

It seems just yesterday I was still popping into bikinis and sandals and not much else from my Easter break. Back to London, a fast paced step forward and I have had a serious re-edit of my wardrobe.  I looked at my diary and to my horror I realized I had rather a few too many social girl/charity lunches to get dolled up for.  I love a girls’ lunch but day after day becomes a big effort, especially planning suitable looks!

First up was a girls’ dinner for which I had helped the super chic Italian fashion brand, Agnona, pull together.  The delectable Dree Hemingway, their muse and model, flew in from New York that morning and was so naturally beautiful with barely a hint of make-up, she stole all our hearts. Her silk black caped catsuit must have helped.  The evening was a huge success and The Dover Street Arts Club really spoilt us.

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Left to right: Me, Dree Hemingway & Alice Naylor-Leyland at the Agnona dinner

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Myself and Tamzin Greenhill at the Agnona dinner

The late photographer Bob Carlos Clarke was not only a friend of mine but also the reason Ghislain Pascal, Lindsey Carlos Clarke and myself set up our gallery, The Little Black Gallery, in 2008 after his untimely death.  We manage his archive, and collectors from all over the world come to us.  So any new show we open has to have a strict preview night.  The Daily Mail Online has already labelled our new show ‘Living Dolls’ as “one of London’s most risqué shows” – which can never be a bad thing!  Dan Macmillan was one of the first to arrive and was remarkably knowledgeable about Bob’s work – in particular a work entitled “Keeping up with the Joneses”, a photograph that paid homage to the British art legend Allen Jones. Allen himself actually swung by later on and I found him captivating company.

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Allen Jones and I at Bob Carlos Clarke Private View at The Little Black Gallery

Scarlett Carlos Clarke, Bob’s daughter, is very hands on with her Father’s work and had insisted on one of the pictures being taken down.  Sure enough she arrived and headed straight downstairs to check… followed closely by her childhood friend Luciano Pierre White, son of Bob’s best buddy and chef extraordinaire, Marco.

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Luciano Pierre White & Scarlett Carlos Clarke at Bob Carlos Clarke Private View at The Little Black Gallery

Society chappy Henry Conway flew in with a very cute companion and was as ever fizzing with enthusiasm.  My favourite florist Rob Van Helden came with his husband Seb and we gassed and gassed until I realized it was time to shut up shop!

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Myself & Henry Conway at Bob Carlos Clarke Private View at The Little Black Gallery

Up and another outfit to be sourced. I had been invited to join Kiwi Amanda Newson’s table, as Co-Chair of the Foreign Sisters, for their annual lunch.  It’s a fabulous charity set up by foreign women in London about eight years ago in aid of Cancer Research UK.  400 women, each better dressed than the next, there was nothing un-fashion about this crew!  Held at the Philipp’s Gallery in Victoria I walked in and could not get over the extraordinary noise.  400 women chatting is almost deafening.  It all calmed down once we sat down at what I must admit to being one of the most pretty tables ever.

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Foreign Sisters lunch sponsored by Dior

Needless to say the lunch was sponsored by Dior and they had created the entire look.  We all secretly wanted to steal not only our embroidered Lily of the Valley napkins but also the matching tablecloths.  Amanda warned us she would do a count at the end!  Tania Bryer missed her first speaking slot due to her plane from Texas being late, but the trooper she is had her flying through the tables before our main course and certainly making us understand why we needed to dig deep.  She is a total star!  They raised a massive amount of money and we were sent home in time for the school run…

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Tania Bryer and Amanda Newson at Foreign Sisters lunch sponsored by Dior

As if I hadn’t done my bit already on the charity front, Giorgio and I were expected at the Caudwell’s Butterfly Ball that night.  These things are never planned to be so hectic but sometimes I should learn to say ‘No’. I had been sent a gorgeous Roland Mouret evening dress and felt a bit fresher once I had some make-up on.

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Left to right: Giorgio, myself, Patrick Cox & David Furnish at Caudwell’s Butterfly Ball

The Caudwells had invited so many familiar faces that you start to think you know everyone, then you realize it’s Gemma from ‘The Only Way is Essex’ and I’ve been staring at her for ten minutes!  I was at a table with X Factor winner Sam Bailey and her husband.  I was trying to keep Giorgio on best behavior but he couldn’t help himself grilling her on all sorts of X Factor questions.  David Furnish looked amazing and was in super-good form, while sexy cobbler Patrick Cox was as usual up to no good with the boys from the Scissor Sisters.  Everyone was thrilled that James and Petra Stunt were in the house as they literally hogged the auction.  Tamara Eccelstone looking the best I have ever seen her, with husband Jay, were in happy baby mode and snuck off in time to feed their precious baby, Sophia.  I found my girlfriend Lilly Becker, but no Boris as he was busy coaching Djokovic in Rome.

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Left to right: Myself, Patrick Cox, Claire Caudwell & Giorgio at Butterfly Ball

Claire Caudwell was as always a doll, in the teensiest Ralph & Russo beaded cocktail dress ever.  She is always super friendly and has time for everyone.  The Candys, Holly and Nick, were on a rare night out since their baby arrived.  Holly has become mother nature. Peter Andre bless him did a stellar job as compere but most of the room were just desperate to get on with dancing and cheering Kylie.  And what a star she was ..not for her the four songs normally trotted out on these nights.. more like a mini concert.  Everyone went home more in love with the teeny awesome Aussie than ever.

A quiet weekend and ready for one of my favourite parties of the Summer season – Cartier’s Chelsea Flower Show dinner.  This year Arnaud Bamberger had taken over the legendary Hurlingham Club and as the very charmed man that he is the British weather was perfect.  We all had cocktails out on the terrace, admiring the perfect green lawns.  Watching members amble by all in white off to play a spot of late night tennis. All very charming, all very English…

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Cartier Dinner at Hurlingham

Giorgio was unamused to have been dragged out again, let alone on a sacred Monday night – the air was blue in our car! I had popped on a Lanvin dress and a whopping diamond flower ring by the incredible Eliane Fattal for SJ Phillips.  My ring was so admired I kept checking it was still firmly on.  Tim and Malin Jefferies came over as we chatted to our mutual friends Mark and Katie Cecil. We had all had Bank Holiday weekend together and were laughing at some of the antics.  English rose, Rosamund Pike was milling around looking rather pretty and dashing Ali Spencer Churchill was in his derigeur uniform of a skinny blue suit.

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Malin Jefferies, Amanda Wakeley, myself, Heather Kerzner & Jo Manoukian at the Cartier Dinner at Hurlingham

Everyone was in jubilant form and stylist Martha Ward looked by far one of my favourites in pale pink Ermano Scervino.. faultless. Giorgio was very happy at his placement with Jo Manoukian and Heather Kerzner and the naughty Tim Jefferies… I on the other hand was equally happy with the suave Martin Summer’s and Viscount Daventry!  Talk about delicious food, fabulous flowers, wonderful wine and stupendous company. A night well worth the effort even for a Monday!

02 May
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Holidaying in Miami, a trip to Mustique and an appearance from Jude Law

Desperate for some heat for my bones, I packed my little family up and headed for Miami.  Easter in Miami has become a bit of an annual trip.  We were invited to stay at one of Giorgio’s great friends and they have children Vivi’s age.  A huge plus as she literally followed them around like a little duck, playing basketball, soccer and learning to boogie board!  I found the Miami Beach heat all a bit overwhelming at first, but not my Italian husband.  He was a dark shade of tan within hours.  We also had some of our great friends staying at the Setai, the Ruskis, so we found ourselves being whisked off for a dinner at Zuma in downtown Miami.  Another great girlfriend Jenny Halpern was also in Miami with her girls  (Vivi’s little playmates) and so she joined us too.  We spent most of the time marveling at the plastic surgery so prevalent in the USA, but also at some of the odd couplings.  It was definitely an eye opener.

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Jenny Halpern, Katya Fomichev, TB, Ruslan Fomichev, Sara Colombo at Zuma Miami

Another of Vivi’s girlfriends was in Miami, Lola Sofia, and they were desperate to get together.  They are quite a handful together so we chose the Big Pink (a Miami landmark) for their reunion.  It is a classic American style Diner and the portions should be illegal.  My lunch arrived and I was hungry but I barely touched the sides!  The waste is beyond wrong.  The girls were in heaven however with cheeseburgers, fries – the whole works!  Not one of our healthy days.

I decided that since I was surrounded by little girls desperate to be ‘Elsa’ in ‘Frozen’ I would drive us to Aventurra Mall and see if I could find the treasured costumes at the Disney store. On arrival in the store I found a helpful looking assistant.  When I asked where these costumes were he practically burst out laughing. He assured me the whole set of ‘Frozen’ dresses, shoes, crowns etc had been sold out for weeks and in fact across the whole of America.  That was me put in my place…  I bought the soundtrack and much to my horror we listened to it on repeat for the next 3 weeks!

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Katya Fomichev, myself and Barbara Becker in Miami

That night was adult time – Miky Grendene the owner of the coolest restaurant in Miami Beach, Casa Tua (with a twin restaurant in Aspen), was having a birthday party.  We invited the Ruskis along and having mentioned to Katya Fomichev it might be smart to dress down due to the location of the party, she announced she prefers a dress!  We headed off into what was previously off territory, although the Winwood area is considered uber cool and very up and coming. Just as we were about to give up we saw what looked like a make-shift valet.. walking through the door into what appeared to be a shabby warehouse was in fact an off the wall “Man Cave”.  The shy host, an Ecuadorian Rock star no less, had his Ferraris, Lamborghinis and a huge array of motorbikes all gleaming in a row.  There was an indoor pool, a bedroom and bath with a chandelier hanging sexily overhead.  All in all, wow! Rows of guitars framed the stage and then down the middle of the vast room was a dining table littered with red rose petals and candles. Breathtaking and of course the crew were all beautiful. I found our friend Karolina Kurkova and her super husband Archie.  It turned out Archie was sharing the party with Miky – it’s such a small world. I was slightly underdressed compared to the Miami dress code but Katya was in heaven in her little cocktail dress and towering heels!  We had a sumptuous supper prepared by Casa Tua and suddenly across the candles I was smiling at Barbara Becker.  She is the most fun and an absolute character.  She flew over and pulled up a chair and we caught up and giggled for hours.  In head to toe leather was super star Lenny Kravitz and although he had come along with Barbara I didn’t want to dare hope he would get up and sing!  Sadly that was not to happen but after some serious ‘Happy Birthday’ singing to the boys and some even more sexy dancing – I noticed a lot of good salsa movers- I felt it was time to head home.

The next morning we re-packed (not a single high heel required) and headed for St.Lucia where we caught another little itty propeller plane to the magical island of Mustique.  This is the only place that both Giorgio and I agree we would be happily deserted.  It’s certainly not for everyone, as Tim Jefferies says “It’s Marmite”, but for us we have found a little teeny slice of family time heaven.

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Easter in Mustique  ©Tamara Beckwith

From the moment we left the charming airport, to Vivi’s first tortoise finding, we started to relax.  The house we were staying at was breathtaking French/Colonial and our co-host Tim Attias and his son Duarte (aka Peter Parker!!) were as thrilled as we were to head off Island scouring on the little electric buggy mules.

Life on Mustique is very laid back and happily very early starts.  I am lucky to have a sporty child and so Vivi is more than keen to get stuck into Tennis camp and riding.  Giorgio disappears for huge chunks of time to play tennis or beat himself up in the beach volley ball.  That leaves me with plenty of time to go mad and read a book… What a forgotten treat!

The Colombos, our great friends from Miami, had finally given in to our relentless pressure and followed us to the island.  So it was off to the airport to greet them.  Vivi was so thrilled and spent the whole holiday asking what time we were seeing them.  Tim Jefferies who was also there with his beautiful wife Malin and kiddies is always a ridiculously generous host.  So it was with zero hesitation we went for dinner at his.  As always every detail was perfection personified.  The chef in his house has been trained to Michelin star levels and as we laughed at the caviar crown perched on top of fresh ceviche I assured my own guests this was not the normal food to be expected…

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Malin and Tim Jefferies  ©Tamara Beckwith 

The next day we headed to Macaroni beach where Vivi and I had our first experience of a true wipeout!  Not a good look but actually quite scary. Vivi certainly wasn’t keen for Mummy to jump the waves with her again.

A huge picnic was being thrown by some fun Spanish friends and we agreed what bliss it was to be on the island as we tucked into a heavenly pile of BBQ ribs.

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En Famille in Mustique  ©Tamara Beckwith 

 

My birthday was not to be celebrated, I instructed Giorgio. I felt just lucky to be there and that was enough.  Of course he didn’t listen and a beautiful dinner was arranged behind my back. Sitting in the garden with a wonderful, eclectic mix of friends and their friends is a great change from London.  I had the gregarious and utterly charming Manfredi Gheradesca on my left and was reminded why Italian men (whilst having many faults!) are such fabulous company.

Vivi, bless her, managed to stay up until 11.30pm to bring in my Birthday cake.  She was determined to make it and I was so touched.  She had even found the silly “not actually blow-outable” candles which gave her the giggles…

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Vivi on the beach  ©Tamara Beckwith 

 

As Mustique is reknowned for its much guarded privacy I am having to pick and choose what I share with you but suffice to say when word spread that Jude Law had arrived on the island, activity trebled.  We let our nannies go to the famous Basil’s Bar for a night off and I guessed correctly they were on a Jude Law hunt!!!

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