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

Art events

05 November
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Joan Collins is hilariously funny

A new week and an inordinately annoying amount of colourful invitations to friends’ book launches have arrived through the door. When do they get the time to sit and write these magnificent tomes?! Not even a whiff of a ghost writer! First up was my old friend, ex-Jimmy Choo creator, Tamara Mellon. Although she has moved stateside she still has a hardcore group of girls who remember mad nights in Tramp or at her parents home in Chelsea. Tamara has done beyond exceptionally and her book, “In Her Shoes” has been seen as something of a whistle blower – noone has escaped! Racy also springs to mind.

Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon

Arriving at the launch, I made it in time to Harrods where I snuck quietly in the snaking line clutching my bought copy of the book. As I arrived at her pop up desk, Tamara was so surprised to look up and see me after a few hours of signing, it was so lovely to see she has retained her girlish enthusiasm. She was dressed head-to-toe in her new line TM, a lifestyle brand which she is cleverly marketing as “Buy Now, Wear Now”. Can I face her creating another fashion phenomenon?? Naturally I loved the shoes and was far more interested in bugging her rather-too-cute PA for the how and when I could get my hands (or rather feet) on a pair, or five! Like I need any more shoes…

Tamara Mellon and me

Tamara Mellon and me

 

On to the next launch! This time for our divine friend, and always ‘Best Dressed’, Giancarlo Giammetti with his almost autobiographical “PRIVATE” by Assouline. This has been a labour of love by Giancarlo. A scrapbook style of his and Valentino’s amazing life, work and play over their 50 years together. Rammed with incredible images of the beautiful and glamorous, the young and old, movie stars, models and everything in between! Giancarlo never does anything by halves and the Assouline boutique had been beautifully art directed by himself. The crush was almost unbearable but he was like a kid in a candy store, scribbling away. Joan Collins and Percy were smart and snuck off to Claridges for a pre-dinner cocktail. Tom Ford was smarter still, arriving ahead of the masses and then slipping off into the night. Princess Rosario showed her support and had two of her beautiful children with her. Arki Busson, without Uma, was on great form, as was the ever handsome Tim Jefferies. Carlos Souza, one of their beloved tribe, was on his Instagram constantly bossing both Giancarlo and Valentino around. Finally we all departed for a delicious dinner at Downtown Cipriani, hosted by the magnificent Marina Palma. Marina had even managed to have their usually garish lighting turned down to a subtle glow – quite a feat!

 

Giancarlo Giametti at his book launch

Giancarlo Giametti at his book launch

Last in the book launch category, but by no means least, was one of my favourite icons ever, Joan Collins. I am far and away her biggest fan and she knows it! Having met her first with our mutual friend Terry O’Neill over 20 years ago, I just love her! She is a real fighter and hilariously funny. I could go on but it’s a bit much! We headed down the staircase at The Westbury Hotel for her book party (see what I mean?!) for “Passion for Life”, and literally bumped into Julian Clary and his partner Ian Mackley. Funnily enough Giorgio and I had just watched his Piers Morgan “Life Stories” the night before and I found myself being horribly gushy about how great his story had been.

 

Me with Valentino and Giancarlo Giacometti

Me with Valentino and Giancarlo Giacometti

Right behind us was the one and only Mario Testino, a fellow Peruvian for Percy! So far, so glamorous. The Fennels, Louise and Theo, two of her greatest friends were holding court, and chat show supremo Graham Norton was making a small group giggle. Cleo Rocos was her usual friendly, chatty self with extraordinary perky red hair. Joan looked sensational in black satin and twinkling diamonds. She was in fabulous form and I think beyond thrilled with the turnout. Her lovely son, the artist Sacha Newley, was milling around and Valentino and Giancarlo were inundated with photo requests. I have now got a bedside table with the 3 books – forget about time to write them, when am I going to read them?!

 

Giorgio, Joan, me and Percy

Giorgio, Joan, me and Percy

At the weekend I went up to Harrow school on the Hill with my father, a proud old Harrovian himself. He has a very deep passion for the school and has had a scholarship programme for state school boys for about 15 years. He was a scholar himself and feels it was what gave him his great start in life. His annual scholars lunch is a very emotional day; all the new boys attend with their parents and all the current Harrovians have to make a speech about what they have been up to and their achievements. I always shed a few tears and the fact that these boys take their chance at life so seriously, their sporting achievements, their academic results (a quite astonishing amounts of A*s) and how thankful they are for having been given this golden opportunity, is quite humbling. The boys’ speeches, with no notes, always wow me and without fail I head home feeling very proud to have a father who leads by such wonderful example, putting his money where his mouth is, so to speak.

 

The Beckwith scholars

The Beckwith scholars

Finally my week concluded with a great new show at my gallery, The Little Black Gallery, with Patrick Lichfield’s “Caribbean”. It is amazing the different crowd that congregates for his shows. His partner Lady Annunziata Asquith always arrives looking super chic and is from that point inundated with old friends coming to say ‘hi’. The pictures of Mustique, Bahamas, Bermuda and Cuba are all part of his collection, never previously seen. Lichfield’s daughter, Eloise popped by and was full of joy at her recent marriage. She was as pretty as a picture and friendly, as alaways. Not surprisingly we had record sales!

 

Vivi at Halloween ©Tamara Beckwith

Vivi at Halloween ©Tamara Beckwith

So after all that and, oh yes, Halloween to boot! I am not sure about where you live, but in my neck of the woods it seems to have gone nuts. My little ‘witch with a twist’ Vivi was still anxious to be trick or treating at 8pm. I felt it was rather later for a not-even-5-year-old! Accidentally losing all her loot will not be so easy I am sure. Some of the homes here had almost exceeded LA standards, with queues of children in the best Halloween costumes I have seen for a long time. A little girl of about 3 years old dressed as a Black Birkin bag! Hilarious and very London. Now I think I deserve a quiet weekend…

18 February
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Ponies, new dinner friends and cool art

Having recovered sufficiently from all of the costume stuff it was with a spring in my step that I hit the Smythson’s tea party – hosted by the somewhat elusive Samantha Cameron and the uber chic and achingly stylish Calgary Avansino. Smythson’s has now opened what I would describe as a mini department store on Sloane Street. The blustery rain didn’t deter the invitees and the poor photographers outside braved the elements and even seemed pretty cheery.  Inside, Samantha Cameron was the perfect hostess, while I spent my whole time sipping amazing green juices. The waiters were definitely all part-time models and were offering  old fashioned treats such as cucumber sandwiches!  Calgary was in a jazzy purple pant suit by Emilia Wickstead – certainly not a onesie for this style icon and former Editor-at-large of Vogue.

 

 

 

Mary Greenwell and Yasmin Mills at Smythson

Mary Greenwell and Yasmin Mills at Smythson

I bumped into Jeans guru Donna Ida (one of our brilliant clients at the gallery) and I had a quick girlie catch up with the divine make-up queen Mary Greenwell and Yasmin Mills. Alice Naylor Leyland and her sidekick Astrid Harbord, both naughty girls about town, kept me busy and tried hard to stop me going on a shopping frenzy!  Alex Shah from Premier was escorting the lovely Francesca Versace, who was showing off her new line of handbags. I left having fallen in love with so many little leather goodies and so was thrilled to be handed one of their famous sky blue bags with a wonderful set of notes as a gift.

 

 

Vivi riding in Richmond Park

Vivi riding in Richmond Park ©TamaraBeckwith

The weekend ahead I had planned as a family affair and was very excited at the thought. My sister had smartly booked all the girls a riding lesson at the fabulous Stag Lodge stables in Richmond Park.  Violet and her cousins Amber and Tatum were totally oblivious to the swamp-like conditions the ponies were trekking through.  To warm us all up afterwards, we had a good hearty pub lunch at The Fox and Grapes on Wimbledon Common – just what the doctor ordered.

 

 

One of the pictures from the Privatus Warhol show

One of the pictures from the Privatus Warhol show

Straight back to all things of an arty persuasion – a dinner held at the very smart and discreet Privatus (co-owned by Mark Brooke) in Mayfair for the hugely collectable Andy Warhol polaroid show.  I felt a huge dose of flu coming on but I hate cancelling a sit-down dinner after midday – it’s one of my little rules.  The show of Warhol photographs was everything I could have hoped for and Dean and Dan (the designer twins for their brand D Squared) had already chosen a couple for their own collection.  I particularly liked a self portrait of Warhol eating a banana – I’ll leave that to your imagination!

Me with Yasmin Mills, Heather Kerzner, Melissa Odabash and Loree Rodkin

Me with Yasmin Mills, Heather Kerzner, Melissa Odabash and Loree Rodkin

Swimwear aficionado Melissa Odabash was there in one of her little black creations, and my old friend jewellery rockstar Loree Rodkin was showing off her hand of precious knuckleduster diamond scattered rings.  She and Daphne Guinness must be some of the only girls I know who can really carry off one on each finger.  I was so thrilled to have not one, but two fabulous previously unmet dinner companions – that really is a result!  One being the huge British movie producer Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, The Dreamers, Crash) who was enchanting and I could have happily been left alone with him for hours, such was his knack with an anecdote.

Warhol's picture of Valentino

Warhol’s picture of Valentino

 

To my right I was lucky enough to have the musician and film scorer Christopher Taylor – we found an immediate bond, us both having four-year-old treasured daughters.  Schlepping to a dinner alone can sometimes be a travesty but, in this case, my night was a triumph.  I also managed to only consume one glass of wine, as I knew I would otherwise get carried away and buy myself the Valentino polaroid which hung dangerously close in front of me!

 

 

Grace, Belgravia

Grace, Belgravia

The next day, having joined the most outrageous new all-women health and beauty club called Grace in Belgravia, I finally found my way to their Matt Roberts gym.  Duncan, my assigned personal trainer, was exactly what I needed from a gym motivator – all sinewy muscle, he certainly looks as though he practises what he preaches. I am a tad jaded by trainers as I have never been a keen, or willing, gym bunny, however, the hour whizzed by.  On questioning why there were no clocks in the gym, I was told that it’s against Matt Roberts’ ethos to not have their clients clock-watching – maybe they’re onto something!  I skipped out feeling pretty well-stretched and clasping a green concoction with promise of a new healthy Tamara.

 

 

Me with Tyler Urdell (centre) and his boyfriend Cole (left)

Me with Tyler Udall (centre) and his boyfriend Cole (left)

To finish off my week I had the very talented Tyler Udall’s opening show at my gallery. My business partner Ghislain Pascal and I were so thrilled to have got him in the first place – he is a well-respected member of the cool gang as ex-fashion editor of Dazed & Confused and Another Man. He is so removed from Chelsea it’s not funny.  He arrived with his agent, Peter Halpert Hay, and very handsome boyfriend Cole.  The gallery had never had so many new and unfamiliar faces, Tyler’s photography is very stark and, dare I say it, bares a slight nod to the hardcore photographer Juergen Teller.

 

The easy-on-the-eye gentleman at Tyler Udall's event

The easy-on-the-eye gentleman at Tyler Udall’s event

 

The opening caused much amusement to our guests and neighbours as we had two rather gorgeous hunks in our window – making it feel more like an Abercrombie & Fitch party than an art opening! Rob Van Helden and hubbie Sebastian Barbareal arrived and we were keen to discuss the upcoming Oscars week where I am heading next week.

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