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

The Oscars weekend 2013

Arriving in Los Angeles for the Oscars 2013 weekend is like flying into the eye of a tornado. Novices need not apply! I have covered many Oscars over the years when I lived in LA and so am quite a pro. Even though I am not an actress or involved in the movie business so to speak, everything about the weekend needs military planning – not only organising the dresses and the jewels but also making sure that your name is on endless lists! No name, no entry.

Working hard!

Working hard!

Our first night was mellow as our good friend Richard Sachs, whose houseguest was gallerist Tim Jefferies, had invited us to the brand spanking new Nobu. Everything about it was amazing – the food was superb and our table was right next to a roaring fire. I felt like an excited school girl when I spotted Adele having dinner with her man right next to us. I managed somehow to refrain from going over! Kelsey Grammer and his British blonde were also having a bite – in between lots of cooing…

 

Jared Leto and Terry Richardson ©Billy Farrell

Jared Leto and Terry Richardson at Richard Prince at Gagosian ©BillyFarrell

 

The following night was the opening of the Richard Prince “Cowboy” show at the grand Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. The gallery is enormous (warehouse style) and was absolutely rammed with the bold and the beautiful of LA. Bad boy photographer Terry Richardson, in his trademark flannel shirt, was schmoozing and we said a brief hello to the petite China Chow and actor Jared Leto. Red Hot Chilli Pepper front man Anthony Keidis was seemingly very keen on one of the pieces. We finally found our good friend Giancarlo Giammetti and Tim Jefferies and decided to walk the couple of blocks to the private dinner at Mr Chows. King of the contemporary art world Larry Gagosian is a serious host and had taken over the entire restaurant. It was an amazing group, Mario Testino, Elton John with husband David Furnish and the divine actress Virginia Madsen with our great friend Robert Kass. We squeezed onto the table and met the cool PC Valmorbida (more about him later) and a willowy blonde called Jessica Hart. We ate so many scrumptious dim sum and some nutty noodles! Deciding we couldn’t afford a late night so early in the week, we said our thank yous to Larry and bumped into a very jolly Ronnie Sassoon.

 

Elton John and Terry Richards at Richard Prince at Gagosian ©Billy Farrell

Elton John and Terry Richards at Richard Prince at Gagosian ©Billy Farrell

 

Up bright and early with a touch of jet lag Giorgio and I headed to the beautiful Bel Air hotel where we hiked way up into the hills for a couple of hours! I had promised my great girlfriend, the designer Tracey Ross, that I would swing by her new project as a consultant for “Just One Eye” – the most gorgeous new store in Hollywood. It’s a one-stop store where jewellery and art and serious clothes all mix tantalisingly together. Temptation was everywhere and so I had a quick catch up with LA’s flower genius Eric Butterbaugh who I haven’t seen forever and met the owner of the store Paola Russo. My friend Victoria Hervey was stuck at the decadent desserts and champagne bar or was it the off-the-chart good looking waiters?? Either way, we had to get out fast…

We were being beautifully looked after by team Valentino and their little lunch at Cecconi’s was a chic affair. Normandie Keith has made LA her home and was looking so happy and healthy as she told us she had become a yoga teacher. Alexandra Von Furstenberg also joined us with her fiancé, the dashing Dax Miller. Peggy Segal, the walking who’s who of New York society was in great form as Giancarlo made us make our predictions for the Oscars.

 

 

Alex Von Fursenberg, Valentino, Giancarlo Giammetti and Normandie Keith

Alex Von Furstenberg, Giorgio, Valentino, Giancarlo Giammetti and Normandie Keith at Ceconni’s

One of the most beautiful annual Oscar parties is hosted by producer and media mogul Barry Diller and his wife the designer Diane von Furstenberg. We were taken by team Valentino and luckily for us the sun shone and the legendary BBQ was at its very best. We bumped into many friends and I had a funny chat to Richard Buckley, Tom Ford’s partner, about small children on flights. I deduced their flight over had not been an easy one! Naomi Campbell arrived fresh from her TV show The Face and was saying how great all her girls she is mentoring are. I was rather taken with the beautiful young Australian model Jessica Hart, who turned out to be the squeeze of shipping heir Stavros Niarchos and a Victoria Secret’s model.

Me and Jessica Hart at Barry Diller's picnic

Me and Jessica Hart at Barry Diller’s picnic

Hugh Jackman and his cool wife Debbie were en masse with all their families in tow. He is just so charming and self-effacing, it’s quite incredible. Nona Summers, the legend, was in great form as we chatted about the latest Instagram craziness. British blondes, Laura Bailey and Amanda De Cadenet were enjoying the sun with Livia Firth and I must admit it was quite a treat to see legendary lotharios Warren Beatty and George Hamilton both having fun. Puff Daddy arrived with his bestie Lucas White. The whole afternoon was like a glorious scene out of a movie.

 

Mario Testino and Jessica Hart ©David X Prutting

Mario Testino and Jessica Hart at Prism Gallery ©DavidXPrutting

 

Again we headed home full of fun memories – a quick shower and we were back out for the Mario Testino show at the equally fabulous Prism Gallery. A major shout out to PC Valmorbida and Jared Najjar who own the Gallery. It was brilliant! I have never seen so many gorgeous girls in one room.  Right in the middle, with flashbulbs everywhere, was Mario Testino himself. Supermodels Gisele Bundchen (Mario’s co-host) and Alessandra Ambrosio were zipping around and agent Omar Alberto who is drop dead gorgeous himself was there with LA fixture Todd Gordon and I was just thrilled to see them again. British dandy and fashion editor Hamish Bowles was elegant as ever and my old friend Victoria Brynner was snapping away. Liberty Ross was looking gorgeous and an old favourite Hollywood face of mine, actress Marisa Tomei, was in much demand for private iphone pics. I finally found fellow Brits Victoria Hervey and producer Julia Verdin who had been laden with free tequila! Stavros Niachos and Jessica now in a green lace Valentino jumpsuit were adding some extra sparkle.

 

Amanda de Cadenet and Catrolyn Murphy ©DavidXPrutting

Amanda de Cadenet and Carolyn Murphy at Testino at Prism Gallery ©DavidXPrutting

 

One of my favourite models from the 90’s, Carolyn Murphy, was there and she is breathtakingly beautiful. We bundled Robert Kass into our car and headed to Beverly Hills for the after party. They had taken “Fleur de Lys” (with Equipement and Dom Perignon) the exact replica of Versailles. It’s astonishing and we had been thrown a post-wedding party there by the owner Susanne Sapperstein five years ago. Once inside the party, it was spectacular. Emmanuele Filiberto and his actress wife Clotilde were the first friends we found.

 

Mario Testino, Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady ©DavidXPrutting

Mario Testino, Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady at Prism Gallery  ©DavidXPrutting

 

Man-about-town Carlos Souza was flying the Brazilian flag and dancing like crazy. Night club supremo Amy Sacco appeared and we had a laugh about Giorgio’s rather too close for comfort hugging. Singer Miley Cyrus was definitely causing a stir but it was only when Mario took to the dance floor himself with Gisele that the party really took off! When people clocked her football-hero husband Tom Brady, the action near him really heated up. Model Angela Lindvall, another beauty, was trying to shake off some very unwanted attention. Finally for the girls art dealer Vito Schnabel was on hand as was my old friend actor Stephen Dorff. I took one look at my husband who has a slightly innocent crush on the divine model Poppy Delevigne and decided I needed to be firm, or boring as Giorgio refers to it, and head home.

Me and Carlos Souza at Testino dinner ©DavidXPrutting

Me and Carlos Souza at Testino dinner ©DavidXPrutting

All this and we haven’t even got to Oscar night! Exhausted and needing a rejuvenating facial or something, I did my make up one more time. I was wearing an exquisite, beaded Valentino evening gown. I felt a million dollars as we headed to Elton John’s famous Oscar Party. We had only been down the white carpet for a second when I found the legendary make-up artist to girls like Gwen Stefani, Gregory Arlt.  He is a miracle man!

 

Me with Robert Kass and Virginia Madsen at Testino dinner

Me with Robert Kass and Virginia Madsen at Testino dinner

 

Elton and David Furnish have the art of throwing off-the-chart parties down to a fine tee. The whole party was washed over with pink lighting and I was incredibly excited to see Steve Tyler of Aerosmith. Aussie singer Natalie Imbruglia was at producer Diana Jenkins table and there in the middle of all these gorgeous girls was singer Chris Brown. Hollywood screen goddess Sharon Stone looked stunning with her new younger beau. Newly-weds Nick Candy and Holly Valance were in great spirits and she looked really Oscar-special in a Ralph & Russo silver number. I caught sight of Britney Spears and a newly blonde Rose McGowan. By far my favourite introduction was to the amazing photographer Ellen Von Unwerth. She is a classy cool blonde! The entertainment was by Scottish singer Emeli Sandé and she really did rock the room. It was of course supermodel Heidi Klum who stole the body show – four children have come from that tummy and it is perfect. She does Red Carpet glamour incredibly!

 

Me in Valentino with Amanda Eliasch at Elton John's party

Me in Valentino with Amanda Eliasch at Elton John’s party

 

Lastly we were swept off to the afterparty of all afterparties – Madonna‘s. The fabulous Souza boys, Sean and Anthony had been flown in to start the music and we were so excited to see them up on the DJ deck. I was dying to take their photo but was swiftly informed “zero camera tolerance”! The house was beautiful and lit with a thousand twinkling tea lights. The dancing was like I have never seen before. It was wonderfully surreal and as for the rest, my lips are tightly sealed!

Over-the-top spoiling as the whole week has been, I can’t wait to get back to London – my favourite city in the world -and climb into my own bed…

 

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.

Pirates, Diamonds and Warhol

My 4-year-old’s pirate party consumed most of the week as I wanted it to be entirely over-the-top, crazy fun. I had invited her whole class (big mistake) and various good friends’ children. PR queen Jenny Halpern Prince’s twin girls are great pals of Vivi’s as is Tim Jefferies little Swedish doll, Coco.  I had decided to utilise our dear Priest Father Ronald’s good nature and hired out Brompton Oratory’s St Joseph Hall.  A wonderful, slightly tired room with double height ceilings. No chance of any of us feeling cramped!  Party entertainer George came as a wicked slightly scary pirate and had the kids hiding in parachutes and screaming for mercy in no time. Violet had decided she wanted a pirate party rather than a princess theme… not sure what that spells for the future. Little Amadeus Becker came in a beautiful costume and was more intrigued with the helium balloons than anything else. Oh and my rather random inflatable palm tree complete with parrot. My father came with his lovely girlfriend Vivien and my sister Clare’s beautiful girls were dressed as wonderful Peter-Pan-style Lost Boys. Poor Father Ronald popped in for a tea and I think was quite happy to see the hall so full of happy, crazy little pirates. Vivi’s Dragon Chocolate cake – made by the one and only Armine at The Chelsea Cake was gobbled up so fast I think I only got a spoonful. Clearing up when all the kids had been picked up was quite another story but I can hand on heart say the hall was certainly left in far more sparkling form than when I found it.

 

 

Dressing up at Vivi's party!

Dressing up at Vivi’s party! ©TamaraBeckwith

 

The party certainly set a precedent for dressing up, as on the Tuesday night Giorgio and I had to be Pop Art characters for our dear friend Giancarlo Giammetti’s Birthday. He is one of the best dressed men ever so there is no hope of getting away with a mere token gesture. It requires full on revelry and he and Valentino were hardly going to not notice a lack of effort! My great girlfriend Emma Gold, Event Director of GSP had been given a lightning two weeks to whip up a party to be really talked about. Giancarlo and his crew are sticklers for detail and they adore a party. The night was rainy and we were all a bit glum until we entered the immaculate reincarnation of 60’s Warhol.

 

giancarlo-tamara-beckwith

Giancarlo Giammetti and me (with Les Mis star Eddie Redmayne in the background)

 

Amazing Warholesque pink, blue and green flower stickers were casually clustered on the marble floor. A pink hue washed the fabulous walls of Giancarlo’s home. Warhol images blown up full size were just the detail for us all to feel like a time machine had whizzed us back to the 60’s. Pretty waiters and waitresses were in fabulous themed costumes and a couple of cheeky girls were in super skimpy numbers with old school cigarette trays filled with extra party favours: sequinned masks, fruit-flavoured faux cigarettes…the mind boggled at the attention to detail.

Giancarlo Giammetti with friends

Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece with Giancarlo Giammetti and friends

Our Birthday boy was cool as ever with a Lichtenstein eye design and a raspberry moire evening jacket by Tom Ford, simply adorned with a POW! Hands down newlyweds Anne Hathaway and her husband Adam won the competition for the most outrageous but brilliant outfit, as matching bananas… Anne had to explain to me it was a nod to the Velvet Underground album cover! She is one of their most treasured girls and she was on bubbling form. Fresh from all the excitement of copious nominations in the heady awards season she had flown in from LA just that day.

Adam Shulman, Valentino and Anne Hathaway

Adam Shulman, Valentino and Anne Hathaway

Fashionista and Spanish aristo, Naty Abascal, was just in heaven in vintage Oscar de la Renta couture frock from 1967. Her hair was bouffed to perfection and her eyelashes practically required scaffolding. The actress Andrea Riseborough was also on tip-top form and I was dying to hear who had designed her dress for her win the night before at the Evening Standard Awards. It was a knockout Jenny Packham - just dreamy. Tom Ford arrived with his darling partner Richard in head-to-toe black, holding a can of Campbell soup. I think that could be cheating a little…

Anne Hathaway and Valentino

Anne Hathaway and Giancarlo Giammetti


Princess Marie Chantal
was a dead ringer for a blonde Jackie Kennedy and her beautiful daughter Princess Maria-Olympia was fretting about homework and a play the following day at school. Charlotte Dellal (of Charlotte Olympia shoe fame) looked totally at ease with her perfect blonde waves. She has a natural period look about her. The whole party was verging on naughty as the porn-star cocktails and coloured flutes of champagne began to work their mischief. Fashion guru Suzy Menkes was in her element and she too seemed to fit rather well into the theme.

Cameron Diaz and Giorgio

Cameron Diaz and Giorgio

Valentino, as always, had tweaked the theme to suit his own personal style of deadpan chic. It was left to Carlos Souza to whip us all onto the dance floor and dance like dervishes. Actress and comedienne Chelsea Handler seemed to require very little encouragement with her beau Hotelier Andre Balzas. My Giorgio fell in love at first sight with the blonde bombshell Cameron Diaz who,I must grudgingly admit, in the flesh is just as gorgeous as on the screen! To report everything that took place would take too long and spill too many beans but it was truly a night to remember. Due to the strength of the cocktails all I have to say is thank goodness for photos!!

 

Holly Candy, Lisa Snowdon and Mark Foster at The Little Black Gallery

Holly Candy, Lisa Snowdon and Mark Foster at The Little Black Gallery

 

Finally, my week drew to a close with the delicious Lisa Snowdon hosting a wonderful, if slightly raucous, soiree at my gallery, The Little Black Gallery, with Laurie Wickwire of The Berkley Diamond Group. It coincided with our closing of the very successful Bruno Bisang show. Us girls were all lucky enough to be adorned in their fabulous jewels which of course were cruelly removed from our wrist’s, lobes and necks before we headed off into the night. Designers Melissa Odabash and Julien MacDonald were back which was a lovely surprise and the handsome swimmer Mark Foster came and decided to keep his black trench coat firmly on. He was a huge hit with all the females and was in much demand for pictures.

 

tam-mcdonald-obedash

Me, Julien Macdonald and Melissa Odabash at The Little Black Gallery

 

Singer Laura Wright treated us to a magical performance. Whilst the Beckers, Boris and his lovely wife Lilly swooped by on the way to his eldest son Noah’s DJ spot at The W Hotel much later that night. I had every intention of trying to make it but a whole night of meeting and greeting finally gets to you and I was on my merry way home by a conservative 10pm… So much for when the husbands away the wife will play!! I think a quiet weekend beckons…

A Valentino paradise in Paris!

If there has been one treat I have been privy to, it’s being invited to the Haute Couture shows in Paris. For those women who don’t care about the frivolous world of fashion, I get it. But for those of us who drool and gasp as each creation wafts down the catwalk, I can think of no greater indulgence. As soon as the stiffest of the stiff Invitations are hand delivered you get a childish excitement in sheer anticipation. This year I was off to see the genius pair Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino with my beautiful daughter Anouska who lives, works and breathes Paris. It is one of our shared guilty pleasures. I had to fly to Orly which was a super pleasant experience as I normally get to Paris via Eurostar. With only my hand luggage and a bag full of late Christmas presents for Noushy, I was in and out of the airport in record time.

 

Me, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli

Me, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli

 

I soon arrived at the Valentino HQ – a small slice of paradise in itself – and was whisked off to play with rail upon rail of chiffon, georgette, silk and embroidered delights, all of which you must fit into. This is the only incentive I have to stay somewhat in shape.  World Brand Ambassador, Carlos Souza – one of the most handsome and chic men on the planet – has been one of my pin-ups for the last 14 years and he is of course bonkers naughty. We have had so much fun over the years that he seems like family. He is always brutally truthful about what suits you or not, and as I squished my Christmas-bottom into various ensembles, I caught on fast that I was not going to be an exception to this rule! So many bags and shoes, it was like a girl’s dream come true! He chose a beautiful pared-down, nude ensemble for Anouska and I was off again.

 

A beautiful Valentino shoe

Beautiful Valentino shoes

 

My girlfriend, Sara Colombo, was out shopping and finding treasures for her sensational home store in Miami called Nest. She used to live in Paris as a model and so hits the city by foot and is happy finding new little places. She was, however, off-course and ended up in Lanvin on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. This was not a good place for us to meet. I knew it was a dangerous idea and sure enough within 20 minutes the two of us had bought a few goodies each that the genius sales assistant Dorian Mezzasoma had packaged up and snuck our credit cards away for. Just like that. We then headed to a little frou frou French café for tea and macaroons.

 

Anouska and Gigi in her Paris apartment

Anouska and Gigi in her Paris apartment

 

 

I was staying at Anouska’s apartment and so collected all my bits and headed to Le Marais where she lives with her little pooch Gigi. It was so lovely to be treated as a mummy and be made fresh herbal tea and looked after like a guest. Anouska, on the whole, leads a very Parisian-style life and avoids all the obvious fashiony places like the plague, so she had been in charge of booking dinner. A Japanese place called Yen apparently was our destination. I am not a hardcore sushi fan so in all fairness the incredible menu was a bit lost on me, but delicious it definitely was. Sara and I seemed to have got a bit lost with our French translations and ended up with rather gargantuan amounts of tempura but we had a delicious supper and had a few sneaky glasses of sake. Looking at the watch, I decided against joining Anouska’s group and headed on home.

 

More Valentino treasures!

More Valentino treasures!

 

Wandering around the galleries in Paris is one of my favourite hobbies as it helps with fresh ideas for my own Gallery. I took off to find a slip to wear under my divine cream Valentino dress coat which Carlos had instructed me to find and Noushy had work to do. So off I went, only, of course, to get a little lost and then four hours later be in a terrible flap to be ready for the show at 6pm. We emerged from her apartment looking and feeling prepped and ready for some high octane glamour. Our blacked-out car gave the impression we had a car-full but it was just to be the two of us. We arrived to a scrum of photographers all jostling outside the iron gates of Hotel Salomon de Rothschild. The building was just so beautiful and the candles lit the red carpet perfectly. Once inside we were kissed carefully by Carlos and then photos duly followed. Inside the gilded rooms with the most beautifully painted ceilings, we found the real King of Couture, Valentino Garavani himself, flanked as always by the equally suave Giancarlo Giammetti. I was thrilled to see them as we had not seen each other since before Christmas. Just being in their presence makes you stand properly, hold your tummy in and smile slightly more sweetly!

 

Hamish Bowles looking dapper

Hamish Bowles looking dapper

 

Livia Firth was already on her prized front row seat with Franca Sozzani of Italian Vogue right beside her. British model Tallulah Harlech and Greek-American It girl Eugenie Niarchos were flying the younger generations flag. More interestingly, we were almost diagonally across form the fierce glare of Anna Wintour which was a treat in itself. Hamish Bowles just is fashion… A glamourous Italian Movie star arrived in the new apple green lace for Spring/Summer 2013 and I must say it was fabulous. Natalia Vodianova (the world’s favourite model) snuck in, looking her usual nonchalant chic self in a tapestry inspired evening coat.  The show was a hit and even Valentino applauded a few of his favourite dresses. I could go on about how thin and lank the girls were but that’s just how it is. Model of the moment Cara Delevigne was perky and pretty and I marvelled at the lack of calves any of these little creatures have!

 

Suzy Menkes, Giancarlo Giammetti and Franca Sozzani

Suzy Menkes, Giancarlo Giammetti and Franca Sozzani

 

We had to wriggle backstage as I was dying to congratulate Maria and Pierpaolo and we did quite a speedy job of it! We left and headed straight for the Plaza Athenee where we were met with a glass of champagne with crushed strawberry. We had an hour to kill before we headed back to Giancarlo’s private after-show dinner. You know never to eat before one of his suppers as the food is sooo naughty and totally unavoidable! Sitting looking over the River Seine view with Suzy Menkes (the other important lady in fashion!) was just heaven. Valentino was in high spirits, as was boy-about-town Derek Blasberg who entertained everyone with his personal Americana wit. Another hard night with the Valentino crew!!

 

Miami: A little piece of heaven

I have always had a sort of love/hate relationship with Miami but since I started staying with our good friends the Colombo’s in their beyond beautiful home, I seem to relish our trips. Before, I was always flying in and out for work and was put up in hotels, not that it was all bad…but somehow, it was always a bit soulless and I couldn’t wait to leave. To say their home beats any 5 star Hotel is no exaggeration but what is even more brilliant than the sheer luxury and being spoilt with amazing Italian food 24/7, is that our children just spend all day exhausting each other!

 

The view from the Colombo’s beautiful home

The view from the Colombo’s beautiful home

Having dropped off our bags we headed straight for the new W Hotel and the beach. I cannot say the ocean really compares to the Dominican’s beautiful sea but Giorgio loves body surfing and he has taught Vivi not to be like me who stands on the edge with much toe-dipping going on…  Tanned cabana boys are a huge perk in Miami and the healthy shrimp wraps brought to the cabanas were absolutely what the doctor ordered. As usual, once you hit American soil, fake boobs are the order of the day and I am always fascinated at the sizes these girls will stretch too. There is generally a lot of preening taking place!

 

Travelling-Light-edit

Travelling light!

That night we headed to one of our favourites – Casa Tua – run by Micky Grendene. All the Italians flock there and we never have a trip to Miami without at least one dinner there. Micky is a character and also has a wonderful photography & art gallery in the upstairs restaurant. This trip I was spoilt staring at Peter Beard’s creations.

Up early and you realise why the Miami life is so alluring. A little retail therapy after the Dominican was also hugely appealing. Sara, our girlfriend had just opened her new Design store ‘Nest’ in the uber new and trendy design district and so of course I was dying to see it. Giorgio on the other hand cannot resist Bal Harbour which is wall to wall designer boutiques.  He has a thing for Tom Ford, the man himself and anything he designs, so dragging poor Vivi there is painful.

 

Beautiful Miami

Beautiful Miami

 

Robert Hanson and his lovely wife Masha had invited us for lunch there with their little boy but we ended up doing our own thing. All I can say is ‘thank goodness’ for the carp fish ponds that run across the entire downstairs, keeping all the small children entertained for hours whilst adults shop. Talking of shopping, no trip to Miami is complete without a hit at The Webster on Collins Ave. OMG it is just dripping with things you just have to have. The buyer is a genius and they always have a super selection of jewellery that ranges from ok to the ridiculous. They are also a huge stockist of Charlotte Olympia’s shoe and bag line! Utterly irresistible. I never make it out of there alive!

 

The Webster Gallery

The Webster Gallery

 

Finally we made it out without a huge dressing up situation and hit the legendary Toni’s Sushi on Washington Ave.  Sara and I were so happy to be in jeans and flats! The food was delicious and super fresh and it added to our enjoyment that we had some gorgeous Cuban model, who starred in the Replay ads, forever sitting right in our eyeline. So nice for once to have the eye candy for us girls.

 

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

 

That night we watched the sun set over the water at the end of their garden. To say it was a beautiful start to the new year would be spoilt I know, but then I do know I am very lucky! Giorgio of course had work for Formula Electric in Miami and so Vivi and I flew home alone. She cried all the way from Sara’s house to the airport and can’t understand why we can’t live in Miami. She does have a point… She is such a veteran flier that she’s practically asleep as the plane takes off. British Airways – our preferred carrier is, in my experience, fabulous with little ones. They just always seem to go that extra little step.

Bruno Bisang at his exhibiton for The Little Black Gallery

Bruno Bisang at his exhibiton for The Little Black Gallery

So home to London with a jolt but as it wasn’t raining I thought that was a bonus! I must be quite a proper Brit because as much as I love being away and seeing and experiencing new things I really love getting home.  Also my gallery, The Little Black Gallery, had a really exciting new show of Bruno Bisang’s polaroids, with the preview on the Tuesday night. Rallying our clients and some new faces is always relatively easy for January as everyone seems keen to get back out and do a little tentative buying. Bruno had flown in from Switzerland and was very happy with the hanging and the framing that we had done. This is always quite a relief but the images of the supers: Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni and Monica Belluci are so popular.

 

Paul and Stacey Young with Bruno Bisang

Paul and Stacey Young with Bruno Bisang

The party for the preview night is always quite fun as you just can’t tell who will pop in and who won’t. Our serious clients will always make an appointment as soon as the show is hung but the party is an important part of the show.  It was freezing but since I am still a little golden I opted for my Vicedomini puff dress. It was a little skimpy for some but since I rush around an awful lot I hate to be hot. Darling florist to the stars Rob Van Helden and his beau Seb arrived early and the ever handsome Giancarlo Giammetti swung by in a chic camel coat.

Julien MacDonald and Melissa Odabash

Melissa Odabash and Julien MacDonald

Jewellery designer King Stephen Webster and his heavenly wife Assia came late with their little pooch, Gnasher, and we were all so thrilled for Stephen as he has been awarded a Queen’s Honour! Brilliant and so well deserved. Singer Paul Young and his delightful wife Stacey came and got everyone over excited, bikini babe Melissa Odabash and her great pal the Designer Julien MacDonald also came. To say the night was fun would be true but to see how much everyone loved Bruno’s work was far more exciting.  Lets hope that excitement turns into sales!!!

A wonderful Caribbean New Year

Finally we leave for the Dominican Republic – quite an exciting departure for our family, heading for the sunshine instead of the snow, and Punta Cana was beckoning… We were joining a good friend of ours, Lucy Doughty, who has a beautiful home on the ocean. After the weather London has been serving up with alarming regularity, I was desperate for some sunshine. Our good friend Tim Attias was also coming with us and we were joining the even more mad Spiros (Arabella & Glen). So far so promising.

 

Me, Giorgio and Violet with Lucy Doughty, Glenn Spiro, his daughters Skyla and Sienna. ©TamaraBeckwith

We unfortunately travel with obscene amounts of luggage and as I had no clue what to take I had left nothing to chance! Violet was thrilled to be re-united with her friends Skyla and Sienna (Spiro) and the house was a child’s paradise – shallow turquoise waters and soft, powdery sand galore. Sand castles were constructed with haste.

 

Vivi playing with a friend on the beach ©TamaraBeckwith

The first night we were off to Casa de Campo to see a Julio Iglesias concert at their beautiful amphitheatre. Well we were told to dress casual and on arrival we looked like the shoddy relations. South Americans are chic and the women really do look put together. Hair had been done and full make-up was definitely the norm…We had spectacular seats – almost able to touch the holy man himself! As we walked to our seats we were introduced to the seriously dashing and divinely talented designer Oscar de la Renta who was the guest of honour and next to him was another star from the Fashion world, Carolina Herrera. I have met her a few times before and she always looks immaculate with a capital I.  As the lights dimmed Julio’s younger wife Miranda slipped in and sat next to Oscar. When Julio came onto the stage the packed amphitheatre went tonto! It was great to see him perform all his classic love songs in Spanish as he really does speak the language of Love. He also has three backing singers. When I say backing singers I mean knockout girls who do a sort of wiggle and a samba and coo a lot! My goodness I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

 

Me and Tim Attias

 

The show was quite wonderful and the next thing we had the President of Haiti stand up and make his way to the stage. Yes, he and Julio turn out to be huge friends and fans of each other and they even performed a couple of duets!! Quite surreal. Luckily the crowd were super orderly when it came time to leave. We then headed off to a fabulous house where we were rather rude – starving hungry we said our ‘hellos’ to our host and our friends Fawaz Gruosi from De Grisogono and his sexy squeeze Valerie and then literally stormed the buffet. It was a huge outside dining room filled with every kind of delicacy you can imagine and we all just went a bit nuts! A hugeTurkey, Italian pastas, crab jumbo, lobster… The dessert table was absolutely beautiful too – decorated with candy canes and roses as if we were at a wedding. Mini tiramisus were light and too sumptuous to refuse. Out of nowhere a gaggle of ex-Berlusconi babes arrived and the dance floor was suddenly jumping with seriously expert salsa dancers. I decided the boys had had enough eye candy for the night and rather meanly packed us all off home.

 

My ticket to the Julio Iglesias concert

The day of New Years Eve arrived and we were all consumed with Lucy’s pre-party for the kid’s. I have never seen as much candy, 2013 sparkly hats or hooters. She had even got a couple of mechanical mules to sit the kids on. However the piñata was her coup de force. All our girls took to bashing the poor tinkerbell with a frenzy. Never have they had such uncontrolled fun… the only tears came when the sweets finally littered the floor and the little ones weren’t quite so savvy at collecting their stash. We finally headed off to get ready and returned suited and booted ready to bring the New Year in. I was in my trusted Missoni, Arabella in coral Pucci and Lucy in Jenny Packham.  We jumped into the cars and arrived at our party as the heavens opened…Defying the naughty rain we had fun. Lots of champagne flowed as we all got into a festive spirit wearing silly hats and trying to get with the salsa programme.  The count down began and suddenly we were kissing total strangers and watching fireworks! All very different to Gstaad I must say!

 

 

Amazingly we all woke up without hangovers and headed off for a spot of dolphin swimming in the sea. Lucy had arranged a private swim with the owner of the local aquarium and as you can only imagine the girls were super excited. It was the perfect New Year’s day excursion and watching Violet feed a dolphin calledIsis was a moment to treasure. The swim was out in the sea and although I do believe that animals should be left in the wild we had a great experience. Watching Giorgio pretend he wanted to hold onto the dorsal fin and swim around made me laugh out loud!
Our last lunch was a feast with a beautiful table at a fabulous restaurant called “The Palapa” at the Eden Rock hotel.  Endless plates of fresh seafood and carpaccio’s of shrimp and mahi mahi made ourCaribbean adventure complete.  I must personally recommend the gazpacho – it was to die for delicious…

 

Violet grinning with glee! ©TamaraBeckwith

Unbeknownst to me Giorgio had one last treat in store before we left – a sunset horse ride! Now even I would know this is a silly reality – horses are dangerous and unpredictable but hey ho he was so enthusiastic… Vivi and I helmeted up and headed off with a Dominican boy who naturally spoke no English! A great start. Vivi is besotted with horses and has had many pony rides but to say she rides is a slight stretch… Likewise I can ride but as my tired pony got the bit between his teeth so to speak and decided to see who was the boss, I could sense we were in for an interesting hour! The whole thing was a tad chaotic and even better when Giorgio joined us cowboy style riding in flipflops!! Did I mention marrying an Italian is never dull?? Thankfully our ride was a success and apart from a couple of jitters and being taken off into a swampy forest we loved it. The enormous smile on Violet’s face as we headed back along the beach to the house one last time made it all the more magical. Thank you the Dominican Republic for a very special holiday.

Off to Miami for some last sunshine…

Happy New Year!

 

Christmas pantos and Italian festivities

We have a huge annual Family Christmas Tea party for all the little ones and this year it fell to us.  I had rather cheekily hijacked Rhea (she does lots of Fairy parties) to help us with the 12 children and keeping some form of order at my father’s home – and I kind of presumed the 20 adults would fend for themselves!  It’s something I have done since I was about 6 years old and have every desire to continue the tradition.  This way all the cousins get to stay in touch and Christmas really is about family.  The next day I had barely recovered from eating cheeky honey glazed cocktail sausages and Bunny & Boo cupcakes when it was all action stations to get all my little girl and Godchildren fed and off to the panto.  This is another serious Beckwith tradition and I just love every minute of watching the children’s faces in utter wonder.  It is priceless and luckily the panto is ideal for the slightly restless or timid.  This year was Violet’s first and she was beyond excited as she chose a slightly too small, red party dress and insisted on wearing her hair down like her two beautiful cousins.

 

 

Wimbledon Theatre is my traditional port of call as it’s where I grew up and also it belongs to my father’s Ambassador Theatre Group.  Quite handy if I have messed up on numbers!  This year they had gone mad and created Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The cast was genius with glamourpuss and Hollywood royalty Priscilla Presley as The Wicked Queen, my good friend Warrick Davis as Prof and the very silly comedien Jarred Christmas as Herman.  There were 15 of us, so we pretty much took up a whole row but it was, as always, glittery and silly and a great old sing along.  Warrick’s surprise song (for those who may still be waiting to see it) was absolutely hilarious and Priscilla’s costumes were a grown girls dream. Afterwards we all snuck backstage to visit Warrick who had to do it all again that night!  The panto may seem fun but it’s a brutal schedule.

 

 

We finally wrapped my new TV show Four Rooms and I was a bit sad to say goodbye.  You spend an incredibly intense period of time with total strangers and then when its time to leave you feel as if you have all been together forever.  I had so enjoyed my time with the crew I decided to get them some cold beers as a way of saying thank you.  It goes without saying the idea was far more appreciated than chocolates!

 

A final supper with our mad gang at the uber Christmassy, Annabel’s.  We were a cosy table of ten and it was nice to take time out to thank our friends for being such good friends to us.  We of course had traditional turkey with all the trimmings and rather copious amounts of red wine, but sadly we did not take the Jefferies lead and go to bed …We insisted or rather I insisted on a last drop at Hertford Street.  Of course that was the final straw and the following morning wasn’t at all pretty!

 

Giorgio and I had to pack up the house and catch a silly o’clock flight to Milan for a Christmas with his family. Milan has been freezing and I seem to have packed for an entirely different trip!  Not a sock in my suitcase or a long sleeved anything!  Where was the brain?!  The best part of the Italian trip was the night we had a very chic dinner at one of Giorgio’s best friends’ apartments and my new Alaia dress that was hanging and ready to go suddenly didn’t have any tights to go with it!  White bare legs were not an option – my husband nearly threw me out of the window! He cannot understand how I just don’t care about the small details! I tried to say I had been somewhat busy in the lead up to Christmas but he was having none of it.  All was resolved as I came up with a slightly less chic plan B.  On our way out of the Hotel Baglioni I popped to the loo and as I came out I thought of my friend Goga who now lives in Milan.  As I turned around to dry my hands there she was!  We both screamed and then gave each other a huge hug.  She had also just popped into the loo from the airport – life is full of coincidences!

 

 

Finally the big day of indulgence and family arrived.  Waking up in Milan with Giorgio’s parents was a very different variant of Christmas morning as we had, as all good Italians have, a huge celebratory Christmas Eve.  In Europe they tend to give the presents and have a huge meal on Christmas Eve.  I took this all in my stride and, although it totally goes against the grain to open a single gift before Christmas morning, I decided to let it go.  I had helped Violet write her letter to Santa and we had a huge ceremony of setting it alight in the fireplace.  She was most concerned that it was being burnt.  Sadly not a jot of Turkey, a spoonful of bread sauce or any of the little pigs in blankets that I just go crazy for… Instead home made tortellini in broth and a Capon!  It was all wonderful though and Violet saw a true Italian traditional version of Christmas.  She was up the next morning and flew down the stone staircase to see if Father Chritsmas had indeed been clever enough to find her in Italy.  Low and behold he had.  The best thing about being almost 4yrs old is that any present big or small, expensive or cheap as chips, they all still count.  It’s more the unwrapping that excites her.  Her divinely eccentric Nonna Marina had succumbed and bought her a dwarf hamster which was promptly named Romeo.  I am not sure if she is quite clear on the fact that these little creatures live quite long lives… Giorgio had gone a bit OTT in Tom Ford and so I was a tad spoilt, but it was Violet’s homemade china bowls that she had lovingly made in a pottery class that made the No.1 spot, going to prove that it really is all about family, time and effort that makes or breaks a Christmas.  Of course none of this is worth it if there isn’t, at some point, a major spat of some kind… Luckily for me when it kicks off in high speed Italian at my in laws I really don’t have a clue what its all about!

 

Now off to Dominican Republic for the New Year. Happy New Year to you all! I hope to have lots more adventures in 2013 to share with you.

Missoni, Ferragamo and rose petals

Being a true Missoni fan and delighted at the prospect of re-meeting Angela Missoni, the head designer of the Italian family-run luxury brand, it was with much excitement that I rushed to arrive on time at the new Privatus headquarters in Grosvenor Square. Run by another old friend Mark Brooke, it is a new Private Auctioneers for all collectables.  The elegant 1st floor reception room had been given a wonderful Missoni boutique makeover and my darling girlfriend and PR expert Amanda Kyme was there to greet us all.  A seriously covetable Stephen Meisel photographic exhibition adorned the endless white walls and it was hard not to want one, if not a couple, of his iconic images.  Cavan Mahony brought Angela in to meet the gaggle of chic women who had been, up to this point, shopping and catching up before the last hit of Christmas.   I had a wardrobe malfunction and had to be smuggled up to a vacant office as my zip had come a cropper! So chic, whilst trying to find a suitable replacement outfit I managed to wriggle free and fix the offending zip. I then rejoined the even larger group of girls before we were asked to sit down.  Davinia Taylor in a very sexy Roland Mourret style dress was thrilled to have been sat opposite Angela with Lilly Becker next to her.  Assia Webster had arrived and was full of stories of her mad travels with husband and jeweller supreme Stephen Webster.  I was very happy to catch up with Amanda and Celia Dunstone – who is happily pregnant and seemingly very relaxed about the arrival.  Lunch was delicious and a light risotto seemed to hit the right spot.  Happily I met a new girl who was very keen to get to my gallery as she has just moved to London and needs some pictures. All in all a lunch worth trekking to Mayfair for.

 

 

As Christmas fever has taken over, I am surprisingly oblivious as I had started filming the new series of the hit CH4 show “Four Rooms” – which I have joined as one of the new dealers.  My co-dealers, Raj Bisram, Peter Ratcliffe and David Sonnenthal were a hoot and a holler but it was like sitting exams again as there was an awful lot of information to digest daily to be up to speed on all the items we were to bid on. Some genius sellers came through our doors and some a little delusional on the exact value of their items. One or two utterly fabulous characters arrived in what I would call full theatrical mode.  Naming no names as the show doesn’t air until the Spring but I found some items impossible to resist, more down to the sellers performance than what they had to sell!  Our Presenter Anita Rani was great and really made an effort to include us.  All in all I had a blast and I hope it’s a huge success. Leaving the studio every night around 7pm, at the earliest, was a big pull on what I chose to make socialising wise.  Early mornings and long days are not ideal for a witty and energised Tamara come nightfall.

 

 

I have been a Wolford Ambassador for a while and so the opening of their new store on Regent Street I had no choice but to make the effort.  Of course changing into a small black Wolford dress in my car was out of the question but to leave the studio dressed to the nines felt even sillier!  The heavenly British model Olivia Inge had already been and gone by the time I was dropped off but Yasmin Mills and Assia Webster had dropped by on their way to another cocktail party.  A glamorous Vanessa Arelle and lady in red lace Noelle Reno also put their faces in on what was a foul London night.  My lovely PA Alistair had taken charge and was I think rather enjoying the meeting and greeting.  Sidonie – head of Wolford’s PR & Marketing definitely took a shine to him and if she dares steal him…

 


 

My husband and I were quite enjoying our new routine of early supper and early movie before I would hit the pillow but we had one further dinner we absolutely couldn’t say no to.  Ferragamo is another very established and chic luxury brand and they too chose to have a Christmas dinner with a difference.  The cocktail party was at their store on Bond Street but the dinner for 200 (!!) was in the Burlington Arcade.  Quite a feat under the rather chilly weather conditions but it was faultless.  Red roses packed so tightly and stretched the entire length of the table were so spoiling and frivolous and quite a talking point.  The guestlist was terribly chic with Jessica Alba as their guest of honour.   Both Ferragamo brothers, Leonardo and Ferrucio were also there.  I had a lovely interlude with the doyenne of fashion Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune and was more than happy I had opted for my Beulah midnight blue catsuit.  Whilst many more skimpily dressed guests were freezing I was just hunky dory.  The dinner was magnificently served and I have no idea how they pulled it all off… Kate Driver and Sarah Whitehead had been in charge of creating a diverse but young group of London’s faces and the stylish Yasmin Le Bon and daughter Amber I saw briefly at the cocktail but that was it! The weather had not ruined the party and we all agreed it was a genius if not very brave venue.  Such was our mood we all headed off to Hertford Street for one last nightcap……

 

Me with Noelle Reno

 

Finally work is over and I have more Father Christmas fun, a must-see Christmas panto and some serious family time in Milan ahead….

Va-va-Valentino

Christmas is zooming closer at an alarming rate and so my two lovely friends Astrid Harbord and Alice Naylor Leyland and I decided rather last minute to organise and host a cool Christmas Bazaar. We chose to have it at my gallery The Little Black Gallery and due to the number of designers wanting to participate I asked our divine Italian restaurant next door “Eleven Park Walk” if we could use their beautiful space as well. Needless to say that what started off as a little idea became a huge production and before we knew it we had 18 brands. Lotty B, of Mustique fame, arrived bright and early with her charming husband Dr Michael Bunbury firmly in tow. Her famous swimwear and wild kaftans were a massive hit. My girlfriends Mimi Baldwin and Zara Simon had very different but very special jewellery corners along with Feidt (an achingly cool Parisian brand). Another good friend Alessandra Vicedomini had tempting rails with dresses and cashmere galore. Alberto Moretti and Fiona Dreesmann of My Slippers shod our feet and the charming Charmian Taylor had a wonderful display of her florist line Scent by Design.

 

 

The food was taken care of by the fabulous Roberto at Eleven and they even set up a pop-up café for the ladies with mouthwatering teeny portions of scrambled egg with truffles! Our great friend Sarah Ferguson popped in for tea and also to do an unofficial signing of her latest children’s book “Ballerina Rosie” for her charity.  She was a roaring hit and actually ran out of copies. We were thrilled she came as she is always great fun and Princess Eugenie popped in for support. Amanda Ferry slunk in, head to toe in gym kit, with her gal-pal model Kimberly Johnson and even Cath Vialli and her sister made an appearance. It was of course not without drama when Vivien Duffield swung by and brought lots of goodies for her Christmas list. One phone call later and we were on our hands and knees looking for a lost diamond necklace!! The day was a huge success and we even managed to raise around £1,070 for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital’s Wish list appeal. Shopping with a feel good factor…all boxes ticked!

 

Princess Eugenie and her mother, Sarah Ferguson

 

I was obviously feeling still in a ‘do good’ mood when I went off to help at my daughters Christmas Fair. I was planted on the cake stand with a hundred different prices for all the home baked treats and my mind boggled at trying to remember it all. The big mistake was that the table was kiddie height and so many little angels got their paws onto the cupcakes that parents were constantly having to shell out! It was funnily enough the homemade brownies that were in huge demand. So, a note to all you Yummy Mummies, a bake off is way too sophisticated for a Nursery Christmas fair!

 

A beautiful Valentino design

 

My most exciting night and one I had been getting all overexcited about for weeks was Valentino’s retrospective opening at Somerset House, “Valentino: Master of Couture” (somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts-valentino). Giorgio and I are good friends with both Valentino and his longtime business partner Giancarlo Giammetti and so have been lucky enough to have seen their shows in Paris and Rome. However, nothing could prepare us for the ‘wow factor’ that they had created for London. I cannot tell you how massively urgent it is to get there and see it for yourself. The curators and creative team consisted of Patrick Kinmonth, Antonio Monfreda and Alistair O’Neill.

 

Johannes Huebl and Anouska at the Italian Embassy dinner

 

The idea is for the visitors to be walking down a runway and the mannequins are in fact dressed in Valentino’s creations and are the audience at the show – all very clever and of course a treat for sore eyes. There was of course a small intimate dinner at The Italian Embassy, thrown by Giancarlo afterwards for their close personal friends and a decent smattering of young cool London scensters. It was a visual treat spectacularly created by Emma Gold of GSP. Musician/model James Rousseau was there without his delightful girlfriend the actress Annabelle Wallis who was caught up filming.

 

One of the Mannequins at Valentino’s retrospective

 

Fashion darling Olivia Palermo and her beau Johannes Huebl had flown in from New York and were ready for fun. Alexa Chung looked amazing in her Valentino dress and Dita Von Teese was truly the business. As always with the Valentino crew the atmosphere was as if we were at one of their beautiful homes so it was absolutely no surprise when we headed down the sweeping staircase for dessert. A room dedicated to naughty treats and sweets greeted our eyes – so beautifully and artfully tempting that I can’t think of a soul who declined! A coy Victoria Beckham was on hand in her own line but it was down to the elegant Valentino to kick off the dancing. He is a fabulous dancer and adores dancing – novices step forward at your peril…

 

Violet in Harrods

A delighted Violet in Harrods. ©TamaraBeckwith

Too much fun for one girl to digest. I rounded off a full week by taking my little Violet to see Father Christmas at Harrods. This has been an annual pilgrimage for as long as I can remember. This year was to be different! All went swimmingly as I had of course been smart and pre-booked months ago. She loved meeting Father Christmas and was ecstatic to be told she may indeed receive a hamster! No such luck I assure you..  Anyway since we were with friends we decided to have a brunch in the Terrace restaurant.

Violet and Father Christmas at Harrods ©TamaraBeckwith

I decided Violet needed a loo trip and so off we headed through the dog/pet department. Standing in the queue Violet decided she didn’t need to go after all and hotfooted it out of the room. I held my maternal ground and gave her 3 mins! Panic struck as I realised she had called my bluff – the little monster had run off! Now I hope you can all imagine a Saturday in Harrods on a Christmas shopping day! A nightmare as you have no clue which way to look – I will keep the story short but thankfully she was only missing 8 minutes in total. They were the longest 8 minutes ever but my fear was compounded by knowing Harrods has no tannoy… She had of course gone off to see the puppies and then returned. She has no clue what all the fuss was about and is still pretty unrepentant!!!

 

Busy next two weeks filming new series of Channel 4′s ‘Four Rooms’ plus having to squeeze in a few pre-Christmas nights out! Not sure how I am going to cope ….

 

TV stardom and a Winter Wonderland

Excitingly I have landed a coveted spot as a dealer on the new series of Channel 4’s ‘Four Rooms’. It starts filming next week but I was up and ready to go in my Downton Abbey ensemble when my Producer Titus Ogilvy met with me for us to shoot the teaser. For those who that means nothing to – translated that means a long day of shooting roughly the same sequence for the opening of all the upcoming shows…Not exactly high octane action or glamour for that matter. However, more excitement was generated when we all rocked up at The Little Black Gallery and Titus said my outfit was not going to work due to the strobe lights! I decided not to panic or throw a wobbly and so we duly headed to my own closet and re-styled me. The rest of the day went smoothly and I am totally excited to get cracking next week.

 

Me and Alesha Dixon at the “Empowering Women Awards”

 

The next morning I had to get over to Holborn for a very important meeting with my cousin and Great Ormond Street Hospital (gosh.org). She has a huge charity event next spring at Highclere, the beautiful house in Downton Abbey. She is a wonderful mother and a super trooper who has raised over £5 million for the children’s hospital so far. Getting to Holborn was a whole project in itself and I managed to arrive just as they sat down. I am always humbled by Charity work and was especially moved as we were given an opening speech by some of the surgeons who had helped my cousin’s own little boy. We were full of ideas on how to make a big dent in the figures needing to be raised as GOSH needs £50 million alone just to run and keep the research programmes going. I left full of admiration and headed to meet my friend Tania Fares for lunch. Tania and Kim Hersov, the fashion stylist and Fashion Editor at Harpers Bazaar were already busy discussing this seasons trends and whose styles they admired and those more importantly that they didn’t. Sadly my lips are sealed but it would make a very interesting reading. I only mention this as we were at Scott’s (scotts-restaurant.com), a delicious fish restaurant in Mayfair and I was tempted by a shrimp burger. These girls lunches aren’t renowned for huge quantities of food being consumed. It was beyond delicious and all carb free.

 

 

Alesha Dixon and Jahmene Douglas at the “Empowering Women Awards”

 

The next day I was invited to attend the “Empowering Women Awards” hosted by Avon and Women’s Aid, (womensaid.org) by my great friend Jenny Halpern Prince. Tea at Claridges is always a treat but I had no clue just what an emotional afternoon it would turn into. I arrived and met Alesha Dixon, who in the flesh is extraordinarily pretty and very dainty looking. She was super warm and friendly and had a sexy new bob.  Actress Tina Holby was there with her sweet mum and we ended up having a lovely chat about little girls. Jahmene Douglas from X Factor was one of the presenters as was the wonderful Will Young. I kept on wanting to tell him how fabulous he had been in the performance of Cabaret that I saw a month or so ago but felt it was a bit inappropriate. The awards are a platform for survivors of domestic violence. The winners all had very traumatic stories to tell but the overriding message was that despite the odds, they had achieved amazing things and had all been incredibly brave. It was a very sobering afternoon.

 

Vivi on one of the rides at Winter Wonderland ©TamaraBeckwith

 

 

Back home I rounded Vivi up as we were off to the opening night of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (hydeparkwinterwonderland.com). I take my hat off to the Royal Parks Committee as they have found a way to include everyone within the parks and generate much needed funds for the running of our beautiful Parks. I think I am correct in saying that Winter Wonderland generates around £5 million. Not a shoddy sum! It does get very cold there though and so we wrapped up very warmly and even wore wellies. We bumped into my good friend Tim Attias and his son almost immediately and then practically got stampeded by young girls when we crossed paths with the X Factor hopefuls! Talk about bad timing.

 

Me and Vivi on the beautiful carousel at Winter Wonderland ©TamaraBeckwith

 

We found all the smaller rides and Vivi was in heaven with her little friend Lola SofiaPenny Lancaster was there with Rod Stewart and their two boys looking suitably glam with her flowing blonde mane. Noel Gallagher and his wife Sara were escorting their son and looked very happy to blend in.  On the beautiful old fashioned Carousel I found my other Tim, Tim Jefferies with his lovely little Swedish daughter Coco. Vivi and Coco are good friends and were thrilled to find each other. If it’s even possible I’d say it topped last year’s Winter Wonderland.  Looking at our watches it was well past normal bedtime so we quickly grabbed some huge hotdogs and rushed home.

Lastly I was all dolled up in a Missoni mini and heading off to join our friends Boris and Lilly Becker for his birthday. Giorgio was off in America again so I was solo. Loulou’s was full of his friends who had flown in from all over the world as far as I could gather. Lilly looked gorgeous as always in a Stella McCartney frock and was happy to sing him a very loud ‘Happy Birthday’. I had a delicious dinner and made some new friends but was not tempted to close the place down!

Next week I have an amazing Christmas Bazaar at my Gallery with a surprise book signing, a wowee evening with Master of Couture, Valentino and I have fun manning the cake stand at Vivi’s school…

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