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

Posts Tagged: Valentino

08 January
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Valentino, Madonna and Andrea Casiraghi

Where to start with the most wonderful but of course slightly bonkers Christmas and New Year I think I have ever endured!  Crazily Christmas now appears to start in November.  Knowing my family and I were off to Europe for Christmas, I wanted to be as well prepared as possible.  This meant present choosing and shopping were high on my agenda.  Also I was well aware I was in charge of cooking three entire Christmas suppers during the two-week festive period, and my husband was still  flying around the world for his work on Formula Electric.

I couldn’t resist an invitation to accept and attend a Christmas bash thrown by my great friend Jenny Halpern and her delicious husband Ryan Prince.  My daughter Anouska and her French beau Maxime had come over for a pre-Christmas weekend and so I thought I was pretty safe.  A heavenly red lacy Dolce & Gabanna seemed to do the trick and we headed off.  The Princes really go all out for their parties and this was no exception.  The list of friendly faces old and new was far too long to mention or now remember but upon finding one of my “starcrushes”, Pat McGrath, the legendary make-up wizardress, I was just happy to listen to her funny outtakes having just been with her in New York.

PatMcGrath

On the other side of the room I found another top make-up Queen, Charlotte Tilbury, with her new beau George Waud.  They make a truly great eccentric couple and were in festive mode. Fashionista Natalie Massenet popped in as did Sir Stuart Rose and Jenny was being a perfect hostess. With E&O feeding us tasty morsels it was all going well.  My huge downfall was straying off my usual tipple of champagne on ice – instead I got a bit gung-ho on the cocktails.  Mistake 1.  Anouska and Maxim were having a great time mingling with all my old muckers but at midnight decided to go home. Mistake 2 not going with them!  By that stage I was thoroughly over excited, over peaked and in need of assistance, but of course ranting with my girlfriends made it all worth the crashing headache the following day!  Will I ever learn…

My last Christmas obligation was to read at my cousin Nicola Bearman’s, beautifully organized Christmas Carol Service in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital and their Face Value campaign to help fund new craniofacial surgery.  I was in great company at Christ Church, Victoria Road, but a bit daunted by my fellow speakers Sienna Miller, Anne Robinson, Bear Grylls and Spencer Matthews who all read beautifully, and Bear Grylls impresively wrote his reading himself.  I was honoured to have been a small part in helping raise £18,000 for the best children’s hospital in the world.

With London done we flew to Italy for Turkey No2.  My parents-in-law had been so amazing – three Christmas trees decorated to the hilt!  Even a pop-up leopard skin beauty salon for Vivi!  They are the kindest and sweetest people on earth and Violet is their treasured, slightly spoilt only grandchild. There were little children going mad on chocolate-smeared pannetone, presents being opened which I personally can’t bear unless it’s the 25th !  I was thrilled and relieved to get up at the crack of dawn the next day to set off for the snow topped mountains of Switzerland.

Gstaad is a picture perfect mountain village and our chalet for the holiday was cosy, slightly Ralph Lauren-esque and charmingly Swiss.  It helps that it’s located literally bang in the centre  of town, which my darling husband finds an absolute must. Anouska and her best friend Lulu arrived with mountains of luggage and her darling little dog Gigi.  Vivi was so overexcited to have not only her big sister in residence but also a little dog for a whole two weeks I thought she may pop.

We were up and running ski-wise the following morning and as ever were just truly grateful to be on top of a mountain with crystal blue skies, whitened Christmas trees and enough snow to have a great day whizzing getting our ski legs back.  That night was to be the first of many dinners..  Gstaad can be super social if you let it.  Le Comptoir is one of our family favourites  and our friend Sabina Barone, a good friend of the couple who own it, invited us and our great Ruski pals, Katya and Ruslan.  We seemed to get through two magnums of red wine scarily easily…

TandKatya

Before I knew it Christmas Eve was upon us and that meant preparation of Turkey No3 – (No1 was in London with my Father and his amour Vivien). There would have been no need to panic if not for the small matter of designer Valentino and Giancarlo Giametti and their family being invited.

They are always consummate hosts and every detail is beyond perfect..  My secret weapon is of course Giorgio’s Mother, Marina, who drives in especially with all sorts of homemade Italian treats.  My other friends and family are sweet and would tell me it was delicious regardless!  Also our numbers had snuck up to 22!  Our chalet is perfect but a sit down Christmas supper for 22 took some imagination and organisation…  Of course we had finished the final tweak, lit the last candle, thrown a couple of extra logs on the fire and the jingly bell rang for the door.  Why is no-one ever late?

GGValentino

I emerged in my new blue Paper London cocktail dress from my friend Cavan Linde’s new site, Cavan.com and of course she was the first through the door with her super husband Stefan and their son, Tine.  Violet had her cousin’s Tatum and Amber in tow and they all disappeared upstairs to Playmobil heaven..

The Ruskis, my sister, Clare and her husband, Sebastian, and Valentino, GG and co were finally all assembled and we all seemed to fit – well with a little seasonal goodwill squeeze.

Giancarlo made a beautiful thank you speech to Marina and before I knew it we were up and sitting by the tree exchanging gifts.  I have to bite my tongue a little as the Italian custom is to open presents on Christmas Eve, however Anouska and I stash ours under the tree pretending we have opened them all!  As always once everyone has gone and the little ones are tucked up, as the hostess you finally want to have some fun!  Luckily our Ruskis are always game and so on went some loud Bob Sinclair and we had a silly boogie until about 1.30am. Luckily I just remembered the most important part of Christmas Eve – leaving out the stockings!!

Christmas Day and of course skiing was not on the agenda… however a family lunch with our girls and the Lindes at the Grand Chalet was a very welcome break from my kitchen. Lastly we all hit The Palace Hotel, a Gstaad treasure,celebrating it’s 100th year, and with a crazy children’s party to boot.

Luckily I am married to a fabulous sporty Italian who was up bright and early on Boxing Day and took us all off to the glacier.  It was an absolutely magical ski day on top of the world.

Glacier

 

As if we didn’t all have enough fun, the one and only Patrick Cox arrived to stay with the Ruskis… that night we all went for rather too chic Sushi at the even swankier new Alpina Gstaad, hotel.  It was one of those evenings where the service was shocking, the food mediocre and the bill outrageous… all wrong!  My mood worsened when my once comfy trousers seemed to be having a battle with my body!  I duly apologized and sent myself home…

The next day was another treat as I was asked to ski with the boys – not another girl in sight!  Proud of myself doesn’t begin to cover it. Patrick, being a Canadian, was full of beans and a fabulous skier to follow. I of course couldn’t help but giggle when he finally hit the snow!

RuskiPatrickCox

As I mentioned earlier Gstaad is almost as much about skiing and sport as it is about the social whirl!  That night we bravely headed off into the night – a snow blizzard to put it mildly – to the Graffs incredible new chalet for a cocktail party.  It was held by their pool and we were over 100 people, I hope that says it all!  The nibbly bits were so delicious Patrick and I befriended a particularly cute waiter and were from that point  fed on demand.  I ran into Christina Estrada and the Nuttals, Harry and Dalit, I also found the pretty Heidi Bishop as we discussed little girls in ski school – all looking forward to New Years Eve.

We ended up for dinner at The Palace where Giorgio procured a table in the mad lobby, which offers the best people-watching ever.  Next to us all the new Yummy Mummys, Margherita Missoni and Tatiana Santa Domingo with her fiancé Andrea Casiraghi, with stuning sisters Olympia and Fiona Scarry upping the glamour quota.  I thankfully left Giorgio there but the next morning he was full of stories of dancing with John Travolta and naughty Ilias Psinakis in Gringo (the teens nightclub).

TamaraSanta

Finally the night of all nights arrived… New Years Eve. We have been rather spoilt for the last few years being invited to the chalet of Valentino along with Giancarlo and their tribe.  It is of course uber elegant and the dinner is divine. Their New Year’s Eve party in Gstaad is legendary. We always take Vivi for an hour and then the party is just for us grown ups.  This year they had included my whole family.  My only hope was my sister would comply a little and wear a long gown – “out of the question” – and possibly some tights I said – “absolutely not”.  So far so good. Anouska however outshone us all with her fresh flower crown.  She looked sensational in her burgundy vintage McQueen, I was a proud Mama.

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Valentino was chic as ever in a fitted tartan dinner jacket, while the ever perfectionist Giancarlo was busy introducing anyone who didn’t happen to know everyone.

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Our good friends Geoffrey and Lulu Moore were there and as usual Lulu and I were in matching red frocks (it’s an Italian custom to have a bit of red somewhere for good luck).  The heavenly Carlos Souza was already in Brazillian mode and instagramming furiously.  Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his lovely wife, designer Georgina (Marchesa) were in party mode while looking after her charming parents and I was rather thrilled to meet a new starcrush of mine, Tabitha Simmons, the newest shoe Queen.  Sad that at my age I can still feel schoolgirly about someone!  Madonna and her crew duly arrived in their black dance clothes.  I must say she did have a spectacular white fur coat for her entrance but would it kill her to wear a dress?

Supper seemed to be over in a blink and suddenly it was the 2014 count down!  New Year was duly kissed in properly.  Their DJ was amazing and surprise surprise we were into another serious dance off. The only scary bit is getting dragged in to the Madonna danc circle!  Bless her, Christina Estrada did and was actually rather good.  It’s definitely not my forte and I headed for the balcony to watch the fireworks.  Personally I liked Madonna’s little girl Mercy’s shy routine the best. Within half an hour the chalet was full to the brim with other guests who had come from house parties to greet Valentino and Giancarlo.  The naughty ones are always the most fun, so Principe Emanuele Filiberto and his sassy French wife Clotilde Courau, along with the Polanskis was a good start.  I found myself a quiet corner to have a catch up with the seriously chic Giulia Caltagironi, who was in emerald taffeta Oscar de la Renta no less. When David Furnish arrived we caught up until Patrick Cox and Tara Bernerd finally made their entrance.  As with all the best parties, those boys really know what they are doing, my lips have to remain zipped but please trust me it was a riot…

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…

12 February
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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.

 

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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.

 

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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…

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