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: Vivi

20 February
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Throwing birthday parties and heading to a book signing

Throwing birthday parties are my Achilles’ heel.  Not necessarily mine either. Even when my oldest daughter Anouska was young I always had to go the extra mile..  A Grease theme party when she was nine or her favourite, a cowboy party held in Wimbledon, complete with hay bales and real line dancing.  So my youngest Vivi may have only just turned five but, try as I might, it eludes me to keep it simple and homemade!

 

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I scoured the web for white furniture for children and came up with Birthday Dreams and a great site called Carousel, with lots of gorgeous, pretty things and genius pressies.  The Church Hall at the Brompton Oratory was transformed into a mini girls’ disco courtesy of The Giggle Company and all the little girls +  three token boys had a ball.  Bubbles, balloons and dancing galore for many little Princesses.

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Vivi enjoying party games ©Tamara Beckwith 

Following a celebratory theme, it was with great enthusiasm I headed out into the foul London night with my young friend Alice Naylor Leyand (technically she’s Anouska’s girlfriend but I am allowed to borrow her) for the infamous Lapo Elkann’s book signing of “The Italian” by Wayne Maser, which features photos of Lapo. It was taking place alongside an exhibition of self-portraits by New York socialite Anh Duong.

 

Lapo is a real character and one of my husband’s old friends.  Stylish doesn’t even begin to describe him and neither does naughty!  Robilant & Voena, the Mayfair gallery, was rammed to the rafters and I was only able to see the entrance by looking at a perfectly pedicured foot owned by none other than Elizabeth Saltzman.  A girl of many trades, she’s contributing editor at Vanity Fair and personal stylist to Gwyneth Paltrow, to name a couple.  She was just leaving with the dashing hotel supremo Andre Balzas and model Lily Cole.  We managed to squeeze in and grab copies of both Lapo’s book and Anh’s catalogue.

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 Lapo signing his book for me

Lapo greeted me wondering protectively where Giorgio was. He signed my copy with a wonderful flourish and we then headed towards the crush at the bar, where I found our good friends Eva Herzigova and her husband Gregorio Marsiaj. As it was still tipping down outside, I cheekily asked if we could jump into their car to head to the private dinner being thrown at Downtown Cipriani.  Charles Finch, the urbane agent and PR mogul, was hosting it in honour of Lapo and Anh with Hollywood actor Matthew Modine thrown in for good measure.

I was honoured to be seated at Lapo’s table with Eva and Gregorio and the wonderful Nick Mason (drummer of Pink Floyd) and his wife Nettie.  I lost Alice as she was whisked to another table.  Marpessa  Hennink, one of the original supermodels and now head muse for Dolce and Gabbana was there and I just have to see her twinkly eyes to know I need to head home early!

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 Lapo at Downtown Cipriani

Italians are a breed unto themselves. My husband Giorgio loves his birthday and this year was to be no exception.  A week before the big day arrived he wants to know what I had planned…a big nothing!  So within minutes he had drawn up a guestlist and spoken to the PR girl of the coolest new lounge and private members’ club, Rififi in Mayfair.  Remarkably, many of our fun friends were in town and able to make it.

Some beautiful flowers – dark red roses dipped in glitter – from Nikki Tibbles at Wild at Heart, gave the tables a splash of Valentine’s Day glamour.  Rose Martinis on arrival and a wonderful jazzy pianist called Jonathan created a lovely intimate feeling.  Emily Oppenheimer was one of the first to arrive and almost matched me in a white lace dress. Tim and Malin Jefferies arrived and Malin’s skintight leather number left little to the imagination!  Eva and Gregorio arrived full of beans and Patrick Cox was fast to pop her on his knee.

ClareBeckwith,GregorioMarsiaj,Tamara,PatrickCox,

 Left to right: My sister Clare, Gregorio Marsiaj, myself, Patrick Cox

 

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 Left to right: Tim Attias, Tim Jefferies, Arki Busson, Giorgio Veroni

The night was full of laughter and sweet speeches.  Italians were heavily represented with our divine Giancarlo Giammetti fresh off the plane.  I finally brought out a heart covered cake which was demolished in a blink.  A few late guests popped by, including Uma Thurman and Arki Busson, and gave Giorgio more birthday kisses. All in all, a wonderful Happy “last minute” Birthday celebration for a very good boy!

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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