simply sharing some insights & inspirations...for those of you who live abroad or for those living in central london who need a quick venue overview when trying to decide upon a playdate or hot date! x apsara
THE WEST END
Dover Street Market Concept and Direction by Rei KAWAKUBO "I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos: the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision." The result: a collection of achingly cool & edgy designers including Givenchy, Lanvin, vintage dealer Decades. Browns: Joan Burstein is credited with discovering such talents as Alexander McQueen [APSARA had its debut in the legendary boutique!] and Browns is one of London's most valued fashion landmarks, offering pieces that have been individually handpicked from the world's top designers. Stella McCartney: a stunning store on Bruton Street with a boudoir dedicated to lingerie. Temperley has recently opened a flagship store also on Bruton Street. Alexander McQueen: the flagship store is located on Old Bond Street. Selfridges: visit one of London's most iconic stores for the Food Hall, the 35,000 sq ft of shopping space dedicated to shoes, and for the renowned Christmas window displays! Charlotte Olympia: the space celebrates shoes imbued with 40's glamour. Burberry Regent Street: the newly opened largest London store is designed to reflect its website - the impressive 44,000 square-foot space is divided into rooms that mirror sections from its online counterpart, such as Bespoke, Acoustic and Experiences.In renovating this iconic London building, Burberry have restored a wealth of historic features as well as pushing the boundaries of digital technology. This isn't any ordinary shopping experience - customers are treated to sporadic Burberry weather "moments", when digital rain showers - accompanied by the sounds of a thunderstorm, created using a sophisticated sound system. Upon trying an item on, the changing room mirrors will flip to show images of the specific piece on the catwalk or on film. "Burberry Regent Street brings our digital world to life in a physical space for the first time, where customers can experience every facet of the brand through immersive multimedia content exactly as they do online," said Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts. "Walking through the doors is just like walking into our website. It is Burberry World Live." Galleries: Hauser & Wirth: one of London's larges commercial gallery spaces, taking a lead on putting on shows that challenge large public institutions in terms of focus and depth. White Cube, Haunch of Venison, Timothy Taylor Gallery and Hamiltons.Scotts, updated deco with contemporary artworks and some of the best seafood in town, or Cecconi's, Italian fine dining and bellinis, for lunch or The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition, for lunch or afternoon tea. The Connaught Bar or The Fumoir at Claridge's encapsulates all that is glamorous and luxurious with a Thirties-inspired interior, low crystal lighting and expertly-made cocktails inspired by the era. The tiny space has room for 12 people maximum, only accentuating its exclusive, retro allure. The ECC [Experimental Cocktail Club] is a secret speakeasy in Chinatown. Dinner: La Petite Maison, Novikov, Nobu, Coya, Hakkasan Mayfair, La Bodega Negra, Nopi, Polpo, Balthazar [Vogue just hosted their fashion week dinner here]....and after hours at members clubs LouLou's, The Arts Club or London's most decadent nightspot The Box. Another alternative: The Shard for cocktails at the Oblix lounge bar on the 32nd floor. Ian Schrager’s Edition hotel, his first in London in 15 years, is where the night-time theatre is centred during fashion week.
Loulou's/5 Hertford Street 'Deploying £30 million, designer Rifat Ozbek, and a stuffed giraffe, Robin Birley has updated the classic London club for a new generation—just as his late father, Mark Birley, did with celebrated Mayfair haunts Annabel’s, Harry’s Bar, and Mark’s Club. Robin’s new club is called Loulou’s, after his aunt Loulou de la Falaise, the fashion designer, who died last year. The club has restaurants and bars. It serves breakfast and lunch as well as dinner and supper and tea, of course. There are rooms for dancing and for sitting. It’s all set in the corner of Mayfair known as Shepherd Market. This being London, there are no shepherds and there is no market. By his own admission, Birley spent £30 million on this club. Trusting the design to Rifat Ozbek was the act of a zealot. Ozbek is a fashion designer who has never designed “so much as” the interior of a bathroom. What he and Robin’s millions have come up with is a series of rooms of sublime, dazzling beauty. Light, bright, and glittering, they are elegant and debonair, collections of wit and exuberance... There is a giraffe’s head and neck rising out of the floor, a bar made of shells, and an illuminated peacock. Effulgent, glamorous wallpaper, bathrooms in which you would happily spend a first date, and a restaurant of deep, glowing crimson with scarlet shaded lights. It’s like sitting in a fairy story or being swallowed by a dragon..'. [except by A.A.Gill for Vanity Fair]
KNIGHTSBRIDGE: Opt for a visit to the Burberry store for the iconic British brand; Harvey Nichols for their fashion edit and nail bar by nails inc; Sloane Street for stores such as Missoni, Saint Laurent, Gucci and the new beautifully crafted Tom Ford flagship store... 8,000 square feet of pure elegance and luxury and a haven of high-gloss lacquer, Cala Poanazza marble and dark wood.
- See more at: http://www.justopenedlondon.com/tom-ford-store/#sthash.RyayBgOL.dpuf
t’s here. London has been crying out for a flagship Tom Ford store and it has FINALLY arrived. Arrived in style at that. The huge store on Sloane Street (where else) is 8,000 square feet of pure elegance and luxury.
Conceived by Tom Ford and designed by longtime collaborator William Sofield, the Tom Ford store is a haven of high-gloss lacquer, Cala Poanazza marble and dark wood. The store centres around a dramatic spiral staircase that leads to the second storey of the huge shop. With whole rooms each dedicated to accessories (separate for men and women’s), fragrances, cosmetics and, of course, Tom Ford’s incredible line of beautifully crafted fashions – this store is an experience in itself.
- See more at: http://www.justopenedlondon.com/tom-ford-store/#sthash.RyayBgOL.dpuf
Harrods has the largest swimwear department; visit Motcomb Street for the Christian Louboutin boutique & nearby Pont Street for Agent Provocateur. Meet for drinks at the new Bvlgari Hotel , The Wellesley crystal bar, The Mandarin Oriental, or a personal favourite, The Berkeley's Blue Bar with blue-laquered original Lutyens panelling and opulent interiors by David Collins.Brunch at Bar Boulud; dinner at Zuma.
NOTTING HILL:Of course best known for Portobello Market on Saturday mornings which is fun if you like to search for vintage and antique bargain buys [visit Flick at Retrofstuff, Admiral Vernon Arcade, 141-147 Portobello Road for her creative selection of vintage swatches with embroidery, beading or 1920s metallic lace]. There are a number of casual places to eat including Tom's Kitchen, Daylesford on Westbourne Grove and The Grocer on Blenheim Crescent but my favourite to eat on the run or to take away is Ottolenghi on Ledbury Road for truly delicious healthy food, and US import Wholefoods on High Street Kensington is great for organic food products. There are numerous stores around Westbourne Grove including Matches for the latest designer multi-brand edit, Heidi Klein for their one-stop-holiday shop[of course they stock APSARA!], Agent Provocateur or Bodas for lingerie, to Diptique and Miller Harris for candles, Wild at Heart for stunning flowers and Mensah or Rellik for vintage. Sophie Gass: a nail bar where the treatments are as impeccable as the orchid-filled interiors. Artisan du Chocolat...In the evening Montgomery Place brings a New York speakeasy-vibe to Notting Hill and E&O for pan-asian food, Mediterraneo or The Ledbury for a neighbourhood feel, Asaggi for intimate high-end Italian and The Electric Cinema or Vue at Westfield Centre for movie night. Holland Park is my personal favourite and nearby Holland Park Avenue also has a great selection of delis including Lidgate, regarded as one of the best organic butchers in London, Jeroboams for high-end delicacies and Speck for Italian delicacies.
CHELSEA: Walton Street and the Brompton Cross offer a blend of unique and designer stores including Joseph as the largest multi-brand boutique in the area, SPACE NK for their beauty edit and interiors stores Andrew Martin, Katherine Pooley, Louise Bradley. Stella McCartney has a large store nearby and Conran is the go-to store for gifts such as the new must-have portable LP player + Lana del Rey LP that house guests bought for me recently! Aubaine with its French café culture is a popular choice for lunch . and if a pretty day, tea at the tangerine dream café at hidden gem The Chelsea Physic Garden; Cheyne Walk Brasserie is a popular local french brasserie. Couturelab is a luxe artisan destination store which stocks exquisite fashion and lifestyle pieces curated from all over the globe and that has recently re-located to Grosvenor Crescent Mews. King's Road itself is quite mainstream but step up to the barre and feel the burn at www.barrecore.co.uk and Chelsea Farmer's Market is a place I often run into... The name is clearly misleading as there are no farmers selling their wares but this quiet enclave offers: Here Organic Supermarket; The Chelsea Gardener as a good alternative if you have not made it to the early rise [4am to 11am] New Covent Garden Flower Market [in Battersea!] which is where the florists go and where it is possible to buy orchids at wholesale prices. Cheeky Boo's is a unique bookstore filled with art, architecture,fashion and design coffee table books which make great gifts. Visit Talisman's flagship London Art Deco store on the New King's Road for 18th and 19th century antiques, mid-century modern furniture, accessories, lighting and bespoke designs. Nearby Pimlico Road for antique stores, Wild at Heart, 54 Pimlico Road; La Poule au Pot, 231 Ebury Sreet for a romantic dinner in the winter; Daylesford Organic, 44B Pimlico Road.
Jenny Packham: 75 Elizabeth Street (020 7730 2264); Philip Treacy: 69 Elizabeth Street (020 7730 3992); Erickson Beamon: 38 Elizabeth Street (020 7259 0202); Thomas Cubitt: 44 Elizabeth Street (020 7730 6060); Grosvenor Stationery Company: 47 Elizabeth Street (020 7730 4515); Baker & Spice: 54-56 Elizabeth Street (0207 730 5524).
Not Far...By Car: New Favourite outside London for lunch and a walk through the stunning grounds: Cowarth Park...about 40 minutes drive out of London, as is Clivedon. Petersham Nurseries in Richmond...by day or by night www.petershamnurseries.com. Aynhoe Park: a private home for hire...for all things weird & wonderful aynhoepark.co.uk.
London 2012: I am having a British moment, as is most of Great Britain it seems... I am quite surprised at myself since, having grown up as a beach babe in southern Spain in the heart of flamenco and a 'gitana' in spirit, I have been known to dip into irreverence at times regarding English eccentricities... However, I did grow up with a father who was a British Army officer, who had my sister and I stand up out of respect whenever God Save The Queen crackled over the BBC World Service, who installed the nose of his helicopter in our entrance hall, and who was awarded the OBE with crossed oak leaves for extra gallantry by the Queen... so it appears I have merely come back to embrace my eccentric roots, to embrace a 'land of hope and glory', of pomp and ceremony, that offers a rich history of monarchy, empire building, arts and culture, iconic rock bands and of being fashion forward fabulous, cool and creative...
Everywhere I turn in London I come across the British flag which got me thinking... how could I 'fly the flag' without literally having to do so? And preferably in a more laterally creative and infinitely more subtle way than the Mayor of London's recent enthusiastic approach during the London Olympics 2012 celebrations which was to get stuck on an overhead zip line, dangling helplessly in harness and helmut whilst frantically waving ticker-tape flags, and who was last seen demanding a ladder in full view of the international press! For instance, if I were to receive an invitation to Buckingham Palace for tea with the Queen, how would I choose to show appreciation of my Britishness, of Team GB?! I could wear an APSARA bikini à la Ursula Andress in celebration of 50 years of James Bond serving Her Majesty's Secret Service but I feel the Queen has already been there and done that during the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony so it might be considered rude to try to compete as a Bond Girl, not to mention a little itsby-bitsy inappropriate even if I were to wrap myself in the British flag à la Georgia May Jagger! Another flash of inspiration was to take Jenson Button as my date since he has the Union Jack imprinted on his F1 McLaren helmut...I thought this was inspired, my excuse being that my handsome husband has German heritage...but then again so does the Duke of Edinburgh so sadly that plan had a visible flaw and failed at inception!
After much angst with this hypothetical problem, I finally decided that since I am not going to Buckingham Palace in the imminent future but rather to LA, I could simply wear Burberry Brit or Stella McCartney and carry the new accessory du jour by Charlotte Olympia - the Pandora 'Jubilee' perspex clutch. I am relieved I found a solution; it seems a fitting and time-appropriate patriotic homage!