So Lichtenstein: A Retrospective was SENSATIONAL – A definite go-see. And when visiting be sure to support the work of the museum by going crazy in the shop – I brought home these fun cushions and of course the book which is a complete treasure trove. There are fun homeware items (espresso cups being noteworthy) and postcards and all sorts of things which will bring those spots and colours to life in your own home.
I was really excited to find this gorgeous grey throw (the photo really doesn’t do it justice) in the shop at Cliveden for just £30, pure wool and not scratchy which is a bugbear of mine… why wrap up in something which feels like sand on wet skin?! They also have fantastic plaid woolen picnic blankets which are a steal at just £12, which must be less than the cost to make the wool, and my new favourite hostess gift item for spring (I would never accept an invitation of any sort from someone who doesn’t like picnics).
I am tempted to describe in minute detail a marble tray I saw at Skandium the other day and hanker for… but I won’t for fear of talking myself into buying it.
I am positively giddy at the news that the divine Mr David Collins is launching a furniture collection in Milan later this spring, finally bringing his uber luxe aesthetic within reach, but I’d better get saving as I doubt anything Collins has in store for us will be anything less than truly exquisite. I yearn for Mr Collins to do a book, allowing us to share his genius and apply his rules to our own rooms.
Having failed completely to get my act together sufficiently during the past few weeks to post my Christmas list, here it is in all its acquisitive glory… fingers crossed for 2013…!
A print by Takashi Murakami. A one-man show is currently showing at the Hong Kong outpost of mega-gallery Gagosian.
Lacquer Trays from Jonathan Adler (£225)
A 1920’s Lalique vase (Soudan vase pictured, £800-£1000). Bonham’s is the place to find it.
Queen Elizabeth II The Lightness of Being by Chris Levine. 2007 is one of my favourite contemporary works of art and I would love a print of my own – the one they have in the collection at the Groucho Club is the perfect size.
Copious amounts of Portobello Road Gin. They even do classes (£100) where you learn about gin, and get to make your own blend. I daren’t, as it shall lead me to ruin…
Living in a small space forces one to be extremely disciplined about acquiring items as one has first to think about where that item will live, given that space is at a premium. Therefore buying furniture that serves a purpose other than its main function is vital to creating an uncluttered and clean space.
I’ve been looking for ages to combine the functions of footstool, additional guest seating and, with the addition of some chic trays, a coffee table… and the Ottoman is the answer to my interior design prayers. I have finally ordered one which fits the bill perfectly, and at an extremely inexpensive price.
The Bouji Ottoman (pictured) is available at www.made.com for the sum of £149 plus delivery, which let’s face it is the cost of a night out these days. An agonising wait of up to 14 weeks lies ahead, but like all good things, the wait will be worth it.
In the meantime, I will be keeping an eye out for some chic lacquer trays, or possibly even a white marble platter to sit upon the upholstered top for items such as cups and magazines, or a small posy of flowers. I’ve seen some chic trays at Jonathan Adler which are worthy of further inspection, or I might even venture to Portobello Road to find something a little more idiosyncratic.
Having moved residences in the last few months, and given appropriate time for the dust to settle, the moment has come to start thinking about decorating. There are few things, frankly, I would rather think about, and many a waking hour has been lost to the imaginings of a perfectly harmonious and beautiful interior which evokes gasps of (slightly jealous) pleasure from any and all who might pop by for a visit. Or even the Ocado man when he’s dropping off the groceries. For an interior, I firmly believe, says much about those who reside therein.
Fortunately for me, the home I occupy with my better half is on the small side, necessitating a ruthless editing habit which prevents me from going crazy in the homewares departments of London’s better department stores. For such is my compulsion that given sufficient storage space I should possess as many different sets of crockery, table linens, glassware etc as I could possibly acquire I just love them so much.
But first things first… my thoughts are currently occupied with floor coverings. We have a very tired and scratchy coir matting not of our choosing to contend with, and it is my intention to do away with this discomforting texture in favour of something warm and soft under foot…. something not unlike the rug in the photo, which is a steal at £250 from Rockett St. George. I may as a result need to spend more on pedicures without the skin-stripping effects of the coir on my feet, but this is a sacrifice I am willing to make.
I am very much looking forward to re-hanging the Vitsoe shelving system that we brought with us from a former residence… the beauty of Vitsoe being that it is easy to reconfigure the system to a new space in a new home and it couldn’t be simpler to install. Aside from this, a fabulous gilt framed mirror I was given a few years ago has already been put up and looks magnifique. For inspiration I shall reach for the usual sources and of course my friends at Heart Home Magazine, which is always filled with fantastic inspirations and ideas from real homes (where budgets do not always run in to the tens of thousands.)
Oh the complete joy of a new home… this will keep me busy for months.
What else other than a pop-up / collaboration would prompt me to put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) and re-engage with my beloved follower of whom I have been so neglectful of late. Having a day job is such a tremendous distraction from the important business of writing, and once again I find myself remiss.
Despite being very slow off the mark, (this isn’t a newsworthy post by any means) I have to say how much I absolutely LOVE the Kusama / Louis Vuitton collaboration. YES I know it’s a huge corporation doing a hugely corporate thing but when as charming and fun as this, I say enjoy. Selfridges, which I pass now almost daily, has given over (er… sold) ALL their windows to this project, and very jolly they look too, featuring the repetitive almost alarming polka-dot motif the respected and now rather elderly artist is renowned for. Inside, the space formerly known as the Wonder Room has been invaded by a white metal cocoon in which these products proliferate in their dotty colourful glory.
Along with an entire ready to wear and accessories line for women, Vuitton has created a small line of male-friendly accessories which I really do like as they have overlaid the pumpkin-inspired waves and dots of Kusama onto their house monogram canvas… Much like the Hermes x Liberty collaboration of many a moon ago where the Ex Libris Hermes print was overlaid onto vintage Liberty print fabric, they have taken the old and inventively played with it to create something new. The resulting products are the perfect antidote to the now ubiquitous monogram canvas that, being a rather acquisitive sort, I couldn’t resist treating myself to a little something. Isn’t that what the marketeers want us to do…?
Louis Vuitton x Kusama Pop Up at Selfridges, London.
Online at www.louisvuittonkusama.com
Very few brands could pull off such an engaging and creative marketing coup. Hermes, the French luxury house known the world over for its exquisite goods nestled in orange boxes has curated a fabulous exhibition behind the Royal Academy in Piccadilly.
Ascending the staircase, past a customised Citroen CV motor car, one’s eye is drawn up to a classical Greek marble statue with a white Kelly bag hung cheekily and irreverently over her arm. Once inside, the House takes you on a journey through its long history, with vintage pieces from their archive lending weight and provenance to the assertion which is clearly being made; we are so successful because our products are the very best. The noteworthy clientele is highlighted by such items as a sporran and a document case commissioned and owned by Edward VIII, and a driving hat worn by his consort Wallis Simpson. Early in the exhibition one enters a room in which two master craftspeople from the factory sit and make the individual elements of one of the iconic house bags, working leather with heated tools and making the difficult task look like simplicity itself.
The absolute highlight for me is a light installation, created around a desk, upon which sit items familiar to all…. a diary, clock, photograph frame, pencil case. The light plays upon the desk, projecting writing onto the diary as if written by an invisible hand, drawing swirls and motifs and dancing. The light highlights individual objects in turn, bringing them to life and reminding the viewer that there is beauty in everyday objects and magic in those of such exceptional and exquisite quality. This really highlights for me the idea of buying little but buying well – the diary that lasts for decades of daily use, or the pencil case you could use for a lifetime and then gift to an artistic child to be used for another lifetime.
Hermes is powerful proof if such were needed of the value of craftsmanship and quality. Christies for example is holding a sale entitled Elegance; Handbags on 30th May in South Kensington, a sale almost exclusively of Hermes bags from the 1950s to the present day. Hermes is notoriously expensive, but how many luxury items can be resold in this way after a lifetime of enjoyment and use? That is surely the very definition of value for money.
After visiting the exhibition I made a beeline for the bar at Cecconi’s just across the street from Burlington House, where one can take in the buzz of Mayfair’s dealmakers, fashion shoppers and ladies-who-lunch over a glass of prosecco. The spring salad of quails’ eggs, artichokes and salmon with some braised octopus on the side was the perfect accompaniment to a relaxed perusal of the latest Hermes house magazine and a luxury daydream. The bread should come with a warning; the selection of three different types is so delicious I ate the entire basket and dish of olive oil without shame. Heaven.
With all this gorgeous sunshine in London this past week, you must forgive me for secretly hankering for a rainy day… but I recently parted with one hundred and twenty hard-earned pounds in return for the Bentley convertible of umbrellas from the wonderful London Undercover pop-up shop in Monmouth Street. If you haven’t been already you have just over a week to do so and I thoroughly recommend that you do. It is going to start raining and some point (April showers and all that…) and although it may be sunny now, you will thank me for the encouragement to be prepared. I opted for the denim fabric for the sheer ready-for-anything-weekend factor. I am now thinking perhaps I need a black one for during the week… but like martinis one is not enough and two is (probably) too many…
Having said all that it HAS been and continues to be sunny and I have been very preoccupied with ways to reinvigorate last spring season’s Holland Esquire jackets which I am bringing out of their winter hibernation. The easiest way to do this of course is to employ the services of the humble pocket square, a sure-fire way to breathe novelty into a jacket already tried, tested and passed for excellence but in need of a subtle lift. Last week I treated myself to an absolute corker from the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 12 collection, and I’m very glad I did so when I did as I understand they have already sold out. Having bagged the perfect specimen I was subsequently very taken with some cotton ones from another favourite of mine, Paul Smith. The prints are taken from photographs taken by the man himself and each bears the delightful motto “Day dreaming with my camera” . A portable daydream for breast pockets everywhere….
One reason to be thankful for all this sunshine is the absolute pleasure of wearing the Orlebar Brown swim/beach shorts I was recently given as a gift. As someone obsessed with how my clothes fit, swim shorts have always been a source of dread as their bagging, sagging silhouette could not be less flattering… but thank God for Orlebar Brown. Theirs fit like a properly tailored pair of shorts, but with the necessary fabric and hardware spec to be suitable for beach and pool use. Super-light, quick-drying and absolutely top-of-the-line quality I can’t wait to pack them for hols in sunnier climes when the time comes. In the meantime, wearing them around the garden in the sunshine is the next best thing.
Paul Smith pocket squares available at Liberty or at www.paulsmith.co.uk
London Undercover is at 38 Monmouth Street, www.londonundercover.co.uk and at www.mrporter.com
Orlebar Brown available at Selfridges or at www.orlebarbrown.co.uk