This is by far my favourite time of the year in Chelsea. The Duke of York Square and Sloane Square Christmas lights bring this end of the King’s Road to life in a way that’s quite magical. And just as excitingly there is now Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend on 3rd and 4th December to look forward to. With complimentary horse and carriage rides along Sloane Street, plenty of Champagne and Prosecco flowing in the stores and not to mention the elves, live singing and gifts when you shop on Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road and Sloane Street. If last year’s inaugural event is anything to go by, this weekend is going to be so much fun. The atmosphere will be buzzing especially with a two-day food market to look forward to: gourmet gifts for Christmas anyone? Yes, please!

Ahead of this weekend, I had the privilege of arranging a taste of Christmas evening with a few of my favourite bloggers: Angie, Emma, Aftab, Hattie and Jaime.

Duke of York Square Christmas

We met at Partridges where we enjoyed glasses of Partridges’ own Champagne and the most delicious canapés.

Duke of York Square Christmas

Admittedly with my sweet tooth I was drawn to try the pumpkin pie first as well as the pecan pie, which were both amazing – so much so, I’ve already been back a couple of times to pick up smaller pumpkin pies to take home. The OH had to try them too – they’re sooo good.

Duke of York Square Christmas

After a catch-up and a conversation with John Shepherd who owns Partridges and curates Saturday’s Fine Food Market for Duke of York Square, we headed to L.K.Bennett where we enjoyed more fizz and a look at their gifting collection.

Duke of York Square Christmas

I absolutely loved the #LKBxBoyarde leather stickers, which I’m definitely getting very soon. Watch this spaceDuke of York Square Christmas

And the scented candles looked like the perfect gift for the long winter evenings.

Duke of York Square Christmas

After L.K.Bennett we moved onto Liz Earle where a session of wreath-making took place. And as everyone got stuck in, I sat back and listened to the Liz Earle team telling us about their wonderful ingredients. This year as part of their Christmas Collection, Liz Earle have a special Sweet Orange & Clove Cleanse & Polish which sounds divine.

Duke of York Square Christmas

To end the evening we dined at Gallery Mess for a taste of their Christmas menu.

Duke of York Square Christmas

For main, I ordered the Barbary duck breast with mulled red cabbage, clementine and star anise jus, which was outstanding. I particularly liked the smoky taste of the charred clementine which really added to that sense of Christmas and the meal being winter fuel. The duck was faultless too.

Duke of York Square Christmas

And for dessert I had to have the chocolate fondant which didn’t disappoint. The salted caramel ice cream was the perfect match for the gooey chocolate centre. Truly delicious.

Duke of York Square Christmas

Angie’s stone bass and Aftab’s broccoli & blue cheese soufflé also looked very tempting. And I had a try of Aftab’s Christmas pudding which was wonderfully moist.

All in all it was a great evening with old and new friends – and the taste of Christmas on Duke of York Square was the perfect appetiser for this weekend’s event. I really can’t wait. Maybe I’ll see you there? 😉

For more details on Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend click here.

The whole evening was complimentary and I also received a gorgeous gift from L.K.Bennett but these are my honest thoughts: the food and drink all evening was very good and my wardrobe has plenty of L.K.Bennett pieces. My opinions really didn’t need any swaying. I just can’t wait to buy some stickers to go on my cross-body bag, which I will share on here as soon as I do. x

Anarchy In Knightsbridge!

As if cocking a snook at the surrounding glitz and glamour, I found this anarchic gem of a window by Gina on Sloane Street. Riffing on the iconic 1977 Jamie Reid “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” album cover, Gina are clearly having a tongue-in-cheek moment with their “God Save Gina”, and “Anarchy In Knightsbridge” tag lines.

What an appropriate way to merge the heritage of the nearby King’s Road and the Sex Pistols’ fashion connection with Vivienne Westwood to Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. Full marks to Gina for creativity and humour, my favourite combo.

Of course, when the original artwork for the Sex Pistols’ album came out it was hugely controversial. The record sleeve was originally intended to read “God Save Sex Pistols”, but  just before its release Steve Jones – the Pistols’ only functioning guitarist – provided an admonishment he’d overheard from a pair of fans and replaced it with “Never mind the bollocks”, meaning “stop talking rubbish”. Many of the mainstream record stores refused to carry the album, album charts refused to list it, and shops refused to display the artwork in their windows on grounds that the word “bollocks” was offensive.

Eventually the band was taken to court under the antiquated obscenity laws of the day, but were able to prove that in the context of the album sleeve it means something akin to “nonsense”. On trial for indecency and inciting moral outrage, they were acquitted on all counts.

Jamie Reid broke down the conventions of record sleeve design by pointedly not including a shot of the band on the cover. Instead, opting for an acid yellow background as offensive to the eye as possible and crudely cut out lettering. An artist’s two fingered salute to the storied traditions of typesetting and commercial graphic design.

The lurid yellow album sleeve, the ripped and safety-pinned Union Flag poster for “Anarchy In The UK” established an unforgettable visual aesthetic for the punk movement. A design language that was provocative and unsettling at the time has mellowed with age, and has become as comfortable and familiar as a favourite armchair. But it’s worth noting that this most recognisable of brand languages almost never saw the light of day. Amid a storm of controversy the Sex Pistols were dropped by their label A&M on the eve of the album’s release, resulting in thousands of already pressed “God Save The Queen” singles being destroyed. The band were subsequently rejected by CBS, Polydor, Pye and Decca until finally an eleventh-hour deal was struck with Richard Branson. With the ink still wet on their contract with Virgin, the record was rushed into production.

I’m not sure what Jamie Reid would make of the modern day commercial derivatives of his groundbreaking graphic art. Reid was involved with the Situationists, an appropriately left-wing anti-authoritarian movement attempting to critique capitalism. But then again, although shunned by the big retailers, the album sold extremely well through independent record shops in exchange for capitalist money tokens. So perhaps by now he’d regard Gina’s window with good humour and marvel at his design’s long-lived cachet.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Chanel is exactly how this iconic luxury brand makes you feel as you step onto the grounds of Saatchi Gallery and venture through a garden designed by the Rich Brothers, gold winners of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

And when you step into the first room with your Mademoiselle Privé visitors app open on your phone, you will find yourself standing in Gabrielle Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment. You are transported in time and place as you are also greeted by the reconstruction of the mirrored staircase above Chanel’s salon.
Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

The Chanel story begins at the start of Gabrielle Chanel’s career as a milliner …
Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

… You also learn about her studio days. Mademoiselle Privé was the sign she hung on her atelier’s door. Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

But the exhibition that has taken over three floors of the Saatchi Gallery doesn’t stay in the past. It moves forward into the present day with a fabulous short film in which Karl Lagerfeld reminds Chanel’s ghost (played by Geraldine Chaplin) that he has to create eight collections a year whereas she only had to create two a year. It’s a humorous flick but it also has an interesting message that reminds us of the relevance of the Chanel brand: Gabrielle Chanel created the notes and Karl Lagerfeld makes the music. Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi GalleryGorgeous portraits adorn an entire room. Ironically last week I finally managed to frame my poster from the Little Black Jacket exhibition a few years ago, which I absolutely adore. It’s going up in my office as a daily dose of style inspiration. You’ll find the Vanessa Paradis portrait (below) at Mademoiselle Privé.
Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

And along with the displays on each floor, there are also workshops including one that explores the secrets of Chanel No. 5. These futuristic vats (below) contain each of the ingredients for Chanel’s signature scent. Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

On the first floor an inside garden of manicured hedges fills the air with fresh aroma, which you don’t expect from the first floor of an art gallery. Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

Couture displays and more give us the chance for an up close and personal look at the craftsmanship of Chanel. Not only can we appreciate the details on the outside of these gowns but the fluorescent rods on which they hang also give us an insight into the details inside each dress. Mademoiselle Prive at Saatchi Gallery

Since The Little Black Jacket exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, fashion houses have been using art spaces to show off the creativity of their brands more and more. Most recently and locally we’ve seen the fabulous McQueen exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum as well as the Hermès awe-inspiring Wanderland exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. I’d been wondering what Chanel were planning on doing next. How were they planning to keep up? But after a walk around Mademoiselle Privé, I can safely say that keeping up clearly wasn’t what they were going for. Staying ahead of the game? Yes, definitely.

To get the full experience of the exhibition, download the app on iTunes or Google Play

Mademoiselle Privé runs until 1st November 2015 and it’s free.

Chelsea Girl

London Fashion Weekend is coming to Saatchi Gallery next week (24th – 27th September 2015). And already at Duke of York Square’s gorgeous art gallery you can find Sloane Square Magazine with its LFWEnd-inspired cover.

Sloane Square Magazine

Inside the magazine there is an interview with Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, who tells us about what we can expect at ‘Fashion’s Biggest Pop-up’. In short, as well as catwalk shows, trends and designer talks there’ll also be a chance to snag our favourite brands at exclusive prices. But there is another reason why I’m suggesting you pick up a copy of Sloane Square Magazine.

You can find an interview with yours truly along with other fabulous local bloggers in Sloane Square Magazine. And of course, if you can’t wait until LFWEnd you can always read the article online by clicking on here.

King's Road Rocks in Sloane Square Magazine

Chelsea Girl

There has been a wonderful buzz this week around the top of King’s Road and along Sloane Street. From Duke of York Square to Pavilion Road and beyond, Chelsea has been in bloom. And what a spectacle it is.

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

This year’s Chelsea in Bloom theme is Fairy Tales …

… and with this year also being Alice in Wonderland’s 150th anniversary, the stores and businesses taking part have truly given us a range of wonder, beauty and brilliant craft.

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Brunello Cucinelli on Sloane Street

There are 40 displays to see, which makes Chelsea in Bloom the most beautiful time of the year to walk around. Saying that, there are also free rickshaw tours on offer (if you can snag yourself a booking at the information point on Sloane Square.)  I had a ride and absolutely loved it. It’s a great way to whizz around and take everything in.

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

As well as the floral displays, there is a bar on Sloane Square from The Botanist and Sipsmith … Chelsea in Bloom 2015… and Pimm’s bar on Duke of York Square. I’m going to be very sorry to see The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party end on Saturday.  Yes, that’s right – tomorrow (or today, if you’re reading this tomorrow). So, hurry! 😉

Chelsea in Bloom 2015This year’s Chelsea in Bloom is absolutely gorgeous and if you get a chance to have a look around before it ends, you’ll see how easy it is to snap away at everything.

Here are just a few of my favourite displays …

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Mary Quant on Duke of York Square

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Brora on Symons Street

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Kate Spade on Symons Street

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Browns on Sloane Street

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Brunello Cucinelli on Sloane Street

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Browns on Sloane Street

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Lulu Guinness on Ellis Street

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

Elliot Rhodes on Duke of York Square

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

L.K. Bennett on King’s Road/Duke of York Square

Beautiful, aren’t they?

Chelsea Girl

 

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