Last week I was invited on a tour along Sloane Street as part of London Craft Week.  Alongside the Victoria & Albert Museum’s exhibition What is Luxury? – which I sadly missed,  this #LCW15 tour sought to seek out the meaning of luxury by giving us a personal experience with brands renowned for their luxurious status.

Our first stop was Louis Vuitton where we were guided through the history of the brand, from the founder’s humble beginnings to the current designs that still reflect LV’s core values and designs.

Sloan Street Tour - Louis Vuitton

We learned how travel was at the heart of Louis Vuitton’s brand and that if something could not be transported, LV could not make it.

Sloan Street Tour - Louis Vuitton

We discussed the intricacies of Louis Vuitton’s current designs that have been borne from the original details which the brand is renowned for.

From this diamond crosshatch design which originally derived from the interior of Louis Vuitton’s first travel case … Sloan Street Tour - Louis Vuitton

… to the floral emblem that is recognised when you look closely at LV’s signature design, the concept of luxury was explored in the light of details, the quality of materials and a personalised service which LV excels at.

A walk along Sloane Street and our next stop was Fendi …
Sloane Street Tour - Fendi

… where we discussed fur coats, which Fendi is renowned for.Sloane Street Tour - Fendi

This bag also caught my eye at Fendi. Isn’t it fabulous?

Sloane Street - Fendi

Our next stop along Sloane Street was Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel where we stopped for a cocktail at The Rib Room’s bar.
london-jumeirah-carlton-tower

I enjoyed a Sloane Street Vespa as we listened to Penelope from Fox & Squirrel enlighten us about the history of Chelsea, which I found fascinating. I’ve lived in Chelsea all my life and there is always something new to learn about this area. The latest nugget that impressed me was that Andy Warhol used to stay at the Carlton Tower and drink his cocktails in the bar. I hadn’t realised this hotel had such a history.london-jumeirah-carlton-tower

Our final stop on the tour was Smythson and being a true stationery geek, I absolutely revelled in being here and learning about the history of this place. So far, we had discussed leather, fur, local history and now it was time to talk paper.

Sloane Street Tour - Smythson

Here, we learned about Smythson’s Panama Diary innovation. Based on the idea of the flexible nature of the Panama Hat, this notepad was revolutionary. The thin paper allowed the writer to use a fountain pen on both sides of each sheet whilst men could now carry their notepad in their breast pocket or back trouser pocket; something we take for granted, but revolutionary nonetheless.

Sloane Street Tour - Smythson

Luxury exists at Smythson again in terms of quality and like Louis Vuitton and Fendi, also with true personal service. Embossing leather cases as well as personalised stationery which Smythson offers did excite me because given I have more digital gadgets I actually know what to do with, I still revel in the quality of good paper, a beautiful notepad and something I can write in and treasure.Sloane Street Tour - SmythsonAs the tour ended and Angie and I set on our way to grab a drink nearby, I looked back at the afternoon and appreciated the chance I had to listen to the personal stories of these luxury brands.

Chelsea Girl

This may not be the ideal weather to be thinking about bikinis. Then again, maybe this rainy evening in May is precisely the time to be thinking about what to wear the next time you jet off to the sun. Yes, that’s right, there are too many places right now that are enjoying basking in the warm rays of the morning, afternoon or evening sunshine.

And if you’re heading off to one of these places soon, later in the summer or maybe even for some winter sun and are thinking about what to wear on the beach or for the swimming pool, you may want to have a look at Babajaan’s Cruise 2014 Collection, which I love.

Babajaan Cruise Liza White bikiniBabajaan is a line of luxury beach and resort wear which has been designed in London and made in Brazil and Italy. Their stockists span from Harvey Nichols in the U.K, Scoop in New York and Barneys in Japan as well as resorts in Sardinia, Los Cabos, St. Barths and St. Tropez.

Babajaan Cruise Rio fringe kaftanThe Cruise Collection includes gorgeous single-colour pieces inspired by the ocean’s natural beauty, from bikinis to kaftans and dresses.

Babajaan Signature_Liza blue metallic bikiniBabajaan’s line also involves a collection of Panama hats, which were an inspiration from the Creative Director’s father and his debonair hats from when she was a child. I love how they add to the chicness of Babajaan’s other collections.

Babajaan Signature_Liza summerTo have more of an idea of Babajaan’s style, here are a few more pieces (below). Or, you can go to their website to discover more about the different collections. Happy browsing!

Babajaan Signature_Lilly swimsuitBabajaan Signature_Maiara embroided kaftan Babajaan Signature

This is a long overdue post and one that is still worth writing because there is still time to pop into Pradasphere at Harrods.

Prada at Harrods

But in case you don’t make it to the 4th floor of Harrods by May 29th 2014, here are some snapshots to give you a taste of the fabulousness of this Prada exhibition.

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

The exhibition is divided into sections akin to the Natural History Museum with the first area to explore being Origins.

Prada at Harrods

And as you make your way around this space, which is normally known as the Georgian Restaurant, you discover the evolution of the Prada brand.

The whole thing is really quite amazing and I love the original Prada artefacts on display …Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods… as well as these beauties which give you a chance to browse past editorials. These books are especially stunning and if you have the time to take to look through them, I would suggest doing so. (Unfortunately, I arrived at the countdown to closing time and so attempted a quick flick through.)

Prada at Harrods

Prada at HarrodsOf course, there are also accessories and clothes on display …

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

Prada at Harrods

… which include the beautiful dress from The Great Gatsby.

Prada at HarrodsThere is also a Prada timeline which gives you details on landmark dates as well as the names of artists, which the Prada Foundation has nurtured over time.

Prada at Harrods

They include, Sam Taylor-Wood …

Prada at Harrods… Anish Kapoor …Prada at Harrods… and Laurie Anderson.

Prada at HarrodsThere is also a screening room which shows short films by Prada. I didn’t have a chance to see them this time round but it gives me a reason to pop in again.

In fact, this exhibition has something for everyone which is testimony to how influential Prada has been over the years in the arts and in the case of the Prada Transformer, architecture …

Prada Transformer… as well as food, with the Marchesi Café. You can read about my lunch, here.

Marchesi Café at Harrods

The whole exhibition was a revelation. I walked in thinking I knew what to expect and I walked out with layers of knowledge which were all a complete surprise to me. This is a great exhibition!

Prada at HarrodsHarrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL.

1. Visit the Michelin-starred Chinese dim sum teahouse Yauatcha for lunch or afternoon tea.

Not only to try the limited edition desserts: Red Macarons filled with mandarin ganache and mandarin pâte de fruit as well as the Red Petits Gateaux, which are jasmine mousse filled with a honey panna cotta centre, caramelised mandarins and sesame brittle. But also because …

YAUATCHA AND HARVEY NICHOLS TO CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR

… each guest at Yauatcha will receive a red envelope containing vouchers for fashion and beauty treats, along with a bespoke Chinese New Year cocktail created by the Yauatcha and Harvey Nichols bar managers. The cocktail is also available at the Fifth Floor Bar.

Eight special golden tickets will also be given to guests at random, containing lavish prizes such as meals and cocktail masterclasses at Yauatcha and makeovers at Harvey Nichols.

2. Head to the White Horse pub in Parsons Green for Burns Night supper. Each of the five courses will be matched with a Brewmeister beer. You can see the full menu here.

3. Catch the last weekend of Daumier, 1808-1879, Visions of Paris at the Royal Academy of Arts. London Evening Standard describes the exhibition as “An exciting and astonishing exhibition, an aesthetic boxer’s blow to the heart.” More information

4. If you’re a Hobbs shoes fan, hurry to the Hobbs three day sample sale from 24th until 26th January 2014, at The Music Rooms. Here are the opening times as well as a list of other sample sales at the same venue.

5. If you love music soundtracks and fancy a nostalgic evening of live music locally. The Pink Singers will be performing A Night at the Movies at Cadogan Hall on Saturday night from 7pm. You can book your tickets here.

It’s not really the weather that has made me realise winter is encroaching but the darker mornings and the longer nights. And I have to admit, the next few months are amongst my favourite times of the year. Why? Because I love lights. I love long nights in a bar (though that’s not going to happen so often right now) and I love pubs with an open fire.

So as the countdown to winter begins, would you like to know what’s happening this month that you shouldn’t be missing?

1. It’s all kicking off at Boujis with BACK2BOUJIS launching on 1st October and Viva Las Vegas on 4th October. You can expect laser shows, intergalactic dancers and percussion that will blow your mind with an acclaimed array of intergalactic DJs at Back2Boujis and as for Viva Las Vegas …

Boujis - Viva Las Vegas2. It’s that time of the year again! The Natural History Museum’s Ice Rink opens on 31st October. I’m so excited even though I’m so shaky on skates. I just don’t care because when The Natural History Museum lights up, it is one of the prettiest sights in London. You can book your tickets here.

Ice Rink3. Designer Sales UK is returning to the Chelsea Old Town Hall on 24th October. This sale will be full to the brim of pieces for Autumn/ Winter, so think cosy knits and fluffy scarves as well as party dresses with big discounts on designer labels. You can find out more here.

4. The BFI London Film Festival kicks off on 9th October and runs until 20th October. There are film screenings but also events such as talks and masterclasses. If you want to see what’s on or to book your tickets, have a look at BFI’s website.

5. And of course, it’s London Cocktail Week from 7th until 13th October. If you want to join in the cocktail fun, don’t forget to get your wristband which you will need to be wearing to be part of the cocktail tours. Here’s the website to register for one. Enjoy!

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