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

Yesterday was the start of Chelsea in Bloom and how lucky are we with the weather! This afternoon, I took a walk around Sloane Square and photographed the flower installations that have brought Chelsea to life, in time for the Chelsea Flower Show.

Chelsea in Bloom is a competition between local retailers who are vying for the floral crown and I’m so glad I don’t have to pick a winner because there are some stunning displays on show.

Takes these dogs by Ted Baker.

Or this floral dress at The White Company.

Savills.

Hackett.

Smythson.

Gnomes nearby. I love gnomes!

Paule Ka.

Jo Malone.

Mary Quant.

DoDo.

Liz Earle.

And in the middle of Sloane Square, there’s a maze which I went into! I love mazes too.

The Botanist also have a pop-up bar in the middle of Sloane Square where you can sit at a table and sip wine, champagne or the bar’s signature cocktail London Spritz (£8), which is made up of aperol, rhubarb liqueur, fresh grapefruit and Chapel Down pinot noir. If you’re feeling slightly peckish you can also tuck into a garden salad of nasturtium, dandelion, summer pea and radish salad, nettle rolled goats’ cheese, borage flowers and croutons served with or without smoked duck (£10 or £12 respectively).

The Botanist’s pop-up bar will be in Sloane Square until Sunday 27th May 2012 and is open from midday – 7pm.

Thank goodness summer’s finally arrived and please let it hang around for some time!