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London Preview: The Scene

The latest hot spots to check out during fashion week.

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The latest hot spots to check out during fashion week.


NIKKEI NICE: Japanese/Peruvian fusion food is a real category called Nikkei cuisine that’s been around in Peru forever, and it’s landing on Frith Street in Soho at Chotto Matte courtesy of Kurt Zdesar, who first brought Nobu to Europe.

Spread over three floors, the ground level features a lava stone cocktail bar for inventive takes on pisco, sochu and sake tipples; an à la carte restaurant, and a raw bar attended by a master sushi chef who used to slice and dice for the emperor of Japan. Upstairs, there’s an open robata grill and a sushi bar.

The menu is designed to be shared and includes morsels like avocado tempura with smoked purple potato, BBQ pork belly nashi pear salsa and grilled baby chicken with spicy pomegranate salsa. Andy Martin designed the interiors to evoke a buzzy Tokyo vibe with large-scale bespoke graphics by Tokyo-based painter and graffiti artist Houxo Que.

— JULIA NEEL


Chotto Matte
11 Frith Street, W1D 4RB
Tel.: +44-020-7042-7171
Web: chotto-matte.com



NEXT: Paul Smith >>

 

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ECLECTIC EXTENSION: The Paul Smith boutique in Mayfair has a new look. Extending into the space next door, Sir Paul, an avid collector, will showcase his treasure trove of curiosities alongside his collections.

The space will carry men’s and women’s apparel, furniture, special pieces and one-off designs. The store has been divided into three whimsical sections: The women’s area takes inspiration from the neighborhood’s art history and Barbara Hepworth’s studio, while the walls of the shoe department are adorned with more than 30,000 dominoes. Organic wood, bronze furniture and bespoke fixtures offer a chic and masculine feel in the men’s department, while the furniture area has a gallery-style appeal.

LORELEI MARFIL

Paul Smith
9 Albemarle Street, W1S 4BL
Tel.: +44-020-7493-4565
Web: paulsmith.co.uk


NEXT: Jessie Western >>

 

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WESTERN HO!: Jessica and Victoria Blake, founders of Notting Hill jeweler Jessie Western, are known for turquoise pieces inspired by the natural world. Now, they are launching their first diamond collection, Star Chaser.

The Blake sisters have been designing jewelry and working with stones for 23 years, and have had a shop on Portobello Road for more than a decade. They count Kate Moss, Elle Macpherson, Kate Hudson and Minnie Driver among their clients, and in the autumn, their jewelry will appear on Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt in the upcoming Ridley Scott film “The Counselor.”

They are also set to relaunch their Web site, and aim to expand into wholesale for select clients.

Their latest collection features diamonds in various shapes, sizes and colors, as well as other precious gems mounted on gold and silver jewelry shaped like wolves, snakes, thunderbirds, feathers and leaves. Prices start at 129 pounds, or $200, for an 18-karat gold and silver diamond charm, and 399 pounds, or $621, for a white, yellow, or oxidized gold diamond band. One of the highest price points is 3,500 pounds, or $5,449, for a turtle bracelet made of diamonds.

The sisters are British, but spent much of their youth on a Seminole reservation in the Florida Everglades, have lived and traveled extensively in the American Southwest and forged close relationships with Native American artists over the years. Their designs reflect their awe of the natural world. Jessica describes a rough-cut, double blue aquamarine stone as the color of a “high mountain lake,” and jewelry designs show running foxes or swimming turtles, with moving legs.

“As artists, we have an unusual viewpoint, with a passion for the unique and for gem-quality stones,” said Jessica, who draws each piece in detail and sources all of the stones and materials with Victoria, an abstract artist.

SAMANTHA CONTI

Jessie Western
82B Portobello Road, W11 2QD
Tel.: +44-20-7229-2544
Web: jessiewestern.com



NEXT: Miles Aldridge >>

 

RELATED STORY: London Preview — Ones to Watch >>

STRIKING SNAPS: British fashion photographer Miles Aldridge is having a moment at Somerset House, the headquarters for London Fashion Week, where a major retrospective of his work is on show. To coincide with the publication of his book, “I Only Want You to Love Me,” published by Rizzoli, the exhibition features large-scale photographic prints from throughout his career, including previously unpublished material as well as hand-drawn storyboards, drawings, Polaroids and magazines, offering an intimate insight into his creative mind.

Color and women — his twin obsessions — star in the collection, filled with glamazons and beauties, sexpots and mothers, while influences from directors David Lynch and Federico Fellini are evident in his cinematic style, as are the psychedelic leanings of his father, Alan Aldridge.

“The pictures are an attempt to replicate and reflect contemporary society and life,” Aldridge told WWD on opening night. “So I use these amazing women as metaphors or examples of our era.”

L.M.

Miles Aldridge “I Only Want You to Love Me” Runs through Sept. 29
Somerset House Embankment Galleries
Strand, WC2R 1LA
Tel.: +44-20-7845-4600
Web: somersethouse.org.uk



NEXT: London Edition >>

 

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NEW EDITION: London is buzzing about Ian Schrager’s return to the hotel business in the city. Just down the road from The Sanderson, which Schrager opened in 2000, it is part of a collaboration between the hotelier and Marriott on a group of Edition hotels that will eventually have 100 properties globally; there’s one in Istanbul already.

The London Edition promises all of Schrager’s Studio 54 panache, with a generous wash of Englishness thrown in. It is housed in a Georgian building and inspired by the traditional aristocratic English country manor and the quintessential London private gentleman’s club, with an urban feel.

The 173-room hotel will also have two bars and a restaurant, Berners Tavern, by Jason Atherton — the chef behind Pollen Street Social. The Punch Room, at the back of the hotel, is an ode to London’s posh gentlemen’s clubs — a cocktail bar with no bar, where drinks are delivered on silver trays. Because this is London, after all.

J.N.

London Edition
10 Berners Street, W1T 3LF
Tel.: +44-020-7781-0000
Web: edition-hotels-marriott.com



NEXT: Harrods Food Hall >>

 

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London Scene Michael Caines Harrods

COUNTER SERVICE: Two-Michellin-starred chef Michael Caines usually plies his trade from Gidleigh Park, the genteel country-house hotel in the wilds of Dartmoor in Devon. He has a new cookbook coming out called “Michael Caines at Home,” but for the next two months, he will make the Traiteur counter at Harrods’ Food Hall his home away from home, offering a selection of meals to go inspired by the book.

As part of the retailer’s Chef of the Season initiative, Caines will dish up modern European fare including haddock and leek quiche; bouillabaisse with sea bass, prawns, scallops and salmon, and chocolate orange confit mousse. It will be the first time that his culinary creations are available in London.

J.N.


Harrods Food Hall
87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7XL
Tel.: +44-020-7730-1234
Web: harrods.com



NEXT: Coal Vaults >>

 

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IN THE VAULT: Set beneath a historic building on buzzy Soho’s Wardour Street, Coal Vaults is an atmospheric restaurant and bar founded by young entrepreneurs Martyn Simpson (known as Simo) and Felix Leuschner.

The space, which has five separate vaults for private dining as well as an intimate bar and dining room, was originally used for storing coal in the early 19th century. Simo and Leuschner have corralled a team of rising stars to feed and water their guests: chef Magnus Reid (The Rooftop Café) has consulted on the menu, while the kitchen operation will be spearheaded by chef James Knox Boothman (A Little of What You Fancy, The French House, GRUB at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club); drinks come via Jerome Slesinski, formerly of the Unpackaged bar in edgy Hackney.

The small-plate menu is all about the ingredients, with a focus on quality. The five-hour shoulder of lamb, cooked in hay and lavender and served with caper, mint and spiced anchovy couscous, is definitely one to try, especially served with a matched cocktail, as all the dishes on the menu are.

J.N.

Coal Vaults
187B Wardour Street, W1F 8ZB
Tel.: +44-078-2439-1168
Web: coalvaults.com



NEXT: Mr Fogg’s >>

 

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LONDON FOGG: If there’s one thing that Charlie Gilkes and his bar partner Duncan Stirling are good at, it’s fun. Their new watering hole is imagined as the type of Mayfair abode to which Jules Verne’s famous adventurer would have returned after his 80-day journey around the world, with a drawing room stuffed with artifacts and trinkets, a tiger and a crocodile, ornaments, flags, birdcages, bull’s heads and penny-farthing bicycles. It’s pure British bonkers.

The drinks menu is a unique interpretation of Victorian ‘Cocktailian’ culture, with absinthe aperitifs, gin fizzes, grogs, Sazeracs, stirrup cups and pousse-cafés.

There are also sharing drinks straight out of the pages of Verne’s novel, served in globes, an American Indian’s head, steam trains and antique punch bowls. Like Phileas Fogg’s rare discoveries, Mr Fogg’s requires a sense of intrepid discovery to locate; it is marked by a small plaque and a Victorian lantern down an unusually shabby Mayfair lane, just around the corner from the Stella McCartney and Kenzo store on Bruton Street.

J.N.

Mr Fogg’s
15 Bruton Lane, W1J 6JD
Tel.: +44-020-7299-1200
Web: mr-foggs.com



NEXT: Berkeley Health Club and Spa >>

 

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London Scene Berkeley Health Club and Spa

Berkeley Health Club and Spa

Photo By Courtesy Photo

SEVENTH HEAVEN: Seven floors up from the hubbub of Knightsbridge is the new Bamford Haybarn Spa at the Berkeley Health Club. With its unique rooftop open-air pool, secret scented garden, state-of-the-art gym and panoramic city skyline views, the Berkeley Health Club’s spa brings a touch of the English countryside into town with treatments that make use of the Bamford Body Collection, created with naturally sourced and organic ingredients certified by the soil association.

Founded by Lady Bamford, who is also behind Daylesford organic farm and foods, the spa’s treatment rooms have been themed with names such as Willow, Beehive and Log Cabin, incorporating touches that echo their titles. Heart and honeycomb motifs lend a playful, homey feel while outside by the rooftop pool, the Secret Garden is planted with jasmine, lavender and rosemary as a reference to the ingredients used in the Bamford Body Collection and fragrant candles.

The 85-minute Bamford Body Signature Treatment combines shiatsu, meridian and Swedish massage, reflexology and yogic breathing to revitalize the whole body, a new massage created exclusively for the Berkeley that uses hot and cold jade stones for a total bliss-out.

J.N.

Berkeley Health Club and Spa
The Berkeley, Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL
Tel.: +44-020-7235-6000
Web: the-berkeley.co.uk



NEXT: Ruski’s >>

 

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FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: There’s a full-sized stuffed bear inside Ruski’s Caviar & Vodka Tavern, where founders Diego Bivero-Volpe and Antoin Commane hope their guests will “drink with comrades and dine like tsars.”

Paying tongue-in-cheek homage to Russia’s history of tsarist reign, imperialism and communism with a nod to the Soviet era, Ruski’s is opposite Kensington Palace (pop in there for a look at some royal dresses in the “Fashion Rules” exhibition), and decked out in all the paraphernalia you’d expect from an ode to the Motherland, like matryoshka dolls as cocktail glasses.

But it’s not just about the vodka here (served frozen or at exactly 8 degrees, just like in Russia): Michael Riemenschneider, former head chef at Nobu, has created the menu, which includes caviar and chips, smoked salmon and steak tartare, and caviar club sandwiches.

Meanwhile, caviar and vodka flights will help you feel like a true Russian oligarch. Things get rowdy after 11 p.m. — in a good way— with vodka shots all but compulsory if you stick around. Word has it that Arizona Muse is hosting her birthday party here during fashion week, ahead of the official opening on Sept. 26.

J.N.

Ruski’s
1 Kensington High Street, W8 5NP
Tel.: +44-020-3747-6919
Web: ruskis.com



NEXT: Club to Catwalk >>

 

RELATED STORY: London Preview — Ones to Watch >>

CLUB KIDS: London’s fashion scene hasn’t been as big or as relevant as it is today since the Eighties, in the heyday of London’s legendary clubs — Taboo, Circus, Cha Cha, Blitz and Asylum — when the only time your outfit really mattered was after dark.

The Victoria & Albert’s “Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s” exhibition is a thorough exploration of the city’s nightlife and its convergence with the explosion of British fashion in the decade. More than 90 outfits by designers including Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Katharine Hamnett, Jasper Conran and Paul Smith are on show alongside magazines that were central to capturing and propagating the club and street looks of the time — The Face, i-D and Blitz.

Accessories by the likes of Stephen Jones, Judy Blame and Patrick Cox are on display, as is a riveting film of the 1986 auction of customized denim jackets commissioned by Blitz magazine in collaboration with Levi Strauss & Co.; Leigh Bowery’s modeling efforts are car-crash compelling, and his golden bobby pin creation is adjacent.

J.N.

Club to Catwalk
Victoria & Albert Museum
Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Tel.: +44-020-7942-2000
Web: vam.ac.uk



NEXT: Babbo Restaurant >>

 

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NOURISHING NIBBLES: Family-run Italian restaurant Babbo has designed a special high-nutrient superfood menu just for London Fashion Week. Head chef Carlo Scotto has created healthy lineup for showgoers: a salad of handpicked crab meat with avocado and hazelnuts; tuna carpaccio with wild asparagus and aubergine puree, and John Dory with fresh peas, broad beans and dry tomato and beetroot puree.

A Mayfair favorite of Stella McCartney, Kate Beckinsale and Claudia Schiffer, Babbo will serve its fashion fare from Sept. 13 to 17, priced at 45 pounds, or $70 at current exchange, for three courses.

L.M.

Babbo Restaurant
39 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JQ
Tel.: +44-020-3205-1099
Web: babborestaurant.co.uk



NEXT: Union Street Café >>

 

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CULINARY COLLAB: With his latest H&M underwear collection and a new fragrance out, former soccer star David Beckham can also add restaurateur to his résumé. He’s teaming up with Gordon Ramsay on the Union Street Café, an eatery with a Mediterranean-style menu that uses ingredients from nearby Borough market and specially sourced artisan ingredients from the Mediterranean.

Nestled on the corner of Union and Great Suffolk Streets, it’s within walking distance of the Tate Modern, London Bridge and The Shard. Don’t be fooled by the name — this is more restaurant than café, with starched tablecloths and grown-up stemware.

L.M.

Union Street Café
47-51 Great Suffolk Street, SE1 0BS
Web: gordonramsay.com/union-street-cafe/



NEXT: Sketch >>

 

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PRIMPING POP-UP: London’s glossy posse loves Josh Wood, treater of tresses of Kristen McMenamy and Elle Macpherson, among other great manes. He’s setting up at kooky restaurant and bar Sketch on Conduit Street in Mayfair to deliver dry-style blowouts with breakfast and Essie mini-manis during fashion week. In just 45 minutes, the Josh Wood team, who operate out of the Josh Wood Atelier at nearby Liberty, will sort out hair and nails, with a Sketch breakfast that includes pastries, fruit salad and muesli on the side, for 25 pounds, or $39. The pop-up salon will be open from Sept. 13 to 17, from 8 to 10:30 a.m.

L.M.

Sketch
9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG
Tel.: +44-020-7659-4500
Web: sketch.uk.com/booking.php



NEXT: Buckingham Palace, SW1A AA >>

 

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London Scene Queen’s Coronation

“The Queen’s Coronation 1953”

Photo By Courtesy Photo

CORONATION COUTURE: To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, an exhibit of royal clothes, “The Queen’s Coronation 1953,” is on display at Buckingham Palace through Sept. 29.

While she is in Balmoral, Scotland, for her summer holiday, the palace is open to the public, who will be able to view some of the most momentous costumes worn at the coronation. On display will be her coronation dress designed by Norman Hartnell, and her robe made by Ede & Ravenscroft and embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.

The palace has reunited these robes, dresses and uniforms worn by other members of the royal family, which have not been seen together for 60 years. The exhibition also features black-and-white portraits and photographs, private home movies and two coronation banquets set with Georgian porcelain and floral arrangements.

L.M.

Buckingham Palace, SW1A AA
Tel.: +44-020-7930-4832
Web: royal.gov.uk



NEXT: Disco London >>

 

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NIGHT FEVER: If the team behind a new Carnaby-area night spot is to be believed, the last days of disco are far from over. From Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, the posh founders of Mr Fogg’s just down the road, Disco is a revival of all that was fun and fabulous about the disco movement. Like the duo’s other establishments, everything is done with a tongue planted firmly in the cheek: There are choreographed routines from singers and dancers, a DJ booth inside a giant disco ball, bar staff clad in bow ties and braces (and little else), drinks served in receptacles modeled after Michael Jackson and Donna Summer and a Pan Am-inspired lounge where stewardesses issue boarding passes and check personal items into the cloakroom via an automated conveyor belt before guests enter the club through airplane doors. Shake your groove thing.

J.N.

Disco London
13 Kingly Court, W1B 5PW
Tel.: +44-020-7299-1222
Web: disco-london.com

 

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