Copyright All Eyes On Her
Our “to do” list never gets done. Currently, it’s expanding, in keeping with the saccharine rich seasonal feel. So as the decade draws to a timely end we decided to get our priorities in order, call it the London lady’s social resolution- detox is not the new black, January is!
Top tens are of course the traditional approach but the imminent annus spectaculaire (positive energy people) lends itself to an extra treat…..our top 11 categories for 2011, all in our eyes:
Bars that simply serve drinks are no longer enough for the discerning socialite. People want more creativity with their hard liquor, a little emotional and cerebral stimulation to wash it all down with. As a result we have welcomed a new breed of establishment, headed up by the likes of DRINK, SHOP, DO and The Book Club. At the former you drink cocktails out of teacups, munch on homemade snacks, buy products from emerging London based designers, but better still DO too (how apt for the first on a to do list). There is the opportunity to do all sorts of crafty endeavours: making corsages, printing, cutting and sticking, sitting at round tables with your girlfriends in heart warming “Little Women” (with attitude) style .
Meanwhile, at The Book Club, the proprietors’ promise an;
“alternative menu of brain-teasing and mind-expanding thought for food in the form of workshops, talks, cultural showcases, parties, ping pong, pool and the best in new music”.
www.drinkshopdo.com; No 9 Calendonian Road, N1 9DX
www.wearetbc.com; 100-106 Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH
2. Fashion Forecast
2010 had our fashion pulses raising with new openings (as previously saluted LV Maison 17-20 Bond Street and Mui Mui 123 New Bond Street), new pairings (Alber Elbaz of Lanvin showing H&M some love; Valentino at GAP) and new concepts (er, meat dresses?! thanks Lady Gaga!). There were the victors (V Beckham seems to finally found some adoration and a huge celebrity following) and the Meldrews (Lindsay Lohan plus Ungaro- a collaboration described as “truly, deeply horrible”).
What will 2011 bring? We have our eyes on The Kooples, a brand with French beginnings, but three recently opened stores in London. A relative infant across the Channel, (launched two years ago) it’s target audience is snake-hipped rock ‘n’ roll types and their groovy, too-cool-for-school, plus ones. Founded by three brothers who, as the sons of the people behind Comptoir des Cotonniers, have fashion in their blood, it is a brand truly aimed at men AND women. The advertising campaign features genuine, too chic, couples and they describe their fashion line as “Masculine/ Feminine, slightly androgynous and modern…with inspiration from the codes of rock music” and a signature that is all about the details.
The Kooples: Anna & Lars
Sticking with the androgenous vibe, Mr Porter (pronounced Mr Port-ER not Mr Port-AY) launches in January 2011. Rather than choosing an easier pace of life after Richemont acquired the majority of Net-a-Porter, Natalie Massanet has shifted her sights concentrating on an alternative project- and what a project it is! All the “metro” men in our life (including SK’s brother- SK Junior) are looking forward to the global designer brands and niche specialist brands that are promised.
Meanwhile, Matthew Williamson is launching a diffusion range called Muse, aimed at “the younger sister of the Williamson woman” and all eyes are on Carine Roitfield, the recently de-throned editor of French Vogue, who is currently remaining very tight lipped about where she plans to turn her midas touch attention!
3. Hotly Anticipated Movies; Up & Coming Movie Stars
We’re hoping that our personal link to Hollywood, Ravi Kumar (a Paediatrician turned Director no less, and an All Eyes On Her friend), will finally get to show his much awaited movie Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain. This is a story based on the events surrounding the biggest industrial disaster in human history, starring Martin Sheen, Kal Penn and Mischa Barton (see picture below- thanks Ravi). We’ve had a sneak peek at some of the shots, and the visual imagery looks spectacular, hence we are eagerly awaiting it’s release in full technicolour glory- and may even be able to report to readers direct from the red carpet itself! Watch this space!
Meanwhile, the hype surrounding The King’s Speech is building. Could this be Mr Firth’s second, more successful bite of the Academy Award cherry? Forget that wet shirt your mother told you about, Mr Darcy is coming at us with a one -two punch (first, in 2010, as George in aesthetically pleasing A Single Man) and now as Bertie, a life-long stutterer on a quest to find his voice when crowned King George VI of England in 1936. We love a true story and welcome the return of our old teenage dream Guy Pearce (sans Neighbours fromage) as our best supporting actor.
Hanna (Joe Wright re-creating Atonement magic with Saoirse Ronan), Blue Valentine and Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen showing Carla Bruni the ropes) are all on the very same “Must View” list. As for bright young things, Elle Fanning sets to build on her Somewhere star performance, outshining twilight Dakota, whilst Brit, Michelle Dockery has moved Downto(w)n to LA, where Hollywood is showing unexpected, but welcome interest.
Fashion and film fuse with Rodarte designing the entire wardrobe for the twisted thriller The Black Swan, and Angelina Jolie allegedly in talks with Ridley Scott about a Gucci bio-pic.
4. Hotel Bars
W Hotel, London is a heavily anticipated chic addition to the hotel scene, due to open on 14th February 2011 in the heart of Theatreland in Leicester Square. Throughout our London lives we have avoided this renowned tourist trap district, but are willing to take a gamble that this international hospitality giant may just give it a well-deserved lift. Images of the glass fronted hotel are pending, but the short film starring David Gandy and Helena Christensen called “Away We Stay” provides a promising promotion; watch it here.
The Savoy Hotel reopened on 10/10/10 . Following the most ambitious hotel restoration in British history, it is ready once again to take centre stage in the heart of the capital and of Londoners. This hotel likes to be a leader, it was the first in London to have electricity and functioning lifts; for 2010 they have introduced a butler service and a £10,000 a night Royal Suite.
One hundred and twenty one years after it’s original launch and following a rumoured £200 million cash injection there are 7 bars and restaurants including a Gordon Ramsey eatery; we will be reporting back from the Beaufort Bar, built on the hotel’s original cabaret stage, following an invitation-only event early in the new year.
With all this activity we are going to need some fuel and London has some promising prospects opening this year. Heston Blumenthal opens his first London restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental – before Dinner by Heston we will be nipping in for an aperitif at the hotel bar, one of our old faithfuls. There will be no mention of dicky tummys nor noir canards, just the divine kind of culinary alchemy we come to expect from this genius chef.
Jason Atherton, is another celeb chef promising to spread his wings with The Pollen Street Social. Atherton explains the concept as guests “being able to use a fine-dining restaurant for anything they want, not just for the food, but for the atmosphere, for the Champagne, for the private areas, for the bar; so it’s a social place”. We are particularly impressed with the date-friendly dessert bar concept; as a London first, the area will be dedicated to the final fling of the meal or for those who just want to skip straight to dessert and coffee!
For something at altitude The Pinnacle Tower will keep the city chaps well fed and The Post Office Tower promises to stir memories for the couple credited with rearing SK. For something a little different The Disappearing Dining Club hosts meals in reclaimed or unusual spaces in London. The permanent resident location is the Old Street Dining Room where bookings can be made for two to ten friends, colleagues or complete strangers to sit around a single table; but on the first Saturday of the month the Dinner Dance will move to an alternative, guest location; aiming to serve dinner from 8pm, with drinks, music, dancing and conversation into the wee small hours. The secret supperclub trend looks set to keep on growing.
Dinner, www.dinnerbyheston.com, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.
The Pollen Street Social, 8-13 Pollen Street, W1S 1NQ
The Disappearing Dinner Club, www.disappearingdiningclub.com
There are a plethora of exhibitions opening in 2011 with YBA (Young British Artist) original Tracey Emin reclaiming her sovereignty with two showings. The Hayward Gallery will host a major retrospective of her work, reminding us of the autobiographical fodder that helped her find fame, alongside lesser known pieces of sculpture, photography and film. In the second display, she reveals work born out of a collaboration with the late Lousie Bourgeois, “Do Not Abandon Me” will be shown at Hauser and Wirth on Saville Row.
Do Not Abandon Me, Tracey Emin
The Saatchi gallery promises to build on it’s success of the last year with shows named “Out of Focus: Photography Now” and “Body language”. And for late comers there is still time to catch the GSK Contemporary offering “Aware; Art, Fashion, Identity” (closes January 30th), Bloomberg New Contemporaries (until 23rd January) at the ICA and Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion at The Barbican (closes 6th February).
GSK Contemporary; Aware, Art, Fashion, Identity
Finally, The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world, and an essential part of the London art calendar. It brings together a wide range of work by established, as well as unknown and emerging artists and has been held annually since the Academy was established in 1768. There is no theme for 2011 but previous expositions include “From Life”, “Man made” and “Raw”. It runs from 7th June to 15th August.
7. Staying In
With all this to do we are going to need some down time. Every year we are told that staying in is the new going out but in 2011 we need a reason to stay in. As a backlash to all the “technification” (new word for ’11) of our modern lives we agree that sometimes there is a need to hang out with your girlfriends and focus on the important things in life; like crafts and pretending we are still teenagers. Knitting, making wooden Vogue place mats and pottery have all had their moment.
Home based bonding has taken off in the last few years and there are lots of ways to make it work: gourmet nights involving wine and cheese tasting, book clubs (keep your eyes peeled for Literature We Lust – a future feature of this blog) and fashion swapping parties . There are endless films that have reached DVD without our prior viewing. Never Let Me Go, Let the Right One and a whole host of independent offerings are perfect movie club material.
8. Members Clubs.
This kind of establishment could be disregarded from featuring in one’s social calendar due to their stuffy and starchy reputation. Previously they were for grey-haired, balding types to retire by an open fire with a broadsheet in one hand, favourite tipple in the other, unperturbed by mobile phones (and, god forbid, women). However, times change; the wearing of a tie is no longer an essential requirement of most of the newer members clubs, women are welcomed, and 2010 led me to be surprised by a few we visited. Whilst the one’s we care not to go to again shall be left out, here are some which did have their own unique charm.
Home House. This is a recently restored Georgian townhouse overlooking Portland Square where one can escape from the hustle, bustle and over zealous tourists of nearby Oxford Street and instead soak up the exquisitely beautiful setting. The outside was built in 1771 by Robert Adam and during the revolution it became the French Embassy. The Candy & Candy refurbishment has restored the interior to it’s 19th Century neo-classical grandeur, with a modern and minimalist twist. Climbing the grand staircase to the drawing rooms there are artworks aplenty and an opulent element Marie Antoinette would approve of. By contrast the Zaha Hadid designed bar (pictured below) brings you refreshingly back to the 21st Century. We were so impressed by our surroundings SK had to forgive TLB (Tall, leggy, brunette- one of our partners in crime for those not familiar) for dropping an Amaretto & Sours all over her whilst we perched at the House Bar. TLB was, after all, our method of admission…a smile and a swish of the hair aren’t enough to gain entry here unfortunately.
www.homehouse.co.uk; 20 Portman Square, London, W1H 6LW
British Luxury Club(a.k.a BLC)- This place isn’t for the faint hearted. It is only open between 3am and 6am and is hidden away behind an unassuming discreet door in the heart of Mayfair on New Bond Street. The inside is slightly clinical in a midnight blue colour, dominated by a Swarovski covered bar. The crowd are of a particular type- moneyed and as is often sadly the case, not necessarily of good taste. (If WE had excess pounds at our disposal, WE would pick tasteful designer items!) Don’t let this totally put you off though- there was a pleasant lack of WAGs and Big Brother rejects (all so common in any club this end of town) and whilst many we spoke to do not know the same reality that we do, they were friendly with good banter. There simply aren’t many places in this city open at this time with loud, funky music that makes you wish your Louboutin clad toes could last till sunrise.
9. Cyber Strolling
Being true to our blogging roots we thought it only right to dedicate one category to web based enrichment. The net is expanding and we have become truly caught up in it. There are themed blogs for every imaginable hobby, including some we would rather not know about. Some of our favourite sites and fellow blog artistes include;
-For thinking ladies lunch time browsing;
-For the latest social happenings;
-For fellow bloggers;
Technology is a huge part of 21st century life and the race to produce the next big gadget is gathering pace. Rumours are abound on the net that the iPhone 5 will potentially launch in February/March 2011. Given that our iPhone 3’s (a life changing item) are looking a bit battered and we just could not bring ourselves to upgrade to the chunkier, less stylish “4”, we are championing those clever little people over at Apple to come up with the perfect blend of sleek sophisticated geek. There may be plans to incorporate Near Field Communication (NFC) into the “5”, a wireless way of transmitting data which potentially allows mobile payment (acting as a debit card), mobile ticketing and even acts as an electronic key replacing the traditional ones used to unlock your front door.
While they are busy with that their competitors are already formulating rivals for the iPad with (amongst others) Blackberry working on the (very uncorporate sounding) Playbook. On a recent trip to a very old money, Parisian hotel bar we were presented with an electronic menu, with promises it will soon be replaced with an iPad, confirming our suspicion that tablet computers are set to become the essential luxe lifestyle object. We might hang on for the iPad 2 which should come complete with a camera and FaceTime support, a gyroscope to match the iPhone 4, a faster processor and possibly sleeker design.
11. Launch Party.
And finally, we reach number 11. We hope you took some suitable tea and cake breaks along the way! It’s going to be a good year readers, we can feel it in our blood. Whilst this blog (a project of ours that takes us away from the sweat and tears we shed in our day jobs) was conceptualised in 2010, we are planning an official launch soiree in 2011. We don’t want to reveal too much, but in true ‘All Eyes On Her‘ style we guarantee the right blend of nostalgia and forward thinking, with plenty of reminiscing and even more forward gazing. Keep reading for your official invite!
Happy New Year and Happy Reading!
Love HG & SK xxx