Tag Archives: Mayfair

Frieze Week: Pavilion of Art & Design London

Last night, I headed down to the VIP Opening of the Pavilion of Art & Design in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, which will be the home of the hot pink palace until Sunday.

Pavilion is a reinvention of last year’s DesignArtLondon fair, with the new addition of contemporary art pieces.

Among the guests inside were the cream of the internation art community – the world’s wealthiest art dealers and collectors, distinguished art critics and mini Dasha Zhukovas clad in Hervé Leger and Louboutins (black, of course).

Pavilion art fair

This is a place where the buyer is treated like one of the family, sales are negociated over glasses of Ruinart champagne (I wangled a thimble full of fizz perfection) and the press are treated to an earlier lunch and preview, which I unfortunately missed.  

Pavilion features 45 of the world’s most prominent and influential dealers of contemporary art, design and decorative arts.  Galleries from Paris, London, Brussels, Milan, New York, Barcelona and Geneva are showing a covetable selection of fine art, antique jewellery, statement furniture and design pieces.

Skulls

As a self-confessed magpie, I spent a great deal of time pawing over exquisite jewellery created by some of Britain’s greatest contemporary artists presented by Louisa Guinness Gallery.

Jewellery has been a relatively unexplored medium in art and Louisa Guinness sought to change that by working with high-profile sculpters and painters to create ‘jewels of art’.

On display was a giant gold orb necklaces by Anish Kapoor, a ruby necklace spelling out ‘cunt’ by Sam Taylor-Wood, colourful geometric necklace by Meret Oppenheim and Louise Bourgeois’ silver Araña brooch.

jewellery

On the design front, Todd Merrill’s Studio Contemporary (New York) features some subversive, hand crafted pieces such as a feather-light molecular chair and Galerie Downtown François Laffanour mixes the functionality of iconic designers like Le Corbusier with more avant-garde pieces by George Nakashima and Takis.

velvet chair

 A highlight for me was seeing two mixed media pieces by Gottfried Helnwein – The Red Gun and a lucid, blue-tinted portrait  – represented by Friedman Benda.

Toshio Shibata’s Japanese bondage photographs at Michael Hoppen Gallery were intriguing and enigmatic and I marvelled at the two Francis Bacon paintings at Faggionato Fine Art.

Art

A great start to the art world’s version of London Fashion Week, but if you’re actually in the market for an artwork, you better get there quick, as some sales were reportedly made before the fair even opened!

Pavilion of Art & Design London is on from 14 – 18 October in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, W1J 6ES. 

Tickets are £15, FREE for students and children under 15.

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Chocolate Unwrapped in Mayfair

Sampling some of the world’s finest chocolate in Mayfair sounded like a glorious way to spend a Sunday afternoon, so I headed down to the May Fair Hotel for Chocolate Unwrapped, the first show dedicated solely to delicious cocoa goodness.  It was like entering Marie-Antoinette’s boudoir, with an intoxicating scent of chocolate and tables laden with exquisite morsels and pretty, shiny wrappers – I was in heaven!

chocolate festival

Part of the UK’s Chocolate Week, Chocolate Uncovered featured exhibits from 25 of the country’s most respected and innovative chocolatiers and talks from Rococo founder Chantal Coady, the MD of Hotel Chocolat and Visit Mexico.  Samples were unlimited and plentiful and aside from atempting a full-on sugar coma, you could peruse dessert cookery books from Foyles and admire the incredible chocolate sculptures by renowned artists and chocolatiers.

I adored Rococo’s fragrant earl grey and rose scented chocolate bars, Paul Wayne Gregory’s salted caramels, Pacari’s cocoa nibs and Paul A. Young’s gooey ultimate chocolate fudge brownies.

Chocolate dress

Being the geek that I am, I had to make it an educational trip, so I attended the talk given by Visit Mexico and the co-founder of the authenic Mexican restaurant Mestizo, on the history of chocolate and its importance in Mexican cuisine.

I discovered that cocoa was drunk by the ancient civilisations of Central America, including the Aztec and Maya communities from as early as 2000BC.  It was taken back to the court of Spain in 1527AD and eventually reached England in the 1650s and, like gin, was used for medicinal purposes.

But the main part of the talk was the celebratory role that chocolate plays in Mexican culture – chocolate skulls are exchanged like Valentine’s roses on the Day of the Dead and mole (pronounced ‘molay’) is laboriously prepared for weddings, funerals and religious holidays.

mole

Mole is an aromatic sauce that usually accompanies different kinds of meat and is created using a blend of onion, garlic, tomatilla, dried chilli, nuts, seeds, spices and of course, chocolate.  There are many different kinds of mole originating from various regions in Mexico, all with different colours and flavours.

We sampled the brown Mole Poblano, slow-roasted with chicken and it was one of the most complex, flavoursome sauces I’ve ever tasted.  It reminds me a lot of my favourite Iranian dish, Fesen Joon – a textured sauce made from ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses and served with chicken.

Chocolate Unwrapped’s chocolatiers will be hosting a series of talks, tasting sessions and demonstrations around London for Chocolate Week.  There will be also chocolate-themed afternoon teas and set menus at selected restaurants as part of London Restaurant Festival.

Chocolate Week runs from 12-18 October and events will be held at venues across London.  Check out  www.chocolate-week.co.uk for more details.

A.P.C…easy as YMC

Following the pre-recession trend of investing in simple, classic pieces, London fashion has gone back to basics. Luckily, the leaders of the utilitarian revolution have set up camp in London, just in time to supply us with some natty autumn knitwear.

British label YMC (You Must Create) opened their new loftspace a few days ago in Soho and French fashion house A.P.C (Atelier de Production et de Création) have made themselves at home close to Dover Street Market in Mayfair’s most minimalist neighbourhood.

YMC store front

YMC has been delivering well-made classics with a twist since 1995, but is having a bit of a ‘moment’ right now, with devotees Alexa Chung, The Horrors and Claudia Schiffer championing the label.  Their Spring/Summer 09 collection was awash with twee embroidered knits, sailor girl dresses, patterned playsuits and a multitude of stripes – mixing folk and prairie chic with a good old dose of Northern Soul.  The store is now stocking their Autumn/Winter 09/10 collection, but if birdwatching chic isn’t your thing, then it’s still worth a gander round the shop.

YMC inside

YMC’s loftspace is like an old curiosity shop with victoriana artefacts, retro gym equipment and some creepy taxidermy.  You’ve got to be impressed by a two-headed crow, but I can imagine A.P.C owner Jean Touitou’s gallic lip curling at the sight of such antiquated articles of yore.  

A.P.C’s new London flagship store is a much sleeker affair, and has just been officially launched, despite being already open this summer.  The interior is just as unfussy as A.P.C, with smooth wooden shelving and plenty of natural light.

A.P.C

A.P.C are best known for their innovative denim, but their Autumn/Winter 09 collection is all about checks, bright statement colours and marine-inspired tops – so, not that far away from YMC, then.

While a £100 plaid shirt doesn’t feature highly on my new season wish list, it’s good to know that it’s now a lot easier to find a decent winter coat to go with the H&M coral angora mitten I’ve got my eye on!

A.P.C  35a Dover Street, Mayfair, London

11 Poland Street, Soho, London W1