Shop Tactics with Giacomo Maccioni

Along with delectable Northern Italian cuisine, Cecconi’s fabled Mayfair restaurant boasts one of the most likable restaurant managers in town – Giacomo Maccioni. Originally from Sardinia, Giacomo moved to London in 1979 and started his career at the Vendome Restaurant on Dover Street. Two years into the job, he was forced to do an about-turn and enlist for National Service with a Sardinian tank regiment.

REW_0869

Having climbed the ranks to corporal major, Giacomo returned to London in 1982, becoming headwaiter at Scott’s on Mount Street. In 1990, he joined the team at Cecconi’s, first as chef de rang and then as assistant general manager. After Soho House & Co acquired Cecconi’s in 2004, Giacomo was promoted to general manager and has held the role ever since.

Away from the buzz of Cecconi’s, you’ll find Giacomo zipping about on his Honda Fireblade motorbike in the Hertfordshire countryside where he resides with his wife and two children. On vacation in Italy, he enjoys climbing the Sardinian mountains with friends. Back in Mayfair, his attention turns to chocolate, shoes and other coveted pieces from his favourite haunts, which he reveals below:

Charbonnel et Walker, 1 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street 

Charbonnel et Walker’s chocolates are fabulous! When I want to spoil my wife, I always pop in here to choose a good selection of chocolates for her. I also like to buy Charbonnel et Walker chocolates as a ‘thank you’ gift. The staff at Cecconi’s will verify this!

Mulberry, 50 New Bond Street

Mulberry products are such high quality, I find its bags rather hard to resist. They are also practical – you can tell that each design is well thought-through. I own a few Mulberry bags, and my wife is also a fan of its handbags. The latest addition to her collection is the classic black Bayswater, which goes with everything.

Richard James, 29 Savile Row

I am a big fan of contemporary British tailor Richard James. I have several suits from him, made-to-measure as well as off the peg, and scores of fitted shirts. Richard’s style of tailoring is timeless yet contemporary and Andrew Black who manages the Savile Row store is a top guy. I’d say he’s one of the nicest people I have ever met!

Camper, 8-11 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street

I love this shop. I have about ten pairs of shoes from Camper and I wear them constantly. I just love the simplicity and the originality of Camper’s designs, not to mention how comfortable the shoes are to wear.

Claridge’s Hotel, Brook St

Claridge’s is housed in such an iconic building. The stunning Art Deco touches make this hotel so special. I do like going for the odd afternoon tea there. The finger sandwiches are so light and delicious.

Advertisements

Highly Spun: Johnstons of Elgin

Johnstons of Elgin’s fabric archive is nestled deep in the Scottish countryside. Its shelves bear the weight of heavy leather-bound tomes, the kind of books you could imagine a wizened sorceress dusting off in search of a potent cure-all. Instead, the weathered pages appear to contain swatches of tweed and handwritten notes stretching back to when this celebrated cashmere and fine wool producer was first established as a family business in 1797. Since then, it has only ever been owned by two families; the Johnstons, and current owners the Harrisons.

_O8A0643

Today, with increasing numbers of British designers and international luxury fashion houses relying on it for their cashmere, Johnstons is as much about innovation as it is heritage. Last month saw the opening of a new London flagship – its first ever store outside Scotland – at 77 New Bond Street. Set over five levels, the 230 square metre space houses its womenswear and menswear collections, as well as its home and interior line. Company CEO Simon Cotton couldn’t be happier with the current location. “Bond Street is a destination known and understood throughout the world. Buyers and consumers come here looking for top British brands,” he says.

There are more reasons to be optimistic. Scotland’s cashmere and woollen industry has been on an upward trajectory for some time now, with luxury manufacturers driving significant growth. As a result, Scottish manufacturers such as Johnstons, along with Hawick Cashmere and Barrie (the latter is owned by Chanel) are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance.

“We are very much part of the ‘Made in the UK’ trend in luxury goods although Scotland has its own specialities, particularly around cashmere and other fine fibres,” says Cotton. “I feel that some Scottish companies are gaining in confidence and ambition and have realised they can sit comfortably amongst the very best in the world,” he adds.

_O8A0271

Scottish cloth is undoubtedly a unique product, which many attribute to the soft spring waters used in the manufacturing process. This natural liquid asset is said to help the yarns hold their texture. Incidentally, the same water goes into the world’s most celebrated whiskies. Scottish textile producers also have a knack of weaving in the soft muted tones of the Scottish landscape into each and every fabric. Johnstons Spring/Summer 2016 collection for instance is awash with faded blues and cool graphite greys. Lightweight Guernsey knits with exaggerated rib detailing and two-tone waffle knits also feature throughout.

Looking at the year ahead, the company will continue to invest in the latest generation of knitting equipment to meet increasing demand for its woven jacquards. Says Cotton: “Our focus is on continuing to build on our expertise and make even more beautiful and innovative products. Every year our teams surprise me by raising the bar even further and I am extremely excited about the collections we are working on, both for ourselves and other people.”

Whichever way you spin it, this forward-thinking cashmere brand is on a roll!


Bond’s Best 

le_kit_de_sport_de_berluti_7517.jpeg_north_982x_white

Berluti’s Toys For Boys

From the Rio Olympics to Euro 2016 it promises to be quite a year for major sporting events. Furthermore, if the style pundits are right, menswear’s recently coined ‘athleisure’ trend will continue to make the leap from track and field, to next season’s runways.

As for the pursuit of the body beautiful, what better way to kick-start your New Year’s exercise regime than with Berluti’s luxury fitness kit? The Paris-based menswear brand has teamed up with German high-end fitness manufacturer Hock Design, to create this set of minimalist dumbbells (£860) and lightweight skipping rope (£340). One glance at the oiled walnut handles and vegetable-tanned leather rope is enough to set your pulse racing.

Berluti, 43 Conduit Street

Rocking the Art World

Self-taught visual artist Geronimo, aka ‘Jumping Bull’, was first introduced to Keith Richards during the final leg of a Rolling Stones world tour. A firm friendship was forged and several years later, Keith, along with Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood, still takes centre stage in this Native American artist’s paintings, portraits and sculptures. The band’s legendary tongue logo, made from flattened Coke cans, also ranks high among Jumping Bull’s most recognised pieces. His latest work can be seen in a new solo show running this month at The Club at The Café Royal. In conversation below, the artist tells of overcoming colour blindness and how a troubled past led to a successful career in art.

JumpingBull

“Homeless gangster, businessman, composer, performer, music producer… That’s the story of my life before I became an artist. Late 1990 and I’m in jail for old offences. It was there that I began to paint. Initially it became my therapy, allowing me to rid myself of my inner demons. Art gave me freedom in every sense. It became my reason to live and has contributed to my personal evolution. Two years after my release from prison I staged a museum exhibition. One year later I had my first international exhibition.

The Rolling Stones are an inexhaustible source of inspiration to me. Keith, Mick, Charlie and Ronnie are legendary icons. The band as a whole, but also as individuals, has been my main inspiration for several years. I’m fascinated by their incredible charisma, but also by the myths and legends that have developed around a group that has thrived for over 50 years.

Geronimo3

Attachment-1

When I first met Keith Richards, we spent the whole night in his hotel suite putting the world to rights.  It was not an evening of sex and drugs, but one of rich exchanges and deep conversation. I met Keith the man, a humanist – not the rock star persona.  On another occasion, I visited a Buddhist temple with Charlie Watts and introduced him to the Tibetan monk, Lama Karta. Charlie then invited us both to a Rolling Stones concert where Lama and I went on stage to experience the effect of being in front of 100,000 people. It was an indescribable moment. Mick Jagger then asked to have his photo taken with us. Later, I met Ronnie Wood. Recently I created a giant LP for him. I also have one of his paintings in my studio. In 2014, Ronnie and I exhibited in London and later New York, in a show called:”50 Years of Rocking the Art World: a Celebration of The Rolling Stones”.

Geronimo2

I am a self-taught artist and I created my own style. Andy Warhol created Pop Art and you could say Jumping Bull created Rock Art.  I suffer from colour blindness or achromatopsia. When I was a child, I lost my sight for about three months. I recovered the sight but without colours. Today I see in black and white but also a whole range of grey.  All the colours in my work are based on memories. I remember that tomatoes are red for example.

I don’t have a favourite medium. I use China ink, masonry paint, acrylic and lime paint. I am comfortable painting on wood, metal or on linen canvas. I recycle. I create leather or polyester or metal pieces. This ensures I never get bored. Each of my works marks a new adventure and a clinch with my inner demons. I paint, I sculpt, I create objects and I make music and poetry. The artist I admire most is Mother Nature. Who else can create an oversized work such as the Grand Canyon or a mystical work like the Amazon rainforest?

I’m really excited to be showing my work in London again. An ideal stay in London for me would start with English breakfast at The Wolseley followed by a walk to Portobello Road to shop the vintage stores. Next, I’d visit some museums and art galleries. Lunch would be at Cipriani on Davies Street or fish and chips at Poppies in Camden. I love the decor at Poppies. In the afternoon I’d stop for a Guinness in The Hawley Arms pub – also in Camden – then I’d spend quality time at the Wendy House Studios with my friend Jerry and have an aperitif with another friend Byron, at The Café Royal. Finally, dinner at Koya would be followed by theatre or a musical comedy.”