Morton’s, London’s exclusive, yet relaxed private members’ club, has been at the centre of Mayfair’s bustling social scene for 40 years. Once the private home of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Grade II listed building, with its basement nightclub and striking first floor restaurant, overlooks the length of Berkeley Square.
Last month, its owners, husband and wife team Marlon and Nadya Abela, acquired The Square restaurant on Bruton Street. It is where we meet one half of this entrepreneurial duo, the effortlessly chic Russian-born Nadya, who couldn’t be happier with the way business is going.
Nadya’s journey began at the University of Moscow, where after embarking on a course in psychology she moved to London to further her studies. But it wasn’t long before a model agency scout spotted her, and a prestigious fashion career spanning almost two decades quickly ensued.
In 2014, Nadya decided to put her fashion experience to good use, launching the childrenswear brand, Roly Pony, with business partner Aytan Eldarova. Then, there is her admirable philanthropic side. Over the last ten years, Nadya has helped a number of charities across Russia. In 2015 she founded her own charity, Nadezda, which offers both medical help to children with various illnesses and disabilities as well as financial support for further education.
Back to Morton’s Club and its enviable position on Berkeley Square. Nadya says: “We are fortunate to be neighbours with Phillips, so I feel spoilt being so close to all those rare collectors’ items and the excitement that each auction brings.” She recounts more of her favourite addresses below:
Safiyaa, 43 Brook Street
I met Daniela Karnuts at a fundraising event for my charity Nadezda last year and we instantly hit it off. Her brand is only six seasons old but already she is considered by many as the go to brand for formalwear, given her use of stunning couture fabrics. All her garments, whether elevated daywear items or bespoke gowns, are made with love and care and are hand-sewn from start to finish. Despite her lack of formal training, Daniela was inspired by her mother and grandmother’s inherent sense of style, which really comes through in her timeless collections. Her gorgeous boutique on Brook Street is a haven of calm, inspiration and glamour for all those who visit.
Bernard Quaritch, 40 South Audley Street
Founded in London in 1847, Bernard Quaritch sells rare books, manuscripts and photographs to private and institutional clients across the globe. Its specialist subjects include photography, science, travel, the fine arts, English and international literature, Islamic and European manuscripts, and early printed books. Current items include a first edition of Marx’s works and Soviet verses for children. I love going in there – it is like travelling back in time. The staff are always so happy to offer advice. Even if I’m not looking for something specific in mind, often I always leave with something tucked under my arm.
Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street
I always love visiting Sotheby’s on Bond Street (as well as when I’m in NYC), for an insight into the some of the world’s most exciting collectables. It always has eye-catching window displays, which draw you in as you walk by. I have often made time to look at a specific sale item ahead of an auction and have ended up spending two hours lost in a world of history and antiquity. As one of the oldest auction houses, I love how Sotheby’s maintains its heritage yet translates it across digital media. I always check its Instagram feed to see what is going on and love the videos it posts on Facebook, especially featuring the collectors themselves.
Chalayan, 2 Bourdon Street
It was my husband who first introduced me to the fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, who has since become a friend. My husband is passionate about art and we both love Hussein’s approach to art and design. The Chalayan brand is celebrated for innovation and the ability to push boundaries through its seasonal shows and museum exhibitions. The collections offer alternative, yet timeless design, that intrigue and excite without compromising on precision or tailoring. Chalayan’s first London boutique is located on Bourdon Street, right behind Morton’s Club and we have hosted a number of events with Hussein, including a private presentation of the Spring/Summer 2016 collection and an insightful interview hosted by the contemporary art and design specialist, Andrée Cooke.
Cartier, 175-177 New Bond Street
Cartier has long been a favourite jewellery brand of mine. From its pens to the unique and priceless showpieces – each one makes a statement in its own way. My mother-in-law has long been a collector and together we share an admiration for the craftsmanship that goes into the fine jewellery creations as well as more simple and elegant pieces. I chose Cartier for one of my most precious pieces – my wedding band. I love the Bond Street store, especially its first floor showroom. I once hosted an event there for the launch of its L’Odyssée de Cartier collection, where a dozen ladies enjoyed éclairs from Marc Patisserie in-between trying on the breathtaking colourful creations.