Shop Tactics with William Asprey

WilliamAsprey_630pxwide

 

William Asprey, the seventh generation member of the celebrated Asprey family, founded William & Son in 1999. With his penchant for shooting and love for the finer things in country and sporting life, he is as quintessentially British as the brand he has created.

At the Bruton Street flagship collections of the finest jewellery and timepieces, leather goods and silver and glassware as well as paraphernalia for elegant penmanship and gamesmanship are displayed over two floors. The gleaming store is also the first point of call for any country sports enthusiast in search of kit and tackle. It also stocks bespoke, handcrafted shotguns as well as William & Son’s own line of perfectly cut but suitably sturdy country clothing.

Speaking of which, the autumn/winter 2016/17 collection has a decidedly more contemporary edge than the traditional styles of past. Key pieces include women’s Orkney Tweed waistcoats and Breeks (breeches).  Then there are pea coats, cashmere shawl collar cardigans and Linton tweed field coats for men.  All tweeds are designed by William & Son’s in-house team and manufactured in Scotland, demonstrating further William’s dedication to home-grown craftwork and his mission to keep British manufacturing alive. Take the brand’s first knitwear collection for instance. The collection is produced in Hawick, in a factory William & Son recently purchased.

In London, William’s been known to stay longer than necessary at wine tastings and feels right at home in a hotel with a good signature fragrance. He shares more of his favourite haunts below:

 

Bellamy’s, 18 Bruton Place

Bellamy’s is just a stone’s throw away from our gunroom so it’s perfectly convenient to meet with friends or clients at William & Son and then walk across for lunch. The atmosphere is calm and relaxing whilst the food is outstanding. If you need a table last minute without a booking, they will always do their best to find you one.

Hedonism Wines, 3-7 Davies Street 

Hedonism is like a treasure cave full of unique and exciting wines. I love the interior. It matches the welcoming atmosphere with experts always on hand to offer their endless extent of knowledge. It’s my go to for a great bottle of wine, although the wine tastings always tempt me to stay slightly longer than necessary!

The Connaught, Carlos Place 

The Connaught holds many memories for me, as it is just a few doors away from where we were previously based on Mount Street. The service is second to none and the staff are extremely accommodating. Having held many William & Son events at the Connaught, nothing is ever too much to ask. Even after moving to Bruton Street it is still a place regularly visited. As soon as you enter the lobby and smell their signature scent you instantly feel at home.

Halcyon Gallery, 144-146 New Bond Street

The Halcyon Gallery is an amazing gallery for so many reasons. Firstly for working with so many emerging and established global artists – it represents artists from all parts of the world. It’s so easy to only see the work of artists around you when living in London, however Halcyon Gallery really champions the best from all over the world. By working with such varied artists, it allows guests to access art exhibitions, which they might otherwise miss due to lack of knowledge or interest.

Dege & Skinner, 10 Savile Row 

With 150 years of heritage and knowledge, it’s no surprise Dege & Skinner is the family run business I go to for suit tailoring. I enjoy visiting Savile Row and even more so now Dege & Skinner has introduced its first selection of ready-to-wear suits and blazers. As William & Son are for the craftsmanship, Dege & Skinner are passionate when it comes to protecting the traditions that have led to its success.

Advertisements

Time Out – Breitling’s New Customer Entertainment Space is the Perfect Place for VIP Guests to Kick Back

_DSC2623

Since launching in 1884, Breitling, the inventor of the modern wrist chronograph and aviation watchmaker par excellence, has shared all the finest moments in the conquest of the skies thanks to its sturdy, reliable and high-performance instruments. No surprise then that its New Bond Street flagship, which opened three years ago, reflects a cool aerial theme. With its American walnut wood floors and flashes of yellow lighting, it provides the perfect backdrop to the latest designs in its horology collections; Navitimer, Chronoliner and Avenger to name but a few.
Chronoliner-Limited-Edition-01

Throughout the New Bond Street boutique interior, bold Pop Art paintings by acclaimed artist Kevin Kelly for instance, illustrate pilots and bomber planes – reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s work. Elsewhere, statues of Breitling’s iconic pin-up girl, inspired by 1940’s Nose Art, sit on the shop floor and atop its sleek new cocktail bar.

_DSC2397

_DSC2551

The bar takes centre stage in the store’s brand new customer entertainment area, which is designed to hold exclusive Breitling collection launches and VIP events. Constructed from walnut veneer and illuminated by soft LED wall and sidelights, it is the kind of bar you would could imagine an off-duty pilot perched at. No doubt they would be sipping on the aptly named ‘Upwards Ever Onwards’.

This toe-tingling tipple is based on the ‘The Aviation’ from the 1940’s and made a splash at the launch night for the first Breitling Professional Series. Sean Fennelly, mixologist at Soho cocktail bar and members club Milk & Honey, created it in honour of special guest Squadron Leader Hugh Nichol – pilot of the most advanced fighter jet, the F35 lightning II.

To make it you need Tio Pepe dry sherry shaken with fresh lemon, sugar with a dash of dry cherry liqueur, Dutch Violette liqueur and a splash of tonic water garnished with a Riesling, jasmine, orange and smoked Scotch mist cloud. At the event, Fennelly wowed guests by making said cocktail in a dynamic display, which involved creating puffs of vibrating smoke to mimic fluffy white clouds.

The bar is also well stocked with Tanqueray No.Ten Gin, Johnnie Walker Gold Label and Bollinger. Tea and coffee are also served throughout the day should you prefer to keep your wits about you.

Looking ahead, Breitling’s race team pilot Nigel Lamb, will be next month’s guest of honour at an in-store event to mark the latest Breitling Professional watch series. From a brand that consistently steals the show at the exclusive Baselworld watch fair, expect to see plenty more soirées held here.  

Breitling, 130 New Bond Street

Trunk Call – The Berkeley’s New Complimentary Vintage Fashion Service

unspecified-1

This month at the Berkeley, Knightsbridge, suite guests can enjoy rooting through a one-of-a-kind fashion trunk exclusively curated by digital vintage fashion boutique Vestiaire Collective.

Room service is pretty much the same the world over, but have you ever rung down for a pair of vintage Christian Dior earrings with your Earl Grey? At the Berkeley however, one call to the concierge is all it takes and a fashion trunk will be delivered straight to your suite full of rare vintage accessories to try on and borrow free of charge.

Fanny Moizant, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective the luxury resale site that sells pre-loved pieces to new owners, is responsible for curating the trunk’s coveted contents. Its drawers contain some of the most sought-after accessories spanning from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. These include a Chanel silk satin evening bag from the early 1980’s, a pair of Christian Dior earrings from 1985 and a Hermes lizard skin bracelet from the early 1990’s. If I had to choose though, I would probably pick the Celine necklace from the latter part of the 1990’s or the beautiful Yves Saint Laurent scarf from the same era.  It’s a tough call. So how did Moizant make her edit?

“We wanted to offer a good mix of designers and products for guests to play with,” says Moizant who spends her time between London and her native Paris. “I looked at our vintage catalogue and picked pieces that we imagined guests would want access to whilst travelling. Every item is a statement piece that will help elevate any look.”

unspecified

Meanwhile, the stunning bespoke trunk is handcrafted in England by Norton MacCullough & Locke. There are eleven drawers of various sizes, an engraved mirror and a suede-lined tray on which the accessories of choice can be taken to the dressing table. Guests staying at the Berkeley’s new suites; the Chelsea, Berkeley and Terrace, can also purchase their picks upon check out. Alternatively, should they wish to explore Vestiaire Collective further, the digital boutique has an array of vintage pieces on offer to buy online from the comfort of their suite.

I’m curious to know though, in terms of buying vintage fashion, are there any particular pieces or decades I should be investing in now?

“The 1980’s and the 1990’s are having a strong moment right now due to the renewed popularity of looks on the international runways”, says Moizant. As for accessories she adds: “A classic watch such as a man’s Daytona Rolex or a mini Baignoire Cartier are a shrewd investment. The Cartier Love bracelet is another item that is also very popular at the moment. As for handbags, you can’t go wrong with a classic Hermes Kelly bag or a Chanel bag. Louis Vuitton luggage – a monogrammed Monceau or a Speedy Keepall – also have good longevity.”

 

Meanwhile, back at the Berkeley, where better to wear your pick from the vintage trunk than at its newly relaunched Blue Bar. Created by the late David Collins, this much-loved watering hole opened its doors again last month after a six-month restoration project undertaken by one of Collins’ former design protégés Robert Angell. As the lighting dims for evening cocktails flaunt that Saint Laurent chain strap bag – even if it’s yours just for one night!

YSL-bag

The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge

Vestiaire Collective vestiairecollective.com

Bond’s Best – Rimowa’s Bossa Nova Cabin Multiwheel suitcase

870_52_41_4_13

In 1937, luxury German luggage brand Rimowa revolutionised the world of travel by developing the first ever lightweight metal suitcase using aircraft aluminium. Its distinctive grooved outer shell and cool colourways have been a hit with fashionable jetsetters ever since.

Last month saw the opening of the Cologne-based brand’s first London concept store on Bond Street. The new ONYX range launched here, as did the new ‘Electronic Tag’ system. The latter allows travellers to check-in from home using their smartphones.

Meanwhile, back at its German HQ, of the 200 processes involved in making a suitcase, most are carried out by hand. Such is the case with the new Cabin Multiwheel priced at £805. Made from jet green polycarbonate it weighs in at 10lbs and is seriously groovy.

Rimowa, 153a New Bond Street