SHOP TACTICS WITH ALICE TEMPERLEY

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Photo: Elodie Nizon / Foxall Studio

British fashion designer Alice Temperley launched her eponymous womenswear brand in 2000, a year after graduating from the prestigious Royal College of Art. She quickly became the darling of London Fashion Week and the go-to designer for show-stopping dresses with a modern, boho twist.

Two years later, Alice launched Temperley Bridal, comprising bespoke and ready-to-wear gowns. “The silhouettes are inspired by a bygone era and offer the ultimate blend of fantasy and romance,” says Alice. Then, as now, she pioneers British artisan techniques and intricate, hand-finished embellishments and embroidery.

In 2012, Alice opened a six-storey boutique on Bruton Street. “Opening the flagship store in Mayfair was a real milestone for the brand,” she says in hindsight. “Setting up a business was not easy but being young, strong and driven worked to my advantage. As a result, the brand has grown almost faster than the collections.”  Today, the designer is back showing in London. Her Temperley London line, offers four collections a year with a comprehensive range of daywear, cocktail and eveningwear.

And when it comes to letting her hair down, nothing hits the spot quite like a negroni in a late-night music venue, or a seafood supper with family and friends at Scotts. Here, she reveals more of her favourite Mayfair addresses:

Black Dice Bar, 25 Heddon Street

This basement bar, tucked away in Mayfair, is the perfect place for dancing and cocktails. The interior is eclectic and the walls are crammed with vintage memorabilia including platinum records, electric guitars and rock star portraits. The best evening is catching the live music with a negroni in hand. Escapism at its finest!

Phillips, 30 Berkeley Square

Phillips gallery sits next to our Mayfair flagship store. It is such an impressive building from the outside and the gallery space is the perfect environment for showcasing the artworks. I love the photography and design-focused auctions  – these are always my favourite events.  I recently saw The Hepworth Wakefield exhibition, exploring the artist’s later years where she experimented with different mediums. So inspiring.

Scott’s, 20 Mount Street

I love Scott’s for its huge selection of fresh fish, seafood and caviar, plus the elegant oyster and champagne bar is always an excuse for me to keep going back. There is always a great atmosphere. Some of my fondest, fun-filled memories have been shared here, in the company of my closest friends and family.

The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly

From the very beginning, my love for design, prints, and textures has been with me. Finding time to do the things I love isn’t always easy. I like to take time out when possible in order to gain inspiration and source ideas for my collections. The Royal Academy of Arts is full of masterpieces. For me, a real treat is going when it is quiet so that I can truly appreciate the art.

The Gallery at Sketch, 9 Conduit Street

Whether it is for afternoon tea or dinner, my senses are always awakened by the interior, which India Mahdavi created for the Gallery at Sketch. Classic, yet contemporary, it is sugar coated in a dusty pink, off set by an electrifying backdrop of David Shrigley’s 239 original drawings. The space is more than a place to eat and proves that art, design and food combined, really do play to the senses.

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Nordic Delights – Aquavit Brings Contemporary Scandi Cuisine to London

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Henrik Ritzén

For someone who has just completed his inaugural breakfast service to a room packed full of food critics and fine diners, Aquavit’s executive chef Henrik Ritzén, looks incredibly chilled. Indeed, he is as cool as a cucumber – or should that be ‘pickled cucumber’, since preserving vegetables is one of the main components in Nordic cuisine? For those unfamiliar with the Scandi way of eating, other traditional delicacies include smörgåsbord (small sharing plates), Gravlax, smoked herrings, lingonberries and squidgy cinnamon buns. The latter, as with all Aquavit’s dark ryes and sourdough breads are baked here on the premises.

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Fresh-faced Henrik grew up on a farm in Sweden’s Koster Islands. It is, he says, about as far west in the country as you can get and is home to around 350 inhabitants. His parents were organic sheep farmers and his mother also kept bees. “It was quite a Bohemian upbringing,” says Henrik. “We ate home-grown organic vegetables and fresh fish and meat… so that’s where my love of seasonal ingredients began.” Today, at Aquavit, he is passionate about sourcing British produce wherever possible. The venison, which is made into a tartar and served with wild blueberries is Scottish, the scallops are from Cornwall… while the trout hails from Hampshire’s freshwater chalk streams.

In contrast to the renowned two Michelin-starred Aquavit in New York, the London outpost promises to be more of a relaxed all day dining concept. It begins with a Nordic breakfast, which includes Raggmunk (potato pancake) with bacon and lingonberries. There’s also Henrik’s twist on Eggs Benedict, in which smoked eels take the place of eggs and the hollandaise sauce is also smoked. Fika (coffee and buns) is served throughout the day, while the evening menu offers heartier fare such as Swedish meatballs.

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Meanwhile, Aquavit’s bright open space is flooded with natural light thanks to the large glass façade. As expected, the interior adheres to a minimal, Scandinavian aesthetic. It is the work of Swedish-born Martin Brudnizki (The Ivy, Scott’s and Sexy Fish) and is inspired by Gunnar Asplund’s design of Sweden’s Gothenburg City Hall. A large tapestry by textile designer, Olafur Eliasson, takes centre stage on the main wall. Elsewhere, silverware from Georg Jensen, artwork from Andrea Hamilton, and furnishings by Svensk Tenn, complete the contemporary Nordic vibe.

The restaurant’s arrival in the new St. James’s Market redevelopment on 1 Carlton Street is a further indication that this area of town is fast becoming a foodie destination. Neighbours include Italy’s ‘Veneta’, while it could be buns at dawn when Danish bakery Ole & Steen opens its doors later this month. Still, this chilled-out chef seems unfazed by the ‘healthy’ competition. “Our cinnamon buns will be far superior!” he says confidently.

Aquavit, St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street

 

Blades of Glory

Casadei’s new Albemarle Street flagship boutique is a modern masterpiece – the perfect backdrop to its signature ‘Blade’ heels.

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Cesare Casadei

Cesare Casadei is holding court in the plush lounge area of his new 120 square metre London flagship. A steady stream of fashion journalists trickles in to interview him and then finally, it’s my turn to join the Italian shoe maestro on the petroleum-coloured sofa. Comfortably perched, I try my best not to get too distracted by the flickering video screen, which covers an entire wall in front of us. ‘Desire Lines’, a specially commissioned fashion film directed by New York-based filmmaker Sue de Beer and featuring electro pop act, ‘Say Lou Lou’, is playing loudly on loop. The girl’s makeup – all blue eye shadow and red lips, together with Casadei’s brightly-coloured pumps, instantly transports me back to the Fiorucci era.

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Cesare is enjoying the film’s pulsating beats. Incidentally, the Casadei business, which he reigns over, is set on the outskirts of Rimini on the Adriatic Riviera, otherwise known as Italy’s disco heartland. His twenty-something daughter Arianna, who plays a key role in the business, is quick to note her father’s diverse musical taste, which ranges from funk to punk.

As with most Italian accessories brands, Casadei is a family affair. As well as Arianna, Cesare’s wife and cousins also play their part in the business, which was started in 1958 by his parents, Quinto and Flora Casadei. Back then, calfskin sandals set on kitten heels were all the rage. Cesare, meanwhile, stepped into his parent shoes in the mid-eighties. In addition to family, there’s also the expertise of the employees. One of Casadei’s longest serving is Oriana, a skilled embroiderer. “She has been with the company since the very beginning and carries out the majority of hand-embroidery motifs in exquisite detail,” notes Cesare

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Meanwhile, the London store boasts a distinctive in-store design concept created by Italian architect Marco Costanzi. It houses Casadei’s daywear, evening, red carpet and bridal collections, in addition to a selection of Spring/Summer 2017 preview styles that will be exclusive to the London flagship store until early next year. Other notable designs include the ‘techno Blade’ – the latest version of the ‘Blade’, which its creator Cesare describes as “a steel heel, as sharp as a razorblade.” Today, the signature heel comes in five different heel heights and appears on pumps, sandals, booties, even over-the-knee boots. Then there is the ‘Tank’, so called because of its cleated sole, and the Atelier, an elegant pump covered in Swarovski crystals.

This past year has seen multiple store openings for the Casadei brand including, Moscow, Shanghai, Vietnam and Mongolia. As for Mayfair, Cesare is clearly delighted with the new space. “Bond Street is one of the most beautiful streets in the world, but then we saw a number of fashion and accessories brands were opening on Albemarle Street, so we decided to try something new,” he says.

At the store’s opening night, guests included models Daisy Lowe and Portia Freeman, actress Camilla Rutherford, the aforementioned Say Lou Lou and style blogger Susie Lau. “I love seeing the metamorphosis that women go through on a daily basis, how they go from day-to-evening with the addition of a jacket, a lipstick and a pair of heels,” concluded Cesare.

Casadei, 48 Albemarle Street

Bond’s Best – Cactus De Cartier

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There are some gifts you dream of finding in your Christmas stocking. And while a cactus plant might not top your list, a bejewelled Cartier ‘Cactus’ ring would, we suspect, do rather nicely. It forms part of the French jeweller’s latest collection, which includes drop earrings, bracelets and necklaces, all based on the arid desert plant.

Crafted from 18k yellow gold, emeralds and carnelians and set with a brilliant-cut 0.10 carat diamond, this little beauty comes with a cool £68,000 price tag. Despite the name, its smooth polished contours are a delight to the touch. Leave the sharp prickly spikes to the festive spruce.

Cartier, 40/41 Old Bond Street and 175/177 New Bond Street