Bond’s Best – Hermès Cavale Medium Seat Jumping Saddle

Ever since founder Thierry Hermès first began producing some of the finest harnesses and bridles for the carriage trade in Paris, comfort has reigned supreme in the brand’s equestrian collections.

For it’s latest piece, the Cavale saddle priced at £5,500, the French luxury brand asked champion show jumper Simon Delestre to help with the ergonomics. Meanwhile, a single craftsman works to the exact measurements of both horse and rider to ensure the perfect fit.

And don’t worry if you and your trusty steed are not quite showground ready. This seamless calfskin seat also makes an excellent general-purpose saddle. To choose, test and fit yours, contact one of the Hermès specialists in store.

Hermès, 155 New Bond Street

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SHOP TACTICS WITH SAMUEL BAIL AND ABEL SAMET

Samuel Bail and Abel Samet are the creative duo behind London-based leather goods label, Troubadour. They first met whilst working at Mayfair financial advisory firm, Lazard, where, after lamenting about the lack of durable business bags, they decided to embark on a journey to create their own. Today, to the delight of globetrotters everywhere, their exquisite handcrafted designs are sold around the world. And for those shopping on Bond Street, a selection of pieces can also be found at Thom Sweeney on Bruton Place.

Vegetable-tanned leather, derived from the finest tanneries in the Italian region of Tuscany, underpins each unique piece. As Abel notes: “This tanning method is an all-natural process that creates exceptional leather, so that our products wear beautifully, last for years, and actually look better with age. We work with highly skilled artisans, whose leather-working techniques have been around for generations and therefore stand the test of time.” Samuel is also quick to note a blend of old-meets-new. “By combining these techniques with many modern innovations, each piece is more functional and technical than the bags our grandfathers once carried,” he adds.

Meanwhile, several of Troubadour’s existing products have proven to be much more popular with women than initially expected. This pleasant surprise inspired Samuel and Abel to develop a line of women’s bags, which will launch this summer.

Work aside, this sporty pair are gluttons for long distance races – running, swimming and cycling – and have both completed Ironman triathlons. Samuel, who just happens to be a former professional Canadian cyclist, also swam the English Channel last year. Here, they take a breather and share some of their favourite Mayfair addresses:

Raw Press at Wolf & Badger, 32 Dover Street

This is the place for mouth watering and healthy breakfast bowls. Make them yourself with soaked oats, coconut yoghurt, fresh berries, quinoa cereal and lots of toppings. The coffee is great as well. We suggest adding some coconut yoghurt and almond butter on top.

Brown’s Hotel, 33 Albemarle Street

Brown’s is ideal for a morning meeting. We especially like the comfortable chairs and its relaxed, quiet setting. The tea is always good and is served beautifully.

Rapha, 85 Brewer Street

We have a very active team and enjoy a morning ride around Richmond Park and a weekend ride into Kent. Rapha, though not in Mayfair, is where we pick up most of our cycling kit. The clothing is thoughtfully designed, comfortable, wears well and looks good.

28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, Maddox Street

Many of the early Troubadour discussions were held over dinners here. It provides consistently great food and great wine in a casual setting.

Thom Sweeney, 33a Bruton Place

This is one of our favourite tailors in London. It boasts a great team and a super strong ready-to-wear collection, featuring everything from suits and sweaters, to ties and a selection of our latest Troubadour bags.

 

THE Q&A: Harvy Santos, milliner

Harvy Santos pink pom pom hat £930 exclusive to Fenwick Bond Street

No doubt visitors to the Fenwick hat department will have been tickled pink by the latest offering from London-based milliner, Harvy Santos. In particular, his aptly named ‘Fizzy Pop’ collection features raffia boaters, netted pillboxes and wide-brimmed Audrey Hepburn styles. But it is his playful use of colourful baubles, ruched silks and fluffy pompoms, which makes them so memorable.

“I probably drank too many fizzy drinks as a child and probably still do, since I can never say ‘no’ to champagne,” says Harvy. “There’s a certain crazy joy that comes from a sugar rush. I think most of us can remember that feeling, the thrill of which I wanted to capture in the form of a hat.” Indeed, his latest collection has both a graphic and comic sensibility mixed with a sense of childlike fun – hence the pompoms suspended on wires.

Photo courtesy of Harvy Santos

Born in the Philippines, Harvy started out as a ballet dancer in Hong Kong before going on to study millinery in London. Prior to launching his own label, he created hats for The Royal Opera House and worked with top British hatter, Stephen Jones. Today, Harvy fuses traditional millinery techniques with new materials in couture and hat collections from an atelier in North London.

Harvy Santos in his North London studio

With the British summer season nearly upon us, we ask the merry milliner who for the second year running is part of the Fenwick/Royal Ascot Millinery Collective, to share his tips on how best to impress at the most prestigious events on the social calendar. Here’s what he said:

BSN: How would you advise someone buying a special occasion hat for the first time?

H.S: Firstly, try on as many hats as you can. If you are matching a hat with a dress or another accessory (bag or shoes) bring them with you. In terms of face shape, if you have an oval and/or heart-shaped face, you could wear almost anything. If you have a round face, avoid wearing wide-brimmed hats on a horizontal, tilt it if you can – it’s usually flattering. Lastly, depending on what event you are wearing your hat to, I would suggest you think comfort. If you’re going to Royal Ascot, you will be there all day. You wouldn’t want to fumble and worry about your hat — you are there to have fun so comfort is key.

BSN: How important is hair and make-up when wearing a statement headpiece?

H.S: Hair and make-up also complete the entire look. I suggest getting a good hairdresser involved, especially if you have opted for a headpiece that has fiddly headbands or wires. The hairdresser can make those disappear, which would make your hat float on your head magically.

BSN: Britain is renowned for its hat-wearing culture. How does this influence your work?

H.S: A lot! I think the fact that the UK has a hat wearing culture inspires me more to create a new way of wearing tradition. In the UK, a lot of women dare to be different and some are naturally quirky and a bit eccentric and I love that. This then makes me push the boundaries a little without losing being stylish and elegant.

BSN: If you had to pick any fashion brands on Bond Street that would compliment your hats – what would they be?

H.S: A MaxMara jumpsuit would dress-up my ‘Nicole’ coolie hat. If you choose to wear a dress from Prada, then my ‘Sabrina’ beret would look fun and elegant and suit any special/formal occasion. Anything from the ‘Fizzy Pop’ collection would look fun paired with a trouser suit from La Perla, or even with their lingerie/nightdresses if you are going for the underwear-as-outerwear look of course!

 

 

Inner Beauty – Chris Levine’s new portrait series at The Fine Art Society’s London gallery, puts celebrities in a whole new light.

Sir Paul Smith (Dichroic 3)

Sir Paul Smith, image courtesy of Chris Levine and The Fine Art Society 

Canadian born Chris Levine is best described as a pioneer in the field of light art. In recent years, his distinguished subjects have ranged from the Dali Lama to Grace Jones. But there is one standout piece for which he is perhaps best known – Her Majesty the Queen, ‘Lightness of Being’. Taken in 2012 and featured in The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘The Queen Art and Image’ exhibit, it has been described by some critics as one of the most iconic images of a royal taken by any artist this century. High praise indeed!

TheDiamondQueen

Photo courtesy of Chris Levine

Levine, who now lives and works in Northamptonshire, graduated from Central Saint Martin’s School of Art in the 80s with an MA in computer graphics. Since then, he has worked extensively with laser light, exploring its capacity to both produce illusions and elicit a subliminal response in the viewer and has pioneered new mediums such as light boxes, holograms, and lenticular lenses, creating new mechanisms and technologies to express his ideas.

It is this marriage of art and photography, which sets Levine apart. Look a little closer at each familiar face staring back at you in his current show Who are wE_+ at The Fine Art Society’s Bond Street space and you will see the painstaking detail into which the artist goes to unlock each sitter’s ‘inner light’. For instance, a colour portrait of Kate Moss (print, £9,000) or light box (£42,000) is composed entirely of small dot matrices filtered to represent the particles of energy that make up her body. A series of Naomi Campbell images, also available to purchase as a lenticular light box (£42,000) or as inkjet prints (£3,000), is the result of interlacing multiple images taken on a track and motion camera, from a variety of angles, to create the illusion of depth and dimension.

Images courtesy of Chris Levine and The Fine Art Society

Personally, I find the large holographic image of Sir Ranulph Fiennes – the sheer scale of the celebrated British explorer’s face, which beams out at you in 3-D effect, a little unnerving. In contrast, there are more jovial portraits of Sir Paul Smith. Available as a black and white lenticular print (£11,400) or as a light box (£33,600), Levine captures the inner glow of another of our national treasures spectacularly well.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, image courtesy of The Fine Art Society

Of his latest headshots Levine says: “Increasingly the direction and enquiry of my work is leading me to the ultimate realisation that we are beings of energy. The question of who we are is a mystery I feel is beyond our bandwidth of perception. My objective in creating a portrait is to get closer to the soul and in so doing express the Truth of who we really are.”

Who are wE_+runs until May 19th at The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street