Shop Tactics with Whitney Bromberg Hawkings

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Photo – Foxall Studio

 

For many of the stores on Bond Street, keeping a good florist on speed dial is essential to their business. Luckily, Dallas-born Whitney Bromberg Hawkings – co-founder and CEO of Flowerbx is one of the select few that brands including Bottega Veneta, Tiffany and Dior turn to whenever there is reason to beautify a store.

Specialising in single-variety arrangements, Whitney also dresses some of Mayfair’s finest dining tables. For instance, her Flowerbx arrangements could be seen at Annabel’s glittering re-launch dinner last month, while over at Isabel, tall gladiolas, carnations and roses are currently arranged in curvaceous glass vases, en masse, to provide maximum impact.

There’s nothing conventional about Whitney’s path to floristry.  Prior to co-founding Flowerbx.com, Whitney steered the Tom Ford PR machine for 19 years. Unlike other luxury florists – of which there are plenty – Flowerbx runs on a direct-to-customer approach, whereby single-varietal bunches are bought direct from the growers, thus cutting out the middleman. These are then delivered straight to customers in a small fleet of bespoke Flowerbx refrigerated vans.  And with no physical stores to worry about, costs are kept down even more.

So no evening classes in flower arranging then? According to Whitney, having previous experience in branding and high-end luxury was all she needed to start up her new business, plus, it taught her a lot about flowers along the way.

“Having lived in Dallas, New York, and Paris, London seems to me to be the perfect mix of all of the best parts of each of those capital cities, “ says Whitney who has lived here for 15 years. “London is completely metropolitan and international, but somehow one still has the impression of belonging to a neighbourhood.  I am comforted by how easy it is to become a part of London while it still remains so grand,” she adds. We caught up with Whitney in the bar at Isabel restaurant and asked her to talk us through some more of her favourite Bond Street haunts:

Cecconi’s, 5A Burlington Gardens

My dream day on or around Bond Street would be breakfast with Harpers Bazaar and Town & Country editor, Justine Picardie, at Cecconi’s, where I would eat an egg white omelette to start the day off right.  The chic, intimate interior makes it feel like deals can be made here, and indeed lots of mine have.   It is also ideal for people watching and sure to deliver a great dose of glamour.

Tiffany & Co, 25 Old Bond Street

After breakfast at Cecconi’s, I would then wander across the road to Tiffany’s, as there is still nowhere else where window shopping can lift your spirit in quite the same way.  After being one of the “First Ladies of the UK” in the recent Tiffany Metro campaign in conjunction with Tatler, I have had my eye on the new Metro collection that recently launched– in particular, the gold and diamond bangles which are at the top of my Christmas wish list.

Charbonnel et Walker, One, The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond St

I always go to Charbonnel and Walker at Christmas for the most magical stocking fillers for my kids, even though they always try to steal the champagne truffles that I choose for my husband.  I love the old-fashioned deliciousness and total decadence of this quintessentially British chocolate store.

Saint Laurent, 32-33 Old Bond Street

This is a throwback to my days working for Tom Ford. I still love a beautifully-cut suit. Few people (other than Tom who is not on Bond street!) cut a jacket like Saint Laurent. Also, for the party season that is descending rapidly, I need the perfect tuxedo trousers that I recently spotted in the window, or a chic little black mini dress to channel my inner Carine Roitfeld.

Annabel’s, 44 Berkley Square

Lastly, having a second wind, I am ready to hit the dance floor at Annabel’s.  I can hardly wait for the opening of the new club in January, but in the meantime, there are few places like Annabel’s for good old-fashioned fun and glamour.  We hosted a FLOWERBX dinner recently at Annabel’s, where few of the guests left before 2 am on a school night, and I love that it is one of the few places that still tempts me to do that.

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Window On Bond: S.T Dupont at William & Son

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There’s something about the ultra-slim lighters, elegant fountain pens and leather bound writing boxes in S.T Dupont’s current collection – a selection of which can be seen at William & Son’s Bruton Street store – that instantly transport you back to a bygone age of luxury and glamour. Think Casablanca, the film that is, or any other epic made during the golden age of Hollywood and there you have it.

Since its beginnings in 1872, the Paris-based luxury goods brand has acquired an impressive following; from emperors and statesmen to Picasso, Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Today, its expertly crafted products are a hit with the more modern-day glitterati.

This year marks S.T Dupont’s 145th anniversary.  Brand CEO Alain Crevet is the man charged with bringing this historic luxury label to a younger audience and advancing it into the digital age through its recently launched e-commerce site. Fusing old with new is also part of the challenge. All of its products are produced by skilled craftspeople at its factory in Faverge, France. “As a heritage brand that is committed to innovation, we grow with new technology but stay true to traditional craft techniques,” says Alain noting the 150 steps it takes to create each of its signature lighters.

Prior to joining S.T Dupont, Alain headed up LVMH’s perfume and cosmetics division. He is also a member of the Colbert Committee, which unites the largest French luxury brands and promotes them around the world. Alain could also be described as an indefatigable traveller. He also plays rock guitar in his spare time and when in London, always makes time for a stop at the Gagosian and Halcyon galleries.

Perhaps packing for yet another business trip, visiting new stores and speaking directly with customers, spurred the idea to launch S.T Dupont’s latest foray into travel pieces. It’s new Iconic collection for instance, features a selection of travel bags and wallets. The line also boasts a dyed cotton canvas and leather holdall, similar to one that was previously commissioned by Humphrey Bogart. The story goes that ‘Bogie’ came to S.T Dupont in search of a travel bag, one akin to an oilskin doctor’s bag that was lightweight but rugged enough to stand up to the demands of his fast paced international lifestyle.

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Staying on a Hollywood note, S.T Dupont recently launched several new products to coincide with the opening of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. The most decadent, a limited-edition collector’s writing set is available to purchase for the sum of £1,500 at William & Sons. The set is inspired by the original 1930s S.T Dupont trunk case previously owned by Princess Eugene. Look closely and you will spot it whenever the camera pans around Princess Dragomiroff’s onscreen cabin.

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As for choosing William & Son as one of its main London points of sale, Alain says: “S.T Dupont is the perfect fit with this luxury purveyor of watches and diamond jewellery. Its client base fits perfectly with that of S.T Dupont – catering to customers with an exquisite taste in craftsmanship.”

Karl Lagerfeld’s Topsy-Turvy Tree For Claridge’s

 

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the heart of the capital, now that Claridge’s has revealed its highly anticipated designer tree. This year, it has been given a quirky twist by fashion maestro, Karl Lagerfeld. Who better than the creative director of the Chanel and Fendi fashion houses, to add a touch of monochrome magic and luxe sparkle. You only have to look at the current Chanel collection for dazzling fabrics and one of the party season’s most coveted items, Chanel’s knee-high glitter boots.

This is the eighth year that Claridge’s has invited an iconic name from the world of design to create a unique installation in their own distinctive style. Previous guest designers have included Alber Elbaz, Dolce & Gabbana, Apple CEO Jony Ive and the industrial designer, Marc Newson.

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For his design, German-born Lagerfeld has turned the notion of a freestanding tree on its head – quite literally – by hanging it upside down and high above the Claridge’s’ Art Deco staircase. And in case you were wondering, the tradition of hanging a tree from a ceiling by its base has its roots in antiquity.  As legend has it, the English monk Saint Boniface who went to Germany in the 7th Century to preach the gospel, first discovered this practice there. It is said that Boniface used the triangular shape of the Fir tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and by the 12th Century the fad for inverting trees had spread to Central and Eastern Europe as a symbol of Christianity.

Meanwhile, back in 21st Century Mayfair, Karl Lagerfeld’s magnificent spruce measures 16.ft tall and is festooned with metallic-coloured foil streamers and snowflake decorations. At its top, or should that be trunk, sits a large silver star, while at its foot lies a circular shearling rug. “Christmas trees are the strongest ‘souvenir’ of my happy childhood,” says the designer of his latest creation.

 

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Elsewhere at Claridge’s, for the first time in its 151-year-old history, the celebrated hotel has created a series of Claridge’s Christmas hampers, packed with the same gastronomic treats that visitors can enjoy in its Foyer, Reading Room and Fumoir bar. Three sizes of lidded willow baskets are available to purchase: the Davies Hamper (£295) containing aged Negroni and a signature Christmas pudding amongst other goodies. Then there is The Brook Hamper (£495), which includes a bottle of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut and Pierre Marcolini Caramel & Praline Chocolate Squares. And finally, The Mayfair hamper, the largest of the three, which includes a Dundee Cake and a copy of the recently launched Claridge’s Cookbook. The latter features the Lobster Wellington, which was created for 2016’s Christmas tree launch party. Or if you prefer, skip straight to the cocktail section. Happy Christmas!

Bond’s Best – Tiffany & Co. T Square Pavé Diamond Bracelet

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If you would like to see this stunning T Square bracelet in your stocking this Christmas (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t) then perhaps now is the time to start making subtle hints to your other half.

Inspired by the striking Manhattan skyline, the latest iteration of Tiffany’s iconic T Square design (£9,800) comes in a choice of 18k gold or 18k rose gold. Each piece features 60 round, brilliant diamonds, embedded in a way, which alludes to the bright lights and skyscrapers of the Big Apple.

Meanwhile, back in London, it was the job of model and designer Alexa Chung to unveil Tiffany’s Christmas windows. The enchanting displays take their cue from Gene Moore, the legendary American window dresser who made his mark on the Fifth Avenue flagship during the 1950s. No doubt the twinkling lights of Tiffany & Co, Old Bond Street, are a draw to any modern-day Holly Golightly, in search of timeless keepsakes and other treasures.

Tiffany & Co. 25 Old Bond Street