Shop Tactics with Johnny Messum

Portrait by Elodie Nizon

As company director of Messum’s London, Johnny Messum, joined the family-run business in 1999 after studying History of Art at Edinburgh University and working at Christie’s. Since his arrival, he has taken the company into new ventures starting new collections and building relationships with overseas galleries and museums on behalf of Messum’s artists and artist estates.

Johnny is also chairman of DegreeArt London, the UK leader in contemporary affordable art online, and is a board member of Browns Hotel London Art Weekend (BLAW). As part of next month’s edition, Johnny will be waxing lyrical about art in the Sixties during his guided tour of four select Mayfair galleries. (See for more details).

Meanwhile, in addition to its recently restored Cork Street gallery and sculpture garden in Marlow, the pioneering gallerist is also behind Messum’s Wiltshire, a space dedicated to contemporary sculpture. Set in a 14th Century Monastic Barn, the largest of its type in the country, Johnny’s longer term vision is that Messum’s Wiltshire will become a leading cultural institution in the South West of England, showcasing modern and contemporary art, design and performance, whilst also providing educational lectures and workshops as part of its exhibitions and events programme throughout the year. To celebrate the opening of this new experience-led retail space, things kick off this August, with a show featuring the work of David Linley.

As well as spotting great art, Johnny also has an eye for fine jewellery and a well-made shirt – not to mention a good seafood risotto. Here, he lists some of his favourite haunts in and around Bond Street below:

Richard Green, 32-33 New Bond Street

When I am walking Bond Street I will always stop in to see what Richard Green is doing, he is my father’s generation, but someone I respect a great deal for the way that he studies and understands quality.

The Royal Academy and Cork Street

For all its incredible array of shops, my Mayfair is about people. I run a generational business and know how much evolution contributes to success. It is the personalities that drive this. The Pollen Estate, for example, are taking on a massive redesign of Cork Street, a true once in a generation moment, and there are people like James Andrews working on that project who have been involved for over 15 years. Likewise, the Royal Academy under Charles Saumarez Smith is taking the bold and longstanding decision to expand and open to the North into Burlington Gardens. I feel very proud that our family business will continue to represent artists on Cork Street for the foreseeable future.

Petrocchi Sede Unica, 36 Albemarle Street

Petrocchi Sede Unica, for breakfast or lunch. This family-run Italian eatery is always busy in that sort of New York way. It gets packed at the entrance but squeeze through, and if you know Francesca, you are in. If you don’t, good luck getting a table. One thing is certain though. You have to have the seafood risotto with a glass of Gavi di Gavi.

Budd Shirtmakers, 3 Piccadilly Arcade 

Ok, so not my everyday shopping experience (which part of Mayfair is?) but a really terrific old school shop with a twist. My experience started with some vouchers given to the family for Christmas. I bought all of my brothers vouchers at a discount rate, converted them into cash, which is what interested them more at the time, and then purchased some fabulous shirts.

Boodles, 178 New Bond Street

Boodles is a flagship British jewellery business, evolving through the generations and full of wonderful details. Here, jewellery is thought and rethought for the current taste. James Amos, now marketing director, is your man. He still has time to talk you through the presentations.

John Mitchell Fine Paintings, 17 Avery Row

Again, a unique family business in Mayfair – the Mitchell family has been involved with paintings and art for generations. Speak to Paul Mitchell about frames, James and William about British pictures, and immerse yourself in their depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for their subject. Modern retailing it is not, expertise it certainly is.

Shop Tactics with John Williams

Photo: Elodie Nixon With thanks to The Ritz London / 150 Piccadilly / London W1J 9BR / United Kingdom / +44 (0)20 7493 8181 /

Photo: Elodie Nixon / Foxall Studio
(with thanks to The Ritz London –


John Williams is executive chef at The Ritz London. The son of a Tyneside fisherman, he developed his passion for food at an early age. Initially taught by his mother, he then went on to study at South Shields College and then at Westminster College.

John’s culinary career began as a commis chef at the Percy Arms Hotel in Otterburn in 1974. Later he worked at the Royal Garden Hotel and the Restaurant Le Crocodile, both in Kensington. Then, in 1986, he joined the distinguished Savoy Group of Hotels and Restaurants. During John’s impressive 18-year tenure with the Savoy Group, he served as maître chef des cuisines at The Berkeley, before his move to head up Claridge’s kitchens in 1995.

As a tireless supporter of the industry, John is behind numerous charity initiatives and continues to work to promote the education and training of young chefs. He has an MBE and a CMA from the French Government for services to French cuisine, the first British chef to receive such an honour.

Today at The Ritz, he oversees a kitchen brigade of over 60 chefs and is responsible for the mouth-watering menus in The Ritz Restaurant, The Palm Court, and the Rivoli Bar. When he is not whipping up a partridge souvaroff or a caramelised pear Williams gateaux, the amiable chef likes to kick back with a fine Cuban cigar and a pungent slice of Stinking Bishop cheese. He shares more of his favourite Mayfair finds below:


Davidoff Cigars, 35 St James’s Street

I love the friendly, knowledgeable team at Davidoff. They provide excellent service. I very much enjoy having a cigar tasting in its fumoir/tasting room and I get very excited about the different cigars available – they are always kept in excellent condition. But mostly, I love the feeling of going to Davidoff because it means I have an appropriate event to go to – one that I will be looking forward to! Davidoff also has some excellent whiskeys.


Ralph Lauren, 1 New Bond Street

I’ve worn Ralph Lauren for over thirty years. I am a big fan of the brand because it offers timeless, classic men’s tailoring. Its clothes are made to a great quality and are both elegant and comfortable.


Paxton & Whitfield, 93 Jermyn Street

I use Paxton & Whitfield both at The Ritz and at my home – that has to tell you everything! It definitely has my stamp of approval. Paxton’s sells top quality British cheese (as well as continental) and has been doing so for over two hundred years. There is a great history to the brand and it has numerous Royal Warrants. Some of my favourite varieties are Stinking Bishop and Celtic Promise. The team here are always active in promoting different cheeses to me with their tastings, which I like. There is a great education process and it’s great to experience different or new cheeses.


Alyn Williams at The Westbury, 37 Conduit Street

I think Alyn Williams in a fantastic, modern, classic British cook. His restaurant offers serious food with a smile.


Harvie & Hudson, 96-97 Jermyn Street

Harvie & Hudson can dress you for any occasion – from a day at the races at Royal Ascot to a dinner in town. It is a great British heritage brand. I go in there every season. At the moment I have got my eye on a cream/fawn cotton jacket in their window. I would like to wear it to this summer’s Glorious Goodwood in July, an event I go to every year.


Shop Tactics with Nadya Abela

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.

Nada Abela – Photography: Elodie Nizon

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.



Shop Tactics with Carolina Bucci

It was the night of San Lorenzo and having witnessed the Perseid meteor shower in the inky skies above Florence, jeweller Carolina Bucci had a bright idea. She would take inspiration from nature’s annual light show for her latest collection and call it “Superstellar’.


As part of her starry theme, the London-based jeweller with Italian roots, also looked to the 1960’s – to Jasper Johns’ flag paintings and the stencilled works of Mario Schifano. The resulting mix and match earrings come in various coloured pave finishes – with or without long shooting star earring backs. After all, no two stars are ever the same.

Founded in Florence by her great grandfather Ferdinando Bucci in 1885, the family-run jewellers has just celebrated its 130-year anniversary. Surrounded by jewellery and artisans from an early age, it came as no surprise when Carolina decided to continue the family line and pursue a career as a jeweller.

She studied fine arts and jewellery design in New York before returning to Florence to work alongside local goldsmiths. Her first collection, ‘Woven’, was created on a centuries-old Florentine textile loom. Carolina used it to weave gold and silk threads into bracelets and other signature pieces. She also applies the same methods and tools used by her great grandfather to combine the tradition of Florentine craftsmanship into one-of-a-kind designs.

Whether it’s taking tea at Sotheby’s café or admiring the work of celebrated artists and jewellers, Carolina likes nothing better than spending a day in and around Bond Street. She shares her favourite haunts below:

Hermès, 155 New Bond Street 

A brand to aspire to: traditional craftsmanship of the highest standard combining both heritage and innovation. I love its fun windows and displays. Here, craftsmanship is highly regarded and the quality of each hand-stitched leather article sings when you touch it. Exquisite silks are as precious as gold to me and Hermès continues to surprise with new designs and collections, which I find truly inspiring.

Harry Fane, 13 Duke Street, St James’s

A true treasure trove of jewellery awaits you at the top of a small staircase in St James’s. Harry Fane is a wonderful discovery. He is the UK representative of my all-time favourite jewellery designer, Fulco di Verdura. He was the cousin of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and got his break in jewellery when Cole Porter introduced him to Coco Chanel. The jeweller then went on to produce some of the most iconic and daring pieces of the 20th century. Whenever I am feeling uninspired I revisit his amazing designs to remember that anything is possible.

Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street

Sotheby’s is always in flux. One day it is hosting a contemporary art auction, the next old masters, then fine jewellery or sculpture. It provides the perfect 15-minute break between meetings and the building itself is rich with history and stories. Furthermore, it is also a great place to enjoy afternoon tea and watch the buyers and sellers coming and going.

Luxembourg & Dayan, 2 Savile Row

This is a small commercial gallery, which stages important historical shows in a tasteful and unpretentious way. It revitalises lost artists’ careers as well as putting an interesting slant on more established names. It is one of those galleries that avoids slavishly following fashion but at the same time manages to establish trends.

Chucs, 30B Dover Street

Chucs is one of my favourite places in Mayfair for an intimate dinner. It takes me straight to the heart of Italy with its simple, yet delicious, dishes. In my opinion it serves the best vitello tonnato in London. The interior design is wonderful. On a cold, wet winter’s night it can make you feel like it is July in Portofino and you are stepping out onto the deck of a glamorous friend’s yacht.

Shop Tactics with Giacomo Maccioni

Along with delectable Northern Italian cuisine, Cecconi’s fabled Mayfair restaurant boasts one of the most likable restaurant managers in town – Giacomo Maccioni. Originally from Sardinia, Giacomo moved to London in 1979 and started his career at the Vendome Restaurant on Dover Street. Two years into the job, he was forced to do an about-turn and enlist for National Service with a Sardinian tank regiment.


Having climbed the ranks to corporal major, Giacomo returned to London in 1982, becoming headwaiter at Scott’s on Mount Street. In 1990, he joined the team at Cecconi’s, first as chef de rang and then as assistant general manager. After Soho House & Co acquired Cecconi’s in 2004, Giacomo was promoted to general manager and has held the role ever since.

Away from the buzz of Cecconi’s, you’ll find Giacomo zipping about on his Honda Fireblade motorbike in the Hertfordshire countryside where he resides with his wife and two children. On vacation in Italy, he enjoys climbing the Sardinian mountains with friends. Back in Mayfair, his attention turns to chocolate, shoes and other coveted pieces from his favourite haunts, which he reveals below:

Charbonnel et Walker, 1 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street 

Charbonnel et Walker’s chocolates are fabulous! When I want to spoil my wife, I always pop in here to choose a good selection of chocolates for her. I also like to buy Charbonnel et Walker chocolates as a ‘thank you’ gift. The staff at Cecconi’s will verify this!

Mulberry, 50 New Bond Street

Mulberry products are such high quality, I find its bags rather hard to resist. They are also practical – you can tell that each design is well thought-through. I own a few Mulberry bags, and my wife is also a fan of its handbags. The latest addition to her collection is the classic black Bayswater, which goes with everything.

Richard James, 29 Savile Row

I am a big fan of contemporary British tailor Richard James. I have several suits from him, made-to-measure as well as off the peg, and scores of fitted shirts. Richard’s style of tailoring is timeless yet contemporary and Andrew Black who manages the Savile Row store is a top guy. I’d say he’s one of the nicest people I have ever met!

Camper, 8-11 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street

I love this shop. I have about ten pairs of shoes from Camper and I wear them constantly. I just love the simplicity and the originality of Camper’s designs, not to mention how comfortable the shoes are to wear.

Claridge’s Hotel, Brook St

Claridge’s is housed in such an iconic building. The stunning Art Deco touches make this hotel so special. I do like going for the odd afternoon tea there. The finger sandwiches are so light and delicious.

Shop Tactics with Kally Ellis

Ever wondered who provides the magnificent floral displays at any given fashion launch, red carpet event or room in a leading luxury hotel? Chances are it is  Kally Ellis, the owner of floristry business – McQueens.  Visitors to Claridge’s for instance, will know that McQueens has a boutique here. It opened at the end of 2011. As for the fashion pack, they, along with countless events managers, have Kally on speed dial.


As one of Britain’s top florists, Kally set up ‘McQueens’ in 1991 with one aim in mind: “I wanted to sell simple, stylish flowers, beautifully presented, to the London market. And I knew people would love it.”

Kally drew on her business experience working in the marketing team of a large international French merchant bank. With a strong sense of colour and design, and a genuine passion for flowers, it has proved to be a winning combination, establishing McQueens as the premier name in the UK flower market – and beyond.

The florist is also a hit across the Pond where she creates the floral arrangements for all Vanity Fair events as well as the Post-Oscars party and The TriBeca Film Festival.

“It never fails to surprise me when I receive calls about our flowers from Hollywood or Japan,” says Kally. “It’s amazing to think that from a small shop in Clerkenwell we’ve built a reputation for quality and innovation that’s known the world over. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Unsurprisingly, Kally’s little black book is positively bursting with fashionable addresses, five of which she shares below:

Smythson, 40 New Bond Street

My life would be an utter mess without my Smythson diary. I like the week on one page (so you can see everything at a glance) with a blank page for notes opposite. It means that when I go to meetings I always have a notebook, plus they are the perfect size to pop in your handbag.  Smythson makes such brilliant gifts because you can personalise them too, which is a lovely touch and always makes them look so special.

Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street

I could not survive without Fenwick. Whenever I’m at Claridge’s it’s such a handy one-stop shop for all kinds of essentials. These include pashminas, perfumes, wonderful Clarins skincare products and those gorgeous Shiseido compacts, and tights of course! They always have the best selection of tights.

Mulberry, 50 New Bond Street

I adore Mulberry. It is British, beautifully designed and the products are so well made. . Like all fine leather products, they look better and better with age, and that’s always a test of true quality. We’ve worked on many Mulberry fashion shows and the team there is wonderful, they are creative thinkers with a fabulous eye for colour

Fera at Claridge’s, Brook Street

Simon Rogan has created a wonderful space at Fera and the food is just delicious. Each plate looks like a work of art but there’s always something there to surprise and beguile you. Getting restaurant spaces right is always tricky, but I love what they’ve done here. It feels elegant and sophisticated without being stiff and starchy and that’s a fine balance. We provided the central manzanita tree, which brings a wild, natural element to the room and serves as a reminder that the provenance of the food is equally as important as the taste.

La Petite Maison, 54 Brook’s Mews

This is one of my favourite restaurants in London. It is super-stylish and always has such a fabulous buzz about it. La Petite Maison is a lovely place for a lunch on a Saturday after a little shopping. I always think it feels a little tucked away, and I’d like to say it’s one of Mayfair’s best kept secrets but it’s always packed so that can’t be true! I especially love the way they dress each table with delicious ripe tomatoes and fresh lemons so you can create a little salad of your own. It’s the nearest place to the South of France that you’ll find in the capital.

Shop Tactics with Kate Racovolis

As editor of The Mayfair Magazine at Runwild Media Group, Kate Racovolis works closely with local businesses, brands and residents, to create a truly unique magazine, for those who live, work and visit the area.

REW_0547_v2 Image © Ruth Ward

Having received her training from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, this intrepid reporter-turned-editor has written extensively about luxury, with a strong focus on local reportage in unique production areas all over the world.

At the helm of The Mayfair Magazine, Kate launched the first edition in Mandarin earlier this year to tie in with the Chinese New Year. She also edits the Arabic edition of the publication and hosts the annual Mayfair Awards. This event celebrates the very best that the area has to offer, and champions the brands and individuals that make this part of town so unique.

Kate’s very own Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment tends to occur when browsing the jeweller’s windows on Bond Street. While more often than not, the inspiration behind an eye-catching front cover springs from Mayfair’s many boutiques and art galleries. She shares her favourites here:

The Jewellers of Old Bond Street 

No shopping experience is quite as dazzling as walking down Old Bond Street, past all the historic and contemporary jewellery brands. Perusing these shops – and their sparkling windows – is like my own Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment and never fails to impress me. This part of Bond Street is a concentration of beautiful objects and I always think of how many pieces here will be purchased to mark milestones and special occasions; engagement rings purchased as declarations of love, watches and jewellery destined to become family heirlooms… I love that the experience of visiting Old Bond Street becomes a memory in itself – just as timeless as the jewellery and watches in each store.

Halcyon Gallery, 144-146 New Bond Street

I draw much of my inspiration for the stories inside The Mayfair Magazine simply from walking around the streets of the area -making observations and talking to people. One Saturday, I was walking down Bond Street when a print caught my eye in the Halcyon Gallery’s window. It was a 1975 portrait of Paloma Picasso by Andy Warhol. We were planning an edition of the magazine dedicated to art and design, and the moment I saw this image I knew we had to have it on our cover. For me, shopping on Bond Street also means searching for inspiration and magazine covers too.

The Royal Arcade

Alongside some of the most famous global luxury brands on Bond Street, is the quaint, but elegant, Royal Arcade, housing some beautiful artisan shops. I love finding a contrast between brands that can only be found in Mayfair and those that have a presence all over the world. Ormonde Jayne has been in the Arcade for 15 years and her fragrances are sophisticated and chic – much like its founder the ever-stylish Linda Pilkington. Exceptional spectacles are made by E.B. Meyrowitz and I can never pass by Charbonnel et Walker without picking up some salted caramel chocolates.

Brown Hart Gardens

I love many of Mayfair’s public spaces, including the Mount Street Gardens, Grosvenor Square and Berkeley Square, but nothing is quite as enjoyable as spending time in Brown Hart Gardens, overlooked by the formidable Antony Gormley sculpture at The Beaumont Hotel. Grosvenor has done a tremendous job of rejuvenating what was a previously unused space, and turning it into a place enjoyed by all.

Hermès, 155 New Bond Street 

My first square silk scarf from Hermès, came from its New Bond Street store and while it has been closed for refurbishment for much of this year, when it reopened, it certainly was worth the wait. Housing all of its beautifully crafted interiors, ready-to-wear, fragrance and jewellery collections, Hermès continues to set the bar high for what an ultimate luxury goods emporium should be. When I purchased my scarf, I’ll never forget the way the staff would carefully unfold and then lift each one into the air, almost above their heads, so that the scarf would gently float onto the counter. What could be more elegant than the quiet sound of silk unfolding? It’s a shopping experience quite unlike any other.