Am a little bit football fever obsessed
Just a little
Was at a Mo Ibrahim Foundation garden party
Am a little bit football fever obsessed
Just a little
Was at a Mo Ibrahim Foundation garden party
Tell me the last time this happened to you: you pop into a slick boutique in a seriously posh part of town and walk out with the following: an item (or two) that firstly fit you as though it / they were bespoke, and you are safe in the knowledge that no other store this side of the Mediterranean or indeed the Atlantic, stocks said item(s).
This happened to me a couple of days ago. In Chelsea of all places! Strolling down the fabulous Draycott Avenue has, in the past, been a window-shopping experience. No more, no less. Whether an inferiority complex, a phobia with upmarket band pressure or just a few less zeros in the bank in true recessionista style, I rarely make a purchase in SW3.
You have to trust me on this. Make a special trip to Anca C. The owner, Anca, knows what women want and she makes no bones in telling you what works, and what doesn’t. She has a magical in-built formula that manages to recognise what works for a client. Her aim? Bringing out both her client’s feminine side and personality. It really is a frock shop – frocks fill the rails. Let her choose you a couple of pieces to start with and play, enjoy, strut your stuff in her boutique and more importantly, trust her (and her team). Anca does all the buying herself, often discovering American labels that are almost unknown here with a realistic range of sizes, up to 16 (rare in Chelsea!). She has developed and produced her own label collections, clients adore her structured dresses, maxi dresses and vibrant kaftan-esque numbers. Anca has her own cashmere collection, hand-made in Kathmandu.
The boutique will open late for her regulars who know they won’t make it out of the office in time, and if a visitor to London needs a fabulous dress at the last minute for a dinner, an appointment can be arranged at the hotel where they are staying.
An Anca C customer? Well-travelled, independent, sassy, aware of their femininity and doesn’t follow the pack who buy labels for labels’ sake.
Swarovski Gems 2011 launches this week across the globe.. Approaching the HQ, I feel like I should be wearing an entirely new wardrobe. As in, in a perfect world, I would have bought the whole outfit yesterday. You know one of those truly urban moments, when you feel just a little bit six seasons ago? The handbag – which has gone down a treat at every event over the past three years – feels, well, a full three years old and shabby chic it ain’t.
It is day 2 of London Jewellery Week 2010. The sun is out – between downpours – and I have just arrived at the Swarovski Headquarters in Piccadilly. The white, ultra clinical yet elegant interior is sparkling. A waiter serves the prerequisite soft drink du jour, elderflower cordial, as I am led into a slick, stark boardroom that would fit perfectly in a scene in Ugly Betty.
Dr Birgit Rieder is Head of Gem Creative in Wattens, Austria, where Daniel Swarovski created his empire in 1895.
Dr Rieder’s presentation is, excuse the pun, absolutely flawless. She truly inspired me with her understanding of the power of these man-made zirconia gemstones, from (I think) one of the most powerful brands in the world today.
What fascinates me the most, is the importance the team gives to trend agencies and the evolution of trends. For Swarovski, it is not what’s ‘in right now’ that is important, but what the consumer genuinely wants, in all of her mood swings. As Rieder so rightly declared, ‘I wore a big cocktail ring yesterday and today, I’m wearing a more refined piece of jewellery’. Different days, different persona. She’s right, what we wear reflects our mood, as well as the zeitgeist. It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her tune, some every three minutes, but that’s for another feature…
Swarovski Gems 2011 launches this week across the globe. The designers of the collection want the pieces to reflect the personality of the wearer. With the consumers of the world so varied, in a world that is so vast, women in various markets want a host of different accessories. Big players in the jewellery and design worlds have been invited to take the Swarovski gems and incorporate them into fascinating pieces, playing with the offering of delicious colours and colossal strength (almost as strong as diamonds) of each zirconia stone. The fact that they are not precious, is even more ingenious. Jewellers from some of the biggest fine jewellery brands in the world, have actually given their respect – and names – to the brand.
Swarovski’s vision is to unite the world and work together, rather than fighting each other, very 2011. The brand speaks to all nations, empathising with the rainbow of customs, cultures and tastes. Rieder goes on to say that with the power of the web, our sense of wonder has dissolved somewhat. However, the sense of amazement we each get from nature is still just as fresh. We are actually appreciating natural beauty so much more in fact. Many of the collections feature shapes from the natural world; flowers and insects are plentiful.
Swarovski Gems is the ‘product brand for Swarovski’s genuine gemstones & created stones’. These Gems inspire some of the most talented minds in the fine jewellery industry to create pieces from their wildest dreams.
My by-line is up and hopefully this will last longer than the requisite 15 minutes.
Am published, am loving it, and am on a roll. Style Bible posted my piece on the School of Life and I love the fact that a dinner I attended, after having read about it in the press (Telegraph Magazine) lead to a feature.
I am covering London Jewellery Week for Style Bible this week – so get the bubbly and gems merging into a lucid couple of words please.
‘What is your most surprising fear, and where does it come from?’ was up for discussion during the first course.
A welcome cocktail had been thrust my way just moments ago, as I apprehensively joined a table of strangers who were sharing their views on the various aphorisms, or amuse-bouches, which were printed on laminated cards. Guests were under strict rules to focus on what was written on the cards, rather than veer towards predictable topics, such as the nightmare tube journey to the restaurant or the weather!
To admit that I am a sucker for novelties in the world of networking, would be an understatement, however this dinner retained my attention – and that of my fellow guests – until long after the coffees had been served. Chair-swapping between each course was encouraged, so as to mingle with as many people in the room. The delicious dessert course culminated in the newly formed group pontificating on, ‘how will our culture change in the next 100 years?’
I was at a Conversation Dinner, a regular on the curriculum at The School of Life. Established in 2008, The School was founded by Alain de Botton and Sophie Howarth (former curator of the Tate Modern), offering programmes for grown-ups who are instinctively curious, enjoy the process of thought and relish stimulating conversation. The founders’ intention was to create a modern-day apothecary for ‘pupils’ to come to be treated for common ailments of our zeitgeist, ie. jobs, relationships, personal philosophical dilemmas and so on. The School is based in Bloomsbury, with a retail space bursting with an inspirational offering of literature and prose.
De Botton and Howarth are no strangers to the power of words, concluding that in adulthood, our thirst for learning must be regularly quenched. Random yet like-minded strangers are offered a programme of Conversation Dinners, secular ‘Sunday Sermons’, Evening Classes, the Breakfast Club (sessions run weekdays for an hour, 7:30am) and Weekends (in London and outside). The Sunday Sermons were launched with the following in mind, ‘in the old days most of us looked to religion for direction on how to live. Now we flick through the Sunday papers or surf the net, finding little by way of good counsel’. Workshops include, ‘How To Be A Good Friend’, ‘How To Be Cool’, ‘How Necessary is a Relationship?’, ‘How To Have Better Conversations’, ‘How To Be Alone’, ‘How To Make a Difference’. The evening classes are led by VIP guest speakers, with a maximum of 30 per class, for people with busy lifestyles to meet new people, enjoy, relax and unwind, with wine and a bite.
Current Director Morgwn Rimel, (during Howarth’s maternity leave), says, ‘we forget to feed our soul at the weekend, turn your off-time into on-time…we have forgotten how to be free….we need to embrace our creativity in spite of how accomplished we are’. She is currently organising summer ‘play weekends’ where students are invited ‘to be more judgemental with yourselves, open up a little more’. One idea is a full day of urban gardening, a ‘taste voyage of epicuriosity’ headed by Tom Hodgkinson, of ‘The Idler’.
The ratio of women to men is usually 70:30 for the evening classes, while the monthly sermons are 50:50, with 400-500 people attending.
The School of Life is a nutritious chicken soup for the soul of the Noughties. In a refreshing take on the world which in no way preaches, the School advises us to grab a brief moment out of our daily schedule and re-awaken our dormant minds. In these times of increasing uncertainty, punters are offered a menu of programmes that curate ideas and process them, in a manner which is intelligent, thought–provoking and far from laden with psycho-babble. And Stylebible can whole heartedly reccomend that you give this new found way of thinking a go – who knows what you might come away with?