Our diarist Freya Simms offers her fortnightly reflections on her favourite London haunts
The week started with a bang – or should I say pop – when we joined the Made.com team for a celebratory drink in their offices. The award-winning online furniture retailers had just hit yet another milestone. Made.com investor and founder of lastminute.com and mydeco fame – Brent Hoberman – was looking content and very tanned as he surveyed the scene. This may, of course, have something more to do with recently attracting investment from eVenture Capital Partners for mydeco.com, a move that values the business at more than £35m.
The following day it was off to Mayfair for a meeting with the leading dealer in historic paintings and portraits and art sleuth extraordinaire, Philip Mould. On the way, I made a brief stop at The Connaught, and couldn’t help taking a peek at the water installation that caused road work chaos around the hotel entrance for so many months. It was worth it. Designed by the renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, with two mature trees planted in the midst of a steaming infinity pool made up of glass lenses with water running over them, it is a stunning addition to the area. Definitely worth a gander, and then you’ve an excuse to pop into the bar for one of London’s most show-stopping martinis!
Philip Mould’s gallery is situated just a few doors down from achingly cool Comme de Garçon’s Dover Street Market, and is where Emma Hawkins (of C4’s ‘Four Rooms’ fame) has created a decidedly taxidermic installation – astonishing!
After the meeting I popped to go to one of my favourite boutiques: Lalage Beaumont.
Always stylish, Lalage creates classic tailoring that is decidedly elegant and feminine, and very easy to wear. She uses gorgeous tweeds from the oldest tweed mill in England (which has been supplying Chanel since the house began), as well as specially woven English jacquard silks and exclusive embroideries. My items of choice are her coat jackets that look great over a dress or jeans, and I’m currently coveting a tweed coat in a green and camel check. The best thing is that while you are always complimented and noted for wearing her clothes, Lalage keeps her collections very limited so once you’ve succumbed to temptation, you’re unlikely to bump into anyone wearing the same.
Daniel Crouch Rare Books
It was then off to Daniel Crouch Rare Books’ new gallery opening, at 4 Bury Street. Daniel is a leading specialist in rare and unusual maps, books and atlases. This new addition to London’s best known art-dealing district demonstrates the unwavering pull of the area which continues to attract the major art market players.
Collectors were treated to a veritable treasure trove of stock, including an impressive example of the first map ever to be printed. Created in 1475 and known as ‘Rudimentum Novitiorum’, it is a circular representation of the world map and as a ‘mappa mundi’ of the era, it provides a fascinating insight into the mindset of medieval cartography and the monks who created them – both Adam and Eve sport decidedly hairy faces! At a price tag of around three quarters of a million pounds, I might start by investing in a Victorian map of London first, but I’ve got my eye on bigger things to come!
George and Sandy Somlo
Finally it was off to catch up with George and Sandy Somlo at Omega’s Vintage Summer cocktail evening in the Burlington Arcade. I was hoping that they would pop a limited edition 1948 Seamaster into the goody bag, but instead it was lashings of champagne served in chic and oversized coupes and delicious, easy to negotiate bite-sized canapés.
Freya Simms has worked for Christies Fine Art, Bonhams and Sotheby’s where she rose to become head of marketing, press & special events in 2002. On the agency side she’s worked for art specialist Cawdell Douglas and Focus PR working across brands including the Fine Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia, the British Luxury Council, The Affordable Art Fair, Clarion Retail and Ceramic Art London. She became fair director at Clarion in 2005 and is now managing director ofMuse Communications.