Meanwhile, Back in London…

David Bowie

Meanwhile, back in London…

The town was abuzz not only with the 60 year Coronation anniversary, but also the Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum.

Needless to say, being the dyed in the wool Bowie Fangirl I am, there was no way we were going to miss the show!

V & A

A beautiful summer day on the steps of the V & A, London

David Bowie

The show was good, slick and definitely worth seeing

David Bowie

In my humble opinion however , it could have been bigger. Granted there was and continues to be SO much great material to document over Bowie’s decades long career, but it’s not like the V & A doesn’t have the room…and I’m sure the budget must have been formidable.

David Bowie Aladdin Sane

Then again, perhaps it’s fitting to leave the show feeling the man still remains a bit of an enigma (aren’t you glad I didn’t say chameleon 🙂 )

Royal Academy of Arts London

We were also just in time for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview party

London Royal Academy of Arts

Where the fashion and art world’s ongoing love affair with fluorescents was to be clocked everywhere.

People,  the “Red Carpet” was green!

fluorescent belt

Even the canapés were served on glowing fluorescent green trays. (fyi-I didn’t eat all those)

Though I felt slightly underdressed (it’s a long story) at least my belt matched the theme of the evening.

Louis Vuitton Summer 2013

Cute young girls in Louis Vuitton SS13 frocks

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and stripes were certainly a popular fasion statement.

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A triptych of pics from the party

PrawnsPrawns on fluoro ice.

fluorescent bar

and a glowing green bar

Royal Academy of Arts London

Leaving the party to go to “Le Caprice” off Piccadilly for a late dinner with old friends

Le Caprice London

A restaurant we frequented-yikes, often and more years ago than I really care to divulge, and it’s still as busy as ever.

Though the signage remains the same, the interior has enjoyed a subtle face-lift.

Hmmm…oh forget it. I can go back to the same places, but I’ll never get the old face back, and that’s OK.

No, really, it’s fine. Pass the whine. I mean the wine.

Purple Bentley

BTW, If you were going to buy a Bentley, would you pick purple?!

Louis Vuitton windows London

More fun to be had window shopping in Mayfair

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The new Assouline book shop next to Claridge’s Hotel.

Windows Harvey Nichols London

and Knightsbridge at Harvey Nichols

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Where I bought this Christopher Kane silk jacket that is amortizing nicely.Harvey Nichols London

More Harvey Nic’s

Black door, Mayfair, London

and simply strolling in the streets of my old ‘hood sharing my old memories with my husband.

Window boxes Mayfair

And lest one precious moment of London time was wasted, a girlfriend and I also took in the arts & antiques fair at Olympia.

Modern art

Where I became quite fascinated with this 3D piece. Doesn’t it look like an aerial view of a crowd of people milling about?

Art, London

Closer inspection reveals it’s simply tiny dollops of layers of paint. Very clever.

Sadly, I’m unable to find my program from the show at the moment so I cannot credit the artist.

Gerard Mas

My friend was taken with this cheeky Bazooka bubblegum snapping Renaissance-looking maiden, carved in alabaster no less, by the artist Gerard Mas.

The subtly veined and translucent nature of the alabaster made her appear unsettling life-like. It also made me want to wear more sunscreen.

~

Our last evening found us at the ridonkulously chic “5 Hertford St.”  in Mayfair, just off Curzon St.

5 Hertford St. London

The good news is it’s owned and very personally presided over by Robin Birley, son of the infamous Mark Birley who ran “Annabel’s” in Mayfair for forever and a day

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The family are true restaurant and private nightclub royalty-oh the stories they could tell! and wow, Birley’s newest establishment does not disappoint.

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Robin and Lucy Birley

The decor was conceived  by 80’s & 90’s renowned fashion designer Rifat Ozbek, though I can’t imagine that Robin Birley and his wife (Bryan Ferry’s ex) didn’t also have a strong hand in final ambiance  of the place.

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The bar area in “Loulou’s” downstairs

Downstairs is like Safari-meets-The Water Babies. Sorry if that’s a difficult visual to summon up, but that’s how it felt, so overcome was I with the general effect. Upstairs, you just want to live in every single room, sit by the multiple fire places, smoking cigars whilst reading Maugham and discussing the merits of whippets above all other canines with Mr. Birley himself. (Who I just happened to see carrying his one grey whippet down the stairs in his arms, with the other close to heel. It was The Perfect English Moment)

The Bad News is, and this is pretty bloody bad-it’s private.

One must know Some One in order to get One’s self through the very discreet little door of “5 Hertford St”

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So, if your travels include a trip to London on the horizon, One best get on the horn and start calling friends, friends of friends, bosses of friends, and listen, if things get desperate, even rebuilding a broken friendship bridge or two if necessary.

This is one of the chicest, coolest places I’ve been to.

And I really don’t think it’s just because I love London so much.

PS. Don’t flipping tell anyone I snapped the photo of the dining room  with the roses above-I imagine they don’t take kindly to people clicking away with their iPhones.

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PPS. Can’t tell a porkie-pie, I also snapped the flowers in the Ladie’s room.

Who could resist these and who does it hurt, pray tell??

OK, and really, really, lastly…cause it’s like 2am in the morning here,

Royal Baby in the Bedroom

We’re on High Alert Royal Baby Watch now are we not?!

I shot this little “Instagram”vignette in our guest room in honour of the Big Event.

I love that CNN announced today that ‘Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are eagerly awaiting the birth of either a boy or a girl!”

Genius.

Righty ho, time for me to go to bed and dream of England!

What are you doing in your part of the world right now?!

xxSP.

*all photos of “5 Hertford St.” except my first Instagram pic and the Ladie’s room flowers are via “Vanity Fair” magazine.

It’s now even later than 2am so excuse any typos-I might as well be running a nightclub at this hour.

Coat check tag,please. And No, I don’t have any change.

~

36 Comments

  1. Looks like the early bird gets the slim paley worm. I, too, am awake and happily reading about London. Thanks, Slim.

  2. Loulou’s looks like a bar one could people watch from here to eternity–so jealous. My hubby and I love elegant to tawdry unique bars for pre-dinner drinks. I need to do a Pinterest board on our bars…
    Love this royal baby watch summer… I’m betting on a girl, light hair, July 19, name–stopping here.
    I am spending the week with my 5 granddaughters so we’ll have fun girl time royal baby watching. I can hear the ga-ga going on and on and
    gotta get ready for 8:30 arrival time.

  3. Hi Slim! With all your travels, I’d love to see what you pack and wear and how you fit everything in a suitcase, or 2!
    Thanks!

  4. I am enjoying your posts from the UK so much. I am planning a spring trip to London, Oxford and to do some family genealogy in the North. You have given me some great tips. Thank you. I will put them in my plan book.

  5. You obviously forgot to take me along on this trip also. Love every uber-chic-fluorsent-artistic- moment. How do you find the time to travel like cracy and post? What magic do you posess. Love it!

  6. I am so fortunate to know Slim Paley and that she took me along to the chic 5 Hertford St! I loved every nanosecond of this post: like flipping through the pages of a … no, this is so much better than any magazine. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  7. 5 Hertford looks gorgeous….when I lived in London as a college student a 100 years ago, I thought I remembered Annabel’s to also be a private club??
    I guess you didn’t have a chance to catch the Stones in Hyde Park on Saturday night–probably a smart move as I heard it was bloody hot!!
    xx

    • We were long gone by the Stones concert but several friends attended and had a great time. Of course Mick & crew held their after party at…where else…”5 Hertford St” !

  8. My part of the world right now is Oxfordshire, England and yes Slim, summer reigns. My delphiniums are 10 feet high, the Stones had their Hyde Park concert (44 years after the first) after party at LouLou’s and the British Museum Pompeii Exhibition is the most popular since Tutankhamun back in the 80s. The Beach Boys played the Henley Music Festival (surreal), Andy Murray is a national hero and soon everyone will head to the S of France or Italy for their holidays.
    I’m staying here! There is nowhere better, no sky bluer or lawn greener than England in summertime.

    • It all sounds completely divine RR. We were rooting for Andy. Hope you get a chance to catch the “Pompeii” exhibit. Think of me as those delphiniums sway overhead… xx

  9. My Nephew’s sophomore year is aboard and he got London…..YEAH!!!!! So I have been gulping up every single little detail here, thanks!

  10. While you were in London, I was here in Chicago watching a BBC production of “The Impressionists” starring Richard Armitage as Monet.I’m getting my Anglophile fix in all directions it seems.Thanks for the sneak peek into places I’ll never see.I only caught David Bowie once at Madison Square Garden back in the 1970’s.Loved him so much I cut my brothers hair just like his, and I’m not a hair stylist! Also loved the forbidden flowers photo in the dining room and ladies room.You’re a great sneak thief! I was thinking my next big dinner party dining table should look like that.

  11. I would love to see more of the cute and elegant outfits you wear on your fun and gorgeous jaunts!

  12. I have LOVED my summer travels this year but yours are always…more of everywhere and everything…oh, to be in that arty, gourmand, oh, so chic and incredible mind of yours conjuring up another adventure. Where are we going next?
    I can’t wait!

  13. Slim, Loved this post! Just got back from London myself. So magical. Never enough time. I got to V&A too. My first time. What a wonderful spot. I loved the time I spent in Mayfair also. The best shopping and people watching! We spent lunch at a cafe with a big window on a corner there…the characters that went by! I wish I snapped more photos of all the dandy dressed older men like you did. What charmers!

    Love the jacket you bought and I agree I love seeing what you pack and wear! You looked beautiful on that green carpet!
    xx

  14. great armchair vacation, thanks slim!!
    AND….. i’ve been scouring your past posts for the little baby business cards you wrote about forever ago. they were super cute, about the size of your thumb… what are they called? cheers, steph.

  15. Was wondering what Rifat Ozbek was up to! I remember Naomi walking every (almost) RO show. Upstairs, so divine – love the footbaths as cachepots! Downstairs 🙁
    Loi

  16. Thank you Slim for whisking me away to London! Lovely trip. 5 Hertford St…… I can smell the Sweet Peas and Peonies from here!

  17. Your husband looks like Dennis Miller! Ha! Glad you had a great time…….doesn’t sound anything like Idaho where it was 102 today and got to 111 the other day…whew!!! Wonderful post as always!

Would love to hear from you!