Whilst my beloved husband headed back to the USA for business with Formula E I flinched at my slightly crammed diary for the week ahead. Flying solo always seems so appealing until it becomes a reality. I adore going out with my husband and the thought of a whole slate of dinners, private viewings and general social butterfly nonsense was suddenly a tad disheartening…
My own Private Viewings at The Little Black Gallery are always fun but at the end of the day we are a commercial gallery and pictures need to be flying off the walls not gathering dust. One of our most brilliant artists, Vee Speers, came over from her home in Paris for her new show “Bordello” . They are suggestively sexy pictures in a 1920’s vein and the mount, red shot silk, although I say it myself is a genius touch (thank you Tim Blake of John Jones Framing). Vee is a larger than life character and has an even larger following of collectors. I personally adore her work and find her strong work ethic very inspiring. The opening was super over-subscribed with many new faces coming to the Gallery just to see Vee. Another of our super artists, Mike Figgis (Film Director, photographer & artiste) came along and was immediately set upon by all sorts of fans. I had found some new potential collectors and they all tipped up, including Interiors expert, Sera Hersham. She brought a whole entourage including a very old pal of mine from my LA days, the actor Michael Wincott.  I was ecstatic to see him but he was even more shocked to find me running a photography gallery! More extraordinary was the eccentric Philip Salon  who used to run all the best, coolest and notorious London nightclubs when I was a young thing. My business partner Ghislain Pascal and I were very happy with the whole evening and escaped next door to our local The Henry Root for dinner with Vee & our best clients.
Next on my agenda was a quick in and out at the Saatchi Gallery in Duke of York Square. My younger daughters school had really upped the anti by engaging the Royal Photographer, Hugo Burnand, to shoot all the children in a what can only be described as a “Vanity Fairish fashion” shoot for a charity auction . The resulting pictures were so incredible that they were immediately snapped up!
Whilst my eldest daughter Anouska (a photographer, artist, free spirit) arrived in from Paris to prep for her inclusion in the Women of the World Festival at the South Bank Center with Magpie Magazine . She has set up a Collective of female artists, World Wide Women, and with very little funding has set the wheels in motion for something really special. She was thrilled to have been able to take part in the Festival and I was so proud to watch her create her stand . Some of the artists photography was displayed and promptly sold. Her fellow artist Micheala Mead  had her magazine Magpie on sale and the girls were inundated with interest. I found the whole day at the South Bank absolutely uplifting and a real eye opener.
I then took the time to visit Atlas Gallery  in Marylebone which is celebrating 20 years in photography with one of the best recent exhibitions I’ve seen in London. It features the best of their photographs from their archives , including some photographic classics like Robert Capa’s ‘Fallen Soldier’ , pictures from Sebastiao Salgado’s ‘Gold Mine’ series, and works by Cindy Sherman, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Jacques-Henri Lartique, and many many more . Congratulations to them and I hope they have another successful 20 years!
Another night naturally another dinner, this time I was intrigued to see if all the hype was worth it as Andre Balasz’s opened his latest creation and first in London – The Firehouse in Chiltern Street . I was interested to see if Andre, the coolest of cool hoteliers could re-create a Chateau Marmont here in London (I would be a harsh critic having spent most of the late 90’s staying at the Chateau in LA). Well from the moment I walked though the outside garden gate I was sold. It’s chic, discreet and screams – Be Naughty!! The restaurant was packed with all sorts of familiar London faces, Guy Ritchie at a strategic table, David Ross (Carphone Warehouse entrepreneur) at the bar, and PR supremo Matthew Freud with chef Heston Blumenthal having a boys-only supper. This is just a snippet of what was going on, action wise. The food was delicious but not what I would claim to be healthy or light. Andre has stolen, in the best possible way, a lot of familiar faces from all sorts of London eateries and that made it feel instantly familiar. But the Private Residence bar was what blew my mind and made me want to stay up all night drinking lethal Martini’s. He just completely nails the sexy, naughty I want to get into trouble vibe. Hilarious carpets, vintage style seating and a Frank Sinatra style low bar in a champagne/apricot colored marble. All the staff were super on it and I am sure that my next terrible late nights will have some connection to The Firehouse.