The Saatchi Gallery

Sloane Square Hotel, London

Sloane Square was designed in 1771 and named after Sir Hans Sloane. It has long been one of the most exclusive areas in central London, situated between the Kings Road and Sloane Street. It’s the perfect address to thrill shopaholics, surrounded by the world’s most luxury boutiques.

Aside from the excellent retail therapy opportunities, the Square also has several historical buildings, including the Peter Jones department store, the Royal Court Theatre and the Sloane Square Hotel. 

Housed in a 19th-century building which was formerly The Royal Court Hotel, it has played host to many celebrities. Early in February 1962, The Beatles stayed for several weeks and in the following year they used the building as a venue for photographic sessions. The hotel also played host to the first meeting between Paul McCartney and his future girlfriend Jane Asher.

In 2005 the building was completely renovated and reopened as Sloane Square Hotel. The ideal location for my recent trip to The Glamour Beauty Festival at The Saatchi Gallery. The Gallery is conveniently just a two minute walk from the hotel. 

As per usual, I arrived at the hotel well before my scheduled Check In time. The intention was to drop my bags and grab some breakfast in the hotel’s French inspired Cote Brasserie. It was a nice surprise to be told that my room was ready, giving me the opportunity to have a quick freshen up before the Festival began. The staff at reception were all charming and extremely welcoming, setting the tone for the rest of my stay. 

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I arrived in my room to find a handsome little fella sat waiting to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries while I inspected the room. 

The hotel’s rooms are elegant and luxurious, with bespoke ornate wallpapers and beds dressed with luxury 300-thread count Egyptian linens. Comfort is paramount with soft pillows on the huge King size bed.

My room had a lovely window seat looking out across the square and was pretty spacious, even by London standards.

After a quick spruce up, I bid my friend farewell and made my way downstairs to meet my (human) friend for some french toast before we set off for the Saatchi Gallery. 

The Glamour Beauty Festival is a two-day beauty event which launched in 2016 and returned to London for its second year.

The event was sponsored by Fiat, which staged a 'pool party', offering guests the chance to immerse themselves in a party experience with DJ music, a gelato van and parasols. We grabbed ourselves a prosecco sorbet and soaked up the party atmosphere.

The Festival is an opportunity to experience professional beauty treatments and gain expert advice, as well as watch talks with some of the industry’s leading figures. Brands supporting the festival included Nars, GHD, Garnier, Elizabeth Arden and Nails Inc. 

Youtube duo Pixiwoo kicked off the talks, followed by make-up guru Mary Greenwell and hair expert Sam McKnight. They spoke to presenter Angela Scanlon about how the beauty industry has changed and gave a fascinating insight into what it was like working with Princess Diana.

Fearne Cotton spoke all things food with celebrity nutritionist Amelia Freer. 

Dermot O’Leary was interviewed by Glamour Editor Jo Elvin on his new skincare range for men. 

Glamour’s Beauty Director, Alessandra Steinherr, interviewed a group of gorgeous ladies as to their Desert Island essentials. The group consisted of singer Frankie Bridge and bloggers In The Frow, Samantha Maria and Niomi Smart.

Winnie Harlow spoke to Erin O’Connor about working in the modelling industry. 

After all of the talks we had our hair done by GHD before heading next door to Gallery Mess for some much needed food. 

Gallery Mess has a beautiful setting within the grounds of the Saatchi Gallery. The decor of exposed brickwork, high ceilings and unique displays of art make for a lovely relaxing atmosphere. The perfect place for a long leisurely meal in readiness for some cocktails in Chelsea. 

Returning to the Sloane Square Hotel in the evening, we enjoyed a complimentary glass of prosecco in the hotel bar.

When I returned to my room a lovely little surprise awaited. The room had been turned down, with my bed made ready to slump into. A chocolate had been left on my pillow and a bottle of water on the bedside table. I’m can’t be sure who the kind and thoughtful person was who did this for me, but I have my suspicions. He’d even left out a mug for me to have a late night feast of hot chocolate and cookies. What a gentleman!

London Fashion Weekend

Last week saw the return of London Fashion Weekend to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. Hot on the heels of London Fashion Week, the exclusive event was a four day spectacle, allowing us mere mortals access to the world of fashion. 

Thanks to the growing influence of the Internet and social media, the industry has opened itself up to allow the public the opportunity to have an authentic fashion-insider experience. Ticket-holders can attend catwalk shows, talks from fashion experts as well as shop from designer collections. There were over 150 brands selling items at insider prices. There was also the opportunity to experience beauty treatments from both Maybelline and Toni & Guy.

Tickets were available in Bronze (£20), Silver (£40), Gold (£60), Luxe (£130) and Luxe Premium (£145), each offering different experiences. We bought Silver tickets which allowed us front row access to a Designer Catwalk show. Each day a different designer gave an exclusive preview of their SS16 collection. When we visited on Saturday, Temperley London featured. 

The clothes were beautiful, all bohemian and feminine with heavy embroidery. Some of the models wore handmade sandals and wide-brimmed Panama hats which gave a Havana feel to the collection.

My favourite looks were a Black and Ivory Lettie Tuva waistcoat and trousers and a £10,000 showstopper, a long mirror ball ruffle dress.

The gorgeous George Lamb presented the show, we met him afterwards and he was utterly charming. After the catwalk event we went to a talk with model and presenter, Daisy Lowe. 

The Talks on offer during the four day event were fantastic. Charlotte Dellal, the designer behind Charlotte Olympia, spoke about her brand. Fashion designer and stylist William Baker spoke about music and fashion. Sunday’s talk was by respected photographer, Rankin, famed for snapping everyone from the Queen to Kate Moss. 

We listened to Daisy discussing growing up in the modelling industry. She gave a frank and honest insight into the campaigns she has featured in and the prominent photographers she has worked with. It was a great talk and she was really lovely when we met her afterwards. During her talk she hinted that she has some exciting projects in the pipeline. When we spoke I asked her if she would consider launching her own range of vintage clothing like her mum, Pearl Lowe. Although she didn’t confirm or deny she looked quite coy so keep an eye out…

The event ran from 25th – 28th February but it is due to return to the Saatchi Gallery again in September 2016. You can sign up at www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk/newsletter to be notified of when tickets go on sale.

If you do attend in September, make sure that you take the opportunity to dress up in your most stylish attire, most of the visitors at the event looked like they had just stepped off the catwalk!

In the meantime, here's a glimpse of what to expect...

Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery

During my recent trip to London, I visited The Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea to attend the Chanel Mademoiselle Privé exhibition. 



The Saatchi Gallery was opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 to exhibit contemporary art to the public. It occupied several different premises before moving to its current location in 2008. Now housed in The Duke of York's HQ, a listed building, the Gallery is made up of 12 huge rooms set over three floors. 

It’s an ideal location, set in its own little oasis just off the Kings Road, next to Sloane Square. Inside the Gallery is minimalist with glass stairwells and expansive white walls throughout. It’s said to be one of the most beautiful art spaces in London, the perfect setting to showcase one of the most iconic brands of today. 


Source: Chanel


The exhibition was named Mademoiselle Privé after the sign that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel frequently placed on the door of her atelier so that she could work undisturbedCapturing her spirit perfectlyeach room of the Saatchi Gallery was transformed to take visitors on a journey through the rich history of the House of Chanel, including Haute Couture, the "Bijoux de Diamants" jewellery collection and the iconic CHANEL N°5 perfume.

A few days before we visited, the Gallery hosted a private party to celebrate the launch of the exhibition. It was a star-studded affair with actresses Julianne Moore and Clémence Poésy in attendance as well as models Cara Delevingne and Laura Bailey. Long-term muse Vanessa Paradis and the new generation of Chanel ladies, including Lily-Rose Depp and Lily Collins, also turned out to support Karl Lagerfeld at the opening.


Source: Chanel


Upon entering the Gallery we were immediately greeted with a reconstruction of the fabulous mirrored staircase in Chanel’s Rue Cambon store in Paris. It is on this Parisian staircase that Coco would sit, hidden, to observe the reactions of the audience to her collections. 

We were then taken room by room through the key moments in Coco's life including the opening of her Deauville hat shop and photographs of the summers she spent in Scotland which inspired her love of tweed. The colour red (worn on the lips, it became Gabrielle’s signature colour), camellias (Coco’s favourite flower, apparently after one was given to her by her lover) and wheat (her lucky charm, symbolising prosperity and creativity) were common themes throughout.

A large room representing Chanel No 5 had a futuristic feel with gold-lidded wells containing each of the perfume’s individual ingredients such as jasmine and May rose, leaving the vast room filled with the individual scents that still make up the perfume today, nearly 100 years after it was first released.

There were photographs taken by Karl Lagerfeld of actresses Julianne Moore, Keira Knightly and Lily Collins all wearing the designer’s one-off creations and diamond jewels from Bijoux de Diamants. Only a few pieces remain from the original collection today. It was supposed to have been displayed from the first time in London in 1932 but was stopped due to stringent British customs regulations. This exhibition finally saw it unveiled after 83 years with the entire collection recreated especially.

Items worn at the Chanel couture show last July were displayed, protected by infrared laser alarms that activate if a visitor got too close (speaking from experience). All the pieces on show were made in the Chanel workshop above the Place Vendôme store in Paris. 

Big on sensory experience, another room was filled with huge drapes of different fabrics from the Chanel atelier, allowing visitors to touch and wander through real Chanel couture fabrics including delicate silks and the famous bouclé tweeds.

A short film directed by Lagerfeld was also featured showing a feisty Coco, played by actress Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie Chaplin), waking on the sofa of her Parisian apartment. After forty years of sleeping she confronts Lagerfeld about how he has continued her legacy. “What do you think you are doing?” she demands, “I am keeping you alive” he replies.

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For a brand that still has not wholly embraced e-commerce, the exhibition was cleverly complemented by the Mademoiselle Privé app which visitors could download and use throughout to bring the show to life. Lifting a smartphone or iPad in front of the mirrored staircase, for example, would transport you to Paris for a virtual tour of Coco’s private apartment at number 31 Rue Cambon.

Unfortunately Mademoiselle Privé only ran for three weeks. This was the third such exhibition for Chanel at the Saatchi Gallery following the success of “The Little Black Jacket” in 2012 and Sam Taylor-Johnson’s photographs of Coco’s private apartment in 2014. Hopefully it won’t be the last. 

www.saatchigallery.com

Duke Of York's HQ, King's Rd, London SW3 4RY

Admission to The Saatchi Gallery is free to all visitors.