London Design Festival: 10 Top Moments

Every September 375,000 fashion forwarded design lovers from all over the world pour into London to experience The London Design Festival. The festival is timed nicely to collide with London Fashion Week and is set up to reach every corner of the city.

The hipster east end neighborhood of Shoreditch offered up a fair of homewares from Norway to China, Central London’s vast Somerset House hosted the London Design Biennale (which represented commission works from six continents), the iconic Victoria and Albert Museum hosted the most Instagram worthy moments with works by Mathieu Lehanneur and in the SoHo District, Burberry set up shop with their Maker House . This exhibition paired their AW ’17 collection atop live installations with the collection The New Craftsmen. LDF does a tremendous job of celebrating London’s creativity and offering up an international platform that attracts artists, designers and fashion set attendees from over 75 countries. With over 400 events, installations, workshops, exhibitions and parties it can be a challenge to hit up everything but we managed to do it.

Here are the top ten moments.

Liquid Marble by Mathieu Lehanneur at the V&A.


Photo courtesy of London Design Festival
French designer Mathieu Lehanneur presents his ‘Liquid Marble’ Installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The black surface appears both liquid and solid, evoking the rippling waves of an ocean as Norfolk House Music promotes a meditative state for visitors.

Maker’s House by Burberry 


In partnership with The New Craftsmen, Burberry presents an exhibition and open series of activities to celebrate the craft and inspiration behind their AW ’17 collection. The New Craftsmen have curated some of the most talented artists, designers and creators who are dedicated to producing the best of British culture, artifacts and craft methods.

Light Pollination presented by Iguzzini


Photo courtesy of London Design Festival
Commissioned by iGuzzini, Light Pollination consists of 20,000 LED lights embedded on the ends of fibre-optic cables. Visitors wave phones over the cables which influence the behavior of the LED lights, mimicing the phenomenon of bioluminescence in nature. The public art installation open up a conversation about how digital media is influencing how we can use lighting in cities.

Studio Martyn Thompson Rock Pool Installation 


Photography by Martyn Thompson 
Fashion Photographer turned designer, Martyn Thompson premiered Rock Pool Installation, a collection of textiles celebrating the unknowable sea and the unending shift of ideas. Abstract shapes and shadows form to reflect the motion, rocks and waves of the ocean. These patterns are created from Martyn’s photographs and celebrate his love of the “accidental.”

Somerset House (Austria) LeveL by mischer’traxler


Photography by Ed Reeve
Austrian design representative mischer’traxler’s kinetic light sculpture deftly balances when visitors are completely still in its vicinity. With perfect stillness, the lights are brightest, illuminating the room fully. Any disturbance made the rods tilt and LEDs dim.

Glithero presents Green Room at the V&A


Photo courtesy of London Design Festival
Green Room is a dramatic installation at the V&A, conceived by London design studio Glithero in partnership with luxury watch maker Panerai. The “room” is a kinetic piece comprised of 160 multicolored silicone cords that wrap around a six story stairwell on the west side of the museum.

Porta Romana‘s Cosmos presented at Focus at Design Chelsea Harbour


Photo courtesy of Porta Romana
The celebrated UK design studio’s post future, space punk lighting install inspired by outer space, moons and planets. The pieces were created by rolling blown glass into crushed glass for a crystalized outer shell.

Somerset House (India) Chakraview curated by Rajshree Pathy and Sumant Jayakrishnan


Photography by Ed Reeve
Ancient myth and modern design intersect in curator Rajshree Pathy and scenographer Sumant Jayakrishnan’s stage-like spectacle, Chakraview. Visitors are immersed in circular forms, traditional textiles and ancient mythology that weave together a sense of modern India to explore the continuities between India’s past and future – myth and reality.

Voutsa Pop Up by Voutsa at Clerkenwell.


Photo courtesy of Voutsa
Known for his vibrant patterns with wall coverings, clothing and homewares, New York City’s Voutsa brought his traveling pop up to Clerkenwell. This front room installation included his fashion collaboration with Paul Marlow Studio, a made-to-measure atelier which includes a repertoire of silk robes and kimonos, caftans and tunics, scarves, bandannas, and swimwear. Also on included were home accessories created from select Voutsa hand painted patterns in the form of pillows, tote bags, lampshades trays and throws.


The Smile by Alison Brooks


Photography by Ed Reeve
Architect Alison Brooks’ Landmark Project for the London Design Festival could be described as an unidentified flying object. The upside down arc made entirely of tulipwood takes the shape of a smile in this grand urban pavilion. The four sided curved tube that curves upward to its two open ends, allows light to wash across its curved floor like water across a spillway. This achievement creates an immersive environment that integrates structure, surface, space and light.



Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali Launch 2016 EAT (RED) Culinary Tour

Mario Batali, Courtesy EAT (RED)


If you could eat well and save lives at once, you could hardly say no, could you?

To that end, this year’s edition of the highly anticipated EAT (RED) kicks off June 2 in New York, with the (RED) Supper at Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place, hosted by those ubiquitous, globe-trotting celeb chefs Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain. Other participating a-list culinary talent for the night will include Dominique Ansel, Frank Falcinelli, Nancy Silverton, Tom Douglas, Vinny Dotolo, Angela Dimayuga, Kristen Kish and Kevin Gillespie.

The overall goal? To raise money for the ongoing (RED) #86AIDS effort, by means of 27 days of edible nirvana. Indeed, the “tour” continues through the 28th, with special dinner, lunch, brunch, happy hour or cocktail events and offerings by many of the world’s hottest epicurean gods and goddesses at their exalted, signature restaurants.

Bourdain_CNN1[1] Eat Red

Anthony Bourdain (Courtesy CNN)

To name but a few: Enrique Olivera at Mexico City’s Eno, Stephanie Izard at Chicago’s Little Goat Diner, Jason Wass at London’s Polpetto, April Bloomfield at NYC’s Spotted Pig, Thomas Keller at the Las Vegas and Beverly Hills Bouchon Bakery locations, Alice Waters at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Jose Andres at DC’s Jaleo, as well as Batali and Lidia Bastianich’s own B&BHG Vegas restaurants at the Venetian/Palazzo, including B&B, OTTO Enoteca & Pizzeria and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse—with scores of delectable options to choose from in two dozen cities across four continents.

“Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows that the sum of our efforts always far exceeds what we can do individually,” says Batali. “EAT (RED) is an opportunity for all of our restaurants to collectively contribute to a tremendously worthy cause while doing what we do best: making delicious food.”

LeftBank_GnocciGnocchi at Left Bank NYC, Courtesy EAT (RED)

The (RED) charity, of course, was founded by Bono in 2006, with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as its primary recipient. EAT (RED) debuted in 2014, and has become one of its most high-profile annual events. N.B. Plan to reserve in advance. It’s a hot ticket.

J.W. Anderson Collaborates with Giles Round on Incredible Phallic Vases

Photo via J.W. Anderson

J.W. Anderson’s Workshop series has spawned an incredible collaboration with Giles Round, the London-based sculptor whose work oft explores geometric shapes and monochromatic color panels.  ETTORE. SORRY! highlights Round’s ongoing series of ceramics, which all misappropriate Italian architect Ettore Sottsass’ famous ’70s Shiva vase. Created exclusively for Anderson’s Workshop, this colorful range was rendered flaccid as “both homage and apology to Sottsass and his iconic work.”


Hotel News From London: Book a Suite, Drive a Ferrari

Bath Butler? Pet Concierge? Minibar Negroni making kits? You can’t, it seems, swing a Frette-swathed pillow without hitting another silly, superfluous hotel amenity. But we’re personally not inclined to bother about the thread-count of our bedsheets so much as the horsepower of our driving machines.

If you’re similarly disposed, consider that a stay at the Baglioni Hotel London (the only Brit outpost of the exalted Italian hotel brand) should be next up on your springtime travel agenda. Indeed, when you book a suite for three nights at the Italo-stylish Kensington five-star (which attracts the likes of Will Smith, Jade Jagger and Christina Aguilera), it comes complete with a new model Ferrari or Lamborghini, so you can glide around the capital in enviable style.

The hotel’s suites are actually some of the plushest in London; and in-room aperitvo hour, well as dinner for two at its sexy Brunello restaurant, are all part of the fun. Afterwards, zip up to Buckinghamshire for a stay at the ultra poshie Stoke Park estate, which is offering Baglioni guests an exclusive package of leisure, wellness and culinary indulgences.

Oh, and do remember to keep to the left side of the road.

7_Baglioni_Hotel_ London_Royal_Suite_living


Baglioni Hotel London - Italian Driving Experience 2

Rub Elbows with Jude Law and Selena Gomez on Your Next Stay at London’s Hospital Club

It was Nick Jones’s opening of Soho House in London in 1995 that kicked off the seemingly unstoppable trend of private clubs/exclusive hotels. Next up: The Hospital Club — a current center of celebrity gravitational pull (think Natalie DormerJude LawSelena Gomez, and Emily Blunt) founded by Paul Allen and Dave Stewart — which is now opening its very own hotel to members and non-members alike.

With just 15 rooms, it’s decidedly more urban bolthole than party palace. And where Russell Sage’s designs for the public spaces are sort of a nod to Alice In Wonderland, the sleeping chambers are a curiously successful mashup of Southwestern and ’70s Scandinavian. The club’s art cred also extends to the rooms, with each featuring works by the likes of Rick Guest and Alyson Mowat.

Guests are given access to Hospital Club’s sundry offerings, like cinema screenings, chef master classes, and the privilege of sharing a knowing wink across the Bellini Bar with perhaps a Ewan or a Keira.



Photos courtesy of Hospital Club

Drink Champagne Directly from Kate Moss’s Breasts

Once upon a time Marie Antoinette’s left breast served as a template for the first champagne coupe. Today, we have Kate Moss.

In celebration of 25 years of the most defining model of our era, London restaurant 34 commissioned artist Jane McAdam Freud (daughter of Lucien) to create a mold of Moss’s breast for a new and quite intimate collaboration with Ms. Moss.

Moss was delighted to lend her boob to the project. Said the reigning waif: “I was excited to participate in this project — what an honour to be alongside Marie Antoinette — she was a very intriguing and mischievous character… champagne is always associated with celebration and happy occasions and I had fun creating this beautiful coupe.”

Moss will be in attendance when the glasses are introduced at 34 and its sibling restaurants, The Ivy, Daphne’s, and Scott’s in early October.

Photo courtesy of 34 Restaurant

Check out Kate’s fellow model Cara Delevingne baring her bum for Tom Ford.

Read an interview with Kelly Osbourne on her new clothing line.


Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty Returns

Photo by Sølve Sundsbø/ Art + Commerce

Alexander McQueen touches down in London once more as the Savage Beauty exhibit makes its way to the Victoria and Albert Museum for spring 2015. KCD announced Thursday evening that the show which opened at the Met’s Costume Institute (soon to be Anna Wintour Costume Center) in 2011 will move next to late designer Lee McQueen’s home turf.

Buy A Banksy For 8 Bucks

Remember when Banksy was in New York and sold pieces of work for $60 each outside Central Park? Remember how pissed you were, realizing that would be the only time you would even come close to owning a piece from the famed graffiti artist? Dry those eyes.

My Art Invest (a London art exchange) is letting collectors buy shares of a Banksy. How does it work? Exactly how it sounds, it’s basically like a time-share for art. A buyer who gets their hands on a piece can stare at it at home for a quarter of a year.

Tip: throw as many dinner parties as you can in those three months so you can impress all of your friends. Learn more about the traveling work here.


LFW Day Two Update: Rain’s Still On, and the Neck Is In

This just in. It’s still raining. In case you were wondering. Anyway, moving swiftly on to the far more pressing and, frankly, exciting matter of what delights the catwalks of the capital had to offer today. And WOW what a day it was. After yesterday’s menswear inspired delights and a mostly traditionally Autumnal colour palette (save the cobalt blue offerings) it was a total delight to see a wash of colour making it’s way down more than a couple of runways.

Holly Fulton eased us in gently this morning (lest our eyes, so unaccustomed to anything other than grey skies perhaps, be burned?) with a pretty palette of pastels. A periwinkle blue overcoat complete with symmetrical mirror print was desirable with a capital D, while a sheer detail baby blue dress in a typically bonkers Fulton print (it’s based around hands and runs through a large part of the collection) falls just the right side of pretty without being remotely predictable.



Next up, Antipodium which felt positively cheery thanks to zingy shades of sherbet oranges, lemon yellow and mint green topped up with the odd piece in even punchier shades of canary yellow and in-your-face orange. The sherbet orange ladylike, fur-collared coat is bound to brighten up even the most dreary of days, as is the brighter orange drop-waist long sleeved dress and pleated mini.



The quirky Markus Lupfer presentation (see the main image) themed around a retro cafe further fuelled my need for a bit of brightness thanks to the colour-block cable knit jumpers in pretty pastels and comic-book inspired, rainbow hued dresses. Conversely, another reoccurring motif in his collection was an understated brown animal print which that when paired with its colourful counterparts, was a serious styling triumph. This is the stuff street style dreams are made of.

But all of this colour quite literally paled into comparison next to the kaleidoscope that was House of Holland. There was pink there was orange, there was turquoise, there was red, there was green. And sometimes there was all of those and more. Together. In sequins. In stripes. I know!

It was a serious feast for the eyes. And though it seemed slightly schizophrenic in it’s referencing (one minute it’s psychedelic ‘70s prints and the next boxy ‘60s-inspired shifts), I don’t really care. It was bold, it was daring, it had spirit and most of all, it was fun. Which is a seriously underused word in fashion if you ask me. The bold striped trousers are the perfect marriage of fun with function (these would look great with a white shirt or grey sweater) while the sequined dresses are pure party girl perfection.

Something I haven’t mentioned until now though, is that alongside all this colour, there was a common thread that united almost every show, and that was the focus on the neck. Whether a white polo layered under a ladylike coat (Fulton), a turtleneck sweater paired with a bronze skirt (Antipodium) or knitted floor length polo neck dress (Lucas Nascimento) it seems that the neck is where it’s at.




JW Anderson took neck-mania (I’m coining that one) to the next level with, not only an oversized structured funnel neck on vaguely Japonesque dresses, but also what can only be described as the neck of a black polo worn as a kind of oversized choker which was worn with everything from ladylike corduroy dresses to an haute take on the humble sweatshirt. So it’s (almost) official– the neck is the new midriff. Which means we can all breathe a massive sigh of relief that this is one trend that won’t require a supermodel shaped body. And that, people, is always nice to hear.


More from me tomorrow.