From a busy month in the capital – with London Design Festival and London Fashion Week both arriving – to where to stay to escape the back-to-school blues, Daisy Hoppen shares her September recommendations
Do: London Design Festival and London Fashion Week
It’s a hugely busy month in the capital for art, fashion and culture this September – with London Fashion Week and the London Design Festival arriving. My highlights for both include...
London Design Festival:
- The Conran Shop in Chelsea celebrates Design Week with a major window installation titled Ad Infinitum by one of my favourite design studios, Sella Concept. Using reflection as a theme, the installation transforms the store’s Chelsea window into a hall of mirrors, a beautiful world of curved forms, floating walls and windows.
- Dan Tobin Smith, The Experience Machine and Gemfields present VOID, a multi-sensory installation at Collins Music Hall in Islington from September 14 to 22. Expect large-scale projections of minerals and gemstones looking to blur the boundaries between nature and design. Tobin Smith is widely regarded as one of the world’s leaders in still-life photography, having worked with the likes of Apple, Nike, Craig Green and Alexander McQueen to name but a few.
- Rony Plesl’s Sacred Geometry comprises surreal and unique glass installations formed to look like tree trunks, illuminated in otherworldly green fluorescent light. This work – which is only possible due to modern glass technology – will be shown in the Medieval and Renaissance galleries at the V&A Museum.
London Fashion Week:
- Head to Dover Street Market for numerous launches and happenings with surprise guests, designers and signings on Saturday, September 14 between 5pm and 7pm.
- Lucy Kumara Moore curates British photographer and stylist Venetia Scott’s first solo exhibition, which will be held at MATCHESFASHION.COM’s Carlos Place townhouse, titled Fragile Face Lay Flat. Lucy – who also has a column, SEXNESS, on AnOthermag.com – is my go-to for photography taste levels.
- Anya Hindmarch always creates incredible immersive experiences over London Fashion Week. This season is bound as always to be an adventure – an immersive postbox maze is being installed inside Brewer Street Car Park.
- My show highlights for London Fashion Week, to stalk via Instagram and on designers’ live feeds, include Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard, Roberts Wood, Preen, Richard Malone, Rejina Pyo, and Christopher Kane.
For all nosy people, it’s London’s Open House this month, an architectural festival which offers free public access to over 800 buildings via walks and tours. Highlights include: a Ruskinian walk through architectural highlights of Acton and Chiswick, 19th-century Clapham chapel Ebenezer Cottage, Portcullis House, and Baitul Futuh Mosque.
Buy: Beauty products for autumn
With back-to-school blues comes time to get back into your skincare regime post-summer skin-baking (despite the best intentions to wear SPF 50 every day). Head to Pfeffer Sal for a restorative and efficient facial, plus invest in a new lightweight moisturiser – such as Aesop’s new Seeking Silence hydrator – to give your skin some much-needed moisture as you head back to office air conditioning and towards winter.
Buy: Comme des Garçons’s Gucci bag collaboration
Look out for the hyped Comme des Garçons x Gucci bag – available from Dover Street Market and Gucci this month. But don’t expect it to be around for long, the waiting lists are already impossibly lengthy.
See: Tim Walker exhibitions at the V&A and Michael Hoppen Gallery
Tim Walker is one of today’s most celebrated and loved photographers, and this September sees the opening of his major exhibition, Wonderful Things, at the V&A Museum – featuring over 150 new works inspired by the museum’s collection. In addition, there will also be a show of work at Michael Hoppen Gallery titled Wonderful People, opening on October 25. I have always loved the worlds that Walker creates, from the mythical to the surreal – they are often unexpected but also undoubtedly imbued with his very personal artistic vision. You know immediately a Tim Walker photograph when you see one.
La Veste and Gropius Lamps have collaborated on a range of beautiful lamps in sorbet shades and in various sizes. Printed in gingham or stripes, they feel part of Instagram Home Design 2.0.
Is there anyone that doesn’t love Fleabag? If you managed to get a ticket to the just-opened return of the play starring Phoebe Waller Bridge herself – lucky you. For the rest of us, a screening via the National Theatre Live programme at local Picturehouses – for one night only on September 12 – will have to do.
Eat: Franco’s, Jermyn Street
I have always loved Franco’s in Mayfair, an institution that sits on Jermyn Street among shops that sell traditional umbrellas and silk dressing gowns. This September it celebrates its 75th Birthday with an extensive redesign. Retaining its classic Italian menu, regulars will be relieved to hear that some of the restaurant’s iconic dishes will be returning: vitello tonnato, chestnut tagliatelle with mixed mushrooms, pappardelle with lamb ragù, broad beans and pecorino. For those with a sweet tooth, Sicilian cannolo with pistachio ice cream, or gianduja and lime cheesecake. I have often purely eaten at Franco’s for breakfast, and can attest to their excellent morning menu which also includes a ‘full English’ as well as porridge.
Other classic London dining institutions that will never go out of fashion (or my heart) include:
Eat: New London favourites
If you can’t face another Pret sandwich and are based in the Kings Cross area, look out for Sons + Daughters, a new relaxed sandwich shop owned by the duo behind Pidgin which has opened this week in Coal Drops Yard. Alongside freshly made sandwiches (served from breakfast to dinner), Sons + Daughters will also serve soft ice cream and cocktails. Highlights are set to include:
- The MERGUEZ S+DWICH: with Swaledale spicy lamb sausage, S+D air-fries, pickled shallots, gremolata, and S+D mayo, served on baguette
- The PRAWN S+DWICH: with Cornish prawns, S+D mayo, prawn crackers, crispy shallots, Napa cabbage, shiso, served on granary
- The EGG SALAD S+DWICH: with Burford Brown eggs, miso mayonnaise, truffle crisps, salad cress, served on white bloomer
- The Breakfast Muffin: toasted English muffin with creamed Burford Brown eggs, S+D breakfast spice, smoked tomato and American cheese
A new Greece-inspired Bistro is opening in Notting Hill. Focusing on sustainability and seasonality and cuisine of Thessaloniki heritage, Suzi Tros will be a welcome addition to West London’s new roster of new restaurants such as Jackson Boxer’s Orasay.
Listen: Jack Peñate
Jack Peñate is back after a hiatus. I have known Jack for years – from days in Balham in the early 2000s – and he is now launching his first official release in a decade with the single Prayer. World-renowned British artist Eddie Peake has created the artwork and directed the music video, which is more than slightly exciting. Watch below.
Stay: Around the world for fashion month
With the fashion community on their bi-annual tour of New York, London, Milan and Paris for each city’s fashion week, here are some of my favourite places to stay in the storied cities. Some are new, and some are old and very well-loved...
- The Carlyle: Where all the celebrities stay for the Met Gala each year, come here for the ‘uptown’ experience.
- The Ludlow: This hotel can feel like a home away from home with huge double beds, big baths, comfy sofas and rugs in its rooms. The Ludlow is cosy, which is what I often feel I need in New York.
- The Bowery: A total classic, this hotel just has that old school New York grandeur like no other, and is one of the most-loved hangouts in the city. Rooms feel like 1950s-inspired NYC apartments and the bar and lounge spaces almost feel art deco in style.
- TWA Hotel: This hotel is at JFK airport, converted from the neo-futuristic TWA terminal, and opened in May of this year.
- The Zetter Townhouse: A real hideaway in the heart of central London, this very much feels like a private house rather than a hotel. As someone who feels they were born in the wrong century, I love this Georgian townhouse where the rooms are filled with antique treasures, draped silk fabrics and wall hangings.
- The Chiltern Firehouse: Still holds court as London’s most private and special hotel – the rooms are beautiful and around London Fashion Week the Firehouse is the best place to hide away for a secret catch up with an excellent cocktail.
- Claridge’s: If you have the budget, why not go for the best?
- The Principe di Savoia: Generally considered Milan’s premiere ‘fashion’ hotel, go for the people-watching as well as the city’s most luxurious hotel experience.
- Magna Pars Suites: Owned by a family of perfumers, the Magna Pars Suites is a fragrant luxury hotel in Milan’s Tortona district. Along with sleek white furniture, oak floors and artworks from Milan’s Brera Academy, each suite has a signature scent crafted by some of the most gifted noses in the industry.
- Straf Hotel: A modern interpretation of a palazzo with a raw brass and glass approach to design.
- Hotel Grand Amour: I reserve the same room every season at this charming hotel, complete with a bath in the middle of the room and a small balcony. Unlike most hotels in Paris it has a great late-night bar, and the room’s radio is always dialled to the perfect low-key music station.
- The Ritz: In my dreams I stay here... But if you’re not able to stay, at least go and have a drink in the bar and soak in the plush carpets (also ideal for people-watching). If a friend is staying at The Ritz try to order room service from their room – it’s expensive heaven.
- L’Hotel: One of Paris’s oldest five-star hotels, L’Hotel is the most beautiful boutique stay, with a secret garden tucked away in the city’s Saint Germain area.
- Hotel Lutetia: This hotel has been making waves for its design credentials – architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte headed up the restoration – and prime location in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. That there’s a Hermès boutique situated in the hotel’s former swimming pool only adds to the glamour of the place.
Or, escape fashion month entirely...
The newest hyped hotel in the UK is The Newt, opening near Bruton, from the owners of Drakenstein Valley’s Babylonstoren vineyard and hotel in South Africa. Think cider press, farm shop, hotel and beautiful gardens... But expect waiting lists for a stay at this countryside haven.
Read: Genki Kawamura and Yuval Noah Harari
Sometimes you just need a lovely book with a lovely message, and I think If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura is just this. It follows the story of a man with a limited amount of life left who has to make daily pacts with the Devil (who apparently has a penchant for garish Hawaiian shirts) and is accompanied by his cat Cabbage. A heartwarming respite from the tumultuous daily news we are all reading and living today. That said, if you are looking for something with more depth and politics, surely 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari is a pertinent read, and helpful for understanding why the world is evolving in its current way – both politically, socially – and what it means to us as individuals as well as a collective society.
Daisy Hoppen is the founder of DH-PR, a London-based communications agency. She also works in house with a small number of brands, companies and personalities across fashion, art and culture.