Tag Archives: London

Interview: Sang Woo Kim

A sense of purpose plays a crucial role in helping an outsider settle into a foreign environment. Think of a youngster, a second generation South Korean living in London, modeling for British luxury house Burberry. It was obviously designed, at least in part, to be scorned by your average fashion devotee. Yves Saint Laurent who once quantified that “a good model can advance fashion by ten years.”  That same sort of dynamic applies in the case of Sang Woo Kim, where fashion works like a frivolous panacea for the well-being of creative types.

The observant are likewise mindful that Diesel’s recent Spring/Summer campaign doesn’t just feature a pursed-lips Joe Jonas and model Trevor Signorino. It also stars the South Korea-born Sang, who has become an unconventional poster boy for forward-thinking labels, thanks to his unique Asian features.


Gucci cotton jacket, cotton shirt, cotton pants, leather belt; stylist’s own tie

A better question: why are labels like Kenzo, DKNY, Vivienne Westwood and Dolce & Gabbana giving shine to an outlier like Sang? The hip factor of how progenies of the Asian diaspora have integrated themselves has clearly leveled the playing field.

Growing up in London after his parents emigrated when he was still a toddler, Sang’s career began on the front-lines: he joined Prada as a public relations intern in South Korea. Working in this position quickly dispelled any idealized notion of glitz and glamour.  He realized that to make it in the industry involved lots of hard work, and a commitment to professionalism on a daily basis.


Louis Vuitton wool knitted top, silk pants, silk scarf

It also got him noticed. Evidently, the 22-year-old doesn’t look like the typical runway model, even by Asian standards. Yes, he’s tall and lanky. And his lack of muscle definition renders him the perfect muse to self-classified avant garde designers. But his resting expression is that of a perpetual annoyance that looks like the physical manifestation of a fisheye app replete with caricature-like single-eyelids and impossibly defined cheekbones.

Here is a pensive young man with slicked back hair who spends balmy days studying at Central Saint Martins (CSM). He excelled at painting and still considers himself, first and foremost, an artist by refusing to be pigeon-holed as a human mannequin. The Goldsmith Fine Art student channels his inner-being onto canvas using colors, giving expression to his personality. It took a while to rediscover his schoolboy skills but Sang enjoys every moment, taking advantage of his new lifestyle and contacts to showcase his other portfolio. And part of the reason he acts the way he does – the attitude, the nose ring – is to exasperate the haters. If no one is going to give you a hard time, then why bother.


Louis Vuitton wool jacket, silk shirt, wool pants, silk scarf

“Although I’ve always been seen as ‘different’, I never felt different,” he says, gesturing emotively like he usually does, while his words are ironically laced with self-depreciating Brit charm. It is equal parts nature-versus-nurture, and equal parts millennial self-assuredness. Indeed, he has a distinctive face, to say the least, and it was an X Factor that got him one a foot into the door of London’s Select Model Management. “I have to thank my parents for the way I look,” he jokes, mentioning that his father returned to South Korea when Sang was a teenager due to work commitments.

There are some who are unconvinced, and he shrugs off the occasional racism on what is now his home turf of Hampton as something that comes with the territory. And he feels it’s kind of the point. “The best thing about being at university was that students would mingle freely and converse without any preconceived prejudice,” he explains. “We had absolute freedom to express ourselves creatively.”


Louis Vuitton, leather jacket, silk shorts

When he travels, you can add cross-culture cacophony, considerable jet-lag, and advanced dehydration to the formula. As he moves from one “adventure” (a word that he uses often) to another, he gets caught up in the flow of meeting new people and new experiences.

Evidently, where others would quail with apprehension or throw up their hands in despair when segregated as a minority, Sang sees the challenges as good opportunities to learn and grow, and to emerge a self-actualized individual who isn’t about to be blatantly demographed and rejected as a matter of principle.

What prompted your start in modelling?

I studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM) and many of the fashion students were friends who asked if I could be a model for their projects and assignments. Normally, they’ll buy me coffee or lunch as ‘repayment’, which I gleefully accepted! This became a regular occurrence and a friend of mine, who was a photographer, urged me to walk into a modeling agency. Everything else happened quite naturally right after.


Louis Vuitton silk shirt, silk scarf

You have very unique facial features? Do you think they will affect your career in fashion in the long run?

I’ve lived in London since I was six months old when my parents migrated to London from South Korea. Naturally, I was an ethnic minority and looked different to most of my friends and peers, but college was a creative hub where people strived to be different. I do not know what the future holds, but there were never any expectations of what I needed to achieve at such a young age. Hence, my only concern is living in the present. This is the very same mindset when I got my start and it has served me well.

Growing up in London, did it help with being connected to the scene?

Being able to converse and maintain relationships with right people has been important. It wasn’t done intentionally because the individuals that I’ve maintained relationships with are my genuinely friends, regardless of whether they are in the fashion industry or not. The only advice for any aspiring model is just to be true to yourself. Also, treat people with respect and do not take anything for granted. Every opportunity is a blessing in disguise. It’s the experience and journey that matters.

How did your love of painting come about?

To be honest, I’ve loved painting ever since I can remember. It’s always been a part of my life so I cannot imagine living without it. Modeling is hardly my lifelong goal as I’ve always wanted to be an artist who thrives in difference disciplines such as drawing and photography. I’m just luckily that fashion modeling came about without me having to think about it. The fact that it blew up into something bigger than I can ever imagine is a plus. The challenge in the future is to achieve similar success as an artist, which will be challenging and exciting in equal measures.


Dolce & Gabbana cotton T-shirt, cotton pants, woven belt

Art and fashion seems to influence one another, if you have the option work on a project combining the both, what would it be?

I would love to work and collaborate with my university mates. It is so refreshing and exciting to see them branching into the industry and working in the same field in different capacities. I would love to create an ecosystem for all of us to be able to work and collaborate constantly on different projects.

You are one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion world. Was it hard getting to where you are? Is there pressure to keep evolving?

I like to believe that I don’t view myself as how the ‘fashion world’ sees me. For sure, I am very fortunate and appreciate of the blessings and opportunities that came my way. Have I actually accomplished anything? It’s debatable. There are clearly more important things in life than what I’m doing. It gets difficult when people see you differently. I guess that has always been the struggle because when your physical identity is constantly on display, yet the voyeurs don’t actually know you, there will be preconceptions of what you’re like as a person. I don’t feel any unhappiness as a result of this, simply because they have no right to judge me. I don’t need to conform to what society tells me to do. I’ll be perfectly contented if it all ends tomorrow as I’ll be on the lookout for my next adventure.


Gucci silk jacket, cotton shirt, silk pants, leather sandals

The shelf life for a model is relatively short, have you considered what you want to do after? 

I feel that there will not be an ‘after’. The modeling happened incidentally while I was living life the only way I knew how. As I said, it’s about what happens now and not dwelling on the past or overthinking about the future. The present is literally a gift. It’s the only time when I know that I’m alive in this world, and that’s important to me.

What does your family think of your prissier vocation?

They are happy that I am living the life that I wanted. I don’t really know (or want to know) what they actually think of my job per se. As long as they are happy and they know that I’m happy, that’s all that counts. I would say they are ‘proud’ of the fact that I’m earning my keep in this manner, because I look just like them [laughs].

Story Credits
Text by Jason Kwong
Photography by Nil Hoppenot/Silver Lake Photography
Styling by Steven Doan/Wilhelmina One
Fashion Direction by Titien Wang

This article was originally published in Men’s Folio

Insight: 4 Urban Estates to Discover

As prime real estate becomes scarce and a reverse influx of people are moving from the suburbs back into the city centre. Many cities around the world are redeveloping their abandoned industrial sites into highly sought after developments. These up and coming neighbourhoods are now some of the go to places for art, culture, food, shopping and residential real estate.

Through massive redevelopment projects, London and Sydney are leading the way. However, there are a few smaller cities hosting incredibly designed projects. With their own rich and diverse history, Portland, Oregon and Tallinn, Estonia, should not be missed.

Many of these locations were once very important areas in the city, that had, until recently, seen better days. With lower prices in these central locations, young entrepreneurs have started to move in and renew the area with help from their local government. From tech start ups in London to coffee houses in Portland. This wave of regeneration shares similarities across the globe. As more and more money pours into these areas, the quality of the property and the expectations of it’s inhabitants improves.


London has gone through its fair share of regeneration over the past several decades. From Notting Hill in the west, to the Tate Modern changing the entire South Bank, to the upcoming Battersea Power Station, bringing new life to South West London. Arguably though, the biggest and most drastic change has been to East London. Stretching around the City, to Canary Wharf and the Docklands, large scale residential and commercial projects have drastically morphed this dying industrial centre into one of London’s most sought after postcodes. Low costs and central locations have meant that once derelict warehouse, breweries and factories have been revamped and renovated into luxury flats and homes. While luxury skyscrapers have risen from foggy swamp lands.

Within walking distance to the City and located in the Borough of Hackney, Shoreditch and Hoxton remain the most popular and successful examples of gentrification within East London. Small Victorian lanes play home to boutique shops, trendy cafes, chic eateries and international hotels. A bustling tech and art scene has seen a return of the creative types from around the world and inspired some of the finest examples of modern design in urban living, Europe has to offer.  A return that has been hundreds of years in the making, establishing East London as one of the most attractive places to invest in property in the city.

According to Knight Frank, the London property agency, Shoreditch in particular has seen prices increase 46% over the past 3 years. Investors looking for the most luxurious of urban living, should look no further than what Shoreditch does best. Converting listed properties into stylish residences, paying homage to their former selves.

Property: Ravey Street, London
Guide price $8,675,700 (£6m)


Refurbished in 2001, this three-story designer penthouse has been extended twice, including adding two upper floors, combining contemporary architecture with warehouse elements. This includes a glass box on the sixth floor, with the added benefits of a second kitchen and entertaining area.


A sixty-foot raw concrete staircase, one of two, rises up to the glass box. With 360 degree views of London that can be enjoyed indoors, while sliding glass doors lead out to a south facing terrace featuring a Jacuzzi, pond and barbeque. In sticking with the industrial feel of the building and materials such as glass, steel and raw cement were used. Uniquely offset by oak, limestone and walnut to create visually unique and impacting penthouse.


With an abundance of impeccable coffee shops, art galleries, posh food carts and farmer’s markets galore, Portland, Oregon has undergone a vast renewal. First starting in the mid 1980’s and then with the viaduct removed in the 1990’s, Downtown Portland was opened up for commercial and residential use. Now it’s slowly starting to embrace its industrial past, in a new light. The most sought after area in downtown Portland is the Pearl District. It’s namesake, said to come from Chinese seafarers that hid pearls beneath cobble-stoned Twelfth Street is a designers dream. Incredible warehouses converted into luxury townhouses and high-rise condominiums now line the once barren streets. A true urban tale of regeneration, where brick mingles with its modern glass counterpart.


One of the most liveable cities in America, Portland has outperformed most of the U.S. in the real estate market. Nearing 8% year-on-year growth, Portland offers incredible value with excellent high end properties to be acquired.

Property: 633 and 637 NW 11th Avenue
Guide Price $2,650,000


Built in 1908 and spanning 3,888 sq. ft., this historic building now showcases one of the most luxurious town homes in Portland. Originally a warehouse for the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway and located in the heart of the Pearl District, minutes from NW 23 Ave. This evolving property was created by famed designer Jeff Lamb and features three bedrooms, two baths, two half baths, three fireplaces and four private parking spaces. With floating glass stairs, crimped metal ceilings, exposed brick and exotic woods, it’s the epitome of modern, urban design.


Nestled along the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland lies the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. With it’s mixture of medieval, Soviet and modern architecture, Tallinn is a feast for the eyes for design enthusiasts. Dating back to 1154, Tallinn was extremely important as a trade city, connecting Western and Northern Europe with Russia. Today the city is enjoying a renaissance. After claiming independence in the early 90’s, the country and Tallinn most importantly has become a tech and business powerhouse in Northern Europe. Companies such as Skype, TransferWise and Playtech originate from the capital.

In the centre of the city, a stones throw away from the Old Town UNESCO world heritage site, sits The Rotermannn Quarter. Developed during the 19th Century by Christian Barthold Rotermann as an industrial site with multiple factories, mills and plants, the quarter today has gone through a major regeneration. Branded as Rotermann City, the area now hosts a number of converted historic buildings and new construction following a contemporary design.

With property prices increasing above the 8% mark, Tallinn has seen an incredible recovery from it’s previous lows during the recession.

Property: Rotermann City R18
Guide Price $693,026 (639,500 Euros)


The newly designed R18 development at Rotermann City features 48 apartments ranging between 506 sq. ft. and 1,615 sq.ft. Apartments on the upper floors feature 12 ft. high ceilings with rooftop terraces overlooking the Old Town and Baltic Sea. It was designed by famed architects Hanno Grossschmidt and Tomomi Hayashi. There’s underground parking, exclusive shops and restaurants within one of the most sought after areas in the city.


Currently Apartment 22 features four bedrooms spread over 1,367 sq. ft., a sauna and a 1,087 sq. ft. terrace. The apartment embodies aspects of old world charm and modern Estonia.


Travelling south, just 4km from Sydney’s Central Business District, you reach Alexandria. A mainly light industrial use area, the neighbourhood is full of old factories and warehouses. At it’s peak in the 1940’s, there were 550 factories manufacturing everything from bricks to aircraft. Due to it’s central location, Alexandria is going through a renewal process that is blending the old with the new. Named after the British military victory at Alexandria in 1801 during the French Revolutionary Wars. Today the inner city suburb is full of creative types, carving out their own niche part of Sydney. The most famous destinations being the artsy café’s and markets such as The Grounds. Started by Caroline Choker, the interior designer and co-owner who turned the pie factory into something straight off the streets of Brooklyn.

Much like the commercial side of the neighbourhood, the residential properties have changed drastically over the past decade and it shows. Alexandria’s 10-year growth was 141.1% ‘til summer 2015 according to Domain Group senior economist Dr. Andrew Wilson. High-rise apartments sit side by side Victorian and Art Deco style homes, while once busy warehouses are now loft conversions.

Cheap prices a decade ago brought in investors who couldn’t afford the city’s more expensive neighbourhoods, but still wanted the proximity to the city. Initially commercial space was the first to go. Businesses started relocating there and then restaurants, shops and houses started being renovated. Not only is Alexandria near to the CBD it is also well connected to the airport and a short walk to Sydney Park.

A similar story pertains to Newtown. Located 4km south-west of the CBD and near the University of Sydney, Newtown has seen its streets rejuvenated and its property prices grow substantially because of it. Originally set forth as a farming and residential area when founded in the 19th century. Row houses or terrace houses were built to accommodate residents. Many of whom would later be immigrants from a war torn Europe. Today a melting pot of different nationalities, students and professionals, Newtown has seen it’s once run down buildings renovated into beautiful and historically significant homes. From Newton Station, to King Street and surrounding areas, you’ll find the largest concentration of theatres, art spaces and live music in Sydney. According to Property Value, median home prices grew 26.50% in Newtown in the past 12 months.

Urban renewal projects have a lot of similarities no matter where they are in the world. They are chosen for their central locations and cost. The architecture is a blend of industrial and contemporary, while their residents come from backgrounds just as diverse. The popularity of living in urban renewal projects has grown exponentially over the past several years. With that popularity has come, not only an increase in quality, but also an increase in price. Today, as more and more areas are regenerated, these are by far the best places in any city to see the greatest returns on your investment, while also being an exciting place to live.

Property: 21 Trade Street, Newton
Guide Price $1,154,670 – $1,224,676 (AU$1,650,000 – AU$1,1750,000)


Built in the 1880’s, this two-story Victorian terrace home stands on a 2,260 sq. ft. block and consists of three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The property features aspects of the original architecture with modern amenities. Paved alfresco dining embodies the rear of the property with a Jacuzzi, while the front has an iron laced façade on a tree lined street. Inside you’ll find wooden floors, open fireplaces and wide French doors leading to large bedrooms and spacious balconies.

Story Credits
Text by Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

QE2 Birthday Bash: 4 Best London Hotel Suites

Now holding the title as the longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II is set to celebrate yet another milestone in her life. Starting from April all the way through to June, Britain will be partying it up in the most regal way possible for the Queen’s 90th birthday. The celebrations will be located in the Queen’s home base of London and is set to attract tourists from around the world. From May 12 to the 15, Home Park in Windsor Castle will host a pageant dubbed The Celebration that pays tribute to the reigning monarch. Each night will see a 90-minute performance by more than 900 horses and 1,500 horses and performers just for her.

If you were one of the 30,000 people who managed to snag a ticket of two for the event, then you would certainly need to find some accommodation in London. It being her Majesty’s birthday and all, we thought it would only be appropriate for you to live it up like the royals do and nothing less than the best will do. From the perfect bathroom to the finest views, we scoured through the luxury hotels of London to bring you the perfect suites to cater to your every need. We bring you our four picks of luxury hotels and their finest suites fit for a queen.

The Goring HotelThe-Goirng_The-Royal-Suite---Drawing-Room

From the Apsley House to the Victoria Albert Theatre, Westminster Abbey and even Buckingham Palace, The Goring is a stone’s throw away from every major attraction near the Palace. The most luxurious room at The Goring? Well, it happens to be The Royal Suite. This two bedroom, two-reception room suite that offers you some impressive views of London. Glamour is mixed with history in here as every room is decked out with interesting elements from all around Britain. With the help of The Gainsborough Silk Company from Suffolk, the suite is decked out in silks that were commissioned by designer Russell Sage, including one that was originally woven for the Dining Room of the Titanic. Guests can feel cosy in an opulent yet comforting environment.ROYAL-SUITE-MASTER-BEDROOM

With large French doors in every room, guests can enjoy a view of the sunset and the rooftops of London, all from the balcony that runs the entire length of the top floor. My personal favorite aspect of the hotel is the Pintrest-worthy shower that is said to be able to fit six people, which has a near life size portrait of Queen Victoria to keep you company — Royal audience, anyone?The-Goring-Hotel-Royal-Suite-Bathroom

The antique four-poster bed from one of the great houses of Britain is another piece of British history that awaits in the Master bedroom. Proving that the little details go a long way, other antiques such as a Georgian decanter, wooden tea caddies and Nailsea Glass paperweights are also on display.

The CorinthiaRoyal-Penthouse-Lounge-Corinthia-Hotel-London

The Royal Penthouse, that sits on the roof terrace, is one of the many penthouses that The Corinthia. With a panoramic view of London, its no wonder that this is an editorial selection to which we return regularly. Featuring two floors that are connected via a private internal lift, the accommodation seems more like a home than a hotel. From the expansive entrance hall, to the living space, study and oval dining room that can seat 10, the penthouse seems to be made for luxury, with its palatial theme.Royal-Penthouse-Master-Bedroom-(crop)-Corinthia-Hotel-London

Make your way up the grand staircase and you will be greeted by two bedrooms that house king-size beds, with continuing doors that allow you to open-up to two further bedrooms. Apart from the honey onyx and Skros marble of the bathrooms, there are many other features, fixtures and amenities in the penthouse that would make it perfectly suited for a royal encounter. Forget walking down to the spa when you have a private spa suite of your own. It even has a walk-in wine cellar, meaning that you would be able to select only the finest that The Corinthia has to offer right there in your suite.Royal-Penthouse-Main-Bathroom-(landscape)-Corinthia-Hotel-London

The Connaught

From London’s Mayfair district, we bring you The Apartment. This suite spells opulence from the moment you walk through those grand hand-carved doors. The dominant theme that runs through the space is the use of shades associated with royalty. From a personal butler who will be on hand for your every need, to a welcome bottle of Krug champagne, suitably chilled, upon your arrival, guests can expect to be pampered during their stay.

Should the suite be too small for your stay, then simply occupy the whole sixth floor as an exclusive nine-bedroom suite. Timing is never an issue here, with your personal barman, daily breakfast and personal trainer available at any time you choose. In fact, forget about time at all. Even the check out is without a time limit. If that doesn’t impress you, then watch the tour of the suite below, and you’ll be convinced — we know we were.

The LanghamThe-Sterling-Suite-Media-Room

The Sterling Suite at The Langham is another that boasts a private lift. Located at Portland Place, the private lift entrance is one of the two entrances to the secluded Lobby of the suite — which is perfect if you happen to have an Idris Elba, Chris Evans or Angelina Jolie stay at the hotel. Apart from the two main bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, standalone bathtubs and dressing areas, the suite also features a luxurious drawing room, a dining area as well as a Home Theatre lounge for guests.The-Sterling-Suite-Master-Bedroom

The Drawing Room, which sits at the heart of the suite, features a unique dual-tone piano, bespoke fireplace and Butler’s bar. The Master Bedroom, which is described as the pièce de resistance, is made up of a Master Salon living area, Master Bathroom and spacious Dressing Room. Attention to detail is an important part of the suite with hand-painted chinoiserie on silver leaf panels, verre eglomise glass with gilded age details and gold and silver leaf hand-painted finishes as well as marble and antique mirror work. Joining the hand-blown Murano glass fixtures is a 24-hour butler service that will cater to your every need.The-Sterling-Suite-Master-Bathroom

Victoria Beckham Opens First Store in Asia

Hong Kong is now the second location of Victoria Beckham’s brick and mortar store outside of her native home. Amidst the luxury brands, swanky five-star hotels, the store in the heart of the Central district is seen as a way for the designer to tap on the Asian market.

As fans waited eagerly outside Friday morning, Beckham was seen doing the final checks on the store in the Landmark building. Designed by London-based architect, Farshid Moussavi, the store is a collaboration with Asian fashion retail brand Joyce that already carries her collections.

On why she chose Hong Kong as the follow up to her first shop in London’s Mayfair district, the designer said, “I know Asian women really understand luxury, good quality and appreciate when garments are made well — and my clothes are”.

While some are doubtful over the success and future of her store in Hong Kong due to the worst retail sales decline the city has seen in 13 years, others are more optimistic. “I think she’s going to be very popular here,” said hedge fund manager Sally Zhang, 30, after browsing in the store Friday.

“Compared to other shops, which are too fancy, not fit for the office, this one is quite different,” said Echo Xu, also a hedge fund manager. Along with opening her store, Beckham will also be attending the amfAR AIDS research fundraiser in the city along with Uma Thurman on Saturday.

Focus: Television Centre, London

London residential developer, Stanhope Plc is redeveloping the headquarters of BBC Television which was initially constructed in 1960. Parts of the building’s iconic design and façade have been Grade II listed—considered by the Secretary of State (for Culture, Media and Sports) to be of special interest warranting every effort to preserve it—and will be retained by the new development.


Television Centre is located on a 14-acre site in White City, and forms an integral part of the massive White City Opportunity area, with a total investment of nearly £8 billion (US$12.5 billion). The regeneration of White City is a strong partnership between Imperial College London (the world’s 9th highest rated university), Westfield London, The BBC, Stanhope and Berkeley St James.


Upon completion of the Television Centre which is estimated between the end of 2017 and 2018, the development will boast up to 950 new homes—432 of which are being delivered in the next three years—from studios to family homes with a range of new architectural designs and contemporary conversions. Residents will also benefit from a range of luxury amenities including 24-hour concierge, residents’ lounge, screening room, meeting rooms and 28,000sf gym and pool.


Apartments in the inner ring are arranged around the famous Helios statue, and include the listed façade. Internally, the building has some exposed radial structural beams in the ceilings to provide a loft-like feel to the apartments. Apartments to the outer of this building comprise part existing and part new build homes to create apartments overlooking the private residents’ courtyard garden. Prices will range from £650,000 (over US$1 million) for a one-bedroom apartment to in excess of £6 million (US$9.36 million) for a penthouse.

The iconic structure will also incorporate a new Soho House—the globally famous members-only club with a roof terrace and swimming pool—and a boutique hotel with 47 bedrooms.


There will be 500,000sf of new office space aimed at occupiers’ in the creative sector, and will see up to 5,000 people working from this new media business hub. BBC Worldwide opened their new headquarters in April 2015 with 1,200 people already working on site. The world famous television studios are set to continue the BBC’s legacy with programme making and live recordings resuming in 2017.


Buyer Information

Property: Television Centre
Location: London, England
Developer: Stanhope Plc
Highlights: Grade II listed building, 950 new homes from studios to family homes, New architectural designs and contemporary conversions, Luxury amenities including 24-hour concierge, residents’ lounge, screening room and meeting rooms, Helios statue, Exposed radial structural beams in the ceilings to provide loft-like feel in apartments, Private residents’ courtyard garden
Price: Prices range from £650,000 (over US$1 million) for a one-bedroom apartment to in excess of £6 million (US$9.36 million) for a penthouse
Contact: www.stanhopeplc.com

Staff Credits
Text by Domenica Tan

This article originally appeared in PALACE Magazine.

British Library Celebrates William Shakespeare

To mark the anniversary of the bard’s death, the British Library announced it would be displaying the only surviving Shakespeare script that includes his own handwriting. Come April, visitors to the British Library and The British Library website will be able to catch a glimpse of the very human fingerprint of the world-famous playwright. Collectors will no doubt have an eye on acquiring this item but there is no word on its availability for sale.

The 164-line scene comes from the controversial play, “The Book of Sir Thomas More”. No this is not actually one of Shakepeare’s plays; you did not miss out on the discovery of a lost play!

Shakespeare is believed to be one of six hands who contributed to the relatively little-known play that revolves around how More (himself a prominent author and the Chancellor of England under Henry VIII) stopped a 1517 anti-foreigner uprising in London. Originally written by Anthony Munday between 1596 and 1601, Shakespeare’s contribution to the revised script was identified by his handwriting and vocabulary amongst other factors.

Though there is no evidence that the script was ever performed or published, the passionate speech about xenophobia shows that this is no modern phenomenon. Astute readers will recall that Thomas More is also the central character in A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt.

The manuscript will be available here and will also be on display at the British Library in London from April 15.

Dior: London Show May Unveil New Creative Director

The fashion world waits for no one. So if you thought you could catch a breather after Fashion Week, we have news for you. Fashion house Dior has already set a date for its next show in London and might have something special in store…

Taking place May 31 at Blenheim Palace, the show is making the news for one reason. Word has it that Dior will use the show to not only unveil its 2017 cruise collection but also the debut of Dior’s new Creative Director. Said to be taking over from Raf Simmons after his departure in October of 2015, is Jonathan Saunders.

Like Bouchra Jarrar in the days leading up to her new role at Lanvin, Saunders has closed his own well-known brand. Having left Pollini in December 2015, many are speculating that the event will be a perfect way to showcase not only Saunders but also his influence on LVMH’s luxury fashion brand. Dior’s show in London will take place two days before rival Gucci’s own display on June 2 at Westminster Abbey.

Fashion Week: 9 Models in the Spotlight

We shine the spotlight not on the clothes, beauty or designers; instead we take a look at the models to look out for in the upcoming seasons. Several have already made an impact in the world of fashion as we see their presence at almost every turn. Others are still flying under the radar and we can’t wait to see their talent showcased next season.

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid

A favorite of designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Olivier Rousting, Kendall Jenner was a familiar face on the runways of Paris, Milan, London and New York. Other big names that picked the 20-year-old model were Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Chanel and Bottega Veneta. Another member of Taylor Swift’s squad, the other star model of the moment Gigi Hadid walked for fewer designers than Jenner. Selecting her shows carefully, the blue-green eyed blonde model was picked by Chanel, Balmain, and Sonia Rykiel and even closed the Fenty x Puma show.

Edie Campbell

Edie Campbell

Other models that were not far behind Jenner and Hadid in their catwalk appearances were Lexi Boiling and Edie Campbell. The models were seen on the runway, walking for Prada, Marc Jacobs and Fendi amongst others. There is one model who is dubbed to be the most in demand right now and she is none other than Mica Arganaraz. The Argentinian model, with a lean figure, messed-up hair and androgynous looks is another favorite amongst designers such as Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Chloé.

Mica Arganaraz

Mica Arganaraz

But the rising star who really got fashion month buzzing was Lineisy Montero. The young Dominican was already tipped as one to watch in 2015 after an exceptional season, and her success looks set to continue into 2016. With around 30 appearances across the four fashion capitals, she’s without a doubt one of the most-booked models of the latest round of autumn/winter collection previews — if not the most-booked model. Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Lacoste, Tory Burch, J.W. Anderson, Topshop Unique, Burberry, Prada, Moschino, Etro, Diesel Black Gold, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, H&M Studio and Loewe — to name but a few — all picked Lineisy Montero to show off their latest collections.

Lineisy Montero

Lineisy Montero

While notable names get our attention during Fashion Week, it is also a time for spotting new faces and observe the steady rise of up-and-coming models such as Alana Arrington, Ruth Bell and Paulina Frankowska. While not every designer books them, these models have indeed made their presence known. While Arrington opened Altuzarra’s show, Bell’s shaved head and masculine looks starred at Jason Wu, Burberry and Moschino. Polish model Frankowska also attracted attention with appearances at Prada, Mulberry, Deisel Black Gold and Marni.

Paulina Frankowska

Paulina Frankowska

Fashion Week: 5 Beauty Trends to Follow

The clothes were not the only things we kept a look out for during Fashion Week. Beauty looks and accessories draw just as much attention, and with good reason. Trends seen on the runway tend to have a major impact for the next season and if the beauty looks we’ve seen at the Fall/Winter 2016 ready-to-wear shows are any indication, drama is key.

We start with the crowning glory: The Hair. We can say goodbye to sleek hair, as designers chose big-attention grabbing hair. While Gucci in Milan featured voluminous hair, models at Rick Owens in Paris donned hair nests that some felt bordered on the conceptual. Other designers who went for the volume with the hair, was Manish Arora as he complemented his designs with crimped, wavy bouffant locks piled high.

Manish Arora at Paris Fashion Week

Manish Arora at Paris Fashion Week

Volume was not the only hair trend seen on the runways. This fall may see us take a break from the straightening irons with many such as Altazurra in New York and Giorgio Armani in Milan championing the curl. Fendi was another label to favor the look, with tight curls. One designer who put a different spin on the look was Vivienne Westwood where she pinned curls to the models’ heads for a subtle historical spin.

Fendi at Milan Fashion Week

Fendi at Milan Fashion Week

An instantly dramatic trend that some followed is that of the bleached brow. Varying levels of camouflaging and lightening were seen on the runways of Milan, London and Paris. While Armani chose to scuff out the brows of his models, Givenchy chose bleached eyebrows that seemed to appear invisible.

Irina Shayk for Givenchy's Fall/Winter 2016 collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Irina Shayk for Givenchy’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Fashion Week took a trek back in time to revisit urban grunge with the help from the extreme smokey eye. In Paris, Saint Laurent treated guests to a visually captivating beauty look with models sporting thick-winged eyeliner flicked up to the temple. Others such as Tadashi Shoji and Dries van Noten opted for a softer, smudgier interpretation that was still striking.

Saint Laurent from Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016

Saint Laurent from Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016

The last of the beauty trends was the dark lips. Glam-goth was the name of the game at Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma show in New York as models walked down the ramp with black lipstick. Marc Jacobs followed suit though designers chose to lighten it up in London with deep red tones. In Paris however, Dior and Louis Vuitton sealed the deal with the former choosing a lacquered black lip.Fenty-Rihanna-NYFW-2016


All images are courtesy of AFP and Saint Laurent.

200 Years of Charlotte Bronte Celebrated in London

Should Charlotte Bronte have been alive in 2016, she would have been an impressive 200 years of age. To commemorate the anniversary of the author’s birth, the National Portrait Gallery in London has put up what it calls a small exhibition.

Till August 14, visitors will be able to learn more about the life of the woman behind Jane Eyre. The exhibition is centred around the famous portrait by her brother Branwell Bronte that features the author, her sisters Emily and Anne as well as his own ghostly shadow in the middle. Other items on display, include manuscripts by the author and a pair of her cloth boots.

“We wanted to illustrate her literary career and success but also her home life which perhaps is lesser known to some of our public,” Lucy Wood, an assistant curator at the National Portrait Gallery, told AFP.

Through her private correspondence, her drawings and her journals, the exhibition invites visitors into Bronte’s tragic personal life, marred by the deaths of her two older sisters and her own poor health.

Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell developed rich imaginations since early childhood, helping each other’s spirits with poems, plays and novels.

“We wanted to bring her life to life because we are the museum of biographies, the museum of people and she is one of the most important people in British literature,” Wood said.

“We wanted to capture her life and celebrate that. It’s a celebration really.”

The exhibition runs till August 14 2016.

Restored ‘Flying Scotsman’ Runs the Rails

Some old-timers just never fail to pull through. The Flying Scotsman steam locomotive took off in London February 25 for its first journey after significant restoration by the National Railway Museum. Considered the jewel of Britain’s industrial heritage, this 1923-built train has garnered numerous fans over the years and is widely tipped to be the most famous train in the world. The fans came out in such full force for the famous revival that the train came to a standstill several times on its journey when eager viewers made their way onto the tracks.

The history of the train itself is quite tumultuous. It was retired in 1963 and almost scraped before it changed hands through multiple owners, including British billionaire William McAlpine. On hearing that the Flying Scotsman was set for sale in 2004, the National Railway Museum bought it over, partially thanks to public funds. It was the beginning of a 10-year restoration project that would bring the train back to the public in full capacity again.

“It’s a historic day”, said Paul Kirkman, director of the National Railway Museum. Indeed it was. As the white plume pulled away from King’s Cross Station at 0740 GMT with 300 passengers onboard, there was resounding applause from the crowd of enthusiasts who came to witness its majestic rebirth. And all this for the hefty labor of around 4.2 million Euros worth of restoration work. The BBC reports that some of those 300 passengers paid up to GBP450 for the privilege of making this historic trip.

“This celebratory journey marks a new stage in this steam icon’s long and colorful history, and is a tribute to all the people who have worked so hard to make this happen”.

The Flying Scotsman arrived  at 1320 GMT in York, a historic city some 280 kilometres (175 miles) north of London, before heading to the city’s National Railway Museum where it will stay until the beginning of March. It will then spend months on tourist trips and featuring in exhibitions. For railroad enthusiasts who have followed the train’s close-to-a-century’s long journey in history all the way, this is a blessing after a long effort.

This story was written in-house, with an image supplied by the AFP.

Kane and McQueen Define London Fashion Week

Scotland’s own Christopher Kane transformed the massive Turbine Hall in London’s Tate Modern Museum into his own runway for London Fashion Week. The designer’s collection could be best described as quirky. Several reviewers were far less kind as they felt it was less high fashion and more towards crazy bag lady.

Christopher Kane Fall/Winter '16 at London Fashion Week

Christopher Kane Fall/Winter ’16 at London Fashion Week

With Samantha Cameron, wife of the British Prime Minister in attendance, the designer paid tribute to his late mother by incorporating her penchant for wearing rain bonnets. This apparently explains the discarded plastic carrier bags that sat on the head of several models. The palette stuck to neutral tones, deep reds and greys, save for the lone shocking orange creation. Using corrugated cardboard, the designer crafted camel-colored coats while decaying woolly jumpers are held up with metal pins. The dresses in the collection saw the fabric trail into individual fraying strips.

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter '16 at London Fashion Week

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter ’16 at London Fashion Week

Another designer to get the attention of the fashion world was Alexander McQueen, under the helm of Sarah Burton. After a more-than decade-long absence from London Fashion Week, the return of one of Britain’s famous sons showcased a mix of ultra feminine and edgy pieces. Continuing the trend from last season of shades of pink with butterflies and flowers, the designs also featured hints of leather in the form of bustiers and jackets. There was a princess like feel with the lace, silk and chiffons that appeared in crystal encrusted full-length gowns.

Contrasting collections aside, the designers certainly showed the fashion world what British style is always on point.

Images here are courtesy of Alexander McQueen and the AFP for Christopher Kane.

Korea Delivers at London Fashion Week

J J.S. Lee and Eudon Choi were among the first brands to display their collection for the Autumn/Winter 2016 season at London Fashion Week. Very modern, very eloquent designs gave a strong start to the whole event and left quite a high bar to follow.

For the female power dresser, J J.S. Lee created bold contrasts mixed in with designs that blend the traditional with the revolutionary. Some of designer Jackie Lee’s past influences were the art movements of Russian Constructivism and strong reds and stark yellows did call to mind the fervor of Russian Agitprop, while most of the hues were overall monochromatic or wild stripes and chequers. There were nods to Asian styles as well, with Mandarinesque collars, skirts pulled up high in the style of the Hanbok, and a red dress cut and formed like a Cheongsam. Trousers were mixed in under some of those skirts with clever layering. Exaggerated pussy-bow blouses, cozy wrap dresses and even leg warmers were all used to inject a fierce sense of direction into the wardrobes of next season’s fashionistas.


Eudon Choi followed up by choosing colors with more reserve. Dark purples, greys, and blacks mixed in with light pastel colors giving a sense to the coolness of fall. Trousers had been slashed up to the shinbone to create a shimmy around the legs as the models walked. Also featured in the designs were asymmetric blazers with ruffled hems; evocative oceanic print; while others had bare shoulders on the side. Maybe a bit too lithe for the cold season, but hooded outerwear with outsized structured lapels did offer a bit of a concession there.


With the start of London Fashion Week more new designers have come into the fray with their own specially tailored and innovative collections. These two picked up their skills in Seoul and later shifted over to London. The fashion world will eagerly await what they bring to the table next.

F/W16: Burberry Brings Forth the English Rose

Kensington Gardens wasn’t just one of the many residences of the royal family February 22. It played host to Burberry as the brand showcased its Womenswear Fall/Winter 2016 collection, titled “A Pathchwork”.Burberry-Womenswear-Feb-LFW-1

With more than 1,000 audience members in attendance, the models walked the runway accompanied by a live performance from Jake Bugg. The award-winning musician played several of his singles as well as the latest “On My One” in the middle of the stage. Meanwhile notable personalities such as Naomi Campbell, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Ellie Goulding and Mario Testino watched the latest collection make its way down the catwalk.Burberry-Womenswear-Feb-LFW-2

The designs were quintessentially British, due to its influence from the country’s artists, musicians and history. The brand chose an eclectic mix of colors, from parade red, sapphire blue, military green, black, mustard, gunmetal and regimental navy amongst others. The colors worked their way into the collection that included but was not limited to, military coats, flared officer trousers, pleated dresses, cape jackets and French coats.Burberry-Womenswear-Feb-LFW-3

The designers also played around with textures and fabrics such as glossy python, jacquards, cashmere, brushed wool mohair, hand-worked fil coupé silk and silkscreen floral lamé. The attention to detail in each item of clothing was evident with the intricate embroidery, handmade appliqués, leather buffing with a stone for a high-shine finish and patch-worked panelling.Burberry-Womenswear-Feb-LFW-4


All images are courtesy of Burberry.

Unique Aston Martin DB10 Sold for $3.4m

Picture yourself sitting in the driver’s seat of the exceedingly rare Aston Martin DB10, humming the theme music of James Bond as you conquer a corner in style. As it happens, the car shared screen time with James Bond as he navigated the adrenaline-filled plot in Spectre. Rare as the DB10 is (only 10 were made), you can only dream of driving it but, for one determined collector, dreams came true. At a thrilling auction at Christie’s in London, the only DB10 made available for public sale fetched a stunning £2,434,500 ($3,476,466). This is almost £1 million above the high end of the estimate, as we reported here. The auction saw the car go under the hammer with 10 other lots, which together made up a curated collection called “James Bond Spectre –The Live Auction”.Aston-Martin-Db-10-1

This piece of automotive history is a celebration of the five-decade relationship that Aston Martin has enjoyed with Bond. The car also hints at what we can expect from the brand in future. Of the 10 cars that were handcrafted at the brand’s Gaydon headquarters, eight were modified for the filming of the movie. The other two were kept in pristine condition, which allowed for Christie’s to put one up for auction.Aston-Martin-DB-10

All proceeds of the sale were donated to the international humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières, otherwise known as Doctors without Borders, which provides medical care and support to victims of armed conflict, epidemics and disasters. Aside from the DB10, a further 14 lots are available in the online sale that runs till February 23 to celebrate the release of the 24th Bond film on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD.

London Fashion Week 2016: Who to Follow

London Fashion Week kicks off today and the talk leading up to the show largely focuses on the return of the revered fashion house Alexander McQueen to the lineup. Under the watchful eye of Creative Director Sarah Burton, the label is making a homecoming after 10 years for the Autumn-Winter ’16 collection. Joining McQueen in a comeback to London is leather goods brand Mulberry, now under the direction of new creative director Johnny Coca.

Alexander McQueen and Mulberry join nearly 80 designers in the UK capital to unveil their collections. Other notable names to look out for include Belstaff, Burberry, Christopher Kane and Vivienne Westwood. Meanwhile, newcomers include shoes and accessories brand Charlotte Olympia, which will host its first catwalk show this season, and Belgium brand A.F. Vandevorst. Another highlight will be the Topshop Unique show, which fashion photographer Nick Knight has been lined up to shoot, and which will be unveiled in real time on the brand’s Instagram account (which will be crazy cool).

For the first time in LFW history, around 35 million people across the UK will see content from the proceedings, including runway shows, on 60 outside screens in nine different cities thanks to a collaboration between media company Ocean Outdoor and The British Fashion Council (BFC). The event will also see around 200,000 copies of The Daily, the official LFW broadsheet, distributed around the city.

Meanwhile, the BFC has revealed that its official Mercedes Benz chauffeurs will drive fashionistas around 32,000 miles during the event, 200kg of Lavazza coffee beans will be ground to help keep everyone alert, and that 500 cans of label.m hairspray are predicted to be used backstage.

London Fashion Week runs February 19-23. For more information, click here.


5 Affordable Luxury Destinations Worldwide

The last time we went on a journey with TripAdvisor, we ended up catching a case of the travel bug with their list of romantic destinations. Being caring friends of ours, they have provided us with the perfect remedy to bring us back to earth and make an informed decision. Don’t tell anyone but Trip advisor has let us in on a little secret that could help save a cushy sum, without skimping on the extravagance. Rather than to simply book a holiday (as we were tempted to) when the travel bug bites, try to heed their advice and plan one during the off-peak season. Easier said than done we know but vacation rentals in various places during the off peak season would save you much more than you would think. We decided to explore a few options available and were pleasantly surprised at what we found. All prices listed are per week, accommodation only.

St. Barthelemy

Most affordable time to travel: All of November

The Caribbean island is better known as St. Barts, and as the chosen destination of those living the high life, it comes as a surprise that this would be an affordable option. In the peak season, expect to part with nearly SGD $20,000 but choose to travel in November and you would pay significantly less.

St. Barts

St. Barts

There is no shortage of villas for rent and the Villa Amancaya is one of that provides you both privacy as well as a view of the ocean. With five-bedrooms, it sits on the heights of Anse des Cayes and also comes with it’s own private swimming pool. On the same island is the equally well-appointed Amalie. The two-bedroom rental home is spacious and bright, thanks to the large French doors and windows. All rooms open up onto a balcony that overlooks the pool and view.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Most affordable time to travel: Mid to late May

Bring on the Hula skirts and puka shell necklaces! Another great option is Honolulu, Hawaii. Forget the crowded hotels. The best ways to immerse in the Polynesian culture would be to go snorkelling and scale the extinct volcano, Diamond Head.

Travel Best Beaches

Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Oahu, Honolulu

Normally a vacation rental in scenic Honolulu can set you back close to SG$5,000, but off-peak season in May would only cost around SG$3,000. Given that it is a national monument, having a view of the Diamond Head would be a treat. It is no wonder then that the two penthouse suites we have chosen boast some of the best views of it.  The first is the Kahakai Penthouse, on the Gold Coast of Hawaii. With two-bedrooms, the penthouse also boasts a view of the pristine blue waters. The other is another two-bedroom penthouse suite by Captain Cook Resorts. The floor-to-ceiling windows in almost every room, give you a wonderful view of the surrounding areas. It doesn’t hurt that the penthouse is situated on the 38th floor or that you are provided access to the 6th floor recreation deck.


Most affordable time to travel: Week of July 6th

Remember that a holiday doesn’t always have to be limited to the sun, the sand and the sea. It could involve a stiff upper lip, a visit to the Queen and some English tea. It will certainly be cool(ish) during this time of year but you look to save approximately SGD $2,000 if you travel during the first week of July.

Tower Bridge London

The Tower Bridge in London

There are several lovely accommodations in London that would cater to either families or larger groups who choose to travel together. We fell in love with this 6-bedroom family home in Bristol Gardens. Simply a short walk to Warwick Avenue Station and a 13- to 25-minute drive to Central London. Alternatively, if you are looking for a place that sleeps just four, might we suggest a cosy 2-bedroom apartment in Kensington. It is a stone’s throw away from Kensington Palace and down the road to several museums and the Royal Albert Hall, which in our opinion is a great deal.


Most affordable time to travel: Early November and early December

Their star property is a man-made island that is considered an architectural feat on its own. Boasting infamous seven-star hotels and such, it is certainly tempting to book a room in the world’s tallest hotel. At less than SG$3,000, a vacation rental in Dubai during the off-peak season isn’t such a bad idea, especially if you wish to visit the Gold Souk or Gold and Diamond Park.Dubai1

Our take would be to try a few cosy vacation rentals on the luxurious beachfront that offer you the same view. The first is The Silverene on the Dubai Marina Waterfront. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the luxury apartment is in close proximity to the Dubai Marina Mall, with a water taxi stop at the doorstep. The other is an apartment at the Al Bateen residences. Located on a high-floor and boasting a clear view of the marina and sea, the four-bedroom five-bathroom accommodation also gives you direct access to a private beach and 24-hour concierge.


Most affordable time to travel: Most of August

For our last-of-five destinations, we selected the land down under. Well known for kangaroos, koala bears, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydeny is one location that has both the ocean view with the sandy beaches as well as the city nightlife in one area. Expect to pay less than SG$2,000 for a vactaion rental in August, according to TripAdvisor.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

You don’t have to live within the Central Business District hence we selected two vacation rentals either within or not far from the city center. Our first choice is the two-bedroom Pyrmont Apartment, a 10-minute drive from Hyde Park. The apartment in a historical building also comes with two bathrooms, and has contemporary furnishings and fixtures. The second is the Sky Pad, a 15-minute walk away from St.Marys Cathedral and Hyde Park. The child-friendly one-bedroom apartment in the Darlinghurst suburb also overlooks the eastern region of Sydney.

First Delacroix Exhibit in 50 Years Opens

Later this week, The National Gallery in London, will present the first major Delacroix exhibition in half a century. Titled “Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art”, his influence on the works of artists such as Van Gogh, Matisse and Kandinsky is undeniable. Running till May 22, the exhibit will examine his influence following his death and showcase his talent.


‘Pietà by Vincent Van Gogh, influenced by Delacroix

Delacroix’s use of bold colors, abstract shapes and liberating techniques broke the traditional rules and practices, paving the way for new styles in painting. His use of vigorous and expressive brushstrokes, his study of optical effect of color combined with his daring compositions and exotic subject inspired Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Symbolists and Fauves.

“To show Delacroix as a leader among his contemporaries and a spur to creativity among artists for 50 years after his death – up to the time of Matisse and Kandinsky – reaffirms his central role in the development of modern art,” said Christopher Riopelle, the National Gallery Curator of Post-1800 paintings.

The exhibition consists of more than 60 works borrowed from 30 museums around the world including Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay (Paris), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam). More than a third of it will be devoted to a survey of works by Delacroix himself. Some of the highlights include “Self Portrait” (around 1837), “The Death of Sardanapalus” (1846) and “Lion Hunt” (1861).

'Apotheosis of Delacroix' by Paul Cézanne, inspired by Delacroix

‘Apotheosis of Delacroix’ by Paul Cézanne, inspired by Delacroix

Another part of the exhibition will comprise works by artists of later generations and will explore Delacroix’s influence on them. Among the masterpieces on display will be Van Gogh’s “Pieta”, Cezanne’s “Apotheosis of Delacroix,” Bazille’s rarely seen Lla Toilette” and Matisse’s study for “Luxe, calme et volupté.”

The exhibition will wrap up with Kandinsky’s “Study for Improvisation V” (1910), as a means to illustrate a direct line of descent from the Romantic master to the origins of abstraction.

The Exhibition has been organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the National Gallery, London. For more information, click here.

Albert Adrià Begins London Residency

“50 Days by Albert Adrià” marks the famed (can you say elBulli) Spanish chef’s maiden project outside of Spain. The Cafè Royale, a landmark in its own right, will be a perfect fit to Adrià’s sterling reputation.

Apart from hosting notable luminaries such as Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger and Bowie, the hotel is also well known for being the second home of Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. While Wilde simply dined and polished off bottomless glasses of absinthe in search of inspiration, Adrià is set to leave his own impression of the hotel. The locations of his pop-up are set to be in the hotel restaurant The Domino Room and in the Oscar Wilde Bar.

Guests can choose between the full cocktail and dinner experience which starts at the bar before moving up to the restaurant for dinner, or opt simply for the cocktails. Pre-dinner drinks and dinner is estimated to be a two and a half-hour affair.

Adrià is best known in the food world for serving as brother Ferran’s other half at the experimental Girona restaurant elBulli (sometimes called El Bulli in the press), which famously snagged the title of World’s Best Restaurant five times before shuttering in 2011. Time magazine has also called him one of the most influential chefs in gastronomy.

“50 Days by Albert Adrià” is the latest collaborative project for the Spaniard, one of several chefs at the forefront of a gastronomic movement that elevates dinner into an artistic, musical and theatrical experience.

In a partnership with Cirque du Soleil, the brothers opened what was pitched as an adult theme park at the Ibiza Gran Hotel last summer.

At Heart Ibiza, the hotel’s dining and entertainment complex, dinner became a multi-sensory experience with video and light projections, live performances, virtual reality installations and international DJs.

Meanwhile, Adrià’s London pop-up runs Feb. 12 to April 9 and bookings must be reserved ahead of time.

Tickets are £150 ($217) for the full experience and require a £50 ($72) deposit. A waiting list has been opened.

Tickets for Cocktails by Albert Adrià require a £10 ($14) deposit. 

Christie’s: Post-War and Contemporary auctions

Before the weekend begins, British auction house Christie’s will be selling the works of more than 250 artists. The two-day auction in London will see an international selection of Post-War and Contemporary works including, most notably, those of Francis Bacon, Yves Klein and Lucian Freud.

Beginning on the evening of February 11, the first auction will shine a spotlight on major achievements of British art over the past 50 years. The auction will feature two of Freud’s most personal portraits of his daughters. “Head of Esther” (1982-3) and “Head of lb” (1983-4) have been included in all of Freud’s major retrospectives, including at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Tate Britain London. Both feature warm hues and are done with subtle strokes of impasto. “Head of Esther” is estimated to be worth between £2.5 and £3.5 million ($3,640,000 – $5,096,000), as is “Head of lb”.

Lucian Freud's "Head of Esther"

Lucian Freud’s “Head of Esther”

Francis Bacon’s “Two Figures” (1975) will also be a centerpiece in the evening auction. This is a self-portrait of Bacon, conjoined with the figure of Bacon’s muse and lover, George Dyer. Bacon made the painting in Paris shortly after Dyer’s suicide in 1971. Michael Peppiatt, Bacon’s biographer and curator, will be selling the painting. A close personal friend of the artist, Peppiatt acquired the work directly from Bacon. “Two Figures” is estimated to be worth £5 to £7 million ($7,280,000 – $10,192,000).

Francis Bacon's "Two Figures"

Francis Bacon’s “Two Figures”

The day auction on February 12 celebrates the art of portraiture. Yves Klein’s work will be one of the highlights. His “Untitled Anthropometry (ANT118)” (main picture; circa 1960) presents a blue corporeal form suspended within a pale void. The painting is a large scale example of Klein’s “Anthropométries” series. The artist’s signature International Klein Blue (IKB) pigment traces the human form in these works. “Anthropometry (ANT118)” belongs to a subset of “Anthropométries” in which the human form appears caught in a transcendental act of levitation. The painting is expected to fetch between £8 and £14 million ($11,648,000 – $20,384,000).

For more information on the Post-War and Contemporary evening and day auctions, visit Christie’s official website.