Luxury Hotels

Girlahead rambles on style and fashion

There’s always something going on in London.  This week, Claridge’s opened its new Painter’s Room.  A short and narrow corridor has been brilliantly turned into a 24-seat intimate bar – see above, featuring hotel boss Paul Jackson. The designer is Bryan O’Sullivan and the stained glass artwork is the first in that medium by ANNIE MORRIS: mixologist Nathan McCarley O’Neill, from Northern Ireland,  says his signature is ALMOST A BELLINI, Pineau de Charente, Ch Lacoste Rosé, Merlet peach liqueur, sugar and carbonation.

To be in the centre of London’s ‘it’ scene head for Sloane Street,  Yes, you have big international brands here, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbano, Loro Piana, CHANEL (the store with a line of 12 customers waiting outside at 0835) and so on.  London Fashion Week starts today, running through Tuesday, 21st September (VICTORIA BECKHAM IS MISSING but then who is she? Today’s fashionistas are beyond tight-fitting, into loose-cas. ‘Uniform’ along Sloane Street is long hair, an anonymous khaki, blue-jean or dark jacket over a floral or plain dress-skirt, ultra-short so that sometimes bermuda-length pants deliberately show  – and sneakers).

Girlahead loves Sloane Street. There’s a new ultra-discreet 14-room hostelry, BEAVERBROOK LONDON, barely a sign outside and more a private club. Nothing can compare, actually on the street, with THE CADOGAN, once the base of Lily Langtry and OSCAR WILDE. As LVMH big hotels’ supremo – he heads both Belmond and Le Cheval Blanc – told Girlahead, Once you know the Cadogan, you won’t stay anywhere else.   As Oscar Wilde told someone, Resist anything except temptation: that’s painted on the window of The Chelsea General Store, one of the supreme local shops in the pedestrianised Pavilion Road, parallel to Sloane Street. Another store in that go-to Pavilion Road village even mends handbags.  No surprise that Rimowa, a sister LVMH company to its hotels, realises now, with London Fashion Week, is the time to push its name. Rimowa has taken a wrap-around to today’s New York Times, quoting singer-songwriter Patti Smith’s ode ‘Travel is its own book Images we have captured In film in emory Form its leaves That when turned Reveal a story of a life‘: Patti Smith is performing in Bath on 1st October (Girlahead presumes she will stay at The Gainsborough Bath Spa if her agent has any sense) – she is in London 4th October, Paris 8-9 October and, Sydneysiders, mark 22nd April 2022 in your diaries NOW)

Over in New York, Coach has been showing Hudson River-shot skaters and drummers and models wearing wide, knee-length denim shorts covered in the Coach logo, oversized t-shirts or plaid wrap skirts. Is this fashion?  “I think it’s time to be a little less serious and a little bit more fun,” says Coach CEO Todd Kahn. He is so accurate, says Girlahead. (She is, by the way, increasingly sceptical of naive inaccuracy. Why all this ‘anticipated’? Why is the International Luxury Hotel Association’s INSPIRE, at Fairmont Santa Monica Fairmont 2-3 December, ‘the most anticipated event in luxury hospitality’?)

Be that as it may, for REAL accuracy please visit the so-authentic gardens and restored hotels – there are two of them – at THE NEWT, SOMERSET. Worth making a special trip to London, and then a train. At any time, too, hear The Newt’s Co-Owner and Designer Karen Roos, here: