Mount Street, Mayfair, is now the gal’s favourite walking street in this part of London. Look at the label shops, within five minutes’ pacing of each other… Christian Louboutin (he of the red-soles, of course), Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, oh my gosh. Keep your credit cards back home.
There is even a Ralph Lauren RRL. Now this is instantly fascinating, because it is Lauren’s former long-time designer and brand manager Mark Cunningham – who is now conceptualizing The Raleigh on Miami’s South Beach, where girlahead was only one week ago. What a small world is this, the domain of the true globalist.
Tonight, outside the Ralph Lauren store, there are a few old jalopies parked, a black Bentley and a red Ferrari. Standing admiring them are a young couple from Tokyo in full 1920s driving gear, leather floppy hats with peaks, belted leather jackets, tweed plus-four trousers tucked into long woollen socks.
There is obviously a party going on in Ralph Lauren. A typical-PR ‘executive’, with statutory long blonde hair and long legs and ridiculously high heels, is peering at a clipboard trying to read invitees’ names without resorting either to magnifier or eyeglasses. We are not on the list, so we look across the road.
Another red car dominates the vehicles parked on the south side of Mount Street – an electric Hummer. A bit of research shows that this is exclusively manufactured by MEV (My Electric Vehicle myelectricvehicle.org).
Apparently this is the only proportionally-correct ‘resort vehicle’ around, with Hummer’s louvre grill, wheels, door sills and so on. Although a Chinese company, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, said in 2009 it wanted to buy Hummer from General Motors, in 2010 it withdrew its bid (it is said on Chinese government advice) and the last full size Hummer rolled off the assembly line at Shreveport 24 May 2010…. so now, Hummerphiles, you need to concentrate attention on the bijou electric model.
Change the thought process. Louboutin is branching out. Its window at the moment does not show a single scarlet rear but, intriguingly, an ever-moving circular display of cardboard legs. Love it, be different to stay ahead. London’s most awaited exhibition, opening next month, is a David Hockney over-the-top display of scenes of his native Yorkshire. He ‘paints’ on an iPad and then has his drawings photographically blown up, to ten feet or more. Be different.
Mount Street certainly looks ahead. It has a really great website, that encourages you to come here, to shop, to dine, say at Scott’s. Walk to the east of Mount Street and you find Carlos Place, home of the Maybourne Group’s The Connaught. The area in front of it now has the most amazing Tadao Andao ‘Silence’, an oval water feature about 20m total length: it has two inset mature trees, and from their bases, at regular intervals, steam erupts. Well done Stephen Alden, CEO of Maybourne, for pushing through this brilliant artwork…
The gal pushes ahead, walking to the east of Grosvenor Square, so uninspiring by night when it is dark, apart from the illuminations on the Fort Knox-like US Embassy (who WILL eventually make this into a hotel? Will it become Indian, as rumoured?)… coming north on Davies Street, at the junction with Brook Street there is a divine all-window Vera Wang store, filled with a corps de ballet of all-white wedding frocks.
To the right is another Maybourne hotel, Claridge’s. Finally, the gal is back home. Room 216-7 has been redecorated by David Linley – the most creative member of the Royal Family. He has left the Art Deco original furniture, like the leather-topped arc-shaped desk, filled in with drawers beneath, and successions of square-topped mirrors of different heights.
The bathroom is pale peppermint stone with thick black banding, there is an old-fashioned – but so needed, today – heated towel rail, and, also so relevant today, Carol Bamford’s organic Bamford toiletries. A box of home-made chocolates is packaged in the hotel’s signature peppermint.
This is, as has been said before, a thoughtful hotel, offering simply – style. There are UK and US sockets above the desk, the WiFi is instant and free, the stationery is gold-embossed with self-close envelopes. The light switches are simple, and you can easily read in bed. I shall take Stars and Cars, a tome of 50-year old reminiscences, as nocturnal erudition….
And in the morning, on departure, a couple of Claridge’s guys want their photo taken. We have been here 67 years between us, they say with a laugh. See you next time…