Frieze is upon us again, with its hordes of collecting millionaires, luxurious sponsors, glamorous parties and society beauties. For those seeking an antidote to what is arguably the best contemporary art fair in the world but also the most polished, Steve Lazarides -the man who brought Banksy to the world- has joined forces with the Vinyl Factory to present “Brutal”, where 16 of the most talented UK and US-based contemporary artists showcase dynamic installations, murals, film, animation, sound and dance interventions in a cavernous space below 180 The Strand. A not-for-the-faint-hearted exhibition that manages to transform the gruesome and the chilling into beautiful pieces of art.read more
2011 has started for many of us with the need to cleanse our liver and shed a few pounds accumulated through an excess of foie gras, turkey stuffing, Christmas puddings, alcohol and chocolate and other tasty but fatty foods and beverages. Yet, repairing one’s body after the Christmas and New Year’s indulgences needs not to be boring and tasteless. Here, Chic-Londres gives a few options of healthy detox that will nonetheless appeal to most gourmets.
L’Etranger (South Kensington) While French gastronomy doesn’t necessarily bring to mind the word “detox”, L’Etranger has managed to do just that. So OK, the fat free menu created by chef Jerome Tauvron -who worked for Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse and Marco Pierre White- is clearly inspired by Japanese cooking rather than traditional French recipes, but with delicacies such as sea bass carpaccio and scallops, beef and prawn hot pot, it will certainly appeal to the Frog Valley residents (£29.00 per person for 2 courses, and £38.00 for 3 courses, until 31 January). www.etranger.co.ukread more
Hurray!!! With summer just around the corner, time has come to enjoy a meal in those too rarely used lovely terraces and gardens. Here, Emyr Thomas, founder of concierge and lifestyle management company Bon Vivant, gives us his selection of London’s best alfresco dining options.
Tom’s Terrace at Somerset House The River Terrace Cafe at Somerset House has been taken over by Tom Aikens for the summer, with an informal menu, including mini burgers and triple cooked chips, to accompany the evening drinks and splendid views of the Thames. The Admiralty Restaurant will also be transformed into Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House, serving signature dishes from Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea. Somerset House, The Strand, WC2 (Charing Cross, Blackfriars)
River Café, Hammersmith Widely regarded as London’s best Italian restaurant with great pedigree in the kitchen that has produced many successful alumni and imitations, the River Café creates an unforgettable dining experience, thanks to a minimalist, sleek design and a light colour scheme that blend effortlessly with the riverside setting. Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 (Hammersmith Broadway)read more
Afternoon Tea has got to be (at least from a French perspective) the most appealing of British culinary traditions. Originating from the aristocratic salons of the XIXth century, this refined but copious meal has recently evolved through modern variations well beyond the traditional cucumber sandwiches and scones. As importantly, it offers a good occasion to sample some of the most exclusive restaurants in London without breaking the bank. Below is a selection of our favourites…
Espelette at The Connaught : the most gastronomic Created by Hélène Darroze, the « Chic and Shock » Afternoon Tea (£35) offered at the Connaught combines the best of British but interpreted in a way in sync with XXIst century’s palates. The famous French chef has thus successfully mixed nouvelle cuisine with quintessentially English ingredients, as demonstrated by the exquisite “Cucumber, lime and mint fusion with Mojito foam”. Not to be missed are the handmade jams created by her friend Christine Ferber (rose and passion fruit in particular) which can be bought at the restaurant. Clientele: well heeled Mayfair locals and wealthy tourists. The Connaught : Carlos Place, W1 (Bond Street)read more
Cheese amateurs are getting quite spoilt for choice in London, with more and more quality artisanal cheese shops (both continental and local) appearing on the foodie shopping scene. Below are a few of our favourites…
La Cave à Fromages
This cheese shop in South Kensington, which stocks around 200 types of seasonal cheeses (a third of which are English) was opened in November 2008 by Frenchman Eric Charriaux and Israeli Amnon Paldi. As suppliers of fine cheeses to famous chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Raymond Blanc and the Roux brothers since 1999, through their distribution company, Premier Cheese, the two business partners have set up an open shop without a sales counter, where clients can easily taste the different products on offer. Of particular note: cheeses with “added value”, infused with port, truffles or tea as well as the excellent honeys infused with truffles (to try with blue cheese) or saffron (perfect with goats cheese). 24-25 Cromwell Place, SW7 (South Kensington)read more
Popstar, countercultural phenomenon, innovator, creative genius fashion icon, polymorphous, multisexual, personality-shifting… David Bowie is many things, and above all one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times. Through its breathtaking new exhibition David Bowie is, the V&A explores the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades. Unmissable for anyone who loves Bowie, fashion or music…
The V&A has been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the firs international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie: more than 300 objects have been brought together for the very first time, including handwritten lyrics, original photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments and album artwork.
Through this colourful and rich exhibition, the V&A takes an in-depth look at how David Bowie’s music and radical individualism has both influenced and been influenced by wider movements in art, design and contemporary culture. It explores the broad range of Bowie’s collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film.read more
Ten rare photographs by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, never before exhibited in the UK, are going on display at Somerset House from 8 November 2012. The exhibition, which will also showcase 75 works by 15 internationally important photographers, aims to illustrate how colour photographers adopted and adapted the master’s ethos, known as “the decisive moment”, to their work, in order to capture the very moment when something happens.
While the father of photojournalism was famously disparaging towards colour photography, Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour showcases a selection of photographers whose commitment to expression in colour measures up to Cartier-Bresson’s essential requirement that content and form were in perfect balance. “Henri Cartier-Bresson, in spite of his skeptical attitude regarding the artistic value of colour photography, nevertheless exerted a powerful influence over photographers who took up the new medium and who were determined to put a personal stamp on it, explains curator William A. Ewing. A Question of Colour simultaneously pays homage to a master who felt that black and white photography was the ideal medium, and could not be bettered, and to a group of photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries who chose the path of colour and made, and continue to make, great strides.”read more
Movie buffs and fashionistas alike should love the V&A’s new major exhibition: gathering together over 130 of the most iconic costumes designed over a century, Hollywood Costume explores the central role played by costume design as an essential tool of cinema storytelling. Dazzling and enlightening in equal measure…
“On every film, the clothes are half the battle in creating the character”, or so once said Meryl Streep. And indeed, who can forget iconic classics such as Charlie Chaplin’s tramp suit, the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy on The Wizard of Oz (on public display in Europe for the first time ever), Scarlett O’Hara green “curtains” dress from Gone with the Wind, the revealing white cocktail dress worn by Marilyn in The Seven Year Itch, the little black dress designed by Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Superman’s blue and red leotard or Darth Vader’s armour- which all feature, amongst many others, in the V&A’s new exhibition? Using montages, film clips and projections, alongside interviews with key Hollywood costume designers, directors and actors, the clothes are placed in their original context, thus illuminating the costume designer’s creative process from script to screen. And shows in the process what an essential part costumes play in the art of cinema… “Hollywood Costume” at the V&A, 20 October 2012-27 January 2013 (Tickets £14) www.vam.ac.uk/hollywoodcostumeread more
Frieze is upon us again, with its hordes of collecting bankers, luxurious sponsors, glamorous parties and society beauties. For those seeking an antidote to what is arguably the best contemporary art fair in the world but also the most polished, Steve Lazarides -the man who brought Banksy to the world- has joined forces with the avant-gardist Old Vic Tunnels to present “Bedlam”. A brilliantly dark -albeit playful- exhibition centred around madness, it brings together some of the most talented contemporary artists currently working in the UK, in what should be one of the most talked about exhibitions of the year. Chic-Londres went to the preview on the 8th and absolutely loved it. Only regret: missing Brad Pitt, who also was at the opening party!
After the very successful Hell’s Half Acre in 2010 and Minotaur in 2011, Lazarides Gallery and the Old Vic Tunnels have teamed up again for a third show together -thus cementing their reputation as Masters of the Dark Arts, at least in a non esoteric, purely visual way. And this year, they’ve suprassed themselves, with this beautiful and perfectly staged exhibition, that combines gothic darkness with a sense of playfulness that makes it p[articularly enkoyable- and not that gloomy despite its theme.read more
Vanessa Branson’s Moroccan festival of contemporary culture is back, and it promises to live up to its aficionados’ expectations… Now in its fourth edition, the boutique festival set up by Richard’s little sister in her luxury Marrakech Riad hotel has lined up a stellar list of participants, drawn from both the London and international worlds of literature, film and visual arts. Expect four days of screenings, performances and debates from 29th February to 4th March, including talks by actor Dominic West, director Kevin MacDonald and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz…
With former participants including filmmakers John Boorman (Deliverance) and Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), film producer Eric Fellner (Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary), actors Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I) and Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), bestselling author Zadie Smith, and guests such as singer Annie Lennox, expectations were high for the fourth edition of the Marrakech Biennale (formerly Arts in Marrakech).
And the line up doesn’t disappoint, with a particularly strong film programme curated by Alan Yentob, creative director at the BBC. The Wire’s legions of fans (Chic-Londres amongst them) will be able to listen to Dominic West talk about life after the cult series, in which the Old Etonian played hard drinking Baltimore cop Jimmy McNulty.read more
Resistant, journalist, bestselling author, philosopher, film director… Claude Lanzmann (87) has led many different lives, all equally fascinating. Most famous for his documentary film Shoah, a unique depiction of the Holocaust described by The Guardian as “one of the most remarkable films ever made”, the French intellectual will give a rare masterclass dedicated to his cinematographic work on Monday 20 February at Ciné Lumière: an unmissable treat for anyone interested in History and films…
One of the last surviving great French intellectuals, Claude Lanzmann cuts a fascinating figure. Born in 1925, he joined the Resistance in 1943 while still at school, helping to build a communist Resistant network in Clermont-Ferrand and taking part in fights against the Nazis in the Auvergne mountains. After the war, he became a close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir -with whom he had a passionate affair- leading with them an anti-colonialist campaign in the 1950s opposing the French war in Algeria. His autobiography, The Patagonian Hare, was a massive bestseller in France, translated into ten languages. To this day, he remains editor in chief of Les Temps Modernes, the cult French cultural magazine founded by Sartre.read more
Fans -young and less young ones- of Steven Spielberg, Michael Morpugo, History and horses now have the chance to see some original costumes and props from the film, as well as some drawings made especially by the director and cast, in a new exhibition focusing on horses in war at the National Army Museum.
Original props and costumes from the new Steven Spielberg’s big screen epic -including the one worn by Benedict Cumberbatch as Major Jamie Stewart- have now taken pride of place in the War Horse: Fact & Fiction exhibition, which is on until 30 August 2012. They sit alongside exclusive material from author of War Horse Michael Morpugo, in a family-friendly exhibition that draws together the many aspects of the filmto explore the real-life stories of horses in war.
Steven Spielberg and the cast also spared time during the film’s London premiere to decorate and name paper horses, which are now displayed on the exhibition’s Remembrance Wall to commemorate war’s forgotten horses. These paper horses, along with others decorated by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Michael Morpurgo, will later be auctioned to raise funds for the Museum’s redevelopment and animal welfare charity, the Brooke.read more
There is no difference between art and eroticism… or so used to claim Pablo Picasso. In Sex in the City, Olivier Coulange’s photographs are a case in point. Taking shots from unsophisticated porn movies, he transforms them into alluring and evasive sensual images. Fascinating…
Curated by Virginie Syn, Sex in the City features a selection of photographs by French artist Olivier Coulange, from his series Eros Plastic, which showcases the successful and surprising metamorphosis of porn into art. Porn’s crudity and vulgarity fade away under Coulange’s signature blur, which is conceived as a sweetening veil to reveal sensuality rather than raw sex, allowing subtlety and beauty to prevail through nude floating images.
Interestingly, the artist worked from actual pornographic films, setting up his camera in front of the TV screen to capture an image, resulting in a play between shadow and light: “For me breaking the images of pornography is an intellectual game, explains Coulange. With Eros Plastic I am tracking unseen gems in those oceans of ugliness, as my own quest for beauty”.read more
The National Gallery is offering us a special treat this autumn, with a major exhibition concentrating on the artist’s career as a court painter in Milan. Bringing together the largest ever number of Leonardo’s rare surviving paintings, it includes international loans never before seen in the UK. Not to be missed…
Virgin and Child (The State Hermitage Museum)
While numerous exhibitions have looked at da Vinci as an inventor, scientist or draughtsman, “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan” is the first exhibition to be dedicated to his aims and ambitions as a painter. Concentrating on his time working in the 1480s and 1490s for Milan’ ruler Ludovico Maria Sforza -otherwise known as il Moro (“the Moor”), it displays more than 60 paintings and drawings by the great artist.
It is during this time that he executed some of his most famous work, including The Lady with an Ermine, La Belle Ferronnière and his two profoundly different versions of the Virgin of the Rocks, all of which are on display. These pictures show how Leonardo, benefiting from his salaried position, used his artistic freedom to find new ways of perceiving and recording the natural world- focusing especially on the human anatomy and emotions, with magnificent results…read more
“Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement”, from 17 September to 11 December, traces the development of the artist’s ballet imagery throughout his career, from the documentary mode of the early 1870s to the sensuous expressiveness of his final years. The exhibition is the first to present Degas’s progressive engagement with the figure in movement in the context of parallel advances in photography and early film, of which he was directly involved.
This extensive exhibition comprises around 85 paintings, sculptures, pastels, drawings, prints and photographs by Degas, as well as photographs by his contemporaries and examples of early film. It brings together selected material from public institutions and private collections in Europe and North America including both celebrated and little-known works by Degas.
Interestingly, Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movementexplores the fascinating links between Degas’s original way of viewing and recording the dance and the inventive experiments being made at the same time in photography by Jules-Etienne Marey and Eadweard Muybridge and in film-making by such pioneers as the Lumière brothers.read more
Heathrow travellers, now is your chance to be part of the story: bestselling author and journalist Tony Parsons has been appointed by London’s premier airport as its writer-in-residence, with a brief to write a book capturing the many stories and emotions of the airport’s transient population. From Wednesday 3rd August and for one week, the acclaimed author –best known for his Book of the Year novel Man and Boy- will live amongst passengers, who will provide the inspiration for his new book’s characters.
Departures: Seven Stories from Heathrow will be Parsons’ thirteenth book and his first collection of short stories. He hopes to resurrect the genre of airport fiction made famous by Airport, the 1968 bestselling novel written by Arthur Hailey.
During his residency, the author will roam the terminals to unearth the stories of the people that pass through its doors, with the events inspiring the plotline and the passengers its characters. The book will then go on sale through HarperCollins from October 2011.read more
It might not appeal to those who prefer their art abstract, provocative or complicated, but the superb new V&A’s spring exhibition should delight most others. Celebrating the 19th century British movement that centred on art for its own sake and on beauty valued for itself alone, it is the biggest exhibition ever staged on Aestheticsm. Expect a display of rich colours, exquisite details and portraits of languorous beauties: in one word, magnificent.
With beauty as its raison d’être, and an approach that combined sensual and luxurious colours and textures with an eye for exquisite details, the Aesthetic Movement was born as a reaction to the arts and ideas of the Victorian establishment. While it first developed from the romantic bohemianism of a small avant-garde in 1860, with a style characterised by a widespread use of motifs such as the lily and peacock feather, and sources as diverse as Ancient Greece and modern Japan, it grew to become a cultural phenomenon at the end of the 19th century, thus becoming the first artistic movement to inspire an entire lifestyle.read more
With a career spaning 50 years and a knighthood in recognition of his international status in creating furniture as a contemporary art form, John Makepeace (71) has long been known by collectors as one of the most original designers around, whose work is shown in museums around the world, including the V&A in London and the Arts Institute in Chicago. His first ever solo exhibition, which opens at Somerset House on 16 March 2011, brings together pieces from public and private collections in the UK and abroad, some not previously seen by the public. Here, the man known as “the father of British contemporary furniture” talks to Chic-Londres about his unique craft.
How do you compare yourself with other British designers such as Terence Conran and how would you define your style? Terence Conran and I have quite a lot in common as he was originally very involved in wood furniture making and I actually did many pieces for Habitat over the years. But my approach is very different, as most of my work is done on commission, with pieces of furniture conceived as an enduring object, made specially to be right for the person who is buying it. I am not a retailer: I treat furniture making as sculpture, so it takes me about eight weeks to create a chair and I only do 12 to 20 pieces of furniture per year.read more
It is not just the sporty types and party animals who will rejoice at the prospect of the Olympics: culture buffs will also have their fair share of arty pleasures, in the form of the London 2012 Festival. This celebration of British creativity, deemed to become the UK’s biggest ever festival, will feature leading names such as Cate Blanchett, David Hockney, Mike Leigh, Jude Law and Damon Albarn. Quite a line up indeed…
iPad painting created especially by David Hockney
Yes, us Londoners will assiduously party the night away and feverishly watch the Games in 2012. But the Olympics will also be a chance to get a dose of more arty pleasures, in the form of the London 2012 Festival, with a line up that includes a Nobel Prize winner, a Brit Award winner, two Turner Prize winners, an Academy Award winner, a Golden Globe winner and three BAFTA Award winners- no less… Organised to celebrate London 2012 and British creativity through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation, the celebration will be the UK’s biggest ever festival, with 1,000 events organised -most of them free- and over three million people expected to attend. Its impressive list of participants, announced on December 7, includes big names such as actors Jude Law and Cate Blanchett, film director Mike Leigh, musician Damon Albarn and artist David Hockney. The 12-week UK-wide cultural festival -running alongside the Games from 21 June to 9 September 2012- will mark the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. This program started in 2008 and designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012, has already become the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic Movement.read more
Tracey Emin’s most provocative creations -like Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 or My Bed- might have come directly from intimate experiences, but the British artist’s work can also be quite cerebral, influenced by literature and philosophy. In “The Curated Shelf”, a temporary exhibition shown at the new Louis Vuitton store, the famous Royal Academician reveals a display of books that have contributed to her work: surprising.
After Marc Quinn last May, Tracey Emin (47) is the second artist chosen to create a “Curated Shelf”, a series of temporary exhibits shown at the new Louis Vuitton store in Bond Street where the customer can engage with the mind of the artist through the books that have contributed to their work, their thinking or their persona.
Rather surprisingly for someone whose most famous work is a dirty bed littered with condoms, Tracey Emin’s selection includes romantic novels such as Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, as well as French classic Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Ethics by Spinoza (a reminder maybe that she briefly studied philosophy).read more