Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery Floor 1Saatchi Gallery is a museum that doesn’t feel like one. Coming off the tube stop at Sloan Square, we headed past an avenue of brick town homes with pointed spires reminiscent of the early 1900s. On the front lawn of the gallery, a team of young boys partook in a game of cricket. I laughed at how odd this game seemed and how early these kids must have picked up the sport. I loved how the mix of sport and art made the Saatchi Gallery more than a set of exhibits but a true neighborhood hangout. Inside was a collection of contemporary pieces ranging from oils to ceiling-high installations. Designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the building is a contemporary marvel in and of itself. We browsed past pieces by Australian native, Ben Quilty, Paul Bloodgood, Brent Wadden and many more.

Primrose Hill

Picnic in Primrose Park

Picnic in Primrose Park

Primrose has to be my favorite neighborhood. It’s this alcove of untainted charm, quaint restaurants, and unique little boutiques. My mom and I always joke, why can’t they just put all the cute places together and finally, I think I’ve found that rarity.

If you’re in the area, Lemonia perpetually draws in a buzzing crowd. After a bite or two, take a stroll through Graham and Green. I wish I could live in this bazaar of home décor. Other favorite shops include Gallery 196 which offers breezy caftans to bright ikat pillows, and Anna, a store featuring the closet you wish you had. For a sweet tooth fix Primrose Bakery offers mini cupcakes, but the lovely shop seems to be a neighborhood secret. If you find it at the end of Gloucester Avenue, you’ll quickly realize the extra walk was well worth the trip. In spite of all the shopping and dining, the best part of Primrose is the view from the top of the park. The panorama of London’s skyline provided the perfect place for dining, relaxing and sharing a few laughs.

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Beloved Brand, Dannijo

Last Thursday Ann Marie and I fell into graces with the two designers of Dannijo, a delightful jewelry line based out of New York and started by two sisters, Danielle and Jodie Snyder. Liberty of London has recently picked up their new line, Boxerina, which pairs the sisters’ love for boxing and the America Ballet Theater. We had the privilege of talking with them about everything from their inspiration to their favorite pieces in the collection. Based on their down-to-earth disposition, I would have never guessed that in just six years Dannijo had transformed from start-up to stardom status: today their collections are offered in exclusive shops from Seattle to Seoul.

From a young age, both sisters loved making necklaces, and, as legend goes, they use to turn their father’s medical tools into jewelry crimpers. After college, the two decided to turn their passion into a business and initiated Dannijo from their home. The company’s big break happened during a meeting with Bergdorf Goodman, one of New York’s most prestigious department stores. Initially, the fashion outlet claimed the collection seemed “too edgy,” but within a week the sisters introduce a new line and Bergdorf snatched it up immediately.

Their recent initiatives include the launch of a new handbag collection, but aside from their exquisitely unique products, Dannijo is engaging and fun to follow. They’ve created a little world around their products and put an ever-evolving story behind their label. For a quick peek, I’ve included my favorite LookBook and selection of photos below.

My favorite LookBook: Zine Issue 1
A brilliant blend of timeless glamour and unexpected wit and grit.

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Party in the Park

3 GracesAs it just so happened, I was enjoying a jog through Kensington Park. I’d guess it was about nine at night, yet the sun was only beginning to set. As the sky turned pink, Londoners strolled, biked and played Frisbee like it was two in the afternoon. ‘Endless summer’ took full meaning here, and I guess that makes sense considering how rare this weather must be.

Heading toward the lake, I noticed a small gathering of pedestrians flocking near the intersection. A few police dotted the perimeter of the Serpentine Gallery, but I figured the event was just some art exhibit. Feeling my runner’s high start to kick in, I was hesitant to see what the fuss was all about, but, then, I realized the dresses were rather fantastic, so I slowed to a walk. Brioni, read the posters flanking the entrance. Hmm? Sounds like some Italian brand. I half wondered if I had stumbled upon a premier of some kind, but surely there would be more media coverage?

Though I bragged to my roommate about falling upon a premier in the park, on the whole I was only kidding. The next day as I headed toward the Underground, I accepted the London Standard being forced upon me. Once seated I opened the crumpled paper from my bag and absent-mindedly turned to the middle, “Turn your Bathroom into a Pamperdome.” Oh good, an article about picking tiles. A couple sentences in my eyes drifted up to the woman across the way…then down to the font cover of her Evening Standard to where it read, “Serpentine’s Three Graces. Happy Together: Alexa Chung, Keira Knightley and Cara Delevingne at the Serpentine Galleries’ summer party.”

I didn’t know if I should be grateful for discovering this not-so-casual gathering or upset with my complete oblivion. Topping off a Pimms in the park on a typical Tuesday evening: This just about sums up the modestly beautiful life of London’s rich and famous. Next party in the park, I’ll be ready.

Fashion Highlights

After visiting Kensington Place, I’d venture to say that it’s best enjoyed from the park, but if you do visit, I highly recommend ‘Fashion Rules’. The exhibit chronicles fashion trends of the 19th century. Another walk through English style is on display at the V&A. Highlights from both exhibits include designs from the likes of:

Paul Poiret
Popular at the turn of the 20th century, he rejected the Edwardian style of the day in favor of clean lines. Inspired by Parisian courtiers, he designed many fashions with turbans, tassels, and bold Eastern prints.

Elsa Schiaparelli
Amused with the works by surrealist painters such as Salvador Dalí, Schiaparelli’s looks include many whimsical prints. One of her most famous pieces, a 1937 evening coat, simultaneously depicts two lovers kissing or a vase of roses, depending on your interpretation.

Christian Dior
Dior introduced the ‘New Look’ to post-war Britain. His style focused on luxurious fabrics, fine tailoring, and modernity. While the wartime style was known for austerity and practical cuts, Dior reintroduced women to jewel-tone gowns and uncompromising glamour.

Norman Hartnell
A famous British courtier that put London on the map as a premier fashion capital. His designs were often worn during the 50s to social events like the Royal Ascot, a highly coveted horse-racing fixture.

Apart from the dresses, the Vogue covers at Kensington Palace were equally wonderful. Here’s a few highlights:

Windsor

JL at WindsorThe town of Windsor includes a rather prestigious castle, Eaton College, and waterfront cafes. It’s also my favorite place in Britain, second only to London. Walking through the great dining hall, you can image the jousting tournaments that would have take place in the courtyard to the right. The level of splendor is unprecedented, and unlike Westminster Abby, all decorative embellishments go together with careful planning. Another favorite room showcases the Royal Family’s hundreds of swords, and one can’t miss the identical (and not so miniature) miniature dollhouse.

With Fourth of July on the way, I spent a split second considering when England’s independence day was. What caught this embarrassing thought was my memory of Windsor, the most obvious evidence of England’s ultimate wealth and prestige. There’s no explanation for the concentration of grandeur, but also taste and personality. And to think that the Queen still comes here to ride horses and walk the dogs.

the guardsSide of Windor Areawater at WindsorA

Pimilico

P1040484If you’re lucky enough to live in High Kensington, then you’re living in a real-estate heaven that’s far too extraordinary to constitute real life. It’s a tease spending the summer sandwiched between Kate’s Palace and Notting Hill, so I enjoyed visiting Pimilico, a quint neighborhood near the Tate Britain that gives a charming yet more realistic example of true London living. This area also happens to be where my family stayed for the past week.

Using One Fine Stay, they nabbed a delightful carriage house on Cambridge Street. Inside the walls were covered in small prints, ruminant of children’s book illustrations. The sofa was butter yellow, and the sitting area was framed with lemon printed curtains. If you left the Dutch doors open, you could hear the choir warming up in the nearby chapel.

In short, it’s a neighborhood that seems trapped a few decades back. Though only a ten minute walk from the Tate and a few more minutes from Buckingham Palace, the area feels far more secluded than is actually the case.