Westfield is one of the largest shopping centres in the world and the biggest one in Europe. Not enough? East London opened yesterday their equivalent and it is as impressive and breath-taking as its west rival. What’s more impressive about the stunning architectural achievement of the French Jean Nouvel (I blogged on his Serpentine project in September) is the impressive view. One New Change is facing Saint Paul’s Cathedral and advantages of an exquisite paysage which adds to the atmosphere. While London’s banker’s district seems as just the right place for an oasis of luxury goods (almost any brand you can think of would be offered there) and chichi cafes, the building itself is a matter of controversial discussions. Many consider it as too modernistic for the ancient atmosphere of the oldest part of London. Prince Charles himself is one of the opposers of the project. According to him the glass and steal building is not a suitable one for the heart of City. Despite the rocky start, the opening yesterday was attended by shop alcoholics and not only.The launge was also celebrated with free goodie bags and the amazing performance of the London Symphony Orchestra. Attendants included Sir Philip Green and representatives of the Lord Mayor of London. A change always evokes good and bad reviews. One important advantage of the new shopping destination, however, is that busy City employees would no longer have to travel all the way West for the full shopping experience.
Last Monday the Cochrane Theatre held Manolo Blahnik’s talk. The shoe master was interviewed by the celebrity journalist Tim Blanks on the occasion of his upcoming book. With a career expanding over 30 years and hundreds of designs, Manolo Blahnik is one of the successful figures in the fashion industry and it sure was a great pleasure listening to him. The no less successful and influential style contributor made the evening fun and amusing for the audience invited by Central Saint Martin’s. His witty questions were followed by the candid and sincere answers of the shoe designer-legend. He talked through some of his ever favourite models (some looking prettier on sketch and sadly not very warmly accepted by the fashion crowd). To put an end to the conversation, the public was given the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and address their questions to Monsieur Blahnik. After the talk, while Mr. Blahnik was signing copies of his book, I took the chance to briefly meet Tim Blanks who is the epitome of my dream career. And of course, Manolo Blahnik’s the book is now available for all of us, who will rather look at the shoes than dare wear them . . . at least for now.
London can be anything but boring. When I first heard of a play called Money, inevitably the first association that came to my mind was . . . money. So, I thought, why spend my Wednesday evening watching a play that deals once again with the eternal issue of money or more likely, the lack of it. Only now I can admit I was wrong to prejudge Shunt’s new project as tedious. My other supposition turned out to be quite wrong too, because money is not really the central theme of the play. It is slightly based on Emile Zola’s 1891 novel L’Argent, which deals with corporate speculations and financial difficulties when the French Bank Union Generale collapses. No wonder Money is so relevant, presenting the current economic situation from the prospect of the past and former mistakes. The inventive, however, is the venue which contributes greatly to the audience’s experience: prepare to be led into an old tobacco warehouse under London Bridge Station. The spookiness is intensified by the hard-to-follow script and the eccentric nature of the production. Without wishing to give too much away, a massive tree story Victorian construction is on the menu, so in case you suffer from claustrophobia you might want to reconsider. Otherwise, just enjoy an evening that deals with the issues of money and prosperity from a different prospective point of view. Oh, yeah and wear some comfy shoes cause there is a bit of moving around and standing up, but hey, that’s so you enjoy the world of the play from a better angle.
A spider web hangs in front of one of the best shoe boutiques in London. The web happens to be the signature behind Charlotte Olympia’s fashionable accessories. It is also a warning that once you find yourself in her new boutique in London’s Mayfair, you might be dangerously woven by her creations. The store situated just off Bond Street is quite a reflection of Charlotte herself: chic, charming and modern. The jet-setter/cobbler has managed to blend in such a brilliant way the traditional and old-fashioned nature of the Edwardian building with the modern Art-Deco interior, keeping things very private and intimate. Maybe after all, the socialite just wanted to create a bigger shoe closet for her and her classy friends. Whatever the reason, as the likes of Carry Bradshaw and Beyonce prove, Charlotte Olympia’s designs are worth checking out. As for me, consider yourself warned!