Wednesday, August 12, 2009

PROGRESS...

Sometimes I go for a wander in ol' London town hoping to be inspired. Often I get annoyed and feel frustrated, can't accumulate enough inspiration, get tired and need to eat, end up eating something mediocre, then trudge home having emptied my purse with nothing to show for it. Stew, repeat.

This was not one of those days. The warm sunshine didn't hurt, being more conducive to wandering than driving rain and wind. I wandered into the Idea Books pop up shop next to St Martin's Lane Hotel. Momentarily floored by the sight of a Jane Birkin book full of incredible photos of her from the '60s - '80s I'd never seen before, I quickly surmised that everything would be insanely overpriced and I shouldn't even ask. More temptation followed (I'm still thinking about that Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music book) until I saw a rare book I actually own and asked the price. To my surprise it was pretty reasonable. On chatting with the guy there it became apparent that they know what's what in the world of cool second hand books. You're unlikely to get a cheeky bargain but equally, they're not going to try and charge you £200 for a book you could get on ebay for £50. I didn't get the Jane Birkin book (yet) but it's hovering about on my wishlist.

Next up (after a slight detour to try on shiny new Repetto shoes at Poste Mistress) was the best decision I've made for some time. I was in Soho; it was lunchtime. As I walked past Barrafina I noticed that miraculously there was no queue. I've tried to go to this place three or four times and impatience (mine or my companions) has always got the better of me. Not that it needs any more glowing accolades and I'll try and refrain from too many gushing superlatives but may fail. It was completely, utterly, without a doubt the best lunch I've had in London, perhaps ever. (Wipes the floor with Brindisa.) I started with a cold glass of fino and a deep fried courgette flower stuffed with goat's cheese, drizzled with a bit of honey. The barman/waiter raised his eyebrows as I was eating it as if to say, "You've never tasted anything so good, have you?" And honestly, I hadn't. Then, the one thing you can never find in London, let alone done well: Tuna Tartar. It was perfect. Okay, all the seafood looked amazing - I was tempted by the razor clams but I had to try the tartar. By this point I was becoming ecstatic about the food and kept grinning at my very affable waiter/barman as if I'd just been let in on a secret. My only complaint is that once you're there, you keep seeing dishes other people have ordered and it's all too easy to keep ordering more and more dishes (as they're only tapas sized) and end up spending a lot more than you meant to. Every person within striking distance of me was doing this as well so I didn't feel too bad. And it was totally worth it. I could have stayed there all day, but onwards...

I'm chuffed that Liberty is deservedly bigging itself up.


As everyone knows, and Nancy astutely pointed out, Liberty print is my madeleine. So how thrilling it was to see the entire back wall of the Liberty building papered in Liberty print. (Takes a bit of extra housekeeping to maintain as you can see in the picture.)


I managed to sneakily snap this blurry pic of the inside of the print swathed lift just as the doors opened. This whole print mania is part of Prints Charming which celebrates the enduring amazingness of Liberty prints. On the 4th floor there's a lovely exhibition (no photos allowed) which is really worth seeing. All sorts of things for sale like sunglasses, lampshades and wellington boots are covered in different Liberty prints and there's a section that shows how designers have used the prints throughout the years; from Yves Saint Laurent in the seventies to Nike, to Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony.

I spent ages in Liberty, fondling all the new season's merchandise. I love it when everything is all new and fresh and together. I still like to be able to pick it up, scrunch the fabric, try things on. It helps to put my thoughts together for the coming season: still in my thoughts are a Marni felted wool coat and an Acne fluffy palest blue jumper. Times like those are when I appreciate living somewhere like London where you basically have access to everything. Even if you can't afford it, fondling clothes isn't illegal as yet. Halfway round the jewellery section on the ground floor I realised I had to go, so had to rush off without a thorough fondling of the bags and scarves. Then rushing to the tube I saw that the A.P.C. shop is finally open. I literally ran in, did one lap of the upstairs, commented on the lovely new smell, then ran out again.

Later I sat in the still warm garden drinking wine with a friend until we got sick of being devoured by mosquitoes. A couple more friends turned up, then I stayed up watching Rosemary's Baby on Film4 and I swear Mia Farrow was wearing the same Repetto Mary Janes I'd earlier tried on in one scene (not so unlikely as it's a reissued '60s design). I wasn't "haunted for years" as the review in the paper said, but the film and Mia's costumes were excellent.

So all in all, an inspiring day in London. I'm so very grateful (to whom I'm not sure).

9 comments:

Sneaky Magpie said...

Sounds like a good day in London. I love the Liberty exhibition, have been twice now ;)

If Jane said...

ohhhh! sounds like a real day of happy accidents...lovely!!
i thought of you immediately (with a smile) with news that the liberty store got all "liberty-print" dolled up/madeleine (for you!)!!
and yes...i too am a "clothes fondler"...and a proud one at that...;)))
great post...and comme toujours...i loveeee how you write and tell a story!

Gaboushka said...

Totally agree about the non-competition between Barrafina/Brindisa. Am off to Liberty tomorrow, and, less exciting/chic, Selfridges Christmas World...

Rose said...

I loved reading that. I'm obsessed with Liberty too and I am really enjoying their renaissaince. I can't wait to see the Carnaby street side with all that printed fabric. Bliss. *Sigh*

Wendy said...

What a great sounding day! Although I live in London (South East too!) sometimes it takes others to give inspiration to appreciate it. I've only been reading your blog a couple of weeks but I really enjoy it. Many thanks.

emma. said...

Oh yes, that fluffy blue jumper is lovely! Expensive, though... And I live for Liberty prints, and I've watched Rosemary's Baby a million times!

Chicsetera Paris said...

Ooooooh! Love the huge liberty print!!!

xoxo

www.chicsetera.com

--daily CHIC news from Paris--

r said...

♥ the liberty fabric picture in the lift!

Intrinsically Florrie said...

I'm a floral obsessive and ooh isn't Liberty fabulous.
Now if my only my house could look like that too.