Feb 012017
 
The Ivy courtesy of Sue Lowry

The Ivy is one of London’s most celebrated restaurants and definitely a place to be seen. Throughout it’s long history, every celebrity and notable has been seen to eat at The Ivy, so many in fact that its probably easier to simply input here a copy of Who’s Who! Film stars such as Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, to theatrical royalty such as Noël Coward and Dame Maggie Smith, politicians like Maggie Thatcher, to Tom Cruise, the Beckhams or Benedict Cumberbatch with Sophie Hunter – anyone who is anyone has eaten at The Ivy. What makes it so much fun is that once you book a table, some of that fairy dust can rub off on you too – and that’s its magic.

The Ivy courtesy of Sue Lowry

The restaurant is celebrating 100 years of history from its humble beginnings as a small cafe launched in 1917 by Abele Giandolini in the midst of The Great War. Somewhat appropriately given the turmoil of the time, his business was named after a sentimental song popular with wartime sweethearts at the time – “we will cling together like the ivy”. Monsieur Abele, as he was affectionately known, also embraced the theatrical location of his restaurant and endeared himself to the theatricals by delivering meals to the dressing rooms of the theatres around him. It’s appropriate therefore that throughout this centenary year, there will be theatrical vignettes performed by today’s West End elite at the restaurant.

The Ivy courtesy of Sue Lowry

This landmark now boasts its very own Green Plaque, will be launching their own limited edition Ivy Gin in April together with a new book on its history in June whilst in the kitchens and the sparkling new bar, there are cocktails and menu items that are clearly inspired by 100 years of history. There’s even an opportunity to dine at The Ivy for their ever-popular pre and post theatre menus at just £19.17 until March. It’s a London must-visit for sure.

Contributor: Sue Lowry – Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Jan 112017
 

The Curve Piccadilly Lights Land Securities

The historic advertising hoardings of Piccadilly Circus are going dark this January for the longest amount of time since World War II. Come the Autumn, we will see the current screens replaced with Europe’s largest single digital screen, which will retain its renowned curved shape, surface area and its ability to have a patchwork appearance. With a greater than 4K resolution display, Piccadilly Lights (as they are called by owners Land Securities) will have one of the highest resolution LED displays of this size in the world, capable of live video streaming, lifestyle updates and real time social media feeds – a modern marketeer’s dream.

Piccadilly Circus courtesy of London Bridge Hotel's Postcard Archive

Piccadilly Lights have only previously gone dark during WWII and for special occasions such as Earth Hour and the deaths of Winston Churchill in 1965 and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.  Advertising has long been featured on the facades of buildings at Piccadilly Circus as it’s always been one of London’s major thoroughfares. 1908 saw the first electric sign appearing and Perrier and Bovril were the brand pioneers thus illuminated.

Piccadilly Circus courtesy of London Bridge Hotel's Postcard Archive

So popular was this method of promotion that the hoardings spread over far more buildings than they do today and covered The London Pavilion, first lit by incandescent light bulbs, then neon lights, before moving onto digital and LED displays.

Piccadilly Circus courtesy of London Bridge Hotel's Postcard Archive

So where did the name Piccadilly come from? Apparently, it’s named for a tailor from 1626 – one Robert Baker – whose shop sold piccadills or piccadillies (a kind of stiff collar) hence Piccadilly. The circus part denotes a circular traffic junction and was created in 1819 at the junction with Regent Street and for a time, was known as Regent’s Circus. It lost its circular form in 1886 with the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue.

 

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

The Curve image, courtesy of Land Securities. The postcard imagery courtesy of London Bridge Hotel’s Postcard Archive.

Sep 162015
 

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Botticelli Reimagined is a new major exhibition, opening 5th March 2016 at the V&A, exploring, for the first time the variety of ways artists and designers from the Pre-Raphaelites to the present have responded to the artistic legacy of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), assembling 150 works from around the world.

Botticelli Reimagined will be held at The Victoria and Albert Museum from 5th March – 3rd July 2016.  Tickets will go on sale in September this year and will cost £15 with concessions available. V&A Members go free. Advance booking is advised – this can be done in person at the V&A; online at www.vam.ac.uk/Botticelli; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies).

Do check out the latest offers as Kensington House Hotel has some great weekend deals. You can sign up for special offer alerts here.

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Contributor: Alexandra Pinhorn – Photographs by various photographers – credits as follows: Venus,Volker-H. Schneider; Venus, after Botticelli, Private collection, courtesy Duhamel Fine Art, Paris; Portrait of a Young Man, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington; Rebirth of Venus, David LaChapelle; The Renaissance of Venus, Tate, London 2015; The Virgin and Child with Two Angels, courtesy Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der Bildenden Künste Vienna; The Orchard, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Pallas and the Centaur, courtesy of the Ministero Beni e Att. Cultura; Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Allegory of Abundance or Autumn, The Trustees of the British Museum; Venus Dress: Look 15, Catwalking.com.

Apr 182015
 

8._Installation_view_of_Voss_Alexander_McQueen_Savage_Beauty_at_the_VA_c_Victoria_and_Albert_Museum_London (Large)

If you love seeing a true, original talent, then swiftly head for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London to see their blockbuster exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.

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What a revelation this was – entering into the world of a privileged few who knew him, reviewed this designer or wore his clothes. It’s only by seeing the physical products that he produced that you understood what a raw and innovative talent this young Scot had – and what we lost when he left us.

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The skilful way in which the exhibition has been curated tells his story alongside his clothes – his Savile Row apprenticeship, his association with marques like Givenchy and the establishment of his own eponymous label. It’s easy to see why he was often referred to as the enfant terrible of fashion for his irreverent style and celebration of the gothic and grotesque – yet even in the most outlandish of collections, a beauty and grace shone through together with a surprising depth and grasp of historic knowledge and tradition.

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By walking through his life through this carefully curated exhibit, I saw the skill and raw talent that he had and how his ideas have permeated every section of our society. The quote “You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition” really sums up this exhibition. You can still buy tickets for this exhibit and I urge you to do so. I came away both enlightened and informed.  Just wonderful.

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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in partnership with Swarovski, supported by American Express and made possible with the co-operation of Alexander McQueen, runs from 14th March – 2nd August 2015. There are still tickets available so snap one up soon – www.vam.ac.uk/savagebeauty. Follow Victoria and Albert Museum on twitter @V_and_A and on Facebook: Victoria and Albert Museum.

 

Contributor: Sue Lowry Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Photographs: Reproduced courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London.