Wrigley turns 100!

Chicagoans are fanatical about their sport but there’s only one team that really matters: take a bow The Chicago Cubs. This much loved Chicago baseball team inspires an almost religious following and a trip to see The Cubs play at the charming Wrigley Field stadium should rank high on any Windy City itinerary.

But April 2014 is an ideal time to watch The Cubs play at Wrigley Field – famed for its classic neon entrance sign and ivy walled field. Why? Because today (April 23), the second oldest ballpark in America is 100 and is celebrating its centenary with one helluva party.

Anyone lucky enough to have scored a ticket to Wrigley’s 100th birthday game (against the Arizona Diamondbacks) today, can enjoy giveaways galore, retro food served by staff clad in old school uniforms and complimentary birthday cake.

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Some of Wrigley’s most legendary icons – here’s looking at Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Ernie Banks and Billy Williams – will attend the milestone birthday party of the famous ballpark that was built back in 1914 for a bargainous (by today’s standards) US$250,000!

During its 100 year history, Wrigley has witnessed some of baseball’s best moments including Babe Ruth’s “called shot” in the 1932 World Series.

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Of course the question remains: will the perpetually unlucky – The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908 – win the Pennant (aka clinch the league title) this season? After chatting to a couple of confirmed Cubs fans on a recent visit to Wrigley Field, I’d say that The Cubs have about as much chance of being crowned champions as I do of becoming mayor of Chicago. But regardless of where The Cubs finish this season, expect the mother of all parties…

For the full low-down on Wrigley’s birthday celebrations, visit wrigleyfield100.com

The major US airline that behaves like a low cost one

Bashing British Airways seems to have become something of a national sport. We’re all – myself included – quick to condemn the UK’s national carrier.

But if my experience with other airlines this year is anything to go by, we shouldn’t be so harsh on poor old BA. Sure the stewards and stewardesses may look matronly but the service – from the friendliness of the staff to food and in-flight entertainment options – is first class.

If only the same could be said for one of BA’s biggest competitors, American Airlines. To date I’ve flown with AA twice in 2014 and, as America’s national carrier, I had high hopes for a smooth journey upon boarding each aircraft.

I have learned the hard way: great expectations will invariably leave you as disappointed as Miss Havisham.

AA’s aircraft look and feel very antiquated. At around eight stone, I’m not a large person by any means but in an economy seat on an AA flight from London to Chicago, I felt as squashed as the proverbial can of sardines.

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I’ve reached a stage in life where I not only appreciate the finer things, but I expect them and so was looking forward to relieving my seating discomfort with a cheeky alcoholic tipple over dinner. “No problem,” the attendant told me, “but you know we charge for alcohol right?”

Err. No I didn’t. And having already paid above the odds for an economy seat (when it comes to travel, my common sense flies out of the window – I’ll balk at replacing my washing machine but will happily whip out the plastic to pay for a flight) the request for a G&T was swiftly replaced with a more modest tomato juice.

I turned my attention to the television screen and decided to kill time watching a film. Only unlike BA, the movies offered by AA are on ‘loop’ meaning you don’t get to decide the time you want to watch the on screen action. Nor are you able to pause/rewind at any point. I managed to find a film that was just about to start, but the the quality of the sound system was akin to something you’d pick up at a car boot sale.

Five days later, I took an internal flight from Chicago O’Hare International Aiport to Dallas Fort-Worth – again with AA. My ticket for this two hour domestic flight came in at around US$300 so I was flabbergasted to be told, upon arrival, that I’d have to pay to check in my suitcase. Admittedly at US$25 it wasn’t a fortune but if you’re a family of four or more… What narked the most was that while AA had outlined that no snacks would be served throughout the duration of the 2.5 hour flight, there had been no mention whatsoever of a suitcase surcharge.

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Everyone knows that with Easyjet, Ryanair et al, you pay to check bags into the hold. However this wasn’t something that I had expected to encounter or come across with a so called ‘proper’ airline.

Its not only AA that I am annoyed at: AeroMexico (Mexico’s national carrier) isn’t any better. I flew from London to Mexico City with AeroMexico during the festive season and sadly, despite phoning and emailing in advance to confirm my requested vegetarian meal, found myself up in the air for 10 hours with nothing to eat save for a small tub of ice cream and a rock hard bread roll.

 

But that’s nothing compared to what happened on a subsequent internal AeroMexico flight. My scheduled 10am flight from Mexico City to Merida was scrapped and 12 hours later, I was informed that I was being re-routed to Cancun. I made it around midnight – if only my luggage had too. It was a frustrating four days before my bags and I were reunited in Cancun, a destination that I had never even intended to touch down in.

My message? It’s easy to knock BA but, as airlines go, it’s not half bad.

 

Dalston delivers

When it comes to discerning destinations, Dalston might not seem like the capital’s most obvious choice. But a trip to the East London suburb proves otherwise. E8 is surprisingly great says Kaye Holland

“Don’t go back to Dalston.” So sang Johnny Borrell in 2004 and back then Razorlight’s front man wasn’t wrong. Situated between Stoke Newington and Shoreditch, the east London suburb of Dalaston might have been popular with students and starving artists owing to its cheap rent and lively nights out.

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Fast forward 10 years though and it’s all change in E8. Case in point? Stevie Parle – who has worked at River Cafe, Moro and Spotted Pig in the past, as well as running Notting Hill’s critically acclaimed Dock Kitchen – opened an Italian restaurant and wine bar earlier this month. Rotorino – a crowd funded restaurant – has only been open 10 days but has already been hailed by the Evening Standard as the “River Cafe of East London.” High praise indeed.

Dishes to get excited about at Rotorino include Sea Bream Carpaccio with squashed datterini tomato and marjoram and ice cream filled amalfi lemons.

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Trip Kitchen and Tonkotsu East are two other smart new restaurants signifying that Dalston is dumping its hipster image in favour of a more upmarket one.

The aforementioned newcomers join established E8’ers like Lightspeed Champion and Dalston Superstore, celebrated cinema The Rio – one of the few independent cinema’s left in London – legendary jazz club, The Vortex, and London’s best kept secret: underground club night, Disco Bloodbath, which serves up a monthly dose of disco, disco and yes more disco.

Even better: reaching Dalston is much more accessible thanks to the introduction of the East London tube line ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Our advice? Now that Dalston has grown up, explore and enjoy E8 this Easter…

Must see and do
Die hard Eastenders fans will want to make a pilgrimage to Fassett Square which supposedly inspired the long running BBC soap opera.

Culture vulture
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No visit to E8 is complete without catching a flick at The Rio (107 Kingsland High Street, tel 020 7241 9410) – a fabulous independent cinema that shows new releases as well as classics.

Top shops
At the excellent Ridley Road market, vendors peddle meats, sweets, salted nuts, exotic fruit and veg and every tongue tingling spice under the sun.

After dark
A trip to The Vortex should be high on everyone’s agenda. The former Stoke Newington Venue (The Vortex relocated to the Dalston Culture House in 2005) attracts musicians from around the world.

London’s top five hotels

Looking for somewhere stylish to sleep in the capital this Easter? Kaye Holland has the low-down on five fabulous places to lay your head in London

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The Berkeley
This much loved local icon is the first word in luxury, the last and most of those in between. The Wilton Place property boasts 214 rooms including 65 suites all of which overlook the park or the charming St Paul’s church. If you’re feeling flash plump for the luxury junior suite – a large open plan room with a divine king sized bed and lounge area complete with its own separate flat screen TV should you, heaven forbid, get bored with The Berkeley. Don’t leave without trying Prêt a Portea – London’s most popular afternoon tea. The quintessentially British ritual has been given a stylish twist; instead of scones expect a collection of canapés, cakes and doll sized taster spoons inspired by the current fashion collections. the-berkeley.co.uk

The Dorchester
Built back in 1931, the first thing you’ll notice on arrival at The Dorchester is the glamorous parking area – there’s always a showy car or two parked outside this plush property. Push through the revolving doors and prepare to be seriously spoilt. An army of smiling staff sweep across marble floors – the hotel is grand without being intimidating – ready to whisk guests off to thrillingly huge accommodation. Bedrooms are impeccable; there are 196 rooms in total plus no fewer than 50 suites and four rooftop suites. Despite being individually designed –no two rooms are alike – all are English to the core so expect lots of floral fabrics. dorchester.com

Jumeirah Lowndes
Deciding where to stay in this corner of the capital presents something of a challenge: Knightsbridge is not short of sumptuous five star hotels, including The Berkeley, where you can lay your head. But if you prefer boutique hotels to big, flashy properties, look no further than the Jumeriah Lowndes – an exercise in measured elegance. Set in a serene, leafy square, the ambience at this 87 room property – which opened its doors in 2006 – is suspended somewhere between a very impressive private home and a chic guesthouse. It’s pretty without being cutesy, elegant without being intimidating and compared to its cousin across the road – the Jumeriah Carlton – is smaller, quieter and thus the perfect place to chill out this Easter. jumeirah.com

The Portobello
If you’re looking for a place with personality, then this is it. The Portobello Hotel – which opened back in 1970 – has a bit of rock and roll about it and as such is popular with media folk and models. Indeed Croydon’s most famous export, La Moss, once holed up here and – legend has it – soaked in a bath filled with bubbly. The supermodel stayed in room 16 (the one with the circular bed), one of the so called 12 ‘special rooms’– each of which has a character of its own. The Japanese room (number one) boasts a small sea shell patio, while the cool, colonial room (number two) has a hint of bohemia about it and number six is pure decadence containing as it does a three foot deep, gilded, gold claw bath. portobello.com

The Savoy
The British icon that is The Savoy reopened on the 10/10/10, after a £100 million restoration. The hotel seamlessly blends elements of the original and the new, while the stunning English Edwardian and Art Deco interiors sparkle with timeless elegance and glamour. On the accommodation front, expect 268 guestrooms in addition to nine ‘personality suites’ – styled after some of The Savoy’s most high profile guests – and a newly created two bedroom royal suite that’ss truly a suite fit for a King. fairmont.com

A sporting afternoon in Chicago

There are exceptions of course but, by and large, our Premiership players and sports stars tend to be pampered, overpaid and prone to brattish behaviour. Not so in Chicago where I am this week for IPW 2014 – the travel industry’s premier international market media place and the largest generator of travel to the US.

Chicagoans are fanatical about their sport – so much so that the question “who do you support?” has replaced “hello, how are you?” as the standard form of introduction in polite society. In Chicago there are only two teams that really matter – the Chicago Cubs (an unlucky but much loved baseball team) and the Chicago Bears – an NFL side.

Prior to arriving in town I didn’t know much about NFL – aka American football – other than that the season culminates in the Super Bowl (the most watched sporting spectacle in the world) where music maestro, Bruno Mars, brought the house down earlier this year with his spectacular half time show.

So I can be forgiven, on a recent bus journey, for not knowing that I was sitting across the aisle from one Robbie Gould – a placekicker for the Chicago Bears – right? Robbie is currently the third most accurate kicker in NFL history and recently signed a new four year deal with the Bears worth $US 15 million dollars. All of which means that Robbie is a pretty big deal here in Chicago.

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But refreshingly his fame and success hasn’t inhibited Robbie’s ability to have a giggle and remain astonishly humble. I was struck by how anchored he actually is, as he showed a group of hacks around the hallowed turf that is Soldiers Field. The Bears ground, which was built in 1924, was named Soldiers Field in memory of those who had fought for the Alllies in World War One. As he showed us around Soldiers Field with a huge smile – despite it being a Sunday in off-season, when his wife and young son were miles away in Arizona – I asked the personable NFL player how he handled being ‘stop in the street’ famous in the States. “It’s part of the job,” he replied. “I’d much rather fans were friendly and stopped to say ‘hi’ than didn’t. Chicago has been my home for 1o years now and the city has been very good to me. I get that and will give back in any way I can.”

Wow I’m impressed – they’re not words you can imagine coming out of Wayne Rooney’s mouth, right?! But as great Gould is, Fergie Jenkins is in a class of his own.

The former Major League Baseball right handed pitcher was the first Canadian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. His parents escaped the Southern United States to Ontario through the Underground Railroad and instilled in Fergie, a love of sports. Growing up Fergie excelled at hockey, basketball and baseball and could have played any of the aforementioned professionally, but chose baseball after being spotted by Tony Lucadello – a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies – who was quick to recognise Fergie’s raw talent.

But despite having spent several years scouting him, the Phillies traded Jenkins to the Cubs after a year. Fergie made his debut for the Cubs on 23 April 1966 and never looked back: he won at least 20 games in each of six consecutive seasons (1967–72) while playing for the Cubs.

From 1974 to 1981 Jenkins pitched for the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox, compiling a record of 115 wins and 93 losses before returning to the Cubs in 1982, where he pitched for two more years before retiring. He finished his career with a record of 284 wins and 226 losses and with an ERA of 3.34 and his 3,192 strikeouts place him 10th among the all-time leaders.

Fergie is now ‘officially’ retired but even in retirement shows no sign of slowing down. He supports many charities, including cancer and diabetes having lost loved ones to these illnesses, and takes part in numerous charity events both in the US and his native Canada. In 2000 he registered his charity foundation, The Fergie Jenkins Foundation. Wait, there’s more: Fergie is also involved in the 100th anniversary celebrations of Wrigley Field – his old stomping ground with the Cubs.

Why is he so generous with his time? That’s easy, he told me while we watched the Cubs take on the Phillies at Wrigley Field last Sunday: “My Father always told me that you meet the same people on the way up in life, as you do on the way down. It’s hugely important to give back. We must all remember this.”

The likes of Luis Suárez, Carlos Tevez and John Terry should take note. I’m not asking them to behave like the Dalai Lama but prominent sports stars are in the public eye and thus – whether they like it or not – role models. They have – as Robbie Gould and Fergie Jenkins are only too aware – a responsibility to conduct themselves in a socially acceptable manner.

London’s Caribbean connection

One day, the sun – given that British Summer Time ‘officially’ began two weeks ago, when the clocks went forward one hour – may remember what it’s paid to do and put in an appearance in the capital. Optimistic? Perhaps, but here at Haute Living we do like to look on the bright side.

 

However even if the weather isn’t keeping you warm right now, the food and drinks on offer at the latest sunny additions to London’s restaurant scene certainly will. Make no mistake: the capital’s food scene is heating up.

 

The last month alone has seen four new Caribbean restaurants open their doors. First up, Rum Kitchen – which opened to critical acclaim in All Saints Road at the start of 2013 – has opened a second branch in Soho’s Kingly Court. Translation? Londoners no longer need to “go west” for high-end West Indies fare such as Chicken with rice and peas, plus Rum Punch and creamy, coconut based cocktails. From Monday-Wednesday inclusive, Rum Kitchen’s new outpost is primarily a restaurant but, from Thursday onwards it’s all about making like Ri-Ri and body bopping until 12.30am.

 

Meanwhile over in Covent Garden, there are two Caribbean venues to choose from. Dub Jam has only been open four short weeks but already the restaurant’s Rum Punch has earned rave reviews. Alongside Rum Punch, expect to see Red Stripe (Jamaica’s favourite beer) and jerk skewers on the colourful menu. And on New Row, Jamaican chef Collin Brown’s plump golden patties are packing in the punters at Jamaica Patty . Early standouts include the Jerk chicken and Curried goat varieties but you’ll also find island staples such as saltfish, ackee and a wickedly indulgent Tortuga rum cake at this modern W2 take away and restaurant.

 

 

But W1 and W2 aren’t the only postcodes creating a Caribbean buzz: the Jamaican influenced Boom Burger is sure to warm any west Londoner’s heart. This Portobello Road spot specialises in plantain fries, fiery jerk chicken wings and juicy burgers served with Scotch bonnet mayo – Mmmm. Boom Burger’s decor elates too, lined as it is with reggae LPs and painted in the colours of the Caribbean.

 

Bottom line? Now that Londoners no longer need to wait for Notting Hill Carnival to roll around to enjoy a taste of the Caribbean, we reckon that – as reggae icon, Bob Marley, once famously sang – “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

Top 5 power breakfasts in London

Remember the saying “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper”? Yep, your Mum really was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a good breakfast will set you up for the day ahead and stop you caving in or collapsing during that crucial meeting. Haute Living lets you in on five places to enjoy a power breakfast in London town…

 

Balthazar
Located in old Covent Garden on what was the site of the former Theatre Museum, Keith McNally’s Balthazar has created quite a buzz since it opened last summer. If you don’t fancy battling for a dinner booking, go for the seriously good breakfast: expect scrambled eggs and Cornish crab, Sweetcorn fritters and – out favourite – hazelnut waffles. Keep your eyes open as Balthazar is celeb central – Brand Beckham and Boris Becker are just a few of the stars who have been spotted spilling out of Balthazar.

The Berkeley
This much loved local icon is the first word in luxury, the last and most of those in between. In-house guests have a hard time leaving their tasteful rooms, but the top notch dining options should ensure you don’t want to stray too far from the restaurants either. The Berkeley is most famous for its stylish Pret a Portea afternoon tea but the Kofffmann’s breakfast menu is pretty fabulous too. Standouts include the toasted bagel with Loch Fyne Scottish smoked salmon and English eggy bread with cinnamon and nutmeg. Every dish is a Berkeley tribute to the best way to start the day. So, tuck yourself behind a crossword and coffee and tuck in!
The Dorchester
‘The Dorch’ – as it is affectionately known – is the Grand old dame of London hotels whose high profile past guests include Marlene Dietrich, General Dwight Eisenhower and Tom Cruise. Even if you aren’t staying here, you can still visit The Promenade – the social hub of the hotel – where you can listen to a pianist play while enjoying a brilliant eggs benedict washed down with rivers of refreshing teas.
Duck and Waffle
Duck and Waffle has been making waves in London and rightly so. Situated at the summit of Heron Tower, this is the highest restaurant in the UK so, if you suffer from acrophobia, you may want to cross D&W off your bucket list.
 However those with a head for heights can enjoy unrivalled views of The Gherkin, River Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral – plus on-trend dishes like the ‘fat boy’ toasted pbj (brioche, banana, peanut butter, strawberry jam, fried duck egg and maple-glazed bacon). Further possibilities include the Full English, Belgian waffles (go for the Nutella and 
vanilla ice cream version) and Ox cheek benedict.
 You’ll leave with a lighter wallet but a lot happier than when you arrived.

A word of warning; if you’re thinking of visiting Villandry it’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance. On our last visit, the place was as busy as a bookie’s on Grand National Day. Once seated by the legions of staff (who will cluck and fuss over you) prepare to peruse the extensive breakfast menu which encompasses croissants, continental breakfast, brioche, biercher muesli and much more besides. In our humble opinion, this is arguably the best place for breakfast in town. For exceptional food in an elegant setting (we love the high level of natural light), head here.

The rise of Regent Street

The recent arrival of the likes of Karl Lagerfeld has helped transform Regent Street from drab to fab writes Kaye Holland

 

Talk about rapid change. Only a couple of years ago, the elegant curbed boulevard – the brainchild of British architect John Nash – that is Regent Street , was chock full of naff  souvenir stores. Fast forward to 2014 and Regent Street – with the help of the Regent Street Association - has happily returned to its high end roots.

 

Stores such as Past Times have erm, passed away, and been replaced with a few of Haute Living’s favourite luxe brands: take a bow Burberry (don’t miss the quirky trench coat museum on the upper floor of the British brand’s flagship store as well as the stunning Prorsum catwalk pieces) and Longchamp. Our favourite French bag brand has opened a spacious new store on Regent Street with a special area for its modernist ready to wear collection.

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But the store we have worked ourselves up into a Labrador like lather over here at Haute Living, is the new Karl Lagerfeld emporium – the luxury French brand’s most technologically advanced shop to date. The 250-sqm flagship is the biggest Karl Lagerfeld store in Europe and features ready-to-wear collections and accessories, as well as limited edition souvenirs.

Alongside Chanel’s creative director, cult US store J.Crew - loved by Michelle Obama, no less - has set up shop on Regent Street, while stylish sporty types will want to make a beeline for the new flagship store from upmarket sports brand Orvis. And that’s not all! Watches of Switzerland is opening an enormous three floor flagship store in June, joining & Other Stories - H&M’s luxe label for ladies.

 

All told while Bond Street need not be quaking in its well heeled boots just yet, Regent Street is certainly shaping up to be one of the hottest shopping streets in the capital.  Should the shopping excitement prove too much, our advice is to make for the £500 million Cafe Royal - where Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw once hung out – for a fortifying cocktail or two. Happy shopping!

Restaurant review: The Sign Of The Don

Should Anne Hidalgo – Paris’s new mayor – be looking for somewhere to lunch in London, Haute Living has a suggestion. Step forward: The Sign Of The Don.

 

Located on the site of the original Sandeman Port and Sherry Cellar in the picturesque St Swithins Lane, The Sign Of The Don is the little sister of city restaurant veteran The Don.

 

But while its elder sibling focuses predominantly on formal French fare, The Sign Of The Don pays homage to Spain – which should suit Spanish-born socialist, Hidalgo, to a tee.

Bistro Interior

The Sign Of The Don is the latest venture from Robyn and Robert Wilson – the husband and wife team who in addition to their St Swithins Lane eateries are behind the beloved Bleeding Heartrestaurant off Hatton Gardens, and also own Trinity Hill Wines in New Zealand. As such I arrived at The Sign Of The Don with great expectations…

 

First impressions were good: the gigantic subterranean basement bar/bistro certainly looks the part with its barrel stave interiors, port heritage cellars, banquettes crafted from casks and eye-catching sculptures of iron hoops made from ancient barrels.

 

The atmospheric interior positively prickled with an air of excitement as the attentive staff showed us to our table. The linen was crisp, the sparkling water ice cold and the cavernous restaurant smelt divine. As we sat down to be welcomed with a glass of champagne by Bence – The Sign Of The Don’s superb sommelier – we couldn’t help but feel a tad spoilt.

 

Once seated and sipping our champers, we browsed The Sign Of The Don’s small but perfectly formed a la carte menu. I opted to start with the Smoked beetroot, pickled shallots and goats curd salad while my dining companion kicked off our feast – and it was a feast – with a green pea soup. Both dishes elated being delicate, refined and uncluttered.

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Would our mains be able to live up to the high standard that our starters had set? Happily the answer was yes. The Grilled breast of chicken with Lemon, thyme and garlic olive oil mash was satisfyingly filling and a carnivore’s delight, while my Asparagus and pecorino ravioli with Datterini tomatoes and rocket came with a bold whack of flavour. And desserts were similarly note perfect.

 

The home made Raspberry sundae had my partner purring with pleasure and I had no complaints about the Crème Catalan which provided a fitting finale and showcased what The Sign Of The Don’s kitchen can do.

 

Another special feature is the wine list – there’s plenty (given The Sign Of The Don’s Trinity Hill connection) to lure in the oenophiles. But if you’re not a wine connoisseur, worry not: the charming sommelier, Bence, is usually on tap to help you navigate the list and match a wine to each and every course of your meal.

 

And patrons who prefer beer, spirits or cocktails (the fun sounding The Don’s Martini caught our eye) won’t be disappointed either.

 

Service, under the guidance of manager Eric, was seamless and charming and prices – given that St Swithins Lane, within stumbling distance of Bank station, is a destination of choice for bankers – pleasingly below the stratosphere.

 

 

All told The Sign Of The Don is too good to leave to the suits. If Bojo needs somewhere to take his Paris counterpart in the coming months, he should head here. As an atmospheric alternative to the Square Mile’s stuffy restaurants, The Sign Of The Don is a star.

 

The Sign Of The Don is located at The Courtyard, 21 St Swithins Lane, City of London, EC4. To make a booking click here

Shop talk: leading British milliner, Rosie Olivia

 

Milliner, Rosie Olivia, is turning heads in the capital and can count Pippa Middleton, the Made in Chelsea cast and members of the Royal family as fans. Haute Living caught up with Rosie who – despite her rocketing profile and A list fans  - has refused to let fame and success go to her head  

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Tell us a little bit about Rosie Olivia Millinery…
My journey as a milliner began four years ago. I completed my Decorative Arts Degree at Nottingham Trent University and threw my self straight in to the deep end working at Philip Treacy, Stephen Jones and Victoria Grant. I learnt the millinery works throughout my time working for other creatives and saw how millinery companies are run. I have always loved hats, intrigued as to how simply a hat can change a whole outfit. It’s a great accessory and when one is put on your head it just give you confidence and makes you feel great, so after this experience I decided to set up my own brand Rosie Olivia Millinery.

 

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The Oslo

I produce two seasons a year: spring-summer and autumn-winter. Fenwicks of Bond Street have been stocking the hats for four seasons running now and hopefully this will continue and eventually I will gain more stockist’s to add to my other five.

 

Why do you think that Londoners love Rosie Olivia Millinery?
I have clients who really love the fact that my hats are hand made in London and  the UK from start to finish. They and I think its important to have a home grown brand.

Can you tell when a hat is going to sell well?
Before beginning the design of each new collection, I take the bi-annual creative task on with a strong head and I admits it’s slightly daunting. I always feel like the task ahead is scary; that I have to make the collection better than the previous one!  But variety is the spice of life. I’ll start sketches and sampling, be fun and creative and then somehow it begins to fall in to place and then something new is born – like my SS14 collection!

Speaking of which, what do you love most from your Spring-Summer 2014 collection?
My favourite hat from SS14 has to be the Alpha. It’s colourful, fun and eccentric.

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The Alpha

What do you like about Londoners’ style?
I love that in London anything goes. You don’t have to be going to the races or to a wedding, to wear a hat. I wear a different hat every day. I want to see millinery and peoples approach to millinery change. I want to see people wearing more hats casually. I feel that a lot of people will only wear a hat to a special occasion but actually it is just an accessory which can be used throughout the year.

Were you always so sure about your sense of style? I think so. My signature style is a joyful aesthetic in the form of delicate trimmings and unusual fabrics while still remaining fashion relevant by adjusting the designs to the colours of the season.

Rosie Olivia Millinery has some famous fans…
Yes. Princess Beatrice and  Pippa Middleton are two of my most well known clients. I am still waiting for Kate Middleton to make that order!

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Princess Beatrice is a big fan of Rosie’s creations

What’s next for Rosie Olivia Millinery?
The next step for the Rosie Olivia Brand is to open a new showroom in London for buyers, press and private clients, bringing together Rosie Olivia in one new space. (Fingers crossed it will be open May 2014 just in time for the racing and wedding season).

Lastly when you’re not busy with Rosie Olivia Millinery, how do you like to relax?
I am always on the go. Rosie Olivia is a one man band so it’s always manic: there are always hats to make, appointments to schedule and events to attend. I have to be out of the studio and have a glass of vino in one had to switch off!

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The Delta

Thanks Rosie! To view and purchase Rosie’s hats please visit www.rosieolivia.com

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