[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his year, the Pre Frieze week buzz was palpable with the art world descending on London early to attend some rather special and eagerly anticipated parties and openings… I was lucky enough to have been invited to all and what a week it was!!
September 30th 2015 – A London Night to Remember
First stop was the ICA, which hosted the biggest book launch of the year for London Burning: Portraits from a creative city, the new Almanach de Gotha of creativity in the capital city.
(The Party, photo: Maryam Eisler)
The star-studded event began with a panel discussion looking at the creative future of London, touching on troubling questions that bedevil its rampant expansion. Chaired by the mayor’s cultural deputy Munira Mirza, it included Matthew Freud, architect Ole Scheeren and Gregor Muir who engaged in a vigorous give and take on the subject.
The party hosted by Mulberry introduced its new Creative Director, Johnny Coca to the capital’s creative elites and involved major performances by gorgeous violinist Charlie Siem, Rizzle Kicks’s rapper Jordan Stephens and singer Delilah amongst others. The guests partied into the night with cool tunes played by artists – turned DJs – Eddie Peake and Prem Sahib (with the latter’s groundbreaking show on display at the ICA).
Guests who attended the night included the likes of Sir Nicolas Serota (Director of the Tate), Iwona Blazwick (Director of the Whitechapel), Jude Kelly of the Southbank Centre, Alisdair Spalding of Saddlers Wells and choreographer Wayne Mc Gregor. Contemporary artists also attended the event such as Shirin Neshat, Matt Collishaw, Polly Morgan, Idris Khan and Annie Morris, father and son duo Richard and Henry Hudson alongside Mollie Dent Brocklehurst, photographer Miles Aldridge and his sister Saffron Aldridge, Mariela Frostrup, Yasmin Mills. Design gurus Ron Arad and Deyan Sudjik were also spotted. What is more, a BBC2 film crew followed Gordon Watson around the happening scene.
Tuesday October 6 2015
A few days later, it was onto Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery Opening. The 37,000 sq ft Lambeth Space, designed by the incredible architects Caruso St John, opened its doors with a debut exhibition of paintings by the late John Hoyland.
(Damien Hirst’s Main Squeeze, the gorgeous Katie Keight , next to her favourite Hoyland painting, photo: Georgina Cohen)
The Space will focus on six month long solo shows from Hirst’s own vast collection. It was a lovely evening with lots of blasts from the past and a big turn out of his friends old and new. There was a really warm buzz and hugely positive response to the new gallery and exhibition.
(Stylish Spin Inspired Shoes & Happy Feet as worn by Damien’s Girlfriend Katie Keight, photo: Georgina Cohen)
I also got a sneak peak of the restaurant, ‘Pharmacy 2’, in homage to the short lived venue he opened in Notting Hill in 1998: a riot of medically themed kitsch, a gloriously tacky shrine to the artist’s clinical obsessions. The contents of an operating theatre storeroom have been emptied into the glass-topped bar, while the walls are lined with cases of Hirst’s trademark pills and surgical tools. There are drugs everywhere. You can perch on giant polyurethane tablets of Proloprim or Desmopressin at the bar, or recline against Vicodin or Norpramin embroidered into the back of the seating booths. There are big plastic pills embedded into the back of the Jasper Morrison dining chairs, while the terrazzo floor is inlaid with what look like vinyl tablets, until you touch them and realise they are water-jet cut from solid marble. Sadly, this den of drug-fuelled opulence won’t open to the public until next year! Identified guests include Jay Jopling, Harland Miller, Gavin Turk, Sue Webster, Michael Craig Martin, Ed Victor, Keith Allen, Janet Street Porter, Will Gompertz, Mariano Vivanco, David Haye.
Thursday 8 October 2015
Sexy Fish, the much-anticipated new Asian fish and seafood restaurant from Caprice Holdings, opened with a star studded launch party and exclusive performance by superstar Rita Ora in Berkeley Square, London.
(The incredible Frank Gehry Fish Lamp Sculpture above the Bar, photo: Dave Bennett & Richard Young)
The restaurant pairs contemporary Asian cuisine with cutting-edge art and design to create a dynamic new dining experience. Art plays a vital role in the design and mood of the restaurant and bar, featuring collaborations with several impressive international artists including Frank Gehry and Damien Hirst.
On the evening, guests enjoyed a Ruinart champagne reception followed by a sit down dinner of Baked Alaskan Crab, Tartare of Tuna Belly and Hot and Sour Octopus.
(From left: Rita Ora and Kate Moss, Lindsay Lohan and friend, Ciara, Goldie Hawn, photo: Dave Bennett & Richard Young)
Notable guests included Kate Moss, Immy Waterhouse, Lindsay Lohan, Ciara, Goldie Hawn, Jo Wood, Jack Fox, Chantelle Brown-Young, Tracey Emin, Sir Philip Green, Chloe Green, Winnie Harlow, Alice Temperley, Elizabeth Saltzman, Amanda Wakeley, Matthew Williamson, Danny Huston and Dave Gardner.
The highlight of the evening was Rita Ora’s performance of her global hits Black Widow, RIP and new track Body on Me, as well as a host of aquatic themed performances throughout!
Saturday 10 October & Monday 12 October 2015
Gagosian kicked off Frieze with two of the hottest parties in town! First, it was the celebration of the launch of their incredible new Mayfair Gallery, Gagosian Grosvenor Hill – another Caruso St John Masterpiece. It was only fitting that the inaugural show be that of the late great Cy Twombly – who Gagosian has chosen to open all of his new gallery spaces with – as one of his favourite and beloved artists.
(Girls just want to have fun: Gorgeous Gagosian Girls. From left: Pepi Marchetti Franchi, Ottelie Winsor, Anna Gavazzi, Sarah Jones & Georgina Cohen, photo: Georgina Cohen)
The after party was held at the stunningly elegant Savile Club, where guests were treated to Oysters & Champagne and a special performance by the Noisettes. Guests were then ushered downstairs to another floor for more dancing and drinking into the early hours. Leaving gifts were beautifully designed limited edition Twombly notebooks by Smythson. This was quite the contrast to their hip and happening Jonas Wood opening that followed on Monday at their Britannia Street space, where the sold out show was all that anyone was talking about. The dinner was held in the grand Berners Tavern at the Edition Hotel where the crowd was LA chic with lots of artist friends and friends of the artist – Jonas stood out in a bright green beanie and a big smile – it was the perfect start to the busy week ahead!
(Beanie Boys: Jonas Wood & his pal Adam Waymouth, photo: Georgina Cohen)
By Georgina Cohen
Georgina Cohen Instagram: georginacarolinecohen