London Diary: Day One

If paper is the appropriate gift for a first anniversary, than Mr. EEE outdid himself with tickets to London.  It promises to be a week full of raptures, and has already gotten off to a roaring start.

Alas, not two hours after stepping out of the hotel, I had found a new boyfriend.

Tall dark and handsome, Lord Mountstuart is one of the highlights of the smashing Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power & Brilliance show at the National Portrait Gallery.  Apparently when George III first set eyes on this young lord dressed as a Spanish dandy, he stepped back in revulsion at the very tight pants.

After having a most delicious grilled chicken sandwich from the new(ish?) chain Leon that values locally sourced ingredients, it was on to Somerset House to see the Rene Gruau fashion illustrations for Dior.

Influenced by Japanese calligraphy and use of negative space, Gruau's work inspires the imagination to supply what's not on the page.  I also learned  that the New Look shape was based on a flower.

It was by now cocktail hour so I returned to the hotel room for a reviving glass of red wine and a fistful of drugstore chocolate (sorry to say).  It was also a bit of liquid courage as I had a dinner date to meet the great biographer Hugo Vickers.  (Mr. EEE was studiously prepping for a presentation all the while.)

It was an incredible evening - he kindly showed me his Stephen Tennant - Syrie Maugham satin curtains.  (I will have the opportunity to reassure Rosie that they did indeed look very fulsome and beautiful.)  Hugo was also a consultant on The King's Speech.  When Helena Bonham-Carter as the Queen is asked to stay for dinner, she replies what a treat it would be, but alas they are otherwise engaged.  At the time, I thought what an elegant refusal it was and Hugo told me it was in fact something he had heard the Queen Mother say and suggested for the script. We had delicious steak at the Troubadour where Bob Dylan performed in the 60s and then parted ways.  (For more Hugo,  pre-order his forthcoming book, Behind Closed Doors: the tragic, untold story of the Duchess of Windsor here)

Such a day...