Adventures, afternoon tea, clothing design, London, V&A museum

London Weekend

My darling Mr D is a very talented man he knows exactly how to take a girl on an adventure! I saw a few pictures of the V&A a friend of mine had posted – which made me all dreamy – how lovely it would be to see the costume museum –   it had been closed when I went to the V&A last year. 
No sooner said than done, I was rattling off to the big smoke the following Friday – the clackity clack, closing the miles while I sunk back in my seat reading relishing the enforced relaxation – driving and traffic queues a distant memory. 
It is so romantic to meet your beloved at a train station – catching sight of him waiting at the gate my heart skipped a beat, I felt we were starring in our own 40’s film. He took my bags and led me out of the station and round the corner to a lovely pink pub called the Biosdale that has a reputation for a combination of extensive range of whiskies, cigars and live jazz. Luckily the cigars were being smoked up on the roof terrace –  the jazz band was lovely. We drunk champagne, eating cheese on toast with truffle mayonnaise enjoying the vibrant atmosphere as the mellifluous sax rose and fell. All around were celebrations of the Scottish traditions tartans and a lovely portrait of Robbie Burns. 
Mr D’s talent for spotting perfection continued our boutique hotel, the Thompson Belgraves was very warm and welcoming, the room was splendid and joy of joys a nice deep bath! The staff had just the right mix of friendliness and professionalism I particularly liked the way we were always warmly welcomed when we came back from our shopping jaunts. 
Saturday afternoon, Mr D surprised me with a lovely afternoon tea at Aspley’s restaurant in the Lanseborough hotel. I am a dovotee of of tea, crisp linen, bone china and cake! This hotel had a tea sommelier –  with a whole menu dedicated to many varieties of teas –  first blush assam is my favourite, and Mr D had a Ceylon with rose which came in silver tea pots and was poured for us! We had a very wide selection of savouries and sweets, I never thought I could be all ‘caked out’ reluctant to miss the taste of the raspberry mousse we just could not find room for we took them home in a lovely little box. 
We  headed for the Hakkasan in Soho late into the evening, their cocktails were delicious as was the food. I had not tried soft shell crab before – I really enjoyed it despite it having a resemblance to a large deep fried spider! Once again the buzzing atmosphere was splendid, the cosiness of our table was enhanced by the delightful screens -our hunger sated we headed to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club.
Oh how divine! the club had a nostalgic atmosphere, with pictures adorning the walls of famous names who had played there. The venue offered an intimacy with the band – low ceilings the stage – all around were such lovely little glowing lamps – if I could have changed one thing it would have been a small dance floor – but then I am more of a dancer than a musician. 
We spent a lovely few hours on Sunday enjoying the costume museum, there were some beautiful outfits and work from famous names.  What struck me most is that fashions seemed to be all about enhancing a woman’s feminine shape, either through cut, to accentuate the curve of her hips, to to drape in such a way as to highlight various aspects of her body. Victorians seemed to focus on the waists, while the Regency period highlighted the bust, with classical lines that hid the shape of the body below the bust line. When I reached the later examples, I saw the fifties dresses emphasising the waist but the sixties seemed to focus more on showing leg, which was completely new. Looking at the clothing after the eighties we appear to have lost any emphasis on enhancement  and the fashion seems to be an androgynous mix of jeans, tee-shirts that distort the body rather than flatter. I found myself agreeing with one of the quotations in the fashion book I read in the bookshop – ‘we seem to have forgotten how to dress’ 
What is fantastic about the current trend for vintage is that women can choose to express themselves through clothing – re-claiming any era of the last century and make it their own: be it the forties with their victory rolls and neat tailoring or the tight waisted big net petticoats of the fifties. Women are no longer slaves to fashion instead they have a choice to return to an age when women were dressed up, stockings, make up, hair do’s that make the most of their femininity. 
We walked along knightsbridge to Harrods for afternoon tea, the dining room was lovely and our table overlooked the street below. We ate macaroons and supped Darjeeling from the pretty duck egg china, watching the world rush by – bliss. 
It was a fantastic weekend – I came home inspired and a very happy girl – thank you Mr D you are a fantabulous man.