Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For the Smell of Books

Having just returned from the promised land (if you are under the age of 7), that is Disneyland Paris, MLF was surrounded on the Eurostar by the inevitable pile of battery-drained iPads, Kindles and iPhones.

Hidden behind which, was an even older and more drained heap, the parents (who knew a weekend could be THAT exhausting...).

Too tired to even lift a page of Vogue whilst taking some comfort from the bottle of Rose, staring at the i-Pile, MLF wondered could this be the end of reading paper books?

Having a life-long deep love affair with reading from big, small, new, old, wrinkled, fat and beautiful books, the thought horrified.  Yet the question remained in MLF's mind.  Would the MLF Juniors ever truly fall in love with the sensory experience of books - from the exciting opening of the first page, the feel of the beautiful bound spines, the smoothness of crisp white pages, to the heavenly array of typefaces in freshly printed black ink?  Or, would they continue forever more to be led, by the efficiency of a league of headmistresses, now the greatest loyalists, to be faithful followers of the new reading God, the Kindle?

MLF shudders. 

Thankfully, one little step towards inspiring (and indulgent reminiscing) has just been made possible with the launch of "Paper Passion", a brand new perfume that smells like a freshly printed book.

With packaging designed by Karl Lagerfeld and the perfume created by master perfumer, Geza Schoen, this little book with a little glass bottle inside, just might turn things around.

Now MLF just needs it in bulk to spray around carriage 11.

MLF Highly Recommends... 

As a fabulous Luxury Family Travel Must-Have to re-energise MLF Juniors to do their reading homework, instil a calm and relaxed atmosphere and by experiencing vicariously, reduce that somewhat guilty feeling of not having quite got round to reading all those holiday books

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stars in Dior - A Luxury Family Travel Weekend to Normandy

Time for a family trip to Normandy.

Perfect for a history trip to see the World War II beaches, enjoy beautiful little seaside villages and sample wonderful local fresh seafood and now, between May and September 2012, for a visit to the childhood home of Christian Dior, "Les Rhumbs" in Granville to see a brand new exhibition of gowns worn by Hollywood legends.

On the ground floor of the museum, visitors will be treated to a special exhibit about Marlene Dietrich, a famously committed fan of the designer.  Dresses and outfits never previously seen will be part of this special exhibition.

Moving upstairs, the museum will focus on Christian Dior's role as a costume designer, with exhibits from his days working in film.  Accompanying the exhibition is the launch of a beautiful new hardback collectors book "Stars in Dior" published by Rizzoli which will be available to buy at the opening of the exhibition.

With his strategic objective to dress "only the most fashionable women from the first ranks of society", MLF cannot wait to book up a family weekend trip to Normandy with this little detour en route.

A Luxury Family Travel Weekend Guide to Normandy to follow soon...

Christian Dior House and Museum

Monday, April 16, 2012

Indian Glamour at its Finest

As if MLF didn't need another reason to fly to India to explore (and shop)...Manish Arora's beautiful pink silk cape coat has just led to a flight search to Jaipur...

Hand-crafted in New Delhi, Manish Arora, the creative director of Paco Rabanne since 2011, has used traditional techniques to create a masterpiece.

Heavenly through all seasons.  A real investment piece for all those Empresses out there.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grenada Suitcase

A burst of half-term sun is coming!

MLF is travelling to the history-steeped Grenada, 100 miles off the coast of Venezuela.

With the promise of an authentic West Indian community with little evidence of mass tourism or inundation of typical global resorts, MLF is excited to discover the lush and rugged mountains, abundant with flowers and spices and, of course the beautiful capital of St George's and the beaches...

MLF Notes from the Poolside coming soon on return...

My Name is Tallulah...

Good Friday lunchtime and it was down to the Troxy in E1.  Originally a cinema for over 3000 people in 1933, hosting international stars such as the Andrews Sisters, Gracie Fields and Clark Gable, with its floodlit organ, large sweeping staircase, chandeliers aplenty and floor to ceiling decorative mirrors, it was once more brought alive with the Future Cinema's take on Alan Parker's Bugsy Malone production.

Future Cinema, the events company founded by Fabien Riggall in 2005, specialises in "bringing events to life through a unique fusion of film, improvised performances, detailed design and interactive multimedia".  In other words, takes a great film and brings it to life through great event theming (as expected from an innovative events company) and in part, by offering the audience a dose of the unexpected.

Arriving at the Troxy, MLF was immediately caught up in the excitement of seeing hundreds of fellow families fully decked out in 1920s and 1930s gangster suits, dazzling flapper dresses, a flurry of boas and sparkling Mary-Janes.  

The MLF Juniors were thrilled to be able to dress up and smother themselves in pearls, paste and sequins.   And even more excited to see queues of like-minded children decked to the nines in pin-stripe gangster three-pieces.

In the bright sunshine and cold morning air, there was something rather decadent and exciting about heading mid morning into the unknown in full evening dress.

Entering via the Hung Fu Shin Laundry, a room strewn with white sheets and upturned laundry baskets with guns hidden about, MLF was quickly introduced to the glamorous Lena Morrelli and told that we were now officially part of the Dandy Dan clan, fierce enemy of Fat Sam. 

After vowing to always be loyal to the "family", passing through Slugger's gym and boxing ring, we entered Fat Sam's Slam aka the Troxy, set up with vintage milkshake stands, gambling tables, dancing girls and a wonderful live jazz band on the stage.

The Troxy itself is the perfect venue for this event - both grand and authentic.  Completely furnished as a late supper jazz club, there was a cocktail bar for the grown-ups as well as retro milkshake bar with vintage striped candy bags.  There was even a balloonist at the back who was making black balloon Bugsy guns.

After a spot of lunch (Italian, of course), whilst enjoying live re-enactment of the most famous scenes of the film - and the ultimate what we were all waiting for - Tallulah's solo - the film commenced. 


With plenty to do, MLF Juniors were free to sit and watch or wander around enjoying the milkshake and sweetie bar, the gaming tables or interacting with the cast of characters who were everywhere, whilst the MLF Seniors reminisced over cocktails, playing the "Wannabe" game - Dandy Dan or Fat Sam, Tallulah or the Grumpy Blousey (easy choice, that one) and "Guess Where Are They Now?"

Children, like their parents, everywhere looked like they were having a ball and living each scene.

However, it was the last scene that was the real highlight.  After the kiss and make up of the two "families" at the end of the film, it was announced that there were plastic coats underneath each table.  

Ladies adorned with big trays full of paper plates piled high with shaving foam passed around their arsenal generously.  Yes, a huge almighty shaving foam fight ensued with the Bugsy Malone characters shooting everyone for good measure.

Brilliant fun.  

The fabulous producers of the Future Cinema scored a 10 with their simultaneously glamorous, fun and messy transportation back to Bugsy Malone World.  

Who would have thought it was mid afternoon on a Bank Holiday Friday?

MLF Highly Recommends

The Future Cinema presents Bugsy Malone continues until Sunday 29th April.  Showings at 12.30.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Google Currents - A Luxury Family Travel Must-Have

On the way to the airport, normally resembling half a department store and half a bookshop (all the novels MLF has been dying to read, last-minute half-term homework plus copious magazines and a mountain of newspapers waiting to be devoured..) again...

So it was with a big sigh of relief to discover Google Currents - a great new way to instantly select, download and organise favourite newspapers, magazines and even blogs.

Fabulous for holiday reading and finally ending crumpled, soggy and sandy pages on the beach, bath, boat and beyond...

MLF Recommends (just remember to add MLF!)

Friday, April 06, 2012

Aesthetic Compass - Frederic Malle

For MLF, who loathes "perfume halls" of any kind, teeming with commission-giddy sales groomed-to-an-inch-of-their-lives girls and guys, the concept of small, intimate and personal place to carefully select a beautiful signature perfume hugely appeals. So, it was with great delight that MLF had the opportunity to meet and chat to the very charming Frederic Malle in Liberty at the launch about his new book: "On Perfume Making". 

With a family perfume-making heritage that rivals no one, it was inevitable that Malle was going into the luxury family business.  Being born on the same day as Grenouille, the main character of Patrick Suskind's book "Perfume", being the grandson of the founder of Dior Parfums and, even growing up in the bedroom that had once been the famous perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain, it was clearly a path marked.

Beautifully illustrated by the hugely talented Konstantin Kakanias, Malle's book unravels the fascinating story how in 2000, he decided to reclaim the art of making perfume by inviting some of the world's finest perfumers to collaborate with him.   

Moving away from the industry focus of celebrity marketing i.e. starting off with a face and fabricating a story around it and creating a series of mass market "easy juices" at unwarranted high prices, Malle set out to prove that perfume could be personal, inventive and luxurious.  His vision was simply to focus on the perfume itself a rather than a remote and untouchable image by consulting personally with the customer and unleashing creative freedom (hence the simplicity of the packaging and somewhat disparate collection of fragrances).

Malle describes the creative process and sensual art of producing perfumes and how he chose to work the "old fashioned" way by working directly with a perfumer and publishing a fragrance according to gut instinct and the right hand side of the brain, rather than a party of "evaluator" advertising executives and market testers.  He explains his role in how he stimulates his creative partners' imaginations, but interestingly admits to becoming completely obsessed with the perfume he works on.  He confesses that when the solution is not clear, he sleeps with two or three trials on his arms hoping that night's sleep with provide answers or will travel to different places around the world to smell the perfume in different places, as the "air in New York is not the same as air in Paris, or in the countryside" (maybe MLF can help there Frederic...).

MLF finds his evaluations most interesting - 4 key questions:

1. Is the perfume profound enough to generate profound excitement?
2. Is it sufficiently self-indulgent in the most banal and intimate moments of life?
3. Is the perfume efficient i.e. diffuse its character continuously for at least 6 hours?
4. Does the perfume have some rough edges (as, according to Malle: "if you look for perfection, you flirt with boredom")?

Fabulous questions that have universal appeal and also could, one may argue, be applied to men.

Now there's a signature MLF man waiting to happen...

The book then turns to nine deliciously illustrated diary accounts of collaborations with perfumers such as Michel Roudnitska (the famous Noir Epices - and one of Catherine Deneuve's favourites), Edouard Flechier (the evocative Lys Mediterranee) and Pierre Bourdon (the very sensual French lover).

A wonderful read and amazing insight into the Malle collection, who when speaking, reiterated his blatant refusal to concede to the consumer market in any shape of form and instead, focuses wholly on the artistic signature of the perfumer.

Mr Malle, it was a genuine pleasure to meet you.  Your passion for innovation in an industry that is drowning in celebrity-dominated blandness shone. MLF is looking forward to going on a journey with your next creative character.

MLF Highly Recommends

Photograph of Frederic Malle courtesy of Butter Boom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eclectic Home Accessory Heaven - RE at Liberty

Following a breakfast meeting at the Commonwealth Club today, MLF was out and about in W1 and dashed into MLF's all-time favourite shop in London, Liberty, to check out the brand new RE shop on the 4th floor.

Filled to the brim with quirky re-claimed, re-cycled and re-painted items, this is a treasure trove that defies anyone to leave without at least one item.  With a mix of "Regd" items which are unique items that have been designed by RE and "2" items which are second hand, old or antique items, this is an eclectic home accessory and birthday present idea heaven.

A 1960s celery glass vase, a brightly coloured hand-painted Indian mural, an elegant distressed French garden chair newly upholstered, a collection of religious relics, rusty anchors and Eiffel Towers to hang on branches of trees in the garden and a huge glass wonky-shaped bowl (it was filled with hundreds of plastic babies in the shop, you get the feel of the shop now...) later, MLF staggered out, arms full.

Arriving home from school, the MLF Juniors instantly spotted and fell in love with the rusty Eiffel Towers and Anchors.  Here's just hoping MLF Man will share and appreciate this new-found MLF love (and mild home invasion) too...

Regardless, with the big opening launch party tonight, MLF was very happy to have snapped up the little treasures.   Just get down there quick.


Monday, March 05, 2012

Top 11 Secrets in Paris

MLF loves nothing more than discovering and learning about secret places.

Trouble is, because MLF has so much fun, it's hard to keep it secret...

My Little Paris has a wonderful new map with 11 new secret must-experience locations

MLF loves the apartment turned Prohibition restaurant (just sneak in cocktails with large totes)

A perfect excuse to book up the Eurostar for the weekend with heaps of magazines, champagne and friends...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

On your bike

Susan Peters pondering

With the temperatures finally reaching above 10c and beautiful blue skies emerging, MLF feels like embracing spring by shedding the eskimo layers, donning a 1950s floral dress and jumping on a bike, abound for new family adventures. 


1890s Penny Farthing

So, it was with great excitement that MLF read Steven Rea's "Hollywood Rides a Bike: Cycling With the Stars".  Already a leading blogger on all matters related to cyclology and film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rea's brand new must-have coffee-table beauty showcases Shirley Temple, Betty Grable, Brigitte Bardot, Gable, and Bing, amongst other legends, on wheels.  

1940 Chorus Girls

And for those who are seriously into bikes (and not just the fashion draped upon them),  with 125 rare vintage photographs, there's sufficient bike eye candy to make bicycle aficionados drool over classic models and one-of-a-kinds. 

James Stewart and Grace Kelly

Sufficiently inspired to dig out the MLF Junior helmets and knee pads, MLF is just hoping it will be less Brady Bunch and more Von Trapp along a sycamore tree-lined boulevard (albeit less curtain fabric and more delicious SS12 Christopher Kane and Isabel Marant)...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fill the Gap - Longreads

On the plane.  Read all the magazines.  Seen all the films.  Don't fancy your books but need something to fill the gap.  And there's another 7 hours to go till you descend... 

Try downloading Longreads on your iPad or Kindle before you fly, a new collection of long essays online.   

With a fabulous range of reading topics and authors, the stories are even timed and the search function allows you to search by number of reading minutes e.g. under 15 minutes (under 3750 words) for the speedier readers, to 60 minutes + (over 15,000 words)  

MLF tested it out with "The Man Who Hacked Hollywood" (GQ) and sure enough, it was pretty accurate, shaving just 2 minutes off the predicted 16 minutes (4017 words).

Trouble is, knowing the timing estimate and the number of words, it can become dangerously addictive and competitive...

Simply exhausting...time to return to the magazines again...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012