Small talk: 'It’s not Christmas until the chubby dragon cries'

Anna Prendergast

22 November 2019

The peak-2019 sneakers, the pop-up shop and the premiere you need to know about this weekend

Friday 22 November

22 November 2019 | Anna Prendergast

1. The addresses

Peter Pilotto’s London pop-up, wallpapered with floral fabric from the design team’s archive, opened on Bruton Place; Louis Vuitton’s new starburst storefront has been bringing new customers and Instagrammers to New Bond Street (complete with Tracey Emin art installations inside); and On Savile Row, J.P.Hackett opened at No. 14, a townhouse once used as Sir Hardy Amies’ showroom. It’s the first time Hackett has had an address on the notorious tailoring street, and the new space includes a cutting room on the basement floor (and two cutters poached from Oliver Spencer), plus a Clubroom with electric emerald walls and abstract art, plus Scalamandre wallpaper and a giant pair of topiary shears covered in twinkly lights outside.

Hackett, Savile Row

2. The exhibition

Dora Maar’s black and white photomontages capture a surrealist future-gazing artist at the height of her creativity in the 1930s. The last time she appeared in The Tate Modern was alongside Man Ray and Dorothea Lange in a collection by Elton John, and it’s the artist’s first standalone retrospective in the UK. She’s often described as Picasso’s muse, and one of her most famous paintings is a self-portrait of her and his other lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter – but Maar is so much more than their relationship, a theme the curators sensitively explore.

Dora Maar

3. The premiere

Very Ralph aired last Friday, a nostalgic, all-American love-in for the man-brand that is Ralph Lauren, with the UK premiere held in Piccadilly. The 80-year-old designer wore a simple black suit with a red stitch on the lapel that traditionally symbolises membership in the Légion d’Honneur, of which he was awarded earlier this month. But, IMHO, Ralph was well and truly upstaged by wife Ricky, who wore her signature sharp tuxedo with a wing-tip collar.

4. The princess

Princess Diana’s Victor Edelstein dress is up for auction (which was, effectively, a floor-length version of the ‘revenge dress’ by Christina Stambolian that she wore 9 years later with the exact same sapphire and pearl necklace). She debuted the midnight blue velvet Edelstein design at the White House where she famously danced with John Travolta, and later auctioned it to raise money for AIDS and cancer charities. It’s thought to go for around $450,000, so cheque books at the ready. Who needed that second DB5 anyway?

Victor Edelstein's iconic design

5. The pup

I (and seven million other people on the internet) have discovered the true meaning of puppy love. Narwhal the puppy was born with a second tail – on his head. The Missouri mutt, thought to be a mix of retriever, Dachshund and terrier, was rescued by Mac’s Mission in Kansas City, and the shelter has decided not to put him up for adoption until they’re 100% sure the ‘tail’ won’t cause any complications. Sob.

6. The peak-2019 sneaks

Could this be the most millennial (in a good way) shoe yet? It’s vegan, unisex and comes in the colours of the LGBTQ+ pride flag. Stella McCartney’s second leather-free sneaker with Stan Smith has been announced. This time, Stella’s portrait replaces Sam’s on the left foot and there are multi-coloured laser-cut stars and interchangeable white or rainbow laces. Bank some serious points for progressive gifting with anyone under the age of 30.

Stella McCartney x Stan Smith

7. The carbs

One of London’s best restaurants has opened a third pasta pitstop in Granary Square, in the same über-cool King’s Cross neighbourhood as Coal Drops Yard. Bringing the restaurant and the deli together for the first time, you can dribble over aubergine polpette and pumpkin ravioli, then head to the counter and take home the freshest ingredients (handmade pasta parcels, antipasti and fat fingers of cannoli).

Lina Stores, King's Cross

8. The ad

It’s not Christmas until the chubby dragon cries – or something. In the biggest drop since Knife Party’s Bonfire, the John Lewis Christmas ad appeared last week, starring eager-to-please ‘Excitable Edgar’. If you think five weeks in advance is too soon for festivities, buckle up, because Mariah Carey kicked off her All I Want For Christmas is You tour in Vegas this week, too.

9. The tree

A White Company catalogue is enough to make any normal person’s Christmas tree feel wildly inadequate, but Claridge’s yearly, self-inflicted competition to top all the other trees makes even the White Co’s look sad: plus this year, the hotel’s is quite literally wearing a crown, as if it’s already won. To celebrate the tradition's tenth anniversary, it was designed by Christian Louboutin and revealed this week to feature a Loubi Express railcar (in that red) in which guests can order Champagne cocktails and party food.