JOIN THE Q: THE POP-UP ROOFTOP RESTAURANT AT SELFRIDGES



 

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Had A.A Gill reviewed two weeks ago the restaurant featured today on the blog,
A-Gent of Style would probably have given it a wild berth. In his now iconic weekly column in the Sunday Times, the sardonic food critic panned Q Grill last weekend and gave it a mere star for the quality of its food. Ouch. Thankfully, the angle A-Gent of Style, albeit a self-confessed foodie, approaches is from an aesthetic point of view, not a culinary one.

After a therapeutic shopping spree Saturday before last that ended up in Selfridge’s and in need of “a little bit of wet with a little bit of dry” (that’s tea and cake for you), A-Gent of Style was whisked up to the fifth floor in the specially-dedicated express lift reached from a discreet entrance opposite Selfridges’ perfume counter to review the new pop-up restaurant that opened last month until September 27 on top of the department store.


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After last year’s successful Tea & Gold Party theme, Q Grill, originally based in Camden and owned by restaurateur Des Mc Donald, is offering throughout the summer an al fresco concept amongst the department store’s own secret rooftop garden and the skyline of London (not the most thrilling views of the capital, it has to be concurred with Adrian Anthony, but still a view) for a unique outdoor dining and drinking experience of BBQ-ing, grilling, summer dishes as well as a pop-up juice bar, that is open for late breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner seven days a week.

Designed by Alexander Waterworth Interiors, the main inspiration for the venue is taken from grand Victorian greenhouses and combined with a more contemporary setting to enjoy the BBQ season and the sunshine in the heart of central London. Should any sudden downpour spoil the fun, a metallic retractable roof will unfold to protect the diners. Wooden tables and 1970s-feel relaxed seating (single chairs, stools and a custom deep-buttoned banquette upholstered in various leather courtesy of Style Matters, bespoke furniture experts) are tucked away amongst lush herbaceous borders, dense foliage of ivy on the walls, scented plant pots and AstroTurf to create a fun and laidback atmosphere. Pass the parapet adorned with flags, there is, at the back of the roof terrace, via a garden path, a bespoke bar made with wooden boards, fronted by Mathieu Matégot-esque metal stools with leather seats, not somehow too dissimilar to the beachy clapboard style of the Hamptons and the ubiquitous, minimalist and rustic-concrete look of the Polpo-Popletto eateries.

If it is an open-air, relaxed spot amongst a stylish decor you are after, away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, Q Grill is a good recommendation for the summer. Just don’t blame A-Gent of Style if you don’t like the food. You should have read A.A Gill’s review first.

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Imagery by Selfridge’s and A-Gent of Style –




“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: THE CURIOUS WORLD OF GALERIE SALON





“Marchand de tout, faiseur de rien”

“Merchant of everything, maker of nothing”



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Galerie Salon is one of those unique stores that are difficult to pinpoint. Is it an antiques store, a capsule of a flea market taken out of the suburbs, a concept store, a thrift shop, a collectors’ gallery, a micro museum?


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Originally named after a hair salon that was situated at the exact same location in the 1920s, Galerie Salon is a multi-faceted shop that embrace all of those descriptions. Situated in St Germain-des-près, A-Gent of Style paid Galerie Salon a visit during his last stay in Paris last month as he had been alerted about this charming repository of objetscuriosités and artefacts. In this chic Parisian den, you will find antiques from French, Swedish and Italian provenance but also creations by contemporary artists and artisans.

Carole and Stéphane Borraz are the founders of Galerie Salon who have owned the boutique since 2003. Both passionate and consummate antiques collectors who traipse the world in search of great antiques finds and also popular bargain hunts, the couple, who originally met at the Ecole du Louvre, used to own a stand in the flea market of Saint-Ouen and have since amassed and replenished Galerie Salon with an impressive selection of eclectic wonders.


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Since 2010, the Borraz have selected a few contemporary brands and invited them into Galerie Salon to complement their own collection through unique collaborations, and also help usher Galerie Salon in modern times.
Astier de Villatte tableware, John Derian artefacts, Kuhn Kéramik creations,
Le Baigneur soaps, Bonjour Paris and Bonjour New York maps and the latest of them all (and last but not least), the divine (roll drum)…Antoinette Poisson.

Despite their disparate elements, this motley crew of enchanting oddities live harmoniously next to each other and are juxtaposed brilliantly into a cohesive whole, thanks to the seemingly effortless talent of la charmante Carole who has successfully managed to combine in one single room tradition with innovation, elegantly mixing a profusion of styles and genres.

Next time you are in Paris, make sure you visit this wondrous olde worlde shoppe with a twist.



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– photographs by A-Gent of Style – 







LILY-WHITE MAY DAY



Grace Kelly, 1970s



A-Gent of Style arrived in Paris last Thursday evening on May 1, not only Labour Day in France but also la journée du muguet, or lily of the valley day. On that special day, everywhere in the City of Light and also throughout the gallic country, you will see vendors at street corners selling the delicate green sprigs capped with their tiny white bells.
When A-Gent of Style got reunited last Saturday night with fellow blogger The Parisian Eye, over cocktails (try the lush E.V.A!), this time at the George V hotel, he was bowled over to be faced, as he entered the prestigious hotel, with a wondrous flower installation replete with muguet which suffused the foyer with its seducing scent, courtesy of the brilliant artistic director in residence at the Four Seasons and flower artist, Jeff Leatham. In France, the tradition goes that people should offer un bouquet to their loved ones; a lover perhaps, your mother, grandmother, or anyone special.
It isn’t unusual to see on May men wear a few stems of muguet in their lapel (A-Gent of Style obliged on the day) and women don the delicate flower in their hair. Delightful, n’est-ce pas! There’s a lot to be said about tradition.

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Le George V hotel, Paris

Le George V hotel, Paris, with floral arrangements by Jeff Leatham

 

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Le George V hotel, Paris



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As the story goes, on the first of May 1561, King Charles IX of France, who was ten at the time, was presented with a fragrant bunch of muguet. It was a gesture which touched the king so much that he continued the tradition by giving the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of his court each year on the same day.


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Lily of the valley has come to represent happiness, luck, rebirth and prosperity and the traditional Fête du Muguet continues in France today, almost five hundred years later.
When he was a kid,
A-Gent of Style and his family would go every year without fail on May 1 to the woods and after the picnic they would take a postprandial stroll and pick as much lily of the valley as possible. Its scent is now firmly rooted in his consciousness and highly evocative.


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The scent of these ephemeral flowers – in bloom just a couple of weeks each year – has bewitched perfumers for centuries as it is impossible to distil (did you also know that the flowers only grow on one side of the stem?), and its subtle perfume is recomposed in the secrecy of laboratories.

Lily of the valley has been represented throughout the centuries not only in perfume (Caron was one of the first to ‘bottle’ the scent; Dior’s lily of the valley-scented perfume Diorissimo is one of their best sellers to date) but also in fashion (Christian Dior adored the flower so much he based and named several of his collections ‘Muguet en mai’; Hubert de Givenchy too created a few gowns called ‘Les Muguets’; Helen Mirren donned last year a Dolce & Gabbana lily of the valley-print dress, on three different public appearances), in luxury goods (Lalique crystal vases, Van Cleef and Arpels jewellery for instance), at weddings (from Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn to the Duchess of Cambridge) and in candles, room sprays, soaps even teas and macaroons to name a few.

  Come take a look and celebrate le muguet:


calotte en muguet Paulette 1958‘Calotte en muguet’, Paulette 1958



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Givenchy 56Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy 1956



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The “Muguet”, Lily of the Valley dress (1954) by Christian DiorThe “Muguet” dress by Christian Dior, 1954


Sicily bag in an emerald green hue & weaved PVC Dolce Bag in the very fashionable bucket bag shape.


Robert Doisneau, 1953, Le Muguet du Métro‘Le Muguet du Métro’ by Robert Doisneau 1953


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Les Muguets’ (Lily of the Valley)‘Les Muguets’ by Hubert de Givenchy



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Fashion Show, Menswear, Fall Winter 2011, Milan

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1932LALIQUE 'LILY OF THE VALLEY' CRYSTAL PERFUME BOTTLELalique ‘Lily of the Valley’ crystal perfume bottle 1932



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Jean berthet 1964Jean Berthet 1964



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Van Cleef and Arpels Lucky – charm nature Muguet clip, platinum, diamonds and emeraldsVan Cleef and Arpels lucky-charm ‘Muguet’ clip in platinum, diamonds and emeralds


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wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Monaco in April, 1956, dress designed byMGM wardrobe designer Helen RoseGrace Kelly at her wedding to Prince Rainier, Monaco April 1956 in a dress designed by MGM wardrobe designer Helen Rose



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e14f9247a6df4d79a3c1665d93946c61by Verner Panton



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tobu20080521_001_116_50 001by Tory Burch
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