Second day of this action-packed week and A-Gent of Style is prepping this morning for two important events that he will be covering and reporting from in the next three days. Excited doesn’t even start to cover it.

By Kelly Hoppen

By Kelly Hoppen

The first one is the Sleep event, Europe’s annual leading trade event for hotel design, development and architecture, returning once again to London this year. Doors will open tomorrow morning at 10am until Thursday 6pm for two days crammed with exciting and inspiring features comprising the Exhib with suppliers of the hotel design sector showcasing their latest products and innovations, the Sleep Conference with seminars and talks involving influential industry professionals, the Sleep Hotel competition where five designers have created hotel rooms on a theme, the Tech Hub showcasing the latest technology inventions, and finally, an awards ceremony.

This cultural hotspot taking place at the Business Design Centre Islington, London N1 will provide a platform to keep abreast of new innovations and trends and a fantastic opportunity to network amongst industry experts, exchange ideas, and gather inspiration.

The Sleep Conference will be the educational programme of the event and boasts leading international figures taking part in keynote presentations, panel debates and round tables discussions. You can see the full programme and how to register here.

A-Gent of Style is delighted to announce that Sleep have asked him to interview two key speakers amongst the programme:

Catherine Ince, Curator of the Pop Art exhibition at the Barbican and one of the three judges on the panel of the Sleep Hotel

And Inge Moore, Principal & Creative Director at Hirsch Bedner Associates and winner of the 2013 Gold Key Designer of the Year at the The International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS)

Both interviews will appear next week on A-Gent of Style in a special feature.

Having reviewed and ‘dissected’ the new London EDITION hotel last month, A-Gent of Style is particularly thrilled to attend a conversation with hotel design guru and this year’s Conference headliner, Ian Schrager.

A-Gent of Style, like many in the industry, was saddened to hear the passing last week of Alex Calderwood, co-founder and owner of the ACE Hotels, and was looking forward to attending his talk. Another design luminary sadly lost this year.

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

As in previous years, a dreamt-up Sleep Hotel will be returning and the brief this time is inspired by the widespread interest in, and nostalgia for, the 1960s.

In association with the Barbican’s Pop Art Design exhibition, five designers have been tasked to invoke the spirit of the era within their life-size hotel junior suites rooms and bathrooms in a fictitious hotel originally built during the heyday of Pop Art whilst incorporating products from the 150 hotel industry’s finest product suppliers. The winning room, judged by three key figures including Catherine Ince, will be announced at 7pm tomorrow night from the Sleep Hotel Bar, designed by Nous Design, during the late night networking drinks event (6pm – 8pm), providing a perfect opportunity to engage with industry peers alongside a live DJ set by Michaelango L’Acqua, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Soniq and complimentary refreshments.

Sleep 2013 is also the official partner of the The European Hotel Design Awards. The EHDA celebrate exceptional hotel design and architecture, honouring the work of industry leading architects and designers, and the projects they create with hotel developers, owners and operators.


A-Gent of Style is thrilled to be invited to the glittering awards ceremony this evening at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel. An expert panel of judges will be choosing the winners from shortlisted entries (the Wellesley hotel designed by Fox Linton Associates, and ‘dissected’ by A-Gent of Style in part 1 & part 2, is nominated in an impressive three categories and Hirsch Bedner Associates, whose European Principal Inge Moore will be interviewing, is up for four awards) and the results will be announced this evening.

As luck would have it, the theme and dress code this year for the gala are the 1920s, the perfect excuse for Art Deco-fanatic A-Gent of Style to Chanel his inner Great Gatsby and don his burgundy velvet smoking jacket.

Stay tuned tomorrow morning as A-Gent of Style will be revealing the winners for each category. If you follow A-Gent on Twitter tonight, you will be able to find out the outcomes live.

And in each category (drum roll)…

Architecture of the Year

Conversion and/or Extension of an Existing Hotel Building

 Conversion of an Existing Non-Hotel Building to Hotel Use

 Newbuild Hotel

Interior Design of the Year

Lobby, Lounge & Public Areas

 Cafe or All Day Dining



 Bedrooms & Bathrooms


 Spa, Health & Leisure Facilities



This week promises to be full of exciting projects, events and invitations
for A-Gent of Style who will be revealing the various subjects that are enthralling him in the course of the next two weeks.

Last weekend, whilst flicking through a magazine, A-Gent of Style came across a photo of Lady Gaga, circa 2010, arriving at a party with a diamond-encrusted lobster headpiece. A-Gent couldn’t help thinking that, whilst the popstar did turn heads wearing said crustacean on her head, there was nothing new, surprising or original about this statement. It had been done before. To be precise, it was in 1998 at a Julien Macdonald’s London Fashion Week show that the Surrealist and Dali-esque ornament had made a first apparition on the head of the incomparable Isabella Blow.

The late fashion editor and stylist Isabella Blow, who started her career as
Anna Wintour’s assistant at US Vogue then worked for Tatler, British Vogue and the Sunday Times Style as editor before returning to Tatler as fashion director, is being honoured in a new exhibition at Somerset House 
aptly named Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! in partnership with
the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins.

Curated by Shonagh Marshall and Alistair O’Neil, and styled by Amanda Harlech, this retrospective of her life and career, starting this Wednesday until March 2, 2014, will provide an intimate portrait of a formidable woman throughout 500 odd pieces from her wardrobe, and reinstate her legacy and its significance after her untimely death in 2007 (she drank a bottle of weedkiller after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and suffering from long-term depression; her seventh suicide attempt in fourteen months proved to be fatal).

Due to her extravagant taste and insatiable, passionate approach to life, Issie, as she was known to her close friends, had accumulated an impressive and expensive collection of clothes – which left her impoverished most of her life – which was bought in its entirety in 2010 by her long-standing friend Daphne Guinness, another iconic muse of the fashion world and art-director of the exhibition.

This intimate portrait of the eccentric Blow will represent many models and designers whose career Blow helped launch: Sophie Dahl, Stella Tennant, Hussein Chalayan, Julian Macdonald, Viktor & Rolf, John Galliano and of course her protégés Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen.

Blow was presumably misunderstood by many and unfairly represented by the media as a flighty, provocative enfant terrible of fashion living in a fickle, airy-fairy world, which would probably explain why Blow used her outfits as a protective armour to protect herself from the outside world. 

It is not only the sensational collection of clothes, arguably one of the most important private ones of the last twenty years, nor the legendary figure’s timeless and inimitable style that are the focus of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! but it is also aimed as an appreciation and re-evaluation of her wonderful spirit, her fearless and original character and also her bigger-than-life and somewhat tragic life, away from the limelight, the smeared red lipstick and the ostentatious headgear that became her trademark. 

As she turned up one morning at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles adorning unselfconsciously another outlandish outfit of hers with an equally ostentatious headpiece, Isabella is quoted to have said “I don’t understand, everyone keeps saying, ‘Where’s the party?'”.

Unfortunately, most of us will not have had the privilege to go to a party
with ‘La Dame Bleue’ (as McQueen’s S/S 2008 collection dedicated to the memory of his dear friend was called) but at least Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! will provide us with a profusion of theatricality, style and ingenuity from a bona fide maverick.

Jeremy Langmead talked about employing Isabella Blow
at The Sunday Times Style Magazine and her incredible work as a fashion editor.

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