I make it a principle to avoid putting gratuitous jewellery shots or sexy yacht photos in the magazine.
We at Spear's disdain luxury pornography: I make it a principle to avoid putting gratuitous jewellery shots or sexy yacht photos in the magazine, unless they actually serve the purpose of illuminating the articles.
It is nice to know that Walpole, the trade association for British luxury businesses, feels the same. Most of the fourth floor of Liberty was taken up yesterday with Walpole's member elegantly displaying their wares and intelligently fielding questions about provenance, inspiration and manufacture.
There were, for me, several highlights. This cushion, produced by the Rug Company (a skip away from the Spear's office, on Holland Park Avenue), was designed (and then signed) by Sam Taylor-Wood, based on a photo she took on the Yorkshire moors. It is moody yet suggestive, with the promise of spring among the gloom for Heathcliff and Cathy, and at least, even if it's not quite Turner Prize-winning, half the proceeds (£495) go to Maggie's Cancer Centres, which reflects both ethical and artistic sides.
Liberty, itself a member, has produced an alternative to one of London's most-hated items: the IKEA-sponsored Oyster card holder. Instead of carrying your card in a flimsy (yet painfully durable) yolk-yellow and medium-blue monstrosity (I have a no-IKEA rule in my new house anyway), why not buy one of Liberty's solid ones, reinforced with stiff plastic, covered in one of its heritage patterns? The jungle one is extremely cute.
And Cole & Son were heading East with their latest collection, based – as is the fashion these days – on archival prints. The Tropical Birds design is fun and flighty, while Geisha has said lady standing over a lake, framed by trees. Not quite sure how it'll look on repeat, but a glimpse is nice. They'll be being pasted on walls all over London as of this autumn.
A new discovery is the Relais & Châteaux city hotel programme, where 55 luxury hotels and restaurants club together. Strength in numbers and all that. Anyway, one of Spear's favourite hotels, country house legend Chewton Glen, has partnered up with a nother R&C hotel, the Connaught, to offer a surf and turf, if you will – two nights in the smoke, two in the trees. You even get a chauffeur between them. Rates start at £2,635 for two. (NB: The Connaught's barman was just named best in the world…)
Another Spear's favourite, Bovey Castle, was there, and it seems to have gone from strength to strength. Those Annabel Elliott interiors are holding out well too.
All in all, a promising day.