Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Jacques Townhouse: a Wonderland in W2

The Jacques Townhouse map
Apologies for the delay in posting my Jacques Townhouse review. I am thrilled to have enjoyed a busy week of meetings, but desperately needed to relax and regain strength following that evil summer cold, particularly before a soon-approaching holiday! I have therefore found myself a little behind with my blog. Now, back to Jacques...


The Jacques Townhouse key
...and key
On what became a very bright and balmy Monday evening, my excited friend and I arrived at Jacques’ (pop-up) HQ. A stunning Georgian townhouse in West London, it was adorned eccentrically with orchard fruits, a butler and an irresistible fairytale ambience that swept us inside. 





Expecting an array of deliciously female-friendly temptations and treats, we had certainly come to the right place. Perhaps what we didn’t expect, was how much we would enjoy the innocent, fairytale and nostalgic version of girlishness on offer. From the moment we entered, it felt almost like we’d joined the circus, or the cast of a farcical play but hadn’t learned our lines. Ushered around the house by super-friendly concierges in top hats and girls with wonderfully feathered eyelashes, we soon revelled in our roles as guests in this Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-A-Midsummer-Night’s-Dream-meets-Marie-Antoinette world. 


The Jacques Townhouse concierges, London
Lovely Jacques Townhouse concierges


A twist on the very English tea party, Jacques cider was served (on presentation of our ‘secret’ keys), amidst surreal surroundings. Bursts of colour against stark white walls created mesmerizing decor, while injecting a Tim Burton-esque, eery peculiarity to the scene. And from one Tim to another... photographer Tim Walker’s influence seemed palpable in the fusion of fantasy and everyday life; of nature and interior space. 


The Jacques Townhouse decorations
And decorations...
Have you tried Jacques before? I found it a very light, refreshing and summery drink (not unlike a sparking wine), which went particularly well with cupcakes, served for us seductively on the "Table of Temptations". Now, these were good old-fashioned cupcakes (The Vintage Patisserie)...
The Jacques Townhouse cupcakes
And Jacques cupcakes!
...a pure vanilla, fluffy fairy-cake base that evoked school bake-sales and party bags, with a sticky pink topping that was strangely reminiscent of bubblegum. Utterly scrumptious. A delightful start to the evening in the "Forest of Dreams": sweet-tooth indulgence on picnic rugs, amongst trees bearing teacups, gossiping girls and Cath Kidston-like fabric wall panels. If only this place were a permanent fixture, it would be a sublime sanctuary, worlds apart from bustling city life outside.






While it seemed like several groups had set themselves up for the evening in the "Forest of Dreams", we couldn’t wait to explore the remainder of this intriguing wonderland. If you have been lucky enough to visit, you may have also enjoyed the fortune-tellers and Benefit Lash bar. Unfortunately the latter was far too popular, so we missed out on magical lashes. However, our evening’s highlight was still to come: the vintage dress-up room! Browsing through an eclectic selection of garments from various decades, we enjoyed being styled from head-to-toe in dresses, pearls, handbags and shoes. Next up, a professional photographer and our best 'America’s Next Top Model-gone vintage' poses. Why is dressing-up so fun? Sure, it’s a chance to play the big kid (a rare opportunity once you’re a ‘proper’ grown-up), but it’s also excellent escapism. And quite therapeutic - it’s part of our beloved retail therapy after all. 'Dress-up' is particularly escapist when it involves stepping into clothes from a different era; who has worn them before? What stories could they tell?



Jacques townhouse creators David Carter (founder of 40 winks), Cordelia Weston (set designer/prop stylist) and Sophie Ellis Bextor deserve much credit. Design, decor and refreshments aside, they have created a radically different London night out. At a time when people want to sweep aside recessionary fears and enjoy the summer, this is liberating, joyful fun, where everything is “complimentary, of course!” The attention and followers the event has received (not only amongst the ladies), makes me think that this expensive PR exercise has probably been worthwhile and will probably be repeated. Let’s watch this space...

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos! I'm glad you had fun - I had such a nice time, too. :) Shame about the eyelashes, though!

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