|The Jacques Townhouse map|
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.
|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.
...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?