Short Days, Long Nights: London Lates

December 07, 2015

As the days get shorter, I'm beating S.A.D - Seasonal Affective Disorder - by slipping into 'vampire mode'.

Rather than lament the sun's exit by mid-afternoon, I relish the dusky cover of December as a game of eternal winter ie. Arendelle post-coronation or the art-deco meets Gothic stylings of Gotham City. London isn't dreary; she's just draped in black velvet, cloaked in a festive yet smoky fragrance of oud, amber, and saffron; and staying out all night, every night (at least until February). My fantasy of the city's dark side is bolstered by London Lates, in which the capital's illustrious collective of museums and galleries keep their doors open for nocturnal patrons.

Christie's Lates: The 12 Days Of Christmas, South Kensington

Last Tuesday, Christie’s South Kensington celebrated its 40th Anniversary by staying up late to embrace the festive spirit with wreath making by Grace & Thorn, Christmas punch tasters by VII Hills Gin, and more. The Hangar Gallery was transformed into a mini-boulevard with pop up shops and stands by London Borough of Jam, Astley Clarke, Champers & Hampers, Knightsbridge Rocks among others. Vintage enthusiasts including yours truly played a game of Antiques Challenge in which we were invited to spot the difference between original antiques and copies. The post-work drink crowd nipped in to listen to specialists talk about art, interior design, and collecting; as well as to preview Christie's upcoming December auction of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art. Window shopping for a bit of Christmas self-gifting, anyone? What a coincidence that the next Christie's Lates event is on Tuesday 5th January 2016 - think of that as a belated Boxing Day sale...

For one night only: The Hangar Gallery turns shopping destination.

I'm happy to see Grace & Thorn representing East London at Christie's. Their Hackney Road boutique is a joy to behold with flowers, plants, terrariums and succulents adding a burst of green to the street, and I couldn't be more pleased to hear that they are expanding to include a new outpost in Soho.

Another familiar face: it's always a treat to see beautiful Ilaria in her element - reminding me that there is a gin even I can enjoy, and that's the fragrant herbal smoothness of VII Hills Gin. What a nice coincidence that the next event I headed to - Il Porco by Bunga Bunga and The House of Peroni - was organised by her husband.

Antiques Challenge (which witch is which?) - no easy feat especially after one's had one eggnog too many...

This is how I like to study my antiques - hands on, up close and personal.

I am especially drawn to this piece. Look at how lifelike and haunting her eyes are...she'd make a fine companion to the daguerreotype of Victorian man in my boutique Regimental Vintage. Of the many exciting upcoming auctions at Christie's, Henry and I are especially interested in Fine Antique Arms and Armour and Sporting Arms on the 17th. Paddles at the ready...

The next Christie's Lates won't be till January but if you can't wait till then, London has a plethora of museum and gallery late nights, usually on Thursdays and Fridays. My personal picks are: The British Museum (open till 8:30pm), Friday Lates at The National Gallery (till 9:00pm), The Royal Academy (till 10:00pm), Barbican (10:00pm), Tate Modern (till 10:00pm), and The Victoria & Albert Museum. Go on; put on your black boots, wrap up in your finest furs, and stay out late...I won't tell. x 

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