Saturday, July 23, 2011
London Calling: NIKOLAKI partner David Paul, and I returned from a two-week trip to Europe. It was both for Business and yes, pleasure. The main purpose of the trip was that I was invited to be part of the Miami University Summer In Italy Program once again (third year in a row!!) and bring some of our NIKOLAKI Collection for a very special FIRST EVER Florence Italy Fashion Show (more on that in a later post of course!). But first, we decided to take a couple of Pre-Florence-Fashion Show "pit stops". First up, London: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, via British Airways. Right as the Royals (William and Catherine) decided they wanted to be in Canada and California, we felt that we should be in London! (go figure!). It was quite timely in that, as we arrived from our ten-hour flight, checked into our hotel, turned on the TV, the whole Murdoch/News of The World Scandal had broken out! It was quite CRAZY! Well, since we were only there for two days (yeah, I know, that's it!), we dove right into the city and decided to do the "London Sightseeing" Tour. "Big Ben", the great bell of the clock in the north end of the Palace of Westminster, as well as passed by Westminster Abbey (it was closed for tours but open for the prayer service--needless to say, we skipped that). London Eye Millennium Wheel. We went to it and thought long and hard about riding it but truth be told, it was quite pricey (US Dollars vs. British Pounds= Being Poor!) and the line was longer than a Disneyland ride. I was saving my money for my Topman Retail Spree!! We also walked to Kensington Palace and stopped by its gates, which were filled with Princess Diana Birthday Tributes and Cards as seen from above photo (It would have been here 50th Birthday on July 1st). There, I overheard--in Spanish--some girls from Colombia (I recognized the accents!), who were whispering something to the effect of "That's the Designer from "Project Runway"..." Well, even in London via Colombia, I can't go "incognito". Thank goodness I wasn't in flip flops and shorts! Continuing our tour, we walked (yes, we WALKED EVERYWHERE!!) to Buckingham Palace (above), took many photos and even tried to go into the museum but realized that the "Catherine Duchess of Cambridge Wedding Gown Exhibition" was not open yet. So, we decided to go to the Victoria & Albert Museum--the "world's greatest museum of art and design", because we knew we could see some FASHION there. This Museum is INCREDIBLE... Dale Chihuly Glass Chandelier which hangs right in the center of it. There is so much astounding art at the Victoria & Albert. We visited some of its Galleries--including the European Paintings section, the Sculpture section, as well as the Jewelry Exhibition. But we also wanted to see the Yohji Yamamoto Exhibition as well because it would close in a few days. It was wonderful to see a Retrospective of his designs--both womenswear and menswear. The exhibit is designed for up close-and-personal viewing and it was wonderful to see all the pieces inches away. There were no blockades keeping you from going right up to the dresses, but there were plenty of Security Guards with watchful eyes! We were bummed to not have bought one of those cute "safety pin" Yohji Yamamoto/Victoria & Albert tote bags. We would be needing them in a couple days on the beaches of Mykonos... Harrods: Harrods was KRAZZEEE!!!! Madness I tell you: So many people, so many shoppers, tourists. And there we were, right "in the mix". Picture Macy's in NYC but ON CRACK!!!! Also, there were SOOOO many of those Gulf States/Dubai/Kuwaiti DIVAS, in their black caftans, all covered up--except for their PERFECT FIERCE Make-up, Chanel Sunglasses, Hermes Birkin Bags and Louboutin 5" Heels!!!! I was OBSESSED with them! Everywhere I turned, there they were; all together, and all FABULOUS! Their male counterparts were not far away, looking a bit "Guido-esque" in their D&G/Versace outfits. But moving on...At Harrods, we passed by the "Diana and Dodi Memorial" (above photo--kinda tacky if I say so myself) and then made a beeline to the infamous Harrods Food Hall. Well, darlings, I just about DIED and went to CULINARY HEAVEN!!!! Topman and did some retail damage. Let's just say Nicky got himself about TWO YEARS-worth of wardrobe! Nice. Carnaby Street where we checked out all the hip pubs that were filling up post work day. It was a fabulous quick two days and can I just add: London IS THE CLEANEST City IN THE WORLD!!!!! It was almost to the point of obsessively clean! Anyhow, in these two quick days in London, we tried to get in as much as we could...before we left to my Father's homeland: Greece, and the island of Mykonos to be precise to get some Pre-Florence, Italy Fashion Show R & R. Stay tuned for that little blog posting... *Click HERE on my Facebook for more Photos from my London 2011 Trip.