Local Tourist: Kensington
Where, When & Why
South Kensington & Chelsea, London // January 2018 // Balenciaga, bark, brunch & Bob Dylan
Last Saturday was a total write off thanks to a pretty heavy one the night before so I made it my mission to get out in the world. To embrace the rain and snow and, after binge watching Grey's Anatomy, to fill up on actual mid-expanding culture. First stop, the V&A Museum.
The intention was to go full whimsical and take a stroll through the magical world of Winnie The Pooh, however this was sold out so I opted for a different kind of magic in the form of Balenciaga.
The Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition is as elegant as the creations cooked up by the multi-faceted couturier who, as I learnt from gliding through the curation, was highly skilled in very single aspect of the design and manufacturing process. A man who, even posthumously, shaped modern fashion with his unique and inimitable eye for new details, has his story told through x-ray, origami, millinery and more.
The exhibition runs until Sunday 18th February and costs £13.50, including donation to the V&A. Plan your visit here.
Strong, sturdy and ever changing, you could say I have a bit of a love affair with trees so you won't possibly be shocked to hear the main exhibition on my Sunday hit list was actually Into the Woods: Trees in Photography. Given how busy the Balenciaga exhibition was, Into The Woods was a sea of tranquility as a small number of people calmly took in each photograph.
Sublime, serene and borderline sci-fi, going into the woods is oddly immersive for such a small=ish & silent space. Take your time with these most wonderful botanical subjects as you travel around the world via Japan, New Mexico and Taffs Wells one snap shot at a time.
Into the Woods: Trees in Photography is a free collection featuring Ansel Adams, Tokihiro Sato & Mark Edwards.
Education works up a hunger and the uber-millennial Elan Cafe was in my sights after reading about this Instagrammers' wet dream the night before. But fear not, this pretty cafe isn't all style over substance thanks to their devotion to coffee & living well. They truly believe in the life changing magic of giving a fuck about what you put into your body, and savouring the craftsmanship process from field to face.
As I tucked into another chapter of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, the most kawaii matcha latte was presented to me alongside a healthy portion of avocado on sour dough toast, jeweled with a glossy poached egg and pomegranate. The icing on the cake was the delicate raspberry tart - extra enjoyable under a perky pink cherry blossom.
One thing to bear in mind is the queue. It took just under half an hour to get a seat at the bar, but once you're in attentive and friendly hosts take real good care of you. The service level, setting and standard of brunch was well worth the price point in my eyes, with my three tasty treats totalling around £20 including tip.
Walking east along Brompton Road you very quickly, depending on how many tourists you get stuck behind (!), hit Harrod's. The ridiculously luxe department store has to at least have some museum in its genealogy, evident from the Egyptian Room & the art dotted around the place.
I went to hunt down a tote bag, I stayed for the art.
If your constitution allows you, head up to the Halcyon Gallery on the second floor and you'll be greeted by a 5000 sq ft exhibition space displaying work from a veritable plethora of international creative talent. Currently on display includes Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, and Marc Chagall.