I had started Rococo in 1983, after finishing art school and was sharing a squat with architect friend Mark Prizeman, who had been at the Architectural Association. We had so many friends who were involved in the world of art, design and architecture and Charlotte was part of that group. I don’t remember exactly where we did meet first, but we seemed to be always bumping into each other at art installations, openings, and private views. These days I share an office with Mark at the London Sketch Club in Chelsea – it’s a great place to find peace and quiet to do my design work and get my teeth into my other projects away from the distractions of family and business. Mark has a fantastic archive of photos and was able to put his hand on this roll of film which show us all on 15th October 1988 At our friends Carlos and Henrietta’s wedding. We all look like babies and we were certainly having a lot of fun…
Growing up in London in the late 70’s and was wild and wildly creative. It was so small in those days. The ‘Interesting’ people were rare and anyone who was anyone usually gathered at the same events as there really was nothing else to do. Restaurant culture did not exist unless you could afford go to the Connaught or Claridge’s. There were not many shops and nobody had much money anyway. The Thames was dark and foreboding. East End Warehouses were desolate effigies of London’s Dickensian Past and vast areas bombed in WWII were still abandoned, as were many houses. These were the adult playgrounds for the generation born in the 1960’s – empty spaces for squatting, studios, workshops, raves or spontaneous and random art happenings. Objets trouvés and trouvés friends all mixed up and welded together. Chance meetings turned into momentary movements and collaborations. At ‘openings’ in galleries or clubs, as a teenager you could brush shoulders with Derek Jarman, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, David Bowie, Rupert Everett, Francis Bacon and end up in a fleet of black cabs with them going to an insalubrious ‘rent’ boy club, a suite in the Ritz or just some other party. No one batted an eyelid or took a ‘celebrity’ selfie.
Gradually, talents emerged from this bric-a-brac miasma of invention and when London started getting richer, that fervent talent started getting exercised and rewarded. The inventiveness turned into business. Architecture, fashion design, music, food and for Chantal chocolate and that wonderful Rococo shop in the King’s Road with its groundbreaking style of branding and packaging. Chantal was very much part of that scene and we had many friends in common. I went off to live in rural Tuscany and became a castle restorer and wine-maker. We recently hooked up again whilst I was organising a pop-up concert feast at the London Sketch Club and immediately started plotting and inventing – just like the old days in London – and we decided to do a chocolate making weekend at my Tuscan home, the Castello di Potentino with a Golden Easter Egg Hunt prize! The wonderful illustration is by another super gifted friend from London, Glen Baxter.
- Mark giving his Best Man’s speech as Carlos Villanueva Brandt marries Henrietta Hoyer Miller
- Carlos & Henrietta with assorted bridesmaids
- Georgina Godley, fashion designer and co-founder of Crolla & Andre Dubreuil, furniture designer and member of Creative Salvage
- Chantal with Ben Gaskell – bat & firework expert & quartz collector
- Nigel Coates – Lecturer at AA, Professor at RCA and member of NATO
- Henrietta, Lucy Fielden in background
- Nigel Coates with Selina Fellows
- Charlotte with Charles Ward-Jackson
- Chantal wearing Jasper Conran peak cap
- Tom Dixon Sebastian Conran
- Cathy Mills, Chantal, Bill Amberg, Camilla Prizeman
- Andre Dubreuil, Kadir Guirey