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Independent bookshops, art galleries and the best brioche outside of Paris – the French jewellery designer reveals her favourite London hotspots.
Interview by Helen Wigham.
Raphaele Canot launched her eponymous label in 2014 after honing her craft for nearly two decades at luxury jewellery houses Cartier and De Beers. Parisian-born and a mother-of-three, Canot’s delicate yet whimsical diamond designs have garnered her serious credit from the fashion set. Now a Notting Hill resident, she gives an insider’s view on where to visit in London.
‘My mornings are very Notting Hill-based, firstly for school runs and secondly for a stop at my favourite local cafes: The Grocer on Elgin (thegroceron.com) for a juice or Ottolenghi on Ledbury Road (ottolenghi.co.uk) for a cappuccino – the only place to find a brioche reminiscent of my Parisian years. I love the walk from Ledbury Road to Hillgate Village where my studio is based. I can’t resist looking at the MATCHESFASHION.COM window display on my way (Ledbury Road, W11) and the 10-minute walk is much needed to quietly think about the day’s priorities.’
‘Lutyens & Rubinstein (lutyensrubinstein.co.uk) on Kensington Park Road is a gem, with its knowledgeable, helpful staff and a thoughtful selection of inspirational books. It’s my first stop for a last-minute gift, an arty card and beautiful wrapping paper. They have a special selection of handmade books which make perfect presents.’
‘London is the city that inspired me to become an entrepreneur and launch my own jewellery label. I remember the moment very well: I was having lunch with a friend on Dover Street when I realised that I wanted my latest ideas to be [used to create] a diamond jewellery line under my own name. That’s the magic of London, a city with positive vibes and an entrepreneurial culture where everything seems possible.’
‘For local dining with friends, I love Dock Kitchen’s Mediterranean cooking in Ladbroke Grove (dockkitchen.co.uk) and Mazi on Hillgate Street (mazi.co.uk) for a creative take on Greek cuisine. They both have great outside spaces.’
‘Checking into a nice hotel at the opposite side of the city with my husband (and no kids!) is my favourite new 24-hour escape. Lazily strolling in unfamiliar areas, discovering new galleries, cafes, restaurants and local shops is amazingly refreshing and revitalising. It is super easy to organise and a true escape, without the hassle of a long drive or busy train stations. Try it once a month and you will feel like [you are] re-discovering London. Most recently, I stayed at The Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell (thezetter.com) in the rooftop suite, which has a lovely terrace.’
‘There are a few things I think all tourists visiting London for the first time must do. Take a walk through Green Park, from Westminster to Bond Street, or Hyde Park with a stop at the Serpentine Gallery (serpentinegalleries.org). Stroll around Notting Hill on a Friday to escape the weekend crowds, or visit the Tate Modern (tate.org.uk) for the Turbine Hall and relax with a drink at the top of the Gherkin (searcys.co.uk) at sunset.’
‘Pilates is my favourite way to work out. Daniel at Beauty Works West (beautyworkswest.com) has been my Pilates guru since I moved to London 11 years ago. Since I can’t always make a lot of time to exercise, I resist the temptation to hop in a cab to get to meetings and I try to cycle as much as I can. In the winter, my favourite sporty escape is a weekend in Chamonix for off-piste skiing. The dramatic scenery helps to clear my mind and renew my creative spirit.’
‘Sotheby’s exhibition gallery (sothebys.com) was my favourite stop on Bond Street when I worked nearby and I still visit regularly. I love the world of auction houses for their impressive turnaround of iconic artworks and unknown gems. I’ve always found a great source of inspiration in art for my creative work, and contemporary art fairs are part of my yearly routine. A stop at Sotheby’s Café on your visit is also a must for the best chocolate truffles in town.’
‘The Arts Club on Dover Street (theartsclub.co.uk) is my favourite for dining and partying in style. Perfect with a couple of arty friends or glamorous girlfriends.’