Unless you’ve been living under a metaphorical rock, you’ll know that the hottest ticket in town at the moment is the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A. You’ll also probably know that it is sold out. But we know how to get you into the exhibition, and it doesn’t involve dressing up as a V&A assistant.
Instead, you can book into The May Fair Hotel any weekend up until the 14th July 2019 and not only receive a luxury stay but also two complimentary tickets to the exhibition. It’s the fashion equivalent of finding a Nando’s loyalty card with only two unmarked chillies. Gold dust.
Given its iconic London location, across from both Hyde and Green Park, The May Fair Hotel makes for an excellent choice to champion the designer, because, alongside creating the new look that revolutionised women’s fashion after the war, Christian Dior was also a self-proclaimed anglophile. He loved our traditions, our politeness (clearly he hadn’t been on the Central line) and even our cooking (was he a Spam fan like me, though?).
Having not been quick enough off the mark to nab tickets and fancying a little luxury we booked into The May Fair Hotel and here are the reasons you should too:
Tucked behind Piccadilly on quiet Stratton Street, The May Fair Hotel is a 30 -minute stroll through Hyde Park to the Victoria and Albert Museum and more importantly only five minutes from the nearest Dior Store on New Bond Street. Once you’ve shopped (window or not) you can then picnic in Green Park or take your new wares for a spin in a pedalo on the Serpentine. Dior can make anything look good.
The hotel is made up of 404 rooms and 37 suites. The rooms are lavish and luxe without being ostentatious, despite the striking red furnishings. They may be simple in design, but it’s all about the extras like the Vi-Spring mattresses on top of the king-sized beds, the Sicilian marble bathrooms and the free-standing baths which are so deep you can practically swim in them – although I wouldn’t attempt it, very messy.
May Fair Kitchen
The hotel’s restaurant is the flagship kitchen and showcases not only Spanish and Italian small plates but also embraces the signature Peruvian and Mexican dishes from Monmouth Kitchen and Leicester Square Kitchen. The sleek restaurant features contemporary exposed bulb lighting and a mix of marble topped and long wooden tables. An open kitchen takes up most of one side, whilst floor to ceiling windows provide not only plenty of natural light, but also a prime people watching opportunity.
Giving you a chance to mix and match across the cuisines, the menu includes the likes of pappardelle with white ragu and lemon parsley sauce; avocado and corn salad with blackberry dressing and clementine and cinnamon panna cotta with fresh lemon thyme. There’s an earthy wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil and Parmesan shavings which was highly recommended, it’s utterly indulgent, you must try it. A bowl of crispy duck is updated with jewels of pomegranate, sweet papaya, green leaves and a chilli dressing. Jamón and manchego croquettas were too mild, but for those looking for a kick should order the salmon anticucho skewer. If you like it hot, then you’ll like this. If you don’t, get the spice on the side, there’s nothing fun about having your taste buds stripped out unexpectedly. Having skipped on it last time I visited, I was glad to see the pistachio and olive cake with mango cremoso and white chocolate was still on the menu. We went against the advice of having a pudding to share and ordered one each and you should too.
In the morning the tables practically groan under the breakfast dishes. You can order hot dishes off the menu, but the breakfast that is included in the Dior package is already a feast of cheese, meats, fish, eggs, sausages, fruits and various yoghurts, seeds and mueslis. Don’t miss out on the boxes of buttery croissants either.
May Fair Bar
With slick New York Bar vibes and a decidedly party atmosphere, The May Fair Bar is where you can drop in for next level bar food and a decent cocktail. In honour of the collection, they’ve created three Dior cocktails including the Soirée de décembre made from Ciroc Vodka, charcoal, Aperol, kalamansi, orange and egg white. You’ll have to be quick with this one though, as the cocktails are only available until the 30th March 2019.
Is the exhibition really the hottest ticket in town? Or has it just been dubbed that by the fashion world who say nothing less? In short, yes this is one exhibition that should be seen by all, Dior fanatic or not. Arguably the most influential couturier, the fashion world and women in particular have so much to be grateful for when it comes to Christian Dior’s designs. He did away with the boxy shapes of World War II and introduced us to the ‘new look’. He put women’s figures at the forefront of his design with voluptuous shapes and unapologetically feminine designs. Starting in 1947 and going through to the designs of today, the exhibition, like the twirl of a dress, sweeps you up into Dior’s vision and dream. Only designing for ten years before his premature death, the exhibition then continues with how the likes of Galliano, Yves Saint Laurent and now, Maria Grazia Chiuri have interpreted Dior’s world. As Dior said ‘A ballgown is your dream, and it must make you a dream’ and the exhibition culminates in a ballroom filled with evening gowns worn by the likes of Princess Diana, Emma Watson and Rihanna. It’s here that all the threads of the exhibition come together, the influence of travel, Dior’s love of England and gardens and you just realise why Dior is not just a designer but an institution.
The May Fair Hotel is offering the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams package until the 14th July 2019 and the Dior inspired cocktails are available until the 30th March 2019.