St James's London - Art Deco at Le Caprice and Pullman Gallery

Art & Theatre

Art Deco at Le Caprice and Pullman Gallery

Some of London's finest examples of this timeless style can be enjoyed - and purchased - in St James's

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The Restaurant

Le Caprice, which opened in 1947 a few doors down from the Ritz Hotel, is one of London's best loved restaurants - even Princess Diana named it as her personal favourite. And it's the chic Art Deco interior, as much as the excellent food, that has made this elegant St James's dining room so perennially popular. A grand 1920s cruise ship aesthetic greets you as soon as you walk in the door. There's a long sweeping cocktail bar counter with tall bevel-edged mirrors behind it; handsomely dressed waiters scurrying back and forth through shiny ebony doors, and chrome-lined port-hole windows that offer sneaking glimpses of the busy kitchen beyond. Then there are the Jan Kaplický-designed floor-standing champagne buckets resembling huge fish reaching skywards out of the ocean, gasping for air but being rewarded for their effort with bottles of Laurent Perrier driven into their gaping silver mouths instead. The classic 1970s bistro chairs and framed David Bailey photographs of movie stars and celebrities (proper ones, not reality TV fodder) who've eaten here may not be strictly from the age of Arts Décoratifs but they are in keeping with the timeless glamour of both the restaurant and the neighbourhood. Owner Richard Caring brought in Swedish architect Martin Brudnizki to give it a design refresh in 2011 but he added little more than a black marble floor and an ivory onyx bar to complement the existing monochrome decor. He probably felt Le Caprice didn't need much updating because like Art Deco itself, true style never goes out of fashion.

The Gallery

To add a touch of Le Caprice elegance to your home, wander through Piccadilly Arcade into the heart of St James's where, handily placed right next to Christie's, you'll find the Pullman Gallery. It's a treasure trove of covetable items from the Art Deco period and beyond or, as owner Simon Khachadourian likes to call them, objets de luxe. He's supplied many pieces to Le Caprice over the years and even proposed to his wife there, so he knows what it takes to get the look right. There's plenty here to tempt: a 1928 Tantalus set by René Lalique with lockable decanters to stop the servants helping themselves to your favourite tipple, a Cartier partners clock from the 1930s with Art Nouveau faces on both front and back so that the time can be told from either side, or how about a pair of Franco Lagini lobster and caviar serving platters as unique table ornaments for your next dinner party? There's a magnificent sterling silver Hermes champagne cooler for £24,000 that would add panache to any home or, if your pockets run deep enough, a beautiful 1937 Strohmenger demi lune piano is yours for £125,000. For those of more modest budgets, £95 secures a copy of Simon's definitive guide to cocktail shakers - he's an authority on the subject and has over three hundred for sale including some rare examples from Tiffany and Asprey that would look as at home in Le Caprice as they would on the set of Mad Men.