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Saturday Surprise

James Andrew on board the Oceania ship 'Marina'

I’d been invited by the super chic Lee Jofa showroom to attend a luncheon on the new 65,000-ton, 1,258-passenger Oceania ship “Marina.” I thought the event would be the perfect surprise for my favorite painter and storyboarding artist, Scott McBee. As many of you know, McBee has made a name for himself in large scale ocean liners and private yacht portraiture.

Artist Scott Mcbee and his 'RMS Queen Elizabeth'

SS Normandie by Scott Houston McBee

Needless to say, when we pulled up to the “Marina” on Pier 90, he couldn’t have been happier. An elegant champagne reception and scrumptious caviar and Lobster Thermidor meal on board had us imagining the Halcyon Days of yore, and longing for that golden era when travel was just as much about the journey as it was about the destination!

Dressed in nautical inspired attire, I’m touring the decks on a most glorious day. I’m wearing a Tom Ford era Gucci navy velvet jacket, blue and white horizontal striped shirt, and navy suede loafers, Diesel jeans, red alligator belt with sterling buckle by Ralph Lauren, vintage red, white, and blue silk pocket square and my fragrance is Creed Erolfa.

Sunday Lunch

Sunday Lunch at the home of James Andrew.

My apartment here in New York City was photographed for the super chic New York Social Diary this past week. What an honor to be featured amongst the glitterati of New York City! I can’t wait to share with you the details of our story when it goes live this month.

The NYSD photo shoot certainly provided me with some added incentive to bring my home to the pristine state it had for its appearance some time ago in Elle Decor (US) and then later for the cover of Elle Decor, Russia. There is nothing like having an impending world wide audience to get one motivated! Needless to say, it feels wonderful to have my place in order and looking good again. In fact, I was so moved that I decided to invite some of my very best friends here for a lovely impromptu luncheon.

I turned to my friend, the brilliant chef and author, Gail Monaghan, to produce a menu based on recipes from her books, featuring the Duchess of Windsor’s Shrimp and Corn Pie! Monaghan’s three course menu included a tomato and cumin soup topped with creme fraiche, cilantro and chives to start (see recipe in Monaghan’s book – “Perfect Picnics for all Seasons”), followed by the aforementioned Duchess of Windsor shrimp and corn pie (see recipe in her latest book, “The Entrees”), served with smothered greens. For desert we had The Zodiac Room’s toasted pecan ice cream balls with hot fudge (from Monaghan’s book, “Lost Desserts”).

As you might imagine the meal was simply beyond fabulous!

Table setting by James Andrew.

And what great fun it was to set my table for our casual Sunday lunch—you know how much I like to entertain! I’ve set the table with vintage citron yellow Portuguese cabbage ware, silver bamboo flatware, heavy linen hemstitch napkins, modern crystal glasses, Baccarat crystal salt cellars, Puiforcat silver wine coasters, Tiffany & Co rock cut candle sticks and vintage Christofle serving pieces.

Here in my dining room/library, I’m sporting a navy velvet jacket and dark green, white and black glazed cotton plaid shirt both by Gucci, purple alligator belt with sterling buckle by Ralph Lauren, jeans by Diesel, pocket square in a retro print of dark green and white silk by Charvet, suede “Belgian loafer” style shoes by Gucci and my fragrance is Creed Bois du Portugal.

Berlin Part V

James Andrew at Das Chinesische Haus.

Ever since I heard Nicky Haslam describe the magnificence of Potsdam, I’ve been very much wanting to explore the beauty of these royal grounds. Just thirty minutes from the center of Berlin, I could devote an entire day, which one really needs, to tour what many consider to be the Versailles of Germany – needless to say, I’m thrilled I did. Thank you Nicky!

After some extensive research, I established an itinerary for seeing the palaces I most wanted to see, focusing primarily on the smaller ones. The following are a few of the highlights of our tour.

We began with a tour of the elaborate Neues Palais, the largest Palace in Potsdam, then off to Schloss Charlottenhoff, which was built in 1826 as a summer residence for the Crown Prince. It was designed by Schinkel (the architect and interior designer of choice to royals of this time) in the style of a classical villa. We then made our way through the glorious Schloss Charlottenhoff gardens.

I’m standing (top) in front of the Chinese Pavilion, one of the structures I was most anxious to see. Located in the gardens of the Palace of Sanssouci, it’s a delicious Rococo fantasy fulfilling an 18th century European appetite for all things Chinese — obviously our architect has taken some liberties here, much to our delight!

The central entrance to Sanssouci from the garden facade.

Sanssouci – meaning “without a care” was designed as a place to enjoy life’s pleasures — music, friends, and food. More “maison de plaisance” than palace, it was created on a scale that one might consider livable by today’s standards — of course it is still quite a bit more opulent than one might be accustomed to!

Golden Suns, symbolizing enlightenment and humanitarianism, adorn the ornamental pavilions on either side of the palace.

Perhaps my favorite Palace in Potsdam was Die Neuen Kammern. Originally constructed as an Orangery — and I’ve had a long standing fantasy to live in an Orangery by the way — it was later transformed to accommodate guests and host lavish banquets.

Die Neuen Kammern.

We were somehow able to see almost all that we had wanted before rushing back to Berlin for our farewell dinner at the legendary Paris Bar restaurant, an iconic establishment, and a must while visiting Berlin.

We later treated ourselves to dessert and a provocative — and rather intimate — performance piece at Salon K — all very Berlin!

For our day of exploration, I’m wearing a Michael Bastian fair isle woolen sweater, Tom Ford white and navy cotton plaid shirt, Gucci chartreuse python belt with silver double horse head buckle, black leather tote and aviator style sunglasses, Diesel skinny jean, Lanvin high top sneakers in greens and black suede my fragrance is Creed Bois de Portugal.