Editor’s Comment: The Salon Prive Gala Ball signals the end of summer

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It’s the opening day of London Fashion Week and this year continues to fly by in the blink of an eye. I cannot believe that we are already looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2014 trends as the fashion pack descends on our capital city for some of the best shows the industry has to offer.

The city is already buzzing with excitement and I attended a pre-fashion week party on Wednesday evening for the launch of Simone Rocha’s Cointreau Prive Bar at the St Martin’s Lane Hotel. The designer has created a real gem of a haunt and the décor gives the cosy and chic bar certain warmth. It will no doubt be a favourite venue for industry insiders over the coming days. We filmed the opening party for Sloaney TV and you can watch it here.

The weather is definitely starting to feel more autumnal and the last of the summer heat seemed to aptly coincide with one of the premier events that closed the season. The Salon Prive Gala Ball was held in aid of the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity and the sophisticated affair was supported by Pommery Champagne and Boodles.

The Sloaney's Editor, Laura Toogood, at the Salon Prive Gala Ball

The Sloaney’s Editor, Laura Toogood, at the Salon Prive Gala Ball

Prior to the event, I popped into the Carol Joy salon on Draycott Avenue in South Kensington to meet with top makeup artist, Kate Synnott. Kate is using this salon as a temporary base before opening her new home at the start of next year. She is regularly hired to work on renowned editorial shoots in Europe and her team includes the fabulous Jonathan Tobias from Real Hair.

A Gala Ball is always a good excuse for some extra special pampering and Kate was the ideal person to do my makeup for the evening. She is incredibly talented and created a soft but glamorous look, with smokey eyes a particular focus. One of her best skills is her ability to make your skin appear almost porcelain and many people commented on the flawless finish she was able to give my face. Jonathan created one of those ‘up styles’ that looks as though it took no time at all, when in fact the styling process is vital. He set my hair in rollers to give some extra volume and then carefully styled it in a side bun. I was also able to have my nails done at the same time and the whole preparation only took an hour.

This type of express service is invaluable and while some may prefer to spend longer in hair and make up, I really love a quick turnaround that doesn’t compromise on the end product. As I mentioned, Kate’s new salon will be ready at the start of January but in the meantime I definitely recommend getting in touch with her at the temporary base if you have a special occasion on the horizon.

The Ball was located at Syon Park, which is about half an hour out of town. Having previously travelled with several of London’s driving companies or traditional black cabs, I decided to try a different service. Drivr is new to the market and offers a range of executive cars at a similar cost to a black cab. The service is luxurious and when booked through the app you will be given insightful details telling you how far away your driver is and how long it will take for him to arrive. The chauffeurs are very friendly and I recommend Drivr if you want some extra luxury for a journey; I have definitely been converted!

Drivr offer a fantastic service

Drivr offer a fantastic service

The ball was a typically grand affair with a red carpet greeting guests before embarking on a champagne reception. The reception was hosted with the Duke of Northumberland’s home as the backdrop and a highlight was browsing the extensive collection of supercars and vintage cars that were the central focus of the event. As the sun set, guests were called into a spectacular marquee for dinner and with that, we left summer behind.

Some people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at the prospect of many months of unsettled weather ahead. I can see why certain seasons are preferred but I must admit that I really enjoy the transition to autumn.  The change of scenery presents us with some beautiful colours as the green leaves turn various shades of rich red and soft brown. The mornings are feeling crisp and misty with tights and scarves becoming essential day wear. Equally the nights are drawing in and it will soon be time to snuggle up in front of a warm log fire.

September also signals the return of school for children and I always think it is a month to refocus, work hard and concentrate on your goals and ambitions. The party season lies ahead with the impending festivities of Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas. While there will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate, let’s make sure we all have something special for ourselves that is worth toasting.