Coquette at Kettner’s

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You might have seen the well-known television advert that asks “Do you dream in chocolate?” Despite being female, my answer to this more often than not is no. Instead I dream in decadence, deep in fantastical whimsies of living another life brim full of fashion, fun, dashingly beautiful company and automatically replenishing glasses of champagne. Of course, this is not my daily reality, but for one Saturday this summer it could be yours. Forget the post-work weekend blues, and instead wake up on the 18th of June to find your day injected with just the right amount of old-fashioned glamour, transporting you away from the mundane and into an old-school paradise. This place is known as ‘Coquette’. And here is why you ought to go…

After April’s highly successful instalment of an afternoon aimed at ladies-who-cocktail, June’s second lavish affair is set to be altogether bigger, brighter and more sumptuous still. At Kettner’s in Soho the Coquette team, spearheaded by the charming David Carter, will plunge you into his pool of hand-picked stylish friends, showing off their talents and gorgeous wares. From the moment you grace the curvy staircase, befitting of a Georgian novel, you’ll be greeted by floral teacups filled with fruity alcoholic concoctions that are as wicked as they are pretty. A handy map of the upstairs collection of apartments makes for easy navigation of the wealth of activities on offer, and like every good host, your elegant appetites will be satiated with a collection of Winston Matthew’s pastries and sandwiches. This is afternoon tea at its best.

The afternoon is billed as a chance for an intoxicating celebration of naughty self-indulgence, seductive style and decadent pampering and does nothing less than live up to expectations. Wander around the aptly named, individually themed rooms; meet Lisa Potter-Dixon from Benefit who’ll whip you into classic make-up shape (and if you’re stuck for how to recreate the look at home, then Lisa will be on hand for a make-up masterclass a little later on).

The girls from Lipstick & Curls will tend to your hair – twisting and turning your luscious locks into “do’s” reminiscent of 1940s and 50s chic. Further on you’ll find featured fashionistas showcasing their latest ranges – April was home to some sublime lingerie, stunning one-off vintage pieces courtesy of Rag and Bow, and as Ascot beckons you may want to make best friends with more talented people like milliner Katherine Elizabeth.

Even if your name isn’t Alice, further into this wonderland will be skin products and demo facials, jewellery and more. You can also have your tarot cards read where you can ponder your future (perhaps like me you’ll need to check under the bed from now on for huntsmen and be wary of poisoned apples – I worryingly picked the Snow White card, although the dwarves could prove quite useful).

On the more practical side some of the highlights of the afternoon are the chance to participate in a different sort of ‘higher education’ thanks to a whole host of sensational masterclasses. With Mr Paul Crook as my aide, I learnt how to dance the Charleston, whilst others learnt how to shake things a different way by mastering the art of making cocktails.

Another art to hone your skills on is that of ‘kissing’ – which Lana Citron may recruit some of the bar’s obliging cocktail shakers to help with. There are etiquette classes and further advice yet on how to find that man and bag him by Zoe Strimpel. The day could not be more replete with everything you need to convincingly work your inner Audrey or Marilyn. Of course if this all sounds like too much hard work then you can simply retire gracefully to the champagne bar below. Handsome waiters will take your order whilst you repose in the manner to which you have (more recently) become accustomed.

When I attended the April event, I met all sorts of gorgeous girls from around the country – some had come from as far as Cheltenham and Edinburgh, and there were other classically styled glamourpusses from Germany and Romania. Sex in the City eat your heart out, this is where Ladies in London perform at their best.

Tickets: £90 per head. Includes all the fantastic treats listed above and a lovely goodie bag at the end of the afternoon! Dates: Saturdays 18th June, 20th August, 15th October and 3rd December 2011. Times: 1pm – 5pm. Dressiquette: Drop dead gorgeous, or you will be sent home alone and in disgrace. Booking: email reservations@40winks.org or phone 0207 790 0259. Where: Kettner’s, 29 Romilly Street, Soho, London W1.

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