“After women, flowers are the most divine of creations.” Christian Dior 1957.
Christian Dior was fascinated by gardens and flowers, the inspiration behind many of his designs. This, and his love of French flavours is beautifully captured in the new culinary fashion afternoon tea, at boutique hotel, The Franklin, in Knightsbridge. Launched in line with the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, this decadent afternoon tea was created in partnership with event planner, La Fête, and brings the French Couturier’s story to life in an array of delicious savouries and luxurious sweets, prepared by Michelin-starred chef, Alfredo Russo.
It’s the type of place where you comment on how nice the toilets are; you know the ones with marble floors, fresh towels and fragrant hand moisturiser? This detail very much continues throughout the rest of the hotel, with high ceilings, large mirrors and elegant furniture. Though small, the simplicity of the decoration and monochrome colour scheme makes the hotel feel spacious. The tables are large enough to hold all the components of an afternoon tea, still leaving room to swap between your cup of earl grey and glass of champagne, yet the dining is definitely an intimate experience. The service is very attentive; water glasses are never empty, teapots are always full and you really feel that they want to make this an unforgettable experience.
With the hotel just down the road from Harrods, you can expect a variety of people dining in the restaurant; tourists, hotel guests, families and couples. While this is an experience that will entertain even the fashion novice, you can spot the fashion enthusiasts as they draw on the delicacies of the afternoon tea inspired by Christian Dior.
This is not finger food. Each delicacy, savoury and sweet, has a story-telling element, providing a glimpse into the life of Mr Dior. From the ‘The Train to Montecatini’, a foie gras and strawberry jam filled chou, to the ‘Éclair Cousu-Main’, a fondue cheese and black truffle eclair, every bite on the plate of savouries was a delight to eat. Dior said, “perfume is the finishing touch to any dress,” but in this case it was dessert. Brought out on a marble board, each delicacy was presented in a different way; chocolates in jewellery boxes and macaroons on elegant chairs. But the highlight of the experience for me was ‘J’adore’, a peanut sponge with dulcey chocolate cream, served with vaporised Calvados, in a Dior-inspired perfume bottle.
In a nutshell
Foodies and fashionistas will love this. The culinary experience is truly brought together with a visit to the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition, which guests are given complimentary tickets to, following the afternoon tea. Tickets are almost sold out for the exhibition, so Michelin high tea is the only way to go – not a bad compromise!
The Culinary Fashion Experience is sold at £55 per person including a ticket to “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibition at the V&A.