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n essence, London could be the only place on earth associated with the concept of “the club.”


It created this night-time entity with a zeal which is internationally recognised and thronged to. The identity of a club and its sparkling denizens was and remains not British, not even English, but stands for London itself. Annabel’s, Tramp, The Embassy and Titanic,


for example, are emblematic names – along with a handful of others – even if some are consigned to history. The understanding of a club might be said to have found form in the St. James’s of the 18th century where the idea of being “apart” from society but with your “peers” took happy and healthy root. Who one knew, who one was – how much did you spend (or lose, which was no shame) are still hallmarks of today’s club scene. Arch froideur was a passport too, the dandy, Beau Brummell once exclaiming from the safety of


his club’s bow window that he loved to see the ordinary people pass by in the rain. The club is a sheltered world within a mass-populated one. The very word is thought to be traceable to the 17th century. Celebrated London clubs benefitted from the grand classical nature of the mostly one-time grand family houses they occupied. Every club wants to have that crucial slice of the social cake. As Bryan Ferry, who made the song The ‘In’ Crowd so famous, sang:


“I’m in with the in crowd I go where the in crowd goes I’m in with the in crowd And I know what the in crowd know”


But the song might be said to have in equal measure, irony, and


sarcasm when he adds, “Looking flash, talking trash…” And yet, this is part of the whole purpose. Long-standing, even generational and loyal members might be culled to make way for the new blood. It’s as draconian as that.


TAKE ME TO BEL’S Annabel’s began in 1963 in a Mayfair basement. Historian Harry Mount writing in the Daily Telegraph, quotes celebrity interior


Farrah Fawcett leaving Tramp


‘The only club that HM The Queen has visited for a cocktail’


designer and socialite Nicky Haslam as saying how he had been asked to cover the opening party by one Diana Vreeland for Vogue. He recalls the aristo-mantra at the time by the debutantes, “Take me to Bel’s.” It is worth remembering that Annabel’s remains the only club that HM The Queen has visited for a cocktail. It was a magnet to the stars; Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, George Hamilton, Princess Diana. Everyone in the know, simply knew. “Once people had made it in London, everyone


Tramp founder, Johnny Gold celebrates his 80th birthday with Michael Caine


36 SAVILE ROW STYLE MAGAZINE


went to clubs – sportsmen, pop stars, actors. Anybody who was anybody, went to Annabel’s,” says one-time regular, property developer David Green. Jackie Branston, another habitué, recalls the ladies at Annabel’s clearly: “Women dressed like women –


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