You know, Miss W does fancy herself as a bit of a modern art critic at times. I mean, I may not know my Inkies from my Banksies, or my Hirsts from my Helmuts but I know what I like. And I like the stuff on the walls at El Ayoun.
So my inner art critic was thrilled when we received news that the artist responsible, François Coorens, would be ‘performing’ (so to speak) live this Friday night at the San Rafael establishment, creating a giant modern-day masterpiece in just one sitting, destined to join the collection. Once the paint had dried of course…
Arriving at about 10pm, we discovered the action was well and truly in full swing, with a huge six-foot canvas set up out on the garden terrace, surrounded by tubs of paint, spotlights, video cameras, oh, and a restaurant full of discerning diners. Talk about pressure!
But the artist appeared to pay no notice to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of impressed guests around him, as he slowly but surely worked his way through some neutral base colours, warm amber and brown tones. And then wouldn’t you know it, in the blink of an eye (or more likely, the stroke of a brush and the dab of some ink) there was Kate Moss, staring right out at me from the canvas.
Meanwhile, inside the restaurant, there were plenty of other goings on to keep us flitting back and forth. The boutique presented their latest collections (loving the embellished necklines) in the form of a fashion parade, winding its way in and out of the VIP area, restaurant, terrace, sushi lounge and bar. There was one girl however, who was dressed remarkably in a black flowing cape and beautiful make-up that stood out from the others – apart from the fact her full body sheer lace catsuit didn’t quite match the styles in the boutique!
Within minutes, she’d shimmied sky-high up some lengths of silk and began a spectacular acrobatic performance to some very deep and intense music, complete with a smoke machine for special effects… making the evening a true spectacle indeed. But the entertainment didn’t stop there…
While the not-fazed-by-public-pressure artist plodded along with his work, adding bright blues plus some amazing minor detailing, followed by some dramatic splashes of paint (literally – he was throwing the paint at the canvas), yet another performance began to take place inside… and this one was like nothing I had ever seen before in my life.
A beautiful girl, swathed in skirts made from layers of soft, silky fabrics, with amazing leather accessories bound to her feet, hand and a mask over her face, had kneeled down as a giant candelabra was placed on her head. Yes, her head. Each candle was slowly and precisely lit and then SHAZAM! She was up on her feet and doing the most amazingly sensual, exotic and jaw-dropping belly dance you can imagine. The speed and intensity at which she moved her body was defied by the candle flames, which hardly even flickered, so still and steady was her head. To say the diners were dazzled is an understatement – must make a note to learn that party trick myself.
But back to the live painting. As the finishing touches (more splashes of paint and the words L’ay Oun, geddit?) were applied, I was so impressed, I started to visualise the picture on my wall at home. However given the current contents of my piggy bank, I think I’ll have to settle for regular ‘viewings’ at El Ayoun, until some lucky investor (all the pieces on display are for sale) snaps it up.
Any excuse for another Privado mojito really – now there’s another art form in itself.
THE GOOD: You know what I love about El Ayoun? It really is a high glamour event, every night of the week. Women are women – they’re sassy, sexy and in sky-high heels. In fact, I found it hard to differentiate the models from the boutique’s fashion show from the guests at one point!
THE BAD: Having to make a hasty exit once the painting had been completed – and just as the party was really getting started inside Privado – to jet over to the Other Side Of Town for Another Club Opening Party. Why do all the good things have to happen on the same night?
THE GOSSIP: Let me preface this by saying I completely understand WHY the live painting had to take place out on the garden terrace – paint fumes and the quality of light and all that – however it meant I felt a little like I was intruding whenever I stepped outside to watch. Those lucky enough to score a front row seat on the terrace were in for an entertaining night, but those inside, or in the bar had to make do with poking our heads out at regular intervals. Oh well, you know what they say about watching paint dry…