Smith Italy guide launch party at B&B Italia

Tutto bello: B&B Italia hosts Smith’s stylish book-launch party in London

Last night in London saw the soiree to launch our latest (and, we think, greatest) hotel guide: Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection – Italy. If you were there, thanks so much for coming (hopefully you enjoyed it as much as we did!). If you couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed…

B&B ItaliaSmith Italy book launch party at B&B Italia threw open the doors to its flawlessly good-looking South Ken showroom to host Smith’s Italy book launch. Displaying typically Italian largesse, B&B Italia’s people were both generous and (frankly) brave, allowing well over 650 of our favourite people to lounge on their cream leather sofas, leave flutes of Bisol prosecco on Naoto Fukasawa shelves, and accidentally grind morsels of precious parmiggiano from The Ham & Cheese Company into sexy-soft designer rugs (sorry about that <winces>).

Our cover stars – the pair of modish Vespa mopeds – greeted guests at the entrance, and making the minimal space look even more attractive (if that’s possible) were huge projected images from the new book by our talented photographer Adrian Houston, and stacks of hot-off-the-press Italy books adorning Fat Fat nesting occasional tables.

Sipping (or indeed swigging) Peroni, Penfolds wine, thyme-tinted Belvedere/Fever Tree V&Ts and Firefly soft stuff were the great and the good from the realms of design, media and fashion, including newshounds and frontmen from The Times, The Guardian, the BBC, Sky News, Reuters, Men’s HealthVanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar; movers and shakers from Ferrari, Alessi, Sotheby’s, Sipsmith, Soho House, MSN Travel and Vivienne Westwood; a generous sprinkling of our loyal GoldSmith members; and last – but the very opposite of least – our hotel reviewers.

The hard-working scribes from our trusted reviewer panel: the people who report back from their boutique-hotel stays with fun, candid bedtime stories to inspire you to follow in their slippered footsteps. To name-drop a few: designer Martha Freud and Dr Who director Adam Smith (also responsible for this Goldie Lookin Chain video),Dan Rookwood, Lucy Fennings, Juliet Kinsman, Sasha Duncan, Rob Wood among others); Rankin collaborator and official Paralympics artist Von; Mrs Hound (shame on you Rufus) rocking some amazing Westwood boots; TV producer Jack Kennedy and Minnie Copping; Lisa Allardice; actors Louiza Patikas and Jonny Aris; music journalist Scott Manson; Richard Kilgarrif… The dreaded flu unfortunately left Immodesty Blaize, Oli Beale and Chris Cox tucked up in their own beds for the night.

Behind the decks was our in-house TuneSmith, Rob Wood, plundering his Music Concierge archives to create an off-the-beaten-musical-track playlist (we especially enjoyed Burt Bacharach’s ‘South American Getaway’, from the Butch Cassidy soundtrack). Our very own Mr Smith, James Lohan, took the stage to thank our guests and announce the winner of our high-tech ‘business cards in a fish bowl’ lucky dip (the prize: two nights at JK Place Firenze, one of the Florence boutique hotels featured in the guide).The finishing touch? Two wonderful opera singers – Erika Jones and Ashley Mercer – serenaded us with Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ (which you may know from the swooningly romantic Merchant Ivory classic, A Room with a View) and ‘Se vuol ballare’ from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.

As the saying goes, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings – but in this case, the lady was in no way fat, and ‘it’ still wasn’t over: if you’d like a look-see at who came (or just want to make sure our event pap Addie Chinn caught your best side), check out the Mr & Mrs Smith Facebook photo album.

What do you mean, you haven’t seen it yet? Order a copy of our Italy book, prontissimo! It’s a great stocking filler for your own Mr or Mrs…

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This article was written by

As well as wordsmithing online, in print, in the press and for Smith TV, Lucy Fennings has been a driving force in making the Smith Travel Blog an award-winner. Mr & Mrs Smith's Group Editor cut her travel teeth early; as daughter of a hotel PR, she visited far-flung flophouses from French châteaux to Ethiopian tukuls. After a year in Dubai (working on Emirates Woman magazine and enjoying the kind of dives that require a wetsuit), Lucy went to Glasgow University to study art, literature and whisky. A stint as production editor at Legalease publishing was spent discovering how to be creative with copy about tax, followed quickly by a stint discovering more interesting things across south-east Asia. When Mr & Mrs Smith found her, Lucy was at Harper’s Bazaar, keeping her finger on fashion’s pulse and sharpening her editorial knife on hapless hotel PR copy.

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Matthew at 5:25 pm

    Sounds like it was a delicious and well-planned event all around; as a caterer I know that it takes more than most people are aware of. Who did your catering? It sounds over-the-top good. Add the Butch Cassidy soundtrack music, and well… wish I was there.

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