Designer Richard Sorger was commissioned to make something special of the champagne bar of London’s new Andaz hotel. Both his vision for the Catch Champagne Bar and new collection were unveiled during London Fashion Week.

Richard Sorger is a designer who is noted for his elaborate, poetic embroidery and traditional couture hand techniques, both of which have attracted the attention of the fashion media and devoted high-profile fans such as Cindy Crawford and Courtney Love. His is a sensuous and rich aesthetic; intense layering and detailing of the most minute of materials building up a dense and opulent image on billowing fabrics. His designs are usually draped in clever ways to build up a deceptively simple silhouette in which the wealth of the detail becomes a central motif.

So, it was only natural that Arnaud de Saint-Exupéry, the General Manager of London’s new Andaz Liverpool Street would invite Richard to do something special with the hotel’s Catch Champagne Bar. Richard Sorger’s unique combination of seeming simplicity and opulence and an acute eye for detail fits perfectly with the ethos of the Andaz Liverpool Street, the city’s first hotel by Hyatt’s luxury brand of design hotels. Distinctive for its approach to offering a luxury hotel experience with a lack of pretension and an environment rich in mental stimulation and out-of-the-box relaxation, it’s proved the perfect match.

Richard Sorger’s approach to the bar was to take his inspiration from his SS10 collection, La Méduse, the French word for jellyfish and, indeed, with a variety of connotations in the original French that capture a certain frisson between female seductiveness and danger. The concept was to convert the stylish bar into a sub-aquatic mindscape, a submerged watering hole in which the rather traditional grandeur of the room merges with the floating marine imagery of the décor designed by Richard.

The result is quite simply intoxicating: one isn’t quite sure whether one is swimming in water or champagne; whether the bubbles weaving a hypnotic effect are the nitrogen bubbles of Rapture of the Deep or those of a good vintage. Whatever the case, one simply wants more.

Richard Sorger’s design for the bar was unveiled during London Fashion Week, which also saw him present the SS11 collection of his new RJS line in the hotel’s legendary and fascinating Masonic Temple, a gem of unusual and protected architecture trapped deep within the building’s structure and history.

The SS11 La Méduse collection proved to be one of hand-decorated silks and chiffons draped in ways that are both elegantly simple and accentuate the female form. The plethora of imagery referencing the sea creatures of the name is realised in a subtle, smoky palette and style of line that evokes the fading grandeur of eighteenth and nineteenth century arts and decorative traditions as much as it does of the classical allusion, which, of course, the collection shares with these other sources of inspiration.

This RJS collection with its contrasts of subtle pinks, dark umbers and golden highlights speaks as much of a jellyfish breaking the surface on Venice’s Grand Canal and shimmying into a glorious palazzo as it does of the open ocean. No wonder Elle Macpherson made sure that she got one of the front row seats in the intimate marbled interior of the temple.


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