“I’m getting bribed!” gasps Alexander Spencer- Churchill. “Hampers! Baby clothes!” This well-connected, socially adept 34-year old, whose dapper style generally consists of a sharp Douglas Davis suit and pale-blue silk tie and pocket square, is incredulous at people’s attempts to become a Legacy member of the new Annabel’s club.
“It’s like The X Factor,” he says, propping himself languorously against the marble fireplace just inside 46 Berkeley Square, the Georgian mansion that houses the club in London’s Mayfair. “Everyone needs to be approved by the committee.”
The magnificent hall hints at extravagance within: The walls are lined in pleated pistachio silk; bunches of fruit-and-flowers plasterwork tumble from the ceiling; glimmering crystal girandoles stand sentry beside the fireplace. “When you go into most members’ clubs you don’t see a Picasso hanging on the wall,” adds Ali, as he’s known to friends. Ali’s job is right-hand man, confidant, and arbiter of all things chic to London restaurateur Richard Caring, who is in the throes of reinventing Annabel’s. He points at a space on the wall in front of me where Picasso’s Girl with a Red Beret and Pompom will soon be installed in time for the opening. “No membership cards needed,” he says. “A roaring fire. Old-school style.”