“Every time I come to London, I wonder why I don’t live here,” said Naomi Watts, taking a seat in the private rooms of the swanky restaurant 34 Mayfair on Sunday evening. She was the special guest for a welcome dinner hosted by Nadja Swarovski in advance of the city’s big-deal Fashion Awards gala, for which Swarovski has been the principal sponsor for the last five years in addition to its longstanding support of the event.
Fittingly enough, London is absolutely glittering right now, as holiday light displays appear on every street, from the billowing angels of Regent Street to the lyrics of “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Carnaby. The façade of Fortnum & Mason is lit crimson from the Piccadilly Street sidewalk to the rafters, Annabel’s is covered in a garishly wonderful Christmas tree that glows over Berkeley Square, and tourists are lining up to take photos of the more conceptual “Tree of Love” at Claridge’s, this year designed by Diane von Furstenberg with giant silver paillettes dangling from its blue branches.
Even the billowy black minidress worn by Watts (look 27 from the spring Celine collection of Hedi Slimane) was alit with galaxies of crystal sparklers.
“It’s very comfy,” Watts said. “This isn’t what I would wear all the time, so when you wear it, you feel special.”
Watts has worked with Swarovski for several years, attracted not only by its crystals, but also its history of supporting young designers. “When you’re starting out in your career, you need lots of exposure, and so it’s good to have companies like this one that can give them a leg up at the beginning,” she said. Nadja Swarovski, a member of the executive board, added that one of the benefits of those efforts, as well as the awards themselves, is that they promote competition, which is ultimately good for consumers.
Watts is working with Richard Quinn, a rising star of London who made headlines this year when his runway show was attended by Queen Elizabeth II for the dress she plans to wear on Monday night. “Everyone’s got their eyes on him right now,” she said. Quinn is nominated for the British Emerging Talent for women’s wear award, along with Matty Bovan, Natalia Alaverdian (for A.W.A.K.E.), Rejina Pyo, and Sofia Prantera and Fergus Purcell (for Aries).
VIDEO: See Naomi Watts and Her Sons Pose in Matching Onesies
While in London, Watts said she plans to do a little business of her own, by scouting retail locations for ONDA, the toxin-free beauty brand in which she is a partner. The company already has two stores in New York, but opening here, well, that would give her an excuse to visit London more often.
“That’s a real strong possibility,” she said. “I love it, because it’s an urban city, but there’s also enough space. New York can sometimes be a little hard on the nervous system.”
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