• What to buy

    Still wearing a dark winter coat? Yep, me too.

    It feels utterly wrong to dress in colour head to toe against these moody skies. But a sliver of perkiness is just the ticket to stave off the gloom. My two fingered salute at the weather gods takes the shape of metallic Robert Clergerie brogues and a bright geometric clutch by Pierre Hardy.

    At Roger Vivier there's a barbie pink Perspex clutch that catches the light and goes fluoro at the edges. It's the sort of good-mood bag that could be plonked on a table and hey presto - looks like a piece of sculpture.

    Then at Charlotte Olympia there's a special capsule collection that's been created for Veuve Clicquot summer frolicks (including the Veuve Clicquot polo on 21st July). Rather than going to your head, the bubbles go to your hands in a golden fizz filled Perspex clutch. And the corks aren't just for popping as Charlotte's used the squishy material for both wedges and shoe uppers. Properly genius.

    So while it's not yet time to bust that floral Christopher Kane frock you so hopefully bought back in February with golden May evenings in mind, try adding a shot of vitamin C to your look with a happy handbag.

    www.pierrehardy.com
    www.robertclergerie.com
    www.rogervivier.com
    www.charlotteolympia.com

  • What to see

    Watching Disgraced for a straight 90 minutes (no intermission) you'll most likely find yourself sitting, knees curled, toes dangling above the floorboards, knuckles coiled, pale and tense, breath held and attention locked.

    New Yorker Ayad Akhtar's new play, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for drama, accomplishes everything you hope for from a play, but so rarely get.

    Without spoiling the show (as the hand-raised-to-gaping-mouth-shock is of course paramount to the experience), the play is set in post-9/11 New York, and follows Amir a slick top-tier lawyer who although a Muslim and from Pakistan has muted his background, swapping his surname for Kapoor and tweaking his family lineage to Indian, and his white, American wife Emily, an artist who draws on Islamic themes and symbols in her work. The mood goes from still to carbonated when the couple host a dinner party at their Upper East Side Apartment, with Emily's (Jewish) art curator and his (African American) wife and colleague of Amir. 

    The skill, grace, wit and candour with which playwright Ayad Akhtar and director Nadia Fall traverse issues of race, religion and even, deep breath, terrorism is astonishing. Relevant, provoking without being unduly provocative, it is a piece of theatre not to be missed.

    By Bridget Arsenault

    Disgraced is showing at the Bush Theatre until June 29th
    www.bushtheatre.co.uk/production/disgraced

  • What to do

    This week, it was back to school but with a difference.

    The classroom was the private dining room at Koffmann's at The Berkeley Hotel, school slops lunch was replaced by Pierre Koffmann's signature Gascon cooking and the class was taught by art history super lecturer Linda Smith (who lectures at both Tate Britain and Tate Modern).

    I was dipping my toe into London Art Studies; intimate, sophisticated and fun one-day art history courses, the brainchild of Kate Gordon (ex-Sotheby's and CNN). Using her well-stuffed address book, Gordon has plucked some of London's best lecturers specializing in a broad range of periods and popped-up a class that runs throughout the year. Apart from learning, eating and nattering - the other joy about London Art Studies is that there's no commitment. Go to just one class a year - or three a week if you fancy.

    I can highly recommend the lecture day I attended, called 'Great Tarts in Art; High Culture and the Oldest Profession.' It was fun and fascinating learning about history's bad girls (Harriette Wilson, Annie Miller, Lillie Langtry amongst others) and how 'clothing them in art' made, basically pornographic images acceptable.

    "Learn. Art. Lunch." is Kate Gordon's motto. I'd like to add to that - school is wasted on the young.

    www.londonartstudies.com

    London Art Studies offered all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win a pair of tickets to a London Art Studies course of the winner's choice including lunch at Koffman's (worth £350). Don't miss out on future offers, sign up to the A-List.