Symons Street lit up last Wednesday as Chelsea’s smartest set turned out in force to celebrate the launch of Sabrina Percy’s Chelsea Girls exhibition at Kiki McDonough.
Sabrina’s striking series of digital artworks, in collaboration with Kiki McDonough, feature Alexandra Tolstoy, Jemima Cadbury, Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey, Stephanie Waxberg, Hattie West and Sabrina herself. Sabrina has depicted these talented, confident 21st century Chelsea girls wearing exquisite jewellery and she pays tribute to this iconic area of London with her colourful, contemporary designs.
Amber Le Bon, Rosanna Falconer, Tatiana Mountbatten, Zein Kurdi, Alexandra Tolstoy, Stephanie Peers and Jemima Cadbury were all in attendance to enjoy the launch of Chelsea Girls, with many sporting their own favourite pieces of Kiki McDonough jewellery.
Sabrina spoke passionately about the local area, its rich history and how she wove these elements into each painting. “I wanted to place everything geographically with an extra bit of substance”. She points out these interesting details, such as the fact that the exterior of Michelin House – “Where we used to have the tyres on my mother’s Mini changed!” Kiki recalls, – features a mosaic of the Michelin man holding a glass of wine “and it says Nuc Est Bibendum. Now is the time to drink!”
Sabrina appears in her own artwork alongside Albert Bridge, which Kiki considers “most people’s favourite bridge in London”.
Alexandra Tolstoy’s portrait is accompanied by a statue of Sir Hans Sloane, found in Duke of York Square, and Sabrina relishes in recalling the relevant anecdote. “The Natural History Museum says he’s responsible for inventing the recipe for chocolate milk. He sold it to Cadbury,” said with a grin in the direction of Jemima Cadbury, “which allowed him to buy the Chelsea Manor, which we now know as the Chelsea Physic Gardens.”
The level of detail and number of elements in each piece is remarkable, and Sabrina quotes classical oil painter Adam Miller in describing the challenge of using so much colour. “He says, ‘painting in black and white is like playing chess. Painting in colour is like playing chess in 3D’ which I totally agree with. There’s one challenge to get tonal depth, and the other to get the correct colour, especially skin tone.”
Visit Kiki McDonough on Symons Street, Chelsea to see the jewellery featured in Sabrina’s art and to see more of her illustrations visit her Instagram page. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!
All images by Dave Bennett.