PHOTO BY OLIVIER ZAHM
Graffiti artist, international nightlife entrepreneur and L'Officiel Hommes creative director, André Saraiva, has defined the chic set's late night antics with clubs like Le Bain in New York and Montana à Paris. For his next adventure, Saraiva will open his famed Le Baron, a favorite Paris hotspot (there's also an outpost in Tokyo) of fashionistas and fun-loving glitterati, in London. "I've always had a love affair with London," says Saraiva. "I used to come here to see bands and to buy clothes. It was the only place you could get Dr. Martens. And in the '80s and early '90s, I used to come and do graffiti here."
His new club, located behind a secret door in the basement of Kitchen Joël Antunès restaurant on Old Burlington Street, will embrace Saraiva's sentimental London memories. The walls are covered with artwork by the likes of Banksy, Tracey Emin, and Aaron Young. Saraiva's buddy, Purple Magazine's Olivier Zahm, has contributed photographs to decorate the space, and Saraiva collaborated on a graffiti text with Robert Montgomery. The artist-cum-it boy's infamous Mr. A tag, a winking stick figure crowned with a top hat, appears in neon inside the club and also takes the form of special VIP pins. They'll be distributed to Saraiva's favorite guests so they can easily slip past the heavily-guarded door. The music, which in his other clubs is a dance-all-night mix of old-school rap favorites and electro-pop, will be curated by the Cazals' Phil Bush. During the week, Le Baron London will also host live performances on an intimate stage.
Naturally, the interior has the sultry mood of his Paris space which, filled with red velvet booths and infinity mirrors, is set in an old brothel in the 8th arrondissement. "I'm bringing the sexiness of Paris, but with a touch of London and a touch of whatever we like," says Saraiva. There's be loads of neon, a foosball table (which gets Saraiva particularly excited) and what the professional party king describes as "really fun" bathroom attendants, who will sell guests cigarettes, condoms, and other late-night essentials.
The club's much-anticipated opening party will rock London tonight, when Saraiva teams up with Purple editor Olivier Zahm. "The whole family will be there," says Saraiva. And while he wouldn't say who exactly will be in attendance (nobody likes a name dropper), he assures that Le Baron patrons worldwide will be flying in to partake in the revelry. "I'm excited," he adds. "It's my new little toy. I can't wait to play with it." For those who can't make it to London for the grand opening, don't fret. Despite seemingly endless setbacks, Saraiva is aiming to open Le Baron New York in Chinatown come December.