Inside the AllBright

By Alexandra Zagalsky
AllBright Mayfair

Maddox Street in Mayfair has a little-known link to the suffragette movement. Emily Mary Osborn, a significant artist of the Victorian age and an important activist associated with the cause, studied at the Dickenson's Drawing Gallery, inaugurated in 1845 and originally located at number 18, now home to the Hana beauty salon. A founding member of the Society of Female Artists, Osborn was a signatory on an 1859 petition to the Royal Academy demanding that the school provide tuition to female students, an act that successfully led to women slowly being admitted into the institute in the years that followed.

Today, Maddox Street is home to a venue that Osborn and her fellow campaigners would surely have been proud of: The AllBright Townhouse, the UK's first female-only private members’ club for professional women, founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow OBE and former CEO of Hearst, Anna Jones. Opened in May 2019, the Mayfair club is spread over five floors and includes a large communal work space, a cosy members’ lounge, a loft-style events area, an all-day restaurant and bar, two roof terraces, as well as a wellness spa and fitness studio, all elegantly designed to provide a chic and welcoming environment where members can upskill, socialise and unwind among like-minded people at all stages of their career.

Once home to an auction house, the Townhouse demonstrates its creative edge with interiors that are bright, light and airy, characterised by a relaxed and eclectic style that combines sleek furniture pieces with statement lighting, plush patterned textiles and bold prints. Artworks are exclusively by female artists and include important contributions by modern and contemporary luminaries such as Diane Arbus, Gillian Wearing and Tracey Emin. The club also boasts two of Mayfair’s most lavish bathrooms, one covered in bright, lively motifs and glazed tiles, the other dressed entirely in pink with a rose and gold dragon print wallcovering by luxury interiors brand Clarence House.

The AllBright fulfils many roles. As a supporter of new business ventures, charity projects, female entrepreneurship initiatives and leadership programmes, the private members’ club turns ideas into action with a broad range of events encompassing panel discussions, career coaching sessions, networking lunches, mentoring courses and Q&A discussions, as well as more laid-back functions such as cocktail parties, DJ evenings, craft-making workshops, book launches and art exhibitions hosted by key industry players, celebrity speakers, influencers and innovators. Recent raconteurs and hosts include the journalist Emily Maitlis, the model and presenter Lisa Snowdon, Chelsea Women FC manager Emma Hayes and Vanessa Kingori OBE, who was recently announced as managing director of tech, media and telecoms at Google UK. ‘We have such a fantastic roll call of speakers, from fashion designer and podcast host Amanda Wakeley OBE to writer and comedian Viv Groskop,’ says CEO Viv Paxinos. ‘AllBright brings together women across all sectors – from retail, legal, finance and tech to name a few – and at all stages in their lives and careers. There is a magic to AllBright that is impossible to articulate, you have to just experience it for yourself.’

An oasis of calm dedicated to enrichment opportunities, AllBright also has a digital platform for virtual members offering over 200 courses and workshops covering topics as varied as financial investment, business branding, wellness advice and parenting support, fostering a sense of community and echoing the words of the club’s namesake, the late American politician and diplomat Madeleine Albright, who famously said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women’. With over 400,000 members online, AllBright’s “global sisterhood” is certainly a force for change.

For Londoners, The Townhouse’s 2024 calendar is shaping up to be a stimulating mix of work and play opportunities. For entrepreneurs interested in promoting gender inclusivity in the workplace, there’s the rare opportunity to glean insights from Denise Wilson, CEO of the government-backed FTSE Women Leaders Review on 21 March.

Alexandra Zagalsky writes about fashion, art and travel for The Daily TelegraphThe Week and Introspective Magazine