Tag Archives: London

London Fashion Week 2016: Who to Follow

London Fashion Week kicks off today and the talk leading up to the show largely focuses on the return of the revered fashion house Alexander McQueen to the lineup. Under the watchful eye of Creative Director Sarah Burton, the label is making a homecoming after 10 years for the Autumn-Winter ’16 collection. Joining McQueen in a comeback to London is leather goods brand Mulberry, now under the direction of new creative director Johnny Coca.

Alexander McQueen and Mulberry join nearly 80 designers in the UK capital to unveil their collections. Other notable names to look out for include Belstaff, Burberry, Christopher Kane and Vivienne Westwood. Meanwhile, newcomers include shoes and accessories brand Charlotte Olympia, which will host its first catwalk show this season, and Belgium brand A.F. Vandevorst. Another highlight will be the Topshop Unique show, which fashion photographer Nick Knight has been lined up to shoot, and which will be unveiled in real time on the brand’s Instagram account (which will be crazy cool).

For the first time in LFW history, around 35 million people across the UK will see content from the proceedings, including runway shows, on 60 outside screens in nine different cities thanks to a collaboration between media company Ocean Outdoor and The British Fashion Council (BFC). The event will also see around 200,000 copies of The Daily, the official LFW broadsheet, distributed around the city.

Meanwhile, the BFC has revealed that its official Mercedes Benz chauffeurs will drive fashionistas around 32,000 miles during the event, 200kg of Lavazza coffee beans will be ground to help keep everyone alert, and that 500 cans of label.m hairspray are predicted to be used backstage.

London Fashion Week runs February 19-23. For more information, click here.

 

5 Affordable Luxury Destinations Worldwide

The last time we went on a journey with TripAdvisor, we ended up catching a case of the travel bug with their list of romantic destinations. Being caring friends of ours, they have provided us with the perfect remedy to bring us back to earth and make an informed decision. Don’t tell anyone but Trip advisor has let us in on a little secret that could help save a cushy sum, without skimping on the extravagance. Rather than to simply book a holiday (as we were tempted to) when the travel bug bites, try to heed their advice and plan one during the off-peak season. Easier said than done we know but vacation rentals in various places during the off peak season would save you much more than you would think. We decided to explore a few options available and were pleasantly surprised at what we found. All prices listed are per week, accommodation only.

St. Barthelemy

Most affordable time to travel: All of November

The Caribbean island is better known as St. Barts, and as the chosen destination of those living the high life, it comes as a surprise that this would be an affordable option. In the peak season, expect to part with nearly SGD $20,000 but choose to travel in November and you would pay significantly less.

St. Barts

St. Barts

There is no shortage of villas for rent and the Villa Amancaya is one of that provides you both privacy as well as a view of the ocean. With five-bedrooms, it sits on the heights of Anse des Cayes and also comes with it’s own private swimming pool. On the same island is the equally well-appointed Amalie. The two-bedroom rental home is spacious and bright, thanks to the large French doors and windows. All rooms open up onto a balcony that overlooks the pool and view.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Most affordable time to travel: Mid to late May

Bring on the Hula skirts and puka shell necklaces! Another great option is Honolulu, Hawaii. Forget the crowded hotels. The best ways to immerse in the Polynesian culture would be to go snorkelling and scale the extinct volcano, Diamond Head.

Travel Best Beaches

Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Oahu, Honolulu

Normally a vacation rental in scenic Honolulu can set you back close to SG$5,000, but off-peak season in May would only cost around SG$3,000. Given that it is a national monument, having a view of the Diamond Head would be a treat. It is no wonder then that the two penthouse suites we have chosen boast some of the best views of it.  The first is the Kahakai Penthouse, on the Gold Coast of Hawaii. With two-bedrooms, the penthouse also boasts a view of the pristine blue waters. The other is another two-bedroom penthouse suite by Captain Cook Resorts. The floor-to-ceiling windows in almost every room, give you a wonderful view of the surrounding areas. It doesn’t hurt that the penthouse is situated on the 38th floor or that you are provided access to the 6th floor recreation deck.

London

Most affordable time to travel: Week of July 6th

Remember that a holiday doesn’t always have to be limited to the sun, the sand and the sea. It could involve a stiff upper lip, a visit to the Queen and some English tea. It will certainly be cool(ish) during this time of year but you look to save approximately SGD $2,000 if you travel during the first week of July.

Tower Bridge London

The Tower Bridge in London

There are several lovely accommodations in London that would cater to either families or larger groups who choose to travel together. We fell in love with this 6-bedroom family home in Bristol Gardens. Simply a short walk to Warwick Avenue Station and a 13- to 25-minute drive to Central London. Alternatively, if you are looking for a place that sleeps just four, might we suggest a cosy 2-bedroom apartment in Kensington. It is a stone’s throw away from Kensington Palace and down the road to several museums and the Royal Albert Hall, which in our opinion is a great deal.

Dubai

Most affordable time to travel: Early November and early December

Their star property is a man-made island that is considered an architectural feat on its own. Boasting infamous seven-star hotels and such, it is certainly tempting to book a room in the world’s tallest hotel. At less than SG$3,000, a vacation rental in Dubai during the off-peak season isn’t such a bad idea, especially if you wish to visit the Gold Souk or Gold and Diamond Park.Dubai1

Our take would be to try a few cosy vacation rentals on the luxurious beachfront that offer you the same view. The first is The Silverene on the Dubai Marina Waterfront. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the luxury apartment is in close proximity to the Dubai Marina Mall, with a water taxi stop at the doorstep. The other is an apartment at the Al Bateen residences. Located on a high-floor and boasting a clear view of the marina and sea, the four-bedroom five-bathroom accommodation also gives you direct access to a private beach and 24-hour concierge.

Sydney

Most affordable time to travel: Most of August

For our last-of-five destinations, we selected the land down under. Well known for kangaroos, koala bears, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydeny is one location that has both the ocean view with the sandy beaches as well as the city nightlife in one area. Expect to pay less than SG$2,000 for a vactaion rental in August, according to TripAdvisor.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

You don’t have to live within the Central Business District hence we selected two vacation rentals either within or not far from the city center. Our first choice is the two-bedroom Pyrmont Apartment, a 10-minute drive from Hyde Park. The apartment in a historical building also comes with two bathrooms, and has contemporary furnishings and fixtures. The second is the Sky Pad, a 15-minute walk away from St.Marys Cathedral and Hyde Park. The child-friendly one-bedroom apartment in the Darlinghurst suburb also overlooks the eastern region of Sydney.

First Delacroix Exhibit in 50 Years Opens

Later this week, The National Gallery in London, will present the first major Delacroix exhibition in half a century. Titled “Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art”, his influence on the works of artists such as Van Gogh, Matisse and Kandinsky is undeniable. Running till May 22, the exhibit will examine his influence following his death and showcase his talent.

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‘Pietà by Vincent Van Gogh, influenced by Delacroix

Delacroix’s use of bold colors, abstract shapes and liberating techniques broke the traditional rules and practices, paving the way for new styles in painting. His use of vigorous and expressive brushstrokes, his study of optical effect of color combined with his daring compositions and exotic subject inspired Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Symbolists and Fauves.

“To show Delacroix as a leader among his contemporaries and a spur to creativity among artists for 50 years after his death – up to the time of Matisse and Kandinsky – reaffirms his central role in the development of modern art,” said Christopher Riopelle, the National Gallery Curator of Post-1800 paintings.

The exhibition consists of more than 60 works borrowed from 30 museums around the world including Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay (Paris), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam). More than a third of it will be devoted to a survey of works by Delacroix himself. Some of the highlights include “Self Portrait” (around 1837), “The Death of Sardanapalus” (1846) and “Lion Hunt” (1861).

'Apotheosis of Delacroix' by Paul Cézanne, inspired by Delacroix

‘Apotheosis of Delacroix’ by Paul Cézanne, inspired by Delacroix

Another part of the exhibition will comprise works by artists of later generations and will explore Delacroix’s influence on them. Among the masterpieces on display will be Van Gogh’s “Pieta”, Cezanne’s “Apotheosis of Delacroix,” Bazille’s rarely seen Lla Toilette” and Matisse’s study for “Luxe, calme et volupté.”

The exhibition will wrap up with Kandinsky’s “Study for Improvisation V” (1910), as a means to illustrate a direct line of descent from the Romantic master to the origins of abstraction.

The Exhibition has been organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the National Gallery, London. For more information, click here.

Albert Adrià Begins London Residency

“50 Days by Albert Adrià” marks the famed (can you say elBulli) Spanish chef’s maiden project outside of Spain. The Cafè Royale, a landmark in its own right, will be a perfect fit to Adrià’s sterling reputation.

Apart from hosting notable luminaries such as Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger and Bowie, the hotel is also well known for being the second home of Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. While Wilde simply dined and polished off bottomless glasses of absinthe in search of inspiration, Adrià is set to leave his own impression of the hotel. The locations of his pop-up are set to be in the hotel restaurant The Domino Room and in the Oscar Wilde Bar.

Guests can choose between the full cocktail and dinner experience which starts at the bar before moving up to the restaurant for dinner, or opt simply for the cocktails. Pre-dinner drinks and dinner is estimated to be a two and a half-hour affair.

Adrià is best known in the food world for serving as brother Ferran’s other half at the experimental Girona restaurant elBulli (sometimes called El Bulli in the press), which famously snagged the title of World’s Best Restaurant five times before shuttering in 2011. Time magazine has also called him one of the most influential chefs in gastronomy.

“50 Days by Albert Adrià” is the latest collaborative project for the Spaniard, one of several chefs at the forefront of a gastronomic movement that elevates dinner into an artistic, musical and theatrical experience.

In a partnership with Cirque du Soleil, the brothers opened what was pitched as an adult theme park at the Ibiza Gran Hotel last summer.

At Heart Ibiza, the hotel’s dining and entertainment complex, dinner became a multi-sensory experience with video and light projections, live performances, virtual reality installations and international DJs.

Meanwhile, Adrià’s London pop-up runs Feb. 12 to April 9 and bookings must be reserved ahead of time.

Tickets are £150 ($217) for the full experience and require a £50 ($72) deposit. A waiting list has been opened.

Tickets for Cocktails by Albert Adrià require a £10 ($14) deposit. 

Christie’s: Post-War and Contemporary auctions

Before the weekend begins, British auction house Christie’s will be selling the works of more than 250 artists. The two-day auction in London will see an international selection of Post-War and Contemporary works including, most notably, those of Francis Bacon, Yves Klein and Lucian Freud.

Beginning on the evening of February 11, the first auction will shine a spotlight on major achievements of British art over the past 50 years. The auction will feature two of Freud’s most personal portraits of his daughters. “Head of Esther” (1982-3) and “Head of lb” (1983-4) have been included in all of Freud’s major retrospectives, including at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Tate Britain London. Both feature warm hues and are done with subtle strokes of impasto. “Head of Esther” is estimated to be worth between £2.5 and £3.5 million ($3,640,000 – $5,096,000), as is “Head of lb”.

Lucian Freud's "Head of Esther"

Lucian Freud’s “Head of Esther”

Francis Bacon’s “Two Figures” (1975) will also be a centerpiece in the evening auction. This is a self-portrait of Bacon, conjoined with the figure of Bacon’s muse and lover, George Dyer. Bacon made the painting in Paris shortly after Dyer’s suicide in 1971. Michael Peppiatt, Bacon’s biographer and curator, will be selling the painting. A close personal friend of the artist, Peppiatt acquired the work directly from Bacon. “Two Figures” is estimated to be worth £5 to £7 million ($7,280,000 – $10,192,000).

Francis Bacon's "Two Figures"

Francis Bacon’s “Two Figures”

The day auction on February 12 celebrates the art of portraiture. Yves Klein’s work will be one of the highlights. His “Untitled Anthropometry (ANT118)” (main picture; circa 1960) presents a blue corporeal form suspended within a pale void. The painting is a large scale example of Klein’s “Anthropométries” series. The artist’s signature International Klein Blue (IKB) pigment traces the human form in these works. “Anthropometry (ANT118)” belongs to a subset of “Anthropométries” in which the human form appears caught in a transcendental act of levitation. The painting is expected to fetch between £8 and £14 million ($11,648,000 – $20,384,000).

For more information on the Post-War and Contemporary evening and day auctions, visit Christie’s official website.

Fashion Utopia Comes to London

Emerging voices and visions in fashion will be front and center at upcoming London Fashion Week this month. Fashion designers from 24 countries will create fashion installations at the city’s Somerset House in an exhibition called “Fashion Utopias” and it is all thanks to a most unlikely inspiration: Sir Thomas More. The building’s west wing will be transformed into a Utopian terrain, designed by Hatty Ellis Coward, where an emerging generation of international designers and curators will present their vision of the future.

Across 14 galleries, 13 of which will represent 13 countries, designers will unveil creations on a theme that honors the 500th anniversary of the publication of More’s inspirational text, Utopia. There will be one group installation, “Next in Line”, which will feature designers from the 11 remaining nations.

It is the fifth annual edition of the British Council and the British Fashion Council’s International Fashion Showcase (IFS) initiative, which explores the link between fashion and contemporary culture.

Indonesia_Dian Pelangi_Dion Muharrom

Nationalities represented in the 2016 exhibition include Austria, Czech Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia (above), Lebanon, Korea (top), Nigeria, Portugal, Philippines, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. Argentina, Bahrain, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates will feature in the Next in Line installation.

Highlights are set to include Guatemala’s installation, where each designer will create miniature versions of their designs as traditional worry dolls, and Indonesia, where each designer will represent an essential element – earth, fire, water and wind. Each designer from Lebanon will create a customized piece for IFS in the unifying shade of blue, while Lagos Fashion and Design Week will curate an installation of Nigerian menswear and womenswear that imagines the creative energy of designers as a cosmic bang.

Fashion Utopias will run February 19 – 23. A winning Country and Designer, as well as a “Curator Award” sponsored by mannequin creator Bonaveri, will be announced on February 21 during London Fashion Week.

Zaha Hadid Awarded Royal Gold Medal

Honored as a Dame Commander of the British Empire for her work four years ago, architect Zaha Hadid has made history by becoming the first individual woman to be awarded Britain’s Royal Gold Medal earlier this week. She is best known for her work on the Guangzhou Opera House and the Aquatics Centre in London. The Iraqi-British architect was selected and approved personally by Queen Elizabeth II and presented the award by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

“I am very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honor in her own right,” Hadid said.

“We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress.”

Hadid joins Frank Gehry, Norman Foster and Frank Lloyd Wright in receiving the medal, which has been awarded since 1848 to groups or individuals who have had a strong influence “either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”.

Hadid’s work is recognizable for its sweeping curves, but has sometimes been criticized for extravagance and cost overruns.

Most recently, she was embroiled in a row after Japan ditched her design for a new national stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as expenses spiralled and due to complaints over the design.

Fellow architect Peter Cook, a founder of avant-garde group Archigram which won the award in 2002, praised Hadid as he presented the medal.

“Let’s face it, we might have awarded the medal to a worthy, comfortable character. We didn’t, we awarded it to Zaha: larger than life, bold as brass and certainly on the case,” Cook said.

“Our heroine. How lucky we are to have her in London.”

Hong Kong is Most Visited City in the World

For the sixth year in a row, come rain or high water as they say, Hong Kong is the most visited city on the planet. With 27.8 million international arrivals, the Special Administrative Region tops the Euromonitor International’s Top 100 City Destinations Ranking for 2014. Yes, 2014 because apparently the data has just been compiled for that year according to the AFP report on it. The numbers reported are based on overall arrivals, not just high net worth individuals and a UBS report on the most expensive cities to visit in 2015 lists London (five-star hotel rates at $400 per night) ahead of Hong Kong ($250 per night). In Asia, Tokyo ($500 per night) and Shanghai ($470 per night) are both ahead of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also cheaper, all-costs included, than either of those cities – $640 versus $1,000 (Tokyo) and $670 (Shanghai); the 2015 UBS report excludes Singapore.

Speaking of which, London ($750 per night, all costs in) surpassed Bangkok and Singapore to take second place on the Euromonitor list. London is the top European city in terms international arrivals followed by Paris ($890 per night, all costs in) in fifth, which is exactly in line with news reports citing London as a city of choice for Chinese travellers. North America’s most visited city and the only one in the top 10 was New York ($1,030 cost per night, all-costs-in, to visit) in eighth. By our count, this makes London, Paris and New York the most popular and most expensive cities to visit. We are not sure if “most expensive” is a tag any city really wants to have though…

Rio de Janeiro showed the highest jump in international arrivals with a 46.6% increase due to the FIFA World Cup and will likely see similar jumps in 2016, thanks to the Olympics. Greece had a record year in 2014: three Greek cities made the Top 100 with Athens seeing double-digit growth.

Kiev did not make the Top 100 for the first time due to geopolitical tension in the region. Saint Petersburg and Moscow saw double digit declines.

The United States and China top the rankings with seven cities each in the ranking.

For more information and the complete list of Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations Ranking, you can find it here.

In Pictures: Burberry AW16 Menswear

The London Collections menswear showcase was disrupted by the passing of David Bowie last week, followed shortly after by Alan Rickman’s death. Nevertheless, the fashion beat marches on and digital powerhouse Burberry, as previously reported, even found a way to include a moving impromptu tribute to Bowie in the autumn/winter 2016 show itself. The show brought a mix of styles together with aplomb, drawing on casual, sportswear and military influences. This is actually the first look the world gets at how Burberry will merge its Brit, London and Prorsum lines, which explains the mixing of styles in practical terms.

Even with the discomfiting pairing of tailored jackets with track pants, some things stay the same. Military detail has been seen everywhere at this year’s London autumn/winter menswear shows and this trend is a fixture at Burberry. This time jackets and coats led the way with metal military buttons and double-breasted cuts (as seen above). Dark colors reigned supreme, with navy blue, burgundy and dark green shades setting the tone.

burberry_menswear_aw16

Fur is back and is already dividing critics…

burberry_menswe.b7105085734.h0

The parade of different looks made for an entertaining runway show, despite the funereal tone

burberry_menswe.aa605085515.h0

It is immediately obvious that the newly combined styles may not work so well in stores

burberry_menswe.57ead085308.h0

We end the story on a high note. This bomber jacket has been receiving rave reviews everywhere

 

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and images from the AFP.

Tribute to ‘Style King’ Bowie at London Fashion Week

The Starman told them not to blow it and they didn’t. In the middle of Burberry’s London fashion show, a model showed her palms to photographers, displaying a name written in big black capital letters: “Bowie”.

To the sound of the late singer’s hits, the British label’s CEO and creative director Christopher Bailey welcomed the few hundred people invited to the unveiling of Burberry’s new menswear collection as London Men’s Fashion Week drew to a close.

“He’s a complete legend. We will all miss his creativity, his style and the elegant way that he approached everything,” said Bailey, who was born in 1971, the year Bowie released seminal song “Life on Mars”.

“I grew up with him. He’s kind of been an undercoat to my creative life forever,” he told reporters in the city where Bowie grew up.

A brilliant and visionary musician, David Bowie experimented with a kaleidoscope of images and styles as a counterpoint to his musical adventures. One of his best-known hits is named “Fashion”.

Dubbed the “King of Style” by some fashionistas, he had recently worked with British designer Paul Smith on the artwork for his latest album, Blackstar.

“A lot of people are considered celebrities today when they have only experienced popularity for one or two years, but he was exposed to the public for about 46 years, and so his talent was very very clear, very impressive,” Smith said.

For Men’s Fashion Week the designer recreated his first shop replete with items that influenced him – including many nods to the singer, such as a book of Bowie photos.

Tributes from sartorial tastemakers flowed from beyond London.

For French designer Jean Paul Gaultier, whose avant-garde work includes designs influenced by Bowie, the musician was an “absolute rock star” and a “cult” in his own right.

“Personally, he inspired me with his creativity, his extravagance, his sense of reinvention, his allure, his elegance and playfulness with genre,” he added.

The flashy makeup and striking red mullet of “Ziggy Stardust”-era Bowie inspired Gaultier’s 2011 ready-to-wear spring-summer collection.

Fellow French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac saluted Bowie on France’s RTL radio station, declaring Bowie “a cosmic pioneer in all fields.”

By the Numbers: London Collections Men 2016

As fashion observers flock to see the big names such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Belstaff and Christopher Kane, all eyes will be on the Autumn/Winter 2016 collections. But a person can’t survive on Moschino and Paul Smith alone… Ahead of our coverage of the shows themselves, here is everything you need to know about the backstage habits of the London fashion scene, in numbers, courtesy of the AFP:

9,000 specially designed Lavazza coffe cups, created by Agi&Sam, will be used during the event.

9,000 cans of still and sparkling CanO Water will be served up to thirsty creatives.

6,500 bottles of Warsteiner lager will be consumed during the festivities.

5,000 cappuccinos will be sipped.

2,500 bags of popcorn will be eaten (presumably not all of them by the models).

2,000 GQ magazines will be read on-site.

750 Johnnie & Ginger cocktails will be served at the River Island Fashion Film event.

190 VIPs will be the lucky recipients of luxury gifts from Murdock London.

90 meters of catwalk will host shows at the main Victoria House venue, with 43 additional meters used at the 180 Strand venue.

80 Floris candles will be burned over the course of LCM.

70 kilograms of Lavazza coffee beans will be ground and served.

39 London addresses will host shows or presentations.

LCM runs January 8-11. For more information see the official site.

Aston Martin Window Display at Harrod’s

When we heard about this tribute to Aston Martin at Harrod’s, we had to cover it. Our readers have shown a persistent affection for the brand (this is one of our all-time most-popular stories) and what they love, they get more of. Basically, the AFP is reporting that three Aston Martin cars will take over the Harrods storefront window in London as part of a month-long celebration of the British-made automobile.

Aston Martins have been synonymous with James Bond films for the last 50 years. The DB10 being shown at Harrods was built specifically for the latest Bond film Spectre. Also on display is the new Austin Martin model DB9 GT (below). Arguably the most famous of Aston Martins, the DB5, can be seen at the luxury department store in the Knightsbridge area, as well. This model was released in 1963 and set a standard for Aston Martins to follow with its improvement in performance.

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition

As an aside, we published a photo essay pitting the DB5 against the Vanquish right here. Ok, back to the story on hand.

Aston Martin specialists will be at Harrod’s throughout an accompanying exhibition to provide visitors with insight into the cars and their product range. If we were able to make it to this exhibition, you know how we would be harassing… The window display and the exhibition will run until January 28.

DB5 vs Vanquish

DB5 vs Vanquish. By Andy Wee

13 Hotels We are Waiting for in 2016

From the highly anticipated opening of a Toy Story-themed hotel at Shanghai Disney, to the grand reopening of two iconic Parisian landmarks, 2016 will be a big year for the luxury hotel market. While tens of thousands of new properties will open their doors for the first time in 2016, here is a selection of properties that are noteworthy for raising the bar in luxury, marking a milestone, or helping to transform the local tourism landscape.

Europe

In the last few years, Paris saw the temporary shuttering of two of its most iconic and luxurious hotels, the Ritz Paris and Hotel Crillon. This year, they will compete for attention as both are slated to re-open their doors after extensive and lengthy renovations.

Ritz Paris (March, 2016)

The hotel has been undergoing renovations since July 2012 – the biggest makeover in the hotel’s 117 year-old history. The refurbishment includes a new spa by luxury fashion brand Chanel, called “Chanel au Ritz Paris.” The hotel began accepting reservations for stays starting March 14, 2016.

Hotel de Crillon, Paris (2016)

With a history dating back to 1758, the Hotel Crillon (pictured above) is a veritable institution in Paris, located at Place de la Concorde where the Champs-Elysees begins. In 2013, it was announced that Rosewood Hotels & Resorts would take over the management of the property. The restoration will entail a contemporary overhaul led by Lebanese artistic director Aline d’Amman and architect Richard Martinet. It was also announced that Karl Lagerfeld has been commissioned to design two suites. An exact opening date has yet to be disclosed.

Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch, London (First quarter of 2016)

Nobu Hospitality (pictured below), co-owned by Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro, has announced plans to open its first European hotel in London’s trendy Shoreditch area in 2016. Expected to open in the first quarter of the year, the hotel’s five storeys are fractured into angular balconies and cantilevered steel beams using printed layered, glass and reflective facades to play with reflection and light. The hotel will be comprised of 156 rooms while the dining options will be helmed by chef Matsuhisa.

Il Sereno Lake Como, Italy (Spring 2016)

This five-star boutique hotel will be the sister establishment of the luxurious Le Sereno Saint Barths. Located 6 km from the center of Como and 50 minutes from Milan, the design of the new 30-room hotel has been overseen by Patricia Urquiola, who has focused on natural materials to create an aesthetic that is both timeless and full of character, intimate and casual. Urquiola’s studio will also design the interior of the ferry that will shuttle guests around the lake. Room rates will range from 600 to 4500 euros.

nobu shoreditch

Nobu Hotel

Africa

The Oberoi Marrakech (Third quarter of 2016)

Located 20 minutes from the city center, the luxurious property is built within 25 acres of citrus orchards and ancient olive groves. Each villa and suite comes with a private pool and views of the Atlas mountains, while rooms are spacious, modern and feature handcrafted Moroccan design features. The brand’s signature spa is built on a private island on a lake within the orchard, and offers Ayurvedic and Moroccan-inspired treatments. Facilities also include Moroccan hammams, yoga studio and outdoor pavilion.

Americas

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown (mid-2016)

Billed as the little sister to its flagship New York property in Midtown, the second Four Seasons hotel will open in the Tribeca district, a short stroll from the new World Trade Center, Wall Street and the Soho neighborhood and serve as a dual residential and hotel property. The 185 rooms are designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Dining will be provided by Wolfgang Puck and his CUT steakhouse restaurant and bar.

The James Hotel, Los Angeles (2016)

Once construction is complete in 2016, The James Hotel will open the doors to the first new ground-up hotel in West Hollywood in 30 years. The boutique property will open in the heart of Sunset Strip at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards, and house 286 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop and lobby bar. The LA location will be the third for the brand after locations in Chicago and New York. The brand’s philosophy embraces wellness, sustainability, local art and culture.

Il Sereno Lake Como

Il Sereno Lake Como

Middle East

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, UAE (2016)

Located in the heart of the new Central Business District, the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island will mark the first hotel for the chain in the Emirati capital. The property will open along a stretch of prime waterfront, and house a retro-modern Chicago steakhouse, cocktail bar, and poolside restaurant. Along with 200 rooms, the property will also feature 124 private and serviced residences.

St. Regis Cairo, Egypt (October 2016)

Organized as two towers, the St. Regis will house 292 lavish rooms that includes 63 suites. The mixed use property will also offer 99 guest apartments and 117 residences. Located on the north end of Corniche Road, rooms will offer views of the Nile River and in proximity to the pyramids and retail area.

Asia

Wynn Palace Cotai, Macau (June 25, 2016)

Originally scheduled to open in March 2016, the ambitious Wynn Palace Cotai will be delayed by another three months for a set date of June 25. The $4.1 billion, floral-themed property features 1,700 rooms spanning 28 storeys, and an artificial lake. To enter the grounds, guests will board air-conditioned SkyCabs that cross the 8-acre Performance Lake into the heart of the resort. Like its predecessors, the Wynn Palace will house an opulent spa, salon, luxury retailers and gourmet dining restaurants.

Mandarin Oriental, Bali (End of 2016)

Located on the southern Bukit peninsula, the luxury hotel group’s newest property will be built on elevated terraces to offer commanding views of the Indian Ocean. The resort will be comprised of 97 villas, each with a private pool and 24 guestrooms. The signature restaurant will be a cliff-top, cantilevered dining space with sweeping ocean views. Guests will also be able to indulge in luxurious spa services that include Balinese treatments.

Shanghai Disney (Spring 2016)

After experiencing construction delays, the opening of Disney’s third theme park in Asia after Hong Kong and Tokyo is expected to open its pearly gates in spring. When it does, the park will also open the doors to two highly anticipated themed hotels, The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and a Toy Story Hotel. Not particularly encouraging is the image supplied for this story but we digress! At the Art Nouveau-inspired Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, guests will be greeted by bronze statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, while Toy Story fans will find Woody and Buzz Lightyear at the hotel courtyard.

Rosewood Phuket (2016)

To open on Emerald Bay in Western Phuket, the luxury property will be comprised of 80 villas and 32 residences that are designed to blend in with its natural hillside forest surroundings. Retractable glass walls will provide guests with unobstructed views of their environment, while garden rooftops and cantilevered structures will help the villas meld with the landscape. Dining options include a rustic Thai seafood eatery on the beach, poolside eatery, bistro and terrace bar, while a Sense spa will feature six spa villas and a swimming pool.

Shanghai Disney

Shanghai Disney

Burberry Goes 3D Interactive with NOVA

British fashion label Burberry is partnering with DreamWorks Animation’s newly formed technology company NOVA on a new 3D interactive marketing campaign. You can discover the fruits of this partnership right now, if you are in London.

The technologically progressive company has designed a digital experience featuring computer-generated versions of its iconic heritage scarf, which users will be able to personalize and play with on the world-famous ‘Curve’ screen in Piccadilly Circus, London.

The campaign will allow users to monogram their favorite Burberry scarves on their mobile devices, see them appear on the giant screen and even have the option of purchasing the modified item online or at the nearby Regent Street flagship store.

The experience launched December 14 at 10am GMT and is running 24 hours a day through December 31. If you happen to try it out, be sure to share your experience of this pioneering moment in luxury.

Alexander McQueen returns to London Fashion Week

British fashion gets one of its sexiest names back next year for Fashion Week, well sort of. Alexander McQueen will present its Fall/Winter 2016 collection at London Fashion Week in February, one of many highlights of the LFW schedule, which was revealed December 10.

The London-based house usually shows in Paris, and its return to its home city will be for one season only, according to the brand.

The label’s announcement was made as the British Fashion Council revealed the official schedule for London Fashion Week, which runs from February 19-23.

Among other notable additions are shoe designer Charlotte Olympia and Mulberry, which will debut the first collection of new creative director Johnny Coca.

See the full schedule here.

Burberry Celebrates Claridge’s 2015 Christmas Tree

Burberry and Claridge’s recently co-hosted an event to celebrate the Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2015 designed by Burberry’s own CEO, Christopher Bailey.

The glamorous occasion held at the Claridge’s lobby was attended by more than 300 guests including Bailey himself, Lily James, Matt Smith, Alice Eve, Tracey Emin and Sam Rollinson.

The statuesque Christmas Tree features almost 100 umbrellas, each finished in bespoke gold and silver metallic fabric while its 77,000 individual lights are conceptualized to burst into thousands of twinkling beams as the guests walk by.

 

Note: This story is an update on an earlier post on the same subject. Click to see the story here.

Human Tears Used as Cocktail Ingredient

When we discovered that the AFP had picked up this story about London culinary studio and events group Bompas & Parr, we couldn’t resist adapting it. Since we first toured the facilities there – as part of the Johnnie Walker “Symphony in Blue” event – we have been on the lookout for odd news from Rushworth Street. Well, this is certainly one quest that ended in tears – literally. The lads at Bompas & Parr are launching a cocktail workshop blending spirits, herbs, spices, and human tears, according to the AFP and Business Insider.

Yes, human tears are now ready for consumption, after being pasteurized of course. Well, it could be a useful reminder to go easy on the drink lest the night end in tears… The parties responsible here are Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, perhaps the most exciting duo in culinary experimentation. When we visited, the dynamic folks there were demonstrating the wondrous properties of gallium (something you definitely don’t want to consume) and this was our introduction to the unusual focus on building culinary experiences. We also walked into a whisky tornado, a spinning column of drinkable whisky vapor, at “Symphony in Blue” – a celebration of Johnnie Walker Blue Label of course. The whisky tornado was something Bompas & Parr created at their Rushworth Street studios. They wowed us again in Singapore, this time for ice-cream brand Magnum. Both experiences will stay with us a long time to come.

In this tale of teardrop mixology, you will need £25 (about US$38) to participate in the workshop – the only way to truly savor what Bompas & Parr do. Your own tears will be extracted using various methods, including massage and menthol, before being added to bottles of bitter. These can then be taken home, with an extra bottle making a very personal gift for a loved one this Christmas.

The workshop will be held December 15 at the company’s British Museum of Food in London’s Borough Market at 7pm. If you do go, ask them how exactly the gallium figured into anything…

Sleep with Lions at London Zoo

Fancy a room with a zoo? London Zoo began taking bookings December 3 for a new safari lodge it is building in the lion enclosure to allow visitors to get a taste of exotic holidays in the center of the capital.

The “room with a zoo” is located in the Land of the Lions exhibit, which will be home to a breeding group of endangered Asiatic lions when it opens next year.

An overnight stay costs between £378 (US$567) and £558 (US$837) for two people, including a drink and two-course dinner, breakfast, an overnight stay in a lodge and a tour before the zoo opens.

Emma Taylor, head of product development at the zoo, said in a statement that it would be “a fantastic experience unlike any other, sleeping near to our magnificent Asiatic lions”.

Visitors will stay at the Gir Lion Lodge, a collection of nine wooden cabins “within roaring distance” inside the enclosure and surrounded by protective fence.

The accommodation design is inspired by guest houses close to the lions’ native habitat in the Gir Forest, a protected area of western India which is a safari destination and the only place where Asiatic lions remain in the wild.

Asiatic lions, which are smaller than African lions, were hunted to the brink of extinction before their population recovered to number about 500 in the wild.

London Zoo hopes that its lion exhibit will help its conservation efforts in India, where it plans to help patrolling efforts, train local staff and educate local communities.

British Fashion Awards 2015: Winners List

From Alessandro Michele to Karl Lagerfeld and  Stella McCartney, a long list of stellar fashion designers were honored at the recent British Fashion Awards.

Taking place at the London Coliseum, the awards were voted by over 800 key influencers of the fashion industry, making it one of the most prestigious fashion awards ceremonies of the year.

Forty five names were nominated and by the end of the night, 17 of them were awarded including Karl Lagerfeld, Alessandro Michele, Jourdan Dunn and Stella McCartney.

Without further ado, here are the full list of winners for the British Fashion Awards 2015:

 

Emerging Womenswear Designer: Thomas Tait

Emerging Menswear Designer: Grace Wales Bonner

Emerging Accessory Designer: Jordan Askill

Red Carpet: Tom Ford (Accepted on behalf of Tom Ford by Lady Gaga)

Model: Jourdan Dunn

Outstanding Achievement: Karl Lagerfeld

Creative Campaign: Burberry

International Designer: Alessandro Michele for Gucci

New Establishment Designer: Mary Katrantzou

Establishment Designer: Erdem

Brand: Stella McCartney

Isabella Blow Award For Fashion Creator: Nick Knight OBE

British Style – Fashion Innovator: FKA Twigs

British Style – Red Carpet Ambassador: Gwendoline Christie

Accessory Designer: Charlotte Olympia

Menswear Designer: J.W.Anderson

Womenswear Designer: J.W.Anderson Presented by Noomi Rapace

 

(Source and Images: @britishfashioncouncil)

Claridges Christmas tree 2015

Christopher Bailey’s Claridge’s Christmas tree revealed

Fashion designer has been getting into the festive spirit with his latest project — a Christmas tree for Claridge’s hotel in London.

The Burberry Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer’s “Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2015” has been unveiled in the hotel lobby, and the result is in striking contrast to the art deco design of the venue.

Exploring the concept of light interaction, the tree draws inspiration from Burberry’s longstanding heritage of providing protection against the elements, and the brand’s history in pushing digital boundaries through its physical experiences. The motion-responsive structure features almost 100 umbrellas, each finished in bespoke gold and silver metallic fabric. It also features the interactive element of 77,000 individual lights, which will be triggered as guests walk by, sending thousands of twinkling beams into the hotel’s lobby.

“It is so wonderful to see the tree in such an incredible setting as part of Claridge’s seasonal celebrations, I hope that it helps to bring guests a sense of festive fun,” said Bailey.

In true Burberry social media-savvy style, the UK fashion house has designed a Snapchat geo-filter that will enable all Snapchat users to frame their snaps with metallic Burberry umbrellas inspired by those on the Christmas Tree. The filter, which launches Monday, will be accessible to all Claridge’s visitors throughout the festive season, and is part of an on-going creative partnership between Burberry and Snapchat.

Claridge’s designer Christmas tree has become something of a festive tradition over the past six years, with previous creatives including Dolce & Gabbana. Christopher Bailey and Claridge’s will be hosting a private event on the stairs of the hotel’s lobby on Wednesday, November 18. Images from that event are here.

Claridges Christmas tree 2015

 

Burberry also co-hosted an exclusive star-studded party in celebration of the collaboration with Claridge’s. Click to view the story here.