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Clive Christian’s Crowning Glory By The Luxury Channel

Luxury British brand Clive Christian Perfume is honouring its unique provenance with the Crown Collection from Clive Christian, reimagining key perfumes and reviving the perfumed past of its predecessor, the Crown Perfumery Company. Telling scented stories that echo throughout the eras, these perfumes bring to life archive and historic scents, reimagined for the modern-day perfume connoisseur.

Searching through the Crown Perfumery Company archives, Clive Christian has researched some of the most infamous scents from this revolutionary British perfume house; loved by the aristocracy, artists and actors of the Victorian era and beyond. Select perfumes will be uncovered from history, taking inspiration from a unique heritage, whilst remaining true to the Clive Christian traditions of concentration, complexity and a dedication to using the finest ingredients.

Matsukita is the latest perfume to join the collection, celebrating a prestigious perfume history spanning nearly two hundred years. A striking red jewel has been created for a regal and British finish, reflecting the perfume house’s origins. The presentation case showcases the unique history, with an archive image hidden for discovery beneath each bottle. The symbol for this new collection is none other than the delicate motif of the Crown Perfumery Company; a symbol guarded by the perfume house as a sign of excellence and perfume quality, being as it was the only house ever to have been granted permission to use Queen Victoria’s crown on its bottles – an image that defines every bottle of Clive Christian perfume to this day, as each bottle is topped with a signature crown stopper.

Matsukita is an infamous Crown Perfumery scent first created in 1892. Inspired by a fabled Japanese princess who awed the Victorian royal court with her elegance and grace, this perfume was heavily advertised with hand-painted illustrations during the late 1800s. Today, Matsukita has been reimagined to capture this illusive elegance. A fresh and invigorating top of green bergamot, pink pepper and a hint of nutmeg delves into a floral and woody heart of Chinese imperial jasmine with smoky black tea, complemented by a base of ambers, whispering musks and woods to give a warm and sensual finish. A sense of mystery and grace is captured in this unique new perfume.

Clive Christian commissioned Japanese artist Yukako Sakakura to create a signature piece using her uniquely beautiful and illustrative style, fusing modernity with a classic elegance that perfectly reflects the reimagining of this perfume. She has created a beautiful interpretation of the scent inspired by its unique notes, capturing its essence with her abstract designs. Her painting moves like the steps taken by the elegant Japanese princess who inspired the perfume with a graceful yet lively colour palette. The piece measures at one metre squared and will be framed by Clive Christian Furniture.

Matsukita by the Crown Collection from Clive Christian launches with selected partners from March 2021, and globally from April 2021, priced at £325 / $450. For further information, visit

Kelly Hoppen’s Interior Trends For 2021 By Kelly Hoppen

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen shares her interior trend predictions for 2021….

Writing trends for 2021 could seem, in some ways, trivial and unimportant, given the world we are living in right now. However, for many of us, the home has been integral to this year, and will continue to be the site for innovative and exciting interior design as COVID-19 continues to change the demands for our living spaces. We are becoming increasingly more focused on sustainable and conscious living, and in 2021 the main trends in interior design will reflect these ever important priorities. Over the last 8 months we have all learned so much about how we use our homes, and one of the prominent things that has emerged is learning how to live harmoniously with other people in your space. ‘Zoning’ your home into various spaces for different activities is a design concept I have talked about before; however, this year it has come to the forefront as an authentic solution to the creating multi-functional homes. Designers will move away from open-plan homes, and those with open-plan spaces already will prioritise storage, in order to allow for home offices, study spaces or gym equipment to be packed away and replaced by another function. Using Crittall windows will facilitate zoning whilst also acting as a beautiful internal feature – they will also help add a modern touch to an older property.

One of the key trends of 2021 will focus on hygiene. At Kelly Hoppen Interiors, we have worked in Asia for 25 years, and I believe that we will see the UK and the rest of the world adopt these hygienic design measures. Designers will factor specifically dedicated rooms for washing and sanitising into their projects, and utilise more easy-to-clean materials with minimal grooves or indentations. The necessity of having facemasks, sanitisers and shoe covers in the house will mean more of us investing in beautiful baskets or vases to store these essentials in a stylish way.

After a year in which we have spent an unprecedented amount of time in the home, it’s become apparent that the home should be a functional sanctuary which is practical, comfortable and brings joy. In 2021, homes will be designed to be an authentic reflection of the individual, expressed through more personalised art and quirky features. With the kitchen, now more than ever, being the heart of the home, interiors are moving towards authenticity and practicality, and away from the traditional nature of the dining room.

Whilst wood, stone and marble will remain popular, flooring will see rugs and carpets making a comeback in our living spaces. This furnishing brings softness and warmth by utilising unique texture combinations which haven’t entered the mainstream before. Weaving innovative combinations of luxurious materials into rugs has been something I have already embarked upon this year with my Loloey rug collection, which combines exquisite silk, linen and fabrics with classic merino wool. For all soft furnishings, strong geometric shapes will be used in conjunction with fluid and dynamic lines to bring balance to interiors.

Of course, neutrals will continue to be the foundational palette for modern yet timeless and elegant interiors. Warm and cool neutrals will act as the grounding base for the home, whilst strong accent colours will inject fun and character into rooms without being overwhelming. I am personally excited to experiment with vibrant touches of Emperor Yellow, Burnt Orange and Aqua Blue, alongside classic accents of gold and silver.

2021 will be the year of the statement piece, and lighting will be a key element of this. Huge centre ceiling lights will be popular, and will be paired with hidden up-lighting for a warmer glow in bedrooms and living rooms. Hanging lights are a beautiful way to make an impact in a room, whilst still offering a soft and homely feel. Larger beds will create a statement and make a bedroom appear bigger, whilst fulfilling our need for comfort. There are incredible statement pieces to be found in vintage shops; with the urgency for sustainable living growing, investing in antique items will become an increasingly popular and resourceful way to reuse and recycle when curating a space.

As we spend more time outdoors with friends and family, our gardens will take centre stage as a safe place where we can see loved ones. As such, people will invest more time curating a practical and aesthetically pleasing outside space into the perfect socialising, relaxing and leisure area. The priorities of home buyers will also change to focus more on outdoor space, following this year’s need and newfound appreciation for the great outdoors.

For more information about Kelly Hoppen Interiors, go to

David Harber Unveils Biggest Sculptures To Date By The Luxury Channel

Award-winning British sculptor David Harber has unveiled his biggest pieces of artwork to date for a monumental project at the Operations Complex and headquarters for Denver Water, the utility that provides safe, high quality drinking water for 1.5 million residents of Colorado’s capital city, Denver, and its surrounding suburbs. Commissioned by leading US art consultancy NINE dot ARTS, Harber was invited to design two bespoke sculptures for the site, resulting in a customised version of his classic “Hydra” sculpture and “Water Droplet” – a new and unique sculpture designed exclusively for Denver Water.

Inspired by the gentle, fluid movements found in nature – where Harber draws much of his inspiration – the “Hydra” sculpture is crafted from seven gently curving branches ranging in height from 5.5 to 8 metres. The edges of each vary slightly in depth, and are made using 316 marine grade, mirror polished stainless steel. Meanwhile, the face of each branch is fashioned from the same premium stainless steel material, before being painted in a graduating, ombre effect. The base features a rich, royal blue while the peak is painted a light azure blue to reflect the varying depths of water one may traditionally see in a pool or lake. The base of the sculpture measures over 2 metres in diameter, and is illuminated at night by a central ground light, with five smaller surrounding lights situated around the perimeter of the sculpture. “Hydra” proudly stands tall enough to be visible at the site from all angles, as well as passers-by, providing an artistic focal point.

“Water Droplet,” meanwhile, is located within the entryway to the principal building. It is formed from hundreds of 316 marine grade, mirror polished steel “petals” that have been welded together to create a stunning elongated, giant droplet of water. The interior of the sculpture is painted an alluring shade of blue, and is lit internally with a concealed central uplighter to create a spectacular effect at night. Meanwhile in daylight, the mirrored petals provide reflections of the sky and surrounding grounds. The droplet sits on a gently curved, convex piece of mirror polished stainless steel, offering a number of different reflections when viewed at alternative angles. The entire “Water Droplet” sculpture stands at an impressive 6.6 metres. The beautifully executed, crisp and clean artistic representation of a forming water droplet is reflective of Denver Water’s core values.

Due to the landscaping of the site and the height of newly-planted trees, any sculpture needed to have a significant presence, whilst also blending in and working with the location’s natural surroundings. The choice to bring a sense of movement, light and fluidity to the site resulted in the design of the “Hydra” sculpture, which not only pays homage to the enclosing environment but also the subtly winding course of nearby Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. This infers a link to the ancient physical geography of the area, but also represents a fresh, inspiring, environmentally and socially responsible view of the future.

For more information about David Harber, go to

Dancing In A Secret Garden By The Luxury Channel

Ilford Manor in Ilford, Bradford-on-Avon

It is exactly 20 years since Boodles created the renowned Raindance ring, and 10 since the V&A Museum’s jewellery curator chose the classic ring, complete with nine brilliant cut diamonds, as an icon of British jewellery design to showcase in their permanent exhibition.

The original ring — set in platinum — was inspired by a trip to the Chelsea Flower Show one unusually wet summer’s day. Boodles Head of Design, Rebecca Hawkins, noticed the way light played on the raindrops as they slid down on marble, and was inspired to try to capture their magic. Its scattered design — dynamic yet delicate — reflects light from every angle, with diamonds reminiscent of raindrops glistening in the sun.

The Raindance Ring by Boodles

To celebrate the anniversary, Boodles has revealed the Raindance ring set in platinum, with rare fancy pink and white diamonds. The total weight of the white diamonds is 2.32 carats while the pink diamonds weigh a quarter of a carat – and (naturally) match the jewellery house’s signature shade of Boodles Pink.

The house has also announced its partnership with the new film adaptation of The Secret Garden, based on the timeless best-selling novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Dame Julie Walters in the new film adaptation of “The Secret Garden”

Published in 1911, the book tells the story of Mary Lennox, a British girl orphaned in India following an outbreak of cholera. Moving to Yorkshire and the care of her uncle, Archibald Craven — played in the new film by Colin Firth — Mary discovers a magical secret garden. The film also stars Dame Julie Walters as housekeeper Mrs. Medlock.

“So many of our customers know and love the story [of The Secret Garden], having grown up with it themselves and in many cases introduced it to their own children,” explains Boodles Director, James Amos. “When we were approached by STUDIOCANAL and Heydey films, we knew at once that this re-telling would provide a wealth of inspiration for our designers.”

Boodles Column & Ivy, Keyway and Walled Garden necklaces from The Secret Garden collection

Rebecca Hawkins, who came up with the concept for the Raindance ring, agrees. “After reading the fabulous screenplay, and seeing what the producers had in mind for the set and costume design, we had no shortage of ideas for new pieces. There are so many themes to explore: secrets, transformation, fresh beginnings – and of course, nature itself.”

Thus, after two years of careful work, The Secret Garden collection was born, comprising of 40 pieces that echo many key moments from the film. In addition to the main collection, a simple charm bracelet inspired by the lock motif has been created, with all profits from its sales being donated to the NSPCC.

Booldes Walled Garden Earrings and Green Ring from The Secret Garden collection

For more information, go to

A Dream of A Ghost – Introducing The New Ghost By Rolls-Royce By Fiona Sanderson

I think every girl deserves a Cinderella moment once in their lives, especially if they find one that fits like a magic slipper. For me, I was lucky enough to experience this when Rolls-Royce invited me to be one of the first to test drive the New Ghost – a car that felt as though it had been custom-made just for me.

Quite often, when one thinks of the word “luxury,” one invariably conjures up dream-like notions of the best that money can buy, the finest materials, and the very best craftsmanship. With the launch of the New Ghost by Rolls-Royce, the marque is definitely tapping into a dream-like state of mind, because this car is nothing short of a masterclass in how to design the ultimate in automotive luxury.

Driving the New Ghost through the bucolic beauty of the Sussex Downs countryside, I was astonished to feel how light and smooth this car is to drive. Rolls-Royce has definitely captured the sheer simplicity of what being behind the wheel of a car should be all about – just enjoying the drive, enhanced by the pure elegance of the motor itself. If you’re looking for understated but true luxury, the Rolls-Royce New Ghost has it in spades.

For those who know their Rolls, it’s probably worth noting that everything about this car is different from the outgoing model, save the Spirit of Ecstasy sitting proudly on the bonnet, and the umbrella holders in the doors. Apart from those two things, everything else has been completely re-designed from the ground up.

Rolls-Royce says that the New Ghost is its most technically advanced model ever, but what really sets this car apart is its design. It’s easy to understand why it took six years to come to fruition, when you learn the meticulous process that was undertaken in order to achieve the smooth perfection of its lines. Rolls-Royce Designer Henry Cloke explained the process to me. “A car is made by joining the sides of the car to the roof,” he said. “The reason you have no disruption with the New Ghost and that you can read the fluidity from the bottom of the car, all the way over the roof and continuing to the back and beyond the rear lamp, is because when this car is made, it’s four people working simultaneously to weld the roof to the sides – and they’ve actually hand-finished it, which is why you can no longer see any seam at all. There’s that level of craft and that level of work that has to go into it, that means we can’t actually see that seam at all.”

If Rolls-Royce seems to be looking to go the extra mile for their customers with this car, it’s because their customers are the ones who inspired it. “When we were first trying to establish what the character of the car should be, we were looking to answer all the comments and questions we’ve had from our clients,” Cloke tells me. “On this car in particular, it is to have an almost restrained and less opulent way of owning a Rolls-Royce. Our clients wanted something with real substance to it, but not any kind of overt statement.”

Speaking about the New Ghost when compared to the original 2009 Goodwood Ghost, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that, “Our clients expressed a desire for something even more refined, even less ostentatious – a car with a minimalist design ethic, simple and distilled – but still, in every respect, a true Rolls-Royce. And so our design team set to work. They removed all unnecessary design embellishments and they erased superfluous detail on both the interior and exterior of New Ghost. Then our engineers completely reconfigured our Rolls-Royce architecture.”

It’s a whole new design aesthetic, but it’s one that works – this car is stunning! “It looks clean and elegant,” Cloke agrees. “The cleanliness of the design was really important to us – so that it doesn’t ever look fussy or complicated. It should look effortless.”

This car does not just look effortless – it is effortless to drive too, surprisingly so when you consider that it is five metres long, and two and a half tonnes of solid machinery! The New Ghost is fuelled by a 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 engine, not that you especially notice when you’re sat inside it. The interior components are tuned to a specific resonant frequency, all creating a sense of serenity. In every single way, the New Ghost is just sublime.

Naturally enough, it is perhaps Müller-Ötvös who best sums up the New Ghost: “In today’s world, where many people are seeking increased simplicity, refinement and restraint, this Rolls-Royce fits perfectly with the zeitgeist of our times. It’s quite simply Ghost – and nothing more.”

For more information about the New Ghost by Rolls-Royce, click here, or click here to see the film. To see our interview with Henry Cloke, the designer of the New Ghost, click here.

Cohorted – The Essentials Edit By The Luxury Channel

Cohorted, the UK’s no.1 premium subscription beauty box provider – as voted for by power houses Vogue, Elle, and The Telegraph, no less – has launched the world’s first PPE beauty box curation. “The Essentials Edit” is designed to provide everything needed for personal protection and beauty aftercare post-lockdown.

“The Essentials Edit” by Cohorted

Face masks are now mandatory on all public transport and in shops, supermarkets, and fast food outlets, with a fine of £100 issued to those who do not comply, following guidance from the World Health Organisation recommending that face masks can act as a barrier to prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others. Whilst we all need personal protection (PPE) to safely recover from the pandemic, the frequent use of PPE can be unkind to our skin. Cohorted’s Essentials Edit contains a month’s supply of essential items and the premium aftercare needed to keep skin glowing and feeling healthy.

“The Essentials Edit” by Cohorted

Inside each box, you will find:
4 x reusable, breathable, dust repellent, non-medical face masks
2 x hydrating face masks to use at home to give your skin a much-needed dose of TLC
2 x hand sanitisers
1 x face moisturiser
1 x hand cream

Every product within the box has been carefully sourced and is cruelty free. The packaging is ultra-responsible; Cohorted uses eco-friendly poly-mailers that are biodegradable and all items within the edit are 100% recyclable.

Music artist Elle L, Cohorted’s Beauty Ambassador (image courtesy of Danny de Marcos)

Music artist and Cohorted Beauty Ambassador, Elle L, is lending her support to the campaign. “I feel I have a responsibility to work with conscious brands that share the same philosophy as I do on progressively working towards creating a positive impact on the planet,” the artist says of her involvement. “I love looking after my skin but I have a busy lifestyle, so I am always trying to find the perfect self-care routine. I wanted to work with a brand in the eco-luxe beauty space that shares values that mean we can work on exciting projects that are inline with a sustainable ethos,” she tells us. “That led me to become Cohorted’s Beauty Ambassador. It’s a partnership that’s constantly evolving and a brand I’m really proud to be aligned with. The people behind Cohorted aren’t afraid to challenge themselves to become more circular and responsible. We have grown together very organically, and not only do we work on projects above the line, such as them being a gifting partner to many of my Fashion For Conservation projects, but we also work behind the scenes to ensure that Cohorted is always moving in a positive direction. Since we started working together, Cohorted have reduced their packaging by over 50%. This has been economically beneficial for them as a brand and has also helped them move closer to becoming more environmentally friendly. This is just one of the achievements that shows an example of their action around being a more sustainable brand.”

Music artist Elle L, Cohorted’s Beauty Ambassador (image courtesy of Danny de Marcos)

Although the RRP of Cohorted’s Essentials Edit is over £40, Cohorted are bringing “The Essentials Edit” PPE box to market for just £9.99 per month’s subscription. Cohorted is committed to giving back to our heroes and through “The Heroes Pledge,” for every new subscriber, an equal value donation of PPE will be made to the NHS. Cohorted is providing a 15% discount to NHS workers on their main line of Responsible Beauty Boxes.

Cohorted is supporting “The Heroes Pledge,” by giving an equal value donation of PPE to the NHS

In conjunction, a special series of interviews, called “Celebrating Our Heroes,” will also launch on Cohorted Cult, hosted by Elle L. Unique insights from life on the frontline will be explored in conversations with fertility specialist, Dr. Larisa Corda (from UK TV’s This Morning) and Nurse Sarah Mulindwa (from E4’s The Sex Clinic). Both have faced the realities of being on the frontline of the NHS during the peak of the pandemic. “There are so many unsung heroes whom we wanted to shine a light on – the work, sacrifices and experiences that people have made and how they have shaped our ongoing recovery from a challenging time globally,” Elle says of the reasons behind starting the interviews.

Presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby are joined by Dr. Larisa Corda and guests on “This Morning” (image courtesy of Ken McKay, ITV, Rex Features and Shutterstock)

The final question that we put to Elle was to ask her what her personal favourite product of The Essentials Edit is. “The Natura Hydrating Face Masks,” she smiles. “They are vegan, biodegradable, calming and nourishing for the skin, which is perfect to reduce the negative impact of PPE, and the ingredients are sourced from highly-potent botanicals.” Elle adds that “….all the products are sent in a postbox-friendly, biodegradable poly-mailer, so this is another favourite element of the box!”

Elle L’s favourite hydrating face masks in the Cohorted “Essentials Edit” contain rose water and lavender oil to nourish skin (images courtesy of Tiffany Chan and Sharon McCutcheon)

The Essentials Edit by Cohorted is available for just £9.99 for a monthly subscription from

Create An At-Home Spa With Esther Cato Wellness By Caroline Phillips

Image courtesy of Dorne Marting

If you want a masseur with magic fingers who’s bookable throughout the year, Esther Cato is your lady. It’s not just that this healer-meets-ultimate-stress-buster-meets-masseur is so available. It’s also that she’s so good. So thank your lucky stars that government restrictions have just lifted, and book to see Esther in your London home for a deep tissue therapeutic massage. Or bag her for a pregnancy massage. Or a Swedish one.

She’ll take all the necessary pandemic precautions by travelling responsibly, doing a super cleanse between treatments and wearing a mask, visor and plastic apron. But somehow she’ll also create an ambience that puts the ‘ahhhhh’ into home spa.

She’ll spritz your room with lavender and light a handmade ginger and neroli candle. And offer you a heated massage couch, classical music or hypnotic recordings of the sea. A sometimes meditation teacher, she may even play a soundtrack to help you imagine that you’re ambling in a forest or slumbering on a beach, as she releases those lockdown-tense muscles.

Image courtesy of Camille Brodard

Esther may have a meditative, mindful manner, which is just what’s needed after those stressy months of near house arrest. But she’s not some airy-fairy, New Age type who learnt her trade on a weekend course. She’s been massaging since 2001 and studied Anatomy, Physiology and has a post grad in Psychology. Plus she’s worked for FTSE companies tending their employees’ tight muscles and has helped hundreds of folk with everything from sciatica to burn-out and sports injuries.

She’ll press your trigger points and muscular knots, releasing them faster than you can say, ‘ouch.’ She’ll use neuromuscular techniques (stretching and pulling to help you find your own range naturally), Myofascial Release therapy (focusing on releasing muscular shortness and tightness) and Manual Lymphatic Drainage (great for losing weight or pre-surgery, and increasingly she’s been treating people after plastic surgery).

If you have hunched shoulders (the bane of those working at computers), she’ll sort them. If all those months of Zoom meetings have left their imprint in muscular tightness and joint stiffness, she’ll deal with it.

You’ll be left stretched, pummelled, relaxed and wafting of sandalwood oil — that grounds you — and rose oil — that nourishes your tired skin. Additionally you’ll notice the gentle waft of fractionated coconut oil (that’s vegan, distilled, pure and organic) on your newly scented body.

Esther may also prescribe her alchemical blend of Epsom salts with ginger, orange and neroli oils for your bath afterwards. That’s if you can stay awake that long. Anyone for home spaaaaaaahhh?

Further Information

Prices start from £80 for a home visit plus travel. Esther is available throughout the year, save for Christmas and New Year’s Day. For further information or to book an appointment, e-mail or visit

Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to

The Luxury of True Vision Without Glasses By Fiona Sanderson

If you’re fed up with spending hours looking for your glasses and or have to switch between pairs of glasses on your head depending on whether you need to read something on the computer or drive along the motorway, then you are in the place I was a year ago. By something akin to a miracle, my life has changed considerably and I can now see without glasses; write articles, read the smallest of print and can “dress to impress” without having to worry if my glasses match my latest Alexander McQueen outfit.

Fiona before receiving treatment at London Vision Clinic

Over the last few years, I have met people who have undergone laser treatments to correct their vision, but it was always something that I was wary of doing and I thought this it was only available for people with short sightedness (no focus in the distance) and not a reading problem, as I thought I had. However, I was persuaded by a girlfriend to have a consultation with Professor Dan Reinstein at the London Vision Clinic, who she assured me was a pioneer in this field. I knew almost immediately that I was in the right hands. Over his 25-year career, Professor Reinstein has built an international reputation as a uniquely experienced and pioneering LASIK surgeon. For over two decades, he has dedicated himself solely to Laser Eye Surgery, and is one of the few Ophthalmic Surgeons in the UK to do so, having delivered over 1000 professional lectures, with 165 published articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals to date. I booked myself in and planned to have the surgery a few weeks later.

Images © John Angerson, London Vision Clinic, Harley Street, London

When it comes to your eyes, safety is probably everyone’s main concern, Professor Reinstein told me. “Most people are ignorant of the facts,” he said. “We have conducted thousands of Laser Eye Surgery operations — in the right hands, it is extremely safe.” This was very reassuring. He told me that for my eyes, which were a mix of long and short sighted, I would need Laser Blended Vision, otherwise known as presbyopia. Presbyopia literally translates as “old eye.” Unfortunately, ageing affects the eye just as it affects every other part of the body — the lens inside the eye begins to lose its ability to change shape and “zoom” from distance to near and back. But it’s not all bad news. “We can treat 98% of people — including those with very high prescriptions,” Professor Reinstein told me.

Image © John Angerson, London Vision Clinic, Harley Street, London

First available in the UK at London Vision Clinic, PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision is an innovative treatment for ageing eyes that can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for reading glasses, bifocals, or varifocals for many years. This method of increasing the depth of field of the eye, using a revolutionary Laser Eye Surgery technique, was pioneered over 10 years ago by Professor Reinstein in conjunction with Carl Zeiss Meditec. As well as being significantly less invasive, studies have shown that PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision is suitable for pretty much anyone. After treatment, over 90% of PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision patients say they can read print as small as the type on medicine bottle inserts.

Image © John Angerson, London Vision Clinic, Harley Street, London, UK

A few appointments and tests later, I arrived on the morning of surgery feeling very nervous, but Professor Reinstein was so confident and reassuring that he made me feel I had nothing to worry about — and the end result justified this. I was whisked into a state-of-the-art surgery room to hear the soothing voice of Professor Reinstein whilst I was prepared for this very short surgery. Really, it was only minutes and I didn’t feel a thing as I looked into the abyss of a laser scope window. Laser Eye Surgery is so minimally-invasive that, after receiving the treatment, apart from the new, improved and glasses-free vision, I had little or no signs that it had ever happened. I was told to rest for the next few hours and had some very mild discomfort where my eyes were stinging a little bit, but this was comfortably managed with the eye drops provided.

Image © John Angerson, London Vision Clinic, Harley Street, London

As the months have passed, my vision has become even clearer as my brain has adapted to the new way of seeing. I can honestly say after testing from my follow-up visits that I now have 20/20 vision and nothing is stopping me. This surgery is life-changing, and it’s by far the best investment that I have ever made. It’s helped me in my work life and has improved my social life — in fact, I feel about ten years younger! All the staff at London Vision Clinic were very professional, and I have received excellent service and patient care before, during and after I had the surgery.

If you’d like to book a consultation, or find out more about Laser Eye Surgery for ageing eyes, give London Vision Clinic a call on +44 (0)20 7224 1005, or visit Go behind the scenes and follow the patient journey by clicking here.

Designing The Next Generation of Superyacht With Jean-Louis Stutzmann Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

The Luxury Channel meets Jean-Louis Stutzmann, Chief Designer of M/Y NJORD, the world’s ultimate private residential superyacht….

Jean-Louis Stutzmann (image courtesy of Fiona Sanderson)

He’s one of the world’s foremost marine designers, but when it comes to discussing his first moves into the industry, Jean-Louis Stutzmann is remarkably candid. “I got into the marine design industry because there was an opening at my local shipbuilding company,” he says. “I started working in the design office of the shipyard but it appeared to be a dying industry back in those days in the UK. However, I stayed in the marine industry for a few years before studying for my engineering degree. My passion took me back to design so I subsequently took my Masters degree in interior design – although as it turned out, my engineering knowledge has been more than useful.”

Stutzmann has been witness to several key changes in the industry over the years, such as “the increased design, sustainability and technological standards of materials and finishes that are available today, which allow for greater creativity and expression. Also, the use of CGI, which lets you see what you may miss on a flat drawing sheet and check on colour balance and harmony.”

Today, Stutzmann is a noted interior designer with an extensive career in ocean liner, superyacht and luxury residential design, and therefore an obvious choice to be involved with the M/Y NJORD project. Described as ‘the next generation of superyacht,’ the designers behind M/Y NJORD are re-writing the rules, by taking design and technology to new heights, combining the ultimate in luxury travel with research and philanthropy. “I have been involved with this project from the beginning,” Stutzmann tells us, adding that the project, understandably, is “….far more involved than one can ever imagine – but it is also one of the most enjoyable and satisfying projects, where every challenge has actually created a better product.”

Jean-Louis Stutzmann

Speaking of challenges, there have been several throughout Stutzmann’s storied career. However, he’s quick to point out that all challenges are surmountable, and most often lead to the work of which he’s most proud. “When I initially worked in the design office of a shipyard, there was a small cargo ship that looked as though it was on its way to becoming an ‘ugly duckling,’” he smiles fondly. “I worked on the development of it – and by the end of the project, everyone liked it.”

Stutzmann is similarly proud of the whole design ethos he has developed for M/Y NJORD. “I have put a lot of thought into the design of this private residential yacht to achieve a functional, efficient layout of the deck plans,” he says. “The whole yacht will be built with a very high standard of materials and I wish to have a considered thread of elegant continuity throughout. There will be no hotel lobby, no cruise ship type atrium, and all residents’ guests will be personally escorted on board. There will always be an elegant and comfortable feel from the moment one steps on board, with a design that is not tiring on the eye – a design that will make you think, ‘I’m home.’”

Working alongside Stutzmann to create this maritime masterpiece is Espen Øino International, the world’s leading superyacht design company. Every detail will be meticulously designed to enhance the residents’ onboard experience. As well as being both spacious and elegantly appointed, each of the 118 private residences will boast a private terrace, floor-to-ceiling picture windows and sea views from every bedroom and living area.

An example of the interior of a private residence aboard M/Y NJORD overlooking Sydney

“The interior produces the exterior profile and the design brief for the residences and outside views, which has eliminated the familiar superyacht image of a high point cascading down to a long hull,” Stutzmann explains. “The silhouette, the bow and the stern aspects could be manipulated, but we needed to add styling lines to the central mass. Discussions with Espen Øino and Paolo Barbuscia were mutually understood, and they created a distinctive dissection of this central mass along with styling lines overall. When you become involved with passenger vessels, the steel comes first, and you have to work around it. It can be quite satisfying to achieve a layout that works well, when at first it appeared complex due to limitations caused by structure, service duct requirements and code compliance, for instance.”

As part of discussions, Stutzmann has placed a huge emphasis on the environmental concerns raised by designing a ship that will make annual circumnavigations of the globe. “With the environment in mind, together with the values behind the M/Y NJORD project, we have followed strict adherence to environmental requirements and integrated different types of fuel including battery power, with an additional budgetary allowance to accommodate further developments than are available at present with electrical power, as this technology increases over the build period.”

Quite aside from the environment, there are also the considerations that Stutzmann and the whole team have made in respect to M/Y NJORD’s crew quarters. In an industry-first, all crew members will have their own, personal room (the industry-wide standard is shared accommodation). Ocean Residences Development – the developers behind M/Y NJORD – have stressed that crew welfare is of utmost importance, seeing as it is their experience that will be relied upon to anticipate each guest’s needs. With a proposed 2:1 guest-to-crew ratio, this is clearly an innovative proposition. “This ensures the best possible service and operations by the crew,” Stutzmann says when explaining the decision for individual crew cabins. “All crew accommodation will be well designed by us.”

Interior rendering of M/Y NJORD (image courtesy of FM Architettura)

Whilst the wider industry doesn’t adopt this practice as standard, Stutzmann is hopeful that other companies will copy M/Y NJORD’s ground-breaking approach. “All shipyards have their own builders’ standards for crew accommodation for merchant shipping, and this has passed down over into cruise shipping,” he explains, “but I hope that what we wish to achieve for crew accommodation aboard M/Y NJORD will be noted by cruise companies to improve their crew conditions and appearance.”

For his own work, Stutzmann draws inspiration from the natural world around him. “Nature is my cathedral,” he enthuses, “and flowers are my greatest luxury. Flowers are all so very different for the same achievement and have so much beauty by many aspects of evolution to attract pollination, as indeed evolution itself is a fascination.”

As a further source of inspiration, Stutzmann holds English interior designer David Hicks in high regard. “I thought David Hicks held a very acute sense of multi-colour balance, all working together,” Stutzmann reveals. “His work helped the further evolution of manufacturers’ fabrics and carpets, even though today there are many neutralised approaches to colour in interior design. Combining colours in both fabrics and carpets – as with mixing colours for artwork – is quite a talent to be really appreciated.”

His appreciation for anything “that has been created by someone that turns out exceptionally well” is evident in the way he describes the things he talks about – from interior design, to architecture, to furniture. “I have been blessed with an ability to work with different mediums for creating artwork and working with wood species to make furniture items. Both require much concentration and focus, which ebbs away all other thoughts. Success in mixing colours and tight exquisite joints in furniture construction gives great satisfaction in the finished piece.”

With a planned delivery date of 2024, all eyes are currently on Stutzmann’s work with M/Y NJORD, and the great satisfaction that the finished piece will give its residents. M/Y NJORD is surely set to be the finest address, everywhere in the world.

For further information, visit

Aston Martin Begins Re-Building The DB5 – The Most Famous Car In The World By The Luxury Channel

Dubbed ‘‘the most famous car in the world’’ and renowned as being among the most desirable and sought-after classic Aston Martin models, the DB5 has become a byword for timeless style and sports car desirability. Fewer than 900 saloon examples were built by the brand between 1963 and 1965, with by far the most famous of the original owners being the world’s best-known secret agent – James Bond – who first drove the car that is today inextricably linked with him in the 1964 film, Goldfinger.

Now, 55 years after the last DB5 rolled off the production line at Aston Martin’s then global manufacturing base in Newport Pagnell, work is once again under way there on a strictly limited number of just 25 new DB5 models. Created in association with the producers of the James Bond films, EON Productions, and featuring a broad suite of working gadgets first seen on screen in the 1964 film, the Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger Continuation cars are history in the making.

The latest in Aston Martin’s phenomenally successful Continuation car programme, which began in 2017 with the DB4 GT Continuation, the new DB5 models represent among the most valuable new cars yet brought to market by the British luxury brand. Each DB5 Goldfinger continuation car is priced at £2.75 million plus taxes, and the meticulous construction process takes around 4,500 hours per car.

Each of the 25 new cars is being built to the highest possible quality using a blend of Sir David Brown-era old world craftsmanship, with the sympathetic application of modern engineering advancements and performance enhancements, alongside the integration of cutting-edge working gadgets developed with Chris Corbould OBE, the Oscar-winning special effects supervisor who has worked on more than a dozen Bond films.

The list of Bond-inspired gadgets includes features all too familiar to viewers of the classic 1964 big screen hit, such as revolving number plates at the front and rear (triple plates), simulated twin front machine guns, a simulated tyre slasher, a bullet resistant rear shield, a removable passenger seat roof panel, a telephone in the driver’s door, a gear knob actuator button and a remote control for gadget activation.

All the new cars are meticulously detailed authentic reproductions of the DB5 seen on screen, with some sympathetic modifications and enhancements to ensure the highest levels of build quality and reliability. All the DB5 Goldfinger Continuation cars are being built to one exterior colour specification – Silver Birch paint – just like the original.

The cars feature original DB5 styled aluminium exterior body panels wrapped elegantly around an authentic DB5 mild steel chassis structure. Under the bonnet, there’s a 4.0-litre naturally aspirated inline six-cylinder engine with a six-plug head, three SU carburettors and oil cooler, that’s capable of generating in the order of 290 bhp. This is mated to a five-speed ZF manual transmission in the rear-wheel drive DB5, which also features a mechanical limited slip differential.

Paul Spires, President of Aston Martin Works where the original DB5 was built and the new cars are also being created, said: “We are making, perhaps, some of the most desirable ‘toys’ ever built for 25 very lucky buyers worldwide. Creating the DB5 Goldfinger Continuation cars and working with EON Productions and special effects supervisor, Chris Corbould, is something truly unique and a real career highlight for everyone involved here at Aston Martin Works.”

First deliveries of the DB5 Goldfinger Continuation to customers will commence in the second half of 2020. For more information, go to

Curl Up With A Good Book At Henley Literary Festival By The Luxury Channel

Sue Ryan, the founder of Henley Literary Festival, indulges us with a little literary escapism, her dream dinner party guests and all the books you need in your lockdown library right now….

Tell us a little bit about Henley Literary Festival, and why you think it has become so popular?

Henley Literary Festival was launched fourteen years ago without research, proper budgets or anything formal on a wing, a prayer and instinct. Literary festivals work best when they are in places people want to visit, and Henley-on-Thames ticks that box. We also have lovely venues and are close enough to London to make it easy. We treat our authors well, so we quickly became established as one of the top ten.

Can you tell us any funny anecdotes from your speakers at the Festival?

There have been a few! One of the ushers once confused her torch with her microphone (it was very dark in the theatre) and handed a surprised member of the audience a torch to ask her question. One year, Sir Max Hastings was looking over the notes for the talk he was about to give when a gust of wind flew several pages into the fish pond in the Hotel du Vin. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, once missed his connection at Twyford train station, meaning he arrived exactly when he was due on stage. However, as he was entering the venue, he heard children singing in their drama group and decided to pop in to chat to them, until we dragged him out! At her final public event at Phyllis Court, Judith Kerr said the Germans had turned Mog, written as a female, into a tom-cat because he was so clever. So in the next book she made Mog pregnant with kittens and told the Germans to “try and get out of that one!” Last year, the newly-married Melvyn Bragg lost his wedding ring – thankfully, it was found in the gents at Phyllis Court!

What is your most memorable event at the Festival to date, and why?

That’s a hard one. We have had so many good ones. John Mortimer was a great supporter and came every year until he died. He was in such pain during his last interview but kept going like a trouper. I remember getting goose-bumps in our second year when Craig Brown brought Sir Simon Russell Beale and Eleanor Bron to perform extracts from his book. We were such a tiny festival and they were so moving and professional. Baroness Trumpington was a triumph. Baroness Lawrence was humbling, as was Sir Roger Bannister who had done a full day’s medical rounds before he ran his four minute mile. Roddy Doyle was superb. There are also moments of huge emotion. Richard E. Grant welled up when recalling his wife’s still birth, rugby player Gareth Thomas spoke for the first time publicly about coming out as gay and Brian Moore talked about being abused. In all cases, there were long silences when you could hear a pin drop.

Image courtesy of Freestocks

What are your future plans for the Festival, particularly in the wake of coronavirus? Do you have any plans to take the Festival abroad?

We are still hoping to go ahead this year as we think we can follow social distancing rules. We are doing a cruise next April with Good Housekeeping and we have been approached about setting a Festival up in the Caribbean. But it’s still very early days for anything travel-related.

As we’re all spending more time at home, what should we be reading?

It’s a good time to go back to the classics, so you can escape from modern dilemmas – Graham Greene, Henry James, and P.G. Wodehouse are well worth a revisit. Gill Hornby has written a delightful book, Miss Austen, based on the story of Jane Austen’s sister, Cassandra. It reads just like an Austen novel so you get the double whammy of being a new book with an old feel. If you haven’t read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman or Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce, they are both good, escapist, page-turning stuff. My sister-in-law Jane Gordon’s book, How Not To Get Old, published last week, is very timely. I have not yet read Maggie O’Farrell’s new book, Hamnet, but it has had great reviews.

Who are the writers we should be looking out for at the moment?

James Scudamore’s English Monsters has just come out and he is a rising star. Ariana Neumann’s When Time Stopped is a fascinating memoir of her father’s experiences during the holocaust – his family were sent from Czechoslovakia to concentration camps but he escaped and hid out in Berlin under a false name. For light relief, The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh is a real page-turner.

Sue stayed awake until 4am reading Jojo Moyes’ “Me Before You” (image courtesy of Alisa Anton)

What is your favourite book, and why?

I think books are like favourite foreign destinations. Where you want to go and what you want to read depends on your mood, your age, your circumstances at the time. You can’t compare India to Venice. For a book you can’t put down, I found myself reading Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You until 4am. At university, I loved D.H. Lawrence and Brian Patten’s poetry. E.M. Forster’s A Passage To India is a favourite classic. I grew up in India and Paul Scott’s Booker Prize-winning novel, Staying On, had a strong resonance.

With virtual books becoming bigger, in what ways is digital vs. hard copy becoming a very real battle for authors?

Surprisingly, sales of printed books are going up and digital is going down – although I think Audible is increasing sales as it’s something you can do while gardening and cleaning.

Tell us a little bit about your background?

I had an idyllic childhood; I went to boarding school in Windermere and went back to India, where my parents lived, for the holidays. When my father retired, they bought a house in East Sussex, where we had ponies and dogs. After university at Bath, I became a journalist on the Thompson training scheme and went from there to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Today, Observer and the Daily Telegraph, where I was initially Head of News, and then became managing editor.

Sue has stayed at Raffles Hotel in Singapore

You still work as a travel writer – what are the most interesting places you have visited?

I love all travel. India is a favourite, and not necessarily the Golden Triangle. I love the sheer energy and madness of Kolkata. East Africa, particularly Lewa Conservancy, is mind-blowing. We take a house on the coast near Malindi with some friends every year – and just managed to do that this year again, before coronavirus hit. Some places are as much about the hotels as the cities – The Gritti Palace in Venice, Hotel du Cap in Nice, George V in Paris, The Taj in Mumbai, Raffles in Singapore. I am lucky to have stayed in so many fabulous hotels – and several times over.

You’re a committee member of Women In Journalism – what does the committee seek to do, and how does it work to ensure that contemporary journalism reflects a female voice as well as the traditional male voice?

We seek to support other women. We have networking parties, mentoring schemes and lots of events on relevant topics. We also undertake research projects to show how newspapers are dominated at the top by men and that most advisers quoted are male. It all helps to act as a pressure group to redress the balance.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party, and why?

Edna O’Brien, Michelle Obama, Judi Dench, Madhur Jaffrey, Jane Austen, Indhira Gandhi, and Katherine Grainger. I like powerful, interesting and amusing women who have realised their ambitions.

Finally, the one question we ask everyone! What is your favourite luxury?

Normally I would say staying in world class hotels, but it may be a couple of years before I can return to that. But I just bought Caroline Hirons’ Spring Kit of cleansing and moisturising treatments. They are all different makes and she recommends using all six in order every morning and night. It cost £150 but individually the items are worth two or three times that, which is perhaps why they sold out online in about half an hour. That, and because it is so wonderfully pampering.

For more information about Henley Literary Festival, go to

ISO Luxury – Are Luxury Apps Changing The Way We Shop? By Fiona Sanderson

The Luxury Channel meets Julia Carrick OBE, founder of new app ISO Luxury, to talk current and future trends within the luxury industry, how shopping habits are changing both at home and abroad, and where to find your favourite luxuries for a little less….

What is the current state of the luxury industry generally, and the British luxury industry in particular?

The threat to the luxury industry is very real due to worldwide store closures and consumers holding back on their spending. It makes for a different environment to sell products and create strong relationships with customers. The British luxury industry is worth £48 billion to the UK economy, and research commissioned by the BCG estimates that the sales in the global luxury industry will fall by 30% this year, and the UK market is unlikely to be an exception.

On the whole, luxury CEOs are positive about the times ahead according to results taken from a poll conducted by Mckinsey, with 66% believing this will have a positive impact on their future sales capacity. However, concerns shouldn’t be ignored – 10% have stated that the pandemic has negatively impacted their business already, whereas 24% are uncertain of what the future holds.

Despite these predictions, if we look to China, on the first day of re-opening Hermes generated $2.7 million in sales. Examples such as this demonstrate that the international luxury market might recover quicker than Europe, as the threat of COVID-19 is minimal. In Asian markets, consumers have a passion for e-commerce across all industries.

In the shorter term, with a slow return to travel, many luxury brands are focusing on their domestic customers as they re-open stores. Brands are also firmly placing digital at the epicentre of their brand, as well as concentrating on delivering a familiar and trusted experience locally. The safety of their staff and customers are priorities and this will be challenging for brands with smaller spaces.

John Cullen Lighting (image courtesy of ISO Luxury)

What would you say is the true essence of a luxury brand?

To me, luxury is a product or a human experience that is both beautiful and rare, where artistry and attention to detail meet – the “aura” that is created from a combination of uniqueness, craftsmanship, outstanding design and innovation.

The concept of luxury is changing because our society, cultural norms and expectations are evolving more quickly than in the past. It is a much wider concept and not easy to define. While luxury once meant the most expensive or most well-known product, today it is about creating an experience to remember, focused on quality, value and the theatre of shopping.

The reinvention of luxury doesn’t disregard the values of the past but builds on them. Today’s discerning shoppers want brands that tell a story, are rooted in heritage and are of such genuine quality that they can be passed down to the next generation.

New luxury taps into customer emotions, personal preferences and connections – that emotional connection with the consumer. People want to feel that they are getting something special that not everyone has. A product is luxurious when it’s handmade, tailored for a few and has a clear intrinsic value. The value comes not just from the brand name or logo, but what that product represents – whether that’s heritage, craftsmanship, exclusivity, or authenticity.

Favourbrook (images courtesy of ISO Luxury)

In what ways has the retail market changed in-store?

The digital and e-commerce world has had a significant impact on in-store retail, and for many it is a point of product research. The digital sphere gives the customer access to relevant information, such as product reviews and competitor collections at the click of a button, which in turn enables them to make a well-informed purchase decision.

ISO Luxury believes in the power of the in-store experience. Bricks-and-mortar luxury retailers have a secret weapon, a unique appeal that simply cannot be replicated online at the point of sale – the personal touch. Store presence remains vital for the health of our high streets and community. It’s where a brand can put its best foot forward and a customer can enjoy the experience – with service being the centre point. The interest in experience over the accumulation of goods means that luxury products must become part of the story-telling process and play a significant part in the creation of memories.

COVID-19 has shifted the focus even further away from the high streets and stores; therefore as an industry we must find a collective way to connect our stores with consumers, both in person and digitally. Experiential luxury is the latest development to transform consumer shopping experiences, since the outbreak first began. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been used by major luxury brands in the form of offering virtual shopping tours, VR experiences, events and workshops. By doing this, we can make store visits attractive to a luxury consumer. This is where we are heading.

At ISO Luxury, we are becoming the digital connection point between stores and shoppers, with a lifestyle hub that has all the stores in one place with addresses, a store locator, opening hours, dedicated names at each store, showcasing exclusive and rare products, trending items, promotions and more. Ultimately, customers want to physically experience luxury goods with human interaction. Whilst challenging to replicate in an online world, experiential luxury is where the action will be.

In the coming months, I think we will see a shift in luxury consumer shopping habits, once again. Therefore, in these troubling times, it has never been more important to bring together brands and influential shoppers.

Garrard (images courtesy of ISO Luxury)

How did you come to set up ISO Luxury, and how does it work?

Carrick ISO Luxury is an exclusive lifestyle Members Club and Concierge for discerning acquirers and shoppers of the world’s finest brands.

Ultra-VIP customers wish to experience brands on a bespoke, private and exclusive basis. The right personable approach with a generous discount on the purchase or booking can go a long way. The rising trend towards online shopping and bookings, changing consumer preferences, irregular buying habits and lack of brand loyalties mean that consistent luxury buying and established long-term customer relationships cannot be relied upon. Our concept serves to reach this elusive audience and address these trends.

As a result of these emerging trends and the sharp decline in our high streets’ footfall with shops disappearing, I felt strongly that I needed to do something to help promote British luxury brands and the luxury industry to the consumer. Our mission and importance to the brands is to find new and innovate ways of targeting consumers to drive sales and increase footfall back to the bricks-and-mortar stores.

Jimmy Choo (image courtesy of Alex Holyoake)

Our proposition at ISO Luxury is quite simply to match ultra-luxury brands with ultra-high net worth consumers, to increase sales and customer bases via benefit schemes with unparalleled privileges and rare access. To engage these uber purchasers, we developed the ISO Luxury app that is of perceived high value. Together with my co-founder, Andrea Koday-Vörös, we embarked on our mission to establish this incredible community of brands and luxury buyers with the trust and support of the brand CEOs within three months of conception.

Via the ISO Luxury app, our members have access to unique benefits and services, exclusive events, privileged discounts, exclusive promotions, rare and limited product ranges, first releases, unrivalled in-store bespoke offers. Online soon, Members will have access to VIP appointments and hard-to-find item sourcing, off-market opportunities and concierge services.

We cover everything – fashion, watches, jewellery, sports, motors, property, art, travel, beauty, wellbeing, interiors, hospitality and fine dining. Members can also revel in exhilarating cultural and sporting experiences.

Jimmy Choo (images courtesy of ISO Luxury)

How does an app-based platform replicate the in-store consumer experience?

Currently, the app allows members to browse privileged offers and promotions, receive invitations to special events, liaise with store members and make VIP appointments in the flagship stores of over 130 brands. The bespoke offers are extended to the in-store experience between the member and the brand.

Earlier this year, we held a number of successful member events at Dunhill, Jimmy Choo, Mulberry, Roland Mouret and Tiffany, and all invitations and details were communicated through the app technology. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in-store experiences have not been possible. We have therefore looked for alternative ways to create these luxury shopping experiences from a distance. The response and support from our brands has been overwhelming. Theo Fennell, Trevor Pickett, Kiki McDonough and David Morris have offered our clients one-to-one telephone and video appointments to showcase their product ranges to ISO Luxury members. Similarly, Savile Row’s suit tailors Henry Poole & Co have offered to have video consultations in the physical store to show clients the fabric, style ranges and processes.

The fantastic initiatives of our brands have not gone unnoticed, and we have ensured we share their messages with our members and on social media. Brands including Emma Willis, Turnbull & Asser and Henry Poole & Co have been producing PPE. Our luxury shoe brands, including Jimmy Choo and Emmy London, have launched shoe sketch designs on Instagram. Others have donated their profits to charitable causes, namely Mulberry and Really Wild.

Mulberry and Really Wild (images courtesy of ISO Luxury)

What shopper trends have you noticed over the course of the last few years?

Experience, heritage, and human emotion have never been more important for the luxury consumer. Our members want the true personality of each brand.

We have also seen at ISO Luxury an increase in luxury spending in the millennial generation and therefore we are in the mist of adapting our communication approach across social media, member and brand communications to appeal to this target audience.

Trends vary across cultures, too. If we look to Asian markets, luxury purchasing is related to a high-level trust. Consumers want to know the story behind the brand, product, and design process, digging deep into the heritage and the story of the brand. Quality is highly valued, and the unique styles created by British luxury offer inspiration, and demonstrate integrity and a source of rich cultural diversity.

As for Western cultures, there is a strive towards sustainability, specifically in the younger generations. They desire transparency in the design and manufacturing process of products, and want to know what luxury brands and the industry are doing to incorporate sustainability into their enterprises. The demand for this information fits the luxury industry well, as it isn’t just about the logo or beloved brand name; rather, it is how the product is made, its history and heritage.

Handbags (image courtesy of Krzysztof Hepner)

What are the principal advantages to a consumer shopping in-store over online?

The human connection and storytelling are the high street’s distinct advantage, which consumers cannot experience in a digital world. Customers are taken on a personalised journey through the heritage of the brand, developing a deeper connection with consumers.

If a customer visits the store, they will receive a personalised service, which lies at the heart of the luxury experience and offers privileges for luxury shoppers. Brands are able to tailor the product offered, personally handpick items adhering to customer requirements. The in-store shopping experience is inevitably unmatched. Although the presence of omni-channel is being introduced to some high street stores to combine the virtual and physical shopping experience, meaning consumers can benefit from both.

Derek Rose (images courtesy of ISO Luxury)

Are British brands selling abroad, and how are they faring at the moment?

Currently the luxury stores in London are closed, therefore many have taken the opportunity to look at their e-commerce operations and create an online journey close to an in-store experience. Those selling online are able to sell to overseas clients; however, cities worldwide are beginning to re-open their stores, such as Dubai and Paris.

There can be no doubt a luxury brand with both local and international clients will be more aligned with the global consumer and therefore fare much better in the marketplace. It is predicted that the luxury industry will recover quicker in Asian markets than their European counterparts, as the threat of the virus is minimal. As the stores re-opened, consumers visited the stores to make purchases. Although a lot less in volume, at least for now.

Currently, we only have launched the ISO Luxury app with our London stores. However, the re-opening of the Dubai stores is a great opportunity to connect our brands with retailers in the Middle East and encourage them to list their stores. We have an affluent client base in Dubai and the opportunity to include our brands in the development of a sustainable international consumer market has never been better. We are looking to expand our app internationally to the luxury shopping hubs throughout the world – such as Dubai, Paris and New York.

Fashion Avenue in the Dubai Mall (image courtesy of Iwona Castiello d’Antonio)

Why is British luxury such a big seller internationally?

The increase in demand for British brands abroad has greatly amplified in the last few years, with a surge in sales from international consumers. The manner in which British brands present luxury goods, providing a rich, authentic sense of heritage, alongside our great craftsmanship has led to a worldwide love for British-born products and for Britishness and all that it stands for – integrity, high ethical standards, outstanding service, invention, creativity and a rich cultural diversity.

The British luxury industry is great at keeping products exciting, relevant and all with individual characteristics which represent the personality of the brand, engaging audiences of different nationalities and generations in new, innovative ways on an ongoing basis. Creativity, innovation and craftsmanship have ultimately catapulted the British luxury industry onto a global stage.

Today’s Britain, and especially London, offers global shoppers so much, from world-class hotels, restaurants, theatres, art galleries and museums, to iconic streets and stores. There is so much amazing history and innovation from Lock & Co, who were making hats back in 1676, and Berry Bros & Rudd in St James’s, who opened their doors in 1698, to heritage brands of tomorrow such as Bremont in South Audeley Street, which is rapidly becoming the UK’s most successful watch maker.

Jermyn Street in St James’s, London

Where is the luxury industry heading in the future?

The luxury industry has evolved over time; exclusivity, the customer journey, and experience are needed for future and present audiences. With an ever-changing world and uncertainties, brands will need to be reactive in their design-making processes and presence, be it online or physical.

Big brands have created virtual reality shopping platforms to show their ingenuity during this unprecedented time. However, I strongly believe that shoppers will revert back to the traditional in-store luxury experience.

Luxury will always maintain its high status, and its recognition will evermore remain exclusive. Nevertheless, we have to face that if any brand wants to survive in today’s world, they must adapt to current times. Whether it is an emerging trend, a new wave of consumers, or a challenge within the industry, people want to feel a certain experience and emotion. The luxury industry has always been the leader of creating this sensation and I believe that no other industry can do this better.

Daniel Galvin (image courtesy of ISO Luxury)

Is sustainability a consideration that high street retailers pay particular attention to, and is this a trend you see continuing?

Luxury consumers have become increasingly aware of environmental issues in the 21st century and the demand for transparency has never been greater. Customers want authenticity and appreciate when brands show initiatives around sustainability. I do believe that COVID-19 will exhilarate that aspect even further and fast fashion will be less “in fashion.”

Millennials, including the affluent audiences, are the leading forces striving for sustainability and brand transparency on their manufacturing process and product origins. As this generation will be the biggest luxury spenders, it is important to consider their view and their expectations.

Luxury shoppers actively seek “Made in Britain” as a sign of excellence. All consumers are becoming far more invested in brands that are rooted in heritage. Therefore, it is crucial to strike the right balance between sustainable action and consumer interaction.

Wool samples (image courtesy of Maranda Vandergriff)

Finally, the one question we ask everyone! What is your favourite luxury?

My favourite luxury right now during lockdown is finding the time for a walk through the British countryside around all my tight deadlines. I am lucky to be based within the Hambleden Valley and I have discovered so many wonderful walks. My next favourite luxury is my Catchpole & Rye bath. This is where I not only relax, but I do most of my big thinking.

For more information and to become a member, go to

Montague Property – A Modern Approach To A Traditional Industry By The Luxury Channel

‘‘Disruption’’ may have become a tired and hackneyed millennial phrase – but as a young CEO from an unconventional background working in a world of old, established money, for Thomas Balashev, it only seemed natural to be doing things a little differently. The Luxury Channel discovered his story….

How did you come to set up your company, Montague Property?

The story really starts when I left school at 16, with no real traditional academic achievements. I subsequently worked as a children’s football coach – which little did I know at the time would hold me in great stead in later life – and in a fashion store until my early 20s. Realising I wanted more from life, and to earn money, I bought an IKEA desk and a computer for my bedroom and started teaching myself about property markets and the global economy. Montague Property (or at least, an early incarnation of it) was subsequently born. Fast forwards a decade, and we are proud to have completed, from our Mayfair headquarters in London, luxury real estate projects in the value of tens of millions of pounds all over the world.

What challenges have you faced along the way?

Getting to where I am hasn’t been easy, but not being born into the traditional circles of the London real estate market (my father is Bulgarian, my mother Scottish) has its advantages; notably, a broader international perspective on the industry and how we can do business. For me, the US real estate industry has always been a source of inspiration. With our British propensity for pleasantries, I’ve heard many in Mayfair brand our US counterparts as unrefined and brash. It is true that our friends across the pond don’t beat around the bush; they aren’t scared to cut to the chase – but I’ve always seen this is a badge of pride rather than a source of shame. Why? Because this positive mentality sees the US place a far greater emphasis on sales skills than in the UK, empowering those within the industry with the confidence to overcome self-doubt and limitation – in turn making them, I would argue, far more effective salespeople. This is something we in the UK could really learn from. As result of this bolder mentality, the individual real estate agents in the US have a far greater presence, personal brand and entrepreneurial spirit than their counterparts in the UK. The reality in the US is that people do business with people; I would argue the US model enables far closer personal relationships and customer interaction – an approach that we in the UK could again learn from to help drive sales.

What other differences are there between the UK and the US?

The US sees every state require estate agents to hold a licence. Yet with no barrier to entry in the UK, the level of professionalism and knowledge is reduced – leading to those well-known negative perceptions of real estate agents within wider society. This damages the reputation of our industry and those working within it on an international scale. It should also be considered that it remains possible in the UK to undertake a multi-million pound real estate deal (or any property deal, for that matter) with a broker or agent who started the job the day before. A deal of this magnitude would never be allowed in the financial services world, so why do we allow it in the real estate market?

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the property industry?

As a real estate CEO from a non-traditional background, I feel passionately about providing greater opportunity for those from a similar background to mine. Young people from non-HNW backgrounds can and will succeed in the luxury sector as long as they are provided with the relevant skills and confidence to do so. In my case, much of Montague Property’s success has been down to people, and much of my approach to man-managing and instilling belief in those around me has been born out of the lessons I learnt during my football coaching days.

What are your plans for your business in the future?

Our dedication to both tradition and modernisation means Montague Property looks forward to three key goals in 2020: firstly, engaging ambitious projects in new target markets – including Miami and Los Angeles, Paris and the Middle East. Secondly, continuing to provide our international HNW clients with the highest level of service available, whilst sourcing and financing some of the world’s finest properties. Thirdly, affording opportunity and development to young people fighting to break into the luxury real estate industry. Achieving all three would be a very good year both for us, and the wider industry.

For more information, go to

Valentine’s Day Demystified – Top Tips For Buying The Perfect Engagement Ring By The Luxury Channel

Image courtesy of Elmwood’s

With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching and the highest percentage of proposals taking place on the day, there comes a dilemma – where to start on choosing and buying the perfect engagement ring? Elmwood’s auctioneers director, Samuel Hill, offers some top tips to ease the process….

“Choosing the perfect engagement ring can be a minefield, especially if you’ve decided to surprise the one you love. Quite often, couples wisely consult on the types of rings their partner might want in advance, in order to not be completely in the dark when they eventually pop the question”, says Hill.

One of the first things to consider is his or her personal style, which will determine what type of stone you choose. 76% of all engagement rings purchased are classic diamond solitaires – however, this is a ring that your partner will wear for a long time and it’s a very personal choice, so it’s vital you get it right. When looking at personal preferences, think about whether they prefer gold to silver, or a more traditional style rather than something contemporary. Bottom line – if in doubt, don’t guess!

Images courtesy of Elmwood’s

It’s become popular recently to look at a partner’s birthstone as an option, which adds a very personal element. And if you do opt for the classic diamond ring, you should consider the 4Cs: Cut (determined by how well the tiny planes or facets have been cut on the diamond’s surface), Colour (the most exclusive diamond colour is called white, which is colourless and graded as a “D” and if the diamond has a strong colour, it is known as ‘‘fancy’’), Clarity (a good rule of thumb is to ensure that the diamond is graded as “IF,” meaning it is internally flawless) and Carat (which is the size and weight of the diamond).

“To safeguard yourself, I would recommend purchasing a certified stone,” says Hill, “which means that the diamond has an accompanying certificate that proves it has been evaluated, graded and coded by an independent gemological laboratory. The most internationally recognised are those issued by the GIA; others include HRD, IGL, EGL and AGS.”

Another very important consideration before you make your purchase is budget. While convention suggests you spend three times your monthly salary, in today’s society, where the divide between the sexes is narrower than ever, it’s about working to a sensible budget that isn’t going to cripple you as a couple, otherwise your surprise may backfire. If size is important but your budget isn’t super-sized, opt for a stone with a slightly larger surface area, but where the stone isn’t as deep. The stone is the most important aspect of the ring, and it can usually be set in whatever metal band you choose. Just remember to ascertain your budget before you buy – and stick to it!

Images courtesy of Elmwood’s

Regarding the choice of metal for your band, the key is to assure quality and durability. Platinum is one of the most popular choices in engagement rings, as it is the most resilient and long-lasting of metals and is also hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin. However, if gold is preferred you have the choice of white, yellow, rose and even green gold. If recycling is a big concern, a band of combined metals is also an option and has seen a significant rise in demand.

Where you buy is crucial, whether purchasing from a high street retailer, a jeweller in London’s famous Hatton Garden, or an auction house. When parting with a significant amount of money for the long-term, it makes sense to seek out an expert. Hill runs Elmwood’s auction house in West London and as a jewellery expert, offers clients peace of mind that they are buying high-quality, certified pieces complete with a condition report, which presents everything in black and white.

However, wherever you decide to buy, he offers this advice: “Always buy form an established company that has a good reputation. Check whether the staff has sound gemological knowledge – credentials are usually presented on the company’s website. Is the company a member of a trade association working to industry standards; will you receive a gemological certificate stating the source of your stone and any treatment, plus a detailed receipt, warranty and guarantee?” Specialist, knowledgeable staff should always be on hand to guide you and offer transparent advice throughout the buying process.

For further information, visit

NJORD – A Superyacht With A Purpose By The Luxury Channel

Imagine the ultimate private super-yacht – the largest in the world. A home-from-home from which to experience once-in-a-lifetime adventures shared with a discerning community of like-minded friends and family who have a passion for luxury, adventure, discovery, conservation and philanthropy. Welcome aboard NJORD.

Ownership of one of NJORD’s 118 private residences entitles you to join one of the most exclusive groups in the world, and it will be the only yacht to offer 14 duplex and triplex residences with private elevators.

NJORD is a home, a community and a place for personal enrichment and adventure. It’s not only about exquisite luxury and impeccable service, it’s about living life in an enhancing, intellectual, spiritually nourishing and meaningful way. “It’s a safe environment in which to have fun with family, travel, discover, meet new friends and be energised,” says Renato Chizzola, Head of Resident Relations and Lifestyle. “Imagine…seeing the most awe-inspiring scenery passing by while relaxing on your own private terrace, enjoying your favourite drink. One day watching polar bears on an ice floe; on another, in tropical Papua New Guinea as you anticipate what lies ahead. All from the comfort of your home.”

Named after the Norse god of the wind and seas, NJORD is a fitting name for this majestic super yacht. On-board, the highly personalised services and activities are limitless and rewarding. Ashore, there’s a wealth of experiences to be had as residents are immersed into the culture, history or economics of a region that few people get to explore. The past, present and future are revealed by regional experts: business icons, ex-prime ministers, extreme explorers or leading scientists. Excursions, destinations and encounters with extraordinary people and cultures will fill your day with precious memories. Then it’s a warm welcome back home on board to share and reflect on the day’s discoveries.

Image courtesy of FM Architettura, an Italian design studio with a refined sensibility to people and their spaces, working with superyachts, private residences, and top luxury hotels.

So, what motivated the creation of this exceptional lifestyle? “My vision is to leave a lasting legacy in our wake,” says Kristian Stensby, founder and CEO of Ocean Residences Development, the developer of NJORD, “a luxury yacht with a purpose, which is meticulously designed by icons of the marine world and that takes personalised services to an entirely new level. As residents travel the globe, they are united in a philanthropic purpose, creating positive change where it matters most. They will explore the planet, enjoy it in all its glory, and at the same time, they may want to give something back,” Stensby says. NJORD will be equipped with a professional oceanographic research laboratory containing sophisticated monitoring equipment which will constantly gather vital data. Throughout NJORD’s annual circumnavigation of the globe, scientists and experts will research the changing environment, record sea and air conditions, and scanners will map the ocean floor. All this information will be processed and made available to further humankind’s understanding of our planet’s oceanic secrets.

This unique way of life is made possible by the crew and operators whose passion it is to understand and anticipate their guests’ every need. “Our crew love this life and they cherish their family of residents,” says Alain Gruber, COO of Ocean Residences Development. “An experienced crew in a place like this is a force of nature and anything is possible. On any given day, there are scores of activities to choose from, and it’s our role to anticipate, understand and offer the most appropriate suggestions. This stems from a career in hospitality where every detail counts.”

“The crew are the life and soul of the yacht, and their welfare is of upmost importance,” Gruber adds. “A first in the industry, each crew member will have their own personal cabin. For them, this profession is a rich and rewarding career path, and many will remain with us for years.”

NJORD’s design is the realisation of a talented team of naval architects, engineers and designers who are working together to make the Giorgio Armani of superyachts, led by Jean-Louis Stutzmann, the chief designer and an award-winning interior designer with an extensive career in luxury residential, ocean liner and yacht design. Working alongside him is Espen Øino International, with the world’s leading superyacht designer himself at the drawing board following every detail of this great nautical masterpiece; even a replica model of NJORD will be scrutinised by him. Every inch of this superyacht is meticulously designed to enhance the residents’ experience. The fully fitted apartments are, as one would expect, elegantly appointed, spacious and feature floor-to-ceiling picture windows and sea views from every room.

Facilities onboard include an impressive yacht and dive club with two submarines, jet skis, sailing craft of varying sizes and Riva style limo tenders. The on-board restaurants will have the finest Michelin-standard chefs, or you may choose to take up the offer of 24/7 in-residence dining, enjoying an intimate dinner party prepared in your residence with the assistance of a world-class chef, butler and sommelier. A lecture and movie theatre provides space for a variety of events, while entertainers and musicians will perform in venues around the yacht. There are also professional medical facilities and an extensive wellness centre providing preventative treatments, spa therapies and fitness programmes to suit all.

NJORD is set to be one of the most exclusive residential communities on earth and without doubt the finest address, everywhere in the world.

For further information, visit

Your Family History On Film By Caroline Phillips

I’m sitting surrounded by a pile of 31 of my mini DV camcorder tapes and 15 VHS ones. Bear with me. I know this doesn’t sound fascinating. But I am almost crying, actually. I’m the least techie person in the world. I do know that video is no longer, that it doesn’t exist, that it has gone in a puff of smoke to techie hell. And so I’ve lost access to hours of much-loved films of my kids in nursery school nativity plays, end-of-term concerts, my children at their first to 13th birthdays, that first swim, first tooth out…. You get the gist.

Let me rewind (spot the word that comes from my world, the days of video). I hadn’t been able to watch any of these films for years, not since our last video player went to the techie crematorium. But suddenly it’s dawned on me that I am not going to be able to watch any of the films ever again. I scour Ebay, pathetically, to see if I can find an old video recorder. My husband giggles at the idea, telling me such items went out with Sony Walkmans (remember them?). And then….oh serendipity….the head of a family office — a man who looks after a handful of ultra high net worth individuals — recommends Lemongrove Productions, the service that he uses for his clients.

It turns out that Lemongrove, a family-owned business, sorts out your cherished family films, DVDs, photos, miles of cine film, acres of home-made movies and slides, and stores them for you digitally. Or they will edit them and turn them into a professional film for you. Or, indeed, they will film your family and family events afresh with broadcasting quality shots, creating beautiful films. Clients’ written testimonials range from ‘crying’ (with wonder) to ‘crying’ (with joy).

There are few people better placed to do the job. (No, this is not paid advertorial. It’s a genuine tip about a tip-top service. You’re welcome.) Ed Danson, founder of Lemongrove, used to shoot footage that was watched by millions of people. That was in his capacity as a TV sports cameraman. He brings the same eye, skills and quality to his work on family movies. Ed’s wife, Charlotte, runs the business with him in between shooting hundreds of hours of footage of their children, Charlie and Joe. “We understand how precious family footage is,” says Charlotte, “but also appreciate how overwhelming it can be when it comes to wondering what to do with it.”

Ed arrives at my house raring to collate and create my family media. He’s enthusiastic about taking my old family films to transfer onto new technology. He takes all my footage, puts it into chronological order (from videos with nappies to ones where my girls are nearly taller than me). Using state-of-the-art industry equipment, he transfers it into a digital format, loading it onto a portable hard drive that becomes my personal digital archive.

Lemme say that again: the techie Tyrannosaurus (me) now boasts an, ahem, personal digital archive. “That allows you to watch, edit and burn copies of your films at home,” says Ed. I don’t understand why I’d want to burn his work, as it’s lovely. But I don’t say anything.

The 46 VHS and mini DV tapes that I sent to Lemongrove have come back on a three-inch by three-inch hard drive. Not only have they shrunk, but I can watch them now. Result. “We keep all the raw footage, the original transfer; we don’t delete the files until you tell us,” adds Ed.

For those who wish to go one step further, Lemongrove will make a bespoke film, transforming hours of your home video footage. Ed and Charlotte have helped hundreds of families to turn their home videos into films. “Whenever possible, we’ll visit clients at home to collect their footage and photographs and discuss their ideas for their film and play you some examples of our previous work,” he says. (That meeting is obligation-free and with no charge for it).

The dynamic duo works on the film until the client is happy — no charge for the extra time — and cut it to music of your choice (they license the music) and include titles, photographs and, if you want them, special effects. Ed or Charlotte bring each draft to the client to check — alternatively, they upload it to a secure website for clients to view at leisure — making a note of any changes the client would like, and then they do the final edit. Lemongrove streamlines approximately each hour you’ve shot into a slick 5-minute offering. “We supply it in any format from DVD to blu-ray, iPhone, iPad or more,” explains Ed.

They don’t just collate your work though. Lemongrove also create original films. “We do a film shoot in which we interview you and your children to capture who they are and what makes them tick,” says Ed. “We spend a day filming wherever you choose. The footage is then edited into a 10 to 15 minute ‘Chapter.’” You can leave it at that or — as most families do — repeat the process, filming a ‘Chapter’ every year or so. Ed shows me one of these films. “Alec likes fighting, but I like to play with my favourite toys,” says one child, grassing gravely on his brother.

Lemongrove Productions also offers their version of This is Your Life, that biographical television documentary hosted by Eammon Andrews and then by Michael Aspel. Lemongrove use interviews with friends and family alongside family photos and footage to reveal the subject’s life story or to create family biographies.

A particularly moving film they made was for someone’s funeral, which was shown in addition to the eulogies. For a 100th birthday, various family members of the soon-to-be centenarian answered the question, ‘What does the birthday lady mean to you?’ The result is touching — even without knowing the subject. Yet another is a life shown in photographs for someone who had never shot any film. “We scan and retouch the photographs, getting rid of scratches and coffee ring stains.”

And suddenly, inspiration strikes, and I realise that there’s a ton of footage on my smart phone. And on my old phones that I use no longer. You know, the phones that have died and are just sitting in the drawer waiting for me to do something with them like….like…. “Ed,” I ask, tentatively, “Can you make a film out of all my smart phone photos and videos?” And, of course, the answer’s yes. Yes they can.

Further Information

For further information, go to or call +44 (0)20 8090 3049.

Going For Gold AT The Merchant Of Venice Spa By Hannah Norman

The human body allegedly contains 0.2 milligrams of gold. However, as anyone who has ventured within the indulgently luxurious recesses of The Merchant of Venice Spa can attest, there is a way of increasing your gold count without robbing a bank and ingesting the spoils.

The luxury fragrance brand’s eponymous Spa is set in the lush, leafy surrounds of the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Hotel on Isola San Clemente in Venice, just a short boat ride away from the throngs of tourists flocking to St. Mark’s Square – although it might as well be a whole world away. Whilst here, I would urge you to try a revolutionary face mask that sees 11 layers of 24 carat gold applied directly to the skin, in what is surely one of the most luxurious facials in the world. It is undeniably indulgent. And it is incredibly relaxing – particularly when I am treated to a neck and shoulder massage whilst my therapist waited for the gold to work its magic. “Pure bliss” doesn’t even begin to cover this most spoiling of beauty treatments.

The anti-ageing properties of gold mean that, when it is applied to the skin though massage, it penetrates deeply into the layers to produce several noticeable results, including reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and rings under the eyes, and increasing the brightness and overall glow of the skin. It is also said to stimulate skin cell renewal. As further “proof,” for want of a better word, even Cleopatra is rumoured to have slept with a golden face mask to help enhance her beauty (albeit perhaps a little less sophisticated than what you’ll enjoy in Venice). If it’s good enough for Cleopatra….!

The facial is combined with two serums – one before and one after the application of the layers of gold. Consisting of a base of Vitamin E, this ensures that the micro-active particles of the gold are fully absorbed by the skin.

The gold itself comes courtesy of the last gold-beater left in Europe, whose workshop is located in Cannaregio in the north of Venice. A highly skilled craft, master artisan Marino Menegazzo of Mario Berta Battiloro transforms gold into ultra-slim sleeves of gold leaf by hammering it (all by hand). The family-run business has sold its gold for use in St. Mark’s Campanile, the Vatican and (it is whispered) even the Kremlin. It is sold as edible gold to the food industry, and is used in the cosmetics industry – not least in The Merchant of Venice’s own range of Fiammes (or “Flames”), pictured above. Comprising twelve extrait de parfums, these wonderfully luxurious perfumes are bottled in a vial of finely decorated twisted glass, with the overall design sealed by a glittering cap sparkling with Battiloro’s gold particles.

Back in the comforting confines of the Spa, it’s so tempting to flick through the impressive spa menu. The treatments – which range from an Aromatherapy Massage to something called The Secrets of Isabella Cortese, which turns out to be a stress-reliving treatment involving lots of lovely lavender essential oil – are all created in accordance with ancient oriental traditions imported into Venice by the city’s merchants throughout the centuries. Each treatment has subsequently been thoroughly researched and crafted in order to lead the mind and body on a unique journey to uncover the secrets of Venetian perfumery.

It’s perhaps then no surprise that The Merchant of Venice Spa holds the coveted title of being the Best Hotel Spa in not just Italy, but in Europe – a double accolade announced at this year’s annual international (and let’s not forget, industry-recognised) World Spa Awards in Dubai. There really is a touch of gold around this Spa….

For more information, click here or to make a booking, click here.

The Luxury Channel Meets Nicholas Frankl of My Yacht Group By Fiona Sanderson

Whilst in Monaco for the Yacht Show, The Luxury Channel sat down with Nicholas Frankl, the founder of My Yacht Group. Frankl runs the company with his twin sister, Annabelle, curating luxury and ultra-high net worth experiences for discerning guests and brand partners at the world’s premier sporting and social events. Here, he gives us a unique insight into his amazing world….

Nicholas Frankl (image courtesy of Rosalind Milani Gallieni)

Hi Nick! How are things going?

Things are going great! We’ve had some fantastic clients here [in Monaco], and we’ve hosted a number of wonderful evenings with some of our partners – including our astronauts, which has been just incredible [My Yacht Group has a partnership with Axiom Space]. They have a very specific objective – they want to meet billionaires who can afford to go to space and who have the time and the inclination to do so. They’re a really interesting client to work with, so we’re really relishing it. The clients we’re inviting here are all incredibly excited about it. It’s been amazing.

How did My Yacht Group begin?

My Yacht Group originally came out of Monaco Grand Prix, and it’s still our signature event – it’s what we do and what we’re known for. We host about 50/60 clients a year who come from all over the world. Although some are actually Monaco residents who live here, but they’re not next to the race track. We actually did our very first event here 15 years ago. We started doing our Friday evening party, which became the event on the Friday evening, and we’ve since had some amazing guests attend over the years. People said to us, “wow, this is a really nice party and so different from other things that we go to – you should do more of them!” So about 11 years ago, we did start doing more of them. Now we have a series of events all over the world. We’ve built this community of wonderful people where the most important thing is that we have their trust, so when we invite them to something, they want to come. Which is really nice because most of the time, you invite someone to something and they don’t show up! I guess for us, it’s different because it’s a social event – it’s social business networking.

How did you first involve the brands you work with?

All of the brands we work with have the same challenges – which is, how do we deepen the relationship with our existing clients, and how do we find new ones? Many brands are struggling with that and they’re not very good at it. For the last 15 years, especially in the luxury business, it was incredibly easy for brands to just open another store and people would show up and then they made their money. So they didn’t really have to do anything! Now the world has changed and you don’t have quite so many Chinese, Russian and Middle Eastern guys flying through the door unannounced, so you’ve got to work a little harder for your revenue. That, I think, is a challenge for a lot of these people. A good friend of mine – who is the head of a major brand – said to me, “we don’t have relationship executives – we have order takers.” Well, that’s not the same thing! I’m in the relationship business and the people that I entertain and invite to our events are sophisticated people that by and large are not new money. Well, some of them are because they’ve made a lot of money from block chain and bit coin and we’re in that market, so there are always new opportunities. But many of them are educated people who already have a yacht and a plane and a collection of cars, but they’re interested in new things. Last night, I was on the biggest boat in the harbour and organised a private dinner with some really amazing people and one of them texted me this morning to say, “I’ve got to buy this boat!”

Image courtesy of Tom Wheatley

How do people find you?

They look me up. Funnily enough, I had someone randomly calling me from New York the other day who’s the head of a big brand, and he had been told he had to meet me because he’d been to one of our events, so he had his secretary call me. People just know us, as we have such a big network of people now around the world. Someone will say, “I’m going to Monaco,” and someone will say to them, “oh, you have to call Nicholas; he’ll either know what’s going on or he’s hosting the best thing that’s going on.” The Grand Prix, of course, is a real challenge because it’s obviously very popular and everyone seems to have a friend of a friend who must come to the party on the Friday night!

Networking clubs seem to be opening up all the time, so why does yours stand out from the rest?

We’re not a club; there’s no membership fee. It’s invitation only. You’re either invited or you’re not. It’s not a snobby thing but we are very good at putting people together who we know are going to have synergy. I guess that’s our little magic sauce. It makes a big difference when we host our events, whether they happen to be 20-person dinners or 120-person yacht receptions and charity events. Certainly for the dinners, I know all the guests because I invite all of them and for the yacht parties, I know 80% of the attendees. It’s quite rare to go to a large-scale event aboard a yacht and someone knows 80% of the guests. That means they can actually connect people, and there’s also a point of connection for the guests. How do you know Nicholas and Annabelle? We met in St Barts, we met in Pebble Beach, we met in Hong Kong, we met in Miami, we met on the yacht in Monaco. Oh, you were in Monaco? I was in Monaco! Oh, you were in St Barts? I have a house in St Barts! It’s a very different thing and for those individuals, it’s a substantial difference from what they’re used to with brand parties, which are usually a discombobulated group of random people who have been randomly invited by 25 different assistants, and everyone’s standing around wondering who’s who. But there might be someone an arm shake away that you would want to meet but you never will because no-one’s going to introduce you.

What are the partnerships that stand out to you? You mentioned astronauts and space?

Well, space is literally out of this world! [Laughs] We’ve had hundreds of partners over the years. We’ve got long-standing relationships with private banks that we’ve had going on nearly a decade. We’ve worked with private aviation, with Bombardier – we worked with them for nearly a decade. We launched Whispering Angel 13 years ago and it’s now the world’s number one rose. We launched them here in Monaco. We did the first events and the first publicity and got them into the Beverley Hills Hotel and Soho House and various other places. When I told the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles that they needed Whispering Angel, they said they’d never heard of it. So I said, “your rose’s crap and you need Whispering Angel; it’s going to be the biggest seller on your list.” [Laughs] It’s now the biggest seller on their list! But they’ve been with us for more than a decade. So we like establishing real genuine friendships and great business relationships that work for everybody.

You must see a real mix, with new entrepreneurs alongside businesses that have been established for years?

It’s a complete mixture. We did the first block chain Monaco Grand Prix event two years ago. We had 65 of the world’s leading block chain entrepreneurs, we had three superyachts and we had Bob Sinclar playing on the helipad of the Legend yacht and it was just amazing. Billion dollar individuals who’d made a vast fortune in block chain in just a few years – bitcoin, ethereum, eos, all these amazing currencies – they all said, “wow, this is the coolest block chain event we’ve ever been to,” and they’re a pretty interesting group of people to say that!

Image courtesy of Geoff Brooks

So this is your passion?

Yes, my passion is connecting great people together and then you see the magic that comes out of that. Everything from marriage, babies, obviously business relationships, yacht deals, car deals, plane deals, land deals, house deals, distribution deals, you name it. When you put people together like these people, things happen. Magic happens. We’ve had marriages and babies as a direct result of my yacht parties. It’s like an extended family.

What’s next for you?

We’ve just had a meeting with our friends at the Singapore Yacht Show. We’ve always wanted to do something at the Singapore Yacht Show, and I think it’s a great opportunity for the right brand to capture that market. South East Asia is still a booming market. We’ve done Hong Kong a couple of times now, with Art Basel Hong Kong. We’re going to do the Super Bowl next year. The city of Miami came to us and asked us to create something special for the Super Bowl for February next year. That’s something new and innovative and cool – bringing our brand to the Super Bowl, which is a different type of experience to the superyacht experience. So we’re constantly innovating. We’re connected with astronauts and Axiom Space. It’s a very unique offer, to be one of the world’s first civilians in space. For the first time in human history, in 3 billion years, we have the chance in 3 months – that’s 3 months, not 30 years of a career – to go to space as a private individual, to be launched to go to the International Space Station. That is a 100 billion dollar project and you are going to spend 50 million dollars doing it. So it’s not actually that difficult to think about. It’s pretty extraordinary. We’ll change your life – and there’s not many things that’ll change your life like going to space. And we’ve already got clients signed up.

Tell me about your charity work?

For many years, we’ve worked with a number of great charity partners. We’ve just had a meeting with YachtAid Global, which is a fantastic charity working with superyacht owners for emergency relief in areas hit by hurricanes. They’ve been doing it for many years, but they’re really becoming a much higher profile charity now. They sent superyachts in as the first responders in the Bahamas in the Abacos. That came to our attention because we love the Bahamas. We then started promoting them to our yacht owners in Monaco to try and generate some support. We also work with the Blue Angels Foundation, which is a foundation for veterans who are retired or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Here in Monaco, we work with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and we work with a lot of other great charities too.

For further information about My Yacht Group, visit

David Linley – On The Crest Of A Wave By The Luxury Channel

Thirty years on and the British furniture maker known professionally as David Linley is busier than ever creating works for a long list of international clients. His eponymous brand remains, however, quintessentially British, underlined by his warmth, ingenuity and creativity. Born into the Royal family, David is the son of Antony Armstrong-Jones, who became the 1st Earl of Snowdon after he married David’s mother, Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II. David was styled as Viscount Linley and after his father passed away in 2017, he became the 2nd Earl of Snowdon. As of May 2019, he is 21st in line to the British throne.

We spoke to David about starting up his business and the future of his brand, and – with Monaco Yacht Show starting next week – about the specific design process needed for a life at sea….

What does the notion of British craftsmanship mean to you, and how has it changed over the years?

Craftsmanship used to be everyday currency. There were workshop guilds until the 20th century, when mass production came in, and machines replaced the need for handmade objects. Our generation has lived through an interesting time where mass manufacturing gathered considerable importance over the years, but now we are seeing an ever-increasing backlash of facilities which have been setup to make small volumes of ethically produced items. I believe craftsmanship exists as a result of an appetite for craft and by nature, an appreciation of the making process. Today we have a better balance – we have access to mass produced items where necessary, but also the luxury of bespoke and handmade items, like our furniture, which we appreciate and enjoy for the crafted character that it brings.

How has Linley as a business evolved over the last 30 years?

The company has grown significantly from when I started making. It was just my mallet, chisel and I in a beautiful workshop in Surrey, making one-off commissions. When demand meant it was impossible for me to make everything on my own, I opened a showroom at Number 1 Kings Road in 1985 to expand and create an environment to display my furniture.

With bespoke pieces, how important is it to understand their lasting impact over generations?

I always say what man has made, man can make again. Making pieces for today’s environmentally conscious world, it is important that they are made to last through generations and to use the skills of restoration craftspeople to add to the life span of our furniture. The nostalgic idea of having something passed down through generations, that was originally designed for your grandparents, or even great grandparents, is always an appealing concept. It is encouraging to see people are starting to appreciate and relate to the same feeling when buying antique furniture these days. Actually, Sir Roy Strong, former Director of the V&A, once said that “David Linley’s furniture will become the antiques of the future!”

What furniture trends should we be paying attention to this season?

I don’t agree with following trends; as a company, Linley has always evolved organically rather than changing aesthetic every season. We always aim to improve our designs with new product ranges, creating pieces that are more suitable for the current day and the needs of our clients. Sometimes it can involve exploring a different design method or a new crafting technique. Evolution is the key. With consumer’s needs in mind, the aim is to make them feel part of the Linley journey and create pieces that last, rather than items that are thrown away and replaced with new trends.

What is the most outlandish commission you have ever received?

Claridge’s Hotel is my highlight of many commissions, which all have a unique place in my memory. With this project, we had to incorporate so many elements, such as catering for the needs of the hotel and their clients, many of whom we have privately worked for, as well as preserving all the historic and architectural elements of the building. The Claridge’s Map Room is particularly eye-catching. Four hundred man hours went into creating the marquetry map that adorns the back wall. I have vivid childhood memories of going to Claridge’s on special occasions. To me, it is important to re-create that feeling.

What is your favourite piece of furniture?

I admire lots of different furniture and styles, but I recently inherited a student piece, that I made in 1980, and gave as a gift to my father as I couldn’t think of anyone else who would inspire me as much. It was placed on his desk and he would always show it to people whom he photographed.

Where does your own love of design come from, and who inspired you growing up?

My love of furniture comes from being curious – I was thought by my grandmother to look for secret compartments in cabinets of curiosity. I say the same to my children, “be curious!” I take them to museums to see one special object, just like my parents did when I was a child. You can’t teach people to be interested in design, but you can intrigue their curiosity and hope that creativity channels from there. In the world of furniture making, I think there are a lot of influencers. For me, it was my teacher, David Bucher at Bedales, who was keen for me to make things and not to worry about the academic world. We all went to see him years after graduating. He was a father figure to us all at Bedales and was so proud of us and what we achieved after leaving the school. I can name many more like Wendell Castle, whose work inspires me and various other people at Parnham. Malcolm Appleby, who also taught me, was also a great influence and someone who I have had the pleasure of collaborating with, creating a piece for Masterpiece 2017 and a special edition Shooting Companion box.

Do you think that the art of craftsmanship is being lost on the young of today?

I think we can’t generalise, and I won’t be the one to do so. I do think there is greater understating of craftsmanship and creativity in schools and it is contributing to the industry considerably. There is a shift from when I was at school, when you were supposed to do well academically, but now it is acceptable to be entrepreneurial, make things, and it is appreciated and admired. At QEST, the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, they endeavour to fund the education of talented and aspiring craftspeople, which helps sustain Britain’s cultural heritage. QEST is at the forefront of supporting education and excellence in craft in the UK. Meanwhile, our workshops also always take younger enthusiastic trainees and develop their skills to make high quality furniture. People these days take interest and want to take responsibility in what they are purchasing, and that demand has resulted in the younger generation rejecting higher paid jobs for more fulfilling career opportunities.

As well as homes, you’ve also designed furniture for yachts. How different is the design process for boats?

In yachts, attention to detail and tolerances are much higher. The nature of being over water and movements of the sea need to be considered, as well as how the piece is attached to the wall and floors. We are more mindful of humidity and salt contents; also weight becomes a considerable issue as it has an impact on the motion of the yacht. We engineer and design with marine requirements in mind, like using lightweight core materials, or laminating layers of stone to reduce weight. When designing in the marine world, materials are selected specifically for living on board; this results in products that withhold test of time in a different environment. At Linley, we’ve been making pieces specifically for yachts for 25 years. Not just furniture, but watch boxes, and binocular cases. Our bespoke accessories inspire great affection but are also practical – their quality is always appropriate to the yacht.

How do you juggle your two careers, running Linley and also being Chairman of Christie’s? Is establishing a good work/life balance important to you?

If I knew that one, I would be a millionaire! I try to juggle my life in a harmonious way where I value the effects of my labour. Being curious means that I go to Portobello Market with my children and collect interesting things. The pleasure for me is that my daughter has now become interested in making jewellery, because she spent her weekends with me in the market searching for curiosities. My life and work balance I get wrong every day, but I aspire to get it right and make sure I can see my career path developing, and I hope to see my children have the same work ethic as my grandmother thought me to have. We have a strong work ethic which rarely allows us to sit back and relax, but reflection is as important as progress.

Finally, the one question we ask everyone! What is your favourite luxury?

Time! Having the time to do something is luxury to me. My motorcycle, for example, cuts time for getting from one place to another for me and therefore I can’t live without it! My Bamford watch is my favourite luxury that I wear on my wrist every day. It is a fine piece of craftsmanship which inspires me every time I look at it for its complexity in design and excellence.

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The Luxury Channel Meets Kelly Hoppen By The Luxury Channel

She’s one of the most well-known and respected interior designers working today, and so we duly spoke with Kelly Hoppen MBE ahead of the London Design Festival to discuss this season’s hottest interior trends, her collaboration with Disney, and why she nearly got fired on her first day of the TV series Dragon’s Den….

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s London Design Festival?

I’m really excited to see what the London Design Festival has in store – it’s always filled with surprises and fuels me with design inspiration. In the same way, I’m really looking forward to going back to Decorex after having not been for so long! We are exhibiting an amazing new collection of wooden tiles with Hakwood, which I’m really excited about.

What’s the one latest interiors trend that we should all be adopting in our homes this season?

I’m so happy, as it seems that people are finally beginning to realise one of the most important aspects of interior design – that colour affects mood. I have always been a firm believer in the idea that certain colours coincide with different moods and I’m so pleased to be seeing this philosophy adopted in people’s homes. However, I have to say that the trend I’m most excited about is glass. Glass is a magnificent medium which I’ve felt has never been pushed to its full potential; I’m really looking forward to seeing glass inspired lighting, furniture and installations which combine both clear and coloured glass.

For someone who has a second home abroad, how would you go about styling it?

100% your surroundings have such an impact on the way you design. When you’re abroad, your frame of mind is different and therefore the way you approach design is. Whether you’re designing something by the sea and are drawn towards minimalism, clean lines and space, or if you’re inspired by warmth and mountainous terrain which encourages you to incorporate layers, textures and tones, surroundings always infiltrate into the design process.

How has your own style evolved and changed over the years?

My style has always been driven by balance, contrast and a neutral palette which still drives my design aesthetic now. There have been several subtle changes that I’ve made to my style but essentially, the core values and philosophy of East meets West have always been the same.

What’s the one thing people probably wouldn’t expect to find in your own home?

I’d have to say my Philips lumiere “wake-up” light alarm clock, which wakes me up with the sounds of the sea and sunrise effect lighting.

What’s your favourite room in your home?

That’s difficult, as it changes all the time! I love my dressing room because it’s my space where I get to play dress up but I also love our snug bedroom, and our kitchen which is the most perfect place to bring family and friends together. Every room has a different feeling and atmosphere which means I struggle to pick an ultimate favourite.

What would you say is your design philosophy?

My design philosophy has always centred around the balanced combination of East meets West. Each of my designs fuses together the clean, modern lines and shapes of the West with the sumptuous textures and layers of the East to create a timeless and balanced space suitable for all moods, occasions and audiences.

How would you define British interior style?

If you’d asked me this 20 or 30 years ago, I would have said that Brits do have a particular, classic style. However, the world that we live in now is so international and interior style has become more eclectic and driven by vintage design traits. Nowadays, Brits are amazing at creating moveable interiors which feel lived in, not static designs which can become out-dated.

When designing the interiors of a home, what would you say are the most important factors that need to be considered?

For me, one of the most important interior design features is lighting as it has the complete ability to set the tone and mood of a space through layering, dimming and placement. But honestly, everything is important so that it all comes together.

As well as homes, you’ve also designed yachts, such as Pearl 75, and cruise ships, such as Celebrity Edge. How different is the design process for a “house on water” compared to bricks and mortar back on dry land?

Every job is totally unique in terms of approaching their practicalities. When you’re designing a cruise ship or an aircraft, you’re designing for thousands of people and therefore have to consider the practicalities of weight and movement, which are not so pressing when designing on land. Whilst each project’s practicalities are completely different, the design process remains the same for all.

You’re well-known for your time on Dragon’s Den. What was your funniest moment whilst on the show?

It has to be when Peter Jones wore a face mask that lit up and made me laugh to the point that I slid off my chair. This all happened on my first day and I honestly thought I was going to be fired for laughing so much on a show where seriousness is key. To this day, I’d still love to see the outtakes; it was truly one of the funniest moments of my life!

You also collaborated with Disney to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse….

I’ve always loved Disney and especially Mickey Mouse, and so when the opportunity to collaborate came about, I instantly snapped at the chance. Of the whole process, one of the best moments was when I went into the boss’s office at Disney HQ and pointed at this beautiful glass dome which held a rose and asked if it was real; to this, the boss replied “yes, it’s been infused with kryptonite” and I believed him! It was here that I had that real Disney moment where you believe that anything in the Disney world can be real.

You’re an ambassador for Cool Earth – how do you incorporate sustainable practices into your designs and your business?

We try to act as environmentally responsible and sustainably as possible across all of the design projects. Whether it’s looking at using eco-paints and minimising plastic in design to working with Celebrity Cruise to research how they can reduce in-house waste, we always try to make sure that our environmental impact is as small as possible.

Finally, the one question we ask everyone! What is your favourite luxury?

For me, there is no greater luxury than being able to spend time with my wonderful grandson, Rudy, who is my ultimate best friend.

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New York Canine Couture By Camilla Hellman

Dogs are a part of the family, and more and more we like them to travel with us – having them stay with us at our hotel or have them jump on the plane with us. New York’s The Mark Hotel, situated on Madison Avenue by Central Park, welcomes our four-legged companions and is the most dog-friendly hotel in New York, making sure their guests’ pets are properly pampered.

Having already created their popular Woof Woof Kit and a dog bowl designed by Jacques Grange, they have now collaborated with Milan-based Poldo Dog Couture on a bespoke range of The Mark Hotel dog coats – a raincoat with a hood, and a bomber jacket that is perfect for chilly Autumn days in the Park. The dog coats are in The Mark Hotel’s signature orange and navy colors and will be featured in The Mark Hotel’s online boutique, LeShop.

And so, during New York Fashion Week, canines also got their couture moment as The Mark Hotel held a picnic in Central Park for dogs and their owners to view the Poldo Dog Couture range of chic dog coats. The gourmet picnic was prepared by the hotel’s Michelin-star chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Poldo Dog Couture’s co-founder Riccardo Gardoni revelaed that he was “very happy to collaborate with The Mark, which carries the distinction of being one of the world’s most exquisite hotels, providing a unique luxury experience to its guests – humans and dogs alike!” Maurizio Azzimonti added that: “In a world where attention to detail in all aspects of our lives makes the difference, we cannot overlook our big and small life companions.”

To complete your dog’s winter “look,” The Luxury Channel has also discovered the ultimate in dog paw wear: WagWellies – insulated dog booties from Wagwear. Dogs large and small need to protect their feet from salt (and dirt), and WagWellies actually stay on, having a velcro closure. They are also matching in style to Hunter boots, so you can co-ordinate your footwear to your dog’s!

Further Information

The Mark Hotel –

Poldo Dog Couture –

Wagwear –

Roll Out The Red Carpet For London Design Week By The Luxury Channel

The Rug Company has collaborated with award-winning multi-disciplinary design studio, Winch Design, to create a luxurious new collection of hand-knotted rugs, which will be launched during London Design Festival in September. The collection is inspired by nature’s organic forms and specifically by the details found on land, in air and at sea; realms in which Winch creates its individually tailored homes. Each design encapsulates the beautiful textures of the natural world; sand underfoot, the clear blue of tropical seas, bursts of sunlight through the sky, and rolling clouds after the rain falls. The unique designs have been expertly translated into striking masterpieces for the floor by The Rug Company’s master craftsmen, using the finest handspun wool and silk yarns.

“Nothing inspires us more than the natural world and we wanted this collection to truly celebrate the colours and textures around us all,” said CEO and co-founder Andrew Winch. “We trusted The Rug Company to make these designs sing with the beauty of nature,” he added.

The four designs are called Plume, Meridian, Riviera and Cirrus.

Plume takes inspiration from the textures and colours of a plume of beautiful feathers, fanning dramatically across the floor. The inky blues, greys and soft ambers of the feathers are layered in such a way that the final impression is of overlapping birds’ wings, bringing rich dimension, texture and drama to any space.

For Meridian, bold silk lines fan out from the central point of the design, like a burst of bright sunlight over an open landscape. Meridian comes in two colourways – Meridian Sand and Meridian Aqua; the shimmering gold threads of the sunburst complement the blue-grey tones behind, and iridescent silver threads overlay soft cream wool. The metallic silky yarns radiate a subtle sheen, creating a soft energy and projecting light back into the room from beneath your feet.

Riviera was inspired by the ocean and was designed to emulate the light reflecting off ripples of water in the shallows of a calm sea. Delicate movements and reflective light are captured through the clever use of turquoise blues, greys and subtle pinks, the final effect being of water reflecting the soft light of the setting sun. A gentle ombre graduation from one end of the rug to the other gives the impression of deepening water, as though the viewer is paddling out to sea, leaving the sandy beach behind.

Finally, Cirrus is a rolling landscape of atmospheric colours and shapes, creating the illusion of bright sunlight hitting inky storm clouds after heavy rain. Contrasting indigos, blues, greys and creams are expertly blended like an oil painting in this piece inspired by stormy skies.

The collection will be available in showrooms worldwide and online from September 2019. For more information, visit and

Electrifying News – The Vespa Elettrica Is Unplugged In London By The Luxury Channel

Vespa’s first ever electric scooter model is now available to buy in London, exclusively from BMG Scooters….

Of course, Vespa had to get on track and design their first ever electric scooter – it was just a matter of when. With 70 plus years of history, the brand has always been forward-thinking when it comes to creating stylish, design-led motorcycles, and so it’s no surprise that they have released an electric vehicle, which launched in the UK at The Westbury Mayfair Hotel as part of London Craft Week. Increasing consumer demand and an upward trend for electric road models have meant Vespa is at the forefront of the motoring game once again.

The all-new Vespa Elettrica is symbolic of the brand’s positioning and potential for the future. Maintaining the sleek and iconic design profile that Vespa is well- known for, the electrically charged model is a much-anticipated addition to the brand’s current range of scooters.

Since launching in 1946, Vespa has become a pioneer in the transport industry. Their first model, the Vespa 98, was an overnight success and changed the Italian way of travelling on two wheels, forever. Vespa has been manufacturing scooters and bike models for lifestyle and sporting purposes ever since.

The Elettrica allows three different driving power modes, and it can be switched to “extender mode” to run the generator non-stop as needed. These features make the Elettrica a flexible, secure and very convenient ride for every type of motorist, and works around what a rider needs at any given moment, whether it’s taking a leisurely drive to enjoy the open road, or handling the bike through rush hour in town.

The Elettrica can go 5 days without needing a charge and in fact only takes up to 4 hours to fully charge again, meaning it can be left to charge while you pop to the shops, or even be plugged in to charge at a hotel while you’re out exploring the sites on foot. It is also completely silent, but because safety is paramount to the manufacturers at Vespa, the Elettrica makes a courtesy beep as and where required, to ensure that you can be heard and are safe, and to let other motorists know that you are there.

Not just sleek and silent, the Vespa Elettrica is also an ecologically and technologically advanced vehicle – and it’s smart. The many features offered include the multimedia system that connects a smartphone to the vehicle, so it can be managed through an interface incorporating a digital instrument panel with a 4.3 inch colour TFT display.

Connecting the dedicated Vespa App to the vehicle allows you to take full advantage of the capabilities of the TFT display. The system enables riders to use the handlebar buttons to answer calls and use the smartphone’s voice commands to make calls or play music. Of course, the predisposition for connection to the outside world is not limited to the various Infotainment functions. Thanks to the Vespa App, once connected to the Vespa Elettrica, your smartphone becomes an exceptional source of real-time vehicle information, including trip time, distance covered, battery life, statistics on the last 30 trips, and much more besides. Meanwhile, the Elettrica’s remote control key comes with an in-built “Bike Finder” feature (which flashes the turn indicators) and the inside of the back plate compartment contains a USB socket for charging your smartphone on the go.

The Vespa Elettrica costs £6,240 and with the 20% PIMG (Plug In Motorcycle Grant), it costs just £4999. The Elettrica is available in London from BMG Scooters exclusively – visit the showroom at 416 Upper Richmond Road, London SW14 7JX, or call +44 (0) 208 878 8121. For further information, click here for details.

Hemmels – The £1 Million Cars Crafted In Wales By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel finds out how Hemmels rebuild classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles for luxury lovers around the world, including one previously owned by Cardiff-born Dame Shirley Bassey….

Image courtesy of Shawn Eastman

It’s not often that “unique” actually means “unique,” but that’s the case with Hemmels in Cardiff, a company that painstakingly and forensically rebuilds some of the most beautiful cars ever produced, for a global audience of the rich and famous.

Hemmels was set up in 2016 and now employs 50 people with both the specialist skills and the affection for restoring classic Mercedes models. The range is limited to the 190 SL, which costs an entry level £250,000; the 280 SL, known affectionately as the “Pagoda” because of its shape; and the 300 SL, whose Gullwing version can achieve a price of £1.4 million, a value appreciated by classic car lovers worldwide. The company turns out no more than 40 vehicles each year.

Cars of up to 60 years old are brought in and completely stripped, before the parts are catalogued, cleaned and restored, albeit mainly replaced, using parts sourced directly from Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Stuttgart – coincidentally Cardiff’s twin city – along with other luxury items, such as fine quality leather for the cars’ interiors, in a process that can take 52 weeks.

Image courtesy of Shawn Eastman

The work demands high levels of craftsmanship and expertise, but as Hemmels’ Head of Marketing, Iain Wood, explains: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the talent we’ve found locally – skilled workers who are making unique, outstanding products. We’ve also had the backing of Welsh Government’s apprenticeship schemes, and currently have seven strong apprentices working with us.”

In August, the team at Hemmels start production of their first electric version, and it is testimony to their relationship with Mercedes-Benz that one of their vehicles, a 1968 280 SL “Pagoda” now has pride of place at Mercedes-Benz World in Brooklands, Surrey.

Amongst the owners of the 300 SL over the years are Sophia Loren and Clark Gable, and the smaller, sporty 190 SL has been enjoyed by the likes of Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly. Hemmels is currently restoring a 190 SL, previously owned by Cardiff-born Dame Shirley Bassey, having re-imported the car from the USA.

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Dining For Royalty By The Luxury Channel

Tables d’Exception (image courtesy of Imran Amed)

Just imagine it – you’re sitting at home when you receive a call from the Palace to say that the Queen is popping round. Oh, and she may stay for dinner. You’ve now got to whip together an entire table setting fit for Royalty – but who on earth can you call on to help?! Step forward Hubert de Vinols, the renowned French interior architect and art collector, who has launched his latest project, called Tables d’Exception, offering magnificent table settings for hire. Designed by Vinols using his extensive collection of fine and rare 18th and 19th century tableware, the concept is aimed at affluent individuals and organisations wishing to entertain in a manner that evokes elegance and grandeur (irrespective of whether your guests are members of the Royal household). Vinols’ creative eye and design skills have been honed from his interiors and restoration projects in chateaux and castles across Europe. He now combines his opulent antique porcelain dinner services, fine silver and textured glassware to create his “tablescapes” for up to 100 guests.

Vinols has had a passion for designing grand table settings ever since he inherited a large collection of important 18th and 19th century tableware from his historically interesting family. Over the years, he has steadily added to his collection, acquiring the finest pieces at auction, privately and from antique dealers around the world. He also owns a fascinating collection of his family’s menus, and these serve to inspire him when he creates beautifully hand-written menu cards for his clients.

With fine dining making a steady and welcome return to the London foodie scene, Vinols sees a gap in the UK market. “I wish for Tables d’Exception to enable a return to refined entertaining, where a beautiful setting inspires convivial discourse,” he revealed.

Vinols’ extensive tableware collection comprises the crème-de- la-crème of names in European luxury tableware, including Sèvres, Meissen, Chantilly, Locré, Baccarat, Odiot, Daum and Saint-Louis. These combine with fine embossed silk and table linens, antique silver and silver-gilt candlesticks, menu stands, salt cellars, sugar casters and magnificent ornate centre-pieces. It has rarely been possible to hire antique tableware, let alone have a table setting designed by a renowned collector and authority on the subject. Her Majesty is sure to be impressed….

Tables d’Exception operates in France, Switzerland and the UK, and commissioning fees are calculated on an individual basis. For further information, please visit

Le Parc du Cap – Le Nec Plus Ultra By Harriet O'Grady

There’s no doubt about it, the Cote d’Azur still remains one of the most beautiful and exciting stretches of coastline in the world. Its soft Mediterranean light, its Alpine backdrop, its clear waters, its corniches, creeks and beaches still dazzle. There are many lovely places but the Cote d’Azur has the edge and always will have because it attracts, and no doubt will continue to attract, the very rich and famous. With them comes that special veneer of pure glamour we find so alluring. Their excesses are so monumental in the form of giant superyachts and palatial villas, that we don’t feel envy but are happy to walk in their lofty footsteps allowing ourselves to believe, even temporarily, that we are part of their magical court, trailing in wanderlust touched by the imaginary gold dust they leave in their wake.

But if the super-wealthy come here, it is not par hasard, as the French would say. They come because la Cote d’Azur is French, and what does that mean? Well, that the French – because of their long tradition of art de vivre and savoir faire – are unequalled when it comes to chic, sophistication, and pure luxury. The rest of the world thinks it can do it as well as them, but it doesn’t really. It still looks to France as the ultimate reference point, whether it is for gastronomy, clothes, luxury goods, wine, or impeccable service. The super rich know this. That’s why they return year after year – they too are caught up in the glamorous reality of what France represents at its very best.

I have come to Cap d’Antibes, one of the most exclusive locations on the Cote, and am staying in a 4 bedroom penthouse apartment with private pool at Le Parc du Cap, a complex of new 1, 2 and 3 bedroom and penthouse apartments set in landscaped gardens between the old town of Antibes and Juan les Pins. The Cap d’Antibes peninsula, which juts out into the Mediterranean between Cannes and Nice, is steeped in romantic, cultural, artistic and literary history. This is after all the place where in the 20s, the American socialites Gerald and Sara Murphy persuaded the owner of Hotel du Cap (now the mythical Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc) to stay open for the summer months, thus making the Cote a summer destination rather than the winter one it had previously been in Victorian times. This is where Scott Fitzgerald wrote Tender Is The Night, with that memorable description in the opening chapter of the beach close to the fictional Gausse’s hotel directly inspired by Hotel du Cap. This is where the Duke and Duchess of Windsor purchased Château de la Croé set in 6 acres of parkland at the tip of the Cap, now owned by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovitch. At Château de la Croé, the Windsors entertained such illustrious figures as the Aga Khan and Churchill, who vacationed regularly at nearby Château de l’Horizon. In the 60s, Juan les Pins became home to the world famous jazz festival which this year hosted the rock star Lenny Kravitz, whom I watched striking perfect notes on his electric guitar whilst he sang to an adoring crowd under tall dark pines in the warm Mediterranean night.

Sitting on the wrap-around terrace of the penthouse in Le Parc du Cap with views stretching to old Antibes on one side and the open sea on the other, it is interesting to note that these most comfortable and peaceful surroundings built by the Caudwell Collection in a modern, contemporary style have a story behind them. The head of the Caudwell Collection, businessman John Caudwell, billionaire founder of Phones4U, had come ashore from his yacht to cycle. Here he was struck by the vast vacant structure of Le Provençal Hotel, an Art Deco “palace hotel” described as “the place where you had to be to meet the jet set,” which had fallen into disrepair after it was shut down by its owner in the 1970s for reasons that still remain a mystery today – French strikes were given as a cause but it seems these weren’t the reason. John Caudwell was able to acquire this grand hotel, which had hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Ella Fitzgerald and Joan Collins. Today, the company is in the process of renovating Le Provençal with the intention of bringing it back to its former glory in the form of over 30 luxury apartments. With the hotel came 2 plots, one of which is the site of Le Parc du Cap. The fact that John Caudwell is the sole investor and that he has surrounded himself with a dynamic and highly professional team led by Matthew Murisson means that great personal attention has been given to every detail, and only the best materials have been used to make Le Parc du Cap a development of world class standard. It even has a personalised concierge service that will help meet all organisational needs.

The air is balmy on this July evening, the temperature just right. I know that, should I so wish in the morning, I can walk down to the old town of Antibes just 20 minutes away with its narrow streets and covered market much loved by the locals, visit the famous Picasso Museum and beyond watch the hundreds of sailing boats moored in the port of Antibes, the largest yachting harbour in Europe, or else I might choose to walk the old customs route that hugs the coast past the great villas set in their massive grounds at the southern end of the peninsula. I might take a picnic and, like Scott Fitzgerald, sunbathe and swim in shallow waters in one of the many creeks, or else I might choose to remain in the 21st century and go down to the ultra modern spa facilities in the complex and have a massage. Which is, in fact, what I do decide to do. Marie, the masseuse, used jojoba oil macerated with “Rose de Mai,” the rose grown at nearby Grasse for the perfume industry. She told me, “I like to use these natural products which come from this area in a place like this, which is refined and luxurious.” Feeling beautifully relaxed, I then lunch at The Grill, the open restaurant overlooking the sea at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc.

Owning a flat in Le Parc du Cap allows you to experience the very best of the Cote d’Azur. The practicality of the apartments and the easy access to Nice airport (which is only a half hour drive away) allows you to dip in and out at your will, or stay for longer periods. They are ideal “lock up and go” pads but they are also adapted to long-term living. One thing is certain: their very special location ensures that you are never bored, not for one minute.

Further Information

Prices of the flats as follows:
1 beds from €587,500
2 beds from €864,900
4-bed penthouses from €4,950,000

For further information, go to

Esthechoc – The Revolutionary Vegan Chocolate Beauty Supplement By The Luxury Channel

It is “the secret weapon used by celebrities and fashion insiders alike to keep themselves looking fresh-faced and glowing.” So says Harrods, but as The Luxury Channel gets swept up in the hype around Esthechoc, we wanted to try it for ourselves to see whether this luxury chocolate brand really can hit the sweet spot and do you some good….

Music artist and brand ambassador Elle L has launched a new campaign, called Golden, on behalf of Esthechoc, a revolutionary vegan chocolate beauty supplement that, when enjoyed daily over the course of a few weeks, has proven and powerful benefits on skin health. The low-calorie supplement is a luxury chocolate and amalgamates the best of science and nutrition in one delicious bite. It is all-natural, and just 38 kcals per piece!

Esthechoc has come about after ten years of scientific study and research by the team at Cambridge Chocolate Technologies, and is the world’s first clinically proven anti-ageing chocolate. Packed full of powerful antioxidants, industry experts are now dubbing Esthechoc as the holy grail of beauty medicine; a chocolate that is enjoyable, healthy, doesn’t raise insulin levels and helps to regain skin health in just three weeks. Better still, optimal results can be seen when eating the chocolate daily, which is music to the ears of singer and brand ambassador, Elle L.

Elle L has only recently stepped into the spotlight, but her spectrum of creative talents and genre-defying music makes her one of the most promising future pop stars of today. The artist represents a new wave of millennials who sing, write, model and direct, and her produced work on bespoke projects for CNN international, BBC, IFC and Copenhagen Fashion Week bring out her chameleon creativity. Elle L’s passion for the environment puts her identity and energies to good use. As ambassador for Fashion For Conservation, a project founded by Nazazine Afshar (see our article here), Elle L hosted a London Fashion Week preview of their campaign to protect the rainforest with United Nations. She’s also on the committee for Whitley Fund For Nature, whose patron is HRH Princess Royal and Sir David Attenborough is a trustee.

Commenting on her glowing skin, Elle L admitted that she enjoys Esthechoc as a late-night treat, or when she’s with friends. “Esthechoc is a revolutionary way to keep skin glowing,” she revealed. “It really is a dream supplement!”

Elle L recently travelled to Peru on an eco-creative adventure with radio DJ Lara Fraser, where the pair visited the cacao fields of the Las Piedras region of Madre de Dios to see how the plant is grown first-hand. “Not only is the cacao plant in its raw form beautiful and a potent antioxidant, but it also proves to create a sustainable form of living in the rainforest, where there is often illegal destruction of natural habitat and eco-systems for the communities to earn money,” Elle L said. “Foundations such as Hoja Nueva, the eco-retreat we have been staying with, are supporting the locals in ways to ensure effective support is given to bridge the gap from concrete to natural jungles in a mission to protect the environment.”

Elle L also revealed a personal highlight of her trip. “One of the most special moments of the trip is when we gave a local Peruvian girl named Angel a piece of Esthechoc – she had never tasted chocolate in her life, even though her family are cacao farmers! They only consume it in its raw form and it’s then sent away for processing into chocolate. She loved it and her eyes lit up. We got to learn a little from one another, as I wouldn’t have seen the raw ingredient without her family and she might not have tried chocolate so soon. I’ll definitely be giving her more next time I’m there.”

So, the big question – does Esthechoc actually work? The Luxury Channel eagerly put it to the test to find out. We can report that firstly, it tastes delicious – in every square, there’s the initial intensity of smooth dark chocolate but there’s also a sweeter flavour trickling through in the background. At the end of the trial period (you eat one square a day, and each square comes individually wrapped for freshness), we noticed our skin was much brighter and somehow felt lighter; no doubt due to the fact that Esthechoc contains astaxanthin (which comes from algae), reported to be nature’s strongest antioxidant – it’s 6000 times more powerful than Vitamin C and 500 times more powerful than Vitamin E. So next time you get a chocolate craving, try Esthechoc. It tastes good, it does good – but best of all, it’s only 38 kcals a square!

For more information about esthechoc, visit You can buy esthechoc Golden online here and in store at Harrods, Selfridges and at the Dr Rita Rakus clinic in London.

Luxury And Lalique Through The Prism of Glass By Ramy Salameh

On the 130-year anniversary of Lalique, Ramy Salameh visited Wingen-Sur-Moder in Alsace, to luxuriate in the enduring Lalique legacy and discover the ultimate luxury weekend break….

The light softly and elegantly illuminated bunches of sculpted grapes that wrapped themselves around a Lalique ‘‘Saint-Vincent’’ plaffonier. The ceiling light-shade adorned my grandmother’s North London apartment and was my first and earliest introduction to the work of the great René Lalique. Even as a child, the way the light permeated the sculptural glass was not lost on me. That same sense of amazement and artistry remains in Alsace, weaving its magic through Villa René Lalique, Chateau Hochberg, Musée Lalique and of course the factory, all of which epitomise luxury lifestyle and decorative art.

This year marks the 130 year anniversary of Lalique. Stretching back to 1888, when he registered his initials ‘‘RL’’as a hallmark, through to the present day and the unique collaborations with contemporary artists. These include heavyweight names such as Damian Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Yves Klein and Terry Rodgers.

Collaboration with the famous perfumier, Francois Coty, proved to be a key turning point in Lalique’s career. In 1907, Lalique was commissioned by Coty, to work on a perfume bottle called ‘‘L’Effleurt.’’ Initially, it was to design the bottle’s plaque, which Lalique made to look like silver, although made entirely of glass, thus showcasing his talent with the medium. Our guide at Musée Lalique impressed upon us that the “L’Effleurt collaboration with Coty really launched René Lalique’s career with glass.”

The encounter with the perfumier was one of several key stages in Lalique’s life that are carefully narrated across the museum’s exhibits. Arguably, one of the most dazzling and emotive collections is that of the original perfume bottles, which give an insight into the mind of René Lalique and his ability to use the effects of transparency, opacity and opalescence inherent in glass to such dramatic effect. They also symbolise the transition from master jeweller of the Art Nouveau period into a master glassmaker of the Art Deco movement.

The museum found its natural home upon the site of the former Hochberg glassworks, part of a glassmaking heritage within the northern Vosges, dating back to late medieval times. The area’s glass-producing natural resources, skilled workforce and railway station, enabled René Lalique to connect his glass art and entrepreneurial ambitions across France and the world. This led to the founding of his factory in Wingen-Sur-Moder in 1921.

The Hochberg glasswork’s historic skeleton was adapted by French architects, Willmotte & Associates, to include a modernist wing of glass galleries incorporating a cloister garden, opened as Museé Lalique in 2011. Sitting directly opposite the museum, Chateau Hochberg – a listed monument built in 1863 by Edouard Teutsch, the then owner of the glassworks – has been turned into a chic four-star luxury hotel by the Lalique Company. The hotel’s solid, grand façade leads to a serene interior of neutral colours. The Windfall Chandelier, whose pendant crystals shower the bar and the Lauriers panels created by Rene Lalique in 1923 to grace the carriages of the Orient Express, immediately caught my attention on entering the lobby. Circular Dahlia motifs pepper the walls, as if directing patrons towards their rooms.

Since 1921, the Lalique Factory has continuously operated in Wingen-Sur-Moder and still produces crystal and glass using the most modern processes and has revived the traditional ‘‘Lost Wax’’ procedure for special designs. Exquisite pieces of varying shapes and sizes flutter, fly and swirl in rapid formations from the production line; the majority still incorporate one of the three key influences that captivated René Lalique: “la femme, la faune et la flore” (Flora, Fauna and the Female Form). The inscribed ‘‘Lalique, France’’ signature is the final stage of a long process that begins in molten form straight from the furnace and is worked in the ‘‘hot and cold’’ sections that retouch, frost and polish. The famous signature is only then applied.

Under the stewardship of owner and CEO Silvio Denz, the continued expansion of the Lalique brand has incorporated luxury lifestyle, to include hotels and restaurants in the portfolio. René Lalique would have understood the need for diversification. His artistry took his interests beyond the vases, statues and perfume bottles, additionally moving into car mascots, decoration for trains and ocean liners, and even religious architecture.

The reincarnation of his former summer Villa, as an elegant and intimate five-star hotel and two-Michelin starred gourmet restaurant would, surely, have met his approval. Primarily, as a showroom of fine pieces, comparable with the boutiques he opened in Paris. But also the reinterpretation and influences of architectural and gastronomic artists, who have combined to create a luxury experience. The restaurant was designed by Mario Botta and like the Musée Lalique, it seamlessly marries old and new. The glass walls of the restaurant brought nature and light to our table, whilst we enjoyed the creations of Chef Jean-Georges Klein, such as the 130th Lalique Anniversary – Goose Foie Gras arranged exquisitely with swallows (Hirondelles) and Seagulls (Mouettes) dancing across the plate and palette. Each dish paired with a fine wine brought up from the cavernous cellar by award-winning Sommelier Romain Iltis. As he poured the wine, the subtle red, white and blue trim on his cuff, is a nod to his expertise and excellence as a former “Meilleur Sommelier de France” in 2012 and “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” in 2015. Similarly, Chef Klein’s unusual pleated apron added Gallic flair and theatre to a special evening.

Amongst the reclining crystal nudes and swallows swooping and diving across the walls of the Villa, the 130-year anniversary touches follow us out from the restaurant. On display were several limited edition fragrances; one of which was the ‘‘Mon Premier Cristal Hirondelle.’’ Upon the base, “Lalique 130 ans, 1888-2018” is engraved. This small perfume bottle encapsulates and presents the past and evolving present for La Maison Lalique.

More Information

For more information, about Lalique, go to and for more information about the Musée Lalique, go to To book a stay at Villa René Lalique go to and to book a stay at Château Hochberg, go to .

Spinning The Bottle – Ornellaia’s 10th Edition For Vendemmia d’Artista By The Luxury Channel

At a special benefit auction held at the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Ornellaia presented the 10th edition of its Vendemmia d’Artista project on the 30th anniversary of its first vintage, 1985.

The project celebrates the unique character of each new Ornellaia vintage. Every year since the release of Ornellaia 2006 in May 2009, a contemporary artist has created a site-specific work of art and a series of limited edition labels, drawing inspiration from the word chosen by the winemaker to describe the character of the new vintage. The Vendemmia d’Artista project includes a label created by the artist for a single bottle in each wooden case of Ornellaia. As in previous years, the project provides for a limited edition of 111 large-size bottles, 100 Double Magnums, 10 Imperials and 1 Salmanazar, each individually numbered and signed by the artist. Each year, a selection of the custom-created bottles, with their labels designed and signed personally by the artist, is the object of both charity and for-profit auctions conducted by Sotheby’s, and the auction proceeds are donated to art foundations around the world. “Today, as the Vendemmia d’Artista marks its 10th year, it continues to attract funds for the restoration of artworks belonging to our universal heritage,” said Ornellaia’s CEO, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja. “[To date], we have succeeded in donating more two million Euros across the globe; just a small drop perhaps, but there is much more to come.”

Ornellaia’s recent benefit auction at the Victoria & Albert Museum consisted of 9 lots comprising special bottles created by South African artist William Kentridge for the Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma – Vendemmia d’Artista. The auction raised a total of £123,000, with the money going to the V&A.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, Ornellaia invited Kentridge to interpret the character of “Il Carisma” (Charisma). Kentridge is often referred to as a modern-day da Vinci, and is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, sculptures, animations and performances, which he uses to transmute sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories.

Kentridge created a site-specific masterpiece for Ornellaia, while the drawings on the wine labels were executed on the pages of old Italian cashbooks found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.

The designs Kentridge has produced for Ornellaia combine so many elements of his work, including his repurposing of old Italian cash books and on-going exploration of human labour and mechanics, which lend themselves so well to the tradition of winemaking, and to the history and impeccable standards of the Ornellaia estate in particular. The labels he has designed for Ornellaia draw on his Shadow Procession series, as seen in the public mural “Triumphs And Laments” on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, and his latest performance work “The Head And The Load,” which premiers in London this summer. “I think it is no underestimation to say Kentridge is one of the most exciting and versatile artists in the world today, as evidenced in this very special project,” revealed Sotheby’s Head of Modern And Contemporary African Art, Hannah O’Leary.

According to the artist himself, “The images on the Ornellaia labels are essentially about the work of making wine, and mainly of the vendemmia, the grape harvest. The secateurs come from a memory of the one occasion I took part in a Tuscan vendemmia, when I spent six months in San Casciano outside Florence with my family. This made me understand the human labour involved in making the wine; though what I remember most strongly is the pleasure of the lunch prepared in the vineyards by the local farmer’s wife. A depth of flavour made by the combination of work and terroir. The aspects of wine-making that combine both manual craft and mechanical processes suggested the transformation of people into machines and machines into workers.”

The centrepiece of the project, of course, is the wine: Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma. Now in its 30th vintage, the Carisma certainly lives up to its name. The fruit of a particularly well-balanced harvest season, 2015 is without doubt one of the great Ornellaia vintages. The characteristic deep colour announces a wine of great texture and intensity, followed by a fruit-rich nose that is ripe and fresh at the same time, emphasised by classic balsamic and spicy hints. It is rich, dense and full-bodied on the palate, with an exceptional tannic texture. Dense, velvety and refined, this texture extends throughout the palate. The lengthy finish concludes with an impression of firmness and delicate hints of spice.

“Like people of great ‘Carisma’ (Charisma), wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves,” explained Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Estate Director.

For more information, go to To see the film showcasing all ten projects, click here.

LA’s Ultimate Airport Luxury Touchdown By Ramy Salameh

Aerial shot of LAX (image courtesy of Discover Los Angeles)

Forget the crowded airport thoroughfares and lounges, the queues for immigration to boarding and waiting for baggage. In fact, imagine what it must feel like to be delivered for departure directly to the aircraft steps and to be met on the tarmac on arrival by a chauffeur-driven limousine….does royalty and heads-of-state spring to mind?!

The City of Angels International Airport (LAX) has been running the ultimate pre and post-flight luxury for the last year and is coming up for its first birthday. Premium passengers can expect a one-of-a-kind experience within The Private Suite at Los Angeles International Airport, the first of its type in the US.

Downtown LA (image courtesy of Matt Marriott for Discover Los Angeles)

Premium customers can literally by-pass the melee of the airport, giving the feeling of travelling solo when arriving at The Private Suite’s exclusive and remote terminal. It is designed for First and Business Class travellers seeking ultimate security, discretion and privacy, whilst serving all commercial airlines.

Within the gated and guarded compound, the new private terminal features ten individual suites, a new facility for private TSA screening, customs processing and direct-to-aircraft transportation across the tarmac.

Pre-flight time can now be spent in an exclusive private suite with its own bathroom, well-stocked kitchenette, double day bed and runway view. A team of eight people are assigned to each and every client.

The Private Suite at LAX

Customers are then personally chauffeured from the suite to their flight in a BMW 7 series, then it is just 70 steps from car seat to plane seat.

LAX ensures its luxury travellers’ pre and post-flight experience is luxurious, comfortable and as smooth as possible, but will of course come at a cost. The service is $3,500 for domestic flights, which covers up to three passengers, and $4,000 for international flights, also covering up to three passengers.

For more information about The Private Suite, go to For more information about LAX, go to

Moser – The Royal Connection And The Bridal Collection By The Luxury Channel

HM Elizabeth II, Queen of England, pictured with Moser glassware

For those wanting to follow in royal wedding traditions, Moser – world-leading producers of luxury handmade crystal – have shared insights as to their most popular glassware sets, gifted and used by royal families worldwide, and they reveal which pieces have been selected for the Moser 2018 Bridal Collection. Moser’s luxury beverage sets, decorative objects and master-engravings have always been popular items for royals, dignitaries, celebrities and those that appreciate luxury crystal.

Frantisek Schneider, CEO at Moser, commented that “the most precious gifts are those that are given with love, and create a memory of a special moment in time. We have customers who continue to add to their original bridal collection every wedding anniversary, which is a beautiful tradition. Every piece of Moser crystal is created with passion and care by our master craftsmen – each piece is handmade; individually blown, polished and engraved with exacting care and using techniques going back over 100 years.”

Then-Spanish Crown Prince Felipe (now King Filipe VI of Spain) and Letizie Ortiz’s wedding in 2004

As for current trends in glassware, Schneider reveals that “fashion does play a part when choosing glassware, and over the past few years platinum finishes are becoming more popular for modern bribes, rather than the more traditional 24 carat gold. We are also seeing a trend where brides are selecting a classic Moser design for the stemmed glassware, whereas wedding guests are choosing more contemporary pieces when gifting.”



The Chloe Goblet is one of the more rare pieces available from Moser, with a limited edition of just 300. Designed in 1895, it is one of the more technical pieces for the master craftsmen, and was designed so it can be used from both ends. It is painted in the finest enamels and gold, in a delicate pattern that reflects both Historicism and Art Nouveau.

The Chloe Goblet by Moser


The Copenhagen Collection, designed in 1909, is one of Moser’s most popular sets at both Royal and private weddings. It is an elegant demonstration of beautiful shape and decoration, chosen by numerous heads of state from around the world, including then-Spanish Crown Prince Felipe (now King Filipe VI of Spain) and Letizie Ortiz, who used this design for their wedding breakfast in 2004.

The Copenhagen Set by Moser


The Moser Heart is a beautiful gift to recognise the love between a special couple. This multi-faceted 20.5cm hand-blown and hand-cut heart is often gifted by a groom to his wife on their wedding day, as well as presented to the happy couple as a wedding gift.

The Heart by Moser

Lady Hamilton

Lady Hamilton, designed in 1934 and named after the charming 19th century English actress who was the wife of diplomat William Hamilton (and also said to be Admiral Nelson’s lover), is a design also favoured by royal brides and distinguished celebrities. It is a design that is optically distinct, and has an elegance and beauty within each glass.

The Lady Hamilton Set by Moser

The beauty of the butterfly is captured in the Motylek collection of individually hand-blown crystal tumblers. Each of the six colours boasts a different butterfly in motion.

The Motylek Butterfly Set by Moser

Designed in 1902, this tall and elegant design features an engraved motif of a rose in bloom and bud. Under the rim and along the edge of the foot are engraved – and gilded – two intertwined stems with thorns and leaves, which is symbolic of the joining of a husband and wife.

The Paula Set by Moser


The Purity Aquamarine and Rose Vase boldly blends two colours into one piece of crystal, just like the marriage of two individuals that fit perfectly together. Only a few master craftsmen can achieve this highly skilled and demanding technique, in order to create such a centrepiece.

The Purity Vase by Moser


In 1947, Queen Elizabeth II – then Princess Elizabeth – was presented with Moser’s most-loved “Splendid” crystal stemware as a wedding gift by the then Czechoslovakian President, Edvard Beneš, and she is known to use the glasses for both personal occasions and official dinners. One of Moser’s most famous designs, the Splendid collection was designed in 1911, and remains one of the most popular designs chosen for Royal wedding breakfasts and ceremonial dinners. It is often chosen by British and international brides for their wedding gift list and is most-often selected by kings and queens, including those monarchs and leaders of countries including Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan. The handcrafted glasses are available in both 24 carat gold or platinum, and for those wanting something entirely personal, a monogram or personal design can be hand-engraved onto each glass.

The Splendid Set by Moser


Moser is available from leading UK retailers including Linley, William & Son, Fortnum & Mason and Thomas Goode. Watch the behind-the-scenes film by clicking here.

Best In London – The People Who Really Matter By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel unearths the people who really matter to the people who really matter. The doctors, practitioners, therapists and service providers who celebrities and folk with their finger truly on the pulse have on speed dial. An alphabetical guide to the country’s leaders in everything from psychotherapy to gut health. From who you should visit for semi-permanent make-up to hair removal. Not to mention the super-facialists and who to choose for acupuncture or to accompany you to buy your clothes….

SHERYL CLOSE – For Helping You To Address Your Issues And Heal Trauma

Sheryl Close is a therapist with a waiting list that goes round the block. She’s the person who anyone with addictions wants to see (and that’s most of us). Her approach is also ideal for those who have suffered from an accident, scary experience, physical or mental assault, sexual abuse or loss. All of us, in other words. She’s helpful with everything from depression to insomnia and unexplained physical pains. Her pioneering therapy includes an eclectic mix of psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, massage therapy, addiction counselling and Gestalt therapy. (Sheryl has been practising as a psychotherapist for 20 years and as a Somatic Experiencing practitioner for five.) Somatic Experiencing and Trauma Therapy, did you say? Yes, the focus in her sessions is primarily on Somatic Experiencing — a therapy created in 1997 by Dr Peter Levine (read about it in his book, Waking The Tiger). Well, have you ever wondered why animals in the wild are rarely traumatised, despite routine threats to their lives? Somatic Experiencing therapy draws on observations of these animals and their fight/flight/freeze response — and how they spontaneously discharge this energy with involuntary movements such as shaking, trembling and deep breaths. Back in Close’s South Kensington clinic, you won’t be shaking or reliving the original trauma. You won’t even need to talk about it. But you will be guided to ‘track’ sensations in your body and discharge the frozen energy with movements, sounds and visualisations. Finally.

A one-hour session is £130 in London and £75 at her clinic in Bedfordshire –

Sheryl Close

GUDRUN JONSSON – For Gut Health And Emotional Release

Gudrun Jonsson is the hallowed healer of Holland Park. Some call her a modern-day white witch. She has a big following, from a Tibetan monk to actress Sian Phillips. You’ll find her through a shop selling eclectic health tomes, including her own bestselling books — Gut Reaction and Gut Reaction Eating Plan. Hers is a homely consultation room chokka with artefacts, cherubs and rugs. Gudrun combines traditional healing arts, biopathic treatments and the latest scientific advances. She’s versed in everything from acupuncture to Sukshma Marma Therapy — an Ayurvedic emotional release method. But she’s very grounded and commonsensical. She manages patients with a bespoke smorgasbord of treatments, aiming to rebalance the body’s energies and work naturally with the body’s own healing ability. She’s particularly big on gut health and diet tips. And keen on zapping you with positive vibes from her negative ion machine: It’s designed to impact on the body’s electrical charges and have an alkalising effect, thereby boosting the immune system and metabolic performance. (You just lie there relaxing with its infrared light focused on your soles while Gudrun does her own brand of foot massage). She’ll likely suggest life changes or a range of unusual but highly effective natural pills, lotions and potions too — including German homeopathic hormones, concentrated foods and supplements. That Gudrun is 74 and looks 60 is testimony to her methods.

£150 for first 90-minute appointment and thereafter £95 for hourly sessions, +44 (0)20 7603 1926 – .

Gudrun Jonsson

DR SHOMIT MITTTER – For Finding Your Inner Genie

Spiritual guru Dr Shomit Mitter is a hypnotherapist who delivers fast-track enlightenment in his homely consulting rooms in Chiswick. ‘He’s a heavy-hitting therapist to change your life,’ according to society Bible, Tatler. (Model Lisa Butcher is a big fan.) Aside from that, he also mentored Booker-prize winner Arundhati Roy; once ran a multi-million pound aviation business; has an M.Phil from Oxford and a PhD from Cambridge; has written two seminal books on theatre; comes from a famous line of yogis; and was inspired too by his mum’s (late) friend, Mother Teresa. Phew! Clearly, Dr Mitter is the ultimate Renaissance man – Leonardo (da Vinci) eat your heart out. He offers yogic hypnotherapy — Dr Mitter, that is – a pioneering therapy and his own creation that’s a combo of Indian meditation techniques and Western hypnotherapy. His methods help with everything from addiction and childhood trauma to helping you build a bigger business, increase your confidence or form lasting relationships. Said to put clients ‘in touch with their inner genies,’ he’s known for helping them create a state of flow in which the world they’d like to inhabit manifests around them effortlessly. For those seeking enlightenment from the comfort of their own armchairs, Mitter has just opened an online shop streaming his Magic of Manifestation videos — which allow viewers access to his magical methods for just £9 a session. You’ll find yourself smiling more than the Mona Lisa.

£140 an hour, +44 (0) 77717 66601 –

Dr. Shomit Mitter

KATIE WINTERBOURNE – For Intuitive Guidance And Clarity

A tour guide for your soul. And someone who loves the challenge of a sceptical client. That’s Katie Winterbourne, the professional intuitive who will meet you, a stranger, for the first time, and will then talk about your life with uncanny accuracy and thespian flourish. This model-pretty, one-time pupil of Deepak Chopra reads your unique energy ‘signature’ and uses her intuition to deliver energy healing and to give you a better understanding of your life. All this clarity and guidance happens in person, over the phone or by Skype. (Most opt for virtual consultations. But she’s just started offering appointments in a Marylebone mansion flat after years at Harrods Urban Retreat). She’s clairsentient, clairvoyant and just a little clairaudient. She’s also a Reiki Master (energy healing) and Vortex healer (healing on a soul level to clear Karma), and offers a smattering of talk therapy too. Sometimes all of the above within one session. She probably won’t tell you which shoes to buy or whether to dump your boyfriend. But she doesn’t balk at very specific questions. Plus anything she says can be fact checked afterwards using the download she records of the appointment. Whatever it is that she does, it works. A session will likely help you make shifts in your life – whether that be to do with decision-making, the dynamics of a relationship, a problem with your child or a job issue. It’s not for nothing that her loyal clients dub her a soul healer.

£170 for 30 minutes or £300 for 1 hour. Based in Marylebone every Friday, or via Skype or phone Monday – Thursday. Book online at

Katie Winterbourne

ANNABEL HODIN – For Personal Styling And Wardrobe Cleansing

She’s the country’s numero uno Look Doctor. The premier Mistress of the Wardrobe. There’s (almost) nothing that personal stylist Annabel Hodin doesn’t know about clothes and how to make clients look better than their best. She handles the sartorial requirements of numerous celebrities — sprucing up their glossy mag and on-screen appearances — and also dresses City whizzes to Mayfair dames. She has an uncanny knack for knowing what works for you psychologically and physically – whether choosing a dress to give you extra confidence or recommending a dressmaker (to tweak that Celine sleeve). As plugged into Selfridges, Harvey Nicks and Harrods as cachet boutiques — from Westbourne Park Road to Marylebone — and the best of the high street, she finds you lasting investments as well as the chiconomies of life. Annabel’s own make-up is subtle and her clothes sophisticated, whether she’s garbed in Cos or Prada. First talent spotted by Anna Wintour, Annabel’s a role model for us all, and quite simply the best for going through your wardrobe, slimming it down and freshening it up.

From £350 for a wardrobe consultation –

Annabel Hodin

SOPHIE THORPE – For The Queen of Eyebrows

Sophie Thorpe is the High Priestess of Brows. Others call her London’s Empress of Eyebrows. And Nigella dubs her The Eyebrow Master. Whatever, Sophie is the capital’s specialist in semi-permanent eyebrows. If you’ve ever under or over-plucked your eyebrows, have badly shaped brows or ones with no natural arch, she’s your lady. Or if you’re post chemo or suffering from alopecia. She looks after you from her white-on-white studio in a Knightsbridge townhouse near Brompton Cross. After dabbing on numbing cream, and using a fine needle, Sophie tattoos the semi-permanent mineral pigment hair by painstaking hair onto the skin using feathery strokes and a superfine needle. Between two and four weeks after the treatment, you have a top-up appointment to ensure that the results are parfaito. Your new eyebrows usually last between one and two years, depending on skin type and age. Get your brows done by Sophie and you’ll get an arch more perfect than the Bridge of Sighs and it’ll take years off your appearance. Plus you’ll look more Nigella than Joan Crawford. More George Clooney than George Michael.

From £350 for eyebrow tattoos (micropigmentation), +44 (0)20 7589 5899 –

Sophie Thorpe

ANDREA GROLLET – For Semi-Permanent Make-Up

When it comes to eyes and lips, Andrea Grollet is the Michelangelo of semi-permanent make-up. Have your lips defined or eyeliner drawn (known as micropigmentation to those techies among you) by Andrea and you’ll never again look as if you’ve just fallen out of bed — even if you have. It’s especially great if you tend to do wobbly eyeliner yourself (that’s all of us) or are big on sports. Using a fine needle, the semi-permanent mineral pigment (German, so it’s probably ‘gut’ for you, and of such high quality that you could probably eat it) is tattooed onto the skin by Andrea, a specialist of 15 years. The procedure is a tad uncomfortable (so pop a Paracetamol) but safe. The undisputed doyenne will ‘draw’ top eyeliner, bottom eyeliner, lip-liner or even full lip colour, making you look cover-girl perfect. Your lashes will appear thicker once that top line is applied. Thin, uneven, faint or even asymmetrical lips will be corrected by her sleight of hand. Your make-up-free face will never look unmade-up again — and the excellent results may last well over a year. No wonder there’s a steady stream of le tout fashionable Londres leaving her Knightsbridge rooms. Women with eyelids that are weapons of mass distraction. Very Audrey Hepburn. And lips that leave Julia Roberts’ in the shade.

Prices from £50 for a concept consultation at Neville Hair and Beauty in Knightsbridge –

Andrea Grollett

JOANNE EVANS – For Skin Matters

Former nurse Joanne Evans is one of London’s leading medical and beauty specialists. What she doesn’t know about skin isn’t worth knowing. She’s a tip-top facialist and also the Queen of Hair – hair removal, that is. She’ll pop you on a couch with a towel with ‘gratitude’ or ‘kindness’ or ‘love’ embroidered on it, and then deals with all your hirsute bits. She works her laser magic – on the boys with vintage Porsches and the coolest babes of London – in her calm, sage-coloured treatment room in Notting Hill. Sign her up too to make you younger — after all, you’re in the hands of someone who has more qualifications than a professor – think CIBTEC, BTEC, NVQ 3-4, IHBC, IIHHT, IIST, and BABTAC. Then let her and her team battle ageing with nutrition to hormones and cosmetic procedures. She’s a whizz at rejuvenation (micro-needling, anyone?), vein and pigmentation removal. She’ll fix you up with some Bro-tox (for him) and Botox (for her). Unsurprisingly, she has a waiting list that runs the length of Westbourne Grove. But if you can’t get an appointment with her, book one of her crack squad. She has a nurse who does infusions, an eyelash extension specialist, naturopath, and masseur. Afterwards, you can go to the Bodyism café for a low GI, organic, no gluten snack. Little wonder hers is the number on speed dial in all those Vogue employees’ iPhones.

+44 (0) 7710 381 438 –

Joanne Evans

DR TIM BRADSTOCK-SMITH – For A Smile Make-over

Need a smile make-over? Book Dr Tim Bradstock-Smith if you want excellent teeth. No self-respecting red carpet type would get out of bed without a perfect, pearly set. And he’s London’s go-to dentist and the only accredited member of the (world leading) American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in the UK. He’s at The London Smile Clinic, the UK’s centre of excellence for cosmetic dentistry. Imagine a purpose-built space with glass frontage, leather sofas, and glass partitions….a clinic that boasts the most advanced dental methods and the latest interactive computer imaging and laser techniques. Think tip-top gadgets like a CT scanner cum X-ray machine that does cool 3D X-rays — one of only three such machines in the country — and lots of computer simulation to fine-tune the smile you’re going to get. Plus iPads for you to fill in your medical history, a Nespresso coffee machine to play with while you wait and DVD goggles to watch in-chair movies (but no horror movies to make you jump). Get everything from gum re-shaping and white fillings to closing gaps, reconstructions and replacing missing teeth. From bonding to veneers to teeth straightening. Or a thorough Hygiene Clean and Phillips Zoom Whitening Treatment using LED light activation for optimised results. Catherine Zeta Jones has veneers and Beyonce and Britney Spears have whitened their teeth. Gwen Stefani and Kelly Brook have also used cosmetic dentistry to perfect their smiles. With The London Smile Clinic, you get to join this select club. With results natural-looking enough to make anyone smile. Broadly.

Hygiene Clean and Phillips Zoom Whitening Treatment is £995, +44 (0)207 225 2559 –

Dr Tim Bradstock-Smith

DANIEL GALVIN JR – For The Snipper Who’ll Give You A Power Lunch

When time is money, the Daniel Galvin Jr. Power Lunch is the only way to go. It’s a double speed, double quality approach to hair and nails. Daniel colours your hair while — working like synchronised swimmers — his right-hand woman, Olivia, also colours your tresses. That way, you get a full head of highlights in half the time. Simultaneously, you eat your kale and pumpkin seed salad, quinoa porridge or buckwheat pancake delivered from Grace Belgravia, and refuel on a detox organic drink. Then you’ll have either a mani or pedi while the dynamic duo finish colouring your hair. Afterwards, they’ll use Daniel’s own award-winning organic products — saving you from carcinogens and other nasties. Then Oli ‘Harry’ Styles will cut your locks and give you what Lady Thatcher termed a ‘blow job.’ While you’re in your chair in the Dior-grey and white Belgravia boutique salon, Daniel (impossibly good looking and wearing his three-piece suit with pocket hanky) may regale with stories of his amateur boxing career. You’ll spy on Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie — not to mention Kelly Brook and Carol Vorderman — if they’re in there. Before you know it, your hair and nails will be finito. And boy, will they have made your tresses look good, getting the exact shade of ‘sun-kissed babe’ or ‘Duchess of Cambridge.’ Hair royalty, hair-raiser – Daniel has been called many things. He’s not just a Prince’s Trust Ambassador and fourth generation hairdresser — his great-grandfather snipped tresses in his tailcoat, his father coiffed the Beatles, Princess Diana and Twiggy, and he himself develops HRH’s signature range. More importantly, Daniel sure knows a thing or two about making a special lunch.

Available at the Belgravia salon and Lanesborough Hotel Mayfair salon by appointment only, £1500 for two hours –

Daniel Galvin Jr.

Daniel Galvin Jr.

VAISHALY – For The Super Facialist To The Superstars

Vaishaly — like Madonna and Brad, she’s known only by her first name — gives one of the best facials in town at her discreet clinic in Marylebone. She’s a practising Buddhist, who has always had a passion – even a calling – for her work. She’s facialist to the stars – or, rather, super facialist to the superstars. Elle McPherson, Nigella and Gwyneth are all regulars. Vaishaly ‘reads’ your energy and uses the face for diagnosis, much as reflexologists work with the feet. Each client’s facial is tailor-made on the day, factoring in everything from the season to a client’s hormonal state and general wellbeing. Then Vaishaly uses her intuition and magic hands — plus her own-brand organic products — to begin rejuvenating your skin. Her signature facial (which is also given by her excellent team of therapists) includes a facial massage, cranial techniques, Reiki and manual lymphatic drainage. It’s the world’s only facial to include cranial work. During the mask, Vaishaly focuses on your neck, shoulders, scalp and face – lightly releasing tensions and banishing stress. A holistic treatment that takes you to heaven and back several times – without moving from her Marylebone clinic with its flickering candles and serene Buddhas. Your face will look clearer, smoother and naturally radiant. And you’ll want to return within weeks to the clinic with its rose petals and French lemon grove and lavender field scents. Little surprise that she has a three-month waiting list and is known as the Skin Goddess.

The Signature Vaishaly Facial with Vaishaly herself is priced at £200, +44 (0)20 7224 6088 –


DR YU HAN – For Traditional Chinese Medicine To Balance Your Body

You’d be hard pressed to find a better pair of hands. After all, Dr Yu Han offers a holistic combo of acupuncture, traditional herbs, cupping and Chinese massage. Traditional Chinese Medicine, in other words. She was a protégée of the famous Professor Cheng Xin-Nong — author of the first modern acupuncture book and the man credited with teaching the West’s leading practitioners. Dr Han has been inserting needles since 1983, after training for eight years full time in Beijing University’s Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine – which is to TCM what academia is to Oxbridge. In Chinese massage, you’re fully clothed and she rubs your meridians and acupressure points — so she may massage your foot, say, if you have a headache. When cupping — the Chinese have been doing it for 3000 years — she’ll place a glass cup on your acupuncture points and meridians, and the vacuum releases stagnation, sucking out stress, and tension. She may pop needles lightly into your scalp (that relate to the ‘du’ meridian) to calm your over-active ‘monkey brain’ (that hops around like monkeys in trees). Or she may prescribe goji berries and stamen from peonies to nourish your liver. Not to mention that her wall is plastered with photos of babies born to those infertile before Dr Han wielded her cups and needles. She treats everything – from acne and asthma to high blood pressure. And her patients travel from as far afield as Scotland and France to her clinic in uber trendy Kensal Rise. But given all her money plants, tinkling wind chimes and jars of traditional herbs, you could easily be in mainland China. What bigger luxury in life than consulting the woman with the magic needles?

Chinese Health Care Centre, +44 (0)20 8964 2421 –

Dr Yu Han


Toni is the snipper renowned for The Four-Stage Haircut. If you have long hair and are trying to dare yourself to go short, Toni is your woman. She’ll cut your tresses in (at least) four stages — each look beautiful and stylish — until you tell her to stop at the length and shape you want. You’ll seldom meet a hairdresser who takes so much trouble. ‘I can cut more off but I can’t put it back on,’ is her rationale. She’s also rare in that she’ll do your colour, cut and blow-dry. Think chic one-stop. After all, she’s worked at London Fashion Week and in TV and film. Now she’s Artistic Director and Artistic Colourist at Gielly Green Boutique Salon with its hair artists (a great team of style and colour professionals) and beauty therapists. As for the salon, ahhh – it boasts uber-comfy swivel chairs and recliners with squishy neck pillows to lie on when having a hair wash. Plus a tip-top range of own-brand holistic hair treatments: luxury products free from parabens, synthetic fragrance, SLS and carcinogens and with Neem, Argan and Buckthorn oils plus minerals from the Dead Sea. It’s open seven days a week. There’s even a coffee bar there. And it’s just moments from the Chiltern Firehouse, for a quick snack afterwards. It’s all so achingly cool, you’ll be begging Toni for a five or six-stage haircut….

A hair-cut and blow dry with Toni costs £130, +44 (0)20 7034 3060 –

Toni Aderotoye

Jonathan Mizzi – This Is Awkward By The Luxury Channel

A new yoga-inspired furniture collection – called the Awkward Series – was launched during Decorex; the first line to be designed by rising star Jonathan Mizzi. A Maltese British designer, Mizzi founded his company Mizzi Studio in 2011 to fuse design, architecture and art into one holistic workspace.

Mizzi is known for projects spanning high-end design, architecture and art, for his futuristic techniques and now for the Awkward Series. The line is made up of a limited edition range including an 8-seater dining table, a 2/4-seater table and a coffee table.

Awkward Table by Jonathan Mizzi; light by Matthew McCormick

The inspiration for the series comes from a very unlikely source – yoga. Captivated by the perfect state of balance, strength and poise of Bikram yoga’s “awkward” poise, Mizzi resolved to try and capture this in sculptural form. Added into the formal mix is Mizzi’s affinity with sci-fi and animation – as well as Art Deco and neo-futurist architectural design.

With its graceful curves and fluid form, the table appears to be suspended in motion. “The perfectly balanced legs are designed to loop around you,” Mizzi explained. “So much so that sitting at the head of the table becomes an immersive experience – you become one with the table.” Not that the construction of said legs was without its problems. Their continuous curving is not a natural way to support a surface, and in order to make the “tip-toeing” design stable, Mizzi and his team spent months perfecting aluminium honeycomb and stainless steel internal structures. To enhance the impression of fluidity – but without loss of stability – glass fibre was chosen for the table’s body.

The exclusiveness of the Awkward Series is reinforced by the fact that each piece has its own mould. Customers can also choose their own luxurious metallic finish – copper, gun metal, or gold – each sprayed with a unique liquid metal in a tinting technique used by Formula One cars. For the Decorex launch, a gold finished coffee table was designed as a limited edition piece, truly setting the gold standard!

For more information, go to

Vaishaly Clinic – The Ultimate Glow-Getter By Caroline Phillips

What links Rachel Weisz, Kirsten Dunst and Sophie Dahl? Oh, and Elle Macpherson, Meg Ryan and Gwyneth Paltrow too. They’re all clients of Vaishaly, the super facialist. She’s also brow sculptor (threader) to the superstars. As if that isn’t enough, she and one of her team of whizzo therapists have just started offering microblading —a form of eyebrow tattooing, about which more later. Plus Vaishaly has recently expanded into the neighbouring building to open a nail bar offering everything you could ever want for the tips of your hands.

First to her most recent offering, Cupcake Nails. It’s like entering the pages of a children’s story book — with its green grass floor, walls decorated with white roses, and others lined with every colour of nail varnish in the galaxy: from Essie and OPI to Christian Laboutin, Tom Ford and Chanel. Plus there are big glass jars of old-fashioned sweets and ceramic cupcakes. In fact, it’s a bit like walking into Alice In Wonderland’s nail-painting party. Therapists in white with white face masks offer excellent manicures, pedicures (while you sit in a booth), nail art, 3D art, Mum & Me and much more. (Manis from £25).

Next you go through the looking glass (or at least the door) to her neighbouring Vaishaly Clinic, a discreet salon in Marylebone’s Paddington Street. Here you get to try her other new beauty treat: microblading. You’re shown to the waiting area by one of the team of smiley Vaishaly folk: they don’t walk, they glide. As you wait, you flick through the latest copies of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, note a sign prohibiting mobile phones (to maintain the clinic’s temple-like hush), and breathe in the atmosphere of candles, Buddhas and air suffused with the scent of geranium and lavender.

You fill in a medical questionnaire and then Emma, a therapist, comes and steps lightly ahead of you to take you to your microblading consultation. When you’ve tried every eyebrow pencil, powder, pigment, gel, and stencil and your brows are still thin, microblading — a form of semi-permanent make-up and a more permanent solution to sparse eyebrows — is a treatment that promises to change your brow life. Consultation over, you book a microblading appointment.

The therapist implants pigment under your skin with a handheld machine, drawing hair-like strokes. ‘Traditional tattooing,’ says Emma, ‘involves a needle going in and out of the skin. But microblading uses a blade, which heals more crisply, showing the strokes more and looking more natural.’ It feels a bit like having your brows scratched. ‘Some ladies sleep through it,’ she adds. A treatment takes two hours. You may leave blonde, dark brown through to almost black, as you choose. (£400 including one top up 4-8 weeks later).

If you have time afterwards, book The Experience. Otherwise next time you’re visiting the Vaishaly Clinic (and there will be a next time; it’s addictive in the nicest way), you’d be silly to miss The Experience. It’s a unique full-body treatment, well, more of an experience really. It includes a harmonising massage, a toning facial, Reiki (a Japanese hands-on energy healing technique), cranial sacral therapy (an alternative treatment loosely based on osteopathy in the cranial region) and manual lymphatic drainage (a very gentle massage that encourages the natural release of lymph from the body) – all combined with Vaishaly’s own blend of energy healing. “I choose my therapists depending on whether they have a feel for working with energy,” says Vaishaly. She chooses well.

You certainly shouldn’t miss a Vaishaly facial, either — whether with Vaishaly or one of her crack squad. It’s not for nothing that Vaishaly is known to the British press as The Queen of Facialists. (Her facials have been offered globally from the Dorchester to the Four Seasons, Seychelles.) It’s also not for nothing that she has a three-month waiting list.

A Vaishaly signature facial includes extraction, toxin-draining lymphatic massage, gentle microdermabrasion, a rejuvenating treatment mask, plus a great facial massage — known to beauty insiders as Vaishaly’s ‘anti-ageing beauty secret.’ Each client’s facial is tailor-made. She and her team treat holistically and not just superficially, which involves healing cranial sacral work to calm and re-balance the mind and body. In a one-hour facial, there will be 20 minutes dedicated to it. Think of these facials as the ultimate glow-getter. Your skin will never look better. (£250 for 55 minutes with Vaishaly or £120 with one of the team.)

If you’d prefer to have a little of Vaishaly in your home, she produces a natural facial skincare range that sells online and in Fenwicks on New Bond Street. (Her Cleansing Balm would be my desert island luxury). How to sum up everything about Vaishaly and her clinic? Superfacialist, super treatments, super products. Oh and, of course, superstars.

Further Information

Vaishaly Clinic
51 Paddington Street
London W1U 4HR
+44 (0) 20 7224 6088
Vaishaly’s facial skincare range is available online at and from Fenwicks, New Bond Street, London.

Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to

Rolls-Royce And The Greatest Phantoms In History By The Luxury Channel

This July, Rolls-Royce will gather together the greatest eight Phantoms from the last 92 years in Mayfair, London. These ‘‘Great Eight Phantoms’’ will welcome the next generation of this most celebrated luxury item. Over the next few weeks, Rolls-Royce will announce which great Phantoms will journey to London from around the world, telling the stories of these motor cars and the historical events they witnessed.

From its debut in 1925, the Rolls-Royce Phantom has stood as witness to history’s most defining moments, from treaty signings to occasions of state and events that have defined the world we live in today.

The Phantom’s standing as the longest existing nameplate in the world of motoring is testament to it’s enduring importance to every generation’s leaders, from heads of state to titans of industry, and royalty to rock stars.

To celebrate this unprecedented legacy – a history still very much being written – Rolls-Royce will bring together the most famous examples of all seven previous generations of the Phantom to form The Great Eight Phantoms Exhibition.

Phantoms that have been owned by the great and the good will return from around the globe to Rolls-Royce’s spiritual home in Mayfair – the global home of luxury – for this never-to-be-repeated event, which will welcome the arrival of the eighth and most modern generation of the new Phantom.

The Great Eight Phantoms

Rolls-Royce began producing the Phantom I in 1925. The car was developed in great secrecy, with the project code-named Eastern Armoured Car. This suggested Rolls-Royce was intent on producing the kind of military vehicles used in the First World War, most famously by Lawrence of Arabia. Sections of armour plate were left lying around the factory to confuse curious competitors eager to glean the secret of making the cars.

The Phantom I was an instant success. The new 7.668-litre straight-six engine gave the car a fresh spring in its step. When General Motors opened a testing ground in Michigan, it was discovered that no cars could manage even two laps of the 4-mile circuit at full throttle without damaging their engine big ends (where the piston attaches to the crankshaft). However, Phantom I performed with consummate imperiousness and managed that, and more, at a steady 80mph without failure.

Sir Henry Royce’s restless desire to, in his own words, “take the best that exists and make it better” quickly led to the creation of the Phantom II in 1929, this time with a totally new chassis, which significantly improved the handling, as well as a re-designed engine.

The next Phantom, the third in the line, was to be Sir Henry Royce’s last project. He passed away in 1933, aged 70, about 12 months into the development of this next Phantom. The finished model, with its peerless 12-cylinder engine, was unveiled two years later and production lasted from 1936 until the Second World War. The final chassis was produced in 1941, although the war meant it did not receive its coachwork until 1947. No announcement came about a replacement and it looked as if the Phantom was another victim of the war.

In 1950, Phantom IV appeared. The car was originally intended to be a one-off for Prince Philip and the then Princess Elizabeth. However, once seen, a further 17 were exclusively commissioned at the request of other royal families and heads of state around the world. Fitted with a straight-eight engine, it performed superbly at low speeds – essential for taking part in ceremonial parades – and featured the kneeling version of the famous Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot.

The Phantom V was produced between 1959 and 1968, and 516 of this hugely successful model were made for clients including the Queen Mother, governors of Hong Kong, King Olav of Norway and John Lennon.

The long-running Phantom VI (1968-90) carried on the royal connection, notably with the Silver Jubilee Car, a raised-roof version presented to Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 by the British motor industry to celebrate her 25 years on the throne, and later famously used at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In 2003, a watching world was greeted with Phantom VII, a glowing affirmation of the start of Rolls-Royce’s renaissance at a new home in Goodwood, West Sussex. It was sharply contemporary yet timeless in the manner in which it deftly retained Phantom’s characteristic aesthetic. Built at the all-new home of Rolls-Royce, it arrived with a 453bhp 6.75-litre V12 – enough to propel it from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds – and every possible comfort a new breed of discerning luxury consumer could desire. Exquisite detail, right down to the car’s Teflon-coated umbrellas and self-righting wheel-centres, left a curious public in no doubt the marque was in safe hands.

The Great Eight Phantoms Exhibition will be the first time that this exceptional group of truly iconic luxury motoring pieces will be gathered under one roof. Every Rolls-Royce Phantom is an exceptional car, but thanks to their pedigree, this particular collection will include some very singular cars indeed, all owned at some point by famous individuals, and having played their part in witnessing the making of world history. This is such an uncommon pageant that it is no exaggeration to say we might never see the likes of it again.

For more information, go to

Moser Celebrates 160 Years of Crystal Craft By The Luxury Channel

Celebrating 160 years since its founding, Moser has created a unique anniversary collection of masterpieces inspired by its rich history, entitled MOSER 2017, which is being exhibited at London’s luxury tableware retailer, Thomas Goode, until September. For the occasion, the most important and timeless examples of Moser’s historical archives have been lovingly revived by contemporary masters using crystal craft and a unique colour palette meticulously handed down from generation to generation. These works of art have undergone the same procedures as the originals created over a hundred years ago.

At the centre of the exhibition is a gigantic Ludwig crystal chandelier, connecting the historical legacy of Ludwig Moser and his son, Leo, with the contemporary design and craftsmanship of Moser’s current master glassmakers and cutters. This work has been in the making for almost a year, with around forty people involved in its creation. The unique anticonvulsants piece weighs 200kg and comprises of 133 drops of hand-blown and hand-cut crystal in the golden colour of Moser’s topaz, which are further decorated with oroplastic and painted with 24-karat gold. The chandelier’s arms are also thickly gilded in the same 24-karat gold. Due to the unique colours of Moser glass, originality and a distinctive style is evident from all viewing angles, turning the chandelier into a timeless work of art of exceptionally high quality.

Since the company’s inception in 1857, Moser’s world-famous crystal, decorative art and unique engravings have gained much admiration, and even today, are still sought out by exceptional personalities and many crowned heads all over the world. With such dazzling examples of craftsmanship on show at Thomas Goode, it’s really not hard to see why.

For more information, visit or see the film here.

Cool Britannia By Hannah Norman

Britain may be firmly on course for Brexit from Europe, and so it seems that now more than ever is the time for this nation to be focussing on its own industries and talents.

It’s the perfect time to reinstate the British luxury craftsmen who have been seemingly disappearing. Andrew Guest, Commercial Director in charge of special projects at Thomas Goode for the past 17 years, is in agreement. “We have some of the finest craftsmen in Britain,” he told us, “but you never really hear about them, because they don’t really sell themselves. There is a lot of skill out there but it’s hidden, even though the industry itself is actually very active.” William Asprey, founder of William & Son, thinks likewise. “I think that there are some extremely skilled craftspeople who perhaps don’t get the recognition they deserve,” he explains. “British quality and design is respected the world over, and we need to make sure that, right now, we encourage others to come into it.” William is also keen to stress that it is the British element of the crafts process that needs special mention. “There is a skill and attention to detail which you don’t necessarily get from other countries, where they are newer at doing this sort of work,” he says.

British craftsmanship is indeed starting to re-establish itself on the global stage and that, surely, is something to celebrate. British fashion designers are showcasing innovation on the catwalk, the British automobile industry is rightfully world-renowned, and even British sparkling wine is holding its own against its more famous fizzy cousin from across the English Channel.

There’s further good news in terms of foreign income to Britain. Figures from Visit Britain show that overseas visitors to the UK spent £4.2 billion during January to March 2017, up 11% on the same period in 2016 and setting a new record for the first three months of the year. In particular, the latest data shows that flight bookings from China to the UK between May to October 2017 are up 49% compared to the same period in 2016. Visitors from China are also three times as likely to buy bags and purses in Britain than the average visitor, and twice as likely to buy personal accessories.

Subsequently, it’s time to stand up for our luxury industry, and time to celebrate British craftsmanship, creativity and ingenuity. The Luxury Channel has subsequently selected a few of our favourite British brands to showcase our point….


Perhaps one of Britain’s most iconic brands, Aston Martin has been at the forefront of automotive excellence for over a century, and continues to be a world leader in offering supreme performance and beautiful craftsmanship in one – extremely – elegant package. “I think it’s important to say that Aston Martins will always be beautiful,” Marek Reichman, the marque’s Design Director, says, “and the technology has to be a part of who we are and what we are as a brand. You combine technology and beauty together.” Perhaps this is why many of the world’s leading brands have aligned themselves with Aston Martin, firstly in terms of collaboration (such as their projects with Zagato and Red Bull Racing) and also in terms of partnerships (such as the launch of their capsule collections with Hackett London). Although Marek is quick to emphasise that, “for an Aston Martin, it’s not about fashion; it’s very much about style, and it’s generating something which continues to be exciting.” He goes on to explain that, “an Aston Martin must have a certain feeling. You have the heritage, the culture, the history – what we call power, beauty and soul – all to think about as well.” All of which makes for not just a dynamic piece of machinery, but a very beautiful vehicle too.


Award-winning sculptor David Harber is perhaps best known for creating exquisite sundials, which the company has been producing for over a quarter of a century. “We make sundials because I’m fascinated by time and by the precision involved with metalwork, and I’ve always been inspired by ancient mathematics,” David reveals. Accordingly, he is now a member of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers – an accolade in itself – and the British Sundial Society recognises the company’s works as the benchmark for good quality. David and his team have created sculptures for English Heritage for the Queen Mother, and for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, although “recently we’ve started making sculptures that are not sundials – they are objects that have been made simply because they’re beautiful, so we’ve been letting the looser side of our creativity come to the fore. We’re not restricted to 3000-year-old mathematics or the specific of the cosmos – we’re free from the bonds of the heavens.” This diversified approach seems to be serving David well, as the company has continued to go from strength to strength and is currently enjoying its best ever year. “We’ve been constantly growing,” David says. “But in terms of craftsmanship in Britain, there are hundreds of thousands of craftsmen producing extraordinary, world-class work. British craftsmanship is the benchmark of quality and style. Everybody knows us the world over for making beautiful things that people want, and there’s a great deal of pleasure in knowing that what you’ve created is going to be perfect for your client.”


Founded by Gerry Ettinger in 1934, Ettinger has established its reputation in the UK and abroad as one of the finest leather goods manufacturers in Britain. The company is still run by the same family today, after Gerry’s eldest son Robert Ettinger – the company’s current CEO – took over the reins from his father in 1995. “We are very proud to be a luxury British brand, retailing beautiful leather goods globally, with our factory in Walsall, outside Birmingham,” Robert reveals. “Being a British brand is very special – it is who we are; it is our very soul. Entwined with British history, we have our own unique history and heritage.” Indeed, many of the products that Ettinger sells today are based on the classic styles of wallets and bags owned by Robert’s father and grandfather, such as the Bullion range. “Making a leather product is not a science, it is an art,” Robert says. “Craftsmanship is artistry; it is the quality of design and work shown in something made by hand. In our factory, we have a skills base that has been passed down from generation to generation. We have some of the world’s leading experts in manufacturing and 83 years of knowledge in the design and making of leather accessories.” It is this high quality skill and attention to detail, coupled with the company’s identity as a British brand that has made them stand out so prominently both in Britain and abroad. “We are intensely proud of our British craftsmanship and that is what is so appealing to our customers,” Robert acknowledges. “We are a niche brand, but we export globally. I think it is because we are a niche product with a very high level of craftsmanship, history and heritage, together with a Royal Warrant, that has made us so universally appealing. If standards are high, I do think there is an increasing demand for luxury British products globally.”


With performances that take place in the spectacular Opera Pavilion, and set within the rolling landscape of the Chiltern Hills, is the Garsington Opera. A passion for promoting excellence in opera has ensured that Garsington engages the very best performers from around the world. The company also champions talent from within the UK who are just beginning to make their names on the worldwide opera stage. The Garsington Opera Orchestra provides the artistic core of performances, with many of the musicians having played with the company for over twenty years. The centrepiece of every performance at Garsington is, of course, the intricate sets. “It takes weeks – months, even – of careful preparation to create each set piece for the operas,” says Douglas Boyd, Garsington Opera’s Artistic Director, “and a lot of work put in by a team of very dedicated and supremely talented people, all of whom are experts at their craft. The worlds into which you immerse yourself at the opera are all thanks to their talent and craftsmanship.”


The beautiful, family-run Wiston Estate is nestled in the heart of England’s rolling South Downs. Employing time-honoured methods, Wiston produces sparkling wines of exceptional quality. The Estate has been in the hands of the Goring family since 1743. Presided over by Harry and Pip Goring, the Estate is now managed by their son Richard and his Marketing Director wife Kirsty. But it was Pip’s long-held conviction that the estate held the potential to grow high-quality grapes that led to the birth of this family venture, which remains unrelenting in the pursuit of quality. “People’s interest in hundreds of acres of barley and wheat seemed rather limited,” says Harry, “but now we’ve planted a vineyard, they seem to be fascinated.” Wiston’s vintage wines are picked by hand and gently pressed in England’s only traditional Coquard press, one of only four outside France’s Champagne region. “It is the limited nature of our vintage wines, which depend upon the age of the vines, the climate and the viticultural care they receive, which makes them such a luxurious product,” Kirsty tells us. “The particular combination of these different elements each year makes every wine, every vintage, unique. It will often take over five years of maturing to get from grape to drinking. This is a process that is never rushed at Wiston and wines will only be released when we feel they have reached their true potential.” The tiny yields produced are critical to Wiston’s purity and elegance, creating a new benchmark for English sparkling wine – in fact, the company’s wines have been awarded twelve gold medals in top international competitions. These are not the only accolades that Wiston has received – British TV favourite Mary Berry featured the wines in her Absolute Christmas Favourites programme for the BBC, and HM The Queen launched P&O’s largest cruise ship, Britannia, with a Nebuchadnezzar of Wiston Brut NV. If it’s good enough for Royalty….

Hästens – Crafting Sleep For A Restless World By Fiona Sanderson

Providing the planet with the best bed in the world requires precision and allows for no shortcuts, and no compromises. Fortunately for the sleep-deprived denizens of the 21st century, Hästens has been hand-making beds since 1852 (which, for those who know their history, is well before the invention of the light bulb), so it’s no surprise that their master craftsmen know a thing or two about getting a good night’s sleep.

“We are not selling beds – we are selling sleep,” says Ana Mladenovic, manager of Hästens’ Chelsea store in London. “Your sleep is priceless.” Indeed, on average we will spend a third of our lives in bed, so it makes sense to invest time into choosing the right bed. Adhering firmly to the principle that sleep is the single most important aspect of life, Hästens has honed its bed-making craft over the course of 160 years. After all, a good night’s sleep brings more benefits than just the satisfaction of having slept well – you live longer, look younger, keep a healthy weight easier, learn quicker and perform better. “Sleep affects how you age, how you work, all manner of things,” Ana cautions. “That’s why it’s important to have the right bed – you must wake up full of energy. Choosing the right bed is an investment in your well-being but it’s also an investment in your life.”

Hästens uses only natural materials in their beds, designed specifically to provide the perfect conditions for better, deeper sleep, such as horsehair for insulation and ventilation, and flax for a quieter sleep environment. Each and every bed Hastens sells is handmade in their factory in Koping, Sweden. “No request is too big; no detail goes unnoticed,” Ana says of the process. “Our commitment is to provide only the very best beds.”

Perhaps the best bed that Hästens makes is the Vividus, a £100,000 speciality that takes a team of ten people over 320 hours to make. “It is truly unique,” Ana smiles. “Sleeping in one makes you feel like you are floating on a cloud.” Very special indeed – so no surprise that when The Luxury Channel was in the store, we spied actress Rula Lenska testing it out.

When it comes to testing out, we reviewed the Hästens topper, which they advocate you should put on top of your mattress to give an added dimension to your sleep. It made a huge difference to the level of comfort on top of a superior king-size mattress and our sleep improved 100%. Despite its weight, it gave the feeling of total relaxation, and made us very aware of the importance of ensuring that your bed gives you the best night’s sleep possible. Plus, bear in mind that this was just the topper – so imagine the difference that an actual Hastens bed could make!

But in actuality, can a bed really change your life? Ana is emphatic in her response. “Yes it can! Sleep is so important,” she enthuses, “and at Hästens, what we offer is the opportunity to get the right amount of sleep. You will be much happier – this is one of the greatest luxuries you can buy.” Which is good to know considering we live in a world where we’re all waking up far too tired, surviving on the bare minimum amount of sleep required whilst still trying to pack as much as possible into our hectic working days.

“At Hästens, we have a deep conviction that there is something better out there than what most people around the world know of as sleep,” says Ana. “Most people have never even imagined the kind of sleep we know is possible in a Hästens bed.” Tellingly, she adds that “we all sleep well here.” Which, when you’re selling the best beds in the world, makes perfect sense. On that note, we’re off for a well-deserved sleep….

For more information, go to or watch the film here.

Jaguar I-PACE – The Future of Electric Motoring Hits The Streets By The Luxury Channel

Jaguar has unleashed its first electric vehicle – the Jaguar I-PACE – onto the streets for the first time. Driving on the streets of London’s famous Olympic Park, the electric performance SUV concept will be on the road in the second half of 2018. The I-PACE Concept is the smartest five-seater sports car – a performance car, a family car and an SUV all in one. It’s set to be the first real electric alternative to a traditional premium SUV, and it is of course as daringly designed and as innovative as the cars that originally put the marque on the map.

“The feedback on the I-PACE Concept has been fantastic. With the I-PACE Concept, we’ve torn up the rule book to create a vehicle with supercar-inspired aesthetics, sports car performance and SUV space, in one electric package. It has surprised people and the enthusiasm for our first electric vehicle has been beyond all my expectations,” Jaguar’s Director of Design, Ian Callum, revealed. “What’s really great about this car is that we didn’t set ourselves any rules. Don’t try and make it look like an F-TYPE or give it an E-Type boat tail because that’s nice to have. Just accept the fact that this is a whole new vehicle and takes Jaguar’s rules to a whole new level.”

He added that, “driving the concept on the streets is really important for the design team. It’s very special to put the car outside in the real world. The I-PACE Concept represents the next generation of battery electric vehicle design – the future of motoring has arrived!”

The I-PACE will be a long distance sprinter that accelerates to 60 mph in around 4 seconds, with a range of more than 500km (NEDC cycle) from the 90kWh lithium-ion battery. Charging is easy and quick, with 80% charge achieved in just 90 minutes using 50kW DC charging.

The I-PACE will additionally deliver the agility, ride comfort and refinement that will set it apart from other electric vehicles: it will be a true Jaguar and a true drivers’ car.

For further information about the Jaguar I-PACE, click here.

Gielly Green One-Stop Boutique Salon And Spa By Caroline Phillips

It’s like a studio that houses some of the capital’s greatest artists. Think of it as a curated exhibition or art gallery — but instead of artworks for sale, it has some of the world’s best hair maestros and therapists offering their services. These are the sorts of things that are said about Gielly Green, a tip-top boutique salon cum one-stop beauty lounge in Marylebone, London. It has also garnered glowing reviews in magazines like Tatler and Vogue.

Gielly Green is in the golden triangle that encompasses (celebrity eatery) the Chiltern Firehouse, fashion designer Bella Freud’s hip shop and The Chiltern luxury development (where apartments sell for a cool £2 million per bedroom and David Bailey exhibits). Mayfair was once the “it” place. But now it’s clear that Mayfair is the dowager aunt, and Marylebone her happening niece.

Shai Greenberg (Gielly Green’s co-founder and a gifted hairdresser) opened the combined salon and spa with his friend and business partner Fred Gielly. That was several haircuts ago. But now the duo is, once again, set to offer something new. Not content with 3500 square feet of ground floor and souterrain, they’re now expanding heavenwards, taking over the upstairs of their building so that they can have more artists. And what else is new? ‘We’re bringing out six more styling products this year,’ says Shai.

Ah yes, the products. Last year Gielly Green launched a classy range of holistic hair and body treatments. Think luxury products free from parabens, synthetic fragrance, SLS and carcinogens. With Neem, Argan and Buckthorn oils plus minerals from the Dead Sea. There’s everything from 100 per cent Argan oil (to reduce wrinkles and soften the hair) to their Repair Mask, a wonder product for damaged hair (though it’s a bit heavy for mine). Plus a smooth hand and body wash with Sea Buckthorn and Neem oil scented with lemon and Muguet.

It’s time now for a quick look around the “gallery.” The space is decorated in browns, taupes and creams. There are super-comfy swivel chairs and recliners with squishy neck pillows to lie on when having a hair wash. There’s even a coffee bar downstairs. The art gallery look is completed with fresh orchids, and black and white artwork.

And now to the “artists,” a handpicked team of experts in almost every field of beauty. Fittingly, they have titles like “colour director”, “artistic colourist” and “artistic director.” They offer everything from Environ facials to waxing. And Brazilian straightening to spray tanning, hair extensions and wig styling.

Holly Warren delivers things like purity, energy and balance with her massage, Ila’s Kundalini and body scrub, crystal healing, and reiki in treatments for face and body. And nails? There’s Shreen Gayle — whose handiwork has appeared in Vogue in five different territories. (‘My trusty brush has stroked the nails of celebrity beauties like Keira Knightley to Kate Winslett, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer,’ she says.) Brow-pro Shavata Singh offers lash extensions to eyebrow threading. Then there’s Joseph Roberts (hair philosophy: strong shapes); Lewis Dyer (known for his hair editorial work and European royalty assignments); Laurent Derame (renowned for the French art of Balayage). I could go on. And on. There’s a team of 35.

I’m booked with two of them. The first is Carl Dawson (erstwhile head colourist at Nicky Clarke), one of London’s leading hair artists. He’s pioneered two hair colour techniques: Mezzo Highlights and Acquarella. (Explaining these is like getting into the difference between oils and watercolours.) He could also be a male model. And his clients have included Kate Moss, Gwyneth and Jemima Khan.

He does my tint and high and low lights, taking a few years off my age in the process. Then comes an Olaplex treatment (the current hair treatment buzzword) which is brilliant for bleach-damaged hair. It’s more than a conditioner — ask devotee Kim Kardashian — because it rebuilds the damaged disulphide bonds in your hair that get broken during the chemical process. So how good is he? The truth is that he’s one of my two favourite colourists (the other is Daniel Galvin Junior at his eponymous salon; but that’s the subject for another article). I’ve followed Carl from salon to salon for over ten years — he’s that talented — and only found Gielly Green through him.

Afterwards I have a cut with artistic director, Pol Garcia. Chop talk is that Pol is pioneering a hair revolution. He gives what was once dubbed “the £1000 haircut” by the media, on account of another hairdresser who offered Pol-style cuts to Hollywood stars across the pond for a grand. Pol creates the same look for a snip of the price (£140). Which is why the likes of Pippa Milddleton, Bryan Ferry, Poppy Delavigne and Victoria Beckham have all had their tresses done by him.

Pol doesn’t cut in straight lines to give that boxy, static, hair-sprayed ‘80s and ‘90s look. He creates something that has movement, is fresh and follows the hair’s natural flow. I love how he does my hair. Little wonder that he won Tatler’s award for the best haircutter and has also been featured in Vogue to Vanity Fair.

After my makeover, I tour the exhibition again. I meet Otylia Roberts — legendary hot waxer to the stars, and famed for bringing the Brazilian wax to these shores. She does every sort of bikini wax under the sun, and many not under the sun. Think Hollywood, G-string, plus every other part of the body from forearms to back, chin and underarm. ‘We’re the only UK salon that does a full body hot wax,’ she explains. More than that, her wax is organic, made from pure beeswax and completely natural. Naomi Campbell, Kate Winslett and Kate Moss can testify to that. But I didn’t ask whether they’d had Brazilians.

If you want artists from the exhibition to travel to your home, they’re happy to arrange to come. Otherwise Gielly Green is open seven days a week. What’s not to like?

For further information, go to

Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to

Putting The Luxury Back Into Cyprus By The Luxury Channel

A new era of modern beachfront living begins as Ayia Napa Marina begins construction in Cyprus. The £190 million mixed-use residential and commercial project offers luxurious residences, world-class yachting facilities (with a 600 berth marina that can accommodate yachts of up to 60 metres in length), a variety of retail boutiques, waterfront fine dining options, and recreational and nightlife experiences. The development will feature 190 spacious one-four-bedroom apartments, penthouses on the top two floors, 11 luxury beach villas and 18 marina and island villas directly overlooking the marina, featuring walk-out access to private berths, with prices starting at £430,000. The ambitious project is expected to offer new dynamism to the local economy and Cyprus’ tourism in general, making Ayia Napa the most cosmopolitan tourist resort in the Mediterranean. We talk exclusively to the CEO of the Caramondani Group, Stavros Caramondani, about his family’s dream to build the first luxury marina and residential project in the South East cost of Cyprus.

Tell me about your project – who is behind it?

The development is the realisation of the dream and vision of my father, Gerasimos Caramondani, and Egyptian billionaire investor Naguib Sawiris. They both joined forces to implement a long-term strategic plan aiming to set a new standard for luxurious sea-front marina living. We are blessed that Naguib Sawiris also shares this dream and has invested in it as without him, we couldn’t have brought this project to fruition. We are both family businesses, and even though one is a billionaire and we are much, much smaller, the two families have a great chemistry and trust between them, which is why I think it will be a great success. I also think it will be successful because Cyprus is blessed by beautiful nature, year-round sunshine, modern infrastructure, a high standard of living and a genuine culture of warmth and hospitality, strategically located in the eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. The modern business environment, coupled with a high quality of life, makes Cyprus an ideal place for both visitors and investors.

Why is your project unique and why will it change the way people think about Cyprus?

Cyprus is considered a safe haven even though we had to be bailed in 2013 by the EE Monetary Fund and we did go bankrupt, but we have rebounded very quickly and as you know, on March 31st 2016, we exited the monetary fund programme and our banks were fully recapitalised. The weather is beautiful here and even in winter, it is very mild. There is a great infrastructure, there is a transparent lender system, bureaucracy is at minimum – much better than our fellow Greeks – and things are much better now for off-shore companies willing to invest. Furthermore, we are building a very high-end marina and so we are targeting high-end customers. We are building the marina in one of the most beautiful parts of Cyprus with 3 of top 10 beaches in the world, in an area which at the moment does attract tourists but this project will change the area and, I dare to say, the Eastern Mediterranean as well. We are targeting people from the Middle East, Russia, North Africa and Europe, by providing them with a summer house. That is our target. There are other incentives such as citizenship and residency schemes. So all this put together, and the timing of it, gives us the ability to believe it will be a success. We will exceed the expectations of our residents and our guests, and not only transform the Cyprus skyline, but change the way that you think about Cyprus too.

What is special about the design?

Rising high above the marina, we will have two iconic towers which are visible from both land and sea. Over 100 metres tall, the towers will stand out welcoming seafarers, residents and visitors alike. The towers’ twisting forms are inspired by the caryatids and sculptures found at archaeological sites throughout Cyprus and their facades are articulated with a latticework suggestive of the woodcraft and detail of ship-building. We have the top architects from the US who are internationally recognised as experts in waterfront design. The villa architecture is a contemporary expression of new and old, combining locally quarried stone around the base, with sleek plaster volumes cantilevered above. Large expanses of glass will give breath-taking views around the villas.

What services will you be offering new buyers?

We are not just selling a villa or an apartment in a beautiful marina; we are selling the whole idea, the concept, the services that we provide, and a commercial return on investment. You are not just buying a house by a beach somewhere – the difference is that you are buying into a marina environment. With our design and choice of materials, you have the whole package. The first phase will be ready by June 2019, and we will operate the marina for the next 50 years. We will provide services to boat owners and residents, as well as facility management so that owners can get a return on their investment during the months they are not in Cyprus. We are there, we are committed and we will deliver the best services.

What is your company ethos and what have your learnt from your father?

As CEO of the company, I have to say that I have learnt from my father that the important things you need to recognise are your strengths and weaknesses, and you also need to focus on building partnerships with professional advisers. In other words, you have to understand who you are first, and secondly, if you want to be successful, you have to accept that you cannot just do it on your own, that you need your family members, you have to invest in human resources, you have to allow people to take initiative, and you have to find good people that you can trust who can become your right hand people. Without sharing, I am afraid there is not much you can do. Because my father was a very ambitious guy, when he lost everything in 1974 due to the invasion, he remade everything following this philosophy, and this is what I have learnt from him and what I am going to continue to do going forward.

For more information about the project, go to

Skytime Jets – How The World’s Wealthiest Fly For Their Ski Breaks By James Shotton

Legacy 500

The ski season is one of the busiest times of the year. Most people who are looking for private jet hire during the winter months are wanting to travel in luxury to popular resorts and elite ski destinations across the Alps – and they want to be able to travel where they want, when they want and how they want. This is especially so during the ski season but Skytime Jets, however, can arrange private flights to airports that the commercial airlines either can’t get to, or fly to infrequently. A private jet charter company that was launched in 2012, Skytime Jets offers flexibility for both leisure and business clients, allowing them to fly when they want and from where they want. Skytime has twice been voted as the Best Private Jet Supplier In Europe at the prestigious World Travel Awards.

One of the perks of flying privately is the time saved – no check-in times, queues, customs or luggage carousels. Passengers are able to set a departure time that is suitable for them, fly from an airport close to their home and land at an airport close to their destination.

Falcon 7X

Verbier is a classic example of a resort that is time-consuming to travel to commercially. The resort in the Swiss Alps – known for its stunning vistas and popular slopes – is one of the world’s most in-demand skiing destinations. Commercial flights land at Geneva Airport, and after you’ve completed luggage collection, security and customs, there is a further two hours to travel until you reach the resort. However, if you fly privately, Skytime Jets can arrange for you to land at Sion Airport (a private airstrip in the Rhone Valley), just 45 minutes’ drive from Verbier. Their mission when handling a client’s ski trip is simple: minimal travel time, maximum time on the slopes.

This year, Skytime Jets has already seen a surge in bookings ahead of the season, arranging private flights for clients to resorts in St Moritz, Zermstt, Gstadd and Lech, and they have reported seeing a rising interest in The Chedi in Andermatt, Switzerland and Six Senses in Courchevel, France.

The Chedi is a five-star luxury resort located in the Swiss Alps. The visually-striking hotel – designed by world-renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy – is made from warm woods and natural stone, and boasts 123 stunning guest rooms and suites. It also offers a ski-in living room with sport boutique, comprehensive spa and wellness centre with hydrothermal baths and a duo of swimming pools set against the picturesque Alpine landscape.

The New Andermatt

Six Senses, in the French Alps, is another five-star favourite. It is located in Courchevel – which makes up part of the Les Trois Vallées, the world’s largest linked ski area. Courchevel is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Three Valleys” because skiers can easily explore a variety of slopes in Meribel, La Tania and Val Thorens, to name a few. So far, Six Senses is proving to be one of the most popular destinations for the 2016 season. The hotel itself takes traditional mountain living to new heights, with 10 duplex penthouses and 12 superior apartments offering sensational mountain views. A favourite among guests is the hotel’s fingerprint recognition security and the remote-controlled central heating system, which allows you to adjust the heating in your room from the slopes.

While there are a variety of elite skiing destinations to which you could travel, this season we would suggest you test your skills on the slopes of the Alps – staying at either The Chedi or Six Senses – and if you’re thinking of flying privately, Skytime Jets guarantees a tailored, stress-free journey with less time spent in airports, and more time spent on the snow-kissed slopes.

For more information, please visit or call +44 (0) 1452 714500.

Ethiopian Airlines – Flying On Cloud 9 By Caroline Phillips

Cloud 9. That’s the business class cabin of Ethiopian Airlines. The one in the A350. This is where you want to be when you leave the tarmac to head for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It’s the first Airbus A350 to fly long-haul out of Heathrow. And the first to fly in African skies.

Ethiopian Airlines A350

Let’s start at the beginning. The airline shares a lounge with United at Heathrow. But if you’re flying from Addis Ababa, they have their own own dedicated space – with bar, children’s area, business centre and even an Ethiopian coffee corner.

The aircraft itself boasts spacious seats – which turn into 78” fully lie-flat beds – plus enough headroom for a stooping gentle giant, panoramic windows for watching the angels fly past, and low twin engine noise level….ahh. (Although I didn’t notice the purring engines as much as the irritating ping-pinging noise in the galley behind; the sound of economy fliers pressing their call buttons).

Interior Cabin

There’s also advanced air conditioning technology and full LED mood lighting designed to enhance comfort and reduce jet-lag. Can’t argue with that: certainly I arrived feeling amazingly refreshed.

There’s also slick, gracious and charming service on offer from its habesha (traditional white muslin dress)-clad flight attendants who serve everything with a smile. Really tip-top service. And decent meals – such as short rib of beef with pickled cabbage and fish pie with mash, fennel seed and parmesan topping.

Then, when you’re done with all that eating, you’ve got a high definition touchscreen personal monitor (although the selection of films didn’t grab me at all). When you want to sleep, the quilted blankets are great. And what of the canary-coloured in-flight goodie bag? Think yellow plastic biro, yellow socks, yellow earplugs….not quite an Anya Hindmarch flight bag, but still.

Interior Cabin

Overall the plane is ultra modern and environmentally friendly – or at least, friendlier. If you want to get techie, the fuselage and frame are made primarily of reinforced plastic (53% to be exact), so the A350’s frame supports a lower fuel burn. Plus its state-of-the-art Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines outperform competitors’ in terms of fuel economy, emissions and overall efficiency. Indeed, it has the lowest C02 emissions of any wide body aircraft. As for the wings, phew, they cover an area of 442 sq metres – equivalent to more than two tennis courts – representing the largest single-deck wide body aircraft in production. Like a bird’s, the wing structures adapt during flight, morphing and changing while airborne to reduce fuel burn.

The airline is also big on girl power – having made aviation history with the first all-female functioned flight (on its Bangkok/Addis route). Yay!

Ethiopian Airlines A350

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is Ethiopian Airlines – the surprising pioneer of African aviation and an aircraft technology leader. It’s a great plane, super modern, and with excellent staff; definitely worth flying business-class.

Oh, and one last thing. On the way home from Addis, you can ask someone to drop your baggage at the international airport after 1pm for your evening departure – and just get to the airport an hour before your flight.

Cloud 9? Yep, that sums it up.

More Information

Ethiopian Airlines fly daily from Heathrow to Addis Ababa with a modern fleet. Lead in return fares start at £505 economy and £2,065 business class, inclusive of all taxes; bookable online at, via telephone on 0800 016 3449 or via travel agencies. Ethiopian Airlines additionally has 19 domestic routes within Ethiopia.

Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to

Louis XIII – The Journey of A King By Fiona Sanderson

The Luxury Channel talks exclusively to Ludovic du Plessis, the young and handsome Global Executive Director of Louis XIII, about his vision for the brand, films and the future. We find out more about the brand’s l’Odyssée d’un Roi project, stars of the silver screen including Charlie Chaplin and John Malkovich, and why 100 years of love means drinking the finest cognac in the world….

Ludovic du Plessis

Ludovic du Plessis

Four French luxury houses have come together to create a masterpiece, called L’Odyssée d’Un Roi. A bespoke tribute to cognac’s mythical journeys through the ages, Louis XIII has collaborated with Hermès, Saint-Louis and Puiforcat. To pay ode to the luxury travel heritage of Louis XIII, each house has contributed its own centuries-old savoir-faire for the creation of a series of three objets d’art. These one-of-a-kind pieces are being presented in culture capitals on different continents as part of a year-long travelling exhibition. The bespoke trunk, modelled on a classic steamer trunk and hand-stitched by Hermès using the finest leathers, has been designed to hold an exclusive creation – a magnum decanter of Louis XIII. We talk exclusively to the charming Ludovic du Plessis to find out more….

Tell me about the process and history of making Louis XIII and the l’Odyssée d’un Roi project?

It takes four generations of cellar masters over 100 years to craft each bottle which means during 25 years, each cellar master will select the very best eau du vie and then these four generations are blended together to make the very finest cognac. The difference between Louis XIII and l’Odyssée d’un Roi, which means Journey of a King, is that we added some eau du vie dating back from the 19th century. The eau du vie is selected from the best grapes and the best region in cognac. This is called Grand Champagne and is the best of the best Louis XIII. Louise XIII itself was created in 1874 when one man from Remy Martin decided to create the ultimate luxury spirit. At the time, everyone was selling very young eau du vie and cognac because they had to sell it straight away but this one young man said no, I am going to keep them because when you age them, they are going to get more complex and more mature. In 1874, he was ready to put this magic liquid in a bottle. He called it Louis XIII and two years later in 1876, he went to the US market, then to China, then Australia and then the UK. It then became a global brand within two years after its birth. So its journey all around the world started then and today it is everywhere, in the top 35 countries in the world. For me, it became a global brand in 1876, so we wanted to make a tribute to that. For l’Odyssée d’un Roi, we have created only three magnums, each one with a map of Europe, Asia and America.

Louis XIII -Three Decanters

How did you chose your partners for the project?

We wanted the best of the best and Hermès has such a heritage and history in the travel industry, it was not difficult to choose them! It was the same for Saint-Louis, in terms of the crystal. The engraved, white gold pipette of L’Odyssée d’Un Roi has been handmade by the Art Deco silversmith Puiforcat, for the ritual of service. With that, you take it drop by drop. So then you have the four houses together to make a tribute to the journey of Louis XIII. They were all very interested. It took almost four years from the start to finish. It’s a lot of time, a lot of men and women behind the project. For example, there’s only one man in the world who can engrave the decanter like that, and he worked for months and months on it.

Why are all the benefits of the L’Odyssée d’Un Roi project going to Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation?

The money will preserve the movies and with part of the benefits, we are going to work on a Charlie Chaplin movie from 1916 – the colour etc – so with Louis XIII, you go from Charlie Chaplin in 1916 to John Malkovich in 2015!
[Click here to watch an interview with Martin Scorsese about the work of The Film Foundation].

John Malkovich

What was the thinking behind the John Malkovich film, “100 Years?”

The idea behind John Malkovich’s story – which he wrote! – came to me when the cellar master told me the first time I arrived at the company that in a bottle there is 100 years of history because it takes four generations to make it. He told me that in the morning he had selected the best eau du vie and some of this will be in the Louis XIII which will be tasted in 2115. So I said to him, you are working for people who are not even born yet! So I wondered, how am I going to tell the world that, and reach out to the new millenials? I thought the best way was the cinema platform. From Hollywood to Bollywood, we all love cinema and John Malkovich is the best guy to do that. We needed someone who had the maturity and the craziness and the magic, and Malkovich was that. The hashtag #NotComingSoon is for them!
[Click here to see the trailer for 100 Years, and here for further information about the film].

Do you think the new millenials in 100 years time will still appreciate luxury in the same way as they do today?

Absolutely. It’s all about time and every generation appreciates the time it takes to make true luxury. In today’s world, it’s all about instant gratification and social media but the whole thing about Louis XIII is delayed gratification so it means so much more to them. For me, when I accepted the job, I realised it was mostly about men after dinner with the cigar, which is very true but the best moment for me is at the aperitif time at 7pm before the dinner. Your palette is fresh and you are ready for an amazing evening, and you start with Louis XIII because it’s very smooth and you take it drop by drop and have some pieces of Iberico ham. Then you think, wow, the evening is going to start in the best way! It’s also true for women. I recently went to a friend of mine’s wedding in Israel and took a decanter engraved with the name of the bride and a toast to 100 years of love because it means something to get married.

Louis XIII - Royal Monceau

Where is the best market for fine cognac?

Cognac was introduced into China in the 1880s, so they know it well and they love cognac, but also in the UK and USA. Louis XIII is very well known in Asia beyond China but today when I look at the sales, it’s very balanced between the continents.

I hear you are opening a retail store in the SKP in Beijing, which is a different step for a luxury spirits brand – how is this changing the way you deal with consumers?

The idea is to re-engage with our clients. None of the wine and spirits companies have a boutique anywhere in the world – we are the first and it shows you how client-centric we are. It’s all about the client and the experience that we can have with them. It’s about changing the rules in the wine and spirits universe for me to sell directly. The boutique is 130 square metres, it’s beautiful and in three parts. First, you enter the salon then you have the boutique, then you have the eternity room that only family and friends can go into, so it’s the whole idea of going bigger then smaller – it’s about the image of concentration. Like the eau du vie, the water of life becoming very concentrated. So the design is about the concentration and it’s really about making history, so I can shout and sing about it. The official opening is on October 27th.

L'Odyssee d'un Roi

Is it getting harder for luxury brands to engage with consumers?

Unless you keep engaging your clients with new things, then yes. Look, in two years we have produced a movie with John Malkovich which is going to be released in 100 years, we produced a masterpiece with Hermes for the Film Foundation, we opened a boutique in Beijing and we have a lot of new projects to come soon, so we have many ideas. Everyone wants to hear our story and there are 100 ways to tell that story so these three things we have just done are only just the beginning. As for next year, I can’t tell you as it’s a secret, but I can tell you that we will be here in the UK in the middle of next year and everyone will be extremely happy. I have already said too much!

What’s your personal motto?

Steve Jobs said, “do what you love to do and make a difference.” That’s my personal motto, because I love what I do.

Louis XIII - European Groupage

Personally, who has been your mentor on your journey through life?

I have been lucky to have three good friends. Sir Richard Branson is one of them and for me, the things that he has taught me are management and leadership, which are the key. Then I have a good friend, Serena Williams, she taught me how never to give up and the last one is Leonardo Di Caprio and he taught me never to take anything for granted and to give back. That’s very important.

If Louis XIII was a car or an animal, what would it be?

Wow, that’s very personal. If it was an animal, it would be a wolf because it’s very beautiful, delicate and aware, and if it was a car, it would be an Aston Martin because of its style and craftsmanship. Voila!

The three ultimate masterpieces featuring a rare blend of Louis XIII cognac will be sold at auction at Sotheby’s (the next auction will be held in London on November 16th 2016). The proceeds will benefit The Film Foundation, a non-profit founded by director Martin Scorsese. For further information, visit:-

The Reveal of The New Discovery SUV By Fiona Sanderson

Land Rover invited The Luxury Channel to their big live reveal of the new Discovery seven-seat SUV. We spoke to Design Director Gerry McGovern about their latest offering, and why he thought this new Discovery is unchallenged in the SUV market. We also spoke to Bear Grylls, Sir Ben Ainslie and Zara Phillips (watch our interview here) about the Discovery’s unique features and why they believe this vehicle really does embody Land Rover’s drive to go ‘‘Above and Beyond.’’

Bear Grylls lays the record-breaking Lego brick to Land Rover's Tower Bridge structure at Packington Hall

Bear Grylls lays the record-breaking Lego brick to Land Rover’s Tower Bridge structure at Packington Hall

Land Rover chose a night at Packington Hall in Warwickshire, UK – close to Land Rover’s Solihull plant – to stage the big reveal, set against a very impressive backdrop of the largest Lego structure ever built. A Guinness World Record first, this 13-metre high Lego model version of London’s Tower Bridge was made from 5,805,846 individual Lego bricks, breaking the previous record by 470,646 pieces. Laid end to end, the bricks would stretch for almost 200 miles, or from Tower Bridge in London to Paris.

Bear Grylls rapels from a helicopter as he arrives at the global unveiling of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

Bear Grylls rapels from a helicopter as he arrives at the global unveiling of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

As part of the dramatic reveal sequence, British adventurer Bear Grylls appeared in typically exciting fashion by abseiling from the top of the huge Tower Bridge installation, through the open drawbridge and onto the stage beside the new Discovery. The finale was Land Rover BAR Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie driving his sailing team through 900mm-deep water under the bridge – demonstrating the unrivalled capability and versatility of Land Rover’s new SUV. Sir Ben towed a Lego replica of the Land Rover BAR boat – a 186,500-brick meticulous model of the boat that will challenge for next year’s America’s Cup.

Land Rover BAR Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie drives the new Land Rover Discovery at the global unveiling at  Packington Hall, accompanied by team manager Jono Macbeth

Land Rover BAR Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie drives the new Land Rover Discovery at the global unveiling at Packington Hall, accompanied by team manager Jono Macbeth

The model of Tower Bridge was flanked by two Lego “Discovery Zones” celebrating 27 years of Land Rover Discovery heritage. An Equestrian Zone, hosted by rider Zara Phillips, featured a typically British picnic scene made entirely from Lego bricks. The Bear Grylls Adventure Zone included a Lego fire and boulders to represent a scene from a typical mountain exploration.

Zara Phillips at the global reveal of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

Zara Phillips at the global reveal of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

After this impressive show and unveiling, we caught up with Gerry McGovern who had a charter plane waiting to take the Land Rover team directly onto Paris the following day as part of Discovery’s launch onto the European market. “I do think our new Discovery is unchallenged in the SUV market and if you compare it to the traditional SUVs in the market, this vehicle is far more refined and there’s nothing else that competes visually or in its capabilities,” he told us. With an all-aluminium platform, it’s got a much higher spec in its executions – the materials, finishes and fittings. Confidently he said, “the proof, of course, will be the customers and in my view, it’s not a great design unless it sells but I have never designed one that hasn’t sold yet!”

British stars at the global unveiling of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

British stars at the global unveiling of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

But what about the way the Discovery looks – how did McGovern keep in line with the car’s unique DNA? “There are certain things that point to its Discovery roots,” he said. “Outside, you will see the step roof, the asymmetry at the back of the car in terms of the rear panel and then the overall visual which makes it stand out.” Everyday ingenuity has been at the heart of the Discovery for the last 27 years and this fifth-generation model has been designed with the family in mind – light and comfortable with 7 seats and all the technological gizmos to keep up in the digital age.

Land Rover BAR Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie drives the new Land Rover Discovery under the record-breaking Tower Bridge at Packington Hall

Land Rover BAR Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie drives the new Land Rover Discovery under the record-breaking Tower Bridge at Packington Hall

Adventurer and father of three Bear Grylls believes they have got the balance right. “To me, they embody that spirit of adventure coupled with a rugged reliability that also serves the needs of a young family. I think these cars are amazing; they are the unsung heroes. We film all over the world in the most inhospitable jungles and deserts, you name it, and we always have Land Rovers there. They are just part of the team. They are not seen on screen but we know they work, they are reliable and tough. Some places are impassable but usually the Land Rover can get there and that’s a good default to know. There’s an emotional connection for us as a team as well – that same spirit of endeavour. They also have all these cool features – including seats that can be remotely controlled.”

The Luxury Channel interview Bear Grylls at the global unveiling of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

The Luxury Channel interview Bear Grylls at the global unveiling of the new Land Rover Discovery at Packington Hall

Bear took this idea to the limits when he arranged a spectacular sky dive along with six members of the Royal Navy Parachute Display Team, arranging the seats of a camouflaged Discovery mid-air before the whole seven-member team landed aboard the new car – and they clearly loved it! “You know, it’s typical of Land Rover,” Bear admitted. “They love flying by seats of pants a bit, pushing the boundaries. It’s ‘Above and Beyond,’ it’s always very good fun and fits well with the brand.”

Land Rover Discovery seats are intelligently unfolded by Bear Grylls during a 125mph sky dive

Land Rover Discovery seats are intelligently unfolded by Bear Grylls during a 125mph sky dive

The New Discovery SUV is priced at: £68,295 (on sale Spring 2017) and the Discovery range starts from £43,495. For more information, visit:-, or watch the film by clicking here.

Obone Design – The Craft of Bespoke Luxury Furniture By The Luxury Channel

Obone Design - Basil Street

Looking to spruce up your office space, disguise an awkward chimney flue, or perhaps introduce a modern twist to a classic English home? Obone Design specialises in bespoke furniture for both homes and businesses alike, delivering truly unique and luxurious pieces for any environment. Able to design everything from individual statement pieces to entire rooms, your interiors can be crafted with beautifully-made furniture that has been built to last a lifetime.

Obone has just announced the launch of its new Italian Collection, created by experienced Italian artisans with a passion for creativity and an eye for luxurious detailing. The collection features quality lacquered surfaces with spectacular gold and silver leaf finishes.

Obone Design

Known for his inspired design ideas, Obone has also recently appointed Thomas O’Brien as Design Director. He revealed that the company is “extremely excited” about the new collection, adding that “the opening of our new workshop in Tuscany is just the beginning.” We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

For more information, visit

Bentley Mulsanne – A Mobile Working Sanctuary By Charlotte Metcalf

Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase in Rose Gold Over Magnetic

We are eating orange-infused quail breasts in the banqueting hall of Schloss Elmau, an historic hotel lying in the shadow of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. A wall of windows yields a theatrical panorama over the snow-capped Bavarian Alps that rise jagged and majestic above the forested hillsides sloping up from Schloss Elmau’s groomed lawns. All our eyes are drawn outwards, as though we are in a cinema, though the room itself is lush with gold leaf and warm textured walls. In 2015, Schloss Elmau was home to the G7 Summit and world leaders gathered around this very table for dinner. But we’re not here to discuss global events and politics – I have come with a small group of British journalists to discover and enjoy Bentley’s family of redefined and new Mulsannes – the Mulsanne, the Mulsanne Speed and the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. Determined that we appreciate just how luxurious and refined the Mulsannes are, Bentley has spared no attention to detail to put us in the right mood – there is even a Bentley B in chocolate on the plate of jewel-coloured macarons that we all find in our enormous, airy, mountain-facing suites.

Bentley Mulsanne in Porcelain

‘You could be sleeping in Barak Obama’s, Angela Merkel’s or David Cameron’s room tonight,’ jokes Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, as he welcomes us and ushers us into dinner. He describes the Mulsanne as ‘our flagship and essence of Bentley’s DNA – exquisite, individual and powerful….not just a car, an automotive work of art.’ Sitting on my left at dinner is Stefan Sielaff, Bentley’s Director of Design. He’s particularly enthusiastic about the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase: ‘It’s the crown jewel in our portfolio. It represents a point at which luxury and performance merge,’ he tells me.

Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase in Damson Over Tungsten

The next morning the swathes of cloud that had shrouded the mountain peaks have disappeared and the glossy fleet of Mulsannes gleams in the warm sun. With my co-driver, we ease our way along the gravelled drive in an Azure Purple Speed. Encased in its assertive Beluga black leather interior with Piano Black and Carbon Fibre veneer, we delight in pushing the mighty 63/4 litre V8 engine to 200 kph on the unrestricted Autobahn before stopping for coffee by a waterside boathouse at La Villa, a graceful 19th century hotel on Germany’s fifth largest freshwater lake, Starnberger See.

Mulsanne Speed in Sequin Blue

Then we wind our way into Austria, through wildflower meadows and villages with onion-domed churches and pitch-roofed chalets, merry with bright geraniums tumbling over balconies. Just south of Kitsbühel, a cable car takes us up 1,645 metres to Hahnenkamm Lodge. On a balcony overlooking the start of the dramatic Hahnenkamm ski run a barbecued feast awaits us. We absorb the warm sun and mountain air before changing car into an elegant Fountain Blue Mulsanne with a cool Linen coloured leather interior. As we bowl along by the shore of a mountain-fringed lake, green as Lalique glass, it is a delight to drive – solid and robust but silkily powerful.

Mulsanne in Fountain Blue

Finally, a chauffeur takes over and we experience the Extended Wheelbase as passengers. Ours is a stately Peacock Blue with a sumptuous Saddle hide interior. The biggest difference from the Mulsanne’s or Speed’s exterior lies in the extra 250 mm in length and the disconnected power line between the front and back but the effect is just as sleek, partly because all the Mulsannes’ paint finishes are polished for 12 hours to achieve their gleaming mirrored finish.

Mulsanne Speed in Julep

The back seats are built to resemble reclining airline seats on a private jet with electrically-powered leg-rests. I subside blissfully into comfort bolsters and lean into the butter-soft suede pads against the comfort headrests. The seat, that can be either cooled or warmed, will give you a back massage after a long day (a feature available in all the new Mulsannes). Between the seats is a console with a refrigerated bottle-cooler with frosted glass front and custom-made crystal champagne flutes. There are dark stained burr walnut picnic tables in the seats in front but if you need to work, the touch of a button in the console will release fold-out tables that have been tested to take the heaviest computer or pile of papers. They can be tilted, extended or swivelled until you have the ideal working space.

Mulsanne in Arabica

The in-car Bentley ‘‘theatre’’ comprises twin 10.4” tablets, which pop up from the back of the front seats when needed and can be taken out and into the office or house. The in-car system easily synchs with your own mobile devices. Obviously, there is Wifi at all times. It’s easy to imagine using the back of this car as an office – the expansive glass sunroof allows plenty of daylight, making the car seem airy and spacious. Once work is done, the touch of the button will activate the Alcantara sunblind and you can close the blackout curtains, recline the seats and watch a movie with a chilled glass of champagne or just sleep comfortably with your feet up. Bentley’s engineers have ensured that this is one of the most silent cars on the road, with advanced noise reduction technology in place.

Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase in Extreme Silver

For all its luxurious amenities, the Mulsanne is above all built to perform – anywhere on the globe. It has been tested in the hottest, dustiest deserts and in the iciest mountains. This is a car that takes 400 hours to hand-build – 200 hours longer than the standard family saloon car. It takes 150 hours to hand-stitch the 480 pieces of leather that make up the interior. There are 40 pieces of wood veneer (all robustly tested to ensure they withstand any environment) that make up the new Mulsanne’s interior. ‘We’re more akin to fine furniture makers than car manufacturers,’ says Simon Blake, Director of Body and Trim Engineering. To ensure optimum performance at all levels, the Mulsanne contains two and a half miles of optic cable that would run up and down the Empire State Building five times.

Mulsanne in Porcelain

As I reluctantly prise myself out of the Mulsanne’s embrace at Innsbruck Airport, I remember the words Stefan Sielaff had used: ‘It’s a cocoon, a sanctuary,’ he’d enthused over dinner. ‘If you had one of those, you wouldn’t really a need an office any more – or even a home come to that,’ jokes my co-driver wistfully as we trudge into the airport terminal. Bentley’s current strapline is ‘When extraordinary cars meet extraordinary people, extraordinary things happen.’ The transformative joy of the Mulsanne is that it makes ordinary people feel extraordinary too.

Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase in Extreme Silver

Further Details

* The Mulsanne starts at £229,360 and our Fountain Blue model with specifications is £275,415
* The Mulsanne Speed starts at £252,000 and our Azure Purple model with specifications is £318,030
* Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase starts at £275,000 and our Peacock Blue model with specifications is £344,850
* Website –

The Launch of The Jaguar F-PACE By Charlotte Metcalf

Jaguar F-PACE

‘I’m actually the reason for the F-PACE,’ laughs David Gandy. ‘I’m a sports car enthusiast but when I saw the F-PACE in clay form, I said, “Build it!”’ It’s not every day that I hang out with male supermodels in one of the world’s most prestigious hotels, but this is no ordinary car launch. Jaguar has invited a small (mainly female) group to Montenegro on a privately chartered plane to test-drive their first ever SUV. So now we’re sipping champagne and gathered around a metallic blue F-PACE that blazes lusciously in the evening sunshine.

David Gandy

In front of us, another F-PACE bobs on a raft on the sparkling Adriatic and behind us is the beautiful backdrop of our hotel, the Aman Stevi Stefan, an exquisitely restored fishing village, a cluster of ancient stone cottages and centuries-old churches built around a Venetian-style warren of narrow lanes on a tiny private island. The Aman Stefi Stefan is arguably among Europe’s top exclusive luxury destinations and with prices starting at €1,100 a night, certainly one of the most expensive.

Jaguar F-PACE

David Gandy is an old friend to Jaguar and a loyal ambassador. ‘I’ve believed in the brand for many years,’ he says, ‘and the F-PACE is simply the best car on the road at the moment. I was right to have had faith.’ Ian Callum, the F-PACE’s legendary designer, beams. He has been on a punishing global tour for several weeks, presenting the car to motoring correspondents and dealers. But he’s not jaded. Such is his pride in his latest baby that he continues to delight in its sleek, sensual lines that echo the original F-TYPE.

Jaguar F-PACE

‘A lot of passion has gone into this car,’ he says. ‘Getting a car with the height of a SUV to look like a Jaguar was dealing with opposing visual forces. But we’ve kept the front wheel far out to keep it sporty and the car rears back from that to give a sense of excitement. There’s a short rear and front overhang to suggest muscular strength and visual confidence, and the window graphic gives the car its poise, speed and length.’ He’s right – despite its necessary height and sensible, functional, spacious proportions, the car retains its Jaguar spirit of a potent beast about to spring. ‘It’s a SUV with a sports car’s soul,’ Callum concludes.

Jaguar F-PACE

It wasn’t long ago that women who drove SUVs, especially in cities, were vilified as silly and rich, clogging up already congested streets with their gratuitously large “Chelsea tractors.” But all that has changed. Anna Gallagher, Senior Launch Manager at Jaguar, says it’s partly to do with two severe winters in 2006 and ‘7. ‘People suddenly started wanting 4WDs and saw them as the safe, warm, family option,’ she says, as we waft up onto the Aman’s rooftop candlelit terrace overlooking the sea for dinner. Jaguar’s dream is that the F-PACE, with its affordable entry price-point (£34,170) will become the de rigeur car of choice for women – as well as men – around the world. Already some retailers have a six month waiting list.

Jaguar F-PACE

The Drive

The next morning, the cars await us on a specially built deck on the beach opposite our hotel. My co-driver, the blogger Kelly Eastwood, and I are assigned to a steel grey V6S with red and black upholstery. Gilbert, an experienced Jaguar hand, drives the first part of the route and I experience how comfortable and generous the back seat is, with plenty of legroom even for tall men. We drive along the coast, the sea glass-smooth and Lapis Lazuli-blue under a cloudless sky, before turning inland along a steep, single-track road.

Jaguar F-PACE

We wind up through budding forest in new leaf that glows vivid green with sappy spring energy. Wild flowers sprinkle the verges amongst clumps of wild euphorbia and in the distance, towering over the sea, are the majestic snow-topped mountain crags that give the country its distinctive, dramatic scenery. We pass a neatly kept monastery in a field of buttercups, some tiny farmsteads smothered in wisteria amongst flowering fruit and lilac trees, vineyards on terraced slopes and a few abandoned, ruined buildings, a reminder of Montenegro’s turbulent history (the former kingdom was part of former Yugoslavia and was annexed by Serbia before finally achieving independence in 2006). Cars pull over as our glamorous convoy of Jaguars squeezes past in stately single file. One elderly couple, their backseat full of vegetables, stares in amazement as we smile and thank them.

Jaguar F-PACE

When we hit the main road, I take the wheel and immediately feel safe, Queen of the Road. The seat and the steering wheel adjust easily til I feel both comfortable and encased securely by the car – Ian Callum said that when sitting high, it was important to feel you were sitting in the car rather than on it. We purr through the old capital, Cetinje, nestling in a lush valley, and then enter Lovćen National Park where a picnic brunch is laid out for us on the sunny terrace of a chalet-style hotel deep in the pine forest.

Jaguar F-PACE

First I take the car up an almost vertical off-road slope. Using the big screen, it takes just a couple of swipes to change the car’s mode and set the speed, and then it’s ready to drive itself – literally. ‘Don’t do anything except steer,’ says Gilbert. It’s difficult to keep my foot off the accelerator because I can’t believe the car will not just slide backwards – but it doesn’t. It grips the slippery, stony track and reaches the top. The bigger challenge is to drive down the other side without touching the brake but the trusty F-PACE delivers us safely to the bottom and my feet have hovered over but not touched the pedals. It’s the first time I have been in a car and relinquished so much control. It’s nerve-wracking but ultimately the F-PACE is programmed to be a better and safer driver than I am. We’re going to have to learn to trust because this is the beginning of driverless cars and the future.

Jaguar F-PACE

After lunch, we change into a 3L V6 Diesel model and Kelly negotiates 26 steep hairpin bends down through the mountains. The car handles smoothly yet grips the road robustly. Any slicker and we could feel sick as we zig-zag down to where we have spectacular views out over Tivat and Kotor Bay. We drive through the popular, chic harbour of Kotov to Perast and we all fall in love simultaneously. Here is one of Montenegro’s most beautiful heritage sites, a mini Venice with clock towers, churches and palatial buildings with balconies and arched windows facing the sea and simple, enticing restaurants on the water. We park and kayak to Our Lady of the Rocks, a domed church on a crag in the sea, where afternoon tea and refreshments are laid out by the water.

Our Lady of the Rocks

We’re given big towels with which to dry off and then we sunbathe, visit the church and then kayak back round an ancient Franciscan monastery that stands in splendid isolation on its own island, a high wall enclosing a shady, secret garden of pines and cypresses. We enjoy a cool, harbour-side drink before Gilbert drives us round the bay to a ferry. It’s a five-minute journey across the bay, by which time I’m looking forward to taking to the wheel again for the home stretch.

Jaguar F-PACE

The Verdict

Mostly the F-PACE won us over. The women I talked to now covet one. It combines its sporty, powerful Jaguar spirit and good looks with obvious advantages, like its Best in Class amount of boot room and rear legroom. But it’s possibly its technical sophistication that gives it its edge. Ian Callum is quoted as saying that there’s more processing in this car that on a 77 plane, and the car’s futuristic features are guaranteed to impress anyone from a novice driver to a sports-car fanatic like David Gandy. Everything has been built to make the life of a busy driver easier: you can pre-heat or pre-cool the car; there is literally door to door navigation – your phone will sync up with the car’s navigation system the minute you tap in your location at your desk or inside your house; the navigation system can share your estimated time of arrival with your chosen contacts and update them every five, ten or fifteen minutes; WiFi can connect up to eight devices; Meridian HiFi gives perfect sound; stolen vehicle tracking helps keep insurance premiums down; the car will warn you when you’re low on petrol and guide you to your nearest petrol station; it will tell you where you can park; there’s a waterproof and shock resistant activity key that you can wear on your wrist, enabling you to lock your keys in the car and not worry about them while you climb, surf or go for a run; there’s even “Commute Mode” that can tell if you’re doing the same journey again and again and estimates your time of arrival, even if your navigation system is turned off. The list of features goes on and on. It’s as if the F-PACE has been built to be a road companion, ever at your side to ensure your safety and comfort.

Jaguar F-PACE

This car does so much for you, it’s virtually your mate. For women, it offers the ultimate luxury because it’s family-friendly, spacious, reliable and safe, and yet has all the power, glamour and edge traditionally associated with the “bad boys” who drive Jaguars. In a Jaguar F-PACE, we’re never going to feel like a boring Mum predictably plumping for the SUV when family life demands it. No – we’re going to look and feel super smart that we’ve been savvy enough to snap one up.

For more information about the Jaguar F-PACE, click here.

On Top of A Mountain With Kenton Cool And The Range Rover Evoque Convertible By Fiona Sanderson

With a reputation for being the world’s best ski resort, Courchevel 1850 has a lot to live up to….and it does! So, I was delighted to be invited to be part of the “in crowd” and test what has been dubbed the world’s first luxury compact SUV convertible – the new Range Rover Evoque Convertible. It was also a chance to meet Land Rover ambassadors Kenton Cool and Ben Saunders, two of the world’s top alpine and polar explorers respectively, and hear their opinions on the car.

FIona Sanderson and Kenton Cool

Courchevel is synonymous with luxury, and masses of it. Courchevel 1850 has for many years attracted the world’s rich and famous and this remains unchanged today. The home of alpine chic is orientated towards pure luxury, and the ski chalets here are really amongst the best in the world. So, with a reputation to live up to I was anxious – particularly as a Range Rover Sport driver – to see whether its new cousin could fit into this luxury backdrop and handle the icy slopes off-road. Lining up at Geneva Airport, the cars looked pretty impressive for the start of our adventure into the mountains – even their very orange paintwork seemed to capture the spirit of the French sunshine!

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Interiors And Style

From Lyon Airport to the French Alps, my co-driver and I were able to drive the new Evoque Convertible on the open roads and up into the mountains. We were impressed with its comfort, handling and its contemporary interior and spaciousness. Even the cutting-edge infotainment system (InControl Touch Pro with 3G connectivity) has stepped up several notches since my Range Rover Sport, to bring the very latest in-car entertainment and navigation. Pretty impressive.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

However, no-one has quite managed to make these systems easily viewable with the roof down in the blare of the sunshine. Still, why bother to change music tracks when the Evoque gives you technology and information storage of up to 16,000 songs. You can also upgrade this in-car technology system to include a premium 12-speaker, 660w surround sound Meridian audio system with digital processing for outstanding sound quality. Blasting through the French Alps with the roof down in a luxury convertible, with roasting heated seats and steering wheel, in the alpine air, seemed to tick all the boxes!

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

The Evoque Convertible seats four people – the fifth making way for the hood folding mechanism. Apparently you can also fit an optional wind deflector behind the front seats which would make the car effectively a two-seater, but it should ensure that your hair remains in tact when you arrive at your luxury resort! We did try the Evoque Convertible with the roof up and unlike other convertibles I have tried over the years, it was incredibly quiet. For skiers, it’s perfect as you can opt for a ski hatch to carry all your skis and equipment, but for ladies, beware as there is less room for luggage in the 251 litre boot (down from 420 litres in the regular Evoque), if you are hoping to take a number of glamourous outfits with you.

Ski Suits

The Snow Challenge And All-Terrain Ability

The Evoque Convertible certainly looked the part parked outside our hotel, L’Apogee Courchevel – located at the very top of the former Olympic ski jump in the Jardin Alpin area of Courchevel 1850. With some of the finest views in the resort, L’Apogée Courchevel is one of the newest addition to the exclusive Oetker Collections Hotels, having opened its doors for the first time in December 2013. This hotel seems to have raised the bar in luxury with its superb ski in/ski out location and stunning backdrop.

L'Apogee Courchevel

For non-skiers, there seems to be plenty of other snowy activities, from sledding to snowshoe safaris, and plenty of shopping in the boutiques; while Le Spa de L’Apogée seemed to be a destination in itself with pure therapy and a beautiful pool. For me, however, I was looking forward to the Land Rover series off-road challenges in the snow and the chance to ski with Land Rover’s Ambassadors – British alpine climber Kenton Cool and polar explorer Ben Saunders – both of whom are used to the snowiest conditions, having confronted the climb of Everest and the crossing of the Poles. As Kenton Cool explained in my interview with him, the Evoque Convertible adds an extra element to driving in the mountains, bringing you as close to nature as you are ever going to get with off-road capabilities which match both the Range Rover and Discovery.

L’Apogee Courchevel

Land Rover’s engineers insist the Evoque convertible has been set up not to give anything away to the hardtop in off-road worthiness and I couldn’t agree more. I was accompanied by one of Land Rover’s specialist drivers, and he was able to guide me off-piste on a series of challenges around the mountain slopes using the Evoque’s full suite of off-road technologies, including Terrain Response and All-Terrain Progress Control, an all-new feature for the 2016 model.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

You can flick between general, grass/gravel/snow, or mud and ruts, and this all-terrain control lets you take the control away from your pedals and adjusts the vehicle’s settings to keep you on track in challenging off-road situations, whilst maintaining a smooth and safe ride – all you have to do is steer! Effectively, it is a cruise control system for off-road or snowy conditions – and it makes progress pretty easy. It works brilliantly, but frankly, I prefer a bit of rough and tumble sliding around in the snow. Perhaps that’s just me! The car handled all that it was asked, and more.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible


I am sure the Range Rover Evoque Convertible won’t appeal to all die-hard Range Rover owners, but it certainly has convinced me. On a purely objective basis, the Evoque Convertible is a seriously impressive car with good looks, comfortable interior and with genuine off-road (and snow-tackling) ability. For a committed Range Rover Sports owner, I am seriously considering swapping to the Evoque Convertible – with summer around the corner you might even see me with the top down driving down through the vineyards of France soaking up the sunshine.

The Range Rover Evoque Convertible is available from £47,500, with a top speed of 121 mph. For more information, click here, or watch our film here.

Part of The Furniture – Interior Design Ideas By The Luxury Channel

The Paris furniture fairs, such as Maison & Objet and Paris Déco Off, have long been a staple in the homeowner’s calendar for their spotlight on home and interior design, and the new and innovative products we’ll all be coveting as a consequence! The Luxury Channel rounds up our pick of what was on offer….


Spring Magic

Inspired by the timeless allure of games, magic and mystery, L’Objet’s Smoke + Mirrors collection captures the mischief of the after-dinner moment. Combining extraordinary textures and finishes, including natural shell inlays, antiqued brass, ebonized mahogany and the brand’s signature Limoges porcelain, this collection is an homage to the very finest craftsmanship. The collection presented at Maison & Objet also included a number of new products including games and timepieces and, for the first time, the use of wood.

Made In Ratio

Made In Ratio

Designed by Brodie Neill, Made In Ratio’s collection illustrated the designer’s ethos of researching new possibilities of design, fusing the precision of digital technology with the poetry of time-honoured materials and traditional craftsmanship. Illustrating the versatility of these designs, the Supernova was presented as both a high desk and a low coffee table, while the stacked Alpha chairs were displayed in multiple colourways and materials. The expanded Cowrie Collection included a Cowrie chair featuring a moulded fine leather seat-pad mimicking the contours of the chair’s undulations. Made in Ratio also presented the Pleat bench, a graceful arch of thermoformed Corian, which was introduced for the first time to the French market at Maison & Objet.

Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon

Launching new products at Maison & Objet this year, Tom Dixon was all about iridescence – which is so easy to recognise but almost impossible to describe. In nature, it is resplendent on butterfly wings or peacock feathers but in interior design, it has been overlooked as a finish for over a hundred years (it was last popular in the early 1900s, as the finish of choice for the lustre ceramics and the exotic glass of the Belle Époque). Tom Dixon has brought this extraordinary finish back to life on a series of freeform vessels, all made of black glass with an iridescent hammered finish.



Bright Cube, Bright Angle and Bright Grid are upholstery textiles designed by Scholten & Baijings in collaboration with Maharam by Kvadrat, which were shown off to wondrous effect at Paris Déco Off. They epitomise the designers’ keen sense of colour and singular approach to refined geometric patterning (the Bright textiles are designed to be combined with each other and create new geometric relationships). The patterns they offer range from a basic grid to more complex formations: Bright Grid is simple, Bright Angle offers a rhythmic cascade of bisected rectangles and Bright Cube achieves layered depth through optical perspective. Their patterns are rendered in a fluorescent spectrum of specially dyed nylon yarns, and the subtle textural contrast of lustrous nylon yarns against a matte cotton ground further enhances their sharp geometry.



Danskina launched five new rugs from Hella Jongerius at Paris Déco Off, called Landscape, Cocoon, Cross Cut, Cross Border and Cross; available in a range of colours and hand-woven or hand-tufted by artisans in India. The new products represent Danskina’s commitment to design, innovation and skilled craftsmanship, and celebrate the beauty to be found in simplicity and in handmade imperfection.

Tim Gosling On The Art of The Christmas Tree By The Luxury Channel

Tim Gosling, bespoke furniture maker and interior designer to the rich and famous, as well as creator of superyacht interiors, libraries, dining rooms, apartments and stately homes, is known for his meticulous attention to detail. He has an international client list which includes eminent figures from the arts and industry as well as Royalty. With friends and clients such as Sir Elton John, he is no stranger to the celebrity world.

Gosling lives in a large 18th Century house in Clapham, south London, which is dripping with Christmas lights, Santas, gnomes, reindeer and Bambis. He is quoted as saying that “minimalism is lost on me, I am afraid,” so what better person to give The Luxury Channel his top tips on the art of the Christmas Tree?

“I’ve been collecting decorations for years — some that I’ve been given by friends, some that I’ve picked up in Salzburg on summer holidays to remind me of magical times I’ve shared with friends,” he reveals. “I collect Christmas decorations all year round, which then always reminds me of the brilliant times I had in New York, or Salzburg, or wherever I was. In fact, it’s amazing how many places, especially in Europe, sell Christmas decorations all year round.”

In terms of his decorations, Gosling points out a tiger from Bergdoff Goodman in New York and a London bus which came from Fortnum & Mason. He also clips birds onto the branches “to stop the heaviest decorations moving off the branch.” He adds, “always go for glass decorations, so they can hang properly. Venice has some extraordinary ones which are worth going out there for.”

So, what about the tree lights? “I love having coloured lights,” Gosling says, but warns “don’t make them flash as you stop seeing the actual decorations.”

He adds that “having a train around the tree is a must. It’s great fun for the kids to play with on the floor and the dog loves it too! I have a train set in my dining room which is a model version of 1940s London Blackfriars. No Christmas would be complete without a train set. I also love decorating the fireplace with a range of Christmas pieces, depending on the painting above.”

Lastly, Gosling smiles, “have fun with it, do not take it too seriously; it’s about children, nephews and nieces, dogs, fun, laughter and sharing. It’s a time to embrace it all.”

For more information, go to

May The Force Be With You – Star Buys For Christmas By The Luxury Channel

We bring a little fun for Christmas with our round-up of the best Star Wars stocking fillers….

The Write Way

In celebration of the timeless and iconic Star Wars saga, Cross Pens has unveiled a new series of writing instruments and journals that capture the mythical and modern elements of the original Star Wars film trilogy, putting the force of fine writing, creativity and storytelling directly into the hands of fans of all ages. Featuring iconic characters C-3PO, Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper, the Star Wars limited edition collection from the Townsend line is limited to 1977 units per character and features impeccable character details etched into the finish (RRP £295 – £375). The Click Star Wars Gel Ink Pen Collection symbolises the dynamic spirit of each character and is the ideal pen for everyday writing needs (RRP £30). Last but not least are the Star Wars journals from the Jot Zone collection (RRP £30). See the full range here.

Star Wars Cross Pens

The Big Time

With emphasis on the details, Nixon has introduced the official Star Wars Nixon Dark Collection, created to honour the legacy and innovation of the films. The Stormtrooper 51-30 Star Wars Special Edition Watch (£420 from gets our vote, with a 60 second sub dial featuring the Imperial logo while the tide sub dial features the Stormtrooper’s blaster with the word “kill” for high tide and “stun” for low tide. The 51mm 300mm waterproof stainless steel case has a rotating countdown bezel with countdown timer, hardened mineral crystal, triple gasket screw down crown and pusher, stainless steel screw down caseback and screw in lugs. See the full range here.


A Full Plate

Make dinner time more interesting with these fun character plates (£27.99 from Getting Personal). Boasting black and white monochrome drawings of the Death Star, Darth Vader, the Stormtroopers and C-3PO and R2-D2, your guests can pick their side and prepare for culinary combat. Lightsabers (well, cutlery) at the ready! See the full set here.

Star Wars Plates

Figure of Fun

Sure to delight small and big kids alike, this deluxe animatronic interactive figure of Darth Vader (£99.97 from Asda) is produced based on digital data from Star Wars: Episode VI Return Of The Jedi. The Dark Lord’s highly interactive lightsaber is powered by new dynamic technology, giving incredible real time interaction with light and stereo battle sound effects. Raise Darth Vader’s left arm to watch him come alive with voice and animated actions!

Darth Vader

Powers of Levitation

The Haute Creation Star Wars collection by S.T. Dupont is dedicated to the magnificent lightsabers of Darth Vader and Jedi Master Yoda. The lightsaber of Darth Vader is mounted with a 2 carat red topaz and the lightsaber of Yoda is mounted with a 2 carat green topaz. The creations are fashioned from bronze with black lacquer, palladium and rhodium finishes. The price of each style is £19950.00 and only eight of each variation have been produced in the world, available from The Great Writing Room in Harrods.

S.T. Dupont

© & TM Lucasfilm Ltd – Star Wars and related properties are trademarks and copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd and/or its affiliates.

Black Chili Driving Experience By Gareth Herincx

Black Chili

Six amazing cars and two days of thrilling driving staged against the spectacular backdrop of Andalucia, Spain. Yes, this can only mean Continental Tyres’ Black Chili Driving Experience. The event allows the tyre giant to showcase its ultra high performance tyres, all made using a special “Black Chili” compound, fitted to an intriguing blend of fast cars.

Jaguar's drop-dead gorgeous drophead F-TYPE was the lone Brit in the Black Chili stable, joined by two Americans - the game-changing 100% electric Tesla Model S and the iconic Corvette C7 Stingray.

La Cala Resort

A Teutonic trio made up the pack - a Porsche Macan S, Mercedes CLA 45 AMG and a BMW M4 cabriolet. Our base was the renowned La Cala Golf Resort, Mijas, which boasts not one, but three 18-hole championship golf courses. Less than 30 minutes from Malaga airport, it's perfectly positioned for the Costa Del Sol and stunning Andalucia inland.

In two days, we drove for some nine hours over more than 300 miles. It wasn't a race, just a series of carefully researched routes, using public roads - and all the usual rules. This gave us time to enjoy the drive through classic towns, villages and jaw-dropping scenery, the highlight of which was Ronda, famed for its stunning views and the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the rio Guadalevín through its centre.


We also drove up to the El Torcal Park Nature Reserve (el Paraje Natural de El Torcal) - the most geologically stunning of all of Andalucia’s natural parks. Instantly recognisable thanks to its bizarre limestone rock formations, it was under the sea until 100 million years ago.

The Black Chili Driving Experience allowed me to test a few cars I'd never driven before - most notably the Corvette Stingray. With its enormous 6.2-litre V8, the Stingray was a surprisingly relaxed car to drive and at the speeds we reached, it was barely possible to get the manual gearbox into seventh. Like all the cars available to us, it's also capable of brutal performance - 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed approaching 200mph. And with 460bhp going through the rear wheels, it needs all the grip its ContiSportContact 5 P tyres can offer.


I can recommend trying the A7 motorway tunnel near Marbella - a great place to enjoy the glorious engine rumble and exhaust note of the Stingray and its Black Chili stablemates (except the silent Tesla, of course!).

Tyres are rarely given the credit they deserve, which is odd when you think about it, because they are the four corners of your cars that are in contact with the road. One in three new vehicles produced in Europe leaves the factory fitted with Continental Tyres and the company produces 250,000 tyres daily worldwide. Fitting the wrong tyres to a car can make a surprising difference, affecting handling, grip, smoothness and road noise.


Which brings me to the Tesla Model S - a very special car. A combination of handsome, spacious saloon, remarkable acceleration and unrivalled refinement. Contintental has played its part in the Tesla success story. As standard, the car is fitted with ContiSilent tyres, where the inside of the tyre is covered with a special foam material, reducing interior noise by up to nine decibels.

I also know the Jaguar F-TYPE pretty well. Not only is it one of the best looking cars ever, it's also fun to drive. The Black Chili Jag was fitted with ContiForceContact tyres, specifically designed for top performance.

Black Chili

It's hard to believe that the all-wheel-drive Porsche Macan S is fitted with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel because it's both refined and very fast - an SUV that drives like a fast car. Our Macan was fitted with ContiSportContact tyres, offering maximum safety and driving pleasure.

I also got my first drive in a Mercedes AMG CLA 45. It looks like a sporty saloon, but it's also got one hell of a growl and has phenomenal grip, thanks to AWD and its SportContact 6 tyres.

Black Chili

Apparently, the chemists at Continental have further developed the “Black Chili” tread compound, ensuring optimum adhesion when pushed to the limits. The rubber compound is designed to mesh with the roughness of the road. At the same time, temporary atomic connections between the tyre compound and the road surface ensure high adhesion, acting like small suction pads at a microscopic level.

Finally to the BMW M4, fitted with ContiSportsContact 5 tyres. Capable of 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 155mph (limited), it offers great handling and an entertaining drive, with plenty of popping and crackling from the exhaust when wanted.

Black Chili

Stopping off in Ronda, the scenic highlight of the road trip, was the perfect antidote to the high octane thrill. Parked up outside the historic bullring in the old town, our fast cars became an instant tourist attraction as we wandered over the bridge for tapas and soft drinks at La Pilastra del Torero - a friendly restaurant perched on the side of the cliff.

The Black Chili Driving Experience was more than just a chance to drive fast cars. It's a reminder that tyres are the unsung heroes of the motoring world. Often just a "distress purchase" after a puncture or MoT failure, manufacturers such as Continental can spend as many as four years working on the development of a new car from concept to showroom. Safety is paramount, but economy, handling, refinement and grip also come into the equation.

Black Chili

Panamera S E-Hybrid – Plug Into Porsche’s Big Green Machine By Gareth Herincx

Meet the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid – one of the fastest, most eco-friendly ways to ferry four adults around in style for £100,000….


The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid raises many an eyebrow. We’ll come back to its looks, but let’s start with its green credentials. You see, this 167mph two-ton Teutonic beast with a basic price of just under £90,000 is VED Band A, which means it’s car tax free, exempt from the London Congestion Charge and qualifies for company car tax breaks. Why? Because this Panamera is a plug-in Porsche. So, alongside its 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, capable of 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds, sits an electric motor which, in theory, makes 91mpg possible with CO2 emissions of just 70g/km.


If you can get your head round that, we’ll return to the elephant in the room – the Panamera’s styling.
Porsche has softened the edges of the latest version of the Panamera, which has helped, but it’s still a Marmite car – for many, the awkward offspring of a 911 and Cayenne. I wasn’t convinced before Porsche lent me an S E-Hybrid for a week, but it grew on me big time. Pictures don’t do it justice. To appreciate it fully, you need to get up close and personal, and preferably drive it too. I’m now evangelical about Panameras – especially after driving a 4.8-litre V8 Turbo at Silverstone’s Porsche Experience Centre recently.


As soon as you step in, you realise that it’s as much a sports car as a luxury saloon. The low-seating position, the beautifully designed cockpit and the whole on-road experience scream driver’s car. Of course, with its size and weight it’s never going to succeed fully, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the S E-Hybrid on motorways and country roads, though admittedly city driving was a little more challenging.


Externally, it’s distinguished from “regular” Panameras by subtle green badging and eye-catching lime green brake callipers. Inside the cockpit, there are five dials behind the wheel (some with eco-read-outs) and in amongst the plethora of buttons on the centre console are a few controlling the driving modes – Hybrid, E-Mode, E-Charge and Sport.

Porsche Interior

The driving modes vary from pure electric (in theory, good for 22 miles on battery power alone, at speeds of up to 84mph) to Sport, where the engine and electric motor combine to give you the full beans. Somewhere in between, it can use the engine’s spare capacity and brake energy recovery to charge up the battery.


Starting up the S E-Hybrid is a silent experience. Turn the key and nothing much happens except for the electric charge needle springing into life on the instrument panel. You then waft away on pure electric mode, and as with many an electric car, there’s amazing acceleration on tap. The engine cuts in when the battery charge has run out or you switch to one of the other driving modes. So in theory, if your regular commute to work is less than 20 miles, you drive sensibly and you can charge up the batteries before your drive home, you will only use battery power and no petrol, which means your journey only costs the electricity it took to charge up the batteries. On longer runs, fuel economy could be anything from 30-65mpg, depending on the type of driving. When connected to a fast charger, the lithium-ion batteries take two and a half hours to charge up – closer to four hours when connected to a conventional household electrical outlet.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

The S E-Hybrid’s slick 8-speed Tiptronic S auto box deserves a mention too, as does the awesome Bose surround sound system fitted to my car. But no car is perfect, and the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is no exception. I was never 100% comfortable in the driving seat, the steering wheel slightly obscures the dials, the multitude of centre console buttons (front and back!) was mind-boggling, boot space is compromised thanks to the hybrid tech and rear visibility isn’t the best. That said, I can forgive the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid for all its faults. It’s a clever, beautifully built, big sports saloon that’s involving to drive and dares to be different.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Of course, quality comes at a price. The basic S E-Hybrid costs £88,967, though all the extras in my test car, including metallic paint, Bose audio system and adaptive cruise control, made the final total £101,976. However, as a ULEV (Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles), it qualifies for a government grant, taking £5,000 off the list price.

For more information, go to

The First Word On Kitty O’Grady By Lily Agius

French architect Kitty O’Grady worked in Paris at The Atelier Jean Nouvel after graduating from The Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. She returned home to the South of France, where she now lives in Montelimar with her husband and two young sons, working for the architectural firm Atelier 3a….

Kitty O'Grady

My favourite space in my house has to be the ‘‘studio’’ in our family home in Alba, where I grew up. This is the room in which my grandmother originally spent many hours painting in the light from a very large window. At one stage it became my bedroom, before becoming a kitchen and it has now been turned into a library that houses piles of books gathered over the years. For being so versatile, I love the term ‘‘studio’’ as a definition of a space that has no specific function, yet can be very self-contained.

The most inspirational person in my life is my grandmother, Patricia Sanderson, whom I particularly admire and respect for having been entirely dedicated to her art and never defeated by anything life threw at her. As a child during the London Blitz, she would religiously attend art classes, often running for shelter on her way to school. This shows just how determined she already was, and after the war, she went to the Royal College of Art before turning down a place at the Villa Medici. Instead, she decided to rally the French avant-garde in Paris – where she spent some time training at the legendary Atelier 17, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Miro, Calder and Viera da Silva. I owe my love of France to her, as it is thanks to her settling down in the south of France that I am naturally rooted to this beautiful country.

Patricia Sanderson Self Portrait

The most unforgettable place I’ve visited is – as strange as it may seem – the exact replica of the Grotte Chauvet, a 40 thousand year old painted cave for which our practice (Atelier 3a) recently completed a museum. For the purposes of conservation, the original is strictly closed to the public, but I hold on to the hope that I will one day enter it and admire its incredible paintings.

The last thing I added to my wardrobe is also the best gift I’ve received recently. It is a cashmere blazer, given to me by an old friend, who is also an artist. She was always particularly attentive to her style and has worn Channel No.5 perfume for as long as I can remember her. This rich scent now proudly fills my stairway with many evocative moments.

Chanel No 5

The last song I listened to is Je T’aime Moi Non Plus – probably the most romantic song ever – which was written in one night by Serge Gainsbourg in the heat of an intense love affair between him and Brigitte Bardot. It says everything and yet nothing, a sort of condensed description of love.

The website I most often browse is, the best online paper for getting an all-round view of world news. It cleverly brings together and selects headlines from some of the best international newspapers by translating and illustrating content into a more comprehensive format. It’s the best way to catch up on important matters.

One of the objects I would never part with is a large table that I designed and had made for the house. It is made out of an old bowling lane and is so heavy that it will just have to stay with us!

An indulgence I would never give up by far is chocolate, which has been keeping me going and fuelling hours of batteries over the years.


The things you will always find in my fridge are a bottle of chilled Ardèche Chardonnay, matured cheese, olives and all the little extras that help us improvise a party when friends are around.

If I could get away for the day it would have to be to Venice, where I went for the Art Biennale. Venice has many hidden treasures, and with such inspiring events as the Art and Architecture biennales, it just feels like this floating city is in constant movement and never fixed.

First published in Malta by Lily Aguis, in First Magazine.

Horses, Heritage And A Fleet of Defenders By Fiona Sanderson

Land Rover Defenders

When Land Rover asked me to attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show in celebration of the Defender and drive a selection of their classic vintage cars through Windsor Park, I jumped at the chance. Memories of learning to drive in one of these sturdy classics meant that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drive such an iconic British car down the famous Long Walk to Windsor Castle.

Land Rover Defenders

The concept for the Land Rover Defender was initially developed in 1947, but it has been re-modelled and modernised throughout the years. To celebrate this iconic vehicle, Land Rover has released the Defender Celebration Series, three very different limited edition models (the Heritage, the Adventure and the Autobiography), each celebrating a crucial aspect of the Defender’s DNA. Land Rover was also celebrating the longevity of this hardy 4×4 with a Defender Celebration Drive through Windsor Great Park in a selection cars ranging from their early Series 1 vehicle to current day models.

Land Rover Defenders

We started the morning at Guards Polo Club (which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year) with a tour of the vehicles given by Roger Crathorne, who is more commonly known as “Mr. Land Rover,” due to almost four decades of service at the company, specifically in Land Rover Experience. During his tenure with Land Rover, Crathorne has not only instructed members of the general public, but hundreds of celebrities too.

Land Rover Defender

Very few people are given the chance to drive down the Long Walk towards Windsor Castle in a fleet of heritage Defenders and we felt very privileged indeed. Our vehicles included a Series I, Series IIa, Series III, and an exposed aluminium Defender 90 built to commemorate 50 years of Land Rover in 1998. I learnt to drive in a Land Rover, so this really took me back in time using a Double D clutch, and gear sticks which always needed a heavy nudge to get them into position. Whatever their age, Defenders are a real embodiment of British spirit, and this reinforced childhood memories of picnics in the cold, relying on little more than an old heater and blankets to keep warm. Particularly given that our day was full of drizzle and mists, it was very fitting. However, these safe, solid cars are tough in the face of adversity, and that British bulldog spirit of “we must carry on” was only too evident as we drove around in the pouring rain.

Land Rover Defenders

At midday, I drove into the Royal Windsor Horse Show with Land Rover’s latest ambassador, farmer and TV personality Adam Henson, who formally handed over a new Discovery Sport to the beneficiary of The Prince’s Countryside Fund Land Rover Bursary – Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA). The purpose of the Fund is to aid farmers and rural communities in greatest need, ensuring a brighter future – both economically and socially – for those who live and work in the countryside. SARA will use the vehicle for their vital search and rescue operations on the Severn Estuary. Henson revealed that he has “great admiration” for the work that SARA undertake. Of his ambassadorial role, he told me that “farming and agriculture has always been my life’s work and if ever there is a vehicle for the countryside, it has to be a Land Rover.” My thoughts exactly!

Adam Henson

Following the presentation, we geared up to see the Show. Set against the spectacular backdrop of Windsor Castle, this is the perfect place to witness a prestigious display of equine showmanship. HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had earlier commented that “the weather is a constant anxiety….I can only hope that the weather will be kind to the Show this year!” Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be, but even the rain couldn’t detract from what was truly a wonderful day. Indeed, I was wearing my Barbour, whose partnership with Land Rover I covered last year (click here), proving that bad weather is certainly no obstacle to style!

Land Rover Defender

The day ended all too soon, and we were able to drive back to Guards in the Defenders for one last time. These iconic vehicles have certainly stood the test of time, and this has got to be worth celebrating if nothing else. Here’s to heritage!

For further information, visit, and to see the new Land Rover/Barbour collection, visit


The Cure At VivaMayr Altaussee By Caroline Phillips


The talk en route to the resort is scary. ‘They’ll put us on a diet of 600 calories a day.’ ‘You’ll be given so much Epsom salts you’ll need Pampers.’ Such is the speculation among journalists on the way to the VivaMayr Resort Altaussee, the spanking new wellness and health clinic on the shores of Lake Altaussee in Liezen, Austria.

Ah yes, but is VivaMayr Altaussee going to be like her ‘mother,’ the VivaMayr clinic at Worth – also owned by the Androsch (industrialist) family? Mrs. Putin almost lives at the Worth one. Isabelle Adjani is a fan. So too Kristin Scott Thomas. Plus VivaMayr at Worth is a place over which patients – as its guests are known – wax lyrical. But is this just because it costs so much money and involves so much discomfort that patients have to believe it works?


VivaMayr Altaussee turns out to be a supersize-me glass and wood-clad chalet in a little village of historic homes and 15th century church. It’s 100 steps from the waterside and encircled by snow-capped, limestone mountains – including one called the Loser. There’s air that’s fresh as toothpaste and ‘drink me’ crystalline water. It’s here that Austria’s high society vacations; where Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler holidayed; and where Sigmund Freud has visited, and James Bond been filmed.

It has Austria’s biggest salt deposits – much of it used in the clinic’s salt-themed spa with its salt hammam, saltwater swimming pool and Watsu (aquatic bodywork) in brine floating pools. Plus it’s in the bottle of Glaubersalz (salt laxative) that patients have to drink daily….but let’s not go there right now. (The clinic gets curative saline water from Salzburg and mineral-rich thermal spring water from its back yard).


Inside, VivaMayr Altaussee looks less like a clinic than a first class lounge at Heathrow Airport – with bright lighting, miles of wooden floors and walls, and swivel seats and pouffes in lime, lilac and pink. Except instead of airline uniform, the staff wear….brace yourself….dirndls. On the first floor, there are medical and treatment rooms aplenty.

There are 56 much-jollier-than-any-medical-clinic bedrooms with picture windows and wood-surrounded terraces. Additionally, the bathrooms boast loos that almost wipe your bottom and will certainly spray water up your undercarriage and then dry it. (For the latter, press the icon with the hairdryer on the remote control. The red button brings two nurses to your bedroom door, as I discover.)


I’m here to do the Cure, an approach devised in the early 20th century by Dr Franz Mayr – a physician passionate about the link between gut and health. I’m lulled into a false sense of security on the first day, despite the oddity of dinner being served at 5pm. There’s no sign of the famed clear broth and stale spelt rolls which patients have to chew a gazillion times before swallowing. Instead there’s five-star-restaurant fare.

We’re given delicate potato soup, veal with tagliatelli, and a chocolate and cream mousse that induces a transcendent state. Chef Martin Stein was an award-winning restaurateur. I go later into his kitchen to have a cookery class with him – it boasts more state-of-the-art gadgetry than you can shake a stick at – and learn how to make things like quinoa risotto.


On day two – after a medical appointment which combines whizzo diagnostic tests with naturopathic therapies – I’m put on the MAD diet: a German acronym for a gentle exclusion eating plan.

It’s not a detox for the faint-hearted. Every morning, patients drink a bottle of Glaubersalz to (how shall I put this delicately?) clear themselves out. ‘Make sure you leave enough time for it to work before leaving your bedroom,’ explains Dr Fegerl, who has matinee idol looks and an overarching interest in intestines. Still I find myself often legging it out of the dining room, hell-bent for the lavs.


At meals, diners chew, chew, chew – 30 or 40 times – to prepare food for digestion. There’s no drinking allowed from half an hour before a meal to 90 minutes afterwards. (Liquid interferes with the digestive processes). The idea is to clean the gut, cure it, then eat a highly alkaline diet. The Cure also involves lots of expensive supplements.

Food comes in teeny portions – but somehow, with all that chewing slowly and mindfully, mostly I don’t feel hungry. (Patients are supposed to eat in silence; the dining room is meant to resound to the sound of chewing). Breakfast is a king’s meal comprising such items as sesame and ginger mousse, char cured salmon trout and spelt porridge. Lunch of fennel brandade is fit for a prince. And dinner? Are you ready? Yes, it’s that clear broth served in a teapot and spelt or, in my case, soy bread. Paupers fare better.


To fill in the time between not eating, there are daily activities, like Nordic walking. The hardier among us walk 7.5km around the lake every day, its towering mountains reflecting in the water – and we sniff in air cleaner than that in oxygen canisters.

A lot of time is also spent having treatments. I have an applied kinesiology test – in which my muscle strength is tested against various substances to diagnose illness and find treatments. I have nasal reflexology – in which two cotton buds are stuck up my nose. (It clears the nasal passages and sinuses). I have a daily abdominal massage with a doctor. ‘Your tummy is getting softer,’ she says, appreciatively.


I’m also attached to a drip to have an infusion of vitamins and trace elements. I try a spot of aerial yoga – suspended from the ceiling in a pouch – which is like going in utero to do stretches. Finally, I end my stay with an arztliche abschlußuntersuchung – I can’t find an umlaut on my computer, just know that this is my final medical appointment – in which it turns out that I’ve lost two pounds, got a flat tummy and seen the light.

So is VivaMayr Altaussee like her ‘mother,’ VIVAMAYR at Worth? The answer is she’s a younger, prettier version. Make-up guru Lisa Eldridge is already a devotee, and soon, no doubt, VivaMayr Altaussee will be attracting celebs aplenty. But does it work? We leave after a week with glowing skin, sparkling eyes and having begun to tackle our health and/or weight issues. But for this patient, at least, The Cure proves impossible to sustain in daily life.


Further Information

Prices start from €220 per night for single occupancy and €175 for double occupancy. The price includes individually devised or medically prescribed dietary cuisine, prepared by award-winning chef Martin Stein based on the principles of Modern Mayr Medicine. Mineral water, all teas and the daily programme (including water gymnastics yoga, Nordic walking, daily sports activities and 2 medical lectures) are included in the price. Medical treatments start at €40 for massage and €150 for first initial consultation.

Contact Viva Mayr Altaussee on +43 3622 714500, e-mail or visit

Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to

Meet The Life Coach: Anna Percy-Davis By Antonia Peck

From executives to teens, Anna Percy-Davis provides advice and insight to improve people’s lives, helping people be confident, find their motivation and to communicate effectively – in other words, to be the very best versions of themselves. With a background working in investment banking and fund management, followed by a decade spent in executive recruitment, Anna Percy-Davis became an Executive and Careers Coach working with executives across the globe in the UK, Norway, Spain, France and the US. The Luxury Channel met with her to discuss brand versus individual power, and the qualities that contribute to professional success….

Anna Percy-Davis

In your opinion, what drives a brand; is it the individual behind it or is it all about the product?

I think it is a very difficult one to answer because it varies, and I think it depends on where the brand is in its evolution. Once a brand is established, it becomes much more irrelevant who is running it. But at the beginning of a brand, it is often all about the individual – if you look at Apple, it was all about Steve Jobs. So it is a very difficult one to answer!

What about the idea that it is the ‘‘execution of an idea’’ that makes a brand successful?

Yes, I agree. If you look at some of the most successful brands, the reason that they have been successful is because they have been very simple ideas – so it has been all about how the individual has executed it.

The branding strategy of many luxury fashion houses focuses on utilising the power of the individual by working with brand ambassadors such as Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne. These individuals drive sales, and the power of their personality is realised and immediately quantifiable through the millions of Instagram users who follow them….

Social media has completely changed advertising and product placement – it really has changed everything!

In your experience, what are the five qualities that a successful individual possesses or utilises?

First of all, they usually have very good communication skills. I mean that in the broadest sense of the word. They are not necessarily nice, cuddly people but they are just very clear about how to communicate and market themselves, and they are quick to respond to things. They work at speed. So if you send a very successful CEO an e-mail, you can get a response straight away, whilst if you send an e-mail to someone who is less successful, you often do not get a response for days.

That’s so interesting. I believe that there is a problem for so many of us in feeling that we have to respond to e-mails instantly and that this can be extremely distracting….

The busier a person is, the more likely they are to be on top of things. Also, I think it is a mark of the CEOs of my generation who have not always been on their smartphones (although they are more and more), but I do think the ones who are most successful are the ones who are most technically savvy. So the five qualities? Firstly, good communicators – they usually have an ability to simplify things, which is a huge skill because we over-complicate but a good CEO will know what the issue really is. Secondly, they are usually very organised and thirdly, they have a good team working around them. They know what they are good at and they know what they are not good at, so they have also have excellent delegation skills. Finally, they also have a real clarity of vision. You will find that very successful people have a real passion for what they do. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. There is an amazing TED Talk by Simon Sinek who says people respond to other people on an emotional level more than anything else, and so very successful CEOs can usually do that effectively and convey their passion for something much more effectively than other people. So if they are building a brand, there is a real passion instilled into a brand.

Do you think women still want to be ‘‘at the table’’ by becoming CEOs?

A lot of women set up their own businesses and a lot of women are creating businesses that work with their kids. All my female clients who work for corporates have a really hard time. It’s tough, really tough, because they have either given up on the idea of having kids so all they have is the corporate they are working for, or alternatively, they have got kids and it is this juggling game. Women speak a different language and have an awful lot to bring to the party, but they are going to do it on their own terms, and I think that this is much more interesting and exciting. It’s a shame that we can’t get the balance right. People like Sheryl Sandberg are making a difference but Google is a pretty exceptional company in the way they operate.

Has the concept of success changed in post-recession Britain?

I think that what happened in the recession was that many people were forced to set up their own businesses so I think it has made Britain a lot more entrepreneurial. There is huge drive and I think the concept of success is evolving. It is not longer cool to want to go and work in an investment bank, and therefore there is a lot more shifting around, which creates a lot more opportunity. A lot of women have also been encouraged back into work because of the recession, because they were needed and that too has been very exciting as well.

Once your clients have identified what is holding them back or proving to be a stumbling block, how do you help them realise their potential?

It is a combination of things. You have to process what has gone on and help them understand it but in coaching, you don’t spend a lot of time analysing as it is all about the ‘‘now’’ and going forward. Then we get quite strategic about it and make a plan, and that plan can be holistic (like encouraging people to do yoga) but they have to be held accountable.

Like a mentor?

It’s not me telling you what to do; it’s coming up with ideas. It’s about working out how to make the plan happen or finding out why an aspect of the plan did not work.

I imagine that the people seeking out a coach in the first place put quite high demands on themselves, such as high achievers?

They are all quite driven. People spend a lot of time doing good work but it is actually about guiding people to the great work place. Good work is getting the job done, and doing well and all being fine. But the great work is really making a difference and edging you into the next phase.

Against the cult of ‘‘always busy’’….

A lot of my time is helping establish people with a work / life balance and to understand that you can say no – I don’t need to do that extra bit of work because what I have done is enough and actually I can say yes to my children and my family and my health.

What would you advise as a cure for a client who is exhausted and in need of a break?

There is an amazing guy called Tony Monkcon in Harley Street, who does the Vega Test, which does an analysis of all the vitamins and minerals in your body and organs, with homeopathic remedies. Then there is Anna Pittum, who is a homeopath who specialises in children.

Which Spa do you love?

I go to Danesfield House, just outside Marlowe, but I tell all my clients to do mindfulness and yoga. I work for the How-To Academy, and they regularly have a taster evening on mindfulness.

What is your ideal travel destination?

I am South African, so I go once a year, and Barbados – we probably go once every two or three years.

We have a Luxury Leaders section on The Luxury Channel website. Do you admire the career of any of these individuals and what attributes/skills contributed to their success?

Frankly, I admire the careers of most of the leaders you feature but perhaps the person I admire the most is Anya Hindmarch. Not only has she been a very successful businesswoman but she has three step children and two children, and she built the business when her two sons were babies. Also, she is very clear about who her clients are, and she very clearly identifies with them. She is very good at the personal touch, which is very compelling and effective for marketing. She is a very clever combination of canny businesswoman, highly creative designer and a representative of a certain lifestyle, which is both stylish and family-orientated.

Capstar Chauffeurs By Kitty Buchanan-Gregory

How one luxury chauffeur service is helping ex-forces personnel on the road to recovery….

Capstar Chauffeurs (image courtesy of Chris Allerton)

Capstar Chauffeurs (image courtesy of Chris Allerton)

I meet Charlie Bowmont on a freezing cold day in Hyde Park, where he’d kindly agreed to meet me for this interview. However, the black lab had done what black labs do best, and rolled in vulpine perfume that was sending tourists running. I had to screech a warning as he bent down to pat her, but thankfully he seemed unperturbed by both the smell and then being forced to sit outside in the biting wind.

We meet to talk about Capstar, his luxury chauffeur service which employs ex-forces personnel including, but not exclusively, those who have been injured in service, often losing limbs. I have many friends who, over the last 10 or so years, have come back from Iraq and Afghanistan in bits and pieces, both physically and mentally, so the idea of a company that helps to offer a respectful civilian employment after recovery is indeed welcome.

An ex-Captain in the Blues and Royals, he himself has seen operation, and when he left service found himself in the same position as most ranks – what next?

So, why chauffeuring? “I wanted to work out a way we could help my guys into employment after they’d left,” he says. “We looked at the character traits of soldiers; highly trained and skilled, trustworthy, and they excel as being part of a team. We played around with professions that suited these skills and what company we could realistically and quickly set up, and a luxury chauffeur concept seemed to tick all the boxes.”

Capstar Chauffeurs (image courtesy of Chris Allerton)

Capstar Chauffeurs (image courtesy of Chris Allerton)

It’s a strategy that has worked well – with a fleet of Jaguar XJs, their current clients include private equity, hedge fund, and many FTSE 100 financial firms who all want to protect their ultimate assets – their senior staff. “All our drivers have been through advanced driving training and are security trained, which in the current climate helps give our clients reassurance that we can handle any situation,” Bowmont reveals. “When you have a high profile CEO or foreign visitors coming over, we will ensure they are always protected.”

He stresses that they are not a security firm which offers driving, but a luxury chauffeur company that offers premium service. It just happens that your suited driver and regimental tie is exactly who you’d want to make you feel safe and secure, even on an ordinary day in the city.

This isn’t a firm with an app and bookings are for a minimum of an airport run – so what does the future hold? “We’ve built up a strong relationship with our existing clients and they are now asking us to look after their wives, private HNWIs and VIP guests for events as well as the day-to-day corporate work,” Bowmont says. “The guys take great pride in helping us grow the company, and the more we grow, the more ex-forces guys we can employ.”

As I listen to him talk, it’s clear what matters to Bowmont most is the welfare of others, the safety of his customers, and the wellbeing and training of his drivers, or “the lads,” as he calls them. He even provides them with Roderick Charles suits and bespoke Emma Willis shirts so they look the part and feel good. Any man who puts others before himself is clearly a good leader, battlefield or otherwise.

However, as he braves a final pat for the lab, we leave to walk home in the rain, too stinky for even the bus!

For more information on Capstar Chauffeurs, go to For booking enquiries, please call +44 (0) 208 568 7902 or e-mail

Meet Maggie And Rose By Antonia Peck

Antonia Peck meets the founders of Maggie & Rose, a private family members club, and discovers why parents need it just as much as their children!

Maggie & Rose is a private members club with a difference – it’s specifically aimed at the little lords and ladies, the children of the intelligentsia who for too long have been subjected to being dragged by their parents to uninspiring crèches and typically child un-friendly coffee shops. More often than not, the experience is unfulfilling for both parent and child so the prospect of a members club dedicated to soft play, inspiring classes and workshops with good coffee and food should be sung from the rooftops! Indeed, the formula has been so successful that the two sites in Chiswick and Kensington in London are only the start of the global ambitions of its founders, Maggie Bolger and Rose Astor.

As it turns out, Maggie has just recently returned from a scouting trip for Maggie & Rose’s first international site. ‘‘We are looking at going global – New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Sydney – everyday there is a new country approaching us,’’ she reveals.

That the Maggie & Rose vision could work abroad is, in many ways, a no-brainer. Many of the club’s current members are global families and the British education system has significant cache all around the world – so why not apply a baby and child family members club abroad? I wanted to know if they intended to adapt aspects of the club to the specific countries in question, but apparently now that the Maggie & Rose clubs are known as a ‘‘quintessentially British concept,’’ they plan to work with ex-pat countries where ‘‘British education is very important, and places where parents want their children to start to learn the foundations of English.’’

The Maggie & Rose brand is also based on quality, food, familiarity of the classes and the amazing interiors that will be replicated in each new club. Their cosmopolitan client base has spread the word and set the stage for an international presence.

So what is their formula and why is it so magical for children? According to Maggie, it is because they were “the first to build upon this real gap in the market for a business of this kind. There was a real need from parents to have somewhere to go with their child. In this day and age, people are so often just trying to hash-up or re-do ideas that have come before – but actually, we were the first to try something new. Our attention to detail has kept us ahead of the curve – we get the best architects and the best teachers.’’ They have to think like Maggie & Rose and follow their philosophy of excellence in child development.

As a new mother to a sixteen month old baby, the most appealing aspects of the clubs were that I would finally have somewhere to go for lunch and not have to face the rolled eyes of customers who were disappointed at the prospect of a baby ruining the peace! At Maggie & Rose, the restaurant clearly knows their audience, with tissues and napkins at every table and a menu including Ella’s Kitchen for fussy eating moments, green juices and hearty, healthy comfort foods that soothe little ones and parents alike. My child particularly likes eating the mini sausages from the child’s size frying pan – why not?!

Then there are the soft play areas that involve: giant Lego, Brio wooden toys, mini trampolines, fancy dress clothes, plastic dinosaurs, reading corners….etc! Simply put, there are a cavalcade of activities and things to do, and the happy faces from all this playing makes for visibly more relaxed parents. Warm and welcoming, with staff fully versed in the art of charm, the clubs provide an oasis of fun for little ones and a carefree space to relax, watch or participate for parents.

Both Maggie & Rose used the drive of new motherhood to build a business and brand that has created a new model in childcare: a place for children and parents. Rose believes that Maggie’s mantra that ‘‘red tape is a skipping rope’’ is how Maggie & Rose exists as it does today. “Time and time again people have said ‘you can’t do that’ and ‘you won’t get planning for that’ and it has been Maggie’s determination that has made it happen.” She knows the intricacies of the business inside out and even created all the classes with learning through imagination being the essence of all the sessions. She also designed all the interiors, including placing a 1970s double decker bus in the garden of the Chiswick club, which she sourced and drove to the site herself. Clearly, this is a woman who knows how to turn ideas into a tangible reality. Both Maggie and Rose are funny, warm-hearted and knowledgeable about what they want and how they’re going to get it. However, one of the loveliest things is seeing their own children enjoying the club – truly the club’s best ambassadors.

There are some fantastic classes available to members, such as creative play classes that are set up in a way that you just could not replicate at home (too messy, too expansive!). These ‘‘Make & Make Believe’’ classes also teach you to be an imaginative parent and include painting, gardening, dancing and cooking with your child. It is an incredibly nurturing place with a family membership scheme that means grandparents are welcome too.

Another draw are their engaging ‘‘In The Know’’ speaker events for parents in the evenings, that include inspirational, entrepreneurial and wellness talks from professionals and experts who understand the dichotomy of being a parent in 2015.

Read Maggie & Rose’s guide to places to go with young children in the UK here. For more information, visit

Les Ambassedeurs – A Review of London’s Most Exclusive Casino In Mayfair By Antonia Peck

Les A

Dynamic CEOs and successful entrepreneurs find a fitting playground for their capital at the exclusive Les Ambassedeurs Club, at 5 Hamilton Place in London’s Mayfair. Sir Philip Green notoriously won big, betting against the house at the roulette table, winning £2 million in a single night back in 2004. However, I am compelled to remind readers that statistically, the odds favour the casino and when it comes to ‘‘Les A’’ (as it is affectionately referred to by its members), thank goodness that this historic Grade II* residence of Sir Leopold Rothschild, built in 1810 with a superior library and oak staircase by Florentine master wood-carver Chevalier Rinaldo Barbetti, is in existence. It is a beautiful and historic building.

At its core, Les A has always been a renowned pleasure dome and hints at its nefarious past were inscribed in the oak walls of the library that Sir Rothchild commissioned. “Virtue rejoices in temptation” and “He possess wealth, he who knows how to use it” – truly inspirational words for the hedonistic super-rich that parade past these walls. Play well and reap rewards!

Les A

Such was my lack of gambling experience; I had hoped to visit the club, for the purposes of this review, with a friend who is a seasoned gambler and lifetime member at Aspinal’s. He treats his membership of the latter as a wonderful badge of honour, as a prime display of his skillful risk assessment, his lucky nature and his charm. Like Aspinal’s, membership to Les A is highly desirable and a status symbol, with premium membership set at £25,000 per annum – which obviously sets apart the men from the boys.

However, my chosen companion was incognito for this event so in a bid for this humble reviewer to not simply observe but also engage in the activities so central to the club, I approached my next best companion to come with me. A younger gentleman, a friend of my husband’s from Eton, who occasionally gambles at home amongst the company of good friends – his sophistication at anything but Texas Hold’em was questionable but when approached, he was keen to try his luck.

Les A

Sadly the gravity of the event, the surroundings and the minimum bet left us poorly prepared for Les A and we stood out like sore thumbs. Firstly, we were a little over-dressed – one of the more noticeable high-rollers winning big at the tables that evening was in a slogan T-shirt and jacket, with floppy hair and a glint in his eye. He smiled almost pityingly as my friends and I bet and lost, and lost, and lost.

Not that we particularly minded – the allure of the whole experience and the wonderful opportunity to see a London institution with international acclaim in action was satisfying in itself. The casino features in Dr. No, the first and most famous of the Bond films, and has always attracted diplomats, celebrities and heads of state galore.

Les A

The club offers baccarat, black jack, American Roulette and Three Card Poker with a smoking garden and series of private gaming and dining rooms. Their croupiers are some of the best in the world and the casino gives off an air of inherent professionalism when it comes to the rules and regulations of gambling.

In the knowledge that not everyone gambles but everyone eats, Les A have brought together a team of international chefs to cater to every culinary whim. The dining room high ceilings make for an elegant restaurant setting with Murano glass chandeliers hanging beautifully and a serene ambience to enjoy. I particularly liked the pretty display plate featuring the painting ‘‘L’ Escarpollette.’’

Antonia at Les A

Upon reviewing their expansive menu offering dishes from around the world, my companion and I felt rather overwhelmed by the variety. We asked for the headwaiter’s recommendations so that we could accurately assess the food on offer. He suggested that we try a selection of mixed starters and then choose a main from the sea and the land. We chose Steak Tartar, Lobster with ginger, Wague Beef and Tiger Prawns with chilli sauce. As a side, we ordered the lobster macaroni. This last dish was divine and the most memorable. A fruit platter to finish brought light and fresh relief to full tummies. The prices for the mains are on average around the £50-100 mark. However, if you are dining at Les A, let’s presume that money is not an issue for you today and you are here to truly enjoy life.

Les Ambassdeurs is an interesting place and there is no doubt that they are at the top of the casino game. I wish the gamblers luck! A difficult place to review as it will always be out of my league. But if you fancy yourself a lucky man and want to see a London institution in action, then this place has merits, history and charm galore.

Riding Shotgun By Rosalind Milani Gallieni

When Land Rover announced a collaborative partnership with gun-makers Holland & Holland, they invited The Luxury Channel along to the reveal. Welcome to the most luxurious and expensive SUV ever….

Land Rover

Catering to the ultimate aspirational elements of luxury and British-ness, this new collaborative venture between Range Rover and Holland & Holland has brought two brands together to bring HNW clients the ultimate SUV, brimming with personality and creativity. Years of synergy between these two masters of performance means the fit with their respective customers is a naturally organic one, and the offering is a studied piece of excellence. This is true collaborative luxury, and as Daryl Greatrex, Managing Director of Holland & Holland commented, the result is “stunning form and perfect functionality [which] unite in a car that is supremely fit for purpose.”

Holland & Holland

Meanwhile, John Edwards, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, revealed that “the whole team is very proud of this car” as it “perfectly meets the very particular needs of Holland & Holland’s customers, [and] encapsulates luxury and craftsmanship.” The collaboration demonstrates this new division’s rapidly growing and ambitious repertoire of high-end luxury bespoke commissions, working on extreme performance vehicles.

Land Rover

The setting of the SUV reveal in muddy fields, with grazing deer and misty horizons beyond, did not look out of place for this uber-luxe vehicle, which, as it approached from the hills beyond Eastnor Castle, cut the classically elegant silhouette we all know.

Eastnor Castle

On closer inspection, the entire car is tailored, like a Savile Row suit, to accommodate the lifestyle pursuits of the Holland & Holland customer. There are electrically deployable walnut tables and integrated USB charging sockets should that bank transfer really be essential to attend to whilst on the moors, and there is of course bespoke lighting to see details of the transaction.

Land Rover

The upholstery in espresso-coloured leather, with Holland & Holland embroidery on the front seats, oozes bespoke. The sustainably-sourced French walnut veneer mirrors, the patina typical of the Holland & Holland oil-finished gunstocks, are finished with the most intricate of engraving. As you reach to release the door-pull, watch out, you might be pulling a trigger….here Holland & Holland have engraved the door-handles as beautifully as their shot-guns. The craftsmanship here is very evident, and the brand-defining acanthus scroll turning is laid along the internal door handles. The fascia letterbox panels, also engraved with their signature gunstock checkering, keep the heritage of these two world-class brands ever-present – this is a work of art.

Door Handle

Finally, the rear – a stunning, leather-trimmed, aluminum load space cabinet, embossed with the H&H logo, has been designed especially for this SUV. Again, the espresso Alcantara-trimmed interior can be precisely fitted here, to safely transport your Holland & Holland sporting guns – although it is also removable when maximum luggage capacity is required for vintage weekend holdalls or Mayfair shopping bags….

Holland & Holland

Have you found what you were looking for?

Special Vehicle Operations will build the Holland & Holland Range Rover with a price-tag starting from £180,000 – a staggering price tag but this new SUV is all about a bespoke service. Production is capped at just 40 units per year.

The Holland & Holland Range Rover is available with a choice of powertrains, dependent on market – the diesel-powered 4.4-litre SDV8, which delivers 339PS, and the 510PS petrol-powered 5.0-litre V8 Supercharged.

Ordering time is approximately 3 to 6 months, depending on the specification of the car and the accessories.

To order and for more information, go to or contact a UK Land Rover Dealership close to you.

Roja Dove – By Appointment By The Luxury Channel

Fully bespoke and ready-to-wear – Roja Dove introduces the new age of bespoke perfumery….

Roja Dove

Master Perfumer Roja Dove has further fortified his position as Creative Ambassador for the GREAT Britain Campaign by introducing the world to a new chapter of bespoke perfumery. Born out of a vexation toward the way in which some approach bespoke perfumery, Roja has been inspired to restore integrity to the art by rewriting the rules altogether.

Created for those who desire the luxury of an individual scent but haven’t the luxury of time, his By Appointment perfume introduces a new direction by bringing the fragrance to the client. But just one By Appointment has been created. Awaiting its rightful owner, it is housed in the opulent surroundings of The Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie – which sits at the helm of Harrods’ influential new Salon de Parfums – where it can only be experienced via private consultation. Housed in a vessel deserving of its rarity and refinement, By Appointment is custom-made to the final detail. The gold holder that encapsulates By Appointment was designed by Atelier Jean Rousseau’s leading prototypist, who painstakingly perfected the gold foil technique that illuminates the ethically-sourced Louisiana alligator skin.

Bearing the Roja Parfums hallmark are the 18 carat gold-dipped plaques that adorn both the gold alligator case and the white lacquer display box that houses the bottle. Adorned by three hundred and seventeen F colour diamonds in the form of Roja’s signature, these shimmering jewels total 1.42 Carats per plaque.

The cap – the masterpiece that is the crowning glory of By Appointment – is set with a further four hundred and eighty six precision-cut diamonds. Hand-set by Roja’s personal jeweller at H.H. Jewellery Inc. in New York, a total of 2.38 Carats surround 14 incredible Triple A Quality hand-cut amethysts that total 60 Carats.

By Appointment

Though just one By Appointment exists, included in the £75,000 price tag are two replacement bottles of the 100ml parfum. As their first instalment comes to its end, the lucky client will lift a new bottle off its bed of gold and slip it into the outstanding alligator case. It is all made from the world’s most valuable raw materials – some of which cost more than their weight in gold.

Meticulously created by Roja with the utmost talent and care, the scent of By Appointment is worthy of its decoration. The grandeur of its dressing is representative of the rich, soft and sensual oriental fragrance composed from some of the most costly and most scarce raw materials the natural earth has to offer.

Fragrances of the oriental accord scream to be smelt. Loud and exotic, they are the “look at me” of olfactives. What makes the oriental palate special is the resonance it has, both on the skin and on those who experience its scent. With a large, complex base, Orientals are the commander of staying power. As light citrus notes and soft floral notes evaporate from the skin in a shorter time frame, Orientals – made up of vanilla, resins and woods – resonate on the skin. With close to twice the amount of base notes than heart and top notes combined composing By Appointment, it is a fragrance worthy of its reputation.

Bespoke to the final detail, By Appointment is luxury perfume personified. Created for the most discerning client who commands the epitome of luxury, By Appointment sits in London’s most desirable shopping location where it awaits its worthy owner.

Feel On Top Form With FX Mayr By Isabel Donnelly

FX Mayr Health Center

I felt in need of a little tender loving care and wanted to lose weight and feel on top form, so I booked into the FX Mayr Health Center which sits on the shores of Lake Worthersee in Carinthia, Austria. The building, decorated in a contemporary Austrian style, is situated with the oldest golf course in Austria on one side and the lake on the other – so you have pretty spectacular views.

I am welcomed by a charming man on reception, and he does everything to make me comfortable. My deluxe bedroom has solid wood floorboards and wonderful views of the lake and terrace. The headboard is a bit quirky – burgundy silk taffeta in an interesting shape, but it does the job of propping my head – and the mattress on the bed is extremely comfortable with great pillows. The rooms are furnished with charming, contemporary, wood furniture. There is masses of storage and the shower room rock and rolls with stylish marble. I even have two TVs!

Lake Corintha

Every morning begins with Epsom salts and alkaline powder – definitely not a nice taste but I am on a journey and no pain, no gain as they say! On my first morning, I visit Dr. Domenig – he is very thorough with his examination and organises my diet, blood tests, infusions for immunity and stress, and suggests what exercise and other treatments I should do. He finishes with an abdominal measurement and massage. I am on tea and water and bullion. I drink the tea in silence, watching everyone else having soup and bread, and the lucky ones on food combining who are eating the most delicious-looking food.

Thank goodness I have a really comfortable private domain to cocoon myself when I am “detoxing” and gaining oh so much sleep. My hay pack for my liver detoxing is delivered to my room, and it is a blissful time. All the staff are brilliant; they have smiles, charm and humour, and are totally knowledgeable about the Mayr cure. The full course lasts twenty-one days, but since I am only here for a week, I have decided to continue the alkaline food combing diet for two more weeks. Oh, how I want to lose that weight and feel on top form for Christmas!

FX Mayr Health Center Spa

I do morning exercise, have my tea and then I go kneipping – dipping my feet in hot and cold water to get my circulation going. After that, I have a full body or lymphatic body massage, blood tests, a mud wrap suspended on a water bed, infusions through a drip, yoga, water cycling, water aerobics – all really fun and gosh, how you work! There are also walks organised around the beautiful countryside and the lake.

The only downside to all this? The detox withdrawals are for me the worst side effect. I completed four days of tea, and on the fourth day I was given a teaspoon of honey. I ate the honey very slowly with my tea – my taste buds were in heaven! I truly felt nourished. I have to say, not once did I feel hungry in those four days and I did not cheat. On day five, I have natural sheep’s yoghurt with hard flat bread, using a tiny spoon to eat. Breakfast and lunch is in silence. We are encouraged to meditate, and there is a kind of spirituality. Lunch is a yummy soup – celeriac with truffle oil and bread. Later on, you get sheep’s chard with various different things – horseradish or herbs for example. Then each afternoon, you do have time to yourself to go for a walk or some kind of exercise – swimming in the indoor pool or one of the saunas or steam rooms. This area is peaceful and refreshing with the cold showers and outside space where you can sit and contemplate. On some days, tea is laid out on the terrace with pit fires and sheep skins and blankets on the chairs. I felt this was rather romantic and I really enjoyed the hibiscus and vanilla infusion.

FX Mayr Health Center Yoga

Dinner each night is a vegetable bullion with bread but on day six and seven, I do a food combining menu where I sample Michelin standard cuisine. Small portions but totally filling. Duck, local fish and all the vegetables are grown locally – even the cheeses and yoghurts are from local farmers.

One of the extra treatments I did was figure styling body cavitation, which is fat freezing done on my stomach and waist and up to the arm area. It involves a cold stimulus which has the effect of drying up fat cells, and at the same time greatly enhancing the blood circulation. You then have ultrasound to tighten and speed up the process. The session lasts forty minutes and really does work, but takes eight to twelve weeks to show full results.

FX Mayr Health Center Supper

At the end of my stay, I go back to see Dr. Domenig. I have lost two and half kilos, I look bright-eyed, and I have bags of energy and a feeling of total well-being. I have a thyroid problem so to lose any weight is very difficult but to date I have lost four kilos – in ten days. Continuing with the food combining, I am hoping to lose 6-8 kilos in total.

The FX Mayr Health Center is rather like a home – you feel nurtured and everyone wants you to succeed. I left with my next meal prepared (sheep horseradish spread, rice cakes and flat bread plus sheep’s yoghurt) so I would not be tempted by Vienna schnitzel on my overnight in the Austrian capital!

Cost of seven nights at the Center for the Original FX Mayr Winter Vitality Cure is 1100 Euros. The deluxe bedroom is 1876 Euros for double occupancy per person, or 2816 Euros for single occupancy.

Bespoke Home Living By The Luxury Channel

As the winter months loom in the northern hemisphere, our thoughts turn to hibernating in the comfort and luxury of our homes to avoid stepping out in the cold. With this in mind, The Luxury Channel brings you our pick of the perfect pieces of furniture with which to decorate your home. From chic chandeliers to stunning sofas, we’ve got it covered….

Tom Dixon

The conventional Gentleman’s club is reworked into a contemporary version of the historic British members club, creating a modern day home-away-from-home where pleasure and work collide. The Club collection features a palette of metallic colours, extraordinary lighting and tactile finishes with new functions ranging from cocktail shakers to task lighting.

Tom Dixon

Arlo & Jacob

The Darcy sofa is Arlo & Jacob’s modern-day take on the classic Chesterfield. Draped in a choice of fabrics, this button-backed beauty is made the old fashioned way, designed with luxurious living in mind. Made to order at Arlo & Jacob’s factory in Long Eaton, every sofa is made from start to finish by one person and then white glove delivered to your door, and comes with a lifetime guarantee on the furniture frame.

The Darcy by Arlo &  Jacob

Charles Burnard

The Sequoia table top has a walnut root veneer with matte finish, and the look is enriched by the texture of the brass base with an aged patina veneer. A beautiful statement piece based on one of the tallest trees in the world.

Brabbu Sequoia

22 22 Edition Design

The Soleil Chandelier captivates your attention with its unique design. Born from a detailed exploration of form, volume and matter, this original light fixture acts as a sun that radiates light in arabesque patterns. Made out of steel wire with epoxy paint, the rays of this remarkable design piece are covered with a non-flammable Lycra material which is available in an array of colours such as black, white, fuchsia and green.

22 22 Edition Soleil

Hamilton Conte Paris

Artisanal production and attention to detail are the cornerstones of the Hamilton Conte Paris philosophy, whose artistic approach takes inspiration from a variety of styles and cultures. Creations are the fruit of an alliance between designers and artisans, all of whom are passionate about their craft – the Talos cocktail table being one such example.

Hamilton Conte

Klaus Haapaniemi

London-based, Finnish design brand Klaus Haapaniemi has unveiled a limited edition range of upholstered wood sofas in collaboration with the Finnish sustainable wood furniture brand, Nikari, creating an experimental and intricate range that launched during London Design Festival. Haapaniemi has customized the popular birch sofa with an angled back engraved by Nikari craftsmen with a series of original patterns. Five versions of the sofa are being offered, each with a different Klaus Haapaniemi fabric and a different style of engraving. There are four Nocturnal Bloom patterns to choose from, four linen fabrics and a velvet version.


Hind Rabii

Hind Rabii offers top-of-the-range, Belgian-made lighting to a discerning clientele, with pieces being indicative of excellence, refinement and luxury. The company is committed to using only European-made materials, and the customer selects the lampshade’s finish, materials, colour and size to suit the space in which it will be used.

Hind Rabii

Parker & Farr

Parker & Farr have been master sofa-makers since 1950 and still use the same techniques today. This means wooden dowels, pure cotton wadding, jute, hessian hair and silk thread. Sofas can be customised for a bespoke finish, if your home needs a more personal touch, and customers can choose from different fabrics, feet, colours, cushion fillings, detailing and size.

Blenheim by Parker and Farr


Embellished with crystal and semi-precious stones, the THG collections of luxury tap fittings are in-keeping with the brand’s legacy for great expertise. THG works to protect the environment by recycling and producing renewable energy, and the company is dedicated to being eco-friendly. THG surrounds itself with world famous designers as well as premium French brands, including Lalique, Baccarat and Christofle. THG has fitted bathrooms in luxury locations all over the world such as the Majestic in Cannes, the Hermitage in Monaco, Le Bristol in Paris, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.


Naomi Paul

Launched at the 100% Design Show in London and shown during Salone del Mobile in Milan, the new collection from Naomi Paul is an elegant range of crochet lamps. The award-winning GLÜCK pendant design has evolved, making way for the V2 GLÜCK pendant, capturing the perfect equilibrium between light and shade. The handcrafted crocheted surface gives the entire shade an effervescent glow ideal for dining tables and overhead lighting. Part of Walpole Crafted’s Class of 2014, Naomi Paul is one of the new generation of craftsmen we’re keeping a keen eye on!

Naomi Paul

Buying In London By The Luxury Channel

London Property

Karen Goodin from Heaton & Partners shares London’s latest property buying trends….

Dealing in the top end of the prime central London property market, buying agents represent some of the wealthiest buyers in the capital. There has been an increase in the number of buyers from emerging markets such as South America, India and China; however, Americans and Europeans still make up a huge tranche of foreign investment in London. American clients tend to be drawn to the older, period properties, in traditional prime areas such as Kensington and Chelsea. Americans love the historical and cultural nature of London and tend to prefer period houses with some history, unlike the glitzy prime central London mega-developments which are the favourite of Middle Eastern and Russian buyers. Many foreign buyers in London are drawn here not only because of the fantastic historical, cultural and lifestyle elements of the city, but also because of its safe haven status. Wealthy foreigners bought more than half of London’s most expensive homes in 2013, which helped to push up the average price of prime central London property by over 57% in as little as four years. Over the last few years, the weak pound and ultra-low interest rates created a heady cocktail for foreign investors, coupled with the fact that the law is straightforward and Britain has a stable political environment – plus a secure property market – which all helps to draw those from more unstable backgrounds.

London Property

Whilst London’s property market still retains its status as one of the world’s most reliable investments, the house price growth has actually slowed over the last few months. Savills Estate Agency has actually predicted that prime central London property will drop by 1% in 2015 (for the first time in five years) and also at the very top end of the market over £10 million, prices are seen to be plateauing. So far, changes to mansion tax have not affected the super prime market; however, the increased tax burden could potentially put off some overseas investors. The market still needs to be able to contend with the political rhetoric regarding the taxation of high value property and ongoing background noise regarding the possible mansion tax. While foreign property owners face the introduction of 28% capital gains tax next year, they can trade equities for free so some investors may turn to the increasingly buoyant stock market rather than to property. Many of the world’s super rich will still want to own a home in London though, so demand from owner-occupiers is set to continue, but perhaps those seeking whole blocks for investment may drop off.

London Property

Meanwhile, Rachel Johnston from Stacks Property Search shares the “hot or not” list property vendors should take note of….


1) Party Barns – anything from a dilapidated outbuilding to a properly renovated barn with underfloor heating and full sound system counts as a party barn. Who cares – a party barn is a party barn, and every home should have one.

2) Tikki Bar Cabana – a small, covered space in the garden, possibly octagonal, probably thatched. Think Tom Cruise in Cocktail and get on trend.

3) Dressing Rooms – everyone seemingly has too many clothes for a wardrobe. The best dressed houses all have a customised dressing room, sometimes sacrificing a bedroom for the purpose.

4) Plunge Pools – today’s alternative to a swimming pool. Just enough space to plunge in and cool off, but takes up less space, and requires little maintenance compared to the full-sized thing.

5) Paddocks – they used to be called fields, but now they’re called paddocks and conjure up images of ponies and chickens, rather than a man with a tractor.

London Property


1) Egg-shaped Baths – these will date your makeover too obviously. Aim for a more classic bathroom look.

2) Grey – the new greige. It will be all over by 2016. Polished concrete falls into the same category.

3) Signature Walls – oversized flowery wallpaper on one wall of a room. Keep the flowers outside in the garden.

4) Outdoor Swimming Pools – much too much maintenance; far too little use. Go for a plunge pool, or an indoor pool that can open up to the gardens, with direct access from the house.

5) Bi-fold Doors – they’re no longer aspirational, and can be found in every mass development. Quality is incredibly variable, and they’re not really very practical.

Aston Martin – Putting Women In The Driving Seat By Fiona Sanderson

Aston Martin

The car industry is (finally) waking up to the fact that nearly half of all drivers are women. Aston Martin RAC’s Technical Director, David Bizley, said that the UK has seen a boom in women drivers over the last 25 years, and recent research reveals that women play a major part in the purchase of seven out of ten cars. One of the world’s most influential men in the car industry, former Executive Vice President of Nissan Dr. Andy Palmer, has just taken over the driving seat at Aston Martin as CEO, which is not only great news for this iconic car brand, but also for women. Dr. Palmer recently noted research showing that half of all women are unhappy with their cars and that three quarters feel ‘‘misunderstood.’’ Firms are failing to make cars that appeal to females – paying more attention to a car’s horsepower than to the effect of high heels on leg-room and whether seats fit women’s backs better than men’s. Motor industry bosses must learn to make cars that women want, Dr. Palmer admitted.

Aston Martin

Today, of the 35.2 million drivers on the road in the UK, 16.3 million (some 46%) are women. So as an enthusiastic member of that 46%, I was delighted to be asked by Aston Martin to experience the launch of this year’s brand new Vanquish Volante Super GT, along with the beautiful four-door Rapide S sports car in and around the Scottish Highlands. An iconic brand in an iconic location – and a woman driver!

Aston Martin

For the backdrop and drive, Aston Martin had chosen 200 miles of open road around the stunning Loch Ness trail, taking in picturesque villages in the surrounding area, including Beauly, Braemore, Dundonnell, Autlbea and Cannick.

Rapide S Route

First up was the Vanquish. As well as some motorway and dual carriageway (where we were allowed to unleash some of this supercar’s 568 horsepower), we idled through small towns, soaking up the landscape at 30 mph.

Aston Martin

Even at the low speeds, I was able to appreciate the smoothness and comfort of the Volante, as well as the obvious respect from passers-by at traffic lights! Let’s not forget this is a brand that Cubby Broccoli chose for James Bond in one of his first movies, Goldfinger.

Goldfinger Replica

Monday saw the launch of a gold third-scale replica of that iconic DB5 (going under the hammer in an online auction to benefit the NSPCC), fifty years on from the film’s initial release, and even today Eon Productions continues to use Aston Martins in their James Bond movies. The latest 007, Daniel Craig, most recently drove a DB5 in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig in Skyfall

Last year, Aston Martin celebrated its 100th birthday, despite having been on the brink of extinction several times. A testament indeed to the iconic design of the cars and to the people who have spent years working with the brand. I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of driving with John Muirhead, Brand Communications Manager at Aston Martin for the last twenty years. I wanted to know what it was about the cars that had kept him at the same company for so long. “For me, it’s more than a brand – it’s a way of life,” he told me. “No other brand really gives me the same thrill and the same pleasure.” A testament indeed!

Aston Martin

Having only driven a V8 Vantage Aston Martin before (“only!” I hear you say), I was keen to see whether this 6.0-litre V12 beast of an engine that now pushes the Vanquish in excess of 200 miles an hour (322 km/h) really does give you a thrill – or whether it is in fact just a “blokey thing” that men who watch Top Gear talk about amongst themselves. I also wanted to know whether a price tag of £205,000 can really be worth it, even for something as beautiful as these cars undoubtedly are.

Aston Martin

Well, within a few thrilling minutes I knew the answer. Frankly, if I knew the code I would definitely have joined the boys’ club, but for now I can only start my own girls’ club! Forget the high heels girls, as you really need flatties to squeeze the exhilarating acceleration from this wonderful beast (0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds – down from 4.1 seconds in the previous generation, I am told).

Aston Martin

The improvements to the Vanquish include a new Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic gearbox, the first time that this state-of-the-art box has been placed towards the rear of the axle – which is to improve not only the car’s performance but also its fuel economy.

Aston Martin

Before we set off, John Muirhead showed us an exposed axle with engine and gearbox, which really put this car into perspective for me. We were told this new automatic gearbox now gives exceptional shift speed and moves between ratios as quick as 130 milliseconds – far quicker than even the most accomplished racing driver is capable of! Allied to a raft of other detail improvements and new colour and trim options, as well as a decrease of 11% C02 emissions, this was good enough for me.

Aston Martin

First impressions? Clearly, the modern cars are still very reminiscent of those classics they built back in the fifties and sixties, with smooth lines and tight curves. But every body panel is now made from carbon fibre, and the interiors are also pretty special. The smell of soft leather, the hand-stitching and the attention to detail of the cabin is really a work of art. And as the weather was particularly clement for a Scottish summer, I was lucky to be given the Volante, probably one of the best looking cars I have ever seen. Or was it the Devine Red body with Fandango Pink stitching inside that took my vote?

Aston Martin

The sound of the Vanquish engine brought to mind the vision of a highly strung stallion, rearing to go. You feel that unless you take full control, it will almost run away with you. It doesn’t of course, and its responsiveness and steering is very impressive. Luckily for me, my co-driver John Muirhead was able to explain the new transmission with its “paddle shift” and “paddle shift sport” options for greater driving involvement, as well as adaptive Drive Recognition that tailors shift points to a driver’s individual style. Once I got to grips with that, I was able to really put this car through its paces.

Aston Martin

Our course through the Scottish highlands took us on varied roads at variable speeds and I was able to push the car as far as I dared. The ride is sublime, extremely smooth and the car really does grip the road, handling the corners around the Scottish lochs with great ease. With its looks, smoothness and acceleration (which Aston Martin says makes the Vanquish the quickest accelerating production car in the company’s history), it’s hard to come up with any criticism at all. If I must, I would have to say that I found the speedometer incredibly difficult to read in open sunlight and the side mirrors whistled at high speeds. Other than that, I was utterly hooked.

Aston Martin

At this stage, I must not only congratulate (and thank) Aston Martin for inviting us to stay at Aldourie Castle but also to make a point of highlighting this impressive building, which has recently undergone a £10 million development to its 57 rooms and 2000 works of art. Each room is unique and meticulously decorated in a baronial and Scottish style. Set in 500 acres, the gardens run down to the shore of Loch Ness and we were are able to sit around a campfire late into the night drinking fine whisky. Heaven – and a perfect end to the day.

Loch Ness

The Castle itself sleeps 23 in 13 en-suite bedrooms and you can either hire the entire castle or take four luxury holiday cottages independently. The staff are there for your every whim and the food is delicious. My four poster bed and room were resplendent with old oak furniture and luxury Scottish décor. Waking up in the tower overlooking Loch Ness (no sightings that morning!) to the aroma of frying bacon and Scottish kippers was a great start for a new day and a test of the revamped Rapide S.

Aldourie Castle

I spoke to Aston Martin’s Design Director Marek Reichman, and asked him how he comes up with new ideas to improve the already-iconic design of the cars. He told me that “in your mind, you see these objects moving – they’re dynamic things. It’s important to say that Aston Martins will always be beautiful, and the technology has to be a part of who we are and what we are as a company.”

Aston Martin

The Rapide S is no exception to this, and the modifications are the same as those made to the Vanquish. As a driving experience, it was hard to tell the cars apart. Marek told me the changes add a more spirited edge to the existing luxury. With its new eight-speed gearbox and stiffened suspension, I would never call the Rapide S a touring car, or even a family car. It’s purely and simply a four-door sports car that delights and thrills those who have earned a real reward for working hard.

Aston Martin

Whether it’s the new leather trim colour options, including contemporary blue/black Dark Knight and bold Fandango Pink, or the optional new Duotone leather seat finish in Sahara Tan or Vibrant Red with mix quilting in fine leathers or Alcantara, it doesn’t matter. The Rapide S and its sister, the Vanquish, are the top of the leader board. They are gorgeous! Whether you fancy yourself as Emma Peel from The Avengers or James Bond himself, good things in life are worth waiting for, regardless of whether you are a male petrol head or a female luxury connoisseur. These cars really are the dream ticket! Persuade that husband of yours (only if he has the cheque book, of course) that one or the other of these is the car to buy, not just for him, but for you too!

For more information, go to

The Vanquish Volante

Price: from £204,995
Engine: 6.0 litre AM29 V12
Torque: 568 bhp
Top Speed: 201 mph

The Rapide S

Price: from £147,950
Engine: 6.0 litre AM29 V12
Torque: 552 bhp
Top Speed: 203 mph

QMS Medicosmetics – Serious Beauty Treatment By Bella Chalmer

After burning the candle at both ends with various mini-breaks around Europe and summer parties, I noticed my skin looked dull, dehydrated and tired. I went in search of a serious beauty treatment that would re-energise my skin – not a candles burning, listening-to-whale-music in a dark room facial. And so, I booked a treatment at QMS Medicosmetics in Chelsea, London.

Dr. Schulte

An impressive place, perfectly white with bright lighting and friendly staff. It has an almost clinical feel about it that must stem from its German founder, cosmetic surgeon Dr. Med. Erich Schulte. His vision was to create a new method of rejuvenating skincare by putting collagen back into the skin.

My two hour session began with a deep cleansing back treatment. I often think the back area gets neglected and goes unnoticed, I would never normally book a deep cleanse for my back. Now I am so glad I did. The (very knowledgeable) therapist started with a deep cleansing solution and then applied a dermabrasive peel. The peeling fluid is for sensitive and problematic skin, removing dead cells whilst normalizing the layer of skin. My favourite part followed – a pro-body exfoliation and a cooling algae mask. An unusual sensation as the mask is cold and thick, but it is very soothing and relaxing. The treatment ended with a hydrofoam mask which supports skin regeneration. This is the perfect solution to bring your skin to life, especially for the summer.

QMS Medicosmetics

I then rolled onto my back for the SK Alpha Treatment. An intensively stimulating facial using a unique thermal active revitalizing mask specifically designed to stimulate micro circulation. Would this facial give my skin an instant boost and leave the skin visibly smoother?

The facial started with a deep cleanse and exfoliant, and pretty quickly turned into a unique and personalised process with specific attention on the fine lines around my eyes. The same algae mask was applied all over my face including the eyes and mouth. This felt great and is designed to replenish and hydrate the skin. When the mask was peeled off, I felt like I was blessed with a new layer of soft, plump skin. Liquid proteins, firming and hydrating creams, and a night repair (it was now 7.30pm) followed – my skin felt rejuvenated and energised.

A very impressive treatment – QMS Medicosmetics Spa are offering a scientific and technological approach to skincare which has instant results, as straight away my skin felt noticeably plump, soft and smooth. Get yourself booked in – you won’t regret it.

For more information, visit

Barbour And Land Rover – Driving Forward Innovation By Fiona Sanderson

Eastnor Castle

As a guest of Land Rover and Barbour, I was invited to see the new collaboration between these two iconic British brands. The backdrop was Eastnor Castle, which has 50 acres of mud, hilly climbs and an assault cause that only the Land Rover collection of vehicles would revel in.

Land Rovers

Used to driving my Land Rover between Waitrose and home, I was pleased to have an instructor who could put a Range Rover Sport through its paces. Taking your foot off the pedals to allow the car to roll down an almost 95 degree descent takes some nerves! True to form, however, the car’s Hill Descent Control (HDC) does allow for a smooth and controlled drive in rough terrain without the driver needing to touch the brake pedal. When on, an ABS brake system controls each wheel’s speed and does all the work for you. Impressive.

Eastnor Castle

Eastnor Castle itself is equally impressive, hosting the sixty or so journalists who were invited to come for a day’s shooting, hunting, fishing and overall adventure – all the classic English Country Sports – and of course, all accompanied by Barbour, a brand that has become synonymous with the unique values of the British countryside.

English Country Sports

The new collaborative partnership between Barbour and Land Rover seems an obvious fit and I am amazed this has not happened before. Having had the same waxed green Barbour for 25 years, I was pleased to see they have brought the collection into the 21st century, with a complete wardrobe of beautifully-made, classically-designed, functional clothing. The line-up includes everything from socks, scarves, bags and hats to shirts, trousers, tailored jackets and, of course, the famous wax jackets. Such heritage products, inspired by the brand’s rich archive, have helped broaden Barbour’s appeal, along with more rugged tailoring and new fits.


Founded in 1894 by John Barbour, the company established itself in the burgeoning port of South Shields in the North East of England, supplying oilskins and other garments to protect the growing community of sailors, fishermen and dockers. These first weatherproof items quickly established Barbour’s reputation for innovation and quality. With the introduction of the Barbour catalogue in 1908, the company broadened its client base globally, to landowners and farmers and to far-off devotees in Chile and Hong Kong. In 1936, Barbour created the iconic wax cotton International motorcycle suit which was worn by virtually every rider on the International Six Day Trials circuit from the 1950s to the 1970s, including actor Steve McQueen in 1964. By this time, Barbour had become a dedicated manufacturer of branded goods and received its first Royal Warrant, issued by the Duke of Edinburgh (1974). Royal Warrants by Her Majesty The Queen (1982) and HRH the Prince of Wales (1987) followed.


In the 1980s, Chairman Dame Margaret Barbour designed the three wax jackets that made the brand a household name – the Bedale, the Beaufort and the Border. These jackets, especially the Border, epitomised the growing trend for casual relaxed clothing as people’s leisure time increased. Truly iconic designs, they continue to be best-sellers and are still made in England at Barbour’s 180-person factory in South Shields.


This mixing of contemporary style with classic heritage is what is underpinning the increasing rise in prominence of British luxury goods. According to Professor Qing Wang from the University of Warwick, “a very important factor that makes Britain stand out is that it incorporates tradition and innovation seamlessly. For luxury firms, unique and customised product offerings combined with exquisite craftsmanship and the British association will continue to drive sales.” As the UK luxury sector is forecast to almost double in size over the next five years, from £6.6 billion in 2012 to £12.2 billion in 2017, this can surely only be good news for two iconic British heritage brands such as Land Rover and Barbour.

For more information about Land Rover, go to For more information about Barbour, go to

Access All Areas By Scott Manson

Sick of cramped planes, delays and scuppered travel plans? Scott Manson discovers that flying privately might be just the ticket….

Phenom 300

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson’s definition of hell was, famously, “having to turn right when entering an aircraft.” Right, as anyone who’s ever flown knows, leads to cramped seats, DVT and terrible food, while what lies left is a comfort level several stratospheres above the so-called ‘cattle class.’

Yet despite the massive premium paid by first and business class passengers, the fundamental problem with flying on all commercial airlines is that, wherever you sit, the journey time remains the same. Sure, you might get a free limo to the airport, a neck massage and the chance to linger at the lounge a little longer before boarding, but you’re still at the mercy of slow airport security and the fact that any one of your fellow passengers could somehow hold up your journey.

For those heading off on holiday for a week or two, a few hours delay is a nuisance. But if you’re on a short break, a business trip or traveling to your second home for a relaxing long weekend with the family, losing time to delays can put a dampener on the whole trip.

Global 6000

There is a way to avoid the airport, travel in style and cut your journey time in half. You simply fly privately – a solution that has been steadily growing in popularity over the last decade. This demand has led to increased price competition among private operators and a subsequent rise in those customers using private aviation to access their weekend retreats.

Quite simply, flying privately is the fastest, safest and most efficient method of air travel. This is, in part, due to the fact that private jets can fly to smaller airports that are either not served by commercial operations – indeed, it’s estimated that 90% of the world’s airports are only available to private aviation – or which require two or more legs in a journey.

“Private aviation is a powerful time-saving and efficiency tool for corporations and individuals,” says Marine Eugene, director of sales for NetJets Europe, the world’s biggest private aviation company, backed by Warren Buffett. “It also provides a secure, private means of travel that many businesses and individuals require. We hear of constant success stories from our Owners about significant deals won thanks to the reactivity and the responsiveness that they displayed with the use of our services. One of our clients was recently going through an IPO and raved about how NetJets followed every step of the deal, making his road-show and launch preparations much easier.”

NetJets' Marine Eugene

NetJets’ Marine Eugene

Although once regarded as playthings of the rich and famous or symbols of excess, the retreat from global recession has seen business jets become a far more common sight at airports. The UK, for example, now boasts the second largest registered fleet of business aircraft in Europe, with a total of 503, with Germany claiming a fleet of 621. Investment bank JP Morgan is also forecasting an 8% rise in global deliveries this year.

So who is driving this growth? For charter specialists Chapman Freeborn, there are three sectors that are consistently strong at the moment according to Julie Black, the company’s head of VIP and Executive Charter Division.

“The oil and energy sectors are strong, as the world looks to source new natural resources. We regularly move executives in oil, gas and mining sectors who appreciate our presence in Russia, Asia, Africa and South America. Also online and virtual business as executives of varied technology sectors seem to move from one side of the globe to the other with some frequency,” she says.


“We’ve always had a resonance with the music and live entertainment sector too. The financial model for the music industry has completely changed and artists now seek the greater revenue that comes from touring and associated merchandising. Now they tour not only in Europe and the USA, but increasingly into the emerging markets of Asia, Middle East, Russia, South America and Australia and again, as a global entity, this is where we are well placed to work with them, as our service and approach is consistent no matter where in the world they are.”

In terms of the business model, one growth area is jet cards, where individuals or companies buy a pre-paid card typically offering 25 hours flying time – arguably a better use of company funds than buying a private jet outright. Apart from having no maintenance or running costs, it also allows users to switch cabin sizes if necessary.

Returnjet's Mark Blanchfield (image coutesy of Eddie Mulholland)

Returnjet’s Mark Blanchfield (image coutesy of Eddie Mulholland)

Elsewhere, UK aviation company Returnjet has set up an innovative online hub for private jet operators which draws together availability from a host of charter companies, offering real-time flight availability to the end user by delivering enquiries directly to the operator’s phone and inbox. The resulting optimisation of fleet movements and increased utilisation of empty legs (where jets fly empty en route to or from pick ups) inevitably lowers the cost of global private jet travel.

Director of Business Development for North America, Christian Betke, explains: “The beauty is in the simplicity of the business model. Returnjet provides the public a realtime match of best jet at best price for whatever travel plan they search for. We connect operators with new business, free of fees, subscriptions and marketing costs. All we do is introduce, and if the operator does the business, we charge them 3%.”

Captain’s Choice is another operator that has come up with some innovative proposals for potential customers. One of these sees them organising unforgettable tours, all done from the comfort of a private plane of course. One of these, the Circumnavigation of the World Tour, takes in several World Heritage Sites, so that guests can tick a number of destinations off their travel bucket list.


Gary Bartelings, general manager of Captain’s Choice, points out that theirs is a surprisingly diverse customer list. “They range from the wealthy retired former captain of industry who finally has the time to travel for leisure in style, to couples who have finally decided to sell the country pile and are, quite literally, spending the kids’ inheritance,” he laughs.

“We have experience in more than 185 countries and choose places that are off the beaten track and where an escorted tour is preferable, if not essential. We also offer expedited customs and immigrations which means that we can limit the time you spend at the airport. Oh, and there’s a private chef on board, so no more airline food, and the champagne flows from the moment you step on board the plane until the moment you disembark!”

Of course, even in the rarified world of private aviation, there remains a degree of one-upmanship. That light jet might be fine for a short hop to the villa but, after you’ve spent a bit of time at the UK’s smaller airfields checking out other business jets, you’ll soon be hankering after one of those sleek, ultra long-range Global 6000 aircraft, which have recently entered the NetJets fleet.

Private flying is shaking off its tag of billionaires, football players and playboys, although many still regard it as a decadent luxury. However, next time you’re shuffling through airport security, clutching your shoes and holding your belt-free trousers up while hearing the tannoy announce yet another delay to your flight, keep in mind that there is an alternative. And boy, is it fun!

Scott Manson is the editor of Tempus, a luxury watch publication.

Salone del Mobile – Easter Rabbits And Magic Mirrors By The Luxury Channel

We bring you our favourites from Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the world’s largest home design exhibition.

Marni’s Animal House

Giraffes, ducks, donkeys, flamingos – and one or two Easter rabbits – were the centerpieces of Marni’s collaboration with Colombian women. The brightly coloured sculptures are part of a new, limited edition charity project, featuring unique, handmade pieces tailored in different colours. Traditional chairs and chaise longues complete this fun collection, with part of the proceeds going to Associazione Sogni On Lus, a charity that helps terminally ill children.

Marni's Animal House Rabbit (image courtesy of Mauricio Rivera)

Marni’s Animal House Rabbit (image courtesy of Mauricio Rivera)

Knoll International

Knoll revealed that, for the first time ever, its renowned Saarinen tables will be available for outdoor use. First introduced in 1956, the table was designed by Eero Saarinen to alleviate clutter, by innovatively introducing the concept of one centre stem, instead of the traditional four-legged support. This minimalist design not only opened up space underneath the table, but also provided a cleaner, elegant look that was both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Knoll Saarinen Table (image courtesy of Beppe Brancato and Knoll, Inc)

Knoll Saarinen Table (image courtesy of Beppe Brancato and Knoll, Inc)

Sé and Nika Zupanc

Internationally renowned luxury furniture brand Sé unveiled Collection III with acclaimed designer, Nika Zupanc. Collection III draws upon the aesthetic of 1950s furniture, but with modernist influences. Following the spirit of Zupanc’s work and Sé’s iconic pieces, Collection III creates a perfect connection between wit, restrained elegance and luxury, whilst subtly introducing symbols and motifs associated with the power of sport.

Se Collection III by Nika Zupanc

Se Collection III by Nika Zupanc

Mikabarr and Producks

Textile designer Mikabarr and design studio Producks unveiled their first collaboration with renowned Italian producers Moroso. Inspired by the traditional Chesterfield Sofa yet highly modern in its design, the sofa’s structure remains exposed and the trademark Chesterfield buttoning has been replaced by an innovative 3D printing technique.

Studio Drift

Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of Studio Drift presented something of an eloquent response to the world’s excessive chemical waste problem, highlighting a solution to its increasing threat. The mirrors that they have designed are symbolic of the meeting between technology and creative thinking: the idea being that as we look into the sensuous curves of the mirror, the face of our own chemical responsibility reflects back at us.

Studio Drift Mirror

La Vendemia In Umbria By Lucie Shelbourne


Our correspondent Lucie Shelbourne describes the Autumn months in the Umbrian hills….

As Autumn unfolds her skirts over the Umbrian hills, I try to hinder her by pulling off the yellowing leaves from my pot plants, pushing away the reminder that summer’s lease is breathing its last. Memories of July and August and their devouring element, which instills a fervour that banishes rationality, leaving one victim to all sorts of ensuing emotions, begin to fade like dreams at the break of day. At dawn, gentle rain pitter-patters on the terracotta roof tiles, nudging me out of my slumber. A dog barks far off and the sound of an old Fiat engine, straining up the hill below my house, heralds the start of another day in the lives of the spear and distaff community of my domain.

Sorting Grapes

In Monterchi, a weary-looking line of school students – deprived of sleep because of the previous night’s end of holiday celebrations – await the bus; their shoulders bearing heavy, multi-coloured rucksacks stuffed with this year’s scholastic publications, for which parents have forked out hefty sums. I drop off my daughter, who joins the queue, raising eyebrows with her purple hair – her signature for an aspiring wannabe pop star. Today is the start of her final year at the Istituto d’Arte di Sansepolcro in Tuscany.

Tuscan Fields

The sun peeps through the evaporating clouds as I drive back to the house, causing the newly-ploughed fields to glisten where jays are pecking busily at their breakfast. The locals are getting ready for the grape harvest, la vendemia, depositing large plastic boxes at the ends of the rows of vines. Every fattoria chooses a different week to begin picking as the farmers all stick religiously to their own beliefs about when the grape is mature. They are also timing it with the weather forecast. We all seem to live in different micro-climates and this morning, the grapes in our valley have had a pleasant sprinkling from the cloud burst at day break, just enough to boost their final spurt. Of course, this is local wine.


At the height of summer, during a tremendous heat wave, we had sat under the towering lime trees on a small hillock in a lovely garden in northern Tuscany – guests of the Associate Director of Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Wine Producers, Giovanni Geddes Filicaja – drinking the most delectable varieties of wine from the cellar. More generous hosts would be hard to find. Some of the distinguished guests had been seated inside but later, with flushed faces in need of the cool evening air, they came out to join our ‘top table’ al fresco. The Frescobaldi is a prominent noble family that has been involved in the political, sociological and economic history of Tuscany since the Middle Ages. They supplied wine to Henry VIII, and surviving contracts in the family archives are signed by the English king.


Before dinner was served, I was introduced to a gentleman called Andrea Pichi Graziani who, I was told, had been given the contract for building a landing strip in Venice. I struggled in my mind for a moment to understand this properly, as surely there simply was no land in Venice for such a project. Then I realised that it was a grass runway for small private planes. If I felt like it I could board one of his microlights in Sansepolcro and fly to Venice. One conversation had everyone amused because Andrea crashed his microlight on the olive trees while inspecting a possible new airfield. Then a more serious topic arose: a warning about limiting the number of glasses of Chianti and saying no to the grappa when about to fly home again!


To enjoy a stay in Umbria, go to for further details. Lucie’s husband Richard designs landscape gardens – for more information, go to

Rula Lenska’s Colourful Life By The Luxury Channel

Rula Lenska

By anyone’s standards, actress Rula Lenska has led an extraordinary life. Born to Polish aristocrats, refugees from the Nazis and then the Soviets, her father was heavily involved with the Polish government in exile. Renowned as a vivacious flame-haired beauty, she found fame in the 1970s as ‘Q’ in the TV series Rock Follies, before accidently conquering America with an Alberto VO5 hair products commercial, famously prompting Johnny Carson to ask on his show, “Who the hell is Rula Lenska?!”

Her long and varied theatrical career has included roles in classic British television series such as Minder, To the Manor Born, Doctor Who, Casualty and of course, Coronation Street, as well as stage credits for The Vagina Monologues and Calendar Girls. However, her success has often been tempered with heartache. Despite the fanfare surrounding her celebrity marriage to Dennis Waterman, the relationship would eventually turn sour.

Then there was her surreal appearance on Celebrity Big Brother UK (which she calls sixteen days of madness), where she emerged to find pictures of George Galloway with his head in her crotch being broadcast all over the world.

Rula Lenska

Rula’s surreal, extraordinary experiences don’t end there – she was once even held in a Sardinian jail on (false) drugs charges. No stranger to Africa, she has dedicated much of her time to wildlife charities, and more recently has been a real advocate of a ban on ivory. She has also had many adventures connected to her work with environmental charities. Now older, wiser and elevated to the status of national treasure, Rula Lenska has got a fascinating story to tell.

My Colourful Life by Rula Lenska is available from The Robson Press, priced £20.

Christening Gifts For The Prince Who Has Everything By Hannah Norman

With his Christening soon upon us, baby Prince George of Cambridge’s nearest and dearest will be focusing their efforts on trying to find the perfect gift for the young Royal. But let’s be honest – despite his parents’ solid grounding, he really does want for nothing, so what do you buy the baby who has everything? Time to think outside the traditional gift box….

Jack And The Beanstalk Bubble Blower

For a bit of fun and a gift with a difference, opt for a Jack And The Beanstalk Bubble Blower. Whilst this may well end up amusing big kids more than the intended recipient, the sweet depiction of Jack climbing up the giant stalk is charmingly realised. Hours of fun!

£55, available from Royal Selangor.

Jack And The Beanstalk Bubble Blower

Beefeater Baby Onesie

Fabulous, fun and just a little whimsical, Karen Brost London’s Beefeater baby gro is just the thing for a prince whose ancestors would have been very familiar with the iconic Yeomen of old. Stylish imagery meets intricate textile design, resulting in not just a fun baby gro but also a serious fashion statement.

£45, available exclusively at Fred Segal Los Angeles and Liberty of London.

Karen Brost London Beefeater Onesie

Cinderella Bookends

The baby prince surely already has a burgeoning library of literary classics, so what about bookends to keep his tomes in order? Royal Selangor’s Cinderella bookends feature the pumpkin on one side and Cinders’ carriage on the other, with the eponymous princess peeping through the window. Handily, the bookends also double up as a money box, with coin slots on both sides.

£139, available from Royal Selangor.

Royal Selangor Fairy Tales Cinderella Bookend

His Royal Grobag

A handy essential for doting parents with busy lives, as they facilitate sleep on the go, these Royalty-themed sleep bags are limited edition, with just 70 for each gender having been made. The “His Royal” grobag features a helicopter, referencing Prince William’s career as a search and rescue pilot, while “Her Royal” grobag features a hockey stick, symbolizing Kate’s love for the game. The couple’s dog Lupo also features prominently in both designs.

£70, available from The Gro Store. All proceeds go to The Lullaby Trust.

His Royal Grobag

Teddy Bears’ Picnic Christening Mug

If you can’t quite bring yourself to break entirely from tradition, Royal Selangor has a Christening mug with a fun difference. A friendly teddy waves from the ribbon-shaped handle, marrying a beautiful finish with a playful element that every child – Royal or otherwise! – will cherish.

£45, available from Royal Selangor.

Teddy Bear Picnic Christening Mug

Jaguar’s First Ever Sports Crossover Concept Car Revealed! By The Luxury Channel

Jaguar C-X17

Sports crossovers have always stretched the possibilities of design, but Jaguar’s latest creation, the C-X17, is a combination of everything a petrolhead could look for in a car – the character of a sports car meets the sleek, seductive style and latest technological influences that Jaguar have become so well known for. Created to introduce the company’s all-new advanced aluminium monocoque architecture, Jaguar hopes to use the C-X17 as the starting point for a future range of high-performance Jags. “The C-X17 sports crossover represents an exciting new direction for Jaguar,” said Global Brand Director Adrian Hallmark.

The company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability has been further established with their announcement that they will be producing a new range of fuel-efficient engines, resulting in emissions lower than 100g of CO2 per kilometre.

Jaguar C-X17

Thanks to its low height, optimised centre of gravity, and use of cutting-edge dynamic technologies such as Torque Vectoring By Braking, in which the car intelligently uses its brake system to balance the distribution of engine torque to the wheels during cornering to maximise grip, Jaguar has come up with a car that mixes the fun of a sports car with the sass of a sedan. As Design Director Ian Callum succinctly put it, the C-X17 has been designed “from a distinct set of principles, a deep sense of what makes a Jaguar – exciting proportions, clean lines and balance of form. Assertive and powerful, yet with a beautiful sensuality about it, the C-X17 is boldly, distinctively Jaguar.” The sporty feel is enhanced by the low sitting stance and the car’s haunch lines (which share a similarity – perhaps not unsurprisingly – with the seductive F-TYPE). Of course, the 23 inch alloys, distinctive cantilevered spoiler and piercing Caesium Blue finish certainly add to the effect.

For the curious, the spacious boot encompasses two seats that swing up and out of the boot floor to provide a practical seating area (albeit when the car is stationary) with smart leather holsters conveniently located for storing all the extras one would want to take for a trip in such a car. Maybe a camera to take pictures of your idyllic surroundings whilst perched atop a boot seat?

Unique Special Ones Car Concours Comes To St. Petersburg By Fiona Sanderson

Unique Special Ones

Unique Special Ones Russia is more than a just classic car enthusiast’s prestigious event. It is, as the organisers promised, a really unique and luxurious lifestyle event set against a backdrop of magnificent St. Petersburg. The organiser and Chairman Sandro Binelli of the Mac-Group had dreamed of bringing this event to Russia, having organised the famous Mille Miglia race for five highly successful years. “This concours is a first of its kind in Russia and what better place to hold it than in St. Petersburg, home of the Czars,” he told me.

Unique Special Ones

I was a guest of the company, and their meticulous planning included a stay at the recently opened Lions Palace Four Seasons Hotel, a nineteenth century former Russian palace. It took over seven years to restore, and it certainly must be one of the Four Seasons’ most impressive locations, situated beside St. Isaac’s Cathedral. With its marble staircases, subtle and sophisticated interiors and impeccable service, I wasn’t surprised to hear that President Obama and his entourage chose to stay here during the G20 summit. It was a fitting start to this exceptional classic motoring event.

Unique Special Ones

That evening, Stefano Ricci, one of the leaders in Italian luxury goods and sponsor of the event, invited us to a reception at his newly opened shop by the banks of the River Neva. The Russian glitterati were out in force and showed great interest and enthusiasm for Ricci’s products, which encompass everything from the Blue Cashmere coffee set to classic fine fragrance and exquisite leather briefcases.

Unique Special Ones

On the following day, the sun shone in Kirov Park, a great backdrop for this concours of rare cars. Spanning a timeframe of some forty years, the cars ranged from a 1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia (one of the first ever produced with the Superlegga system), and Carrozzeria Bertone’s interpretation of the Aston Martin Rapide, named “Rapide Bertone.” Something of a one-off, the vehicle keeps the mechanical engineering of the original model unchanged, and was commissioned (somewhat unsurprisingly) by an Aston Martin collector.

Unique Special Ones

Whilst Bertone is well-known, so too is the company’s design director Michael Robinson, who has spent many years in the design departments of top car companies. As well as the “Rapide Bertone,” Robinson also displayed a Bertone Nuccio, which was gathering much Russian attention. His futuristic designs are now including self-driven vehicles – something that he says will inevitably change driving as we know it. With over one million deaths worldwide on our roads, this can surely be the only way forward. He went as far as to suggest that this could happen as early as 2040, giving a truly fascinating insight into the world of car design and the future. What will happen to the real “petrol heads,” I wondered, whose only passion is to drive and race their cars?

Unique Special Ones

Of course, one cannot speak of Bertone without mentioning Lilli Bertone, the wife of the company’s founder, who I met whilst she was preparing to present “Rapide Bertone” to the curious Russian public. Still flying the flag of the company her husband started in 1912, she really is a remarkable lady.

Winter Palace Concert

The next part of our trip was a private tour to the Winter Palace, which is now the State Hermitage Museum. The museum’s collection features more than three million works of art and artefacts of world culture, including paintings, graphic artworks, sculptures and archaeological finds, but we were there to enjoy a spectacular private concert, all whilst surrounded by the beautiful paintings of the Winter Palace.

Unique Special Ones

Another cultural highlight of our visit was Mikhailovsky Castle, a beautiful architectural phenomenon in the heart of St. Petersburg, for the Best In Show celebration.

Unique Special Ones

Whilst I was in St. Petersburg, I was fortunate enough to speak with Joanne Marshall, the only female Judge at the Unique Special Ones Concours. Now Head of Communications for Ferrari for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, she has been a lover of cars ever since her first Matchbox car at the age of three. A qualified banker by trade, Joanne joined the world of cars when she moved to Italy to set up as a journalist and photographer, getting work by convincing manufacturers to let her test-drive their cars. “I never looked back,” she confessed, before adding, “I was the first female journalist to test-drive a Ferrari.”

Unique Special Ones

So, why be involved with Unique Special Ones? “Classic cars have been a passion of mine since I was fourteen,” she revealed, “so the classic car scene is very close to my heart.” But what does she think about Unique Special Ones being hosted in St. Petersburg? “It’s a bit of a bet, but one the organisers hope will pay off,” she said. “They are hoping its reputation spreads through word of mouth, but the Russians have no background in classic car collectorship. Russia is interesting, but I don’t think the market is there yet. There isn’t that awareness of what a concours is about, but you go where the cars are.”

Unique Special Ones

The Best In Show prize was awarded to a delightful couple, Hans Ribbens and his wife, who had travelled especially from Holland for this event with their 1951 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Coupé Villa d’Este, which was built by Touring Superleggera. This car won the Gran Premio Referendum at the Villa d’Este Concours and there are only twenty cars like this left in the world. This specific car is considered one of the most elegant ever realised, thanks to its beautiful lines. The car won the favour of all judges, who were together responsible for identifying the most beautiful car (from a technical and stylistic perspective) amongst those taking part in the event.

Unique Special Ones

The group of judges consisted of prominent names from the world of design and the automotive industry like Tom Tjaarda, and Head of Style for the Fiat Group, Lorenzo Ramaciotti; they had the hard task of carefully scrutinising all the entries, in accordance with rigorous judging criteria. “The winning Alfa Romeo differed only a few tiny points from the car that reached second place, another Alfa Romeo, a 1938 6C 2300 B Mille Miglia Berlinetta” says Adolfo Orsi, a well-known personality in the automotive world and head of the international panel of judges. The Gazprom – Neft Special Prize was awarded to the best car entered by a Russian collector – the model was the one-off 1943 6C 2500 S Cabriolet Pinin Farina, belonging to Kostantin Moshkin.

Unique Special Ones

Who knows if there will be a future for classic car collecting in Russia but if the Unique Special Ones Concours is anything to go by, then a European lifestyle event featuring a superb display of historic cars with beautiful designs can only can set a precedence. Watch this space!

The Business of Classic Cars By Fiona Sanderson

Image courtesy of Rob Scorah

Image courtesy of Rob Scorah

Interest in the classic car has never been stronger. Car concourses such as Unique Special Ones recently held in St. Petersburg, and Salon Prive and Concours of Elegance in London, have brought together some of the finest classic cars in the world. Ferraris, Bugattis and Bentleys have soared by 28% in value (correct as of June 2014), outstripping gold (which has slumped by 23% in recent years), art (down by 6%) and luxury London property, and some sources say this is thanks to rising demand from wealthy Asians. “Classic cars are proving to be one of the most lucrative and robust investments around, providing the right marque and model is chosen,” says Gary Axon, Goodwood Motorsport spokesman. “Over the past three to four years, values for older classic motor cars at auction or in dealer and private sales have bucked the global recession, proving as prudent an investment as the other two current leading recession-proof commodities, fine art and vintage wine.”

Image courtesy of Tim Scott @ Fluid Images

Image courtesy of Tim Scott @ Fluid Images

I spoke to James Knight, Group Director and Auctioneer of the Bonhams Motoring Department, who is an acknowledged expert and has handled many record-breaking auctions, to give me an overview of the current buying trends. Only in July last year, his company recently broke all records with the sale of the highest price ever paid for a car at auction ($30.6 million – almost £20 million), with a rare 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196, in which five-time Formula 1 World Champion driver Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina won two Grand Prix. I asked him whether this recent record-breaking price is setting the standard, or whether it is more of a one-off. “It broke all records by almost doubling previous records,” Knight reveals. “It was an extraordinary motorcar, and it was always going to appeal to an established motor car collector who understood the market, a connoisseur who already had large collection of cars. It’s the only car like it out of captivity!”

Knight told me that “buyers in Asia, Russia and the Middle East are for now very few and far between,” but he admitted he is aware of emerging markets, “fundamentally, the market growth is underpinned by the USA and Europe. Asia, in particular China, and the Middle East just don’t have a history of classic cars but the Japanese, however, have been collectors in the motorcar market for decades.”

Knight seems somewhat frustrated by the car-buying trends of the new generation of HNWs. “In Asia or the Middle East, they go for the latest high performance luxury cars, like the latest Phantom,” he says. “In Moscow, they want to be instantly recognizable on the street, so they wouldn’t understand a 1950s Aston Martin. But classic motor cars are for people who have a passion for them.”

Image Courtesy of Rob Scorah

Image Courtesy of Rob Scorah

A classic car investment is not without its risks, however. As well as ensuring you buy the right marque, maintenance can also be costly. But, advises Knight, “as long as you buy sensibly and the car doesn’t need a lot of work doing, there’s a good chance it will increase in value two or three years down the line.” UK Radio DJ and car fanatic Chris Evans can boast one such example of this. Following his purchase of a 1961 Ferrari California Spyder in 2008 for £5 million, he confessed that, “it seems a lot of money, but in five to 10 years’ time, it’ll be out of my range.” Investing in classic cars, it would seem, it as much about the increasing value of the car as it is about straightforward appreciation, and so investors need to be canny enough to buy accordingly.

But that isn’t to say that buying a classic car should solely be done with just an investor’s cap on. “In recent years, wealthy people have had money earning next to nothing in the bank, so they put it into something they can enjoy and buy a car,” says Knight, who is very adamant that you have to be passionate about cars before entering the market. “Newcomers must first and foremost have an emotional attachment and desire to own a collectors motorcar,” he says. “Quite frankly, it’s not a market just for investors, as it would be a very boring and sorry place, and thankfully, whilst most of the people we see in the collectors motors market have got half an eye on whether it’s going to make a return for them, first and foremost they are car enthusiasts and long may that continue!”

Image courtesy of Tim Scott @ Fluid Images

Image courtesy of Tim Scott @ Fluid Images

Knight is also firmly of the belief that a car should be enjoyed, not just kept unappreciated in a garage. “I would say don’t bother looking into the collectors market unless you actually like the idea of ownership because they don’t do any good in the garage – they need to be enjoyed,” he reiterates. “Even putting price aside, you can buy a car for a couple of thousand and up to £10 million at auction. If someone decides they want a classic motorcar, I can give them bundles of advice but it’s up to them. We don’t need investors; they upset the equilibrium and that upsets the supply and demand. When the economy starts to look a little delicate or volatile, the investor invariably wants to sell. We want to encourage people who want to own cars for the correct reason, because you actually believe it’s a fun thing to do and you are going to get some enjoyment out of it. As long as you keep the real hobbyists and collectors in the classic motor area, you will have a much more stable and enjoyable market!”

Image courtesy of Tim Scott @ Fluid Images

Image courtesy of Tim Scott @ Fluid Images

For the collectors who form this market, there are plenty of places to enjoy the thrill of owning a classic car. “There are many choices for the enthusiasts,” Knight explains, “whether as a spectator at some of the concourses around the world or indeed as an entrant, and there are those who like going on rallies, and that’s fine. I question the wisdom of two Concours of Elegances in London, but yes, if there is a demand, then why shouldn’t there be more of them?”

Winners at this year’s Concourses included Bruce R. McCaw’s 1930 Bentley Speed-Six Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupé, which won Best In Show at the St. James’ Concours of Elegance, while at Uniques Special Ones in St. Petersburg, Best In Show went to a1951 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d’Este coupé.

Unique Special Ones

In terms of auctions at Bonhams, Knight has sold everything from a Series 1 Land Rover to a 1930 Grand Prix Alfa Romeo – “that’s a particularly nice Land Rover and a particularly nice Alfa Romeo but 40 years and £5.5 million pounds apart!”

If you’re attending an auction yourself, cars with a prestigious history, such as Aston Martin, Bentley or Bugatti, or with a racing heritage, such as Ferrari or Jaguar, are seemingly the most reliable investments, and so too are more affordable machines, such as Jaguar E-types, Maseratis and earlier Lancias. As Knight himself confirms, “the market remains strong and shows no signs of going down.” Time to pull on the driving gloves and burn some rubber….

Egg Lodges – One Is Never Un Oef! By The Luxury Channel

Beach Lodge

BMT Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of BMT Group, has announced the development of a new series of houseboats, floating lodges and beach houses – luxurious living concepts crafted from a unique egg-shaped form reclaimed from a previous project. BMT Asia Pacific Managing Director Richard Colwill revealed “in the same way that an egg provides a flexible base for many recipes, we see countless opportunities in the development of this design for private or commercial use. The familiar, yet innovate form could be readily deployed along river and coastal sites, and a beach house variant has even been developed.”

Houseboat Interior

Designed by both Colwill and Henry Ward of Henry Ward Design, the first models in the ‘Sea-Suite’ series illustrate the flexibility of this eggy form. The floating lodge, for instance, takes the form of the mould’s original shape in which a stunning two bedroom home has been created. Expansive but shaded windows flood the 6m high lounge with light from either side, while decking creates easy access to the water. The luxury space is envisaged as easily at home along a lake, or as part of a cluster studio development. The high levels of roof insulation, moderation of temperature from its water setting and potential addition of solar panels to the expansive roof create a sustainable unit for all climates.

Floating Lodge

Taking the concept a step further, the design team “cracked the egg” raising and separating the top shell, which has been sculpted to form a terracotta roof edged with flowing curves. This created an airy loft style houseboat with stepped mezzanine levels leading up to a master bedroom, featuring expansive views through full height windows. This houseboat was designed asymmetrically with open views from the study, kitchen, snug and dining areas. Additional cabins provide extra accommodation for guests, while a secluded roof deck allows for sunbathing or stargazing.

“We’ve just scraped the surface of the design flexibility available,” co-designer Henry Ward admitted, “from individual houseboat and lakeland lodge, to resort cabin, marina office, beach house – and even art galleries and other novel commercial spaces.” Quite literally, watch this space!

The Last of The Lucciole By Lucie Shelbourne

Our correspondant Lucie Shelbourne describes the summer months in the Umbrian hills….

Il lucciole (fireflies) in summer are mesmerising. They resemble an elfin diamond mine at midnight with the flashes and sparkles coming off their silver hammers as they toil away. Watching from my upstairs window, I feel like I am peeping into a secret world. The whole garden below is alive with a mute existence of minuscule fulgurations owned by these infamous insects. The lucciole herald the end of the scholastic year. Younger children come to school during this period with jam jars that hold the lucciola that they have managed to capture the night before. The poor thing is dying slowly like Tinkerbell, as its light becomes weaker and weaker. The little flying beetle emits a glow from its body due to a natural chemical stored in its abdomen. The innocent cruelty of children and tradition!

It’s early summer now and I happen to spy a lone scintilla; the last of the lucciole. Its light flashes more slowly as it makes its way over the grass, tired and almost spent. The cicadas are making a very loud din as they take the stage.


Last night, we sat out under the heavy scented Tilio trees, up in our village piazza, eating crostini and salami off a huge platter at the bottega there. We sipped smugly on our glasses of Marchese Antinori, anticipating the tagliatelle ai funghi that was to arrive next. The discussion was about which sagra we should choose to go to in the area next weekend. Each village in the summer months in Italy holds a special festa called a sagra with a typical theme, no village clashing with another regarding dates or menu. The Sagra della Pecora is one of my favourites as it’s mutton (which you never find these days) grilled on a wood ember barbecue with lemon squeezed over it. A local girl brings you your food on a tray with sautéed potatoes and a lettuce salad saturated in oil and vinegar. Along the table, heads are down, as eating is a serious thing in Italy (but so is talking and the noise level makes it impossible to hear yourself speak!)

Barbecuing Mutton

We held a Summer Party of our own, and I’m hoping our guests thought it was marvellous. It was in the fresh air, under a star-spangled sky with near on forty close friends and family. One of the highlights of the evening was the truffle pasta course, cooked on the spot by our honoured guest Olga Urbani of Tartufi Urbani. Olga insisted on contributing in this very generous way and the result was superb, a delicious experience for the taste buds with the penne pasta perfectly cooked to al dente. Her glamorous appearance added to this ‘elite episode in our lives.’ The most important ingredient, of course, for the making of a successful party is the people, and these we had gathered that evening in abundance, eclectic, charming and witty, some having travelled up from Rome and many arriving by plane from London. The main course was porchetta from Domenico and Patrizia’s great little butchers in Monterchi. It was exquisite! I’ve eaten porchetta from various areas and this excelled them all. Not one slice remained apart from a curl of crackling, which I halved and gave to our two adorable canines. I was lucky to be able to serve the porchetta, having turned up the day before the party at the butcher with a request to serve 41 guests (it was a last minute change of ideas of what to eat). Domenico and his wife Patrizia just stood behind the glass counter of their very small shop, agog! But they came up trumps.

Barbecuing Mutton

I had put all the white geraniums in pots, which looked very pretty round where the table was to be. The idea came from a wedding reception we once attended at the Quisisana Hotel in Capri. The effect was that they seemed to glow in the dark like the white bread crumbs of Hansel and Gretal, enabling guests to find their way along the wiggly path to the car park.

Apricot Tart

The next day, someone rang to thank me and told me that they’d put their heads round the door of the kitchen before they left and a thousand stacked dirty plates met their eyes. Well, that was a slight exaggeration if ever I heard one! But I had not been too far gone though in the early hours to scrape all the truffle remains left in the jars from the magnificent sauce Olga had brought and store them in the fridge to savour a second time round. Divine!

To enjoy a stay in Umbria, go to for further details. Lucie’s husband Richard designs landscape gardens – for more information, go to

The All-New Range Rover Sport By Victoria Macmillan Bell

Range Rover Sport

I’m perched atop a bank, deep in the Herefordshire countryside, being guided through the next series of challenges by a man head to toe in khaki from the Land Rover Experience team at Eastnor Castle.

Placed around the new Range Rover Sport are tiny cameras that feed images back to the screen to show you what’s what. All I can see from the front cameras is a long drop and then water – no land, just water. You see, the drop is so steep, the bonnet is facing the sky and there’s absolutely no opportunity for you to make a decision on where to point the wheels without relying on the screen.

Inching forward a little, the car yaws like a see-saw and then tips its weight forth down the muddy luge. I am now looking at the cameras which are submerged, the water is cloudy from all the silt and mud I’ve just churned up. There is literally nowhere to go now other than upriver so onward we go, bow wave ever-present, like it was the most ordinary thing in the world.

Range Rover Sport In River

My wonderment of the moment was disturbed when the phone rang, the number appearing underwater on the screen, amongst flowing reeds and small fish.

It was the Montpellier Chapter Hotel I was staying in that night, calling to confirm a spa appointment. I explained that I was in a river, that eventually I would come across another perpendicular bank up which I would gracefully climb, then across a series of fields and tracks to a gate which would throw me out onto an A road to take me straight to Cheltenham but yes, I should still make the 6.20pm appointment.

Life with a new Range Rover Sport – it is mind-boggling just how capable this luxury machine is.

Now lighter by half a ton and more agile than the outgoing model thanks to its all-aluminum construction, this latest model has raised the bar yet again to new levels of performance, fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

Range Rover Sport In Plane

It would be easy to say all you need is the 3.0 litre TDV6 diesel engine because it really is all you need. It’s rapid, smooth and a long way off the sound of a regular diesel, but then you stand next to the 5.0L Supercharged V8 version when it’s fired up and the noise is so utterly fantastic, you get swept up in all that V8 cement-gargling growl.

Take your mind away from mud and ruts to smooth, runway tarmac, and the V8 will propel you from 0 – 60mph in just 5 seconds. That’s outrageous for a car of this size. A flurry of seconds later, you’ll be cruising at 155mph, the top speed with this engine. Seeing another Sport thunder down the runway whilst you watch widens the eyes somewhat. If it’s possible to look regally sporty, this does.

But, nothing makes your eyes widen more than driving up a ramp onto a cargo 747 jet to then take on an assault course for cars within, where precision, composure and balance is all. Exiting the big bird had us all leaning back trying hard to counter balance the sheer perpendicular angle of the car, upstanding on the pedals.

Range Rover Sport Leaving Plane

The styling of the Sport has had plenty of influence from its stable-mate, the Evoque, with the roofline, tailgate and side-profile being the outward clues. Inside, the car is more roomy than the current model, yes, a fraction longer and wider and sitting on a longer wheelbase, and for the first time now offers seven seats, the third row being two automatically stowing child’s perches.

This is a highly skilled machine but reflecting that the Sport is more used to providing very high levels of on-road refinement and luxury, more are sold in New York City than anywhere else in the world. That’s not to say that New Yorkers demand more sumptuousness, it’s just that they will rarely be exposed to anything more challenging than a loose drain cover and that really is a travesty.

Range Rover Sport On A River Bank

If you own a Range Rover/Sport or in fact any product from Land Rover, I urge you to ring Eastnor Castle and book yourself and your family in for an overnight stay. The setting is utterly beautiful, but it’s what you get up to with the Land Rover Experience team that will alter your understanding and appreciation of this car, hereon in.

As we’ve experienced, our own self-preservation limits will run out far and away before that of this colossally impressive machine.

Priced from £51,550. For more information about the Range Rover Sport, click here.

Ruben Tabares – Star Trainer By Scott Manson

Ruben Tabares

Ruben Tabares is the go-to guy for top athletes and high net worth types who want to take their training to the next level. David Haye, Amir Khan, P Diddy, Tinie Tempah, Danny Cipriani and John Terry are just some of the stars who have benefited from his radical programmes. We get the lowdown from one of the world’s most in-demand personal trainers.

How does a personal trainer end up on the speed dial of so many notable people?

It’s been a long route to where I am now. My fitness career began when I attended ballet school when I was seven, which I kept up for about four years. I then went to a sporty school and discovered that I had an aptitude for running, eventually becoming the European junior 400m hurdles champion. I’d always been fascinated by biomechanical injuries and made it one of my specialisms and, when I was at an athletes training camp, I started treating fellow athletes’ injuries. That success led to me being recommended to the boxer David Haye. I spent 10 days with him, just before his Valuev fight, and helped clean up his diet, fixing a cramping problem he’d had for a while. Things really took off for me from there.

You still compete in athletics. How do you find the time to do your own training and fit in training others?

A lot of it isn’t so much about finding the time as having the energy to do it. This is why good nutrition is so important. If you eat correctly, your body recovers more quickly and you have more energy.

Amir Khan and Ruben Tabares

Where in the world has your training taken you?

LA, Colombia, and the Philippines, the latter with Amir Khan. I regularly fly to Tel Aviv to advise a billionaire client I have there. I also spent time in Miami when I was training David. In fact, another notable client of mine – P Diddy – came from those sessions. He’d seen me doing some unusual exercises in the gym and he came over to ask about them. I ended up going to his house to meet his chef, his doctor, his chiropractor and so on. They had to be sure of me before they let me into his world. It was surreal at first but he’s a hard worker. He might have an image as a party boy but he was in the gym at 8am for every session. He actually offered me a job, traveling the world with him for a year, for a remarkable salary, but I had already made a commitment to David Haye and didn’t want to let him down. Diddy actually thought that my refusal meant I wanted more money so he kept upping the salary. It became very tempting.

Which sport would you say demands the toughest workout?

It’s hard to say but MMA (mixed martial arts), track and field and boxing are all tough. The latter might just have the edge in terms of complete athleticism. Also, crucially, boxers and MMA athletes have to endure people trying to hurt them while they perform, so that makes their sport tougher still.

What are the most common misconceptions people have about training?

That if you train hard, you can eat what you want. It’s simply not true. Our diet should be 75 per cent raw food, and 25 per cent cooked. Grilled fish, salads, fruit, lightly steamed veg – that’s what the body needs. People also expect fast results but patience is key. I’m training Tinie Tempah at the moment and we spent plenty of time strengthening his ligaments and joints before really hitting the weights. A year on and he’s in fantastic shape.

David Haye And Ruben Tabares

Why do sports stars need an additional trainer? What did you offer John Terry, for example, that he wasn’t getting from Chelsea’s multi-million pound training facilities?

With John, I was treating a specific injury. He’d tried everything else and, with my treatment, the injury hasn’t recurred. There’s this myth that a footballer’s legs turn to jelly after the age of 30 – my training can help them keep their speed and even increase it.

You also worked with Mickey Rourke – tell us about that.

He’s always kept in good shape – he was a former professional boxer – and he saw David and I training in the gym one day and told me he was ‘officially impressed’ by my training. He’s old-school, and says what he thinks, but I admire that. An amazing man.

What does the future hold for Ruben Tabares?

Busy times ahead. I’ve just opened a gym in the City called The Vault with my former hurdling partner, Jon Squirrel, another one near Chelsea and also a high performance centre. We’re taking it to the next level.

Personal training sessions start from £150 per hour. Go to for more information.

The East India Company – Reborn And Renewed Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

The Luxury Channel meets the man behind the East India Company, Sanjiv Mehta.

East India Company

For many new business owners, a key challenge is to turn your brand into a household name. But if you were taking on a 400 year old brand, you’d think that part of your job had already been done for you. Not so easy, however, when your brand was synonymous with the British Empire and all that it stood for.

London-based businessman Sanjiv Mehta is under no illusions when it comes to being an Indian at the helm of the East India Company, which he took over in 2005, and officially re-launched in 2010. Originally incepted in 1600 by British Royal Charter to exploit trade with India and the East, it grew to become one of the most powerful organisations the world had ever seen, with its own armies and its own mints (23 of them, in fact). As a consequence, not all of its history is pretty. For an Indian to take over a company with such a checkered past – particularly as far as his fellow countrymen are concerned – is no mean feat. But then, Mehta is assuredly pragmatic about it. “I believe the EIC today could only be run by two kinds of people – a British man living in India or an Indian living in London,” he reveals. He’s also aware that the East India Company means different things to different people – a natural consequence of a company whose history spans some 400 years, and covers much of the known world. “East India Company connected the whole world because it controlled the waters of the world,” Mehta explains. “In a way, it was the Google of its time – it brought the world together.”

Tea Caddies

Mehta is only too aware of the implications of the brand’s history. “We knew East India Company owned India; we knew it created India. I was born and brought up in Bombay, so it’s completely part of my DNA,” he says. In many ways, though, he appears to have a quiet respect for what the company achieved. “East India Company was pioneering….We speak English because of East India Company. The tables of the world have tea because of East India Company. We play cricket because of East India Company,” he smiles. “So when you start thinking about the impact of this entity, it is the principle of what common wealth sits on today. Whether it’s the English language, whether it’s architecture, whether it’s the Catholic religion, mercantile law, or even global food habits such as toast and jam and marmalade.” But that isn’t to say he ignores the grimmest aspects of the East India Company’s past. “You will be writing pages of history and your acts need to be very carefully managed and measured,” he says, considering. “That really is a challenge, solely because of the awareness of the name. In India, with East India Company, there is an emotional relationship there – it’s not a commercial relationship.”

When speaking about the East India Company, it would seem that emotional awareness speaks volumes. “You get emotionally connected to places, because emotion is about the relationship between subconscious and conscious experience. That’s where true brands get created,” Mehta says, before explaining, “the legacy of East India Company is alive in the DNA of the world at large. It is that which we have ownership of. The most difficult thing for any brand is to become a part of your subconscious, which is very difficult. It’s more than being a brand; it’s more iconic.” The East India Company, Mehta reasons, is part of people’s subconscious – people have heard of it, even if they can’t automatically name a product or service that it sells. “So really, my job is to develop and offer such products and services to consumers, which connects their conscious experiences with their subconscious perception,” Mehta says.

Sovereign Savouries

But, with so much history and heritage to build upon, where does one start? For Mehta, the answer is simple – look to that same history and heritage for your inspiration. “We believe we can learn from the history. We’re trying to identify the milestones of the East India Company journey in terms of what makes sense today, and we are trying to follow that,” Mehta explains. “Our notion is to carve the brand out of the history.”

That’s exactly what the newly-launched brand has done. “East India Company’s primary objective when it was founded, was to bring exotic foods from the east to the west – spices and teas. When we were at the crossroads re-selecting its commercial legacy, we also decided to start there too – with fine foods.”

There are other patterns in history that Mehta has meticulously followed. “We’ve launched a gold and silver business because when East India Company first started trading tea, the only way to pay for tea was bullion. So we launched a bullion business.” China, silverware, textiles and fashion have followed, and there are plans for a fine jewellery business next year. The East India Company merchants were purveyors of luxury, and Mehta is keen to follow suit. “East India Company only traded those things that were value-intensive, not volume-intensive. By default, they started trading what we call luxury – the expensive ivory, diamonds, precious stones, fine lacquer furniture, muslin, tea, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg – these were priceless things. They traded those products, not because they were unique or unknown but because they were so value-intensive,” Mehta says. But, he adds, “in the business of luxury, you buy with a sense of realism and sell with a sense of romanticism.”

Gold Coin

It’s a philosophy that must be working. From one flagship store, the business has expanded to seven more, with plans for another twelve next year, and that’s not including the plan for numerous concession stores.

Mehta’s own plans, once he has the East India Company well and truly up and running, are to move into philanthropy and set up his own charity. He may well be making history with the East India Company, but he’s well aware of the magnitude of the brand compared to his place within it. “It’s four hundred years of history,” he acknowledges. “The East India Company brand doesn’t belong to a race, religion, colour or country; it belongs to civilization. We haven’t created the brand – we are just passing through the life of the East India Company, so my passion has no meaning because it will only live for this generation.” With such commitment to the brand, Mehta’s clear passion is sure to survive for more than just a generation. It really couldn’t be in better hands.

The Jaguar F-TYPE: For The Sweet Life! By Fiona Sanderson

Jaguar F-TYPE

For some, La Dolce Vita has connotations of the swinging 50s in Italy, sports cars, girls and boys in dark shades and smoky bars. For me, this certainly couldn’t have been more fitting for my trip to Italy on a sunny spring weekend around the Umbrian hills, with one of my favorite girlfriends and the new Jaguar F-TYPE – open top sports cars, truffles, glorious earthy wines and a massage in the monasterial ruins of one of the oldest villages in Italy. Jaguar had certainly laid out the ideal backdrop for a weekend away and a test drive of their latest baby, the F-TYPE.

My earliest recollections of the iconic Jaguar E-TYPE in action were as a child when the swinging London smart set was seen draped across the bonnets of these fabulous cars. When Frank Sinatra saw his first E-TYPE, he is reputed to have said, “I want that car and I want it now….”

It has, however, taken Jaguar over 50 years to come up with the next sports car in the alphabet. What would it be like to drive?


Flying past the Vatican from Rome to Perugia in a helicopter was surely a taste of ‘the sweet life’ to come. We were then transported into medieval history and the ancient town of Assisi in Umbria – hometown of Saint Francis, and full of Roman ruins and medieval sites. Our hotel, the 5-star Relais Nun, came about from the restoration of the ancient monastery of Saint Catherine in 1275, and we loved its quiet simplicity and sophistication.

After lunch, sitting in the hotel’s ancient chapel, with the smell of white roses, lavender and rosemary around us, it was hard to be transported to the current day and concentrate on Jaguar’s team briefing for the road trip ahead.

Jaguar F-TYPEs

It didn’t take long to get ‘in the mood,’ however. There is no doubt that the sight of 15 or so spanking new two-seater sports cars gets one’s pulse racing, and my girlfriend and I were keen to get going. With a push of a button, this sleek and sexy sports car sounded as though it was going to give us an adventure drive to remember. We were given the mid-range V6-engined S version; 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds with all the engine and exhaust noise needed to show off a shiny new toy!

Melanie and Fiona

We had a route combination of twisting roads, B roads, hill climbs and motorways – all planned so we could put the F-TYPE through its paces, which is exactly what we did! For two London lady townies, this sports car certainly didn’t disappoint. Light, powerful and sophisticated, with plenty of brute force when you needed it, we particularly liked the Dynamic Drive system, which gave us more exhaust noise at the press of a button. Oh girls, please!

At the first drop of rain, we were able to put the roof up whilst we were slowly cruising at 30mph. With sleek interiors and carefully designed cockpit, race-car-esque paddle shifters and dynamic suspension system that apparently could be changed, we had little to complain about. We noted that there was very little room to store anything or seats to recline back into, but then one has to remember that that Jaguar has built this as pure driver’s car. The handling was very light indeed, due to the car’s low centre of gravity – despite so much power under your foot.

Oak Barrels

Umbria is called the green heart of Italy and you can see why. Driving around this region we were struck with the beauty of the landscape – full of vineyards, olive fields and wild flowers – and we visited Lungarotti Vineyard, where they produce the famous Rubesco red wine.


We were lucky to meet one of the only female owners, Teresa Lungarotti, whose passion for this business was clearly evident when she showed us their wine and olive museum. I was particularly struck with their innovation and sustainable approach towards their wine-making and the deep respect for the environment. Working alongside the Biomass Research Institute of the University of Perugia, they are the first company to produce wines using the energy of the vine itself.

Torre di Moravola

Dedication to one kind of craftsmanship, whatever it may be, is clearly admirable and on our final stop for the day, Torre di Moravola, I was able to spend time talking to Jaguar’s Vehicle Line Director, Ian Hoban, who has been with the Jaguar F-TYPE since its inception four years ago, and his passion for this car is only too evident. We were all guests of Christopher Chong and Seonaid Mackenzie, and their dedication to the restoration of this 12th century watchtower is really remarkable. Moravola has seven rooms, each one designed to be towers in miniature, with bedrooms above to optimize the views. The pre-dinner drinks around the fire-pit overlooking the sunset were magical. Definitely a place to consider for a summer escape of peace and tranquility.

Relais Nun Spa

The following morning, I took an early morning dip back in history. Set amongst the monastery ruins, the Relais Nun Hotel has created a wellness centre where a 1st century temple to the cult of water once stood. Heaven!


Back in our Jaguar F-TYPEs, we set off deep into the heart of the Italian countryside, to Italy’s truffle-grounds, to meet Olga Urbani, a really extraordinary lady whose company Urbani Truffles supplies over 70% of the world’s truffles. Today, she runs this large company with a passion, dedication and love which she has inherited from her grandfather and father, who pioneered not only the art of truffle-growing in Italy, but were also the first to organize the fine processing of these highly valuable fungi. Olga gave us a tour of the factory and we were able to see the black truffles in all their glory.


At the truffle academy, we were able to savour a delicious array of truffle canapés prepared by her in-house chefs and learn more about the Urbani Group, who produce a wide range of truffle products. They process an annual average of over 100 tons of truffle. For more information, see our film. Seeing it all first-hand, it is very clear why the Urbani Truffle group has the reputation as the absolute world leader in truffles. A ‘must see’ on anyone’s itinerary.

Jaguar F-TYPEs

Our finale to this wonderful trip and adventure, before retiring to The First Hotel, was a special British evening – a fitting tribute to Jaguar cars and British design – which was held at the British Ambassador’s remarkable residence. Before dinner, we were able to celebrate on the private lawns in the company of Jaguar’s four iconic sports cars. Seeing the C, D, E and new F-TYPEs in all their glory made me realise that British design and engineering have kept the old flag flying for many years. The new Jaguar F-TYPE is certainly testament to that.

Prices for the Jaguar F-TYPE start from £58,520.

Jaguar F-TYPEs

Aston Martin – Stirred But Not Shaken By Philip Cayford

Aston Martin

As I watched an array of supercars strutting their stuff, some heavily disguised, at the Milbrook Testing centre in Bedfordshire, the question was inevitably raised – if you had to choose just one supercar to the exclusion of all others, which one would it be? The fabulous Ferrari 458, crackling sex on wheels at 200 mph? The mind-blowing Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, faster still at 254 mph, described by one (biased) reviewer as “the most pointless exercise on the planet” and by another as the best car ever made? One of the insane Pagani collection? The awesome Maclaren F1? The Lambo Aventador? Or even the safe and dependable Porsche GT3, fifty years into its evolution and still looking as distinctive today as it did back in the 1960s?

Or would you prefer something slightly different? A car you can drive any day, anywhere. Quintessentially British, a car that exudes quality and luxury, but that will also carry you effortlessly to, and beyond, 200 mph. A design classic, with a race pedigree that dates back a hundred years to the early hill climbs in leafy Buckinghamshire, victory at Le Mans 1933, more Le Mans victories in the 1950s and once again on the Le Mans podium in 2013? A car whose iconic status was assured when the silver screen 007 chose it over his 3 ½ litre Bentley, and above all others, back in 1964? A car that epitomises Bond, and is British to the core, suave, sophisticated and elegant? Yes, Aston Martin.

Every English schoolboy since the 1960s has dreamt of being James Bond, and having the Aston to go with it. They still do, even if the present generation prefers the DB9 to the revitalised Skyfall DB5. Never mind, they are both pure Aston Martin.

There is a timelessness about Aston Martin. It is as if, within its DNA, the company can only build classic, beautiful cars. Most Astons look as gorgeous today as the moment they rolled out of the factory. Was the DBR1 (only 5 built) the prettiest racing car ever made? Possibly, but only if you think it was better looking than the DB3S. Will the CC 100 be gracing the Aston Martin museums in 2023? You bet it will. Alongside everything built in the David Brown years, the 1994 DB7 and the stunning range of cars produced under current chief designer, Marek Reichman.

Aston Martin

Aston’s history has been exotic and often troubled; it has constantly flirted with bankruptcy and has been bought and sold more times than anyone can remember. Yet the cars, almost without exception, have been gorgeous, revered and coveted. As Marek Reichman says, “Somehow everyone loves our cars. Take a German supercar to South London and someone will key it. Take an Aston and you get a forest of thumbs up.”

So there it is. I can come off the fence. Having driven many of the supercars on the road today (and having watched Clarkson and Hammond burble and holler their way through the rest) the one supercar I would save (if I had to choose just one) would sport an Aston Martin badge on the long bonnet. That part of the decision was not difficult. But far harder is this question, which one?

To help make this critical, if ultimately fantastical decision, Aston Martin invited a group of like-minded souls to Milbrook last week, to test four of the current crop. No Zogato, no One 77, no convertibles and no CC100 unfortunately, but the new Vantage V12, DB9, Vanquish S and Rapide S were glinting in the sun as we arrived, surrounded by a posse of tame racing drivers sporting Aston badged shirts and the look of men who enjoyed the day job.

Millbrook is a patchwork quilt of race circuits – on road, off road, gravel, mud, rumble strips, a high speed parabolic bowl, a tight race track, an Alpine pass road, the drag strip, and much more. It is designated a secret location; your mobile phone is taped up by security staff at the gate to prevent prying paparazzi from identifying the new model Ferrari FF covered in zebra stripes as it thunders round the oval speed bowl.

Aston Martin

Each of our cars carried the mighty 6 litre V12 engine, each putting out plus or minus 560 horse power. Each had hand-made and stitched leather cabins, firm seats that gave support and perfect driving positions. Each had an array of settings to suit your mood, ranging from normal to extreme sport – changing the settings, the revs per gear change, the exhaust note – and each car was reassuringly expensive. If you need to ask, the sales department know a man who runs a bank. The process of buying a new Aston must be sublime. No cars are built on spec for the dealers to flog; each new customer has a bewildering array of colour and specification to choose, followed by the unbearable agony of waiting for the car to be hand built. Most of this happens at the new plant in Gaydon, Warwickshire – Newport Pagnall is now a distant memory – although the engines are still built in Germany.

First up was the V12 Vantage – the out and out 2 seater with no pretensions to carrying babies, dogs or golf clubs in the snug cabin. Being the lightest, the kindly racing drivers gave us that one for the drag strip – a no-holds slam down the mile straight with a Mulsanne bend at the end of it. Now, no road Aston can keep up with a Pagani or Bugatti Veyron on a standing mile but at 0-60 in 4.1 seconds, and as the car was still accelerating strongly through 160 mph as it passed the ¾ mile mark – otherwise known as the braking point – that didn’t seem to matter. These cars sound glorious and are fast – very fast. If you need more, speak to Aston’s competitions department, who can sell you a GT4 Challenge for around £130,000, ready to race. The only car in our test with a conventional clutch and six speed manual gearbox, the Vantage felt more like the older generation of sports car than the others; the gear stick’s days may be numbered but holding a piece of metal directly attached to the gearbox gives you a sense of connection with the car and its power that some may miss in the two pedal versions.

Aston Martin

Then came the new DB9, still the prettiest sports car on the road according to many. It has filled out a little since its introduction in 2004, a few edges padded out here and there, but the line has remained exquisite and it has a fair bit more room in the hand-stitched leather cabin than its smaller brother. Like the others, it punches some 565 horse power and tops out at close to 200 mph, probably enough for most road conditions.

For your typical DB9 driver, it had to be the fast Milbrook Alpine track. Balance, smooth power, speed and awesomely good ceramic brakes instil total confidence from the outset. These cars are easy to drive fast; the grip from the Pirelli zeros is phenomenal and far exceed the capabilities of all but the hardest of weekend racing drivers. 100 mph sweeping bends, a blind down hill, little flicks from left hander to right hander and full throttle acceleration were all accomplished with a minimum of effort, as the tame racing drivers guided us through the racing line and, in my case at least, pandered to the ego in calm reassuring terms. Any suggestion of the choppy ride some reviewers disliked in the earlier models has long gone; it is frankly hard to fault this car at any level.

Only halfway around the second lap did the JCB appear, without warning and very close. Visions of The Italian Job flashed in front of my eyes as I grabbed for the ceramics; calmly, without fuss, nearly 2 tons of metal slowed to walking pace in just 3 seconds. What the yellow peril was doing on the track remained a mystery, but it was a timely reminder that getting to 140 mph on a country road is the easy bit, and it is easy to be seduced by the effortless capability of these cars.

Aston Martin

Next came the new Vanquish S, the car Aston call the best sports car in the world. Is it? Maybe. It looks amazing, all bold lines, raked for speed, a wide menacing front end, and more road presence than anything that has ever come out of Germany. It is designer Marek Reichman’s gentle evolution of the standard Aston shape into something slightly edgier, more contemporary, without losing that indefinable Aston magic.

It is a wide car – not ideal for Devon lanes but brilliant for a blast to Montenegro and back. Or the streets of London or Monte Carlo, in a way that its predecessor was not. The days of the burnt-out Vanquish clutch are long gone – in fact, all these cars displayed remarkable docility at low speeds. All apart from the Vantage had automatic gearboxes with the paddle change over-ride, quick and smooth, a user-friendly option that really does give the best of all worlds and will surely see the phasing out of the conventional gear stick in the not-too-distant future. The extra width gives it remarkable comfort levels – driver and passenger can both swivel their shoulders at the same time and talk to each other with space to spare. Both heir and spare, up to about 10 or 12 years old, will survive perfectly well, and in some comfort, at the back of the cabin. This was a lovely car to drive, solid, responsive and direct. At 140 mph on the banked Oval track, the car sat firmly on the tarmac, masses of power in hand. On the Alpine roads, it was a joy; the exhaust note in Sport mode playing tunes through the trees and the massive grip never letting go even at very high speed.

Aston Martin

Finally, the new Rapide S – for me, the biggest revelation of the day. It looks like an Aston should – based upon the beautiful lines of the DB9 and only ten inches longer – which is a compliment, not a criticism; why play around with lines like that having seen what Porsche did to the Panamera? The cabin exudes the same aura of affluence, power and elegance that each of our cars did – but this one takes 4 adults in comfort, especially if the rear passengers are less than 6 foot 2. What was so impressive about the Rapide was how much like the others it was to drive. Never mind the extra weight, this was as good as the DB9 on the Alpine track (I came to love that road by the end of the day!) and having the most room, was probably the car I enjoyed most. Certainly the one to choose if both of you play golf and are planning to use the car on the school run. Aston’s chief platform engineer Paul Barritt told Car magazine that he was trying to give the car a Jekyll and Hyde character, and he certainly has. It is fabulous.

So there it is. Four Aston Martins, each one a classic. The single most desirable supercar in the world, at least if you want to drive it a lot. But which one do you choose? It depends. The DB9 is the most beautiful, a timeless British icon. A complete car in every respect, a car to take you and your partner of choice to the most exotic locations in the world, to arrive stirred but not shaken. The Vantage is smaller, more manoeuvrable, a pure sports car (especially in V12 guise) and with its manual gearbox, the one for purists. The Vanquish has a bit more bling about it, more dramatic, more Le Mans, the Alps and San Remo than the Surrey golf course. But it will do either. Impeccably. Or the Rapide S. If you really want to take your under-age heirs on a high speed trip to Tuscany, look no further. Leave the Range Rover in the garage. You won’t regret it.

Luxury Seating At Its Finest By Leo Parker

Charles Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Charles Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman

When it comes to lavishly decorating your home, we all like to centre our attention on the furniture which we choose to adorn the rooms of our property. So far as luxury is concerned, it really doesn’t get much more luxurious than the frankly stunning Charles Eames lounge chair and ottoman (pictured above in breath-taking black leather).

Charles Eames was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and respected furniture designers and the lounge chair and ottoman were unquestionably one of the American designer’s most iconic pieces of furniture and came to typify his body of furniture design. Eames was a designer who was considerably ahead of his time and the fact that his eye-catching lounge chair and ottoman look just as great in today’s modern-style properties as they did when he originally designed them over half a century ago, is surely testament to this.

Charles Eames Lounge Chairs and Ottomons work in both classic and contemporary settings

Charles Eames Lounge Chairs and Ottomons work in both classic and contemporary settings

Regardless of the style of property that you have, be it classical or contemporary, there will definitely be a room in your home that will welcome a Charles Eames lounge chair and ottoman because it is the sort of furniture that can dovetail with more or less any style of decoration. Eames originally designed the piece as a gift for the 50th birthday of his friend, the movie director Billy Wilder, but it soon became clear that the piece was destined for a much wider market, such was its visual appeal and unparalleled comfort.

Charles Eames was a fearless designer who was responsible for some of the most ground-breaking pieces of designer furniture of the 20th century, and was one of the main catalysts for the modernist movement in furniture design. Though he is often solely credited for his work, Charles Eames invariably worked alongside his wife, Ray, who was his inspiration for a large number of pieces that he was responsible for creating.

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames

Many of Eames’ designs can be found in the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), including the lounge chair and ottoman, and the enduring popularity of this seminal piece truly is testament to how revolutionary Eames was as a designer. He wasn’t alone in shaping the face of furniture design and alongside his contemporaries like Harry Bertoia, Arne Jacobsen, Eero Aarnio and Hans Wegner, he utterly changed the way in which people thought about and approached the process of furniture design.

One of the 20th century’s finest artisans, Eames dedicated his life to creating functional, stylish and luxurious pieces of designer furniture and we have a lot to thank the inspirational designer for, because his timeless pieces still light up the interior design endeavours of thousands of people the world over to this day. Few pieces of furniture have become as synonymous with interior design as Eames’ beautifully crafted pieces and they remain a style staple in all the look-books of the world’s leading interior design specialists – and for good reason.

You can find a selection of Charles Eames furniture at Swivel UK.

The Bespoke Impact Roadster – The Ultimate Luxury Toy Car By Hannah Norman

Pink Car

Quite often, we measure wealth in terms of material goods, and if there’s one way of proving you’re a serious step ahead in the luxury game, it’s by the four wheels you roll around in. But what happens when you’re barely old enough to see over the steering wheel, never mind not being old enough to hold a license? For those of the (much) younger generation intent on not having their street cred dented by such seeming trivialities, help is at hand in the form of the two seat electric Bespoke Impact Roadster.

Designed and built in Britain, this is the ultimate luxury toy car for today’s discerning young driver. With a top speed of 8mph, which can be reached in 3.5 seconds, the Roadster also comes equipped with various safety features to limit parental fretting. A braking system to limit the top speed when downhill driving, plus an adult-controlled remote to apply an instant brake, are both reassuring.

Silver Car

So now for the fun stuff! Available in any number of colours and finishes (that’s inside as well as out), the cars can be customized according to the client’s wishes. They also come with working LED lights and dashboard controls, plus a video camera mounted to the front of the car, and personalized number plates. The doors all open too, so no awkward climbing in and out!

Of course, just in case your child wasn’t already the envy of their friends, the Roadster also comes with both a USB port and an i-pod connector, allowing them to really replicate the experience of driving in a “grown-up” car. The Roadster might not be a Jaguar, but to your youngster, it may just be the next best thing.

For more information, go to

Our Italian Garden Is A Sanctuary By Lucie Shelbourne

Our correspondent Lucie Shelbourne reports from her garden in the Umbrian hills in Italy….

Italian Vista

Just as May turns into June in central Italy, all the immaculately raked fields along the road to the town have stacks of white boxes skirting them, and tractors galore. It’s a hive of industry. In the boxes are tiny tobacco plants, which are systematically being planted in long lines. The sight of the maize plants in late summer before they are harvested, standing resplendent in their florentine gold attire, is a feast for the eyes. The other common sight is, of course, the sunflowers – girasole (which basically means “turn to the sun”). I asked my husband Richard to drive me down to the field at the bottom of our valley after dark one summer so that I could pick one to paint. No easy task! Up close, I felt dwarfed by their huge faces, towering above me. From afar, you would never think they were so tall, and cutting into the stem, low down, was quite an effort as the thick wooden fibre had to be really robust to support such an enormous and heavy flower. Richard shone the headlights of the car into the field to help me see what I was doing. He said later that the escapade looked like a scene out of an alien movie. The scary bit for me, though, was being spotted by the local farmer on his way back from the Bar Frizzino in the village!


I have been watching my orto (kitchen garden) grow with great pleasure, although I wish I’d had room for more French beans – fagiolini. The strawberries we’ve already had two helpings from, although I’m sure that somebody is going up to my plot and picking them when I’m not looking! All the vegetables you buy in Italy, especially in the piazza markets, are so rich in flavour and the organic carrots put English supermarket ones positively in the chilly English shade, dare I say it. Foreigners shopping here always remark on the size of the bell peppers in Italy – i pepperoni. They are enormous and very tasty. I like to do a dish where I roast them in the oven until the edges are black and then drizzle over a mixture of capers, anchovies and garlic, all finely chopped with several glugs of extra virgin olive oil – my own, in fact.


But, in my kitchen garden here in Umbria, I have narrowed down the choice of vegetables I grow. Zucchini (courgette), pomodori (tomatoes), fagiolini (French beans), cipolle (onions), lettughe (lettuces) and prezzemolo (parsley). Melon and melanzane (aubergine) I have tried, but the bought ones are better, I have to admit. If a bay leaf is required, I pluck one off the bay arch. They are very aromatic. In the autumn, I cut off a branch and posted it to my sister in England. She said her stews were dancing a gig afterwards!

After rushing about all week, I suddenly remember the garden! What’s growing? What have I been missing that I’ve been waiting all year round to see come into bloom? The roses!

Tuscan Superb

I turn the corner and go through the bay arch and wow! A ‘Tuscan Superb’ in full bloom greets me. I bend down towards its magnificent rubescence to get another whiff of the heavy scent exuding from its dark red petals. I realise that the fabulous perfume is not coming from this showy specimen that’s pushing it’s presence upon me, but from a bush of tightly curled pink petals next to it. Whatever this powerfully strong fragrance is, I like it! This lovely pale pink variety, that nearly wooed me off my feet, is called ‘Fantin Latour’ after the French painter best known for his flower paintings.

Fantin Latour

The bush has thrived up against the wall of the house, where tiny insects annually scratch away at the flakey mortar binding its ancient stones together, making homes for themselves. I glance about at all the different flowers there are in the garden. I feel free. Gardens are places where humans can feel freer than in the highways and byways of ordinary life. Our Italian garden is a sanctuary. Its beauty is not just held within the boundaries of its actual setting. Richard always says that as a gardener, you can’t compete with Nature, as the views beyond are so stunning. Strolling down paths and through arches is an experience to truly savour. Right now the ‘Ginestra’ is coming into flower, throwing out a heady scent over the hills. The wild orchids that quietly sit in the long grass are a national treasure in this part of Umbria. One can easily become blasé, so I regularly pinch myself on the arm a few times to remind myself that this is a truly enviable existence; being in a beautiful garden and as I walk along its fine gravel paths, watching butterflies flit gently by me, I find myself absorbing the personality of its maker. I recognise it easily as I’m married to him!

To enjoy a stay in Umbria, go to for further details. For more information about Richard’s gardens, go to

Couture Developments – Swiss Through And Through By Rosalind Milani Gallieni

Buy into spaces of tranquility and peace of mind, true to standards of Swiss excellence, with Kempinski’s new apartments.

Aerial Shot

A sunny terrace opens out onto the most extensive mountain range, still snow-capped in mid April, and Lake Geneva lies below, absolutely tranquil blue and secure in its world-renowned beauty, and now we are in the reality of it – we have arrived to the swooshing Swiss efficiency of Le Mirador Kempinski, the service-hotel, no less, to the nearby Du Parc Kempinski residential development. Having had its scaffolding and tarpaulins removed the day before our arrival, handover dates are becoming a reality after years of construction!

Jean-François Garneau, CEO of Swiss Development Group, joins an informal lunch, and discusses the opportunistic venture which he, as a developer, had the vision to construct, connecting Le Mirador Kempinski to the 24 private apartments a few minutes walk up the hill. The apartments will all have the ‘de rigeur’ lake-view, and range from 2 to 6 bedrooms, starting from 6M CHF. Each one is self-sufficient and fully-serviced by the world-renowned 5* hotel group Kempinski, with 14 dedicated staff on hand 24/7 to cater for all needs coming from the hi-tech residences. Owners naturally also have special rates for the restaurants at Le Mirador nearby, making the hotel a pure added value for the homes away from home.

Living Room

The two are hence integrated and work as one from an operational side, making this the first branded private hotel-residence for sale in Switzerland, providing excellence and dedication to the highest standards of personal service.

With over 60% sold, the 22 apartments will be handed over to the über-rich in the summer, allowing them to experience Lake Geneva, the quaint Swiss mountain roads and the wine producers’ villages which surround the hillside. The last remaining structure to be completed is the formidable penthouse, which Candy & Candy will take on, to push their design-boundaries and high-tech systems that bit further in this, their first project in Switzerland.

Master Bedroom

Despite all the ground-breaking technological systems, computer-run domestic appliances and remote-controlled operations inside the building, a huge respect has been paid to the elegance of the original Belle Époque-inspired building, located in a UNESCO World Heritage site at the heart of the Vaud Riviera, on Mont-Pélérin. The original architecture has been retained both inside (to maintain the period architecture in the communal areas) and outside (to keep the exterior in line with the original 140-room Hotel du Parc, dating back to 1907). The imposing building was also once upon a time the meeting place of the private Mont Pèlerin Society, which counted 7 Nobel Prize winners, who regularly met in this majestic location.

Mont Peϟlerin Palace Hotel

Walking around these new, design-led interiors, with our hard hats still on, we realise we are in homes of exquisite, bespoke standards, and which only few people of this world will ever see, and rightly, as Jean-François points out: “These homes are not the Prêt-à-Porter of construction, but instead they reflect of a level of thought, detail and attention, more in line with Couture.” If this is the first of his branded hotel-residences, then this might be the beginning of a new system of real-estate development….rather like seeing the changes Charles F. Worth brought in when he invented Couture.

The Du Parc Kempinski will have its own private Givenchy Spa treatment room in the building, but residents can naturally also enjoy the Givenchy Spa at Le Mirador Kempinski. This Spa is one of six in the world, and the centre offers state-of-the-art fitness and a medical centre specialising in tailor-made preventative programs, which are readily available to all residents. Both spas hum with the same Swiss efficiency. The spaces are extensive, and offer the most exquisite private day-spa suite, where couples can spend a day in lush decadence, enjoying naturally-lit spaces, steam rooms, saunas, massage beds and a double-sized jacuzzi tub overlooking the Swiss mountain ranges.

Aerial Shot

The next project for customers to check into in 2015 will be 51° Spa Residences in Leukerbad, Valais, offering over 200 different treatments, with Kempinski again the hotel operator.

The location celebrates the thermal waters, which interplay with the apartments, giving an ecologically beautiful setting, and a whole new spa experience for the 21st century. The term Spa has been completely over-hauled here, with the introduction of the fundamentals of Japanese detoxification and purification, mixing the sauna, hot tub and spa. As Jean-François explains: ” I divided the spaces into several Banyan suites, to create hollistic and non-clinical treatments, and all the spaces are self- enclosed. Given the location, we make maximum use of the thermal waters, bringing them into the service. In essence, we have created a fusion of the Russian Banya steam bath with the Swiss Alpine Bath-house, designed by Under A Tree Spa Consultant, Amy McDonald.”

The Porsche Cayman – In A Class of Its Own By Victoria Macmillan Bell

Porche Cayman

This mid-engined model launched for the first time in 2005. Now in its 3rd guise, it’s still the car that took my breath away when I first experienced it. It’s still astounding in every way and of course, now it’s faster, lighter thanks to being almost all aluminium, and bestowed with even better dexterity, no other car out there comes close.

Available with a choice of two flat six engines, firstly with 275bhp is the 2.7litre followed by the 325bhp 3.4litre S version. Pair this with either the optional 7-speed PDK twin-clutch paddle-shift or the standard 6-speed manual gearbox.

Porche Cayman S

The interior continues to be the shrine to simplicity and spot-on functionality it always has been – please don’t misread this for dull, for dull it is not. It has been upgraded, reflecting the revisions made on Boxster; you feel the extra width and larger contoured seats but along with this, you’re so aware that you’re sitting in something of superb quality.

Now built on the same chassis as the latest Boxster, itself stunning, the front track has been increased, the wheelbase is wider and the car is lower and thus even more planted when pushing the boundaries of physics.

As for the drive, the Cayman is in a class of its own. Whether you choose the 2.7 or the 3.4, both will return your investment with spade-loads of thrills and delight. The 2.7 will have you working harder for the result but the satisfaction is immeasurable.

Porche Cayman

Razor-sharp steering cuts around switchback mountainous bends, power is instantaneous and oh how we love that throttle-blip as the gears are exchanged. Press the Sport button and handling tightens up yet further and then there’s the sublime engine noise bouncing off the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Just as amazing are the brakes and the trust you place in them. Never compromised here. And the sheer amounts of grip – mind blowing.

But do you know what is truly immense? All of this is yours for under £50,000. That’s staggering. This is the best Porsche on the market, followed by Boxster.

Cayman is simply untouchable. It is in a class all of its own.

Prices from £39,694.

Porsche Cayman Black Edition

Porsche Cayman Black Edition

Porsche has also released a special edition mid-engined, two-seat sports coupé. The new Porsche Cayman Black Edition emphasises the timeless and sporting elegance of the coupé. As the name suggests, the model is distinguished by a combination of a black paint finish and black partial leather interior, with further special equipment fitted as standard. The Porsche Cayman Black Edition is priced from £45,989 RRP in the UK.

The Launch of The Mini Paceman In Bilbao By Victoria Macmillan Bell

Dear Mini, surely it’s not possible to bend the common parts of the original hatchback into yet another derivative? Are there not enough versions for every activity? Apparently not. Enter the Paceman – think 3-door Coupe version of the hefty SAV Countryman.

I can see this on the school run, just as I see it parked next to a Range Rover on a London drive. The styling department has been very busy – hold that chrome-ringed overtime cheque though. No question, it has the BMW finish, the car feels high-end and very chunky and solid; certainly it should stand up to some use and abuse.

Mini Paceman SD

With two engines at launch, first to sample was the 2.0 litre Cooper S diesel with 143bhp. The diesel engine weighs more than the petrol and that was evident in the succession of climbs and zigzag hairpin bends we dealt with in blustery Bilbao. Engine-pull was adequate but not eager; also, there was a fair bit of body roll and the seats lacked the side-support needed to hold us comfortably. We in the UK are not blessed with Spanish-smooth roads and when we did hit some unbroken tarmac up in the hills, you realise just how firm the car is.

Mini Paceman S

Let’s move on to the 1.6 litre 181bhp Cooper S petrol and suddenly it’s a different beast. This petrol engine provides a way more spirited drive and engine note, particularly with a touch of the Sport button. It’s much more agile and responsive, and the whole package comes together better than I had imagined it would. Of course, the diesel will be better on the pocket. Later this year, we’ll see the John Cooper Works model arrive with 218bhp and a £33,000 price tag.

MINI offer their ALL4 four wheel drive system with the diesel engines and the Cooper S. Also, the Harman Kardon sound system that was fitted in the Cooper S was superb and worth the investment.

So, is there a point to this Paceman? If you have family to carry, you’d go Countryman (it’s slightly cheaper too). The point of the car is really up to you – if it fills the gap in your transport stable, the Cooper S will reward you in many ways and is certainly the pick of the crop so far.

Prices from £18,970.

From Range Rover With Love – Daniel Craig Reveals The All-New Range Rover Sport By Hannah Norman

Daniel Craig and the All-New Range Rover Sport

A daring car ride through deserted city streets and flooded tunnels in a race against time sounds like the sort of thing James Bond is best known for. But when Daniel Craig stepped behind the wheel of the All-New Range Rover Sport, this was surely life imitating art, as he put the vehicle through its sporty paces.

Manhattan came to a standstill as Craig – and the flashy dark red model he was driving – turned heads as he speeded through the shut-off streets. Handling the car with all the panache that you would expect from a man whose day job involves driving some of the finest motors in the world, Craig’s New York adventure culminated in the safe delivery of the Sport to a packed crowd of specially invited guests.

A film of the Sport’s epic journey was made by famed Hollywood director Jonathan P. B. Taylor, and was streamed live in real time – marking the first time that Land Rover has staged a global reveal on the streets of its biggest buyers. As Land Rover Global Brand Director John Edwards succinctly put it, the All-New Range Rover Sport “turned heads and stopped traffic in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.”

As for Craig, with three Bond films under his belt, he’s clearly far too used to living life on the edge. “I sadly couldn’t get it too quick out there on the streets but I’d like to push it a little bit,” the 007 actor said of the Sport. “I had fun. I enjoyed throwing it around but I’d like to throw it around a bit more and see what it can really do.” Road users everywhere – you have been warned!

Jet Set Pets By Hannah Norman

They say a dog is man’s best friend, and when it comes to splashing money on our four-legged chums, we’re happy to do so without a second thought. When it comes to our pets, we’re pretty potty about them, and like them to travel with us wherever we are in the world – which is fine, albeit for the shocking statistic released recently. International animal travel is traditionally undertaken via live cargo cages in the hold of a plane, and whilst animal fatalities are rare, they do happen, and the figure is much higher than you might suppose – 224 deaths occurred in 2011 in the US alone. Most of these aren’t flight-connected and are related to incidents on the ground – such as cages getting crushed – but there is no denying the stress caused to a pet subjected to hours of being left on its own in the pitch dark of the hold during a lengthy flight.

Whilst The Luxury Channel isn’t out to scaremonger (or indeed, to jinx your pet’s next flight!), we thought it was worth our while to track down an animal-friendly alternative. Private Jet Central are one company offering owners flight respite in the form of their Frequent Flyers club for pets. With a 40% increase in the number of owners enlisting their services, Private Jet Central offers chartered jets whereby your pet gets to fly in the cabin with you. Not only that, but they are able to co-ordinate all the little logistics of pet travel, from liaising with vets to finding a local supplier of your pet’s favourite food in the country to which you travel.

As for the type of animal Private Jet Central has flown to date, they can credit everything from cats to parrots to hamsters – not to mention accommodate the strangest of requests. For instance, if your dog has a fear of flying, how about noise-cancelling headphones playing his favourite music, to override the sound of the engines? In case you were wondering, that’s a true story….

You can contact Private Jet Central for more information by visiting

To watch the film, click here.

John Tsagaris – The Skin Specialist Every Bride Needs On Speed Dial By Hannah Norman

John Tsagaris

Quite frankly, I’ve never thought my skin is very good. Perhaps a bit of a bold opening assertion, but I don’t mind admitting that I’m slightly envious of people with perfect, flawless skin. So I was slightly surprised when skin specialist John Tsagaris tells me that my skin is in fact quite good. I’m not even sure that he’s just trying to placate me.

I’m at John’s Knightsbridge clinic to experience LED light therapy, a rapidly growing revolution in creating youthful, radiant skin. We start off with a one-to-one about my skin. Whilst I’m feeling pretty pleased after having been told I’ve got good skin, John instantly bursts my euphoric bubble by asking if I’ve ever been sun burnt. I have – very badly – about 14 years ago. Apparently, the damage is still visible. Turns out that whatever happens to your skin, when you’re dealing with a specialist, there’s no such thing as secrets. Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve – we all wear the inner workings of our body on our faces, and so John is able to tell a lot just from looking at mine.

After a gentle face massage with aloe vera, I put on a pair of sun bed goggles and lie under the LED machine – and stare up at what I can only describe as green Christmas tree lights, which sounds rather more low-tech than it really is! Essentially, this non-invasive, pain-free procedure works by delivering low-level pulses of light deep into the skin, in order to promote healing and rejuvenation, and a perfect, plumped-up face. One of the main benefits of LED treatment is that it reduces the effects of sun damage, so I was hoping that on some level at least, my skin would look healthy and replenished with reduced redness.

After a mere 30 minutes of LED exposure, John handed me a mirror. Quite honestly, I wasn’t expecting the effects to be so immediate, but I could tell already that my skin was smoother and plumper, with a radiance that wasn’t there when I walked in. I couldn’t quite believe it, but the experience was validated by the positive comments I received when I got back to the office.

Although the effects didn’t quite last until the following day, long-term results can be achieved by undergoing a course of eight 30-minute treatments. As this will improve the appearance of skin tone and texture, if you’re planning for forthcoming nuptials, have a big date or function to attend, or quite simply just want to improve the overall condition of your skin, get yourself booked in – trust me, you won’t regret it.

For more information about John Tsagaris and the treatments he offers, please visit

The Grayshott Programme – For The Luxury of Feeling On Top of The World By Fiona Sanderson

Regular readers of The Luxury Channel’s online magazine will remember Fiona Sanderson’s article about Grayshott Spa, from December. She promised she’d be returning in January to try out their strict, 7 day rejuvenation programme….

Grayshott Spa

Have you ever felt bloated and lethargic, with absolutely no zest for the day ahead? Well, I have and didn’t realise this feeling had become normal for me until I tried The Grayshott Programme. But this was more than just an improvement to my sluggish feeling – it really was life-changing. After 7 days of adjustments to my diet and routine, not only did I feel better but I also managed to quit smoking too!

The 7 day Grayshott Programme works on the principle that to obtain optimum health, you must have a healthy, fully-functioning digestive system. It is a scientifically-backed dietary protocol, with specific eating practices and therapeutic treatments, designed to tackle health from the inside out. By restoring the digestive system and getting it to function properly, it is known to help in addressing weight loss, blood pressure, joint pain, energy levels, backache, arthritis and diabetes, amongst a host of other health problems.

From the minute you arrive, you know you are in goods hands. Grayshott has a network of specialists ranging from Doctors and Consultants to Herbalists, Nutritionists and Natural Treatment Therapists. Their purpose is to give emotional support and advice both during and after the programme.

The Grayshott Restaurant

I was given a carefully planned regime, and my diet was specifically put together to heal and regenerate my body. Apart from starting with digestive bitters, and fresh sauerkraut (yes, you did get used to it!) our meals were delicious and there was little abstinence as in most health spas. Our breakfast choices ranged from gravadlax with avocado, and stewed fruits with cinnamon and sunflower seeds, to piquillo pepper and spinach omelette, and truffled free-range eggs with grilled mushrooms. Our dinner menu gave us choices such as pan-fried sea bass with Mediterranean salad, and roasted duck breast with cucumber, leek and plum sauce. For our main course, we could have venison loin with sweet chestnuts, or cod fillet with artichokes and Atlantic scallops. Even with these filling courses, my fellow programme-mates and I were able to loose considerable weight.

Our daily treatments included therapeutic abdominal massages, hydro baths and Castor Oil Compresses to support healing and detoxification. Gaps between treatments were filled with gentle exercise, yoga, tai chi, and relaxation and breathing classes.

Abdominal Massage

In the evenings, we listened to some fascinating lectures, which gave us the latest insights into anti-oxidants, super foods, fats and anti-stress foods. I was particularly impressed with one of the developers of the programme, Stephanie Moore, who certainly practises what she preaches. Combining her experience in Nutritional Medicine with a background in psychotherapy and counselling, her interests are in the psychological and physical barriers to weight loss – adrenal fatigue and stress management, fertility issues and digestive disorders.

With freezing temperatures and snow on the ground, it was not difficult to switch off from my hectic life and give myself the best start I could, with a new regime and a new vitality that I had not felt for years. I will definitely be doing the follow-up programme. Keep watching this space!

You can find out more about how The Grayshott Programme works by visiting or download the brochure at
To make a reservation, call +44 (0)1428 602020.

How Niche Fragrances Are Gaining A Firm Following By Simon Brooke

At this time of year, many men will be opening their bathroom cabinets and looking at the aftershave that a loved one so kindly gave them for Christmas. They’ll then be wondering whether to splash a little bit on their freshly shaved face – or discreetly throw it in the bin.

Avery Gallery

Buying the right aftershave for a man might not be quite as tricky as choosing perfume for a woman but it requires a certain skill. Whether this makes it easier or harder, it’s too early to judge, but the choice of fragrances for men is getting wider. More niche luxury names are coming into the market – and finding a ready audience, it seems. Men’s premium fragrances have been growing over the last three years and will grow faster in Western Europe and the UK than mass brands, according to figures from market researchers Euromonitor International. In the UK, sales of men’s mass fragrances fell by 7.9 per cent over the period 2005 to 2010, it found, while the premium sector enjoyed a growth of 23.3 per cent. Across Western Europe, over the same time period, premium products have enjoyed growth rates that are triple those of the mass sector, with the trend expected to continue strongly over the next five years.

Fragrances have bounced back after the economic shock of 2008 and brought with them a “flight to quality,” according to Irina Barbalova, Euromonitor International’s Head of Beauty and Personal Care Research. “There’s a greater demand for unconventional fragrances among higher end male customers now, with more of a focus on individuality,” she says. “We’re seeing the use of more non-traditional but premium ingredients, such as amber. These are fragrances that are focussed on a place or which tell a story, unlike the mass products which are more about brands and celebrities.”

For example, Molton Brown recently launched its first range of fragrances, at a premium price point, each of which is connected to a particular location. Navigations Through Scent is a collection of five varied and distinct artisanal fine fragrances, which follow the ancient spice trade routes, with aromas connected with Egypt, China and Indonesia, then England, before entering the New World in Canada. Tom Ford’s range of fragrances for men has also encouraged new interest in niche fragrances associated with certain locations and experiences.

“There’s been significant growth in the niche fragrance world,” says Clorinda Di Tommaso of luxury fragrance emporium, Avery Fine Perfumery. “We’re also seeing big brands launching smaller, more exclusive collections to cater for this change in the market. Another important change taking place is the move to fragrances being unisex. Just as the first time you burn a luxury candle, you never turn back – the same applies to the discovery of quality perfume.”


One exciting recent addition at Avery is Swedish brand Agonist. Its fragrances are made from 100 per cent natural raw materials. “This is very challenging in the world of modern perfumery. In a true collaboration between art and fragrance, two creative masteries are intertwined: the art of mouth-blowing glass and the art of perfume-making,” says Di Tommaso.

Men, as luxury designers and marketers know, like clothing and accessories with a narrative, a quirky history. The same is increasingly true of fragrances. At Avery, they are excited about a fragrance collection called Eight + Bob. This is the long lost fragrance that John F. Kennedy and an elite circle of men wore in the late thirties. The packaging tells the story of how the precious bottles managed to make their journey from France to the US during the beginning of WWII: hidden and smuggled within books.

Also among these new, niche luxury brands are Byredo, created by Ben Gorham, a former basketball player. Another favourite is Francis Kurkdjian, whose APOM (A Part of Me) for men contains a heady but refreshing mixture of orange flower, cedar wood and amber. Kurkdjian’s Lumiere For Him features cumin, cinnamon, patchouli and mugwort.

Liquid Crystal

Barbalova points out that many of these new scents are unisex – men are more interested in the actual smell than any macho branding around it. Individual designers such as Boadicea the Victorious, whose founder, Michael Boadi, has no normal training, is aimed equally at men and women.

This year, many men are looking for something more niche when it comes to fragrances. With fragrance, as has already happened with products such as wine, coffee and chocolate, consumers are now increasingly keen to learn about composition and provenance. Green Irish Tweed and the more recent Aventus Millesime fragrances from Creed, a long established but hitherto not well-known fragrance house, are proving popular.

Ironically, in this age of celebrity aftershaves when almost any performer from Sean John to Antonio Banderas or Ronan Keating seems happy to slap his likeness on a bottle of smelly water, and even the X-factor has its own line, actor and gallerist Sean Pertwee recently created a scent because, counter-intuitively, he wanted something that wouldn’t be widely available. “At the moment the market is saturated with designer and celebrity fragrances which aim to develop scents that appeal to a wide range of consumers. As a result of this, the intimacy and power associated with what was once known as a ‘signature scent’ has been lost,” he says. Pertwee worked with Floris to create Pertwee Anderson and Gold 1, a niche fragrance, which, he believes, evokes the world of Beau Brummel. “We’re looking to recreate some of the magic around a really beautiful, distinctive, man’s fragrance.” What man could say no to that?

Grant Macdonald And Aston Martin – A Match Made In 00 Heaven By Hannah Norman

Aston Martin DB5

Celebrating any birthday is usually done with some degree of recognition, but when celebrating one’s centenary, it seems especially fitting to pull out all the stops. Aston Martin did just that, by teaming up with renowned London silversmith Grant Macdonald to create Silver By Aston Martin, a bespoke range of limited edition extras that every DB owner should want to collect. From picnic baskets to elegant cocktail shakers (we are talking about James Bond’s favourite make of car, after all), Grant Macdonald has all bases covered when it comes to providing luxury through beautiful, bespoke pieces.

Cocktail Shaker

Hidden behind an unassuming door just around the corner from Southwark tube station is a veritable hub of activity that comprises Macdonald’s offices and workshop. “When everybody’s here, we have about 16, 17 people, something like that, so we are a small and perfectly formed bunch of people,” he tells me, as I’m shown into an office that holds quite a stunning array of gold and silver artifacts. So in case you were wondering? That unassuming door turned out to be solid steel, with another solid steel door just behind. But it makes sense – Macdonald’s works are crafted from beautiful gold, silver and ruthenium (no, I hadn’t heard of it either, but that’s because it’s quite a rare metal). Even though it’s obvious, I’m curious to know what he thinks makes his products a cut above the rest. “Blood, sweat and tears!” he laughs. “You have to remember that you are actually designing something that’s going to be around for a long time, so there’s that bit of pressure there – you have to do a proper job. I will design just about anything for anybody, if they want it. I’ve managed to build my business up by saying yes.”

Aston Martin DB5

With over 40 years in the trade, Macdonald knows his stuff when it comes to being a silversmith. He made his first piece of silverware at 14 (“I’m still proud of it and I see it every day in the display cabinet”), and has had a hallmark since the age of 15. Goldsmiths’ office in the City has been situated at the same site since 1329. “The trade comes to this place and has all their hallmarks done here and then their pieces are sent to the four corners of the world,” Macdonald says, recognising that silver – London silver in particular – is very highly sought after globally.

Aston Martin Martini Set

So why our fascination with silver? “Provenance,” Macdonald answers. “Nobody throws pieces of silver away – they throw glass away and they throw china away. If I chip that cup, it’ll just go straight in the bin and I wouldn’t even think about trying to repair it. Whereas if you have a piece of silver and it’s got a dent in it, I can take the dent out. It will just live forever. It’s a very powerful thing.”

Aston Martin Model

Macdonald has relished the freedom that Aston Martin has given him as far as the design of the products goes. “There are no big logos on the designs. I wouldn’t have gone for that – if they just said, we’ll take whatever you’ve got and we’ll just stick a badge on it.” Understated luxury is key, then. “I think the main thing is to emulate the design ethos of Aston Martin,” he says. “If they can sell their products in 120 countries, there’s a fair chance that people will be attracted to us because they can be assured that it’s gone through the same sort of design process and top, top, top craftsmanship, just like those cars.” Macdonald’s work is most definitely all about top craftsmanship. ““I hope that the tagline for my work would be beautifully designed and fabulously made,” he says.

Aston Martin DB5 Plaque

Finally, my curiosity gets the better of me. My own rapidly tarnishing silver collection is becoming more of an embarrassment every time I look at it, and I can’t help thinking that Macdonald must have an army of cleaners to keep his silver looking pristine. “People who inherit old silver can be cursed by it,” he agrees, before debunking a very common myth. “If you use silver, you don’t have to clean it. We only clean a lot of these things about once a year. We actually have silver in our kitchen at home for every day and it hardly ever gets tarnished. If you use it and love it, then it just becomes part of your life.” So, how do you keep your silver clean? I tend to use Silvo, which Macdonald says is fine, but he also mentions Hagerty, a product that you simply sponge all over to give a long-term polish.

Champagne Flutes

“Let’s just hope that fine dining comes back,” he says. “We need to get a bit more silver in there because it’s what the British have done for hundreds and hundreds of years.” I stare longingly at a line of elegant champagne flutes. Cheers to that!

Visit to see the full Silver By Aston Martin range.

Paradisi Furniture – One To Watch By Hannah Norman

A board room featuring Paradisi Furniture

A board room featuring Paradisi Furniture

When Hannah Norman of The Luxury Channel meets Simon Firullo, the designer behind Paradisi bespoke furniture, what comes across most vividly is his abundant passion for his work. “I’ve always loved furniture. It is inspiring, certainly older furniture” he says. An interest in his product notwithstanding, Simon’s strong design background has ensured the furniture he is producing has a strong engineering quality to it. This is Simon’s first foray into furniture production, and he’s currently produced two of his many designs – one is a tub chair, and the other, a much bigger, curved chair – but plans to roll out more designs this year. “I’ve got designs for lights and a design for a table that spans five metres,” he tells me. “But there’s no support in the middle; it’s just four legs.” That isn’t the only thing in the pipeline. “I’d love to make a little nest of tables that I’ve got a design for,” he confides. “It’s a nest of three, and it’s very, very clever.”

It would seem the only way is up for Paradisi. Strong aesthetics are reinforced – quite literally – by the strong materials used to make the furniture. Simon’s preferred materials are carbon fibre with titanium or aluminium, traditionally used in Aerospace and Formula One cars. “There are companies making carbon fibre furniture, but it’s never actually been combined with aluminium metal in the way that I have – and certainly not with titanium. That’s unique.” Paradisi’s bespoke chairs have beautiful leather seating, and striking, titanium bases. I suggest they could be seen as works of art, rather than items of furniture. Whilst Simon is happy to agree, he’s quick to point out that furniture still has to serve a basic purpose. “Once you’ve got an idea, you still have to come up with something that functions,” he says. “So whether it is a work of art, it is still a functional chair.” So on to carbon fibre – what inspired him to work with such an expensive material? Turns out, it is something that has resonated with him since childhood. “When I was a child, I went to a motor show with my father and I remember seeing a car made of carbon fibre – this was the future. I remember it so clearly, and I thought it was fantastic. So I’ve always been fascinated by it,” he tells me. “Basically, it’s a really expensive floppy material. But once you’ve added epoxy resin to it, it changes to this incredibly light, incredibly strong material – but what you can do with it is amazing.”

The Paradisi Large Chair

The Paradisi Large Chair

The chairs certainly are just that. With signature cut-outs incorporated into every item Simon has designed (because “that’s my look”), the style is iconic enough to be instantly recognizable as Paradisi. Although Simon admits he could have worked with far cheaper raw materials, he believes it wouldn’t have resulted in such unique pieces of furniture. It stands to reason that if you start off with costly materials, your end product is going to be more expensive as a consequence. However, the designer is keen to defend his decision to do this. “It’s all about the quality and attention to every detail,” he explains. “I hate that attitude of ‘that’ll do.’ It’s not for me. If you’re going to do something, do it properly. If something needs lining up, then line it up. If you can be accurate to within a micron, then do it, as that’s the way it should be. Underneath the seat are all of the details that you don’t see, but it’s all been as beautifully designed and machined and fitted as the top. If you take the seat off the tub chair, the finished leather work is just perfect. It’s beautiful and the same distance all the way around, and it’s actually on a carbon fibre base, so it’s not on an old piece of wood or a throwaway piece of something.”

The Paradisi Tub Chair

The Paradisi Tub Chair

Future options, he says, could include different metals. “As much as I love titanium and aluminium, there are different metals out there – gold, for instance – it’s all possible. I think it would be fascinating to do something in brass, I think it would be fascinating to do something in copper – pretty much anything that’s unusual. But the key is carbon fibre.” I point out that people don’t realise how much of an engineering skill you need in order to make such pieces of furniture. “Oh, a huge amount,” Simon affirms, “from the CAD side, the drawing side, the design side, and then to work out how to do it and get it to look fantastic.”

But for anyone in any doubt, it isn’t just his own work that Simon is passionate about. Throughout our interview, he comfortably name-checks designers whose work he admires. “Philippe Starck has produced some fantastic stuff, Tom Dixon has produced some fantastic stuff but so has Vico Magistretti, who designed the ubiquitous monobloc plastic chair,” he says. “I like Le Corbusier and Ludwig van der Rohe. The George Nelson pretzel chair is really cool. I love the tulip chair that was designed by Eero Saarinen – just stunning!”

For more information about Paradisi furniture, or to contact the designer for a consultation or commission, go to or e-mail Simon directly at

Retreating To Grayshott Spa By Fiona Sanderson


Imagine two hard-working girls who never have time to take a moment to pamper themselves, never mind try to reduce their stress levels. Deciding enough was enough, my girlfriend and I took ourselves off for a couple of days to the award-winning Grayshott Spa Hotel in Surrey, less than an hour’s drive from London.

I’d always had the feeling that health spas such as these cater purely for celebrity types, and aren’t interested in meeting the wellbeing needs of us mere mortals. Not so at Grayshott, however!

On entering, you feel like you’re walking into Nirvana. Almost immediately, I was struck by how peaceful the place is and in turn, we allowed ourselves to submit to the peace. Despite the stresses of our day-to-day lives, it was very easy to forget about them and relax here. We were given a health check by a nurse on check-in before enjoying a range of treatments, including full body massage and a facial, which completely relaxed and de-stressed us.

We shared a magnificent room, with high ceilings, a stylish, comfortable bathroom and all the latest mod-cons – perfect for two girlfriends who wanted to stay and catch up over a couple of days. We were particularly impressed by the dinners – we were served utterly delicious, fresh food, such as beetroot gravadlax and pan-fried sea bass.

Grayshott's Manor House Suite

The highlight of our stay was cranial osteopathy, a form of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions in the body through the gentle assertion of pressure on the head. Elaine Williams, Director of Natural Therapies, has fans from all over the world, and it’s not hard to see why. In her hands, I completely relaxed as she applied light pressure on the back of my skull. Despite the limited touches, it felt as though I was having an internal massage, stimulating all the parts of my body holistically.

I also had a Dietary Evaluation. Having suffered all my life from dietary problems, the suggestion of a non-Candida diet was the answer to my prayers. As 10% of a doctor’s working life is spent treating patients with digestive troubles, it’s good to know that someone is thinking outside the box when it comes to providing an answer that actually sticks. So I’m intrigued by Grayshott’s new health programme, simply called The Grayshott Programme. Targeting your core health through education about the digestive system and understanding your diet, the programme has been developed to give a flatter stomach, increased energy levels and more radiant skin and hair. The thinking is that if your digestive system is functioning properly, so will the rest of your body, but with marked improvements – your body will be detoxified and rejuvenated. In January, I shall be trying this strict seven-day programme, as I’m hoping it will restore my digestive system, making it function properly, whilst addressing other issues such as weight loss, blood pressure, joint pain, energy levels, backache, arthritis and diabetes, amongst many other health problems. Apparently, after several days on the programme, guests will invariably experience an increased sense of vitality and mental clarity. Watch this space!

Although we didn’t try all of the treatments available, there is a range of enticing options to indulge in, ranging from a Himalayan Mineral Salt Scrub to Hopi Ear Candling to Hot Stone Therapy. There’s even the delightful-sounding Blissful Slumber – a full body massage designed to help insomniacs and those with other sleep-related problems.

Grayshott's Pool

The sense of relaxation continued into the evenings, as we were free to enjoy films in Grayshott’s on-site cinema.

In essence, it is Grayshott’s attention to detail that sets it apart from its competitors. The prices are reasonable, given the care and service you receive. Whether you’re looking to completely de-stress, or simply just escape from life for a few days, Grayshott has a tailored treatment to suit every requirement. After nearly 50 years, they have perfected their approach to holistic therapy and nutrition, creating a truly unique environment. We left feeling healthy, revived and utterly relaxed, and can’t wait to return.

You can find out more about how The Grayshott Programme works by visiting or download the brochure at
To make a reservation, call +44 (0)1428 602020.

The Launch of The Audi A3 Sportback In Monte Carlo By Fiona Sanderson

Where better to test-drive the new Audi A3 Sportback than around the Grand Prix circuit and streets of Monte Carlo?

Arriving in Monaco to beautiful sunshine, I had a very open mind about Audi’s latest baby, the A3 Sportback. Whilst familiar with the A3’s cousin, the A4, this was driving into altogether new territory.

Despite how Audi may wish to market the Sportback, this really is a girl’s car. So, with that established, let’s get past the techno-babble to talk girl specifics.

First off, there are lights in the make-up mirrors, foot areas and cup holders as standard. There is ample boot space for multiple shopping bags (an extra 20 litres compared to the standard A3, in fact), and its small, understated shape make this is the perfect car for zipping about town. Whilst your Ferrari Scallietti may look the part outside the Monte Carlo Casino, it’s much larger than the Sportback and harder to handle. The Sportback is so light, I didn’t have to think about driving it. There’s lots more headroom and legroom than the standard A3 model, making for a much more comfortable drive.

With petrol prices going through the roof in the UK, it’s good to know that Audi have made the Sportback far more ecological. I am told both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been drastically cut down by Audi, by an average of 10% compared to a standard A3. The 1.6 litre diesel engine gives an unbelievable 74 miles to the gallon, whilst emitting CO2 emissions in the region of 99g per km (Audi also offer two petrol models). I am told that Audi are launching a gas and electric model next year, which will really take us into a new era of driving.

Looks-wise, the Sportback lives up to its name – I think its sporty looks certainly fit in with the ‘in crowd’ and its onboard gadgets (including optional colour monitor), mean it can get you from Prada to Val D’Isere with little hardship whilst giving you all the best lunch stops at a push of button. You can have an optional MMI Navigation System with a 64GB media centre with DVD drive and voice control, allowing you to navigate, listen to music and make phone calls whilst on the move. Perfect for us girls! Audi offers Internet through Audi Connect, giving access to social networks, traffic updates and even train and station information, through a personalised myAudi account that links directly to the car. You can also read through your e-mails, or have them read aloud to you as you drive. Great for the new generation of technophobes like me, but will probably take a little more ‘getting used to’ if you are a more mature driver.

Navigating the bends of Monte Carlo and the coast of the South of France certainly has its challenges, particularly when the winter light is fading so I welcomed the all round sensors. Safety seems to be something of a priority for Audi. There are sensors for everything – blind spots, parking, the car in front braking too suddenly and even when you are loosing concentration. By analysing the changes in the driver’s steering motion (between 40 and 124 mph), it will give you a ‘wake up call’ with lights and beeps.

Finally, with a top speed of 130mph, this bright and sparky little red car ticked all the boxes for me. Smart, lightweight, economical and roomy, it had all the ‘girl’s toy’s’ that you need for a quick trip around town. Next stop – Audi Sportsback and Country Pursuits!

The Audi A3 Sportback launches early next year, with prices starting at £19,825 for a 1.4 TFSI Sportback SE, ranging up to a top-spec 1.8 TFSI Sportback S line, which will cost you £27,180.

A Vintage Year By Hannah Norman

Christmas is fast approaching, and whilst that should be a time of year to be indulging in goodwill to all men, when it comes to the inevitable headache of Christmas shopping, most people’s goodwill evaporates faster than the token glass of sherry left out for Father Christmas. Even amongst those who sensibly decide that rather than struggle with heavy bags, the most strenuous thing they will do is click the button of a mouse, the question at the back of everyone’s collective mind remains the same – what do I buy that they won’t already have?

Step forward, a veritable treasure trove of interesting one-of-a-kinds that your prospective recipient is unlikely to already possess. Are you after a guitar signed by The Police? A 1920s flapper dress? A first edition Ian Fleming? A 1980s Lanvin necklace? Or even a bottle of wine from the year they were born? From kitsch to collectible, Vintage Seekers are a one-stop shop when it comes to completing Christmas buys. The site also has its own bespoke seeker service, so if there’s something specific that you’re after but can’t locate, they can team up with their myriad contacts to see if they can track it down.

I’m told that, “every piece in Vintage Seekers’ collection is selected using consistent criteria to ensure it matches up to our benchmark for original, authentic vintage.” We may live in fast-paced, modern times, but there’s no denying the subtle charms of good, old-fashioned vintage.

Go to or call +44 (0)207 836 5596.

The All-New Range Rover – The Sine-Qua-Non of Any All-Terrain Experience Words and images by Rosalind Milani Gallieni

London to Marrakech and back in Range Rover’s own branded private charter. Well, my mother used to say, “firstly, get all the help you can in life, and secondly, when you travel, always do things you don’t get to do at home”…Well, this Marrakech weekend sure made these mere thoughts that cross your mind stick.

A smooth flight over Europe, fully-fuelled by the care and attentions of the hostesses, brought us into Marrakech Airport in perfect time for an evening reception planned at the newly opened Boutique Hotel, the Delano. The landing strip, still warm from the 38° day that went before us, was lined with welcoming ground-staff in pristine white uniforms, and the Salle d’Honneur, the VIP room which receives the “private-jet entourage,” had been readied for our arrival. A red velour passport control table had been set up, for our quick and easy Visa registrations, run by one of the main airport staff. But this November shift saw him merrily stamping our passports, as he sat beside a medley of refreshments, prepared to accommodate any possible need we might have wished for….transport??

Once checked and stamped, the warmth of the evening enveloped us on the other side of the VIP terminal. ”Please do not take any photos,” I was told in my ear, as I gasped at a line-up of 20 or more gleaming All-New Range Rovers, parked up in perfect alignment waiting to whisk us away… “There is nothing official going on…” Good, all clear, I thought, and walked, as ushered, towards a deep navy blue 4X4 – our time would come for wild photography, no doubt!

We are in for a full-on drive the next day. Gerry McGovern, Design Director for Land Rover and Range Rover, allows us an interview where we discuss the interplay of the heritage and the contemporary design of the All-New Range Rover. He knows his customers, and he knows his subject, and a factor which makes this off-roader so desirable is its successful design, comfort and the lightness of this first ever all-aluminium construction. It has total credibility.

An early start required sharp attention and in no time at all, I found myself negotiating manic Marrakech traffic – scooters, donkeys, bicycles, taxis, cars, lorries, hay-bales and leap-of-faith round-abouts – in a stunningly elegant All-New V8 Range Rover. This wasn’t my first visit to this town, but I would never have thought I would embrace such chaos with such calm!

The car took an unassuming position of grandeur in these busy roads, and seemed to be able to diplomatically make its way, almost as if communicating in the required terms that the locals instantly grasped. From the bustle of the city, past the madness of the suuqs and along the Menara gardens, we headed up into the Atlas Mountains. All the while, I am listening to the gentle briefing in my ear beside me. I could not be in better hands. My induction is very thorough and Chris Fox, Project Leader for the Chassis Engineering and my co-driver for the day, sticks by me and shares the challenges of the drive, as he too is here to get the most out of the car. His instructions: notes on crossing deep riverbeds, awareness about the children clambering onto the cars as we drive through the villages in the Atlas mountains, massive weather fronts looming and the previous week, the highest rain-fall in the last 18 years, so grounds are mobile and extreme ravine terrains challenging. This is going to require some nerves and steely confidence. Think best to let this highly anticipated 4X4 take charge, and watch its underpinning go to work.

Well, for all those who have owned and discovered all the best cars in the world, here is another that needs to be added to the wish list. As I drive down mud and stones into a river, I glance over the car window and see rapids rushing below, along with rocks and broken trees. I then bring back my focus to the job in hand to cross this raging riverbed, and wonder if it is not a Rolls Royce I stepped into by mistake, and I am now taking it on a wild-water rafting drive! The elegance of the car’s interior, its stealth-like control panels, indicating every inch of tyre-traction and the all Terrain Response System selected with a smooth rotary dial are in such harsh contrast to what is going on outside. What bodes to be a rocky ride is in fact as smooth and secure as the car’s design and technology all wrapped in one – a peerless ride! The car co-ordinates it all: engine, transmission, transfer case, suspension control, anti-lock braking and power steering.

We reach heights of 1825 metres in this region in Northern Africa. This is unquestionably one of the most outstanding regions of natural beauty, and as the backdrop to this unparalleled experience, it offers all the most challenging terrains to put this iconic new car through its paces. Back down at ground zero level, towards dusk, we head for one more exceptional drive outside Marrakech, which is the ravine drive. Parking up at the edge of a drop, to do another routine tyre check after the mountain runs (or so I think) is actually the start of the life-time experience in what can only be described as a real-life Playstation war-fare terrain, where we challenge the Range Rover to come through a hostile ravine unscathed by the massive boulders, rocks, gaping crevasses and broken trees. The engineer at the top of the ravine instructs me to “drive-on” into the void ahead, and NOT brake under any circumstance. After some questioning, I have to commit, and edging forward I watch the bonnet drop down into the ravine, and the car seems to level up the ground below. The fear of toppling the car sets my pulse rate soaring, but again Chris assures me this is impossible as the chassis has all areas covered down below, one tyre independently from the other. It is an absolutely breathtaking ride, and if there had been a scratch, Range Rover has brought out the entire body workshop and repairs unit to put any close shaves straight.

In the ravine, we set the car into Auto, the new TR2 function on the All-New Range Rover.
Selecting the Low Range & HDC manually, we drove on down! The car, sensing the angle and speed, engaged to operate in Hill Descent Control – completely self-taught.

Halfway along the ravine, we then manually selected Rock Crawl, which kept us in Low Range but also had first gear held up to a relatively high speed (12-15kph). Rock Crawl gave me complete optimised traction, composure (!!) and capability to tackle boulders and other large obstacles in my way, giving me extreme axle articulation. I would never attempt any of this without my newfound Rock Crawl!

Once we get back to base, the All-New Range Rover is parked up beside its Land Rover ancestors, which have also been brought out to the Palais Namaskar along with a pride of Land Rover Lions, designed and created for the Born Free Foundation. Richard Woolley, Studio Director at Land Rover Strategic Design, relays in his conversation with me that the key brief came from the long-standing and loyal client base who quite simply said: “Don’t change it; just make it better,” and he put pen to paper!

After dinner, at the most exquisite hotel Marrakech has on the map, the Palais Namaskar, I am given a smart beige golf-caddy to get myself back along the wet béton-ciré corridors dripping with jasmine flowers – no worries! But I do think I need a full-time intelligent 4WD system!

To watch our film about the All-New V8 Range Rover, click here.

Vespa – An Unhealthy Obsession By Rosalind Milani Gallieni

Where would we be without the style and romance of this simple two-wheeled vehicle, which gives us freedom, fun and friends? Once on its saddle, it’s the Vespa we can’t do without. This cool accessory, which takes its meaning from literally a wasp as it resembles its shape from above, was the result of Enrico Piaggio’s determination to create a low cost vehicle to zip people about – but keeping it fun and functional, without huge petrol costs.

As the war drew to a close, Enrico studied every possible solution to get people back in to work and crank up the wheels in his production plants in Italy, and soon enough after trials and tribulations, a cute miniature scooter was born, based on a small motorcycle made for parachutists. The prototype, known as the MP5, was nicknamed “Paperino,” Italian for Donald Duck, a nickname the workers gave this creation for its strange shape! It was this slightly goofy shape which then needed Corradino d’Ascanio’s input to redesign it, but Corradino was not entirely in tune with motorcycles, being rather an excellence in aeronautical design, and his sleek eye needed to tackle the uncomfortable and bulky profile, with wheels that were difficult to change after a puncture…even for the girls! Worse still, the drive chain made them dirty! Passion and perseverance, and his wide aeronautical experience, brought him all the answers we enjoy today.

To make the Vespa easier to ride for us all, he put the gear lever on the right handlebar, with its 1-2-3 markers we all know so well, and to make the unlucky tyre-changing easier, he designed not a fork, but a supporting arm which looks very like the undercarriage of an aircraft. The body got a make-over too, and he designed a profile which would protect the driver so that he would not get rained on, mud-splattered or disheveled when riding in his Italian designer, sharp-cut suit to an important date. Corradino d’Ascanio only needed a few days to refine his idea and prepare the first drawings of this new Vespa, which was first produced in Pontedera in April 1946, where today an extensive and fascinating museum celebrates his creation: Il Museo Piaggio.

And so the Vespa was born, and history was in the making…and we now stand back to consider the newest design the Vespa Quarantasei, which marks the celebration year. The lifestyle trends and styles over time have changed and adapted as fashions have moved on and developed around traditions and cultures, but Vespa and its styling in menswear is built on a quintessentially classic look and the collections we see from Italian designer Pal Zileri fully reflect the cool, iconic figures such as Gregory Peck in Vacanze Romane, Jude Law, Gassman and more, who all have individuality and great classic looks.

In every Pal Zileri collection, there is always a new garment for the Vespa driver, which is specifically designed as the Scooterista jacket, developed with a rainproof and windproof garment in mind, using advanced technological research involving the fusion of their signature fine wools and cottons onto a soft “rubber-content” lining, to ensure versatility in the garment for the outdoors, but elegant style in the cut and fit of the jackets. Selected in pinstripes, smart greys and navys, they are an all-rounder for summer weather and winter, the latter being padded with the softest down quilting for warmth but maximum lightness.

Vespa was an immediate success: produced in a rainbow of colours and with a strong designed identity, it achieved a market share of 20 per cent of the small, but growing scooter sector. 6,000 Vespas were sold in the first year, 2001, and over 7,000 in 2002. But the Vespa isn’t just an icon and a market phenomenon; it forms part of social history. In the “Dolce Vita” years, Vespa became a synonym for scooter, much like Hoover for a vacuum cleaner. Foreign journalists described Italy as “the country of the Vespa,” and Vespa gained a place in social history, marked by its presence in hundreds of films worldwide. The tale lives on today, cemented in the iconic movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, which was the starting point catching the attention of many international actors and actresses, who chose to be seen on the world’s coolest scooter, starring in movies such as Quadrophenia, American Graffiti, The Talented Mr. Ripley and 102 Dalmatians, not to mention Dear Diary. In photo shoots, films and on set, the Vespa has been a travel companion for names like Raquel Welch, Ursula Andress, Geraldine Chaplin, Joan Collins, Jayne Mansfield, Virna Lisi, Milla Jovovich, Marcello Mastroianni, Charlton Heston, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Gary Cooper, Anthony Perkins, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Nanni Moretti, Sting, Antonio Banderas, Matt Damon, Gérard Depardieu, Jude Law, Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Pete Townsend, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, Jamie Oliver and Jay Kay.

If you have not tried one, go take a ride on the back of a friend’s one…you’ll soon know what you’ve missed in life when you pull up on your own Vespa!

BMG Scooters – Vespa stockists in London

Phone: 020 8878 8121

New King’s Road
Phone: 020 7736 0770

Ferrari’s Luca Cordero di Montezemolo By Fiona Sanderson

Fiona Sanderson interviews Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari.

If there’s one person who knows about luxury, it’s Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the Chairman of one of the world’s most eponymous luxury brands; Ferrari. No surprise then that he was recently commandeered as a key speaker at The Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in the auspicious surroundings of Churchill’s favourite Moroccan city, Marrakesh. So what observations did I glean from half an hour with the man who has invested over twenty years of his life in one of the world’s most revered brand of supercars?

Well, for starters, it must be said that Cordero di Montezemolo is utterly captivating; speaking in a Piedmontese drawl that drips with the very essence of the brand he represents. Yes, this is a man who knows how to charm at leisure; sharp, elegant, aesthetically pleasing to say the least, it is no small feat to be in the presence of such a highly esteemed figure in the world of luxury. Cordero, however, is incredibly laid-back about his rise to such dizzying heights. “I think that it is important to talk about life, rather than numbers in this kind of meeting,” the CEO smiles. “I like to transfer my experience.” Experience indeed, because Cordero has overseen a sharp turn in fortunes in the brand that is widely known to have struggled since the death of its founder, Enzo Ferrari, in 1988.

So, what it is about the Ferrari brand that Cordero believes holds such sway in the luxury market? “The myth, the history, the technology,” he smiles. “The new generation likes technology, innovation – this is the reason why I have re-built Ferrari. Maintaining the tradition, maintaining the feeling, but looking ahead.”

Looking ahead seems to be a recurring theme, because many would say it is this constant eye on the ball (and the future) that has kept Cordero at the forefront of his field. “I call Ferrari something unique in the world,” he states confidently. A statement backed up by its dogged expansion into new territories; China for example, which, in less than fifteen years, has become Ferrari’s second largest market. Cordero is not one to forget Europe, however, particularly the UK: “We have a long tradition over there; when Prince Michael of Kent calls me [he says] ‘Luca, Ferrari needs to be present at the Farrakka; The Queen will be there.’ I said, I’m very proud we’ll do something.”

No stranger to mixing with royalty then, as well as the crème de la crème of Formula One. Cordero has known and employed some of the most revered drivers in history in his time; many of them essential to the success of the Ferrari brand – the first that springs to mind, Fernando Alonso. What is it in Cordero’s opinion that sets him apart? “He is fantastic, particularly in the race….He is able to do 70 laps like a qualifying lap,” Cordero explains. “It is also very important – the work between Alonso and the team – not only on the technical side of course, but also psychologically. What I like is that even in difficult moments, he gives enthusiasm to the team. If we work like this, we all succeed.”

Praise and rightly so, but with the advent of Cordero’s dearly beloved ‘technology,’ are the drivers somewhat taking a back seat? “When I was the Ferrari team manager in the 70s with Niki Lauda or Jackie Stuart; at that time, the driver feeling was absolutely essential,” he says. “I’ll give you an example: if I am a doctor and you tell me ‘I’m sick’ but you don’t tell me where, how, what you feel – it’s difficult, so at that time, it was crucial to have a driver that could give a very clear feeling to the designer. Today, it’s very important but less crucial for one reason: technology. We put so many sensors on the car that the designer has a lot of information; the drivability, the plus and the minus [sic] so the driver is still important, but less so than before.”

The chairman is nothing if not exacting, even with his most successful drivers, ‘I am very….I don’t want to say tough. Even Alonso, even Schumacher, even Lauda….there is a good spirit but also…how can I say? [sic] They have to be responsible,” Cordero pauses. “I always say, when you drive for Ferrari, you don’t drive for yourself, you drive for the team; so if I ask you to do something, you have to do it. If not, you can build your own team!”

Cordero is impassioned by his subject matter, speaking animatedly on the spirit of sportsmanship. “In every sport, you have very good players or drivers and then you have the extra bit….There are a lot of drivers that are fantastic…but don’t have the extra bit.”

There it is – the five per cent that sets greatness apart, something Cordero clearly embodies himself, particularly with the attention to detail he imposes on his brand. “I am a maniac of detail,” [sic] he laughs when discussing the luxe interiors and vibrant colourways of the latest collection of supercars. “The new Ferrari 12 cylinder is a racing green and the leather inside is very chic. I like also the leather, with the smell. This is something important….We have four or five colours for the interiors.” Of course, Cordero drives his own souped-up version: “I’ve got a big Ferrari four wheel drive that is two seats in the back. I have two children; one is less than two years old, so you know, I like to enjoy it with the family, I like to have a powerful car – I don’t like to have a station wagon!”

Cordero’s eye on design and development has served him well, and led to a new range of personalised Ferraris. “We are now looking to do a sort of tailor-made car,” Cordero informs me. “My friend from Guess jeans, the owner Marciano, came and said, ‘I want the interior made of jeans!’ Of course, the Chairman acquiesced, happy to humour a client who shares his love of detail. A characteristic also extended to his high speed trains, though the CEO is quick to assert that this is not the first step in a planned brand expansion. “The train is nothing to do with Ferrari, it is my personal activity,” he states, musing at length on the advantages of a more relaxed mode of transport. “Italy by train is the best; you listen to music, look outside, you think….the atmosphere is fantastic.”

He does concede there are similarities between the brands however; ‘the reputation, the colour, the attention to detail, the attention to the client, the services, the innovation of technology….and our train has 30% larger windows than our competitors.” These factors combined have aroused Cordero’s passion for rail. “In Italy now with high speed, the train is not seen any more like a Grade B experience. It’s a sort of Metropolitan subway….You go to Sienna, you go sightseeing, eating good food, driving a Ferrari convertible. If you have a business appointment, if you have a lot of bags, it’s fantastic. They are very complementary!” Cordero is not so flattering about the UK’s rail services, however: “In my opinion, it’s because you don’t have high speed, but to be honest, your trains are terrible!”

Clearly, Cordero is a fan of La Dolce Vita: “In the modern life we live, does it make it more efficient to get to places quicker? The Internet – all these things? We have to make a little stop; if not, we become, all of us, psychological maniacs [sic] or stressed.”

The Chairman looks forward to having more time for rest and relaxation; his dream is to work less: “I want to have time to bicycle and enjoy my children,” for Cordero is well aware of the scourge of time passing. “There is a very good book on the Romans, on Roman philosophy, Seneca, that I always have in mind. He said, ‘listen, don’t be so stupid as to retire when you have 70 or 75 years old, because it is too late, you are not in good condition any more to enjoy life.’” Cordero is not about to make the same mistake, having dedicated the last twenty years to Ferrari, to developing, honing and rejuvenating one of the world’s most beloved brands. “I am happy to continue to work for Ferrari, because Ferrari is part of my life. I like the people, I like the product, the atmosphere, and that’s it.”

What more is there to say? Cordero looks wistful considering the years spent at the helm of one of Italy’s greatest companies; an anecdote moves him, “One very important personal moment for me was when I was called by Mr. Berlusconi to become his minister, at nine o’clock at night….I didn’t want to do it and I said, ‘listen, tell him in a nice way, I’m not interested’….Then at 10 o’clock the day after, I received [on my table at Maronello] the signature of one thousand workers and managers saying ‘please don’t leave the company.’ This was maybe the best moment in Ferrari; the appreciation. Normally, they say ‘no, he can go, we can get another one. It doesn’t break our balls.’ So that for me was a very important day.” Luca Cordero di Montezemolo – the utterly charming chairman of Ferrari breaking anyone’s balls – I really can’t process the thought….

Additional reporting by Alice Kahrmann.

Bentley Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee By The Luxury Channel

Bentley Mulsanne

With so many Jubilee celebrations going on this year, you need a suitably stylish way to get around town. Well, black cabs are so last (sorry, Phillip!) – we love the new Bentley Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Limited edition which was unveiled in China.

Just 60 of the limited edition, top of the range, Bentley cars have been produced by Bentley’s in-house Mulliner department, representing the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.

Her Majesty is no stranger to the Mulliner department – they also built the state limousine which was presented to her in 2002. As you would expect from craftsmen used to designing for Royalty, every detail is immaculate: bespoke gold embroidery on all four headrests, a picnic table in the rear cabin decorated with a gold overlay of a Royal state carriage and subtle paint palette references to the red, white and blue of the Union Jack.

Although its primary purpose was to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, the Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition is also a celebration of British craftsmanship.

Mulliner have been building royal transport since the eighteenth century, when they were commissioned to build carriages for the Royal Mail. By the late nineteenth century, they were hand-crafting the coach work for the new ‘‘horseless carriages’’ – cars. They joined forces with Bentley on the bodywork of the famous EXPI and were involved in many of Bentley’s most revolutionary designs. Now known as Bentley Mulliner and wholly-owned by Bentley, they offer a specialist, personal commissioning department for limited edition cars and tailor to individual requests.

W10 Performance By The Luxury Channel

Enhance your body and mind with W10 Performance….

W10 Performance

Let me begin by saying, I am no gym bunny. I do not like the gym. In fact, I would rather get my exercise being late for work every morning (and endure the ensuing panic that follows) than pound on a treadmill for forty minutes.

This is not to say that I am against exercise; far from it – I live for sport, but most gyms or “health clubs” (as they have been popularly re-branded), do not exercise the mind as well as the body. Put simply, if I am going to exercise for me and not for fun, then I want to do it properly with measurements of my successes (or failures) over a period of time, which doesn’t just include standing on a scale once a fortnight.

Enter W10 Performance….

Jean-Claude Vacassin MD

This is a gym with the sole intention of self-improvement through knowledge, technique and pure determination.

In three months, I learnt more about my body, food, nutrition, exercise and mental toughness than I ever had before. Combining food diaries, intolerance tests and background medical checks with structured workout routines that are designed to enhance your body to the maximum, makes W10 Performance a leader in its field. There is no pretence, no bank of TV sets on MTV or Sky Sports – this is a gym to be used, and you are a diamond in the rough ready to be polished, smoothed and moulded. “The bottom line is that we want everyone who walks through the door to leave here healthier, stronger, fitter and more educated about nutrition and fitness,” says managing director and founder Jean-Claude Vacassin (known as JC).

The focus on nutrition is paramount. Understanding what food does to your body is just as important as the dedicated workouts themselves. JC is a veritable encyclopaedia of nutrition and of the effects different foodstuffs have on the body.

After reviewing my three day food diary, which consisted of Fruit’n’Fibre for breakfast, sushi/pasta/sandwich for lunch and a varying assortment of hot meals in the evening, I was told (much to my obvious delight), that I was eating entirely the wrong thing. An in-depth analysis of how each thing I ate affected my body in a different way was rather disturbing, so I decided to relinquish my much-loved Eat baguettes and try something new. A food pyramid was produced with healthy items at the bottom and evil, delicious things toward the top. From then on, it would be my bible. I was now in the know and would not to be fooled by 2-for-1 deals on baked beans or the 50% extra on my Nesquik milkshake. I swapped crisps for crudite, sushi for steak and replaced beer for slimline gin and tonics. Carbs were the enemy and I’d declared war.

As JC says, “You cannot separate nutrition and exercise if you want results” – and I wanted an A, and not just for effort.

With a mental strategy in place, next came the physical side to things. JC stated the only way to get fit was to measure your performance, so that you could assess yourself and see if your healthy fitness regime was working – after all, 80% of losing weight is about diet. Out came the pincers and I was measured, rather painfully, to give me a benchmark from which to improve on. In two weeks, I would either be throwing in the towel or feel quietly self-satisfied.

Next, I learned the W10 ethos to gym training. Here’s what I learnt:

  1. Spending an hour on a cross trainer at medium pace is not as useful as going at full pelt for 12 minutes
  2. Men are strong, women are flexible but few are at a happy medium between the two (whilst I enjoyed being told I was strong, being told that I had the flexibility of an 80 year old women was less encouraging!)
  3. Workouts should consist of four “resistance training” exercises repeated four times at varying repetitions and weights, with a finisher at the end
  4. Lunges are the fitness instructor’s weapon against inflexible people like me – and I got to love them after three months
  5. Every item in the gym is there to be used in the fight for fitness
  6. Keep a food diary – there’s no point burning it up in the gym if you’re turbo-carbing morning, noon and night
  7. Keep your discipline during the week and treat yourself on the weekend
  8. Keep active outside the gym – walk to work, cycle home, climb stairs….anything to keep your metabolism up and at its peak

As the weeks passed by and my first performance measurement came back positively, I started to enjoy rather than rue each session. JC’s attitude to personal training is that it should be just that – personal. Training is done one on one or in groups of a maximum of four so that the trainer can really engage with each person and help motivate and (when necessary) correct their routines depending on their levels of fitness. “Programmes are not always easy – you get what you need as opposed to what you want,” says JC.

Whilst it can be imposing to have someone standing over you, you quickly realise how quickly the time flies and how much you’ve achieved in a short space of time. Plus the training is so varied and different that you don’t get bored – a critical necessity for my whimsical mind. After all, motivation is only as strong as your determination to concentrate, and the physical presence of someone standing over you, helping you get through the ordeal is only beneficial. It helps that JC and his trainers are all incredibly friendly and enjoy the work they do with steely determinism – so much so that the few times I cancelled, I sensed a disappointment on their part, almost like a sculptor being told that he can’t have his chisel for another week. “It is important that people have fun, that they have new things, new stimuli and we do provide that. We do not have a wide array of cardio equipment that you will be used to seeing in other gyms as it is not about the tools; it is about the results,” JC says.

I would be lying if I said that I adhered to all the rules and was steadfastly diligent but, fortunately, JC has learnt that the general public aren’t all single-minded athletes with one goal – we have many goals and they push and pull us in all sorts of directions, so that controlling them all can be overwhelming. His understanding of the toil of everyday life was refreshing and the “realistic” approach to working out really appealed. I finished my course with a wider knowledge of my body, including what I could achieve if I put my mind to it, and for that I was profoundly thankful.

Five Element Acupunture By The Luxury Channel

Meet Kim Steer – Harrods’ acupunturist in residence at their Urban Retreat….

5 Element Harrods

What is Five Element Acupuncture?

Five Element Acupuncture can help you maintain your health, enhance wellbeing and combat high stress levels. It was developed thousands of years ago in China. It is a treatment that treats the individual, not just the symptoms. According to the ancient Chinese, vital energy (chi) travels through your body along pathways called meridians. When you are in good health the flow of chi is smooth and uninterrupted but when illness strikes, this flow is disturbed. Needles on precise points along the meridian pathways unblock and balance your own energy and stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal itself. The five elements are Earth, Wood, Fire, Metal and Water. When the five elements manifest within us in a balanced and harmonious state, we experience health, wellbeing and joy of being alive.

What will the treatment involve?

A diagnosis involves an exploration of your physical and emotional make-up, weaknesses and strengths. At the initial consultation, you will be asked to identify your main complaint and full health history. The resulting treatment is always bespoke to your needs. It takes into account both your current symptoms, age, general constitution and life circumstances. However, you don’t have to have anything wrong with you to benefit from acupuncture treatment. Your dominant element will then be determined and you are treated accordingly. Your element is diagnosed by the colour of the face, sound, odour and emotion. No differentiation is made between physical and emotional imbalances. The burning of Moxa (from the herb Mugwort) can also be used as part of the treatment. It is formed into small cones which are placed on the acupuncture point and lit. The Harrod’s fire department are always warned about the excess smoke!

What is the relationship between acupuncture and Western medicine?

Acupuncture is getting widely popular and GPs are recognising the healing qualities as there is a lot of research being done into the benefits. Previously, the Chinese believed that research was unethical because you had to do placebo tests or sham treatments. Now that research is being done, the NHS understand that it is cheaper to give someone a course of acupuncture than to prescribe a course of anti-depressants.

Part of what makes you a great acupuncturist is your pragmatic approach to people’s problems…

It is reassuring when people hear that I have been a nurse for 20 years (particularly with a background in casualty nursing). It is useful when dealing with needle phobic patients. We use fine, sterile, disposable needles which are rarely left in situ in Five Element Acupuncture, so you won’t feel like a hedgehog! Meanwhile, people can talk to me about their problems and should not be shy. I am not easily shocked! One of the most important things about being an acupuncturist is the acknowledgement that it is a real honour. People tell you things that they have never told anybody. As a result of feeling comfortable, they tell me what is really going on in their lives. In this way, I can identify the right acupuncture points that they need in order to get better. We are not here to judge patients, we are here to help them.

Kim Steer

How long have you been at Urban Retreat, Harrods?

I have worked at Urban Retreat for nearly two years now. I consider that being an acupuncturist is the best job in the world! It never feels like work. I’m lucky to meet so many great people and know that I can really help them feel better. It’s so satisfying when patients tell me what they’ve been able to achieve once they are feeling well, confident and in control. Two of my patients have actually become acupuncturists themselves after experiencing the benefits of treatment! Meanwhile, working at Harrods is fabulous and it makes perfect sense as Urban Retreat is all about beauty and looking amazing. A good acupuncture treatment will help you feel amazing on the inside and outside.

What results are people getting from acupuncture?

I had never been busier than when the recession kicked in. In my experience, people were not investing in the big things in their lives like holidays abroad, and they were not having the little things like their daily coffee, but they were keeping the things that really help them. One of the things that the acupuncture does is it helps people cope with their lives. It helps with both the physical and the emotional, and in today’s economic climate, people are having to cope with increased workloads, redundancy and major change. Acupuncture supports people as they embark on the major changes in their lives – be that changing jobs, moving house, getting married, having a baby or experiencing loss or sickness. Acupuncture is a holistic treatment – it looks at the cause of the imbalance and we make sure that it is all about the patient for the whole hour. Real change can happen in that time. Energy is realigned, people will feel better, more confident and in control. Five Element Acupuncture helps you reach your best health potential.

How can acupuncture help you adapt to seasonal change?

Acupuncture works alongside the seasons. We see energy blocks when the seasons change or when there are odd season transitions. Lots of patients come to see me at this time of year to get in tune with the seasons. People find winter particularly tough. However, stress is the number one thing that I deal with irrespective of the season. Stress can manifest in physical forms, for example migraines or neck pain, or emotional imbalances such as anxiety and panic attacks. Regular acupuncture treatment can help people cope.

How long is a course of treatment?

A typical course of treatment would be four initial weekly treatments followed by fortnightly intervals, perhaps proceeding to a monthly appointment basis with an aim to treat occasionally thereafter. Some conditions may take longer to treat and this will be explained at diagnosis. An initial consultation will helps us get to know you, and devise a treatment plan with a realistic goal. An appropriate time scale and schedule will be drawn up with you to keep you in control of your own expectations and progress.

Visit Urban Retreat for more information:


Optional Introductory Consultation, 15 minutes – complimentary
Initial full consultation, diagnosis and first treatment with Kim Steer, 1 hour and 30 mins – £165.00
Follow up treatment with Kim Steer, 1 hour – £90.00

To find out more about acupuncture, visit The Worsley Institute’s website or read J.R. Worsley’s Talking About Acupuncture in New York.

Ki Fit Multi-Sensor Armband By The Luxury Channel

The multi-sensor armband that helps you understand and therefore change your body….

Ki Fit

Try the latest fitness craze and diet fad as hard as you might but don’t underestimate the importance of your metabolism. Only when you regulate and understand how to increase your metabolism will you see a significant transformation in your physique and energy levels. However, what exactly is your metabolism and how can you monitor it? The official definition is the “chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life/the processing of a specific substance within the body.” Not something easily monitored then….

The Ki Fit multi-sensor armband measures calorie burn, physical activity (both moderate and vigorous), steps, sleep duration and sleep efficiency using its four sensors. The accelerometer is only one of the four sensors which the armband uses to produce the astonishing accuracy. The sensors are Galvanic Skin Response, Skin Temperature, Heat Flux and a 3-axis accelerometer. It is clinically proven and the most accurate body monitor on the market.

Plug the device into your computer (download Ki Fit’s software) and log on to the Ki Fit website to start reading your data. Line graphs and pie charts reveal habits (including peaks and troughs in sleep) and nutritional balance (or lack of). You add your food in manually and Ki Fit reveals the calorie content, nutritional breakdown, and mineral and vitamin proportion of your diet.


The Ki Fit will give you:

  • Extraordinarily illuminating statistics about your lifestyle.
  • A measure of accurate control over your eating and exercise habits. The Ki Fit turns fitness and health into the science it should be not a fad or philosophy.
  • A brilliant analysis of your sleep patterns (on average we burn 100 calories an hour in our sleep).
  • Targets – Ki Fit recommend using waist size as a good indicator of healthy weight loss.
  • An education – as you get used to inputting all your data, you will begin to learn the value of food as fuel.
  • The incentive to walk to work, climb stairs, think about your core muscles on the tube or fidget – do whatever you can to keep moving!


  • Desk-bound workers will be particularly frustrated by the repercussions of a sedentary lifestyle. The Ki-Fit monitor shows that by sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, we burn only a fraction more calories than when we are sleeping.
  • You need to have the time to be able to input your food each day and analyse the data (this can be both addictive and time-consuming, although there are short-cuts to make things easier).
  • The software will only appeal to certain types of personalities, as some people feel quite stressed by the idea of being monitored!
  • Not an easy accessory for women – the sensor is visible on the arm.

What’s next for Ki Fit?

When Ki Fit launched, it was welcomed by athletes, sports enthusiasts and those who sought weight management. However, over the next few years, Ki Fit will come into its own. Powered by their team of scientists, Ki Fit have created innovative new advice tools based on the individual data created by the Ki system. This allows individual advice to be delivered remotely using scientific principles based on your own body data, not on fad, myth or fantasy.

The introduction of online weight loss programmes aims to not only help people lose weight but educate them as to how their data should inform their lifestyle choices. This means giving people the power to control their weight forever. Ki Performance are also developing a unique fitness tool, which uses your body data to populate a fuelling strategy for achieving optimum performance. This will include advice as to correct nutritional content and the times of day that it should be consumed, dependent on the goal.

Ki Armband and one year subscription from £268.99

The QMS Facial By The Luxury Channel

QMS bespoke facials are a lesson in routine and results….

!QMS Medi Cosmetics

Establishing a skin-care routine is something that we all know that we should do. Our mother’s reiterate it, as do the top beauty journalists and experts – but it is often an impossible thing to commit to.

We are all so easily distracted by a pretty product, its smell, or the product’s proclaimed ability to transform skin in an instant. It is no wonder that our skin gets confused and requires a re-build every so often! Mine was no different.

Step into Chelsea’s QMS Medicosmetics Spa….

Having interviewed their founder, Dr. med. Erich Schulte, I was impressed by his scientific knowledge and pioneering research. Here (with the presence of this great spa in Chelsea) was a chance to take preventative action against the signs of aging and protect my skin for the future. However, this was no overnight beauty fix – this was to be a dedicated attempt to re-vitalize my skin. So I committed to a facial a month for six months with QMS’s trained aesthetician.

The Art of The Routine – A Step-By-Step Guide

To begin with, the skin is cleansed twice with QMS’s deep cleansing product, and removed with water and sponges. It feels cool and fresh against the skin and any make-up is removed easily and gently.

  • The skin is then analysed by an QMS aesthetician.
  • QMS Exfoliate fluid (with 10% fruit acid) is then applied to the skin.
  • Followed by enzymes that dissolve dead skin cells.
  • The face is then given a steam and pain-free extraction.
  • An algae mask is then applied to the face (including the mouth and eyelids). It feels cool and heavy (but in a good way). This completes the exfoliation process and lifts away any remaining dead skin cells.
  • At this stage, it’s time to balance the PH level of the skin with a freshening tonic and then an Oxygen Boost (98% pure oxygen) to help skin cells function as nature intended.
  • Collagen is then applied to the skin for moisture followed by an Activator mask, which locks in that moisture and de-stresses the skin.
  • The QMS beauty therapist then massages the neck and décolletage in order to relax the muscles.
  • Finally, Cellular Alpine is applied under the eyes and liquid proteins are applied to the face.

Key Lessons

  • Your skin likes routine.
  • Drink water – don’t allow your body (or your skin) to get de-hydrated!
  • If you cannot commit to a skin-routine at home then an intensive treatment at QMS each month will keep you on the right track!

Top Tip: One of my favourite things about visiting the QMS Spa was the opportunity to snuggle for an hour in one of their exceptionally soft spa towels. I was delighted to discover that you can buy them from Majestic Spa Supplier.

Our Favourite QMS Products

The Classic Collagen Set

Includes Exfoliate Fluid, Night Collagen and Day Collagen – these products work in synergy and help reduce the signs of aging.

Top Tip: Great for the face but the collagen can also be applied to scars or scratches to speed up healing.

£171.00 (3x30ml)
£215.00 (3x50ml)

The Sports Active Cream

Don’t be put off by the colour, as this lightly tinted day cream with SPF and vitamins gives skin a fantastic glow and ‘‘bounce.’’ Men love it too.

£66.00 (30ml)

Activator Mask

This mask is refreshing and has a nice ‘‘ritual’’ process to it that helps you feel very pampered (even at home or on a plane). With a high concentration of Hyaluronic Acid and Marine Collagen, skin will feel smoother and less stressed out!

£66.00 (100 ml with 8 item tabs)

See The Luxury Channel’s interview with Dr. med. Erich Schulte. He talked to us about ground-breaking advances in cosmetic treatments and how he pioneered the use of Sea Fennel stem cells in the beauty industry.

QMS is a global brand and can be found in the following locations:

Indian Bridal Culture By Reena Patel

Reena Patel explores the créme de la créme of Indian wedding suppliers….

Indian Bridal Culture

The Make-Up Artist

Asian beauties need to carefully balance their make-up with the heavy designs and colours on their bridal dresses. Gini Bhogal is the popular make-up maestro of choice, who ensures the eastern look is neither extreme, nor overshadowed. During an initial trial session, Gini requests the bride bring along her outfit to ensure the overall look is beautifully balanced. Using luxury cosmetics including Nars, Bobbi Brown and MAC, Gini effortlessly and swiftly applies gentle strokes of flattering shades and tones for a fresh, radiant and dramatic finish. Gini swears by a heavy flawless base and eyes swept with dark, dramatic kohl-liner to really stand out on your big day.

Initial Trial from £83, make-up on the day from £450.

The Venue

Asian weddings are usually big, so finding a suitable space to seat 350+ guests could prove to be pretty tricky. However, it will be love at first sight with The Mansion House at Wokefield Park. Set in 250 acres of Berkshire’s picturesque parkland, this eighteenth century building has been the family home of nobles, dignitaries and society movers and shakers for centuries. The largest room, the Maple Suite, backs out on to a stunning stone-paved terrace, overlooking a manicured lawn and private lake for outdoor ceremonies, making it the perfect backdrop for wedding pictures. We have also selected Wokefield Park as our top wedding hot spot to suit unpredictable British weather – it’s versatile come rain or shine.

The Caterer

No Asian wedding would be complete without a full-on feast! London-based specialist caterer Premier Rouge delivers a sumptuous banquet to suit all taste buds. Co-founder Lakh Banwait will talk you through a bespoke menu for the big day, selecting favourites such as chicken tikka and lamb seekh kebabs, a main course of curries with naan bread and rice and a dessert of gajjar halwa with malai kulfi (warm sweet grated carrot with Indian milk ice-cream). Premier Rouge pays attention to the finer details and goes the extra mile by serving canapés in paper cones wedged in wooden logs and starters in martini glasses. Also an events management company, Premier Rouge will help you to plan a full itinerary for the day to ensure the whole occasion runs smoothly and right on time.

The Ceremony

Hindu weddings are performed in a four pillar structure known as a mandap. Available in natural stone, carved wood, shimmering crystal and metal, these elegant designs create a magical backdrop for the religious ceremony. To suit the period-built venue of Wokefield Park, opt for a natural teak wood version featuring a floral twist pattern, designed by Rikesh – the creative talent behind Om Creatives.

Mandap hire from £1,500.

Tel: 07599 888 869

The Photographer

Swedish photographer Stefan Lacandler specialises in capturing unrivalled wedding photographs that ensure you can look back on your day with pride. Stefan carefully selects images to produce a portfolio of fashion portraiture and stylish reportage shots that are ideal for the entire family to flick through and cherish. Stefan doesn’t rely on gimmicks, special effects or other new-wave photographic techniques, aiming instead to achieve simple, timeless images. Not one for cutting corners, he also includes a pre-wedding shoot to help you feel comfortable in front of the camera, find your favourite poses and assess your best angles.

Wedding packages from £1,550.

Four Seasons Spa In London By The Luxury Channel

Nutritional delights and pampering perfection in the centre of London….

Four Seasons Spa London

What better way to spend your birthday than relaxing 10 floors high in the newly opened luxurious spa at the Four Seasons Hotel London on Park Lane? When my friend suggested a spa treat, little did I expect the warm welcome, luscious organic products, and delicious and nutritional lunch experience that lay ahead!

Declining to make use of the fitness centre, we were whisked away by our therapists into our treatment rooms. Waving goodbye to my friend for 80 minutes, I enjoyed the ‘‘Hyde Park Awakening’’ signature treatment. Lucia, my friendly and well-practised therapist, provided a relaxing but invigorating treatment which included a foot soak and scrub of neroli, lemon and bergamot, whilst we chatted and looked upon the sprawling views of Hyde Park. A full body exfoliation with an organic pharmacy bamboo and calendula scrub closely followed. After showering off this delicious mix, a back, neck and shoulder massage with a fragrant St John’s Wort and rosemary infused body oil was applied with perfect pressure.

A dip in the jacuzzi was promptly followed by lunch in the spa dining room, where we swapped notes on our treatments. My friend had the pleasure of a gold hydrating facial which she proclaimed makes one feel totally uplifted and spoilt. City life and hectic schedules can take its toll on a lady’s sparkle, but with the copper-enriched lactic peel packed with collagen, it really gave her the ‘‘just returned from holiday’’ look in moments, and the gold anti-inflammatory serum really did sooth away those tired lines. At £175, it is a real treat and a must for anyone who is looking for a fresh and glistening new look.

Lunch consisted of a pretty plate of colourful delights (selected from the menu on our arrival), which included iced pomegranate and mint tea followed by ahi tuna salad with ginger. We both decided to skip the soup course and I enjoyed a main course of prawns, pineapple, lemongrass and Thai basil, which was light, fresh and zesty. My friend had Parma ham, aubergine preserve and fig balsamic, which was also bursting with flavour. Desserts included roasted and peppered pineapple skewers, whilst my friend chose the vanilla and yogurt parfait with mango jelly. We agreed that it was a tasty ensemble all arranged politely on one tray and enjoyed immensely.

Showering was a little awkward as the changing room is very small and probably not intended for more than 3 guests at one time. But this awkwardness is easily avoided by hiring the Sky Suite (where you can relax and unwind in your own private suite). Here, treatments can be enjoyed in one room in pure, spacious luxury, where you can shower indulgently in your own private adjoining shower room.

With a final glimpse over the sparkling spring London views, we happily departed to embark on our afternoon of shopping adventures.

Must Do: Hyde Park Awakening Treatment for 80 minutes – £175

Sky Suite Collection: Treatment of your choice and use of private suite for 2 hours – £750

Top Ten Wedding Gifts By The Luxury Channel

Luxurious gifts for the newly-weds’ home….

Top Ten Wedding Gifts

Weddings & Movie Stars

Weddings and Movie Stars

From the low-key to the lavish, this collection of incredible images (many of which have never been published before) bring to life the most iconic Hollywood weddings from the 1920s onwards. From Grace Kelly swathed in lace to Sarah Jessica-Parker giggling on her wedding day, all the modern bride’s idols are here and serve as a love song to all weddings, not just the one you’re invited to.

Published by Reel Art Press, £49.95. Photograph of Grace Kelly and Esther Williams © Bettmann/CORBIS.

Animal Magic with Cavendish Stone

Cement your place in your friends’ new life together and give them a gift that will stand the test of time. Justin and Adam Williams founded Cavendish Stone to provide the discerning with unforgettable outdoor sculpture. So, whether your friends have a country pile or urban idyll, one of their unique pieces will fit right in.

Bernardaud Porcelain

Berndaud Porcelain

The most traditional of wedding presents, fine porcelain need not be old fashioned. The Luxury Channel loves the French porcelain house of Bernardaud for their blend of traditional methods and gorgeous new designs. For traditional tableware with delicate decoration and modern masterpieces, such as their Marc Chagall collection, Bernardaud offers something for every newly-wed’s table.

Roomba Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

iRobot Roomba Vacuum

Give couples more time to enjoy being newlyweds by gifting them this highly desirable little gadget. The Roomba vacuum cleaner uses sophisticated technology to manoeuvre its way around a room all by itself. When it’s finished, or low on battery, it will find its way back to its charging dock and go to sleep!

Available online and at John Lewis from £279.99.

Mappin & Webb Drinksware

Mappin & Webb

Renowned for its intrinsic British style and timeless good taste, Mappin & Webb has been silversmith to the Royal family since 1897. Their sterling silver and glass whisky tumblers and pyramid decanter are the perfect presents for a best man to give a groom-to-be.

The decanter, including luxury presentation case, is £299 and a pair of whisky tumblers, including luxury presentation case, is £249, available from

For Wine Lovers

Give your newly-wed friends everything they need to start their very own vineyard. This kit from The Gluttonous Gardener contains, among other things, twenty grape vines, selected to thrive in the British climate and ready to plant. If you’re very lucky, you’ll be sharing bottles of your friends’ vintage for years to come (and, to sip while you wait for that moment, the kit includes a very good bottle of vintage claret).

From £200 at

Light Sculptures

Light sculptures

We love this Palm pendant light by Finnish designer Janne Kyttänen, which diffuses light through its petals, either up or downwards, resulting in a beautiful and totally unique light display. Also on our list is the Quin table light, which is astonishing in its perfect design. It’s hard to believe it has no joins whatsoever, but flows in harmony with no beginning and no end – just like the love your friend’s wedding celebrates.

Palm pendant light from £461.00, and Quin table light from £426.00.

Great Exhibition Croquet Set

Outdoor types will enjoy a Pimm’s and a game of croquet with one of John Jaques immaculately crafted deluxe croquet sets. We love the Great Exhibition Croquet Set, designed to celebrate the moment John Jaques II’s new game ‘Croquet’ was presented at the 1851 Great Exhibition. It includes eight beautifully finished mallets, including two brass ringed Oxford models and two square Hampton ones, as well as an eight band hand coloured gold lined winning post.

£999.99 from

i:wing Fan

iWing fan

We’ve never seen anything like it – and we bet you haven’t either: a fan that could be mistaken for a piece of sculpture. The beautiful i:wing fan can cool down the hottest newly-wed nest, as it soundlessly and peacefully sets the air in motion with its huge wings that mimic those of a bird in flight. You can see the fan in action and find out more online.

€1480.00 from

Baccarat crystal

Dom Perignon Pitcher Baccarat

Ensure you’re invited to toast all the important milestones in a newly-wedded couple’s life by providing the very crystal they’ll toast with. The Luxury Channel loves the beautiful soft lines of Baccarat’s Saint Remy glasses & Dom Perignon Pitcher, while crystal bottle stoppers from their Tip Top collection (twisted by resident designer Thomas Bastide) are the perfect gift for any wine-loving couple.

Hersey & Son Silver

Hersey and Son

Although a traditional wedding gift, silver never goes out of style, especially when it’s reinvented with a modern twist. Bring a touch of fun to a blissful breakfast table with a solid silver lid for a jar of Marmite – and have it engraved to mark a special occasion. Or, if that’s doesn’t sound quite the thing, try these solid sterling silver mussel eater shells, which are perfect for a romantic supper of moules mariniere.

A Silver Marmite Lid costs from £62.50 and Mussel Eater Shells are £67.50 each, from

Robert Van Helden – The Art of Floristry By Antonia Peck

The florist Rob Van Helden is a man with an eye for beauty. A world traveller with a 25 year reputation for impeccable floral displays, he is the one to go to for jaw-dropping flowers and creative props that will transform your event from the everyday to the extraordinary. International clients range from heads of state to Hollywood stars. Elton John declared Van Helden’s work to be ‘‘magnificent, incredible, beautiful….genius.’’

Robert van Helden

How many weddings do you work on a year?

It varies and depends on the season. April up to September gets busy and we can do one or two weddings per weekend. Later, around Christmas, you have the winter weddings. In a year, I would easily say between 30 and 40 weddings.

How are flowers for a wedding different to any other event?

With a wedding, the bride comes in and it is her big, big day. Brides have dreamed of this day for years and we try to make their dreams a reality. I always tell a bride to start a scrapbook; it is a nice souvenir for afterwards. Get magazines and start cutting out what you like and what you don’t like. At our initial meeting, I ask my brides to come here to the studio so that I can show them the props that we own (as part of the RVH prop hire company) and to get a feel for what she likes – is it silver, crystal, or provincial? There are so many different tastes and I like to listen to them and give them a proposal of what I suggest based on our meeting. Then I normally take the bride to the flower market and show her exactly what I have suggested. This also gives the bride the opportunity to make her own suggestions. We then revise the proposal and invite the bride to see the tables set up as they will look on the day.

What is your aesthetic?

I am a big believer in natural beauty. I hate anything too contrived. I like to show the beauty of each flower and their perfect simplicity. I will often use just peonies or all white hydrangeas as table centers and another table with just white roses. It is not just about putting an arrangement on a table.

Do you always do a site visit beforehand?

We always do a site visit whether it is a stately home or abroad. We do a lot of weddings abroad. I have just come back from doing my twelfth wedding in India! We use as much local produce as we can and the rest gets flown in from Holland. We have done some amazing parties in the Maldives!

What is the importance of the prop?

The props often set a theme. Having built up a whole warehouse full of props I have learned that you can use a prop in many creative ways! They should compliment the surroundings and play an important part. I travel abroad to fairs in order to see the latest props and will buy samples for my showroom to see what the reactions are. My head florist Jason and I then come up with new ideas of how to work with our new props!

What are the most popular props?

Crystal-wear and crystal candelabras are very popular. I love the distressed mirror – it always works and is timeless. It can be very classical but if you do individual posies in it of one type of flower, it is very much the modern eclectic look that I love.

What impact does a venue have on the flower and prop display?

If someone has a wedding at a prestigious venue but they do not like the colour of the walls, you have to get creative. With my own wedding, there were yellow walls and so I had all the walls covered and a new carpet rolled down for the occasion! I created an empty shell and started again.

Robert van Helden

Some trends for the bouquet?

The simpler the bouquet, the better! You spend an absolute fortune on a wedding dress and then end up with a bouquet which hides half the dress! The wedding bouquet should compliment the dress. It should not take over; it should be something beautiful, delicate and elegant. My favourite is lily of the valley for its purity. I also always remind brides that they do not know how nervous they are going to be. If you have a big trailing bouquet, all you will see is shaking leaves!

What is next for RVH?

To carry on as we have for the past 25 years and expand the prop range even further. We have a new candle range launching and are becoming more and more about a RVH lifestyle consultancy. I will be creating a vase with David Linley to celebrate 25 years in the business.


Rob Van Helden Floral Design and Prop Hire
8 Tunyard, Peardon Street
London SW8

Tel: 020 7720 6774

Best Laid Plans By Lauren Steventon

Creative Director Caroline Hurley from Quintessentially Events takes the stress out of planning a wedding….

Best Laid Plans

Why do people tend to bring in a wedding planner?

To take the stress out of the planning process and to make sure that each element is addressed in plenty of time. Also, very much for guidance and suggestions on venues, design, catering and entertainment, realising your perfect day with a best friend who is a wedding party expert. To control budget spend, making sure that costs don’t get out of control and that there is sufficient and realistic allocation on costs from the beginning. Most especially, to manage the smooth delivery of everything on the day.

How would you respond to people who think they don’t need a planner?

No problem at all! You only want to work with clients who want to work with you and already understand and appreciate the value that you bring.

When is the best moment to approach a wedding planner to help you with your wedding?

At the very beginning, if possible. Not only can you provide recommendations as to the best locations and suppliers, but you are also very useful negotiating as you know what the costs and charges should be.

What sort of things do people tend to forget about when planning a wedding that a wedding planner can help run more smoothly?

You don’t need to plan everything in the one week. A carefully plotted-out timeline will greatly assist, as it helps create time to consider and research before making decisions. Table placement is always done at the last minute and can be stressful. Guest logistics are often last to be thought about, plus gathering various pieces of information such as the order of service or RSVPs, and correct scheduling of speeches and entertainment. Spotting the right men for buttonholes is always a bit of a challenge too!

How much control do wedding planners take away from the bride?

Hopefully none! A planner’s role is to present creative ideas and decisions in a clear and timely fashion for the bride and groom to decide upon, providing support and guidance where it is needed.

Best Laid Plans

How should a bride coordinate with her wedding planner – is it best to sit back and let them do the work, or are some brides very involved?

It totally depends on the bride (and groom) – some want a planner to take over and sort everything for them, some want to be involved in every single detail and some flutter between the things they care about and those they don’t. Ultimately, everyone is different and a good wedding planner makes a call as they go along.

Are some people worried that they won’t get to make the big decisions if they bring in a planner?

They may be, but they shouldn’t be. The big decisions should always be made by the bride and groom; a planner’s job is to short-list and guide.

What are the main differences between planning a city wedding and a country wedding?

One usually involves lovely green space with great views so it is best to make a use of them. Sometimes you need to bring in extra facilities such as toilets and power. A city wedding usually requires transforming an inside space and making it look as charming and romantic as possible.

What are the differences and difficulties with holding a wedding abroad?

Sourcing suppliers to the level that you need them to be in order to ensure that the delivery on the day is as you want it to be. Finding good furniture and props. Finding high quality sound and lighting equipment. Getting guests to and from the wedding, and moving them around in between.

What does Quintessentially offer that other wedding planners do not?

A level of attention to detail and creativity that is second to none, and access to an unrivalled network of the very best venues, suppliers and talents, worldwide.

Can you give some examples of fantastic things that Quintessentially have helped with that a couple might not have been able to do on their own?

We’ve created an entire pirate encampment in a grass car park next to a secluded beach in Devon, made chandeliers out of orchids, sculpted a bar with ornamental vases and desert service recesses out of ice.

What is the most challenging request that you have received?

A floating Chinese pagoda on a lake!

For more information, visit and

Honeymoon Accessories By The Luxury Channel

Ten gadgets and attire to keep you entertained and gorgeous on your honeymoon….

Honeymoon accessories

Packing is a nightmare at the best of times – and no more so than when you’re also trying to plan a wedding! Let The Luxury Channel take out the stress with our quick honeymoon accessory guide….

  • 100% fairly traded and organic cotton wrap and beanie from Liv to protect you from chills on the plane
  • Refresh yourself after sitting in the stale plane air with Omorovicza’s Queen of Hungary Mist. Orange blossom and rose water purify and tone, while apple pectin give long-lasting hydration
  • Liv also have beautiful maxi dresses with sheer panelling for a super comfy and super chic evening look
  • If you’re heading off to a honeymoon island idyll, make sure you have the Kodak Playsport underwater camera
  • To capture every moving memory, the Flip Video Ultra camcorder is small enough to fit in the teeniest beach or evening bag

Honeymoon Accessories

  • Boys need their toys and the Firebox Bladefish Seajet BF 3000 is an underwater scooter that can slip into your suitcase
  • Keep your skin safe with a woven trilby from Anya Hindmarch
  • The Milly sailboat canvas tote is the perfect beach bag – big, comfy and with a nautical pattern to boot!,
  • Commission a one-off piece of striking contemporary jewellery from Isobel Oliphant at D’Andelot to commemorate your trip
  • Heels are a no-no on the beach, so inject some glam with the metallic Bel Peep Toe Sling Back Castaner from Heidi Klein

The Intuitive And The Bride By Antonia Pearce

Antonia Pearce meets Katie Winterbourne for some pre-marital guidance….

Katie Winterbourne offers insight, clarity and positive guidance for people in search of their true purpose and has helped them fulfill their full potential. But what can she tell me about my forthcoming marriage?

Katie Winterbourne

Katie’s skills fall into three categories: clairvoyant, clairaudient and clairsentient. She uses all simultaneously. They help her to ‘‘unravel the self and find any blocks in the client’s system. It opens the individual to heal and take on new information.’’

I am encouraged to relax and take a series of deep cleansing breaths. Relaxation is easy with Katie. She has an extremely gentle nature and makes me feel at ease. She warns that there might be tears but that I must listen to my instincts and respond accordingly. I must ‘‘release my past and future and step into the here and now.’’ I am to think about all the things I want clarity and guidance on.

Newly engaged, all things wedding-related were at the forefront of my mind and hysterically one of the first things that Katie said to me was how ‘‘girlie and feminine all my peripheral thoughts were.’’ My energy was filled with anticipation and excitement. This was a pleasant relief. I am a worrier by nature; I always feared the risks associated with an intuitive or psychic. I was weary of the power of suggestion. But there was nothing to fear – Katie looks for the positive and hopes to give constructive, appropriate guidance in a supportive environment.

We discuss everything from my childhood, my parents, my love, and my future dreams and ambitions.

Once your energy has been established Katie moves on to cards. She uses cards called the Zen Deck. They work to echo and confirm the messages that Katie has already picked up in your energy. Katie believes that my marriage will be a happy one and we seek to confirm this with the Zen Deck. The card I get is ‘‘Ordinary’’ – with a scenic display of a man or woman walking through blossom trees. I feel a wave of disappointment cloud over my heart. I have always been taught that ‘‘ordinary’’ is something to keep away from. Like the word ‘‘average,’’ it has none of the passion or excitement that I would have hoped for in my marriage. In my mind, ordinary means boring. Picking up on my fears, Katie reminds me that it is a beautiful and natural card. The marriage is meant to be. We must learn to make the ordinary extraordinary and not take it for granted. I thought about what Flaubert wrote, “be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” Stability creates beauty and all that.

We end the session with a pre-cognitive card. According to Katie ‘‘this is about as Mystic Meg as she gets.’’ I get ‘‘The Fighter’’ and am again swept with panic! Paradoxically, this card means it is time to take my armour off. Katie tells me that I will always be forthright but I need to start being less like Boudicca in a chariot and learn not to struggle when there needn’t be a fight.

I leave feeling peaceful and more in tune with myself. I recommend Katie to my mother and all my friends.

Katie’s Rules For Stressed-Out Brides (or ‘‘how to protect your energy when everyone has an opinion!’’)


The first key to managing your energy is noticing what is happening around you. So whether it is a workload that is too stressful or a schedule that is too full on – you need to scale it down.

Don’t Over-Stimulate

Make sure that you have time-out from a stressful environment. Don’t turn on any additional external stimulus and know that you can turn off your telephone and technology. It is about spending some time alone. Meditation is a vital life tool. People who know how to look after themselves are so much more equipped at dealing with their issues. Leading you to be more inspired and creative!


Anything done with clear intention is powerful. Focus on everything that you are doing.


No-one knows how to breathe anymore. Breath is the life force and creates energy. There is a saying that ‘‘the man who only half breathes, half lives.’’

Be Authentic

It takes a lot of energy to keep yourself down, be angry or frightened. When you are authentic, your energy starts to flow. Listen to what you want.

For further information, visit

Bridal Beauty – Tips & Tricks By Reena Patel

Beauty tips and tricks for confidence and radiance on your wedding day….

Bridal Beauty

The Make-Up Artist

If ever the moment was right to call upon a make-up artist, then your wedding day is one of them! The Luxury Channel loves Daniel Sandler’s style and trusts his tips. In fact, he introduced us to the lovely Lara Rorich. Lara is a model but also a make-up artist who loves working with brides and with ten years of experience in the modeling industry, she certainly knows the tricks of the trade. She studied at The Academy of Freelance Make-Up, where she also studied hairstyling, so her brides benefit from both her skills! Lara loves the natural look and specialises in clean, pretty and feminine make-up. She always recommends a trial run before the wedding day and likes to share ideas and be inspired by a bride’s natural beauty. Lara recently got married herself in her native South Africa so she understands all the nerves and fears of a blushing bride-to-be. Hiring a make-up artist is a luxury but also a necessity; it will make for wonderful photographs and add to the ritual of getting ready!

For more information on how to book Lara for your wedding, contact her directly (charges are individually priced as each wedding differs from one to the next):


The Royal Treatment

We salute the Lady-In-Waiting package at The Chelsea Day Spa. We hoped to catch sight of Kate Middleton in there but we soon forgot to keep an eye out as we started out on a red carpet overhaul. The package begins with an A-List favourite, o2 Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusion. This airy light facial instantly boosts the skin with plumpness and vitality, giving a radiant, healthy-looking glow. Next up is the incredibly soul-soothing De-Stress Aromatherapy Massage to calm butterflies and finally, Everlasting Nails by Jessica. Wafer-thin gels, available in clear and a spectrum of shades, paint on as naturally as a manicure but last for up to three weeks. We adore the classic regal shade of Royal Red for the bridal occasion.

Lady-In-Waiting Package: approximately £150.

Tel: 020 7351 0911

All A Flutter

Tears of joy are lovely, but panda eyes on your wedding day are certainly not! If you’re a well-known weeper, you need to book an appointment with Flutter. They will send an artist to your home to delicately apply incredible false lashes one by one to flatter and enhance your natural beauty – giving a voluminous, dramatic effect. Book your appointment for two to three weeks before the big day for the best results, with an in-fill at the start of the wedding week to fully perfect your feathery flutter.

Lash extensions start from £180. 
Home visits within London and neighbouring regions.

Also available at The Dorchester Spa and Harrod’s Urban Retreat.

Tel: 01372 386 312

Glowing Goddess

Every bride glows on her big day, but if you want to keep that all-over glow all day, you might need a little extra help. This luxurious, paraben-free tanning range makes our must-have list by helping to do just that. Using natural and certified organic ingredients, Beau Bronz remains a beauty secret but we know it won’t stay that way for very long. Prep with Exfoliese, a spray-on body polish with organic aloe vera and fruit acids to remove oils, impurities and surface skin cells, and allow even tanning. Then apply the Advanced Medium Bronzing Tanning Cream 4 using circular movements across the body. The glide-on texture made it easy for our bride-to-be to get the right finish, looking sun-kissed rather than streaky-orange. The Tan Extender also helps prolong and protect your sunless tan life. Experiment at home at least one month before the wedding to achieve the right intensity on the day, or contact the team for a professional application.

Products from £25. Price for professional application on consultation.

Tel: 020 8788 7770

Mani Me

Complement the sparkle of your ring with a manicure by creative nail artist to the stars, Leighton Denny. Magically restore weak, cracked, dry and brittle nails into healthy talons by following his advice: ‘‘Try to begin your hand and foot care regimen at least six months before the wedding. Visit the same technician weekly or every other week for manicures and monthly for pedicures. The consensus for wedding-day fingernails is pale shades and natural French polish. The contrast between a white dress and a dark fingernail is too strong. The trend now is pink washes, white washes, and pale pastel shimmers versus the chalkier traditional French manicure.’’ We tried Natural White and Barely There by his collection, Leighton Denny Expert Nails, for a beautiful natural-looking French polish – perfect!

Bridal White

A sparkling smile is the key to health, youth and radiance but if a trip to the dentist leaves you cold, try The Covent Garden Dental Spa on London’s trendy Neal Street, a cosy practice with a boutique spa interior. Founder Dr. Flora Chigwedere advises brides to have a thorough check-up and Diamond Sparkle & Polish Hygiene Clean to lighten and brighten teeth before they even think about whitening. However, if only the purest of white will do, Dr. Chigwedere recommends a tooth whitening at least 10 days after your hygiene clean. Using a special high-grade system, a concentrated gel is applied to the teeth and activated by laser light. For sensitive teeth, try one of their Take Home Kits made up by the dentist. If you get a little anxious at the dentist, the practice also uses holistic therapies to help settle you in, such as aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, acupuncture and massage.

Prices on consultation.

Tel: 020 7836 9107


Cheryl Cole is rumoured to have her own Hypoxi machine at home (although denied this during her Piers Morgan interview, when he teased her about using vacuums to stay fit!). But other celebrity fans and women the world over have sought out the Hypoxi method because, in just a few weeks, you can lose 3cm off your waist, hips, thighs and bottom. It is a good option for when you have been exercising and eating well but need that one final push to get into your dress for the big day. Created by Dr. Nobert Egger of Austria, the patented process is more than just exercise. It combines exercise with vacuum pressure to increase the circulation to the area where the troublesome fatty deposits are located. By increasing blood flow to these targeted areas, you increase your metabolic rate. Hypoxi is also a fantastic cure for cellulite and uneven skin tone.

The Body Clinic in Harrods has two machines and you can alternate which one you use for maximum effect. A pretty chandelier, all the magazines a girl could desire, plus lovely Crème de la Mer products in the changing room, makes this a fitness moment with a lux vibe.

Hypoxi Therapy: starting from £600.00 at Urban Retreat, The Body Clinic, Harrods.

The Body Shaper By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel meet Ten Pilates’ master and soon-to-be groom, David Higgins….

Ten Pilates is the coolest place to work out in London. Think super-friendly and engaging staff, good music and urban-fresh studios. You get the benefits of a personal trainer and the buzz of a class. Once hooked (and people from Claudia Schiffer to Mario Testino are said to be fans), you will quit your gym membership immediately!

Ten Pilates

What is the Ten Pilates mission?

Our mission is to educate people about Pilates and teach them how to use their body. We like to help people get the results they want fast. So it is a combination of education and creating a fun and enjoyable environment for people to work out in.

How did you turn this mission into a tangible reality?

It started with our brand and brand values. Ten is people-driven, celebratory and expert. We are upbeat, friendly and fun! The staff here are experts and at the top of their game. We have the best, most knowledgeable staff in the business. Some come from physiotherapy backgrounds, are sports therapists, rehabilitation experts or strength conditioning coaches. It is a people-driven business that is all about the customer and a kick-ass work out!

At Ten Pilates you are an individual not a member. Tell us more?

This came out of the assumption that people don’t want to join memberships anymore. We opened in 2007 just before the recession. We changed people’s perceptions – we are not a personal training gym but we will still give you that one-on-one individual attention within a very small numbered class. We pride ourselves on that experience and the personal experience that everybody receives in that class. It’s not 20 or 40 people in a class because we can’t help that many people at once. Ten is the optimum. Hence the name! The other bonus is that people can pick and choose the classes they attend.

What is Dynamic Pilates?

The concept came about because I come from an exercise rehabilitation background (I studied at Melbourne University). At this time, I was also playing semi-pro Australian football. Unfortunately, I got injured and I was not able to play any more. I had to rehabilitate myself back up to speed again. It was at this point that I came across Pilates. The ‘‘philosophy’’ or thinking behind Pilates is in the focus on very isolated and specific movements. Teaching your body how to move appealed to me because of my rehabilitation background. I started doing basic Pilates but it got a bit boring and repetitive. I wanted to work out a way to ramp it up a bit! So I started adapting the flow of exercises on the reformer. It took me five or six years to work out what worked and what would not work. I then moved to LA and found that my clients enjoyed my modified flow of exercises. Ten is way ahead of the game and we still have lots of international interest. We have a studio in Moscow and we are looking to go global. We already have three places in London – in Notting Hill, Mayfair and Chiswick.

What is the effect of Ten Pilates on the body?

It is all about pre-habilitation – preventative exercise. Ten Pilates customers are leaner, more toned, with a strong core. We work you to fatigue and get the results that will make you lean and not bulky. Ten Pilates will also increase your flexibility and mobility. We ‘‘wake up’’ isolated muscle areas, then integrate it (leg circles or lunges, for example) and then we stretch it off. Isolate, integrate, stretch. This is the general flow of how we operate. The final thing we focus on is establishing a mind/body link. People use exercise generally as a means to escape. We try and connect the mind and the body. You have the ability to turn on every muscle in your body. You have the ability to do that, but people do not realise that they do or don’t think that they can. We make sure that people do not fall apart. If people can look after themselves now, it will help them aesthetically to look fantastic but if we educate as many people as we can, we will help people change the way they move and their body awareness for later life.

What about more cardio-based exercise?

To support our Pilates classes, we have the Cardiolates workout that uses the latest Spin bikes alongside our trademark reformer beds. This is results-driven and people will feel the benefits fast! It is hugely popular and this came from our clients. They asked us if we could introduce some sort of cardio class. We asked what machine they would be interested in doing cardio on and the resounding answer was spinning!

Having done ten classes or so, what is the next step?

To get to the next level, we usually advise a thirty minute one-on-one personal training session. Here we can give you an assessment of what you need to be focusing on when you are in the classes. Then you are equipped to go to the next class level from beginners to intermediate. It’s a 35% increase and will clear the cobwebs out and keep the body responsive!

What is next?

We have a new studio opening up in the West End so that will be number four in London, maintaining a luxury and effective workout environment for our clients that keeps us ahead of the competition!

What is luxury?

My lovely fiancé is very good at answering this question. I think that luxury for me is not about the expense – it is about the experience or the feeling that you get when you either purchase something, receive something or enjoy something, whether it is a service or a product that is high quality.

Top Health And Fitness Tips For Brides And Grooms

David is well placed in this regard, as he too is busy preparing for his summer wedding….

Setting up a wedding is such an overwhelming experience. You have your family coming, your friends are going to be there and the day is all about you (and your partner). So you have a lot of decisions to make. My first tip would be:

ALONE TIME: make sure you have some time for yourself. Everybody is on your case, whether it is the invitation guy or the events co-ordinator. Whatever it is – try and find some time during the week to make some time for yourself.

FOOD: be mindful of your food intake! What you eat is how you are going to feel; it is how you will sleep and how you will look.

WATER: is hugely important – keep yourself hydrated because you are going to be speaking a lot, thinking a lot and burning a lot of calories. You are going to need a lot of water for the body to function properly.

SLEEP: is very important! Don’t be forever tired – make time for sleep.

NON-NEGOTIABLES: know when you can talk about the wedding and know when you cannot talk about the wedding. Structure will bring you calmness.

FITNESS: obviously brides and grooms want to look their best on their wedding day so exercise is vital. The guy wants the broad chest and shoulders so that the suit will look tailored. The girls will often want toned arms, for example. Again, if you can keep it as a structured thing: Monday, Wednesday and Friday for example – it is only an hour! So your body only really needs three hours of movement a week to be maintained. It is a pretty insane machine! Exercise will also lead to less stress.

EXERCISE TOGETHER as a couple. If you want to do your first dance, for example, that is a nice time for both of you to have a bit of fun and a giggle and actually exercise at the same time. A couple of hours of dancing – trust me, that’s a work-out!

Ten Pilates – Further Information

Individual classes start from £27.00.

Ten Pilates Bridal Package: designed to help you reach your goals and stay motivated:

30 classes = £900.00 (includes free consultation and six personal training sessions over three months).

20 classes = £600.00 (includes free consultation and four personal training sessions over two months).

10 classes = £300.00 (includes free consultation and 2 personal training sessions over one month).

Groom Him By The Luxury Channel

Husbands-to-be need to look their best too! Here are The Luxury Channel’s top tips on macho pampering – Premier Preening Parlours for Princely Perfection.

Groom Him

Jason Shankey Indulgence Package

Any man’s man will relish the fact that this cool den offers up Sky Sports HD, a putting green and a stash of games consoles – and he’ll beam at the complimentary chilled beer or single malt whisky he receives upon arrival. Then it’s down to business. First, a haircut followed by a hot towel wet shave using the high performance range of grooming products by Irish founder, Jason Shankey. This traditional barber shave includes a handy tutorial. Our tester listened intently to the expert ‘‘shave analysis,’’ showing him helpful ways to improve and speed up his steps without causing irritation or in-growing hairs. Then follows an intensive facial to deep cleanse skin and a tension releasing massage, finished off with a leg and foot massage and manicure.

£159 for The Indulgence Package.

Fulham in London, and also in Belfast.

Tel: 020 7386 3900

Gentleman’s Tonic

There’s plenty to choose from at this trendy urban grooming lair. After his wild and heavy stag weekend (we won’t divulge any more), our tester opted for The Hemingway; two hours of unadulterated body and mind salvation: a sense awakening aromatherapy facial followed by an invigorating massage. For guys who believe in ‘‘hair of the dog,’’ there’s a thirst quenching Bloody Mary waiting for you. We also recommend these fine packages: Day of Groom (wet shave and prep facial, hand treatment and Swedish massage) and Wedding Week (haircut and finish, hand treatment and a nourishing multi-vitamin facial). Check out The Valentino online – it’s a great gift for your Best Man.

£155 for The Hemingway.

Tel: 020 7297 4343

Mayfair, London. GT Spots also in Selfridges and Gieves & Hawkes and Houston, USA.

Brown’s London

This intimate Mayfair hotel spa is home to NuBo Ultimate Performance; a supersonic facial that’s set to buff you up in time for the big day. This powerful anti-ageing system starts with a strong yet gentle derma-peel that managed to uplift our tester’s skin and remove his stubborn blocked pores. A soothing, snooze-inducing acupressure therapy and an energising deep cellular skin treatment are also worked into your hour-long session. This is ideal for grooms with trouble skin who wish to encourage healthy skin metabolism and self-repair. We found our tester’s skin to be firmer, smoother and pretty much wedding-picture-perfect.

£100 for NuBo Ultimate Performance Facial.

Tel: 020 7493 6020

London. Also available in various parts of Europe.

Murdock London

These hip barber shops cleverly blend traditional wet shaves with cutting edge cuts and treatments to make this grooming joint especially slick. Men would do well to get in early on the special day (you will need about 90 minutes) and receive the Murdock Luxury Full Service; shampoo, haircut, luxury wet shave, head massage and shoe shine. If you don’t have the chance to make it in, take a peek at their range of products online. We can’t keep our hands off the signature Avalon cologne; a crisp, fresh, citrus scent that’s clean and modern with – as Murdock says – ‘‘a touch of the English dandy about it.’’

£90 for Murdock Luxury Full Service / £65 for Murdock Avalon Cologne.

Tel: 020 3393 7946

Spots in Shoreditch, Mayfair and Covent Garden, London.

The Greenwich Hotel By The Luxury Channel

We experience a little elemental wellbeing at the Shibui Spa….

Greenwich Hotel

The Shibui Spa is in the basement of the Greenwich Hotel, which emphasises the dark and sexy feel of the interior design. It has a city vibe enhanced by the elegant girls on reception and the utilitarian-cool gym filled with people in motion (although you hear nothing of their sweating and panting). The spa has a trendiness that could only come from a Robert DeNiro-owned New York hotel.

However, there is also a holistic and natural element due to the staff’s gentle manner and their immediate offering of an immune-boosting oil to be used during my massage (I chose metal – to detoxify and tone). This is definitely a place for pampering!

Their approach is one of thoughtfulness, guided through to their luxurious changing room and told to wait peacefully by their lantern-lit pool. Their philosophy is about restoring the body’s equilibrium, by drawing upon Eastern and Western techniques and tailoring them to specific city-dwellers needs.

The Elemental Wellbeing massage begins in the shiatsu room, where I have a ten-minute, private Japanese bath in a traditional ofuro tub. Here, I drink lots of water and confront my thoughts in a mineral-infused, black-tiled bath.

The next part of the treatment involved dry skin brushing towards the heart to encourage skin cell regeneration and to stimulate my lymphatic flow. The brush they use is better than the one I have in London and is made from Japanese palm plant. It hurts less but feels far more effective at livening up the epidermis.

Now ready for the deep tissue massage – my very purposeful yet compassionate masseuse began to ‘‘intentionally’’ apply the detoxifying oil. An hour and half later and I am back by the pool – so relaxed that I am positively meditative. Upstairs and out onto the streets of downtown New York, I feel refreshed and energised.

75 or 105 minutes (bath, dry brushing and massage).

Prices from $250 / $325.

Greenwich Hotel New York

3 nights in a Courtyard Room on a room only basis PLUS a 30 minute stress reliever massage per person & 30 minute facial per person = £634 per person. Based on two people sharing a room. For travel in low season.

For more information or to book an unforgettable tailor-made holiday with Quintessentially Travel to New York contact:

Tel: +44 845 224 6915

New York Spas By Reena Patel

Feel a million dollars by booking into these spas….

Phyto Universe: The Secret Beauty Garden

Phyto Universe

When in New York, there’s hardly a bad hair day in sight and we may have discovered why. Escaping the Manhattan buzz, immerse yourself in a tranquil world of natural and botanical beauty by Parisian hair care aficionados, Phyto. This scenic sanctuary features a breathtaking 3,000 square foot vertical garden, which houses 9,000 tropical plants to remind us of the brand’s philosophy. Spa guests enter a private cabana for a complimentary analysis using Phyto’s special ‘‘hair scope.’’ Once prescribed, professional hands begin their reparative treatment for stressed tresses, called The Thirst Quencher. Aromatic jojoba oil, sage and rosemary essential oils are massaged in to revive hair from the roots to the tips.

Spa at The Surrey: The New Beauty County

Spa at The Surrey

Not to be mistaken for being situated within the lush green borders outside of central London, this ultra-slick urban spa is in fact based in New York’s latest Upper East Side boutique hotel: The Surrey. Cleverly customised facial treatments using Darphin (such as the exclusive Rose and Pomegranate Age Reversal Facial) and Li’tya address various skin concerns. We love Li’tya’s Mala Mayi body rejuvenation experience, which involves two totally uninterrupted hours of traditional Australian Aboriginal inspired techniques. First, an Australian Desert Salt and Aromatic Oil scrub sloughs away your dead skin and then your therapist soothes your temples with an invigorating scalp massage. Your body is then cocooned in a layer of warm, mineral-rich Mapi Body Mud to give it a deep cleanse and your therapy is completed with an uplifting Kodo massage. The unique use of pressure-point therapy and rhythmical spiralling movements helps you to drift off into a dream-like realm.

The Peninsula Spa by ESPA: Rooftop Glamour

The Peninsula Spa by ESPA

Fifth Avenue shoppers can embrace the beauty of both the city’s skyline and ESPA’s aromatherapy haven when visiting The Peninsula Hotel and its stunning rooftop bar, Salon de Ning. We have to agree with Forbes’ Five Star rating for the one day ‘‘Spa-cation’’ package, which equips you with everything you need for a proper respite: an ESPA treatment of your choice, delicious bento-box lunch, plus use of the spa’s facilities, including a glass enclosed swimming pool, outdoor sun terrace and daily yoga and core classes. If you’re seeking an intimate retreat for two, the Private Spa Suite boasts a shared experience with a large luxurious steam shower and double whirlpool bath.

The Blonde In Winter By Antonia Pearce

Like clipped peacock feathers, the Winter blonde loses some of her sparkle. Antonia Pearce books an emergency appointment at Aldo Coppola….

Blonde in Winter

As if tarred with a dull splash of talcum powder, the Winter blonde is a sad creature. Loss of lustre and woeful glances at her holiday snaps – the blonde in Winter is best described as ash, dull, dry and brassy at best. There is something shameful about this moment in the cycle of the blonde’s year. Exposed, the blonde runs cloak and dagger into a trusted salon.

But where to go? The Luxury Channel’s (naturally) blonde editor checks out a hairdresser who knows how to bring back a blonde’s mojo!

The Art Director at Aldo Coppola, in London’s Sloane Avenue, is one of the best. Oscar Mercaldi takes to the hair like a wizard about to cook up a magical potion. Quiet in tone and quite intense in temperament – I whispered quickly that no cut was expected today – I wanted a golden touch and no streaks!

We wanted to move away from the blonde ‘‘zebra look’’ to achieve something that would gently infuse the hair with a sun-kissed, fluid feel. The most vital element was that the colour was not drying. Blonde hair, like blue eyes, is slightly more vulnerable than the darker variety. For example, a few highlights before my summer holiday had left me sobbing into my hairbrush as big clumps of my hair had to be cut out after swimming in the sea!

At Aldo Coppola, I felt in the best of hands. The Philippe Starck-furnished salon is renowned for its innovative ‘‘palming’’ and ‘‘spreading’’ of colour. The process (known as ‘‘Shatush’’) involves your hair being backcombed, with colour applied to the loose ends – and equates to less obvious re-growth and glowing tresses.

The speed at which Oscar completed this technique was impressive – the colour was applied with such a carefree approach, as if each tendril was an abstract painting! Speed does not mean a loss of finish (Oscar ensures that you get a natural, glowing look) but it does mean that winter blondes can get their magic back in a lunch break.

The blonde is back!

Futuristic Beauty By Reena Patel

Our pick of the best futuristic beauty products….

O2 Beauty


Oxygen facials continue to remain the buzz words in anti-ageing and when skin cries for help in January. This new at-home, two-step treatment by top dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt cleverly pumps skin with radiance you thought was long lost following festive over-indulgence. A thin layer of the foaming facial masque gets skin glowing as the delicate oxygen spheres mercifully sinks in. Rinse off and pat dry before you apply the protective detoxifying cream to purify and protect.

Dr. Brandt Detoxygen Experience, £63.
Available at Space NK and Selfridges stores.

Black Magic


The namesake may transport your mind to a popular box of chocolates but in fact, this sweet treat is for the feet. You will watch in marvel as some 500 Crystallised Swarovski elements are individually applied to drip your toes with a decadent rock edge. Nail art is set to be a micro-trend in beauty for the year ahead and this deluxe pedicure by Nails Inc. is sure to be a bit beauty hit.

Black Magic Crystal pedicure by Nails inc. £120.
Available at South Molton Street (020 7491 1155) and Harvey Nichols (020 7235 5000).

Super Serums


This is the world’s first serum with plant derived EGF – Epidermal Growth Factor, a biologically active protein that stimulates cell renewal. Previously extracted as a protein from animals, scientists in Iceland have discovered how to develop cellular activators made from plants (barley) and include it in their skin care. You only need 2-4 drops of this highly concentrated serum to improve skin cells at a deep level and help reverse signs of ageing, improve complexion and moisturise. Popular with the Scandinavians, this is definitely one to watch in the world of scientifically advanced skin care.

BioEffect EGF Serum, £125.

Fast Forward Fragrance


British perfumer Michael Boadi has created his own collection called Illuminum, which will certainly set the fragrance world alight. Described as ‘‘luxurious minimalism,’’ his scent Cashmere Musk beautifully matches the softer, understated style elegance of fashion trends to come. Imagine top notes of coconut and fresh greens and it sounds like a tropical salad, but then purple hyacinth, cashmere wood and amber soothe it into a sweet, light and wearable wonder.

Illuminum by Michael Boadi, £80.00 for 5ml.
Available exclusively at Harrods.

Lash Out


Burlesque beauty and dramatic theatrical looks are set to take centre stage. As all the new movies, shows and art pop up, you may want to steal a little of the limelight. If you want your inspired look to stay sophisticated with lavish glamour, try these premium hand-crafted false lashes designed by Eyelure. We love Selene, which is inspired by the Titan goddess of the moon. It features spotted cockerel feathers, moonlit Dorado crystals and the lash base is painted with 22 carat gold leaf for a fluttery, exquisite eye.

The Collection Opulence by Eyelure, from £125.
Available exclusively at Harrods.

It’s Electrifying!


Bold, bright pop art shades are hot for spring/summer. We predict the ‘‘it’’ colour this summer to be fuschia and have fallen for the latest Yves Saint Laurent collection. For a fast spring clean to your make-up kit, invest in the Rouge Pur Couture Le Fuschia Lipstick, Creme De Blush in No5 / Fuchsia Temptation, or No3/ Silky Praline to neutralise brighter tones used elsewhere. For a little shimmer, try the Touche Brilliance Sparkling Touch in No3 / Pink Quartz.

Yves Saint Laurent, from £21 per piece.

Wonder Oils


What a slick ingredient! The myths about oils causing greasy skin and spots have recently been debunked and we’re now embracing the beauty of them more than ever. Liberally apply them to your face, body and hair whenever it feels a little thirsty for total moisture lock-in, nourishment and repair. Dehydrated parts will soak up the benefits of using the Kerastase Elixir Ultime as a treatment and serum on the hair and Barefoot Botanicals Rosa Fina Secret Essence drops on the face and décolletage.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime, £32.72. Barefoot Botanicals Rosa Fina Secret Essence, £26.95.


Beauty on the inside is in and to realistically achieve this without being surrounded by temptation, you may need a quick escape to a well-being retreat. The Yeotox break at Yeotown in Devon, set on 50 acres of organic farmland, may be just what the detox doctor ordered. Here, you rejuvenate physically and mentally and get stuck in to vigorous outdoor activities such as coastal walking, combined with restorative tai chi and yoga sessions. To keep your body aches at bay while working out so hard, you receive daily massages and regular private consultations with Yeotown’s nutritionists.

Yeotox breaks at Yeotown, from £2,108 for one person in shared accommodation for 7 days.
Tel: 01271 328 581

Luxury Gift Directory For Women By Antonia Pearce and Reena Patel

The Luxury Channel previews the top womens’ luxury gifts for Christmas….

The Play of Light

Couture Lab

This winter, Kensington Gardens plays host to Anish Kapoor’s mirrored installations. Wear the essence of Kapoor’s work by investing in a Water Ring (Louise Guinness Gallery) this festive season. Set in 22kt yellow gold with a diamond cut exterior.

Bespoke for £4,405.00 at

Instant Retreat

Instant Retreat

Alla S has launched an audio retreat for all those wishing to find inner peace and joy this Christmas and beyond. It is an extraordinarily effective meditation CD that calms and soothes. An added bonus is its beautifying effects on the face – think glowing skin, brighter eyes and a more relaxed brow. This is the beauty secret of the season!

£24.99 at

Heart And Soul of The Party

Heart and Soul

The Ruby “Heart ‘n’ Soul” evening bag by Judith Leiber is embellished with red Austrian rhinestones. Snap open the push lock or carry the bag on the silver stone chain for the ultimate in party glamour.

£1,345.00 at

Master of Glass

Master of Glass

Luigi Benzoni is a master in glass sculpture, bronzes, painting, drawing and etching. Benzoni is a well-known personality in Venice and on the island of Murano. His work has been exhibited from Milan to Miami and from New York to The Hague. This gold glass sculpture will add strength and purpose to a room long after the Christmas decorations have been removed.

Saffron Interior Arts, rice on request –

Butterfly Magic

Butterfly Magic

This pretty butterfly candle-holder will bring delight to women of all ages. Ethereal yet structured, the shadow it creates is as beautiful and light as the construct itself. Made by Pier Lorenzo Salvone, famed for creating unusual hanging candle-holders and lamps.

Saffron Interior Arts, price on request –

Imperial Tresses

Imperial Tresses

This is an extremely expensive shampoo. However, the treatment has won numerous awards and taken the hair-world by storm. Its rich, restorative and colour-protective formula continues to infuse locks with instant life and brilliant shine. Just remember, we wear our hair everyday – so it makes sense for us to invest!

Philip B Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo, £100 –

The “Chenonceau”

The “Chenonceau”

This crocodile clutch with chain handle by Singapore designer Ethan Kow is a gem of a bag. The designer hand-picks luxury pelts from the same tannery that supplies couture names like Prada, Stefano Ricci and Testoni. His signature clutches and mini-audieres are softly constructed and daringly styled. Named after the French renaissance palace at Chenonceau, this crocodile-skin clutch projects a timeless glamour that’s always on-trend.

£1,565 at

The Show-Off Plate

The Show off Plate

Impress your guests with these Gingko-Leaf Cocktail Plates, by Sylvie Coquet. Nest of 4, hand-made and engraved porcelain plates are handmade at the designer’s Limoges atelier. Stack the pieces when not in use to form an exquisite two-tone nest.

£230 at

Creature Comfort

Creature Comfort

Book a festive weekend away at Hotel Le Bristol, Paris and meet the city’s most glamorous pet cat. Fa-raon is a sacre kitten from Burma, with majestic looks and an affectionate personality. She makes a perfect addition to the hotel team and glides around the courtyard and bar with all the elegance and know-how of a regular.

Everything Is Rosie

Everything is Rosie

Ila’s Beyond Organic, Glowing Radiance range has a heavenly scent and a rich oil base making it luxurious and feminine. Bath time becomes the ritual it deserves to be and skin feels hydrated and vital. The Face Oil is a ‘‘little miracle’’ product. Boys, buy this for the women in your life and you can do no wrong.

Texture Me


Women dreading winter feasting may like a date at Michelin starred restaurant Texture. The curious, creative dishes by award-winning Icelandic chef Agnor Sverrisson will leave your palette refreshed, engaged and indulged – and minus the guilty feeling that usually attaches itself to a very delicious meal! Try the organic smoked salmon to start, Gressingham Duck for main and Valrhona White Chocolate for dessert. The wine list is spectacular too!

Say It With Flowers

Say it with Flowers

Hiroyuki Arakawa is based in Tokyo and over the last 35 years, has photographed some of the most famous people in the world including Luciano Pavarotti, Keith Richards and Antonio Banderas. He began photographing “White Flowers” in honour of his mother – a master of Flower Arrangement and the Tea Ceremony. Hiro held his first exhibition of “White Flowers” in Tokyo in 2008 and has developed a loyal following around the world. “White Flowers” are the infinite reminder to us all of peace and a feeling that all is well with the world” – Hiroyuki Arakawa, Tokyo, 2010.

Saffron Interior Arts, price on request –

Glow Girl

Glow Girl

Benefit make-up is always a treat at Christmas. A particular favourite with 17-25 year olds, the range has a step-by-step guide for application newbies. The “Her Name Was Glowla” gift-set has the famous high-beam inside and bad girl lash for maximum impact. All you need to get a winter glow.

Writers In Black & White: Contemporary Authors Discuss The Writing Life

Black & White

Delve into the lives of famous authors with this beautiful coffee table book, a must-have for lovers of literature and photography. Two journalists and budding authors, Alanna Lynott and Solange Berchemin, tracked down and interviewed respected and established authors from a variety of genres, including Hanif Kureishi, Joanne Harris, Lee Child and Minette Walters. New writers can seek inspiration from this unique insight into the writing life, while anyone who loves to read will be intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes. The beautiful black and white photographs by Anne Mortensen will lend a touch of elegance to any coffee table.

Available from and all good bookshops.

Annabel’s Hamper

Annabel’s Hamper

A Christmas hamper with a seriously stylish pedigree. The wicker basket has been packed to the brim with goodies inspired by the legendary London members’ club: Annabel’s chocolate truffles, Sicilian pistachio biscuits, Foie Gras de Canard, Torroni Baci nougat and Panetonne as well as a book explaining and illustrating some of the club’s secrets (and secret recipes) with contributions from Lady Annabel Goldsmith and Sir David Tang.

£200 + delivery from or call 020 7499 6843.

No-One Says No To Tom

No one says no to Tom

A creamy pressed perfume, dark aubergine nail laquer and lush lip colour come together to create this glamorous party handbag trio. Like the Tom Ford Black Orchid fragrance, the balm blends rich dark floral accords with an alluring potion of black orchids and rich woods. Fantastic for the sophisticated fashionista.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Set, £90 –

Dragons of Walton Street Doll’s House

Doll's House

Is this the perfect present for the kid who has everything? We think so! Dragons of Walton Street have the ultimate doll’s house, complete with a working miniature plasma TV. Those are some seriously lucky dolls!

Dolls’ House £1,499, Mini plasma TV £140 –

It’s Wonder-oil

Wonder Oil

Aromatherapy Associates know good oils. These divine bath and shower oils are perfect for those in need of a deep slumber or a pick-me-up in times of need. Santa should pop these in every tired person’s stocking this Christmas.

Aromatherapy Associates Heavenly Oils, £14 –

The WOW Treatment

WOW treatment

Make your loved one feel like a star with this red-carpet-ready experience. Several trained experts work simultaneously to pamper you literally from head to toe. It starts with the exclusive Mist-ifying treatment (an invigorating and exfoliating scalp massage followed by a deep conditioner to nourish and repair hair), followed by a classic blow-dry for a healthy bounce. While your hair is styled to sparkling perfection, the professional therapists perform a deluxe manicure with deep tissue hand massage and pedicure with leg drainage massage, as well as elements of reflexology.

The Ultimate WOW Treatment at Neville Hair & Beauty, from £150 –

The Beauty Boost

Beauty Boost

This luxurious night cream brimming with powerful skin nutrients is the one to want on the dressing-table this winter. Its deep purple leather box with suede lining is pure indulgence.

Oskia Bedtime Beauty Boost, £115 –

The Luxury Gift Directory For Men By The Luxury Channel

Our pick of the best luxury gifts for men this Christmas….

Infiniti And Beyond

Infiniti, the Japanese luxury automotive manufacturer, has created a limited edition Infiniti Essence Sculpture. Inspired by their concept car, it is made of solid resin with only 300 units worldwide. Meanwhile, in a special collaboration with Louis Vuitton, a carrying case has been crafted for the transport and presentation of the Essence Sculpture. Unique and sexy – this is the ultimate in boy-toy gifting.

Sculpture: 220 Euros and made to order with Louis Vuitton case: $7000

A Delicious Dram

Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is one of the world’s rarest whiskies, with only 50 bottles being released this year. To taste, it’s initially sweet with a zesty orange marmalade and vanil