black and white image of a herd of elephants drinking from a watering hole
Female elephant with her calf in the African bush

Wildlife conservation is essential to the tourism industry in Botswana. Image by Cristy Zinn.

A holiday is not simply a time for rest and relaxation, it’s also about discovery and education, says Abercrombie & Kent Founder Geoffrey Kent in his latest column for LUX. Travellers and the tourism industry have a responsibility to protect the places they visit, and the wildlife

Cultural curiosity inspires travel. How better to understand the impact of a volcano than to visit Pompeii? Seeing Victoria Falls gives you a new understanding of how “the smoke that thunders” fuelled the imagination of the earliest explorers. And to truly comprehend the threat of extinction facing species as diverse as mountain gorilla, tiger, Asian elephant and rhino, you must see them in their natural habitats.

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This thirst for understanding can be harnessed in ways that have the potential to reshape our world. I am lucky enough to have worked hand in hand with visionary leaders to protect wilderness areas that are home to endangered species in order to preserve them for future generations.

In 1985, I met with the soon-to-be President of Uganda, General Museveni. Together we discussed how to protect their mountain gorillas while at the same time benefiting the local Batwa people. Museveni set aside a reserve area, and in return, A&K brought tourists to see them, establishing the first luxury camp. As a result, the gorillas were protected and became the focus of a burgeoning tourism economy. Thirty years later, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a safe haven for more than half of the world’s surviving mountain gorillas.

Gorilla walking through the jungle

Tourism has helped to protect the mountain gorillas of Uganda and their natural environment. Image by Mike Arney

Botswana offers a very different safari experience; an unusual combination of desert and delta with an immense concentration of wildlife, especially elephants. It is wild, pristine and expansive. His Excellency the President Seretse Khama Ian Khama made a commitment to develop the country in a sustainable manner — not with “a short-term approach that leaves nothing for the future”. Today some 34 per cent of the adult population works in tourism and wildlife, contributing to the conservation of fragile habitat and threatened species, as well as generating income and employment.

Read more: Hong Kong’s emerging fashion designers

Leopard lying on tree trunk with mouth slightly open

AKP runs conservation projects to protect both the wildlife and local culture. Image by Andy Brunner

To support these kinds of landscape conservation efforts, we established Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP). Our projects range from wildlife conservation to education and small enterprise initiatives. We save leopards in Sri Lanka by helping cattle farmers protect their herds overnight from predation. We support the Hansraj Children’s Home in India – a residential school that provides equal education opportunities for 100 girls including free education, books, meals, and clothes. We teach women in Botswana to repair and sell bikes, enabling them to feed and educate their children.

AKP has more than 40 projects on all seven continents, offering our guests a unique opportunity to meet local people making a difference through their commitment to protecting their country’s natural and cultural heritage.

I believe the travel and tourism industry should play an essential role in protecting wildlife by integrating sustainable practices into a triple bottom line of environmental, economic and social responsibility.

To learn more about Abercrombie & Kent’s philanthropic efforts and to find out how you can help visit:

Reading time: 2 min
Fashion model poses in skirt and shirt leaning back on a high stool

Fashion Hong Kong’s fresh talent Maison Vermillion

Fashion Hong Kong, a series of international promotional events organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), works much like the British Fashion Council to spotlight and support local emerging design talent.  Kitty Harris speaks to four of Fashion Hong Kong’s newest and freshest talents HEAVEN PLEASE +, HOUSE OF V, Maison Vermillion and METHODOLOGY who debuted at this year’s London Fashion Week


Answered by designers Lary Cheung & Yi Chan

“The HEAVEN PLEASE+ woman might not be the most outspoken yet she is expressive in her own way with the courage and desire to pursue her dreams and communicate her personality through her personal style. She is a lover of fashion (of course!) and also has an intrinsic interest in music, art, literature, culture, etc. Most importantly, HEAVEN PLEASE+ girls love themselves and love to love!”

“We love to work with lots of different fabrics – cotton, silk, rayon, satin, water-proof and memory fabrics, etc. Choosing materials can really help stimulate and channel creativity. The bolder the better!”

“We’ve really enjoyed travelling around the globe to present on incredible international stages, so we hope to continue our adventures, building brand awareness and adding to our network!”

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Answered by Designer Vickie Au

“The HOUSE OF V woman is always in search of high quality and prefers the ‘less is more’ approach. She appreciates simplicity and functionality, with an innate androgyny. Our girl also likes to show that they are at the cutting edge of fashion, with a very modern self-confidence.”

“Quality in fabrics is super important to us; we like to think we are meticulous in our approach. We work in close collaboration with local tailors to maintain effective and efficient methods of production and have a real love of luxury materials such as cashmere, wool, silk and thick Japanese rayon”

“Our dream for the future? To continue creating clothing of a very high standard – unique,high quality and original – with our signature geometric simplicity. We want our customers to continue expressing their personal style through our quietly confident pieces”

Maison Vermillion

Answered by Designer Dora Chu

“The Maison Vermillion woman is a genuine fashion lover – pursuing something different;feminine and romantic but with an unmistakable edge.”

“I love working with super feminine fabrics that have can charm and excite – my favourites have to be lace and brocade”

“We have a great foundation in place in the Far East so I would love to grow internationally over the coming seasons. It would be great to tap into new markets overseas to spread awareness of Chinese fashion and culture all over the world.”


Answered by Designer Glori Tsui

“We like to think that our customer is romantic, ‘funky’ and independent in her fashion thinking.”

“I love to work with textiles that embody contrasting textures – particularly tweed and jacquard for heavier collections. I also have a special fondness for feathers, which tend to punctuate our apparel and accessories collections.”

“My dream for METHODOLOGY is that we can eventually become a lifestyle brand – not only offering fashion but also other lifestyle products in collaboration with likeminded brands that span other categories”

Meet more of Fashion Hong Kong’s designers:

Reading time: 4 min
Painting of naked woman hugging a woman in a red dress by Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele, Mother and Daughter, 1913 © Leopold Museum, Vienna

It’s the 100th anniversary of Austrian painter, Egon Schiele’s death and despite his short life (he died at the age of 28), he was one of the singularly most influential artists of 20th century – alongside his friend and mentor Gustav Klimt – and today, his paintings are still the subject of intrigue and controversy.

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Unbelievably, a series of advertisements showing Schiele’s contorted nudes were rejected by Transport for London in 2017 for being too sexually explicit and were also blocked by the anti-nudity restrictions on Facebook – imagine the stir they must have caused a century ago!

The posters of the artworks in the underground were covered up by slogans reading, 100 years old but still too daring today #ToArtItsFreedom provoking questions of censorship and conservatism by pointing out just how little attitudes have changed. In many ways, it’s a repeat of discussions around the artist’s work in war-time Vienna; many considered the Schiele’s paintings to be pornographic or ‘degenerate art’.

Black and white photograph of Egon Schiele with one of his paintings

Anton Josef Trcka, Egon Schiele next to his 1913 painting “Encounter”, which is now lost, © Leopold, Private Collection

The Jubilee Exhibition at the Leopold Museum has no such scruples, displaying a vast range of the artist’s paintings including images of young girls and his famous nudes, which are charged with sexuality, vitality and torture.

Read next: Spring weekends in Paris: Le Corbusier, Monet & true decadence

Self portrait painting of Egon Schiele in striped shirt by Austrian artist Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Striped Shirt, 1910 © Leopold Museum, Vienna

But it’s not all bare skin and open legs: Schiele also produced a body of poetic work, which were designed almost as graphic works of art, focusing on similar topics to his paintings with a similar kind of distorted quality, using strange word combinations and syntax to create a particular kind of atmosphere.  The originals of Schiele’s poems form part of the Leopold collection and whilst they might not display the same kind of mastery as his paintings, it’s a fascinating insight into a complex and energetic mind (providing you speak German…).

Millie Walton

‘Egon Schiele: The Jubilee Show’ runs until 4 November 2018 at the Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Vienna


Reading time: 1 min
red and gold luxury bedroom with decadent silk curtains and chandelier

A decadent Junior Suite at the Saint James Hotel, Paris

Paris is by no means a new luxury destination – the international city of love is home to the world’s best restaurants, haute couture and the avant-garde art scene – and yet its charm never gets old. Digital Editor Millie Walton ventures into one of the city’s lesser known neighbourhoods, alongside the Bois de Boulogne, to re-discover Le Corbusier, Monet and the lasting allure of authentic French decadence 

It hasn’t felt much like Spring the last few weeks in London and when we arrive in Paris, it seems Spring hasn’t arrived there yet either. It’s lightly, prettily snowing, in a way that’s so picturesque, it feels as if we’ve stepped inside a snow globe, but still it’s cold, bitterly so and we’re pleased to cocoon ourselves in the warmth of Saint James’ hotel for lunch at the one Michelin star, The Restaurant. However, in Paris, Michelin stars are scattered so densely across the city that it’s not really the accolade that stands out, but rather – and rightly so – the service, the atmosphere, that irresistible aura of je ne sais quoi.

Grand interiors of the Michelin starred restaurant at Saint James Hotel Paris

The Restaurant, headed by Chef Jean-Luc Rocha

It helps, on a day like this, that The Restaurant, like the rest of the hotel, is snugly grand as opposed to cool minimalist with dark walls, warm bulbs, velvets, silks and portraits of buxom ladies hanging on the wall. It feels oh so Parisian and decadent, and even without dining it would be an experience to sit and observe the well dressed guests arriving to be seated with their Chanel handbags perched on their own cushioned stalls alongside the table. Lunch is hotel guests only, so it’s quieter, more relaxed; we’re greeted by Chef Jean-Luc Rocha who recommends the escargots with souffléd crepes as his favourite dish (it happens to be ours too), along with the lobster and chestnut ravioli to start followed by scallops cooked in saffron-flavoured risotto and the filet of turbot. Each mouthful is bursting with flavour, rich, delicate and precisely the right portion sizes so that we’re satisfied rather than overwhelmed. Halfway through the meal, we’re joined by Pilou, the hotel’s resident black cat, who swirls round our legs and then curls up on a velvet bench in a corner. An enviable life he must lead – we’re almost tempted to do the same, to retreat to the spa then to our suite, but later, later, we’re here to explore.

Black cat sitting with a red collar and green eyes

Pilou, the hotel’s resident feline roams freely throughout the property. Image by James Houston

Le Corbusier’s Villa La Roche was designed in 1925 as a resident for Swiss banker Raoul La Roche, who was also a collector of avant-garde artwork and the residence was designed as both gallery and home. It’s located in a lesser-known – or at least lesser to tourists – neighbourhood and it takes us a few loops to find our way, down an alleyway and through the door at which we’re stopped to pull plastic slips over our shoes, like at the Taj Mahal, which might seem like an odd comparison but to many architects and aesthete’s this villa is one of the ultimate monuments to modern housing. The interiors are playful and flowing with a curved sweeping walkway leading to an upper gallery, dark grey, lucid blue and pale sienna walls and cut out sections that serve as platforms and frames. The house leads you through a very particular kind of spatial experience, culminating in the rooftop terrace from which we gaze over the Parisian rooftops, puffing clouds of breath like a line of small human chimneys.

Close by too is Musée Marmottan Monet, which houses the greatest collection of Monet’s paintings worldwide – from his earlier years to the development of his signature style, the famous water lily scenes – as well as various temporary exhibitions. There’s something particularly special about standing in front of a Monet in a 19th century mansion in Paris, it feels right and proper and yet, we’re disappointed by the lighting (a mistake by the museum) which casts an usual glare over some of the more delicate pieces, slightly disturbing their enchanting atmosphere.

man with face glowing in a bright bulb inside a minimally decorated room

A curious visitor inside Villa La Roche. Image by James Houston

Outside the snow has settled – nature’s art-  so we wander back to the hotel on foot; about a 30 minute brisk walk that takes us by the Eiffel Tower and whilst many French artists and aestheticians of the late 19th century – including writer Guy de Maupassant who reportedly at lunch in the tower’s restaurant every day for years so that he didn’t have to see the structure itself – despised the monument, it’s always a delight to see and I’m filled with a childish kind of excitement. ‘Can we come back at night?’ I beg my travelling companion who agrees no trip to Paris is complete without seeing the tower at least a handful of times day and night, even if it is freezing and the snow has turned to sleet.

We thaw our frozen limbs back in the hotel’s library bar with a glass of Bailey’s before disappearing into the fairy-tale romance of our royal red and gold suite. Springtime in Paris, snow or not, is brimming with aesthetic delights and real decadence; we’re thirsty for more.

Stay at Saint James Paris from €390 per night (approx. £ 350 /$ 500) for a Boudoir Room. 

Reading time: 4 min
Wooden balcony overhanging a lush green mountainside with the ocean in the distance

Blue skies and sunshine: springtime is picture perfect in the Canary Islands

Why should I go now?

Spring sounds good in theory, but in much of the northern hemisphere it means grey and cold as business as usual. Europeans still need to fly long haul to have guaranteed warm sunshine – or do they? The Canary Islands are beautifully toasty at this time of year, and never too hot, although you have to choose carefully: the rain in this part of Spain can sometimes arrive on windward hillsides.

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This is where the Ritz-Carlton Abama comes in. Built in the style of a Moorish palace, on a steeply raking mountainside dropping into the Atlantic, it is on the sunniest, southwest facing coast of Tenerife, which also happens to be entirely unspoiled by the overdevelopment in other parts of the island. To one side, banana plantations rise up relentlessly towards the peak of Mount Teide, a snow-capped volcano which at nearly 4000m is as high as most of the significant Alps. To the other, the mountainside plunges off a cliff and onto a semi-private white sand beach on a protected cove, facing the wild volcanic island of La Gomera.

Pink domed roof of a building and the ocean seen through a window

Views through a window of the Ritz Carlton Abama Citadel and the volcanic island of La Gomera

Monarch butterflies flutter hello as you wander through the resort’s endless tropical gardens; Margaritas are mixed and and ice-cold draft beer is on tap next to all of the seven pools (and the beach); and the place is so spaced-out that you never feel overcrowded – and end up feeling very pleasantly spaced-out yourself.

What’s the lowdown?

The pool and beach action, or inaction, should be enough for anyone wanting a decompression from a long winter deal-making season. We enjoy sitting on a balcony facing out over the sea, looking at the ominous mountain shapes on Gomera turn a deep blue-green as the sun sets behind them and disappears, and a panoply of stars emerges – Tenerife is one of the best spots in the world for star-spotting, as it is so clear of pollution and light pollution.

But there is an enormous amount to do for active types: the hotel has its own championship golf course on the dizzying slopes leading up the volcano, with a vertical gain so dramatic that it can be noticeably chilly on the uppermost holes while the resort basks in sunshine. There are numerous tennis courts (and a tennis academy), a kids’ club with an extensive outside area and mini football/rugby pitch surrounded by tropical flowers, a series of interconnected ponds and water features filled with hundreds of decorative Koi carp, and then there’s the dining.

swimming pool surrounded by plush white sunbeds

The imperial terrace and swimming pool

Two of the hotel’s restaurants have Michelin stars, an exceptional achievement this far from the coast of Africa; M.B is run by celebrated Basque chef Martín Berasategui, and Kabuki is an outpost of two renowned Madrid restaurants of the same name and outdoes either for both cuisine and location. Situated halfway up the golf course, Kabuki has a terrace with dramatic views down over the resort and the ocean, and a Japanese menu tinged with touches of the local – local catches are used for the sushi and sashimi, and flavoursome Canary mini-potatoes integrated into the menu. The wine list is rich with hard-to-find small grower champagnes.

Read more: Luxury chalets and high altitude adventure in Chamonix

Our favourite restaurant of all, though, is not Michelin starred; it is the Mirador, an eagle’s nest situated on top of a cliff plunging straight down into the ocean. On the terrace, you feel like you are floating over the sea, and Mirador is so celebrated for its paellas that it runs its own school, teaching clients how to cook the perfect blend of lobster, mussels, clams, local fish, saffron, and al dente rice.

Getting horizontal

Rooms are large, and simply but tastefully furnished in keeping with the semi-tropical setting, with marble floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and furniture and artefacts from west Africa, the nearest continent. Pay more for a room with a view out over the ocean.

Luxury hotel room with a balcony

A deluxe, adults only room in the Tagor Villas with an ocean view


If you’re travelling without kids and choose to dine within the family-friendly hotels in the centre of the complex, you might find more children around you than you care for; but otherwise, there are adult-only pools, and zones, and so much space around the grounds and facilities that you never feel overrun by other people’s offspring, unlike in many resorts at peak season. And outside peak season, you’ll have the place and views to yourselves. And while some rooms inside the main block have restricted views, if you choose a Villa in the grounds, you can walk out of your living room into your own gardens and pool area.

All in all, you could fly to the Caribbean or Indian Ocean and not have vistas, cuisine, and facilities to match. Believe us, we’ve done it.

Rates: From €245 + tax ( approx. £200 / $300 )

Darius Sanai

Reading time: 4 min
Audience members at the launch of oxford university student magazine, including Bernard O'Donoghue

Irish poet and academic, Bernard O’Donoghue spoke about literary journalism at the launch of the latest issue

The Oxford Review of Books (ORB) was founded last year at Oxford University and is a celebration of culture featuring an impressively high calibre of essays, interviews, short fiction and poetry. An issue of the magazine is published every Oxford term under the leadership of a new student team. One of the editors of the latest issue, Hugo Murphy tells LUX about the publishing process, the challenges faced and well-earned celebrations.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work on the Oxford Review of Books this term. It has also been a lot of fun. As a publication that models itself on journals like the TLS and LRB, the ORB aims to provide a unique space at the University of Oxford for long-form journalism, publishing student-written book reviews, cultural and political essays, interviews, personal diaries, poetry, and short fiction. As such, there are an alarming number of plates to keep spinning at any given time – an undertaking happily shared between four general editors, and a wider editorial team of 12.

Oxford student magazine editors pose for photo in waterstones bookshop

The Hilary Term editors of the ORB: Billie, Oliver, Clarissa and Hugo

The ORB goes to print once a term (three times a year), and the long and meticulous editorial process starts early. The editors for this issue – four English undergraduates across the University: Oliver, Billie, Clarissa, and myself – hit the ground running in early December, calling for original and thought-provoking pitches, casting our net as widely as possible. We commissioned a wide range of 20-or-so pieces, covering topics that ranged from filmmaking in Iran to computer-generated literature, Gordon Brown to Mary Beard.

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The next few months saw these articles undergo a rigorous editorial process, some of them evolving through upwards of ten separate drafts. Between all this writing ad re-writing, we hosted a successful poetry and short fiction evening, and even managed to find time for a mid-term pit-stop, with twenty-plus team members and contributors coming together for an evening at the pub.

Laughing audience seating and standing in book shop interiors

A rapt audience, including former editors Katie and John, at the March launch of the ORB in Waterstones

Once all content was ready, we (the four editors) laid-in the magazine alongside a graphic designer. This, as expected, was a week-long, gruelling slog, punctuated in equal parts by tutorial essays, salty snacks, and despair; but the pressures, frustrations, and general misery of the process were all enjoyed in fantastic company. And everyone’s toil was rewarded with the elation of reading hard copies of the magazine for the first time, as well as celebrating the term’s work at our launch.

Author Victoria Hislop standing in book shop in front of audience

Author Victoria Hislop presents the prize for the Fiction Competition

While only set up in the summer, the first three issues of the ORB have enjoyed a large following across the University – something that we were reminded of at this issue’s launch, which was hosted in the top-floor café of Waterstones Oxford in early March. Guests numbering close to 200 enjoyed wine and nibbles as they leafed through copies of the new issue and listened to brief talks given by bestselling author Victoria Hislop and award-winning poet Bernard O’Donoghue.

Read more: Art auctioneer Simon de Pury on artistic philanthropy

It proved a fantastic send-off for this term’s team, and another important landmark in the growing strength of the publication. I have been incredibly fortunate to meet and work with many inspiring people in and around the ORB, and I’ll miss the regular meetings enormously. The new team – spearheaded by one of this issue’s editors, Billie – is set to move onto only bigger and better things. Rumour has it the June issue is already in the pipeline.

Reading time: 3 min
celebrity guests arriving at gala in cannes underneath sculpture
Actress Kate Upton on the red carpet at Cannes

Kate Upton at the 2017 amfAR Gala Cannes

Charity art auctions are taking off around the world, and for the best and worst of reasons, says Simon de Pury, himself the world’s leading philanthropic auctioneer

Portrait of world renowned art auctioneer, Simon de Pury

Simon de Pury

In times past, the main philanthropic efforts in the art world used to be confined to the US, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is fiscal encouragement for individuals to make charitable donations in the US, which is not the case in Europe. And more importantly it is an integral part of the entrepreneurial educational philosophy in the US, that if you are successful, you give back.

Any successful person in any area in the US is expected to have one or two causes to which they contribute some of the fortune they have made. But over the past 10 years, things have changed. More and more wealth has been created around the world, and the art market has consequently become more global. This means I have witnessed efforts in philanthropy around the world increasing dramatically.

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It is very gratifying to see, and in many cases to be involved with, cultural institutions that organise regular fundraising events. We also see increasing numbers of organisations of friends of museums, whose main task is to raise funds for philanthropic and charitable causes. In some cases, these are to benefit the institutions themselves; and in others, funds are raised for important causes that are not adequately funded through governments.

Perhaps the ultimate art philanthropist is Maja Hoffmann, who has devoted so much energy to the new LUMA Foundation in Arles; designed by Frank Gehry, it is going to become a cultural art centre of major importance. She also funded the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles; and she is a donor to MoMA and the New Museum in New York, and the Kunsthalle in Zurich. She supports these institutions not just in financial terms, but also by putting together sophisticated programs. She is a shining example.

celebrity guests arriving at gala in cannes underneath sculpture

The amfAR 2017 Gala in Cannes

Then there is the growing area of non-cultural philanthropy, one in which the art world is becoming increasingly involved. It’s not a recent development (although it has been growing exponentially recently) . The art world was the first to mobilise in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when Thomas Ammann, an art-dealer friend of Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, set up amfAR, which has raised great amounts of money over the years.

What is striking about the art world is that some artists have themselves made significant donations. Damien Hirst donated a beautiful golden mammoth which Len Blavatnik bought for $16m at the amfAR auction in Cannes in 2014. It’s now at the Faena hotel on Miami Beach and something of an Instagram magnet. It also happens to be one of best works in the Damien Hirst oeuvre. Hirst is the most generous artist I know; he has donated many millions of dollars’ worth of art to various charities over the years. Tracey Emin is also immensely generous, as is Chuck Close, who never holds back in supporting causes close to his heart. There are many others, too; artists these days are solicited on a daily basis to donate works to various causes.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna pose backstage

Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna at the 4th Annual Saint-Tropez Gala organised by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 2017

There is one lingering anomaly, at a time when we should all be highly concerned about the future of the planet: the fact that only three per cent of global charitable donations go to environmental causes. Leonardo DiCaprio is leading the way in devoting time and energy to raising awareness of the poor state of the oceans and other environmental issues, and I have had the honour of being auctioneer at the four large charity auctions he has organised in St-Tropez over the past four years.

Read more: One-of-a-kind designs by talented artisans at Baku Corner

David Beckham posing in a black tuxe and bow tie

David Beckham arriving at the 2017 amfAR Gala

What is significant about these auctions is that they include works by artists such as Jeff Koons, Urs Fischer and George Condo, many of whom donate very substantial works. In 2016, of the 20-odd works on sale during the live auction, 15 were donated and 12 of them set new auction records. This shows that people are not simply buying art at these auctions as a charitable act – they are buying top works, which makes it sustainable and gives it extra purpose. Leonardo manages, through his status, not only to obtain top donations, but also to bring in potential purchasers from all over the world. In that tent in St-Tropez on the gala evening, there is a greater concentration of money than at the big auctions in New York.

What is increasingly extraordinary about these events is how global the audience is now. High net-worth individuals are coming from all over the world, with more and more attending from Russia, the former eastern bloc, the Middle East, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Latin America and all over Africa. It has really become a global effort.

All of this also raises awareness, and once awareness spreads it becomes easier to raise funds. Offices that look after HNIs all now have specialists in philanthropy to advise their clients how they can help. People are getting drawn in for different reasons. Some people pay for the artworks because they just want the artwork. But increasingly individuals want to take responsibility because governments are not. One of the reasons philanthropy was initially more widespread in the US is that most institutions there depend on private donations, there being no public funding. In Europe, public budgets used to be much bigger, but with cuts, individuals have had to step in.

You can also see this with the instant mobilisation that takes place when something happens, for example the recent refugee crisis. Some artists are galvanized into action by such crises – Ai Weiwei has made a movie and marched on the streets of London together with Anish Kapoor. It’s the future.

Simon de Pury is an art auctioneer and collector and the founder of de Pury de Pury. Read more of his columns for LUX here.

Reading time: 5 min

Baku Corner was launched by Leyla Aliyeva, vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Founder of IDEA Public Union as a non-profit project designed to support the work of local Azerbaijani artisans and talented craftspeople from across the globe. The online boutique stocks a collection of beautifully curated fair-trade products, and a line of Aliyeva’s own striking designs. We love the bright colours and bold, quirky patterns. Here we select six unique pieces from LUX’s wish-list.

This iPhone cover is one of our favourite designs, featuring a detailed drawing by Leyla Aliyeva of a monochrome panther with bewitching emerald eyes.

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This floral silk scarf illustrated with artwork by Leyla Aliyeva fits with this season’s penchant for bright, clashing colours combined with delicate fabrics.

This structural basket bag is handmade in Colombia from sugar cane and decorated with ‘Molas’, colourful fabric which is sewn with a reverse-appliqué technique to create an intriguing textured effect.

The ‘Eclipse’ hat is also made by Colombian artisans utilising traditional materials and techniques to weave an intricate pattern that’s made all the more pretty with a cut out back.

From Leyla Aliyeva’s home collection, this stunning cushion cover features different illustrations on both sides so that you can flip it over and transform the room.

This loose weave alpaca scarf in cherry red is both cosy and stylish, best worn with statement artisanal jewellery (as above).

Reading time: 3 min
luxury chalet collection Les Rives d’Argentière, Chamonix in winter

Les Rives d’Argentière, a hamlet of five-star chalets in the village of Argentière, Chamonix

For centuries, Chamonix has been the prime alpine resort for those seeking adventure luxury travel with a heady mix of challenging skiing, glaciers, designer boutiques and five-star hotels. Digital Editor Millie Walton travels to the lesser known village of Argentière, a twenty minute drive from the main town and home to the valley’s most luxurious collection of chalets, to discover where adventure and luxury meet

That feeling you get when you wake up early on the first day of skiing is, for me at least, the nearest I ever get to the giddy excitement I felt as a child on Christmas morning. It’s a restless, wide-eyed kind of anticipation and on the way to Flégère, one of Chamonix’s most scenic and slightly easier ski areas (although no skiing in Chamonix is exactly easy), the excitement is almost palpable. We’re silent as the driver opens the door and hands us our skis, poles and passes. We’ve been warned that the visibility is bad, which is hard to believe in the valley where it’s sunny and relatively clear, but the warning makes us even more edgy and impatient to begin.

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At the top of the cable car, we’re met with gale force winds that pull us from side to side in a drunken swagger, making the experience of waking in ski boots feel even stranger and more space like. Most of the pistes are closed, the wind howling in our ears, stinging our faces, biting into bare skin. My ski partner looks at me and points warily at a red avalanche sign with one pole, a gesture that’s perfectly timed with the boom of the canon and the thundering rumble of snow. And yet, there’s something especially exhilarating about skiing in extreme conditions, when there’s a sense that you’re on the fringes of real, raw adventure. We push off down the run, carving through thick powder, gathering speed and arrive at the lift, panting, laughing. It’s worth everything for that (and a timely break for vin chaud).

Skiiers descending the famous off-piste route, Vallée Blanche in Chamonix

World famous off-piste skiing: Vallée Blanche, Chamonix

Sadly, the mountain is closed after a couple of hours – the weather’s too extreme – and whilst it’s not quite long enough, it’s something, and we return to Les Rives d’Argentière with our cheeks still flushed, snow dripping from our hair. The pretty hamlet of luxury chalets sits snugly in the little village of Argentière, facing south towards Mont Blanc. We’re in the biggest of the four, Chalet Terre which has a capacity of 14, but is by far the cosiest with rustic, tribal inspired furnishings, a log fire, a sleek open plan kitchen (re-stocked daily with drinks and snacks), five en-suite bedrooms, a games room in the basement and a hot tub, sunken into the snow on the terrace.

Read more: Geoffrey Kent on the rise of adventure luxury travel

The chalets also share an underground walkway with a sauna, hammam, fitness suite, massage rooms and cinema, and it means that if you happen to be renting the whole hamlet, you don’t have to trudge through the snow to pay the rest of the group a visit. That afternoon we’re booked in for treatments with Chamonix’s star masseuse Ruth Martin, who uses her fascination with the inter-relationship between psychology and physiology to create a truly bespoke experience that’s as relaxing as it is deeply therapeutic.

Chamonix railway alongside the Mer de Glace glacier

The Montenvers Railway winds up the mountain alongside the Mer de Glace to a viewing point at 1913 m

Most people who choose Chamonix over resorts such as St. Moritz or Zermatt, choose it for the extreme sports (the first Winter Olympics were hosted by Chamonix in 1924); the notorious off-piste skiing route Vallée Blanche, the Mer de Glace, Aiguille du Midi (a 3,777m terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding alps), and ‘A Step into the Void’, a glass cage that hangs over 1000m precipice. It’s a ski resort that’s primarily about the sport and not the après, and because of that it tends to attract a slightly more adventurous clientele, who are by no means less deep pocketed – wander through Chamonix town and almost all of the shops are designer or artisan and there’s a multitude of smart restaurants.

Les Rives d’Argentière chalet interiors, open plan dining and kitchen area

The warm, blonde wood interiors of one of Les Rives d’Argentière’s chalets

One evening, we’re treated to a wine tasting menu in the chalet with an excellent and varied wine selection by Le Verre Gourmand, who are renowned suppliers of the top chalets in the alps. The food is not quite as refined as one would expect, and disappointingly doesn’t take advantage of the Alpine ingredients and traditional recipes, which are done so well and with so much elegance in the bistro style restaurants in town, but the service is warm and thoughtful.

Secluded in its own little world of luxury, Les Rives d’Argentière has all the advantages of a five-star resort, with the added allure of privacy and bespoke service that makes a day of adventures slightly less daunting.

Reading time: 4 min

Interiors of the Kering headquarters in Paris

Luxury groups like Gucci owner Kering (Paris headquarters pictured) are adapting to a fresh wave of consumer demand

Fashion and luxury brands need to transform they way they work, think and create to thrive in a new era of luxury consumers, where creativity is king – but just not in the way it was
Luxury goods expert and partner at Bain & Company’s Milan office, Claudia D'arpizio headshot

Claudia D’Arpizio

Touchpoints are becoming more important for the luxury industry. In fact, consumers are becoming more important for the industry. In the past, while the desire for luxury products was very high, it was fuelled by the creation of an aspiration that was mainly ostentation, or showing off social or financial status – this is an over-simplification, but indicative.

And the marketing formula was to create a big desire for these products; and ownership was also being part of a specific circle of people that were, in a way, selected. It was very elitist. Now, consumers are really asking for larger territories of conversation. We can now call aspiration ‘post-aspiration’ because status symbolism is no longer the driver for buying these products. Brands need to enrich the territories of conversation and to pick up the values of the next generation of consumers.

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To do so, they need more channels of communication; and so different touchpoints are playing a very important role. Digital touchpoints are playing an important role and the transaction, per se, is losing interest. Brands really need to create a dialogue that starts much before the purchase, that continues after the purchase, and that creates an ongoing dialogue and conversation with the consumer.

In the past, consistency was very important, meaning all the stores looked the same, all the communication and the valued pillars were very rigid and analytical. Now, brands need to be a platform and express creativity. Consumers want to be surprised and engaged but perhaps they will not be surprised if they only see an environment that always looks the same.

Consumers are looking for authenticity, but they are also looking for different sets of values and attributes, which makes it more and more difficult for marketing strategy at this time, because brands have to have crystal-clear DNA and packaging, and understand the degrees of freedom, and understand who in the organisation can leverage these degrees of freedom across the different touchpoints. This is a very challenging organisational issue with the evolution of the consumers.

Read more from the LOVE Issue: Jean-Claude Biver on why luxury watches are about the experience

The product, meanwhile, is still important, but it is not enough. The exquisite quality of a product is a given for luxury brands. The level of creativity is super-important and an essential element and touchpoint. But the creativity should not just be channelled through the product. Brands need to channel their creative across other touchpoints, through communication and social media strategy, telling a story through different chapters and maintaining engagement with the consumer.

Image of Gorden Wagener chief design office of Daimler from Sensual Purity: Gorden Wagener on Design published by Condé Nast

Experiences are the new luxury. Image courtesy of Condé Nast, publisher of Sensual Purity: Gorden Wagener on Design. Photographer: Jonathan Glynn-Smith

With this disruption, it is probably easier to attract the attention of consumers if you are an emerging brand, because you can become more relevant within a shorter period of time through creative ways of communicating. The product is still very important though and established players from big organisations can really keep up momentum across different touchpoints. Barriers to entry are being pulled down, but keeping pace and elevating the continued desire of consumers can be very demanding.

Meanwhile there is a generational shift in the creative directorship of the fashion and luxury industry that has only just started, and of which we will see more and more. New brands that are managed by millennials are changing the rules of the game, or starting a completely new one, influencing the entire sector.

Read more: Poet Yomi Sode on Slam Poetry’s authentic essence

In the last couple of years there has been a transformational element. There has been a big churn of creative directors and senior management, because a shake-up was probably needed for every company to engage their organisation in the required transformation. These changes have just started. And we will see a lot of convergence in cinema, in film production, TV production and the editorial industry in general, because the intangible element will be as important as the tangible. Creativity will be reshaped across the creative industries.

On the other hand, creativity is still very fluid in terms of age and generation and this is another key aspect of these times. We have different generations behaving the same way, we have different genders behaving similarly about certain topics. We also have fluidity in terms of the social construct.

It is a very liquid society and the luxury sector will become more and more segmented. But, as they adapt, brands need to understand their consumers and always remain true and authentic to their DNA.

Claudia D’Arpizio is a partner at Bain & Company’s Milan office and an expert in the luxury goods industry

Reading time: 4 min