Alpine village of Andermatt in winter
Alpine village of Andermatt in winter
Up next in the exciting new development of Andermatt Swiss Alps? A state-of-the-art concert hall and artworks by a Swiss graffiti artist

At first glance, it might not seem like the most likely pairing: hip, Swiss graffiti artist Ata Bozaci with Andermatt Swiss Alps, the mountain village south of Zurich that over the past nine years has been gradually developed into a world-class, year-round destination resort. Yet Bozaci (who is known for working under the pseudonym ‘Toast’ and counts the late, legendary German photographer Gunter Sachs among his collectors) has been tasked with putting his artistic spin on Eisvogel, the latest apartment house currently under construction in the resort’s Holiday Village Andermatt Reuss.

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The house (which is due for completion in 2019) will be split into a series of smart studios aimed at younger urbanites. Smaller units are planned in a way that makes use of every square metre of space, plus residents can relax in the spa, socialise at the in-house bar and hang out in the communal kitchen, dining and chill-out zone – which is where Bozaci’s distinctive graphics come in. Similarly to the other apartment houses in the holiday village, owners here can also benefit from a specially developed rental concept that encourages them to generate income (and keep the place feeling lively) when they are away.

From the outset, Holiday Village Andermatt Reuss has been at the heart of this £1.3billion development project, encompassing around 500 apartments, 28 exclusive chalets and a handful of hotels including five-star, Jean Michel Gathy-designed, The Chedi Andermatt. An international architectural competition led to 30 global architects (including Kurt Aellen, Itten+Brechbühl and Soliman Zurkirchen) being selected to design the 42 apartment houses and hotels. Of those already sold, 50% have been snapped up by international buyers – many of them British, German and Italians – making the most of the exemption from both the Swiss Second Home Law and the Lex Koller legislation, which restricts the acquisition of real estate by non-Swiss residents.

Some, such as apartment house Alpenrose (due for completion this winter) are set around the main Piazza Gottardo, with its high-end restaurants, cafés and boutiques (other apartment houses are positioned just behind the square). Cleverly combining an alpine-inspired facade that integrates harmoniously into a traditional Swiss village with contemporary interiors, Alpenrose houses 20 apartments, from 50 square metres up to 146. Many have a glazed corner bay that provides excellent views of the surroundings, while maisonettes on the top floors come with their own sauna.

Developments in the swiss village of Andermatt

Render of ski chalet in Andermatt in the Swiss Alps

Andermatt’s redevelopment includes new apartment houses, hotels and chalets

Another important addition when it opens this season will be the Gotthard Residences: around 100 apartments, each with the added bonus of hotel services provided by Radisson Blu. Owners of the apartments, ranging from one-bedroom residential units to spacious multi-bedroom apartments and luxurious penthouses, will have complimentary access to the Radisson Blu fitness and wellness centre for the first three years, plus use of a ski locker in the hotel’s fully equipped ski room as well as a concierge on hand 24 hours a day. The Radisson Blu itself will also have six meeting rooms and a conference hall for more than 500 guests – making it an appealing venue for businesses throughout the year.

The process of realising Holiday Village Andermatt Reuss continues to have a positive impact on the local economy, with a 65 percent upswing in construction industry employment (this looks set to continue, with growth predicted in the hospitality, trade and service sectors). The number of overnight stays in the Urseren Valley has also increased massively: in 2016, the numbers reached 100,000 for the first time, and are expecting to hit 260,000 by 2022. This would place Andermatt at the scale of destinations such as Flims-Laax; with further expansion steps, the scale of Engelberg, Arosa or Grindelwald could be reached.

Of course, buyers are flocking here for the stunning natural beauty of the place. From blossoming pastures in summer for hiking and biking to the snow-blanketed mountains in winter, Andermatt Swiss Alps offers something for anyone who appreciates the appeal of fresh air and rural landscapes. Adventurous hardcore skiers come for the excellent powder, black runs and off-piste challenges of the Gemsstock Mountain; others make the most of ice-climbing at Göschenen and the ice-rink in Andermatt.

Read more: Photographer Hossein Amirsadeghi’s book launches at Hatchard’s

Now though, there is a handful of new sporting and cultural additions designed to draw in even more crowds. For starters, there’s the Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course (named Swiss Golf Course of the Year in 2017 for the second year in a row). Ranked among the Top 100 Golf Courses of the World with a rating of five stars, the Scottish-flavoured course, designed by the renowned German golf course architect Kurt Rossknecht, is over six kilometres long and meets international tournament standards. It comes with a modern clubhouse, The Swiss House, which doubles up as a hub for cross-country skiers in winter.

Not to mention a busy events calendar featuring the annual Bike Festival Andermatt (watch Olympians and world champions race in the PROFFIX Swiss Bike Cup), Andermatt Swiss Alps Classics (a classical music festival where concerts take place in various locations such as The Chedi Andermatt and the newly opened gondola station Nätschen) and Woldmanndli (based on an ancient custom where a procession of men enter the village to protect the forest below the Gurschen).

There’s also the much-anticipated Andermatt Concert Hall, a renovation of a former convention venue by Studio Seilern, due to open early next year. With an extended roof and covered plaza, it will adhere to the acoustic requirements of a state-of-the-art concert hall and be large enough to accommodate the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as well as host gala dinners and lectures.

Render of the Studio Seilern-designed concert hall in Andermatt Switzerland

The Studio Seilern-designed concert hall

As part of the ongoing Andermatt Swiss Alps project, there has also recently been a fresh focus on the gastronomy on offer within the resort. Multi-award-winning chef Dietmar Sawyere, who has been executive chef at The Chedi Andermatt since May 2015, has assumed overall responsibility for gastronomy. Currently the top choices for eating out in the resort are the restaurants at The Chedi Andermatt, which include one-Michelin-star The Japanese Restaurant (the five- to 10-course Kaiseki menu is a speciality), a wine and cigar library and the main restaurant, which has a noteworthy cheese cellar. Over the next few years, these offerings will be joined by half a dozen new restaurants in the village of Andermatt and on the surrounding mountains.

It’s all a far cry from when the Swiss Army was garrisoned near to Andermatt after World War II (prior to that it was a chic mountain resort on a par with Verbier and Zermatt). In 2003, the artillery range was closed, effectively reducing the population and the village’s major source of income at the same time. It wasn’t until Samih Sawiris, founder of Orascom Development, visited nearly 20 years ago that everything changed. Inspired by the picture-postcard Urseren Valley and untouched alpine countryside, he had an ambitious vision to turn the fortunes of the village around.

After collaboration with residents, government and tourism organisations, the people of Andermatt voted with an overwhelming 96 percent majority in favour of the development. Construction on the Andermatt Swiss Alps project began in 2009, the Chedi Andermatt opened in 2013 and to date, £687 million has been invested £131 million in 2017 alone).

Key to the master plan has always been merging the Andermatt and Sedrun ski regions into SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun, the largest ski area in Central Switzerland – something which is coming to fruition this winter and by 2022, is expected to attract around 580,000 skiers over the course of a single season. There are also plans to invest another £305 million in the further expansion of Holiday Village Andermatt Reuss and the train station, cementing the area as a major destination for winter-sport enthusiasts.

The future for Andermatt Swiss Alps looks very bright indeed.

SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun

This winter’s ski season marks the full opening of the new SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun: more than 120km of pistes connected by the Oberalppass-Schneehüenerstock gondola cableway which can carry up to 2,400 people an hour from Andermatt to Gütsch mountain station. This huge development project has involved the construction of 14 lifts (some new, some replacements) and creating snow-making systems. Work on several new mountain restaurants is also underway. The result? For the first time ever, it is now possible to ski from Andermatt to Sedrun and back – what a thrill.

For more information visit: 

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2018 issue, to view more content click here: The Beauty Issue

Reading time: 7 min
Book launch at Hatchard's London with Christmas decorations and guests chatting
Book cover of Equine Journeys by Hossein Amirsadeghi

“Equine Journeys: The British Horse World” by Hossein Amirsadeghi, published by TransGlobe Publishing

Last week saw the launch of author and photographer Hossein Amirsadeghi’s latest book Equine Journeys: The British Horse World at Hatchard’s bookshop in London. LUX recalls the evening’s celebrations

On the top floor of historic Piccadilly bookshop Hatchard’s, artists, photographers and friends gathered to celebrate the launch of Equine Journeys: The British Horse World, the latest photography book by Hossein Amirsadeghi, best known for his international bestseller The Arabian Horse.

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Equine Journeys is the result of a year long road-trip around Great Britain and features photographs of renowned equine figures such as Sir Mark Prescott, Mary King MBE and John Whitaker MBE as well as a collection of essays and interviews. “It’s as much a celebration of Britishness as it is of horses,” the photographer told LUX. The book also includes five photographs by LUX contributing editor and artist Maryam Eisler

For more information and to order the book online visit:

Book launch at Hatchard's London with Christmas decorations and guests chatting

Guests gather to celebrate the launch of “Equine Journeys”

a horse racing on grass gallops

A race horse on the gallops at historic yard Seven Barrows

Horse trainer Nicky Henderson picture with a horse kissing his nose

Horse trainer Nicky Henderson. Image by Hossein Amirsadeghi

Dartmoor mare and foal pictured grazing in the wild

Dartmoor ponies. Image by Image by Hossein Amirsadeghi

Reading time: 1 min
Watercolour drawing of a nude woman in bridge pose by French artist and sculptor Rodin
Watercolour nude drawing by French sculptor Rodin

Vulcain. Courtesy Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

Auguste Rodin is best known for his sensual, turbulent sculptures, but he was one of those rare artists, like Picasso, who transcended category or definition. He created tirelessly, favouring realist depictions of the human body, which celebrated individuality and emotion – a distinct departure from dominant traditions of decorative, thematic artworks.

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The latest exhibition at Musée Rodin in Paris presents a collection of the artist’s cut-outs and drawings, providing a glimpse into Rodin’s experiments and artistic processes. On display are some 250 drawings (the museum retains over 7,500), 90 of which contain cut-out silhouettes.

Drawing of two female nude figures by French sculptor Rodin

Deux femmes nues de profil dont l’une est agenouillée. Courtesy Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

In Rodin’s own words, his drawings are,  “the key to my work”, but whether or not they provide an enlightened perspective on his sculptures, they are powerful, energised artworks in their own right. Figures appear twisted, contorted, writhing against watery red backgrounds, whilst elsewhere paint seems to leave a ghostly trail of movements from the past.

Watercolour drawing of a nude woman in bridge pose by French artist and sculptor Rodin

Ariane. Courtesy Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

Sculptural painting of a winged figure standing on a stone with arms reaching upwards by artist Rodin

La prière s’élève de l’âme du croyant, 1883-1889. Courtesy of Musée Rodin. Photo by Jean de Calan

“Rodin: Draw, Cut” runs until 24 February 2019. For more information visit:



Reading time: 1 min

A lone traveller wearing a backpack staring into a jungle landscape

Whilst the sharing economy has made travelling more convenient and affordable, consumers need to be wary of companies that are cutting corners to get ahead, says Abercrombie and Kent Founder and LUX columnist Geoffrey Kent

Looking back over my 56 years in the travel industry and I can think of very few concepts that have revolutionised the way we holiday in the same way the rise of the sharing economy has. Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and other examples of ‘collaborative consumption’ companies have changed the way we visit destinations and how we interact with them while there – where we stay and how we move around.

No longer a fad, PricewaterhouseCooper declared the sharing economy here to stay back in 2015. Figures that are sure to have increased since PWC’s survey was conducted, but then 19 per cent of the total US adult population had engaged in a sharing economy transaction, and amongst those familiar with the sharing economy, the vast majority perceived benefits like convenience, efficiency and affordability.

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The service that Uber and Airbnb provide is undoubtedly something people want – testament to the success they have seen globally in their short lifespans. For me, gone are the days of waiting for a cab in the rain in London – an Uber driver can be with you quickly wherever you need it. And Airbnb answers a need for beds – opening up new destinations to tourists worldwide at a price that suits them. These are both amazing services – taking something people need and making it easily available and accessible from their most prized possession: their mobile phone.

Map with plotted travel route, camera, money and watch

Geoffrey Kent advises travellers to be smart about which companies they use to book trips

The successes enjoyed by these companies have shown regulatory gaps. As is often the case, the law scrambles to keep up with technology. It’s not plain sailing for these companies – nor should it be. The success of the travel industry is based on people doing what they say they will – ensuring holidays happen, or taxis turn up. This is vital to consumer trust. It’s an accepted truth that consumers should always book a holiday with an ATOL-accredited company or an ABTA member. It means you, your money and your holiday are safe.

But convenience often wins over common sense. These smaller, more nimble, and now very available companies are gaining a huge share of the market – they’re not bound by the same licensing rules or health and safety standards.

Read more: Why Lake Como’s appealing to a new generation of travellers

As a result, drivers who have spent years perfecting city road knowledge, have hours of professional driving experience and are committed to being bound by licensing regulations are being undercut. Licensed hotel operators, in an already tough economy, are being squeezed in the marketplace. This is the obvious downside of a sharing economy. Evolution and innovation in any industry is inevitable and vital to ensuring quality and choice improve but all parties should be subject to the same rules and regulations.

We, as consumers, and we, as part of the travel industry, need to know there are clear rules governing how all companies operate. Travel operators adhere to stringent oversight and health and safety regulations providing safe and trouble-free holidays for travellers. Consumers should be able to rightly assume the same levels of care, safety and service from all providers. With this level playing field then established, it will truly be up to the consumer to decide when, where and, most importantly, how travel and experience a destination.

Geoffrey Kent is the founder of luxury travel tour company Abercrombie & Kent, to view their itineraries visit:

Reading time: 3 min
Young woman wearing jeans and white top poses lying on the ground

graphic banner in red, white and blue reading Charlie Newman's model of the month

Portrait of Thai English model Olivia Graham

Model and entrepreneur, Lydia Graham. Image courtesy Models 1

LUX contributing editor and model at Models 1, Charlie Newman continues her online exclusive series, interviewing her peers about their creative pursuits, passions and politics

colour headshot of blond girl laughing with hand against face wearing multiple rings

Charlie Newman

THIS MONTH: At 16, Lydia Graham applied to an online modelling competition at the now defunct teen magazine, Sugar. She didn’t win but still got signed by Models 1. Now 22, she’s already shot for the likes of Burberry and Kenzo, signed a beauty and perfume contract with Yves Rocher and is set to launch her own brand, Oh Lydia, early next year. Charlie speaks to Lydia about the fashion industry, Victoria’s Secret and versatility.

Charlie Newman: You’re half British and half Thai – what was your upbringing like?
Lydia Graham: I was born in Bangkok, so I’m a Thai citizen, but I’m the furthest thing from being Thai because I don’t speak Thai and I don’t understand it either! I moved to Hertfordshire in England when I was two years old, then onto East Sussex and now I live in Whitechapel.

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Charlie Newman: From when you first started modelling, how do you think the industry has changed?
Lydia Graham: I guess it’s more diverse. I enjoy it better now because I have the choice of saying no, not that I necessarily need to, but for example I’m getting stronger at not letting people cut my hair whichever way they like on set. Still I’ve had the dodgiest haircuts in my time!

Charlie Newman: Are there still things you think could be improved in the industry?
Lydia Graham: For me, the modelling side of things has got so much better, including plus sized girls, shorter girls, it’s much more street cast nowadays. Where I would like to see the industry change is with payment. Even though I get paid quite well as a model, a lot of my friends are stylists or photographers or artists and they work so hard yet don’t get paid. Sometimes I feel bad because I know how much I’m getting whilst I know half of the people on set are doing it for free. I think if everyone got paid then it would just set the standard. It would also prevent the snobbery between commercial and editorial jobs within the industry. The cheaper the brand the higher they pay, whilst the high end brands believe that whoever shoots for them should feel privileged, hence why the pay is so little. But then again, you can’t put the commercial jobs in your portfolio, it’s the editorial shoots that the clients want to see. At the end of the day, it should never be acceptable to work for free, it should all be fair.

Young woman wearing jeans and white top poses lying on the ground

Image courtesy Models 1

Charlie Newman: You’ve been really smart with changing your ‘look’ over the years which I think elongates your career and makes you more versatile. What’s been your favourite look so far?
Lydia Graham: Probably the mullet but I just couldn’t style it myself and I think my hair was too thick for it, I just ended up looking like Dot Cotton! My hairdresser’s amazing but my hair just wasn’t quite right for it. At the moment I’d like my hair to be longer but with a short fringe or maybe go peroxide blonde one day and then get a pixie cut after. But obviously I haven’t spoken to Models 1 about it yet!

Charlie Newman: Within a world where the beauty standard is so narrow, have you found your uniqueness to be an advantage or disadvantage?
Lydia Graham: A bit of both. Even though I’m not a full Asian, sometimes I’m used as the token Asian, which I’m happy to represent so in that example it’s been good. But other times I get backhanded compliments like “Oh you just look so normal, the clothes fit you so good, normally we have to pin them to other models” or “You just look like anyone walking down the street”, I’m like cheers for that! If I wasn’t in the right headspace that could have a bad effect on me, but I obviously don’t give a shit.

Read more: New luxury hotel Chais Monnet opens near Bordeaux

Charlie Newman: You’ve got effortless style. If money was no object, who would you choose to wear?
Lydia Graham: I used to really love Gucci but now I just think the designs are too mad. I don’t really have a favourite brand right now, but I love the stylist Mimi Cuttrell, she nails every outfit! She doesn’t just put the same look on all her girls, she styles them all individually, my favourite being Bella Hadid, she always looks sick!

Charlie Newman: What’s been your favourite job thus far?
Lydia Graham: My favourite would have to be for the shoe brand Call it Spring that I shot with my boyfriend Josh. It’s not particularly high fashion but they were just amazing trips. The team were so cool, we would have the best time in the evenings all together. We’ve been to Palm Springs, Lisbon and Berlin – it was the whole experience! My favourite high fashion shoot would have to be with Burberry. I knew everyone on set, the shoot for me is more about the team and the experience than the images that come out of it. In other words, didn’t care about either of those jobs running overtime basically, I didn’t want to rap at 5 like I normally do!

Burberry campaign starring model Lydia Graham

Lydia for Burberry. Instagram: @ohlydiagraham

Charlie Newman: You’re currently embarking on creating your own brand called Oh Lydia. Please tell us more about it.
Lydia Graham: It first started because I was getting a bit depressed. I was either working too hard or not enough and was really struggling with the imbalance of my life. If I’m not busy then I’ve got the time for my mind to wander. I was feeling a bit lost but Josh, bless him, was always encouraging me to do more, saying that I had so much more to offer than just modelling. So I thought fuck it, why not run my own business, even if it doesn’t make a profit I want to give it a go.

Underwear is such a big thing for me, I love nothing more than wearing something sexy but comfy – I’m a big advocate for comfort! I remember when Josh and I first started dating and I’d go to Agent Provocateur and buy a nice set of underwear and I’ve only worn it once! Now I see it in the drawer and try it on but take it off immediately because it’s just not me. Then I thought, why can’t I have date night underwear but still be able to wear a sanitary towel? I’m not calling myself a designer, so I’ve decided to just stick with pants and tank tops for now before I get the experience to do more. I’m using a lot of small businesses to help me get to where I want to be because at the end of the day, I’m only a little person in this world! Ultimately, Oh Lydia came about through a mixture of boredom and entrepreneurial spirit. Most importantly it makes me feel happier!

Read more: Artist Maryam Eisler on East London’s creative characters

Charlie Newman: What sort of image are you hoping for?
Lydia Graham: The comfort of M&S underwear but in a colourful, 90s aesthetic although I’m making the colours more modern, it’s not just a vintage remake.

Charlie Newman: You’re clearly very interested in underwear and as the Victoria’s Secret show came out only last weekend, I just wondered what your attitude was to their whole brand and their values?
Lydia Graham: I don’t really rate them as a brand. All the girls look beautiful but that doesn’t mean I want to actually go out and buy the clothes. I can appreciate that Candice Swanepoel is so fit, but it all just seems so far out of my reach. I don’t even think ‘Oh I could never look like that’, my brain just completely switches off. But of course I understand it really opens up the girls career and changes their lives. I always hear the girls refer to VS as their ‘family’ but within fashion I just don’t think that exists because however much of a relationship you have with a client, they’ll always need new girls, you’re only ever just a number. I would always call my agency Models 1 my family though, as they’ve been there right from the beginning.

Charlie Newman: Who would be your role model of the month?
Lydia Graham: It would have to be my little 20 year old sister. She’s a carer and earns barely anything considering she works her fucking arse off. She’s such a grafter, always working extra shifts. If she can do it then we all can do it!

Follow Lydia Graham on Instagram: @ohlydiagraham


Reading time: 7 min
Fashion collection on display within a stately ballroom
Fashion collection on display within a stately ballroom

An Emilio Pucci collection on display at Palazzo Pucci, the family’s ancestral home in Florence.

Florentine aristocrat Emilio Pucci founded his eponymous label in post-war Italy; now the fashion house is internationally renowned for its vibrant geometric patterns and wearable glamour. We ask Emilio’s daughter, Laudomia Pucci, the brand’s Image Director and former CEO, 6 questions.

Colour portrait of Laudomia Pucci, the fashion brand's Image Director

Laudomia Pucci. Image by Juan Aldabaldetrecu

1. Describe the modern Pucci woman.

The Pucci women is a very international woman. She travels, she is self-assured, she loves femininity and enjoys beauty and fun. She is not afraid of colour and enjoys life.

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2. How do you innovate whilst still staying true to the iconic Pucci aesthetic?

The innovation comes from the fabric and what women want. Mixing a more fluid day look also with sneakers, for example, blurring day and evening, adding more knitwear and changing proportions as well as making sure we are always true to the brand codes…

Model on catwalk wearing a purple puffer jacket and colourful skirt

A look from the Fall/Winter 2018-19 collection

3. What were some of the inspirations behind the new collection?

The inspiration was the glamour of Marilyn Monroe, mixing it with the sporty chic feel of Los Angeles, the colours the shapes, the body-con effect. I think it’s very modern and glamorous at the same time.

4. What comes first functionality or style?

In fashion I think you need to try and serve both. Than it depends on the woman’s taste how she wants to live.

Model on catwalk wearing a colourful summer dress

A look from the Emilio Pucci Spring/Summer 2019 collection

5. Earlier this year you collaborated with artist Mouna Rebeiz, creating a piggy bank as part of a charity auction. Do you see fashion as an art form?

We have always enjoyed collaborations and we delighted to participate to Mouna’s project. I’m not sure fashion is art, however they do sometimes cross paths and we have done that in the past with some very special brands. However I do believe my father could have loved being an artist and his prints are just as perfect and recognisable as art pieces, classical in their longevity. He also did lithographs and I have had some contact with artists too on the interpretation of the brand.

6. What’s the best city in the world for shopping?

Dubai – the gold market, the BURJ Khalifa, the mall of the Emirates. Just the quantities of possibilities for shopping are totally incredible there! Also I love Hong Kong for shopping – Hollywood road for the antique shops, Lane Crawford department store and all the shopping areas around Ocean Center.

Discover Emilio Pucci’s latest collections:

Reading time: 2 min
Aerial image of Menaggio village on Lake Como, Italy
Landscape image of Lake Como in Italy with a pretty village on the lake's banks

View across the lake of Bellagio dubbed ‘The Pearl of Lake Como’

Emma Love discovers a slew of fresh restaurant openings and exciting events attracting a cool new crowd to one of Italy’s favourite destinations

When the hotly anticipated Michelin Guide 2018 was launched, it came as no surprise that Ristorante Berton al Lago, part of Il Sereno hotel on the shores of Lake Como, was awarded a Michelin star within one year of opening. The restaurant, which is headed up by Milan-based restaurateur and chef Andrea Berton (he is already a heavyweight on the Milan dining scene with four Michelin stars across three restaurants) and executive chef Raffaele Lenzi,excels at Italian dishes with a modern twist, using seasonal ingredients from northern Italy. Paired with interiors by renowned architect and designer Patricia Urquiola and a terrace with a prime position right on the lake, it was always going to be a winning combination.

Detail shot of lakeside villages with picturesque houses right on the banks of the water

The lake is lined with picturesque villages

Yet this restaurant is simply the latest addition to Lake Como’s buzzing foodie scene. While once the region was mostly renowned for grand stately hotels and historic villas, now a bunch of game-changing openings are appealing to a new generation of jet-set visitors. Smartly dressed Milanese are still flocking here each weekend during the summer (it is only an hour outside the city) to nip between the pretty shoreside villages on sleek wooden boats and sip negronis at Harry’s Bar in Cernobbio, but these days they are also snapping up tables at the new wave of talked-about restaurants.

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“With the opening of Il Sereno and the new life that has been instilled in the Grand Hotel Tremezzo by owner Valentina de Santis, Lake Como feels ‘cool’ again,” says Emily Fitzroy, who founded Bellini Travel almost 20 years ago, and is a leading expert on Italy. “With Milan in easy reach – 20 minutes by helicopter – Como feels more accessible than ever, which makes it all the more attractive for younger visitors who tend to be time poor and adventure seeking. The lake has become a place of pilgrimage for hikers and cyclists, who come to experience some of the most important cycle routes in all of Italy.”

Another hot spot causing a stir since it opened in 2016 is Ristorante Materia (also in Cernobbio). At the helm is young chef Davide Caranchini (named in this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list) whose radical offering goes against the meat-rich norm by featuring an inspired five-course ‘green power’ vegetarian tasting menu (think dishes such as poached egg, spring legumes and tomato tea, or goat’s cheese ravioli with black cabbage and Sarawak black pepper juice) with ingredients grown in the restaurant’s own greenhouse. His signature dessert is called Banksy: a paper-thin layer of smoked yoghurt and chamomile cream stencilled in the shape of one of the street artist’s iconic images.

Detail image of a white bowl with vibrant purple vegetarian dish at the centre

Ristorante Materia is known for its vegetarian tasting menu

Equally as exciting as what’s served up on the plate are the developments in the drinks industry. While Italy might be renowned for its wines (and lagers such as Birra Moretti and Peroni), for the past few years there has also been a growing craft-beer movement. Small local brewery Birrificio Italiano produces a complex dark wheat beer called Vudù, while brew pub Il Birrificio di Como in Como’s city centre is the place to try a selection of malt beers. There are also a number of cocktail bars upping the ante and attracting the hip crowd, including street-food restaurant and bar 100 Lire and the Fresco Cocktail Shop in Como, with its 1940s-themed interiors, jazzy soundtrack and waistcoat-wearing mixologists who will shake up drinks made with citrus fruits grown nearby.

Read more: Founder of Corinthia Hotels Alfred Pisani on going global

Of course, as you might expect from such a holidaymaker’s honeypot, a packed programme of events takes place throughout the year, from the annual Lake Como International Music Festival (during the summer season) to the historic car show at Villa d’Este (every May) and a series of ‘Night at the Park’ evenings where funky live bands play in Park Teresio in Tremezzo. By far the most-anticipated happening this year was Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda couture presentation (the Italian couture line is presented via a series of special events around the world), consisting of a men’s show at Villa Carlotta Park and women’s runway at Teresio Olivelli, both in Tremezzina. “The fact that the lake played host to the Dolce & Gabbana couture show ensures that it’s now firmly on the fashionista’s Grand Tour,” says Fitzroy. “It was a big moment for Como.”

The picturesque town of Lecco on Lake Como pictured at sunset

Image of traditional Italian restaurant at night with tables underneath a mauve awning

A popular aperitivo spot Harry’s Bar in Cernobbio. Above: Lecco at Sunset.

Another new happening that drew a very different crowd was the inaugural Lake Como Comic Art Festival at Villa Erba in Cernobbio (it was a huge success and takes place again in May 2019). Bestselling cult comic-book artists such as Americans Neal Adams and Greg Capullo (between them, they are best known for creating some of the imagery of the DC Comics characters Batman and Green Arrow) were among the guest appearances.

Boat site-seeing trips on Lake Como, Italy

The best way to see Como is by boat

With so much on the calendar, it’s no wonder Lake Como has long proved to be a favourite destination for second home owners. “Its central position in Europe and the beauty of the mountains means it’s ideal for a quick vacation, suitable for both domestic and international buyers,” says Lodovico Pignatti Morano, managing partner of Italy Sotheby’s International Realty, a company that sells lake-front detached properties with a starting point of €4.5million. “Although jet-setters have always visited Lake Como, it is becoming increasingly popular as more people become aware of the area’s unique offering.”

Read more: New luxury hotel Chais Monnet opens near Bordeaux

Savvy shoppers come to Lake Como for the regular markets, scooping up antique finds in Como’s San Fedele Square (on the first Saturday of each month) and anything from original bespoke handmade furniture to locally made gifts and fashion accessories at Mercato dell’ Artigianato, an artisan crafts market held at the end of October in Lecco. Also top of the shopping list is the region’s most famous export – silk. Two of the best-known brands are Mantero and Ratti, suppliers to major fashion houses such as Saint Laurent, Nina Ricci and Trussardi. Beautiful scarves and neck ties can be bought at the Mantero outlet shop in Grandate, while the little-known Fondazione Antonio Ratti is a textiles museum in 18th-century Villa Sucota, which displays fabrics collected by Antonio Ratti throughout his life.

Aerial image of Menaggio village on Lake Como, Italy

A traditional village jetty with mountains in the background

The pretty village of Menaggio on the Western side of the lake and its jetty

Other under-the-radar gems on Lake Como include the quirky La Ca di Radio Vecc museum in Bellano, where you can lust after the kind of groovy old radios and gramophones that are making a comeback, and the lido in Menaggio. A 15-minute walk from the harbour, it is surely the town’s best-kept secret and with two swimming pools, a sandy beach and a deck that stretches out over the water – the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in the sun. Across the water, the lido in Bellagio is another beach hangout by day and turns into a nightclub after dark (Friday dinner parties begin with aperitivo at 7.30pm and end at 4am).

The best way to explore is still by getting out on the water or up in the air. Bellagio Water Sports offers kayaking and stand-up paddle-board tours, while the AeroClub Como specialises in private seaplane flights and lessons. And despite all that’s new, Lake Como’s timeless, sophisticated charms remain – and are now being enjoyed by the next generation.

Six must-book restaurants on Lake Como

La Mistral, Bellagio
This Michelin star restaurant has a superb terrace overlooking the lake. Expect inventive, molecular cuisine.

Locanda la Tirlindana, Sala Comacina
Set in a pretty waterfront square with fantastic views of Isola Comacina. The lemon ravioli is the stand-out dish.

I Tigli in Theoria, Como
A Michelin star restaurant and art gallery set in a restored 15th-century palazzo.

Feel, Como
Farm-to-table food with a focus on local ingredients, served in a contemporary setting.

La Punta, Bellagio
Its menu features lake fish caught by the owners, the wine list has more than 300 Italian and French labels, views are stunning.

Momi, Blevio
Michelin star food served in a simple, charming restaurant by the jetty. The homemade desserts are especially delicious.

Reading time: 7 min
Grand hotel entrance with british flag flying at the doorway, a car parked outside and lights glowing from the windows
Grand hotel entrance with british flag flying at the doorway, a car parked outside and lights glowing from the windows

The entrance to the Corinthia Hotel in Westminster, London

Under the leadership of Alfred Pisani, Corinthia Hotels has grown from a single family-owned banquet hall in Malta to a global luxury brand with properties in 9 destinations and forthcoming openings in Dubai and Brussels. LUX speaks to the Maltese businessman about the challenges he’s faced, his guiding principles and the importance of creating a strong employee culture
Portrait of Maltese businessman and Corinthia Hotels founder Alfred Pisani

Founder & Chairman of Corinthia Hotels, Alfred Pisani

LUX: You developed one of the first deluxe hotels in Malta on your family’s estate. Can you tell us about that story?
Alfred Pisani: It’s a long story but I’ll try and abbreviate. Basically, I was not planning to become a hotelier. My interests when I was at college were mathematics and science; a very logical style of thinking, which I think is very important to our life anyway. My father had just bought a beautiful, majestic villa with some 20,000 square metres of land and wasn’t quite sure whether we were going to live in it or he was going to do business in it. Unfortunately, he passed away four months later, and suddenly, together with my brothers, I had the responsibility of deciding what to do with this property. The place had not been lived in for a number of years and obviously deterioration had taken place, so our first step was to try and put that right. I went to the bank and got a loan, which my uncle supported me with in terms of security, and we first started using this magnificent hall for receptions and weddings, parties and so on.

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Then one day someone came along and said, ‘Why don’t you provide the catering as well?’ so we brought in an outside caterer to help us with that request. After that, we organised a proper kitchen, and then we opened our own restaurant. Two years down the line, there was a big drive from the government to give incentives to entrepreneurs, as the country was changing the economy from  one totally dependent on a naval and military base (as the English were pulling out), to one where we would have industry and tourism, to create a new economy. So I applied, and I went with my own drawing of a forty-room hotel to the appropriate ministry, but we were told we wouldn’t qualify unless we had a minimum 150 rooms.

Vintage photograph from the opening of Corinthia Palace in Malta

The opening of Corinthia Palace in Malta, 1968

A few weeks later, I went back with an elongated hotel with 156 rooms. And the guy said to me, ‘So you have money for 40 rooms, but do you have room for 156?’ I said, ‘Well, no, but the bank does. They’re going to give us the money.’ He was amused, but I still went through the motions. I went to one bank, and then another, and then another, and eventually I found one large enough to handle the job. The same question was asked about our equity, and I told them the equity was the building, the ground and our effort. We got 100% funding, and this is something I’m still proud of today. That was unheard of then. But I assume the timing was part of the whole success; there was a tremendous push to bring in foreign currency and to create a new industry.

Then when I came to build the hotel, I found the local contractors were very busy and too expensive, so I decided I’d be the contractor. I actually employed people from the street – literally. And I’ve never built a hotel as fast as that. Never. Today I keep saying to everybody, ‘We do so many drawings that we’d have enough paper to build a hotel out of it.’ But obviously things have become very much more complicated with all the electronics and everything. It’s quite remarkable, though, what one can do when one is determined. I remember buying a second-hand mixer to do the concrete, and we would throw in the aggregate, the sand and the cement and I’d hold a pipe and I’d look it and say, ‘Hmm, yes, the consistency looks right, let’s pour.’

Read more: New luxury hotel Chais Monnet opens near Bordeaux

You know, it’s remarkable with what you can do with nothing. We would work from 6 o’clock in the morning until about 11 o’clock at night, day in, day out, for around two years. And then we opened and it was successful. Again, there were coincidences that helped us along the road and we took the opportunities. Some decisions were very difficult to make in terms of bringing in new partners and going from one playing field to a more advanced one with new shareholders and new standards. And you have to remember that we didn’t have a home market. The banks couldn’t come aboard with us, because they just didn’t have the capital to do that. So, each time we went to an outside destination we’d have to talk to banks who didn’t know us. That didn’t make it easy. You really had to prove yourself. And you had to appoint new architects too. This was what I found most difficult. If you got your first step outside your island wrong, it would just knock you out. So you couldn’t afford to get it wrong. At that time, I didn’t think like that: I just went and went and went. I never had a doubt in my mind. I suppose that’s the beauty of youth, when you are full of enthusiasm and determination but you are limited in your expertise and experience: that combination worked well for us.

Vintage photograph of woman sunbathing by a hotel pool

Ladies enjoying the pool at Corinthia Palace, Malta in 1968

We have always focused on trying to achieve the best. I don’t think in the early days we gave more importance to visibility as to the quality. I have a strong conviction that quality will win the day. You have to get every step right and then the results will be right. I had a natural tendency to focus on the details and trying to get everything right with the strong belief that that was ultimately what would produce the results I wanted. We don’t have a real measure. I used to say, ‘If I sow one hundred seeds, ninety-five will grow, because that’s part of nature.’ So as long as you move with the current of nature, the results are going to be further growth. There were these very strong principles from a very early stage, and I was constantly trying to share my beliefs and direction with everybody else.

LUX: What do you think sets the Corinthia apart?
Alfred Pisani: Well, today, after so many years of growing a hotel out of a very small country, we have brought another element into our consideration. Not only do we believe in ‘doing it right’ in order to generate a positive return, but we’ve gone one step further by saying we want to “uplift lives”. It will probably take a long time to appreciate what I’m trying to say; I didn’t think like this when I was younger, but it’s something people get to eventually. If you want a more productive outcome from your colleagues – I don’t like to call them employees – you must identify a sense of caring. If you share your knowledge, give a helping hand and show respect, this creates a more committed work force, where everybody is aligning the energy. It’s just like in a magnet: when you align all the atoms instead of having them in disarray, you create a magnet. Simply by infusing a sense of discipline and purpose, you can align everyone’s energies to think in the same direction. You create an energy where, like a magnet, though you can’t see it, you can sense it.

So, from being totally focused on wanting perfection, it has translated itself over the years into saying how can you make everyone within the family more successful as an individual? You must sleep well, eat well, socialise – work is just another aspect of this holistic responsibility. If you can get your engine to be firing correctly on all cylinders, you just get your efficiency a bit higher; you fine tune it. That’s what I think sets Corinthia apart. We have a very close interaction with our personnel. We call it the family. I truly say this with all sincerity: people who have come to the company, and even those who leave the company, will always remain Corinthians. They will always show respect. I say this with a lot of conviction and satisfaction.

Luxury hotel bedroom with a double bed and open plan bathroom decorated in stylish neutral tones

A suite at the Corinthia Hotel in London

LUX: We’ve been discussing your properties in Malta – is that your biggest market?
Alfred Pisani: If we go back to when I opened my first hotel in 1968, at that time, with Malta still having a semi-colonial relationship with Britain, all we knew was the UK. We bought everything from the UK, right down to the smallest screw. Our tourism came from the UK, I would say 99%. There was no corporate business because there was no business. People came mainly in summer. Their stays would be long stays – one or two weeks – and it was all handled by tour operators, who distributed the brochures and displayed the hotel across the UK. They would come over in August and agree the rates for the following year. Everything was agreed a year in advance.

Read more: Luxury watch designer Richard Mille on creativity and supercars

Over the years the government and hoteliers realised that it was necessary to diversify for the future and effort was put into marketing it in Europe. And this has, over the years, mainly succeeded, because now we have visitors from all over. Possibly Britain is still number 1. I think it’s a healthy situation to arrive at. When we came to open in London, we knew what the story was. In the five-star business, you had the home market and the United States. So we made a big effort in the United States to win our share of the five star business coming to London, competing against all the other well-known brands, who have been there for a very long time. I think we did very well in penetrating the market in the space of two or three years.

Luxury indoor swimming pool with soft lighting and blue tiles

The Pool at ESPA, Corinthia London

LUX: What’s the biggest challenge in investing in other countries?
Alfred Pisani: As I said earlier our bankers, our lawyers, our everything could not move with us. We had to look for destination  where their business had a similarity to us such as resort businesses, holiday businesses, and where it was not too expensive that we could not afford it. I couldn’t dream of coming to London or New York so to begin we built five hotels in Turkey and because I didn’t feel confident enough I looked for Turkish partner.

After 1990 when there was the dissolution of the Soviet Union, tremendous opportunities were available in Russia and all the Eastern European countries came by cheaply. Now, we were, I think, even ahead of the banks! We went into St Petersburg and Budapest and so on and they were good opportunities. We visited every single east European country that had now opened, but what I didn’t have, because I don’t think we were wise yet or we didn’t have the reputation yet, was funding and support from a consult team of banks and institutions which was somewhat of a handicap because the opportunities I met were tremendous.

Read more: The Secret Diary of an Oxford Undergraduate

LUX: And you’ve got properties opening in Brussels and Dubai?
Alfred Pisani: We bought the property in Brussels so that belongs to us, but in Dubai we are purely in management. We will run our flag on one of the most beautiful hotels to be built in Dubai and it will be Corinthia, but we are not the owners. We have supported it in the designs – it will be stunning and it’s set to open in 2020.

In the meantime, we have been operating two other properties on behalf of the same company, the Meydan Group. They have the Meydan Hotel which has big horse racing track and all of the bedrooms overlook the track. It’s a very successful property and we have seen tremendous increase in the bottom line since we took over, together with another hotel which they own in the desert called Bab Al Shams. So, apart from investing in our own properties I think now we have a brand that is visible enough and that is providing good enough standards to also offer it to third party owners and hopefully expand our brand in many more hotels without necessarily putting in capital.

Luxury restaurant interiors with a sculpture of a man in a suit, dark green walls and plush red sofa seating

The restaurant at Corinthia London, headed by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge

LUX: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
Alfred Pisani: I think the lesson I learnt was a confirmation of the conviction I already had to do everything properly and that by doing everything properly, you stood a much bigger chance of success, as opposed to taking shortcuts. We kept to this principal and we would never get involved with political parties in countries. What I realise today, which I didn’t realise at the time, is that I think we were right  in the way we negotiated and I don’t think I would change it if I had to do it all over again. My advice to those who are still starting is keep on the straight.

LUX: Do you see a difference in what younger and older travellers expect from luxury?
Alfred Pisani: Yes, there has been a change of expectations from the customers in terms of the hardware, for example, bathrooms. However, the basic ingredients that they look for haven’t changed. Are you welcomed with a smile that is genuine and not plastic? Do you truly, collectively, radiate an energy of positiveness, which makes the customer feel good even though he cannot put his finger on it? Those elements haven’t really changed that much. I don’t know whether in a number of years to come whether we will be interacting with one another in a deeper way by the development of our intellect, the telepathy, the ability to feel and sense each other in a stronger way with the support of electronics… That’s the future.

LUX: And what about the future of Corinthia Hotels?
Alfred Pisani: Growth. I am sure that the principles that we have worked with will be maintained and the new phrase that was created recently in our last general managers’ meeting in Brussels: “uplifting lives”. That phrases encompasses how we want to continue helping our colleagues to grow and become better people.

Discover Corinthia hotels:

Reading time: 12 min
Chais Monnet is a luxury country hotel in southwest France with striking contemporary architecture
Chais Monnet is a luxury country hotel in southwest France with striking contemporary architecture

Chais Monnet is a luxury country and spa hotel near Bordeaux

Last week saw the official opening of the most swanky hotel in southwest France, by Anglo-Iranian entrepreneur Javad Marandi, owner of the beyond cool Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, England.

A very welcome addition to the luxury hotel scene near Bordeaux, Chais Monnet is a converted former Cognac warehouse transformed into a very lavish hotel, spa, and conference centre with some breathtaking architecture by Didier Poignant. The interior design is contemporary-luxe auberge, if you can allow yourself to imagine such a thing, and the cuisine has a lightness of touch and umami influence from Sebastien Broda, who earned a Michelin star at his former employer in Cannes.

Luxury Hotel Chais Monnet resides in a former Cognac warehouse, transformed into striking contemporary architecture

The hotel was built out of a former Cognac warehouse by architect Didier Poignant

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Chais Monnet offers riding holidays, picnics in the sun-dappled vineyards of Cognac in classic cars (guests can just jump into the hotel’s vintage Citroen and drive away), wine and cognac tastings and tours of the local Cognac houses such as Hennessy, Martell and Rémy Martin, as well as visits to the great Chateaux of Bordeaux, and a spa and full-sized indoor-outdoor pool.

Dancers perform with flaming torches at opening celebration of luxury country hotel Chais Monnet

A local troupe performs a fire dance at the opening of the luxury Chais Monnet hotel

Read more: An exclusive preview inside Hôtel Chais Monnet

At the launch event last week, we were content to sip Cognac cocktails (and some very refreshing local Chenin Blanc) while indulging in the festivities and a feast inside the old chais, or cellar, surrounded by ancient ageing vats. Oh, and then we partied away to a jazz band in the extremely cool converted barn-bar. A new reference for this part of France.

Panel of speakers standing on a stage at the inauguration of luxury hotel near bordeaux Chais Monnet

From left to right: Cognac Mayor Michel Gourinchas, architect Didier Poignant, Daniel Theron of ACPH, Xavier Arm from Vinci construction, and hotel General Manager Arnaud Bamvens

Owner Javad Marandi attends opening of hotel Chais Monnet in southwestern France along with Cognac Mayor and the hotel manager

Owner Javad Marandi, Cognac Mayor Michel Gourinchas and hotel manager Arnaud Bamvens

Making of an oak barrique at the opening ceremony of Chais Monnet

The making of an oak barrique, part of the display at the opening of Chais Monnet in southwest France

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Reading time: 1 min

Model poses on street in mid dance in pink frilly dress with designer in background

Anna Wallace-Thompson speaks to curator and artist Maryam Eisler about the characters in her latest book, Voices: East London, which celebrates the unique hub of creativity and individuality

Maryam on designer Meihui Liu (top image with Alice Pins modelling one of her creations on Princelet Street, and below Alice Pins in another creation by the designer with shoes by Natacha Marro):

“I’ve never met anyone with so much positive energy, possibility and potential for doing. Meihui is, first and foremost, a designer, and her art comes in the form of beautiful, timeless gowns made out of found and patchwork vintage fabrics. She’s also the greatest connector I have ever known. I think you can see the influence of the East End on Meihui’s way of thinking, and in the way in which she uses fabrics. We photographed her on Princelet Street, behind Brick Lane. Here, the buildings appeal with their romantic, weathered textures of bygone times: peeling walls in shades of rosewood and teal, houses dating back to the Huguenots and the Irish silk weavers of the early 18th century. The area has such a deep connection to fabric and textiles, just like Meihui’s own personal creations.”

Model Alice Pins posing in front of street graffiti wearing Meihui Liu

In Paris there is Montmartre, in New York, SoHo – and in London, there is the East End. One of the last bastions of individuality and creativity in an ever-sanitised cityscape, London’s East End remains a bolthole for artists, fashion designers, musicians and creatives. Its scrappy nature, says editor and photographer Maryam Eisler, is, “one of the key factors to enabling creativity, precisely through this tension between glitz and ‘gritz’. It’s that crack that has given birth to different kinds of thinking.” She adds, “There is a sub culture in the East End that’s been lost elsewhere – and the minute you sanitise society you lose its verve and flavour, as is the case in London’s West End.”

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Eisler has lovingly captured the spirit of the East End’s creative residents in her book, Voices: East London. “The whole point of doing this book was to try and find out what it was about the East End that differentiated it from the rest of London – in fact, I very nearly called it A Tale of Two Cities,” explains Eisler. “Historically-speaking, the East End has induced and empowered creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. It has fostered imagination, innovation and a more colourful way of thinking on so many levels, all a result, in my opinion, of its rich multicultural layering.”

It was towards the end of the two years of interviews she conducted for the book that Eisler met one of the most interesting people of all – 77-year-old New York native and cookbook writer turned outsider artist, Sue Kreitzman. Her apartment is a riotous explosion of colour, the most primal and genuine reflection of her inner self and something of an East End legend, as is her own personal dressing style. Through Kreitzman, Eisler then met young artists Anne Sophie Cochevelou and Florent Bidois, both of whom create wearable art from found objects mostly sourced in thrift stores and markets. Eisler also met “creative genius, chief connector, delicious ‘lace’ dumpling maker and pop-up queen” Meihui Liu.

Read more: Exclusive behind-the-scenes images from “Voices: East London” by Maryam Eisler

“These people live, breathe, eat and dream their art,” says Eisler. “When we talk about wearable art, they are their own best mouth pieces. All four of them have the ability to make something out of nothing.” It is this, Eisler believes, that exemplifies the East End spirit. “It’s such a pioneering spirit, and very much an industrious spirit, to have this hands-on approach to life, leaving your own mark on the things you make, as well as on society as a whole – adding colour to the life of the community you live in, making it a better place to be. It’s all about making something special out of very little.”

Designer Anne Sophie Cochevelou pictured in flower market holding a bunch of colourful flowers

Maryam on designer Anne Sophie Cochevelou (above at Columbia Road flower market): 

“Anne Sophie is all about opulence, layering and being off the wall. She’s a complete hoarder, of beads and pompoms and sequins and remnants of fabrics and plumes and boas. It’s incredible how many different looks she keeps coming up with; it’s better than any fairy tale. She talks about [the flower market’s] ‘texture’, and how it inspires her. When dressed and out in public, people are intrigued, wanting to take pictures of her, often asking to touch her clothes. She turns into some kind of idol.”

Designer Florent Bidois pictured in conversation with a street vendoer

Maryam on designer Florent Bidois (above): 

“Both Anne Sophie and Florent are incredibly energetic souls. Florent takes trash bags and makes couture dresses from them, which he calls ‘trash couture’. They are beautifully stitched by hand and turned into delicate creations using flowers, buttons and sequins. They look a million dollars.”

“I shot Florent on Broadway Market, which he loves for its dynamism and friendliness. He loves the water as he’s from Brittany, so he likes taking strolls by the canal. He had his first fashion show in 2006 but it was after he met Sue Kreitzman in 2015 that he says, ‘something clicked in my head’. He has praised her for allowing him to be ‘bold and beautiful. I see myself as a blank canvas. I create my own vision of beauty, a duty I take seriously as an artist.'”

Designer Sue Kreitzman pictured in her East London home

Maryam on Sue Kreitzman (pictured above in her East London home):

“Sue is actually American by origin, but is now an adopted East Ender, having been here for more than 20 years. She’s a true designer: her whole theory on life is ‘don’t wear beige, it will kill you.’ Her home is a fairy tale hodgepodge, a world of infinite possibilities – there’s not one square inch of space that isn’t painted or covered in art and objects. She lives in a world of beauty, imagination, colour and energy, a sanctuary where she finds solace and soulfulness. She is the epitome of a real ‘maker’ – she creates kimonos, jewellery, art, all from found or used objects, sought out in flea markets all over the East End. She is also a feminist, with strong opinions and a can-do attitude.”

Maryam on Sue’s relationship with Florent and Anne Sophie:

“[Sue] has inspired many young people and taken them under her wing to show them a path of possibility. When we talk about wearable art, all three – Sue, Florent and Anne Sophie – represent the epitome of their own art and thinking. They live by their own individual books and Sue has taken both Anne Sophie and Florent under her wing and, in effect, encouraged them to channel their creativity, possibly even showed them how it can be turned into a viable existence. She has proved to them that it can go beyond just wearing art themselves, and speaking about it and believing it: you can make a living out of it.”

This piece was originally published in The Beauty Issue. Discover Maryam Eisler’s portfolio of work:


Reading time: 5 min
Watch designer Richard Mille watches Formula One
Ukrainian high jumper Yuliya Levchenko wearing a watch by Richard Mille

Richard Mille chooses sports personalities as brand ambassadors, including Ukrainian high jumper Yuliya Levchenko

Richard Mille is the name adorning some of the world’s most expensive – and outrageous – timepieces. But the eponymous founder is a thoughtful, passionate creative who dreamed of creating a racing car company as much as a watch brand. Darius Sanai meets him
Watch designer Richard Mille watches Formula One

Richard Mille watching Formula One

Richard Mille has grown his eponymous brand from start-up to occupying a dominant space at the top end of the luxury watch echelon, in less than 20 years. He has done so, not by imitating others, but by creating a completely new script for high-end watches: dramatically beautiful shapes, mind-bending mechanicals and super-high tech, tough materials, meaning his striking timepieces are significant in size but lightweight to wear. Mille could be seen as inventing a new market for the young-at-heart collector who wants to break from tradition. They are sculptures as much as they are timepieces.

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But he is also a marketing genius, sponsoring (and sticking with) stars such as Rafael Nadal, who repaid Mille’s unswerving faith in him by winning the French Open for the 11th time this year, and attaching his name to the sexiest sports, and the sexiest spots, in the world. Whether you’re attending Formula One in Singapore, Formula E in Hong Kong, the Concours d’Elegance in Chantilly, or just hopping by helicopter from Monaco to the private jet terminal at Nice Côte d’Azur airport, you will see the brand (and its customers).

Polo player action shot on the field

Polo champion and Richard Mille brand ambassador Pablo MacDonough

Richard Mille’s most notable recent partnership is with hyper-car makers McLaren, and like the rest of the brand, the motoring DNA wasn’t dreamed up by a marketing agency. Mille is a car fanatic and collector of some of the most exquisite historic classic cars, and it was this subject – the symmetry between watch and car design and ethos – that kicked off our conversation, because there is a symmetry between classic cars and hypermodern watches, as he reveals…

LUX: Many collectors will say that today’s cars are not as beautiful as the cars of the 1950s and 1960s. What is your view on that?
Richard Mille: The car designs of today are certainly driven by efficiency; everyone wants to optimise the aerodynamics, engine power, downforce, etc. In the 1960s the objectives were different, and there was a lot of the designer’s personality involved in the cars. The variety of designs was very interesting, even in terms of the design drawings – back then even racing cars were very different to each other. Nowadays it is very difficult to see the difference between different car brands because they have to be designed with performance efficiency in mind. Even if you are a connoisseur of Formula One, if you take away the different colours, it would be very different to see the difference between a Ferrari and a Mercedes, because everything is driven by computers and aerodynamics.

Luxury timepiece by Richard Mille in partnership with McLaren

The McLaren collaboration watch, RM 50-03

olympic athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim pictured outside the richard mille store on mount street mayfair

Brand ambassador and
Olympic high jumper
Mutaz Essa Barshim

LUX: Does that apply also to engines? Engines used to be mechanical things of beauty, and that applied to the sounds they made, also. Nowadays, I’m not sure many people could tell the difference between the V8 twin turbo engines in an Aston Martin, a Ferrari, a Mercedes-AMG or a BMW M5.
Richard Mille: Most probably, because now you have to be careful about noise, emissions and other aspects. And when you open the bonnet you don’t see the revelation of the engine. With an Aston Martin or a Lamborghini Huracán you have a magnificent car, but you open the bonnet and you just see a lot of plastic. You then go to a classic car concours and see all those cars; the people are totally crazy because each one is more beautiful than the other – so many different shapes, colours, engines, noises. It is fantastic to see 500 cars in one place that are so different from each other.

Read more: Art auctioneer Simon de Pury on modern philanthropy

LUX: Do you think the younger generation now think of cars just as transportation – that they’d be as happy to use a shared car club or an autonomous car?
Richard Mille: I think in the genes there is still an appeal for cars. If you speak about younger children, today they are in different virtual universes, but still the appeal of a nice car is there. You see them looking around racing cars and dreaming. So I think it still brings excitement.

Bird's eye shot of a grand mansion house and estate

Richard Mille sponsored classic car competition

Above: scenes from the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille event 2017

Richard Mille luxury timepiece the RM 70-01

The RM 70-01 watch

LUX: Does the same question apply with mechanical watches? People don’t need the watches you make, but they want them because they are desirable objects?
Richard Mille: Yes, you can really say that there is a parallel there because so many people are still buying watches in different colours that they don’t really use. It’s the same when you buy a sports car that can go at 300km/h; that is not any use because of speed limits, unless you go on a track. But the beautiful object is still a source of desire, which is nice because I can see myself that we cannot cope with the demand, the demand is getting totally crazy. We increase the production every year. Last year we did 4,000 pieces, this year we will do 4,600 pieces, so it is a constant growth. But I cannot cope with the demand at all, the demand is exploding. I have seen the same with my friends. The McLaren Senna costs £750,000 and they were all sold without anyone even seeing a picture of one. My friends, they want it but they can’t get it. It’s the same story with the McLaren P1: 500 units all sold before even before production started. Studies are showing that young people aged 18-30 still dream about luxury watches, which is funny because I expected the opposite.

Read more: The Secret Diary of an Oxford Undergraduate

LUX: When you are creating the watches, how much does the design inform the mechanicals and how does that conversation happen? Because the distinctiveness of your watches is in the design but they are also very mechanically advanced.
Richard Mille: It was one of my concerns when I started,to give as much importance to the design as to the mechanical aspect.

Heptathlete Nafissatou Thiam poses wearing richard mille watch

Heptathlete and brand ambassador Nafissatou Thiam

LUX: It is a crowded market, and you have created a brand that has gone from zero to hero in 20 years. How did you do that and why did you succeed when so many others had tried but failed, or remained much smaller?
Richard Mille: The first reason was a kind of rupture with a world of watches. People in this world of high-end watches were just duplicating the same watches that were in existence at the beginning of the 20th century. So I said, we have to do a contemporary watch, a watch that is very different from what is out there, and to create it at any cost, without any compromise. So today it is a paradox where we have a young brand that has got a lot of respect from the market, from the competition and also from the public. We have a lot of respect because we do not copy anybody and we are not afraid to take risks. Many other brands are inspired by the high-end watch business, but sometimes the problem with the watch business is that it is boring – the message is always the same. Our message is that we respect tradition, but we are modern, we are a contemporary watch, we are extremely technical but we do watches to live with, to wear daily.

Singer Pharell and sprinter Yohan Blake at the Little Big Mans car race

Singer Pharrell Williams and sprinter Yohan Blake wearing Richard Mille watches at the Little Big Mans race

Alexander Zverev kissing the winning trophy at the Madrid Open 2018

Mille-sponsored Alexander
Zverev wins the 2018
Madrid Open

LUX: Have you ever been tempted to start or revive a luxury car brand?
Richard Mille: That has been my dream for many years, yes. I would have loved that. It is such a different universe. At the same time, we only have 24 hours in a day; I think it would take two lives to do a car company as well. So I will stick to the watches and collect cars.

LUX: Do you think it’s a shame that France no longer has a supercar brand, like it did many years ago?
Richard Mille: It is, because we have a very interesting past as you see with car collectors. But after the Second World War, the French government just decided to do popular cars.

LUX: LUX speaks to the high end of the luxury market. Is luxury stratifying?
Richard Mille:  Yes, I can see that everyday. There are many luxury brands that are turning into volume brands, and sometimes it is very high volume. Also people are more educated and sophisticated and know the numbers; they know that many brands are volume makers and they are looking for more exclusive things, things that will make them different. Twenty years ago people did not know the difference between Hermès and Louis Vuitton. Today they know the difference between those brands; they know who is doing what. The world of luxury, which was quite over generous, has today totally exploded between all the different segments.

Discover Richard Mille’s collections:

Reading time: 8 min
Vintage library scene with wooden bookshelves and a table and chair at the window

Logo reading Secret Diary of an Oxford UndergraduateIllustration of a woman wearing an elaborate eye mask

Oxford University is the world’s best, according to august publications like The Times. Oligarchs, CEOs, kings and presidents clamour alongside ordinary people to get their daughters and sons in; and for generation after generation of ambitious, intellectual kids, Oxford is among a handful of names that represent the ultimate in academic aspiration. But what’s it like to actually be there? Our anonymous diarist reveals all

November 2nd, 2018

Day 38 at Oxford. It’s 8am. Sunlight is pouring through my flimsy, green curtains, which may as well not be there at all for the light-blocking they achieve. In ten minutes my scout* will burst into my room, stomp across the carpet and empty my bins with all the subtlety of a rhinoceros, taking special care to slam my door on her way out. As I rub my eyes I think about what the day ahead has in store for me. Lecture at 9am, class at 2pm, tutorial at 4pm. And every hour in between? The library. With a yawn I roll out of bed and open the curtains. I can see the college library from here, and it can most certainly see me. I feel judged. (Note to self: go to library first thing tomorrow.)

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I begin to get dressed, now unbothered by the fact that everyone outside can see me in all my glory, my window conveniently overlooking the college chapel and quad; the Chaplain certainly gets an eyeful most mornings. I put the kettle on and prepare my ‘just add hot water’ porridge pot. Thirty-eight days, thirty-eight porridge pots. It is even more depressing than it sounds. In this moment I realise I no longer feel like a fresher at all. In fact it feels as though I’ve been here a lifetime. Yes, I feel like a proper Oxford student now. And this is in no small part due to my buying that bike I was talking about. It was the perfect solution to my near-existential crisis. Of course, I still feel just as out of my depth here as I did on my very first day, but I now pedal around the city, other students whizzing about me, aggressively ringing my little bell at all those spatially unaware pedestrians in the road – and I feel like I belong.

To be a true Oxford student, I have decided, one must have a bike. Perhaps more importantly, however, we have now been matriculated. That is, the freshers have been officially enrolled to the university and experienced the madness that is Matriculation Day, going through the rituals of signing the college register, attending the ceremony and partaking in the famous ‘matriculash’ celebrations thereafter. I think back fondly to Matriculation Day as I eat my porridge, which has now set like cement in the bowl. I have to admit I enjoyed the pomposity of it all, not least because we got to wear sub fusc** for the very first time. I spent a shamefully long time inspecting my new look in the mirror before we went to the ceremony: the academic gown, complete with elaborate shoulder streamers, looked like something from Harry Potter. The academic cap was another novelty, although these were made redundant from their head-covering capacities due to an old Oxfordian legend which dictates that it is bad luck to wear your cap before graduation (needless to say we found an astonishing number of alternative uses for it: drinks coaster, drinks container, frisbee, you name it). It was in this attractive academic get-up that we trotted down to the Sheldonian Theatre for the ceremony, tourists snapping photos and shoulder streamers flailing in the wind as we went. While some of us felt empowered by the costume, others felt like little more than misplaced penguins. And for A, that indefatigable workaholic I mentioned in my last entry, the sub fusc proved too much altogether: she tore her skirt while jumping for a group photograph and was sent running to the nearest H&M for a replacement with ten minutes to go. What a day that was.

My reverie is interrupted as someone opens my door and strolls languidly in. It’s not my scout, but a friend from the floor above. We’ll call her M. I met her at the offer holders’ Open Day in April and we hit it off immediately. Effortlessly edgy, make-up free and unnervingly intelligent, she is far too cool to be friends with me and I absolutely know it. I clung onto her like a limpet on our first day and we have been inseparable ever since. From essay crises to boy crises, all-nighters at the library to all-nighters at the club, we have packed years’ worth of friendship into no time at all. She doesn’t even knock on my door before she comes in anymore. (Note to self: lock door while changing.) It’s astounding how quickly relationships have developed since we’ve been here. I spend all hours of the day with people that I didn’t even know a month ago, and yet I now can’t fathom a life without them. What’s interesting is that I haven’t had to unmake a single friend that I made in Freshers’ Week: the people I spent those precious first days with are the same people that I spend all my time with now. Although, that isn’t to say I’ve got it completely right. I was that person who, attempting to establish themselves as the ‘fun’ and ‘outgoing’ one in the first week, invited everyone to their room each night for pre-drinks, my door left permanently unlocked so friends could come and go as they pleased. Big mistake. People now knock at all hours – yesterday I was dragged out of bed by a drunken rugby boy who felt compelled to have a deep and meaningful conversation at 3am – and it is exhausting. Oh, the price one pays for friendship.

Read more: Our Cool Hunter picks what’s hot this season

Standing in front of me now, M looks tired. With her laid-back nature comes a dangerous lack of academic productivity, that is, right up until the minute before the essay deadline. For someone who is notoriously uptight when it comes to work – I’m not proud to admit that my friends back home call me a ‘know it all’ – this is particularly stressful for me to see. Indeed M and I are total opposites. She works relatively little and achieves the highest results; I work all hours of the day and receive far less satisfying feedback. She invariably wears tracksuits and no makeup; I won’t leave my bedroom without making sure I am presentable for fear of running into someone on my way to the toilet. And at this very moment, as I fuss about tidying my bedroom, she’s lying on my rug lackadaisically, humming songs and watching videos on her phone without a care in the world.

The hot topic on everyone’s minds at the moment is houses. Students at my college live out during second year, and we’ve been told to start hunting for accommodation as soon as possible. We’re only in our fifth week of university, and yet we already need to decide who we’d like to live with. You can only imagine the politics. It feels like a huge leap of faith to be predicting who we’ll still be friends with in a years’ time – without really knowing whether we’ll all be friends next term. And there is, of course, the additional concern of trying to work out who you might have future romantic relations with: the second years have warned us against living with potential love interests because, after all, by this time next year they might be exes. In college, then, there is an atmosphere of trepidation. (Am I in the group? What if they don’t want to live with me? What if I don’t want to live with her?) Fortunately for me, there seems to be a group of us forming, slowly but steadily, and the house-hunting can get underway. But that’s not to say that we haven’t had to have a few awkward conversations. One boy, a PPE undergraduate, has proved frustratingly persistent in trying to wheedle himself into the group. We have nonetheless unanimously agreed that he cannot live with us on account of his questionable behaviour on nights out (he lacks an awareness of personal boundaries and the knowledge of how not to inadvertently harass girls).

Read more: Behind-the-scenes of Maryam Eisler’s latest book “Voices East London”

On the other end of the scale we have BFG, who I mentioned last time; he is in such high demand that hasn’t had to think twice about houses. Indeed, he has become something of a big name at Oxford. First division rugby player, writer and director of the college play, enthusiastic yoga-goer and probably the best-loved person in the entire university, BFG has friends everywhere – and he is completely oblivious to his fame. Since we study the same subject, he is a regular and welcome fixture in my life, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve got my eye on him as my potential college husband. (Note to self: propose to BFG.) I wonder if I can persuade him to live with us?

M has just arisen from her horizontal state on my rug and is now dragging me by the arm out of my room. It looks like the time for daydreaming is over, not least because our lecture starts in ten minutes and we’re going to be late. I really must stop worrying about the politics houses and start worrying about that unwritten essay that’s due at 5pm tonight. Wish me luck.

* college cleaner
** official outfit for university ceremonies
Our diarist is an undergraduate at an Oxford college. Can you guess who she is? Read her Freshers diary entry here: The Secret Diary of an Oxford Undergraduate and check back in for the next instalment soon
Reading time: 8 min
Singer Lenny Kravitz performs on stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna
Singer Lenny Kravitz performs on stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna

Lenny Kravitz performs at the 2017 Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala, with DiCaprio (centre) and Madonna (right)

Whether painting, music or immersive experiences, artists – and the art they produce – play a huge role in raising hundreds of millions of dollars for some of the world’s most deserving charities, says art auctioneer and LUX contributing editor Simon de Pury
Portrait of world renowned art auctioneer, Simon de Pury

Simon de Pury

I’ve done the auction for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala for the past four years in St. Tropez. It has raised in excess of $100million for environmental issues. You know, we can try to save everything else, but if we don’t have a planet, there’s not much to save, so I find it very surprising that what should be probably our primary, main concern is just so low down the pecking order of people’s preoccupations. But Leo DiCaprio is probably the most important fundraiser for environmental issues in the world. It’s the longest auction of any auction that I do – people arrive at nine o’clock and it goes on till past 2am. So it’s a real marathon, because not only are there top artworks (he’s a very active collector, so all the artists donate their best works), but also experiences. There are once-in-a-lifetime experiences like going to the gym with Madonna or playing tennis with Federer.

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And the evening is interrupted by little musical intermezzos. So, last year Madonna gave a fantastic concert halfway through, and then the whole thing ended at 2.30am with an incredible concert by Lenny Kravitz. Once that was finished, the after-party kicked in with DJ Cassidy and there was the after-after-party at the home of Dmitry Rybolovlev. We were the first to leave at 7am. But the party was in full swing!

There’s more money in that tent than at any evening in New York. The combination between high-net-worth individuals – Russian oligarchs, people from the Middle East, former Soviet states, Latin America, America, Europe – mixed with top actors and top models, creates an electric, exciting atmosphere.

The other one that is very exciting is the amfAR Gala in Cannes, which always takes place at what I view as possibly the most beautiful hotel in the world: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. The artworks are displayed in an incredible way. Coming out of the hotel, you see an alley leading down to the sea, and at the bottom of the alley is the star work of the auction. One year they had a Damien Hirst, the famous mammoth; another year, a huge sculpture by Jeff Koons. So, you can really show the works in a spectacular way, and once the guests come they all mingle on that beautiful alley.

The artist Joe Bradley – there is a long waiting list for his work, and he had a big show at Gagosian in Geneva – donated a really fantastic work for the auction. And it made €750,000, which is basically the price you have to pay if you’re lucky enough to be given the chance to buy one.

The other highlight of amfAR every year is when Carine Roitfeld curates a fashion show. And this year it was with 31 different designers, and she picks the theme, and she picks the dresses. One year it was all in gold; one year it was multicoloured; one year it was red. And then all these top models come down the stairs and walk up and down the catwalk and the stage with the most unbelievable music, and so it creates a fantastic atmosphere. And then, once all of the models are on stage, I come up and stand in front of them and start the auction. That’s by far my favourite moment as an auctioneer in any auction.

Supermodel Winnie Harlow poses at amFAR gala wearing a black and white dress

Supermodel Winnie Harlow at amfAR in Cannes this year

This year was the 25th anniversary of amfAR to raise money for Aids. Another Aids-related charity I’ve done auctions for is the Elton John Foundation. He invites 70 or so people to dinner in his home, outside London. It’s very intimate. He usually pairs up with another musician – John Mayer, Annie Lennox, Andrea Bocelli – and then he comes and plays himself. It’s really nice if you’re invited to a private dinner, so people pay a lot of money for their seat there – much more than they would for a larger gathering. During those evenings, we just sell three or possibly four items. So the main way of raising funds is people getting there.

The Elton John Foundation is one of the most effective foundations on the calendar in terms of research for Aids. He has been relentless for years and years with his Foundation, raising funds. It is remarkable just to see what he has done and how much he gives of his own persona, how much he gives of his own funds.

Read more: Behind-the-scenes of Maryam Eisler’s latest book “Voices East London”

For Aids there’s also the MTV RE:DEFINE annual charity auction. I do it every year in Dallas, in cooperation with the Goss-Michael Foundation, founded by George Michael and Kenny Goss. That is also a fun event because you always have each year an artist that is being honoured. This year it was Tracey Emin.

And the Robin Hood Foundation Benefit in New York raises the biggest amounts; you just have all these hedge-funders in the room and they say, ‘Now we’re going to put the numbers there… please put your pledges,’ and then bleep. ‘You’ve just raised $72million dollars, thank you so much.’

In terms of the cancer charities, there is Denise Rich, who founded Gabrielle’s Angels in New York. I do the Angel Ball auction every year. She takes the Cipriani Downtown, 650 people for a seated dinner. She had the whole Kardashian family coming last time – the whole family except Kim – and they are very close to her, which is very rare. One year she had Pharrell Williams performing and suddenly he said to me, “Simon, come on stage. I want to sell a dinner with me!” And all the women became crazy, screaming. Then Usher said, “I’ll join the dinner as well!” And that second impromptu auction raised more than the regular auction.

The Beyeler Foundation Summer Nights Gala in Basel, Switzerland, is the most original of any fundraiser, because director Sam Keller asks one artist to take over the whole museum and transform it for one night, which means that only as a guest do you get to see what the artist has done.

One year it was Olafur Eliasson and you arrived and everything was black and white, as if we were in a black and white movie. We sat down and started eating the food – black and white. It tastes bizarre when you don’t see the colours. Eliasson said, “Now you know what the world looks like without colour.” And then there was a total blackout and he said, “Look under your chair.” And everybody had this little lamp, and he switched a button and suddenly all the colour came back. The food started tasting very, very good the minute you saw the colour. It’s the most bizarre experience ever. He also did artworks just for that night, paintings all in different colours. All this was created just for the night.

I also love doing the New Museum Spring Gala in New York, because of the artists who attend. Very often you sell great art at these events, but you have no artists in the room – maybe one or two. But the New Museum event is carried by the artists. This year were three of my favourites – all women. Julie Mehretu, Cecily Brown and Elizabeth Peyton, who is my favourite portrait artist today. If you had to choose who would be your dream person to do your portrait, she would be top of my list, and the New Museum had shown a mid-career introspective of her. Besides that there was new work from Jeff Koons, from George Condo… there were something like 55 artists in the room.

In terms of the contemporary art world, the New Museum Spring Gala is possibly the most exciting one, because personally I always find that the most rewarding thing in terms of what we do is the contact with the artists themselves. Nothing is more stimulating. They have such a fresh way of looking at everything. And that’s what I love, because, after all, without the artists all the rest is meaningless.

Simon de Pury is an art auctioneer and collector and the founder of de Pury de Pury. Find out more:

Reading time: 7 min
an exhibition space of design pieces such as furniture and sculptures
Man standing in greenhouse wearing high fashion apparel

Bethany Williams is one of the emerging designers stocked at concept store, 50m in Belgravia

With a gimlet eye for the latest and newest, LUX’s Cool Hunter and Digital Editor Millie Walton reveals what is grabbing her attention this season


Experimental isn’t a term one associates with London’s upmarket Belgravia, but that’s where you’ll find the new concept store 50m (so-called after the 50 metres of clothes rail that runs along the inside walls). Created by artist collective Something & Son to support new design talent and tackle high shop rents, the store functions as a space for emerging designers to showcase and sell their work at a more affordable cost. The designers also receive mentorship from leading figures in the industry. Paul Smyth, co-founder of Something & Son, says its aim is to “create a store where people don’t simply consume stuff, but can meet designers, hang out with friends, cooperate and collaborate”. Find the likes of menswear designer Bethany Williams and jewellery studio RÄTHEL & WOLF.

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vibrant illustration of a woman running in thigh-high boots, captioned Baby you're everything!

Comic-strip meets pop-art graffiti by Lithuanian artist and illustrator Egle Zvirblyte

Egle Zvirblyte

Lithuanian artist and illustrator Egle Zvirblyte describes her work as a “bright, juicy, punch-yourface explosion with existential undertones”. The aesthetic is comic-strip meets pop-art graffiti, bursting with colour, humour and movement. Look through the artist’s portfolio and you’ll see the same characters often reoccur as if it’s all one big story with the next chapter spontaneously popping up in unusual places. Earlier this year, Egle created six huge installation works for Inis Oírr (a small island off Ireland’s west coast) as part of the Drop Everything annual contemporary cultural biennale, and she’s currently planning “a collaborative wall in London” with typographer Oli Frape. Keep your eyes peeled for larger-than-life, eccentric-looking characters dressed in 1980s fashion, cigarette-smoking tigers and bananas in shades and high heels. It will be hard to miss.

an exhibition space of design pieces such as furniture and sculptures

Petra Lilja Design Studio specialises in concept design

Petra Lilja Design Studio

The Swedish studio led by designer Petra Lilja specialises in concept design, curatorial work and exhibition design, with a strong focus on sustainability. For a recent project around the themes of ‘utopia’ and ‘dystopia’, Petra sourced material while ‘plogging’ (walking or jogging and picking up plastic rubbish). “It’s amazing how little we value a material that takes thousands of years to disintegrate,” commented the designer. The studio often collaborates with other designers to create intriguing objects such as the Rephrasals project with Aalto+Aalto, which explored the possibilities and expressions found through a method of associations and chance.

arty fashion photos of bodies distorted into complicated postures

Alternative fashion photographs from “Posturing”

Read more: Art auctioneer Simon de Pury on modern philanthropy


Posturing is a fashion photography book with a twist – or several. Dreamt up by fashion curator Shonagh Marshall and Wallpaper* photo editor Holly Hay, it celebrates the body as a sculpture in contemporary fashion photography. The images are aesthetically intriguing, with a focus on the shapes created by limbs rather than the garments the models wear, and are accompanied by a series of interviews discussing the current state of the fashion industry. “I noticed a shift in the way contemporary fashion photographers were positioning the body,” says Shonagh. “There was a move away from the glamourised, sexualised body of the celebrity-driven 2000s.” Welcome a new age of perception.

portrait of musician Annie Hockeysmith

Annie Hockeysmith is sometimes described as ‘Kylie Minogue on acid’


Hockeysmith’s music is the very definition of heady: a blend of woozy electronic beats, unorthodox rhythms and smudgy vocals. Based in Cornwall, Hockeysmith (AKA Annie Hockeysmith) takes inspiration from the arcane landscapes, occult folklore and local rave scene to create a breed of darkly textured electronic pop that’s impossible not to dance to. You feel like you’re throwing yourself across a strobing dance floor even if you’re lying on your bed at home. Sound frightening? It is a little, but it’s also a lot of fun – and has been described as ‘Kylie Minogue on acid’. I’m currently obsessed with the track Go Baack.

This article originally appeared in The Beauty Issue, to see more content click here.

Reading time: 3 min