Claridge’s Unveils New Dior Designed Christmas Tree
Things have been busy in Mayfair this fall, with the Connaught (Red Room) and Claridge’s (Painter’s Room) both opening artful new cocktail bars, the former boasting artworks by the likes of Louise Bourgeois and Jenny Holzer, the latter featuring a stained glass mural by Annie Morris. Both are dripping with inimitable style.
Of course, the season also brings the annual Christmas tree “competition” between the two legendary luxury hotels (both are part of the Maybourne Group). The Connaught’s conspicuously appeared last week on Carlos Place – outside, in front of the hotel – with a design by Morris and husband Idris Khan that was meant to remind us at this time of year of that which binds humanity together, as opposed to what divides us.
Claridge’s has just followed with the utterly enchanting 6.5 meters tall tree that now adorns its plush lobby, at the foot of the iconic grand staircase. The tradition it follows is that of the hotel partnering with a very high profile fashion designer (previously: Diane Von Furstenberg, John Galliano, Alber Elbaz, Dolce & Gabbana), who is then allowed to run with what has consistently been a magically creative concept. This year it’s Dior Artistic Director Kim Jones, who actually happens to be the first British designer enlisted for the job.
Jones seemed to know that what the tree needed most of all in 2021 was the kind of dazzle and sparkle that have been so difficult to access these last twenty-one months of fear, anxiety and emotional greyness, as we have struggled through this terrible coronavirus crisis. And so he imagined it as a kind of “celestial snow globe,” something possibly dropped down into Central London from the very Heavens. Specific Dior references come by way of the house’s Haute Couture Ateliers signature toile, as well as the Dior Ateliers ‘petites mains’ pleating techniques.
Using state-of-the-art projection artistry, ethereal visuals radiate up from the base, and out/up to the walls and ceiling, creating an ethereal, almost otherworldly effect. It’s all charmingly topped by a replica of Jones’ own canine companion Cookie, hugging the iconic Monsieur Dior “Lucky Star.” And who doesn’t need a big canine hug right now? Or a lucky star, for that matter?
Jones enthuses, “It has been a great honor for me to have designed the Christmas Tree for Claridge’s this year. I’m excited to kick off the holiday season in such an iconic British institution and to bring the festive spirit of Dior to London with my upcoming menswear show.”
For those with Dior on their shopping list, it’s very much worth stopping in at the Peter Marino designed boutique on London’s poshie New Bond Street. Or should you more likely find yourself on the other side of the Atlantic, the French fashion house also opened a spectacular new flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue this past July.