Monday, 17 January 2011

The Housewives Of Beverly Hills ........

Hollywood - ‘The City of Dreams’ as it is so often regarded was the destination of choice to ring in the New Year celebrations and from the minute we stowed our Vuitton Holdalls, slipped into our Armani traveling outfits & settled into our BA Club World seats it was a decision that could not have been more LUXE …..

Landing into LAX and picking up our chariot for the duration of our ‘Fabulous In ….. LA’ adventure it was with dazzling smiles that we pulled into The Avalon - Beverly Hills and handed over our keys to the latest Mercedes AMG to the valet as the doorman opened the door to our home away from home.

The Avalon is some what of an institution in Hollywood, that has recently undergone a resurgence in popularity not only due to the remodel of it’s interior by famed designer Kelly Wearstler but also as seasoned travelers are starting to look towards smaller more boutique hotels as a place to call their own.

Opened in 1948 the walls of this 84 room hotel must certainly hold some of Hollywoods best kept secrets – with Marilyn Monroe in residence for 4yrs at one stage, Mae West having been another regular guest & the majority of ’I dream of Lucy/Season 2’ filmed on location around the infamous hourglass pool, I am surprised there has yet to be a film made about the hotel itself.

Despite the fact that many changes have been made cosmetically to the hotel, what truly does remain is the undeniable energy of old school Hollywood, a time when glamour was as natural as breathing & Tinseltown was adored from afar for the air of mystery that surrounded the stars of the silver screen.

Starting our ‘Living Life Luxe’ LA days always started of much like any other with the decision of where to have brunch – the best of the bunch for me would have to be ‘Brits in LA’ which is served every Tuesday morning at Cecconi's on Robertson, obviously not an exclusively British only affair but most definitely the best place to find the perfect ‘Full English’ to sort out your jet-lag as well as the endless entertainment that the surrounding table chatter provides.

My other ‘must do brunch’ for anyone visiting LA & I know I have mentioned this before is champagne brunch The Polo Lounge @ The Beverly Hills Hotel – stepping back in time you almost feel like Marlon Brando may walk through the door at any given moment - as you choose from the classics or some of their more ‘experimental’ items on the menu you’re serenaded by the musical styling of the resident jazz band which for me is very much close to my idea of heaven come a lazy Sunday morning.

Whilst we are on the subject of culinary delights, I have to say that second to none the food on this trip was unsurpassed – come sunset & depending on your time available I would recommend you experience the traditional taste sensations of Carolynn Spence at 'Chateau Marmont' previously head chef at The Spotted Pig NYC, give yourself over to suggestions by your waiter at sushi restaurant 'Koi' on La Ceienga Blvd, take cocktails at WeHo staple 'The Belmont' and enjoy being looked after by the very handsome Fabrice of Balthazar NYC fame at new ‘Farm to Table’ concept restaurant ‘The Everleigh’ on Sunset Blvd.

Heading a little further away from the traditional haunts of Hollywood, dowtown LA is quickly becoming the place to be with the almost to hot to handle ‘Bottega Louie’ serving up exquisite dishes & a patisserie counter that could put Magnolia bakery to shame.

Be sure to stop off in Silver Lake on your return, which for me was an undiscovered & now favorite quarter filled with amazing coffee shops / designer boutiques / home décor stores and local residents with such an interesting international flare it could almost take your breath away in a city so perfectly preened & practiced.

As the time drew near to head home & the bellboy collected our luggage, with one last quaff of the champagne looking over the hourglass pool ‘The City of Dreams’ had certainly not disappointed ……..

Starting ‘Fabulous In ….. 2011’ lounging by a pool in the Hollywood Hills surrounded by friends from around the globe it was in the words of Victoria Beckham with “Love & Light” and in my own words that I hope you may "Sizzle with timeless elegance & Raunchyluxe" in the fabulous year ahead !!

Monday, 29 November 2010

'Fabulous ..... In Barcelona'

Returning to Barcelona for the first time in many years as we drove into the city from the airport I remembered how much I loved the city & was reminded of how incredible & breath taking its architecture and general energy of it’s people can be.

Staying at El Palace Hotel which is situated near the top of Las Ramblas which is the central heart of Barcelona city with pockets offering such varied experiences branching off the main strip. Pulling up outside El Palace hotel has a sense of grandeur that is in keeping with the hotels heritage, with its history dating back to 1919 and having been recently refurbished back to 5* standard and earning its LUXE place amongst the prestigious group of ‘Leading Hotels of the World’

Complete with doorman dressed in the finest threads & top hats, as you step through the revolving door into the impressive foyer you are transported back to a bygone era of opulence and tradition – but now with every modern amenity seamlessly sitting alongside the hotels distinguished design.

Taking afternoon tea in the main salon, or enjoying an aperitif on the outdoor terrace before heading off for your evening meal is a fantastic way to really soak in the ambience & atmosphere of the stunning décor.

Being in Barcelona for work there was limited time to enjoy the city itself – but from past trips I can recommend that you absolutely must spend a day exploring the exquisite design genius that is Gaudi with the famous Sagrada Familia and Park Guell amongst my favorite places to lose an afternoon and also the wonderful produce market which is found just of Las Ramblas offering a visual feast of mouth watering Spanish delights.

I did however discover a new culinary experience recommended by a local who is very much in the know when it comes to the best local fair – Bar Mut is a new favourite with the well-dressed & well heeled Catalan crowd located in the upmarket area just off Avenida Diagonal serving small elegant tapas, an excellent wine selection and exquisite tapas dishes like the foie, sea cucumbers and wild sea bass.

As my whirlwind ‘Fabulous In ….. Barcelona’ trip came to an end with an extremely early flight taking me to Paris I made a note in my Smythson travel diary to ensure I don’t leave it so long before returning to this enchanting city once more.


With the last few weeks having been spent living out of my Louis Vuitton holdall & Tumi carry on it has made me appreciated that when it comes to travel the right LUXE luggage really can make a ‘Fabulous In ….. ‘ trip all the more enjoyable and much less stressful.

I have always loved everything about international travel - from pulling off the dustbags to start packing, checking in and being greeted by name, indulging in a little pre-trip dutyfree shopping, right down to arriving at your destination and arranging everything in your hotel room just the way you like it which for me always includes lighting my favorite scented candle making it a home away from home.

There are a very few travel brands that have withstood the test of time & the ravages of the baggage handlers & Tumi is one of those who for the past 30yrs has stayed at the forefront in design, durability and always ensuring that packing/travel be more of an experience rather than a chore – if you glance around the baggage carrousel next time you are at the airport you will be able to pick out the seasoned traveler not only by their relaxed demeanor but by the luggage they are wheeling behind them.

Whilst Tumi has no monogram branding as with Louis Vuitton or Goyard to the well trained eye a quick glance at the distinctive Tumi handle will be an instant give away – regardless of how often you travel & if it is for business or pleasure I would seriously recommend investing in a piece of LUXE luggage as it really does make the way you feel about travel all the more special even when it comes time to unpack on your return & pop it back on the shelf till your next ‘Fabulous In ….. ‘ adventure !!


For as long as I can remember my aspirations to Living Life Luxe have always been influenced & to some extent I imagine always will be influenced by TOM FORD, the man who redefined the meaning of LUXE and revived peoples thirst for the luxury market & the lifestyle that is associated with its products.

Although Ford never really stepped away from the spotlight, with his limited beauty collaborations for cosmetic company Estee Lauder, who are now the powerhouse behind his extremely LUXE own brand Tom Ford fragrance and ever expanding beauty collections.

Then we saw yet another impressive side to the designer with his directorial debut of the film A Single Man which was the perfect showcase for not only his creative vision behind the camera but also for his modern take on classic mens tailoring which we have seen dominating the red-carpet around the globe on those deemed fortunate enough to be wearing it.

New York fashion week saw Tom Fords triumphant return to the world of womanswear, whilst there was a break from Ford designing womans collections since his departure from the Gucci Group – you get the feeling he was waiting for just the right the moment to yet again almost ten years on give the world a reason to no longer feel guilty about all things LUXE.

Having recently released a selection of images from the campaign that has been so tightly under wraps until now - it is obvious how long not only the fashion world have been waiting for this, but the wider audience that it transcends – Life is for living and it’s about time we started living it LUXE once again.

Monday, 15 November 2010

LUXE LUST : Chanel N°5 Bath Soaps

Whenever I think of Chanel I associate the brand with just one word .... LUXE !! And this limited edition set of Chanel soaps enriched with Vitamin E is certainly no different.

Scenting the skin with their iconic fragrance Chanel N°5, this is one product worth getting yourself into a LUXE lather over - whilst you can still get your hands on a set that is !!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Luxe 4 Less - Ladurée meets John Galliano

Following in the fabulous footsteps of LUXE designers Christian Louboutin & Marni this November will see the launch of these limited edition Ladurée / John Galliano macaroons - a fashion & food fusion that will have every well heeled girl and boy pushing their way through the doors of this sassy & chic patisserie !!

Ladurée meets John Galliano = Match made in heaven

Thursday, 14 October 2010


When you receive an invite to a party at Lancaster House it is certainly an invitation you don't turn down - the last time I was at the venue was for the Tatler 100th party so I had high expectations.

The Vertu 'Life Beautifully Arranged' event to launch their new 'Constellation Quest' smartphone lived upto everything you would expect from the global leader in LUXE communication devices & concierge service.

Walking up the regal staircase at Lancaster House, falling raindrops were projected onto the paintings that surround the balcony & then we were transported through a audio/visual world of soundbites & video imagery.

Vertu pulled out all the stops, serving vintage champagne that floated around the glass and over the tongue like pure silk, a f
oie gras bar accompanied by sumptuous sticky wine and a sushi bar to rival that of Nobu.

With the guestlist a heady mix of London's poshest, prettiest and prominent faces - Vertu 'Life Beautifully Arranged' event has to be right up there as one of the most LUXE London
soirées to which I have ever rsvp'd !!