Luxury Paris Hotel Lutetia closes for renovation

Paris's landmark art déco hotel Lutetia, whose guests included Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle and James Joyce, closed on Monday for a three-year renovation following similar makeover moves by rivals.

The seven-storey Art Deco hotel built in 1910 follows in the footsteps of the Crillon, Ritz and Plaza Athenee which have all closed for extensive revamps.

French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte will oversee the renovations. After the renovation work, Hôtel Lutetia will join "The Set" collection of luxury hotels, including Café Royal in London and Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam.

"Our collection wanted to use a French architect with a good working knowledge of the city of Paris and experience working on National Heritage sites because each hotel in our collection takes its roots in the history and culture of its environment", explains Georgi Akirov, The Set Hotels.

Hôtel Lutetia is also selling its collection of artworks, over 3,000 pieces of furniture and 8,000 bottles of wine and spirits. The auction is being organized by Pierre Bergé & Associés in collaboration with Métayer auction house. According to WWD, the sale is predicted to raise up to 2 million euros, or $2.8 million at current exchange.

Viewing of the items opens May 15 and 18. The auction takes place between May 19 and 25, 2014 at Hôtel Lutetia.


Les Légendes de Bugatti | Black Bess

Bugatti has officially revealed today the "Black Bess", its fifth model in the six-part "Les Légendes de Bugatti" (Bugatti Legends) Edition. The new supercar from the French luxury manufacturer will be presented at the upcoming Auto China Motor Show in Beijing (from 21 to 29 April).

The "Black Bess" is inspired by the original Bugatti Type 18 Black Bess produced from 1912 to 1914 and based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. Its 1,200 PS, 8 litre W16 engine achieves an unparalleled torque of 1,500 Nm at 3,000-5,000 rpm, and can accelerate from 0-100 km in 2.6 seconds. With a maximum speed of 408.84 km/h with the roof down, the Vitesse is the fastest production roadster ever built.

The body of the Black Bess is constructed entirely of carbon fibre and, just like its historical predecessor, is painted completely black. The gold-coloured accents that make the Type 18 Black Bess so unmistakable are reflected in exquisite fashion on the modern Bugatti.

Priced at €2.15 million ($2.97 million), the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse Black Bess is limited to a run of three vehicles. Of the four Legend models already presented, all twelve vehicles have been sold.


Il était une fois l’Orient Express

The Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe - IMA) in Paris is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the world's most famous train, the Orient Express.

In partnership with the SNCF, owner of the Orient Express, Il était une fois l’Orient Express ("Once upon a time the Orient Express") will showcase the locomotive and three legendary carriages, which have been placed on display outside the institute's forecourt, including:

* The Train Bleu carriage, a restaurant car *
* The Flèche d’or carriage, a salon car in the ‘Lalique’ style *
* The Orient-Express carriage, a newly restored sleeping car *

In the institute visitors can view various objects and archive documents, posters, films and photographs, some of which are being displayed in immense presentation 'trunks'. During the exhibition the restaurant car will be serving food by top chef Yannick Alléno. Book a table online here.

The Orient Express was the world's first international luxury express train, developed by Georges Nagelmackers, a Belgian businessman who envisioned "a train that would span a continent, running on a continuous ribbon of metal for more than 1,500 miles," as E. H. Cookridge writes in Orient Express: The Life and Times of the World's Most Famous Train. Operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, the Orient Express began service on October 4, 1883 and ran between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul).

Orient Express - Historic Routes

The journey took several days. Passengers relaxed in their plush compartments, complete with sinks, toilets, cabinets, other amenities, and comfortable beds. The train took passengers on journeys that combined the thrill of adventure with great luxury and refinement.

After its launch it became a legendary line and came to represent the quintessential art of travel until just after World War II. The last, truncated Orient Express service ran Dec. 13, 2009 from Vienna to Strasbourg.

In its heyday, many celebrities slept in the luxurious berths of the Orient Express, including King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, American actress Marlene Dietrich, and Russian ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Other well-known passengers were adventurers and spies, from Lawrence of Arabia to Mata-Hari.

The Orient Express was immortalised in Agatha Christie's detective novel Murder on the Orient Express, whose 1974 film version won an Oscar. In december 2013, Variety reported that 20th Century Fox was in the process of planning a remake.

Il était une fois l’Orient Express runs until August 31, 2014. After Paris, the exhibition will be travelling to Venice, Istanbul, Vienna, Liège, Berlin, Lyon and London.

Opening Times
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 9.30am / 7pm
Night opening on Friday: 9.30am / 9.30pm
Saturday, Sunday and holiday: 9.30am / 8pm


Stirred Cookery School to launch in June

This June sees the launch of Stirred, a unique Italian culinary holiday experience hosted in Villa Casagrande, an historic 15th Century villa in a truly undiscovered part of northern Italy.

Based in the foothills of the Dolomites, an hour north of VeniceVilla Casagrande is home of th­­­e Conti Brandolini d'Adda, historically a fiercely proud military family who defended the surrounding towns and valleys against invaders for hundreds of years. The family has since laid down their weapons but their military heritage is not forgotten. Family portraits and paintings reflecting the Brandolini D’Adda's fortunes in love and war adorn the walls of Villa Casagrande, whilst giant swords and the family's red scorpio battle standard decorate the imposing entrance hall.

Villa Casagrande's impressive kitchen hosts intimate hands-on cooking classes, utilising the area's rich and varied seasonal produce. Guests will learn to create classic Italian dishes such as Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto, and Spaghetti a la Vongole, learning new techniques and becoming acquainted with an exciting array of regional ingredients over the week-long courses.

"The idea of Stirred is to provide a completely authentic Italian culinary experience. Guests will fall in love with Villa Casagrande and the gorgeous surrounding area of the Veneto. Our fantastic chefs run the classes but we also have local experts who will reveal all the hidden jewels of this unexplored part of Italy", said Stirred co-founder Sarah Roberts.

As well as cooking classes, guests will experience magical Venice with trips to the Rialto fish and fresh foods markets to pick up some of the best seasonal produce to bring back for classes. Guests will be taken off the beaten track with seasonal truffle-hunting trips, as well as dinners out at local restaurants that serve up local cuisine for which the area is famous.

Located in the rugged heartland of rustic Italian cuisine, guests will discover the Veneto's culinary secrets as they immerse themselves in the surroundings. The enchanting Venetian-inspired villa has a state-of-the-art kitchen, complete with traditional Venetian open fireplace. The 18-metre pool provides the perfect way to work up an appetite for an alfresco dinner by the monumental chestnut tree. After days exploring the area or creating delicious treats in the kitchens of Villa Casagrande, guests will relax in individually-designed bedrooms, each with their own elegant bathrooms – before indulging in dinners that extend long into the night.

2014 course dates
8th to 14th June
15th to 21st June
14th to 20th September
21st to 27th September
12th to 18th October

Prices for 2014
£2,400 per person (£250 single supplement)

Package includes
Six nights' accommodation, tuition, food, wine, trips, tours and tasting (unless otherwise stated), transfers to and from Venice Airport at recommended pick-up and departure times.


Jaeger-LeCoultre's first boutique in Amsterdam

In cooperation with Gassan, Swiss watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre will unveil its first boutique in The Netherlands in the spring of 2014.The new boutique is situated in a prime location on the P.C. Hooftstraat 102 and covers over 100 square meter on two executive floors.

With this 62nd Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique worldwide, right in the center of Amsterdam, the Grande Maison is continuing its global expansion in 2014. Each square meter of Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques is truly dedicated to horological passion in all its forms. It vividly reflects the prestige of the Grande Maison which produces under its own roof a broad range of mechanical timepieces from the world's smallest mechanical movement, Calibre 101, to the most complicated mechanisms housing up to 1200 parts.

"The Netherlands are a growing market for Jaeger-LeCoultre and the first boutique is located at a perfect location. Together with Gassan, Jaeger-LeCoultre found a long-term partner to operate this exciting project at a top level", says Frank van IJzendoorn, managing director Benelux & Scandinavia at Jaeger-LeCoultre.


Editorial Vogue Russia - The Muses of YSL

Editorial Vogue Russia 
April 2014
"The Muses of YSL"

Photographer: Mariano Vivanco
Styling: Olga Dunina
Models: Mathias Sourbron, Fanny François & Nadja Bender