This week …under lockdown (ten)

The world is beginning to awaken like Sleeping Beauty from what feels like a 100-year malicious spell, and life as we knew it has moved on. What are the new lifestyle trends and how will we adapt to a rebooted world?

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This week I think it’s becoming clear to us all that re-emerging from a pandemic is not as simple as we had hoped.

An article by Stéphane JG Girod explores the way ahead for brands. Professor Girod specialises in agility transformation at IMD Business School. “Luxury is about to become more personal, more entertaining and more social”, he says. In a post-pandemic world we have truly realised what human connection means to us.

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” John Donne (1624).

Virtual concerts, Zoom coffee mornings or cocktails, and online festivals have, in part, filled that need. A higher influx of emails in my inbox have been welcome. Announcing the latest information, as well as providing entertainment, personal connection and, yes, distraction from the pandemic crisis.

By all accounts group gatherings, whether at a footie match or a favourite restaurant, will remain a challenge until we get COVID-19 under control with a vaccine. In the meantime, connecting in a more personal and meaningful manner is here to stay and the more agile brands will take note.

Best friends are those who truly care about us and have our interests at heart. How will your bestie-brands develop relationships in our brave new world? Well, you can expect more personalised invitations to live events, access to special guests, thought provoking discussions with engaging speakers, exclusive invitations to virtual designer previews, or virtual wine and food tastings. The sky is the limit really.

Aerial shot in the morning light of an island located in a fjord/firth in the west highlands of Scotland.
Photo courtesy Much Better Adventures.

If you’d like to read Stéphane JG Girod’s article find it on Forbes. Luxury Brands Should Augment Human Touch Despite Coronavirus (24 May).

Gucci fashion reboot

This week Gucci declared, via a virtual press conference broadcast from his Rome studio, that Fashion Week was so over. The iconic brand is slashing the number of fashion shows it holds each year from five to two, with less product. Creative director at Gucci, Alessandro Michele, declared the fashion week calendar obsolete. He will no longer be adhering to a rota staked out by spring/summer, autumn/winter, cruise and pre-fall shows.

An end to spring/summer, autumn/winter, cruise and pre-fall shows. “I think these are stale and underfed words … clothes should have a longer life than that which these words attribute to them,” Alessandro Michele, creative director, Gucci.

The fashion industry has lost its way in recent years and is desperately in need of a radical overhaul. I hope this is a trend that will extend to other markets. Less product means a return to delayed gratification, as opposed to a ‘have it now’ mentality. Let’s all enjoy again a delicious sense of anticipation for new collections and local seasonal foods. Let’s welcome back beautifully crafted goods and traditional skills, passed down through generations, with less waste. Let’s treasure the items we buy, and maintain them instead of throwing them away. In tourism let’s have more authentic experiences with sustainability firmly in mind.

Kimono to Catwalk exhibition

Kimonos on display the V&A are exquisitely decorated.

I’m looking forward to a new exibition at the V&A which has been postponed due to the lockdown. Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk has all the elements that fascinate me; exquisite textiles; highly skilled embroidery; organic design, and more. The kimono dates back centuries and in the 16th century they were the principle dress for everyone in Japan, regardless of gender, age or status.

Watch Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk a curator tour with Anna Jackson, Keeper, Asian Department, V&A.

The word ‘kimono’ simply means ‘something to wear,’ says Anna Jackson, Keeper, Asian Department, V&A. The Samurai Class, however, had strict rules about how the kimono should be worn.

Cut from a single piece of cloth a kimono is constructed using straight seams. In contrast, clothes in the west are constructed according to which part of the body is to be emphasised. Each piece of the kimono is dyed separately using traditional techniques such as Shibori or Katazome.

In winter an additional kimono would be worn on top for warmth like a coat. It would be weighted at the hem so that it hung well.

The kimono is often seen on the catwalks and in fashion magazine shoots. It’s versatile, luxurious to wear and yet practical at the same time. Wear it alone or layered, loose or belted. It remains a treasured item to own and an heirloom to pass down.

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, V&A

Safe planning: your next luxury hotel break…

What are the questions you need to ask when booking a hotel to ensure peace of mind? I spoke to hotels around the world to ask ‘How Will Luxury Hotels Adapt In A Post- pandemic World?’

“The reality is we will be travelling with the virus still around and without a vaccination readily in place globally,” commented Rebecca Masri, founder of Little Emperors members club.

The luxurious Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, Venice. The Dedica Anthology will be offering maximum flexibility with rates that can be cancelled up to 24 hours before arrival.

As a standard measure all hotels are rigorously reviewing their processes. For instance, the breakfast buffet is now a thing of the past, and monitoring the temperature of guests and staff, is the new norm. More…

In my inbox

World Oceans Day: The Florida Keys’ Coralpalooza™ Goes Digital

Coral Restoration Foundation™ (CRF) is the world’s largest non-profit marine-conservation organization dedicated to restoring coral reefs to a healthy state, in Florida and globally.

Billed as the world’s first online celebration of international efforts to save and restore reefs, Coralpalooza™ Digital 2020 will take place ahead of World Oceans Day. Log in to the interactive, state-of-the-art digital platform to enjoy live chat with coral restoration and research experts, watch an exclusive interview with Philippe Cousteau, grandson of explorer and film-maker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and founder of EarthEcho International. Plus new videos, photos, interviews, and presentations. 6 June from 1-4pm EDT (6-9pm GMT). FREE.

Coral Restoration Foundation™ (CRF) is the world’s largest non-profit marine-conservation organization dedicated to restoring coral reefs to a healthy state, in Florida and globally.

You will also be able to tune into live link-up’s to see the foundation’s staff in Florida Keys waters, outplanting corals to restore reefs.

Stargazing

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in day time. Photo Visit Maine.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument at night. #Darksky. Photo Visit Maine.

Maine is a region I’d like to visit. It has the ocean, mountains, lighthouses, great seafood, and it’s been the third character in so many good films. Now there’s even more reason to make a trip. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument spans 87,563 acres of mountains and forestland. It is only the second of its kind in the National Park Service, and the first certified in Maine and New England, to be designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association. The sanctuary designation recognizes exceptionally natural dark night skies with minimal light pollution, an all too rare occurrence. Human habitation in the region goes back 11,000 years here so it’s good to know you can gaze up at the same stars, planets and occasional displays of aurora borealis, as our ancestors.

Under the The International Dark Sky Place Program there are 13 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world. The UK has four, the Brecon Beacons, Exmoor, Snowdonia and the South Downs National Park.

Stop press: Glyndebourne Open House 2020

Last Sunday evening I watched Michael Grandage’s 2012 production The Marriage of Figaro along with nearly 60,000 other festival-goers around the world, from Australia to Bangladesh and Singapore to Senegal. This was the first performance in this year’s Glyndebourne Open House. As a reminder, coming up today, Sunday 31 May, is Jonathan Kent’s production of Don Giovanni followed by Cosi Fan Tutte on Sunday 7 June. This week the next two opera titles have been announced (all performances start at 5pm BST).

14 June – Vanessa. An operatic thriller from the age of Hitchcock, Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prizewinning opera Vanessa boasts one of the 20th century’s most beautiful scores. Glyndebourne’s 2018 production was directed by Keith Warner and stars Emma Bell as Vanessa, Edgaras Montvidas as Anatol and Virginie Verrez as Erika. Jakub Hrůša conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra.


21 June – Rinaldo.Robert Carsen’s riotous schoolroom staging of Rinaldo Handel’s first opera for the London stage. The 2011 live recording stars Sonia Prina as Rinaldo, Anett Fritsch as Almirena, Brenda Rae as Armida and Luca Pisaroni as Argante. Ottavio Dantone conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Recreate luxury spa products at home

Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort Luxury Spa with views of the open sea.

The Maldives is high on my must-visit list. It’s one of those destinations where I can instantly imagine myself. If I close my eyes, I can hear the lap of the sea, drift away under the bluest of skies and feel the caress of a warm breeze. This week Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort sent me some recipes for beauty treatments to make at home. This is something we used to do back in the sixties – when beauty salons only existed in Hollywood films – and I have memories of lying on my bed with a sticky honey face mask, and fresh cucumber slices over my eyes. I am a chocolate connoisseur (translation; “I need a regular supply”) so this recipe for a body scrub appealed to me. Simply massage your skin with the minty gloop and shower off.

Energizing and refreshing body scrub

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • Some mint leaves
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • ¼ cup coconut oil

If you give it a try let me know how you get on.

New Hashtagtravelling photo store

Thank you to everyone who Likes my photos on social media.

I can spend hours mooching around with my camera, seeing what catches my eye. I return from each trip with hundreds of images which then need sorting weeding and editing.

I’m pleased to announce that the NEW hashtagtravelin photographic store is now live to browse. Hope you take a peek, and thanks for dropping in.

That’s all for this week. Stay safe and well and please leave a comment if you try any of the ideas or activities above, I’d love to hear from you.

Life is for living.

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