A new Christmas tradition began in London in 2009, when Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair unveiled its first Christmas tree to be conceived by a famed fashion designer. Back then, Dior’s John Galliano debuted an unconventional, crooked, tropical tree complete with a model snow leopard and parrots. This morning, regular Claridge’s guest Diane von Furstenberg revealed a completely different creation. Her more traditionally minded Tree of Love “celebrates all aspects of love and life”.
In the hotel’s lobby, the six-metre-tall tree is decorated with 8,000 shimmering silver-leafed leaves, blue glass spheres and 150 glass hearts. Adding a pastoral touch, an owl and dove can be seen perched on the branches (the former represents knowledge and wisdom, the latter peace), while a horse (strength and endurance) and peacock (beauty) stand nearby.
The designer pictured at the launch of her Christmas tree this morning
The tree itself, the team at Claridge’s say, encapsulates «the idea… that all is derived from the universe and the tree winds its way upwards towards the heavens from its roots. » In tribute to that celestial theme, the walls surrounding the tree are decorated with a custom-made wallpaper that features representations of the zodiac and constellations.
Speaking to me about her design, von Furstenberg said she’s long had an attraction to trees, which provide “a place for families to take shade, for lovers to shelter”.
Accompanying the US-based designer was her private astrologist Shelley von Strunckel, who told me that the designer was a typical Capricorn in the best possible way: “ambitious, hard-working and always on the go. A bit like [fellow Capricorn] Michelle Obama in that regard.”
Details from the Tree of Love
Although von Furstenberg has long claimed Claridge’s her “favourite hotel in the world”, her association with the property first came to light in 2010, when she designed a series of rooms and suites for the property.
One of the hotel’s most popular signature suites, her Grand Piano Suite features a black leather-topped bar, marble fireplace, Diane von Furstenberg fabrics and photography taken by the designer herself.
Christmas-tree designs previously shown at the hotel also include Karl Lagerfeld’s 2017 tree, an upside-down spruce with its roots stretching towards the ceiling; it was likened to a silver stalactite.
In 2015, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey drew inspiration from Britain’s winter weather by producing a Christmas tree that was composed of over 100 umbrellas, each finished in either gold or silver metallic fabric. In 2011, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz took a traditional approach: his tree was weighed down by a flurry of brightly coloured baubles and encircled by piles of presents.
This year’s Tree of Love will be on display in Claridge’s until January 2 and all are welcome to visit.