Claridge's, a landmark hotel in London’s posh Mayfair neighborhood whose admirers include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Kate Moss, Mick Jagger, Madonna and Victoria Beckham, has unveiled what is undoubtedly the world’s most fashionable Christmas tree. Designed by longtime guests and friends of the hotel, the tree was created by Italian fashion icons Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The luxurious hotel, originally opened in 1812, has made a tradition of inviting its designer devotees to design a Christmas tree each year; past contributors have included Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz and Dior’s John Galliano.
This year the 23-foot high tree blends traditional Christmas tree décor with Sicilian elements drawing on the design duo’s Italian heritage. It’s adorned with over 450 glass baubles blown by master artisans from Verona and Lake Como, hand-painted with images of the sun, citrus groves, flowering almonds and prickly pears in homage to a Sicilian garden.
A bespoke, multi-colored lighted framework, created in Southern Italy, surrounds the tree in a nod to the traditional red, green, yellow and blue illuminations seen in Italian streets and Piazzas at Christmas. Finally the base of the tree features 30 hand crafted Sicilian marionettes, or pupi, made to resemble Charlemagne and other medieval knights, carved in wood and dressed in velvet robes.
“To us, Christmas is the most magical moment of the year,” Dolce and Gabbana note. “We spend the holidays with our families and the people we love. Christmas is the moment to give, not only in terms of gifts we put under the tree but especially for emotions and love. The tree we created for Claridge’s is special because it brings to London a bit of Italy, of its warmth and traditions.”