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Shoe Heaven

20 August 2014

The luxury retailer Harrods has opened a dedicated store for lovers of glamorous footwear – Shoe Heaven.

Harrods’s glamorous new women’s footwear emporium spans almost 42,000 square feet, encompassing the former staff canteen on the department store’s fifth floor.

Shoe Heaven Chanel

Shoe-lovers will be well served,  with more than 100,000 pairs of shoes from more than 55 designers, 17 of whom have their own boutique within the department.

The boutique will showcase work from a number of up-and-coming designers including Charlotte Olympia, Paul Andrew and Gianvito Rossi.

These will be complemented by exclusive pop-ups or limited-edition collections and offerings from some of the world’s leading shoe designers, including Christian Louboutin, Saint Laurent, Dior, Prada, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Roger Vivier, Miu Miu, Valentino and many more.

Shoe Heaven

Many of the boutiques will offer the brand’s entire footwear collection along footwear produced exclusively for Harrods, including Shoe Heaven’s most expensive shoe.

That accolade goes to a pair of crystal-embellished Valentino butterfly heels, which retail at £4,390.

A number  of the boutiques have private shopping suites for VIPs to shop in private  accompanied with a glass of champagne.

As you would expect from Harrods, the interior design of Shoe Heaven is a true delight and something to be marvelled at.

Everything was designed  by the late David Collins, the designer behind glamorous bars and restaurants such as The Wolseley, Claridge’s Bar and Nobu Berkeley, and the last project before he passed away.

David Collins Studio worked with Harrods’s fashion director Helen David, who dreamt up the concept of Shoe Heaven more than two years ago.

The Studio created an art deco-inspired space with over 2,110 square metres of marble, 400 square metres of plush carpet and elegant rotundas with ambient lighting to highlight special collections.

Shoe Heaven Interior

To celebrate the launch of Shoe Heaven, Harrods is launching ‘Silver Linings’, a special collection consisting of 37 iconic shoes recreated in silver and available exclusively at Harrods new addition.

Thirty-five designers have reinvented some of their best selling shoes in a metallic finish, including a pair of silver Valentino Rockstuds, Gucci’s iconic horse-bit loafers in silver and a pair of hot pink and silver-buckled mules from Manolo Blahnik, to name just a few.

Shoe Heaven is the latest attempt for the retailer to reposition itself in the luxury retail market.

In September, they will launch a brand new, 5,000 square foot fragrance department while the store continues to expand its women’s accessories department.

 

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The Fast Toys Club

18 August 2014

A French entrepreneur and petrol-head has founded a members-only club in Los Angeles for luxury car enthusiasts.

The Fast Toys Club gives its members access to a fleet of almost a dozen luxury cars, including an Aston Martin DBS Volante, a Porsche 911 Turbo, an Audi R8, a Mercedes G63 AMG and Rolls Royce Phantom.

Fast Toys Club

A Ferrari California T has also been ordered to add even more grunt to the already impressive fleet of highly desired vehicles.

For those who want to hit the race track, each month The Fast Toys Club holds track days at some of California’s top racecourses, including Willow Springs, Sonoma Raceway, and Laguna Seca, where members will be able to get behind the wheel of one of three stunning cars.

Those include a Pescarolo Le Mans prototype, a Ferrari 360 Challenge and a Mustang Boss 302S, all of which are owned by the club’s founder, Chris Carel.

A self-professed car addict, Mr Carel modelled the business on similar businesses in England and his home nation of France.

It is also becoming a popular way for petrol-heads to fuel their addiction in the United States.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there are more than a million people around America who participate in car-sharing schemes, triple the number it was three years ago.

This number is predicted to quadruple to 4million by 2015, according to AlixPartners LLP.

The reason for this is the same reason that drew Mr Carel towards founding The Fast Toys Club – cost.

Mr Carel, who lives in Pacific Palisades, said his hobby began to have a profound effect on his bank balance when he got hooked on the buzz of track-racing.

Track Car Racing

Because of this, the ploughed $2.7million of his own money into building the fleet and starting the club.

Within its first month, the club already has ten members, proof that other car-lovers are also feeling the pinch for their hobby.

Once you have joined the club, you can choose to make your own cars available for other members to use, and will receive club receive discounts and earn credits each time they are used by other club members.

Membership comes starts from $30,000 a year, and gets you access to  any car in the garage worth less than $150,000 — for up to 100 days a year.

Fast Toys Club

For $50,000, you get access for any car in the club’s feet  for 100 days a year. A corporate package for $70,000 buys time for five drivers.

Vehicles are delivered with a full fuel tank, and chauffeurs are provided at the member’s request.

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A luxury timepiece described as the ‘world’s most famous watch’ is expected to fetch a record $17million when it goes on auction later this year at Sotheby’s.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication is the centrepiece of Sotheby’s Geneva sale of Important Watches, and will go under the hammer on November 14.

The Supercomplication, known in some quarters as ‘the Holy Grail of watches’, is considered to be the most complicated watch to have ever been constructed by human hands.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication

When the timepiece last went to auction at Sotheby’s in 1999, it sold for $11million, a record that stands to this day.

It’s not known who has owned the illustrious timepiece all these years, though it has been suggested it may have been a member of the royal family of Qatar.

Now the auctioneer will offer the watch again to coincide with Patek Phillipe’s 175th anniversary.

The story behind ‘the world’s most famous watch’, reads like something out of a Hollywood production.

In 1925, New York City banker and watch collector Henry Graves Jr.became embroiled in a ‘gentleman’s duel’ with fellow watch collector James Ward Packard, according to Stacy Perman, author of A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch.

This led him to approach Patek Phillipe, commissioning them to produce the most complicated watch in the world.

The famous watch-maker gladly took up the challenge, creating an piece that took three years of research to create and five more to produce.

The 18k gold piece has a total of 24 horological complications, including a perpetual calendar, moon phases, sidereal time, power reserve, and a chart for the sky above Graves’ New York City apartment.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication

It took so long to produce because of the technology behind it, which featured 900 individual parts.

It remained the most complicated watch in the world for more than half a century, until the Patek Philippe Calibre 89, with 33 complications, finally surpassed it in 1989.

However, that particular timepiece was built by technicians backed by computers, and some still consider the Supercomplication to be the highest achievement in the field.

Perman calls it a ‘triumph of physics and micro-engineering and mathematics ‘, and describes the inner-workings of the timepiece like ‘extremely complicated three-dimensional chess’.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication

While there is no guarantee the illustrious watch will break its existing record, Perman says it stands a good chance of doing so, given the emerging number of billionaires in the world.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication will go to auction at Sotheby’s on November 14.

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Jaguar Land Rover are developing a self-learning car to create an ultra tailored driving experience.

The luxury auto will recognise individual drivers as they approach the car using the user’s smartphone, so that by the time they get to the car the mirrors, seat settings, and steering wheel will have already been changed.

Jaguar Land Rover

The new learning algorithm will also learn the specific style of the driver, and will be able to access your calendar, traffic conditions, time of day, and weather to help prevent accidents and reduce driver distraction.

Jaguar Land Rover say that by presenting the driver with information just at the right time while driving, it will reduce both cognitive distraction and the need for the driver to look away from the road to adjust various settings on the car.

The British luxury car manufacturer said it was their objective to move beyond simply focusing on traffic or navigation prediction, and deliver a ‘completely personalised driving experience and enhance driving pleasure’.

The self-learning car will also track its user’s habits and will automatically set the car cabin to the preferred temperature, and even making adjustments based on the outside weather.

The car’s ‘Smart Assistant’, will be able to check your daily schedule and send reminders via your smartphone.

Jaguar Land Rover Reminder

It will also actively change settings and pre-set the navigation accordingly.

If you like a specific temperature at a certain time, such as after a long gym session, the car will learn this and adjust accordingly.

It will also be able to predict future actions, such as whether you should fill up the tank before a long journey.

The car will learn its user’s individual driving style in a range of traffic conditions and road types, and will apply certain settings automatically.

For example, when you turn on cruise control, the car will know your distance settings and acceleration profile, and put them in place.

The self-learning software will not just be limited to your personal car neither.

Jaguar Land Rover

If you have to rent a intelligent Jaguar or Land Rover, it will then be able to tap into your profile and deliver exactly the same experience as you would have driving your personal motor.

Don’t get too excited though. The self-learning Jaguar Land Rover is still probably some way off, as the firm has yet to reveal any details of pricing or when we can expect to see it on the road.

 

 

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The Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels group is hoping to make its mark in Europe after opening the Peninsula Paris luxury hotel earlier this week.

Peninshula Paris

Based on Avenue Kléber in the 16 arrondissement, just a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe, the property occupies a building that previously served as the Majestic hotel in the early 1900s.

The Majestic hotel was eventually forced to close, where the building saw a brief stint as the seat of Unesco, before moving into the world of politics as an international congress centre.

The transformation back to a luxury hotel was one that took much time and work, four years to be exact.

More than 3,000 workers, craftsmen and architects were brought in to renovate and bring back to life many of the original features.

The sculpted stone façade, neoclassical panelling, various murals and much, much more have all been restored.

Peninshula Paris

Of course this is the 21st century, so a number of modern features have also been added.

The 200-bedroom hotel rooms include built-in nail dryers,  bespoke furniture made exclusively by a number of acclaimed designers.

These include chairs and ottomans from Rosello, sofas and bedframes from Laval and carpets courtesy of Tai Ping.

For culinary connoisseurs, French celebrity chef Jean-Edern Hurstel, who served as a competitor on a MasterChef-style cooking programme,  the serves as the establishments executive chef.

He oversees the entire catering operation of the entire hotel,  including the Cantonese restaurant LiLi and L’Oiseau Blanc rooftop restaurant, which offers mesmerising views of the beautiful city.

For those who want to spend the days relaxing, the hotel comes with a state-of-the-art spa, complete with a 22-metre indoor pool and promises specialist and signature treatments.

The will be plenty of staff to meet your needs too, with 530 members of full-time staff at present, with the figure set to increase to  600 by the year’s end.

For its opening month, entry-level rooms at Peninsula Paris are charged at €695 (£550) per night, excluding breakfast.

Peninshula Paris

Peninsula Paris face stiff competition though, particularly from the Plaza Athénée, which has also re-opened after 10 months of re-developing.

Shangri-La, Raffles and Mandarin Oriental are other Asian hotel brands that have already become established in the city.

Next year the Crillon and Ritz will also reopen after major refurbishments, so it remains to be seen whether the hotel proves to be a success.

Given what we know though, it certainly has every chance of success.

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