Constructed using custom travel trunks, Claridge’s hotel in London has unveiled its latest designer Christmas tree, this time created by Louis Vuitton. Jenny Southan reports
The Claridge’s “Christmas Tree 2023 by Louis Vuitton” brings together two illustrious names who have long celebrated the art of travel and crossed paths throughout their respective histories after both being founded in 1854.
An innovative twist on a conventional pine tree, the Claridge’s Christmas installation is composed of 15 vertically placed chrome trunks of varying heights that together create the silhouette of a traditional Christmas tree.
The Louis Vuitton installation has been described by the hotel as a “magnificent sculptural creation” positioned inside two large open Malles Vestiaire (“Wardrobe Trunks”) placed on top of each other. Together they stand at 5.2 metres tall. Each trunk is decorated with vintage Claridge’s travel stickers and an oversized Louis Vuitton luggage tag. As an avid collector and traveller, Louis Vuitton’s grandson, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, amassed hotel stickers throughout his life and would often place them onto his luggage as mementos.
At the top of the tree is Asnières, the historic Louis Vuitton family home and atelier. Admirers will also spot 21 Louis Vuitton Vivienne mascots, including Father Christmas himself.Back in the 1850s, Monsieur Louis Vuitton was appointed as the personal “layetier” (or “packer”) to Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. The Empress – at the same time – made Claridge’s her winter residence, famously receiving visits from Queen Victoria which led to the hotel being known as the annex to Buckingham Palace.
It was Louis Vuitton who would have packed the Empress’s trunks himself for her stays at Claridge’s. The Maison’s first London store opened in 1885 around the corner from Claridge’s. Ever since, its legendary trunk – the quintessence of Louis Vuitton’s unique savoir-faire – has crossed the Mayfair hotel’s threshold in its thousands.
Claridge’s general manager Paul Jackson says: “Christmas is the most magical time for us here at the hotel and we look forward to welcoming guests and seeing visitors immerse themselves in Louis Vuitton’s world”. The Claridge’s Christmas tree has long been a seasonal London landmark and symbolises the start of the festive season in the capital. This is the 13th year Claridge’s has invited a famous brand to reinterpret the tree (other tie-ups include Burberry, Dolce and Gabbana, Christian Louboutin and Dior).