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Claridge’s Christmas: A History of Trees

Claridge’s Christmas: A History of Trees

Decorating and putting up your Christmas tree is one of the most fun traditions associated with the holiday. Various meanings can be attributed to the Christmas tree, ranging from the wintertime protection against evil spirits to rebirth and resurrection. The world anticipates the spectacular and cutting-edge Christmas trees that the Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair, London, presents to us each year. I’ll go through a few of my favourites today and explain the background of each tree. You can find some ideas for your own decorations below!

2022: Sandra Choi for Jimmy Choo

Sandra Choi, the creative director at Jimmy Choo, created this year’s Christmas Tree for the Claridge’s Hotel. The brand’s sparkling accessories inspired the naming of the tree, christened “The Diamond.” A stunning big red bow, representing the brand’s most recent winter collection, tops the tree.

2021: Kim Jones for Dior

Kim Jones, the artistic director of Dior Menswear, created the “Celestial Snow Globe” tree for the Claridge’s Hotel in 2021. The concept for the tree came from Dior’s couture ateliers and their artistry. Kim Jones also wanted to represent Parisian high fashion for people worldwide and honour all French couture houses. The translucent material that made up the tree interior illuminated the entrance. Holographic images of decorations and the Dior logo projected dramatically across the entire space, with Kim Jones’ dog, Cookie, holding the lucky star.

2020: McQueen Flowers

In 2020, McQueen Flowers, a long-time collaborator, designed the Claridge’s Christmas tree instead of bringing in a well-known fashion designer. Despite not having a connection with fashion, this exquisite, unconventional Christmas tree deserves mention, with over 10,000 crystal garlands and pendants on each branch. Underneath shone a mirror pool, reflecting the lights that bounced off each crystal, giving the impression of numerous pendants in the lobby. The white tree is a product of the wonderful imagination of Kally Ellis, who also designed their tree in 2012. The tree’s Art Deco and Roaring 20s inspirations match the interior and exterior architecture of the Claridge’s Hotel.

2019: Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin worked with the Claridge’s Hotel to showcase his 5-meter Christmas spectacle in honour of the 10th anniversary of its designer-curated trees. The foyer was transformed into a winter forest, complete with a tall tree wearing a gold leaf crown, decorated with his distinctive red baubles and gingerbread stiletto ornaments. The “Loubi Express,” a gleaming red train loaded with presents, was also featured to honour the designer’s iconic red-soled shoes.

2018: Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg created “The Tree of Love” in 2018, drawing inspiration from the strength of love to represent life and nature. She explains why she chose this theme:

“Its roots come from the earth, its branches extend to the sky. The flowers become fruits, the colour of the leaves reveal the seasons. Home to birds, shade for children, and shelter for lovers. It is the symbol of strength, enlightenment and life.”

Over 8000 hand-painted silver-leafed leaves, 150 hand-blown glass hearts, and Murano glass ornaments were used to embellish the tree. Six animals beneath the trees, each standing for a different ideal: an owl for wisdom, a dove for peace, a horse for wisdom, a deer for gentleness, a peacock for beauty, and a mouse for curiosity. Diane’s vision also included Zodiac constellations projected across the foyer and on the ceilings.

2017: Karl Lagerfeld

Former Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld reinvented the Claridge’s Christmas Tree in 2017. His childhood memories inspired the inverted evergreen conifer Christmas trees lining the entrance. Trees adorned with feathers, silver tinsel, and snowflakes filled the hotel, and an Icelandic sheepskin rug sat below to represent snow. The centrepiece tree was about 16 feet tall and a unique take on the conventional Christmas tree, with the tallest point at the bottom and silver roots extending out at the top wrapped around a mirror star.

2015: Christopher Bailey for Burberry

Christopher Bailey, a designer of Burberry, accepted the assignment to create the Claridge’s Christmas Tree in 2015. The hotel hired a British designer to make their tree this year for the first time. The idea of light interaction served as the inspiration for this tree, which lit up when people passed by thanks to motion-activated lights. Featuring 100 gold and silver metallic fabric umbrellas and 77,000 individual lights, it was a sight to behold.

2014: Dolce & Gabbana

© Claridges

The 2014 Claridge’s Hotel hosted the follow-up to Dolce & Gabbana designers’ 2013 tree. To commemorate the Norman conquest of Sicily in 1061, a throne, a crown, and a royal coat of arms encircle the tree. Decorated with red and gold stones, the design kept close to the brand’s history, visible in all of its collections. Alongside this, the tree hosted ribbons made by Milanese tailors and glass decorations created by Bellagio artisans. Deer, bunnies, squirrels, and foxes gather around the tree and fireplace, reminiscing childhood memories.

2011: Alber Elbaz for Lanvin

© Claridges

A 20-foot Christmas tree covered in handmade, multicoloured ornaments from the Lanvin atelier was sent to the hotel by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin. Mannequins surrounded the tree, sporting Elbaz’s interpretation of the Claridge’s uniform, with dazzling love-hearts and twinkling fairy lights behind them. Naturally, the mannequins wore Lanvin and intended to represent his ideal family opening gifts after Christmas lunch. A mash-up of Downton Abbey and nostalgia for the 1970s largely inspired the sequence. Elbaz is seated on top of the tree as a Christmas fairy wearing a bow tie and luxury clothing with sparkling wings.

2009 & 2010: John Galliano for Dior

© Claridges

In 2010, John Galliano for Dior created the Claridge’s tree. Taking an unconventional approach, his tree was designed with an “Under the Sea” theme – not your typical evergreen affair. Covered with vibrant jellyfish, enormous seahorses, pink coral, and fish anemones, Galliano delivered an incredibly unique display. The unexpected Christmas motif and trees composed of glistening silver leaves gave Galliano a magnificent getaway. This idea is a continuation of his tree from 2009, which included a frozen tree with blue-tinged leaves and paper-maché snow leopards, dragonflies, and parrots scaling the branches.

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