Even icons need a bit of updating once in a while, something fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg knows all too well; it explains her astonishing longevity in the business. So when she started noticing inescapable signs of wear and tear in Claridge's -- the venerable English hotel that she's called her home away from home since the 1970s -- she didn't hesitate to speak up to Claridge's management.
What she didn't expect was a clarion call from the hotel to head up the renovation works of 20 guest rooms and suites.
She agreed, calling in friend and interior decorator Olivier Gelbsmann to assist with the project. Two years later, four rooms are now complete -- each, every bit as chic and understated as the designer's famed dresses -- while the remaining 16 are set to come online by the end of the year.
The first to be unveiled, the two-bedroom Piano Suite, was quickly booked up for six weeks; a snip at £8,500 a night.
Armed with a palette that includes ikat, cashmere blankets, Murano crystals, chocolate hues and her own photographs taken during her travels, von Furstenberg has stamped the rooms with a bold, yet comfortably luxurious, feel. Nothing is overdone, yet surprises abound not least the beautifully finished carpentry of the writing desks and chests of drawers that look like vintage travelling trunks.
The renovated rooms coincide with a tip to toe rebranding of Claridge's by London-based design studio Construct. Everything from the logo and crest and umbrella to restaurant menu, stationery and TV menu have been given a fresh makeover in bold black and white, with discreet splashes of the hotel's signature jade green.