John Galliano at Claridge’s

Last week I was at Claridge’s for a press junket. I was in jeans and feeling very much like Eliza Doolittle in a world of business suits and designer outfits. While standing with the man who summons the lift (yes, they have a person for that) I examined the John Galliano Christmas tree in the foyer.

First and foremost it’s a tree. Not one of those triangular fir tree arrangements, no, it’s an actual tree. Meandering branches, twigs, trunk, the whole caboodle. But it’s not like he’s just uprooted someone’s prize oak – Galliano would never do something so pedestrian – he has constructed it himself out of papier mache as a giant bonsai love affair. It is white and blue. Also there is a leopard. And a parrot.

The man who summons the lift diplomatically remarked “It’s certainly not traditional” when a doubtful couple noted the leopard “but it’s definitely interesting”. I’ve had a look on the Claridge’s website and Galliano’s but there’s no actual artistic commentary beyond the basics – wintry colouring, crystals for frost – but I would assume it runs approximately thus: Claridge’s (and London) is littered with traditional trees and there are only so many ways to stick stuff on them so sod tradition! Here’s a fantastically contorted tree! Colours? Red gold and green have been DONE – behold WINTER in all its icy glory! Decoration you say? Orchids are pretty luxurious aren’t they? And everyone loves a leopard. The final touch? A parrot. BAM!

It’s all kinds of awesome plus it casts some incredibly dramatic shadows across the walls. It’s like winter is literally growing inside the hotel and generally looming over everyone. I’m currently wondering if my family would be ok with me spray-painting a huge branch and tying stuffed animals to it instead of the usual baubles and tinsel shenanigans. Could be fun…

Sadly I only had time to take the rushed snap below before heading back to the office but if you’re nearby you should pop in for a look.

John Galliano tree from above - Claridge's

John Galliano tree from above - Claridge's, 2009

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