This time last year, my partner and I decided to make a Christmas pact. We decided not to waste money on myriad gifts for each other, but to spend the money visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites instead. (Last Christmas was spent at Angkor Wat and Siem Reap; still one of my favorite destinations. This February, it will be the Great Barrier Reef.)
Writing our UNESCO Wish Lists for 2016 and 2017, which include Luang Prabang, and Praslin Island in the Seychelles (the Vallée de Mai national park was reportedly the original 'Garden of Eden') was a small thing, but it made me stop and think about life, and what makes each of us happy? (Thank goodness I have a partner who loves to travel.) Contemplating the UNESCO lists also made me realize that, no matter how overwhelmed we may become from digesting all the content we're offered in The Information Age, there are still so many things out there to discover in the world. There are still so many things to inspire and delight us; things that are so beautiful they will, like Angkor Wat and the Seychelles, linger in our memories long after we experience them.
2016 is set to be a year of such things. Here are a few lovely things to anticipate in 2016.
As always, thank you for all the thoughtful and kind emails. I've loved reading every one of them, especially those from the Garden Tour girls, and look forward to staying in touch in 2016! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and a happy, restful and joyful holiday season.
(NB New additions to UNESCO's World Heritage List can be found HERE. I love that Singapore's newly restored Botanic Garden has been added to the mix.)
NEW HOTELS TO DREAM ABOUT
The new NOMAD HOTEL LA, THE BEEKMAN in NEW YORK, and BLAKES SINGAPORE are among the coolly glamorous hotels scheduled to open or begin development in 2016, but one of the most anticipated hotel openings is Six Senses' new resort SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON (above two images), in the SEYCHELLES.
Set on the private island of Felicity (I love the name, plus that of nearby Curieuse Island), it's a short boat journey from La Digue or Praline (more gorgeous names), but miles from the rest of civilization. Six Senses is becoming as well-known as Aman Resorts for its architectural designs and remote destinations, so this will likely be One To Save Up For.
There's a great list of the Hottest Luxury Hotels in the World opening in 2016 HERE.
(And if, like us, you don't have the budget for Six Senses, there are also lots of cheap guesthouses in the Seychelles too. As there are everywhere. It's difficult to find them, I know, but they're there.)
NEW DOCUMENTARY ABOUT A CERTAIN STORE ON FIFTH AVENUE
If you saw the much-talked-about documentary SCATTER MY ASHES AT BERGDORFS (featuring some of the best quotes ever captured in a doco – LINK TO TRAILER HERE), you're going to love the next in the series by filmmaker Matthew Miele.
It's about Tiffany & Co., the jewelry store that started as a small stationary and gift shop more than 177 years ago, and eventually, with the help of Audrey Hepburn, a film and some good branding, became an international success. It stars some big names, including Katie Couric, Baz Luhrmann, Rachel Zoe, Jessica Biel, and Jennifer Tilly. Tiffany is on board, so the archive footage will be fascinating.
No trailer yet. Released in cinemas early 2016.
(Above pix of Tiffany Christmas windows for 2015)
NEW FILM CAUSING A FUSS
(AND AN OSCAR CONTENDER)
THE DANISH GIRL is a beautiful film. A beautiful film. It's based on the true story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between her loving marriage and her own needs and desires. It's a timely film, coming out in the wake of Caitlyn Jenner's story (and Vanity Fair cover), and it's well worth seeing, even if artistic films like this are not your thing.
Eddie Redmayne is superb as Lily, and up for a Golden Globe. He is even more moving in this than My Week With Marilyn, Les Miserables and The Theory of Everything. Alicia Vikander is also up for a Golden Globe.
If you missed the previews of this film in late 2015, it will undoubtedly be re-released in cinemas in early 2016, as the Oscar buzz about it is loud. (It's released in Australia in early 2016.)
TRAILER HERE. Released in cinemas early 2016.
NEW (TOURING) CHANEL EXHIBITION
If you missed the CHANEL EXHIBITION, Mademoiselle Privé, at the Saatchi Gallery in London last month, the good news is it will be showing in Hong Kong early 2016 before traveling to other international cities. Billed as an 'enchanted voyage', the exhibition takes a historic look at the design of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and the contemporary direction the brand has taken under Karl Lagerfeld.
No news of venues or Hong Kong dates yet, but keep an eye on Chanel's website for details.
NEW GARDENS-IN-ART EXHIBITION
There's been a spate of books and exhibitions about the beautiful symbiosis between gardens and art. Even Buckingham Palace held an exhibition on the subject last year. The newest show to display the inspiration that gardens have had on art over the years is at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, from January to April 2016. PAINTING THE MODERN GARDEN: MONET TO MATISSE will feature the usual players, including ol' Claude, but it will also highlight the works of artists and gardeners like Pierre Bonnard, Camille Pissarro and Wassily Kandinsky. It will also tour afterwards, so keep an eye out for cities and dates.
Set to be a blockbuster exhibition of paint, petals and pure joy.
(There will no doubt be a book to accompany it, so look for it on Amazon.)
Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair. January 30—April 20, 2016.
Note: There's a great article about artists and gardening HERE, and another one HERE. I loved hearing about Monet's horticultural expertise. His library was filled with gardening books and journals. Instructions sent to his chief gardener Félix Brueil in February 1900 included: From the 15th to the 25th, lay the dahlias down to root, plant out those with shoots before I get back. In March sow the grass seeds, plant out the little nasturtiums, keep a close eye on the gloxinia, orchids etc., in the greenhouse, as well as the plants under frames. Oh, if we only all had our own little Felix to do our weeding!
NEW (OLD) TV SERIES TO BUY FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
Finally, while this isn't new for 2016, it's something to put on your Must-Watch Lists for the new year. A lovely reader told me about it, and I just loved the trailer! She says it's well worth watching.
It's a period drama called THE TIME IN BETWEEN (or type it's Spanish name—EL TIEMPO ENTRE COSTURAS into Google for best results), and it's about a young seamstress who rises to become an elite couturier and then a spy during the Spanish Civil War.
The film sets are as beautiful as the fashion and the dressmaking. With the success of the Australian film The Dressmaker with Kate Winslet, and Dior and I, I predict there will be more movies about fashion, seamstresses and behind-the-scenes in ateliers and studios. Let's hope so.
TRAILER IS HERE. (It's wonderful!)
Available via Amazon and other outlets.