Hotel QT New York, hotel review, March 30 2006 The Hotel QT hasn’t remained quiet for very long. Describing itself as an upscale YMCA and offering stylish rooms for reasonable prices (by New York standards), it’s a unique concept for Manhattan and has been featured in all the right magazines. Pool Look closely, though, and there’s something endearingly pretentious about […]

Brazil’s rainbow revolution

Financial Times, February 25/26 2006 Fashion editors are now making their pilgrimage to the latest round of catwalk shows sniffing, like truffle-hunting pigs, for trends. Yet on the periphery of this grand touris a series of smaller gatherings, from the Tokyo Collections to Kuala Lumpur Asia fashion weeks. And although many of these are often […]

Artificial nature: travel trend

WGSN, December 8 2005 From a glass walkway 4,000ft over the Grand Canyon to a ski resort in sandy Dubai, there’s a growing trend in the travel market for extreme and artificial experiences of the natural world. Seagaia A virtual island paradise in industrial East Germany; an artificial beach in a luxury underwater Dubai resort; […]

Stylish best friends at your service

Financial Times November 19/20 2005 UK department stores are targeting the luxury international shopper with close-up-and-personal lifestyle services, says Fiona Harkin. “For today’s consumer, time is the greatest luxury,” says Alannah Weston, creative director of London department store Selfridges, the latest emporium to gamble a big chunk of its budget on the idea that, when […]

Svalbard: Arctic inspiration

WGSN, October 17 2005 Inspired by a trip to Svalbard in the northern most part of Norway, British sculptor Rachel Whiteread is not alone in finding inspiration in the Arctic. Antennae Forest, Christian Houge Is it a whitewashed warehouse of anonymous boxes or a chilled polar landscape? Turner Prize-winning sculptor Rachel Whiteread has unveiled her […]


WGSN, August 29 2005 A visual form of the blog phenomenon, photoblogging is gaining mass popularity and throwing up new approaches to viewing and creating art. Perhaps it’s the proliferation of internet-based image sharing software such flickr, the lower cost of digital cameras or even the ubiquitous camera phone that is driving the popularity […]

Shop-dropping: subversion through commerce

WGSN, August 12 2005 Shop-dropping is the opposite of shoplifting, where consumer goods are subversively altered or rewrapped and put back on the shelves. Not only popular on the art scene, it’s also gaining ground as a form of guerrilla marketing. Move over Warhol – rewrapped soup tins on First there was the Barbie […]

Coming in from the cold – Russia’s luxury-loving elite

Financial Times August 6 2005 Big brands are now wooing Russia’a luxury-loving elite. Fiona Harkin tracks the rise of Moscow’s new money. Moscow, May 2006 “Russian money is new money. It’s about 15 years old, that’s all. Whereas English money – that goes back over 400 years,” says Elena Ragozhina, the straight-speaking editor of a […]

Marrakech guide

WGSN, July 28 2005 This walled city is an exotic, chaotic mix of maze-like streets offering a treasure trove of accessories and interiors goods. But for those eager to separate the tourist tat from the totally chic, a bit of extra work is required. Doorways and alley views Jardin Majorelle Villa des Orangers It’s no […]

Bangkok guide

WGSN, January 17 2005 No longer known as a shopping mecca for knock-off goods, suspect tailoring and tie-dye sarongs, Bangkok is shaping up to be a chic Asian hub full of homegrown fashion talent, slick interior design and sophisticated nightlife. WGSN takes a bite out of the Big Mango. Ploenchit and Ratchadamri road Bangkok is […]

Hanoi guide

WGSN, January 10 2005 Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam, has a beguiling atmosphere and lingering French influence that contrasts with the brashness of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the south. WGSN highlights the best places to shop, eat and stay in a city with an impressive array of regional crafts, clothing and […]

Stores that trade on club style

Financial Times September 18 2004 Fiona Harkin reveals the ways in which global retailers are using a personal touch (lychee martini, madam?) to attract the jet set buyer. It’s 1am in São Paulo and the barman slides another lychee martini over my way with a wink. All around me in the basement restaurant are Beautiful […]

Give it a more sensible title here

But it’s Brazil for bikinis

Financial Times June 26/27 2004 “For me, the one-piece looks sexiest on a woman, especially when she is moving,” says Amir Slama, the man behind one of the most successful Brazilian swimwear labels, Rosa Chá. “But the two-piece bikini is far more practical.” He’s got a point – the one-piece swimsuit requires effort. It demands […]

Buying into the heart and soul of cool Brazil

Financial Times March 19 2004 “At Selfridges, we’re always looking to reflect the mood – the zeitgeist, if you like,” says Suzanne Tide-Frater, head of creative direction at the London department store. Oh goody. Tell us: what’s the zeitgeist? 1950s, ladylike, conservative? Cocooning, individual, one-off? Apparently, none of the above. These days the zeitgeist, according […]

Marketing the House of Courvoisier June 3 2003 Courvoisier is the latest alcohol brand to tap into the fashion sector. At London Fashion Week, owner Allied Domecq launched the House of Courvoisier, a marketing and product strategy aimed at creating a “luxury brand experience”. US ad image designed by Russell Simmons’ You might have heard the Busta Rhymes/P Diddy […]

The Carlyle New York, hotel review, March 28 2006 The Carlyle is the elegant society lady of New York’s hotel scene. She’s got the pedigree (an NYC landmark building), all the right connections (guests have included leaders in world affairs, entertainment and the arts) and an air or elegant refinement (interior design by legendary decorator, Mark Hampton). Carlyle suite If […]

In London, putting touch of whimsy into jewelry

International Herald Tribune March 12, 2002 I wanted to create something that was pure, yet totally luxurious,” says the young British designer Russell Sage of the transparent twists of glass jewelry he created for his recent autumn 2002 London show. Known for using delicate fabrics such as antique French and Gainsborough silks, this season Sage […]

Small, but perfectly formed – the mini skirt

The Independent May 13 2001 From the youthquake of the Sixties to the leggy, red-lipped Robert Palmer babes of the Eighties, the miniskirt has always been associated with overt sexiness. Take the former Baywatch babe, Pamela Anderson, as the type of bad-girl stereotype normally expected to wear one. Teetering along to one of this year’s […]

The devil’s in the (matching) detail

The Independent May 9, 2001 Sophistication. Apparently it’s a dirty word for us Englishwomen, associated as it is with being chic, refined, discriminating, elegant, French – all of those attributes not usually associated with British dressers. Sophistication is Audrey Hepburn breakfasting at Tiffany’s dressed in classic Givenchy; it is the evergreen beauty of the French […]

Carla Fendi interview

The Independent Magazine, April 14, 2001 & The Australian Magazine, June 30, 2001 A well-manicured pair of bronzed hands, encrusted in pink coral rings, wave emphatically in the air. Carla Fendi is delivering her personal motto: “You can do everything, nothing is impossible.” And that’s exactly what this woman, and her 75-year-old Roman family firm, […]

London’s New Wave Caters to Individual

International Herald Tribune March 14, 2001 Alexander McQueen and John Galliano may have put London on the style map and marked it as a creative capital of fashion, but now there’s a new generation of designers rising up in the city and heading for the bright lights. These designers, not all of them young, are […]