by Stephen Doig, The Telegraph, November 16, 2017
Nothing is quite as it seems in Courchevel, the jewel in the Trois Vallées ski region. The trees that line the quaint Rue de la Croisette (for this is a Cannes in the clouds) glitter with frost, but a closer inspection reveals they’re of the faux variety – nothing as messy as mulchy leaves here.
The twee wooden chalets might seem pure Grimms fairy tale, but these are internationally renowned five-star hotels, and the oozing raclette and topsy-turvy charm of L’Anerie restaurant (washing is strung across the ceiling’s beams) belies the fact that A-listers beat a path to its door.
A stone’s throw away, the charming facade and oak awning of the Fendi store look as if they might belong to a village boulangerie, were it not for the high-voltage fashion within. Designed by Milan-based Dimorestudio, this is Fendi’s new emporium devoted to all things ski in Courchevel 1850, the highest point in the Courchevel constellation of villages.
Despite the deceptive rusticity of the environment, inside it’s a glossy, contemporary space. Pale larch wood, gleaming brass and padded walls in soft tones of sage green and marble grey create a calming atmosphere, the wintry tones mirroring the hues of the French Alps. A Charlotte Perriand daybed and vintage dressers addamore boudoir-esque touch – the marriage, says Fendi CEO Pietro Beccari, of two cultures: “For our first boutique in Courchevel we wanted to blend Italian savoir faire and design with a French flair.”
And flair there certainly is, in keeping with a place that has seen the Beckhams, Roman Abramovich, George Clooney and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in tow) all slalom down its runs. Also in keeping with a house renowned for its fur coats, Fendi’s foray into skiwear is a masterclass in serious outdoors performance-wear, with Karl Lagerfeld overseeing the womens’ collection and Silvia Venturini Fendi the mens’.
The result is a series of heavy-duty ski suits that vary from the wildly decorative–cartoon imagery and vivid bright slabs of colour – to the functional and graphic. Pieces are adorned with logos and Fendi’s Bag Bug imagery: dastardly eyes topped by tufts of fur that mimic eyebrows. But no eyebrows will be raised at the price tag on the limited-edition Fendi Baguettes dappled in sapphire and emeralds to reflect the landscape outside: six figures is veritable pocket change around here.
Especially if you have the cash to hire homes-from home like Chalet Edelweiss, a seven-floor goliath of a mountain retreat that acts as the backdrop for the unveiling of Fendi’s autumn/winter 2017 ski collection.
It can be rented for about £71,000 per week, if you have a penchant for living out a Bond-villain fantasy in Narnia. Alongside crackling fires and fur throws, there’s a spa, a Turkish bath, a waterfall feature that cascades from the top floor into thee indoor pool; original art by Damien Hirst, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Marc Quinn; and, naturally, a nightclub for après-ski in your own home, should the celebrity spotting at La Grange get a tad tiresome.