When I go to Paris to present my collection, I prefer to do it from a hotel suite, as it makes for an intimate and informal fashion show. I recently started using the Hotel Le Bristol. It has a level of service beyond any I have experienced before. I asked for space and light.
Normally they don't listen, but the lighting was great. We had a superb room opening onto a courtyard. Parisians can be difficult and arrogant, but there they are very friendly. I asked for a 6ft rail; they said 'no problem'. It's the little things that make the difference to the way the clothes are presented. As I left, the reservations guy introduced himself - a nice change from the usual experience.
The Villa d'Este on Lake Como in Italy is less than an hour from Milan airport and next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. They have a swimming pool that floats on the lake. I can't explain how relaxing it is, gently rocking. There is a spa, a superb restaurant and beautiful rooms. The gardens are stunning and rather grand. It's a good weekend escape and great if you like the outdoors and walking, which I do. In the evening, everybody gets dressed up for dinner in full evening dress with dancing outside. It's from another era. I love to dress up, obviously. There's something very glamorous and sexy about dressing in full-length gowns just for dinner. I spent the evening clocking what other people were wearing.
Fashion designer Maria Grachvogel is MD of Maria Grachvogel Ltd.