Luxury brands leader CPP-LUXURY.COM is concentrating on Poland. My good friend Oliver Petcu, who runs CPP-LUXURY.COM, spoke to such other gurus as Aleksandra Ruczyńska, Vice President Nobilito Association (Stowarzyszenia Nobilito) and Tomasz Sikora, Warsaw School of Economics.
It seems that for many years Polish companies have been producing garments for the luxury fashion houses in Europe and USA. There are up to ten well established Polish fashion designer brands – say Gosia Baczynska, Dawid Wolinski and Maciej Zień – and there are several emerging ones.
Warsaw has been naturally regarded as the capital of the fashion scene in Poland. However, there is also Poznań and Łódź, that have recently gained their importance due to commencement of fashion industry events, which were organized several times there. Twins in Wroclaw is known for men’s tailoring, and Kielman, Warsaw, for bespoke shoes. Two other things Poland is known for are vodka, and luxury yachts (read more at www.cpp-luxury.com).
My new-best-Polish-girlfriend Agnieszka Rog-Skrzyniarz says her friends actually prefer whisky, or mixed cocktails. Their favourite current travel destinations are Greece, Italy and Spain, by the way. They book via online travel agents, and take advice from such lifestyle magazines as Pwoj Styl.
In Warsaw, I personally absolutely adore the city’s Fryderyk Chopin Museum, honestly the most exciting interactive experience in the museum world. From now on, I am going to find even such sacred cows as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Ashmolean in Oxford and the Victoria & Albert in London boring, and old fashioned.
Let me try and describe it. A building in central Warsaw was rebuilt after World War II’s disastrous bombing and, thanks to designers migliore+servetto, it looks amazingly authentic. Imagine a three-floor 18th century palace, gilded and white and pale cream, rising out of a square brick fort with gently sloping walls rising to a height of 20 feet. In front of this beauty is a stone sculpture of a symmetrical pair of staircases taking you to the main door, on the first floor of the palace.
Inside, you are on your own, girl, to go at your own pace. A pressure-pad keycard suspended around your neck, and programmed to your required language, allows you to press to follow Chopin’s early studies, his travels around your choice of Europe, to interact with his contemporaries and friends, in many cases swishing from frame to frame as if an iPad.
In a brick-vaulted basement looking like a schoolroom, separate listening booths allow you to choose your music from an electronic book, which actually has empty pages, and listen to your heart’s content. There are actual displays, too, including his travel diaries, and early manuscripts, and many of his actual pianos and a picture formed of dried flowers from deathbed, in 1849, at the age of 39 (much of the museum’s content is thanks to Jane Stirling, the Scot who graduated from being his student to his anonymous sponsor and on to his post-death curator).
The museum has a room for kids, and, for all ages, a musical twister, where you twist on spots on the floor and music emanates, and another room where you pull out drawers, showing the work’s title and original manuscript and music comes out of one of 12 foghorns but, surprisingly, the resulting cacophony merely sounds like an orchestra warming up. Yes, sheer brilliance.
Agnieszka Rog-Skrzyniarz heads communication for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Warsaw. One of its hotels, Sheraton Warsaw Hotel, is within ten minutes’ walk of Chopin (and Nowi Swiat for best retail, and the tourism of both New Town and Old Town areas).
I loved the avocado-filled tomatoes and grilled salmon in Sheraton Warsaw’s Someplace Else sports bar. Best suite is any ‘number 16’ as you have a 270-degree view from the fan-shaped salon, across a statue of Vincent Vitos, 1874-1945 and Pl Trzech Krzyzy to Parliament. You also have access to the stylish sixth floor club lounge, where the healthy breakfast buffet includes fresh-squeezed juice and lots of berries. Just what a gal wants.