This is a special year for Canada and for my hometown Montreal as they both mark another benchmark year in their respective histories. In recognition, I want to include a piece about a cultural gem that is well worth adding to your bucket list of must-see museums should you ever be fortunate enough to visit. Here, Montreal-born writer Andrea Grimaud gives us her impressions as to why the McCord Museum is so worth your while to experience. Throughout the year, Montreal’s McCord Museum mounts stunning temporary exhibitions dedicated to illuminating for citizens and out-of-towners alike the history, people and communities of this vibrant, multicultural city, which this year celebrates its 375th birthday just as Canada marks its 150th.
Three museums in Morges will be the setting for an exploration of the fashion legend’s oeuvre including pieces created especially for the films and private life of his famous client, who lived in nearby Tolochenaz. From the 20th May and continuing until 17th September, lovers of haute couture and of cinema will have an extraordinary opportunity to visit a unique retrospective that explores — for only the third time internationally — the life’s work of one of haute couture’s greatest designers, Hubert de Givenchy. In this context, it will also look at the unparalleled professional collaboration and personal friendship that Givenchy enjoyed with his muse, the celebrated actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn, which defined her unique look and that of an era and which continues to influence fashion to this day.
If it’s spring it’s time again for the creative extravaganza that is the UNIcréa Arts & Crafts Salon, which twice annually brings together more than 100 artisans ‘handpicked’ for their originality, passion and talent by UNIcréa founder and director Céline Dreveton. I spoke with Céline last autumn (Meet Céline Dreveton: Artisan, Entrepreneur and Creative Force) just before the Salon’s 22nd edition at the Château de la Sarraz and she impressed me with her commitment to unveiling fresh, new talent at each subsequent fair.
To meet Serena Dignola-Russignan, founder and talented artisan behind La Lumière du Temps, you soon understand where the warmth and playfulness emanating from her elegant, handmade “photophores” (wax candle holders) come from. Inviting me into the kitchen of her home in Eysins, just above Nyon, Lugano-born Serena insists on preparing me a cup of coffee. Not the instant kind, of course, but the real kind that bubbles away in a stove-top espresso maker until it announces its readiness with — a musical rendition of the Italian national anthem. A first for me and admittedly, the most original introduction to an interview that I’ve ever had, but it speaks of the way in which its maker approaches her life and her métier … with joy and enthusiasm.
Due to unanticipated, and to me at least, deeply disturbing events in our world this past year, I’m really craving some comfort and joy this Christmas time. Happily, there’s plenty on offer at Christmas markets across Switzerland this November-December, including some very special ones right on our doorstep in the Lake Geneva region. Here are a few of my highlights for you to consider, all of them within easy distance by car or public transport.
As the setting for a spring market I cannot imagine a more naturally magical one than the gardens of La Noyère, the 18th-century manor house set in the vineyards surrounding the village of Mont-sur-Rolle overlooking Lake Geneva. This is where its owner and founder of the La Noyère Christmas and Spring Markets Anne-Catherine Goetschin will welcome visitors, come rain or come shine — but hopefully shine — on Friday, 16th and Saturday, the 17th of June 2017. (Please note that the original text for this post was written in 2016, but the dates have been updated to reflect this year’s market.) A select group of talented artisans Some 15 European artisans of the highest calibre will be on hand to offer creations that will include: refined white ceramics; elegant silver-and-semiprecious stone jewellery; unique and characterful Raku sculptures; delicate paper découpage ‘paintings’; leather sandals, and dresses, for summer; handmade cards; and fine chocolates. Anne-Catherine, a professional florist, has been hard at work planning, ordering, and in the days running up to the market assembling her own floral arrangements of seasonal flowers, herbs and plants with help from a support team that …