Luxury between centuries

I had a very pleasantly surprising Easter holiday this year. Have to admit upfront– would have never thought of Munich as a particularly must-visit destination but as it turned out – couldn’t have been more mistaken!

My impression wasn’t spoiled the least by the rainy days spent there, and believe me – I can’t stand the rain! It was truly amazing and I highly recommend you to pay a visit upon your next holiday opp.

History and fashion go together at few places in Europe – Paris and London for sure, maybe Antwerp and Milan count too, but Munich?!

Read along and you’ll see why it made that big of an impression on my feminine nature…

To start in sequence, I’ll go from Neo-Baroque to Modern Age.

Thinking of a memorable way to spend our German Easter, my friends took me to the largest Bavarian lake – Chiemsee, often called the Bavarian sea. The lake itself is beautiful – situated between Germany and Austria, the area around it is a famous recreation region. What’s interesting, however, is one of the three main islands on the lake – Herreninsel (translates as gentlemen’s island). The biggest landmass on the area withholds an impressive castle, built by king Ludwig II in 1878. It consists of 70 rooms and heavenly gardens with fountains, flowers and magical views. The history of “Koenigschloss Herrenchiemsee”, as the Germans call it, is very curious. The construction started in 1878 but seven years later it was stopped due to the lack of funds. One year later, in 1886, the king mysteriously died at the age of 40. The castle was never finished – only 20 of the 70 rooms are completed but it still remains the largest castle that Ludwig II had ever built and a masterpiece of architecture and decoration. It’s often called “Little Versailles” and was meant to surpass the French castle in scale and magnificence.

We saw thirteen rooms, each the size of a small townhouse. King Ludwig II was a man of advanced views – there are way too many impressive details in the castle that resemble our age! We saw 3-D mapping technology (created of course by pure instinct), reflection techniques, ideas, contrivances and mechanisms that would impress any modern architect and interior designer.

Nearly 200, 000 oz of gold were used for decoration and 5, 000 candles to light them up. In the dining room overhangs the word’s largest Meissen porcelain chandelier – a remarkable art creation that could never be imitated – the construction plans were burned right after it was finished. Under the chandelier there’s “the magic table” – its wonder was to disappear and reappear set with the help of a special lift.

In the King’s personal bedroom there’s a blue glass globe that served as night illumination and made the room’s ceiling look like a real starry sky, immersed in blue moonlight…one can easily understand the reason King Ludwig II was named “The Dream King”.

Another  striking design is a tortoise shell large State Cabinet decorated in “Boulle technique”, used for musical instruments storage in the first antechamber.

There’s one more item worth mentioning in the council chamber – a special clock, called “The creation of the world” that shows not only the time, but also the phases of the moon and the star signs.

King Ludwig II was a great admirer of Louis XIV of France. Not only the whole palace was made by the model of Versailles, but also it’s full of images and symbols, tied to the Sun King. The evocation is particularly obvious in the state bedchamber where the ceiling paintings show God Apollo with the features of Louis XIV.

In conclusion, I want to mention the Southern Staircase, modeled on the Ambassador’s Staircase in Versailles that was demolished in 1752. Tourists from all over France come to Germany so they can see what it looked like. There are, of course, many more interesting facts and things to see in the palace but I’ll leave it to you, so I don’t take all the amusement from your personal visit.

Moving on to Present Age, I want to share the fashion experience I had in that beautiful city. To my surprise, Munich is a wonderful shopping destination! It’s even named “Italy’s most northern city”.

I fell in love with Maximilianstrasse – one of Munich’s four royal avenues and home to the greatest fashion houses of all times. Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Moncler, Tiffany, Rolex, Cartier, Hublot, Dior and Armani are just a few of the premium fashion brands that are displayed in a row on that charming boulevard.  You can retort – “So what”, most big cities worldwide carry those brands. Sure, you’d be right – but combined with the masterpiece architecture and the overall design of the stores and their displays, it’s certainly a must-visit spot for those who love to experience the high-end fashion excitement. Since I can’t describe everything for the reason already mentioned above, the one store I’ll talk about is my favorite – the LV fashion paradise right off the corner of Maximilianstrasse 12!

It’s chique, it’s massive, it’s brand new – the just one year-old trendy flagship is situated on three floors – bags and accessories on the ground, shoes and apparel at the top and mens fashion underground. That exceptional establishment is an art form by itself, even without its inventory. Located in the former Residenzpost (the first German post office), the only German Maison of the brand  is a 1,400 square feetof pure luxury. Once you cross the doorstep, you fall into a wonderland and everything outside seems to disappear in the dimmed light of the ground floor. Walking between sleek displays, arranged with bags, small leather goods, charms and accessories, your desire for possession grows increasingly as you reach for the expert help from the kind assistants. After admiring the “Capucines MM”, made of baby bull leather with two-way closing (incredible idea) by the monogram flower or just the brand initials, I went on to the top floor with ready-to-wear and shoes collections. Walking up the massive sparkling staircase, I felt my heartbeat quicker with anticipation of the next sight. Naturally, I wasn’t let down. The floor is immersed in daylight and everything is perfectly displayed in three spacious sections. My attention was totally grabbed by the Passenger Ranger boots! There was a gorgeous blonde, trying them on with a matching black dress, reading “PARIS” in discreet sequins on the back – a happy sight for her lucky husband :) On my way underground, I couldn’t miss taking a picture of the artistic bike and a pair of extravagant mens shoes.  The sensation is hard to describe in words to its full extent, especially with the “Haute Maroquinerie” service that offers ladies a choice to design their very own exclusive bag, starting with a vast choice of different leather. In addition, gentlemen can use the made-to-order shoes and belts service.

Essential details that add value to my superb perception are the luxury and tasteful interior – a mix of glass, wood and metal,  the shopping assistants’ refined and  welcoming approach to each inquiry and a special twist I’ll tell you about next. The ambience was enchanting and when I thought it couldn’t become anymore overwhelming, an assistant told me there was an “ESPACE LOUIS VUITTON” right next to the Maison’s entrance. I couldn’t believe it – the fifth contemporary art gallery of the brand right at my fingertips! Needless to say, I hadn’t visited any so far…believe me, you won’t regret seeing the current display. I’m not telling you anything more, except: mix-matching culture with fashion and history delivers celestial emotions!

In conclusion, somewhere between shopping and sightseeing you MUST absolutely try the pastries and chocolates at MAELU and even buy some for your loved ones back home, because honestly, they are divine!

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