When it comes to instantly recognizable cinematic universes, "The French Dispatch" director Wes Anderson has it nailed.
Now the auteur known for his distinctively hued vintage whimsy has entered into a chef's-kiss-perfect design partnership with luxury travel company Belmond.
Anderson has redesigned the 1950s-era Cygnus carriage aboard the world-famous Belmond British Pullman train which operates out of London's Victoria Station. Fans of Anderson's movies, or just of exquisitely realized mid-century glamor, will now be able to book day trips in Wes world year-round.
The carriage is described by Belmond as a "tribute to both the golden age of cinema and travel." Anderson has expressed the romantic allure of clacking trains and grande dame hotels in his films "The Darjeeling Limited" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," while Cygnus itself has appeared in the 1979 film "Agatha," starring Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave. The British Pullman is the English train on the Orient Express route made famous by crime writer Agatha Christie in her 1934 book "Murder on the Orient Express."
'I love trains!'
Anderson says in the press release, "I love trains! I have often had the chance to invent train compartments and carriages in my movies -- so I was immediately pleased to say 'yes' to this real-life opportunity, and very eager to make something new while also participating in the process of preservation which accompanies all the classic Belmond train projects."
Belmond British Pullman is made up of Pullman coaches dating from the 1920s to the 1950s which were bought and restored between 1977 and 1982. With the Cygnus carriage, Anderson has married the historical preservation of the Art Deco-inspired carriage with his own signature style. That means bold rectilinear shapes, marquetry with a deeply satisfying symmetry, and a finely tuned color palette.
Fittingly, the carriage is named after the Greek god of balance, often represented as a swan, and reference is made to this through intricate waves and swan detailing in the marquetry, as well as the reflective sparkle of silver leaf on the ceiling and swan-shaped Champagne coolers.
The ceiling has pastel-pink detailings and a garden's worth of green tones are used on the carpet and chairs. Sunbeams, clouds, stars and waves are among the motifs featured in the art nouveau-style wooden panels.
With the world emerging cautiously from these traumatic couple of years, there is a renewed nostalgia for a more carefree travel age (for those who could afford it), and a move towards laid-back luxury and exclusive tailored experiences, as opposed to the frenetic jostle of jet-setting. Grammy-winning musician Tyler, the Creator, whose latest album "Call Me If You Get Lost" was his second US number one, has, in Anderson's three years off from the big screen, become pop culture's leading exponent of this aesthetic, with a visual world styled around pastel palettes, vintage luggage and retro travel.
Living life Anderson-style does not, unsurprisingly, come cheap. The Cygnus carriage is available on any of British Pullman's day journeys around England, from murder mystery lunches through the Kent countryside to dining experiences with guest chefs.
For an even higher-end experience, the Cygnus carriage features two private coupés which can be exclusively booked for up to four guests.
"Pullman Dining by Wes Anderson" starts from $545 (£400) per person while the "Pullman Coupé by Wes Anderson: starts from $2,455 (£1,800) per coupé. The full carriage hire price -- for groups and celebrations of up to 26 people -- is available on request.
To book or for more information, visit belmond.com.
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