Princess Diana's Former Dress Designer Just Gave This London Hotel a Sleek New Makeover
There are renowned designers, and then there's Anouska Hempel, the ridiculously skilled designer-hotelier-restaurateur and the face of Anouska Hempel Design. Antipodean-born and now based in London, her work has an unparalleled global reputation for quality and excellence.
Originally from New Zealand, designer Anouska Hempel has solidified her reputation as a design pioneer in a myriad of ways over many years: as a couturier and as an in-demand interior designer on the London scene. Among her never-ending resume? You may know her as the unrivaled powerhouse who has designed dresses for royalty. Fashioning dresses for Princess Diana and Princess Margaret is just one of Hempel's chameleon-like qualities. They become apparent in the diversity of her fashion designs, extending from ultra-chic minimalism to timeless theatricality.
Anouska tells us her favorite part of the job was "looking for monumental shoulder pads! De rigeur at the time. It's absolutely chaotic and deliciously delightful. You must be on your toes."
Anouska decided to pursue her career in design accidentally. After starting in Portobello Road and the Blakes, she realized that design, style and presentation all go together. "I did not pursue a career, it pursued me."
As a hotel owner, designer, and manager for properties including The Hempel, Blakes Amsterdam, and Blakes London (she tells us her favorite project was the Warapuru in Brazil), Anouska Hempel's work is all-encompassing. She designs the total-experience when dealing with a building; she perfects the landscape and architecture to the last stroke, and leaves behind a manual for its proper execution. Her command of the living environment generates a theatrical world and sense of harmony over everyday life.
As one of the first classic boutique townhouse hotels in London, The Franklin has recently experienced an extraordinarily stylish revamp—and designed by none other than the Bond-Girl-turned hotelier/interior designer Anouska. The Franklin is located in Knightsbridge, London, in three adjoining Victorian townhomes, right alongside Egerton Gardens. The resurgence of the sleek hotel comes in the form of implemented intimacy and polished specifics.
According to Anouska, "The hotel is very pretty and feminine, full of Venetian splendor. Twinkling mirrored effects, stone floors mimicking the piazzas in Venice. Ikat galore. We started the design from scratch—experience and careful planning helped!"
Surrounded by the peaceful beauty of the private Egerton Gardens, the sophisticated Victorian building is comprised of 35 spacious rooms and suites, including the very much coveted 63-square-metre Presidential Suite. Striking Victorian windows bathe the room in natural sunlight, and the space has been granted an imaginatively inspired spark with Anouska Hempel's travel-influenced design.
The luxurious amenities at The Franklin encompass an Italian restaurant with Michelin-starred chef Alfredo Russo at the helm, a well-equipped fitness floor, and a martini bar overlooking the gardens. Due to its boutique-style nature, The Franklin will pride itself on highly personalized service. As the total experience unified by utter extravagance and romance, the lodging sets itself apart as a true artwork.