Friday Photo: A Tree Wows in London

(Courtesy Claridge’s)

What do you get when you mix a swashbuckling designer, a famed Parisian fashion house, an iconic London hotel, and a squad of shimmering starfish? Dior creative director John Galliano‘s Christmas tree for Claridge’s. Unveiled yesterday in the lobby of the Mayfair landmark, the ocean-themed creation replaces a traditional holiday fir with a giant (papier-mâché) branch of pink coral ornamented with silver leaves, opalescent anemones, and shiny seahorses. “I wanted to create an underwater fantasy,” said Galliano, who first worked with Claridge’s last year on a more climatically appropriate “frozen” tree that combined icicles with chinoiserie. This year’s “Under the Sea”-themed design is a tropical tour de force that brings a bit of Palm Beach to the hotel’s art deco lobby. “Both Claridge’s and Dior are synonymous with with timeless glamour and impeccable heritage,” said Thomas Kochs, general manager of the hotel. “And we look forward to celebrating the festive season together.” Santa, however, is expected to keep his distance from the Dior tree, for fear of being impaled on its coral spikes. The tree will be on display at Claridge’s until January 5.