Editor's Note

WHAT happens when you dream? We're not talking so much about bedtime superhero fantasies or romantic interludes, but rather how such nocturnal flights of fancy are equally applicable to daytime living. After all - without the capacity to dream, there would be none to push boundaries of creativity and invention, fight for a better life or simply pursue personal passions long set aside for the sake of career obligations.

Luxe Christmas 2013 invites you to free your imagination and follow us as we travel the world in search of people and places that do not quite follow the well-trodden path. One prime case in point would be the legendary actor Morgan Freeman - a god by Hollywood standards but in real life, a music-loving man who's shunned the glitz of celebrity to return to his roots in Mississippi and open a blues bar. He tells us why it's never too late to revive your old passions.

By the same token, dreams are not always warm and fuzzy, especially if they come from the mind of artist Raqib Shaw, who discusses the deep, dark and visceral works that have seen him outsell the likes of Anish Kapoor to become the most successful Indian artist in the world.

On a lighter note, we go behind the scenes of luxury label Hermes with sixth generation scion Pierre-Alexis Dumas, who shows us where he gets his inspiration - the office of his greatgrandfather Emile-Maurice Hermes (1871-1951) which is now a private museum holding his personal collection of artifacts that have shaped the DNA of the House of Hermes. Dumas isn't the only one tasked with keeping the family legacy alive. So is architect Dirk Lohan, grandson of another big name - the iconic Mies van der Rohe. Lohan shares with us the irony of being tasked to redesign the lobby of Chicago's IBM Tower - which Mies himself was working on when he died in 1969.

Next, we head to Venice, where we meet Bianca and Giberto Arrivabene - a count and countess who live a modern fairy tale life that revolves around owning a 16th century Italian palazzo that has been turned into an Aman resort. The punchline? They're still living in it.

While the restoration of the palace has been nothing short of breath-taking, nature has its way of stunning you too, as a visit to the salt flats of Bolivia will prove. Despite being one of the poorest countries in South America, tourism has helped to improve the lives of the local people, in the same way it has helped the people of Bagan in Myanmar. But rather than an archaeological showpiece of Burma with its plethora of ancient temples and stupas, Bagan is also a living example of a people who have stayed hopeful in the face of oppression and are finally seeing the fruits of democracy. We look beyond the tour buses to capture the deeper story behind the picture postcard view.

Last but not least, we take you on a dreamy gastronomic tour where talented chefs with vision and the courage of their convictions are cooking up new dining experiences, whether in poverty-stricken Bolivia or hip cities like San Francisco and Barcelona.

We hope you'll enjoy our view of the world: not so much through rose-tinted glasses but with a sentiment that's especially strong during the festive season - the kind that believes that there's some kind of magic in the air. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to all.

Jaime Ee

Editor, Luxe Christmas

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