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This Castle Retreat Offers Silence and Luxury in Italy’s Piedmont Region / By Kate Symons  / Luxury Travel MAG

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This Castle Retreat Offers Silence and Luxury in Italy’s Piedmont Region / By Kate Symons  / Luxury Travel MAG

Gary’s Room, Castello di Casalborgone, Italy
In the sleepy Italian commune of Casalborgone, a recent castle restoration has injected a quiet splendour into the rolling countryside
There are millions upon millions of dollars’ worth of antiques inside Castello di Casalborgone, a lavishly restored 18th-century castle in the rolling countryside of Italy’s Piedmont region. Yet its owners believe the item of most value is the quiet.
It is hard to argue against this notion as I open an oversized casement window, inviting the crisp morning air into my opulent Broglia Suite. I take a moment to admire the charming Italian landscape, one of my favourite things to do, which here comes complete with the snow-capped Swiss Alps in the background.
“The thing that this place has that doesn’t exist any place else is this incredible peace and silence,” says Gary Douglas, American businessman, antiques aficionado and, as of 2018, Italian castle owner. “You sit at the castle and you hear the birds, the wind and the leaves. You don’t hear cars, planes, trains and buses. That’s very unusual.”
There is quite a lot about this experience that is unusual. First of all, I am in a castle. Luxury I may be acquainted with, but this is next-level extravagance. My suite, the most decadent of the castle’s 12 boutique rooms, is a veritable museum, meticulously restored and adorned with antiques and artworks that ooze intrigue. The bedspread alone cost US$12,000. It was hand-crafted in Jaipur using gold thread and, for that reason, I am politely asked to refrain from having sex on it during my stay, although under is okay. I am a married woman travelling alone so I am not sure what to make of the request, but I kindly (and easily) oblige.
Also unusual, during lunch one afternoon – a formal affair held in the dining room – we take an unscheduled break to accept a fresco delivery. I watch as four brawny Italian delivery men manoeuvre the precious cargo up the castle’s front stairs and into the grand ballroom. Away comes the wooden housing, unveiling the beautifully muted tones of an 18th-century Tiepolo. Pinch me.
Chiara Dolza, Castello di Casalborgone’s gracious host, is the most starstruck among us. A graduate of art history, she tries to articulate the significance: “That you can touch it…” she trails off in awe as she rests a hand on the frame. “I will never wash my hands again.”
There is something else unusual about my stay. Not long after meeting Douglas, I am introduced to a number of his colleagues. Warm and hospitable, they are fellow Castello di Casalborgone investors and happen to be in town – an apparent rarity – during my stay. They are also Access Consciousness ‘facilitators’. Douglas founded Access Consciousness, a movement based on the idea that consciousness can shift anything, in 1995.
I am unsure what to make of Access Consciousness. Thankfully though, analysing Douglas’s career is not my assignment. Instead, I am charged with depicting Castello di Casalborgone and, on that, my mind is considerably clearer. This is a special place.
Douglas came across Castello di Casalborgone quite by accident. In fact, the septuagenarian believes the castle found him, rather than the other way around. He feels similarly about the interiors. Douglas handpicked every item in the restored property, aided by his knack for spotting treasures at flea markets, estate sales, garage sales and antique shops. Noteworthy pieces include a 300-year-old Aubusson tapestry, candlestick covers from the last Kings of Iran and Baccarat chandeliers from Persia. Another tapestry, now hanging Tiepolo-adjacent, is believed to have once belonged to Hitler. The rumour alone demands attention.
Douglas developed his taste for the finer things in life at a young age, inspired by his aunt. “She ate off of fine china, she drank out of crystal glasses and she had sterling flatware to eat on every day. I thought, ‘I want to live like this’,” he explains.
He has attempted to recreate this hedonism at Castello di Casalborgone, and has succeeded. When he purchased the property, it had been empty for 40 years. It took just one to reinstate the Renaissance-esque magnificence that now fills the centuries-old castle walls (although, when shopping, Douglas isn’t loyal to any one era).

“Luxury I may be acquainted with, but this is next-level extravagance. My suite, the most decadent of the castle’s 12 boutique rooms, is a veritable museum, meticulously restored and adorned with antiques and artworks that ooze intrigue.”

There was local resistance to the sale, which continued throughout the restoration, but Douglas says Casalborgone residents have come to embrace the changes. After all, the castle is once again part of community events and the grounds are open to the public.
“I really wanted us to be a contribution to the community,” Douglas explains. “I didn’t want this to be somewhere we were taking away. That’s not really my perspective in life,” he says.
There are no TVs at Castello di Casalborgone. No sound system either. You are welcome to enjoy your own digital entertainment, but only with headphones. The library boasts more than 7,000 books and is enveloped in the musty vanilla scent of their collective age.
The gardens are expansive, tranquil and perfect for aimless wanders. Wander a little further and the commune of Casalborgone offers all the charming sights you’d expect from a small Italian village: a quaint and well-attended church; a fruit shop dominated, fittingly, by greens, reds and whites; a schoolyard bursting with young exuberance; an espresso bar… and another, and another; all peppered with the colour and delight of brimming window box planters.
One macchiato down, it takes double-shot-sized strength to decline a second cup of rich Italian coffee, but I am not chasing a caffeine high. Quite the opposite. I am headed back up the hill to my castle. A place of calm. And of restoration in more ways than one.

The Details

Castello di Casalborgone is located in Piedmont, about 40 minutes’ drive from Turin and 90 minutes from Milan.
Rates start at €450 (about A$725) per night. Rates for the Broglia Suite start at €650 (about A$1,050) per night.
castellodicasalborgone.com

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    Exclusivelifestyle / Top 10 Women’s Accessories Brands in the UK

    Exclusivelifestyle / Top 10 Women’s Accessories Brands in the UK

    LIFESTYLETop 10 Women’s Accessories Brands in the UK

    The women’s accessories market in the UK is a large and diverse industry that includes a wide range of products, such as handbags, purses, jewellery, shoes, and other fashion accessories. It is a multi-billion dollar market, and it sit’s constantly changing, with trends and styles evolving. Here are some key points about the market:

    Handbags and purses are among the most popular categories within the market, as they are considered both fashion items and functional items. High-end luxury brands, such as Mulberry, Aspinal of London, and Anya Hindmarch, are popular in this category, and more affordable brands, such as Radley and Cath Kidston. 

    The jewelry market is another essential part of the women’swomen’s accessories market in the UK. The diverse market offers high-end luxury brands such as Links of London and more affordable brands such as Oliver Bonas.

    Free Gold Plated Accessories Stock Photo

     

    The women’s footwear market is also an essential part of the accessories market. Brands like L.K Bennett and Office are well-known British footwear brands that have been in the market for decades. They sell a wide variety of shoes and boots, with many fashionable and functional styles. 

    The market is also being impacted by the e-commerce trend, where online sales have been on the rise; many brands have been expanding their online presence with solid e-commerce platforms and social media strategies, as well as partnering with online marketplaces such as ASOS, Very, or other retailers. 

    The market is also evolving and adapting to new trends and technologies, such as the growing popularity of sustainable and ethically-made products and the use of digital technologies in product design and development. 

    The market is also segmented into different demographic segments. Other brands cater to different age groups, such as affordable fashion jewelry and accessories for the younger market and luxury leather goods for the mature market. 

    The market is also affected by general economic conditions and consumer trends. During hard times, consumers tend to spend less on luxury items and more on necessities which could cause a decline in the market. 

    Overall, the women’s accessories market in the UK is a large and diverse industry offering a wide range of products to meet consumer needs, styles, and budgets. The market continues to evolve and adapt to new trends and technologies, and the rise of e-commerce has made it even more accessible to consumers.

    Here’s more detailed information on some popular brands that might be considered among the top women’s accessory brands in the UK: 

    Radley:

    Radley is a London-based brand that designs and sells handbags, purses, and other leather accessories. The brand has a strong reputation for its high-quality leather goods and is known for its use of color, prints, and patterns in its designs. Radley has a range of different collections, including a classic collection, a London collection, and a seasonal collection.

    Radley 24/7

     

    Cath Kidston: 

    Cath Kidston is a British brand known for its vintage-inspired floral prints and designs on bags, purses, and other accessories. The brand was founded in 1993 by designer Cath Kidston and has since become known for its nostalgic designs, which often feature vintage-style prints and patterns. The brand also sells a wide range of homewares and fashion items in addition to its accessories range.

    Celestial

     

    Aspinal of London:

     Aspinal of London is a luxury brand that sells leather handbags, purses, and other accessories. The brand is known for its high-quality leather goods, often made from the finest leathers and finished with a range of luxurious details. Aspinal of London’sLondon’s handbags are particularly popular, and the brand also sells a range of small leather goods, such as wallets and card holders.

     

    Anya Hindmarch: 

    Anya Hindmarch is a luxury brand that designs and sells handbags, purses, and other leather accessories, often with playful and quirky designs. The brand was founded in 1987 by designer Anya Hindmarch and is known for using bold colors, patterns, and textures. Anya Hindmarch also has a range of other collections, such as a more classic collection, a sports collection, and a collection of small leather goods.

    Links of London

    Links of London is a luxury brand that sells jewelry and other accessories, including watches and cufflinks. The brand was founded in 1990 and is known for its fine craftsmanship and use of high-quality materials in its designs. Links of London’s jewelry range from classic and timeless pieces to more contemporary designs

    Lulu Guinness:

    Lulu Guinness is a luxury brand that designs and sells handbags and purses, often with bold and colorful designs. The brand was founded in 1989 by designer Lulu Guinness and is known for using unexpected materials, such as Perspex and vinyl, in its plans. Lulu Guinness also sells various other accessories, including scarves and umbrellas.

     Vivienne Westwood:

    Vivienne Westwood is a British fashion designer known for her bold and avant-garde designs, and she sells a variety of accessories, including bags, purses, and jewelry. The brand, founded in 1971, has become well-known for using unconventional materials and innovative designs. Westwood’sWestwood’s plans often have a political or environmental message, and she is a prominent supporter of causes such as climate change and anti-fracking.

     Oliver Bonas:

    Oliver Bonas is a British brand that designs and sells a wide range of fashion and homeware items, including jewelry and other accessories. The brand was founded in 1993 and is known for its colorful and playful designs, which often feature bold patterns and bright colors. Oliver Bonas also sells homeware items, including furniture and home décor.

    Mulberry:

    Mulberry is a British luxury fashion brand famous for its high-quality leather handbags and purses. The brand was founded in 1971 and is known for its classic, timeless designs and use of high-quality leather. Mulberry’sMulberry’s bags are often made from the finest leathers, including their signature “Mulberry Oak” leather, tanned using a traditional method that gives it a unique patina. The brand has a wide range of different collections, including a classic collection, a contemporary collection, and a seasonal pool.

     Kipling:

    Kipling is a Belgian brand that designs and sells a wide range of bags, purses, and other accessories, known for its colorful designs and iconic monkey mascot. The brand was founded in 1987 and is known for its practical and functional designs, which often feature multiple pockets and compartments. Kipling’sKipling’s bags are usually made from durable materials, such as nylon, and are designed to be both stylish and practical. The brand also sells various other accessories, such as wallets and keychains. Kipling is famous for its sturdy and spacious backpacks and messenger bags that come in multiple colors, sizes, and styles.

    Women in the UK use various accessories to complement their outfits and express their style. Here are some popular types of supplements used by women in the UK: 

    Handbags and purses:

     These are among the most popular types of accessories used by women in the UK. Bags come in various sizes, styles, and materials and can be used for both fashion and practical purposes. Popular handbag styles include totes, crossbody bags, and clutches.

    Free Green, Gray and White Leather Handbags on Fern Leaves Stock Photo

    Jewelry:

    Jewelry is another popular type of accessory used by women in the UK. This can include necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. Popular jewelry styles include delicate and dainty, statement, and layered looks.

    Free Gold-colored Ring Lot Stock Photo

    Shoes:

     Women in the UK wear a wide variety of shoes, from sneakers and flats to heels and boots. Popular shoe styles include loafers, ankle boots, and court shoes.

    Free Close-up of Shoes And Bag Stock Photo

    Sunglasses:

    Sunglasses are popular accessories in the UK and are used both to protect the eyes from the sun and to make a fashion statement.

    Free Assorted Sunglasses Stock Photo

    Hats:

    Hats, such as fedoras, berets, and baseball caps, can be a stylish way to add a finishing touch to an outfit.

    Free Woman in Blue and Black Dress Wearing Brown Hat Stock Photo

    Scarves:

     Scarves are versatile accessories worn in various ways, from traditional knots to more fashion-forward draping. They can be a great way to add a pop of color or pattern to an outfit. 

    Free Close-Up Shot of Assorted Scarfs Stock Photo

    Belts:

    Belts are popular accessories that cinch in waistlines or add an accent to an outfit.

    Watches: 

    Watches can be a great accessory to add a touch of elegance to an outfit and can also be practical for keeping track of time.

     Other popular accessories include hair accessories like hairbands, barrettes and clips, handkerchiefs, and other small leather goods, such as wallets, phone cases, and cardholders. 

    These are just a few examples of the many types of accessories used by women in the UK. The popularity of different supplements can vary depending on current fashion trends and personal preferences.

    When choosing women’s accessories in the UK, there are a few key things to remember to ensure that you select items that complement your style and meet your needs. Here are a few tips: 

    Consider your style:

    1. Consider the clothing and accessories you typically wear and choose items that complement your style.

    2. If you prefer a casual look, consider selecting simple and understated accessories.

    3. Choose more elegant and sophisticated accessories if you prefer a more formal look.

    Think about your needs: Consider what you will be using the accessory for. If you need a handbag for work, choose a realistic style with enough space for your essentials. 

    Quality over Quantity: 

    Accessories are often investments, and it’sit’s essential to consider the quality of the product. Invest in pieces made from high-quality materials, such as leather, that will stand the test of time. 

    Trends:

    Be mindful of current fashion trends, but be bold. Opt for the trends that are versatile, timeless, and suit your style.

     Color:

     Consider the colors of the clothes you own and the accessories you already have, and choose items that complement or contrast with them.

    Budget: 

    Consider your budget and choose items within your price range. You can find great accessories at all price points, so feel free to spend a little money to find something you like.

     Brand:

     If you have favorite brands and trust the products’ quality, you can look for their items. Otherwise, you can also look for new brands and try new things.

     Versatility:

     Opt for accessories worn in multiple ways, in different settings, and with different outfits. That way, you can get the most out of your purchase.

    By following these tips, you can help ensure that you choose women’swomen’s accessories that complement your style and meet your needs. And remember that accessories are a great way to update your wardrobe. You can have fun experimenting with different techniques, textures, and colors to find the perfect complement to your outfit.

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