If you are a fan of The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Darjeeling Limited, and somehow already know you will be a fan of The French Dispatch, the name Wes Anderson should be doing more than ring some bells. The visionary filmmaker's eye for the whimsical and wanderlust-evoking films hit especially strong in today's travel-less season.
But hey, the possibility of travel is up on the horizon with the recent announcements. And who better to take you on a trip than the pioneer of luxury travel for over 45 years? This time, Belmond has invited Wes Anderson to reimagine the Cygnus carriage aboard the legendary British Pullman, in a double tribute to the Golden Age of cinema and travel.
In case you didn't already know, the British Pullman is a Belmond train made famous by 'Murder On The Orient Express', the 1934 Agatha Christie novel and 2017 movie, that operates on the Orient Express route from the London Victoria station. The Cygnus itself is a carriage on the British Pullman, and has had its own feature on the silver screen in the 1979 film 'Agatha'.
For Anderson, who is no stranger to reinventing trains and carriages in his films, agreeing to this real life opportunity was a no-brainer. “I am very eager to make something new while also participating in the process of preservation which accompanies all classic Belmond train projects," he says, "They are keeping something special alive—igniting this endangered species of travel into a new golden era.”
At a glance, the bespoke 1950s carriage is decked out in symmetry and decadent hues. The distinct art nouveau style à la Anderson also celebrates craftsmanship and history. For instance, Cygnus is named after the Greek God of Balance and often personified as a swan, and you see this throughout the carriage. References to the swan's myths and legends are made in intricate waves, marquetry detailing, and even in the swan-shaped champagne coolers (to the way a silver leaf is meticulously placed on the ceiling to reflect like water).
Beyond the visuals, this collaboration also spotlights the renowned hospitality of the British Pullman. The two private coupés of the Cygnus carriage hold up to four guests each, and not only is the 360-degree handcrafted marquetry is a sight to behold on its own, the views are surely scenic. Contemporary British menus served on special crockery and the exclusive cocktails served in purposed glassware with compliments from the Head Chef are also a treat only privy to those in the private coupé.
The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Singapore and the UK is set to open up this November, and if this is a sign, this opportunity to travel the English countryside in Wes Anderson's funicular is a must-have experience for the books.
For tickets and more about the British Pullman by Wes Anderson, visit belmond.