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Kuoni as a Luxury Article at Colette in Paris

Journalist and Zeitgeist expert Thomas Erber includes eight days in India in his cabinet of curiosities

Photo by Elina Kechicheva

Normally the majestic backdrop of the Himalayas is the preserve of travellers who have a lot of time to spare. Commissioned by colette in Paris and working with Kuoni, journalist and Zeitgeist expert Thomas Erber has developed a groundbreaking holiday that allows participants to experience various facets of India in only eight days.

In December 2010, Parisian concept store colette hosted the “Cabinet de Curiosités” assembled by Thomas Erber. Erber’s idiosyncratic exhibition featured a stylish array of luxury items including fashion, accessories, design, jewellery and photography. One of the highlights of this collection of precious things was Kuoni’s groundbreaking trip to India.

Thomas Erber is a connoisseur of anything that enriches our lives. As a journalist covering culture, music, fashion and travel, as the founder and first editor-in-chief of l’Officiel Voyage and long time reporter at large for Vogue Hommes International – or, to put it simply, as one of today’s leading style gurus – he is dedicated to giving people the opportunity to see and experience special things. “Finding the really special things takes time, and these days a lot of people simply don’t have enough time,” Erber explains. He does make time, though. He spent a whole year putting together and commissioning a very personal selection of unique products for colette in Paris, which he then presented at their concept store in an unusual and alluring arrangement.

Erber’s collection, which reflected an understanding of luxury that centres on the highest quality and individuality, provided a modern twist on the idea of a “cabinet of curiosities”. Since the Middle Ages, the term has been used to describe collections of unusual, valuable, desirable or mysterious objects. colette, the most famous concept store in the world, provided the ideal home for such a collection. Its first-floor gallery was transformed into an Aladdin’s cave of clothes, bags, shoes, photographs, erotic and other toys, books and watches – expensive, luxurious, covetable things transformed into something like artworks thanks to their design and the way they were displayed. Many of the works on show were produced by little-known designers who were getting their first major exposure in the Paris exhibition. All of the featured works are strictly limited editions; some are completely unique pieces especially created for this show at colette. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that some of these works could change their owners’ lives, and this is undoubtedly the case with one of the “curiosities” selected by Thomas Erber: Paris – Delhi – Ladakh – Delhi – Paris in eight days. Specifically with the Cabinet de Curiosités in mind, Kuoni worked with Erber to design a short, tailor-made trip combining great comfort and luxury with the spiritual experience of Himalayan trekking in an unprecedented way.

Photo by Elina Kechicheva

Thomas Erber believes that it is as difficult to find a truly extraordinary holiday as it is to find beautiful, valuable objects. So he developed the new concept to provide a unique combination of elegance, opulence and adventure. He has come up with a concentrated travel experience that in just a few days allows you to encounter the meditative and spiritual tradition of this part of the world, as well as testing your strength of mind and body on a trekking tour more than 5 000 meters up in the majestic Himalayas. You finish off by recuperating in the ultra-luxurious, ultra-elegant Aman Delhi Resort. Eight intensive days that deliver a perfect, pure, precious dose of the essence of travel. Kuoni and Erber now intend to develop more holidays for people who have little time but who expect the highest standards and the latest refinements in all areas of their lives. Such people certainly found what they were looking for in the Cabinet de Curiosités. And some of them will soon be setting off on an adventure in India: Time is a precious asset, which makes this journey a very special luxury.