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Editor’s Letter - Welcome to AVIS


Fashion Feature - The Burberry Social Butterfly


Fashion Director’s Notes - going for Gold

10 Art Reviews - Hirst Hurts 12 Feature - Working Woman 16 Fashion - Bright, Bold, and Graphic 22 Food - Your Map of Canary Wharfs Best 24 Travel - Brussels’ Secrets 26 AVIS EXTRA - Behind the Scenes of our 1st issue

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Eleanor Finch. Styling by Colin Dawidziuk. Cover model Lisa M. @ OXYGEN Models. Hair and Make-uP BY Rhiannon Chalmers using MAC Cosmetics. Fashion Assistant: Catherine Earnshaw. Lisa wears Alexander Wang top and shorts, available at


A V I S DIANA FOXALL Editor-in-Chief

Colin Dawidziuk Fashion Director

Catherine Earnshaw Fashion Features Director

Nicole Mullen Features Director

DaoDao Chan Arts Editor/Online Editor

XINHUI Qian Lifestyle Editor

Muinat Abdul Promotions Editor



WELCOME The publication that now sits heavily in your hands is the result of passion, determination and a continuing quest for perfection – not just from the creators of AVIS, but also from you. You are the reason this magazine exists; we have asked you for your opinions and you have responded. You want a magazine that speaks to your sense of taste, your appreciation for quality and your lust for luxury. We give you AVIS as a means of escape, so that once you have stepped outside the dizzying revolving doors and steely office walls of Canary Wharf, you’re free. AVIS offers a way of switching off – it’s time to leave the desk behind and play. We promise never to deliver boring, inadequate content, and we know that you, as a member of one of London’s smartest and most exciting groups of women, will accept nothing less. Consequently, we bring you the best in fashion, travel and culture, each article tailored specifically to your requests. And so only one question remains: are you ready to join us?

Diana Foxall



Burberry’s Klout

As their profits soar, Catherine Earnshaw discovers why social media is making Burberry even more successful...

Once known only for its functional trench coats and outerwear, Burberry has recently transformed into one of the leading luxury brands of the 21st century. In the fiscal year that ended in 2012, the company reported a 24% rise in sales to £336m, and sales up 24% to £1.86bn. At a time when fellow British brands are struggling to make a profit (fashion brand Aquascutum fell into administration earlier this year,) Burberry, it appears, is continuing to expand; creating a global business with markets worldwide. Since Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey took charge of the British brand, Burberry’s entire look has modernised. With 70% of the company’s audience under 30, Burberry is no longer limited to its traditional country attire, and has continued to expand with collections that rival fellow major designers. But perhaps most of the transformation has occurred through the brand’s digital renovation. Creating ‘Burberry World’ (Burberry’s website,) Bailey has fashioned an interactive domain whereby online audiences can experience current campaigns, this season’s catwalk shows, and


interviews with the Burberry team. Burberry’s influence has now extended to social media. The company currently has two Twitter accounts, a main Burberry profile and a customer service feed, in which fellow Twitter users are able to put forward their queries. Their Facebook fan page currently stands at over 10 million followers, and their YouTube channel is frequently uploaded with current campaigns and brand advertisements. At a time where rival fashion brands are struggling, Burberry seems to be unstoppable. But it poses the question: is technology and social media the only way forward in an everuncertain industry? When current CEO Angela Ahrendts took control of Burberry in 2006, she and Bailey shared a vision. In a recent interview, Ahrendts explained that their vision for Burberry was to transform it into ‘the first company that was digital end to end.’ Unlike many high brand designer companies, Burberry aimed to be accessible to all, regardless

of age, location or even budget. This meant that anyone interested in the brand could experience it without necessarily stepping into a store or purchasing an item. Social networking sites have undoubtedly helped to promote the brand as fresh and reinvented. Easily accessible, these innovations have appealed to the company’s younger consumers, reaching out to a generation that had perhaps previously only associated Burberry with the notorious checked scarf and handbags. With the launch of Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006, the company now had the opportunity to let fans know of happenings behind the scenes, posting backstage photos from runway shows, photographs from current campaigns, and upcoming news and projects. Perhaps more importantly, fans were now able to connect with Burberry directly, whether by praising the company or asking specific questions. Continuing on a journey through advertising and self-promotion, one of Burberry’s most notable and unique business plans was to launch the company’s 2012 collection on

A V I S Online Takeover: Burberry’s website, Twitter, and Acoustic pages all contribute to increased revenue

Images courtesy of Burberry plc.

Twitter during fashion week, before influential figures such as Anna Wintour and Phillip Green were due to view them on the runway. The label ‘live tweeted ’the show from backstage, posting photographs of each look before the model stepped out to reveal the look to fashions’ finest. Allowing followers and ordinary fans a sneak preview of the collection transformed Burberry into one of the most desirable designer brands to date. Burberry instantly became the second most popular topic on twitter, and caught the attention of social media users across the world. The show was streamed live on Facebook, and red carpet outfits were posted to YouTube. This combination of using technology to promote the brand meant that 60% of Burberry’s budget last year was put into digital media. However, this seems to have paid off, with an increasing fan base across the internet and a 20% rise in luxury online sales every year. The company are also continuing to build networks through their press coverage in China, where talk of the brand is rising through blogs, influencing 60% of consumers. The label’s website, which they coin as ‘Burberry World,’ allows access


to current collections, campaigns and runway shows. As you enter the site, you are transported right into the heart of Christopher Bailey’s vision. Particular planning has gone into navigation (hover your curser over the campaign and it magically comes to life, as though you are watching a film) and the interactive aspect of the website. Ahrendts depicted the site as containing ‘rich, compelling and emotive content.’ It certainly has a rather seductive quality to it. Using modern media, Bailey has created a world in which customers can explore all aspects of the brand, from videos and interviews to beauty tutorials and even ‘Burberry Acoustic,’ where cherry-picked bands and tracks can be shared and enjoyed. Aesthetically, the website is very pleasing, and unlike many other luxury brand sites, it feels ‘user friendly.’ In a recent interview, John Douglas, Chief technology officer at Burberry, described this website as a ‘technology platform.’ That is, it provides a gateway into other aspects of this world that Bailey and his team so want to promote. It connects to a realm of music, beauty, clothing, and social media related to the brand.

Both Bailey and Ahrendts agree that modern businesses ‘have to create a social enterprise today’ in order to survive in such a competitive marketplace. In the current economic climate, many designer brands are failing to meet sales targets. Rival British brand to Burberry, Aquascutum has recently fallen into administration. Why the brand is struggling is of course open to much interpretation; however it has been argued that failure to keep up with current technology and the latest way to do business is perhaps a contributing factor. Matt Piner, part of the research group Columino noted in a recent interview that Aquascutum, despite its charm, has ‘failed to stay relevant.’ It seems an ever-changing society now demands an adaptable business plan, with social media awareness a particularly important tool for self-promotion, as well as being the new way to reach out to customers – particularly the young and the technologically savvy. From studying Burberry however, the evidence is clear: combining technology and social media within a business, particularly one that is as ever-changing as fashion, can create positive implications for a brand no end. •


Fashion Director’s Notes AVIS’ Fashion Director Colin Dawidziuk gives you the run down on the season’s biggest trends


With the Olympics approaching at a rapid pace, the one question on everyone’s mind is how to turn ubiquitous spandex and a bright colour palette into an appropriate wardrobe. From New York to Paris, the spring and summer runways – and even some of the autumn and winter runways – were rife with the cool, urbanite girl with the sleek hair and the long limbs, sparking a sport chic frenzy on the high street. Of course, the key to successfully pulling off this trend, like any trend, is all things linear, sleek and effortlessly cool. With a fine line between looking chic and looking as if you’ve just came from the race track, it is vital that, just like the athletes competing from across the globe, you stay focused and aim for the win.

The Run Down Whilst it might be tempting to unleash your inner spandex-lover for this trend, unless you’re aiming for an actual gold medal at the stadium this summer, it’s best to avoid any form of tight clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination. That being said, it is important that you take note from Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant, who both focused


on sports chic for this summer. New York-based Wang was all about the high fashion sportswoman – straight lines, wet hair, and a dewy afterglow, which became one of the season’s most difficult to perfect beauty trends. However, Marant leaned more toward the varsity look – tousled hair, faux football jerseys, and denim galore was the Parisian take on this global event. Other key members that drove the trend home were Joseph Altuzarra and his simple feminine flares, Victoria Beckham and her sleek linear dresses, and Christopher Kane and Donatella Versace of Versus with their pastel tennis champion among many others, such as Sportmax – after all, it’s in the name. The span of this trend sends a clear message – you may not be into sport or exercise, but this is a trend for any type of girl.

Sprinting the Course So how exactly are you meant to wear this expansive trend? With a plethora of designers utilising the various approaches to the sporty look, it is very easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of different looks.

Alexander Wang’s take is for the slightly more avant-garde among the populace – the solid colours, sheer fabrics, and linear shapes are very demanding on the eye. The Intarsia sweater worn by AVIS cover model Lisa is one of the more popular items from the collection because of its diversity. A black slip underneath the sweater allows for maximum contrasting with colour, but a white tank creates an effortlessly cool look, which is easily pulled off. The Isabel Marant-varsity jock look is another easily pulled off image, particularly with the help of any good denim retailer, particularly the industry’s Jean Queen, Donna Ida. Alongside a heavily knitted sweater, the look is extremely casual, but immensely and effortlessly chic.

Disqualification? A potential issue with this trend is that it has been overexposed and sometimes hideously adapted on the high street. The key to not looking like a wannabe? Avoid pairing bandeau tops - which are spreading like wildfire amongst retailers – with running shorts or fashionable jogging trousers. Even with heels, this trend can quickly veer into the tacky end of

Images courtesy of


the sportswear spectrum, but it is easily avoided if you steer clear of anything ringing warning bells in your head. The simpler the look, the easier the trend is pulled off. Furthermore, don’t go overboard on the wet-look hair and make-up – even though the runway models were styled in such a way, for the real world, a wet head


is more likely to end up making you look sweaty rather than fresh and cool.

3 – 2 – 1…. This Olympic sized trend is not something to be approached with nonchalance – even though the look

Sport Luxe: Images L-R: Victoria Beckham SS12, Altuzarra SS12, Isabel Marant SS12, Alexander Wang SS12, Versus SS12

demands it, it certainly is something that must be thought through with intense care. After all, it’s wise to keep it cool, urban, and effortless - unless you’re going to run the 100m sprint for Team GB this August… •


Damien’s Domain

Daodao Chan examines the Tate Modern’s highly anticipated Hirst Exhibit

At 46 years old, Damien Hirst is one of the most important and famous figures in contemporary art. Best known for his unique and astonishing art philosophy, Hirst is a permanent fixture on the rich lists. But at the same time, he is a very controversial artist. A number of critics label his work as slightly rough and overpriced, commenting that Hirst should not be involved too much in speculation, hence pushing the price of his work up to an incredible point. If Hirst wants to change his reputation as a notorious businessman into that of an immortal artist, he needs more backup and


admiration from the general public and professional art critics. And now, the Tate Modern is lending a helping hand. This is the first time Damien Hirst has held a retrospective exhibition in London. The gallery has brought together 73 pieces of his work and arranged them in chronological order to show how his ideas have changed and developed in different periods. Not far from the exhibition entrance,

a huge glass vitrine sets in the middle of the room. A thousand disgusting flies fill the vitrine and appear to be biting on a severed cow’s head. This of course is the well-known piece, A Thousand Years, which Hirst created in 1991; an attempt to simulate a simple life cycle. Hirst however alludes to the clean geometry of minimalism whilst filling it with death and messy life. Walking into the next room, another shocking moment is waiting. An enormous shark is immersed in a tank filled with formaldehyde, mouth open, as if it is swimming into your side and wants to frighten you. This piece is called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, and is one of the Natural History Museum pieces. Hirst has proven to be very interested in the limitation of organisms - he


Clockwise, L-R: Medicine Cabinets, the shark from Physical Impossibility, Hirst with more species in formaldehyde

Images courtesy of Tate Modern/Damien Hirst

showcases lots of different animals immersed in formaldehyde and several species throughout the exhibition. The Medicine Cabinets are another famous series featured in the exhibition. Different pharmaceutical packaging is neatly put in one cabinet; representing an oblique form of body. In addition, Hirst also uses cabinets to display lots of different objects, such as cigarettes, shells, glasses and surgical instruments. He suggests that no matter how much medicine and science become, people still cannot escape from the fate of death. Another exhibition room also appears as a hospital pharmacy. Blue light shines across the space and attempts to create an atmosphere of


fear and tension, as if death is close at hand. Hirst constantly explores the relationship of life, disease and death and uses it as a driving force through his painting and sculpture. Overall, the exhibition did show a lot of astounding works, and provided a great opportunity for a deep understanding of Hirst’s philosophy about the arts. But those endless themes of death might make people feel a little tired and bored. Moreover, for those unfamiliar with Damien Hirst, the exhibition is more like visiting a nature and science museum than seeing an art display. As a representative of global contemporary artists, there is no doubt that Hirst’s work has a certain

value. As an artist, Hirst never restricts himself to traditional art forms. He works in many different areas, some of which do not relate to art. For example, Hirst produces music videos, has opened a restaurant, and composes popular music. He has even established his own company to get involved in market speculation to increase prices to a malicious point. This is not a sign of a great artist. After all, art shouldn’t depend on monetary value. Damien Hirst should be less involved in the speculation game, and more concentrated on his creations. A softer approach will bring more praise to his work. •


The Gender Wars

Claims that gender equality in the workforce have reached an all time high have struck a chord with Nicole Mullen, who is certain that social stigmas are still holding us back...


Image courtesy of Condé nast/Yuan Gui Mei/Vogue China. Model Liu Wen wears Gucci. Styling by Ling Wu


At a fruitful time for employment in the United Kingdom – the number of people without work has hit a record low – gender equality has been proclaimed to be at its political peak. Legislation such as the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, offering equality to the female population, remains firmly cemented in 2012, with increasing numbers of women present in the boardroom. Yet, surprisingly, recent figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have revealed that female top-earners are paid, on average, 21% less than their male counterparts. So why are women still constrained by stereotypical gender inequality? Picture the scene: a woman works late into the night perfecting a project she has been working on for the past week. What terms would you use to describe her? Dedicated? An achiever? A liability? Unfortunately, in a society where the majority of industries are male-dominated, the latter is most likely to ring true. Historically, men were considered to be the sole contributors of revenue into the home. Up until recent times, women were seen as homemakers – a view underpinned by the fact that the right to undertake maternity leave was introduced just 18 years ago. Nowadays it is all too easy to assume that, as a generation, we are finally making leaps and bounds towards equal status. Certainly, figures point towards the positive – with the annual study of boardroom gender by the Cranfield School of Management reporting a record 141 women


holding 163 board seats in the FTSE top 100 firms. Add to this a decent helping of entirely female-dominated industries, and one could assume that the age-old societal stereotypes surrounding gender have all but floated away into the distance. However, we only have to look at a handful of industries to note that hypotheses of male supremacy haven’t entirely disappeared – they’ve simply evolved. Take the fashion

“Women GET parodied in ways that men aren’t” says Hadley Freeman industry for instance. Whilst it may be a given that individuals such as Samantha Cameron of the British Fashion Council can be celebrated as high-powered, intellectual figures, the industry encompassing these women is frequently ridiculed. Often referred to as ‘frivolous,’ the fashion industry has at times been compartmentalized as self-indulgent; unable to hold the fort against industries typically held in higher public recognition. But why is this? Perhaps unexpectedly, the answer appears to lie with issues surrounding gender stereotyping. When

comparing the female-dominated fashion industry to one that is classically led by males, popular opinion dictates that the latter is of more ‘deserving’ status. As a result, women working in the fashion industry are misrepresented, often in an almost childlike manner – something that has been highlighted by respected journalist, Hadley Freeman. “Women in the fashion industry get parodied in a way that men aren’t in [areas such as] sport,” Freeman told AVIS. “I think a lot of it is sexism.” Although in no way should it be assumed that our male counterparts are exempt from stereotypes in the workplace, it seems that there is a noted difference between the labels attached to each gender – namely the surrounding connotations. In an article for established American business website,, Jenna Goudreau flags up the worst stereotypes associated with powerful women. When referring to ‘anger’ (a characteristic commonly found in the political sector) Goudreau interestingly points out that, for men, anger is a sign of status, yet for women it is seen as incompetent. As an example, First Lady Michelle Obama was condemned as an angry black woman when campaigning for her husband in the 2008 presidential election. Consequently, Mrs. Obama adopted a more ‘feminine’ public image; softening her speeches and her appearance in order to appear more likeable. Similarly, lifestyle aspects such as marital status, and even choice of

A V I S leadership style come with unfair judgments attached. Internationally known public speaker and former marketing manager of a Fortune 200 company, Valerie Young, Ed. D., sums this up perfectly: ‘In a man’s career, being competitive, aggressive, highachieving, and a workaholic…[is] an asset, but these same characteristics are considered a liability in females.’ This idea that women attract negative stereotypes in relation to men might have been accounted for in the past. Research from the early 1980s, at a time when women were more likely to stay at home, can at least be reasonably validated. A 1984 study by Alice H. Eagly and Valerie J. Steffen at Purdue University theorised that this unbalanced distribution of men and women in positions of status and authority reflected upon opinions of females. In hindsight, it is easy to relate the statistics presented to opinions valued by the masses – after all, it certainly seems to make sense that, by consistently observing men in higher-powered roles, women have been characterised (and often think of themselves) as holding a lower position in society; as being ‘weak’ and a ‘liability.’ Though, in 2012, can this still hold true? Valerie Young, Ed. D. believes it can. In her insightful new release, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Eagly and Steffen’s studies have been extended to include children from a young age. “Males may have simply grown up learning to take females less seriously,” Young proposes. You might remember protesting to your best boy friend not to ruin your prize sandcastle as a child, only to then be ignored. For Young, suggestions of children


being taught that males are more important carry through into later life. “Women in high-tech jobs describe their largely male work environment to be so ‘competitive and unfriendly’ that it requires a ‘concerted effort to be assertive in order to be heard.” As much as we all like to think otherwise, gender inequality does still exist. Roy Szweda, Director at RNR Associates, recognises that more women are in positions formerly taken by men, however is consistently astounded by the labels applied to women across all disciplines. “Stereotypes are… largely the province of lazy, immature and ignorant fools,” Szweda adds, although pausing to suggest that such stereotypes are “much less relevant,” thanks to the ever-growing number of women present in high-powered jobs. Yet, to intellectual young women, stereotyping is still hugely relevant, as it can be so easily internalised as the truth. Having that prize sandcastle ruined as a child is, in effect, no different to being labeled a liability because you have the ambition (and the dedication) to remain in the office, long after the cleaners have left. Yes, the rulebook is more on our side than ever before, however, this doesn’t mean that ageold stereotypes have ceased to exist behind closed doors. Although dated, one last comment (from pioneering congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm) ironically seems more relevant than ever: “The emotional, sexual and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’”•

Do you feel that gender inequality in the workplace is something we all should be concerned about? Have you had an experience of gender inequality in the workplace in the past? We want to know. Send us an e-mail at, and we could publish your e-mail in an upcoming issue of AVIS.






Embrace the Summer’s hottest graphic prints



Opposite page: Dress by Aminaka Wilmont, available at, Shoes by Sophie Gittins at



This page: Dress by Altuzarra, available at Opposite page: Dress by McQ Alexander McQueen available at Net-A-Porter, shoes as before.




This page: Swimsuit by Lisa Marie Fernandez + Peter Pilotto, shorts by Alexander Wang, both available at Opposite page: Dress by Versus Versace, available at shoes by J.W. Anderson for ALDO Rise, available at


Canary’s Quay

Xinhui Qian dines in the heart of the London business world

Canary Wharf can be really exciting, not only for those high-challenging jobs, but also for the abundance of fine restaurants to dine at. The cuisine on offer ranges from Britain’s contribution to junk food, to burgers and haute cuisine. If you are a Michelin-star believer, Iberica can bring you the best Spanish tapas in the city. Or if you fancy something exotic, ROKA’s personalized Shochu presents the national spirit of Japan. For steak-lovers Goodman Steakhouse mixes an American touch into every steak. For dating and celebration, Plateau Restaurant and Dockmaster’s House can leave you with an unforgettable meal. Overall, the essence of restaurants in Canary Wharf requires you to explore personally. So, let’s explore! IBERICA THE CUISINE Combining traditional dishes with a contemporary twist, London’s second restaurant of the Iberica chain offers one of the greatest Spanish tapas in the city. By using products direct from Spain, the Michelin-starred chef is committed to bringing the very best of Spanish cuisine. You can taste a comprehensive range of dishes coming from various regions of the country. THE PLACE The restaurant is located next to the Cabot Shopping Center near the DLR Canary Wharf Station. The upscale décor with quintessential elements of Spanish culture is reminiscent of


the Mediterranean sunshine. It is a fantastic place for dating and relaxing after work. THE FOOD As a tapas restaurant, both hot and cold tapas in Iberica are strongly recommended. The Grilled Marinated Iberico Pork Loin “Secreto” is most impressive with its tender, well-seasoned meat. For those who are not meat-eaters, there are plenty of pescetarian or vegetarian options. And the desserts in the restaurant are unforgettable, too. The Whiskey Cake with Vanilla Ice-Cream ticks off all of your needs; it is sophisticated, delicious, goodlooking and dedicated. On a Sunday afternoon, typical Spanish food, such as Paella can be found on the menu. THE ADDRESS 12 Cabot Square, E14 4QQ THE WEBSITE PLATEAU THE CUISINE The restaurant offers a reasonablypriced modern French menu by talented chef, Allan Pickett. Extensive experience in different premier restaurants all over London has helped him bring in many original and exciting ideas to the cuisine. THE PLACE Plateau can be a safety net for last-minute business meals or celebrations. Located at the top of Canada Place, the restaurant provides you a dramatic, panoramic view of the whole area. At the same time, the

Illustrations courtesy of Ying Yan. Photographs courtesy of Xinhui Qian


iconic furniture and elegant interior can add an intimate and brilliant touch to your eating experience. THE FOOD As an upscale French restaurant, Plateau undoubtedly offers you delicious and beautifully presented food. Including two course, three course and five course choices, the menus are specialised for different kinds of customers. The most popular dishes making a regular appearance include Parsley Risotto with Sautéed Snails and Garlic Butter, and Roast Fillet of Aged Hereford Beef with Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Roast Bone Marrow. THE ADDRESS 4th Floor, Canada Place, E14 5ER THE WEBSITE


GOODMAN STEAKHOUSE THE CUISINE Choosing from the best suppliers both in the UK and abroad, Goodman Steakhouse provides even the fussiest of carnivores with an outstanding satisfying steak. THE PLACE Though set in a slightly isolated location away from the centre of Canary Wharf, the restaurant draws in a plethora of customers. The wide use of dark wood and leather with old-fashioned lighting reflects its full American style. THE FOOD Steak, absolutely! The menu offers six options of steak. For its tender texture, full-flavoured taste and moderate price, the Goodman ribeye is most recommended. Be sure to complement your steak with the perfect side. The homemade chips

are thick in cut but expertly fried – a joy to eat. THE ADDRESS 3 South Quay, E14 9RU THE WEBSITE http://www.goodmanrestaurants. com/ ROKA Roka is a stunning contemporary restaurant with exquisite yet relaxing surroundings, offering a wide range of authentic Japanese dishes in the centre of Canary Wharf. THE ADDRESS 1st floor, 40 Canada Square, E14 5FW THE WEBSITE DOCKMASTER’S HOUSE Aside of its average food, the Dockmaster’s House exudes a solid impression of Indian restaurants. Plush furnishings and spacious surroundings could make it a luxury treat for yourself. THE ADDRESS 1 Hertsmere Road, E14 8JJ THE WEBSITE CANTEEN By using fresh and organic materials, Canteen aims to clear up misunderstandings of British food. The traditional Day Boat Fish and Chips could be the best one in your memory. THE ADDRESS Park Pavilion 40 Canada Square, E14 5FW THE WEBSITE



AVIS’ Editor Diana Foxall visited Brussels for the Inaugural Issue.

When it comes to European tourist hotspots, Brussels is – perhaps surprisingly – not a name that is brought up often. For a city that is home to the European Union’s political headquarters, the Belgian capital possesses a distinct lack of foreign holidaymakers, meaning that it is an ideal setting for work-weary Londoners to refresh and rejuvenate. One of the main draws for the few travellers that do venture off the beaten path is the museum scene: Brussels boasts an astonishing number of galleries, archives, and cultural centres that play host to the history of everything from comic strips to public transport. Among the highlights are the BELvue museum and the Coudenberg – both are situated next to the stunning Royal Palace, although the BELvue is located above street level while the Coudenberg


showcases local history below ground. For a knowledge-hungry explorer, the BELvue offers the most comprehensive guide to the history of Belgium, detailing the nation’s existence since its birth as a country in 1830. A cleverly formulated (if occasionally confusing) circuit of rooms divides the museum’s wealth of information up into relevant time periods, allowing visitors to expand their knowledge of Belgium’s monarchs, imperialism, and industrialism from the 19th century up until the present day. After enjoying a healthy lunch in the adjoining café, the Green Kitchen, it is only sensible to continue the cultural immersion with a tour of the Coudenberg’s underground archaeological site. Similar in layout to the BELvue, this subterranean exhibition offers an impressive collection of both architecture and objects, and is housed in structures

dating from the 12th century. Upon completion of the museum tour, it is worth paying a visit to Brussels Park, which is conveniently located on the opposite side of the street. Also displaying the city’s knack for horticulture is Le Botanique, which is just a short stroll north from the park. Throughout May, the gardens are home to a series of concerts featuring the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and The Ting Tings, as well as numerous lesser-known artists popular with the locals. The ornate greenhouse is a breathtaking space, and is often rented out for events and parties – and the Italian cuisine at Café Bota, on the east side of the building, is similarly impressive. In addition to the city’s cultural attractions, there is also no shortage of quality hotels – Brussels’ reputation as



Images courtesy of Diana Foxall and Radisson Blu Royal..

BELvue Open 10:00 to 18:00 June to September Open 10:00 to 17:00 October to May +32 (0) 70 22 04 92

a business-oriented metropolis implies that it caters to a strongly corporate clientele, and so its range of luxury hotels certainly does not disappoint. Chains such as Crowne Plaza and Radisson Blu have found great success in the Belgian capital, and the city’s geography allows for an easy commute to wherever one wishes to go, whether on foot or via bus, metro, or tram.

Europe”. Arriving in the downtown core, it is not obvious that one is in Belgium – in fact, the atmosphere is slightly generic and feels as though it is lacking something important. There is more of a sense of blanket European culture, which would make sense seeing as Belgium’s national identity is not particularly strong on a global scale.

As far as dining options, the trendy Sainte-Catherine district is ripe with all manner of culinary treasures, although Bon-Bon, located just outside the heart of the city, is making a case for itself as one of Brussels’ top gastronomic destinations. For Japanese, Kamo ranks among the best in Belgium, even though it, like Bon-Bon, is somewhat out of the way for visitors staying in the city centre. When it comes to breakfast, Charli Boulangerie is an excellent choice – the organic bakery is renowned for its reverential approach to the artisanal process of bread and pastry creation, selling a range of traditional baked goods, some of which have risen for up to four days.

Even so, Brussels is an ideal location for a weekend getaway – limited tourists, just the right amount of culture, and packed with enough chocolate shops to sustain one’s supply for several months. And since it is but a short Eurostar ride away (St. Pancras to Brussels takes approximately two hours), the Belgian capital now looks more appealing than ever. •

But while there are a number of good things to be said about Brussels, there is something slightly off-putting about the distinct lack of culture found in the city that calls itself “the capital of


AVIS travelled to Brussels via Eurostar (tickets for London St. Pancras to Brussels Midi from £99.50 return) and stayed at the Crowne Plaza Brussels – Le Palace (room rates from €191.00 per night).

Green Kitchen Open 10:30 to 16:30 Tuesday to Friday Open 10:30 to 17:30 Saturday and Sunday +32 (0) 23 85 14 79 Coudenberg Open 10:00 to 17:00 Tuesday to Friday Open 10:00 to 18:00 Saturday and Sunday +32 (0) 70 22 04 92 Crowne Plaza Brussels – Le Palace +32 (0) 22 03 62 00 Radisson Blu Royal +32 (0) 22 19 28 28 http://www.radissonblu. com/royalhotel-brussels Kamo +32 (0) 26 48 78 48 Bon-Bon +32 (0) 23 46 66 15 Charli Boulangerie +32 (0) 25 13 63 32


Film Bluff

AVIS’ Promotions Editor Muinat Abdul gives you the rundown on our feature film... and the future.

The publication AVIS has finally landed on your doorstep after much anticipation, and I must say it has been a very emotional journey. Luckily for our readers, we have documented every step of the process, from allocating staff positions to finishing our design elements. We have put blood, sweat and a significant volume of tears into this project, and we are all so glad that we can share it with you. This is not just a womens’ lifestyle magazine, it is a website, and a collection of short films too. We are embracing the rise of digital media, and giving you more delightful ways to access AVIS. Whether it is on your mobile, iPad or just a desktop computer; however you choose to experience AVIS, you will be extremely pleased with the outcome.

The Making Of…

for the first time. A breath of fresh air, awash with new intriguing ideas, and oh-so-great because you know you played a part in making it. However small, none of this would have been possible without your help. This video marks the beginning of something different, something great. It is a record of our effort into making this magazine. When the pages become dog-eared and aged this film will always be a landmark of our success, and a reminder of mistakes we made in order to make this a better experience for you.

We have big ideas and lots of interesting ways to express them, many of which involve you - the reader. We know the next journey won’t be the same (we have learnt from certain mistakes) but we know it will be just as tough, yet still very enjoyable, and most definitely rewarding. Tracking our progress via the medium of film for each issue is definitely something we are going to explore. We believe that’s what makes us different, that you see us as the humans we are, not just glossy photos in a magazine.

The Journey…

After a great deal of stress, pain, and loss of vital footage, there was an unspoken question present in the editing suite – would we consider continuing our journey in print, online, and film? That, dear reader, is something that you are about to find out. We want to stimulate you mentally and visually, and to take you on a ride far away from the everyday chaos of life. And if you would like to join us on this journey, then I welcome you onboard for the ride of a lifetime. •

It hasn’t been the easiest journey, but the creation of something new never is. Every moment you see is real. It is a common misconception about the media how everything is constructed but you cannot replicate this raw passion, energy and frustration. Yes, we have our silly moments, but that’s expected, we are only human.

I get up at 7:30am, and I have a cup of Earl Grey whilst counting down the minutes until the video stops rendering. It is done - the video is ready to upload, to share with the world. This is exciting and more than a little bit scary. It’s We are definitely looking forward the feeling you experienced when to creating the next issue. This you held this glossy masterpiece is only the beginning for AVIS. 26

The Future…


A V I S FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING AVIS, VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT AVISMAGAZINE.COM And to get an exclusive view of the making of AVIS, be sure to tune in to Channel Four at 7:55pm on Friday June 8th NEW ISSUES AVAILABLE ON THE FIRST FRIDAY OF EVERY SECOND MONTH.

To subscribe to AVIS, contact 020 7712 3456



AVIS Magazine Issue One  


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