‘Bag Lady’ Anya Hindmarch wins Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year 2012

British luxury designer, Anya Hindmarch has been announced winner of The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2012. Anya beat stiff competition from finalists Helena Morrissey of Newton Investment Management and Ruth Rogers, founder and chef, of the hugely successful River Café in London.

Drawing upon her natural passion for accessories and design, Anya started her business at the age of 19. Since then, she has spearheaded the business growth from her first retail outlet, an intimate first floor shop on London’s Walton Street, to fifty seven shops worldwide, including a London flagship on Sloane Street and a Tokyo flagship in Aoyama, with a New York flagship opening in the New Year.

In 2009, Anya Hindmarch was awarded an MBE in recognition of her contribution to the British fashion industry. Two years later in 2011, she became a UK Trade Ambassador as well as becoming a Non-Executive Director of the British Fashion Council. She is also a trustee of both The Royal Academy and The Design Museum and a Governor of The University of The Arts. Her support of the next generation of British entrepreneurs, most notably through the Government’s ‘Start Up Britain’ campaign was also cited by the judges as a key reason as to why she was awarded the prestigious accolade.

Anya’s commitment to be a socially responsibly business was also welcomed by the judging panel, most notably for the charity promotion, ‘Be a Bag’ project and her ability to inspire change by making it fashionable not to use plastic bags with her iconic ‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’ campaign, launched in 2007.

Also noteworthy was her 2009 launch of Anya Hindmarch Bespoke. This launch was perfectly timed as consumers increasingly sought investment pieces that were unique, beautifully crafted and personalised. The Bespoke collection is for both men and women and allows customers to personalise their pieces with hand written messages and drawings that are embossed into the leather by Craftsman based in the Pont Street store.

“It is the greatest honour to win the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman award in its 40th year. It is a very real compliment to be deemed to share some of the qualities of Veuve Clicquot herself who was clearly a brave and pioneering woman but also to even be considered amongst my fellow finalists, Helena Morrissey and Ruthie Rogers who are both brilliant businesswomen and lovely people.”  Anya Hindmarch

“We are delighted that the judges have selected a winner who fully embraces the spirit of the Award and can provide inspiration for the next generation of female entrepreneurs in the UK. In a year that British fashion has never been under the spotlight more, Anya has proven that commercial triumph alongside pursuing a responsible business is more than achievable and it is wonderful to see such a shining example of business success.” Christina Jesaitis, Senior Brand Manager, Veuve Clicquot

In addition to receiving a silver trophy shaped as a La Grande Dame bottle and a case of La Grande Dame 2004, Anya Hindmarch will take part in the Veuve Clicquot International Women of Influence Forum at the Veuve Clicquot Maison in Reims in October 2012. This event will gather previous winners from across the globe for a unique occasion to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Award. The winner will visit the Manoir de Verzy and the House’s vineyards, where she will have a vine baptised in her name recognising her legacy and life-long relationship with Veuve Clicquot.

Liz Palmer


The Mystery is Solved: The Most Expensive Champagne in the World was Purchased by “Buyan” a Singapore Russian Restaurant

History was made when Buyan Russian Haute Cuisine & Caviar Bar located in the Republic of Singapore, won the world’s most expensive Champagne in a fierce bidding war. Buyan, which offers both inexpensive traditional Russian fare as well as Russian haute cuisine meant for the Tsars, has paid €30,000 (SGD 43,630) for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, which is estimated to be 170 years old.

All 145 bottles discovered in the shipwreck were opened, tasted and re-corked with the best two bottles acquired by Buyan. These historical bottles which still have bubbles – indicative of their fine quality – will indeed be drunk one day, but not in the very near future. The Veuve Clicquot Champagne itself is said to have “notes of linden blossoms and lime peels” and was pronounced by world renowned Champagne expert Richard Juhlin, who tasted some of the bottles last year as, “…great… wonderful… with an intense aroma…”

Buyan also paid €24,000 for Juglar, a now-defunct house of champagne that used to be one of the favourites of Napoleon I. He awarded a gold medal to the House of Juglar in 1810, 19 years before the estate was bought over by Jacquesson.

These two bottles will be added to Buyan’s existing collection of seven bottles of 1907 Charles Heidsieck & Monopole Champagnes found in another shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. These were part of a Swedish cargo sunk by a German U-boat during World War I in 1916. These bottles were also on their way to the court of the last Tsar Nicholas II, great grandson of Nicholas I.

Another historical wine in Buyan’s possession is the oldest drinkable wine in Asia, a Vin Jaune from 1821, which will not be put up for sale. Buyan currently also owns 20 bottles of the world’s most rare vintage wines – some of which pre-date the two world wars and are actually available on their wine list including a 1877 Chateau Margaux, a 1883 Lafite Rotschild and a 1859 Mouton Rothschild.

Liz Palmer
Travel and Wine Writer