by Alex Asher Sears


From a sleeper car on the Darjeeling Limited to the game closet at 111 Archer Avenue, Wes Anderson has a gift for crafting fictional places we’d love to escape to. With his eighth film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, add to the list a grand suite with snowy mountaintop views of the Republic of Zubrowka, and a Courtesan du Chocolat sent by room service upon arrival.

The story opens in 1985 as The Author (Tom Wilkinson) recalls the month he spent at the hotel in the summer of 1968. One evening, the Young Writer (played by Jude Law), is invited to dinner by the hotel proprietor, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who tells him about how he came to own “this enchanting old ruin.” Mr. Moustafa’s story travels back in time, to the hotel’s heyday in the winter of 1932, when a young lobby boy in training named Zero (Tony Revolori) begins his career at The Grand Budapest under the tutelage of concierge extraordinaire, Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and meets the love of his life, Agatha (Saorsie Ronen), who works at Mendl’s Bakery, home of the three-tiered puff pastry confection known as the Courtesan Au Chocolat.

When Madame D. (Tilda Swinton), one of M. Gustave’s beloved guests, dies suspiciously after her annual visit, M. Gustave is the prime suspect. It doesn’t help that she left him a priceless Renaissance masterpiece, much to the chagrin of her evil son Dmitri (Adrien Brody), and his eviler sidekick Jopling (Willem Dafoe). While police detective Henckels (Edward Norton) and Madame D’s attorney Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum) sift through clues in search of the truth, Zero sets off to help his mentor clear his name. And that’s just the beginning.

With about three-dozen characters, the film also stars the Anderson trifecta: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman. It just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Just before the film’s release in March, I saw Matt Zoller Seitz, author of the The Wes Anderson Collection. The book is a fascinating series of interviews with the director wrapped in a giant coffee table book of on set photographs and gorgeous illustrations (holiday shopping for the film lover on your list is done). All Matt would say at the time was that Grand Budapest was like a series of matryoshka dolls, a new story revealed with the opening of each box. One year and several viewings of the films later, I couldn’t think of a better analogy if I tried. From the moment the credits roll, the dolls keep coming. It’s as Wes Andersonian as a Wes Anderson film can get.

It’s a murder mystery. A buddy comedy. A war story. A love story. But whose story it is? Well, that’s really quite simple. The star is none other than The Grand Budapest herself.


While I tend towards neutrals for winter coats, I’m thinking about swapping camel for Grand Budapest pale pink with Rebecca Minkoff’s Pierre swing coat. And Boden’s Eliza coat is a gorgeous change from basic black but perfect for everyday in a jewel tone shade of purple once reserved for royalty––and The Grand Budapest hotel uniforms worn by Zero and Gustave­­. Neutrals don’t have to be boring, right?

Add a pair of these darling Souvenir by Holiday fingerless pom pom mittens and you can brave the cold weather with flair, texting and Instagramming with ease, while showing off your winter mani.


Minkoff PIERRE coat | Boden ELIZA coat | Souvenir mittens


Speaking of manicures, I’ve found my go-to shades this winter. Deborah Lippman’s Footloose evokes the glossy red lacquered interior of The Grand Budapest’s elevator––a classic for fingers and toes. For something a bit more modern, I like the deep wintery blue of Zoya’s Ryan (and their slate gray Genevieve is quite nice, too).

Tarte has packaged their fabulous holiday gift sets in pastel pink, lavender and mint green––not unlike the colors of Mendl’s Courtesan du Chocolat­­. From lip tints to blushes to the best mascara/lash curler duo I’ve found, they’re perfect to give and receive.

M. Gustave had strong opinions to share when it came to nail polish, makeup, and most importantly, fragrance. Use the Perfumer’s Palette range by Sarah Horowitz Parfums to layer notes and create your own signature scent – something as unique as L’Air de Panache. M. Gustave would most certainly approve.

Lippmann polish FOOTLOOSE | Zoya polish RYAN | Zoya polish GENEVIEVE | tarte lips | tarte cheeks

tarte eyes | SH Perfumer’s Palette