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Suitcase Series

Suitcase Series: Debbie Von Bismarck Founder Of Debonnaire

Debbie Von Bismarck, opened her enchanting by-appointment-only Knightsbridge store Debonnaire in 2014. It is an absolute treasure trove of artisanal and bespoke delights.

The store was born out of inspiration accrued during Debbie’s travels and her penchant for discovering wonderful treasures wherever she goes. Tucked away on a quiet residential street, Debonnaire is an absolute confection painted in sunny yellow stripes where artisans from far-flung destinations are celebrated. There are cashmere shawls from Nepal, hand-painted leather keep-sake boxes from India, woven bags from a tribe in Venezuela, to bishops and cardinal socks from Rome.

Beyond this discerning curation, Debbie offers a bespoke concierge service, sourcing the weird and wonderful from around the globe. The most interesting gift she’s had to find? ‘Handmade Rooster footstools -they are exquisitely made at every stage of their production with bronze beaks and feet – you can even have them made to look like your own farmyard flock!’, Debbie says.

The team have recently launched their website, perfectly timed for buying christmas gifts for the person who has everything: ‘A lot of work has gone into trying to recreate some of the showroom magic online.’ As for Debbie’s top tips when buying gifts,  ‘ it’s personalisation all the way. It doesn’t matter really what the present is, it shows that you have put thought and energy into it and it’s always something to be remembered.’

From hitting the gym to combat jet lag to feeling most at home at The Beverly Hills Hotel, this is how Debbie Von Bismarck travels well.

What is the first trip you remember taking?

Going to Bermuda with my mother. I was quite young and absolutely loved it. Waterskiing displays, magical beaches and a travel memento of a sea horse paperweight.

What’s been your most memorable trip and why?

I think my honeymoon – it was the first time I had been to the Far East and I was mesmerised. It was beautiful, fascinating and all about love.

If you could go anywhere tomorrow it would be…

Incredible India – I miss the colours, the people, the noise, the light and the beauty alongside all that incredible hustle and bustle.


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My top bucket list destination is…

Tbilisi is next on my list

What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?

Well, I need sunshine, hot turquoise sea, white sand and a cool breeze – Soneva Fushi wouldn’t kill me!
Soneva Fushi

Where do you get your holiday inspiration?

I think probably word of mouth – listening to friends descriptions of faraway places and then I start reading up about wherever and the more you read the more inspired and determined you are to get there!

If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?

The invisible man – I would much rather not have to see or talk to anyone.

What is your favourite hotel?

The minute I walk into The Beverly Hills Hotel I feel at home. I love everything about it: friendly staff, my favourite room, the restaurants, the pool, and the palm trees inside and out.
The Beverly Hills Hotel

What’s on your travel playlist?

One of my sons does the best playlists for me, he has amazing taste. Reggae always puts me in a good mood.

How do you switch off?

Reading, walking and yoga

What is your number one packing tip?

My packing envelopes. You never have to unpack. One for t-shirts, one for swimwear, one for day dresses, one for evening dresses and so on. Perfect particularly when moving around a lot.

Who is your favourite travel companion?

My husband.

What is your most treasured purchase from your travels?

Get straight on to local time, no alcohol and when you’re about to fall asleep but need to stay awake, go to the gym.

Where is home and what are your must-do’s for any tourists visiting?

London is home. A tour of the Houses of Parliament is a must- you have a fascinating hour and a half and get the entire history of Great Britain all under one impressive roof. The John Soane museum too.

What item of clothing/accessory is a suitcase stalwart?

First thing that comes to your mind?

Packing: roll or fold?


Inflight book or inflight film?


Music or podcasts?


Time killer on a long-haul flight?


Holiday tipple of choice?

Coconut water

Best shopping gem found abroad?

A crochet shawl from Cartagena, Colombia

Beach or City Break?

Both are perfection. Rio for example.

Ultimate holiday treat?

First class.

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