Riggs Washington D.C.’s Luxury Christmas Tree Returns

Riggs Hotel debuts its second annual holiday tree with Lingua Franca.

Across the U.S. capital, countless historic buildings safeguard the layered lives and timeless treasures of years past. In 2020, the historic Riggs National Bank building—known as the “Bank of Presidents” for its association with more than 20 U.S. presidents over the years—reopened as Riggs Washington D.C. Today, the hotel’s tall Corinthian columns and barrel-vaulted lobby are among the many architectural details that reflect its legacy. The international hospitality company Lore Group incorporated banking heritage into its redesign as well, with the 181 guest rooms and suites each offering something personal and unexpected to evoke the opening of a safety deposit box.

This month, Riggs Washington D.C. added another asset to its vault with the announcement of its second annual holiday tree. Following in the footsteps of its 2022 collaboration with designer Alexis Bittar, the hotel teamed up with the New York-based luxury brand Lingua Franca for the 2023 partnership.

 

 

 

 

Lingua Franca, which was founded in 2016 by Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, is well known for its bestselling line of sustainably sourced, fair-trade cashmere sweaters, hand-stitched in New York with empowering mantras and salient slogans. “Lingua Franca is all about spreading messages of goodwill and cheer, as well as commenting on the zeitgeist of the times,” Hruska MacPherson says.

In less than a decade, the brand has garnered a cult following of high-profile clientele and influential individuals like Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Reese Witherspoon, and Jane Fonda. The company also prides itself on its caring, civic-minded culture and has raised more than a million dollars for over 200 charities.

 

 

Designing the Riggs 2023 tree was both a rewarding and timely endeavour for the Lingua Franca team, whose arrival this month marks their Washington debut. “The last time I was in D.C. was for the Women’s March in 2017,” Hruska MacPherson says. “This is where everything we are fighting for is happening, and it’s really an honour to be here.”

The founder kicked off the celebrations with a cocktail gathering and intimate dinner at the hotel, along with a two-day Lingua Franca pop-up in the lobby. There, an 18-foot tree stands festooned with crocheted garlands, technicolour fringe, and hoop ornaments hand-embroidered with holiday tidings and social catchphrases, such as “give a damn” and “power to the people,” popularized by figures throughout history. Others are stitched with the silhouette of Juno Moneta, the Roman goddess and protectress of funds, as an homage to the building’s banking backstory. Woven into the arboured tapestry are twinkling lights, crystal balls, and a large velvet bow embroidered with Lingua Franca’s initials. Set against the hotel’s subdued marble floors and mirrored walls, the tree’s cascading colours, flowing from top to bottom with yellow, coral, periwinkle, and cobalt, add a contemporary flair and playful spirit to the entryway.

 

 

“Every stitch of Lingua Franca’s design embodies the holiday season at Riggs,” says Jacu Strauss, creative director of Lore Group. Now through January 5, visitors can pop by the hotel and marvel at the magic of one of the U.S. capital’s most special holiday trees, a celebration of craftsmanship, handmade with love.

Photography by Jeff Hodson.

 

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