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Move over Kate and Pippa. Meet the sisters whose social ambition is their FORTE: Hotel heiresses who are pals of the royals are talented businesswomen with Oxford degrees…. And have a VERY determined mother
Two stunning sisters with immaculately blow dried hair, whippet-thin figures and unassailable aristocratic connections.
No, not Kate and Pippa, but Lydia and Irene Forte, who are fast replacing the Middletons as the most upwardly-mobile twosome in town.
As heiresses to their father’s hotel dynasty, they are already a staple fixture on the social scene, their aptitude for self-promotion propelling them to the top as fast as those ‘likes’ on their carefully crafted Instagram pictures tot up.
And just like the Middleton sisters, Lydia, 30, and Irene, 29, also have famous friends and traffic-stopping beauty. We take a peek into the pampered world of this impossibly glamorous pair . . .
&amp;lt;img id=”i-7f2aa901fdb3baa9″ src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/06/29/23/41E3491B00000578-0-image-m-5_1498774280462.jpg” height=”878″ width=”634″ alt=”The girls are the granddaughters of Lord (Charles) Forte, who started his business with a single diner in London’s Regent Street in 1935, before building an empire of 1,000 restaurants and 800 hotels. Lydia is pictured left and Irene right” class=”blkBorder img-share”/&amp;gt;
The girls are the granddaughters of Lord (Charles) Forte, who started his business with a single diner in London’s Regent Street in 1935, before building an empire of 1,000 restaurants and 800 hotels. Lydia is pictured left and Irene right
A very rich dynasty
The girls are the granddaughters of Lord (Charles) Forte, who started his business with a single diner in London’s Regent Street in 1935, before building an empire of 1,000 restaurants and 800 hotels. He died in 2007.
After a hostile takeover in 1995, Lydia and Irene’s father Rocco, now 72, went on to start up Rocco Forte Hotels — a portfolio of 11 luxury hotels.
Sir Rocco (he was knighted in 1995) has five sisters. His niece, Alex Polizzi, is presenter of Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector, making it very much a female-dominated dynasty — now estimated to be worth £340 million.
So, Lydia and Irene — who, like Kate and Pippa have a younger brother (Charles, 24) — won’t be short of a bob or two.
Nonetheless, Lydia claimed, aged 18, that her famous surname ‘doesn’t have an effect’, insisting: ‘We’re just like any other family.’
The Middleton family might own a party planning business, but the Fortes know how to throw a bash, too.
At Lydia’s 18th birthday party in 2005, at the Forte’s former five star St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay, Princess Beatrice was among the 150 guests. Lydia was resplendent in a gown by designer Catherine Walker.
For Irene’s 19th birthday party, her father hosted a ‘lace ball’ at his Hotel Amigo in Brussels. The sisters wore lace dresses designed by their mother, while guests were ushered in by white and gold-clad clowns and sipped a vodka cocktail called Irene.
&amp;lt;img id=”i-65b1634ded98bd9d” src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/06/29/23/41E3A27300000578-4652584-image-a-33_1498776030209.jpg” height=”379″ width=”306″ alt=”Lydia Forte (left) and Irene Forte (right) attend as RED Valentino celebrates the opening of their first London flagship store” class=”blkBorder img-share”/&amp;gt;
&amp;lt;img id=”i-28ad31d5211da226″ src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/06/29/23/41E3A26A00000578-4652584-At_Lydia_s_18th_birthday_party_in_2005_Princess_Beatrice_was_amo-m-32_1498776018147.jpg” height=”379″ width=”306″ alt=”At Lydia’s 18th birthday party in 2005 Princess Beatrice was among the 150 guests. Lydia was resplendent in a gown by designer Catherine Walker. Pictured from left is Irene Forte, Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy attend The Serpentine Summer Party on July 6, 2016 in London” class=”blkBorder img-share”/&amp;gt;
At Lydia’s 18th birthday party in 2005 Princess Beatrice was among the 150 guests. Lydia was resplendent in a gown by designer Catherine Walker. Pictured right is Irene Forte, Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy attend The Serpentine Summer Party on July 6, 2016 in London
The sisters aren’t short on brain cells — cultivated by an impeccable education. Irene attended £35,370-a-year St Mary’s School Ascot, in Berkshire; Lydia, the St Paul’s day school in London.
Both went to Oxford University — Lydia’s degree was in modern history and Irene’s in French and Italian — before joining the family firm. Since 2014, they have worked full-time at Rocco Forte. Irene is brand manager — no small undertaking: she compiled a list of housekeeping rules, including four pillows on each hotel bed, and raw juices and nut bars in the mini bars.
Meanwhile, Lydia is bar and restaurant development manager and travels ‘at least once a week to all our Rocco Forte Hotel properties’. Ain’t life hard?
The sisters recently set up Map My Future — an ‘upskilling’ phone app for employees in the hospitality industry.
Irene says the business was born out of a desire ‘to prove ourselves. We have to work harder to prove that we’re capable’.
Other enterprises include the Forte Organics beauty line, which sells products such as an almond and hazelnut scrub — a steal at £42 — and sources its ingredients from the Rocco Forte 500-acre Verdura Spa resort in Sicily. The sisters have also had spots as ‘lifestyle experts’ in the Evening Standard newspaper. Entries include how to source healthy cocktails (Forte’s Brown’s Hotel in London, naturally) and where to find a ‘sumptuous foodie weekend’ in Sicily (the Verdura Resort, of course).
MOTHER WITH AN IRON WILL
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Lydia and Irene’s mother Aliai, 50 (pictured with them), met Forte when he was a 36-year-old playboy and she was just 16
Carole Middleton, it seems, has competition. Lydia and Irene’s mother Aliai, 50 (pictured with them), met Forte when he was a 36-year-old playboy and she was just 16.
Despite coming from (compared with him) a relatively humble background — her father was a neurologist and her mother a painter — it was Italian Aliai who proposed after four years of dating. She quickly morphed into what she describes as a ‘1,000 per cent dedicated’ stay-at-home mother at the family’s £8.5 million Chelsea townhouse.
For three years, she made the 60-mile round-trip from the family’s home to Irene’s boarding school, rather than allowing her daughter to spend the night at school.
Aliai went on to launch a high-end fashion business after her daughters reached adulthood.
Shopping and Spas
The girls reward themselves at weekends by shopping in Mayfair —– favourite stores include Paul Smith ‘for gifts’ and shoe shop Aquazzura, whose sandals offer little change from £500.
Then there might be a gallery trip — Lydia sets herself a strict weekend to-do list that includes ‘one cultural thing with my husband’ and ‘at least one social event with a group of friends’.
Irene adds: ‘I always think it’s important to do some spa treatment research, so I tend to test a different treatment in a different spa or clinic on weekends that I’m in London.’ A tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
‘Electric Shock’ workouts
Pippa might have biceps of steel and a famous derriere, thanks to her ‘whatever the weather’ workouts, but fitness fanatic Irene’s efforts are more impressive still.
Her first waking activity at the weekend is exercise: a £27-a-time Pilates workout at the uber-trendy Heartcore gym, founded by celebrity trainer Jess Schuring, or a boxing class at boutique gym Kobox, near her Chelsea flat, where three classes cost £50.
Most startling are her ‘Electrical Muscle Stimulation’ workouts (£75 a session at E-Pulsive in Knightsbridge), where a machine sends electrical impulses to her body, allegedly making her muscles contract quicker, so a 20-minute workout of star jumps and running on the spot can burn 500 calories.
‘I have become an E-Pulsive regular,’ says Irene. ‘The session requires you to — and this will sound strange — wear a dampened vest and arm and leg straps, which are then connected to the electrical machine. The moisture helps to transmit the current and the rubber balls you are given to hold absorb the current aftershock.
‘The overall look is reminiscent of RoboCop.’
&amp;lt;img id=”i-147caae70fc12e66″ src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/06/29/23/41E3581600000578-0-image-m-7_1498774635157.jpg” height=”950″ width=”634″ alt=”‘I always think it’s important to do some spa treatment research, so I tend to test a different treatment in a different spa or clinic on weekends that I’m in London’, said Irene. She is pictured right with Hum Fleming at Tatler’s English Roses 2017 party” class=”blkBorder img-share”/&amp;gt;
‘I always think it’s important to do some spa treatment research, so I tend to test a different treatment in a different spa or clinic on weekends that I’m in London’, said Irene. She is pictured right with Hum Fleming at Tatler’s English Roses 2017 party
While Lydia says she ‘can’t travel without good food’, Irene is a self-confessed wellness junkie.
‘I try to follow a plant-based diet as much as possible — rich in vegetables, legumes, seeds and wholegrains,’ she says.
One of Irene’s favourite haunts is vegan raw food restaurant Nama, in London, which offers a full English breakfast with aubergine bacon and herbed Portobello sausage for £12.
A £700m husband
Once tipped as a potential wife for Prince Harry, Lydia married shipping heir Dimitri Chandris last September, in a weekend extravaganza that makes Pippa’s recent nuptials look distinctly low-key.
Together since Oxford, where Dimitri, 32, was a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club, Lydia can be sure he isn’t after her money — his family is worth an estimated £700 million.
The wedding celebrations kicked off with a 90-minute Catholic and Greek Orthodox ceremony at a cathedral in the Tuscan town of Massa Marittima, followed by a dinner in the town’s medieval cloisters, prepared by a Michelin-starred chef. In the evening, there was a feast at Lydia’s grandparents’ 12th-century Tuscan castle, followed by a fireworks display in the early hours.
Barely a week goes by without one of the sisters jetting to a far-flung exotic location and posting the photographic evidence online.
Irene never boards a plane without a cashmere scarf, ‘to rest on if you want a nap’, or high heels, and has designer organic loungewear that contains milk protein and seaweed cellulose ‘so they feel amazingly nourishing’.
Lydia, meanwhile, colour codes her outfits, so she doesn’t ‘need more than one day bag, one clutch, one coat, one pair of boots and one pair of heels’.
THE CREME DE LA CREME OF BOYFRIENDS
&amp;lt;img id=”i-8e1e8e76323de497″ src=”http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/06/29/23/41E3A26100000578-0-image-a-12_1498775255453.jpg” height=”426″ width=”284″ alt=”Irene’s most notable relationship to date has been with polo-playing aristocrat Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, 33 (pictured with Irene)” class=”blkBorder img-share”/&amp;gt;
Irene’s most notable relationship to date has been with polo-playing aristocrat Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, 33 (pictured with Irene)
While they haven’t married into the Royal Family, the sisters have certainly bagged some of the most eligible bachelors around.
Irene’s most notable relationship to date has been with polo-playing aristocrat Jacobi Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, 33 (pictured with Irene), half-brother to Cressida Bonas, and son of multi-millionaire businessman Joe Calthorpe.
The couple started dating in early 2011 and, although there was a bit of a hiccup in November 2012 — when Jacobi was rumoured to have developed a crush on opera singer Katherine Jenkins — they got back together. Alas, it was not to last. Shortly after Jacobi moved into Irene’s Chelsea flat last July, they broke up.
He appeared to mend his broken heart by partying with a Victoria’s Secret model, while a defiant Irene told the Mail shortly afterwards that she didn’t intend to get married ‘any time soon’.
All self-respecting celebrities are active on social media, and the Forte sisters are no exception.
They each boast more than 10,000 followers on photo-sharing platform Instagram. Often, the pair not only pose for pictures together, but wear matching clothes, shoes or bags, to boot.
It’s doubtful the doppelganger effect is an accident, however; more a bid to boost the profile of the brands they’re wearing. From Valentino dresses to Ralph Lauren jumpsuits, most of their photos are accompanied by hashtags and gushing references to designers who, presumably, are enormously grateful for the free publicity.
Friends and family benefit, too. The red shoes the girls wore to a Chelsea party last month were designed by their brother Charles’s girlfriend, while the tapestry handbags they were pictured with at a recent Irish wedding were designed by their family friend Lord Palumbo’s wife, Hayat.
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