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ACCENT/THE MAGAZINE OF LIFE’S CELEBRATIONS

SPRING/SUMMER 2015

Gifts

From the Heart Spotted on

Celebrities

SO ENCHANTING

The Season’s Most Coveted Jewels

F A S H I O N

I S L A N D ,

N E W P O R T

B E A C H ,

C A


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spring/summer 2015

FEATURES 14 Welcome Letter 16 Events 22 Scene: Haute Looks on the Red Carpet 24 Spotted: As Seen On… 26 Gifts: From the Heart 28 From the Runways

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34 Culture: Fashion Facelift 36 Jewels in Bloom 42 Collecting: Time to Invest 44 Traditional Jewelers Watch Report 46 Timepieces: Worry Over Watchmakers 48 Golf: Triumph & Tragedy 50 Profile: Christopher Designs 52 Wheels: Return of the Muscle Car

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54 Interiors: Blank Canvas 58 Personalities: Kristin Chenoweth 62 Perfect Gems 64 Social Media: Hashtag How-to

ACCENT/THE MAGAZINE OF LIFE’S CELEBRATIONS

SPRING/SUMMER 2015

ON THE COVER

28

Gifts

From the Heart Spotted on

Celebrities

SO ENCHANTING

The Season’s Most Coveted Jewels

F A S H I O N

I S L A N D ,

N E W P O R T

B E A C H ,

C A

Model Tatyana Nosenko (Wilhelmina Miami) in Traditional Jewelers Collection bracelets, rings and earrings. Photography and creative by Edwin Santa. Makeup by Michelle Ortega. Hair by Amanda Rodriguez. Jewelry styling by Jennifer Ferkenhoff. Props Designed by Chad Cox. Assistant Juan Pablo. Retouching by Sthefania Henao.


TRADITIONALJEWELERS.COM FASHION ISLAND 817 N E W P O RT C E N T E R D R I V E NEWPORT BEACH, CA ( 9 4 9 ) 721- 9 010 HOURS: M O N - F R I : 10 : 0 0 A M - 8 : 0 0 P M S AT : 1 0 : 0 0 A M - 7 : 0 0 P M S U N : 11 : 0 0 A M - 6 : 0 0 P M

MICHAEL POLLAK CEO SHEREEN POLLAK PRESIDENT DAMON GROSS COO PAULA STEFANY HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER BRENT SEYLER SENIOR SALES MANAGER MAX SOTODEH SALES MANAGER JENNIFER FERKENHOFF DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

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Prices are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on size, quality and availability. Copyright 2015. Accent® is published by Business Journals, Inc, P.O. Box 5550, Norwalk, CT 06856, 203-853-6015 • Fax: 203-852-8175; Advertising Office: 1384 Broadway, 11th Floor, NY, NY 10018, 212-686-4412 • Fax: 212-686-6821; All Rights Reserved. The publishers accept no responsibilities for advertisers’ claims, unsolicited manuscripts, transparencies or other materials. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission of the publishers. Volume 13, Issue 1. Accent® is a trademark of Business Journals, Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Printed In The U.S.A.

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OYSTER PERPETUAL DATEJUST

rolex

oyster perpetual and datejust are trademarks.


welcome

A Priceless Gift

My last six months have been filled with a series of remarkable experiences that have truly impacted my life. First and foremost, we welcomed our first grandchild into the world. For those of you who haven’t yet had the experience, let me just tell you that the best is yet to come. To those who have, I can finally say, “I get it!” Wherever we are on our respective paths, we all know that life’s a journey. Along the way we sometimes have the privilege of meeting or encountering those who have changed the course of history. Last fall, we hosted an event celebrating the 45th anniversary of the first man on the moon. Those astronauts, like all those who followed, wore Omega watches during their mission. Two “Space Cowboys” alumni—General Tom Stafford and Captain Gene Cernan from the Apollo team—participated in a panel we hosted. I had the honor of sitting with Captain Cernan at the dinner that followed, and we discussed what it meant for him to be “The Last Man on the Moon” knowing he would never come this way again. He shared a special story with me. He felt guilty about the sacrifices he had made, especially time spent away from his young family during the 10 years leading up to the lunar finale. He felt that these sacrifices had been hardest on his daughter, so before ascending to the landing module for the very last time, he left her initials clearly carved into the moon’s surface. This gesture might seem small, but consider the moment: he was likely overwhelmed with feelings of duty, patriotism and emotion, yet his last thought was to leave a permanent, indelible impression not on the moon’s surface, but on his daughter’s heart. What a priceless gift. I’d like to think that we’re in the business of enhancing opportunities to mark those priceless moments. While we can’t replicate a lunar experience, we can provide passionate guidance to help you select precious gifts for life’s special occasions. We’re grateful for your patronage.

Warm Regards,

Michael Pollak CEO, Traditional Jewelers mpollak@traditionaljewelers.com


events

TRADITIONAL JEWELERS WELLENDORFF DINNER OCTOBER 2014 Traditional Jewelers hosted an exclusive Wellendorff Evening of Genuine Delight for clients at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach. For more than 120 years, Wellendorff has led the world’s jewelry industry with its unique hand-crafted pieces, attention to detail and all-around exquisiteness. Christoph Wellendorff, managing director and fourth generation of the Wellendorff family, joined the Traditional Jewelers team to host this special dinner event. Guests enjoyed a private viewing of prominent pieces from Wellendorff’s collections, including the Genuine Delight Collection. A renowned German lyricist rounded out the night with a moving musical performance. PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAPTURE IMAGING


events

TRADITIONAL JEWELERS CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING AT FASHION ISLAND NEWPORT BEACH Traditional Jewelers hosted a two-night celebration to debut our glamorous new space and location at Fashion Island. More than 300 invited guests attended the Grand Opening events in September, where top VIP clientele mingled with brand executives from Fred Leighton, Panerai, Chanel, Kwiat, Baume & Mercier, IWC, Ivanka Trump and more. Guests browsed the new 10,000-square-foot store, which now features four unique shop-in-shops for Rolex, Cartier, Officine Panerai and Patek Philippe. “We had a wonderful couple of evenings surrounded by stunning jewelry pieces and stunning company” says Michael Pollak, CEO and owner of Traditional Jewelers. “We couldn’t be more proud to continue building upon Traditional Jewelers’ amazing 35-year legacy here in Orange County.” Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed handcrafted Champagne cocktails from Perrier-Jouet, paired with delectable bites from celebrity chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Los Angeles’ acclaimed Animal, Son of a Gun and Trois Mec restaurants. Hip-hop and pop violinist Josh Vietti wove his way through the crowd to play a medley of songs while premier illusionist David Minkin dazzled party-goers with up-close magic. A portion of proceeds from the evening’s sales benefited the Cystinosis Research Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Sponsors of the events included Riviera magazine and Coast magazine. PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAPTURE IMAGING

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events

WEBSTER ROCKS NEWPORT! STEPHEN WEBSTER PERSONAL APPEARANCE DECEMBER 2014 Traditional Jewelers welcomed acclaimed London-based jewelry designer Stephen Webster to Newport Beach for one of only a few personal appearance events in the U.S. Not only was this an opportunity to meet the acclaimed British designer, but it was a rare a chance to see the largest assortment of Stephen Webster Fine Jewelry and one-of-a-kind Couture pieces in the country. Drawing inspiration from music, fashion, literature and art to produce contemporary, bold and glamorous collections, Stephen Webster’s unique approach to fine jewelry creation has been over 40 years in the making. A three-time winner of the British Luxury Jeweler of the Year Award and winner of 2015’s Gem Award for Design, Stephen Webster also founded Rock Vault, a carefully curated initiative that supports up-and-coming British jewelry design talent. Webster enjoyed his first visit to the new Traditional Jewelers at Fashion Island location, where he mingled with guests to talk jewelry and fashion. Webster showcased his most recent jewelry collections, including Lady Stardust, Magnipheasant, Fly By Night, Thorn and several exquisite one-ofa-kind Couture pieces. Clients who purchased jewelry from the Couture collection also received personally autographed copies of Stephen’s jewelry design sketches. Sponsored by Riviera magazine, the event featured delicious signature drinks from Skyy Vodka and Skinny Night Out. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN MILLER FOR CAPTURE IMAGING

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CELEBRITIES ROCK IN STEPHEN WEBSTER Stephen Webster is internationally heralded for his craftsmanship, innovation and artistry, which have attracted a loyal following. Coveted by icons from the worlds of music and movies, admirers of the brand include Kate Moss, Jessie J, Madonna, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Solange, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp and more. At right, singer/songwriter Jessie J is pictured in Stephen Webster’s Thorn Collection ring during her performance at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. At left, pop idol Rihanna wears Stephen Webster’s Crystal Haze Collection bracelet during the British Fashion Awards.


scene Take a cue from these decorated digits and ring in spring!

HAUTE LOOKS ON BY JILLIAN LAROCHELLE

KAROLINA KURKOVA

TAYLOR SCHILLING

ZOOEY DESCHANEL

wore a Forevermark Cluster Shield diamond ring to an Art Basel party in Miami.

wore a Forevermark Exceptional Diamond Jewelry by Premier Gem ring to the Emmys.

wore a Forevermark by Maria Canale Aster Collection diamond ring to the Emmys.

THE RED CARPET


spotted

Idina Menzel wears Forevermark during a performance at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

As Seen On... Our favorite stars share a love for our favorite brands!

Sarah Jessica Parker wears Mikimoto at the Great American Songbook Gala.

Taraji P. Henson wears Tacori at the 46th Annual NAACP Image Awards.

Lauren Miller wears Marco Bicego at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party hosted 24 by Graydon Carter.

IDINA MENZEL COURTESY OF DOMAIN LA; SARAH JESSICA PARKER BY PATRICK MCMULLAN COURTESY OF MIKIMOTO; TARAJI P. HENSON COURTESY OF MICHELLE MARIE PR

BY JILLIAN LAROCHELLE


COURTESY OF D’ORAZIO & ASSOCIATES

Hillary Clinton wears Marco Bicego at the Democratic Convention.

Cara Delevingne wears John Hardy at the Serpentine Gala Summer Party.

Zooey Deschanel wears Mikimoto at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party hosted by Graydon Carter.

Kate Walsh wears Roberto Coin at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women In Entertainment: Power 100 Breakfast. 25


gifts

from the HEART Notable moms on Mother’s Day, push presents and their most memorable jewelry gifts. BY JILLIAN LAROCHELLE & JULIANNE PEPITONE

ROSIE POPE “I had my daughter, Vivienne, on Mother’s Day a couple of years ago. I would have to say she is my most memorable Mother’s Day gift! This year I am hoping for jewelry. Being a mom of four and running a business, I don’t have too much time to get ready in the morning. But with jewelry, I can throw earrings and bracelets on and feel a little more put together. “My favorites are four bracelets my children gave me with their names written on each one. The best part about them: my oldest wrote all the names out and they stamped each into the metal, all in his handwriting. It was a special gift because it was a way of the kids welcoming our youngest, Bridget.”

HEIDI KLUM “I’m always loving to be surprised. My kids do beautiful art; we have an art teacher who comes to our house every week and guides them. They’ve done beautiful clay pots that they designed and painted. Last Mother’s Day my kids painted on canvases. I love art, so they’re always making something beautiful for me. So that’s always, for me, the best. I don’t want them to go and buy something; I’d rather they make something for me.”

IVANKA TRUMP “My first Mother’s Day was obviously memorable, but last year was my favorite. Arabella was old enough that we could really spend the day together doing our favorite ‘girl things.’ It was also my first Mother’s Day with two kids. It felt so complete. “I have a special place in my heart for handmade gifts. I have Arabella’s artwork in my office and am always excited to add to my collection. That said, I think the best gift would simply be the day spent with my family—no phones, no internet, no distractions!—making breakfast, then exploring the city together. “I didn’t get ‘push presents’ when my children were born—the children are the best gifts I could ever receive! My husband did give Arabella a necklace when she was born and I keep it for her. She knows when she is old enough it’s hers, and until then, I always ask her before I borrow it! “The best jewelry I ever received was my engagement ring. It was purchased from my collection, which was a very supportive—and smart—move on my husband’s part.”

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POIS MOI COLLECTION


from the

1

RUNWAYS

ARCHITECTURAL ATTITUDE

3 2

4

6 5 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

PENNY PREVILLE 18K white gold and diamond necklace STEPHEN WEBSTER Lady Stardust 18K white gold and sapphire drop earrings TRADITIONAL JEWELERS 18K white gold and diamond grid ring IVANKA TRUMP Metropolis 18K white gold and pear diamond drop earrings RESERVE COLLECTION 18K rose and white gold and diamond bracelets ROBERTO COIN Pois Moi 18K white and yellow gold and diamond bracelet BIBHU MOHAPATRA RUNWAY IMAGES COURTESY OF ACCESSORIES DIRECTIONS


from the

RUNWAYS

PRETTY IN PASTEL

2 1 4

3

5

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

RESERVE COLLECTION 18K white gold, diamond, sapphire and opal necklace ARMENTA Old World 18K yellow gold, sterling silver, chrysoprase and moonstone earrings PESAVENTO Polvere di Sogni rose gold and sterling silver ring MARCO BICEGO Lunaria 18K yellow gold and aquamarine oval earrings IPPOLITA Rock Candy 18K yellow gold precious rainbow tennis bracelet ZUHAIR MURAD RUNWAY IMAGES COURTESY OF ACCESSORIES DIRECTIONS


from the

RUNWAYS

DIAMONDS & PEARLS

2 1 3

5 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

4

RESERVE COLLECTION 18K gold three-row graduated pearl necklace MIKIMOTO Infinity 18K white gold and diamond pearl drop earrings IPPOLITA Gelato 18K yellow gold, mother-of-pearl and diamond bracelet IVANKA TRUMP Patras 18K yellow gold, moonstone and diamond ring MIKIMOTO Japan Collection 18K white gold, diamond and pearl drop earrings ELIE SAAB RUNWAY IMAGES COURTESY OF ACCESSORIES DIRECTIONS


culture

Italy’s designers step up to preserve cultural landmarks. BY ROBERT HAYNES-PETERSON

L

ast spring, in the wake of crippling recessions, Matteo Renzi, Italy’s newest (and youngest) prime minister, called on the private sector to help fund emergency restoration of collapsing structures in the ancient wonder that is the buried city of Pompeii. Heavy rains and flooding had caused severe damage, and the government was unable to cover the whole bill. Now the program is expanding to the country’s museums, fountains and other icons, particularly in Rome. And its fashion giants—including Fendi, Bulgari and Tod’s—are stepping up to the plate. While corporate sponsorship of public projects is nothing new in the U.S., it’s fairly unprecedented in Italy, where there’s a resistance to mixing private and government programs. “The ideological refusal to permit the private sector to intervene—as if only the public sector could guarantee the guardianship of heritage—must end,” Renzi announced last March. Soon after, luxury jeweler Bulgari said it would put $2 million toward an extensive refurbishment of the storied Spanish Steps in the Piazza di Spagna, where decades of heavy traffic have taken a toll on the 290-year-old structure. Scheduled to begin this year, it will help celebrate Bulgari’s 130th anniversary as a “special gift from

Roberto Cavalli held a runway show beneath Milan’s Arch of Peace and donated $120,000 towards its restoration.

GETTY 1; RUNWAY IMAGES COURTESY OF ACCESSORIES DIRECTIONS

Fashion Facelift

Bulgari to its city,” CEO Jean-Christophe Babin said in a statement. These gestures are not completely without precedent: In 2010, Roberto Cavalli presented his collection beneath Milan’s Arch of Peace in exchange for a $120,000 donation toward its restoration. What’s changed is the scale—and the ability to do some branding during construction. Tod’s, the shoe company famous for its elegant driving moccasins, announced it is helping to finance a series of projects at Rome’s 2,000-yearold Colosseum. Plans for the $30 million comprehensive restoration have been in the works since 2012. (They met with some controversy, since part of the agreement involves promotional opportunties for Tod’s in exchange for the funding.) A series of restorations of the site’s arches, facades and entrances will keep the famous amphitheater partially shrouded in scaffolding for over two years. In the end, though, the city should be able to enjoy its massive monument for another few millennia. And last summer, Fendi announced it would dedicate almost $3 million to a restoration of the Trevi Fountain, the Neptune-and-chariot adorned destination built in the 18th century and made famous in the films La Dolce Vita and Three Coins in the Fountain. While tourists might lament visiting the site while it’s drained and under scaffolding, it’s also possible they’ll catch Fendi’s creative genius Karl Lagerfeld, who loves photographing Rome’s fountains. For Fendi, restoring the city’s fountains (more projects are planned) makes sense. Insists Silvia Venturini Fendi, creative director of accessories and thirdgeneration designer, “It’s our duty to pay tribute to the city of Rome which has given us so much.”

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Traditional Jewelers Collection earrings, rings and bracelets


Traditional Jewelers Collection rings and bracelets

JEWELS IN BLOOM

FOLLOW US INTO AN ENCHANTED FOREST AND FALL IN LOVE WITH THE SEASON’S MOST STUNNING JEWELRY.

P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y E D W I N S A N TA


Armenta Old World Collection in yellow gold with blue turqoise/rainbow moonstone and diamonds


Phillips House Apogee Collection earrings, necklace, rings and bracelet and Love Always Collection bracelets


Stephen Webster Crystal Haze Armadillo Long Finger Ring


Stephen Webster Lady Stardust, Fly By Night, Deco and Crystal Haze Collection rings and earrings Photography and creative by Edwin Santa. Model Tatyana Nosenko at Wilhelmina Miami. Makeup by Michelle Ortega. Hair by Amanda Rodriguez. Jewelry styling by Jennifer Ferkenhoff. Prop design by Chad Cox. Assistant Juan Pablo. Retouching by Sthefania Henao.


collecting

time to

invest

Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMTMaster II, 40mm in stainless steel with rotatable black and blue ceramic bezel and Oysterlock bracelet.

Watchmaking history appeals to a new generation. BY WILLIAM BUCKLEY

P

hilatelists collect stamps and numismatists collect coins, but watch collectors, in the grand scheme of things, are a relatively new breed. Seismic shifts—from pocket watch to mechanical wristwatch to quartz and atomic movements—indicated the fading of each previous technology into obscurity. But by the end of the 1980s, manufacturers realized that there was a market for mechanical wristwatches both as timepiece and work of art. A new generation of consumers was excited by the craftsmanship of traditional horology, and the watch collector was born. Edward Faber, one of the leading experts on vintage watches and founder of the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York, explains, “Before 1930 watches were essentially pocket watches retrofitted to the wrist. With the advent of World War I, huge advances in technology were made in all areas, from automobiles to aviation, and watches soon followed suit. The nuances of jeweling and modern technology enabled watchmakers to integrate features like chronographs and moonphase calendars, and mechanical wristwatches entered their element.” But with the “quartz revolution” came a level of timekeeping accuracy that changed daily life. What began in 1929 with the quartz clock took 40 years to miniaturize, but in a few swift years mechanical watches began to look like they would become obsolete. “We’ve learned in this industry to fear new technologies, and for good reason,” explains Michael Friedman, historian for Audemars Piguet. “What we could accurately call the quartz revolution was known to many as the quartz crisis because it essentially wiped out the industry as we knew it; it took many years to evolve past that. But interestingly, what the quartz era in the 1970s really did was to liberate the watch industry. We’re now in an era of experimentation and expressionism largely because the accuracy problem was solved when the quartz watch debuted.” With smart watch production numbers in the tens of millions, manufacturers like Apple and Samsung are investing in the future of timekeeping. And whether or not smart watches become as ubiquitous as the quartz and mechanical movements before them, increased interest in traditional craftsmanship has secured the future of mechanical watches. “To connect with a timepiece, which may have plus or minus a few seconds per week but is part of horological history, is a strong statement,” insists Faber. “People in their 20s and 30s are looking at vintage Rolexes and IWCs and they’re excited to collect them, they’re excited to buy them. When they buy vintage watches, they’re also buying the stories behind them.”

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Patek Philippe Ref. 5170G Men’s Chronograph with pulsometric scale. White gold with silvery white dial. Featuring Caliber CH 29-535 PS Mechanical manually wound movement.

WHAT COLLECTORS LOOK FOR Brand: This is the number-one consideration. Currently Patek Philippe and Rolex are most coveted. Papers and Presentation: Watches with their original papers and boxes in good condition are worth more. Metal: With only a few exceptions, platinum is number one, followed by rose gold, then yellow gold, then steel. Complications: Chronographs, moonphases, tourbillions etc. can increase a watch’s collectability. Rarity: The more mass-produced a watch is, the less desirable it is to a collector.


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ROLEX

For Her IWC

CARTIER

BAUME & MERCIER Promesse, 34mm stainless steel case, silver “drape” guilloché diamond dial, steel bracelet, water-resistant to 50 meters ROLEX Oyster Perpetual Datejust II, 41mm steel case, red grape dial, steel Oyster bracelet, water-resistant to 100 meters CHANEL J12 Intense Black, 33mm black ceramic case, black dial, black high-tech ceramic bracelet, water-resistant to 200 meters IWC Portofino, 37mm 18K red gold case with diamonds, silver-plated dial, alligator strap, water-resistant to 30 meters CARTIER Ballon Blanc, 30.2mm 18K pink gold diamond case, mother-of-pearl dial, 18K pink gold bracelet, water-resistant to 30 meters

44


PATEK PHILIPPE

JAEGER-LECOULTRE

OMEGA

For Him BREITLING

AUDEMARS PIGUET

PATEK PHILIPPE 5712/1A-001, 40mm steel case, black-blue dial, steel bracelet, water-resistant to 60 meters OMEGA Grey Side of the Moon, 44mm grey ceramic case, platinum dial, leather strap, water-resistant to 50 meters JAEGER-LECOULTRE Master Calendar, 39mm 18K pink gold case, meteorite dial, leather strap, water-resistant to 50 meters BREITLING Chronoliner, 46mm steel case, black dial, steel bracelet, water-resistant to 100 meters AUDEMARS PIGUET Royal Oak, 41mm steel case, silver-toned dial, steel and 18K pink gold bracelet, water-resistant to 50 meters

45


timepieces

worry over

The watch business is booming—and that’s got luxury brands determined to make sure watches can be produced and repaired in, well, a timely way. BY JACK FORSTER

A

watch can be many things: an heirloom, a tool, even a work of art. But what all watches have in common is that they’re machines, and like any machine, they need to be taken care of. Though most customers give little thought to maintenance when they buy their first watch, the purchase is actually the end of one story and the beginning of another—one that involves a lifetime relationship with whoever is going to keep the watch in good running order. Making sure there are enough watchmakers to go around is increasingly a challenge. Servicing even a simple watch means taking apart a tiny mechanism no bigger than a quarter, with hundreds of parts, without damaging anything. Then each part must be meticulously cleaned before the entire movement is reassembled, with the correct amount of lubricant applied to moving parts that, in some cases, are no bigger than the eye of a housefly. A properly serviced watch will also have its seals changed, to maintain the water resistance it had when first sold. Then its performance has to be

checked and the watch adjusted to within desired specifications before it can be released back to the customer. If it’s a complicated watch, the time necessary to service increases exponentially. For a vintage watch, finding replacement parts can require hours of detective work. Educating a new generation of luxury consumers to understand exactly how much goes into servicing a watch is an important step forward. Patek Philippe has had a service center in the United States for many years, and its U.S. president Larry Pettinelli says, “There’s no question that there is a need to educate clients about using qualified Above: watchmakers and what it takes to Watchmakers working at maintain a fine timepiece.” It’s demanding work, and a hurried the Patek Philippe watchmaker is a bad watchmaker. To Institute in Shanghai. clients used to getting a car sent in for repair back within a few days, it’s mystifying that it should take so long. The problem watch owners and watch brands alike are facing is that there just aren’t enough people around who know how to service a watch properly. It’s difficult enough when you’re trying to get a fairly simple, three-handed wristwatch cleaned and oiled; if you have something more complicated—a chronograph, perhaps, or something really challenging like a perpetual calendar or tourbillon—it’s critical to entrust the timepiece to one of the increasingly few skilled watchmakers around. Nobody wants to wait weeks or months to get a favorite watch back, and luxury brands know that since every watch they sell is going to need service sooner or later, something has to be done to fill the gap in trained watchmakers. Fortunately, progress towards this goal is being made. One of the biggest names in watchmaking, Rolex, is also one of the front-

46

FAR LEFT AND NEXT PAGE COURTESY OF LITITZ WATCH TECHNICUM; OTHER IMAGES COURTESY OF PATEK PHILIPPE

watchmakers


runners in making sure watches it sells are watches it can keep running. Here in the U.S., one of the best-equipped schools for watchmakers is the Lititz Watch Technicum in Lititz, Pennsylvania, launched by Rolex in 2000. The cost of tuition is entirely underwritten by Rolex and watchmakers there work in spotless, Watchmakers at work NASA cleanroom-style facilities, using a combination of traditional inside the Lititz Watch Technicum. tools and state-of-the-art equipment. Though most watchmaking programs teach servicing a watch rather than making one from scratch, Technicum students must actually make their own timepieces before The Swatch Group, which owns Breguet and Longines, among others, graduation. operates six watchmaking schools: in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Still, the Technicum graduates only a handful of students each year. Miami, and Glashütte and Pforzheim in Germany; it also has a partnership According to a story watch historian Stacy Perman wrote for Bloomberg, there with the British School of Watchmaking in Manchester. The Nicolas G. Hayek were 43 watchmaking training programs in the U.S. in 1976, compared to only Watchmaking School in the United States (started in Seacaucus, NJ in 2005 a dozen in 2006, when the story ran. And it’s not just an American problem. In and located in Miami since 2009) provides a comprehensive, 3,000-hour countries like China, where boom economies have driven an explosion of watch curriculum that gives graduates a well-rounded understanding of both the sales, the difficulties in getting a watch serviced can present a major headache theory and practice of watchmaking. It even includes courses on time and to owners, and a crisis of confidence in brands. physics, and the evolution of instruments for reckoning time. he principal of the Lititz Watch Technicum, German-born Herman Beat Aebi, head of Swatch Group Customer Service, says such training Mayer, traces the shortage in trained watchmakers to a global event: is essential for the future of luxury watchmaking. “Our products are made the advent of inexpensive quartz watches. Says Mayer, “Reduced to last a lifetime,” he says. “Many people come back to us and expect high demand was caused by the quartz dominance starting from the late ’70s. levels of service [for] watches that have been passed down from generation That situation led to watchmaking losing its attraction as a field of to generation.” And though watchmaking as a profession is still an unusual employment. The full-fledged watchmaker as a professional had choice, Aebi says that, increasingly, “Many students seek us out. It is a disappeared from the awareness of the general public by the time the passion to become a watchmaker, and they have parents or grandparents renaissance of the mechanical high-end started.” who were watchmakers and have passed down the passion and skills.’’ Companies with the ability to do so are taking steps to make up for the A few independent watchmaking programs also still exist. The shortfall. Patek Philippe, which despite a general slowdown in luxury watch Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology has a program that’s one sales continues to be one of the most ardently desired and passionately of the oldest in the country, having been established in 1946. The program collected watch brands in the world, has established watchmaking schools offers an associate’s degree and enjoys the support of Rolex, which in Shanghai and Beijing, intended to train watchmakers in China to handle provides material (state-of-the-art equipment) and financial assistance. the brand’s service needs there. Still, relieving the shortage will be a gradual process, since watchmakers Patek Philippe’s New York service center is one of the most highly can’t be trained overnight. The Patek Philippe program, for instance, requires regarded in the United States. “The U.S. service center has been in existence two years of training and 3,500 hours just to reach a level where Patek for decades,” says Pettinelli. “Our watchmakers are capable and trained at the considers the trainee qualified to service quartz and simple mechanical highest level to work on the most complex timepieces. But minute repeaters movements. The OSU program, one of the most highly regarded in the USA, and tourbillons are sent back to Geneva so they can be addressed in the graduated only six students last December. And while basic training workshop they were originally created in, oftentimes with the actual programs provide a solid foundation, it’s only the beginning. Learning how watchmaker who created the timepiece.” Though to handle the really big guns of horological Patek doesn’t yet have a watchmaker’s school in OUR WATCH complexity—repeaters, perpetual calendars, the United States, Pettinelli says that there are SERVICES TEAM tourbillons—takes many more years, and there’s no serious discussions underway to establish one—a way to rush the process. Art Bodin, Director of Watch Services logical extension of the firm’s commitment to Pettinelli remarks, “I don’t think we are yet at Hyde Park Jewelers/Traditional Jewelers bringing top-level expertise to its local markets. a crisis, but certainly there is a growing realization All Locations/Denver The Richemont Group, which owns some of that supply is not keeping up with demand.... The the world’s most prestigious brands, including Igor Bodin, Head Watchmaker/Technical Director major issue regarding delayed watches is the lack Hyde Park Jewelers/Traditional Jewelers Cartier, IWC and Vacheron Constantin, supports of qualified watchmakers. For instance [Patek All Locations/Denver the schools known as the Institutes of Swiss Philippe’s service center in New York] does 10,000 Watchmaking, with training centers in Dallas, repairs a year with only 20 watchmakers.” Brent Gann, Watchmaker Hyde Park Jewelers Phoenix Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Institute’s U.S. Help, at least, is on the way, as more and more campus, the North American Institute of Swiss watch brands strive to offer training programs. For Samuel Su, Watchmaker Watchmaking, bases its 3,000-hour program on watch customers and collectors, it helps to Traditional Jewelers Newport Beach the curriculum set by WOSTEP (Watchmakers of remember that if you buy something meant to last Laura Graham, Watch Services Coordinator Switzerland Training and Education Program), a lifetime, it’s worth taking a little extra time to Hyde Park Jewelers Denver the current industry standard for watchmaking care for it—and worth appreciating the skill and schools seeking to offer students a dedication it takes to be a watchmaker. Galina Bodin, Watch Services Assistant comprehensive general introduction. Hyde Park Jewelers Denver

T

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golf

triumph & tragedy

Gary Player won the 1965 U.S. Open Championship, but Phil Mickelson missed his chance in 2006.

The U.S. Open Championship is golf’s toughest tournament. BY EDWARD KIERSH

Gary Player celebrated at Bellerive in 1965.

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GARY PLAYER COURTESY OF BLACK KNIGHT ARCHIVES; PHIL MICKELSON COURTESY OF ROLEX

I

t’s one of the most demanding athletic showcases in the world, where unshakable endurance and remarkable precision are all-important. The U.S. Open Championship, which will be held in June, this year at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Washington, has long been a proving ground for the world’s best golfers. Every year since the first Open, in 1895 at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, legends have been inspired by brave men battling ankle-high rough, dramatically contoured fairways and unnervingly fast greens. “The Open was my most coveted title because it’s such a grueling test, and it consistently offers special moments in the game’s history,” says 1965 Open champion Gary Player. “Open courses are so physically and mentally demanding that handling the terrific pressure is essential to winning—and that requires a combination of patience and precision.” Although the Open is especially merciless (maybe because of it), many of the game’s most inspirational moments have taken place during this United States Golf Association-staged event. Only last year at Pinehurst, Martin Kaymer ran away from the field by shooting a nine-under par 271, the third lowest score ever. It was a triumph reminiscent of three-time champion Tiger Woods’ stunning 12-under par performance at Pebble Beach in 2000, and Rory McIlroy’s blistering 16-under 2011 conquest of Congressional. Staging his own heroics in 1990, Hale Irwin, at age 45, became the oldest man ever to claim the title. His uplifting win belied the great Walter Hagen’s remark about a typical U.S. Open course: “It makes duffers of us all.” Few golf aficionados can forget how “The People’s Champion” Phil Mickelson turned victory into defeat at New York’s Winged Foot Golf Club in 2006. Trying to carve a three-iron around a tree to buttress his one-stroke lead, Mickelson hit a branch, only managing to advance his ball a mere 25 yards. Obviously dismayed, he subsequently plopped the ball into a bunker, and later rued, “What an idiot I am!” As Rolex, one of the tournament’s chief sponsors, suggests, Open golfers who do achieve a win become “witnesses to history,” masters of “impossible physics on the most hallowed grounds.” They display the same boldness and passion that make Rolex an iconic watch brand, so it’s no wonder that Rolex is irrevocably linked with greatness. Emphasizing Rolex’s preeminence in watches as well as the integrity of the brand, Michael Pollak, CEO of Hyde Park and Traditional Jewelers, says, “Our clients see Rolex wearers like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Roger Federer striving for excellence, and they too want to own a Rolex. These are the world’s greatest athletes, so buyers want what they want: the absolute best.”


profile

Love on steroids

Diamond cuts so magnificent, they’re patented! BY ERIK DEFRUSCIO

A

rtist and jewelry designer Christopher Slowinski, known for creating innovative diamond cuts and settings, modestly insists that his best creations have happened by accident. “When I started out cutting diamonds, I was actually lousy at it; it was a mistake that led me to come up with a different arrangement of facets.” Slowinski, a native of Poland with an engineering background, moved to America in 1976 and apprenticed with a diamond cutter in New York City. He started out learning how to set stones, and after two years in the industry he opened a small contracting shop with a friend, doing mostly repairs and custom work. “I didn’t start with special skills but soon learned I had the ability to make a design better than the original—creating a better flow, tweaking the design to individual tastes.” Early in Slowinski’s career, he was sent a ring with princess-cut diamonds that had a few stones missing. “They thought I was a genius and could repair anything,” he recalls. “However, it wasn’t possible for me to save this ring.” From the frustration of not being able to fix it, Slowinski ultimately created his famous invisible setting, filing his first patent in 1991. “It was absolutely perfect. Most other rings had problems with lost stones, but I never lost stones with this setting.” Ultimately opening his own small shop and gradually building a collection, his breakthrough came in 1998 when he created a 77-facet diamond (vs. the generic 48), the first-ever modified step cut, for which he filed his second patent and which fast became a top seller. Ironically, he discovered this Crisscut diamond by mistakenly placing a diamond on the cutter the wrong way. “I messed up the stone but noticed how beautifully the erroneous triangle enhanced the light,” Slowinski explains, ripping and folding a sheet of paper in an attempt to demonstrate how a generic emerald cut becomes something else entirely. “I thought I had something special but I couldn’t get a cutter to make it. Finally, I went to Israel and had it made. It’s still a top seller.” He ultimately used a similar concept on round cuts, which required three years of work and four patents. A unique cut with 109 facets, the Brilliant Crisscut appears round but actually has 12 straight walls and 12 sides, creating the illusion of a scalloped border. Then, as Slowinski recalls, “I broke all the cutting rules,” coming up with yet another new cut where “light bounces off seven times inside the stone before exiting, greatly amplifying the stone’s brilliance.” This amazing diamond design, called L’Amour Crisscut, appears 40 to 50 percent larger than a comparably sized emerald-cut diamond and, as Slowinski puts it, “is so brilliant that it sells itself.”

What’s next for Slowisnski (who works with 60 craftsmen at his two facilities in Manhattan and personally inspects every stone that is cut and every setting cast)? “I think I can finally take a break,” he says, heading off to Europe to show his collection at Baselworld, the most prestigious jewelry show in the industry. A break? We don’t, for a second, believe him….

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“FOR ME, TECHNOLOGY IS AS IMPORTANT AS AESTHETICS.” CHRISTOPHER SLOWINSKI, CHRISTOPHER DESIGNS


CENTO COLLECTION


wheels

return of the

Muscle Car

Auto aficionados turn their interest back to these American icons.

I

f you were a teenager in 1960s America, you likely dreamed of getting your driver’s license, impressing the girls by peeling out of the highschool parking lot and blasting down the road. European cars of the time were fun to drive, but a bit docile. Muscle cars (smaller-size, two-door American vehicles with huge, high-compression V8 engines that accelerate at blisteringly fast speeds in a straight line) were Detroit’s way of making a statement to potential customers that horsepower was the American way. Unlike European sports cars, which relied on well-balanced chassis with suspension setups to provide excellent cornering speeds, the brute power of muscle cars was primarily used for drag racing; cornering at speed was a very risky pursuit. Some say it was the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 that initiated the muscle car era, but Ford’s 1962 introduction of its 406-cubic-inch V8 Galaxy 500—to compete with Chevrolet’s Impala SS 409—is likely what began the horsepower wars. It didn’t take long before Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge and Pontiac joined the fray. These cars were so much more than transportation. A culture sprang up around them and pop music expanded this chapter of history as a way of life. The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Ronny and the Daytonas, and the Rip Chords set the mood with songs like Little Deuce Coupe, 409, GTO and Hey Little Cobra. The lyrics synced with the language used by gearheads, as exemplified in the Beach Boys tune Shut Down, which passionately tells the

BY DAVID A. ROSE

story of a drag race between a Dodge 413 and a Corvette Stingray. This remarkable era in automobile history began to wind down in the early 1970s when the government placed limitations on emissions, forcing automobile manufacturers to detune their mighty engines in order to run on low-lead and unleaded fuel. In 1973 OPEC cut oil exports to the U.S., causing a gasoline shortage that led to long lines and short tempers at gas stations across the country. People began to gravitate toward compact cars with smaller, fuel-efficient engines, and for decades the automobile industry produced mostly lackluster, utilitarian machines with no character. Now for the good news: Performance cars with both quality and style are again what people want to buy, and what car makers again seem eager to produce. Muscle car mania may never again rise to the same heights, but its spirit can be seen on dealership sales floors across the country. In 2005, the redesigned Ford Mustang channeled the iconic fastback from 1965, which set off a wave of retro-modern American muscle. Three years later, Dodge dusted off the Challenger nameplate with a style that looked a lot like its 1969 predecessor. Chevy followed suit with the new Camaro, referencing the original 1967-69 model. Even Cadillac, which never produced a muscle car in the style’s heyday, now offers a 556-horsepower engine in its CTS-V model. These cars are remarkably exciting to drive, and technology has made them far more forgiving in terms of handling than their earlier incarnations.

HOT MUSCLE CARS IN HISTORY 1965 Pontiac GTO 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 1967 Plymouth Road Runner 1968 Pontiac Firebird 1968 Oldsmobile 442 1969 Dodge Charger 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28 1970 Chevy Chevelle 454 SS 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302

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interiors

Prominently displayed near a stairwell in Coin’s home is a sculpture by French artist Arman. “I had the precious chance to meet him and immediately loved his philosophy,” the designer explains.

B

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orn in Venice, Roberto Coin began his career in the hotel industry and spent the early part of his adult life studying management in Switzerland. At the age of 32, Coin set out on a new path to become a jewelry designer and felt the change of career called for a change of scenery. “Vicenza became important when I joined the world of jewelry,” he explains. “I chose this city as it is and was a point of reference for gold manufacturing.” The 10,000-sq.-ft. home Coin eventually purchased in 2000 was originally built in 1960 and in need of some serious renovations. With help from Venetian architect Enrico Novello, Coin designed much of the space himself and now spends about six months of the year there with his wife, Pilar, and their youngest son, Kevin. The family spends the rest of the time traveling or at their other home in nearby Venice. Located in the hills just outside Vicenza city center, the neutral

Roberto Coin’s minimalist décor serves as a backdrop for creativity. JILLIAN LAROCHELLE

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Think of it as your

“I-SWEAR-I-LEFT-IT-

ON-THE-BEACH-TOWEL” policy.

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A custom picture window frames “a natural painting of Vicenza.”

structure is modern yet timeless, much like Coin’s extensive jewelry collection. The home’s minimalist décor is almost entirely devoid of color, serving as a blank backdrop for inspiring Coin’s creative visions. “I wanted to recreate a kind of luxury hotel lounge, full of light,” he reveals. “We managed to create a unique mix of different styles while keeping the atmosphere light and simple. For example, we mixed modern furniture with pieces from the 7th century and Art Deco style with creations from Pierre Fernandez Arman, known as ‘the violins sculptor.’” In the home’s sitting room, an expansive window hints at the gorgeous view beyond. “The house is full of important paintings and with that window I wanted to create a natural painting of Vicenza,” says Coin. “It is very relaxing watching outside

from that window… and you can also dream of being anywhere in the world. Moreover, from there I can see the opposite hill, where my son’s house is.” Despite the sitting room’s prime view, Coin reveals that his favorite room is in fact “my relax room; it is my own studio where I can smoke, read, watch TV and dream. My favorite item in the home is a special statue made by Wallace Chan, which he explained to me was the perfect statue representing my personality. It has many different heads and the biggest one is a child.” Like the hidden ruby inside each of his designs (meant to bring luck, health and happiness to the wearer), there is more to Roberto Coin—and his home— than first meets the eye.

More of Coin’s extensive art collection is on display in the formal dining room.

Roberto Coin’s 10,000-sq.-ft. home in Vicenza, Italy.

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personalities

Right: Chenoweth’s 2014 CD release of career favorites.

Diminutive

Diva

Kristin Chenoweth’s big voice and bright smile have been lighting up stages and screens for decades. BY BRIAN SCOTT LIPTON

W

hat Kristin Chenoweth lacks in height she makes up for in vocal power, acting ability and fashion sense. The 4'11'', 46-year-old superstar has thrilled Broadway audiences with her work in such shows as You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (which earned her a Tony), Wicked and Promises, Promises. She’s also a frequent TV and film actress, best known for her roles as Annabeth in The West Wing, Courtney in Four Christmases, Olive Snook in Pushing Daisies (for which she won an Emmy) and April in Glee. And did we mention she regularly sells out concert halls and major arenas? Last fall, Chenoweth released her latest CD, Coming Home, a concert version of which also aired as a PBS special. She’s currently appearing on Broadway opposite Peter Gallagher as

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From top: Chenoweth in The Good Wife; with Peter Gallagher in On the Twentieth Century; in Glee; as Glinda the Good in Wicked.

tempestuous 1930s film star Lily Garland in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of the hit musical On the Twentieth Century. Accent recently caught up with Chenoweth to chat about her career, her fashion choices and her favorite pieces of jewelry. The character of Lily Garland in On the Twentieth Century has long been on your radar. How does it feel to finally get the chance to portray her on Broadway? It’s definitely been on my bucket list. The composers, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, told me before they passed away that I was the next rightful owner of that role. I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind, and it seemed like now the time was right. And here I am doing it! I’m very nervous, because it’s a difficult score to sing, and there’s some major physical comedy. When you play a character like Lily, who is a bit of a diva, which parts of your personality do you draw from? I guess there is strength in me that I can only see at times when I’m being pushed to the limit, and Lily is a push-to-thelimit type of character. And vocally she’s a soprano, so that is right in my wheelhouse. The character you’re best known for may be Glinda from Wicked. Do you ever get tired of singing songs from that show at your concerts? Sometimes I wonder if the audience really wants to hear Popular again, but they prove me wrong every time. They always do! How did you choose which songs to record for Coming Home? It’s a culmination of songs I’ve been singing my whole life, so it’s more of a career record. Gospel music is a big part of my life, so I included a song I grew up singing, Little Sparrow, which is a tribute to Dolly Parton. There’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which I’ve been singing since I was itty-bitty. And I Could’ve Danced All Night from My Fair Lady shows my vocal training. Everything I do is represented on that album. What are your favorite things to do off-stage? When I need to get away, I like to go to Cabo San Lucas and lie by the pool and drink margaritas and hang out and eat. I also like to just stay in bed and watch TV. Tell us about your sense of fashion, both in real life and on the red carpet. I keep it pretty simple. I think simple is better when you’re petite. And I like to mix and match. If I get a dress from Zara, then I’ll pair it with Christian Louboutin shoes. Do you have a surefire look for attracting attention? I don’t think cleavage ever hurts. How do you use jewelry to complete a look, and what are some of your favorite pieces? I don’t do a lot of big jewelry unless I’m on stage. Personally, I like smaller stacked necklaces and rings. I have a brand-new pair of broken arrow earrings that my friends gave me knowing I’m from a little town in Oklahoma called Broken Arrow, so currently those are my favorite. Have you inherited any family jewelry heirlooms that mean something particularly special to you? There is a black onyx ring that my grandma had. She gave it to my mom and my mom, not too long ago, gave it to me. That’s one of my prized possessions. So is another ring that my grandma had throughout her life; it’s an opal with diamonds around it. Those are the kind of things on which you can’t put a monetary value.

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“Sometimes I wonder if the audience really wants to hear Popular again.. . they always do!”


PERFECTGEMS

EXPLORE THE LITTLE LUXURIES THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER. BY DONALD CHARLES RICHARDSON

SAY CHEESE

HUILE D’OLIVE—TRÈS CHIC!

Spain produces more than 100 different types of must-try cheeses including Quesos de Valdeon, a maple-leaf wrapped blue cheese made deep in the Picos de Europa, and the very sophisticated Sant Gil d’Albio, an artisanal goat’s milk cheese with luscious depth, great acidic balance, and hints of nuts and herbs. There’s even a perfect cheese for summer alfresco dining. Max McCalman, author of Mastering Cheese, says, "Manchego is my go-to cheese for a picnic. Simply irresistible, everyone loves Manchegos. They hold up well outdoors on a picnic and they are extremely nutritious. I prefer them between five and nine months of age, in particular Carpuela, a nine-month-old raw milk Manchego. It is versatile with a broad range of wines; for example, it pairs nicely with a Spanish Tempranillo."

On the southern slopes of the Alpilles Mountains near Provence is a wonderfully restored and very elegant 18th-century castle and estate, Château d’Estoublon. Traveling gourmands stop here for lunches paired with the château’s olive oil, which is not only delicious, but so stylish it’s offered in a couture spray flacon. Five olive varietals planted over 212 acres are hand selected, gathered in nets and processed within 24 hours of picking. (The green production method—processing olives harvested before they darken—brings out the full, fresh flavors.) Later this year, visitors won’t have to eat and run. The château will open to guests, offering the opportunity to spend a few days drinking wine, eating, touring the vineyards and olive groves (even picking olives for individual bottles of oil) and reveling in the beauty of Provence.

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SPARKLING STRINGS

At his atelier in the little town of Deidesheim, Germany near the Rhine River, master craftsman Jens Ritter creates handmade guitars that are also works of contemporary art. His Eye of Horus bass, custom-designed for Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead with black piano finish, silver Egyptian inlay and blue LED lights, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired the Cremona bass guitar for their permanent collection. Ritter’s creations aren’t just for viewing. Prince, George Benson, Mary J. Blige, and the musicians behind Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Van Halen own (and play) Ritter’s guitars. For the reflective rock star, the Princess Isabella is made of German alder, mahogany and ebony with platinum inlays and is covered in over 7,000 Swarovski aquamarine crystals.

TOP HATS

No spring ’15 fashion show was complete without hats. From city streets to the beach, they’re everywhere. Be heads above the crowd with a hat by Angiolo Frasconi. Founded in Campi Bisenzio (one of the major centers of famed centuries-old Florentine straw hat production) just after World War II, Angiolo Frasconi has been a family-owned company for three generations, creating collections of handmade hats that are molto elegante. The designs combine handcrafted tradition, innovation and fine natural fibers— straw first and foremost—but also classical raw materials of the tradition: linens, cottons, felt, wool and cashmere expertly crafted and trimmed by hand. The new collection focuses on creativity and the best of Italian craftsmanship.

Donald Sultan, one of the world’s leading avant-garde artists, achieved fame in the late 1970s as part of the New Image movement. Known for elevating the still-life tradition through the deconstruction of his subjects and the use of industrial materials, he pushes the restrictions of his medium through gouging, sanding and buffing to create depth and texture. Sultan’s philosophy emphasizes “the impermanence of structure and the malleability of form...the whole oeuvre is a celebration of substances before they disappear.” Many of his pieces are on display, including those at the Art Institute of Chicago, The British Museum, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This summer, Sultan will present his latest work, a sixfoot square creation utilizing black buttons on a modernistic surface, at New York’s prestigious Ryan Lee Gallery.

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DONALD SULTAN, TILE AND AQUA LANTERNS, FEBRUARY 15, 2014

PUSHING THE RIGHT BUTTONS


social media

hashtag how-to E

ven the social media-savvy among us might assume that the use of hashtags in user-generated posts is a relatively new phenomenon— something that’s say, two or three years old at the most. While hashtags have certainly gained popularity during this timeframe, you might be surprised to learn that their origin dates a bit further back. Like, way back. We’re talking 1990s here. Before Facebook dominated the globe, and even before the rise of MySpace (remember THAT?), hashtags were employed online by Internet Relay Chat technology as a method for categorizing items into subject groups. There they remained in relative obscurity until August 23, 2007. On that day, Google employee (and later Google+ user experience designer) Chris Messina tweeted a now-infamous question to his followers about grouping conversations within BarCamp, an online network devoted to discourse about technology as it relates to the internet. @chrismessina: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” Happy birthday to you, hashtags. That day in 2007 marked the real beginning. Tech-savvy Twitter users quickly adopted the hashtag based on Messina’s inquiry, building a momentum that spread within the social platform and then slowly transitioned to other services like Facebook. By the time Instagram, Vine, Google+ and Pinterest were created and gained their own audiences, the hashtag had been steadily earning its place in the collective consciousness. For those who aren’t as familiar with this context-providing device formerly known as the pound sign, let’s provide a quick primer. In a nutshell, to “hashtag” something means to add the pound sign in front of a word or phrase that categorizes your post by subject matter, thereby making it more searchable to a larger audience beyond your own friends and contacts. But it’s almost easier to define the hashtag by providing an example.

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For instance, let’s say that Kelly, a Facebook user with more than 600 friends, posts the following line about a new restaurant along with a picture of its exterior. “I love the pasta at this noodle restaurant in Westport! Yum! #foodie” Ordinarily, Kelly’s photo and associated text would be visible to mainly the 600-plus people in her network. But with the addition of “#foodie,” virtually any member of the Facebook community can locate Kelly’s post by entering #foodie in a search (depending, of course, upon Kelly’s privacy settings). In such a search, her entry would appear along with hundreds of other posts that contain similar content, making it easier for foodies around the globe to interact with one another…and learn about Kelly’s favorite noodle joint along the way. So exactly what role have hashtags played in our world of fine jewelry and timepieces? According to top-hashtags.com, a website devoted to tracking the most-used hashtags, people’s posts about jewelry are often punctuated with #fashion, #swag, #jewelry, #diamond, #celebritystyle. A quick review of social media posts by well-known jewelry designers and retailers reveals that other tags like #aotd (accessory of the day) and #jotd (jewelry of the day) are commonly used as well. The biggest rule in the world of hashtags is that there are no rules. Clever or nonsensical, comedic or dramatic, they’re merely a way for content creators to get their posts noticed. For lovers of modernity’s increasingly scarce resource—privacy—they’re just more noise in an already too-talkative world. But for those who enjoy the chatter, hashtags are, well, #trendy. So go ahead: post a picture of the tennis bracelet you received for Christmas, or of the Rolex you just inherited. Then choose or create your own hashtag. #WeWantToSee

IMAGE BY CHRIS NAVARRO

BY ADAM GEBHARDT


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TRADITIONAL JEWELERS ACCENT THE MAGAZINE OF LIFE’S CELEBRATIONS

SPRING/SUMMER 2015

Traditional Jewelers  

The Magazine of Life's Celebrations