Beirut Unzipped. The Sensual Side of Fashion. Assaad Awad's Leather. Undressed by Joe Kesrouani
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The Lust Issue
FRONT / 48 Who’s Who / 50 Editor’s Letter The inspiration behind this issue / 52
Contributors A brief selection / 58 Odes to Love Filmmakers and their love scenes /
72 In Focus Where we’ll be this time of year / 96 The Scene Getting lost in Lebanon /
98 Objects of Desire Fall’s hottest picks / 116 In the Studio with Assaad Awad / 122
You Sexy Thing Sex sells, especially in fashion / 128 Flute or Dare The rise of the fluted
dress / 132 A Legacy of Gems Nagib Tabbah on his jewelry dynasty / 136 Trends Looks,
ideas, fads / 140 Muse Power as an aphrodisiac / 148 Rooftop Rocket Party Accessories
above the city / FASHION / 164 Calling Aphrodite Photography by Petrovsky &
Ramone, styling by Maaike Staal / 194 Queen of the Night Shawna shot by Patricia Ruiz del Portal, styled by Esperanza de la Fuente / FEATURES / 216 The Comeback Kids
Brand renaissance / 224 Subject In conversation with Rebecca Zaatar / 226 Unzipped
Beirut’s sexual side / 228 Modern Bromance Male friendships explored / 230 An Italian in Beirut Marcello Lo Mauro on designing in the city / 238 On the Road,
Then and Now Berenice Abbott revives on Instagram / 244 A Hotel for the Ages The
redesign of Hotel Montalembert / 248 Every Shade of the Rainbow India Mahdavi’s colorful palette / 254 Called into Darkness Garen Demirdjian’s gothic influences /
258 Lush City Living Abdel Wahab 618’s luxury / 260 Killer Instinct Are we guilty of bloodlust? / 262 Where Life Begins Artistic nudes by Joe Kesrouani / PLAYGROUND / 274 On Travel Cape Town’s Table Mountain / 278 Where We’re Staying / 280 On
Happiness Sensual massages in England and Turkey / 282 Where We’re Detoxing /
284 On Food Sea aphrodisiacs / 286 A Taste of Elsa Monte-Carlo Beach’s top eatery / 288 Where We’re Eating / 290 On Drink Lebanon’s white wines / 292 Where
We’re Drinking / THE END / 296 Behind the Scenes Aïshti and Aïzone reimagined by
Juergen Teller / 300 The Last Page Movie erotica
Beirut Unzipped. The Sensual Side of Fashion. Assaad Awad's Leather. Undressed by Joe Kesrouani
no.90 August/September '17 LL10,000
On the Cover A caress, a slight head tilt and closed eyes. Love always begins with lust. Our cover girls Anna (top) wears a Valentino dress and Elisabeth (bottom) wears a Prada skirt as a dress. Shot in Amsterdam by Petrovsky & Ramone / Styling by Maaike Staal / Hair by Daan Kneppers and makeup by Suzanne Verberk
People/Style/Culture/Art Publisher Tony Salamé Group TSG SAL
Editor-in-chief Marwan Naaman
Creative director Mélanie Dagher
Senior art and production director Maria Maalouf Junior art director Sarah Ashley Mrad Associate editor Rayane Abou Jaoude Editor-at-large Ramsay Short
Coordinating editor Sophie Nahas 48
In-house fashion photographer Raya Farhat Senior photo editor Fadi Maalouf Contributing writers Salma Abdelnour
Stephanie d’Arc Taylor Grace Banks Tala Habbal
Karim Hussain Valerie Jones
Sabina Llewellyn-Davies Michelle Merheb
Warren Singh-Bartlett Helen Kitti Smith Folio artist
Fashion photographers Patricia Ruiz del Portal Petrovsky & Ramone
Feature photographers Tony Elieh
Bachar Srour Stylists
Esperanza de la Fuente Maaike Staal Interns
Andrea Chaanine Melissa Haddad
Advertising director Melhem Moussallem Advertising manager Stephanie Missirian
Chief marketing director Karine Abou Arraj Printing Dots: The Art of Printing
Responsible director Nasser Bitar
140 El Moutrane St., Fourth Floor, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon tel. 961.1.974.444, email@example.com, aishtiblog.com
A State of Rapture Lebanon’s summer always drips with sensuality. The heat and humidity encourage various states of undress, with locals using any excuse to show off the maximum amount of taut, bronzed skin. Taking its cue from Lebanon’s sultriest season, A Mag celebrates that most thrilling of human emotions: lust. Inside the pages of this latest issue, you’ll see how the upcoming fall fashions are inspired by overarching desire and how certain top labels are using sex to promote their looks (page 122). You’ll learn how Beirutis are choosing to express their sexuality (page 226), and witness Lebanese photographer Joe Kesrouani’s exploration of the female nude (page 262). It’s A Mag’s lustiest, sexiest issue yet. Marwan Naaman @marwannaaman
Joe Kesrouani Lebanese photographer Joe Kesrouani is fascinated by all kinds of visual matter. His work ranges from portraits, nudes and landscapes to architectural and town planning photography. He is a nomadic spirit who loves to explore both his native Lebanon and any other place to which he feels drawn. He nurtures a paradoxical taste for pure and graphic lines on the one hand, and for sensuality and chaos on the other, easily shifting back and forth between black-andwhite and color photography. For the Lust issue of A Mag, Kesrouani offers a new look at his sensuous black-and-white nudes (page 262).
Patricia Ruiz del Portal Before delving into the fashion industry, first as a stylist and later as a photographer, Patricia Ruiz del Portal studied law. She felt inspired to begin taking pictures when she found a film camera in an old handbag, and has since created photos influenced by rock ‘n’ roll, 1970s memorabilia and ‘90s nostalgia. A self-taught photographer who hails from Spain but now lives in London, Ruiz del Portal treats fashion stories as if they were her personal diaries, adding an intimate perspective to her work. Characterized by a feminine, mysterious and witty eye, her images are shot only on film to lend a grainy, authentic feel. You can check out her work for A Mag on page 194.
Helen Kitti Smith Helen Kitti Smith, US-based travel journalist and former Travel World News contributing editor, portrays her impressions of urban Cape Town – sensuous, savvy, multicultural – after emerging from southern Africa’s bush and wildlife (page 274). For A Mag, she previously explored the artsy magic of Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende, the culture and vision at the Dallas Arts District, the global phenomenon of Miami’s Art Basel, the world class shopping mecca that is Dallas, Texas, and the luxury design, art and décor of Miami’s Design District.
Esperanza de la Fuente Esperanza de la Fuente is a freelance fashion stylist who grew up in the sunny Canary Islands. Determined to follow her dream of becoming a fashion stylist, she left the archipelago eight years ago and moved to London to pursue a career in the field. After a threeyear stint at Elle UK, she moved on to test different waters and now works for different titles and brands. “London is the most diverse, creative, inspiring and vibrant city. I feel very lucky to be here and do something I love,” she says. “The day I change my mind? I will move on to something else!” See her work on page 194.
ODES TO LOVE 58
Love scenes are sensitive moments, difficult to capture and complicated to act out. They are often improvised, involve props and sometimes a fair amount of alcohol to loosen the senses. But the end result, paired with the right music and the right lighting, is usually beautiful and delicate, composed of small fleeting moments that can be overlooked if you donâ€™t pay attention. For this issue, A Mag sought the perspective of those behind the cameras. We asked notable Lebanese filmmakers to choose their favorite love scenes, those that touched them, that moved them, taught them and inspired them. We projected those exact scenes behind the directors, and they shared some of their secrets
Words Rayane Abou Jaoude
Photography Gilbert Hage
Leila Kanaan is an award-winning film director and writer famed for My Father’s House, a cynical short film that was shown in festivals around the world and won numerous awards, and After the Storm, an experimental film on the 2006 Lebanese war. She’s also directed music videos for some of the biggest artists in the Arab world – Nancy Ajram, Cheb Khaled and Haifa Wehbe – and commercials for international businesses and organizations like L’Oréal, Coca-Cola, Sony and UNICEF. The best thing about her job, she says, is that “the art of directing for film is the sum of all the other arts; it’s the most fulfilling artistic practice of all.” What is so significant about the love scene you chose? It’s from the film 2046 by Wong Kar-wai. I love the intoxicating beauty in the broken hearts of his characters, the melancholic poetry in the missed opportunities and the maddening complexities of the relationships. The scene portrays the torment of love as hopelessly romantic and extremely seductive If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what
question would you ask? Who/what is God?
If you could only choose one film to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mad Men, the complete series
If you could have dinner with a movie star, dead or alive, who would it be? James Stewart, Gene Tierney, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marion Cotillard. So many more, actually
A word of advice for aspiring filmmakers? To have the patience to move step by step and write films that fulfill them, while totally following their intuition without judging themselves. As Bukowski said: “If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it.” This is, of course, besides watching everything it is physically possible to watch during a human lifetime
Philippe Aractingi’s name has become synonymous with his most recent film, Listen, which made international headlines. It’s not a first for the filmmaker, whose works have won him both awards and accolades. The self-taught director released his first documentary at the age of 20 and went on to set up his own production house, Fantascope, through which he’s released his films. The most interesting thing about his job? “Telling stories, making people dream. Taking them to another world.”
What is so significant about the love scene you chose? It’s a scene out of my film, Listen. It’s not the first Lebanese film where there were sensual scenes, but I guess it’s the first film that was seen by so many people. It was time for us to do a film about love where people make love If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what question would you ask? The reason why I was incarnated in Lebanon
If you could only choose one film to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be? I’ve seen Terry Gilliam’s Brazil I think nine times so far. I could see it forever. It’s a great masterpiece If you could have dinner with a movie star, dead or alive, who would it be? Marlon Brando, surely. He’s a hero and an anti-hero. He could play everything. He’s a composer. Another person would also be Orson Welles because he’s an actor, surely, but because he’s also a filmmaker A word of advice for aspiring filmmakers? Trust your intuition. If you’re Lebanese, understand that you live in a country that has no structure and therefore the most difficult thing would be for you to learn how to tell a story, a structured story. So learn structure and trust your intuition in order to get out of the box
Sophie Boutros’ recent film Mahbas (Solitaire), which was watched by thousands of Lebanese and premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2016, is still touring internationally. The filmmaker has been in the industry for 20 years, directing shows and promotional and music videos for some of the biggest Arab stars in the region. The most interesting thing about her job, she says, is that it doesn’t really feel like a job: “Directing, and now writing, is something I do because I simply enjoy it. It is my choice, not an obligation. And I get to choose who to surround myself with, my crew, my actors, all people that I love to go on an adventure with. This freedom is the most interesting thing.”
What is so significant about the love scene you chose? Atonement revolves around a love story that holds a lot of pain, and I believe painful love is the only one worth talking about and creating characters for. This selected scene says it all with barely a few words; it shows the intensity of the couple’s love through small beats in their body language If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what question would you ask? What is the lesson we should learn from all the injustice in the world?
If you could only choose one film to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be? A Separation by Asghar Farhadi If you could have dinner with a movie star, dead or alive, who would it be? Juliette Binoche
A word of advice for aspiring filmmakers? Love this world for the passion in it, not the fame. Focus on details because the difference is all there. Tell stories that mean something to you and be genuine. Believe in your inner feelings when you make decisions
Amin Dora is most recognized for his work on the Arabic web series Shankaboot and feature film Ghadi, but it all began with a short stop-animation titled Greyscale that ended up receiving numerous awards in national and international festivals. Shankaboot won him the International Emmy Award back in 2011, and Ghadi made waves across the world, premiering at the Busan International Film Festival and becoming Lebanon’s official Oscars entry in 2014. Dora has also directed hundreds of award-winning campaigns since 2004. His advice to aspiring filmmakers? “Talentless is the new talent, tell stories with your own voice.”
What is so significant about the love scene you chose? It’s from Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her. It’s the fantasy dimension, and the representation of a woman’s body in an intimate, sensual moment
What is the most interesting thing about your job? It’s the creative power of giving birth to a whole new world filled with characters and emotions If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what question would you ask? Time
If you could only choose one film to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be? I wish this question would never come true If you could have dinner with a movie star, dead or alive, who would it be? Daniel Day-Lewis
Rania Rafei’s filmmaking career has taken her across many different paths: she’s directed an award-winning feature film, several short fiction films and documentaries covering social and political issues for Al-Jazeera. In 2012 she co-wrote and co-directed her first feature film 74 (The Reconstruction of a Struggle), which premiered at the FID Marseille International Film Festival and won international prizes. In 2014 she created an installation documentary about Beirut titled The Purgatory, screened at the Swedish Färgfabriken exhibition space and the Tallinn Architecture Biennale.
What is so significant about the love scene you chose? It’s from Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris. Godard was asked by the producers to show Brigitte Bardot naked so he started the film with this scene, and let her talk about the details of her body while the light is changing. I find it very intelligent because Godard tackles the subject of cinema being a product of consumption, and at the same time he could make the beauty emerge from that same scene
What is the most interesting thing about your job? For me, cinema is gazing at reality from a subjective point of view. It’s the private experience of the person doing a film If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what question would you ask? What do I really want?
If you could have dinner with a movie star, dead or alive, who would it be? I would be thrilled to have dinner with Jean-Luc Godard A word of advice for aspiring filmmakers? I consider myself to be an aspiring filmmaker so it’s not really advice, but it’s what I tell myself everyday: work hard, be yourself and don’t take no for an answer
Nadim Tabet’s passion for filmmaking started early; he began shooting short movies at a very young age and went on to study at the Sorbonne University before co-founding the Lebanese Film Festival in 2001. His feature film, One of These Days, was screened at Cannes as part of the Film Market, and he is currently working on his upcoming feature, Golf Club. His favorite love scene is taken from Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monika. “While the two young lovers are kissing near the sea, Monika shows a little of her breast before jumping into the water. Aside from the erotic tension, what I really like in this scene is what we don’t see. Or, to be more precise, what we are able to imagine while not much is shown on the screen.”
What is the most interesting thing about your job? Trying to stay focused on your personal vision while working with lots of different people
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what question would you ask? I prefer to find the good questions rather than search for the absolute truth If you could only choose one film to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be? Impossible to answer since I don’t have one film that’s my favorite of all time. But let’s say La Maman et la Putain by Jean Eustache – the four-hour version If you could have dinner with a movie star, dead or alive, who would it be? I don’t have this kind of fantasy, especially that it must be boring to have dinner with an egocentric movie star
A word of advice for aspiring filmmakers? It’s difficult to give advice when you are in perpetual learning. But let’s say start to do, and then you will learn
Lucien Bourjeily’s extensive work in theater, film and activism has won him numerous praises, including the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur (YCE) Culture Award and a nomination for the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Award. Known for his progressive and interactive approach to theater, he brought exactly that to London’s LIFT Festival with his immersive play 66 Minutes in Damascus. His most recent work, Vanishing State, was featured at the Brussels Moessem 2017 festival edition. If he could choose one film to watch for the rest of his life, it would be Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. 70
What is so significant about the love scene you chose? Youthful love captured in a frame, from Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monika What is the most interesting thing about your job? It’s that I don’t really feel it’s “a job”
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what question would you ask? How does Hanna make his ice cream?
If you could have dinner with a movie star, dead or alive, who would it be? Buster Keaton A word of advice for aspiring filmmakers? The essence of great filmmaking is a great story/script and strong acting, and both need perseverance and talent more than big budgets
Cuba Unmasked_____ Havana’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is hosting a landmark exhibit, featuring 149 works drawn from the Von Christierson Collection of contemporary Afro-Cuban art, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Titled “Without Masks,” the show focuses exclusively on Afro-Cuban art from the past three decades and is curated by Afro-Cuban ritual arts specialist Orlando Hernández. “What distinguishes the collection and renders it exceptional is that it assembles for the first time such a numerous and varied group of Cuban artists and works devoted to exploring two great themes that hitherto have been regarded separately,” says Hernández, “namely cultural and religious traditions of Africa in Cuba, and the multiple problems and conflicts related to race.” Until October 2, bellasartes.cult.cu
Seated in Style_____ The Manila armchair is the ideal piece of furniture for your deck, patio or garden. Created by Italian designer Paola Navone for Baxter, the armchair is made of wicker and cloister leather, and features elegant, sensual curves. Available at the Baxter boutique on Al Arz Street in Beirut’s Saifi neighborhood, the Manila armchair adds contemporary flair to any outdoor space. baxter.it/en/new-baxter-shop-beirut-2
Austrian Architecture Museum, Baxter, Aurélie Bidermann, Von Christierson Collection
in focus 72
We Built This City_____ London-based, Turner Prize-winning architecture collective Assemble get their first ever retrospective this summer – titled “How We Build” – at Vienna’s spectacular Austrian Architecture Museum. It’s an enlightening show featuring 10 of the prototypes the collective have previously carried out – including swag curtains of silvery Tyvek and candy-colored cement tiles that look good enough to eat – to be experienced in the form of large-scale installations. Assemble’s focus is to change the status quo of how we build, how things are made and how materials are put together through joint action. Their work combines social activation, poetic spaces, ecological and economic sustainability in a unique way. One thing’s for certain, if this show doesn’t make you want to go out and get your hands dirty, nothing will. Until September 11, azw.at
Lucky Charms_____ It’s the 10th anniversary of Aurélie Bidermann’s eponymous jewelry house, and she’s taken it to a whole new level: she’s created 13 Amazon boxes within which are precious stones, all carried by a handmade chain. Four of those are available at Sylvie Saliba boutique in Ashrafieh, including the elusive coral box made with real, vintage corals (it’s illegal to harvest them, which makes them all the more appealing). There is a box containing bright sapphires, a screw encrusted with diamonds and a four-leaf clover made from – you guessed it – an actual clover. “Aurélie Bidermann wants to do something different,” says Émilie Divisia, head of sales and merchandising. And that she has. aureliebidermann.com
in focus Africa in Sight_____ In a bid to continue highlighting art from often-overlooked parts of the world, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris is showcasing “Art/Afrique,” an engaging exhibit that focuses on artists from the African continent. The show is divided into three parts, the first of which is titled “The Insiders” and drawn from Jean Pigozzi’s private African art collection. The second part, “Being There,” zones in on 15 masters of South African art, such as Sue Williamson and William Kentridge. Consisting of paintings, photographs, installations, textiles and videos, the works explore Africa’s past while delving into the legacy of colonization. The final part of the exhibit features a selection of works from the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s collection, as it looks beyond African shores to include artists who live away from their native Africa. Powerful works at “Art/Afrique” include Kudzanai Chiurai’s quietly violent canvas “Revelations V,” and Jane Alexander’s full-room installation “Infantry with Beast,” which depicts figures that are part-human, part-beast – and completely haunting. Until August 28, fondationlouisvuitton.fr
Malick Sidibé/CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection
A Shot of Pucci_____ The sun was shining, the water shimmering and the music pounding. Emilio Pucci held its sexy traveling bikini bar event at Aïshti by the Sea last July, following its first destination at the Cannes Film Festival. Models dressed in Pucci bikinis graced the newly opened Urban Retreat infinity pool, looking out onto the Mediterranean as the crowd sipped on sunset aperitivos. Two pink beach cabins displayed limited edition swimsuits in Pucci’s iconic prints. Time to get yourself a Pucci bikini. Available at the Emilio Pucci boutique in Downtown Beirut and at Aïshti by the Sea
Japan’s Lebanese Artwork_____ Lebanese artist Nadim Karam unveiled his spectacular “Wheels of Innovation” last June at the Nissan headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. The sculpture consists of five wheels, representing globalization, sustainability, challenge, alliance and diversity. “These are the values that Carlos Ghosn gave to Nissan during his 17 years as chairman and CEO,” says Karam, adding that he was first approached by Ghosn himself to create the sculpture. Made from mirrored stainless steel, the monumental sculpture will remain at the Nissan HQ, for all to view. hapsitus.com
ABC, Elias Daaboul/Nabil Ismail, Nadim Karam
Introducing ABC Verdun_____ We’ve all been waiting for this for a while, and it’s finally here: ABC Verdun has opened its doors. The new flagship department store, which opened in late July, boasts hundreds of shops, restaurants and entertainment outlets within a light-flooded, open-air space. The eco-friendly complex was designed by Seattle-based architecture consultancy firm CallisonRTKL, and has placed a large focus on greenery and much-needed breathing space within the city, including a 1,800-square meter garden designed by landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic. It’s definitely the new place to shop – among other things. abc.com.lb
Luscious Loulou_____ This one’s the perfect evening accessory. Saint Laurent’s small Loulou Monogram bag has a stylish gold quilted chain and is made from leather and velvet. Available from the fall/winter 2017-18 collection in either black or burgundy, the bag sports Saint Laurent’s recognizable interlocking YSL signature. Available at the Saint Laurent boutique in the Beirut Souks and at Aïshti by the Sea
A UFO in Kensington Gardens_____ Architect Francis Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion resembles a rustic flying saucer that’s landed direct from his home nation of Burkina Faso in central London’s Kensington Gardens. Kéré is the first African architect to win the commission, following the likes of Zaha Hadid and Ai Weiwei, among others before him. His structure is bold and innovative, bright and full of life. Inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his hometown of Gando, a huge disc of spindly wooden slats hovers over a gathering space enclosed by curving blue walls, built of staggered wooden blocks that reference traditional textile patterns. Wondrously, the pavilion is responsive in that it mimics the tree’s canopy, letting air circulate freely while offering both shelter against London rain and summer heat. Check it out. Until October 8, serpentinegalleries.org
Kéré Architecture/Iwan Baan, Youssef Nabil/Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Fairfield Porter/Whitney Museum of American Art, Saint Laurent
The Americans_____ What does it mean to be American? In its “Where We Are” exhibit, New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art attempts to grapple with this timely debate by showcasing iconic works collected by the museum between 1900 and 1960, as well as more recent acquisitions, all by American artists. There are photographs by PaJaMa (collaborative works by Paul Cadmus, Jared French and Margaret French) depicting gay relationships, works that pay tribute to African American women by Elizabeth Catlett, and paintings by Edward Hopper that reveal how the home structures interior lives. Other pieces by the likes of Diane Arbus and Jasper Johns examine icons that symbolize America, in an attempt to define a common narrative for this most diverse of world nations. Ongoing, whitney.org
Dancing into a Dream___ In its continuing effort to exist as a platform for international art, the Pérez Art Museum Miami is now screening a 12-minute film by New Yorkbased, Egyptian artist Youssef Nabil. Titled “I Saved My Belly Dancer” and starring Salma Hayek and Tahar Rahim, the lavish art film was filmed in high definition, with haunting images closely resembling the vintageinspired photographs of Nabil. At its core, the film examines Egypt’s rich cultural heritage, while lamenting its disappearance at the hands of religious fundamentalism. As Hayek dances over the body of a handsome man who appears to be dead, her sensuous moves express a sort of lamentation over the Arab world’s fading historical traditions. Until October 1, www.pamm.org
Heart in a Knot_____ You probably remember Bottega Veneta’s City Knot bag from the house’s spring/summer 2017 collection, when it was first introduced. The bag was such a big hit that the Italian fashion house has restyled it for winter, in colors more suitable for colder climates, including elegant moss green and classic cement white. Created by Tomas Maier, who was inspired by a box clutch from the Bottega Veneta archives and who then added the signature closure of the house’s iconic knot, the bag has three roomy inside compartments in soft French calf leather and was handcrafted by master artisans. Available at the Bottega Veneta boutique in the Beirut Souks and at Aïshti by the Sea
Whispering Hawaii_____ The inspirations behind Buccellati’s jewelry are as numerous as they are far-reaching. Take the Hawaiian welcoming garland, which served as muse for one of the jewelry house’s most notable and sought-after earrings. Conceived in the 1930s by Mario Buccellati, the Hawaii earring is a cascade of tiny gold circles with a milled surface that plays with light and movement, each circle composed of two gold twisted threads and welded by hand to create a maze. Perfect for any evening. Available at Aïshti by the Sea 80
Meet Me in Berlin_____ Dedicated to contemporary art, artists and the locations where art emerges, Berlin Art Week is now in its sixth edition. 2017 highlights include the openings of Danny Lyon at C/O Berlin, Willem de Rooij at KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Monica Bonvicini at Berlinische Galerie. This year is also focusing on the art fairs, specifically Art Berlin and Positions Berlin – Art Fair. Expect prize award ceremonies, special programs, talks, films and tours. September 14-17, berlinartweek.de
Bottega Veneta, Buccellati, David-Nicolas/Joy Mardini Gallery, Kulturprojekte-Berlin/Alexander Rentsch
A Beirut Debut_____ It’s here! The Beirut Design Fair is an exceptional – and entirely new – program focused exclusively on design, and dedicated to both contemporary and vintage furniture and design objects from over 50 exhibitors and more than 10 countries. For its very first year, Beirut Design Fair has put together an exceptional selection committee of design, architecture, museum, luxury and education professionals, who are bringing their expertise to the exhibitors’ selection, including India Mahdavi, Aline Asmar d’Amman, Marc Baroud, Marianne Brabant and Mathias Ohrel. Make sure not to miss its debut. September 20-24, beirut-design-fair.com
Mountain Spa_____ Al Bustan Hotel’s new luxury spa L’Espace opened its doors for the first time this summer – and we can’t think of a better way to beat the city heat. Set in Beit Mery, L’Espace boasts a pool surrounded by beautiful blue mosaic and a spacious hammam decorated with an arrangement of purple and pink cushions. The area itself is entirely soothing and is surrounded by expansive gardens with a stunning panoramic view of Beirut. Sit back, relax and sip on some spicy Bloody Marys best enjoyed at sunset. hotelalbustan.com
Objects of Affection_____ It’s been over 60 years since the world lost Henri Matisse, but there’s something to be said about an artist whose work is still so ubiquitous. Now, for the first time, “Matisse in the Studio” is focusing on the painter’s beloved – and eclectic – collection of personal objects, and the works they inspired. Painted tables from Algeria, vases from Andalusia and Mboom tribal masks from the Democratic Republic of Congo are only a few of those on display at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. It’s a rare glimpse into Matisse’s beautiful vision derived from the world of objects, and we’re not missing it. Until November 12, royalacademy.org.uk
Dark Night_____ If you’re a fan of horror films and thrillers, then Berlin’s Fantasy Filmfest is definitely your cup of tea. The festival takes place in different parts of Germany and is expected to be the best one yet with a spectacular international selection, like French film Replace, American movie Colossal and Spanish flick The Night of the Virgin, among others. There’s plenty of gore and psychological discomfort to go around, and tickets sell out fast. September 6-October 1, fantasyfilmfest.com
Al Bustan, Archives H. Matisse/Succession H. Matisse/DACS 2017, Berlin Fantasy Filmfest, Marc Jacobs, Ekin Su Koc/Anna Laudel Gallery
Minimal Marc_____ Inspired by hip-hop’s influence on art, style and music, and his own New York upbringing, Marc Jacobs takes on a simpler and more minimal approach for his fall/ winter 2017-18 collection. Handbags are casual in naturally tanned leathers and stitched detailing, with a warm palette of blues and neutrals best paired with sportswear and everyday dress. Says Jacobs: “This collection is my representation of the wellstudied dressing up of casual sportswear. It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style.” Available at the Marc Jacobs boutique in Downtown Beirut and at Aïshti by the Sea
Istanbul Takes the Lead_____ Istanbul has been enjoying a bustling art scene as of late, in large part thanks to the likes of leading international art fair Contemporary Istanbul. The fair brings Turkish and international galleries, artists and collectors together for its 12th year, with new participating galleries such as Seoul’s Gallery Tableau, London’s Vigo Gallery and Barcelona’s N2 Gallery. Contemporary Istanbul also coincides with the opening of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, with a highly anticipated show by Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei at the Sakip Sabanci Museum. September 14-17, contemporaryistanbul.com
in focus Understanding Arabicity_____ The Beirut Art Fair – now in its eighth edition and held at BIEL – doesn’t disappoint. The most anticipated exhibit is “Ourouba, the Eye of Lebanon,” curated by renowned Lebanese-Iranian author and curator Rose Issa. The exhibit’s aim is to explore the recent concept of “Arabicity” and give visitors a chance to better understand this through private and public collections. Part of Beirut Art Week, the fair is focused on fostering a spirit of expansion, promoting young talents and unfolding a new perspective of creation in Lebanon, with new international galleries participating. September 21-24, beirut-art-fair.com
Elene Usdin/Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
AÏSHTI, DOWNTOWN BEIRUT, T.01.991 111 AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, ANTELIAS, T. 04 717 716 EXT. 243
in focus Crazy 88_____ What’s special about Burberry’s DK88? According to chief creative and chief executive officer Christopher Bailey, the fall/winter 2017-18 bag is destined to become a Burberry classic. “With the DK88, we wanted to create a timeless collection of bags, which would have the same spirit and attitude as the iconic trench coat,” he says. To that end, Burberry gave the DK88 a sculptured top handle and produced it using the fashion house’s new Trench leather, paying tribute to the fabric that’s come to define Burberry’s iconic style. Available at the Burberry boutique in the Beirut Souks and at Aïshti by the Sea
The Panther Strikes Again_____ Cartier is taking us back to 1983, when its iconic Panthère de Cartier watch was released. Feminine, elegant and stunning, the watch had been out of production since 2004 but is now making a comeback in a dreamy campaign directed by Oscar-winning writer and director Sofia Coppola. A symbol of the age of decadence, Panthère de Cartier retains its suave and sophisticated elements but with an added more modern edge, and comes in yellow gold, rose gold with diamond bezel and steel. We’d like one of each, please. Available at Cartier in Downtown Beirut
Burberry, Cartier, Chloé, Charlie Gray
The Cat’s Back_____ Tennessee Williams’ classic lust-filled play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has been done many times but never like this. Directed by Benedict Andrews, whose 2014 in-the-round production of Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire was a massive London hit, the Young Vic production this time takes over the West End’s Apollo Theatre. Sienna Miller is Maggie and Jack O’Connell is Brick, her impotent, alcoholic husband. Andrews adds a layer of dark humor to the steamy, below-the-belt sex drama set on a steamy night in Mississippi, and the two stars shine dancing circles around each other with their secrets and lies. Searing and poetic, Williams’ 20th-century masterpiece about a family’s fight for survival is summer’s must-see revival. Until October 7, youngvic.org
Swan Song_____ While we’re saddened by Clare Waight Keller’s departure from Chloé, we knew she wouldn’t leave without well-deserved fanfare. For her final collection, Keller delves into a dream world laced with both femininity and a focus on strong tailoring, something she hadn’t tried before with the French fashion house. Citing “psychedelic optimism” as inspiration, the collection features pleated trousers paired with soft white shirts, dreamy jackets reminiscent of night skies and mindaltering ensembles with short, colorful frills. We can’t wait to see what Chloé has in store for us next season. Available at the Chloé boutique at the Beirut Souks and at Aïshti by the Sea
Cool Comfort_____ Dior’s on-trend sneakers are a big hit among fashionistas who value both style and comfort. For fall/winter 201718, choose the trainer with metallic floral embroidery. Casual and flamboyant all at once, the sneaker explodes with a profusion of flowers and leaves, which are brilliantly embroidered on its black canvas. It’s pure Dior. Available at the Dior boutique in Downtown Beirut
Ring for the Senses_____ Who says jewelry has to be separate from the skin? In case you missed its launch, Cynthia Raffoul’s Second Skin ring collection is a reminder that a woman has multiple layers, and jewelry is the most visible of those; it’s a strong relationship that exists between the designs and the skin they envelop. The collection comes in 18-carat yellow, pink and white gold, as nude or with white diamonds around the rim, and can even be personalized with diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald solitaires with an invisible setting. Says Raffoul: “As a fine jewelry designer I believe that a modern woman deserves a more modern ring.” cynthiaraffoul.com
Touched by the Sun_____ Emporio de Sole, Lebanon’s first tanning salon, just opened its newest branch at ABC Verdun. Located on the LG level, the new space offers six sun showers, including one exclusive collagen sun shower, designed to rejuvenate your skin while you tan. There’s also a seventh machine just for the face. Made in Italy and featuring cutting-edge technology, Emporio del Sole’s sun showers are revolutionary, allowing guests to safely achieve a luscious bronzed look in just 10 minutes and without sweating. It’s proving to be one sexy Beirut summer. emporiodelsole.com
ART 25, Dior, Emporio del Sole, Cynthia Raffoul
in focus 88
New Cultural Visions_____ Next time you’re in Berlin, check out the city’s newest and most exciting cultural initiative, ART 25. Launched earlier this year by art specialist Anna Rosa Thomae (who also founded ART Communication and Brand Consultancy), ART 25 hosts exhibitions, performances, talks, screenings, workshops, lectures and more, all in a cool space located in Berlin’s bourgeoning Schöneberg neighborhood, near Nollendorfplatz. “ART 25 is a cultural initiative for Berlin’s creatives,” says Thomae, “bringing together artists, philosophers, scientists and more to engage in a discourse on a specific topic.” The inaugural event featured artists Kerim Seiler and Björn Dahlem, alongside arts editor Niklas Maak who moderated the talk, and explored how theories of consciousness and space discoveries influence visual culture. annarosathomae.com/art-25/
LEBANON 2 2 5 F o c h S t . , D o w n t o w n B e i r u t , Te l . + 9 6 1 1 9 9 1 1 1 1 E x t . 4 8 0 A Ã¯ s h t i B y t h e S e a , A n t e l i a s , Te l . + 9 6 1 4 4 1 7 7 1 6 E x t . 2 3 4
THROUGH A SENSUAL LENS Photography Warren Singh-Bartlett
Warren Singh-Bartlett’s new book, Getting Lost in Lebanon, began as (and continues to be) a series of Instagram posts that weren’t originally intended for publication. The result is a very personal take on this beautiful country, with a focus on its rich history, beautiful landscapes and lesser-known places. It’s a mixture of fun, facts and photos, the unlikely and the less usual. Part guide, part photo-book, part confessional, the micro-stories and the photos they accompany are the fruit of a year of rambling, mostly in Lebanon’s mountains and the Bekaa Valley, but occasionally along the coast, too. It’s an intimate look at some places even Lebanese people never knew existed.
OBJECTS OF DESIRE
FALL IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, AND THE VERDICT IS IN ON THE SEASONâ€™S TOP PICKS
PHOTOGRAPHY BACHAR SROUR
SHOES SAINT LAURENT____________ WE LOVE A GOOD ANKLE BOOT, AND OUR EYES ARE SET ON SAINT LAURENTâ€™S NIKI LEATHER BOOTS IN BLACK. CHECK OUT THE STRUCTURAL CONE HEEL AND ASYMMETRICAL COLLAR
BAG MIU MIU_____ WE HAVE YET TO TIRE OF VINTAGEINSPIRED ACCESSORIES. MIU MIUâ€™S GOT YOU COVERED WITH ITS QUILTEDVELVET SHOULDER BAG, COMPLETE WITH GOLD HARDWARE AND A BRAIDED STRAP
AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, AÏSHTI DOWNTOWN, AÏSHTI VERDUN
Shoes Stella McCartney____________ Weâ€™re keeping our feet cozy and slipping into these faux-fur slides. They come with a goldtone chain strap â€“ and just in time for the cold
Scarf Gucci____________ One tiger wasn’t enough, so Gucci gave us three roars. This ivory silk scarf carries one of the fashion house’s most important motifs, and we’re keeping it around our necks at all times
SHOES BALENCIAGA________ IF YOUâ€™RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING, DO IT RIGHT. OVER-THE-KNEE BOOTS ARE A HOT CLOSET STAPLE, SO OPT FOR THESE BALENCIAGA POINTED-TOE HIGH BOOTS, AND GET READY TO TURN SOME HEADS
Shoes Dior____________ Florals have been in full sartorial bloom, and the trend isnâ€™t going anywhere. Lead the way with Diorâ€™s zip-up ankle boot in dotted Swiss tulle with yellow and orange wool floral embroidery
p. Paola Naone - ph.Andrea Ferrari
Baxter flagship store Al Arz street, Saifi Beirut Lebanon +961 1 563 111 firstname.lastname@example.org Vivre Dbayeh internal rd & Congress Center bridge inters Antelias +961 4 520 111 email@example.com vivre.com.lb
HAT STELLA MCCARTNEY________ WHO SAYS HATS ARE ONLY FOR LAZY HAIR DAYS? WEâ€™RE LOSING OUR HEADS OVER THIS BEAUTIFUL BURGUNDY TRILBY HAT WITH A SILVER CHAIN TRIM
Bag Gucci____________ Gucci’s Broadway leather mini bag is all the buzz. It’s pink with pearl studs, and the metal bee detail is reminiscent of the house’s ready-towear collection from the 1970s
GLOVES DIOR________ DIOR IS REDEFINING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHIC, MODERN WOMAN, SLEEK GLOVES AND ALL. IT WAS THE COUTURIER HIMSELF WHO SAID, “DAY OR NIGHT, GLOVES WILL ALWAYS PROVIDE YOU WITH A SPLASH OF COLOR.” WE COULDN’T AGREE MORE
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Words Marwan Naaman Photography Tony Elieh
IN THE STUDIO WITH ASSAAD AWAD
BEIRUT’S LEATHER MASTER PLIES HIS TRADE WITH A DASH OF PERVERSION AND A WHOLE LOT OF PASSION When you visit ABC’s new department store in Verdun, you’ll see a spectacular gold and silver phoenix in the second-level store window. The over two-meter-high and three-meter-wide giant accessory, on view in ABC’s men’s department, is the work of Lebanese designer Assaad Awad, who communicated his personal vision of Beirut – as the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes – through this singular work. Over a career that has now spanned eight years, Awad has created
leather accessories for superstars like Lady Gaga and Madonna, as well as for fashion shows including Thierry Mugler’s. Pedro Almodóvar’s favorite actress, Rossy de Palma, is his close friend and muse. “She was in two of my fashion shows,” Awad says. Later this year, in late October, they will meet up in Oslo for the World Music Festival, where De Palma is staging a performance piece and Awad is unveiling a major installation. Awad is perhaps the only designer in Lebanon who has taken
MOST OF AWADâ€™S DESIGNS ARE GENDER NEUTRAL, AND THEY ALL EXUDE A SENSUAL ENERGY
A side bag from the new collection for men and women
A puppy mask
A leather and resin hammer used to beat the leather
Wallets in various colors that I produce because people always need them
This is a paddle for spanking, made with rabbit fur. Itâ€™s bittersweet
A crocodile bag made from the skin on the crocodileâ€™s back
Since I started my company, 50% of my income has come from the sale of whips
A crocodile clutch that looks like a Japanese kimono
Silver jewelry from my collection of accessories My signature belt with a massive silver buckle Rugby bag from the Alpha collection. Made for men but sometimes carried by women
The half moon used to cut leather
My new backpack with no outside pockets so it looks slick. Itâ€™s for laptops
Natural beeswax used for sewing leather
Sleeve for the iPad and MacBook Air. Itâ€™s all one piece of leather with no sewing
leather and given it a sexual, carnal twist. “I think of my work as an urban fetish,” he says. “Everyone has fetishes, like girls with their collections of shoes. It’s not an addiction, it’s a fetish.” His designs include cuffs, belts, wallets and bags, most of them gender neutral, but all exuding a sensual energy – much like the designer himself. 120
The Food Dealer, Mar Mikhael’s funky neighborhood restaurant, serves as the setting for Awad’s studio. After a short closure, the restaurant reopened in October 2016 with a new concept and Awad at the helm. He created the menu and transformed part of the restaurant into his studio. Here, leather bags hang from
to flourish: he taught volumetric and leather design at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED), where he was also a thesis advisor, and in parallel he imagined his leather accessories, which he sold at his online store and to various local and international celebrities. His fans included Spanish celebrity El Hombre de Negro, who required a steady supply of durable leather capes for his daring feats.
At The Food Dealer, visitors can watch Awad plying his trade. This is where he produces two of his signature collections: WonderWood and Cage. The Cage collection, launched in 2015, features a line of bags “inspired by the world of fetishism and specifically the ancient art of bondage.” The bags are made of white leather and then encased in black leather straps – as if they’re trapped in a cage – in a dizzying take on a classic BDSM scenario. “I used vaqueta leather, which is the thickest, and nappa leather, which is the thinnest,” he says. Bags from the WonderWood collection, first unveiled in 2014, are made from leather and chestnut wood sourced from Spain’s Galicia region. Some feature wooden handles for ease of use, and others have wooden sides upon which the leather is hand-stitched. “I work a technique called flat to shape,” says Awad. “It’s not shaped by a hammer but by studying the volume.”
the ceiling, and leather accessories line the shelves. While the primary impression is that the studio is cluttered, you realize that it in fact reflects Awad’s personality: bursting with ideas, constantly changing, brimming with energy and always offering something new. Prior to his foray into accessories design, Awad was creative director for various advertising campaigns in Lebanon. Upon moving to Spain 12 years ago, he decided to shift his line of work and got into leather. Spain’s cultural wealth allowed his creativity
More recently, Awad collaborated with Beirut-based jeweler Khawatem to create Soul Weight, a line of pendants adorned with a cylinder, a diamond screw and a feather at the tip. “They’re inspired by the ancient Egyptians,” says Awad. “The Pharaohs used to think that you couldn’t cross over to the other side unless your heart was as light as a feather.” Each pendant comes with various feathers, allowing the user to change them depending on what he or she is wearing. The pendants, available in diamond and gold or silver and enamel, were launched earlier this year during Beirut Design Week and are sold at Khawatem. Awad also collaborated with various Lebanese banks, such as BLOM and BLF, to create luxurious end-ofyear gifts, including a particularly dazzling leather wallet embossed with the Lebanese lira. Next, Awad will design costumes for the dancers at Beirut’s iconic Skybar. “I started by designing costumes for go-go dancers in Ibiza, so I’m now going back to my original work. I’m also planning to open a company that makes costumes for nightlife, theater and TV. Extraordinary costumes.” Leather has never looked lustier.
The elevator. An urban fact of life, with a touch of suspense.
Words Tala Habbal
YOU SEXY THING
Sex sells, and the fashion industry knows it Fashion and sex have always been heavily intertwined with most – if not all – fashion designers using sex as a major selling point. Print ads, TV commercials and even racy fashion shows have all become par for the course in the competitive world of risqué fashion.
The trend is not a new one. Tom Ford and Calvin Klein have a long history of steaming up their ads to entice and sometimes even enrage consumers. Calvin Klein’s 1980s ad with the stunningly beautiful Brooke Shields brazenly telling the world that nothing came between her and her Calvins caused a media uproar – the steamy clips, which were shot by Richard Avedon, were quickly banned from TV stations in the United States. The brand caught flack again in 1995 for their casting of underage models, including Kate Moss, in an extremely racy ad campaign, which was
later pulled as a result. Tom Ford upped the ante with his boundary-pushing 2003 Gucci ad campaign, shot by Mario Testino, which involved shaving a model’s nether regions with a “G.” And in 2007, Terry Richardson’s ad campaign for Tom Ford’s men’s fragrance, featuring a bottle of the scent in between a woman’s bare chest and bare va-jay-jay, was considered so racy it was banned in Italy.
Marc Jacobs also caused quite a stir for his 2011 Lola campaign, which featured a then 17-year-old, scantily clad Dakota Fanning in an ad that was quickly banned in the United Kingdom for being too “sexually provocative.” Dolce & Gabbana caused an international scandal with an ad campaign that was coined “the gang rape advert,” and which almost all magazines refused to run when it first came out in 2007. The derogatory nickname for the ad continued when it resurfaced online in 2015. Last year, Calvin Klein found itself amid controversy once again for an ad featuring a model photographed from under her dress and another shot featuring a model’s hands inside her panties, leaving little to the imagination.
Most recently, the designers behind New York-based fashion line Eckhaus Latta took the maxim “sex sells” This page: Calvin Klein Opposite page: Tom Ford
No matter how discreet and no matter how much trends change, sex and fashion always seem to go hand in hand
This page: Elie Saab (top left), Valentino (middle left), Alexander McQueen (bottom left) and Balenciaga (below) Opposite page: Alberta Ferretti (top left), Saint Laurent (bottom left), Prada (top right) and Emilio Pucci (bottom right)
Marc Jacobs caused quite a stir for his 2011 Lola perfume ad campaign, which featured a then 17-year-old, scantily clad Dakota Fanning
to an entirely new level, delving into unchartered territory, by photographing models actually having sex, albeit wearing their spring 2017 collection. The racy campaign, which straddled the line between tasteful art and erotic porn, caused their website to crash as soon as the pixelated images were released. Raciness aside, the brand confirmed that the response they received was positive and has reinforced their goal to normalize and not sensationalize sex. The trend of sex has been a constant in the fashion industry season after season. Most recently, the sexual undertones of the fall/winter 2017-18 collections were quite apparent,
if not overtly provocative. A slew of designers disrupted the catwalks with suggestively dressed models and barelythere ensembles, including Elie Saab, Alberta Feretti and Saint Laurent, who had nipples blazing through sheer blouses and below-the-boob necklines. Alexander McQueen and Alexander Wang also played up the braless trend, with both designers showcasing barely-there blouses, dresses and tops that were tastefully revealing yet extremely sexy. Even the menswear looks were more overtly sexual than usual. Dior Homme celebrated the male form with sheer fitted tops that highlighted enough abs and male nipples to have women swooning, and Alexander Wang’s men’s collection featured a preppy button-down shirt with tiny scantily clad women embroidered all over it. Balenciaga also had a “free-the-male-nipple” moment, with models in tight, hip-grazing jeans wearing blazers with nothing underneath. No matter how discreet and no matter how much trends change, sex and fashion always seem to go hand in hand, and this fall season is no exception. So does sex sell? Are sex and fashion always bound to collide? Fashion is and always has been about more than just clothing – it’s also about inspiring a sense of desire in others. Doing so through sexuality may be controversial, yet the majority of the time it works. It disrupts, enrages, attracts and interrupts the status quo – and makes us want to look and feel as sexy as the men and women wearing the sensationally sensual outfits.
Words Tala Habbal
FLUTE OR DARE
The fluted dress is a new favorite on every fashionistaâ€™s lust-list
Dolce & Gabbana
THE FUN, FLIRTY SHAPE WILL CONTINUE TO REIGN SUPREME FOR FALL
Every season a catwalk trend pops up that blurs the line between fashion and function. This fall, the fluted dress is that trend.
Fashion lovers know all too well that trends can sometimes be utterly gorgeous but completely unwearable. This season, the fluted dress has quickly become one of the most wearable and lust-worthy pieces. This particular dress shape is undoubtedly a welcome and fresh change from the looser tulip flare that was oh-so-popular in 2016.
As a slew of designers have demonstrated with their recent fall/winter 2017-18 collections, the versatile silhouette is flattering, demure and refreshingly ladylike. Back in full force this season, the fluted dress falls somewhere between an A-line and princess shape, emphasizing the waist with a full, flouncy hem. The trend appeared with subtle nuances among various designers, with each offering a unique approach to this must-have fall staple. Dolce & Gabbanaâ€™s runway show made waves for its unorthodox use of ordinary, everyday people in place
fluted hem falling right below the knees, was the epitome of old-world glamour. The traditional flute got an update in the form of voluminous embellishments on densely plumed hems.
Known for being a dress man, Lorenzo Serafini showcased a playful and young prom queen-meetssex goddess collection of dresses for his fall/winter Philosophy range. A corseted, body-hugging, strapless ruched dress with girlish velvet bows and a fluted knee-length organza hem translated into the epitome of sexy and fresh. Despite being a hodgepodge of prints, patterns and fabrics, Manish Arora’s fall collection strayed from the Indian designer’s usual flamboyant aesthetic toward a more ladylike vibe with chic bohemian silhouettes. The fluted skirt was reimagined in an ankle-grazing psychedelic black and orange print, accessorized with embroidered boots and a quirky tassel belt.
Rag & Bone Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
of models on the catwalk. Over 140 people showcased a spectacularly bold and whimsical collection, which included a fun and ethereal take on the fluted dress trend. The silhouette worked well with the brand’s signature body-hugging dresses in delicate lace and ruched transparent chiffon, creating a sultry peekaboo effect. Gucci’s bright floral dresses were enchanting and whimsical. Alessandro Michele created long, fanciful fluted dresses in bold floral prints. The fabrics ranged from a sensual mix of silk brocade to delicately embroidered black lace. The highly decorative collection bordered on couture and the fluted dresses were sensational showstoppers. Over at Prada, the fall/winter collection focused on adding volume and density to the fluted dress shape. A fitted red cocktail dress, complete with a dramatic
It was all about understated elegance at Céline, with minimalistic shapes and subdued hues at the forefront of the collection. The fluted silhouetted was reinterpreted in the form of slinky silk fringe dresses and more somber utilitarian button-down dresses. The pieces managed to strike a balance between being sexy and low-key. The fun, flirty shape will continue to reign supreme for fall and pop up in both formal and casual variations, paired with peep toe pumps or ankle boots for night, and of-the-moment mules for day.
The fluted dress’ versatile silhouette is flattering, demure and refreshingly ladylike
Words Warren Singh-Bartlett
A LEGACY OF GEMS For the past 155 years, Lebanese jeweler Tabbah has been creating signature pieces that capture the world’s imagination 132
“I would say ‘Infinite.’ First, because creativity is infinite, it’s only limited by your imagination. Second, craftsmanship is also infinite, because you are always challenging those you create with, and finally because your clients want the pieces you make for them to be timeless, infinite.” The answer feels effortless, but I suspect that it is the result of a great deal of deliberation. As the jewelry that has made the Tabbah family reputation reveals, deliberation informs everything they do. “Sometimes we can spend hours talking about a curve. How can you talk about a curve for hours? Well, it’s about how the light is going to shine on it.
© Gucci, BFA-Matteo Prandoni
It’s telling that my interview with Nagib Tabbah, scion of the Lebanese jewelry dynasty, begins with a discussion of definition. He’s been reading Maurice Saatchi’s concept of “one-word equity,” the idea that in the future, companies will be defined by a single word because people don’t have the time to read anymore. The writer in me rebels. Without words, how is genuine communication possible? But Tabbah’s enthusiasm is contagious, and the idea does have a certain Haiku-esque intrigue. So what, I ask, is the word for the family business? Tabbah smiles.
TABBAH CREATED A WEDDING NECKLACE FOR PRINCESS CHARLENE OF MONACO
If we change the angle, how will that affect it? If we do it slightly polished and satin finished, what then? So you try it out and go back, try and go back. This is how you can talk for hours about a curve, and this is how committed we are to each of our pieces.”
And so at Tabbah’s Karantina atelier, you’ll find cutters, polishers, goldsmiths and setters, every specialty needed to create a piece of jewelry from start to finish. In this respect, the house is unique, for these days, even most high-end jewelers outsource some of their work – usually the final setting of the stones – rather than retain all the necessary in-house specialists.
“Go to one of the places on Place Vendôme and try to make a ring and see what happens,” Tabbah continues. “They put so many conditions, it’s so expensive and they tell you it will take so long to make. They are basically refusing without saying ‘no.’”
The reason is cost, but then Lebanon isn’t exactly a cheap place to do business, so I wonder how sustainable this service could be here? While acknowledging the (rising) cost, Tabbah’s view is more holistic.
“The question is really how much longer we can do it. Even 25 years ago, we questioned how sustainable it could be to operate from Lebanon. It is expensive, but take my team. If I design a curve, they understand it immediately because we’ve spent years working together. Some of them even worked with my father and my grandfather. If I try to have this discussion elsewhere, they won’t have the same understanding.”
But then Tabbah is also one of the few high-end houses that still offer a bespoke service. Clients (Tabbah calls them “friends we make beautiful jewelry for”) can have pieces custom-made, either of their own design or worked up with the house. The service accounts for a fraction of business, although being able to make a wedding necklace for say, Princess Charlene of Monaco, does burnish their credentials. And with the effective demise of high-end bespoke jewelry-making elsewhere, it also brings in clients from all over the world.
“If you give a design to three different craftsmen, a European, an Asian, a Lebanese, each masters, their interpretations will be completely different. The French, for example, are minimalistic. The generosity of the Orient is not there. We give more, but not to the extent that it becomes vulgar. Here, there is this generosity. But there’s a restraint, too. What we make is opulent, but it’s also wearable.”
The bulk of business is in ready-made, whether these are high-end or casual pieces. The Beret ring, for example, is an icon that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Tabbah are jewelers who believe that because every piece serves as their calling card to the world, every piece must be worked to the best of their abilities, and so bespoke, high-end or casual, everything is made by the same craftsmen. “We don’t have a team that does the casual jewelry and another for the high-end. So the Beret ring is made by master craftsmen. I have the same person doing both, the most amazing craftsmanship for a casual ring. This is unique. This is Tabbah.”
In the 155 years that the house of Tabbah has been making jewelry (Joseph Tabbah shifted the family business from wooden printing blocks for the silk industry into jewelry in 1862), tastes have changed radically, even in the world of high jewelry. The glittering designs of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s are no longer fashionable, and most modern women aspire to be stylish rather than glamorous. Changing tastes do not mean that the desire for impeccably made pieces has diminished, but as jewelry has become more accessible, financially and conceptually, the work of the jeweler has also changed. These days, it isn’t enough to make something sumptuous, one also has to weave a story around it.
“Creativity is infinite, it’s only limited by your imagination... clients want the pieces you make for them to be timeless, infinite” This is why the real jewel in the Tabbah crown may be the collective expertise amassed over the course of a century and a half. Listening to him explain some of his pieces, Tabbah almost has me wanting to buy one – and I don’t wear a watch, let alone jewelry.
“First of all,” he says showing me a photo of an exquisitely undulating ring bristling with diamonds, sapphires and a lozenge-sized emerald, “I would ask the client to run her finger along the edge. She’ll notice that it feels
sensual, like a second skin. The piece has to be a pleasure to touch. Then we talk about the colors. What do they say? Does the intensity of the green, for example, match the intensity of the blue? Then we turn it over. It should be even more beautiful on the reverse. If you set stones in a honeycomb, when you turn it over, it’s still a work of art. Finally, I would ask if her heart was beating more quickly. Did the piece touch her? And it’s funny because when she puts it on, that’s it. There’s no way anyone’s going to get it off her again.”
Illustrations Melissa Haddad
LEGENDS OF THE FALL
Alexander McQueen (left) and Calvin Klein (right)
Prada (left) and Miu Miu (right)
POWER VIXEN 140
TAKE YOUR CUE FROM SOME OF THE WORLDâ€™S MOST CONFIDENT AND PROVOCATIVE WOMEN BY CHOOSING OUTFITS THAT EXUDE FEMININITY AND SEXUALITY. SLIP ON THAT DRESS, AND MAKE SURE TO SHOW SOME SKIN IN THE PROCESS: POWER IS THE ULTIMATE APHRODISIAC
DITA VON TEESE 141
4. 7. 1. Alexander McQueen 2. Anya Hindmarch 3. Self-Portrait 4. Casadei 5. Jimmy Choo 6. RED Valentino 7. Proenza Schouler 8. Saint Laurent 9. Miu Miu 10. Dolce & Gabbana 11. ChloÃ© 12. Stella McCartney 13. Balenciaga 14. Saint Laurent 15. Etro 16. Oscar de la Renta 17. Gianvito Rossi 18. Gucci
8. 5. 1. Ellery 2. Gucci 3. Agent Provocateur 4. & 5. Marc Jacobs 6. Chloé 7. Stella McCartney 8. Etro 9. Miu Miu 10. Gucci 11. Alice + Olivia 12. Miu Miu 13. Gucci 14. Moschino 15. Chloé 16. & 17. Oscar de la Renta 18. Saint Laurent
AÏSHTI Aïshti by the Sea Antelias, Level 3, Tel. 04 717716 ext. 133 firstname.lastname@example.org
ADDA SECTIONAL SOFA
GRACE JONES 144
1. Valentino 2. Chloé 3. Gianvito Rossi 4. Balenciaga 5. Azzedine Alaïa 6. Kendall + Kylie 7. Marni 8. Saint Laurent 9. Gucci 10. Balenciaga 11. Burberry 12. Chloé 13. Gucci 14. Marni 15. Alexander Wang 16. Stella McCartney 17. Loewe 18. Saint Laurent
Aïshti Downtown Beirut, Aïshti By the Sea Antelias, Aïshti Verdun
MONICA BELLUCCI 5. 12.
9. 17. 6.
1. Prada 2. Oscar de la Renta 3. Alexander McQueen 4. Saint Laurent 5. Bottega Veneta 6. Alexander McQueen 7. Jimmy Choo 8. Prada 9. Casadei 10. Saint Laurent 11. Dior 12. Oscar de la Renta 13. Alexander McQueen 14. & 15. Dolce & Gabbana 16. Dior 17. Etro 18. Self-Portrait
LEBANON BEIRUT SOUKS +961 1 991 111 EXT 595
WATCH THE FILM AT JIMMYCHOO.COM
ROOFTOP ROCKET PARTY
Glamour above the city Photography Tony Elieh
This page, clockwise from left: Gucci shoes, Saint Laurent sweater and Monse skirt, CĂŠline shoes Opposite page: RED Valentino jacket
Top: Balenciaga shirt and Chloé sweater Above: Fendi bag (left), RED Valentino jacket and Chloé slippers (right)
Top: Saint Laurent dress (left) and Diane von Furstenberg dress (right) Below: Roberto Cavalli shirt, ChloĂŠ sweater, RED Valentino skirt and Jimmy Choo shoes
Clockwise from left: Monse shirt, Sonia Rykiel bracelets, Gianvito Rossi shoes, Saint Laurent sweater with Monse skirt and CĂŠline shoes, Saint Laurent earrings
Gucci shirt and Monse blouse
Clockwise from left: Dior scarf and Asilio jeans, Gucci scarf, Jimmy Choo shoes
Caramel Calf and Multitone Needlepunch Barcelona Bag, 2017
loewe.com Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias
Monse shirt and Balenciaga bag
Aïshti, Downtown Beirut 01.99 11 11
Aïshti by the Sea, Antelias 04. 71 77 16
Left: RED Valentino jacket and Gucci sunglasses Above: Valentino cape and Prada bag Below: Saint Laurent earrings
Top: Valentino cape Above: Saint Laurent dress and Marc Jacobs sneakers (left), Diane von Furstenberg dress and Dior boots (right) Left: Fendi bag
This page: Jimmy Choo heels and Chloé slippers Opposite page: Dior bag, Balenciaga shirt, Chloé sweater and Gucci leggings
Top: Prada bag (left), RED Valentino cropped sweater and Alexander McQueen dress (right) Above: Asilio jeans, Jimmy Choo shoes, Dior tie
Top: Gucci shirt and Monse blouse (left), Oscar de la Renta earrings (right) Above: Gucci scarf
CALLING APHRODITE PHOTOGRAPHY PETROVSKY & RAMONE AT MARGIX STYLING MAAIKE STAAL AT HOUSE OF ORANGE SHOT ON LOCATION IN AMSTERDAM
This page: Anna wears a Gucci cape Opposite page: Elisabeth is in a Gucci dress and earrings
Anna wears a Monse dress
Miu Miu necklace
This page: Anna wears a Gucci dress and holds a Gucci earring Opposite page: Valentino bag
This page: Elisabeth is in a Balenciaga blouse and Emilio Pucci pants Opposite page: Anna wears a Valentino cape
This page: Oscar de la Renta earrings Opposite page: Elisabeth is in a Prada skirt and Gianvito Rossi shoes
This page: CĂŠline shoes Opposite page: Anna is in a For Restless Sleepers pajama dress and AurĂŠlie Bidermann earrings
Anna is in a CĂŠline trench coat and AurĂŠlie Bidermann earrings
Elisabeth wears a Kenzo jacket
Elisabeth wears a Prada skirt (left) and Anna wears a Valentino dress (right)
Elisabeth wears an Etro jacket
This page: Elisabeth is in For Restless Sleepers pajama pants (left) and Anna wears a For Restless Sleepers pajama dress (right) Opposite page: Gucci ring and earring
This page: Prada bag Opposite page: Anxna wears a Prada jacket and shoes
Elisabeth wears an Emilio Pucci hat and pants
Anna wears an Emilio Pucci hat
Elisabeth is in a Balenciaga blouse
Elisabeth wears a Kenzo jacket
Anna wears a Gucci cape
Necklace by AurĂŠlie Bidermann
This page: AurĂŠlie Bidermann earring Opposite page: Anna is in a Monse dress
This page: Gucci dress and ring Opposite page: Anna wears a Gucci dress
Models: Elisabeth and Anna at Paparazzi Models Makeup: Suzanne Verberk at NCL Representation Hair: Daan Kneppers at NCL Representation
Queen of the Night PHOTOGRAPHY PATRICIA RUIZ DEL PORTAL STYLING ESPERANZA DE LA FUENTE SHOT ON LOCATION IN LONDON
Sheâ€™s in a Balenciaga total look
Sheâ€™s wearing an Ellery dress
Sheâ€™s in a Saint Laurent dress
She’s in a Céline total look
Sheâ€™s in a Prada dress, the stylistâ€™s own tights and Gianvito Rossi heels
Sheâ€™s in a Balenciaga total look
She wears a Diane von Furstenberg dress and Balenciaga boots
Sheâ€™s in a Saint Laurent dress and boots
She wears a Stella McCartney coat and Gianvito Rossi heels
Sheâ€™s in a Prada dress, the stylistâ€™s own tights and Gianvito Rossi heels
Sheâ€™s wearing an Ellery dress and Saint Laurent boots
She’s in the stylist’s own tights and Gianvito Rossi heels
Model: Shawna at Premier Models Makeup: Samanta FalconeÂ Hair: Antonio de Luca
BEIRUT SOUKS, SOUK EL TAWILEH T. 01 99 11 11 EXT: 560 AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, ANTELIAS T. 04 71 77 16 EXT. 263 BEIRUT CITY CENTER, HAZMIEH, LEVEL 1 T. 01 287 187 ALSO AVAILABLE AT ALL AÏZONE STORES IN BEIRUT, DUBAI, AMMAN
A BAG COLLABORATION WITH EMILY RATAJKOWSKI
THE EMILY BY
PA R I S 148 SAAD ZAGHLOUL STREET, DOWNTOWN BEIRUT / AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, ANTELIAS
Words Tala Habbal
THE COMEBACK KIDS
New creative directors and fresh marketing strategies spark a renaissance among fashion brands
This page and opposite page: Kenzo
Staying relevant in the cutthroat fashion industry requires constant innovation and evolution. This is what brands as varied as Kenzo, Calvin Klein, Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger have discovered over the past few years, as they’ve enjoyed spectacular fashion comebacks while recapturing past glory. Just as they were a couple of decades ago, these iconic brands are global trendsetters once again.
Kenzo’s remarkable turnaround can be credited to Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, founders of hip Soho boutique Opening Ceremony, who both joined the brand in 2011 as creative directors. The American duo infused the once-popular French label with a much-needed dose of urban cool. The brand, which had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, went off track after founder Kenzō Takada left the label in the 1990s. Leon and Lim worked their design magic on the brand, reviving it to
This page and opposite page: Gucci
its former glory. Their strategy involved staying true to the Kenzo spirit, while making the brand more appealing and accessible to a younger audience through clever marketing campaigns and collaborations with the likes of Delfina Delettrez. The brandâ€™s once luxury price point has been lowered to attract a younger demographic, and Kenzo now sits alongside contemporary French labels like APC and Isabel Marant. Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Gucci, was the brains behind the meteoric turnaround of the Italian fashion house in early 2016. With the help of new creative director Alessandro Michele, who took the helm in late 2015, the luxury Italian label became the â€œitâ€? brand of the season. Michele elevated Gucci to its iconic Tom Ford days by creating fresh designs that targeted a young and oftentimes fickle fashion generation. The brand has quickly gained traction among models, socialites and celebrities alike, as pieces like the Princetown fur-lined leather shoes, Ace sneakers and GG Marmont and Dionysus bags (all created by Michele) continue to be constant sell-out pieces. Last year, Michele enlisted famed New York graffiti artist Trouble Andrew, aka the GucciGhost, to create a buzzworthy collection that has been instrumental in helping create long-term brand desire.
ALESSANDRO MICHELE ELEVATED GUCCI TO ITS ICONIC TOM FORD DAYS BY CREATING FRESH DESIGNS THAT TARGETED A YOUNGER GENERATION
This page and opposite page: Gucci
Calvin Klein reached out to a younger demographic by enlisting stars like Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, Fetty Wap and FKA Twigs
This page and opposite page: Calvin Klein
Raf Simons, formerly with Dior, was appointed chief creative officer of Calvin Klein in 2016, and the brand has been on an upward trajectory ever since. The American label staged a clever comeback by tapping model-of-the-moment Kendall Jenner to be the new face of Calvin Klein and continued to reach out to a younger, trendier demographic by enlisting stars like Justin Bieber, Fetty Wap and FKA Twigs to star alongside Jenner in the brandâ€™s spring 2016 racy underwear campaign. The label also recruited Lottie Moss, 19-year-old half-sister of the face that became synonymous with Calvin Klein over 20 years ago, to head a fresh new campaign. Kate Mossâ€™ younger sister followed in her model sisterâ€™s footsteps by becoming the face of the new Calvin Klein collab with online store mytheresa.com last year. The fashion reboot madness has brought old brands back into the limelight and given these cult labels a much-deserved second chance.
Words Stephanie d’Arc Taylor
IN CONVERSATION WITH REBECCA ZAATAR What’s a sexy outfit? It depends on who’s wearing it – and who’s looking. Some clothes are made to accentuate the body’s obvious erogenous zones: think Blond Ambitionera Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier’s cone bra bustier, or the platform stilettos strippers wear on stage. On the other hand, some women are sexy regardless of what they wear; this of course is largely down to personal preference. A woman’s looks can make her sexy, or her attitude, or her laugh. Or her sense of style. Rebecca Zaatar’s clothes are designed for a woman who trusts her personality to communicate her sex appeal, but who has also taken out an insurance policy to be sure. When I meet the designer in her light-filled atelier just off Monnot Street in Beirut, she’s striking in loose trousers and a long sleeveless blouse in black crepe, cut in a V-shape in the front to expose, just, her navel over the top of her trousers. She looks sexy, but she’s not banging you over the head with it.
Zaatar’s name means thyme in Arabic, and her line – Thym – is also named for the herb. Zaatar launched Thym last summer out of her apartment on Rue du Liban, and the label has since evolved to reflect her personal taste. “The first collection was the hardest,” says the designer. “You do what you want, but you also try to please.” She grabs a hardcover lookbook from the coffee table, amid Thym branded chocolates and buttons, and turns immediately to a few outfits. “These are the pieces I thought people would want, and no one bought them!” she says with a laugh. “The pieces that I actually wanted are the ones that people liked. Now I’m more confident to do exactly what I like.”
Zaatar’s clothes, whether in rich jewel tones or dusty muted colors, reflect her own sense of sex appeal. “The sexiest part of a woman is the neck and the shoulders and the sides, not the boobs and the ass,” says Zaatar. “I like high collars and chokers to emphasize the neck,” she continues, “and I don’t like to show too much skin. Some should be left to the imagination.” A mix of silhouettes is also sexy, says the designer. “If a garment is open at the top, I like to have it closed at the bottom, a teaser.” To hear her tell it, her approach to sex appeal has changed
Bachar Srour, Thym
The Lebanese fashion designer infuses her own style into her line of sexy, ethereal clothing
the perspective of more than a few women who have stopped by the atelier looking for a party dress (gowns run from $800 to $1,500; separates start at $300). “They come in looking for a deep V-neck,” Zaatar says, “but when they put on my signature piece” – a long dress in layers of tulle and silk with shoulder straps and a halter top that ties around the neck – “they get it. It’s the classic piece that started it all.” “I feel inspiration from nature in all my clothes,” says the designer. “There is a fluidity with the natural world [in the way I approach my work].” The influence is clearly apparent. Her more extravagant garments feature bodices festooned with feathers and embellished silk leaves and flowers. Prints are inspired by the natural world, whether red and white feathers or a blue that evokes the sea. Her studio is papered in huge panels of a blue and purple hydrangea print, and the Thym social media channels feature images of flowers, the beach and sea, and rock formations alongside the clothes.
It’s a relationship that makes sense. These are garden party clothes, meant to float about with the wind, maybe revealing a flash of skin. Like the herb she and her line are named after, Zaatar’s clothes give off a scent of possibility.
“THE SEXIEST PART OF A WOMAN IS THE NECK”
Words Ramsay Short Illustration Andrea Chaanine
So what’s the sexual state of the nation? Here’s our take on love and lust in Beirut Beirut and Beirutis have never been more sexually open, more in lust with each other, than they are in 2017. From secret affairs to online hook-ups to swingers parties, across social and religious divides, across genders and ages, mostly in secret and sometimes not… it’s all going on. In part, this is due to the march of technology – smartphones, social media apps, encrypted messaging and, of course, the Internet, have all made secret hookups and not-so-secret hook-ups increasingly possible. But it’s also because Beirutis are growing more laid-back, our sexual preferences similarly relaxed. Sex for the sake of sex is ok. Perhaps it’s always been this way – during times of war (as nearly all of us have experienced) – lust is overpowering, the old Lebanese truth being if we may die tomorrow, we might as well live and shag (as Austin Powers would say) today. Perhaps it’s because more of us are traveling far and wide and are enjoying the increased open-mindedness and freedom that comes with that. Perhaps it’s because of access to numerous western-made TV shows so popular today that feature plentiful nudity and lovemaking between same-sex couples and more than one partner – Netflix shows like Orange is the New Black set in a women’s prison and You Me Her about a yuppie couple who hire an escort to spice up their sex life. It’s probably a mixture of all of the above, coupled with the pressures of living in a traditional society.
On an external level, this openness is visible in the work of numerous Lebanese photographers and artists, fashion designers, musicians and writers. Just look at the nudes of artist Joe Kesrouani (featured on page 262 in this issue of A Mag), whose models are people you probably know and who are more than happy to strip off in the name of art. Lust is out there and everywhere. It’s visible in what people wear and how they carry themselves. Countless creative people are, while they don’t shout about it, openly LGBT. And no one, in general, minds. Getting it on in every permutation – boy with boy, girl with girl, threesomes, BDSM, group gatherings, partner swapping even (privately and openly) – is today par for the course. The stories I’ve gathered from speaking to many people in the course of researching this article – stories which for the purposes of confidentiality and in some cases explicitness, I cannot repeat here – point to one simple conclusion: Beirutis comprise one of the most sexually forward urban
populations in the world. We want electricity, we want tremors, we want to gasp in surprise and we want easy familiarity, not some childish attempt at sex from people too drunk to pay proper attention.
One friend described the sensation of a spontaneous group gathering at a private house like so: “You know the feeling of being underwater? The weightlessness. The floating. That sensation where every movement is slowed and meditative. Breath is held tight in your lungs and every inch of your skin seems to sit in the softness of water. Eventually, you come up to breathe. Your head crowns the surface and with a single inhale, the air penetrates your lungs bringing you back to reality. This is the best way I can describe it. It’s mind-blowing.”
Ten years ago, discretion was the operative word, and a site called adultfriendfinder.com, which guaranteed anonymity, was the go-to hook-up service. Eleven years later Tinder and Grindr are the apps everyone’s using, Grindr if you’re gay or bi, and Tinder if you’re straight. Tinder is linked to Facebook, so it’s arguably slightly less discreet. Point is, the revolutions in our heads have happened, and revelations in bed are what we’re seeking. Many couples, both gay and straight, openly seek out threesomes using these apps. Like the storyline in You Me Her, when asked why, most argue it’s to keep the sexual tension alive in their relationships, an urge to probe the sinister side of love, lust and infatuation, and their deepest and darkest desires. It’s intimate, a little unsettling maybe, but it’s happening. Friends will often trade partners among their peer groups. It’s not abnormal for a group of mates to have all slept with each other, at one time or another – and continue to do so. For one musician pal of mine it’s practically a mission. “I can feel the heat, the thrill of the chase, and these instincts take over, the wild power of succumbing to the desires of our bodies, the intermingling relationship of pain and pleasure,” he explains. “Often I also have partners half my age, and they are even more adventurous.” Tastes vary, but what’s clear is that lust and (free) love in all forms are everywhere in this city. And truth be told that’s a beautiful thing. Long may it continue.
WE WANT ELECTRICITY, WE WANT TREMORS, WE WANT TO GASP IN SURPRISE AND WE WANT EASY FAMILIARITY
Words Ramsay Short
MODERN BROMANCE Today’s male friendships are not all fist-bumps and casual chitchat. Believe it or not, they’re as close as female ones
Ady and I had been up late partying in Nice in the south of France. It was summer; we were 18 and travelling around Europe after leaving school, seeking girls and hedonism. And we were rushing with the freedom of it all. There’d been a few arguments, over money and the urges to see different things, but we stayed solid, ironing out our arguments over cheap bottles of red wine and cigarettes. That particular night, we had nowhere to sleep so we took our backpacks and camped out on the sand, stars above, waves lapping the shore. And we talked. And talked. About our families, what we wanted our futures to look like, what we felt insecure about. And then for the heck of it, we stripped naked and went skinny-dipping in the Med. And at that point we didn’t give a shit about waving our bits about in front of each other, or getting caught by the beach police. We were connected. We’re still close 20 years later. There’s a type of male bond the word “friendship” fails to properly encompass. It’s more homoplatonic than homoerotic, a space where men are able to grow as close to one another as women and can talk about their feelings. I’m not talking in the comic buddy movie type of way, or in the teammates-in-sport type of way. It’s deeper than that. And it’s not something most of us men feel comfortable expressing. But I think that’s changing.
This bond manifests itself at the most intense moments of our lives, high and low. It happened to me during the 2006 war in Lebanon. I was working as a reporter for a London newspaper, everyone had fled the city while the bombs rained down and another correspondent I knew was crashing at my place. Zeid. We would chase the story at all hours, drink copious amounts of vodka, and every time we separated to follow up a bomb attack, we’d embrace and tell each other “I love you man.” And it wasn’t just because there was the distinct possibility that something fatal might happen and we’d not see each other again. We meant it. Born out of our shared experience and understanding. I don’t know how it would have affected me if something had happened to Zeid. But I proffer, cruel though it may sound, that it would have hurt me a lot more than if something happened to the girl I was half-dating at the time. He’s not the only male friend I love. There’s more than a few boys I grew up with from the age of three and still know, but I really only miss one of them if we don’t cross paths. When we do see each other, it just takes a single look in the eyes to know how we are feeling, if something’s up, and then we get down to discussing it all. We never talk about football in the kind of surface camaraderie so easy between men down the pub – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I love my friend Jake who literally bear hugged me and didn’t’ let me go during a bad time at university. And I love my friend Angus for his sheer infectious joy when we go crate digging together and find a funk or salsa record we didn’t know, and play it that first time on the turntable. As the drum break plays or the guitar riff tweaks, we nod our heads, and his smile is one so pure and happy and beautiful my heart soars. I long for those moments as much as I long for my lover’s kiss.
Words Marwan Naaman
AN ITALIAN IN BEIRUT
The 20/30 residential development in Beirutâ€™s Ashrafieh neighborhood
Marcello Lo Mauro has left his architectural imprint across Lebanon
Marcello Lo Mauro considers Lebanon to be his second homeland. The Italian architect, who designed a number of buildings and various interiors across the country, has been coming to Lebanon for over 20 years, and over the past two decades his love for the Mediterranean nation has continued to grow. “It was 1996 when I visited Lebanon for the first time,” says Lo Mauro. “At that time the wounds of war were still evident, but there was a positive mood in the people, and I was convinced that things would only get better.” Although some Lebanese may not immediately recognize the architect’s name, they’re probably quite familiar with his work, including his most recent project: the 20/30 residential towers in Ashrafieh, developed in collaboration with Jamil Saab & Co. “When I was initially asked to undertake this design job,” says Lo Mauro, “I was quite reluctant and scared. Reluctant because the high tower typology wasn’t one of my preferred, and scared because I’d never tackled an architectural theme like this one.” But after careful consideration, he decided to take the job and infuse it with his own ethos. “I decided to take the risk and start designing this piece of architecture, with the principal aim to combine a prominent ecological vision with a strict and disciplined architectural elegance, while trying to insert the new buildings in an organic way inside the existing fabric of the city.” One of 20/30’s most unique features is indeed its ecological friendliness. “20/30’s south faҫade is equipped with a photovoltaic surface that can produce more than 200kw of electrical power, and the walls of the buildings have been insulated in a way that’s not usual for Beirut, allowing great savings for energy consumption,” says Lo Mauro.
The 20/30 residential project is actually composed of two towers, one of which has 33 floors and the other 22 floors. “Each floor holds just one apartment, 600 square meters for tower A (the higher one), and 450 square meters for tower B,” says Lo Mauro. “On top of each tower, there are two luxurious penthouses, a five-story one on top of tower A and a three-story one above tower B.”
In terms of specifications, 20/30 benefits from state-ofthe-art technology in each and every single one of its features. “Zinc, granite, stainless steel and aluminum are the prevailing materials for the exterior,” says Lo Mauro. “The zinc façades and the aluminum in back were installed with a dry assembling technology, meaning that the fixing systems are only mechanical – no glue or silicone or other chemical adhesives were used. All the façade cladding can be dismantled and entirely recycled and/or easily replaced. And all apartments are equipped with the most advanced VRV heat pumps, which produce heat during winter and are cooling during summer, with minimum energy consumption.” As he reflects on 20/30, now that the project has been completed, Lo Mauro states that he’s quite pleased with the final result. “I’m happy about the project’s spatial relation with Furn el Hayek Street, and with the marvelous garden designed by Vladimir Djurovic, which filters perfectly the path from the street gate to the real entrance of the building,” he says. “I love the shadowed and fresh atmosphere of the ground-floor entrance. I wanted to replicate what you feel upon entering an ancient temple, and the real result is that one. I like the contrast between the dark skin of the buildings and the sky during the day, as I like the nocturnal effect of the soft balcony lights during the night.” While 20/30 is one of Lo Mauro’s most recent works, the architect has long been creating distinctive buildings and interiors. In his native Italy, he singles
out three projects in the Bologna region that he holds closest to his heart, including a wooden bridge on the Lavino river, built in 1992, and a spectacularly refurbished, futuristic-looking rooftop space (which he calls an “attic”). The third project, and one that still gets him emotional, is Monte Sole Historical Park, carried out between 2002 and 2008. “Two small villages in the hills of Bologna were almost razed to the ground by Nazi retaliation during World War II,” he says. “The task was very demanding: after 60 years of complete burial, we had to dig up what happened there and try to save the ruins of those bombings to create an open-air monument for the memory of the victims.”
In Lebanon, prior to 20/30, Lo Mauro designed various Aïshti stores, including the Downtown Beirut flagship and Aïshti Home Collection in Antelias. He also designed the Holiday Inn Dunes hotel in Verdun, various Fransabank branches, including the main agency, plus villas in Faqra and apartments in Beirut. 232
“As I’ve said before, in Lebanon I feel at home. I’ve always found really collaborative people who helped me integrate my way of working. My only regret concerns the language: during all these years, I learned just a few Arabic words.” Looking back on a lifetime as an architect, Lo Mauro, now 59, says that he chose this line of work because of the grandfather he never knew. “He was a stone cutter
“MY PRINCIPAL AIM WAS TO COMBINE A PROMINENT ECOLOGICAL VISION WITH ARCHITECTURAL ELEGANCE”
This page: Details from 20/30 residential towers in Ashrafieh Opposite page: The view from a 20/30 home
“I LIKE THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE DAR K SKIN AND THE SKY”
Monte Sole Historic Park in Bologna, Italy
Tilal Faqra in Mount Lebanon
and builder, and I was really fascinated by the house he designed and built, the one where my grandmother lived and where I spent part of my childhood. That house was beautiful and mysterious, big and full of many rooms, with a beautiful open staircase in the middle.” His grandparents’ house was instrumental in his choice of profession. “I understood early on that any kind of building activity is based first on a thought and then on design. This made me a sort of precocious architect, meaning that I decided to become an architect at the age of 10.” With 20/30, his most ambitious project to date, Lo Mauro used his four decades of architectural knowhow, his blend of Italian and Lebanese expertise and his great passion for construction to create Beirut’s most elegant new landmark. A fitting statement from a quietly passionate man.
A refurbished “attic” in Bologna’s historic city center
Words Marwan Naaman
ON THE ROAD, THEN AND NOW
THE GRIPPING WORKS OF LATE AMERICAN ARTIST BERENICE ABBOTT SERVE AS INSPIRATION FOR A NEW GENERATION OF INSTAGRAM PHOTOGRAPHERS
Berenice Abbott, Syracuse University Art Collection
This page: “50th Street in Manhattan,” 2017, by Toby Baldinger, @tobyb_nyc Opposite page: Berenice Abbott’s 1954 photographs: “Row of Houses, Waycross, Georgia” (top left), “Store Corner, Key West, Florida” (bottom left), “Roadsign, Route 1, Maine” (top right) and “Beach Photographer with Ferdinand the Bull, Daytona Beach, Florida” (bottom right)
In 1954, photographer Berenice Abbott chronicled her road trip along the American East Coast with no-frills but distinctively evocative pictures. Up until then, Abbott was best-known for her portraits of 20thcentury cultural figures, as well as her shots of New York City architecture. The road trip images, all shot in black and white, presented a different aspect of her work, reflecting the regional diversity of the Eastern seaboard, as Abbott captured activities like peach packing, dancing and alligator wrestling, as well as people like potato and tobacco farmers. The Wolfsonian-FIU museum in Miami Beach is celebrating Abbott’s 1954 photographs with “North and South: Berenice Abbott’s US Route 1,” an exhibit
that highlights 50 images selected from Abbott’s road trip series. What sets this show apart is that it’s held in conjunction with “The Long Road to Now,” a second exhibit that displays, for the first time ever, contemporary works inspired by Abbott’s iconic images. Co-curated by the Wolfsonian-FIU and Instagram forum #JJ Community, “The Long Road to Now” features the work of 15 Instagrammers, who were able to successfully merge art with a documentarian impulse. Social media followers were asked to submit images centered around three themes that pervaded Abbott’s 1954 works: “Road Trip,” “Signage” and “Classic.” The 15 winning shots – selected from over 7,000 submissions from places as varied
THE NEW INSTAGRAM IMAGES EXUDE AN INFECTIOUS ENERGY 240
This page: “El Cabanyal,” 2017, by Svetlana Shvindt, @svetameek Opposite page: “Special Seat,” 2014, by Kazuhiro Minowa, @rambler7s (top) and “Brochette,” 2013, by Julie Voisin, @julneighbour (bottom)
â€œVisual storytelling has become democratized through smartphones and new digital toolsâ€?
This page: “Portrait of the American Southwest,” 2016, by Chris Haverstick, @ch808_shoots (above) and “The Wild Horde,” 2000, by Mathieu Simonet, @matsimonet (below) Opposite page: “Play Misty for Me,” 2009, by Frank Orrico, @franko68
as Lisbon, Paris, Yekaterinburg, Milan, Chicago and New York – best reinvented Abbott’s stylistic lens, by bringing her legacy into the 21st century with a high dose of adventurous exploration. On show at the Wolfsonian-FIU, these winning images range from nighttime car window snapshots, mirror reflections and views of famed landmarks to candid shots and majestic landscapes. “Visual storytelling has become democratized through smartphones and new digital tools,” says #JJ Community CEO Kevin Kuster. “Because of this, we’re now experiencing a renaissance in photography and witnessing an incredible standard of quality in our images unlike ever before.” David Prince, the associate director and curator of collections at SUArt Galleries who curated “North and South,” believes that Abbott’s road trip series were of particular significance. “I think almost more than any other work she did,” he says, “this (Route 1) really got to the heart of what she was interested in illustrating, which was the sense of a changing landscape through
photographs that were truly objective in their presentation.”
While Abbott’s images provide an unsentimental look at a rapidly changing mid-century America, the new Instagram images accomplish the same mission for the new century, but this time with an infectious, youthful energy, and using the uncharted power of social media. “North and South: Berenice Abbott’s US Route 1” and “The Long Road to Now: Digital Photos Inspired by Berenice Abbott’s Road Trip” are on view until October 8 at the Wolfsonian-FIU in Miami Beach.
Words Marwan Naaman
Hotel Montalembertâ€™s recent redesign blends the propertyâ€™s noble Parisian past with contemporary glamour
A HOTEL FOR THE AGES
Hotel Montalembert radiates romance. Set on Paris’ Left Bank, in historic Saint-Germaindes-Prés, the intimate property has been a city landmark since it was first built in 1926. Back then and up until the 1960s, the hotel was at the center of Paris’ intellectual and artistic scenes, when the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Jacques Prévert and Serge Gainsbourg were mainstays of St. Germain. While the neighborhood has undergone many changes over the years, and is now filled with art, fashion and design stores, the hotel has retained its elegant, romantic aura, and it continues to attract artists, fashionistas, great thinkers and some of France’s top politicians. Much of the credit for the hotel’s continuing popularity goes to owner Anne Jousse, who decided to refresh the place in honor of its 90th anniversary. “This hotel is ingrained in its neighborhood,” she says. “It is the hotel of writers and artists. So we wanted to preserve this spirit, particularly for the restaurant, whose customers are primarily local regulars.” Jousse first asked architect and interior designer Pascal Allaman to renovate the restaurant and then extended his mission to include the entire hotel. “The Hotel Montalembert is a spiritual place,” says Allaman. “Due to its location and its style, it has always been [visited] by a mix of politicians, writers, publishers and artists, the loyal clientele of the restaurant, but also the hotel guests… The challenge that I faced was to keep this atmosphere, to register within this continuity. I was required to write a new chapter in an already rich history.” To that end, Allaman decided to infuse modernity into the noble building, while preserving its historic feel.
Hotel Montalembert houses 40 guest rooms and 10 suites. “For the rooms, the idea was to give a little more warmth,” says Allaman, “to ensure that the customer has the impression that they are staying in the guest bedroom of a Parisian apartment.” Allaman doused the rooms in shades of orange and yellow, a nod to Haussmann style but with a contemporary edge. He also designed the chairs, desks and armchairs, arranging them in an eccentric
manner across the space, and he placed the flat-screen TVs inside boxed frames in gold patina, as you would a work of art.
The bathrooms are dramatic and expansive, featuring Bisazza mosaics in gray, taupe and gold, white-veined Carrara marble and beveled mirrors. The feeling is that of a plush lounge, encouraging extended baths and increased mirror time. In Suite 51, the bathroom is set between the bedroom and living area, and directly across the window, with the bathtub overlooking Rue du Bac. The unusual setup feels both intimate and luxurious, giving this particular suite the feeling of an exclusive Parisian piedà-terre, where you can bathe while you people-watch.
For the ground-floor restaurant, which also offers a street-front terrace to enjoy Paris’ sunny days, Allaman infused the same ethos as he did for the rooms and suites, using white Carrara marble for the bar, rosewood paneling and dark hardwood floors. As it did in past decades, the restaurant still has a cozy, discreet and elegant feel, serving as the preferred lunch spot for the neighborhood’s literary figures and antique dealers. There’s even a room in back – favored by local politicians – that can be closed off for additional privacy. While Allaman envisioned much of Hotel
“THIS HOTEL IS INGRAINED IN ITS NEIGHBORHOOD. IT IS THE HOTEL OF WRITERS AND ARTISTS” Montalembert’s redesign, the lobby and carpeting were entrusted to interior architect Géraldine Prieur. “Fashion is a major influence for our projects,” she says. “We chose a picture by Yves Saint Laurent, which has been our reference in terms of contrasts, colors and composition.” Prieur created an eclectic yet harmonious space that includes a velvet bench seat tailored with a loop, brass light fittings with rafia nude lampshades and, what is perhaps the most striking piece in the lobby, a walnut and lacquer bookcase that combines both mid-century and contemporary design touches. “Each piece of furniture has a real presence in this lobby and does not leave one indifferent,” says Prieur.
In keeping with its five-star status, Hotel Montalembert offers free high-speed WiFi as well as other amenities, including an airplay system that allows you to stream music from your iPhone, a mini bar, bespoke bath products and 24-hour room service.
Then there are the wonders of Paris, a few minutes’ walk from the hotel: luxurious department store Le Bon Marché, iconic cafés such as Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore and plenty of restaurants and art galleries. You can even stroll to the house on Rue de Verneuil where Gainsbourg once lived – now covered in Technicolor street art – and imagine what St. Germain must have been like during the blissful 1960s. hotelmontalembert-paris.com
Words Grace Banks
EVERY SHADE OF THE RAINBOW Interior designer India Mahdavi wants color to replace minimalism
Calypso Mahieu, Paolo Roversi, Trevor Tondro, Rob Whitrow
“MY WORK IS ABOUT BRINGING JOY. I USE COLOR TO BRING LIGHT AND SUNSHINE”
Two years and nine months before New York Magazine published their article on millennial pink, the color that “refuses to go away” according to the publication, Tehran-born, Paris-based India Mahdavi had predicted the trend with her dusty pink-on-pink interior design for Sketch London’s Gallery restaurant. The grand hall in the center of Sketch’s historic townhouse location was transformed by Mahdavi’s vision of a Marie Antoinette-style tea room furnished with shrimpcolored boudoir chairs, a rose gold bar and Pantone 13-1520 pink walls. “Pink is my lucky color,” Mahdavi says. “I used it for The Gallery at Sketch in London in 2014, and I believe it has become very popular since. Pink is a glowing color. It enlightens people, life and places.” Her pink-hued vision of Sketch’s Gallery restaurant was a jolt to the minimal-obsessed contemporary interiors scene, but for Mahdavi, it was just another day in the office. When I ask if she’s pleased to have been the first to identify pink as a trend, she’s not overly excited: “I used pink at Sketch in a very radical and masculine way. It was a kind of manifesto… When I saw the space and David Shrigley’s drawings, I said ‘the space shall be pink.’ The owner Mourad Mazouz told me ‘I don’t like pink. But I trust you so go ahead.’” The restaurant is now the most Instagrammed in the world and won the Restaurant and Bar Design Award for best UK restaurant.
This page: Ladurée in Geneva (top) and Ladurée in Los Angeles (directly above) Next page: The Gallery restaurant at Sketch in London
Ladurée in Geneva (left) and the India Mahdavi showroom on Rue Las Cases in Paris (below and opposite page)
At the Salone del Mobile in Milan last April, the designer’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades, a foldup tray table, stole the show and was one of the most talked-about pieces of the fair. “It’s inspired by Middle Eastern hospitality,” she explains. “I immediately thought about revisiting those famous oriental side tables, both nomadic and hybrid, appearing for tea and disappearing for the siesta.” The table is designed to fold into a book on the theme of luck. The leathered-inlayed iris on the top of the table is the illustration of The Story of Good Luck. “The function of the table, by turning into a book, embraces the idea of luck and protection, a sort of antidote to the evil eye. The Talisman Table particularly embodies the Mediterranean tradition of hospitality – which I deeply relate to. The idea that luxury can be defined through a design exercise, hand in hand with the best craftsmen, is what I have always supported.” This reference to highbrow culture and literature is typical of Mahdavi’s work. She’s long been fascinated by the way literature and historical narratives can impact design and always tries to find the “identity” of a project: “A book is one of the most nomadic objects,” she says. “You can take it everywhere.”
The inspiration for the Ladurée patisserie and café in Los Angeles was in equal parts “the glamour of Hollywood and the cool of California dreaming,” Mahdavi says. “I wanted to create a groovy-yet-chic garden party ambiance with a hint of Marie Antoinette thrown into the mix.” As the Memphis Milano design movement comes back into fashion and all things minimal become passé, Mahdavi’s
offbeat and warm projects are gaining her widespread success. “I think that we have to bring a lot of imagination and dreams into design,” she says.
Mahdavi champions color and one of her most-loved design motifs is her use of a rainbow palette. “My love of color is very much related to my childhood memories in Technicolor. I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the mid 1960s, and I can only remember strong colors from Bugs Bunny to The Jungle Book,” she says, “I have always been attracted to colors because they are joyful. And my work is about bringing joy. I use color to bring light and sunshine.” Her current source of inspiration is Instagram. “I love it,” she says. “I follow the most important accounts in my fields – design, architecture, art, fashion – as well as my friends and clients.” Discovery and growth through the visual world is emblematic of Mahdavi’s career. “I’ve always compared the creative process to the excited emotions of love,” she says. “I have been lucky to be able to express my aesthetic values every day for the past 20 years and call it my ‘job.’”
Mahdavi will soon share her design aesthetic with the Lebanese: she’s part of the selection committee for the first edition of Beirut Design Fair, scheduled to run this year from September 20-24.
Claire Israël, Julien Schlosser
Since launching her design studio in 1999, Mahdavi has blazed the trail for a new wave of more-is-more design that tows the line between too-much and good taste. In Mahdavi’s rooms, there are wavy-edged Ettore Sottsass mirrors, clashing print schemes, pastel hues and oversized flowers. Her bold, feminine and subversive interior design schemes have given the edge to a wide range of spaces, including the Hotel Thoumieux in Paris, the club Bungalow 8 in London, the RED Valentino stores and private homes across the world.
CABIRIA, CHARITY, CHASTITY A FILM BY NATASHA LYONNE
Cabiria, Charity, Chastity follows Chastity, on a surreal journey through a parallel plane, as she realizes that in order to face her future, she must first reconcile her Vaudevillian past. NOW SHOWING AT KENZO.COM/CHASTITY
KENZO FILM SERIES #5
AÏSHTI BY THE SEA, ANTELIAS FAKHRY BEY STREET, BEIRUT SOUKS, DOWNTOWN BEIRUT
Words Rayane Abou Jaoude
CALLED INTO DARKNESS BEIRUT-BASED DESIGNER GAREN DEMIRDJIAN ADDS SOMBER GOTHIC FLAIR TO HIGH FASHION
“I found him to be a hero. I’ve been inspired since I was a child, and it was kind of forbidden. My parents were very open-minded, but I mean, people see me looking at the books of H.R. Giger and they say, ‘What’s that?’ It’s very sexual, it’s very dark,” he says.
Talent also had something to do with it. Demirdjian’s work was so avant-garde that he was often mistaken for being an Antwerpian designer. In 2002 he established his independent label, Gardem, and left Paris to settle in Beirut. A few years later he began working with late designer Basil Soda as artistic director, but kept returning to his small atelier, experimenting and designing, until he decided it was time to really shift the focus to his own line. Gardem turned into Garen Demirdjian, retaining the same DNA, as he calls it, but with a few changes. His work has always been focused on the “warrior woman,” the avant-garde and the gothic, inspirations that also come from spending so much of his young life in his room painting alone, and grappling with anxiety.
Reclining on a large leather couch inside his spacious atelier in Karantina’s D Beirut, Demirdjian is poised and relaxed as he pets his tiny dog Paco. Not an easy feat for someone who says he’s not very outgoing. “I’m still trying, I’m still struggling to show myself, talk about my work,” he says. But here, in his space, amid his dresses and bridal gowns, he feels safe.
Demirdjian grew up between Greece and Lebanon, spending most of his childhood drawing for hours in his room. He eventually moved back to Beirut to study fine arts before his father surprised him with an acceptance letter to ESMOD Paris to study fashion design. He had already held a few exhibitions for his paintings, but discovered that he could do more with his hands. “I had this sensitivity about fashion,” Demirdjian explains. “When you see my dresses, they kind of have a 3D effect. You have all this handwork.”
He remained in Paris, struggling to find work as a designer until his partner at the time, an employee at design retailer L’Eclaireur, started showing up to work wearing his designs. She suggested L’Eclaireur buy the collection, and it did. All 50 pieces sold out in three days.
Swiss painter H.R. Giger’s art is eerily erotic and futuristic – aliens bent over suggestively, connected to pipes and machines, tentacles everywhere. It’s sexy, radical, absolutely sublime. And it’s the root of fashion designer Garen Demirdjian’s inspiration.
“It was the peak time of young designers. I think I was doing the right thing at the right time. I was lucky, more than anything,” he says.
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“When you’re an artist you have this dark side, so I think that I took it as a plus. I mean it was a difficult period to just leave my anxiety to my creations, but I say it in a very positive way,” Demirdjian says. “We live in our cocoon, we’re into ourselves, and I translate it into my work. This is where it counts I think.” His very first ready-to-wear collection in 2014 was entirely black, with geometric cuts and ruffles aplenty. His second included beautifully draped red dresses and white ensembles; and his third encompassed leather black dresses, midi skirts, blazers and a whole lot of feathers – very sensual, incredibly vampiric.
“The couture is a different story,” Demirdjian explains. “You have to be more careful with what you do and usually when [women] want to wear couture they want to feel more like a princess, they want to feel more elegant, feminine, so I didn’t want to take the risk, frankly saying, to be extremely avant-garde, even though they’re not easy dresses.”
His ready-to-wear collections are his comfort, where he feels most himself, and where he’s unafraid to delve deep into the dark parts of his imagination. It’s harder to do that with haute couture, he says, where he can’t be as esoteric and gothic as he’d like to. The dresses are elegant and refined, incredibly detailed in tones of pastel, pink, cadet blue and black. “With ready-to-wear I don’t really think about who’s going to wear my stuff,” he adds. “I think that I’m here to bring something new. And I can be 100% me because I’m addressing millions of women.” And great things are coming. His winter 2018 collection is expected to be all the rage: very dark and very sexy – much like Demirdjian himself.
Words Michelle Merheb
LUSH CITY LIVING
A new residential development in Ashrafieh offers luxury and comfort within easy access of Beirutâ€™s many delights
Kevin Dash’s latest architectural project in Beirut, Abdel Wahab 618, is the Lebanese capital’s newest residential landmark. Dash, who hails from Australia, is bestknown locally for having designed Bank Audi’s headquarters and Le Gray hotel, both set in Downtown Beirut. Like his earlier designs, this new project, designed in association with Lebanese architect Joseph Maroun, showcases Dash’s architectural elegance, complete with sleek lines, ample windows and plenty of open space.
Located in Ashrafieh, walking distance from ABC Mall and a couple of minutes’ drive from Downtown Beirut, Abdel Wahab 618 consists of five residential buildings, all of them clad in Dash’s signature cream-colored travertine stone. The project encompasses 77 residential apartments, all of which have been sold, with the exception of 16 apartments in Block A. This is the highest tower and offers the largest apartments, 15 of which measure 520 square meters each, with the top floor duplex running twice that size.
But with the abundance of residential units now available on the Lebanese market, what makes Abdel Wahab 618 stand out from the rest? “Two things make our project unique. The first is that all vertical elements are outside,” says Elie Khater, executive project manager at CGI, the real estate company that developed Abdel Wahab 618 and that is owned by Saradar Group. “When the architect wants to modify the internal layout of a unit, he or she has to deal with the supporting columns. Here, you can remove all the internal walls, because none of them are supporting walls. This gives the end user all the flexibility to customize his space, regardless of the current layout.” The second major asset is daylight. “Even the lowest floor has daylight,” says Khater, “whether in winter or on cloudy days. This is thanks to glazing, big windows and a lack of deep rooms, allowing a flood of light.” He goes on to explain that the low emissivity double-glazing, which rises from floor to ceiling, gives each apartment a feeling of infinite space. “You feel that your apartment is endless, floating. And at the same time you’re within your own private space. This open space is a luxury.” The units on the upper floors of Block A
are particularly appealing because they offer spectacular views from every room. Standing in the kitchen, you can admire Downtown Beirut, while from the living and dining rooms, you can view Ashrafieh, Beirut Port, the Mediterranean Sea and the soaring peaks of Mount Lebanon. From the bedroom, you can actually see planes landing at Beirut International Airport.
Each apartment in Block A currently houses three en-suite bedrooms and one master bedroom, each with a balcony. The spacious reception area includes three living rooms and a dining room, all of which can be customized to each individual homeowner’s liking. To ensure complete privacy for residents, there is only one apartment per floor, accessible via three elevators, plus a separate service elevator and entrance. Each unit in Block A has four parking spots (and more for the duplex), in addition to 40 parking spots for visitors and a driver’s lounge. In terms of amenities, there are two pools (one for adults and the other for children), a gym, a sauna and a 3,000-square-meter garden. While the lower floor units may not benefit from the same glorious views as the higher apartments, their proximity to that spectacularly lush garden makes them particularly appealing – the trees, bushes and verdant lawn do wonders to soothe the soul. Endless space, privacy, greenery and utter peace in the middle of Beirut? Yes, it’s certainly possible at Abdel Wahab 618.
Words Rayane Abou Jaoude Illustration Melissa Haddad
KILLER INSTINCT Will our small-screen bloodlust ever be satiated?
Vampires, cannibals, witches, lycanthropes, demons and their slayers – these unconventional, at times narcissistic and sociopathic personalities, are now a staple of TV shows, and we’re continuously looking for our next fix.
These aren’t your typical cheap slashers. Television has taken its visuals to entirely new levels, the execution is outstanding and the art direction and scores impressive. And while much of the (mostly apocalyptic) plots have already been exhausted in film, writers and producers still manage to give tonal and storyline variation on television; think the zombie apocalypse in The Walking Dead, the slew of paranormal activities and petrifying characters in anthology horror series American Horror Story, and the classic terror tales woven together in the no-longer-running Penny Dreadful. The aesthetics completely downplay the brutality, which makes the violence all the more bearable. But it’s not only about spilling blood: it’s the maiming and torturing happening in the process. It’s often ultra-violent, and viewers are not spared a single moment. “Blades enter flesh, skin and tendons are severed, and the blood doesn’t just spill, it jets, sprays, arcs, like acrylic slung at a canvas,” critic Matt Zoller Seitz explains. An episode lacking bloodshed becomes dull and unexciting. We begin to crave that which we would realistically find repulsive and shocking. We’ve even turned violence and gore into comedy, as is the case with Santa Clarita Diet, a new show that sees Drew Barrymore playing Sheila Hammond, a zombie who feeds on human flesh. Yes there’s a lot of vomit, but there’s a silly punch line right there with it.
The raw, sexual element is responsible for much of these shows’ appeal, whether it’s the homoerotic undertones in the relationship between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham in Hannibal, or between demon hunters Sam and Dean Winchester in Supernatural. Then you have Buffy’s taboo love interests, Angel and Spike, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sookie Stackhouse’s triple attraction to Bill Compton, Eric Northman and Alcide Herveaux, in True Blood. It’s forbidden and dangerous, which makes the experience all the more thrilling. Sex and death have never been more closely correlated. These personalities are also often so attractive to us largely because of their depravity. In her paper Rough Heroes of the New Hollywood, Anne Wescott Eaton describes a rough hero as a character in “post-classical Hollywood” whose creative worth lies in his/her “immorality.” Sounds awfully familiar, particularly in a show like Hannibal.
Eaton writes that unlike the antihero, the rough hero has no moral quandaries and no remorse for his/her actions, which are often murderous or morally corrupt. Despite all this, he/she is still identified as a hero, “a sympathetic protagonist whom we are supposed to like and perhaps even admire.” Fitting, seeing as Hannibal is entirely likable – and attractive – despite his cannibalistic behavior. We are horrified by his actions, but also feel an emotional connection to him.
This is particularly relevant with vampires, who are almost always portrayed as seductive and hypersexualized beings. Says erotic filmmaker Erika Lust: “[Vampires] are the embodiment of lust. I also think what makes vampires so erotic is the aspect of terror that comes with being intimate with them. It’s the feeling of being vulnerable and scared for your safety that adds ultimate sex appeal to creatures from the underworld.”
Interestingly, the concept behind such characters is entirely dependent on the audience’s response to their existence; they wouldn’t survive if we weren’t right there, eyes glued to the screen, waiting for the next victim, which begs the question: are we, as viewers, just as guilty of bloodlust? No matter for the time being, because lucky for us, novelist Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles – the books against which all vampire characters are measured – announced last November that she’s planning to create a TV series out of the franchise. We’ve already seen them on film with Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned, but we expect the show to be much more detailed. Smallscreen horror looks like it’s here to stay, and the taste isn’t lost on us yet.
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WHERE LIFE BEGINS “Where did all the women come from? The supply was endless. Each one of them was individual, different… but no man could drink them all, there were too many of them, crossing their legs, driving men mad. What a feast!” – Charles Bukowski 262
For this latest installment of A Mag’s exclusive series of artistic visions, Lebanese artist Joe Kesrouani delves into his past and remembers a powerful moment from his childhood, when he first fell under the spell of the female form. He looks upon that brief episode as his touchstone, the one determining factor that inspired his everexpanding artworks focusing on the nude figure.
PHOTOGRAPHY JOE KESROUANI
Words Helen Kitti Smith
TOP OF THE WORLD Cape Town’s Table Mountain continues to inspire wanderlust
One of Cape Town’s most stunning attractions – and one that visitors should definitely experience – is Table Mountain. This is Cape Town’s flat-topped, north-facing plateau that dominates the city. Presumed to be a mere one-fifth of its original height, and millennia older than the Himalayas and the Rockies, Table Mountain is a national park that has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
You can purchase your Table Mountain Cableway round-trip ticket beforehand or you can hike the three hours up Platteklip Gorge. One important caveat: do not ascend when billowing southeasterly clouds roll across Table Mountain horizontally and then cascade vertically. This Capetonians call the “Table Cloth,” and visibility ceases once the cloth spreads. Do marvel at this intermittent phenomenon – it’s your special gift from the southern edge of Africa.
From atop Table Mountain, you get sweeping views and a clear look at the lay of the land. Turn to the north to view cantilevered shipyard docks and the busy cargo port; head west to see Camps Bay and Clifton, where remarkable hillside homes offer views of the Twelve Apostles Mountains’ splendid peaks. Gaze south to observe historic vineyards threaded through fertile
Cape Town’s flavors were seared into the world’s collective psyche some six-centuries ago as a trader’s portof-call. South Africa’s second-largest city is the country’s undisputed cultural center, offering cultural attractions, glorious beaches, famed wineries and spectacular scenery. Capetonians call their remarkable hometown the Mother City.
valleys – the notable Stellenbosch among them – and point yourself east to absorb an aerial imprint of Kirstenbosch, the first-ever botanic garden included within a World Heritage Site. Kirstenbosch is home to exquisite native plants like proteas and fynbos. One peek beyond reveals townships, industrial areas and the airport. You can also spot the boats heading to Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for over 20 years and that has now been turned into a museum.
On Signal Hill, just below Table Mountain’s lower slopes, lies historic Bo-Kaap. This village is the home of the Cape Malays, descendants of 17th- and 18thcentury Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian and Sri Lankan political prisoners and slaves. Their distinctive houses, set on cobblestone streets, are affixed with Cape Dutch and Georgian features, and abut in outrageous colors of lipstick pink, tropical lime and tangerine orange. Visit Wale Street’s Bo-Kaap Museum for a snapshot of Cape Malay life and its Muslim community. Many believe the Cape Peninsula and its southern extension at Cape Point is where the cold Atlantic Ocean meets the warm Indian Ocean. That actual location is east of Cape Town by 15km. Yet visitors head to Cape Point and proclaim their presence at Africa’s tip. Now you know the difference.
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Where We’re Staying
NANXUN BLOSSOM HILL blossomhillinn.com
Zhouzhuang, a Chinese town famed for its scenic canals and located about an hour-and-a-half drive from Shanghai, is home to Nanxun Blossom Hill boutique hotel, the latest bijou project from Dariel Studio. To create the 20-room property, Dariel Studio connected three separate Ming Dynasty-style buildings and restored them to their 1930s grandeur, while adding contemporary amenities, including state-of-the-art bathrooms and ultra-comfortable beds. The original bricks, wood and engravings were all preserved, and at the same time, designer Thomas Dariel inserted playful touches throughout, like a celadon green and ocean blue Lazy Susan coffee table and Little Eliah flying table lamps. The magnificent hotel, infused with history and mystery, is one of the most memorable places you’ll ever visit. – Michelle Merheb
MONTE-CARLO BEACH monte-carlo-beach.com
When architect and designer India Mahdavi revamped the classic Monte-Carlo Beach hotel a few years back, she stayed true to the property’s original spirit of 1930s glamour. The terracotta property, which sits under a cypress forest and directly fronts the Mediterranean, houses 40 rooms and suites. Mahdavi infused subtle nautical flair into the rooms – ocean blue sofas, gray and white striped walls, circular light fixtures – in a nod to the commending sea, which dramatically surrounds the hotel and is always visible from the stunning porthole-shaped windows. Monte-Carlo Beach has its own private seaside restaurant and lounging area (La Vigie) and houses Michelin-starred organic restaurant Elsa (see page 286). Open for eight months out of the year, from March to October, Monte-Carlo Beach is one of the most exclusive addresses on the Côte d’Azur. – Marwan Naaman
VILLA PARADISO Villa Paradiso is a hidden gem set within Batroun’s cobbled souk. The heritage property, built with local sandstone and formerly used as a warehouse and carpentry workshop, was recently restored by owners Remi Feghali and Rita Feghali Mattar, who turned it into a multi-purpose space. The vaulted interior of the ground floor is now a stunning venue for exhibits and concerts, while the courtyard, lined with white mulberry, pomegranate, olive and orange trees, offers a shady dining area where lunch is served by local guest chefs. The upper floor houses six guest rooms and a breakfast area, while the terrace and lounge café offer expansive views of Batroun’s rooftops and the Mediterranean sea. Paradise indeed. – Sabina Llewellyn-Davies
Dariel Studio, SBM, Villa Paradiso
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Words Karim Hussain
EVERY INCH OF YOUR BODY
Those in search of the ultimate massage might begin with Turkey, often on a spa destination list because it’s the origin of the hammam ritual. Among a plethora of tourist-facing hammams, the recently renovated Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami (kilicalipasahamami.com) won’t disappoint. Commissioned by the Ottoman Admiral Kilic Ali Pasa as part of a mosque and school complex, it was constructed between 1578 and 1583 to serve the marine forces of the Ottoman navy. Its majestic dome is one of the largest in Istanbul. The hammam ritual begins in the camegah (lounge), where you sip on a traditional serbet (sherbet drink), before being guided to a dressing area to don a pestamal (classic cotton hammam wrap). A special attendant – natir (for women) and tellak (for men) – brings you to the warm room to relax and lie down on the gobek tasi, the hexagon heated marble slab. Once your skin has softened from the humid air, the attendant will take you to the kurna (marble water basin), where you are exfoliated with a scrubbing mitten, the kese. After rinsing, the final step of the ritual – kopuk (bubble soap wash) – takes place, and you are rubbed with a loofah, resulting in a feeling of uplifting and sensual cleanliness. While the hammam is designed very much as a day-visit experience, the benefits of some massages are best reaped
when wrapped in a health spa/hotel environment. Champneys (champneys. com) in England is one such spa hotel. Established in 1925, it now spans four locations, with at least two of these set in historic country mansions with vast grounds that have been adapted to accommodate thalassotherapy (salt water) pools, heat rooms, restaurants catering to special diets and a morningto-night menu of exercise classes to match the extensive massage offering. Massages applied after a brisk run in the woods, and combined with a light diet menu and several early nights, ensure that the body can truly benefit from the sensuality of the relaxation process. Champneys has a range of massages including their version of one of the most sensual of all time, the hot stone. Called “lava shell,” the treatment lasts for almost one hour and features heat-generating smooth lava stones rubbed over tired muscles and used to distribute rich mango oil all over your body. Inevitably relaxing, a massage taken in the same place where you are sleeping means that you can stumble, in a sensual daze, directly from table to bed and have a nap. After all, it’s not very sensual to have to re-dress your now oildrenched self, get into the car and drive home through traffic. Champneys offers health and sensuality, and massage is a key ingredient in achieving this grail.
Champneys, Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami
Enjoy unusual and sensual massages throughout England and Turkey
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Where We’re Detoxing
NIKKI BEACH RESORT & SPA
nikkibeach.com/destinations/beach-clubs/dubai/ Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai has landed on The Pearl Jumeirah, with interiors by Lebanon-based designer Gregory Gatserelia. “I always keep art at the heart of my designs, and privilege sensory experience,” says Gatserelia. “Bringing the beach, the sea and the sky indoors has allowed us to enter into a dialogue between nature and design.” This ethos is evident in the spa, designed as the ultimate sanctuary, where you can unwind with bespoke ESPA treatment massages. Solo and social spaces comprise seven beautifully appointed, separate spa suites for men and women, one devoted couples’ suite, sauna, steam room, ice fountain, mixed vitality pool and indoor and outdoor relaxation lounges. It’s your very own private haven in bustling Dubai. – Valerie Jones
GRACE MYKONOS gracehotels.com/mykonos/
In Greek mythology, the Graces were the goddesses of beauty. Keeping that in mind, Grace Mykonos has created a boutique spa to ensure guests are as pampered as they wish. Clean and functional changing rooms, a calm and relaxing treatment room with its own shower, a large common steam room, sauna, hydrotherapy bath and a “serpentine” shower are just the start. A range of services, revitalizing spa therapies and spa treatments, from a soothing massage to an invigorating body scrub, ensure that you leave the spa refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to enjoy a stroll on the beach of Agios Stefanos. The most popular massage on the menu is the Cyclades Treat, designed to utilize the nourishing ingredients from the hive of Apivita. You can also succumb to the pleasure of the wine elixir face treatment. – Karim Hussain
THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/the-beverly-hills-hotel/ spa/
The Beverly Hills Hotel Spa is a luxury day spa located on the Promenade level of the hotel. The La Prairie Spa’s unique cellular facials, therapeutic massages and impeccable attention to elegance make it a luxurious, restorative oasis to help you de-stress, rejuvenate and pamper yourself with age-defying science and skincare expertise. The 178-square-meter space has six treatment rooms including two couples’ suites and separate steam rooms and saunas for men and women. The top summer offer is the one-night Rejuvenation package, which includes daily breakfast for two, one 60-minute Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Facial, one La Prairie Spa take-home gift and one $200 dining credit to be used anywhere at the hotel. – Karim Hussain
Beverly Hills Hotel, Gatserelia.com, Grace Mykonos
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Words Salma Abdelnour
SEA AND SENSUALITY Head underwater for some of the world’s most coveted aphrodisiacs Odysseus forced his crew to strap him to the mast of his ship so he wouldn’t fall prey to the irresistible siren songs. But even without mythical creatures ready to ensnare lonely adventurers, the sea casts a sensual spell over us mortals, luring sunbathers, sailors and swimmers into its salty waves. Throw in coconut-scented sunscreen, tropical cocktails and skimpy swimsuits, and it’s a wonder anyone can resist spending every day and night at the seaside. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the sea is the source of all kinds of aphrodisiac foods, from famous ones like oysters to more mysterious, lesser-known stimulants.
SEA CUCUMBERS Called the “ginseng of the sea” in Chinese lore, the sea cucumber is considered an aphrodisiac for obvious reasons. But its shape isn’t the only cue: the sea cucumber, which is actually an animal and not a vegetable, stiffens up and ejects fluid when it senses danger. Sea cucumbers get their Viagra-like reputation from their nutrients too, which include vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and niacin for improved blood flow and healthier sex hormones. To sample sea cucumber for yourself, you can find it in capsule form, or buy the dried version and just add water. AMBERGRIS Cloudy-looking, gray ambergris is the intestinal mush of a sperm whale, and scientists have debated whether whales excrete it from their mouths or their backsides. Either way, it sounds pretty disgusting, but ambergris is highly coveted, extremely rare and very expensive: a one-pound piece found on a UK beach by an eight-year-old boy in 2012 fetched $63,000. Luxury fragrance houses use ambergris to make scents last longer, and it has an illustrious history as an aphrodisiac in the Middle East and Europe. The 19th-century French epicure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin liked to put a dash of it in his chocolate tonic, and ambergris has been showing up again lately in cocktails and desserts.
FUGU Want to live on the edge? You could ride a Harley, go sky-diving – or just eat fugu. If you’re brave enough to order this notorious fish, you’ve probably already impressed your date. Now you just have to survive the night. Wild-caught fugu, also known as blowfish or puffer fish, contains neurotoxins and must be handled by chefs who are specially trained in removing the poisonous parts. Otherwise? Yes, you could die. The most in-demand species is Japan’s tora-fugu, coveted as the tastiest and most Russian Roulette-like of all the fugu varieties. But the actual experience of eating fugu is controversial: naysayers argue that the flavor is disappointingly bland, while fans say the neurotoxin traces cause a pleasantly tingly feeling. That tingle is also partly responsible for fugu’s reputation as an aphrodisiac – and so is the fish’s sperm sac (called shirako), a sweettasting delicacy that’s often served grilled with a sprinkle of salt. TUNA The kind of tuna you usually find in a Niçoise salad, or grilled up in the form of a tuna burger, is juicy and delicious – but if you really want to turn your date on, order toro at your favorite sushi restaurant. This fatty cut of raw tuna has exceptional flavor and texture: buttery, silky and superrich. Both otoro (the fattiest and tastiest kind of toro) and chutoro (the medium-fatty version) are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which reportedly increase the pleasurehormone dopamine and kick-start the libido.
UNI No aphrodisiac gets to the point faster than uni: when you’re eating uni, you’re consuming the sex organs of sea urchins. The edible orange pieces also happen to look like tongues. But does eating uni really work? As with most aphrodisiacs, the claims are often mired in rumor and backed up, at best, by nutritional contents that only theoretically boost sex drive. Sea urchins do contain vitamin E, which helps the blood flow, and they’re loaded with zinc, which can potentially increase libido. But science aside, the best reason to eat uni is the way it tastes, feels and smells: salty and sweet, soft and supple, like a warm ocean wave. It’s about as close as you can get to a sensually languid day at the beach.
www.aeronautica.difesa.it www.aeronauticamilitare-collezioneprivata.it AĂŻshti by the Sea, Antelias T. 04 71 77 16 ext. 273 and all AĂŻzone stores T. 01 99 11 11 Produced and distributed by Cristiano di Thiene Spa
Words Marwan Naaman
A TASTE OF ELSA Monte-Carlo Beach hotel’s seaside restaurant specializes in organic Mediterranean cuisine that’s a cut above the rest
The South of France is a food lover’s delight. Along the resplendent Côte d’Azur, there are more restaurants than one can sample in a lifetime, and they range from local eateries and casual brasseries to Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. One restaurant that’s special in every way is Elsa, located inside the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel.
served with extra virgin olive oil and Camargue salt. This small masterpiece has all the vegetables arranged as tiny bouquets and topped with herbal bursts. Another starter, Raw Red Shrimp from Sanremo, presented flattened and ultra-slim, and topped with fennel and Nacarii caviar from Spain, offers contrasting and complex flavors of citrus and sea.
What distinguishes Elsa from other eateries is, primarily, that it’s the first fully organic restaurant to receive a Michelin star (in 2014), thanks mainly to executive chef Paolo Sari. In a playfully blue-andwhite interior designed by India Mahdavi and on a sun-drenched outdoor terrace set right above the Mediterranean Sea, Sari offers up contemporary cuisine inspired by specialties from both the French and Italian Rivieras. Describing his cuisine as “an ode to the Mediterranean,” the Italian chef has made it a point to know the very exact source of each of his culinary products. For example, fruit comes exclusively from nearby towns, like St. Jeannet, and many of the vegetables are grown in Sari’s own garden.
As inventive as their savory counterparts, desserts are stylish and seductive, ranging from lighter choices, like a fresh peach salad with nectarine sorbet, to more decadent affairs like a pear cheesecake or a soufflé with Sicilian almonds. If you prefer, you can opt for the mignardises: these bite-sized treats come in a box of nine and include a macaron, a madeleine, a fruit tart and other sweets designed to enhance your shot of espresso.
There are only 22 items on Elsa’s menu (including all starters, mains courses and desserts), but this elegant restraint ensures that each dish is unique and carefully prepared. Take the Bio Sama starter, made with raw garden vegetables and herbs and
The main courses created by Sari are just as enticing, and they include pasta delights like tortelli with courgettes trompettes and mint, and tagliolini with stewed scorpion fish and spiced tomatoes. Adventurous diners can opt for the rabbit saddle Ligure – tender, melt-in-your mouth meat accompanied by vegetables and Taggiasca olives – presented artistically with orange-hued drips of fragrant jus.
Gourmands and gourmets remember: Elsa is a seasonal restaurant, so it’s open until October 16 this year before closing for the winter season. If you miss it, you’ll have to wait until midMarch 2018 to sample chef Sari’s gorgeous cuisine again. montecarlosbm.com/restaurants-in-monaco/gourmet/elsa/
The bijou Monte-Carlo Beach hotel, in spite of its name, is actually set right outside Monaco proper, in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, but the principality and its main town of Monte-Carlo are so small that it’s only a couple of minutes’ drive from the iconic Place du Casino to the hotel and its fabled restaurant.
Where We’re Eating LONDON
Open Monday-Friday 9-11am, noon-5:30pm and 6-11pm; Saturday 9am-4pm and 6-11pm; Sunday 9am-6pm. 74 Westbourne Grove, farmacylondon.com Farmacy is pioneering the clean eating revolution in Notting Hill. The restaurant, owned by Camilla al Fayed (daughter of former Harrods boss, and previously owner of fashion house Issa), is dedicated to a holistic approach to life and food. The menu supports vegan and vegetarian diets, with dishes free from dairy, refined sugars and additives, yet still delicious. Featuring healthy choice comfort foods, including the signature “Farmacy Burger” (made from beans), plant-based ice cream and the thickest lattes you’ve ever tasted (whipped up with your choice of nut milks), the menu offers guilt-free pleasures. And Al Fayed doesn’t compromise on style or atmosphere either: Farmacy boasts a bar in-the-round, with cocktails made to order. Healthy is starting to taste as good as it looks! – Karim Hussain
Open daily noon-4pm, 8pm-midnight. Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort, Al Akhtal al Saghir Street, Jnah, kempinski.com/beirut
Open Monday-Saturday noon-2:30pm, 7-10:30pm. 7 Avenue Georges Clemenceau, en.lalangouste.fr The original home of legendary restaurant La Petite Maison, Nice has long been a center for culinary innovation. Trendy Mediterranean restaurants abound in this most gracious of French seaside destinations, and one of the best is La Langouste, located in the prestigious Musiciens neighborhood. La Langouste offers a seasonally changing menu, featuring dishes made exclusively with local ingredients. Starters include a gazpacho with black olives, a ceviche of prawn and sea bass with avocado puree and a mi-cuit foie gras with ginger, rhubarb and brioche. As a main dish, opt for the lobster tortellini served in a lobster bisque or the mixed Mediterranean fish in a bouillabaisse sauce. In summer, you can dine alfresco, in the lush patio, which feels a bit like your very own secluded paradise. – Marwan Naaman
Farmacy, Kempinski Summerland, La Langouste
Fresh seafood, a stunning sea view and much-needed respite from the summer commotion – it’s Pier 78, and it’s as charming as it sounds. Head to the Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort where the hotel is located, skip the shortcut to the restaurant’s separate entrance and take the long way through the Oriental-themed hotel instead – the stroll is worth it. Pier 78 spreads out into the water, with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean and parts of the city on one end and the resort on the other. Inside, it’s cozy and intimate, the chairs and walls decorated in soothing tones of blues, grays and browns. Start with the octopus carpaccio and the beetroot shrimp salad to freshen your palate, and if you feel like you’ve got a little more room, ask for some melt-in-your-mouth fried calamari. It would hardly be a seafood feast without the fried fish (red dorado and tartar sauce) or the grilled fish (sea bass and herbed tartar). End your feast with a cocktail on the rooftop deck – the Phoenician Lemonade will do you good. – Rayane Abou Jaoude
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Words Michael Karam Illustration Sarah Ashley Mrad
WINES OF THE TIMES
PAIR YOUR SUMMER WITH A SPLASH OF LEBANESE WHITE of Lebanon’s finest grapes. Its vineyards are at an altitude of 1,200 meters, perfect for this outstanding wine. Sauvignon Blanc is a grape with much-needed acidity (the altitude can’t do everything) that typically, in a warm climate, gives flavors and aromas of passion fruit and elderflower.
Lebanon’s white wines are taking the world by storm as wine professionals and consumers discover the freshness of white wines from such a hot country. Lebanon’s asset is altitude, with many of our vines planted at nearly 2,000 meters – the highest wine vineyards in the northern hemisphere – and this allows for a cooler maturation, which in turn allows the grapes to develop wonderful complexity rather than being burnt to a crisp. This is why the Bekaa Valley is widely regarded as one of the finest winemaking regions in the world. Another revelation has been the new lease on life bestowed upon our ancestral grape, Obeideh. For so long the staple of arak, our other national drink, Obeideh is now accepted as a profound and ancient grape from a region where wine was given to the civilized world, and wine lovers are scrambling for a taste. Look out for more Obeideh on the shelves in the coming years.
So bearing all that in mind, what whites should we be drinking this summer? The current darling of the Lebanese consumer appears to be Château Qanafar’s Sauvignon Blanc. The winery was founded by the Naim family in 2008 and is situated in the village of Khirbet Qanafar in the West Bekaa, home to some
Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay (ably supported by Semillon, Muscat and, of course, the Obeideh) are the grapes that are forming the axis of Lebanon’s new white wine identity. In Château Ksara’s Blanc de Blancs, we have three of these star performers. Château Ksara, the region’s oldest winery, is arguably the reason Lebanon has a modern wine industry – if it weren’t for the science-focused Jesuits who farmed the Bekaa valley in the mid-19th century and who made the country’s first dry wines in the 1850s, we wouldn’t have the exciting range of Lebanese labels we have today. The Blanc de Blancs is a blend of Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The geeks will be interested to know that the Chardonnay was fermented in new oak for four months before blending. The result is a unique and character-filled white wine with wonderful balance between the freshness, the fruit and the oak that will complement any summer dining experience. Domaine des Tourelles was founded in 1868 by François-Eugène Brun, a frustrated French railroad engineer who preferred grapes to iron. Today, the winery is owned by the Issa and Issa-El Khoury families and is one of the brightest stars in the Lebanese wine firmament. The winery makes two white wines, but I have opted for the “standard” Blanc, a blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Muscat D’Alexandrie and Obeideh. It’s a lovely, balanced wine with flavors and aromas of stone and exotic fruits, as well as white flowers. The wine is medium bodied with a lovely, “weighty” mouth feel that is balanced by the excellent freshness. Château Marsyas was founded in 2005 in the West Bekaa town of Kefraya, by the Saade brothers, who in the same year made history by founding Domaine Bargylus, Syria’s first world class winery, in the hills above the port city of Latakia. The winery’s only white wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It has very good balance and an excellent range of floral and fruit flavors, ranging from citrus to stone fruit, as well as razor sharp freshness. In fact it is everything one would expect from a high-quality, versatile wine that can be enjoyed on its own, but is weighty enough to carry food.
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Where We’re Drinking
If Dogs Run Free
Open Monday-Thursday 6pm-2am; Friday-Saturday 6pm-4am. 10 Gumpendorfer Strasse, ifdogsrunfree.com Summer drinking culture in Vienna goes far beyond the usual glasses of Aperol Spritz that are all the rage here. Incredible Old Fashioneds, damn fine Margaritas and a Damascus Sour to knock your socks off are to be found at the Austrian capital’s hippest drinking spot, If Dogs Run Free. The name hails from the Bob Dylan lyric, “If dogs run free, then why not we?” and the spot is owned by architects Gregorio Lubroth and Chieh-shu Tzou, who wanted to have (and design) a drinking joint next door to their practice. Open since 2012, If Dogs Run Free retains a super “in” vibe, with a friendly crowd and a décor of dark grey poured concrete floors and walls, and magnificent ceilings resembling a snowy mountainscape, inspired by illustrations from Chinese art. – Ramsay Short
The Roof at Public
Open Monday-Thursday 4pm-2am; Friday 2pm-2am; SaturdaySunday 12pm-2am. 215 Chrystie Street, publichotels.com 292
It’s Manhattan’s hottest new drinking spot. The Roof at the recently opened Public Hotel, located in the sizzling Lower East Side, has a sleek interior designed by Ian Schrager Co. and a glorious outdoor terrace with communal tables and lounge areas. During the day, you can catch some sun while sipping on a Woodman (Old Forester bourbon, Branca Menta and mint). Come sundown, some of the world’s coolest DJs host guest sets while cocktails like the Public Margarita (with Avion Blanco and citrus) flow with pagan abandon. At any time, the 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline – taking in the city’s most iconic sites – are enough to take your breath away. – Marwan Naaman
Technically, Bar National is outside Beirut’s city limits – it’s located in Zouk Mosbeh, right on the sand near Holiday Beach. This most eccentric and amazing of nightlife spots has a casual bar set up right on the beach, steps from the sea, and they serve a variety of specialty fresh fruit cocktails, in addition to more traditional drinks. Guest DJs spin the latest tunes for all-night beach dancing, and you can also get away for a few moments to gaze at the endless Mediterranean and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. Bar National is open by appointment only, so you have to book your spots in advance. They can also organize dinners and special events, with a refreshingly boho setup, at their Zouk Mosbeh location or almost anywhere else you please. It’s the place to sway, kiss and dream this summer. – Marwan Naaman
If Dogs Run Free, Marwan Naaman, Public
Open by appointment only. facebook.com/BarNationalLebanon/
AĂŻshti by the Sea, Antelias T. 04 71 77 16 ext. 274 and all AĂŻzone stores T. 01 99 11 11 Follow us on instagram: @melissashoeslebanon
JUERGEN TELLER SHARES THE LOVE
There’s a dinosaur in the room. The latest Aïshti campaign, for fall 2017, stars Lara Stone and sees the supermodel sharing screen time with a giant inflatable reptile. Aïshti tapped celebrated German artist Juergen Teller to conceive the edgy images, marking the first time ever that the company uses an artist for its campaign. The whole thing was styled by Poppy Kain, who has since been appointed senior fashion editor at British Vogue. Teller also imagined Aïzone’s fall 2017 campaign, which stars Lili Sumner and the same lovable dinosaur. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at both campaigns – so you can witness the magic
Words Marwan Naaman Illustration Sarah Ashley Mrad
THE LAST PAGE: SCREEN SEXATION WHICH ARE SOME OF THE MOST EROTIC MOVIES OF ALL TIME? HERE ARE SIX FLICKS THAT TANTALIZE AND TITILLATE – THEY DID WHEN THEY WERE FIRST RELEASED AND THEY CONTINUE TO DO SO NOW
FATAL ATTRACTION A cautionary tale on the disastrous consequences of infidelity, Fatal Attraction continues to haunt audiences since its initial release in 1987. While the movie is more thriller than sexposé, the sex scenes between Michael Douglas and Glenn Close are pure sizzle. Remember the elevator ride?
NYMPHOMANIAC Lars Von Trier’s 2013 film is hardly a cakewalk – it clocks in at nearly five-and-half-hours and explores the mental anguish of a nymphomaniac. But it does feature a number of sexually explicit scenes, including one in which star Charlotte Gainsbourg has sex with two black men at once. Full frontal and all.
9 ½ WEEKS The short-lived tryst between Elizabeth (Kim Basinger) and John (Mickey Rourke) serves as fodder for this sexually charged classic. To sensual songs by Bryan Ferry, Joe Cocker and Luba, the two lovers let their fantasies run wild in the bedroom, in a hotel, in a sex club and in various public places. Blindfold anyone?
BASIC INSTINCT Sharon Stone became an international sensation thanks to her starring role in Basic Instinct, in which she played the mysterious Catherine Trammel, a bisexual siren who may be a serial murderer or an innocent woman caught up in a game of circumstance. Of course, the plot matters little when Stone uncrosses her legs during movie history’s most awe-inducing interrogation scene.
BODY HEAT Femme fatale Kathleen Turner lures an unsuspecting William Hurt into her web of sexual deceit in Body Heat, a film noir that transformed Turner into every man’s sexual fantasy. Who could ever forget the scene in which Hurt brakes down the door to devour his willing prey?
TWO MOON JUNCTION The devastating Sherilyn Fenn plays April Delongpre, a Southern belle who has an affair with a rugged carnival worker (Richard Tyson) in Two Moon Junction. While the movie is largely forgettable, the many steamy sex scenes between the two leads (after which the lovely April bursts into tears of pleasure) exude unadulterated, animal lust.