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no. 64 feb/mar 2013 LL10,000

Like a Hollywood star

Fame and fortune at your fingertips Celebrities Style icons of the Silver Screen Travel Los Angeles movie magic Fashion A very Parisian spring Chocolate Beirut’s finest Art Keith Coventry, Cory Arcangel and Roy Lichtenstein Red carpet Lebanese designers in Hollywood Hotel Barcelona’s Casa Camper

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BEIRUT 62 Abdel Malek Street 01 99 11 11 ext. 222

Passion for Silk

Inside No. 64 FEB/MAR 2013


42 Beirut Aïzone, Burberry and Tory Burch 46 London The awesome view from The Shard 48 Paris Eating at Belmont and St. James Paris 50 Milan The new P.A.R.O.S.H. flagship 52 New York Raymi’s Peruvian cuisine 53 New Orleans Gone with the Wind fantasies 54 Los Angeles Stanley Kubrick’s cool exhibit 56 Montreal A look at Peru’s antique history 58 Sydney Anish Kapoor’s terrific new show 60 Dubai Hummingbird cupcakes are here


74 Movies The Oscar picks 78 Romantic comedies Are they dead? 80 TV LA-based series 82 Music Cool movie soundtracks 84 Books Beautiful new titles


86 French fashion By non-French designers 90 New York Spring/summer collections 92 London Eccentric spring style 94 Red carpet Lebanese designers take all 96 Movie fashion Stylish new flicks 98 Accessories New looks inspired by Marilyn 112 Hot stuff The spring/summer runways 118 Heartbreaker The Nano bag from Céline 120 A star is born Dress like a ‘70s diva 132 The love killers Drop dead patterns


152 Lipstick Movie-star red 154 Skincare Glowing skin in three cities 156 Must-haves Achieve the Hollywood look


158 Garry Hogarth Head of Agent Provocateur 160 Alexis Bittar Hot jewelry designer 162 Sabine Ghanem Lebanese jewelry creator 164 Borbay Painting Hollywood stars 166 Serge Najjar Photographing Lebanon 168 Chefs Three New York-based gourmands 170 Style icons From the ‘50s until today


178 Getty Center LA’s design masterpiece 182 Soma Michel Abboud’s architecture firm 186 Furniture New retro-inspired pieces 188 Sargam Griffin Painted doors 190 Leather The latest design trend 192 Design update A global outlook

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Inside High Art

194 The LA scene Four hot museums 198 Keith Coventry McDonald’s re-expressed 200 Cory Arcangel Eccentric American art 202 Roy Lichtenstein A retrospective 204 LHotel Montreal’s art hotel 206 Art on 56th New Beirut art space 208 Art Basel A look at the Miami happening 210 Art exhibits In Beirut, London and LA


214 LA restaurants Three trendy spots 216 Beirut dining On Valentine’s Day 218 Chocolate Beirut’s best confectioners


220 Valentine’s Day Plan it, live it 222 Cinema Why do we still go to the movies? 224 Shooting Star Amazing drive-in and hotel

no. 64 feb/mar 2013 LL10,000


226 Hollywood International movie central 228 Downtown LA Tour it by train 232 Hotel Bel-Air LA’s reigning queen 236 Casa de Campo Celebrity hideaway 238 African vacation The top destinations 240 Barcelona A hotel inspired by fashion 244 Lebanon mountains Winter retreats

Last Word

248 LA So much to love in the City of Angels

Like a Hollywood star

Fame and fortune at your fingertips Celebrities Style icons of the Silver Screen Travel Los Angeles movie magic Fashion A very Parisian spring Chocolate Beirut’s finest Art Keith Coventry, Cory Arcangel and Roy Lichtenstein Red carpet Lebanese designers in Hollywood Hotel Barcelona’s Casa Camper

Cover She’s wearing a Maison Martin Margiela trench coat. Photographer David Bellemère. Stylist Ylias Nacer. Hair Maxime Mace. Makeup Hugo Villard. Location Yola Noujaim residence, Paris.


Tony Salamé Group TSG SAL

Editor-in-chief Marwan Naaman

Creative director Malak Beydoun


Assistant editor Rawan Al Kayat Contributing editors May Farah, Leslie Jirsa, Serena Makofsky, Warren Singh-Bartlett Canada editor Melanie Reffes France editor Brent Gregston Italy editor Renata Fontanelli UK editor Grace Banks US editor Gail Goldberg Beauty editor Charlotte Colquhoun

Art directors

Art and production director Maria Maalouf Art director Layla Naamani Guest art director Laurent El Khoury


Salma Abdelnour, Elgy Gillespie, Tala Habbal, Elizabeth Hudson, Anthony Klatt, Robert Landon, Marie Le Fort, MacKenzie Lewis Sabina Llewellyn-Davies, Kate Marris, Shirine Saad, Helen Kitti Smith, Rima Suqi, J. Michael Welton, Marianne Wisenthal


Fashion photographers David Bellemère, Raya Farhat, Marco Pietracupa Contributing photographers Mark Downey, Tony Elieh, Richard Gibson


Stylist Mouna Harati Guest stylists Amelianna Loiacono, Ylias Nacer

Illustrator Mélanie Dagher

Salma Abdelnour Salma Abdelnour is a freelance writer and editor. She has written for the New York Times and TIME, and has been an editor at Food & Wine, O, The Oprah Magazine and Time Out New York. Her memoir, Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut, was published in 2012 by Random House.

Anthony Klatt A magazine’s LA correspondent Anthony Klatt (pictured with Elton John) never misses star-studded events. He attends the Oscars, the Golden Globes and all glamorous LA ceremonies. This year, he co-chairs the Academy Awards Viewing Party with Hugh Jackman, Heidi Klum and Katy Perry.

Raya Farhat Award-winning, Beirutbased art director and photographer Raya Farhat has been a longtime contributor to A magazine. She’s the creative director of ad campaigns for Bernard Magrez’s Château Pape Clément (France) and Belussi Prosecco (Italy). She also contributes to L’Officiel-Levant.

David Bellemère Parisian David Bellemère discovered photography during his high school years, leading him to study visual arts after graduation. Since then, he’s developed a distinctive style that always celebrates beauty. His past clients have included Hermès, Lanvin and Chanel, among others.

Rawan Al Kayat Assistant Editor Rawan Al Kayat has been overseeing the smooth functioning of A magazine for two years now. She organizes fashion shoots, sources images and creates beauty pages. This issue of the magazine is her swan song, as she departs Aïshti and Lebanon to pursue her dreams.

Mark Downey Photographer Mark Downey is based in Portland, Oregon. His clients include TIME, National Geographic, Marie Claire and others. He was named “Photographer of The Year” in the United States by SATW and received a Lowell Thomas Travel Writing Award the same year.


Melhem Moussallem, Bouchra Boustany, Gaelle Dalati, Stephanie Missirian

Production and printing

Senior photo producer Fadi Maalouf Printing Dots: The Art of Printing

Responsible director Nasser Bitar

140 El Moutrane St., Fourth Floor, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon, tel. 961.1.974.444,,

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Banque Audi (Suisse), the first Lebanese private bank established in Switzerland since 1976, has the honour of being one of the partners in the exhibition “Fascination of Lebanon”, which is taking place at the Rath Museum in Geneva from November 30th 2012 until March 31st 2013. This exhibition is displaying 277 rare cultural, religious and archaeological artefacts all provided by the National Museum of Beirut and Lebanese private collectors. 18, Cours des Bastions 1205 Genève +41 (22) 704 11 11

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12/26/12 9:41 AM

fantasy in film Set along the Pacific Ocean, on the far western coast of the United States, Los Angeles is a city built on dreams, a place where fantasies of fame and fortune become reality. This issue of A magazine is dedicated to LA and to the movie industry, with stories, images and fashion inspired by the glamour of Hollywood â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the publication that captures the dream. Marwan Naaman

A cityscape

Just in Beirut

Elie Bekhazi (left)

Lebanese photographer Elie Bekhazi, a longtime contributor to A magazine, unveils his latest body of work in “White Spirit.” The exhibit features stunning photos of natural settings. On view until February 17 at Zinc, Sodeco, tel. 03.244.335.

Playroom (below)

Envisioned by Lebanese comedian Mario Bassil, Playroom is the country’s prime entertainment space. The place hosts performances that mix stand-up comedy with music, art exhibits and lots of surprises. Dora, tel. 70.757.500,

Oliviers & Co. (above)

Burberry (below)

Brighten up your wardrobe this Valentine’s Day with a splash of Burberry red. The special, love-themed collection includes bags, wallets, key chains and other stylish leather accessories. Available at Burberry and at Aïshti stores.

Platform 39 (right)

Design store Platform 39 sells furniture and objects created by designers from the Middle East and North Africa. The place also houses a cool coffee shop. Moutrane Ghophrael St., Fassouh, Ashrafieh, tel. 03.719.381.

Tory Burch (right)

American womenswear brand Tory Burch now has a stand-alone boutique in Beirut. The two-story space carries the entire Tory Burch collection, including ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, eyewear, jewelry and small leather goods. Abdel Malek St., Downtown Beirut, tel. 01.991.111. A 42

©Beirut Art Center, Elie Bekhazi, Blackrock, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Dior, Raya Farhat, Hotdog & Beyond, Oliviers & Co., Platform 39, Playroom

New boutique Oliviers & Co. offers everything under the sun that’s produced from olives. Products include olive oil, tapenades, mayonnaise, pasta sauces and even candles and scented sprays. Intabli Square, Beirut Souks, tel. 01.990.349,

A¥ zone (right)

Ladies, there’s a new place for you to stock up on the latest fashion by the likes of Melissa, True Religion, Napapijri, Citizens of Humanity and more. Aïzone now has a boutique just for women in the city center. Souk Tawile, Beirut Souks, tel. 01.991.111.

Bottega Veneta (below)

Collier Schorr, the American artist who made a name for herself photographing adolescent men and women, shot Bottega Veneta’s cruise 2013 ad campaign. The campaign features the women’s and men’s collections. Allenby St., Downtown Beirut, tel. 01.991.111.

Hotdog & Beyond (above)

Hotdog & Beyond now has a second outpost in Hamra (the first is at Le Mall Dbayeh). The cool eatery offers over 20 types of gourmet hot dogs and burgers in a vintage setting. Hamra St., tel. 70.788.989.

Eric Baudelaire (below)

“Now Here Then Elsewhere” is a solo exhibit by Eric Baudelaire. The show focuses on films, photos and works on paper revolving around the post-‘68 era of radicalism and the presence of the Japanese Red Army in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon. On view from February 7-April 6 at Beirut Art Center, Jisr al Wati, tel. 01.397.018,

Blackrock (above)

The latest steakhouse to open in Beirut, Blackrock serves up serious cuts of meat, creatively presented on volcanic rocks right at your table. Mar Mikhael, tel. 01.567.444.

Dior (right)

The iconic Poison scent from Dior now comes in a brand-new format: Hypnotic Poison Eau Secrète. This time around, François Demachy chose to create a fragrance that blends Oriental and fresh notes. Available at Aïshti stores. 43 A

A cityscape

Just in Beirut

Balenciaga (right)

Chanel (below)

Balenciaga has released a limited edition bag available only in the Middle East. The iconic bag is made from iridescent leather and comes in either blue or pink hues. There are only 25 pieces for sale in each color, so grab your own before someone else does! Available at Balenciaga and at Aïshti stores.

Peter Philips, creative director of Chanel, introduces Printemps Précieux de Chanel, a new makeup range for spring that emphasizes natural shades. The collection includes lipstick, nail polish, eye shadow and more. Available at Aïshti stores.

Samsung (below)

The ultimate smartphone for on-the-go creativity, Samsung’s Galaxy Note II offers a 5.5-inch screen with extreme quality for an incredible viewing experience. The slim body allows this nifty tool to fit just right in your hand. Visit

Ayman Fidda (above)

Diptyque (below)

Rose Duet offers a unique fragrance experience: two iconic Diptyque scents combined into one candle, making it a perfect gift this Valentine’s Day. Available at Aïshti stores.

Lei (left)

Popular bar Lei, set above Chez Sophie restaurant, has re-invented itself into a sophisticated nighttime venue featuring live musical performances, a tapas-inspired menu and the best, most inventive cocktails in Beirut. Mar Mikhael, tel. 01.444.090. A 44

©Artlab, Balenciaga, Diptyque, Chanel, Lei, Samsung

Syrian artist Ayman Fidda unveils his latest paintings in “Of Women and Flowers.” Fidda’s work explores the essence of a woman through lines that capture the body’s curves and its transparencies. On view until February 23 at Artlab, 1804 Rmeil Bldg., Gouraud St., Gemmayze, tel. 03.244.577,

A cityscape

Just in London

Mari Vanna (below)

Valentino (below)

Recreating the atmosphere and look of a Russian home in the ‘50s, Mari Vanna specializes in extravagant Russian cuisine. Soviet posters adorn the walls alongside old family pictures. 116 Knightsbridge, SW1, tel. 44.20.7225.3122,

Treat yourself to a day immersed in fashion. The “Valentino: Master of Couture” exhibit encourages visitors to strut the catwalk as well as witnessing Valentino’s majestically crafted designs. On view until March 3 at Somerset House, South Wing, The Strand, WC2, tel. 44.20.7845.4600,

Trelawny of the Wells (above)

Joe Wright casts his unique treatment over Victorian play Trelawny of the Wells, in a dynamic adaptation of the Pinero classic. On view from February 15-April 13 at the Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham St., Seven Dials, WC2, tel. 44.84.4871.7624,

The View from The Shard (below)

Cocomaya (left)

A mixture of glamour and decadence, Serena Rees’ new venture doubles as a fine chocolatier and bakery. Cocomaya is an essential Kensington pit stop. 12 Connaught St., W2, tel. 44.20.7706.2883,

B Store (above)

Londoners in the know rely on B Store to stock up on the latest, cutting-edge designs from Opening Ceremony, Ksubi and more. Created by Pablo Limon and Tom Finch, this store is a visual feast. Kingly St., W1, tel. 44.20.7734.0467, shop. A 46

©B Store, Cocomaya, Donmar Warehouse, Mari Vanna, Ian Shard, Valentino

The Shard’s latest venture, The View, offers spectacular 360-degree views over 40 miles. Be whisked up 72 floors high, and experience the city like never before. London Bridge Quarter, tel. 44.84.4499.7111,

A cityscape

Just in Paris H [ L V 0 D E L O O H (below)

5 RE H U W & RX U W U L JK W (left)

Designed by Monegasque duo Humbert & Poyet, Alexis Mabille’s boutique shimmers with bourgeois Parisian elegance. Parquet floors, a marble staircase and a series of mirrors give the space a great dose of Hollywood glamour. 11 Rue de Grenelle, seventh arrondissement, tel.,


Juxtaposing small monochromatic blocs of colors, American artist Robert Courtright composes abstract sceneries that shimmer with light. His paintings and collages have caught the eye of various art collectors. On view until March 9 at Galerie Dutko, 4 Rue de Bretonvilliers, fourth arrondissement, tel.,

- D P H V 3 D U L V (below)

The iconic St. James Paris hotel is now home to new chef Virginie Basselot, who used to work at Le Bristol under Michelin-starred chef Eric Frechon. Basselot’s signature dishes include monkfish with curried mussels. 43 Avenue Bugeaud, 16th arrondissement, tel.,

% H O P RQ W (below)

Alfred Bernardin’s new restaurant Belmont offers traditional yet innovative French cuisine with Lebanese, Spanish, Italian and Peruvian influences. The tapas-like dishes are served all day and into the late evening. Be sure to try the Saturday and Sunday brunch. 86 Rue Réaumur, second arrondissement, tel.,

7 æ O H V F RSH & D I æ (above)

Newly opened Télescope Café acts as a creative anchor: independent photographers and local artists regularly exhibit their work here, while high-flung coffee lovers from Montreal to Oslo stop in for the fragrant, filtered brew. 5 Rue Villedo, first arrondissement,

& K O Ræ (above)

Clare Waight Keller’s spring/summer 2013 collection for Chloé exudes feminine confidence. The outfits range from cropped to mid-length to long and showcase lots of layering. 44 Avenue Montaigne, eighth arrondissement, tel., A 48

©Virginie Basselot/St. James Paris, Chloé, Thomas Deron/Belmont, Robert Courtright, Alexis Mabille, Télescope Café


A cityscape

Just in Milan

Ermenegildo Zegna (left)

A well-defined silhouette is the mainstay of Ermenegildo Zegna’s spring/summer 2013 collection. The look is underscored by jackets with sober saddle shoulders, higher waistlines and wide lapels.

P.A.R.O.S.H (below)

December saw the opening of the spectacular P.A.R.O.S.H. flagship boutique. Company founder Paolo Rossello explains that his clothes “reinterpret a modern Grace Kelly in Manhattan.” 14 Via Santo Spirito,

Etnia Barcelona (above)

Etnia Barcelona’s colored eyewear has finally arrived in Italy. Be sure to check out the limited edition Paris-Tokyo collection, designed by Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki. The glasses are available at select Milan boutiques. Visit

Cinque (below)

Pisacco (right)

New restaurant and bar Pisacco is the cooking haven of Michelin-starred chef Andrea Berton. Even simple dishes, like the spaghetti with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cream and the grilled squid with onion, are exceptional. 48 Via Solferino, tel. 39.02.9176.5472, A 50

Mercatino Penelope (right)

A true vintage temple, Mercatino Penelope carries everything from chairs and designer tables to stylish hats and entire collections of Vuitton trunks and Hermès handbags. 6 Via Macedonio Melloni, tel. 39.02.3968.0588,

©Cinque, Etnia Barcelona, Mercatino Penelope, P.A.R.O.S.H., Pisacco, Ermenegildo Zegna

Opened last fall by Azzurra Mitolo and Sara Ineguale, Cinque is a stylish outlet store that offers Italian and international designer wear and accessories at heavily discounted prices. 5 Via Plinio, tel. 39.345.290.7306.

A cityscape

Just in New York

16 Handles (above)

Frozen yogurt is not culture! Or is it? 16 Handles is New York’s trendiest frozen yogurt provider, offering 16 different flavors each and every day, complete with a variety of toppings. Check out the new Soho flagship. 240 Lafayette St.,

Designing Tomorrow (below)

Versace (above)

Bread lines and raging unemployment were a harsh reality during the Great Depression, but the world’s fairs of the ‘30s provided a spectacular diversion. The exhibit “Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the ‘30s,” focuses on six American world fairs that provided a vision of a brighter future. On view until March 31 at the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave., tel. 1.212.534.1672,

Versace recently opened its first store in Downtown New York. Set in Soho, the new space carries Versace’s offerings for men and women, as well as limited-edition collections designed in collaboration with guest curators. 160 Mercer St., tel. 1.212.966.8111,

Diane von Furstenberg (above)

Diane von Furstenberg’s spring/summer 2013 collection shimmers with a bohemian spirit. Check out the colorful day and evening dresses and the narrowly cut pants. Two locations: 874 Washington St., tel. 1.646.486.4800, and 135 Wooster St., tel. 1.212.542.5754,

Although Pop art often calls to mind a celebration of postwar consumer culture, the “Sinister Pop” exhibit focuses on Pop’s darker side, its distortion and critique of the American dream. Works by the likes of Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol are featured. On view until March 31 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Ave., tel. 1.212.570.3600,

Raymi (left)

Richard Sandoval’s restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Peruvian cuisine. The place revolves around a central ceviche bar that offers fresh seafood spiked with Peruvian spices and ingredients. 43 W. 24th St., tel. 1.212.929.1200, A 52

©16 Handles, Judith Bernstein, Museum of the City of New York, Raymi, Versace, Diane von Furstenberg

Sinister Pop (below)

Just in New Orleans

Forever (below)

RÍ evolution (left)

The New Orleans Museum of Art commissioned Nigerian artist Odili Donald Odita to create “Forever,” a breathtaking mural that graces the museum’s lobby until October 7. One Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park, tel. 1.504.658.4100,

Celebrated chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto are the culinary forces behind R’evolution, a new restaurant that serves modern interpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisines. The dishes are prepared with fresh local ingredients. 777 Bienville St., tel. 1.504.553.2277,

& DI æ ' X 0 RQ G H (below)

Borgne (below)

One of New Orleans’ best new restaurants, Borgne is the creative space of chef Brian Landry, who grew up fishing on Lake Borgne and is passionate about Louisiana seafood. Specialties include oyster spaghetti, fish in a bag and seared jumbo shrimp. 601 Loyola Ave., tel. 1.504.613.3860,

New Orleans’ most famous coffeehouse, Café Du Monde has been serving delectable beignets and coffee laced with chicory since 1862. Open 24 hours a day. 800 Decatur St., tel. 1.504.525.4544,

Plantation tours (below)

6D W V X P D& DI æ (below)

Trendy eatery Satsuma Café recently opened a second location Uptown. The place serves breakfast and lunch as well as fresh specialty juices. Try the Sweet Tart juice, made from apple, lemon, cucumber, orange and fennel. 7901 Maple St., tel. 1.504.309.5557,

©Borgne, New Orleans Museum of Art, R’evolution, Satsuma Café

No visit to New Orleans would be complete without a visit to the splendidly preserved antebellum mansions lining the historic River Road. Tailor-made tours that include a stop at Oak Alley plantation (pictured here) will allow you to live out all of your Gone with the Wind fantasies. Visit

53 A

A cityscape

Just in Los Angeles Rag & Bone (left)

The Parish (right)

Ben Jones: The Video (above)

Chef Casey Lane offers up superior gastropub fare at The Parish. His specialties include poutine fried oysters, buttermilk fried chicken and pork head pot pie. 840 S. Spring St., tel.,

This spectacular installation showcases new videos by artist Ben Jones. Jones has worked with traditional art media like painting, drawing and sculpture, and he’s animated music videos and produced web art, cartoons and music. On view until February 24 at MOCA Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, tel. 1.310.657.0800,

Llyn Foulkes (below)

This career retrospective is devoted to the work of artist and musician Llyn Foulkes. His diverse body of work includes singularly painted landscapes, mixedmedia constructions, deeply disturbing portraits and narrative tableaux. On view from February 3-May 19 at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., tel. 1.310.443.7000,

7 For All Mankind (above)

LA denim brand 7 For All Mankind has introduced a limited edition line of colored jeans for men. Apricot, sky blue, ice gray and mint green are four key spring/summer shades. 100 S. Robertson Blvd., tel. 1.310.385.9540, A 54

Marimekko (above)

Finnish company Marimekko unveiled its new Beverly Hills store. The retailer carries home accessories, apparel, fashion accessories and a stupendous variety of fabrics. 370 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, tel. 1.310.299.2528,

©7 for all Mankind, citizens of humanity, noby clark, fat cow, llyn foulkes, anthony klatt, Mr. chow, the parish, rag & bone, Mike vensel, warner bros entertainment, lyn winter

This largest Rag & Bone store in the world, opened at the end of 2012, carries men’s and women’s collections as well as shoes and accessories on the ground level. The upper floor is both a showroom and an event space. 8533 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, tel. 1.424.245.4816,

LA Fashion Week (left)

Striving to create a special niche for itself among the world’s leading fashion events, LA Fashion Week provides a terrific showcase of LA clothes and accessories. Designs on show include those by Mike Vensel (pictured here), Kate Swim and Anthony Franco. March 9-16,

Mr. Chow (below)

Mr. Chow, the upscale Chinese restaurant with branches in London, New York, Miami and Beverly Hills, just opened a stylish new location in Malibu. The 45-year-old institution specializes in Beijing-inspired dishes. Malibu Country Mart, 3835 Cross Creek Rd., tel. 1.310.456.7600,

Stanley Kubrick (above)

This is the first retrospective exhibit of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s work in the United States. The show evokes singular moments from Kubrick’s films for those who are familiar with them, and serves as an introduction for those who aren’t. On view until June 30 at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., tel. 1.323.857.6000,

The Fat Cow (below)

Gordon Ramsay’s latest venture is reminiscent of a rustic American roadhouse eatery. Menu specials include a kobe beef burger and a spicy sausage, burrata and fennel pizza. Be sure to sample a frozen dessert treat at Moo Bar, an old-time ice cream counter. The Grove, 189 The Grove Dr., tel. 1.323.965.1020,

Citizens of Humanity (right)

Inspired by Paris in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the spring/summer 2013 collection from Citizens of Humanity offers extraordinary jeans as well as coveted new pieces like yellow cut-off shorts and a light, ethereal jumpsuit. Available at select LA retailers, including Curve, Switch, Ron Herman, Fred Segal and more,

Backbeat (right)

Set in 1960, Backbeat is an engaging musical that tells the story of Liverpool’s most famous export, The Beatles. The show features the rock ‘n’ roll classics that The Beatles cut their teeth on, including “Twist and Shout” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.” Running until March 1 at the Ahmanson Theater, 135 N. Grand Ave., tel. 1.213.628.2772, 55 A

A cityscape

Just in Montreal

Peru (left)

Curated by experts in archaeology and art history, “Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon” is an impressive collection of pre-Columbian treasures and masterpieces exhibited for the first time outside of Peru. On view from February 2-June 16 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, tel. 1.514.285.1600, 1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest,

7 K æ Æ W U H 5 LD O W R(below)

/ H 3 RLV3 H Q F K æ (above)

Reminiscent of Paris in the ‘40s, Le Pois Penché is not for the faint of heart, with a menu of comfort food like eggs benedict with French fries dipped in truffle oil. 1230 Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest, tel. 514 667 5055,

Voro (below)

Lorded over by Montreal chef Jesse MacDonald, Voro is a sassy bistro with Mediterranean-inspired specialties, like chicken tajine with preserved lemons. 275 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, tel. 1514.509.1341,

Lynne Cohen (above)

“The Photographs of Lynne Cohen” showcases the finest work of this CanadianAmerican artist. Behind the camera for more than three decades, Cohen got her start as a printmaker and sculptor. On view from February 7-April 28 at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, tel. 1.514.847.6226, 185 Rue Ste. Catherine Ouest, A 56

©Lynne Cohen, Melanie Reffes, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Voro

Built in 1923 by famed architect Louis-Raoul Gariépy, Théâtre Rialto is back in business following renovations that added state-ofthe-art sound and lighting and seating for 800 patrons of the arts. 5723 Avenue du Parc, tel. 1.514.268.7069,

PuraVida Phoenix Design

Sanitaryware, bathroom furniture, bathtubs, shower trays, wellness products and accessories: Duravit has everything you need to make life in the bathroom a little more beautiful. More info at Georges Khoury & Co., Bauchrieh, Phone 01 90 11 00, Fax 01 90 22 00,,

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22.02.2010 10:59:51 Uhr

A cityscape

Just in Sydney

QT Sydney (right)

Take two of Sydney’s most iconic buildings – the State Theater and the ‘30s Gowings department store – uplift them with a “retrofitted meets contemporary design” twist and you’ll get Australia’s first Design Hotel: QT Sydney. 49 Market St., tel. 61.2.8262.0000,

Marimekko (right)

Finnish company Marimekko’s recently opened flagship store features boldly colored patterns and home accessories and a clothing line that includes kids’ apparel. 66 King St., tel. 61.2.9299.0672,

The Bridge Room (above)

Set inside a former bank and designed by Nick Tobias, The Bridge Room operates under chef Ross Lusted’s supervision. The menu focuses on seasonal, pan-European dishes. 44 Bridge St., tel. 61.2.9247.7000, London-based artist Anish Kapoor is the subject of this dramatic exhibit. His works are displayed over two floors and include installations from his early career until the present day. On view until April 1 at MCA, 140 George St., tel. 61.2.9245.2400,

The Sailors Club (below)

Revamped by interior designer Jacqui Lewis, The Sailors Club is split into a boat-like dining room, where seafood and oysters are a must, and a retrofitted informal lounge, where one can dine at all hours. 594 New South Head Rd., Rose Bay, tel. 61.2.9327.6561,

Stay Bondi (above)

Nested in Bondi Beach, the newly designed Stay Bondi houses are rental retreats minutes away from the famous strip of sand. The three-bedroom apartments were created by outdoor furniture and landscape design company Robert Plumb. Visit A 58

©Michele Aboud, Anish Kapoor, Marimekko, Robert Plumb, QT, The Sailors Club

Anish Kapoor (below)

A誰shti, Downtown Beirut 01. 99 11 11

A cityscape

Just in Dubai

Michael Kors jewelry (right)

Hummingbird Bakery (below)

For the first time, the Michael Kors baubles go global. Evoking the house’s timeless glamour, pieces in gold, silver and rose gold are embellished with leather, horn and semiprecious stones. Paris Gallery,

Forget your Magnolia, Hummingbird is the new kid on the cupcake block. This hugely successful London export is crammed with delicious treats, headlined by their Red Velvet Cupcake. Dubai Mall,

Jack Wills (left)

The quintessentially British, off-duty clothing company arrives in the United Arab Emirates with a Dubai flagship. Military, country and formal wear references are blended together to create a wardrobe worthy of a true English eccentric. Dubai Mall,

Tag Heuer (left)

The show from award-winning, GermanIranian, multimedia artist Anahita Razmi, “Automatic Assembly Actions,” explores the distinctions between art and society. On view until March 14 at Carbon 12, A1 Quoz 1, Street 8, Alserkal Ave., Warehouse D37, tel. 971.4.340.6016,

Chanel (above)

Chanel’s chic lands at Level Shoe District, with the opening of the label’s dedicated accessories corner. A luxurious monochrome and gold interior by New York-based architect Peter Marino provides the perfect backdrop for the elegant creations. Dubai Mall, A 60

©Carbon 12, Chanel, Humingbird Bakery, michael kors, Tag Heuer, Jack Wills

Anahita Razmi (below)

Seven years on, the Swiss luxury watch specialists relaunch their original Middle East boutique with a sumptuous new interior design, fitting of the brand’s illustrious credentials. BurJuman,

Untitled, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm

has the pleasure to invite you to the exhibitions of

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A playground _ movies

Gotta be the best

By May Farah

Which movie will walk away with this year’s Best Picture Oscar?

Every year, during the pre-Oscar nomination period, there are cries lamenting the lack of quality pictures. Then, all of a sudden, there are too many, and a favorite inevitably gets overlooked. To avoid disappointing, the Academy has increased the number of Best Picture nominees – this year there are nine. What are their chances to nab top honors?


This French film, with two giants of the French cinema – Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva – in the leads, tells the story of a couple, both in their 80s, in their final days. Amour, which was also nominated as Best Foreign Picture, has been called a love story, and a “masterpiece about life, death and everything in between,” a beloved theme of the Academy. Prediction: Amour will walk away with the Best Foreign Picture statue.


Inspired by actual events of the 1979 American Hostage crisis, during the height of the Iranian Revolution, Argo stars Ben Affleck, who also directed. Affleck plays a CIA agent who creates a fake Hollywood film to rescue six American diplomats who escaped the Tehran Embassy takeover by Iranian militants and found refuge at the Canadian ambassador’s home. Prediction: No director nomination generally means no best picture win. But, if the Golden Globes are any indication (and they generally are), then Argo could take home the Oscar.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Set in a Southern Louisiana bayou community facing various cataclysms of epic proportions, Beasts of the Southern Wild tells the tale of a young six-year old girl who demonstrates courage and love to save her ailing father, her sinking home, her world and her reality. Prediction: If it’s a night of surprises, this could be the tiny film that could, given the Academy’s penchant for low-budget critical hits. A 74

Django Unchained

From director Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained takes place in the South during the antebellum era and stars Jamie Foxx in the title role. Foxx plays a slave who, at the request of a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), turns to bounty hunting in exchange for his freedom, and to rescue his wife who belongs to a brutal Mississippi plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Prediction: 1: This was the dark horse nomination. 2. No Best Director nomination generally means no Best Picture win.

/ H V 0 LV æ UDE O H V

Nineteenth century France is the setting for this motion-picture adaptation of the hugely successfully musical about love, sacrifice, passion and redemption. Directed by Tom Hopper (who won an Oscar for The King’s Speech), the movie stars Hugh Jackman, as ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Prediction: Les Misérables has it all, the stars, the drama, the period sets and costumes. But, so do Lincoln and Argo, stories closer to American hearts.

Life of Pi

Based on the bestselling and award-winning novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi is a comingof-age story about a zookeeper’s son, who survives a shipwreck for 227 days on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. His only companions: a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger that goes by the name Richard Parker. Directed by Ang Lee. Prediction: It got a heap of nominations (11), but not one for acting and not too much enthusiasm. 75 A

A playground _ movies


Steven Spielberg directs this period drama, which received 12 nominations, the highest this year, about the 16th president’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) tumultuous final months in office, as he tries to unite America, end the war and abolish slavery. Prediction: A film about an admired president and a pivotal moment in American history makes Lincoln the frontrunner for the Oscar. But Spielberg isn’t a favorite among the Academy.

Silver Linings Playbook

After spending eight months in a mental institution and losing everything – his wife, his job, his house – a man (Bradley Cooper) moves back in with his parents as he tries to rebuild his life and win his wife back. Along comes a mysterious woman (Jennifer Lawrence), with her own problems, to complicate matters. Prediction: This is lighter fare, and lighter fare/comedies seldom win Oscars.

Zero Dark Thirty

Billed as “the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man,” Zero Dark Thirty – which refers to a military term for 30 minutes after midnight – chronicles the decade-long hunt to find and eliminate Osama Bin Laden, and his ultimate capture and death by the Navy SEALS in May 2011. Prediction: 1. The film was surrounded by controversy for its alleged pro-torture stance and questionable access to classified material. 2. No Best Director nomination, so its chances of winning are slim. A 76


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A playground _ movies

Killing the rom-com By Serena Makofsky

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Midnight

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now

Make way for a new breed of Hollywood films It died a slow death and, unlike Jennifer Aniston and Justin Timberlake, it wasn’t pretty. It was, however, cute, like the impish Audrey Tautou in Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain and Michael Cera in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Blame these artsy urbanites, walking the streets of Manhattan and Paris, listening to hipster soundtracks, for making Hollywood rom-coms look as mushy as yesterday’s cornflakes. From the ashes of She’s All That, a new genre has risen – the indie rom-com. This newish breed of movies is not necessarily romantic, though sex is involved; they are often not quite comedies (at least not in a funny

A 78

Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha

Anna Kendrick stars in Drinking Buddies

ha-ha way); and they might not even meet your neighborhood film school student’s definition of “indie” in regard to funding or distribution, though the buzzwords Sundance and Kickstarter pop up a lot. The necessary ingredient in an indie rom-com is edge, created by some combination of melancholy music, protagonists with art jobs and loft dwellings, urban backdrops, handheld camera footage, cartoon interludes and a less-than-tidy ending that cuts to black. Several 2013 films promise to stretch the indie rom-com further away from Hollywood homogeneity. First up is Before Midnight, directed by Richard “I was mumblecore before mumblecore was cool” Linklater. In an interview about the upcoming film, Ethan Hawke was coy about what will happen in the ambling, on-again off-again relationship between Jesse (Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy), only revealing, “We want to make the fans happy and give them what they want, and at the same time, we can’t make everyone happy.” This is the third in a trilogy of films that began with Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). From Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the screenwriters who brought you (500) Days of Summer, comes The Spectacular Now. The story concerns a high school student who decides to save an extreme introvert from social extinction. Sure, Eat, Pray, Love made you swear you’d never watch another soul-makeover movie, but this hotly awaited adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel premiered at Sundance, where critics deemed it “quirky.” An offbeat, yet still citified, setting is what sets the tone in Drinking Buddies. Director Joe Swanburg has moved past those SXSW screenings and into some actual production values. The film stars Anna Kendrick and takes place at a Chicago brewery, where a mutual love of craft beer amps up messy romantic tension between coworkers. Messiness also prevails in Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, a sweet, awkward film about a young woman who moves to New York and apprentices in a post-modern dance company. The real story is how actress Greta Gerwig makes her character radiate joy over the spontaneity and surprising beauty of city life. It breathes new life into the indie film trope of finding your bliss while being overeducated and underemployed. A 79

A playground _ tv

LA on the small screen

By Leslie Jirsa

TV shows set in the City of Angels

The floorplan of the house in the ‘70s TV show The Brady Bunch is etched into many a TV lover’s soul. The glorious central staircase, the sunken living room, the astro turf-perfect grass in the backyard, the sunny suburban street – that house is iconic, important and held the precious lives of a weird, beloved family. It also screams quintessential suburban Los Angeles, a place of beauty, oddity, sunshine and style. There are a lot more sun-splashed TV sets where that came from, from the stucco duplex on Melrose Place and the scorching hot freeways on CHiPs to the commanding


Babe-obsessed Hank Moody is a bestselling author with writer’s block, a somewhat functional brand of substance abuse and a raging infidelity streak. He is therefore perfectly situated in Venice Beach, where the edgy, hip Angelenos set up shop. The Los Angeles in Californication is riddled with glorious Los Angeles architectural porn – a parade of overtly modern homes, open, breezy and sleek, with elegant impractical furnishings, panoramic windows, sustainable wood, and courtyards of coi and lap pools. These palaces mingle with the gritty alleyways and funky street décor of true Venice, a visual reminder that Moody himself has a dangerous edge, in the midst of fame, wealth and a sea of beautiful women. A 80

lifeguard towers on Baywatch and the swaying palms of Beverly Hills 90210. TV loves Los Angeles. And aside from reasons of basic convenience, it should. Unlike New York or London, iconic Los Angeles isn’t just one image. The city can make a costume change faster than you can say “Dragnet” – the solitary architectural feat of a Malibu mansion, the twirly, quirky roads of Laurel Canyon, formally dressed Downtown, the austere leafy greens of Pasadena. Sure, bikinis, swimming pools and convertibles are ubiquitous, but LA itself dresses up in a lot of different ways.

Modern Family

There are three different LA sets for each of these three modern families, each one meticulously designed to represent the lives inside. Wealthy older Jay Pritchett lives with his beautiful, volatile, much younger Colombian wife and her son, in a stunning, modern LA home. His daughter, Claire is a homemaker married to a goofy real estate salesman with three children and a two-story colonial on a suburban LA tree-lined block. His other son, a lawyer, lives with his gay partner and adopted daughter in a tastefully designed Spanish-style condo. Each is a version of Los Angeles – the sleek, the upper middle class homey classic and the vintage “classy downscale.” And with that distinction drawn before anyone even opens their mouths, we’re ready to watch very different worlds collide.


The great irony of the Los Angeles backdrop for Matt LeBlanc’s hit comedy Episodes is that most of it is shot in London. That’s right, even the pool parties! Of course, there are some authentic outside shots, but it’s the BBC after all; an unreasonable commute. And in a rather sweet twist of fate, Los Angeles herself is recreated elsewhere. It’s well done and with a bit of cheeky exaggeration in places that punctuate the story’s premise: a British husband-and-wife production team comes to Los Angeles to create an American version of their Brit hit TV series, only to watch it (and themselves) be twisted by the outrageous LA production practice.


Here are some lyrics for the classic opening song for Showtime’s Weeds: Little boxes on the hillside Little boxes made of ticky tacky Little boxes on the hillside Little boxes all the same. It’s a profoundly perfect opening for a show that pays big homage (while mocking) the world’s most iconic suburban sprawl, with the juicy exception that in one of those ticky tacky little boxes is a cookie-baking, PTAinvolved housewife/marijuana dealer, with ties to both the DEA and Mexican drug cartel. LA’s seedy underbelly has long been the rich stuff of TV drama, but not always in picture perfect, fountain-laden, bright and sunny Stevenson Ranch, California. 81 A

A playground _ music


It has been the year of Adele for a few years, so she was a natural for making the new James Bond movie soar. According to title track producer Paul Epworth, they created something “dark and final,” but also conveyed “a sense of rebirth.” The film’s score bridges old school Bond with new instrumentation.

Mood music


Composer Nathan Johnson spent a month wandering around New Orleans, collecting ambient sounds such as footsteps on metal stairways. He manipulated his recordings so they sounded like otherworldly instruments. It’s the ideal sonic backdrop for this sci-fi crime thriller, generating a raw energy rather than the mechanical cool typically found in the genre.

Slumdog Millionaire

Bollywood meets hip-hop in this soundtrack by A.R. Rahman, who the BBC calls the Mozart of Madras. Genre-bending aside, these beats slam. You’ve got M.I.A. showing up on “O…Saya” 10 minutes in, and also later on for “Paper Planes.” Rahman took home an Oscar for “Jai Ho,” which has spot-on vocals by Sukhvinder Singh.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

The film has its haters, but the story of Scott’s fictional garage band Sex Bob-omb prompted messy, fun songs by Beck, including “Garbage Truck” and “Threshold.” A top pick from the 18-song soundtrack is Metric’s synth-heavy “Black Sheep.” Plumtree does the title track in fuzzy ‘90s guitar style, while Beachwood Sparks covers Sade’s “By Your Side.”

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist The Twilight Saga New Moon

Here’s another case of a stellar soundtrack for a meh movie. This collection of indie and alternative rock songs – by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Lykke Li, Band of Skulls, Sea Wolf, OK Go, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver and Muse – follows the love, heartbreak and reunion of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. A 82

One of the trademarks of earning indie cred is looking like you didn’t even try. Director Peter Sollett threw this rule out the window, assembling a soundtrack featuring, in his words, “the best music you haven’t heard yet.” This translates to Chris Bell’s melancholy “Speed of Sound,” Devendra Banhart going upbeat with “Love,” and Vampire Weekend’s lush “Ottoman.”

A誰shti, 71 El-Moutrane Street. Tel.: 01.991111 A誰shti Seaside, Jal el Dib. Tel.: 04.717716 LESILLA.COM

A playground _ books

Movie Game Book

A film lover’s delight, the Movie Game Book, published by Assouline, seriously tests your knowledge of classic as well as recent flicks

The Well-Lived Life

Flipping through the pages

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of iconic publication House & Garden, Assouline’s The Well-Lived Life documents America’s evolution in matters of house, home and garden. The lush, colorful book captures the imagination behind American house interiors and examines the changing definition of home.


Amy Sacco, who rose to fame when she opened the iconic New York nightclub Bungalow 8 (featured in Sex and the City and Gossip Girl) and who recently unveiled New York hotspot No. 8, shares her favorite drink recipes in Assouline’s Cocktails.

Best Movies of the ï 70s

Taking a loving look at the most memorable films of the ‘70s, including Star Wars, Jaws, The Exorcist, American Graffiti and The Godfather, Jürgen Müller’s book is heavy on nostalgia. The Taschen book also includes a complete Academy Award list for the decade.

This glorious volume provides a photographic homage to America’s most captivating city. Through breathtaking images, Los Angeles traces the city’s development, from the real estate boom of the 1880s, through the early days of Hollywood and up to the present day.

A 84

1000 Tattoos

A tribute to body art, Taschen’s 1000 Tattoos is a must for those who have one or more tattoos, and for those who are thinking of getting one. See what lengths some people have gone to in order to decorate their bodies. Available at Aïshti stores.

©Assouline, Raya Farhat

Los Angeles

A誰shti Downtown Beirut 01. 99 11 11

A fashion _ french labels

A stranger in Gaul By MacKenzie Lewis

The majority of France’s great fashion houses are now headed by foreigners

Alexander Wang, Balenciaga’s new creative director

Last November, it was announced that Taiwanese-American Alexander Wang would succeed the French-born Nicolas Ghesquière as creative director at Balenciaga. The 29-yearold Wang was something of a wunderkind when he broke onto the fashion scene in 2007 with his disheveled-chic aesthetic. He’s certainly a daring choice for a brand built on refined, feminine designs. But with his New York heritage, is Wang really the right choice?

Raf Simons, creative director at Dior

A 86

While it’s a good question, it’s certainly not a new one. After all, the majority of brands we identify as quintessentially French are today run by designers more likely to greet you with an ‘ello or a guten tag than a bonjour. Three decades ago, German Karl Lagerfeld moved into the studio once occupied by Coco Chanel. Moroccan-born Israeli designer Alber Elbaz, who spent over a decade in New York City before relocating to France and

©AFP/Getty Images, Céline, Dior, Fairchild Photo Service/Condé Nast/Corbis, Lanvin

It was 1936 when Cristóbal Balenciaga first showed a couture collection in Paris. The French, discerning and fickle as they are, instantly fell for the designer, who later became a symbol of the exacting standards of Parisian ateliers. It wasn’t long before the house Balenciaga built was synonymous with French fashion itself. Today the brand’s roots are firmly planted in the City of Light – but its new driving force left his heart in Manhattan.

Saint Laurent’s creative director, Hedi Slimane

Alber Elbaz, creative director at Lanvin

finding work alongside Yves Saint Laurent, soon followed; Elbaz is now creative director at Lanvin. American Marc Jacobs made the transition from New York to France seamlessly when he was hired at Louis Vuitton in 1997. And although he was born in France, Saint Laurent’s current creative director Hedi Slimane is of Italian-Tunisian descent. At Chloé and Céline, Clare Waight Keller and Phoebe Philo – both from England – have injected the prestigious brands they head with a carefree cool that’s innately British. And the foreign invasion shows no signs of slowing: right before the Wang announcement, Raf Simons left his native Belgium for a new post at Dior.

Céline’s creative director, Phoebe Philo

So what accounts for this willingness to hand over the reigns of French fashion to someone still learning the country’s national anthem? Paris earned its reputation not only because the capital cultivated style, but also because it affirmed its position as the arbiter of fashion. As far back as the 1670s, looks from the royal court were being leaked to the masses through the press. Louis XIV and his wellheeled courtiers were dictating the trends, and everyone else was left to follow them. By the time Balenciaga came on the scene nearly 300 years later, Paris had staked its claim as the global fashion capital. 87 A

A fashion _ french labels

And then the world was introduced to commercial airlines, credit cards and the Internet. With globalization came French boutiques as far flung as Bangkok and international shipping, fashion blogs and streaming runway shows. As fashion is democratized and decentralized, a designer’s nationality seems increasingly irrelevant. Except, of course, when it isn’t. There is speculation that Wang’s appointment was influenced by his fluency in Mandarin, the most widely spoken language in China. China, perhaps not coincidentally, is one of Balenciaga’s fastest growing markets. It will be much easier for the brand to court a market its head designer can identify with. Not only is the French fashion house willing to overlook Wang’s absence of a passeport, it may actually be something of a benefit as the house extends its reach.

Karl Lagerfeld, head designer and creative director at Chanel

Wang will undoubtedly attract new clients to the iconic brand, but one question still lingers: will a foreign designer dilute the identity of a French house? If Balenciaga is a reliable case study, it’s unlikely. Despite being crowned the “king of Parisian fashion,” Cristóbal Balenciaga was, in fact, Spanish. On the chance that history repeats itself, there might be a more pressing question: how long until America loses its claim to Wang? Spain may reluctantly give up the answer.

Marc Jacobs, creative director at Louis Vuitton

A 88

©Chanel, Chloé, Fairchild Photo Service/Condé Nast/Corbis, Louis Vuitton

Chloé’s creative director, Clare Waight Keller


A fashion _ new york

That Manhattan sashay By Tala Habbal

Check out New York’s spring 2013 runways Tory Burch

Jenny Packham

Jenny Packham

A 90

Tory Burch Tory Burch’s spring/ summer 2013 collection, like everything the designer creates, was vibrant, bright and entertainingly upbeat. Fresh best describes the collection of preppy bohemian-style pieces combining bold hues of coral, yellow and blue with neutral cream-colored tones. Long and knee-length billowy patterned dresses were mixed with gorgeously bold ethnic

©Tory Burch, Fotini, Jenny Packham, Diane von Furstenberg

New York City’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week has quickly become one of the hottest tickets on the fashion week circuit, kicking off the global calendar of fashion weeks. Twice a year, fashionistas, editors, buyers, celebrities, photographers, bloggers and designers alike flock to the city to view the new collections by day and attend fabulous fashion parties by night. Last September, Lincoln Center was abuzz as designers showcased their spring/summer 2013 collections.

but the bright yellow, orange and polka-dot dresses added an unexpected dose of playfulness to the collection.


Diane von Furstenberg


Tory Burch

Diane von Furstenberg

embellishments and over-thetop accessories. Structured tops, jackets and dresses resembled authentic handwoven baskets, while shorts and matching tailored jackets paired with feminine loafers were something out of a luxurious African safari. Every garment in the collection succeeded in highlighting the brand’s globally inspired aesthetic, all the while making you want to travel the world, wearing every single one. Jenny Packham Jordana Brewster, Minka Kelley and Lauren Conrad may have been seated front row at Jenny Packham’s spring/summer 2013 show, but the moment the lights turned on, all eyes were on the sequined, beaded and gold-encrusted gowns that made up Packham’s gorgeously glam, Vegas-inspired collection. Intricately beaded pastel-hued sheath dresses, monochromatic geometric prints, sparkling swinging minis and full-length crepe gowns strategically adorned with Swarovski crystals dazzled on the runway. A neutral color palette reigned supreme,

Fotini New York-based, Greek/ Egyptian label Fotini may be a newcomer on the fashion scene, but the spring/summer 2013 presentation at Lincoln Center had guests in awe of their impressive craftsmanship and attention to detail. Inspired by the French countryside and 18thcentury French painters, the collection eluded to everything light, seductive and feminine, with an understated color palette of light pink, lavender, taupe and white accents. Touches of beading and hand-cut petal embellishments on organza, silk chiffon and lace fabrics were elegant yet didn’t take away from the collection’s contemporary feel. While the majority of pieces were monochrome, the countryside found its way onto evening gowns and cocktail dresses in the form of the signature wisteria print. Diane von Furstenberg Fashion heavy-hitters Oscar de la Renta and Sarah Jessica Parker showed support for their good friend Diane von Furstenberg as they sat front row at one of the most jampacked and anticipated shows of the week. Palazzo, Diane von Furstenberg’s spring/summer 2013 collection, embodied the free spirit of a princess turned bohemian gypsy, exploring the world and all it has to offer. The beautifully constructed pieces were feminine, colorful and most importantly, exuded confidence. Notably missing were Von Furstenberg’s signature wrap dresses, replaced this season with kaftans and dresses paired over narrow trousers, creating a long and lean shape. Boldly patterned georgette jumpsuits, crepe jackets, skirts and long billowy dresses in bright shades of lime, turquoise and bright red were mixed with embellishments ranging from subtle sequins, to ‘70s-reminiscent metal hardware. A 91

A fashion _ london

Holly Fult

Bora Aksu

Ashley isham

As game-changers go, London Fashion Week (LFW) is up there with the big guns. No longer the struggling sibling of Milan, Paris and New York, LFW has established itself as a major player internationally.

reminiscent of the pomp of traditional British tea parties of that era, these dresses provide a much-desired edge to summer’s inevitable pretty frock option. Fans of the femininity in the spring collections won’t be disappointed by Erdem’s offering: his show formula of prettiness meets subtle tonguein-cheek details, such as sheer lace dresses embroidered with fluro petals, earned him status as the hottest ticket in town.

Offbeat Brits UK designers take an eccentric turn this spring

A 92

Tactile, effervescent with life, yet tough, spring/summer 2013’s take on the traditional spring floral is a strong move forward from last year’s offering. Now, the look is all about the rebel flower. Holly Fulton pioneered this trend: her pretty tea dresses were given a capricious and upfront twist, with bold oversized blooms adorning heavily structured dresses designed to look like constrictive Victorian corsetry. Intentionally

There was a truly British sense of anarchism in the spring/summer 2013 shows. The punk-rock spirit of ‘70s London was revived for the modern generation in the graphic graffiti prints at Louise

©Bora Aksu, JW Anderson, Erdem, Holly Fult, Louise Gray, Ashley Isham

By Grace Banks


JW Anderson

Louise Gray

Gray – styled with oversized mirror earrings and glamorous color-clash socks, this isn’t fashion for the fainthearted. Glasgow School of Art student Gray has owned spring/summer 2013’s eccentricity. Offsetting pretty skirts and blouses with embellishment, bold print and dramatic proportions of micro to macro, this brand of chic is both pretty and ugly, fashion at its most audacious and confident.

told us that the prim and proper feel of last spring is here for another season.

prints, her bubble-gum hued beachwear was transformed into statement fashion.

LFW never fails to deliver a wild child designer. This season it was JW Anderson. Bursting onto the fashion stratosphere last summer, Anderson introduced the world to pajama dressing. His collection for spring/summer 2013 maintained the idea of bringing casual home dressing into the public space, with a high-octane luxurious shimmer. Silk embroidered pajama suits in an array of deluxe British fabrics? Not quite the dress-down house looks we’re used to.

Conversational pieces were a key motif at LFW, as dynamic patterns took on a life of their own. Erdem, for instance, redefined the traditional animal print trend with his arrestingly chic pencil skirts in a radical snakeskin pattern.

This aesthetic took a dramatic turn at Bora Aksu’s show. Cascading down the runway in reams of multicolored crushed silk, models were accessorized with attitude. Pearl necklaces were reminiscent of a dressing-up box, and spiked chunky belts conveyed the spring season’s love affair with the juxtaposition of the sublime and the ridiculous. Picture-perfect makeup and hair

Showcasing cute trouser twinsets, Holly Fulton too tapped into spring/summer 2013’s penchant for feminine, pajama-style suiting. Fulton ruled the underwear as outerwear trend, and through her standout

Statement motifs were essential in Fred Butler’s show. Oversized, enamel flowers were attached to platform shoes, while gaudy gold chains dripped from bralet tops – it’s no wonder that Butler is Lady Gaga’s favored accessories designer. Offering up a collection of covetable trends, LFW designers add a very definite British edge to your look. 93 A

A fashion _ lebanese designers

Conquering the red carpet By Grace Banks

Blake Lively wears Georges Chakra in the final episode of Gossip Girl

Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad at this year’s Golden Globes

Leighton Meester in Elie Saab for the Gossip Girl finale

A 94

It’s 1982, and while Gianni Versace is fashioning The Supers into rainbow-colored PVC shift dresses and silver bombers, an 18-year-old Elie Saab is embroidering crystals onto gowns for princesses. Saab is one of a cluster of hot Beirut design talent putting Lebanese fashion on the map. Employing the embroidery and dressmaking techniques traditional of Lebanon, Saab along with Zuhair Murad and Georges Chakra have re-imagined couture for a younger audience. Saab’s story is pure fashion fairy tale – since he famously dressed Halle Berry when she won her Best Actress Oscar, he’s put Beyoncé in mermaid-style gold lame for the Golden Globes and Jessica Chastain in see-through cobalt blue lace for one of her starring film premieres. This year, he dressed Nicole Kidman for the G’Day USA gala, Amy Adams for the LA Film Critics Association Awards ceremony and Lea Michele for the Golden Globes. Taking Kristen Stewart from converse-on-the-red carpet to peek-a-boo gown at the Twilight Breaking Dawn 2

©Georges Chakra, Zuhair Murad, Elie Saab

Lebanese designers are re-inventing Hollywood fashion

premiere, Murad is responsible for the moody starlet’s sartorial renaissance – easily rendering her the best-dressed actress on 2012’s red carpet. In fact, Murad has become the go-to designer for cool young actresses looking for a dose of attitude with their formal gowns, and his client roster includes Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Blake Lively and, most recently at the Golden Globes, Jennifer Lopez and Miranda Kerr. Transforming jumpsuits with hand-beaded jet, and sheer lace with 3D fluro embroidery, the designer redefines what it means to be glamorous with his unique brand of European-meets-Middle Eastern sensibility.

Lena Olin in Georges Chakra

Nicole Kidman wears Elie Saab Kristen Stewart in Zuhair Murad

Lebanese designers’ popularity has even reached the small screen. Eric Daman, lead costume designer on Gossip Girl, put the show’s stars Blake Lively and Leighton Meester in Lebanese couture for their most climatic scenes in the show’s final episode. Meester wore Elie Saab and Lively wore Georges Chakra. This wasn’t the designer’s first experience with film: Chakra’s creations featured in the fashion extravaganza that was The Devil Wears Prada. Inspired by the diversity of Lebanon, it was Chakra’s mother’s sense of style and her social circle that inspired his mantra of “dressing up a woman.” Patent leather, thigh splits and cascading fabrics are the name of the game here, gaining Chakra a celebrity following that includes Gwen Stefani and Lena Olin. His couture celebrates the strength, glamour and style of a woman, with a spring/summer 2013 collection inspired by the Hitchcock heroin – showcasing bright blue hues, feathers, crepe and figure-hugging tailoring. This is sophistication with a story and a heavy dose of theater.

Zhang Ziyi wears Georges Chakra

Amy Adams in Elie Saab

Miranda Kerr wears Zuhair Murad

The vivacious color palette and luxurious cuts are pure Beirut – Murad, Saab and Chakra own the couture runway as they continue to carve out their niche as pioneers of cutting-edge design. A 95

A fashion _ movies

Silver Screen style By MacKenzie Lewis

Fashion runways take their cue from impeccably styled flicks

The Great Gatsby

The Roaring ‘20s were a decade of decadence, with knee-grazing dresses and the straight-line chemise freeing women to live in the glamorous moment. This season, The Great Gatsby’s Daisy Buchanan would have felt at home in the ateliers of Marni and Naeem Khan. Capturing her independent spirit, spring eveningwear at Marni took shape in unstructured, unrestricting silhouettes. Appealing to Daisy’s coquettish side, Naeem Khan flaunted short shift dresses, Art Deco beadwork and flapper fringe. For the girl who has everything, more is more, especially when it comes to fashion. A 96


Naeem Khan

©Dior, Alberta Ferretti, Naeem Khan, Marni, Zac Posen, Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang

Can’t wait for the year’s most anticipated films? You don’t have to. This resort season, the fashion runways offer a sneak preview with collections inspired by the next big blockbusters.

Pacific Rim

When massive monsters rise from the ocean and threaten our very existence, the only way to save the planet is to climb aboard robots and fend them off in slick, monochromatic uniforms. Alexander Wang and Rag & Bone picked up on the dark futurism of director Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi flick Pacific Rim, with simultaneous nods to the armoresque ensembles of its heroes. At Wang, androgynous looks in top-to-toe black found their edge with leather details, including a cropped harness top fit for battle. Meanwhile, Rag & Bone’s prim leather dresses, paired with tough leather leggings, will do double duty as fashionable body armor if the apocalypse ever comes.

Alexander Wang


Adult film actress Linda Lovelace rose to fame wearing very little (if anything at all), but she became a household name at a time when the rest of the world was tripping over bellbottoms and maxi skirts. This season, Alberta Ferretti tapped into that ‘70s’ sensibility with fitted blazers and wide-leg trousers. Other designers, like Louis Vuitton, stayed closer to the star’s seedy roots; who but Vuitton can upgrade a bubblegum mink coat from pimp to posh? Although the subject of Lovelace eventually gave up her day job, this is one decade designers just can’t quit.

Louis Vuitton

Alberta Ferretti

Gangster Squad

Zac Posen


It’s the ‘40s, and the LAPD is doing all it can to stop a team of East Coast gangster-types from infiltrating the West Coast. The thugs may be bad news, but there’s no reason to stop their style – or that of their alluring arm candy – from taking over the runway. From Paris to New York, designers took glamorous pointers from the original femme fatales featured in Gangster Squad. Figurehugging skirt-suits and hourglass dresses captivated in blood red at Zac Posen, while Bill Gaytten’s nipped waist jackets and full skirts channeled Dior’s original New Look. Put your hands up and surrender to this retro revival. 97 A

A fashion _ accessories

My fling with Marilyn Photographer Tony Elieh Stylist Mouna Harati

Rupert Sanderson shoes, LL1,202,500; Dior necklace, LL2,145,000; Bottega Veneta clutch, LL2,902,500

A fashion _ accessories

Stella McCartney shoes, LL975,000; miu miu bag LL2,130,000; Dior scarf LL435,000

A fashion _ accessories

Jimmy Choo bag, LL1,440,000; Roberto Cavalli necklace, LL1,837,500; Aquazzura shoes, LL1,410,000

A fashion _ accessories

Rupert Sanderson shoes, LL997,500; Delfina Delettrez necklace, LL2,115,000; Dolce & Gabbana clutch, LL3,075,000

A fashion _ accessories

miu miu shoes, LL2,932,500; Delfina Delettrez ring with attaching clutch, LL2,643,000; Lara Bohinc ring, LL945,000

A fashion _ accessories

Stella McCartney bag, LL1,140,000; miu miu earrings, LL720,000; Stella McCartney shoes, LL975,000

A fashion _ accessories

Prada shoes, LL1,320,000; Dolce & Gabbana bag, LL1,342,500; Roberto Cavalli cuff, LL2,190,000.

Available at A誰shti stores.

A fashion _ hot stuff

WhatĂ? s out, whatĂ? s hot Make your very own fashion statement by choosing a style trend from the spring/summer 2013 collections

In the mood Sober minimalism

Maison Martin Margiela


Giambattista Valli


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Jil Sander

miu miu

Masculine moderne


Theyskens’ Theory Stella McCartney Dior

Saint Laurent

Color burst

Gucci Gucci

Fendi Stella McCartney Ermanno Scervino Michael Kors

Burberry Prorsum

Michael Kors


Stella McCartney

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A fashion _ hot stuff

In black and white Best of the blocks

Giambattista Valli Jil Sander


Stella McCartney


Stripe it up

Moschino Dolce & Gabbana ChloĂŠ

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Marc Jacobs Dior

Diane von Furstenberg

Dolce & Gabbana

Transparent touch

Stella McCartney

Dolce & Gabbana Stella McCartney

Giambattista Valli

Victoria Beckham Giambattista Valli

Roberto Cavalli ChloĂŠ

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A fashion _ hot stuff

In the detail Fabulous frills




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Cool cutouts

Dior Dolce & Gabbana

Michael Kors



Bright and shine


Dior Dior


Burberry Prorsum Burberry Prorsum

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A fashion _ heartbreaker

Gotta have it


Céline’s Nano is easily the most coveted bag of the upcoming spring/summer season. This tiny tote is almost impossible to find, and there’s a long waiting list of women wanting to get their hands on the desirable baby-sized bag with an elongated strap option. Price available upon request. Available by special order at Céline in Beirut.

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A star is born Photographer David BellemÂĽ re

Stylist Ylias Nacer

Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Maison Martin Margiela trench coat

This page Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Maison Martin Margiela bustier, Maison Martin Margiela skirt and miu miu shoes Opposite page Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in a top, skirt and fur, all by miu miu

This page Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing Michael Kors pants and a Balenciaga top and bra Opposite page Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in a dress and necklace, both by Dior

This page Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Balenciaga Edition dress and miu miu shoes Opposite page Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Dior jacket and Carine Gilson underwear

This page She’s in a Saint Laurent caftan Opposite page She’s in Céline pants, a Céline coat and Balenciaga bra

This page She’s in a Balenciaga dress Opposite page She’s in an Altuzarra dress. Available at Aïshti stores. Hair Maxime Mace Makeup Hugo Villard Location Yola Noujaim residence, Paris

The love killers Photographer Marco Pietracupa Stylist Amelianna Loiacono

She’s wearing a Just Cavalli jacket and Dolce & Gabbana T-shirt. He’s wearing an Ermenegildo Zegna shirt and Dsquared tuxedo jacket

This page She’s wearing an MSGM blazer, Roberto Cavalli scarf and vintage shorts. Her bag is by Roberto Cavalli Opposite page She’s wearing a Dsquared sweater and Le Silla pumps. Her clutch is by Dsquared

Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Pucci top, Jimmy Choo shoes and vintage sunglasses

She’s wearing an Issa dress. He’s in an Ermenegildo Zegna shirt and Dsquared tuxedo jacket

Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Just Cavalli dress and Moschino jacket

Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Tibi blouse, Tibi skirt and Jimmy Choo pumps

Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in a Tory Burch dress and Marni earrings. Her clutch is by Moschino Cheap & Chic

Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wearing a Diesel jacket and Tory Burch shorts. Her clutch is by Jimmy Choo

She’s wearing a Gucci dress. He’s wearing an Ermenegildo Zegna shirt, Dsquared tuxedo jacket and Diesel pants. Available at Aïshti stores. Hair Simone Prusso Makeup Luciano Chiarello

W W W. A I S H T I .C O M

W W W. A I S H T I .C O M

Foch Street · Aishti Downtown · Aishti Seaside · Aizone ABC · Aizone Intercontinental Mzaar · Aizone Citymall

A beauty _ lipstick

Every shade of red By Rawan Al Kayat

Transform yourself into a Hollywood siren with a bold splash of lip color

Cool sensuality is the trademark of Amanda Seyfried, who favors Lancôme’s Rouge in Love, No. 156 B

Keira Knightley captures the beauty of a Russian aristocrat with Chanel’s Coromandel, No. 98

Dior Addict’s Rouge Podium, No. 773, gives Jessica Chastain a touch of dormant sexuality, just bubbling below the surface

Anne Hathaway’s timeless glamour comes courtesy of Tom Ford’s Scarlet Rouge, No. 16 A 152

©Raya Farhat

Sofia Vergara’s all fire and thunder, thanks to Saint Laurent’s Orange Incandescent, No. 110


A beauty _ skincare

Film star flawless By Charlotte Colquhoun

Fabulous skin demands devotion Only the most gullible of us believe the vehement insistence of many a Hollywood star that their beauty is down to nothing more than good genes. While the occasional hardcore peel may be essential to sweep away the cobwebs of fine lines, just as important to their flawless features is a regular maintenance-facial habit. Gentle and nourishing, these keep impurities at bay, circulation pumping and, ideally, leave skin looking dewy.


A few freckles dusted here and there on a sun-kissed face can look utterly charming. Segue some years down the line, however, and the long term UV damage can be quite aging. Beginning with the Biologique A 154

Recherche P50 Lotion, a potion designed specifically to improve the efficacy of the other products in their treatment stable, the Anti Pigmentation Treatment moves on to targeted whitening and brightening stages with active ingredients from wasabi, cress, soybeans, ginger and a healthy dose of exfoliating AHA fruit acids. Burdock and Plankton extracts produce a rejuvenated, youthful finish. Anti Pigmentation Treatment by Biologique Recherche at Ï Day Spa, Aïshti, El Moutrane St., Downtown Beirut, tel. 01.991.111.


Eve Lom developed their balm cleanser over 25 years ago. At the time, cleansers were harsh, stripping products, the polar opposite of this gentle, plant-based formula, which combines antiseptic clove oil, draining eucalyptus, toning hops oil and soothing Egyptian chamomile. Designed around this iconic concoction is the Eve Lom Signature Facial, intended to maximize lymphatic drainage and unblock congested skin. Using the cleanser, a thorough massage stimulates circulation before the application of warm paraffin

wax to awaken dull complexions. Carefully administered extractions create clearer skin, without inflaming problem areas, and aromatic herbal compresses leave skin visibly radiant. The treatment is complemented by acupressure to relax taut facial muscles. Signature Facial by Eve Lom at Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners St., London, tel. 44.20.7300.1414.

New York

Boasting the only luxury hammam with spa services in the city, The Spa at Trump offers an intensely tranquil experience. Headlining the facial’s menu are treatments designed by aesthetician Kate Somerville. The signature Calm & Heal facial combines an oxygen remedy with dermal boosters to plump the skin with nutrients. Pressure point massage is used to promote a deep state of relaxation before light therapy is used to reduce the effects of aging. A complementary hand and foot massage is performed while optional facial waxing leaves skin truly baby-faced. Calm & Heal Facial by Kate Somerville at The Spa at Trump, Trump Soho, 246 Spring St., New York, tel. 1.212.842.5500.

7 For All Mankind store, Beirut Souks, Souk El Tawileh Also available at all A誰zone stores in Beirut, Dubai, Amman

A Beautiful Odyssey by James Franco The journey begins at

A beauty _ must-haves

Faking it

By Charlotte Colquhoun

Blush In 15 new shades, Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Blush promises a hue to suit every cheek. Infused with cranberry and goji berry, the formulation is antioxidant-rich and dusts skin with a pretty flush without drying. Concealer The crème de la crème of concealers, Laura Mercier Undercover Pot combines three fail safe products: Secret Camouflage is a thick, oil-free formula that effectively covers imperfections; Secret Concealer is a slick formula ideal for the delicate under-eye; and the ultra-fine Loose Setting Powder can be dusted over any foundation for a shinefree finish. BB Cr¥ me For a truly blemish-free face, a perfect base is essential. Diorskin Nude BB Crème, their first foray into the skincare and makeup unifying BB-field, endows one’s features with a rosy glow. A mineralized water base boosts and plumps skin, while soft-focus pigments conceal flaws. A 156

Lip Balm Achieving a kissable pout is part and parcel of makebelieve natural makeup. Dior Addict Lip Balm in Crystal provides a moisturizing dab of translucent pink to enhance lips’ natural color. Foundation Uniting the coverage of a foundation with the lightness of a loose powder, Clarins Skin Illusion Loose Powder Foundation aims for the beauty of bare skin. Pink opal mineral powder creates a luminous opalescence, while pink algae extract continuously hydrates. Mascara With six different shades of black, Saint Laurent’s Luxurious Mascara Shocking Volume dramatically coats lashes and is key to that faux-au-naturel look.

Eyeliner Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof is a true classic, easily applied in a precise line or smudged for a less defined effect, all in an effortlessly convenient retractable pen. Ebène is a soft gray, ideal for a flattering subtlety, or opt for Espresso in a beautiful brown.

©Chanel, Clarins, Dior, Estée Lauder, Laura Mercier, Saint Laurent

Recreate the “natural” beauty of silver screen sirens

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A celebrity _ ceo

Master provocateur By Renata Fontanelli

Garry Hogarth has transformed Agent Provocateur into the sexiest lingerie label on the planet Sexy, elegant and irreverent. The perfect gift for an erotically charged Valentine’s Day. We’re talking about English brand Agent Provocateur, which now has its own store inside Lebanon’s ABC Mall in Dbayeh, to the great joy of husbands, boyfriends and lovers throughout the country.

Founded in 1994 by Joe Corre (son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren), and his wife Serena Rees, the fashion house opened its first boutique in London’s Soho neighborhood. In the space of just a few years, Corre and Rees made a name for themselves, and their brand is now appreciated throughout the world, not just A 158

©Agent Provocateur, Garry Hogarth

For the coming spring and summer seasons, Agent Provocateur offers an extraordinary collection of luxurious lingerie, sleepwear, swimwear and accessories, as well as perfumes, which many fans claim have an aphrodisiac effect. The name of the brand goes a long way toward describing the product, which was born to provoke and in a short time became a “must” among film stars, rock singers, housewives and career women alike.

for its erotic pull, but also for its quality and refinement. For many years, Corre and Rees appeared to lead a charmed life: he was the designer, and she was the practical half of a powerful, solid team. Then, seemingly out of the blue, the couple had a major falling out, resulting in a highly publicized separation and a stormy divorce. The outcome? A decision to sell the “family jewel.” And it’s in this context that Garry Hogarth, also a Londoner, stepped into the fold. In 1999, Hogarth had sold his own accessories company for a plush £180 million. Then in 2006, he received a call from Corre. “I was enjoying the fruits from the sale, even though, to tell you the

truth, I was a little bit tired of traveling around the world,” Hogarth recalls. “I was in Barbados when Joe called to tell me he needed a hand to turn his company around. I immediately accepted the challenge.” When Hogarth arrived, Agent Provocateur was still small and familyrun, with 14 boutiques in Europe. A few months after Hogarth joined the company, private equity fund 3i decided to invest in the brand, acquiring it for roughly £60 million. Corre stayed on as creative director for a short time, but in the end he left as well, so that today the company is 63 percent owned by 3i, with the remainder owned by group managers. Hogarth is CEO, and under his leadership

the company has experienced a major global expansion. The number of boutiques has risen to 20 operated through franchising agreements and 45 managed directly, while sales have jumped from £12 million in 2006 to £45 million in 2012, with growth estimated at about 10 percent compared to 2011. Production has been transferred to Morocco, with 90 percent of the highend materials used for the group’s lingerie imported from France. Agent Provocateur’s leading markets are currently England and the United States. As of February 2013, the company also has a major presence in Australia, South America and Japan. And online sales are booming. Says Hogarth: “Today, 14 percent of our sales are online, and we’re counting on increasing that to 20 percent in 2013.” 159 A

A celebrity _ designer

A little bit of punk

By Rima Suqi

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Those who don’t personally know Alexis Bittar often assume the following about the prolific jewelry designer: that he’s a woman, drives a fancy car, lives in a multimillion-dollar apartment and dresses head to toe in designer everything. Nothing could be further from the truth. The 44-year-old New York native is more likely to show up to a meeting via taxi and dressed in an indistinguishable button down shirt, jeans and New Balance sneakers. His headquarters, while sprawling, are in Brooklyn, to keep production local (although his PR department recently moved to Soho to be more easily accessible to editors and stylists). While he has a lovely view of Manhattan from the antique-filled Brooklyn Heights apartment he shares with Habibi, his Tibetan Terrier, he is, ultimately, a fairly laid-back guy. Especially considering his company made $70 million last year.

Judging from this perspective one might also assume his path to this successful spot – with his jewelry adorning the likes of Lady Gaga, Madonna and Michelle Obama, and sold in upscale boutiques the world over – was a fairly smooth one and, again, one would be wrong. Bittar, a college dropout, is the son of university professors – a Syrian father and Irish mother – who also dabbled in antiques (“they sold turn-of-the-century quilts”) and encouraged their son’s entrepreneurial spirit. At age 10 he sold flowers from a handpainted cart across the street from his parent’s home. At 13 he was selling antique jewelry and clothing on St. Mark’s Place in New York City. He spent his teen years partying hard, hitting clubs, doing lots of drugs and nearly overdosing several times before pulling himself up, getting sober and starting to design his own jewelry line at age 22. He bought

some lucite at Canal Plastics and figured out how to hand carve and paint it, creating the candy-colored pieces that are now icons of his brand – chunky bangles, funky flowers and bold hoop earrings – and he sold them on the street in Soho, to great success (often pocketing as much as $1,000 a day). It was just a matter of time before he was discovered by buyers from Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. For a time he branched out to home accessories, as well, creating pieces for Barneys and Takashimaya. And then Patricia Field came calling. The legendary fuchsia-haired stylist and costume designer was charged with creating looks for a new show called Sex and the City, and wanted to collaborate with Bittar. It was all uphill from there. Within two years he opened his first shop on Broome

©Alexis Bittar, Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Alexis Bittar’s jewelry is as irreverent as the designer himself

Street in Soho (ironically just two blocks from the corner where he first sold his jewelry), won the Rising Star award from the Accessories Council of Excellence and, more recently, the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for Accessory Designer of the Year. He’s created runway pieces for Michael Kors, Dennis Basso and Jason Wu as well as custom pieces for St. Regis Hotels. Along the way he expanded his offerings from the original Lucite (which remains a core of the business) to include the funkier Elements and Miss Havisham collections, which are made of metal and feature big stones often with unexpected animal accents (birds, leopards) – like a marriage between elegant punk and Wes Anderson quirky. He designs for a “myriad of women – not just one. Iris is a great example of someone I love,” he says of Iris Apfel who, at 92, is a fixture in New York’s fashion scene and is often seen sporting armfuls of Bittar’s bangles. “I also think of women like Marie-Amélie Sauvé, she was at French Vogue and has been working with Balenciaga for the past few years. But I also think of the actual consumer, the real woman because, let’s face it, not everyone is Iris.” He’s able to produce so much – three collections, three times a year, perhaps because he’s inspired by so much. “My number one inspiration is antiques in general – whether jewelry, furniture, glassware, silverware,” he says. “But specifically from 1840-1940. Georgian, Victorian, Wiener Werkstatte and Deco. You’ll always see Deco in my designs.”

Bittar is never one to rest on his laurels or go for what’s expected. Take his advertising campaigns, for example. They began, like his career, on the streets, with posters plastered in strategic zip codes during New York Fashion Week. What’s most interesting is his choice of models: older women, often icons in their fields, including Joan Collins, Lauren Hutton and, most recently, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders of the hit British show Absolutely Fabulous. Saunders – the youngest of them all – is 53, and rather than photoshop the shots to perhaps hide the telltale signs of age, Bittar celebrates them, wrinkles and all. “When I do personal appearances most of the women who come are mature, and almost all are ashamed about their age,” he says. “I think it is sad to see women feel that at 40 they are somehow over. It’s a societal message and is insane.” His celebration of women of all ages, shapes and sizes undoubtedly contributes to his loyal following that often spans generations. His designs are sold in over 800 stores worldwide, as well as Bittar’s own retail shops – three in New York City, two in Los Angeles, as well as outposts in Chicago and San Francisco, with six new stores slated to open this year. “I’m a weird blend of both right and left sides of the brain and very focused. But I could never do this alone. I have an amazing team.” That team (which numbers over 300) is now working on his latest project, a line of fine jewelry that is set to debut in late 2013 and that Bittar describes as “sculptural, colorful and a little bit of punk.” Much like the designer himself. A 161

A celebrity _ designer

Diamond life

By Elizabeth Hudson

get into stores like Song in Vienna and Montaigne Market in Paris.

For Sabine Ghanem, the launch of her jewelry line Sabine G. has been a whirlwind. Can the Lebanese designer turn quick success into future heirlooms?

Q What were you doing before launching Sabine G.? A I was studying diamond grading and design at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York. When I went to find work, I tried a few places like Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels, but when I got there I realized I would probably end up in marketing. That’s great because of the name, but not really what I want to do. So I just took a chance. I started designing a few things I wanted to wear, and people responded positively. I thought, I’ll do one more piece, and then it was one more…Now I have a 15-piece collection.

Q Where are you based? A I live in New York, and Sabine G. is based in Switzerland. I started it a few months ago – everything happened so quickly! Right away I got into really great shops. The first was Maxfield in LA. It’s an institution, extremely selective. The fact that they took my jewelry helped me

Q Why did you enroll at GIA? A I don’t know, really. It’s extremely respected but very technical. There isn’t a focus on artistic development. But I’m not the girl who’ll to tell you that I’ve been wearing my mom’s jewelry since I was four. I probably was, but I didn’t know this was what I wanted to do. Only by designing did I realize I loved it.

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Q You’ve spoken of your love for vintage pieces. Is timelessness important to you? A Yes. When I made my jewelry, not once did I ask the price. I wanted to make the most beautiful pieces. Local craftsmen handmake each piece outside Florence. I want to create haute joaillerie, jewelry you pass from generation to generation. Q Would you ever consider doing a more affordable line? A No, I want to do a more expensive line. I want to do four to six pieces that would be made by the most amazing artisan in Switzerland, but his production cost is my retail cost. So it’s extremely high end, and I will only do it when I have a design that deserves this kind of workmanship – hopefully soon.

©Sabine Ghanem

Lebanese designer Sabine Ghanem creates jewelry pieces that speak of ancient legends

Q What inspired the Relic collection? A I had an old book of decorative arts from the Middle Ages to today, and there was this picture of a box of relics dating from the 12th century. It had these amazing shapes on it, so I started to play with them. Out came the earrings. In all rose gold, though, they lacked soul. I want to create things that tell a story. When I oxidized the surface of the softer rose gold, suddenly it had a story. Now I work in rose gold, diamonds and rubies. Available at all A誰zone stores, +961 .1. 99 11 11

A celebrity _ artist

Hollywood on my mind

By Serena Makofsky

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A coming together of Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Uma Thurman, Bill Murray and Daniel Day-Lewis sounds like something out of a yet-to-be-made Tarantino movie, but it actually springs from the imagination of Borbay, a New York artist who has Hollywood on his mind. His latest series of collages, “Kick Ass Actors in Kick Ass Roles,” depicts actors in iconic film roles during pivotal scenes. The piece “Bill the Butcher Day-Lewis” shows Day-Lewis in his role in Gangs of New York. “Hunter S. Depp” captures Depp embodying the famous gonzo journalist.

To create a compelling composition, the artist focuses on the “most important transitional moment” of a film that has “a nice, tight shot of the protagonist. For example, ‘Adam Kesher Theroux’ is from David Lynch’s masterpiece, Mulholland Drive. The scene is in the boardroom the moment Kesher is confronted by the men who take over his film, and eventually change his entire life. For ‘Mickey O’Pitt,’ it’s the scene in Snatch, where Mickey makes a deal with the boxing promoters, which eventually leads to his enrichment, as well as the tragic demise of someone close to him.”

Borbay finds film an inspiring medium. “After all,” he says, “a great film is nothing less than a stunning painting in motion for 100 minutes.”

Borbay does his homework. He watches the film twice, “freezeframing…moments I find striking [to] take a photograph. I crop and play with the image

in Photoshop, until I capture the right mood and palette. I begin to collage in large shapes to build the face using this image as my inspiration. Then, it’s about painting the entire canvas at the same time, making the image emerge from the raw headlines and images.” It’s fitting that Borbay has taken to recording his creative process on film. “I’ve made it a practice to film the process in time lapse. Collectors love to see how a painting was created [and] I like having a record to cross reference.” The “Kick Ass” series opened at New York’s Wix Gallery and spends spring at two New York venues, the Openhouse Gallery and the Major League Baseball Fan Cave.


Borbay creates kick ass portraits of his favorite actors

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A celebrity _ photographer

The accidental photographer By May Farah

Serge Najjar’s chance encounter with photography has resulted in breathtaking work

But his mother enrolled him and his brother in a photography course and, though reluctant at first, he signed on, figuring he should be open to new experiences. Although he lacked the technical know-how, Najjar felt he always had an eye for painting and photography, A 166

the product of a childhood spent zealously reading all kinds of art books. “Most kids played with toys; I read anything that was on the coffee table,” he says. And, since both his parents were ardent art lovers, most of those coffee table books were about painting, architecture, art history. Because of the photography class, Najjar started taking photos, lots of photos. He shot buildings, stairs and other spaces, all on his iPhone. “I called them architecture with a twist,” he says, of his photos. “It was a new way to look at the design, the angles, the space.” The “new,” he explains, has much to do with the apparatus. Taking photos with an iPhone opens up fresh and inspired

perspectives, shots one wouldn’t naturally take with a traditional camera. “First, it’s more discreet,” says Najjar, demonstrating how he can snap a photo without drawing attention to the photo-taking act. “It’s also more mobile, so you take photos from different angles, ones that don’t seem as evident with a camera,” he adds, stretching his arm downward and snapping an unusual shot of the ceiling. “With a camera, you’d have to crouch or lie on the ground to get the same angle.” As his technical skills developed, Najjar downloaded Instagram and began to upload photos. All of a sudden, he says, he had a growing number of followers, and an even larger number of “likes.” And that number continued to grow, eventually grabbing

©Serge Najjar

Two years ago, at the age of 37, Serge Najjar discovered photography. And the world of photography discovered Najjar. Both occurrences were, admittedly, serendipitous. Najjar is a trained lawyer. He spent 12 years completing his studies, both in Lebanon and France, returning to Beirut in 2005, after receiving his PhD, to begin working in corporate and commercial law. Photography was never a passion, not even a hobby. “I never really liked to take photos,” he says.

the attention of the Instagram people, who, recognizing his meteoric rise as something rare, interviewed him and featured his pictures on their site, an honor reserved for only a select few. That garnered him even more followers. “I have around 14,000 followers today, and each photo gets at least 1,000 likes,” he says, his voice revealing his own

astonishment at his seemingly instantaneous success. After being nominated for a Pictet (a global photography prize), and interviewed by CNN, Najjar caught the attention of the art world. He received invitations from gallery owners in the United States and Europe to exhibit his work. A bit apprehensive about taking that

next step, and not knowing much about the art world, Najjar sought the advice of Naila Kettaneh Kunigk, the owner of the Beirut- and Munich-based Galerie Tanit. When he showed her his photos last spring, she immediately booked him for an exhibit, which was held last fall. It was then that Najjar began to take photos with a camera, in

preparation for the exhibit, and immersed himself in the literature of printing photographs. Titled “Lines, Within,” to reflect the theme of the photos he selected for the show, the majority in black and white, the exhibit was a great success, exceeding even Najjar’s own expectations. “Of the 34 prints that were exhibited, 32 were sold,” he tells me, the trace of disbelief again apparent in his voice. 167 A

A celebrity _ chefs

Spicing up the kitchen

By Shirine Saad

Philippe Massoud’s take on Lebanese cooking involves duck shawarma, sweet potato kibbe and veal katayef. And while some purists may be outraged, his restaurant, Ilili, has developed a cult following since opening in 2008. “Everyone said I was going to fail,” says Massoud, who has gone through his share of obstacles in Lebanon and the United States. “But a few months after opening we were already praised by critics and clients.”

In New York, where languages and traditions mingle wildly, the best chefs find inspiration in the city’s thriving cultural life.

Lebanese chef Philippe Massoud offers updated Lebanese cuisine at his Fifth Avenue restaurant, Ilili

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Massoud’s quest for the perfect dish began at age 15, when his parents sent him on a one-way journey to the United States, to shield him from his native’s country interminable civil war. Disheartened by the absence of good Lebanese restaurants in Colorado, where he lived with his uncle, then New York, where he attended Cornell University’s hotel management program, he decided to turn his passion for food into a business. Interning at traditional restaurants in Lebanon and Paris, he mastered the art of Lebanese cooking and pastry making. Returning to New York in 1994, he opened and closed a restaurant in the city, then opened a restaurant in Washington, Nayla, which became an instant hotspot. In 2004, he met a friend who offered to help him fund a restaurant in New York. “My friends wanted to eat good Lebanese food in New York. They were begging me to do something,” remembers Massoud. Now the chef is

opening a gourmet sandwich shop where he will serve Lebanese classics such as shawarma and falafel, but with his own inspired twist, of course.

Anita Lo, Annisa

Anita Lo grew up in a ChineseAmerican family, studied French at Columbia University and learned cooking techniques at France’s most prestigious academies and restaurants – including Ecole Ritz-Escoffier and Guy Savoy. She’s traveled around the world and now heads her own restaurant, Annisa, the Arabic word for “woman.” Lo’s sophisticated creations include foie gras Shanghai dumpling soup and tomato salad with Yuba and Shizo. Her inspirations range from Chinese dishes she discovered as a child to French haute cuisine and Japanese sushi culture. “Traveling teaches one cultural relativity,” she says. The chef bases most of her dishes on elaborate French techniques. “France has a history of fine dining,” says Lo. “They have peasant cuisine and haute cuisine. There’s no fear of food. Everybody celebrates food there. It’s such a big part of the culture, which makes the food better. When I was there, no one had snacks. In France people eat three meals – yes, they eat foie gras, but also fish and lots of vegetables that are in season.” Lo was struck by the Japanese perfectionist approach to dining when she was served

©Anita Lo, Philippe Massoud, Marcus Samuelsson

Philippe Massoud, Ilili

Three of Manhattan’s celebrated chefs share their culinary journeys

Top Anita Lo is the celebrated chef at fusion restaurant Annisa, in Greenwich Village Bottom Red Rooster is Marcus Samuelsson’s ultra-popular Harlem eatery, featuring a comfort food-inspired menu

a simple tomato with salt at a sushi restaurant. “In Japan, it’s about a constant search for the archetype,” she says. “I love going to a sushi bar where they hand you a perfect tomato and beautiful salt. It’s a contemplation of the now, and it’s about the foods that are available now. It’s beautiful, simple and delicious. There’s nothing pretentious about it.” Lo also follows a feminist ethos, defying a generally misogynistic restaurant culture, hence the restaurant’s name. Her menu features wines made by women around the world, and Lo manages it with her female partner. “It’s difficult to be a woman in this industry,” she says. Hopefully more women will follow her inspiring ethos.

Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster

“There’s no other place like New York,” says chef Marcus Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Sweden before moving to the United States. “Where else can you eat Dominican on Sunday, Creole on Monday, French on Tuesday, Italian on Wednesday, Korean on Thursday, Serbian on Friday and Soul Food on Saturday? I think I might have even done exactly that one time.” At his Harlem hotspot, Red Rooster, Samuelsson serves hearty dishes such as dirty rice and shrimp, gravlax and five spice duck salad with funky cocktails and live jazz. Music, travel and reading are his passions, and his dishes – rich, multilayered,

complex, generous – reflect his journey. Adopted by a Swedish couple after the death of his Ethiopian mother, he grew up making meatballs and gingersnaps and fishing with his grandfather. Later he went back to his homeland and discovered its spices and traditions, which inspired him to create new recipes. Arriving in America at 22, he worked at upscale Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit and won multiple awards. Meanwhile, he continued to sample the city’s multicultural offerings. “In a city that commutes,” he says, “you’re constantly seeing different tribes of people on the subway, on the street and in the bus. I love asking people where they’re from and what they like to eat. You’d be surprised how

many people are willing to share their favorite dishes.” One of Samuelsson’s most poetic culinary offerings is the Ramen Afrique. “There’s Japanese (miso broth and raw geoduck), Ethiopian (teff noodles) and American (poached egg) influences all served in the same bowl,” he says. “We created it based on the noodles made out of teff flour (used to make injera bread) that were specially crafted for us.” Samuelsson’s story, with its tragedies and victories, exultant embrace of exchanges and openness, is truly at the heart of his work as a chef. “You can tell where a person has been,” he says, “and where he or she is going, by what they have on their plate. It’s the most authentic look into someone’s life.” A 169

A celebrity _ icons

Style queen of the decade By Robert Landon

Hollywood stars that defined an era

Once, it was queens who dictated fashion. When Marie Antoinette wore a gravity-defying up-do, all Paris followed suit. Her beheading in 1793 complicated matters, but the high-born continued to set styles through the 19th century. Then, just as World War I was sweeping away Europe’s remaining monarchies, a new empire was being founded in a faraway land known as Hollywood. Soon, a new generation of upstarts – Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Vivien Leigh – became the new fashion plates. With America’s triumph in World War II, Hollywood’s apotheosis was complete. Designs may still have originated largely in Paris, but it was American actresses who showed the world how to wear them. Here’s our decade-by-decade guide to Hollywood’s fashion firmament.

Grace Kelly (ï 50s)

The original ice queen, Grace Kelly did more than wear impeccable clothes. She walked and talked with a regal poise that eventually won over a real-life prince, Rainier of Monaco. Paramount’s legendary designer Edith Head dressed Kelly with rich, well-tailored restraint, helping shape her into the ‘50s ideal of hyper-feminine class, her erotic power sublimated entirely into untouchable selfpossession. Meanwhile, Hermès, Cartier and Mikimoto fought to accessorize this dazzling blonde diamond of Cold War womanhood. A 170

Audrey Hepburn (ï 60s)

Like Kelly, British-born Audrey Hepburn always kept it ladylike. But she managed to introduce big dollops of dash and wit that, in retrospect, look very much like a precursor of Swinging London. Though an early and enthusiastic adopter of Dior’s New Look, she also helped usher in a new androgyny that included Capri pants, turtlenecks and button-down shirts. Forget the clothes, even Hepburn’s genes shaped fashion history. Her tall, skinny frame was at odds with standards of beauty at the time (think Marilyn Monroe), but eventually her physical type became de rigueur on the world’s runways.

Farrah Fawcett (ï 70s)

From Hepburn to...Farrah Fawcett? Yup, that’s right. In less than a decade, the world had undergone a profound cultural revolution, and whereas Hepburn and Kelly led with class, Fawcett’s power lay in her raw sexuality. And did we mention her hair? Those fluffy, feathery curls known as the “Farah flick” were the envy of every American woman of childbearing age, as was her ability to go glamorously bra-less in a tight T-shirt and high-waist jeans. Timeless beauty? Maybe not, but Fawcett sure did define an epoch.

Joan Collins (ï 80s)

Kelly could tie you in classy knots to get her way. Hepburn could charm your pants off. But brash, badass Joan Collins would simply bark orders at you. To enforce this new brand of feminine wiles, she donned huge hair, puffed-up sleeves and an enormous pair of...shoulder pads. Collins called it “power dressing,” and in her role as the Machiavellian Alexis Carrington on the classic TV show Dynasty, she became the icon of the money-loving Thatcher-Reagan years. Still, she knew money couldn’t buy her love. “I’ve never had to pay for it,” she hisses at Lady Ashley Mitchell. “Have you?” 171 A

A celebrity _ icons

Sharon Stone (ï 90s)

If looks could kill...Actually they can. Sharon Stone caused a run on white Hermès scarves when she used one to strangle her first victim in the 1992 film Basic Instinct. While Stone is most famous for what she didn’t wear in that breakthrough role, her wardrobe nevertheless defined a new standard for minimalist sophistication. Trademark features included shorts paired with jackets, chignon hair and lush but simply cut fabrics in a richly austere palette of white, beige and gold.

Sarah Jessica Parker (2000s)

Unlike Miss Stone, everyone knows Carrie Bradshaw would never hurt a fly – unless perhaps a pair of Manolo Blahniks were at stake. The same can be said of Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Carrie in Sex and the City. A self-conscious clotheshorse, Parker has made quite a living for herself wearing, selling and even designing couture, haute and otherwise. Symptomatic of our mixand-match millennium, Parker never settled on a single look, but instead treated fashion like a dress-up game in which just about anything goes, as long as it’s expensivelooking and head-turning.

Anne Hathaway (2010s)

It may be too early to identify the icon of a new decade, but so far our vote goes to Anne Hathaway. Her swan-like beauty recalls the golden years of Hollywood, and on the red carpet her dark mane, pale skin and statuesque figure provide the perfect counterpoint to the lushly feminine designs of Valentino, Chanel and Oscar de la Renta. At the same time, she’s game to don the more daring efforts of, for example, Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli. Clinching the deal, the woman can really act. A 172

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A design _ museum

Getting into the Getty

ŠMark Downey

By Elgy Gillespie

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LA’s Getty Center is so breathtaking you’ll forget to wander inside to view the art

Not a doubt about it. You’ll exult in the setting and the view and that abundant natural light and lunching on the patio in the sunshine. The J. Paul Getty Center has one of the finest views of LA – the finest, many think. And unusually for spendy LA, it’s also free. Today’s never-ending stream of fans imagine they are coming to check out every masterpiece inside, from the Golden Age of Dutch Masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer (East Pavilion) to Regency art and Jacobean furnishings (South Pavilion) to Tintorettos and Titians and other Italians (West Pavilion) and Renaissance sculpture (North Pavilion), as well as the Exhibitions Pavilion for rotating art shows.

Italian quarry that gave the world the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican’s Basilica columns and the Coliseum. When the marble was sliced apart, a world of ancient fossils emerged, from which 24 particularly fascinating fossil slabs were chosen to dot the landscape around the Getty. One is on the Arrivals Plaza wall, near the restaurant and café. The architecture and gardens plan you can pick up (also for free) gives the locations for all of them.

But as a masterpiece of modern art and architecture, the Getty Center covers 750 acres of Santa Monica Mountain foothills with such drama and élan that many visitors are actually visiting the building, rather than the art inside.

The Getty Center was born when oil tycoon J. Paul Getty started to amass an immense personal collection of every kind of great art he could lay his hands on – all the way from ancient Greek statues to Gustav Klimt. It took the Getty visionaries many years and nine buildings to house them all, including a special exhibit center for the rotating shows that are their pride and joy. As a second-to-none art house, the Center has eclipsed the original Getty Villa further south in Malibu with its colonnades of Roman and Greek sculptures.

The pavilions are built from a luminously white marble called Travertine, from the

Architect Richard Meier enjoyed a billion dollars and an entire quarry of white A 179

A design _ museum

Get off the cool little tram that clambers two kilometers up to the hilltop, and you’re lifted into a new world 800 feet above the city, on top of a lofty, sun-splashed outcrop soaring over scrubby patches of desert and greenery and rocky bluffs, mountain, freeways and sheer urban sprawl. And the view unfolds all the way to the Pacific Ocean from the mountains, a 360-degree swirl of nature and nurture, pitting old geology against new illusions. Down below is the murky soup of dashed dreams. But how faraway all the hurly-burly of Sunset and Rodeo seem from up here! It’s an uplifting of aspiration, a dream of white stone, glass and steel, and of smooth and textured planes. Technically, Meier’s handiwork is every bit as intriguing to take apart as it is to wander. On the crest of the hilltop, four very different pavilions showcase the collections A 180

around the visitor center at the heart of 11 buildings. This group was originally focused around a 30-inch square, with horizontals spanning every structure, curving around contours here and there, but meeting other shapes sometimes too. Taken together, Meier’s pristine white curves and planes add up to a dramatic stage that has truly set the public imagination on fire. Some of it faintly echoes Europe’s Bauhaus and Biedermeier eras of nearly a century ago – you’ll catch whiffs of them around the north and east buildings. But you’ll also see the unmistakable footprints of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler in other spots. This is how Meier evokes the contemporary art themes and raises his hat to the Getty collection. Plenty of visitors don’t spend much time inside the museum. They gaze around the grand white planes that swoop across the landscape. First impressions are so overwhelming they often forget the rest. “We’ve heard their collections are pretty good – but it’s so nice outside we’ve never seen them,” says one local visitor who’s been here a dozen times and is repeating what thousands of others say. Come for the art, and stay for the view in other words.

©Mark Downey

Italian Travertine marble to play around with. As the world’s most ultra-modern “starchitect,” he’s on record as wanting “the outside to invade the inside.” So the Getty’s outside is as edgy and dramatic as the inside is hushed, pristine, elegant and classical – tricky to pull off when your art is everything from Egyptian to Dutch Grand Masters.

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A design _ firm

A global perspective

By Warren Singh-Bartlett


Three Lebanon projects: K.H Headquarters in Dora (top left), Koukjian jewelry in Beirut (immediate left) and W residences, also in Beirut (above)

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Aura mixed-use project in Kurdistan

Michel Abboud’s SOMA is an architectural practice with an international reach

In some ways, returning to Beirut was the best thing that ever happened to Michel Abboud even though, like many of the best surprises in life, coming back was not something he’d expected to do. After over a decade in New York, where Abboud started his architectural practice, SOMA, in 2003, he felt like he’d never leave. The pace of life, the social buzz, the urbane urbanity of Manhattan was everything he wanted from life. “New York was a great place for a young, ambitious architect to work,” Abboud tells me, as we flick through a slideshow of some of SOMA’s current projects “but it’s really not a city of medium-scale projects.” This meant that SOMA, a small practice, was working mostly on small-scale projects; interiors and renovations of existing structures. One project in particular, what was to have been an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, not only caught the media’s eye, it also brought SOMA to the attention of people in the region and soon, Abboud was being approached to work on projects in Lebanon. One commission led to another and the work began to flow. The boom in Beirut’s real estate

coincided neatly with the downturn in New York’s, and it wasn’t long before opening an office here moved from future possibility to immediate necessity. It is in the well-chilled confines of that office in Jal el Dib that we meet. Like many of SOMA’s projects, it is an exercise in contemporary chic, a concoction of concrete, glass and steel, at once an exercise in transparency and advert for vorsprung durch technik-style modernity. As I sit sipping water – delivered in SOMA’s own cylindrical steel vacuum flask – I admire the view of Beirut, which from here looks like some improbable steamship, a myriad of towers afloat on a silvery sea. As Abboud takes me through the practice’s projects – a number of residential projects are under way: the Wave, BoBo, the Castor and the 360, while work begins soon on the new Khoury Homes headquarters and the Nikki Beach resort in Damour – it is a project in northern Iraq that really gets him enthused. Called Aura, it’s a massive mixed-use development beside the Salaheddine Highway that links Irbil’s historic city center to the tony new district of Shoresh. Envisaged as “the A 183

A design _ firm

Three New York projects: Tartinery restaurant in Nolita (above), 93 Crosby condominium lofts in Soho (right) and 50 Lispenard residential lofts in Tribeca (bottom)

kind of place you never need to leave,” the $100 million development is not only SOMA’s biggest project to date, embodying a quantum leap forward in capability, it’s also the most complete representation of what the practice can do, given rein. “They told us to do whatever we wanted,” Abboud says, admitting that at first, the prospect was daunting. “Architects like to say that constraints make good projects, so not having any at all was scary, but once we started we realized how much fun we were going to have.”

“Irbil badly needs the greenery, but no developer would have proposed this kind of solution,” Abboud says, adding that integrating greenery is something they try to do wherever possible. “We found a way that makes everyone, the city, the developers and the residents, happy.” A 184


The result is two ranks of towers, conceived as serried sandwiches of glass and concrete slabs of differing heights – an architectural millefeuille if you like – which run along either side of a central park-like space. More than just a place to gather, the park is actually the green roof for the subterranean shopping and leisure center beneath the complex. In the middle, the gardens and water features give way to vast expanses of glazing that flood the shops below with natural light. The towers contain residential and office space, as well as a boutique hotel and sporting facilities, and will create a kind of skyline for the rapidly expanding but still mostly low-rise city.


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A design _ furniture

Modernist at heart By J. Michael Welton

Two US-based furniture companies are looking to the past for inspiration

Here we have two tales of furniture for the modernist at heart. One comes from a curator who buys what she loves to sell to the trade. The other is from a pair of designers who painstakingly design furniture that’s manufactured by hand. Eight years ago, Jane Humzy – tired of her 17-year career in the world of corporate marketing – embarked upon a new business venture: seating for indoors and out – and sometimes crossing the borders between the two. Her only requirements are that the design be simple, clean, modern and beautiful. “It has to look good,” the owner of Jane Hamley Wells says. “I call it livable modern.” She’s trained her eye for pieces that are modern, but never sparse, clinical or cold.

Humzy is based in Chicago and imports seating by designers from around the world, mostly for contract and hospitality. Though she has no official showroom yet, she does have salespeople across the United States. Collections of her furniture are on display at the Park Hyatt Lakeshore and the Conrad Hotel on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. She started small, with a desire to bring more access to great design for her peers and colleagues. She’s grown the business carefully, surviving the worst economic conditions since the ‘30s. Her tagline is “Live Well.” She doesn’t interpret that as a license to live in an obnoxious manner, but as permission to be true to yourself. “I figure that if you’re going to do something, do it well,” she says. “It should be something you

©Edwin Blue, Jane Hamley Wells

Left Jane Hamley Wells’ Gumball chairs and T-Ball tables in an outdoor setting Right The Rise Arm chairs by Edwin Blue

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Left Jane Hamley Wells’ Naoshima stools Below Edwin Blue’s Iota table Bottom left The Lola stools by Jane Hamley Wells Bottom right Edwin Blue’s Silhouette table

enjoy – something that brings you joy, and brings joy to others too.” And to sit pretty while you do exactly that. Meanwhile, architect Matthew Hufft and industrial designer Clayton Vogel say their handmade furniture is inspired by modern masters like Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Charles and Ray Eames. They compare their work to watches by Cartier or Rolex – and to classic designs that haven’t changed in 50 years. Each of their pieces is handmade by highly skilled craftsmen who exert a lot of energy – both creative and physical – to produce it. “We create furniture that people want,” Vogel says. “To do that, it has to be executed in a timeless manner so that not only will you like it, but your children and grandchildren will too.” Their challenge in producing the Missouribased furniture line they call Edwin Blue lies in making something appear clean

and simple when, in fact, the process is excruciatingly precise – with detailing akin to creating a fine piece of jewelry. “The stainless steel is a rare tube size – it’s small and extremely difficult when it heats up,” Vogel says. “The jigs are complex, and the graining by hand – the polishing – takes three to four levels of abrasives to get the finish we want.” That keeps particulate matter from getting into the stainless steel years from now and corroding it. They use reclaimed local wood whenever possible, but they’ve been known to travel to places like Florida and Wyoming to inspect old wood for quality and character, and to partner with urban harvesters who trade in wood from storm-damaged trees. Currently, they’re using Machiche from Guatemala, one of the most sustainably harvested woods in the world. “It’s as green as we can make it, and still make it heirloom quality,” Vogel says. 187 A

A design _ doors

Doors of perception By J. Michael Welton

Sargam Griffin creates contemporary paintings that double as doors Artist Sargam Griffin’s epiphany arrived, appropriately enough, in Rome. “It was in the Vatican, of all places,” she says. “You know, 25,000 people a day go down to the Sistine Chapel, but I was in a museum apartment there, with just contemporary works of art, sculptures 20 feet tall and paintings, all very modern.”

Last October, New York’s Ceres Gallery opened its first solo exhibition of her work, in three sets: Winds of Change, with five large oil on canvas paintings; Moments, a series of 24.9-inch by nine-inch oils on canvases; and two of her monumental ArtDoors, a groundbreaking new series of painted doors for residential or commercial use. A 188

©Sargam Griffin

She looked at the old walls and the modern art and realized she wanted to dedicate herself to that kind of work. Then she went home to Healdsburg, California, in the middle of wine country, and set up her studio. She never looked back at her career as a color consultant. “Basically, I retreated from the world for two years, and just painted,” she says. “I went back [to Rome] a year later to double-check, and it was the same message.”

She develops her ArtDoors while working on museum quality panels, with complex layering of paint. “It was born out of a simple idea when I ran out of wall space,” she says. “I was sitting on a couch, looking at my paintings, and I thought: my paintings are about the size of a door.” So she developed the first one for herself, taking seven months for the contemporary, minimalist painting. Her process, she says, is the same as for any of her other pieces, with at least 40 layers of paint and an intense feeling of depth. “I start with an inner sense of what I want to do, with a reflection on the light and the color composition,” she says. “I get this amorphous feeling once I start painting; it’s a combination of a majestic feeling and of being truly humbled, of moving between those two.” For the first ArtDoor, she spent a great deal of time researching the means to move it from closed to open positions. As a result, her ArtDoors now slide seamlessly, aided by a specially developed hardware. “It’s a 300-pound door, but my cat can actually slide the door open,” she says. “And people have a choice, it can be used as a door, or as a painting.” A 189

A design _ trend

Leather me up

By Marie Le Fort

Crack the whip. Leather is huge this year Tessera by Marc Baroud

Commissioned by Lebanese gallery Carwan, Marc Baroud’s Tessera ottoman and table comes in a limited edition. Inspired by the original meaning of Tessera in Latin – which refers to an individual tile, usually formed in the shape of a cube – Baroud’s Tessera line regroups handcrafted products built with leather-bound walnut units. Visit

Designer Simon Hasan has a singular approach to leather: through an ongoing exploration into the medieval technique of “boiled leather,” he’s turned leather into an irreversibly hard material that he then wraps around lamps, stools or glassware, creating novel surfaces. He recently created angular mannequins for Fendi to show that leather can become a wonderfully innovative material. Visit

Craftica by Fendi

Comissioned by Fendi, Craftica is a body of work developed by Italian design studio Formafantasma that explores leather in conversation with other hand-worked, natural materials. Using discarded Fendi leather, the collection is centered around the intrinsic relationship that leather has with humans and with nature. The collection includes stools, tables, light fixtures and room dividers. Visit craftica.html A 190

©Carwan, Fendi, Simon Hasan, Benjamin Hubert, Jens Praet, Ymer & Malta

Crafts & Industry by Simon Hasan

Dressed by Jens Praet

A collaboration between designer Jens Praet and his artist father Jan, Dressed consists of a series of furniture pieces in brass, including a chair, table and bench all dressed up in bronze-colored leather. Using discarded materials and fabrics, the bronze “dresses” are turned into an oxidized green color before being placed over the rigid, brushed-brass under-structure, resulting in a striking contrast. Visit

Juliet by Benjamin Hubert

Created by British designer Benjamin Hubert to celebrate Italian brand Poltrona Frau’s 100th anniversary, the Juliet chair showcases an intricately pleated leather seat inspired by the sleeves with puffed shoulders on Italian Renaissance clothing. While leather is stretched over the base to expose the wooden frame underneath, the seat is covered in squashy leather pleated in a triangular pattern. Visit

A Fleur de Peau by Ymer & Malta

Parisian gallery Ymer & Malta’s “A Fleur de Peau” exhibit features a new collection of works in leather by five designers: A+ A Cooren, Sebastian Bergne, Benjamin Graindorge, Normal Studio and Sylvain RieuPiquet. Looking at new ways to use and craft leather, the pieces vary from Normal Studio’s Blister bench, which is a flat, contemporary reinterpretation of classic padded leather pieces, to Benjamin Graindorge’s spectacular sofaScape pixelated couch. Visit 191 A

A design _ update

Designing for 2013 Add a stylish touch to your life Volley (left)

Lustre (left)

Featuring a striking metallic finish, Lustre is a new collection of light fixtures by Tom Dixon. The light’s iridescent sheen is created by firing the stoneware shades at 1200 degrees Celsius, using a glaze containing minerals and precious metals. The end result is a striking color change effect reminiscent of peacock feathers or oil slicks on water. Lustre is available in four geometric designs inspired by a collision of Mayan and Art Deco elements. Visit A 192

Float (above)

Spanish furniture company Sancal has partnered with Karim Rashid to release Float, a contemporary couch that doubles as a screen. The slim floating seat with an incorporated back wall provides complete privacy in open spaces. You can sit back and relax, hang your coat on the backrest or simply hide away from the world. Each element can be individually chosen from a series of patterns and colors. Visit

©BD Barcelona, Tom Dixon, Adam Goodrum, Hermès, Sancal, Michael Schoner

Designed by Adam Goodrum, Tait’s new Volley collection draws its inspiration from pictures of ‘50s tennis games. “The Volley range has an understated elegance with an underlying sense of dash and vigor – languid one moment active the next,” says Goodrum. Available in numerous shades and finishes, the line can be used both indoors and outdoors. Visit

Herm¥ s (left)

For its latest wallpaper collection, Hermès has released 14 new patterns, each created by a different designer and largely inspired by the company’s archival designs for silk scarves. Distinct wallpaper designs include Hugo Grygkar’s trompe l’oeil bookshelves, JeanLouis Clerc’s day at the races and Equateur, designed by painter Robert Dallet and featuring an exotic array of flora and fauna. Visit

Showtime (right)

To celebrate its 40th birthday, design brand BD Barcelona launched a limited-edition collection of 40 Showtime vases hand painted by Jaime Hayon. Recognized for its avant-garde approach to art and design, the Spanish company had already produced pieces by artists like Juan Gris and Salvador Dalí long before “design art” exploded in popularity. The 40 glazed porcelain vases are all imaginary characters that inhabit Hayon’s phantasmagorical world. Visit

Z Step (left)

Created by German designer Michael Schoner, Z Step is a shop display system that consists of stackable sheet-metal steps that can be assembled in a wide variety of spatial configurations. Complete with magnetic bars, knobs and coat hangers carved from beech wood, Z Step can be used to display objects, books, magazines, shoes, clothes, accessories and virtually anything else. Visit 193 A

A high art _ city

Beacon along the Pacific

By Marwan Naaman

Los Angeles has long been maligned as a superficial city, filled with shallow people more concerned with appearances than anything of substance. “Frozen yogurt is not culture,” claim New Yorkers and San Franciscans, whose cities have long held the lion’s share of America’s cultural wealth. But in recent years, Los Angeles has given more established artistic and cultural centers, including New York, Paris, London and Berlin, a determined run for their money, emerging as a major art player in its own right, with museums, art galleries and performing arts venues that, through hard

work and ingenuity, have determinedly come into their own. In Downtown Los Angeles, the Frank Gehrydesigned Walt Disney Concert Hall is both an architectural masterpiece and one of the most acoustically sound venues in which to enjoy live musical performances. Right next door, the Ahmanson Theater hosts Broadway musicals year-round. Further afield in Brentwood, the spectacular Getty Center, designed by Richard Meier, is one of the most visited museums in the United States, showcasing a proud collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present day. MOCA Also in Downtown LA, minutes from the Disney Concert Hall, is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). The art space is home to about 5,000 works by contemporary artists, both established and emerging, that date from 1940 to the present day. MOCA was founded in 1979 and its collection includes iconic works by the likes of Doug Aitken, Jasper Johns, Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Mark Rothko. Nearly three years ago, esteemed New York gallerist Jeffrey Deitch was tapped to run the MOCA. Deitch gave up his two Soho galleries and moved West, where he has since overseen MOCA exhibits like “The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol” and “A Tribute to Mike Kelley.” From February 10 to March 18, the exhibit “Fifty Works for Fifty States,” showcasing the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection, will grace the museum. MOCA also has two satellite locations in LA, at the Geffen Contemporary and the Pacific Design Center, for edgy exhibits and installations. Visit

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©Dave G. Houser/Corbis, George Rose/Getty Images

Los Angeles is one of the world’s most vibrant cultural centers

LACMA The largest museum in the Western United States, the Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art (LACMA) is a shrine to all things artistic, beginning with Chris Burden’s breathtaking “Urban Light” sculpture that greets visitors as soon as they arrive. Unveiled in 2008, Burden’s masterpiece is composed of 202 restored cast iron lamps that once lit the streets of Los Angeles. Burden collected these discarded lamps, painted them all a neutral gray and created his work. LACMA itself encompasses seven buildings and various open spaces, operating as a veritable campus for the arts, halfway between Downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. The museum houses over 150,000 objects that date from ancient times to the present and offers a large number of temporary exhibits at any given time of the year. Current exhibits include “Stanley Kubrick,” devoted to the great filmmaker and running until June 30, “Robert Mapplethorpe: XYZ,” featuring the photographer’s sensual male nudes and on view until March 24 and “Jack Stauffacher: Typographic Experiments,” which runs until July 21 and focuses on the work of the 92-yearold San Francisco-based printer. Visit 195 A

A high art _ city

Petersen Automotive Museum In a city like Los Angeles, where a car is a necessity and where the vehicle you choose to drive is perhaps the most important statement you can ever make, it seems only natural to dedicate an entire building to the 20th and 21st centuries’ most iconic cars. The Petersen Automotive Museum, located directly across the street from LACMA, is one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to the automobile, owning hundreds of vehicles and displaying about 100 at any given time. A fascinating section of the museum showcases the cars featured in classic Hollywood films. Here, you can view and even touch the Batmobile that Michael Keaton drove in Batman Returns, as well as have your picture taken with the green Thunderbird that starred in Ridley Scott’s iconic flick Thelma & Louise. Until May 27, you can catch “Aerodynamics: From Art to Science,” featuring the most unusual cars, all of which were created to maximize performance. Visit A + D Architecture and Design Museum One block over from the Petersen stands the diminutive A + D Architecture and Design Museum, which opened in 2001. The museum showcases cutting-edge and educational works by the world’s top architects and designers. An exhibit dedicated to 20thcentury Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen closed in January, while an exhibit highlighting LA’s never-implemented landmarks, “Never Built: Los Angeles,” is slated to run from March 2 to May 17. Another exhibit, “A Windshield Perspective,” focusing on the dense stretch of Beverly Boulevard from Normandie to Virgil, will be on view from June 14 to August 29. Visit A 196

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A high art _ interview

Eat me

By Grace Banks

Keith Coventry explores cultural identity and consumerism

©Keith Coventry

There was modernism, there was postmodernism, there was post-post-modernism, “and then I guess there’s me.” Keith Coventry is explaining his new conceptual approach to the iconic McDonald’s logo that he revisited, after 12 years of distance, in “Junk Paintings,” his recent solo show at London’s Pace Gallery. “I’m in the process of destroying it all, the old stuff. I want to make sure the work I put out there is the best I’ve got.” Through this filter, the artist takes an international capitalist emblem and transforms it into something beautiful and sublime.

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The result: a look into the nature of modern living, touching on concepts of poverty, identity and urbanism. In this show Coventry focuses on fine art as the great translator – the gross and the aggressive become picturesque via scale, color and precise execution. “Through art, things that are not noble can become noble,” Coventry explains, and his show really does go a long way in re-imagining the McDonald’s logo into epic pieces of art. Coventry’s work with the emblem started by proxy in 2001. “I was originally inspired by the boxes and bags crumpled up outside of my old studio in London. People were stepping on them and inadvertently making all these compositions from 3D to 2D. With every fold you get a new edit of the brand.” Coventry explores these edits, treating each one as its own graphic entity. In this

dissection, he aims to make a point on the supremacist art the McDonald’s logo was based on. “McDonald’s looked to their enemies while they were searching for their logo. They directly reference the work of Kazimir Malevich, an artist at the forefront of the supremacist movement.” Through “Junk Paintings,” Coventry aims to restore the beauty in the work of this artistic movement. “My appreciation of the McDonald’s logo goes as far as my appreciation of supremacism.” With the likeness of the paintings proving more similar to Malevich’s work than the McDonald’s logo, the show is a testament to socialist graphic iconography. Using the colors of early modernism, Coventry touches on the ability capitalism has to swallow a culture. “The early colors

of modernism were red, yellow and blue, the same colors McDonald’s used.” Through his use of classic emblems of 20th-century art, found objects and ready-made compositions, Coventry makes a statement about the nature of art and its transformative effect. On an artistic landscape alongside Ben Frost, Warhol and Zevs, Coventry stands out from others who work with commercial symbols. Yes, he makes an anti-capitalist statement, but at the center of his aesthetic is a desire to restore these symbols to an original artistic state. Through “Junk Paintings,” Coventry purifies and cleanses one of the most famous commercial logos of all time, removing all capitalist connotations. Well, nearly. “There’s just one that gives it all away. And then from that painting it’s like a reference point, and you see how all the others have been twisted or inverted.” 199 A

A high art _ interview

Rage of angel By Shirine Saad

Cory Arcangel is a 32-year-old media artist/ hacker/sculptor who was the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York a year ago. Arcangel, who trained as a classical guitarist at Oberlin University, has always been involved in music. And now his work is increasingly moving from the realms of Internet code, video games and hacking to the universe of sounds, both avant-garde and pop. In his recent work, Arcangel took classical compositions from Schoenberg, Glass and Paganini and recreated them with user-generated animal videos and how-to videos rummaged from the Internet. In “Schoenberg Opus 11 – Cute Kittens,” he recreates the modern master’s complex composition by piecing together clips

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of cats pounding on piano touches. The contrast between the painstaking recreation of the piece (it took the artist more than six months to create it) and the kitschy videos creates a tension between past and future, high and low, genius and banality. “The goal was to see if the cats were magnetic enough to propel Schoenberg into a context in which he would never appear,” says Arcangel. “Those videos actually got posted on blogs for cute kittens, so people were interested in the cats enough to watch a Schoenberg piece. And then it might be played in a museum context where cute kittens may be a new phenomenon.” Arcangel, who has no formal art training but is well-known in the contemporary art world,

©Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel’s artwork is moving from the virtual to the musical

says he needed to stay away from music after his studies. “It took 10 years for me to feel that I could interpret Schoenberg on my own terms and contribute in my own way,” he says. The series of works were inspired by Arcangel’s interest in “stupid Internet videos” and the infinite amount of unfiltered information that the Internet has allowed to circulate. At once a fan and a critic of mass culture, Arcangel views the Internet as the perfect expression of the well-oiled capitalist machine – and its systematic destruction of culture and memory. “I’ve always been attuned to the unsustainability of everything,” says Arcangel, “how everything is falling apart. And especially when you’re in front of a computer. The speed of decay is getting faster and faster.” 201 A

A high art _ retrospective

Connecting the dots

By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

Roy Lichtenstein’s career was long spanning. His work has been the subject of over 240 solo exhibitions, with the last full survey, organized by New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 1993, assuring his reputation as one of the greatest American artists. Co-organized by The Art Institute of Chicago and London’s Tate Modern, the A 202

latest retrospective of the artist’s work brings together over 100 of his paintings, drawings and sculptures from all periods. It reassesses the legacy of this artist renowned for his works based on comic strips and advertising imagery, colored with his signature hand-painted dots, which gained him the reputation as a pop artist. Born and bred in New York, Lichtenstein attended the Art Students League after high school. A three-year stint in the army during World War II followed, after which he returned determined to devote his life to art. After brush painting for several years he found his true calling in painting cartoons. The earliest example, “Look Mickey,” from 1961, was inspired by a picture of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse adapted from a Disney children’s book. He moved from Disney comics to a romantic genre produced by DC Comics, from which he adapted closeup images of the faces of young women, such

as the “Drowning Girl,” which became one of his best-known pictures. He remained a creative force until just weeks before his death at the age of 73, in 1997. And while his work was often criticized for being too lightweight, especially during the period of the Vietnam war when pop art seemed futile to many Americans, his series derived from DC Comics made up of large paintings of fighter-plane battles and wall reliefs of exploding bombs evoked his own experiences of the violence of war. Given that Lichtenstein radically changed the art scene in the second half of the 20th century, this first retrospective of his work since his passing seems long overdue. “Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” is on view from February 21-May 27 at the Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1, tel. 44.20.7887.8888,

©Estate of Roy Lechtenstein/DACS 2012

London’s Tate Modern hosts a full-scale retrospective of Roy Lichtenstein

This page “Masterpiece” from 1962 and “Oh Jeff...I Love You, Too...But...” from 1964 Opposite page “Whaam!” from 1963

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A high art _ hotel

Sleeping under Damien Hirst By Marwan Naaman

In Montreal, one hotel has transformed itself into a first-rate contemporary art space A 204

LHotel, a boutique property located in Old Montreal, is more than just a hotel. It’s one of the city’s most important contemporary art galleries, with a collection that would make even the most dedicated art collectors green with envy. The hotel’s commitment to art is evident even before you enter its doors. Right outside the property, American artist Robert Indiana’s red “LOVE” sculpture stands as a beacon, letting passersby know that here, art is a serious matter. Another sculpture, Fernando Botero’s “Man on a Horse,” stands sentinel to the right of the hotel’s entrance.

The building housing LHotel was first erected during the 19th century, opening as a bank in 1870, and was eventually turned into the Hotel XIXe Siècle, until former Guess fashion designer Georges Marciano snapped up the property in mid-2010 and renamed it LHotel. One of Marciano’s main goals was to transform LHotel into an art lover’s haven, and this he has achieved beautifully. In the lobby, the hallways, the rooms, the restaurant and the bar, original artworks by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jaume Plensa, Willem de Kooning, Edward Ruscha, Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg, all drawn from Marciano’s personal collection, have turned the place into a monument to modern art.

Marciano’s passion for art covers every detail of the property, and LHotel is literally crammed with spectacular paintings, sketches, drawings and sculptures. The suites, for example, are named after a major contemporary artist and offer original works by said artist on their walls. You have the Rauschenberg Suite, the Lichtenstein Suite, the Stella Suite and the Ruscha Suite. Other rooms and suites feature works by a combination of artists, like Jim Dine and James Rosenquist, and every single hallway is filled with works by a number of the world’s top contemporary artists. LHotel is also home to the congenial Botero Wine Bar, where fine wines from around the globe are served to the tune of live

musical performances, and to the Winter Garden dining room, where guests can enjoy breakfast while admiring the artworks adorning the walls. During your stay at LHotel, take the opportunity to visit the various art galleries dotting Old Montreal, all within walking distance of the property. The most important spaces include Galerie Michel-Ange, Galerie Le Royer and Galerie d’Art St. Dizier, all three of which showcase Canadian art. Or you could simply lie on your hotel bed, admire a Damien Hirst masterpiece and dream of owning a similar work of art, someday. For reservations, tel. 1.514.985.0019, 205 A

A high art _ gallery

New on the art block

By Elizabeth Hudson

When Noha Moharram announced she and her partner were opening an art gallery in Beirut, everyone told her she was crazy. It’s not the right time, they said. It’s not the right place. But Moharram trusts her instinct. Art on 56th opened last November in Gemmayze, despite the fact that it was slated to open in Mar Mikhael. Moharram had found a space and an architect was well into plans when a nagging feeling became too strong to ignore. “Every day, I would go to Mar Mikhael and walk around. It just didn’t feel right,” she says. Despite the time and money already invested, Moharram considered a new location. And then she stumbled upon an

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unassuming house off Gouraud Street, with French mandate-era architecture and a 100-year-old tree out front. She said it was the laundry hanging from a house next door, the authentic “spirit of Gemmayze,” that finally quieted the voice in her head. This was the right place. And now, this business major-turned-gallery owner – Moharram’s art background is selftaught; she studied business at the wishes of her family, before learning to surrender to her intuition – is busy preparing the gallery’s next exhibitions, with artists Tarek Butaihi and Yigit Yazici. Art on 56th was established to support up-and-coming artists, who Moharram believes are neglected by the city’s other galleries. “I was at Art Basel and

©Art on 56th

Art on 56th is the latest art gallery to open in Beirut

felt so bad going into the Saudi lounge. The artists were amazing, but why were there no Arab artists other than Saudis? I felt like we should do something.” Knowing that young talent is unlikely to pull the clients or attention needed for a fledgling gallery, the space is launching with names big enough to get Art on 56th on the regional radar. Eventually, emerging artists will be brought into the fold. They will include painters, sculptors, photographers, calligraphers and installation artists, covering a broad spectrum of subjects. When asked why she chose Syrian artist Edward Shahda for the gallery’s inaugural

show, Moharram explains, “Honestly, he’s been my idol for a very long time.” Fittingly, she tends not to over think who she exhibits. Her primary criteria is to feel a personal connection to an artist’s work. It’s an unusual approach, but one that has so far paid off. Now just a few months old, the gallery is welcoming local art collectors and a steady stream of foreign guests, who peer down Gemmayze’s unmarked side streets until they spot the white sign out front. So is it the right time for Art on 56th? Is this the right place? “It’s never the right time in Beirut. But I felt like it was right,” Moharram says. “I was ready now.” 207 A

A high art _ event

MiamiÍ s got art By Helen Kitti Smith

Art Basel, the world’s premier modern and contemporary arts fair, arrived on the global arts scene in 1970. For more than four decades every June, this art happening (the “Olympics of the Art World”) awakened the sleepy medieval Swiss town of Basel, with rare artworks being negotiated at worldshattering prices. In 2000, a savvy group of Miami’s art collectors visited Art Basel’s founders. They wanted Art Basel for Miami Beach. Not only did they emphasize the city’s multiculturalism and sexy cachet, but they also highlighted its vital arts scene. Dispersed among creative enclaves throughout Miami, the city’s artists produce vibrant work, a reflection perhaps of South Florida’s liberal attitude coupled with

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its warm climate. Captivated, the Swiss assented: Art Basel Miami Beach became the “go-to” art show of the Americas. West of Europe and across the Atlantic Within its first decade, Art Basel Miami Beach seduced collectors, connoisseurs and curators, and achieved a distinct and coveted accolade as the most prestigious art show in the Americas. At the 11th edition in December 2012, Art Basel/Miami Beach attracted the top-tier European, North American and Latin American art galleries. A final tally reveals that 70,000 collectors and curators participated over five days, and 257 leading international galleries attended from five continents and 31 countries. An optic into the

©Helen Kitti Smith

Art Basel once again lit up the Eastern Atlantic

mindset and expression of Latin American art is nurtured by the vigorous Latin American presence in Miami. A partial who’s who of A-list galleries that exhibited at Art Basel includes Manchester Gallery (London, New York, Barcelona and Madrid, Monte-Carlo), Galerie Gmurzynska (Zurich, St. Moritz, Zug), Pace (New York, London, Beijing), Gagosian, Acquavella and Sean Kelly Galleries (all in New York), and Dan Galeria (Sao Paulo). Adam Sheffer, partner and director of New York’s Cheim & Read Gallery, says: “Art Basel Miami Beach remains the gold standard of the international art fair circuit.” Miami and Miami Beach morph into a parallel universe of satellite art shows that complement Art Basel Miami Beach’s bluechip fair status. Staccato names identify each show: Scope, Pulse, Aqua, Red Dot, Verge, Ink, Aqua, Untitled, which feature painting, drawing, video, live performance, sculpture, graffiti and street art. These guerrilla exhibitions inhabit emptied hotels, pop-up tents and ad-hoc beach enclaves. The more established Art Miami, Art Asia and the Miami Project hold forth from the Miami Design District. “Art Conversations/ Art Salons” offer scheduled dialogues, with Arab art the hot topic in “New Perspectives from the Edge of Arabia” and “Street Art in the Middle East: Alternative Forms of Political

Expressions.” The latter queried how cities’ graffiti, street art, stencils and posters reflect a country’s soul.

This page Alexander Calder sculpture (top) and Doug Aitken’s “Here Comes the Night” neon sculpture (bottom) Opposite page The Design Miami pavilion

Show sales were buoyant. A rare 1986 Andy Warhol piece sold to an American collector for $3.8 million, while a 2012 Damien Hirst brought in just under $1 million. Miami’s investors open their private collections for public viewing, and this 11th edition attracted 130 American, French and Brazilian museum delegations comprised of trustees and patron groups. 209 A

A high art _ exhibits

A tale of three cities

Catherine Opie Portraits and landscapes have been a central theme in Catherine Opieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work over the course of her 20-year career. Her latest body of work draws upon the traditions of painting. and how painting has influenced photography and vice versa. The portraits depict individuals that emerge out of the darkness of their black background, using techniques of color and light practiced in classical 17thcentury portraiture. On view from February 23-March 30 at Regen Projects, 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, tel. 1.310.276.5424,

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ŠNadim Karam/Ayyam Gallery, Catherine Opie/ Regen Projects, Jack Pierson/Tim Palen/Regen Projects

Los Angeles, London and Beirut host edgy art shows this winter

©Nadim Karam/Ayyam Gallery, Catherine Opie/ Regen Projects, Jack Pierson/Tim Palen/Regen Projects

Jack Pierson In his solo show titled “The End of the World,” artist Jack Pierson casts himself as: The Badass Motherfucker in a Blockbuster. In his own words: “As if to insure sang-froid devil-may-fuck you delivery, the recently remodeled Pierson will star AND direct himself in this sure to be crowd pleaser.” On view until February 16 at Regen Projects, 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, tel. 1.310.276.5424, www.

Nadim Karam Middle Eastern art gallery Ayyam inaugurates its new London space with “Shooting the Cloud,” a solo exhibit of Lebanese artist and architect Nadim Karam’s work. The show highlights a series of new paintings that are rich in color and present a playful, almost satirical, perception of love and war. Ayyam Gallery currently has art galleries in Damascus, Dubai and Beirut, as well as a brand-new space in Jeddah. On view until March 9 at Ayyam Gallery, 143 New Bond St., London, tel. 44.20.7409.3568, A 211

A high art _ exhibits

©Jananne Al-Ani/Beirut Art Center, Huguette Caland/Beirut Exhibition Center, Kimiko Yoshida/ Galerie Tanit

Kimiko Yoshida Japanese artist Kimiko Yoshida’s work is featured in “Tout Ce Qui N’Est Pas Moi” (“All That’s Not Me”). The show consists mostly of the spectacular self-portraits that have made the artist famous, all splashed in white and enhanced with eye-catching colors. On view until March 30 at Galerie Tanit, East Village Bldg., Mar Mikhael, Beirut, tel. 03.257.805,

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©Jananne Al-Ani/Beirut Art Center, Huguette Caland/Beirut Exhibition Center, Kimiko Yoshida/ Galerie Tanit

Jananne Al-Ani In 2009, Iraqi-born artist Jananne Al-Ani presented the video installation “A Loving Man” in “Closer,” Beirut Art Center’s opening show. Four years later the artist is back for her first solo exhibit in Lebanon, “Groundwork.” Al-Ani’s work focuses on landscape, seeking to expose and also challenge the Orientalist fantasy of the Middle East as an unoccupied place that has no history. The artist also created a new work especially for this show. On view from February 7-April 6 at Beirut Art Center, Jisr al Wati, tel. 01.397.018,

Huguette Caland “Huguette Caland, 1964-Present” is a dramatic retrospective of the prolific Lebanese artist’s work. Caland’s paintings are collected and prominently displayed in museums and private collections throughout the Middle East, the United States and Europe. Most recently, the California-based artist has treated her canvas as a tapestry, often expressing childhood memories of her native Lebanon. On view until February 24 at the Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut Waterfront, tel. 01.962.000,

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A gourmet _ city

Dining with the angels By Marwan Naaman

Three LA restaurants offer distinctive culinary experiences

LA is a food lover’s delight, with innumerable restaurants spread across its endless urban sprawl. You can have lunch in the BH at Villa Blanca, alongside the real housewives of Beverly Hills, or on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Geoffrey’s in Malibu. Enjoy casual afternoon coffee at Urth Café in West Hollywood and then a glamorous dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant inside the Hotel Bel-Air. Every experience is unique, yet quintessentially Southern California. Here are three restaurants that capture LA’s unique dining style.

Cecconi’s in West Hollywood opened three years ago, and when it did, it gave Hollywood’s iconic Ivy restaurant a run for its style dollar. Suddenly, LA’s bold and beautiful were flocking to this glam eatery, anxious to sample the cuisine, and, more importantly, to show off their highly toned bodies and designer wear du jour. Three years on, and Cecconi’s remains as popular as ever. There’s the engaging outdoor patio, with its plush seating and heating lamps, and the interior dining room, where a massive bar seems to always be buzzing with aspiring Hollywood actresses and the men who buy them salad. The all-day menu includes salads, pizzas and pasta, all prepared with Mediterranean flair. You could also opt for main dishes like sea salt branzino, spicy whole chicken or ossobuco. But what you want to gobble up in quantities is the atmosphere – no place in LA is this happening, this hot, this heavenly after sundown. Visit A 214

©BierBiesl , Bouchon Bistro, Cecconi’s

CecconiÍ s

Bouchon Bistro

French cuisine takes center stage at Beverly Hills’ elegant Bouchon Bistro. There are French classics like steak frites, croque madame, gigot d’agneau and confit de canard as well as a nice selection of fresh oysters and superlative cheeses from France. Desserts also bear a Gallic stamp and include profiteroles, lemon tart and hazelnut millefeuille. While Cecconi’s revels in its fashionable persona, Bouchon is all about discretion and low-key sophistication. Sure, the Hollywood A-listers are here, but they dine in hushed tones, to the sound of mellow music. The décor, featuring intricate tiles on the floor and a mix of dark wood furnishings and cream-colored walls, is conducive to romance, and you’ll spot many young (and not-so-young) couples out for an intimate dinner. Visit


Beverly Hills restaurant BierBiesl is on the cusp of a brand-new LA trend. This cozy Austrian restaurant foregoes the expensive linens and over-the-top décor and opts for a casual, neighborhood atmosphere. Waiters here are likely to know your name, and you’re sure to witness a local dropping in for the restaurant’s specialty wienerschnitzel (choices include veal, pork or turkey), washed down with an Austrian pilsner and enjoyed at the bar, while chatting with staff. Chef Bernhard Mairinger’s menu also includes creamy veal gulasch and seared venison loin. For dessert, Austria’s signature apfelstrudel (apple tart), served with homemade vanilla ice cream, is a decadent treat. Visit 215 A

A gourmet _ restaurants

Serving up love

By Marwan Naaman and Warren Singh-Bartlett

Restaurants where you can celebrate romance

People in Faqra

It’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day is in winter. Downpours, winter storms, thunder and a blazing fireplace are the very stuff of romance, encouraging people in love to get close to each other and to celebrate l’amour in every way imaginable. Going out for an intimate dinner is at the top of the romance list. Here are three restaurants in Lebanon where superlative cuisine combines with a unique setting.

The sleek, chic confines of People, up in Faqra, are as perfectly suited to our short, white winters as they are to our long summer days. In winter, with its central glass fireplace and panoramic views of soft carpets of glittering white, People offers welcome respite and refreshment after a hectic day of downhill skiing, as ideal a place to relax après-ski, with a brandy and some close friends, as it is to come for a cozy dinner with your loved one, once the kids are (mercifully) tucked up in bed. A perfect place then, for a little modern romance. Snow gently falling, flakes dancing as they are caught on the wind, flames flickering in the fireplace, the golden light of lamps keeping the chill of a winter afternoon at bay. Start with the quinoa salad, featuring cranberries, halloum, eggplant and raspberry vinegar, then move on to the succulent steak – saignant, bien sûr – and a glass of Segla Margaux red that releases, as it goes down, the heat of the summer that ripened its grapes. Finish off your meal with the chocolate tart, lightly flavored with tonka beans and served with banana-rum ice cream. For reservations, tel. 09.301.777. A 216

Cro Magnon in Zaitunay Bay

Zaitunay Bay, with its yacht-filled harbor and backdrop of glimmering skyscrapers, is particularly appealing in winter, when people walking along the deck are few and restaurants are filled with diners safely tucked behind scenic floor-to-ceiling windows. Although restaurant choices at Zaitunay Bay are many, we found Cro Magnon to be the most romantic of the bunch. Lebanese restaurateur and managing partner Joey Ghazal is the creative force behind this establishment, which specializes in steak, fish and seafood. We chose the onion soup and the Dungeness crab salad as starters. Now onion soup is ubiquitous on Beirut menus, but seldom has it been executed with such refinement: the broth was fragrant, with slow-cooked, caramelized onions and just the right amount of parmesan and gruyere. The crab salad – deceptively simple-looking – featured fresh crustacean meat mixed with homemade aioli and served on a bed of red cabbage atop a slab of ice. As a main dish, we opted for the miso black cod, cooked in miso broth and served with wild mushrooms (an elegant, slightly sweet dish) and the exquisite 340gram filet mignon. Pink on the inside and beautifully brown on the outside, the tender meat came with sides of béarnaise and pepper sauces. And golden French fries, of course. We barely had room for dessert, but decided to sample the cheesecake. A generous slice came our way, topped with a red berry coulis. The tart taste of the cheese offset the sweetness of the berry coulis to create a complex, memorable taste – easily the best cheesecake served on this side of the Mediterranean. For reservations, tel. 01.371.276 and 71.712.255.

©Coquelicot, Cro Magnon, Raya Farhat

Coquelicot in Gemmayze

French bistro Coquelicot has added a strong dose of Gallic charm to Gemmayze. Set inside one of those glorious old Beirut buildings with rose-colored stone and dramatic arches, Mike Bekassini’s restaurant seems to have been designed for romantic, intimate evenings and cozy get-togethers. The menu showcases traditional French dishes, like a perfectly seasoned tartare de boeuf and a creamy, pungent mushroom soup. But there are also inventive specials like fried shrimp coated in sesame seeds and served with a sweet dip and a delightful fresh crab salad topped with a tasty lemon and mustard dressing. Heartier fare includes poulet au citron (lemon chicken), which comes with a beautiful potato gratin, and a truly incredible sea bass, cut into small pieces and cooked with a heady mix of lemon and capers. For dessert, we chose the pain perdu, which supposedly serves two people but could easily satisfy four diners. The fried, golden bread was enhanced with a sweet, savored caramel sauce and served with sides of vanilla ice cream and fresh banana and mango. It was hard to stop after a few bites, and, even though we were full from dinner, we ended up polishing off the whole thing. Never mind, we thought, we’ll worry about our diets tomorrow. For reservations, tel. 01.444.111 and 03.140.110. 217 A

A gourmet _ chocolate

Beirut loves chocolate By Kate Marris

Give the sweetest gift this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day once again calls us to give and receive mouth-melting chocolate. The sweet treat’s origins in the Americas, its health benefits – good for cholesterol, in moderation of course – and mythical aphrodisiac properties are well-known in popular culture thanks to a universal and enduring love affair with the truffle, the delicate ganache or the illicit Galaxy bar we pick up at the newspaper stand. Beirut has its own lineage of chocolatiers, local and international outfits who create chocolate confections for Valentine’s Day and for any other special occasion.

When I called on Carine Desplats at Ladurée in Downtown Beirut, I hoped to find a few chocolates hidden among their pastel walls of dreamy macarons. What I discovered, while sipping hot chocolate (not the powder, but the pure liquid type), was that the company, which sells its macarons by the thousands every day, is now focusing its attention on bringing the same quality and gorgeous aesthetic to a new line devoted entirely to chocolate. Les Marquis is a collection that has a kind of “Versailles aesthetic,” where Marie Antoinette dark and milk chocolates recall Ladurée’s commission to make the macarons featured in Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette. While the Les Marquis line is now only available in Rue de Castiglione in Paris, the collection is expected to arrive in Lebanon this spring. Visit A 218

©Nathalie Dimas, Raya Farhat, Ladurée, Patchi

/ DG X U æ H


The owner of Pralino, Elias Hamaoui, is a self-confessed chocoholic. Consumed by all things chocolate from an early age, Hamaoui created Pralino out of his own kitchen, from sheer love and determination. He began by experimenting and by reading extensively about the art of chocolate-making. As his knowledge and expertise grew, friends came requesting chocolate – and a business idea was born. Hamaoui is still personally involved in devising and testing every filling Pralino produces – and works closely with the design team. Enter Pralino off Monot Street in Beirut, and “you become like a child…you want to try everything,” says Hamaoui. Every occasion has a miniature chocolate equivalent; whether it’s a Christmas tree or a whole Easter village, Hamaoui’s inventiveness is evident everywhere. Seductive truffles or possessive pralines, Hamaoui’s recipe book is a lexicon for romance. “For Valentine’s the whole place turns red,” he says. Visit

Nathalie Dimas

It’s tempting to compare Nathalie Dimas with Juliette Binoche in Lasse Hallström’s film Chocolat. Dimas is an attractive young woman with a passion for handmade confectionary – “What makes me happy is when people enjoy chocolate,” Dimas says – but that is as far as the similarities go. In December 2010 Dimas, who is a graphic designer, sent out homemade chocolates to her clients as Christmas gifts. The feedback was so positive she decided to open a stall over Christmas at ABC Ashrafieh the following year. In three weeks she had sold 100 kilograms of truffles. This does not come as a great surprise when you taste her creations. The eight types of truffles, including kirsch, brou de noix, pecan and wild cherry, are distinctive, extremely rich and deeply satisfying. Dimas’ aptly named Les Incontournables is a range of six chocolate varieties, in which she tries “to create tastes you can’t find anywhere else.” For more info, tel. 03.355.170.


At the other end of the spectrum is Lebanon’s greatest exporter of chocolate, Patchi. This household name is loved throughout the region and worldwide by the many who buy it from airports, from its 145 stores or in some of the world’s most lavish outlets, including Harrods in London. At the heart of the company’s vision is gifting as an “art form,” making the momentary experience of chocolate a lasting one, by combining confectionery with silverware, crystal and decorative objects. The company says it approaches its collections like the fashion industry with a “team of designers and artisans developing the collection two years in advance.” In 2012 it launched a new signature line, Heartmade, which will tie in with Patchi’s 2013 Valentine’s offering of “love and beauty” in classic floral motifs. Visit A 219

A lifestyle _ valentine’s day

What you will do for love By Salma Abdelnour

A magazine’s list of Valentine’s Day DOs and DON’Ts


Do: Consider staying home. Really. Skip the going-out stress on a night when restaurants will be overbooked. Cook something surprising and delicious, something you’ve never made for your date before. Choose a dish your date might be tasting for the first time, but try the recipe once or twice before to make sure you know what you’re doing. Do: Write your own Valentine’s Day card. Even if you only compose a short little note – “I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you in my life…” – it’s still better than a storebought greeting with someone else’s words. Do: Plan something totally original, like a rock-climbing adventure. What better way to get to know your date than by risking your lives together? (kidding). If you’re both experienced, check out for destinations and tips. First time? Hit Beirut’s U Rock Climbing gym in Jdeideh, where you can learn the ropes together – then relax over strong cocktails. A 220

Do: Bring your date to a movie with a nonValentine’s Day theme. Take the pressure off the evening by choosing a funny or actionfilled film – no syrupy romantic movies tonight – and watch it in a noisy theater like ABC Ashrafieh. You’ll inject some energy and laughs into the evening. Leave the romance part for dinner. Do: Leave the city. Alone. Especially if you’ve only been dating someone for, say, less than a month. “What to do for Valentine’s Day?” can be an awkward question, unless you’ve been dating long enough to want to spend V-Day together. Get yourself called away on business for the day, but don’t wait until the last minute to drop the hint that – oh, what a pity – you won’t be around on February 14. Do: Leave the city with your date, if you’re ready to take that step. Valentine’s Day is a Thursday this year, so take a long weekend. Stay a couple of nights at Locanda Corsini in Bickfaya, for a dose of countryside serenity and Italian cuisine. Or go to Al-Fanar, an old bed-and-breakfast in Tyre that has rooms overlooking the sea; it’s not fancy, but it’s quiet, historic and sometimes nearly empty in February, so you’ll have her or him all to yourself.


Don’t: Make sure not to choose a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations. There’s nothing more awkward than standing around forever waiting for

a table while trying to keep your date entertained. An intimate, delicious, mellow little place, like the Armenian bistro Seza in Mar Mikhael, or an elegant destination like Table Fine in Jounieh. Don’t: Absolutely do not keep looking at your phone all night. Is there a worse turn-off than constant texting and e-mail checking? Are you trying to get rid of your date? (Well, maybe you are!) Don’t: If you’re taking your date to dinner and a movie, don’t wait until after the movie to have dinner – or else make sure to catch an early film. Otherwise, by the time your movie is finished, it will be late in the evening and waiters will be exhausted and cranky from all the V-Day stress – especially if you’ve booked at an everpopular restaurant. Don’t: Make sure you don’t wait until the last minute to make a Valentine’s Day plan – no matter what you’re planning – unless you know your date very well and are sure that he or she loves spontaneity. Don’t: Never assume that your date finds Valentine’s Day as silly as you do. Don’t: Whatever you do, don’t get married on Valentine’s Day. Do you really want to compete with all of Beirut for restaurant reservations on your anniversary night, every year, for the rest of your life?

©CSA Images/B&W Mex Ink Collection

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Most romantic day of the year…or most suspenseful...or most annoying…or most stressful…or most exciting? You can turn it into anything you want it to be, but you can’t ignore it (unless you wear earplugs and blinders). Make the most of the occasion by avoiding the clichés and the crowds, and take note of some important DOs and DON’Ts:

A lifestyle _ cinema

LetÍ s go to the movies

By May Farah

In spite of the convenience of Internet downloads and easily attained, affordable DVDs, the cinema-going experience continues to offer some unique features. Here are a few reasons why this medium will most likely survive the onset of new technologies.

For friends and lovers

Going to the movies is still an important social event, whether it’s Friday night with friends taking in Steven Sodergbergh’s Side Effects, or date night to watch Abbas Kiarostami’s romance-imbued Like Someone in Love. An evening at the cinema offers a special atmosphere, difficult to replicate at home.

Epic viewing

Imagine the elaborate period costumes, the expansive palaces and the historic buildings of 19th-century Russia in Anna Karenina, or Les Misérables’ sinister and darkened prisons, richly ornate cathedrals and sweeping landscapes of France during the French Revolution on your home television – how much sweeping could the landscapes possibly accomplish on even a 50-inch LED HD TV? These rich epics come spectacularly A 222

alive on the big screen, in a way that would be impossible on your home screen.

The world laughs with you

Even comedies are more gratifying when experienced collectively, for the simple reason that laughter is contagious. So, while you may laugh at new comedy Movie 43 no matter where you view it (it’s that good), being surrounded by other laughers will no doubt have you doubling over.

A 3D experience

No matter what your electronics dealer tells you about the vast advancements made in 3D TVs, complete with your own complimentary 3D glasses, the details and the genius of a film like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey can only be truly and fully experienced at a theater near you.

VIP theaters

Lebanon’s ABC and Le Mall in Dbayeh both offer exclusive VIP cinemas, where seats are larger and significantly more expensive than at regular movie theaters. But the experience is also significantly more luxurious and comes with stellar service.

©Mélanie Dagher

The movie-going experience still offers unique pleasures


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A lifestyle _ drive-in

Star for a day

ŠMark Downey

The Shooting Star Drive-In channels Hollywoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Golden Age

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There’s one place in America where you can live out all of your movie star fantasies. Pretend you’re Marilyn Monroe, filming Some Like It Hot, or Cary Grant, getting ready for his star moment on North by Northwest. Near Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument stands the Shooting Star Drive-In, a Hollywood-themed resort with eight trailers as accommodation. Each of these trailers is designed to look like the trailer of a movie star, with the interior having been customized to resemble the era of the film from which it’s inspired. Ann’s Cabana, for example, looks like AnnMargret’s trailer when she was filming Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, while Holly’s Hideaway channels the immortal Audrey Hepburn in her role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And as it should be, there’s also a spectacular drive-in, where you can watch movies on a gigantic outdoor screen while hanging in a vintage ‘60s convertible car. It’s a slice of Hollywood magic, smack in the middle of Utah’s desert wilderness. 225 A

A journey _ hollywood

Taking in Tinseltown By Elgy Gillespie

Hollywood’s big draw? The movie industry, of course!

Well, I’m a huge movie buff, but whenever I’ve been in “El Lay,” as locals call Los Angeles, I’ve always wondered one thing: are they kidding me? Is this it? Their “best shot?” Or is there an actual Hollywood hiding around here somewhere? ‘Coz this can’t be it! Where’s the glitz? Does any authentic glamour exist around fabled Hollywood and Vine corner, below haunted Roosevelt Hotel, and around the corner from iconic Brown Derby Diner, on Vine where Lana Turner was “discovered” serving Cobb Salads to aspiring starlets? Maybe this is the real Hollywood, since the old Hollywood doesn’t exist now, if it ever did. But, oh my, how tourism and tat thrives and throbs at this Hollywood and Vine corner now, where bus drivers hurl torrents of abuse while they shovel tourists into all of those “Where The Stars Live” topless minivans heading for Sunset mansions.

Isn’t this corny stuff pure part and parcel of Tinseltown? And isn’t Hollywood an act of impure imagination from birth, a figment of fantasy, a state of mind rather than place? And right now a ridiculously rundown series of dumps where things were swell 60 years ago, back when Lana Turner’s mobster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato was stabbed by Lana’s daughter Cheryl Crane? Or earlier, when Cecil B. DeMille was renting a derelict $75 ballroom on this ornery corner to film The Ten Commandments or King of Kings? Maybe. But if you go there, you’ll find it’s also the world crossroads of silliness, the spot where celeb-crazed Asian and European and Midwestern tourists run around getting their photos taken looking at sidewalk stars or touching the handprints in front of Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theater – and how tiny some are, truly a sight for sore knees!

©Christian Adams, Richard Gibson, Evan Hurd/Sygma/Corbis

Or anywhere along that curiously suburban, winding Sunset Boulevard before it turns into the “strip,” where Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant and the Gershwins (George and his lovely wife Ira) all lived once upon a time.

Another zillion buses keep on cruising past Ellen DeGeneres’ and Tom Cruise’s mansions, snapping the house fronts with their phones – or just upper windows and gates. Touring Hollywood by minibus is a multibillion-dollar business. And anyone who ever fell in love with movies is a potential victim. So include us in!

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In fact, it’s all part of the $16-billion industry LA calls “movies.” Pick from Marilyn Monroe tours that send you to her overdose bedside or casting couch or take historical “Felix In Hollywood” walking tours. And, oh yes, the young and the restless still flock here from Peoria and Podunk for star spottings. Young Holly Tighe and her buddy Amber Baruch from Dublin were Irish blow-ins who grabbed the Starline Star Tour, both of them breathless in heaven, instant converts! “We saw Ellen DeGeneres and Al Pacino’s places, Quentin Tarantino’s, Britney Spears’, Katy Perry’s, Ringo Starr’s and Elton John’s! We could see the houses really well – the top windows, anyway. Only in the case of Tom Cruise, it was just a fence. And flagpole! With Elton John it was just the gates, but the rest were good, pretty impressive. We also saw Simon Cowell; not very exciting, but a celeb nonetheless.”

campaign, they owe their iconic status to vigorous restoration and star turns in movies about movies. Reduced from the original 13 of “Hollywoodland,” they mark the spot where out-of-work actress Peg Entwhistle jumped off “H.” Poor, disappointed Peg. But you’ll hardly jump off your bus when your tour reaches the sign –it’s now heavily protected from Peg Entwhistles. Instead of jumping off the “H” these days, the desperate and the damned spawn up the clotted I-405 freeway and toil in the tacky debris of El Lay all around them, wondering why Hollywood is a carnival of nowhereland, in terminal need of urban renewal. Still, there’s something about the city’s energy: you feel that this is the place that’ll make you into a star. Must be that distinct El Lay air.

Onward to Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Inside its massive golden doors, it’s all gilt, glam, glitz and lacquered nostalgia. Wonderful old ‘20s movie theaters are an authentic Hollywood highlight (several more survive). Outside, “Forecourt of the Stars” is another mob scene where the Marx Brothers, Tom Cruise and Judy Garland once sank to their knees to stick palms and shoes into setting concrete. Harpo’s “footprint” is bare feet plus a harp; Groucho added his cigar. Judy’s foot is tiny; and so is Tom Cruise’s. Above and beyond, the nine rebuilt letters of the Hollywood sign rise forever from their Mount Lee backdrop, 45-foot-tall and 350-foot-long. Relics of an obscure ad

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A journey _ los angeles

LA confidential By Elgy Gillespie

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Forget about renting a car. Get around the City of Angels by train

All aboard for old LA! Tuxedoed gangsters. Death and cocktails. Hard-boiled blond starlets. Bogey and Bacall. Bent cops. Hollywood noir – and doublecrossing dames, dames, dames! Maybe it’s our noir-ish mood, but never has retro ‘30s-style looked more nostalgic. And there’s no more glamorous way to arrive in Downtown Los Angeles than on the Starlight Coast train, as movie stars Clark Gable and Carole Lombard used to in the Golden Age. As every Angelino will tell you, the way to enjoy sprawling LA is to find one secret corner and stick to it. Union Station is a great starting place, with smashing boutique hotels nearby. You emerge inside a gorgeous adobe palace that combines public transport hub (everything from MetroLink to Metro Rail) with cushy leather chairs, magnificent tiled floor and fancy dining, led by moderne-influenced Traxx restaurant. In terms of sheer theater, only New York’s Grand Central Station beats it. But first, you’ll experience a dizzying parade of beaches, surfers, valleys, vineyards and mountains as you ride the

train into Downtown. You’ll see secret spots the highway doesn’t as you wind through remote San Lucia Mountains, waterfalls, wildernesses, orchards and fruit pickers. Okay, it’s not like driving your own vehicle, but who cares? It’s mellower and civilized; and you won’t need to rent a car when you arrive. The Starlight Coast rivals Disney any day and lands you gently and safely inside LA’s honey-hued masterpiece of Mission architecture: oh-sospotless, varnished to a high gleam, bar included. And this is the original core of LA’s historic district (think old Raymond Chandler thrillers), a minute or two from Pershing Square and the Staples Center, with the city’s best known and most beloved luxury hotel: the Biltmore. With its massive cathedral of a lobby, it’s all tiles and chandeliers and brass and white linens. Since this is convention central, other luxury hotels jostle for attention, boutique or huge. But none rival this one for location and atmospherics. Also close at hand on Bunker Hill:

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A journey _ los angeles

Founded as a town by Spanish soldiers and settlers in 1781, just 12 years after San Diego’s Mission, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles, was laid out like other towns in “New Spain,” on a grid. A couple of blocks away is El Pueblo de Los Angeles A 230

Also a stroll away is the Farmers’ Market (one stop on Red Line to North Hollywood, if you’re tired). The yummiest ethnic eateries in the city cluster here, from stuffed corncake pupuserias to wantons or Reuben-on-Russianrye sandwiches. The market is a vibrant, 85-years-young affair, spilling across the ground floor of the Homer Loughlin Building. Once it was the HQ of America’s most famous 20th-century architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and now it’s diversity central, a wellkept secret. You’ll have over 40 kinds of cuisine to choose from, all of them drop-dead delicious. Even locals – if they know this place! – can’t believe their luck. Vegetables picked that morning,

tasty Mexican burritos, Chinese noodles, fresh steak sandwiches, all for just a few bucks. Regional Chinese food from Szechuan to Cantonese is everywhere, because LA’s small but intense Chinatown is next door. Occasionally seedy, often exotic, unquestionably ancient, this Chinatown sprawls on Broadway, Hill Street and Spring Street, with a host of tiny mom ‘n’ pop businesses and about 100 restaurants. If you’re into atmospheric décor, the most noir-ish is Hop Louie, which has a jukebox and has been dishing up killer noir vibes since 1941. Then for a splashy farewell (literally!) there’s Philippe the Original. Established in 1908 and at its current spot since 1951, this old-timey eatery claims to have discovered French dip sandwiches when a cook let a bun fall into a pot of gravy. Philippe’s is a couple of minutes from Union Station and is still a crowdpleaser for its French dips and floor-to-ceiling windows, perfect for people-watching. Philippe the Original has that authentic noir-ish feel. Best of all, you won’t ever have to see a freeway!

©Richard Gibson

the Museum of Contemporary Art and Walt Disney Concert Hall on Grand Avenue. So if you feel like soaking up culture, it’s a block or two westward to Frank Gehry’s vast and shiny music box, with its much praised acoustics, where young and feisty conductor Gustavo Dudamel waves curls and baton at the world’s finest musicians, from András Schiff to Gilberto Gil. Nearby at MOCA (250 South Grand Avenue), you’ll find the most recent performance art.

Historical Monument, the official birthplace. Built in 1818 when California was still Spanish, this 44-acre park is a tip of the hat to an essentially Hispanic city’s past, with LA’s oldest church and Avila Adobe, the city’s oldest house. It’s also where you’ll find Olvera Street, with its 27 historic buildings in a Mexican zocalo or plaza. Eat ceviche or carne asada! Or visit the 1884 Plaza Firehouse, the city’s first fire station, now a museum.

A journey _ los angeles hotel

ItĂ? s better in Bel-Air

By Marwan Naaman

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Hotel Bel-Air is LA at its most sophisticated

Hotel Bel-Air is a California legend, an LA star in its own right. Few establishments in the world can claim to have hosted as many celebrities, and fewer still form such an integral part of movie history. Hollywood A-listers who have taken up residence at Hotel Bel-Air include Julia Roberts, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Bruce Willis, Angelina Jolie, Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor, among many, many more. Tony Curtis, who lived at the hotel for a period of time, called it the “best wife” he’d ever had, and frequent guest Tom Cruise says: “I always feel comfortable there.” It was at Hotel Bel-Air that Marilyn Monroe posed for photographer Bert Stern, just six weeks prior to her tragic death. The 1962 Vogue shoot resulted in thousands of images and a published book,

The Last Sitting. In 1954, after winning an Oscar for her role in The Country Girl, Grace Kelly spent the night at the hotel. The Grace Kelly suite is so named because Kelly chose the bungalow for her postOscar photo shoot and lived at the hotel prior to her marriage to Monaco’s Prince Rainier. It was also at this very hotel that many famous newlyweds chose to spend their wedding night, including Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher and Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti. There are many reasons for the hotel’s continued popularity since it first opened in 1946, one of which is its incomparable setting. The hotel is a couple of minutes’ drive from LA’s buzzing Sunset Boulevard, yet it feels a world away from LA’s madness. Its location, among forested hills and away from commercial establishments,

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A journey _ los angeles hotel

gives Hotel Bel-Air a peaceful vibe, as if you’ve landed in the middle of a charming mountain village hidden among winding trails and behind giant, evergreen trees. “Most of our guests are from the LA area,” explains Brittany Purvis, public relations manager at Hotel Bel-Air, adding that many of the guests lead such busy lives that they seldom have time to get away, so they choose the hotel for a few days’ vacation, to relax and unwind, without wasting time on long travel hours. Part of the prestigious Dorchester Collection, Hotel Bel-Air recently underwent a two-year renovation before reopening in October 2011. Designer Alexandra Champalimaud set the design style of all guestrooms, the hotel spa and the Lobby Lounge, taking great care to keep much A 234

Hotel Bel-Air has 103 guestrooms and suites, including new “loft” and hillside accommodations, with sweeping canyon views, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, spa pools and spacious decks. New additions include a fitness studio and the luxurious Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie, with six treatment rooms plus a private couple’s room with its own outdoor patio. The iconic swimming pool, part of the property for over 65 years, has retained its signature shape and familiar setting. Hotel Bel-Air’s plush rooms, all of which are designed in a bungalow style, feature limestone floors, natural wood ceilings, king-sized mattresses, Bang & Olufsen TVs, work desks with integrated media hub and high-speed Wi-Fi. The spacious bathrooms offer heated limestone floors, double sinks, a separate rain shower and a deep spa tub with built-in TV. Each

room also has its own private garden patio, an ideal place to enjoy breakfast while listening to the chirping of the birds. Rockwell Group, the second design team commissioned to reinvent Hotel Bel-Air, redesigned the dining venues, including the magnificent restaurant Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. Serving modern California cuisine, the restaurant offers a distinctive indoor/outdoor patio that overlooks the lush grounds, as well as glass wine cellars that separate the main and private dining rooms. Guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch or simply afternoon tea at Puck’s restaurant. The hotel’s famous bar, a haunt of celebrities, is a treasure of revived wood paneling complete with photographs of LA movie and music icons on the walls. One thing that remains unchanged: the majestic swans gliding on the waters of Swan Lake, which fronts the property and is visible from the charming footbridge that links Hotel BelAir to the rest of the world. For reservations, tel. 1.800.648.4097,

©Hotel Bel-Air

of the hotel’s originality. The Spanish Colonial architecture, splashed in “Bel-Air pink” still reigns supreme, but there’s also a new generation of Hotel BelAir aesthetic reflected in design elements from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

A journey _ caribbean

The Hamptons of the Caribbean By Marianne Wisenthal

Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic is a celebrity hideaway

Jet-setters love the convenience of Casa’s private airport (just eight minutes from check-in) and the helipad right beside the polo fields. Guests can then unpack their Tumi trunks in one of 80 luxurious villas. Riverside, hill-topped or oceanfront, many of the sprawling estates come with full-time butler, chef and chauffeur. No doubt the biggest conundrum is deciding between a billiards A 236

room, basketball court or slip for the yacht. Jay-Z chose well for his 40th birthday bash: Barranca Este 31 has a 60-foot pool where synchronized swimmers entertained his guests. If sun, sand and salutations are what you crave, hop on your personal golf carrito and head to Playa Minitas. Just minutes from the villas, this smooth sanded beach is surrounded by stately palms and bougainvillea. Post swim, head to the open-air Beach Club by New York’s Le Cirque. Here you can nosh on chef Luca Banfi’s fresh lobster salad and poached conch cocktail while taking in the spectacular Caribbean sunset. We guarantee that sea breezes will be even more intoxicating after Maître d’ Massimo Caretta’s mojitos, made with handpicked sea grapes. For a day of total seclusion, arrange a visit to the picturesque La Playita. Twenty minutes by boat from the marina, this pristine private island is stocked with bar, barbecue and fishing tackle, so you can catch your

©Casa de Campo

“The Hamptons of the Caribbean” is how movie mogul Charles Bluhdorn described the Dominican Republic resort he established in 1978. The Paramount Pictures boss wanted a tropical enclave where his Hollywood friends would feel at home surrounded by opulence. Thirty-five years on, the 7,000-acre Casa de Campo has become a much-loved destination for polo players, hip-hop superstars, Cameron Diaz and the Kardashians. Regular guests like Mark Badgley and James Mischka have described the hideaway as “so relaxing and fabulous, it’s heaven.”

own dinner. Not sure how to fillet a red snapper? Not to worry, the island chef will do it for you. At Casa de Campo guests can lie by the pool and do nothing more taxing than tilting a sunbrella. But if it’s excitement you yearn for, there’s plenty of that too. The 240-acre Shooting Club is great for channeling one’s inner Bonnie and Clyde. The targets might be clay, but the stress busting is bar none. For something a little more genteel, take in a cup tournament at the Equestrian Center polo fields, a lesson in English saddle or a guided tropical trail ride. Riding the range is glorious until you discover muscles you never knew existed. For your sins, the Polo Stretching Massage at the Casa de Campo Spa is just the thing. The organic elixirs used during treatments are 100 percent natural and made on site. Follow up with a turn in the meditation garden labyrinth, and you just might get back on the horse.

A short ride from the main resort, Altos de Chavón was modeled after a 16th-century village by a Paramount set designer. Meandering cobblestone leads to a cache of charming boutiques stocked with handspun carpets, embroidered linens and artisanal pottery. Like something off a Hollywood soundstage, the village’s 5,000-seat amphitheater has hosted starlight performances by Alicia Keys, Frank Sinatra and Shakira. Chavón is also home to the highly respected School of Design (an outpost of New York City’s Parsons), where guests can enroll in fashion illustration, architectural photography or graphic design. Do make a point of visiting the design library, where an impressive collection of leather-bound vintage Vogue magazines may put a dent in your beach regime. Never mind, there are no rules in paradise. For reservations, tel. 1.855.877.3643, 237 A

A journey _ safari

African adventures By Serena Makofsky

Lebanon’s U Travel takes you on a wild journey across the Dark Continent

The words “safari vacation” conjure up different images for world travelers. Some people imagine sighting wildlife on private refuges or walking among the waterfalls, while others envision dining at a colonial farmhouse or scuba diving in shimmering island waters. In between, some travelers prefer to recharge their batteries in a luxury suite with a private plunge pool, and others want to sleep in natural habitats at a tented safari camp. All of these adventures are possible on vacations designed by U Travel, a Lebanese agency that individualizes the safari experience.

see places and get insider information from locals.

Your first step in planning a safari vacation is to figure out the type of traveler you are, and then you can select an itinerary that suits you best.

Classic Mozambique Visit island paradises during the Mozambique Safari tour. You stay in luxury resorts on islands and the mainland, enjoying sandy beaches, shady decks and water sports such as swimming, snorkeling

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Luxury traveler: From lodging to dining, tours to guides, only the best will do. You enjoy small, off-the-beaten track spots off many travelers’ radar. Adventure traveler: If the place is remote, the activity level challenging and the itinerary surprising, you’re up for it! Family traveler: Comfort is key, as well as an active but accessible itinerary.

and scuba diving. But this is not a mere tropical vacation. You’re also on a safari that gives you unique access to South Africa’s premier wilderness areas. You fly in to Ngala Private Game Reserve or the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Night drives allow you to see nocturnal activity among the large predators. You’re also near Kruger National Park, with the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve adjacent. This pristine habitat contains over 40 species of mammals and 360 types of birds. Conclude with a stay at the all-inclusive Benguerra Lodge, set amid towering sand dunes and inland lakes. Luxe Kenya The Wildlife and Luxury Tour of Kenya begins in Nairobi’s Norfolk Hotel, one of Kenya’s oldest and most famous hotels. The downtown area offers open-air markets and boutiques selling African clothing and crafts. From here you take a private charter flight to Borana and its lodge, which stands amid a

private wildlife reserve. Opt for a helicopter flight to an alpine lake or a biplane ride with a view of Mount Kenya.

at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These gorillas belong to habituated family groups and are accustomed to human presence.

Your next stop is the famed game park of Masai Mara and the Olonana camp, with only 14 luxury tent accommodations, each with river views. Spot diverse wildlife via an open SUV tour or embark on a sunrise safari by hot air balloon.

South Africa family journey Combine indulgences such as beach stays and wine tasting with family-friendly explorations. Stay in Johannesburg’s elegant Melrose Arch Hotel while venturing to the Cradle of Humankind. This World Heritage Site holds a labyrinth of limestone caves where archeologists have discovered hominid fossils, some dating back 3.5 million years.

Chimp and gorilla tracking adventure Begin your journey at Uganda’s Boma Guest House, near Kibale Forest National Park. This is the habitat of countless primates, including the red-tailed money, blue monkey, olive baboon, chimpanzee, colobus and white-cheeked mangabey. Overnight at a private cottage, accessible by raised wooden walkways, at Kyaninga Lodge. Fly over the savannah to the tents of Ishasha Wilderness Camp inside Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you will sight treeclimbing lions and other game. Track gorillas

Travel to the luxury Etali Safari Lodge and the Madikwe Game Reserve with wildlife viewing and spa services. Other tour stops include Cape Town, chocolate-sampling in the Cape Wine Lands, Table Mountain and a stay at the upscale Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa in Knysna. To plan your own custom-designed African adventure, contact U Travel at tel. 05.454.553, A 239

A journey _ barcelona hotel

Stepping out in Barcelona By Marwan Naaman

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Casa Camper marks the Spanish brand’s foray into the hotel industry

You’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel in Barcelona that’s as cool as Casa Camper. I’m saying “cool,” but the truth is that Casa Camper is extremely hard to define. To understand the hotel, you perhaps need to revisit Camper’s iconic shoe brand, born in Spain in 1975, in response to the monumental changes the country was experiencing after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. Leaving behind decades of oppression, Spain was ready to embrace freedom, and Camper shoes were born to reflect this new lifestyle, while also offering comfort and creativity. Since 1975, Spain has risen to become one of the world’s leading democracies while at the same time holding on to its traditions. Camper has also grown to become the globe’s leading provider of casual shoes while proudly showcasing its Spanish heritage. The company produces different models of footwear for men, women and children that change with every season, yet they all have that unique Camper look – and they’re all utterly comfortable, fashion-forward and totally creative. The same can be said of Casa Camper. This intimate 25-room Barcelona property (there’s another in Berlin) was designed with guests’ well-being in mind, while offering a fresh new approach to traditional hotel accommodation. The hotel is located behind a sliding glass door, in an old building, on narrow Carrer Elisabets, in old El Raval, which used to be a rough neighborhood, but has now become Barcelona’s trendiest area, home to chic boutiques, restaurants, bars and major museums. To enter the hotel, you need a special keycard or you have to be buzzed in by the front desk staff – a good way to ensure privacy for all guests. The main public space is right behind the front desk, a sort of lobby, restaurant, lounge and kitchen all in one. The décor is deceptively simple: what appear to be cafeteria-like tables and minimalist chairs are conducive to long stays, lingering over a cappuccino, conversing with your traveling companions or just playing on your laptop. The space is reminiscent of an artist’s studio, with maps of Barcelona and images of Spanish shop-fronts adorning the walls. 241 A

A journey _ barcelona hotel

The guestrooms are just as creatively designed as the ground floor space. The main 20 rooms are all the same, and they feature a totally unique layout: the main space, which includes the bedroom, bathroom and closets, is a single room overlooking the courtyard and a wall garden (a brick wall creatively lined with an endless number A 242

of potted plants). To reach the other part of your living space, you need to exit this main room and walk across the hallway. What appears to be another hotel room is actually part of your own space, a sort of “entertainment room” complete with a couch (that can be made into a bed), a table and a hammock hanging from the ceiling! This second room overlooks the street (Carrer Elisabets) and offers a nice view of Barcelona’s buzzing city life. The remaining five rooms are suites, and the only difference is that they’re not split into two distinct entities but encompass a single space. Additional hotel amenities include a spectacular roof terrace, where you can have breakfast or afternoon coffee while gazing over Barcelona’s historic rooftops, and a small but well-equipped underground gym. Casa Camper also offers free Wi-Fi so you can remain connected during your stay. Being first and foremost a shoe brand, Camper has made sure to open a boutique selling its trendy footwear immediately next to the hotel. So Camper fans take heart: you’ll have access to the latest collections as soon as you set your stylish foot outside the hotel. For reservations, tel. 34.933.426.280,

©Casa Camper

The kitchen is located right behind the dining area. The usual breakfast fare – fresh bread, cheese, cold cuts, jam, cereal, coffee, tea – is all available, but you can also request any warm food of your choosing (omelet, eggs etc.), and the on-site chef will prepare it for you. You can also request freshly squeezed fruit juice or raid the well-stocked fridge, with its endless supply of yogurt, custard, cake and various drinks. Although warm food is only available for breakfast, the kitchen is always open, so you can drop by anytime to have a sandwich, salad or dessert, all of which are replenished throughout the day. And, of course, coffee, tea and all manners of drink are always on offer. One great thing about this setup: the price of your hotel room includes all food, so you could technically have your three meals at Casa Camper without incurring additional costs. But this would mean that you’d miss out on Barcelona’s fabulous restaurants – and this is simply not a viable option.



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A journey _ lebanon

Get thee to a winter lodge By Sabina Llewellyn-Davies

Lebanonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mountains are rife with scenic bungalows set in dramatic landscapes

Even hardcore city dwellers need some respite from urban busyness. So let your clustered city lungs loosen up a bit and spend a few nights in Lebanonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pristine mountains, in a charming lodge, with nature as your sole companion.

This is where to hotfoot it pronto before everyone else discovers it. Set in the upper Akkar region, Jabalna is a haven of four tiny ecolodges built with regional stone and wood and set in the midst of a pine forest. Jabalna is a short drive from Kobayat, a village renowned for its butterfly and bird museum as well as several ancient churches, all worth a visit. But Jabalna is the true gem here, the vision of George Karam, an avid nature lover and environmentalist with a deep insider knowledge of the area. In winter the area is blanketed in snow and perfect for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Each lodge has its own bathroom and kitchenette, with solar energy for power. Jabalna, Kobayat, Akkar, tel. 03.542.935. A 244

ŠSabina Llewellyn-Davies



Total calm awaits you at Lazzab, a stone lodging located at 1,900 meters in the arid Al Bweib area, in the shadow of Lebanon’s highest peak, Qornet al Sawda. From this isolated lodge, you can see right across the northern part of the Bekaa Valley and the surrounding hills dotted with juniper trees, maybe the oldest of their kind in the world, according to the lodge’s founder Bou Madiane al Fahili. Keen on preserving the environment of his region, Al Fahili used only ecological materials, such as stone and wood, to build the lodge, and he runs it on alternative energy. The four bedrooms have mattresses on the floor, so for an overnight stay bring your own sleeping bag. A highlight of an overnight at Lazzab is a dinner of grilled trout fished right out of the nearby Orontes River (Nahr al Assi) and other local specialties prepared by the owner himself over a roaring outdoor fire. Lazzab, Al Bweib, tel. 03.797.569 and 71.146.915,

Taanayel Ecolodge

At the Taanayel Ecolodge, set in the Bekaa Valley and modeled after the ancient homes of the surrounding villages, you can get a taste of Lebanon’s bygone rural life. Even the pots and pans in the kitchen are vintage. Don’t be surprised if you come across a chicken running through the yard, they’re here for a reason: to lay the eggs for your breakfast. The Taanayel Ecolodge was founded by arcenciel, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Lebanese with disabilities or economic need, so hats off to this wonderful initiative. And the lodge is a perfect base to explore the Bekaa Valley, by foot or by bike. Taanayel Ecolodge, Taanayel, Bekaa Valley, tel. 08.544.881, 245 A

A journey _ lebanon


The unique Ecovillage, nestled in a green valley next to a river in the lush Shouf region, features simple cottages built from recycled materials, mud, wood and clay. This is one of Lebanonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s few green lodging facilities: even the lavatory is dry without water waste. Karim Khatib is the man behind the sustainable concept, and he organizes lots of family activities within the theme of preservation and sustainability, such as organic farming and biodiversity hikes. The food here is vegetarian and organic, made from vegetables grown in nearby fields. Ecovillage, Dmit, Shouf, tel. 03.381.733 and 03.211.463,

Imagine waking up to the sound of chirping birds and a view of snow-covered treetops. This is what you get at Horsh Ehden Lodge, located two hours from Beirut in Northern Lebanon. The quaint little wooden lodges, set at the Nabeh Jouit entrance of the Horsh Ehden Reserve, feature modern amenities and can be booked for an overnight stay. The best months to hike in the Horsh Ehden Reserve are October and November, to witness the trees in stunning autumn colors. In winter, the sight of the snow-blanketed hills is a dramatic sight to behold. The lodge rents out snowshoes for wandering the hidden trails tucked between towering trees. Horsh Ehden, tel. 06.660.120. A 246

ŠSabina Llewellyn-Davies, Iskandar Tohme

Horsh Ehden Lodge

A last _ word

I love LA

By Robert Landon

religious certainty that, no matter how bad things may be today, tomorrow will be another beautiful, warm, sunny day. If, like me, you come from more melancholy climes, beware. You may find yourself quickly addicted to that daily procession from hazy white dawn to bright yellow noon, from radiant pink dusk to twinkling purple night.

I lived in San Francisco for many years but never considered leaving my heart there. Yes, it’s a jewel of a city, one wedged into the most charming of settings. Yet I’ve never found it nearly as compelling as its sprawling, slutty, smog-prone neighbor to the south: Los Angeles. Of course, LA is, like any great lover, as easy to hate as to love. Traffic is brutal. Narcissism is rife. And taste levels often dip dangerously low. Yet just the names of its boulevards – Mulholland, Sunset, Santa Monica, La Cienega – are for me like little spells of enchantment. The realities to which they refer consist largely of meretricious strip malls and painfully A 248

long red lights. But the names themselves have echoed through so many films, so many Vanity Fair exposés, so many tatty E! biographies that, for many, they possess the same incantatory power as “Champs-Elysées.” The city’s filmmakers first migrated here for a single reason – all that pagan sunshine, which remains the most salient fact of life here. For 300 days a year, an Angeleno can run with his shirt off and drive with his top down. But the sun isn’t only a spur to vanity. It also keeps him from brooding on the darker things in life. It’s no surprise that Hollywood insists on happy endings. After all, everyone here knows with almost

And yet as much as LA likes to live in the light and on the surface, its real romantic draw lies in secret cul-de-sacs and highwalled gardens, in occult heavens and private hells. Roman Polanski tried to warn us about them in Chinatown. David Lynch really drove home the point in Mulholland Drive. You never know what might lie behind the unmarked door in that nondescript strip mall. An orgiastic nightclub? A mobbed-up sweatshop? A self-realization seminar? Or just a failed actress taking her final, lonesome bow? Former LA mayor Rick Riordan writes that, “The entrance to the Underworld is in Los Angeles.” But that can be good for creative types. Yes, LA has produced Keeping up with the Kardashians and The Price is Right, but also the music of Jim Morrison and the films of Alfred Hitchcock So San Francisco may have beaches and redwoods, Victorian cottages and the Golden Gate, and it’s all very lovely. But in LA, you can, theoretically speaking, smoke crack with Bobby Brown and get a high colonic with Bob Dylan – all in a single afternoon. For me, that says it all.

A Magazine, Issue 64  

The February/March 2013 issue of A magazine is entirely devoted to the glory, glamour and decadence of Los Angeles. It’s movie magic, right...

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