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Welcome to the latest edition of Beyond, the exclusive magazine of St. Regis Hotels & Resorts. We hope that Beyond inspires you to Live Exquisite with unique stories that reflect the varied interests and passions of our guests around the world. In this issue we meet jazz star and Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste, a true renaissance man whose talents include singing, acting and playing the piano. In our regular feature, “The Connoisseur,” acclaimed jeweler Glenn Spiro reveals why he collects exquisite treasures designed by the house of Cartier. We also recount the glittering history of The St. Regis Rome, originally opened by celebrated hotelier César Ritz in 1894, as it prepares to unveil the stunning results of its lavish refurbishment. And we visit the spectacular St. Regis Deer Valley in Utah, which played host to our ski-inspired cover and fashion shoot. In “The Journey,” Singapore resident Daven Wu takes us on a fascinating walk through his home city, which in the space of just 50 years has witnessed an amazing transformation from compact colonial outpost to one of the world’s most vibrant destinations. Elsewhere, Beyond hails the new Mexican cuisine – subtle, sophisticated and not simply about heat and chilies – which is now gaining global recognition, while in “A Little Place I Know,” we hear about an off-the-beaten-track restaurant in Florence that serves possibly the best cheesecake in the world, and a newly reopened Harlem jazz club that was the birthplace of bebop. Thank you for making St. Regis a part of your travels. With more than 40 hotels around the world, we hope that you will continue to find the time to join us on our journey to Live Exquisite.
LISA HOLLADAY Vice President & Global Brand Leader St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
STEFANO RICCI stefanoricci.com
CONTRIBUTORS Deb Schwartz Deb Schwartz is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Lifehacker, The Cut, and Architectural Digest. In this issue of Beyond she investigates the latest family travel trends, from wedding vacations to mini-Grand Tours. But where would she most like to visit? “My travel bucket list includes spots that are hot, dry, and sunny (the Grand Canyon), temperate (Eiheiji Zen monastery in Fukui, Japan), and very, very dark (the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve in South West Ireland).”
Reggie Nadelson In this issue of Beyond, New York native Reggie Nadelson sings the praises of a seminal Harlem jazz club: the spiritual home of bebop, Minton’s Playhouse. Aside from her work for Departures, Vogue and Condé Nast Traveler, Reggie has written a series of crime novels featuring private eye Artie Cohen, while her new book, At Balthazar: The New York Brasserie at the Center of the World, celebrates 20 years of the famous Manhattan restaurant. “I’d love to visit Antarctica,” she tells us. “It has such a romance, and I hate the summer heat in NYC.”
Daven Wu After eight years as a commercial lawyer, Daven Wu decided to embark on a career in journalism. He now writes for Monocle, Time, Robb Report and Travel + Leisure, and he’s Wallpaper* magazine’s Singapore editor – making him the perfect person to guide us through his country’s transformation from mudflats to metropolis, on page 30. This autumn he’ll check off a lifelong dream: “I’ll be sailing up the Mekong River with celebrity chef David Thompson, before heading to Bali for a few spiritual healing lessons.”
Philip Gay Fashion photographer Philip Gay took to the slopes of The St. Regis Deer Valley Resort for this issue’s fashion shoot on page 54. “I’m keen to visit New Zealand and Peru,” he says of his own travel bucket list. “But I’d also love to climb a few mountains in the Scottish Highlands.” Philip lives between Paris and New York, working for a number of leading brands and magazines – he recently completed campaigns for Timberland and Marc Jacobs, as well as shooting portraits of Isabelle Huppert and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Cassandre Montoriol Paris-based artist Cassandre Montoriol illustrated the recommendations in this issue’s “A Little Place I Know” on page 41. Her expressive gouache drawings are reminiscent of travel diaries, fashion illustration and textile design, and have found favor with leading publications such as Vanity Fair, W Magazine and Marie Claire. Where is she yet to check off? “Japan. I love everything about it – their culture, movies, graphic design, not to mention the country itself. Oh, and New Zealand too, purely for the wild landscapes.”
Matt Munday When he’s not busy rooting out rare vinyl records from obscure corners of the internet, Matt Munday writes about music, travel, business and culture for titles such as The Sunday Times, The Observer and Bio.com. His bucket list destination? “Definitely Bali,” he says. “I’ve spent a couple of days there with work and fell in love with the beauty and mystery of the place. I really want to go back with my family to experience it in full.” For this issue, Matt met jazz star and Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste.
CONTENTS 16 Seven Wonders – The World in Seven Objects –
From chic silk scarves and African tribal masks to designer teapots and straight razors, we present the stories behind seven fascinating objects from around the globe
30 Dream City – The Journey –
Daven Wu takes a walk down memory lane in his home city of Singapore, tracing the island nation’s meteoric transformation from colonial outpost to southeast Asian powerhouse
38 A Little Slice of Heaven
52 All That Glitters
– Investing –
– The Connoisseur –
Many of us dream of putting cash into something that sets the pulse racing, whether it’s a classic car, fine wines... or even a hotel. Could shared ownership be the answer?
Jewelry designer Glenn Spiro on his passion for Cartier collectibles, from gouaches and picture frames to a gilt silver model of a Model T Ford made for Henry Ford
41 Hidden Treasures
54 Baby, It’s Cold Outside
– A Little Place I Know –
– Fashion –
Tastemakers share with us their addressbook secrets, from Filippo Ricci’s favorite Florentine restaurant to a Manhattan jazz club chosen by author Reggie Nadelson
The majestic mountains of Deer Valley are the backdrop for our pick of the season’s coolest skiwear, featuring cool streamlined contours and cozy chunky knits
44 Smart Packing
66 Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia
– Vacation Style –
– Style –
Whether you’re planning a beach vacation in Abu Dhabi, a city break in Nanjing, a ski trip in Aspen or a family trip to Mallorca, these are the essentials you need to take
The creative duo at the helm of iconic fashion house Oscar de la Renta on dressing Meghan Markle’s mother for the Royal Wedding
Cover: Polar jacket, $840, and Morillon pant, $530, both Perfect Moment, perfectmoment.com; roll neck, $400, Fusalp, fusalp.com; sunglass goggles in acetate, $333, Moncler lunettes, store.moncler.com. Above: see page 61
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68 The St. Regis Atlas
82 From Rome With Love
– The Directory –
– The Back Story –
Our international network of hotels and resorts, plus our St. Regis Atlas Guide – to help you make the most of your stay
As The St. Regis Rome prepares to unveil the stunning results of its lavish refurbishment, we look back at the history of this Roman icon
70 Culture Clash
88 Losing It
– Art –
– The Back Story –
Indian artist Rekha Rodwittiya has forged her own distinctive artistic language, merging international influences. Her richly layered artworks are a celebration of female strength
Dieting might seem like a modern craze but throughout human history people have devised bizarre and sometimes hazardous regimes to help shed those pounds
76 Family Affair
90 Mexican Wave
– The Trend –
– Food –
From the intergenerational break to the extended wedding party and the mini-Grand Tour, here are some new-look family vacations for the 21st century
Complex, varied and flavorful, contemporary Mexican cuisine is shaking off its “chili and tacos” reputation and taking the culinary world by storm, both at home and abroad
78 Jon Batiste
93 Kitchen Confidential
– Profile –
– Food –
We meet multi-talented jazz star, actor and Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste, who brings an upbeat energy to everything he touches
Sébastien Giannini, executive chef at The St. Regis Washington, D.C., discusses his culinary inspiration and foodie memories
94 Society – St. Regis Events –
Snapshots from our events around the globe, including a party in LA hosted by Jane Fonda and a charity polo match with Prince Harry
96 Lionel Shriver – A Life in Seven Journeys –
The award-winning author reveals the seven journeys that have shaped her life
Above: Intangible Interlocution: An Anthology of Belonging by Rekha Rodwittiya. The artist discusses her work on page 70
Aaron Basha Boutique • 673 Madison Avenue • New York • 212.644.1970 • www.aaronbasha.com Dubai • Hong Kong • Kiev • London • Moscow • Qatar • Tokyo • Bahrain • Riyadh • Jeddah __________________________________________________________________________________________ Levant Dubai • Ali Bin Ali Qatar • Asia Jewellers Bahrain
THE WORLD IN SEVEN OBJECTS
Words by ALEX MOORE Photography by LOUISA PARRY
THESE UNIQUE , FINELY CR AFTED OBJECTS E ACH TELL A STORY OF OUR T IME , FROM AFRIC AN TRIBAL A RT TO DESIGNER TE APOTS
The foulard, the most decidedly Parisian of all scarves, has become this year’s must-have accessory. These printed silk scarves have come and gone over the years – occasionally spending a decade or so at the back of a drawer – but never before have so many women (and men) looked to the foulard for a pop of a color or a dash of glamour. The Queen of England has been the silk scarf’s most loyal subject over the past 70-odd years, though it’s also been the signature look of Hollywood icons such as Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly. Sadly, however, unless you’re lucky enough to be blessed with the countenance of a screen siren, or you happen to be cruising the French Riviera in a classic convertible, the traditional knotted-under-the-chin style is not an easy look to pull off. Instead, today’s style mavens are using scarves as belts, bows and bag straps, tying them imaginatively around their heads, necks, waists and wrists. But as good as they look day-to-day, they really come into their own when you’re on vacation, evoking as they do the golden age of travel. In those days, silk “souvenir scarfs” were part of the vacation uniform, and if you didn’t leave wearing one; you’d almost certainly come home in one. Nowadays, leaving with one is de rigueur, ideally one by Hermès – the only brand of headscarf the Queen has ever worn. Hermès scarves are timeless and quintessentially chic: whether it’s the classic equine-inspired designs of old, or this season’s more contemporary “Sea, Surf and Fun” prints (pictured, left) by Brazilian artist Filipe Jardim. Featuring flashes of the brand’s signature orange, these textile artworks are guaranteed to give even the most understated of outfits a luxury lift.
Tea, we’re reliably informed, is the new wine. Sommeliers in fine dining establishments are serving cold-brewed tea in wineglasses; sparkling tea is the chic new alternative to prosecco; and at two Michelin-starred New York restaurant Atera you can enjoy a “tea progression” comprising six different teas matched to an 18-course tasting menu. But this isn’t tea as we know it. To borrow a phrase from the coffee world, tea is now entering its “third wave”. Following the “craft” blueprint laid out by wine, beer and coffee, tea producers (and drinkers) are now paying much closer attention to the origin, terroir, harvesting and manufacturing techniques of their chosen brew. The humble teabag favored by most tea-drinkers might be quick and convenient, but it’s relatively insipid in terms of taste. Made by passing tea-leaves through a macerating machine to create a dustlike mulch, it retains very little of the leaf’s original flavor or health benefits (and to make matters worse, the teabag has gone under the “plastics” microscope, and it’s not quite as biodegradable as we once thought). Loose-leaf tea, meanwhile, offers a vastly superior depth and variety of flavor. And the health benefits aren’t bad either, with certain teas said to aid relaxation, allergies, aging, digestion, energy, weight loss and, perhaps most importantly, beauty. The other result of all this renewed interest in tea is that aficionados are now investing in beautiful teapots, like this one from iconic Danish design house, Kähler, and taking a Zen-like pleasure in the ritual of making a pot of tea – the preparation, the pause and the pour. All of a sudden, boiling water could be one of the most considered things you do all day.
The wild bouquet
“This country is in the midst of a floral revolution,” writes Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman in The New York Times. “Flower arrangements have become wilder and stranger, incorporating all manner of seasonal flora plucked from the woods, the garden, the roadside and the vegetable patch.” And it’s not just in the US, it seems. Across the pond, it emerged that Prince Harry had foraged his wedding bouquet’s astilbes and sweet peas himself – a move that was not just touching but surprisingly on point. “Brides are moving away from bright, formal, ball-like bouquets in favor of wilder, more organic-looking styles,” says Hannah Antmann, founder of Saint Floral, a creative floral design studio based a few miles from Windsor, where the royal wedding took place. “They want their flowers to look ethereal and whimsical, and they want them to look like they’ve been handpicked from local fields.” More than ever, she adds, greenery and foliage are taking center stage, and in some cases people don’t want any flowers in their bouquet at all. “I’ve just done a wedding bouquet with fresh mint and oregano,” she says. “That might sound strange but a lot of herbs have lovely flowers on them – it’s those little details that people really appreciate.” In this bouquet (pictured) Antmann has incorporated flowers in antique tones of powder blush, soft apricot and dusty pinks, while the foliage includes pistachio, preserved eucalyptus, foraged sycamore, dog rose and ivy vines, finished with gilded ferns and madder rose silk ribbons. “My style isn’t prescriptive or conformist,” says Antmann, “but it stands out because of its wild, romantic feel, which is fast becoming popular among modern brides and creatives who appreciate flowers as an art form.”
According to Forbes, barbering is America’s fastest-growing profession – more so, even, than coding, data science or Uber-driving. But it’s not as though men are only just coming round to the idea of getting their hair cut, so what’s changed? Firstly, barbering, much like bricklaying, isn’t a profession threatened by the internet – in other words, you can’t get your hair cut online. So while brick-and-mortar stores around the world battle against e-commerce, landlords are welcoming barbers with open arms. Which is convenient, given men’s (relatively) newfound penchant for taking care of themselves. The global market for male grooming is expected to be worth $60.7bn by 2020 (that’ll be up $10bn in four years according to Euromonitor), with 80 per cent of products bought in stores. It also helps that the modern barbershop is such an attractive proposition – a neighborhood hangout that looks like a members’ club, serves complimentary alcohol, and packs you off looking sharper than when you arrived. Many of these new shops are taking cues from the likes of Truefitt & Hill, the world’s oldest barbershop – established in 1805 and now boasting 32 shops around the world – where soignés gentlemen pay regular visits for traditional cutthroat shaves, facials, manicures, shoe-shines and now their toiletries. It’s here that normally stoic fellows can be found gushing over the smell of a pomade as it’s massaged into their scalps. They’ll be informed that the pomade, the hair tonic, and the bergamot beard oil are in fact the shop’s own brand, and they will leave half an hour later with a bag full of cosmetics (and a straight razor, if only for their masculinity’s sake). Because this is modern grooming, and you get no points for looking and smelling anything but your very best.
Any regular visitor to the world’s leading contemporary art fairs will have noticed an increase in the amount of tribal art on display, specifically African tribal art. Unsurprisingly, this surge has corresponded with a rise in the price of high-end lots sold at the world’s biggest auction houses. In 2014, a very rare Senufo female statue carved by the 19th-century Ivory Coast artist Master of Sinasso sold for $12m at Sotheby’s New York. Prior to that, the record was held by a Ngil mask of the West African Fang culture, which fetched $7.5m at auction in Paris in 2006. Before the turn of the century, pieces like this were barely making six figures. “Collecting has changed dramatically in the last decade,” says Patrick Mestdagh, owner of Galerie Mestdagh in Brussels. “In the past, collectors tended to specialize in one area, whether it was African masks, Sèvres porcelain or 18th-century silver. Today, they’re interested in many fields and are ready to mix them, but they’re usually looking for the top pieces in each. The general concept is: ‘Buy less, but buy the best.’” Yet while the market is dominated by high-end pieces, the recent boom has created opportunity elsewhere. Regardless of budget, there are certain qualities to look out for: age and rarity are important – pieces have to be made for traditional tribal use, not for commercial sale – but they also need to have great form, patina and expression. “Tribal art has been in the same conversation as Cubism, Picasso, Braque and Modigliani for years now, so it’s no surprise people are buying bits for their art collections,” says Bryan Reeves, owner of Tribal Gathering London, which provided the mask pictured – made by a Malawian tribe, the Chewa. “And the great thing is, they don’t necessarily have to be investment pieces.”
Su Shi, the 11th century Chinese poet and calligrapher, once said, “I’d rather eat without meat than live without bamboo. Man without meat will be thin, but without bamboo will be vulgar.” It might have taken the western world the best part of a millennium to come round to his way of thinking, but we’re beginning to realize that bamboo might be the most versatile material on the planet. No longer reserved for chopsticks and conservatory seating, today bamboo is used in construction (its tensile strength is greater than that of mild steel, and it withstands compression twice as well as concrete), plywoods, plastics, biofuel, medicine, 3D-printing and even juice. Not only is it strong, lightweight, and even tasty, it’s also sustainable and eco-friendly. Bamboo is the world’s fastest-growing plant – there are around 1,200 different species, and some can grow at a rate of more than three feet per day. It flourishes in marginal land, requires little water, and can be harvested without killing the plant. On top of this, it converts up to four times more CO2 into oxygen than normal trees. Which is why bamboo silks, bamboo rayons and now Tencel (a sustainable cellulosic fiber also made from bamboo) are making their way onto the runways of fashion brands – Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, EDUN, to name a few – and into our homes. IKEA is committed to using the material in more of its products, while designers at The Conran Shop have been experimenting with bamboo for years. The brand’s exclusive kilim rugs (pictured), for example, are made from a blend of 80 per cent bamboo and 20 per cent cotton, giving them the luxurious feel of silk but enough durability to endure steady footfall. It seems Su Shi might have had a point.
Anyone paying attention to the catwalks of late will have noticed that all eyes seem to be on ears. Earrings – the bigger, danglier and more ornate the better – have been stealing the show since the beginning of the year, when Flamenco-style tassels filled the glossies’ fashion pages. This season, as a rule, if earrings don’t tickle the shoulder, they’re considered rather understated. Versace’s key-shaped earrings look like they could unlock a castle gate, Zadig & Voltaire’s chandeliers hang down to chest level, Prabal Gurung’s string of pearls aren’t much shorter, Dolce & Gabbana’s baroque cherubs are unnervingly bulky, while Toga’s grapes are the chunkiest bunches you’d wish on your poor ears. It’s a refreshing change from the restrained minimalism that has kept ladies’ ears prim and proper for so long. And what’s more, these earrings become the focal point of an outfit, which can then be toned down and pared down elsewhere. In other words, no need for a necklace. Granted, what we see on the catwalk is not always what makes its way into daily life, but jewelers around the world have certainly taken note. Global jewelry brand David Morris, for example, has created a series of stunning couture pieces, combining red spinels, opals, pink pearls, and emeralds. A stand-out set (pictured) offsets Paraiba tourmaline, pink sapphire and round white diamond brilliants on 18ct white gold. They sit just above the shoulder, so far from excessive – in the current climate – but by no means modest. And finally, if you’re not convinced this trend will hang around long enough to justify a house-priced pair of earrings, then perhaps a quick rummage through your mother’s jewelry box will turn up some vintage beauties.
DREAM CITY Words by DAVEN WU
SINGAPORE’S METEORIC TR ANSFORM AT ION FROM DIMINUT IV E COLONI AL OUTPOST TO SOUTHE AST ASI AN POW ERHOUSE C AN BE W IT NESSED IN ITS STREETS, DOCKS AND A RCHITECT URE . DAV EN W U TR ACES HIS HOME CIT Y ’S REM A RK A BLE MODERN HISTORY W ITH A WALK THROUGH ITS MOST ICONIC LOC AT IONS
Previous pages: Ian Berry @ Magnum Photos. Left: National Geographic Creative. Right: Getty Images
Living color Opening pages: the cityscape with Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel and Gardens by the Bay. Left: detail from Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple. Above: traditional shop-houses in Koon Seng Road
And here’s one of me and my mother standing on Orchard Road, against a backdrop of Christmas lights, smiling brightly at the future. As a treat, we would visit my uncle in his office in Raffles Place – then, as now, the city’s Central Business District – with its mix of gleaming new skyscrapers, art deco piles and 19th-century shop-houses along Boat Quay. In all the photos, everything looks bright and shiny. If there were any mudflats or swamps, I don’t remember them. For almost without anyone noticing, Lee had actually achieved a metropolis in a decade. He was bang on schedule. Admittedly, no one pretended that Singapore was anything like New York or London, but it certainly wasn’t a hardship posting either. What not many of us realized at the time was just how fast the wheels were turning behind the scenes, and how hard Lee was pressing his foot on the accelerator. Almost immediately after that landmark 1965 speech, he had set about rehousing the population. The surest way to create a sense of identity, and for ordinary Singaporeans to accumulate wealth, he felt, was to give them a home of their own. Ownership grounded people. So he put in place sweeping new zoning laws. Entire neighborhoods of grim tenements were razed. In their place rose rows of utilitarian public housing blocks that have become a familiar part of Singapore’s modern skyline. By 1970, the housing problem was, in the government’s own memorable parlance, “licked”. Meanwhile, the island was transforming itself into a commercial and logistics hub, luring both business and human capital with attractive
n 12 September 1965, shortly after Singapore had been cast out of the recently formed Malaysian federation, and had declared its independence, the fledgling nation’s prime minister Lee Kuan Yew stood before a crowd of supporters and declared, “We made this country. From nothing! From mudflats! Ten years from now, [Singapore] will be a metropolis. Never fear!” By any yardstick, it was a bold prediction to make. Granted, 150 years of British colonial rule had created a thriving entrepôt based around the port, a first-rate civil service, and a picturesque skyline of neoclassical and art deco piles clustered around a central business district on the southern tip of the island. But outside this area were mudflats and swamps, and dirtpoor kampong villages. Most of the population lived in squalid, crowded tenements. There was no reliable water supply. In real terms, the average Singaporean in 1959 was as poor as the average American in 1860. Against this sobering background – a metropolis in a decade? In 1975, I was still a child; but now, looking back through my family’s photograph albums, I see the clear outline of a city in mid-transformation. By that time, most of the kampongs had disappeared, and my family lived in a two-story colonial-era terrace house on Emerald Hill Road, just off Orchard Road. Day and night, there was always the pounding noise of construction – the buzz of a city tearing itself apart and recreating itself. I come across a photo of a relative standing proudly at his balcony in one of the fancy new condominiums that were sprouting up all over the island.
The Journey But it’s the area around Raffles Place that I love the most. Whenever overseas guests ask me where they should start their tour of Singapore, I bring them to the middle of Boat Quay’s Cavenagh Bridge. From this graceful cast-iron suspension bridge, opened in 1870, the island’s past and future segue into an extraordinary skyline. Though the sleek, gleaming skyscrapers with their soaring steel-and-glass frames dominate the horizon, the greater pleasures, for me, are to be found in the older, lower-slung silhouettes that hug the east and west banks of the Singapore River. Here, in the shadow of towers built by IM Pei and Kenzō Tange, is the same stretch of multi-hued shop-houses I remember from my childhood. Hugging the curve of the Singapore River, these narrow 19th-century buildings – once shops, warehouses, offices and homes for the coolies and businessmen who made their fortunes from the trading barges that docked here – have been converted into lively pubs, cafés and restaurants. And just across the river, the imposing civic offices of the old colonial British administration have been meticulously restored and repurposed into the Asian Civilizations Museum, soigné eateries and drama centers, alongside the mid-19th-century Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. I walk another block north to take in the neoclassical glory of the early 20th-century Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, which were made over in 2015 by the Paris-based Studio Milou into the National Gallery Singapore. The bones of the original interior spaces – the old courtrooms,
incentives and tax breaks. New buildings were springing up everywhere, though Lee was careful to intersperse all this dizzying renovation with largescale botanical projects. So much so that today nearly half of Singapore is green space. By the time the new millennium swung around, Singapore had achieved First World status in less than two generations. Today, the skyline continues to morph at an astonishing speed, but beneath the 21st-century gloss, old Singapore still pulses. In 1995, Lee offered a canny stock-take of the symbiosis between commerce, Singapore’s modern built landscape and its past: “We made our share of mistakes… [In] our rush to rebuild Singapore, we knocked down many old and quaint Singapore buildings. Then we realized we were destroying a valuable part of our cultural heritage… we were demolishing what tourists found attractive and unique in Singapore. We halted the demolition… The value of these areas in architectural, cultural and tourism terms cannot be quantified only in dollars and cents. We were a little late, but fortunately we have retained enough of our history to remind ourselves and tourists of our past.” That past is why I like to walk in Singapore. I love wandering through Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown for their cacophony of sounds, music and chatter; their temples and markets; and their narrow alleys lined with period architecture – all remarkably intact nearly 200 years after Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, first demarcated these quarters for the diasporas of Indians, Malays and Chinese.
Previous pages: Lee Yik Keat. Left: Ian Berry @ Magnum Photos. Right: National Geographic Creative
Previous: an aerial view of Gardens by the Bay. Below: the entrance to the Orchard Road MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) at the foot of the shopping mall
Singapore public corridors, and timber-paneled judges’ chambers – have been preserved as a sequence of generously proportioned gallery spaces that house the world’s largest collection of southeast Asian contemporary art. And just beyond the Padang – the city’s central playing field – is Marina Bay. When I was growing up, the waterfront was a hive of sampans (traditional Chinese wooden boats). Today, its eastern flank has been enclosed by a new Central Business District, the futuristic biodomes of Gardens by the Bay, and the Marina Bay Sands casino and resort. From the Padang, I like to walk on towards St Andrew’s Road. Two hundred years ago, this was a bucolic stretch of pastoral land framed by dirt tracks and orchards. In 1835, GD Coleman, the Englishman responsible for so many of Singapore’s early colonial buildings, built St Andrew’s Cathedral in an early English Gothic style with a softly glowing white façade made of shell lime, egg white, sugar and water from soaked coconut husks. Though St Andrew’s Road is now a busy thoroughfare, Coleman’s masterpiece – with its elegant interior of fine filigree plasterwork – remains one of my favorite quiet spots in Singapore. Stand in front the National Gallery, I tell out-of-town guests, and look out over the green expanse of the Padang. On weekends, the field – book-ended by two of Singapore’s oldest private clubs, the Singapore Cricket Club, which was founded in 1852, and the Singapore Recreation Club, founded in 1883 – echoes to the whistles and cries of a rugby match, and the baritone whack of cricket balls.
But, as with so many places in Singapore today, there is a less bucolic palimpsest. In 1942, during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, Singaporean and British civilians were rounded up here before being taken to the notorious POW camp in Changi in the eastern corner of the island. Three years later, Lord Louis Mountbatten stood on the grand steps of City Hall and accepted the official Japanese surrender from General Itagaki. And in 1959, the newly elected prime minister Lee Kuan Yew chose those same steps – this time, facing a Padang filled with celebrating locals – to declare Singapore’s independence from Great Britain. When Lee died in 2015 at 91, long lines of Singaporeans crisscrossed the Padang and along the Esplanade all the way to Parliament House where he lay in state. Almost half a million people stood in the searing heat and into the night – some for as long as ten hours – to pay their respects to the man who had dominated every aspect of modern Singapore. On the day of the state funeral, 100,000 mourners jammed the route of the cortege, soaked to their skins in the heavy tropical rain. The sense of loss was palpable. Later, someone said on Facebook: “It was really something to be a part of. It was the Singapore zeitgeist, both on that historic field and online, for a long crowded night at the end of a stirring week. But I think we’ll be OK.” I couldn’t help thinking not many people would bet against that prediction. Your address: The St. Regis Singapore
Golden age Below: built in 1826, the Sultan mosque is located in the Kampong Glam neighborhood, a focal point for Singapore’s Muslim community
A LITTLE SLICE OF HEAVEN Words by VICTOR SMART
The good news is that there are myriad investments out there, with new opportunities presenting themselves all the time. But squaring the circle is not easy: the unsentimental approach of the hard-nosed professional investor is far removed from the hobbyist’s enthusiasm. So a good starting point for anyone interested in dipping their toe into a shared investment is to be clear from the start what your goals are. What financial returns do you expect? Do you want to contribute more broadly to the venture and maybe see your advice or expertise heeded? Above all, do you expect to have occasional access to the asset or draw some valuable perks? Shared ownership of course involves building relationships – and that’s complicated. One salutary tale comes from a lawyer, now retired, who agreed back in the Eighties to buy a quarter share of a horse from a close friend; the friend’s three family members held the remaining share. The horse was a winner and ultimately became a household name in fencejumping races; there were joyous moments as the four owners gathered around the victorious horse after races – and innumerable trips to the winners’ enclosure. The glorious winnings became almost secondary. He then joined a formal syndicate where 40 people took stakes in a new mount. This horse was also a success on the racetrack, yet disenchantment set in swiftly. “It was a dismal experience,” he admits. “There was no emotional bond at all with the animal, which is what I realized I had come to value. You had to book paddock visits in advance and the crush after races was awful. To try to get access to the winners’ enclosure you had to draw lots with the other stakeholders.” One would imagine that sharing is less of a problem in the wine world. Although older vintages can command stratospheric prices, a single bottle of most current vintages should be affordable to a connoisseur at least on an occasional basis. But what if an enthusiast sets his or her sights not on a lone bottle but on ownership of the winery itself? France’s most esteemed vineyards may be beyond reach. But in many parts of the world, shared ownership of wineries is pretty common – and to some investors, the idea of a wine label of one’s own is irresistible. In the new wine-making region of Ningxia in the north east of China, up-and-coming winemakers have set
any conventional investments nowadays offer poor financial returns and zero excitement. So it’s no surprise that many of us dream of putting cash into something that sets the pulse racing – diamonds, a classic car, fine wines or contemporary art, perhaps. But what if what you desire is simply too rare, too precious, unless you have unfathomably deep pockets? One answer is to share ownership with other investors. This spreads the risk and puts possessing a slice of a coveted trophy asset like a winning racehorse, top winery or prestigious property tantalizingly within a broader reach – not just the preserve of billionaires. Shared ownership is especially common in the world of executive jets, horse racing and property. Indeed NetJets, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway since 1998, built its business on offering quarter shares of aircraft – hence QS is emblazoned on the tails of the US-registered fleet. In the case of a jet, part ownership may confer some bragging rights but there is little sense of fun; co-owning a costly asset otherwise likely to be idle simply makes practical sense. Many private investors are looking for something different, something that combines investment with their personal passions and lifestyle choices. Own a part-share in a vineyard, for example, and you may perhaps be invited to relaxed private tastings or even to make suggestions about the style of wines and – come harvest time – you can always make yourself handy with a pair of secateurs amid the vines.
Alamy; Getty Images; John Bishop for St. Regis
M AN Y OF US DRE AM OF PUT T ING C ASH INTO SOMETHING TH AT SETS THE PULSE R ACING, W HETHER IT ’S A CL ASSIC C A R, FINE W INES... OR EV EN A HOTEL . COULD SH A RED OW NERSHIP BE THE ANSW ER?
about meeting this need. Twenty years ago, there was scarcely a vine under cultivation here. But a tourist wine route to rival Burgundy’s is being developed while one of the grandest plans is at the spectacular Ho-Lan Soul winery. Here there is to be one central château surrounded by 200 smaller private châteaux. Buyers will be able to acquire a plot, bottle their own wine and place their name (or whatever they choose) on the label. Another approach to “democratizing the exclusive” is currently underway at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen. The owners, Elevated Returns LLP, are planning to sell a 20 per cent stake in the Colorado property they acquired eight years ago. The first round of the offering is going to investors deemed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to be wellinformed “accredited” investors. A new departure is that it will use the blockchain technology often employed in cryptocurrencies to “tokenize” the assets. This would in effect transform the tranche that has been sold off into coin-like units that could be split into ever smaller parts. The company ultimately hopes that in the near future the SEC will then give the go-ahead for allowing non-accredited investors to buy the tokens. Once that happens, the company would either embark on a second round or simply enable the tokens to be purchased and sold without restriction. Stephane De Baets, president of Elevated Returns, comments, “The St. Regis Aspen is a remarkable hotel – even if you haven’t stayed there, you will have heard about it. The opportunity to own a part of it appeals to everyone from our most regular guests to moms and pops. We are democratizing real estate investment by making it possible to trade in much smaller amounts in our hotel.” According to the owners, the St. Regis Aspen investment will display many of the advantages we associate with cryptocurrencies,
but unlike them, it will be backed by a tangible asset: the hotel. And it’s hoped the tokenization will increase the ease of buying and selling, thereby pushing up values. However, there will be no perks: the owners have ruled out room discounts or other incentives, in part because of the complications this would introduce to smaller trades in the tokens. A final option for investors trying to align their hearts and their heads could be diamonds – more particularly, fancy colored diamonds. Diamonds are precious, but colored diamonds are rarer and can be still more precious. Naturally tinted from the presence of elements such as nitrogen and boron deep in the earth when the diamonds were first formed, fancy diamonds come in a range of hues. Among the most highly prized are certain “intense” and “vivid” reds which can sell for more than a staggering $3 million a carat. Normally, such exotic stones would be the preserve of ultra-high-networth individuals. But funds now allow others to buy into the market. Philip Baldwin, managing director of Sciens Coloured Diamond Fund, comments, ”These stones are extremely rare and hard to find. Few people will have the expertise to buy or sell them. We do that, plus take on all the other responsibilities such as insurance and ensuring individual members of the fund are treated equitably. And we have created a liquid market.” Those sharing in the ownership can legitimately claim to own what, by mass, is just about the most expensive natural thing on earth. Alas, shared ownership does not extend to invitations to wear the diamonds personally – even for an evening. Needless to say, it’s worth ensuring that the satisfaction in prospect with any of these is enough to offset matters if the financial returns disappoint – since the value of any investment, shared or otherwise, can of course go down as well as up. Your address: The St. Regis Aspen
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A Little Place I Know ADDRESS-BOOK SECRETS FROM LUMINARIES OF THE WORLDS OF FASHION, CULTURE AND COLLECTING
An enchanting mosque in Cairo by Philip Hewat-Jaboor Aqsunqur Mosque, Bab el-Wazir Street, Tabbana Quarter, Cairo
There’s something profoundly enchanting about Egypt. The light and the landscape are so extraordinary, with the Nile snaking through the country, and this belt of lush green landscape, which then stops abruptly. You can literally stand with one foot in the green and the other in the desert. The Egyptians are hugely welcoming – an absolute pleasure to spend time with. I’ve been going there for 35 years and I spend two to three months there every year. I especially love Cairo. It has wonderful architecture: Pharaonic, Islamic, 19th-century, and now, with new Egyptian museum, 21st century. In the old Islamic quarter there’s a little mosque, the Aqsunqur, or Blue Mosque, which isn’t particularly well known or visited, and is a little hard to find. Parts of it were built in the 1340s, others in the mid-17th century, and there are walls completely covered in marble, precious stones and blue tiles brought from Damascus – a wonderful combination of materials, with a courtyard grown over with palm trees. It’s all incredibly beautiful, with the most magical atmosphere. I really find it very moving. Philip Hewat-Jaboor is an art advisor and the chairman of Masterpiece art fairs (June 26 – July 3, 2019; masterpiecefair.com) Your address: The St. Regis Cairo
An historic jazz club in New York by Reggie Nadelson 206 West 118th Street, New York
In the early 1940s, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie got together and invented bebop. They did it at Minton’s Playhouse, a shabby club on 118th Street in Harlem. Bebop was brand new; it was modern jazz: difficult to play, impossible to dance to. The music eventually moved to 52nd Street and Greenwich Village, to clubs where the audience sat in reverent silence trying to work it all out. Miles Davis, Ray Brown and Max Roach joined in, and bebop blew everyone away. As jazz moved away, the great Harlem clubs and ballrooms shut down. Then, in the 21st century, the neighborhood made a comeback. Great restaurants opened all over Harlem, and so did Minton’s Playhouse. A spiffy room with photos of Dizzy and Charlie on the walls, Minton’s showcases some of the best jazz around, and shares its premises with The Cecil Steakhouse, which serves great steaks and terrific drinks. Reggie Nadelson is the author of At Balthazar: The New York Brasserie at the Center of the World. Your address: The St. Regis New York
A Little Place I Know
An off-the-beaten-track Florentine restaurant by Filippo Ricci Osteria delle Tre Panche, Via A. Pacinotti 32/R, Florence
When people ask me for a restaurant recommendation, I always suggest Osteria delle Tre Panche. We’ve been going there since it opened, and we probably still go at least twice a week, because whenever friends visit, they want to go too. It’s tiny – and not in typical restaurant territory. Just one room, for 20 people max, all sitting on benches (or panche) and a really small kitchen. But it’s a tremendous dining experience. The Osteria specializes in truffles – they have one of the best white truffle sauces in Italy. But in my opinion it’s all about the cheesecake, arguably the best in the world. It’s so good that people FedEx it to the US. Nowadays two young guys, Andrea and Vieri Bista, run the restaurant. They’re both chefs, but they alternate daily – one guy cooks, the other waits the tables. They’re so good, we’ve taken them around the world with us – Shanghai, Moscow, Miami, Las Vegas, Dallas, all over. We like to host dinner parties wherever we go, and we love to bring this Italian flavor. We have countless Michelin-starred restaurants in Florence, but for me, this is still the best. Filippo Ricci is creative director of the Florence-based luxury tailoring house Stefano Ricci (stefanoricci.com) Your address: The St. Regis Florence
A poster museum in Shanghai by Timothy Parent
I came across Shanghai’s Propaganda Poster Art Center through a friend who suggested it as somewhere to take visitors looking for a bit of culture. Shanghai is more of a city for living than sightseeing – that’s more Beijing’s thing. So, very few people know about this museum, which is pretty tucked away, in the basement of an old residential complex. But that’s kind of the cool thing about it. You feel you’ve really discovered something. It’s a visual representation of China’s ideology from the 1950s to the 1980s – mostly posters, but with some comics – and it’s fascinating to see how the country changed during those decades. It’s like a unique window into China’s recent history. There are a lot of posters about economic growth, sport, film and the other big theme, crushing the West. There are also interesting themes about the Chinese working with “suppressed groups” and how they aligned themselves with certain African and Asian countries. And some are very futuristic. It’s pretty enlightening, for sure. You could easily spend half a day there if it’s the kind of thing you’re interested in. Timothy Parent is the founder of the chinafashionbloggers.com and a contributor to The Business of Fashion. Your address: The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan
Illustrations by Cassandre Montoriol
Propaganda Poster Art Center, Room B-OC, 868 Huashan Rd, Shanghai
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1. James palm-print t-shirt, $90, Norse Projects, norseprojects.com 2. Griffon tailored-fit pants, $295,
Orlebar Brown, orlebar.com 3. Freelancer Skeleton watch with rose
gold detail, $2,900, Raymond Weil Geneve, raymond-weil.com 4. Lewes green suede loafers, $730, Manolo Blahnik, manoloblahnik.com 5. Denim workwear shirt, $465,
Connolly, connollyengland.com THE CITY OF NANJING IS A FASCINATING DESTINATION – WHETHER YOU’RE IN TOWN FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE, MAKE SURE YOUR OUTFIT IS UP TO THE JOB
6. Leather caramel V-line backpack,
$2,450, Valextra, valextra.com 7.
7. OP-505 buff-framed sunglasses with
green lenses, $455, Oliver Peoples, oliverpeoples.com
Your address: The St. Regis Nanjing
A BEACH VACATION IN MALLORCA CALLS FOR CUTE BUT PRACTICAL CLOTHES THAT WILL KEEP YOUR LITTLE ONES LOOKING ST YLISH WITHOUT COMPROMISING ON COMFORT
Your address: The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort
1. Girls’ pink Origami pompom swimsuit, $52, Sunuva, sunuva.com 2/3. Frette 1860 kids’ hooded robe, $120, and slippers, $28, both St. Regis Boutique, stregisboutique.com 8.
4. Denim dungaree dress, $108, Chloé Kids, farfetch.com
5. Souvenir Artwork t-shirt. $23, Scotch & Soda, scotch-soda.com 6. Dolce & Gabbana Mini Me Tour d’Italie rucksack, $504, meliejoe.com
7. White calf leather sneakers. £162, Fendi, fendi.com 8. Deacon red shorts, $55, Stella McCartney, stellamccartney.com
1. Aylsham black beret, $325, Emily London, emily-london.com
2. Red Summit jacket, $775, Canada Goose, canadagoose.com 3. Fendi Heritage gloves. $332, Fendi, fendi.com 4. Star II Suit, $450, Perfect Moment, perfectmoment.com 5. Rad Pad Sweater, $440, Spyder, spyder.com 6. Moncler Lunettes eyewear, $305, Moncler, store.moncler.com
SEARCHING FOR A WAY TO LOOK CHIC ON THE SLOPES IN ASPEN BUT STAY COZY – EVEN ON THE COLDEST OF DAYS? DON’T WORRY, YOU’RE GETTING WARMER
Your address: The St. Regis Aspen Resort
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ENJOYING SOME MUCH-NEEDED DOWNTIME ON THE BEACH IN ABU DHABI? RELAX IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT YOUR OUTFIT WILL KEEP YOU LOOKING COOL FROM DAWN TO DUSK
Your address: The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
1. Sicily linen embroidered dress, $2,220, Eres, eresparis.com 2. Double T crossbody mini handbag, $870, Todâ€™s, store.tods.com 3. Serpenti metal frame sunglasses with snake heads, $480, Bvlgari, bulgari.com 4. White diamond earrings (85.58cts), from $300,000, Graff, graffdiamonds.com 5. Re twill silk scarf, $230, Forget Me Knot, forget-me-knot.paris 6. Virginie white sewn fedora hat, $472, Maison Michel Paris, michel-paris.com 7. Leather Nu Pieds Slides in saffron, $645, Saint Laurent, fwrd.com
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The Connoisseur: Glenn Spiro
ALL THAT GLITTERS Words by JAMES COLLARD Photography by GABBY LAURENT
“I like things that shine,” jokes Glenn Spiro – fittingly for a man who makes exceptionally fine jewelry. One of Spiro’s shiny things was recently donated to the prestigious permanent collection of important jewelry at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum by none other than Beyoncé, who is both a friend and a client of Spiro’s. It’s a spectacular piece, a “Papillon”, or butterfly ring, with wings – which flap as the wearer moves her finger – crafted from titanium, diamonds and green tsavorites. This is an undoubted coup for Spiro, 55, long recognized by his peers as a superb craftsman and designer of high jewelry, but who until recently operated largely under the radar, as many of his pieces were made for older, more famous houses. But as well as making things that shine, Spiro also collects them, especially shiny things by Cartier – from the gilt silver model of a Model T Ford made for Henry Ford in the 1970s in the lobby of his atelier to the framed gouaches on the walls behind Spiro’s desk. A shelf houses a good 100 or so presentation boxes containing anything from a silver and crystal caviar service to a cigarette case, while on Spiro’s desk are two silver frames containing signed portraits of George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother. These have a particular resonance, as these rooms were formerly the atelier of Norman Hartnell, for several decades couturier of choice to British high society and royalty, especially Queen Elizabeth and her daughters, the present Queen, Elizabeth II, and Princess Margaret. The Queen Mother was a close friend of Hartnell’s – he made her laugh – while it was in these rooms that Elizabeth II was fitted for her wedding and coronation dresses. “It has a very special atmosphere,” says Spiro, who first visited the atelier as a teenage apprentice to Cartier, when he was asked to accompany an important client to a fashion show. He was struck by the “incredible elegance of the place”, and decades later, when he was looking for an atelier and showroom of his own, “I kept going past and seeing that there were no lights on – and when I heard it was empty, I took it right away, without seeing it again.” He takes a similar approach to buying both gemstones for his jewelry and to his collecting habit. “You have to buy what you like,” he explains, and follow gut feeling, even if that leads to the occasional mistake. “Or you buy too much... I sometimes buy too much,” he laughs. As a collector, Spiro has always been drawn to mid-century “furniture, photography, jewelry, also fashion. I like that era – it was clean, it was cool. The Forties, the Fifties, the Sixties… actually not the Sixties. I think they tried too hard in the Sixties.” Given that the mid-century was precisely Norman Hartnell’s heyday, there’s something entirely appropriate that Glenn Spiro should be the custodian of the stunning art deco interiors that Hartnell commissioned for these rooms. And in another pleasing piece of symmetry, his old boss from Cartier, Arnaud Bamberger, is now honorary chairman of Spiro’s jewelry house. He has just two other sales points: London’s Harrods and New York’s Bergdorf Goodman. But the splendid atelier on Bruton Street is surely the heart of the house. And here, once again, just like the couturier, Spiro entertains a clientele that might be small numerically (he has spoken in the past of only needing 30 or so good customers) but wealthy and demanding in their quest for jewelry as stunning as Beyoncé’s butterfly.
BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE Photography by PHILIP GAY Styling by VICTORIA BAIN Art Direction by VANESSA ARNAUD
THE M AJEST IC MOUNTAINS OF DEER VALLEY A RE THE BACK DROP FOR OUR PICK OF THE SE ASON’S COOLEST SKIW E A R. T IMELESS MONOCHROME MIXES W ITH STRE AMLINED CONTOURS AND CHUNK Y KNITS FOR A HIGH-PERFORM ANCE LOOK TH AT PACKS A PUNCH ON AND OFF THE SLOPES
Previous spread: Polar jacket, $840, and Morillon high waist skinny pant, $530, both Perfect Moment, perfectmoment.com; roll neck, $460, Fusalp, fusalp.com; sunglass goggles in acetate, $333, Moncler lunettes, store.moncler.com. Opposite: gather sleeve top, $980, and Apron leather skirt, $3,100, both Rosetta Getty, rosettagetty.com; roll neck bodysuit, $190, Wolford, net-a-porter.com; eyelet platform boots, $1,150, Moncler 1952, store.moncler.com. Above: Bianca smoking blazer, $1,640, and stretch wool palazzo pant, $780, Bamford, bamford.co.uk; wool cashmere ribbed roll neck, $520, & Daughter, and-daughter.com
Above: womenâ€™s Sella One Piece ski suit, $2,199, KJUS, kjus.com. Opposite: fur-trimmed aviator hat, $400, Canada Goose, canadagoose.com, crew neck pullover with logo, $900, eyelet platform boots, $1,150, cashmere knitted socks, $350, wool roll neck insert, $POA, slim pants with interlock stitch, $420, all Moncler 1952, store.moncler.com
Opposite: Samantha trellis jacquard dress, $3,270, Emilia Wickstead, emiliawickstead.com; cashmere crew neck with shoulder pleat, $400, Madeleine Thompson, madeleine-thompson.com. Above: camel wool belted coat, $800, Harris Wharf, harriswharflondon.co.uk; cashmere track pants, $380, and cashmere crew neck sweater, $380, both Madeleine Thompson, madeleine-thompson.com; calf leather and suede Nanette boots, $320, Grenson, grenson.com; cashmere blend socks, $80, Falke, net-a-porter.com; wool beanie hat, $130, Bomber Ski, bomberski.com
Above: micro light nylon Herringham jacket, $600, Belstaff, belstaff.co.uk; cashmere roll neck, $420, & Daughter, and-daughter.com; helmet from jans.com. Opposite: patent trench coat, $3,130, Victoria Beckham, victoriabeckham.com; wool cashmere ribbed roll neck, $520, & Daughter, and-daughter.com; Stella pleated pant in white, $700, Tibi, tibi.com; Grenson boots, as above
Opposite: leather-trimmed aprĂ¨s-ski boots, $410, Moon Boot, moon-boot.com; belted striped stirrup ski suit, $2,570, Fendi, fendi.com; Jean-Michel Basquiat Third Eye skis, $2,500, Bomber Ski, bomberski.com. Above: alpine ski jacket, $2,150, Bomber Ski, bomberski.com; Aurora skinny pant, $390, Perfect Moment, perfectmoment.com; helmet from jans.com Photographer: Philip Gay. Stylist: Victoria Bain @ Saint Luke Artists Hair and make-up: Sandrine Van Slee. Model: Florence Kosky
THE DOUBLE ACT
Words by LORNA POPE
gowns-and-gloves-style society wear. But since his passing in 2014 and the subsequent appointment in 2016 of Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia as creative directors of the fashion house that still bears his name, the brand has also evolved to appeal to a younger clientele. The design duo’s latest spring/summer collection, which featured a flurry of mannish tailoring – including one memorably distressed denim two-piece and a tulle gown notable for the legend “Oscar de la Renta” spelled out with conspicuously oversized sequin embroidery – might have left some loyal followers clutching their pearls. But evolution is the key word here – and every collection is Oscar de la Renta through and through, explains Garcia. “I always remember Oscar wanting the newest thing,” he says of their early mentor – for Kim had worked with de la Renta since 2003 as studio director, while Garcia clambered his way up the ranks from intern to senior designer at the house from 2009. “I think he wanted us to move forward but keep it very Oscar. He was the one pushing us, to see the newest, youngest ideas and materials.”
erhaps even more difficult a task than dressing a royal bride is dressing the bride’s mother. So, when a vintage RollsRoyce Phantom swept up the Long Walk of Windsor Castle at 11:58 on the 19th May this year bearing Meghan Markle, it’s little wonder the hawk-like gaze of the world’s fashion media settled also on her mother, Doria Ragland. Her outfit – a mint-green Oscar de la Renta two-piece – was a lesson in mother-of-the-bride-decorum; zingy but demure, accented with the same florets of white embroidery as those scattered on the kick of her daughter’s dress. That Ragland chose Oscar de la Renta for such an important and momentous occasion “was extraordinary”, says Laura Kim – one half of the creative duo behind the brand – with an air of lingering bewilderment. “We were so honored.” And yet, maybe it’s not that surprising that she turned to Oscar de la Renta for the occasion, given that the Dominican-born fashion designer was unofficial outfitter to a series of First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama, and a peerless master of beguiling,
Photo: Skye Parrott.
MEET FERNANDO GARCIA AND LAURA KIM, THE CREATIVE TEAM QUIETLY GENERATING BUZZ AT OSCAR DE LA RENTA – AND HEAR THEIR THOUGHTS ON STYLE, CREATIVE COLLABORATION AND DRESSING THE MOTHER OF THAT BRIDE
Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim
“I always remember Oscar wanting the newest thing,” Garcia says of his mentor. “I think he wanted us to move forward but keep it very Oscar.”
It was a happy homecoming, of course, but pulling together nine collections a year across two brands brings its challenges. When the pair aren’t at the Oscar de la Renta studio in Midtown, they’re in Tribeca, working on Monse. “It’s like being in two different movies,” says Garcia of the parallel worlds he and Kim inhabit. And surely there are moments in which the pressure becomes insurmountable, when they’d rather just be in the one movie. Key to successfully juggling both labels is the pair’s mutual affection and the convergence of their design approaches; for Garcia is a University of Notre Dame architecture graduate, while Kim is a South Korea-raised fashion design alumna of the Pratt Institute, New York. That, and a canny division of labor. We make “the perfect combo. I tend to be very balanced and tough, whereas Fernando goes for more of the drama and romance,” muses Kim. “Budgeting and managing is Laura’s turf,” says Garcia, “Public relations and marketing is Fernando’s,” Kim echoes, resolutely. And the rest? “We divide and conquer.”
After Oscar de la Renta lost a decade-long battle with cancer, it took a little while to find a suitable successor. The British designer Peter Copping briefly took over the helm, during which time Kim and Garcia left the company to set up their own label, Monse (named after Garcia’s mother). A far cry from de la Renta’s hyper-feminine gowns, Monse is best known for shirts – but shirts transmuted into Rei Kawakubo-esque deconstructed forms. “We wanted to create a brand that wasn’t extremist; not too feminine or too masculine,” says Garcia. “The market needed more clothes that made a girl look like it took her five minutes to get ready,” he explains. “We didn’t think it was going to be like Oscar, and we didn’t want it to be.” Monse was more or less an instant hit, with pieces worn by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Amal Clooney – the kind of glamorous, influential tastemakers young designers dream of being worn by. Then, in 2017, Alex Bolen – Oscar de la Renta’s son-in-law and the house’s CEO – re-hired the duo, this time as joint creative directors.
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THE ST. REGIS ATLAS The St. Regis story around the globe, from the first hotel opening in Manhattan in 1904 to the latest in Zhuhai
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1. The St. Regis New York * 2. The St. Regis Beijing 3. The St. Regis Rome 4. The St. Regis Houston 5. The St. Regis Washington, D.C. 6. The St. Regis Aspen Resort * 7. The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort 8. The St. Regis San Francisco * 9. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort 10. The St. Regis Singapore * 11. The St. Regis Bali Resort * 12. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort 13. The St. Regis Atlanta * 14. The St. Regis Mexico City * 15. The St. Regis Princeville Resort 16. The St. Regis Deer Valley * 17. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico 18. The St. Regis Osaka
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19. The St. Regis Lhasa Resort 20. The St. Regis Bangkok * 21. The St. Regis Florence 22. The St. Regis Tianjin 23. The St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort 24. The St. Regis Shenzhen 25. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi 26. The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort * 27. The St. Regis Doha 28. The St. Regis Mauritius Resort 29. The St. Regis Abu Dhabi 30. The St. Regis Chengdu 31. The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya 32. The St. Regis Istanbul 33. The St. Regis Mumbai 34. The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central 35. The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur * 36. The St. Regis Langkawi
37. The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort 38. The St. Regis Changsha 49. The St. Regis Shanghai Jingan 40. The St. Regis Astana * 41. The St. Regis Cairo 42. The St. Regis Zhuhai COMING SOON 43. The St. Regis Amman 2018 * 44. The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya 2018 * 45. The St. Regis Toronto 2018 * 46. The St. Regis Hong Kong 2019 47. The St. Regis Lijiang Resort 2019 * 48. The St. Regis Quingshui Bay Resort 2019
* This property includes St. Regis Residences
CULTURE CLASH Words by EMMA CRICHTON-MILLER
well-known figure within contemporary Indian art, Rekha Rodwittiya rose to prominence internationally through the Eighties and Nineties with her forceful, vibrantly colored and idiosyncratic depictions of female forms and rituals. The product of a liberal, middle class, highly educated cross-cultural household – her father was a Parsi and her mother a Roman Catholic from South India – since the 1970s Rodwittiya has forged her own distinctive artistic language. This too is a radical mingling: of Mughal painting from Persia and India, of folk art from the Indian subcontinent and of western traditions absorbed from books, travels and her time as a student at London’s Royal College of Art in the early 1980s. The vital thread, however, linking her work, is its celebration of female strength, even in vulnerability. This autumn a new show of her work opens at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai. Sixty this year, Rodwittiya’s most recent works incorporate autobiographical photographs and printed images with watercolor and acrylic paint. For some pictures, Rodwittiya reconceives an image from earlier in her career, building up an interior hinterland of elusive symbols
and photographic images within the original bounding line. As such, they take her back to her formative years, at the renowned Faculty of Fine Arts at Baroda University. A solitary child, home-schooled until the age of seven, painting and drawing had offered a potent release for her vivid imagination. At art school, however, under the inspiring teacher KG Subramanyan, Rodwittiya was encouraged to experiment across media, including photography. She remembers: “I would wander around Baroda taking photographs of street life.” She was fortunate to be part of a great movement of proudly self-confident experimentation and renewal of figurative painting in India. Rodwittiya rejects the term “feminist artist” but she is, she agrees, undoubtedly both a feminist and an artist. As she puts it, “I live and breathe as a feminist so therefore that is the prism through which I perceive everything around me, and so therefore it would patina my art as well.” Rekha@Sixty: Transient Worlds of Belonging, an exhibition of new works by Rekha Rodwittiya, runs from October 31, 2018 at the Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai. Your address: The St. Regis Mumbai
Photo: courtesy of the artist and Sakshi Gallery
REKH A RODW IT T I YA’S V IBR ANTLY COLORED AND RICHLY L AY ERED A RT WORKS A RE A CELEBR AT ION OF FEM ALE STRENGTH, EV EN IN V ULNER A BILIT Y
INTANGIBLE INTERLOCUTION: AN ANTHOLOGY OF BELONGING (DIAGRAMS OF AN INTERIOR SPACE) 2011, acrylic and oil on canvas This strong woman carries on her head an overspilling bowl of the textiles, objects, symbols and creatures a woman in India might encounter in daily life, a complex mixture of thoughts, sensations and experiences not often explored in art. As Rodwittiya explains, “My content is culled from the everyday life of the woman – to be perceived and witnessed and acknowledged.”
MATTERS OF THE HEART (SERIES) 2013, digital inkjet print with autobiographical photo images and hand-painted watercolor on paper The photographic image appears within the contour of the stylized head. Once again we are invited to witness and acknowledge the complex interior life of this archetypal woman, made unique by her individual memories. As Rodwittiya suggests, â€œThese montages of images lace together to become quite literally a second skin.â€?
MATTERS OF THE HEART (SERIES) 2013, digital inkjet print with autobiographical photo images and hand-painted watercolor on paper Rodwittiya has said of her photographic images, â€œWhen I look through the lens of my camera, I am searching for those connections of personal identification with objects, especially in museums.â€? In this work, Rodwittiya has brought together photographic images of objects with specific meanings for her, including an image of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, within the abstracted outline of the universal woman.
LOVE DONE RIGHT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD 2015, acrylic and oil on canvas This charming and vivid painting, with its teapot boiling on the furiously thinking woman’s head, even while she maintains her serene smile, exemplifies Rodwittiya’s idiosyncratic approach to storytelling, developing her own private store of metaphors, myths and legends. As she says, “The narratives in my works are never direct stories, but are territories that hold parables through which meanings are inferred.”
PUKK AR BILLI-BILLI 2009, acrylic and oil on canvas This dramatically colored painting includes three cats, beloved of Rodwittiya. A figure like the artist herself sits among them, in a symbolic night. Rodwittiya often works at night. She says, “My studio is a precious space of belonging for me. I have personal articles of cherished memories accumulated over the years that surround me here.” But alongside, there is art history: “An infinite territory of belonging”, through which, Rodwittiya says, “I wander at will.”
FAMILY AFFAIR Words by DEB SCHWARTZ Illustration by ALEC DOHERTY
THE WORDS “FAMILY ” AND “ VAC AT ION” C AN STRIKE FE A R INTO THE HE A RT OF EV EN THE MOST DEDIC ATED PA RENT OR TEENAGER. TH ANKFULLY, THESE DAYS THERE A RE FA R MORE APPE ALING WAYS OF GET T ING AWAY W ITH YOUR FAMILY – OR FROM THEM
The Learning Vacation
The Wedding Vacation
The Skip-Gen Vacation
In the late 16th century, young aristocrats (well, the males ones at least – young women did not have this option) were sent off to France and Italy to complete their educations by immersing themselves in classical art and architecture on trips that became known as the Grand Tour. Today, Petits Tours can begin at any age, as long as parents are willing to give, give, give, sacrificing themselves by, for example, limiting their travels to only Francophone countries so that their children might be able to practice their French. Pity the poor parent who simply must suffer through a stay in Paris, followed by a lengthy beach holiday on Mauritius. But in this day and age, any self-possessed young person should know how to order a local drink in the local tongue. Taking an art historythemed vacation in Italy with a child has literally no downside: everyone gets to see magnificent cathedrals and sublime works of art and usually right around the time that your store of knowledge on a given subject is running out, your child will become bored or hungry, which helps to ensure that days assume an appropriately leisurely pace and one has time to digest Great Works as they were meant to be digested: slowly, and with relish.
You love them, so you go to their destination wedding, and you don’t even grumble about the fact that it’s halfway across the globe. That’s the deal. And if you’re a member of the inner circle – close family, best man/maid of honor, bridesmaids and the like – you can now expect to show up a few days early. For the wedding vacation is becoming a globally recognized trend – with large parties gathering at the resort of the happy couple’s choice for prolonged socializing and celebrations. Perhaps this isn’t going to please everyone, and coming on top of the bachelorette party in a prime spa, or the bachelor party in some far-flung city, this constitutes an investment of time and money we’re only inclined to make on someone we really care for. Still, if you have come all this way to meet up with people who live all over the world, who you seldom see, perhaps the wedding vacation is the perfect solution. And since you’re already in a beautiful spot – really, it would be foolish not to tack on a few extra days to enjoy yourself, entirely on your own schedule, with your own dress code. After all, just because you’re not the one getting married it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fabulous honeymoon – or reunion, or a few days of golf, all in the name of love.
There might be no better “job” than that of grandparent (unless it’s grandchild). This magical role offers the opportunity to enjoy the delightful bits of family ties while largely avoiding the button-pushing too often perpetrated by one’s children or siblings, who also rarely appreciate one’s wisdom and charms in the same way that grandchildren do. Bringing your beloved wee one on tour offers so many opportunities for the two (or three, perhaps, if your partner joins) of you to bond in a new way, experiencing adventures that will provide memories for years to come. Naturally, the youngster will benefit from the education travel brings. while you will reap the rewards of having someone on hand willing and able to help you with your smartphone, reach beneath your table for runaway coins and, oh yes, enable you to see each day through fresh eyes. No, they cannot help to book flights, but you will score many Best Grandparent points by involving the youngsters in the planning. Choose activities you’ll both enjoy, and luxuriate in the knowledge that your young charge – at least for a few golden years – will adore being the center of your world, while seeing the world, without those pesky parents around to tell either of you what’s what.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Words by MATT MUNDAY
SINGER, JA ZZ PI ANIST, ACTOR AND L ATE SHOW BANDLE A DER, MULT I-TALENTED JON BAT ISTE IS BRINGING HIS OW N BR AND OF UPBE AT ENERGY TO EV ERY THING HE TOUCHES. AND IT ’S INFECT IOUS
but that was about it. As a kid I was always the second-fiddle class clown. I was quiet but I’d always have a friend who was really rambunctious, and who would get into trouble. I would always be the one who got away with it. So with comedy I was open to experimenting. I really loved the idea of trying something and failing, because that’s how you learn.” True, though most of us don’t learn the ropes in front of an audience of millions on national television. Batiste picks things up fast. After three years, The Late Show has become, he says, “like my cool day job, where I get to hang out with famous people.” Famous people such as Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder, with whom he duetted on the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration, giving a poignant rendition of the African-American National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing. “He was a joy to perform with, an endless source of inspiration and light,” Batiste says of Wonder. “When I make music I try to create a lot of different emotions, but joy is one of the primary emotions I try to tap into: for myself and for other people. I feel we’re kindred spirits in that way.” Batiste and Wonder first met backstage at a concert in Central Park where they bonded discussing hip hop with Will.i.am (“a friend of mine”) before Wonder asked if he could play Batiste’s “harmoni-board”, a cross between a harmonica and a small keyboard. Next to the piano, it’s Batiste’s favorite instrument and he often carries one. Wonder deadpanned that he used to play one too but stopped because it kept clogging up with spit. “Oh, you’ve got jokes!” Batiste replied. Born near New Orleans, in Kenner, Louisiana, Batiste belongs to a sprawling musical dynasty that stretches back at least four generations. He grew up immersed in melody and rhythm. His relatives include the arranger Harold Battiste, who worked with Sam Cooke and Sonny and
conversation with Jon Batiste is like drinking a tall glass of liquid optimism. Even on an oppressively humid afternoon in New York, the dapper 31-year-old still manages to exude a joyful enthusiasm. His outlook reminds me of the famous Louis Armstrong song What a Wonderful World. It’s extremely refreshing. Batiste’s effervescent brand of charm – quick-witted yet cynicismfree – will be familiar to viewers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, for which Batiste has been bandleader since 2015, and also to St. Regis guests (he has played live at a number of St. Regis events, including the fifth anniversary of The St. Regis Deer Valley and the grand opening of The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort). A jazz prodigy and graduate of New York’s prestigious Juilliard School for the performing arts, Batiste is as comfortable behind the piano as he is bantering on air with Colbert or goofing around in the sketches. His gift for improvisation, both comedic and musical, has made him a star. (His résumé also includes a position as artistic director-at-large at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and acting roles in the HBO series Treme and two Spike Lee films, Red Hook Summer and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.) He first became friends with Colbert after twice appearing as a guest on The Colbert Report, which finished in 2014, the year before its host succeeded David Letterman on The Late Show. “Stephen is a genius,” says Batiste. “He can talk to people about politics on the highest level, but he’s also a thespian with a theatre background, who understands comedy and improv. After The Colbert Report ended he gave me a call and said he had a new show — and the rest is history.” Did Batiste have much comedy experience before The Late Show? “Not really,” he says. “I’d had roles that were semi-comedic in Spike Lee films,
Cher; and the free-jazz saxophonist Alvin Batiste, who taught “every New Orleans musician that’s come up in the last 40 years”, including Harry Connick Jr and Terence Blanchard. Batiste’s father, a professional bass player, and his uncles had a band together. Batiste himself was playing percussion in a junior band by the age of seven. He later switched to piano, aged 11, on his mother’s advice, teaching himself to transcribe music by copying video-game soundtracks. He may well be the only international jazz superstar for whom Sonic the Hedgehog was a formative influence. He moved to New York, where he still lives, aged 17, after winning a place to study jazz and classical piano at Juilliard School, where only 6 per cent of applicants are accepted. Was it as intense as Whiplash, the movie about the young jazz prodigy pushed to the brink by his teacher at an exclusive New York music school? “That film was heavily dramatized but it did depict the kind of devoted study you need to learn how to play,” he says. “People think you just make jazz up as you go along – you just figure out what you want to play and don’t listen to anybody else. But it takes so much discipline, and so much focus, to be able to play at the highest level.” What does live jazz have to offer a young audience? “You’ve got to experience it in the right context – and that isn’t necessarily a concert hall or even most jazz clubs today, which don’t really do the music justice. Jazz is very interactive, very immediate and all about crafting a unique experience for the audience.” For Batiste’s part, such unique experiences come in the form of “love riots” – guerrilla gigs on the streets or Subway cars with his band, Stay Human. His concerts can also be anarchic – leading his band
from club to bar to restaurant, or popping up unexpectedly in the middle of the audience to begin a show from the seats, as he has done at Carnegie Hall. It’s all part of an approach he calls “social music”, which is about “bringing people together, and music without borders, and finding a way to connect people through that experience of a live performance.” That sounds almost political. “Absolutely. One hundred per cent. In times of uncertainty, we depend on a philosophy or truth that can come off as political.” Not that he’s given to proselytizing. He prefers to let his creativity do the talking, whatever the format: music, acting, comedy – or fashion. His signature look is a bold-colored zoot suit, simple T-shirt, custom sneakers and a big hat. He designs and makes some of his stage outfits himself. He once joked on The Late Show that “clothes are the music of the body and you hear them with your eyes”, but he meant it, too. “When a performer walks out on stage you should be able to hear it before they’ve even raised their instrument or their mic,” he says. With a new album this autumn, and a tour, he’ll soon be walking out on stages – and less conventional spaces too, no doubt – all over the world. This time it’ll be a solo record, produced by the great T Bone Burnett, with no band, “just me playing the piano and singing: no autotune, no effects, just the realness of the performance.” All of the songs are original compositions except one, a version of What a Wonderful World. And right now, there’s nobody better equipped to make us believe it. Jon Batiste’s album, Hollywood Africans, is out September 28 (Verve Records)
People think you just make jazz up as you go along... but it takes so much discipline, and so much focus, to be able to play at the highest level
The old Collection
Defined by Clean Lines and Disciplined Angles, the Stylized Gold Collection F e at u r e s B r i l l i a n t Wh i t e D i a m o n d s i n 1 8 k Ro s e G o l d. W W W . C H A R L E S K RY P E L L . C O M
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The Back Story
TO ROME WITH LOVE Words by JAMES COLLARD
hotel, which, within days of Rome’s Liberation in June 1944, hosted the first meeting between Italy’s provisional government and the triumphant Resistance. Gianni Agnelli – Fiat boss, arbiter of style and architect of the Italian post-war boom – kept a permanent suite here for many years, and poached the head doorman when he finally bought a home in the city. And it was here that Liz Taylor, Richard Burton and other Hollywood stars stayed and partied and tapped into Rome’s glamorous La Dolce Vita era while filming at the Cinecittà film studio. As you’d expect, given the hotel’s unique provenance and storied past, this Roman renovation was conducted under the watchful gaze of various eagled-eyed guardians. First there was the Accademia di Belle Arti – Rome’s fine art academy – which was involved throughout the whole process, but most especially with the restoration of the fine frescoes adorning the vaulted ceiling of the ballroom. And, as is always the case with a hotel makeover, there are also the opinions of regulars to consider: the guests who stay whenever they visit Rome, and the Romans who have been wining, dining and marking important family occasions here for years, perhaps across several generations, all of whom have a deep affection for this much-loved building. “This hotel has an extraordinary, evolving legacy,” says De Martino, deftly signaling the need to embrace the future while respecting the property’s heritage, for every generation has its own notions of what constitutes luxury. When we’re staying at a grand hotel from this era, we might expect high-tech facilities – but surely not at the expense
t’s no small task, accomplishing the makeover of an iconic hotel – and the renovation of The St. Regis Rome has taken multiple teams more than two years to complete, at a cost of €48 million (approximately $56 million). All this, as general manager Giuseppe De Martino puts it, to equip the hotel for “a new generation of luxury travelers to the Eternal City”. De Martino was the man with the daunting task of managing this Roman epic of a “refurb” job, while the creative lead came from the celebrated interior designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon. And as both men would readily concede, it is both a privilege and an added source of pressure when the property getting this, the most loving of face-lifts, is a quintessential European grand hotel of the Belle Époque, opened as “Le Grand” in 1894 by none other than César Ritz, the leading hotelier of his time. A great metropolitan hotel isn’t just a place for visitors to stay in, it must also be part of the surging life of the city. And, true enough, Ritz’s hotel was the stage for some extraordinary moments in the modern story of Rome – beginning with its gala opening, which was attended by the Pope, the German Kaiser and the King of Italy. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Italian royal family used the hotel as a kind of convenient and more modern extension of the nearby Quirinal Palace, hosting court occasions in its public rooms. Alfonso XIII of Spain spent his gilded exile in one of its luxurious suites, while the parents of his eventual successor, King Juan Carlos, met at a reception celebrating a family wedding held here. For a time, Mussolini had an office in the
AS THE ST. REGIS ROME PREPARES TO UNVEIL THE STUNNING RESULTS OF ITS MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR REFURBISHMENT, WE LOOK BACK AT THE GLORIOUS HISTORY OF THIS ROMAN ICON – FIRST OPENED IN 1894 BY LEGENDARY HOTELIER, CÉSAR RITZ
Bridgeman Images; Getty; Archivio Luce; Historic Hotels Photo Archive
The Back Story
hotel. And the entrepreneur who had transformed train travel was an American: George Pullman. Pullman invented the vestibule train – that is, one where the carriages are interconnected – and with it, the sleeper car and the dining car, while at this time the private train carriage was a must-have for kings and emperors, maharajas and plutocrats alike. Superbly appointed and way beyond the means of most train travelers, these “Pullmans” were the Belle Époque equivalent of the private jet. And then of course there were the Astors, the American dynasty who for more than a century led New York high society – and led hotelkeeping in the city, with a series of hotels that introduced generations of New Yorkers and visitors to now-standard innovations such as the in-room phone, the en-suite bathroom, or that singular blessing on a humid summer’s day in Manhattan, air-conditioning. The ultimate expression of Astor opulence and savoir faire would be The St. Regis New York, opened by John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV in 1905, within a decade of Ritz’s Grand Hotel in Rome. True, the footprints of the hotels are different: Rome was modeled on a Roman palazzo, while Jack Astor’s palace on 5th Avenue was an early skyscraper, dwarfing the townhouses of “Millionaire’s Row” beside it. But they visibly share what we would now call “luxury DNA” – and all the signature qualities of the grand hotel, combining a great address with splendid interiors and superb service, which Ritz famously defined. “See all without looking,” he urged his staff. “Hear all without listening; be attentive without being servile; anticipate without being presumptuous.” As a gifted amateur inventor and the author of a bizarre but oddly prescient science fiction novel which predicted, among other things, the
of grandeur, elegance and a slightly old-school decorum? It is telling that more than a century after César Ritz’s death, we still use the word “ritzy” to describe an environment that is plush and fancy and serviced to the hilt. Yet Ritz was just one of several brilliant innovators of this era who transformed the way the wealthy traveled, and who collectively established many of the luxury codes that we still follow today – and whose innovations provided the context for Ritz’s Le Grand Hotel. Some of these luxury innovators were Europeans. Ritz himself was Swiss, rising through Paris’s restaurant scene to emerge by the 1890s as Europe’s most celebrated, sought-after hotelier. Indeed, his new hotel in Rome was in direct response to a request from Italy’s prime minister, who buttonholed Ritz in the lobby of a London hotel to ask him to build a hotel worthy of Rome’s still relatively new status as the capital of unified Italy. Ritz’s culinary partner in Rome was French – the master chef Auguste Escoffier, who modernized French haute cuisine and codified fine-dining as we still know it, with distinct courses, à la carte menus and “brigade service” in the kitchens. But another popular space in Ritz’s new hotel was the American bar – a nod not just to the freshly imported cocktail culture, but also to the fact that much of the drive for the new luxury came from the US. For the wealthy scions of America’s Gilded Age were crossing the Atlantic in ever greater numbers – in search of pleasure, art, or a titled European for their heiress daughters – and these latter-day Grand Tourists were also traveling in ever greater comfort and style. Ocean liners were becoming faster and more elegant, as were the trains pulling into Rome’s Termini station, just a conveniently short carriage-ride or stroll from Ritz’s new
Star quality Opposite, clockwise from top right: Vittoria de Sica and Sofia Loren at the Grand hotel in 1955; Kirk Douglas and Elizabeth Taylor, 1961; a 1930 gala evening; Brigitte Bardot attends a cinema award ceremony in 1956; a postcard from the Grand hotel. Above: Rome’s Piazza della Repubblica
The Back Story era of mass air travel, Jack Astor would certainly have understood the need to update a hotel, as would César Ritz. Pierre-Yves Rochon and his team began the process by spending time in the Roman property – and looking at the blueprints, which is surely the interior designer’s equivalent of fashion’s “mining the archive”. And in two of the largest public spaces – the ballroom and the grand foyer – Rochon’s aim has been to return the building to something much closer to the hotel that Ritz and his architect Giulio Podesti created. In the ballroom, the restorer Patrizia Cevoli and her team set about cleaning the frescoes commissioned by Ritz from the Roman artist Mario Spinetti – and removing the work of previous, less authentic restorations. The process took Cevoli and her team of 12 specialists some six months of “intense and painstaking” work. “I develop a special bond with an artwork when I’m restoring it,” explains Cevoli. “Once it is finished it is a very emotional moment, seeing the original work of art come back to life.” And today Spinetti’s mythological scenes once again possess the vivid hues in which he painted them more than a century ago. Color had a major role to play in Pierre-Yves Rochon’s re-imagining of the other public rooms, in which he used what the designer describes as an “aristocratic Roman palette” of white, dove gray, yellow and powder blue, “enriched with noble shimmers of gold and silver”. The aim, he
explains, was to celebrate the light of Rome in all of its forms. The effect of this is especially striking in the grand foyer, which Rochon returned to its original concept as a kind of winter garden, once again on a single level as Podesti had designed – in the process rediscovering an airy, piazzalike space which truly bursts with light from the glass cupola above. Also put into play was the keen eye of Parisian gallerist Françoise Durst, who sourced works of art that adorn the public spaces and the 100-plus rooms and suites that have been renovated. Meanwhile, Rochon’s team oversaw a kind of aesthetic audit of the hotel’s collection of furniture – in Louis XV, empire and art deco styles – to assess what needed to be restored, replaced or else redeployed. These included some exceptional pieces from a previous refurbishment in the 1960s by the celebrated Maison Jansen studio, which also worked on Jackie Kennedy’s redecoration of the White House. And the team commissioned some spectacular new decorative highlights to add a contemporary feel, such as the blue Murano glass chandelier in grand foyer. It’s one of Rochon’s many contemporary touches that chimes elegantly with the hotel’s fine proportions and those traditional Roman materials of travertine, mosaic and Italian marble. For this is, after all, a grand hotel in the Eternal City. Your address: The St. Regis Rome
Modern classic Opening pages and above: the lobby of The St. Regis Rome. Opposite, clockwise from top: the Caelum Lounge & Bar; exquisite mosaic flooring in the lobby; cleaning the hotel’s famous frescoes took a specialist team six months of “intense and painstaking” work
LOSING IT Words by LOUISE FOXCROFT
DIETING MIGHT SEEM LIKE A MODERN CRAZE BUT THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY PEOPLE HAVE DEVISED BIZARRE AND SOMETIMES HAZARDOUS REGIMES TO HELP SHED THOSE EXCESS POUNDS
or some of us, vacations are an opportunity to indulge in bacchanalian delights. Others view them as a chance to kickstart a healthy routine, with advice from spa experts and access to fresh, healthy menus. We might think of this focus on weight and body shape as a fairly modern concern, yet there’s nothing new about dieting. The ancient Greeks understood that the secret to losing weight was time and moderation (though also, unfortunately, avoiding sex, running naked and post-lunch vomiting). For early Christians, gluttony, displayed on the body in the form of excess flesh, was one of the seven deadly sins – and you could say we’ve been feeling guilty ever since. The rise of mass media in the 19th century brought us a nascent celebrity culture, diet ads and seductive before-and-after images, and it fed and bred the shame and anxiety that still drives our weight-loss mania. It remains big business. In 1829, William Wadd, one of many new diet gurus, advised chewing tobacco, horseback riding, reading aloud, sweating, sprinkling your body with hot sand and eating a bar of soap a day to “reduce exuberant fat”. He also recommended a low-carb/high-protein diet – sound familiar? He was one of the first in a long chain of diet-mongers, leading up to the likes of Robert Atkins and Pierre Dukan, selling regimes that are ostensibly revolutionary, but many of which are not new, and not necessarily harmless. Quick-fix fad diets first took off in the Victorian period. The Victorians took weight-loss pills too, just as many dieters do today. Preparations such as Dr Gordon’s Elegant Pills contained either deadly or useless ingredients including arsenic, strychnine, lard, soap, Epsom Salts and dessicated thyroid extract. Tape-worm pills speak for themselves. A century ago, tens of thousands were taking the deadly Dinitrophenol – a carcinogenic dying agent also used in First World War explosives – to speed up their metabolism, and fatalities still occur. Today’s costly over-the-counter slimming pills suggest you’ll lose a few pounds over recommended periods, measly amounts you could manage by ditching biscuits. In the early 20th century, you might have swallowed Bile Beans or Figuroids, or masticated laxative-laced chewing gums such as Silph or Elfin Fat Reducing Gum Drops. Dieters could bathe in Every Woman’s Flesh Reducer or the Lesser SlimFigure-Bath – with the useless ingredients of table salt, alum, camphor, baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, and borax – or scrub away fat with a
Slenmar Reducing Brush and La-Mar Reducing Soap. Melting your fat was popular, too, with a luminous light or hydro-electric iodized bath (which sounded scientific but had no discernible effect). Skin-macerating rubber knickers enjoyed a vogue, as did fat-bashing trunk rollers, stomach beaters, vibrating chairs and electric shocks. Now you can buy cellulite-reducing crystal-infused tights or a Slendertone for “electrical muscle stimulation”. There really is nothing new in the unpleasant business of “fat cures”. One of the oddest diet gurus of the era was Horace Fletcher, the “Great Masticator”. Fletcherism involved chewing every mouthful hundreds of times – even Henry James and Franz Kafka were devotees – and its creator was hailed as a medical icon. Today, some diet businesses still follow his basic tenets. Massage, too, remains popular – in the 1930s, Sylvia of Hollywood massaged stars, including Jean Harlow and Gloria Swanson, so that fat came out through their pores “like mashed potato through a colander”. The group approach, including Weight Watchers (founded in 1963), has been shown to be relatively successful and effective, much more so than the plethora of mad fad diets we’ve been sold, from the Baby Food Diet to the Russian Air Force Diet, the Zone, Paleo, Blood Type, Better Sex Diet, ad infinitum. In February this year, a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who ate vegetables and whole foods while cutting back on sugar and highly processed foods, lost significant amounts of weight over 12 months. This without counting calories or limiting portions. Our reliance on calorie-counting, with us for some 120 years, has been sidelined. There was no significant difference in weight loss between those on a healthy low-fat diet and those sticking to a healthy low-carbohydrate one. Success didn’t seem to be influenced by genetics or insulin-response to carbs, meaning that the increasingly popular idea that different diets should be recommended based on one’s DNA makeup is also now in doubt. Rather, if we want to lose weight we should concentrate on sustaining a diet of minimally processed whole and fresh foods. In fact, why not simply follow the ancient Greeks, and eat moderately, healthily and regularly over a long period of time. A lifetime, in fact. Louise Foxcroft’s Calories and Corsets: A history of dieting over two thousand years, is out now, published by Profile Books
MEXICAN WAVE Words by CHRIS MOSS
RICHLY VA RIED AND FL AVORFUL , CONTEMPOR A RY MEXIC AN CUISINE IS GAINING A GLOBAL REPUTAT ION – AND IT ’S NOT JUST A BOUT HE AT, SPICE , OR TACOS
vendors; when a busy office worker needs a fast fix of good food, simplicity and flavor rule over image or presentation. Mexico is larger than Indonesia, more topographically diverse than Canada – and it has an odd shape. To go overland from Cabo San Lucas in Baja California to Cancun, without catching a ferry, would involve driving 3,730 miles. It’s unsurprising then, that regionality remains a powerful force. Oaxaca does its own type of mozzarella. The chile poblano – a mild green pepper used in chiles en nogada, the de facto national dish – takes its name from Puebla. Tequila was a place before it was a drink. From Yucatán comes the pit-oven technique known in Mayan as p’ib – and responsible for the al fresco fiesta classic that is cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pig seasoned with annatto seeds). To simplify things, chefs and guide-writers, have grouped produce and techniques into seven main regions. But for visitors, every state, every city, every beach-stop, signifies an opportunity to savor something different. That said, Mexicans of the past – Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs or Spanish Conquistadors – were tireless travelers, and it’s notable that you can usually obtain fish dishes even when deep inland, eat steak in the desert, and, along the Pacific coast at, say, Punta Mita, enjoy suckling pig as well as ceviche. Beyond Mexico, several globalizing trends are afoot, from the ubiquitous burrito bar to the ever-replicating chains with vaguely Latino names and logos featuring cacti, sombreros and lizards. But, thanks to chefs such as the aforementioned Mexico City superstars, Val Cantu in San Francisco and Copenhagen-based Rosio Sánchez, a meal of “Modern Mexican” has become a highly desirable night out in all the world’s coolest cities. You cannot, of course, have great cuisine without a proper drink. Baja’s wines have long been held in high esteem, not least in the “other” California north of the border, which seems to import more bottles of Valle de Guadalupe vintages than does the rest of Mexico. But the real revolution right now is taking place in the realm of stronger, more spirited beverages. Tequila and mezcal are distillates made with agaves; the key difference is that tequila is made exclusively from the agave tequilana (blue agave), and can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and in small areas of four other states. Some 30 agaves can be used to make a mezcal. Once a farmers’ drink, new artisanal varieties of mezcal have started to appear on bar menus around the world. Smoky notes, deep bodies and complex aftertastes characterize the experience of slowly sipping a premium mezcal – with neither a worm nor a long mustache in sight.
couple of years ago, a Bolivian chef told me he wanted to reclaim the chili for his country. The argument, that hot peppers were first cultivated in the Andean high plains and spread north from there, is supported by food archaeologists. If the message could only get out, it might actually do Mexico a favor. Because the concept many people have – that Mexican food is mainly about heat – is totally outdated. “Mexico has the most misunderstood cuisine in the world,” says Edgar Núñez, chef and co-owner of Mexico City’s Sud 777, a regular fixture on the annual S. Pellegrino Top 50 Latin American Restaurants list. “It’s extremely complicated and sophisticated, with avocado, vanilla and chocolate, and dozens of other flavors at least as important as hot spices, which we may or may not provide as a side dish at the end. Mexican chefs rely on a lot of produce only available here, which is one of the reasons why great Mexican cuisine is not always available globally. We have more than 60 distinct cultures in the country – many with their own language – and all influence our cuisine.” The menu at Sud 777, in the upscale El Pedregal district, entices with dishes like smoked watermelon, guajolote (turkey) with mole negro and beef tongue with local beans. “When I cook, I’m aware of deep connections with the soil, our farming traditions and my own memory. But our clients are well-traveled foodies, and they’re increasingly looking for more than traditional food.” The epicenter of culinary experimentation is Mexico City – the nation’s inland food hub. At Quintonil in the leafy Polanco embassy district, Jorge Vallejo crafts edgy – and extraordinarily beautiful – concoctions from cactus, heritage corn and escamoles (ant larvae, also known as “Mexican caviar”). At Enrique Olvera’s Pujol, the tasting menu includes wonders such as octopus with habanero ink, salt made from toasted maguey worms and a juiced white corn that goes by the evocative Náhuatl name of “cacahuazintle”. In some respects, “mole” – which simply means “sauce” – is the essence of Mexican cooking. Olvera’s “Mole Madre” – Mother Mole – evolved from the standard seven-day process of reheating fruit, nuts, bitter chocolate, tomato and peppers and other ingredients in a comal, a heavy cast-iron griddle – into an ongoing experiment. “We continued heating it indefinitely,” he says. “We found that the mole never stopped evolving.” At the new Pujol, which opened last year – modeled on Olvera’s New York restaurant Cosme – you can try moles slowly heated for well in excess of 1,000 days. “Mole is a universe in itself, so we present it only with tortillas,” says Olvera. In this he’s emulating the Mexican capital’s superb street-food
Smoke without fire Modern Mexican cuisine is “complex and sophisticated”, like this dish, Baby corn with chicatana ant, coffee and costeño chili mayonnaise, from Pujol
LONDON 23 BURY STREET | 4 DAVIES STREET +44 (0) 20 7808 3000 | NEW YORK 50 EAST 57TH STREET +1 212 752 5700 EMAIL: BESPOKESHIRTMAKERS@TURNBULLANDASSER.COM TURNBULLANDASSER.COM/BESPOKESHIRTMAKERS
Kitchen Confidential SÉBASTIEN GIANNINI, THE EXECUTIVE CHEF AT THE ST. REGIS WASHINGTON, D.C., ON SHEEP’S FEET, MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY AND THE PROBLEM WITH HOTEL BURGERS
Words by ALEX MOORE
Hailing from Toulon in the South of France, chef Sébastien Giannini has spent the last 20 years honing his craft under some of the world’s best chefs, reaching the final of the prestigious Bocuse D’Or Culinary Competition in 2010. Last year he was appointed executive chef at The St. Regis Washington, D.C., heading up its new Mediterranean restaurant, Alhambra.
the South of France there’s a region called Cavaillon that has incredible melons. Try this once and you’ll never think of cantaloupe in the same way. We eat them with a crisp glass of rosé, and gressin (breadsticks), relaxing by the sea with friends. There’s simply nothing better!
What’s your favorite dish to cook? Bouillabaisse. I grew up in the South of France and my grandmother taught me how to make it. Now it reminds me of home.
What was your favorite food as a child and do you still eat it now? Pieds et paquets (“feet and packages”) is a Marseille specialty, one that’s certainly not for everyone. It’s a stew with sheep’s feet and sheep’s tripe. My grandmother would make it for me and I still love it, especially in the winter.
What do you eat when you’re home alone? Seasonal fruit – I like to eat directly with my pocket knife. Every Saturday, I go to Potomac Farm Market with my wife and daughter. It reminds me of the markets I grew up with in the South of France.
Can you remember the first thing your mother taught you to cook? Banana tart. I don’t make it any more because I want to keep the memory of the tart and the taste clear in my mind. I do not wish to alter it in any way, either intentionally or otherwise.
Which dish that you’ve created are you most proud of? Salmon stuffed with langoustine and turmeric potatoes. This was the dish I created at Bocuse D’Or in 2010. To perfect the final dish, you need to have practiced it 40-50 times, trying different iterations each time.
What is your guilty pleasure food? Strawberries and whipped cream with Grand Marnier. How long does it take you to create new recipes? It can take up to a month – you need the feedback from your guests and your team. Sometimes we do up to 20 tastings before we perfect a recipe.
Are there any foods you think are overrated? I feel like burgers in hotels are generally overrated. There is often too much playing around with the toppings, and the original concept is lost. There is a chain of hamburger restaurants originally from Arlington, VA, where I am proud to be a regular guest. They make a classic American burger.
Is there a culinary trend you detest? Molecular cuisine. It’s too cold and far removed from the product. For instance, if you receive a perfect strawberry, picked at the perfect time, perfectly ripe and juicy, but you blend it and make it into the form of a tomato, the product is wasted.
What’s the best thing to eat in D.C.? It’s not exactly D.C., but you can’t beat Maryland crabcake. The crab feast is a longstanding tradition. Whether it’s in a seafood restaurant on the Eastern shore or in the backyard with paper-wrapped picnic tables, the residents of the Chesapeake region can be found cracking crab legs all summer.
Who is your greatest inspiration? Alain Ducasse. He lets young chefs grow, while teaching them to respect the products, the season and the region where the products come from. He also has a clear vision of where his team is going and how to mentor his protégés.
If you could revisit a meal you’ve eaten in the past, what would it be and why? One of my best memories from when I was young is eating cantaloupe. In
Your address: The St. Regis Washington, D.C.
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St. Regis People
SOCIETY HIGHLIGHTS FROM SOME OF THE GLAMOROUS ST. REGIS EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE AROUND THE GLOBE THIS YEAR
SENTEBALE POLO CUP AT THE ROYAL BERKSHIRE POLO CLUB, UK The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hosted a charity polo match in aid of Sentebale, the charity the Duke co-founded in 2006 with HRH Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. Harry teamed up with polo star Nacho Figueras (top right) on the St. Regis Sentebale team, winning their match against Royal Salute by five goals to four.
St. Regis People
JACK’S CLUB AT TOWN & COUNTRY’S “MODERN SWANS” EVENT, LA St. Regis partnered with renowned US magazine Town & Country to bring Jack’s Club – an exclusive celebration of the essence of St. Regis – to LA. Guests included Jane Fonda, Rashida Jones, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Vince Vaughn, Brit Marling and Vanessa Kirby.
THE ST. REGIS SNOW POLO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, ASPEN Hosted by the Aspen Valley Polo Club, this year’s St. Regis Snow Polo World Championship attracted some of the world’s top players, including Nico Pieres and Nacho Figueras, while providing an unforgettable spectacle against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains.
A Life In Seven Journeys
THE AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR REFLECTS ON THE SEVEN JOURNEYS – PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL – THAT HAVE SHAPED HER LIFE AND WORK
2 Western Europe, 1985
I was a young woman by the time I cycled around Europe, and part of the appeal was sometimes teaming up with other cyclists, of the male persuasion. That was fun. But the trip was demanding: Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain. The best part was through France and Spain, with a guy from New Hampshire. We were in the zone – in good shape, used to clocking up the miles, then sharing a liter of wine. I’d arranged to speak to my agent with a pay phone and lots of coins. She told me I’d sold my first novel. I ended up in tears that night and I still don’t know if it was because I’d sold my first book or because she’d said I had to come home.
I took my bicycle along – I wouldn’t go anywhere without my bike in those days, and it never occurred to me that you could just get one on the other side. But I stayed in an old kibbutz, working in the factory making boots – an invaluable experience, knowing just how killing factory work is. I’m not cut out for communal living, I realized.
A friend had moved to Jerusalem and I thought would be interesting to visit. But I’d also been through a very confusing romantic situation, and I think had to go through a period of private mourning, getting over someone whose feelings I had hurt and who didn’t deserve it. I spent a lot of the trip in tears – and the novella I was writing was the only piece of fiction I started and never finished. So the trip ended up being about emotions, not work. Nothing wrong with that.
4 Belfast, 1987
I went to Belfast to write a novel, intending to go for a few months, but I ended up staying for 12 years. So what started out as a journey became a whole big part of my life. It was a very creative time – and also the first time I really fell in love. So I recall those years fondly, and I still have a profound affection for the city and the people who live there.
5 Kenya, 1991
I still had this fantasy about going around the world and writing books about wherever I was based – before I realized I was too much of a home body. I had a great time in Nairobi, living in a house with three foreign correspondents. I’d get jealous though. They’d get to go off to Somalia and get shot at while I had to stay home and write. I’m not cut out for that life, but I do admire it from afar. As long as they keep up their appetite and their nerve, foreign correspondents can have really fascinating lives.
7 China, 2013
Most of my journeys now are to literary festivals. There’s no real risk, except maybe that you’ll be bored. I went to one in Beijing, with events in Shanghai and Chengdu, and came away with a feeling for China that was more personal than I’d expected. A lasting image is looking out of the plane at infinite apartment developments, each clump about 60 blocks, each building about 70 stories high. This is what a large population looks like. It’s miraculous that China sustains all these people and explains why the Chinese are obsessed with order and harmony. It was a short visit, but it changed my conception of the country – in exactly the way travel is supposed to. Lionel Shriver’s short story, How They Turned Out, is published in A Short Affair, an anthology of original short fiction from Pin Drop Studio, out now
Illustration by Tina Berning
The American South, 1977 When I was 19 I did my first big bike trip, from New York to the South and back, with my younger brother. We’d grown up in Raleigh and Atlanta and had just moved to New York, so this was a return to our roots. Every now and then the stars aligned and the weather was decent and the scenery was beautiful, but there was a lot of suffering. I no longer have any appetite for doing 100 miles a day on a bike, in terrible heat, in driving rain or against a debilitating headwind. Or camping on the roadside – that was uniquely miserable. The end of the day is wonderful though – and whenever we got to a hotel or our destination, civilization felt sumptuous.
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Beyond, The St. Regis Magazine, is a twice-yearly publication for guests staying at St. Regis Hotels and Resorts – of which there are now mo...
Published on Aug 28, 2018
Beyond, The St. Regis Magazine, is a twice-yearly publication for guests staying at St. Regis Hotels and Resorts – of which there are now mo...