ruby jean photographed by juergen teller marc jacobs stores worldwide
From The CEO
irstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very healthy and prosperous Year of the Snake. With the Spring season upon us, we focus on fashion and fabric in this issue as this is the time that new collections are released. Fashion as we know it today took its roots in the late 1940s when French designer Christian Dior unveiled what became known as “The New Look”. Simultaneously, photographers became equally important as collections were published in newspapers and magazines across the world, which put designers on the international stage. We take a rare look at some of those photographers’ work, some of which has not been seen for decades, but yet remains timeless in many ways. We also bring you a unique selection of black and white portraits of some of the great designers who made a great impact on the fashion world throughout the years. Turning to today’s fashion industry, we meet innovators Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the two iconic Italian designers behind the luxury and cutting-edge fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana, British designer Jonathan Saunders, American jewellery designer Loree Rodkin, and the purveyor of Italian luxury clothing for men, Fabio Caviglia. Over the past decade, fashion has become inextricably linked with art, with many luxury brands creating partnerships with both leading and up-and-coming artists to produce limited edition collections. In this issue we feature Zim and Zou, who recently turned their art form into a visually arresting window display for Hermès, and a group of renowned international designers who have created a series of unique products based on the theme of travel for Louis Vuitton. We also enter the world of Expressionist artist Lita Cabellut and her collection of work based on the life of Coco Chanel, one of the first women to make a dramatic impact on the world of fashion. Her portraits of Mademoiselle Chanel were a sell-out as soon as they were exhibited for the first time. The Spring/Summer 2013 collections are showcased in this issue on board Metrojet’s private Gulfstream GV jet and we also take a first look at the company’s new uniforms, created by Hong Kong-based designer Dorian Ho. As always, I hope you will enjoy this issue of The Peninsula magazine.
Clement K M Kwok Chief Executive Officer
contents March 2013 10 |
From The CEO
The Beauty of Film In a world now dominated by digital photography, camera phones, Instagram and Photoshop, the creation of a photographic image is virtually within anyone’s capability. But there is still no questioning the beauty and detail of an image captured on film. The Peninsula takes an exclusive look back at some iconic fashion photographs taken prior to the digital age.
Parallel Lives There are many parallels between the lives of empress of fashion, Coco Chanel, and the Expressionist artist Lita Cabellut. Both women began their lives in poverty, both found a core of expression that raised the stature of the feminine mystique, both fearlessly confronted a world in the arts controlled by men and inexorably changed that vantage with their own style and temerity, and both are exceptional voices in their chosen expressive fields. Though the words may be Coco Chanel’s, they could as easily be Lita Cabellut’s: “My life didn’t please me, so I created my life”.
Piecing It Together Boy meets girl, blade meets paper, art is made. That’s the combination of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimermann, collectively known as artist duo Zim and Zou, in a nutshell.
The Art of Travel In keeping with its origins, Louis Vuitton recently launched a new collection of furniture and accessories, ‘Objets Nomades’, a limited edition series intimately linked to the world of travel.
Past and Present With the Spring/Summer fashion season in full swing, The Peninsula presents an exclusive portfolio of portraits of a selection of modern fashion’s forerunners, from the original founders of some of the world’s leading Maisons to the Creative Directors of today whose work keeps their respective companies at the forefront of the fashion world in the 21st Century.
The Dynamic duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are the two iconic Italian designers behind the luxury and cutting-edge fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana. Immaculate tailoring and sophistication are intertwined with sensuality and the essence of ‘ la dolce vita’ to form one of the most famous fashion labels in the world. The Peninsula speaks with the Co-Founders about beauty, inspiration and the future.
Technicolour Dreaming With a penchant for colour and a flair for design, British designer Jonathan Saunders was always destined for a career in fashion. His global vision for his eponymous brand gives him a defining edge in a lucrative marketplace.
Oriental Inspiration Tai Ping recently unveiled ‘Chinoiseries’, a new collection designed by Ramy Fischler. Having just entirely redesigned Tai Ping’s Paris flagship store, Fischler continues his trajectory, with the development of a subtle collection of rugs and carpets inspired by 18th Century Chinoiserie, thereby recalling how much China served as a creative model for France.
A Family Affair Alessio and Pacifico Caviglia grew up in a world surrounded by luxurious silk and cashmere before embarking on a quest East to expand their father’s iconic brand. The two brothers open the doors to their new flagship store at The Peninsula Hong Kong and candidly discuss heritage, craftsmanship and the importance of family.
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A Worthy Cause In 2009, Carla Bruni, wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was beaten to the top spot in a poll conducted by leading French publication Le Figaro to find the most chic woman in Paris by model and impresario Inès de la Fressange. France’s First Lady came fifth in the poll. Today, the two elegant women are seemingly the best of friends and in 2010, Roger Vivier, the brand whose Ambassador is de la Fressange, chose to support the Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation.
Flying high Images by Andrew Loiterton.
Diamond in the Rough Celebrity manager, interior designer and jeweller to the stars, Loree Rodkin has led a life that reads like a Hollywood script. Her best friend is Cher, she managed Brad Pitt before he became the heart throb we know today, and her love affairs with celebrities and rock stars are numerous. She is surprisingly unaffected by her remarkable life, and even more so by the many book offers she has received to set her story in stone, declined because her journey is nowhere near over.
Reaching Greater Heights The experience on board a Metrojet private charter is unforgettable due to the unprecedented level of customer service and attention to detail. The Peninsula talks to CEO Björn Näf, Head of Cabin Services Jessie Poon, and acclaimed fashion designer Dorian Ho about the importance of heritage, hospitality and the Company’s new uniforms.
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The late Lillian Bassman was born in 1917. She worked as a textile designer and fashion illustrator before ultimately becoming a photographer. Appearing in Harper’s Bazaar from the 1940s to the 1960s, her work was known for its elegance, grace and innovation.
Dervla was born in Saudi Arabia and educated in Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Law and a Masters of Finance from Trinity College. She now lives in Hong Kong and writes about fashion, culture, art, finance and business.
Carol Chan Carol was born in Macau but grew up in Hong Kong and in 2008 she graduated from Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a degree in Multimedia Design & Technologies. Her interests cover all fields of design and art as she takes inspiration from exhibitions, music and travel.
Gleb Derujinsky After serving in World War II, the late Gleb Derujinsky opened his own photography studio in New York City shooting for numerous publications and ultimately exclusively for Harper’s Bazaar. He became one of the most sought after fashion photographers of his time.
Grady Harp Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He is also the art reviewer for Poets & Artists magazine.
Douglas Kirkland Douglas Kirkland is one of the most enduring and prolific photographers of our time. His portrait subjects have included Coco Chanel, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and countless others.
Andrew Loiterton Andrew’s professional assignments have taken him from the heights of fashion to the peaks of the Himalayas. His photography spans fashion, interiors, portraits and travel.
A Chinese-French hybrid, Coco has spent her life between Hong Kong and Melbourne and travelling the spaces in between. She began chasing the dream of becoming a writer at a young age and her work has since been published in the US, Australia and Hong Kong.
Dustin Pittman Dustin Pittman is an internationally renowned photographer. His portraits and fashion shoots have appeared worldwide in countless prestigious publications from Vogue to Rolling Stone.
Victor Skrebneski Victor Skrebneski is one of the most cutting-edge photographers of the 20th and 21st Centuries. His photographs are timeless, unique and beyond beautiful.
Melvin Sokolsky At the age of 21, photographer Melvin Sokolsky joined the prestigious staff of Harper’s Bazaar. His unique take on fashion was quite different and he took the mundane and transformed it into the marvellous, in a style that today seems ethereal and otherworldly.
Ann Tsang Ann Tsang is the Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director for The Peninsula Magazine, as well as several luxury custom publications in Asia and the United States. She is the Founder of The Antithesis, a bespoke, luxury publishing venture in Hong Kong.
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The Beauty of Film In a world now dominated by digital photography, camera phones, Instagram and Photoshop, the creation of a photographic image is virtually within anyoneâ€™s capability. But there is still no questioning the beauty and detail of an image captured on film. The Peninsula takes an exclusive look back at some iconic fashion Image: Lillian Bassman
photographs taken prior to the digital age.
Image: Gleb Derujinsky
Image: Gleb Derujinsky
n the words of iconic photographer, Melvin Sokolsky in an interview with Thomas Dworetzky: “Digital capture offers a new set of diagnostic tools that are readily available to professional and amateur photographers. We use light metres to determine the proper exposure of the scene to be photographed. If the film is not up to spec or has not been stored properly, you might be in for a not so pleasant a surprise, as you would not know the result of the exposure until after the film was developed. Now every kid out of school has a camera and a computer that displays a histogram that instantly evaluates the proper exposure for the image in question. In light of these great tools, I see very few photographers who can create images that in my opinion are worth considering. It is only those photographers who have ideas and vision that make great pictures. Technical expertise is not a passport to the land of great images; without the idea you have nothing. Photoshop is like a mechanic’s toolkit. You can’t make a Porsche without plans. You must have the blueprint of an idea to create a work of art.”
Image: Gleb Derujinsky
Image: Lillian Bassman
advice to myself has been, take an
honest picture. Eliminate any attempt at artsy forced nonsense.â€? The Late Gleb Derujinsky
Image: Gleb Derujinsky
Image: Lillian Bassman
Image: Gleb Derujinsky
Image: Victor Skrebneski
won’t let go of film. For although digital photographic
equipment facilitates speed of delivery, in many ways a fundamental aspect of photography lies in the development process itself. How can students be learning photography if they aren’t learning the history and process of it? They don’t have any history of why they are doing photography, and they have to know.” Victor Skrebneski 29
Image: Melvin Sokolsky
Digital world has made
people step back. Ideas are not
digital. All that counts is content. Ideas are real. The first caveman that scratched a picture on the wall and then changed it slightly, that was the beginning of Photoshop!â€? Melvin Sokolsky
Image: Courtesy of Dior
Image: Lillian Bassman
you live long enough then you find that you really have
to change with the techniques. Things that I have used for years have disappeared. I can no longer go into the dark room because the paper and the chemicals that I once used are no longer in existence. So now I have to translate my mood through the computer.â€? The Late Lillian Bassman
Parallel Lives Text: Grady Harp Images: Lita Cabellut courtesy of Opera Gallery
There are many parallels between the lives of empress of fashion, Coco Chanel, and the Expressionist artist Lita Cabellut. Both women began their lives in poverty, both found a core of expression that raised the stature of the feminine mystique, both fearlessly confronted a world in the arts controlled by men and inexorably changed that vantage with their own style and temerity, and both are exceptional voices in their chosen expressive fields. Though the words may be Coco Chanel’s, they could as easily be Lita Cabellut’s: “My life didn’t please me, so I created my life”.
ita Cabellut is a painter and a conjurer. Her paintings capture that interior mysterious space within the minds of her subjects, a complex brew of imagination and the compulsion to deal with occult dreams and longings, as well as the terror and fragility of the human condition. Her genius lies in her ability to make visible the invisible. Passion pours forth from her large-scale portraits that demand our attention and invite us into the process of her creative mind. Cabellut is a Spanish painter, born a gypsy in the earthy streets of Barcelona, her father unknown, deserted by her prostitute mother at the tender age of three months, nurtured by her grandmother who sequestered her as a gypsy from schools until her death. Cabellut at the age of eight was placed in an orphanage. Hungry for knowledge, she spent her hours at the Prado Museum, drinking deeply the works of the masters of the past – Rembrandt, Velázquez, El Greco, Ribera, Gallego and Goya. Once accepted into school, she rapidly rose through the ranks of education, ultimately being accepted into the Fine Arts School in Amsterdam, where instead of embracing the current obsession with abstract art, she connected with Francis Bacon’s tortured figurative paintings and fellow Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies’ Abstract Expressionism, with an emphasis on his pintura matérica – incorporating mixed media such as detritus, earth, rags and stone into his paintings.
Coco numĂŠro 1
Coco numéro 14
Cabellut’s works serve as a bridge between classical tradition and contemporary painting, one from which she creates faces and figures from the past, infusing her own history as a street gypsy into understanding the beginnings of the focused model she brings to life in her collection ‘Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’. From her own experiences, the artist is able to see through the eyes and cautious stares of her subjects, and to engage her audience with a sense of challenge mixed carefully with compassion. The life of Coco Chanel (1883 -1971) has been the subject of many books, films and plays: the details of her rise from her orphanage years where she was raised by nuns who taught her the sewing skills that would lead to her lifelong obsession for creating fashion, her fleeting experience as a singer in clubs where she earned her nickname ‘Coco’ (a name she insisted was derived from the word ‘cocotte’ – or ‘kept woman’), her dalliance with Etienne Balsan who financed her move to Paris at age 26 to try her millinery ideas, and her affair with the wealthy Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel whose influence on her sense of fashion as well as on her heart led to the opening of her famous shop on Rue Cambon in 1910. Capel was killed in an automobile accident in 1919 and Coco continued to leave flowers at the site of the tragedy for years afterwards.
Coco numĂŠro 5
Coco Chanel will forever be remembered as the person who freed women’s clothing from confining corsets, introduced the simple comfort of fashion influenced by men’s wear, created the 1920’s little black dress and added the innovative concept of her own designer perfume as an accessory. She found acceptance in the world of fine art as the costume designer for ‘Les Ballets Russes’ (Chanel created the costumes for the Stravinsky and Balanchine ‘L’Apollon Musagète’ and the Milhaud, Nijinska, Cocteau and Picasso ballet ‘Le Train Bleu’) and became friends with the likes of Picasso, Dalí, Diaghilev, Cocteau, and Stravinsky (another passing affair). In 1925 she began a love affair with the wealthiest man in Europe, Hugh Grosvenor, The Duke of Westminster, who lavished her with jewels and gifts, but who failed to make her his wife. At the peak of her influence, she created the legendary Chanel suit and the look that was unmistakably Coco Chanel, complete with her costume pearls and insistence on the subtlety of a monochromatic palette. World War II led to the closure of her shop in part due to the German occupation of France and the subsequent controversies that followed. But with the resolution of the adverse effects of World War II, Coco Chanel once again forged a new life with her mid-fifties return to the fashion industry; even in the face of negative reviews from critics, she still appealed to women around the world with her fashionable and feminine, comfortable and subtly sensuous designs. Despite her numerous affairs with a variety of men (some would say she used men, but she took from each of them inspiration that would increase her knowledge and repertoire), Coco Chanel never married. “It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him…I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman; I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness.
I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.” And further, “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” Coco Chanel died in 1971, but her legend lives on – in influencing fashion, in her role as a feminist, in her instinctive sense of style, and as a woman who changed the world in her own way. “Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes... fashion is in the air, borne upon the wind. One intuits it. It is in the sky and on the road...Fashion passes, style remains.” Lita Cabellut offers us her responses to the history of Coco Chanel with her large scale portraits of the fashion icon as well as some images of Chanel’s models. She heeds the icon’s rules of monochromaticity not only in the fashions she paints but also in the variations of grey as the matrix for each work. In titling this exhibition ‘Coco: The Testimony of Black and White’, she echoes the thoughts of Renaissance artist, poet and architect Leon Battista Alberti: “I would have artists be convinced that the supreme skill and art in painting consists in knowing how to use black and white...because it is light and shade that make objects appear in relief.” Some of the paintings follow a chronological order. Coco as a young girl in simpler, reflective garb; Coco growing into her new concepts; the ultimate, complete Coco with strands of costume pearls and hats and accoutrements. And in each of these visits with the spirit of Coco Chanel, Cabellut seems to channel all the emotion, drive and control of a woman who would alter the world in her unique way. Cabellut’s uncanny method of capturing the direct gaze of the Coco in her paintings as she peers at the viewer, while revealing the symbiosis of the fragility and strength that so characterised her controversial life, is one reason these paintings are so powerful. She brings to the canvas her perception of the Coco who is “Queen of the Moon, black, white, sharp and far away.” Compare the informed innocence of ‘Coco numéro 3’ with the successful grandeur of ‘Coco numéro 2’, and ‘numéro 14’ with the mysterious, near masculine ‘Coco numéro 6’ - the portraits with dark glasses and averted glance pondering the fear of something that is hidden - and the virtuosity of Lita Cabellut is dramatically impressive. Just as Coco Chanel built her fashions, so Lita Cabellut builds her paintings. Working on large-scale canvases with oil and plaster on linen, she combines the visceral surface texture with passionate brushstrokes, a painterly technique that aims for emotional release instead of precise recreation. It is this approach to expressing the inner character that she brings to life.
Coco numéro 18
It would be difficult indeed to imagine any other artist with as much access to the emotional life of Coco Chanel as Lita Cabellut. The artist honours the fashion gifts of the iconic figure of Chanel but she doesn’t stop at surface appearances, just as Chanel’s inspirations came from intrinsic responses to her abandonment as a child, her courage to overcome the fashion concepts of her day, her balance between the fragility of her affairs and her determination to belong to no-one, her transient defeat in the eyes of her public to her resurgence as one of history’s most important women of business and of style. The Coco Chanel presented in this collection is a brew of the artist’s insight, similar life experiences and technical facility; this is what makes these magnificent paintings so substantial, so thrilling, so rich in psychological impact. In Coco Chanel’s words: “Arrogance is in everything I do. It is in my gestures, the harshness of my voice, in the glow of my gaze, in my sinewy, tormented face”.
Coco numĂŠro 32
Piecing It Together Text: Coco Marett Images: Carol Chan and courtesy of HermÈs
Boy meets girl, blade meets paper, art is made. That’s the combination of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimermann, collectively known as artist duo Zim and Zou, in a nutshell.
like paper because
it’s so versatile and we like the way it looks when we photograph our pieces.”
orking out of their studio in Nancy in north-eastern France, Zim and Zou have produced numerous series of stunning, impossibly detailed three-dimensional installations using little more than coloured paper, a Stanley knife, glue and most importantly, two steady sets of hands. At just 25 years old, Zim and Zou have already made their mark in the art world. Their eclectic pieces have been recognised internationally and have graced the covers of art and design magazines across the globe, including the cover of the 104th issue of architecture and design magazine, ‘Icon’. The cover featured Zim and Zou’s psychedelic rendition of a burger, constructed using fluorescent blue, green, purple, pink and orange paper; a piece that was inspired by ‘the future of food’.
Flashy colours have become something of a signature for the French pair. In ‘Back to Basics’ - which both artists have dubbed their favourite series so far - Zim and Zou constructed paper sculptures of icons from their childhood such as a Nintendo Gameboy, a Polaroid camera, a Walkman and a cassette tape, based on a colour palette which is reminiscent of a 1990s windbreaker. Zimmermann and Thibault met at art school, both completing a BTS in Visual Communications before joining forces and discovering their medium of choice. “We like paper because it’s so versatile and we like the way it looks when we photograph our pieces,” says Zimmermann. In their most recent and perhaps most prestigious project to date, luxury fashion house Hermès commissioned Zim and Zou to create a window display at its store in the Hong Kong International Airport’s departure terminal, using their
signature cut-and-craft style but using leather offcuts from the Hermès workshop in place of paper. Animals and wildlife have been no stranger to Hermès over the years and this particular display, entitled ‘The Eternal Jungle’, invites viewers into a vibrant and colourful world that plays with the contrasts between exotic jungle wildlife and the refined nature and luxury of Hermès. A chameleon, toucan and monkey are meticulously crafted using pieces carefully cut from elegant shades of Hermès’ exquisite leather. Zim and Zou’s traditional paper work comes to play as the backdrop, with trees, leaves, tropical flowers and vines cleanly cut to perfection. Slowly but surely wins the race, and patience is no stranger to Zim and Zou. “We spend too much time in our studio,” Zimmermann says with a laugh after revealing that putting together ‘The Eternal Jungle’ took 200 hours to complete.
I met the duo at the airport where they had just spent, on top of those 200 hours, another 10 hours overnight meticulously piecing together their window display. Both are exhausted and nursing numerous cups of coffee, but their eyes light up as they speak of their collaboration with the esteemed fashion house. With Thibault speaking only French, Zimmermann speak on behalf of the two, often translating and re-iterating what a shy but sweet Thibault would occasionally whisper in his ear. “Lucie’s grandfather worked at a paper factory that made quality coloured paper,” explains Zimmermann. “So doing paper sculptures came naturally to us and we still use the same paper today.” New to using leather as a medium for their works, it was time to evolve creatively. “It was tougher, especially since we used the same tools which we use for paper,” explain Zimmermann. Being the true gent of course, he states that he took control of the cutting while Thibault put the pieces
together. “We came up with a way to make the animals by making the base shapes with paper and tape so we had a rough skeleton, then we added the leather pieces on top,” he adds, simultaneously speaking with his hands as he uses them to shape out monkeys, parrots and chameleons. “And we used metal on the feet so they could sit on the branches.” Once completed, these strikingly colourful Hermès pieces were installed as part of the playful display, including the brand’s ties being draped over the monkey and bangles strung over branches. Anchoring the display was an Hermès silk scarf featuring a tiger, adding even more of a punch to the exotic backdrop. Designed to be a bright, warm and tropical alternative amongst the traditional holiday decorations that filled other display windows, ‘The Eternal Jungle’ was a happy sendoff to jetsetters heading to warmer climes for the winter, and yet another feather in Hermès’ creative cap.
The ART of Travel Text: Ann Tsang Images: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton
In keeping with its origins, Louis Vuitton recently launched a new collection of furniture and accessories, ‘Objets Nomades’, a limited edition series intimately linked to the world of travel.
ouis Vuitton has consistently been synonymous with the Art of Travel since it was founded in 1854. It is a longstanding spirit of sophistication and unlimited possibilities that is now to be found at the heart of the House’s recently released ‘Objets Nomades’ collection. Stepping outside the rhythm of seasons, the collection has been growing – and will continue to grow – organically, mirroring the Louis Vuitton journey and the new or established designers it meets along the way. The ‘Objets Nomades’ collection is about turning chance encounters and moments of serendipity into pieces of original design. Building strong collaborations with contemporary designers is an ongoing and deeply rooted tradition at Louis Vuitton. Gaston-Louis for example was involved with the cutting edge of his time in Art Nouveau and later, with Art Decoratifs, initiating collaborations with the great artists of the 20th Century, including Legrain, Puiforcat, Conversat and Lalique. Continually seeking innovation while safeguarding traditions, for ‘Objets Nomades’, Louis Vuitton asked a selection of contemporary designers, both established and upcoming, to create a series of objects connected to travel. The designers involved in the project include Fernando and Humberto Campana,
Christian Liaigre, Atelier Oï, Patricia Urquiola, Clino Castelli, Maarten Baas, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Nendo, Constance Guisset, Thierry Gaugain, and Perrine Desmons. The idea behind the collection was to produce limited edition foldable and modular furniture and other portable accessories to suit the lives of modern travellers. The line currently comprises 16 travel-inspired objects, a mixture of foldable furniture and travel accessories, all in exquisite materials and made as unique pieces, limited editions or experimental prototypes. From a hammock to a foldable stool in precious Nomade leather, a travel desk to a Maracatu, ‘Objets Nomades’ pay homage to the House’s special orders of the past – such as the iconic Bed-Trunk or the Stokowski Trunk – and add a defiantly contemporary spirit. Sharing a sense of instinctiveness, desire and pleasure the ‘Objets Nomades’ continue Louis Vuitton’s tradition of offering its customers new visions of how to travel.
Bag Hanger by Perrine Desmons
Perrine Desmons reinterpreted the Houseâ€™s celebrated padlock to create a clever accessory for nomads: a hook to hang your precious bag from a table and so keep it safe.
The Hammock by Atelier O誰
Atelier O誰 has created a hammock in a special and supple Louis Vuitton leather and gold-plated fixtures, to reinvent the art of sophisticated relaxation.
Swing Chair by Patricia Urquiola
Patricia Urquiola’s Swing Chair is a handbag-inspired design of two large, leather-covered metallic “handles” holding up a welcoming woven mesh.
Bell Lamp by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s Bell Lamp has VVT Nomade leather straps around a frosted mouth-blown glass “bell”, which, thanks to its solar-powered lamp, emits a diffuse, daytime-like light.
Lamp by Nendo
Inspired by a sheet of leather he saw at Louis Vuitton’s Asnières workshops, Oki Sato of design studio Nendo created his Lamp: a leather shade backlit by LED bulbs, which disguises its craft in a cloak of apparent simplicity.
by Atelier Oï
Atelier Oï’s geometric, origami-inspired stool folds away for easy transport and uses traditional trunkmaker techniques in innovative, intelligent and colourful ways.
Maracatu by Fernando and Humberto Campana
A remarkable travel cabinet made of leather off cuts from Louis Vuittonâ€™s Haute Maroquinerie workshops. Only 12 examples of Fernando and Humberto Campanaâ€™s creation will be produced, each one individually numbered, named and signed. A minimalist vision of the Maracatu, this travel cabinet combines functionality and innovation.
Yves Saint Laurent (1936 - 2008) Portrait: Dustin Pitmann
Past And Present Compiled by Ann Tsang
With the Spring/Summer fashion season in full swing, The Peninsula presents an exclusive portfolio of portraits of a selection of modern fashionâ€™s forerunners, from the original founders of some of the worldâ€™s leading Maisons to the Creative Directors of today whose work keeps their respective companies at the forefront of the fashion world in the 21st Century.
Gabrielle Coco Chanel (1883 -1971) Portrait: Douglas Kirkland
Christian Dior (1905 - 1957) Portrait: Courtesy of Christian Dior
Halston (1932 - 1990) Portrait: Dustin Pitmann
Hubert de Givenchy (1927 - Present) Portrait: Victor Skrebneski
Vera Wang Founder and Designer, Vera Wang Portrait: Courtesy of Joyce
Phoebe Philo Creative Director, Celine Portrait: Courtesy of Celine
Christian Louboutin Founder and Designer, Christian Louboutin Portrait: Lucy McNally
Bruno Frisoni Creative Director, Roger Vivier Portrait: Andre Cooray
Raf Simons Creative Director, Christian Dior Portrait: Courtesy of Christian Dior
Henry Holland Founder and Designer, House of Holland Portrait: Mariano Vivanco
The Dynamic Duo Text: Dervla Louliâ€ƒ Images: Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are the two iconic Italian designers behind the luxury and cutting-edge fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana. Immaculate tailoring and sophistication are intertwined with sensuality and the essence of ‘la dolce vita’ to form one of the most famous fashion labels in the world. The Peninsula speaks with the Co-Founders about beauty, inspiration and the future.
conversation with design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana is reminiscent of two dancers moving to the rhythm of a unified beat. They met by chance, in Giorgio Corregiari’s atelier in Milan to be precise, and two years later in 1982, Dolce & Gabbana was born. The attraction, both physical and professional at the time, was instant and they were romantically involved for 23 of their 31 years as business partners. Dolce, 54, and Gabbana, 50, are first and foremost inspired by women. Their clothes are cut to emphasise the female form and their garments are the epitomé of seductive finesse. Their creations feature complicated structures and intricate corsets, but are attractive and flattering in an obvious way, something that is held in high esteem by the fashion industry’s elite amidst the sea of androgynous designers. The brand exudes a sultry type of sexiness that is the birthright of Italian women, but there is much more to the integral DNA of Dolce & Gabbana. By combining elements from the deeply instilled Italian principles of love and family, the gentlemen have become famous for being a fashion house that tells a story. Their catwalk shows are iconic, visionary and dreamlike. Every jewel and accessory is carefully pored over and they invite their much-loved female customers to pick and choose their favourite part of the fairytale and reconstruct it as they wish. This tactic makes their label approachable, fun and favoured by women who celebrate traditional feminity. Sicilian-born Dolce, the quieter and shorter of the two, is slightly more practical than the discursive, Milanese Gabbana. They finish each other’s sentences and appear to be able to read each other’s minds. They have accumulated a host of accolades during their time together, designed over 1,500 costumes for Madonna, and are the without a doubt one of the most recognisable names on the global fashion circuit. The flamboyant Italian duo, with the business acumen of Wall Street financiers, show no hint of slowing down and are rapidly expanding into the Asian marketplace. The most
recent development has been naming handsome badminton world legend Lin Dan the first Asian face for Dolce & Gabbana, a perfect brand ambassador for the iconic brand. The Peninsula: Can you recall your first encounter? Stefano Gabbana: We met in Milan. I had just finished studying to be a graphic artist, but I had a big passion for fashion. A friend told me that a Milanese fashion designer, Giorgio Corregiari, was looking for an assistant, so I applied, sent in my resumé and they called me for an interview. That day, however, the designer was out of town, so his first assistant, Domenico, interviewed me. Domenico Dolce: We started working together immediately. After a while, we decided to consult to various brands. Our first office was in a small apartment in a building full of lawyers. We put a plaque outside the door with both of our surnames on it and that is how we founded Dolce & Gabbana. TP: What were the biggest difficulties you encountered when you first set up Dolce & Gabbana? DD: It all started when Beppe Modenese asked us to show in the ‘New Talents’ section during Milan Fashion Week. He called us in June and the show was in October. SG: We did everything ourselves. We started with very little money but with a great deal of passion and love. It was our dream, and even if we only worked we were so happy! We invested all our earnings in the next collection, without a day off, a vacation, a moment of rest, but I would do it all over again! TP: If you could offer one piece of advice to emerging designers what would it be? SG: Young designers very often have the power to get involved, to take risks, to show things from a completely different perspective, so we really believe they have to be supported. DD: A great deal has changed over the past few decades. Despite it being possibly easier for new designers thanks to changes in media, the logic of business has changed and few people invest in new talent. SG: That being said, we strongly believe in young talent and that is why we decided to give them a real chance to show their collections in our historical boutique in Milan, which is called ‘Dolce & Gabbana Spiga 2’.
TP: Your designs champion the feminine shape and female sensuality. What is your opinion on androgynous fashion trends that blur the lines between masculine and feminine fashion? SG: That all depends on individual women. The models we show on the catwalk are a vision, a dream; itâ€™s real women who decide what to take from the vision and what to leave behind; they all translate our shows in a different way. The concept of trends seems superceded by a personal style that reflects your personality. DD: We also have a rule that there are no rules. We are under the impression that women are arriving at an awareness and security in themselves which allows them to choose a dress because they want pleasure for themselves and for others. Clothes are back to being beautiful, refined, elegant and above all, they give women a chance to dream again!
are never satisfied with
what has been achieved so far and we always try to overcome our limitations.
TP: In your opinion, what makes a woman beautiful and how do you enhance this through your designs? SG: Beauty is subjective, it seems obvious, but at the end it’s a great truth. A woman is not only beautiful in the classic sense of the concept, but also when she has a personality that allows her to stand out from the others. What we can say is that we love women so much and because of this we always try to create clothes that emphasise the body, striking a balance between sensuality and romance. The Dolce & Gabbana woman can easily wear a guêpière dress or a sartorial suit. DD: Love is the key for everything. Our love for women and for our work enables us to create clothing that always makes them feel special. TP: Family, love and Italian are three elements constantly seen in your work. Why have you chosen these three particular themes to illustrate your brand? SG: Because they are values that we believe in deeply and that we grew up with. These are the things which our lives revolve around. Love, family and Italy are always associated with one another and Italy has always been known for its beauty, style and good food. DD: For us, fashion means communicating and sharing these values with an increasing number of people. At the same time we must look to the future, as if we embark on a new adventure each time, because as Proust said, “the real journey is not to discover new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. TP: You were the first luxury fashion brand to have a mobile website and live stream a fashion show via iPhone. Have you always had a flair for business and an ability to forecast industry trends ahead of your peers? SG: It has made many things easier. Previously we had to wait for newspapers, but now everything is much more immediate. The fashion world is often perceived as an isolated place available only to a select few. Thanks to the Internet and social networks this is no longer true. DD: We opened the backstage of our shows so people could see what was happening behind the scenes and we were the first to do so on the Internet.
TP: What have been the most memorable highlights of your epic fashion journey? SG: There have been so many that it is hard to choose just one. One standout event was certainly the first fashion show in Milan. DD: Many other special highlights followed that first fashion show, all of which were equally important because they allowed us to reach where are today, from the 20th Anniversary of our brand to the launch of the Alta Moda collection last year. TP: Emerging markets are an important factor in the future of ready-to-wear fashion. How do you plan to harness this new potential customer base to continue your success into the next decade? DD: Now more than ever, it is important to be curious and informed. We are curious to know and understand the people and cultures, seemingly different from ours, but at the same time with so many things in common. SG: It’s interesting to see how a Chinese, Brazilian or American woman interprets a Dolce & Gabbana dress. We feel that the most important element is the personal style of each woman; the chance to wear a dress by interpreting it in their own way, so they can feel beautiful and confident. TP: How did you inject the Dolce & Gabbana DNA into timepieces and fine jewellery and what was the most difficult aspect of this progression into a new field? DD: We worked for a long time on our timepieces and fine jewellery because we had to take care of every detail. We love watches and we studied very thoroughly in order to understand the mechanisms and how they operate. It is a totally new and different project for us. We thought a great deal before taking this step, because we wanted to do it right and insisted on taking time to do research and figure out exactly what we wanted to do and how. SG: We dedicated the same amount of research and time into the jewellery collection. This was also the result of a study of Italian roots and following the thread of memories. We strongly wanted it to appropriately complete the world of Dolce & Gabbana. TP: Can you summarise the perfect Dolce & Gabbana woman in terms of looks and personality? SG: A real woman. Feminine, sensual, passionate, strong… DD: The Dolce & Gabbana woman is one with a strong personality and who believes in traditional values: family, friends and love.
TP: What is the secret to constant creativity? SG: We always try to look at things from a new point of view. There are many things that can inspire us, some of them obvious, but you have to have a special way of looking at the world. DD: We are never satisfied with what has been achieved so far and we always try to overcome our limitations.
Technicolour Dreaming Text: Dervla Louli Images: Courtesy of LONDON show ROOMS HK
With a penchant for colour and a flair for design, British designer Jonathan Saunders was always destined for a career in fashion. His global vision for his eponymous brand gives him a defining edge in a lucrative marketplace.
onathan Saunders may be famous for his expert use of colour, but the swish of the skirts and the flick of the flares in his Spring/Summer 2013 collection prove that the established Scotsman has a multi-dimensional approach to design. His gentle Scottish drawl and piercing eyes are a distracting combination, and as he sits before me complaining about a pulled shoulder from an early workout session, it’s easy to see why the fashion world fell so hard for the man responsible for the modern technicolour dream. It’s hard to believe that the London-based, Glaswegian-born designer grew up in stringent household surrounded by brown furniture. His chilled out attitude gives no hint of a strict upbringing, and he has a definite clean-cut hipster attitude about him, not a far cry from a dry cleaned Johnny Depp. Saunders studied at the Glasgow School of Art, earning a BA in Printed Textiles before attending Central Saint Martin’s where he blossomed under the watchful eye of Louise Wilson, despite an unusual first interview, and received an MA with distinction. In 2002, he won the Lancôme Colour Award for the psychedelic swirling prints in his graduate collection, and has been the recipient of universal acclaim for his unique printing methods and beautiful silhouettes for the past decade.
longer I work, the
more I find that life experiences really open my eyes.”
Saunders designed prints for Alexander McQueen and consulted for Chloé and Emilio Pucci, before launching his eponymous label in 2003. He was named Scottish Designer of the Year twice, in 2005 and 2011, awarded the Fashion Enterprise Award by the British Fashion Council in 2006 and was shortlisted for The Global Fashion Awards’ Most Influential Womenswear Designer in June 2011. Not content with simply creating garments, Saunders has transformed his penchant for design into a lucrative global business while managing to retain the elusive nature of his ready-to-wear brand. Recently in Hong Kong for the London Showrooms and despite a slight plague of jet-lag and a night out until 5:30 am, he is candid, cool and chatty.
The Peninsula: Professor Louise Wilson, OBE, the Director of the fashion MA course at Central Saint Martin’s has a formidable reputation; how was your interview experience with her? Jonathan Saunders: It’s something I’ll never forget. I queued up at St. Martin’s looking like a mess, and the chap ahead of me was so well dressed. He had his Louis Vuitton portfolio and suitcase and I just thought to myself – there’s no way I’m going to get in here. He went into Louise Wilson’s office, who lives up to her reputation by the way, and five seconds later his folio came flying out of the door and he ran out in tears. I was quite literally terrified before I went into her office. Once I sat down she started mimicking my accent and went on to conduct the entire interview in a Scottish accent. The whole time I just kept on thinking that I didn’t have a chance because I had done so many different things like prints and textiles but not fashion design per se. TP: What do you think she saw in you that you didn’t see in yourself? JS: She probably knew that because I came from a print background I had a different understanding of fashion and the importance of fabric. In addition, there were numerous references in my portfolio that she possibly saw potential in. You have to remember that people with very diverse backgrounds end up in fashion. As long as you’re passionate about it and give it your all, then it doesn’t really matter what you did beforehand. The most important part of the process is to have a point of difference and a personal identity, otherwise you get lost. Louise Wilson forces her students to be unique and find their own niche, and I guess she knew that I had the potential to find mine.
TP: How important do you think colour and prints are to design? JS: It’s all about newness because everybody loves innovation. People are attracted to clothes and designers because of distinct silhouettes, and colour is an amazing way to you can create change every season. It’s really important in ready-to-wear that you can provide something new and the easiest way to present that is through colour. It’s the first thing I think about before designing a collection, whether its autumnal hues or jewelled tones, it’s always my starting point. For the following season I’ll usually go in the opposite direction to what I used in the last, otherwise it gets boring. If you don’t change it becomes impossible to bring out four collections every season. TP: Your designs usually draw on Scottish influences, but your current season has gone in the opposite direction and is quite graphic and linear. How difficult is it to keep reinventing your brand while retaining your signature aesthetic? JS: When I was younger there were only two collections a year, and it was difficult because I was trying to put all of my ideas into that. Now there are four collections each year and I can space out my ideas better, plus there is no time to linger over it for weeks. I love what I do, and I think that you have to in this industry because there is so much pressure to constantly come up with different designs. It’s a commercial, creative business and I care what my customers want, but creatively I have to make decisions that make me happy too. TP: Do you think that your style has changed because you are trying to adapt to your customers? JS: The longer I work, the more I find that life experiences really open my eyes. I used to design quite high necklines for very sophisticated clients. I then met more women who were sexy and sassy which inspired me, and that is evident throughout my current collection.
TP: You moved your show from London to New York and then were invited to show back in London. What are the biggest differences between your clients in both cities? JS: Previously, London was always known for ideas, and people would watch the shows and buy small quantities. But they never really viewed what they bought as investment pieces, because the product wasn’t sophisticated or developed enough from a commercial point of view. For example, when my dress landed on the cover of Vogue and demand hit, I was trying to sew them up in Brixton. It’s funny now but it wasn’t at the time! When Neiman Marcus bought the collection I felt it was important to go to New York, as I knew it would be beneficial for the business on an international level. When I returned to London I didn’t see any change in sales, which proves that location has become less fundamental to the whole process. I still show resort and pre-Fall collections in New York. Every year that goes by location becomes less important because of globalisation, live video streaming and general technology updates. I went to New York because I wanted to gain an in-depth understanding of the market; it’s the same reason that I went to Brazil last week. You need to go to these cities to understand how fashion works from a business perspective. Bloggers are influential all over the world, but I’ve never seen as many as I did in Brazil, which is something I’ll have to take into account for promoting future seasons. TP: It looks like you’ve been gifted with creativity and savvy business skills. How important are emerging markets to your business model? JS: I think they are vital. In any fast growing economy, there is a thirst and hunger for new things. For young independent brands it’s always more difficult to be seen in a thriving market because they don’t have a foothold yet. One side of the market wants big brands with logos but the other side wants to be unique and that’s where British designers come into the equation. TP: You’re so renowned for your use of colour, yet you are wearing all black. Is there a reason behind your personal fashion statements? JS: I think because I deal with colour every day and I’m always around it, I don’t wear it as much as my collections would suggest. I suppose you just get tired of it after a while, but I always wear colour when I’m close to a collection being finished.
Oriental Inspiration Text: Marion Peguetâ€ƒ Images: Courtesy of Tai Ping
Tai Ping recently unveiled ‘Chinoiseries’, a new collection designed by Ramy Fischler. Having just entirely redesigned Tai Ping’s Paris flagship store, Fischler continues his trajectory, with the development of a subtle collection of rugs and carpets inspired by 18th Century Chinoiserie, thereby recalling how much China served as a creative model for France.
y entrusting the design of the space and furniture for its new European flagship store to Belgian-born Ramy Fischler, the luxury Chinese brand Tai Ping has, once again, demonstrated its flair for innovation and exceptional savoir-faire. The young designer, who dared to incorporate über contemporary pieces and rugs into the 18th Century style of Hôtel de Livry, follows up with a crossover collection of handmade carpets and rugs featuring a whole new realm of designs, and whose origins can be found in the ancient work entitled ‘Livres de desseins chinois’ (Books of Chinese Designs) by Jean-Antoine Fraisse. Fraisse’s presentation of Chinoiserie motifs inspired Fischler to highlight the extent to which France was, at one time, fascinated by Chinese artistic productions from the 17th and 18th Centuries. But beyond the nod to Tai Ping’s Chinese origins, Fischler also reminds us through this collection and new showroom concept, that Chinoiserie once was a paragon of inspiration for France. In the 18th Century, Chinoiserie was considered an exotic style. Textiles, spices, and porcelain objects arriving from China via the Silk Road were the cause of immense wonderment among Westerners, and stimulated their imagination. Studied and copied, these objects inspired passionate research, namely to unearth the secret of the porcelain recipe: a mixture of kaolin and clay. Little by little, the creators of these Oriental marvels adapted their shapes and patterns to Western tastes, resulting in striking combinations where monkeys and dragons delicately
mingled with cows and sheep, creating very rich cultural hybrids. These were marvels both in the East and the West. For Fischler, Chinese living rooms, Japanese prints, and India-inspired textiles have contributed to the overall evolution of know-how, born of collective learning from others near and far away. That is how he wanted to celebrate this period, a symbol of a hybrid of cultures, of creative and generative re-appropriation. While engaged in a thorough study of a magnificent collection of drawings by Fraisse inspired by China, India, and Japan, he discovered incredibly aesthetic details that anticipated American Abstract Expressionism by almost two centuries. Noting that in the 18th Century, the Cartesian vision of space specific to the Age of Enlightenment had been sidelined by that featured in the prints of the times, he decided to use that as the keystone of this project. Enlarging some of the very specific areas of the landscapes, Fischler created a semi-abstract pattern diffused throughout the carpets of the new Tai Ping space. Owing to the artisan’s know-how, these carpets, which include traditional Axminster weaving techniques and the ultra precise handtuft process, to allow visitors to explore the magnificent graphic gems of this Chinoiserie. Elegantly linking past with present, the new collection comprises 10 indoor and outdoor carpets and rugs with mineral-inspired designs evoking stone, rock, and pebbles; aquatic designs suggesting the undulating waves of waters or the depths of oceans, and finally, some nebulous forms, which guide one’s eyes skyward or to the ground. Bringing this universe of air, water and stone to sheer perfection are muted tones and pastel colors which merge into infinitely subtle layers of pink, green, blue and white. Delicate wool and silk exhibit simplicity, lending themselves to traditional Tai Ping techniques such as rug sculpting and carving.
The emblematic collection, loosely inspired by its country of origin, is like a cross-cultural perspective between East and West, residing in perfect harmony within the very French, 18th Century Hôtel de Livry in Paris where in June 2012, Tai Ping opened its newest and most ambitious flagship space. Working with Fischler, Tai Ping has created a space that is as innovative as it is exquisite, as welcoming as its design studio and consultants are skilled. With future flagships planned for London and Shanghai, the Hôtel de Livry marks an ambitious new phase in the company’s evolution. “The combination of Tai Ping’s wholly-owned mills and our unbelievably adept workforce who realise our designs with exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail are unsurpassed,” comments Catherine Vergez, Tai Ping’s Managing Director, EMEA. “The opening of our newly-renovated European flagship celebrates our commitment to offering our clients the best in quality and service.”
Fischler, who spent nine years working for designer Patrick Jouin prior to setting up his own studio, spent a year’s residency at the French Academy’s Villa Medici in Rome thinking about the nature of the ‘ lieu d’accueil’ - a versatile French term which literally translates as ‘place of welcome’. For Fischler, the notion of ‘welcoming’ is an essential element to his work for Tai Ping. Fischler’s priority has been to think of the users of Tai Ping’s new space; designers and individual clients who might be, “curious, inspired, sensitive, but also demanding, indecisive, worried. They come with their projects, their desires, their doubts. The framework, the space where the work, exchange and discovery takes place, is the space of a successful collaboration,” he explains. The new space is not just dedicated to showing off Tai Ping’s rugs, but to creating an inspiring working environment, where designers can collaborate with Tai Ping’s team of experts. Fischler has spent a lot of time considering and developing physical and digital tools to aid that process. A specially developed web-based digital interface, also accessible by iPhone and iPad, allows designers to follow their projects from a distance and will enable the creation of complete presentation files - a new resource to assemble files during and after a project is completed.
Tai Ping also celebrates its archives, and clients can view not only previous projects, but also see some of the stages in that creative process, such as the designers’ sketches and references. Under Fischler’s inspired direction, the Hôtel de Livry is becoming an exciting catalyst for design innovation - a welcoming environment that nurtures inspiration, discovery and experimentation. Fischler talks of the importance of marrying the concrete with the abstract, asserting that, “theory must be somewhere in the project,” for it to be meaningful. His desire is to “always have one foot in research,” and with each new assignment, “finding time for reflection” is a priority. Fischler values working on a broad variety of projects. In particular he appreciates combining large and small assignments and finding the
connections between them that underline his belief in serendipitous strokes of luck that perhaps aren’t ultimately all that coincidental. He thrives on diverse briefs and talks of a “desire not to be boxed in, to be open to new universes and ideas.” For his interior commissions he prefers to liaise directly with French artisans and manufacturers to develop items unique to that space. He likes to draw on history and craftspeople to create work that is contemporary and to strengthen the ties between old and new. “We are at an exciting moment in the history of Tai Ping,” comments James Kaplan, CEO of Tai Ping CarpetsInternational Limited. “Our market presence and revenue continues to grow and we are at the forefront of design and manufacturing, catering to a clientele that demands we be ahead of the curve. But we are very much rooted in the culture in which we originated, where quality and tradition are prized above all else. We are taking the best of that history and moving forward as an innovative luxury brand.”
Portrait: Leung Chun Ki
A Family Affair Text: Dervla Louliâ€ƒ Images: Carol Chan
Alessio and Pacifico Caviglia grew up in a world surrounded by luxurious silk and cashmere before embarking on a quest East to expand their fatherâ€™s iconic brand. The two brothers open the doors to their new flagship store at The Peninsula Hong Kong and candidly discuss heritage, craftsmanship and the importance of family.
he importance of family is a universally acknowledged concept that is understood in every language across the world. It’s also a principle that Alessio and Pacifico Caviglia, the prodigal sons of luxury menswear designer Fabio Caviglia fully embody. The two immaculately dressed brothers stand side-by- side in their new flagship store in The Peninsula Arcade in Hong Kong. The next hour is spent watching a perfectly timed balancing act unfold. As Alessio begins a sentence, Pacifico finishes it, and as Pacifico picks up a jacket, Alessio picks up a pair of matching trousers. The backdrop to this unintentional display is a sea of silk, cashmere and the finest Italian material that money can buy. Every colour, taste and palette is accounted for, from bold bright hues to failproof classic black and white. “Our father founded the company in 1963,” Pacifico proudly pronounces. “He opened his first store in Rome’s Via Veneto in Italy during the era of la dolce vita,” Alessio continues. “The city was the epicentre for Italy’s movie stars, film producers, celebrities and personalities. The glamour of that time is reflected in many different aspects of our brand; our stores, our elegant, highly detailed clothing and everything is made in Italy to ensure a look of refined luxury.”
“Look at this shoe,” Pacifico says as he picks up a dark green crocodile skin loafer. “It’s made with one piece of skin and there are no seams, which is one of our specialities. “And this belt,” Alessio comments, holding up a vivid blue crocodile leather belt, “It is also made from only one piece. This is just one example of how we take high-end fashion and make it more luxurious to cater to our discerning clients.” During a guided tour around the sumptuous new flagship store, three fundamental elements stand out, everything is elegant, refined and exclusive, and despite the vast amount of merchandise on display, it all works well together. A fine silk purple and white polka dot tie is the perfect accessory to the crisp white shirt it sits in front of; a white jacket is complemented by a royal blue patterned silk shirt; and the bow ties on display would add a perfect touch of panache to any outfit. The star of the current collection is an intricately interwoven silk black blazer. From afar it is understated, but upon closer inspection, hours of detailed precision and expert craftsmanship are unveiled and the brothers are forthcoming with information about the people who piece these garments together. “Absolutely everything is done by hand,” Pacifico explains, “We only work with the best craftspeople in Italy and all of our items are produced in our workshop. The skills learned by a grandmother are passed onto her daughter who in time will pass them on to her daughter. We are a very tight knit company which has a deeply instilled Italian emphasis on family and quality.”
The ‘Made in Italy’ label on every Fabio Caviglia garment goes much further than simply cloth and craftsmanship. There is an intrinsic value of family and heritage deeply instilled into the company. The two brothers look at each other and a smile develops on both of their faces before they share an anecdote from their childhood. “It’s a cliché, but family is really important to us and we spent a lot of time in our father’s store growing up,” Alessio shares honestly. “In the 1980s when we were very young, all the wealthy people would come into our store and purchase everything,” Pacifico says, “We loved it, talking to all of these interesting people and just being surrounded by such amazing products in a beautiful place.” Fabio Caviglia has always enjoyed an international clientele, so while the rest of the fashion industry focuses on the shift of wealth to emerging markets, the Caviglia business methods are much more consistent. “There is so much talk about globalisation, but instead of looking at ourselves from a country perspective, we think of ourselves as a lifestyle brand. You either have the lifestyle and the occasion to wear our
garments or you don’t, so our market is not sub-divided by countries,” Pacifico explains. “All of our customers appreciate the hand-made nature of our products and they buy our clothing because it is unique. Our clients are extremely important to us, and the Fabio Caviglia experience doesn’t just stop at clothing,” he continues. “Customer satisfaction is a top priority for us which is why we are keeping our expansion slow and steady.” “One of the reasons we prefer to progress slowly is because we insist on being hands-on,” Pacifico mentions while sipping on an espresso. “It’s very tight knit and we like to stay in control. That’s not to say we are extreme about it, but it is a family business and everything we do carries the weight of the Caviglia name.” “We could have opened a thousand stores by now,” Alessio says, “I have people coming in nearly every day asking if we’ll open in various locations across the world. We are expanding and have long-term plans for the future, but we are extremely particular about location. All of our stores are bespoke and are all made-to-measure and fit the brand and our heritage like a good suit,” Alessio comments eloquently before looking approvingly at the new store. “The Peninsula Hong Kong was our first overseas home; it’s how we started and it’s quite simply the best place to be.”
A Worthy Cause Text: Ann Tsang Images: Courtesy of Roger Vivier
In 2009, Carla Bruni, wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was beaten to the top spot in a poll conducted by leading French publication Le Figaro to find the most chic woman in Paris by model and impresario Inès de la Fressange. France’s First Lady came fifth in the poll. Today, the two elegant women are seemingly the best of friends and in 2010, Roger Vivier, the brand whose Ambassador is de la Fressange, chose to support the Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation.
arla Bruni-Sarkozy first sported her Miss Viv’ handbag – which Bruno Frisoni designed for the Roger Vivier brand, and especially for France’s former First Lady – at the Bastille Day ceremonies on July 14th, 2009. It was part of the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 haute couture collection. A ready-to-wear version, featuring the fine handles and supple crocodile skin, subsequently went on sale in March 2010. The bag, with its soft frame and hallmark ring buckle, was designed closely in collaboration with the First Lady, who insisted on donating a portion of the sales proceeds to the Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation for a French Red Cross programme for young children. “When the Miss Viv’ bag arrived it looked like a First Lady bag to me, so I called it ‘Carla La La La’ just to play with the name. Then she [Carla Bruni-Sarkozy] wore it on July 14th, just a few days after the show, and it suddenly became iconic, so we decided to put it into the ready-to-wear collection to make it accessible, and we called it ‘Miss Viv’,” says the charismatic Bruno Frisoni, Artistic Director of Roger Vivier, about the phenomenon surrounding the bag’s overnight ‘it’ status. “We couldn’t keep Carla’s name because of her political background, so naming it Miss Viv’ was more democratic. She carries it and that’s enough,” says Frisoni. The name ‘Miss Viv’
obviously originates from the brand’s eponymous founder Roger Vivier. The bag is a modern revamp of a classic 1950s style complete with the signature Vivier buckle that has been made ultra thin to look almost like a bracelet. “It has a mature femininity,” adds Frisoni. “I think that’s also where fashion is going to today because you know we are all growing up and have evolved and this is a symbol of that.” The Red Cross ‘Fabrique des sens’ (Sensory Factory) project has helped to develop a sensorial kit to encourage child development through artistic and cultural discovery. More than one thousand children in day-care centres have benefited from this programme. This partnership continued in 2011, this time working to help children with multiple disabilities. The project aimed to create sensorial discovery and projection rooms with technological and audio-visual material for children whose severe disabilities mean they will be hospitalised for their entire lives. The programmes were developed at the San Salvadour hospital in HyèresMarseille, the La Roche Guyon hospital in Mantes-la-Jolie, under the direction of l’Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), and at the Lapanouse Debré centre for re-education in Anthony. This year, the Roger Vivier Maison continues to support The Carla BruniSarkozy Foundation with each ‘Prismick’ shoulder bag sold at Roger Vivier boutiques worldwide strengthening the support given by the Maison to the Foundation. The objectives are to continue bring life and joy to the existing centres and for children with severe disabilities. A worthy cause indeed...
Flying High Photographer: Andrew J Loiterton Photography Assistant: Keith Leung Art Direction and Styling: Dervla Louli Makeup and Hair Styling: Karen Yiu Makeup and Hair Styling Assistant: Mandy Cheuk Model: Christina Coleman at 1st Option With Special Thanks to Metrojet
Jacket and pants by Burberry; bag and scarf by HermĂ¨s; necklace by The 9th Muse
Trench coat by Burberry; scarf by HermĂ¨s; gloves by Chanel; sunglasses by Diane Von Furstenberg
Trench coat by Burberry: scarf by Chanel; necklace and earrings by The 9th Muse
Dress and bracelets by Chanel
Blouse by HermĂ¨s; skirt and choker by Dior
Sweater, skirt and jewellery by Chanel
Suit and scarf by HermĂ¨s; clutch and shoes by Chanel
Diamond in the Rough Text: Dervla Louli Images: Courtesy of Loree Rodkin
Celebrity manager, interior designer and jeweller to the stars, Loree Rodkin has led a life that reads like a Hollywood script. Her best friend is Cher, she managed Brad Pitt before he became the heart throb we know today, and her love affairs with celebrities and rock stars are numerous. She is surprisingly unaffected by her remarkable life, and even more so by the many book offers she has received to set her story in stone, declined because her journey is nowhere near over.
oree Rodkin, the brunette beauty with the penetrating gaze is far from the wild party girl that her adventurous life suggests. She doesn’t drink or smoke, in fact she jokes that her memoir should be called ‘Designated Driver’, because of all the celebrities she babysat as they succumbed to drugs and alcohol. She poignantly mentions that it was while watching over actor Robert Downey Jr. after one of his many turbulent nights out that her childhood interest in jewellery was resuscitated and she began sketching her ideas on paper. After leaving her hometown of Chicago behind in the early 1970s and relocating to Los Angeles, she quickly learned that following her heart could lead to great and wonderful opportunities. “I was the least likely girl in the world to have a career and I consider myself really lucky,” she says candidly in her distinctive soft American twang. “I was Don Henley’s (of The Eagles) girlfriend when I first moved to L.A. He didn’t want me to work and my inability to ask him to buy me things was the catalyst for carving out a career for myself.” Unimpressed by the prospect of depending on a man for the rest of her life, Rodkin took matters into her own hands and moved into her own apartment.
When a close friend saw how she combined medieval glamour and modern touches to personalise her home, he commissioned her to decorate a number of properties in his extensive portfolio. Her interior design abilities became famous when she garnered a collection of celebrity clients during her courtship and eventual engagement to Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin. “Bernie was so supportive of my career. I truly believe in love and my past relationships have formed the highway of my life,” she says dreamily. “I always fall hard and my heart has led me down some extraordinary paths. I embrace the unknown and live without fear; nothing scares me except for maybe the odd spider here and there,” she adds humorously. It seems therefore apt that skulls and not spiders adorn many of her gothic-inspired designs. “The first piece of jewellery I made had skulls on it and people assumed it was a form of death jewellery,” Rodkin explains, whose home in Beverly Hills pays homage to gothic chapels and Victorian times. “I take inspiration from the past and we all begin as bones so it was a reference to life not death. I also collect medieval armour as I love the mechanics and aesthetic of the designs from that period.” It is not only ancient eras that inspire the international jeweller. Rough diamonds are Rodkin’s guilty pleasure, and in the early days of her jewellery career she would fill every waking hour visiting pawnshops collecting unpopular diamonds such as mine or rose cuts from the Victorian and Ancient European eras respectively. “I have loved jewellery from the age of 12,” she explains. “But it wasn’t until I walked into jeweller Ben Besbeck’s studio that my passion really began to take on a life of its own. I went into Cartier with a broken vintage ring I had found while clock shopping for an interior design project for Rod Stewart. They basically dismissed me, told me it was from an unpopular collection and gave me Ben’s details if I wanted it fixed.”
clients are fashion forward and
fearless. Quite a few are eccentric, they are all elegant and wear jewellery as a form of self-expression.”
The meeting was meant to be, and from that moment on Besbeck became Rodkin’s mentor, leading her onto another exciting path in her life. “I was still working as an agent and an interior designer when I started getting requests to create bespoke pieces for clients. I would be on the phone with Brad Pitt on one line and ordering rubies on the other, so essentially I was juggling diamonds and actors,” she explains eloquently. “I finally came to a point where I knew that jewellery has and always will be my first passion, so while on a trip to Paris I called my secretary and gave her my management company. Looking back today I shouldn’t have just given it away, I mean she didn’t even say thank you!” she says with a hint of bitterness. The decision proved to be lucrative for Rodkin and her designs were soon stocked in Maxfield in Los Angeles where they quickly sold. Shortly afterwards Elizabeth Taylor became
her first celebrity client and the two enjoyed a close relationship. “She used to come over in her pyjamas,” Rodkin recalls of the since deceased star. “She would shop in colour and buy everything blue or purple; she was hilarious and I credit her for really putting me on the map.” High profile clients began to flock to the jeweller noted for setting trends instead of following them. Madonna famously said Loree Rodkin’s jewellery was the only present she wanted for her birthday, and First Lady Michelle Obama had The White House call her to order bespoke pieces. “I thought it was a joke when I got the phone call requesting jewellery for the President’s wife,” she says in disbelief. “I kept on thinking I was on Ashton Kutcher’s MTV show ‘Punk’d’. Finally I realised it wasn’t a joke and apologised. They asked me to make jewellery for Michelle that would be a classic take on my signature style. I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone but of course I called Cher straight away and told her everything!” she reveals laughing.
Fashion icon Daphne Guinness is also a heralded client who buys her rings in bulk. “She’s a very good client she loses numerous rings on aeroplanes so is always stocking up,” she says mischievously. Another high-profile customer is contemporary art curator Shelly Ann, who famously tracked Rodkin down for years and curated her jewellery. “She tried to get in touch with me for years and finally ended up finding me at a party. She and her husband Phil are huge supporters of contemporary art and she was painted wearing my jewellery. It was a big moment for me,” she explains. The incident cemented the realisation that there were no lengths that prospective clients would not go to obtain her jewellery and it was a personal career highlight that she will never forget. Rodkin is championed by women who prefer to wear jewellery as a form of art instead of simply as an accessory. “I have always loved the allure of jewels and diamonds,” she comments. “ My clients are fashion forward and fearless. Quite a few are eccentric, they are all elegant and wear jewellery as a form of self-expression.” Rodkin’s launch into the competitive jewellery market was noticed because she refused to follow trends. By ignoring what fellow designers were creating and being true to her love of architecture and heraldic items, she managed to carve a niche for herself that she still remains in today. “I’ve been so blessed because I set trends by creating works of art that are new and fresh,” she says firmly. “So many people have copied my work, such as the armour and knuckle rings that didn’t exist in the vernacular of jewellery before I created them. I believe my success has come from my passion to design things that I want to wear. It is never simply about how big a diamond is or how valuable the metals are that I’m using; there is so much more depth and meaning to my jewellery.” Every ring, necklace, bracelet and earring that Rodkin creates incorporates her rock chick personality and fashion forward sense of style. She is also insistent that her jewellery
must be able to transition from day to night seamlessly. “It’s about being appropriately accessorised for every event that life throws your way. If you suddenly have to go to a glamorous event in the evening, you shouldn’t have to change your accessories, and with my jewellery you don’t,” she says hinting at her laid-back California frame of mind. Carefree she may be, but underneath her Hollywood glamour and rock and roll lifestyle lies a very determined and savvy businesswoman. Rodkin revolutionised the idea of a ring that covers the entire finger in precious metal and jewels with hinges to allow for free and easy movement. The design has been inspirational to many other jewellers, and while initially seeing so many people copy her work was obviously frustrating, she has since comes to terms with the fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery. “It’s so funny,” she mentions with a smile, “Those rings were the last thing I thought would be copied. My diamond cutters were worried that they wouldn’t sell and they would end up stuck with the stones, so I had to pay them up front. The woman who had the seed money for the e-commerce fashion giant Net-APorter describes my jewellery as ‘aspirational’ but I am still shocked when I see knowledgeable designers copying my work. They should be looking forward instead of looking back,” she says in a mentoring fashion without a hint of resentment. “No-one understood my concept of grey gold when it first came out; they didn’t realise that something could be cool yet valuable. The Russians thought it would never work and now it’s all they wear,” she comments confidently. Rings on every finger worked in the Victorian days and I simply re-envisioned it. I would never claim that I invented modern armour per se, but I definitely invented it as a form of valuable jewellery set with diamonds.” Following the beat to her own drum has been a mantra that has seen Rodkin thrive and survive in every aspect of her life. It’s an unpredictable beat that can change haphazardly and often, but it’s one that has led her to where she is today. “I don’t have a five year plan, or even a five minute plan,” she explains. “I see my life as a big adventure and the wanderlust I had when I left Chicago at 17 is still firmly in my heart. I go everywhere on a whim, say yes to everything because I can always say no later.” And with that final comment the interview is over and Rodkin continues on her epic journey keeping in time to the beating of her own heart.
Reaching Greater Heights Text: Dervla Louli
Image: A. Chester Ong
The experience on board a Metrojet private charter is unforgettable due to the unprecedented level of customer service and attention to detail. The Peninsula talks to CEO Björn Näf, Head of Cabin Services Jessie Poon, and acclaimed fashion designer Dorian Ho about the importance of heritage, hospitality and the Company’s new uniforms.
he concept of a hotel in the air sounds like an illusion, but with Metrojet Hong Kong, fantasy becomes reality in one of its 30 luxury jets. The 6-star business aviation company that specialises in private jet services is also the largest airline maintenance company in Asia and incorporates aircraft management and jet chartering into its daily offerings. Established in 1995, the family business enjoys an uncompromised reputation as part of the Kadoorie Group and is a sister company of the Peninsula Hotels. The atmosphere on board is warm, welcoming and inviting from the moment we step onto one of Metrojet’s luxurious aircraft. Jessie Poon, Head of Cabin Services, is on board awaiting our arrival with a genuine smile and an air of hospitality. Her elegant new uniform, recently created by acclaimed Hong Kong-based fashion designer Dorian Ho, is the perfect mix of East meets West and an intricate Chinese-inspired satin belt wraps around the black coat that cocoons her petite frame. Further inside the jet, looking relaxed in his plush surroundings, is Metrojet CEO, Björn Näf, a man who has literally lived a life in full flight.
Image: Brian Tam @ BT Photography
Image: A. Chester Ong
We gather around a shiny mahogany table in large cream leather seats and for a moment we are forgiven for forgetting that we are on a plane and not in a hotel. Metrojet’s affiliation with the Peninsula Hotels and the Kadoorie group is the secret behind the unforgettable customer experience on board. The famous Peninsula Afternoon tea that has guests queuing for hours in one of their numerous hotels is available on board and the amenities in Peninsula bathrooms are stocked in each aircraft. It is service excellence at its best, which Poon credits to the excellent training that all of the hostesses receive at The Peninsula Hong Kong before embarking on their first voyage. “We see ourselves as representatives of the Kadoorie Group, The Peninsula Hotel and Metrojet. We align our services and products and are even taught the art of serving tea,” Poon says with a sweet smile. “There are many private aviation companies, but what we provide is the experience of The Peninsula Hotels in the sky, it really is a rare offering and one that we excel at.” Each member of staff from pilots to hostesses to secretaries all embody the heritage of The Peninsula. It truly is customer service at its highest level. Poon removes her coat to reveal a cream and black dress designed by Ho that perfectly caters to the practical yet refined nature of her job. “We all love the new uniform,” she comments
about the made-to-measure suits, dresses and coats. “There were lots of discussions, reviews and many things to take into account for the new design. We love the Oriental elements and the fact that such a beautiful outfit is comfortable and easy to wear.” Poon has spent 13 years in the customer service industry and made the decision to move into training during her initial years as an air hostess. She remarks that her career has been a smooth journey and that she is proud to be a member of the Metrojet team that she has been a part of for the past five years. Dorian Ho is looking approvingly at the outfit he designed for the well-groomed Metrojet crew. His cream and black blazer perfectly offsets Poon’s uniform and he eloquently explains how he combined elements of East and West with beauty and practicality to create three perfect ensembles for the Metrojet hostesses. “There were so many things to consider,” the American-born Chinese designer says while fixing his glasses. “I have created bespoke pieces for socialites and celebrities while travelling around the world, but at the same time I have been commissioned to make thousands of uniforms for companies. This project was a pleasant challenge for me; each outfit was tailor-made so the bespoke element still exists, but they must perform a function and the ladies needed to feel comfortable.”
about quality, heritage
and excellence. We manage, operate and maintain jets at the highest level and at the end of the day it all comes down to experience.
The small size of the aircraft, mobility and colour were the three biggest factors Ho took into consideration when designing the outfits. “The hostesses had to be able to sit down and move comfortably, so skirt length was something elementary that had to be decided from the very beginning,” he explains as Poon alights from her seat to tend to some work. “I chose black and beige because they are classic colours and match the aircraft. They are subtle and elegant just like Metrojet, the Kadoorie family and The Peninsula Hotels, all of which are renowned for their impeccable taste.” The coat that Ho designed wouldn’t be out of place in a winter ready-to-wear collection. It is black and fitted with a beautifully cut skirt that falls just below the knee. “I was inspired by a handmade Chinese button that I had seen,” he says, commenting on the intricate belt that sits on the waist of the coat. “It’s formal and functional and perfectly met the project brief.”
Images: Brian Tam @ BT Photography
Image: Brian Tam @ BT Photography
Image: A. Chester Ong
“I am very happy with how the uniforms turned out; they are better than I could have ever imagined,” Swiss national CEO Näf says admiringly. “Metrojet is all about quality, heritage and excellence. We manage, operate and maintain jets at the highest level and at the end of the day it all comes down to experience.” The charismatic Näf grew up always wanting to take flight and has spent the past 10 years in senior management positions in Switzerland, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He was previously the CEO of Gulf Air in Bahrain and in addition acted as Executive Advisor to the CEO of LOT Polish Airlines in Warsaw. It is therefore evident that experience is something he has in abundance. There were a number of things that drew him to the private aviation company when the position of CEO arose in 2010. “The growing Asian market was a big pull,” he explains, “Then there were the Chairman’s long term views, the renowned customer service, and of course the affiliation with the Kadoorie family and The Peninsula Hotels. It was simply a perfect opportunity.”
Näf has big expansion plans for Metrojet over the next few years that include moving into the Philippines, India and growing the already impressive fleet of private jets. “It’s all about doing everything slowly and perfectly,” he says with the confidence of a true leader. “I have been the Vice President of products and services in a company of 3,000 people, worked for the United Nations and commercial airlines, and I have learned a great deal from each and every position,” he states firmly. “I take all of my past knowledge and combine it with a vision for the future to ensure that we remain and continue to be the best in our league.” With a firm handshake that demonstrates confidence and experience, Näf rises from his plush seat to embark on the tasks that await his attention. Ho straightens his immaculately tailored jacket and smiles as he disembarks, and Poon escorts us off the impeccable jet to ensure it is perfect for the next passengers. Without going a foot into the air, the experience has been truly unforgettable and one unlike any other, only to be rivalled by experiencing the private jet in full flight.
PenCities The Peninsula Hotels introduces PenCities – a web-based travel journal covering what’s new in terms of luxury, culture, gastronomy and shopping in each Peninsula destination city. Pen Cities will be updated on a weekly basis, together with content covering prevailing global trends.
“The PenCities journal represents a fabulous new opportunity to explore a whole range of exciting, up-to-the-minute openings, restaurants, galleries, bars and activities in each of The Peninsula Hotel cities worldwide, affording a rich and varied insider portal for both guests and future guests alike.” Grant Thatcher, Founder, LUXE City Guides.
To discover PenCities, please visit www.peninsula.com