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Holiday Special



Volume 1, Number 9 $14.95 November/December 2017

ISSN 2206-9569

9 772206 956009

Special section: Robb Report woman | The high-flyers of haute couture New private jets, superyachts | Milan to Florence by vintage roadster




Artist impression only *


Australia’s greatest residential address awaits you. Discover a level of service beyond expectation and the world’s most iconic view. This is a life like no other.


1 3 1


* Important Notice: Artist impression only. View is indicative only as at October 2017 of just one possible view. Actual views may vary and will depend on a number of factors including the floor of the building on which the apartment is located.



November/December 2017 VOLUME 1 | NUMBER 9




Travel and Holidays 18 1st Anniversary

We look back on Robb Report Australia’s first year

62 Faster getaways

Seven resorts that are ideal for flying visits by private jet

72 Britannia keeps its cool

Hip new hotels to lay your head in the heart of London

78 The roadster less travelled


The coolest way to tour Tuscany: in a classic Italian convertible

84 The hills are alive Travelling through Switzerland’s engineering marvel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel

90 New York state of mind Manhattan takes to the sky: an Art Déco-inspired custom Embraer jet


Mentors: four inspiring stories | Rolls, or Ferrari? Women on wheels Sleeping beauty and how to get it | Pearl perfection


96 Exquisite excess

The new Bugatti Chiron surpasses the Veyron with more power and speed

103 2017 Christmas Gift Guide Much more than stocking stuffers: gifts to dazzle your nearest and dearest

114 Aboard and beyond

Take a tour of the 74-metre Plvs Vltra superyacht

147 Robb Report Woman supplement 8

Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


COLUMNS 54 Fashion


Retro style makes an appearance in the spring/summer collections Georgina Safe

55 Watches

Omega reissues a trilogy of 1957 watches that have stood the test of time Christian Barker

56 Dining

A foodie’s paradise: the NSW Northern Rivers region Joanna Savill


34 25


John Kerr is the man behind the magic of department-store Christmas windows

Visitors will be amazed at the bounty of locally grown tropical fruit, sparkling organics and lovingly tended artisan produce 10

Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

25 Frontrunners

What you’ll want this summer – whether you’re taking off or staying at home

34 Quantum View

12 watchmaking innovations that have made their mark this millennium


COLUMNS continued 57 Wine


REGULARS continued

36 The Source File

Thought bubbles, as we enter the champagne season Christopher Morrison

Milanese man about town Guglielmo Miani and a few of his favourite (stylish) things

58 Home Technology

40 Passport

A brand-new Sydney landmark, red desert dreaming, and a Parisian classic reinvented

Picking a projector to upgrade your home viewing experience Bennett Ring

124 Drive

59 Motoring

Form never takes a back seat to function in the Ferrari 812 Superfast

Blue-sky thinking at the frenetic Frankfurt Motor Show Toby Hagon

128 Everybody’s Talking About


The super-sized, super-hot data factories that make the digital world run around the clock

146 The Robb Reader

Yachtsman Neville Crichton on business, overcoming obstacles and mellowing with age

16 From the Editor 131 Social Pages 135 Property 140 Smart Showings 142 Of Note

146 12

Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

145 Advertiser Register


+65 6933 9020 | AUDEMARSPIGUET.COM








Robb Report Global

Editor in Chief

Director, Brand and Communications

Managing Director David Arnold

Elizabeth Walker

Executive Vice President, Editor in Chief Brett Anderson

Michael Stahl Managing Editor Freya Purnell Online Editor Steve Colquhoun

Director, Digital Strategy Brendan Byrne

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Creative Director Robb Rice


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Senior Vice President, Live Media Cristina Cheever

Caryl Joseph

Nando Greco


Sales Assistant

Jason Scullin

Demi Dalton

Vice President, Communications & Business Affairs Elyse Heckman


Property, Finance and Investment Advisor

Creative Director Justin Knights

Christian Barker, Toby Hagon, Christopher Morrison, Bennett Ring, Georgina Safe, Joanna Savill Writers Ronald Ahrens, Brett Anderson, Lee Atkinson, Keith Austin, Jeni Bone, Lori Bryan, John Carey, Tony Davis, Valli Herman, Melissa Hoyer, Kimberley Lovato, John Lyon, James D. Malcolmson, Justin Mastine-Frost, Carolyn Meers, Amanda Millin, Jill Newman, Janice O’Leary, Michelle Seaton, Susan Skelly, Anson Smart, Shaun Tolson, Sue Wallace, Basem Wasef, Laurie Werner, Russell Williamson

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Business Strategy

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Corporate office Penske Media Corporation 11175 Santa Monica Boulevard 6th floor Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA

Photographers/Illustrators Michal Baginski, Jeff Brown, Michael Buckner, Max Earey, Dominic Fraser, Markus Gortz, Ken Hayden, Denis Hayoun, Adrian Houston, Warwick Kent, Barbara Kraft, Christoffer Lomfers, Jamie MacFayden, Harry Malt, Mark Mann, Claire Menary, Ted Morrison, Will Pryce, Jason Raish, Mark Sims, Denys Vinson, Lisa Charles Watson, Daniel Wollstein

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Cover image: Outback adventures at Longitude 131°

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Contact us Get in touch at or call 02 8838 1803 Follow us on Instagram @robbreportau, on Facebook @RobbReportAU, or on Twitter @RobbReportAU Subscribe to Robb Report Australia at or email

Robb Report Australia is published by Robb Report AUS NZ Pty Ltd, 350 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000. ABN: 19 611 370 846. Robb Report® is a trademark of Robb Report Media, LLC. Printed in Australia by Elephant Group. Distributed by Gordon & Gotch. © 2017, Robb Report AUS NZ Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publishers. Robb Report AUS NZ makes no representation or warranties with respect to this magazine or its contents including, without limitation, material communicated by third parties. Robb Report AUS NZ does not warrant that the information available in this magazine is accurate, complete or current. Opinions expressed are those of the respective authors and not necessarily of the publisher. Neither Robb Report AUS NZ Pty Ltd nor any persons involved in the preparation of this publication will be liable for any loss or damage as a result of use of or reliance upon advice, representation, statement, opinion or conclusion expressed in Robb Report Australia magazine. All care has been taken to ensure information contained in the magazine (including pricing and availability) is accurate, but the publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions which might occur.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017



his issue’s editorial comes to you from the business class section of an Airbus 380. Appropriately, given the themes of travel and the holiday season, one of my destinations on this trip is Italy, a country strongly associated with the legend of St Nicholas – and where, less well-known, remains of the 4th-century bishop still lie, in the south-eastern city of Bari, on the southern Adriatic coast. The holiday season has significance across many religions, but even more broadly it is a time that allows us to get closer to others and to ourselves: unwinding from work stress, being really present with loved ones. As many of us set out to buy gifts, we’re flush with warm feelings and gratitude for those we have in our lives. That casts an invigorating glow over this time of year for me. The Robb Report Australia team has been enjoying that glow already, as we’ve compiled a selection of gift ideas for our discerning readership. We’ve included vehicles, fashion, electronics, travel goods, timepieces … Despite the broad range of categories and products, you’ll actually only find something for one kind of taste: good taste. We’ve also included a special section dedicated to the Robb Report woman. In a feast of local stories, we profile some of Australia’s most influential women mentors and gain further insights from the women they’ve inspired; nominate the 10 most exhilarating spa experiences around the world; examine the upperluxury cars that women are, in rapidly increasing numbers, choosing to buy and fully enjoy for themselves; go pictorial on perfect pearls; and explore the intimate world of haute couture, where clients are jetted around the world for private fittings of one-off creations. Returning to the travel (much in mind, as I’m now lounged, fed, showered and back on board), we celebrate its many forms in this issue, pretty much a feast of planes, trains, boats and automobiles. There’s our cover feature on fly-in resorts, effectively an aviator’s guide to resorts where the only thing more attractive than the golden beaches is the bizjet landing capacity. We take you inside one great way to reach them. The Embraer Manhattan Airship private jet was specially designed and decorated to evoke the style and romance of New York in the golden Art Deco era. And what the $100 million-plus Airship represents to private air travel, the breathtaking 74-metre superyacht Plvs Vltra brings to private cruising. To paraphrase an old movie line: you will believe that marble can float. Those who appreciate pioneering design and fine engineering will be agog at the achievement that has occurred 2.5 kilometres below the peaks of the Swiss Alps (another of my destinations this trip). At 57 kilometres long, the Gotthard Base Tunnel – the longest transport tunnel in the world – has taken almost 17 years to build, at a cost of around 12.2 billion Swiss francs. We take a fascinating journey, not only at 200km/h through the tunnel (requiring only 18 minutes), but back again through time via ferry and the scenic Gotthard Panorama Express train. Prefer fast cars? We’ve driven the fastest of them all, the 420km/h, $4 million Bugatti Chiron. Then there is Ferrari’s new V12 flagship, the 812 Superfast (even at ‘only’ 340km/h, it earns the name), subject of our regular Drive pages. However, one of my favourites in this issue is the slow, romantic and potentially more character-building drive from Milan to Florence in a 1961 Alfa Romeo Spider. Right now I’m enjoying the journey and excited about the destination. Here’s wishing you the same. Michael Stahl Editor in Chief


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


Sue Wallace, Travel Sue started as a finance reporter on The Australian, then discovered that the world of travel writing was much bigger and more appealing than the world of numbers. Based in rural Albury, NSW, she was features and travel editor of The Border Mail for 29 years and now contributes freelance stories for national and international publications. Sue has been contributing regularly to Robb Report (US) for the past eight years and has bunkered down in sumptuous hotels, sailed on luxury boats, stood in awe of blood-red sunsets in far-flung places – and has never once been misty-eyed over those company reports and share prices.

John Carey, Features John is a motoring writer who’s curious about all kinds of past, present and future transportation tech. These days a freelancer based in northern Italy, he began his key-tapping career as a cadet reporter with a country NSW newspaper four decades ago. After moving to Sydney and magazines in the ’80s, he joined the staff of Wheels. There he won a magazine industry award for his column writing and Wheels continues to publish his work. Over the years, John has also written about cars for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites in Australia, the USA and UK. His preferred relaxation is heading for the hills – okay, the Alps – on his BMW sports-touring motorcycle.

Georgina Safe, Style Georgina enjoys keeping readers on the right side of the latest trends and meeting the people who create the classics. Georgina is a fashion writer with 20 years’ experience covering the Australian fashion industry and joining the fashion pack at the international collections in Milan, Paris, New York and London. She has been fashion editor for major Australian publications such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian newspapers, and now contributes to prominent Australian fashion titles as well as international titles such as Monocle and The Guardian newspaper.

A pre-owned Ferrari: when Approved, it stands out.




Ferrari California Year: 2009 : KMs: 40,975 External Color: Nero Internal Color: Nero $229,900*

Ferrari F430 FI Coupe Year: 2007 : KMs: 24,920 External Color: Grigio Internal Color: Nero $239,900*

Ferrari F430 F1 Year: 2008 : KMs: 19,480 External Color: Grigio Internal Color: Rosso $249,900*

Ferrari California T Year: 2016 : KMs: 9,588 External Color: Rosso Internal Color: Nero $446,900*

Ferrari 458 Spider Year: 2014 : KMs: 5, 007 External color: Bianco Internal Color: Beige $499,900*

Ferrari 488 Spider Year: 2016 : KMs: 2,908 External Color: Rosso Internal Color: Nero $599,900*

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Year: 2015 : KMs: 4,902 External Color: Nero Internal Color: Sabbia $609,900*

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Year: 2016 : KMs: 2,139 External Color: Bianco Internal Color: Nero $699,900*

862-874 Elizabeth Street WATERLOO NSW 2017 Tel. 1300 951 691 *The description of the features and benefits of the Ferrari Approved programme is for information purposes only. Extended Warranty is only on selected models. The prices shown excludes stamp duty and other government charges. The price includes the price of the vehicle, GST, vehicle options and accessories. You should be aware that you will be required to remit those charges to the government.



As Robb Report Australia celebrates its first anniversary, we look back at the feast of finely crafted products and experiences we’ve been privileged to bring you

Anniversary Issue

by Michael Stahl




The Best of Everything Under the Sun




Vol 1 – Issue 1 AU$14.95


Blue heaven: Ferrari's new 488 Spider | High-end turntables reset the records What’s up with flying cars? | Australian cuisine on the world’s menu

NUMBER 1 “A Grand Opening”, proclaimed our first cover – alluding to a new dawn over Australia’s luxury landscape and also to the new Ferrari 488 Spider, of which Robb Report Australia was granted the first local drive. Our debut issue was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of our parent publication in the US. Accordingly, a 40year timeline traced the milestones in the luxury market – in everything from loafers to Learjets – since 1976. Renaissance man and Ferrari chief designer Flavio Manzoni spoke of his passion for classical piano and his impressions of the Australian aesthetic. Our regular section The Art showcased a perfect example of the latter in the intricately crafted cabinetry of David Boucher. We also met Australian film director Robert Luketic, now happily ensconced in Hollywood (when not at the controls of his Embraer Phenom 100 jet). And of course, the 180-page debut issue brimmed with the best of travel, dining, watches, high-end audio, motoring and more.

NUMBER 2 Travel is a key ingredient of living well and, hence, a topic to which Robb Report Australia joyfully returns every issue in feature stories and our regular Passport section. Behind a cover illustrating the breathtaking new St Regis resort on the island of Langkawi, we explored the upper reaches of luxury travel – as told by the specialists who curate utterly bespoke experiences. Our travel issue also profiled a selection of luxury Australian hotels that occupy buildings with colourful histories; one such being Sydney’s Primus Hotel, which revived the long-dormant Art Deco magnificence of a ’30s public utility building. At a faster and higher extreme, we toured a private Boeing 787 Dreamliner specified as a luxury apartment and looked at the best new boats from the Monaco and Cannes boat shows. And on a tasteful note, we provided a guide to the varieties of caviar and met British furniture designer and art collector David Armstrong-Jones, aka the Earl of Snowdon.

CHINESE ANNUAL 2017 An appreciation of tradition, craftsmanship, quality, history and the rewards of hard work: these are values strongly shared by the Chinese culture and Robb Report Australia. We celebrated our relationship in our Chinese Annual 2017, launched to coincide with the Lunar New Year of the Rooster and presented in both English and Simplified Chinese text throughout. Courage and confidence, qualities of the rooster, were personified in entrepreneur Stephen Hung, who was welcoming a fleet of no fewer than 30 fully bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom cars. We profiled Macau’s competitors on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where billions are being invested in worldclass gaming and luxury retail developments; strode around Australia and NZ’s greatest golf courses; looked at the prestigious Australian properties being bought by Chinese investors; put luxury lightweight watches under the microscope; and visited the glorious 17th-century Italian estate being lovingly restored by fashion heiress Anna Zegna. Roll on 2018, the Year of the Dog!



YEAR SIHH horology highlights Savile Row who’s who Ferrari-fest in Venice Justin Hemmes NZ luxury lodges

ISSN 2206-9569

9 772206 956009


Volume 1, Number 3 $14.95 April 2017

Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017






Car of the Year: the title has a familiar enough ring to it, with a number of automotive publications now handing out such awards across a variety of categories. However, the Robb Report award, initiated by our US parent 24 years ago, differs in that it pertains exclusively to upper-luxury and ultra-high-performance cars, and is judged by a panel of genuine owners of machines of this calibre. Our Australian event assembled 15 such connoisseurs to judge a fleet of eight exquisite cars. The judges’ insights were often intriguing and the car that emerged victorious after the two-day test was the Rolls-Royce Dawn. Still on a speed jag, we attended the exclusive, owners-only Ferrari Cavalcade through Italy and reflected on the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura. At a slower pace, we profiled the tailoring houses of London’s Savile Row, dissected the horological stars of the annual SIHH watch salon and, closer to home, broke bread with second-generation restaurant and entertainment entrepreneur Justin Hemmes of the Merivale empire.


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NUMBER 4 Our fourth edition introduced Australian readers to another Robb Report tradition, the Entrepreneurs and Innovators issue. Our cover was graced by property developer Lang Walker AO, reckoned to be Australia’s 12th wealthiest person, with an estimated worth of $3 billion. Walker unwound with us on board Kokomo II (one of a personal fleet currently numbering 22 boats) to talk about his journey from driving an earthmover in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to the recent opening of his stunning $140 million Fijian resort, Kokomo Island. The Kokomo name, incidentally, has been carried down from the first boat of his childhood. Walker’s Australian perspective complemented views from the top from such global innovators as Sir Richard Branson, film- and winemaker Francis Ford Coppola and watch and jewellery kingpin Nayla Hayek. Our Fast Forward feature previewed the cars, motorcycles and aircraft of the very near future, while we celebrated more traditional genius with a deep dive into the ancient decorative crafts that are being kept alive by high-end watchmaking.



What to do for our first Winter edition? Hit the helicopter and explore the best ski slopes and exclusive snow resorts of Australia and New Zealand, of course, and snuggle up in a bushland retreat for a bespoke winter fashion shoot. Olympic and X-Games champion snowboarder Torah Bright joined us to talk family, fresh snowfalls and philosophy. We also rounded up the nine most epic ski destinations – yes, including Antarctica. For those who prefer their sports to have engines, June means the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which we marked with a visit to the biennial Le Mans Classic – a feast of the machines from more than 90 years of the great race. Among fine timepieces, we interviewed iconoclast watchmakers Fawaz Gruosi of the always surprising De Grisogono, and Max Büsser of MB&F. And as admirers of enduring, fit-for-purpose products, we were proud to welcome Bell’s latest 505 Jet Ranger X, continuation of a civilian helicopter line that first took off in 1966.





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COSY RURAL RETREATS SULTRY STAR: PINOT NOIR Milan furniture fair | Bell’s new 505 Jet Ranger X Inside your next television | Ten-pin bowling strikes gold

NUMBER 6 If Robb Report has a catchphrase, it’s the Best of the Best. Not only is it our brand’s raison d’etre, it’s also the title of an annual feature now in its 29th year. Best of the Best is a curated collection of the superior products and experiences launched in the previous 12 months, a listing anxiously awaited by enthusiasts and industries the world over. Aviation, automotive, travel, horology, fashion, wine and spirits are among the categories curated and collated by the Robb Report team. We also took to the high seas – or the high end of cruising, at least – to report on the new avenues of luxury cruising experiences, from traditional ocean-going majesty to intimate (and exotic) Antarctic exploration. And the definition of luxury itself came under the microscope as we discussed with global luxury market leaders the profound shift in perceptions among the socially conscious, under-20s, Generation Z – who will, by 2020, amount to 40 per cent of all consumers.



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Volume 1, Number 8 $14.95 September/October 2017

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When it comes to cuisine and fine wines, Australia holds a prominent place at the world’s table. So it was natural for us to again follow the lead of our US parent and introduce Culinary Masters, a celebration of the next – and an acknowledgment of the current – generation of Australian cuisine stars. We asked six of Australia’s master chefs, among them Neil Perry and Peter Gilmore, to each nominate an exciting new talent; Australia’s first Robb Report Culinary Masters. And through October, our readers were able to sample their skills first-hand at a series of exclusive dinners. Meanwhile, our sommelier Chris Morrison toured the fabled Barossa Valley and also compiled for us a user’s guide to the whiskies of Scotland, Japan and Australia. We travelled to Munich to find what’s new in product design at the prestigious iF Design Awards, rounded up nine exclusive golf experiences in the Asia-Pacific and explored a new resort in the unforgettable Maldives.


CULINARY MASTERS The next generation named by Australia’s top chefs


Neil Perry Peter Gilmore Andrew McConnell Christine Manfield Duncan Welgemoed Philip Johnson


Volume 1, Number 7 $14.95 August 2017

ISSN 2206-9569

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Wearable technology | Australia’s boutique distilleries Classic car show travelogue | The death of fine dining?

NUMBER 8 My, you’ve grown! Our eighth issue introduced a bigger, bolder format, packed with 168 pages. The issue’s overarching theme of Luxury Sport and Boating kicked off with headline America’s Cup coverage by yachting legend Rob Mundle OAM. His feature stories included analysis of our Kiwi friends’ victory in Bermuda and the regatta for the majestic 1930s J Class craft that graced our cover. We also talked to the personalities of polo, a sport whose 150-year history in Australia was soon to be enriched by the World Polo Championships in Sydney in October. For sheer aggression and ruthlessness, both these sports pale next to Calcio Storico, an ancient code of football still played annually in Florence. It’s the sort of game that might appeal to adventurer Mike Horn, whom we met in the midst of his Pole2Pole circumnavigation of the globe. At a gentler pace, we discovered the delights of spring skiing in New Zealand’s Wanaka – and then truly relaxed in the comforts of a special section, Home & Style. On which note, we thank you for welcoming us into yours.

November-December 2017 |


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Flights of fancy A pilgrimage to department-store Christmas windows is a fondly remembered part of childhood for many an Australian – and John Kerr is the man behind the magic by Tony Davis


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


t’s just window dressing. You’ve heard the term, and possibly used it disparagingly. But real-world window dressing, at its best, deserves more positive associations. While many of us have been absentmindedly gazing through glass, it has grown to encompass art, craft, theatrics and the very latest in technology. In Australia there are few more acclaimed, or technically accomplished, outfits than Stage ONE, run by John Kerr. In the lead-up to the festive season, we spoke to Kerr as he orchestrated his signature work: the Myer Christmas Animated Windows in Melbourne. To set the scene, Myer’s Christmas window display is a Melbourne tradition dating back to 1956, the city’s Olympic Games year. That first window display’s ‘Santa and the Olympics’ theme also showcased television, introduced to Australia only in September of that year. Every year since, it’s been a major production. Stage ONE commences work for the next year almost the moment the installation is completed for the current year’s effort. For 2016, Kerr and his crew used six kilometres of fibre optics for the lighting, dabbed on more than 500 kilograms of paint and spent 17,000 man hours recreating vistas of Melbourne in the ’60s. There were 5000 figurines, including 120 distinctive handmade characters more than half a metre tall. Many of these were moving, spinning, waving, even chasing after chickens and swinging on a Hills Hoist. This year, for the first time, 3D printing will be used to produce figurines. At least some of the reasoning very quickly became obvious in speaking with Kerr. “3D printing has just opened up this whole new world of characters,” Kerr says, because once characters are scanned in, the Rhino software program allows them to be manipulated and duplicated. “Now we can change their expressions. And no-one here likes carving and sculpting hands, from open to closed and everything. So to be able to just bend fingers digitally and then simply print another hand is magical.

(left) A Charlie and the Chocolate Factory window from 1999, (clockwise from top) a window and concept drawing for 2009’s Olivia theme; a detail from the ‘One Christmas Eve’ display in 2016

“Previously, it was all plasticine for the more intricate stuff and … we would actually have wire in the plasticine and we’d bend the hands and take another silicone mould of the hand and cast it in resin. If you wanted the same character, say, holding a teacup and the next thing, an open hand, that’s three days’ work to create a new hand. Now, we can print a hand in two hours.” Although these Christmas windows use all manner of technology in their construction and operation, including computer-controlled movement, Kerr is determined to keep it hidden so as not to disturb the “old world magic”. “There’s that nostalgic element in the windows,” he says, “where people – adults – come to the windows to see craftsmanship, so we need to maintain that level of craftsmanship and keep those talents and creativity alive. “Yes, we use laser cutting and robotic milling and all the mod cons of production, which definitely makes our life easier. But we still want to hand-finish everything. We definitely still want to use scenic art rather than digitally printed backgrounds, because that’s where the magic is.” Kerr says he fell in love with the Myer Christmas windows as a kid, when his family made regular pilgrimages into Bourke Street to look at them. He set his sights on one day doing them himself. That day came in 1994. At 25, he was the youngest ever to take on the role.

There were 12 people involved in Kerr’s team in 1994. Now, more than 40 are involved, including some of that original dozen. For the record, Kerr quite likes the term ‘window dressing’. He has experience in theatre and likens the shop window to the proscenium arch. “The glass allows you to create the magic from behind. It’s very much a stage and we use stagecraft to achieve the effects. “Within stagecraft there are disciplines of how you mask and border and create depth. You have a scenic designer – me. You have a costume designer, you’ve got an animation designer and a lighting designer. Then there’s my assistant designer who does all the drawings and drafting. “From there you’ve got your traditional theatre production team. So, you’ve got your woodwork, your metalwork, your engineering, your costume department and scenic cast and also a make-up department. That’s complemented by your digital production. [They] look after our robotic milling and 3D printing, our show control systems, our programming with animation … and also lighting programming. “The only difference in producing the Christmas window to a stage show is that you don’t have to put up with performers. And my characters always find the light.” Once the intricate planning and manufacturing is completed, a team of six technicians spends two weeks on installation. That’s quick, apparently. Kerr points out he’s had 24 years refining and developing the whole process.

“The only difference in producing the Christmas window to a stage show is that you don’t have to put up with performers. And my characters always find the light” – John Kerr


éThe Myer Christmas Animated Windows on Bourke St Mall are open daily from 7:30am to 1:00am from Sunday, 12 November to Friday, 5 January 2018.

é Each year they attract more than 1.2 million spectators in Melbourne, according to Myer.

é A cut-down version of the six Melbourne

windows generally appears in the four windows of Myer Brisbane (Elizabeth St), while a smaller display in Myer Ballarat (Sturt St) is based on the previous year’s display.

November-December 2017 |



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MELBOURNE 130 0 691 459

GOLD COAST 130 0 693 3 47

ADEL AIDE 130 0 693 4 81

PERTH 130 0 69 4 150

AUCKL AND +6 4 9 975 8 0 8 0


he go-anywhere Iguana Classic 31 made waves on its Australian debut (courtesy of at the 2017 Sydney International Boat Show, hitting the mark with the adventurous and the ostentatious alike. Made in Normandy, France, famous for its great swathes of sandy coastline, the Iguana range is the brainchild of company president and CEO Antoine Brugidou. The concept arose from his own need for easy access to his waterfront home, traversing shores of sand, mud, rock, grass and gravel. More like a tank than a tender, the Iguana uses tracks rather than wheels, which make light work of soft terrain. There is no need for docking, no fenders and the landing gear retracts in eight seconds. With a sturdy fibreglass hull and stainless steel and timber upper, the Iguana Classic 31 ( is a great all-rounder, while the Adventure model is more robust and can handle tougher terrain, making it ideal for anglers or surfers needing to traverse rocky beachheads in search of a remote break or bombora. The Iguana Expedition boasts a wave-piercing bow,


Baba beauty


(above) The Iguana Classic’s tracks enable the craft to move seamlessly from sea to shore; (left) the boat’s interior can be specified with gold- or platinum-plated fittings and fine leather

deep-v hull and shock-mitigating seats. A new Commuter model, equipped with a cabin, shower, toilet and airconditioning, will enable its owners to indulge in onboard sleepovers. Then there’s the lavishly optioned Exclusive model, which offers owners gold- or platinum-plated fittings, ladder and rails, and the finest leather throughout. On water, the Iguana can reach 40 knots, while on beaches and (private) roads it travels at a more leisurely 7km/h. Owners can let their imaginations run wild and design a unique Iguana with the online configurator, choosing from a selection of decking, seating, windshields, sunroofs, tables, watersport poles, rails, motors and more. – JENI BONE November–December 2017 |

Machines | Gear | Style | People | Art | Design

Crossover craft



The evolution of travel GLOBE-TROTTER CARBON TROLLEY CASE Visually, the humble suitcase would seem to have changed little in the 200-odd years since the upper reaches of society first embarked on travel as a leisure activity. Luggage design remains driven by its practical need to store and carry personal effects over a given period, but in the early days, with staff inevitably on hand to do the heavy lifting, suitcases and luggage trunks were hardly designed to be carried alone. With the increasing popularity of tourism in the late 19th century, however, Englishman David Nelken took a new vulcanised fibreboard material – made from layers of bonded paper – and formed it into suitcases that were both lightweight and strong. The same manual process is still undertaken today in the factory Nelken founded in England in 1901. Nelken named his luggage company Globe-Trotter and it has been the case of choice for notable travellers ranging from Sir Edmund Hillary to Queen Elizabeth II to Kate Moss.

Now, to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the famous firm, it has delved into the latest lightweight technology available – in collaboration with carbon-fibre pioneer Hypetex – to produce a Carbon collection 20-inch trolley case, produced in a limited edition of just 120 pieces. Hypetex is an engineering firm that has worked with Formula 1 motorsport for decades and created the world’s first coloured carbon-fibre composite material. For the Globe-Trotter Carbon case, this is presented in a contemporary silver finish offset by Globe-Trotter’s trademark leather straps, handles and corners, offered in burgundy or black. Inside, a plush quilted microfibre lining will keep clothes secure. For 21st-century convenience, the Carbon case is, of course, fitted with a telescopic handle and pair of trolley wheels. The limited-edition Carbon case is available in Australia through Vendome (, priced at $5750. – RUSSELL WILLIAMSON

LOUIS XIII COGNAC has been a most prestigious potable since Rémy Martin ( created it in 1874. Because the liquid contents of each decanter require up to 100 years to craft and contain a blend of as many as 1200 of the finest eaux-de-vie, the cellar master’s vision for those decanters extends a century into the future during the selection of the grapes for each year’s eau-de-vie. The newly released Louis XIII Legacy ($15,300) honours this tradition: only 500 decanters are available worldwide, making each crystal bottle – ensconced in a coffret of Italian calfskin leather bearing a numbered plaque – a rare keepsake. Add the signatures of Rémy Martin’s four living cellar masters – André Giraud, Georges Clot, Pierrette Trichet and current cellar master Baptiste Loiseau – and the decanters rise to heirloom status. Their inscriptions serve as a reminder that the future of Louis XIII counts on its past. Asked if he feels pressure as the sole guarantor of the cognac’s future, the 37-year-old Loiseau says no: “I trust that everything has been done the right way before me. That’s the main job of each cellar master, to prepare for the next. That’s what makes Louis XIII and the Legacy so special.” It is special, indeed, the blend within the decanter containing an alchemy of air, oak tierçons and each decade’s finest eaux-de-vie. From the hints of young fruit and early wildflower of a new cognac to the apricot, peach and brioche notes that zing in a golden 20-year-old, and the tastes of dried fruit, leather, sandalwood and nutmeg in the deep mahogany of a 100-year-old Louis XIII, the marriage of tradition and finesse flavours the Legacy’s every drop. – KIMBERLEY LOVATO


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Photo: Denys Vinson

Best cellar

SUBTLE CHARMS The latest designs from Shamballa Jewels (shamballajewels. com) feature a mix of emerald, yellow sapphire and gold beads assembled with the brand’s unique macramé (bracelet shown, $15,750). Founders and brothers Mads and Mikkel Kornerup both have abiding interests in yoga, symbolism and Asian philosophies, which find expression in understated forms that incorporate precious materials. Shamballa’s jewelleryis available in Australia via, while the brand is also offering a custom-commission program. – JILL NEWMAN

LYRICAL SCENT At an intimate dinner party in Milan during men’s fashion week, Tom Ford ( unveiled his new men’s scent, Noir Anthracite, while US musician Leon Bridges performed his soulful tunes. Like Bridges’ poignant vocals, the fragrance ($185 for 50ml, $260 for 100ml) delivers a complex succession of notes, including bergamot, brisk spice, cedarwood and Macassar ebony. – J.N.

BACK TO BASICS Military attire has latterly furnished some prominent design cues for menswear, as evidenced by a series of accessories from Haider Ackermann, the newly appointed creative director at Berluti ( Among the items with which the brand comes armed this year is a sturdy canvas backpack ($3600) emblazoned with the letters BRLT, which appear to be stencils but are, in fact, bull leather. – J.N.

Photos: (from top) Christoffer Lomfors; Max Earey


SMALL WONDER The new Maestro ($87,000 in titanium) is the simplest and – at 42mm in diameter – smallest wristwatch in Christophe Claret’s ( collection. The timepiece may be the company’s most contemporary offering. Componentry, including a conical date display, is arrayed on multiple levels and supported by historically inspired bridges. – JAMES D. MALCOLMSON

The pioneering Italian outerwear brand Herno ( opened its first American store on Manhattan’s Greene Street this summer. Its smart rainwear and jackets include such versatile pieces as the Thermostretch water-resistant blazer ($1240), which is made in bi-stretch nylon with a lightweight technical padding for flexibility and warmth, and this lightweight hooded wool jacket ($1660). – J.N.

November–December 2017 |





The first civilian single-engine personal jet in service, the new Cirrus Vision Jet ( can fly higher (28,000 feet) and faster (555km/h) than any turboprop, and its $2.5 million price is about half that of its closest competition in the personal-jet market.

to accommodate as many as seven people (pilot and six passengers) comfortably. The finishing in the cabin is akin to that of a luxury SUV or sedan. The cabin also provides an impressive level of visibility for the pilot and passengers, thanks to the large windows.

Cirrus built the Vision Jet around a carbon-fibre monocoque, making the aircraft light enough to take off from runways that are just over 610 metres long and fly non-stop for 2220 kilometres at a cruising speed of 445km/h. The Vision Jet is compact compared to other personal jets, but the interior is spacious enough

Cirrus received US FAA and European certifications for the Vision Jet in May and has begun delivering the first of its 600 pre-ordered aircraft. The brand plans to slowly ramp up production in early 2018 to meet a growing demand for this new paradigm of practical personal aviation. – JUSTIN MASTINE-FROST

Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Meet Artematica. The art of pure volumes.

Take a deep breath. Brightness, silence, lightness. The Artematica kitchen recreates the use of space and the way it is used through unique functionalities, innovative materials and cutting-edge solutions.

173-177 Barkly Avenue Burnley VIC 3121 03 9429 8888

18 Danks Street Waterloo NSW 2017 02 8396 8700



There is something undeniably appealing about sipping one’s morning cuppa from a piece of fine porcelain. Its delicate nature brings a certain elegance and air of occasion to the process of starting the day. Few companies do porcelain better than Legle Limoges (, the family-owned French firm whose tea and dining sets are the byword for exquisite handmade quality. Founded in 1904 in Limoges, the city in south-west France famous for its hard-paste porcelain, Legle Limoges has become renowned for its bright, colourful, contemporary enamels and hand-finished quality. These cups and saucers provide an example of the more than 25 coloured glazes available. The glazes are applied with a “high-melting” technique and fired to over 1100°C, which gives the pieces enormous depth of colour. Gilders then apply gold and platinum by hand to the rims of the plates and saucers and the handles of the cups before they are individually polished by hand to a high-gloss lustre. Porcelain has been made in Limoges since the late 18th century and was popularised under the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The same recipe for the paste, made from a subtle mixture of kaolin, feldspath and quartz, is still used today. Legle offers a large range of dinnerware, tea sets and vases, with the teacup and saucer priced from $185 and larger breakfast cup and saucer from $230. Available in Australia through a range of online sites and retailers, including – RUSSELL WILLIAMSON


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Tom Dixon’s S-Chair It’s time to take your seat. Tom Dixon’s S-Chair debuted 25 years ago at Cappellini (, but only now is the Italian furniture brand offering this fashionable twist on the designer’s celebrated original: hand-textured, silvercoated leather upholstery by the edgy and über-elegant women’swear label Proenza Schouler. Each of the chairs – just 99 of the undulating design have been produced – is numbered and priced at $5000. – LORI BRYAN


Photo: Ted Morrison

Panerai ( isn’t breaking any technical ground with the introduction of three green dials, but the models – Radiomir 8 Days Titanio ($16,500), Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio ($12,450) and Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Titanio ($24,600) – are noteworthy as the stylistic descendants of the sought-after Bronzo from 2011. Limited to 250, 300 and 200 pieces respectively, the camogreen releases capitalise on the fashion world’s military-chic trend, and their limited availability will no doubt cement their long-term collectibility. – JUSTIN MASTINE-FROST

November–December 2017 |




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“I like my men to smell fresh and woody, but also like a man” – Donatella Versace


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017



PHUONG DANG L’ECLIPSE Warm and lushly layered, the L’Eclipse extrait de parfum from Singapore-based perfumer Phuong Dang is a woodsy scent for cooler months. Top notes of spicy coriander seed and bergamot give way to velvety florals deepened by rich musk, patchouli and luxurious ambergris. ($640 for 50ml) ACQUA DI PARMA COLONIA PURA A twist on the brand’s cult-​ favourite 101-year-old Colonia fragrance, this new Colonia Pura is meant to capture the warmth of the Italian climate and way of life. A clean mix of juicy citrus, rich narcissus and jasmine notes. ($180 for 100ml) CLIVE CHRISTIAN L WOODY ORIENTAL The 10 scents in Clive Christian’s new Private Collection are each meant to evoke a formative moment in the iconic perfumer’s life. The L Woody Oriental tells the tale of Christian’s move to London as a young man, mapping out the city’s complexity with spicy top notes that give way to warming amber and a smokysweet base. clivechris​t ($465 for 50ml) EXEMPLAIRE PARIS EAU D’INITIÉ Created initially for the family and friends of Louis Leboiteux and Jean-Victor Meyers, the heir to the L’Oréal beauty empire, the first fragrance from lifestyle brand Exemplaire proved too popular to keep under wraps. The fresh Eau d’initié features notes of bright rose pepper, smoky tonka bean and a supremely rare iris, offering just the right mix of the familiar and unexpected. ($455 for 200ml) CIRE TRUDON MAISON TRUDON PARFUMS Renowned for the scented candles it has crafted since 1643, Cire Trudon has launched its first line of fragrances. Given that the maîson has provided perfumes for France’s elite since its candles caught the eye of Louis XV in 1722, the five unisex scents are appropriately inspired by the country’s history. Of the five, which are sold both individually and together in a sleek coffret, the clean and richly sweet Olim and the bright, green II are especially intoxicating. trudon​.com ($140 for set of five 10ml bottles)

QUANTUM VIEW A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Pour Le Mérite INNOVATION: Combining five particular complications into a single masterpiece: a tourbillon, fusée chain, a chronograph, a rattrapante function and a perpetual calendar – a feat deemed impossible by many. GENESIS: starting from an earlier Pour Le Mérite calibre, Lange built the perpetual-calendar mechanism around the tourbillon to conserve space and recessed the tourbillon deeper into the movement, ensuring an optimal and efficient organisation of complications. ($725,000)




Urwerk EMC



INNOVATION: Electronic monitoring and user adjustment of performance. GENESIS: Urwerk engineered both a balance wheel capable of being read by an optical sensor and a compact, case-housed generator that powered a small processor, enabling the EMC to measure and report the difference between the timing rates of the movement and the reference oscillator. Users can adjust the timing screw on the caseback to optimise performance. (from $152,000)

Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement L.M.

Jaquet Droz Charming Bird


INNOVATION: A silicon-blade constantescapement mechanism that maintains accurate and equal amplitude over a six-day power reserve. GENESIS: During his stint at Rolex, the escapement’s inventor, Nicolas Déhon, built 20 prototypes using a Nivarox alloy that was unequal to the task. At Girard-Perregaux, he realised that silicon offered the ideal solution. ($157,000)

INNOVATION: Miniaturised, chirping automaton in a wristwatch. GENESIS:

Richard Mille RM 056 Tourbillon Chronograph Sapphire Felipe Massa

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Saluting its automaton clocks of the 18th and 19th centuries, Jaquet Droz created what looks like a wrist-worn version of a cuckoo clock. Carbon pistons and compressed air stored in sapphire tubes work like a music-box mechanism to create chirps and control the handpainted bird’s gestures. ($506,000)

INNOVATION: The first production sapphire watch case. GENESIS: Although its hardness makes it difficult to cut and machine, sapphire crystal proved the ideal material to showcase Richard Mille’s technical prowess. After roughly 1000 hours of machining, forming and polishing sapphire case components, this extraordinary timepiece emerged. ($2.2-$2.5 million)


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


12 INNOVATION: Hydromechanical wristwatch. GENESIS: After launching the microfluidic technology firm Preciflex (and locking down a few key patents for fluid distribution), the founders of HYT turned to the famed Renaud et Papi to create a calibre that could be mated to their hydraulic system. This innovative marriage of mechanics and fluids resulted in the ideal “water watch”. ($75,000)


HYT H1 Black

Ulysse Nardin Freak INNOVATION: A new escapement design. GENESIS: The Freak’s movement

2017 20

parts could not be manufactured with the materials that were considered standard at that time (aluminium, steel and brass), prompting Ulysse Nardin to begin experiments with silicon. That and a new front-and-centre escapement designed by Ludwig Oechslin introduced a vastly different way of displaying time. (from $95,000)


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Watch


INNOVATION: A sprung tourbillon bridge and dynamograph. GENESIS: The tourbillon bridge acts as a functional spring, protecting the delicate movement. The function selector at 6 o’clock enables the disconnection of the winding stem from the tourbillon, protecting the mechanism from potential damage caused by external shocks to the crown.


Franck Muller Revolution 2 Tourbillon

INNOVATION: The Spiromax hairspring. GENESIS: To reduce wear, magnetism and


De Bethune: Denis Hayoun

Patek Philippe Ref. 5350R Advanced Research


In the annals of modern watchmaking, the drive for innovation has been a constant. From the first tourbillon by AbrahamLouis Breguet in 1801 to the debut of carbon and silicon components more recently, watch brands have jockeyed for position in the field. Since 2001, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève’s Aiguille d’Or prize has been bestowed annually upon pioneers for forging new ground. During this millennium, 12 key innovations have thus far made their mark on the art and science of keeping time. – JUSTIN MASTINE-FROST


Time Stamp

INNOVATION: The world’s first multi-axis tourbillon wristwatch. GENESIS: Franck Muller’s team leveraged modern manufacturing to effectively miniaturise the biaxial tourbillon carriage clocks developed by Anthony Randall and Richard Good in the late ’70s. ($1.02 million)

the need for lubrication, the Spiromax hairspring was created using Silinvar, a silica-based material developed by Patek with Rolex and the Swatch Group. Patek’s first applications came with its Silinvar escape wheel, the success of which led to the creation of a non-metal hairspring.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie INNOVATION: The longest and most complex chiming of a wristwatch (also equipped with a perpetual calendar and flying tourbillon). GENESIS: A combination of new gong shapes, new alloys and a reworked movement architecture based on the design practices of the Duomètre line – which relied on one gear train to regulate timekeeping and another, the complications – ​led to the development of the Grande Sonnerie.

De Bethune DB28 INNOVATION: Floating-lug case design. GENESIS: After the successful fabrication of

a silicon-and-palladium balance wheel as well as several other innovations used in its Dream Watch 1, De Bethune turned its attention to case design with the DB28. Pivoting from a central point on either side of the watch case, the DB28’s free-floating lugs adapt to any wrist motions and trim excess weight from the case. (titanium: $127,000)

November-December 2017 |






Man about town A much-admired habitué of Milan’s social and business circles, the dashing Guglielmo Miani shaped his personal sartorial style at his family’s elegant Larusmiani men’s store on Via Montenapoleone. Although the 41-year-old has dedicated himself to directing the international expansion of the business his grandfather established in 1922, he still reserves time in his busy schedule to indulge his passions for cars, watches, art and design. These impassioned pursuits, however, are informed by a discerning eye for detail and a well-developed philosophy of collecting. by Jill Newman


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

(clockwise from left) Patek Philippe Nautilus; 1998 Bentley RT Mulliner; handmade G. Lorenzi accessories; Larusmiani tuxedo

“My home is continuously changing as I’m adding objects and altering the rooms”

The thrill of the hunt

I collect for the pleasure of finding unique things that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Of course, I always choose difficult things to find and the hunt itself is an important and exhilarating part of collecting.

Chasing cars from the 1990s

I only collect cars from the ’90s because that period was the last time some models were still completely made by hand. My favourite car right now is the last one I purchased: the Bentley RT Mulliner from 1998. It has some unique features, like a bar with crystal glasses and a backseat speedometer, which allows you to check your driver’s speed. On top of being aesthetically beautiful and entirely handmade, it is the most powerful Bentley built in those years. I own more than 10 cars – Italian, British and German brands.

store. I collect knives and if nobody keeps handcrafting these articles, the craft will die. I love the way Mr Lorenzi created objects that were deeply studied, such as the pendant I purchased that is a replica of one worn by priests in the Middle Ages. It has a concealed weapon for self-​defence, handmade in silver with a Damascus steel blade.

Living spaces

From wheels to watches

Watches are just like cars – the perfect combination of function and form. I collect vintage Rolex and Patek Philippe, as well as chronographs from TAG Heuer, Audemars Piguet, Zenith and Breitling. My favourite timepiece is a custom black Patek Philippe Nautilus made by George Bamford that has its original dial. It’s so elegant and understated that only a very savvy collector can identify it when I wear it. I buy from different dealers – mostly Italian – and I use the website

Photos (this page): Mark Mann

Scouting grounds

I generally buy things through or a few antiques stores in Milan and Paris. In Milan, I go to L’Oro dei Farlocchi and Fragile. I also go to [Alessandro] Stefanini in Reggio Emilia and Porto Cervo; he is truly a genius in finding unique objects.

The motorcycle as furniture

This was my father’s motorcycle (pictured right). When I was born, my mother ordered him to sell it, but instead he hid it in the company warehouse and I discovered it a few years ago. I had it

restored and it was too beautiful to use, so I decided to bring it into the living room.

Places to dream

I love the sea and that is where I get inspired – at anchor in a bay, only in contact with nature and possibly a few good friends. I also love the Architecture Biennale of Venice. Just like the city of Venice, it is so inspiring.

I have always been fascinated by architecture. My home is continuously changing as I’m adding objects and altering the rooms. I recently refurbished one of the guest rooms, which I call the War Room. It has antique models of World War II vessels and the walls are covered in a custom Larusmiani camouflage-print cotton fabric. I have an Angelo Mangiarotti brass-and-wood table from the ’60s that I found at an auction in Italy. Another favourite piece is an abstract sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro.

Black tie required

Every man should have a handmade tuxedo, because there is always a need for a tuxedo. Mine is Larusmiani, of course. I like to wear a tuxedo with our handmade velvet friulane slippers or sneakers for a contemporary image.

Renewing the Old World

I was a loyal G. Lorenzi client and seeing the business close was very sad. Mr Aldo Lorenzi sold me his remaining stock and connected me with his craftsmen, and we continue to make hand-carved knives and accessories and sell them in our

Miani at home, with his father’s bike

November-December 2017 |


THE ALL NEW BMW X3. ARRIVING NOVEMBER 2017. The all new BMW X3 boasts a striking design language and a more dynamic stance. Created with expert craftsmanship and a meticulous attention to detail, its presence is both powerful and graceful.

PASSPORT Travel | Eat | Sleep | Play | Revive

Darling Harbour raises a glass

Sofitel opens Sydney’s first brand-new five-star hotel since the turn of the century


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017


sparkling addition to the Sydney skyline, the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour – the first internationally branded luxury hotel to be built in the city centre since the 2000 Olympics – opened on October 6. Designed by multi-award-winning Sydney architect Richard Francis-Jones, the 35-storey tower with its prominent triangular accent and striking porte-cochère is sheathed in a curtain of glass that dances with waterside reflections by day. At night it is spectacularly lit up with a kaleidoscope of changing colours, courtesy of 6000 LED lights mounted into the tower’s facade. But it’s what you can see from the inside that really wows. The 590 rooms, including 35 suites that feature floor-toceiling windows, smart TVs, deep and free-standing bathtubs and beautiful design touches reminiscent of vintage Louis Vuitton luggage trunks, have some of the best views in the city. Opt for a Club Millesime room on one of the high floors, a Prestige corner suite, or the top-floor Bellerive Suite and you’ll

(clockwise from opposite) A striking façade; the infinity pool with an enviable view; Club Millesime; the Prestige corner suites will be in high demand; Atelier by Sofitel, the hotel’s restaurant

see Sydney like never before, particularly from the Club Millesime Lounge on the 35th floor. The Sofitel is the highest building on the western shore of Darling Harbour and the glittering lights of the CBD fan out beneath your feet New Yorkstyle, wowing even jaded Sydneysiders. Back at ground level, the foyer also puts on an impressive light show, with cascading ropes of light hanging from the ceiling like giant jellyfish, a canopy of glowing crystal fishing net draped above the bar and, in a further nod to the maritime heritage of the site, quirky message-in-a-bottle wall lamps secreted among the 1300 bottles of wine that enclose the restaurant space. There are also plenty of weathered timber features inspired by the wharves, woolstores and warehouses of the old workaday Darling Harbour – and a wall of fish swimming behind the check-in desk. As you would expect from a Frenchowned hotel group, it’s not just the interiors that overflow with sophisticated Gallic style: the Champagne Bar pours more than 15 varieties of French bubbles, many of a vintage you won’t find anywhere else in town, and is set to become one of Sydney’s most elegant spots to see the

sun go down. Try the Soixante-Quinze (aka French 75), a citrusy take on the traditional champagne cocktail with gin and lemon juice that has a kick like the French field gun for which it was named. The hotel’s restaurant, Atelier by Sofitel, serves nouvelle French fare with much flair – think bouillabaisse-inspired yellow tail crudo with saffron fennel and flying fish roe, wild barramundi with pommes Anna, or Darling Downs waygu with confit garlic and charcoal salt, and a sensational selection of French cheeses. The Riviera-esque Le Rivage on the fourth floor is the place to go for cocktails while lounging beside the wet-edge infinity pool, gazing across the city skyline. Even the gym has sweeping harbour views. – LEE ATKINSON

WHAT: Sleek new five-star hotel beside the revamped International Convention Centre WHERE: 12 Darling Drive, Sydney WHY: Glam rooms, great views and killer location. Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, ($499-$3500 a night)

November–December 2017 |



Songlines The refurbishment of Central Australia’s Longitude 131° provides the perfect excuse to visit (or revisit) this sacred place


hen it comes to killer views at the newly refurbished boutique luxury lodge Longitude 131°, nestled in Australia’s red heart, it’s the premium Dune Pavilion that’s setting hearts aflutter. The stylish two-bedroom suite overlooks not just one, but two World Heritage-listed natural icons: Uluru in the foreground and the 36-domed Kata Tjuta in the distance, to the right. You don’t even have to get up to ogle them. They can be seen from the king-sized beds as your eyes skim over sweeping red sand dotted with feathery desert oaks, flowering shrubs and hardy wildflowers that come and go. Inspired by iconic Australian homesteads, the showcase suite features floor-to-ceiling glass walls, bespoke décor, large lounge, extended deck and vibrant artwork from South Australia’s Tjala Arts Centre. Eclectic Indigenous art stars throughout the lodge and the other 15 white-topped safari-style suites. The $8 million-plus refurbishment is a collaboration between owners Hayley and James Baillie, of Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge and Lord Howe Island’s Capella Lodge fame, and Max Pritchard Gunner Architects.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

(clockwise, from main pic) Dune Top; Dune Pavilion bedroom; a luxury swag; the main lodge’s pool; the property’s signature tents

WHAT: A refreshed lodge experience in Central Australia WHERE: Yulara, Northern Territory

Photo: (top right) Brook Sabin

WHY: You haven’t yet experienced the splendour of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and you want to do so in style. Longitude 131°, ($2400-$4500 per person a night; two-night minimum stay) James Baillie says the fresh-look Longitude 131° is a reinvention of an Australian icon and fits well with the grandeur of the Kangaroo Island flagship property. Also worthy of applause is the elevated Dune Top, where you can bob around in a small plunge pool, stretch out on beckoning sun lounges, clink glasses over blood-red sunsets and enjoy intimate starlit dining in four heated, curved pods. The main lodge, the Dune House, has a new entrance and floor-to-ceiling windows where guests can succumb to the splendour of a 600-million-year-old monolith that often leaves them speechless. A chic bar with 500 hand-painted tiles depicting desert spinifex by 26 artists from Ernabella Arts Community and an expanded dining area and outdoor terrace complete the Dune House additions. Enhancing the luxury experience is the new Spa Kinara (meaning ‘moon’) with signature treatments such as a Sacred Earth massage and facials in two bronzed iron-clad retreats inspired by the shape of traditional Indigenous shelters. The

spa features Australian Li’tya products and local outback ingredients, including irmangka-irmangka or salted emu bush. The larger pool area now has a help-yourself bar with a marble top resembling the Outback’s salt lakes, and daybeds you never want to leave. Dining is a culinary adventure, with chef Jon Bryant creating dishes with fresh flavours and bush-tucker nuances such as the smoked beef brisket with Old Man saltbush that features on the four-course menu at the revamped, starlit Table 131 experience. Guests later return to find swags laid out on their decks – complete with hot water bottle, popcorn and a nightcap for optional stargazing – or they can snuggle down in suites that are the right mix of comfort and splendour. Wilderness experiences on offer include an Uluru base walk, Walpa Gorge trek, helicopter adventures and a visit to Bruce Munro’s illuminated Field of Light installation that has been extended to March next year. But no matter what you do, it’s that rock, in all its glory, that you simply can’t take your eyes off. – SUE WALLACE November-December 2017 |



(clockwise from left) Dinner in a former shark tank, with the lions watching on; lemurs are among the wildlife at Jamala; a jungle oasis

Call of the wild

Canberra – arguably its own kind of jungle – is an unexpected place for an authentic wildlife experience


wenty years ago, Canberra property developer Richard Tindale purchased an unusual site for a family home: an ailing aquarium attraction near Scrivener Dam, at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin. The Tindales proceeded to create a luxe Bondvillain lair, right down to the vast indoor shark pool. A few years later, the ‘family’ expanded through the rescue of a group of retired circus animals, including a lion and a brown bear. Therein lay the beginnings of the National Zoo and Aquarium, Canberra – a private venture where animal breeding and preservation programs are undertaken in conjunction with other zoos. The most brilliant initiative, both for animals and visitors, came in December 2014 with the opening of Jamala Wildlife Lodge ( It is five-star accommodation, education and entertainment interwoven with the zoo experience. Room rates start at $925, including zoo tours, food and beverages. The signature is the six luxury Giraffe Treehouses and five Jungle Bungalows that directly adjoin enclosures of lions, tigers, cheetahs, bears and giraffes. The other accommodation comprises seven luxury suites within the former main residence, uShaka Lodge. This complex houses enormous aquariums, the main reception and lounge areas, and the communal banquet area. The latter, situated in a former shark tank, has a cave-like


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

ambience that’s enhanced in no small way by the hyenas and lions that lazily observe diners through large (and presumably thick) surrounding windows. The feeling from the very moment of arrival is one of being welcomed to a family home; albeit, one where the majority of family members are four-legged. The staff are young, enthusiastic and clearly passionate and knowledgeable about the animals. It also dawns that the zoo’s owners themselves must be sincerely dedicated to animal preservation as lions, tigers, rhinos and such are no great respecters of VIPs. The National Zoo and Aquarium is already quite the model for openness and Jamala guests enjoy an entirely higher level of interaction with the wildlife, visiting outof-bounds areas and engaging in the feeding and petting of such animals as meerkats, dingoes, rhinos and lions. The latter is a truly chilling experience, when you momentarily catch a lion’s eyes through the steel bars, at the distant end of your proffered, quivering barbecue tongs. Speaking of food: the embracing welcome of the Jamala family dispels any reservations about the communal dining arrangements. Considerable dedication is given to the design and quality of the set menus, with typically two choices of main dish – which change each night – and even more obviously, the quality of service. Much of the seamlessness of the experience is owed to advance preparation and a touch of safari-like discipline, such as the set times for the variety of Wildlife Experience tours, and shuttle services

between bungalows and the main lodge (the latter compulsory after dark). However, the greatest magic of Jamala lies literally outside your bungalow. Each is fitted out with authentic African furnishings and artworks (the Tindales are renowned collectors), with gorgeous mosaics of each bungalow’s neighbouring animal adorning the bathrooms. Bungalows typically feature a four-poster king-sized bed and leather folding sofa-bed, reflecting the typical guest profile of couples fleeing for the weekend, or with one or two children in tow. (Well, was it one – or two?) Televisions and smart devices remain ignored as (depending on one’s accommodation), a giraffe’s head regularly floats by one’s window, or a sun bear claws open a coconut for dinner and proceeds to arrange pillows for its bed on the verandah, mere centimetres from you. Jamala is truly an unforgettable experience, and perhaps nothing else outside of Africa can get within a lion’s roar of it. – MICHAEL STAHL

SINGLE LEVEL PENTHOUSE ON THE OCEAN The sleek new Maritimo S70 sedan cruiser is a superb fusion of style and performance boasting a top speed of almost 30 knots and offering exceptional handling. This beamy vessel keeps everyone on one level, with multiple entertaining and living spaces including a full beam apartment sized master and ensuite. The Maritimo S70 has all the elements of a single level penthouse on the ocean: expansive spaces, opulent materials and brilliant design. With Maritimo, your luxury home is wherever your course takes you. | @maritimooffshore | #oceansapart


A Byron state of mind Far from the madding crowds, get sand between your toes at the relaunched Elements of Byron


ess than two years since it first seduced holidaymakers with its beguiling mix of rainforest and bush-flanked beach, lagoon-style pool and sybaritic day spa, Byron Bay’s Elements of Byron – awarded the world’s Best Hotel Interior Design at the SBID International Design Excellence Awards in London last year – relaunched in October. It now incorporates 99 new two-bedroom beach houses, each with its own private open-air bathhouse and deckside fireplace. The stunning infinity pool that winds through the resort is still one of the star features – along with the poolside sunken firepit – but it’s now heated for year-round pool parties. There’s also a new adults-only heated pool with swim-up bar, and a new children’s playground. Executive chef Simon Jones, who trained under Raymond Blanc and was head chef at Marco Pierre White’s Michelin-starred L’Escargot, heads up a new team in the kitchen and is reinventing the concept of “really casual fine dining”. Much of the ingredients Jones uses in the kitchen will be grown on-site, in gardens that are part of a sustainable-living Eco Education centre. There are now five dining outlets, including the private Beach Club on the sands of Belongil Beach, which will reopen by Christmas. Elements is still the only beachfront resort in Byron Bay, but getting into the town centre will now be a lot more fun. Ride one of the resort’s new solar-electric bicycles or take the world’s first completely solar-powered two-carriage train, operated by the not-for-profit Byron Bay Railroad Company, which runs along the historic coastal track linking North Beach to the township. – LEE ATKINSON


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

WHAT: Relaxed beachside resort WHERE: Belongil Beach, Byron Bay WHY: The quintessential Australian beach holiday. Elements of Byron, ($320-$1293 a night)

Around the world in a private jet One might assume that Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg would have completed his global circumnavigation in much less than 80 days if he had a private jet at his disposal. So it will be for travellers joining the Captain’s Choice ( around-the-world private jet journey taking off in July 2018, their voyage lasting only 21 days. But with a diverse itinerary that includes Beijing, Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar, Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, Venice, Reykjavik, Quebec City, historic Cartagena in Colombia, and the island of Kauai, adventure is one thing that won’t be in short supply. Only 50 travellers will join this Grand Tour, enjoying champagne and a party atmosphere on the jet while being whisked between luxurious accommodation and a choice of exclusive, authentic experiences. In Beijing, a local street artist will guide guests through the up-and-coming 798 Art District, before a private dinner on the Juyong Pass, a major mountain pass on the Great Wall of China. In Mongolia, travellers can choose to stay in their own ger (a traditional tent) in the wilderness of the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, while the Venice stop includes a glamorous masquerade ball in the Doge’s Palace. And in Iceland, travellers can venture via Super Jeep beneath the surface of the Langjökull Glacier or into the dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano, before dining at Apotek, a top Reykjavik restaurant headed by El Bulli alumnus, chef Carlos Gimenez. Prices start at $93,500. If that all sounds a bit too communal, perhaps a trip following mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, as the guests of the Batwa people (from $32,350). Fogg would surely approve. – FREYA PURNELL

Top vintage The P2 Experience at Melbourne’s Vue de Monde takes champagne savouring to new heights Hot new restaurants come and go, but Vue de Monde remains the Melbourne institution. Like Sydney’s legendary Quay, it’s one of the go-tos when you really, really have to impress. Crowning one of Melbourne’s tallest buildings, Vue is literally at the top of its game. But owner-chef Shannon Bennett has never been one to become complacent and saw an opportunity to collaborate with a long-time ally, French premium champagne maker Dom Pérignon, to create a top-level dining concept. Billed as “an exceptional gastronomy adventure”, the P2 Experience adds a new stratosphere of aspiration. The 10-course service takes place in a 16-seat private dining room, complete with Vue’s trademark towering views over Melbourne’s skyline. For additional contemplation, there’s a roof-mounted installation by Japanese artist Hiromi Tango that depicts a twisting, interweaving grapevine. P2 references examples of Dom Pérignon champagne from the second ‘plenitude’ of the 1998 vintage. The rare and expensive drop is the hero around which a menu featuring a cornucopia of local produce is devised. Memorable dishes from our sitting included a ‘sausage sizzle’ featuring sausages of West Australian marron tail, macadamia and King Oyster mushrooms; and kohlrabi with Yarra Valley salmon roe and finger lime. Each course is carefully paired with a selection of Dom Pérignon’s finest vintages, including the celebrated P2. To finish, guests collect a heavy golden token and proceed to the ground-level foyer where – in a world-first – a vending machine theatrically reveals and dispenses the ultimate in take-home gifts: a full-size bottle of Dom Pérignon 2006. – STEVE COLQUHOUN

November-December 2017 |




rock star


You notice the rocks first – enormous boulders jutting from the hillsides like magnificent monuments over the gin-clear waters. Just beyond, nestled among papaya and mango trees on the other side of a rope bridge, sits the new Six Senses Zil Pasyon ( Opened last October on the privately owned Félicité Island, Zil Pasyon brings the Six Senses brand’s blend of bespoke wellness and eco-luxury to a dramatic setting in the Seychelles. Guests reside in one of 30 spacious suites (all with plunge pools and butlers) and take part in custom wellness programs that focus on fitness, nutrition or simple relaxation. Regardless of the program, the experience is never clinical. Cuisine is fresh and simply prepared, infused with Creole and international flavours, and spa therapies use vanilla, coconut milk and other local and African ingredients. Of course, this being the Seychelles, adventure is never far away, whether it’s a swim with sea turtles or a climb up Félicité’s highest boulder – bottle of champagne in tow. – LAURIE WERNER

Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


Artist impression. Actual view from level 26.

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Artist impression. Actual view from level 29.



Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

More than



he stakes were high when the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris (rosewoodhotels. com) reopened its doors on July 6. The grande dame of the Place de la Concorde had much to live up to: shuttered for nearly four years, it was the latest in a string of high-profile hotel renovations in the City of Light. But any doubts that the Crillon could reclaim its singular standing were erased on opening day, when attendants dressed in tailored blue suits with chic silk scarves – hardly traditional doorman attire – welcomed guests into a thoroughly reimagined hotel. A creative dream team that included Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director Aline d’Amman and architect Richard Martinet preserved only what was necessary – and abandoned anything that was not – during the re-creation. The 124 rooms and suites feel like contemporary residences curated with collections of rare books and accessories. Two Lagerfeld-designed Grands Appartements stand out for their lavish yet playful details, from a cherubadorned bathroom sink made from a 17thcentury marble fountain to photographs of the designer’s beloved feline, Choupette. Stuffiness has also been scrubbed from the public spaces. The hotel’s Les Ambassadeurs cocktail bar is a crushedvelvet dream serving more than 100 types of champagne. L’Ecrin’s gastronomic cuisine has been nipped and tucked to perfection by chef Christopher Hache. A newly excavated subterranean spa sparkles with a glass-roofed spa pool. And perhaps most of-the-moment, a distinctive men’s lounge lined with leather Aston Martin chairs offers straight-razor shaves and shoeshines. – JILL NEWMAN

November-December 2017 |






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Retro redux

In what may not be welcome news for everyone, fashion from decades past is making a comeback


hen it comes to men’s fashion for spring/summer, everything old is new again. From the ’80s and logo mania to (staunchly plain) normcore, the noughties and classic Hawaiian shirts, the 2018 spring summer collections were packed with retro styling. Blasts from the past were all over the runways in London, Paris and Milan. Here are the key winds of change that will be sweeping through your wardrobe this season.

The ’80s

From pastel colours to boxy, oversize jackets and blazers worn with loose trousers or frayed denim, the Dynasty decade was back with a vengeance in the spring/summer menswear shows on the European runways. One of the easiest ways to channel the ’80s vibe is simply to wear all-white from head to toe. Just be sure to have your dry cleaner on speed dial.

The suit

This season, the suit is oversize (see above) and worn with trainers, loafers and sandals. The twist for summer is the colour palette: they came in a rainbow of hues from soft pink and buttercup yellow to cobalt and scarlet, repositioning the suit from corporate staple to cool, contemporary combination. Break it up and wear it on the weekend with trainers and a T-shirt.

Hawaiian shirts

This is not the Hawaiian shirt as worn on the beach, but the Hawaiian shirt as worn by urban gangsters and good-for-nothings. Think Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and wear yours with trousers, trainers and an attitude. You could also pair it with a bucket hat, another big trend on the catwalks – even those of Louis Vuitton and Lanvin.

The ’90s and noughties

Just when you thought the ’90s and noughties were over … think cargo pants, double denim, baggy raver-style trousers, along with giant jackets, boilersuits and various other homages to club life in those two decades.


It was logo a-go-go at the menswear shows, with pretty


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

much everyone slapping a legacy logo on their sportswear. Blame it on Alessandro Michele: the Italian designer resurrected the logo when he joined Gucci in 2015 – but logos were big with Balenciaga, Martine Rose and MSGM.

Technical mountainwear

Technical mountainwear was a major subset of the ‘normcore’ trend – high-tech fabrics, windbreakers and colourful lightweight parkas in ’90s hues – but a far more challenging sub-trend was that of cycling shorts. Cycling shorts for daywear are best reserved for those long in the leg and slim of physique. Lycra and exposed calves were wheeled out everywhere from the runways of Prada and Dior Homme, to Kris Van Assche and Martine Rose.

City shorts

If cycling shorts are a bridge too far, try the new short city shorts instead. Again, you’ll need good legs for this one – not to mention confidence – but Dries Van Noten, Louis Vuitton and Dior Homme all showed shorter shorts in checks and solid colours designed to be worn with buttondown shirts and lightweight jackets in the city, as well as doing double duty on the weekend. It’s part of a broader trend of mixing tailoring with sportswear. Designers in Milan and Paris combined bombers, hoodies, Hawaiian shirts and more with suits, blazers and tailored trousers. It’s basically a matter of combining two parts of your wardrobe that you never thought you should.


There’s always one particularly tricky trend and this season it’s not the cycling shorts. Men’s skirts and loose tunics continued the shift towards genderless fashion, particularly on the runways of Paris, which always push the boundaries. If skirts feel too feminine, there were also plenty of gender-neutral pieces, such as oversize shirts, baggy trousers and draped jackets.

Back to black

But, of course, some things never change, and so Paris, in particular, was also a sea of black. From Balmain and Alexander McQueen to Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann, a host of the brands that showed in the City of Light cloaked their runways in darkness, with an almost monochrome palette that can endure from this season to well into the future.

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Georgina Safe


Prada’s Spring/Summer 2018 menswear show in Milan

Christian Barker


Omega’s new heirlooms Why the watchmaker’s ‘1957 Trilogy’ reissues of mid-century classics will make an enduring inheritance for your descendants


side from my children, wife and dog, the first thing I’d save if my house were burning down is my late-’50s Omega Seamaster. The watch originally belonged to my maternal grandfather, who sadly passed away long before I was born. The watch had sat untouched and unticking in storage for several decades, until my aunt passed it on to me on my 25th birthday in 2000. The moment I placed it on my wrist, however, its automatic movement sprang to life. Despite not having been serviced since the ’70s, it still keeps perfect time. It’d be priceless to me even if it were accurate only twice a day. But the fact that its timekeeping remains spot-on after all these years only makes it that much more valuable an heirloom. The promise of years of trouble-free precision has always been one of Omega’s key selling points. The company, founded in 1848 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, was initially known as Louis Brandt & Fils (for its founder and his sons), but in 1903 took on the name of Omega Watch Co, after a movement it had named for the ultimate letter in the Greek alphabet won international acclaim for its accuracy and ease of maintenance. By this time, the company was already one of Switzerland’s most advanced and prodigious watchmakers, with 600 employees turning out more than 100,000 timepieces annually. Promoting its products during the Jazz Age with the slogan, ‘Omega – Exact time for life’ (much exceeding that guarantee in the example of my grandfather’s watch), the company took first prize in all six categories at the 1931 Geneva Observatory trials. The following year, it became the first watchmaker to be given sole timekeeping duties at the Olympic Games – an ongoing tradition, with Omega still serving as the games’ official timekeeper today. Omega’s most iconic model, the Seamaster, was launched during the company’s centenary year, 1948. This groundbreaking diver’s watch was based on the military timepieces Omega had supplied to the British armed forces during the later years of the Second World War. (Perhaps this history goes some way to explaining why many UK servicemen – not to mention cinematic secret serviceman, 007 – continue to favour Omegas over another high-profile Swiss watchmaker, Rolex.) The company upped the tool-watch ante in 1957, releasing not only the Seamaster Professional 300, a diver’s watch water-resistant to a then-remarkable 300

metres, but also the Speedmaster Chronograph, which would go on to become the first watch on the moon and prove, literally, a lifesaver for the “Houston, we have a problem” crew of Apollo XIII. The same amazing year also welcomed the anti-magnetic Railmaster, aimed at engineers (my granddad’s occupation, incidentally; though sadly, he neglected to add one of these to his collection). For the 60th anniversary of this iconic trio of timepieces, Omega has created incredibly faithful reissues of the three, available to purchase individually (in a limited edition of 3557 pieces per watch) or as a ‘1957 Trilogy’ triple-pack (in 557 box sets). The company has gone to great pains to stay aesthetically true to the original models, using digital imaging and scanning technology, as well as the original design drawings, to ensure the cases and dials of the new stainless-steel watches are nearly indistinguishable from their 60-year-old source material. There are a couple of notable aesthetic updates, however, in the addition of modern LumiNova and a subtle vintage ‘tropical’ brown tinge to the dial. That’s not the only modernisation. While the Speedmaster features the calibre 1861, based on the legendary 861 ‘moonwatch’ movement of 1968, Omega’s learned a thing or two in the past few decades and has chosen a cutting-edge contemporary calibre to power the other two reissues. The Seamaster and Railmaster are driven by the insanely anti-magnetic (15,000 gauss), rigorously ‘Master Chronometer’ certified calibre 8806. This boasts the innovative co-axial escapement, created for Omega by the late horological hero George Daniels, which vastly reduces friction and the need for lubrication in the movement, resulting in servicing being needed far less frequently than most other mechanical watches. If the example of my grandfather’s astoundingly precise, unserviced 60-something Seamaster is anything to go by, one of these beautiful reissues may yet splendidly serve generations of your own descendants. November–December 2017 |


Joanna Savill


Prandial paradise For many years a mecca for surfers, NSW’s Northern Rivers has built its food reputation on its wealth of produce


hether it’s a surfing holiday or a permanent sea change, few destinations have the pulling power of Byron Bay and its environs in northern NSW. Waves, weather and jaw-dropping ocean views combine with laid-back living and Byron-beautiful people watching, from Tweed Heads to the Byron Shire. This is also one of Australia’s most fertile food bowls. Any visitor to the weekly Byron (Thursday), Mullumbimby (Friday) or Bangalow (Saturday) Farmers’ Markets is sure to be truly amazed at the bounty of locally grown tropical fruit, sparkling organics and lovingly tended artisan produce. While not without a touch of fringe-feral dreadlocks, baggy pants and bare feet, it’s all part of the picture in an area that’s increasingly home to a contingent of inventive and talented farmers, cooks and restaurateurs. “The biggest strength our region has, apart from its natural beauty and fertile conditions, are the communities stretched up and down [the coast],” says Cabarita Beach-based chef Ben Devlin. “We’re blessed with people that have a depth of knowledge, a strong sense of curiosity and a generous nature, providing fantastic produce, craft and trade work, and a creative energy that helps push everyone along.” Devlin is head chef at Paper Daisy, the restaurant of the ultimate luxury surfside hotel, Halcyon House (see Robb Report Australia, June 2017), just south of the border at Cabarita. From the macadamia cream on the breakfast (kefir) pancakes to the native pepper, fabulous seafood and exotic tropical fruits enlivening the dinner degustation, Devlin’s menus convey that strong sense of place that heightens any away-from-home eating experience. Halcyon House ( also recently lured Sydney star Danielle Alvarez – of the muchawarded Fred’s in Paddington – to cook alongside Devlin for one of the hotel’s Gourmet Weekends. Originally from Miami and previously of the legendary farm-to-table Chez Panisse restaurant in California, Alvarez found herself in farm-grown produce heaven. “They brought us some beautiful tropical fruits, even a few things I had never heard of!” Alvarez marvels. “Along with gorgeous little purple cauliflowers, calcot onions and mulberries.” Alvarez’s mulberry cheesecake that weekend was the stuff of memories. Halcyon House’s suppliers include local markets regular John Picone, of Picone Exotics – grower of up to 400 different exotic fruits and other edible plants – and the lush green Boon Luck Farm next door, which supplies

Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

mostly Asian-inspired fruits, herbs and vegetables to a string of family restaurants in Sydney. “It’s great to show people the big differences in growing conditions/climates that we are lucky to have,” says Devlin, “and the vast differences in fruits and vegetables we can get from one end of our region to the other.” After Alvarez’s delightful, produce-inspired dinner the night before, breakfast began with perfect passionfruit and creamy, tangy rollinia – a tropical fruit from the custard apple family – before leaping into glorious greens, spanking-fresh local seafood and beautiful baked goods. With the surf just beyond the window, another fabulous Northern Rivers day lay ahead.

Northern Rivers little black book Apart from Halcyon House and must-do regional market visits – where you can also feast on excellent snacks, drinks and the famous Mullumbimby market’s omelette breakfasts – there’s a clutch of eateries where regional diversity and abundance sit front and centre. Chief among them is the tiny Fleet ( au) at Brunswick Heads, with its deliciously creative tasting menu and inclusive, welcoming service style. It’s a favourite of both Devlin and Alvarez. From wonderful local seafood, such as Yamba sardines to a tight but very brightly conceived wine list, at this miniscule bar-restaurant even a simple plate of carrots (with fresh, local whey butter) is a thing of beauty. Book well ahead. Devlin also singles out Harvest Cafe in Newrybar ( for its “awesome food and great location”, and Izakaya Potts in nearby Pottsville: “A little Japanese bar with a great grill and great sushi.” Amazing operations such as Three Blue Ducks ( in Ewingsdale – complete with farm animals – have grabbed much-deserved headlines for their fresh-produce focus, but fine cafes across the region include community hub Mrs Birdy at South Golden Beach and brilliant regional bakery, The Bread Social in Tweed Heads.


hampagne season is upon us! As the seamless apparatus of the luxury wine category begins to hit overdrive, I have selflessly confronted my responsibility to taste the offerings from this most revered of wine regions. In a world awash with ‘premium’ and ‘luxury’ wines, those of Champagne continue to seduce the discerning drinker. Australia’s history is steeped in dry and fortified wines and our drinkers have taken their time to embrace the light; that is, the framed, delicate, refreshing wine style of champagne. ‘Champagne season’ for me runs from September (the start of spring) to New Year’s Eve. The accelerant of warmer weather, rebooted expense accounts, the summer party calendar and the Spring Racing Carnival collide across this three-month period, during which nearly 60 per cent of the year’s champagne sales are made. As a drinker, this is the time to open the war chest and buy long. Aggressive discounting kicks in now as champagne houses try to ‘cut through’ the white noise of the peak sales period for the premium and luxury wine market. Per person, Australia drinks more champagne than any other country outside of Europe; in fact, five times as much, per capita, as the USA. We are also a market dominated by the large champagne houses and have one of the lowest average spends-per-bottle of any champagne market in the world. What this means is that non-vintage champagne, the business card of a champagne house and its entry-level wine, is drunk with gusto – and in Australia we drink more of this wine style than any other. If you are an avid diner, there is a good chance that you will first try nonvintage champagne in a restaurant setting, so it’s from here that our list is drawn. What is different about the following non-vintage champagnes is that I have drunk them in restaurants, or with sommeliers, and always with food. If you want to get real insights into which champagnes are ‘hot’ and will add a real edge to your cellar, don’t look at catalogues: instead, scan wine lists at highly regarded restaurants and wine bars. The following champagne houses are not ranked by points or ratings and are listed in no particular order. All of them are included because they represent, for me, the best embodiment of the champagne experience: quality, value, house style and food compatibility.

CHAMPAGNE CHARTOGNE-TAILLET Cuvee Sainte Anne Brut Non-Vintage Potent, complex, ripping with flavours derived from vines planted close to and around the village of Merfy (pronounced ‘Murphy’), north-west of Champagne’s commercial capital, Reims. Wines are raw-edged,

unfiltered and layered with the savoury, palatequenching flavours that cry out for food.


In my opinion, flat-out the best non-vintage champagne available in Australia today. Every time I drink this champagne, I am in complete awe of the seamless integration of flavour, texture, acidity, autolysis and the cream-like texture that swan dives over the back palate. You pay for the pleasure, though, as ‘Charles’ lies in the higher price range.

Chris Morrison

If, like many Australians, you plan to enjoy some champagne this summer, try these non-vintage winners


Fab bubbles, no troubles

PIERRE GIMONNET & FILS Cuvee Cuis 1er Cru Blanc de Blanc A house that drills down into the precise, fresh and energetic wines made from chardonnay. With Gimonnet a specialist in this style, you can expect no half-measures. Bone-dry with a tonguehumming acidity and powered by lean, mouthwatering flavour derived from chardonnay and the soils surrounding the township of Epernay. A perfect way to open the batting at the dinner table.


If champagne had a form guide, non-vintage from Louis Roederer would be a horse that ‘greets the judges’, finishing first in every race. So here’s the mail: perhaps no other non-vintage champagne has improved and held its quality more over the past 10 years than Louis Roederer. Bold, rich champagnes that show more restraint and finesse than ever before.

DEUTZ Brut Classic

As a sommelier, I loved working with this champagne house. Crisp, fresh champagne character summed up in the glass. Deutz’s beautiful prestige cuvees like its pure Blanc de Blanc and the rarefied place occupied by its Amour de Deutz always intrigued me, but I keep coming back to the non-vintage. Loads of power and flavour derived from red grapes like pinot noir, pinned to a fineboned structure that gives the impression of a wine simmering with potential. Buy quick.


If award-winning sommelier Nick Hildebrant believes in a wine enough to include it in the coveted champagne pour across Australia’s most-awarded wine program (Bentley, Monopole, Cirrus Dining and Yellow), that’s good enough for me. One hundred per cent biodynamic, with its savoury, almost saline character pinned beautifully to fleshy, mouthfilling fruit flavours. Still new to Australia and finding its way in the market. A sleeper – and one worth tracking down. November–December 2017 |


Bennett Ring


The bigger the better


New 4K projectors leave television display sizes in the dust, with extremely high definition to boot Let’s be frank: Ultra HD televisions, also known as 4K, are a bit of a rort. According to various tests, at the normal viewing distance of 2-3 metres it’s almost impossible for the human eye to discern the difference between High Definition (1920 x 1080 pixels) and (4K/ Ultra HD (3840 x 2160; although some use 4096 x 2160). There are two exceptions. First, if the screen is bigger than 80 inches diagonally, viewers will notice a clearer picture in 4K. Secondly, at around 45cm from the screen, you’ll also notice the increased clarity, which is why 4K is becoming popular among PC displays. Now, an 84-inch TV sells in the region of $10,000. Not bad, but there is a wholly better alternative: a projector. It’s here that 4K really shines, as you can have a much bigger display and not notice a single pixel on the screen. We’re talking sizes of up to 200 inches or even more, and it is the preferred technology for high-end home cinemas. Until recently, the minimum price for a 4K projector was around $25,000, but recent advancements have lowered the entry point to around $8000. However, it’s important to note that many 4K projectors aren’t truly 4K. These ‘enhanced 4K’ types are based on a 1920 x 1080 chip, and employ a process called ‘wobbulation’ to shuffle the pixels half-across and half-down at a very high speed, to fake a quadrupling of the number of pixels. For many, they look almost as good as native 4K, but as screen sizes increase, the superiority of native 4K will be noticeable. When it comes to true 4K projectors, there’s really only one major player. Sony was the first to release a true 4K projector for home use, six years ago, and now has by far the broadest range. Rivals now producing true 4K projectors include LG, Barco, NEC, Christie and Digital Projection, although some of these aren’t available in Australia. Against an HD projector, which can be bought for as little as $1000, a 4K projector’s expense starts with the chip that creates the image. Sony’s projectors use three chips, each comprised of 8.8 million pixels, for a total of 26.4 million pixels. This is four times more pixels than a standard HD projector, which means the pixels on the chip need to be smaller, at just four microns apart. This is much more complex to manufacture. When shopping for a 4K projector, spending more can reap myriad benefits. Brightness will be much greater and contrast ratios

Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

higher. Bigger screens need more brightness, a benefit of which is superior viewing in rooms that aren’t lightproof, and more detail in dark areas of the scene. As you go up the pricing scale, colour accuracy also improves, and the latest projectors are compatible with new HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Vision colour modes that bring incredibly vivid colours to the screen. More content will arrive for these colour formats over the next year or two – although there’s currently a bit of a format war among these technologies. Cheaper projectors use globes to light the chips, whereas more expensive units are moving to laser illumination. Lasers have better blacks, are much brighter and are generally quieter. They also last longer: up to 20,000 hours maintenance-free, versus around 3000 for globe-lit types. If you’re setting up a home cinema in a relatively small room, go for a ‘short-throw’ lens on your projector, which produces a very large display from a close range. The Sony VPL-VZ1000ES – unique in that it looks more like a coffee table than a projector – can throw out a huge, 147inch display from a distance of just 18cm. However, a more typical installation will be from the ceiling, where it’s important to take into account that these projectors can weigh up to 45kg. The current king of 4K projectors is Sony’s VPLVW5000ES (below), retailing for $90,000. The same brand’s VPL-VW760ES, due any day now, supports the new colour modes and lists at $23,000. Regardless of which brand you go for, projectors can pump out a display size that makes even the bigger TVs look tiny.


s far as appealing travel destinations go, Frankfurt is probably not at the top of too many bucket lists. Sure, there’s the forests of the Taunus Hills and the restful Rhine nearby, but Frankfurt is usually about finance meetings or a fast flight connection to somewhere else. Except if it’s every second September, when the world’s car makers and media descend on the city for the biennial IAA – Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung – better known as the Frankfurt Motor Show. As a front-line motoring journalist in newspapers, magazines and online, I’m lucky enough to get to most of the world’s major motor shows, from the cold and gloom of Detroit in January to the neon glare of Tokyo in late October. Despite the Frankfurt Motor Show being Europe’s largest, it’s somehow the one I least look forward to. That is, until I wander into the sprawling Messe Congress Centre, just two kilometres west of the CBD, where the show takes place. There’s a certain organised chaos to the 11 halls, one of which is devoted solely to Mercedes-Benz. This year, its headline act was the Project One. At €2.275 million, this Formula 1-inspired supercar is the most expensive road-going model in the company’s 131year history. Add about €1m in local taxes and you’re looking at A$5 million for what is the closest thing to an F1 car for the road. For that you get a genuine F1 pedigree; Project One uses a detuned version of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo in Lewis Hamilton’s F1 machine which, along with various additional forms of electric propulsion, takes the total output to 750kW. That the Project One will require an engine rebuild every 50,000km is unlikely to faze any of the 275 owners of what will likely be the world’s fastest road car. (The Aston Martin Valkyrie and McLaren BP23 are both preparing to take a tilt at that title).

Project One was also a taste of a four-wheeled world that will be shaped by electricity. Frankfurt 2017 was very much about batteries and motors, especially down at BMW – a mere two-kilometre stroll, at the opposite end of the Messe complex. As well as previewing its Range Rover-rivalling X7 SUV with a bold, even brusque concept and showing off the stunning 8-Series (the replacement for the 6-Series), BMW previewed the 2021 arrival of its latest, electric ‘i’ car. The i Vision Dynamics concept signalled a new look with an enclosed kidney grille and boasts a 600km allelectric range. The luxury elite was showcased with Rolls-Royce’s latest Phantom flagship (subject of a major feature in our next issue – Ed.), while Bentley finally pulled the wraps off its latest Continental GT, the third generation of the muscular coupé. For now, the GT is available solely with a W12 engine, but expect a V8 and, a little later, a V6 hybrid, as the brand embraces the imminent electric era. Ferrari showcased its new Portofino, replacement for the California, which Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne had criticised some months earlier as being not quite right for the brand. The Portofino ups the stakes in both style and speed, the four-seat, folding-hardtop convertible having much more tailored lines and a more powerful 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Underneath, a new aluminium structure promises “significant” weight savings and added stiffness, giving the Portofino more pace and sharper dynamics. If it’s true racetrack pace you’re chasing, Porsche’s latest addition to the 911 family is more likely to appeal. The GT3 Touring takes the naturally aspirated, highrevving 4.0-litre engine from the regular GT3, but deletes the prominent rear wing for a stealthy look. With the famous Nürburgring circuit just a two-hour drive away – some of it on unrestricted autobahn – perhaps it’s worth hanging around in Frankfurt a little longer, after all.


This year’s edition of Europe’s largest motor show was all about supercars, hyper-hybrids and electrics

Guest columnist: Toby Hagon

Inside the Frankfurt Motor Show

November–December 2017 |



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Photo: Jason Busch

FASTER Getaways A private jet can make these seven alluring but remote resorts seem much closer by Shaun Tolson


hen Homer wrote “the journey is the thing”, suggesting that the transit is more rewarding than the destination, Odysseus wasn’t on his way to an exclusive resort that is off the beaten path or on the other side of the world. And he didn’t have only a limited amount of time to enjoy the visit. When you’re in that situation, the journey is the thing you want to complete as quickly as possible. A private jet makes that feasible with these seven resorts, each of which has an airport or landing strip on-site or in close proximity.

Laucala Island

FLIGHT PLANS The grooved-concrete landing strip on Laucala Island stretches 1150 metres, which is long enough for most midsize private jets to land and take off. Fees can be costly – as much as US$18,000 a visit. On-site customs, immigration, and biosecurity services are offered for an additional cost.

The grounds of Fiji’s Laucala Island resort ( include a private airstrip for Air Laucala charter flights to and from Nadi International Airport, which is about 45 minutes away by plane. The airstrip can also accommodate a midsize jet, and guests can make arrangements to clear immigrations and customs on-site. The resort, which opened at the end of 2008, was built by the Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz, who co-founded the Red Bull brand. Not surprisingly, a seemingly unlimited supply of the energy drink is available to guests, as is coconut milk, which references the 1400-hectare island’s past as a coconut plantation. Accommodations include 25 one- and two-bedroom thatchroofed villas and the three-bedroom Delana Hilltop Estate. The resort also features five restaurants, a 2000 square-metre swimming pool, a spa and a 6200-metre golf course designed by David McLay Kidd. November-December 2017 |



Denver is one of the few cities with flights to an airport near Amangiri (below) or Bandon Dunes (opposite)

Amangiri’s location near some of the Southwest’s most dramatic national parks attracts adventure seekers


Although Amangiri ( is located in the continental United States – in Canyon Point, Utah – it’s not easy to get to if you fly commercially. Arizona’s Page Municipal Airport is just 25 minutes by car from the resort, but it’s serviced by one provider – Great Lakes Airlines – which offers direct flights from only Denver and Phoenix. Amangiri’s 34 suites are housed in modern buildings that are made from natural materials, allowing the resort to blend into the desert landscape and not distract from the spectacular vistas.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

The property may be best known for its spa, which offers a treatment menu that includes a variety of Navajo healing rituals. However, Amangiri’s location near some of the Southwest’s most dramatic national parks and protected areas also attracts adventure seekers. The resort offers early morning hot-air balloon tours of the nearby Navajo Mountain, the Vermilion Cliffs, and other geological formations. You can also explore the paleontological sites of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with an expert guide. Or you can kayak along the shoreline of Lake Powell.

FLIGHT PLANS The 1800 metre-long runway at Page Municipal Airport ( airport) can accommodate a Gulfstream G650. Lake Powell Jet Center ( is one of three FBOs (fixed-base operators) at the airport.

Photo: (opposite) Ken Hayden

Bandon Dunes

If you golf, a visit to Bandon Dunes (, on the south-west coast of Oregon, should be on your bucket list. The resort features five distinct layouts, and their designers include such luminaries as David McLay Kidd, Tom Doak and Ben Crenshaw. The resort’s namesake course may be the closest US representation of a traditional Scottish links course. Aircraft as large as a Boeing Business Jet 737 can land at and take off from Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in

North Bend, Oregon, which is about 35 minutes by car from the resort. Two commercial airlines serve the airport, but they offer direct flights from only Denver and San Francisco. In addition to golf, Bandon Dunes offers five lodging options and six restaurants. When not on the course, in a dining room or at a bar, you can explore the dunes on a nearly 10 kilometrelong network of hiking trails, kayak on the Pacific Ocean or nearby Coquille River, charter a deep-sea fishing boat, or indulge in a deep-tissue or sports massage at the resort’s massage centre.

FLIGHT PLANS Southwest Oregon Regional Airport (, which is a 35-minute drive from the resort, accommodates business jets of any size. Its runway is nearly 1800 metres long. Fees can be more than US$1000 a night, depending on the size of the aircraft. The airport’s only FBO is Coos Aviation (coos​

November-December 2017 |



Four Seasons Resort Lanai

FLIGHT PLANS The Lanai Airport (, which is state-owned and operated, is about 20 minutes by car from the resort. Its 1525-metre runway can accommodate most business jets. The airport includes a commercial terminal and two FBOs.

Photo: (left) Barbara Kraft

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai is on the less-developed but still aircraft-accessible Hawaiian island

Hawaii draws more than eight million visitors a year; most go to Maui or Oahu. If you want to avoid the crowds, go to the less-developed and less-inhabited island of Lanai, which has its own airport. The Four Seasons Resort Lanai (, the only operating resort on the island, reopened earlier this year following an extensive renovation that rejuvenated the guest rooms and suites by adding mahogany floors, teak-and-zebrawood walls and 75-inch televisions. The resort’s amenities include an adults-only pool that has a waterfall, cabanas and lava-rock grottos; a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course that offers ocean views on every hole; and Nobu Lanai and several other new dining options.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

FLIGHT PLANS The runway at Costa Esmeralda Airport (aeropuertocostaesmeralda. com) is 1525 metres long, which is sufficient for jets as large as the Gulfstream V. The airport has an on-site customs department.

Mukul Resort

In 2013, Don Carlos Pellas, president of Grupo Pellas, which owns the Flor de Caña rum brand, opened Mukul Resort ( on the southwestern coast of Nicaragua (known as the Emerald Coast). He wanted to create “a premier experience for guests so they feel at home as they discover the Nicaragua that I love”. Pellas then made it easier for guests to reach the resort by building the Costa Esmeralda Airport, which opened in 2015 and is located only 10 minutes away. The resort is part of Guacalito de la Isla, a $315 million private beach community. On-property activities include spa treatments, golf on the David

McLay Kidd-designed course and surfing packages that offer 90-minute lessons and two days of board use. You can leave the grounds for a day of sportfishing or a visit to the Pellas family’s private lake house in the city of Granada. Mukul also offers day trips to the nearby fishing village of Gigante – where you can get a taste of the local culture – and the Cerro Negro, where thrill-seekers can ash-board 215 metres down the side of the barren volcano. If you like rum, you can take a helicopter ride to the Flor de Caña distillery for a private tour or stay at the resort and enjoy the daily rum tastings. The resort also has a walk-in humidor stocked with a vast selection of Central American cigars.

A new airport makes it easy to fly a business jet to Mukul Resort

The resort is part of Guacalito de la Isla, a $315 million private beach community

November-December 2017 |



qualia (, the Hamilton Island resort that, when it opened 10 years ago, redefined island luxury in Australia with its sun-soaked pavilions with infinity plunge pools overlooking the sea. It has recently reopened with a fresh new manicured look. You might call it the winds of change. Cyclone Debbie, which battered the northern Queensland coast in April this year, thankfully caused no structural damage. However, the resort took the opportunity to bring forward planned refurbishments, spending almost $10 million on landscaping, soft


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

furnishings and the acquisition of a stylish new Palm Beach 55 motor yacht available exclusively for qualia guests keen on exploring the beautiful Whitsundays. Besides having the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s whitest beach on your doorstep, other reasons to visit include a range of dining experiences, priority access to the only Australian 18-hole championship course on its own island, an award-winning spa and a host of private tours. What hasn’t changed is qualia’s appeal, still as timeless as the perfectly framed views across the Whitsunday Passage from your private pool. – LEE ATKINSON

FLIGHT PLANS Hamilton Island Airport ( is large enough to handle daily commercial flights from Sydney, Melbourne and other Australian cities. Its runway can accommodate a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320, so it’s long enough for any business jet. qualia provides chauffeured rides from the airport to the resort, which is less than three kilometres away.

Photo: Hamilton Island/Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A $10 million refurbishment of qualia was completed in the wake of Cyclone Debbie


You can take a guided tour through a jungle of ancient banyan trees and learn about the native flora and fauna

Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa

The Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa in the Maldives ( has its own private arrival and departure lounge at the Gan International Airport, which can accommodate the largest business jets. From the lounge, which is called the Executive Terminal, a Shangri-La speedboat will ferry you from the airport to the resort in five minutes. At the resort, you can take a guided


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

tour through a jungle of ancient banyan trees and learn about the native flora and fauna along the way. The resort also has a marked snorkelling channel that leads snorkellers out to the reef. Experienced scuba divers can tour a torpedoed British oil tanker and other sites not far from the property. You can also try to swim with sea turtles. The accommodations include 60 overwater villas and eight villas that are built into trees. Each of the latter offers nearly 230 square metres of living space.

FLIGHT PLANS At nearly 2650 metres, the runway at Gan International Airport ( is long enough for any business jet. A new 3500metre runway was scheduled to open in October. The resort’s Executive Terminal at the airport offers on-site customs services and baggage screening.

Photo: Markus Gortz

From the airport, you can reach Villingili in five minutes in the resort’s speedboat




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Britannia keeps its cool Looking for somewhere to lay your head in the heart of London? Don’t miss these newly launched lodgings by Keith Austin


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


nyone who has spent time in London recently will know that, despite the apocalyptic mutterings of Brexit doom, this sprawling, multicultural metropolis is as vibrant and as exciting as it’s ever been. It might not be the Swinging Sixties all over again, but the British capital more than holds its own as a global Capital of Cool. Nowhere is this more evident than in new hotel openings, with three funky new properties coming onto the market this year – two in Shoreditch, East London’s edgy hipster zone, and another in the formerly fuddy-duddy environs of the City’s Square Mile financial district.

The Ned Among the many grand old buildings that jostle for space around busy Bank junction in central London, the façade of The Ned hotel doesn’t exactly stand out. It’s not unimpressive in the least, but it’s got stiff competition around it in the shape of the Bank of England (1828), Mansion House (1752) and the Royal Exchange (1844). In fact, it looks just like what it is: a grand old bank, albeit from the days when banks were more substantial than today’s flimsy high street pop-ups. As a Londoner born and bred, I’ve walked past it hundreds, if not thousands, of times and have never thought to give it a second glance. Not that it was just any bank. This was a bank in the heart of the financial district, designed in 1924 by none other than Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens, one of the foremost architects of his day. His brief was to create a striking new headquarters for the Midland Bank in keeping with its status as one of the biggest banks in the world. As impressive as it was then … it’s just as impressive today. Step through the main front doors and it’s like stepping back in time. The Grade I heritage-listed building, which stood empty for many years, has been restored to its former glamour by the team behind Soho House – and nowhere more so than in the 3000 square-metre Grand Banking Hall on the ground floor. Here, in the voluminous, high-ceilinged space where hundreds of tellers once beavered away behind walnut-panelled counters, the 92 original jade-like African verdite columns have been kept and the area transformed into a busy, buzzy series of classy bars and eateries. Even the old circular reception desk has been dragooned into action and is now the platform for a stage featuring a grand piano. Upstairs there are 252 bedrooms – all booked out at the time of our visit just one week after opening – while downstairs, Ned Club members and hotel guests can take advantage of the Vault Bar inside the, you guessed it, bank vault. Here, through the 20-tonne, almost comic-book vault door (it was said to be the inspiration for the Fort Knox vault in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger), you can partake of your favourite cocktail among the more than 3000 safety deposit boxes – all now sadly empty. In total there are nine restaurants, a 620 square-metre gym complete with boxing ring, a 20-metre indoor pool where they used to keep the gold bullion, and a hammam-style spa. And that’s without the members-only rooftop pool and bar. The Ned, 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ;

(opposite) The imposing entrance to the Ned’s Club Vault Bar; (this page, from top) The Ned’s rooms maintain the building’s heritage feel; Nickel Bar; the members-only rooftop pool and bar

November-December 2017 |



One old-fashioned mile across London from The Ned as the crow flies is the purpose-built red brick square of The Curtain Hotel, which opened this year and is the first European venture for New York hotelier Michael Achenbaum. Tucked away just off Great Eastern Street behind a brutal multistorey car park-cum-car wash, in the heart of pumping Shoreditch, The Curtain is a quirky boutique hotel with just 120 rooms and suites. Compact it might be, but it’s plenty packed. There’s an outpost (the first) of Harlem’s renowned Red Rooster restaurant downstairs (choose the amazing corn bread and the delicious herbed chicken if you go) as well as a guests-only rooftop restaurant, bar and heated pool. There’s also an intimate burlesque-style club and live performance space in the basement. By the way, Red Rooster (no relation to the Australian fast-food chain) boasts a Sunday brunch accompanied by the house gospel choir. The rooms are perfectly proportioned and beautifully furnished. And I love a deep and luxurious clawfoot bath as much as the next person, but finding out that the rain shower also doubles as a steam room makes my day. There are also lovely, fun touches in the hallways and rooms, with large photographs of David Bowie and other pop/rock stars scattered around the place and toiletries from the amusingly named Bish Bash Bosh range. The inside door of my wardrobe door was a cute teenager’s wall of snipped-out magazine photographs of Bowie, Elton John, Iggy Pop and Tina Turner. Lovely jubbly. The Curtain, 45 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT;

(from top) The Curtain’s Shoreditch Suite; the rooftop LIDO Restaurant and Bar; (right) veiled views from a Loft Terrace room; (far right) an outpost of Harlem’s renowned Red Rooster restaurant


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Photos: Adrian Houston

The Curtain


Photos: (top and middle left) Will Pryce; (middle right) Claire Menary

(above and left) Minimalist interiors in Nobu’s Premium Room; (below) Nobu Restaurant’s Tai Dry Miso; (bottom) a tipple for every taste at the restaurant’s bar

The new Nobu Hotel isn’t far away from The Curtain as that crow flies – in fact, it could walk it in a few minutes if it wanted to give its wings a rest. Also just off Great Eastern Street, the Nobu group’s first European venture finally opened its doors on July 1 and has quickly become a popular hangout for the In Crowd. It has an understatedly elegant façade that cascades down one side in a series of suite terraces, exposed girders reflecting the formerly industrial area in which it sits. As you might expect from Nobu, the hotel (143 rooms and seven suites) is a sophisticated fusion of East and West. The reception area is a triumph of Eastern cool – all muted, earthy colours and meditative ambience – and the rooms are thoughtfully designed and luxuriously furnished. There’s a sort of bento boxcum-industrial chic aesthetic about them that works well with the pale grey and faded gold colour palette. Another nice touch is the customdesigned media cabinet. Again, there’s a bento box feel as it folds out to reveal a private bar, a traditional Japanese tea set and a 55-inch television. The belly of this beautiful beast, though, is downstairs where the 240-seat Nobu restaurant lives. There’s a sushi bar, an 18-seat chef’s table and the most enormous collection of bottled spirits piled up in an imposing show-wall behind the bar. Nobu Hotel, 10-50 Willow Street, London, EC2A 4BH; November-December 2017 |


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The roadster less travelled


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Four Seasons captures la dolce vita with its new classic car road trip through Italy and France by Amanda Millin photography by Mark Mann


t is April in Milan, and the city is in full bloom, its palazzi and sunbaked pavements flooded with welldressed designers and other creative types attending the annual Salone del Mobile furniture fair. Not far from the bustling fairgrounds, however, at the Four Seasons Hotel Milan, the topic of conversation isn’t Tom Dixon or Ron Arad; it is instead Alfa Romeo, Porsche and MercedesBenz. “Are you comfortable driving a manual?” asks Martino Motta Pirman, the CEO of vintage car agency Joey Rent (joeyrent. com). Pirman’s company has partnered with the Four Seasons ( to offer a new road-trip experience and he is sizing me up as a driver. I answer with a resounding yes – my daily drive is a six-speed – and eagerly ask which vintage model Pirman has picked out for me. “Aspetta, ragazza!” he responds. Wait. To be sure, any car enthusiast would share in my excitement. Introduced in April, the Route to La Dolce Vita is an exquisite car lover’s adventure in which travellers take one of Joey Rent’s classic motors on a curated road trip between the Four Seasons Hotel November–December 2017 |


Joey Rent’s 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider (shown above in front of the Four Seasons Hotel Milan) is a road-tripper’s dream


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Milan, the Four Seasons Hotel Florence, and the Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel, on the French Riviera. Along the way, they can explore the Mediterranean towns of Portofino and the Cinque Terre, the Barolo wine country, the Carrara marble mines, the famed Mille Miglia rally route and much more (see map, page 82). Throughout the trip, a guide from Joey Rent follows the travellers in a modern car – connected via radio for seamless communication – ​ ensuring VIP service at every turn. Guests have five cars to choose from, ranging

from a 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster (one of James Dean’s favoured models) to a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster. On this fine spring morning, however, I have asked Pirman to surprise me with a car of his choice – and the anticipation is killing me. Fortunately, I am awaiting my fate in the Four Seasons’ pale-pink Renaissance Suite (a favourite of Karl Lagerfeld), fantasising about winding country roads and ochre landscapes while dining on a decadent breakfast of eggs Benedict and flaky croissants. At last my chariot arrives, a pristine fire engine-red gem. “Questa macchina è bellissima, sì?” – This car is beautiful, right? – asks my Joey Rent guide, Manuel. It’s a soft-top 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider: a quintessential Italian four-speed roadster designed by Pininfarina and one of the best-kept secrets on the vintage market. Its simple lines, rounded wings, recessed lights and lengthy wheelbase all add to its movie-star good looks. With Manuel at my side in the passenger’s seat (a request I’ve made because of my status as a solo traveller), I manoeuvre the Giulietta through narrow lanes and traffic-filled boulevards until the lively city streets turn into rolling green countryside. The crisp smell of the


car’s beautifully worn, dark-blue leather interior fills my nostrils; the husky purr of its 1.3-litre twin-cam engine courses through my body. Nearing Parma, we pass hectare after hectare of farmland dotted with grazing cows – the magicians behind the region’s Parmigiano ​Reggiano cheese. An hour later, we whiz past the canary yellow Ferrari Museum of Modena. We eventually stop just outside of Bologna’s city centre for a mouth-watering lunch of parmesan, prosciutto and traditional Bolognese tortellini in brodo at La Bottega di Franco. Stomach full, I am back behind the wheel just as a cluster of ominous-looking clouds disperses to reveal a brilliant blue sky. The sun reflects brightly off my windshield as I navigate southward past quiet hamlets and ancient villages where modest stone churches and centuries-​old castles dot the verdant views. Eventually the landscape changes once again, this time ceding to the familiar red rooftops of Florence. It’s a bittersweet moment when Manuel and I roll up to the Four Seasons Hotel Florence. The restored palazzo’s Renaissance-era portico is a welcome sight, but I have become quite attached to my Giulietta after a long and blissful drive. My separation anxiety eases, however, as I step inside and glimpse the hotel’s frescoed lobby and statue-filled garden – just another stop on the route to la dolce vita.

“Questa macchina è bellissima, sì?” This car is beautiful, right?

November-December 2017 |



Road rules Italy

Keys to the the Villa › A wellpreserved treasure of the French Riviera, Villa Santo Sospir – the estate where artist Jean Cocteau lived with his partner for 13 years – is a must-see for culture vultures. Admission is by invitation only – and Four Seasons can get you one.

Say Cheese › Like champagne, authentic parmesan cheese can only be produced in certified regions, such as Reggio Emilia, Modena and Parma. Italy’s famous dry-cured ham, prosciutto, is also made in Parma, making the city ideal for a gastronomic tour. Don’t miss Leporati Prosciutti Langhirano and Iris Farm along the way.;

Nice Art › Explore Nice’s Musée Marc Chagall and Musée Matisse – a pair of institutions devoted to two of France’s most important artists – with a tour arranged by the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat. musees-nationaux-alpes​maritimes. fr; Wining and Flying › Sample Provençal rosé with a private tasting at Lorgues’s Château de Berne. After a few glasses, skip the drive back in favour of a short helicopter ride over the coast.


Drop By › Nestled on a quiet cobblestone street in Modena, Osteria Francescana is ranked No. 2 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Save room for Massimo Bottura’s famous Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart!, which the three-Michelin-star chef genuinely created by accident. Chef’s Choice › In Piedmont, chef Bruno Cingolani of the family-owned Dulcis Vitis restaurant uncovers the wonders of the region with cooking classes, private dinners and vineyard tours at the coveted Barolo producer Renato Corino.

Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Off the Charts Truffle Pursuit › In late autumn or early winter, the hunt for Tuscany’s rare white truffle is on. Book the Truffle Experience at the familyrun Savini Tartufi for an immersive search for the aromatic treasures. Forever Ferrari › Located in Modena (the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari), the Ferrari Museum showcases the legendary marque’s most important models. Ferrari owners also get insider access to the brand’s closed-to-thepublic factory.

Every trip needs a detour. The following experiences may be out of the way, but each is well worth the extra time. Grape Escape › Roughly an hour north-east of Milan, in the Franciacorta region of Lombardy, Ca’ del Bosco produces some of Italy’s best spumante. Talk shop with owner Maurizio Zanella, a legendary vintner and vintage-car enthusiast.

Marble Marvel › Michelangelo’s David is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions, but few venture to see where the master artist sourced his blue-grey marble. Four Seasons can arrange a three-hour private Jeep tour of the striking Carrara mines for as many as eight people.

Gimignano for Gelato › Nestled on a hillside roughly 50 kilometres south-west of Florence, the medieval town of San Gimignano is an authentic slice of old Italy. The gelato at Gelateria Dondoli is worth the trip on its own.

Need for Speed › Trace the tracks of the Mille Miglia’s famed racing route, starting on the curvy, narrow roads of Pistoia and climbing through the Abe­tone Pass.

Cruising Como › Explore Italy’s famed playground for the rich and famous with a private yacht charter on Lake Como, arranged by the Four Seasons in Milan. – A.M.

Map: Harry Malt


Yachting Excellence Since 1974

The hills are alive Switzerland’s new engineering marvel, the 57-kilometre Gotthard Base Tunnel, prompts a retracing of the breathtaking historic route through the Alps by John Carey


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


heese isn’t the only thing in Switzerland full of holes. In Europe’s most mountainous country, so is the scenery. There’s an audio presentation cycling through four languages aboard the Gotthard Panorama Express as it rolls steadily towards peaks thrusting high into a clear sky. The English version tells us we’re heading for “the most perforated mountain in the world”. Saint Gotthard isn’t the name of a specific summit. Instead, it applies to an entire range. The Saint Gotthard Massif separates Switzerland from Italy and it’s a big, beautiful and formidable barrier. Its high points top 3000 metres; not nearly enough to rank among the giants of the Alps, but still more than 750 metres taller than Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko. It’s almost 150 years since the Swiss punched the first hole through Saint Gotthard. Drilling and dynamiting for a decade, they created a new rail route through the Alpine heart of Europe, a direct link between the Mediterranean and the North Sea. Pack animals and, later, wagons had been carrying goods over the Gotthard Pass for around six centuries, but snow would block the route for half the year, from November to May. Obviously, a railway running through tunnels would have vastly more freight capacity and could operate year-round. The feat of that first rail tunnel remains a source of pride for the Swiss to this day, according to historian Kilian Elsasser. He’s an expert on everything Gotthard, but especially the original tunnel. “It was the big achievement of Switzerland in the last 150 years, I would say. The railway line made it so important, this Gotthard Pass. Before, it was one of several passes through the Alps and without the line it would still be one of several passes through the Alps.” From an engineering point of view, this was a madly ambitious project. It meant boring a 15-kilometre main tunnel, longer than any other in the world at the time. To create gradients gentle enough for hard-working locomotives to climb, the track would have to corkscrew through rock lining both the gorges that led to the main tunnel, 1100 metres up. It was one of the first engineering projects in the world to make large-scale use of dynamite, patented only a few years earlier. It’s estimated that 1000 tonnes of the powerful explosive, invented by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, was used.

The feat of that first rail tunnel remains a source of pride for the Swiss to this day

November-December 2017 |



It took a multinational crew and four 3000-tonne tunnel-boring machines to bore the longest tunnel in the world

Passenger trains can travel through the twin tunnels at 200km/h

The 57-kilometre Gotthard Base Tunnel reclaims the Longest Tunnel in the World title for Switzerland


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Drama and tragedy punctuated the decade it took to construct the Gotthard Tunnel. The labourers, mainly Italians, protested over working conditions and pay in 1875. The Swiss Army, brought in to quell the unrest, fired on the strikers and killed four of them. The workers had a point; at least 199 are known to have died in accidents in the tunnel. And the Gotthard Tunnel’s Genevan chief engineer, Louis Favre, died while inspecting work on it in 1879. Relentless pressure to keep to budget and timetable provoked his fatal heart attack, it was said. The precision of Favre’s work only became apparent the year after his death. When the tunnels driving south from Göschenen on the Swiss side and north from Airolo on the Italian side finally met, their divergences in height and direction were trivial. The first train steamed through the Gotthard Tunnel in 1882. It would be almost a century until another tunnel punctured the Saint Gotthard Massif. Opened in 1980, the new road tunnel had also taken a decade to dig. As it follows the same route as the rail tunnel, the road tunnel’s length is similar, at 17 kilometres. However, both the original rail tunnel and the younger road tunnel are eye-blink short compared to the latest route bored through this part of the Alps. The 57-kilometre Gotthard Base Tunnel, officially opened in June 2016 and fully operational by December that year, reclaims the Longest Tunnel in the World title for Switzerland. It’s also the world’s deepest traffic tunnel; its maximum depth of almost 2500 metres is similar to the deepest mines. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is, in reality, a pair of tubes, each with a single pair of rails running through it. Boring the tunnels was done in less than a decade, although the whole project took 17 years to complete. The four TBMs (tunnel boring machines) used were monsters: German-made, they were each more than 400 metres long, weighed around 3000 tonnes and had 5000kW motors powering their cutting wheels. In a tunnelling tradition, they were given dainty, sunny nicknames by the tunnellers; the northbound machines were Sissi and Heidi, the southbound duo Gabi I and Gabi II. The tunnels they bored between Erstfeld and Bodio are straighter, flatter and lower than Favre’s Gotthard Tunnel. Hundreds of freight trains, each carrying triple the maximum tonnage allowed on the old line, speed through daily at 100km/h. Passenger trains are fewer but faster. They’re permitted to do 200km/h through the Gotthard Base Tunnel. According to the readout displayed on the screen above the aisle in my First Class carriage, mine is doing exactly 199km/h. The ????? Trenitalia Frecciarossa (Red Arrow), bound for Basel from Milan, takes less than 18 minutes to pass beneath the Alps. Such speed lops a useful 40 minutes or so off the pre-Base Tunnel travel time between northern Italy and central Switzerland. From Milano Centrale to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, for example, now takes a little under three-and-a-half hours. The tunnel is unlit, so the impression of speed is all sonic. The hiss and rustle of disturbed air can be heard through the doubleglazed window and there’s a low-frequency rumble from the bogies below. The ride is completely smooth. I leave the Frecciarossa at Lucerne. With all freight trains now using the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the old line is now a tourist attraction. Regular local services still run, but the queen of the line is the new Gotthard Panorama Express. It runs once daily from this lovely lakeside city all the way to Lugano on weekdays, but stopping short at Bellinzona on weekends. Another Gotthard Panorama Express runs once a day in the reverse direction. Lucerne is home to the Swiss Transport Museum, which attracts more visitors than any other collection of stuff in the country. Sited on the lake shore, a Gotthard Base Tunnel boring machine

A steam boat operates between Lucerne and FlĂźelen, where you can board the Gotthard Panorama Express (below)

November-December 2017 |



Switzerland can justifiably claim to have pioneered modern tourism back in the time of Queen Victoria, herself a visitor to this part of the country

PILATUSBAHN The Swiss excel at daring mountain-climbing railways, as well as those that burrow through them. Perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Pilatusbahn. This is the steepest cog railway in the world, ascending from the town of Alpnachstad on Lake Lucerne nearly to the summit of Mount Pilatus. Although the line is only 4600 metres long, it climbs more than 1600 metres in this short distance. Normal cogwheel drive systems engage with teeth cut in the top of a special central rail and rely on the weight of the train to keep everything meshing. But make a line too steep and there’s the danger of the train’s drive wheel jumping out of engagement. Spectacular disaster rapidly follows … The cogwheel system devised by Swiss engineer, inventor and entrepreneur Eduard Locher solved the problem. His system used a pair of horizontal toothed wheels engaging with the sides of a central rail. The wheels featured bottom flanges extending under this rail, eliminating the possibility of the teeth jumping out of engagement. Having come up with the idea, Locher then set up his own company to build the Pilatusbahn. Opened in 1889, the Pilatusbahn cashed in on the increasing cachet of the Alps. Queen Victoria had been carried to the top of the mountain by a horse or mule in the summer of 1868, and raved about the views and purity of the air 2000 metres up. The Pilatusbahn remains the only mountain railway to use Locher’s system. In 2001 it was named a Historical Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Alpnachstad can be reached from Lucerne by train in less than 20 minutes or by ferry, which takes longer but is more enjoyable. The Pilatusbahn usually runs from May to November. The ride to the top takes a leisurely 30 minutes, but isn’t for anyone who suffers from vertigo. It’s possible to spend a night at the top, in the Hotel Pilatus-Kulm. Rising early, it’s a magnificent place to see the first rays of a fresh day touch the Alps.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

cutting wheel stands adjacent to its entrance. This work-worn tool, around nine metres in diameter, could easily be mistaken for some piece of modern sculpture. Inside the sprawling museum is an area dedicated to the Gotthard Base Tunnel. The highlight is a 1:1000 cutaway model, which makes clear the scale and complexity of the project. Switzerland can justifiably claim to have pioneered modern tourism back in the time of Queen Victoria, herself a visitor to this part of the country. They’re still adept at it, especially if the journey involves rails. But the Gotthard Panorama Express experience begins, at least for those departing from Lucerne, no less romantically with a ferry. The Stadt Luzern, a stately paddle steamer built in the late ’20s, departs a dock in front of Lucerne’s railway station. The ferry’s been converted to run on oil, so there are no sweating stokers shovelling coal into its boiler furnace, but you can see its big, slow-turning three-cylinder engine at work in the centre of the vessel from the main deck. Kilian Elsasser is aboard mainly to deliver a speech to the officials and guests riding this maiden run of the Gotthard Panorama Express. I speak with him after his speech, which had earned him a warm round of applause. As the Stadt Luzern splashes along, Elsasser points out lakeside landmarks. There’s Rütli, the meadow where Switzerland was born in 1291 when three districts – Uri, Unterwalden and Schwyz – swore an oath of alliance against their Austrian Habsburg rulers. Here’s the rock where the maybe-mythical marksman William Tell leaped to freedom in 1307 from a storm-tossed boat. He was being held prisoner by a Habsburg-appointed overlord who’d famously forced him to shoot an apple from his son’s head to avoid punishment for a display of disrespect to the regime. Once free, so the legend goes, Tell used his crossbow again, this time kill his persecutor. These are reasons the Swiss regard this area as the cradle of their nation. Elsasser believes the nearby Gotthard became connected with Switzerland’s sense of independence during

World War II. Determined to preserve their neutrality, the Swiss threatened the destruction of Favre’s strategically important Gotthard Railway should Nazi boots step onto their soil. “It was better than the Brenner,” Elsasser insists, referring to the other major rail route across the Alps, away to the east and running from Italy, via Austria, to Germany. The Swiss line was newer and better-designed, says the historian. “That’s typical Swiss. We don’t invent watches, but then we build the best. That’s also like our railways.” The Stadt Luzern docks at Flüelen at the southern end of Lake Lucerne. It’s only a few steps to the Gotthard Panorama Express waiting at the adjacent station. The train pulls out punctually and heads south along the gradually narrowing valley of the Reuss River. After passing the northern portal of the Gotthard Base Tunnel at Erstfeld, the line spirals to gain height, providing passengers with three different views of the pretty little church of Wassen. It doesn’t take long to traverse Favre’s 15-kilometre tunnel. Soon we’re looking at the scenery of Ticino, Switzerland’s Italianspeaking canton, and feeling warmer. The train now spirals downwards, passing through gorges that were the most difficult part of the original path over the Gotthard. The train passes the south portal of the Gotthard Base Tunnel before pulling into the station at Bellinzona, famed for its trio of castles. I ask Elsasser, who so loves the old Gotthard line that he bought a place in Göschenen at the northern end of Favre’s tunnel, what he thinks of the new Base Tunnel. “As a Swiss citizen I’m very proud, because we really did a masterwork,” the historian replies. Elsasser says he voted ‘Yes’ in the referendums required in ultra-democratic Switzerland to approve the project, and rode on the first passenger train to travel through it in June 2016. “But, on the other hand,” he continues, “it could be a tube in London or Paris. The big mountains and all this history, you don’t realise is there because it’s just a tunnel.” Elsasser leans close and lowers his voice. “In a way, it’s boring, you know …”

Stunning scenery awaits at the end of the tunnel

November-December 2017 |


New York state of mind


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Embraer’s Manhattan Airship will immerse passengers in the grandeur of the city’s Art Deco era by Michelle Seaton


hat if the interior of a private jet could tell a story? What if it could transport you to another era? These were the questions brought to experiential designer Eddie Sotto by Jay Beever, vice president of interior design for Embraer Executive Jets, the Brazilian aircraft maker’s Florida-based business-jet division (embraer​ Specifically, Beever wanted Sotto to reimagine the interior of the Lineage 1000E – the largest aircraft in the Embraer Executive Jets fleet – with an Art Deco motif. He also wanted to demonstrate how far Embraer’s engineers could push the design of a private-jet interior. He presented Sotto with the idea and turned him loose. The result is the Manhattan Airship, a design concept with a starting price of about US$80 million (A$100 million).

November–December 2017 |



“We want to move away from casual and bring back a reason for people to get dressed up to get on the plane” – Jay Beever, Embraer

Executive Jets

The Salon Dumont includes eight reclining seats


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

With a cabin that’s 25.6 metres long and two metres tall, the Lineage is a good choice for an over-the-top design. In a typical configuration, the aircraft has five passenger zones, which can include a master bedroom with a queen-size bed and shower. Beever wanted Sotto (sottostudios. com) to create an interior with so many interesting details and cultural references that passengers would be reluctant to leave the cabin when they arrived at their destination. “This won’t feel like a charter trip,” he says. “I want it to feel more like a cocktail lounge with an intimate dining area.” The Manhattan Airship has both. “The future of luxury for us is to give people an experience that surprises them, something they aren’t expecting,” Beever continues. “We want to move away from casual and bring back a reason for people to get dressed up to get on the plane.”

Sotto, the founder and president of SottoStudios/LA, was the senior vice president of concept design for Walt Disney Imagineering, the division that designs and creates the company’s theme parks. “I come out of a culture in which you give me the vision and I’ll nail it,” he says. Beever and Sotto had already worked together on Skyacht One, a nauticalthemed interior concept for the Lineage that was a highlight of the 2013 Robb Report (US) Ultimate Gift Guide. The Manhattan Airship also has nautical references. Sotto is a longtime admirer of the Normandie, the French ocean liner that entered service in 1935. It was known for its lavish first-class spaces done in Art Deco, the prevailing style of the day. Many of the spaces featured grand entranceways and large wall murals. Its dining room seated 700 and was lit by pillars of Lalique crystal. Sotto had also toured the Queen Mary, another ocean liner of that period with similar design elements. “I made playlists of the music of the era to teleport myself into the time while I was sketching,” he says. The sketches bounced back and forth between Beever and Sotto for about a month before Beever had the interior ambience he wanted. Sotto’s design calls for portions of the cabin to be outfitted in dark wood flooring and panelling and feature gold- and brasscoloured accents. On the wall of the cabin’s entryway is a metallic mural depicting the Manhattan skyline circa 1930. It’s reminiscent of a mural in the lobby of the Empire State Building that depicts the building itself. It also calls to mind a mural in the Queen Mary that showed the progress of the liner as it crossed the Atlantic. On the left-hand side of the mural is a stylised Manhattan skyline. The entryway leads to the Cloud Club, a lounge area inspired by the rooftop club inside the spire of Manhattan’s Chrysler Building. It includes a bar with retractable bar stools, vintage-inspired sconces and a mohair-and-lambskin divan under a city loft-style window. Beever wanted to showcase Embraer’s ability to install oversize windows and so the Cloud Club’s window is among the largest in the aviation industry. It’s rimmed with accent lighting and surrounded by metallic panels with leaf designs. Adjacent to the Cloud Club is a cinema room with simulated alabaster torchères, surround-sound audio and a 4K video screen. The next space, the cabin’s largest, is the Salon Dumont. It’s named

for the aviation pioneer Albert SantosDumont, a national hero in his native Brazil, where he is widely considered the father of aviation. Beyond the salon is the Crystal Room, where six passengers can dine at a table with decorative inlays. The table, the mohair-covered seats and the light fixtures, which appear to be crystal, are nods to the Normandie’s dining room. Sotto notes that all the fabrics, materials and elements of his design have US Federal Aviation Administration approval – including the mohair. Few aircraft interior designers use it, but it seemed the best choice for the Manhattan Airship because it was a staple fabric of the era his design references. “It’s easy to put in expensive finishes, but that’s just ornament for ornament’s sake,” he says. “We don’t want to do that. We want to give people a sense of story.” Many of the design details can indeed prompt stories. For instance, if a passenger notes the Eiffel Tower rendering in the Salon Dumont, the aircraft’s owner can describe how Dumont gained fame in 1901 for making a hot-air balloon flight around the tower. Each light

Many of the Art Deco design elements reference the ocean liners Normandie and Queen Mary

November-December 2017 |



The Cloud Club was inspired by the rooftop club inside the spire of Manhattan’s Chrysler Building

Six passengers can enjoy a private dinner in the Crystal Room

The Salon Dumont is the cabin’s largest space. It’s named for the aviation pioneer Albert Santos-Dumont

The cabin’s entryway features a metallic mural depicting the Manhattan skyline circa 1930 The cinema room is equipped with surround-sound audio and a 4K video screen

fixture or inlay begs a passenger to ask which iconic building or ship inspired it. Even the exterior design scheme is steeped in history. The stripes are intended to evoke the S1 Locomotive designed by Raymond Loewy, a pioneer of Streamline Moderne. The style emerged from Art Deco and became ubiquitous during the ’30s through the ’50s, appearing in everything from architecture to home appliances. Yet Sotto and Beever didn’t have unlimited licence to re-create all the period design elements. You can’t, for example, install crystal lighting fixtures on an aircraft. The FAA would disapprove and the glass would weigh down the jet. “We had to use a polycarbonate,” says Sotto. “But some things are better to simulate.”


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

The Cloud Club’s window is among the largest in the aviation industry

Exquisite excess


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

The Bugatti Chiron is everything the Veyron was and more – more power, more speed and more money by Basem Wasef


n a sunny spring afternoon, several hours into a drive along a series of winding roads in Portugal’s pastoral heartland, the Bugatti Chiron revealed its true nature. Until that point, the car had performed effortlessly and elegantly, pairing the power of an Olympic weightlifting champion with the precision of a surgeon. But when we reached the start of a long, straight stretch of tarmac and I finally had the chance to drop the hammer, the $3.7 million two-seater transformed into a missile, shooting forward with seemingly endless thrust. The acceleration was seamless and unrelenting, pinning my passenger and me against the quilted-leather seats until I stabbed the left pedal to swiftly and violently reduce the speed.

November-December 2017 |



The onboard telemetry recordings later revealed staggering numbers: the car had reached 377km/h while the quadturbocharged 16-cylinder engine was producing 1093kW – just shy of its 1103kW peak. This performance would be stunning for a racing car, but the Chiron is a streetlegal luxury coupé. The show of beastly aggression contrasted with the refined character the car had been displaying and revealed its delightful dual personality. Louis Chiron was a Monaco-born racing driver who won more than 20 grands prix from the late ’20s through the ’40s, some of them while competing for the Bugatti factory team. In fact, no driver has earned more podium finishes in a Bugatti than Chiron did. His namesake car is the successor to the Veyron, which, with its four-figure power


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

output and seven-figure price, made other supercars seem almost practical. The Veyron had a 10-year production run that ended in 2015 and included a total of 450 cars of various variants – from the initial 736kW 16.4 to the 883kW 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. Bugatti unveiled the Chiron in March 2016 at the Geneva Motor Show. By December, the French manufacturer had already sold 200 examples. The company began deliveries in March and plans to build 500 examples. According to Bugatti, the Chiron can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 2.5 seconds and reach 200km/h in 6.5 seconds. Its top speed is electronically limited to 420km/h. Bugatti’s goal with the Chiron was to build a vehicle that inspires even more superlatives than its predecessor did. It

has succeeded. Achieving that objective involved a comprehensive weight-savings program and a nearly complete revamp of the engine that powered the Veyron. The Chiron engine’s 16 titanium connecting rods have been strengthened to handle 9.1 tonnes of load, though each weighs less than half a kilo. The intake manifolds are now carbon-fibre instead of aluminium, making them stronger and lighter. And by using lithium-ion-phosphate technology, Bugatti has cut the battery weight in half. It has also lightened the wheels, but the brakes incorporate the first road-going calipers to feature a forged one-piece construction and eight titanium pistons for greater stopping power and pedal feel. According to the company’s head of interior design, Etienne Salomé, only one component of the Chiron was allowed to have significant heft: the Bugatti badge attached to the front grille. It’s a richly finished piece in enamel and silver. But even it weighs only 130 grams. Compared to the Veyron engine, the Chiron’s engines features 95 per cent new parts. It’s lighter, more thermally efficient and more powerful. In addition to the 1103kW, it cranks out 1600Nm of torque. Just as noteworthy as those figures is the way the power is delivered. The four turbochargers, which are 68 per cent larger than the Veyron’s, work together sequentially to spread the torque plateau from 2000 to 6000rpm. The expansive power band offers greater flexibility and acceleration in each of the Chiron’s seven gears, while refinements to the dual-clutch gearbox deliver smoother, quicker shifts. Bugatti says it invested more than 300 hours of wind-tunnel work to optimise the Chiron’s shape for aerodynamics. Because of that testing, the design includes a front curtain that diverts air around the wheels and a flat underbody. The Chiron is constructed largely of carbon-fibre, though the tail-lamp bevel is made from what may be the industry’s

largest single piece of milled aluminium. It stretches 160 centimetres across the tail of the car. A C-shaped strip of polished aluminium frames each door, sweeping from the front wheel well to the A-pillar. The cabin features a similar design element, a C-shaped strip of LED accent lighting that begins at the centre console and wraps overhead between the driver and passenger seats. All the materials in the cabin are what they appear to be: the buttons and knobs are made of machined and knurled aluminium, and the seats and other surfaces are clad in a variety of leathers. The most prominent feature on the dashboard is an analogue speedometer that goes to 420km/h. Forward thinking prompted Bugatti to choose an analogue gauge instead of a digital display, which would be visible only when the car is running. According to the company, at some point in the future when a Chiron is parked on the fairway at Pebble Beach or presented at another concours, spectators will derive a sense of wonder when they gaze at the dashboard and see how fast the car could go. (It’s said that the Chiron could reach 463km/h if its speed weren’t intentionally limited for safety purposes.) The speedometer is flanked by high-resolution screens

Only one component of the Chiron was allowed to have significant heft: the Bugatti badge attached to the front grille. It’s a richly finished piece in enamel and silver

Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt (right) checks on the Chiron’s tail-lamp bevel, a 160cm single piece of milled aluminium

November-December 2017 |



The C-shaped aluminium strip on each side of the Chiron is more than just a styling element; it’s part of an air intake for the car’s quad-turbocharged 16-cylinder engine

At some point in the future when a Chiron is parked on the fairway at Pebble Beach, spectators will derive a sense of wonder when they gaze at the dashboard and see how fast the car could go


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

that display information ranging from oil and tyre pressure to audio settings and satellite navigation directions. Four dials along the centre console can control such functions as heating and air-conditioning or they can be used to show the aforementioned telemetry data: top speed, engine rpm, real-time engine output and so on. Press the Chiron’s steering wheelmounted blue starter button and the engine’s 16 cylinders ignite with a pleasantly bass-heavy exhaust note. While the audio system delivers superb

sound through Accuton speakers that include four tweeters encrusted collectively with a carat of diamonds, you might prefer listening to the deep frequencies of the hulking power plant accented with subtle top notes of turbocharger whine. When you pull the gear selector into drive, it takes just a touch of throttle to propel the Chiron forward. Under slightly firmer throttle pressure the car leaps ahead with effortless acceleration. A firm push of the accelerator yields a staggering amount of thrust that will launch you

towards the next postcode. The prodigiousness of the Chiron’s power band requires attention; the car accumulates speed so quickly that you can reach triple digits before you’re able to calculate the cost of the speeding ticket. But just as quickly as the power train produces speed, a quick dab of the left pedal reduces it. The rear wing automatically deploys when the car reaches 178km/h and if you hit the brakes when it’s deployed, it will tilt forward, catching the air and helping the massive carbon-ceramic brake discs bring you to a swift halt. The Chiron’s handling is intuitive and supple thanks to adaptive suspension that monitors wheel travel and adjusts damping accordingly. The ride is remarkably smooth at slow speeds over rough pavement and the car remains controlled and responsive through medium- and high-speed corners. Though the Bugatti brass say the Chiron can be “easy to drift”, my experience behind the wheel suggests that it would take aggressive inputs to make the car go sideways. Given the Chiron’s power and price, it’s best to take the carmaker’s word for it and not try anything stupid.

Styling with substance

Photos: (top left and top right) Dominic Fraser; (bottom right) Daniel Wollstein

Before taking the Chiron for a spin earlier this year in Malibu, California, Robb Report’s Robert Ross spoke with Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt about the car, its purposeful design and its possible place in history.

The Chiron is constructed largely of carbon-fibre, though the tail-lamp bevel is made from what may be the industry’s largest single piece of milled aluminium

The interior features a C-shaped strip of LED accent lighting that bisects the cabin

You’ve talked about how some of the parts – even some of the subsystems of this car – are “inherently authentic”. Can you explain what you mean by that? It is important that the styling is as authentic as possible. What that means for the Chiron is something we call “form following performance”. If there is styling on the car, it should really have something to do with the performance development of the car. Around the headlamps, the complete architecture is defined by the active air intake. With a two-tonne car, it is very important that the front brakes receive the best cooling; therefore the active air intake is vital for the performance of the car, and it creates the architecture of the headlamp design.

Let me take you around the side of the car. You see the Bugatti signature line here [pointing at the C-shaped aluminium strip that visually divides the front and back of the car’s body]. Very often it’s mistaken for a styling element, but it’s actually not. It’s a very active air intake all the way from the top of the B-pillar down to the door opening. It leads down to the engine compartment and creates a much better cooling effect. So there’s nothing gratuitous about any of the design. It’s at the service of the performance and the function of the car. I think that is one of the most important aspects for us: how can we make the styling so pure and so

performance-driven that it has value for the customer today and the car looks good today, but it also is important many years from now? A car cannot look up to date in 50 years’ time, that is clear. But it can look authentic in 50 years, when it maybe sits on the lawn at Pebble Beach. Will this look as authentic 50 years from now as the Type 57 Atlantic does today? I think the Type 57 was a very authentic car for its time and one of the highlights of the automobile industry of the time. Well, certainly the Chiron is the highlight of the auto industry today and it’s probably poised to remain a highlight for another 10 years. We hope so.

November-December 2017 |




November–December 2017 |




HORIZON 50 MON MONOGRAM If you’re planning a summer holiday after Christmas, there can be no more luxurious – and practical – travel gift than the Louis Vuitton Horizon 50 Mon Monogram ($3900). Designed by expatriate Australian design star Marc Newson, this fine piece of rolling luggage is a lightweight, four-wheel carry-on built to be your globetrotting companion as you traverse the continents. Newson’s key design innovation was to relocate the anodised aluminium extendable cane to the outside of the trunk, adding both structure and strength, and substantially increasing the all-important interior packing space. An 18-month development process has resulted in a 15 per cent increase in internal volume versus a similar-sized traditional carry-on, and an unparalleled 37-litre capacity in the cabin size. Add your own stamp to a future travel design classic by customising your case with the colour, stripes and initials of your choice in a Louis Vuitton store. – GEORGINA SAFE


LE LOBSTER Inspired by childhood memories of freshly caught lobster on the Mediterranean, this ceramic box designed by Maison Balzac founder Elise Pioch-Balzac, houses long scented matches and a scratcher. Each of the limited-edition shellfish ($199, replacement matches $20) has been produced by hand by Manufacture de Digoin, a 142-year-old pottery firm in Burgundy, in Pioch-Balzac’s native France, which she left to launch her candles and homewares company (maisonbalzac. com) in Sydney in 2012. With a whimsical nod to Salvador Dali’s lobster telephone, the Maison Balzac crustacean is as chic a sea creature as you will find, which is why there’s an equally appealing box of luxuriously long (17cm) matches to sit inside it. The wood of each match is infused with Maison Balzac’s best-selling scent, 1642 (cedarwood, violet, blackberry) and the phosphorous head is yellow to contrast with the 17th-century packaging. – G.S.


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017



TIMEWALKER RALLY TIMER A four-in-one wonder, Montblanc’s new racing-styled TimeWalker Rally Timer can be used as a wristwatch, a desk clock, dashboard-mounted timekeeper or a pocket watch. Inspired by the sporting stopwatches made in the ’30s by Minerva (a revered manufacture with provenance stretching back to 1858, and absorbed by Montblanc in 2006), behind the sharp graphic countenance of this monopusher chrono is a gorgeously classical movement, Montblanc’s calibre MB M16.29, once described as “one of the most beautiful manuallywound chronographs in the world”. As if its adaptability and horological legitimacy weren’t enough, the icing on the cake for this 100-piece limited edition is the facility to easily adjust the angle when worn on the wrist, making for easier legibility while at the wheel. All up, as covetable a ‘convertible’ as a Mercedes-Benz ‘Pagoda’ SL, and a tad more affordable at around $56,000. – CHRISTIAN BARKER

MB&F + L’EPÉE 1839

OCTOPOD Maximilian Büsser, the ‘MB’ of MB&F, has stated over and again that although his company makes extremely precise and complicated timepieces, displaying the time “is not the point”. Instead, MB&F sets out to deconstruct traditional horology and re-engineer its elements into three-dimensional machines that are more kinetic artwork than mere watch or clock. The latest incidentally time-telling contraption to spring from Büsser’s Nemo-like imagination is the Octopod table clock, created in partnership with repeat collaborators l’Epée 1839, Switzerland’s top clockmaker. Now available in three 50-piece limited editions (in black or blue PVD, and palladium), this undersea sci-fi sculpture satisfies the pesky task of telling time thanks to an eight-day manual-wound movement with tourbillon-mimicking rotating escapement perched on the minute hand. More importantly, though, it satisfies Büsser’s enduring goal of returning the viewer to a state of childlike “Wow, that’s so cool!” wonder. That is the point. – C.B.


12-WATCH WINDER It’s an unnecessary palaver, adding to the morning’s rigmarole, having to reset the time on a powered-down automatic watch – especially if the piece in question also requires adjustment to day, date, moon phase and the like. That’s where a watch winder can be a real blessing, keeping the rotor weight turning when a watch is off your wrist, the perpetual motion helping maintain its delicate movement. Few multi-watch winders can rival the style of the Orbita Avanti 12, crafted in macassar, carbon-fibre and stainless steel, at $16,865. Available through J Farren-Price (, the Orbita Avanti 12 ensures a collection of up to a dozen watches stays accurate, mechanically sound and very handsomely housed. – C.B.


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017



Aficionados of many sports often seek out equipment created from the very latest high-tech designs and exotic materials. But in the Monaro region of NSW, on the edge of the Snowy Mountains, Nick Taransky is proving that high-tech is not always best. For the past 13 years, Taransky ( has been producing exquisite hand-crafted fly-fishing rods using age-old techniques and the best natural materials sourced from around the globe.

Taransky starts with the highest-grade Tonkin cane grown in the Kwangtung province of southern China. This he splits and planes by hand before it is flamed to give it additional strength and accentuate the golden colours. The grips he turns from high-grade Portuguese cork; quality nickel silver ferrules and reel seats are sourced from the US; local Australian hardwood is used for the burls; and the guides are bound with fine Japanese silk. Taransky’s Monaro rods are offered in two- or three-piece configurations (from $2100 and $2400 respectively) with two tips supplied, along with a Garrison-style cotton rod bag – handmade by Taranksy’s mother – and a standard aluminium rod tube. Each rod is made to order, signed and numbered, allowing a great deal of personalisation that ensures no two are alike. This is especially true after Dick Chapman, one of Australia’s leading gun engravers, applies the bespoke engraving on the hardware, designed in collaboration with the customer. Even if you have difficulty mastering the art of fly fishing, there is no doubt about the artistry in these rods. – RUSSELL WILLIAMSON


MINI DRONE Forget the selfie stick for snaps of your family and friends this festive season: what you need is a DJI Spark ( mini drone. Small, smart and controlled simply through hand gestures, a phone app or remote controller, the $859 mini drone features a 12MP camera to shoot stills and 1080p HD video that can be delivered to your smartphone via wi-fi at a distance of up to 100 metres. Hand gestures enable you to launch the Spark, send it up and away, take selfies, start and stop video and have it return to your hand. There are also preprogrammed flight modes such as tracking and circling, and a panoramic photo mode that stitches together stills through 180 degrees. The Spark will operate at a distance of up to two kilometres when connected to the remote controller. There’s simply no longer an excuse for not fitting awkward Uncle Albert into the group selfie this Christmas. – R.W. November–December 2017 |



LA COLLECTION Entrepreneur Charles-Camille Heidsieck nearly took his pursuit of perfection to the point of ruin. The scion of a winemaking family in the Reims region of Champagne, Heidsieck struck out on his own in 1851 at the age of 29, establishing his own label of fine sparkling wines. Not content to entrust others with the promotion of his bubbly, the headstrong Heidsieck travelled Europe, pouring his liquid wares for the most discerning palates before crossing the Atlantic to tempt less-tutored taste buds in the United States. He proved as refreshing to New York society as his wines, earning the sobriquet ‘Champagne Charlie’, and soon his agents in the New World were placing hefty orders on account. Heidsieck, however, came to regret his promiscuous credit practices when the Civil War broke out. His efforts to recover sums owed him in New Orleans resulted in his being arrested as a spy and nearly shot. Back in Reims, he recovered sufficiently from his financial losses to purchase several old chalk quarries, or crayères, which he believed furnished perfect conditions for long-term ageing. A handful of contemporary collectors will have the opportunity to judge this point for themselves thanks to Charles Heidsieck La Collection Crayères (, a new program that celebrates these historic cellars with a series of library releases chosen by chef de cave Cyril Brun. The first examples represent a handful of single bottles and magnums from the 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1985 vintages. Among the highlights is the 1982 Champagne Charlie. “It’s as though all the Incas’ gold were reflecting through the glass,” says Brun, who calls this vintage ‘the El Dorado of Champagne’ – a description that would certainly have excited the adventurous imagination of the founder. – BRETT ANDERSON


AYAM MAGNUM Whether it’s a treasured bottle of 1986 Grange or the latest vintage Hill of Grace, for the ultimate bacchanalian enjoyment, wine should be decanted. Decanting helps separate the wine from the sediment that builds up in the bottle over time, while decanting a younger wine will increase the aeration and open up the flavours and complexity. Few can offer a more stylish means of decanting than Riedel (riedelglass., the Austrian-based family firm that has been producing highquality stemware since 1756. Riedel is renowned for its innovative decanter designs – including two resembling mamba and boa snakes – and last year it released the roosterinspired Ayam Magnum. As the name suggests, it is a large decanter designed to take a magnum of wine with a three-litre capacity, sitting 365mm tall. Having been recognised with a Good Design Award, this year Riedel enhanced the Ayam Magnum in homage to the 2017 Chinese ‘Year of the Rooster’, producing this limited-edition piece ($1000) with the choice of red or black trim. The optically blown handmade pieces are limited to just 500 units in each colour and include a certificate of authenticity, signed by the glassblower who created it in Riedel’s atelier in Kufstein. More than simply a whimsical design, it is also functional, with a double decanting action that helps aerate younger wines as they are poured into and from the decanter, thereby reducing the time needed to open up the wine. Offering style and substance, the Ayam decanter is perfect for delivering some outstanding Christmas cheer this season. – RUSSELL WILLIAMSON November–December 2017 |



Bringing the festivities home Summer serves up the opportunity for some serious entertaining over the festive season. Herewith, three stylish homeware gifts guaranteed to add sparkle to your celebrations by Russell Williamson

WHEN OBJECTS WORK – KNIFEFORKSPOON British architectural designer John Pawson is renowned for his minimalism. Often stark and white, it is evident in the many houses he has designed from Greece to Japan and the US, along with his retail and gallery spaces that include the new Design Museum in London. So when it came to designing a cutlery collection for Belgian firm When Objects Work (, it’s no surprise to once again see an extremely minimal aesthetic. The four-piece Knifeforkspoon setting is, theoretically at least, everything you need. Each piece is fabricated from a mirror-finish 18/10 stainless steel and shares the same handle form. A coffee spoon completes the setting and even the fork marks a return to a less complicated past, with a three-prong design. Available from Hub Furniture ( at $1320 for a 24-piece setting for six.

KLONG – PATINA OIL LAMP Candles are all well and good for adding a little romantic atmosphere to a dining setting, but for something more imaginative, consider this contemporary take on a traditional oil lamp. Designed by Mats Broberg and Johan Ridderstråle for Swedish brand Klong (, the Patina oil burner features a French burner and powder-coated base in copper, black, blue-white or grey colours that will, over time, acquire an aged patina. The 40cm-tall glass tubes are available in frosted or clear finishes, with the base offered in two sizes of 10cm or 17cm diameter. Available from Great Dane Furniture ( at $795 for the large version.

ROCKET ESPRESSO - R60V True barista-quality coffee, made in the comfort of your own kitchen? The Italian-made, top-of-the-range Rocket Espresso R60V (, at $6299, has everything you need. With dual boilers, it separately heats water for steaming milk and for brewing the coffee, thereby ensuring no compromises on flavour. A programmable pressure-profiling system offers three settings, with five programmable stages in each to set pressure and extraction times, while adjustable temperatures enable you to further tailor the system to particular preferences or bean characteristics. An electronic Communication Pod even allows adjustments to be made via a plug-in remote controller or via the machine’s wi-fi connection and a smartphone app. For the location of your nearest retailer, contact the Australian distributor, Espresso Company Australia (


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017


DUOTONE CHIRON DRIVING JACKET Ah, the old question: what to wear while driving a €2.4m, 1100kW, 8.0-litre, 16-cylinder hypercar at anything up to 420km/h? The matching leather jacket, of course. The Bugatti Duotone Chiron Driving Jacket is made in Italy and replicates the quilting pattern on the seats of Bugatti’s latest coupé, the Chiron. The beading on the jacket’s front and back panels recalls the marque’s iconic horseshoe radiator, while the soft calf leather has, as the name implies, a two-colour effect. The blue-on-blue so closely associated with the brand is achieved by what is described as a “unique handmade polish treatment”. The Driving Jacket is the flagship of the Chiron Collection (, which includes 12 clothing items and accompanying eyewear. An even more exclusive Tailor Made/Bespoke range of clothing and accessories is available solely to Bugatti owners (which rather narrows down the market). The Chiron name honours the fast and versatile Louis Chiron, the only Monegasque driver ever to win the Monaco Grand Prix (in 1931 – in a Bugatti, of course). The jacket is €3600, either online or from the Bugatti boutiques in London and Tokyo, with Munich and Monte Carlo soon to open. – MICHAEL STAHL


SCOUT BOBBER Bobbers have become popular in recent times, as a sort of homage to the stripped-down custom bikes that emerged in the ’30s. These had been ‘bob jobbed’: given a bobtail and a variety of other modifications (usually a lowered frame and a low-set single seat) to reduce weight and, often, to modernise an ageing bike. Today, many come straight from the factory that way, but still offer plenty of possibilities for individual expression. Hot off the production line, the Indian Scout Bobber ( is dark, moody and, depending on your sense of aesthetics, possibly magnificent as well. It’s definitely pitched at a younger audience than the leather-fringed and tasselled cruisers elsewhere in the model range. All the unnecessary stuff has been jettisoned, leaving a seat and engine on wheels. That engine is an 1130cc V-twin, making about 70kW and 98Nm. The five-colour choice includes Thunder Black and Thunder Black Smoke. Indian is the oldest surviving American motorcycle brand, though there have been regular collapses and revivals. No resuscitation, however, has been as ambitious or as impressively managed as the latest, orchestrated by Polaris Industries since 2011. The Indian Scout Bobber ride-away price is $18,995. – M.S.

November–December 2017 |




EV3 JUNIOR Once we expected our children to at least pedal. Now we’re discouraged from making such demands. Morgan’s EV3 Junior three-wheeler might be electrically powered, but it is at least guaranteed to drag any youngster off the couch and away from some misnamed ‘smart’ device. This delightfully finished kiddie express is for six-year-olds and up (to maybe 12 years). It is essentially a two-thirds scale version of the electric-powered, road-registerable EV3 model announced by Morgan last year. Both are based on its petrol-powered threewheeler first produced circa 1910 and revived a few years ago. Morgan continues to be the most eccentric British car maker of all, building cars with wooden body frames, hand-shaped aluminium panels and other vintage attributes. The 4/4 Roadster – the company’s first four-wheeled model, launched in 1936 – remains in production, with remarkably little change since. Features of the EV3 Junior, meanwhile, include a 16km/h top speed, carbon-fibre bodywork, working lights, a reverse gear, a wooden dash and hand-stitched tan or black leather trim. Battery range is about 60 minutes, depending on speed, and recharging takes about four hours. The price is $27,500 from Morgan Cars Australia (morgancars., with the choice of body finishes in Sport Red, Sport Green or Sport Ivory. If you’d prefer to spend more, the company is pleased to help, offering 40,000 further exterior colours and a range of customising decals. If you decide instead you’d like a full-sized Morgan three-wheeler – and after one drive, you will – you can expect to pay closer to $100,000. – MICHAEL STAHL


BARNATO HANDBAG Bentley’s range of non-car offerings is wider than most, encompassing the usual clothing and accessories, plus exquisite furniture (via its Home Collection) and even Bentley-inspired sculptures by Timothy Potts. For sheer elegance, though, it’s hard to go past this Barnato leather handbag. Its design is said to have been inspired by Diana Barnato, who was the daughter of triple Le Mans-winning driver and Bentley chairman Woolf Barnato, but so much more in her own right. Diana (1918-2008) was an accomplished pilot who delivered hundreds of Spitfires, Hurricanes and light bombers to fighting squadrons during World War II, sitting on a cushion because she was just over 152cm (five feet) tall. She then became the first British woman to break the sound barrier. In 1963, she hit 2031km/h over the North Sea in an English Electric Lightning T4 jet, setting a world female air speed record in the process. The Barnato Handbag ( is lined in soft plonge lambskin (stitched in a Bentleystyle quilt pattern) and comes with a matching cosmetic pouch. It’s £3950, in a choice of Burnt Oak and Dark Sapphire. – M.S.


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Lifetime memories Experiences, not things, are what make life worth living, and for the ultimate Christmas gift, these experiences are sure to deliver lifelong memories … by Russell Williamson

FAST TRACK ADVENTURE: 24 HOURS OF LE MANS On the global motorsport calendar, few events hold such status as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Held annually in June since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France, it is a 5000 kilometre-plus endurance feat that tests man and machine to the limit. There are few better ways to experience all the excitement than by joining Aston Martin’s Fast Track Adventure: 24 Hours of Le Mans. Just one of the British brand’s Art of Living Experiences (, it provides accommodation and gourmet dining in a luxury château in the Loire Valley, with private helicopter transfers to and from the famous Circuit de la Sarthe. At the circuit, chauffeurdriven Aston Martin buggies will whisk you around between the Aston Martin VIP hospitality area, garage and pit suite for a first-hand experience of this, the pinnacle of sports car racing. Aston Martin hasn’t had an outright win at Le Mans since Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori drove a DBR1 to victory in 1959, but this year it took out a GTE Pro class win in a thrilling race that saw Jonny Adam snatch the lead in a V8 Vantage GTE on the final lap. Book a spot now for 2018, to see if Aston Martin can make it two in a row.

LEGACY EXPERIENCE St Hugo ( has a family winemaking heritage that stretches back to 1847, celebrated last year with the opening of a new home in the heart of South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Hosting a fine-dining restaurant, cellar door and tasting room, it offers a premium winery experience – but it can be taken to a whole new level with the Legacy Experience ($15,000 a person). This two-day immersion into the world of the winery includes overnight fivestar boutique accommodation in the Barossa, private transfers to and from Adelaide and a private tour, wine blending and tasting with St Hugo’s winemaker. It’s not all about wine, though, with an exclusive food philosophy session with the estate’s executive chef, along with lunches and an evening eight-course degustation dinner with matched wines, before a final helicopter flight over the Barossa. To ensure that the taste lingers, you also receive a selection of St Hugo’s finest vintages to take home.

GLOBAL DINING DOMINATION For the ultimate gourmet experience, nothing compares to the Global Dining Domination package offered by UK-based Truly Experiences ( Imagine a month-long dining extravaganza for two that has you sitting down to dine in six exceptional restaurants on six continents, with a four-night stay and personalised itinerary in each destination and first class round-the-world air tickets. Naturally, these are no ordinary restaurants: all feature in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, with two in the top 10. Your culinary adventure of a lifetime begins in Girona in Spain at this year’s number three, El Celler de Can Roca, before you head south to Cape Town, South Africa and The Test Kitchen. Across the Atlantic, it’s a chance to savour Peruvian flavours at the world’s fifth-best restaurant, Central in Lima, and then on to The French Laundry, US celebrity chef Thomas Keller’s establishment in the heart of California’s Napa Valley wine country near San Francisco. From there, Japan beckons, with dinner at Tokyo’s Narisawa, before finishing off with a dining experience like no other at Ben Shewry’s Attica in the Melbourne suburb of Ripponlea, currently ranked number 32 on the list. Let your taste buds do the travelling on this extraordinary gourmet experience (£75,400).

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Aboard an


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

nd beyond The interiors of the 74-metre Plvs Vltra capture the opulence and luminosity of the Côte d’Azur by Janice O’Leary

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Upper-deck owners’ lounge 116

Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

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Main dining saloon 118

Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

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Robb Report Australia | November–December November-December 2017 2017

The drop-down cinema screen on the bridge deck; (below) the private bar in the upper saloon

things being too similar. We wanted to give the feeling of pieces collected over time and make them seem individual.” They sourced furnishings from Italian and French suppliers or asked their own team to craft custom pieces using fabrics from Rubelli, Pozzoli, Armani/Casa and Versace. They also experimented with bleaching and unusual staining on the curly maple veneers used throughout the rooms. Lighting was another point of distinction between this residentialminded design and more typical yacht interiors. “We have never been asked before to do chandeliers that appear to be free-hanging,” says Winch. “If you go back to Victorian yachts, they would have free-hanging chandeliers. But here you can’t afford a rattle, something to be tinkling or breaking.” As a solution, they

affixed tiny metal pins to the hundreds of individual crystal droplets used in the lights in the main and dining saloons. Winch penned the designs and brought in Czech crystal manufacturer Preciosa to create the original chandeliers. Another unique feature aboard this yacht – which accommodates 12 guests and family members as well as a crew of 19 – was the design of the beach club located amidships rather than on the aft lower deck (leaving that space clear for garaging two tenders and other toys). This approximately 75 square-metre fold-down platform is equipped with an outdoor shower and a ladder for climbing aboard after dips in the sea. The spa is a feature the family was passionate about, as they often spend as much as four or five hours a day there during a sail. The space includes a central whirlpool, salon, massage room, hammam, bar and sauna. Above the jacuzzi hangs an artwork of gilded porcelain shells by Valeria Nascimento. A glass elevator whisks the owners from the spa up to their private suite. A side-boarding staircase from the main deck reaches down to the beach club, enabling children to spend the whole day outdoors, running between the aft main-deck swimming pool and the beach club. The main entrance to the interior is through a starboard door, leading into a circular lobby adorned with a mosaic artwork made with slivers of six different marbles by Magma in Sicily and designed by the Winch team. A remarkable 21 types of marble were used throughout the vessel to create veined-stone variations that lend an air of natural elegance. The lobby opens to the main saloon, where dramatic pillars were hand-laid with Moon gold leaf, giving them a metallic iridescence. Ivory velvet upholstery by Pozzoli adorns the sofas, while bleached curly maple panels line the walls. The silk-and-wool carpet here, as well as that

Photos: (top left) Mark Sims photography; (top right) Jeff Brown; (bottom left and right) Michal Baginski

According to Renaissance legend, etched into the ancient Pillars of Hercules – the rocky promontories that mark the Straits of Gibraltar – were the Latin words ne plus ultra, or ‘nothing further beyond’, delineating the known realm from the unknown. The phrase became both a warning for sailors and a dare for the brave and ambitious who desired to voyage past those ledges. Over time, the phrase became synonymous with ultimate success and achievement, making Plvs Vltra an apt moniker for the new yacht built by Amels of Holland. The vessel’s owners hoped to make it the ultimate residence at sea, so they called in the experts at Winch Design in London to oversee the interiors. “The owners wanted a full-time residence, not a holiday boat,” says the firm’s founder, Andrew Winch. “That informed every aspect of the design.” Their guiding inspiration was the airy, sun-drenched, blue-and-yellow interiors seen in lavish resorts along the French and Italian Rivieras. “If you take a look at some of the hotels in the South of France – such as the Hôtel du Cap – they are classical and they are about wonderful sea views with very light interiors,” Winch says. To achieve a homey feeling, Winch Design’s Greig Jolly and the design team moved wherever possible away from fixed furnishings and decor – which are typical of yacht interiors. “We tried to keep the furniture eclectic,” Jolly says, “avoiding

dining table for romantic dinners occupies the rear deck. The master bedroom suite, which has direct access to the foredeck, stretches across the width of the yacht. The palette of greens, metallics and neutrals is mirrored in the Rubelli curtains and the custom rug. A hand-painted silk wall covering, sketched by Winch and produced by Fromental, pictures birds on a blossoming tree. Decadent his-and-her en suites feature sand-etched glass panels crafted in Germany that enclose spacious showers, with vanities fronted by suncatching rock crystal. The one room that diverges from the airy hues seen throughout the boat is the owners’ office. “It’s a powerful space,” says Jolly. “Very decorative, with gilding and red fabrics.” The dark room strikes a serious note thanks to its black-stained Newood red-lacquer cabinet (a vodka fridge is hidden inside) and desk with gilt detailing and an oxblood-leather surface. The top two decks – the bridge and the sundeck – make the most of their views and offer more intimate gathering spaces for the whole family. On the bridge deck, a gym filled with top-of-theline Technogym equipment leads to an outdoor cinema with a drop-down screen for movie nights. The sprawling aft deck also doubles as a touch-and-go helipad. Perhaps the most cinematic spot aboard the yacht, however, is the whirlpool on the sundeck, where unobstructed views of the rising or setting sun and the panoply of stars make one feel the magnitude of venturing further beyond.

“We wanted to give the feeling of pieces collected over time and make them seem individual” – Greig Jolly, Winch Design

used in several of the other rooms, was a bespoke collaboration between Winch Design and Tai Ping. Also on this level are the galley and dining saloon. In the dining area, Winch finished the traditional French chairs, from Paris-based Rinck, with a special lacquer and gilt details, upholstering the furniture in Italian silk by Rubelli. The ceiling panels are covered in faux-ostrich embossed leather and the dining room’s ceiling features the same gold leaf used in the main saloon. “The owners are wine collectors,” Jolly says, “so we installed two huge wine fridges – one for white and one for red, port and starboard. It’s quite unique on a yacht to have such

a substantial collection.” Winch also created a custom table from several different woods and placed it beneath the seemingly free-hanging Preciosa light fixture. Two VIP guest rooms with marble en suites also occupy the main deck. One level up, the owners’ deck provides commanding sea views from every vantage. The relaxed private lounge has blue-stained sycamore panelling and low-slung seating in front of a concealed cinema screen. In the daytime, light streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows along both sides. The lounge also houses a limited-edition Parallèle piano by Hilton McConnico and, further aft, a backlit rock-crystal bar. A secluded November–December November-December 2017 |



Upper-deck master bedroom 122

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Curve appeal

The Ferrari 812 Superfast’s striking shape is for speed as well as show by Ronald Ahrens


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

In automotive design, says Ferrari design director Flavio Manzoni, the voids – the empty spaces – are as important as the volumes


anzoni, who studied architecture and industrial design at the University of Florence, attributes this credo to Oscar Niemeyer, the Brazilian modernist architect whose abstract forms and curves heralded, as The New York Times once wrote, his “war against the straight line, whose rigidity he saw as a kind of authoritarian constraint”. Just as the voids form the curves in Niemeyer’s free-flowing building designs, they are essential to the voluptuous shape of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, Manzoni’s latest creation. More than just beautiful, the 812 Superfast is the most powerful and fastest Ferrari production car ever built. It’s equipped with a 588kW V12 engine and can reach 340km/h. The starting price is $610,000 and Australian deliveries will begin at the end of this year. But while Niemeyer believed that “form follows beauty”, the 812 Superfast’s form also follows function. Manzoni tasked his team with incorporating extreme aerodynamic measures into the design as well as heart-stopping beauty. The car’s many lips, loops, sweeps, scoops and ducts serve both purposes. At June’s press preview in the courtyard of a Baroque palace in Sassuolo, Italy (not far from Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello), the car drew coos from onlookers. “Considering the huge complexity, it was important to work to achieve synergy,” Manzoni said as he squatted by the front right wheel, running his hand over one of the sculpted spokes. “The integration of form and technology is extremely high.”

Ferrari unveiled its latest Superfast at the Geneva International Motor Show in March

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With the 812 Superfast, it makes the quantum leap. Never in relation to a passenger car have I heard so much about vortex generation, a method of using flaps and fins to create suction underneath the chassis. Nor have I ever heard of so many elements of “blown” bodywork: wing peaks and body contours with vents that stream in air before channelling it out at strategic spots. Matteo Biancalana – Ferrari’s head aerodynamicist, who started his career by working on racing cars at Dallara Automobili – ​p ointed out that Ferrari eschews additional spoilers. “They are not elegant,” he said. Nevertheless, because of active and passive elements and various fins and flaps, the 812 Superfast generates as much as 150 kilograms of downforce. All that downforce is needed to take advantage of the car’s power. The brassy 6.5-litre V12 produces its 588kW at 8500rpm and generates 718Nm torque. About 75 per cent of the engine’s parts are new. Importantly, the fuel-injection system operates under higher pressure than that of the F12tdf, the model the 812 Superfast is replacing. Also, Ferrari adapted the continuously variable inlet ducts from its Formula 1 engine. The 812 Superfast is the latest in a line of V12-powered grand-touring cars that Ferrari has been producing since 1950. After the 340 America evolved into the 410 Superamerica, the 410 Superfast Pinin Farina Speciale appeared at the 1956 Salon de l’Automobile in Paris. Although it now appears Gothic – with its vented wings, two-tone paint scheme and huge fins – it was the progenitor of all subsequent Superfast models. Most sensationally in those early years, the 500 Superfast from 1964 lived up to its billing with a 280km/h top speed. The new information and entertainment system in the 812 – ​which is presented on 12.7-centimetre screens on either side of the big tachometer – took some practice to operate, but the navigation works well and the graphics are brilliant. Ferrari’s chief development driver, Raffaele de Simone, said the brand racked up more than 800,000 kilometres of test driving while developing the 812 Superfast and this diligence showed in the flawless operation of the climate control and every other cabin system. The car was easy to drive across the agricultural and industrial landscapes of the Modena province and through the lovely villages in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. The drive showed


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

In recent years, Ferrari has pushed against barriers in the quest to increase downforce while reducing drag

how well Ferrari has done with its first application of variable-rate, electrically assisted steering. And the ride quality over the region’s frost-tormented byways was compliant and never harsh. An astonishing thing about the 812 Superfast is how it can dawdle through a town such as Fanano and then jump like lightning on the Pista di Fiorano, Ferrari’s test track outside of Maranello. The car attacked the turns with voracity. The rear-wheel steering (from the F12tdf), balanced chassis, magnetic shock absorbers and sticky tyres enabled me to turn some impressive laps. As de Simone said, the idea behind the car’s engineering is to enhance the driver’s competence. The 812 Superfast does this, without being intrusive in any way. Body roll and chassis misbehaviour were never issues on the track and the precise steering enabled me to put the car on the ideal line through every turn. The brakes – with large carbon-ceramic rotors and powerful six-piston calipers –

“The integration of form and technology is extremely high”– FLAVIO MANZONI

could probably have stopped time itself. At the speeds that I reached on the test track, which was too tight for me to go full-throttle, the car’s stability was a given. But I had no doubt the 812 Superfast would have remained planted all the way to its 340km/h top speed, thanks largely to its aerodynamic design, which Niemeyer likely would have applauded. “I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line – hard and inflexible – created by man,” he once said. “I am attracted to freeflowing, sensual curves.” In its obituary on Niemeyer, who died at age 104 in 2012, The New York Times wrote that “his work became a symbolic reminder that the ... sensual and the rational are not necessarily in opposition”. Given the functionality of the car’s stunning form – and presuming there’s anything rational about a 588kW road car that reaches 340km/h – the 812 Superfast offers a similar reminder.

The 812 Superfast’s cabin offers a flat-bottom steering wheel, two seats, no room for golf bags, no central video screen and no apologies

FERRARI 812 SUPERFAST Engine 6.3-litre V12 front mid-mounted Power/torque 588kW/718Nm Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode Weight 1525kg Performance 0-100km/h in 2.9sec (claimed) The car’s new V12 produces 588kW at 8500rpm

Price From $610,000

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The new factories To keep a digitally dependent world online day and night, data centres grow ever more massive by Bennett Ring


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


lick on and you’ll be presented with a web page that offers pretty much any product you could imagine. The website looks so simple and clean – yet delivering such a service requires an immense, almost unimaginable amount of back-end support. Welcome to the weird world of super-data centres, where enormous numbers of computers bow instantly to our every whim. Massive buildings, literally kilometres long, are filled wall-to-wall with thousands of servers to deliver the convenient cloud services we need. Many of these facilities are located adjacent to lakes to access the huge volumes of cooling water required to keep the data factories operating. Many also have their own power plants; with global operations running 24/7, they simply can’t risk an interruption of power from the main grid.

The complexity of Amazon’s data centre, as the nerve centre of its operation, belies its simple website interface; (below) The American National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center monitors most of the world’s emails and phone calls

One of the largest data centres in the world is the American National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center. Completed in 2014 at a cost of US$1.5 billion, its job is to monitor most of the world’s emails, phone calls and other digital information. At its heart is PRISM, a national security surveillance program that came under extensive scrutiny with the Edward Snowden leaks. The final structure will be 140,000 square metres in size and is expected to use 65 megawatts of power each year, this alone costing US$40 million. Keeping it cool will require a staggering 6.5 million litres of water each day. The largest data centre in the world is based in Lanfang, China, and measures 585,000 square metres. It’s a government-sponsored build to stimulate better transportation, more efficient government systems and food and safety services. Next up is the Switch SuperNAP in Nevada, which has more than 800 kilometres of fibre-optic cables to connect it to Reno, Los Angeles and San Francisco, giving 14 million people data access in just 10 milliseconds. Microsoft has taken a slightly different approach. While its facilities are still huge, with the Microsoft Chicago Data Center taking out the number-five spot globally, the company has spread its data centres around the world to ensure that if one goes ‘dark’, the load can be carried by the other centres. This is known as the Azure network and there are centres in most major nations.

One of the largest data repositories in the world is the American National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center

Google follows this approach with nine main data centres located in the US and the rest spread around the world. According to the company, this entire network uses between 500 and 681 megawatts of power a day. One of its largest centres, in Oregon, is codenamed Project 02, built at a cost of $600 million in 2006. It’s the size of two American football fields and includes four huge cooling towers for its power-generation requirements. It’s right on the Columbia River, allowing the company affordable cooling while also delivering reliable hydroelectric power. Facebook also uses a distributed networking approach, but each of its data centres still houses tens of thousands of computers linked to the outside world via high-speed fibre connections. Since building its first data centre in 2010, Facebook has built six others around the world, including North Carolina (USA) and Sweden. Its latest centre is 45,000 square metres in size. When it comes to Australia, the upcoming NextDC M2 will be Melbourne’s largest independent data centre, with a footprint of 10,000 square metres. However, it faces stiff competition from rivals Equinix, Digital Realty, Vocus and GlobalSwitch. Putting aside data centres for a moment, Tesla’s upcoming Gigafactory in Nevada will be the biggest building in the world. Devoted to developing and building Tesla batteries, its top-secret construction has been well hidden, though a few intrepid drone flyers have managed to get tantalising shots of its imposingly large structures. It is three times the size of New York’s Central Park, across a space of 754 hectares. To put that into perspective: 100 Boeing 747s could be lined up and not touch either side of the building. Some of the biggest challenges these megafactories and data centres continue to face is in their requirements for computer-cooling water and energy generation. This has so far necessitated their being situated near rivers and power plants. Tesla intends to get around this by only using renewable energy to power its Gigafactory, with the focus being solar – a no-brainer in the vast spaces of the Nevada desert – while it will use and reuse water from a 5.7 million-litre storage tank. So, the next time you log into Facebook or Amazon, imagine the vast server farms that power these data-munching behemoths, allowing us to watch cute kitten videos and buy woollen socks at any time of the day or night.

November-December 2017 |



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SOCIAL Sandra Sully

Andrew McConnell, Dan Churchill and guest (centre)

Matt Moran

Brooke Hogan

Paula Joye

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week:

Audi Australia ‘Under the Crescent Moon’ dinner Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2017 began with a bang, with a special dinner hosted by key sponsor Audi Australia. Drawing inspiration from the classic ’80s film Out of Africa, fashion designer Collette Dinnigan curated a colonial-themed beachside wonderland, with chef Matt Moran creating a menu with Australian produce as its star. Today host Lisa Wilkinson led the proceedings, with guests including Richard Roxburgh, Nicky Oatley and Troy Tindill, Sandra Sully and Symon Brewis-Weston, Nicole Warne, Andrew McConnell, and Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke toasting the commencement of Race Week.

Troy Tindill and guest

Sheree Commerford and Justine Cullen Jordan Stenmark, Jimmy Niggles and Zac Stenmark

Nicole Warne

Edwina McCann and Lisa Wilkinson

Photos: Ken Butti; Robbie Josephsen

Teresa Palmer and Collette Dinnigan

Melissa Doyle and John Dunlop

Richard Roxburgh November-December 2017 |



Anna Burgdorf (centre right) and guest

Ben Roberts-Smith and wife Emma

Casey Stoner and wife Adriana

Nicky Oatley

Alice Quiddington

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Paspaley White Luncheon Jeweller Paspaley held its annual white-themed luncheon on qualia’s Pebble Beach during Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Guests including Nicky Oatley, Sandy Oatley, James Tobin, Ian Thorpe, Ben RobertsSmith and Audi’s Paul Sansom and Anna Burgdorf had a chance to view Paspaley’s latest designs featuring Australian South Sea pearls. The event was hosted by Chris Paspaley, with Oatley Wines’ Darren Jahn acting as MC. During Race Week, visitors were also able to experience the journey of Paspaley’s pearls from seabed to store and learn the ‘Five Virtues’ – the traditional method by which fine pearls are graded – via a Pearl Discovery session in the company’s pop-up boutique.

James Tobin

Sandy Oatley, Ryan Channing and guests

Emma Oatley

Photos: Ken Butti

Ryan Channing and Ian Thorpe


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Vera Blue and George Maple Sam Armstrong

Louise Van de Vorst

Kate Waterhouse

Gucci Le Marché des Merveilles Installation

Like a fairy tale brought to life, Gucci hosted a cocktail party to showcase a special installation of its Le Marché des Merveilles collection of jewellery. In keeping with the line’s whimsical sensibility, Thai illustrator Phannapast Taychamaythakool was commissioned by Gucci to illustrate a book of imaginative fairy tales, written by Aracha Cholitgul, as part of the #GucciGram Tian digital talents project in 2016. The Sydney event, held at Gucci’s flagship Westfield Sydney store, featured displays constructed to resemble mini theatres, with scenes constructed from Phannapast’s illustrations and pieces from the range, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and hand accessories with precious stones and coloured emeralds. Gucci-clad guests including Vera Blue, Louise Van de Vorst, Alice Quiddington, George Maple, Kate Waterhouse and Anna Feller enjoyed prosecco and Negronis while viewing the installation.

Brooke Testoni Kitty Callaghan and Jamie Preisz

Hair Die’s Cal Callaghan, Alys Hale and Sam Callaghan

Jessica Mauboy

Anna Feller

Alice Quiddington

Tash Sefton

Zac and Jordan Stenmark

November-December 2017 |



Steve Cordony and Jason Sullivan

Michael Tzaneros and Steffanie Roberts

Jaguar Land Rover Sydney Store Opening Jaguar Land Rover recently opened its first Australian premium retail store, located at Sydney’s Westfield Bondi Junction. Serving as a display showroom for both brands, the store also offers two digital vehicle configuration spaces, with customers able to ‘build’ their cars on-screen. Trying it out at the opening were guests including George Gregan, Phil Waugh, Jesinta Franklin, James Viles and Steve Cordony. The event was hosted by Jaguar Land Rover Australia’s managing director Matthew Wiesner, who said the location of the new store “illustrates how changing market trends and buyer demands are bringing the premium retail experiences to shopfront locations”. James Viles and George Gregan

Jesinta Franklin

Matthew Wiesner

George Gregan and Phil Waugh


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

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‘Berthong’ One of Australia’s most distinguished waterfront homes One of just a handful of freestanding residences to grace Elizabeth Bay, ‘Berthong’ occupies a premier 1662 square metres (approx.) of absolute waterfront landholding on Sydney Harbour. The magnificent proportions, breathtaking grounds and prized north-easterly harbour aspect of this painstakingly revived late-Victorian villa make this a particularly special offering. Expressions of interest, inspect by appointment Enquiries: Ken Jacobs, 0407 190 152 or

20 Rawene Ave, Westmere, New Zealand On the exquisite Auckland waterfront, this luxury home sits centre stage in one of the world’s most desired cities. Ponting Fitzgerald's brief was for enduring elegance and the result is an extraordinary experience connecting the land to water. This is premier real estate only 4.4 kilometres to the city centre with fast access to key road networks. The majestic concrete and cedar home (733 square metres plus almost 300 square metres of terraces) has played host to a number of special events and entertained many high-profile guests. Featuring crafted woodgrain concrete walls on a rare scale, this inspiring home has the aura of a modern castle. Facing north-west brings all-day sun on 1978 square metres of riparian waterfront and beautiful panorama with a changing seascape, as it transitions from full tide to the picturesque beauty of Meola Reef. Price: NZ$22,000,000 Enquiries: Pene Milne, +6421 919 940 or


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


PROPERTY PERSPECTIVE Alex Schiavo, Kay & Burton Originally a Sydneysider, Alex Schiavo has spent the last 15 years with Kay & Burton in Melbourne, selling some of the city’s most luxurious properties. He made a record sale last year on the waterfront in the exclusive suburb of Brighton. He provides his views on hotspots in the Melbourne market, the influence of technology on property-hunting, and what his Italian heritage means to him.

portals to feed property information directly to buyers. Having a sophisticated database is essential, allowing us to introduce specific properties to potential buyers who don’t have a lot of time on their hands.

Kay & Burton has been in business for 85 years. What is the secret to its success? We’re a boutique agency, and everything we do is based on over-servicing clients, providing trustworthy advice and achieving exceptional results. The majority of our business is based on referral. I don’t view my business as oneoff transactions, but rather long-term relationships with people.

What trends are you seeing in the Melbourne luxury market at present? If I look at the key markets we operate in – Stonnington, Bayside and Boroondara – there is a shortage of stock, and as a result we’ve seen competition from a lot of local families in these areas. In addition, we have expats who are returning to Australia, people moving from interstate for business reasons, as well as international buyers. Certainly, for the next 12 to 18 months, I don’t expect a change at the top end of the market because of the limited stock levels.

How do you think technology and social media is changing real estate? People are extremely time-poor, and the way they are now consuming information is different, mainly because of social media. Due to this change we need to look beyond the typical real estate

The current market demands are varied, from people looking for land with an old house they can knock down, along with a segment of the market who are keen to put their own stamp on a property. However, the end result is the same, with a requirement for homes with pools and

tennis courts. Whether it’s Brighton or Toorak, if it’s a period or contemporary home, the wishlist is having enough land. Your background is Italian – what do you value about this influence? I’m incredibly proud of my Italian heritage. My family is from the Umbria region, and I certainly enjoy going back to visit – it is a beautiful part of the world. I think anything that comes out of Italy is synonymous with luxury – whether it’s the culture, fashion, architecture, cars or boats.

46 Seaview Terrace, Sunshine Beach, Queensland Envisioned from the outset to make the most of its privileged beachfront position, this breathtaking beach house has been designed for a world-class holiday lifestyle. Enjoying absolute beach frontage at the exclusive northern end of Sunshine Beach, this home occupies an impressive original double block of 1286 square metres, with its own landscaped path to the surf. Luxuriously appointed and showcasing an impeccable level of craftsmanship, life in the home revolves around vast open-plan living spaces with an unimpeded indoor/outdoor connection. On a beautiful day it becomes an entertaining haven, with the fresh interior, extensive decking, infinity-edge pool and brilliant blue ocean views combining for stunning effect. This is a home to share with family and friends, where endless ocean views and colourful beach scenes ensure a memorable daily spectacle. Six bedrooms, five bathrooms, six-car off-street parking and garaging, pool and spa, surfboard store and office. Price: $18,000,000 Enquiries: Tom Offermann, 0412 711 888

November-December 2017 |



Giacomo Ciufoli Where innovation meets tradition With roots that lie to the far north of Italy, Giacomo Ciufoli is showcasing contemporary designs, constructed with age-old artisanal techniques. It begins with an inspiration: a beautiful element of nature, a pivotal moment in history, or an inherent fragment of art that captivated the imagination of designer Giacomo Ciufoli. Each creation has its own peculiar story, its own unique process and its own distinct place within the collection. This collection of high jewellery bracelets designed for him or her, are to be worn individually, stacked, or paired with your luxury timepiece. Let your imagination run wild and create your own unique masterpiece; an endless array of stingray leather, fine 18-carat gold and pure silver, finished with your choice of precious stones.

The bike comes with a kit that includes a titanium silencer and dedicated control unit, boosting power by 5.2kW to a new total of 158kW. It also features Lewis Hamilton’s eyecatching Panther logo.

Lewis Hamilton limited edition Three-time F1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, and MV Agusta have collaborated to design a brand new bike, the F4 LH44. This partnership follows the success of their first project on the Dragster RR LH. The F4 LH44 is an offshoot of the F4 RC which is derived directly from the MV Agusta Reparto Corse Superbike, the pinnacle of Italian four-cylinder performance. Namely, the Corsa Corta engine (bore 79 mm, stroke 50.9 mm) with central timing chain and radial valves, which on this version puts out a maximum power of 205hp (151kW).


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

“I am very excited to continue my partnership with MV Agusta. I love working with Giovanni and the guys at MV Agusta, their passion for engineering and attention to detail produces stunning, original looking bikes. My projects with MV Agusta are a great way to combine my love of riding bikes with my interest in creative design process so I am very much involved with the CRC design team throughout,” says Hamilton. The customisation that led to the creation of the F4 LH44 was based on a continuous, direct dialogue between the British Formula 1 champion and the CRC (Castiglioni Research Centre) workshop where every MV Agusta takes shape. The creative process was long, with attention paid to the bike’s every last detail. Each individual idea was meticulously assessed and checked in terms of its feasibility, flair and functionality. Thorough analysis and creative comparison have made the F4 LH44 much more than just a custom project: it is, rather, an unprecedented, unrepeatable interpretation of the F4. Forty-four units are to be produced worldwide, with Australian allocations limited. Available exclusively by preorder from MV Agusta Parramatta – contact 02 9637 0722 or


Telling time in solid gold style Pursuing excellence is a Curtis tradition – five generations of craftsmanship has evolved to the point where this unique Australian atelier now creates some of the world’s most distinctive timepieces. Every watch carries the koala hallmark unique to Curtis Australia. Handcrafted individually in solid pink gold and South Sea mother of pearl, the interplay of precious materials in their ladies ‘Myst’ watch will draw envious stares wherever you go. Curtis is the world’s only family-owned luxury house creating watches, jewellery and pens – all from a single studio. For more information, call 03 5152 1089 or visit

Luxury living

Millbrook Homes is luxury living at its finest. With more than 35 awards received over the last 18 months, Millbrook Homes is fast becoming one of Sydney’s most awarded builders, designing every home as a masterpiece. One of Millbrook Homes’ most prized custom-built homes has been awarded Home of the Year, Best Kitchen over $70k, Best Outdoor Project and Best Bathroom Design, just to name a few. Encapsulating refined and relaxed contemporary living, this stunning luxury home provided its owners with a sanctuary that perfectly blends timeless traditional aesthetics with modern finishes. The elegant and sophisticated design, exceptional craftsmanship and precision detail are a testament to Millbrook Homes’ specialist building services. Millbrook Homes’ upscale, custom-built homes combine award-winning design, clever use of space and the finest quality materials and finishes to truly make a home your own. For more information, call 02 8319 6111 or visit

November-December 2017 |



An industrial edge

Think striking, elegant, highly polished metals; aluminium, copper and brass combined with luxurious wood, resin and aged leathers. Rustic industrial touches combine to produce a unique luxurious statement finish. Servicing both residential and commercial clients, Cocolea’s look is unique. The attention to detail and handcrafted premium handmade furniture is evident throughout the entire range. Other unique offerings are the furniture customisation service and the sourcing of one-off propeller art for clients. This allows buyers to have a unique piece they have always envisioned come to life and something that is truly individual and tells its own story. The Cocolea range can be viewed and ordered online at with free shipping Australia-wide.

Stealth Wing Desk, vintage leather and aluminium, $3250; Admiral Egg Chair, vintage brown leather and aluminium, $2000

Personalised viewings of the Yarraville Showroom (Hyde Business Park, Unit 37 and 38, 131 Hyde Street, Yarraville, Victoria) can be arranged by appointment; contact info@ or 0402 178 283.

Elite installation

With world-class engineering and the highest attention to detail in every table, the team at Elite Innovations is committed to delivering every order safely, on time and with the best equipment. Whether you need a pool table lowered into an atrium, or hoisted to the 28th floor penthouse suite, meticulous planning ensures nothing is left to chance. All tables by Elite Innovations feature the transparent ‘Vitrik’ playing surface; a fibreglass compound polymer that replicates the rolling resistance of cloth. Available from Elite Innovations. For more information, call 08 8260 2060 or visit


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Aston Martin – page 24 T: see advertisement for distributors in your state Audemars Piguet (The Hour Glass) – page 13 T: 1300 468 745 BMW – pages 38-39 T: 133 269 CBRE (Property: One Circular Quay by Wanda) – pages 6-7 T: 131 110 CBRE (Property: Koko Broadbeach) – page 49 T: 1800 571 967 CBRE (Property: Sandbar Burleigh) – page 49 T: 1800 490 215 CBRE (Property: Melbourne Square) – page 135 T: 1300 888 770 Cocolea Furniture – page 144 T: 0402 178 283

IWC Shaffhausen – outside back cover Leica Camera – page 69 T: 03 9248 4444 Kanebridge Capital – pages 76-77 T: 1300 526 327 Ken Jacobs (Property: ‘Berthong’) – page 140 T: 0407 190 152 Maritimo – page 45 T: 07 5588 6000 Mercedes-Benz – inside front cover T: 03 9566 9266 Millbrook Homes – page 143 T: 02 8319 6111 MV Agusta Parramatta – page 142 T: 02 9637 0722 Numarine – page 71 T: 02 9743 3755

Creux Automatiq – page 105

Paspaley – page 4-5 T: 02 9232 7633

Curtis Australia – page 143 T: 03 5152 1089

Patek Philippe – page 15 T: 02 9231 3299

De Bortoli – page 33

Pier One Sydney Harbour – pages 148-149 T: 02 8298 9999

Dutton Garage – page 95 T: 03 9419 8080 Dyldam (Property: South Quarter, Parramatta City) – pages 138-139 T: 02 8320 8320 Elite Innovations – page 144 T: 08 8260 2060 Est8 Agency – page 137 T: 0424 523 532 Ferrari Maserati Sydney – page 17 T: 1300 951 691 Fraser Yachts – page 102 T: 02 9222 7705 Giacomo Ciufoli – page 142 Harrolds – pages 9, 11 T: 1300 755 103 Ho Bee Land (Property: Rhapsody Surfers North) – page 136 T: 0408 652 963


Azimut Yachts – pages 52-53 T: 02 9222 7774

Pommery – page 151 Rae’s on Wategos – pages 162-163 T: 02 6685 5366 Rogerseller – page 29 T: 02 8396 8700 Rolls-Royce – pages 20-21 T: see advertisement for distributors in your state Sotheby’s Realty (Property: 20 Rawene Ave, Westmere) – page 140 T: 0421 919 940 Tahiti Tourism – page 181 T: 1300 655 563 Tom Offermann Real Estate (Property: 26 Seaview Terrace, Sunshine Beach) – page 141 T: 0412 711 888 Solaris Yachts (Team Windcraft) – page 83 T: 02 9979 1709 November-December 2017 |



Neville Crichton Neville Crichton CNZM, 72, is executive chairman of Ateco Group, an automotive, industrial and property conglomerate. Crichton was born on a dairy farm on New Zealand’s South Island, where a knack for selling bicycles evolved into NZ’s largest used car business. Equally successful in sailing and motor racing, at 29 Crichton sold up and sailed the Pacific for a year, ending up in Hawaii with another automotive business. In 1979, the non-smoker was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer, resulting in the removal of his larynx. In the mid-’80s he built Sydney-based Ateco into an automotive powerhouse, while also spawning NZ’s superyacht industry via his Alloy Yachts. Crichton is among the world’s most accomplished yachtsmen, his wins including the UK’s Fastnet, the US Transpac and line honours (twice) in the Sydney Hobart. – MICHAEL STAHL You describe yourself as simply a “dealer”. How do you define that and how is one made? I guess I buy and sell things. When we left the farm, my father showed me how to buy a pushbike or a motormower, give it a coat of paint and sell it. I was quite shy, but I liked it – the thrill of the deal. My dad taught me to buy a pushbike for £1.10, give it a coat of paint and sell it for £5. I started buying and selling cars from the age of 14. As a job, I actually started selling tractors and hay balers, door-to-door, until I could get into the car business. In 1979 you were diagnosed with terminal throat cancer. Apart from beating the disease, you helped pioneer techniques to regain your voice. I read about these doctors in Indianapolis that restored voice boxes. At that stage I couldn’t talk and I was writing on a slate. And when you can’t spell, that’s even worse! I went over and was one of the guinea pigs because generally, people with cancer in the throat are older people that have smoked. I was young and had plenty of energy. We got it working pretty quickly. I didn’t get sick with the cancer – I never accepted there was an issue. But when I couldn’t talk … I’m not sure how long I could have put up with that. Having a tracheotomy should have ended your sailing career, but it had almost the opposite effect. The first thing the doctor said was, “You’re going to have to give up boating”. I checked myself out of hospital and did the Trans-Pacific Ocean Race. It wasn’t the smartest thing I could have done, but that was the way I handled it. I never, ever accepted that there was an issue. Since then I’ve done thousands of sea miles and virtually every major ocean race. I’ve had a couple of near misses, but someone was looking after me. In January this year you sold your home in Sydney’s Point Piper. Was this significant or just another deal? I’m planning to spend a lot more time offshore. I spend a lot of time in Europe and I wanted to have an apartment in Sydney that I can just lock up and leave. I loved that house – my house is something I don’t buy to sell, I buy to live in – but even when you’re away, you’ve got to have security, you’ve got to have staff … I love the Mediterranean, I love the European summer. I have an apartment in Monaco, which is a very good base.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

You’ve received an NZ Order of Merit, had major victories in sailing, motor racing and business, and generally done rather well for a farmer’s son. What is your greatest achievement? I’ve never really thought about it. I think sailing. I’ve achieved more in sailing than I ever expected or could have dreamed of. And business – I like winning with that. How does one field of competition apply to the other? Yachting’s a big mind game. It’s certainly a team sport. And in business, it’s no different. The sailing has so many variables you have to deal with all the time – the water, the currents, the route, navigation … Sailing, particularly on a maxi boat, you’ve got a tactician talking behind you, sail trimmers that are talking quietly, and you’re picking it all up and processing it … I’ve got to feel what’s going on all the time, over the whole business or the boat. I can do that and I guess I think everyone can do it, but they can’t. You’ve recently married again. Have you mellowed? Everyone does as they get older. I’ve never tolerated fools very much, but absolutely I’ve mellowed. I think I’m a better person for it. Like, if someone gave me a bit of lip, I wouldn’t be scared to get up and whack them in the nose. These days, I wouldn’t even think about it. Probably because I know I’d get whacked back twice as hard. But certainly, you do mellow with age and you get smarter about it.



Mentors: four inspiring stories | Rolls, or Ferrari? Women on wheels Sleeping beauty and how to get it | Pearl perfection

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152 Frontrunners


Shoes, sparklers, scarves, scooters – and beauty products to make you look your best

Freya Purnell Managing Editor


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Luxury marques court the influential female car buyer


164 The getting of wisdom Four prominent women on their commitment to the next generation

172 Uncommon scents Fragrances with the royal stamp of approval

174 Vanguard of glamour The ateliers creating haute couture remain a powerful tool for purveyors of high-end fashion


178 Out of their shells Modern pearls for modern women

190 Mirror, mirror on the wall Why vanity might actually be good for your health

193 Dream trips 10 tips for getting better sleep while travelling the globe

196 Robb Reader


Queen of retail Katie Page on her business instincts, love of horses, and encouraging women in sport

Cover: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images


espite Robb Report’s reputation as a magazine primarily for men, a not-insignificant proportion of our readers are women. The fairer sex has all the taste and discernment – more, some may argue – of their male counterparts, so we thought it about time we gave the ‘Robb Report Woman’ her very own seat at the table. With ‘the best of the best’ our guiding mantra at Robb Report, we have brought together some top female journalists for this special section. Susan Skelly profiles powerful women who have not just achieved career success themselves, but have held out a hand to mentor other women in their pursuit of greatness, and in Robb Reader, stellar businesswoman Katie Page tells how family is a driving force in her professional and personal life. Melissa Hoyer reports on the growing influence women are wielding when purchasing luxury cars – and the marques that are taking note. Georgina Safe steps into the world of haute couture, the fashion equivalent of supercar production, to see why its excess and extravagance is worth its weight in gold – even with a shrinking customer base. And if you have a passion for pearls (without the matching twinset), you will love the thoroughly modern take showcased by jewellery designers such as Paspaley and Autore in these pages. Should anyone accuse us of being tokenistic, this is more than just a cameo appearance. We look forward to bringing women with an appreciation of excellence more to be excited by in the future. Until then, enjoy this taste of things to come.

156 Fast femme de luxe

P l e a s e d r i n k r e s P o n s i b ly


A hint of blush CERRONE PINK DIAMONDS When it comes to fine jewellery, pink diamonds are the new black. Customers are increasingly looking to Australian pink diamonds to add an element of eye-catching individuality to their wrists, décolletages and fingers – and the most desirable, due to their rarity and preciousness, are Australian pink diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine in the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia. Australian luxury jeweller Cerrone specialises in coloured diamonds, including the coveted Argyle pink and yellow diamonds, and uses them to add depth and vitality to engagement rings and other pieces. “When I create a piece of jewellery, I think of originality, beauty and quality, not about what it will be worth,” says Cerrone director Nicola Cerrone. “For me, the challenge is to make the piece well, to give my clients the very best quality and value in stones and setting, and to maintain our high standards of craftsmanship.” Cerrone pink diamond pieces are created in the largest jewellery hand-crafting workshop in Australia, where artisans including diamond setters, jewellers and polishers specialise in crafting jewels to suit individual personalities, requirements and lifestyles. Cerrone draws on his childhood memories of growing up in a small village on the east coast of Italy to infuse every piece with a sense of joy and imagination. Pink, yellow or white, every piece of Cerrone jewellery is uplifting and memorable. – GEORGINA SAFE

Making an entrance SALVATORE FERRAGAMO FOOTWEAR British-born designer Paul Andrew has unveiled his debut footwear collection as the newly appointed design director for women’s footwear at Italian luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo, and the results are nothing less than bellissima. Minimalist burgundy and gold column-heel sandals, skyhigh, burnished snakeskin, architectural Flower Heel pumps and delicate strappy sandals that snake their way up the foot and lace at the ankle are among the styles in the 2017/18 preautumn range that comes 90 years after artisan shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo founded his eponymous company in 1927 in Florence. “My concept for the collection was simply to highlight the fundamentals that made Salvatore such a profound and ground-breaking presence in his field and to express those values through designs that are relevant to a new generation of strong, discerning women,” says Andrew. It’s easy to see why Salvatore Ferragamo tapped the New York-based designer, after he launched his own eponymous brand with women’s shoes in 2013, followed by a line of men’s footwear in 2016. With his passion for craftsmanship and technology, Andrew’s talents have resulted in significant accolades, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America Swarovski award for accessory design in 2016, followed by the Designer of the Year award at the Footwear News Achievement Award. The next chapter in his illustrious career is just beginning. – G.S.


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

The eyes have it These powerful serums and emollients will have you looking younger in a dab by Janice O’Leary

1 LA PRAIRIE SKIN CAVIAR ABSOLUTE FILLER Designed to target the loss of volume in skin, this luscious new potion includes the brand’s signature caviar nutrients, which have been extracted using a new process that better isolates the beneficial lipids and proteins that help to plump skin and return a youthful lustre. ($755) 2 F. MILLER EYE TREATMENT OIL This gentle, quick-absorbing formula containing prickly pear, carrot-seed oil, marula oil and rose and lavender essential oils not only smells divine, but it plumps fine lines in even the most sensitive of eye areas. ($80)


3 SISLEY SISLEŸA L’INTEGRAL ANTI-AGE EYE AND LIP CONTOUR CREAM The rich emulsion fights dark circles and under-eye puffiness, as well as fine wrinkles in the delicate skin lining the eyes and lips. This new addition to the line includes a clever Ridoki massage tool to prepare skin prior to application. davidjones. ($225)

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ILA EYE SERUM FOR RENEWED RECOVERY This silky gel is rich with the oils of nuts and seeds that have antiinflammatory properties to increase blood flow to the eye area, reducing puffiness and boosting radiance. ($83)

5 VALMONT L’ELIXIR DES GLACIERS SÉRUM MAJESTUEUX VOS YEUX From carefully tended Swiss alpine bee colonies, hive masters obtain the honey and propolis that form the base of this creamy concentrate. Apply with light taps of the ring finger for tighter, firmer eyelids. ($500)

Photo: Michael Buckner


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OLIVER PEOPLES 1955 OPTICAL FRAMES One of the original designs from Oliver Peoples, this pair of glasses is hailed for its complementary contrast between the front and the temple. Seen here in Buff Vintage DTB Antique Gold, the style has been reissued in acetate and metal. ($515)

November–December 2017 |



Flights of fantasy SILVIYA NERI SCARVES Silviya Saikali believes scarves have as much power to transform an outfit as other accessories, such as shoes or a handbag. But then, her luxurious SIlviya Neri foulards ( are no ordinary scarves. Wildly colourful and whimsically eclectic, they are emblazoned with everything from snakes and sailors to fortune tellers and flowers, all to spectacularly eye-catching effect. You won’t find any standard spots, stripes or checks on any of Saikali’s foulards, which instead are filled with surrealist images and vivid colours born of her dreams and rich imagination. Made in Italy, but with a globetrotting appeal reflecting a life lived between Italy and Australia, the strikingly original designs reflect Saikali's background as a graphic designer at Maison Moschino in Milan, before she launched her own brand in 2011. Today her scarves are stocked by 40 luxury boutiques, concept and department stores around the world, and Saikali has collaborated with everyone from Italian cosmetics company Kiko to Milanese jeweller Impero Perle and furniture companies Baxter Como and Altre Forme. Creating luxury items designed to be worn every day, Saikali works with the best textile-printing houses in Como, Italy, to create stylish accessories designed to last a lifetime. – GEORGINA SAFE

Ride in style VESPA GTS SUPERSPORT 300 Head out in style for your own Roman Holiday this summer, on the top-of-the-range Vespa GTS SuperSport 300 (vespa. As the most powerful and sporty Vespa in the range, it marries the classic styling that had Audrey Hepburn turning heads in the Italian capital in the 1953 celluloid classic with the latest technology for zipping around the city and beyond. Last year, the iconic Italian scooter manufacturer celebrated its 70th birthday and while there are myriad contenders in the scooter market today, Vespa maintains the timeless design cues that gained it a place in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. With the GTS SuperSport 300 just launched in a matt yellow, complete with black 12-inch wheels and retro chrome mirrors, the distinctive aesthetic is sure to draw plenty of attention. The GTS doesn’t shirk in terms of performance, either, with a strong 278cc single-cylinder engine driving through a CVT automatic transmission. Riding comfort is delivered via dual hydraulic shocks on the rear and a single-arm front suspension. For stopping safety, the scooter is fitted with ABS-equipped disc brakes front and rear. The seat is a stylish contoured affair with room at the rear for a friend and space underneath to lock away valuables. The new GTS SuperSport 300 is also available in a matt grey and is priced from $9590 plus on-road costs. – RUSSELL WILLIAMSON


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

While you were sleeping Relax and rejuvenate overnight with these dream-worthy new products by Janice O’Leary

1 SPA MONTAGE BATH SALTS AND WILDFLOWER POULTICE Slip into a deeper sleep after a 90-minute healing and restorative California Wildflower massage at the Montage Laguna Beach. ($445) 2 CAUDALÍE VINE(ACTIV) OVERNIGHT DETOX OIL Boost your cells’ natural defences with this antioxidant-​packed facial oil. Rich in vitamin E and omega-6 to maintain supple skin, with essential oils of neroli, carrot, rose, sweet almond and grapeseed. ($65)


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3 MOLTON BROWN COASTAL CYPRESS & SEA FENNEL BATH & SHOWER GEL This latest product from the brand foams up beautifully for a luxurious bubble bath scented with blue cypress oil and extracts of sea fennel from an unspoiled Australian peninsula. moltonbrown. ($39) 4 SISLEY BLACK ROSE SKIN INFUSION CREAM The newest offering in Sisley’s results-driven Black Rose skin-care collection, this rich night cream combines multiple extracts of the rare flower with alpine rose and other floral essences to plump and smooth skin overnight. au ($230) 5 BAMFORD BOTANIC PILLOW MIST This new lavender-​and-​ marjoram-​scented water should help release tension and bring on swift slumber when sprayed on sheets before bedtime. ($34)


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Photo: Michael Buckner

6 ILA NIGHT CREAM FOR RENEWED RECOVERY Using rare botanicals such as white lily and Acmella, harvested from the Amazon rainforest, this light face cream hydrates and repairs skin during hours of rest. skincarestore. ($125) 7 VALMONT L’ELIXIR DES GLACIERS ESSENCE OF BEES MASQUE MAJESTUEUX Nourish dry skin once or twice per week with this facial mask, from Valmont’s newest line. Honey, royal jelly and bee propolis repair and soothe skin. Liposomes also help heal and hydrate. ($548)

November–December 2017 |


Fast femme de luxe

BMW 7 Series

Never underestimate the power of women – especially when it comes to purchasing luxury cars by Melissa Hoyer


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


ight now, as we put the key in the ignition, let’s acknowledge that there’s often a difference between the luxury cars that some women drive – purchased by a husband, partner or very, very dear friend – and the luxury cars that some women choose to buy for themselves. Either way, what is it that makes women indulge in high-end, super-luxurious cars? For many, an exquisitely crafted set of wheels is every bit as desirable as a work of art or a wardrobe of haute couture fashion. Many are equally in tune with engine capacities and torque outputs. A popular misconception is that women exclusively choose hatchbacks or compact SUVs, but according to the purveyors of luxury marques, an increasing number are buying upper-luxury sedans, larger SUVs and high-performance ‘supercars’ from the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Ferrari Ferrari acknowledged the female buying trend back in 2008 when it introduced the comfortable, four-seat convertible California – since superseded by the Portofino – but several female buyers have accelerated straight past even those to the more (dare we say it?) ‘blokey’ high-performance models. According to Herbert Appleroth, CEO of Ferrari Australasia, Australia leads the western world per capita in its number of female Ferrari owners. He says the brand’s female customers – in common with its other clients – are people who enjoy the best of the best. “They have an appreciation for fine art and design, the finest materials, and impeccable craftsmanship,” Appleroth says. “Of course, once they are behind the wheel, it is all about the passion and emotion of driving a Ferrari.” In terms of the models they’re choosing, Appleroth says it’s quite an even split between the more aggressive, fun-focused V8 models and the top-line, grand touring V12s. Ferrari hosts a worldwide calendar of events for owners and prospective clients. In recent years, these have included female-only track days. Guests are able to drive their Ferraris on various racing circuits under the guidance of Ferrariqualified instructors. Not everyone wants to enjoy life at fulltilt, Appleroth adds. “Our more lifestyle-

Ferrari Portofino

focused ‘Italian Tour’ events include a week’s worth of luxury accommodation in some of the best hotels in Italy, the best fine dining and Michelin-star restaurants, luxury shopping in Milan … The Ferrari lifestyle is driven by experiencing true passion and excellence, it’s never about just owning a car.” This is also reflected in the degree of personalisation that owners invest in their cars. “With our ‘Tailor Made’ program, clients can create their own paint colour, or replicate their favourite cashmere on the interior. The possibilities are endless.”


Porsche 911

According to Porsche, female customers buy its cars for two reasons: they’re making a statement of individuality and personal success, and/or they appreciate a Porsche as an example of design and engineering. “At the higher end of the band, there are the women who love the driving and the performance of the car – and often, you will find them taking their car to the limit on a race track,” says Stephanie Weiser from Porsche Cars Australia. “But a large proportion of female customers are owners of our sports SUVs, the Cayenne and Macan.” Porsche launched the Cayenne in 2003 after research in the USA showed that the company’s sports cars were often the second car in a garage – alongside a luxury SUV. “We were missing out,” says Weiser. “A large number of our male clients have a 911, and now a Cayenne or Macan for the woman of the house. We estimate around 50 per cent of Porsche SUVs are driven by women.” November-December 2017 |



That’s not to say they’re overlooking the focused sports models: of the iconic 911, about eight per cent are bought by women, and an apparently higher number for the 718 Cayman and Boxster. Porsche conducts exclusive Ladies Drive days for women who know about their cars. “At lunchtime, it’s not just chit-chat and networking, it’s comparing model variants and driving experiences among peers, minus the male egos at the table,” Weiser says. Dedicated Porsche owner Marie Miyashiro owns a Cayman GT4 for the track and a Boxster S for everyday use. “I first saw a Boxster driving on the road and I was drawn to it,’’ she says. “Once I bought one, my husband suggested I enrol in the Porsche Sport Driving School. Now I take my Cayman GT4 on track monthly.”

A Porsche Cayenne trio: the S in grey, Turbo in white, and in black, the standard model

Aston Martin For all its masculine associations with motor racing and James Bond, the appeal of the Aston Martin brand is not gender-specific, according to Patrik Nilsson, president of Aston Martin Asia Pacific. “We regularly conduct research and seek feedback from our customers, and they tell us that they like the beauty and craftsmanship of our products, the understated personality and the exclusivity,” he says. “Female owners cover a broad spectrum of models including the V8 Vantage S, Vantage GT8, Rapide S and Vanquish. Our current female clientele enjoy their cars in a mix of CBD driving, touring weekends away and on race tracks.” Aston Martin owners tend to enjoy many of the brand’s experiences as couples. “Earlier this year we ran the New Zealand On Ice program for the second year as part of our Art of Living program. Of the 25 drivers, five were women and we also had a female driving instructor as part of our team. “Having said this, our dealers in Australia do hold events with femalefocused luxury brand partners.” Nilsson says they find that female advocacy is particularly important for the brand; that is, females will advocate a partner’s purchase decision. “We are developing our new luxury crossover, the DBX SUV, with a femaleproxy customer. It will appeal equally


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Great Britain Edition

to both males and females, but the female proxy ensures that features like the packaging, seating position and visibility will meet all needs.” But a fair number of women are taking the plunge for themselves. “In Australia, we are already selling about twice as many cars to females compared to our global average,” Nilsson says. “And although it’s not an everyday occurrence, we did recently have a female customer in Sydney who bought her husband a DB11 for his birthday.”

AMG S65 Coupé

Mercedes-Benz In recent years, a styling package and big wheels on an entrymodel car was all that you needed to look sporty. But buying habits have changed, especially for women. The Mercedes-AMG performance sub-brand accounts for a staggering 20 per cent of Mercedes-Benz’s total passenger car sales worldwide. The AMG machines have enhancements not only to styling, but to engines, suspensions and brakes. “Women are now more interested than ever before in bragging rights such as zero-to-100km/h acceleration times and top speeds,” says Jerry Stamoulis, of Mercedes-Benz Australia. “Though a customer may never hit the top speed limiter of 317km/h in an

AMG GTS – certainly not on Australian public roads – there’s something special in being able to say that you can.” Stamoulis says that in the past three years, female customers of AMG have increased by five per cent. The vehicles they buy range from the $75,000 AMG A 45, which can sprint to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds, through to the $500,000 AMG S 65 Coupé, which has a twin-turbo V12 engine producing 1000Nm torque, making it one of the most powerful engines on the market. Mercedes-Benz Australia offers a large variety of brand experience events, including a Ladies Day at the National Gallery of Victoria. “But at our AMG Driving Events, we’re seeing more women attending, wanting to drive our most powerful cars around a race track,” Stamoulis says. November-December 2017 |



Audi SQ7

Audi As far as Audi is concerned, the big buzz of the moment is its technology-laden, large Q7 SUV and the just-launched SQ7 performance variant. (Although it pays not to overlook the equally new and achingly stylish A5 Cabriolet sports model). Taking care of customers at the wheel with the latest technology is only a part of the Audi experience. Then there’s, well, Audi Experience. “We have the Audi Experience loyalty program as part of our ‘myAudi’ customer interface,” says Anna Burgdorf, of Audi Australia. “We invite our high-value customers to events and activities as part of our ownership experience. This might be a lunch with Collette Dinnigan at her new home in the Southern Highlands; a lunch, dinner or foraging course or masterclass with our chefs, Matt Moran, Andrew McConnell, Kylie Kwong, Shannon Bennett or Guillaume Brahimi; or a dinner on stage at Melbourne Theatre Company with Richard Roxburgh, for example. Our owners really love these lifestyle opportunities.” Burgdorf says that women play a large role in the car purchasing decision in a household. Around 90 per cent of such decisions are influenced by women, and just under 50 per cent of Audi purchases are directly to women. “Women also do care about the engine they are choosing – they may not want to know the minutiae, but they do want to love their car and feel good when they’re driving it. “Generally, women will research their car choice well, will know what they want to buy and why. And we are seeing more female salespeople entering the industry – and more salesmen realising that it’s no longer okay to start speaking to the male half of a couple that walks into the showroom.” Technology is making life easier for all drivers. “Our traffic jam assist technology sees the car driving itself for short periods of time in slow traffic, meaning you can relax a little and let the car do the work,” says Burgdorf. “It’s an Audi goal to actually ‘give time back’ to people, with innovative technology that works so you can be efficient while driving, and stay safe.”


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Rolls-Royce One of the major attractions of the grande dame of motor cars is that its models can be ordered effectively bespoke, which in turn allows so many female buyers to add their individual touches. “One of our owners specified the colour of a nail polish to be used for the exterior of her car and another specified an accessory cushion for her dog,” says Paul Harris, regional director of RollsRoyce Motor Cars Asia Pacific.

Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge

BMW BMW finds that its customers, including women, choose to purchase its cars for many reasons – design, performance, functionality, comfort and safety high among them. Women play a significant role in influencing around 80 per cent of all BMW sales. “BMW speaks directly to women with a key focus on empowerment,” says Stuart Jaffray, marketing manager of BMW Group Australia. “Empowered women are intellectual, progressive, rational, highly digital and aware of opportunities to reward themselves.” Aside from the pure appeal of the products, BMW recognises the value in engaging women customers through events and experiences, including technology seminars. BMW Australia’s targeted ambassadorships include recent appointment Julie Stevanja, entrepreneur and founder of the innovative online retailer Stylerunner. The dynamic Monika Tu, founder and director of Black Diamondz Property Concierge, also represents the BMW brand in Australia.


Jaffray says that women have a major say in all significant family purchases, of which a luxury car is one. More importantly, though, he adds that “the number of single, independent, successful females continues to grow and they also purchase luxury goods for themselves”. According to sales data, the most popular upscale BMW vehicles purchased by women are currently the BMW 7 Series (starting from $224,900), BMW X5, BMW X6 and the sporty, two-seat BMW Z4.

“We had another female customer send a pot of her best hand cream to our bespoke designer to create the colour for the interior of her car. Rolls-Royce owners can specify from 44,000 colours, with some owners reserving a colour for their own personal use only.” Rolls-Royce is seeing increasing numbers of women buying its Dawn (convertible), Wraith (coupé) and Ghost (sedan), as these are more driver-oriented and less formal than the flagship, just-launched new Phantom. The Black Badge styling

BMW 7 Series

suite can endow any of these models with a more hard-core sporting edge. Indeed, the first owner of a Black Badgespecified model in New Zealand is a woman. “We are seeing more and more women becoming RollsRoyce owners – in Asia-Pacific, already around 15 per cent of Wraith owners are female,” says Harris. “Our female owners are fascinated by the materials, craftsmanship and almost limitless personalisation possibilities. There’s a heavier emphasis these days with fashion and materials.”

Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible

November-December 2017 |


6-8 Marine Parade Byron Bay, NSW Australia +61 2 6685 5366

The getting

of wisdom

Embrace fear. Know how much debt you can live with. Be honest about what you don’t know ‌ Gritty advice from mentors can be a career game-changer. We ask four trailblazing women about passing the baton by Susan Skelly


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Layne Beachley Seven times a world champion, it was inevitable that Manly’s number one surfer girl would become a role model and mentor. But it isn’t only sporty types who look to her for their next move. Layne Beachley has just spent a brisk winter’s morning at Sydney’s Freshwater Beach, surfing a four- to six-foot swell, in light winds and “pumping” conditions. Being in the surf, she says, is “non-negotiable”. In fact, the best advice she received when she retired from professional surfing in 2008 was from former Quiksilver boss Bruce Raymond who said, “Schedule your diary around the surf forecast”. Beachley has always surrounded herself with those who are older, more experienced and willing to share what they know. “When I joined the World Tour, I travelled and surfed and trained with world champions,” she says. “Leaders love to learn from the mistakes of others, so I was always tapping into the knowledge of everyone around me.” Made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015, Beachley has a list of mentors as long as her list of titles: six world championship wins between 1998 and 2003 and a seventh in 2006. But just as important as the mentors on the way up (champion surfers Wendy Botha, Tom Carroll, Pauline Menczer and Pam Burridge, surf coach Steve Foreman, and personal trainer Rob Rowland-Smith) are those who shaped her life at the other end of the pipeline. “I always had passion projects outside the sport,” says Beachley. “And when I retired, none of them was ever going to fulfil that same level of elation and excitement you experience standing on a podium holding a trophy above your head and being sprayed with champagne. “I had to be realistic with my expectations. I did feel a sense of loss. And that’s when I reached out to my mentors.” These included Ironman Guy Leech; Michael Duff, who coaches executives in high-performance thinking; and professional mentor Debbie Spellman. “Leechy gave me clarity and enabled me to put things back in perspective. Mike Duff gave me a chance to self-define because I had become ruled by my ‘job titles’. Debbie provided me with a whole toolbox of solutions around decision-making, being willing to forgive, and detaching from negative thought patterns.” The biggest wave Layne Beachley has ever surfed was 50 feet high – as tall as a five-storey building – on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii.

“Fear brings a state of awareness and brings your attention back to the moment”

November-December 2017 |



How she dealt with the fear of that underpins her mentoring of others, which focuses not on how to win at surfing, but how to win at life. She takes a holistic approach, helping people process their fears and learn to prioritise. There are, she believes, positives in fear. “Embrace it!” she declares. “I embrace it in a way that acknowledges I am afraid and then I establish an exit strategy, a plan. What do I have to do to survive this today? Fear brings a state of awareness and brings your attention back to the moment.” Beachley has herself mentored entrepreneurs, tennis players, Formula 1 drivers, BMX champions and company executives. Even before she became successful, she realised she had unwittingly become a role model, “which is what happens to most athletes … So I have been very conscious of my actions and behaviours, knowing that people are always watching, analysing and criticising. “As I became more successful, I realised the gravitas or weight of my words and actions and the influence I could have by doing something positive to enhance other people’s lives.” In 2003, Beachley set up Aim For The Stars Foundation, a charity to prevent girls from quitting and to foster confidence and belief in themselves. It awards grants and 12 months’ mentoring, this year to 31 applicants from a field of more than 800. “After I won my sixth world title, I reflected on some of the moments when I wanted to quit,” says Beachley. “I was fortunate in having a catalyst moment when Grant McMinn, my employer at the Old Manly Boatshed, said, ‘I see you, I hear you, I believe in you and here’s some cash’. And I thought, ‘Wow’. Had he not done that, I wonder where I’d be today. “I thought I could make that same difference in other people’s lives, so I started a foundation to provide financial support and, more importantly, mentoring support for girls to achieve their dreams – in all endeavours, whether music, science, culture, sport, academia.” A voracious reader, Beachley’s bedside table accommodates Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Outliers; Discover Your True North, by Harvard professor Bill George; and The Biology of Belief, by Bruce H. Lipton. “I love the psychology of life,” she says. These days, Beachley takes Bruce Raymond’s advice. “I don’t tend to put anything into my diary before 11am if I can avoid it,” she says. “I have one happy place and that’s the ocean. I am still addicted to surfing.”

What Layne Beachley taught me… MEL THOMAS, CEO of Kyup!, a self-worth and selfprotection program addressing domestic violence: Have the guts to share and be vulnerable | Ask more questions | Implement an honesty barometer: are the people around you telling you what you want to hear or need to know? | Be accessible | Instead of lining up to be heard, flip the model and have people lining up for you | Leverage your networks | Stay true to your original purpose, passion and values. Surfer TAYLA HANAK, recipient of the 2015 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program: A travel routine that keeps my body happy, healthy and ready to compete | Tips about breathing and body awareness to help with nerves before a heat | Find a diet that works for your body.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Belinda Hutchinson If there were just one word left in the world, for Belinda Hutchinson it would be “strategy”. Just about the best fun this corporate high-flyer can have is being on a board developing a strategic plan. Belinda Hutchinson AM often tells women she mentors about the time wasted at a leading bank, waiting to be recognised for her good work. She never put her hand up for a promotion, a pay rise, or a bonus – and wondered why it didn’t come. So a woman climbing the corporate ladder under her watchful eye will be way more strategic and will know the value of the courage to ask. She will know that a career is never a straight line, that tangential opportunities sometimes provide the most interesting career moves. She will know how to succeed in an interview, how to present skills and experience in their best light, understand her relevance to a prospective company, and be honest about what she doesn’t know. She will know that EQ is as important as IQ. “Everybody can benefit from having a mentor, from someone who’s worn a track ahead of them,” says Hutchinson, whose list of current positions includes chancellor of the University of Sydney, chairman of Thales Australia, chairman of Future Generation Global Investment Company, director of AGL Energy and of Australian Philanthropic Services, and a member of the St Vincent’s Health Australia NSW Advisory Council.

“It’s important to be able to talk through challenges with someone, to share, and know that a roadblock is not the end of the world” “It’s important to be able to talk through challenges with someone, to share, and know that a roadblock is not the end of the world, but an opportunity to learn.” Along with the gold nuggets of advice in her mentees’ discreetly expensive handbags might be a copy of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. “She talks about career being like a jungle gym – you have to swing from one part of it to the next,” says Hutchinson. “As I also tell the people I mentor, a career is not smooth sailing, there are speed bumps along the way. Sandberg talks about the need to be resilient.” Hutchinson’s mentee might also be reading Personal History by Katharine Graham, the American publisher who transformed The Washington Post. “It’s a book that really talks to strength of character, resilience, hard work, good values and great courage. It’s one of the most riveting autobiographies I’ve ever read.” Hutchinson nominates two mentors who have been key in her own rise. One was Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO of Citibank in

Australia and later vice-president of global strategy for growth markets with IBM (and father of the other Mike CannonBrookes, the co-CEO of Atlassian). “Mike suggested that a chief of staff role would introduce me to many more aspects of the business than staying in corporate finance, where I was,” she says. “He taught me the real value in being focused on strategy in business. “I am absolutely focused on strategy. Every business needs its vision, its goals, and the building blocks to take it there.” Ian Stanwell, former managing director of the AMP Society, was another. “When I was at Macquarie Group and I decided to move to a non-executive director career, he made me really think through the positives and negatives, deeply; consider areas where I would add value, industries to focus on, how I should position myself, how to sit at the table in a non-executive role, as opposed to an executive role.” Hutchinson tells her mentees about needing to be fulfilled in life, beyond career. She herself stays relevant by being ever curious and open-minded. Her life is rich with seminars, conferences, books, podcasts and people. As chancellor of the University of Sydney, involved with 60,000 of the best and brightest students in the land and their teachers, Hutchinson is soaking up their research into nanoscale science and technology, gene splicing, bioengineering, robotics and advances in cancer and diabetes.

Mentoring others, she says, “makes me reflect on what I am doing. Listening to their stories and hearing about their challenges and opportunities makes you think, ‘What more can I do?’”

What Belinda Hutchinson taught me … CHRISTINE McLOUGHLIN, whose current directorships include Suncorp Group Limited, Whitehaven Coal Limited, nib holdings ltd, Spark Infrastructure Group Ltd and McGrath Foundation: The importance of a career strategy | The value of resilience and tenacity | Build meaningful rather than large networks. KATHERINE SUTTOR, Consultant, Bain & Company, Australia: Never lose sight of what really matters | Fight for what you stand for | Be unapologetically your authentic self | Always keep sight of the legacy you hope to leave behind | Remember to have fun.

November-December 2017 |



Christine Manfield

From primary school teacher to hatted chef, Christine Manfield blazed a trail in fine dining via her Paramount and Universal restaurants in Sydney and East@West in London. But cooking technique is just a small part of what she teaches the next generation. Young chefs mentored by Christine Manfield will know everything there is to know about the thinness and thickness of flavour, the idiosyncrasies of spice, and the construction and layering of look-at-me ice cream. They will also know the importance of looking at the terms of a lease or the conditions of a space, and how such things often gauge how they’ll get on with the landlord. She’ll make them think hard about whether they want financial backers or total control, about what level of debt will tip them over into being unable to sleep at night. They’ll understand that to stay relevant in the digital age, where there is no expectation of loyalty or longevity, they’ll need many strings to their bow. Manfield has written eight sumptuous books, produced a line of spices, takes tours to places like India, Bhutan and Cambodia, judges, caters, makes guest appearances at pop-up restaurants, takes classes, and is a mentor for Women in Hospitality. Mentees will come away knowing that their staff is a restaurant’s heartbeat. A cherished inner circle will comprise

head chef, general manager, sommelier, accountant and public relations whiz kid. They will, of course, be as proficient with social media as they are with perfecting a nam jim (dipping sauce). They must have a database from Day One. Social media, says Manfield, drives your profile and in turn your business. “I closed Universal four years ago and put myself out there immediately as a fringe dweller who can just jump in and do something,” she says. “The whole pop-up phenomenon I tapped into at the right time. You are drawing on the energy and enthusiasm of younger kids who are so willing to try new things. There’s a lot more collaboration with this generation – it’s an established way of behaving. There’s none of that ‘This is my sanctuary’.”

“I closed Universal four years ago and put myself out there immediately as a fringe dweller” Barbara Alexander, who cooked alongside Manfield at nearly all of her projects and is now executive chef at the Napa Valley Cooking School in California, had this first impression on Manfield: “Chris greeted me with a pixie haircut, a cheek-level chef’s jacket, Doc Marten boots and fishnet tights ... that’s all. I had never seen a chef dressed with such grit and cheekiness. She was busy on the phone and gave me a handwritten list of ingredients to collect – galangal, bird’s-eye chillis, tamarind, all completely foreign to me. I knew this was going to be an experience.” Manfield’s own mentors include Phillip Searle, of Sydney’s Oasis Seros, whose chequerboard ice cream (pineapple sorbet and star-anise ice cream bordered with liquorice gel) was legendary, and Catherine Kerry, the Adelaide caterer who made Petaluma restaurant a foodie destination. “With Phillip it was all about the discipline, serious discipline; he was an incredible perfectionist. He often used to say, ‘Tini – that’s perfect, but you can do better’. Push, push, push. It really instilled in me the importance of establishing your benchmark. “With Catherine it was very much the best ways of doing things – the correct way of serving something, of laying a table. She’s huge on etiquette, the classics, the basics. She is super organised and confident about her beliefs and modus operandi.”

What Christine Manfield taught me…

THI LE, owner/chef, Anchovy, Melbourne: No mandolines – everything hand-sliced very finely | Use your palate; balance in flavour is all-important | Be financially self-reliant | Invest in mature-age apprentices who bring a different perspective and discipline | Never take no for an answer.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Photo: Anson Smart

BARBARA ALEXANDER executive chef, Napa Valley Cooking School, California: Be open to learning | Be prepared to evolve the business model | Be fluid; there doesn’t have to be hard and fast rules | Treat kitchen staff like family – valued and appreciated | Surround yourself with focused, fun people who all have the same goal: to peel away the minutiae of the daily ‘grind’ of running a restaurant, to expose the passion and talent.

Patti Miller Politicians, business leaders, academics, reporters, actors, musicians …. yes, everyone has a story in them, but how does someone learn to bring it to the page? In her ‘life story’ workshops, Patti Miller has an exercise she calls “secret writing”. She asks students to write down what they really think and feel about somebody. It’s never read out. “The purpose of that,” she says, “is to see what you sound like when you don’t fear anyone’s judgment. It releases an energy and strength in the writing and helps find your authentic voice.” Miller has been writing and teaching writing for three decades. She conducts workshops in Australia and one every year in Paris. Memoir is her specialty. She has written eight books, the latest being Writing True Stories (Allen & Unwin). Miller has helped dozens of Australians shape their work, among them Jessica Rowe, Alexandra Joel, Caroline Jones, Caroline Baum, Renee McBryde, Toni Tapp Coutts and Anne Tonner. Several of these have won literary prizes. Anyone else can write a record of your life, says Miller, but only you can write the story of your life. But thinking about themes and structure isn’t necessarily the best place to start, “because what happens is that the intellectual self gets in and starts taking control, when it’s your creative self who needs to write the memoir. “Memory works by association, by metaphor, by imagery, by patterning. Memory is structured like poetry. So that means, without being fanciful, that everyone’s memory is a poet. My technique is to have people take a direct leap into memory, not into the ordered packaged version of their life, where they can access those deep, patterned connections, that Proustian memory – really vivid, alive.”

Photo: Sally Flegg

Anyone else can write a record of your life, but only you can write the story of your life Miller’s mentors include Australian writer Drusilla Modjeska, a teacher who provided encouragement in the early days. Her writing role models have been Helen Garner for her clarity and honesty and French writer and philosopher Michel de Montaigne for his self-awareness, insight, playfulness, lack of earnestness and the fact that, in his writings, “he sees everything as fit for exploration, even what sort of glass he likes to drink out of, when he likes to have sex … there’s nothing that doesn’t matter to him”. She is also enamoured of the writing of French memoirist Annie Ernaux. “She doesn’t show off. That might sound like an odd thing to say, but when you know how to write it’s difficult not to want to impress. She somehow gets to the bone of the thing every time.” Published memoirs that Miller regards as inspirational include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim of Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard, “which showed me you could write a beautiful and powerful memoir without any events in it. There’s no terrible childhood, there’s no awkward divorce, there’s no trauma, just her observations of hanging out by a creek.

“And Montaigne still blows me away, even though he died more than 400 years ago. He feels very 21st century – in his certainty, in his awareness of the intangible flux of consciousness. People call him an essayist, but I call him a memoirist because his topic was himself.” And a trick of the trade? Walk for miles. “It helps dissolve that knob of busyness at the front of the brain, dissolving it into a wave that pulls together all those random thoughts and memories.”

What Patti Miller taught me … RENEE MCBRYDE, author of The House of Lies: If you think you can break the rules convincingly, go for it | Write without worrying what others might think (i.e. write drunk, edit sober!) | Read to develop your knowledge of writing | Let readers come to their own conclusions about your characters; don’t force your opinions on them. ALEXANDRA JOEL, author of Rosetta: A Scandalous True Story: In every story there is a need for seduction | Memory is the mother of creativity | Be specific: a kookaburra is better than a bird, an orchid better than a flower | Break any rule if you can make it work | Lock all your critics in the shed | Follow the heat.

November-December 2017 |



Each issue captures the elegance and sophistication of a life well lived, authoritatively featuring all aspects of luxury living delivered to your door.

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Uncommon scents Throughout the centuries, the ruling class has displayed its prerogatives in public. But royals have also turned to the world’s leading perfumers to accentuate their status in more private and fragrant forms

House of Creed


Robb Report Australia | November–December 2017

Photo: (Creed bottle) Jason Raish


hen Queen Victoria appointed the House of Creed as the fragrance supplier to the British royal court in 1845, she also commissioned her own signature scent distilled from the world’s finest roses. Today the queen’s enduring fragrance, Fleurs de Bulgarie, continues to be crafted in Creed’s French laboratory using the same age-old methods – and continues to be enjoyed by nobles and commoners alike. Throughout its more than 250-year history, Creed has served an illustrious assortment of royals, beginning with its first commission from King George III in 1781 – a blend of mandarin, ambergris and sandalwood – which was christened Royal English Leather. Bespoke scents not only reflected a royal’s sensibility, but also revealed subtle hints about the wearer, which explains why the one-time King Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor, requested a fragrance made from flora and fauna from the area surrounding his beloved French château. And in 1936, gruff Winston Churchill appointed Creed to make an original scent for him, which became Tabarome Millésime, infused with notes of tobacco. That is not surprising, since he almost always had a cigar in hand. Creed’s allure persists with the sixth-generation ownership, which is led by master perfumer Olivier Creed and his son, Erwin, who perpetuate the family’s secret recipes in their laboratory outside Paris. Theirs is a labour-intensive process that extracts – without the use of any preservatives – the essential oils from a range of pure ingredients (including roses, bergamot, jasmine and vetiver) cultivated around the world. In the hands of the Creed family, these elements are steeped, distilled and transformed into more than 200 different exclusive perfume recipes. In June, Creed unveiled a newly designed flacon fit for a queen. The company enlisted Pochet du Courval, the nearly 400-year-old Parisian glassblower, to create the limitededition, handcrafted vessels of etched glass (left), each of which houses 1000ml of any of seven distinctive fragrances ($1400–$2050). – JILL NEWMAN

Heady, fruity, smoky – what aromas does a centuries-old fragrance reveal? When Italian perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina first created Farina 1709 Eau de Cologne, he wrote to his brother exclaiming that he had “discovered a scent that reminds [him] of a spring morning in Italy, of Farina 1709 mountain narcissus and orange blossom just after the rain”. Its recipe is a blend of bergamot and sandalwood with top notes of lemon, lime and orange. Farina named the scent after the German city to which he had immigrated, Cologne, thus making it the world’s first eau de cologne – a less-concentrated version of traditional perfume. Some 90 years after its launch, the fragrance reached the nose of Napoléon Bonaparte, who commissioned it in bulk: 60 bottles a month, reportedly using two full bottles every day (perhaps in lieu of bathing?). Since then, Farina 1709 has held royal warrants and provided perfumes to monarchs in France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Now sold in more than 70 countries, 1709 Eau de Cologne has found customers in many realms, from Japan to Germany, where men spritz their hair with it. Today the company is helmed by eighth-generation descendant Johann Maria Farina, and it is the world’s oldest family-run perfumery. – CAROLYN MEERS

Penhaligon’s William Penhaligon founded his perfumery and barber shop in the port of Penzance, England, in 1861, but moved his family to London a few years later to become a perfumer and hairdresser at a hammam on Jermyn Street. He later led the salon at the baths frequented by members of the aristocracy and others among London’s elite. In 1872 he launched his first fragrance, Hammam Bouquet, to great fanfare; and so valued was he for using fine ingredients in his potions, he eventually became the court barber and perfumer to Queen Victoria. Unwisely, he used the royal arms in an advertisement in Webster’s Red Book without permission and was fined 23 shillings for doing so. Perhaps for this reason, his business received a royal warrant only when William’s son Walter took charge after his death. This honour came in 1903 at the behest of Queen Alexandra after the creation of Blenheim Bouquet, a revolutionary citrus cologne that contrasted sharply with the heavier floral scents typical of the time. The company later passed out of family hands and the barbering aspect gave way to a focus on the perfumery. In 1956 the brand received a second warrant as suppliers of toilet requisites for the Duke of Edinburgh, and it continues to supply the palace today, with the most recent warrant granted by Prince Charles in 1988. The perfumery’s latest fragrance, the rose-scented Savoy Steam ($250 for the cologne) pays homage to those early days under the auspices of William, when Turkish baths, including the steam baths that dotted the Strand near the Savoy Hotel, were all the rage. – JANICE O’LEARY November–December 2017 |


Vanguard of glamour Though in its purest guise it might be a dying art form, haute couture is still a critical tool for maintaining the status of the world’s most important fashion houses by Georgina Safe

The Christian Dior 2017 autumn/winter haute couture show in Paris featured life-size model animals in a jungle setting


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017


Photos: (left) Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images; (right) Dominique Charriau/WireImage/Getty Images

t Paris’ haute couture shows this July, Karl Lagerfeld created a 38 metre-high reproduction of the Eiffel Tower for Chanel beneath the glass ceiling of the Grand Palais, Fendi planted a verdant garden of exotic flowers and botanicals in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Dior took over the space outside HÔtel des Invalides for a show inspired by a 1953 map portraying the famous maison’s expansion over five continents. When it comes to the most extravagant and elite form of fashion, no gesture is ever too lavish and no price tag is ever too excessive. A made-to-measure ball gown could easily cost the same as a Rolls-Royce; a simple suit might equate to the price of an apartment in Lisbon. Couture pieces are typically labour-intensive – some taking hundreds of hours to create – and this is reflected in prices that run well into six figures. Perhaps, then, it’s no wonder that the customers of haute couture are lavished almost unimaginably. Couture houses fly clients by first or (at the very least) business class to Paris, where they are accommodated in the city’s top hotels and wined and dined by representatives of the designer. Excursions and special experiences are organised – a private tour of Musée des Arts Décoratifs, for example – or for an exceptionally loyal customer,

perhaps a visit to the atelier and a personal audience with the designer. Fittings begin the day after the show. A client will make an appointment with the atelier, bearing what is essentially a shopping list of her favourite items. Perhaps she liked the lavender sleeveless gown, but would like sleeves added, or maybe the cream bouclé skirt has taken her fancy, but with a few more inches added to the hem. Nothing is too much trouble and everything is possible. If a client is unable to come to the designer, the designer will fly teams of seamstresses to the client’s home for personal fittings. For many houses, each piece can only be sold to one customer (more often it’s only one per city) so as to avoid the expensive embarrassment of chancing upon a fellow partygoer in the same couture dress. The average dress takes 150 hours to make, two fittings are required and the entire process takes three months from ordering to delivery. Just how one becomes a customer of haute couture is a subject shrouded in mystery. Luxury houses are highly secretive about the process, but influencing factors can include a customer’s ready-to-wear sales figures in boutiques, how well that customer and her social network fit the values of the brand, as well as, of course, her dress requirements for particular occasions and social seasons.

Star-studded: Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne and Claudia Schiffer with designer Karl Lagerfeld at the Chanel 2017/18 autumn/ winter haute couture show

November-December 2017 |



(below) A seamstress at work at Maison Valentino; (bottom) haute couture in 1959: French couturiers Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent with Farah Diba, the Empress of Iran

The average dress takes 150 hours to make, two fittings are required and the entire process takes three months from ordering to delivery


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Yet despite the growth of new markets, there are believed to be no more than 4000 customers worldwide. It’s no wonder that, with its exorbitant prices and a diminishing clientele, the role of haute couture has been routinely called into question. But underestimate the power of haute couture at your peril. It’s an industry that evokes the Old World and seems at odds with today’s thirst for fast fashion, mass production and more casual wear. However, for many major houses, couture is still considered a necessity. Just as automotive companies show off their expertise through the creation of supercars, fashion designers use couture as a statement of strength and technical ability. Not only does couture allow the designer to showcase his or her technical prowess, it also defines the creative vision of the house and sets the overall branding of the label. “Haute couture is what gives our business its essence of luxury,” Bernard Arnault (who heads LVMH and owns Dior and Givenchy, which both design couture) told London’s The Telegraph. “The cash it soaks up is largely irrelevant. Set against the money we lose has to be the value of the image couture gives us. Look at the attention the collections attract. It is where you get noticed. You have to be there. It’s where we set our ideas in motion.”

Photos: (top) Elisabetta A. Villa/WireImage/Getty Images; (bottom) Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

Haute couture in Paris is the most elite expression of fashion and is protected by law in France under strict rules that require an extremely high level of craftsmanship, handiwork and attention to detail. To qualify for the haute couture collections, a brand must design made-to-measure for private clients in a Paris atelier that employs at least 20 artisans, and produce a collection of at least 50 original designs in January and July of each year. But where once the original couture clients were the wealthy women of France who bought designs by Charles Worth, today many of the clients are from Russia, China and the Middle East, reflecting the rise of new global economies. “Well, there are some very, very, very rich people, who want to buy and wear the most beautiful, handcrafted, individual clothes in the world,” Harper’s Bazaar UK editor-in-chief Justine Picardie told CNN Style. “We’re seeing these great waves of new wealth, from China, from the Middle East, Russia and also the emerging markets in Africa and India.”

Haute couture in Paris is the most elite expression of fashion and is protected by law in France

Photos: (top) Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Christian Dior; (bottom) Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

Couture also plays an important role as a loss leader to sell lipsticks and handbags. While few are able to buy the haute couture gown, they can certainly buy the $100 perfume or the $60 lipstick. The media exposure from couture shows enhances the value and aspirational appeal of a brand, which trickles down from ball gowns to handbags, wallets and perfume. It is also worth noting that couture is an employer of thousands; not just the seamstresses and tailors who work at the houses in Paris, in Milan (Versace), and in Rome (Valentino), but the specialists who make the embroidery, the beads, the feathers, the hats, the shoes and bags, and others who weave the fabric, who dye it and produce the fine raw materials. Until recently, couture clothing was only really visible to the masses on the red carpet during awards season in Hollywood: think of Angelina Jolie in Versace or Nicole Kidman in Dior. But in the age of social media, when the day’s most fantastical images are hashtagged and Instagrammed around the world, the captivating beauty of couture shows is enjoying a resurgence – and a relaxation of the rules. Earlier this year, haute couture’s

(above) Dramatic details by Atelier Versace; (top) Actors Marisa Berenson and Natalie Portman with LVMH CEO and chairman Bernard Arnault and Hélène Mercier, front row at Christian Dior

notoriously sniffy governing body, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, broke with tradition when it allowed four labels to show their ready-to-wear collections – what you buy in a shop rather than have an atelier craft for you by hand – on the official event schedule. “Openness on an international scale and respect for diversity are integral to all its endeavours,” said Pascal Morand, the Fédération’s executive president. Couture is a dying art form – just six brands obtained the precious official invitation to show in January – so bolstering the schedule by attracting new creative blood made good business sense for the Chambre Syndicale, even if some commentators sniped it was going downmarket. But of course, there was still plenty of opulence, decadence and sheer fashion fabulousness during haute couture in July: it wouldn’t be couture in Paris otherwise. When you can build a 38 metre-high Eiffel Tower, have Julianne Moore, Tilda Swinton and Kristen Stewart in your front row, and then be presented with the highest honour of Paris, the Grand Vermeil medal, by the mayor of Paris – as was Lagerfeld at the Chanel show in July – you know the glory and glamour of couture is alive and well.

November-December 2017 |


Chanel Fine Jewellery necklace with baroque pearls and gemstones, price upon request (; Bhagat ear clips with natural pearls and white and yellow diamonds, price upon request (at FD Gallery,


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017



November-December 2017 |



Lugano Diamonds Akoya pearl necklace featuring white-gold snake with tsavorites, diamonds and spinels, price upon request (


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

© Myles McGuinness


© Grégoire Le Bacon


There are many sides to The Islands of Tahiti. Yet they are all connected by Mana. Mana is a life force and spirit that surrounds us. You can see it. Touch it. Taste it. Feel it. And from the moment you arrive, you will understand why we say our Islands are

To discover Mana for yourself, visit Tahiti

F1_17_NAmerica_Voyagers_Ebb-Flow_R1.indd 1

7/6/17 10:47 pm



Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

(opposite, from top) Paspaley ‘Rhapsody’ strand bracelets of Australian South Sea pearls, $8500, with ‘Rockpool’ Australian mother-of-pearl clasp with white diamonds in yellow or white gold, $11,800; ‘Rockpool’ pave shell earrings in yellow gold, with Australian South Sea pearls and white diamonds, $29,800 (this page) ‘Rockpool’ Australian South Sea keshi pearl necklace in white gold, with ‘Rockpool’ Australian mother-of-pearl clasp, with suspended keshi pearl, $18,860 (

November-December 2017 |



(from top) Mizuki freshwater pearl ring with diamonds, $3700 (mizukijewelry. com); Tiffany & Co. ‘Prism’ rings (three shown) with cultured South Sea pearls and gemstones, $32,000 to $45,000 (; Yvel ring with a yellow Indonesian keshi pearl and diamonds, $4100 (


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

The Experience. Augmented Reality. Download the app


Autore South Sea black and keshi pearl necklace in white gold with 5.19 carats of diamonds, $86,990 (


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

(from top) Autore yellow-gold ring, with white sapphires, white and yellow diamonds, and Paraiba tourmaline, $30,000; black rhodiumplated white-gold ring, with white diamonds and South Sea pearl, $15,220; white-gold ring with white diamonds and South Sea pearl, $18,660; yellow-gold ring with yellow diamonds and white keshi pearls, $5560; white-gold ring with pink, violet and blue sapphires, pink, white and black diamonds, and aubergine Tahitian pearl, $13,660 (

November-December 2017 |



(this page) Hemmerle earrings with melo pearls and mandarin garnets, price upon request (at FD Gallery,; (opposite) Jewelmer Joaillerie ‘C’est la vie’ cuff with golden South Sea pearls and gemstones, $112,500 (; through Oliver and Espig); Mish New York tasselled lariat necklace featuring grey Tahitian cultured pearls, $29,000 (


Robb Report Australia | SNovember–Decemberr 2017

November-December 2017 |


Mirror, mirror on the wall Why a healthy dose of vanity is good for us after all by Valli Herman


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Photo: Philip Lee Harvey/Getty Images


nce scorned as an affliction of the overly self-involved, vanity is lately being embraced as a novel kind of positive reinforcement to encourage healthier lifestyles. Researchers are finding that healthy versions of vanity can help us adapt and adhere to better diets, more rigorous skin-care routines and regular exercise – the kinds of preventive health measures that may have a lasting impact on one’s life span. Vanity itself is getting a conceptual makeover, as some in the medical community are making the idea of attractiveness almost inseparable from health. As part of its three-year-old Healthy Living Program, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, operates

Maintaining a healthy weight might assist in preventing or even improving type 2 diabetes

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look better and feel better”

Photo: Lorado/Getty Images

– Dr Donald Hensrud

a spa where men and women can get manicures, massages, facials and fillers, along with sclerotherapy for varicose veins and executive physicals with prescriptions for weight loss, nutrition, stress-reduction and fitness regimens. “We discussed if the program should have a very strict version of health,” says Dr Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Healthy Living Program. Hensrud and colleagues concluded that cosmetic procedures such as injectables and chemical peels are a valid component of wellness. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look better and feel better,” he says. This change in attitude among doctors gives patients new incentives and has helped fund research into the side benefits of some practices initially intended solely for cosmetic improvement. And studies have demonstrated how vanity can be a motivator. Research published in the American Journal of Public Health has shown that sustained behaviour change was often linked to “appearance-based interventions” – that is, showing how sun exposure, a poor diet and smoking ruin one’s looks. “It’s too bad vanity has taken on a negative connotation,” says Los Angeles dermatologist Dr Jessica Wu, who embraces its power in her practice. She prescribes diets that not only improve skin, but also help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. “When you

talk about diet, [my patients] seem to be more successful when there is a promise of better appearance,” she says. Such moves are helping health and appearance merge into a united concept of wellness, a step towards broader acceptance of cosmetic procedures, particularly when they have secondary health benefits. Those double perks may, in the end, motivate more of us to swap out the cake and cocktails in favour of yoghurt and yoga. Here are some of the most promising ways that vanity and health intersect. Laser peels may help prevent skin cancer. Laser and chemical peels are intended to remove a superficial layer of skin, thus erasing fine lines and wrinkles. But the treatment can have a bonus benefit – reducing your future risk of skin cancer. “It can take care of precancerous lesions that could develop into cancerous lesions,” says Dr Lisa Ishii, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Botox treats pain as well as wrinkles. Recent research has led some plastic surgeons to explore alternative uses for Botox, the muscle paralytic and injectable. It prevents muscles in the head from contracting, which can be the source of migraines and tension headaches. “A lot of patients who suffer from headaches find they have fewer and less-intense November-December 2017 |



“More muscle increases our metabolic rate and also lowers blood glucose values – as does exercise” – Dr Donald Hensrud

The glucose in sugar “eats away at your skin’s collagen and elastin”, warns Los Angeles dermatologist Dr Jessica Wu

become an oft-cited nutrition reference for those in the image industries, partly because it details research and the impact of specific nutrients on skin health. According to Dr Wu, the glucose in sugar “eats away at your skin’s collagen and elastin in a process called glycation”. As a secondary benefit to a skin-focused diet with lower sugar, some of her patients lose unwanted weight, reduce cholesterol, soothe digestive issues or shed the need for medication. Her results aren’t unusual.

Toning muscles may keep diabetes at bay. Getting that trim gym body may make you credible in stretchy bike shorts, but it might also help you prevent or even improve type 2 diabetes. “The more muscle and less fat you have, the healthier it is,” says Dr Hensrud. “More muscle increases our metabolic rate and also lowers blood glucose values – as does exercise. Exercise makes our muscles act like a sponge to soak up the glucose.” Experts say that between 70 and 95 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk for other serious conditions such as stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Watching your waistline can help break bad habits. “How our fat is distributed has health effects,” says Dr Hensrud. Accordingly, having a spare tyre or pot belly can be a strong indicator of heart disease. Belly fat is linked to high blood sugar, high blood pressure and troublesome fats called triglycerides. Lifestyle has an enormous impact on the waistline. “Alcohol and smoking contribute to weight gain around the middle,” says Dr Hensrud. The cure? Resistance training – the kind that tones and builds muscle mass, resulting in the body shapes considered attractive by many people. A youthful appearance is a sugar-free one. Added sugars and refined grains not only make blood sugar spike, they also can make you look old before your time, says Dr Wu. Her book, Feed Your Face, has

A full head of hair can bring surprising health benefits for men. Sold under the brand names Propecia and Proscar, the drug finasteride treats male pattern baldness. “It doesn’t make hair grow, but it slows the loss,” says Dr Ishii of the drug. Under its medical name, finasteride has also been a treatment for an enlarged prostate gland. Long-term studies found that through shrinking the prostate, doctors can more accurately identify cancers and potentially decrease the need for unnecessary prostate surgery. The goal of being healthier is a noble idea, but sometimes a weak motivator. “You can say it’s good for your insides, but you can’t see your insides. You can’t show off your low cholesterol to other people,” says Dr Wu. But there is something to show for that hard work at the gym: “you can show off a flatter tummy.”

Photo: Robert Daly/Getty Images

headaches when they are treated with Botox,” says Dr Ishii. “I have patients who come to see me, and their No. 1 concern is their headaches. They just enjoy the benefit of having a smooth forehead.”

Dream trips Upgrade your travel with these 10 tips for getting premium sleep while away from home

Photo: Charlie Sullivan/Eye Em/Getty Images

by Janice O’Leary


t its best, travel can be a thrilling adventure that reboots both body and mind. At its worst, it can wreak havoc with sleep, which will put a cranky damper on exploring your destination. Long-term lack of sleep can make you look older; it can cause you to gain weight and experience more pain; and it can leave you more likely to engage in risky behaviour or act unprofessionally in work settings. While chronic sleep deprivation may significantly compromise overall health and wellbeing, even brief periods of sleep loss can affect mood and memory. So if you want to etch the highlights of a trip into your recollections, getting quality slumber while travelling should be a priority, and it is easier than ever to do so. The real issue when crossing time zones, says Dr Rachel Salas, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, is exposure to light. “Light, especially sunlight, is the biggest clock resetter we have,” she says. If we can reset our circadian clocks when we travel, then we are much more likely to enjoy the trip. Many top international hotels design their rooms for optimal sleep so you can be your best self.

November-December 2017 |



Travel can also be tough on sleep because, by its very nature, it casts aside routines. A healthy sleep regimen, however, is one habit you will want to preserve during your trip. Dr Param Dedhia – the director of sleep medicine at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona – says ideal sleep hygiene includes keeping non-sleeping activities out of the bedroom. That’s challenging when your hotel room or flight cabin has to serve as a workspace. Nevertheless, you can still harmonise your external environment with your internal state by following these tips.

1. Reset before you even leave home.

You can begin adjusting your sleep clock to a new country’s time zone at home by wearing darkening glasses or visors, or by

(right) A cashmere neck pillow from Loro Piana; (below) British Airways First Suites

going to bed and waking earlier or later, says Salas. She also suggests using a light box to tell your brain to wake up, even if it’s dark outside, or drawing blackout curtains to bring on the night a little earlier.

2. Plan to arrive in a foreign country in the morning and sleep on the plane. If you need help falling asleep, Salas suggests a 1mg dose of melatonin, a hormone the body produces to signal the mind that sleep is around the corner (you’ll need a GP’s prescription). Take it 30 minutes to one hour before you want to sleep, she says, but don’t use it as a sleeping pill: “It’s not a very good one. In our clinic we use it as a circadianrhythm anchor.”

3. Forgo the beverage-service nightcap. The most commonly used sleep aid, Dedhia says, is alcohol. However, it’s a poor choice. Every serving of alcohol affects sleep for two hours, he says. Sedation levels increase for the first hour, but during the second hour, arousal increases as the alcohol leaves the body.

4. Bring your own pillow.

Sleep posture can affect sleep quality, especially if you have pain or sleep apnoea, says Nancy Davis, an expert on sleep posture at Canyon Ranch. Unless you have sleep apnoea, sleeping on your back is best – and most first-class lie-flat airline seats now extend to two metres. Side sleeping is the second preferred position for good slumber, Davis says. Whatever your sleep position, you want a pillow that supports your neck. Davis notes that most down pillows can easily be stuffed into a carry-on. She suggests tugging the bottom corners of the pillow down towards the shoulders to make a nest for your head.

5. Get exposure to light early in the day and retire to a dark room. When you change time zones, you’re really changing when your body is being exposed to light, which confuses the sleep/ wake signals for the brain. “If you get light exposure at the same time every morning, that’s essentially when your brain is reset, like a stopwatch,” says Salas. When you alter that, you scramble the cues to the brain.

If you’re not flying privately, then choose first class or business class. You especially want to be well rested if you have to hit the ground running when you arrive at your destination. Try to book a lie-flat seat bed or premium cabin with sleep pods, such as those on British Airways, Qantas and Korean Air airliners. Better still are the full-bed suites and ‘first apartments’ offered by Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways. “You can lower the light, block the noise and control your sleep environment,” says Johns Hopkins’ Dr Rachel Salas.


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

Photo: (bottom)

Getting some shut-eye in the sky

6. Choose a hotel with a pillow menu, blackout curtains and circadian lighting. Most luxury hotels have made guests’ sleep a priority. MGM Grand, for instance, offers Stay Well suites in Las Vegas. They’re equipped with dawn-simulating alarm clocks, warm-hued lighting that won’t send the brain cues to wake more substantially during middle-of-the-night bathroom trips and energising light therapy for the morning. At Zurich’s Dolder Grand, the darkening shades can even be programmed to let light into the room gradually.

7. Embrace sleep-inducing technology.

Photo: (bottom) Jamie MacFayden

Use downloadable dimmers for your computer and the night-shift function on your iPhone to switch over from brainwaking blue light to sleep-inducing warmhued light. Consider using products like the new Genesis lamp from Lighting Science, which attunes to your circadian patterns and adjusts its light output accordingly.

8. Be mindful of sleep trackers.

10. Stick to your normal routines

These could backfire and cause anxiety if you discover you’re not getting enough sleep. But, Salas says, they can help by making sleep a priority.

9. Keep it cool.

To help restore cells, the temperature of the body and brain drops during sleep, says Dedhia. Travellers can fall asleep faster by mimicking this cooling process. Dedhia and Salas both suggest indulging in a hot bath or shower before bed. The subsequent cooling can help prompt sleep. And keeping your hotel room’s temperature between 18°C and 20.5°C will help you sleep soundly.

as much as possible. The brain loves patterns – they help it understand when it’s time to wake or sleep. You can give it the same signals when you travel by sticking to your usual morning workout or after-dinner walk. Just make sure to avoid strenuous activity too close to the time you turn in for the night, Salas advises, because it stimulates waking hormones and endorphins. “The mind and body respond to habits,” Dedhia says, so consistency of sleep and wake times might be even more important than the number of horizontal hours that you ultimately log.

(above) Inside a Stay Well suite at the MGM Grand Las Vegas; (right) The bedroom of an Etihad Airways Residence

November-December 2017 |



Katie Page As CEO of Harvey Norman Holdings, with more than 280 company-owned and franchised stores in eight countries, Katie Page is the queen of retail. It’s probably fair to say, though, that Page is as passionate about horses as whitegoods and furniture. Page’s husband, Gerry Harvey, executive chairman of Harvey Norman, owns Baramul Stud, one of the world’s largest thoroughbred enterprises and, with Page, the annual Magic Millions Sales and Raceday on the Gold Coast, on which Page has bestowed an international profile. Raised in rural Queensland, the youngest of four girls (and encouraged by her bank manager father to read the business pages of the newspaper every day), Page is also deeply committed to gender equality. She is a leading corporate sponsor of women in sport and epitomises the maxim “who dares, wins”. – SUSAN SKELLY Horses, what do you love about them? That is a bit like asking someone who loves the water why they love the water, which I do. For as long as I can remember – paddock riding as a child – I have loved horses. My family is surrounded by horses in many different arenas, from Magic Millions to Gerry’s stud operations to our daughter’s career in show-jumping. If you have horses in your life you also have horse people. If you have horses in common you tend to find kindred spirits. Is there one that has left an indelible impression? Global Glamour was bought as a yearling at Magic Millions in 2015 for $65,000 by a syndicate of more than 40 women. She has won over $1.2 million, but the syndicate owners have had the most amazing experiences together as a result of owning her, which almost surpasses the prizemoney thrill. She won a Group One race in 2016 – and from Kentucky to Paris they were cheering their ‘girl’ on to victory. Global Glamour was bought as part of the Magic Millions Racing Women initiative, which entitles any all-female owned yearlings bought from Magic Millions [sales] to be in the running for a bonus $500,000 in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic. What do the Magic Millions mean to you and Gerry? Magic Millions is a family business and to us, family is everything. When we bought Magic Millions more than 15 years ago, it was all potential and opportunity. We loved all the elements: the horses, the people, summer on Queensland’s Gold Coast. It has changed and grown beyond our expectations. The Magic Millions was the first race day in Australia to offer $10 million in prize money from just one day’s racing … Only horses bought through Magic Millions are eligible to qualify for our race day. So the lure of a million-dollar return on investment has seen our buying bench grow exponentially. This year, yearling sales grossed over $140 million. The June National Sale also recently topped $140m in thoroughbred yearling sales. Last January, we introduced Magic Millions Polo and it, too, was a fantastic success … Gerry and I never get complacent. We are always thinking about what’s next. What is your greatest indulgence, your idea of luxury? High-end luxury property development. I love design. I love modern architecture. My most recent project is right on the Gold Coast’s Main Beach – M3565 – an eightlevel boutique luxury building. It has six whole-floor


Robb Report Australia | November-December 2017

apartments and one two-level penthouse. It was designed by award-winning architect Virginia Kerridge with lots of natural timbers, raw tinted concrete and zinc. It is the first major development on the beachfront at Main Beach in more than 30 years. What is on the holiday bucket list? I don’t get a lot of spare time, so when I do, I want to be with my family – on the beach in Queensland with Gerry, hiking in Bhutan with my sisters or skiing in America with my kids. You have done much to improve opportunities for women in sport. What events will you be putting in the diary for 2018? The Commonwealth Games, April 4-15 next year on the Gold Coast. The Invictus Games are coming to Sydney from October 20 to 27. I will be at both. To what extent do you follow your gut instincts in business? Where has that best paid off? The more I experience in life, the better my gut instincts have become – in every facet of life: family, community, you name it. The establishment of the Magic Millions Racing Women’s initiative was a gut-instinct decision that has worked beyond all expectations. Every year I would meet women who are informed, savvy and passionate about horses – yet the majority of ownership was in their husbands’ names. I thought if we built in an incentive that was women-only, it might awaken the sleeping giant. And it did. Since inception in 2013, more than 600 horses have been bought as part of the program. What still gives you a thrill? Seeing women succeed against the odds – in sport, in business, in life. 

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