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Editorial True luxury is not just a beautifully crafted product. Nor is it merely an eyewatering price tag. Equally, it is not just sheer exclusivity. Of course, all of these things matter and combine to create the image of luxury, but what really sets your status symbols apart from the run-of-themill is the sense of importance placed on you, the customer...

The truly luxurious brands and outlets take great care to know their customer. To treat every one of them, no matter how wealthy or how socially important, like they are the only client in the room, as well to have staff with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the products they purvey. While I have been on the receiving end of some appalling customer service in Qatar’s luxury segment - and I shall name no names - there are some organisations that have never failed to step up to the plate. One such company is Rivoli Group. People who know me will note that my two luxury vices are guitars and watches, upon both of which, on occasion, I have been known to spend significant amounts of money. With the release of Omega’s new Planet Ocean models, I decided to treat myself and spent hours online researching the exact timepiece I wanted, before heading to Rivoli’s boutique at City Centre in Doha. Finally seeing the watches in the metal, I began to doubt my initial choice. However, salesman Artemio Saulog’s in-depth knowledge of the product and candid personal opinion were second to none. With a blend of humour and gravitas, he talked me through the whole range, pointing out the various differences and offering realworld advice on which model would suit my needs the best, before patiently waiting for FOUR HOURS while I procrastinated over the 42mm or the 45.5mm dial, the orange or grey bezel and the metal or rubber strap. During this time, he offered to go to Starbucks and get me coffee and even something to eat! The store manager, who had sold me my first Omega three years ago and a Gucci ladies watch since, walked in and immediately struck up a conversation about my past purchases and the differences I could expect with my new one. There were discounts and deals proffered, but at no point did I feel pressured to purchase. Eventually, after much deliberation, preening in front of a mirror and deciding on which of the amazing deals to take, I settled on my new watch, duly paid, shook hands and left the store. By lunchtime the following day, Artemio had called me to ask if I was happy with my Planet Ocean, obviously well versed in the art of assuaging “buyer’s remorse,” which, again helped me realise I had, indeed, made not only the correct choice of timepiece, but also the right decision about where to purchase it. So, while I gaze lovingly at my new watch, I invite you to enjoy the best consumer advice from the Sur la Terre editorial team, as Laura Hamilton reviews Sukar Pasha Ottoman Lounge restaurant, Kevin Hackett proffers his thoughts on the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, Sophie JonesCooper analyses Autumn/Winter fashion and Steven Paugh delivers a frank appraisal of Montenegro as a holiday destination. As well as all of your favourite regulars, we have an exclusive interview with 007 himself, Daniel Craig, and we meet two Saudi women who are pushing boundaries in the fields of fashion and art: Lahd Gallery founder, HH Princess Nouf Bint Bandar, and fashion designer, Razan Alazzouni. Isn’t it refreshing to know that, while summer might be drawing to a close, SLT’s service offering is still as hot as ever! James McCarthy

Regional Managing Editor

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Lifestyle Wellness: Body, Mind and Spirit Fitness Center Membership

Membership at the state-of-the-art fitness club SPA Al MASHATA will inspire you to achieve your goals in style. Enjoy preferential discounts to access our world-class gym, sauna, jacuzzi and 15-metre long indoor pool. Start with a complimentary Body Compositions Analysis and benefit from certified personal trainers who will tailor your fitness routines to your personal needs. Burn up calories in martial art classes or let go with Latin dance classes! Also available are aerobics, yoga, pilates and karate for ladies. For the first time ever in Doha discover aqua aerobics and make a splash! Couple, Family and Corporate Membership also available. Gym | Swimming pool | Spa | Steam bath | Bronzage | Massage | Hair care | Make-up | Skin care | Body care | Manicure

Photos of Al Mashata Spa Qatar, available on Al Mashata Spa

Al Mashata Spa

Ahmed Bin Hanbal Street (behind The Mall), P.O. Box: 19282 Doha, Qatar Tel: +974 4466 2558 / 4465 2963 Fax: +974 4466 2855 Email:




the list A r t , c u lt u r e , l i f e s t y l e


the scene W e r e yo u s e e n o n t h e s c e n e ?


f o r y o u r e y e s o n ly Th e t h i n g s yo u n e e d to o w n


rev ue S u k a r pa s h a o t to m a n lo u n g e


gl obe tro t ter Yo u r g u i d e to g lo b a l l u x u r y


st y le con fiden ti a l I n s e a s o n : a / w 20 12


i n focus M u l b e r ry ’s e m m a h i l l


e xc l u s i v e i n t e r v i e w Dan i el cr aig


u p cl ose & per son a l Ta l e n t e d & pa s s i o n at e p e o p l e


Acce ssor ie s Autumn classics


tr en ds con fiden ti a l M a k e yo u r b i d f o r a u t u m n


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look book Th e b e s t lo o k s f o r g u y s


or igi ns Th e d a n dy l i o n : pa u l s m i t h


a rt opi a Th e l a h d g a l l e r y , lo n d o n v


fa s h i o n A fine balance



i n mo tion F e r r a r i ’ s f 12 b e r l i n e t ta


b e au t y R u n away pa l l e t t e


o u t o f t h e b ox D e l i c i o u s d a l loya u


m a r k e t p l ac e P r o d u c t s ava i l a b l e lo c a l ly




hor izons Th e f u l l m o n t e ( n e g r o )

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“ I prefer winter and fall , when you feel the bone structure of the landscape ... S omething waits beneath it, the whole story doesn ’ t show.” - A n d r e w Wy e t h


1 AUg 7 jAN

7 - 10

17 - 24

Islamic Glass Exhibition

Abu Dhabi Art Fair

Doha Tribeca Film Festival

WHEN: 1 August 2012 - 7 January 2013 WHERE: Doha, Qatar WHAT: Art Exhibition Mosque lamps are an iconic image of Islamic art and divinity, and they’re also quite pretty. Aerial, fragile and ethereal, they look like they have been spun out of sugar. The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar has gathered together Medieval mosque lamps from all over the Middle East and also those of the revivalist 18th century variety to put on show. This double exhibition educates visitors on the history of glass-blowing, as much as it entertains. Did you know, for example, that people have been making glass since 16th century BC? That’s a LONG time! you can marvel at the beautiful calligraphy, the vibrant glass, adorned with shapes that resemble flowers and birds and also the tools used to make these lamps, inkwells and crucibles. Educational and gorgeous; now that’s what we call art.



WHEN: 7 - 10 November WHERE: Abu Dhabi, UAE WHAT: Art Fair Calling all art lovers! It’s time for the annual Abu Dhabi Art Fair again! Taking place in the Saadiyat Cultural District, which is very fitting, as it is the future home to Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the art fair is going to be a blast. Not only will visitors have a chance to see selections from leading art galleries from across the world (and get their wallets out if they take a liking to the art), but there will also be talks and programmes highlighting the modern and contemporary art on display. The art fair has brought in big names in the past (Damien Hirst, anyone?) and promises to mix it up with museumquality pieces and emerging artists.

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WHEN: 17 - 24 November WHERE: Doha, Qatar WHAT: Film Festival Once a year, Doha is stormed by A-list celebrities from around the world, who step out onto the red carpet at Katara and look piteously at us poor civilians while they shimmer about in diamonds. And we love it! The five-day festival that began in 2009 has been so popular that it is now a week long event! Last year, stars like Robert De Niro (who helped set up the original Tribeca Film Festival) and Antonio Banderas graced us with their presence at the world premiere of Black Gold (made in Qatar), and 2012 promises to be even more exciting. All movie buffs will be spoilt for choice with over 40 international films on show, as well as talks and workshops with the actors, directors and other members of the cinematic elite. This is all not mentioning the chance to simply glimpse the beautiful and famous. Keep a keen eye on the website as tickets for the films sell out fast and this is one festival you don’t want to miss.








2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


Sphinx Festival 2012

WHEN: 2 - 4 November WHERE: Abu Dhabi, UAE WHAT: Grand Prix Oh, the insatiable need for speed...this year’s Formula 1 weekend is set to sell out with 50,000 spectators at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Chasing their own glory, the drivers will tear around the circuit in an epic struggle to stand on the podium and be victorious! One of the world’s most technologically advanced circuits, the Grand Prix circus will kick-off with the Australian V8 Supercar championship and finish two days later with flood lights blazing and the crowd roaring. They’ll also keep you entertained when the racing is finished, with a concert on the 2nd where world-class artists will perform, like Kylie Minougue, Nickleback and Eminem.

WHEN: 23 November WHERE: Dubai, UAE WHAT: Concert “No you didn’t have to stoop so low, have your friends collect your records and then change your number, I guess that I don’t need that though, now you’re just somebody that I used to know!” Oh Gotye, your jaded and depressing break-up songs have a special place in our hearts and are impossible to get out of our heads. Thanks for that. Gotye, or Wouter (Wally) De Backer, is a BelgianAustralian musician and singer that raged onto the mainstream music scene in 2011 with his breakout hit Someone That I Used to Know and won everyone over with his indie pop ballads. He’s currently touring the world and will land in Dubai in November. Get ready to feel heartbroken... yet also dancy.

WHEN: 1 - 5 December WHERE: El Gouna, Egypt WHAT: Dance Festival This December, the resort town of El Gouna on the Red Sea is hosting the Sphinx Festival, a one-of-a-kind, five-day arts and culture extravaganza. With lots of dance workshops, recitals and music, the festival is non-competitive (everybody wins!) and guests will have a chance to see innovative modern choreography with an Egyptian twist. The festival also has morning yoga, snorkeling in the Red Sea and an Egyptian master chef whipping up culinary delights. Sipping fresh bedouin coffee in the heart of the desert as musicians play traditional melodies and dancers skip around you sounds like the cherry on top of the perfect beach holiday.


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the list Lifestyle



29 Nov 1 dec

30 nov 8 dec

Eurasia Istanbul Marathon

Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens

Festival International du film de Marrakech

WHEN: 11 November WHERE: Istanbul, Turkey WHAT: Marathon In 1978, a group of keen German tourists had just finished a marathon along the Nile in Egypt and had set their sights on Istanbul for their next run; somehow managing to convince the Istanbul authorities to organise a marathon across the Bosphorous Bridge. Thirty years later on, at 9 am on 11 November, athletes will gather in Istanbul to take part in a unique race through the beautiful and historic city and across two continents, Europe and Asia. Thousands of athletes from all over the world (but mostly Germany and Turkey) take part in this unique marathon, which has, throughout its long history, aimed to (literally) bridge together peace and friendship. There is a number of different legs, from 8 km to 42 km, as well as a fun run for everyone to try. Makes you exhausted just thinking about it, doesn’t it?

WHEN: 29 November - 1 December WHERE: Dubai, UAE WHAT: Rugby Championship Huge crowds (a whopping 120,000 fans are already anticipated), a great vibe, thrilling rugby action...really, what more could you ask for? The first day of the Emirates Airline dubai Rugby Sevens sees local and international invitational teams in action, while the second and third see the sixteen international sides compete for the Emirates International Trophy in the IRB Sevens World Series. Over 1750 players are going to take part in this truly epic three-day event, making it a weekend to remember. As usual, the championship will be brought to a close with the mysterious “Rugby Rock” concert, where international rock ‘n’ roll stars pop over to Dubai to knock everyone’s socks off.

WHEN: 30 November - 8 December WHERE: Marrakech, Morrocco WHAT: Film Festival Ah, Marrakech, the enchanting home of a beautiful, ancient and spiritual... film festival? Morocco is the sort of place that inspires epiphanies and spirituality, and therefore is the perfect spot to show off some visual feasts. The Ochre City (as it was once known) puts on an international film festival every year to celebrate an eclectic range of cinematic beauties. Unlike the more wellknown Cannes Film Festival, Marrakech is about the directors, cinematographers and producers, as well as the actors. This year, the focus is on Indian cinema and the festival has attracted many famous Indian filmmakers, including Shah Rukh Khan, AKA The King of Bollywood.


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th e scen e

Equilibrium Exhibition —

I rish sculptor , J ohn o’ C onnor opened an e x hibition of his work , entitled “ E quilibrium ” at VC U Q atar




3 1. Ashley Burton and friend 2. John O’Connor and Caitlin Doherty 5. Roman and Libby Turczyn 4. Leland Hill and Pornprapha Phatamaleacha 5. Mr & Mrs Rehmatullah



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th e scen e

Equilibrium Exhibition





10 6. Nathaniel Tonelli, Mia Tonelli and Jiwon Kil 7. Roshan, Briana and Heather 8. Maja Kinnemark and Pelle Elblans 9. Peter Chomowicz, Robert Baxter, Meike Kaan and Priya D’Souza 10. Jean Hodges and Meike Kaan 11. Mr & Mrs Popotti


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th e scen e

Astor Grill, St Regis —

S t R egis doha invited vips and guests to the opening of its newest restaurant, the spectacular astor grill







5 1. The Astor Grill 2. The St. Regis team 3. Laurens Griep and friend 4. Dirk Heij with Mr & Mrs Lee Couper 5. Executive Chef, Brendan Mcgowan, Kaarin Pfeffer and Ashlee Starratt 6. Teil, Scott and Victoria 7. First Secretary and Consul to the Embassy of Canada, JeanPierre Paquet (left) and Stan van Boatel of the St Regis (right)


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WELCOME To a world where money is no object and Cool comes at a price. FYEO is A millionaire’s shopping list that gives you an iNSIDE track to the things you need to own.

Nifty Shades of Grey >>> With vintage photography apps such as Instagram all the rage these days, people are rediscovering a love for the nostalgic atmosphere of old photos. For those who take it a little more seriously than the smartphone-toting masses, legendary camera manufacturer, Leica, has created the Leica M9 Monochrom, a camera that truly does shoot RAW, as unlike most of its modern digital counterparts, it has an 18-Megapixel, full-format 24x36mm sensor that only captures images in glorious monochrome - black and white to the layman. Guaranteed to have every well-heeled hipster drooling, the Leica will allow


budding artists to get crystal clear photos, with a ravishingly retro feel, but still using the latest digital technology. However, at a cool US$8,700 expect the usual onslaught of the food pictures in your facebook and twitter news feeds to be of a much higher class than the usual fare. The ever-so-analogue feel to the camera, with its matte black and chrome finish with leather trim and a leather carrying strap, ensures that in photography terms, the Leica M9 Monochrom is a true modern classic.

. sur la terre . for your eyes only .





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Playstation Portable >>> There are no doubt more than a few Sur la Terreans out there that indulge in a little escapism through the medium of video games. After a hard day of amassing wealth and consolidating assets, there is nothing more stress relieving than “pwning some n00bs” on Call of Duty or thrashing some hapless friend on the virtual fields of FIFA 12. However, when travelling, for business or pleasure, that particular outlet is often left behind. At least until now. Luggage and trunk virtuosos Pinel et Pinel, who brought us the portable office (SLT14), have turned their hand to crafting the ultimate portable gaming device. The XXL arcade trunk integrates a PS3 games console, 24 games, a 3D 55” Sony Full HD screen, two seats with steering wheels, a 1,000-watt sound system and an iPod docking station. The perfect set-up for “fragging” a few insurgents on the go. To ensure your comfort while you are charging around shooting guns, goals or Angry Birds, it is also furnished with two optional pull-out benches that match the trunk. The perfect travelling companion for the wealthy gamer will cost you a little more than level-up credits at $875,670, with the benches adding an additional $12,785 to the price.

Tactile Tablet >>> Now that every man and his dog owns an iPad, that long faded glow of the early adopter has all but gone. With more tablets than a pharmacy rattling around the world’s cafés, airports and hotels, Apple’s incitement to “think different” may soon seem somewhat redundant. Therefore, in order to stand apart from the computing crowd, the tech-savvy rich have found other ways to state their status, such as the exceptional 413 Grand Comfort. An exquisite, high-tech gem, the luxury designer Cottin has bedecked the iPad and created a luxury tactile tablet with a finish blending jewellery, art, marquetry and goldsmithery with leather inserts. Once the bespoke finish, chosen from a range of distinctive materials, including antique silver, black nickel, pale or 24-carat gold for the casing and bull’s hide, ostrich and alligator skin for the inserts and cover, the $1,649 unit is entirely handcrafted in Paris within 48 hours of placing an order. Cottin can even get your iPad crafted into a custom laptop or desktop computer for $11,730.


. sur la terre . for your eyes only .





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a WhEEl-y SMart bikE >>> If you have been duly inspired by the cycling masterclass offered by TeamGB at the recent London Olympics, but the idea of hopping in the saddle fills you with dread, then worry not. you might not be as fast as Gold Medalists Wiggins, Hoy, Pendleton and Trott, et al, but you won’t have to expend half as much effort either, because this is not a bike. It’s a two-wheeled Smart eBike. you know, like those funny little cars. The $3,700 cycle is electricallyassisted and designed by the engineers of German manufacturer Grace. It allows the rider to crisscross the streets so effortlessly, it will have you believing that you could wear the yellow jersey of the Tour de France without breaking a sweat. The battery is hidden within the frame while the electric motor is integrated into the rear wheel, which the hydraulic disc brakes can bring to an immediate halt. The chain has made way for a carbon belt drive. With a maximum speed of 25km/h, the bike has a range of 100km between charges. The clever thing is, thanks to a USB socket integrated into the handlebars, it ensures you can keep your phone or your iPod fully charged while you’re freewheeling across the region.

WatEr baby >>> Despite being a landlocked country, its abundance of lakes and rivers mean that the Swiss still know how to have fun in the water; none more so than start-up company Eaglesky and its new Marine Kart. Essentially, the concept is inspired from Go Karts, but on water, and the Eaglesky craft are incredibly portable, yet fully-optioned boats that use the latest marine technology. Easily loaded onto the roof-bars of not just a Land Cruiser, but even a Chevy Spark, the Kart 338, the first portable boat of the range, weighs just 55kg including not only the boat structure but also the steering system, ergonomic seats, waterproof bag and everything necessary for splashing fun on


the water. The unique hull design, together with quick connection devices to attach the outboard engine, allows the boat to be ready for action in mere minutes. Designed to be used either as a highly maneuverable yacht tender or for a relaxing fishing day, the 338 is a real water craft, but without the need of bulky trailers and mooring worries. Sporting a six-horsepower outboard motor, Eaglesky claims that due to its lightweight construction, the boat can achieve a not unsubstantial 35km/h top speed. Contact the company for pricing and to see the full range of Marine Karts.

. sur la terre . for your eyes only .

r evu e foo d

Sukar Pasha Ottoman Lounge Three-and-a-half pearls for being a real Turkish delight on Doha’s culinary scene.


. sur la terre . revue .

C runch y pasta in Budapest, salt y salad in the S tates and dodg y fish in Athens ; fare from foreign and unfamiliar lands can be a bit of a gamble . E very delicious meal can be rivalled by a night of queas y stomachs . T he only country L aura H amilton has ever visited where every venture into eating out was met without trepidation was T urkey - the iskender of I stanbul , the T urkish coffee , the unending pomegranates and pistachio . S o a reunion with her beloved T urkish cuisine at S ukar Pasha O ttoman L ounge at K atara was right up her alle y.


et’s just say I suffer for my art. No one can call me narrowminded or unadventurous, unlike my dinner companion who dubbed himself “The Great Taster” and then refused to try my turnip juice. The colour of magenta, şalagam suyu is made from pickled red carrots, flavoured with aromatic turnips and kept in barrels. Apparently it can cure hangovers. I won’t tastes of turnips. Thankfully, our server, the ever-knowledgeable Mutlu brought us fresh bread, puffed up from the oven and piping hot, which quickly took

away the taste of turnips. After this hiccup, I perused the vast menu and realised that not only were we spoilt for choice, but also a little lost. Luckily, Mutlu suggested the Hurrem Sultan set-menu, which is substantial enough for two people and has a little bit of everything. Hürrem Sultan, also known as Roxelana, was the Imperial Empress of the Ottoman Empire and wife of Suleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire. She set up a soup kitchen, The Hasseki Sultan Imaret, which fed hundreds of people a day in the 16th century. So it’s only fitting that we start with the hıntiyye soup. Made from yoghurt, lamb, chickpeas and bulgur wheat, it has a rich, creamy texture.

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Then came the cold assorted meze, which came with more bread, and which we tore into delightedly and dipped into the antep ezme, a spicy tomato and onion dip, and humus, which is slightly thicker than the humus from this part of the world. My personal favourite was the vine leaves stuffed with rice (z.yağlı pazı sarma), while “The Great Taster” tore into the imam bayıldı, aubergine with caramelised onion, which was not as sweet as I expected, rather mild, in fact, but was so delicate it melted in my mouth. “In all countries with strong story-telling cultures,” the Great Taster tells me in between bites, “Meals are always drawn out.” Turkish meals are not for those in a hurry, so if you’re under a time constraint then Sukar Pasha Ottoman Lounge is not for you. If you want a relaxed, laid back banquet where delicious dishes keep coming for you to nibble on while enjoying the conversation and the surroundings, then it definitely is. The hot meze included fried lamb liver, which was surprisingly chewy and mild, su borek, which is a layered pastry filled with cream cheese that uses 15 different oils - a favourite in Turkey - and mucmer, which is a fried vegetable patty. Mutlu suggested we try pide, which he described as Turkish pizza, baked dough layers with pastırma (air-dried cured beef), soudjouk, (spicy sausage) with beef kavurma, minced meat, spinach and cheese, which I have to say were extremely salty. Then came the main dish (by which time, we were absolutely stuffed): mixed kebab. A delicious selection of meat, lamb, beef, chicken, juicy, tender and drowned in lemon with a portion of the ever popular bulgur wheat. Having lived in Doha for several years now, I have consumed more mixed kebabs than had near misses on the roads. Sukar Pasha’s offering was larger than I was expecting after all that meze, but it was so tender and mixed with the lemon and bulgar wheat, it felt a very different experience than in your standard Arabic restaurant, and more distinctly Turkish. The best part is saved for last: dessert, and by no means should you miss the star of Sukar Pasha’s after show - a mix of bite size puddings. I recommend mixing the smooth, milky kaymak ice-cream with the baklava (pistachio pastry) while sipping turkish tea.


TURKISH TEA Mutlu convinced us to have some Turkish tea, before he rolled us out. The art of tea-making in Turkey is an intricate ritual which involves two pots; the larger is filled with water, and the other with tea-leaves and water. Both tea-pots are boiled in an oven until the tea leaves sink to the bottom. The tea is poured first, then topped up with water. It’s delicious. The amber tea is drier and more mellow than black or green tea and is taken without milk, if you are so inclined you can add sugar and is served in tulip shaped glasses. Turkish coffee can be an acquired taste, but Turkish tea is just as popular and dare I say it, slightly more palatable.

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Where: lancaSteR What: lancaSteR MuSic FeStiVal When: FRoM 11 to 14 octobeR 2012

Where: MiaMi What: aRt baSel MiaMi beach When: FRoM 6 to 9 deceMbeR 2012

Where: PaRiS What: geoRgeS PoMPidou centRe dali When: FRoM 21 noVeMbeR 2012 to 25 MaRch 2013

global gathEriNgS Global Gatherings is your at-a-glance map of magnificence, directing you to all of the culturally essential, entertaining and luxurious events and happenings that will be taking place across the world (or perhaps, we should say, “sur la terre�) over the coming months.


. sur la terre . globe trotter .

Where: eindhoVen What: StRP FeStiVal – aRt & technology When: FRoM 18 to 27 noVeMbeR 2012

Where: haMbuRg What: the bRandeRy SuMMeR When: FRoM 13 to 15 July 2012

Where: PRague What: haMbuRg inteRnational boat Show When: FRoM 27 octobeR to 4 noVeMbeR 2012

Where: caiRo What: caiRo inteRnational FilM FeStiVal When: FRoM 27 noVeMbeR to 6 deceMbeR 2012

Where: hong kong What: hong kong oPen When: FRoM 15 to 18 noVeMbeR 2012

Where: dubai What: dubai Rugby SeVenS When: FRoM 29 noVeMbeR to 1 deceMbeR 2012

Where: abu dhabi What: abu dhabi FilM FeStiVal When: FRoM 11 to 20 octobeR

Where: bangkok What: inteRnational FeStiVal oF dance & MuSic When: FRoM 10 SePteMbeR to 14 octobeR 2012

. sur la terre . globe trotter .





Kinki Rooftop Bar


Where: Singapore GPS: 1˚ 17’ 03.02” N, 103˚ 51’ 12.14” E

Where: Stockholm, Sweden GPS: 59˚ 18’ 50.29” N, 18˚ 04’ 37.60” E

One of the coolest bars in Singapore, Kinki offers Japanese cuisine with an urban attitude. Shaking up the Singapore scene, Kinki has a quirky Eastmeets-West drinks menu, from champagne to sake-infused cocktails, with plenty of Nipponese twists like umeshu (a sweet and sour liqueur) and pickled plums. This sweet spot is one of many roof-top bars in the city, but with 360° views of the Marina Bay and its irreverently decorated interior, which includes everything from a floor mural by renowned tattoo artist Chris Garver from tv show Miami Ink, to traditional red Japanese lanterns and fishing hook light fittings suspended from the ceiling. Kinki stands out above the other options in town and with the open-air timber decking, it’s perfect for taking in the sunset and rocking out to the hiphop, funk and soul played by the in-house DJ.

The Swedes are known for their relaxed, practical, yet effortlessly cool style. After attracting a following of well-dressed men with their first boutique, brothers Mårten and Olle Eriksson-Mårtens and Mats Sjöqvist opened a bigger (and dare we say better) boutique called Haberdash in Stockholm. Designed to resemble a craftsman’s studio, the store’s functional, minimalistic interior matches the timeless style and quality of the menswear on display. For the discerning gentleman, highlights include the French Armor Lux Sailor Sweater, as worn by Pablo Picasso, beautiful and muted suits from an eclectic mix (Ralph Lauren, Our Legacy and Tellini), “gadgets” that include a meat tenderiser and a selection of beautiful leather footwear.


. sur la terre . globe trotter .



Boucan, The Hotel Chocolat Where: Saint Lucia (Island), the Caribbean GPS: 13˚ 50’ 00.89” N, 61˚ 03’ 00.38” W When two British chocolatiers bought Saint Lucia’s oldest cocoa plantation, the dilapidated Rabot Estate, they saw the chance to mix their luxury chocolate-making with cocoa-growing, the result being delicious and ethical chocolate. They then happened on another winning idea; turning Rabot Estate into a boutique hotel called Boucan. Circling a garden courtyard, there are 14 lodges with views of the Caribbean Sea and the Piton Mountains beyond private verandahs. Special features include open-sky rainforest showers and iPod docking stations complete with preloaded playlists inspired by the estate. It’s St Lucian old-world charm combined with contemporary style. While staying at Boucan, guests can enjoy the soothing tropical breezes in the sun-draped cocoa groves, explore the surrounding rainforest or have a romantic getaway (Boucan is a honeymoon favourite). Highlights include a safari tour of the estate, helping to harvest the cocoa and indulging at the Cocoa - Juvenate Spa. It turns out that there is more to chocolate than just eating it!

Balla Where: Sydney, Australia GPS: 33˚ 52’ 04.88” S, 151˚ 11’ 43.87” E Chef Stefano Manfredi promises that his newest venture is “a little piece of Milano with Sydney’s best views.” Indeed, Balla’s never-before-seen vista of the beautiful Pyrmont Bay, visible through the huge wall-toceiling cantilevered windows, has Australians rushing to the restaurant. The massive restaurant can seat 160 diners. Tables line the long, slow curve of the glass windows, as diners while away the hours. The name comes from Italian futurist artist Giacomo Balla, and architect Luigi Rosselli has created an homage to the artist with a geometric ceiling and hand-blown amber glass lights. This cool bar/restaurant presents its vast wine list on an iPad and the rustic menu laces simplicity with quality. There is a wide selection of seafood, meat and vegetables cooked over the 100 year-old seasoned wood-fired grill. The maccheroncini (mini maccheroni) slathered in butter and parmesan and mixed with yabby tail (Australian crayfish) and sesame, and home-made tagliateli with Piedmont white truffle shavings are not to be missed.

. sur la terre . globe trotter .


style confidential

IN SEASON A new wave of style is crashing onto our shores this autumn. Herald all that is lavish, bold and empowering.

HOT TO TROT Take the reins in autumn’s most favoured footwear – luxe leather riding boots. No horse required.

Steve Madden

Burberry at

Pied a Terre


Betty Jackson at Debenhams


Gucci at

McQ Alexander McQueen at

Riding boots come in all guises for the new season, from classic black or chic tan to glossy patent and twotoned. Along with buckles, why not throw in some studs or chain for good measure. Tally ho!

. sur la terre . style confidential .


COPY CATWALK Taking styles straight from the catwalk and transforming them for your wardrobe… STRIDING OUT Every season has its wardrobe staples and for autumn it is trousers. What is so great about this basic fashion element, apart from the comfort factor, is that there is a style to suit everyone, from super tight leathers to boyish baggy pants and cropped skinnys.

Stella McCartney AW 12..

Stella McCartney’s AW 12 collection is bursting at the seams with wearable trousers and we have picked three easy ways to wear them. 1. The wide-legged trouser has been around for several seasons now and this is an easy style for most shapes to wear. Hipster or high waisted, the choice is yours; but go with a bold colour or white for a new season colour clincher. 2. Mannish trousers call for a mannish coat this autumn. So if you’re skinny or athletic or simply want to cover up your curves, team the trousers of your choice with an oversized long coat. 3. This season, trouser suits are not solely for the gents. An opulent satin, velvet or brocade two-piece is a slick alternative for evening glamour and a quirky patterned suit makes a welcome change to stuffy office-wear. Bold means business.

Stella McCartney AW 12..

Stella McCartney AW 12..



PRINT ALERT The good news is, summer’s addiction to all things print and pattern is here to stay. For autumn, think eye-popping opticals, orientinspired aesthetics and quirky lifestyle prints. A simple shift dress is the perfect way to pull off this trend, or for a more casual take, don a natty print blouse and jeans and, for something offbeat, a head to toe trouser suit. We love Versace’s alphabet print and Moschino’s cute cosmetics.


. sur la terre . style confidential .

THE STYLE DUOS The summer’s Olympics has revved up a bit of team spirit amongst the fashion heavyweights, with many designers joining forces for new season collaborations. But these are no high street hook-ups. We look at three of the hottest collaborations this season… Net-a-Porter and Esteban Cortazar

Paul Smith and Barbour

You can always rely on Net-a-Porter to be right on the fashion pulse, so it comes as no surprise that Paris based designer Esteban Cortazar has chosen Net-a-Porter as his exclusive global retailer for the label’s re-launch. The capsule collection, which is made up of 17 looks, transcends the journey of his career. “We have worked so closely with Esteban on the development of this collection and see it as a true collaboration between designer and retailer,” explains Holli Rogers, Net-a-Porter’s Fashion Director. Talking about the collaboration Esteban adds: “I feel so eternally grateful, privileged and honoured.” The collection launches on on September 12th.

Could this be a new team GB? British heritage brand Barbour has teamed up with British designer Paul Smith for a limited edition capsule collection for men and women. Some of Barbour’s most classic designs have been given a Paul Smith makeover – notably brightly coloured printed linings, and there are matching T-shirts, jeans and chambray shirts. “This is a great opportunity to collaborate on a collection that combines the British heritage and identities of Paul Smith and Barbour,” explains Paul Smith. “By bringing together two very British companies, we have created a collection that is unique and fun, yet still reflects the core values of the Barbour brand,” adds Barbour’s head of menswear, Ian Bergin. The capsule collection is available now.

Matthew Williamson and Havainas Matthew Williamson is no stranger to fashion collaborations, but this time, to tie in with his label’s 15th birthday; the British fashion maestro has teamed up with footwear brand Havainas, who are also celebrating their 50th anniversary. The result? No, not sun drenched flip-flops, but rain boots, which Matthew felt were more in line with his British roots. “In England, it’s always raining,” he said. “I wanted to bring some sunshine to the rainier season.” Matthew’s two brightly coloured styles incorporate his signature peacock motif as well as prints adapted from his AW 12 collection. Available now.

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StylE radar hOw DO YOU weaR YOURS?


From the LBD to the LBJ, there is another reason to come to London this October for that all-important fashion fi x - Chanel’s iconic Little Black Jacket exhibition is coming to the city’s Saatchi gallery. Originally a coffee table book concept created by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld, the exhibition features 113 photographs, shot by Karl himself, of various celebrities and fashion personalities wearing the LBJ in their own unique ways. The exhibition runs at the Saatchi Gallery from October 12th – 28th.

As well as shaping the way we dress today, costumes play a key role in story telling. Take Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which inspired the rise of the LBD. So as part of the “Hollywood Costume” exhibition, this and over one hundred other iconic costumes from the past century of filmmaking, including the threads of rock ‘n’ roll pirate, Jack Sparrow, the dramatic gowns of Scarlett O’Hara and Dorothy’s dress from the Wizard of Oz, are currently on display at London’s V&A Museum. The exhibition runs from October 20th – January 27th.

GeT ReaDY-TO-weaR… J Brand is a name synonymous with perfect fitting jeans, but this autumn, we will seeing a lot more than just denim as the brand is launching their fi rst full fashion collection - J Brand Ready-To-Wear. In fitting with their mantra of women feeling ‘sexy’ when they put on their jeans, the collection is elegant yet streetwise and casual yet sleek. Available from Harrods and

NeveR beFORe SeeN mCQUeeN Here’s another thing to add to the coffee table collection, a new book featuring over 400 previously unseen images of Alexander McQueen’s life and work: Love Looks Not With the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen. Captured by photographer Anne Deniau, the only photographer permitted backstage at McQueen’s shows for 13 years, the images cover a beautiful history of a true fashion great and include shots of his collaborations with fashion icons, including Kate Moss and Sarah Burton.


Love Looks Not With the Eyes is released on October 1st.

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Landmark 4487 6860 Villaggio 4413 5108

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The Show down

Ahead of its Spring/Summer 2013 show at London Fashion Week, Mulberry Creative Director Emma Hill chatted to Sophie Jones-Cooper about what inspires her vision for one of fashion’s most talked about shows. PHOtOGrAPHy: lOttie ettlinG


hen it comes to London Fashion Week, the Mulberry show is one of the highlights. While many of London’s bi-annual fashion week shows take place at the purpose built catwalk venue for London Fashion Week at Somerset House, there is only one location for Mulberry’s show and that is Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair. Every season, the acclaimed British heritage brand assembles on what is one of the capital’s most prestigious hotels and transforms it into a magical world of Mulberry. But this is far from being simply a showcase of the new season wares. This is a buzzing style extravaganza. The Mulberry show is not one of those queue up, flash your pass, wait 20 minutes, see the collection trot past then escape to the nearest exit for a quick get-a-way. It is a highly anticipated event, a style spectacle and one of London’s top A-list pullers. Every season the fashion army of buyers, press, VIPs and a dazzling celebrity set descend on Claridge’s dressed up to the nines waiting and with bated breath to see what the brand has in store.

emma Hill, Mulberry’s creative Director ..

Whatever the inspiration, no corner of the ballroom at Claridge’s is left un-Mulberry’ed. From themed interiors, to matching breakfast canapés, a paparazzi photo corner, seriously good goody bags and dogs on the front row, as well as the catwalk, Mulberry as well as its covetable collection, puts on a covetable show.

Olivia Palermo was .. amongst the front row A-listers ..

the catwalk complete with Mulberry monsters ..


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Lana Del Rey sits front row ..

The AW 12 catwalk finale ..

So why, instead of a regular catwalk, does Mulberry go all-out and make their bi-annual catwalk show one of London’s most talked about events of the season? Who better to ask than Mulberry head honcho herself, Creative Director Emma Hill. We caught up with Emma, who, while reigning high at the brand’s creative helm, is also the woman behind these shows to remember. “It’s important be able to visualise and produce the total Mulberry experience,” Emma tells us. “Producing a show that supports the collection is a great part of the story-telling process,” she adds. So for Mulberry, while the collection is the centrepiece, showcasing the new season wares is not just about the fabrics, cuts and designs, but about entering into the next chapter in the Mulberry story. This season, show goers were welcomed at the Claridge’s ballroom to a backdrop of giant furry monsters and no less than 4000 giant padlock balloons. So, what is the autumn story all about and what inspired it? For Emma, inspiration comes from her childhood or a film that has captivated her. “Things from my childhood stick in my mind and definitely inspire certain features and fit,” she explains. “But it is a film that will often get the ball rolling,” she adds. “It could be one that my son has seen or loves, or it could be an old film from years ago.” For autumn, it was Where The Wild Things Are. “I watched the film with my son and we both thought it was magical, such a lovely story with a slight eclectic fantastical sense to it – I love that,” smiles Emma. So was her son responsible for the AW 12 inspiration? “I suppose you could say he is, yes!” she laughs. Thanks to her son, Emma’s creation begins. The magical and fantastical childhood story Where The Wild Things Are is brought to life through a mesmerising fashion collection and everything surrounding it. “It’s very important to me that we keep the flow of the initial inspiration feeding into all the elements of the season,” explains Emma. “This includes the collection, marketing and the main event.” Even the little details are taken care of. “Things like the music, the food that you eat and the balloons that you take home have to be connected – we like to take care of all the senses,” she says. It would appear this fruitful approach is working. Figures from a report by reveal Mulberry saw a fan base increase of 25, 205 fans

during the month surrounding its show at London Fashion Week. That’s a rise of 21.3%. With the next chapter of the Mulberry story imminent, that is certainly a tough act to follow. Knowing Emma, she will have something equally as crowd-pleasing up her rather fashionable sleeve. With two of Emma’s favourite films having inspired her last two collections, Where The Wild Things Are and Fantastic Mr. Fox, perhaps her third favourite, Tim Walker’s short film The Lost Explorer could be next in line. “I love all three of these films and could watch them time and time again,” answers Emma, being careful not to give anything away. From the giant gold padlock balloons to the pugs on the catwalk and crazy after-show parties, it can’t be denied that at the centre of Mulberry is a whole bag of fun. “I believe quality is the key to any successful brand,” says Emma seriously, “but I also believe fashion should be fun!” Emma describes the book she has recently read as “fun”. Could this be the SS 13 inspiration? “I have been reading old classics Scruples and Scruples Two,” says Emma. “It’s a bit of fun, a guilty pleasure!” she adds, again keeping all her cards close to her chest. Looks like we will have to wait and see.

THE AW 12 SHOW LOW-DOWN What we saw: 4,000 giant gold padlock balloons, giant furry Mulberry monsters and pugs on the catwalk. Who we saw: Lana Del Rey, Michelle Williams, Olivia Palermo, Elizabeth Olsen, Michelle Dockery What we sat on: Seats covered in fur. In the goody bag: Chocolate truffles decorated with monster faces, a gold paper crown and seasonal gold stickers.

EMMA’S AUTUMN STYLE TIPS 1. Play with proportions – try long coats over shorts and oversized blazers and maxi skirts. 2. Belt your scarf to your outerwear for cosy luxe layering. 3. Wear your favourite jeans with a beautifully tailored dinner jacket. 4. Mix and match your prints – don’t be afraid to clash. 5. Break some fashion rules and wear something that makes you happy!

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“ T here is a harmon y in autumn , and a lustre in its sk y, W hich through the summer is not heard or seen , A s if it could not be , as if it had not been ! � - Pe rc y Bysshe Shelle y

A View To Their Skill

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Daniel Craig As suave super-spy James Bond, Daniel Craig is used to saving the world from malfeasant villains bent on global domination - A Role he will be reprising in the in the long awaited 007 thriller, Skyfall later this month. However, far removed from his onscreen persona, Craig prefers a quieter life, happy to hand over centre stage to a less glamourous, if just as well-equipped, group of action men and women: the doctors and crew of the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital - a plane so packed with life-changing gadgets, it would put Q-Branch to shame. In June 2011, Craig flew to Mongolia to see it first hand as part of the touching documentary, Through Their Eyes. Here he talks exclusively to Martyn Palmer for Sur la Terre Middle East about the experience.



ow did you first get involved with ORBIS International? I spoke to the guys at Omega and said that it would be great if we could find a charity that we both could support. ORBIS was one of the charities they suggested and actually, I’d kind of heard about them. I’d heard that they have a Flying Eye Hospital and I just looked into it more closely. The more I found out about them, the more I admired the work they are doing and it seemed a brilliant thing. How did the trip and the documentary “Through Their Eyes” come about? Once we had agreed everything, which was a fairly easy thing to do, we were looking for windows of opportunity. ORBIS has a permanent eye hospital in Vietnam and at one stage we were thinking of going there. They fly the hospital to all sorts of places in South America and Asia and it just so happened that they were going to be in Mongolia. Timing-wise it worked, I had a window and so we literally just jumped onto the first plane. We were there in less than 48 hours. What is so special about the The Flying Eye Hospital? What’s it like? It’s a DC-10, which they are retiring. It’s the oldest flying DC-10. It was a test plane that hadn’t done many miles and it was given to ORBIS, who have gone on to clock up a few. Fed-Ex has just donated a brand new MD-10 to them, one of their fleet, which is great, but I saw the current one and it was incredible. It’s kitted out with a full operating theatre and it has a teaching area; it’s all self-powered. They can actually run the whole thing from the fuel on the plane so they don’t have to rely on local energy supplies in order to do their work, which is crucial, because obviously they are sometimes flying into difficult places and situations.

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So it is pretty well-equipped? Well, you walk up the steps and to the left there’s a lecture theatre that comfortably holds about 40 medical trainees - you could probably squeeze in more if you needed to - and that has a drop down screen at the end, which can show a live feed from the surgery. To the right there is a waiting area with a bunch of families there with their kids who are waiting either to have their first operation or second operation because they don’t do both eyes together for obvious reasons. Then there’s a simulator where you can use the machine that the surgeons use for the operations. It’s micro-surgery and you are looking at tiny, tiny incisions, so this is a machine you can actually practice on. As you walk further down the plane, there is a glass screen where you can see straight into the surgery. So I went in, scrubbed up and put my George Clooney uniform on and walked in pretending to be a surgeon (laughs).

tHe OMeGA HOur visiOn Blue A special watch, the Hour Vision Blue, has been created to celebrate the partnership between ORBIS International and Omega, of which, profits of at least $1 million from its sale will be donated to the project. A special edition of the elegant Hour Vision, it has a classic 41mm stainless steel case, CoAxial calibre 8500 Movement, a sapphire crystal caseback and a specially designed sun-brushed blue dial and 18-carat white gold facetted hour, minute and seconds hands. Available now, priced around $7,000.

One of the things you seem keen to stress in the documentary is the legacy left behind when the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital jets off. yeah, one of the things we found when we were there, interestingly, was that there’s no money in eyes. So most people who want to train as doctors, don’t want to train as eye doctors, because it hasn’t got the sort of cachet… It’s not heart surgery or brain surgery… ...Or plastic surgery, or whatever - you can’t go out and make lots of money from it, so it’s a struggle for them to find the people to do it. But what was extraordinary when we were in Mongolia was that they had the the chief eye surgeon and her daughter there and the ORBIS guys were teaching the daughter a procedure. I sat in and watched whilst she did her first ever cataract eye surgery. Actually, I stood and I had to make sure that I didn’t fall over (laughs). What was that like? Totally extraordinary. One of the surgeons on the Flying Eye Hospital did the procedure where he showed her what to do and talked her through it before basically handing over the scalpel for her to do one. It was nerve-wracking. It really was. I think everybody was nervous because you have this tiny child there who is about to have


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an operation on her eye and, of course, everybody is willing it to go well, but it was a little tense. She did a great job – there was a little bit of shouting and a few concerned voices at one point, but it all went off successfully. Part of her job now is to go on and teach that technique to other people. It’s fantastic. It was literally the first cataract operation she had ever performed. What were you thinking as it was happening? I was like, “is she OK in there? Are we all good here?” I was so nervous being the control freak that I am. I was like “how can I look after this situation…” (laughs) Were you squeamish at all? Actually, I didn’t feel faint. You never know how you’re going to feel, but it didn’t bother me all. It’s just fascinating, absolutely fascinating, because you see the skill of the surgeon up close and it’s incredible. It’s a very precise, exact procedure, but they are able to return 20/20 vision to the patient. It’s incredible. Were you there to see the result of the surgery? Actually, I wasn’t. I didn’t need to be there because that’s a private moment and I didn’t want to get in anybody’s face and see that. Most of the kids are there for cataracts, but there was one little kid who had an injury from an arrow and it reminded me that we were in Mongolia, where archery is very popular. He’d been hit in the eye with an arrow so they sorted him out, too. It sounds like a full-time job, but the doctors are volunteers, right? There was a lovely guy there, an anaesthetist from Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London, who, like the other guys, was giving up his holiday to jump on a plane to go down to Mongolia or Vietnam or wherever and work with these children. They are so good with these kids, who are basically babies, you know? I have nothing but the utmost admiration for that whole team. They are brilliant people and they are there because, quite simply, it’s the right thing to do. They want to spread the word; to get the local people bring their skill levels up so that

they can do the procedure themselves. They are absolutely extraordinary people and they are not in it for themselves, they are doing it because they love their job and what it brings to people, because it changes the lives of these kids in the most profound ways. They must have been delighted to have you there to help promote the project. It was just great to be there and I love to be shown around aircraft, that’s always exciting for me. I was so happy when they let me sit in the captain’s seat! (laughs). There is a good and bad side of being famous, but this is one very good example of where you can use it in a very positive way. Absolutely. Of course it is. It’s a joy to be involved with something like this and if I can play a small part in a project like this, then I’m delighted to do it. If my name can bring anything to it, then great. Omega has been very generous and they have created a fantastic watch [the Hour vision Blue, pictured opposite], the profits from which are going straight to ORBIS. I’m incredibly happy about that. If my image helps promote sales of the watch, which in turn helps ORBIS, then that’s absolutely perfect.

They are absolutely extraordinary people... doing it because they love their job and what it brings to people, because it changes the lives of these kids in the most profound ways.

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Did people there recognise you, or did the kids and families just treat you as one of the ORBIS team? yeah, at one stage, they said “maybe we should show them a Bond movie,” and I was saying “I don’t think we need to do that.” (laughs). It was nice that the surgeons and doctors know who I am and I can go and say hello to them. I don’t have to spread my word around because my part in this is tiny – they are the important people, but if I can help highlight the amazing work that they’re doing, then that’s fine by me. Losing your sight at any age is a tragedy, but these are kids and to lose it at such a tender age, or being born blind, is just unimaginable. While these kids are incredibly resilient and happy just kind of getting on with things, they are going through life without seeing things – the beauty of their surroundings, the faces of their families, the sunrise or the sunset. To have their sight returned to them so that they can live as normal a life as possible is such an amazing thing. The full documentary can be watched online at:

DAniel crAiG On “skyFAll” It’s one of the most eagerly awaited films of 2012 and the official website,, has been keeping fans up to date with regular videoblogs from the set. Here are some snippets of what Bond himself has to say about his latest adventure. On the announcement of “Skyfall”: “In getting the opportunity to do a third [Bond film], it was my intention to do the best Bond movie that I possibly could. I am incredibly proud to be part of this. If I could do this for a few more years, I would be thrilled.” On the “Skyfall” Bond girls, Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe: “They are both really serious actresses who are stamping their mark on this film. It has been a joy to work with both of them. There is some humour in the [on-screen] relationships, and there is some tension, so I can’t wait to see how it looks.” On the locations: “Bond has a close relationship with Turkey and Istanbul, and it is a very magical place for Bond to be. We received a great welcome there. A lot of the film is shot in London, so we wanted to use a lot of the iconography. Fortunately, the name James Bond opens up a few doors, so we got the chance to close down Whitehall, we’ve used the London underground, Sam [Mendez, Director] and I wanted to make it ‘British.’ It’s not some flag-waving thing we are interested in, it is just about basing Bond in Britain. It is very exciting to take Bond out onto the streets and show London for what it is; very beautiful, sinister and dark at times, but it’s Bond’s home.” On the plot: “Bond is in a good place, he is doing his job, being Bond. A mission goes wrong and his world turns upside down and he has to readdress his relationship with M. He is really up against it in this one. It is a great plot and I am very excited about telling this story, though it is not all about Bond, it is as much about the characters we are introducing as well.” “Skyfall” premieres in london on October 23rd


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Razan D’êTRE

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Razan Alazzouni Feminine, elegant, simplistic - these are the three words that sum up the designs of Razan Alazzouni in a nutshell. The Saudi designer is best known for her dedication to sophisticated, polished fashion, collections full of muted colours, clean cuts and extraordinary beading. Sur La Terre nabs an exclusive interview, where she talks about the creative process and her latest collection - which is something of a departure from her usual fare.



oes your childhood in Saudi Arabia have a strong influence on your designs? Culture gets into everything; growing up in Saudi Arabia influenced my art and my art is the main influence for my fashion. My culture has influenced my embroidery, my beading, the way I look at it as three-dimensional rather than flat beading on fabric. So you come from an artistic background? I come from a family of artists, so it was an environment where art was important - expressing yourself through art was important. Everyone ended up in an artistic job, even the engineers are photographers on the side. Speaking of family, a lot of designers mention their mother’s or their grandmother’s wardrobe having an early influence on them, would you say the same is true for you? I think my style is a modern reflection of my mother’s. When I was a kid, her dressing room used to feel like the biggest room in the house. When she opened her dressing room, music and lights came out! My mother was never the type to follow a trend, she has her own style. As I grow older I’m getting more like my mother, personally and in my work. When you were a child, did your mother like to dress you up, or did you like to choose your own clothes? I would never let her dress me up! She could never go shopping without

me being there, I had to choose my own clothes or they would never be worn. My siblings were all dressed in beautiful cotton dresses and I’d be wearing gold trousers and a leather top! I always looked out of place, but I guess it was a part of my personality, I liked everything shiny at that time. Tell us about your new collection. I was influenced by a collection of glass hummingbirds. Birds can look feminine and elegant, but also edgy. It’s fun, the cuts and moves of the fabric, it’s very bold. The movement of birds is fascinating, so I tried to capture that with the beading. Birds fascinate me; there’s a duality to them. For some dresses, I used a fabric that feels like suede but looks very harsh. I hope people like it! How does the creative process begin for you? When I start a new collection, it’s based on a new pattern, which gets taken apart and tried with different fabrics. I usually start with beading and embroidering a few pieces of fabric, and then the designs come to mind. Then we make cotton dresses of the designs that I drew because I’m not a very good sketcher- my sister calls my drawings chicken scratching! I can paint, but I can’t draw. Then we can start cutting the fabrics based on the white cotton dresses. We spend about a month working on patterns and styles and after that, things move quite quickly. Getting the mood boards in place, choosing the right fabrics and colours; after that, making the first few dresses doesn’t take too long.

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What is your favourite aspect of being a fashion designer? Free clothes! Getting clothes all the time! You never worry about going to a party! I usually just pick something off the sample rack. Also, the company was started by me and my sisters, so working with people you love who also challenge you, we know how we think, we have a shorthand.

have different characteristics, show a nuanced dress sense, how their personalities combine with their style.

What do you think of Qatari women’s style? I have never had the honour of visiting Qatar, but I’d love to see the Museum of Islamic Art. I love HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Missned’s style, she’s an impeccable dresser. One of the things I love about her is that she’s always dressed conservatively; it’s such a clean look, something I appreciate. Qatari women are known to be very well accessorised. It’s nice to see that different parts of the Middle East

In the West, they thought we were a trend, that it would cool down in a couple of years. When they think of the Middle East, they think of oil and gas, but we’re here to stay. We’re not going to vanish off the face of the earth in two or three seasons. The standards of clothing are going up, too. A few years ago, when only a few Middle Eastern designers had popped up, you would still go to European designers, but now when you look at the quality, the finishing, it’s as good, if not better than anything else out there.


Can you see a change in the way the West sees Eastern and Arab designers? I think we’re starting to pave our way through the fashion industry’s door. It’s a very new industry in the Middle East, so of course it’s going to take a while.

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acc e s so r i e s

Autumn Classics

From chic bags and shoes to glamourous watches and jewellery, update your style with our pick of new-season essentials Photographed by IMAGIE.COM Styled by MĂŠlanie Hearnden

Camel leather bag and brown leather moccasins by Tod’s


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Vuitton rmès, Moka ankle boots by Louis “Hebdo Shopping Bag” by He

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Clockwise from bottom left : Rose gold and sapphire rings from Bijouterie Kunz, “Spirographie Email” cuff by Hermès, “Kelly” silver cuff and bracelet by Hermès, “Midnight Camelias” cuff by Chanel, “Eclisse” rose gold and black jet bracelet by Vhernier, “Disco Pop” earrings by Vhernier. Opposite page: Clockwise from bottom left: Breitling “Chronomat;” Zenith “Chrono Dame” (left), Tiffany “Gallery” watch (bottom), Jaquet Droz “L’Heure Célèste” (Top); Blancpain watch (left), Jaquet Droz “L’Eclipse Onyx” (right) and Tiffany “Dome” watch (top); Hublot “Boa Bang Gold Green” (top) and Ulysse Nardin’s “Lady Driver” watch (bottom).


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“Shiva Bag” and “2 Tone Cit y Sho


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es” by Chanel

tr en ds confidential

Make your bid

for Autumn The new season is here and bringing with it a new mood, new styles and a new look. Sophie Jones-Cooper casts her vote on autumn’s top trends.


love September. In the world of fashion nothing beats the dawn of a new season, and with the September breeze, in blows a flurry of tantalising new trends. Some are more covetable, brighter and certainly more wearable than others, and while autumn does have a dark edge to it this year, the new season is anything but dull and gloomy. For me, the words of soul legends Earth, Wind & Fire some up the energy of this month, “September… never was a cloudy day.” This September, they couldn’t be more on the money. There are certainly no clouds looming over this new season. As we bask in the bliss of A/W12, we mustn’t leave it too long before compiling that allimportant autumn wish list. Now is the time to decipher the trends and work out which are going to work for you this coming season. While it would be all too easy to end up punching your pin in every designer store, it is important to be somewhat selective when it comes to designing your wardrobe. We need

to work out how the new season will fit with our day-to-day lives, not only from nine to five, but until the clock strikes midnight (and beyond), as well as for those off-duty moments, upping the glam levels and travelling through worldwide winter climes. I like to think of the new season like an auction. The rules are simple. Each of the trends are “lots.” Now is the time to check out all the lots up for auction, narrow down the ones that you want, be aware of the guide prices, know your maximum price and go in with a clear head. Don’t go bidding for things that are not on your list, you will just end up with unwanted items, and don’t bid over your limit, as you will only regret it later. I decided to look at my September shopping list in this light, knowing that if I stuck to the rules, I would walk away with the ideal wardrobe to suit my lifestyle and my budget. So what is going under the hammer for me this season? I narrowed down my bidding to my five autumn favourites…

. sur la terre . trends confidential .


Lot 1 – The rural regalia London has a dress code – eclectic and eccentric would sum up the city’s style quite easily. But its rural neighbour, the British countryside, also has its own dress code and the familiar country classics of plaid, tweed, corduroy and fine tailoring are all making their way onto the city at a rapid pace for autumn. Designers including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Vivienne Westwood all escaped the city in search of some countryside inspiration this season. The result? Well it is certainly more Downton lady than farmer’s folly. Think riding boots not wellies and tweed not waterproofs. Earthy toned rich tweed and corduroy jackets are teamed with chic figure hugging jodhpurs, and wool blend A-line skirts and Fair Isle knits are given a sophisticated finish with crisp shirts and leather riding boots.

Ralph Lauren ..

While this might make sense to be on my day-to-day wear list, as I am a resident of the British countryside, how does it translate into a Middle Eastern city slicker’s wardrobe without looking out of place? Firstly, traditional tailoring works anywhere, countryside or no countryside, so be sure to opt for quality. Second, the trick is selecting the right pieces and mixing them up with sharp separates. A pair of jodphur style trousers with a shirt and brogues will look effortless in any city and great for the office, as would a tweed or checked jacket over skinny jeans, while a pair of slick riding boots will add a dose of rural charm to any urban afternoon and add a military feel to your racing greens for country-meets-city off-duty attire.

Lot 2 – The elegantly waisted This is a great trend for those who invested in the peplum or cinched waist last season, as the waist is here to stay for autumn. All attention is on the beauty of the female silhouette, be it cinched in and sleek down the hips or cinched in and blown out over the hips. Either way, the silhouette is womanly, curvaceous and smart. Stella McCartney, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz and Marc Jacobs all focussed on the waist, creating tailored and structured curves by adding peplums, panniers and padding to hips. Whilst it may sound like something from an 18th century period drama, the look is in fact beautifully contemporary and a powerful, seductive and somewhat futuristic extension of last season’s pretty peplums. This is a great look for the office or after work, as a structured peplum or pannier style jacket over a slim line pencil skirt is sleek yet sophisticated and oozes classic femininity. And if you are a bit lacking in the curve department, this is also a great way to boost your Marilyn credentials. Another way to accentuate your curves is a belted middle and, this autumn, belts are on everything from dresses to suits and jackets to outer coats. Whilst most designers opted for skinny belts, Acne, Fendi and Carolina Herrera all nipped their waists in with wide, almost Obi style, belts. While many of autumn’s outdoor coats are oversized and mannish, if you are opting for the more feminine shape, be sure to use an elasticated belt on heavier coats and jackets for maximum movement.


Stella McCartney ..

. sur la terre . trends confidential .

Lot 3 – The blooming gorgeous While our gardens bloom in spring, it is our wardrobes that will be blooming this autumn. We’re not talking delicate and floaty florals, but rather bold blooms that pack a powerful punch. Summer’s pretty pastel petals are making way for autumn’s darker luxurious bouquets. Dolce & Gabbana gave us the most feminine florals for the new season, with their floral adorned white lace and floral patchwork bag, while other designers including Emporio Armani, Kenzo, Burberry and Bottega Veneta took inspiration from gorgeous wild winter flowering fields. Black is the backdrop for many new season florals, yet the blooms themselves remain bold. McQ Alexander McQueen’s beautifully bright floral embellished dress with a black lace overlay is the epitome of the new season floral, proving florals look their best this season when teamed with black leather and lace - dark, edgy yet bloomin’ gorgeous.

McQ Alexander McQueen at.. Bloomingdales McQueen..

Don’t be afraid to go with a head-to-toe floral look either. A long sleeved, under-the-knee dress is the easiest way, and to add even more of an autumn edge, team with black tights, leather gloves and ankle grabbing boots or heels.

Lot 4 – The glitzy opulence When the Louis Vuitton models boarded the LV train in beautiful brocades, Frida Giannini’s Gucci girls dazzled in sumptuous velvets and Donatella Versace didn’t shy away from her usual high-octane designs; we knew it was going to be a season of glamour, but not any old glamour. This is a new opulent glamour, fuelled by luxe fabrics and intricate finishes fit for royalty. Embellishment is taken to the tenth degree and emblazoned on rich and luxurious fabrics for maximum wow factor. Shimmering sequins twinkle on delicate sheers, dazzling crystals boldly step out on sumptuous silks and lavishly embroidered leathers give a luxurious finish. Brocade is a great look for day or night and don’t be afraid to layer fabrics, as this style is about guilty pleasures. For a slightly subtler daytime take on this trend, simply add a bold statement accessory to your outfit, the bigger the better. A gem-encrusted bib necklace will give a decadent finish to a simple dress or top, an embroidered belt will add focus and finesse to your waist and a pair of bold embellished shoes, flats or heels will add the glitz factor.

Versace ..

Lot 5 – The dark romance After a summer of sweet pastels and exotic brights, this autumn is all about a frill-free hardened style, encompassing the new goth and some serious and strong chic. There is a new romance blossoming with a powerful and seductive inner femininity. Chloé, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino are all brands synonymous with femininity, and while their autumn collections retain this feminine air, they are by no means sickly sweet. Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicilian temptress is in head-to-toe black, and her curvaceous silhouette captivating. Chloé’s girl next door is delicate yet empowering and Valentino’s lady is the perfect example of the female silhouette. One of the biggest battles on fashion’s front line has always been leather vs. lace, but for autumn leather and lace combine for a seductive femininity. Nothing shouts undercover vixen like a delicate white or cream lace blouse teamed with a pair of skin-tight leather cropped pants or a leather pencil skirt and killer heels. Gucci proves that black lace and black leather ooze evening glamour, while a black lace shift dress with leather gloves is the perfect party style for autumn. And if you are feeling daring, a simple, no-frills red lace dress certainly wows. If something veering on the more classical side of romance is more you, then delicate floaty blouses, sheer tops, nipped in waists and blossoming florals are all taking centre stage, but remember not to go too sweet. Autumn calls for confident, not cute.

. sur la terre . trends confidential .

Gucci ..




Move over shades of grey. Another seductive pairing is making its return this autumn black and white.

COAT by John Rocha at Debenhams, DRESS by Karl at, SKIRT by Boy by Band of Outsiders at, DRESS Urban Outfitters, SHIRT Urban Outfitters, JACKET by Jasper Conran at Debenhams, DRESS by Saloni Ikat at, SCARF by Diane Von Furstenberg at, TOP, SHOES by Karl at, TOP Laura Ashley, SHOES by Lanvin at, BOOTS Office, BAG by Chloé at


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CATWALK MOMENT: Marni gave black and white a 60s feel, while Stella McCartney’s black and whites had a sporty edge.

Black and white needn’t be stark. Mix things up with stripes, spots, checks and houndstooth.



TALES OF THE COUNTRY Combine rustic tones, rich wool fabrics and traditional tailoring for a rural yet refined look.

Image courtesy of House of Fraser ..

SWEATER River Island, BLAZER, SHIRT by Marc by Marc Jacobs at, WAISTCOAT River Island, JACKET River Island, CORDUROYS by Gucci at, SCARF by Loro Piana at, TROUSERS by Lanvin at, SWEATER by Gucci at, COAT Canali at, BOOTS Office, SOCKS Next, FLAT CAP by Gucci at, SHOES

TOP TIP: To avoid the country bumpkin look,

stick to sharp tailoring and a slim fit finish.

. sur la terre . look book .


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the dandy lion:

A History of Paul Smith

SUR LA TERRE takes a special look back at perhaps its favourite designer and luxury fashion brand, the legendary paul smith.

. sur la terre . origins .


Be not afraid of greatness: Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”


hese lines, pulled from the classic Shakespearean comedy, Twelfth Night, may not have been rendered by The Bard with his future countryman - and fellow paragon of iconic “Englishness” - Paul Smith in mind, but that doesn’t make their ring in regard to the latter’s nature any less true. This, after all, is a man whose greatness within the world of style could have been shadowed by the commonness of his given name and the unexceptional quality of his future ambition, were it not for a simple twist of fate. Indeed, as is true with the play referenced above, his success came from a comedy of errors.

Then: Posing at his first store in Nottingham, circa 1972

All his life, Paul Smith only wanted to be one thing ... a racing cyclist. That’s right, the man who would one day revolutionise the way both the fashion industry and the general public would come to appreciate menswear, wanted to do professionally what most children learn to do at roughly the age of five. He wasn’t very good, though, and quite luckily for all our sakes, suffered a terrible accident. That may sound callous, but sometimes the “thrust” Shakespeare was talking about is necessarily jarring, and in this case, it jostled the young master Smith’s brain hard enough so as to make him reconsider his life plans. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Paul Smith took his terrific little spill when he was about 17 years of age. It was the most exciting thing that had happened to him in a few years (not counting his dropping out of school at 15), as a year prior, he was languishing in the angst, indecisiveness and selfimposed mundanity so common to youth. Without much motivation, he was first “thrust” towards greatness by his father, who forced his then good-fornothing son into a job at the clothing warehouse in his hometown of Nottinghamshire. You might think that it was here where he discovered a love for the art of clothing... but you would be wrong. In actual fact, his interest was born whilst licking his wounds in hospital after his serendipitous fall. While there, he befriended a few fellow invalids who would turn out to be his lifeline into a different lifestyle. These new friends were artists, and introduced Paul to a new world of creativity, filled with the music of The Rolling


..Now: Sir Paul Smith

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A young Paul Smith devoloped a passion .. for cycling that has never abated ..

Stones and Miles Davis, and lit up by the art of figures like Andy Warhol, and the later work of Piet Mondrian, whose neo-plasticism influence can still be felt within the now-classic bright, multi-coloured pinstripes so iconic to the Paul Smith brand. Put on film, this period for Smith would most likely have been represented by a montage of psychedelic images, with him in the centre, looking around doe-eyed at the sudden beauty of his surroundings, as these artists, musicians and performers decanted their madness into him, transforming him into his own vessel of creativity. All of this experience in the aesthetic ethereal inspired the young Smith, and galvanised his greatness, which began to ferment and distill in small, but measurable phases. His chosen medium of artistic expression was, of course - thanks possibly to his experience in the warehouse fashion. He returned to this job with a renewed sense of purpose after his tenure in hospital, and began to show his vision with store and window displays, before finally deciding to set out on his own. Two years after his accident, in 1970, the formerly career-lethargic Smith had set up his own humble boutique on 10 Byard Lane, Nottingham, which he called Paul Smith Vêtement Pour Homme, and was the only shop outside of London to carry the high styles of the day. Armed with 12 square feet of floor space, the support of his future wife, Pauline Denyer (then a fashion design student at the Royal College of Art), a bit of saved capital, some night classes in tailoring (always a plus) and a firm commitment to fashion, Paul Smith was off to a running start... which was good, considering his luck with cycling.

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Paul Smith is, and has long been, THE symbol of the modern dandy; the fashion world’s allegory to which the well-heeled should hold themselves accountable.


Thereafter, Smith’s subsequent rise to fashion stardom was, for lack of a better cliché, “meteoric.” Six years after opening his boutique in Nottingham, he released his first salvo of style upon the world, a menswear collection, which descended upon Paris like a quorum of ravens. Three years later, in 1979, he opened his second shop, this one in Covent Garden in London. In the following ten years, his renown as a pioneer within the international fashion community grew, and his presence throughout the world expanded, with three more shops in London and another across the Atlantic, in New York City. He was already an established institution in menswear by 1990, when he opened his children’s line, which, coupled with his later women’s collection in 1993, showed Smith’s desire and ability to capture a market irrespective of age or gender, a shift that speaks to the man and brand’s universal appeal. Since then, Paul Smith has been garlanded with a host of awards, accolades and achievements, including, in 2000, being named a knight of the realm for the stylish service of his beloved England. His name is now a ubiquitous one, and is spoken with the highest reverence and only alongside those given the greatest of honour. And he has done it all with distinction, simplicity and a bloody good sense of humour. In fact, amongst the oft-used expressions when describing Paul Smith, which include, but are not limited to, “classic with a twist” and “unmistakably English,” our favourite way to describe both the brand and the man is how he once described them, himself, which was “Saville Row meets Mr. Bean.” How true. Paul Smith is a serious brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the same time, demands serious respect. It’s a bit like Stephen Fry or Doctor Who - untouchable British institutions, the simplistic beauty of which is tempered in good, solid fun. The hallmark humour of Paul Smith still luxuriates with that explosion of artistic expression he experienced during his formative years, as the stiff upper lip of traditional English tailoring is at the same time tempered yet tenderised by the vertiginous whimsy of fiery colour and vibrant prints, and the tight structure of razor-sharp cuts. Sensibility


. sur la terre . origins .

A special Paul Smith-designed crown to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee...

...and a Paul Smith cake for the Royal Wedding

is a playground for Sir Paul, and he seems to take great delectation in pouncing on the preconceived, rapturously rending it limb from limb before setting it back together as a new life form; one that bares its phantasmagoric viscera as display, like a bifurcated horse in a Damien Hirst exhibition. Paul Smith is, and has long been, THE symbol of the modern dandy; the fashion world’s allegory to which the well-heeled should hold themselves accountable. And yet, his high concept is sown at street level, rooted firmly in the thick cement skin that stretches across London’s high society, but also its high street, and through nearly all points on the globe. Throughout his 12 collections, which include everything from formalwear to jeans to fragrances to pens to shoes to watches to furniture, there is an unmistakable identity, this piercing individuality that comes alive in everything Paul Smith. Even the stores revolt against a cookie-cutter standard, and exist as unique examples of themselves, so much so that we mean something more esoteric than geography when we say that each Paul Smith site, whether in Tokyo, Paris, Milan or Dubai, is a “world apart.” Perhaps that is why the brand, while being embraced by celebrity, also does not rely on it. True, Paul Smith is often associated with British pop culture heavyweights like David Bowie and Mic Jagger, and the brand is worn by many well-known stars, but its style is too individualised to be promoted in such a way. It transcends that James Bond-like brand association for something rather more important; an integrity lightly dusted in frivolity, at once appealing to everyone, but special enough to be reserved for that one-and-only. Located in 35 countries, the Paul Smith brand may now be a global phenomenon, but it is still led by its eponymous creator with all the affection and care of a doting father. Not for nothing, after all, has Paul Smith, for over 40 years, been so decorated and celebrated for his work, and his brand so highly associated with greatness. It may have been thrust upon him in an arguably accidental manner, but Sir Paul Smith has earned that greatness by building a brand which has become synonymous with a classic British style. Truly he is the king of the fashion jungle, roaring at the top as the one and only British dandy lion.

Smith’s iconic stripes have adorned everything from Minis to Evian

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“ I f I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns .� - G e o r g e El i o t


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Lahd Gallery: One Blink, Many Perspectives As well as being Saudi royalty, HH Princess Nouf Bint Bandar is a pioneer of the contemporary Middle Eastern art scene and founder of one of London’s leading galleries for contemporary Middle Eastern art - Lahd Gallery. SLT’s Sophie Jones-Cooper meets with the Princess to find out how she has been so pivotal in the success of the Middle East’s art boom and how she believes the future lies in nurturing and promoting the emerging talent of our region.

HH Princess Nouf bint Bandar, founder of the Lahd Gallery..


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he Middle East is going through a cultural revolution, at the centre of which is the region’s contemporary art scene. Last year, Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem’s Message/Messenger art installation sold at Christie’s in Dubai for $842,500, more than eight times its estimate. Back in 2010, Egyptian artist Mahmoud Said set a world record with his painting “The Whirling Dervishes,” which sold for $2.54 million – the highest price ever paid for a Middle Eastern painting. It is not just individuals who are gaining popularity on the worldwide art circuit, but curators and galleries, too. Qatar is now home to the Museum of Islamic Art, the Al-Riwaq contemporary gallery and in 2014, a National Gallery. Among the 300 galleries showcasing work at Art Basel this year were two galleries from the UAE. Art is big business in the Middle East and the success of the region’s burgeoning contemporary art scene is growing in popularity at an accelerated rate worldwide, particularly in London. One of the city’s leading galleries for Middle Eastern and North African contemporary art is Hampstead’s Lahd Gallery, set up by HH Princess Nouf Bint Bandar of Saudi Arabia. The gallery, which the Princess originally launched in Riyadh in 2005 as a platform for female artists in the Gulf, now represents emerging and established artists and brings together leading contemporary artworks from its base in London. Its first exhibition, An Eye on Riyadh brought together women from Riyadh and, subsequently, other regions in Saudi, while its next feature exhibition, Teif from Saudi Arabia, brought together female artists from other GCC countries. In 2007, the gallery’s artists travelled to North Africa, Seoul and Tehran with the exhibition Colours of the Gulf, and it didn’t take long before the gallery and its work were recognised on the international art scene. Having picked up many international clients, and as a result of its success in Riyadh and around the world, in 2010, Princess Nouf decided to bring her gallery to what she calls “one of the most important international art markets in the world” – London.

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A piece from Syrian artist, Khaled Akil’s, The Unmentioned..


“I think even through a tiny opening, like a blink, you can gain insight into something of infinite expanse. My idea of the blink is an opening into the art dimension.”

Now a leading London destination for contemporary Middle Eastern art, Lahd Gallery holds several exhibitions a year, both group and solo, placing a focus on current societal themes and with the aim of putting the artists on the world’s stage. Princess Nouf describes the London gallery’s opening exhibition The Gulf Re-Veiled as “a very important retrospective of the beginnings of Lahd Gallery” and “one of my biggest achievements.” An important aspect of Lahd Gallery’s work, both now and moving forward, is mentoring young Middle Eastern artists by offering them advice and placing them in the right exhibitions at the relevant stages of their careers. Hampstead’s Affordable Art Fair, which takes place between the 1st and 4th of November and showcases art ranging in value from $65 - $6,500, is a key platform for these up-and-coming artists, and Lahd is taking part this year, showcasing both its new and established talent to collectors from around the world. Ahead of this, Lahd is welcoming the start of the new season of art in October with an exhibition by Moroccan artist, Wadia Boutaba. Although Wadia spent her childhood in the UK and was brought up in a foreign land, through her art she seeks to portray her childhood in the context of her native Moroccan roots. “I love the colour and freedom of Wadia’s


strokes,” Princess Nouf tells us, “and the way she shows that one is not confined to the environment we are brought up in.” Sur la Terre caught up with the Princess ahead of the new season to find out more about the gallery and its role in promoting contemporary Middle Eastern art, the challenges she has faced as a Saudi woman pursuing her own career and how she has inspired women around the world to follow their passions. Art is now a huge part of your life. Have you always had a passion for art? Since I was a child, I have always been passionate about all forms of art. Through my travels, the colours of the geographical landscape have always fascinated me, and I have always painted as a hobby. When did art go from being a hobby to your business? Before I set up Lahd Gallery, I was completing a BSc in nutrition at King’s College London, as well as working at King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh as a medical researcher. A lot of women I met while working at the hospital, as well as the women artists I met outside, had nowhere to exhibit their art at that time. The idea of building a gallery was to give a sort of comfort and assurance to these women, that being a woman and artist can still be possible.

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What was your greatest achievement with the gallery while in Riyadh? I was able to bring women artists to a more level playing ground. They found that they had a common ideal – the freedom to express themselves. When they got together, this commonality shone right through them. Word soon spread to the other countries in the Middle East. We also enabled emerging artists to gain recognition and respect throughout the Middle East. Why do you think the art scene is such a growing industry in the Middle East? The Middle East as a region is flourishing like never before. The economic strength of the Middle East has made it much more international now and art collecting has just become one of the region’s favourite pastimes. You moved Lahd Gallery to London in 2010. What do you think it offers the British art scene? Lahd Gallery aims to bring young and emerging contemporary Middle Eastern and North African artists to the British art scene, as it is still quite novel. We hope to do this by showing a diverse range of styles and reflecting different attitudes to culture and society. Do you think this is why Lahd Gallery has been such a success? Yes, but also, we flourished at a time and place where people did not know anything about art from the Gulf. This has really opened doors and now everyone knows about this genre of art. We have also catered to the tastes of the art world, which are complex and ever-changing. And we take pride in the artists that we promote and take an interest in their ongoing development.

A piece from Syrian artist, Khaled Akil’s, The Unmentioned..

So empowering women was the inspiration to set up the gallery? I wanted first and foremost to provide a focal point for women artists in the Gulf countries, as they were under-represented at that time. I wanted to give them a stronger voice in society. What else did you hope to achieve with the gallery? I wanted to show contemporary Middle Eastern art to the wider world and break down stereotypes and pre-conceived notions of art relating to the Middle East. Now, I aim to promote young artists from the MENA region. “Lahd” is Arabic for “blink of the eye.” What is the importance of this name? I think even through a tiny opening, like a blink, you can gain insight into something of infinite expanse. My idea of the blink is an opening into the art dimension. Contemporary Middle Eastern art was not known at all in 2005, and by providing a tiny glimpse, just look at how this type of art has transformed and grown into what it is today. Was it hard setting up a gallery as a woman in Saudi and what challenges did you face along the way? I would say that as a woman in Saudi, doing what I did involved a lot of courage and determination. Critics were always quick to put me down, but I think if you have a purpose, you can overcome any obstacles that come your way, especially coming from a social environment like mine. I am grateful for my parents’ support and encouragement, which has made all the difference. My parents, especially my mother, inspire me - she gives me the constant moral support and encouragement to follow my dreams. What advice do you have for other women in the ME who want to set up their own business? I would advise them to be true to themselves and have a very clear idea of what they want to achieve and set out a plan to do it. Do not worry about what anyone else has to say, because your critics will soon be silenced by your success.

Why is it so important for you to promote MENA art in the West? Because many pre-conceived ideas still exist, despite the Middle East opening up to the West. It is the same with art. People still have their own fixed ideas about what Middle Eastern art is, so by promoting MENA art in the West, we hope that people will approach this genre with an open mind. Where do you think this misconception about the ME comes from? The misconception mainly comes from the media and what people hear in the news and the constant state of conflict that the Middle East is in. The Middle East was and is still a reserved and mysterious place. People don’t really know what goes on over there unless you live there. Do you think more emphasis needs to put on educating a new generation of artists in the Middle East to sustain the industry’s growth? Art education in the Middle East is still understated and families are not encouraging enough. I think if the state would also encourage the young generation by providing the right institutions and curriculum in schools, these artists would flourish. Who is your all-time favourite artist? I don’t have a favourite, it really depends on the individual artwork that captivates me more than anything else. What was the last piece of art you bought? A work by Khaled Akil, who happens to be one of our artists. I was particularly moved by the way he relates to his native Syria through his works, which tells you there is a lot more going on in the society beyond the art. What is next on the agenda for you personally and for Lahd Gallery? I am continuing to study for my PhD in London and I hope to expand Lahd overseas, possibly into Asia, which is also fast becoming an arts melting pot. To find out more about Lahd Gallery and their exhibitions, go to

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The All new 2013


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A Fine BAlAnce A touch of fur, a glint of metal or a sparkling jewel, this season marks the return of soft textures and elegant silhouettes balanced with inspired details. photogRAphEd By MARc NiNghEtto stylEd By MélANiE hEARNdEN hAiR & MAkE-Up By fRANcis A ssEs ModEls : A NNE sophiE & chRisthophER fRoM chARlottE fischER ModEls zURich Iro top from Bon Génie and earrings by Cartier.

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Black silk dress by Hugo Boss, Paris-Bombay head jewel by Chanel, citrine palmera earrings by Bogh-Art and leather cuff by Hermès.

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He wears: Cashmere turtleneck sweater from Bon Génie, tweed coat with fur collar by Gant, gabardine trousers by Boggi, Polo Ralph Lauren hat from Bon Génie and watch by Cartier. She wears: Paris-Bombay dress and leggings by Chanel, shoes by Fendi, rose gold and jade “Bridge” cuff by Vhernier, citrine palmera ring by Bogh-Art.


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Missoni turtleneck sweater from Bon Génie, skirt by Burberry Prorsum, leather boots by Hermès, champagne diamond necklace by Bogh-Art and “Pirouette” ring by Vhernier.


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He wears: “Artigiano shirt” from Bon Génie with “Verso” cuff links by Vhernier, grey and black jacket by Fendi, grey trousers by Boggi, checkered shoes by Fendi. She wears: Grey flannel dress and shoes by Fendi, leather gloves by Hermès and diamond earrings by Bogh-Art.

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She wears: Grey flannel dress and shoes by Fendi, leather gloves by Hermès and diamond earrings by Bogh-Art. He wears: «Artigiano shirt» from Bon Génie with «Verso» cuff links by Vhernier, grey and black jacket by Fendi, grey trousers by Boggi, checkered shoes by Fendi.

Jumpsuit with fur collar by Fendi, diamond ring by Bogh-Art and rose gold cuff with diamonds by Cartier.


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i n M Oti O n


Finest Hour? Ferrari’s naturally-aspirated V12 masterpiece, the F12 Berlinetta, leaves Kevin Hackett breathless...


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efore we go on, perhaps it’s an opportune moment for me to list all the things I really don’t like about the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta:

...right, now that’s off my chest, allow me to tell you what I really do like about it: absolutely every single thing. Could this be the best supercar in the world right now? Possibly. It’s just that I find it difficult to pigeonhole the F12. It offers the performance of a supercar yet the refinement of a GT. So what is it? It’s Ferrari’s current flagship and that, ladies and gentlemen, is all you really need to know. How could it fail to be totally epic in its brilliance? Ferrari’s current range of cars, it has to be said, easily forms its best ever line-up. The 458 is as perfect as sports cars get, the California is an astonishingly capable cruiser that flatters and thrills in equal measure, the FF is a continent-crushing technical masterpiece and now the F12 puts a stunning lid on proceedings by being so damn good that I find myself wondering aloud how they’ll ever top this; and yet I know that they will. There’s no hypercar in the range, but that shortfall will be addressed very soon when Ferrari gives us the production version of the car I saw earlier on in the day, driving around the hillside roads surrounding the company’s home town in Maranello, Italy. Clad in ugly, disfiguring black camouflage, that beast nevertheless gave me palpitations. Undoubtedly what I saw was the next Enzo, a car that will take Ferrari into uncharted waters with F1-inspired KERS technology to boost power and cut emissions by 40 percent. It will be the fastest road-going Ferrari of all time and, quite possibly, the greenest. Any idea what model currently lays claim to being the fastest roadgoing Ferrari? This one. The F12 joins the pantheon of all time greats – the Testarossa, the F40, F50, 599 GTO and the Enzo. It’s faster than of all of them and, truth be told, I’m feeling a little apprehensive about driving it. Pushing 730bhp through four wheels is frankly ridiculous, never mind through just the rears. Surely this is a recipe for a disaster of monumental proportions? The F12 replaces the 599 GTB, a car that only expert wheelsmiths could truly master. A few met untimely ends at the hands of Premiership footballers, which is no way for a prancing horse to die, but there’s no doubt that car was a real handful. The new one, though, is even more powerful, so is this Ferrari’s way of ridding the world of overpaid ponces? Apparently not. What Ferrari wanted the F12 to offer, apart from colossal power and speed, was usability. We’ve already seen the way those boffins can harness stupid amounts of firepower in the FF, but that’s a different animal altogether. The F12 is no all-weather family runaround, it’s a twoseat thrill machine and 730 horses need expert taming if this car is going to avoid coming into constant contact with the world’s Armco barriers. But, would you believe, those genius designers and engineers have done it. Driving the F12 through town centre traffic is as easy as piloting a Honda Jazz. In road conditions where a Lamborghini Aventador would constantly frustrate, always feeling like it’s straining at an invisible leash, the Ferrari just takes it all in its considerable stride with an air of nonchalance and a relaxed demeanour that means nobody is in any immediate danger. Throttle response is less digital than that of the 458 Italia, which is basically either on or off, with the F12 feeling cool, calm and collected. It’s a huge relief.

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The key to this civility is computing power. Dinosaurs like me might lament the passing of the “true” drivers’ car in favour of electronic assist systems but, be honest, would you be able to control this much pent up power all on your own? Turning off the traction control is not an option if you want to keep your limbs in place and your F12 in one piece but, should you be feeling very, very brave, you can indeed disarm the system so it is just you, your right foot and both hands, trying to guide 730 wild horses through those fat rear tyres. Good luck with that. Before I really try this thing out, though, let’s take a look at it. The 599 never really floated my boat when it came to the visuals. Come to think of it, neither did the 550 or 575 Maranello that preceded it. This thing, though, is an absolute triumph – an almost perfect marriage of aerodynamic superiority and emotional design. The shape is a complex amalgam of curves, swoops, slashes and vents, designed by both Ferrari’s in-house stylists and the legendary studios of Pininfarina. It shouldn’t work but it does. The lower nose section is more aggressive than the smiley FF, giving it a distinctive face that, to these eyes, is the most resolved of all current Ferraris. The bloodline of this car can be traced back as far as the 1960s, when the 275 GTB and the 365 GTB/4 (otherwise known as the Daytona) tore onto the scene. Skip over the Boxer and the Testarossa because those two were mid-engined, and the lineage is clear. This GT is the best looking V12 the company has put out in almost half a century and it does its ancestors proud. Ferrari insists that all the major styling elements are formed largely by function. There are “air bridges” in the front wings, which allow air to be funnelled by channels in the bonnet directly down the car’s flanks, and if you look at the car from above you can see exactly where all that air goes – it’s extremely clever stuff. There are flaps in the


front bumper than open when needed to force cooling air into the brakes and - a brilliant touch this - a rear central LED fog light, just like that found on Ferrari’s F1 racing car. Open the door and, while the drama and excitement of the exterior is somehow absent, the cabin is still a lovely environment in which to find oneself. There’s leather absolutely everywhere - that goes without saying - and the dashboard comprises a large, central rev counter flanked by two screens that show all necessary trip, navigation and entertainment information. Up front is the by-now-familiar steering wheel, styled after the one found in the F1 car and adorned by a myriad of buttons. Lights, indicators and windscreen washers are all controlled from the wheel. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve got it, you’ll wonder why other cars aren’t similarly equipped. I’m at the Fiorano test track, where Ferrari hones and perfects all its cars, whether destined for F1 or the world’s showrooms. It’s an incredible facility and I drove it for the first time last year, in a California with the roof down. Car and track got on okay but a 458 would have embarrassed us. The F12, I’ve been promised, will give mid-engined thrills on a circuit,

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so it’s time to gulp, get in and try out the theories. A turn of the key primes the engine, and a press of the red button on the steering wheel starts it up with a snarl, before settling into a surprisingly quiet and ordinary idle. Ferrari wants people to use this car every day, so shouty exhausts are conspicuous by their absence – at least when the revs are low. Twisting the wheel-mounted manettino (amazing how the Italians can even make the word for “switch” sound sexy) to “Race” puts the throttle and gearbox settings to their sharpest. And then it’s on to the track, where countless world champions have laid down rubber before me. I’m still wary of the F12’s immense power, so I take it easy for the first few corners. But then we’ve only been granted three laps, so I build up speed corner by corner, pushing to heat up the tyres and find the limits of grip. The steering is light, but the front end is beautifully nimble – it really does feel like the engine’s weight is centred behind me. At the tight right-hander going into the bridge I push the nose in hard, and it just grips and goes. Surprisingly, by the end of the first lap, I’m already feeling comfortable with the car, so I hammer it out of the final hairpin and onto the straight.

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The gathering of pace is shocking – not that far removed from a Veyron and easily as rapid as an Aventador. The delivery of power is both seamless and massively strong, with the gearbox changing ratios faster than the blink of an eye. The car also feels immensely planted and stable – obviously those fancy aerodynamic details work. Ferrari says that at 200kph, there’s 123kg of downforce keeping the F12 from getting airborne. And then there’s the noise. Acoustic engineers have worked their aural magic on both the exhaust and the intake sounds, the latter of which is channelled into the cabin from the engine. From the outside, the sound of the F12 accelerating starts with a deep, hard-edged tenor, rising in pitch and volume. At mid-range, a soprano takes over, adding a piercing shriek over the top that’s interrupted only by the chattering wastegate during braking. It’s loud, unmistakably Ferrari and glorious. Inside, the intake noise is different, more complex, textured and layered. Engineers might have written the score but this car is the orchestra. Three laps? Is that it? Appears so, meaning that it’s time to explore the F12’s character on the excellent roads around Maranello. I was hugely impressed by how manageable the car is at the limit on track, but still concerned that all that power will be virtually unusable on the road. Surely 730 horses is too much? Emerging from Fiorano, the traffic is slow moving and there are no opportunities to overtake. But, just as it was before we reached the track, this commuter crawl is fine for this Ferrari. The numerous bumps and potholes are beautifully soaked away through the


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new suspension set up and, at low revs, it’s quiet enough to have a virtually whispered conversation with your passenger. Eventually the traffic thins and, on a long straight, I can finally get past the diminishing train of trucks and the local elderly. Three tugs of the left hand paddle and away we go. The 12-cylinder symphony erupts and I’m off, leaving small towns in my wake and heading for the incredible hill roads that snake across a countryside that’s so beautiful it’s difficult to believe is real. Is it as good on the road as it is on the track? It’s better. What’s so impressive is that it’s enjoyable in just about all circumstances. The throttle is beautifully weighted so that it’s instantly responsive without being jerky or tricky to judge. Cruising along sweepers at a medium pace? You’ll be entertained without feeling frustrated at not being able to use the full power spectrum. Attacking tight hairpins? You’ll be astounded by the grip and braking ability, and at the traction when rocketing out of the corners. My fears of intimidation are completely dismissed. For the rest of the afternoon I soak up so many sensory pleasures that, when it comes to an end, I’m on a total high. And then reality sinks in. I have to hand back this car that has grabbed my attention, reached into my chest and taken possession of my thumping heart. I love it, adore it, want to cherish it and never let it go. And I know that, when I see one on the roads of the Middle East, I’ll be overcome by an envy so intense that I might not recover. All I need to do is find a way of breaking the “house sold, car bought” news to my better half – I’m sure she won’t mind.

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this car has grabbed my attention, reached into my chest and taken possession of my thumping heart. I love it, adore it, want to cherish it and never let it go.



“ S ing a song of seasons ! S omething bright in all , Flowers in the summer Fires in the fall ! � - R o b e r t L o u i s S t e v e n s o n , A u t u m n Fi r e s


Runaway Palette Photographed by

Clockwise from bottom left: Skin Caviar Concealer & Foundation SPF15, La Prairie, Le Teint Touche Éclat, Y ves Saint Laurent, Cellular Treatment Bronzing Powder, La Prairie, Pure Colour Nail Polishes, Estée Lauder, Rouge d’Armani lasting Satin Lip Colour, Giorgio Armani, Maestro Fusion Make Up, Giorgio Armani, Les 4 Ombres Variation, Chanel.


. sur la terre . beauty .

Embrace Autumn with a colour palette that is on trend this season. Rich reds, sophisticated purples and earthy khakis are the order of the day, coupled with a touch of metallic glamour.

Clockwise from bottom left : Instant Definition Mascara and Blush Prodige, Clarins, Sublime Waterproof Mascara , Chanel, Hypnôse Star Mascara , Lancôme, Le Vernis in Frenzy and Vertigo, Chanel, Phyto Lip Gloss in rouge & nude, Sisley, Palette Couture, Y ves Saint Laurent, L’Absolu Nu lipstick in Prune Mantille and L’A bsolu Rouge lipstick in Rouge Hypnôse, Lancôme, Cyber Metallic EyeShadows, Estée Lauder.

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. sur la terre . beauty .

out of the box

The delicious



ood has two purposes, to nourish the body and delight the soul. For anyone with a sweet tooth, a trip to Parisian patisserie house Dalloyau is on par with a trip to paradise. Specialising in chocolate, pastries and confectionary, this is a place that takes the art of eating very seriously. For over 300 years, the Dalloyau family has captivated France with its culinary innovations, first in the court of the Sun King, where Charles Dalloyau became Louis XIV’s “Officier de bouche,” his master cook. It started, very inconspicuously, with some bread. In one of the Prince of Condé’s infamous receptions, as soon as Louis XIV placed a morsel of soft, delicious bread into his royal mouth, he knew that the baker must be some kind of culinary genius. He immediately snatched up the young Dalloyau and installed him in the kitchens of Versailles, where for the next 100 years, four generations of the Dalloyau family presided over the hedonistic glory that was both outrageous and wonderful. The Dalloyaus were ennobled for their dedication to cuisine and therefore allowed to wear a sword, like a gentleman, before the king. Such was the esteem that the king held them in, that they were invited to official ceremonies in between whipping up delicious treats and luscious banquets for the ladies and gentlemen of the court. When the revolution hit, they high-tailed it to the Champs-Élysées in Paris, where Jean-Baptiste Dalloyau started the first “Maison de Gastronomie” in 1802, which is now the flagship store. Hundreds of Parisians and tourists flock every day to the shop on the Champs-Élysées, to nibble at the macaroons and pastries. Jean-Baptiste is the man responsible for creating the ready-to-go concept, so when you are in a Dalloyau patisserie, gazing through the glass at a vast selection of mouthwatering cakes and pastries to take away and guzzle up, remember to thank him. Dalloyau has since gone from strength to strength; this is not a family that rests on its laurels, after all, with 500 new recipes created a year. Of course, they still


. sur la terre . out of the box .

honour the traditional way of making haute pâtisserie, haute cuisine and chocolate; but at the same time, they are constantly innovating. Dalloyau was awarded the “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” by the French State, the most prestigious prize a company can receive and a rare distinction. Ever since the sumptuous celebrations and lavish banquets for the Versailles court, macaroons have been a firm favourite, as well as an emblem of the Dalloyau name. Made by the pastry chefs in the workshop, macaroons are quintessentially French, sweet and light, they are colourful jewels that melt in your mouth. They are also well known for their hand-made chocolates, which come in contemporary boxes, and are the perfect gift (for yourself!) In 1955, Dalloyau reinvented cake when he launched the legendary Opéra cake. Named after the Grand Opera in Paris, the ultra-flat cake has as many intricate layers as the opera does acts. It has spawned a hundred copycats, but it is universally acknowledged that the most delicious Opéra cake is made by Dalloyau. Thin layers of joconde biscuit (almond sponge) are soaked in coffee, sandwiched by ganache and coffee cream. It is topped with a chocolate glaze and decorated with shimmering gold leaf, making it difficult to resist, but why would you? These French artisans have never ceased the quest to perfect the art of the gâteau and true to form, this year sees the invention of the “Opéra Rock!” a modern twist on the classic Opéra cake. Using raspberry joconde biscuit, this pink confection is made with caramel cream and chocolate ganache, a fruity and pink alternative to the legendary classic. Undeniably girly, “Opéra Rock!” is exclusive to Qatar. A landmark in Paris, Dalloyau is synonymous with delicious pastries, and as a country known for its love of sugar, it’s about time Dalloyau made its way to Qatar.

. sur la terre . out of the box .




to the SLT Market place.

a go-to guide

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Longines Telemeter Chronograph available region-wide at Rivoli Group boutiques.

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L’Occitane Eau Ravissante Cologne, available locally at Faces boutiques.

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. sur la terre . marketplace .

ho r izo n s

The Full Monte(negro) 122

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Senior Editor Steven Paugh gets trapped in a time warp and transported to... Montenegro... the land that time almost forgot, and discovers that it might have been best to have forgotten it altogether.



n the business of producing luxury travel editorial, as a writer, you often find yourself establishing a certain repetitive tone; that is to say, you tend to celebrate things quite often ... and with great verbosity. It is, after all, pretty easy to get inspired in this job, when you’re jetsetting all over creation, going to the coolest parties, staying in the nicest hotels in the world and dining at its finest restaurants. Naturally, that tends to come through in our writing a bit, and we have the tendency to come across in print as a little TOO over-titillated, perhaps even a bit disingenuous. Some readers may think that’s just our way of squeaking within the great and evil PR machine, but in reality, we just get excited about this stuff, like tweenage schoolgirls at a Twilight premiere. It’s an occupational hazard more than anything. With that in mind, there is one thing you should know before you begin reading this article about my experience in Montenegro. It’s not your typical Sur la Terre fare. It is not a lovingly articulated country portrait. It is not an artistic treatise on the virtues of Montenegrin history or culture. It is not a celebration, and it won’t be pretty. You have to understand, I went to Montenegro with a certain image in mind. Having just recently fallen married, my better half and I were mildly obsessed with finding a place to recuperate after our blissful, yet rather frenetic nuptials. Eschewing places like France, Spain and even Croatia because my British wife wanted to “avoid British tourists,” we decided to visit the less-regarded step-cousin of Croatia: Montenegro. Online, my wife and I found a wealth of pictures, travel details and general information that made Montenegro sound as enticing as a cherry pie at fat camp. Ironically, perhaps, we would soon realise that we had

fallen victim to the same PR hype machine that we here at Sur la Terre are so often accused of fueling. Our principal research came from a company called “Explore Montenegro” (, and given its heady collection of apparently great accommodation, with access to a country/ sea-side that is allegedly teeming with natural beauty and timeless culture, and has played host to royalty and celebrity for centuries, we were sold! Unfortunately, when we arrived in Montenegro after crossing the border from Dubrovnik, it was not, as we had hoped, to spasmodic waves of “awe” ... but instead, to dull aches of “meh.” You would think that a country, which boasts an enviable stretch of real estate along the much-lauded Dalmatian Coast on the Adriatic Sea, would not fail to inspire, but “fail” is exactly what Montenegro does. A lot. But hey, maybe it’s my fault! Maybe I expected too much because of the over-hyped results of our research, or because I heard that Montenegro was where they set and shot the amazing 2006 James Bond reboot, Casino Royale! On the other hand, maybe writing for Sur la Terre has simply raised the travel bar too high. Maybe I’m jaded. Either way, I firmly maintain that I went there with the best of intentions and with the most open of minds. Unfortunately, what I found there was, in a word ... underwhelming. Oh, and by the way, I also discovered that Casino Royale was set in Montenegro, but none of it was actually shot there, with the crew deciding to use the nearby, and evidently more aesthetically pleasing, Czech Republic for the shots. It turns out that the Montenegro I was presented with is just like James Bond himself, very cool sounding... but in the end, entirely fictional.

Old town Kotor and Boka-Kotorska bay..

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Lake Skadar..

Monteneg(road) Rage Near the crossing from Croatia, you begin to get a feel for the countryside, and ethos, of Montenegro. Lacklustre, granite-coloured hills, flecked with equally dull green shocks of shrubbery, topple over each other in a frozen, lackadaisical escape from some forgotten B-grade spaghetti western soundstage, while the Adriatic Sea laps listlessly in a hazy, lazy and boring horizonless stretch of overcast nothingness. This was “Europe’s hidden gem” that I’d read so much about? This muted slab of grey was one of the most alluring tourist destinations in the world? I mean, just look at the photos accompanying this review! That’s what I expected! Well, dear reader, I show these images with this disclaimer: they are deceptive. Being there, seeing the countryside is different, even when viewed close-up and from one of Montenegro’s best, yet simultaneously most frustrating features: its roads. Strangely, since they are so poorly maintained in nearby Croatia, the roads in Montenegro are extraordinary. In fact, they could arguably equal any of the world’s most beloved driving thoroughfares. Well-looked after and clean, they undulate and swirl through mountain passes and along the coastal road like artisanal honey drizzled on (slightly curdled) cream. To drive along them at speed in, say, a Lamborghini Aventador or an Aston Martin Vanquish would impress even the most seasoned stunt driver. Unfortunately, however, this is Montenegro, and it seems that even the roads, like the landscape, reserve the right to be ... reserved. Speed limitation throughout the country is set to claustrophobic lows and are strictly enforced, especially for tourists. This would give you ample time to enjoy your surroundings... if there was anything to look at other than the desperate, concrete-coloured lull galumphing outside your window. You want to take these roads FAST, but the quickest I was ever able to press my very sexy VW up! to was a meager 100 km/h, and that was on the Montenegrin version of a highway. The rest of the speed limits varied from about 30 to 60 km/h and would shift between these two extremes with great regularity - seemingly every 50 metres - making what could be an incredibly fun bit of navigation a laborious process of constant restraint and retreat.

Montene(growing) Pains Montenegro has a history much like the flag of its neighbour, Croatia - it’s a bit checkered. It may be the newest member on the European stage, having only just established its independence and membership into the UN as late as 2006, but its history is an expansive one, and has basically seen it act as a revolving door to globe-spanning dynasties and would-be world conquerers. The country’s original inhabitants, the more-mysterious-sounding-than-they-probablywere “Illyrians,” were soon conquered, like so many others, by the Romans. Thereafter came a parade of overpowering foreign parties. Fighting for freedom for, independence of and control over Montenegro, respectively, were the likes of the Goths in the 5th century, the Slavs in the 6th, the Venetians, Ottomans and/or Turks in the 15th, and the Austrians, Russians and French from about the 1600s onward. Regardless of which countries were invading, ruling or being expelled from its borders, Montenegro has had no shortage of saucy, yet subjugating suitors. This continued more regionally in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when the country started changing its name more times than Prince. It went from the Kingdom of Montenegro to the Kingdom of Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia (after WWI) to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (after WWII), until it finally became the independent Republic of Montenegro once again in 2006. Like many other places in eastern Europe, Montenegro has travelled an unenviably tumultuous path, but it doesn’t seem to have benefitted from the journey. Its people seem guarded, while its atmosphere, entertainments and lifestyle appear dated and plastic. Maybe that’s because of its having to be so defensive throughout the centuries, or thanks to a slow recovery from the significant sanctions levied on it by the United Nations in the early 1990s, as punishment for its involvement in the Bosnian and Croatian wars. I don’t know.

That’s an indicative explanation of the country as a whole, and sums up the general problem I have with Montenegro: the people, the environment, life in general, it all feels like it’s holding back, like there is a conscious reining in and away from itself. Thinking this could be a historically-derived illness, I decided to delve into the past of Montenegro.

Either way, it seems to have suffered from its battles with identity, like it can’t decide whether it wants to hide behind a cold, almost Soviet veneer, or embrace its aesthetic and transform itself into the cheaper, more capitalist-driven Mediterranean Lite it so desperately wishes to be. It’s this severity, though - this harshness and confusion - that makes Montenegro so difficult to approach as a destination, let alone a country with which you could fall in love as a tourist.


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Old town kotor..


Montene(gross) Examination Tourism in Montenegro is not unlike a Dodo bird; it’s a strange animal, and one that is ... how shall I put this ... “chronologically challenged.” The atmosphere in general harkens back to a different time, but it’s hard to determine when that time is, exactly; whether it’s the 1980s, or one of the other Dark Ages. Take the beaches for example. Whether it’s in the “bustling seaside metropolis” of Budva (which in actuality constitutes a hub of kitschy souvenir shops, cheap pizza shacks and run-down tequila stands), or just at a random stop along the country’s meandering coastal road, each beach is a garish kaleidoscope of abandonment, and an archaic idea of what “fun in the sun” used to be. Sun loungers and gaudy beach umbrellas huddle tightly together on overcrowded beaches like an outbreak, with colonies spreading in rashes along the length of the underwhelming coastline, while musical “greats” such as Cyndi Lauper, Paula Abdul and Jason Donovan are piped in over crackly loudspeakers in order to “entertain” the masses. Then, of course, there are the tourists. Oh, the tourists. As I mentioned earlier, we decided on Montenegro over other choices because we thought that not only would it be less touristy in general, but that we could avoid the throng of typical British tourists looking for a big, boozy, post-Ibiza holiday destination. On that score, we succeeded! Unfortunately, while dodging one set, we overlooked tourists of a different breed: those that emanate, like a smell, from places elsewhere. I’m not entirely sure what makes the combination of excessive body hair and tiny, tiny speedos (aka “grape-smugglers”) so appealing in these places, but I don’t care where you call home, that is NOT a winning combo. As a tourist, I would suggest giving Montenegro a skip. Unless you’ve seen everything else there is to see in the world and have otherwise run out of places to go, which is the feeling you get from the other tourists there, Montenegro is a pretty big waste of time. We went there with promises of beaches blushing with deep red sand and crystal clear water, with dreams of a Mediterranean joie de vivre tempered with eastern European quaintness and well-honed comfort. Unfortunately, what we were met with was a pale, subdued environment; one muted by over-hype and failed expectations. All we left with, in the end, was a faint tan, a bitter taste and a promise that we would never return. *** Still interested in going to Montenegro? Really? Okay, well the best way to get there from Doha is to take a Qatar Airways flight to Dubrovnik in Croatia, rent a car and drive down. But hey, don’t say we didn’t warn you! ***

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Things to See Old Town Kotor:


This is by far the most interesting place in Montenegro. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kotor’s Old Town is one of the oldest in-tact examples of middle age fortification. Its history has seen it besieged by foreign powers, plagues, natural disasters and now tourists. Its old, narrow streets are still quaint feeling, and relatively untouched by commercialism, in comparison to the other towns along the coast.

This coastal town used to be the centre of tourism in Montenegro, before it experienced its share of World and regional wars. Humble and cute, Petrovac is FAR from mind-blowing, even if it is where Casino Royale was meant to be set, but its quaint, small-town feel and lively boardwalk area with chilled-out cafes and decent restaurants is worth a look.

Things to Skip Holiday representatives will try to talk you into seeing the following things while you’re in Montenegro. We fell for it, so you don’t have to...

Lake Skadar: They will tell you that this lake, which sits on the border of Montenegro and Albania, is infinitely interesting because of its biodiversity, large bird reserve and its standing as the largest lake in the Balkan Penninsula. However, it’s also acutely boring, takes a while to drive to and is generally just not worth the trip. There is no proper beach, only one restaurant and is quite frankly, mindnumbingly bland.

The Budva Strip: Like most beachfront strips in Montenegro, Budva is often touted as having “spectacular views” and as being a hub of activity. In

actuality, however, it seems more like an old, run-down amusement park, where people should really be wearing more clothes. Budva as a town is useful at best, but it’s not a patch on nearby Petrovac.

Sveti Stefan: Known in English as “Saint Steven,” this island, which was acquired and converted into luxury accommodation back in the 1960s by the Yugoslavian government of the day, has long been (and still is) a playground for both celebrity and royalty. It’s also pretty stuck-up. Now under the auspices of the Aman Resort, the island does not allow casual visitors, and you must either be staying there or obtain permission to visit by making a reservation at one of its restaurants. The hotel is very nice, of course, but really nothing worth writing about, other than to say “skip it.” We’ve seen, and stayed in, far better.

Things to Eat Montenegrin food is a celebration in salt, so if you’re a “NaCl-yte,” you’ll love it. However, for those with perhaps more refined tastes, get ready to hydrate and palate cleanse accordingly. Saying that, the food we experienced at our rather secluded accommodation, a place called Rezevici on the Budva Riviera, was pretty spectacular.

based sorcery, and unlike its standing as an epicentre for unspoiled beaches, it deserves its accolades in this regard. The cheese, meat or spinach filled burek and the doughy, toothsome and infinitely moreish malisorske priganice are credits to bakery as a whole, let alone to the cuisine of Montenegro specifically.

The tiny resort, named Villa Vita, has its fair share of problems, including, most annoyingly, poor management from its relatively useless PR organisers/travel agency (the aforementioned Explore Montenegro); however, its adjacent organic farm produced the best, most natural food we had throughout the trip, including plump, beautifully spit-roasted chicken and some of the best, fullest breakfasts I’ve had in recent memory.

Sir iz ulja (wind-dried cheese in olive oil):

Here are some of the better things you are likely to try if you should ever find yourself in Montenegro.

Burek (filled pastry rolls) and Malisorske Priganice (traditional doughnuts): Montenegro, like its surrounding neighbours, is known for its pastry-


This dry cheese takes a day or so to get used to, as its strength can be, at first, a bit off-putting. However, when coupled or cut with local jams, quince jellies or honey, it becomes very, very addictive, and can be enjoyed thoroughly as a breakfast compendium piece.

Krstač (local wine):

The Krstač is a type of grape indigenous to Montenegro, and it makes a deliciously rich, fragrant and dry white wine. The country also excels at deep and flavourful reds, giving more established countries, such as France, a very true run for their money in terms of quality. The wine was perhaps the best culinary surprise while consuming our way through Montenegro, and its inexpensive price tag (most bottles range anywhere between three to ten euro) made it that much more quaffable.

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