elcome to Compendium. As purveyors of sumptuous prose on the matter of all things luxury, we immerse ourselves in the fineries of life every single day as we strive to bring to your attention the most unique, exclusive and compelling products, services and experiences that remain the preserve of the pecuniary elite. With the sophisticated and iconoclastic pursuits of our readership at the forefront of our minds, we had a look back over the last 10 issues and decided to put together a compilation, a “Greatest Hits” if you will, of the best of everything from the last 18 months. The selection is purely subjective and divided across seven categories; Wish List, Gems, Rides, Couture, Travel, Accommodation and Tactile. It wasn’t easy, and there were some ugly scenes in the editorial meetings; battle lines were drawn over some choices and at least one SLT scribe still refuses to leave the stationery cupboard. Wish List was easy, we simply selected on price and exclusivity. For Gems, tough decisions were made. In the end we opted for two remarkable people directly influencing their respective ends of the jewellery spectrum. Rides was one of the most contentious areas. Eventually, we distilled the pages down to a tête-à-tête between two Italian V12s. Laura took control when Couture came up for discussion, and she dipped into the deep pool of local talent, having spent a lot of quality time in 2013 with the likes of Razan
Alazzouni, Wadha and the artisans at fledgling Qatari brand, QELA. She is fierce, so there were few disagreements with her selection. Again, the number of air miles we racked up meant we were spoilt for choice with Travel, so we opted for a contributor piece before the fighting started again. Jetsetters and globetrotters will enjoy revisiting our epicurean odyssey through Cape Town, as well as, we hope, our trio of fine hotels, in Accommodation, which, surprisingly, we all seemed to agree upon. It was the same for our Tactile denouement, where the selection of luxury leather goods providers Poltrona Frau and Pavoni met with little resistance. Despite the difficulty of choosing the editorial team’s choicest cuts of the last 10 issues, Compendium will be the first of many new special editions, supplements and publications to march forth under the SLT masthead over the coming year and beyond. Watch this space as we continue to proliferate into - and pontificate on - the many facets of the region’s luxury market. But for now, however, please enjoy reliving our “Year In Luxury,” while we, your faithful servants of the sybaritic, put our differences aside to start preparing for your regular Summer serving of Sur la Terre.
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regional managing Editor 1
A $3.2m dog collar, a $5.5m halal beverage and a $1.5m pen are just a few of the must-have items in our Wishlist, starting on page 3.
The Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, one of two V12 Italian thoroughbreds we feature in Rides, starting on page 19.
wish list 03 Products which have a luxurious twist on an everyday mundanity, or just exist because they can, and because you can afford them.
gems 11 Meet a current king and a future queen of gems and jewellery; Nicolas Bos, CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, and gemologist and jewellery designer Victoria Tryon.
rides 19 Power and status combine with these Italian V12 thoroughbreds, the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.
Couture 31 Meet the new breed of fashion designers from the Middle East who are the taking the world’s catwalks by storm; discover QELA, Qatar’s latest luxury brand, and see why Saudi designer, Razan Alazzouni, is making waves in the fashion world.
travel 41 The New York Times voted it the number one place to visit in 2014. It’s time to book an epicurean adventure in Cape Town.
accommodation 47 Visit three unique and opulent hotels which are ideal resting places for the iconoclastic globetrotter. The Lanesborough Hotel, London, is one of three sumptuous and unique hotels we visit in Accommodation, starting on page 47.
tactile 57 Feel the finery of Italy’s most reputable luxury leather workers: Pavoni and Poltrona Frau. sur la terre . compendium 2014 . contents
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As a man - or woman - of means, you deserve the best and the most exclusive. What follows is a compilation of just that; products which have a luxurious twist on an everyday mundanity, or just exist because they can, and because you can afford them. ď‚„ 3
1 Bling, Bling! A bicycle is often the cheapest form of personal conveyance available, as well as being an environmentally-friendly way to get from A to B. Now, using one of Mother Earthâ€™s most precious gifts, Danish designer Aurumania has created the CPH Street range of bicycles, 79 of which will be made from 24-carat gold. The Gold Bike Crystal Edition is designed around the current trend for track bikes, which means that for your $108,000, you donâ€™t get brakes or gears... or even a lock. But you will get a 10-year warranty and many admiring glances as you cruise past cars that cost less. www.aurumania.com 4
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2 Vibro-Gem Vibrating plates have become a popular way of exercising among the world’s sculpted A-listers, with the übertoned Madonna among its most vocal supporters. Now, thanks to VibroGym, you can exercise in A-list luxury with the VibroGym Diamond Edition, a $70,000 home exercise machine that is coated in no fewer than 65,000 Swarovski crystals, with a further 600 gems making up the coloured VibroGym logo that runs down the side of the unit. Shimmer as you shake with this decidedly decadent toning tool. www.vibrogym.com
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3 Buckle Up Deep down inside every man, there is a part of him that wishes he was James Bond. If not for the fast cars, international travel and beautiful women, then most definitely for his gadgets! Now, thanks to engineering and design genius, Rolend Iten, if you have the cash, you can have the cool. Iten’s R22 Mk.I-22mm “Bugatti edition” mechanical belt buckle is comprised of precisely 100 components in solid white gold with rose gold accents, lightweight titanium and stainless steel. Each piece of this limited edition series of 22, has been entirely handcrafted, polished and assembled by R Magnin Bijouterie, the Geneva-based watchmaking master craftsmen and costs around $64,000. www.rolanditen.com sur la terre . compendium 2014 . wish list
Pricey Potation As always, Sur la Terre is here to slake your thirst for what we playfully refer to as “ridiculux.” Once again we have come up trumps with Ruwa, the world’s most luxurious and expensive non-alcoholic, halal beverage. A drop in the ocean at $5.5m, Ruwa Original is produced by the Luxury Beverage Company of Manchester. The burgundy-coloured drink is not carbonated or diluted and offers the imbiber a hint of elderflower and a dash of rose to create a “good, strong flavour.” The price of the potation is pumped up by the bottle, which boasts over 8,000 diamonds, almost 200 rubies and the equivalent of two bars of white gold, all covering a fine English Crystal decanter. Refills for this gilded gourd are available, but the truth of the matter is that this really is a tipple for those with expensive tastes. If you’re thirsty for more, a Ruwa Special Edition which retails for $730,000 is also available. www.ruwa.co.uk
5 Look Sharp If James Bond has a wet razor, this is the one he owns: the Zafirro Iridium, the world’s first razor with solid White Sapphire blades. You read that right. Sapphires. Sharpened using high-energy, ionised particles to create an edge less than 100 atoms in width, that’s 5,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair! Not only will you be running atomically sharpened gemstones down your face, but while you are doing it
you will be holding a handle made from iridium, one of the rarest and strongest metals in existence. Iridium, derived almost exclusively from meteorites, is ten times rarer than the platinum from which the razor’s custom-made hexagonal screws are hewn. Due the rarity of the metal and the complexities of the manufacturing process only 99 of these stunning razors will be created. Priced at $100,000 with a ten-year guarantee and sharpening service, think of the all shavings you’ll make. www.zafirro.com 6
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6 showered in gold
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Bathrooms are the new jewellery boxes it seems, offering those that can afford it the opportunity of enjoying a more opulent ablutionary process. Thanks to companies such as Original Style, a British-based tile emporium, you can bring a bit of bling to your shower with their sparkling Bullion mosaic tiles, which are made from 24-carat gold leaf, ripple-textured and encased in glass, giving an overall look of beaten gold. Part of the company’s Elite Range and mounted on a mesh backing, a shimmering shower like the one pictured with Fantasy Black floor tiles from the Tileworks range, will set you back around $415 per square metre. The company’s tiles are not just for bathroom use, either. Add some pizazz to kitchens, hallways, verandas, conservatories and porches as well, and you will not be alone as Original Style tiles have apparently been used in the homes of Hollywood film stars, some of our region’s more extravagant mosques as well as international opera houses, which brings a whole new meaning to singing in the shower. www.originalstyle.com
7 Sound Investment Swedish firm, Shape Audio, is bringing a whole new meaning to the term “Gold-Selling Artist” with its, frankly, stunning line up of Musical Sculptures. The Organic Harmony is not just a premium music speaker that employs cutting-edge Class D amplifiers, digital signal processing and five-way active system audio output, but doubles up as an incredibly precious work of art. We say precious because the casing is made out of any one of several high-value metals from Bronze, Silver and Gold, to any other kind of material you can think of if you use the bespoke service. The company told SLT that it has produced Crystal Glass, Carbon-Fibre and Marble editions for their highpaying clientele, all ranging in size and shape from dragons to anatomically correct statues of loved ones. If you are buying off the shelf though, we recommend the solid 18-carat Gold Edition which, weighing in at a hefty 215kgs, will set you back a cool $6.8 million. www.shapeaudio.com sur la terre . compendium 2014 . wish list
8 Worth the Weight
If you are one of the many that have resolved to get back in shape in 2014, you might as well do it in style. Be the envy of all your fellow gym bunnies with these exotic, and extremely luxurious weights from French company Keep In Shape, or KiS. Founded in 2007 by French National Body Fitness Champion, Bruno Fuscien-Trasan, the company’s goal is to take personal training and sport to “a whole new dimension and level of prolonged pleasure.” As well as skipping ropes, gym mats and sports gloves, among other accessories, KiS produces these stunning dumb-bells, which are available in either 2.2kg or 3.4kg weights. Available in either black calfskin, iris blue ostrich skin and brown tan or pink crocodile skin (pictured), these “objets d’body art” are all hand-stitched with brass hand-polished bolts in finishes ranging from chrome, rhodium or gold-plate. Priced at around $4,800, not only will these beautifully crafted dumb-bells help you shape up in style, they are guaranteed to help your wallet lose weight as well. www.kis-keepinshape.com
9 Driving Glasses This is perhaps one of the priciest pairs of sunglasses we have ever featured here in the hallowed pages of your favourite lexicon of luxury. Rocking your pocket to the tune of $41,500, these aviator-style shades are the latest accessory for the owners of Bentley automobiles. Commissioned by the Crewe-based car maker to complement its flagship luxo-barge, the Bentley Mulsanne, the limited-edition shades are already adorning the eyes of Hong Kong millionaires and at least one member of the Dubai ruling family. Created for the car-makers by Austrian eyewear d’art specialists Estede, with lenses from Zeiss, the shades are hand-crafted from platinum with surfaces engraved to emulate the style of a Bentley’s interior quilted leather. Each pair is made to order and measured to fit the wearer. The frames can either be engraved with the owner’s initials or decorated with precious stones, including diamonds, at extra cost, though all frames come emblazoned with Bentley’s famous “Flying B” logo in polished enamel. Only 100 pairs will be made and each will be stamped with its own unique number, but fear not, other models are available in 18-carat yellow, rose or white gold for just $10,200. All models include a bespoke presentation case, fashioned from the the same fine leather hide that adorns the wearer’s car seats. www.bentleymotors.com 8
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10 The Last Word in Writing
11 Diamond Dogs We have become used to seeing pampered pooches, nestling comfortably in the Louis Vuitton handbags of socialites from Paris Hilton to Kim Kardashian, but no canine is classier than the lucky Pugs that get adorned with these opulent collars from I Love Dogs Diamonds. The leader of the pack in the company’s glittering collection is the “Amour, Amour” (pictured), dubbed the “the Bugatti of dog collars” by Forbes magazine. The 18-carat white gold collar is dripping with 1,600 hand-set diamonds, totalling 52-carats of gemstones and all set off by the chandelier design featuring a stunning 7-carat centrepiece. Soft but durable crocodile leather provides additional comfort for its wearer and guarantees the longevity of the collar which is priced at $3.2 million. However, if you don’t want your Shitzu to out glitz you, for $899,000, try instead the “Amour de la Mer” collar, which sports an 8.5-carat sapphire pendant and is illuminated by a slightly less ostentatious 600 hand-set diamonds on an ostrich leather band. www.ilovedogsdiamonds.com sur la terre . compendium 2014 . wish list
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The pen, it is said, is mightier than the sword. There is no doubting the power of the written word; it has toppled governments, fermented peace and has eviscerated the plans of evil-doers for centuries. For the writer, the pen is his Excalibur and, as is the legendary weapon, should be gilded as such. This is why we here at Sur la Terre have fallen in love with the Aurora Diamante. Priced at $1.5 million, it is the most expensive pen on the market (to our knowledge, at least) and is made by embedding more than 30 carats of De Beers diamonds on a solid platinum barrel and crafting a two tone rhodium-treated nib from 18-carat gold, which can be personalised with a portrait or coat-ofarms. The really special thing about the Aurora Diamante, though, is its rarity. The company only puts a single pen on sale each year, meaning that the prestige of pulling one of these beauties from your pocket at a meeting will be akin to that of unsheathing Excalibur at a Round Table conference in Camelot. www.aurorapen.it
Wrist Glistener When it comes to “pressing the flesh” or “rubbing elbows” at high society shindigs, women are well catered for in the flashy accessory department, while many a well-heeled gent can only crack one off at the wrist, often opting for a fine watch. However, in the stacked deck of precious jewellery and haute horology, Jacob & Co. is quite the card. Known for its off-kilter sartorial styles, the brand has made quite the name for itself in asserting mastery over the beauty in complication, whether in reference to a timepiece or in the multifaceted phantasmagoria of its men’s jewellery. For society chaps that prefer to show a little cuff, some of Jacob & Co.’s most captivating pieces are its cufflinks, which, in varying collections, have taken the form of 18-carat gold skulls and semi-precious roulette tables. Paramount to all of these, however, are the Jacob & Co. Canary Diamond Cufflinks. The opulence of these ornaments begins with an 18-carat white gold frame that is decorated with almost 11 carats of white diamonds, all surrounding a centrepiece of 21-carat canary yellow diamonds. Altogether, that makes these one-of-a-kind wrist wreaths the most expensive cufflinks in the world with an asking price of $4.2 million a pair! That may be a lot to ask for a set of cufflinks, but if you absolutely, positively have to impress every other person in the room... accept no substitutes. www.jacobandco.com
13 Super Garia Cart Your golf game might very well rival the best in the clubhouse, but if you’ll pardon the thematic pun, you still have one “handicap” - style. That beat-up, old cart you’ve been rocking down at the club quite simply is not the hole-in-one statement you need to make while you’re shooting more eagles than a poacher. It’s time to up your game and find your sartorial swing, tiger, and you can start by hopping into the Garia Mansory Currus. Designed in a joint effort between Garia, the Finland-based automotive artists known for their work on Porsche and Opel, and Mansory, the car customiser made popular by its re-imagining of such great marques as Bentley, Bugatti and Ferrari, the Currus revs up the stylefactor in a game otherwise regarded for its ridiculous socks. Kitted-out with lithium batteries that give it an extended range of 60 km (37 miles), and a speed package that makes it both illegal in America and street-legal in Europe, this blingy little buggy even has three driving modes: Golf, Street and ... get this ... Race! Bedecked in luxury, from a genuine leather dash to a carbon fibre body, this super-exclusive cart (only seven will ever be produced) will definitely augment your victory lap around the links. www.garia.com sur la terre . compendium 2014 . wish list
Wars have been fought for them, kingdoms have toppled because of them, they have shaped the landscapes and economies of countries and continents. Most importantly, they are a womanâ€™s BEST FRIEND and epitomise STATUS and WEALTH. Come and meet a current king and a future queen of Gems and Jewellery. ď‚„
Heâ€™s the Bos
Nicolas Bos Interview
sur la terre . compendium 2014 . gems
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Nicolas Bos, despite his young visage, is an old pro. After joining the Richmont Group, which owns Van Cleef & Arpels, in 1992, Bos has gone from strength to strength, taking creative direction for the company and has since risen to the top to become President and CEO of the grandest and most prestigious jeweller in the world. Sur La Terre sits down with him in Paris to pick his mind. Words: Laura Hamilton Pictures: Van Cleef & Arpels
The Van Cleef & Arpels flagship store is in the heart of Paris. Do you think if Alfred Van Cleef had chosen somewhere other than Place Vendôme, the company would be different? When they chose Place Vendôme, it was changing. It used to be a destination for aristocratic families to order and buy jewellery in a private salon. They used to go upstairs by appointment, but now we have entered into a different paradigm. The Ritz opened, and an international travelling clientele was coming to Paris from America, Russia and the Middle
It seems that luck and perhaps fate have played a part throughout the history of Van Cleef & Arpels. After all, if Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef had not met and fell in love, their two families would never have created the jewellery house. It was a love story, but there are a lot of other reasons for the choices, for the inspirations. The Arpels
The original workshop above the flagship store in Place Vendôme is still used. It’s a very traditional space; the artisans use wooden desks and there are very few computers. In a similar way, Van Cleef & Arpels still uses the Mystery Setting, a unique way of setting stones that was invented almost a hundred years ago. Has it changed much since it began? There is actually constant change, slight innovations here and there, but we’re not staging a revolution! The Maison was built on innovation, but some are more visible than others, like the Mystery Setting, in which gems are placed in an invisible setting that only a handful of artisans know how to do - it’s one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most closely guarded secrets. Technically speaking, we are improving the level of precision, the level of detail. This workshop is
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East. Paris was, if not the centre of the world, a centre of culture, style and elegance. Each prominent family used to have its own private jeweller, but the jeweller became a creator and people would come to him. Place Vendôme was an amazing influence; it became the centre of jewellery in the world, people started to flock to it to see the creations.
hat drew you into working at Van Cleef & Arpels? It was mostly the artistic dimension. I came from more of a cultural, museum background, not necessarily jewellery. What really attracted me was the opportunity to cross genres, and it was the fascination of the long and complex creative process of the decorative arts, especially jewellery. Here is a process that involves a lot of people, which I organise and then monitor. When we start with a simple idea, it transforms itself into a fantastic piece.
believed in the positivity of life (which doesn’t mean naiveté), transmitting it through their creations, in a celebration of nature, of movement, of lightness. Life is about mystery, fantasy and strangeness. It’s never aggressive, we don’t do snakes…we do magic. Whimsicality we like, but we don’t include anything frightening; powerful, yes, but never frightening.
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a production facility, but our idea is not to preserve craftsmanship for the sake of it. The artisans work by hand because there is no better way to do it. You cannot do the Mystery Setting with a machine, it’s not possible. It’s rare, but doing things by hand is more efficient in a way! I think this is what gives life to the pieces. Does technology play a large part in the workshops? It’s not a 19th century workshop. Some of the guys are 18 years old, some are 35, some are 50. There are computers, they’re on Facebook! They don’t live in the past. They are creating with techniques invented 100 years ago, 50 years ago, some from last year. Sometimes we use computers, but not for production. Sometimes it’s useful to look at a volume rendering using a computer. We developed a new kind of Mystery Setting three or four years ago, a new technical achievement for us, and we use the computers to try and understand what is possible and what is not. The way we assess the quality of the stones today has really improved from 100 years ago. Physical, chemical and optical examinations are much more advanced. Do you choose to have themes and narratives because it makes the jewellery more timeless? By nature, jewellery has to be timeless. Of course you have the influences of the time, the lifestyle, but this is the main difference between jewellery and fashion. Fashion can be a real expression of the moment, but when you do a fashion collection, you don’t have to worry about whether it’s going to be relevant. We always ask, will 14
this piece be relevant in two years? In 20 years? We use universal stories, not references from something that happened last week, but references that have a relevance today. An example of this is one of the first collections I was involved in; we wanted to revive the magical element that we did in the 40s with the fairies brooches, which were very unique. We wanted to explore them and give that style a wider spectrum. We decided to take inspiration from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is a reference that will stay for centuries from now. At the beginning of the 21st century, Harry Potter came out and was really popular, so everything was about magic, it wasn’t about paying tribute; there was just something in the air. And that made the reference to magic consistent with the times, which is what we try to do. There is something that you feel; that connection with different fields of creation. As you’re a man and this is a jewellery company mostly designed for women, do you feel that have a different relationship with jewellery? That’s a very good question and it’s something I think about a lot. Of course I have a different relationship. I never see a piece and think, ‘Wow, I want to wear that.” I had a rock style when I was younger, so I used to wear rings, but I’m not going to wear the jewellery! sur la terre . compendium 2014 . gems
I always liked that universe, but I agree there is some disconnect. I think as a creator it’s a good thing not to go by my tastes; I don’t think in terms of wearing it and I think that helps in the more universal aspect of my creative approach. The design team is mostly male, although we have a few women, mainly in research. There’s a lot of exchange, though; they’ll say that a certain piece has a nice design, but ask if it is comfortable to wear. Then they’ll try them on. It’s the same in fashion; a lot of designers create amazing things for women and they are guys! Sometimes I try the rings on, just to see how they look, how they sit. We do the same things with the stones to see how they react with light. Van Cleef & Arpels has recently started a masterclass, L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels, the jewellery world’s answer to wine tasting. How did the idea for the school come about? It’s really the idea of creation and transmission. We’ve been quite good at creation, if I may say so, and I’m a great believer in museums, in education. Creation can be fascinating to a wide audience, and we should open these doors as much as we can. For various reasons, jewellery has lost that connection with decorative arts and with fashion; with the rest of the world, there is only that connection with clients. There is an amount of privacy and secrecy with high-value pieces of jewellery. The public wants to see the pieces, they want to experience them. Cooking lessons was a reference point for the school. To create an experience, that would inform visitors’ taste and give them new appreciation and understanding.
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Victoria Tryon is exactly what you expect a jeweller and gemologist to be; pretty, charming and enviably decked out in her own wares. After having cut her teeth at Harry Winston, Harry Fane and Fairfax & Roberts, the up-andcoming designer is now a firm favourite among Emirati and Qatari ladies who appreciate her delicate and feminine jewellery.
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Words: Laura Hamilton Pictures: Victoria Tryon Jewellery
hat drew you to jewellery design? Was it the artistic aspect or the gems? What’s not to love about jewellery? Initially, I was drawn to the provenance of pieces. I loved the fact that jewels often marked a special occasion and were handed down through generations with fascinating stories associated with them. You consider yourself primarily a gemologist. How does this influence your work? Often the gemstone will lead the design. Rather than conceptualising a design and sourcing the gemstones. I often embark on the design with a particular gemstone in mind. How would you describe your personal style? You wear a lot of your jewellery do you design with yourself in mind? Being such a jewellery enthusiast, I often start with the jewellery when putting an outfit together. Jewellery is far from an accessory for me, it’s the foundations of my look. I don’t particularly think of myself when I design, more of my clientele and what I consider appropriate for them. Do you think you can tell a lot about a person by their choice of jewellery? I think jewellery is a form of selfexpression and, therefore, I do think that you can tell quite a bit about a person by their choice in jewellery. Much like the clothes that we wear, jewellery makes a statement about us as much as anything else we do, wear or have. 16
“Once Upon A Time” Swan pendant
A lot of women have a connection with jewellery that seems to bypass most men; why do you think that is? Where does the desire to adorn ourselves come from? Historically, jewellery goes back a long way and has served many purposes. It has been used as currency, protection in the form of amulets, functional as clasps and pins, symbolic, as well as just for purely decorative adornments. Initially, jewellery was often used as to form part of the dowry associated with a woman when she got married. The purpose of the jewellery was primarily either functional or a display of one’s wealth. This is still relevant today, with both jewellery and watches. It is not only aesthetic but is also considered a status symbol. What is your creative process? How does a design start for you? I consider myself to be an observant individual. A concept can establish itself through anything from textiles, art and architecture to nature. I am fascinated by other cultures and enjoy travelling and often this is when I am most inspired. My “Vanity Rose” collection came about whilst visiting an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on the Aesthetics movement. There was a phrase that was resonating with me while I looked at some of the works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. sur la terre . compendium 2014 . gems
“Alia” Amethyst necklace
“Alia” Amethyst Alia earrings
“Vanity Rose” Earrings
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My Aunt had recently imparted some wisdom to me; “don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.” I find that so often we buzz about in our own bubbles and forget to look up, observe and digest the going’s on around us. Too often we multi-task, walking whilst responding to emails and really paying no attention to our surroundings. We miss so much. This collection was designed to remind us to stop and appreciate the world we live in. Each of my collections has a story associated with it. Do you prefer designing collections or private commissions? Do they present different challenges? I enjoy both, they indeed present different challenges. My favourite
part of the bespoke process is handing over a piece of jewellery which I have created specifically for someone and the satisfaction it gives me to see how thrilled they are on receipt of the finished piece. To witness the transformation of a concept into a carefully crafted piece, that has been nurtured to maturity, is a wonderful thing. I feel a sense of honour and pride to play a part in marking many special occasions and declarations of love. I see the collections as a book of short stories and really enjoy developing each one. Your career has taken you all over the globe, from Fairfax & Robert in Australia to Harry Winston in England.
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You won the Bright Young Gem Award three years ago - are you impressed with the rapidity of your rise in fame - or has it been a lot of hard work? One of the aspects of the award that excited me most was the word Young! It was reassuring and empowering to have my work recognised in such a way. I knew I was on the right track and to continue persevering. It has been hard work and undoubtedly will continue to be so. However, it is worth it, I love what I do! With more commissions from the GCC, do you see a particular style preference? I am very fortunate for this. I am fascinated by the region and the 17
I consider myself to be an observant individual. A concept can establish itself from textiles, art and architecture to nature.
Can you pinpoint each Maison with teaching you something about jewellery or opening your eyes to something new? I have had a fascinating career to date in the industry. It started with Harry Fane in St. James’s, where I discovered that jewellery was not just simply aesthetically pleasing, but could be deeply symbolic and tell us so much about different cultures or have fascinating stories to tell. Fairfax and Roberts had an on-site workshop, where I would observe pieces being carefully crafted. Here, I learnt some of the more technical aspects. Cartier taught me the importance of heritage and branding. Boucheron dares to be individual and goes against the grain, creating some unforgettable sculptural pieces that are truly unique. Harry Winston showed me the importance of a fine gemstone being the centrepiece of a design; that a superior stone can be placed on a pedestal, it needs nothing else, no elaborate detracting design.
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culture, and this does influence my design. I feel comfortable here and I understand what they do and don’t like. There is a fairly eclectic style, dependant on the generation. I have seen tastes evolving somewhat over the years. What attracts the younger generation today, is not what would have attracted their grandmothers at their age.
“Teng” Gold Vermeil necklace
What are your plans for the future? I would like to raise the profile of Victoria Tryon jewellery further and find like minded partners to aid me with this. I aim to continue to create beautiful jewels, which tell a story and will be cherished by generations to come. Is designing engagement rings a completely different challenge to designing other jewellery? Did you design your own engagement ring? It is indeed, it marks one of the most important moment in one’s life. That huge commitment of spending the rest of your lives together, this in itself is very powerful. It’s also often up to me to gauge the recipient and come up with something that they will treasure, often having never met them. This is pretty challenging! However, it’s a challenge I relish. I really enjoy getting to know the recipient through the eyes of the client. It’s an emotionally charged process. My husband proposed with a loose stone, which I set in a temporary mount. Once I’d got used to it, I knew how to best mount it. 18
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WEALTH, POWER and EXCLUSIVITY are intertwined. If you have one, you have the others. Nothing speaks greater volumes about oneâ€™s STATUS than the car you drive, and what eptomises power and exclusivity better than an Italian V12 supercar, be it a Raging Bull or a Prancing Horse? Go ahead. Choose your weapon. ď‚„
miami heat Words: James McCarthy Pictures: Lamborghini
t h e ho t t e s t i enc e r e p ex d or Roa ds ter v en ta a to A i d i n i r rgh Fl o m bo to a L d g lle tin xci av e e r y t y, a ll rth brut a C c e sM : th me 013 a 2 J in r, ad it o o d r g E he gin it t a n h Ma to r ca
sur la terre . compendium 2014 . rides
sur la terre . compendium 2014 . rides
ow fast?” Asks the policeman, as he leans into the cabin of the car from the seat of his motorbike. “Pardon me, officer?” I reply casually. “How fast does it go?” He inquires above the thrumming of the vast engine, while it’s idling at the penultimate stop light before joining the freeway to South Beach. “It can hit around 220mph,” I respond, “but you won’t see me breaking the speed limit, here, officer.” “That’s a shame,” he nods with a wry smile. Gesturing to a lay-by just passed the light, he orders me to pull over when the signal changes.
As I wonder if I was too flippant and had talked myself into trouble, the opening sequence of Cannonball Run springs to mind, but I ignore any urge to just floor it, and I do just as he says.
Looking every bit like Erik Estrada from the 80s TV series, CHiPs, he kicks a stand under his HarleyDavidson ElectraGlide and ambles over, removing his Ray-Bans and resting his hand on his gun as he walks. “Could you step out of the car, please, sir?” Again, I submissively comply as he hands me his mobile phone. “I’d really like you to take picture of me with the car, is that ok?” That was just one of many similar encounters on the route back to the W Hotel, with cars weaving through the traffic to pull up close and get a better look at the striking new Lamborghini LP700-4 Aventador Roadster. One kid, a teenager hanging from the rear window of a Chevy Tahoe, screamed across the road that I was his new hero as we strafed past his dad’s car, who himself, enthusiastically flashed his lights, urging me to open the taps. Unfortunately, in speed trap Miami, and in such a conspicuously extreme looking car, it really isn’t an option.
Six Hours Earlier...
The Roadster, which just days before had been unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show and officially launched a few hours later on Miami’s South Beach, is a work of automotive art. Maintaining the fighter-jet proportions and similar looks of the coupé, there is not a duff 22
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line on this car; I mean, just look at the pictures. The most noticeable aesthetic differences are the twopanel, matte-black removable roof and the redesigned engine cover. The buttresses that flank the V12 powerplant now incorporate new air intakes and act as a safety feature in the event of a rollover, while the engine cover itself now has a central spine that runs through it, looking more like armour plating for the visual delight of the epic engine.
While Lamborghini toyed with the idea of a retractable hard top, the engineers were not thrilled by the weight gain that would have resulted from such a technological binge. Instead, they designed the individual 3kg carbon composite roof panels to be simple to fit and remove by a single person - hence the two-piece construction - as well as easily-stored within the car. Simply push the seats forward, pull the clip and remove, fitting them into the “boot” at the front. This, however, means that there is not much room for more than a dormouse’s overnight bag, but as CEO Stephan Winkelmann points out at the pre-drive
t is pure automotive theatre... an emotive masterpiece that stirs the soul and demands attention...”
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That is not say that this is just an Aventador with a lopped-off roof and some decorative touches. Unlike its Murcialago predecessor, which always seemed more of an afterthought, the LP700-4 Roadster may share the same carbon fibre tub, 6.5-litre engine and seven-speed, single-clutch gearbox
with its stablemate, but ultimately, it’s a fully redesigned and engineered standalone model in its own right.
press conference, you can either ship your bags by DHL beforehand or drive to your destination with the roof on, dump your bags at the hotel and then get your alfresco kicks. That said, with a price tag in excess of $400k, future LP700-4 owners could probably afford to have their luggage driven behind them in a separate chase car. That’s if it can keep up, of course, given that the Roadster is capable of tapping its 690bhp to reach 100km/h from a standing start in less than three seconds. Apart from the regulation safety briefing, this was the end of the chit chat. Now it was time for the Lambos themselves to do the talking. With the mercury rising, we eagerly spill out to examine the dozen multicoloured bulls that would be our steeds for the day. Shimmering through a haze of superheated air, and looking for all the world like a shoal of hungry sharks, a sense of menace pervaded the pit lane. I am eagerly escorted by one of the hostesses to my first ride of the day, a blazing red beast of a car, and I climb inside. Because we are on the track, the roof is on, and I find that there is very little difference to the interior of the vicious Aventador coupé, which I ploughed around Yas Marina little over a year ago, right down to the dangerous red switch cover that hides the start button. It is pure automotive theatre. If Shakespeare built cars, this would be the motoring equivalent to Henry V’s speech at Agincourt: an emotive masterpiece that stirs the soul and demands that you pay attention. So, while those at home and still abed might think themselves accursed they were not here, I sit behind the wheel of 24
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the Aventador Roadster, which stands like a greyhound in the slips, straining upon the start. The game’s afoot as I roll out on to the track and, upon the charge of “Cry God for Ferrucio, Lambo and Sant’Agata,” I bury the throttle...
The feedback is such that I can feel every bump in the road through the steering wheel and, with the scent of alcantara moistening with perspiration under the white knuckle grip I have on the wheel, the cabin is filled with a heady aroma of both excitement and fear, all while the crescendo of noise from that bellowing V12 exhaust
creates a sensory assault on every fibre of my being. As I screech into the third corner, I find myself amazed at just how lithe the car feels for its size and how adroitly it handles the tight bend, despite its one-and-a-half tonne weight. Much of this, I am sure, can be attributed to the fantastic ESP, the 43/57 percent weight distribution over the front and rear axles respectively, and the four-wheel drive system. The Aventador is also fitted with slightly larger-diameter tyres, which make a small but key difference to the frontend grip as you point the projectilelike nose of the Roadster into the turn. From the corner, we sweep around onto the banking, where NASCAR racers hit 300km/h with barely a coat of paint separating them from each other, or the wall, for that matter. However, even overestimating the distance between the Lambo and the concrete by several feet (cowardly, I know), the car still hits 220km/h without breaking a sweat, before dropping down into the long straight that flies past the pit lane, with the needle topping 290km/h as I go. sur la terre . compendium 2014 . rides
In conclusion, no other car delivers such an epically brutal experience and, when driven with respect, it is one of the most rewardingly visceral hypercars in the world. There is something delinquent in the soul of any V12 Lamborghini. It’s like that school friend your parents hated for being a bad influence. It is equal parts rebellious, naughty, fun, exciting and scary and, if you’re not careful, it will get you into serious trouble. When you couple that with the shock-and-awe good looks of the LP700-4 Aventador Roadster, it makes for a strikingly potent automotive cocktail, indeed. With half a century of iconic vehicles to its name, when Winkelmann says that the LP700-4 is “the most extraordinary car Lamborghini has ever produced,” he is making a pretty big statement; but then, even standing still, so does the Aventador Roadster. 25
What follows is an ominous pause, a stutter, a jerk and then the Lamborghini squats, clears its throat and brings the full power of 690 apocalyptic horses to bear on the shimmering bitumen surface. I had forgotten just how brutal and unforgiving the big bull could be; its dislike of low revs, when in low gear; equally, even under watchful eye of the electronic stability controls, the car remains skittish in the tight corners and the ever-present threat of oversteer swings with the G forces above my head like the Sword of Damocles. Every gear change is more vicious than the last, resulting in a hefty kick to the back. The gear box seems almost rudimentary in the technological scheme of this of car, like a Neanderthal using a club to hammer the cogs home. After the first lap of the circuit, my adrenaline gives way to control and my body becomes more attuned to the Lamborghini’s violent nature, enabling me to revel in the excitement of driving this blacktopdevouring car.
Three more laps, and it’s back into the paddock to take stock and watch someone else experience raw fury that the Roadster had to offer. And so it goes, for the remainder of the morning before I am handed the keys to yet another Roadster for the drive back to the hotel. This is a cruise, rather than another opportunity to give it some welly and, despite a wrong turn, which involves having to negotiate some rather mean looking speed bumps at the entrance to a gated retirement community, the ride is thankfully uneventful. Well, apart from the regularly-hollered approval of pedestrians, other drivers and, of course, the aforementioned attention of representatives of Miami’s law enforcement community, that is.
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The F-word Words: Lee Winter Pictures: Jorge Ferrari / www.ferrari-photos.com
errari F12. Formula 1 circuit. Four hours. Flying laps. Four sentences that are enough to send any Ferrari fan-boy – and quite frankly, any petrol-head full-stop - into a frantic and frenzied febrile. The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is, quite simply, the fastest, fiercest, most formidable road-car that the Marenello factory has ever fabricated. And, as one would expect, it easily fulfils the criteria that would feature during supercar-checklist formulation: flamboyance - check; finesse - check; flair - check; phenomenal looks (erm, cheating? Maybe. Nonetheless) check; frighteningly fast - double check. So fast, in fact, that one f-word in particular was the first coherent utterance I could muster after opening the throttle and being flung-forward at an incomprehensible rate; leaving my vocal cords somewhere near the start-line. Actually, it felt like around four-fifths of my anatomy had been left behind. What did remain in place, unfortunately, were my eyeballs: inundated with information and forcing me to fully appreciate the reasons behind my preposterously palpable fear. But even they were struggling to keep up with the speed at which the scenery was being introduced. And my brain must’ve thought that some greater being had hit the universe’s fast-forward sur la terre . compendium 2014 . rides
button: Corner. Gear. Turn. Miss apex. Lose back-end. Life-flashing. Counter-steer. Brake pedal. More brake pedal! Sudden stop. Sigh of relief. Disapproving look from Codriver. First gear. Accelerate. Repeat. Frenetic doesn’t even begin to cover it. But let there be no misunderstanding here - this is entirely an indictment of my own inability rather than criticism aimed at this remarkable machine because, in all honesty, it has an unerring ability to flatter mere mortal drivers. My haplessness, however, was simply compounded by the fact that each corner seemed to appear a very long time before I realised there was one. And you arrive at the end of the 27
(not inconsiderable) straight almost immediately after you’ve depressed the accelerator. It’s not a Ferrari. It’s a time-machine.
Earlier that day, standing before the majestic Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. The flotilla of Ferraris that sat at the pit garage threshold should have given me all the indication I needed: the FF, California and F12 produce a combined 1834bhp that was waiting to be unleashed, but I was blissfully ignorant and embarrassingly eager. Besides, the other two were purely eye-candy to me. I was here for the F12 and the F12 alone. The track has only been a fixture on the F1 calendar for five years and yet it is already dripping with history and prestige. Most recently, it was the scene that Sebastian Vettel chose to equal Michael Schumacher’s 2004 record for most consecutive wins in a season (with seven). It was also the setting chosen by one maverick tour guide who, upon my first visit here, decided to forgo his daily duties of escorting a group of tourists around the Yas Marina facilities on his 16-seater blunder-bus and instead entered the race-track - taking full advantage of some seriously lax security and ignoring several ‘Strictly No Entry’ signs - to complete a hotlap of his own that Sebastian himself would have been proud of - whilst we were all still aboard. On this day however, there was to be no such foolishness. We arrived at the track in the late afternoon, and were immediately immersed in the 28
red hot passion of Scuderia Ferrari. Surrounded by a veritable smorgasbord of souvenirs, paraphernalia and racing equipment (not to mention a pair of 458 Italias perched tantalisingly dormant on display plinths instead of erupting on the track), it was easy to identify with the famously fanatical Tifosi. Hours could be frittered away in such surroundings. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too long before we were unceremoniously pried from the
Above, the author giving the F12 Berlinetta the beans on the Yas Track. Below, Ferrari’s full line up of V12 cars, the F12 flanked by two FFs
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history lessons and escorted to the briefing area where the small, privileged group were subjected to an enlightening drivers’ tutorial. To distract myself from this excruciating intermission, I began to appreciate the surroundings of this inimitable gathering. The electric atmosphere and dense scenery was something to behold. But the settings were in direct competition with
the glistening, florid complexion of the Berlinetta. And the fulgentness provided by the innumerable spotlights used to illuminate the track italicised its already striking appearance. Its lines and curves are so arresting that simply looking at it makes you need one; relegating whatever location it graces to mediocrity. To borrow the words of the effortlessly cool Alex Turner: the horizon tries but it’s just not as kind on the eyes.
Nothing can prepare you for the shock of the fearsome acceleration you experience when you press the “go” pedal and unleash the unfathomable
power-weight ratio. Nothing. It has been said that it is the fastest way known to man in transforming a pleasant surprise into a necessity to change one’s underwear. The empty grandstand seats to my right began to slide by the window until suddenly they formed a magnolia blur in my peripheral. And we were only trundling down the pit straight at this point. As we reached the unique pit-lane tunnel exit, I lowered the window and allowed my eyes to close for a split-second. It’s no exaggeration to say that the raucous, jarring sound it produces could easily be mistaken for an F1 car. Not surprising then, that it’s almost as powerful as the racer that gets thrown around these corners every year. That’s some feat of engineering, when you consider that this power is squeezed out of the same V12 engine that adorns the 650bhp FF. The passenger may also find it pertinent to close their eyes as the fantastic feature (in)conveniently positioned in the side-dash is an instrument readout screen, exhibiting the RPM and speedometer; presumably so they know how tightly to hold on and how quickly to pray. But they need not fear, as this supercar is far from fragile. It is nimble and fleet of foot, yet not once during our elongated session did the car feel frisky or fretful under braking. It is permanently planted; a feature borne out by the fact that the sur la terre . compendium 2014 . rides
weight of the air pressing the tyres into the tarmac, when travelling at 125mph, is a colossal 19st. On regular cars, down-force is rarely an issue, but inductees of the Formula 1 firmament will appreciate the importance of this in such a lively machine. The aerodynamics, too, are intricate, meticulous and intertwine fabulously with the design. The front wings feature attractive, cavernous openings that redirect the huge swathes of airflow to the sides of the car, allowing it to slip cleanly through the air and flow seamlessly over the corners. At either side of the grille, flaps can be found that open to aid brake-cooling, but remain closed at other times to reduce drag. All of which contribute to the rapidity that allows it to lap Ferrari’s own test track at Fiorano three seconds faster than its predecessor and even duck under the impressive 1’24’’ set by the limited-edition 599 GTO. And that’s effectively a racing car. Of course, the 730bhp and 509lb/ft of torque - stats which allow a full-tilt of 211mph and a 0-62mph of 3.1secs – also facilitate this achievement. Aside from the furore created and discussed regarding the F12’s power, speed and looks, one ‘F’ that was repeated by the Ferrari faithful time and again was ‘feeling’; each one fondling an imaginary steering-wheel every time the word was used. It is no 29
My wandering thoughts were fractured abruptly when finally, placed into my hand was the small, shiny object that signified it was time for me to jeopardise my own life. When considering my mundane, day-to-day existence sat before Microsoft Office, this was a very different F12 key than I was used to. As I climbed inside, my thoughts momentarily turned to the unexpected pleasantness I was greeted by within the cockpit. The ride position is low, as you would expect, but excellent as it allows full awareness of the F12’s extremities. And the interior is not sparse in the slightest: replete with buttons and functions that will indulge, but not distract, the pilot. Whether the decision to scatter them over the nomadic steering-wheel is a good one, however, is questionable. But these were fleeting thoughts and the raw power of the Berlinetta soon firmed its grasp of my attention after I’d turned the key, pushed ‘Engine Start’ and felt the tremor beneath.
he greatest ferrari is the next one” – Enzo Ferrari
secret that they consider the naturally aspirated V12 to be the living soul of the Scuderia. And when deliberating the F12 in particular, the fleet as a whole or the numerous preceding models, one gets the impression that they sincerely don’t consider these machines to be inanimate objects; pronouncing how each Ferrari has emotion and heart with such fervour that it was rousing; almost intoxicating. It was during this exchange, incidentally, that Gianpierro - my accomplished, fearless pilot and a veteran of Ferrari for 20-plus years – informed me that, were it his money he was spending, the F12 would be his choice of Ferraris for everyday life - past or present. It’s a decree that should be considered with high-esteem indeed. That is, however, until you consider one of Enzo Ferrari’s famous quotes that states: “the greatest Ferrari is the next one.” This mantra tends to give the aforesaid declaration a little perspective. I guess that means my Italian instructor will be changing his opinion when the F12’s successor rolls off the production line. And more to the point, did he make the exact same announcement of the 599? Nonetheless, it does provide a brief insight into the genius of the unparagoned Scuderia spearhead, since it demands permanent internal improvement whilst concurrently ensuring widespread desire for the latest Ferrari. Passionate as he was about engineering and specifically, the Ferrari engines (“I don’t sell cars; I sell engines. The cars I throw in for free since something has to hold the engines in”), the founder was an unrivalled competitor and visionary. 30
Back to the Berlinetta, and Gianpierro is also of the opinion that it is a GT in its truest, purest sense; capable of transporting one from continent to continent in genuine first-class luxury and performance; transforming a daunting task into a formality. This is, at least in part, due to the docile, unassuming nature it is capable of displaying. When treated with a certain restraint, it’s so amicable and unassertive that it belies its mind-blowing statistics and the concept of using it day-in, day-out, is not as ludicrous as you may imagine. The fact that those statistics can also be called upon with the flick of a switch and a heavy right-foot is, of course, an ever-alluring feature. The doubleclutch too, is unparalleled. Each gear change occurs immediately, if not sooner. I kept waiting for a jerk that didn’t arrive (until, that is, the guy responsible for tapping his watch and curtailing my time with the car showed up. You’ll be pleased to know that I pretended not to see him and squeezed in one last lap.) sur la terre . compendium 2014 . rides
When we did amble into the pit lane for the final time, the undercurrent of the subdued V12 growl provided an appropriate soundtrack to the ambience: I wore an excitable, irremovable grin on my face but also harboured a heavy heart as the realisation dawned that I may never drive such a perfect machine again. On the one hand, I had just driven the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made; a natural high that I have elaborated upon enough already. On the other hand, I had just driven the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made. So what’s next? What’s left? I was perilously close to the pinnacle of my automotive experiences before I’d had the chance to have a mid-life crisis. Very much like watching the credits roll on the finale of a groundbreaking TV show, or turning the final page of a critically-acclaimed bestseller; experiencing the F12 Berlinetta will leave a giant hole in your life. The way a truly great car should. To trump this profanityprovoking incarnation of the prancing horse I’ll need to buy a jet. I can’t afford a jet.
The Middle East is home to a new generation of stylists, designers and fashionistas that are re-writing the world’s look-books with their oft DARING, always INVENTIVE and forever TIMELESS creations. Meet the “haute young things” at the vangard of the GCC’s Couture revolution. 31
RAD HOURANI HASAN HEJAZI
HAUTE Young Things
Laura Hamilton investigates the Arab designers that are cutting a swathe through the fashion world.
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hile the Arab world has long been an influence on designers in the West, from architecture to interior design, the talent in the Middle East has been languishing from a lack of media attention from abroad. A few designers like Elie Saab have become famous internationally, but many remain known only in their native countries, a loss to the entire fashion world. When it comes to all things sartorial, the culture in the Middle East is a marriage of east and west, of conformity and edginess, of practicality and beauty that results in a very unique take on fashion. SLT is dedicated to scouring the globe for Arab designers and keeping a keen eye on the designers in the Middle East, who are whipping up a storm with their luxurious and innovative couture. Last year, Vogue Italian collaborated with Dubai Mall to bring about Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai, an annual event that will act as a platform for young Arab designers. The Middle East is the new hotspot for the fashion world, with designers who are going to become household names very soon. Here, then, are SLT’s five rising stars of the Arab design world.
Oversize has been la mot du jour for a while now, and Ashi is in-line with the new paradigm.
The breakout star of Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai, Ashi Studio is one of Vogue Editor Franca Sozzani’s favourite designers. Apparently, Mohamed Ashi wasn’t feeling colours this season; swathes and swathes of ivory dominate his latest collection, putting the emphasis on the structure and texture of his designs. Connotations of bridalwear and ballet can be seen in his work, but what makes his designs remarkable is the change of their structure.
However, he truly makes it his own; the decadent skirts rise at the back and seem to defy gravity and indeed, practicality. But who said fashion had to be practical? Every decade has a silhouette that typifies the era: the sharp shoulder pads of the eighties, the mini-skirts that made the sixties swing and the hourglass shape that put the va-voom into the fifties.
A shi S t u di o
Lamentably, the noughties were known for the rise of the skinny jeans, but it seems that Ashi Studio is putting the theatrical back into fashion. The sheer volume of his skirts call to mind the 1700s and Marie Antoinette; a new outline that, along with his penchant for neutrality, may be the Next Big Thing.
Another Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai alum is Qatari designer Wadha Al Hajari, whose stunning new collection SLT featured back in Issue 29’s photoshoot. An ambassador of Qatari fashion, her designs are becoming popular in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Coming from a culture where the men traditionally dress in white and the women in black, she has built up an aesthetic that is dramatic, bold and deeply minimal. She favours sharp, clean lines, but Wadha SS14 is by no means masculine or boring. There are Arabic touches in her work, like the ever-popular mashrabiya and the abaya-esque dresses, her designs have a contemporary twist, with a very accessible, yet luxurious feel.
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R ad H o u rani
R a z an A la z z o u ni
H asan H eja z i British pop royalty like Marina & the Diamonds, Jessie J and Paloma Faith are rushing to be dressed by Hasan Hejazi, whose feminine and voluptuous designs celebrate the figure, rather than obscuring it with oversized designs. His first collection was stocked at Harrods four years ago, when he was just 24, and the half-Jordanian designer has gone on to forge a career that caters to the vibrant theatricality of the pop music industry, as well as winning over Hollywood stars like Eva Longoria with his apparel. Born in Manchester and trained in London, Hejazi combines a British element of frivolity with the Jordanian zest for colour. His latest collection is a nod to the femininity of the 50s, with hourglass waists and pink silk, both structured and floating,
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Half Jordanian, half Syrian, Rad Hourani is a trendsetter who defies expectations. Going beyond the androgynous look, Houraniâ€™s work is designed to be entirely unisex. After studying the human body, he tailors his designs to fit both the female and male physique, noting that having different clothes for the genders is divisive and limiting. Mentored by Sidney Toledo, the president of Christian Dior, he was invited to present his couture show at the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture by its president, Didier Grumbach. Hourani was the first designer to ever produce a unisex haute couture show, bringing his controversial work to a new audience and going down in the annals of history for his efforts.
A diminunitive figure, Alazzouni is destined for great things. Her new Summer 2014 Collection is a dramatic departure for the young designer; folksy, with a strong Greek and Russian influence, it plays with the silhouette. Using a palette of light turquoise, pale gold and black, it evokes a decadent sartorial elegance, showing that Alazzouniâ€™s designs are truly coming into their own.
A student of sculptural art, Razan Alazzouniâ€™s designs have always made her a firm SLT favourite. The Saudiborn fashion designer trained in Boston, where she nurtured her creativity, studying papermaking, but her real interest lay in fashion. With her sisters, she created a brand that challenges Western assumptions about Saudi Arabian fashion.
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Razan Sharp Designs 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 with her about the creative process. Does 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 Â„ sur la terre . compendium 2014 . couture
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. 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. 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. 36
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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 have different characteristics, show a nuanced dress sense, how their personalities combine with their style. 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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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.
Quintessentially Qatari Laura Hamilton visits QELAâ€™s atelier and boutique to get a sneak peek at Qatarâ€™s new fashion brand that is set to take the world stage by storm. 38
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B irth o f a B rand Fashion houses usually begin with one talented individual as their driving force, the artistic genius who spots a niche in the market for their designs. They usually don’t emerge, fully realised, out of the blue, but the highly secretive QELA proved to be the exception to the rule when it opened the doors of its flagship store in 2013. Emphasising creative collaboration over individual talent, QELA was developed by the hybrid mind that is Qatar Luxury Group (QLG) to not only benefit the graduating students of Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar (VCUQ), but also act as a catalyst in the creation of a fashion industry in Qatar.
N o press u re , then .
Indeed, subtlety is the key element at QELA, and it permeates all of its designs. It is also evident in the name, which is derived from the Arabic word Ekheelah, a breed of Arabic horses known for their beautiful, dark ringed eyes, which resemble the kohl Arab women use. The name highlights the characteristic Middle Eastern femininity and the simplistic and natural beauty that QELA aspires to, and has already achieved.
“We have different lines within the collection that will appeal to different customers,” explains Valery. “For our new collection, we have three categories in the shoe line. Casual, which highlights our skill and craft values, a more ornamental line, that’s sensual, a little more feminine and softer, and lastly something a little more playful and brave. When looking at these themes, we search for colours and materials that speak to us. Sometimes the focus is geometric lines, the sense of freedom or the leather. Then we start sketching, sketching, sketching!” Having the atelier next to the designers facilitates collaboration: “We have the workshops here, so we can immediately try things out,” explains Valery. Designers and artisans exchange a lot of opinions until they find a technique that works with the designs, according to Maria Argyraki, who designs shoes and jewellery. She explains that ideas run through the departments. “The
T he D esign H o u se QELA’s founding vision does not rely too heavily on artistic director Fedor Savchenko, but finds nuanced interpretation through the work of its team of studio designers, each of whom is also a specialist in shoes, bags, couture or jewellery. Valery Bolliger, a shoes and accessories designer, has been at QELA from the very beginning, and notes that as a start-up, sur la terre . compendium 2014 . couture
The notion of QELA being an international brand that represents Qatar may seem premature, but boutiques in Paris and New York are set to open this year. Haya Al Nasr, QLG’s CEO argues that QELA’s focus on art as an international language, as well as Qatar’s cultural positioning as a melting pot, will help push QELA to the global stage. “Qatar’s ancient traditions, nomadic way of life and openness in welcoming new cultures have been integrated into the brand at its heart,” she says of the fashion house that consists of many international artisans and designers who contribute their own cultural paradigms to the fashion maison’s aesthetic. “QELA is a creative distillation of Qatari culture that subtly pervades the brand, but doesn’t overpower it,” she maintains.
QELA has certain values that they want to make very clear in its products: the high quality of the materials, the Arabic influence and its timeless style.
mashrabiya,” she explains, “started as a detail on the clothes and then we took it to the jewellery department.” The mashrabiya is one of the most alluring Arabic details in QELA’s collection. An Islamic architectural lattice often seen on oriel windows, it can be seen in the jewellery designs and in the couture, such as the jacket, where it is made from leather and cut by lasers in the atelier. Used in architecture, the abstract geometric pattern gives the inhabitants privacy, as well as being aesthetically pleasing.
Other small touches can be seen in the tassel belts that are reminiscent of the Qatari headdress, the dune shapes in the pockets of purses and handbags, and most of all in the muted and sandy colours. QELA has opted not to brand its products with its name, choosing rather to imbue an asymmetrical ring with its essence and use it as an emblem. It’s a subtle touch seen throughout the products, from buckles on belts, to shoes to necklaces and even the cabochons. By choosing something so subtle and using it as a recurring theme within the whole collection, and collections to come, QELA has created its own style that will be subliminally picked up, but never too obvious. It is in the jewellery collections, however, where the Qatari influence is most clear. The Wardat Al Sahra Collection was inspired by the stunning and unique sand roses found in the desert dunes of Qatar. “All the jewellery houses have their own flower,” notes Maria, “Chanel has a camellia, Cartier has the orchid, so we chose the sand rose that forms in the desert. We looked at the way the stone was formed at the structure and we were inspired by Jean Nouvel’s design of the National Museum of Qatar.” The result is a pendant and two rings in white gold with diamonds, and one with white pavé diamonds, with an influence that is both subtle, beautiful and quintessentially Qatari. “We have a lot of Arab themes and ideas,” says Valery, “but we interpret them in very modern, contemporary ways. We’re trying to keep an element of feminine mystery and not be too obvious, while at the same time staying accessible.” Maria says that luxury has to do with quality, “but a bad 40
design can have good quality, so it’s about the aesthetic, the stylistic effort in combination with quality.” “That’s the beauty of this project,” says Valery. “There is this emphasis in searching for quality. We test our materials, we find the best leather, skins, gems. I think the aspect of looking into every detail is quality at its truest.” “Timelessness is also a quality that we think of when we consider luxury,” says Maria. “An heirloom we inherit from our grandmother, something precious that runs through generations, rather than a throwaway item, is the true epitome of luxury.” In that vein, QELA is aiming for timelessness, for luxury products that will be passed down from generation to generation rather than disposable fashion. Being a conservative nation, and one that has been relatively isolated, Qatar’s style eschews the newest and latest looks for a more classic style. QELA has tapped into this ethos to create a fashion house that will offer a new Qatari twist on wardrobe staples. QELA is also keen to prove that it is no flash-in-thepan, and that longevity is its goal. “Our ambitions are clear,” says Al Nasr, “In 10 years we want to be recognised as a serious player in the market of luxury goods.”
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The LUXURY of being able to forge one’s own path cannot be understated. To have the time to explore the finer side of the world’s great cities is the preserve of the monied JETSET. Where better to start an EPICUREAN adventure than the city that the New York Times’ named “the number one place to visit in 2014?”
CAPE TOWN Topping the New York Times’ list of places to visit in 2014, Cape Town – with its soft, sandy beaches, verdant winelands and granite mountains – lies in wait.
Words: Megan Masterson Pictures: Various
The sun rises on yet another glorious Cape day
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ape Town. Take a deep breath and let out a sigh. As those in the know will tell you, this is the city where time practically stands still. No one does suits, Havaianas are perfectly acceptable work shoes, and locals can be spotted by their aversion to wearing wristwatches. The rest of South Africa knows it as The Mother City, the joke being that this is because it takes nine months to get anything done here. And can you blame them? Who wants to be trapped in an office when there’s suntanning to be done at Clifton Beach? When there’s a picnic basket to be savoured on the grassy riverbanks of the Spier Wine Estate next to a cheetah reserve? When surfing lessons are being given by Sports Illustrated swimsuit models at Muizenberg?
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This legendary laid-back attitude is frequently bemoaned by their fasterliving northern South African cousins in Johannesburg, but when you’ve been voted Best Destination of 2011 (TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards), beating the likes of Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Paris and New York City; one of 2011’s Most Beautiful Cities in the World (Forbes magazine); World Design Capital 2014; and one of the 10 best cities in
On the scene which to live in the world (The Telegraph and Sotheby’s International Realty), why would you care? Cape Town is both comfortable and cosmopolitan, wearing its accolades and awards with an insouciant attitude that seems to say, “Well, duh?” Life happens outside With a mere 3.5 million inhabitants spread out between the omnipresent Table Mountain and unspoilt beaches, the city offers the visitor everything they could possibly want from a holiday away from the rest of the world. The air is crisp and clean, thanks to the Cape Doctor, the local nickname for the strong southeasterly wind that regularly clears the city of pollution. Taking full advantage are the inhabitants, often found at outdoor restaurants, bucolic wine estates or sandy beaches, doing what Capetonians seem to do best: lounging.
Yet, paradoxically, the city is brimming with adventure sports and adrenaline junkies, with many in pursuit of the outdoorsy lifestyle that makes the most of the Mediterranean-esque climate. As much as the iconic Table Mountain dominates the skyline, it is also an almost daily destination for hikers, yoga devotees seeking to salute the sun as it rises, mountain bikers, nature enthusiasts, or paragliders and base-jumpers, who climb it
Cape Town, the fashion, media, film and advertising capital of South Africa that it is, is filled with the young, hip and moneyed, and most of them can be found at any one of these popular watering holes: Bungalow, a newly opened beachside restaurant and lounge at Clifton beach, that is already a firm favourite with the city’s fabulously fashionable – little wonder as Clifton is the home of the billionaire set, and one of the most expensive slices of real estate in the southern hemisphere. While the food is good, Bungalow is the ideal spot to grab a table and watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. Just down the road from Bungalow, in Camps Bay, is Café Caprice, one of the most popular spots in the city. Locals and tourists arrive long before the sunset to bag pavement tables, sip cocktails and chill out. The location is fantastic, literally across the road from Camps Bay beach, making it the ideal spot not only for sundowners but for truly entertaining people-watching. The Planet Bar has no beach view, but it offers an entirely different social experience. Located in the Mount Nelson, it has hosted some seriously famous faces, all of whom are left to enjoy their dry martinis in a classically chic setting. With its glam, almost rarefied atmosphere, it’s where most well-heeled Capetonians – those with the double-barrelled surnames – will likely be found.
only to jump off its rocky precipice.
Where to stay
Visiting the top of Table Mountain is a must-do for any visitor, either by walking up one of the well-marked steep paths (a two-and-a-half-hour trek) or by taking the cable car. The spectacular view from the plateau lays out the entire topography of Cape Town, presenting to you the Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak mountains, the City Bowl (as the CBD is known) and the outlying suburbs.
As with picking a spot to enjoy dinner, finding the best place to stay in Cape Town is daunting. Your best bet is to pick a place on the Atlantic Seaboard, putting you close to all the best beaches, bars, restaurants and the shopping at the V&A Waterfront. While we’ve highlighted some of the best hotels, another fantastic option is to rent a beachfront villa. Visit www. capevillas.com, www.amazingspaces.co.za, or www.villasincapetown.com for a selection of the best. Ellerman House is a classic top-drawer choice, one that
Among these numerous mountain ranges is Chapman’s 44
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Peak, which lies between coastal suburbs, Noordhoek and Hout Bay, and is another must-visit for the tourist. Chapman’s Peak’s twisty-turny road, hewn out of the face of the mountain, is considered one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world. Initially constructed after the First World War, it’s a nine-kilometre-route with 114 curves, almost 600 metres above the ocean. Drivers negotiate its hairpin bends while trying to enjoy the jaw-dropping view, though we suggest you pull over to one of the many viewing sites to safely take in the sweeping vista. Note that those who travel Chapman’s Peak by tour bus are only able to travel in one direction – from Hout Bay to Noordhoek – in the interest of safety. And if a nerve-wracking drive along Chapman’s Peak isn’t enough to get your heart pumping, then a trip to the ocean could do the trick.
considered one of the best hotels in the world. A firm favourite with Hollywood A-listers and royalty, and for good reason. (www.mountnelson.co.za) The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa sits between the mountains and the ocean, on the scenic drive between Camps Bay and Llandudno. This luxury five-star boutique hotel has 55 deluxe rooms and 15 suites, all of which enjoy stunning views, and has absolutely no neighbours, even though it’s minutes from Camps Bay, the city and the Waterfront. (www.12apostleshotel.com)
Here you can go eye-to-menacing-eye with a Great White shark – an animal at the top of the ocean’s food chain – in its natural habitat. A number of shark cageThe One & Only diving tours are offered throughout False Bay, which is known internationally as a breeding ground of Great White sharks, so you can be assured of a decent encounter with one of the larger “Johnnies” out there. Be sure to keep an eye out for The Submarine, a Great White said to be so large that its circumference is equal to that of a Volkswagen minibus. Whether The Submarine exists or is a mere urban legend, stories of sightings and near-misses from local fishermen abound, and are far more entertaining than the usual tales of the “I caught one this big” variety. If you’d prefer to try waters other than False Bay, we recommend
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featured on the Conde Nast Traveller Gold List 2012. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean above swishy Bantry Bay, it’s all about the finer things in life. A Cape Edwardian mansion with verandahs, tiered gardens and one of the best private art collections in the country, Ellerman House offers luxury rooms, suites and spa rooms. Also part of the hotel is Ellerman Villa, accessed via a private tropical garden. Sleeping six or 10 (if you include the lower-floor), the ultra-modern villa has two swimming pools, uninterrupted views and minimalist interiors typical of the Atlantic Seaboard. (www.ellerman.co.za) POD, a hip new boutique hotel in Camps Bay, is already proving popular with those who love clean design and a laidback aesthetic. Quietly discreet with only 15 rooms, wraparound glass walls, raw-wood-clad walls, a lap pool, and a terrific view of the palm-lined beach, it’s no wonder the world’s design-savvy folk are flocking here. (www.pod.co.za) One & Only Cape Town was South African hotelier, Sol Kerzner’s first urban One&Only, and it’s perfectly situated on prime real estate at the V&A Waterfront. All 131 rooms are at least 60 square metres, and have magnificent views of either Table Mountain or the marina. (www.capetown.oneandonlyresorts.com) Mount Nelson, or the Pink Lady as it’s affectionately called thanks to its grande dame pale pink façade, is a colonial masterpiece filled with hushed old-school elegance, and is
Marine Dynamics (www.sharkwatchsa.com), a professional shark cage-diving outfit with a marine biologist on staff, that will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to Gansbaai for the experience of a lifetime.
Note that the season for Great White shark cage-diving is May to October. If the Great White gives you the heebiejeebies, but you’d still like a similar experience, the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront will take divers into their ragged-tooth shark tank. After they’ve been fed their dinner of course. Should sharks, hiking and hair-raising drives not be your thing, a far more relaxing way to enjoy the Cape summer would be attending an outdoor summer concert. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was the first botanical garden in the world to be established to protect local flora. Located at the foot of Table Mountain, it’s a stunning 1,300-acre garden established in 1913, complete with ponds, streams and paved pathways. During summer, Capetonians flock to Kirstenbosch to laze on the lawns and enjoy live music. The natural ampitheatre is an ideal spot to indulge in a gourmet picnic basket (preferably one filled with goodies from Giovanni’s Deli in Green Point) and watch outdoor concerts featuring jazz, R&B, hip hop, folk, rock, big band swing and classical music. The concerts, which are suitable for the entire family to attend, run from November to April and are very popular, so be sure to book tickets ahead of schedule. Chow time With a neverending landscape for foodies to explore, Cape Town is ready to serve up whatever you’re in the mood for. From fish and chips at Kalk Bay harbour, and traditional Malay curries at family-run restaurants in the Bo-Kaap, to a seafood barbecue on the beach up the glorious West Coast. The city boasts five of the S.Pellegrino “Top 100 Restaurants in the world,” including Jardine’s, Le Quartier Francais, La Colombe, Aubergine and Rust-en-Vrede. Cape Town’s culinary history is rich and extensive, peppered with influences from the Dutch settlers, Javanese slaves and immigrants from all over the world, whose contributions have been adjusted and adapted over the centuries to create what is now Cape cuisine. 46
From the Dutch came melktert (a delectable milk tart, similar to a flan), koeksisters (sweet fried pastries), and potjiekos (a meat and vegetable stew slow-cooked in a castiron pot over coals). From the Malays came a mouthwatering array of spicy dishes, such as Cape Malay chicken curry, rotis, samoosas and bobotie (a delicately spiced lentil, raisin, rice and mince dish). And the African migrants brought chakalaka (a spicy tomato and onion relish), umqombothi (traditionally brewed beer), smileys (an entire roasted sheep’s head) and pap (a maize-meal porridge dish similar to grits). Yet, no cuisine quite captures the local lifestyle better than the “braai,” or barbecue as it’s known throughout the rest of the world. What better way to take advantage of the glorious weather and a Saturday afternoon rugby match than to light a fire, grill some meat and enjoy a social get together as the food slowly caramelises to smoky perfection? Indeed, to be invited to a local’s home for a braai is to be given a firsthand look at South Africans’ love of red meat – matched perhaps only by the Argentinians – for it is the star of the show. There’s boerewors (a spiced sausage), sosaties (kebabs), lamb chops and steaks. In the summer, a seafood braai is also favoured, with yellowtail, prawns and kreef (crayfish) taking preference. If you can’t wangle an invitation to a private home, take a day trip out of the city, up the West Coast, to Langebaan, where the Strandloper restaurant is a no-frills beachside joint barbecuing all kinds of fish and seafood in a myriad ways, catering to a foodloving crowd from all over the world.
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When jetting from city to city, where one lays oneâ€™s head is as important as the desitination itself. Turn the page and discover some of the truly UNIQUE and SUMPTUOUS domiciles available to the globe-trotting ICONOCLAST. ď‚„
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A Night At The Lanesborough Regional Managing Editor, James McCarthy, discovers the meaning of the suite life at The Lanesborough Hotel in London.
Regency facade, pillared entrance and bowler-hatted doormen standing sentinel on Hyde Park Corner.
No, for the iconoclast with cash to burn, the relatively youthful St Regisowned Lanesborough is the perfect destination. While the hotel itself is a mere pup in London-years, being open since just 1991, the building itself, perfectly situated on the lee line of luxury that borders Belgravia and Knightsbridge, has stood since the Victorian age, adding the necessary gravitas, with its imposing Greek 3h slt _ara
While I have had the good fortune to be royally received and pampered by many of the world’s truly great hotels, from Brown’s of Mayfair, to the exceptional Cap Estel on the Côte D’Azur and, while each has been an wonderful glimpse into a life of unadulterated luxury, none of it had prepared me for the status and service that is afforded as a matter of course to any resident of The Lanesborough. The devil, you see, is in the details. Once I had been received within the capacious and gloriously, but tastefully, opulent reception, I was escorted to the Buckingham Suite, a snip at £3,500 ($5,630) a night, and introduced to my Butler, who already knew my name and had set to work unpacking and arranging for my shirts to be pressed. As I walked into the spacious, multi-roomed, first floor residence, I
My favourite first impression, though, was not the complimentary bottle of chilled Tattinger Champagne, but the personalised headed notepaper and calling cards, with my name and direct room number printed just below the hotel masthead. This in itself might seem a silly thing to notice amongst the comfort and luxury of the super king-sized bed with gazillion-thread
t The Lanesborough, you are not just another set of deep pockets, passing through one in a chain of luxury hotels. It feels more like being welcomed back into your own stately home after a long trip away. sur la terre . compendium 2014 . accommodation
here are hotels, and then, there are Hotels. For the wealthy traveller to London, it is easy to be swayed by the historic reputation of Claridge’s or the Dorchester; long-established, grand old dames of the capital’s hospitality landscape for more than a century, but somehow, a little passé.
was transported straight onto the set of Downton Abbey. The aged brass fixtures and fittings, including buttons for summoning “the help,” the elegant wood panelling and antique furniture all contributed to the illusion, but also concealed a wealth of modern technology and luxury, from LCD TV’s hidden behind gilt-framed artworks, Bose iPod docks behind moveable panels and every type of internet and power socket hidden in the specially fitted top drawer of a vast, imposing, wooden leather-covered desk. The type of desk, one imagines, at which Churchill would have sat while writing his letters to King George V and taking in the spectacular view of the Wellington Arch from the floor-toceiling bay window.
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And what a well-appointed home it is, with libations and potations on tap at the Library Bar, once rated “the best hotel bar in the world,” which houses a fine collection of vintage cognacs, as well as a menu brimming with signature cocktails. It was here that that I met with renowned chef, Heinz Beck. Beck is the brains behind The Lanesborough’s culinary pièce de résistance, Aspleys. It is not only the restaurant that gave Beck his fourth Michelin Star, but it is also the fastest-awarded Michelin Star in London, with Aspleys achieving the honour within four months of opening. The first thing you notice as you step into the Aspleys dining room is a beautiful vaulted glass ceiling, punctuated by a trio of dramatic chandeliers. The main dining area is on two levels, with sunken main floor that is framed at the back of the room by a raised, mezzanine-type floor for a more secluded and romantic setting. Off to either side of the main entrance, there are private dining areas for larger parties or those wishing for a more discrete, family dining experience. I was sitting 50
count Egyptian cotton sheets, or the flawlessly sumptuous Carrera marbled bathroom, but it offered a truly personal touch, so easily lost in the hospitality industry, even at the highest level. To me, it sums up everything that is great about The Lanesborough, where you are not just another set of deep pockets, passing through one in a chain of luxury hotels. It feels more like being welcomed back into your own stately home after a long trip away.
on and endeavoured to at least taste each act in the decidedly alabaster culinary opera laid out before me.
on the mezzanine with the restaurant spread out before me, allowing me to enjoy the fine Venetian-inspired setting as well as the spectacular food. I started with the slow-cooked guinea fowl with wild mushrooms and a capuccino sauce and followed it up with fois gras terrine smoked apple and amaretti. The sommelier’s choice was exquisite, matching a full-bodied white wine with the main course, the signature Carbonara fagottelli, as recommended by Beck himself. For dessert, I chose the cryptically titled “Milk,” which, it transpires, could be a meal in and of itself. Five different dishes, all with milk as the key ingredient, arrived to taunt my tumescent body. I bravely soldiered sur la terre . compendium 2014 . accommodation
Having finally succumbed to my satiated body, I decided a brisk walk in the crisp London air was needed to ease the digestion of my fantastic meal. A quick stroll around the fringes of Green Park and I was already yearning for my stately refuge, so passing a myriad supercar dealerships and wellheeled residences, I walked onward to the welcoming embrace of The Lanesborough, safe in the knowledge that my faithful butler would be waiting with my robe and slippers. As I slid between the sheets of the marshmallow bed and waited for sleep to cascade over me, I was awash with a strange feeling of melancholy. The following morning, after my (perfectly prepared) poached eggs on toast, I would be checking out. My travels will take me far and wide, and I will experience many more hotels of a reputed five-star calibre. However, as I said before, there are hotels, and then there are Hotels... and then there is The Lanesborough. www.lanesborough.com
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE:
New York City’s YOTEL Luxury: the fierce frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Sur la Terre. Its ongoing five-year mission: to explore gilded new worlds; to seek out rich life and exclusive civilisations; to boldly go where no editor has gone before! Words: Steven Paugh Pictures: YOTEL
from the dusty environs of our Doha base to explore unusual yet exciting tidings stirring throughout the planetary ether and gathering within what many call Earth’s global hub.
ur destination, the otherworldly cosmopolitan outpost of New York City, sub-designate: Time’s Square... Taking it upon myself to lead a solo landing party on behalf of Sur la Terre - an exploratory initiative charged with discovering luxury “across the planet” - I have teleported in
As any editor worth his weight in Dilithium knows, however, each exploratory mission must first begin with the procurement of safe passage, and I had previously arranged such in a fellow luxurious body known to the stars as YOTEL, a unique accommodation destination that is truly out of this world.
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Indeed, this one is for the space vacationers and interplanetary transients; those most intrepid of galactic creatures who wish to experience the fine art of travel through a rather more fun sort of futurism. Beginning its voyage in June of 2011, YOTEL, which is currently docked in Times Square West (on West 42nd Street and 10th Avenue), is one of the most innovative hotel concepts this city has ever seen, and not just because its landing site is nearby the centre of Manhattan and easily accessible via the city’s famed public transportation, paramount amongst which is the New York Port Authority: a mere 10 minute jaunt (or .032 parsecs) away.
and women will not be used to this type of feature, and it is sure to impress even the most swarthy and well-heeled traveller of the spaceways, just as it did the author of this Senior Editor’s Log.
The true enjoyment that comes from staying at YOTEL is most definitely its science fiction-made-fact spirit, an ethos that hits you like a tractor beam from the entrance, drawing you in with a storefront facade that appears like a recently-alighted spacecraft shimmering against the twinkling skyline of New York. Of course, it is upon entering the environment of the main foyer that you get an even more fulfilling close encounter. Indeed you would be forgiven in thinking that you had been transported into another vehicle entirely; one not housing anything so simple as hotel rooms.
The 24-hour desk is fitted with some of the friendliest and most helpful humanoids our landing party has ever had the pleasure of interacting with, and each was helpful in showcasing YOTEL’s firm sense of exploratory adventure. Of course, the true heart of this voyage - the nucleus of its exceptional expedition - begins, as most things do when dealing with stars... from above. Wa r p Fac to r : F I NE !
Of course, this thematic verve spreads further than just the welcome lobby. Lifting off on the nearby elevators takes you directly to the fourth floor (cleverly titled FOUR), which houses not only the majority of YOTEL’s dining options and public areas, but also its Mission Control. Yet another interactive station, this section has clearly been devised for those in search of a more human touch.
To your left, as you enter YOTEL’s docking bay, you are greeted by a small phalanx of onboard touchscreen computers, each mirroring the DIY prowess housed within the check-in kiosks Earthers might find in one of their terrestrial airports, but here calibrated to facilitate easier entry for YOTEL’s passengers. To the right is perhaps this spaceport’s most well-known and unconventional element, and a staple of every good star-faring craft anywhere in the known universe. That’s right, this ship is packing robots! The gigantic, seemingly-sentient robotic arm known affectionately to its caretakers as the YOBOT is a fantastic facsimile of facilitation; an automaton concierge, dedicated to storing and safeguarding each visitor’s luggage whilst he, she or indeed “it” is out exploring the outer “statusphere” of NYC’s upper crust. Interfacing with its simple touchscreen dash controls, it is easy to manipulate the YOBOT to do your bidding and I am about 99% certain it will not turn on its crew. Earthmen 52
he 24-hour desk is fitted with some of the friendliest and most helpful humanoids our landing party has ever had the pleasure of interacting with”
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the yotel universe S ys t e m : N e w Yo r k , USA Delta Quadrant: Times Square ReadyRooms: 669 First Contact: www.yotelnewyork.com S ys t e m : Lo n do n , UK Delta Quadrant: Heathrow Airport ReadyRooms: 40 First Contact: www.yotel.com/hotels/ london-heathrow
Taking its inspiration from the capsule hotels made famous in another Terran outpost known as “Japan,” as well as from the first-class cabins on Earth’s airlines, the 669 rooms available at YOTEL stand out as much as the beings roaming the hallowed halls of the New York Comic Con; a perpetual parade of true eccentricity, also harkening back to renowned starship, the U.S.S. Enterprise. Whether its “strange visitors” decide to stay in one of YOTEL’s perhaps more intimate 170 square-foot Premium Cabins (which is where the humble editorial captain of this, your literary vessel, called home during his stay) or in one of its more spacious 19 First Class Cabins, or its relatively palatial three VIP 2 Cabin Suites, each one maximizes its space in exciting ways for some truly astounding accommodating returns. Not only is each room awash in subtle purple neon hues and a bevy of mirrors, subduing them in a cozy yet breathable artificial atmosphere, YOTEL’s pods also incorporate fascinating technologies that would make any starship captain and his or her first mate swoon, including most notably a bed that retracts quickly and quietly at the gentle
Delta Quadrant: Gatwick Airport ReadyRooms: 46 First Contact: www.yotel.com/hotels/ london-gatwick S ys t e m : Am s t e r da m , N at h Delta Quadrant: Schipol Airport ReadyRooms: 56 First Contact: www.yotel.com/hotels/ amsterdam-schipol
touch of a button, unleashing even more space into your interstellar experience. Enhancing the experience that much further are the floor-to-ceiling windows, which I myself gazed out of, staring unblinkingly at the hypnotic pulse of the streets while the rest of New York stood like a faraway alien landscape in the distance. Thankfully, with its windowed-off bathroom - which features its own monsoon shower - I was able to enjoy the view while performing my daily ablutions. The rest of the amenities are fairly standard fare - a petite yet entirely functional work desk, the by-now requisite flatscreen TV and an iPod dock - but there ruminates throughout the entirety of the space this definitive feeling that YOTEL is not of this world; a strange and wondrously unique creature itself set alongside a nearby population that quite simply puts the “extra” into “extraterrestrial.” It is in this Senior Editor’s professional estimation that if YOTEL was a federation-issued phaser, it would most assuredly be set... to stun.
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The Halal Hotel
Deputy Editor Laura Hamilton returns to Kuwait to experience one of the country’s most iconic accommodation destinations.
h, I remember The Regency,” said my mother, when I told her where I was staying, “I’m sure we used to have our Caledonian balls there.” Residents of Kuwait in the 80s, my parents (and myself) left at the beginning of the first Gulf war, when they started to hear gunfire from across the border, but from their stories it sounds like they spent four years frolicking on yachts and dhows amid bars of gold. Years later, now living in Qatar, I returned to check out Kuwait’s only locally-owned hotel (and my parents’ former stomping ground), and found that although the hotel’s history is intertwined with the country’s, The Regency is so much more than a relic of the past. The Regency had the misfortune to be the place the Iraqis set up shop during their invasion, and was used for holding people, until the end of the war when the hotel
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This means no shisha, although smoking is allowed. It also means that a marriage certificate must be supplied in order for couples to share rooms, and that the gym and swimming pool facilities are similarly segregated by gender. Despite the restrictions, staying in The Regency allows you to experience true Kuwaiti hospitality; after all, there’s no point in visiting a foreign country without experiencing the culture. Who wants to stay in an identikit hotel suite when you could stay somewhere with some real personality?
My first impression of the hotel is that it is spacious and bright; inside the lobby, the light falls down from the glass ceiling, bouncing off the grey marble walls, where locals have Arabic coffee and chat as I pad over to the desk to check in, keen to see my room for the next few days. Unusually for a hotel, The Regency has a surprising number of suites, cementing its position as the go-to destination for not only the well-heeled traveller, but the VIP executive. The 53 suites boast six very different personalities, catering for whatever your needs are, whether it be a jacuzzi overlooking the sea or a private dining area to entertain clients. The Qaruh Suite caught my eye, with its round mahogany table and French windows opening onto a king-size bed. It has a distinctly nautical feel, like I was in the Captain’s quarters on a luxury yacht or cruise liner. The Diplomatic Suite also appealed to me, feeling much more like an apartment than a hotel room. Neither of these options compared to Al Danah Suite, however, which is a sensational two storied apartment with a dining suite for eight and a marble staircase that leads to a master bedroom. While quite grand and spacious, making it perfect for you to imprint your own personality.
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was burnt down. Recently rebuilt, the past casts no shadow over this luxurious hotel, but the history is nevertheless an interesting component of its identity. Approaching the fortress that is the hotel, none of this past violence is otherwise present. From the outside, my initial impression is that the hotel is a large box, an impressive and vast structure built for maximum privacy and facing the sea. The Regency is Kuwait’s only locally-owned five star hotel; despite its grand name, however, it’s not part of an international chain. The charm of the hotel lies in the fact that it caters primarily to local tastes - the hotel is the only one in Kuwait that complies with Sharia law.
lush custard bed covers, mustard curtains,pale yellow paint and dark wood; it is decadent and welcoming, rather than over-styled and futuristic.
After a hard day of networking and checking out all the facilities, I collapsed into the marshmallow softness of my giant bed. In the GCC I am used to hotels that are spacious, minimalist, heavy on the white paint, decorated in a cutting edge design. Kuwait, I’m surprised to see, favours a warmer feel - plush custard bed covers, mustard curtains, pale yellow paint and dark wood; it is decadent and welcoming, rather than over-styled and futuristic. The bathroom was a marble heaven (light grey marble is the theme of the hotel), with a rain shower I had great fun playing around with and a bath I soaked in luxuriously. For those unfamiliar with Arab culture, The Regency has printed one of the nicest personal touches I’ve seen in a hotel, stories with “Exotic Tales from Arabia” particular to Kuwait, with illustrations that speak of the warmth and history of the seafaring culture. I love hotel gyms, in the paradoxical way that the chronically unfit see exercise as a novelty, and I always judge hotels based on their fitness facilities. In keeping with The Regency’s general rule of segregation, the gym is divided into two sections, both unoccupied as I slipped through the newly refurbished doors and hit the treadmill. Half an hour in, Maricar, the in-house personal trainer, turned up and put me through my paces, and as I shakily tried to uphold my dignity and build my muscles, I was glad that there were no men around to witness my workout. Other people who may be less inclined to self-torture, might be more interested in hearing about the pool, which is located on the large terrace area where barbeques are frequently held, with a view of the sea. However, men are not allowed to 56
wear speedos, for which we may all be thankful, and women are not allowed in the chlorinated water without an “Islamic swimsuit,” aka the notorious burkini. Instead, The Regency has built The Ladies Lounge, a wooden chalet to the left of the swimming pool where no men may enter, and where bikinis rule supreme. Inside is a small cafe, where the females of the species can relax and where I even saw one women pray, all replete with changing rooms and lockers. Outside is a small swimming pool lined with loungers, where Kuwaitis and Kuwait residents alike were sunning themselves in frilly swim-wear. There is even access to a private beach, where you can frolic unseen in the salty depths. For now, it is the only ladies area of its kind in Kuwait, and has proven to be extremely popular; it was full when I visited. The Regency are thinking of adding a nail bar and some shopping facilities, so keep your eye on the lounge, it’s a happening place! Our last evening was spent under moonlight at an al fresco dinner by the beach, with us chatting over mezze and grilled meat. Kuwait’s weather is far less humid than that of the UAE or Qatar, making it surprisingly pleasant during late summer. When I slipped into bed that night, I wondered if I could escape to Kuwait every weekend for a stress free reprieve from daily life. When it came to checkout time, I was a lot more relaxed than I had expected after a busy weekend, a feeling I hope to repeat on my next stay at The Regency. www.theregencykuwait.com
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What makes a product luxurious? Is it rarity, or price? In most cases it is the way it FEELS, the quality of the MATERIALS and the work of the ARTISAN that scrutinised every little detail. From bespoke aligator handbags, to sports car interiors, a world of OPULENCE is there to embrace you. Just reach out and touch it. ď‚„ 57
Hides and Chic
Sur la Terre highlights the exquisite leather goods of an Italian brand that’s boldly shaking up the luxury leather accessories market with colourful exotic hides and skins, crafted using generations’ old methods.
ince the days when ancient man scrawled down the first hieroglyphs, the scribe’s leather bag was an essential tool in the communication of the history and culture of our species. Without leather, we would not have bound and safely stored the pages of our ancient books that document our past and have passed down knowledge through generations. Leather, then, has been an essential material in the development of our collective knowledge and cultures; of our history and legends. Even back then, it was only royalty, the rich and the well-financed 58
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religious institutions that could afford to commission, buy and keep these leather-bound tomes, making leather one of the world’s oldest truly luxurious materials with which to craft products of note, as well as fine clothing and accessories. These days, though, its uses are much more diverse and mass-production means that cheap, hardwearing leather is ubiquitous in our lives, from cheap $10 shoes to a $2 watch strap.
The brainchild of founders, Alan Newberry and Albena Taneva, who recognised that there was a need to offer their Vittoria I. Pavoni product style to a broader, more commercial, global market, Pavoni adapts the basis of the traditional, classic lines from several generations of Artisan production and delivers a collection of desirable, feminine and fashionable Sophia Sassoon is a Pavoni fan.
handbags, with a modern look and more fluent name. The brand has quickly become synonymous with timeless and elegant chic, brought forth by using the best leathers and most vibrant colours. It is, as the company describes it, “luxuriously stylish arm candy.” Each article is “lavorazione artiginale” (hand made) using only the finest leathers and most vibrant colours, exploiting some of the most exotic materials, from crocodile, ostrich, snake and pony skins. Every step of the process remains 100 percent an Italian endeavour, from the tanning of the Tuscan leathers to the presentation confection by generations of artisan craftsmen who have that unique and unequalled passion for their trade. While certain elements and products share a workspace that has seen the works of Gucci, Dolce & Gabanna, Alexanda McQueen, Chloe and Roberto Cavalli pass through the doors over the past 30 years, Pavoni’s pieces are characterised by brilliant, innovative and creative design, with an emphasis on luxury and distinction and not on garish flaunting of a brand identity. The
For the last decade, from its base in the shoemaking capital of Europe, the Marche and Abruzzo provinces of Italy, the house of Pavoni, has tasked itself with supplying the world’s nobility, rich and famous with exclusive pieces ranging from the most beautiful exotic leather handbags to interior bespoke leather furnishings. The brand can count among its many admirers - and we warn you, some heavyweight names are about to be dropped - the likes of Victoria’s Secret model Sophie Anderton, classical music virtuoso Katherine Jenkins as well as stars of the silver screen, the stunning Sophia Sassoon and the evergreen Samuel L. Jackson. Pavoni is also feted by some sur la terre . compendium 2014 . tactile
However, whether it be from soft, nubile calf-skin, or more exotic pelts such as snake, alligator or crocodile, there is a company currently plying its trade that has mastered the craft of leatherwork and artfully creates reassuringly expensive, beautiful and desirable leather goods using methods passed down the generations of craftsmen.
of Europe’s top fashionistas, like celebrity fashion designer and stylist, Lewis-Duncan Weeden.
- even adding precious metal flourishes to the final product. Each and every Pavoni Bespoke bag is artfully embellished with the client’s signature and name, delivering not just a warm feeling of achievement and status, but the security that noone else will rock up at a party with the same thing - it is the the ultimate luxury: one-off exclusivity.
stunning pieces for both her and him offer the look and feel of the best that money can buy, but with a VIP discretion that is not necessarily associated with other, louder leather goods brands. It is this ethos that has seen Pavoni’s exquisite pieces and craftsmanship catch the eye of larger luxury goods providers with a leathery gap in their catalogues. Among some of the A-list organisations that Pavoni provides fine leather accessories for are the likes of Jimmy Choo and Tonino Lamborghini, the son of Ferrucio, who has a multi-faceted portfolio of luxury products from kitchenware to watches. Keeping with an automotive theme, there are few marques that exude style and chic better than James Bond’s choice, Aston Martin. Q-Branch would be hard pressed to kit out their ineffable super spy with a better line of leather accessories than Pavoni’s offerings to the Warwickshire-based car maker. It is through just such an association that, in the GCC and Asia, Pavoni has gained huge traction for its sumptuous products with Omani perfumer, Amouage. One of Pavoni’s latest partnerships, it is seemingly a match made in luxury heaven given the olfactory house’s claim to be “The Gift Of Kings.” Of course, Pavoni understands that true luxury can’t be bought “off the peg,” so to speak, and recently added a bespoke handbag service to its repertoire. Providing a truly pampered experience to its VIP 60
It is this singular desire to create the truly special that has driven Pavoni to success, to the point where the company not only has some
avoni understands that true luxury can’t be bought “off the peg,” and recently added a bespoke service Providing a truly pampered experience and dealing only in the most desirable and exotic leathers available.”
clients, the bespoke service deals only in the most desirable and exotic leathers available and is designed to deliver the ultimate in quality, fit and personal service with a passion for craftsmanship. So special and unique is the process, that the customer is encouraged to invest not just the idea, but their emotion, creativity and time in to the product’s design and manufacture, participating in every aspect of creating that special, one-off handbag. Pavoni will either task one of their artisans to develop a design from the initial thoughts of the customer, or allow them to be guided through every step of its conception, from assisting in the design, approving the model, to picking the leathers, colours, accessories and finishes sur la terre . compendium 2014 . tactile
heavyweight celebrity cheerleaders, but is now putting its name to some prestigious events such as the 2013 Rendevous Super Yacht Awards in Monaco, as well as being the official product supplier to the A-lister team captains of Samuel L. Jackson’s “Shooting Stars” charity golf event in the UK. Pavoni, then, is itself fast becoming a shooting star of the luxury market. Whether its products become as intrinsic to the future of mankind as our ancient scribe’s leather bag is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain: if his leather tool bag had been made by Pavoni, he would have been too busy admiring its beauty to scrawl any hieroglyphs, and where would be then? www.pavoni.com
hell for leather
for over 100 years, Poltrona Frau has been the upholsterer of choice for some of the world’s most luxurious names, among which are some of italy’s most desirable automobiles. From the comfort of a Ferrari’s fine leather driving seat, we journey to Tolentino to find out why.
Words: Damien Reid Pictures: Poltrona Frau sur la terre . compendium 2014 . tactile
ollowing a fairly hectic schedule of press events through Europe, as I was checking out of a hotel in Dusseldorf to return to the Middle East, I received an email inviting me to Poltrona Frau’s leather factory in Italy later that week. Getting the chance to visit a century-old factory which produces some of the world’s finest leather products doesn’t come by every day, so this was well
worth the long haul round trip to Dubai and back again. Used on some of the finest luxury Pershing yachts, inside the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles, the EU parliament in Strasbourg and the first class cabins of Etihad flights, Poltrona Frau has been the first choice for the most discerning clients since 1912.
Back in the 1930’s when travelling by sea meant dressing for dinner, high tea and extravagant parties, sometimes twice daily, ocean liners used nothing but Poltrona Frau. While the town of Tolentino, home to Poltrona Frau, lies south of Ancona on the Adriatic Sea, I landed in Bologna, several hundred kilometres north where I was greeted by an anonymous gent, dressed like “agent F” from Men In Black, who spoke no English, in fact he didn’t speak at all. His job was to usher me into a waiting van with my name on the windscreen and I was driven, not to meet the Poltrana Frau people, but through the gates of the Ferrari factory in Maranello. There is a connection of course; Ferrari President, Luca Montezemolo, is also a Director of Poltrona Frau and his cars have been using its leather exclusively since 1998. In fact, the company now covers some of the finest auto seats in the business, including Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Jaguar, but really, when you get down to it, it’s about the Prancing Horse. Soon after, I was greeted by Ferrari’s Stefano Lai and after getting a behind62
the-scenes factory tour and walking the production line that’s currently running the 458, F12 and FF, I was told that Tolentino was three and half hours drive south and my Ferrari FF was waiting with sat-nav loaded to take me door-to-door. The chestnut brown leather with contrasting cream stitching in the FF would cosset and carry me to its maker, aided by 660bhp of V12 grunt under the right foot and a full tank of petrol. Now that’s a way to research your product: by cruising down a coastal sur la terre . compendium 2014 . tactile
highway taking time to savour the luxuriant leather aromas, run my fingers over the stitching and admire the detail work around the door trims and centre console. For the first time, I discovered that there are many ways to appreciate the fine qualities of a Ferrari, as opposed to just the speed and horsepower. While this is one of the most potent models in the company’s range, I cared not for boy racer stuff, as I had a date with some of Italy’s finest artisans. One of the things I admire about Italians
is the pride they put into producing anything, whether it be a cheese wheel, a bottle of wine, an exotic car or an armchair. When you enter Poltrona Frau, you’re not greeted by a reception desk or a factory floor, but by a stunning 1,400 square-metre museum showcasing its achievements over the past 101 years.
The company’s in-house laboratory looks after Ferrari’s quality control, constantly grabbing random samples to test for heat at 50+ degrees centigrade,
humidity of 95 percent or for nasty spills like coffee or cola. Stress tests involve the leather being subjected to 300 hours in the sun and over 200,000 movements from a bored robot that does nothing but punch the back of a chair for months on end. As for the delicate operation of the airbags, which have to burst so carefully from their seams in the case of an accident, every roll of stitching used on every airbag cover has to have a tolerance between 13 and 15 microns. To put that in perspective, the average width of a human hair is 100 microns. Once the components are sent back to Maranello for assembly, two Poltrona Frau specialists are always on hand to solve any last minute issues. As I climbed back into the FF for the return to Maranello, I cast a more educated eye over the stitching and gave it another rub, knowing that I spoke with the guy who unfurled the roll of leather and cut it to shape, who made sure the little badges and window buttons were in place and who, probably, let the owner believe that it was their idea and not his to choose such a warm colour combination of hide and stitching.
Walking the factory floor is like stepping through a time-tunnel with the old-world on one side; hand stuffing big loungers with goose down and horse-hair fibres, springs tied with twine to solid, handcarved Beech wood timber fames and craftsmen using hand tools that have been passed down to apprentices for over a century to stitch buttons into the couch.
I felt like I knew the car a little better and, while the hard-working teams who build the V12 engines and assemble the drivetrains on the factory floor at Maranello wear the coveted red Ferrari uniforms, it’s the team of toilers from Tolentino who make you feel like a million dollars long before you even reach out to press the Engine Start button.
Yet, a few feet away in automotive are guys and girls in lab coats laser cutting huge hides with state-of-the-art machines, ensuring every piece of the hide is used to cover the doors, seats, roof, console, steering wheel and more, of the latest model Ferrari. A craftsman with much better eyes than mine casts a laser line over the sur la terre . compendium 2014 . tactile
What appears to be an old chair under glass, is in fact a celebration of its centenary with a newly developed leather the team has spent two years perfecting, so that it not only looks like it is 100 years old with character lines and faded patches, but also feels it by being super soft. It covers the company’s signature Vanity Fair chair that’s been a favourite in the catalogue following its re-release in homage to the original 904 model from 1930, and despite the fact it hasn’t changed in style for more than 80 years, it’s still as in vogue now as it was back then.
stitching of a dashboard component to ensure that the corner is exactly perfect, before applying resin on the back and moulding it to the surface with a heat gun.
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