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MAY 2018

TomAs mAier


In nature, In nature, the falcon theisfalcon a fierce is afighter. fierce In fighter. business, In business, the Falcon the 8X Falcon is just 8Xas is powerful just as powerful and agile. andEvery agile.inch Every reflects inch reflects its military its military DNA, with DNA, lean with andlean mean and mean aerodynamics aerodynamics and advanced and advanced Digital Flight DigitalControls Flight Controls to get you to get to places you to others places can’t. othersNothing can’t. Nothing flies likeflies a Falcon like a because Falcon because no othernojetother is built jet like is built one. Fierce.Fierce. Fast. Agile. Fast.Falcon Agile. Falcon 8X. 8X.

Contents MaY 2018 : ISSUE 84

Editorial Editorial director air

John Thatcher Managing Editor

Faye Bartle Editor

Chris Ujma

art art director

Kerri Bennett designer

Jamie Pudsey illustration

Leona Beth Forty Four

So High, Solo

Fifty Six

Superman at 80

It’s a seismic month for Alden Ehrenreich, as the upand-comer is thrust into the Star Wars spotlight

Before Jerry Siegel created Superman to save the world, he first daydreamed the character to save himself


Sixty Two

Made in Italy Influencers beware: Bottega Veneta is taking a ‘quiet luxury’ approach, as Tomas Maier explains 8

Shape of You Before his passing, Azzedine Alaïa had an influential hand in his new exhibition; just don’t call it a retrospective

CoMMErCial Managing director

Victoria Thatcher Group Commercial director

David Wade Commercial director

Rawan Chehab

ProduCtion Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

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MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84


Sixty Eight

One of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s most acclaimed art pieces is up at auction in New York (for real)

McLaren meets mountain, as we stow the roof and take the 570S Spider to conquer the roads of Jebel Jais

Twenty Eight

Seventy Two

Laurent Ferrier CEO Vannesa Monestel shares how the watchmaker upholds its classic codes

Taiwan’s treasure trove of natural ingredients underpin every dish served at Michelin-acclaimed Mume

Thirty Four

Seventy Eight

Gaia Repossi joined the Italian family firm, and steered its legacy in a daring new direction

Those jetting to London to beat the summer heat are assured royal treatment with a stay at The Milestone







Thirty Eight

Art & Design With an expert eye for illustration and photography, the late Antonio Lopez turned an industry on its head 10

Tel: 00971 4 364 2876 Fax: 00971 4 369 7494 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in AIR.

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The beautiful swimming pool with its elegant pavilions nestling beneath palms and olive trees is situated in the most sensuous and life affirming of settings.


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Empire Aviation Group MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

Welcome to this issue of Empire Aviation Group’s private aviation lifestyle magazine. We are very pleased to welcome old friends back onboard, and if this is your first time flying with us, then we hope you enjoy the Empire experience. Business jet charters tend to rise and fall with economic activity and so the first quarter of 2018 has been exciting and encouraging due to the strong demand for charter flights. We are fortunate to have some high demand charter aircraft within our management fleet. Since the start of this year, we have noticed more inquiries and bookings for our long-range aircraft, in particular the Global 6000 and Global Express XRS.

Welcome Onboard issue eiGHTY four

When you do have a choice of aircraft, how do you decide which one is right for your mission? Sometimes, the route makes the aircraft selection more obvious, for example, if you need to fly intercontinental non-stop, then the aircraft selection may be straightforward. On the other hand, you can have requests for destinations that are more challenging – perhaps, your destination airport has a short runway, or requires a steep approach for landing, then you may need a specific jet to accommodate your route. Speaking as pilots ourselves, with multiple type ratings, we also have the pleasure and opportunity to fly some of the most advanced business jets at Empire. In this issue, we feature one of our latest high-demand aircraft, the Bombardier Global Express 6000. The new addition is the third G6000 to join the EAG fleet. Having had the opportunity to fly this aircraft, we can certainly testify to its performance and comfort qualities. We are delighted to have three of this aircraft type on our fleet, and this latest arrival is the second to join our charter aircraft. So you may want to enjoy the same flying experience as we enjoy from the flight deck, from the comfort of the cabin. Whether it is your first or 21st flight with us – thank you for choosing Empire. Enjoy the read.

Steve Hartley

Cover: Tomas Maier, creative director at Bottega Veneta

Paras P. Dhamecha

Contact Details: 13

Empire Aviation Group MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

Charter on the Rise Based on the charter missions flown by Empire in the first three months of 2018, the year is set to see strong charter demand. The team operated almost 200 missions carrying around 529 passengers between January and March 2018, with most of the flights departing and arriving into Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport. Empire’s growing range of large business jets attracted an increasing number of clients from across the globe. Popular travel sectors included Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, the Far East, Europe, Africa and non-stop transatlantic trips to the US.



Your one-stop shop for business aviation services, specialising in Aircraft Sales, Aircraft Management, Aircraft Charter and CAMO.

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Empire Aviation Group MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

Welcome to the Fleet Empire Aviation Group has just inducted a brand new Bombardier Global 6000 (G6000) business jet into the company’s managed fleet of aircraft, which comprises models from all the major manufacturers. This aircraft has become the third G6000 under EAG management, as the company’s managed fleet now numbers more than 20 aircraft operating from the Middle East region and beyond. In addition to managing and operating the new business jet on behalf of the owner, EAG will also offer the aircraft to the global charter market and so presents an attractive opportunity to experience one of the world’s most advanced business jets. The Bombardier Global 6000 business jet is a record-setting, long-range, high-speed aircraft (it holds speed records from Aspen, Colorado, US to London City Airport; and from London City Airport to New York) designed 16

to meet the exacting demands of business and leisure travellers. With a range of 6,000nm (nautical miles) and seating for up to 17 passengers (subject to the seating configuration selected), the G6000 has a top speed

of Mach .89 and a maximum operating altitude of 51,000 feet. The large cabin offers all the entertainment, technology and connectivity comforts of the home and office, combined with luxurious furnishings and fittings.

THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER How do you top having the world's best-selling light jet for six years running? You make it even better. More spacious. More ergonomic. More technologically advanced. And more phenomenal. Now, the world’s fastest, longest-range single-pilot aircraft is also the most intuitively luxurious light jet in all of business aviation. Introducing the beautifully designed and brilliantly engineered Phenom 300E – the new standard in value and customer experience.

Radar MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

© Lizzie Himmel, 1986. Artwork © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


Acclaimed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat had a studio in Los Angeles, just one block from the bustling Venice boardwalk. During a break from painting one night, he walked out into its adjacent courtyard and was startled by the presence of a homeless man, who had seemingly found a way to slip through the slat wood fence. Basquiat diassembled the fence and utilised the slats in a unique pictorial structure called Flexible; a highlight of Phillips’ spring sale this month, where bidders certainly won’t be sitting on the fence about whether to acquire this piece of mastery. Phillips 20 th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale takes place in New York on 17 May.



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Film First Reformed Dir: Paul Schrader A solitary, middle-aged parish pastor finds himself plunged into his own tormented past – and equally despairing future – until he finds redemption At Best: “A fascinating meditation on inner turmoil in which doing the right thing can lead down many wrong directions.” indieWire At WoRst: “It won’t break any box-office records. But it’s beautiful, thoughtful and full of grace.” AustinAmerican Statesman

Kings AIR

Dir: Deniz Gamze Ergüven A story set against the civil unrest of 1992 Los Angeles, where a protective foster mother allies herself with a loose cannon neighbour At Best: “For its honourable intentions to address sensitive issues, it’s unconvincing tonal patchwork.” Hollywood Reporter At WoRst: “Has a long career ahead of it as an lesson in how not to exploit events for acclaim.” Cinema Scope

Mountain Dir: Jennifer Peedom From Tibet to Australia, Alaska to Norway, armed with drones, Go-Pros and helicopters, to follow a symphony of mountaineers

At WoRst: “In spite of the sometimes lofty turns of phrase, it is most awe-inspiring in its quieter moments.” National Post

Tully Dir: Jason Reitman Reluctantly ‘gifted’ a nanny by her brother, a new mother forms a unique bond with the thoughtful and surprising young caregiver At Best: “Perfectly blends comedy and drama, creating a powerful, tender meditation on societal stigmas.” Film Inquiry At WoRst: “Has its heart in the right place, but you wish it had an imagination executed to match its empathy.” Variety 20

Images: A24; The Orchard; Greenwich Entertainment; Focus Features

At Best: “A visual and musical spectacle that showcases the majesty of nature and our helplessness to it.” Globe and Mail

Critique MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

Art “T

he history of art is full of old dead white blokes. We’ve had centuries of western men dominating the stuff we put in our eyes. Modern and contemporary abstract art is no different – it’s all Kandinsky and Pollock and Rothko, as if a woman never picked up a paintbrush and did some squiggles on a canvas. But – guess what, bozos – they did. And this show of abstract art by women shows tha they were making some of the best abstraction in the biz in the process.” So says Eddy Frankel’s opener in Time Out about Surface Work, at Victoria Miro Mayfair until 16 June. “The fact that all the artists are women is not nearly so compelling as the tangible, physical, factual objects you are confronted by and the sensations they offer,” says Matthew Collings for Evening Standard. “This magnificent, survey, is as poignant as it is momentous,” writes Laura Cumming, for The Guardian. “There are certain shows that change one’s sense of art; this is one of them... This is a rare and historic event. So many of these names are unfamiliar, so many have been stinted, forgotten or ignored, that it is possible to walk through rooms of magnificent works without having heard of their makers.” The Senses: Design Beyond Vision is a show that urges attendees to “touch, hear, see and smell on a sensory exploration,” writes Katy Cowan for Creative Boom. At Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York until October, “It explores how multisensory design amplifies everyone’s ability to receive information, explore the world, satisfy essential needs and experience joy and wonder.” One of the works, Cyrano, “looks like a small and round, portable speaker,” writes Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times. “But instead of musical playlists, it emits odors in timed combinations – medleys,’ to borrow company-speak – with titles like Surfside and Einstein. I had never thought much about smelling Einstein before encountering this exhibition, and it features 22

Adriana Varejão, Azulejão (Moon). Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London /Venice/Jaime Acioli

other adventures in First World consumerism. There’s hand-painted, scratch-and-sniff wallpaper (think Warhol’s patterned cows but with cherries – cherry-scented, naturally), as well as a device that projects ultrasonic sound waves to simulate the touch and feel of virtual objects. Sure, bring the kids. They will bliss out stroking a wavy, fur-lined installation that makes music as you rub it. But fun and games aside, there’s a serious, timely and big idea here.” “Here’s the Beuys myth: the hugely influential German artist was a pilot in World War II. He crashed his Stuka over the Crimea and was found by a tribe of nomadic Tartars who wrapped him in fat and felt to keep him warm. They saved his life,” writes Eddy Frankel for Time Out London, this time of Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments, at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac until 16 June. “Out of that fable came a whole career based on felt, fat, electricity and medicine... His work took in sculpture, drawing, performance, political activism and

lectures. It’s art as spiritual first aid for a damaged national psyche... and it’s some of the most important art of the 20 th century.” The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones reminisced in his review that, “Listening to the gallerist, I am uncomfortably reminded of how I recently tried to explain Beuys to a group of Guardian readers at Tate Modern. Beuys movingly portrays the tragedy of modern history, I said – but then found it hard to explain just how he did. So perhaps my desire to see history in his art is just an attempt to rationalise the power it exerts on me.” The Telegraph’s Mark Hudson believes, “His reputation isn’t quite in the doldrums, but it’s certainly becalmed... This exhibition promises a Beuys newly relevant to our difficult times. According to the show’s curator, Norman Rosenthal, the former Royal Academy artistic director, it presents a vision of ‘societal rebirth’ that still speaks to a world that is ‘now more than ever searching for new solutions for basic social and economic problems’.”

Critique MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

Books O

f The Wisdom of Wolves, Esquire writes; “Authors Jim and Jamie Dutcher are a husbandand-wife pair of Emmy-winning filmmakers who spent six years living in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho and examining a pack of wolves. The result is a gorgeous reflection on society – both human and animal alike – and the ways that mammals react to each other with camaraderie, compassion, kindness, and, at times, conflict.” The pair “are sentimental but not saccharine,” say Publishers Weekly. “They challenge the cultural perception of wolves as ruthless with more positive stories of wolf behaviour, arguing that ‘many of the qualities that make a wolf successful at being a wolf also represent the best in human nature’... behaviours such as ‘Lead with Kindness,’ ‘Never Stop Playing,’ and ‘Find Compassion’.” It isn’t all lightness. Writes Sunriver Books, “How did Oregon as a state greet the first wolves to reappear in our midst for half a century? We killed them. In 2014 Idaho issued 43,300 wolf hunting tags. In 2014 there were only 650 wolves in the state of Idaho. Doesn’t that sound like slaughter? The Dutchers have written an intimate, kind book in the hope of changing hearts and minds. For the wolves’ sake we hope it works.” “Reduced to an anomalous footnote in British literary history – a female, working-class, avantgarde author – Ann Quin is all too often taken as read,” writes The Guardian’s Andrew Gallix of The Unmapped Country: Stories & Fragments. “Yet her work is as open-ended as those sentences she regularly produced that trail off into silence, casting a spell instead of spelling out; floating away on their reserve of potentiality.” Josie Mitchell at LA Review of Books believes, “It’s fair to say that Quin’s writing is challenging. Constant detective work is needed

to figure out who is who, who is speaking, who is looking where and when. It can feel like a form of readerly madness – the recurrence of images across stories and novels becomes disorienting, like a jumbled dream...” Ian Maleney pens for The Irish Times, “[It is] better to read this collection for the glimpse it provides of a daring spirit; a writer caught in the frantic process of tearing past all the many restrictions – psychological, aesthetic, geographic – which sought to confine her.” “The author does provide some interesting behind-the-scenes glimpses,” writes Kirkus Reviews of From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein. “Jogging next to Obama on adjacent treadmills; Obama’s reminiscing aboard Marine One about the day he met Michelle; and a genuinely touching section on the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, when, after the service, an emotionally drained Obama walked through Air Force One and uncharacteristically didn’t talk to anyone. 25-year-old Dorey-Stein moved to Washington, D.C. and responded to a Craigslist ad for a stenographer position that turned out to be a job at the White House. For the next five years, she travelled the world with Obama, recording his speeches and interviews and releasing official transcripts.” Writes Piper Kerman, author of bestseller Orange Is the New Black, “If you’ve ever felt like you were out of your element, in over your head, or working without a net, you will love this book... it is an endlessly fascinating perspective on power and history in the making.” Esquire quips, “Don’t expect a satirical deep-dive into the inner-workings of the Obama administration, or the Obama-Biden buddy comedy of your dreams– the focus is on the White House as a workplace and on the relationships between the staffers.”

Critique MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84




ere’s what you need to know,” signposts Kathleen Campion of The Metromaniacs, at Midtown West through May. “If you know a lot about period drama – French or otherwise – you will be tickled with this adaptation – no fan is left unfluttered, no sight gag overlooked. There’s the doltish suitor, the clever serving wench, and a dash of unawakened libido just teetering on the brink. Ives enlivens it all. More to the point, if you know nothing about period drama... you will still giggle yourself into an unseemly frenzy at The Duke. Worse news, if decorum means anything to you, the giggling continues to the exits as companions cannot resist recapitulating the lines and surprising pratfalls.” Helen Shaw, writing for Time Out New York, believes Ives’ cleverness “is indisputable, and he excels at a rare sort of verbal glitter. Michael Kahn’s production is physically exquisite – Murell Horton’s costumes are particularly dazzling – and several of the performers nail the gossamer tone. [But] for farce to work, we need to sense the abyss underneath the hero’s pin-wheeling feet. No one in The Metromaniacs actually much minds if they get found out at their little ruses. Without desperation, there’s no exhilaration. And so here, on the fourth pour, Ives’ particular brand of Champagne finally goes flat.” Zachary Stewart concurs somewhat, in his Theater Mania review: “Undoubtedly, many audience members will thrill at Ives’s virtuosic wordplay... I chuckled too, but unmoored from real stakes, I found my mind floating out to sea. This is despite a zippy production by director Michael Kahn and delightfully physical performances from the cast. Everyone delivers the verse with crisp precision, so all the jokes land.” “Newly imported from Los Angeles, In & of Itself is a solo performance by the world-class sleight-of-hand artist Derek DelGaudio,” details The New Yorker of the Daryl Roth-hosted show. “It is not merely magic with theatrical 26

The Metromaniacs, at Midtown West. Photo by Carol Rosegg

trappings but a thoughtful piece of theatre... The level of difficulty at which he executes conventional magician’s fare is plenty diverting on its own. What makes these devices linger in the mind is how he uses them to build an ephemeral illusion of intimacy with his audience. If it doesn’t all necessarily cohere, it’s only in the way a poem might choose not to resolve – to leave ample room for wonder.” Breanne L Heldman discussed in Entertainment that, “As a storyteller, DelGaudio is undeniably compelling, making the show feel intimate and personal. As a magician, well, there’s a reason he’s collected so many awards for his work and served as a consultant on Christopher Nolan’s film The Prestige. Ultimately, though, the true magic of the show is its philosophical consideration of illusion, identity, and perception.” “Those of you who don’t believe in ghosts are likely to think again after seeing Mlima’s Tale,” writes Ben Brantley in The New York Times, of a performance that shows at the Public Theater - Martinson Theater through May. “In this taut, elegantly

assembled production, a magnificent specter stalks this planet, and contaminates the lives of everyone he encounters... [I refer to] the mighty Mlima, a legendary elephant struck down by poachers on the savannas of a Kenyan game preserve.” Sara Holdren was reflective in her Vulture piece, saying, “Even as I balked at the tone of Mlima’s monologues, I understand why [director] Nottage gave him a voice. Humans are selfcentered animals, and it struck me that perhaps part of Mlima’s tragedy is that we require our fellow creatures to be humanised – to be given memories and relationships and souls that can all be communicated through language - before we deign to empathise with them.” Of the actors, Matt Windman explains in AM New York that, “Three versatile ‘players’ cross racial and gender boundaries to portray numerous figures, ranging from corrupt bureaucrats and traders to a cargo ship captain and sculptor. It is genuinely unsettling... [and] turns what is a highly unusual drama about an elephant into a tragedy with universal implications.”



MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84


Escapement to Victory To acquire a Laurent Ferrier is to own a timepiece steeped in Swiss watchmaking tradition. But against a tide of ostentation, how does an independent watchmaker stay true to its classic codes?


ith its clean design, legibility and ease of use, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar was the darling of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH 2018), capturing the imagination and resonating with an industry. The man behind the eponymous Swiss house is accustomed to such plaudits. When Laurent Ferrier debuted his first timepiece in March 2010 (the Galet Classic Tourbillon), a mere eight months later it scooped an award at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – the ‘Oscars’ of watchmaking. This was not a brand emerging from the wilderness, though. Ferrier is a

watchmaker by education, and also by ‘DNA’ – he’s the third generation of watchmakers in his family. Father and grandfather were also not the only prominent ‘family’ in his life; a decision to join watchmaking nobility at the ranks of Patek Philippe also proved invaluable. In conversation on a recent trip to Dubai, brand CEO Vanessa Monestel explained, “Mr Ferrier was responsible for the creation development. This means that across the Patek family he was being asked for novelties and creations, and he was the one to make it happen – from the case, to the hands, to the dial. Under his purview were some of the most exceptional



timepieces ever made – and over time he trained his eye to immediately spot a fault or a flaw and began to think about his dream watch.” It came about as a result of patience. In the 1970s, Ferrier had another passion – motor racing – and competed at 24 hours of Le Mans with co-pilot François Servanin. They worked so well as a duo they promised, ‘one day we will make a watch’ – “But in same way that you’re with a bunch of friends on the beach and daydream about ‘one day we’ll open a bar on this shore’”, laughs Monestel. Cut to 30 years later: “Servanin came to Laurent with a serious proposition: ‘I have some money to invest in a new venture, are you in or not?’ It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to create his own watches from scratch.” The idea was to create ‘creatively classic’ pieces – “because there is always a modern touch to every single creation, but we are heavily grounded in watchmaking tradition,” she details. Ferrier is still a solver. “When he started with the tourbillon he said, ‘We have to improve it’,” explains Monestel. “He came up with the two balance spring system, which proved more reliable. The market came back to him and said ‘we want something more affordable; so we released a piece with an automatic winding system – but Mr Ferrier wanted a rotor that is small and off-centre, which meant thinking about the way we use an energy – small mass would not to generate enough for an automatic wind.” Ferrier improved this through the escapement, which had remained relatively unchanged for over 200 years. He seized the opportunity – creating one with less wheels and a direct double impulse. Even the new Annual Calendar School piece came about through a challenge. A loyal customer urged Ferrier to build an annual calendar, having been exasperated with those on the market; Monestel reports him as saying ‘I love annual calendars but most are terrible to adjust and they just stay unworn in the safe.’ Ferrier developed a system with a push button to change the day, with the month and date adjusted simply by turning the crown. 30

The ratio is one watchmaker to one movement, right until the final phase The business model requires further context. At present, the company comprises just 10 people in total – Ferrier and his son, four in logistics, and four watchmakers. “Many watch brands release limited editions of 1,000 pieces; our boutique brand has crafted just 800 watches in our existence, since 2010,” Monestel discloses. At Laurent Ferrier the ratio is one watchmaker to one movement, right until the final phase. “In the wider industry it’s something that has been lost over time,” the CEO puts into context, “but as a small watchmaking outfit creating just 120 pieces per year, our spirit is to have one person focused on his or her ‘baby.’” What they accomplish is outstanding; a Laurent Ferrier watch is beautiful from every single angle. “It must be a pleasure in every sense; It’s a

question of weight, comfort, and of daily interaction,” she reinforces. “For instance, a driver has their wrist at an angle, and looking at the watch profileon, sees all the reflections – even this engagement has to be beautiful. We resisted putting anti-reflection coating, otherwise it looks completely flat.” Sound plays a crucial part too; for instance, the salmon-dialled Galet Minute Repeater has a case made of steel, ‘to accentuate the chime and endow it with a clear, light tone’. These are among the many reasons that connoisseurs are drawn to Laurent Ferrier. “They are acquiring a movement designed by Laurent himself, with internal craftsmanship and decoration that is far above standard,” says Monestel. “They seek us out, knowing that we are going to enhance their watch-owning experience.”

Opening pages: Laurent Ferrier Galet Minute Repeater Opposite: The reverse of the Galet Minute Repeater, with its subtle quaver note detail This page: The Annual Calendar Montre Ecole, one of this year’s novelties 31


Master craftsmanship, effortless style and timeless appeal; this month’s must-haves and collectibles


duke and dexter

hanDpRInTED lOaFERS ‘We’re cutting edge, not corners’ quips Duke and Dexter – a dash of the personality imbued into each of its handmade loafers. The silhouette and craftsmanship techniques may be conventional, but it’s through an array of colours, textures, prints and motifs that

this footwear really catches the eye. For its bespoke line, the artwork of a client’s choosing (from simple initials to a large, detailed illustration) is handpainted onto ‘D&Ds’ by resident artist Morgan Seaford. A special sealant then ensures longevity, for self expression with every step. 1



Cl aSSIquE TOuRBIllOn Typically classic from its glossy front, the reverse of this sleek timepiece is a window into a lavishly detailed toubillon movement – an engraved Calibre 581, produced in-house. At 3mm it’s one of the thinnest movements around, yet still offers an 80 hour power reserve, which

is only right, given that founder Abraham Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon. The long-form moniker for the watch is the Breguet Classique Tourbillon ExtraPlat Automatique 5367, and it is graced with either a rose gold or platinum casing, which clocks in at a slender 7mm. 2


l a ta b l e

l agOOn Natural stones such as travertine marble are sourced from the Caribbean, and fixed with a signature type of dazzling blue resin. The result is a unique visual experience with exquisite detail, akin to peering down at ocean topography from the window of a private jet. The made-

to-order interior statement piece was designed by Alexander Chapelin, who poured two years into researching the technique. The coffee table is ‘a sample of the sea in levitation’, resembling the natural reef that surrounds the artist’s home of Saint Martin. 3


r M SOtHebYS

MOnaCO 2018 The Monaco Historic Grand Prix takes place on the famous street circuit, which still uses the same roads as the very first race in 1929. It serves as the perfect backdrop for RM Sotheby’s auction, which takes place on 12 May – and as ever, there is a line-up of coveted classics to salivate

over, including this unique 1954 MercedesBenz 220 Cabriolet A (offered without reserve). Last year’s auction exceeded EU27.5 million, and was topped by the sale of the 1951 Ferrari 340 America Touring Barchetta, which achieved an impressive EU7.28 million 4





2018 hanDBag COllECTIOn What’s your Chanel handbag story? That’s the question being posed by the Maison on social media, in association with new interpretations of three emblematic totes. In a series of videos called 3.55 Handbag Stories, Amanda Harlech (considered Karl Lagerfeld’s “outside pair

of eyes”), welcomed 10 influential women from the fashion world to Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartment in Paris, to discuss their relationship with Chanel bags. The icy 2.55, pictured above, is joined by reimaginings of the Boy Chanel and Gabrielle in the 2018 collection. 6


MaiSOn bOnnet


frames are bespoke – with the design, colour and measurements determined during a showroom appointment. Since its establishment in the 1930s the Maison has been Paris-based (near to Palais-Royal), yet a second boutique in London’s Mayfair comes into focus next month.

If these frames have an air of familiarity, there’s a good reason – Maison Bonnet has created look-defining spectacles for a host of public figures, perhaps most significantly for Yves Saint Laurent. The maison works with three materials: acetate, buffalo horn and real tortoiseshell, while all 7


Va n c l e e f & a r p e l S

alhaMBR a BR aCElE T Through the ages, Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra motif has come to symbolise a sense of luck for the wearer – but its beauty is deliberate, not left to fate. Representing the height of savoir faire, the four-leaf clover design is iconic, and is always (re)imagined with the finest

materials. Its heritage is continued in exceptional fashion, with a new collection that includes this pink gold bracelet. Grey mother of pearl from French Polynesia – “one of the Maison’s favourite materials” – compliments glittering diamonds, subtly reflecting light with alluring iridescence. 8

Timepieces MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

The Ultimatum TARIq MALIk


ive years ago, collectors were stunned when Phillips, Aurel Bacs and Pucci Papaleo made history with the first dedicated Daytona auction with Christie’s in Geneva. Nobody expected that the prices would climb so high on the day, or that there would be quite so much interest in rare vintage Rolex Daytona models. Demand has climbed steadily, and price tags have skyrocketed along with the demand. It seems to me as if everyone with the means to own a vintage Daytona wants one, and if at all possible, it has to be a ‘Paul Newman.’ As with all the best things in life, they’re rare, but perhap some of those dreams will come true on 12 May at Phillips Daytona Ultimatum – an auction that’s certain to make horological history once again. The ‘Unicorn’ Like the mythical animal itself, few believed this watch actually existed until it recently appeared in an online article: the owner, John Goldberger, who is a well-known collector, said that the watch was simply not for sale. It was priceless, and he was not letting it go. It is the only known vintage white gold Rolex Daytona in existence, being manufactured in 1970 upon special order for a German retailer. It must have been a particularly important customer for Rolex to produce it. When Goldberger found the watch and picked it up, he noticed that it was much heavier than a steel watch – and immediately knew there was something special about this piece. White gold was usually reserved for the glamorous Day-Date, while this Rolex

they tend to be very special pieces. The ‘Arabian knight’ Daytona has never appeared at auction before, and has only previously been seen in horological literature. Unlike most other Daytona’s there are no holes for the hour markers. The dial is unquestionably original, since the feet that hold it in place have never been broken off or re-soldered. It’s estimated to sell for between CHF1.5- 3million.

‘sports’ watch was usually produced in steel and in some cases in yellow gold. This, however, goes beyond rare to the point of being almost mythical. “I like to discover previously unknown watches,” Goldberger said during a recent interview in Rome. “The search for these pieces is the most enjoyable part.” Goldberger has since decided that he wants to use ‘the unicorn’ to do something for the less fortunate. He is donating the proceeds of the sale to Children’s Action, where it will do the most collective good. Pre-auction estimates put the price at watch at between CHF3-5 million. The Arabian Knight Rolex has a long and interesting relationship with the Middle East. Some of the most unusual watches over the years have been produced for royalty;

The Oyster Sotto If you know Italian, you will recognise its name means ‘Oyster Underneath.’ The reference 6263 Daytona dial that has the “Oyster” designation beneath the word “Cosmograph” at 12 o’clock happens to be the configuration of the very first Paul Newman-style dials. For collectors it is most attractive. Most steel Daytona’s came in either in black with white sub-registers or in white with black – and unlike the classic Daytona dials, these were made by Singer. The font used for the numerals is different, and the sunken outer seconds track matches the colour of the sub-dials. Some of the earliest examples have a red seconds track. The estimate is CHF1-2million and incidentally, it was a Paul Newman piece that set the record as the world’s most expensive wristwatch at auction: the Paul Newman Daytona ref.6239. Phillips with Bacs and Russo sold it for USD17.8million last year. Dubai’s DIFC is home to Momentum, Tariq’s co-founded vintage watch boutique. 33

Jewellery MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

The New Radical With a passion for contemporary art and a desire to push the boundaries between architecture and traditional high jewellery techniques, Gaia Repossi is taking the family legacy in a daring new direction



This page: Gaia Repossi (photo by Antoine Doyen)


My father Alberto taught me not to be scared. We have very similar personalities


s an artist, going out on a creative limb can be a career defining moment, whatever the circumstances. So imagine the weight of a near 100-year-old family jewellery legacy behind you, and it’s easy to understand how the prospect of putting your own stamp on a brand may seem rather daunting. Not so for Gaia Repossi, who took on the role of Creative and Artistic Director of the Italian atelier in 2007 aged 21, and has since steered the brand in a radical new direction that has won a new generation of fans. “My father Alberto taught me not to be scared. We actually have very similar personalities,” says Gaia, who lives in Paris, where the company has its flagship store at 6 Place Vendôme. “I was young when I joined the business but I believe that, in life, you sometimes need to jump

into opportunities. I also think that coming from a family who has been in this field for many years that I was somehow prepared. My grandfather Costantino was still alive when I started, although he passed away around a year or so later. He told me once, ‘I heard you are designing now, I’m very proud and curious about this’.” As he should be. While Gaia’s respect for traditions and craftsmanship is clear to see, she brings a distinctive architectural viewpoint to the pieces – her signature is structural 35

designs – challenging the company’s heritage with a contrasting look and feel that has struck a chord. She considers the pieces “modern classics” that are easy to wear, yet can be worn in new ways. And while her work is heavily informed by her passion for painting and contemporary art, her family life has undoubtedly played a starring role in her evolution as a designer. “Growing up in this business, I gained some real knowledge about the stones and how to recognise them, the quality of the craftsmanship, and the jewellery techniques,” she reveals. “Over the years, I developed a certain eye, which helped me later when I took over the creative direction.” Her childhood dream of becoming an artist was fuelled by her father, who shared his daughter’s passion for painting and drawing.


“He wanted to be an artist as well but, at the time, my grandfather didn’t let him. As a teenager I was very determined to pursue a career in arts and spent a lot of time researching painters’ lives and observing their techniques as a way to identify myself, and build my own identity.” Gaia’s unconventional approach has earned her acclaim, yet Alberto is a hard act to follow. He is credited with propelling the House of Repossi into an international brand with global influence. He opened his first Monte Carlo flagship store in 1979, followed by the Paris store in 1986 – the year Gaia was born.

“In the early 80s, he transformed the Repossi brand into an object of desire,” says Gaia. “He loved large proportions and unexpected associations. But he also taught me to respect feminine proportions and to never treat jewellery as an ornament, but as something that emphasises the features. In terms of aesthetics, however, we are sensitive to different references.” Now, just like Costantino, he is full of pride. “I think he has always foreseen the trajectory I was proposing for our brand,” she says. The House of Repossi has certainly come a long way since it was founded in 1920 in Turin, Italy. Available worldwide, it is known as much for its groundbreaking Berbère collection, launched in 2011, and inspired by the native tattoos of the Touareg Berbers (nomads that live in the

I spent a lot of time researching painters’ lives and observing their techniques as a way to build my identity

Northern African desert), as it is for its specialist engagement and wedding rings, rare and unique diamond solitaires, and limited edition pieces. Exclusive collaborations are also a draw, with Gaia teaming up with artistic friends such as fashion designer Alexander Wang, photographer David Sims and artist Viviane Sassen to develop the image of the collections. “We also collaborated with Juergen Teller,” she adds. “I think there was an immediate interest for him to work with us because he had never shot jewellery before. But there was some fear to begin with, for a fine jewellery brand to use a photographer who is so raw and direct. In the market, it is a bit of a risk. But I think he made a very sophisticated campaign that we’re very happy with.” With a new boutique opening this month in The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, the brand is further strengthening its international reach. “We are trying to push our own boundaries,” she explains. Just like her latest collection, Serti sur Vide, which shines a light on combinations of compositions – think classically elegant earrings with a contemporary punk twist – the synergy of old and new has driven the House firmly into the Gaia era.


Art & Design MAY 2018 : ISSUE 84

Drawn Apart How the unique illustrator Antonio Lopez turned the fashion industry on its head


WORDS: EmIly CronIn


ntonio Lopez knew how to make an entrance. In the early 1960s, before he became simply ‘Antonio’, chronicler-darling of the Paris and New York fashion scenes, he was an upstart with dreams. “I had an old Rolls-Royce,” the late photographer Bill Cunningham recounts in the opening minutes of a new documentary about the fashion illustrator’s life. “The kids [Antonio and his friends] saw it and they wanted me to drive them to a party, so Antonio could impress everyone.” So Cunningham bought a chauffeur’s cap and whisked his charges downtown to New York’s Chelsea. Cunningham would go on to become the consummate street-style photographer, shooting for The New York Times for nearly 40 years until his death in 2016; Lopez would burn faster, but brighter. “He was able to see inside a person and identify with very personal things that maybe one didn’t necessarily understand about oneself,” says James Crump, the documentary’s director. “That was his true talent: this kind of paranormal way to see into a person and see things of beauty


that aren’t so obvious to everyone, and embrace them.” Not only through illustrations but photographs, too. A dashing figure in suits and fedoras, Lopez attracted people with his dark eyes and apparently epic dance moves. He was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York with his family when he was seven; his father, a mannequinmaker who claimed psychic abilities, provided Lopez’s first introduction to the fashion world. At Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Lopez met Juan Ramos, a fellow Nuyorican (Puerto Rican New Yorker) illustrator who was in many ways his mirror, and who would go on to be his lifelong creative partner. They dropped out to get to work – first for Women’s Wear Daily, then Vogue, then everyone. Whereas most fashion illustrations before Lopez’s time tended to be stiff couture renderings, Lopez’s drawings were kinetic, fantastical things, with psychedelic backgrounds, swoops of hair and swinging hips, all brought to technicolour life by Ramos’s colouring. “Antonio could take the simplest line and make it seem very sensual,” Pat Cleveland, a model known for dancing



her way down the runway in the late 60s and 70s, told me. “He made everyone beautiful, with one stroke of the pen. He would get you, and you would think, ‘How did he do that?’” Cunningham gave Lopez and Ramos his apartment in Carnegie Hall and it became a focus of fashion creativity in New York City. Its six rooms came to life after dark, when Lopez’s friends and models (often one and the same) dropped by for portrait sessions that would segue into late dinners at the Automat restaurant and later nights dancing at Max’s Kansas City. One corner booth at the downtown club was always reserved for Antonio’s crew, with another for Andy Warhol’s on the opposite side. In footage of Lopez at work, he’s intensity personified: T-shirt sleeves rolled up over his shoulders, a hunched stance, a glower. “He would sit there and breathe heavy and deep, and make you think almost like you were having a love affair,” Cleveland recalled. At play, it was a different story. Lopez had a broad smile and could be coquettish. 40

Cleveland ranked high among ‘Antonio’s Girls’, a group that also included models Donna Jordan and Jane Forth, who Lopez discovered as teenagers hanging out at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain. There was nothing obvious about their beauty – Forth shaved her eyebrows and Jordan bleached hers, creating an eternally surprised, unnerving look that stood in contrast to the all-American beauty norms of the day. “That kind of imperfection wasn’t at all a standardised notion of what beauty was – he was opening that up,” Crump says. “People today talk about inclusivity and diversity and so forth, but it was really Antonio who was advocating such things as early as the 1960s.” The pursuit of a more inclusive vision of beauty pushed Lopez, Ramos and their crew to decamp to Paris in 1969. “There was a real sense of racism at the major fashion magazines in New York,” Crump says. Paris, by comparison, seemed a beacon of progressiveness. “They needed to break free and challenge the kinds of rigid thinking

they were encountering, and Paris offered them that reprieve.” Quickly they drew the city’s creative talents into their orbit. Karl Lagerfeld, then 37 and designing for Gaby Aghion at Chloé, was smitten, loaning Lopez and Ramos an apartment on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, commissioning their work for his collections at Chloé and hosting the gang in St. Tropez for several summers, where Donna Jordan’s gap-toothed smile and the strands of diamonds that she and Cleveland wore swimming made the sleepy destination suddenly outré. At the same time they worked with designers Kenzō Takada and Sonia Rykiel, then both creating colourful knitwear. “They were very energy-giving,” Vogue contributing editor-at-large Grace Coddington says in the film. “It was that American-in-Paris feeling.” The all-night parties carried on as a ritual around which their work was shaped, with Le Sept, the notorious disco, as their unofficial headquarters. It was at the club that Lopez met a Texan teenager, Jerry Hall. She moved in, and “Antonio created Jerry Hall as we knew her,” Cunningham says. Lopez and Hall were engaged when Norman Parkinson and Coddington took them to Jamaica for a honeymoonstyle shoot for British Vogue in 1975. ‘They were an amazing couple together,’ Coddington says. ‘We even took them to a church and kind of married them.’ After the relationship ended, Hall took up with Bryan Ferry. Amid the candid, emotional interviews with Jessica Lange, Pat Cleveland, Joan Juliet Buck, Cunningham and others in Antonio Lopez 1970, Lagerfeld and Hall are missing. Crump sought interviews with them both and says Hall was eager to talk, but before filming commenced, she married Rupert Murdoch and stopped responding to emails. Lagerfeld never answered. “We made great efforts to include him,” Crump says. “Maybe it’s painful for certain people to look backwards, and it’s easier just to say no. I can’t explain… But I also think in the end it works because they’re both seen in the most beautiful way.”

Opening pages: Jerry Hall on Airplane, Set 2, by Antonio lopez Opposite: Antonio lopez for British Vogue, 15 April 1968. Available to purchase from Fashion Illustration Gallery Below: Doubles, Jerry Hall, April 1975, by Antonio lopez

It was at the club (La Sept) that Lopez met a Texan teenager, Jerry Hall



Ultimately Lopez and Ramos returned to New York, where Lopez learnt he had Aids in 1982. When he was ill and desperate for money to fund experimental treatments, he asked Lagerfeld if he and Ramos could produce illustrations for any upcoming campaign. Lagerfeld’s response was to ask what would happen if Lopez got sick and was unable to complete the work. Lopez took the same question to Oscar de la Renta, acknowledging that he might not have the strength to finish the commission. ‘And they [at Oscar] said, “Do whatever you can,”’ Cunningham says, then breaks down. Lopez died in Los Angeles in 1987, aged 44; Ramos succumbed eight years later. Had Lopez’s future not been foreclosed on by his premature death, Crump thinks he would have bridged the gap between fashion illustration and visual arts in a more Warholian way. “I think he would have continued in fashion but would have had a much more profound and visible influence as a, quote-unquote, artist.” Today, his work is viewed as art, not just illustration. He has been the subject of exhibitions at New York’s FIT, Paris’s Musée de la Mode and London’s Royal College of Art; his illustrations and Instamatic photographs sell for thousands of pounds when they come on to the market. His photographs, in which Jerry Hall is prominent, were last exhibited at New York’s Danziger Gallery in April. Crump says some important institutions have acquired Lopez and Ramos’s work. He hopes the documentary will help both men become ‘much more visible in this conversation about that period and their contributions’. Hindsight can cast a sinister light on decadence. Against a backdrop of Time’s Up and #MeToo, it doesn’t take a terrific leap of reasoning to wonder if – had he been working today – Lopez’s manner of relating to his models might be viewed as problematic. “If you asked the people he worked with, they would absolutely refute that,” says Crump. “It was a much more liberated period. If you look at the early 70s, anything seemed to be attainable, and there was a sense that, for the first time, there was a future for us.” 42

The film is dedicated to Cunningham – the interview he recorded with Crump was the last he gave before he died. “It was very moving – we had to shut the cameras off a couple of times because it got very emotional,” says Crump. “I think Bill knew his time was short and he really wanted to share this story about the two guys he loved. Something we talked about was the contrast between the 1970s and today, and how fashion has changed into such a bottom-line business. Antonio and his crew had so much fun, doing it not for the money but out of sheer pleasure, creativity and obsession… It was about doing something beautiful, intelligent and original.”

Opposite: Jerry Hall on Stairs, Set 2, by Antonio lopez Below: Karl Lagerfeld Set 2, by Antonio lopez

If you look at the early 70s, for the first time, anything seemed attainable



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lden Ehrenreich’s story begins not so long ago, but in a galaxy far far away. And by that, I mean old-school Hollywood, which in many senses seems a distant universe compared to its current identity. The LA-born actor has been chosen to play Rebel Alliance captain Han Solo in the Ron Howard-directed Solo: A Star Wars Story, released this month. And while he may only be 28, he is a student of its history; with an acting approach steeped in old school methodology. Ehrenreich’s rise to success has been swift, and those championing his cause are respected names from Hollywood’s vanguard of excellence. The New York Times reached out to Warren Beatty (who chose Ehrenreich as the lead for his directorial labour of love Rules Don’t Apply), when writing an introductory piece on the up-and-comer in 2015. The stalwart began his response by saying, “I think you’ve chosen a good person to be writing about… Alden has an unusual combination of sensitivity and intelligence and humour. My feeling is that he is going to be a major player in movies.” “He has something of a young Cary Grant,” director Alexandre Moors told Vanity Fair. “Impeccable comic timing delivered from a square-jawed figure. He projects a certain maturity that is sometimes difficult to find in young actors.”


I remember telling people I wanted to be an actor, and being met with ‘Have fun waiting tables’ George Clooney, who headlined the Cohen brothers’ film Hail, Caesar! (in which Ehrenreich was also cast), remarked, “Alden is the kind of actor that steals every scene he’s in. It’s so much fun to watch how hard he works and how effortless it seems”. Film titan Steven Spielberg was the first to ‘discover’ him – and Ehrenreich was not even in the room at the time. As a teen, the aspiring actor made short films with his friends. One particular humour based skit, created for a friend’s coming-of-age ceremony, was shown at the community get-together – and Spielberg was in attendance. A phone call from Dreamworks (the studio Spielberg founded) followed. Confessed Ehrenreich, “I remember when I was 13 and telling people I wanted to be an actor, and being met with ‘Have fun waiting tables,’ so I figured maybe that’s not such a great idea after all. But then this thing happened where I got discovered.” Alongside Spielberg are the Cohen Brothers, Beatty, and


“It’s funny: the reason I did [that film] was the same reason I did everything else,” he told The Guardian. “Even though it was a genre film, and existed at a more studio level, the script and the characters were so well written.” Three years later came that turn in Hail, Ceasar! which picked up a glut of awards nominations and was a coming of age for Ehrenreich – but auditioning for the Cohen’s (to play a 1950s throwback singing cowboy) was not a straightforward lasso. He said, in the same interview, “The second time I read [for the role of Hobie Doyle] I was convinced I’d lost the part, and I was bummed. Then I got a call saying to keep my phone on all day; I thought it was nice the casting director was going to call me personally to say I didn’t get the role. But no one called. The next day I was at my grandmother’s, and the phone rang – it was Ethan and Joel [Cohen]. They said, ‘Have you talked to your agents yet?’ I said ‘No’; they said, ‘So you don’t know? You got the part.’ It was awesome.” It was, perhaps, due to all that diligent Hollywood groundwork.

All images: Getty Images


Francis Ford Coppola. Combined, they are the quintet credited with having unearthed Ehrenreich. Coppola, was the director for Ehrenreich’s second screen outing, Tetro – an American-Argentine film that centres on an immigrant family embroiled in an artistic feud. The movie saw limited release in the US, but it was enough to prompt the late, great film critic Roger Ebert to dub him “the new Leonardo DiCaprio”. It was an enriching experience for the actor: he lived with Coppola for weeks while preparing. “I was young enough that I didn’t know not to pepper him with questions all day long, so that’s all I did,” Ehrenreich recalled, to The New York Times. “All day long, I’m like, ‘What was Robert Duvall like? What was Pacino like?’ It was the greatest mentorship I could have ever imagined from essentially my favourite director of all time.” Ehrenreich continued to cut his teeth on a number of projects, such as Beautiful Creatures – a young adult-targeted movie that featured Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson.


He has something of a young Cary Grant. Impeccable comic timing delivered from a square-jawed figure “When you watch a lot of movies as a kid, the stories do shape a little bit how you view the world,” he told journalist Matthew Schneier, of how his passion was forged. “I just had a feeling of ‘I know what I want to do, and I want to start doing it again.” He appears to have taken fame in his stride, but this month will be the true litmus test. Stepping into the spotlight of a film franchise – especially one as unforgiving as Star Wars, to take on the role of a beloved character defined by Harrison Ford – means suddenly there are not only critics to contend with, but ardent fans to appease. Of the journey so far, he says, “Things changed a little bit, maybe, professionally, but I’m learning how much you are always ignorant of what the life of something is outside of it. It starts from zero every time. Every

time you finish, you’re unemployed.” He also confided in The New York Times, about seeing himself onscreen, “You get used to it, though I don’t think you ever really get used to it. I remember the first time with Tetro. It’s like when you look in the mirror at the end of a long day: ‘That’s who I was all day?’ And it’s that, times 10.” Matthew Broderick, Ehrenreich’s Rules Don’t Apply co-star, is no stranger to early success, vaulted into public conscious back in 1986 at the age of 24, as the star of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Broderick acknowledged to Vanity Fair, “He’s very levelheaded and very curious about others, which is essential if you’re going to survive that kind of fame.” Essential tools not only for dealing with notoriety, but for commanding the Millennium Falcon and developing a kinship with Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca, you might say. 49



Q Tomas Maier, the creative force behind Bottega Veneta, on why ‘quiet luxury’ is more important than ever

Words: Laura Atkinson


hat are the traits of a Bottega woman? Smart, confident, sexy, grown-up; no wonder A-listers including Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore and Lauren Hutton are customers. Founded in 1966 as an Italian leather brand, Bottega Veneta is now a luxury powerhouse that trades in feminine shapes and artisan-made accessories; the kind of whispered luxury that those who know, know. Indeed, amid the recent Instagram feeding frenzy, where drones, severed heads and baby dragons all featured on the catwalks of other luxury brands, Bottega is sticking to what it does best: ultra-luxurious products for the discerning client. It is what Tomas Maier, the German creative director, who turned 61 last month, calls “private luxury”: a Barolo-coloured knee-length leather coat with a popping-red trim that would make any woman stride into a room with confidence; a peachy silk shirt just pretty enough to soften a suit 51

Is influencing making people buy? Is it really? Nobody can come up with a statistic without taking the focus off its wearer. Not forgetting the bags: the oversized, logo-free Cabat, featuring the brand’s signature intrecciato, or woven-leather, technique, is a modern classic. Indeed, people love the intrecciato so much, they also have it on their photo frames, pencil holders and cushions. Yes, the Bottega woman can buy into the whole lifestyle should she so desire. She is “someone who is an individualist, who knows herself and what she likes”, Maier says in his hushed yet precise manner. Those outside the industry would be forgiven for not knowing exactly who this quiet man of fashion is. While he 52

might be the same generation as the Mrs Pradas of the fashion world, he has always, quite intentionally, kept a lower profile, rarely giving interviews. But the launch of a huge new flagship in New York and a catwalk show in the same city (the brand usually shows in Milan), featuring the big models of the moment — Adwoa, Kaia and Gigi — called for attention. Anyway, about that fabulous Bottega woman (there is menswear among the collections, too, of course). She shops less, but buys pieces that will last a lifetime, says Maier. “When I encounter the clients, they say, ‘I have that dress and I don’t wear it very often’ and I say, ‘Well, that’s probably not a good thing.’ And they say, ‘But that is a good thing — I don’t want to wear it very often because I want to keep it forever.’ Nice compliment.” They might be forever pieces, but they’re certainly not unadventurous: Maier’s use of colour is glorious, and for autumn/winter he will have us in bold reds and yellows. Bright and beautiful, yes, but never gaudy — ostentatious and brash is “not my cup of tea”, he says, sticking his tongue out playfully. Maier himself wears black jeans, a grey jumper and white trainers, or a version thereof, every time I see him over three days in New York; when it comes to his own wardrobe, colour is not his cup of tea either, it seems. “I wore canaryyellow pants when I was 15,” he says drily. “It was an experience. I wouldn’t do it again today.” He grew up in the small city of Pforzheim and his accent is strong even now, despite having left Germany straight after high school. Expected to follow his father into the family architecture business, he resisted and studied fashion in Paris before working for brands including Hermès and Sonia Rykiel. In 1997, he moved to Miami with his partner, Andrew Preston, to set up his own-name label. (What started out as just a few bikinis is now a full line of casualwear and is set to be Uniqlo’s next big collaboration, with the Tomas Maier X Uniqlo range debuting later this year.) Maier moved to Bottega in 2001, after Tom Ford, then at Gucci (part of

all images: Bottega Veneta, aW18 Backstage


Left: tomas Maier




I don’t like to ‘use’ a client. I don’t like to pay somebody to wear the clothes. I find that completely the wrong approach the same group), offered him the role. He took the brand from the bench to become one of Kering’s star players, tripling its revenue. “As yet, we have to figure out what that means, because is influencing… is that making people buy? Is it really? Nobody can come up with a statistic. I mean, there are people who did it in a big way and they are off it, because it didn’t go nowhere. So…” He pauses. “People say [those] on Instagram are not people who buy this kind of product.” (Maier himself is on Instagram — but follows no one. Why not? “Not interested.”) He gets, instead, that at these prices, customers want to see, feel, touch the product. “I mean, how can you buy a dress like you saw last night online? You want to try it on… at least take it home and try it on, in their own privacy — which I understand. Who likes to get undressed in a store?”

Not the A-listers who wear the label, that’s for sure. Not that Maier “dresses” them — the brand famously doesn’t gift to celebrities as many others do. “I have always said, we treat all our clients as celebrities. I don’t like to ‘use’ a client. I don’t like that idea and I don’t like to pay somebody to wear the clothes,” he says. “I find that completely the wrong approach. Somebody should like the product because they like it. So do we have celebrities that come to us? Sure.” Aside from Hollywood — Claire Foy and Greta Gerwig also both wear the brand — Maier has another famous fan in Melania Trump, who wore a Bottega Veneta double-breasted wool coat last Halloween. But while dressing the Flotus used to be a dream gig, the politics of Melania’s wardrobe has been the subject of much debate, with some designers distancing themselves quicker than you can say “pantsuit”.

Maier disagrees. “I mean, she’s allowed to wear what she likes — I find the whole statement distasteful, designers taking up a position of ‘I wouldn’t dress her’. It’s not a political statement… If somebody likes a coat, they like a coat. I don’t ask them if they are Catholic, if they are Protestant… It’s unbelievable, where does it come from? It’s crazy! So, like, OK, you appreciate the design, I’m happy! She looks great in the clothes. Does that make me a Republican? No!” Politics and pressures aside, Maier still loves going to work. “I like what we do and what we can achieve,” he says thoughtfully. Ultimately, though, it’s all about that Bottega woman and what she wants. “I think it’s all about how old are you in your mind,” he says of his customer. “It just matters to me to make people feel confident and happy.” And with that, he’s back to work. 55


All images: DC Comics Entertainment, in relation to its release of Action Comics #1000


The Man of Steel superman was born in Cleveland, not Krypton. The character began as the playground daydream of a bullied schoolboy, who went on to create a bulletproof symbol of truth and justice that could protect us all WoRds: Chris UjmA


hen Jerry Siegel sold the concept of Superman to the new owners of Major Wheeler-Nicholson’s publishing business in 1937, he received just USD130. Even when adjusted for inflation it’s a stunning figure – but in terms of value, it was nothing compared to the lack of self esteem Siegel felt as a young boy. “Being Jerry never was easy,” explains Larry Tye, author of Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero. His troubles began in first grade, at a school in Cleveland, back in 1920. Recounts the author, “The stubby sixyear-old had proudly memorised the rules for asking to pee. Other children did it, and were given permission. But there was no reply when Jerry raised his hand. Finally the teacher turned his way: ‘What do you want?’ He told her. “No,” she said. Maybe she thought he was faking. Whatever the reason, his bladder swelled and a

puddle formed under his seat. With other children pointing, the teacher descended: ‘You are a bad, bad, bad, bad boy! Bad and disgusting! Leave the room, this very instant! Go home!’” Recess, too, was a trial and often a terror for him, documented Tye. “Tormenters were everywhere. His very name became a source of ridicule. ‘Siegel, Seagull, bird of an Eagle!’ they would chant. If only he really could fly away.” “At an early age, I got a taste of how it feels to be victimised,” Siegel himself would recall decades later, of his upbringing as the son of immigrants. Of school, he said that, “When the grim business of cramming knowledge into one’s skull got down to business, interest in arithmetic, geography, etc. just slid off my brain and oozed into a crack in the floor where it gradually evaporated.” Tye explains that Siegel the student got used to D’s and F’s – and to summers repeating the failed subjects. 57

AIR All images: The evolution of the man of steel opening pages: superman, as depicted in 1940 Above: A comic strip from one of superman’s earliest adventures opposite: Going galactic in the 1950s overleaf: Going back to the origins of Clark Kent in the 2000s


Out of Siegel’s unforgiving darkness would emerge light – but it didn’t take the guise of Superman. In the beginning, comics served merely as an adolescent escape. “With the real world offering no solace he created one built around fantasy. Mornings, he stood in the schoolyard until his classmates disappeared indoors, then he headed to the public library. Pulling his favourites from the tall stacks of books, he was transported. At weekends, Siegel went to matinees at the motion picture theatre.” Tye adds that watching was not enough for Siegel. “Convinced he could replicate the derring-do of those on screen, he darted in and out of traffic on the narrow roads of

his Glenville neighbourhood. And as freeing as it felt to mimic his idols, better still was concocting narratives starring himself. Not the shunned, tongue-tied adolescent the kids in the schoolyard saw, but the real Jerry, fearless and stalwart.” Tye explains that Siegel would be bought back down to earth on an overcast evening in June 1932. “Clarity came on the wings of his own tragedy. It happened in a downtrodden strip of Cleveland’s ghetto known as Cedar-Central. Three men entered his father Michel Siegel’s second-hand clothing store; Michel was ready to head home to his family but now he couldn’t. One man asked to see a suit, then walked out without paying; another blocked the owner’s path. Michel, a slight man whose heart muscle was weaker than even he knew, fell to the floor. A month short of his 60th birthday, he stopped breathing before medics could get him to the hospital.” Sarah, Jerry’s mother, became a widow, on her own with his three sisters and two brothers, and next to no savings. “Jerry took the loss the hardest,” says Tye. “The boy who had been bullied was bereft. Sitting on his dad’s knee and being rocked up and down had been one his few safe havens. ‘Bliss,’ he called it later. ‘Supreme rapture.’ Now his father was gone.” It led to new focus for the creative adolescent, who was just shy of 18. “What had been a series of disparate characters with no focus or purpose now merged into a single figure who became a preoccupation,” says Tye. He called him The Super-Man. Siegel’s first story, written shortly after his father’s death, “envisioned the figure as endowed with exceptional strength, telescopic vision, the capacity to read minds, and a resolve to rule the universe,” says Tye. “Over the months that followed, this character dropped ‘the’ and the hyphen, along with his evil inclinations, becoming simply Superman – a bulletproof avenger who beat back bullies, won the hearts of girls, and used his superpowers to help those most in need. And who, in the only artwork that survives from that first imagining, soars to the rescue of a middle-aged man being held up by a robber.”



He is an archetype of mankind at its pinnacle. He swoops in to solve our problems, no ‘thank you’ needed

It took a friend to take the idea to the next level. Siegel befriended similarly shy and bespectacled Joe Shuster as a teen: “When Joe and I first met, it was like the right chemicals coming together,” he later reminisced. Together, they became a writer-artist team, bringing their imagined heroes into ink. Their first big collaboration was The Reign of the Super-Man, which Tye describes as “a twist on the Frankenstein fable”, which they wrote and illustrated in 1932 and published the next January. It depicted a megalomaniacal scientist who tested a mind-bending chemical on a homeless man, yielding a monster with the power not just to read people’s thoughts but to control them, hatching a plan to generate enough wealth to dominate the planet. Tye writes, “At the last instant the character lost his powers, he had a bout of conscience: ‘I see, now, how wrong I was. If I had worked for the good of humanity, my name would have gone down in history with a blessing – instead of a curse’”. That concept of good prevailing over evil was a precursor to Superman, and a more honed idea was floated to a senior executive at the McClure Newspaper Syndicate, one Maxwell Charles Gaines. The concept did not interest his bosses, though, so he returned the drawings. Three years later, in December 1937, Gaines was looking for new material and decided to take another shot at Superman. “Siegel and Shuster mailed him proposals for six strips – about a cowboy, an adventurer, a detective, a sports star, and a sci-fi scientist – along with their latest rendering of Superman,” says Tye. A few weeks later, he got a call from the new owners of Major WheelerNicholson’s publishing business, Jack Liebowitz and Harry Donenfeld, who wanted to launch another book. And while they had a title, Action Comics, they’d no material. 60

Liebowitz wrote in his memoir that he phoned his friend Gaines. “Superman had been submitted to the syndicate which had turned it down like all other syndicates turned it down. It was six daily strips, made for newspapers. Anyway, we liked it.” Siegel, still in Cleveland, received a call from Gaines, who wanted to know if he would be happy to turn over the scripts. “It was the question Siegel had been waiting five years to answer,” says Tye – though the matter of money was settled slighter quicker. Tye records that on 1 March, Jack mailed Siegel and Shuster a cheque for USD412. It comprised USD282 for work that had been done and, almost as an afterthought, USD130 for Superman. He explains, “It was double what they were used to and a fair rate – USD10 a page – for the era and their experience, so they cashed it and split it down the middle. “But they were buying not merely the thirteen pages for that first Superman comic, but the right to do what they would with the character,” says Tye. “They could clip his powers or his hair, bring him to life in new media or kill him outright, or do whatever else they wanted. Siegel and Joe’s deal with the publishing house was for five years; Superman’s was forever.” It did not take long for the buzz to begin. Writers, artists, and publishers “wanted to know just who was this costumed hero anyway? And who were these uncredited creators, unknowns in the old world of comic strips and the new one of comic books?” The cover of Action Comics #1 – the first appearance of Superman, exactly 80 years ago – “signalled how ground breaking, how uplifting, this Superman would be. There he was in bold primary colours: blue fullbody tights, a yellow chest shield, and candy-apple cape, booties, and briefs worn over his tights. No mask; he wanted the world to see who he was”. Just what made Superman so endearing to the public? Those

immense superpowers are only half the equation, believes Tye. “More essential is knowing what to do with them, and nobody has a more instinctual sense than Superman of right and wrong. He is an archetype of mankind at its pinnacle. He swoops in to solve our problems, no ‘thank you’ needed. He is neither cynical like Batman nor fraught like Spider-Man. The more jaded the era, the more we have been suckered back to his clunky familiarity. So what if the upshot of his adventures is predictable? The good guy never loses. That is reassuring.” The truth is that there was no question that Superman built on what came before – Siegler admitted, “Our concept would be to combine the best traits of all the heroes of history.” Says Tye. “Superman was as strong as Samson, as fast as Hermes, and as brain-bendingly smart as Micromegas. Having superpowers that stemmed from gravity was straight out of John Carter of Mars. Popeye and Tarzan showed him how to be a strongman. Siegel and Shuster made no secret of any of their inspirations, just as they acknowledged being saps for the endless newspaper comics and cliffhanger movies they took in as kids.” Siegel was the good guy on the losing side too often, but with Joe Shuster he created more than a mere cartoon. Superman evolved across eight decades of storylines into a timeless figure who could be broken, reviled, glorified and never defeated; a symbol to inspire the world to overcome its weakness and summon its inner strength. Because after all, in life, not every hero wears a cape.

2018 marks the 80th anniversary of Superman, and the event is commemorated by the release of Action Comics #1000, by DC Entertainment. Larry Tye authored Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero, published by Random House Trade Paperback



Naomi Campbell called him ‘Papa’, while an industry called him a visionary. Azzedine Alaïa crafted a special place in fashion folklore, drawing on a mastery of material and fierce independence WORDS : Chris Ujma





nlike many of his contemporaries, designer Azzedine Alaïa personally constructed each garment by hand and refused to bow to the pressures of fashion week deadlines, instead working to his own schedule. He only showed collections when both the garments, and he, were ready. It’s fair to say, then, that in a style realm driven by egos and cliques, Alaïa’s defiance ruffled a few feathers. Born in Tunisia and admiring Paris from afar, Alaïa was something of a fashion outlier – and this perhaps shaped his tenacity. When Alaïa launched his first collection in the 1970s he was already reasonably mature, and success was hard fought. He honed a process that would not be rushed, and the garments were imbued with liberation – inspiring that same attitude in those who wore them. He went from being an underdog to top dog, and this was a man firmly appreciated in his time; former editor-in-chief of French Marie Claire Catherine Lardeur remarked, “Fashion is dead. Designers nowadays do not create anything, they only make clothes so people and the press would talk about them. The real money for designers lies within perfumes and handbags. It is all about image. Alaïa remains the king.” A new exhibition, which opens at The Design Museum in London this month, is the ideal lens through which to admire the fruits of his reign. The showcase, a collaboration between Museum and Maison, details his technical ability by showing 60 choice garments. Despite the designer passing away in November 2017 during its planning, the exhibit is “not a retrospective,” says Gemma Curtin, curator at the museum. He was heavily involved in the logistics, with Alaïa co-curating the showcase and personally selecting the garments from his immense archive, not centred on self-congratulation or nostalgia. “He was driven by this stimulation to see his work in a different environment,” Curtin explains. “The pieces are set against a backdrop of contemporary art, something he hadn’t done before. We were inspired to show the mastery of his design with 64

newly commissioned screens by the likes of Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic and Tatiana Trouve. It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the visual conversations of the placement of garments against artistic design.” This peek behind-the-scenes into his world also communicates the softer edge to Alaïa’s persona. The exhibition shows incredibly rare images of his atelier, taken by British artist Richard Wentworth in 2016. Form fitting (closer to ‘spray on’) designs earned Alaïa the appellation ‘The King of Cling’, but for his

millimetre precision with fabric, on a personal level he was known for overflowing generosity. There are those who did not make into his inner circle, and he made it known: Alaïa’s tally of soundbites proves entertaining; he skewered, for example, the likes of Anna Wintour (“She runs the business very well, but not the fashion part. When I see how she is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second”) and Karl Lagerfeld (“I don’t like his fashion, his spirit, his attitude,” he also said. “It’s too much caricature”).

But those he accepted into his circle were nourished – quite literally – by Alaïa’s giving spirit in his cosy kitchen. The 14,000 square foot, 18th century building on Rue de Moussy, Paris, was his world: within its footprint was his apartment and atelier, plus a gallery, showroom, hotel and shop – as well as that famed kitchen. Those invited into the latter for a casual dinner or extended lunch by the designer had been given an unspoken seal of approval. Tim Blanks, editorat-large for The Business of Fashion, described the select get-togethers as having “attained an almost mythic status as a nexus of everyone and everything that was special in fashion, the inner-est of inner circles, the illuminati of style”. Concurs Curtin, “His kitchen symbolises the balance he was able to bring to his life, between work and a love of people. It was where all the ateliers would come to eat, as well as clients, models, politicians and visiting friends, and there was no hierarchy – it was more like a canteen. This openness sums him up as a private person;

there’s a rigour and a love for the work, but also an appreciation for those who helped him along the road to recognition.” Of his closest allies in that cultivated fraternity, Alaïa’s deepest bond was arguably forged with Naomi Campbell. She affectionately called him ‘Papa’ (“He always wanted to protect me,” she told Blanks), and Alaïa was equally enamoured with the supermodel. “Like me, she is intuitive, stubborn, quick, generous and honest,” he detailed in his final interview, with Vogue. “Naomi is an amazing person; nobody truly understands her. She is much deeper than she first appears. She is quite misunderstood… We don’t have to ask anyone to change. We should respect everyone’s individuality. Maybe we have to change ourselves to co-operate with others. Perhaps we can learn something.” ‘Learning something’ was what Alaïa always did on a broader scope, says Curtin. “His technique and his knowledge of couture was incredible. He learned to sew from a very early age, and worked in the tailoring

All exhibition images: alaïa Galleria Borghese Below: © Peter Lindbergh

Alaïa remarked, ‘I make clothes; women make fashion’



His work is an artist’s oeuvre; you see consistency and an evolution workshop of Guy Laroche. He never stopped learning, and studied the great couturiers; he studied the techniques of Madeline Vionnet, Balenciaga and Charles James to see how they created.” The resulting couture made Alaïa himself a designer to emulate. Campbell was just one of the marquee model names to don an Alaïa ensemble on the catwalk, and he dressed powerful women like Michelle Obama. His fun-filled fitting sessions could entice international supermodels from far and wide – mostly for the clothes; “We do whatever we can to change our dates or cancel other shows, because 66

we all love Azzedine,” once confessed Linda Evangelista, and models would often forgo their fee in exchange for keeping the garments, which Alaïa gladly obliged. It’s easy to see why powerful women were enraptured, and Curtin directs exhibition visitors toward a group of garments that show how the designer deployed metal studding on leather. “With his work there is often a push and pull of very fine materials, blended with something harsh looking, like a stud. He might have an incredibly tailored dress, but instead of seams there’ll be zips,” she details. “It’s a

lovely play on technique, that is both enticing and incredibly beautifully done. He’s admired for the way he used the body rather than how he covered the body. His is a combination of exquisite material and an incredible fit, with an unusual element added in.” After his passing, The Guardian’s Jess Cartner-Morely reflected on his impact, saying, “There is nothing new about clothes that mould a body into an hourglass – the earliest known corsets are the stiffened belts built to reduce waist size depicted on Minoan pottery in around BCE1500 – yet Alaïa was revolutionary in the way he looked at women’s figures. Where corsetry created a static, airless ideal of a womanly shape, Alaïa worked with seams, stretch and drape to create a sex appeal that was raw and muscular. His bodies were shaped with muscles and with seams, not with whalebone and horsehair padding.” “This lends to the timelessness of his clothes,” says Curtin. “He concentrated on the body, and the female form.” Naomi Campbell was quoted as saying “You can wear something of his 20 years later and it still feels good,” while Alaïa himself noted, “I make clothes. Women make fashion.” Curtin describes his collections as “an artist’s oeuvre, in that you can look over the entire creative output and see a consistency and an evolution to his approach, rather than merely responding to external influences. They are very much derived from his own ideas and his own direction.” “It gives his clothes an authenticity,” Curtin believes. He would conduct each step of the process himself, and this was combined with unwavering selfbelief – nobody could make Alaïa do something he did not believe in. “I refuse to do things I don’t want to do. I do what I want, I’m free… If I don’t feel it, I don’t do it,” he proclaimed. His loyal following would only be decorated with his couture when he was ready – he exhibited his collections on his own time, refusing to be dictated by the currents of the fashion calendar. Time and tide may wait for no (wo)man, but fashion would always wait, with anticipation, for Alaïa. Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier shows at The Design Museum in London until 7 October.




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Here Comes the Sun McLaren has incorporated a fold-down roof into its 570S Spider, yet not sacrificed a shred of scintillating performance. With the exhilaration of open-air driving, this is a supercar for everyday enjoyment WORDS : CHRIS UJMA




ack in 2016, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt announced Track22 – the company’s self-funded investment of GBP1 billion that would be driven into research and development, leading to the launch of 15 all-new cars or derivatives by 2022. The 2018 570S Spider, which is parked under McLaren’s ‘Sports Series’ family, is one of those 15. (Other delineations are Super Series, Ultimate Series and Legacy). It’s engineered to perfection. A roof that retracts in 14 seconds (even when driving, up to 40km/h) is the most significant difference between the Spider and its Coupé predecessor – and that’s no mean feat. Nothing of the 570S performance and little of its overall weight has been surrendered to accommodate the foldaway, carbon fibre covering; this is a convertible without any compromises. Overall, the Sports Series shares technologies derived from its Formula 1 cousins, such as innovations with carbon fibre; McLaren says that ‘its immense rigidity and strength means that – unlike most other convertibles – the 570S Spider requires no additional stiffening of the chassis, and so maintains the extreme performance, dynamic excellence and impressive refinement expected’. For example, the MonoCell II chassis at the heart of the 570S Coupé is incredibly strong and stiff, yet weighs less than 80kg. Built in Woking, England, its foldaway roof makes this supercar built for enjoying balmy Dubai climes. Its open-air drive experience brings you closer to the elements, and there’s no better place to enjoy that than with a romp up a picturesque mountain pass – the exact drive scenario in which I was drawn into the spider’s web. For the unfamiliar, Jebel Jais – a 90-minute drive from Dubai – defines Ras al Khaimah’s horizon and, at 1,934 metres above sea level, represents the highest point of the UAE. The emirate invested in the region of USD81 million into building 20km of smooth blacktop, allowing drivers to snake up the landmark. It’s a leisurely weekend jaunt for the SUV owner, and a prime setting to experience the bite of a supercar like a 570S Spider; the road’s hairpin bends and delicious straights make it somewhat of a Stelvio Pass for the Middle East. 70

Jebel Jais is the prime setting to experience the bite of this Spider Danny Buxton, currently the Drive Team Leader at McLaren (and the man who has put every McLaren through its paces on both road and track since “there were only 10 other people in the organisation”), led the way. For all his experience, Buxton was still “blown away” by this UAE road route, and McLaren chose it for us to experience the riproaring 562hp of the Spider’s twinturbocharged V8 mid-engine. The day unearthed some nuggets prior to unleashing the car’s power, though, by revealing how it confronts the urban everyday with practicality. For a start, its ground clearance is a low 93mm, but this can be raised at the touch of a stalk to lollop over pesky speedbumps. In ‘Normal’ drive setting, the Spider is comfortable and cushioned to hum along in. There’s also a combined 200 litres of luggage capacity too, and behind the seats is space to slot an overnight bag or two.

Moreover, there’s its visual kudos. Opting for a McLaren is no exercise in discretion, especially given some of the eyecatching hues among the paint options (Sicilian Yellow, Mantis Green or, of course, McLaren Orange), and the throaty growl emitted from its engine when teased above idle at traffic lights. The Spider draws the eyes of the public (who you will catch, without fail, sneaking in a selfie with the parked car when you return from lunch). Yet it also attracts admiration, albeit more restrained, from a wholly accomplished society set. Parked among other leading marques outside the classy Bulgari Resort Dubai, many made a beeline for a closer peek; glide past upscale City Walk, and the glances from behind oversized shades are apparent. There’s visual joy for occupants, too. The cabin is described by Buxton as a ‘carbon fibre tub’, however swoosh up a diherdral door to reveal a cockpit that oozes sophistication. Every surface of its wide cabin is oh so tactile – whether an owner configures the cabin with touches such as extended leather or nappa alcantara, or plumps for body hugging, carbon fibre race seats. When nestled in one of those seats at the foot of Jebel Jais, the car urges you to invoke ‘Sport’ or ‘Track’ from the drive dynamics menu to awaken its thoroughbred persona. On the spec list, eyes will naturally be drawn to its 328km/h top speed, and the 0-200km/h split of 9.6 seconds. Other unsung factors are spotlighted when devouring these mountainside twists and turns. It darts, go-kart-like, around corners with aplomb, and a trait emphasised on these hairpins are the carbon ceramic brakes – fitted with piston calibres they need just 32 metres to slow from 100km/h to standstill. Given its power, the Spider is immensely easy to handle at speed; a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is buttery smooth, there’s plenty of driver feedback; an impressive synergy between driver and machine. In command of elite driving engineering – and with the top down, basking in toasty sun while carressed by the breeze – only one phrase springs to mind: ‘this is the life’. In its supercar segment, the 570S Spider rightly deserves a place at the summit. 71



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National Treasure

By introducing its first ever guide to Taipei, Michelin has welcomed new stars into its fine dining galaxy. Yet for Richie Lin, owner of newly awarded Mume, excellence is a standard he has long upheld





hen Richie Lin embarked on his Taipei restaurant venture four years ago, a Michelin guide for the city had not even crossed his mind. Lin, born in Hong Kong and raised in Toronto, had returned to his homeland following stints in acclaimed fine dining establishments overseas – most notably in Australia and Copenhagen. Making regular, short-haul visits to Taiwan, he was seduced by the vast extent of Taiwanese produce – and it sparked a concept: “My idea was to showcase the country to the world by weaving its special produce into high standard cuisine,” he says. Mume offers spectacular dishes built around this diverse array of local produce, celebrating the culinary riches harboured by the island nation. “There are so many products that I fell in love with,” Lin raves. “Taiwan is a diverse country and what’s special is that despite being a tiny island, it has a great amount of biodiversity – with four different climates from tropical to subtropical, and high mountain altitudes with cooler temperatures. Despite being a small country it has a strong


indigenous background dating back thousands of years – long before the Chinese even came to Taiwan. The interesting way that they use the produce still endures, and there are aboriginal cuisines that make the local dishes very unique.” It stands to reason that the name he selected for his restaurant, Mume, derives from the Taiwanese national flower, a plum blossom. And back in April, when Michelin bestowed its inaugural guide on Taipei, this national treasure was among the select group of restaurants awarded. The guide framed its praise of Mume by describing the fare as ‘Taiwanese melded with Nordic principles’ – but Lin feels the term is a loose one. “I think it’s an interesting way to put it,” he confesses. “It doesn’t fully characterise the menu, but maybe it came about because of my background in Scandinavia, and also that our cuisine shares a similarity with Nordic cuisine, being light and refreshing. It isn’t like traditional or modern French fare, where there are heavy sauces, roasted meat and so on.”

My idea was to showcase this island nation to the world, by weaving its special produce into high standard cuisine

One thing that can be agreed upon, however, is that dining here is an opportunity to savour a compendium of Taiwanese delights. “Our goal is for the dishes to be composed of 100 percent local produce, and at the moment we’re around 90-95 percent, depending on the season,” he says. The San Pellegrino-endorsed Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list waxed lyrical by saying, ‘Herbs and flowers decorate dishes such as burnt cabbage topped with smoked salmon roe and hazelnuts – while culinary traditions close to home are also honoured. Think ribs with aged miso and plum glaze or a summer salad of nearly 30 different vegetables from local producers, dressed with fermented black beans.’ The latter is a perfect example of the unique flavourburst that awaits diners. “Those black beans are very umami,” says Lin, “and it is a main condiment for seasoning. We take it, dehydrate it slowly, then grind it up into the size of sea salt granules. We season everything with it instead of using salt, for a strong, savoury addition to every dish.” Pressed to name a favourite component, Lin opts for magao – a wild mountain pepper. “It is supremely aromatic,” he says, “and when fresh in June and July, you walk through the mountain forests and immediately smell that ginger, citrusy scent. We harvest as much as we can in those months, then throughout the year we incorporate the pepper in many ways– we make




cocktails, incorporate it into desserts, and create infused oils to season trout and scallops, as opposed to using imported olive oil. It’s a component that people are happily surprised with when it hits their tastebuds.” Discussing Mume’s ideology, Lin often speaks collectively. That’s because the head chef and owner did not embark on the idea alone; in publicity images for the restaurant, Lin is often flanked by chefs Kai Ward and Long Xiong. “I met Kai in Australia, where we worked at Quay, considered one of the best restaurants in Sydney. After that I went to Noma in Copenhagen, which is where I met Long, who hails from New York. After returning to Hong Kong, I called Long and asked if he’d be interested to join this venture, then Kai joined the project soon after.” Does the abundance of dynamic talent lead to the old adage of ‘too many cooks…’? “No,” says Lin. “Because I worked with both of them for a long time, there was already a good dynamic; it is not difficult once you remove any ego. I’m not

I wanted to create a ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ that is comfortable and relaxed walking around saying ‘I’m the head chef, this is the way it should be.’ We have a healthy climate of ideas, and it has been a good experience.” Their combined expertise is served in unpretentious surrounds. Lin describes the restaurant environs as “very casual” and says he sought to create “a cosy ambience. I wanted to create a welcoming ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ that is not stuffy, but comfortable and relaxed”. The restaurant only opens for dinner service, “so the core mood is focused on that night-time vibe and atmosphere,” adds Lin. “We want to serve good food to people having a good time – it doesn’t have to be a special life occasion for someone to come to Mume. We serve hearty,

high quality meals at an affordable price point, for everyday enjoyment”. Under an intensified spotlight that accompanies a Michelin honour, proud Lin exudes calm amid the flurry of attention. “For me, it is normal to source the best produce that I can, and prepare it in the most innovative way – because of the training in all of the elite restaurants that I worked in. We have high standards, and I always imparted to my team, ‘Do whatever you do every day, and produce to the best level you can.’ I feel that mindset is enough.” Curious newcomers, then, are in for a treat. “We are looking to create a sense of place,” says Lin. “You’re in Taiwan, in a relaxed setting, and are having a particular dish that you couldn’t enjoy to its full impact outside of the country. Even if I wanted to make the same dish in Hong Kong or Singapore, there would be a sacrifice of some of the ingredients.” Lin’s execution of that welcoming ‘sense of place’ means Mume has fully earned its place – as a pioneer, in Taipei’s first ever Michelin guide. 77

27 28 journeys by jet

The Milestone


Kensington, England


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hen that annual swoon of warmer weather bakes the Middle East, London serves as a trusty summer stronghold for those looking to beat the heat. Nothing less than elegance is expected from an extended seasonal stay in the UK capital and The Milestone, with origins that can be traced back to 1689, is an historic hotel that lives up to such standards. Close to the Royal Albert Hall, it is perfectly located opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens, and the boutique hotel has prestige to match its esteemed address. Within the property, guests will discover old world charm, beautiful rich furnishings, exquisite original art and outstanding cuisine. No two suites of its living quarters are alike – each has been individually furnished with a selection of choice antiques, to harmonise with its respective theme. The visions of quaint furniture and fine fabrics that one may imagine simply by uttering the names of the suites prove accurate: august names such as the Buckingham; the Viscount; the Tudor; the Regency. Topmost is the regal, pale-gold hued Prince Albert Suite, with its high ceilings, feature fireplace, and a

balcony that overlooks the Gardens – not to mention a quintessentially British four-poster bed. Opting for this premier abode brings with it the full gamut of personalised attention – from an ever-present butler service, to around the clock security detail. Should your familial circle extend to a furry, four-legged friend, they’ll receive an equally warm welcome. The hotel’s Pet Services, overseen by Head Concierge Jose Pauco and his team, ensure every need is attended to – including a selection of custom made Milestone Hotel pet beds, cushions, duvets, floor mats and bathrobes and an array of dining delights from the inhouse Pet Menu. For more upright guests, the hotel’s dining offerings are the icing on the cake – be it taking afternoon tea in Cheneston’s drawing room, sipping drinks in Grade II listed The Stables, or tucking into a specially prepared picnic in the lush gardens. Attentive service, unforgettable surrounds and British authenticity means The Milestone is evokes moments that truly reflect its name. After jetting into one of London’s main airports (Heathrow, Gatwick or London City), the hotel will chauffeur you to its doorstep via a private Bentley limousine. 79

What I Know Now


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Yusra Mardini

Olympic Swimmer, Syrian refugee & unHcr gOOdwill ambaSSadOr I swam before I could walk. My dad, a swimming coach, just put me in the water. Swimming is the family passion and Dad expected us to share it. He swam for Syria when he was a teenager, but had to stop after being called up for compulsory military service. The summer I was six, we watched the closing races of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games on TV – the men’s 100m butterfly final. ‘Watch lane four, the American Michael Phelps,’ said Dad. He snatched gold by four hundredths of a second. I studied Phelps’ face, wondering if that feeling makes it all worth it. I never chose to be a swimmer. But from that moment on I was hooked. My gut burned with ambition. I clenched my fists. I no longer cared what it would take. ‘I’ll follow Phelps to the top. To the Olympics. To gold. Or die trying.’ 80

Our parents taught my sister Sara and I to follow them and, more importantly, taught us that a good Muslim shows respect. Respect your elders, respect women, respect those from other cultures. Respect your mother and respect your father – especially if he’s also your swimming coach. A lot of people didn’t understand about us swimming. They didn’t see the hard work and dedication it takes to swim. They just saw the swimsuit. Neighbours and parents of kids at our school told Mum they didn’t approve. Some said wearing a swimsuit past a certain age is inappropriate for a young girl. Mum ignored them. Dad taught me that in swimming, you’re on your own. It’s not about anyone else’s fight, it’s about yours. It’s tough and I don’t want to hurt anybody, but this is sport. It’s not about being

nice, it’s about winning. I have a goal and I have to reach it. I was asked what I learned on my journey to Europe. That’s easy. I learned perspective. Back in Syria I wasted time worrying about petty things. Now I knew what real problems were. My eyes had been opened. Olympian or not, as long as I can’t go home, I’ll still wear that other nametag. Refugee. After the Rio Olympics I learned to embrace that word. I don’t see it as an insult. It’s just a name for ordinary people who were forced to flee their homes. Like me, like my family.

Abridged excerpt taken from Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian, My Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph, by Yusra Mardini. Available from Bluebird Books /

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Air Magazine - Empire - May'18  
Air Magazine - Empire - May'18