Page 1

ISSUE SIXTY SEVEN DECEMBER 2016

Felicity Jones Luxury • Culture • People • Style • Heritage


SIGNATURE DE CHANEL NECKLACE AND BRACELET IN WHITE GOLD, SAPPHIRES AND DIAMONDS RING IN WHITE GOLD AND DIAMONDS

DUBAI, THE DUBAI MALL +971 4 3827100/06

RIYADH, AL TAHLIA +966 11 4627959 CHANEL.COM

DOHA, LAGOONA MALL +974 4444 1932


Contents DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

EDITORIAL Editorial Director

John Thatcher Editor

AIR

Chris Ujma christopher@hotmediapublishing.com Sub-Editor

Emma Laurence

ART Art Director

Andy Knappett Designer

Emi Dixon Illustrations

Vanessa Arnaud

COMMERCIAL Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher Group Commercial Director

David Wade

Forty Six

Sixty Six

With attention-grabbing roles in Star Wars and Inferno, Felicity Jones has cracked the Hollywood code

A Bowie-centric exhibition affords us a final farewell to Ziggy, Major Tom, Aladdin Sane and the gang

Sixty

Seventy Two

The Jane Birkin legend reaches beyond her vocal aura; we take a timely look back at her inspiring heyday

The inside story of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson: how the King of England ceded his crown for love

Action Flick

david@hotmediapublishing.com Commercial Director

Rawan Chehab

rawan@hotmediapublishing.com Business Development Manager

Rabih El Turk

More Than A Woman

rabih@hotmediapublishing.com

PRODUCTION Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

12

Bowing Out

Over Throne


Contents DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Twenty Two

Forty One

Eighty Two

How do you take a celebrity and photograph them from a whole new angle? Marco Grob is the master

Atelier Swarovski deploys a clutch of design-industry luminaries to craft its new Home collection

Marcel Ravin is coming home, and his new restaurant venture will make the culinary sphere take note

Thirty Four

Seventy Eight

Eighty Six

Aching precision is lavished on every A. Lange & Söhne creation. Here’s what drives these guardians of horology

Four seasons in one day: behind the wheel of the all-conquering Porsche 911 Carrera Coupé

Age-old canyons provide the backdrop for Amangiri – a boutique hotel that’s as breathtaking as its setting

Radar

Timepieces

Art & Design

Gastronomy

Motoring

Travel

Thirty Eight

Jewellery

AIR

The elegant emergence of vintage jewellery – timehonoured pieces that brim with intrigue

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.

14


A PLACE TO EMBRACE LIFE.

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, a lifestyle destination for those who set the trend. Located on Pearl Jumeira, the resort introduces 132 keys comprising 117 rooms and suites, 15 villas with private pools as well as 63 private residences boasting top-line facilities. Host of unique food and beverage offerings including the world-famed Nikki Beach Restaurant & Beach Club. Relaxation and wellness are key elements of the resort where you can enjoy the choice of pools, sundecks or a more relaxed environment at Nikki Spa.

For reservations or more information please contact reservations.dubai@nikkibeachhotels.com Pearl Jumeira, PO Box 8286, Dubai, United Arab Emirates T: +971 4 376 6000 F: +971 4 376 6333 NIKKIBEACHHOTELDUBAI

NBRSDUBAI | NIKKIBEACHHOTELS.COM


Cleveland Clinic, ranked as the 1# heart hospital in the US for 21 consecutive years, is now available in Abu Dhabi. The Heart & Vascular Institute specializes in cardiology, vascular medicine and cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgery.

To book a next-day appointment in the Heart & Vascular Institute, please call 800 8 CCAD (800 8 2223)

www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae MOH/YY1427/22-12-16


Al Bateen DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Welcome Onboard DECEMBER 2016

Welcome to AIR Magazine, your personal guide to Al Bateen Executive Airport (ABEA), its people, partners, developments, and the latest news about the first dedicated business aviation airport in the Middle East and North Africa. At the invitation of the National Business Aviation Association, ABEA participated in the Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition held in Florida in early November. This issue provides a glimpse of our activities at the show, where our airport and its facilities were introduced to nearly 30,000 industry professionals. The event was a great opportunity for ABEA to showcase its services to new markets, and to promote Abu Dhabi as a top international travel destination. As always, we wish you a safe journey wherever you’re going this month, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to experience our unparalleled commitment to excellence in general, private and business aviation.

Al Bateen Executive Airport Contact Details: albateeninfo@adac.ae albateenairport.com

17


Al Bateen DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Al Bateen Executive Airport participates in the Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in America

The Al Bateen Executive Airport team landed in Orlando, Florida, at the start of November 2016, to take part in one of the world’s largest aviation trade shows – the Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (BACE), hosted by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Ranked as the sixth largest trade show in the United States, and the 18

biggest in the world focused on business aviation, the BACE, held from 1 to 3 November, was created by the NBAA for leading companies and organisations that rely on general aviation aircraft. It provides an opportunity for attendees to meet and share best practices for making their businesses more efficient, productive and ultimately, successful.


Al Bateen DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Al Bateen Executive Airport, taking part in the BACE for the first time, joined over 1,000 other exhibitors to showcase its leading services and facilities to around 30,000 visitors to the event. The airport, located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, is the first dedicated private-jet airport in the Middle East and North Africa region. Along with a stand capacity for up to 50 private jets, world-

class services and further developments in play, there was plenty of information for industry professionals to discover at the airport’s booth. Current and prospective aircraft owners, manufacturers and customers of the industry attended the exhibition, giving the executive airport vast exposure along with an opportunity to create new links with international entities. 20


CABIN ALTITUDE: 1,003 M* • PASSENGERS: UP TO 19 • PANORAMIC WINDOWS: 16

PHILOSOPHY of COMFORT The Gulfstream G650™ gives you the most comfortable, relaxing and technically advanced cabin offered in an ultralong-range business jet. Panoramic windows, 100 percent fresh-air replenishment and intuitive touch-screen controls enhance your overall travel experience. Gulfstream’s philosophy of comfort is just a part of making the G650 The World Standard™.

ALLAN STANTON | +971 50 653 5258 | allan.stanton@gulfstream.com | GULFSTREAMG650.COM *At the typical initial cruise altitude of 12,497 m


23


Critique DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Film Jackie Dir: Pablo Larraín As the nation mourns her husband’s shock assassination, an emotional Jackie Kennedy examines his legacy AT BEST: “Extraordinary in its piercing intimacy and lacerating in its sorrow.” Hollywood Reporter AT WORST: “It’s an intellectual experience rather than an emotional one, but the ideas in play are so heady they’re enough to sweep you away.” BBC.com

Man Down AIR

Dir: Dito Montiel A US Marine returns from combat, only to face another fight to find his estranged son and wife AT BEST: “A committed, emotionally charged performance from Shia LaBoeuf is not enough to save… a heavy-handed, hopelessly sentimental journey.” Screen International AT WORST: “[It] turns out to be – by turns – uninteresting, treacly and chock full of war-movie cliches.” The Guardian

Lion Dir: Garth Davis The survival tale of a boy who gets lost on a train that takes him thousands of kilometeres away from home, across India AT BEST: “The trajectory isn’t surprising but the film’s centrepiece true account is respectful and, ultimately, heartening” The Film File AT WORST: “Even as it drags through a pedestrian middle section, it remains a cut above the kind of sturdy middlebrow drama its premise calls to mind.” IndieWire

Miss Sloane Dir: John Madden In the high-stakes world of political power brokers, Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought-after lobbyist in Washington. But she may have just met her match AT BEST: “Jessica Chastain dominates with her forceful presence. She grounds her heroine to ensure you’re with her.” The Guardian AT WORST: “A talky, tense political thriller, full of verbal sparring and fiery monologues, undone by a really dumb ending.” Variety 24


Aaron Basha Boutique Paris • Dubai

673 Madison Avenue

Hong Kong

Levant Dubai

Kiev

London

Ali Bin Ali Qatar

• •

New York Moscow

212.644.1970

Qatar

Tokyo

Asia Jewellers Bahrain

www.aaronbasha.com

Bahrain

Riyadh

Harrods London

Jeddah


Critique DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Theatre

AIR

T

here’s a winter warmer you simply must catch at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London. Nice Fish (with Academy Award winner Mark Rylance) has been extended for 13 weeks until 11 February, due to extremely popular demand. “Like a folksy Waiting For Godot, this play, co-written by Rylance with the poet Louis Jenkins, is intensely charming in its cock-eyed humanity… Set on a frozen lake at the end of a long Minnesota winter, it finds two men drilling holes in the ice in the vain hope of catching some susceptible trout or sturgeon… There are few greater joys in the contemporary theatre than watching Rylance do his wide-eyed, thick-voiced thing. To see him wrestle with a tent is a vision to melt even the iciest heart,” writes Alexis Soloski of The Guardian. Adds Variety’s Marilyn Stasio, “The sentiment may be melancholic, but Rylance’s drawled delivery is a howl… Some wonderful theatrical effects are executed during the show’s many blackout scenes… But it’s Jenkins’ poetry – that laconic voice, extending provocative thoughts and unexpected insights – that hangs in the air at the end of the show.” Charles Isherwood confesses in The New York Times, “A few of the more whimsical moments left me, um, cold… But if one scene doesn’t grab you, you’re quickly on to the next… Jenkins’ language, moving like the flowing of a river through both the shallows and the depths, has a lightness of touch even when it is at its most plainly philosophical… The seemingly modest writing, attuned to close observation of everyday experience, contains, beneath its homely surfaces, larger meanings that glide softly into your mind and heart, like those elusive fish swimming beneath the ice.” Over in New York, Josh Groban is wowing in his Broadway debut – a musical adaptation of Tolstoy’s War And Peace entitled Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812, at the Imperial Theatre until 23 April. “The theatre’s makeover is a feast for the

Mark Rylance stars in Nice Fish

eyes… the lobby [is] a shabby postSoviet hall plastered with Russianlanguage advertisements, while inside the auditorium is an explosion of red velvet drapery, gilt-framed period artwork and mirrors and a constellation of sputnik chandeliers… The visual impact is matched by sonic jolts, when the presence of strategically placed singers and musicians creates a physical wall of surround sound. Arguably the most… immersive production Broadway has ever seen,” opines David Rooney at Hollywood Reporter. Expands Marilyn Stasio in Variety, “Groban, in gorgeous voice despite being stuffed into a fat suit, is a soulful Pierre, a rich but unhappily married and profoundly depressed aristocrat doomed to destruction in the coming revolution. Drowning his existential angst in wine and whining, the moody philosopher sadly reflects, ‘I used to be better than this…’” In The Guardian, Alexis Soloski enthuses, “When the dancers are leaping, the accordions wheezing, the lights flashing, and the skirts swirling, [this] feels thrillingly unlike anything else on Broadway… Being in that room among so much laughter and pluck and dash, with a warm dumpling thrust into the hand of 26

each spectator, feels like being presented with the theatrical equivalent of a matryoshka doll – a gift to open repeatedly.” Back to Britain for Amadeus, at the Olivier Theatre until 26 January. A “stunning production [that] pits [Antonio] Salieri against God, Mozart and his own orchestra”, surmises Michael Billington in The Guardian, while Susannah Clapp in The Observer concludes, “Peter Shaffer, who died in June, wrote plays fuelled with theatrical adrenaline... They brand you with images… Adam Gillen overdoes the acting as Mozart: crouching, bouncing, leaping, panting, but pulls off a terrific turn… It is as if the composer’s inky notes had taken human form.” Ian Shuttleworth, writing for the Financial Times, was roused: “This is Salieri’s play from beginning to end, his narration of how he set out to destroy Mozart both professionally and physically. It can drag at times (and Gillen is very good at making Mozart thoroughly annoying), but when the acting, Longhurst’s stage direction, Simon Slater’s musical direction and the Sinfonia all merge in the final Requiem sequence, the drama becomes as towering as the music.”


Critique DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Art

AIR

P

erplexingly, “Agnes Martin’s paintings cannot be fully experienced except by viewing them in person. It’s only when you’re in a room with them that their spiritlifting, eye-fooling qualities can be truly felt and seen… [It] follows Martin’s progress as – within the strictures of a square format, a pencilled grid and limited colour – she perfected her craft.” So says Time Out New York of Martin’s 60-year retrospective, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York until 11 January. Art Review’s Holland Cotter reveals, “To be honest, I wonder what a lot of people see in abstract painting. I love it, the idea of it and the experience of it, because it’s been in my life for decades. But… how do you approach an art empty of figures and evident narratives… What do you do to make it your own? ‘You go there and sit and look.’ That was the terse advice that… Martin gave to anyone coming to her paintings, more than 100 of which are now floating up the ramps of the Guggenheim Museum rotunda in the most out-of-this-worldbeautiful retrospective I’ve seen in this space in years. Her art is as

abstract as abstract gets, yet her presence in it is palpable. So is her story, once you know how to read it.” In his comprehensive review for The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl writes, “Martin died in 2004, at the age of 92, and [this] new retrospective affirms that the greatness of her work has only amplified in the years since… No setting would seem less congenial to the strict angles of Martin’s paintings than the curves of Frank Lloyd Wright’s creamy seashell… The show’s challenges to contemplation and stamina turn out to intensify a deep, and deepening, sense of the artist’s singular power.” Antipodean art lovers can get their aesthetic fix via John Olsen: The You Beaut Country, at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne until 12 February. Says ABC News’ Stephanie Ferrier, “There is a twinkle in John Olsen’s eye when the artist calls a major retrospective of his life’s work ‘the finest dinner party’ he has ever been to. The octogenarian shows no signs of slowing down or losing the spirit and energy that flows through his iconic works depicting the Australian landscape… Olsen

Salute To Cerberus by John Olsen, 1965 28

is arguably Australia’s greatest living artist, known for his evocative landscapes that have captured the country’s unique terrain and spirit.” Sasha Grishin of The Sydney Morning Herald expands, “The layout of the exhibition follows Olsen as he travels around Australia exploring different landscapes that change as the personal circumstances of his life alter. In each place… he establishes an emotional bond and conveys as much information about the appearance of the place as about its spirit and presence… I suspect there will be future major Olsen exhibitions, but this one, for our generation, will be the definitive Olsen show.” Let’s ruffle some feathers. Of South Africa: The Art Of A Nation, Matthew Collings says in the Evening Standard, “From the prehistoric era to the Boer wars to Mandela’s struggle against Apartheid, this show encapsulates the powerful narrative of South Africa’s history… The fascination of the show is not with individual artistic achievement so much as with the curators showing you, in a series of clever play-offs between past and present, how artists in different eras of this country’s existence (and of course for a long time it wasn’t a country) have expressed their sense of reality, inevitably from conflicting points of view.” Along comes Eddy Frankel at Time Out London: “Any show at a major British institution that looks beyond Europe is a good, important and necessary thing. But [this] is frustratingly and infuriatingly wide of the mark. The idea is to present a survey of the artistic production of the whole country, from 3 million years ago to the present day… Too ridiculously and stupidly broad? You’re right, it is… How can you sum up the art of a whole country in one show? This just scratches the surface, and does it messily. It’s just too proscriptive, too problematic and paints too simplified a picture. The British Museum set itself an impossible task – and failed.” It shows until 26 February.


Critique DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Books

AIR

I

s this the best book ever written? Word bait like this will get your attention… Tim Wu grapples with ‘the defining industry of our time – the capture and resale of human attention’ in The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble To Get Inside Our Heads. Writes Michael Harris in The Globe And Mail, “Ours is an age of distraction and anxiety – typified by the laptop junkie cruising among 20 open tabs… What Wu makes painfully clear is that our distracted state is not some ‘natural’ byproduct of online life; it is a highly manufactured experience engineered by those who capture our attention for a living so that they can sell it to the highest bidder.” Adds Kirkus Reviews, “[He] opens his learned, skilfully delivered treatise by pointing to a phenomenon that ought to trouble anyone with a soul, namely, the selling of ads on school marquees, sports fields, and the like to fund school activities. The school board… realised that it ‘was holding an asset more lucrative than any bake sale’ – namely, the students themselves, a captive audience almost by definition.” Considers Jennifer Senior in The New York Times, “Wu concludes his book with a cri de coeur, imploring us to regain custody of our attention. It is written so rousingly that it just may make you reconsider your priorities… We are what we choose to focus on, the sum of our concentrations. What will we choose? This is an age of glorious individualism. Yet never, it seems, have we belonged less to ourselves.” Kirkus Reviews describes Michael Chabon’s Moonglow as “a faux memoir of the novelist’s grandfather, whose life as an engineer, veteran, and felon offers an entree into themes of heroism and imagination… A study in intellect, violence, and displacement, his grandfather is engaging on the ground level… And Michael Chabon writes tenderly about his grandparents’ relationship... He’s captured a fine story about the poignancy of two souls’ survival but also too many others about plenty else besides. A heartfelt but sodden

family saga”. For AO Scott in the New York Times Book Review, the novel mixes in “generous dollops of meaning, a sprinkling of fancy metaphors and an abundance of beautiful sentences so that it becomes a rich and exotic confection. Too strict a recipe would have spoiled the charm of this layer cake of nested memories and family legends… This book is beautiful”. Writing for O, The Oprah Magazine, meanwhile, Hamilton Cain describes it as “an exuberant meld of fiction and family history… it’s the calibre of his writing – evocative sentences and indelible metaphors – that gives the novel its lustre… Moonglow prisms through a single life the desires and despair of the Greatest Generation, whose small steps and giant leaps continue to shape us all”. As 2016 draws to a close, CE Morgan’s The Sport Of Kings, considered one of the books of the year, is more than deserving of a mention, having gone the distance since its May release. In an in-depth dissection piece for The New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz explains, “[It] consists of six sections, five interludes, and an epilogue, which together span some 250 years… It is set mainly in 30

Cincinnati, Ohio, and Paris, Kentucky, the so-called thoroughbred capital of the world, but its real geographic extent is unmistakably that of America… It is a testament to [the book] that it cannot be brought down by its flaws. Even at its worst, it is tremendous, the work of a writer just starting to show us what she can do.” Publisher’s Weekly counters, “The novel starts strong out of the gate… then blows it in the back stretch with a series of melodramatic incidents that undermines the care with which Morgan has created these larger-than-life characters. The novel’s authentically pungent shedrow atmosphere [is as] ultimately satisfying as a mint julep on Derby Day.” Says Edmund Gordon in the Financial Times, concisely, “[This] rich novel about a Kentucky horsebreeding family is both a meditation on race and a bitter inversion of the American dream. Eudora Welty once wrote that Moby-Dick’s symbolic task was so enormous, he could only ever have been a whale. It’s testament to the monumental ambition of Morgan’s rich and compulsive novel that a comparable weight is borne on the narrow shoulders of a racehorse.”


BEYOND EXPECTATION The Address of Prestige and Elegance in the city.

Reside in luxury with exceptional bespoke service by your St. Regis butler.

29 tanglin road, singapore 247911 stregis.com/singapore +65.6506.6888

a legacy of luxury now at over 30 of the world’s finest hotels & resorts stregis.com

Š2016 Marriott International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, St. Regis and their logos are the trademarks of Marriott International, Inc., or its affiliates.


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

OBJECTS OF DESIRE

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


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

D Z E G N A - M A S E R AT I

CAPSULE COLLECTION

Maserati and Ermenegildo Zegna: two names that sing of luxury, craftsmanship and serious kudos. To mark the launch of the former’s first SUV (the Levante), with interiors designed by the latter, the Italian power couple has released an accompanying clothing and accessories

line to help you complete your journey in style. Composed of cool chocolate and cobalt tones that perfectly complement the new model, snap up the leather travel set, sunglasses and silk scarf – all emblazoned with the marque’s trident crest – and hit the road in the slickest way possible. 1


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

E MB&F

ASTROGR APH PEN Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a writing instrument masquerading as a spaceship. No detail has been overlooked in MB&F’s glossy homage to the final frontier, developed with the maison Caran d’Ache. Four years in the making, the fountain pen comes with an ink-fuelled fuselage,

retractable ‘rocket legs’, a presentation box that doubles up as a launch pad and even a tiny rhodium-plated astronaut that (thanks to a few clever magnets) can actually climb aboard for takeoff. But with 99 components and a limited run of 99 pieces, this is no toy, it’s a pocket rocket. 2


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

TAT E O S S I A N

SKELE TON GE AR CUFFLINKS

‘There’s no greater gift than the gift of time,’ so the saying goes – and for fans of horology, that old adage carries added metaphor. Finding a truly great gift for the watch lover in your life isn’t always easy, which is why we’re thinking (just a touch) outside the box. Inside a little box of their

own, these intricate curios from the ‘king of cufflinks’ should impress even the savviest horophile. The 18ct black-gold case studded with black diamonds sets a striking scene for the vintage skeleton watch movement within. Made to order in Italy, each limitededition pair is numbered, too. Beat that. 3


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

VA N C L E E F & A R P E L S

A CHE VA L E A RRINGS

Nothing says winter sparkle like a dusting of white diamonds, and Van Cleef & Arpels’ new A Cheval creations are all about letting these glittering stones shine. Reprising the fine jeweller’s classic designs from 1981, this considered collection of four platinum and white-gold pieces features row upon

row of elegantly superimposed diamonds that captivate with their understated brilliance. These dazzling drop earrings are the star of the show; detach the pendants for a more subtle daytime look, or go all out with the matching necklace, bracelet and watch – a show-stopping quartet. 4


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

S VA C H E R O N C O N S TA N T I N

M E T I E R S D ’A R T G Y R

Since the days of the Vikings, the gyrfalcon has been prized for its stature and hunting prowess. It’s the world’s most prestigious falcon, and a fitting icon for the Arab world’s storied history of falconry. In celebration of that, Vacheron Constantin has created the Metiers d’Art Gyr – a true

marriage of Swiss watchmaking tradition and the rich cultural pedigree of the GCC. Each of the 10 unique timepieces is adorned with a cameo of this impressive beast, hand-carved from solid 18ct white gold by the maison’s master guillocheur. A fine tribute to an evocative heritage. 5


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

I ROL L S-ROYCE

DAWN MOTOR CAR

At first glance, the Rolls-Royce Dawn is a purist’s dream, its perfect contours and proud nose accentuated by a gleaming white coat. But beyond its blank-canvas exterior lies a quiet symphony of colour that comes to life when you climb inside. At your command, one of three riotous

shades – Mugello Red, Cobalto Blue or Mandarin – will be deftly laced through its sumptuous interior. Like precisionengineered brushstrokes, the bold silks, leather and signature stitching provide a couture-worthy contrast to all that white – all you need to do is choose your hue. 6


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

R 7


OB JECTS OF DESIRE

E

M E M O PA R I S

I R I S H L E AT H E R E D P

Warm amber, green juniper, honey-sweet iris, spicy pink pepper and, of course, rich, smoky leather… the layers of Memo Paris’ Irish Leather eau de parfum will please both fans of the leather olfactory family and lovers of the emerald isle. The unisex scent is one of five Cuirs Nomades that

capture the essence of the world’s leather capitals – from the cities of Europe to the steppes of Russia and the savannahs of Africa. Housed in a leather (of course) case, and accompanied by a set of bespoke books and postcards, it’s the ideal starting point for a heady adventure. 8


Timepieces DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Fine Art Upon A Dial TARIQ MALIK

C

an something as functional as a watch dial be deemed a work of art? For me, a true work of art is something to savour, something that brings deep enjoyment both aesthetically and emotionally, and evokes a sense of awe at the vision and skill of the artist. It’s uplifting, and inspiring. It keeps its value over time, and defies mere trend or fashion. By that definition, the cloisonné enamel watch dial ticks all the boxes. While the ‘canvas’ measures only 20mm or 30mm in diameter – and even though the art serves a function, and is worn on the wrist – it still deserves the appellation. The material used is humble glass, mixed with metal-oxide colourants, and fired at extremely high temperatures. And the technique produces results with intense hues and a subtle, magical depth. This is the domain of enamelling art, inherited from the ancient Far East, but it’s no easy task. The various enamelling techniques (like grand feu, champlevé, paillonné and cloisonné) are all incredibly time-consuming, and highly specialised. When enamel is heated to temperatures of between 800°C and 1,200°C, it liquefies and bonds to metal. It is often applied using a goose quill, and needs between four and 10 firings to take its final form. The artist works with the finest of details, painstakingly adding layer after layer. Cloisonné means ‘to partition’ and normally involves laying ultra-fine gold strands upon the outline of the design. Enamel is then introduced to the spaces between, creating

coloured inlays, with the gold still visible at the end of the process. The 1950s was the heyday for cloisonné and enamel art deco in general. At first, watchmakers were cautious: choosing the wrong motif would mean condemning the watch to a life on the shelf. But they experimented, in very limited quantities. Over the years, production numbers remained low and each design was uniquely created; there is no chance of finding two completely identical pieces. Collectors value enamel dials because, unlike metals, the finish never tarnishes, rusts or fades. Many of the marquee brands have produced enamelled dials in limited numbers, 33

and vintage models tend to exceed their high expected auction prices. In recent years the demand for this form of art has grown; Sotheby’s has dubbed it ‘the renaissance of the cloisonné dial’. A Patek Philippe 1415 from 1949, for example, recently sold at a Sotheby’s New York auction for around USD730,000 – but that’s still far from the upper limit. Christie’s sold a Rolex reference 5028/5028 for around USD1.2 million in 2014, and what made this particular model so appealing was the dial. Though the case was highly oxidised, it served to enhance rather detract from the overall effect. The dial, which depicts a frigate and a whale in stormy seas, was still in perfect condition and it is the texture, the play of light and the fine shades of colour that set this Rolex apart. It was created by renowned Genevan artist Marguerite Koch (who also crafted pieces for Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin), and during the 1940s there were no more than a handful of artisans capable of producing this kind of work. Despite my many years of experience with watches, I’m still amazed at the depth and complexity involved in watchmaking. Volumes have been written about the mechanical complexities, complications and engineering feats of master watchmakers, and the sublime skills of artists like Koch deserve more than a footnote. Whether you decide upon it as fine art or not, it’s the perfect marriage of form with content. Find Tariq’s co-founded vintage-watch boutique Momentum in Dubai’s DIFC; momentum-dubai.com


Timepieces DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Sweet Symphony Meticulous craftsmanship and harmonious watchmaking philosophy are among the hallmarks of an A. Lange & Söhne; own one, and you’ve secured a timepiece that’s worth its weight in (honey) gold

AIR

WORDS : CHRIS UJMA

34


35


36

AIR


Opening page: The LANGE 1 Time Zone in honey gold. Left: The LANGE 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar

“O

n sight, you automatically identify honey gold with our brand, and visual recognition aside, there’s a practical benefit to it: on the Vickers scale it is much harder than other gold. It’s a very special alloy made from zinc, magnesium and silicon, which when combined has a shade slightly darker than gold, but much lighter than pink gold. But it has no actual honey,” remarks Ramzi Nael, A. Lange & Söhne regional brand director, with a smile. We’re discussing the warm tint of the latest eye-catching LANGE 1 Time Zone, and the quip marks a lighter moment – for this is a serious conversation, regarding a brand that gets deeply intense about the minutest of horological details. Take its ‘double assembly’ process, for illustration. “We’re the only such company that assembles all of its timepieces twice: upon receiving the detached parts of any movement we conduct thorough tests and, once we’re sure everything is working properly, disassemble everything to apply the finishing to the parts. We then reassemble the watch for delivery. As you can imagine, this gives a lengthy amount of time to dedicate to the timepiece,” Nael explains. “Be it the entry-level Saxonia or the Grand Complications at USD2.2 million, all of the parts receive the same attention to detail with finishing and fine tuning.” Our conversation transpires at the prestigious Salon des Grandes Complications, which graced the Dubai International Financial Centre

in November. The watchmaker’s attendance among 22 other luminaries, says Nael, afforded “the opportunity to showcase all of the novelties that were unveiled in January 2016 – which were not available to the public to see at the time”. The line-up includes the GRAND LANGE 1 Moon Phase Lumen, the LANGE 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds and the 729-part Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. Evoking its share of admiration, though, is the newest nectar from the coveted LANGE 1 line. “The honey-gold Time Zone was launched on 25 October

You have to graduate to own a Lange as part of our iconic collection. It’s a very special date for us and there’s a nice story behind it: the brand was launched on 24 October 1994, but at that stage the media world was far from digital, so the event coverage was published the following day. We set the time and date on all of the pieces to the 25th, so when the media pictures were published, it looked as though they were taken that day. Every 25 October since, we’ve had a major launch.” The elegant complication, of which only 100 are available, is a special beauty. There’s an off-centre dial for the time and a power reserve at ‘3’, with day/night indicators on both the main and subdial. The Lange calibre L031.1 is viewable through the case 37

back; it has a 41.9mm case, and time zones on the peripheral ring are rotated smoothly using the lateral pusher. Of those, the Central European zone is noted as Dresden – in homage to the brand’s resurrected origins. As a company, A. Lange & Söhne has exclusivity in terms of limited production and also physical presence – the timepieces are only found within a select network of 17 boutiques worldwide. The Dubai Mall boutique features an amazing hanging movement – 24 times larger than the one on the wrist and weighing 250kg – to provide a glimpse into the layers and details of a Lange movement. “Our German finewatchmaking heritage sets us apart in the industry,” says Nael, “and aside from a brief 40-year interruption [after the Second World War], we have DNA that dates back to 1845 as a standalone name. For us the boutiques showcase the important traits – our knowledge, history and experience – that make the brand what it is today.” There’s much complexity to marvel. “On the technical side, we have very important characteristics,” says Nael. “For example the three-quarter plate – which is something invented by Lange – is an additional part that gives much better stability for all the internal parts of the movement. It’s made out of a very special material, untreated German silver, which with time forms a yellow patina, and gives the feeling that the watch is ageing with you.” True to the company motto, A. Lange & Söhne ‘never stands still’ – but it also remains faithful to time-honoured haute horology. Layout, complexity and attention to detail are crucial: one such tradition involves every balance cock being meticulously engraved by hand, making each one unique. “I’ve heard a saying that ‘you have to graduate to own a Lange’. Throughout your lifespan as a collector, you will surely have started with entry-level timepieces and throughout time, will have accumulated a certain knowledge, taste and appreciation of fine watchmaking,” Nael infers, adding, “Then you reach the stage where you are looking for something very special, very different, niche, and hard to acquire. That’s how we appeal to the quintessential A. Lange & Söhne client.”


Jewellery DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

The Allure Of Yesteryear

AIR

Despite the enviable rare stones, shimmering precious metals, red-carpet flashbulbs and celebrity endorsement, what shines brightest about vintage jewellery is its distinct personality WORDS : SARAH ROYCE-GREENSILL

A

mong all the gemstones paraded on the red carpets of Cannes, Venice, Hollywood and New York, some pieces leave an indelible impression. At this year’s Manus X Machina-themed Met Gala, the award for best supporting accessory went to a majestic diamond peacock, its tail curving over one strap of Uma Thurman’s custom-made Ralph Lauren ivory gown. Created as a special order by Cartier in 1948 and comprising 83.89ct of diamonds, the brooch demonstrated the power of vintage when it comes to making a statement on the red carpet. “Vintage jewellery brings character and a sense of nostalgia to a look,” says LA-based British stylist Tanya Gill, who dresses stars such as Kate Winslet, Julie Christie and Jane Fonda. “I love

the craftsmanship, the history and the patina. Sometimes I’ll build characters through the jewellery as though I am creating a look for a film.” Gill was responsible for the eyecatching vintage Bulgari bib necklace Minnie Driver wore to the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2014. Made in 1965, the necklace caught Gill’s eye at Bulgari’s Decades of Glamour pre-Oscars event. “It struck me as so exquisite in design and colour, with the craftsmanship of the turquoise, cabochon emeralds, cabochon amethysts and diamonds, that it would be a unique statement for the right personality,” she says. “It was perfect for the statuesque beauty of Minnie Driver.” It’s not only Hollywood’s grandes dames who carry off vintage glamour. At the Met Gala, Anna Wintour’s 38

29-year-old daughter, Bee Shaffer, was every inch the ingénue in 19thcentury diamond chandelier earrings and a slim diamond headband by the New York-based vintage-jewellery specialist Fred Leighton, while at the reopening of Cartier’s Fifth Avenue mansion in September, Sienna Miller accessorised a fresh, floaty Valentino dress with a suite of diamond and emerald Cartier jewels from the 1920s. The trend for vintage jewellery on the red carpet was kick-started in 1996, when Prada borrowed a 19th-century opal choker from Fred Leighton for a then-29-year-old Nicole Kidman. “It was a wonderful moment for us,” recalls Rebecca Selva, Fred Leighton’s chief creative officer and public relations director. “It commanded tremendous attention because it was so different.”


39


Previous page: 1840s 14ct gold and aquamarine earrings; 1880s 10ct rose gold and citrine necklace. This page: Collection 18ct gold, carnelian and ruby necklace. All Fred Leighton at Net-A-Porter

AIR

It was Hollywood glamour in the most sophisticated and refined way

The collaboration sparked a long-term relationship with Kidman and began two decades of “beautiful and iconic moments” for Fred Leighton. Selva cites Charlize Theron’s appearance at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2000 as one of her favourites: clasped to her tangerine Vera Wang dress were two Art Deco diamond clips. “Vera fell in love with the clips and then created the dress around them,” says Selva. “The whole image was beautiful; it was Hollywood glamour in the most sophisticated and refined way.” She adds, “The internet has been great for speading the message about vintage jewellery; there’s so much to discover – it’s not your grandmother’s jewellery, and nothing is so rarefied that it can’t be worn. Even our tiaras can be worn as headbands.” For Selva, increased visibility helps to dispel the myth that antique jewellery is outdated. “We have an unbelievable 19th-century

diamond snake necklace that looks like the coolest piece anyone could wear, yet it’s almost 120 years old,” she says. “It’s waiting for its red-carpet moment.” Vintage jewellery’s reputation in the fashion world has been elevated further by Fred Leighton’s collaboration with Net-A-Porter, which began in 2014. Both antique jewels and new pieces from the Fred Leighton Collection are available online, with prices ranging from USD1,850 for a simple pair of drop earrings to tens of thousands for signed vintage pieces by the likes of Cartier or David Webb. Diamonds, pearls and turquoise are bestsellers, along with chunky gold bracelets that customers wear stacked with modern designs. The site also works with Fred Leighton to source vintage pieces on demand. Antique jewellery has also found a place in London’s uber-fashionable department store Dover Street Market, 40

which carries a selection of vintage rings and Victorian and Georgian tiaras by British jeweller Bentley & Skinner alongside its roster of modern brands. This departure from the notion of dusty vintage emporiums reflects an increasing desire to own something that’s one of a kind. “Vintage jewellery is much more interesting than anything you can buy now,” says Max Michelson of the London vintage specialist SJ Phillips. “Instead of being tied to this year’s range, we have 400 years’ worth of ranges, so you’ll always find something that fits.” He says 20th-century pieces are the most popular. “Everyone wants Art Deco because it’s stylish and nicely made, and being set in platinum it looks closer to modern jewellery than earlier pieces. There’s also interest in bold pieces from the 1950s and ’60s.” While signed vintage pieces carry a price premium, there are smart buys to be found. “There are some underappreciated American makers such as Raymond Yard,” says Michelson. “But there are also unsigned pieces that are a match to the big names but half the price.” The main thing, he says, is that it speaks to the wearer: “We never claim that anything is going to be a good investment... we’re not an investment broker.” Selva agrees: “If jewellery is fine and fabricated beautifully it will hold its value, but I would never sell it as an investment. It’s more about the joy you get from it.”


Art & Design DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Those In Glass Houses Ever the innovator, Atelier Swarovski continues to nurture cutting-edge design collaborations with a resplendent new collection for the home

41


Art & Design

AIR

DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

42


F

or the innately talented design elite, often the biggest obstacle they must overcome is emotional: do they unconditionally believe in the company they’re aligning with and creating for? Once this internal approval has been banked, instinct takes over… thus, dissecting their methodology can elicit seemingly prickly responses such as this, from architect Ron Arad: “Ideas are not a problem. The problem is to know which ones to invest in, to give time to. Ideas are the cheapest links in the chain.” Arad is one of the leading creatives involved in the latest project by Swarovski, a brand that has little issue enticing great design minds to peer through the cut-glass kaleidoscope in order to turn that twinkling soulsearch into a tangible product. Atelier Swarovski, it’s safe to say, is an idea that has proven worthy of investing in. The crossover approach was 43

crystallised by fifth-generation family member Nadja Swarovski in 2007 when she launched the Atelier concept, yet since the 120-year-old company’s beginning it has shared its bejewelled creations; founder Daniel Swarovski took his precision-cut stones to fin-desiècle Paris, and inspired the designers who gave birth to haute couture. Over the last nine years, luminaries of fashion, jewellery and architecture such as Karl Lagerfeld, Sandy Powell, Christopher Kane and Vincent Van Duysen have woven the crystals into their designs for Atelier; most recently, Jean Paul Gaultier masterminded a jewellery line (‘Reverse’, of which supermodel Karlie Kloss is the brand ambassador) for Swarovski’s Crystal Galaxy Collection Fall/Winter 2016. The freshest venture of the collaborative brand arm is the innovative Home collection, which signs off the brand’s 2016 endeavours


AIR

Previous page: Raw Edges designs for Atelier Swarovski. Clockwise, from right: Designs by Tomás Alonso; Atelier collaborators Kim Thomé; Daniel Libeskind; and Tord Boontje

and comfortably straddles both art and design. A major coup was drawing pieces from the mind of Dame Zaha Hadid before the great architect passed away. Her work – an imposing centrepiece in crystal and metal, which uses the company’s pioneering new ‘wave cut’ technology – joins that of Aldo Bakker (abstract vases, constructed from crystal and expressive marble), Daniel Libeskind (a soaring-cityscape chess set), Fredrikson Stallard (stunning centrepieces), Kim Thomé (whose plinth features a heavy stainless-steel base upon which sits a crystal halo), Raw Edges (vases and a bowl using a groundbreaking laser-jet crystal printing method), the aforementioned Arad, Tomás Alonso (crystal and marble prisms) and Tord Boontje (whose series includes lanterns, wine coolers, nut bowls and a caviar set). This carefully chosen clutch of respective industry lights were not confined by strict design briefs (and had they been, Arad’s defiance dovetails nicely in his remark: “I’m not very good at listening to briefs. [It was] to create a centrepiece in crystal. Then I thought maybe we’ll do crystal numbers and letters”). The mission objective was simply to dream up pieces that aesthetically complement the tasteful abode – “Homeware in which the crystal reaches new heights of fascination and form,” enthuses Nadja. While the end product is undoubtedly attractive, added intrigue is found in hearing the designers talk about the chance to use the mesmeric cut-glass crystal as a muse. “There was a lot of observing the crystals up close,” reveals Alonso. “I found it fascinating to see what happens inside, and it was the trigger to go bigger in the pieces – to increase the size of the crystal, to not just create the little sparkle in the piece of jewellery or chandelier but to scale that up. Going to Wattens (the Austrian home of the company) put

everything into perspective. Speaking to Swarovski’s technicians and working with the gluing techniques showed us how to do what we were trying to do, which was basically make the colour effects inside the crystal bigger. We learned how to maximise the effect and translate it into a piece.” Dame Hadid said of the process, “We always look at existing ideas and traditions – especially in this case, considering Swarovski’s specific heritage – but we then reinterpret those concepts into something new. We investigated the process of crystallisation occurring in nature as a starting point for our design; we wanted the piece to convey Swarovski’s ethos not just through our design, but through materiality as well. The brief was for a large, sculptural table centrepiece – as well as for a family of products informed by the same language to be developed in the near future. When designing, there is never an immediate attempt to create any particular form; there is always an underlying logic within the design, which we then push to the highest standards. If the completed design becomes like a sculpture, it is an expression of essence and quality of the object itself – and not because the design represents something else.” Libeskind muses, “A crystal is a metaphor for life because the form, the shape, the idea of a crystal has to do with an inversion of surface and depth.” Quotable Arad, meanwhile, captures just how limitless the potential is for the crystal medium: “I wondered: what crystal object can I create that people would want to own or give? We worked on the alphabet – people can use it in different ways and [it will] be very functional and decorative – we can write the complete works of Shakespeare using the Swarovski crystal alphabet.” It’s a wonderful new direction that is Atelier’s kingdom for a house. 44


A crystal is a metaphor for life because it has to do with an inversion of surface and depth

45


N O She’s played a tearaway on The Archers and Stephen Hawking’s wife, but Felicity Jones was just hitting her stride…

AIR

O R D I Two new blockbuster roles are set to send her into the stratosphere

N A R Y WORDS : GEORGIA DEHN

O N E S 46


47


AIR

I

mages of Felicity Jones walking the red carpet at the Oscars were beamed around the world last year; nominated for her performance as Jane Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, the biopic of Professor Stephen Hawking, it was confirmation, at last, of her long-deserved star status. Sitting opposite me now in a central London hotel, Jones laughs as she remembers the evening. “It was like an out-of-body experience,” she recalls. “It’s only now when I look back I think how extraordinary that all was.” She talks about how she had to be hoisted out of her seat by her co-star Eddie Redmayne due to the weight of her Alexander McQueen gown, and her raging hunger during the four-hour ceremony. “I remember that well,” she smiles. “They don’t feed you.” The whirlwind of attention that came with her Oscar nomination catapulted her onto every director’s most-wanted list. And the 32-year-old now has leading roles in two of the most hyped films of the year. First up was the Ron Howarddirected, high-octane thriller Inferno, with Tom Hanks. Based on Dan Brown’s novel of the same name, it’s the third instalment of the series that began with the adaptation of global publishing phenomenon The Da Vinci Code. And then there is the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One, which ahead of its December release was shrouded in secrecy and generated an absurd amount of excitement online – so much so that Jones was awarded the IMDb StarMeter Award (which basically makes her the most popular actress in the business), as voted for by fans, which was presented to her at the Toronto Film Festival in September. “Taking on two giant roles back to back,” she admits now, “was a real challenge.” Before the success of The Theory Of Everything, Jones had always been bubbling under the radar; someone who was critically admired, who worked with big-name actors, such as Jennifer Lawrence on the largely improvised romantic comedy Like Crazy – for which she won the Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance at Sundance in 2011 – and Ralph Fiennes in The Invisible Woman, playing Charles Dickens’ mistress. On screen she’s a magnetic presence, imbuing her characters with a complexity and warmth that makes her compelling to watch, whether goofing around as a former skateboarding champion in Chalet Girl, or radiating a beguiling innocence as Miranda in The Tempest. The Archers fans will remember her as Emma Grundy (née Carter), and the agonies of her dramatic love triangle with brothers Ed and Will. The Felicity Jones I meet today seems more than capable of coping with all the madness that will inevitably engulf her when Inferno and Rogue One are released. Petite with compelling green eyes, she is friendly, self-contained and thinks carefully before responding to any question (veer

too much toward her personal life and the shutters come down). Plus, she’s witnessed friends such as Matt Smith and, of course, Eddie Redmayne, having to deal with the intense scrutiny that comes with sudden stratospheric success. “I am really admiring of how my friends cope with it all,” she says. “They understand if you are making things like Star Wars or Doctor Who or Harry Potter [Redmayne is starring in the spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them] there are going to be lots of children who love the film too, who want to talk to you and want autographs. It is part of the job.” She is halfway through a day of back-to-back interviews to promote Inferno, but if she is flagging she is not showing it – she remains perfectly composed, perched on the edge of a sofa, a peppermint tea beside her. She plays Sienna Brooks, a young doctor, opposite Tom Hanks, who is reprising his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. Initially treating him for memory loss after a fall, Sienna all too quickly gets swept up in helping him escape from those who want to kill him. If Jones was intimidated by the idea of working with Tom Hanks, she won’t admit it. “I felt totally embraced by him,” she says. “He is so unegotistical – he hasn’t been in any way corrupted by fame.” She admits she couldn’t resist diving into his back catalogue before meeting him: “I did watch lots of his films again – I love Sleepless In Seattle.” After Inferno wrapped last July she flew straight to Jordan to start filming Rogue One: A Star

One of the first shots featured a stormtrooper sitting on a camel, and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I’m in Star Wars!’ Wars Story in the desert of Wadi Rum. She plays Jyn Erso, a rebel spy on a mission to destabilise Darth Vader’s evil empire. She is not supposed to discuss it, but she relents a little and admits, “One of the first shots featured a stormtrooper sitting on a camel, and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I’m in Star Wars!’” She knows she has a good cohort of supportive friends in the business to help steer her through the challenging months; in particular the actor twins Harry and Luke Treadaway and playwright Polly Stenham, whose debut play That Face she starred in with Matt Smith in 2007. As for Eddie Redmayne, she says her schedule has been so packed she hasn’t even had a chance to meet his daughter, born in June. “I hope to very soon,” she smiles. In 2013 she split up from her long48


49


50

AIR


term boyfriend – artist Ed Fornieles, whom she met while studying English at Oxford University – after 10 years together and, publicly at least, appears to have remained single. Even after the success of The Theory Of Everything, Jones maintains she has retained her privacy and can still walk from her home in north London across Hampstead Heath without being noticed. “I am quite fortunate,” she says, “because I can still be quite incognito. If you go out looking for attention then you’ll attract it, but if you’re just getting on with your life, particularly in London where everyone is engrossed in what they’re doing, you can keep a measure of anonymity.” Her downtime is spent cooking for friends and, a long-time devotee of yoga, she has recently got into reformer Pilates. “I took a couple of classes and now I’m hooked,” she says. “It makes you feel like a ballerina, which has always been my fantasy. I was a very rotund child with short hair and for some reason I always had black ballet shoes. I was like the Wednesday Addams of ballet.” It was seeing her uncle, the actor Michael Hadley, in a production of The Lady From The Sea with Alex Kingston that made Felicity want to act. She was eight years old: “I remember I just got the shivers.” She made her professional debut aged 12 when she filmed the TV movie The Treasure Seekers with a young Keira Knightley, which was quickly followed by the television series The Worst Witch. She has worked more or less constantly ever since. Perhaps a career as an actor was inevitable – her father was a producer on breakfast TV shows, so she had spent time on television sets from a very young age, and her mother, who worked in advertising, was always taking her and her older brother (now a film editor: “We’re best friends”) to the theatre and cinema. From the age of 11 she attended Central Junior Television Workshop, where Samantha Morton (“Hers are the kind of performances I always wanted to emulate”) is a fellow alumna. Cast as Emma Carter in The Archers aged 16, Jones continued playing the role throughout sixth form and during her time at Oxford. “I was very popular with all my friends’ parents,” she laughs. The advantage of being cast so young, she says, meant she “developed some practical skills about what it means to be an actor early on – how to be disciplined and get up at the crack of dawn, only to realise there is a lot of hanging around. I did think that acting would be much more like being a pop star,” she adds, laughing. “Now I’m here, I can’t think of anything more different.” Combining recording The Archers while studying for a degree was, she says, tough: “I would be writing an essay that was due in the next day until about 1am, and then I would be up at 6am and on a train to Birmingham to 51

record The Archers. It was pretty intense.” Does she still listen to it? “Oh yes! And isn’t it fantastic that it is pushing boundaries and bringing attention to important issues?” Born and brought up in Bournville, just outside Birmingham, Jones’ parents divorced when she was three (she and her brother then lived with their mother) but she says she has always been close to both of them. “I was very lucky – I was brought up with a strong sense of independence. I didn’t feel any pressure and their advice was

I did think that acting would be much more like being a pop star. Now I’m here, I can’t think of anything more different always to pursue what intrigued me and made me happy.” This independence has stood her in good stead – she is not afraid of speaking out against stereotyping. She backed Reese Witherspoon’s #AskHerMore campaign last year to encourage more interesting interviews on the red carpet and discourage questions about clothes. “I don’t actually think there has ever been too much emphasis on what I am wearing,” she says. “I don’t think we should be creating a hierarchy of conversation, but [an interview] should be respectful and varied. There is a balance to be struck. It is disheartening when you read an interview with an actress and it starts by describing what she is wearing.” Does she think that there are enough interesting lead roles for women to go around? “I think there is an enormous appetite for great roles for women,” she says. “You can see that clearly with things like The Hunger Games. There is a huge audience. Also I think Lena Dunham is such a force when it comes to talking about female roles. She is a trailblazer – someone who really has made the path easier for the rest of us.” As a huge fan of Girls, Jones says when she met Lena she begged her for a part: “Whatever she wanted me to do I said I would do it.” The result was a cameo role in the third series playing Dottie, the daughter of Richard E Grant’s Jasper. In terms of future projects, Jones is keen to do some theatre. “I would love to work with my brother on something at some point, too,” she adds. She has another film that will hit the screens as 2016 ends and 2017 begins – an adaptation of the Patrick Ness novel A Monster Calls, for which she worked with Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver. She plays a mother diagnosed with a terminal illness, and it will come as no surprise to anyone that the film is already generating Oscar buzz.


AIR

“An absence of women in the world of Richard Mille was totally inconceivable” - RICHARD MILLE

PHOTOGRAPHS : MANBUTTE STYLING : ADRIANA BULGAC MANICURE : SISTERS BEAUTY LOUNGE ART DIRECTION : ANDY KNAPPETT FLOWERS BY FOREVER ROSE

To achieve Richard Mille’s goal of absolute perfection in a timepiece, every detail of it is of equal importance. No design or technical solution that is worthy should be easy to come by. It is an ethos that sets its watches apart: the best in technical innovation, the best of artistry and architecture, the best at channelling the heritage and culture of fine watchmaking. Richard Mille’s women’s collection is a perfect marriage of mechanical hyper-technology and feminine codes. It is a daring, visually arresting encapsulation of the brand’s distinctive spirit made beautiful. 52


RM 033, Red Gold Medium Set

53


54

AIR


This page: RM 037, White Gold Tahiti Mother of Pearl Diamond Dial Opposite: RM 023, White Gold Medium Set

55


AIR

These pages: RM 037 White Gold Medium Set, Full Pave Dial Centre Set, White Gold Medium Set Bracelet

56


57


AIR

This page: RM 023, White Gold Medium Set Opposite: RM 037, White Ceramic Jasper Diamond Dial, with Plain Red Gold Gourmette

58


59


As the Seventies’ brightest star celebrates her 70th birthday, we look back at the life and loves of Jane Birkin, and the making of an icon WORDS : EMMA LAURENCE

AIR

BECOMING

JA 60


NE 61


AIR

E

ighty-six films, one very famous love song and a 300,000-dollar handbag: if you were to paint Jane Birkin by numbers, you’d need one hell of a canvas. Because after 70 years on this planet, the Brit girl who made France her home and the world her stage is still working, and still inspiring generations with her je ne sais quoi. Despite her enormous body of film work, if you grew up outside France you might well have never seen Birkin act, but you’ll almost certainly have heard her sing. Her voice replaced Brigitte Bardot’s on Serge Gainsbourg’s Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus, the song whose erotic overtures launched a thousand scandals when it was released in 1969. Since sampled by everyone from Madonna to Michael Moore, and most recently reprised in Dior’s star-studded Miss Cherie campaign, it was a young Birkin who uttered the immortal words (literally ‘I love you… me neither’) – and, of course, those sound effects. Born in London on 14 December 1946, the daughter of a navy commander, David, and actress (and Noël Coward’s muse) Judy Campbell, Birkin amassed a cult following in her late teens thanks to bit parts in The Passion Flower Hotel and The Knack… And How To Get It. But the Gainsbourg duet, recorded in the first flush of their romance, made her a star – in France, at least. “It couldn’t have been a sweeter beginning,” she mused in Mother Of All Babes, the 2003 documentary filmed by her friend and longtime collaborator Gabrielle Crawford. Even 20 years ago, Crawford remembers, “We would get on the Eurostar besieged by fans, with men dying to carry her cases, and arrive in London to total invisibility.” It’s hard to imagine Jane Birkin ever having been invisible. Her face (doeeyed, gap-toothed), her look (boyish, insouciant) and even her name have become shorthand for everything that was cool about the Seventies, and it’s fair to say she charmed every man she met. There was composer John Barry, 11 years her senior, who she’d married, had a child (the late Kate Barry) with and divorced by the time she was 20; her great love Gainsbourg; and later, film director Jacques Doillon, who saw beyond her beauty and, says Birkin, set about making “a serious actress” of her. And then there was Jean-Louis

Dumas, who, after a chance meeting on a flight in 1981, created the world’s most famous handbag in her honour. The story goes that Birkin, whose carry-on of choice had always been a simple straw basket, made an off-thecuff comment to the man next to her on the plane about her struggle to find the perfect leather weekend bag. “You should have one with pockets,” he said. She replied, “The day Hermès make one with pockets I will have that.” The man just happened to be Dumas, the brand’s chief executive; he promised to make her one and the Birkin bag was born. Hermès has never revealed its sales figures, but with fans including Victoria Beckham (whose collection is reportedly worth close to USD2 million) and Sex And The City’s Samantha (an entire episode of the show was dedicated to her search for one), the Birkin’s reputation as a modern symbol of both status and style is unmatched. Birkin herself only has the one – in well-worn black leather and bedecked with stickers, ribbons and beads picked up on her travels. Like the basket before it, it’s typical of the English girl next door-turned-Parisian darling’s understated approach to style. Unlike her beehived, miniskirted contemporaries, in the late Sixties and Seventies she favoured a more undone look – long, straight locks falling over slouchy knits and crumpled shirts, teamed with frayed flares and scuffed shoes. She simply wore what she wanted to wear, and shrugs off any questions about her fêted fashion sense, recently telling Vogue, “I think it’s probably true to say that if you dress up in boys’ clothes that are a few sizes 62

too big for you, you can make your own style without much effort.” Whether by design or not, make her own style she did, and continues to do – stunning in a tux at 69 as the face of Saint Laurent’s campaign earlier this year, and even inspiring a fragrance, Miller Harris’ astutely titled L’Air de Rien. But for someone so admired for her looks, Birkin has always appeared nonplussed by her allure – which only adds to the effect. Her early career was filled with revealing photoshoots and equally revealing film roles – in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup and the George Harrison-scored Wonderwall – but, she says, “I didn’t do it for the money. I did it for the joy of someone who thought I was beautiful.” Listening to her speak now, all soft, cut-glass English peppered with the odd Parisian purr, you can entirely believe that when people first asked if she was indeed Jane Birkin, she would tell them ‘no’, for fear of disappointing them. Says Crawford, who is currently working on a book of Birkin’s diaries, to be published next year, “Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about Jane is her ignorance of her beauty. When I’m transcribing her school diaries there was the same lack of confidence in her appearance – since she was a little girl. That’s a huge part of her charm. Nothing flash about her.” The young Birkin may have been oblivious to her feminine powers but the men that populated her personal and professional history – which were oft intertwined – were not. In 1968 she auditioned for director Pierre Grimblat and confessed, “‘Look, I know my legs aren’t great’, because I’d been to Los


63


64

AIR


Opening page: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg in Vogue, 1970. Opposite and previous page: Birkin in her acting heyday

Angeles for a part where they said that if I had false bosoms and broke my legs in three portions and they could get me a different sort of structure that I could go up for a television show. I told them that I thought life was too short.” Grimblat’s interest was piqued; he sent her off to Paris, post haste, to screen-test for Slogan with famed French provocateur Serge Gainsbourg. Birkin recalls praying for “a tiny accident – just enough to break my leg and not turn up to this film test where I can’t speak French and I look a right nit. When I got there, there was this arrogant man in a mauve shirt. I think I said, ‘Why don’t you say, how are you?’ And I think he said, ‘Because I don’t really care’”. Keen to “settle things up” with the mauve-shirted man once it was decided they’d be working together, she took Gainsbourg to dinner at Paris club du jour Chez Regine, asked him to dance… and that was that. “He walked on my feet,” she remembers, “and he was so clumsy, and I thought, oh, it’s divine, this man who’s pretended all along to be so sophisticated – well, he was too shy to dance.” In Gainsbourg, Birkin had found a kindred spirit. Now the stuff of legend, their love burned brightly for more than a decade and gave her a second daughter, actress Charlotte, as well as a starring role in French counterculture.

Everyone, young and old, relates to her normality Gainsbourg’s increasing struggles with melancholy and alcoholism led to their separation in 1980, but their deep admiration for one another endured until his death 11 years later – just days before the death of her father. “Sadness and grief are emotions she has had to deal with in terrible doses,” explains Crawford. “Her beloved father dying three days after Serge… You have to understand they were her world.” It’s entirely characteristic of Birkin that she credits the men in her life – notably, Gainsbourg, Barry and Doillon, with whom she had a third daughter, Lou – with much of her success. So careful is she to never seem the least bit self-important, in interviews she frequently uses ‘one’ instead of ‘I’. 65

Remembering the golden years with Gainsbourg and her eldest daughters Kate and Charlotte, for example, she says, “Paradoxically one had become the most popular girl in France for the most cosy family reasons… I’d become a part of every French family because of my family – practically my royal family, in that becoming a part of Serge’s family was nearly royal.” It was this relationship, with her adoptive France, that set her on a benevolent new path in the 1990s. “I was socially aware that there were great differences and I suppose because I love France I wanted to make [things] somehow more equal, to stick up for people that hadn’t got that much money, to get laws passed,” she recalls. One campaign led to another and, as an ambassador for Amnesty International, over the years Birkin has visited some of the world’s most impoverished, war-torn countries. “I can’t put on bandages, but you can bandage people’s hearts,” she says, matter-of-factly. Ever the pragmatist, she refused France’s highest honour, the Legion d’Honneur, in recognition of her charitable work (“It’s for war heroes, it’s not for showbusiness people like me”) but accepted an OBE “for my mother’s sake”. For Crawford, who’s published two collections of photographs of Birkin, in all her various guises, her friend’s appeal is simple: “If she is an icon (and she hates the expression!) I think it’s because everyone, young and old, relates to her normality. In 50 years she has not changed as a person. She holds the same views and conforms for no-one.” Birkin’s may be a strange sort of normal, but I can see what Crawford means. Through both great fortune and great tragedy, she remains at heart the same wide-eyed girl, shy but full of wit, who won over a nation, and then a generation, with her mellifluous charm. It’s fitting then, that her 70th birthday belongs to her fans – and, in part, to Gainsbourg: on 14 December, she’ll be in Clermont-Ferrand, in the very centre of France, singing “Serge’s songs” (as she calls them to this day) on tour. “Her 70th birthday? Unimaginable really,” says Crawford, “but I know that her choice to be on stage in concert singing Gainsbourg that night is the best place for her to be.”


AIR

REMEM BERING BOWIE

2016 was in its fledgling days when we were rocked by the death of David Bowie. As the year draws to a close, music photographer Denis O’Regan reveals his plan to keep the icon’s legacy alive WORDS : CHRIS ANDERSON


67


AIR

All photographs © Denis O’Regan

68


I was stunned by what I expected to be a simple rock show… from that moment on I was hooked

D

enis O’Regan has spent more than 40 years photographing some of the world’s biggest music acts. He has travelled the globe many times over, serving as the official tour photographer for Queen, Duran Duran, The Who and The Rolling Stones, among others. There have also been countless books and exhibitions of his work, with real music history taking shape before his camera lens. If you ask him what it was that sparked his interest and how music photography became such a passion, the answer is always the same: David Bowie. “I tried to tell him so back in 1990, and by that point I’d been his official photographer on three world tours, but the last one, the Sound+Vision Tour, was winding down, and I didn’t think we’d work together again, so I plucked up the courage,” O’Regan says. “I told him, ‘David, this is all because of you. I took up photography because I love your music so much.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Hmm, you’ll probably tell that to Bono tomorrow.’ [Laughs] He didn’t accept compliments well.”

There was some truth to the story, as it was at Bowie’s triumphant sold-out concert at London’s Hammersmith Odeon Theatre on 3 July 1973 – the final time he would perform as alter ego Ziggy Stardust – that O’Regan became such a fan. “I actually didn’t want to go, but I was talked into it by a friend and he even paid for the tickets,” the photographer admits. “I was stunned by David’s outfits, and the way he incorporated mime and theatre into what I expected to be a simple rock show. I remember thinking, ‘Somebody needs to photograph this, to document it,’ and from that moment on I was hooked. I felt so happy to have discovered him.” Unfortunately this feeling of excitement would become one of great loss decades later, on 10 January of this year, when just two days after Bowie’s 69th birthday it was announced unexpectedly that he had died of cancer. His final album, Blackstar, had only just been released, while an off-Broadway musical, Lazarus – a celebration of his music back catalogue, which he was also involved in – had 69

opened a month before. Fans were left in shock. Bono, who had been mentioned to O’Regan in passing all those years before, said in a statement, “David Bowie is my idea of a rock star.” By that point, having found Bowie, and then been fortunate enough to work with him on a regular basis, O’Regan had gone beyond being a fan – he considered Bowie a friend. “We spent around nine months at a time together on the road,” he explains. “You become accepted, part of the inner circle. I’d take photos of him rehearsing, playing live and backstage, at the airport, and generally just recording the tour, and when I got the films processed David would come to my hotel room and we’d have a slideshow. He really wanted lots of photos taken, which always surprised me.” O’Regan adds, “I first photographed him professionally for a magazine in 1978, at a concert, but the first time I worked with him full time was on the Serious Moonlight Tour, which started in 1983. That was the one where he stopped being a cult figure and became this huge commercial artist, with songs


AIR

David Bowie was who he was on stage, and away from it he just wanted to be David, or Dave like Let’s Dance and China Girl. It was bizarre, because it all happened while we were travelling, so he started the tour in arenas playing to 10,000 people, and suddenly he was filling stadiums of 80,000. We’d travel to places, but we couldn’t leave the hotel – that’s how huge he was.” He may have left Ziggy and his colourful costumes behind, but Bowie still favoured a particular look during this period, with expensive designer suits and slicked hair. “I think he missed the theatrical element by being mainstream, and he tried to bring it back with the Glass Spider Tour in 1987,” O’Regan recalls. “It had a huge touring set, but it didn’t quite pay off, so he scaled it down for the Sound+Vision Tour in 1990, making it about the songs again. One of my favourite memories of him is when we stopped in Berlin on the Glass Spider Tour, and I’d taken some photos of him next to the Berlin Wall. He said to me, ‘Shall we go to my old flat?’, referring of course to the one he shared in the 1970s with Iggy Pop when they both lived in the city for a time. We went there and just knocked on the door – the person who answered couldn’t believe it.” Bowie and O’Regan would not work together again after 1990, but occasionally exchanged messages, most recently discussing the idea of

a new book featuring some of the old photos. On news of Bowie’s death, however, O’Regan began to look at his work through new eyes, and realised there was perhaps a way he could connect with the fans who themselves were feeling loss. “I was talking to the Off Beat Lounge, a gallery in Norfolk, about doing an exhibition,” he says. “That quickly became a photography tour, called David And I, which started earlier this year and has proven so popular we’ve extended it into 2017. We’ve teamed up with Mini, so we’re touring their showrooms, hosting an event after-hours – we have a selection of images, all of which David approved, and I talk to the guests about them, with a Q&A at the end.” It sounds very different to any tour O’Regan might have experienced in the past, but he seems happy to be on the road with Bowie once again, perhaps using the talks as his own way of saying goodbye. “He was just a normal guy,” O’Regan recalls. “I thought he was going to be this aloof rock star, but he was very approachable and funny. David Bowie was who he was on stage, and away from it he just wanted to be David, or Dave – I never did get used to calling him that.” David And I is currently touring the UK, with events scheduled until June 2017. For more information and tickets, visit offbeatlounge.co.uk 70


71


THE POWER

AIR

OF LOVE Eighty years ago this month, King Edward VIII surrendered the British throne to wed his American socialite (divorcÊe) sweetheart Wallis Simpson. Today, it remains a scandalous chapter in the royal narrative‌ But has history cast Simpson in an unfair light, and should Britain in fact be indebted to her distraction?

WORDS : CHRIS UJMA

72


73


AIR

B

y December 1936, Wallis Warfield Simpson was spattered with bad blood. Constantly vilified, she was described as ‘that woman’ by a Queen Mother determined not to mention her by name, and ‘brash’, ‘unrefined’ and much worse by onlookers (who hardly knew her). Her crime? Falling in love with the man who came to inherit the throne – though he would not remain there for long. Edward VIII, who had assumed the crown in January after the passing of his father George V, was about to step down in the highest-profile abdication Britain had ever seen. The former prince met Baltimore-born Simpson through his mistress Lady Furness, and theirs was a slow-burning admiration rather than love at first sight. He eventually shunned Furness to shift his attention Simpson’s way, and his disregard for royal protocol during their courtship left his family red-faced and the government aghast; in short, the stuff of Disney stories this was not. Distinguished author Anne Sebba recently compiled a comprehensive biography of Simpson, and managed to unearth a treasure trove of letters handwritten by the former Duchess of Windsor, addressed to her (other) darling – ex-husband Ernest, with whom she had a deep kinship and to whom she was still married when Edward abdicated. In the book, Sebba asserts her belief that “she was not in love with Edward himself but in love with the opulence, the lifestyle, the way doors opened for her, the way all her childish dreams came true. She was sure it was a fairy tale that would end, but while it lasted she could not bring herself to end it herself”. Edward, though, was infatuated. Discovered Sebba, Prince Christopher of Greece described in his memoirs how the then Prince of Wales “laid a hand on my arm in his impulsive way. ‘Christo, come with me. I want you to meet Mrs Simpson.’ ‘Who is she?’ ‘An American. She’s wonderful.’ Those two words told me everything. It was as though he had said she is the only woman in the world”. They’re often cast as star-crossed lovers, and there’s little to dispel evidence that they possessed a special bond. “Wallis and Edward referred to themselves as W.E., their joint initials, but also a dig at the royal

She was sure it was a fairy tale that would end, but she could not bring herself to end it

‘we’. Subversive, intimate, playful, their nickname reveals much about their relationship,” says Sebba. Edward went to great lengths to fight for his lover’s royal rights and title, both of which were denied, while she stood beside him despite a tsunami of ill feeling. “Society formed two camps,” Sebba explains. “There were those, broadly speaking of ancient lineage, who stood squarely behind the King, found her unacceptable and did their best to avoid her if possible – the establishment… Others, many of whom had American connections and were new to London – ‘the Ritz Bar Set’– felt differently. To them Mrs Simpson seemed to provide a heaven-sent opportunity to enter royal society.” The world’s sensibilities were tuned to Britain, and societies looked at the nation and its royal family as the moral standard-bearer. The unseemly drama made high society’s image-conscious squirm. Explains Sebba of Britain, which was on the cusp of a second World War, “Divorce was a fiendishly hot issue in the late 1930s, for some a much greater and more tangible threat than anything happening in Europe, which felt remote.” Back in October 1934, the then prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, asked to see the King – and, as the wife of Baldwin’s private secretary, Nancy Dugdale, explains, was “made aware of the King’s firm intention to marry Mrs Simpson”. She recalls, “The shock was severe. This twice-divorced woman of low 74

birth with an intermittent career of coquetry behind her, whose first marriage was dissolved in America; whose second marriage took place in England where it is doubtful if her first divorce would be acknowledged as legal, whom the king now proposed should take Queen Mary’s place.” Baldwin’s niece, Monica, recounts a similar tale in which her uncle asked the King, “[Was it] absolutely necessary that he should marry her? In their peculiar circumstances things are sometimes permitted to royalty which are not allowed to the ordinary man.” Edward replied, “Oh there’s no question of that. I’m going to marry her.” It was this inflexibility that rankled – a sentiment framed by the daughter of former prime minister HH Asquith (and politician herself), Violet Bonham Carter: “[The King] faced a dilemma that many human beings have had to face and meet with less at stake. Many, after all, have died for this country not so long ago. The sacrifice now demanded falls far short of life.” Turmoil continued to rumble. Returning from a Parisian cruise in September 1936, Simpson “caught up with her mail – which included a batch of American newspaper cuttings”, says Sebba. “The international press had not held back on pictures of the couple holidaying together… This was an epiphany. In England she had been shielded from sensational (or indeed any) accounts of her affair, partly through the King cultivating


75


76

AIR


So frayed were Edward’s nerves, he even slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow

a friendship with two of the major press barons [who] discarded basic journalistic instincts for the sake of honour, telling staff that ‘Mrs Simpson’s name is not to be mentioned’.” It was an eye-opener for Simpson, Sebba goes on: “Reading the lurid details of what was being said about her in her homeland, she made a belated attempt to recapture her earlier life and break with the King. She told him she really had to return to Ernest and the ‘calm, congenial life’ he offered, ‘where it all runs smoothly and no nerve strain. True we are poor and unable to do the attractive things in life which I must confess I do enjoy… I am sure you and I would only create disaster together’… The King immediately telephoned and wrote and made clear he was never going to let her go… So frayed were his nerves at the time, according to [close family friend] Helen Hardinge, he even slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow.” Despite frequent protestations and vows to leave, Simpson would eventually always succumb – out of love or, perhaps, feeling she could not refuse. On 11 December 1936 Edward abdicated, having reigned for 326 days. They married on 3 June 1937 and he finally had his ‘queen’. Their life in exile began, banished to British territorial outposts where they could do no more harm – out of sight, out of mind. But, says Sebba, “They were cut off from sources of good advice, which left them alarmingly vulnerable… where once [Edward] had been surrounded by counsellors, now there were none. In the abyss it is easy to see how alluring was the advice of his host in Tours, France, millionaire Charles Bedaux [who] had substantial business interests in Germany and was keen to use the Duke to further these.” The couple’s visit to Germany in October 1937 embarrassed his brother, King George VI, and Edward’s ease to make nice with Germany’s upper echelons hints at a fate far worse than merely eroding society’s moral columns. Just how disastrously could matters have unfolded for Britain, had the King got his way and married when on the throne? Well, Austro-Hungarian diplomat Count Alexander MensdorffPouilly recorded a talk with Edward 77

in 1933, and recalls, “It is remarkable how he expressed sympathies for the Nazis in Germany… ‘I hope and believe we shall never fight a war again,’ he commented. ‘But if so we must be on the winning side and that will be German, not the French’… I asked him how he imagined that one got out of the National Socialist dictatorship… He seemed not to have thought very much about these questions. It is, however, interesting and significant that he shows so much sympathy for Germany and the Nazis.” Liesl Schillinger wrote in The New York Times, “Sebba believes Wallis did not want to marry her royal lover, but that she was very likely used as a scapegoat by schemers in the British government who regarded Edward VIII as unstable, irresponsible and dangerously well disposed to Nazi Germany. The palace staff considered him ‘mad’ (one retainer exclaimed, ‘We shall have to lock him up!’), and the royal family’s doctor was ‘convinced’ that the prince’s moral development had stalled when he was in his teens.” Several decades on, Sebba opined in The Telegraph, “We now see the royal family as ordinary human beings who, like most, have suffered divorce and family break-up. We have changed, just as they have… Our attitudes towards duty, responsibility, pluck and sacrifice – words that dictated everything 80odd years ago – have changed utterly. Today, we not only understand the pursuit of individual fulfilment, which Edward’s mother, Queen Mary, and her generation condemned so harshly. We believe it is an acceptable life goal.” By Edward abdicating for his love, perhaps Britain dodged a proverbial bullet of history in exchange for a flesh wound. Simpson will never be warmly embraced by the public, nor heralded for inadvertently intervening in the nation’s fate. But given the departed monarch’s stance on the war – plus a seeming lack of aptitude to deal with the pressures of the throne – perhaps ‘that King’s’ fascination with ‘that woman’ made Wallis Simpson the wrong woman in the right place, at just the right time. That Woman: The Life Of Wallis Simpson, Duchess Of Windsor by Anne Sebba is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson


Motoring DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Somebody Call 911 Whether pressed for time or with the clock on your side, the Porsche 911 Carrera Coupé can handle the situation with speed and finesse. Here’s what it’s like behind the wheel of this half gentleman, half hell-raiser

AIR

WORDS : CHRIS UJMA

78


79


AIR

S

itting in traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road, the 911 took a nap. To clarify, the auto engine cut-off at 0km/h is a Porsche fuel-saving feature, and when you remove pressure from the foot brake, the rear-located power source seamlessly growls back into life. But should you attribute emotions to inanimate objects, you could have mistaken the traffic jam switch-off for a polite expression of boredom. Who could blame it? The previous day, blasting down Sharjah-Kalba Road with Sport mode engaged, the 911 was in its superhuman element – though not close to unleashing its full power, restrained by mortal speed limits. We’ll get to the tornado of fury it can produce, but coping with the mortal realm is a large part of this vehicle’s appeal. We’re well versed with marques touting the mind-blowing performance parameters of their top-end model, track beasts that devour solar systems. This 911 certainly has those qualities – Porsche has bestowed the whole 911 line with turbochargers – but while it thrives on ‘let’s do that again!’ moments it also handles the more tedious ‘do we have to drive there again?’ ones. Not all supersonic creations can attest to that. There’s cruise control. For the Sport chassis, there’s a countering Normal setting, and for the Sport mode (and the other-dimension Sport+), there’s also Normal. To counterbalance weekends salivating over the rumble of the engine, there’s an intuitive infotainment system for weekdays, with a seven-inch touchscreen and route guidance that makes well-mannered requests for you to “please turn right… please drive straight ahead”. Okay, there’s negligible luggage space (145 litres), and rear-seated passengers won’t have a lot of leg space. But its corner-hugging drive sense is perfect for ‘everyday’, yet also laced with the requisite menace for ‘get out of my way’. The Carrera is sensational, and the disclaimer attached to my gut feeling is that I gave the adrenaline a full week to dissipate – analysing an exceptional drive immediately after, you’re fully inclined to type THIS CAR IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD and then shut down with writer’s block. But once my (literary) engine had auto restarted, there was no comedown; the overall experience is tough to beat. 80


It’s perfect for ‘everyday’, yet laced with the requisite menace for ‘get out of my way’

Over USD21,000 worth of added optional details help sweeten the cause. Porsche is all about choice (incidentally the 911 family itself has 12 members, from the Carrera and its Cabriolet sibling, to the likes of the Carrera S, the Turbo and Turbo S, and 911 R) and this particular rendition possesses ample extras. Some are cosmetic or interiorbased, like comfy four-way sports seats, auto-dimming interior/exterior mirrors, heated steering wheel, sliding glass sunroof, Porsche Entry & Drive, and 20-inch Carrera Classic wheels. Others are performance related. The 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung transmission helps the Carrera become downright rude – 0 to 96km/h in 4.4 seconds packs a punch that leaves you feeling every ridge of that Porsche logo (optionally) stitched into the headrest. It’s responsive with no noticeable lag, which might soften the aspirated purist’s stance towards

the turbocharger – its tonal rumble is hardly audible in the cabin, though. The listed specs have the rear-located, three-litre flat-six engine producing 37HP, and during more genteel moments you’ll have an abundance of “120 km/h? Already?” occasions, as the speed-limit notification softly pings like a killjoy attempting to speak up and spoil the party. It gets even quicker. That 4.4 seconds can be sliced with the aid of two personality traits that are, well… too much for the road, frankly. There’s a frighteningly fast launch-control function (which Porsche warns is for a ‘track-only, controlled environment with no pedestrian traffic’), where after activation you’ll blister to maximum acceleration from standstill. The optional Sport Chrono Package, meanwhile, means sportier tuning of the chassis, engine and transmission, and activation of Porsche Active 81

Suspension Management. You’ll also get a stopwatch mounted proudly on the dashboard that can record driving time or be used as a regular clock. SPORT Response – the button nestled in the centre of a driving-mode selector that was derived from the 918 Spyder – primes the engine and transmission for a 20-second blast. Boy’s toy? No, this is strictly for the brave. On a less complex level are its kneeweakening aesthetics: Dubai is the city with a gleaming supercar (or three) nonchalantly parked on every street corner, yet the 14.7ft-long Coupé still garners both obvious and stolen glances – especially in the handsome Graphite Metallic Blue hue. It carries the proud 911 lineage plus that ‘something else’, to spice up the humdrum and wow when faced with the exceptional. The 911 Carrera is out of this world. Or, you know, of this world – whichever you need to be today.


Gatronomy DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

King With overseas Michelin-star dominance under his belt, acclaimed international chef Marcel Ravin returns to his Martinique roots in a proud culinary homecoming venture AIR

Creole WORDS : CHRIS UJMA

“M

y origins, my love for spices and herbs that my grandparents taught me, my encounters and my travels have all enriched my culinary journey. Memory feeds the imagination and knowledge supports intuition.” This wistful excerpt from Marcel Ravin’s 2012 book From One Rock To Another: A Chef’s Journey has added poignancy since the opening of his Caribbean eatery, La Table de Marcel at Hotel Simon, was announced earlier this year. Any

gastronomic savant who has visited Blue Bay at Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort will attest that notes from the chef’s heritage have flavour fingerprints all over the tasting-menu fare, and he wears his national pride firmly on his sleeve (despite a metaphorical adoption as one of Monaco’s most respected culinary sons). Not to dwell on the Principality, though; La Table is a remarkable enterprise in its own right – a twinkle in the eye far longer than the iconic 82

Blue Bay. “The idea has been in the pipeline for ages,” says Ravin. As soon as I decided to become a chef, I knew, one day I should open a restaurant on my island. It was important for me to maintain a close connection with Martinique, which has given me so much. By obtaining a first Michelin star, I had the opportunity to meet new people and some of them were very interested in my cuisine style. Geoffroy Marraud des Grottes, a businessman from Martinique, had a great project


83


AIR

My cuisine has its own identity. It’s like a fashion designer: they adapt their collection to a country’s habits but you still recognise their style to build a new business hotel in Fortde-France. When he asked me to be in charge of the catering, he mentioned his wish to create a gastronomic restaurant to promote the Caribbean products… I accepted because we had the same aim, developing Martinique gastronomy, which deserves to be known and recognised.” An avenue for recognition is exclusivity, and the enclave packs plenty of that; Ravin sets the scene by explaining, “The restaurant faces the famous Fort-de-France Bay and is an intimate setting for only 24 covers. It’s designed in contemporary style, decorated with sophisticated details brought together in perfect harmony. The aim was to create a contemporary Caribbean style – I turned the tables to explore a culturally charged universe of intrigue and emotion, through thematic displays of tableware and decorative arts. Peggy Desmeules-Deniot, an artisan potter located in Martinique, accompanied me during this project and together we have developed customised plates, table sets and timbales using specific local materials.” Ambience has its place, but it’s epicurean intrigue that will tempt loyal Ravinites and curious jetsetters here to part with their euros (Martinique is an overseas region of France). Local produce equates to gastro gold, as root vegetables like cassava, taro and turmeric – “We call it ‘mandja’ in Creole” – are readily available, as is passion fruit, which Ravin loves to cook with “as it has a very special taste and texture”.

Noteworthy signature dishes that crystallise his new direction are organic chicken egg, truffle, cassava and that notable passion fruit, as well as free-range farmed pork from Ancinelle cooked Mamy Yvanesse-style (Ravin’s grandmother), and a variation of chocolate maracuja for afters. “The menu has obvious differences because of the environment,” Ravin explains. “It’s not the same climate, and because I adapt myself to the place I work, I tap into my regional knowhow. I strive for an environmental approach and it’s essential for me to work with local artisans who keep their own culture. Necessarily, the product will differ even if a dish bears the same name as one in Monaco. For example, the livestock I cook in Martinique has a different taste because they eat differently and breathe a different air… However, despite a different culture or environment, you can guess my culinary signature because my cuisine has its own identity. It’s like a fashion designer: they adapt their collection to a country’s habits but you still recognise their style.” Ravin’s name may be above the door but in the La Table kitchen is another maestro: chef Lindley Lanappe is an important component in upholding Marcel’s high standards, and the pair worked together for 10 years in Monaco. “Lindley also hails from Martinique,” says Ravin. “I chose him because I trust him; we have more or less the same itinerary, he knows exotic products and has the islander mentality. He’s a real asset for the restaurant.” 84


So that settles what Ravin will bring to the table, but what is he returning to, when he surveys the culinary landscape of his homeland? “To be honest, I think we must pay attention to restaurant development in Martinique. I’m shocked when I discover a new fast-food outlet each time I come back; fast food didn’t exist here when I left. We have a real gastro-centric culture, and we mustn’t surrender this richness. Caribbean nature offers so many products we sometimes neglect… We have to be more daring, as Martinique cuisine does not only consist of Accra fritters and Creole black pudding.” Of anyone, he’s the man to infuse a different direction – not to sound 85

syrupy, but being in his presence you feel an approach to cooking that is positively ethereal. “I create dishes and cultivate a desire for innovation with the aim of giving diners enjoyment, the pleasure of an ephemeral moment. My cuisine is not about producing effects but about stirring emotions. My dishes are created from my childhood memories and my method is always to start with a fresh product. Never mind its appearance, I just look the plate and I have to like the look of it to produce a result that our customers love and that will bring me great personal satisfaction. The spirit of a chef is to be generous.” It seems that for Ravin, happily, home is where le cœur is.


Timepieces Travel DECEMBER JUNE 2016 2016 : ISSUE : ISSUE 61 67

11 JOURNEYS BY JET

Amangiri

AIR

Canyon Point, Utah

A

drian Zecha, founder of the Aman brand, has an eye for the extraordinary. His portfolio of bespoke boutique hotels are as well renowned for their breathtaking (and curious) backdrops as for the levels of exclusivity that prevail within. In this instance, the sweeping, sprawling landscapes of the American Southwest serve as the canvas upon which to situate Amangiri – and while the peace makes the 600-acre property feel distinctly ‘middle of nowhere’, the luxury experience at this hideaway puts it on the map as a ‘somewhere’. You’re urged to switch off, and while the spa, fine dining and hiking each

deserve plaudits, it’s nature that is the main protagonist here; 60 million years of activity have carved landscapes that, as light plays with the outcrops and crevices, create fascinating silhouettes. Outdoor lounges, sky terraces and courtyards provide a hushed setting in which to enjoy such captivating surrounds. It’s from these guest-suite vantage points that uninterrupted views of undulating dunes and stark plateaus can be savoured – ideally wrapped in a blanket beside a crackling fire, just as the night temperature drops and the stars come out to play. Natural materials maintain purity and ensure a visual softness, shaped 86

into monolithic architecture that will appeal to those with an affinity for modernism; uncluttered clean lines, white stone floors and a maze-like personality add to the mystical aura dictated by the silent mountains. Amangiri is private, serene, and your every whim is pre-empted, with levels of sophistication which – like the timeweathered setting – took endeavour to hone, yet appears oh so effortless. Land by private jet into Page Municipal Airport in Arizona, which is tailored to private charter needs. It’s then a short, scenic 25-minute car ride to the resort, navigated by a dedicated Amangiri chauffeur


87


What I Know Now

AIR

DECEMBER 2016 : ISSUE 67

Bill Keffer

GENERAL MANAGER, JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS HOTEL DUBAI I have received two excellent pieces of advice. Firstly: ensure your skill set outpaces your salary. Too often I’ve witnessed individuals who do not master their job, excel too quickly and then, unfortunately, fail. It’s important to be realistic with your own capabilities before you make any leaps. The other is to surround yourself with experts and the most intelligent people you can find; it creates a synergy of focused minds. I first felt successful when I got my first paycheque, when I was 12. But the most rewarding feeling is encountering those in executive positions who I knew

back when they were in hourly paid work; your career has more meaning when you know it’s not just cold business, but about development. Over time, I’ve learned that you can’t worry about factors outside your control. With age I’ve become more confident in my decisions, more strategic, and learned to prioritise the things that I can impact directly. People need your trust to allow them to do their job – it’s why you hired them. Personal accomplishment will be when my three children are grown and active participants in society – 88

then I’ll know I’ve done a good job in raising them. Similarly in business, when people progress to higher positions (and I had something to do with their development), that also makes me proud. I love seeing my kids develop and equally enjoy seeing colleagues grow in their careers. Both define success to me. I tell my family I love them every single day, and want them to know that a lot of what I do is for them. Why? I’ve had many experiences where I didn’t say it enough and it was too late. My daughter loves it but my teenage sons find it awkward – hopefully only for now.


JW MARRIOT T® MARQUIS DUBAI

Elevating Luxury to New Heights. Comprising two iconic towers, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is centrally located beside the Dubai Water Canal. Offering a spectrum of facilities for the most discerning travellers, it is the ultimate destination of exceptional taste featuring an array of diverse restaurants and lounges. 1,608 LUXURIOUS GUEST ROOMS AND SUITES OVER 14 AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANTS AND LOUNGES SARAY SPA FEATURING TRADITIONAL HAMMAMS, 17 TREATMENT ROOMS AND A DEAD SEA FLOATATION POOL STATE-OF-THE-ART HEALTH CLUB AND FITNESS FACILITIES 8,000 SQM OF SPECTACULAR MEETING SPACES For more information please call +971 4 414 0000 or visit jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971 4 414 0000, F +971 4 414 0001 | jwmarriottmarquisdubai.com JW Marriott Marquis Dubai | @JWDubaiMarquis | JWMarriottMarquisDubai


Perlée bracelets yellow gold, white gold and diamonds.

Haute Joaillerie, place Vendôme since 1906

DUBAI: The Dubai Mall - Mall of the Emirates ABU DHABI: The Galleria Al Maryah Island 800-VAN-CLEEF (800-826-25333) ABU DHABI: Etihad Towers +971 2 681 1919 www.vancleefarpels.com

Air Magazine - Al Bateen - December'16  

Felicity Jones cracks the Hollywood code • A fond farewell to Bowie and his alter ego heroes • The original Birkin – Jane turns 70 • Our rip...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you