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Contents aPril 2018 : ISSUE 83
Editorial Editorial director air
John Thatcher Managing Editor
Faye Bartle Editor
Chris Ujma email@example.com
art art director
Kerri Bennett designer
Jamie Pudsey illustrations
Leona Beth Forty Two
With her expressive abilities, Rooney Mara is a guaranteed casting score. Here’s how she remains grounded
Jayne Mansfield emerged from the shadow of Marilyn Monroe by being her own brand of ‘Hollywood’
Legend in the Making A look at the creative process behind the Capucines, one of Louis Vuitton’s most iconic, exotic handbags 8
Do the Right Thing How did Martin Luther King Jr. communicate his dream to a society that simply was not yet ready?
CoMMErCial Managing director
Victoria Thatcher Group Commercial director
firstname.lastname@example.org Commercial director
ProduCtion Production Manager
APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
A new exhibit documents candid moments of the Kennedy family during their time in the spotlight
Ares Design is where the magic happens for those wanting to bespoke their luxury ride
From Twenty Eight
A USD400,000 timepiece from an unexpected source; Plus the watch auction world gets all shook up by Elvis
Like the seasons of San Francisco, change is on the menu at Michael Tuskâ€™s ever-evolving Quince
If you think these Tagliavini scenes were produced during the Renaissance, take a closer look
Caribbean living sashays with couture confidence at the Oscar de la Rentainfluenced Tortuga Bay Hotel
Art & Design
From Thirty Eight
The legendary Harry Winston cluster, updated; Plus art genius meets jewellery at a new exhibit
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.
WHERE DREAMS LIVE AND EMOTIONS ARE BORN
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FROM DREAMS & INSPIRATION SPRINGS THE ROYAL MANSOUR From the exquisite mosaics adorning its palatial interiors to the mesmerising murmur of the fountains in the courtyards, the Royal Mansour reflects the beauty, grace and indeed, the very soul of Morocco. A first glimpse of this sensual luxury makes the heart beat faster, awakening the senses. But the true relaxation offered by this paradise in the centre of bustling Marrakech can only be experienced by a stay amidst the elegant tranquillity and attention to detail of the Royal Mansour. You and those you love will leave refreshed in mind, body and spirit.
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Empire Aviation Group APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
We are delighted to welcome you to this issue of AIR – Empire Aviation Group’s luxury lifestyle magazine for our aircraft owners and charter clients. Since commencing operations in 2007, Empire Aviation Group has developed and expanded operations into every continent, introduced innovative services, and built a managed fleet of more than 20 aircraft, with business jets from all the major global manufacturers. Today, Empire Aviation Group is a leading private aviation company with the region’s largest managed fleet of business jets and operations in the Middle East, India, Africa, Hong Kong and San Marino – along with a dedicated aircraft sales operation in the US.
Welcome Onboard issue eiGHTY THree
The business jet market continues to see a recovery with growing and attractive opportunities to buy new and pre-owned aircraft. In this issue, we showcase a unique aircraft that we are currently offering to the market – the lowest-timed Boeing B737-200 VIP regional business jet available in the world. It’s an aircraft that the team is very excited about and it represents a rare opportunity for a prospective owner to acquire this unique Boeing Business Jet (BBJ). It should not need stating that safety is always our top priority – for our owners, passengers and crew – and this commitment was recognised recently when the GCAA (General Civil Aviation Authority) in the United Arab Emirates invited EAG to share our aviation safety best practices at a recent aviation safety workshop. It was a fitting recognition for the outstanding work of our safety team, and you can read more on this on the following pages.
Enjoy the read.
COVer: Jayne Mansfield. Photo by Sunset Boulevard/ Corbis via Getty Images
Paras P. Dhamecha
Contact Details: email@example.com empireaviation.com 13
Empire Aviation Group APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
A rare opportunity – a unique VIP business jet Empire Aviation Group aircraft sales has a rare opportunity for VIPs in the region to own a truly unique and special aircraft, the Boeing 737-200. Configured especially for VVIP use since its first delivery in 1981, this aircraft has been used exclusively for private use and has never flown commercially or been offered to the charter market. This well-appointed aircraft is being offered for purchase directly from the owner through the experienced team at Empire Aviation Group’s aircraft sales. Today, there is probably no better opportunity in the world to acquire a regional VIP business jet; most 737-200s have at some point in their lifespans served as a commercial airliner or, at a minimum, been used extensively for charter operations. This aircraft, however, looks and feels like a brand-new Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) but – with an asking price of USD8 million – it’s now available today at a fraction of the original price and the price of a new BBJ. It has accrued 14
just over 7,500 hours during its entire operating life-to-date (as of February 2018), making this the lowest-timed B737-200 in the world. The airframe and engines have averaged only 204 hours per year since new. The value of a pre-owned business jet is partly determined by the quality of the record-keeping, as well as the maintenance history, so potential buyers will be pleased to learn that all of the records of the 737200 are complete and intact. And of course, having spent most of its life as a private jet for Heads of State and VVIPs, the aircraft has been exceptionally well cared for and beautifully fitted out. The flight deck has a classic appeal but make no mistake, it’s fully equipped for the future and all the mandates for the year 2020 have been completed. The new interior has state of the art technology onboard, including the latest in aircraft connectivity: highspeed WIFI, a 65” 4K HD television with Apple TV and Smart Samsung View
and a full galley to make each trip a pleasure. The aircraft is also fitted with high-end soundproofing, which makes the cabin even quieter than the new production BBJs. This is the first 737 business liner offered for sale by Empire Aviation Group – and it’s a rare find. The combination of light previous use, low hours, interior upgrades, and asking price make this aircraft unique, and an excellent opportunity for a very select clientele. The 24-seater 737-200 can accommodate more passengers than a typical business jet and, what’s more, these passengers will travel in an exceptional level of comfort thanks to the new cabin interior. The aircraft’s range makes the 737-200 the perfect choice for regional travel in the most luxurious surroundings. The 737-200 VIP private airliner is being offered by the Empire Aviation sales office in the USA, and Dubai, which means that the team is available 24 hours a day to answer inquiries about this rare opportunity.
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Empire Aviation Group APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
EAG Safety Manager Ashwani Gupta receives the award from Ms Laila Ali Saif Bin Hareb Al-Muhairi, Assistant Director General - Strategy and International Affairs Sector UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)
EAG shares experience and knowledge with industry leaders There’s no question that EAG’s first and foremost priority is the safety of passengers and crew and this commitment, demonstrated by its operational performance, has made EAG one of the leading experts on the subject in the region. So when the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) was organising an Aviation Risk Management Workshop to showcase good practices and knowledge among industry professionals, they invited EAG to present. The company was asked to share with the audience the 16
high standards of safety it has achieved over the 10 years of operations. Representing the Group at the workshop was Ashwani Gupta, Safety Manager of Empire Aviation Group and an experienced aviation safety professional, holding an IATA Diploma in Safety Management. Mr Gupta spoke to the attendees of the workshop, held in February 2018, about EAG’s experience and expertise in safety enhancement. As Mr Gupta explained, EAG’s Safety Department monitors all aspects of operations to identify
hazards and eliminate any risks that could affect safe operations. Potential hazards are identified continuously through reactive, proactive and predictive methods of data collection, then assessed for their level of risk. Risk mitigation actions are later discussed and implemented in collaboration with other departments and managers at the company. These rigorous and analytical methods underscore EAG’s extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of aviation safety and risk management, which are of course an invaluable asset.
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Radar APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
Photo: © Mark Shaw / mptvimages.com
When photographer Mark Shaw was commissioned to document Senator Kennedy and his family for LIFE, it led him all the way to the White House. JFK was elected president, and Shaw documented every step in a series of images taken during poignant, private moments. He’d already built a fine industry reputation, but the Kennedys were stars, and their images ensured Shaw earned his stripes. When tragedy befell the president, an anguished Shaw consigned the pictures to storage. Now, the collection – which places him among the photography greats – is at last on public display. Life with the Kennedys: Photographs by Mark Shaw shows at Proud Central in London until 6 May. proud.co.uk
Critique APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
Film Ready Player One Dir: Steven Spielberg It’s 2045, and people can escape harsh reality in a virtual world – but one fraught with danger At Best: “Becomes the very thing its characters admire, a preponderance of commercial entertainment smashed together into a singularity of blockbuster chaos.” indieWire At WoRst: “Accomplished and intermittently hypnotic ...Yet you may feel like you’re occupied more than you are invested.” Variety
Dir: Brad Anderson A US diplomat returns to Lebanon, a decade after having had to flee At Best: “Proves surprisingly sensitive in its handling of the Middle East, mapping out an area of nuanced power struggle rather than [a] cartoon, Casablanca-style.” Financial Times At WoRst: “Though not a sure thing commercially, it will play well with fans of John le Carre-sourced films.” Hollywood Reporter
Unsane Dir: Steven Soderbergh
At Best: “A thriller for the #MeToo generation with an imageshattering performance. Prepare to be wowed.” Rolling Stone At WoRst: “It’s a game, and a nasty one at that, but you can tell [the] players are having fun with it.” Boston Globe
Pacific Rim Uprising Dir: Steven S. DeKnight Another unstoppable threat is unleashed on the world, and it is up to highly skilled Jaeger pilots to once again defend humanity At Best: “A rollicking robot and monster beatdown. It is surprisingly more fun than the original.” MovieWeb At WoRst: “Loud, packed with impressive effects and propulsive – as a car with no brakes going downhill.” Washington Post 20
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures Publicity; Obscured Pictures; 20 th Century Fox; Universal
A young woman leaves her hometown to escape a troubled past – but her perception of reality gets called into question
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Critique APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
magine you’re a squash – as in, a butternut squash. Now imagine what kind of art you would most like, based on your squashybrained characteristics. For her 2018 Tate Britain Commission for the Duveen Galleries, Anthea Hamilton has created a squash-human hybrid, performed each day by an individual dressed in one of seven outfits,” writes Rosemary Waugh in Time Out London. The installation by the Turner Prize nominee shows until 7 October. The concept is ,“Bonkers, right?” continues Waugh. “But ridiculous as the idea sounds, Hamilton’s takeover is a brilliant and irreverent response to basically everything the Tate, as the grand old dame of establishment art, represents and displays.” Set against “the hard grid of the tiles, Hamilton explores organic form, not just with the live performers but with historic sculpture. Its concerns are sculptural – the body and space, hard and soft, surface and touch,” writes Robert Dex for Evening Standard. Adrian Searle reviews in The Guardian that, “Vegetable creatures dance endearingly amid the tiled garden... showing a grace some of the assembled sculptures lack… They serve as mute actors, or witnesses, to the live performers who... move about artistically and looking as decorous and meaningful as anyone can while wearing a pumpkin on their head.” “If you remember Mariko Mori parachuting into the art scene in the 1990s, striking wacky poses in gaudy manga outfits... She was a techno Cindy Sherman festooned in cartoon colours, riffing on feminine tropes in Japanese pop culture…” writes Ariella Budick for Financial Times. “But something happened to nudge Mori from hyper-hip princess to priestess of new-age spirituality. A member of one of Japan’s wealthiest clans, she was free from the pressures of the art market and the need to satisfy gallerists, collectors or curators, but she nevertheless wound up feeling trapped by fame.” Invisible Dimension, her new exhibit, shows at Sean Kelly Gallery until 28 April. 22
Tate Britain Commission: Anthea Hamilton. Image © Tate (Seraphina Neville) 2018
Hampton Arts Hub notes, “Her sculptures, increased in scale and magnitude to a monumental size, reflect her research into superstring theory and particle physics and represent her speculation of how multiple hidden universes might be represented. The seventh [sculpture] highlights how collision and union of two elements create a new reality.” Says Howard Halle for Time Out New York: “In this project, as in her latest sculptures, Mori marries science and spirituality, the far future and the distant past, to reveal the essential relationships that undergird the universe. ‘Everything is interconnected,’ she says. ‘We are all one – we just don’t see it.’” In The New York Times, Arthur Lubow describes Being as “a new group show [that] moves away from last year’s navel-gazing digital obsession to explore reality-based portraiture, politics and gender… In one, a recumbent figure [in the grass] proves, on second glance, to be a boy; a similar double take establishes the gender of a longhaired youth being embraced
from behind by a lean-limbed fellow. Some of Contis’ other photographs are presented as matted, silver gelatin prints. They demonstrate, if there was ever any doubt, that old-fashioned photography in the hands of an artist can feel completely up-to-date.” At the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) until 19 August, Being, “presents the works of 17 contemporary artists, exploring the replenished and layered notions of personhood and subjectivity in recent photography and photo-based art,” writes Blouin Artinfo. “Photography, since its earliest manifestations, is seen as a means to capture the exact likeness of a person. [These] artists mine this history and jeers towards a contemporary time, where photographic representations of personhood and the rights of representation are contested for many individuals.” It is, declares, Time Out New York, “MoMA’s annual round-up of emerging photographers’ lived experiences and circumstances. It’s being tackled by a range of styles and genres, from conceptual to moreor-less conventional portraiture.”
Critique APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
ou probably think you have beliefs, desires, fears, a personality, an ‘inner life’, maybe even a subconscious,” posits Steven Poole in The Guardian of The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and The Improvised Mind. “Poppycock, says Nick Chater, a behavioural psychologist. All that stuff is folk nonsense. The brain essentially just makes everything up as it goes along – including what we fondly think of as our direct perceptions of the world, which are a patchwork of guesses and reconstructions. There is nothing going on ‘underneath’; there are no depths. The book could equally have been called ‘The Mind Is Shallow’, though potential readers might have found that more off-puttingly rude.” It is positioned as “a profound reappraisal of how the mind works. Pre-eminent behavioural scientist Nick Chater reveals that ‘this entire enterprise is misguided: that we have no mental depths to plumb. Drawing on startling new research in neuroscience, behavioural psychology and perception.’” The book, writes New Scientist,is “A total assault on all lingering psychiatric and psychoanalytic notions of mental depths... Light the touchpaper and stand well back.” “Lois Farfel Stark argues in her new illustrated book, The Telling Image, that the shapes a society imposes upon its environment, in its structures and images, are indicative of the way it organises and views the world,” writes Blue Ink Review. “Stark, a former documentary filmmaker for NBC News, was trained ‘to look for the telling image – a picture that gives ‘the essence of the story’. She brings her keen eye to bear on her hypothesis, offering examples of how shapes reveal a society’s orientation.” It is “a wondrous and sweeping book that accomplishes a seemingly impossible task: making sense of the history – and future – of humanity and the universe,” opines Paige Van De
Winkle for Foreword Reviews. “By pinpointing the dominant shape of a period, Stark reveals the global mindset of a particular time and shows how it is essential to understanding, recognising, and predicting globally shifting value systems.” Kirkus Reviews pines for greater depth, saying, “Her morphological categories are more fuzzy metaphor than sound history.. She seldom considers the practicalities that determine forms… The analysis rarely yields more than vague truisms, and her critique of rectilinearity lapses into eco-mysticism.” “It’s virtually impossible to read more than 10 words by Neil Gaiman and not wish he would tell you the rest of the story. He is a thesaurus of myth, both original and traditional,” writes Natalie Haynes in The Guardian of Norse Mythology. “Greek myth has been so entirely absorbed into everything from neoclassicism to psychotherapy that we barely even register when we refer to an Oedipus complex... or an achilles heel. But although Tolkien took the dwarves and elves of Norse myth to populate Middle Earth, they have not penetrated our culture to anything like the same extent.” Writes Katy Waldman for The New Yorker, “What scraps we have of the frost giants and other inhabitants of the nine Norse worlds are intensely strange, blown in on icy drafts from an elsewhere of heightened bleakness and grandeur. [For example] there is a warship made from the untrimmed fingernails of the dead.” Michael Dirda writes in The Washington Post, “The author’s penchant for short paragraphs, some of only a single sentence, adds an air of portentousness... Despite the mishmash of its styles... it turns out to be a gripping, and quite wonderful reworking of these famous tales. Once you fall into the rhythm of its glinting prose, you will happily read on and on, in thrall to Gaiman’s skillful storytelling.” 23
Indulge the Senses
Tucked within a dramatic mountain landscape, Six Senses Zighy Bay is an Omani treasure harbouring its own hidden gem â€“ the unrivalled Beit Musandam Private Reserve
AIR X SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY
ix Senses Zighy Bay undoubtedly possesses a flair for the dramatic; it counts among its trademark experiences a James Bond arrival by paraglider, and a leisurely cruise along the spectacular Musandam fjords aboard a beautifully restored classic dhow. The appeal of this resort is fortified by nature: Six Senses Zighy Bay is reknowned for its indigenous village-style accommodation and private marina, and the hotel is nestled in the northern tip of the Sultanate of Oman, where a breathtaking mountain backdrop and glittering waters define the landscape. There’s a more understated aspect to this property, though, which carries a little less fanfare but no less delight. The Beit Musandam Private Reserve is a speciality villa that presents an unsurpassed way to savour life beside the bay. The discreet Private Reserve sits at an isolated end of the resort grounds, on its own private beach – safe from unwelcome intrusion. At 3,000 square metres, the Reserve is a behemoth, and laying eyes upon it from afar you see… not much, actually, which
is testament to how the abode is disguised to harmonise with its unspoilt surrounds. What does leave an impression is a stay in this three-building, four-bedroom villa, with guests spoilt for choice within. The ground level welcomes with a 17-metre-long infinity edge pool. Inside there is a living room and two bedrooms, each featuring a bathroom and outdoor rain shower. The first floor, a short in-villa elevator ride away, reveals a master bedroom with a large living room, balcony and full bathroom, while a fourth bedroom is also on the upper level. Downtime can be enjoyed sun worshipping on the sands, or in the shade at the in-villa fitness/yoga studio and gym. To while away hours with less exertion, there’s an in-villa spa, in which to avail Six Senses Spa treatments. Everything is on hand for both the epicurean and avid entertainer: a comprehensive in-residence cellar is stocked with vintage bottles, and a full-service kitchen enables a personal chef to concoct delicacies for a romantic dinner. For grander occasions, a spacious dining room and a majlis with space
for up to 100 guests can be utilised when hosting duties are called upon. Opting for the Private Reserve also unlocks access to an assortment of Six Senses signature experiences: a 60-minute signature massage in the confines of the villa; a one-hour fitness or yoga session with an expert instructor; a private sunset dhow cruise with canapés; an in-villa barbecue dinner cooked up by a personal chef. Indeed, Six Senses has assembled a variety of activities to tempt the guest into the resplendent outdoors, such as hiking into the jagged foothills, clambering up the terrain on a rock climb, a four-wheel drive blast across the Sabatyn plateau, or underwater immersion on a scuba dive. After a day of such adrenaline rushes, this comprehensive abode is the perfect retreat; a secluded habitat where every whim is attended to, and which adds a touch of luxury to the rugged wilderness. The Beit Musandam Private Reserve represents unreserved prestige. A dedicated Guest Experience Maker will tailor your stay at Beit Musandam Private Reserve; visit sixsenses.com or call +968 2673 5888
Critique APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
here are tender moments, but this production tickles the ribs and awakens the senses more than it breaks the heart,” writes Dominic Maxwell for The Times of Brief Encounter, at Empire Cinema Haymarket until 2 September. “Ken Dodd may no longer be with us, but the spirit of music hall lives on – along with the spirits of doomed romance and wartime cinema, clipped vowels and buttoned-up exteriors, puppetry and Rachmaninov piano concertos – in this unstoppably entertaining exhumation of Emma Rice’s greatest hit. She has cut back the running time, streamlined the staging and, if anything, upped the excitement.” Reports Kaleem Aftab in The Independent, “The symbiotic relationship between cinema and theatre was once again highlighted when Noel Coward changed the name of his play Still Life to Brief Encounter after the success of the 1945 David Lean film. The movie classic has given this affair an enduring appeal in ways that a successful play from the era could not.” The play “Occupies the glorious Empire Cinema, on Haymarket,” writes David Jays in The Sunday Times, “I like the idea that anyone wandering in to see Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow will find a band of ushers in cute pillbox hats playing Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby. If they follow the band into the main screen, they’ll see a 1920s interior with an impossibly glamorous ruched ruby curtain, behind which the affair plays out.” “Unusual doesn’t begin to describe it”, writes Sarah Crompton (for What’s On Stage) about Caroline, or Change, at Hampstead Theatre until February 2019. “A magnificent musical by Tony Kushner... It has a kind of bonkers bravura that wraps you in its enthusiastic embrace. If you have to describe it, it’s the story a maid, who works for a family in Louisiana in 1963, surviving on 30 dollars a month – a servitude that is cruelly exposed when the new mistress of the house tells her she can keep the loose change swilling around in the pockets of the clothes that she loads 26
Brief Encounter, at Empire Cinema Haymarket. Photo by Steve Tanner
into the washing machine each day. When Noah, the son, leaves 20 dollars in his pocket it precipitates an ethical and spiritual crisis.” Matt Wolf further details the plotline for The Arts Desk: “Lifting the style of the piece to a magical realist plane is the retinue of talking appliances... the assemblage all contribute to an ever-shifting and sophisticated musical palette that is contrapuntal and complementary in turn.” Fiona Mountford loved this spin cycle of a production, writing in The Evening Standard, “The score swoops, swirls and swells through passionate conviction and quiet sorrow, as well as a wide range of genres. Director Michael Longhurst’s work is sinuous and stylish... and amounts to a production of real grace... [It is a] very classy show.” Of Admissions, off-Broadway at Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (at Lincoln Center), Adam Feldman writes for Time Out, “[It] examines the tension between general principles and individual cases, which are messy
with complications of merit and family loyalty... The nuanced and competing truths... are like a first act that dares its spectators to create a second out of postshow conversations. Mirror, mirror, on the stage: Who deserves our liberal rage?” Michael Hillyer muses in New York Theatre Guide, “Though the interesting premise at [its] heart is good for some chuckles early on, I am not sure that what the national discourse needs right now is to be beating up on blue-state liberal elites... The play never seems to open itself up to the larger issues it raises.” Writes Sara Holden in her thoughtprovoking Vulture piece, “After a play like [this], one tends to hear words like ‘powerful’ and ‘intense’ muttered by those exiting... but what have we in fact seen? A play that seems to reach the bleak conclusion that, in the end, we’re all hopeless hypocrites; a play whose ultimate argument and its very existence seem in conflict with each other.”
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APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
Left: Credor’s Fugaku Tourbillon
Expect the Unexpected Credor is a well kept watchmaking secret, and the quality applied to its rare masterpieces is guaranteed to please any collector. Its origins, though, may astound WoRds: ChrIS Ujma
t first, the name Credor may not strike a chord among even the hardened aficionado. The premium horology line is actually a Seiko brand subsidiary. Think of it like the plain-named ‘Applied Sciences Division’ of Wayne Enterprises, which secretly develops gadgetry for Batman. Credor is where the truly interesting stuff gets made. To put Credor in its context requires a brief dart through the company ranks. Japan-based Seiko, known for its afforadble timepieces, guarantees quality in each of its models by making all watches and components in-house. It has accumulated decades of respect by providing functional and precise entry-level everyday timepieces – some of which have attained cult status, such as the iconic SKX007 diver, which was favoured by Robert Redford in All Is Lost and is a staple inclusion in the most venerated of watch collections. From this foundation, Grand Seiko represents the next level up. Seeing ‘Grand Seiko’ upon a watch dial signifies a handmade approach and greater level of finishing. Credor, then, is the shogun at the head of Seiko’s collection hierarchy. Its name is applied only to ornate, limited edition timepieces, crafted using precious metals and the deployment of techniques such as painstaking engraving, expert lacquering and grande sonnerie.
A Seiko SKX007 is an affordable USD250. The distinguished, sapphireladen Credor Fugaku on these pages – the first ever Tourbillon by ‘Seiko’ – commands USD400,000. It demonstrates Japanese craftsmanship at its finest, showcasing an ultra thin calibre 6830 tourbillon movement, metal engraving, lacquer finishing, and an 18k yellow and white gold hand-engraved wave design (on both the dial and the case back). This was inspired by Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock-printed Great Wave of Kanagawa, and Nobuhiro Kosugi was part of the team working on this particular piece – he is the first watch designer to have received the title of Master Craftsman from the Japanese government. Conversely, Credor can also produce timepieces that are less wristbauble, but just as exquisite in their artisanship, harking back to the brand’s minimalist roots. Its pared-down Eichi II is a more understated effort, with a painted porcelain face and iridescent hands. The watch emerged from Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio in Shiojiri, and was influenced by the techniques of none other than Swiss watchmaking legend Philippe Dufour.It was “the result of everyone at [the division] coming together and thinking about how to make an even better watch,” remarked Credor craftsman Yoshifisu Nakazawa.
‘Emerged’ is an apt word for the division, actually. Credor’s ‘relative unknown’ status only applies outside Japan, as its reputation is well established domestically, having existed since 1974. But CEO Shinji Hattori has outlined an intention that “in the coming years, [we] will scale new heights of watchmaking excellence and commercial success.” And to begin addressing the Credor mystery, it unveiled a prestigious upmarket address in Knightsbridge, London, bolstering its existing (discreet) presence on Madison Avenue in New York. The top floor of the boutique is dedicated to fine-end watchmaking, allowing for hands-on appreciation of this craftsmanship, and many of its watches can be seen in Britain for the first time at the London outlet. It was a patiently considered move for Credor, (which derives from a French phrase meaning ‘the ultimate gold’), as it has been adept at flying under the radar and defying expectations, despite exemplary watchmaking credentials. It is unlikely to remain a hidden, Japan-only gem for long. For over four decades, this elite arm of Seiko has concentrated on compositions with high levels of finishing. Yet in the wider luxury realm, Credor is only just getting started. 29
Timepieces APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
Fit For a King A commemorative Omega once belonging to Elvis Presley is up for auction – and the diamond timepiece looks set to leave bidders all shook up
WORDS : CHRIS UJMA
uccess attracts attention. Phillips auctioneers hit the headlines late last year with the sale of an inscribed Rolex Daytona once owned by Paul Newman – which went under the hammer for a record USD17.8million. The historic result may, perhaps, be echoed with Phillips’ next seismic lot – a watch belonging to Elvis Presley, who accomplished a fair few records of his own. The Omega, once presented to The King himself, is up at auction in Geneva next month. There are 44 round brilliant diamonds set upon the bezel of the 33mm, Swiss-made timepiece. It contains the manual-wound Omega Calibre 510, and is stamped with OXG (which represents 30
the import code for the United States). Its dial features a seconds indicator with a sub-dial at six o’clock. Paul Boutros, Phillips Strategic Advisor and Head of Americas, explains the significance of the timepiece. “This watch, purchased by RCA Records from Tiffany & Co. and presented to the singer in 1961, celebrates a significant milestone not only in Elvis’ career but in the history of music. According to our research, Elvis was the first artist in history to sell 75 million records, and this wristwatch has a remarkable caseback engraving to honour the milestone: ‘To Elvis 75 Million Records RCA Victor 12-25-60’.” With celebrity-associated sales, provenance is of paramount concern – proving a celebrity wore the associated
It has one of the most fascinating provenances to ever appear on the market auction piece is often a challenge. In this instance, there’s crystal clear proof. Isabella Proia of Phillips Watches delved into the history of the Omega, writing, “RCA arranged a laudatory charity luncheon and concert not only to award Elvis for such a significant achievement, but also to re-establish him as a performer. The incredible provenance of this historic timepiece is furthermore confirmed by photos of Presley
Left: The Omega Calibre 510, purchased by RCA Records from Tiffany & Co. Right: A close-up of the commemorative inscription; The timepiece atop the book Elvis, by Dave Marsh
wearing the watch at the charitable concert that followed the luncheon, as well as certificates of authenticity from the Elvis Presley Museum.” Presley, known for his generosity, gave the watch to someone close to him. “According to a statement made by the owner of the present lot, part and parcel with Elvis’ modus operandi with his personal watches is that the watch was given to the current owner’s uncle after he had expressed his admiration,” writes Proia. “This lot is accompanied with a book that contains photos of Elvis wearing this watch, as well as certificates of authenticity from the Elvis Presley Museum,” adds Boutros. “Without a doubt, it’s a superb vintage Omega timepiece with one of the most fascinating provenances to ever appear on the market.” Its authenticity is certain to ramp up interest, if not the final sale price, and it is not the first instance of an Elvis-worn Omega is going under the hammer in recent years. In June 2012, a rare, black-dial Omega Constellation Calendar (with an automatic chronometre movement, steel case and rose-gold plating), was sold by Antiquorum in New York. It too generated substantial excitement; pre-sale estimates hovered around the USD15,000 mark, but once bidding was over the figure had escalated to USD52,500. Similarly, Phillips’ ‘Elvis Omega’ may be listed at a USD60,000 starting price, but its final figure could escalate; Newman’s timepiece obliterated the original list price of USD1 million. This uncertain final sales amount will be settled in Geneva next month. One thing is for certain: the winning bidder of this one-of-a-kind Calibre 510 will send auction rivals all the way to Heartbreak Hotel. Geneva Watch Auction: Seven, by Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo, is on 12-13 May. phillips.com 31
OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Master craftsmanship, effortless style and timeless appeal; this monthâ€™s must-haves and collectibles
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
a rtcu r i a l
RI T z pa RIS au C T I O n Since 1898 the Ritz Paris has been the residence of prestige on Place VendĂ´me, serving as a respected city address for crowned heads, celebrities and creatives alike. While the hotelâ€™s legacy still has centuries more to unfold, it is time for some of the magnificent statement pieces
from its history to check out. A recent renovation means a trove of glorious items are now up at action, including paintings, chandeliers and French antiques. Artcurial is putting on a sale that commences on 17 April, where these historic examples of art de vivre can be acquired. 1
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b l a n c pa i n
VIllERET QuanTIĂ¨mE COmplET GmT For elegance on the go, Blancpain has primed its flagship watch to rule the skies. The watchmaker has upgraded its travel companion, which harbours a triple calendar with moonphase, and has added the deft touch of an electric blue 24-hour hand, for tracking a second timezone. The
timepiece, which debuted at Baselworld, clocks in at 40mm, is driven by the watchmakerâ€™s 67A5 in-house calibre, and carries a 72-hour power reserve. The red gold version, with its clean, beautiful opaline dial, only enhances its classic temperament. 2
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d aV i d W E b b
SOuTh SE a BaROQuE pE aRl nECkl aCE The New York-based jeweller chose Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition 2018 as a platform to unveil a set of exquisite pieces, in a statement of the Middle East’s importance to the house. Co-owner Mark Emanuel said it was a time “to share our astonishing jewellery with an audience
who embraces impeccable design, high luxury, and an expressive style.” This necklace is edgy yet elegant, with South Sea baroque cultured pearls, brilliant-cut diamonds, 18k yellow gold and platinum. For a brand famed for distinctive motifs, it’s another successful silhouette. 3
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
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aGER a RS After a day in Nevada on a recordbreaking mission, the Agera RS recently garnered another title – the fastest car in the world. No less than five production car benchmarks were shattered by the Agera, with the most impressive being its 0-400km/h timing: 37.8 seconds.
Koenigsegg puts it in relatable terms, writing, ‘At the fastest section of the run, driver Niklas Lilja was covering just over 127m per second.’ Securing one of these 1,160hp road legal beasts from the Swedish marque requires buyers to be as quick as the car itself; only 25 will be handcrafted. 4
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
aSpr EY Of lOndOn
BEllE / WhITE BullSkIn & Banana lEaF Avid Instagrammers will immediately clock the motif upon this SS18 fashion collectible. The vibrant lizard banana leaf pattern is a signature design element found upon the walls of the illustrious Beverly Hills Hotel, and the wallpaper backdrop has proven irresistibly selfie-worthy to a
legion of social media stylistas. The supple handbag was created to celebrate Aspreyâ€™s 20-year association with the hotel, where it has a boutique. Devotees with an affinity for the beloved Hollywood property are clamouring to add it to their collection; itâ€™s a piece with true staying power. 6
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CaRRER a hEuER 01 aSTOn maRTIn This sporty chronograph was unveiled hot on the heels of the March announcement that the Swiss watchmaker is now the official partner of Aston Martin’s racing division. The design of the special edition Carrera Heuer 01 echoes the geometric shapes specifically found on AM sports
cars – in the manufacture movement, for example, which is visible through the dial and is skeletonised in a hexagonal pattern that recalls the details on the new Vantage. It’s a rare timepiece that celebrates the partnership of two brands for which precision reigns supreme. 7
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
StEphEn W EbStEr
DYnamITE CO u T u RE COllEC TIOn Stephen Webster joined the A-list with a bang â€“ in the late 1980s, a brush with Elizabeth Taylor led to a commissioned bracelet, and other high-profile names soon followed. In similarly seismic fashion, the London-based jeweller has unveiled a visually explosive new collection of
couture, that bursts with edge and elegance. The Dynamite Necklace comprises 18k white gold, set with a central cushion cut emerald, and an 18k white gold surround, invisible set with white diamond baguettes and black enamel edges. Both brilliant and British. 8
Timepieces APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
A Symbol of Status TaRIq MalIk
n the mid 18th century, so exclusive was a timepiece that you needed to be royalty in order to own one. Times have changed, and with broader accessibility, status is naturally applied to your choice. While there is a trend of wearing an entry-level watch to downplay one’s image, in my opinion, status watches have their place. Just like the finest cars and finest vintage bottles, fine watches are for the connoisseur to appreciate. It’s not a question of impressing your peers. Rather, it’s an expression of individuality and personality. Certain watches send a message, and the following pieces are some examples of wristwatches that exude their own version of elegance – and communicate a certain status and style. Richard Mille Few watch manufacturers command the kind of status that Richard Mille seems to find effortless. The first Richard Mille-branded timepiece was released in 2001, and since then it has produced a series of unique pieces – each commanding a hefty price. Every year we see a number of multimillion dollar watches from ‘RM’, and they are as sought-after as they are exotic. For example, the Tourbillon RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal, worn by the tennis champion during the 2015 season, sold for CHF650,000 at a Geneva auction. Richard Mille timepieces are highly technical and are considered among the more avant garde creations in the watch world. This communicates an appreciation for technology and complexity, as well as an inclination to think outside the box.
founder of Uniregistry, described the Day Date in the Wall Street Journal by saying, “For guys who have a passion for watches, it’s akin to a secret handshake.” The Day Date puts a touch of class to an actual handshake, too – though only if it bears gems sourced by Rolex. These are usually superior in both quality and setting, compared to gems added after purchase – and it often happens that adding gems not set by the master Rolex craftsmen themselves can negatively affect the watch’s value. Because when it comes to status, it’s all in the details.
Rolex – Day Date The iconic ‘Crown’ has graced the wrists of the remarkable for many decades, and the Rolex name is one that is synonymous with affluence. It has been said, for example, that the Rolex Submariner is the official Wall Street ‘starter’ watch. I’ve also heard it said that European businessmen don’t take you seriously if you don’t wear a good mechanical watch. While the Sub is perfect for the casual man, for me it is the Rolex Day Date that should peek out from under the cuff. Frank Schilling, the millionaire
Patek Philippe – Nautilus among the newly rich in California, tech startup culture has trended towards wearing an affordable, entry-level timepiece. But outside of Silicon Valley, the idea of watch status is more refined – especially in Europe. In high-profile circles in Geneva, you’re more likely to create the right impression if you’re wearing a Nautilus, rather than a cheap Casio. The Nautilus has been one of Patek Philippe’s most popular watches for a long time, with good reason. The elegant lines and grooves of the dial play with the light, and catch the eye. Today, a Nautilus 5711 retails for about USD23,000, but availability is almost zero. It’s a coveted wrist adornment – and indicates the connections the wearer must have, in order to have acquired one. Dubai’s DIFC is home to Momentum, Tariq’s co-founded vintage watch boutique. momentum-dubai.com 33
Art & Design APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
Ahead of its Time AIR
Loyal to the fabrics and philosophy of a bygone age, Christian Tagliavini creates detailed scenes authentically rooted in the Renaissance WORDS: CHRIS UJMA
atch the subjects’ gaze and drink in their elaborate garb. You’re certain this is a picture from a bygone era, and it’s natural to cast one’s imagination back to a time when the scene would have been something of a normality. Imagining 15 th century Florence, for instance, with each brushstroke being carefully applied to canvas as the artist works by candlelight, sounds of gaiety echoing along cobbled strada outside. That’s the intention. But Christian Tagliavini’s elaborately replicated scenes are captured on camera, closer in history to Andrea Bocelli than Sandro Botticelli. The Renaissance was a cultural bridge between the primitive Middle Ages and modern civilisation, and Tagliavini’s modern interpretations of that time 34
feel like taking a gondola back up the Grand Canal, from the present to the past. Even Tagliavini’s Italian surname would not sound amiss among those of Italy’s golden art age, but he was actually born in 1971 in Switzerland, and raised in Parma, Italy. For each series of his mise-en-scène, he begins with a muse: the titles of each portraiture collection reference the birth year of an artist from that time. His most recent series, 1406, is inspired by Filippo Lippi, and harks back to the cultural and artistic mood of the Quattrocento; Lippi’s output includes the fresco-inspired Madonna and Child. Tagliavini’s breakthrough series, 1503, was named in homage to Agnolo di Cosimo – ‘Il Bronzino’, who produced the acclaimed Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time.
“I use the artist’s date of birth as a signifier to identify the period, and it serves as a tribute to the painters that first inspired the series,” shares Tagliavini. “I do reference other painters of the era when I’m producing a given series, however. But I will not reproduce a painting or do an historical reproduction. I only find inspiration.” The costumes and handcrafted props take months to make (and also to research, ensuring accuracy). The artist attends to each meticulous detail, and stays as true as possible to the fabrics and materials of the time. “For 1503 I was inspired by the fashion that appeared at the tail end of the period, composed of long necks, clean lines and less elements,” he elaborates. “1406 is inspired both by the clothing of the late middle ages, and also the
Opening pages: Alchimiade, from the 1406 series Opposite, clockwise from top: Ritratto di Signora in Verde, 1503; Cecilia, 1406; Tecla, 1406; Dora da Faltugnano, 1503. All images courtesy Chrisian Tagliavini/ Camera Work Gallery
fascinating hats worn at that time. I found suitably old pieces of fabric in Tuscany for the clothing, and deployed new techniques for the production of the objects. I learned about 3D printers, and put my newly-acquired modelling skills into practice.” He is enjoying growing acclaim as reward for the hours of toil. His retrospective in Stockholm (The Extraordinary World of… ) is currently on-show at Fotografiska until 10 June, and it follows on from his first-ever solo outing, hosted by Berlin’s exceptional Camera Work gallery earlier this year. The latter, a photography powerhouse, encourages emergent photographers to be showcased in the same setting as names like Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Man Ray and Helmut Newton. Tagliavini’s pathway follows a more curious route than the above household names. “I have a technical educational background, and worked at engineering and architecture firms, tasked with making the executive projects and drawings,” he explains of his Da Vincian deviation. “I’m a self-taught photographer, and always strive to learn something new so as not to get bored or complacent with what I’m doing. That pure passion is why I’m so deeply involved in my projects.” He considers himself as a ‘craftsman of photography’, “Because I build my pictures. I work with my hands to feel the materials: their texture, their perfume and their noise, and though this cannot be experienced when viewing the art, it is the sensorial part of the process that I embrace. Photography is the light I use to illuminate the stories that are in my mind.” For all the meticulous attention to detail he invests in making the garments and backdrops, the artist actually downplays their creation and confesses that seeking out the right protagonist to sit for his scenes proves more problematic than dealing with materials and designs. “Finding the model is one of the more difficult – yet amazing – parts of my job,” he reveals. “It used to boil down to the truest form of ‘people watching’, because I like to find people in the
Photography is the light I use to illuminate the stories that are in my mind street most of all – but it is getting increasingly difficult to see their expression and face, because these days most of them are gazing down at the mobile phone. So I decided to reach them by smartphone, through social media. I search for someone that is interests me, to be the character that I can express through my lens.” While the images are steeped in nostalgia, the artist is adamant that this is no history lesson. “To me, it is important that the process is not defined to the point that the viewer immediately understands what the photographs depict – or my thoughts about the scene,” he clarifies. “Instead, I want the viewer to be active in the process. I want to provoke ideas, sensations and feelings.“ By opening the door to a bygone world, Tagliavini’s well-worked visuals are worth their weight in artistic gold... or, more fittingly perhaps, in Renaissance-era gold Florins. 37
A Touch of Frost
Harry Winston was always a man for the moment â€“ be it frosting the most prestigious awards showcase in Hollywood, or pausing to be inspired by the beauty of winter
APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
The Winston Cluster is considered by many to be the ‘little black dress’ of a classic jewellery wardrobe
he 90th Academy Awards last month served as the latest reminder of Harry Winston’s lasting ability for seizing the moment. A cluster of leading actresses including Dame Helen Mirren, Nicole Kidman and Salma Hayek took to the red carpet with grace, frosted with diamonds and rare gems from the house that he founded. At this time of year, the media industry is abuzz with talk detailing who wore which gems at this annual showcase, yet what sparked the conversation was Winston’s pioneering foresight. In 1944, Winston draped glittering diamonds upon the evening’s Best Actress winner, Jennifer Jones, and a new era of red carpet glamour was born. However, the late Winston was not only enraptured by grand scale events like a Hollywood gala night – he could be equally enamoured by a more humble moment, such as the subtle kiss of winter. It was away from the bright lights and fanfare that Winston attentively found a moment that would inspire his most emlematic motif: the Winston Cluster.
The house recounts the moment with a little story, that details how a December night in the 1940s ‘forever changed the way Mr. Winston saw diamonds.’ The tale explains how the founder, was ‘inspired by the way the fresh winter’s snow glistened on a decorative holly wreath hanging on the door of his Scarsdale estate, highlighting the similarities between the beauty of nature and diamonds. In the same way the intertwining leaves (not the branches) created the sculptured shape of the wreath, Mr. Winston decided that diamonds (rather than their settings), should dictate the design of his jewels.’ Nevdon Koumrouyan, then head designer for the house, worked alongside Winston in the 1940s to bring the Cluster motif to life, and set in motion a design that would push the envelope of fine jewellery craftsmanship –and serve as the cornerstone for all Harry Winston design. This month, the Winston Cluster has been reimagined in a new collection. Full of colour and life, the contemporary
interpretation for 2018 puts exceptional emeralds, rubies, and sapphires at the respective forefront. As with the snowfall upon Winston’s festive wreath, the components seemingly float thanks to near-invisible platinum settings. The gems are grouped together and matched in perfect proportion, perfectly angled to capture the brilliance of each stone from every direction – allowing its fire and innate beauty to be fully admired. They add another chapter to a classic design; when an example of the Cluster (laced into a pair of earrings) came up for auction at Christie’s in 2015, international jewellery specialist Tom Burstein remarked that the Winston Cluster “is considered by many to be the ‘little black dress’ of a classic jewellery wardrobe”. It was the vision of Harry Winston that saw him crowned the King of Diamonds, and the genesis for his daring designs was finding inspiration in unlikely places – be that the grand echelons of Hollywood, or the humble holly wreath. 39
Frame of Mind
At Custot Gallery Dubai, Art & Jewelry exhibits the captivating results of when art genius works with precious metals
s any enraptured observer can attest, art has the power to move, stirring feelings across a spectrum of awe, anguish, shock and inspiration. Art is not so adept at actually moving, though; one carries the emotion but not the piece itself. It is little wonder, then, that over time, certain artists have applied their creative abstraction to the jewellery sphere. Examples are Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Niki de Saint Phalle, along with many more of the greatest artists and designers of the 20th and 21st centuries. A specially curated exhibition at Custot Gallery Dubai brings together over 80 such pieces in the first showing of its kind on UAE shores. Stéphane Custot, the gallery’s founder, noticed the piquing of interest in art jewellery, locally, and decided to put on the showcase: “There has been growing appetite for art jewellery in established markets such as the US, and this exhibit shows the creative process of jewellery presented as works of art.” Often, artists enjoy working on a different scale and with finer materials. 40
And as with a painting or a sculpture, no two jewellery pieces are alike. “Each piece in the exhibition is so different,” says Custot. “There is no blueprint. Every artist has undertaken this new form of expression from a different angle. Some works instantly recall the larger works the artists are known for; others use it as an outlet to try something completely different.” Designing a work that can be worn is a new challenge, and the clamour to acquire their pieces arises, perhaps, from their ingrained purity, rather than a commercial motive. “Many artists started making jewellery as a gift for their loved ones,” reveals Custot. “These first works were very personal. It was a way of creating a miniature artwork that their partner or relative could wear to remind them of their closeness, as well as a piece of jewellery that was completely unique.” Prominent art jewellery collector Diane Venet explained the art/jewellery dynamic by saying, “It springs from the same creative approach, possessing the same force, poetry and ability to
provoke, sometimes even the same humour. It is only their ultimate purpose that distinguishes one from the other.” While collectors are primarily interested in the works due to the reputation and mindset of the artist who created them, in terms of appreciating the value, “it is completely different to to high-end jewellery,” explains Custot. “With high-end pieces, the value exists in the material: the carat of the diamond, the weight of the gold.” The value process of art jewellery functions “in the same way as a work of art – it depends on which artist has created it, the rarity of the work, its story, and the materials,” he explains. “Although they can still contain precious materials, these are chosen for their wearability and artistic expression, rather than calling on the heritage and codes of traditional high-end jewellery.” In doing so, art jewellery is developing a heritage and code of its very own, and ‘the story so far’ is fascinatingly explored at this Dubai-based exhibition. Art & Jewlery exhibits at Custot Gallery Dubai, Alserkal Avenue, until 2 June
Jewellery APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
Opposite: Alexander Calder, Brass Necklace, circa 1940 Above, top row: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Untitled 2013; Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line ring; Nadim Karim, Golden Elephant, 2014 Middle: Sophia Vari, OMNIPRESENCE, 2003; Niki de Saint Phalle, Assemblage Necklace, 1974-2015; Anish Kapoor, Water Pendant, Form I, Large, 2013 Bottom: Pablo Reinoso, Spaghetti Earrings, 2014 ÂŠ Yann Delacour; Pouran Jinchi Alef Cuff Copper and enamel. All images courtesy Custot Gallery Dubai 41
Rooney Indie queen Rooney Mara on breaking taboos, equal pay and being normal
weird, small part of me that kind of wanted them to be together as adults. And when I realised that I was like, ‘Oh my god! This is so screwed up!’” Mara giggles at that. She is chugging back tea, no milk, and dressed in a black faux biker jacket and black jeans. The wide, green alien eyes are there yet in person, thankfully, she’s far less inscrutable than her screen personae. She dismisses her awards season kudos, for instance, and questions her skills as a performer, saying, “I still don’t think I’m good at it. I certainly don’t think [adopts a ‘cool dude’ voice], ‘I got this, everyone. I’m rully good’.” We get sidetracked, briefly, into the Dragon Tattoo franchise (or would-be franchise) and how the director David Fincher had to put Mara through two and a half months of auditions to convince a sceptical studio (Columbia) to cast her. “I don’t think they were ever really convinced,” she adds of the role for which she snagged her first Academy Award nomination. “I think something about it just didn’t work for them. I don’t know if it was about me, but it’s been however many years and they still haven’t made the sequel.” Mara’s performance in Una, typically, was another barnstormer. She claims to be an inveterate linecutter, preferring to convey meaning through looks and gestures. Her Side Effects director, Steven Soderbergh, praised her expressive abilities, saying that she had “a very classical, almost silent movie face”. Indeed, her best performances tend to live in the gaps between dialogue. Think of the climax of Carol, a threeminute shot almost entirely on her face, wordless but determined, as she finds her former lover in a crowded restaurant. Gong! That’s another Oscar nomination. Not bad for an actress who started working at 19 and had spent her childhood dismissing acting as trivial. “I wanted to do things that were serious,” she says. “I wanted to be
Kevin Maher/The Times/News Licensing. Images: Getty Images
t was one of the creepiest, most unsettling movies of last year. Yet it didn’t feature haunted houses, devil dolls or killer clowns. For those of you who haven’t seen Una, it starred the twice Oscarnominated actress Rooney Mara (of Carol and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and it’s about a girl and a guy trapped in a warehouse. They are looking back, far back, on their brief, formative relationship and trying to grasp the essential truth about a liaison that occurred 15 years earlier. There’s just one snag. Back then he was a middle-aged man and she was a 13-year-old girl. Adapted from the Scottish writer David Harrower’s 2005 stage play Blackbird, the film was a passion project for Mara who says she has been obsessed by the play since she saw it in 2007. As a complex character, the grown-up Una is a goldmine for an actress, especially one with Mara’s leftfield instincts. She excels at suggesting a slightly alien, discomfited otherness, seen in the troubled femme fatale she plays in Side Effects or the institutionalised teenager in The Secret Scripture. Yet Una repeatedly bounces between bold storytelling, obvious truth-telling and questions of relative morality. For instance, it intercuts flashbacks of the 13-year-old Una (Ruby Stokes) being groomed by middle-aged Ray (Ben Mendelsohn) with Ray’s passionate contemporary defence of his actions. I tell Mara today, in the library of a London hotel, that the movie’s refusal to come down definitively on Ray and his actions made me feel wildly uncomfortable. “But that’s the great thing about it!” says the 32-year-old, her eyes widening with excitement. “It’s not this blackand-white thing where there’s a villain and a victim. It’s more complex. Was there a connection or is he a sick man? I think that’s Una’s question too. And I think that’s part of what drew me to the play. But also there was this
It’s not just about male or female. It’s about how powerful you are as a draw
taken seriously.” Context, of course, is everything, and she explains that, at the time, she was watching her big sister Kate Mara (House of Cards) work as a child actor, which she had done since the age of 10. “When she started doing it professionally I think there was probably a part of me that went [mean girl voice], ‘I’m not going to do what she’s doing!’ Although, really, I knew it was something that I wanted.” The sisters grew up in upstate New York as part of a wealthy family known as footballing royalty. Mara’s father and his siblings own the New York Giants (said to be worth more than USD2 billion), while her mother’s side of the family own the Pittsburgh Steelers (said to be worth roughly USD1 billion). Mara claims to hate the whole footballing royalty thing, rarely discusses it and allegedly shuts down at the mere mention of it. Why? “Because people have this picture in their minds about my childhood that is very different to how it really was,” she says, wincing. “Because, yes, I grew up in a really nice town and there was a lot of affluence there. But I didn’t grow up in a mansion. I grew up in a really, really nice house, but it wasn’t like we had a driver or staff. I felt like I grew up pretty grounded and aware of the world around me.” She was introduced to acting by her mother, she says, through regular Broadway visits and a diet of classical
cinema. A pivotal difference between Kate and her, she says, is that Kate can sing and she can’t (hence why the young Rooney ruled herself out of traditional school musicals and saw instead a more serious performing path). She says that she owes Fincher “so much” for kick-starting her mainstream career with Dragon Tattoo, which came after some supporting TV roles and a memorable appearance in The Social Network (also a Fincher film) as Erica Albright, the girl who dumps Mark Zuckerberg. She says that now she’s in the big league she’s interested in the equal pay debate, even though it is never, apparently, as clear-cut as it seems. “I’ve been on films where I’ve been paid half of what my male co-stars are getting paid, even though we’re doing the same amount of work and we’re at the same level,” she says. “But I’ve also been on films where I’ve gotten double of what my male co-stars have been paid when their part was much bigger. And that was weird. And I did think it was unfair. So it is a huge problem, but with acting it’s often about what your international worth is. It’s not just about male or female. It’s about how powerful you are as a draw.” In her next movie, out this month, she is playing the title role of Mary Magdalene for the director of Lion, Garth Davis, opposite Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus. It’s a reimagined Magdalene for a feminist age. The subject of Phoenix, nonetheless, is complicated.
The pair have worked together on three films (she played his ex-girlfriend in Her and will be appearing opposite him in Gus Van Sant’s art biopic Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot). They are also allegedly a romantic item and were photographed canoodling in Cannes last summer (where Phoenix referred to her, in public, as his girlfriend). Yet when I mention his name in this context, Mara giggles coyly, half clears her throat and announces, still giggling, “I am happy to talk about Joaquin Phoenix as someone I’ve worked with three times now and someone for whom I have great admiration. But I guess I’ve always made a point of not talking about my personal life in that way.” She does add, however, that Phoenix is a big Life of Brian fan, and repeatedly, on Mary Magdalene’s Italian set, would announce, in Jesus costume, quoting Python, “He’s a very naughty boy!” She finishes by talking about the future, how she can’t imagine herself in a Marvel movie and is trying to take time off. She says, with some conviction, that she just wants to be normal and do normal things. Like? “I don’t know. Go to the post office?” She nods seriously, pauses, then her face cracks and she bursts out laughing. At the very idea, it seems, of Rooney Mara being normal. “I don’t know why I said that,” she says. “I hate going to the post office.” 47
The Making of a legend The finest style ensemble appears effortless yet, in truth, requires an expert eye to craft. The iconic Capucines by Louis Vuitton – a timeless statement piece around which to build such a ‘look’ – is emblematic of that mindset, with no less than 300 steps needed to create its final, exotic visage. LV grants AIR an exclusive peek into its savoir faire
Opposite: A suede bow is tightly tied around the bag in order to maintain the form (it remains for 48 hours, for a python leather). 1. Cleaning of the handle after detail painting on the grape alligator leather Capucines PM (petite model) bag. 2. Cladding preparation for the LV leather initials.
No less than 300 steps are required to create its final, exotic visage 3. Stitching together the leather lining and alligator on a grape alligator leather Capucines PM bag. 4. Top edge dyeing of the body of a Capucines PM bag in zinc ostrich.
5. Elements and tools used to manufacture a rose quartz alligator Capucines PM bag.
While Jayne Mansfield was aligned as a rival to Marilyn Monroe, the captivating Pink Princess honed her own brand of stardom â€“ paving the way for a very modern type of celebrity in the process
WoRds: chris ujma
She reached out to her fans, inviting them into her life and even into her house “They didn’t know how to use her, as the studio didn’t groom sex symbols,” explains Koper. “They had Bette Davis and Doris Day. Mansfield’s best part at Warner Bros. was in Illegal, as a gang moll. Unfortunately, she was immediately compared to Monroe and her breakthrough performance in The Asphalt Jungle." By March of 1956, Monroe was filming Bus Stop at 20th Century Fox, after publicly proclaiming for months that her ‘dumb blonde’ comedies were consigned to the past. Jayne was signed by Fox on 2 May, 1956 – just as Monroe was finishing up filming – as Fox wanted to continue its long string of blonde comedies. Monroe was out, telling the press that comedies just weren’t for her anymore. Mansfield was in, and her first film at Fox was a huge success – The Girl Can’t Help It exceeded the profits that Monroe’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes had earned three years prior. “Monroe was back in comedy by 1959 with Some Like It Hot and Mansfield was relegated to B-features,” outlines Koper. “She was sent to the United Kingdom, Italy and Greece to appear in potboilers [movies of questionable artistic merit] backed by Fox. That was where she earned that tag as a ‘Poor Man’s Monroe’ – because Monroe got to choose her parts, while Jayne was forced to take what was offered to her.” There’s only one documented instance of the pair meeting – at the premiere of The Rose Tattoo in 1955. “They didn’t speak at length, and if they ever met each other at the studios (at Fox) is unknown.” They did pass comment on one another, though. Koper recounts that Mansfield, “Once stated that ‘Marilyn and I are entirely different. We’ve never really been in competition.’ Monroe was reportedly not threatened by
opening pages: jayne mansfield reclining on a chaise longue, circa 1955 opposite: mansfield in her kitchen during a 'Visit With a starlet' press opportunity overleaf: mansfield poses with her pet dog, circa 1960; the actress at a Liberace party in L.a.
all images: Getty images
think the most misunderstood aspect about Jayne Mansfield’s career is that she strived to be a carbon copy of Marilyn Monroe. She didn't,” sighs Richard Koper, author of Affectionately, Jayne Mansfield. This April marks the 85 th anniversary of her birth, and is as good a time as any to banish the lazy stereotypes of this Hollywood firework. Koper is an ideal candidate to help dispel the commonly-held rumours about the ‘Poor Man’s Monroe’. (That nickname, incidentally, is one of them). Other fickle beliefs are that Mansfield was a ditzy blonde who relied purely on her looks. In fact, she was smart, talented, and was a loving mother of five, who reached for the stars but burned out too soon – tragically perishing in a motoring accident at the tender age of 34. Stripping back her public façade is akin to detective work, and Mansfield was such an enigma that Koper called in the help of pop culture historians Ashley Fulton, April VeVea and David Drake to assemble the bigger picture. Koper’s own extensive knowledge of 1950s starlets began when writing his debut title, Fifties Blondes – Sexbombs, Sirens, Bad Girls and Teen Queens. “My inroad to the era was seeing Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, but I soon found out that Monroe wasn’t the only icon of allure in Hollywood during that era. Although she had many copycats and imitators, many of her blonde contemporaries started their career around the time that she herself was still struggling to become famous.” Including Mansfield? “No. Jayne Mansfield was an original,” says Koper. “She was not like Monroe at all. Mansfield more readily embraced seduction and comedy than Monroe, and was not above participating in visual slapstick gags as well as innuendo. It was a different style of comedy. She enjoyed her movie persona and lived by it.” So how did such a defining comparison become commonplace? Mansfield started her Hollywood career in 1955, under contract at Warner Bros.
Mansfield, and confided in a friend, ‘I just wish she’d realise that there’s room for everyone.’” In his book, Koper also cites a letter from 1963 that was addressed to Mansfield by a fan, who asked her about the tragedy of Monroe’s death. “Jayne wrote back, saying, ‘You mentioned Marilyn Monroe. This was a very tragic thing in my life as Marilyn and I were extremely good friends. When something like this happens there isn’t any explanation for it... It’s not only a loss as a personal friend, but Hollywood and the world has lost a great personality because she had it and even in death she still has it because the name of Marilyn Monroe will always be revered in Hollywood.’ I do think Jayne exaggerated the ‘extremely good friends’ part of her answer, though,” Koper adds. The handwritten reply contains the warmth that endeared Mansfield to the public, and in reciprocation she played along with the given persona. “She allowed them to witness her successes and the hard times that followed – her divorce, career decline, personal anguish,” explains Koper. “But the Jayne on-screen seemed no different than Jayne in private life. She was a good actress with especially adept comic ability. Her gift was being naturally funny, but she also gained a grip on it and honed a technique that carried her throughout her career.” A journalist once said that, "She did not have fits of temperament and she was sympathetic to the problems of others. She had plenty of problems of her own, but she tried not to burden her acquaintances with them.” Koper adds that Mansfield “Was far more approachable than Monroe. She reached out to her fans, inviting them into her life and even into her house”. Ah, that house. Mansfield’s zest and fun nature are no better encapsulated than by ‘Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace’ – a 40-room Mediterranean style mansion in Los Angeles which the actress acquired in 1957, then turned into a shrine to the candy floss hue. She had the house painted pink, with cupids surrounded by pink fluorescent lights, pink furs in the bathrooms, a pink heart-shaped bathtub, and a fountain spurting pink champagne. Her mode of transport to reach the gaudy property was,
The Jayne on-screen seemed no different than Jayne in private life naturally, a pink Cadillac. Yet what she perceived as goodnatured acceptance of the media hoopla “became her downfall,” explains Koper. Mansfield herself even commented, “I've been identified with pink throughout my career, but I'm not as crazy about it as I've led people to believe. My favourite colours are actually black and white but who thinks of a movie queen in black and white? Everything has to be in living colour.” When Mansfield staked that identity she was only around 20 years old. Says Koper, “She wholeheartedly embraced it in the beginning, and then felt forced to continue with that path.” Attempting anything serious in her later years “Mansfield was met with ridicule,” he explains. “She would branch out and then be forced to return to the publicity-hound that the public knew her as. It became her comfort zone. She was bound to the persona but as times changed, what was popular in the 1950s was out by the mid-1960s.” The world simply never got to see the attributes that preceded her lasting
first impression. “She studied acting at specialised drama school. She was intelligent and thrived in theatre but it was her heart’s desire to be a film star,” details Koper. “She created her own production company and was a shrewd businesswoman – estimates valued her estate at USD2million at the time of her death. You don’t accomplish any of that by being ‘dumb’.” Mansfield being unable to shift the narrative is sobering, when viewed from an age of 24/7 social media and cultivated personal branding. “She really does mother the seeds our modern version of celebrity for celebrity's sake,” posits Koper. “There are Instagram stars who are adored for their images, making a lucrative career out of that alone, and she instigated that. She drew the public close, and in many ways was a woman ahead of her time. In reality, Jayne Mansfield was the first ‘reality star’.” The biography Affectionately, Jayne Mansfield by Richard Koper is available from BearManor Media. 57
â€œThe Time is always righT To do The righT Thingâ€? Fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, his rousing speeches of still resonate. But how did the visionary communicate his view from the mountaintop, to a society simply not yet ready to understand? WORDS: CHRIS UJMA
here’s an unlikely yet important starting point from which to understand the Martin Luther King Jr. story. Traditionally, his story is told via the events of Montgomery, Alabama in 1956, where Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat to a white patron on a bus – an act that led to a large-scale demonstration against segregation, which thrust Dr. King into the spotlight. Another often chosen starting point is the Harlem book signing in 1958, when a well-dressed 42-yearold woman stabbed the reverend in the chest with a letter opener. But a more obscure moment that emboldened the lauded civil rights activist begins in Ghana – not exactly an obvious choice when considering the shaping of this American icon. In 1957, a year after that famous bus boycott, Dr. King – an advocate for social justice, equality and dialogue – travelled to the African nation to witness its independence celebrations. He was invited there by its newly elected prime minister Kwame Nkrumah. Ghana had just become a Republic under Nkrumah’s guidance, and in the process became the first nation to gain independence from European colonialism. “The minute I knew I was coming to Ghana, I had a very deep emotional feeling. A new nation was being born. It symbolised the fact that a new order was coming into being, and an old order was passing away,” he said. The trip resonated in his mind and while the USA itself was not colonised, Dr. King finally had a concrete example of just what could be achieved through action. Having allowed his thoughts of the trip to percolate, once back on American soil Dr. King delivered a sermon, in which he recounted, “Ghana has something to say to us. It says to us first, that the oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed. You have to work for it… Freedom is never given to anybody. Privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance. … So don’t go out this morning with any illusions. … If we wait for it to work itself out, it will never be worked out! Freedom only comes through
Dr. King was such an eclectic thinker, he was able to bring together ideas from so many different outlets, and synthesise them into concepts that would work in the context of a social movement persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil.” Dr. King is known for such poignant public address. Many will immediately recall his I Have a Dream speech – where among the rhetoric was his wish that, “…my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Yet King’s body of work is immense – in his zenith, he gave as many as 450 speeches a year. He drew upon the Ghanaian experience in order to inspire the masses, and this was a common tactic that fuelled his speechwriting, explains Dr. Lewis V Baldwin, a professor, historian, and author of several Dr. Kingrelated books (including The Voice of Conscience, Never to Leave Us Alone and In a Single Garment of Destiny). “Dr. King learned a lot through his time with people, and so many of his ideas came from mobilising them. He was such an eclectic thinke; he was able to bring together ideas from so many different outlets, and synthesise them into concepts that would work in the context of a social movement.” Growing up in Alabama in the late 1940s and early 50s, Dr. Baldwin experienced first hand the immense power of the activist’s charisma, and has become ingrained in the enduring ‘King Legacy’: he was inducted into The Martin Luther King Jr. International Collegium of Scholars. Watching grainy video footage of Dr. King addressing a crowd is empowering in itself. But conversing with someone
who was actually in that sea of people, listening to Dr. King’s speeches, fosters a deeper understanding of his impact. Dr. Baldwin was one of millions directly affected by Dr. King’s words. “I was very much inspired by the movement, and its leader, and participated in some of the student demonstrations in Camden, Alabama," he says. "I saw Dr. King when he came to my hometown, and that opportunity to participate in the student demos meant that I had a sense of what was going on in terms of the wider scope of civil rights activity,” he says. Baldwin’s life path was forever set on a purposeful cause. “I was a freshman at Talladega College at the time Dr. King was killed in 1968, and I asked myself, ‘How could I help sustain his legacy and build on it?’ I decided to do so through education – becoming an academic, so I could have the resources and the intellect to write about the civil rights movement, to teach about it. The seeds were sown during my high school years.” The mind of Marin Luther King Jr., who was raised in a family with a reputation of civil rights activism, was also shaped from an early age. His father, Rev. Martin Luther King Snr., fought against segregation in Atlanta while his grandfather, Rev. A D Williams, preached ‘social gospel’ and was the first president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Williams successfully fought for the opening of the first black school in Georgia – Booker T Washington High School – which King Jr. himself attended. “There was a component to his educational experience that led him to come up with methods to fight social evil,” says Dr. Baldwin. “He admitted that as he learned more about racism and studied its history, he felt compelled to come up with a method to fight against that kind of thing, and education had a lot to do with that.” It is one thing to read about history, and an entirely different thing to decide ‘I can change it, and I can break what has gone before me’. King’s vast reserves of self-belief are awe-inspiring. One of his iconic utterances was, “Our lives begin to end the day we become
Opening pages: Making a speech at the Illinois Rally for Civil Rights in Chicago, 1964 Above: In a hotel room preparing a speech he would deliver to the National Conference in 1963 Left: Dr. King and his wife, Coretta, in Harlem Hospital after his 1968 stabbing Below: A demonstrator holds a placard at a Boston Common tribute to Dr. King, who was assassinated in Memphis on 4 April, 1968
silent about things that matter”; he believed this even as a student. Into adulthood, King never stopped absorbing new ideas, keeping the urgency for change fresh and the harsh truths of society raw. He earned a graduate school degree, then later a PhD. He was seminary trained, and studied speaking techniques from academics and clergymen (be they white or black). Once he had penned his speeches, he would sound the chosen words off his closest aides, such as Andrew Young (an American politician) and Ralph Abernathy (a close friend and baptist minister). A blend of academic accomplishment was fused with his brutal lessons from life. Dr. Baldwin believes King’s exposure to segregation at an early age was another component to his emergence as the leader of the movement. “I grew up with the ‘White’ and ‘Coloured’ signs on the doors of restrooms and on water fountains, and Dr. King also experienced a lot of hatred growing up; sometimes it can break you and sometimes it can inspire you to speak up against that kind of behaviour,” Baldwin asserts. Raised in the South among the people he fought for, King “was such a dynamic speaker and he spoke the language of what he called ‘the least of these’ – ordinary common folk,” explains Baldwin. “He understood the people and the culture – particularly that of the black church, which was an institution he used to great effect as a power base and a de facto platform for civil rights activities.” Dr. King was peaceful yet became brutal in his assessment, refusing to exonerate those able to make a change, yet who were unwilling to act. As such, he honed his speechwriting to resonate with higher powers, thinking in political and legal terms – striving for ‘coalitions of conscience’, to implement laws that would stand for justice and more inclusiveness both in the USA and overseas. He worked with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and bishop James Pike on a ‘Declaration of Conscience’, for example, to fight racism and economic injustice and violence – while continuing to walk shoulder-to62
He experienced a lot of hatred; it can break you, or it can inspire you to speak up against that kind of behaviour shoulder with the affected; “He had the ability to connect with common, ordinary people, and also with the high and mighty; comfortable walking with kings and queens as well as with the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement,” urges Dr. Baldwin. “His resonance had not only to do with his speaking and oratorical skills, but also his magnetic personality. People were drawn to him, and he connected with them, with the capacity to mobilise and organise people around unified, shared goals.”
A lesser-known fact about the activist is that, before his overseas visit and formulating ideas in Montgomery, he spoke in terms of a ‘world house’ in which we learned to live together in peace as brothers and sisters, irrespective of nationality and culture. “We have become a village – ‘a world neighbourhood,’ he called it – and the elimination of poverty was not only his message to America but depicted worldwide ambition,” says Dr. Baldwin. On home territory, Martin Luther King Jr. catalysed change: “Many of the
Opposite: Dr. King stands in a cell at the St. John's County Jail in St. Augustine, after he was arrested for integration attempts at a local motel restaurant Below: Leaders of the march on Washington lock arms as they move along Constitution Avenue, in 1963
symbols of hate and racism have been scrubbed down, African Americans and other people of colour have more access now – to public accommodation, public facilities, the right to vote and to hold public office, access to academic institutions. We have risen to some extent in American corporate life, through better employment opportunities. So we have progressed in so many ways,” conveys Dr. Baldwin. “We have come a long way, but we have a long way to go before seeing the complete realisation of Dr. King’s dream, of a world free of intolerance, injustice and bigotry,” he hastens to add. Yes, there may be distance left to run, but it was the collision of Dr. King’s tools – intellect, experience, knowledge
of history, unwavering desire for change and the leadership to effect it – that helped propel America this far. When Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, he was not merely sharing his dream with 25,000 attendees. Such was his power, Dr.King's words reached each of them, as individuals. “Now is the time to make the real promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood,” he extolled in the notorious speech. His words emanated far beyond Washington, to inspire the entire world.
Motoring APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
The Dream Factory Ares Design takes high-performance cars and transforms them, enhancing the performance and styling to meet the customerâ€™s demands
WORDS : CHRIS ANDERSON
The Richard Mille-endorsed Chantilly Arts & Elegance nurtures a wealth of high-society keepsakes; an annual countryside rendezvous of sophistication and unrivalled motoring moments
all up the factory of Ares Design in Modena, Italy, ask to speak to its founder and CEO, Dany Bahar, and you may be surprised at where you are transferred to. “I live in Dubai,” laughs Bahar through his Swiss accent. “I’ve been out here for around six years now with my family, and I go back and forth between Dubai and Italy. At the weekend or for holidays, this is usually where I am.” But there are clear reminders for Bahar all over the city that he has a business to run, to make sure he doesn’t get too relaxed – for example, the Ares Design showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road, with another due to open shortly in DIFC. In fact, with so many different timezones to check in with, he probably doesn’t get much of a break at all. “We’ll be opening shortly in Los Angeles, Miami and Monte Carlo,” Bahar reveals. “But Dubai, Munich and, of course, Modena, are all open already.” Not bad for a coachbuilding company that was only founded in 2014, with January this year marking the official opening of the Modena location. Now there is no stopping Bahar and his team, with customers bringing their high-end cars to Ares Design for specific styling and performance enhancements. It helps that Bahar
himself has a lot of experience in the motoring industry, with the Turkishborn businessman previously working at Red Bull, initiating its involvement in Formula 1, before moving to Ferrari (also based in Modena) and from 2009, serving as the CEO for Lotus. Clearly Bahar had been looking for a change, wanting to strike out on his own rather than continue to work for established brands. “I’ve always wanted to be part of an entrepreneurial
These pages: Inside the Ares Design dream factory
It’s a very emotive, personal process, and that makes it different to the rest of the motoring industry project,” he says, “and when I convinced some of the incredible and flamboyant people I knew in Dubai to be partners and shareholders – and who are always trying to jump the queue to get me to work on their own creations – it became something very satisfying. Nobody has ever attempted coachbuilding on this scale or to these standards before. Why? Maybe they felt it was too difficult or expensive. But to be honest, I think we underestimated the demand – a lot of people want their own oneoff cars, and there is a real passion for this level of personalisation.” Modena was the necessary base for what Bahar had in mind. “A lot of car-related companies are based there already, serving the likes of Ferrari, 66
Lamborghini and Maserati, so in terms of finding the skilled workers and suppliers, it has everything,” he says. Another physical factor was the building chosen to become the stateof-the-art Ares Design factory – an old Fiat showroom. Does Bahar see a symbolic connection in taking something from an established manufacturer and adding his own improvements? “What we have now is a factory, not a dealership, so it isn’t really comparable,” he says. “It was a brick building, now it’s a hypermodern structure. We’ve added many different departments, machinery, tools and staff – everything we need to be self-sufficient, from the carbon-fibre manufacturing to the milling machines that produce the
final parts, plus the design studios, 3D printers, paint booths, and so on. We have everything you need to manufacture your own car from scratch without any external help.” Bahar currently employs 128 staff, which alone puts it in a different league when compared to other coachbuilders. “I think we’re more industrialised and modern,” he says. “We have procedures and processes, just like a proper car manufacturer. We’re not small-scale, based in a backyard somewhere with five staff, working on only one type of car. If you visit our premises, it’s all transparent, white and clean, like a Formula 1 factory or a laboratory. When a customer comes to us for the first time, they don’t feel the need to ask about capability, credibility or quality, as what they see convinces them. “Also, we don’t just focus on one model, we work on a variety, designed by us or even, in some cases, the customer – they can have their own ideas included in the car. I don’t see anyone else allowing that flexibility.”
Right: Sketches in the factory; Dany Bahar, Ares Design CEO; Ares Design for Corvette Stingray
That said, there are certain cars that have passed through the Ares Design workshops that have become headline projects – singled out as a measure of what the company can do, and potentially replicate for other customers. The first was the Ares X-Raid, a radically reworked Mercedes G63 SUV, featuring a lighter carbon-fibre and aluminium body, with a 760bhp 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Another was the Ares Corvette Stingray, taking the body of a classic 1964 model, but fitting it with the performance and technology of a 2017 version. On the way is ‘Project Panther’, which has a bespoke coach-built body inspired by a 1970s Argentinian sports car, the De Tomaso Pantera, placed over the inner workings of a modern Lamborghini Huracán. These examples help guide the customer, who can then see the potential for their own vehicle. “The needs and ideas of the customer vary, and there is no one-size-fitsall solution,” says Bahar. “But it’s a very emotive, personal process, and I think that makes it different to the rest of the motoring industry.” It also makes Bahar confident about the future. “We build around 100 cars a year now, and we’re booked up until September,” he reveals. “We’re always trying to increase the size of our factory, adding something else, with new machinery and departments. Our factory is 18,000 square metres, but already it feels like we’re short on space, so we’ll keep expanding in line with our needs. Ultimately, we want to make this market more accessible, and not just for the lucky few who can afford it.” So with that in mind, and a stateof-the-art company at his fingertips, what does Bahar drive when in Dubai? A modernised classic or a modified SUV, perhaps? “Oh no, just a regular Mercedes G-Class,” he says, laughing through his Swiss accent one more time. “It’s a big car, it moves well, and in Dubai I find it’s just what I need.” 67
Gastronomy APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
West Coast Wonder The seasons of San Francisco shape the nightly menu, and changing dĂŠcor details test the keen-eyed observer; no return visit to Quince is ever the same WORDS : ChrIS Ujma
he Ship of Theseus, an ancient vessel belonging to a legendary king, is the centre of a conundrum that has been debated by philosophers for centuries. Its simple premise: if one restores a ship by replacing every single wooden part, is it still the same ship? At Quince in San Francisco, chef and owner Michael Tusk poses a gastronomic twist on the age-old puzzle: how do you change almost everything about a restaurant, yet retain its identity? For 15 years, Tusk and his wife Lindsay have reinvigorated the dining experience time and again – with fresh, locally-sourced menu components, periodic changes to the dinnerware, a rotation of fine photography that adorns the walls, and more. By mastering this art of transformation, they have forged a restaurant that stays fresh with each visit, yet remains quintessentially Quince. The results are certainly non debatable: a legion of loyal guests and three Michelin stars are the evidence. The third of those stars, awarded in 2017, was the consequence of one
significant change 10 years ago – a shift in location, that allowed Quince to ripen into its current guise as a celebrated, upscale dining destination. A decade ago, Tusk moved the establishment across town, from a small, 1890’s Victorian townhouse to its current locale – a spacious, pre-1900s property located in the vibrant Jackson Square district. “We had one Michelin star at the point we moved,” says Tusk, “But the new setting allowed us to become a little bit more refined. The cellar size quadrupled, there is greater space between the tables, and we were able to add those luxury touches that we didn’t have the freedom of space to achieve in the previous location.” Of the food, he explains, “Sometimes we get more theatrical with dishes, and have a little bit more fun, while other times we will keep a dish minimalist.” Much of the bounty used to structure those dishes – complicated or otherwise – originates from Fresh Run Farm, which Quince acquired three years ago. Located an hour north of San Francisco, in the town of Bolinas, it is run by Peter Martinelli.
We may love a particular detail but everything has its time “That decision resulted in a shift of the menu structure,” Tusk explains. “The access has enabled us to work with the best of local terroir, north of the city – West Marin and out to the coast – which is a special area where some of the best vegetables, dairy produce, fish and shellfish are found.” Tusk developed the menu “to feel like a journey, starting in West Marin, driving up the coast of California to our farm in Bolinas, and then heading into the city for the day to have dinner. It’s an overarching idea that emphasises the produce we are growing specifically for the restaurant.” The coastal climate produces unrivalled quality. Says the chef, “We react quickly to the conditions, getting items at the peak of their condition. Within the cuisine you’ll also get flashes of inspiration from my time working in Italy and France.”
Our materia prima has not wavered since day one – we have always had an eye for the best
Each meal “is filled with lots of little surprises, and there is no repeated ‘standard’ experience,” Tusk discloses – and said adventure starts in the salon. Within this staging area, guests are attended to with a luxury cart service, highlights being bottles of bubbles, canapés and the most extensive local selection of caviar. Patrons then swish into the main dining room. There, surprises continue to unfold before the food is even placed: “Each season we change our plates and table settings,” explains Tusk. “We have a repertoire of different china that has been collected on trips around the globe. There could be a traditional plate, then right behind it a malleable plate from Japan, which you’re able to twist up.”
At macro level, the dining room is also a feast for the eyes. “Whereas most restaurants would keep the layout intact for 10 years or so, we constantly tweak to see if the next incarnation of the restaurant will still feel like dining at Quince.” With a shared love for art history, Tusk and his wife also serve up gallery-quality visuals procured for the walls. Quince has “one of the largest fine photography collections in a restaurant”, owning four Sugimotos as well as works by Richard Misrach, Candida Höfer, Adam Fuss, Lee Friedlander, Sally Mann and others. “In the private dining room you’re greeted by a large format image that you’d normally see in a museum or gallery. We alternate the artwork,
which reflects our general philosophy – we don’t get content. The photography is like many other elements, where we may love a particular detail but everything has its time. There’s always a need to bring in something new, to keep the restaurant exciting.” Among the waves of change, there are vestiges of familiarity: “We have one nightly dégustation menu, but with notice, will cook a custom menu for any guest. We’re also able to create an entirely new menu for them by the next day, comprising dishes from our past.” And Tusk has even allowed one dish to linger a little longer on the menu. He expounds, “It is garganelli pasta, with the quills piped with mousseline and stock created using fine lobster, from nearby Catalina. It’s prepared in a style reminiscent to that of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, but it plays to the strengths of the pasta. Then, rather than serve it traditionally, I found some vintage plates from Japan with a distinctive lobster pattern; it’s a visually impactful dish that has stood the test of time.” The team at award-winning Quince is an indispensible asset. “We have camaraderie,” Tusk reveals. “As a team, both front and back of house, we plant potatoes; we brew hops together; we make a concerted decision on seed selection and what we’re going to grow. The staff is also knowledagble about the art due to the close relationship we have with the nearby Fraenkel Gallery.” Fluctuations, though, are the norm at this location. So what is the constant, that underpins Quince as a culinary tour de force? “Attention to detail. Our materia prima has not wavered since day one – we have always had an eye for the best, and excellence is always the starting point. We present a series of smooth experiences melded into one,” Tusk reinforces. “We are a Bay Area restaurant where the product reigns supreme. The food is modern, the setting is relaxing, the art is stimulating, and our technique is something we take quite seriously.” That is the Quince identity, no matter the frequency of change. And here, it’s less about the concerns of Plato, and more about the fine dining philosophy that graces an eyecatching plate. 73
27 journeys by jet
Tortuga Bay Hotel
Travel APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
here are two influential forces whose thematic fingerprints are prominent upon Tortuga Bay Hotel: the creativity of the late designer Oscar de la Renta, and the tranquility of Mother Nature. Located within the sprawling Puntacana Resort and Club, this luxury address serves as an example of what happens when a fashion icon styles a boutique resort. True to his vision, it continues the legacy of this couturist away from the red carpet. The resort and club in which Tortuga Bay Hotel sits is a paragon of sustainability that encompasses a lush 67 square kilometres. It’s an area that harbours two golf courses (with some tees close enough to be peppered by ocean spray), a Six Senses Spa, plus a plethora of fine dining options – among which is the excellent Bamboo at Tortuga Bay, serving locally sourced delights (with restaurant interiors that were also imagined by the Sultan of Suave). Tortuga Bay Hotel is the most elite experience in the Puntacana haven, and tempts society’s most powerful: it comprises 13 tastefully created beach villas with distinctive sunshine yellow façades and crisp white roofs.
The project was close to De la Renta’s heart – the Dominican Republic was his native island home. “There’s a sense of quiet and peace to the surroundings,” he once remarked, and these sanctuaries sit on a white sand beach, fringed by calm turquoise seas. Expect artful harmony within, where understated and tasteful décor is infused with local cultural motifs. Options are one-bedroom junior suites, two bedroom suites, or three/ four bedroom villas, and each underwent a refresh late last year to enhance the guest experience (such as with up-to-date technology). April marks a milder time to visit the laid-back Dominican Republic, with the oceanfront breeze that lilts through open French doors to balm the heat feeling like an added villa treat. Fashion is transient by its nature, yet the abodes at Tortuga Bay Hotel have represented an enduring De la Renta ‘look’. They’re design expressions that remain stylish, in any season. Charter into Punta Cana International Airport, from which the coastal Resort and Club is a mere 10-minute drive away. The hotel’s VIP airport service will whisk you to the property in a private vehicle. tortugabayhotel.com 75
What I Know Now
APRIL 2018 : ISSUE 83
NASA AStroNAut / MAN oN tHE MooN When I was a boy, some people regarded the statement ‘The sky is the limit’ as a positive affirmation, implying that anything is possible. The truth is, the sky is not the limit. Nowadays we can go much farther, and dream much higher than the sky. I know the sky is not the limit, because there are footprints on the Moon – and I made some of them! Don’t allow anyone to denigrate or inhibit your lofty aspirations. Your dreams can take you much higher and much farther than anyone ever thought possible. Mine certainly did. The first time I applied to be an astronaut, NASA turned me down. I was not a test pilot, they said, and at that time, NASA wanted only test pilots. Other people, no matter how bright or talented, need not apply. 76
Sure, I was disappointed, but I was determined. I thought about space rendezvous; ate, slept and dreamed it so much that I became known to my astronaut peers as ‘Dr. Rendezvous’. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and I were chosen as the crew for Apollo 11, which would turn out to be a uniquely historic mission. Piloting our powered descent to the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility was the most complicated and critical aspect of the whole mission. As we descended, we saw that our planned landing site was filled with large boulders surrounding a crater… so we continued, hoping to find a safer area. This unexpected trip extension expended additional fuel, so after travelling 240,000 miles, when we finally touched down on the Moon, we had only 20 seconds of fuel remaining.
When Neil and I got back in the Eagle, we placed our necessary items in garbage bags and tossed them out on the lunar surface. Perhaps future space environmentalists will criticise us for so inconsiderately discarding our ‘trash’, but we dared not take off with one ounce more than planned. I’ve learned so much about myself since the Eagle whisked me off the lunar surface all those years ago. One thing I have discovered is when you believe that all the things are possible and you are willing to work hard to accomplish your goals, you can achieve what people consider the “impossible” dream. Abridged excerpt taken from No Dream Is Too High, Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon, by Buzz Aldrin and Ken Abraham. Published by National Geographic
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