DISCOVER A LEVEL LUXURY IN OMAN. DISCOVER DISCOVER A NEW A NEW NEW LEVEL LEVEL OF OF OF LUXURY LUXURY IN SOUTHERN IN SOUTHERN SOUTHERN OMAN. OMAN.
:[\UUPUNPUP[Z6THUPPUZWPYLKKLZPNU(S)HSLLK9LZVY[:HSHSHOI`(UHU[HYHPZ[OLÄYZ[HUK :[\UUPUNPUP[Z6THUPPUZWPYLKKLZPNU(S)HSLLK9LZVY[:HSHSHOI`(UHU[HYHPZ[OLÄYZ[HUK VUS`Ä]LZ[HYYLZVY[PU:V\[OLYU6THU^P[OWYP]H[LWVVS]PSSHZ:P[\H[LKVUHUL_WHUZP]L VUS`Ä]LZ[HYYLZVY[PU:V\[OLYU6THU^P[OWYP]H[LWVVS]PSSHZ:P[\H[LKVUHUL_WHUZP]L WYPZ[PUL^OP[LZHUKILHJO[OLYLZVY[MLH[\YLZHTHZZP]LPUÄUP[`WVVS[OYLLZ\WLYIKPUPUN WYPZ[PUL^OP[LZHUKILHJO[OLYLZVY[MLH[\YLZHTHZZP]LPUÄUP[`WVVS[OYLLZ\WLYIKPUPUN VW[PVUZHUK[OL^VYSKMHTV\Z(UHU[HYH:WH3VJH[LKQ\Z[RTMYVT:HSHSHO0U[LYUH[PVUHS VW[PVUZHUK[OL^VYSKMHTV\Z(UHU[HYH:WH3VJH[LKQ\Z[RTMYVT:HSHSHO0U[LYUH[PVUHS (PYWVY[HUKKPYLJ[S`HKQHJLU[[V(S)HSLLK(YJOHLVSVNPJHS7HYR(S)HSLLK9LZVY[:HSHSHOI` (PYWVY[HUKKPYLJ[S`HKQHJLU[[V(S)HSLLK(YJOHLVSVNPJHS7HYR(S)HSLLK9LZVY[:HSHSHOI` (UHU[HYHPZ[OLWLYMLJ[WSHJL[VYLSH_HUKLUQV`[OLHK]LU[\YLZVM:HSHSHO (UHU[HYHPZ[OLWLYMLJ[WSHJL[VYLSH_HUKLUQV`[OLHK]LU[\YLZVM:HSHSHO LIFE LIFE LIFE IS A IS JOURNEY. IS AA JOURNEY. JOURNEY. Visit Visit anantara.com Visit anantara.com anantara.com CHINA CHINA INDONESIA MALDIVES MALDIVES MOZAMBIQUE MOZAMBIQUE OMAN OMAN QATAR SRI LANKA SRI THAILAND CAMBODIA CAMBODIA CAMBODIA CHINA INDONESIA INDONESIA MALDIVES MOZAMBIQUE OMAN QATAR QATAR SRILANKA LANKA THAILAND THAILAND UNITED UNITED VIETNAM VIETNAM ZAMBIA ZAMBIA ARAB UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ARABEMIRATES EMIRATES VIETNAM ZAMBIA
Credit: Andy Warhol (1928– 987), Debbie Harry 1980 Private Collection of Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport 1961 © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New Yorkand DACS, London
MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
A Genuine Warhol
As the final series of Homeland airs, Claire Danes talks Carrie Mathison, her past as a ’90s icon, and her future hopes.
No one knew Andy Warhol better than his confidant Bob Colacello. Will Pavia meets him to discover the real artist.
Shown together for the first time, why the works of Azzedine Alaïa and Cristobal Balenciaga still resonate.
MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Chief Creative Officer
Art & Design
John Thatcher firstname.lastname@example.org
Group Content Director
Objects of Desire
Sophia Dyer, Hayley Kadrou, Ronak Sagar
ART Art Director
Journeys by Jet
What I Know Now
COMMERCIAL Managing Director
Victoria Thatcher General Manager
David Wade Thirty Four
Jewellery Hayley Kadrou meets Nataliya Bondarenko, co-founder of Rubeus Milano, whoâ€™s debut alexandrite collection has taken the jewellery world by storm
email@example.com Commercial Director
PRODUCTION Production Manager
Tel: 00971 4 364 2876 Fax: 00971 4 369 7494 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media is strictly prohibited. HOT Media does not accept liability for any omissions or errors in AIR.
WORK, LIVE, RECHARGE Your best-self exists in the sweet-spot between work and play, and at Four Seasons Hotel DIFC we help you ďŹ nd that perfect balance. For every engaging meeting by day, there's an equally interesting chat over a bespoke cocktail. Dive into your work in the thriving heart of Dubai, but don't forget to enjoy a plunge in our glass rooftop pool. Book an experience and allow us to make your stay as satisfying as it is productive.
Delve into Dubai fourseasons.com/DubaiDIFC FSDubaiDIFC
Service and detail that shape your journey. Immerse in the luxury of rich experiences at the JW Penthouse Suite and Marquis Penthouse Suite, spread across two levels of impeccably designed space with a touch of traditional Arabic design. Each 624sqm suite features two separate bedrooms with two separate living rooms. Additional benefits include complimentary airport transfers, private check-in and check-out and access to the award-winning Executive Lounge on the 37th floor. Enjoy celebratory dining in more than 15 restaurants and bars, and pampering at the luxurious Saray Spa.
JW MarriottÂŽ MarquisÂŽ Hotel Dubai jwmarriott.com/DXBJW Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.0000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubai.com
Empire Aviation Group MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Welcome to the aviation lifestyle magazine for our aircraft owners and charter clients. For over a decade, Empire Aviation has been providing a comprehensive range of turnkey business aviation services to aircraft owners and charter clients. Our award-winning services offer customers a personalised one-stop-shop approach for aircraft sales, aircraft management, charter and CAMO (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization) certification, which is a central part of aircraft management and is now a stand-alone service we provide to aircraft owners and other operators. We offer operational support to customers across the globe, from North America to Europe, Asia and Africa. Our aircraft registries include our home country of the United Arab Emirates, as well as San Marino – enabling global charter operations - and a NonScheduled Operator’s Permit (NSOP) in India permitting our affiliate partner to provide its aviation management support to private aircraft.
ISSUE ONE HUNDRED AND SIX
Empire’s team of over 150 highly qualified personnel is responsible for handling a myriad of services including the hiring and training of flight crew, flight planning, scheduling maintenance, fuelling, arranging commercial charters and many other details. We also have a dedicated team of aircraft sales specialists continually monitoring global markets for available aircraft to source for buyers of new or pre-owned aircraft. We would like to take this opportunity to share in detail some of the services that we provide at Empire Aviation and the work we do to ensure we maintain the highest levels of safety, security and care at all times.
Paras P. Dhamecha Managing Director
Contact Details: Cover: Alamy
firstname.lastname@example.org empireaviation.com 9
Empire Aviation Group MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
EMPIRE AVIATION GROUP As a global private aviation specialist, Empire Aviation provides aircraft sales, management, charter and CAMO services to owners and clients around the world, with a distinctive personalised style. Since 2007, we have expanded our operations and grown our business through tailored services delivered across the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. We have experience working with owners across a wide range of aircraft types, from seaplanes to air ambulances, helicopters to super-sized business jets. Today, the company manages a large fleet of business jets that includes a balanced mix of mid-sized to super-sized aircraft, based in several international locations. In a highly regulated and technically demanding industry, you can only be as good as your people and Empire is highly selective in building teams of exceptionally talented, experienced and qualified aviation professionals. EMPIRE AVIATION SERVICES Private aviation is all about people and our success has always been based on our personalised service ethos of transparency, efficiency, professionalism and pride in our work. The Empire team comprises more than 150 highly qualified personnel with extensive aviation experience, who ensure that every aspect of your flying experience caters to your needs â€“ whether you are an owner or charter client.
Management Empire Aviation has been managing aircraft on behalf of owners since 2007, inducting over 70 aircraft into the fleet, based across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. These include a diverse selection of business jets from most of the leading aircraft manufacturers, including helicopters, seaplanes, air ambulances and super-sized corporate jets. We can
provide customers with flexible options when deciding where to base their aircraft, with a choice of three aircraft registries in the UAE, San Marino and India. Our successful aircraft ownermanager service has been built on close personal working relationships with owners to develop a high degree of personal trust, openness and transparency. We build this trust and manage expectations by looking after every operational and maintenance detail of their aircraft, from nose-to-tail. This includes the negotiation of all contract services with supplier companies and tracking all costs to ensure our owners are receiving the best deals with open books at all times. Aircraft Brokerage At Empire Aviation, we understand that buying a new or pre-owned private jet is a significant financial investment for an individual or company, and it is vital to make the right decisions and select the right aircraft.
Empire Aviation Group MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
on-board from our ‘silver service’ trained cabin crew and enjoy the freedom, convenience, security and privacy of private air travel.
We have been advising aircraft buyers and sellers since 2007 and the team has sold and acquired various types of aircraft across the globe. Our solid reputation is based on the expertise of our team of seasoned industry specialists with over 80 years of combined aircraft sales experience. Our international research and sales support team co-ordinate the process with specific local market knowledge, with the added benefit of our geographic presence, enabling us to deliver a seamless and personalised sales experience to our customers, based on particular sales briefs and objectives. Aircraft Charter In the business world, when you absolutely need to be at that international meeting in a remote location at very short notice, or you have a complex itinerary with tight deadlines, there is only one way to guarantee it – business jet charter. At Empire, we understand this and operate one of the largest and most diverse fleets of business jets in the region with a range of different 12
aircraft types that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our charters are not just available to business travellers but also offer an enjoyable and stress-free travel option for leisure travellers. A charter flight can offer an unforgettable start or end to a travel itinerary and will get you as close as possible to your final destination – whether it’s a remote Indian Ocean island, a difficult to access Alpine resort airstrip, or a city centre airport with demanding flying restrictions. Whether you need a private charter for business or leisure, contact the Empire Aviation team today for a unique travel experience with first-class personal attention
CAMO Empire Aviation offers world-class CAMO services to aircraft owners and also third parties on CAMO only contracts. Our Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO) certification is a central part of aircraft management. Under CAMO, we take responsibility for the quality management, auditing and all the maintenance records of an aircraft. This is a vital component in ensuring the safe operation and the long-term value of aircraft. Empire Aviation provides a onestop service for individuals and companies who need and value the benefits of private aviation and the assurance that they can enjoy these efficiently, safely and economically.
To enquire about any of our services, please email email@example.com or call +971 4 299 8444
PRAETOR 500: THE BEST MIDSIZE JET EVER. The Praetor 500 surpassed its design goals in range, takeoff distance and high-speed cruise. The disruptive Praetor 500 leads the way in performance, comfort and technology. As the farthest- and fastest-flying midsize jet with 3,340 nm range and a high-speed cruise of 466 ktas, the Praetor 500 makes nonstop, cornerto-corner flights across North America. Miami to Seattle. San Francisco to Gander. Los Angeles to New York. It also connects the U.S. west coast to Europe and South America with just one stop. The jet takes you right where you need to be with its enviable access to challenging airports. The lowest cabin altitude in the class assures that you arrive energized. The ultra-quiet cabin with home-like connectivity is perfect for work, relaxing or conversation in a normal tone of voice. Plus, Embraer is the only business jet manufacturer to offer full fly-by-wire in the midsize segment, with turbulence reduction capability. The precise union of style, comfort, innovation and technology create a sophisticated, powerful travel experience. Lead the way now in a Praetor 500. Find out more at executive.embraer.com/praetor500.
L E AD IN G T H E WAY
90 galleries from 38 countries will showcase pieces at Art Dubai this month as the fair stages its 14th edition. Successful careers of artists, curators and art professionals have been launched thanks to the event, which continues to celebrate art excellence through its extended fair programming, artist commissions and initiatives such as the annual Ithra Art Prize, awarded to emerging Saudi and Saudi-based contemporary artists. Exhibiting galleries include Custot Gallery Dubai, whoâ€™ll show work by featured artist Ian Davenport, including this abstract piece, La Cra, Harvest (After Van Gogh). Art Dubai 2020, March 25-28, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
Image: Ian Davenport, La Cra, Harvest (After Van Gogh), acrylic on aluminium mounted onto aluminium panel (with additional floor section). Courtesy of Custot Gallery Dubai and the artist 290 x 200 cm Photo Credit: Courtesy of Custot Gallery Dubai and the artist
MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Critique MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Film Sorry We Missed You Director: Ken Loach Still suffering the effects of the global economic crisis of ’08, a self-employed delivery driver and his wife get trapped in a vicious cycle of modern-day labour exploitation while trying to raise a family. AT BEST: ‘Ryan gives a glow, texture and depth to people’s faces that are almost Bergmanesque. His work is compassionate even when unsparing.’ – Nigel Andrews, Financial Times AT WORST: ‘Bleak even by Loach’s no-guff standards, but it kicks like a mule.’ – Peter Howell, Toronto Star
The Wild Goose Lake Director: Diao Yinan
While on the run from the law, Zenong Zou, a small-time mob leader, must sacrifice everything in order to save his family and a mysterious woman he encounters on his way. AT BEST: ‘It’s a rare privilege to watch an artist level up in this way.’ – Charles Bramesco, Little White Lies AT WORST: ‘Diao is a master of both settings and setpieces. Unfortunately, the characters and plot twists are much less compelling. – Stephanie Bunbury, The Age
Sometimes Always Never Director: Carl Hunter An off-beat comedy drama about a father trying to reconnect with his family after years of searching for his missing son who stormed out over a game of scrabble.
AT WORST: ‘Moves at a glacial pace towards a predictable father-andson reckoning.’ – Jorge Ignacio Castillo, Planet S Magazine
My Spy Director: Peter Segal A recently demoted CIA operative finds himself under the thumb of a problematic nine-year old girl after she catches him surveilling her family. AT BEST: ‘The charm of the film lies exactly in its mix of tones and genres: globetrotting action is pitted against domestic comedy, with the latter triumphing over the former.’ - Jake Wilson, The Age AT WORST: ‘Big fella, little kid, small return.’ – Leigh Paatch, Herald Sun 16
Image Credits, from top to bottom: Katie Proctor and Kris Hitchen in Sorry We Missed You (2019) © Joss Barratt; Film Movement; Transmission Films; Michael Gibson
AT BEST: ‘The sweet emotional payoff is an unexpected reward.’ – Kevin Maher, The Times
Critique MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Image Credit: The Woman In Black, Jenny Anderson
he Inheritance, playing at Ethel Barrymore Theater on New York’s Broadway (until June 7, 2020), collides three different worlds and asks an important question about what we owe to those who came before us and what role we must play for the future generation. The play gathered some mixed reviews despite winning multiple awards. “Talk about the weight of expectation… The Inheritance may be unwieldy, repetitive, and all over the place, but it’s gripping from first scene to last”, writes Peter Travers for Rolling Stone. “Stephen Daldry directs this epic twoparter in a sinuous manner that suits the playwright’s flowing thoughts, and gives his characters the freedom to roam, to learn and, eventually, to grow. Designer Bob Crowley assists with a sleek set – a flat white surface of infinite playing space, with scenes and settings defined by Jon Clark’s sharp lighting design – that makes complex movement look like a walk in the park”, says an impressed Marilyn Stasio for Variety. Adam Feldman of TimeOut New York shares his experience. “The Inheritance is longer than it needs to be, yet the discussion of modern issues sometimes 18
feels thin; the second part, which departs more freely from the Howards End template, is less assured than the first (despite a welcome late cameo by the formidable Lois Smith), and its framing devices are overfamiliar, especially toward the finale. But at its best, as in the unforgettable sequence that concludes the first half, it taps into a profound sense of loss and a yearning for connection.” Susan Hill’s ever popular ghost story The Woman in Black, playing at New York’s McKittrick Hotel until April 19, 2020, remains a frightening watch. “When the first jump-scare happens, he audience reacted much as I did in music class way back when. And like that, they began to anticipate and delight in more, similar moments throughout he show, down to its final seconds,” shares Breanne L. Heldman for Entertainment Weekly. Ben Brantley of The New York Times also praises the shows ability to terrify the audience, “This journey into fear – set in a Britain still shaking off the picturesque dust of the Victorian era – is achieved with little more than some sheets, a flashlight, a trunk, a few sticks of furniture, ambient sound effects
and lighting that regularly plunges the audience into darkness. This means that, with our nerves conditioned to be exposed, we become acutely aware of every sound and movement around us.” London’s Harold Pinter Theatre hosts Uncle Vanya until May 2, 2020. The play tells the story of an elderly professor, Vanya, and his glamorous, young second wife, Yelena, returning to their estate to support their urban lifestyle. The play has sparked a wide variety of reviews from critics. “McPherson’s most interventionist work in his otherwise stripped-back text is the adding of monologues in which characters face front and tell us their thoughts and feelings. But such explanatory speeches only serve to underline the fact that too much self-knowledge by a character is dangerously undramatic”, writes David Benedict for Variety. “There are traces of Basil Fawlty in Toby Jones’ pathetic (in both senses of the word) Vanya” says Alexandra Pollard of The Independent as he breaks down the play. “Caught in a cycle of all-day drinking, cat naps and insomnia, he is frenetic, funny and deeply resentful.”
AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, WHERE THE SKY SWIMS IN SEA BLUE this island sanctuary welcomes you with breeze and birdsong, candlelit dinners and infinite views. Just daydreams away from the buzz of the capital, you can lose yourself in the peaceful luxury of your own perfect universe.
YOUR E X T RAORDI NA RY STORY
Zaya Nurai Island Resort #InAbuDhabi
Critique MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
he Resisters, by Gish Jen, establishes a dystopian world and renders a cautionary tale about a future America which is governed by The Internet – a combination of Artificial Intelligence, surveillance technology and pesky maxims. The story successfully lands on its feet for Wendy Smith at The Boston Globe. “A gripping tale of a family confronting the digitally empowered authoritarian state ... Jen doesn’t over-explain individual elements of her richly textured dystopia; she assumes we can deduce the meanings of her bitingly witty neologisms.” “Jen...is a wonderfully gifted writer”, writes Dwight Garner of The New York Times Book Review, “but The Resisters is not among her best novels; it never sinks its hooks into the reader. In part, too, it’s because Jen exerts so much effort constructing her world, this book’s hardware, that the human software is underdeveloped.” David Canfield of Entertainment Weekly didn’t have any strong connections with the book. “A harrowingly, bizarrely imagined future. The award-winning author… has long had a feel for sweeping,
subversive explorations of American life. This is not Jen’s wittiest work, but it holds a brilliant mundanity.” Greta Thunberg, the young environmental activist, shares her collection of speeches about climate change in No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference. “In every instance, Thunberg speaks with the same fierce eloquence as she delivers the same, clear message”, pens Nathaniel Dolton Thornton for Orion magazine. “Thunberg gives a general sketch of what those actions should look like, and they speak to a world in dire straits. An inspiring call to arms and a powerful testament to the ability of any – and every – one person to change the world.” Rachel Hewitt of The Guardian was moved by the inspiring contents of the book. “Thunberg is painfully aware that ‘people tell me that I’m retarded, a bitch and a terrorist, and many other things.’ But her speeches give the lie to these caricatures… Thunberg speaks to a people acutely aware of living in a time of transition, on a knife-edge between multiple possible futures. Her argument is not driven by a belief that we are all doomed, but is cut through with tentative hope”
Long Bright River, a thriller by Liz Moore, is a tale of two once-inseparable sisters who find themselves at odds in the middle of an opioid crisis in their neighbourhood. Then one of them goes missing. The novel has racked up some rave reviews from the critics. “The public and the personal intertwine in this meticulously detailed novel to tell the bigger story”, says Elena Hartwell of The New York Journal of Books. “Told with the voice of a literary master at the top of her craft, the pace may be too slow for thriller readers, but for those who love a strong literary voice in their genre fiction or the voice of a crime writer in their literary fiction, th=is novel is a home run.” “One of the pleasures of this deeply moving, absolutely pageturning novel is the way Moore, in both the present and in flashbacks to Mickey and Kacey’s childhood and teen years, slowly peels back layer after layer, revealing the oldboy’s network in the Philadelphia police force, the depths of Mickey’s loneliness, and the way the city of Philadelphia, particularly Kensington, is woven into this story, for good or ill,” writes Susan McGuire of Booklist.
Credit: Penguin Random House
UNLOCK THE SECRET OF LIVING
The secret of living longer, healthier and fuller lives is a mystery to many. But not to us. Our exclusive clientele come to Clinique La Prairie to experience the amazing results of renowned Swiss science. Discover the power of our prestigious health & wellness programs that renew your body, reinvigorate your mind and protect against the effects of time.
Revitalisation. Live the Rejuvenation and Wellness Legend. cliniquelaprairie.com
Clinique La Prairie - Rue du Lac 142 | 1815 Clarens-Montreux | Switzerland | +41 21 989 34 81 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Critique MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Image Credit: Pablo Picasso, Femmes à leur toilette, Paris, winter 1937–38 Collage of cut-out wallpapers with gouache on paper pasted onto canvas, 299 x 448 cm Musée national Picasso-Paris. Pablo Picasso Gift in Lieu, 1979. MP176 Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Adrien Didierjean © Succession Picasso/DACS 2019
icasso and Paper, being exhibited at London’s Royal Academy of Arts (until April 13), has gathered a plethora of positive remarks from the critics. “There are inventive cut-outs and collages of newsprint and coloured paper, facial features exploding into geometric shapes. The work is a whirlwind of innovation, and here, on paper, Picasso is doing it all at his most intimate and unguarded. The weeping pre-war women, the cut-out skulls, the fractured bodies: this is a show filled with jaw-dropping moments of beauty”, writes Eddy Frankel for TimeOut London. Melanie McDonagh of the London Evening Standard comments on the artistic skill of Picasso, “Few artists were so sensitive to the sensuous qualities of particular paper – old paper, laid Ingres paper, Japanese paper (the captions to this exhibition are usefully specific about them) – but he was the kind of man who’d make the most of anything he could lay his hands on. Napkins, wallpaper and newspaper were grist to his mill; in fact, the newspaper pages here with furious doodles, including a figure with a hammer and sickle over political images, are rude graffiti, an artist’s response to the news.” 22
Showing at London’s Somerset House (until April 26), Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi displays the progressive, poetic and psychedelic world of mushrooms. “The exhibition also touches on the surprisingly common propensity to project intent onto mushrooms, likening their networks of underground ‘mycelium’ to the Internet (something that crops up in the scientific as well as the hippy community), as if they have an intelligence all of their own”, pens Steve Dinneen for City AM. “Look at this three-room show as an introduction to mushrooms in art, science and design”, writes Eddy Frankel for TimeOut London. “The walls are dotted with statements about stems and caps and gills, facts and figures about mycelial networks and how DNA profiles show mushrooms to be closer to animals than plants.” Steve McQueen: Year 3 is an ambitious project showcasing the youth and the future of London at Tate Britain (until May 3). Laura Cumming of The Guardian shares her thoughts on the childish charm and uniqueness of the photographs. “Perhaps skip the odd photograph, you think, anxiously trying to do them all justice. But then some child stands out with a quizzical frown or a fetching smile
and you have to give their classmates your full attention too. This is the lovely paradox: a mass observation project that allows each and every pupil to single themselves out.” Eddy Frankel of TimeOut London gives his point of view when looking at the bigger picture. “Seven is a pivotal age, it’s when you start figuring out the world, taking it in and understanding your place in it. McQueen’s project is a portrait of that, of childhood’s slow morph into imminent adolescence. But way more obviously, it’s a celebration of this city’s (London) diversity, its vast variety of races, cultures and backgrounds, all played out and glorified on these walls. It’s census as art.” “The diversity shown in each of the pictures paired with strong engagement shows these children that, no matter their background, they can be involved in art”, writes Mitra Karanjkar for The Strand Magazine. “This is something that McQueen wanted to showcase in his exhibition. Reflected by his own personal history; as a dyslexic child, considered fit only for manual labour by his secondary school, he aims to show the children in these photos they can follow the same success.”
Art & Design MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Creative Crusaders AIR
Curator Maya El Khalil tells us how 21,39 Jeddah Arts is shining a light on climate change, and why the arts scene in Saudi Arabia is finally receiving the support it needs to flourish WORDS BY: FAYE BARTLE
ddressing the global climate crisis through art in Saudi Arabia may seem unexpected, but that’s exactly what makes 21,39 Jeddah Arts utterly compelling. Named after the geographic coordinates of the city, the seventh edition of the annual festival, which runs until April 18, is capturing the imagination of a new wave of art aficionados, with its central exhibition, I Love You, Urgently, contending with the environmental emergency through a series of works by 21 local artists. “Each exploration represents a personal journey into the experience of the climate emergency, relating to it and exploring it through tangible, reallife ideas,” explains its curator Maya El Khalil. “As such, it is as diverse and idiosyncratic as each participating artist – and they are all very different.
“Working with them in the year leading up to this exhibition, I have learned that there are many ways to look at a crisis that can often feel overwhelming or remote to us. There is so much dialogue that is scientific or bureaucratic. This can feel alienating and, as such, it’s easy to feel defeated.” The featured paintings and drawings, films, sculptures, performances, installations, sound- and scent-based works aim to turn this sentiment around by drawing viewers in through their authentic and engaging narratives. Each artwork highlights the personal nature of the crisis by placing it within the context of the person who created it, weaving various geographic, cultural, and social influences throughout. As such, the pieces offer a glimpse of the artists’ own journeys, presenting them as a collective experience that’s driven by emotion.
“For me, each of these individual stances, which draw upon a diverse range of subjects, from pearl diving to space travel and more, makes the crisis tangible and relatable,” explains El Khalil. “Together, they provide an urgent and undeniable plan for action – a map populated with many starting places for responses that are driven by care, love and responsibility.” The approach is uniquely effective, as El Khalil explains: “Currently, we have limited scope to understand and relate to the magnitude of the problem beyond our own immediate frames of reference. Communication is a fundamental challenge, with narrow human-centric attitudes a major contributing factor to the climate emergency, and the situation must be considered beyond globalised, consumerist culture. In my opinion, artists, architects and designers – in short, creators – are in a unique position
am proud of the connections between new and “Iestablished artists, brought together around a universally urgent issue ”
to explore ideas and take an active role in dismantling Anthropocene attitudes, replacing these with solutions to the environmental crisis we face while inspiring debate and dialogue.” Driving home the message, visitors can also reflect on the vision that contributed to the urban landscape of Saudi Arabia through the exhibition of the late Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frei Otto’s architectural models, sketches and research. Furthermore, Propositions for a Poetic Ecosystem brings together artworks by six Saudi and Swiss artists to shed light on the importance of water as the primary medium through which we feel the effects of climate change. The theme is once again brought to life through the Sculpting Spaces: Architectural Desert Dwellings exhibition, which showcases proposals for a low-impact sustainable 26
dwelling in AlUla – all born from an international competition initiated by the Royal Commission of AlUla. Ultimately, it’s hoped that 21,39 Jeddah Arts 2020 will be a catalyst for inspiring new ways of thinking about the way we live. In the wider sense, linking local stories to a global question goes a long way to fulfilling the festival’s vision to build a bridge between the Saudi art scene and the international art world. “I am proud of the connections between new and established artists, brought together around a universally urgent issue,” says El Khalil. “21,39 Jeddah Arts has become a moment of gathering and exchange for the Saudi art scene. It is a moment to encounter new artists and engage with all those who make the city’s creative community what it is today.”
And what a long way it has come. As the gateway to Mecca, Jeddah has always been a place of cultural exchange. However, like the rest of Saudi Arabia, it had very limited arts infrastructure until very recently. “My first involvement with the Jeddah art scene was as the founder-director of Athr gallery,” remembers El Khalil. “When we first opened in 2009, there had been quite rapid development in the culture and creative industries across the Gulf, particularly in the UAE. We were a response to the relative lack of art infrastructure within Saudi Arabia – there were few contemporary art galleries committed to a long-term vision to support the development of artists and provide a platform of local and international exchange. Interest in Saudi art and artists was growing thanks to international programmes, such as
All images: Installation views of I Love You, Urgently 21,39 Jeddah Arts, © Photo: Abdullah AlMeslmani. Commissioned by Saudi Arts Council
the first Edge of Arabia exhibition, which took place in London in 2008. “The same patrons who were backing these initiatives wanted to create art spaces in their own city because they believed in art, because they enjoyed it, and because they recognised that there was the risk of a vacuum forming in the disparity between what was happening abroad and what was happening within Saudi Arabia,” she continues. “The early days of the gallery were challenging but extremely exciting. At home we were committed to developing young artists and art audiences within the city; abroad, we were part of a network pioneering the exhibition of Saudi art across the globe.” Over the last decade, there have been many milestone moments; one of them being the founding of the Saudi Art Council, chaired by HRH Princess Jawaher bint Majed, who has been supporting artists since 1999 through the Al Mansouria Foundation. “Today, there is obviously a lot to be positive about – there is broader support and acceptance of creative and cultural activities, both socially and financially,” she says. “As such, there’s a huge amount of activity across the city and the country at large. However, amid all of this, the same concerns and commitments must remain a key focus: to develop sustainable structures that nurture long term development and appreciation, to engage patiently with young artists, and to develop appreciation and knowledge among audiences and collectors. There remains a stalwart group of patrons who are true to this mission, guiding the exciting growth through proven programmes, such as 21,39 Jeddah Arts and Young Saudi Artists, as well as new endeavours such as residencies. It is a really exhilarating moment. I believe art is a major part of Jeddah’s future as it becomes expansively open to the world, and I have high hopes that those who have always been guardians to its growth will continue to pioneer meaningful, substantial work.” 21,39 Jeddah Arts, organised by the Saudi Art Council, is running until April 18 at different venues across the city, thesaudiartcouncil.org/2139 27
Beauty In a day and age where technology has made fame easier to find than ever before, Blancpain has turned the clock back and taken inspiration from a Hollywood icon for its latest timepiece
WORDS: NICK WATKINS
Timepieces MARCH: ISSUE 106
he stars of Old Hollywood brought more than their acting ability to the big screen, they were among the first crop of celebrities with a timeless sense of style. The 1930s saw Greta Garbo light up movie theatres with her performances in Anna Christie and Grand Hotel. Katherine Hepburn made her big screen debut with A Bill of Divorcement and hit major stardom a year later thanks to her performance in Little Women. Screen legend Bette Davis also began her acting career in the 1930s, as did the legendary Judy Garland, who famously starred in The Wizard of Oz (1939) before mainstream success followed in the 1940s thanks to her role in the blockbuster Meet Me in St. Louis. In the 1950s, fans were treated to a plethora of movies starring some of Hollywood’s most iconic leading ladies. Roman Holiday (1953) propelled Audrey Hepburn to superstardom, with the actress scooping an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA Film Award for her performance. Grace Kelly also picked up a Golden Globe in ’53 after starring in Mogambo. However, it was a cameo appearance in John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle that got the world talking and would change the celebrity landscape forever. Despite only being on screen for a few minutes, 29
Marilyn Monroe captivated viewers like never before and would go on to become the biggest name in Hollywood, starring in a number of hit films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot, for which she won a Golden Globe. She was a global phenomenon. Her unmistakable beauty made her one of the most recognisable people on the planet. She soon realised her worth and was unhappy with being typecast and underpaid by film studios, so she founded her own production company, ultimately earning her a larger salary with more creative control. With her pioneering spirit, independence and confidence, along with her incomparable star power, Monroe, and her style, continues to inspire modern generations. Despite her death in 1962 her global appeal remains as powerful as any of today’s Hollywood elite. So powerful in fact, that in 2016, Swiss watchmaker Blancpain paid $225,000 at auction for her 1930s Blancpain platinum and diamond Art Deco cocktail watch, which now sits in the manufacture in the Vallée de Joux. Like Monroe, the piece is iconic with a timeless aura. Prior to going under
Opening pages, from left to right: Marilyn Monroe; Blancpain paid $225,000 for Monroe’s 1930s platinum and diamond Art Deco cocktail watch This page: Betty Fiechter headed up Blancpain in the 1930s Opposite page: The limited edition Blancpain Saint-Valentin 2020 timepiece 30
the hammer, the watch, paved with 71 round-cut diamonds, hadn’t been seen in public since 1962 and was the star attraction at a recent New York exhibition, entitled Timeless Elegance, at the brand’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue, featuring personal belongings and photographs of the beloved star. An air of mystique still surrounds how Monroe herself acquired the watch, as the actress is said to have had a very small personal collection of jewellery. Some believe it was a gift from her third husband Arthur Miller, while others suggest it was given to her by her close friend Frank Sinatra – whom the star was rumored to be romantically involved with. Also, in 2016, Monroe’s famous ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ outfit famously sold for a staggering $4.8 million to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, setting a new world record for the most expensive dress ever sold at auction. The star wore the custom Jean Louis creation in 1962, while singing to President John F. Kennedy. Interestingly, the record broken was one set by another of the star’s auction lots. The Seven Year Itch gown had sold for an equally impressive $4.6 million in 2011.
For Blancpain, buying the watch was not simply a case of owning a piece of memorabilia, moreover it’s a representation of its proud history of female watchmaking. The brand is no stranger to working with trailblazing woman and owes much of its international reputation to visionary Betty Fiechter, who headed up the company in the early 1930s, when Monroe was still a child. Fiechter was the first woman in history to head a watchmaking company and paved the way for the creation of jewellery watches and, thus, female inspiration has been a driving force in the production of Blancpain’s groundbreaking movements. Following on from the release of the world’s first self-winding ladies’ wristwatch – the Rolls – in 1930 was the Ladybird, in 1956, a timepiece with the smallest round movement of the time. Monroe’s iconic influence was again utilised by the Swiss watchmaker in the 1980s when it updated its Moon Phase indication, now a signature of the brand. Since the launch of the Woman collection in 2006 all the ladies’ Moon Phases show a female face with a starshaped beauty mark, paying homage to the Hollywood star. As a brand, Blancpain has a yearly tradition of creating a limited number of feminine timepieces dedicated to love, and who better to inspire this year’s creation than one of the mostloved women in history. 2020 sees the release of the Blancpain Saint-Valentin, a limited edition timepiece modeled on Monroe’s famous 1930s classic cocktail movement. Only fourteen pieces will be made of the new white gold Art Deco watches, each set with 84 diamonds in superposed rows, along with two marquise-cut gems. It features a striking mother-of-pearl dial with butterflies made with diamonds and ruby hearts. A new addition to the Blancpain collection is the stylish, rectangular, caliber 510. In an era of modern technology, basing a new timepiece on one made almost a century ago may come as a surprise, but with Monroe’s pulling power still as strong as ever perhaps it shouldn’t. Her style continues to be a source of inspiration and will be worn for generations to come.
Who better to inspire this yearâ€™s creation than one of the most-loved women in history
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Master craftsmanship, effortless style and timeless appeal; this monthâ€™s must-haves and collectibles
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
LIE RRE D E PA RIS the philosophy of the house, the Lierre de Paris necklace, with its striking emeraldset ivy leaves and evident technical sophistication, truly captivates. The striking design transcends convention and pushes realism to the extreme.
Reviving Boucheronâ€™s innovative Question Mark style necklace that was first introduced in 1879 and once a staple of their collection, Claire Choisne reinstates the Maisonâ€™s unique design to its high jewellery line-up. Encapsulating 1
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
ST E L L A MCC A RT N EY
W E A R E T H E W E AT H E R As part of Stella McCartney’s spring collection, ‘Force for Nature’, she collaborated with environmental author Jonathan Safran Foer to create capsule pieces based on his latest novel about the climate crisis, We are the Weather.
This jumper, which has a youthful feel, is made using sustainable fabrics and promotes living an eco-conscious lifestyle with its vibrant slogan radiating from a graphic illustration of the sun. 2
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
T WEED COUTURE It makes sense that a house synonymous with tweed should dedicate an entire collection to it. But only Chanel could do so with high jewellery. Expertly hand fashioned, this necklace is created by weaving together platinum, pink gold, pink
sapphires and one 10.20-carat diamond, beginning a new chapter in the history of tweed. Gabrielle Chanel fell in love with the fabric in the 1920s, changing its fate forever and ensuring that it now finds itself crafted from the richest stones and metals. 3
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
R M SOTHEBYâ€™S
1 961 J A G U A R E -T Y P E S E R I E S 1 3 . 8 - L I T R E R O A D S T E R Hereâ€™s a chance to own a piece of history as this fully restored, 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-litre Roadster goes under the hammer this month. This particular model is one of the 385 original left-hand-drive roadsters with features such as external
hood latches, welded louvers and flat floors. Both the interior and chassis are in immaculate condition and since its restoration, in 2015, this classic car has completed just 400 miles, further driving up its collectability. rmsothebys.com
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
C H O PA R D
PINK DIAMOND RING rare and dazzling stones from around the world to create the centrepieces of her elegant designs. Honouring the unusual and beautiful pink diamond, its pear-shaped form takes centre stage here among a cluster of fancy-cut diamonds.
Celebrated for its creativity, Chopard haute joaillerie is now turning its expert hand to exceptional precious stones. Passionate about such gems, artistic director Caroline Scheufele has painstakingly gathered a collection of 6
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
SA I N T L AU R E N T
BIANCA SANDALS which embody seventies allure, are a sound addition to any womanâ€™s wardrobe as they are versatile and feminine with the sweet knotted bow. They are also available in a vibrant white and loud leopard print suede.
Stepping into spring has never looked as chic as it does in these bow sandals from Saint Laurent. The classic peep toe shape has a 12.5cm heel and adjustable ankle strap all fashioned from smooth jet-black lambskin. The platform shoes, 7
OB JECTS OB JECTS OF DESIRE OF DESIRE
D AV I D M O R R I S
SUNRISE BANGLE An abstract interpretation of sun rays featuring over 2,000 diamonds, itâ€™s no wonder that this cuff creates a blinding dazzle in its wake. Part of the Electric Geometric collection, David Morris introduces a vibrant take on high
jewellery through the bangle which, although born from natural influences, is distinctly otherworldly in composition. Set in 18-karat white and rose gold, the piece lies completely flat when open, showcasing the atelierâ€™s technical prowess. 8
Timepieces MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Tariq Malik, the owner of a vintage watch boutique, runs AIR through the best timepieces set for auction in Dubai
pecially commissioned watches designed exclusively for the Gulf region are getting a lot of attention these days. My social media is filled with these rare collectors’ pieces, and the demand is growing – and not just in the Middle East. Always alert to trends in the world of horology, Christie’s is holding the Important Watches auction in Dubai next month, so here I’m highlighting three interesting pieces, with strong links to the Middle East, that are up for grabs. Rolex Day-Date, c. 1960, with ‘Eastern Arabic’ dial Originally released in 1956, the DayDate was (and still is) a thing of beauty. The well-balanced dial, as well as the day and date display, was incredibly innovative for the time. The reference you see here is the 1804, which was part of the second series of Day-Dates released in 1959. It’s a model that often appears on my radar in Dubai, and it can be identified by the platinum case and bezel and, of course, the diamonds. But this one is special for another reason. Eastern Arabic numerals are an important milestone in world history. They actually originated some 1600 years ago, with the Indian mathematicians, and over time they were adopted by the Arabic culture, and then later in the West, evolving into the Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 and so on) that are commonly used today. This particular watch was made around 1960, and the platinum case, sweep seconds indicator and rare numerals mean that it’s a collector’s dream – particularly in the Gulf region. Sky-Dweller, made for the UAE Ministry of Defense The Sky-Dweller range is a relatively new addition to Rolex. It is a unique and sophisticated approach to the dual-time zone feature, coupled with the first annual calendar Rolex has ever produced. Although its functionality would put the Sky-Dweller in the sports watch
Rolex Day-Date, c. 1960, with ‘Eastern Arabic’ dial
genre, its minimalist profile and gorgeously refined lines make it fit nicely among the dress watches too, and it has been described by some as a, “GMT-equipped” Day-Date. Th Sky-Dweller up for auction was made for the Ministry of Defense, and is stamped on the case back with the UAE Ministry of Defense coat of arms. One of only 10 pieces, it still has the factory-issued protective stickers. Definitely one item to keep an eye on. Rolex Day-Date ‘Stella’ made for the Sultanate of Oman It was some time during the late 1960s that Rolex began producing the Day-Date and Datejust models with Oxblood colour dials. It was an oddball juxtaposition of the elegance of Rolex with the bold, eyecatching, almost psychedelic dials. Later, in the 1970s, other colours appeared on the ref 1803, 1804, and 1807 models. Interestingly, this design choice was originally targeted at the Middle East market. Stella dials are probably named after the
American artist Frank Stella, who liked working with extremely bright colors. Another possibility is that it refers to the Latin word meaning ‘star’, but nobody knows for sure. Ironically, the ‘Stella’ dials didn’t really get an enthusiastic response back in the day, leading to a shortlived production run. That makes the current piece even rarer and this one has yet another claim to fame – it was made in the early 1970s, signed and stamped the ‘Sultanate of Oman’. This shade of oxblood may not be the rarest of all known ‘Stella’ dials, but the Arabic link is a nice compliment to the crisp white gold case and white gold President bracelet. This example is a wonderful representative of the ‘Stella’ Day-Date, and the combination of all of these elements results in an extraordinary striking and elegant watch.
Christie’s Important Watches, April 11, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Ballroom, Jumeirah, from 4pm. 33
Jewellery MARCH 2020 : ISSUE 106
While it shares the shade of its moniker by night, in reality the debut alexandrite jewellery collection by Rubeus Milano is as rich in colour as the gemâ€™s regal history WORDS: HAYLEY KADROU
pon hearing that a new jewellery masterpiece has been crowned one of the planet’s most expensive pieces to date, you might expect it to be drowning in diamonds; a creation belonging to one of the historic jewellery houses residing in Paris. But the latest precious piece to share the monetary title fits neither criteria. The Imperial Necklace was propelled into the hall of fame by Rubeus Milano – a mere six-year-old ultra-luxury accessories label born in Milan, as the name quite purposefully hints at. Catering to clients seeking the epitome of opulence, Rubeus already has a niche but loyal following, and is especially known for its crocodile skin handbags designed to endure across generations. More surprising still, the necklace comes from a collection that serves as Rubeus’ debut launch into high jewellery. And despite the label’s moniker (Latin for ruby) it was another rare, coloured gemstone that would see the brand shine onto the scene in Paris and Milan; alexandrite. “We didn’t set out to break records,” Nataliya Bondarenko, co-founder of the house tells us. Not only is the Imperial Necklace one of the most highly valued and rarest pieces today, but the high jewellery collection at large makes 36
Frédéric is a fantastic designer, but I can honestly say working with us he has become an even more talented designer
history as the first to feature Russian alexandrite throughout as its hero gem. “It’s magic,” the passionate designer tells us, detailing alexandrite’s metameristic properties. Dubbed an emerald by day and ruby by night, the type of light that hits the jewel affects its hue as if by, well, magic. It’s also coveted as one of the hardest gemstones in existence, ranking 8.5 on the Mohs scale. The collection includes a total of 47 alexandrite gemstones, starting from 2.12 carats in size. Designed by Frédéric Mané – a familiar face in Place Vendôme, France’s destination for the finest names in jewellery – the star piece features the record-breaking 69.37 carats of Russian alexandrite. Set
in white, gold and black titanium, the necklace also features rose cut diamonds along with pink and grey spinel. The design mirrors crystal formations within the Earth, and carries a vivacious, energetic feel. “Frédéric is a fantastic designer. He’s a very big talent, but I can honestly say that working with us he has become an even more talented designer,” Nataliya praises. The Imperial Set consists of two necklaces, two pairs of pendant earrings and four rings. More feminine in nature, the second fraction of the alexandrite find is the Eternal Set, which carries one necklace with a central rock crystal rose that is complemented by diamonds, sapphires and tanzanite, alongside a pair of earrings and three rings. Jewellery studio Jothi Seroj merged the visions of Mané and the Bondarenko duo – Nataliya’s co-founder is her globallyrenowned art collector husband, Viktor Bondarenko – to bring the two-dimensional sketches to life, carrying out the risqué cuts to bring to reality the delicate designs. “From the sketch to the final piece, it’s even more beautiful,” professes Nataliya. Echoing the rest of the Rubeus line – which ranges from bags to footwear – and the ethos of the couple, every
Previous page: Nataliya Bondarenko Opposite: The Imperial Necklace
creation must be what the duo consider “wearable art.” Nataliya protests: “you have to have a connection with the accessories you buy, there needs to be chemistry.” But getting to this record-breaking point was no easy feat. A background in design with an initial dream to be an architect, Nataliya’s entrance into the world of art and fashion came later in life upon meeting her husband. Viktor, however, boasts a long-standing fascination with rare and valuable things of beauty – and for years he has been searching for the alexandrite that would become their debut high jewellery collection. But for the duo, the appeal of the magical red and green jewel is about more than rarity and aesthetics, as it ties in closely with their Russian heritage. Gushing over the material, Nataliya continues: “we are very passionate about its history.” As the tale goes, it was discovered in the Sakmara River in the Southern Ural Mountains of Russia on the future Tsar Alexander II’s sixteenth birthday in 1834, gifting it its name. It was adored by royalty, and later became associated with his reign on multiple levels, the first being his affiliation with the gem. Secondly, its dualism came to mirror his time in power; the green represented the initial hope felt by the monarch’s progressive reforms, the red characterising the bloodshed that would come in later years. The shades of alexandrite also match Imperial Russia’s old military hues, further cementing it as the jewel of a nation. It is even thought to bring luck to the wearer. Reciting the folklore around the elusive material, Nataliya tells us sternly: “Alexander II was killed the 38
have to have “a You connection with
the accessories you buy, there needs to be a chemistry
day he forgot to put his alexandrite ring on.” And the luck surrounding the gem seems to have followed the coupleturned-co-founders, too. “We were searching for almost ten years for it,” she explains. Previously, it was thought to have been already mined completely within the region, and although other locations such as Sri Lanka and Brazil have been found to inhabit a variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, none have held the mystique and prestige of the Russian original. But the Bondarenkos’ lucked out as they stumbled upon a piece of the sought-after element a whopping 300 carats in size. “Discovering it was a historical moment,” Nataliya details. Upon discovery, the next question became: “are we to cut the stone, or not? It’s risky.” Celebrations were had and glasses raised when the 69-carat cut was executed with success, as the record was previously held by a 66-carat alexandrite gemstone of Sri Lankan origin exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington.
And the lucky stone continued to prove itself so, as years of searching and months of designing and creation came to fruition. From one regal history to another, the Imperial Necklace was put on display at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs hall within the Palais du Louvre during Paris Haute Couture Week in 2019. Nataliya describes the buzz that surrounded the display, and the surprise from creators and collectors alike that the rare gemstone, usually so reluctantly given up by its owners, was used throughout an entire collection. The co-founder proclaims that the value of alexandrite ascended after they unveiled their designs onto the world. Currently, alexandrite can retail up to $12,000 (Dhs 44,000) per carat, but that value increases in line with the size of the stone. Due to their rarity, large alexandrite above five or six carats can fetch as much as $200,000 (Dhs 735,000), while Russian-origin alexandrite can further inflate that price tag. So, what can we expect from the follow up collection? “Well, it’s a secret for now, but we can tell you it will be oriented on the Middle East. We have lots of ideas that will hopefully continue to surprise people.” Alongside their Russian heritage, made in Italy stamp and French flair from their collaborators, moving into the Middle East will help the label achieve its aim of capturing a truly global style. And as for the future of high jewellery for the young label? “We want for our high jewellery collections to always be in the top ten brands. It’s good to have competition from the old French brands, but with a good team, it can be done.”
Great As Homeland draws to a close and she bids farewell to Carrie Mathison, Claire Danes talks being a ’90s cult icon, family life and why her 40s will be her best decade
t”s 12.10pm in New York City, and Claire Danes is walking me through her morning. “I woke at seven,” she tells me, sitting in the white-and-chrome kitchen of her West Village town house, not far from the SoHo apartment where she was born and raised, and eating her lunch – a green salad, straight from its blue plastic mixing bowl. “I took the dog out, got our 18-monthold son, Rowan, up. Hugh (Dancy, the British actor and her husband of 10 years) got (their son) Cyrus, who’s seven, up and we all ate eggs,” she says, looking every inch the West Village school mum, in a cashmere Breton jumper from Lord & Taylor and blue jeans. “Then Hugh went to work on (CBS drama) The Good Fight and Rowan and I walked Cyrus to school,” she continues. “I came back and baked bread – my dad has taught me a foolproof recipe – and after that, I went for my run and listened to podcasts: The (New York Times’) Daily, Fresh Air and Robert Downey Jr on The Joe Rogan Experience. It’s a good day.” A good day it may be, but not a typical one for Danes. For the past almost-10 years of her life, excluding a few months’ maternity leave, her days have revolved around the TV character of Carrie Mathison, Homeland’s CIA agent with
bipolar disorder, battling terrorists and her own demons simultaneously. It’s been a near-constant mix of filming, training, promoting and researching. And, as both its star and executive producer, there had been the mad rush to complete the final-ever season before it aired. “I was really daunted when the prospect of doing the show first came up,” she says, moving her phone (so she can talk and eat simultaneously) into a position that would make 90 per cent of us baulk – looking from below, straight up the nose – but, to Claire, it’s an irrelevance. “I thought I would have to carry so much misery, how could that not bleed into my own life? Did I want to forfeit my happiness? But actually, I was able to compartmentalise way more than I had feared. And Carrie tends to win, and that makes it more tolerable. She”s smarter than everyone and she never gets punished for that, or if she does, she will eventually prevail. When is that the case in a television show or a movie? It’s so rare to have the chance to do so much.” Carrie has indeed been the role of a lifetime, and I do not say that lightly, for this is a lifetime that has included playing Angela Chase in the short-lived but seminal 1994 highschool drama My So-Called Life, and 41
Juliet to Leonardo DiCaprio”s Romeo in Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film. “It’s interesting, isn’t it?” she says of her three most famous roles. “They’re a surprising trifecta. I feel very lucky… and amazed.” Homeland won Claire two Emmys and two Golden Globes (she had won two Globes previously, for My So-Called Life in 1995, and 2010’s Temple Grandin, in which she portrayed the eponymous professor and autism spokesperson) and gained her fans including the Obamas and Beyoncé. “I met Beyoncé backstage at an awards show,” she recalls. “She said she and Jay-Z watched the show together. I couldn”t say anything. In my head, it was just, “BeyoncéBeyoncéBeyoncéBeyoncé!” Homeland has also taught her more about politics than she could ever have imagined (the show often eerily predicting world events before they happened), due to intensive weeks spent at what the team dubbed ‘spy camp’, interviewing CIA agents, journalists and political insiders to help shape storylines. “I remember meeting an incredible woman, very senior in that world,” she says. “I asked her why she was giving so much (insight) to me, and she replied that the show could be a powerful recruiting tool. Since then, people have come up to me in the street and said, “My daughter is studying Arabic and is interested (in working in intelligence), so it works.” The fact that this season will be its last must be hitting hard. Before Homeland
premiered in 2011, and in spite of her stellar CV and awards, there had been a two-year period of nothing. No good scripts, no work. It was a dark time, a period of self-doubt and career-change contemplation – Claire had studied psychology at Yale for two years in 1998. It was Carrie that threw open Hollywood”s door again, giving her the opportunity to flex every acting muscle she had. “It’s also really nice now Homeland is ending to have played characters that have been culturally significant. It gives me more confidence that I’ll be allowed to play someone else, that the public has the elasticity in their imagination for me to go on some other adventure,” she says. “But I”ll miss Carrie and will have to do a bit of grieving. (Hugh and I) made our family over the course of the show. I have so many ridiculous photos of Cyrus in CIA stations, playing with the blinking lights and pressing buttons to send some drone out to kill bad guys.” Claire shot Homeland through both of her pregnancies: the first, up until she was one month away from giving birth; and the second, through that gruelling first trimester, when even getting off the sofa can feel like climbing Everest. “I had to film when I was ill and exhausted and couldn’t tell anyone,” she says. “I kept falling asleep between takes and getting really paranoid that everyone might think I had some kind of substance-abuse problem. I just wanted to tell people, “There is a
reason for this that isn’t criminal!” Did she ever worry about the toll filming such demanding scenes – from her character being tortured, to Carrie’s manic episodes – could take on her pregnancy? “I’m a little anxious about admitting this,” she says, “but I think I was more concerned about letting the production down than my baby or my body. I was so preoccupied with not imposing myself and my family-making on to the job, which was a little perverse – that’s not a great impulse.” It is, however, a feeling that most working mothers can relate to: the absurd fear that admitting your struggle indicates weakness to your employers. “They were so patient,” she says of their reaction, when she eventually told them of her pregnancy. “So generous about me expanding and contracting and leaking. I was really lucky in that both pregnancies were not complicated.” For Homeland’s final season, which she began filming when Rowan was just five months old, Claire got to have her husband – whose TV credits include Elizabeth I, The Big C and Hannibal – working alongside her, playing a White House foreign-policy advisor. “We didn’t have any scenes together, which is a good thing,” she laughs. “To play Carrie with Hugh would be a real test of my focus. But I loved being able to share Homeland with him from the inside out. It was a nice way to go out (of the series) – together.” The couple met on the set of the 43
I got the ’90s about as right as I could. I was a teenager, and as rough as that time is, it’s so powerful, so defining
were deeply responsible people. But, you know, I saw Wall Street in the theatre when I was eight – not appropriate exactly, Cyrus still only watches Pixar movies. But I was fine. It’s such a different world now. I am probably more careful about creating structure, but I think our similarities (as parents) are greater than our differences.” Her middle-school years were fairly grim, a toxic cocktail of a class full of mean girls and being, she says, “a bit of a weird kid”. Her unhappiness became a solid motivation for pursuing acting work to keep her away from class. “Puberty happened,” she says. “And there is this mass panic and people become dreadful to each other. I was so miserable.” Did she have friends? “I was friends with my depression, really.” It’s odd to think of Claire Danes, the epitome of ‘90s cool, being an outcast at school. I tell her I read that she used to sit in New York”s Washington Square Park with her neighbourhood friend, fellow actor Chloë Sevigny, watching skater boys. She throws her head back, laughing. “I got the ‘90s about as right as I could. I was a teenager, and as rough as that time is, it’s so powerful, so defining. It’s funny that that period happened to coincide with actual cultural moments (My So-Called Life and Romeo + Juliet).” Claire turned 40 last year, but the new decade didn’t faze her. Perhaps it’s having been in the spotlight since she was a child and so being numb to its scrutiny; perhaps it’s because her role as Carrie required her to look like a woman
who’s spent time in a Russian gulag; or perhaps it’s thanks to those bohemian parents, who introduced her to therapy at age six, that vanity is not her thing. “Honestly, I’ve felt 40 since I was 15,” she laughs. “You go through these various neuroses, you think, I’m not enough, I’m too big, I’m too small, maybe if I just eat almonds for 10 days I’ll be saved, and then you cycle through all that absurdity, and realise maybe I should eat when I’m hungry and take pleasure in things. That’s the nice thing about being our age. You accept the fact of yourself.” Like much of her life, Claire’s selfcare routine reflects her New York attitude. No intense personal-training schedule, or macrobiotic madness, but a more regular-person approach to her body. “I try to drink water so I don’t get headaches, and I guess that’s good for my skin,” she says. “I try to eat vegetables, but I also bake and eat bread – a lot of it. I exercise every day, as much for my head as my body, but nothing makes me happier than a good dance party. “I used to live in a loft with a big swing in the middle of it, which was just the ideal dance-party space. Now we live in a grown-up, tall house with many floors, and carpets, which you don’t want to hurt. Every six months, I’ll text my friends and say, “We need to have a dance party!” And it never happens. That is my dream, my great ambition post-Homeland.” While for Claire’s sake I hope she does get to have her dance party, I also hope that post-Carrie there is a role every bit as iconic waiting for her. If the ‘90s were defined by Juliet and the ‘10s by Carrie, it would be a travesty for the ‘20s not to give us something equally extraordinary. In the meantime, there’s the school run, the baking and the chance to catch up on TOWIE. It may not be what she’s used to, but it sounds like what she needs. Let’s just hope Hollywood doesn’t leave it so long to bring her back this time. Opposite: Clair Danes stars in 2007’s Stardust Bondarenko
Credit: © Francesca Babb | Telegraph Media Group Limited 2020
2007 film Evening. It didn”t exactly set the world on fire, despite a cast including Meryl Streep and Glenn Close, but it was certainly lifechanging for Claire and Hugh. “I keep saying I’m lucky, but it does feel that way,” Claire says. “I bagged the best one, I really did. His absurdist sense of humour is what got me, and it’s still very effective. He’s so good, he’s so smart, he’s so kind, and he’s really discerning and handsome, too.” Hugh also, I recall Claire telling me the last time I interviewed her in 2012, introduced her to TOWIE (UK reality TV show, The Only Way is Essex), which became an unexpected favourite. “That was pre-children,” she laughs. “We don’t get to do that kind of thing any more, binge on freaking TOWIE. We’ve been watching Succession, which is great. And I had stomach flu and was finally able to watch Fleabag series two… (bursts out laughing). These are such mom recommendations – five years late!” Pop culture has been part of Claire”s life for as long as she can remember. She recalls “gorging on John Hughes’ films” at five, and decided, aged nine, that she wanted to be an actor. She had an agent by 12, and her first big role on Dudley Moore’s sitcom pilot, Dudley, at 13. Her parents – mother, Carla, a textile designer and kindergarten teacher; and father, Christopher, a photographer and computer consultant – were fully supportive and bohemian in spirit. “Loose” is how she describes their style of parenting her and older brother Asa, who’s now a lawyer. “They were of an era when conventions were being challenged,” she explains, moving us upstairs to her living room, with its floor-to-ceiling shelves filled to the brim with books, portraits adorning the walls and the sort of chairs that were meant for lounging in. “Bedtime was not a thing. I went to sleep when I went to sleep. I don’t know if I brushed my teeth till I was eight. We had dinner together every night, we were a very connected family and they
‘ I n eve r sto p p e d t h i n k i n g h e wa s
A G EN IU S’ Bob Colacello was Andy Warhol’s confidant. He partied with him at Studio 54, hung out with his friends – everyone from Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Bianca Jagger to Grace Jones and the Rolling Stones – and helped him recover from a near-fatal shooting. Ahead of a Warhol retrospective at London’s Tate Modern, who better to reveal the private life of a man famous for a lot longer than 15 minutes? WORDS AND INTERVIEW: WILL PAVIA
lizabeth Taylor strode back to her trailer, followed by Andy Warhol and a man named Bob, who was holding Warhol’s dachshund. The dachshund’s name was Archie. “Can Bob bring my dog too?” Warhol asked. “So long as he doesn’t p** on my carpet,” Taylor snapped “Gee, Bob,” whispered Warhol. “What a great opening line. I mean, that’s the first thing that Elizabeth Taylor said to me. You’ve got to remember it for my memoirs.” Bob Colacello did remember it. He tells the story in ravishing detail in his own memoir, Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Up Close, which is by far the clearest portrait of an artist who looms like a blond god over contemporary popular culture. Colacello is telling it again now, sitting on a brown sofa in his living room on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “I was so lucky that Andy took me along on those shoots, those couple of weeks of shooting a movie with Liz Taylor, who was at the height of her derangement, between her relationships with Richard Burton,” he says. It was 1973 and Warhol had a cameo in the Italian psychological drama The Driver’s Seat, playing “a rich creep of undisclosed nationality and occupation”. So said a note in the script. “Gee,” Warhol apparently exclaimed, seeing this. “My first movie and I’m typecast already.” They had arrived bright and early at Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome for the shoot, which could not begin until Taylor got there. She came at 4pm and nailed the scene on the first take, walking through a crowd of extras and screaming when a terrorist rushed in and stabbed one of them in front of her. Warhol himself had been attacked and nearly killed five years earlier, by a woman who followed him into his studio and shot him in the chest at point-blank range. He hadn’t read the script and thought the terrorist attack was real. “My God,” he blurted to Colacello. “We better get out of here.” Even Archie, the dachshund, “developed a case of the shakes”, Colacello recalls. Afterwards, in Taylor’s trailer, the actress downed what she called a
Debauched Mary, a drink she told them was “five parts vodka and one part blood”, and launched into a tirade about the film industry and someone she suspected of seeking to divide her from Richard Burton. She spoke of her accidents and injuries, asking Warhol to touch her back and feel her crushed vertebrae, according to Colacello. Warhol then unbuttoned his shirt and showed her his upper torso, “crisscrossed with the scars of stitches. ‘You poor baby,’ said Elizabeth Taylor softly. ‘You poor baby.’” We never see Warhol like this: a chaotic presence, shambling through the world, colliding with other forces of nature. We certainly don’t see him with his shirt off and the girdle that held in his stomach after the shooting. One of his secretaries, Brigid Berlin, scion of a wealthy New York family, spruced him up a bit by “dyeing his girdles different colours”, says Colacello. “When we travelled, he’d have a suite and we’d hang out in the living room,” and before bed, “he would take off his jeans … and he would sleep in his Oxford cloth shirt and his … stockings. You didn’t really see much of Andy’s body.” We tend to see Warhol in a suit and it’s usually hard to tell if he is being himself or if it’s a performance. It only gets harder the larger the legend grows. He’ll be everywhere this year: London’s Tate Modern is holding a major retrospective, starting this month, including pictures that have never been seen in the UK before.
Such is Warhol’s popularity, it is predicted to be a blockbuster show. Then comes a grand new biography, Warhol: A Life as Art, by Blake Gopnik, published in April. Warhol’s life keeps generating news stories, but it’s hard to get a grip on the man in the wig. Colacello is one of few people who can really do it. “Most people didn’t realise that Andy actually had a series of wigs that he would change by the week, so that it looked like his hair was growing,” he says, when I ask him specifically about Warhol’s hair. Colacello himself is 73 and tanned, with black thick-framed glasses, a grey jumper, dark cords and grey patterned socks. Above his head there’s a huge canvas by the Swiss neo-expressionist painter Martin Disler. Around the corner there’s a rather pop-arty portrait of him by Don Florence. By the door there’s a larger one by the Estonian artist Martin Saar. “He said, ‘Bob, if you would just tell all the stories you know about people, you’d be a multimillionaire.’” Saar painted Colacello with a hand over his mouth, keeping them all in.
Left: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Self Portrait 1986 Tate © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London Below: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Marilyn Diptych 1962 Tate © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London
“I was one of the four or five close collaborators of Andy in the Seventies into the Eighties,” he says. “Being a writer, I was the only one who could actually write it down.” Now, he finds himself in demand. His word is gospel. “I could actually, every week, fly off somewhere to give another talk about Andy Warhol for a handsome fee,” he says. “In the past year I’ve done it in Beirut, Chicago and Saudi Arabia most recently.” The Saudi conference was called Fashion Futures and featured hot young talents and all the big movers and drapers, mustering to discuss the future of the fashion industry. It did not seem strange to them that a keynote address at this forward-looking conference was devoted to the work of a New York artist who has been dead for 33 years. “They loved hearing my stories about Andy,” says Colacello. Holy Terror, his memoir, first published in 1990, has since been reissued with a new introduction covering everything that had happened afterwards: the rise of reality television, arguably predicted by Warhol’s films, and the age of social media, in which anyone can be world famous for 15 minutes. When the Whitney Museum in New York staged a Warhol retrospective last year, one room featured his bright, flat flower paintings, hung on walls covered with his lurid cow-print wallpaper. It was all his work, yet it looked as if it had been made specifically for the age of Instagram, as a parlour where his fans could snap selfies. Now, “We have a president who is kind of a Warholian creature,” says Colacello. “I don’t think Andy would have liked what Trump is doing. On the other hand he would have been impressed.” And Colacello has had inquiries about turning his adventures with Warhol into a television series. It would make him wealthier, but he’s not sure that he wants the fame. “All the people I know who are really famous, they’re not any happier,” he says. “I don’t really think like Andy thought. Kim Kardashian thinks like Andy thought. Andy would be dating Kim Kardashian.” Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, the third son of dirt-poor immigrants who hailed from the 48
Carpathian mountains in what is now Slovakia and practised a faith that was half Roman Catholic, half Russian Orthodox. Colacello visited the church Warhol used to attend with his mother on Saturday nights and three times on Sunday: he was struck by how the icons of the saints with their gold backgrounds looked like Warhol’s Gold Marilyn. Colacello thinks Warhol learnt his English from the cinema. “Andy spoke in pure clichés from Thirties and Forties Hollywood movies. He would say, ‘Oh, Bob, when is our ship going to come in?’ I’m like, ‘Your ship came in, Andy.’ Or, ‘Are we going to bring home the bacon? We have a lot of mouths to feed.’ ” He would also talk about “falling in a tub of butter”, a phrase Warhol used for people who managed to marry someone fabulously wealthy, a consummation devoutly to be wished. Like a patriarch in a Jane Austen novel addressing his daughters, Warhol often urged his colleagues to marry money. For himself, “He wanted to be a beauty more than anything,” says Colacello. “His favourite word was beauty. He was always saying, ‘She’s
a beauty. Gee, he’s a beauty,’ in this wistful, longing kind of way. He was very self-conscious about his looks.” As a child he had been rather goodlooking, but around the age of eight he developed a virus that left him with shaky limbs and blotchy skin. The other kids called him Spot. The way he won friends, eventually, was by drawing them. His father died when he was 14, leaving money and instructions with his two eldest sons to help their delicate brother go to college. Warhol studied design at Carnegie Tech and went to work in New York as a commercial artist, where he developed a technique: a fast, dexterous sketch of a product, which he traced in ink on tissue paper and then printed onto a third piece of paper, creating something with the clean outlines of a wallpaper pattern. It was a big hit with advertising departments. He made art too, but struggled for recognition in an art world dominated by macho abstract painters like Jasper Johns, who regarded him as rather camp and very commercial. He found his form in 1960, with a clean, flat painting of a Coca-Cola bottle. Then
Left: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Flowers 1964 Private collection © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London Below: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Hammer and Sickle 1976 Museum Brandhorst © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London
Kim Kardashian thinks like Andy thought. “Andy would be dating Kim Kardashian ”
AIR This page: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Debbie Harry 1980 Private Collection of Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport 1961 Â© 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 50
came the Campbell’s soup cans, the silk screens of Hollywood stars, the Mona Lisas laid out in a block of 30, like wallpaper. He set up shop in a former hat factory, which became known as the Factory, boasting of an assemblyline approach to art. He liked to make silkscreen prints because, “This way I don’t have to work on my objects at all,” he said, in a series of statements from an interview that were rendered in bold type in the front of a catalogue for his first retrospective in Stockholm in 1968. “One of my assistants or anyone else, for that matter, can reproduce the designs as well as I could.” It wasn’t true, Colacello says. “His work was really not done by other people.” Warhol could be a little secretive about it: once Colacello caught him working on negatives for his portraits, taking a pair of scissors and snipping out double chins and bags under the eyes so that even his most elderly clients were left with noses and jawlines “like Marilyn, like Elvis”. But when Colacello questioned him, he pretended he was doing it just that once. Another time, when Colacello walked in on Warhol painting, the artist stopped and responded to questions “with the utmost vagueness”. But when Warhol got more comfortable around Colacello, he let him watch. Colacello recorded the first time he saw it in his diary: the outline of a face traced from a blownup photo negative onto tissue paper, the tracing then imprinted through a sheet of carbon onto a canvas. “Then he slaps paint (acrylic) on with a large brush, more like housepaint brush than artist’s brush, rarely cleaning brush, as he switches from area to area and colour to colour,” Colacello wrote in his memoir. “He also uses his hands, especially fingers, to create texture, gesture, blend colours.” Once the canvas was dry, the photo negative was printed onto the top of it by a silkscreen printer named Alexander Heinrici. Except for that last phase, it was an intimate process. But, “Andy was good at creating his own myth,” says Colacello. In the Stockholm catalogue from 1968, he declares that, “The interviewer should just tell me the words he wants me to say and I’ll repeat them after him.” For those who wanted to know “all about
The more you got to know Andy and spend time with him, the sorrier you felt for him
Andy Warhol”, he said, “just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” The films that he began making in the mid-Sixties were experimental, shocking and sometimes incredibly dull (Empire, for instance, featured the Empire State Building standing still, as it does, for six hours). Models, heiresses, drag queens and beautiful, blank-faced young men were given roles in them for $25 a time. Warhol called them his “superstars”. They partied all night at the Factory, with actual stars: the Rolling Stones, Judy Garland and Jim Morrison. Then a woman named Valerie Solanas, who had appeared in one of these films and later felt cast aside, trailed Warhol into the Factory and shot him three times in the chest and stomach from a range of a few feet. Warhol was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. A thoracic surgeon named Giuseppe Rossi, who happened to be an expert on gunshot wounds, opened Warhol’s chest, massaged his heart into life, removed his spleen and ordered a massive blood transfusion, performing what was to be called “one of the great saves in medical history”. Dr Rossi would later say that he presumed he was operating on an elderly homeless man. Afterwards, Warhol sent him a cheque, which bounced, and ten of his Campbell’s soup can prints, which Rossi kept under the bed. His family sold them at Christie’s in 2017 for more than $300,000. The shooting left him needing a girdle to hold in his stomach muscles, while “his torso was a roadmap of scars”. This is when Colacello got to know him. During his convalescence, Warhol founded a film magazine called Interview. Colacello was living with his parents in Long Island: he had just graduated from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign
Service and was doing a master’s in film criticism at Columbia. Some of his film reviews appeared in The Village Voice, and the Interview editor Warhol had appointed began commissioning him. When this same editor was fired six months later, Colacello was offered the job. His father, a Wall Street executive, was appalled. Colacello was part of “this new generation he brought in to be normal after he was shot”, he says. “Sometimes he would actually say, ‘You kids are so boring. The drag queens were so much more creative.’ We were like, ‘Bring back the drag queens, Andy. Get shot again.’” It could be a little dispiriting for a young writer, though, to hear Warhol insist that it was better and “modern” just to tape-record interview subjects and print the transcription. Another young recruit named Pat Hackett, who had a degree in English literature, typed them out, removing juicy gossip that might endanger a portrait commission or a film deal. “We weren’t really practising journalism,” Colacello says. “The magazine was partially designed to promote the films and help sell the portraits and in many cases people we featured in the magazine ended up having their portraits done.” In one way, it was a doddle. “Jack Nicholson or Mick Jagger or Cher or Jodie Foster came for lunch at the Factory and we tape-recorded them and sent them to a photographer. Then you had a cover story where no other magazine had it, because they weren’t there to promote their movie that was coming out the next month.” Warhol began calling Colacello in the mornings to ask what he did the night before. He would ask Colacello to hold on a moment, when he answered, as he plugged in a device to tape their conversation. He liked to hear celebrity gossip, but he would also be delighted to receive information on the movements of Colacello’s grandmother: “She moved out of your aunt’s house? Gee!” Colacello thinks that if Warhol could have tape-recorded every member of the human race, he would have. The artist was like a hoarder when it came to information about the lives of others. “He was kind of a sociologist in some 51
ways,” says Colacello. “Trying to figure out what the times were about, what human relations were about, what love was about, what sex was about. He wasn’t really good at any of those things.” Colacello had worshipped Warhol before he went to work for him. But, “The more you got to know Andy and spend time with him, the sorrier you felt for him,” he says. “Your main feeling towards him went from awe to annoyance or frustration at how relentless he could be,” coupled, he says, with a feeling that you needed to protect him. He was fearful. On that trip to West Germany in 1971, they planned to visit East Berlin. Warhol turned back at Checkpoint Charlie when one of the guards confiscated a copy of Vogue. “It’s too scary,” he said, according to Colacello. “You were very conscious from the first moment you walked through that bulletproof door that security was a concern,” he says. Leaving the office with Warhol, “If some bag lady, as they were called in those days, homeless woman or some big black guy who wasn’t very well dressed was walking in our direction, Andy would be like, ‘Let’s go into the store.’ And we’d go into a plumbing supply store or just anything to avoid the possibility of someone shooting him again.” The woman who had tried to murder him was freed after only three years in prison and then started calling the Factory. “She was kind of a nut,” says Colacello. Although he also thinks that Warhol probably promised to do something for her, in an offhand sort of way. “He said yes to everyone,” he says. And, “Andy loved to push people’s buttons.” Warhol would look at his receptionist, Brigid Berlin, and say, “ ‘Oh Brig, it’s so cold today. I could really go for an Irish coffee. Don’t you want an Irish coffee? Here’s $100; go buy some Irish whiskey.’ Knowing she was an alcoholic,” Colacello says. “Then she would be whipping up a whole blender full of Irish coffees. He would have one sip, leave it on the table and go paint in his studio. Brigid would drink all the rest. The next thing you know, she’d be calling from the airport. She’d picked up some guy, a cute young boy at a bar. 52
Warhol was someone who loved drama. Elizabeth Taylor offered it in spades: indeed, Warhol seems to have realised that one could have too much of a good thing
She was taking him to Paris, but she forgot her passport. Could we get her passport and taxi it out to her? Andy’s like, ‘I don’t understand why Brigid just can’t have one drink.’ We’d say, ‘Because she’s an alcoholic. You know that. You keep doing this. Why do you do this?’” I suppose people would now say that Andy Warhol was someone who loved drama. Elizabeth Taylor offered it in spades: indeed, Warhol seems to have realised, on meeting her, that one could have too much of a good thing. During the film shoot in Rome, Warhol and Colacello invited her for lunch at their villa. She arrived a few hours after lunch was served and started asking a producer there to call Burton. “He won’t take calls from me,” she said, dragging the man into the library and “begging him to call”, Colacello writes. Moments later, “She let out a bloodcurdling scream and came running back to the terrace. ‘I’m no easy lay,’ she shouted. ‘He tried to put the make on me … I’m crying on his shoulder and he tries to grab me.’” It was quite a thing to see, Colacello says. “But my favourite moment of the whole thing was when we got back to New York and Andy said, ‘Lee Radziwill wants me to take her and Jackie to the Brooklyn Museum to see this Egyptian show. You should come with me.’” They picked up Princess Radziwill and her sister, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, at the latter’s home on Fifth Avenue. “Literally the first thing Jackie says to Andy is, ‘Andy, so tell me, what was Liz Taylor really like?’” Colacello says the former first lady spoke like Marilyn Monroe. “It was like all three of Andy’s icons were there, you know,”
Right: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Green Coca-Cola Bottles 1962 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art 68.25. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
he says. “I mean, I was so lucky I got to witness things like this. I didn’t have to use my imagination.” Taylor starred in another spectacle in March 1978, when she celebrated her birthday at Studio 54. By then she was married to her sixth husband, John Warner, a Republican senator from Virginia. Colacello took the former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland to the party. They were seated on a silver banquette overlooking the dancefloor, onto which marched the dance troupe the Rockettes, holding sparklers, forming a circle around a birthday cake on which Taylor and the senator were portrayed in marzipan. Colacello remembers standing on the banquette with Vreeland and dancing with her to a disco version of Happy Birthday. “Senator John Warner is, like, freaking out, because he’s being photographed as Elizabeth cuts into her marzipan chest,” he recalls. “I said to Diana, ‘It’s like the fall of Rome, Diana.’ She said, ‘Well, I should hope so, Bob.’” In recognition of the presence that night of a US senator, the owners of Studio 54, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, had posted attendants in the lavatories. Colacello found this out after Margaret Trudeau, first lady of Canada (and mother of Justin), tried to take him into the ladies’ room. “Margaret Trudeau was quite something,” he says. “She was beautiful. She was really fun.” Warhol was at the centre of the Studio 54 scene; he felt safe there, Colacello says. And Interview magazine became something like the club’s official organ. He remembers walking to the door through a baying crowd of people calling out, “Take me with you.”
Clockwise from top left: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Ladies and Gentlemen (Iris) 1975 Acrylic paint and silkscreen ink on canvas 356 x 279 mm Italian private collection © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London; Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Ladies and Gentlemen (Helen/Harry Morales) 1975 Italian private collection © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London; Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Ladies and Gentlemen (Alphanso Panell) 1975 Acrylic paint and silkscreen ink on canvas 813 x 660 mm Italian private collection © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London; Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Ladies and Gentlemen (Wilhelmina Ross) 1975 Acrylic paint and silkscreen ink on canvas 1270 x 1016 mm Italian private collection © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London
A genius has a unique vision. In order to keep that going you need tunnel vision, and tunnel emotions, and not really care that much about what the people round you feel
Credit: Will Pavia / The Times / News Licensing
“Once you got in, you felt like everybody was a star,” he says. “Everybody could mingle with everybody. It wasn’t just movie stars … Ambassadors from the UN would come in tuxedos after their dinner parties. There would be all these athletes.” The Canadian socialite Pat Buckley, whose family lived next door to Margaret Trudeau’s, upbraided Colacello once, saying, “ ‘I don’t know how you could put this tramp on the cover of your magazine, Bob. If you knew how her parents were suffering.’ I was like, ‘Well, Pat, she’s great. She’s glamorous. That’s what this magazine’s about.’” Buckley would also ask how “a nice Catholic boy” like Colacello “could work for that creep Andy Warhol”, to which, “I’d say, ‘Pat, he’s the one who goes to Mass every Sunday. Not me.’” I interviewed Trudeau a few years ago and she remembered Warhol. “They invited me to the Factory where these fancy men, Fred Hughes [Warhol’s business manager] and Bob, made Andy all his millions,” she said. She recalled helping Truman Capote get home at the end of the night. “She probably did,” Colacello says. “Truman would get completely blotto.” Warhol had been a Capote “groupie” in the Fifties, Colacello says. The affection was not really reciprocated. Then Capote published La Côte Basque, 1965, a savage depiction of New York’s high society, which secured his own banishment from it. After that he “rediscovered his old friend Andy”, Colacello says. He started writing for
Interview. “He would have me and Andy over for brunch, and he’d say, ‘I just baked this cake. It just came out of the oven.’ Andy would say, ‘Why does it have the silver cardboard underneath it from the bakery?’” Colacello became close to Capote and the writer became “protective of me against Andy,” he says. He remembers Capote announcing one day that he was going to get healthy … And that he and I should meet every morning at nine o’clock and do laps in the pool of the UN Plaza Hotel. So I get there ten minutes late, and he’s like, ‘Where were you? I already did 100 laps. Well, OK, I’ll do a few more.’” Colacello has a deep, resonant timbre: he does Capote in a higher, bird-like call. He remembers talking that day about his partner, whom Warhol “ended up disliking just because he took up too much time away from work”. As Capote loaded him into a taxi after their swim, he remembers the writer bellowing, so loudly that all First Avenue could hear it, “Don’t listen to Andy. He doesn’t know the first thing about love.” Warhol would probably acknowledge that this was true. But he was a genius, Colacello says. “I never stopped thinking he was a genius.” A genius has “a unique vision. In order to keep that going you really have to develop almost tunnel vision, and tunnel emotions, and not really care that much about what the people round you feel.” One former “superstar” committed suicide, leaving a note blaming Warhol. And Colacello found,
after 13 years in which his talents were subsumed beneath the sprawling personality of Warhol, that he had to get out of there. But at the last, Colacello believes his old boss did find, in the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, someone he truly loved. Basquiat was part of a new generation of artists who wanted to paint and “actually liked the idea of becoming rich and famous”, and looked to Warhol as their lodestar. “Suddenly Andy had all these young artists clustering around him. It was really nice and sweet. It was like revenge.” There’s a brilliant moment too, in one Warhol documentary, where the artist sits for an interview with a journalist he despises and answers questions about the abstract painters who had shunned him. Warhol declares that he prefers their style to his own. “You can be messy and drip paint all over the place,” he says. “It’s easier.” And what did he think of Jasper Johns, the preeminent abstract artist? “I think he’s great,” Warhol replied. Why? “Oh, uh, he makes such great lunches,” Warhol says. He then turns and stares straight into the camera. “He does this great thing with chicken. He puts parsley inside the chicken.” Colacello gasped when he saw it. “I thought, ‘Andy, again, you’re such a b****.’ Andy Warhol at London’s Tate Modern runs from March 12 to September 6, tate.org.uk 55
These pages, clockwise from opposite: Azzedine Alaia, 1988; Balenciaga Winter 1954 © Julien Vidal
Sculpting Style Celebrated curator Olivier Saillard tells the story behind his current exhibition, which brings together the creations of the two true couturiers of the twentieth century – Cristóbal Balenciaga and Azzedine Alaïa – for the very first time WORDS: HAYLEY KADROU
Balenciaga and Alaïa share the art of cut; the essentiality of shape, technique and timeless style
s vintage fashion once again moves into the mainstream – from retro clothing markets drawing busy weekend crowds to modern labels presenting throwback collections – exhibitions that study the history behind iconic garments are likewise acquiring mass appeal to both those inside the industry and consumers of it. And the latest curation to make noise among fashion connoisseurs not only showcases the archive of the so-called pioneer of vintage fashion collecting, but unites two of the most transformative yet rebellious forces in fashion over the last 100 years. Sculptors of Shape (showing till June 28 at Paris’ Association Azzedine Alaïa) celebrates the life and works of couture innovators Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) and Azzedine Alaïa (1935-2017) side by side for the first time. While each have been admired individually – Spanish designer Balenciaga was donned “the master of us all” by Christian Dior while Tunisian talent Alaïa has been crowned “the last of the great couturiers” – it’s the first time their work can be viewed and dissected in unison. Because as the curator behind the exhibition Olivier Saillard details, their worlds and runways intertwined in ways beyond a shared dedication to the art of true couture; their maisons seems to exist in symbiosis. “They share the art of the cut,” Saillard defines. As one of the industry’s most passionate historians and prized curators, it’s no surprise he was called upon for the project by Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018) nonetheless. “Monsieur Givenchy first
came to meet Carla Sozzani, Christoph von Weyhe (the two co-founders of Azzedine Alaïa Association and those closest to the designer throughout his life) and I proposing an exhibition which could be a dialogue between Balenciaga and Alaïa.” After Givenchy passed away just a few weeks later, the trio kept their promise to pull together the world-first exhibition. It was to be presented in both the Balenciaga Museum in his hometown Getaria, which he was forced to leave in 1937 due to civil war, and Paris, where each fled to fulfil their fashion careers. But what exactly was this conversation between the two kings of couture? As the story goes, in the wake of Balenciaga’s closure in 1968 (to the heartbreak of many within high society) his vice general director Mademoiselle Renée became concerned over the discarded creations left behind by the disgruntled designer. Renée, who had worked closely with him, thought to turn to a young talent who was making waves in Paris at the time – Azzedine Alaïa. Presented with the opportunity to rework the fabrics into new pieces, Alaïa was overwhelmed by the beauty of them and shuddered at the thought of destroying what he recognised as timeless icons. “Alaïa used to say he had a revelation,” Saillard tells us. “All this work, all these hours spending time to cut and to sew couldn’t disappear.” The interaction would not only change the course of his career but spark a lifelong passion. “Since then he became the greatest collector of pieces that explain the history of fashion,” reveals the exhibition curator. At the time, vintage clothes were simply
used clothes – hardly desirable to those following the vogue. As Saillard lays out, it was primarily museums that were interested in preserving memorable garments from a period of time, while the fashion industry at large steered in the direction of shiny and new. Saillard labels him a pioneer in this field and echoes the man himself who said in 2001: “When I see beautiful clothes, I want to keep them, preserve them... Clothes, like architecture and art, reflect an era.” And it’s these very garments – the building blocks of what would become Alaïa’s extensive archive – that comprise this unique exhibition. Tasked with sifting through the stunning items, Saillard says that whittling down the masterpieces to a mere 56 silhouettes that could demonstrate just how iconic each maison is without overwhelming visitors was the greatest challenge. Even the presentation of the selected pieces – dark hues placed side by side against a pristine white background – does justice to how the two greats co-existed; making a bold stand within a homogeneous landscape, mirroring each other yet running in parallel as to never actually intersect. Because although the two never met, they reflected one another in both style and ethos. “Each definitely loved the essentiality of style – shape, great technique, timeless style,” says Saillard, genially adding: “Balenciaga and Alaïa were couturiers creating clothes, while others just played fashion.” Being able to singlehandedly execute dressmaking from sketch to stitch, each stood out as true preservers of the art of couture. But more importantly, each
Previous page: Azzedine Alaïa & Balenciaga © Stéphane Aït Ouarab These pages, from left: Azzedine Alaïa & Balenciaga © Stéphane Aït Ouarab; Azzedine Alaïa Couture Summer 1988© Julien Vidal
contributed to genuinely transforming women’s clothing, particularly when it came to silhouettes, creating an enduring legacy that would outlive them both. Balenciaga and Alaïa will be remembered as architects of female fashion. Balenciaga’s most famed looks in the 1950s included the balloon jacket, sack dress and high-waisted baby doll dress. While he focused on freeing the skin from the restrains of fabrics, Alaïa took his fascination with shape in the opposite direction. Using fashion to showcase the female form, he created the bodycon dress that would not only dominate 1980s fashion but see him crowned the ‘king of cling.’ Having trained as a sculptor at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux Arts in Tunis (doctoring his age to be accepted) his fascination with form followed him through his career. While both designers also shared a love of black – the muted shade allows the detail in dressmaking to do the talking – the dark hue was still not the most unifying factor between the two. As Saillard admires, not only did each figure cast aside superficialities to concentration on couture, both rejected mainstream approaches to fashion and rebelled against the machine. “They decided to present their collections when they wanted, selected clients as they thought they should be and refused interviews,” explains Saillard. While Balenciaga refused in the late fifties to showcase his work the standard four weeks before the retail delivery date the industry followed at the time, leading to a fall out with the press, Alaïa also worked outside the system. He kept to his own timeline and protested against the pressure to follow the calendar by churning out collection upon collection. “Fashion is making an industry, while couturiers such as Alaïa and Balenciaga are making art,” as Saillard so perfectly sums up. And it’s this rebellious approach that has resulted in some of the most transcendent and transformative garments of the twentieth century, creations that live on beyond moving trends, as put forward in this exhibition. As Alaïa put it himself, “My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.” 60
They refused the system. Balenciaga and AlaĂŻa were couturiers creating clothes, while others just played fashion
Motoring MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Practically Unbeatable Does an abundance of space and comfort make the new McLaren GT the everyday supercar?
WORDS: NICK WATKINS
hey say you can tell a lot about a person by the car they drive, after all, every person has a story to tell and every car tells a story. When buying a vehicle, we’re presented with a choice. Many in fact. Is it a large car we want, perhaps to assert power on the road? A weekend convertible allows you to let your hair down and gives you a sense of freedom. Or maybe you have a penchant for classic motors, highlighting your love of the ‘good ol’ days’. Whatever car you drive, you do so because you’ve decided that’s the one for you. Jobs are often a big factor in choosing your set of wheels – perception is everything when meeting clients so nothing but a shiny new car will do for those in business. Working with animals? Something with a large boot and easy-to-clean upholstery is a must. So where do supercars fit in? They’re a hard favourite with CEOs and those who enjoy living life in the fast lane, and those who like to be noticed. Often, a supercar is one of many motors in the owner’s fleet, which is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing – they’re driven less than everyday cars and kept in immaculate condition. The curse? Well, they’re driven less than everyday cars and kept in immaculate condition.
Supercars are there to be enjoyed, not just by the owner, but by everyone. They’re a thing of beauty
You see, supercars are there to be enjoyed, not just by the owner, but by everyone. They’re a thing of beauty, oozing elegance and class from every angle. The purr of the engine alone is enough to lift a passerby’s eyes from their phone to catch a glimpse of such a beast. They’re built to thrill, to entertain, to excite, to inspire. They’ve got so much going for them it’s hard to see what carmakers can do to improve them. It’s akin to that feeling you get when first turning on the latest smartphone and seeing the crispness of the screen, or the sharpness of the camera, and it’s hard to imagine how it’ll ever get any better
– then twelve months later there’s a newer model putting it to shame. McLaren’s answer to this is practicality. Unlike its competitors the new Grand Tourer (GT) has a focus on comfort. It’s the everyday supercar. Traditionally, supercars aren’t designed to have you sitting so comfortably you’re likely to fall asleep at the wheel, and even if they were the engine noise would wake you up in a heartbeat. With the 2020 GT, the McLaren design team were said to be “obsessed” with utilising every last detail of the car, ensuring the vehicle remains an eye-catcher but offers more comfort and space than ever before. Hand-built at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), right next door to where their Formula 1 racing cars are crafted, the new GT joins the McLaren Sports, Super and Ultimate Series in being tested within 50 microns – the width of a human hair – by Advanced Coordinate Measuring machines. The design has been tidied inside and out with ‘bulk’ being removed to be sure it’s not a gram heavier than it needs to be. Carbon fiber ensures the structure is super-light, weighing in at just 1,530kgs, and the driving dynamics make the motor suitable for
daily use. It’s powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 offering 203mph (326km/h), hitting 62mph (100 km/h) in a staggeringly quick 3.2 seconds. The GT’s engine has a number of unique components which are key to delivering silky smooth acceleration and flexibility. Aluminium pistons, and ultra-low inertia twin turbochargers help deliver its incredible 612 bhp. Along with being more comfortable than ever before, more storage, thanks to its larger-than-normal build, makes it a practical road car. The trunk is large enough to fit a full-sized golf bag or two sets of skis – music to the ears of those taking the motor on a weekend break. McLaren aficionados will notice both the front and rear overhangs are bigger than the British firm’s traditional designs, improving the space and ride quality, complimented beautifully by the extra-padded seats. That’s a welcome change from the harder sport seats for those looking to spend hours on end in this thing of beauty. Of course, the quality doesn’t stop there. Nappa leather is wrapped around the entire interior with cashmere and alcantara available as upgrades. The centre console floats in the middle of the dash with little dividing driver and passenger, giving both a few precious extra inches of room. One of the beauties of driving a supercar in the Middle East is there’s little chance of rain, giving you the best possible weather to be at the wheel. Handily, the new model has an option
of a special glass roof which switches from opaque to transparent at the touch of a button. This works thanks to an electrical charge passed through the panel, which aligns the particles inside, causing the change. Drivers can set the level of tinted transparency depending on personal choice. The cabin is made much brighter thanks to this innovative design, and also offers the driver a lot more in terms of visibility, thus, maneuvering the vehicle is easier and safer than ever before. Crucially for those driving in the Middle East, the GT’s glass roof has an interlayer to absorb the sun’s rays, which also maximises noise insulation. So even in the height of summer the
car can be enjoyed to the max, without needing to blast the air conditioning for the duration of your trip. New mood lighting has also found its way into the new GT, including ‘hidden under lit’ illumination, giving off an interchangeable glow around the dash. Speaking of the dash, McLaren has simplified the design to give it much more of a minimalistic feel, with delicate curves around the (12.3-inch, no less) touchscreen and speakers. McLaren has also developed a brandnew infotainment system in-house (although it is Android-based). Prices start at around $210,000, a snip given how long you’ll spend driving it. 65
Gastronomy MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
The Comeback Kid Once celebrated for being the youngest chef to scoop two Michelin stars, Tom Aikens’ career has suffered many blows since, some self-inflicted. After spending the last few years making his mark in the UAE, he’s just re-entered the cut-throat world of high-end dining in London. Harry Wallop meets him there
wenty years ago Tom Aikens was the most notorious chef in Britain. By the age of 26 he had became the youngest person to win two Michelin stars, but lost it all by allegedly branding a junior member of staff with a palette knife – an incident that not only resulted in Aikens resigning, but the exact details of which are still contested two decades on. “It was ’99, just before the millennium, December the 14th or 15th. Gosh, that was a really happy new year,” he says sarcastically. “Everyone was out gallivanting and having fun and I had just got kicked in the nuts. Totally.” His exit from Pied à Terre was the second item on the Six O’Clock News, and he ended up with paparazzi camped outside his house. “They’d chase me down the street all the time. It was pretty horrific.” Aikens’s fall from grace marked the end of an era of superstar but obnoxious chefs such as Nico Ladenis and Marco Pierre White, men – and it was always men – who gleefully threw guests out of their restaurants for daring to ask for some salt. Although Aikens insists he was not quite the monster he was portrayed as and the event was exaggerated by the press and enemies alike, he admits that his conduct was awful. “Listen, hands up, I behaved appallingly,” he says. “I’m not going to deny that. I was definitely, you know, a psycho. I have this picture of me when I first opened Tom Aikens [three years later]. It’s this portrait. I look gaunt, I look weathered, I look exactly like Travis Bickle [the disturbed character played by Robert De
Niro] out of Taxi Driver with the shaved hair, a bit of a mohican. I just looked like I was gonna kill someone. Literally. Hopefully that isn’t the case any more.” He says this with a wary smile as he sips a coffee, wrapped in a Belstaff jacket on top of a padded gilet, partly to ward off the cold, partly, one feels, to protect himself from further brickbats. Since that notorious incident his cooking has been heralded as being up with the best in the world; he has gone into administration twice; and he has been divorced twice. Yet he remains remarkably lacking in rancour. We are sitting in the upstairs of his new restaurant, Muse, in Belgravia, which opened in January. Muse is his attempt to re-enter the cut-throat world of highend dining in London after a few years spent on projects in the UAE – he leads the culinary direction at three venues within the Abu Dhabi Edition hotel, and has the casual dining spot Pots, Pans and Boards at The Beach in Dubai. He has a vicious-looking cut on his thumb to prove the hours he put in behind the stove preparing for the opening. “It’s OK. It’ll heal,” he says, examining it with pride after I suggest it needs a plaster. “Next time, the skin becomes a little bit harder.” He’s being literal, but it’s a neat metaphor for his past two decades of dealing with triumph and disaster. Prior to its opening, Muse attracted merciless headlines. “Is this the most pretentious menu ever?” one newspaper asked, while another gave him the honour of page three with
“Gosh . . . Posh Nosh is Tosh”. Instead of describing a dish’s key components, Aikens has gone with what he describes as a “gastronomic autobiography”. One dish called “playing with fire” is described thus: “From a very early age, I have always had a fascination with fire, for good and bad reasons! This has now been channelled towards cooking and the control of heat, flames and smoke.” Then, almost as an afterthought, it lists: “Beef, Norfolk grains, Barsham Stout Robin beer.” Is the “bad reasons” a reference to the palette knife episode, I ask. He has the good grace to laugh. “No, definitely not,” he says before explaining that he was a pyromaniac as a child. “My father asked me to mow the lawn one day. I was 11 years old and we” – him and his twin brother, Robert – “discovered petrol. We set fire to pretty much everything in the garden. We would do petrol trails across the lawn from one end to the other. We would fold newspaper into a cardboard box and make a little bomb. So we’re pretty bad.” But what is the dish? “It’s a beautiful dairy cow from Fen Farm, in Norfolk, that’s around nine years old and we hang it for five weeks. And then we cook it sous vide in a little bit of beef dripping, a little bit of thyme, salt and pepper, and then we char it on the grill.” An onion is stuffed with a mixture of wheat, barley (fermented in the stout for a couple of days to give the grains a slightly sour taste) and beef mince. Other dishes include “the essence”, described thus: “Taking a single ingredient’s flavour and searching for its 67
Norwich at the age of 16 he declared to his tutor, after being given a ticking off, that within a decade he was going to be a superstar chef. “I said, ‘In ten years’ time, you’re gonna know who I am. I’m going to be famous.’” He was right, of course. The tutor wrote him a letter of congratulations when he got his second star. Aikens can’t remember his name. After his disgrace at Pied à Terre he bounced back, opening Tom Aikens, which won a Michelin star and an A-list clientele including Kate Middleton and Prince William. Yet this too ended in disaster after he was forced to put the business into what is known as pre-pack administration. Now a relatively common technique used by struggling retailers, for instance, it is a nifty (and legal) accounting trick to wipe out your debts but remain in business. The restaurant kept serving customers, but Aikens’s suppliers were left out of pocket. He was branded “despicable” and Aikens admits he felt like a “complete s***bag”. His first marriage, to Laura Vanninen, collapsed. Then his second marriage, to Amber Nuttall, fell apart after three years. He met Justine Dobbs-Higginson, a former Goldmans Sachs banker, and has been with her for nine years. They have two daughters, Josie and Violette, and got married in summer 2018 in Corsica with their girls as bridesmaids. “It was magical,” he says. Aikens spends time on Instagram gushing about how much he loves his wife – the caption under one post is: “I am still just as besotted as I was the first time I met her. This amazing beautiful woman has such strength, spirit, drive, love and affection.” I wonder if he has spent time in therapy. “No, not at all. Though many years ago I did the Landmark Course
[a personal development programme based in San Francisco]. I’m just in an altogether happier place.” He stepped away from Tom Aikens and high-end dining in 2013, after he decided it was incompatible with a stable family life. “I’d had my first child and I hardly saw anything of her. I took two days of paternity leave.” He opened Tom’s Kitchens, a simpler brasserie format, which has been successful in Chelsea. Its branches in Birmingham and Canary Wharf, in the east of London, however, closed last year. Another administration. “Our next-door neighbour in Canary Wharf was Credit Suisse. I think they got rid of 2,000 employees, and they were 100ft away from us,” he says. He won’t say who the financial backer of Muse is. “Some mysterious person, OK?” he says with a smile. I hope they have skin as thick as Aikens’s because he is phlegmatic about business disasters. “Every chef that I know has had either one or two or three or four restaurants fail,” he says. He looks considerably younger than his 49 years, and his unflappability I’m sure isn’t an act. He really is calmer and wiser than 20 years ago. I thought, after the scrapbook of bad headlines that he has built up, that he would be cagey about being interviewed. However, far from being brittle, he’s refreshing company. “If everyone was to get stuck on the past, we’d all be in institutions,” he says. “I think everyone in their life goes through traumatic and difficult times. Everyone does. And it is just a question of picking yourself up and dusting yourself down and saying, ‘Listen, I screwed up,’ and try and move on as best you can. Life is never a freaking bed of roses.”
Credit: Harry Wallop, The Times, News Licensing.
essence, then developing a truly refined and unique taste. We all have our favourite flavours, and this flavour is one of mine.” Eh? There are then three ingredients listed: beetroot, cucumber, pine. “Conquering the beech tree” is less a dish and more a therapy session. “My first memory as a child was a sense of fearlessness; I was always taking risks and looking for challenges. We had a very tall and beautiful copper beech tree in our garden that I would climb again and again. As chefs, we must always challenge ourselves.” Langoustine, burnt apple. I’m sure they are all delicious, but isn’t the menu obtuse, bordering on, well, pretentious? “If people want to call it pretentious, then fine,” he says, shrugging. It is not only good publicity but also part of his strategy to ensure Muse is a distinctive restaurant amid the sea of beige, suede-lined Michelinstarred venues that dot the city. “The level and consistency and quality of restaurants in London has gone ‘voom’ (he does an aircraft lift-off gesture). So my whole take is this: if you’ve got a high percentage of fine-dining restaurants that are all hitting the mark every time, what is really going to make you stand out from the crowd?” For starters, Muse is found down a cobbled residential mews (get it?) near Hyde Park Corner, with no name on the door. “You knock, knock and already that’s a little bit more intriguing rather than, you know, opening the door to a restaurant and being greeted by a receptionist.” The place is beautiful but tiny, with a doll’s housesized bar downstairs, seating five people, with space for a further 20 up a vertiginous staircase to the first floor, all served by an open kitchen. “I was then thinking, ‘OK, how do you make something a little bit more interesting than just getting a menu?’” The mini biography is the answer – telling the story of his journey. And what a journey it has been. He was determined from the age of 12 to be a chef. This is not a get-out-ofthe-ghetto tale. Aikens comes from a comfortable middle-class family in Norfolk; his father was a wine dealer and holidays were taken in Provence and Cornwall. The determination? “I guess that comes from being a twin. I was in an incubator for many weeks; I had a 50:50 chance of living. I was literally like a bag of sugar. I was tiny. And, you know, my mother always said that I was a born fighter.” When he joined catering college in
“I was definitely, y’know, a psycho ”
These pages, clockwise from left: Ground floor of Muse, by James McDonald; ‘Always Playing With Fire’; ‘Wait & See’; ‘Just Down The Road’ 69
Travel MARCH 2020 : ISSUE 106
Shangri-Laâ€™s Mactan Resort & Spa,
n 1521 Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, landed on the island of Mactan, entering via the northeastern side. Today a monument to Chief Lapaulapu, who became a national hero as the first Filipino in history to defeat a Western conqueror, when he felled Magellan, marks that very spot. A world away from battle, yet just a few hundred metres away by foot from this historical landmark, is one of Mactan’s most desired resorts. With its very own tropical utopia, guests at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa need not leave this paradise garden retreat, which sucks you in with layers upon layers of luxury in its sprawling grounds and idyllic oceanfront views. For those looking for an active break, the resort offers a snorkelling safari, and a special tour of the 13-hectare paradise, which needs to be seen to be believed. It also has its own private jogging trail, so you’ll be able to burn the calories in a location so beautiful you’ll want to run and run just to see it all. Divers come from all around the world to experience the crystalclear waters off the southeast coast of the island, to gaze at the magnificent coral surrounding the island. It’s also the perfect spot to catch a boat for an island-hopping trip in the Bohol Strait. The Presidential Suite on the incredible Ocean Wing offers the highest levels of both luxury and
service. Guests are guaranteed a good night’s sleep thanks to the exclusive pillow menu offering a range of options to suit your personal preference. You’ll also have a choice of terrycloth and yucata bathrobes after you’ve soaked in the beyond-spacious tub. The suite spans over 2,300 sq. ft with separate lounge and dining areas along with unspoilt, panoramic views of the ocean from the private balcony. If you can bring yourself to leave the comfort of your room, there are four on-site restaurants to dine in, including the superb al fresco spot Cowrie Cove seafood bar and grille, where you can dine in a private pavilion overlooking the ocean. Here, dishes are created by using only locally-grown ingredients, including a mouthwatering, and freshly caught, grilled seafood platter. And if the main isn’t to your liking the chocolate semifreddo with Greek yoghurt, mango and sesame dessert certainly will be. This is a resort that prides itself on its food, and the sweetness of the famous Philippine mango alone is enough to make you come back again and again. Mactan Cebu International Airport accommodates private jets, and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa will arrange for a transfer from the airport. Guests can also land at the on-site helipad. shangri-la.com/ cebu/mactanresort 71
What I Know Now
MARCH 2020: ISSUE 106
Mohammed Al Balooshi MOTOCROSS AND DESERT RALLY RIDER, UAE’S FIRST-EVER FIM WORLD CHAMPION AND FIRST EMIRATI TO COMPETE IN THE DAKAR RALLY The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is you’ve got a chance of winning. When you’re on the start line, like everyone else, regardless of your situation, whether you’re a champion or a newbie, you’ve got a chance. If you go in thinking about your opponents you’re pushing away the chances of victory. I think this is the same with life. When I started racing, I approached it with the same mentality, I took a chance, put up my own money and believed in myself. I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t think how much it would cost me or anything, I just took a chance on myself. Now I am eight years in and things are really good. My true feeling of success came when I won my first race aged 23. I’d won many things in my childhood but this was the first time I was passionate about actually winning. It was the 2003/4 72
season when I won my first Motocross title and I fell in love with the sport and dirt bikes. I can remember the whole season. I won a lot of races, and at the end of the campaign I was crowned champion and it was really close to my heart because with that win came a lot of success. I signed my first-ever paid contract shortly after. A lesson I learned the hard way was to never give up. In my first ever race I felt that I deserved better results and in my second ever race, I felt things weren’t good, and I made a lot of excuses. My friend told me I quit and I tried to justify myself with excuses and I just realised it’s the same for everyone and I never quit anything again. You should never make a decision when you’re at your lowest point. I wanted to retire in 2013 because I was at the lowest point in my life, and if I had done that
I would never have won the world title in 2018. Always make decisions when you’re on top, because you see things better because you’re in control. Reaching a personal goal is more important than money. Working towards a goal brings happiness. Money and happiness will come anyway if you’re working towards something you care about. People who work towards nothing will not be successful. A goal is a must in life and you should put everyday energy into achieving it. As a UAE national I am inspired by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum with what he’s achieved and continues to achieve for Dubai. When I was younger, and before he passed away, I had a coach who was also my mentor. He took me under his wing and showed me a lot.
ALPINE EAGLE With its pure and sophisticated lines, Alpine Eagle offers a contemporary reinterpretation of one of our iconic creations. Its 41 mm case houses an automatic, chronometer-certified movement, the Chopard 01.01-C. Forged in Lucent Steel A223, an exclusive ultra-resistant metal resulting from four years of research and development, this exceptional timepiece, proudly developed and handcrafted by our artisans, showcases the full range of watchmaking skills cultivated within our Manufacture.