In nature, the falcon is a fierce fighter. In business, the Falcon 8X is just as powerful and agile. Every inch reflects its military DNA, with lean and mean aerodynamics and advanced Digital Flight Controls to get you to places others can’t. Nothing flies like a Falcon because no other jet is built like one. Fierce. Fast. Agile. Falcon 8X.
MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
FEATURES Thirty Six
Riz Ahmed tells Robbie Collin how he had to chart a different course to the top.
Meet Mark Hunter, the party photographer who chronicled the best of Noughties celebrity culture.
As she celebrates 20 years of her eponymous brand, Stella McCartney talks saving planet Earth.
Hitting The Right Notes
PRAETOR 600: CERTIFIED OUTPERFORMANCE. The Praetor 600 — the world’s most disruptive and technologically advanced super-midsize aircraft that leads the way in performance, comfort and technology. Unveiled at NBAA in October 2018 and now certified by ANAC, FAA and EASA, the Praetor 600 did not just meet initial expectations, it exceeded them. Named for the Latin root that means “lead the way,” the Praetor 600 is a jet of firsts. It is the first super-midsize jet certified since 2014. The first to fly beyond 3,700 nm at M0.80. The first with over 4,000 nm range at LRC. The first with full fly-by-wire. The first with Active Turbulence Reduction. The first with a cabin altitude as low as 5,800 feet. The first with high-capacity, ultra-high-speed connectivity from Viasat’s Ka-band. And all of this, backed by a first-placed Customer Support network.
Learn more at executive.embraer.com/praetor600.
L E A DING T H E WAY
MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
Objects of Desire Eighteen
Critique Twenty Four
Art & Design EDITORIAL
Chief Creative Officer
Journeys by Jet
What I Know Now
Victoria Thatcher General Manager
PRODUCTION Digital Media Manager
Muthu Kumar Fifty Eight
Motoring Why the popularity – and price – of continuation models is on the rise.
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.
Empire Aviation Group MAY 2021:ISSUE 116
Welcome to this issue of AIR – our private aviation lifestyle magazine for aircraft owners and onboard guests. There haven’t been many benefits arising from the global pandemic, but private aviation has been one of the lucky few beneficiaries, with an increase in charter bookings and growing interest in acquiring private business jets for a company’s use, or even on a long-term lease. As commercial aviation has continued to struggle, business travelers have looked for viable alternatives and this inevitably means private aviation options.
Welcome Onboard ISSUE ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN
The step-up from First and Business Class to flying privately is a significant one in terms of investment – but with businesspersons flying fewer trips now (thanks to Zoom and other video conferencing platforms – other notable beneficiaries of the pandemic) organising teams to charter aircraft, when appropriate, is making good business sense. Flying privately makes sense in many ways, from the point of view of privacy, convenience, speed, security – and increasingly safety. The private aviation industry makes life and travel as smooth and simple as possible for passengers – on the ground as well as in the air. From quiet private terminals to the office or board room in the air, private aviation ticks all the boxes. It’s a highly personalised service but with a ‘light touch’, which means there is a much smoother journey through the terminal to the aircraft and onboard, compared to the greater friction faced by commercial passengers – even those flying in the front of the aircraft. In this issue, we highlight some of the benefits that are being increasingly appreciated by many passengers flying privately for the first time – and in the age of the pandemic. The signs for the return of commercial flying look promising and we hope that our colleagues in the sector are back and flying as soon as possible. We believe some of the new flyers to private aviation will stay with us and so we also remain optimistic about the future of the sector. We hope you enjoy the read.
Paras P. Dhamecha Managing Director
Contact Details: Cover: Riz Ahmed/Getty
Empire Aviation is a leading provider of Aircraft Sales, Aircraft Management, Aircraft Charter and CAMO Services.
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Empire Aviation Group MAY 2021:ISSUE 116
The Private Aviation Touch Putting passengers at ease in the air and on the ground
summer 2020, there was a rise in business ‘ From jet charter enquiries and bookings with some companies reporting as much as a 25 percent rise in bookings, compared to 2019 ’ The global pandemic has led to a rise in interest in private aviation as business – and leisure - travelers look for alternative options. From summer 2020, there was a rise in business jet charter enquiries and bookings with some companies reporting as much as a 25 percent rise in bookings, compared to 2019. Many of these bookings came from first-time users of private aviation services, looking for the obvious travel benefits and attracted by the
small scale and privacy enjoyed by passengers, who benefit from all the personalised services and the added reassurance of the seamless experience. According to the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, flying privately means a very low number of passenger ‘touch points’ compared to flying commercially – 20 compared to around 700. ‘Flying safely’ is paramount for all passengers as we move to the ‘next new’ in aviation as the global pandemic
Empire Aviation Group MAY 2021:ISSUE 116
Along with lower charter rates and new and innovative forms of private aircraft ownership and access to charter, private aviation is moving towards a new paradigm
recedes. Minimising the passenger touchpoints is one area of focus and according to some observers, the fewer touchpoints when flying privately can reduce the risk of infection to 30 times lower than commercial, thanks to the much lower exposure to staff and other passengers on the ground and in the air. Along with lower charter rates and new and innovative forms of private aircraft ownership and access to charter, private aviation is moving towards a new paradigm,
with greater convergence of firstclass personalised services and experience. Add to this the time saved when flying privately – essentially flying to your schedule – and the comfort, convenience and privacy, more flexibility with luggage allowance and your own cabin and attendant, we can see that the value proposition of private aviation is being recognised and appreciated by a new and emerging global market for the ultimate, personalised flying experience.
BIG BANG TOURBILLON AUTOMATIC Orange sapphire case. In-house tourbillon automatic movement. Limited to 50 pieces.
Radar MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
The Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Live Auction on May 23 will feature The Sukura Diamond, the largest purple pink flawless diamond to ever appear for sale at auction – an unprecedented size of 15.81 carats. Pink diamonds fall under the rare Type 11a category of diamonds, which make up less than 2% of all gem diamonds, while only 4% of pink diamonds possess a colour deep enough to qualify as ‘Fancy Vivid’. It has an estimate of US$25-38 million. christies.com
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
OBJECTS OF DESIRE This month we shine a spotlight on our top picks from Watches & Wonders
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
J 1 2 X- R AY E L E C T R O C A L I B E R 3 .1 Drawing inspiration from the electronic music prevalent in the ‘90s and the wider culture it birthed, Arnaud Chastaingt, Director of Chanel’s Fine Watchmaking Creation Studio, unveiled a radiant line up of timepieces, which include the striking J12 X-Ray Electro Caliber 3.1. A limited
edition of 12 numbered pieces, it features a sapphire dial set with 12 baguette-cut rainbow sapphire indicators, surrounding which is an 18K white gold fixed bezel, set with 46 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires. It has a power reserve of 55 hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres. 1
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
T H E B I G P I L O T ’ S W AT C H P E R P E T U A L C A L E N D A R T O P G U N E DITION ‘ MO JAV E DE SE RT ’ Engineered for maximum acceleration forces during manoeuvres in supersonic jets, IWC’s Top Gun watches are technically-advanced precision instruments. They’re also sought-after. This is the first time a sand-coloured ceramic case has been used on a perpetual calendar, 2
which automatically recognises different month lengths and leap years and correctly depicts the moon phase for the northern and southern hemispheres, only needing to be adjusted by one day after 577.5 years. Production of the watch will be limited to just 150 pieces per year.
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
PAT E K P H I L I P P E
R E F. 5 2 3 6 P - 0 0 1 I N - L I N E P E R P E T U A L C A L E N D A R Adding to an already broad range of calendar timepieces, Patek has released a new perpetual calendar that shows the day, date, and month in a single panoramic aperture at 12 o’clock. Though this in-line display was already adopted in some of the manufacturer’s
pocket watches of old, it was never done in a wristwatch – until now. It constitutes a veritable feat as regards the degree of miniaturization and the many technical challenges that had to be mastered to bring this particular timepiece to life. 3
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
A. LANGE & SÖHNE
The Tripe Split debuted in 2018, making headlines as the world’s only mechanical split-seconds chronograph that allows the measurement of intermediate and reference times for durations of up to twelve hours. That edition was crafted from white gold and came with a grey dial.
At last month’s Watches and Wonders it was presented resplendent in pink gold with a blue dial and rhodié-coloured subsidiary dials. At its heart beats the complex Lange calibre L132.1, comprised of 567 tiny parts. Limited to 100 pieces, its making remains an exceptional feat. 4
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
RE VERSO TRIBUTE SMALL SECONDS As far back as 1931, when the Reverso was created, its appeal beyond the polo field led to JLC swiftly offering colourful variations on the original black dial – daring for a time when coloured dials were rare. As a nod to that heritage comes this Reverso Tribute Small Seconds in
green, a colour matched by the leather strap and one reminiscent of the deep green of the pine forests that surround Jaeger-LeCoultre’s home in the Vallée de Joux. As is Reverso tradition, the solid metal back of the reversible case can be engraved for personalisation. 5
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
PI AGE T
POLO SKELETON Piaget began making skeleton watches around 50 years ago, as a way to reveal the intricate movements that power them. The latest iteration of this much-loved timepiece comes in four guises, including this classic white gold version, which features a dazzling, diamond-set bezel. Comprising 6
56 stones in all, they combine for a weight of 1.59 carats. That all-important, ultraslim (a wafer-thin 2.4m) skeletonised movement is finished in a deep blue colour to match the quick-change strap. It’s available to buy from Piaget boutiques in September.
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
VA C H E R O N C O N S TA N T I N
HIS TORIQ UES AMERICAN 1921 Vacheron debuted what was nicknamed the American 1921 – a nod to it being produced primarily for the American market in a very limited number of pieces – 100 years ago, and by way of celebrating that centenary, the house has developed a contemporary take on this now legendary
watch. Distinguished by its classic yet quirkily appearance, the artistic merits of the original are reinterpreted in three models: two in 18K white gold, and the other a 100-piece limited edition from the Collection Excellence Platine. A cultured style statement. 7
OB JECTS OF DESIRE
BIG BANG INTEGR AL TOURBILLON FULL SAPPHIRE with the bracelet to produce a watch entirely fashioned from sapphire – a stunning technical achievement. To do it, the case had to be entirely reconstructed from its previous form to house the Automatic Tourbillon movement.
In 2016, Hublot hit a whole new level of high watchmaking when it unveiled the Big Bang Unico Sapphire, the first sapphire watch. The sapphire in that piece was limited to the cases – a feat that took five years to achieve. Five years on, they have repeated the trick 8
OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Critique MAY 2021 : ISSUE 116
Film Final Account Dir. Luke Holland A powerful documentary in which participants in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich – from former SS members to civilians – are interviewed for their thoughts now. AT BEST: ’Holland proves a skilled inquisitor and eventually forces uncomfortable truths out of his subjects.’ – Kevin Maher, The Times AT WORST: ‘Holland’s documentary ends up being too much, but also not quite enough.’ – Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International
The Boy From Medellin Dir. Matthew Heineman AIR
The inside story of what happened when Latin superstar J Balvin headed to his hometown stadium show at a time when his native Colombia was reaching a flashpoint of historic turmoil. AT BEST: ‘A solid portrait of a surprisingly intriguing and thoughtful pop star.’ – David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews AT WORST: ‘It doesn’t go all in and is a near-miss as a result.’ – Pat Mullen, POV Magazine
Voyagers Dir. Neil Burger With the future of the human race in danger, a group of specially bred men and women with enhanced intelligence embark on an expedition to colonize a distant planet. AT BEST: ‘There’s enough good stuff going on to make it a fun watch.’ – Frank Wilkins, Reel Reviews AT WORST: ‘The characters have so little development they don’t even reach archetypes level.’ – Wenlei Ma, news.com.au
Thunder Force Dir. Ben Falcone Reunited childhood female friends team up to fight crime, when one of them invents a formula that grants the pair superpowers. AT BEST: ‘Still super, even it if it’s not spectacular.’ – Johnny Gayzmonic, Fanboys of the Universe AT WORST: ‘An action comedy directed by someone without an eye for either action or comedy.’ – Sam Adams, Slate 18
Critique MAY 2021 : ISSUE 116
Books he highly anticipated new thriller in Caroline Kepnes’s hit series, You Love Me sees the character Joe leave the big city for the small town, where he hopes librarian Mary Kay DiMarco will make a life with him. Only problem is, Mary already has a life. “Kepnes’s series continues to be a sly, subversive exploration of what people choose to reveal and what they hide in their relationships, and just how difficult it is to truly know another person. That Kepnes manages to limn such heady subjects in such a compulsively readable way while serving up twists aplenty is the reason the series still feels fresh three books in,” says Booklist, in its starred review. Also a fan of the author, Literary Hub reckons that “Kepnes’s savage takedowns of pretentious blowhards continue to make Joe a more culturally aware Dexter, or perhaps a more romantic and humorous Hannibal, as he pillories the bad taste of his rivals and victims.” “I will read anything Caroline Kepnes writes,” heralds fellow best-selling author Nancy Yoon.
“She’s one of the smartest, most insightful writers out there with a true gift for crafting flawed, complicated characters that force us to reckon with our own flaws and complications. Joe’s back (and so are all the reasons you love to hate him), but in You Love Me, Caroline delves even deeper. She subverts our idea of who Joe is and who he can be. In so doing, she forces the reader to ask themselves, Can Joe change? Can anyone ever really change?” In Emma Straub’s All Adults Here, Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident that loosens a repressed memory from decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realises she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence? “Brimming with kindness, forgiveness, humour and love and yet (magically) also a page turner that held me captive until it was finished,” says Ann Patchett. “This is Emma Straub’s absolute best, and the world will love it. I love it.” Equally enamoured, the New York
Times declared the book, “Literary sunshine,” while Entertainment Weekly champions Emma Straub as “The queen of the summer novel.” In the same seasonal vein, Vox calls All Adults Here, “An immensely charming and warm-hearted book. It’s a vacation for the soul.” Aimee Bender’s Willful Creatures is a collection of contemporary fairy tales which the New York Times Book Review says are, “cushioned by goofy humour and a deep tenderness for her characters, that aren’t always as dark or as sinister as they initially appear.” Says the Denver Post: “These are stories that you’ll read with a sense of discovery and wonder. You’ll reread them just for their beauty.” Also fulsome in its praise for Willfull Creatures is Entertainment Weekly. “To curl up with an Aimee Bender story is to thank heaven you ever learned to read in the first place. What a treat to spend 15 stories in Bender’s vast and wonderfully unhinged imagination.”
Credit: Penguin Random House
Art & Design MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
Crafting the Impossible Making a perfect silk scarf with a different image on each side was deemed impossible until Hermès’ finest designers took up the challenge
he Ancient Greeks might have had their own ideas of what constitute the four elements, but within the storied house of Hermès they comprise material, colour, pattern and design. “Those are the elements we work with in this department,” says Christophe Goineau, proud possessor of the title creative director of men’s silks. “There will be changes every season, but those things will remain – they are the framework in which we function.” Empedocles might demur, but he’d no doubt be won over if he ever had the privilege of winding one of Goineau’s fantastical creations round his neck. Hermès – the world’s oldest luxury house, founded in 1837 – is famed for sumptuous leather goods, but silk is an equally evocative part of the story. Its richly patterned, decorated scarves have adorned some of the most famous heads and décolletages of the 20th century, from Audrey Hepburn to Grace Kelly. 21
is absolutely ‘ Time sacred. Hermès is evolution, not revolution ’
of different steps and around 20-30 people’, says Goineau. ‘The process starts on one side with the material and on the other with the design; then the stages in-between create the final product.’ After the weaving comes the printing, and if a scarf contains, for example, 20 different colours (which is not unusual in one of the brand’s more outré pieces) it will require 20 different wooden frames, handcrafted by an engraver, to separate the colours. The colouration stage is, says Goineau, one of the most involved and complex. “It’s like finding the right key to open a certain door. We start with a beautiful design, and it’s our job to try this colourway, try that colourway, and at some point it will click, but it takes a long, long time.” Colour combinations are the key to turning a “less easy” design – one that is graphic and experimental, like the chaotically jumbled Lettres en Boite pattern; or has retro spaceship imagery, like the Odyssey – into a bestseller. And, says Goineau, finessing the formula is all down to time. “We’re not a fast culture at Hermès, and that’s a good thing. Being slow is an advantage; we make things as they should be made, not before they are ready. Working with Véronique [Nichanian, the artistic director of Hermès ‘men’s universe’, as her title
goes, who has helmed the department for 32 years] is unique in that way, because it’s never the case of getting something ready for a specific collection. It’s about creating something that’s right for the moment. Time is absolutely sacred. Hermès is evolution, not revolution.” That sentiment is never more apparent than in the new range of double-sided silk scarves that Goineau’s department has created. The sartorial sorcery is such that neither print nor colour can be seen from the other side, despite the fairy-fine lightness and gauge of the silk. “Around 10 years ago, we began fantasising about how a double-sided silk scarf could be made, but it was just a dream,” says Goineau. “We started to seriously experiment with the process around eight years ago. For several years, the creative forces of textile making came together to achieve this technical breakthrough: printing on both sides of a silk scarf, in different colours. The colours do not penetrate the silk but simply touch it. He has to safeguard some of the artisanal alchemy in the making, so there’s a degree of secrecy around the exact processes involved, but he admits, “It was the balance between recto and verso, and it’s fascinating to push that Hermès silk story just a little further by degrees. And the client gets twice the Hermès,” he laughs. It’s an astonishing amount of work for something that’s more often than not the final flourish on an outfit, thrown on as a man heads out the door. “Of course, the end result is that beautiful scarf in that orange box, but behind it are hundreds of people, centuries of skill and details that took years and years to get right. That’s endlessly exciting to me.” Evidently, young Goineau made the right choice all those years ago.
Credit: © Stephen Doig / Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021
The silk factory, based in Lyon, has been under Goineau’s stewardship since 2009, but his story goes much further back than that. In 1987, as a business student, he began a sixmonth placement in the commercial department... and he never left. “I think if you told me at 21 that I would still be here 34 years later I would have run a mile – what kid wants to hear that?” says Goineau, now 55, over Zoom. “But I realise how lucky I’ve been to explore this house. It is full of surprises.” His mission was always to “get closer to the product”, and he eventually segued into the creative sphere. It’s those surprises – the technical innovations of Hermès’ craftspeople – that keep Goineau’s team on their toes. “I had always thought of Hermès as a very traditional company, but even in 1987, it was surprising to see how avant-garde it was. I was fascinated by all these objects that were created with so much detail and care, but could also be experimental.” That said, the process involved in making the men’s silk scarves, ties and shirts is remorselessly traditional and exceedingly painstaking. “We manage every single step in-house, which is exceptional,” he says – other brands outsource certain parts of production. “Here, we weave the silk, make the frame for the engraver that will define the colouration, print the silk and make the final piece, whether it’s a scarf or tie. And every single step along the way has to be special, adding detail, upon detail, upon detail.” Practically speaking, the process begins with the silk department working with drawings from the designers, based in Paris, and weaving the raw silk. The early stages will involve ‘lots
Timepieces MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
Happy Two stars of the 1990s unite to revisit the Chopard timepiece that changed the way watches were made forever WORDS: TRACEY LLEWELLYN
he fourth highest earning actor of the 1990s, according to Quigley Publishing Company, and the only woman to make the official Top 10, Julia Roberts became America’s sweetheart with her Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-wining role of Vivian, the ‘hooker with a heart of gold’, in Pretty Woman (1990). Top grossing movies followed, including Flatliners (1990), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Pelican Brief (1993), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) and Notting Hill (1999), and she ended the decade on a high with legal biopic Erin Brockovich, which in 2001 swooped the awards board, wining her ‘best actress’ gongs including the Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG. Roberts managed to achieve what relatively few Hollywood stars before or since have done – universal likeability. Her undisputed talent, mane of red curls (now matured to honeyblonde waves), broad smile and infectious laugh made her one of the most bankable stars ever – and at the same time, she broke down barriers for female actors, becoming the first to move into the $20m-a-movie bracket. Already a Chopard ‘friend of the brand’, Roberts, when asked why she was barefoot on the 2016 Cannes Film Festival red carpet, famously replied, ‘If I have jewels like this, I don’t need shoes’, referring to her loaned Chopard emerald necklace and ring.
This existing passion, plus being known for one of Hollywood’s greatest smiles, meant Roberts was asked to spearhead Chopard’s new campaign for its own 1990s’ icon, Happy Sport, a watch that broke all the rules and changed the perceptions of precious timepieces by bringing together diamonds and steel for the first time. The origins of Happy Sport lie in 1976 and a TV-shaped men’s watch known as the Happy Diamonds, which featured a group of 30 freefloating diamonds above the watch dial. Developed by Chopard designer Ronald Kurowski, the diamonds were wrapped in gold and sandwiched between sapphire-crystal discs to prevent any scratches or interference with the hands. The watch was an instant hit and was awarded Germany’s 26
prestigious Golden Rose of BadenBaden jewellery award on its debut. Nearly two decades later in 1993, Caroline Scheufele – then Chopard’s artistic director and co-president – took the concept a stage further, combining the floating diamond concept with a stainless-steel watch case, uniting one of the most precious natural resources with one of the most abundantly used materials in watchmaking. This combination had previously not been considered, but by democratising the diamond within a sporty watch case, Scheufele brought it to a new and more casual position, making it a watch suitable for day and evening, whether wearing denim or a cocktail dress. Today, the combination is commonplace, but in the early 1990s it was revolutionary. Scheufele says,
“When I presented the concept, I remember my workshop foreman telling me that I wouldn’t sell a single one. At that time, this watch was so disruptive and innovative in its approach that it was hard to imagine how successful it would be. It was the first time that the rarity of diamonds and the sportiness of steel were combined in a watch. I was driven by the conviction that ladies’ watchmaking needed a breath of fresh air. As a woman, I wanted a watch that went beyond the purely functional or decorative aspect. It had to combine both.” Happy Sport – named because when Scheufele’s mother Karin saw the initial 1976 designs, she stated, “diamonds are happiest when they are free” – reduced the number of dial-side stones to seven, and has since appeared in myriad iterations. From Happy Fish in 1998 with pavé diamond fish swimming among the floating diamonds, to 2003’s Happy Sport Racing that saw a ruby encrusted car among the stones, 2012’s Happy Beach chronograph with seaside dial and bejewelled flip-flops, and Happy Snowflakes from 2017 with a falling flake dancing across a snow-set dial, many of the designs have reflected both pop culture relevant to the time and the sense of humour that runs through so much of Scheufele’s work. Humour and joy are qualities that both Scheufele and Roberts share, Roberts describing her current state as “super happy”, saying that her recipe for happiness is, “to be kind to others [and] surround yourself with loving, kind, compassionate people”. Finally, she recommends “kissing, followed by dancing as a close second”. For Roberts, looking at the freefloating diamonds is like a suggestion “that something is going to happen. There is something about having a watch and every time you look at it seeing all these sparkling diamonds whirling around; it’s pretty awesome,” she says. Recognising the symbolism of freedom, she continues, “being comfortable in your convictions and sharing your convictions with those around you – not all women have those liberties and I am very grateful that I have them.” Now, alongside an eight-piece collection in various metals and
Being comfortable in your convictions and sharing your ‘ convictions with those around you – not all women have those liberties and I am very grateful that I have them ’
There is something about having a ‘ watch and every time you look at it seeing all these sparkling diamonds whirling around; it’s pretty awesome ’
Credit: © Tracey Llewellyn / Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021
settings, Chopard’s original Happy Sport is back in two limited-edition Happy Sport the First models. Slight changes have been made to the 1993 original, namely the case, which is now 3mm smaller at 33mm and made in the house’s proprietary Lucent Steel A223, which has a mirror shine, is hypoallergenic and is 50 per cent harder than normal steel. With a silvered dial, oversized Roman numerals at three, six, nine and 12, a black minute chapter ring, the seven floating diamonds above the dial and five blue-sapphire cabochons set into the lugs and crown, the watch is a dead ringer for its predecessor – just the date window at six is missing. One model made in an edition of 1,993-pieces features a plain steel bezel, while a further 788 examples are presented with a diamond bezel and mother-of-pearl dial. The four-strand, ‘pebble-link’ bracelet – a supple and ergonomic arrangement of polished beads – makes a welcome return and, inside the case, beats a self-winding Manufacture Chopard 09.01-C movement, visible through the exhibition caseback. On choosing to work with Roberts for the launch, Scheufele explains that she created Happy Sport as “the watch of the free-spirited 1990s woman” as well as a timepiece that would retain its popularity through the decades. For her it was important for these qualities to be reflected. “The films in which Julia played have made a lasting impact,” she says. “Her charisma, her spontaneity, her boldness, her bursts of laughter and her actions on behalf of women’s and children’s rights make her a universally adored actress. For me, she is not only a talented and glamorous actress, but a movie legend with a great heart, because [like Happy Sport] she embodies a feminine ideal.” The admiration is mutual. Clearly excited to be partnering with Scheufele, Roberts says: “Chopard just represents this timeless idea of elegance and sparkle and being ladylike. You kind of think: ‘When I grow up I want to be having a great time and wearing watches and earrings by Chopard’… and now look at me, I’m all grown up!”
Timepieces MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
The Dance of the Diamonds AIR takes an exclusive look at the artisan at work, as Chopard unveils its Happy Sport collection
appy are the diamonds touched by Lorena. As a dancing-diamond choreographer since 2013, Lorena’s skill is to set the perfect stage for diamonds to sparkle in the spotlight, their dance captivating as they whirl, waltz, and twirl, free of apparent constraint. To achieve this is a technical feat that only a few choreography artisans can achieve, ensuring that each diamond in its spinning-top capsule is arranged in such a way that its dance is never hindered.
These pages, clockwise from above: Lorena, dancing-diamond choreographer; Happy Sport 33m in ethical 18-carat rose gold with diamond-set bezel and gold bracelet 30
Invented by Chopard in the 1970s, this ingenious system allows the gems to move without scratching the glass. Lorena’s honed talent consists of using her deft touch to apply exactly the right amount of uniform pressure to the entire glass, guaranteeing that the diamonds enjoy exactly the right amount of space in which to move playfully but always parallel to the dial – meaning without being blocked between the two panes of clear sapphire, nor running the risk of flipping over and revealing their undersides.
Jewellery MAY 2021 : ISSUE 116
Ring of Controversy
Forty years since Lady Diana and Prince Charles announced their engagement, Diana's sapphire ring continues to inspire. But its ‘shop stock’ status caused a stir WORDS: SARAH ROYCE-GREENSILL
n February 24, 1981, Prince Charles officially announced his engagement to 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer. The image of the couple giving their first joint interview, Diana shyly peeking out from beneath her fringe, has been seared onto our collective consciousness. The royal blue sparkler on her finger became one of the most influential engagement rings of modern times, inspiring brides-to-be and spawning countless imitations some 40 years later. The ring features a 12-carat Sri Lankan sapphire, framed by a halo of 14 white diamonds and set in 18ct gold. It was made by Garrard, Crown Jeweller from 1843 until 2007, and its cluster setting was inspired by a Garrard sapphire and diamond brooch given to Queen Victoria by her husband Albert the day before their wedding. Victoria loved the brooch so much that she wore it on her wedding day as her ‘something blue’. In a remarkably modern move, Lady Diana is said to have chosen the ring herself, from a selection presented to her at Windsor Castle after dinner one night in February 1981. According to a scene recreated in the most recent series of The Crown, the Queen offered Diana a ‘rather special box of chocolates’ that contained the
available options, sourced specially from Garrard for the evening. Diana’s eyes soon alighted on the sapphire – sources have since claimed that she liked it because it reminded her of her mother’s engagement ring. In The Crown’s reenactment, the Queen raises her eyebrows at the bride-to-be’s choice, hinting at cracks in the relationship even at that early stage. When she asks why Diana chose it, Prince Charles jokes "It’s the most expensive" – although that was far from the truth. While we’ll never be sure what the Queen’s thoughts were, the ring wasn’t met with universal approval outside of the palace. When Prince Charles and Diana announced their engagement, the gathered press admired its size and the fact that the blue stone complemented her eyes. But then came reports that the ring wasn’t a special one-off commission but, shock horror, was selected from shop stock – meaning that anyone could walk into Garrard and buy the same ring as the future Queen of England. Its non-unique nature was seen in some camps as not fitting for a royal bride. The Queen’s own engagement ring was commissioned by Prince Philip, using diamonds from his mother’s
Opening pages: Princess Diana shows off her engagement ring, 1981 These pages, from left to right: Garrard 1735 sapphire ring; Garrard 1735 sapphire necklace
tiara. Princess Margaret received a ruby surrounded by diamonds in the shape of a rosebud – in reference to her middle name, Rose – from Antony Armstrong-Jones. Today’s royal brides have continued the tradition of bespoke rings: Meghan Markle’s three-stone diamond ring was designed by Prince Harry, containing diamonds taken from Diana’s jewellery; Princess Eugenie’s Padparadscha sapphire cluster ring is believed to be custom-made; and Edo Mapelli Mozzi proposed to Princess Beatrice with a diamond ring he designed in conjunction with British jeweller Shaun Leane. But its ‘shop stock’ provenance didn’t seem to bother Lady Di, who loved the ring so much that she continued to wear it even after her marriage to Charles broke down. Nor has it deterred the thousands of brides who use it as inspiration for their own engagement rings. Garrard’s 1735 collection of cluster rings is directly inspired by Diana’s, and remains one of the house’s most popular ranges. Available with emerald, ruby, sapphire and aquamarine central stones, the blue sapphire rings have been a global best-seller for the house since the range was launched in 2016, reports Garrard’s creative director, Sara Prentice. "Diana’s ring was an important moment in jewellery history, and the fact that its story continues upon 34
the hand of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is testament to the enduring classicism of the design," she says. "The 1735 ring is a timeless design and it has been a continuous best-seller with our clients globally. "Sapphire engagement rings have long symbolised love and commitment, and the cluster style, accompanied by a halo of diamonds, has a distinguished history as a favourite among royals, including Queen Victoria. It is lovely to see a new generation appreciating this iconic design, which is such a powerful indication of its longevity." The popularity of Diana's ring was bolstered by its reappearance, almost 30 years later, on the finger of thenKate Middleton, who announced her engagement to Prince William on November 16, 2010. Like Diana, she dressed all in blue to match her new sapphire jewel. The image of the brideto-be greeting the cameras in her navy blue Issa wrap dress is memorable as being the starting point of the Kate effect: that dress, like hundreds more
since, sold out as soon as she wore it. It is believed that when Princess Diana died, her young sons were encouraged to choose pieces from her collection to keep for their future wives. Prince Harry reportedly originally chose the engagement ring, and Prince William her Cartier Tank watch – when William planned to propose, the brothers swapped gifts (many believe that Meghan Markle now wears Diana’s Tank). Blue sapphires remain top of the list when it comes to coloured gemstone engagement rings, with many brides-to-be still referencing the ‘Kate Middleton ring’ even a decade after it re-entered the spotlight. “Blue sapphires are still by far the most requested coloured gemstone, and the Duchess of Cambridge wearing a sapphire has increased their popularity immensely,” says Londonbased jewellery designer Emma Clarkson Webb, who specialises in bespoke engagement rings. “Couples still come to me with Diana’s ring as an inspiration on their moodboard. “The variation in tones and shades that blue sapphires come in makes them appealing to a wide audience. They’re also very hard wearing and don’t come with quite the same price tag as a diamond,” she continues. “Diana’s ring was a timeless design that is incredibly wearable and versatile; it can be adjusted to suit any budget, which makes it a winner decades on.”
Credit: © Sarah Royce-Greensill / Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021
Its non-unique nature was seen as not fitting for a royal bride
As the first Muslim actor to receive an Oscar nod, Riz Ahmed tells how he had to chart a different course to the top WORDS: ROBBIE COLLIN
I think I like a bit of a fight
t is not initially clear if Western democracy is going to survive this conversation with Riz Ahmed, though that isn’t the 38-year-old British actor’s fault. He is talking on a video call from the United States at the same time as an angry mob of Donald Trump supporters is storming the US Capitol building. It’s just after lunchtime, and before we speak he’s been watching events unfold live on the news; mouth open, sandwich untouched. Fortunately, Ahmed is 2,600 miles away from the trouble, in rural California, where he has just finished shooting Invasion: a science-fiction thriller from Michael Pearce, the Bafta-winning director of Beast. But the film on his mind is Four Lions, the jet-black 2010 Chris Morris satire in which he played the ringleader of a small band of hapless Sheffield jihadists who eat their mobile phone Sim cards to avoid government surveillance. Eleven years on, such lunacy has gone mainstream, while everyday politics – on the far side of the Atlantic, at least – teeters between absurdist sitcom and suicide cult. “We live in such crazy times that comedy is struggling to keep pace,” he says. “I think it would be hard to do that kind of satire now. You can’t satirise a reality that already feels made up.” Meanwhile, in other news that can’t be true but somehow is: a shaft of sunlight. Ahmed’s outstanding new film, Sound of Metal, is the kind of spellbinding character piece that is too often jostled out of the Oscars race by heftier competitors. Yet in the 2021 edition, there it was – nominated in six categories at last month’s Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, for which Ahmed was the first Muslim
nominee in the ceremony’s 93-year history. Sound of Metal also picked up four nominations for the Baftas, winning two (for sound and editing). Ahmed has arrived at this milestone 15 years into a quicksilver career that has snaked from such gutsy independent British productions as Four Lions or his 2008 breakthrough film Shifty, to connoisseur-ish critical favourites Nightcrawler and The Sisters Brothers, via the thundering mega-cogs of the Star Wars, Bourne and Marvel franchises. But securing leading-man status took a gruelling uphill push. Sound of Metal’s director, Darius Marder, cast Ahmed as the film’s protagonist – a rock drummer called Ruben whose sudden hearing loss brings on an existential crisis – after the pair met for lunch in 2017. Yet funding this modestly budgeted film with a British-Pakistani actor proved close to impossible – even one who’d just won an Emmy for his work in the HBO series The Night Of, and helped bring down the Death Star in Rogue One. In fact, the money was only secured after Marder put out an SOS appeal to some friends outside the industry 12 days before filming was due to commence. “I’m not going to say the financiers failed to come through because Riz is brown, because that wouldn’t be fair,” Marder tells me later by telephone. “But they certainly didn’t succeed. Hollywood talks a good game about diversity, but when the time comes to act on it, it’s a very different story.” “I feel like, for a lot of people, after a Shifty or a Four Lions, they’d be in Hollywood,” Ahmed says. “After one of those, the business would be like ‘Wicked – put him as the lead in a
at a place where the bar is quite ‘lowWe’re in terms of having really diverse representation on screen ’ period drama.’ That’s not available to someone like me. Instead, it’s a process of chipping away – a much longer, more arduous journey. But it’s one I’m grateful for, because it allows you to build more solid foundations. You’re not just rocketing up, tap-dancing on clouds. You’re building your way up.” Part of the appeal of Sound of Metal was the sheer amount of selfassembly required. Ahmed learnt how to drum, and also became fluent in American Sign Language over seven months – a process, he says, which taught him that “deaf people are the best listeners in the world.” “The community showed me the true meaning of listening,” he says. “It’s not just something you do with your ears. It’s about being present with your whole body, and giving the other person their space to communicate.” Before Ruben learns to sign, Ahmed played his scenes while wearing ‘audio blockers’: hearing aids that had been tweaked to emit white noise in order to simulate deafness, and which Marder could activate remotely, without warning. A self-confessed control freak, Ahmed found this supremely unnerving – and liberating, too. “I’m usually the precision-painting type, doing my research, all very cerebral and academic,” he says. “But the really interesting things happen when you’re off-balance.” Here is another of Sound of Metal’s destabilising features: Ruben is – to put it bluntly – a hunk, which is not a quality western cinema usually ascribes to actors of South Asian descent. Marder recalls Ahmed telling him stories on set about the prejudice he 40
experienced growing up Pakistani in north-west London in the 1980s and 90s – “being called ‘dirty’ at school, and so on.” So to have him play a romantic lead is a real point of pride.” As with Ahmed’s dark, unsettling 2020 film Mogul Mowgli – an unintended companion piece to Sound of Metal, about a rapper on the cusp of stardom struck down by a mysterious illness – working with Marder allowed him “to tell a story drawn from my own experiences. I’d always tried to justify my decision to go into the arts by saying I was doing it to stretch culture, but I had started to realise I’d just been contorting myself into pre-existing moulds. So I wanted to dig it all up and put it on the table, because we never get to do that. And maybe that’s what stretching culture is, as opposed to popping up in this or that and doing a turn.” Is he referring to his supporting role in the Rogue One ensemble, or his villain in Venom, the Spider-Man spin-off? “It can be a cumulative thing,” he says. “John Boyega’s in Star Wars, and he’s also in Small Axe” – Steve McQueen’s acclaimed series of films about 20th-century black British life. Ahmed talks about these studio juggernauts in the language of personal training regimes. “They develop a different kind of technical stamina, and I wanted to grow and develop those muscles. It’s a different animal, totally – a kind of artistic collaboration negotiated by committee.” Does he see himself returning to those kinds of roles? “Yes, if the next opportunity for growth is being on something like that. We’re
Credit: © Robbie Collin / Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021
This page: Still from Sound of Metal, 2021
at a place where the bar is quite low in terms of having really diverse representation on screen. Me doing a toothpaste commercial would probably stretch culture at the moment.” It’s worth remembering just how much less true this was only two decades ago, when Ahmed left school (Merchant Taylors’, which he attended on a scholarship) to study philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford, then acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. At that time, he recalls, “we had a whole swathe of British Asian creativity: Talvin Singh winning the Mercury Prize; Nitin Sawhney being nominated; Bally Sagoo going to number one; Goodness Gracious Me on TV, Bhaji on the Beach and Bend It Like Beckham in cinemas”. Then came the events of September 11 2001, “and multiculturalism just kind of imploded. These communities lost control of their own narrative, and instead had to react to one that had been imposed.” This was the jobs market into which the young Ahmed emerged. His first big screen role was in The Road to Guantánamo, Michael Winterbottom’s 2006 docudrama about the Tipton Three. On the way home from its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, Ahmed was detained at Luton Airport and questioned
by police for an hour under counterterrorism laws. It was in this climate that he initially turned down Four Lions, until Chris Morris talked him round. His time at public school and Oxford turned out to be an ideal grounding for a career in the British film industry, where “a knowledge of how to navigate rooms where you feel like an impostor” is crucial. “You learn how to shapeshift, and navigate landscapes that are not of your own making. It teaches you to leave a part of yourself of the door. And it’s very empowering and very dangerous to become good at that.” All three, he continues, felt like “repetitions of the same pattern: first feeling ‘oh s---, I don’t belong here,’ then realising the place where you stick out is the place where you should stick it out. It’s exhausting and also gratifying. I think I like a bit of a fight.” Even now, he’s bothered by impostor syndrome – the feeling that every time he makes a film “I might get a tap on the shoulder and be told I’ve been found out. There’s probably some good in that it keeps you on your toes,” he ref lects uncertainly, before laughing: “Honestly, I still haven’t got a clue.” what I’m doing. But I do think I now have a clearer idea of who I am.” 41
ON ANOTHER PL ANET Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport set the scene as Salma Al Baloushi piloted the highly Bespoke Rolls-Royce Wraith - Inspired by Earth, a one-of-a-kind homage to the Middle East and the wider world
ART DIRECTOR: KERRI BENNETT PHOTOGRAPHER: AUSRA OSIPAVICIUTE
n the field of bespoke, wishes are granted, dreams turned to reality. But what if someone wished for the world? That was the task that befell the Bespoke division of Rolls-Royce when commissioned through RollsRoyce Motor Cars Abu Dhabi to craft an artistic expression of planet Earth. The canvas for their artwork? A stunning navy and Cobalto Blue Wraith. The resulting work is the Bespoke team at the peak of its creative powers. The highlight and most striking feature – the UAE and wider Middle East region, as seen from satellite, airbrushed by hand onto the car’s bonnet – took over 100 hours to complete. It’s an artwork replicated inside, on the fascia, while the remainder of the remarkable interior zooms in on Mother Nature’s own creativity: the seats are fashioned from Moccasin leather to mimic the sands of the Emirates’ deserts; the rear waterfall depicts clouds rendered in minutely detailed embroidery using Photoflash technology; the choice of accent colours reflective of rivers and flora. The interior also homes the Bespoke Starlight Headliner, embroidered to illustrate the telescopic views from Earth – that of all the planets in the
Solar System, centred on the Sun, which are also hand-painted along the exterior coachline. It’s a high achievement worthy of a high-flyer, a term perfectly suited to Emirati pilot Salma Al Baloushi. Mirroring the almost impossible task facing Rolls-Royce Bespoke, Al Baloushi would have to break new ground in order to deliver on her aviation dream. “I was the odd one out in the family, just because I worked with men,” she says. “Some of them didn’t think I should pursue my career and have told me that this job is not for me. Some doubted my capabilities, just because I’m a woman.” Such people have been conclusively proved wrong. Listed in a book that documents The 100 Greatest Women in Aviation, a tome chronicling the record-breaking achievements of women in the history of the sector, Al Baloushi is a role model – the perfect kind of influencer. “I always say that this job is more about responsibility than luxury,” she says of being a pilot, and the idea of young girls from the region following in her footsteps. “Yes, it’s amazing to have breakfast in Paris one day and lunch in Amsterdam or dinner in New York the next, but responsibilities come first.
Particularly the responsibilities of being a daughter, a wife, or a mother. The balance is the key factor.” Finding that balance has allowed Al Baloushi to thrive in her role as CEO of Aviation Gathering, a meeting space for aviators and aviation enthusiasts. “Our mission is to familiarise the Middle Eastern communities with the aviation industry, explore regional talent, embrace their ambition, and innovate the industry,” she says, determined. So how did the pilot feel in the cockpit of the Wraith – Inspired by Earth? “Impeccable! Everything about the car’s interior and exterior design really gives you a view of the world and makes you feel in control. I used to think of chauffeur driven cars when I thought of Rolls-Royce, but Wraith changed that stereotype and my perspective.” Having flown to many destinations, is there one particular place on Earth where she would like to drive this Wraith? “It would definitely be Norway. A drive along the Atlantic Ocean Road would be mesmerising,” she enthuses. It could well happen. As Rolls-Royce and Salma Al Baloushi have proved, dreams really can become reality.
Car: Rolls-Royce Wraith - Inspired by Earth Make-up: Daryna Nefedovska Location: Al Bateen Executive Airport, Abu Dhabi ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS ABU DHABI Maqtaa Bridge, Airport Road, Umm Al Nar, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
ughties celebrit t of No y c u bes ltur the e. ook back wit h l L c o u led is W talgi ise nic a nos ro ch akes et ,h
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Clubbing! Don’t you just miss it? Or don’t you just miss the idea that you had the option and could at the very least browse the pictures? Mark Hunter does. As party photographer to the stars in the Noughties, he papped everyone from Paris to Kanye to Kim as they partied in LA, New York and beyond, and posted it on that most archaic of things — a “blog”. “Somebody called me the Instagram before Instagram,” he says with a smile and, yes, this is apparently a good thing. Back in the day Hunter built up a cult following papping events all over the world — what he calls “a global cool-kid circuit” — which would then appear the next morning on his wildly successful website, the Cobra Snake. A book of his photos, due to be published in the coming year, documents a time when people were, if nothing else, happy to be sweaty and oblivious on camera: Katy Perry goofing about in a retro romper suit, Mary-Kate Olsen vamping it up with the designer Stefano Pilati, Kim Kardashian on her Blackberry and Kanye on the DJ decks. Indeed, in the book we see many things taking shape: the crystallisation and globalisation of hipster culture; the slow transfer of power from ‘bands’ (remember them?) to superstar DJs such as Diplo or Steve Aoki. Most startling of all is that this was a time when everyone was quite excited to be photographed but wasn’t always trying to curate or control it. “I think people just didn’t care as much,” says the photographer, 35, talking to me from his home in LA. “You didn’t have as much responsibility to the internet. You didn’t get feedback … there was no way to comment.” Oh, and it also seems like a time when everyone appeared to want to be thin and sweaty and drunk-looking, as opposed to hench and contoured and utterly Kardashianised. “Everyone’s too sexy now, basically,” Hunter says, only half joking. Not that it’s in his repertoire to moan. An affable, ever-positive, moustached dude-type, he appears on my screen clad in a kind of Apache-print fulllength robe, with a South Park T-shirt underneath and a baseball cap. He has also elected to float around against a beach backdrop with palm trees to conceal the “mess” in his office. LA-born, raised and based, 46
I definitely feel like I was this kind of, like, influencer 1.0
he is a photographer/entrepreneur/ consultant/fitness-club organiser (we’ll come to that), and as such he’s a portrait of the city in miniature. “You can always look at that glass as half full or half empty, you know?” he tells me, holding up a ginormous plastic Starbucks cup from which he has been virtuously sipping water throughout. Hunter got his first taste of showbiz from his mother, who was a “dental hygienist to the stars”: a young Mark would see “people like Tom Cruise and Mark Wahlberg and Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy from Motörhead” pass through her office to get their teeth cleaned. Aged 18, he elected to forgo college and got a job instead with the artist and skateboarder Shepard Fairey, founder of the streetwear label Obey, and he soon started accompanying Fairey to various events, camera in hand, where singers and bands such as Björk or Outkast might be holding court. He snapped André 3000 with a Polaroid the night his song Hey Ya! (“Shake it like a Polaroid picture!”) won a Grammy in 2004. But Hunter’s real stomping ground was gig venues like LA’s mythic Troubadour, where photographing the musicians was only part of the picture. “I realised, yeah, I’ll shoot the band, but I also want to shoot the crowd, because they’re just as interesting to me — you know, their outfits and their kind of energy,” he says. Soon he was allowed in everywhere and, this being showbiz, brands began hiring him for product placement as well, getting him to plonk Red Bulls in subject’s hands and so on. “I definitely feel like I was this kind of, like, influencer 1.0,” he says, beaming.
Obviously, he has had a lot of fun. He recalls one Paris Fashion Week party that was demolition-themed: everyone was given a hammer and free licence to destroy the venue, which was going to be pulled apart the next day anyway. “Back then, it was kind of weird to see a flash in a club, because everyone was trying to just have fun and maybe do inappropriate things.” Right — were you doing “inappropriate things” too? No, he says. “I just lived vicariously through everybody. I could stay up all night, just high on life.” Sometimes it seems a more innocent age, other times more cruel. “In the earlier photos I would shoot, all the kids are just rocking out or hugging each other — they’re in the moment,” he says. “And now you’ve lost that, with everyone wanting to get the best photo or telling the story of their night.” Yet now you can’t help but look at pictures of Paris Hilton and the like with an altered eye. Recently there has been a general reckoning as to how the paparazzi persecuted her, or Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, and how the media shamed them. Hunter does not put himself in that bracket — not a paparazzo but a scene photographer, just as Patrick McMullan was at Studio 54. And, he says, if he did photograph Hilton or Lohan, “I knew I would be seeing them again, so any sort of really scandalous photos never surfaced, because I had respect for their privacy.” In fairness Hunter’s images are mostly defined by their goofiness (and an awful lot of DayGlo and bad plaid), and he insists on being nice
Opening pages: Mark Hunter This page: Mischa Barton and Harley VieraNewton © Mark Hunter / thecobrasnake.com
These pages, clockwise from above: Mary-Kate Olsen and Stefano Pilati; Caroline d’Amore and Paris Hilton © Mark Hunter / thecobrasnake.com
about any celebrity I crowbar into the conversation. “Paris is the sweetest, really,” he says. “That energy of being, you know, fake-nice is actually real.” (I think that’s a compliment.) As for Kardashian, who back then was just Paris’s best friend, her success seems obvious, “because the times that I’ve ever photographed her, she’s always, like, really on it — ready for the image, for the flash.” He was also very fond of London and its nu-rave culture. “The east London vibe around the Klaxons era was so cool.” Also, he adds mistily, “a young Alexa Chung”. We dwell briefly on poor Peaches Geldof, who was a friend. “She lived a pretty wildlife, you know? But it’s sad.” Obviously, the bulk of this predated smartphones, when people could start snapping and posting themselves, and Hunter is the first to admit it: “I sort of became obsolete.” He didn’t see the
rise of Instagram coming, he admits, and if he’d had more sense or savvy, he’d have developed his own app too. But after nearly a decade of partygoing he was pasty, grumpy and out of shape, and so he did the obvious thing for any Angeleno, especially at the start of the 2010s: he got into fitness. His Cobra Fitness Club is populated by (and I quote the website) “an evolving group of models, celebrities, influencers and enthusiasts” who work out and dance in one of LA’s gorgeous canyons while he blasts music out of a portable speaker. He documents it all, of course. What really makes me chuckle is that he has claimed that you get the same endorphins as partying. Now, come on … “You can! You can trick your brain, I think …” Anyway, Covid having restricted a fair bit of all this, his next project is quite predictable. “Like everyone else
in LA, I’m also working on a TV show,” he says, grinning wryly. The idea is to base it around “a washed-up version of myself”. It would be, he says, “kind of like Curb Your Enthusiasm, but, like, very hipster”. The thing is, though, he just doesn’t seem washed up or jaded at all. In fact, he’s still filled with a puppy-dog hopefulness, not least that the glory days might return. “I predict that after Covid, everyone’s gonna want to party like 2007,” he says. “How cool would it be to go and have the most fun, like we used to?” Totally! “And I think there should be versions of these parties where you’re not allowed your phone,” he says excitedly. “So, they take your phone at the door and you have somebody like me to take all the photos.” Oh. Hmmm. It does feel a lot like that particular horse has bolted out of the glam disco stable door. And yet somehow, I hope he gets his wish.
You didn’t have as much responsibility to the internet. You didn’t get feedback ... there was no way to comment
Credit: Louis Wise / The Sunday Times Style Magazine / News Licensing
These pages, left to right: model wears lab-grown Mylo™️ mushroom leather garments; Stella McCartney and models pose during Milan Men’s Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 presentation
As she celebrates 20 years of her eponymous brand, Stella McCartney talks saving planet Earth from the damaging impact of the fashion industry INTERVIEW: LUCY ALLEN
hen Stella McCartney launched her own fashion house 20 years ago, she bought a conscience to the fashion industry as the first luxury house to never use leather, feathers, fur or skins. That vision, and those values, are perfectly embodied in her latest launch – the world’s first ever garments made from vegan, lab-grown Mylo mushroom leather. “When I started doing fake leathers they were hard as hell. You couldn’t make a garment out of them at all, you could just make a little wallet or something,” says McCartney. “So we’ve worked really closely with our suppliers to try and perfect what we need as a luxury fashion house. I don’t think anyone should compromise style for sustainability. So mushroom leather is exciting.” That it is. And it owes everything to McCartney’s convictions, seeing through a painstaking, lengthy process to bring it to fruition. “I always say, if I can do it anyone can do it.” Which begs the question of why, in an industry that is one of the world’s biggest polluters, other luxury fashion houses have been, at best, slow to follow suit. “I mean, you know, I have also done it from day one. I’m the only fashion house in the world that doesn’t work with leather. And animal glues, for example – glues are made out of boiled down bones, essentially,” says McCartney. “The fashion industry only really works with something like 10 materials; we’re very old fashioned in that sense. And so, I think people are afraid of change. You shouldn’t have to compromise how a product looks, or how it feels, or how long it lasts. But I’ve proven that you can make an alternative, and it should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the others.” The proof comes in many forms, not least the Falabella bag. Completely vegan, its lining is fashioned from ocean plastics. “It’s incredibly sustainable. And we’ve sold a million of them. And when I heard that my head went, ‘Well, how many cows lives did we save? How many acres of land did we not cut down in the rainforest? How much water did we save?’ And that’s fascinating when you start to equate data to a product in a positive way.” Tradition is only one stumbling block to meaningful change, however. 52
“I would say [fashion] is one of the least regulated industries,” she says. “There’s huge wealth and power in animal agriculture. We all know that. Billions of animals are killed just for the fashion industry. It’s within a lot of people’s interest to keep it going and not talk about it and not really impose restrictions or set parameters. You know, the chemicals that are used to tan the leathers are deeply harmful to the environment and to the people that work with them. So there needs to be more regulation, some policies set in place in the fashion industry. And I’m hoping it’ll start happening. But, for sure, there’s a dark side to fashion. Somebody said to me once, ‘You know why I love your brand so much, is that when I go to it, I know that you’ve done all the work for me. I don’t have to ask any questions. And it mirrors my choices, my life choices’. And I was so proud. And it’s true. I feel like there’s a lightness at Stella because we’re just not part of the dark side of the industry.” Born in London in 1971, the second of three children fathered by Paul McCartney, McCartney’s fashion first came to public attention when her friends (and supermodels) Naomi
I don’t think anyone should compromise style for sustainability. So mushroom leather is exciting
Campbell and Kate Moss modelled her graduating collection at Central St. Martins College of Art & Design. Two years later she was heading Chloé. Wind the clock back further and the young designer made her first jacket aged 12, before helping out on Christian Lacroix’s couture collection when an intern at 15. “I just knew at a very early age,” she says of her chosen career. “My earliest memories were of sitting in my mum and dad’s wardrobe and looking at all their clothes. I had parents that were in entertainment, so I would go on the road and I’d watch them in all sorts of costumes. And we lived on a farm. They were contrasting worlds. One minute it was bareback on a horse, and the next it was thighhigh boots and rock and roll. So, I kind of got this incredible insight into costume and wardrobe. My mum and dad would share a wardrobe, so I also saw this kind of genderless relationship between clothing and was really
drawn to it. It was not the glamour of fashion that drew me in, it was always the sort of psychological side to it, that what you wear is a reflection of who you are and how you feel. And some things can make you feel good and other things can make you feel bad. I found that really fascinating.” That first jacket was, naturally, animal-free. “It was a beacon jacket. It was made out of this sort of faux suede and I wish I had it now – I don’t know where it is! It would actually be pretty cool because it was super ‘80s. I was brought up as a vegetarian on an organic farm in the south of England, and I had these open-minded, pioneering parents. And we were just very conscious of nature and living in harmony with our fellow creatures and not eating them and not having to buy into all the animal agriculture and the cruelty and things like that. So I always had a very specific point of view that I wasn’t willing to compromise for my
Invest well, because you can hand that down. That to me, is a luxury
career choice. But I’m also very lucky I grew up with such privilege that I could afford to have a choice. I think a lot of people don’t really have a choice if they want to go into fashion. If you love fashion and you have a certain ethical belief system, you’re pretty much forced into having to work with leather or fur or chemicals or products that you probably don’t believe in when you leave the office. If we want to create a fashion for tomorrow, you need to also create an environment in which people want to work.” Did McCartney ever face that ethical issue while working for other brands? “I’m lucky enough – and I still can’t really get my head around it – but people were willing to compromise working in leather to work with me, which I always took as a huge compliment. Chloé, when I went there, was a leather brand. In all fashion houses, their leather sales are what funds the fashion shows. And so I was always of the belief that I would just show them that you could have a great design product and do it differently. It’s only now that I’m having this conversation with any sort of level of transparency, that people go, ‘Oh, I know.’ I think people will now go out of their way to have a Stella bag because they know it’s vegan. I’ve prided myself, and I still do because I think most people don’t know, that it’s not 55
If we want to create a fashion for tomorrow, you need to also create an environment in which people want to work
made out of a cow. And I think that’s the coolest achievement. Strangely, I never thought this would happen, and it really adds value to sort of everything about our brand. You know, Mr Arnault [Bernard, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, who bought into the Stella McCartney House in 2018] is the most successful man on earth in my industry and he wanted to invest in this brand because he knows it’s the future. And just the signal that gives to the rest of the fashion industry is big. People have got to want my stuff. I can’t survive on sustainability alone.” Up next, is a faux fur made of corn. “The fur body have tried to put out this PR thing that fur is more environmentally friendly than faux fur. It’s not true because real fur, even though it’s natural fabric or skin, is biodegradable by the nature of it. And what they do is use so many chemicals to stop the biodegradable element to it that it becomes this toxic wasteland. And then also, obviously, if you’re 56
farming animals, you’re using more water, more grain, more land. And I think the one part of the conversation that nobody really wants to talk about yet is just how barbaric and deeply cruel the industry is. I challenge anyone to get access to a leather farm, or a fur farm, or a fish farm, or a meat farm. It’s an industry that nobody wants to show you. It’s hidden, and I guess that in itself speaks very loudly. I think at some stage people will want to talk. But at present it’s the sustainability thing. This is where people can digest it.” People power is, ultimately, the answer to affecting real change in the fashion industry, believes McCartney. “How we consume is the answer. I think a lot of people are like, ‘I’m not going to have any impact’ – and you absolutely do. And the whole reason now that companies are even talking about this in the fashion industry is because they know that you guys are going to stand for nothing less. So have power in your power. Ask questions.
‘I love this bag but why don’t you make a vegan option?’ Write letters, ask questions and get informed. I make luxury fashion and it’s super hard to keep it at entry price points in some areas, because the minute you do anything good it costs more. You know, buying an organic lemon, weirdly, is more expensive than a non-organic one? That’s fundamentally and morally wrong, but the price on an animal’s head, or on a chemical’s head, is so low right now. They are worthless products. So we have to know that we have a place in that and we’re responsible in what we buy. “Every single second a truckload of fast fashion is buried or burnt. It’s worn up to a maximum of three times before it’s thrown away. So have regard for what you buy. Even if you’re going to buy fast fashion, just wear it a lot. And then when you’re done with it, swap it, give it away, rent it, keep it in the chain, keep it circular. And vintage, I grew up on vintage. It’s way cooler if you can self-style and you can have that confidence. I think now more than ever, people really are allowed to be individual about what they wear. It really shows everything about you to someone walking past you in the street. So make choices that reflect who you are and reflect what you believe. But, also, invest well, because, you can hand that down. That, to me, is a luxury. That’s luxurious. If you have one good thing that you then want to give a second life to, then it has some reason to have been made.” Which brings us onto the question of waste. It’s estimated that somewhere in the region of $500 billion is lost each year as a result of clothing being discarded, instead of being reused or recycled. “There is so much business potential there,” says McCartney. “The circularity of fashion is how we have to come at it – it’s incredibly linear right now. But if you can break down things and you can recycle them and upcycle them, that’s when you have true sustainability. I’m desperate for people to give me answers on waste, give me their waste, give it to me and I can make something out of it – that’s truly exciting, I think.”
Credit: Lucy Allen / The Interview People
Previous page, clockwise from top: Look 37; Look 3; Look 17, all Autumn 2021 These pages, from left to right: Look 15; Look 27; Look 2, all Winter 2021
MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
The Classics Why the popularity – and price – of continuation models is on the rise WORDS: MARK SMYTH
Opening pages: Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Continuation These pages, from left to right: Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Continuation; Jaguar E-Type Reborn
detail that we go into, some people ‘ The probably think we’re a little bit mad. It’s about making it the best ’
soak up the sound of the famed straightsix-cylinder XK engine as I became more acquainted with the car and began to push higher up the rev range. It’s not 100 per cent original, however, a couple of minor modifications having been made with a nod to modernity. The ignition has been updated to make sure the car starts more reliably and then there’s a very tastefully integrated audio system with DAB radio, Bluetooth and navigation. Not that I used the 21st century audio, I was too busy listening to the engine note and wondering if anyone would notice if I kept on driving. I admit I never quite understood the adoration for the E-Type, but I get it now. Of course, you could buy a pristine used E-Type for around half the price of the Reborn. Foster says: “Yes, you can buy cheaper cars, there are always alternatives out there, but the thing
that we really believe in, in our Reborn process, is that we’ve really gone to the nth detail. “The detail that we go into, some people probably think we’re a little bit mad. It’s about making it the best.” Wanting the best is where continuation models come in. Aston Martin has recreated the beautiful DB4 GT Zagato to go alongside the new DBS GT Zagato. It even told potential customers they had to buy them as a pair, for a cool £6 million ($8.2 million). They quickly sold out. Then Aston did what everyone always wanted. In response to customer requests, it provided a chance to own a limited-edition recreation of the famous gadget-laden DB5 from the James Bond film Goldfinger. The machine guns are fake, of course, and the oil slick is just dyed water, but how cool is that? It even comes with a remote control so you can operate the various gadgets from outside
Credit:© Mark Smyth / Telegraph Media Group Limited 2021
While the car industry is mostly driving forward with electric propulsion ahead of a ban on the sale of all new fossil-fuelled cars by 2030, the petrol-powered heart and soul of an iconic classic such as the Jaguar E-Type or Aston Martin DB5 still resonates with manufacturers as well as drivers and enthusiasts. In recent years, both of these companies have been busily expanding their restoration business, even creating new versions of famous old models, known as continuation cars. The Jaguar E-Type Reborn is one of a number of models that customers can have totally rebuilt to a brand new standard. Built at Jaguar Land Rover Classic near Coventry, the range has grown to include the recently announced C-Type and Camel Trophy Land Rover Defender, in addition to as-new versions of the original Land Rover and Range Rover. The E-Type Reborn starts from £295,000 ($400,000) and each one requires an originally registered car or chassis number before the painstaking job of creating a showroom-condition example begins. Whatever the costs, it’s proving to be a successful formula; JLR Classic boss Dave Foster says that many wealthy individuals are buying them because they couldn’t buy one new when they were younger. He says the Reborn programme has always been about honouring the car, thinking how it was when it first emerged from the factory and what its character was. “What hasn’t changed is the product and the amount of time and effort that we’re going into, to make sure that if they bought the car in 1961, or they bought it now, that experience is exactly the same. It’s about making sure you’re driving the car as it was made.” Which is what we did. With the E-Type recently celebrating its 60th birthday, after being unveiled at the Geneva motor show in 1961 to universal acclaim, now seemed a good time to become acquainted with a car that should feel the same as when it was first built. It starts on the button and everything feels as new as the day it left the factory; it even smells new. I expected the steering to have more play in it than my kids at home-school time, but it was surprisingly precise. It was a joy to change gears, to
the car. It costs £2.75 million ($3.7 million) plus taxes – and 22 of the 25 have already been sold. Simon Lane, director of special projects at Aston Martin, says: “The DB5 Goldfinger is the car that most often our customers cite as being the car that inspired them to buy an Aston Martin in the first place. “So many of them had the Corgi model [of the Bond DB5] when they were young and that’s been part of the driver behind the success of that particular product.” Bentley is also in the new old-car game. It has just built the first of a number of continuation models of its famous Bentley Blower, a recreation of its 1929 race car. Only 12 are going to be made, all of which are sold at a price of £1.8 million. There is a rather big caveat to brand new continuation models though. You’re not allowed to drive them on public roads. This doesn’t apply to the E-Type (and Reborn Land Rovers) because it’s effectively a restoration, but otherwise you’ll need access to a private road, like one Aston Goldfinger customer in Singapore who drives his car around the perimeter road of his estate. Lane says: “The challenge with continuation cars is that clearly we want to be authentic in the method of construction but the legislation for homologating cars now is very complex and completely different to what it would have looked like in the 1960s. “We’ve re-engineered the cars to modern standards but stayed faithful to the original. That means that it won’t pass modern crash testing or pedestrian impact testing, for example, or emissions testing, because we’ve built it as it was built back in the 1960s.” Sadly these models aren’t selling at 1960s prices, but most are accounted for shortly after they are announced. So who buys them? Edward Lovett, founder of the Collecting Cars classic car auction website says: “There’s plenty of wealthy people out there that fancy something rare and if that’s what the manufacturers have got, then they’ll take one. As we all know, there’s no shortage of cash in the world.” Some of that cash is being spent on converting classics to electric and both Jaguar and Aston Martin have built electric versions of some of their most iconic models, with more to come, but for
many it’s just not the same. Lane says: “You really have to think about driving a car of this type, you can’t just get in it, press drive and be relatively unengaged with the driving experience, they are very immersive. “As we move into the world of electrification there will still be customers who want to have that kind of driving experience as their
plaything, as their Sunday toy or in their collection, there is definitely a desire for that.” The popularity of continuation models shows that the past is still very much a part of the future. It does beg the money-no-object question though: if you could have a brand new version of any famous classic car (or even a not so famous one), what would it be? 61
Gastronomy MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
Mexican overdrive Karime Lopez has worked at some of the world’s finest restaurants – and now heads one herself. AIR meets the Mexican in the driving seat at the celebrated Gucci Osteria Florence WORDS: JOHN THATCHER
or a chef to truly master one cuisine takes a mixture of dedication, tenacity, and a generous dollop of skill. To master a few, takes that and more, the key ingredient being pure passion. “We, as Mexicans, are born with this passion; it’s a big part of our culture,” states Karime Lopez, Head Chef of the first Gucci Osteria based in Florence, Italy, for whom she claimed a Michelin star last year and, with it, the honour of being the first female Mexican chef ever to be awarded the coveted prize. It was fitting reward for a culinary journey that began, as most do, knee high to her mother in the family kitchen, where Lopez would observe the twice daily routine of her mother preparing the family meals, eager to lend a hand. “Also, my father’s family own a few traditional restaurants in Mexico, so I was surrounded by food from an early age; I grew up respecting and loving hospitality.” That love was to be indulged, of all places, in the City of Love itself, where Lopez first headed to study art when a teenager. “It was the impactful discovery of the beautiful French patisseries and Parisian salons de thé and their art de vivre, that made me realise during my student years, how much food could be appreciated as an art form in itself.” It’s an appreciation that Lopez holds today, her beautifully presented dishes at Gucci Osteria as easy on the eye as they are the on the palate. “In the kitchen, I like to work with my hands and bring ideas to life,” she says. “In many ways, I think I’m doing the same as an artist, and the difference is that you can eat the finished product rather than view the piece of artwork. The aesthetic is a part of the creative process that I enjoy, so both art and food follow the same path. They are very interconnected.” Born and raised in Querétaro, north of Mexico City, Lopez’s study abroad would ignite her wanderlust and fuel her desire to learn more. When it became clear that her passion for food would ultimately map her career path, she sought time in the world’s foremost kitchens, learning her craft from some of the best chefs in the business, chief among them, the late Santi Santamaria, who helmed 64
the three Michelin-star Can Fabes in Spain. “I have found mentors critical throughout my career, and it started with my family in Mexico,” says Lopez. “Professionally, Santi Santamaria was my first mentor. He gave me my first job opportunity, and I learnt a lot when I joined his restaurant in 2005. In the kitchen, we were understaffed, and there were just ten chefs. His style of cuisine was very detail orientated [bourgeois Spanish/French], so there was lots of intricate work. “I spent some time in Chef Enrique Olvera’s restaurant Pujol in Mexico City, and this was also a significant influence for me. At Pujol, I learnt that cooking in a kitchen is more than just heavyduty work; it can also be a pleasure and fun source. Chef Seiji Yamamoto was also important; I worked at his three Michelin-star restaurant Nihonryori RyuGin in Japan. He showed me how deep a food concept could be and how crucial respect for the product is.” In addition to those aforementioned chefs, Lopez also spent time under the direction of Luis Andoni Aduriz at the ever-innovative Mugaritz, and some six years alongside Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon at the acclaimed Central
Opening pages, from left to right: purple corn tostada; sea deepness These pages, from left to right: Karime Lopez; blackberry picking
in Lima, helping to develop what is now termed New Peruvian Cuisine. “Apprenticeships started my path into the cooking world, and they defined my way of thinking inside and outside the kitchen; each experience shaped and taught me a lot. After all these different experiences, you can then decide what you like and what you want to change and put some of your own identity on each project.” Lopez’s identity is very much woven into the tapestry of Gucci Osteria Florence, the culinary flagship of the fashion brand which has designs on opening outposts in selected cities across the world (Los Angeles welcomed one to Beverly Hills last year), all driven by Lopez’s unique interpretation of Massimo Bottura’s vision, who heads the project with Gucci. “I owe him [Massimo Bottura] everything. I am now at the helm of Gucci Osteria in Florence because Massimo believed in me. He taught me, among many other things, the utter importance of building a solid team you can rely on.” Teamwork is of obvious importance to Lopez, who cites it as the factor that sets Gucci Osteria apart. “When
We sum the team’s know-how and mix it with an exuberant vision: the result is a unique combination of flavours that taste like the world cooking with my team, we’re all connected, even if we have different backgrounds, coming from all over the world. We’re bringing to the table our memories, our cultural approach, but also the way we’re currently trying to express ourselves. “We live in a beautiful and inspiring environment: Gucci Garden, located in the Renaissance Palazzo della Mercanzia in Piazza della Signoria, and one of the most incredible cities in the world, Florence. This allows us to be constantly stimulated by some of the finest forms of art, which, eventually, are becoming part of us, part of the way we think, the way we dream, even if we are not conscious about it yet. “We sum the team’s know-how and mix it with an exuberant vision:
the result is a unique combination of flavours that taste like the world.” For someone who has travelled so extensively, so broadly, throughout her life, lockdown may well have proved incredibly tough to stomach. Yet Lopez is not one to waste the gift of time. “Lockdown gave me a lot more time to be creative,“ she says. “In restaurants, timelines are usually very short and quite rushed, so the temporary closure afforded me time to re-evaluate professionally and personally. “I used the extra time to develop new ideas, try out new things in the kitchen and create new dishes for the menu when we reopen together with my team. We are also planning to open a Gucci Osteria in Tokyo later this year, so we used this time
to research and start planning. “Each culture has its way to appreciate food, so it’s essential to understand this to move forward with each project. Every detail can change the way guests and diners perceive your proposal, so it is crucial to learn and understand the traditions.” One other challenge that Lopez is keen to take on is that of gender and social inequality in the culinary industry. “I think there are many reasons it’s still challenging - we need to start thinking about talent, not gender or race and give more of a voice to minorities, stop asking why we are still in this position and take action,” she says, with the same passion that has helped take her from her mother’s side to the very top of her profession. 65
JOURNEYS BY JET
Four Seasons Hotel DIFC
Travel MAY 2021 : ISSUE 116
here’s a sun-kissed spot on the seventh floor of this stylish Four Seasons property that belies its location at the heart of the city’s busy financial district. Up here, aside a unique, glass-walled pool, cabanas cosset couples basking in the tranquillity of a high-designed space that feels a world away from the streets below. Across the same floor, The Pearl Spa dials it down a further notch, offering tailored treatments to rejuvenate mind and body before night falls and guests indulge in the vibrancy of their location. The city’s most celebrated restaurants – the likes of Zuma, LPM, Shanghai Me, and Gaia – are all within a few steps of the hotel, which also homes a deservedly hyped restaurant of its own – MINA Brasserie. Developed by Egypt-born, US-based chef Michael Mina, who has racked up Michelin stars for his restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas, its impeccable design takes its cues from the traditional brasseries of Paris and blends it with inspiration from closer to home, that of the modern-art filled galleries potted throughout DIFC. This is a place that also marries faultless brasserie staples – highlights include an inventive take on tuna tartare, prepared tableside; a velvety, rich, baked camembert topped with caramelised truffle nuts; a decadent lobster pot pie; and a perfected Café de Paris striploin – with a highly impressive craft cocktail and outstanding wine list that make pre- or post-dinner drinks a must, particularly if taken on the wonderful terrace, one of the city’s best social spots. You can also enjoy inventive drinks and a prestige wine list – served with a side order of spectacular city skyline views – at the hotel’s rooftop lounge, Luna Dubai. Designed by Adam Tibany, this unique space encompasses the whole of the rooftop and comes alive at night, when the starlit sky above shines a light on the bright young things gathered below. While the hotel’s vibrant vibe feels very Lower Manhattan, one thing that sets it apart is the size of its rooms. Traditionally box-size at best in New York, here rooms are spacious, bathed in natural light, and replete with amenities like the iPad Mini. The pick of the offerings is the Penthouse Suite. It bestows Burj Khalifa views and, naturally for a hotel big on stylish social spots, a great entertaining space. Four Seasons Hotel DIFC is everything a city hotel strives to be – an energetic hotspot with the best of the city on its doorstep. Better still, it also affords its guests complimentary use of the facilities at sister property Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, where the high life of DIFC gives way to beachside bliss. It’s a wonderful way to spend the weekend. Land your jet at Dubai International Airport, from where a 20-minute limousine transfer to the hotel can be pre-arranged. fourseasons.com/dubaidifc 67
What I Know Now
MAY 2021: ISSUE 116
Princess Antea Brugnoni Allita FOUNDER, ROI DU LAC In a business environment, the only rule I follow to manage my venture is the famous motto of the maritime Republic of Genoa: ‘Who keeps control has the upper hand on things - my father’s constant adagio.’ A rule that is as efficient in the entrepreneurial world as it is a guarantee of failure in the personal one. Seeing our most iconic dress in Bergdorf Goodman’s shop window during our first season was an indescribable emotion. It is also true that the definition of success itself changes with one’s growth. What is my challenge today? To create a sustainable business for myself, my family, my employees and all those whose life is affected by the quality of our work. I check on our atelier at least once a day to make sure that everything is running smoothly, that the same degree of 68
attention is put in our production as well as our sampling process and – last but not least – to listen to the feedback of our clients, not only on technical aspects, but also on the aesthetic ones. No relationship lasts forever. It may seem obvious to most, but we all tend to consider our personal relationships as well as our professional ones as an investment in a long-lasting future. Realising that the path with an agent, a sales representative, or a commercial partner can be a short one helps us understand its value in that precise moment of the growth of our business. In opposition to the first years of our brand, in which we were focused on the outside world and on what was happening in the other fashion houses, I feel today we are more and more focused on our inner
value. This means also considering our collective history, shaping our identity, and reconnecting with our traditions. To give you an example, we are now working on different drawings inspired by the Italian historical heritage, a sign that would have been inconsiderable for us in the past years, when we were instead concentrated on topics such as Russian fairy tales of the 19th century, or Mexico as seen through the eyes of Diego Rivera. I feel successful every time I hand out our product to a happy customer. It is a confirmation that the effort we put into making a high quality, elegant product, is appreciated. I would advise my younger self to worry less and enjoy more of the incredible adventure it is to create a company from scratch.
Wash Basin and Accessories: RAK-DES Bathtub: RAK-CLOUD Shower Tray: RAK-FEELING Mirror: RAK-JOY
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 Executive Lounge on the 37th floor. Enjoy celebratory dining in over 10 award-winning restaurants, and pampering at the luxurious Saray Spa.
JW Marriott® Marquis® Hotel Dubai marriott.com/DXBJW Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, UAE | T +971.4.414.0000 | jwmarriottmarquisdubai.com