Air Magazine - Empire Aviation - November'19

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Fifty Two

Stephen Doig meets Oscarwinner Mahershala Ali to discuss style, prejudice, and the modern man.

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, city resident Lara Brunt reports on how the creative class has flourished.

Man of the Moment


Berlin, Redefined


Sixty Six

How Sandy Schreier acquired the world’s largest private collection of high fashion.

In the murky world of stolen art, Arthur Brand shines bright. AIR meets the man who hunts out stolen masterpieces.

The Immaculate Collection

The Art Hunter


Contents NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102


Radar Twenty

Critique Twenty Nine



Chief Creative Officer

John Thatcher


Objects of Desire Managing Editor

Faye Bartle

Forty Two


Contributors Chris Anderson, Lara Brunt,

Seventy Four


Sophia Dyer, Hazel Plush, Ronak Sagar C

Seventy Eight




Art Director

Journeys by Jet

Kerri Bennett Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

Eighty Four

What I Know Now


Leona Beth Mary Sibande, I’m A Lady, 2009. Copyright of the artist


Eighty Two

COMMERCIAL Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher General Manager

David Wade Commercial Director

Rawan Chehab

Thirty Five

Art & Design Hazel Plush discovers how contemporary artist Mary Sibande brings to life the unrealised dreams of her enslaved ancestors

PRODUCTION Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

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.








UNWRAP YOUR FESTIVE HAPPY What will bring you happiness this festive season? Will it be decadent feasts or blissful spa indulgence? Perhaps it’s sharing gifts with friends and family on Christmas morning, waking up to a spectacular view or dancing through the night on New Year’s Eve. Whatever your wishes may be, Four Seasons Hotels Dubai invites you to unwrap your own special happy this holiday. Book your festive stay on

Empire Aviation Group NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102

Welcome to this issue of AIR – our private aviation lifestyle magazine for aircraft owners and charter clients. It’s ‘show time’ once again – Dubai Air Show 2019 – and so this is a special issue of AIR reflecting some of the stories we will be sharing around this major event, which attracts the entire regional and international aviation industry. It’s also a great opportunity to meet with many of our owners, clients and partners – and to share our passion for all things related to aviation. We will also be bringing some new technology to the show in the form of an ‘Augmented Reality’ (AR) App to minimise paper use – visitors can just scan our logo with the App and then enjoy the Empire Aviation presentation on their smartphones.

Welcome Onboard ISSUE 102

Our range of services continues to expand and so does our geographical reach and operations. At the show, we are very pleased to announce the introduction of our comprehensive aircraft management service in Egypt – a country with tremendous potential and where we believe private aviation will continue to grow. As we add Egypt to our country operations listing for management and charter, we have already taken one business jet under full-service management and which will also be offered to the charter market. Closely aligned with aircraft management, our CAMO set of services go from strength to strength and allow us to demonstrate our expertise in helping aircraft owners meet their stringent legal and technical demands. It’s our ability to draw together all these strands of private aviation – sales, management, operations, CAMO and charter – that means Empire Aviation can support owners and operators so effectively. It’s also down to the quality of our team and our shared passion, and to the privilege of making private aviation a great experience, whether you are an owner or a charter guest. The team has just achieved its latest recognition when Empire Aviation was shortlisted by Aviation Business Middle East magazine for the Business Aircraft Operator of the Year 2019 award, with a well-earned commendation from the judging panel.

Paras P. Dhamecha Managing Director

Cover: Mahershala Ali, Getty Images

Contact Details: / 13

Empire Aviation Group NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102

Integrating private aviation services Empire Aviation’s range of services underpin its global operation

Empire Aviation Group has built a global private aviation business, based on a distinctive aircraft asset management approach, since launching in Dubai in 2007. Empire Aviation now manages a global operation covering the Middle East, India, Africa, Europe, Hong Kong and the US, with AOCs (or equivalent) in the UAE, San Marino, and India. The boutique operation has a sales and brokerage presence that covers the US, while the focus of aircraft operations extends from Europe to Hong Kong. With more than 20 business jets under management (seven of which are currently available to the charter market) Empire has the largest managed mixed fleet of business jets in the region and a team of more than 120 staff, based worldwide. Most recently, the company has extended aircraft management operations to Egypt with a Bombardier Global 6000 under management and available for charter. Our asset 14

management approach means that each managed aircraft owner has a unique business model and a set of personalised services. The team integrates all the major functions of private aviation ownership and operations – management, operations, CAMO and charter, as well as aircraft sales. It’s the integration of these comprehensive services and the expertise and experience developed by the team that makes

this level of service possible. What’s the relationship between aircraft sales and management? Quite simply, a team that understands the needs of a buyer/seller and an owner, and how to protect the value of an aircraft asset, is also best positioned to advise on aircraft acquisition decisions and management. Our aircraft sales capabilities and experience extends to global markets and transactions. Our role as an aircraft management company provides us with a perspective that helps differentiate us from brokers and we know what aircraft sell and how to maximise their residual values for owners who choose to sell. Our sales experience includes the sale of pre-owned aircraft in and out of the Middle East region, India, Africa and the United States and includes acquiring new aircraft directly from all the major business jet manufacturers on behalf of our clients.

Empire Aviation Group NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102

CAMO makes its mark CAMO set of services helps make ownership a positive and rewarding experience

Closely aligned with aircraft management, our CAMO (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization) set of services ensures aircraft owners comply with the stringent legal and technical demands of operating a business jet. This is based on our extensive experience of aircraft management and operations and helps to make ownership a positive and rewarding experience. Empire Aviation’s (CAMO) certification is central to aircraft management services and has 16

been launched as a stand-alone offer for third party aircraft owners and operators. A Global 6000 and Gulfstream 650 are already on CAMO-only contracts and the group takes responsibility for the quality management, auditing and records of each contracted aircraft. CAMO is much more than an administrative responsibility – it’s a commitment to the fundamental and legal responsibility for the ‘air worthiness’ of an aircraft and all this entails, culminating in a Certificate

of Release to Service. Without this, the aircraft will not be able to fly. Scaling an international CAMOcertified business demands a professional team of aviation specialists who can successfully integrate new services and safely extend operations into new markets. The team comprises appropriately qualified staff for airworthiness management and, as with every aviation organization, a CAMO is subject to audits by aviation authorities.

PRAETOR 500: THE BEST MIDSIZE JET EVER. The Praetor 500 surpassed its design goals in range, takeoff distance and high-speed cruise. The disruptive Praetor 500 leads the way in performance, comfort and technology. As the farthest- and fastest-flying midsize jet with 3,340 nm range and a high-speed cruise of 466 ktas, the Praetor 500 makes nonstop, cornerto-corner flights across North America. Miami to Seattle. San Francisco to Gander. Los Angeles to New York. It also connects the U.S. west coast to Europe and South America with just one stop. The jet takes you right where you need to be with its enviable access to challenging airports. The lowest cabin altitude in the class assures that you arrive energized. The ultra-quiet cabin with home-like connectivity is perfect for work, relaxing or conversation in a normal tone of voice. Plus, Embraer is the only business jet manufacturer to offer full fly-by-wire in the midsize segment, with turbulence reduction capability. The precise union of style, comfort, innovation and technology create a sophisticated, powerful travel experience. Lead the way now in a Praetor 500. Find out more at




Radar NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102

Image: FORD GT, 2003–2006, René Staud © 2019 Staud Studios GmbH, Leonberg, Germany. All rights reserved

As Formula One roars into Abu Dhabi this month, gear up for all the action with a flick through the pages of Neo Classics, a new coffee table tome that celebrates one-of-a-kind or special short-run cars. Shot by René Staud – who’s widely considered the most innovative photographer in the industry and the ‘Master of Light’ – nearly 300 pages display these coveted collectors’ items at their dazzling best, from the Bugatti Chiron and Lamborghini Huracán Spyder, to the Mercedes-AMG One and the Ford GT pictured here. Neo Classics is published by teNeues and available now


Critique NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102

Film Marriage Story Dir: Noah Baumbach Representing the drama of divorce, Noah Baumbach dissects and gives a perceptive look at a marriage breaking apart and a family staying together. AT BEST: A 137-minute depiction of a marriage coming apart in which unusual intimacy is created, paradoxically, by big and spirited performances. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal AT WORST: This is hilarious, heartbreaking cinema – a work that will make you burst out laughing one moment, and leave you tearing your hair out the next. – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

Le Mans 66 (Ford V Ferrari) Dir: James Mangold AIR

Christian Bale and Matt Damon star in a biographical drama based on the motor racing rivalry between giants Ford and Ferrari. AT BEST: So thrillingly well made that it’s only later, when your pulse slows, that you see how formulaic it is. But formulas are made to be overhauled, and this film has some fascinating upgrades. – David Edelstein, New York Magazine AT WORST: Tiringly acted and inert sports drama. – The Guardian

Knives Out The surprising death of a family patriarch on his 85th birthday leads to an investigation by a master detective. AT BEST: Johnson keeps us guessing, but the thing that makes this a better mousetrap than most isn’t the complexity, but the fact he’s managed to rig it without the usual cheese. – Variety AT WORST: Best to remember that those old movies Johnson embraces were really not that great. –

Honey Boy Dir: Alma Har’el Shia Lebeouf’s screenplay illustrates the actor’s struggles with his addictions and attempts to reconcile with his father. AT BEST: Filmmaker Alma Har’el gives LaBeouf’s vulnerable exercise a purposely unruly shape, mapping the chaos of addiction with guts and style. – Tomris Laffly, Time Out AT WORST: Imperfect and messy, but few can doubt LaBeouf’s commitment to self-exposé. – CineVue 20

Image Credit: Claire Folger © 2018 MRC II Distribution Company L.P. All rights reserved./Wilson Webb / Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

Dir: Rian Johnson

Critique NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102



Dear Evan Hansen. Credit: Andrew Barth Feldman and Lisa Brescia, photo by Matthew Murphy


he Tony Award-winning play Dear Evan Hansen, on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre until June 21, has picked up rave reviews. “The role of Evan Hansen requires strong acting and singing skills and Ben Levi Ross is up to the task, holding the audience in the palm of his hand from the first minute of the show…” writes Andra Abramson of DC Metro Theatre Arts. “He guides the audience through Evan’s growth from a scared kid on the verge of doing something terrible to a confident young man able to face whatever challenges might come his way.” Peter Marks of Washington Post shares, “Traversing the terrain of teenage loneliness, a condition exacerbated by the acidity of social media, Dear Evan Hansen is about finding the inner resources to overcome one’s anxieties and insecurities and grow”. “The true strength of Dear Evan Hansen as a show lies in its ability to make Evan’s story stirring but never lachrymose,” says Christopher Caggiano of The Arts Fuse. “That’s quite a balance to achieve, a testament to the skills of composer/lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, as well as their librettist Steven Levenson. Playing at New York’s Imperial


Theatre till June 7, the “electrifying” musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations , tells the story of the Motown quintet. “Full of hard work and drama, personal conflict and social and political revolutions, the story of The Temptations is also the story of the famed record label Motown,” notes Donna Herman of The New York Theatre Guide. “So, it is the story of R&B music and there is absolutely nothing more compelling than that tale. Noted playwright Dominique Morisseau, who is no stranger to writing about the world of music, has woven the narrative with the music brilliantly.” “Polished performances, slick choreography (by Sergio Trujillio) and a slate of 31 Motown tunes should satisfy audiences who might not be looking for probing storytelling, as long as the show delivers wellperformed hits,” writes Frank Rizzo from Variety. Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Post found the musical pretty standard, “ Proud this show is — but distinctive, it ain’t.” The thrilling Ghost Stories returns to London’s West End until January 4. “The format is brilliant,” praises Samantha Willis for Time Out London. “Our host is Professor Goodman

– originally played by the show’s co-creator Andy Nyman, now by Simon Lipkin – who regales us with a series of spooky tales he deems both terrifying and unexplainable. The unexplainable bit is questionable, but still – it’s a real recipe for jokes, and jumps, as things appear unexpectedly in the dark, and it all wraps around to a smart surprise finale.” Alun Hood of WhatsOnStage shares his experience: “It is, if anything, even more impressive this time around, the advances in theatrical technology within the last decade meaning that the tension created by Nick Manning’s deeply unsettling sound design, James Farncombe’s murky, atmospheric lighting and Scott Penrose’s ingenious special effects, is ratcheted up to almost unbearable levels.” Henry Hitchings, of the London Evening Standard, was also captivated. “The show’s creators dial up the tension effectively, and it’s technically impressive. Sometimes the more macabre moments are at risk of being diluted by bursts of giggly humour, and the stories could be more varied. But this is a shrewdly packaged 85 minutes that will satisfy theatregoers eager to conspire in its hammy horror.”



FROM DREAMS & INSPIRATION SPRINGS THE ROYAL MANSOUR From the exquisite mosaics adorning its palatial interiors to the mesmerising murmur of the fountains in the courtyards, the Royal Mansour reflects the beauty, grace and indeed, the very soul of Morocco. A first glimpse of this sensual luxury makes the heart beat faster, awakening the senses. But the true relaxation offered by this paradise in the centre of bustling Marrakech can only be experienced by a stay amidst the elegant tranquillity and attention to detail of the Royal Mansour. You and those you love will leave refreshed in mind, body and spirit.

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Critique NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102



n his review of A Dangerous Man, Tim Nolan of The Wall Street Journal writes, “Crais unspools this tense and involving saga… with dashes of wit, lots of local colour, many bursts of sudden action and some 300 pages of relentless suspense.” Says Kirkus Reviews, “Told from the alternating perspectives of Joe, Elvis, and various criminals, the story becomes multilayered while the tension builds. Crais never loses control of his clean, clear prose or his ability to sketch fully fleshed characters in a few scenes, with Joe providing the action and Elvis providing the insight ... A taut, exceptional thriller.” Also impressed by Crais, Publisher Weekly proclaims, “Outstanding… Crais begins the story with deceptive simplicity but slowly ratchets up both the tension and the action with surgical precision…. The particular kind of danger [Joe Pike] carries is just plain off the charts. This one’s sure to hit the bestseller charts.” “Crais is a whip-smart writer,” says Wes Lukowsky of Booklist, “Cole and Pike are carefully drawn, multilayered characters who’ve grown more complex through the years. This is one of the very best entries in a longrunning and still first-rate series.” Red at the Bone, by Jaquelin Woodson, “continues her sensitive exploration of what it means to be a black girl in America ... an exquisitely wrought tale,” says Heller McAlpin of NPR, “It reads like poetry and drama, a cry from the heart that often cuts close to the bone. There isn’t a character in this book you don’t come to care about, even when you question their choice... Woodson’s language is beautiful throughout Red at the Bone, but it positively soars in the sections written from Iris’ mother’s point of view.” Touched by the story of the central character, R.O. Kwon of The New 24

York Times Book Review writes, “Profoundly moving...Again and again, in rich detail, Woodson gives life to Iris’s growing desires ... to depict a mother eager to leave her baby is a far less told story, and it’s astonishing, it’s a feat, to see how lovingly, even joyfully, Woodson sees Iris’s desires through ... With its abiding interest in the miracle of everyday love, Red at the Bone is a proclamation.” Nancy Gilson, reviewing for The Columbus Dispatch says, “Woodson’s writing is so lyrical and touching that it can make a reader ache ... a beautiful analysis of adolescence, desire, parenthood and self-discovery through the lens of one American family.” Reviewing An Absolutely Remarkable Thing for Booklist, Craig Clark writes, “Green uses mathematics, science, and classic rock references to energize April’s journey of self- discovery as she navigates her own relationships, fear-mongering enemies, and a press that feeds off endless speculation. At once funny, exciting, and a tad terrifying, this exploration of aliens and social-media culture is bound to have wide appeal to readers interested in either theme.” David Canfield of Entertainment Weekly had mixed feelings about the book, “Green spins a fine speculative yarn – even if he bows out with an unduly cheap, sequel-staging cliffhanger – but the writing is lacking.” On the other hand, Carla Jean Whitley of Bookpage says, “Green’s debut novel is an adventurous romp that combines science fiction and interpersonal drama to explore identity, relationships, a polarized world and the influence of media and popular opinion. As such, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a fun, fast read that invites readers to contemplate their position in the modern world.”

Credit: Penguin Random House


Critique NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102



Fons Americanus. Credit: Tate, Matt Greenwood


ara Walker’s Fons Americanus occupies Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall till April 5. “One of Walker’s reference points has been the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace: a great, ludicrous heap of marble and gilded nonsense, topped by a Winged Victory,” says Adrian Searle of The Guardian “So Fons Americanus is also a heap of allusions and references, humour and horror. Playing on an odious sentimentality, inverting stereotypes, Walker’s aim is to entertain as she instructs.” Derica Shields from Frieze had a moment of confusion “Tate’s wall text for Walker’s Fons Americanus describes a Venus with arms splayed to gesture her ‘liberation’. But Venus appears dangerously off-balance; are her arms flung out for help? This queasy


mix of the sadism enabled by Britain’s imperial project and the idylls of the imperial imaginary submerges viewers in the psychic waters that Walker’s work dredges.” Rachel Spence of Financial Times explains, “From the female figure on the peak – who is arched back in ecstasy/agony, a deep cut in her throat – to the sea captain planted below her, and the sharks gasping their last breath in the shallows, Walker has transformed her material (a non-toxic, sustainable, fake marble) into a brave, fierce, kooky diatribe against the British empire – a crucial engineer of the transatlantic slave trade – and the public monuments that celebrate it.” Until January 5, Mark Leckey exhibits O’ Magic Power of Bleakness at Tate Britain. Of it, Adrian Searle of The Guardian writes, “The

motorway bridge, which appeared in Dream English Kid, is more than just a stage setting. Growing up close by, Leckey remembers it as a place of mystery as well as escape for neighbourhood kids, a feral no man’s land – and a portal to another world. A familiar trope in children’s literature – from CS Lewis to Alan Garner, JK Rowling and Philip Pullman – the prosaic entrance to an unseen world, a flaw in the fabric of reality, is an enduring fantasy. Leckey experienced something here, and it hasn’t gone away.” Gedelieve de Bree of The Strand was impressed but frustrated, “This exhibition is an excellent example of truly experiencing installation art. It’s momentarily awe-inspiring, but the fact of it is, it is only momentary, and I’m not sold. I’m angry even; I can’t imagine the cost of installing this replica bridge, but what I can imagine is all the better ways that that money could have been spent.” “There is one great Tahitian painting here that encapsulates what I think Gauguin was doing,” notes Jonathan Jones for The Guardian about the Gauguin Portraits , hanging at the National Museum in London’s Trafalgar Square until January 26. “It portrays Teha’amana, a Tahura sitting in a striped European dress of the type Christian missionaries imposed on their flocks, with a collar up to the neck. But she’s put flowers in her hair that suggest a richer, more sensual civilisation. Her eyes look off into regions of inward thought. She is remembering.” It would seem that Eddy Frankel isn’t one of Gauguin’s biggest fans. Writing for Time Out London, he says: “The show opens with eight selfportraits. Gauguin’s heavy jaw fills each canvas like a lump of fleshy rock, his sharp nose carves through each composition like a butcher’s knife. He’s the diligent artist at his easel in one broody work, the wanton, louche creative in another, and in one he’s the Messiah. He was an arrogant, self-aggrandising mythologiser. That’s the message.”

Jewellery NOVEMBER 2019 : ISSUE 102

No Stone Unturned From royalty to Hollywood stars, we shine a light on the influential women who inspired some of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most treasured jewels, and the fascinating tales behind the unions WORDS: FAYE BARTLE


t’s a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. The Pivoine, a double peony clip regarded as a masterpiece and one of the most beautiful jewels ever created by Van Cleef & Arpels, has somehow become separated since it was unveiled in 1937. While the closed design is safely tucked away in the Van Cleef & Arpels private collection, the open flower brooch remains at large. High jewellery historians live in hope of the two clips reuniting, and hence being able to fill the gaps in the story, but we know enough about the recovered clip to imagine the gripping journey it may have been on. The Pivoine was thought to have once belonged to Egypt’s fascinating Princess Faiza. Adorned with 640

perfect rubies totalling 95 carats and no less than 239 diamonds of 29,72 carats, it was bought in 1946 by Mahmoud Fakhry Pacha, who served as the Egyptian ambassador in Paris for over 20 years. The brooch was believed to be intended for Princess Faiza, sister of H.M. King Farouk. One of Egypt’s most stylish princesses (her gala dinners at Cairo’s Zohria Palace were legendary and she was often spotted on the French Riviera), the clip was returned to Van Cleef & Arpels for a general review in 1950 during a trip to Paris. As author Vincent Meylan writes in his Van Cleef & Arpels-commissioned book, Treasures & Legends, which inspired the landmark display at the high jewellery company’s boutique on Dubai Opera Plaza, it was one of 29


Opening page: Replica of Her Imperial Highness Farah Pahlavi’s tiara, 1967. White gold, silver, non precious stones Right: Peony clip, 1937. Platinum, yellow gold, Mystery Set rubies, diamonds. Purchased by Mahmoud Fakhry Pasha for HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt; Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor Next page: Collaret, 1929. Platinum, emeralds, diamonds. Purchased by Sarwat Bey for HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt

the many jewels that changed hands during her annual jaunts to Europe with her husband. On one such journey, she was photographed in the garden of the Ritz Paris wearing a diamond Ballerina clip by the maison which, as she posed in her wide-brimmed hat and elegant white gloves in the hotel’s gardens, lives on as a snapshot of the epitome of Parisienne chic. After the revolution of 1952, Princess Faiza left Egypt for Europe and Turkey before settling in California, where she died in 1994. As explained in the book, the closing Pivoine clip appeared at auction at Christie’s in Geneva in 1971, where it was happily bought back by Van Cleef & Arpels. It is just one of the many femalefocused stories being told at the Dubai exhibition, which marks Van Cleef & Arpels’ first heritage showcase in the Middle East. Through it, the maison shines a light on over 50 high jewellery pieces that once belonged to influential women, including Queen Nazli of Egypt, the Maharani of Baroda, the Duchess of Windsor, and Princess Grace of Monaco, to name just a few. Spanning more than a century of creations, it delves into the stories of the maison’s illustrious clientele and the exceptional stones they owned. “The exhibition, which represents decades of work and presents a deep angle on years of knowledge, is a dialogue between the history of the pieces and the thematics of Van Cleef & Arpels’ high jewellery expertise. Some of the pieces have never been on public display before,” says Lise Macdonald, the maison’s heritage and exhibition director. “Aside from the personal story of the closing Pivoine clip once belonging to Princess Faiza, the piece is the perfect illustration of the floral influences dear to the maison, and is considered a technical triumph 30

on account of the Mystery Set peonies. The workmanship is outstanding, as the rubies needed to match each other perfectly to give it that velvet look.” The detail is, indeed, mesmerising, with the tiaras, crowns, and other royal fineries each offering a glimpse of the character of the muse it was destined for. As Macdonald explains: “The prominent women these pieces once belonged to were the trendsetters of their time. As such, they showcase the key styles that marked the decades of the 20th century, from the 1930s Art Deco movement, to the 1950s couture influence, to the ethnic inspiration of the 1970s.” The character of another iconic client, and royal favourite of the maison, Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, is also evident in the exhibition. Representing milestones in the scandalous love story between her and King Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor (who famously abdicated the throne to be with Simpson, and who spent long stretches at the maison adding personal touches to his gifts for his wife), it brings to light some of the lesser known jewels that bared her stamp. “The Duchess of Windsor was known for her boldness and for pushing boundaries,” informs Macdonald of the woman who inspired the maison’s iconic Zip necklace. On display for this exhibition is a necklace and earring set dated to 1955, featuring yellow gold, turquoises, and diamonds, as well as a small pill box created by the Duchess for a friend, engraved with the words: ‘Merry Christmas with love from Wallis Windsor’. “The Armoire Chinoise desk clock, which was commissioned for her by the Duke of Windsor in 1930, recalls the craze for Chinese materials, forms, and decors during that time,” says

The prominent “ women these pieces

once belonged to were the trendsetters of their time. As such, they showcase the key styles that marked the decades of the 20th century



Macdonald. “The black lacquer doors [depicting a landscape with ducks] can be opened to reveal the green jade dial. It is a very interesting example of the Art Deco style, while being an object of art at the same time.” As Meylan writes in his book, the Duchess would find herself in the British newspapers again in 1946 when a robbery at Ednam Lodge in Berkshire, where she and the Duke were enjoying a short trip, relieved the Duchess of the contents of her jewellery boxes. Eleven pieces were stolen in total, including a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace, from which hung two impressive Ceylon sapphires. It was never seen again. However, there are many surviving pieces from this love story, many of which were inscribed with tokens of affection. This is despite the wishes of the Duke who, before he died, requested that the jewels be dismantled and the stones sold so that no other woman could wear them. Fast forward 14 years, however, and, following Wallis’ death, her collection (a total of 306 lots) was sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva, including most of the pieces created by Van Cleef & Arpels during the early years of their relationship. Another heroine that shines bright through the collection is India’s Princess Salimah Aga Khan. A socialite of her time, she was born as Sally Croker-Poole in Delhi in 1940, where her father was an officer in the 6th Lancers. After graduating Parisian finishing school and debuting in 1958, she was married to Lord James Crichton-Stuart for two years, before going onto carve a career as one of England’s top fashion models. In 1969 she married the 49th Aga Khan and became Princess Begum Salimah Aga Khan. It was then that her flair for style, art and jewellery came to the fore, travelling frequently to France and Sardinia where she acquired an impressive collection of jewels. “Among them was an impressive Indian set from Van Cleef & Arpels, which remains a unique emblem today,” enthused Macdonald. The gold necklace, which features in the Dubai exhibition, is graced by diamonds and exquisite engraved emeralds and can be transformed into two bracelets or a choker. 32

The archives have been very well kept from their beginning in 1906, but as we continue the quest for lost pieces, amazingly, more reappear

“It speaks of the travels undertaken by the Arpels brothers to India in the 1960s and 1970s, and the bold presence of very colourful stones linked together in long necklaces during this time,” says Macdonald. “Princess Salimah Aga Khan was known for wearing very long beads of corals and through this piece we get a sense of her.” Perhaps the greatest symbol of power is the tiara created to be worn for the coronation of Her Imperial Highness Farah Pahlavi of Iran. The commission was won following a competition initiated by the Iranian Crown in 1966, which resulted in Van Cleef & Arpels being chosen from no less than 50 prospects to create the coveted crown that would adorn the country’s future empress during the ceremony. “As the stones required for this piece cannot leave the soil of Iran, Pierre Arpels and his team made 24 trips to

the National Treasury to complete the design,” reveals Macdonald. “What you can see in the exhibition is a replica featuring white gold, silver and non-precious stones which serves as a testimony to the original.” While part of the original exhibition will remain in Dubai until 31 November, other pieces will travel around the world, carrying on the epic tales of the rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires that feature as they go. “The archives have been very well kept from the beginning, since 1906,” says Macdonald. “It is an immense source of information, but as we continue the quest for lost pieces, amazingly, more reappear.” As a result, the epic stories only get richer. Yet when and where the mysterious opening Pivoine clip will resurface is a tale that only time will tell.

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SOPHIE S CHOICE By blurring reality and reverie, Mary Sibande gives her ancestors the very thing they were denied: freedom. AIR meets South Africa’s most exciting contemporary artist WORDS: HAZEL PLUSH


ophie closes her eyes and dreams of a world beyond servitude – where she is no longer confined by her history.” Mary Sibande speaks slowly, but not softly: she has told her protagonist’s story countless times over the years, but its urgency has never subsided. Quite the opposite in fact. “In Sophie’s mind she creates her own path, her own life – something that, in reality, she could never have.” Sibande gestures to the photography and sculptures that surround us: Sophie is everywhere. She’s the sole, starring character throughout Sibande’s work, enrobed in everything from Victorian crinolines to army uniforms. She’s dancing, praying, fighting. She’s strong. Sibande, a black South African artist, is the first woman in her family to follow her dreams. Her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were forced to become domestic workers – their ambitions and aspirations snatched by apartheid. They were subject to pitiful wages and poor living conditions, and vulnerable to abuse and manipulation. “But by 35


pure luck, I was born in the 1980s,” says Sibande; “I had the opportunity to have an education, to live my life differently. So I created the character of Sophie, a woman just like them, to address – and redress – their history.” For Sibande, the idea of ‘redressing’ is key: not only in the dictionary definition of righting a wrong, but in the sense of re-clothing – of using dress to convey an alternative narrative. In I Came Apart At The Seams, Sibande’s first UK solo exhibition – now showing at London’s Somerset House – we see her fictional protagonist in many different guises: from religious preacher clutching a crosier, to a terrifying tentacled figure crowned by mythical creatures. A domestic worker she is not, though in many pieces Sophie still wears a starched white apron. It’s a reminder of where her ‘reality’ lies. Sibande used her own body as a model for the sculptures and photographs – so today, at the press preview, it’s quite eerie to have a living, breathing Sophie standing before me too. “The sculptures were cast of my own body, ” explains Sibande. “I created the first Sophie from fibreglass and resin while studying


at the University of Johannesburg. For the photography pieces, I dressed up as Sophie: the camera was my audience.” This morning, Sibande wears head-to-toe black – she’s letting her alter ego make the statement. The exhibition spans many years (“I guess it’s a mini retrospective,” Sibande smiles), and is divided into three sections. The earliest pieces date back to 2009, part of her Long Live The Dead Queen collection, in which she first brought Sophie to life. Here, the dominant colour of her protagonist’s outfits is blue – the typical hue of domestic workers’ uniforms – but these works show Sophie dressed as a soldier, a horse rider, a princess under a parasol. “This section examines the rise of apartheid,” says Sibande. “She is a character defined by the circumstance of servitude, but critically exists in opposition to it.” It was this first collection that thrust a 28-year-old Sibande into the spotlight: in 2010, it was adapted into vast murals displayed throughout Johannesburg – now her hometown – and won her the opportunity to represent South Africa at the 54th Venice Biennale.

At the centre of the gallery, two identical Sophies face each other, as if fighting: one in a blue dress, the other in purple. With arms outstretched and eyes closed, the pair could be dancing – but I can feel tension here too. This piece, A Reversed Retrogress, marks the transition into Sibande’s second collection: The Purple Shall Govern (2013-2017), inspired by the fall of apartheid. On the wall opposite hangs A Terrible Beauty Is Born: in this, Sophie is pregnant. Purple tendrils burst out from her belly, while strange buttoneyed beasts tear off her white apron and bonnet. It’s a symbol of new beginnings, but with fearsome undertones. “Here, Sophie has undertaken a complete transformation,” explains Sibande. “A fever dream of revolutionary struggle, this character embodies the transition to power that defines the Anti-Apartheid movement.” Purple, the collection’s dominant colour, is more than just an eyecatching hue: it references the Purple Rain Protest of 1989, when thousands of pro-democracy activists marched through Cape Town. Police sprayed the

She is a character defined by the circumstance of “servitude, but critically exists in opposition to it �



protesters with purple dye, to make them easier to identify and arrest – but the crowds turned the water cannons back on the authorities, turning both police and protestors the same colour. The naming of Sophie is significant, too. “During apartheid, black children had to be given two names: their African one, and a European one,” Sibande explains. But it wasn’t only children who faced this identity theft: her great grandmother’s employers “couldn’t be bothered” to learn her African name, so they renamed her Elsie. ‘Sophie’ is a tribute to her. In the third collection Sophie wears red, a fiery flash of passion and fire. She has become monstrous – surrounded by snarling red dogs, her face obscured by a tangle of tentacles. Her arms are outstretched, as if orchestrating the scenes: in one print she holds aloft a human heart, her scarlet robes pooling like blood at her feet. “These works focus on the legacy of apartheid,” says Sibande. “She expresses the collective anger that the promise of equality has not been fulfilled.” The collection is entitled In The Midst Of Chaos There Is Also Opportunity (2017-2019) – and yes, that chaos is palpable. 38

Opportunity? Of course, if that energy and anger are channelled productively. Sophie has found her roar. In comparison, Sibande’s early blue figures look almost childlike: this has clearly been a transformative journey for the artist and muse alike. Over the years, Sibande has won several plaudits for the series, including the 2017 Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts Award, and Standard Bank’s Young Artist Award. In various guises, Sophie has travelled to the Met Breuer in New York, the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, and – until 5 January 2020 – London’s Somerset House. I think Sibande’s great grandmother would be immeasurably proud. Has Sophie now reached the end of her journey? “No, this is an everevolving work,” says Sibande with a sigh. I wonder if Sophie – and her creator – can ever be liberated from this allegory. “We are still finding out what apartheid’s legacy is,” she explains. “I want to attack our history, but the process of change itself is violent too – and this is a continuous journey. Who knows how it will end?”

I want to attack our history, but the process of change itself is violent too

Previous pages: Mary Sibande, Silent Symphony, 2010. Copyright of the artist; Mary Sibande, They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To, 2019. Copyright of the artist. These pages, left to right: Mary Sibande, Living Memory, 2011. Copyright of the artist; Mary Sibande, I Put A Spell On Me, 2009. Copyright of the artist.

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




A timepiece for the woman who understands the importance of every second, the new J12 is fashioned from highly resistant ceramic and steel, making it incredibly durable while remaining effortlessly stylish. The

white-lacquered dial features minutes and seconds display, while a unidirectional rotating bazel hints at a woman who can quickly adapt to a change of direction. The J12 also houses a self-winding movement manufactured exclusively for Chanel. 1



ANIMAL BROOCHES Cut from the raw stone and hand-sculpted one by one, Vhernier’s animal brooches capture perfectly the characteristics of the animals they laud, in this case, the playful crab. Its sparkling claws are lined in pavé diamonds, creating a highly graceful feel. A

stellar example of Vhernier’s ‘transparenze’ technique, whereby rock crystals are superimposed over opaque stones to illuminate them, the pieces are available in a clawful of colourful gemstones – jade through to agate – with each one unique. 2



BOND OVERSIZED SHOPPER The first signature tote created by the brand’s artistic director, Clare Waight Keller, the Bond oversized shopper was inspired by Keller’s travel-intensive lifestyle. Designed as an invitation to escape, its wide-panelled structure unfastens to lie completely flat

in a suitcase. The large bag has straps for shoulder carrying, along with a removeable inner pouch in canvas to hold travel essentials. The Bond is available in oil blue, aubergine, or black embossed leather, each branded with the Givenchy chain motif. 3



RM 70 - 01 TOURBILLON AL AIN PROS T A limited edition of just 30 pieces, this standout watch was inspired by former F1 driver Alain Prost’s love of cycling. The leading feature is an odometer, used to track the kilometres completed. A never-beforeseen feature, it’s accessed by a pusher at 2

o’clock, whereupon five rollers display the distance travelled. Two of myriad nods to the mechanics of a bicycle: the barrel ratchet is reminiscent of wheel spokes, while the tourbillion cage and crown is evocative of a bicycle pedal. 4



PEAR DIAMOND IN YELLOW GOLD New York-based, celebrity favourite Maria Tash – whose brilliant boutique in The Dubai Mall celebrates its first anniversary this month – draws inspiration from body piercing to create her distinctive, of-themoment designs, with this statement

diamond stud a perfect example of her sought-after style. This 18-karat piece has a scalloped bezel, giving it an antique feel, while the 7mm by 5mm brilliant diamond is shaped in a special hearts and arrow ideal cut, which adds even greater sparkle. 5




An ode to the modern-day woman, the House of Breguet’s ladies’ watch collection was inspired by a love of travel by the ocean. The elegant face is a visual representation of the ebb and flow of the waves, while the second hand bears a maritime flag. In

true Breguet tradition, the watches are technically high performing, beating to a rhythm of the self-winding 591A caliber. It’s available in steel, white and rose gold, and with or without its bezel illuminated by brilliant-cut diamonds. 6




Designed for men who like to break the rules and stand apart from the crowd, Berluti’s uniquely futuristic Blue Metal hue for AW19 is achieved by mixing blue, black and silver tones, before a surface treatment is then added to acheive the metallic finish.

However, this being Berluti, the creative process doesn’t end there, with the supple calf leather then given an otherworldly dimension by hand-painting a mirror-effect sheen onto each shoe. Pair yours with a matching belt from the same range. 7




Striking a balance between style and function, this handcrafted briefcase evokes regal command with its burnt orange hue. The removeable shoulder strap is quilted for comfort, while the two top handles provide the option for carrying on the go.

Handmade in Italy, the briefcase has a magnetic, fold-over strap to safely enclose a laptop and documents. Complementing the bold look are the signature CCCXXXII pure gold crown coins, which adorn the front side of the bag. 8

Timepieces NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102

Watch and Learn

This month’s Dubai Watch Week provides the perfect platform for timepiece enthusiasts to indulge their passion, says Tariq Malik


hen Momentum first opened in Dubai, almost a decade ago, the region was not exactly a worldhub for horology. But things have changed, and the UAE has grown and evolved into one of the most vibrant global watch communities. In line with that, this year sees the fourth edition of Dubai Watch Week. It has become a key event on the annual horology calendar – for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Momentum has been involved from the very start, and I’m pleased to see that the public interest – particularly in vintage watches – has only grown over the years. This year’s theme is a riff on that same refrain: the ongoing metamorphosis of horology. Speaking about the theme, Technology & Innovation, Melika Yazdjerdi, the Director of Dubai Watch Week, said: “With every edition of DWW, we focus on the most important topics that have a direct impact on the watch industry. Innovation and technological advancement will be at the heart of our event, and our intention will remain on creating an engaging platform for our visitors while catering to the needs of our partners.” Besides showcasing the ingenuity and creativity of the industry, Dubai Watch Week also gives people the opportunity to learn more about the long and interesting history of watchmaking. Vintage masterpieces, collectibles and rare finds from Patek, Breitling and the traditional masters of watchmaking will be on display or auctioned alongside the latest innovations. Rolex will be among the exhibitors, a brand that has always enjoyed a

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submarine

big presence in the Middle East, with Dubai now home to the largest Rolex boutique in the world. Dubai Watch Week will feature a dedicated exhibition exploring the watery universe of the Oyster Perpetual Submarine, telling the story of how the most famous divers’ watch has developed technologically over the years, through a series of panels and interactive displays, As a confirmed fan of the Sub, you can expect me to be first in line for that one. “We are extremely honored to have Rolex presented for the first time at Dubai Watch Week,” said Abdul Hamied Ahmed Seddiqi, Vice Chairman of Seddiqi Holding. “This is something really special for Dubai.” The way the event is structured makes a lot of sense to me – I think

the mix just right. It’s the perfect combination of auctions, discussions, workshops and master classes. It caters to the professionals, and to the general public. For those who just want to explore with their eyes, there is more than enough eye-candy on display, and more than enough opportunity for watch-spotting. Horology forums, and panel discussions featuring international authors, historians, collectors and experts will in plentiful supply again this year. While for those who are serious about learning something about the workings of their favorite watches, there’s no shortage of information straight from the mouths of some of the world’s most celebrated watchmakers. If you’re more interested in watches for their investment value, historical importance, or technological attributes, there is an opportunity to attend a master class, go to the evaluation room, and learn how to bid at auctions. Visitors to the event in past years have found these ‘classrooms’ to be the highlights of their visit. The real joy of collecting comes from truly understanding watches – in all their elaborate intricacy and complication. Once you enter that wormhole, there’s no going back. So be warned, it’s highly contagious. Dubai Watch Week takes place from 20th-24th November, and is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Dubai’s DIFC is home to Momentum, Tariq’s vintage watch boutique. 41

Timepieces NOVEMEBER 2019 : ISSUE 102

The Eagle Has Landed AIR

Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele on how history has repeated itself as the Alpine Eagle takes flight


t first, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele – the co-president of Chopard – dismissed the very notion of the maison’s new Alpine Eagle watch. As far as he was concerned, it was pure folly. “It all started about five years ago,” he explains, sitting in his office in Chopard’s sleek Geneva headquarters. “My son Karl-Fritz discovered an old model of a St. Moritz watch in the drawer of my desk. After wearing it for a few days, he was convinced that it could be reinterpreted with a twist, without losing its essence or character. But I wasn’t interested.” The St. Moritz was, of course, the very timepiece that kick-started Scheufele’s career in the 1980s. 40 years ago, as a 22-year-old new recruit to the family business, he developed the marque’s first steel sports watch: a hardy yet elegant design that pushed a rather traditional Chopard into new aesthetic territory. It’s no secret that Scheufele had to persuade his own father, who was Chopard’s president at the time, to let him create this radical St. Moritz – though of course it later became a best-seller. Now, it seems, history is repeating itself. “My son tried to convince me that 42

we should reinvent the St. Moritz,” explains Scheufele. “I was reluctant because I believed that it was an icon – and that icons must be preserved as such. So, he asked my father Karl for help.” Together, Karl-Fritz and his grandfather worked on the Alpine Eagle prototype and presented it to Scheufele. “I was won over,” he says. “And that’s how the project began...” Today, the finished article hugs Scheufele’s wrist; its ink-blue dial and wide steel strap (his preferred combination) catch the light as he tells his tale. The Alpine Eagle, which launched last month, shares many similarities with its muse. It is available in two diameters: 41mm and 36mm, its round bezel punctuated by eight screws – just like the St. Moritz. There are ten references in total, with a choice of steel, ethically-sourced gold, bi-material (both steel and gold) and diamond-set gold. It’s a unisex collection, but with a distinctly masculine edge. Both sizes are powered by automatic winding movements: the 41mm features a 01.01-C calibre with a 60-hour power reserve, and the 36mm features a 09.01-C calibre with a 42-hour power reserve. The inner workings – COSC-certified,



Opening page: Alpine Eagle 41mm These pages: Stages in the making of the Alpine Eagle bracelet and finished detail from the 41mm model

of course – are comprised of 207 parts and 31 jewels, partially visible through the sapphire crystal reverse. “I must admit that this was a real creative challenge,” says Scheufele. “To develop a new timepiece is a complex process, but it is sometimes even more difficult to reinterpret a great design.” Befitting Chopard’s Swiss heritage, this new incarnation is inspired by the raw beauty of the Bernese Alps, and the powerful eagles that swoop between summits. Scheufele points out the feather-like shape of the second hand, and demonstrates how the richly-textured dial – in either mother-of-pearl or stamped brass – twinkles like a raptor’s iris. Even the strong, cold steel is reminiscent of the peaks’ magnificent glaciers. “The Alps are where I go to recharge my batteries and relax,” he explains. “Recently, I saw an eagle up there – almost unbelievable, as they are very rare.” Indeed, conservation is at the heart of this project too: its launch 44

coincides with Chopard unveiling its support of the Eagle Wings project, which aims to raise awareness of the importance, beauty and fragility of Alpine biotopes. Scheufele is, in fact, a co-founder of Eagle Wings – and has also been a member of the Alp Action conservation programme for more than two decades. While it’s certainly a departure from Chopard’s associations with the Mille Miglia classic car rally and Grand Prix de Monaco Historique (the family is famously passionate about vintage automobiles), it’s heartening to see a luxury label take sustainability seriously. In the four decades since Scheufele dreamt up the St. Moritz, Chopard’s expertise and innovation have evolved apace. At the Chopard manufacture in Fleurier, in the Swiss Jura mountains, the maison now controls every single step of the watchmaking process: from research and development, to crafting the components and decorating each timepiece.

Having my son help to reinterpret a model I had personally designed when I was his age really means a lot to me

Chopard’s engineers pioneer new materials too – such as its very own Lucent Steel A223, which takes a starring role in the Alpine Eagle. The result of four years’ development, this unique alloy almost seems luminescent: it has a crisp white brilliance thanks to its lack of impurities, yet also a rich and colourful reflection. It also has a lower carbon footprint than regular steel, and is 100% traceable – in line with the brand’s ongoing commitment to responsibly-sourced metals. At the media launch of the Alpine Eagle, Scheufele’s presentation recalled how the engineers almost gave up on the production of this remarkable new material, so complex was its composition. With properties akin to surgical steel, it is hypoallergenic and extraordinarily hard (around 50% more resistant to abrasion than conventional steels) – and the tougher the material, the tougher it is to work with. The Alpine Eagle’s lengthy development process has, say some critics, put Chopard rather behind today’s trend for steel sports watches. But some things are worth waiting for. “I am very proud,” says Scheufele – referring not only to the timepiece, but also to his son. “KarlFritz reminds me of myself when I was his age,” he smiles. “I had the same determination to convince my father to create the St. Moritz. Having my son help to reinterpret a model I had personally designed when I was his age really means a lot to me.” Though Karl-Fritz is still studying, with no official role in the maison, it seems that Chopard’s future is in steady hands. “The collaboration of three generations on a watchmaking project is, I believe, something quite unique,” says Scheufele. “And it really is an exceptional feeling.” The skeptic, it seems, is finally won over. 45



Oscar winner and Ermenegildo Zegna campaign lead Mahershala Ali on prejudice and being a modern man WORDS: STEPHEN DOIG




ahershala Ali, two-time Oscar winner, star of House of Cards, Moonlight and True Detective, one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world, is checking on my tickly cough. Waiter beckoned for water, glass replenished and suitably assured that all is well, he continues with his thoughts on dressing for the red carpet. “I was just trying to show up nice to the event,” he laughs, of his spot in myriad best dressed lists thanks to his unique take on red carpet style – this year he picked up his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Green Book in a sleek tux, granddad collar shirt and jaunty beanie hat. “Growing up, I always looked at my father for his sense of style. He was ahead of his time, very fashion forward, wore really cool stuff, and my mother was a hair stylist, so from the age of 12 I was cutting hair too. I knew that clothes could say a lot about a person. What you wear is not a flippant thing,” says the 45-year-old, seated within the palm dotted splendour of New York’s Greenwich Hotel. He nods to Maggie Gyllenhaal, engrossed in her phone across the courtyard, and then politely apologises for diverting his attention. He might just be the most well-mannered Oscar winner you’re likely to encounter. That particular red carpet look, as with the one he wore in 2017 to pick up the Best Actor award for the acclaimed Moonlight, was created by Italian menswear house Ermenegildo Zegna, 48

which in August announced the star as the face of its new campaign. And while it’s a familiar strategy, what appealed to Ali was the particular focus behind it; at a time when men’s mental health has become a big focus, the campaign’s “what makes a man” slogan aims to shift away from the tired representation of the chiselled, brooding alpha male, with proceeds in store going towards a men’s educational charity. “I’m not the loudest guy, I’m not the coolest, or the biggest, and when I visited the Zegna factory in Trivero what struck me was the fact that despite it being this huge, global company, it’s super small in its approach – everything’s local, and it’s still run by the Zegna family,” says Ali. His film projects, despite the Oscar wins and acclaim, follow a similar route, he says. “Green Book was a small movie that was initially backed by an independent financier, Moonlight was this small project with very little money behind it, but they seemed to have a big impact.” It was also pertinent for him as an African American, particularly after that trip to the mills in Trivero. “I went to Italy. Let me tell you, there’s not a lot of black people on the walls in Italy. There’s not a lot of space in fashion for people that look like me. “I’m Muslim, and I’m African American, so to have me as a brand ambassador has to have a small impact,” says Ali. Has that become more pressing in Trump’s America?

‘I was always conscious of how being black was something that was going to speak for me before I opened my mouth’




Interview: Stephen Doig / The Telegraph / The Interview People Images: Taken from Ermenegildo Zegna’s ‘What Makes a Man’ campaign

not a lot of space in fashion ‘ There’s for people that look like me ’

“There has to be a communal effort in course-correcting our world,” is his diplomatic answer. Raised in San Francisco, Ali’s mother is a Baptist minister and his father – based in New York – was a Broadway musical theatre star. Married to artist Amatus Sami-Karim – who gave birth to their daughter two days after his first Oscar win – Ali converted to Islam in 2000, and he’s talked about the fact that his full name – Mahershalalhashbaz Ali – causes problems at airport security. And when it comes to his clothing choices, what would seem a relatively mundane matter when we’ve been talking about race relations in America, he’s fiercely articulate about how his community has to represent itself through its wardrobe. “I was always conscious of how being black was something that was going to speak for me before I opened my mouth, so my clothing choices were going to say something if I didn’t get the chance myself. Deeply ingrained in black culture is how you step out of the house. You’re not going to get that job unless you’re dressed to the nines, you grow up with that awareness that you’ll be looked at in a certain way. Black people respond to that in how they put on clothes,” he says.

Ali’s own preferences towards a more experimental take on style – the beanie hat on the red carpet and his penchant for Pepto Bismol-pink suits – comes from his early holidays to New York to visit his father and the city’s renegade approach to dress-up in the heady days of the 1980s. “It was this fun time of gazelle glasses, Puma trainers and Kangol hats. I think you should learn the rules of dressing – a suit, etc – and then break them.” Case in point; today he’s wearing a pristine suit and T-shirt, but in pistachio instead of the standard navy pinstripe. His encounter with Zegna came about three years ago, when he wanted a nontraditional take on upright tailoring. “He’s very curious about fashion,” says the brand’s creative director Alessandro Sartori of Ali. “He’s in love with fabric and tailoring, and whatever he wears he’s really himself, in that he doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable and like he’s done-up in a tux.” Those suits might have to be altered soon, however. He’s currently in an intense round of training to play brooding vampire crusader Blade in Marvel’s new franchise. “I’ve been an active guy my whole life, but I’ve never been in an action movie. It’s very physical, but I like a good challenge.” 51



Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city remains a magnet for the creative class. AIR chats to three tastemakers shaping Berlin’s food, fashion and art scenes WORDS : LARA BRUNT



The designer: Maximilian Mogg Classic Savile Row style in the edgy German capital may seem like an unlikely pairing, but it makes perfect sense to Maximilian Mogg. “It is unusual,” he concedes, “yet it is only possible in Berlin, because Berlin is a city that gives you a lot of freedom; people here really don’t give a damn.” Originally from Koblenz, a small city between Frankfurt and Cologne, the 27-year-old designer and cutter recounts the moment he knew Berlin was the right place to pursue his passion for tailoring. “I was walking along, wearing a three-piece suit and tie, next to a guy wearing a full-on leather costume and nose ring, and nobody turned their head,” he says. After founding his eponymous made-to-measure label four years ago, a buyer from Mr Porter spotted Mogg’s style on Instagram. In June, he unveiled his first ready-to-wear eveningwear collection for the luxury online retailer, featuring tuxedo jackets and trousers in classic black and midnight blue, paired with slimfit shirts in pastel hues. A second collection launches this month – quite a coup for a young German designer breaking into the traditional world of English tailoring. “We do 90 per cent double-breasted and solely use British fabrics, so we are fortunate that Mr Porter gives me free rein,” Mogg says. The latest collection reflects the house style: 54

shoulders are strongly padded and lapels are broad, while skirts (the area below the bottom button) are cut slightly wider to slim the waist. Alongside chalk-stripe flannel suits and subtle Prince of Wales check, a black-and-white chequerboard dinner jacket injects some raffish charm. “Normally our stuff is very conservative, but we try to convey a bit of humour – don’t take yourself too seriously, it’s just clothes,” he says. The majority of Mogg’s customers are between 25 and 35, and the designer even counts some Brits among his international clientele. “It’s a good feeling,” he admits. “But what makes me happy is young people are enthusiastic about suits – but then again, maybe they always have been because they know so much. I am always amazed; they really do their homework,” he says. Mogg, meanwhile, has been honing his sartorial style since he was 15, when he first began buying vintage Savile Row suits and altering them to suit his slim frame. “I didn’t find any ready-to-wear suits that fit me because of my long arms. Then I looked upon the English suits and somehow this really made sense to me,” he says. “With the English silhouette, you can create a sculpture around the body.” At 18, he headed to London to learn Savile Row’s fabled traditions, but

soon discovered that apprenticeships were scarce. After studying business, he flirted with a career in private banking and marketing, before moving to Berlin in 2015 to work for a start-up incubator. But the lure of tailoring proved too strong. Initially working from his apartment in the Neukölln neighbourhood, Mogg interned at Edward Sexton, the maverick tailor who shook up the Row in the Sixties, before opening a boutique last year in Berlin’s leafy Charlottenburg district. He hopes to launch a bespoke service next spring. “We have the advantage and the disadvantage of not being in London. In London, you have many tailors, each with a specific house style. Here in Berlin, if you want a very Britishlooking suit, you can probably only come to me,” he says. Not content with challenging Berlin’s casual dress codes, the charismatic designer is spearheading a modern dandy movement in the city. A network of online contributors offer style advice, curate cocktailhour playlists and create a comic strip based on the adventures of the dashing Mr Lush, while his Instagram oozes old-school glamour – think posing by a pool table in a pinstripe suit, or peering over Playboy wearing a vintage top hat. “It’s more than a suit – it’s a lifestyle,” he says.



The collector: Karen Boros Few buildings encapsulate Berlin’s tumultuous 20th-century history quite like the bullet-pocked, concrete hulk in the central Mitte district that houses the Boros Collection of contemporary art. Built in 1942 as an air-raid shelter, it was later used by the Red Army as a prisoner of war camp, then by the East German government to store tropical fruit imported from communist comrades in Cuba. After the fall of the Wall, the ‘Banana Bunker’, as it was known to locals, became a techno club famed for its hedonistic parties. In 2003, art historian Karen Boros and her husband, media entrepreneur Christian, bought the bunker and spent four years renovating it. Keen to share their collection with the public, the couple also relished the opportunity to transform a relic from the darkest period of German history into a space that champions young artists and freedom of thought. “The challenge is to find a balance and communication between the history of the walls and the works of young artists who approach topics of their time,” says Boros. Since 2008, the idiosyncratic space has displayed works from the couple’s extensive collection. The first two exhibitions attracted 320,000 guests; the current edition, on show until 2021, features works by 19 artists, including Martin Boyce, Andreas Eriksson and Guan Xiao. Restricted to a dozen people at a time, guided tours by appointment sell out weeks in advance. The influential collectors focus on young emerging artists and their most recent works. “We like to commit ourselves to acquire more than just one work. It is a bit like having a relationship and you get to know each other more in-depth,” she says. They are often drawn to different artists, then discuss and argue their points to reach a decision. “Some works we choose with respect to the possibilities in the space, but there are not so many limitations given by the bunker,” says Boros. As a child growing up in Remscheid in the former West Germany, Boros recalls being intrigued by a 56

reproduction of Johannes Vermeer’s 1657 masterpiece, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, at her grandparent’s house. “It could trigger all sorts of feelings and ideas, which I realised later, is the essence of art,” she says. “Until I was in my midthirties, I never thought of becoming an art collector. It kind of emerged from working in a gallery and wanting to live with art.” In 1998, Boros was representing a Cologne gallery at Art Basel when she met her future husband. Born in Poland, he moved to West Germany with his family as a child to flee communism, and grew up in Cologne, before founding his advertising agency in nearby Wuppertal. Today, the couple live atop the bunker in a panoramic penthouse. “Still, after more than ten years, it feels unreal and strange to enter through 2.5-metre-thick walls into the building. The roof is three meters of corrugated iron and concrete, which reminds us of this force behind the construction,” says Boros. In the early Nineties, Berlin became a playground for artists, musicians and creative types, lured by cheap rents and liberal attitudes. How does the city’s art scene stack up today? “I think it is still strong with good galleries and artists, and a number of interesting private collections and small institutions which are enriching the art scene,” Boros says. “I hope that one day there will be more high quality, sophisticated museum exhibitions. In my opinion, Berlin is putting too much effort into museum buildings rather than its content.” Responsible for VIP Relations of Art Basel since 2005, Boros advises new collectors to visit galleries, museums and shows as much as possible. “A collection has to start with oneself, you have to know what you are passionate about and what you would like to know and experience. Some people are very clear with it, some intuitive. It’s very subjective,” she says. “To own a work is to be constantly in discussion with the artist, his ideas and topics.”




The chef: Tim Raue When Tim Raue became the first German chef to star in the acclaimed Netflix series, Chef's Table, food writer Ursula Heinzelmann summed up his enormous impact on his hometown: “If Tim Raue didn’t exist for Berlin’s food scene, you’d need to invent him because he represents so much of what Berlin and food is all about.” Restaurant Tim Raue has been awarded two Michelin stars, ranks on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list, and was given a near-perfect 19.5 out of 20 in the latest Gault & Millau restaurant guide. Serving Asian-inspired cuisine that combines Thai flavours, Japanese ingredient obsession and Cantonese cooking philosophy, it is credited with kickstarting Berlin’s transformation as the most exciting dining destination in Germany. “The city became extremely diverse,” reflects Raue. “[Today], there is almost nothing you do not find, culinary-wise, in Berlin. It is a vibrant city that grew with people from all over the world that came to live here. Nowadays, we have plenty of restaurants in every price level and I think this is amazing.” The restaurant sits on the edges of Kreuzberg, the poor West Berlin neighbourhood where Raue grew up in the divided city, and now one of Berlin’s coolest districts. The entrance is flanked by an original concrete section of the Berlin Wall, covered in graffiti; around the corner is Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point that came to symbolise the Cold War. “It’s all about the Wall,” says the 45-year-old chef. “[The fall of the Wall in 1989] made people from all around the globe come to Berlin, because it offered an atmosphere of freedom where people are still able to live as whatever they want to be. Berlin was, and is, totally open-minded to everyone, especially to outsiders and highly individual people who want to express themselves. It became a melting pot full of creativity.” After a difficult childhood marred by neglect and abuse, Raue joined a notorious street gang in his teens. “Nothing else mattered to me than

being a part of this group, which I called my family back then because I had none other. When I finally started my career as a chef at 16, my whole life changed and was only about work,” he says. In 1997, aged 23, Raue became head chef at one of Berlin's top restaurants; a decade later, he scored his first Michelin star at Swissotel’s Restaurant 44 in the capital. At the time, the city’s fine-dining scene was dominated by restaurants serving classical French fare in hushed, starched-tablecloth surroundings. As culinary director for Swissotel, Raue often travelled to the company’s headquarters in Singapore and throughout Asia. “I pretty much fell in love with the techniques and flavours in Asia. And after some years, I decided to change my style of cooking,” he says. Inspired by the bold flavours of Asian cuisine and the social style of eating, in 2008, Raue opened Ma Tim Raue in the historic Hotel Adlon, which quickly won a Michelin star. In 2010, he decided to go it alone and, just two months after opening, his eponymous restaurant was awarded one star. A second star soon followed in 2012. These days, the restaurant is fully booked almost every day. “We could sell the restaurant two or three times a day on weekends,” he adds. Intense and highly-driven, Raue continuously seeks to improve dishes, such as the signature wasabi langoustine and his take on Peking duck. He has also learned what doesn’t work in Berlin. “Ten years ago, I used some absurd ingredients from Chinese and Japanese cuisines, which are extremely popular there, but do not arouse any enthusiasm among Europeans,” he says. “I always wanted to present something extraordinary and quite different from all other chefs in Germany. It took some time for me to understand that this signature style is not about absurd products, but about a world of flavours.” Now a veteran of Berlin’s dining scene, Raue’s influence shows no signs of waning. 59


The Met Museum’s new exhibition showcases the collection of Sandy Schreier, who pioneered fashion as an art form worthy of public adoration WORDS: LARA BRUNT






saw fashion ‘ Sandy as an art form, which was quite unusual when she began collecting

andy Schreier has the wardrobe of every woman’s dreams. The American collector has spent more than half a century amassing the world’s largest private collection – some 15,000 pieces – of 20th-century French and American couture and ready-to-wear. Alongside treasures from the likes of Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Coco Chanel, there are Valentinos once worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, a Yves Saint Laurent trouser suit worn by actress Claudia Cardinale in The Pink Panther, and Twiggy’s silver-mesh mini from the 1960s. Remarkably, most of the pieces were gifted to her, as Schreier built up much of her collection before vintage couture became covetable. Even more remarkable is the fact that the Detroit-born collector and fashion historian, now in her 80s, has never worn a single garment. “If I owned a Picasso, it would not be on my back,” she is often quoted as saying. Instead, the self-proclaimed “fashion saviour” has dedicated a lifetime to seeking out fashion’s most innovative and creative garments so they can be appreciated for their artistry and historical importance. Her staggering collection is the subject of the Met Museum’s major new fashion exhibition, In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, which opens at the Costume Institute in New York on November 27. “Sandy saw fashion as an art form, which was quite unusual when she began collecting. There were even few museums who were thinking about fashion in that way,” says Jessica Regan, associate curator of the Costume Institute at the Met Museum. “The significance of her collection is not just about the importance of the individual objects, but really the fact that it was a pioneering endeavour in our field.” Important fashion items from the 20th century are fetching record prices at auction, yet Schreier has no desire to cash in. The veteran collector has bequeathed 165 items to the Costume Institute to coincide with the Met’s 150th anniversary next year, with 80 pieces on show in the new exhibition. Chronicling nearly a century of fashion history, the exhibition features womenswear, accessories and fashion illustrations, ranging from a 1908

sketch of a Paul Poiret ensemble to a 2004 Philip Treacy butterfly hat. Alongside head curator Andrew Bolton, Regan had the enviable task of diving into Schreier’s archive in Detroit. “It was really quite an extraordinary experience,” Regan says. “We knew some pieces that we had borrowed in the past [for other exhibitions], but there were so many surprises within her collection – rare pieces by designers that aren’t represented in the Met’s collection at all.” The curators were keen to highlight the strengths of Schreier’s collection, including early 20thcentury Italian design and fashion of the interwar period, and the era-defining innovations that have contributed to the legitimisation of fashion as art. “The exhibition will be an opportunity to share many of the pieces from Sandy’s incredible gift, a number of which have never been exhibited before,” says Regan. The show also explores Schreier’s fascinating journey to becoming one of the world’s most prolific collectors of fashion. “Sandy’s collecting is very much based on her individual interests and tastes,” comments Regan. “She has been collecting for decades, so she does have a great deal of knowledge about fashion history. But I think for her, it wouldn’t be enough that a piece is just historically significant; it has to be compelling to her. She does have an extraordinary eye.” Schreier’s passion for fashion began as a young child growing up in Detroit during the car manufacturing boom. Accompanying her father to work at Russeks, an upmarket department store that catered to the wives of industry moguls, Schreier met some of the city’s most fashionable women and became captivated by the glamourous outfits they wore. Soon, her father’s customers began giving their couture cast-offs to the curly-haired little girl who loved playing dress-up – Schiaparelli evening gowns and Chanel suits that were often only worn once or sometimes not at all. Even then, Schreier was adamant the pieces should be preserved, rather than worn. After studying music at the University of Michigan, Schreier worked as a hair model for Vidal Sassoon in the 1960s and began designing accessories 63


Opening pages, left to right: Dress, Madeleine & Madeleine, ca. 1923. Promised gift of Sandy Schreier. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope; Ensemble, Yves Saint Laurent for House of Dior, spring/summer 1958; Promised gift of Sandy Schreier. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope; Evening Dress, Gilbert Adrian, fall 1945; Promised gift of Sandy Schreier.Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope Previous pages: Evening Dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga for House of Balenciaga, summer 1961; Promised gift of Sandy Schreier. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope These pages, left to right: Dress, Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé, spring/summer 1984; Promised gift of SandySchreier. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope; Ensemble, Patrick Kelly, fall/winter 1988–89; Promised gift of Sandy Schreier. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope


for New York department stores, Bloomingdales and Henri Bendel. By the end of the decade, she was designing accessories for Yves Saint Laurent and heavily feathered costumes for Diana Ross and the Supremes. Schreier has gone on to author two books about Hollywood fashion, curate costume exhibitions and lecture on fashion. “As a child, she was very taken with the golden age of Hollywood and film costume. I think that has very much shaped her tastes in fashion collecting over many years, looking for pieces that have a certain sense of drama and glamour,” says Regan. Alongside pieces by established designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Zandra Rhodes, the exhibition features garments by lesser-known couturiers. A Madeleine & Madeleine gown from around 1923 – one of Schreier’s first major haute couture ensembles – features Egyptian motifs and hieroglyphics, reflecting the craze for all things Egyptian following the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. “Madeleine & Madeleine’s aesthetic was defined by sumptuous fabrics and embroideries and the dress in Sandy’s collection is very typical of the French couture house’s style,” says Regan. The dress was acquired by Schreier in the 1960s from the estate of the wife of a founder of the Dodge car company, at a time when very few people were interested in collecting couture. “Sandy didn’t have as much competition in Detroit as she might have had in New York, where there were more museums who would have been eagerly looking for these kind of exquisite and rare examples,” says Regan. “She’s been able to acquire pieces that would be impossible for us to find today, just through her own forward thinking and dedication to pursuing any leads she could find over such a long period of time.” Other highlights include an evening cape by Italian designer Maria Gallenga and a jacket by Spanish designer Mariano Fortuny, both from the 1920s. “Their work was defined by

their exquisite and innovative textiles, which their contemporaries often described as having a magical quality,” explains Regan. “They had an incredible richness that mimicked the woven textiles from the Renaissance, but with a much softer, more modern feel.” A dress dating from around 1913 from Maison Margaine-Lacroix, a Parisian couture house founded in the late 19th century, is one of the rare pieces on show that has never been exhibited before. At a time of heavily corseted styles, designer Jeanne MargaineLacroix was renowned for her bias-cut gowns that created a slender silhouette. “Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix recognised that freedom of movement was really a priority for modern women, and was very forward thinking in that way. Her designs were moving towards a more natural body shape, but they still reflected the couture traditions of earlier years. The evening dress from Sandy’s collection has extraordinarily beautiful embroidery and lace that is so representative of the period,” says Regan. After exploring Schreier’s treasure trove, Regan was struck by how well preserved the clothes and accessories are. Each item has been wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and painstakingly catalogued with notes, documentation and photographs, then stored in a climate-controlled warehouse. “Often, when dealing with the earlier decades of the 20th century, we find the materials are so inherently fragile, it’s very rare that they do survive in a good state of preservation. I think it really speaks to Sandy’s dedication to preserving these works that they have survived in such a strong state,” she says. The exhibition is on show at the Costume Institute’s Anna Wintour Costume Center until May next year. Although, with the remainder of Schreier’s donation to the museum – one of the largest in recent history – yet to be exhibited, fashion lovers can already plan on a return visit to New York. On show from November 27, 2019 until May 17, 2020;




Dutch art detective Arthur Brand delves into the criminal underworld to recover stolen masterpieces. AIR catches up with the ‘Indiana Jones of the art world’ to discuss his headline-grabbing cases WORDS: LARA BRUNT




n the spring of 1999, the 75-metre superyacht Coral Island was moored in the sparkling waters of Antibes on the French Riviera. In the midst of a refurbishment, the yacht was a hive of activity; workmen painted the walls of the luxurious suites, while an art expert carefully prepared hundreds of millions of dollars of artworks that were due to be transferred to a bank vault for safe-keeping. Among them was an unsigned oil painting by Picasso of his muse, Dora Maar. The portrait, painted in 1938, was once part of the artist’s private collection, and later bought by the yacht’s owner, Saudi Arabian billionaire Sheikh Abdul Mohsen. Normally wired to a high-tech alarm system when it hung on the wall, only a handful of people knew about the sheikh’s prized possession. Days later, when the art expert returned to fetch the Picasso from a locked cabin, the painting was gone. Port authorities admitted their video surveillance equipment had been out of action for three months, while investigators had few clues and no suspects. The sheikh offered a reward of more than US$450,000, but the crime remained unsolved for two decades. In March, the stolen masterpiece surfaced in the Netherlands. After receiving a tip-off in 2015, Dutch art detective Arthur Brand spent the next four years hunting for the artwork, tapping contacts in the criminal underworld and chasing up leads. “Picasso is the most stolen artist in the world, and it was not easy to pin down that particular painting. But in the end, I got it back,” he says. The Picasso had been traded on the black market a number of times, often as collateral for shady deals, before Brand negotiated its handover at his apartment in Amsterdam. The sleuth couldn’t resist hanging the canvas, thought to be worth US$28 million, on his wall. “For one night, I was one of the happiest people in the world. Because this was not just any Picasso, it was one of Picasso’s favourites. So I had my own little museum for a night, then the next day I turned it over to the insurance company,” he says.


Brand is one of the world’s most successful private art detectives; by his own estimates, he has recovered €250 million worth of art and antiquities. Nicknamed the ‘Indiana Jones of the art world’, his high-profile finds include a 1,600-year-old mosaic from Cyprus, an 18th-century Ethiopian crown, and a Salvador Dali painting stolen by an armed gang from a Dutch museum. “I’m not in it to be rich,” Brand says. “But it’s a necessary job because almost nobody else does it. It’s very satisfying because you are always surrounded by art and history and very interesting people.” Unmasking fakes, recovering stolen masterpieces and preventing buyers from being conned is “an adventurous life” he admits, although the modest Dutchman plays down the cloakand-dagger drama of his job. “It is sometimes dangerous, but I’m not there to cause problems. I just try to get these priceless pieces of world heritage out of the criminal underworld before they are lost forever,” he says. “I follow the law and I keep my word. If you do those two things, you are quite safe.” Brand made headlines around the world in 2015, after finding two monumental bronze horses by sculptor Joseph Thorak that once flanked the entrance of Hitler’s chancellery in Berlin. “That was my biggest case. I will never top that again, which is unfortunate because I’m not that old and you always want to become better,” he says. Working with the German police for 18 months, Brand posed as a wealthy US collector to track down the Nazi-sympathising family who were hawking the statues for US$8 million. “I made him a Texas oil baron with a big hat, based on JR Ewing from the television series Dallas – completely ridiculous, but I couldn’t come up with something better and they believed it,” he laughs. Brand likens the international art world to a nest of vipers. “From the outside, it all looks very sophisticated, but nobody trusts each other. The dealing of art is worse than the dealing of second-hand cars. There have been scandals with big art dealers, brokers, collectors, museums and auction houses,” he says.

Right: Arthur Brand poses with the missing mosaic of St Mark, a rare piece of stolen Byzantine art from Cyprus



The most significant change during Brand’s 15-year career is the eyewatering prices paid for art. The global art market – which includes auction, gallery and art fair sales – achieved US$67.4 billion in sales in 2018, the second-highest level in a decade, according to the annual Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report. Meanwhile, the illicit trade in cultural property – which includes theft, fraud, looting and trafficking – is worth US$6-8 billion annually, according to FBI estimates. After drugs and weapons, it is the biggest criminal enterprise in the world. “More and more money is being spent on art and that attracts more and more forgers and unscrupulous art dealers,” he says. From an early age, Brand was fascinated by art and history. As a child in Deventer, a centuriesold Hanseatic town on the banks of the IJssel River, his grandfather regaled him with tales of Han van Meegeren, a local artist and forger who famously swindled Hermann Göring, Hitler’s second-in-command. After studying Spanish and history, Brand turned his focus to the art and antiques trade. It was his experience collecting ancient Greek coins, and the dismay at learning some of them were fakes, that set Brand on his path to becoming an investigator. “I read at least 30 per cent of everything offered in the art market is fake,” he says. “Almost nobody in the art world – dealers, museums or collectors – wanted to talk about it. I found it so intriguing because the stakes are high – investors lose money and it disturbs our understanding of the history of art. I started to study that world and was hooked,” he says. Notorious Dutch art smuggler, Michel van Rijn, proved an unlikely mentor. From the Seventies to the early Nineties, the charismatic crook was thought to be involved in 90 per cent of illegal art dealings across the globe. He lived a jet-set lifestyle with his ill-gotten gains, before he was eventually caught and imprisoned. After switching sides, van Rijn became a Scotland Yard informant and exposed art crimes on his pioneering blog. “One day Scotland Yard was sitting there [at van Rijn’s home]; the next day, it was the FBI; and the day 70

I read at least 30 per cent of everything offered in the art market is fake. Almost nobody in the art world wanted to talk about it. I found it so intriguing

after, a famous forger. I thought, ‘Well, I have been parachuted into the right spot if I want to continue with this’,” he recalls. Alongside his famous cases, Brand spends most of his time advising private collectors on the provenance and authenticity of their potential purchases. “When you buy a secondhand car and don’t know anything about cars, you take a friend with you who does. But when people buy art, they can spend millions dollars just trusting the art dealer,” he says. “Unfortunately, most people who contact me have already bought an artwork and then find out that something is not right,” he continues. “My former colleague and I always used to toss a coin on Monday morning; whoever lost, had to call the people to tell them. It’s not an easy phone call to make.” Art thieves range from opportunistic burglars to organised crime gangs like the Italian mafia, who often trade stolen art as a future bargaining chip in case they are arrested for other crimes. The public, meanwhile,

tends to have a sneaking admiration for art thieves, Brand says. “There is a big part of the population who despise the art world. They see rich people talking about modern art and paintings consisting of only a red line that sell for millions,” he says. “So many art thieves and especially forgers are considered heroes for some people because they fooled all the so-called experts.” We discuss the recent theft of an 18-carat gold toilet from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, in the Oxfordshire countryside. Worth US$6 million, the solid gold lavatory was the centrepiece of an exhibition by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. “When a gold toilet is stolen, half of the population is laughing because they say, ‘This is considered art?’,” says Brand. Blenheim Palace’s insurers have offered a £100,000 reward for the safe return of the artwork, so is Brand tempted to take on the case? “It has probably been melted down,” he says. “I think we will never see it again.”



This page: The grand staircase in the lobby Opposite from top: Helipad Sunset Supper; Nation Riviera Beach Club


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or over a century, the St. Regis brand has been renowned for offering an impeccable service. Its debut property, The St. Regis New York, was introduced by changemaker John Jacob Astor IV in 1904. At the time, it was described as “the finest hotel in America” by The New York Times and considered ahead of the game due to the luxurious touch of having a telephone in each room. Fast forward to today, and there are more than 40 St. Regis hotels and resorts standing proud around the globe, each of which draw upon the brand’s illustrious history to offer each and every guest a tailor-made service. In the UAE, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi shines bright as the ideal choice for those seeking a distinctively different experience and stay. And with Argentinian polo star Nacho Figueras, notable fashion designers, music artists and tastemakers acting as Connoisseurs of the St. Regis brand, it’s easy to understand why. Located at the vibrant heart of the city, nearby Qasr Al Watan, the presidential palace, and designer boutiques including Hermès and Cartier, this elegant property lures travellers near and far. Blending an Arabian ambience with opulent Art Deco inspired interiors, the property feels inviting with its sleek lobby featuring artworks that pay homage to Abu Dhabi’s pearl diving heritage, and a grand dual staircase that will sweep you up to your room or suite. Accessed by private elevator, the Abu Dhabi Suite is a fitting choice. The world’s highest suspended suite, this three-bedroomed, two-storey abode overlooks the Corniche and Arabian Gulf and is built to impress with a spa, private movie theatre, and grand drawing room among the spaces in which to unwind. Speaking of relaxing, Remède Spa is ready to welcome you with its curated menu of bespoke facials and

body treatments, massages therapies and spa packages delivered by expert masseurs and aestheticians. Once your treatments are complete, Nation Riviera Beach Club calls with its stretch of private beach and temperature-controlled pool that’s ideal for all-year-round swims. With a focus on exquisite experiences, it comes as no surprise that dining here is an adventure. The exclusive Helipad Sunset Supper, which takes place twice per month on the highest active helipad in the Middle East and is limited to

just 20 guests, is a memory maker. You’ll be privately escorted through the hotel’s secret back paths to the venue, where you will meet the hotel’s passionate team of chefs, butlers, mixologists, and waiters who are ready to deliver a stand out meal. Taste the gourmet fare, admire the views and join in the celebratory mood thanks to the live saxophonist and signature St. Regis bottle sabering ritual. To find out more, call +971 2 694 4444 or visit


Car Wars The inside track on the Hollywood story of how Ford against Ferrari resulted in one of the biggest upsets in motorsport history




e Mans ’66 is released in cinemas this month. Or it might be called Ford v Ferrari, depending on where in the world you watch it. Either way, it dramatises the real-life story of Ford’s intense rivalry with Ferrari during the 1960s, and the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in particular. This is where Ford shocked the world, shattering Ferrari’s dominance of the event with its GT40 MkII racing car, taking first, second and third place. Much of the credit was given to racing entrepreneur Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles, played in the film by Matt Damon and Christian Bale respectively. Someone very familiar with the events of 1966 – even writing a book about the GT40 that placed third, chassis number 1016, which in development was used as the main test platform for the other models – is Eurosport TV commentator Mark Cole. He has covered Le Mans many times, and recalls that for much of the 1960s, Ferrari was unstoppable. “Nobody else could win,” he says. “In Formula 1, Le Mans, any of the other big endurance races… Ferrari dominated everything.” There were reasons that Ford wanted to challenge the Italians, particularly at Le Mans, the toughest, most dangerous race of them all – it knew that a victory here would help it to sell more cars. And there were personal tensions, with Henry Ford II looking to humiliate Enzo Ferrari after a high-profile takeover bid in 1963 fell through. Ford had tried to woo Ferrari with an offer of USD16 million, and the two had been close to an agreement. “But Ferrari would not accept


Motoring NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102


Opening pages: Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles in Ford v Ferrari, Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Right, top to bottom: Christian Bale as Ken Miles in Ford v Ferrari, Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles in Ford v Ferrari, Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


The 1966 race will always stand out, with the incredible dominance of one manufacturer so spectacularly brought down by another Ford’s veto on when and where his cars could race,” says Cole. “Enzo wanted to retain control of his motorsport division, so the deal was off!” Ford turned to British racing engineer and team manager John Wyer, who had won at Le Mans in 1959 for Aston Martin – the last non-Ferrari victory. His workshops in Slough, just outside London, were tasked with building the Ford GT, later renamed the GT40. With its sleek shape, standing at just over a metre tall (or 40in, hence the GT40 name), it sliced through the air, while its 4.2-litre V8 engine promised the 320km/h speeds needed to beat Ferrari at the 1964 Le Mans race. Unfortunately, the immense power made the GT40 unstable at high speeds – and terrifying. Every GT40 entered by Ford at Le Mans that year either broke down or caught fire, leaving Ferrari to clinch another 1-2-3 victory. Ford enlisted the help of Caroll Shelby, a successful US driver and team owner, who had driven Wyer’s Aston Martin to first place at the 1959 Le Mans. Shelby asked his friend, British racing driver Ken Miles, to take the GT40 for a test drive. Miles told him afterwards, “It’s awful!” The brakes, aerodynamics and handling were changed, with Shelby upping the engine to the 4.7-litre V8 used in his Shelby Cobra twoseater. Sadly, it was not enough, and while six GT40s were entered into Le Mans for the 1965 race, none finished, with Ferrari again securing the top three spots. Ford was feeling the pressure – it 76

had already spent millions on the GT40, but it was yet to finish a race. Shelby uprated the car again, adding a 7-litre Ford Galaxie engine and a heavy-duty gearbox. As ever, Miles was on hand to test the car on the track, with an uncanny ability to relay what was happening to the technicians, suggesting the appropriate changes. “The GT40 MkII was faster, stronger and more reliable,” Cole says. “But the brake discs remained an issue, with lots of replacements needed. The film depicts the struggle of Shelby and Miles to improve the car, while handling the demands of Ford executives, who were desperate for results. Throw in plenty of race action, and it should make for compelling viewing. “Miles drove the improved GT40 to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona at the start of 1966, and did the same again with a lightweight open version at the 12 Hours of Sebring two months later,” adds Cole. “This paved the way for Le Mans.” Adding to the drama, Ferrari chose the 1966 Le Mans race to unveil its own new car, the 330 P3 – slightly slower than the GT40, but more agile on the bends and requiring fewer fuel stops. As night fell, Ferrari led the race, with four of the eight GT40s dropping out. But Miles, driving one of the remaining Fords, put the pressure on, retook the lead, and Ferrari failed to respond, with its cars either crashing or pulling out. The following afternoon, after years of expense, Henry Ford II finally got his own 1-2-3 victory. But while there was drama on the

track, there was also plenty within the Ford team. “Miles wanted the top spot, and not unfairly, as he had put the work in,” explains Cole. “But team orders came in, when the win looked likely, that Ford wanted a side-by-side finish, with driver Bruce McLaren in one car, Miles in the other. Just before the chequered flag, McLaren put his foot down and crossed the line first. Miles was diplomatic about it, but friends said privately he was seething.” Miles was killed shortly after the race, test-driving the GT40 MkIV that would be raced in 1967. Ford wanted the win at Le Mans again to show that it had not been luck the first time around – after that the company quit, feeling it had proven its point, with Shelby moved on to other projects. The GT40 did win at Le Mans in 1968 and 1969, but this time was raced privately by Wyer’s team. For shock value, the 1966 race will always stand out, with the incredible dominance of one manufacturer so spectacularly brought down by another. The GT40 name is also remembered fondly by race enthusiasts, with the originals fetching huge amounts at auction, or you could seek out a replica or a modern Ford GT instead. As the filmmakers themselves realised with the movie’s dual titles, a name is everything. Le Mans ’66 is in cinemas this month. Ford GT40 MkII: The Remarkable History of 1016 by Mark Cole is published by Porter Press International,




Gastronomy NOVEMBER 2019: ISSUE 102

The Social Network Though Dubai’s Marina Social is one of 20 restaurants in Jason Atherton’s culinary charge, AIR meets a chef still intent on expanding his empire WORDS: JOHN THATCHER


ason Atherton is engrossed in animated conversation on his phone. And no sooner does one call end does another begin. He’d arrived at Dubai’s Marina Social, where I met him, earlier in the day, straight after flying in from London to begin a three-day stint in the kitchen for a series of sold-out dinners. Prior to touching down in the city he called home for four years (and where he met and married his wife, Irha), he was hard at work ensuring his latest London restaurant (number seven, to add to two bars) would open to acclaim. Oh, and in between, he had to hotfoot it over to London’s Grosvenor House to pick up the award for Chef’s Chef 2019, which as the name suggests was voted for by his peers. “I’d been nominated so many times without winning that I thought it had passed me by,” he says of the honour, which has clearly thrilled him. “I’d always planned to attend but was going to go late because of launching my new restaurant across town. Then my PR team came running into the kitchen mid-service to say they’re freaking out over at Grosvenor House because I wasn’t there, so I literally ran over and had to apologise to a thousand people for still being in my chef’s whites!” It’s fair to say that Atherton is a very busy man. While the award may have come as a welcome surprise to Atherton, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who doesn’t think it’s well deserved. This is a man who, when just a teenager, left his home

We have 20 restaurants. Can we really become one of the best hospitality groups in the world? That’s what’s driving me now in northern England with a oneway ticket to London to chase his dream of becoming a chef – long before chefs were afforded celebrity status – having left school with no qualifications. Estimates put his current fortune at north of £70 million. The journey Atherton embarked on saw him work his way up from days spent peeling vegetables to his current status as head of a global food empire comprising some 20 restaurants, with more to open within the next twelve months. And he did it the hard way, too, with no short cut sought as he bid to gobble up as much knowledge as possible from the industry’s greats. It meant unpaid work at Pierre Koffmann’s La Tante Claire; backpacking to Barcelona and sleeping on a beach in search of a job at Ferran Adrià’s feted El Bulli (he’d become the first British chef to complete a stage there); and sucking up the verbal volleys and flying frying pans while in the kitchens of Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. It was the latter of those firebrands

who made an indelible mark on Atherton, with the esteem in which he holds his former boss abundantly clear. “I was with Gordon the longest and it was just the most incredible time. I started with him when he was on the cusp of becoming a household name, and to watch not only how he embraced that but took it to a whole new level for a chef was unbelievable. So inspiring to watch.” It was Ramsay who first brought Atherton to Dubai, making him executive chef of the now defunct Verre at Hilton Dubai Creek, before bringing him back to London to head up Maze in 2005. Atherton won Maze a Michelin star, before expanding it globally into new territories. For twelve years the pair worked side-by-side, but Atherton had an itch to scratch. “I had this thought always niggling away at me, which was, yes, I had a Michelin star, but did I really do it on my own, or was it because Gordon was my boss and he funded the restaurant? Was I really a success or was I riding on someone else’s coat tails? I couldn’t die not knowing the answer to that question. Having worked at seven three-Michelin star restaurants during my career I’d put myself through the mill, big time. But was I good enough? Could I fill a restaurant with my cooking, without anyone’s guidance, with my own faults, with my own style of service? I had to take that plunge and Gordon was extremely p****d off and we didn’t speak for eleven years.” That prolonged impasse in 79


their relationship was broken only recently, at September’s GQ UK awards in London. “I was there on my own as my wife is far along in her pregnancy (a girl, due to join two other daughters) and was the first to sit at my table. So I’m sending out emails on my phone when all of a sudden I hear, ‘So are you not going to say hello, then?’ I look up and there’s Gordon. We had a lovely chat, congratulating each other on restaurants and babies and that was it. I would not be where I am today had I not worked with him for 12 years. I owe that guy everything.” An incredibly strong work ethic and an innate desire to constantly widen the scope of their talents are character traits of both men, so it’s little surprise that having made such a success of his debut restaurant Pollen Street Social, winning it a Michelin star and a permanent place in any list compiled of London’s best restaurants, Atherton set about the task of building his own empire. In addition to his ever-expanding portfolio of London restaurants and bars are restaurants in New York, Dubai, Doha, Cebu, St. Moritz and three in Shanghai alone. “We have 20 restaurants. Can we really become one of the best hospitality groups in the world? That’s what’s driving me now.” Next on the menu are openings in Mykonos, Rome, Las Vegas and Japan, which excites him most because of the opportunity to work daily with ingredients that are “off the charts”. Yet as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the time and effort needed to expand across the globe can come at a cost. “I was on a flight to Australia (paying a visit to his now-sold Sydney restaurant). We launched in New York two months before I went, on the back of also opening two restaurants in London within six weeks of each other, and I was visibly exhausted. I was flying first class, so tucked up in bed, when something disturbed me and I woke up and f****** freaked out! I didn’t know what I was doing, where I was going, what plane I was on. And 60 seconds is a long time when you have no idea what is going on. It was a mini panic attack; a lesson learned. Scary. I told myself I needed to slow down. “Australia got to the point where for 80

Opening pages: Jason Atherton at his Dubai-based restaurant, Marina Social This page: A vegan version of beef tartare Right: Plating up dishes at Marina Social

the first time in my life I was depressed because I knew I wasn’t doing a good job with the restaurant. There wasn’t enough attention on the food, and for various reasons we weren’t getting it right. I said to myself, if I can’t open a restaurant in Sydney that isn’t one of the best in the city, then why am I there? Because I can do that. But I had to be there. The jet lag was such that I was still awake at 6am and had to be in a meeting at 7am. By lunchtime I was all over the place, like I’d been drinking Champagne for six hours! It wasn’t fun. It was a living nightmare.” The lesson leaned accounts for why Atherton no longer considers opening in a destination any further than a 12-hour flight from London. “Some people have said to me, ‘oh you’re silly, you’re missing out on so much.’ But then I’m missing out by not working hard. I see why people who aren’t fulfilled by their job dread 8am each morning and can’t wait for the clock to strike five, but that’s not me. I love working. And I love weekends with my family.” It’s obvious, not least from the way he beams with fatherly pride when mentioning the impending addition to his brood, that family is of the utmost importance to Atherton. He cites them as the number one reason

when I ask about his longevity in the restaurant industry and has spoken previously of how he insists on having five family holidays a year. “I have a wonderful wife (who is also co-director of his restaurant group), two great children, and one on the way. We decide everything together,” he says. His is an empire built on solid foundations. Atherton’s wider family in a business sense include all who work for The Social Company, people he is mindful to reward one day for their own hard work. “Last year I could have sold out to a massive company who offered a lot of money, but I turned it down, foolishly or not, I don’t know. I will have to draw down at some point, but I want to sell a majority stake in the company to the management, because I want them to benefit from their hard work. I’ll still remain a shareholder with my wife and we’ll set up a board of directors to help them, but ultimately they will own the business eventually, which is a cool thing.” It is. And maybe then Atherton may want to work a little less than he does currently. But as our conversation ends and he attends to the many messages he’s received on his phone since we sat down to talk, you wouldn’t bet your dinner on it.


Travel NOVEMBER 2019 : ISSUE 102



Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea



s the famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said of Taormina in 1787: “We could not tear ourselves away until after sunset. To watch this landscape, so remarkable in every aspect, slowly sinking into darkness, was an incredibly beautiful sight.” With its untamed beauty, this hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily has earned a place in the heart of everyone from aristocrats to politicians and Hollywood greats, including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Al Pacino and Francis Ford Coppola. Their hideaway of choice was Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and exudes all the glamour you would expect of an exclusive Sicilian retreat. Built in 1830, it was bought by the Trewhella family in the 1920s, who quickly set about expanding the villa, adding palm trees to the gardens and filling the house with antiques and oil paintings. Following a lockdown period during WW2, the family reopened it as a small hotel in 1950, and it quickly became a sought after retreat and celebrity haunt. Today, the estate charms with its secluded setting on the picturesque Bay of Mazzarò, and its luxurious rooms and suites – the most coveted of which is the Presidential Suite with its bespoke touches, including framed antiques that celebrate Sicily’s traditional craftsmanship, and an original artwork by Italian artist Mimmo Rotella as its captivating centrepiece.

Good food is a passion here, and the property is home to one of the most revered restaurants in Taormina, Oliviero. From colourful salads to the fresh fruity di mare, each dish is a delight. Be sure to taste the breakfast staple granita. It comes in a variety of flavours, including almond, which is typical to Catania. Simply tear off a chunk of brioche and use it to scoop the granita straight into your mouth. If you’re eager to get out an explore, you can follow in the footsteps of Orson Welles, D. H. Lawrence and Truman Capote by taking the cable car to the town centre to discover the sophisticated shopping scene. No trip to Sicily would be complete, however, without a visit to its explosive natural attraction, Mount Etna, which has captivated people through the ages with its fiery displays. As legend has it, the Greek philosopher Empedocles threw himself into the crater in an attempt to discover the secrets of its eruptive activity. Today, the volcanic landscape that surrounds the peak is covered in hauntingly vibrant fireweeds – the result of the mineral-rich lava that has hardened on the ground. The mountain is also home to thriving vineyards, which are best reached by boarding the historic carriages of the Ferrovia Circumetnea railway for a gourmet tour of the area. Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea is a 50-minute drive from Catania Airport Fontanarossa. To plan a stay, call +39 0942 6271 200 or visit 83

What I Know Now




My dad once told me to stay focussed and to not ever copy from others. He has always emphasised that I need to have my own style. I have been lucky to benefit from the know-how of my father, who is a diamond merchant.

memories of diamonds. My first real crush for diamonds was at the age of 12 when I found an envelope with tiny diamonds at my parent’s house in Paris. I was fascinated by the light they exhaled.

I get my inspiration from a lot of things. I am always looking for inspiration through my travels, architecture, interior design (which I am crazy about), by walking around the streets in Paris and observing people’s attitude and style. I admire the Parisian; they look so chic in a very minimal way.

I follow values that I never infringe. My credo is ‘less is more’ and I imagine all of my collections around four core values: lightness, liberty, purity, and sensuality.

Many of Messika’s high jewellery collections are a journey through my personal memories. Every year I get my inspiration from memories that touched me personally in my childhood, and more particularly the Once Upon a Time collection. My whole childhood is filled with 84

I have always been a passionate person and through my experience I learned not to take things too personally. It’s important to know how to put things into perspective and see that there is always a lesson to be learned from any criticisms. My biggest career challenge was to transform diamonds into jewellery. When I founded Messika 14 years

ago, there was a real apprehension around the diamond. In fact, most women only wore diamonds on special occasions, or for their weddings. That’s why I have created my company with this desire to desacralise the idea of the diamond being untouchable, to make it more contemporary, to give it a younger and cooler look. I also wanted to make it affordable and, most importantly, a part of everyday life. As a businesswoman and the creative director of the brand, I learned that talent and passion is not enough, you need to work hard to fulfil your dream. I first felt successful in my business when I opened my Atelier de Haute Joaillerie in Paris. To me, success means to succeed both in your family life and in your career. You are successful when you feel fulfilled in both.



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Rochester, Minnesota U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals Honor Roll,� 2019-2020.

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