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Credit: Movie still from Viva Las Vegas, published in the book The Making of Viva Las Vegas


FEATURES Thirty Eight

Forty Four

Beene the Best

The Next Generation


Fifty Six

Sharing the same name as an icon saw Michael B Jordan strive to make the name his own. Kevin Maher meets him.

His name may be unknown to all but dedicated followers of fashion, but to designers Geoffrey Beene was the best.

Why Diane von Furstenberg is entrusting her 20-year-old granddaughter with her $500 million legacy.

As a new book goes behind the scenes of Viva Las Vegas, Chris Anderson looks at Elvis’ controversial movie career

Action Man


Screen Idol



Credit: Jaques Griffe set, Brazil, 1965 @ Henry Clarke/Galleria/Roger-Violet





Critique Twenty Eight

Timepieces Thirty

Objects of Desire Thirty Four


Chief Creative Officer

John Thatcher Managing Editor

Faye Bartle Contributors

Chris Anderson, Lara Brunt,

Sixty Two


Sophia Dyer, Ronak Sagar


Sixty Six




Art Director


Kerri Bennett

Seventy AIR


Journeys by Jet


Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

Seventy Two


What I Know Now

Leona Beth

COMMERCIAL Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher General Manager

David Wade Commercial Director

Twenty Four

Art & Design Lara Brunt looks at how fashion photography moved from the studio to exotic lands

Rawan Chehab

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.






Empire Aviation Group JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104

Welcome to this issue (our first in 2020) of AIR – our private aviation lifestyle magazine for aircraft owners and onboard guests. It’s the start of an exciting year ahead here in the region and an opportunity to re-energise ourselves and set new targets for the next 12 months. Of course, World Expo 2020 in Dubai will dominate our plans as we build up to the big event, which kicks off in October.

Welcome Onboard ISSUE 104

At the start of any new year, many of us think about how to improve our lives or business in some way. For aircraft owners, the start of the year can be an ideal opportunity to consider plans for their asset – how to manage it more effectively or whether to upgrade to a newer model. With a raft of new aircraft designs in the pipeline from all the major manufacturers, the market for new and pre-owned business jets is becoming more active again and this creates potential buying and selling opportunities. In this issue, our Director of Sales, Scott Glenn, casts his expert eye over the pre-owned market and highlights two aircraft that he is particularly excited about. Travel plans also tend to loom large at the start of the year, as we look ahead to the holiday periods and school holidays through the course of the year. Whether you own or charter a business jet, the world really is your oyster and this is the time of year when the glamorous ski resorts of Europe beckon (hopefully with plenty of fresh snow to enjoy). Or perhaps a two-stop trip to the Indian Ocean, East or Southern Africa, where the unique combination of a safari and a beach stay is one of the great travel experiences. A charter flight can take you to places that no commercial aircraft can reach and with all the flexibility you want. Caron Gledhill, our Director of Marketing and a very experienced global travel industry expert, shares her ideas for a memorable trip combining air charter and special destinations.   Whatever your plans for the year ahead, all of us at Empire Aviation wish you a successful, peaceful and prosperous 2020.   Enjoy the read.

Paras P. Dhamecha Managing Director

Cover: Michael B. Jordan Getty Images

Contact Details: / 9

Empire Aviation Group JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104

The perfect time for an upgrade Empire Aviation’s Director of Sales, Scott Glenn, on the key consideratons when buying a new or pre-owned jet

Dubai Air Show 2019 was the perfect opportunity to check out the new business jets in the pipeline from all the major manufacturers. New models create new interest in the market and lead to more buying and selling opportunities as owners look to upgrade and new buyers enter the world of aircraft ownership. The Empire Aviation sales team is always looking for opportunities for our owners through our offices around the world, and especially in the US, which still dominates the global market for business aircraft.   The key decision is whether to buy new or pre-owned. There are many advantages to buying pre-owned airplanes, including no waiting for the plane to be built, the option to customise the aircraft interiors to your specific needs, and to design the colour schemes for the exterior livery as you would for a new aircraft at the factory. These options to update and upgrade can give you many of the benefits of the latest business jet design and technology, at a fraction of the new aircraft price.  10

Inevitably, the pre-owned market offers much greater choice across different categories of aircraft, making it easier to find a gently used and well-maintained model still under warranty that offers more comprehensive service options, beyond the original manufacturer network. In terms of aircraft performance, there is relatively little to choose between new and preowned business jets, and most can fly similar distances at similar speeds. So, an older airplane that meets all the current avionics requirements and with the latest upgrades can be an excellent investment. Finally, let’s consider price. In addition to getting the aircraft you want and when you want it, there can be some significant price savings when buying a pre-owned jet. Residual values are generally between 35% and 45% of the original purchase price, after five years. When you consider that much of this value decline happens in the first year, you can see that there are some very good opportunities to buy excellent

pre-owned aircraft at very attractive prices, when compared to new. We are currently offering two perfect examples – a 2009 Bombardier Global 5000, and a 2013 Bombardier Challenger 300. To buy a new or pre-owned aircraft is much more than a ‘USD64,000’ question; mistakes can cost millions, so make sure you work with a trusted aviation advisor. Bombardier Global 5000 With space for eight passengers and three crew, the Global 5000 (example image, left) can fly 4,800 nautical miles at a speed of .85 Mach, with best-in-class comfort and performance. The cabin layout has three zones to meet different requirements, with the forward section for relaxing or work, while the mid-cabin is set up for four passengers to dine. The separate aft cabin is perfect for sleep, quiet relaxation or watching a movie. This 2009 aircraft is tastefully designed with all-new wood trim and refurbished seats, and the cabin looks and feels like new. The aircraft has also recently completed its 120-month inspection, which means that it’s completely turn-key and ready to fly. We believe this is probably the best opportunity to acquire a Global 5000 in the worldwide marketplace today. Bombardier Challenger 300 This super mid-size business jet offers trans-continental range (3,100 nautical miles non-stop) and is the perfect aircraft for owners travelling regionally. It can carry up to eight passengers in a two-zone cabin that provides the layout option of eight club chairs or a three-seater divan in the aft cabin. A fully enclosed washroom offers additional privacy. This 2013 Challenger 300 has benefitted from a very caring owner and a team that has maintained the aircraft to the highest standards. The onboard entertainment system was upgraded on delivery and provides passengers with everything from movies to music and wifi. In terms of overall value for money, this is an outstanding pre-owned aircraft.  

Empire Aviation Group JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104

Charter away to your dream vacation this 2020 Empire Aviation’s Director of Marketing, Caron Gledhill, reveals why chartering a business jet is the smart way to vacation

When you consider your travel and vacation options for the year ahead, you may naturally think about where commercial airlines fly and the destination airports they serve. If it is an itinerary with multiple stops, then it may even involve more than one carrier. The complexities of switching airlines, airports and managing and tracking baggage (golf clubs, skis, etc..) are challenging enough, along with the inevitable queues when transiting customs and security. Chartering a business jet opens up a new way of thinking about travel as an independent and flexible way of accessing places that no other form of travel can reach. A business jet – even a large size aircraft – can reach many of the smaller local and regional airports that commercial carriers 12

cannot serve. And for multiple stopovers, aircraft charter offers the ultimate flexibility of flying to your own schedule and itinerary. For skiing enthusiasts – or those who just enjoy the mountains and winter sports ambience – a charter jet can get you into some of the highest and most exclusive resorts in the Alps, such as Gstaad, and could stop in Cannes on the way for a touch of Rivera winter sunshine.  Getting you closer to your ultimate destination – and ideally landing in your destination – is part of the trip planning process and this is where travel and charter expertise is essential, guiding you in selecting the right business jet for the trip. If you are going long haul (the ski resorts of the US or the Canadian Rockies, or

even Japan), then you may want to fly non-stop or prefer to make a stopover en-route and break the journey – the decision is yours, but you may need different aircraft. Africa boasts some of the most exhilarating experiences in the world and, of course, the safari is an established and unique travel experience that draws people from all over the world. South Africa has the Cape, fantastic beaches and the safari experiences to combine into a memorable trip; East Africa has the new luxury beach resorts of Zanzibar and the safari options of Kenya and Tanzania, and the Indian Ocean islands.  The choice is yours and air charter can put it all within easy and convenient reach. 

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





Dubai’s dining scene hits new heights this month with the official opening of CÉ LA VI Dubai, perched a cloudskimming 220 metres atop the new Address Sky View. Held in similarly high regard is chef Howard Ko, who comes with fine-dining pedigree: Los Angeles-raised, he began his career at New York’s two Michelin-starred Daniel, before a stint in his home state of California at Thomas Keller’s legendary The French Laundry, holder of three Michelin stars. Married to that experience is Ho’s principled cooking, believing that the best dishes strike an ideal balance between tradition and modernity, with locally sourced produce to the fore. We’ll see you in the sky.



Critique JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104

Film Little Women Director: Greta Gerwig A coming of age story of four sisters facing difficult and challenging times, standing by each other as America transitions into a new phase after the Civil War. AT BEST: ‘It doesn’t just brim with life, it brims with ideas about happiness, economic realities, and what it means to push against or to hew to the expectations laid out for one’s gender.’ – Alison Willmore, Vulture AT WORST: ‘Gerwig’s film is likely to die a slow and meandering death with movie audiences, despite the critical acclaim it is getting.’ – Jordan Ruimy, World of Reel

1917 Director: Sam Mendes AIR

Schofield and Blake, two British soldiers in WWI, cross deep into enemy territory to deliver a message in order to save 1,600 men from certain doom. AT BEST: ‘A modern war classic and one of the best movies of the year.’ – Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post AT WORST: ‘There’s no time to pause, even for great beauty, a lesson that even this is often loathe to honor.’ – Kate Erbland, indieWire

Lucy in the sky After returning from a transcendent experience in space, Lucy loses her perception of reality as the world now seems too small. AT BEST: ‘It’s a deep-thinking character study that’s provocatively if imperfectly presented.’ – Tom Russo, Boston Globe AT WORST: ‘It should soar, but instead, it flatlines.’ – Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

No Safe Spaces Director: Justin Folk Comedian Adam Carolla and radio talk show host Dennis Prager take a tour around America to understand why freedom of speech is currently under attack. AT BEST: ‘It’s actually healthy, if not essential, to be exposed to ideas you disagree with and even violently don’t like.’– Owen Glieberman, Variety AT WORST: ‘It argues for common sense and values while railing against dogma. But what is one person’s dogma except someone else’s common sense and values?’ – John Wenzel, Denver Post 16

Image Credits, from top to bottom: Wilson Webb; Universal Pictures; 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Director: Noah Hawley


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the areas as for example an architecture workshop led by the Norman Foster Foundation Madrid, Junior Computer Sciences taught to primary and middle school students in collaboration with the ETH Zurich (Albert Einstein’s University), Hotel Management in collaboration with The Chedi, Andermatt or Wealth Creation and Investment. Industry specialists teach students how real-life situations within their field is relevant to their school syllabi, fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within the students learning attitude. A popular lifestyle blogger commented on the learning experience at Rosenberg as: “Courses that sit somewhere between a TED Talk and an M.B.A. on the scale of personal ambition.” Linked to our experience, we couldn’t agree more.

The verdict? A seemingly traditional school, not afraid of exploring new didactical methods to help students master expectations of contemporary education in the 21st century. A holistic educational approach to realise individual student talents, while achieving excellent academic results and fostering entrepreneurial curiosity defines this school with its family atmosphere. Simply one of a kind. To arrange a campus visit or personal consultation, call +41 71 277 77 77 or visit


Critique JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104



Image Credit: Eva Noblezada and the Broadway cast of Hadestown, by Matthew Murphy


pen on Broadway at Walter Kerr Theatre until November 22, Hadestown had Constance Grady of Vox enraptured: “It creeps under your skin and stays there so ably that in the theater, you can actually see the cult following develop in real time. When the house lights came up for intermission at the performance I saw three unconnected people who were not sitting together say “holy cr**” in unison… Then the lights came back down, and the audience all turned back to the stage, waiting for the climax where we would all gasp as one at the same moment – because this show is, in the most literal sense of the word, breathtaking.” Less impressed was David Rooney of Hollywood Reporter. “Given the show’s bold unconventionality, it’s perhaps not so strange that the romantic leads are less compelling than the shady secondary couple or the storyteller figures of Hermes and the Fates.” Touching The Void, a play based on a thrilling true story, runs at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, until February 18

29. “The eschewing of naturalism is the key to the production’s grip and success. To explain the lure of climbing to fiercely skeptical Sarah, Simon and Richard commandeer the pub’s chairs, tables and ropes for what becomes, in every sense of the phrase, a truly remarkable suspension of disbelief, thanks to the brazen inventiveness of Morris’ production,” writes David Benedict for Variety. Nick Curtis of the London Evening Standard reflects on the story and message of the play: “It’s not just a physical challenge that’s dramatised, but a moral one too. The injured Simpson fell into the crevasse after Simon Yates had already heroically lowered him 2,500 feet on a rope. Unable to see or hear his friend and liable to fall himself, Yates cut the rope. Hopefully none of us will ever make such a decision. But Greig, Morris and the cast enable us to understand the people who might.” & Juliet brings a controversial twist on the classic Romeo & Juliet story to London’s Shaftesbury Theatre (until May 30). “Did I have problems with

it? Hell yes!”, writes an unimpressed Andrzej Lukowski of Time Out London, “A musical that presents itself as a spunky feminist corrective to Shakespeare, that is itself the creation of a male songwriter, book writer and director, is clearly guilty of some fairly shameless hypocrisy. It is definitely too pleased with itself…Despite pyrotechnic vocals and style so sharp it’s physically painful, it does feel like somebody forgot to write Juliet an actual personality.” Michael Billington of The Guardian wasn’t impressed either, “I still fail to see the point of a show like this: if the audience want to hear just the songs, why not present them in concert form? It feels gratuitous to attach them to a plot that, in its desperation to sound the right feminist notes, becomes almost painfully hip.” However, David Benedict of Variety had a more positive opinion, “Silly and serious, & Juliet wants to have its cake and to eat it too. Yet for all its many flaws, it’s hard not to cave into its determination to add some thought to its undeniably feel-good factor.”

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Critique JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104


argaret Atwood’s hotly anticipated follow up to The Handmaid’s Tale has proved an equally big hit with the critics. Alec Clark of the The Guardian said of The Testaments: “A rallying cry for activism that argues for the connectedness of societies and their peoples ... also an argument for the power of disgust ... Atwood’s task in returning to the world of her best-known work was a big one, but the result is a success that more than justifies her Booker prize win.” “The Testaments is worthy of the literary classic it continues,” praises Barbara Vandenburgh of USA Today. “That’s thanks in part to Atwood’s capacity to surprise, even writing in a universe we think we know so well… The Testaments builds in tension, morphing into a fraught tale of subterfuge and spycraft as it toggles between the three narratives, teasing how they might eventually intersect and why.” However, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst of The Times didn’t find the sequel quite up to the mark. “Part of the fun of The Testaments is seeing how even a ruthless caste system can’t fully 20

extinguish the individuality of each writer’s voice… The main problem is that it is a sequel to a much better book ... a far brasher, flashier affair, full of the plot hooks and clichérich dialogue you would expect from a Hollywood blockbuster, and occasionally even winking at its own contrivance.” The Innocents, by Michael Crummey, is “Riveting”, writes Bookpage’s Lauren Bufferd. “Crummey has transformed this fragment into a richly fashioned story told with great sensitivity – one that is as credible as it is magical ... reminds us of all the reasons we read – to understand, to imagine, to find compassion and to witness the making of art.” Emily Gray Tedrowe of USA Today says, “Harshly beautiful ... what begins as a gripping survival tale deepens into a psychological inquiry into intimacy, conflict and what it means to be alone together in the world ... The last scenes of The Innocents manage to both shock and satisfy and will leave readers thinking about the story of Evered and Ava for a long time. “ Julia Kastner writes for Shelf

Awareness, “A novel of innocence and hardship and what is intrinsically human ... A gifted writer, Crummey shows imagination and compassion for his young protagonists, and a care for the oddities of language specific to time and place… This searing novel will keep readers engrossed in its harsh world long after its hopeful conclusion.” William Skidelsky of the The Financial Times found Robert Harris’ writing in The Second Sleep to be impressive, saying, “When Harris is at his best – and here he is – he writes with a skill and ingenuity that few other novelists can match. In this case, the usual page-turning pleasures are joined by something else: a sense that, through his historical-futuristic setting, Harris has found a unique vantage point to comment on the present.” Christine Tran of Booklist pens, “Set against a neo–Dark Ages England, Fairfax’s innocent truth-seeking is a thought-provoking lens through which to view this tale of murder and obsession. Strongly recommended for book groups.”

Credit: Penguin Random House



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Critique JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104



Image: Dora Maar, 1907-1997 Untitled c. 1933. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard and Ronay Menschel Fund for the Acquisition of Photographs © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019


mily Spicer of Culture Whisper shares her profound understanding of Dora Maar’s work at Tate Modern (till March 15). “It was while trying to find innovative ways to advertise hair products and face creams that Maar’s talent for surrealism emerged. For a fashion shoot she captured the elegant back of a glamorous model, but replaced her head with a glittering star. For another assignment, presumably commissioned by the makers of an anti-ageing cream, she superimposed the image of a spider’s web (complete with arachnid) over the face of a young woman.” 22

Time Out London’s Rosemary Waugh writes on Dora Maar’s photography, “The real surprise is Maar’s extensive body of street photography taken in Barcelona, Paris and London during the Depression of the 1930s. Many of the images are remarkable for their informal candour, a quality also present even in Maar’s most stylised Surrealistic images. Unlike the meticulous Miller, Maar takes photos that always look the tiniest bit accidental, as though the shutter closed of its own accord.” Rowan Moore of The Guardian shares his thoughts on Cars: Accelerating the Modern World, on show at the

V&A London until April 19, “It is not just about technology, is the point, but about culture. The aim is to show how profoundly cars have changed almost every aspect of human life: social life, geopolitics, gender politics, city building, tourism, economics, ecology, landscape, industry, art, to name but ten. “ Sean O’Grady of The Independent writes, “Car nuts will be delighted to see some familiar friends in this exhibition and learn a few new things too. A sceptical, even hostile visitor who just sees the car as a generic appliance to get from A to B in an environmentally unfriendly fashion, might also see our three- and four-wheeled friends in a different, more positive light.” London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery exhibits Rembrandt’s Light until February 2. Rosemary Waugh of Time Out London says of it, “The first room plunges visitors into the classic sooty blackness of a Rembrandt oil painting, making the second room, a puddle of warm sunlight in tribute to the artist’s well-lit studios, something of a shock. The others descend back into goth mode, dark cosy caves emphasising the luminescence in the artworks. At the centre, the gallery’s mausoleum (yes, it has one) is filled with ‘Buffy’esque candles, with velvet cushions strewn on the stone benches.” “That’s what the exhibition achieves: it replaces the self-directed effort of engaging with painting with the much more passive and remote experience of watching a film or video art,” pens an impressed Jonathan Jones of The Guardian, “Ultimately, to claim that Rembrandt is a cinematographer and give his paintings arty moodlighting is to try and reduce his genius to our own slipshod standards.” Florence Hallett of The Arts Desk agrees that, “Certainly, Rembrandt had a filmmaker’s feel for mise-enscene. Sometimes he comes in close, cropping a scene to intensify its drama and draw us into the action; sometimes he moves out, arousing our pity for the Woman Taken in Adultery, 1644, who is small and vulnerable against a massive architectural setting.”

Art & Design


JANUARY 2020 : ISSUE 104

Let’s Go Outside

A display of archival material from Palais Galliera explores the enormous changes in fashion photography in the last century, from the studio to the great outdoors and developments in photography itself. Lara Brunt speaks to its curator WORDS: LARA BRUNT


hen Diana Vreeland arrived at American Vogue in 1963, she set about transforming the publication from a stuffy society magazine to one that reflected the youthquake sweeping both sides of the Atlantic. Embracing the jet age and tapping into the trend for the exotic, she was the first editor to send photographers to far-flung destinations to produce extravagant fashion stories, in colour, that frequently filled 20 pages. It was a bold – and wildly expensive – move that would change fashion photography forever. Henry Clarke, who worked exclusively for Vogue from the mid-1950s, was Vreeland’s favourite photographer for such assignments. In 1964, she sent him to India, where he photographed German supermodel Veruschka in the palaces of Jodhpur. In 1965, it was Syria and Jordan, where models frolicked in floaty chiffon gowns among the ancient ruins of Palmyra and Petra. By 1969, Clarke had also travelled to Brazil, Ceylon, Turkey, Mexico and Iran to produce glamorous editorials. “By mixing East and West, archaeological sites and American readyto-wear, exoticism and commercial interests, these images constitute 24



a unique moment in the history of fashion photography,” says Sylvie Lécallier, head of photography at Palais Galliera, Paris’s fashion museum, and curator of a new exhibition, Outside Fashion: Fashion photography from the Studio to Exotic Lands (1900–1969), at the Huis Marseille photography museum in Amsterdam. After his death in 1996, Clarke’s entire archive was bequeathed to Palais Galliera. His work features heavily in the new exhibition, which traces the historical development of fashion photography over seven decades, from studio settings to outdoor shoots. Featuring more than 150 images from the fashion museum’s archives, it is a story of emancipation and liberation, both visually and geographically. Alongside Clarke, the exhibition includes the work of groundbreaking fashion photographers from 1900 to 1969, such as French snapper Jean Moral, who pioneered the use of outdoor settings and natural movement, and German-born Willy Maywald, who went on to become Christian Dior’s official photographer. They photographed the designs of couturiers such as Poiret, Schiaparelli and Balenciaga for magazines such as Fémina, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, with more than 30 original publications on display. “The selection was made in relation to this issue of the exit of the studio, a question that crosses fashion photography and one that has interested me for a long time,” says Lécallier. “The contrast is striking between the studio photos from around 1900 and the photographs [by Henry Clarke] in Iran in 1969. It reflects the evolution of fashion, from the constraint to the liberation of bodies, as well as that of photography, from black and white to colour, from immobility to movement. At the end of the 1960s, fashion photography could be produced at the other end of the world.” The exhibition also highlights the dramatic shifts in women’s roles throughout the 20th century. “Fashion photography is a reflection of changes in the place of women in society. We can see in the exhibition this evolution from a shackled mode – complicated, very decorative – to a practical, dynamic mode,” says Lécallier. Arranged chronologically, the first 26

These images constitute a unique moment in the history of fashion photography room is devoted to the formal studio setting. In the early 20th century, portrait photographers began using painted backdrops to simulate outdoor locations, such as the seaside or a wintery garden. Meanwhile, advancements in printing processes allowed photographs to be printed on the same page as text, which saw fashion magazines transition from fashion illustrations to photography. “At the beginning of the 20th century, we are witnessing a golden age of fashion magazines where photography is reproduced with a very high quality of print, some even in colour. The magazine Les Modes is a very good example. The photographs are sometimes coloured or painted with gouache for the sake of realism and greater luxury,” says Lécallier. Another room explores the medium’s first forays outside, as fashion photographers started to go on location. During the interwar period, lifestyle magazines began publishing photos of notable personalities and fashionable subjects on the streets of Paris, at society events such as the horse races and at seaside resorts, with a description of their attire. Static studio poses gave way to snapshots of moving models, and daylight became increasingly important, as photographers aimed for a more natural look. “Photographers and studios that specialise in fashion photography on the racetracks at Bois de Boulogne or Deauville are closer to reporters than studio fashion photographers and are less well-regarded,” says Lécallier. “Their influence will only be felt in the 1930s when fashion photographers organise outdoor shoots in Paris.” The exhibition includes a room dedicated to Jean Moral, who came from a documentary background and worked extensively for Harper’s Bazaar. In the 1930s, he was one of the

first fashion photographers to shoot on the move and on the street, favouring candid shots of laughing models and experimenting with unusual angles and strong perspectives. “Beyond fashion photography, the 1930s are the time for aesthetic experimentation. The technical evolutions of photography allow this change. The cameras are smaller, more manoeuvrable: Leica and Rolleiflex are adopted by photographers who want to work outdoors,” says Lécallier. “At the same time, for commercial reasons, fashion magazines – especially American ones – want to show fashion that is easy to wear and practical, so photography is staged in more realistic situations.” One room of the exhibition is dedicated to the city of Paris, which has provided an iconic backdrop for fashion shoots for decades. “The Second World War anchors fashion in a harder reality and photography reflects the difficult conditions in which women have to fend for themselves. “After the war, Paris gradually becomes the centre of haute couture and is the ideal backdrop for photographers to stage the new creations of French couturiers,” says Lécallier. Reflecting the post-war dynamism, photographers embraced a more spontaneous, photojournalistic approach. Models spilled out onto the streets and studio backdrops were replaced by city skylines, transforming conventional fashion photography. The last room is dedicated to travel and the notion of exoticism in the 1960s, exemplified by Clarke’s images. By 1971, the editorial reign of Vreeland was over, after she was fired from Vogue for spending too much on shoots, but Clarke continued to work for international editions of the magazine until the late 70s. One of the most accomplished fashion photographers of his time, Clarke’s influence can still be felt today. “His colour work done with Diana Vreeland opened the way to fantasy and excess. Even if the look of the so-called ‘exotic’ countries at the time has changed considerably, a certain fashion photography continues to be inspired by these extravagant productions,” says Lécallier. On show until March 8 at Huis Marseille, Amsterdam,

Opening pages: Pierre Cardin dress. Gerasa, Jordan, 1965 @ Henry Clarke/Galleria/Roger-Viollet Clockwise from top left: Lucien Lelong sports dress. Circa 1929, silver gelatin print @ Egidio Scaioni/ Galleria/Roger-Viollet; Georges Stavropoulos dress. Palmyra, Syria, 1965 @ Henry Clarke/Galleria/ Roger-Viollet; beach costumes Maggy Rouff, 1935. @ Dorvyne/ Galleria/Roger-Viollet; Ellen Brooke set for Sportswear Couture. Pammukale, Turkey, 1966 @ Henry Clarke/Galleria/Roger-Viollet


Timepieces JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104

The Wandering Star Watchmaking wunderkid Rexhep Rexhepi used to create watch movements in his apartment. Now, as the head of a seven-strong team, he does so from his own atelier in Geneva, home to his spirited brand Akriva WORDS : LARA BRUNT



n the rarefied world of haute horlogerie, 32-year-old watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi hasn’t wasted any time making his name. Just three years after launching his brand, Akrivia (from the Greek word for ‘precision’), the young watchmaker scooped the highly coveted Men’s Watch prize at 2018’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – the Oscars of the watch world – with his Chronomètre Contemporain. Up until this point, Akrivia timepieces – a handful of tourbillons, followed by the AK-06 non-tourbillon which debuted at Baselworld in 2017 – were known for their futuristic aesthetic. The Chronomètre Contemporain, by comparison, was inspired by the timeless proportions and style of officers’ watches from the 1940s and ‘50s. “I want to master many different styles, from classically inspired to futuristic,” explains Rexhepi. “The Chronomètre Contemporain added another colour to the palette of the atelier’s language, so to speak, and this successful approach means there will be more new ideas like this to come in the future.” Alongside prodigious talent, Rexhepi has a fascinating backstory. Born


in 1987 in Kosovo and raised by his grandmother, he emigrated from the war-torn country to Switzerland in 1998, where his father had worked since the ‘70s. “When my father came to visit us in Kosovo, he had a Swiss watch on his wrist. One day, I took the initiative in taking his watch while he slept to open it and discover what was going on inside. I’ll let you imagine his disappointment,” he laughs. His childhood interest in the mechanics of watchmaking led to a two-year apprenticeship at Patek Philippe, aged just 15. As one of the best-performing apprentices, Rexhepi was hired full-time and worked for the brand for three years, before joining BNB Concept, a now-defunct specialist movement manufacturer. Three years later, he joined independent Swiss manufacture FP Journe and worked alongside its celebrated founder, François-Paul Journe, for 18 months. Rexhepi cites a number of independent watchmakers and marques as influences – Journe, of course, along with George Daniels, Philippe Dufour, Kari Voutilainen and MB&F – as well as older timepieces by venerable brands such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron and Breguet. “I have very broad tastes and




Opening page: Rexhep Rexhepi at work These pages, clockwise from top left: The process of anglage; Chronomètre Contemporain; close up of AK06 movement

Credit: All images @swisswatches

I took my father’s Swiss watch “ while he slept to open it and discover what was going on inside. I’ll let you imagine his disappointment ” don’t like to limit myself to only one school of thinking or one approach in watchmaking,” he says. Located in Geneva’s Old Town, Akrivia employs six watchmakers, including Rexhepi’s younger brother, Xhevdet, a fellow Patek Philippe apprentice who joined the atelier in 2016 after graduating from the Geneva Watchmaking School. The team produces around 30 timepieces a year and abides by a ‘one watch, one watchmaker’ philosophy. “In some ateliers, the watchmakers only do one specific work on every movement. In the end this is very boring for them and effectively turns them into human assembly machines,” says Rexhepi. “If one watchmaker is responsible for one entire watch, every day holds different chores and you can never be bored. It also gives a sense of pride to the specific watchmaker in what has been accomplished.” Symmetrical movements, embellished with traditional techniques such as anglage, perlage and Côtes de Genève, have become a brand signature. The Chronomètre Contemporain, for example, features a subtly concave bezel and curved bevelled lugs that surround a grand feu enamel dial displaying the hours, minutes and seconds. A transparent caseback reveals the hand-wound RR-01 movement, designed in-house and finished with anglage, black polish and Côtes de Genève. “The human mind and eye are very susceptible to symmetry on every level; it provides a natural balance,” Rexhepi explains. “I cannot say that a symmetrical layout in a watch movement provides great technical

advantages as such, but on a visual, personal and subconscious level, I feel that a logical, balanced movement layout is a foundation of good engineering principles, as well as being attractive.” To differentiate the Chronomètre Contemporain from Akrivia’s existing timepieces, Rexhepi signed the dial with his own name, rather than the marque’s. In the past, he has spoken about feeling uncomfortable putting his name, as a Kosovo-born watchmaker, on a high-end Swiss watch. How does he feel now, after his grand prix win? “I am not the kind of person who loves to be the centre of attention, and therefore I have no desire to have a particular following centred on my name or personality. The watches are the important object here, not me,” he says modestly. “On the other hand, I would be lying if I said that the public recognition was not important for the continuity of work and the future of the atelier. I suppose it has taken about a year for me to find a working balance in these issues, but now I feel more comfortable dealing with life behind the workbench together with the public’s interest in my timepieces,” he reflects. As Rexhepi adjusts to his newfound status, how have his childhood experiences shaped him as a watchmaker? “That is hard to say, but if I had to single out one thing, it is that there were so many choices and possibilities to grow, learn and create in Switzerland. This was not a possibility for me in Kosovo, of course,” he says. “Today, when a problem or challenge arises, I am always ready to solve it and continue further, because I see

challenges as a natural by-product of having so much freedom and potential to work with.” This can-do attitude no doubt serves him well as an independent marque operating in a competitive industry dominated by big brands. “It is like every other business start-up in the world economy: you have to fight for what you believe in day and night, and work out the economics of funding your ideas. As a start-up, you have to love dealing with challenges of every kind,” he says. With demand for independentlymade timepieces rising in recent years, Rexhepi believes now is a good time to be an independent watchmaker. “I think the present mood surrounding independents is actually better than ever,” he says. “Collectors in general are looking for more unusual and special watches away from the mainstream, while the internet also helps new makers to be discovered more quickly and to build up more interest in their work than was the case 10 years ago.” Akrivia has partnered with Seddiqi & Sons in the Middle East and Rexhepi has visited the region to meet with collectors, although they may have to be patient as he works through his bulging order book. Rest assured, each timepiece will be hand-finished to his exacting standards. “Techniques like anglage, perlage, Geneva stripes, black polish and similar were always executed by hand in traditions going back several hundred years. When executed this way, they become actually a kind of art form all on their own and transform the entire watch to a higher level,” he says. For the lucky few, it will be worth the wait. 31



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



KENSINGTON NECKL ACE Blue blood runs through the history of the world’s longest standing jeweller. As makers of bespoke pieces for the British royal family (the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring, formerly Princess Diana’s, being one), Garrard’s

creations carry significant weight and prestige. And that’s precisely the case with this showstopper of a necklace, handcrafted from 18-carat white and yellow diamonds to gracefully adorn the décolletage of a woman with regal edge. 1



AT TA C H É G O L D lock and handle. Once synonymous with aviation professionals, the iconic briefcase became a quintessential plot device in the spy films of 1990s Hollywood. Today, the brand simply strikes gold with its timeless appeal and class.

Tradition meets contemporary as RIMOWA preserves the form of its famed briefcase, while throwing caution to the wind with a bold metallic finish. This limited-edition case is smoothly polished with curved edges, cuttingly defined furrows, and a chic gold 2



SILK T WILL BOUGAINVILLEA SCARF Start the year with a spring in your step with this botanical inspired scarf by Givenchy, new for Spring/Summer 2020. Designed by Clare Waight Keller, the bold pattern speaks of a modern, powerful femininity with delicate nasturtiums

patterning the vibrantly hued fabric. The bold fractal symmetries of the design appeals to a fun loving, contemporary woman who embraces both the natural and the urban, as she dresses fearlessly come rain or shine. 3





100 -4 BN2, 1956 debuted in London in 1952 and was named International Car of the Year at the 1953 New York Auto Show. The car continued to be a big hit in the US, with most of its orders bound for sunny California, helping to make it a model that’s now synonymous with 1950s glamour.

Fresh from its spectacular sale of vintage sportscars during Abu Dhabi’s F1 weekend, RM Sotheby’s heads to Arizona, USA, this month (January 16-17) to auction the likes of this statement vehicle. It arrived in late summer of 1955, an updated version of the two-seat Hundred roadster prototype that 5


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

PERLÉE CLOVERS BR ACELE T Van Cleef & Arpels enchants its clientele with its Diamond Breeze collection year on year, a coveted set of dazzling pieces that strike the perfect note for the winter season. Adding to the collection’s timeless appeal is this clover encrusted

bracelet – the clover being a symbol of iconic status within the maison – which is pavé-set with the precious stones. Set against a beautifully polished band of yellow gold, each diamond is given the stage to shine. 6



PORTOBELLO TOTE Inspired by Mulberry Green (the brand’s environmental commitment pledge) comes this 100% sustainable leather bag. Fashioned from the heavy grain leather of a gold-rated tannery, the material comes as a by-product of food production. The simple

yet elegant design was inspired by the practical nature of the plastic bag, turning it on its head with something made to last. A worthy purchase, all net proceeds from the bag’s sales will go to the World Land Trust, who provide protection for wildlife. 7



B E LG R AV E B AC K PAC K A modern take on Dunhill’s heritage craftmanship and design, the Belgrave collection is designed for those who don’t fancy the formality of a briefcase but value smart style. Its softer, more casual shape is fashioned from supple,

small-grain calf-skin leather, comprising a practical bag that has a top handle along with adjustable straps. Suitable for working on the go, there is an external padded computer compartment and two flat pockets inside. 8

Timepieces JANUARY 2020: ISSUE 104

The Collector’s Choice Herman Henlein may be credited with inventing the watch, but it is the founder of Rolex who perfected it, says Tariq Malik


he perfect timepiece is undoubtedly the Rolex Submariner. I say this boldly, and with little reservation, because when collectors are asked which watch they would keep, if they could keep only a single watch from their collection, the most common answer is the Submariner – and, yes, I include myself in that list of collectors. Firstly, it’s no exaggeration to call the Submariner the most famous diver’s sports watch of all time. It is also, by far, the most popular watch among collectors, and it has a huge range of variations compared to other sports watches, including honeycomb, gilt, glossy and matte dials, case, bezel and crown versions… and many more details besides (in fact, more than 100 Submariner variants have appeared since the first one was introduced in 1953). That leaves plenty of room for choice, so allow me to tell you which Submariner I believe to be king: the Rolex MilSub. The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) were the first to use the Submariner in Navy combat action. They demanded the strictest engineering discipline from Rolex, and all diver’s watches had to conform to their strict design specifications. There were to be fixed bars and a nylon strap, thereby ensuring that the watch wouldn’t depart from the diver – at least, not without an arm attached to it. The design was carefully refined together with the manufacturing genius of Rolex. The rarest MilSubs are the socalled ‘double reference’ versions. Very few of them can be found now. The MOD approached Rolex and asked that they produce a reference 5513 Submariner with some modifications. As a result, there were soon three different MilSubs: the reference 5513, the 5517, and a double-stamped 5513/5517. All had the fixed bars, the circled tritium ‘T’ on the dial, and most of

Rolex MilSub

them came with sword hands. Most importantly, there was a 60-minute bezel, which had a hash mark for each of the 60 minutes, rather than on only the first 15 minutes, like most average divers. These are the subtle but important signs of a true collector’s thoroughbred. The Milsubs are tricky to identify and to tell apart. There are three 5513-based MilSubs, which are very similar. Their subtle differences are based on markings and date of release. During the early 1970s the 5513 MilSub was stamped with a 5513 between the lugs. Later, when the production of the dual 5513/5517 began, a small 5517 marking on the backside of one of the lugs was added (hence the term ‘double-stamped’). Finally, the third reference, the 5517, replaced the 5513 marking between the 12:00 lugs to simply read 5517. However, over time these rare watches have suffered under hostile conditions, and many were

repaired with non-standard parts, relegating them to the ‘Frankenwatch’ bin. Perhaps only 10% of those original watches are still around. Consider that from 1971 through 1979, roughly only 1,200 MilSubs were issued, and only an estimated 180 or so still exist today. The rarest of them all has to be the experimental batch from the late 1950s, known as the A6538 ‘Big Crown’ with ‘explorer’ dial and a larger bezel, improving visibility and allowing gloved hands to operate it. The bezel material was to be German silver, which would typically dent upon impact, rather than cracking or breaking. If the end of the world were announced tomorrow, and I got to take only one watch with me to the escape pod – that would have to be the one.

Dubai’s DIFC is home to Momentum, Tariq’s vintage watch boutique. 33



Jewellery JANUARY 2020 : ISSUE 104

The Midas Touch Meet the man who turned Chanel into a high-jewellery powerhouse WORDS: SARAH ROYCE


hanel is a company that inspires loyalty. Karl Lagerfeld clocked up 36 years at its helm; his successor, Virginie Viard, has been with the company for 32. Jacques Polge, now retired, spent 37 years channelling the scent of Chanel as head perfumer. Patrice Leguéreau, in comparison, is a mere newcomer. He arrived in 2009 as director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, prepared to turn what was a relatively fledgling division (it was established in 1993) into a high jewellery powerhouse to rival Place Vendôme’s most historic maisons. Unlike those high-profile Chanel creatives, Leguéreau – a svelte, clean-shaven and immaculately turned-out Frenchman – has, until now, avoided the spotlight: this is his first proper interview. But his designs have been showcased on the cover of magazines and worn on the red carpet by the likes of Kristen Stewart, Keira Knightley and Brie Larson. Over the past decade, he’s turned Chanel’s emerging jewellery codes – diamond-dusted stars, suns,

I really enjoy seeing how the fashion team finds a twist on the icons, a new way to tell the story fringes, ribbons and camellias, all based on Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s only foray into fine jewellery, the 1932 Bijoux de Diamants collection – into a fully formed lexicon of creativity, with advances in design and craftsmanship at its heart. “Jewellery at Chanel is very young; it’s still the beginning of the story,” says Leguéreau in his soporific French lilt when we meet during last July’s Paris Haute Couture Week where Chanel’s most recent high-jewellery collection, Le Paris Russe de Chanel, was unveiled (the latest will be revealed in Paris this month). “Only a few things had been developed when I joined, but I

discovered a lot of very rich history and influences. So I started to develop the language of icons and symbols.” That meant exploring motifs dear to Chanel – wheat, lions, pearls, quilting – as well as drawing on the life and history of the house’s founder. Previous collections have delved into the Coromandel screens and talismanic objects that decorated her apartment, her summers spent aboard the Duke of Westminster’s yacht, the 1920s café society in which she moved, and for Le Paris Russe de Chanel, her fascination with all things Russian Chanel never travelled to Russia, but was intrigued and inspired by the country, thanks to her many Russian friends who fled to Paris during the Revolution. Artists, musicians, actors and choreographers joined the exiled aristocrats who created a ‘Russian Paris’ in the 1920s. Chanel socialised with Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev and Léonide Massine, and reportedly had a love affair with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, a cousin of Tsar Nicholas II. 35


make a powerful jewellery collection. And I found very strong connections.” The double-headed eagle has previously appeared on the Chanel catwalk – Karl Lagerfeld’s handiwork – but Leguéreau operates independently of the fashion atelier. “Creating a jewellery collection takes around two and a half years; the fashion process is much shorter. So it’s not possible to connect them,” he says. “But the magic of Chanel is that we all find inspiration from the same source: Gabrielle Chanel herself. All of the creative people in the house are free to do their best work, but we all respect the history, and continue the style that she created. In the end, that means everything is coherent. “The most important thing at Chanel – whether it’s fashion, perfume, beauty or jewellery – is the woman who will wear the products,” he continues. Leguéreau’s designs have increased in intricacy and complexity – Chanel opened its own high-jewellery atelier in 2012, elevating its in-house savoir faire – but, at the same time, his clients demand more versatility. “The women who wear Chanel are becoming younger and younger – they are active, they

travel a lot, they want jewellery that’s easy to wear, any time, anywhere.” While his collections might be developed separately, he does take inspiration from Viard’s – and previously Lagerfeld’s – ability to find fresh interpretations of decades-old house codes. “I really enjoy seeing how the fashion team finds a twist on the icons, a new way to tell the story. At Chanel, the mise en scène is very important: you have the products, the collection, the scenery, the story. It’s always a full adventure.” It’s a very different way of working from the previous posts Leguéreau has held within the industry. Having specialised in modelled engraving at Paris’s École Boulle college of fine arts and crafts and then studied at the Institut National de Gemmologie, Leguéreau spent six years in design at Cartier and 11 at Van Cleef & Arpels. There, his creativity was expressed within a framework built by centuriesold archives. “At Cartier and Van Cleef, I was continuing a language and a style that has been in existence for hundreds of years,” he says. “At Chanel, there was no such language. I have been given the opportunity to create it.”

Credit: Sarah Royce-Greensill / The Telegraph / The Interview People


She employed perfumer-to-thetsars Ernest Beaux, who formulated Chanel No 5, and she installed Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the Duke’s sister, as head of an embroidery workshop that created her Slavic-inspired fashion designs. In Leguéreau’s hands, these embroideries were translated into intricate bib necklaces seemingly woven from diamonds, sapphires and pearls, with camellia flowers dotted between twisted ropes of gold. Double-headed eagles appear on regal cuffs and at the top of earrings, from which cascade tassels of diamonds. The eagle, an ancient symbol of the Russian Empire, is found atop an ornate gilded mirror in Mademoiselle Chanel’s perfectly preserved Rue Cambon apartment. It was one source of inspiration Leguéreau used when trying to imagine what the couturière would have made of the faraway land with which she was so fascinated. Unlike Chanel, Leguéreau did visit Russia, travelling from St Petersburg to Moscow, “to enrich my own knowledge,” he says. “I went there to find connections between what I know about Chanel, and what could

The most important thing at Chanel – whether it’s fashion, perfume, beauty or jewellery – is the woman who will wear the products

Opening page: Patrice Leguéreau These pages, clockwise from left: Foulard bracelet as a final piece; stages in the making of the foulard bracelet 37



Michael B. Jordan on his transformation from teen actor to Marvel superstar WORDS: KEVIN MAHER



before they shot it. Jordan does this a lot, defers to Coogler, with whom he has made three movies (Fruitvale Station and Creed were both his). The pair are fast becoming the Scorsese-De Niro of our day, and Jordan waxes lyrical about their instinctive connection. “We have an unspoken language,” he says. “It’s looks, hand gestures, even different vocal variations on the same word. It makes shooting so much easier. It’s truly incredible.” In person, in jeans and sweatshirt, in a quiet London hotel suite, Jordan is unexpectedly soft and sincere. No irony. No smart-arse actorly games. Coogler has said of Jordan that he has a “natural charisma” that draws you in and makes him “incredibly relatable”. And certainly the appeal of his bigscreen protagonists so far is in their complexity and the hints of sadness beneath their frequently brash exteriors. He says “freakin’” too, where other actors would just swear, which is lovely. “I was surrounded by a lot of freakin’ good actors,” he says of his early days on TV, playing a teenage drug runner on The Wire. The reluctance to use the f-word is, I suspect, just manners. His father was in the US Marines. There was, he says, a lot of discipline growing up. A lot of family. A lot of values. Black Panther is the highest-grossing superhero film of all time. This has not gone unnoticed by Jordan. He says that money will be the biggest driver of equality in the Hollywood of the future. “It’s not about, ‘Yes, I want to do this and make this change because it’s the way it should be.’ No, unfortunately that’s not the way it is. It’s because it’s a business, it makes money, and that’s the biggest thing.” Jordan’s story in the movie business begins in the foyer of a doctor’s office in Newark where the receptionist looked at the cute 12-year-old (he’s the middle of three children, with an elder sister and younger brother) and told his mother, a high-school guidance counsellor, that she should consider putting him forward for modelling work. She did, and almost immediately he nabbed an agent and a manager (who was then also the

Credit: The Times/News Licensing



s a child Michael B. Jordan got teased a lot. It was the name. Michael Jordan. Who did he think he was, Michael Jordan? He played basketball in school, just like his namesake, the Chicago Bulls champion and sporting legend. However, kids can be cruel and relentless. At least they were in Jordan’s school, in middleclass Newark, New Jersey. It went on for years. He wanted to change his first name. His second name. Anything. Then one day, out of nowhere, he experienced a minor epiphany. “I just thought, ‘You know what? I don’t want people to think of Michael Jordan when they hear my name. I want them to know me.’ ” Step forward, Michael B. Jordan (the B stands for Bakari — Swahili for “one with promise”, no less), the seemingly unstoppable 32-year-old screen star who brought the Rocky franchise roaring out of retirement with Creed, gave an award-worthy performance in the excoriating truelife drama Fruitvale Station and was by far the best thing in the Marvel mega-blockbuster Black Panther, as the fabulously monikered villain Erik Killmonger. Next he plays a Navy SEAL in Without Remorse, an action-packed film based on the Tom Clancy novel. As Killmonger, covered in hundreds of tiny ritualistic scars (one for every life taken) and pumped up to terrifying proportions (Jordan put on 20lb of muscle for the role — all heavy weights and boiled chicken), his big revelation scene sees him challenge T’Challa to the throne of the fictional African nation Wakanda. Pure Russell Crowe in Gladiator (“Father to a murdered child,” etc), he strips off in front of his nemesis and, his voice cracking with emotion, announces: “I’ve lived my whole life waiting for this moment!” Then he hammers T’Challa and chucks him off a cliff. When I mention the Crowe parallels, Jordan laughs. He says that he loves it and that the scene was powerful to perform, but that a lot of the praise has to go to his 31-year-old wunderkind director Ryan Coogler, who pored over the scene with Jordan for hours





Look, it’s every kid’s dream, to buy their mom and dad a house. It was a bucket-list thing for me manager of Zoe Saldana from Avatar). Jordan did commercials and bit parts in TV (The Sopranos, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation). He enjoyed the money, and being treated as an adult on set, but never thought of himself as an actor. Then at the age of 14 came The Wire. He played a teenage dealer, Wallace. He was in the first season only, and shot dead at the end of that, but it changed everything. He was coached by the high-calibre actors around him (Idris Elba and Dominic West included), and says that it was the first time that he “lost” himself in a character. “It was a crazy feeling,” he says. “It felt weird. For the first time ever I felt not like myself. I didn’t know how to process it, but I knew that I loved it, and I needed to chase that feeling of true character.” As if. He worked steadily through the next decade in TV, playing a quarterback in Friday Night Lights and a recovering alcoholic in Parenthood, and being encouraged, he says, at all times by his ex-Marine father to prepare for the future, to focus and to take his work seriously. He met Coogler in 2012 at an audition for Fruitvale Station. “We just clicked,” he says. “We connected

on every level, from family to cartoons to what cereal we like. I can’t explain it, but we’ve been in synch ever since.” In Fruitvale Station he played Oscar Grant, the real-life victim of a fatal police shooting in Oakland, California, in 2009. It’s an incendiary turn, veering from sweet and light to righteous ire, and it set him up nicely for Coogler’s next project, the Rocky reboot Creed. That one, in which he plays Adonis Creed, the long-lost son of Apollo Creed, made a ton of money ($175 million) and set Jordan up as a serious movie player. He relocated to Los Angeles and bought an impressive and sprawling pile in the Hollywood Hills (he allowed the cameras of Vogue magazine in— house envy ensues) where he lives with his, ahem, parents. He giggles at the mention of the subject. “Look, it’s every kid’s dream, to buy their mom and dad a house. It was a bucket-list thing for me.” But doesn’t it cramp your style, you know, romantically? “Who are you telling, man?” he says, nodding vigorously, eyes wide. “And they know that too, so it’s a balance, and about understanding where they are in their life and marriage. But you know, you

have roommates, but they’re also your parents. And that’s a weird dynamic.” He was once rumoured to be dating the reality star Kendall Jenner, then it was a girl, a regular girl, whom he met on the beach on his new year break, but mention the subject and he laughs, points to my recorder and shakes his hands as if to say, no chance, not on the record at least. Career wise, although there have been sizeable blips along the way (the 2015 Fantastic Four turkey and before that the 2012 flop Red Tails) they were all, he says, part of a master plan. “They’re all chess moves,” he says, tongue only slightly in cheek. “It’s about how do I get to a certain place? How do I build an audience overseas? How do I build an audience in China? Well Marvel does China, so I need to make sure I do one of them. That’s the way it is. I am always trying to find a way to reverseengineer where I want to go. And for me it’s Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio. I want to be a mixture.” And is he almost there? “Yeah, it’s happening. I’m getting everything I ever wanted. And now it’s just about keeping going.” 43



Beene the best You may not have heard of him, but the biggest names in fashion worship Geoffrey Beene as one of the greatest American designers of the 20th century. LS Hilton explores the legacy of an elusive man WORDS: LS HILTON


efore there was Halston, before there was Lauren, there was Beene. Geoffrey Beene may no longer be a household name, but the sale of his archive by the American auctioneer Hindman last month provides an opportunity to a reassess his contribution to fashion history. Those outside the industry may not know of the influence Beene’s oeuvre has had on the titans of contemporary design. Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs have both described him as the greatest 20thcentury American designer, while Alber Elbaz, who worked for Beene in New York for seven years, declared that “he taught me everything, he made me the designer I am today”. Beene’s classic yet audacious style introduced American couture to the world. He famously loathed the word ‘commercial’: beauty, elegance and desirability were all that mattered to Beene, who dressed luminaries such as Faye Dunaway, Paloma Picasso and Jackie Onassis. Yet he was a canny businessman, and the multimillion-dollar empire he created firmly established American fashion on the international scene. What he valued above all was individuality. His deference to his customers’ 45


The freshness and refinement of his ‘designs caused a punch-up between buyers and reporters crammed into the Palazzo della Permanente ’

personal style — the sense that clothing ought to draw out, rather than obscure, the personality of its wearer — makes his aesthetic feel particularly relevant right now. Beene was born in small-town Louisiana in 1927. Originally destined to be a doctor, he dropped out of medical school to pursue fashion, first in LA. He credited his medical training as the basis of his designs: “The knowledge of human anatomy and the contours of the body […] help me tremendously.” A spell at Traphagen School of Fashion in New York was followed by training at the prestigious Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in Paris. Upon his return to America in 1951, Beene was determined to release US fashion from the constraints of European haute couture. He repurposed meticulous tailoring and uncompromising structure for a new aesthetic that emphasised comfort and freedom of movement, exactly as Coco Chanel had done with French womenswear. Like Chanel, Beene was inspired by the fluidity of men’s casual clothing and the use of flowing jersey for eveningwear. Luxe athleisurewear may seem like a recent trend, but Beene got there first, using sweatshirt material and denim for formalwear. He was obsessive about the quality 46

of his fabrics, commissioning weaves based on Japanese quilting and Viennese chocolate packaging. But he was no elitist and happily embraced synthetics and humble grey flannel, which later became the name of his bestselling fragrance. Beene quickly attracted the attention of Carmel Snow, the equally mouldbreaking editor of Harper’s Bazaar, who chose his belted jersey suit for a cover in 1955 — “One of the most thrilling moments of my life,” Beene later recalled. He launched his company on Seventh Avenue, Manhattan, in 1963. His first collection made the cover of American Vogue and garnered him the first of eight prestigious Coty Fashion Awards. In 1976, he became the first American designer to show in Milan. Two years later, the freshness and refinement of his designs caused a punch-up between buyers and reporters crammed into the Palazzo della Permanente, where his models paraded blowing whistles and waving torches, their outfits topped off with jaunty Boy Scouts hats. Beene was dismissive of trends; slavishly following a total look was uninteresting, he felt. Nonetheless, many of his innovations have become so absorbed into the fashion mainstream that their daring has been institutionalised. Spaghetti-strap slipdresses, sheer panels inserted

Opening pages: Geoffrey Beene and actor Sally Kellerman in Goeffrey Beene’s New York showroom. Sally Kellerman wears a white silk shirt with matching pleated pants under a tan cotton trench coat, all by Geoffrey Beene These pages: Geoffrey Beene poses with a pair of models in Beenedesigned mini dresses, 1967 Next pages: Models in Vogue, both wearing blue and white pin striped polyester and cotton seersucker ‘Raggedy Ann’ and ‘Raggedy Andy’ outfits from Geoffrey Beene’s ‘Beene Bag’ division, 1977 47

into body-con cocktail gowns and contrasting suiting with sequins are all pure Beene. One piece that stood out in the Hindman sale was a plain black gown with a gold panel inserted into the back, leaving a tantalisingly visible seam of flesh. Beene’s emphasis on comfort and practicality never disallowed sexiness — the infamous plunging green gown that Jennifer Lopez wore to the Grammys in 2000 (and again at the Versace SS20 show) is more than a nod to a silver lamé number shown by Beene in the 1970s. Often described as cerebral or intellectual, Beene possessed the same relentless curiosity that characterised the work of the late Karl Lagerfeld. Extensive travel and research informed his collections, which paid homage to traditions as diverse as Russian folk dress or nuns’ habits. Beene was never a rock-star designer, preferring to allow the discreet, exacting standards of his creations to speak for themselves. His personal life was just that; his most enduring known passion was for the rare orchids he cultivated at his Long Island home. A recipe for crab soufflé he contributed to Vogue Food in 1981 suggested he had never forgotten his Southern roots, and if he didn’t exactly feel disdain 48

for worldly success (he developed a hugely profitable sportswear line in 1971), there always seemed to be an air of old-world courtliness to his work. Collaborations with artists such as Jean Dubuffet seemed startlingly modern, but Beene was also revered by the petites mains, the ‘little hands’ of the French couture houses, for his technical brilliance with lace. Beene died in 2004, and the company that still trades under his name now operates largely as a non-profit organisation. Since 2007, the Geoffrey Beene Foundation has donated more than $5m to students developing careers in fashion and other causes, as well as making substantial contributions to cancer research. All proceeds from last month’s sale will benefit the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Centre in New York. “Fashion should be beautiful, not necessarily newsworthy,” Beene said. “Changes should evolve slowly.” He might be remembered as the designers’ designer, who placed his artistry behind the needs of his customers. In a fashion climate where competing trends are ever more desperate to grab our fickle attention, the opportunity to re-evaluate his legacy gives pause for thought.

LS Hilton / The Sunday Times Style Magazine / News Licensing


Fashion should be beautiful, not necessarily newsworthy. Changes should evolve slowly




Diane von Furstenberg’s $500 million legacy is in good hands: those of her 20-year-old granddaughter. Alex Frank finds out how she feels about stepping into such big shoes



Just like her grandmother dressed a generation of working women before her, Talita’s clothes offer a modern wardrobe for today’s young multi-hyphenates and CEOs. But her demure perspective is a world away from the loud prints and proto-feminist wrap dresses that DVF is credited for inventing in 1974. In fact, Talita’s new line is so unassuming, it’s more of a whisper. Think Victorian-style dresses in neutral shades paired with baby pink and white knits. A flash of midriff in a sweetly cropped blouse is as brazen as it gets. ‘My generation works in more relaxed settings,’ says Talita, her arms folded into her torso, her quiet voice lost in the sprawling office around her. ‘They can wear sneakers and pants and more casual dresses. A DVF dress isn’t going to be the same thing as a TVF dress.’ Subtle dressing might not be what you’d expect from a princess descended from German royalty. Her Brusselsborn grandmother, Diane, married the German aristocrat Prince Egon von Furstenberg in 1969. Their son, Prince Alexander, is Talita’s father. Inheritance of a major fashion label — and her storied and flamboyant stock — aside, Talita insists she leads a relatively normal life. After growing up in LA, she moved to New York this year, where she balances her burgeoning fashion career with studying for a degree in fashion business at New York University. She lives in an apartment in the West Village (not a dorm), and in her free time paints watercolour landscapes and bakes pies — plant-based only — with

her boyfriend, Rocco Brignone, the scion of an Italian banking family, who is a year-and-a-half younger than her. Still, her Instagram account reveals a life a little more fabulous than she suggests. She has more than 200,000 followers and presents an unblemished existence just right for the influencer era: it always seems to be summer (unless she’s skiing) and her world is one of flower crowns and Italian coastlines. Influence is a concept her grandmother knows intimately. In 1976, Diane von Furstenberg appeared on the cover of Newsweek, touted as an icon of female liberation, having sold five million wrap dresses in two years. Even by today’s standards (many fashion houses are helmed by men) she was trailblazing: a woman designing a uniform for women — corner office directors, mothers or both. In 2019, with power and influence wrapped up with Instagram, is Talita the modernday incarnation of her grandmother’s power woman? ‘You don’t show yourself doing laundry. It’s the moments you want to glamorise. I’m building a brand,’ she says, but also admits: ‘It’s not an authentic presentation of your life.’ Talita remains close to her grandmother and has been anointed to take the DVF label forward, in part because of their special relationship (though the remits of Talita’s job currently end at the TVF line and no succession plan is formally in place). As a kid she’d take trips to the brand’s archive in Connecticut, which contains pieces dating back to the label’s inception in

Credit: Alex Frank / Evening Standard / The Interview People


e’re in the New York office of her grandmother, the legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and she is sitting amid the bright spoils of her forebear’s extrovert life — an oversized Francesco Clemente portrait of her grandmother in orange and blue, and louche leopard print and red satin furniture. Yet Talita, known affectionately to her grandmother as TVF, looks somewhat subdued by comparison, dressed in a cream jumper and jeans, her brown hair in natural waves. We’re here to discuss the second capsule she has designed for her own clothing line, ‘TVF’, which sells under the DVF brand. At 20, Talita is being groomed to bring her grandmother’s trailblazing brand into the future. As if on cue, Diane von Furstenberg, or ‘Dee Dee’ as her granddaughter calls her, swans in and plops herself on a white couch under her own Clemente portrait, gushing in her thick Belgian drawl, her bangles jangling on her tanned wrist. When did the designer, now 72, first realise Talita would follow in her footsteps? ‘The only reason I’m keeping the company is because she’s going to take it over,’ says Diane. ‘We have pictures of her drawing winter collections when she was seven,’ she says. ‘When she was nine, I was doing a big fashion show in Florence, and I said to her, “You wanna come with me for 10 days? But if you come you have to work.” She really worked! She was in the casting, hanging the clothes — she was really into it.’




Opening pages: Left: Tal;lita and Diane von Furstenberg

1972. ‘When I was around seven, I saw she had this big studio and she made me dresses,’ Talita says. ‘Once, we were walking in a super small town upstate in Connecticut and these people — this was before the iPhone — came up to her hyperventilating for her autograph. I think it kind of hit me. I was like, “Oh wow, this is actually really significant.”’ It was after her parents split up in 2002 that her grandmother began to fill a bigger role in her life, a steady presence in a tumultuous time. ‘She was always supportive, always checking up on me,’ says Talita. ‘She never wanted to be called grandma, so I called her Dee Dee. She phones me five times a day.’ The designer filled Talita’s head with fashion wisdom, too, much of which she brings to her work now. ‘She taught me to go vintage shopping,’ she says. ‘[That’s why TVF] is inspired by old school dressing, with buttons and high necklines and pretty sleeves.’ If there are any doubts about whether a student should be making decisions at an international brand with revenues last put at $500 million a year, the elder designer doesn’t want to hear it. ‘I never treated my children or my grandchildren as children,’

she says. ‘At 22, I got pregnant, I got married, I came to America and I started to work. The sooner you start the sooner you can be successful. Then you have time to fail and make mistakes. Life is short.’ Talita already has ideas for how the brand should move forward. Like any member of Generation Z, she is aware of the potential of a climate catastrophe, and pulling the label in a more sustainable direction is top priority. ‘My little brother, who’s seven, refuses to play with Lego because it’s plastic,’ she says. ‘We’re making that shift. Fast fashion is going away. Three years ago Forever 21 was the hottest company and now it’s bankrupt. That’s why TVF is really limited, there’s not much product, it’s intended to sell through, there’s no fashion waste.’ How does Talita feel about carrying forward her grandmother’s powerful legacy? ‘The family name goes back thousands of years. I won the ovarian lottery,’ she shrugs. ‘I have so many privileges that other people don’t.’ And then she adds: ‘It definitely feels like pressure. That’s why I wanted to start working as soon as I could. So I can use that name for good.’ 55


As a new book documenting the making of Viva Las Vegas is released, Chris Anderson asks its author about Elvis’ controversial time on the big screen WORDS: CHRIS ANDERSON 56




lvis Presley nearly performed in the Middle East. Can you imagine that? This incredible piece of trivia was revealed in a 2002 book, The Colonel: The Extraordinary Life of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley by Alanna Nash, which explored the 20-year relationship of Presley and his infamous manager. In 1975, the government of Saudi Arabia is alleged to have offered USD5 million for the star to perform there, upping it to USD10 million when Parker initially refused. Apparently, Presley was keen for the concert to go ahead, and delighted when the offer was increased – but Parker continued to say no. In fact, he declined every possible opportunity for an overseas concert for the entirety of Presley’s career. Three shows in Canada were the only non-US events to take place. This has led to speculation over the years that Parker never held a US passport, with an uncertain legal status, so he was reluctant to travel, as well as have Presley perform beyond the limits of his control, despite the prospect of overseas concerts being very lucrative. “There is nowhere abroad with a big enough venue for Elvis,” was his constant excuse. Yet despite this, Presley’s music, performance and legacy spread throughout the world. His concerts and TV specials in the US were broadcast to global audiences, his movies shown in their local cinemas, and his albums and merchandise bought in incredible numbers. With his untimely death on August 16, 1977, aged just 42, the entire planet shared a collective grief and continues to mourn his loss – January 8, 2020 would have been his 85th birthday, had he been alive today. Perhaps this year is cause for reflection more than most. Yes, there are the usual celebration events at Graceland, tribute concerts, and new book and album releases, just as there are with any Presley anniversary regarded as a significant milestone. But with his death at 42, and this marking 85 years, his legacy is now officially longer than the time he spent alive. How incredibly powerful his presence must have been to maintain such a fanbase – and one that continues to grow. Someone who is sure to be marking the occasion is author David English, 58

Colonel Tom Parker bound Elvis to long movie contracts where he felt trapped, as he wanted to return to live performances who sees the January 8 date coinciding with the release of his latest book, The Making of Viva Las Vegas – a behind-the-scenes look at what is widely considered one of Presley’s best films, released in 1964. Featuring the hit song Viva Las Vegas, the movie tied the star to a city that would help to define his career. While he may never have performed overseas, he did so in Las Vegas countless times in the final decade of his life. Like many, English has been a Presley fan for many years. “My interest in Elvis came after his passing in August 1977, with all of his movies being constantly shown on TV,” the author reveals. “I’ve written nine books on him now, starting with Welcome Home Elvis 1960, released in 2012, which covered his amazing comeback in 1960 after two years of being drafted

into the US army – he released an album, Elvis is Back!, and recorded a TV special with Frank Sinatra. I’ve been able to meet and show my books to his former wife, Priscilla Presley, and his daughter, Lisa Marie.” Becoming something of an expert on Presley, English is able to explain how Las Vegas featured so prominently throughout his career. “Elvis first performed in Las Vegas in 1956 – the same year that his hit single, Heartbreak Hotel, was released,” he says. “It didn’t go down too well, as the audiences were mature adults, rather than teenagers. He came back during his movie career for Viva Las Vegas, and in 1969 when he returned to live performances for pretty much the remainder of his life. The hit 1970 documentary, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is – the subject of my next book, released later this year to mark the 50th anniversary – was filmed in the city. “I think Elvis really enjoyed being in front of a live audience at first, but he was contracted to appear in Vegas far too many times during the 1970s, and I think that enjoyment deteriorated just as his health did. His final performance in Las Vegas was in December 1976, less than a year before he passed away.” But his latest book focuses specifically on Viva Las Vegas, the movie, so what can English tell us? “The movie career


who he spends more time chasing than waiting tables. Luckily for Lucky, a talent contest is announced, so he can sing and dance his way to the top prize, finish his car and win the race, then rush back to marry Rusty. Obvious plot holes aside (Lucky is an amazing singer and dancer, but works as a humble waiter in the entertainment capital of the world), the soundtrack spawned a number of memorable songs, including the title track, while audiences were impressed with the chemistry between Presley and his co-star, Ann-Margret, who played Rusty. “They did indeed date during the production of the movie,” English confirms, noting that Presley was already in a relationship with future wife Priscilla by this point – who he met in Germany during his years in the army, and whisked her off on a date to Las Vegas on her first visit

Elvis was contracted to appear in Vegas far too many times during the 1970s, and I think that enjoyment deteriorated just as his health did

to the US in 1962. “His relationship with Ann-Margret ended when they finished filming, but they remained friends right until Elvis’s death.” English explains that the book took him more than a year to produce, with multiple research trips to the US, tracking down unseen images, scripts and production notes, visiting the various shooting locations, and meeting with cast and crew. The hardback book itself comes with three CDs, including the complete soundtrack in mono, which was Presley’s preference during the 1960s, and demos recorded by the man himself, as well as those by the original songwriters, using session signers. The research unveiled some amusing anecdotes. “The stunt drivers involved in the race at the end would drive around in the Nevada desert during the day, then party through the night, much to the studio’s annoyance, as they kind of held them to ransom, asking for expenses to go out and enjoy themselves,” says English. “But of greater interest might be the interference of Colonel Tom Parker, and reading the internal memos from the film’s director, George Sidney, there was a lot of frustration on his part. Ann-Margret was a rising star herself at the time, but Parker didn’t want her to have equal billing with Elvis – he would state that this was an Elvis Presley movie! Parker tried to prevent her from singing any songs, and initially there wasn’t a complete soundtrack released, just an EP that only featured the Elvis numbers.” Perhaps treating yourself to a screening of Viva Las Vegas is the perfect way to celebrate Presley’s 85th birthday. Right there, you have some classic songs, including one of his most famous; an association with a city that featured so heavily throughout his life, particularly towards the end; and with Presley’s name getting top billing, a reminder of the manager who steered his career for so long – and stopped him from playing in the Middle East. There will never be another Elvis Presley. Viva Las Vegas and viva the legend. The Making of Viva Las Vegas book and CD set by David English and Pal Granlund is published by Follow That Dream (FTD)


All images: Taken from the book The Making of Viva Las Vegas, courtesy of David English


of Elvis Presley was patchy at best,” he smiles. “There are many reasons for this, but one was that Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager, was constantly trying to keep the budgets low and the profits high, binding Elvis to long contracts where he felt trapped, as he wanted to return to live performances. Parker reasoned that it was more cost-effective to make movies, as these could be seen around the world, rather than the expense or inconvenience of a live tour.” So is Viva Las Vegas the jewel in an otherwise lacklustre crown? Not if the plot is anything to go by: Presley stars as racing driver Lucky Jackson, who plans to compete in the Las Vegas Grand Prix. But his car needs an engine, so he works as a waiter in a hotel to raise the necessary funds. Here he vies for the affections of danceobsessed swimming instructor Rusty,






The Sky’s The Limit Sean O’Grady tries to stick to the road in the new 8-series WORDS: SEAN O’GRADY


christened my BMW M850i test car ‘stealth bomber’. For reasons that are obvious, that is. First, lack of imagination on my part. Second, because my example was finished in all black, meaning that even the distinctive ‘kidney’ BMW grille and the huge (20-inch) alloy wheels had been given a glossy black finish to match the bodywork. Only the lights, windows and BMW badges relieved the stygian apparition before me. It feels entirely appropriate to have Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black on surround sound, and makes even the most mundane trip feel like a day out in Vegas. Despite its size and swooshy looks, this BMW, and its driver, sits close to the tarmac, below the radar so to speak, and carries a literally low profile. There are showier paint jobs to be had on it, like a nice orange metallic, more bling indeed, if you want to flaunt your wealth. The BMW M850i is, like the proper US Air Force stealth bomber, an astonishingly capable piece of high-tech kit (though in this case less lethal, usually). The BMW, an outand-out V8 500plus horsepower performance coupe, has a carbon fibre core, for strength, lightness and acceleration. It is blisteringly fast. Just as the stealth bomber does in the skies, so on the ground the BMW pushes the very 63


reaching for the handy Comfort button on the centre console. The M850i is better as a pacey grand tourer than a sports car, if only because of its size. It’s a big car, you see, like a BMW 7-series limousine reshaped as a 2+2 seater (the back seats are for small kids or short journeys only), and the stylists have done an excellent job in making that long tail look as coherent and well proportioned as they have. It is quite reminiscent of a Seventies US muscle car coupe, and, from a few angles, it has a bit of the current Ford Mustang about it. Still, the 7-series essential luxo-barge character does persist, which is a good thing. The seats, in particular, are superb and the list of cosseting features is long and lovely. The only glitch I discovered was in the software; switching the demister on would silence the radio for a short time, and selecting rear from the auto transmission wouldn’t summon up the usual colour widescreen camera display (a problem when rear visibility is otherwise so constricted). It’s possible I accidentally made my way deep into the interstices of the car’s

software to create some eccentric new user preference, but it was unsettling. I read somewhere recently that the German economy was kaput, if you’ll pardon the expression, because it is so reliant on its car makers, and because they are soon all going to be left behind by China and the electric car. Well, maybe, but total electric sales (pure battery, no hybrid) in the UK for example, amounted to about 15,000 units, or 0.7 per cent of the market. Even though they are growing by 20 per cent a year, and 40 per cent a year in Europe as whole, and they will help to save the planet and there is a climate emergency, it is also a bald truth that there is a long way to go to win full public acceptance of electric-only propulsion. In the meantime, the likes of BMW, which has been investing heavily in electric technology, to be fair, will still make a good, profitable living out of selling world-beating, state-of-theart machinery such as the 8-series coupe, and to the Chinese among many others. My M850i felt anything but kaput. Wunderbar, more like.

It has everything, except the ability to fly, but that’s only because they’ve artificially limited the top speed to ‘only’ 250kp/h

Credit: Sean O’Grady/The Independent/The Interview People


limits of physics – with a 3.7 second sprint to 100k/ph using a special launch control setting, it is one of the fastest production cars ever built. Here is a car that genuinely has to have a four-wheel drive system to even work properly – without it would be far too wayward as a rear-drive only machine and an unsteerable joke if anyone tried to make it front-drive only. Plus they’ve even bolted on some mild hybrid kit to recycle energy wanted in braking and to take the edge off the car’s emissions and fuel consumption, as well as adding just a bit more to that remarkable low speed acceleration. Given that it is such a fast and furious car, the fact that it is not that far off the fuel economy or the fuel emissions (proportionately) of the Nissan Juke, itself a cutting-edge little thing, is quite the engineering achievement. It has… well it has everything, except the ability to fly, but that’s only because they’ve artificially limited the top speed to ‘only’ 250kp/h, and stuck a body kit on it that tries to make sure it stays on the road. I especially enjoyed the sports display you can summon up on the big touchscreen just to the left of the pilot/driver’s eyeline. It’s a bit too offset to work out everything that is going on while you’re trying to drive this top version of the 8-series coupe, but it will show you how much torque and power the engine is delivering, as well as the direction and strength of the G-forces being unleashed on you, though you’ve got a fair idea of those already as your head is thrown back. As with many cars these days, there’s a choice of settings, including Eco, which is not so incongruous in such a made-for-drama vehicle because you will be spending a good deal of your time in traffic jams, after all. In Sport mode, everything is thrown at the car’s performance, and, to be truthful, it is not the nicest drive on the road. For track days, maybe, but the aggressive way the car refuses to move up the gears as it speeds up, and conversely drops down gears with equal determination as you brake makes the car feel too uncouth, though undoubtedly responsive. Even in the hands of an amateur (me) you still feel well in control and up for the thrills. Even so, I always found myself




JANUARY 2020 : ISSUE 104


Going Under Lara Brunt dives into conversation with Nicolai Ellitsgaard, head chef of the world’s largest underwater restaurant WORDS : LARA BURNT




n the tiny coastal community of Båly on the southernmost tip of Norway, a 34-metre-long concrete monolith juts out of the icy waters of the North Sea. Bolted to the seabed five-and-a-half metres below, the half-sunken structure houses Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant. Guests enter by gangplank and descend an oak staircase to dine in front of a floor-to-ceiling window offering mesmerising views of frolicking seals and schools of fish. In Norwegian, ‘under’ means both ‘below’ and ‘wonder’, and the eyecatching building certainly invokes the latter. Designed by Snøhetta, the Norwegian architectural firm renowned for the contemporary Alexandria Library in Egypt and the September 11 Memorial in New York, the 1,600-tonne structure has slightly curved, halfmetre-thick walls to withstand the water pressure and wild waves. The building has a dual purpose: besides a 40-seat restaurant, it will also serve as a marine research centre, with the aim of educating the public about the biodiversity of the sea. Textured concrete was chosen to encourage seaweed and molluscs to cling to its exterior, eventually creating an artificial reef that will help purify the water and attract even more marine life. Under is the brainchild of fourthgeneration hoteliers and brothers, Stig and Gaute Ubostad, who also own the Lindesnes Havhotell, just across the bay. The man charged with delivering a menu to compete with the view is Danish chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard. A veteran of Michelin-star restaurants, Ellitsgaard was working at a restaurant in Kristiansand, 70kms east of Båly, when he received a call from the brothers in late 2016. “I was starting to get bored of cooking and wanted to find out what I wanted to do with my life and the rest of my career,” Ellitsgaard says. “We had a meeting and they showed me Snøhetta’s designs and talked about their ambitions for the restaurant. I was just like, ‘Whoa, I have to be a part of this. Where do I sign?’” Ellitsgaard spent the following year experimenting with ingredients and dishes for the new venture. The 70m krone (US$7.6m) restaurant opened


The Immersion menu consists of 18 or 19 ‘seasonal dishes, with diners only given a written menu as they leave ’

last spring, offering one, ever-changing degustation menu that focuses on locally-caught, farmed and foraged ingredients. Ellitsgaard champions sustainability and ‘gill-to-fin’ cooking, which uses parts of the fish that are often discarded, to reduce food waste. “The owners had a lot of trust in me because we had the same philosophy. I don’t want to cook with things that we don’t have in Norway, for instance foie gras or truffles that we have to fly in. The more local it can be, the better it is,” he says. The Immersion menu consists of 18 or 19 seasonal dishes, with diners only given a written menu as they leave. “I really like the element of surprise because we use some different things that nobody else is using, or maybe just a handful of restaurants are using. It gives me a kick to show people these ingredients that many take for granted,” says Ellitsgaard. Dishes may include langoustines basted with fermented honey, brown crab head with sour cream and buckwheat koji, or Ellitsgaard’s take on fiskepudding, a traditional Norwegian fishcake. “Fiskepudding is normally served with a white sauce flavoured with onion, but we make a sauce with mussel stock instead and serve it in an onion so you get the onion smell, but not the intense taste,” the chef explains. “We serve it with herring roe, which many people overlook, that we have aged for two months with salt and then preserved further in a wood-roasted onion oil.” The menu also features lesser-known species that are frequently snubbed by diners and local fishermen. “For instance, squat lobsters are a bycatch of langoustine and shrimp fishing and normally the fishermen just throw them back into the ocean, which I think is a shame,” says Ellitsgaard. “It took me about 18 months to figure out how we could get enough squat lobsters to include them on the menu, but now we have a really good system working with one local fisherman who has 200 traps to fish for [squat lobsters] for us.” While Under celebrates the bounty of

the sea, the menu also often includes dishes with meat and game. “We will have meat on the menu if it makes sense and if the farmer has the same philosophy as us,” says Ellitsgaard. “I don’t want to serve any corn-fed beef where the animal has been standing in a one-square-metre space for eight months. I want to know the farmer and know the entire story, because if the animal has had a good life then the quality will be good.” “At the moment,” he continues, “we have two dishes with wild range lamb on the menu, which we get from a local woman who rears them on an islet 30 minutes from here.” Building relationships with local farmers and fishermen is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. “It’s fantastic,” he says. Ellitsgaard admits his hyperlocal, hyper-seasonal approach can sometimes create challenges in the kitchen. New dishes typically take a month of development before they appear on the menu, but bad weather can interrupt the availability of

ingredients. “Then we have to do the dish in maybe two days. But we always have something up our sleeves if one of our suppliers cannot deliver something, although the fishermen are really good at telling us about the weather forecast,” he says. “It is a little stressful, but it’s also exciting. You always have to be on top of your game, thinking of new ideas and being two steps ahead.” Under’s remote location is another challenge. In the southern Lindesnes region, Båly is a five-hour drive from Oslo and more than an hour from Kristiansand, the nearest large city. So, who is coming to dine under the sea? “Our customers differ from day to day. In the beginning we had a lot of local people, but it’s interesting to see now that we’re getting more people from abroad. Yesterday, we had 50 per cent from abroad – from the US, Japan, China, Belgium and France. We also have people coming from all over Norway, from the north to the south,” comments Ellitsgaard. The restaurant serves dinner four nights a week, increasing to five nights

Opening pages: A dish from the menu © Stian Broch; exterior of restaurant © Marie Grini/ Bo Bedre Norg This pages, clockwise from left: Another dish from the menu © Stian Broch; interior of restaurant © Ivar Kvaal

in summer, but Ellitsgaard is keen to promote a healthy work-life balance among his staff. “We’re trying to show that you don’t have to work 80 hours a week to have a good restaurant. It’s a difficult goal, and we are not there yet, but we’re working really hard to achieve this because happy chefs are healthy for a restaurant,” he says. Meanwhile, a Michelin star – or two – is another major ambition. “Of course, it’s a big dream for us to get stars – there’s no secret about that anymore,” he says. “In the beginning, I didn’t really want to talk about it because you never really know what people will think about your food. But now, I think we are definitely at that level and we can start dreaming about it.” In this otherworldly environment, Ellitsgaard’s dream could soon come true. 69

Travel JANUARY 2020 : ISSUE 104


The Residences

Four Seasons London at Ten Trinity Square



iven their ubiquity, it’s easy to think that the GCC has a monopoly on jaw-dropping, super-sized hotel suites. Yet the twenty minutes or so it actually takes one to see all of the magnificent four-bedroom residence at London’s Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square, puts that theory to bed, and wraps it in a warming down duvet. One of ten residences housed within a beautiful Neo-Classical Grade IIlisted building on the fringes of the City of London – each one individually designed by David Linley to add a quintessentially British touch – this is more home than hotel residence, perfectly tailored to meet the needs of long-stay guests. As such, as much attention has been devoted to creating a substantial, thick-carpeted lower-floor office as to the double-height-windowwrapped living and dining areas, which are separated by a striking fireplace. A spiral marble staircase leads first to a charming, fully-stocked library, where a duo of contemporary chaise lounge sofas beckon readers to hole up with a good read; and secondly to a lengthy landing, off which are four bedrooms. All enjoy the convenience of plush, heated-floor en-suite bathrooms and customisable beds, with the vast master bedroom comprising his and her walk-through dressing rooms and twin full marble bathrooms. The outside of the residence is equally impressive size wise: a two-


storey private terrace that doubles as a spectacular entertaining space and fabulous vantage point for drinkin views of city landmarks Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Do entertain and you can call on the services of a private chef to customise and prepare a menu in your residence kitchen, though more impressive still is the luxury of being able to dial-up dishes from the hotel’s two Michelinstar La Dame De Pic London, AnneSophie Pic’s London outpost that impressively scooped its two stars within its first two years of opening. Also award-winning is the hotel’s wine director, on hand to personalise a tasting experience for your guests in the privacy of your living room, while a wide range of spa and beauty treatments are also offered in-residence. There’s little reason, then, to set foot outside such luxury trappings, but do so and a dedicated residence concierge will guide you to the city’s most exclusive spots, or, closer to your new home, Ten Trinity Square Private Club – yours to access for the duration of your stay and home to the UK’s largest line up of Château Latour vintages. A fitting way to toast your long stay in a London classic. Guests that land their jets into one of London’s airports can enjoy a meetand-greet service before being chauffer driven by limousine to the hotel.


What I Know Now




I decided that I must be an extension of my designs. I used myself as a canvas with no compromises: experimenting with my image, using cosmetics and my hair to create an impact. I have always been very extreme in my appearance. When I start making a dress it might be fantasy, but by the time I’ve finished, it looks like reality – at least to me. You can have anything you want in life but never when you want it. It’s just like Alice in Wonderland – there are all the bottles on the shelves labelled “I want to be a famous designer.” Just work hard, reach up and take them down and swallow them. But you can’t then regurgitate. You must make it work. My mother taught dressmaking at Medway College of Design (now part of the University for Creative Arts). She would 72

always be working; from her I learned hard, continual work and perseverance in the face of any obstacle. We didn’t have a television until I was 17, so we would listen to the radio and I would sketch. I always loved painting and drawing. I never saw myself making clothes and my mother never taught me at Medway. What she did teach me was to believe in myself: she told me I could be and do anything and I believed her. Do not take success for granted. Hard work and originality get one there but staying there is just as hard work. You can trip up any time. I have had most of my best inspiration through travel, especially with my close friend Andrew Logan. We have had fabulous adventures together: India, China, Morocco and more. We get up,

have breakfast, walk around and draw something – at least one watercolour a day, maybe two or three. My prints and the themes of my collections nearly always come from trips. In fashion the only constant is change. I think that the fashion industry in the twenty-first century, in particular, is a more difficult, cut-throat world. As a designer, it is your work that you can stand or fall by. I have stuck to my beliefs and been true to myself and my art. However, I have always felt like I am a tightrope walker who could fall at any time, because the terrain of fashion is perpetually turbulent. Abridged excerpt from Zandra Rhodes: 50 Fabulous Years in Fashion, published by Yale University Press, New Haven and London, and out now


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Profile for Hot Media

Air Magazine - Empire Aviation - January'20  

Air Magazine - Empire Aviation - January'20  

Profile for hotmedia