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JUNE 2019


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Contents JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97

EDITORIAL Editorial Director

John Thatcher Managing Editor

Faye Bartle Editor

Chris Ujma

ART Art Director

Kerri Bennett Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia Illustration

Leona Beth

COMMERCIAL Victoria Thatcher

Thierry Mugler, Claude Heidemayer, New York. Outfit : Thierry Mugler, Les Infernales collection, prêt-à-porter fall/winter 1988–1989. Photo: © Thierry Mugler.


Managing Director

General Manager

David Wade Commercial Director

Rawan Chehab

PRODUCTION Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

Thirty Eight

Forty Four


Pull No Punches

Home Truths

Jodie Comer has been acting for a decade, but it’s a role in Killing Eve that has accelerated her acclaim

Thierry Mugler invades Montreal with a stunning museum showcase of his otherworldly couture

The powerful story of pro boxer ‘Big Bear’ Sonny Liston – one of the 20th century’s ultimate rebels

Executive co-producers Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon on the seismic impact of Big Little Lies

Never Say Die


Angels and Aliens

Fifty Six




JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97


Twenty Eight



Sixty Two


A wave of the French Tricolore will commence the gruelling 24h of Le Mans, where speed meets stamina

A Glashütte Original classic celebrates a milestone – and there’s a Perpetual Calendar for all tastes

BMW’s 8 Series Convertible puts the top down on driving, and the cherry on top of luxury GT ownership

A royal attendance lifted the curtain on a new era of The Fife Arms, a gem in the Scottish Highlands

Twenty Four

Thirty Four

Sixty Six

By looking at his own evolution (and society’s), artist Tim Fishlock takes on the culture of ‘me me me’

Jessie Thomas learnt from her master goldsmith father; now the fine jeweller is finding her own wings

‘Nouri’ means many things in many languages – but to Singapore residents it means a hearty Michelin star meal


Art & Design




Gastronomy Tel: 00971 4 364 2876 Fax: 00971 4 369 7494 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in AIR.

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Empire Aviation Group JUNE 2019 : ISSUE 97

Welcome to the aviation lifestyle magazine for our aircraft owners and charter clients. For over a decade, Empire Aviation has been providing a comprehensive range of turnkey business aviation services to aircraft owners and charter clients. Our award-winning services offer customers a personalised one-stop-shop approach for aircraft sales, aircraft management, charter and CAMO (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization) certification, which is a central part of aircraft management and is now a stand-alone service we provide to aircraft owners and other operators. We offer operational support to customers across the globe, from North America to Europe, Asia and Africa. Our aircraft registries include our home country of the United Arab Emirates, as well as San Marino – enabling global charter operations - and a NonScheduled Operator’s Permit (NSOP) in India permitting our affiliate partner to provide its aviation management support to private aircraft.


Empire’s team of over 150 highly qualified personnel is responsible for handling a myriad of services including the hiring and training of flight crew, flight planning, scheduling maintenance, fuelling, arranging commercial charters and many other details. We also have a dedicated team of aircraft sales specialists continually monitoring global markets for available aircraft to source for buyers of new or pre-owned aircraft. We would like to take this opportunity to share in detail some of the services that we provide at Empire Aviation and the work we do to ensure we maintain the highest levels of safety, security and care at all times.

Paras P. Dhamecha Managing Director

Cover: Jodi Corner. Yumna Al-Arashi / Getty Images

Contact Details: 9

Empire Aviation Group JUNE 2019 : ISSUE 97

EMPIRE AVIATION GROUP As a global private aviation specialist, Empire Aviation provides aircraft sales, management, charter and CAMO services to owners and clients around the world, with a distinctive personalised style. Since 2007, we have expanded our operations and grown our business through tailored services delivered across the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. We have experience working with owners across a wide range of aircraft types, from seaplanes to air ambulances, helicopters to super-sized business jets. Today, the company manages a large fleet of business jets that includes a balanced mix of mid-sized to super-sized aircraft, based in several international locations. In a highly regulated and technically demanding industry, you can only be as good as your people and Empire is highly selective in building teams of exceptionally talented, experienced and qualified aviation professionals. EMPIRE AVIATION SERVICES Private aviation is all about people and our success has always been based on our personalised service ethos of transparency, efficiency, professionalism and pride in our work. The Empire team comprises more than 150 highly qualified personnel with extensive aviation experience, who ensure that every aspect of your flying experience caters to your needs – whether you are an owner or charter client.

Management Empire Aviation has been managing aircraft on behalf of owners since 2007, inducting over 70 aircraft into the fleet, based across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. These include a diverse selection of business jets from most of the leading aircraft manufacturers, including helicopters, seaplanes, air ambulances and super-sized corporate jets. We can

provide customers with flexible options when deciding where to base their aircraft, with a choice of three aircraft registries in the UAE, San Marino and India. Our successful aircraft ownermanager service has been built on close personal working relationships with owners to develop a high degree of personal trust, openness and transparency. We build this trust and manage expectations by looking after every operational and maintenance detail of their aircraft, from nose-to-tail. This includes the negotiation of all contract services with supplier companies and tracking all costs to ensure our owners are receiving the best deals with open books at all times. Aircraft Brokerage At Empire Aviation, we understand that buying a new or pre-owned private jet is a significant financial investment for an individual or company, and it is vital to make the right decisions and select the right aircraft.


Empire Aviation Group JUNE 2019 : ISSUE 97

We have been advising aircraft buyers and sellers since 2007 and the team has sold and acquired various types of aircraft across the globe. Our solid reputation is based on the expertise of our team of seasoned industry specialists with over 80 years of combined aircraft sales experience. Our international research and sales support team co-ordinate the process with specific local market knowledge, with the added benefit of our geographic presence, enabling us to deliver a seamless and personalised sales experience to our customers, based on particular sales briefs and objectives. Aircraft Charter In the business world, when you absolutely need to be at that international meeting in a remote location at very short notice, or you have a complex itinerary with tight deadlines, there is only one way to guarantee it – business jet charter. At Empire, we understand this and operate one of the largest and most diverse fleets of business jets in the region with a range of different 12

on-board from our ‘silver service’ trained cabin crew and enjoy the freedom, convenience, security and privacy of private air travel.

aircraft types that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our charters are not just available to business travellers but also offer an enjoyable and stress-free travel option for leisure travellers. A charter flight can offer an unforgettable start or end to a travel itinerary and will get you as close as possible to your final destination – whether it’s a remote Indian Ocean island, a difficult to access Alpine resort airstrip, or a city centre airport with demanding flying restrictions. Whether you need a private charter for business or leisure, contact the Empire Aviation team today for a unique travel experience with first-class personal attention

CAMO Empire Aviation offers world-class CAMO services to aircraft owners and also third parties on CAMO only contracts. Our Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO) certification is a central part of aircraft management. Under CAMO, we take responsibility for the quality management, auditing and all the maintenance records of an aircraft. This is a vital component in ensuring the safe operation and the long-term value of aircraft. Empire Aviation provides a onestop service for individuals and companies who need and value the benefits of private aviation and the assurance that they can enjoy these efficiently, safely and economically.

To enquire about any of our services, please email or call +971 4 299 8444


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JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97


Light, night and speed define the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. As its name suggests, this is a marathon, not a sprint: the eventual champions must outlast a field of 59 other rivals on a continuous, overnight circling of France’s Circuit de la Sarthe. The 87th edition of the endurance race will see Porsche looking to add to its record 19 titles, snapping at the heels of last year’s victors Toyota (who had F1 legend Fernando Alonso among the three-man drive team). Qualifying for the Rolex-timed Le Mans gets going on 12 June, with the race proper on 15 June.


Critique JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97

Film John Wick: Chapter 3 ‑ Parabellum Dir: Chad Stahelski The third installment of the adrenaline-fuelled action franchise, centred on Keanu Reeves’ super-assassin AT BEST: “Neither subtle nor thoughtful [but] like its hero, it knows what it does best, and it does it beautifully.” Washington Post AT WORST: “It’s all pretty silly, but the way Parabellum keeps topping itself and then topping the toppings makes the picture eminently watchable.” Seattle Times

Wild Rose AIR

Dir: Tom Harper The story of a woman on a quest to become a country music star, while also grappling with the responsibilities of being a young mother AT BEST: “This is a sentimental, faintly unreal story: very well sung.” The Guardian AT WORST: “A happy-sad drama of starstruck fever that lifts you up and sweeps you along, touching you down in a puddle of well-earned tears.” Variety

In the Aisles (In Den Gängen) Dir: Thomas Stuber A reclusive guy takes a job working the night shift at a big box store, and becomes enamoured by his charming co-worker ‘Sweets Marion’ AT BEST: “A lyrical portrait of emotionally damaged misfits sharing a soulless working environment.” Hollywood Reporter

Yesterday Dir: Danny Boyle A struggling singer-songwriter, whose dreams are rapidly fading, wakes up to discover The Beatles never existed – and only he remembers them AT BEST: “A glowing tribute to the band, this is both a toe-tapping pleasure to watch and a smart, occasionally scathing look at how we get things wrong.” Empire Magazine AT WORST: “A story about the pure and timeless nature of music – but it often comes off as more rote than heartfelt.” The Verge 16

Images: Lionsgate; NEON; Music Box Films; Universal Pictures

AT WORST: “It’s a chronicle of blue-collar workers who depend on each other for emotional sustenance. A deep sadness lurks under the laughs. It seeps under your skin.” Film Companion

Critique JUNE 2019 : ISSUE 97

Books “W

ebsites don’t materialise out of thin air or sustain themselves without work – it’s proofreaders, web designers, and ‘content watchdogs’ who keep the internet relatively functional and accessible,” said The Strangers in a pre-event intro to the authors of Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass. “Mary Gray and Siddharth Suri assert that, despite the necessary services they provide, companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and other tech behemoths undervalue this ‘invisible human labour force’ by grossly underpaying them and denying them health benefits.” Kirkus Reviews explains that the pair, “Draw on a pioneering five-year study of workers in the United States and India. The authors provide a revealing, overly detailed view of this rapidly growing world of ‘ghost work,’ in which ‘faceless’ labour platforms (at the behest of well-known firms) hire workers represented by numbers rather than names.” Ghost Work “portrays a world in which invisible armies of online workers are hired, tasked, managed, paid, and often fired by machines. This setting would make for gripping dystopian science fiction – were Gray and Suri not describing the present,” gasps David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT. “Their book convinces me that greater transparency and regulatory oversight will be crucial for ensuring that the future of work ‘works’ well for platform workers, not just for the platforms that oversee them.” “When Violet Moller was a young historian in England, she wondered ‘what had happened to the books on mathematics, astronomy and medicine from the ancient world. How did they survive? Who recopied and translated them?’” write Kirkus Reviews of The Map of Knowledge. “To provide some answers, the author meticulously and enthusiastically unwinds the ‘dense, tangled undergrowth

of manuscript history’ in seven cities... It’s a dramatic story of how civilisation was passed on and preserved.” Tim Liang-Smith recalls Moller’s summary in his Telegraph critique. “‘There were the Greeks, and then the Romans, and then there was the Renaissance.’ In the interim between the last two, Europe had merely misplaced its intellectual heritage, before finding it in the attic, where it had been all along. The true story, carefully illustrated by Moller in this fascinating book, is both far more complicated and far more interesting.” Euclid’s Elements “Is the seed from which my subject of mathematics grew,” says Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. “Thanks to Moller’s fascinating and meticulous account I’ve had a glimpse of just how this text, together with works by Ptolemy and Galen, blossomed as they wound their way through the centuries and the seven cities at the heart of her book. What an adventure.” Every Human Loves by Joanna Pearson is a collection of 14 stories “That focuses on how tensions build to the breaking point for isolated people who have reached their limits”, say Kirkus Reviews. “Her voice nimbly creates a sense of strangeness and detachment without ever lapsing into coldness.” Synapsis enthuses, “[It is] breathlessly stunning, in the sense that it is beautiful writing, but also in that it is profoundly unsettling. The 14 stories in collection demand rests between one and the next in order to absorb the various uncanny landscapes: raw urban cities, the alleys of clinics and hospitals, Gothic southern farms and highways, ‘the woods’ (and the things hiding in them), and delirious ‘post-partum fever dreamghost stories.’” The works are “Imaginative and haunting,” say Foreword Reviews. “It is a masterful collection, written with insight and empathy... there’s a strength, a lucidity, and a brilliance that shimmers and enchants.” 17

Critique JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97




e More Chill is now on Broadway at Lyceum Theatre, booked until well into 2020. “Whatever this critic says (advance apologies, it comes with an eye roll), the audience will remain steadfast,” says Tim Teeman for The Daily Beast. “The show has become a hit, with the best kind of social-media word of mouth powering its progress to Broadway. It has brought, so observers have noted, a younger audience to the theatre. It has caused great excitement and created extreme fandom.” Truths A.D. Amorosi for Variety, “The tale of nerdy teen angst and technology by songwriter Joe Iconis and bookwriter Joe Tracz, this geek-love, sci-fi musical bombed during its initial 2015 run at Two River Theater in New Jersey. Rather than go away, however, it became an internet sensation when its electro-pop soundtrack miraculously hit 200 million-plus streams.” LA Times critic Charles McNulty writes, “The production differentiates itself from the pack by being even more riotous and extreme. The imagination is gaudy, the volume deafening and the plot kinetically convoluted... One energising quality of the production is 18

Will Roland and George Salaza in Be More Chill. Photo by Maria Baranova

the diversity of the young cast... One thing is certain: new faces onstage will bring new faces to the theatre.” At American Airlines Theatre, Midtown West, “There is a real and precious thing at the centre of All My Sons, the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s 1947 tragedy,” writes Helen Shaw for Time Out New York. “It is the trio of Tracy Letts, Annette Bening and Benjamin Walker, playing members of the doomed Keller family... All three are believable in every detail – blockbuster actors dedicated to small, unshowy connections to one another.” This revival, “Brings out increasingly intense and layered performances,” believes Matt Windman in amNewYork. “Period costumes, an extensive exterior set design and video projections between scenes further enrich.” Classic plays, conveys Mark Shenton in New York Theatre Guide, “Have a way of speaking to every generation anew, and this shattering play about the guilt of seeking to avoid moral responsibility is forever timely. There’s tenderness as well as tension in the way that its principal characters warily tread around each other.”

Death of a Salesman, at the Old Vic, “Is a brilliantly reimagined take on the Arthur Miller classic, powered by a phenomenal black-led cast and rewired by super-director Marianne Elliott (co-directed with her long-term associate director Miranda Cromwell),” explains Andrzej Lukowski for Time Out London. “It is a phenomenal production that unquestionably finds new depths to the play... [It’s a] moving, provocative, atmospheric production.” Says Stephen Dalton in The Hollywood Reporter, “[Lead actor] Wendall Pierce covers the full emotional spectrum with his powerhouse turn as the soulweary travelling salesman trying to keep himself afloat with fantasies of greatness while his family, finances and mental state fall apart. This huge, verbose, shape-shifting role requires great stamina to pull off; he rises to the challenge admirably.” The casting “Makes all the difference and, far from denying black history, the directorial duo lean into it at every turn,” pens Variety’s Matt Trueman. “Without changing a word that Miller wrote, they completely alter his argument about America and its ideals.”

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King of the Hill A limited-edition collection by dunhill puts a summer twist on one of its most historic signature motifs


t’s safe to say that, for all his vision, Alfred Dunhill could never have pictured a scene like this. The neon dream – a series of electric photographs, created to laud the limited-edition Aquarium Capsule Collection – is a far cry from the advertising campaigns of the 1900s, when the brand was founded as a leather workshop. Yet look a little closer, within the blistering colour filter, and dunhill’s philosophies shine through; those timeless codes that shaped the British menswear brand and made it great. Dunhill has charted a century of men’s style by upholding a reputation built upon distinctive collections – like the celebrated Aquarium, which debuted in 1949. Aquarium began as a series of unique, hand painted tabletop lighters, handmade and assembled from four panels of perspex. Nature-inspired motifs were meticulously carved on the inside, before being hand-painted – a highly skilled technique known as reverse intaglio. No two are alike, and the complexity of each scene is truly breathtaking. The name was derived ‘from the light reflecting properties of the perspex, holding a beam of light within its surfaces and carrying it around bends and corners, giving the appearance of a large fish tank,’ explains the brand. In the decades since, popularity among collectors for these pieces has gone rather swimmingly. It’s a powerful chapter that informs a significant summer collection for 2019, which infuses the classic motif with a cluster of sophisticated style pieces. “I always consider what can be revisited from the archive, to be re-contextualised, evolved and how we inform our audience,” says Mark Weston, the creative director tasked with taking dunhill into its newest era. “With Aquarium, it’s all there; there’s a tension, something traditional and immediate but also kind of risqué and humorous, too. To me that’s so British,” he adds. Inspired, Weston conceptualised a series of items including patterned lounge shirts, reversible bombers, swim shorts, nylon drawstring backpacks and slip-on sneakers, each bestowed with illustrations of birds and fish. These wardrobe quenchers are drenched in summerinspired colours such as sunset, blue skies and sea green. Bringing the homage full circle, dunhill has also reissued the lighters: a signature Turbo, finished in palladium or 18ct gold plating, crafted using the same hand-carved and hand-painted technique. A limited edition run of 15 have been created per colour, with each piece engraved and individually numbered. In all, it’s a design code that harks back 70 years, yet still looks fresh. The 2019 Aquatic lineup is another fine move from a brand that has the confidence to be playful; a touch of amusement from a respected menswear muse. Pieces from the limited-edition Aquatic Capsule Collection are available from the flagship dunhill boutique at The Dubai Mall.


Critique JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97



Mohamed Melehi, Untitled (1975). Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation, photographed by Capital D


t’s always nice when art comes along and rips you out of your comfort zone, drags you out of your knowledge bubble and tears you from the established canon,” admits Eddy Frankel in Time Out London of New Waves: Mohamed Melehi and the Casablanca Art School, at The Mosaic Rooms. “You get so used to your idea art coming from books and museums, and being so proscriptive as a result... But then something like this Melehi exhibition shows up and gives you a bit of a jolt.” Kylie Gilchrist writes in Map Magazine, “These innovations of line, colour and form are presented alongside their sociopolitical significance in the context of 20th-century decolonial struggles waged by the cultural avantgarde in Morocco and worldwide.” His paintings, “Have long entertained a small group of scholars, yet, more importantly, with his joyful palette and confident patterns, the artist sought as wide an audience as possible,” Oliver Basciano explained to The Guardian. “It is the sensuousness of his work – and the easy manner 22

in which it straddles modernity and tradition – that still proves radical.” I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker, at ICA St. James until 21 July, “Swirls together chunks of the artist’s own prolific output with artworks, poems and films by an extra-long list of artists she’s inspired,” explains Rosemary Waugh in Time Out London. “As an idea, it makes sense. Because Acker was/is famous in that weird way where an individual human gets turned into a concept. The sort of person you could call a ‘cultural icon’ with a straight face.” Asks Ben Luke in Evening Standard, “How to capture her dynamic spirit without making it a dull, archival trawl? Complicate her work and embellish it with that of others working in similar territories now... “Acker’s writings, voice, face and body guide us through the show and still astound, but the use of contemporary artists’ work is brilliantly done.” Enlightens Jonathan Jones in The Guardian, “After this voyage in hell with pirates of desire the streets of London seemed more thronged that ever with freedom, possibility, estrangement

and human glory. She emerges here as a heroic Blakean prophet of all that’s creative and liberating in our century.” “In 2013, the British Library extracted maps from its newly digitised collection of 19th-century books and put the results on Flickr. Artist Michael Takeo Magruder has now used these one million historical images as the basis for four new artworks,” discloses Time Out London of Imaginary Cities, at the British Library until 14 July. “The conceptual artist specialises in the use of digital and computer technologies... Yet the works also meld elements of ancient craftsmanship such as precious metal guilding and woodcraft, in a beguiling mesh of old and new,” says a piqued Laurie Clarke for TechWorld. “Initially, Magruder envisioned a map from different parts of the globe but had to settle on Western cities, two from north America and two from Europe because the maps had more detail to work with,” explains Morning Star. “It’s a groundbreaking exhibition that shows how perceptions of futuristic urban environments are being transformed in the digital age.”

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Hang-Ups Introversion Immersion sears through the saturated information age, as rising talent Tim Fishlock explores our damaging obsession with social media WORDS: TIM FISHLOCK


Art & Design JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97


It stands as an indictment of where we’re at, when we actively endorse a society that puts the individual at its centre

aving never been slow to judge extroverts on what I perceive to be their alpha over-confidence and selfishness, I began to wonder whether it’s people like me, the introverted, who are truly the most self-absorbed and selfcentred; potentially capable of a greater deal of empathy, but prone to neurotic navel-gazing, forever scarpering to the solipsistic sanctuary of their own company. My second solo show Introversion Immersion – which shows at London’s Hang-Up gallery this month – could be described as a self-portrait. It’s my ‘warts and all’ representation where I focus on the warts, examining the worst of my impulses. It’s recognition of where I’m at and what I need to get better at. It also stands as an indictment of where we’re all at, when we actively endorse a society that puts the individual at its centre. Introverts have no control over what they are. We are always going to need time to decompress and be alone with our thoughts after periods of social interaction with others. That time to recharge is essential to our wellbeing. It’s a time of deep reflection and calibration. By its nature it involves absolute self-absorption. I suppose the intrinsic danger of this is that once alone with your thoughts, you can spin off into your mind’s own echo chamber. Problems and opinions can become magnified and distorted. In the same way that society has arrived at a place of extreme tribal politics – we choose only to engage with people and media that reflect our own opinions back to us, thereby further entrenching them – the solipsistic sanctuary of the introvert’s interior

world can serve to reinforce and amplify prejudice and selfishness. Left unchecked, this leads to covert narcissism. Covert narcissism is the dark side of introversion in the same way that overt narcissism is the dark side of extroversion. Whilst overt narcissists tend to be aggressively self-aggrandising with delusions of grandeur, covert narcissists are prone to hypersensitivity and anxiety but still with the delusions of grandeur. The kind of person who thinks everyone is looking when they walk in a room. Having grown up with a parent who is most certainly a covert narcissist, I’ve become sensitive to the signs of the condition. I recognised some of those traits in myself at an early age and have worked hard at not becoming that person. But, 18 years of nurture and a heap of shared DNA means it’s an unending campaign to fight. The calls to ‘IMPRESS ME, IMPROVE ME and ENCHANT ME’ are representative of the unrealistic expectations that I place on friends and family. In an era when more people than ever get everything they want, everything becomes merely satisfactory. I’ve certainly recognised a shortening attention span and a growing shopping list of requirements for satisfactory living. Not so much material things but a desire for more emotional and intellectual engagement from those around me. I want to be ‘ADORED, PROVOKED, STIMULATED and SURPRISED.’ I suppose I want to be entertained. At the exhibition, a site-specific lightbox installation takes over the entire Hang-Up basement bunker. Visitors will be invited down into 25


Visitors are confronted with the self-obsessed fiction served up every day, and reminded there is no language without deceit


‘the temple of ME’, an enclosed ‘room’ of 72 light boxes ranged floor to ceiling. Flooded with a beguiling fusion of words and colours, visitors are confronted with the selfobsessed fiction served up every day, and reminded there is no language without deceit. I have another piece called The Future Leaks Out, which comprises 85 solid wooden blocks in four different lengths, referencing the William Burroughs’ quote “when you cut into the present, the future leaks out”. Careful consideration was given to my selection of the words, as with all of the textbased pieces. The aim of the overall exhibition is to challenges visitor to truly look and think about how we live. As a society we have truly become obsessed with ourselves. We’re fixated on expressing our own individuality but the platforms on which we choose to do that make us all into a homogenous whole. Entire worlds of user generated content that global businesses have facilitated in order to target us individually with their products. ‘Because you’re worth it’, ‘Because you’re special’, ‘Because you deserve the best’. The repeated ‘ME ME ME’ that appears across the art pieces is an insistence that our perceived individuality is no such thing. The choices we think we have are actually extremely limited. We’re all lusting after the same small number of products made by an even

smaller number of global companies. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are repositories of stultifying unoriginality. Taking a selfie at the top of the Eiffel Tower makes you no different to the hundreds of thousands of others doing the exact same thing every year. By promoting the cult of ‘ME’, our society fosters a sense of entitlement, a feeling that our opinion matters and matters more than the next person’s. We live in an era where our needs have been fulfilled. Our economy is now focused on giving us what we want. But when what we want is out of our reach, at odds with what others want or requires compromise, we get furious. As Dr Rowan Williams wrote, which sparked my imagination: “We are able to remember for a moment that even in a society where everyone seems to be insanely focused on getting and winning, there are times when we need to stand still and just face ourselves quietly. We’ve had a few decades of being told we have a right to get whatever we want – cash, status, pleasure. Fair enough, if what’s been normal before is oppression and unfairness. Not so sensible if what it means is a system that sets everyone against everyone else and tells us we can be as angry as we like if we don’t get exactly what we think we want.” Tim Fishlock’s latest show Introversion Immersion shows at London’s HangUp Gallery until 13 July. For more information about the exhibit, visit

Opening pages and opposite: A composite assortment of Tim Fishlock’s art, including pieces from the ‘Me’ series, to Oddly Head Slogan Originals Above: The artist slotting words into a piece called The Future Leaks Out. Visit to view the original artworks


Timepieces JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97


Still Original

Two decades since its release, the Perpetual Calendar by Glashütte Original has become a true watch classic. It was a disruptive novelty, though, that gained the collection a new audience WORDS: CHRIS UJMA


he historic German watchmaker dates back to 1845, yet it was the Perpetual Calendar line – released in 1999 – that has proven to be one of Glashütte Original’s most defining creations. From the outset, the Perpetual Calendar combined brains with beauty. A generously sized panorama date window and moonphase indicator were placed upon a tidy dial, all neatly tucked inside a rose gold case. The initial aesthetics, only slightly modified in the decades since, laid out an unmistakable character; after all, in horology circles, when legibility sits in harmony with complexity it guarantees plenty of love.


The traditional looking watch (and the six iterations of the model since) have become a true aficionado favourite, and the features it premiered in the Senator collection were genuine milestones. The appeal of the complex perpetual calendar mechanism – its calling card – is the guarantee of a precise displaying of the date, weekday and month (without correction, even accounting for leap years), up until at least the year 2100. It’s a deceptively simple timepiece and, to satisfy the traditionalist, there is a similarly reserved example in the 2019 Senator Excellence lineup: a 42mm rose gold refresh adds subtle tweaks to the look of its predecessors,


Opening pages: The Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar – Limited Edition: a departure from the classic look of the successful Glashütte Original collection Opposite: An evolution of the traditional Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar, from its first version (in 1999, top left), to its latest (2019, below right)

The limited edition is a real delight, “ and ensures that the collection now has

something for every collector to enjoy. ‘For us, emotion is the product’, says the CEO

and steadfastly upholds the traditionrich fundamentals. On the 20th anniversary of the collection, the company is celebrating this highly complex, purist timepiece. Yet it is the bold, Limited Edition version of the Perpetual Calendar (pictured on this article’s opening pages) which is an important chapter to recognise. It serves as a fine lesson in how to take an established brand hallmark and reinvent a classic. Having built a stellar reputation for line, Glashütte Original decided it was playtime, and its openworked Baselworld novelty served-up the angelic timepiece in dark mode; The Perpetual Calendar, Unplugged. The words ‘Limited Edition’ firmly follow the name of the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar novelty, for just 100 of the perfectly-formed examples of elite watchmaking have been crafted by the Saxony manufacture. But while it may be of limited production, for collectors with contemporary taste it is certainly not of limited appeal. Should a collector have found the classic lineup prim, proper, and Stately Home, this contemporary model arrives without invitation, swipes the car keys from the mantle, and takes the prized vintage motor from the garage for a spin around the estate. Visually, 30

where the red gold Perpetual Calendar zigs, the white gold Limited Edition decides to zag. In contrast to the creamy white dial of the original line, the 42mm limitededition wows with a skeletonised dial, in order for its watchmaking finesse to receive deserved admiration; the brand calls it ‘a clear view into the refined art of engineering’. A guilloched, wave-patterned cover – devised by hand at the watchmaker’s own dial manufactory in Pforzheim – shimmers in an ode to artisanship. The friction-reducing red jewels twinkle with satisfaction when catching the light. The blued hands glide over a matte grey dial ring, with rhodium plated and polished index appliques. Upon the moonphase, instead of a starry, sapphire sky and a rose gold moon emerging from fluffy white, this edition delivers a galvanic blue night sky and a white gold moon gliding from behind from dark clouds. The timepiece is a real delight, and ensures that the collection now has something for every collector to enjoy. Though the brand champions innovative micro-engineering and state-of-the-art technologies, the end results have tended to err on the side of tradition (even when the brand does admittedly get playful with a rainbowsworth of dial hues in other collections). As CEO Thomas Meier says “For us,

emotion is the product”, and via the Limited Edition Perpetual Calendar, the manufacture managed to stir appeal in newfound clientele. That’s because what underpins the classic collection with its dark, avant garde example are core values, dedicated to upholding an exceptional level of watchmaking: ‘a quest for perfection’, Glashütte Original says. For example, despite the differences in appearance between the classic and the limited edition, the high-level Calibe 36-02 is the beating heart of each piece in the current Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar line. It’s a movement with a silicon balance spring and single spring barrel ensures a power reserve of at least 100 hours. The well-conceived construction of the calibre ‘guarantees stable rate behaviour, and sets new standards in terms of precision, stability, running time and beauty’, proudly beams the brand, which makes 95 percent of all the watch components itself. As for the calendar function, be it the rose gold classic or moody, matte limited edition, the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is a timepiece that doesn’t require manual correction until the next century. Its legacy as a must-have horological classic looks set to endure beyond even that date. Call it perpetual appreciation.



AIR X dunhill

These choice accessories by dunhill are timeless classics, yet communicate the brand’s modern day ethos of elegance and energy



SENTRYMAN BALLP OINT PEN This Sentryman ballpoint pen, in hammered steel with blue lacquered metal, takes inspiration from textures and designs found in the dunhill archive, discreetly combining luxurious materials with masculine design. 1



SENTRYMAN TORQ U E ROLLERBALL / LU GG AGE CA N VA S L A RGE ZIP FOLIO dunhill stores are destinations that showcase the best of British luxury menswear in a relevant and approachable way. In the recently-opened boutique at The Dubai Mall, a modern language of retail design builds an engaging visual conversation.

Part of the experience is discovering lifestyle pieces akin to this rollerball, plated in gunmetal-toned palladium, alongside this folio which features an exaggerated logo design inspired by original 1970’s dunhill packaging. 2





SENTRY MAN DY NAMIC ROLLERBALL PEN / CADOGAN PL AQUE CUFFLINKS dunhill’s delicate attention to detail is embodied in the Sentryman rollerball. Inspired by the componentry of a car, this update to the collection combines an elegant black lacquer body, Mother-ofPearl insert on the cap, and an ‘AD’ motif in

gothic script finished with a sapphire on the clip. So too these faceted Cadogan sterling silver cufflinks, with a uniquehued dumorite stone detail, are inspired by the hardware found on dunhill leather goods. 4





D U K E L O C K C U F F L I N K S / D U K E L O C K P I N B E LT The antique brass-tone metal and lock design of this cufflink and belt duo are a contemporary echo of the signature lock fixtures used on the label’s trademark Duke briefcases. It’s indicative of dunhill’s deft nods to nostalgia, with modern day relevancy. 6





DUKE POCHET TE Having mastered custom and bespoke menswear, dunhill’s leather goods remain at the heart of a brand that began as a saddlery and motoring accessory-maker. This pochette in tan with a detachable wristlet showcases

both the brand’s modern expertise and also its heritage: the iconic Duke lock opening is a detail straight from the company archives.


Middle East United Arab Emirates The Dubai Mall Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Boulevard Mall / Jeddah Kingdom Centre / Riyadh Al Faisaliah Mall (Opening Soon) / Riyadh Kuwait Salhia Complex / Kuwait For a private consultation or appointment, please contact: +971 56 545 1119 (UAE) +966 56 969 1661 (KSA) or +965 22498611 (Kuwait)



JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97

Golden Gaze Jessie Thomas inherited a goldmine of craftsmanship expertise from her master goldsmith father – and the fine jewellery world is relishing her contemporary twist on the art form WORDS: CHRIS UJMA



There is a sweet spot where creativity meets wearability. It’s about creating something timeless and beautiful



wo stunning collections into building her legacy as a fine jeweller, Jessie Thomas is emerging – but it certainly isn’t from the wilderness. She spent five years making bespoke jewellery for the eponymous brand of David Thomas – her father – before debuting her first collection just last year, looking to make a name for herself. She is following in significant footsteps. “A dynamic and dramatic new style of gold jewellery emerged in London during the 1960s, distinguished by asymmetrical contours, splintered surfaces, textured gold and unusual gemstones often left rough or in crystal form,” say historians at the V&A Museum in London, a leading world authority on historic art and design. “Originating within the mainstream market for precious jewellery yet drawing inspiration from fine art, these more rugged pieces provided a young and exciting alternative to the predictable polished gold and neat diamonds that were more readily available. David Thomas was a key proponent of this new style,” it adds. The museum’s interest goes beyond mere comment: acquired examples of Thomas Sr’s work are housed in its vast collection. There is no casting shadow over Jessie, though. For the energy that David conjured for a previous generation, his daughter is on her way to accomplishing with made-for-millennial masterpieces. “He’s built up a loyal clientele over the years, who return for every important occasion. His work, like mine, is all bespoke, and his long-standing clients tend to buy my jewellery for their children, or they send them my way to create their engagement rings,” she 36

says. “I’ve learnt so much from him regarding how to interpret what a client wants, whilst remaining true to your own aesthetic sensibilities. My clients are chic and contemporary, with an appreciation for well-made pieces.” From start to finish, Jessie’s limited edition collections are made by her hand in the basement workshop underneath David Thomas’ boutique in Chelsea – and he will often pop downstairs. “We get along surprisingly well,” smiles Jessie. “We work individually, but also collaborate on one another’s pieces and designs.” She admits that he was initially tough on her, though. “In terms of his critique, he would never accept a piece of work if it wasn’t crafted to his own high standards, but that’s why he’s such a well-respected name – and I, too, have so much respect for him. I feel the expectation in a positive way: people expect me to keep to his high standards, and that is something I aim to live up to.” Jessie cites ‘a dedication to the highest possible quality of craftsmanship’ as the most valuable lesson her father has passed on. “There are elements of this age that have no need for handmade jewellery, when everything can be made on a computer,” she explains. “But there are still people who appreciate the innate value of a piece being handmade, the process, the fact that every piece is inherently one of a kind.” For the Thomas’, gold is a key proponent of this. “Why have a beautiful stone, if it’s terribly set?” she laughs. “I think that’s very much something my father sees being lost these days in the time of CAD [computer-aided design and drafting software] and, in a way Instagram.

It’s all instant gratification and badlymade bling. But jewellery is timeless, something to be kept and passed down forever – and if it’s not wellcrafted that won’t be possible. That’s something we are trying to preserve.” With each of Jessie’s pearl pieces, for example, the gold is specifically handmade for each individual pearl, so every piece is as unique as the pearl it utilises. “Good design is always important but if the piece isn’t perfectly crafted, it doesn’t matter how strong the design,” she adds. Jewellery “isn’t just a mount to show off a stone,” Jessie reiterates. “There is a sweet spot where creativity meets wearability, and that’s where we strive to sit. I think when you’re handmaking pieces from scratch over time your work grows and changes as your creative sensibilities and your skills advance. It’s not about fashion, it’s about creating something timeless and beautiful.” She is swiftly building a portfolio full of timeless, beautiful somethings. “My first collection was based around a technique we developed for creating textured gold utilising the lost wax technique,” she reflects, adding, “My upcoming third series reflects my intent to move from pearls to working with precious stones. Advancements in my skills are reflected in what I make, as are my personal aesthetic shifts,” she explains. The jeweller adds that she has been training in a specific diamond mounting technique “rarely seen used in jewellery being produced at the moment”. Becoming a Jessie Thomas client not only bestows a collection with beautiful examples of her bespoke jewellery – it is accompanying this artisan on the first steps of a fascinating creative journey.



Jodie Comer admits she really quite likes the murderous Villanelle in Killing Eve - and the rest of the world adores her wardrobe INTERVIEW: LOUIS WISE





odie Comer recalls being starstruck three times, and this trio, it’s fair to say, are a rum bunch: Helen Mirren, former TV news anchor Sir Trevor McDonald and the bloke who played the character Sinbad in the Liverpool-based UK soap opera Brookside. Now, you might find it easy to rank these, but the 26-year-old breakout star of last year’s breakout hit, the comic thriller Killing Eve, isn’t so sure. After all, spotting Sinbad was a big deal for the young Comer, who is a Scouser to the core; and she didn’t even dare go up to the news legend when she spotted him at the Baftas. “Do you know what I mean?” she says in her broad Liverpool accent. “It’s not every day you see Trevor McDonald!” It is fair to say, though, that Mirren might have had the most impact, and not just because Dame Helen knew who Comer was, too. “She said, ‘I know, I feel exactly the same,’ and hugged me,” the younger actress says now, still a little shocked. It’s Mirren’s career that Comer has in her sights (sorry, Sinbad), and, after Killing Eve, it looks entirely feasible. In the series, she is Villanelle, the witty, scary assassin engaged in a drawn-out, long-distance, surprisingly sexy game of cat-and-mouse with said Eve, played by Sandra Oh. Before it aired, it very much seemed an Oh vehicle, but Comer, with her accents and personas, stole the show - and even our hearts, which is pretty good going given that she tends to kill at least one person an episode. “I guess what’s interesting about Killing Eve is that you’re constantly switching between these two women,” she muses when we meet at a London


members’ club, shortly before series two airs. “I feel like neither of them is good or bad, nothing’s black or white. Sometimes you strangely agree with Villanelle, and sometimes you go, ‘Eve, why did you do that?’” Well, yes. The ambiguities are a huge part of the attraction; the amorality is great fun. Still, she is relatively bad, isn’t she? Comer laughs. “Yes, she is. Sorry, I’m always excusing her! No, she’s bad,” she says, as though having to remind herself of it. The worrying thing is that Villanelle is a logical role for Comer. She’s already been a bit of a cow in My Mad Fat Diary; even more of a cow in BBC’s Doctor Foster, as the young marriagebuster; and a scheming queen in The White Princess. She has also played an exorcism, been kidnapped and much more. “My friends from school used to say, ‘Why don’t you ever play normal?’” she says with a smile. But it’s clear she’d like nothing less. In person, Comer is pretty tall and extremely pretty, with that striking heart-shaped face and those big, expressive eyes. She wears jeans and a loose blue-and-white-striped shirt, which she says apologetically was the last thing she had left in her suitcase (home, if she’s ever home, is still her parents’), but of course it looks great. 85 percent of the time she’s relaxed and giggly, then now and again she’ll swing into action, put on an accent and clown - in other words, turn it on. The following week, she’s off to film a comedy in Hollywood with Ryan Reynolds, and she’ll do the third series of Eve, already announced, after that. But when I suggest everything must have changed for her in the

past year, she is cautious: “Do you know what? It’s not a drastic change, but there’s definitely been a shift.” She had a “really weird experience” recently in America, where she had to get a 4am flight. “I got to the airport, it must have been half two, and there were... men waiting for me to sign things,” she says awkwardly. “They’d been following us around doing press during the week. Whoa. When does it become normal for strange men to be waiting for you at the airport?” On the other hand, there are times when she can’t get men to approach her for love nor money. How has the love life been? “Oh, zero, darling, zero,” she says, suddenly a bit Joan Collins. “I don’t know if it’s particularly because I’ve played a psychopath. I really don’t get approached at all. Which is fine,” she adds, kind of convincingly. “I’m never in one place long enough.” Playing Villanelle has been liberating for Comer. “I feel she’s made me a lot more honest with myself - with my relationships and how I feel.” She was encouraged in this by the show’s creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who wrote the first series. “Phoebe is pretty fearless,” Comer says. The audition process was made a bit easier by the fact that, months before Killing Eve appeared on the horizon, the two of them got trashed at a Baftas afterparty in Comer’s hotel room. When she later got the call to audition, she panicked. “I was, like, ‘What did I say? What did I do? Was I doing weird dance moves?’ It’s sometimes nice, though, to meet people in a more natural environment. But I don’t think either of us can remember very much.” Waller-Bridge is not writing the new series because of




Words: Louis Wise / The Sunday Times Culture Magazine / News Licensing

work; Emerald Fennell has taken over. The tone remains the same, though. Suffice to say that “Villanelle and Eve come into contact more”, Comer says, “but in very different circumstances. And we just explore this kind of impossible relationship. Because we know what the audience wants - but could that, would that, ever happen?” What is it the audience wants? “They want them to... you know what,” she smiles. I ask her to spell it out. “I believe Villanelle is definitely attracted to Eve. But there are so many other elements and to what that relationship is. It’s funny, because I find that every viewer has a different experience with the character. I’ve heard people say it’s maternal.” She screws her face up at that idea. Neither Oh nor she has a full answer to this one, and that’s the joy of it. A lot of people can relate to it, she thinks, specifically the strange “crosswire of emotions” that aren’t easily categorised. “In life, we do have those relationships where we think, ‘What is this?’ It’s very truthful in that sense.” Comer’s father is a massage therapist for Everton football club; her mother works for a transport company. She has one adored younger brother. What’s it like for them to see her playing Villanelle? “They love it,” she beams. Are they surprised? “I don’t think they are,” she says drily. “They’ve put up with me for long enough.” She was always mucking about doing accents and impressions a home, being “a

drama queen”. There are no actors in the family, but there was her Nanna Frances, who was the life and soul. “She always used to say, ‘Oh, you get it from me, you do,’” she says fondly. Nanna Frances died just as she was filming the first series of Eve. In an odd way, Comer thinks it freed her. Much is made of the famous scene with her in the frilly pink Molly Goddard dress (part of Villanelle’s to-die-for wardrobe of designer clothes and shoes); what is less known is that she filmed it just after she’d been to Frances’s funeral. Coming back on set, something clicked; she finally found her Villanelle, maybe because she relaxed and remembered there were other things in life. It was also then, though, that she realised Frances was right: she did get it from her. “It was that bittersweet thing of saying, ‘I wish I could say it to you now, and I can’t.’” She is, in one sense, aggressively downto-earth. “People always ask me what my hobbies are when I’m not filming,” she says. “I don’t have any hobbies. I like to go and drink with my friends, and I like to dance.” On the other hand, not much is normal about her at all. Take the fact that she had a peculiar fairy godmother in the shape of her fellow Scouse actor Stephen Graham. Once, when she was about 16, she did a day’s filming with him near her home. The actor took to her and recommended her to his agent, who promptly took her on. “I owe a lot to Stephen,” she says now.

Comer’s accent, like Graham’s, remains deliciously strong, and she has resisted all attempts to remove it. “I’m so proud of where I come from, and I feel whatever sets you apart, whatever makes you ‘you’, keep that. Absolutely.” She admits that it has sometimes been a hurdle: she recalls a director telling her, after she’d got a job, that they hadn’t really wanted even to audition her, as they couldn’t imagine she could do RP. As ever, though, she doesn’t dwell too much; there aren’t many chips on the shoulder. She has never done an acting course and isn’t really sure you can teach acting. Did she grow up feeling that she could do anything? “Do you know what?” she ponders. “I think I must have always believed in myself, because I’ve had conversations with people on nights out, and they’re, like, ‘Oh, so you think you’re gonna be in films, do ya?’ And I’m, like, ‘Yeah!’” She laughs. “And you feel big-headed, but if I don’t believe in me, who else is gonna believe in me?” Mind you, she isn’t above a pep talk. She spoke to Graham on the phone once the show’s effect had kicked in. “I said to him, ‘I can’t believe it’, and he was, like, ‘Stop that. You can believe it, because you’ve worked hard for it. Don’t have this working-class idea of “I can’t believe this has happened to me”.’” What if, she said, she hadn’t done that day’s filming with him all those years ago? “But you did,” he replied, and as usual it all sounds completely, well, normal. 43

From metamorphoses and revolution to superheroines and cyborgs, Thierry Mugler designs are light years apart – transporting fashion to outlandish new frontiers







hierry Mugler has a sense of humour. Yes, his designs are deeply profound – having rocked fashion to its very core – and his innovative technical ability is certainly no joke. But in the often sombre style realm, his designs delight enough to put a smile on the face of any observer (and in the future may even humour the most hardened artificial intelligence). “It’s definitely an underrated trait about him,” says Thierry-Maxime Loriot, who worked closely with the designer to curate the world premiere of Thierry Mugler: Couturissime at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA). “It’s not really a factor people consider, given the number of figures in the industry who take themselves too seriously. Thierry has a tongue-in-cheek mood that helped him to push design to the extremes – but also navigate the way by having some fun,” he adds.


An equally astonishing revelation about Strasbourg-born Mugler is that he is in fact of this Earth – because his futuristic costume couture is certainly out of this world. “His sleek, elegant creatures, his dangerous seductresses, populate a world of glamour at the edges of reality; subjects, rather than objects, of their sexuality, these women possess devastating humour and irresistible power,” remarked Nathalie Bondil, MMFA director general and chief curator. Emerging from a non-fashion background, Manfred Thierry Mugler was a trained classical dancer, joining the ballet corps of the Rhin Opera at 14. He developed an affinity for stage presence and performance, which – once his fashion career was kickstarted – found a way into his couture creations. “He didn’t start out referencing the fashion industry. There are no codes of

Opening Pages: Helmut Newton photoshoot for the catalogue of Lingerie Revisited collection , 1998. Prêt-à-porter FW98/99 © The Helmut Newton Estate; Inez and Vinoodh, Kym – BLVD, 1994. Longchamps collection, prêt-à-porter SS94 © Inez & Vinoodh Below: Manfred Thierry Mugler © Max Abadian Opposite: Christian Gautier, stage costumes for the show Mugler Follies, 2013. Christian Gautier / © Manfred Mugler Overleaf: Alan Strutt, Yasmin Le Bon, Palladium, London, 1997 – Evening Standard Magazine. La Chimère collection, “La Chimère” gown, haute couture FW97/98 © Alan Strutt. All outfits byThierry Mugler



Chanel or nods to Dior: that’s not his way of working. He got noticed when he was a young designer because he always went in the opposite direction to other designers,” Loriot analyses. Mugler’s heyday was from the 1970 to the 1990s, with outfits deployed to disrupt an array of settings: among the notables are costumes for George Michael’s Too Funky music video and for Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Comédie-Française, as well as those of Zumanity for the Cirque du Soleil. Says Loriot, “It was more about his world of fantasy, and how to turn the human body into a character for daily life – be it inspired by a robot, an animal, a car… there’s no limit. He was creating body-conscious, supertight dresses and perpetuating his vision to magnify the perfection of the body, way ahead of its time.” Seen through a 2019 prism – where the likes of Thor, Iron Man and Captain Marvel rule the silver screen, tasked to avenge the universe – photographs of Mugler’s model muses do come across as distinctly superheroic. As such, the designer inspired (and dressed) an array of equally larger-than-life celebrities including Diana Ross, David Bowie, Liza Minnelli, Diane Dufresne, Jerry Hall and Beyoncé.; Lady Gaga’s entire fashion mood board appears downloaded directly from Mugler’s memory. (Aside from her famous meat dress; “I don’t kill animals,” remarked Mugler in more stern commentary, of his refusal to use fur). He rewrote the rules about how fashion was presented, too. “We’re used to shows where the designs are sashayed across the stage, adorned on supermodels, with booming backing music. He created that format,” says Loriot. Mugler’s seismic Fall 1995 haute couture extravaganza — a collision of music and modelling superstardom to mark his brand’s 20th anniversary – is considered ‘The Woodstock of Fashion’ (after the seminal 1960s counterculture festival). “He belongs to a generation of creators that I feel doesn’t exist anymore,” enthuses Loriot. “His mindset is that of an artist, and the landscape now is an era of ‘stylists’ – who care more about what will be liked and shared on Instagram. When you think of Thierry 48

He belongs to a generation of creators that I feel doesn’t exist anymore. His mindset is that of an artist – in an era of ‘stylists’

Mugler, he is someone who pushed the boundaries of creativity. It’s so singular that you don’t have to look at the label to know it is his work.” Then… he simply stepped away (save for putting his name to a series of bombastic perfumes). A fashionable force of nature, the tornado suddenly ceased. Mugler revealed one reason for bowing out of the scene was that, “Fashion was an incredible means of artistic expression in the 70s, 80s and 90s, but it wasn’t like that anymore in the 2000s, when creation was completely stifled by marketing and business”. That business which surged on in his absence is indebted to Mugler, and he had a prophetic vision for fashion, as his angular elegance was a stimulant for what fashion would become. Contemporary style took his outlandish looks and adopted them as norms, Loriot notes. “There are many current elements that are derived from his vision: the way wide shoulders and the sleeves are done on a jacket, to the waists, to the cuts that he created in the 70s and 80s which are exactly what you see being worn today: clothes modifying the silhouette (or, in an extreme sense, being manipulated with implants).” The designer never shied away from putting on a fashion show, though he did have a reluctance to put on a showcase at a museum, despite being courted by leading institutions from New York, London and Paris. “I have often been offered to exhibit my work, but the idea of looking backward has never interested me,” Mugler admits. “The MMFA, with Nathalie and Thierry-Maxime, were the right people with the right vision. There is no future without a past, so I hope this exhibition will open up a new and inspiring creative future for the audience.” “I have an approach that doesn’t look like a retrospective,” enlightens Loriot, whose curatorial acumen includes

exhibitions for Jean Paul Gaultier and the famed photographer Peter Lindbergh. “When Thierry and I met, he was delighted that my approach is more of a celebration for a living artist, not a funeral,” he laughs. Mugler’s works are rare beasts to see in the wild: the vast majority of sightings have been from afar or in photos, not within touching distance. They were put on models for shows, then put into storage for 40 years. Loriot remarks how you can see a Picasso sculpture or painting in many museums around the planet, yet a piece of Mugler couture proves impossible. His point is evidenced by the 200,000 visitors who have poured through MMFA’s doors to view the exhibit in its first months. “I don’t make exhibitions for people from the fashion industry, though of course they come,” explains Loriot. “My focus was to communicate the thousands of hours of work that Mugler poured into each dress to people who wouldn’t come to a museum – my neighbour, or someone who is not into fashion. Shunning a chronological narrative, Couturissime is conceived as an ‘opera’ with six ‘acts’, and maybe it has prompted a glorious, creative crescendo for Mugler – now aged 70. At The Met Gala in May, Mugler unleashed a defiant design (his first in over 20 years), by swathing Kim Kardashian West in skintight caramel for the ‘Camp’ themed red-carpet event. The latter took him eight months to make. Though clearly not as prolific, it seems Manfred Thierry Mugler might not yet be done with his alien invasion – and is certainly not yet ready to be beamed back up. The world premier of Couturissime shows at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) until 8 September, before travelling to Rotterdam and then Munich until 30 August 2020. For more information, visit




Rebel Rebel profiles 30 mavericks who impacted our modern world, from Jackson Pollock’s paint splodges to James Brown’s funk . This exclusive excerpt delves into the might (and mystery) of heavyweight champ Sonny Liston WORDS: CHRIS SULLIVAN


n 24 February 1964, world heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston lost his title after a puzzling performance against a loud, brash 22-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky. Eyebrows were raised but the matter was never fully investigated, and many were more than prepared to accept that the youngster had beaten Liston fair and square. Whether he really did or not, we will never know. But as someone once said, anyone can be bought and anything can be fixed if you have enough money, power and balls. And in the 1960s, the American mafia had all three in abundance. Said 22-year-old was, of course, none other than Cassius Clay – later, Muhammad Ali – a man who many hold to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Others consider him to have lowered the status

of boxing to that of all-in wrestling, where showmanship and braggadocio is more important than dignity. Before the bout, Clay, as he later did with Joe Frazier (who despised him till his death), taunted Liston with racial insults, saying, “After I beat him I’m going to donate him to the zoo.” No sportsman had used such language in so public a setting before. I will admit that Clay did rise to the title and become a fine fighter, but back then he was no match for Liston. An Olympic champion, the middleclass Clay had clawed his way up through the ranks, carefully avoiding class acts such as Cleveland Williams, Zora Folley and Eddie Machen. Instead, he took the easier route, fighting the 46-year-old ex-champion Archie Moore, who took him to four rounds, and then in 1963 the 29-year-old British fighter Henry Cooper.

Liston, on the other hand, had totally demolished everyone in his path, including world champion Floyd Patterson, who he knocked out in less than three minutes on two occasions. He had knocked out 90 percent of the opposition, smashing every single quality boxer in the heavyweight division. “Sonny Liston is in the top five greatest heavyweights of all time,” insists boxing historian Hank Kaplan. “He had the hardest left jab in boxing history.” No one can doubt that Sonny Liston was the real thing. He was a true fighter in the Mike Tyson mould: a simmering lump of malevolence, who, as someone once said, ‘had died the day he was born’. Characteristically, there is no record of Liston’s birth. For official purposes he later settled on a birth date of 8 May 1932, but it seems as though even he didn’t know 51


the exact date. The record of his first arrest says he was born in 1928. The big house was never going to be a stroll in the park, but Liston soon learned how to survive the rigours of the state penitentiary. Three dominant gangs controlled the Missouri State Pen, all of whom were white. It’s been said that Liston, having fallen foul of each gang, challenged the leaders to meet him at six o’ clock ‘in the hole’ – a storage room beneath the cellblock. Four men walked in, but only Liston walked out, the rest battered and unconscious on the hole’s concrete floor. His pugilistic prowess soon came to the attention of the authorities, who decided the best place for him was the prison boxing ring. The first problem they encountered was the regulation gloves. They didn’t fit. Most heavyweight boxers’ hands measure some 12 inches in circumference; Liston’s measured an astonishing 15. Liston’s glovemaker found it almost impossible to keep the weight of a pair of XXXL gloves down to the required eight ounces. Indeed, Liston was a bull of man who, standing at just over six feet, possessed thighs that measured 25 inches in circumference, a 44in chest, a 19in neck and a reach that stretched to a good 84ins. Before long, his reputation had spread beyond the prison walls, reaching the ears of Father Alois Stevens. The priest had heard that ‘there was this great enormous convict over there that they couldn’t get anybody else to fight. They had to put two men in the ring with him at the same time and he still won.’ So Father Stevens, together with a sportswriter for the St Louis StarTimes named McGuire, drove down to St Louis in search of opposition for the mighty Liston. With the help of a former boxer and trainer Monroe ‘Muncey’ Harrison, they came up with the best heavyweight in the city the 32-yearold Thurman Wilson. After just two rounds with Liston, the formidable pro was said to have quit, ending the bout with the words, “I don’t want no more of him.” Some 10 years later, this Sonny Liston would be easily beaten by Cassius Clay a 22-year-old ‘kid’ supposedly without a punch. In February 1953, they entered him in the open and novice heavyweight division of the amateur Golden Gloves tournament. Liston trounced the 52

‘They couldn’t get anybody else to fight him. They put two men in the ring with him at the same time and he still won

competition, going on to win the Midwest Golden Gloves title (beating an Olympic heavyweight champion), and then the national title, becoming the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion in March. In June that year he defeated Herman Schreibauer of West Germany to become the Golden Gloves world heavyweight champion. In five months, Sonny Liston had gone from unknown ex-con to amateur champion. Evidently, it was time to turn pro. A particular TKO against Marty Marshall was followed by five consecutive knockouts on the run. Such talent soon attracted the attentions of a number of parties. One was the man who controlled American boxing in the 1950s: Frankie Carbo. A ‘killer amongst killers’, Carbo was first convicted of murder in 1924. While on parole in 1931 he was arrested for the killing of wealthy bootlegger Mickey Duffy. But in addition to his day job as a ruthless assassin, Frankie Carbo also managed boxers. Importantly, the IBC,

under Truman Gibson, promoted and televised every major fight in the US. But powerful as they were, they soon came to the inevitable realisation that they could not survive without Carbo and the mob. The first world title fight that Carbo and his main man Blinky Palermo fixed was the 1955 capitulation by Archie Moore against the undefeated Rocky Marciano. And this was certainly not their last venture on behalf of the mob. It was Carbo and Blinky who would eventually come to control the future of Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston. Liston’s connection to organised crime did not begin with boxing. After his release from the state pen in 1952, all of Liston’s non-boxing work was controlled by Local 110, including three months with Vitale’s cement contractors in St Louis. The union was controlled by Vitale and Syrian mobster Ray Sarkis. In the words of colleague Terry Lynch, Liston worked as a “kind of chauffeur, quasi bodyguard” for Sarkis to “break people’s legs and stuff”. For the first meeting between Liston and Clay in 1964, the latter was a rank outsider who, if truth be told, did not deserve a shot at the title – he was a 7-1 underdog. But there were other powers at play. Regardless, Clay still derided the champ during the pre-fight shenanigans, calling him ‘the big ugly bear’. In the face of an unusually placid, almost resigned Liston, Clay declared that he would ‘float like a butterfly and sting like a bee’, and turned the pre-bout weigh-in into a farce. Many pundits, however, felt that Clay was no match for Liston. Joe Louis said, “Nobody’s gonna beat Liston ’cept old age.” On the night of the fight, Clay was only too aware of the task before him. His pulse raced to 120 at the weigh-in. He was petrified. At the sound of the bell, Clay rushed at Liston like a madman and claimed the first round. Liston took control in the second, but at the start of the third the younger man impressively landed a barrage of great shots, cutting the champ’s eye, only for Liston to again take control until, by the end, Clay looked in big trouble. Between rounds, the TV cameras honed in on the champ. He didn’t look angry, tired or frustrated; he looked perplexed and preoccupied. At the start of the seventh, the unimaginable happened. Liston sat in his corner, looked around rather sheepishly



and refused to rise, complaining of numbness in his left arm. This was the man who had previously fought seven rounds with a badly broken jaw. This was the man who had almost killed opponents. This was daft. Liston had previously shown no sign of an injured arm. Clay was ecstatic. Unfortunately, the endearing image one has of the fight is of the loudmouth Clay rushing to the microphone to scream praise for himself. In boxing, the victor is never aware of the fix and we’ll probably never know for sure what really happened that night. Significantly, however, if one places a bet for a fighter to win and he does, you take home a lot of dosh – but if you can specify a round, as Carbo had tried to do with the Sugar Ray Robinson versus Al Nettlow fixture, you win a damn sight more. They had obviously picked round seven. In the run up to the Clay match, no one wanted Liston to be the champ. He had an extensive police record, had myriad connections to organised crime [and] he was the baddest black guy in America. This does not, however, alter the fact that he was more than capable of pulverising Clay. Billy Conn, former lightweight champion, put it this way: “Clay hasn’t the experience. The only experience he’ll get is how to get killed in a hurry.” A rematch was planned, but few were prepared to stage such a circus. The country knew the last fight had been fixed and noone wanted a repeat... Except the powers that be. It was rescheduled for 25 May 1965, but Massachusetts, which previously endorsed the bout, now refused to comply because everyone knew that the promoters were tied to organised crime. Finally, the fight took place in Lewiston, Maine, before a crowd of 2,412‒– the smallest audience ever for a world heavyweight championship bout. The reservations were well founded. This fight was more than a farce, it was a one-round pantomime. Liston had all the action but his punches were mere pokes, lacking any power or conviction. Meanwhile Ali just bounced around, hitting Liston with a short ineffectual blow towards the end of the round, a punch not intended to damage, but to parry. Nevertheless, Liston went down. After a few seconds he attempted to rise and, in a terrible display of 54

play-acting that would have rivalled Johnny Depp, rolled over like a kitten waiting for its belly to be rubbed. He then got up and allowed Clay to hit him a few times, offering no defence, before the fight was stopped. It was without doubt the most unconvincing KO in boxing history. The crowd booed and shouted, ‘fake, fake, fake’, over and over again. No one noticed the winning punch, apart from Ali, who called it his ‘anchor’ punch. To the rest of the world it became known as the ‘phantom punch,’ in that it hardly existed. It was a wave, and an ineffectual one at that. I have watched the bout some 20 times or more and how anyone could not see that the fix was on is beyond me. By the end of his life in 1970, Liston’s demise was eventually attributed to ‘probable myocardial anoxia due to coronary insufficiency’, i.e. lung congestion and heart failure. But Liston, having fought his last bout less than seven months before, was a fit 43-year-old man, perhaps younger. Liston’s demise was so inconclusive, the anomalies surrounding his death so uncertain, and the results so open to doubt, that a professional hit was suspected by all. And yet detractors have dismissed the assassination theory with the question, ‘Why did the mob wait six months after the Chuck Wepner fight [his last, at the Jersey City Armoury – stopped in the ninth round when Wepner was a bloody mess] to kill Liston?’ They appear to be forgetting one of the most oft repeated and most apt Sicilian sayings of all: ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold.’ And Liston always had to pay the man. 50 years on from the controversial second bout versus Ali, four-decade-old documents released to the Washington Times under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the FBI’s long-time suspicion that the fight was a mafia fix was entirely founded. The reports also revealed that according to Vegas insiders and Houston gambler Barnett Magid, Resnick and Liston made over USD1 million betting against Liston. The documents show no indication that Ali was in on the conspiracy. Abridged excerpt from the Sonny Liston chapter of ‘Rebel Rebel: Mavericks Who Made Our Modern World’, written by Chris Sullivan.

Opening pages: Sonny Liston throws a punch at Cassius Clay in a World Heavyweight Title fight on 25 February 1964, at Convention Hall in Miami Previous pages: One-sheet movie poster advertising the boxing match ‘Sonny Liston Vs Cassius Clay’ (20 th Century Fox), 1964; Liston with his wife at home in Philadelphia Above: The ‘Big Bear’ punishes the heavy bag in his title tuneup, 1963. All images from Getty Images

Cassisus Clay hasn’t the experience “ to fight Liston. The only experience he’ll get is how to get killed in a hurry ” 55

Ahead of the second series of Big Little Lies, its superstar executive co-producers Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman talk about the dynamic of helming a hit show – both on and off set INTERVIEW: LUCY ALLEN ADDITIONAL WORDS: CHRIS UJMA


Credit: Lucy Allen / The Interview People


but the



We had no idea that the show was going to converge with this ‘moment’ of women sensing their need to be leaders, stepping up to talk about their experiences

When you’re dealing with people like Andrea Arnold and other great filmmakers, they’re looking at it as a whole, and the writers are. It’s being explored that way, so that’s what we beg for, is that it’s reviewed that way.” Audience reception was the catalyst for the forthcoming second series, Kidman says, citing the “enormous demand” from those who watched the show, and adding “I’ve never been in something that reached so far, globally”. Still, they were “In a little bit of a difficult spot, because we had this book to follow the first time”, says Witherspoon. However, the author helped to tie up lingering plotlines from her work. “We were lucky Liane [Moriarty] wrote almost like a novella for us to use as a template,” Witherspoon reveals. “It helped tremendously that the characters were alive in her mind and had these very rich experiences that were just as interesting, entertaining, as in-depth as they were in the original series. So that gave us a basis for which to go on for each character.”

English filmmaker Arnold takes over directing duties from JeanMarc Vallée for season two, which premieres this month. Her work has won several accolades at the Cannes Film Festival, and she recently directed three episodes of the Emmywinning series Transparent. “It’s interesting having a woman director,” says Kidman, about Arnold being on board. “You talk about the male gaze and the female gaze. Obviously, this is a female gaze because we have a woman now behind the camera. But it’s the way she enters into all our characters is … well, you’ll see.” Season two picks up the ‘Monterey Five’ as they try to carry on with their lives and friendships while collectively hiding a dark secret. Aside from a new director, the second season adds another high-profile name to the star-studded cast: Meryl Streep. It’s an equation that all involved have, once again, managed to solve. “What’s been the incredible virtue of this series – but also the very difficult thing that we’ve had to navigate – is you don’t get six women in a show and follow all of their lives in this complicated, deep way. It’s so rare,” enthuses Kidman. “Most times, you’ll get two. But the beauty of television is you do have seven hours, and so you do have the chance to delve deeply into six women’s lives. And that’s fantastic to have the opportunity and – I suppose – the template, for it. I mean, I don’t know another show that has six female leads.” There’s room on-screen for this fulcrum of Hollywood heavyweights, and it also creates a unique dynamic on set, says Witherspoon – especially between herself and Kidman. “I get very concerned about logistics and schedules and wanting to accommodate people and help people and help facilitate their ideas,” she outlines. “And I think

Credit: Lucy Allen / The Interview People



hen our show came out, there was one critic who probably didn’t watch more than one episode and said it was a chick show or something, and really tore the show apart,” says Reese Witherspoon. “50 Shades of Grey, I think they said that it was worse than,” adds her co-star and co-producer Nicole Kidman, with disdain. “In terms of my character and the abuse she endured, my response was just, ‘please watch the whole show.’” That one critic’s response to the first season of Big Little Lies, released in 2017, feels especially perplexing given the resonance the show would have. The series – written by David E. Kelley and based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty – starred Witherspoon and Kidman alongside Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoë Kravitz. They were unknowingly involved in a project that would tap into a cultural zeitgeist. “We had no idea there was going be that kind of public response to this show – that it was going to converge with this ‘moment’ of women sensing their need to be leaders, stepping up to talk about their experiences – with strength and with encouragement from other women,” admits Witherspoon. “We felt like a season two would not only be a great experience for us, but alo a chance to talk about, ‘Now what?’ We’ve talked about trauma, we’ve experienced trauma, we see each other’s trauma, but how do we cope with it? And how do we go on and how do we carry on?” It’s that layered complexity, says Kidman, that makes reviewing such a minefield: “You make the show as a whole and the beginning, middle, and end are in those seven hours, or eight hours, or 10 hours: that’s one of the quandaries of television and reviewing television, to take the topic away from the male/female thing.

Below: The original ‘big five’ cast members of Big Little Lies: Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern. All images courtesy of HBO Studios




more than anything, the fun part of being a producer is getting to dig in with everybody about what they wanted out of the experience.” Adds Kidman, “I find it wonderful that we’re all in it together, and we deeply care. Nobody is in it for the wrong reasons. We want it to be a satisfying, fantastic experience for everyone, and with that comes enormous responsibility. But I think for us, the way in which we work together, we’re just so honest with each other.” “We’ll disagree. And then, we’ll find an agreement,” says Witherspoon, as Kidman embellishes, “Then we’ll go, ‘Okay, but I’m coming at it from this point of view with the character…’ and the input is fantastic. I just love having fellow partners and women who are so smart where everyone’s contributing, and being able to be a part of that group – I’ve never had that. And it’s lovely at this stage of my life and career to be doing something that I’ve never done before.” With women at the reins of the project, there’s also a kinship towards scheduling – and real life responsibilities – too. “We’re definitely aware of each other’s personal lives,” says Witherspoon. “Sometimes when I’d be at work and I was a younger with young children, I wouldn’t bring them to set, because it made me feel vulnerable. It made me feel like I was exposed, and that no one was going to be supporting of me needing to take care of a sick child,” she admits. “Here, they did everything short of putting on a blonde wig and going out there and doing it for me,” she praises. “So, I have to say it was an incredible experience to be able to lean on each other – even to express the feelings of guilt, or regret, or sadness, or excitement over something that happened in my personal life. So, I will say it was a more personal experience than I’ve ever had.” The show’s success, then, can in part be attributed to the great female camaraderie on the show, and there’s ample bonding – especially when they all get together for drink or meal after filming. Both co-producers firmly agree on who is the best storyteller among the cast. “Meryl tells incredible stories,” smiles Witherspoon. “Meryl,” concurs Kidman – “But we go to the grave with all of those stories,” she adds with a laugh. 61



Motoring JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97

Raise the Roof Think of the stunning new BMW 8 Series Convertible as luxury with unlimited headroom. But is it too accomplished to be considered a sports car? WORDS: ANDREW ENGLISH



The piece de resistance, however, is the M850i xDrive, with a heavily revamped 523bhp/553lb ft, 4.4-litre, biturbo V8 driving all four wheels through a specially adapted eight-speed automatic gearbox and a modified version of the xDrive multi-plate clutch to direct torque to the front axle when it is required for stability or to prevent cremating the rear tyres - the chassis settings progressively reduce the drive to the front, but unlike the full-house M-badged cars there’s no rear-drive-only ‘drift mode’ (and you can’t have the top speed limiter taken off). Equivalent figures for the M850i are 249km/h, 3.9sec, 28.3mpg and 229g/km, although I achieved only 15mpg on the switchback test route in the hills behind Faro in Portugal.

Equipment levels are predictably high, with LED headlights, BMW’s gesture control, Harmon Kardon speakers, enhanced Bluetooth and intelligent cruise control, plus BMW’s roster of driver aids with M suspension, which includes adaptive damping, active variable-ratio steering and an active, limited-slip differential. The interior feels extraordinarily plush, although there’s less room than in the coupé as the seat backs are more upright, and there’s less shoulder space. I can’t say the instrument binnacle is a complete hit, though, with fuzzy graphics, an over-stylised layout and no chance of changing it as you can with rivals. BMW says it might have a swappable layout for the forthcoming M version, but this is a 100-thousand-dollar car for Pete’s sake;

Credit: Andrew English / The Telegrapgh / The Interview People



t may be blistering with heat in Dubai but for convertible collectors in Europe, it was only of late that – for the first time since the clocks went back last autumn – there was the stirring of over-wintered old engines and the creak of fabric hoods folding down. Not that drivers of BMW’s new 8-series Convertible will suffer the broken fingernails and digits trapped in the hood sticks of yore. Up or down takes just 15 seconds and this remarkable feat of engineering can be done at up to 49km/h, thanks to the new rear-hinged tonneau. You can even specify an Anthracite Silver hue for the acoustically-lined hood as well as the more normal black. Frankly, though, this car looks enough like a spaceship as it is... The hood operates quickly enough to make it feasible to have it down in a European winter. Especially so when you consider the optional heated and cooled seats, along with heated armrests, seat cushions, backrests and steering wheel. Plus, of course, the highly effective standard air deflector and newly designed (optional) three-speed neck warmers for front-seat passengers. Sports car? More like luxury with unlimited headroom. Based on the well-received 8-series coupé, which is currently entering the showrooms, this new convertible is a twoplus-two of similar size running on the same double wishbone front and a multilink rear suspension, with active damping and roll stabilisation. This might have been an excuse for the body shaking over even the mildest bumps and pitted surfaces, but BMW has fitted a welded hoop around the rear bulkhead, welded pipe in the windscreen pillars, thicker steel in the sill sections and an undershield to brace the chassis. All of this, plus the safety hoops which fire out of the rear decking if a rollover is detected, adds 125kg to the weight of the equivalently-specified coupé so this car weighs just over two tonnes. The boot space takes a 70-litre cut as well, leaving a respectable if not outstanding 350 litres of shallow space under the lid. Like the coupé, the 8-series convertible will be available with two engines. The first is a 316bhp/502lb ft six-cylinder turbodiesel limited to 249km/h, 0-99km/h in 5.2sec, delivering 44.8mpg in the WLTP test and emitting CO2 at a rate of 165g/km. It is badged 840d.

What’s most impressive perhaps is the feeling of refinement even with the hood down

even the cheapest family hatchback with a digital dash has a switchable format. The V8 engine booms into life with a prize-fighter’s grunt. It is one of the great internal combustion engines, so powerful that you gingerly push the throttle when pulling away. It’s actually a bit of a pussy cat around town, even if the gearbox changes abruptly at times. Once the road opens up, however, this is simply mighty. Switch the driver’s software to Sport and it bellows defiance at anything and everyone before hurling itself up the road. In that setting the eight-speed automatic gearbox works pretty well and the engine seems well matched to the rest of the drivetrain. The ride is good on smooth surfaces, although there’s a low-speed vibration that feeds through to the cabin and the major controls. Speed up and the ride improves, though the optional 20-inch wheels and tyres resound off larger bumps as if attempting to pummel them into insignificance. You can feel the extra weight as you push on and you need to drive

carefully; braking on the straight, turning in gently and using all that incredible power to shoot out of the corner like bottle cork. The body heaves a little more than the coupé’s and there’s a feeling of a lot of technology fighting to keep you on the road, but this is still a remarkable car. What’s most impressive perhaps is the feeling of refinement even with the hood down; it’s quiet, the wind deflector is extraordinarily effective, the seats are super-comfortable and the engine has a wafting quality. There’s a slight end-of-days ostentation about this car, which seems to bring out the worst in fellow road users. You might even observe that this car is too expensive and too accomplished to be a ‘proper’ sports car, which should extract a penalty in practicality and accommodation. Perhaps that is why most of these cars don’t do very much in their lives apart from bimbling between golf club and yacht club. So love your 8-series convertible, but don’t expect the rest to love you.




JUNE 2019 : ISSUE 97


Life and Soul Michelin-starred Nouri is must-visit restaurant with a mission, where sensory exploration resides alongside a Singaporean sense of community WORDS: CHRIS UJMA


hef Ivan Brehm’s definition of fine dining as “an intersection of culture” is evident before guests even cross the threshold of his restaurant, Nouri. The Michelin awarded eatery sits on Amoy Street in Singapore’s Chinatown and the building, number 72, was the first English-speaking Chinese school in Singapore. Nouri is nested in between two Buddhist temples, a mosque and a Sufi lodge, and is behind an ancient orchard. “I couldn’t have asked for more,” beams the founder. “We are located in an historic part of a very modern city. Singapore has long been an entrepôt of cultures, and its cultural vibrancy and plurality is completely defined by its ability to borrow and adapt.” Brehm is well-versed in that regard: Brazil-born, his multicultural background also interlaces Russian, Syrian, Lebanese, German, Italian and Spanish influences. He acquired a treasure trove of experience in leading establishments (such as Per Se), and from leading chefs (the likes of Heston Blumenthal). “All of my mentors shared a deep appreciation for their guests, a commitment to the craft, to the people

The premise is to inspire and awaken a connection between people

behind it, and to relentless perfectionism,” he recounts. “There was the understanding that in a restaurant there aren’t unimportant issues and that everything– from a simple good morning, to the highbrow technicalities of our day to day job –matter to the big picture. We aren’t perfect, but the sincerity with which chefs pursue their ideals was very invigorating and, for me, formative.” The sincerity of Nouri has earned the establishment a Michelin star within its first 12 months (deemed by the guide to be ‘putting the heart back into fine dining’), and the restaurant marks a “natural progression” in Brehm’s career. “My background, interests and view of the world are translated through this little restaurant and shared with a team of collaborators, who believe that restaurant

food can have a transformative impact in the work. My newfound freedom here allows us to research and communicate these ideas and beliefs with the depth it deserves,” the chef explains. One of the defining signature design visuals of the restaurant is a long, white marble table, which erases the boundary between the kitchen and the diner and allows guests to sit beside strangers. But – as with the Amoy Street buildings that surround Nouri – bonding is complex, and far deeper than mere physical juxtaposition. “This seating proposition is one that ignites a sense of camaraderie and proximity in guests and staff, regardless of their background,” Brehm opines. “At the marble table they can chose to keep to themselves, but more often than not a ‘human’ connectivity is shared. The premise of our restaurant is to inspire and awaken a connection between people. For a long time we have spoken about fine dining as a field of exclusivity, but we wanted to propose inclusivity as a worthy focus.” There is a definite sense of wider purpose here: Nouri is an homage to the collaborations that shaped the great cuisines of a world, where recipes and 67



Opening pages: Wild Rice Stem - steam roasted Makomotake, spiced buttermilk gratin, cultured cabbage Opposite: Black Pepper Fish- Locally farmed grouper, black pepper and vanilla sauce, charred pickled carrot.Images by Robin Thang

great food could not have existed in isolation. While not Brehm’s sole purpose, the accolades (from Michelin, and more) are validation for how people have bought into his vision. “Restaurants are the last vestige of a community-focused space in a world that prefers digital connection to physical one”, he believes. This sense of community extends to the procuring of produce. Brehm works with Weeds & More, an organic farm collaborative based in the lush, Cameron Highlands region of neighbouring Malaysia. Banana flowers, endemic herbs like wild pepper leaf, fruits like bilimbi and nuts like Kulim are a few of the items the chef likes to incorporate. “When sourcing quality imported ingredients we maintain a tight link with purveyors, and keep our eyes and ears very open,” he explains. “We try to stay close to Singapore with ingredients, but I am of the belief that passion, care and quality from everywhere deserves to be promoted, and so the occasional seasonal strawberry, green almond, etc makes it to our menu as well.” Dinner comprises a five or seven course chef’s tasting menu (with wine or sake pairing), while lunch is ‘a fast introduction to Nouri’s cuisine.’ Brehm notes that the lineups, “Aren’t rooted in seasonality, though things are kept flexible enough that we can incorporate seasonality in it.” It is cultural research, or comparative gastronomy, that anchors the dishes. ‘Crossroads’ is what Brehm calls the act of cooking food inspired by the shared traits of this interconnected world. He cites dishes like Acarajé and Vatapá (an Afro-Brazilian fritter with turmeric and coconut sauce, bread, and salted prawn vatapá) plus the Scallops with Coconut as preparations “that elicit a certain layer of near universality which I feel the world is in dire short supply of”. His approach can actually be distilled into one word: the restaurant’s very name. When sharing the background story with the Michelin Guide, the founder confided, “My wife was the one who mentioned the word ‘nouri’. It’s a Latin word for nourishment, things that you derive sustenance from. ‘Nouri’ in Korean means ‘planet’, while in Persian, it means ‘fire’ in the relation to consciousness. It was very relevant to what we wanted to do with our restaurant: to bring some kind of mindfulness to eating, and to people’s experiences.” The white marble table awaits. 69

Travel JUNE 2019 : ISSUE 97


The Fife Arms Scotland


he reopening of this storied hotel in the Highlands was presided over by the (duly kilted, and beaming) Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay. It was august and apt, as one senses that – could they be relieved of royal duties for a little while – Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla would happily hunker down at The Fife Arms. They’d not be the first notable names drawn to the wilderness and wonder of Braemar. This village, nestled in the Cairngorms mountain range, counts among its famous frequenters Robert Louis Stevenson (who began writing Treasure Island while holidaying there) and Frances Farquharson (the stylish editor of American Vogue, who would give her Elsa Schiaparelli couture a Scottish outing). Since the 19th century, The Fife Arms Hotel has played an integral role as a community bolthole. “All the ghillies down off the hill would go there to its public bar: it was where everyone went,” recounts long-term Braemar resident Doreen Wood. “If you were looking for someone, you’d go The Fife bar and ask, ‘Have you seen them?’” And so the quaint property’s 2019 refresh – masterminded by owners Iwan and Manuela Wirth – adeptly straddles both eras. Aforementioned bar has been ‘sensitively reimagined’, while the 46 uniquely furnished bedrooms each communicate a thoroughly researched story of a local place, person or event. Architects, designers and artists (many of whom have strong links to Scotland), have assembled to harmoniously deliver time-honoured and contemporary craftsmanship – and there are delights at every turn. The garden has been designed by Jinny Blom, Chelsea Flower Show medallist for The Prince of Wales himself. Said grounds overlook the River Clunie, and link the main hotel to the spa, which offers wellness treatments inspired by the wistful landscape. On the hotel’s doorstep are ancient castles, Scottish distilleries and romantic coastlines, while the rhythm of the seasons is reflected in hearty meals offered in the restaurant, bar and drawing room, via menus created by executive chef Robert Cameron. The Fife Arms is simultaneously down-to-earth and of royal standard; it’s rugged and refined; restored and reimagined. Both contemporary and classic moments can meet to clink Glencairns at this hotel, which welcomes both the past and the present with open arms. Aberdeen and Dundee airports are both a 1.5-hour drive away, while Edinburgh airport is 2 hours away via a scenic drive through the hills and over Glenshee. 70


What I Know Now


JUNE 2019: ISSUE 97

Alberto Morillas MASTER PERFUMER

My most treasured scent is one that takes me back to my childhood in Seville: the smell of orange blossoms, jasmine, and the fresh water from the well in our garden. Even with my Spanish origins – and those treasured past memories – ‘home’ for me is Switzerland; I am Swiss first and foremost. I love travelling and get the chance to do this very often (such as my recent visit to Dubai), with the accompanying sights, sounds and scents inspiring a lot of my work. Perfumers use words, sounds, colours, shapes and textures to talk about smells, and get our memory working. That’s how we build up and maintain our ‘scent bank,’ associating a smell with another completely different sensory element. 72

Having created so many iconic scents – such as CK One for Calvin Klein, Kenzo Flower, Bvlgari Omnia, and Panthere de Cartier – I do still feel a lot of pressure and a certain weight of expectation. Aiding in the process is the most inspirational piece of life advice I have received: to enjoy life and live like an artist, but think with rigour and serenity. Having founded my own perfume brand, obviously the feeling of creating independently – and without external pressure – is very pleasant. But even when I create for big houses, first and foremost I create perfumes that I love. It has to be said, though, that there is no quest to create the ‘perfect’ scent; I believe that the perfumer does not seek

to create the perfect perfume. Each new creation is a fresh challenge but above all, it’s essential to evoke emotion (and it does not necessarily have to be positive). The worst thing that can happen to any of my perfumes is that it doesn’t bring any emotion, and becomes just one soulless perfume on a store shelf. A bespoke scent is a luxury in life – a beautiful escape for everyone – luxury is not a material issue, to me. In my opinion it means to live happily, and to continue to be passionate about what you do. In 1999, Alberto founded Mizensir – his Geneva-based luxury scent brand; last month the perfume house debuted its selection of unisex fragrances in Dubai.





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