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Contents NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

EDITORIAL Editorial Director AIR

John Thatcher Managing Editor

Faye Bartle Editor

Chris Ujma christopher@hotmediapublishing.com

ART Art Director

Kerri Bennett Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia Illustration

Leona Beth Fifty Four

The Crown



A regal role in Mary Queen of Scots is apt for Margot Robbie, who firmly reigns over her acting career

Hedi Slimane’s Celine debut did not disappoint; the in-form force of fashion is making new waves


Seventy Six

Hello Goodbye What really caused the Fab Four to part ways? Hunter Davies recalls the final days of The Beatles’ demise 8

COMMERCIAL Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher Group Commercial Director

David Wade

david@hotmediapublishing.com Commercial Director

Dial M for Muse

Rawan Chehab

How Alfred Hitchcock styled his aspiring movie heroines – making them design icons in the process



Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

08.18am on a NYC rooftop. N 40° 45’ 31’’ W 73° 58’ 43’’.

Diver Collection

DUBAI: Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons - The Dubai Mall - Mall of the Emirates - Atlantis BEIRUT: W. Salomoon & Sons ABU DHABI: Al Manara International Jewellery AMMAN: Time Center MANAMA: Asia Jewellers CAIRO: BTC Exclusive DOHA: Ali Bin Ali Luxury JEDDAH & RIYADH: First Jewelry KUWAIT: Morad Yousuf Behbehani MUSCAT: Le Carat





Eighty Two

Pharrell Williams catches feels for music, art, style and more – roping in some famous faces to tell the tale

Hitting the road to sample the sybaritic mile-eating ability of the shapely new Mercedes-Benz CLS


Eighty Six

Christophe Claret is the maestro of non-conformist horology, and his latest watch packs plenty of bite

Alain Ducasse is ‘Le Roi’ of haute French cuisine, overseeing an unstoppable fine dining empire

From Thirty Five


Harry Winston’s New York love notes; Making fairytales with Van Cleef & Arpels; Chopard shows it emotions

A peek at the precious island of Milaidhoo in Maldives, where an ocean of memories are waiting to be written







From Forty Five

Art & Design Jennifer Townley’s mesmeric art soothes the M.A.D. Gallery; Derek Ridgers opens his archive on fourdecades of celebrity snaps 10

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.


FA B E R G E . C O M

@ O F F I C I A L FA B E R G E



SOMMETOUTE - fusiodesign.com

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

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NasJet NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

NasJet is the first private charter company in Saudi Arabia, providing bespoke aviation services for the most discerning clients and institutions in the world since 1999. Currently, the Group operates more than 24 corporate aircraft, making us the largest and most experienced private jet operator in the region with a managed fleet value exceeding USD1.5 billion. NasJet, which is part of NAS Holding, employs over 1,800 industry experts, operating 24/7 from our state-of-the-art flight centre in Riyadh and across the world delivering a superior level of safety, service and value. At NasJet we have the expertise and international experience to operate corporate aircraft worldwide. Every hour of every day, we are moving planes, crews and inventory across continents. We give you peace of mind when it comes to our commercial operations. As a Saudi company we are backed by some of the most prominent shareholders in the world. We are established. On our Air Operator Certificate (AOC), NasJet currently operate:

Welcome Onboard NOVEMBER 2018

• Cessna Citation Excel, which can seat six passengers and fly for up to three hours non-stop. • Embraer Legacy 600, which can seat 13-15 passengers and fly for up to five hours non-stop. • Gulfstream GIV-SP and G450 Aircraft, which can seat 13-14 passengers and fly for up to eight hours non-stop. • Gulfstream GV, which can seat 16 passengers and fly for up to 12 hours non-stop. • Airbus 318ACJ, which can seat 19-22 passengers and fly for up to eight hours non-stop. • Boeing 767, which can seat up to 44 passengers and fly for up to 14 hours non-stop. NasJet is pleased to offer the following services: • Aircraft Purchase and Sales. We have aircraft available for sale and management, or we can manage the purchase or sale of other aircraft. • Aircraft Acquisition, Acceptance, Completion and Delivery. We can find you the new aircraft that suits your needs, customise it to your liking, monitor the build of the aircraft at the manufacturer, and supervise the final delivery process to ensure a smooth and rewarding private aircraft experience. • Aircraft Management, where we are responsible for your aircraft from all aspects to provide you the highest safety standards, the best service and the most economical management solutions. • Block Charter, where we provide you with charter solutions sold in bulk at discounted rates. • Ad-Hoc Charter, where we can serve your charter needs where and when you need us on demand. With the new GACA Rules and Regulations having come into effect, NasJet has established itself as the first to market our Private and Commercial AOC Services. We welcome the opportunity to serve you, and look forward to seeing you aboard one of our private jets.

Cover: Margot Robbie. Carlos Serrao / AUGUST

Captain Mohammed Al Gabbas Senior Vice President

Contact Details: sales@nasjet.com.sa nasjet.com.sa T. +966 11 261 1199 13

NasJet NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

A VIP addition: the Boeing 767 NasJet is proud to report the addition of a VIP Boeing 767 under its management programme, making it the largest aircraft NasJet currently operates. Adding a Boeing 767 to NasJet’s capabilities illustrates the full strength of the organisation, and adds to its large business jet aircraft portfolio of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. “There’s high demand in Saudi Arabia for large airplanes, and it is a blossoming niche of the market – especially in the Middle East” explains Yosef F Hafiz, Chief Commercial Officer 14

at NasJet. “Regionally, nobody can provide this kind of capacity, and the 767 has been adopted into our fleet because it suits a growing demand for sizeable, long range craft.” The 767 has been long regarded as an asset among the world’s commercial airlines, with its size enabling upwards of 250 passengers to be transported onboard, commercially. Translate those dimensions to the private aviation realm, and you’re ensured acres of jet to enjoy. This particular aircraft, which belongs to private individual, can spaciously host up to 44 passengers, and has the ability to handle any duration the

guest needs – up to 14 hours nonstop, from Riyadh to New York or Washington in the US, for example. An entourage need not travel light, either, as the aircraft stowage area can comfortably accommodate 400 pieces of luggage. Step aboard, and the vessel is a comfortable living space that promises luxury and convenience while in the air. Features include a full galley (in which the dedicated onboard chef can work their magic), two VIP seating areas (with a divan and single seats) and a conference table. The aft of the plane has been fitted with additional leather recliners for

further occupants, and a full bedroom area with en suite and shower makes for the ultimate restful journey. Captain Mohammed Al Gabbas, Senior Vice President at NasJet, regards the aircraft “a piece of art”, while an equally praiseworthy Hafiz deems it “a hotel in the sky.” The 767 is the 29 th plane under NasJet’s management and operation.

Preparing for IPO FLYNAS and NasJet are preparing for its first Initial Public Offering (IPO). NasJet, which used to be a division

of Nas Holding, was made part of FLYNAS in an effort to streamline the organisation under one umbrella. The move has further allowed NasJet to tap into new resources which had not been available, hence increasing the efficiency of the overall operation. Once complete, the IPO will see 30 percent of the company released to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), inviting Saudi citizens to subscribe to the IPO. Yosef F Hafiz, Chief Commercial Officer of NasJet Private Aviation – Commercial, says the decision was driven by the desire for further

success. “It will inject a huge amount of money into the company which will allow us to buy new equipment and new aircraft, enabling substantial growth of the business,” he explains. And while the road to IPO is complex (with many steps still to navigate), on a broader scope Hafiz is positive. “There have already been two strong IPOs in Saudi Arabia in 2018 from real estate investment firms, and we have seen the Tadawul climb to its highest point since 2015. This would be a good year to list, but as with any IPO process it may take a little longer to come to fruition. However our intention is there.” 15

Welcome to NasJet NASJET SEPTEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 88


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Radar NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

Photo © Pharrell: A Fish Doesn’t Know It’s Wet by Pharrell Williams, Rizzoli New York, 2018


From producing award-winning music to acclaimed acting stints and fashion collaborations, Pharrell Williams’ artistic excellence is limitless (call it a room without a roof). An insightful new design monograph by the superstar charts his ocean of inspiration, enhanced by interviews with the likes of Oprah and Karl Lagerfeld. This stylish fish is a worthy catch for the coffee table. ‘Pharrell: A Fish Doesn’t Know It’s Wet’ by Pharrell Williams, is available from Rizzoli



Critique NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

Film The Favourite Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos The power struggle within frail Queen Anne’s 18thcentury wartime court AT BEST: “Engulfs us in a world of pettiness and extravagance, where cake and power matter more than political strife or human cost.” Film Inquiry AT WORST: “Some scholars will take issue with some of [its] fact-adjacent subplots, but they may shrug and give in to [Olivia Colman’s] fiery vulnerability.” Entertainment Weekly

Prospect AIR

Dirs: Zeek Earl and Christopher Caldwell A teenage girl and her father travel to a remote alien moon to strike it rich, but the job quickly devolves into a fight for survival AT BEST: “An excellent, slow-burning study of ending up at the wrong place at the wrong time, somewhere in outer space.” Film Inquiry AT WORST: “Had it zeroed in on the relationship dynamic a little more, it would... play a little better than the glorified directors’ reel the picture truly is.” Birth.Movies.Death

Shoplifters (Manbiki Kazoku) Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda On one of their shoplifting sessions, a poor family encounter a little girl in the freezing cold – and take her in, despite their meagre means

AT WORST: “Quietly devastating, it slowly accumulates an avalanche of emotions that climaxes in a beautiful sequence.” The Young Folks

Widows Dir: Steve McQueen A story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities AT BEST: “Reinvigorates a story form with a modern context... without pathologising sisterhood to some terminal end.” Film Threat AT WORST: “This is a proudly mainstream movie – a fun one, even – that just happens to have been made with conviction, intelligence and craft.” AV Club 20

Images: Searchlight; DUST; Magnolia Pictures; Twentieth Century Fox

AT BEST: “A compact masterpiece about a scruffy family that isn’t what it seems, and love that’s the real thing.” The Wall Street Journal

HIT ESCAPE Opening soon, the first W Escape in the Middle East arrives on the iconic Palm Jumeirah. Shaking up the global gateway, W Dubai – The Palm offers no compromise to having it all.

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Critique NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90



The Wider Earth at London’s National History Museum; photo by Prudence Upton


he Natural History Museum in London “Is being transformed into a theatre to stage a play about Charles Darwin’s historic voyage, close to the gallery where the treasures he collected are housed”, explains The Evening Standard of The Wider Earth. “The play tells how the naturalist set sail on HMS Beagle in 1831 for a fiveyear trip that inspired his theory on evolution.” Fergus Morgan says in The Stage, “There’s a certain, old-style schoolboy thrill about this Australian import... It’s not all that sophisticated, but is staged with enough rocket fuel to see it over the line.” What the show does offer “Is an engrossing spectacle. Using techniques similar to those of the South African Handspring Puppet Company that inspired War Horse, the seven actors manipulate puppets that bring the natural world to life,” says Michael Billington in The Guardian. “There are also beautiful painterly projections... which whisk us from the rolling Shropshire hills to the 22

fiery shores of Tierra del Fuego and the teeming abundance of the Galápagos Islands. It demonstrates that Darwin was always a man of ‘enlarged curiosity.’” Of Measure for Measure, Alice Saville says in Time Out, “Games of spot the difference don’t get much more highbrow than Josie Rourke’s resolutely high concept take on Shakespeare’s play. She’s stripped the text down to a spare hour of legal power wrangling: the first time it’s set in 1604, the second in 2018.” Showing at London’s Donmar Warehouse through November, “The first half is a heavily cut perioddress version. In the second half nearly everything’s repeated, but in a gaudy present full of emails and selfies. The two main characters trade places – a gender reversal that invites thoughts about how men and women can do exactly the same thing and be judged differently,” writes Henry Hitchings in Evening Standard. Natasha Tripney observes in The Stage, “It’s a really slick production,

handsomely designed and very well acted... It seems confused in what it wants to say about women, power and justice – but then things are confusing at the moment.” Apologia, at New York’s Laura Pels Theatre until 16 December, “Is a vehicle to showcase Stockard Channing’s talents, to show the world that at 74 she... possesses depth, appeal, strength and power. She’s why I signed up to review. I’m glad I did,” enthuses David Walters in New York Theatre Guide. “An apologia, playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell reminds us, is a defense, not an apology,” pens Greg Evans at Deadline. “Channing’s Kristin Miller is an irascible, razor-edged leftist and second-wave feminist.” Concurs Ben Brantley in the New York Times, “Channing wields weapons of deflection like a master samurai... The pre-emptive put-down, the obscuring fog of abstraction, the barbed aside, the motorised monologue – such are the tools expertly deployed by someone who has trained herself to live on the defensive.”

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Critique NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90




ebut author Barbara Van Driel joined the FBI in 1983 with a mixture of excitement and awe, driven by a sense of adventure and patriotic ardour. However, she says that she encountered rampant unprofessionalism, unabashed misogyny, and an unsettling lack of moral gravity at the training academy in Quantico, Virginia,” explains Kirkus Reviews of It Never Happened: FBI Negligence and Duplicity Revealed. “She chillingly relates why she finally resigned: ‘I had a growing feeling that any danger that would befall me... would never be addressed appropriately. For the first time, I didn’t feel safe.’” The problem with the memoir, says Desert Sun, “Is that while she says her stories are true, she’s changed the name... so her stories can’t be corroborated without another major investigation.” In the story, details Benjamin Welton for Foreword Reviews, “Time flies throughout the narrative, which becomes a veritable tidal wave of rage and rejection. It can be hard to believe all of the accounts, though the dispassionate tone helps to build credibility. Accounts of the agency’s flaws are conveyed without malice, and the text goes out of its way to talk about all of the good special agents that were working there, too.” “‘Sovereigns don’t cook,’ writes Adrian Tinniswood in his introduction to Behind the Throne. ‘They don’t dress themselves, or pour themselves a drink, or make their own bed.’ Well, no. Lots of rich people don’t. But nor do they employ a lord chamberlain, a master of the horse or a keeper of the privy purse”, writes Lewis Jones in The Telegraph. “The Queen does, though, just as Elizabeth I did, and it is with Gloriana that he commences an anecdotal romp through the domestic arrangements of the monarchy.” It is “A cracking read about a neglected subject – the royal household,” says Jane Ridley for The Spectator. “He picks up the sort of details one wants to know, relating for instance how Elizabeth I modestly


retreated behind a canopy when she sat on her close stool or chamber pot, while Henry VIII was watched by the groom of the stool. Tinniswood has an excellent ear for gossip, but he doesn’t lose sight of the bigger picture.” Kirkus Reviews says the book reveals “Some 1,200 employees attend to the household of Elizabeth II; her great-great-grandmother Victoria had 921 salaried retainers. Funded grandly by their subjects, kings, queens, and their families have always inhabited ‘a cocoon of support to ease their paths through life’: cooks, dressers, housekeepers, valets, wet-nurses and governesses, gardeners, butlers, secretaries, and a hierarchy of staff overseers. Royals were rarely alone... This is a deft, zesty social history.” This Atom Bomb In Me is “An Appalachian memoir suffused with atomic energy,” says Kirkus Reviews of Lindsey A. Freeman’s “Childhood memories with a nightmarish tinge.” The book is “A slim volume filled with very short sections... that seem to follow no chronological pattern yet keep circling back to the fact that in her grandparents’ hometown of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear power was ubiquitous... It was only in retrospect that the author realised the deadly connection between this ‘secret city engineered by the United States government’...and the atomic destruction of Hiroshima.” It is narrated “In a voice both wildly innocent and deeply wise... an astonishing, provocative collage of text and image that challenges us to face the devastating history and legacy of the nuclear age,” critiques Kristen Iversen. “Freeman revisits the surreal side of her Reagan-era childhood in a beautiful and haunting memoir,” reckons Publishers Weekly. “The grandchild of a Manhattan Project courier who worked for the Atomic Energy Commission during the Cold War, [she had] many markers of a conventional American childhood [but] other details Freeman recalls are both strange and quietly sinister.”


Fifth Element

Velaa Private Island marks a half-decade of timeless sophistication


t seems only yesterday that entrepreneur Jiri Smejc was unveiling his Maldivian masterpiece, Velaa Private Island. “Luxury is not ostentation, but a state of mind,” he remarked, of his inspired island. “It is when you find yourself in a pleasant environment and are taken care of, so that you don’t have to worry about a thing.” His beautiful Noonu Atoll hideaway encapsulates that serene mindset: it was a breath of fresh air when added to the Indian Ocean’s landscape, and has set impeccable standards since. Time flies when you’re having fun (or, indeed, being pampered in utmost sophistication), and next month actually marks the fifth anniversary of its opening.

Velaa’s traits remain exquisite – an indulgent Spa My Blend by Clarins, sumptuous teppanyaki served-up at Tavaru, and the Romantic Pool Residence (accessible only by private boat), to name a select few. The 20 December, however, is when guests can truly revel in the wonders of the island; a day of activities has been curated, such as golf, tennis, squash and table tennis tournaments – with a tasting dinner at acclaimed Aragu among the spoils awarded to those victorious. Come nightfall, a series of elegant experiences has been designed to further delight. The special evening begins with a cocktail party at Avi bar, before an indulgent, epicurean journey masterminded by the island’s awardwinning chef Gaushan de Silva.

After dinner, Velaa gets the pulse racing with a water and laser show, and has invited top-notch musicians to perform at an after-dinner soirée under the stars, which sees the celebrations through to the early hours. “We are so proud of what we have achieved in five years, as we have a true passion for the Maldives, its culture and its people,” enthuses Michal Smejc, general manager of Velaa Private Island. “This is truly a celebration of our family’s dream becoming a reality.” The anniversary proceedings are an ideal curtain raiser on the festive season, and promise to be an occasion to remember – just like each and every stay upon this spectacular slice of paradise. To book, call +960 6565 000 or email reservations@velaaisland.com 25

Critique NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90



The Garden Court 1885-1890 by Edward Burne-Jones, courtesy of Tate Britain and The Faringdon Collection Trust


n Europe, “One of Victorian England’s most prolific, most popular and most instantly recognisable artists is all around us,” explains Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times. “Edward Burne-Jones designed angels on our Christmas cards, stained glass in our churches, damsels that glide through our grand houses and public galleries, sleeping beauties that lounge in our books of fairytales.” The Tate Britain is hosting a whole exhibition dedicated to the Pre-Raphaelite artist, says Rosemary Waugh at Time Out. Among her five reasons to visit the show [on until 24 February], she lists “‘One’ was never enough: Burne-Jones returned to his favourite topics again and again, creating whole cycles of epic paintings”. This exhibition contains two major series by the artist, shown together for the first time. Reveals Maev Kennedy in The Guardian, “Although his dreamy-eyed maidens and muscular heroes became some of the best-loved paintings in British art and influenced generations of 26

artists including Pablo Picasso, this will be his first at the Tate since 1933 – the centenary of his birth.” “Edgar Degas once complained to James McNeill Whistler: ‘Really, Whistler, you behave as though you have no talent’. Degas’s point was that his Anglo-American pal made art that was good enough to speak for itself, yet he insisted on cultivating his celebrity,” recounts Alastair Smart in The Telegraph. “A new exhibition of 100 Whistler works at Compton Verney in Warwick [until 16 December] is curated in Degas’ spirit. The art speaks for itself.” Whistler and Nature “presents Whistler’s oil paintings, works on paper and objects showing how his singular attitude to the natural world was underpinned by his enduring kinship with the makers of railroads, bridges and ships, the cornerstones of Victorian wealth and trade,” says Art Fund.”With rapid brushstrokes, Whistler captured the fleeting movement of figures – sometimes battling against the weather, at other times poised

serenely in elegant robes,”details Art Daily, of a showcase which explores the “less well known influence of nature on Whistler’s work.” “Despite its name, modernism sure had some old school failings. When Anni Albers got through her first year at experimental German art school the Bauhaus in 1923, she was kept away from disciplines like painting and was shoved roughly towards something more suitable for a woman: weaving,” pens Eddy Frankel for Time Out. “But she took her sh***y stick and ran with it, diving into the world of textiles to create a body of work that totally changed what the use of fabric meant.” A delighted Adrian Searle declared in The Guardian, “It is rare to come from an exhibition so buoyed up, so ravished and so covetous as Albers at the Tate Modern [until 27 January] “Her art gives pleasure to the eye and to the mind and to the touch, if only one were allowed to touch. Sensuality... and geometric rigour, variety and similarity infuse the work of a lifetime in Albers’ show.”

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




The standout piece from Vacheron Constantin’s polished Fiftysix collection, a direct tribute to a watch created way back in 1956 yet one which is unmistakably modern, the handcrafted workings of this beautiful tourbillon are visible through

a transparent caseback, including its 22ct gold peripheral rotor. Nods to the past are found in the box-shaped sapphire crystal and shape of the lugs, but its careful melding of casualness and elegance is where the watch truly excels. 1




This pear-shaped marquise diamond necklace exudes visual harmony – and its aesthetic symphony was not left to chance. The Graff artisans who went to work on this piece did so with the notes of Autumn Leaves – the Miles Davis jazz

masterpiece – drifting through the atelier. The tapered, fluid placement of the diamonds (which are punctuated by a pear shaped gem at the tip) may seem randomly placed, but each is as thoughtfully settled as a musical note upon a score sheet. 2




The legendary Fifty Fathoms line is steeped in heritage, yet even with a rich backstory that dates back to 1953 there’s still room for innovative additions to the collection. The 43mm Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel is the

latest pioneer, combining sport with a useful complication – an annual calendar, to be exact. Retaining its diving DNA, this satin-finished steel watch adds functionality in the form of day, week, date, and month indications. 3



E X I G E S P O R T 41 0 Exactly 70 years since the launch of Lotus, the British sportscar company continues to delight purist petrolheads. Take the manual transmission-only Exige Sport 410, for example: the third generation of the Exige lineage harbours a 3.5l supercharged V6 that is tuned to deliver 410hp (expect


0-99km/h in 3.3 seconds). It’s a tidy powertrain for this mid-engine, road-ready bolt, whose sublime handling was honed on the track. The conditions are ideal for Lotus to bloom in the UAE – last month the marque unveiled its showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road’s prestigious supercar strip.





For Dunhill devotees, something exciting is afoot at the swanky new Fashion Avenue Extension in The Dubai Mall. The great British menswear brand has designed a gentleman’s lifestyle haven worthy of an afternoon’s immersion – with a men’s

shaving/grooming enaclave alongside sections for ready-to-wear, accessories and bespoke clothing. Once home, new seasonal lineups like the Duke are a way to prolonge that sense of Dunhill suave; these boots are our pick of the 2018 collection. 6




The creatives at Givenchy went on a deep dive through the design archives and surfaced with this gem of a pattern – inspired by a vintage losange motif. The aesthetic has been bestowed upon this highlight from the FW18 collection,

available in exotic materials such as natural python. It’s swingy tassel is a nod to artistic director Clare Waight Keller’s latest haute couture creations, and, composed of faceted, tumbled spheres, the process ensures that no two GEM bags are identical. 7




For the first time in the 55-year history of this British jewellery house, it has designed a matching earring and necklace set for Harrods’ Rare Finds campaign. In expected David Morris fashion, the result is a stunning example of fine jewellery,

inspired by the moment the blue Bird of Paradise spreads its wings. From the set are these one-of-a-kind droplets, graced with 9.41ct cushion blue sapphires and scattered with Paraiba tourmalines and white diamonds, all set in 18ct white gold. 8

Timepieces NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90



to Bradley. Few of these early Ref. 1665 ‘Single Red’ prototypes have survived. In fact only 12 have been found, making this watch even more desirable. Rolex gifted this prototype to Bradley (and there’s a case back engraving to prove it). It is predicted to fetch between USD500,000 and USD1 million.

s the annual auction season draws near, the world’s most soughtafter vintage collectibles are heading off to Geneva, to go on display at Phillips, Christies and Sotheby’s before going under the hammer. As a collector, it is always an annual highlight of mine – and this month promises a new treasure trove of timepieces. The Patek Philippe ‘Officier’ The master horologists from Patek Philippe have influenced watch design for many decades with their simple, refined lines and superb complications; they have perfected the art of subtlety, refinement and elegance. This particular piece (pictured right) dates from 1924; and it is one of only 16 single-button chronographs produced with an officer’s case, with an unusual vertical placement of the sub-dials. A watch of historical significance, the pre-auction estimates (USD410,000819,000) will likely be exceeded. Rolex Oyster Sotto Paul Newman Daytona Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Daytona, sold for USD17.7 million, as just about every watch enthusiast knows. That sale changed auction history. It seems as if no watch auction will be complete anymore unless there is a gorgeous Oyster Sotto in the catalogue – and this year, as it turns out, there is a particularly fine specimen. The Rolex REF 6263 in stainless steel is in a class of its own, commanding the attention of collectors wherever it goes. Add to that the Oyster Sotto detail (a Daytona dial that has the Oyster designation beneath the word “Cosmograph” at 12 o’clock) and

this piece is in the vintage watch big leagues. This piece dates from 1969, and Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate is between USD500,000 and USD1 million. Robert Bradley’s Rolex Sea Dweller Provenance makes all the difference when it comes to the value of vintage. This watch has a story behind it which is sure to arouse the interest of collectors: Robert Palmer Bradley was a renowned American diver, naval pilot and marine biologist – a true man of adventure. He was the pilot of the Deepstar-4000, which was a deep sea submersible vehicle designed by the famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Rolex, of course, was heavily involved in perfecting the helium escape valve which allows diving watches to withstand the pressures of the depths; that’s the connection

A Near Perfect Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 This exceptional Patek Philippe dates back to 1952 – an heirloom, passed down from grandfather to son, and treasured for years. Considering its age, it’s in superb condition. Christies catalogue carries words from the grandfather of the current owners, to commemorate his legacy: ‘My father was part of those who migrated to The New World. In the 50s, at a very young age, he took a suitcase full of hopes and fears and set off in search of fortune. He told me of those early days: 10/15 people had to share the same roof in uncomfortable conditions and work non-stop; great sacrifices in difficult years, rewarded by an economy that experienced great growth. What we are experiencing now is an effect of his perseverance.’ The 18K gold perpetual calendar chronograph watch bears the signature SERPICO Y LAINO, CARACAS on the combined date and moon phases dial – another unique touch, along with the unusually large case for the period. It was made by Wenger, one of Geneva’s best case makers at the time. Estimates range between USD1.5 2.5 million. Dubai’s DIFC is home to Momentum, Tariq’s co-founded vintage watch boutique. momentum-dubai.com 29



Timepieces NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

Maestro, Please The three-dimensional Maestro by Christophe Claret is an icon of non-conformist horology – just like the man himself


Timepieces NOVEMBER 2018: ISSUE 90



n watchmaking, everything has already been done, and everything has yet to be invented.” If this reads like a paradox, well, welcome to the world of Christophe Claret, the daring man who uttered the sentiment; his is a horology realm where ideas and codes are turned on their head. The two new iterations of Claret’s provocative Maestro are indicative of his refusal to play things safe – he’s based the latest interpretation of this 42mm effort on the world’s most deadly snake, for good measure. Both the Green Mamba and the Orange Pantherophis are limited to 28 pieces and are a wild, 2018 take on a contemporary timepiece that was first unveiled in 2017. There’s no tourbillon here (as present in other Claret pieces), but nevertheless, the sleek, grade-5 titanium timepiece is an architectural marvel – akin to peering from atop


a skyscraper down onto a threedimensional metropolis. Doing away with the bezel allows for more visual real estate, and this is a maison not afraid to show its workings. 26 interior angles plus skeletonised barrel and bridges fascinate the watch connoisseur, while a glass dome enables the wearer to view the movement complexity from the dial side, studying all of the thoughtfully sandblasted surfaces and large polished bevels. Among the watch’s main features is a conical shaped large date display, working off two cylindrical discs. Overall, the manufacture’s watches “Are at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, sometimes playful, they are infused with the emotion of discovery, discipline and intuition that turn a watchmaker into an artist,” he confesses – and, as with any artisanal masterpiece, true appreciation derives from observing the fine details.

It is infused with the emotion of discovery, discipline and intuition that turn a watchmaker into an artist

Upon the Maestro, for example, hone in on the unique date complication at the 5 o’clock mark. Or, on that cone shape between 3 and 4 o’clock, which is replete with a precious gemstone (a ruby or diamond on earlier versions, and a tsavorite or sapphire on the Mamba and Pantherophis). This innocuous addition represents a memo function, to remind the wearer of a commitment – however, it does not gong like an alarm or vibrate like a smart watch. Instead, the gemstone acts as a visual reminder to the wearer that they have something important to attend to. Is

the memo a necessary feature in this digital age? Of course not, but that is kind of the point: it is yet another Claret calling card from a founder who worked behind the scenes at some of the most prestigious brands in watchmaking, while creating special models commissioned by collectors that bore his own name. “Alongside our cutting edge machines, the nimble fingers of our craftsmen and watchmakers practice their discipline like an art belonging to a bygone era – yet which is more alive today than ever,” Claret says. “Therein lies the magic of haute

horlogerie. Our specialists in anglage, trimming, drawing-out and decoration draw on years of experience often handed down from generation to generation. The guilloché, engraving and enameling work is entrusted to only the very finest craftsmen in Switzerland. Finally, the master watchmakers of the manufacture assemble each and every part of the movement, from A to Z.” Deem it magic or call it majesty; once a collector has been bitten by the audacious Christophe Claret mindset, the only antidote is to obtain one of his creations. 33

Life is about how far we’re moved, not how far we travel.

Rare life MALDIVES | THAILAND For reservations contact: +91 124 451000 reservations@soneva.com www.soneva.com

Jewellery NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

New York Love Notes An exclusive assortment of high jewellery from Harry Winston is an ode to the Big Apple – his city of birth, and where his creative dreams took flight WORDS: CHRIS UJMA


ack in 1932, New York was a vastly different city to the one we know today, and it speaks to the storied heritage of this jeweller that the inaugural boutique of Harry Winston first opened its doors in that very year. At the time, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building were fresh additions to the city’s skyline having been completed just a couple of years prior, the original Yankee Stadium, (‘The House that Babe Ruth Built’), was not even a decade old and Times Square? Well that was a very different place to the neon-bathed tourist hotspot it is today. After that opening, Winston soon soared to the top of the international diamond industry. As a dedicated Rizzoli tome outlined, “He revolutionised modern jewellery design by buying great collections of estate jewels

and transforming precious stones into jewellery pieces that appealed to contemporary customers, while acquiring important stones including the Hope, Lesotho, and Vargas diamonds.” Despite the illustrious heights Harry Winston scaled, NYC continues to resonate with his eponymous brand. The house of Harry Winston is part of the fabric of the city – and in turn, the energy and nuance of his birthplace was inseparable from the man himself. As such, it is time to ‘come home.’ Enter the newly unveiled New York Collection: “a bejewelled love letter to The City That Never Sleeps,” the house says. The mesmeric suite is comprised of eight sub-collections and 32 unique designs – each celebrating a modern interpretation of this metropolitan connection to the house’s roots.



Harry Winston has come home, with ‘a bejewelled love letter to the city that never sleeps’

To Winston, this crosstown memory map travels from the brownstones of his birthplace on the Upper West Side, to the organic colour palette and geometry of Central Park, through the city lights of the Manhattan skyline and the striking architecture of its famous cathedrals, and on to bustling throughways and his iconic Fifth Avenue flagship salon. “This,” they say, “is Harry’s New York”. Memories are ingrained into the heart of the collection. Brownstone, for instance, is a tribute to the beautiful brownstones of the Upper West Side where Harry was born; baguette-cut, round brilliant and marquise shaped diamonds are symbolic of this time, in jewellery pieces that are accented by colourful square-cut gemstones, artfully arranged in a geometric motif that recalls the stately architecture of Manhattan. Harry married Edna in 1933, and they enjoyed their early life together as 36

a young couple in New York City, often attending society events and theatre. The Winston’s loved Broadway so much that when Harry was promoting his travelling exhibition, The Court of Jewels, he requested leading Broadway stars of the time to pose in his jewels for the official programme. “The City Lights pieces reimagine the lively lights of Broadway through colourful diamonds and vivid precious gemstones,” explains the brand. The city was his muse, the backdrop to this gemologist’s legacy and also his beloved home. Central Park gets a nod in the collection through mosaic earrings, bracelets and a ring that

feature emeralds, sapphires, diamonds and aquamarines, that capture the lush landscape of the city’s iconic backyard. In 1960, Winston boldly moved the atelier to 718 5th Avenue; a move acknowledged in the 718 sub-series, with the iconic marble marquetry captured in a diamond and sapphire series of necklaces, earrings and rings. These statement pieces more than live up to the words of the great man himself: “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” With salons gracing cities such as London, Paris, Geneva, Tokyo, Shanghai and Dubai, the New York Collection is a timely love letter to the city where it all began, expressed with an affection to which anyone can relate. Harry Winston was, and still is, known as the King of Diamonds, and New York was where he acquired the majesty to assume his throne.



Jewellery NOVEMBER 2018: ISSUE 90

Where the Magic Happens AIR heads inside the workshop of Van Cleef & Arpels to see how Quatre contes de Grimm – its latest high jewellery collection, a spectacular reinterpretation of four tales by the Brothers Grimm – was handcrafted to dazzling effect


‘Working within the inspiration of fairytales, we use these storylines as the basis for creation, and while the pieces will reflect our heritage you will always see evolution in the techniques and designs’ AIR




Jewellery NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

Artisan of Emotions

Chopard’s sophisticated high jewellery has been entwined with a single letter, communicating the exceptional craftsmanship and faithful values of the maison AIR



n its eyecatching series of promotional visuals, a flamboyant ‘C’ elegantly swoops around the exquisite fine jewellery pieces of Chopard: a pair of trinkets from the Happy Hearts collection, for instance, set against a background of royal deep blue. The use of the ‘C’ “was an obvious choice,” says Chopard co-president KarlFriedrich Scheufele. “In a single letter, it symbolises the profound, energetic and graceful movement that drives Chopard and each of our creations. In selecting the initial, the maison also covers its entire corporate vocabulary: C stands for Creativity, Coeur (the French word for heart), Calibre, Colours and Character.” It is a statement accompanying the imagery, however, that truly takes hold: ‘Chopard, the Artisan of Emotions since 1860.’ In a landscape concerned with the ‘now’, it is a reminder of longevity. Since that time, the maison has been underpinned by ‘emotional’ values,


which have enabled it to grace every high society setting; and in the modern day, one can count three core values at the heart of Chopard. Creativity, which “enables each and every individual to find the precious objects most attuned to their own nature,” says Caroline Scheufele, artistic director of the brand; craftsmanship, the work of passionate artisans who lead the way in their respective fields; and, lastly, sustainability: “grand contemporary luxury must be responsibly accomplished, and sustained,” reasons Caroline. That third value is an increasingly important aspect of Chopard’s approach. Only last month, the brand was the endorsing partner of the ‘Oscars of Sustainable Fashion’ – the second Green Carpet Fashion Awards in Milan, and at the start of the year, co-presidents Caroline and Karl-Friedrich announced a major commitment to sourcing 100

percent ethical gold for their watch and jewellery production as of July this year. The hallmarks – creativity, craftsmanship and sustainability – crystallise beautifully in the maison’s high jewellery suites. Collections such as Precious Chopard, “Exquisite metal and gemstone lacework” envisioned by Caroline to be “a perfect alliance between haute couture and high jewellery”. A newly unveiled addition to the Precious suite is certain to be coveted; a resplendent necklace, in 18ct white gold set with pear-shaped brilliantcut diamonds (40.6cts and 15.4 cts respectively), accompanied by earrings in 18ct white gold set with pear-shaped (3.9cts), marquise-cut (2.8cts) and brilliant-cut diamonds. The graceful ‘C’ is far more than a signature. It’s a majestic seal, symbolising a maison that has long created some of the finest jewellery in the world.



DEKTON presents the new INDUSTRIAL series, the result of a collaboration with Daniel Germani Designs. It is composed of four colours reflecting both urban style and ecological character – these rustic materials add power, depth and personality to any architectural and decorative project. An exercise in technological innovation and sustainability for a more demanding world.

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Art & Design NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

Culture Clash

Having captured British subcultures in the 80s, Derek Ridgers moved on to snapping the biggest names in film and music. A new book documents that pathway WORDS: CARU SANDERS




cross more than four decades, Derek Ridgers made his name capturing the explosion of subcultures and style tribes from the 70s to the present. Initially drawn to photography as a music fan who wanted to get closer to the bands, Ridgers’ found himself at the centre of movements that were as photogenic as its pioneers. This month, he will present a book, Derek Ridgers – Photographs, published by Carpet Bombing Culture and containing examples drawn from his archive of candid portraits of the stars of music, screen and even politics. Ridgers calls this his “other photographic odyssey”, which features musical legends such as Frank Zappa, Nick Cave, The Beastie Boys, Jarvis Cocker, The Rolling Stones, Christopher Lee, Richard Harris, Samuel L Jackson and more. Curated by Faye Dowling, the book will also include the anarchic and the avant-garde, including an unseen collection of printed archive and original magazines such as i-D, The Face and NME. As Ridgers has articulated, punk happened around him. He found himself in its midst, armed with a camera. Wanting to be like the people he photographed, he documented from the margins of the seismic scenes that existed in England’s dark underground nightclubs. In his book, Ridgers gives them equal billing, including the luminaries and the disciplines, giving due credit to all. Driven by anger, disenfranchisement and hedonism, Ridgers’ subjects signify the breadth and diversity of British counterculture, via the rise of early skinheads and punk. As one of few photographers of his generation to capture these movements, Ridgers takes us on his fascinating survey of these subcultures. Having documented the youthquakes and music scenes, where preinternet pop culture percolated into movements, he says, “From the 40s through to the early 80s, subcultures were allowed to gestate away from the critical gaze of the naysayers. So that before most people found out about biker gangs, beatniks and teddy boys, they had some shape and some strength in numbers. But if anything interesting happens today, because 46

of social media, by this evening the whole world will know about it and by tomorrow the negativity will be out.” Ridgers can remember his first foray into photography well. “I was a young art director at an advertising agency in Camden Town, and I had an account which was a camera company,” he says. “My boss told me to take one of their cameras home and practice with it, so I could learn how to use it and write better adverts. “I went to see Eric Clapton’s rainbow concert, and when we got to

Opening pages: Nina Hagen & Lene Lovich, Cavendish Square Gardens, 1987 These pages, clockwise from above: Kylie Minogue, Chalk Farm, 1994; Nick Cave, Chalk Farm, 1987; Debbie &Caroline, Skinhead Girls, Brighton, 1980; Michael Stipe, Athens, Georgia, 1991; all images ©DerekRidgers

Often, the thing I am most interested in is the person, not the photo


Subcultures were allowed to gestate away from the critical gaze of the naysayers Left: Neneh Cherry, Kensal Rise, 1988


the venue we were right at the back, downstairs, and couldn’t see too much. “When the band came on, I ran down the front and pretended to be a photographer; in those days there was little to no security to chuck you out. I stayed and took some photographs, and when I got them processed they weren’t too bad – one of the photos from that night is actually in the new book. From that moment I got the buzz, and I wanted to try my hand at more amateur photography. “I turned around, looked at them and thought the crowd looked very photogenic. It suddenly dawned on me that you can get very interesting, lively photos when facing them.” From these modest – almost accidental origins – Ridgers went on to photograph key players in music, film and politics. “It’s a fantastic opportunity I’ve been given to showcase a range of work over a 45-year photographic career – most photographers don’t get that unless they are famous. I feel quite fortunate; 95 percent of the photos in the book are my first choices and I’m extremely pleased with how it has turned out. “Very often, the thing I am most interested in is the person, not the quality of the photograph. I’ve done eight or nine books, most of them feature photos of skinheads, punks, people in nightclubs, new romantics – people are not so much looking at the quality of the picture but they are interested in the subjects themselves, and I am the same.” As we live in a society where people earn star status and a living by posting selfies, Ridgers’ book and exhibition tells much about the nature of celebrity and the loosening relationship between talent and fame. Derek Ridgers – Photographs is published by Carpet Bombing and out now carpetbombingculture.co.uk 48

Art & Design NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

Motor Head AIR

The mesmeric motorised works of Jennifer Townley are part mechanical, part mathematical and part impossible â&#x20AC;&#x201C; making them ideal pieces for the MB&F M.A.D. Gallery in Dubai WORDS: CHRIS UJMA





n this mad, frenetic city, M.A.D. Gallery in The Dubai Mall is a slice of serenity – a perfect place for rare, reflective pause. That’s because its name alludes not to a frenzied mindset, but stands for Mechanical Art Devices; a haven for kinetic kitsch, the creative space is curated by the founder of eclectic Swiss watchmakers MB&F. When wearing his horology hat, Maximilian Büsser (MB) frequently collaborates with his Friends (&F) to “deconstruct traditional watchmaking”; timepieces such as the Moon Machine 2, the jellyfish-inspired Horological Machine No 7, and a spider-shaped Arachnophobia wall clock are among the many testaments to that. However, his eye for mechanical intrigue ventures beyond the watchmaking realm, and the MB&F M.A.D. galleries (the others found in Geneva and Taipei) are representative of that. The spaces are platforms on which to laud the labours of love from a coterie of unsung artists. Last month, Büsser relocated Dubai’s M.A.D. Gallery from its original home in artsy Alserkal Avenue to take up a newfound presence in The Dubai Mall’s chic Fashion Avenue extension – a move endorsed by MB&F’s regional watch distributor Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. “Every time the Seddiqi family would visit us in Geneva, they said Dubai needed this kind of presence”, explains Büsser. “We started off small, in the art district, and the family said ‘Let’s get into the big league’.” The Dubai Mall certainly represents that; M.A.D. Gallery sits alongside the boutiques of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Burberry. Yet it moves to a different rhythm; it’s as chic as its neighbours, but is focused on the understanding of art over shopping indulgence (though the pieces can, of course, be purchased). Among the array of fluid, mechanical sculptures on display are those of Dutch artist Jennifer Townley, a creative who earned a degree in art from the Royal Academy of Fine Art in The Hague. “Jennifer is the real thing, and we salute her incredible integrity and talent,” enthuses Büsser, of an artist who is “captivated by how a machine can convert a simple 52

circular motion (rotary engine) into a very complicated nonlinear or chaotic movement pattern”. This mindset takes shape in a number of one-of-a-kind pieces. The wall-mounted effort called Colorola, for instance, comprises a heavy steel frame that keeps 43 thin shafts in position, At the bottom of the frame, the shafts are driven by a sequence of gears that alternately have a different amount of teeth. Each shaft holds 17 pairs of tetrahedrons, or three-sided pyramids, that show a different colour on each side: yellow, blue and green. As the rotational speed of the two groups is different, the waves of colour travel at a different frequency, meeting with a different colour along their way down. The colours interfere, then periodically are in unison, creating an intricate and constantly changing composition of the three hues. Colorola is emblematic of Townley’s signature

– that her soothing works take time to lull through their motions; this is less ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ and more ‘move and you’ll miss it’. Her noiseless, arresting sculptures compel you to stand still to silently catch the many angles, and that’s the beauty: for those in a city such as Dubai that is always on the go, being (purposefully) rooted to one spot is somewhat liberating. Her floor-based Asinas II is another reason to take a timeout. Avonite, metal, an electric motor and mechanical parts are mere materials until Townley brings them to life, with 77 ‘winged’ cutout parts able to slide through each other and rotate in opposite direction, fluidity going through its motions. It was a layered process, she admits. “I didn’t think of Asinas in one try. It derived from a want to create something that looks organic

and natural, and the structure is a mathematical equation, the form of each white ‘wing’ is the same as the others, with the only difference being that it grows, and there is an offset in position. As they move through each other, they become one unity.” Though Townley is missing a formal engineering background, “Somehow mechanics are accessible for me,” she says. “I don’t have a lot of trouble understanding physics; and it helps that I didn’t have a formal structure to contain my imagination.” The artist works alone, from her workshop high in the tranquil Spanish mountains, and her creations are seeing an increase in-demand; but such oneoff perfection cannot be hurried, and a series is not likely to be forthcoming. “Knowing the incredibly timeconsuming complex engineering and craftsmanship which goes into each, I asked Jennifer why she virtually only creates ‘piece unique’ art pieces,” shares Büsser. “She sighed and answered, “I know everyone tells me to create multiple pieces, it makes more business

sense, but I just am not interested in creating the same piece twice’.” Townley is unique in her approach, but is certainly not alone in being spellbound by the concept of movement-based art. She is among a cluster of artists not concerned with critical acclaim, but in toiling away to create movements that are “as beautiful as those found in nature”, by solving complex mechanical problems. Colorola is as different as can be to, say, Ivan Black’s hand-polished and nickel-plated Nebula Hive lighting sculptures, or Quentin Carnaille’s levitating Apesanteur disc, which it is being shown alongside. But whatever the origin, these kinetic pieces have found a home at M.A.D. Gallery, a space imbued with art and watchmaking that moves – both itself, and the imagination of the observer. Until 18 January, Jennifer Townley’s mechanical sculptures can be viewed at the M.A.D. Gallery by MB&F – located in the new Fashion Avenue extension of The Dubai Mall

Opening pages: Asinas II Opposite: Colorola Below: 1611 Days. All pieces created by Jennifer Townley




Go your own way

From production and stunts to soul-searching role prep and defying typecasting, screen siren and Chanel ambassador Margot Robbie immerses herself in every aspect of the moviemaking experience INTERVIEW: PAUL PETERS ADDITIONAL WORDS: CHRIS UJMA IMAGES: ©KARL LAGERFELD

55 55




hen you are starting out, you are taking any role you can get. You want to be working, you want to be on a film set and get to the next level. Of course when I first started, I did play more stereotypical characters, because those were the ones that were more available to me,” admits Margot Robbie. Well it’s safe to say that now, as one of Hollywood’s most wanted, she is far beyond such deferrals. “I have reached a point in my career where I can pick and choose the roles that I want to take, I can search for the roles that intrigue me,” she discloses. “The kind of roles that intrigue me are not the stereotypical ones. But I am very lucky not to be in this position where I get to make this decision. And most people don’t get to make that choice.” Granted, she may never play the ‘nice girlfriend’ type, but you can chalk her down as having played every other conceivable role. Having started out in her homeland of Australia on the soap saga Neighbours, Robbie burst onto the silver screen as the overtly glamorous Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street, popped up in the comic book realm as psychotic criminal Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, was Oscar nominated for her portrayal of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, and next month ascends to the throne as Queen Elizabeth I in Mary Queen of Scots. What Robbie seeks from a role is a character she “can’t relate to immediately”, she confesses. “I always respond to that kind of character. When I read on the page and I can’t understand why they are doing and saying the things they are doing and saying, they are the characters I am most fascinated by. It’s like a problem I can’t solve. When you do your months of prep, you start solving the problem and learning so much more about it. That to me is interesting. Those are the characters I get excited by.” It’s a level of anthropology that she can’t switch off. “I watch people in life, I love watching friends, family

members, strangers on the street. I am fascinated. I want to know: ‘Why did you do or say that?’ It’s definitely what makes a role interesting to me. The same thing as a producer – when I read a male role, I am thinking: Is this appealing to a male actor as well? They cannot be one-sided. They need to be multi-faceted.” The above are simply a handful of her noted roles, yet the actor says her methodical approach to each is consistent: “My internal preparation for Harley [Quinn] is no different from preparing Tonya,” Robbie explains. “I need to do a lot of prep in advance. So in that way the process is no different depending on the scale of the film. The process on set obviously is very different. The bigger the budget, the more time you have. For example, in the case of I, Tonya, if we had an endless budget and all the time in the world, I don’t think we would have made a good film. The spirit of the film, the character, is kind of rough on the edges. It was the scrappy underdog film. And I don’t think we’d have that quality if we had years to prepare and endless budgets to make a nice, neat campaign and perfect sets and costumes. They were quick and handmade.” For each character she plays, Robbie “tries to find their motivation: for the film in general, in life in general, in every scene specifically and in every line specifically. I write their motivation next to every line. What do I want when I say this? What am I hoping for? It obviously changes from line to line and scene to scene.” She makes a concerted effort to bend the stereotypes of femininity, she says. “I always try to find: How do they feel empowered? How do you empower someone – you can’t judge your character. It would be easy to judge the character of The Duchess of Ray Ridge [Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street]. I definitely judged the Duchess when I first read her, because she was written in a more two-dimensional way, 57


acquired “a lot of bumps and bruises,” filming I, Tonya, including “the most horrific blisters you have ever seen. And I did herniate a disc in my neck. It’s all worth it,” she laughs. For the figure skating scenes, Robbie had face replacement, “but obviously we had a very limited budget and very limited time. If it wasn’t for Craig Gillespie [the director], we couldn’t have afforded any of that. He’s worked a lot in the commercial world and he has a lot of relationships with visual effects houses. So he was confident in what he was doing. We were on the ice – I do the routines and the skate doubles do their bit, the big jumps, and then he would get one plate shot of me standing in front of a blue sheet, holding up on the ice. And he is like, ‘Turn that way, turn that way’, and I was like, ‘Wait, are you sure?’, and he said ‘Trust me, I can work with this.’ So too when she leapt into the DC Universe, playing Quinn in the antihero motley crew containing Jared Leto’s Joker and Will Smith’s Deadshot. “When we did Suicide Squad we used to get full body scans for 40 minutes each. The process was so intensive. On I ,Tonya we were hustling.” One senses a developing pathway for Robbie, that of the all-rounder; in addition to taking on the lead role she also produced I, Tonya. “It was a couple of things (why she produced it). It was wanting to take part in different aspects of filmmaking. I love all filmmaking; I love films. I love pre-production, post-production, the marketing, distribution process. I love all of it. “I get to work in a more businessoriented side to it, which I enjoy, she reveals, adding, “I get to work with first- and second-time film directors that feel like we are discovering something together, creating roles for females – not just myself.”

Credit: Margot Robbie wears pieces from the Coco Neige collection by Chanel, available to purchase now


where she was just a gold digger. And I was like: ‘Uh, I don’t like anything about you.’ But once you find a way, you stop judging them, and then you find a way to understand them. And once I figure out, her currency was her sexuality. And this world where the guys got to take what they wanted, her approach was ‘I’m going to get mine, too. I don’t have a lot of money, but I know what I do have and I am going to work with that.’ It became an empowering feeling and in that way I love the character and I understood her, and I didn’t judge her anymore.” Does such commitment make it tough to disconnect from especially tough, abusive roles? “Some characters stick with me, others I can wash off very quickly. Tonya stuck with me for quite a while. I really found it hard to shake her off. Because, to be honest, my character’s emotional state at the time is that she is desensitised to it. She is numb to it because of the routine of it; it was an everyday occurrence to her. I break the fourth wall and speak to the audience, get hit in the face and speak to the audience quite matterof-factly, because she is completely numb to it,” Robbie recalls of the Academy Award nominated portrayal. “In other films I have had instances with very emotional moments, like in the upcoming Mary Queen of Scots, where in-between takes, at one moment I couldn’t stop crying. It’s a weird thing when you mess with your emotions. And as an actor you are messing with your emotions a lot of the time. You are replaying horrible moments in your head or you are telling yourself horrible things to get yourself to a certain emotional state.” Robbie pours such intensity into the method acting process it’s astonishing that she can summon the energy for anything else. She does. The Australian does her own stunts, and





Fifty years since he wrote the only authorised Beatles biography, Hunter Davies remembers the tensions simmering beneath the surface at the time of 1968â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mad Day Out photoshoot and the tensions that led the Fab Four to split WORDS: HUNTER DAVIES




he year was 1968 and the Beatles were at the height of their fame. It also happened to be the year my book about them came out, after two years of slogging away. Actually it was not a slog. It was all pure pleasure. I didn’t want to stop, but to carry on researching for ever, any excuse to see what happened next. They seemed to be into new things, new sounds, new ideas all the time. I feared when my book came out it would be instantly out of date. The first Beatle I properly met was Paul McCartney, in September 1966. I was working for The Sunday Times newspaper, writing the Atticus column. I had been on the paper since 1960, mostly writing boring stuff about who would be our next ambassador in Washington, or Bishop of Durham. As if I cared. I wanted to write about gritty Northern novelists, pop stars, footballers, fashion designers. I still believe that the Sixties did not begin ‘til 1965 – the year I took over the column, the year the sort of people I wanted to write about became mainstream. Eleanor Rigby had come out in August 1966 (released as a double A-side with Yellow Submarine). The music, using classical harmonies and instruments, was another advance, but the lyrics were brilliant as well. I decided the words would be the best poetry of 1966. As if I knew anything about poetry. I went to see Paul at his new home in St John’s Wood — which he still owns to this day, being a conservative, small c, at heart. I wanted to know how the words had come to him. In the interview I referred to him as Mr McCartney and his composing partner as Mr Lennon. This was The Sunday Times, 1966. Still awfully polite. About five months later I went to see him at his house, this time with a different hat on. I was there as a screenplay writer. My first book, a novel called Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, was being made into a film by a Hollywood company and I went with the director to see Paul to ask him to write the theme tune. In the end, he didn’t, but while I was with him, I suggested there should be a proper book about the Beatles. They were the biggest group in the world, household names everywhere from the US to Japan, but there had


MAD DAY OUT On a summer’s day in 1868, photographer Tom Murray was asked by his newspaper colleague Don McCullin to join him for a day’s shoot, knowing only that they were to shoot a musical group. “I thought I might get a few snaps, so I grabbed a Nikon and two rolls of Ektachrome,” said Murray, unaware that the group he was about to shoot was the world’s biggest. The shoot, now referred to as the Mad Day Out, saw Murray and McCullin cross London to capture the Fab Four in interesting locations, with both men shooting the same shots but from different angles. We spoke to Tom Murray about that day and the images shown within this feature. Opening pages: “This one is titled Flower Power, and sees the Beatles posing in a bed of hollyhocks, which were in full bloom at over seven feet tall. It’s one of the iconic images from that day.” Right: “This one is titled Suberbia. Originally, we were going to Highgate cemetary as John wanted to take photos at the tomb of Karl Marx. However, it was a Sunday and the cemetary was closed, so we stopped at a place called Swains Lane and shot in front of a house.” Murray would later learn that the two girls inside the house had screamed at their dad that the Beatles were outside, but their father didn’t believe them.

been only two books about them, both slim paperbacks, one aimed at fan club members, the other by an American on a tour with them. In 1966, many snotty types were saying we’d had enough of them, the bubble would soon burst. In the popular prints, they were still going on about the Beatles hair and why, oh why, they spelt Beatles a funny way. I said to Paul that if there was a serious hardback book, which covered their music properly, it might stop people asking them the same dopey old questions. He said good idea, but you will have to speak to Brian (Epstein, their manager). There and then, Paul helped me compose a suitably sycophantic letter to Brian. My appointment with Brian was cancelled several times, but eventually took place on January 25, 1967, at his house in Chapel Street, Belgravia. A butler showed me in. I sat and admired two fine Lowry paintings. I find it hard to believe now, looking back, that Brian was two years younger than me — born in 1934. At 32, he was so mature, sophisticated, with impeccable clothes, voice and manners. From working at the family’s record counter in their Liverpool store he had become an astonishingly successful West End impresario. Thanks to the Beatles. Whom he loved dearly. And they loved him. Brian played me their latest single, about to come out, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. I was astounded

by Strawberry Fields. I wondered how the fans would react — would they find it too way out? It showed me they were still developing, still progressing. At my publishers, Heinemann, one director, when I proposed a Beatles biog, had said: “Oh no, they are finished. We know everything about them, and anyway pop music does not sell.” I asked Brian why it was called Strawberry Fields. He didn’t know. Yet he too came from Liverpool, where Strawberry Field was the name of a Salvation Army children’s home. It was only much later that I realised what this meant — Brian was no longer involved with the Beatles, day to day. He was being eased out of their lives. They had taken over themselves. Brian agreed to the book idea. He then offered a clause in the contract we had not thought of. He said he would ensure that no other book writer would have access to the Beatles for two years after my book came out. Two years later, in 1970, the Beatles were no more. Parted, finished, gone their own ways. That is how my book became the only authorised biography. I spent endless evenings in 1967 in the studio with them when they were recording Sgt Pepper, and in their homes, observing John and Paul knocking songs into shape. They had given up touring in 1966, which gave them longer to create, to get things right, to get down the sounds in their heads. It was a period that produced some of their greatest LPs, such as



Revolver and Sgt Pepper. I wish now I had written more in the book about the scraps of songs that appeared to be going nowhere, never properly completed, or not ‘til later. I was trying to explain complete songs, ones I had observed from the beginning, which I knew would be on the record. And of course I wish I had used a tape recorder. In the studio, I was trying to be a fly on the wall, not draw attention to myself, but I could easily have used a tape recorder during the interviews in their homes, conversations with them, family and friends, and people they remembered from their past, from Liverpool to Hamburg. I tracked down Ringo’s dad, whom Ringo hadn’t seen since he was a child, working as a window cleaner in Crewe. I made contact with John’s dad, Alfred, who was washing dishes in a road-side hotel not far from John’s house. I spent a lot of time with all their parents and with John’s aunt Mimi, who’d brought him up. All of them are now dead. As are Epstein, their producer, George Martin, their roadies Neil and Mal, their PR and friend Derek Taylor — and of course two Beatles: John and George. What an archive for the British Library that would be today, if only I had used a tape. Instead I wrote up my interviews in 30 little red note books. And now I can’t understand my own handwriting. In the summer of 1968, at the time of Don McCullin and Tom Murray’s day photographing them, the Beatles were working on what became their double White Album, their ninth LP and most ambitious project so far, with 30 songs in all. They had so much material brought back from their visit earlier in the year to India, with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, that they needed two albums in one to get them all in. I had gone with them on the train up to Bangor in August 1967 on their first proper meeting with Maharishi. Their wives and roadies had got left behind at Euston, so I travelled in a carriage with them, along with Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull. On the train we met the Maharishi. I did get given a mantra from him, which I was told never to reveal. I think it was Ummm. Or could have been Hmmmm. By chance, a photographer was on the platform at Chester station 64

and took a snap of us, through the train window. I always tried to keep out of photos while I was with them, trying not to appear a groupie, which my wife always maintained I was. It was also the weekend that Brian Epstein died, back in London. During the recording of the White Album, between May and October 1968, trying to get down all the bits they had brought back from India, Ringo walked out. At the time, they were working on Back in the USSR. He was fed up with being ignored. He came back two weeks later, in time to work on George’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps. George was getting fed up as well, convinced that Paul was bossing him around. For some time he had got it into his head that both Paul and John were deliberately keeping his songs out of their albums,

though this time there were four of his on the double album — the other three being Piggies, Long Long Long and Savoy Truffle. Ringo, at long last, made his debut as a composer on the double album with Don’t Pass Me By. On the surface at least it did seem to the fans in the summer of 1968 that musically they were all getting on, working well together. Though most fans knew by then that someone new had come into John’s life. I met Yoko Ono before John did, back in 1967. She had arrived in London to make a film about naked bottoms and rang me to ask if I would appear in it. I made an excuse, said my agent would not allow it, but went along to watch it being made and wrote a mickey-taking piece about it in the Atticus column. It was in May 1968 that she and John got together properly. While his

Left: “The dog in this picture is called Martha, and the Beatles song Martha My Dear was written for her. It’s a great image with all the right lines and posed to perfection by Ringo, Paul and Martha. Fabulous.” Below: “This one is titled No Where Man and is one of the strangest photographs from the Mad Day Out. George and Ringo in perfect pose, John in the background with Paul looking over the shoulder of an old man, who slept through the entire shoot never knowing he was being photographed with the Beatles.”

They had so much money, they never had to work again. And yet they were still young men, each sitting in his vast home, thinking, ‘what’s it all about? Is this it?’



But by the summer of 1968, they were beginning to realise they were no longer each other’s best friends

98 percent top-rate tax. The rich in the UK moan today about tax. They should have lived in England in the 1960s. Apple turned out to be an awful mistake. They got ripped off, there were arguments between them and clashes with their business partners. They look happy enough during that day with Don and Tom, but during the summer of 1968, Apple affairs were driving them all mad, taking up more and more of their time with meetings and paperwork. Individually, they were attempting to go their own ways while still recording as the Beatles. Ringo was often at a loose end, not knowing whether to be a film actor, a furniture maker or a photographer. He had bought all the gear, had his own photographic studio, so in the early spring of 1968 I asked him to do a special sitting with each of the Beatles and their partners — John with Cynthia, Paul with Jane Asher, George with Pattie and Ringo with Maureen. We used the pictures in my biography when it came out in September 1968. (I have the originals still on my wall — but alas damaged by a flood). What they had in common in 1967 and 1968 was what they had been through, the sort of experience few working-class people had ever known. In five years, they had gone from nothing to the most famous people on the planet. They had created music that would last forever. They had so much money, they never had to work again. And yet they were still young men, each sitting in his vast home, thinking, what’s it all about? Is this it? They had achieved what they had desired back in 1962 with Love Me Do. To be loved. To be famous. To be top of the poppermost. Now what? They

had also by then experimented with drugs of all sorts and spiritual matters. And found them mostly wanting. Only George was still struggling to understand and explore his inner, mystical life. By 1968, Paul seemed to me the most content, happy in himself, happy as a Beatle and apparently happy with Jane Asher, his fiancée. John had found Yoko, but was in a swirl of wild and weird experimentations, picking up causes, backing revolutionaries. At the end of 1968, I was living in Portugal with my wife and two of my children when, out of the blue, Paul arrived with a blonde woman I had never met before — I assumed she was a groupie — and her young daughter, Heather. The three of them stayed with us for two weeks. Linda turned out to be the love of his life. She saved him, in a way, gave him a purpose and partner during the break-up of the Beatles. The atmosphere in the studio during the summer of 1968 had become fraught and fragile, and yet the White Album, when released in November 1968, proved a huge success. There were two more albums to come, Abbey Road in 1969 and Let It Be, delayed until 1970. But by then we all knew it was up. The Fabs had finished. Despite what these carefree photos might have indicated in the summer of 1968, they themselves already knew time was up. They wanted to move on, but did not quite know where. They had seen the world, and the world had seen them. But by the summer of 1968, they were beginning to realise they were no longer each other’s best friends. Tom Murray’s 22 images from the Mad Day Out are available to buy from New York’s Soho Contemporary Art. sohocontemporaryart.com

The Beatles: The Only Ever Authorised Biography, by Hunter Davies, updated from its 1968 edition, is out now, published by Ebury Credit: Hunter Davies/The Sunday Times Magazine/ News Syndication


wife, Cynthia, was away on holiday, he invited Yoko to the house. They made music together. Then they went to bed. John then moved out of his mockTudor mansion on a private estate in Weybridge and into a London flat. Every time I visited him in Weybridge, he seemed to be slumped in one small room watching children’s afternoon television. Or we would swim in his pool, not talking. I used to get furious when I trailed all the way from north London to the Surrey suburbs to find he had decided it was a day for not talking. Not long afterwards, I walked into Abbey Road one evening and found John and Yoko in each other’s arms in the recording studio. The other three Beatles were looking at each other and mouthing “Who the hell is this?” . Yoko came into John’s life at a time when he had become bored and fed up with being a Beatle. And fed up with Cynthia. In the studio he was often silent, distracted, often hungover from drugs — unless it happened to be one of his own creations they were working on. Then he would spring into life. Just like the old days. The only one in 1968 , so it seemed to me, who was still enjoying being a Beatle was Paul. He was the one who had bought a home in London proper, not far from Abbey Road. Ringo, like John, lived out on the Weybridge estate while George was not far away in Esher, in a very boring bungalow, though he had painted a psychedelic wall outside. Paul enjoyed being a metropolitan, not a suburban man, in the London swim, visiting galleries, mixing with artists, pushing the Beatles on, wanting them to do new things such as the TV film of Magical Mystery Tour, which had come out at the end of 1967 and had been mainly his conceit and creation. In the recording studio in 1968, George Martin was being pushed around, or at least he awaited their pleasure, for them to make up their minds. Back in 1962, when recording their first song, Love Me Do, they had been totally in awe of him. As part of being in charge of themselves, they now had their own company, Apple. It was meant to be altruistic, to help others make music, as well as record their own stuff. It was also a way of spending some of their vast earnings, instead of paying the

This page: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Paul was genuinely slipping off the roof, John grabbed him and the other Beatles hung on. I actually went back to this location 50 years to the very minute later. It was very emotional and slightly spooky experience.â&#x20AC;?


Richard Mille Driven by Motorsport Motor racing is an eternal muse for Richard Mille, while also inspiring the technically proficient timepieces from his eponymous brand



THE GEARS OF SUCCESS For Richard Mille, a love of motoring and mechanical complexity is no fleeting passion; an affinity for all things automotive has fuelled this enthusiast as far back as he can remember. “As a youngster, I would spend hours in aerospace and motor shows looking at the cut-away views of engines, which gave you an insight into their complex mechanics,” he reveals of a lifelong fascination. Once the moment presented itself for Mille to embark on his haute horlogerie endeavour, there could only be one discipline to spark the design code: engineering from the crucible of motorsport. Now, 17 years on, the affiliation is embedded in the brand DNA. “Our engineers are as adept at configuring watches as a racing driver is at setting up his cars,” Mille beams, when the topic turns to the clear-cased RM 056 Manual Winding Tourbillon Split Seconds Competition Chronograph Sapphire. “The complexity of the movement reaches heights rivalling the case… a real Everest.” The brand revisits motoring time and again when looking to push the limits of its performance driven timepieces. And be it the endorsement of prestigious classic car soirées, collaborating with friends from the sport or simply being thrust into its competitive furnace, this Swiss horologer is never far from the guts, glory and the glamour of the motoring domain. TORQUE OF THE TOWN Motorsport is a way of life for Richard Mille, and the brand’s symbiosis is evident not only via its game-changing timepieces, but through its organic social presence. Involvement in nurturing the future of the sport is one example, as is guarding the storied heritage of the automotive industry.

Romain Grosjean of Haas F1 Team, wearing the RM 011 Red TPT Quartz Automatic Flyback Chronograph, dons his helmet pre-race


The Rallye de Princesses Richard Mille

The avant garde, tonneau-shaped timepieces disrupt the sober codes of watchmaking heritage, yet conversely, the name discreetly graces high society events. From as far back as 2002 the brand has been associated with the Le Mans Classic. A reliving of the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans for classic cars, the rendezvous allures 123,000 spectators, 8,500 European clubs and 1,000 gentleman drivers. In 2014 the brand co-founded (with Peter Auto) the revered Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille, set in the grounds of Le Château, Chantilly. It’s a weekend of appreciation for purists, involving Les Plus Belles Voitures du Monde – a classic car pageant to deem the most beautiful historic vehicle on show – as well as the Concours d’Elegance, which is an opportunity for car manufacturers to align with the designs of a chosen high-end couturier; think the conceptual Vision MercedesMaybach 6 beside a model draped in Jean-Paul Gaultier couture, a stylish alliance which won the Prix Public. The brand is also associated with the Nürburgring Classic and the technically twisted Suzuka Sound of Engine, with its vehicle classes dedicated to the Formula One build eras of Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda and Patrick Head. Each classic car involvement speaks to Richard’s personal fascination with the world of racing. Vintage partnerships aside, the brand has its finger on the pulse. “I immediately liked the idea of a rally for women,” Mille enthuses, thinking back to his meeting with Rallye des Princesses founder Viviane Zaniroli at Rétromobile in Paris in 2015. Three months later, the event – ‘a glamorous springtime love affair from Paris to the Riviera for six straight days’ – incorporated the Richard Mille moniker. The name also punctuates the contemporary pinnacle of the sport: brand solidarity can be seen on the

“Our credibility must be earned on the battle field: our watches must survive on the wrists of racing drivers”

Formula One track, on the gravel of the World Rally Championship and on the circuits of the electric powered Formula E racing series. Of course, whatever the social scenario, participants require a sporty yet elegant companion to wear upon the wrist. And on that front, Richard Mille rises to the occasion. RACING MACHINES Richard Mille crossed the finish line in a blaze of glory at the 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix, in the cockpit of a Scuderia Ferrari Formula One F2008. The brand founder was not behind the wheel himself, of course; for all of his driving prowess, he is not a Formula One pilot. No, this was Richard Mille – the timepiece – that cruised past the chequered flag, an RM 011 upon the wrist of Felipe Massa, worn during a the dominant victory for the skilled Brazilian driver. The maelstrom of extremes in an F1 driver’s cockpit – the constant vibrations, the G-forces and the hard knocks sustained by the car – can have devastating consequences on a mechanical watch. But then, a Richard Mille is no ordinary luxury timepiece. They are primed for the heat of competition, and elite motorsports have served as the ‘test drives’ where master techniques have had to make the grade. There’s no room for passengers at the top of a sport where every extra gram matters. “I hate gimmicks,” Mille expresses. “Everything should have a proper objective. Every screw, pinion, lever or spring has to have a


clear purpose, a very specific goal.” In this context, then, luxury is the sheer usability of such a complex timepiece; these are not watches a collector keeps confined to a safe. “I have always thought that haute horlogerie should open up to the fields of sport,” urges the brand founder. “I believe our credibility must be earned on the battle field: no matter how complex our watches, they must survive on the wrists of racing drivers. I want these individuals to put them through every imaginable situation.” The fluid styling and mechanical language of Formula One was apparent in the RM 001 Tourbillon – the first ever timepiece by the brand, unveiled back in 2001. Over 70 watches have since followed, and each is a tightly knit bundle of horological innovation. Carbon TPT was one such technological obsession: a thin ply technology whereby layered fibres produce exceptional rigidity and great shock resistance.

“They are very technical, but are also pleasant everyday companions: light, fitting smoothly on the wrist, and providing useful information”

Beyond the lab, a derivative of the composite material, Quartz TPT, enables Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean to wear his watch on top of his racing suit sleeve – directly exposed to the extremely aggressive environment of 300km/h racing. The brand’s creations are made to be worn in every circumstance, “Not only because they are very technical, but also because they are pleasant everyday companions: they are light, they fit smoothly on the

wrist, and they also provide useful information,” Richard asserts. His is not a niche brand, but one that spans a number of niches – and it masters the conditions of any dangerous domain into which the timepieces are launched. A GARAGE OF ALLIES Richard Mille is a man with a tank full of competitive spirit and is wired with a winning mindset, yet in person he sweeps you up with his easy charm. This combination of ambition and affability have enabled him to forge lasting friendships with some of motorsport’s most integral figures, and has fostered a culture of kinship throughout the brand itself. Those wearing his timepieces are not deemed ambassadors: he calls them “friends of the brand”. The only condition Richard stipulates is that they wear the watches in-action – thus obtaining precious, real world R&D, to raise the reliability level of the timepieces.

This Page: A portrait of Richard Mille with the iconic McLaren F1 Opposite: Fernando Alonso, twotime Formula One World Champion and friend of the brand, wearing his RM 67-02 Automatic Fernando Alonso


A podium of motoring-inspired triumphs

“The McLaren collaboration is a tangible example of how Richard Mille is woven into the fabric of motoring, as an active engineer of cutting edge apparatus” The proof is upon the wrist of select competitors at the pinnacle of motor racing – worn by Massa; by two-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso; by Sébastien Loeb, the most successful driver in World Rally Championship history. The brand’s friends are decorated in their respective disciplines, and Richard Mille lauds their triumphs but also supports those more earthbound moments, revealing that personal touch at the core of the brand. Felipe Massa is one such example, following his life-threatening crash in the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. “He was the first sportsman to join the Richard Mille family, and above and beyond his uncontested ability as a driver, he has a truly endearing personality,” expresses Mille. “We have been alongside Felipe in his moments of glory but also during the difficult times he has experienced, and we are overjoyed that his terrible accident did not affect his ability and performances, nor his love of life.” Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Mille/Massa relationship underlined the loyalty that is central to the brand’s philosophy, and deepens its affinity with motoring. In the case of Formula One legend Alain Prost, the brand did not exist during the French icon’s driving heyday – 1980-1993, when he captured four World Championship crowns.

But camaraderie with the Grand Prix-great led to endorsement of Prost’s pioneering Formula E team (Renault e.dams) in 2014, and resulted in a special edition watch collaboration in 2017 – the RM 70-01 Tourbillon Alain Prost, which he uses to clock miles spent in the saddle while pursuing his passion for long-distance road cycling. Hence, when values align for Richard Mille, it can lead to a long-term creative symphony. The brand has embarked upon a decade-long partnership with McLaren Automotive, for instance, which led to the recently unveiled RM 11-03 McLaren. “I couldn’t have dreamt of a more fitting partner than McLaren. It is a marque that strives to achieve perfection – whether it be in research and development, aesthetics or execution, right down to the smallest detail,” said Mille. The McLaren collaboration is a tangible example of how Richard Mille is woven into the fabric of motoring, as an active engineer of its cutting edge apparatus. Select watches in the portfolio are primed for the art of driving – and these emblematic timepieces accelerate the heart rate with an alchemy of technique and elegance. In every discipline of motorsport, time is of the essence – and the world of motorsport is at the very essence of Richard Mille.

RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph -A Red Gold/Titan classic whose movement, case and dial are analytically engineered – akin to an F1 race car, where engine and chassis are developed in harmony

RM 36-01 G-Sensor Tourbillon Sébastien Loeb -A limited edition of 30 which represents a further development of the mechanical G-force sensor

RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 -A limited edition of 75 pieces, made from Graph TPT and weighing only 40g

RICHARD MILLE Regional Boutiques UNITED ARAB EMIRATES The Galleria Mall Al Maryah Island Abu Dhabi The Dubai Mall Grand Atrium Dubai KUWAIT Salhiyah Complex Kuwait City QATAR La Croisette 6, The Pearl, Doha LEBANON 152 Foch Street Beirut TURKEY The St Regis Istanbul, Mim Kemal Oke Cad, Istanbul RUSSIA 14/1 Stoleshnikov Lane Moscow SAUDI ARABIA C-Center, Prince Mohamed Bin Abdulaziz St, Riyadh Jameel Square, Prince Mohamed Bin Abdulaziz St, Jeddah


WHY Hedi


remains the most

controversial man in

fashion The immediate reaction to Hedi Slimaneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Celine debut last month could have been scripted in advance, but if his career to date tells us anything itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that where controversy leads, sales will surely follow





n late 2000, Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld decided he wanted to lose weight. His motivation? Hedi Slimane’s appointment at Dior Homme. Speaking at the time Lagerfeld said: “until then, I had got along fine with my excess weight and I had no health problems...but I suddenly wanted to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane. These fashions, modelled by very, very slim boys, required me to lose at least six of my 16 stone.” With Dior Homme owned by rival luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, it was a bold statement from Lagerfeld and also showed just how influential Slimane was. Here was Lagerfeld publicly shunning sugar and carbs in order to be able to slither into Slimane’s slim silhouettes. However, Slimane’s transformative effect wasn’t just limited to menswear and Lagerfeld’s waistline. Under his creative control, Dior Homme launched its first fragrance, ‘Higher’, with Slimane overseeing everything from the packaging to the advertising campaign shot by Richard Avedon, with whom Slimane had previously collaborated on the menswear advertisements. Although womenswear wasn’t under his remit at Dior, Slimane still dressed female celebrities including Madonna and Nicole Kidman. For his shows, he even insisted on commissioning unique soundtracks from a string of musicians including Pete Doherty and Alex Turner who embodied his pencil thin vision. Unsurprisingly, Slimane quickly built up a reputation of being a creative with unyielding control. Then came his appointment in 2012 as creative director at Yves Saint Laurent. Shortly after arriving he announced his “reform project”. First on his to-do list was dropping ‘Yves’ from the ready-to-wear label’s name, and changing the typeface of the logo. Cue outrage from both those within the industry and fans of the brand pre-Slimane. Second, he revealed that he was setting up a design studio of 15 people in LA – not Paris, where the original headquarters were based. Next up came the stores, which he refitted with stark marbled and mirrored interiors. There are stories of how he’d tell the press exactly what approved images of himself were to be used


when writing about the brand, whilst many journalists spoke of the barrage of emails they would receive from his PR team asking them to correct their mistakes if they referred to the house as YSL or Saint Laurent Paris. He famously banned a number of fashion journalists from his debut womenswear show including the then fashion critic of The New York Times Cathy Horyn. In an online post explaining why she wasn’t invited, Horyn wrote: “Despite positive reviews of his early YSL [menswear] and Dior collections, as well as a profile, Mr Slimane objected bitterly to a review I wrote in 2004 – not about him but Raf Simons. Essentially I wrote that without Mr Simons’s template of slim tailoring and street casting, there would not have been a Hedi Slimane – just as there would never have been a Raf Simons without Helmut Lang.” Slimane hit back via Twitter in a now deleted but much screengrabbed post, mocked up with a faux New York Times headline and font in which he called Horyn a “schoolyard bully and also a little bit of a standup comedian.” He said he found her agenda “thick” and “predictable”, mocked the way she dressed: “I also hear that her sense of style is seriously challenged”, and concluded that she would never get a seat at Saint Laurent but might get a “2 for 1 at Dior.” Spats between designers and the press are common, but no one had predicted this level of intensity. His spring/summer 2013 debut collection for Saint Laurent of leather jackets, mini-skirts, slip dresses and wide-brimmed hats worn by a string of size zero models was deemed by many critics to be cheap, unoriginal and not what women wanted to wear. But it seemed in reality this was not the case. Within three years, the brand had more than doubled annual sales revenue to USD815 million in 2014, up from USD407 million in 2011. Its parent company Kering also reported that whilst leather goods and shoes represented 66 percent of the business, ready-to-wear was the fastest growing of any category, surging ahead by 23 percent in 2014. With a clear focus on what he wanted the brand to be and who he wanted to wear it, Slimane cleverly created a sense of continuity and unity. His fanbase, dubbed the ‘Cult of Hedi’,

Opening pages: Hedi Slimane Š Y.R These pages: A front row comprising Lee Daniels, Stephen Gan, Lady Gaga, Karl Lagerfeld, Helene Arnault and Bernard Arnault at Slimaneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Celine debut



This page: Slimane’s Celine ‘looks’ Opposite: Staz Lindes, Lida Fox and Valery Kaufman at Celine springsummer 2019

your predecessor, much less to take over the essence of their work, their codes and elements of their language.” Interestingly, he never once mentioned the words “woman” or “women” in the interview; instead he used the word “girls.” Whilst Philo cast a range of women, including the 43-year-old ballet dancer MarieAgnès Gillot, the 34-year-old model Daria Werbowy and the 83-year-old writer Joan Didion, Slimane hints at his obsession with a more juvenile age group saying: “I have always photographed, documented and dressed the youth. It’s been at the heart of everything I’ve done so far, in photography and fashion. It reigns on my catwalks, house after house.” And so it proved when showtime arrived at Celine. Gen Z was firmly in mind when it was revealed that the entire male suiting wardrobe

that walked the runway is also available in female sizing, while the looks themselves – Slimane’s signature style to the fore – were both predictably polarising and the polar opposite of Philo’s aesthetic. Celine’s owner LVMH hopes it all amounts to Slimane working his retail magic once again. Few, if any, will bet against it.

Credit: Chloe MacDonnell / The Telegraph / The Interview People, additional text by AIR staff writer


knew that each season there would be another riff on the biker jacket, the skinny jean and the baby doll dress for them. Then, in 2016, Slimane left the house with Kering stating that he had come to the end of a “four-year mission, which has led to the complete repositioning of the brand.” Not even his harshest critic could deny his success – in a slowing luxury market, Slimane had turned Saint Laurent into one of Kering’s most profitable brands. Two years later, in January 2018, Slimane was announced as Phoebe Philo’s successor at Céline, becoming the brand’s first-ever “artistic, creative and image director,” with talk of plans to introduce menswear, couture and fragrance to the house, too. Unsurprisingly, ‘Philophiles’ were outraged. Philo’s minimalist aesthetic – all clean lines and a tonal colour palette – had become the de facto uniform for myriad women - not just fashion insiders but filmmakers, architects and artists alike. They loved her silhouettes and the luxe fabrics that she was happy to team with a pair of Stan Smith trainers. “She knows how women want to dress,” seemed to be the resounding praise she received from both critics and consumers. The Céline coterie of women was the antithesis of Slimane’s louche tribe of razor thin rock’n’roll recruits. Since his appointment Slimane hasn’t wasted any time in riling Philophiles. Similar to when he took over at Saint Laurent, he changed the brand’s logo and the typeface. His reasoning? “The modernist typography used dates from the 1930s,” a post on the brand’s Instagram stated. “The accent on the ‘e’ has been removed to enable a simplified and more balanced proportion, evoking the Celine collections of the 1960s where the accent wasn’t used often. The spacing between the letters has been balanced out and the letters have been brought closer together.” Prior to his spring/summer 2019 debut in Paris. Slimane, in a rare interview, hinted to Le Figaro that it was time to say RIP to the Céline woman we used to know. “Our respective styles are identifiable and very different,” he is quoted as saying of Philo. “Our vision is naturally distinct. Besides, you don’t enter a fashion house to imitate the work of

Since his appointment Slimane hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wasted any time in riling Philophiles 75


In her book Hitchcockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Heroines, author Caroline Young explores the complex relationship between the director and his muses. Here, she charts the vital role which fashion played, from the early days of flapper glamour to the icy sophistication of Tippi Hedren...





im Novak’s grey suit the colour of San Francisco fog in Vertigo, Grace Kelly as the too-perfect woman in Rear Window, and Janet Leigh’s black and white sets of underwear to indicate both evil and good in Psycho – these are just some of the fashion details in Alfred Hitchcock’s films, where the style and elegance of his leading lady, often aloof and blonde, was always carefully constructed. Hitchcock was meticulous about the visuals, and this involved finessing hair, wardrobe, and makeup, to create the perfect look for his leads. As his career developed, he became ever more specific as, like a painter, he worked to create subliminal messages through sartorial means. Glasses were a common motif, signifying the unmasking of a woman such as Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound or Joan Fontaine in Suspicion, but also indicating their intelligence, while a bird brooch on the lapel (or twin brooches in Shadow of a Doubt) acted as a warning, just as birds in his films commonly indicated dark forces about to strike. The early days The Lodger (1927) featured the first of Hitchcock’s blondes, stage actress Daisy, played by June Tripp, under threat as a serial killer who only kills blonde women on the loose in London. June’s glamorous image is vital to the story, and was an early


example of Hitchcock’s ultra-focussed approach to the appearance of the women in his films. Daisy’s costumes reflected the flapper fashions that were very much in vogue in 1926. While he directed Fontaine in Rebecca and Suspicion, and Carole Lombard in Mr and Mrs Smith, it wasn’t until Hitchcock’s first collaboration with Edith Head on Notorious, creating a glamorous wardrobe for Ingrid Bergman, that his visual sense of style really came to the fore. It marked the beginning of a 30-year collaboration. One of Head’s talents was knowing how to please both director and star, and she was aware that Hitchcock was very specific and would indicate clothing and colour within the script. Bergman was to be believable as a secret agent, so the clothes were not to dominate. He also specified a palette of only black and white, with its contrasting combination used to achieve different effects, like making her stand out in a scene where she stands out in a vivid zebra patterned top with sequins and an exposed midriff. “In a black and white film the eye is immediately attracted to the stark contrast of black and white, since other colours become various shades of grey,” said Head. “Visually, she became the most important woman in the room.” There were strong, dark-haired leading ladies in several films in the 1930s and 1940s, like Margaret

Lockwood in The Lady Vanishes, and Teresa Wright in A Shadow of a Doubt, but it was in the 1950s, Hitchcock’s golden era, when elegant blondes, such as Grace Kelly, became the dominant heroines of his films. Making a star of Grace Kelly Hitchcock first cast Kelly in Dial M for Murder, as “she has fire and ice and great passion, but she does not flaunt it.” Hitchcock planned a colour progression with a bright wardrobe at the start, becoming more sombre as the story progresses, from “brick, then to grey, then to black.” The contrast between Margot as wife and adulterer is made clear, with the transition from sweet pale pink cardigan and ladylike skirt to the vibrant red lace dress and red lips for a fireside embrace.

Opening pages: Alfred Hitchcock and actress Tippi Hedren on the set of The Birds Below: June Tripp in The Lodger; Janet Leigh in a scene from Psycho Right: Grace Kelly with James Stewart in Rear Window Overleaf: Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho; Tippi Hedren with Buddy the Raven in The Birds

Hitchcock was very specific and would indicate clothing and colour within the script Kelly was anxious to work with Hitchcock again in Rear Window, and by the time she arrived in Los Angeles in late November for wardrobe fittings, Hitchcock had already instructed Head on what styles and colours she would wear to advance the story. Lisa was to be dressed in high fashion, and Head created a complete 1950s wardrobe of a New Look cocktail dress, a smart business suit, and a floral day dress, chosen to suit New York’s sweltering summer and reflect the development of the plot. “Hitch wanted her to look like a piece of Dresden china, something slightly untouchable,” said Head, who used luxury fabrics for her costumes, with shantung silk for the green suit, soufflé for the negligee, and plenty of organdie. “There was a reason for every colour, every style, and he was absolutely certain about everything he settled on.

For one scene he saw her in pale green, for another in white chiffon, for another in gold. He was really putting a dream together in the studio,” she explained. For her third collaboration with Hitchcock, Kelly starred in To Catch a Thief. Head designed “attentiongetting clothes” that epitomised elegance and wealth – bathing suits, sunglasses, tailored sundresses, and gowns with a Delphic silhouette. Kelly was given pale shades – azure blue, lemon yellow, pale coral – to work with the bright, Mediterranean location and progressively “warm up” with the character, who was dressed in a number of flowing, Grecian gowns. “I deliberately photographed Grace Kelly ice-cold and I kept cutting to her profile, looking classically beautiful, and very distant,” Hitchcock said. After Kelly left Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco (Head’s assistant

Helen Rose made her wedding gown), Hitchcock was never able to fully shake off her allure. He looked to find another actress who could fill her shoes – first Vera Miles, then Tippi Hedren. The Hitchcock blonde Much is made of the coolness of his blondes, and Kim Novak in Vertigo was the most remote and ghostlike. For the mysterious character of Madeleine, Hitchcock was very specific that she should wear a grey suit with black heels. He told Head “the girl must look as if she’s just drifted out of the San Francisco fog”. Over lunch with Hitchcock, Novak explained the grey suit was too restrictive, while the black shoes made her feel disconnected and “pulled down”. “Look, Miss Novak,” he said, “you do your hair whatever colour you like, and you wear whatever you like, 79


Like a painter, he worked to create subliminal messages through sartorial means The ultimate Hitchcockian heroine Tippi Hedren’s experience working with Hitchcock is often considered the pinnacle of his obsession with blondes. For Hitchcock, his ego drove his desire to create a star and mould her into the girl of his imagination. “I seem to have a reputation for preferring blonde leading ladies in my films,” Hitchcock said, playing up to his own press. “And now in The Birds, I am introducing another young lady who happens to be blonde – Miss Tippi Hedren.” Hedren’s Melanie Daniels was a “wealthy, shallow playgirl,” and her wardrobe had to convey this as well as not detracting from the ensuing terror. Due to Melanie’s cool, elegant persona, Edith Head designed a pale green wool shift dress and jacket with a similar cut to a Chanel suit. Six copies were made to allow for adjustments and tears during different scenes when Melanie is attacked by the birds.

To complete the look, Daniels was given a beige crocodile purse, which she never seems to be without, and a mink coat which he felt was vital to the character and made her look out of place on the motorboat. At the end of filming, Hitchcock gifted the mink coat to Hedren, which she later sold to fund her wildlife sanctuary, perhaps as a statement on her fraught relationship with the director. Hitchcock’s films continue to hold fascination, and the look of his heroines still resonates with fashion designers and photographers recreating their sophisticated, tailored looks. “Suspense is like a woman,” Hitchcock once said. “The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement”. Of course, by then it was clear his heroine formula was anything but mysterious: “the perfect ‘woman of mystery’ is one who is blonde, subtle and Nordic.”

Credit: Caroline Young / The Telegraph / The InterviewPeople. Images: Getty Images


so long as it conforms to the story requirements.” Novak later said, “I hated that silly suit. But it helped me to be uncomfortable as Madeleine.” For Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest, Hitchcock had definite ideas of how Eve Kendall would look as a spy and kept woman. Hitchcock told Hedda Hopper, “I’ve extracted every bit of sex she has and put it on the screen. Also gave her beautiful clothes. I dislike drab females on or off screen.” Hitchcock and Saint went shopping at luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in New York, where they viewed a parade of models in various suits and gowns, and Hitchcock felt like a rich man overseeing her wardrobe, “just as Stewart did with Novak in Vertigo.” One of Eve’s most striking costumes is a black, long-sleeved cocktail dress printed with red roses, which she wore in the film’s art auction scene. Hitchcock chose red for moments of danger, and these wine-red roses are a forewarning that her cover could be revealed. “He’d done his homework, I’m sure, and he didn’t have the models come out in anything but what he would choose, too,” she said. Janet Leigh as Marion in Psycho was heart-renderingly likeable and appealing, so much so that her death is devastating to the audience. Hitchcock was fastidious in creating a sense of realism for the characters and sent a photographer to Phoenix where they found a girl like Marion, visited her home, and photographed her bureau drawers, her suitcases, and the contents of her wardrobe. Hitchcock insisted Marion’s clothes were store-bought, not just to save money but also to adhere to the clothing budget of a secretary. Leigh and costumer Rita Riggs visited Beverley Hills store Jax and found two shirtwaist dresses, one in cream cotton and another in blue wool jersey, because, according to Riggs, “Hitchcock likes good wool jersey; it reads well in black and white.” There were ongoing discussions as to whether Marion would wear black or white underwear, but it was finally decided that she would wear both, to make a character statement about her good and bad sides.


Motoring NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

A Glorious Return The shapely third generation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS delivers sheer luxury â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and time behind the wheel reveals its identity as a technical tour de force





hen it first appeared in 2004, all sweeping lines and long, low rear quarters, the sole purpose of the CLS coupé seemed to be raising green-eyed jealousy in other Mercedes-Benz owners. Fourteen years on and this, the third-generation of this four-door coupé, seems to have staked claim to much the same territory. It is complicated, however. For with the launch of the new four-door AMG GT coupé at this year’s Geneva motor show, the tarmac-tearing part of the four-door equation is covered (more confusingly, the AMG four-door comes with the new range of in-line, six-cylinder engines as well as the twin-turbo V8), while if your heart is set on a two-door coupé then you can have a standard E-class coupé, which also gets the straight-six engine derivatives (but no biturbo V8) or, of course, the standard AMG GT. If your head is hurting at this point, it’s helpful to think of several Venn diagrams representing the many stripes of Mercedes-Benz coupés almost, but not quite exactly, placed on top of each other... So this new CLS retains its E-class underpinnings, sharing the same wheelbase but with specifications out of the richer part of the E-class brochure and swooping bodywork. This is a Mercedes-Benz gran turismo, and it retains the high tail of the previous, second-generation car, which frankly isn’t as memorable as the Cruella-deVil-style tourer looks of the original, which seemed like a car created around a single pencil line. But the latest version’s front is a huge improvement with simpler shapes, cut-out air vents and a harmonious demeanour. The new 362bhp, 3.0-litre, straightsix petrol engine is augmented by Mercedes’s new 48-volt Integrated 83

Starter Generator (ISG) system, which wraps around the flywheel/ torque converter of the nine-speed automatic transmission adding another 22bhp/184lb ft to the wheels. The range also carries a couple of diesel models based around the new 3l, straight-sixcylinder based on the current 2l four. Called OM656, this is a clever thing indeed, even using steel pistons. It comes in two power outputs; 282 and 335bhp. All of the cars are finished in AMG trim, except the top model which is an AMG, the 53, a new model designation for milder AMG-engined cars. It makes use of the 3l, six-cylinder, with the ISG system. On the exhaust side of the block, a large twin-scroll turbo is on intimate terms with the exhaust ports, while on the other, ‘cool’ side of the engine nestles an electric compressor capable of pressurising the inlet tract upstream of the big turbo, with air bled from downstream of the turbo – I know, it’s horribly complicated. In fact the piping and valving would do justice to an oil refinery and HansJochen Thierack, the calibration engineer, admits his team’s work was complex and painstaking. Interestingly and almost counter-intuitively, dialling in full throttle at low revs will have the generator working at maximum effect, thus dragging the flywheel to create current to drive the compressor to, erm overcome the effect of the generator and more... There aren’t many carmakers you would trust to make a success of engineering this complex. On the road, this is a remarkable 84

engine, which retains the smoothness and aristocratic yowl of a good straightsix, but with an extraordinary amount of low-rev grunt which accelerates this near two-tonne car with alacrity. The new six-cylinder diesel is pretty good, too, at least in the higher power configuration. It combines enormous mid-range urge with decent economy. The four-cylinder petrol has a block derived from the sixcylinder unit, with more than 300bhp and a 14hp/110lb ft beltdriven starter/generator at the front of the engine; it’s promising. On snowy roads it’s difficult to separate the gritty ride quality of the 18in winter tyres and the gritty engine note, it’s clear the combination isn’t perhaps the most harmonious in this elegant grand tourer,

even if the lighter engine provides a more lively turn-in to corners. Keep the transmission in automatic and let the electric boost add its vim to the acceleration and it’s tolerable, but it kind of misses the point. For the most part, the CLS drives the rear wheels, providing power to the fronts when imminent wheelspin is predicted. On the unusually snowy roads around Barcelona in Spain, where I tested it, it proved its mettle time after time with barely a slide or slip, even when dodging the distressing flocks of little birds flopping around in the unaccustomed snow, too cold to take off. Enough remained of the basic good manners of the chassis, however, to allow us to drive these air-suspended cars quite briskly on surfaces with highly mixed grip characteristics, and

Credit: Andrew English/The Telegraph/The Interview People


The CLS is all about sybaritic mile-eating ability – and in that respect it is unsurpassed

Opening pages: The 2019 Mercedes CLS Above: The car’s atmospheric interior; a rear view of the CLS

the air suspension comes as part of the Comfort package. It’s worth it. The steering of the AMG isn’t quite the precision instrument that you might want in such a powerful car. It comes off the dead ahead position with a lovely lift, but much more turn and there’s weight but no feedback or idea for that matter. Mind you, that goes for most AMG models, which tend to substitute humongous grip for much in the way of control feedback. That said, the brakes are lovely, progressive and powerful, allowing you to stop on an icy road with barely a trace of ABS rattle. In the end, however, the CLS is all about sybaritic mile-eating ability – and in that respect I’d suggest it is unsurpassed. And the interior, especially the two-tone upholstery options and

the Premium Plus equipment package, is an occasion. You need to be careful in your selection of some occasionally arriviste cabin material selections, but choose well and you’ll never tire of the look or quality of this car. The opulence is simply magnificent; our car had heated seats which also heated the arm rests to help prevent that irritating chilly-elbow syndrome, and air vents which self-illuminated like something off the set of a Fritz Lang movie. It’s hard not to love this car, which though not quite as good looking as the original, is vastly more competent and technical. The ISG-augmented engines are brilliant; the AMG 53 is bewilderingly brilliant. It’s still the toast of this highly esoteric class and a wonderful way in which to cover mileage. 85



Gastronomy NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90

The Quest Alain Ducasse is known for his incomparable French cuisine – and, as one of the world’s most decorated chefs, he is an oracle on the pursuit of culinary perfection INTERVIEW: ALAINE ELKANN ADDITIONAL WORDS: CHRIS UJMA


very day, I carry the vision for my restaurants. I taste every day. I act as an artistic director. I am the designer of my cuisine, the one who thinks about the details of what is served in my restaurants and most importantly of their evolution,” says an impassioned Alain Ducasse. With around 25 dining establishments across the globe, frequently published books, training schools, and even a movie (The Quest of Alain Ducasse, directed by Gilles de Maistre), 62-year-old Ducasse is a commander of French cuisine. He has accumulated around 20 Michelin stars, his first awarded when he helmed ‘L’Amandier’ in Mougins in 1980. In spite of his flourishing empire, though, he reinforces, “I am a cook, not a businessman. I have a large team helping me to manage my business and more than 2,000 collaborators worldwide.” His closest collaborators “Have been with me for over 25 years. They are chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers. Many have been with me from the start of their career; 80 percent of my collaborators arrived at junior positions. We like to promote and help people grow within the company. For example, my executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet at my restaurant in The Dorchester in London has been with me for 14 years, and he is 35! He was in Monaco, in Paris, in Hong Kong and now in London.” He’s a fine ambassador for a genre he considers the most important in the world, French fare is rightly lauded, he says, due to its “techniques and the codification of the rules, like ‘solfège’

in music. There is the rule and then, after, there is the creation. But the basis of French cuisine is the rule, written and ancient, that can be used in many other cuisines. This is the base of what I learnt when I started working from my teacher chefs: Michel Guérard, Gaston Lenôtre, Alain Chapel and Roger Vergé” The DNA of French cuisine, he explains, “Is the base, the attention given to sourcing, to the provenance and selection of the produce, their preparation, to the right seasoning, the right cooking. Also, it is about the harmony between the content and the container: all the elements that come into play out of the dish itself; all the elements that contribute to serve it – silverware, china, glasses. It is about the environment created to support the cuisine. Finally, there is also always a strong interest in offering the right wines for a dish. Wine is an important component of the idea of gastronomy. In French gastronomy, there is always an order between the beginning and the end of a meal and all the details are important.” Haute-gastronomy was created by Louis XIV in the 1600s, and one of the Ducasse inspirations is to serve up haute gastronomy in the Palace of Versailles, with dinners inspired by the royal feasts served 300 years ago at the Court. “The king’s cuisine was very sophisticated, varied and diverse, using produce coming from French regions. There was a specific order in the menu, very much staged down to the last detail. There were 10 to 25 dishes, but the guests would choose what they ate and not eat 87




all of them. The vegetable soup was followed by vegetables, fish and shellfish, poultry, game, stews. Today, in my restaurant in the Palace of Versailles, I serve 10 courses,” he explains. There would be too many options to detail an example menu, Ducasse corrects, however, “There is a beginning and there is an end. At the court they would always start with a vegetable soup, followed by lots of dishes, always very seasonal as there were not as many conservation techniques. For example, in spring there would be young vegetables: asparagus, green peas, new potatoes. A few years ago I decided to restart the queen’s garden on the estate of the Palace of Versailles, and we have about 50 vegetables available. The queen’s garden was historically better than the king’s garden as she was more demanding. “ What was once confined to being a French (culinary) revolution now has international impact. “Everywhere in the world, our clients are locals,” he says, by way of insight. “Today’s French cuisine seduces a large audience as it managed to adapt to the society it is in. I cook with the basis of French tradition but in Japan, 85 percent 88

We have no other choice than to be innovative and to be the best... in search of perfection without ever reaching it

of my clients are Japanese. In London, 85 percent of my clients are British. My clients in Japan are Japanese, so we have to seduce them.” How does he go about this? “With the most perfect contemporary French cuisine. Guests are curious, demanding, well informed and well travelled, and there is a lot of competition. In 25 years, the evolution of the culinary landscape of London or New York is a revolution. We have no other choice than to be innovative and to be the best.” There are no bestsellers, though. “I don’t want to have signature dishes as they create habits. I don’t want my teams to continually prepare the same things over and over. Cooking is not about repetition and it is not educational.” Ducasse’s vision hungrily seeks new horizons; his restaurants range from bistros at 30 euros a head to haute-gastronomy restaurants at 1000 euros. Be it for 15 GBP, USD or Euros, he “always has a proposal. We try to be the best in each category.” Those categories now include a boat, ‘Ducasse sur Seine’, moored in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower when it’s not ferrying its diners (room for 100 of them) on 90-minute lunch and dinner cruises down the Seine, for which

prices range from 100-500 Euros. “It is an extraordinary vessel, the largest electric boat in the world, equipped with a fully-fitted kitchen,” says an enthused Ducasse. He is still influential in the kitchen, though to a certain stratosphere of clientele: “I received President Putin in the Palace of Versailles, and President Trump at Le Jules Verne, which is located at the Eiffel Tower. The menus were very different; eight courses for

President Trump and 12 for President Putin – there has always been a tradition of haute-gastronomy with a French basis at the Russian Court. I also gave a dinner for President Xi Jing Ping, and for him I created 20 courses. “We must continue to create,” he urges, swiftly changing track. “The key of success is innovation and to continue to evolve and improve. We have to be in search of perfection without ever reaching it.”



Milaidhoo Island




Travel NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90


nce upon a time there was a tiny tropical island, an emerald drop of paradise wrapped in soft white sands, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef and hidden in the heart of a UNESCO biosphere reserve,’ begins this resort’s fable. ‘Milaidhoo is that island. That time is now and this is our story.’ The word ‘begins’ is the operative word, as this resort is an open book for memories to be written with loved ones, and for quiet moments of contemplation. The unique Ocean Residence, for instance, is paradise itself. An opulent thatched-roof abode, it perches on stilts over the ocean, yet offers seclusion from other properties – both outside and within. Separate living and bedroom spaces afford solitude, while a ‘secret’ loft deck at rooftop level overlooks the ocean and is a prime spot upon which to unwind and take in the view. For more convivial moments, a large sundeck is replete with swing chairs, sun loungers, a private freshwater infinity pool and steps leading down to the ocean. Tailored touches also free the mind to relax: a personal butler is on hand at the residence for every whim, guests can avail daily group yoga and meditation classes, and a private outdoor cinema screening on the deck can be arranged. Fine cuisine is a key component of indulgence upon Milaidhoo – after all, a dedicated chef is assigned to Ocean Residence dwellers in order to customise all meals to a guest’s preference.

Aside from this personal touch (and also the lineup of exquisite grills and restaurants upon the island), a true highlight is the exceptional Mood Dining. The concept comprises five innovative approaches – Deep Sleep, Getting in the Milaidhoo Mood, Sunrise Awakening, Curious Adventures and Sunset Chill. Embarking on a culinary journey – be it upon a deserted island, a sandbank in the middle of the ocean, on a beach, or simply on the private deck of one’s own villa – is admittedly enticing, yet these five fine dining concepts do not merely focused on memorable locations. The five repertoires have been curated to sensory perfection. The Deep Sleep routine, for instance, ‘addresses both physical and mental hurdles that prevent a good night’s sleep.’ It begins with a peaceful spa treatment in the early evening to physically relax the body, is followed by a light dinner, moves on to a moonlight meditation session upon the deck of the villa, and finishes with a snooze-inducing scented candlelit bath. A stay at this Baa Atoll enclave is defined by such thoughtful delights. That such comprehensive luxury can transpire on a mere 300m x 180m postage stamp of an island is quite remarkable. But then, that is an ideal way to describe Milaidhoo Island, Maldives. A resort representative guides guests to the private lounge at Velana Int’l Airport, ahead of a 35-minute private seaplane charter to the resort. milaidhoo.com 91

What I Know Now NOVEMBER 2018 : ISSUE 90


Michael Caine ACTOR The first time I was in the United States, when I had just made Alfie, I was sitting on my own in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Across Sunset Boulevard, out of a swirling sunflecked cloud of helicopter dust, 6ft 4in and in full cowboy get-up, strode the unmistakable figure of John Wayne. As I stood there with my mouth open he caught my eye and altered his course to come over to me. ‘What’s your name, kid?’ he asked. ‘Michael Caine,’ I managed to croak. ‘That’s right,’ he agreed, with a tilt of his head. ‘You were in that movie Alfie. You’re gonna be a star, kid,’ he drawled, arm around my shoulders. ‘But if you want to stay one, remember this: talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.’ ‘Thank you, Mr Wayne,’ I said. I am often asked what advice I have for actors starting out in this business. And for many years my answer was ‘Never listen to old actors like me.’ I always used to ask older actors what I should 92

do, and the only thing they ever told me was to give up. I’ve been reflecting on my life, as older people often do. And I’ve realised that, over my sixty years in the movie business and my eighty-five years of life, I have been given a lot of useful advice – by Marlene Dietrich, Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier among many others – and I have learnt a lot of lessons, from my many glittering successes and my many disastrous failures. I started to think I could do a bit better than ‘never listen to advice’. In fact, my advice would be, don’t listen to that advice.

lucky, I would have kept going anyway, doing something I loved and trying to do it as well as I possibly could. In the end if I could give one bit of advice, it would be that: find what you love, and do it as well as you can. Pursue your dream and, even if you never catch it, you’ll enjoy the chase.

What you need to be a star in the movies is not that different from what you need to be a star in any other universe (it just takes more luck).

I’m overwhelmed every day with gratitude at the happiness my family brings me. They are my legacy, my contribution to society, my joy. No Hollywood moment can beat the moments I first set eyes on each of my children and grandchildren. Glitz, glamour and stardust are all very well but they cannot give you a warm, sticky-fingered hug on a rainy night. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading off now to kick a football around the garden with the grandchildren.

I have been enormously lucky. My seemingly impossible dreams really have come true. I have done everything I wanted to do but if I hadn’t been

Abridged excerpt from ‘Blowing The Bloody Doors Off and Other Lessons in Life’ by Michael Caine, published by Hodder & Stoughton

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