Air Magazine - Empire Aviation - October'19

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Forty Six

Absolutely Fabulous

It’s Showtime!

Fifty Two

Fifty Eight

Tipped to win him an Oscar nod, Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker is analysed by the man himself.

As a retrospective of her trailblazing work opens, we look back on Zandra Rhodes’ 50 years in fashion.

From Ali to Lennon, Michael Brennan has shot the biggest names in boxing and music. Chris Anderson hears his tales.

Holiday magazine captured travel’s golden age and the thoughts of legendary writers. Hazel Plush tells its story.

Send in the Clown


Sentimental Journey

Contents OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101




Critique Thirty



Chief Creative Officer

John Thatcher

Thirty Four

Objects of Desire Managing Editor

Faye Bartle Thirty Six


Contributors Chris Anderson, Lara Brunt, Sophia Dyer. Hazel Plush,

Sixty Four


Ronak Sagar

Sixty Eight



Kerri Bennett

Journeys by Jet

Senior Designer

Hiral Kapadia

Seventy Six


What I Know Now

Leona Beth

COMMERCIAL Managing Director

Victoria Thatcher General Manager

Writing Stories © Alice Herbst


Art Director

Seventy Four

David Wade Commercial Director

Rawan Chehab

Twenty Six

Art & Design Hazel Plush meets the curator of London’s first all-female focused gallery to talk breaking down barriers in the art world.

PRODUCTION Production Manager

Muthu Kumar

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


Empire Aviation Group OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

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

Welcome Onboard ISSUE 101

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

Paras P. Dhamecha Managing Director

Cover: Zandra Rhodes, photo for the poster for the S/S 1986 ‘Spanish Impressions’ collection. Photograph by Robyn Beeche.

Contact Details: 11

Empire Aviation Group OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

A Winning Team Empire Aviation’s exceptionally talented team caters to your needs, whether you are an owner or charter client As a global private aviation specialist, Empire Aviation provides aircraft sales, management, charter and CAMO services to owners and clients around the world, with a distinctive personalised style. Since 2007, we have expanded our operations and grown our business through tailored services delivered across the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. We have experience working with owners across a wide range of aircraft types, from seaplanes to air ambulances, helicopters to super-sized business jets. Today, the company manages a large fleet of business jets that includes a balanced mix of mid-sized to super-sized aircraft, based in several international locations. In a highly regulated and technically demanding industry, you can only be as good as your people and Empire is highly selective in building teams of exceptionally talented, experienced and qualified aviation professionals. Private aviation is all about people and our success has always been based on our personalised service ethos of transparency, efficiency, professionalism and pride in our work. The Empire team comprises more than 150 highly qualified personnel with extensive aviation experience, who ensure that every aspect of your flying experience caters to your needs – whether you are an owner or charter client. EMPIRE AVIATION SERVICES Management Empire Aviation has been managing aircraft on behalf of owners since 2007, inducting over 70 aircraft into the fleet, based across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. These include a diverse selection of business jets from most of the leading aircraft manufacturers, including helicopters, seaplanes, air ambulances and super-sized corporate jets. We can provide customers with flexible 12

options when deciding where to base their aircraft, with a choice of three aircraft registries in the UAE, San Marino and India. Our successful aircraft ownermanager service has been built on close personal working relationships with owners to develop a high degree of personal trust, openness and transparency. We build this trust and manage expectations by looking after every operational and maintenance

detail of their aircraft, from nose-to-tail. This includes the negotiation of all contract services with supplier companies and tracking all costs to ensure our owners are receiving the best deals with open books at all times. Aircraft Brokerage At Empire Aviation, we understand that buying a new or pre-owned private jet is a significant financial investment for an individual

Empire Aviation Group OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

or company, and it is vital to make the right decisions and select the right aircraft. We have been advising aircraft buyers and sellers since 2007 and the team has sold and acquired various types of aircraft across the globe. Our solid reputation is based on the expertise of our team of seasoned industry specialists with over 80 years of combined aircraft sales experience. Our international research and sales support team co-ordinate the process with specific local market knowledge, with the added benefit of our geographic presence, enabling us to deliver a seamless and personalised sales experience to our customers, based on particular sales briefs and objectives. Aircraft Charter In the business world, when you absolutely need to be at that international meeting in a remote location at very short notice, or you have a complex itinerary with tight deadlines, there is only one way to guarantee it – business jet charter. At Empire, we understand this and 14

for a unique travel experience with first-class personal attention on-board from our ‘silver service’ trained cabin crew and enjoy the freedom, convenience, security and privacy of private air travel.

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

CAMO Empire Aviation offers world-class CAMO services to aircraft owners and also third parties on CAMO only contracts. Our Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO) certification is a central part of aircraft management. Under CAMO, we take responsibility for the quality management, auditing and all the maintenance records of an aircraft. This is a vital component in ensuring the safe operation and the long-term value of aircraft. Empire Aviation provides a onestop service for individuals and companies who need and value the benefits of private aviation and the assurance that they can enjoy these efficiently, safely and economically. To enquire about any of our services, please email or call +971 4 299 8444

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Radar OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

Image: Emma Watson with Paolo Roversi

The theme of 2020’s Pirelli calendar, Looking for Juliet, saw photographer Paolo Roversi capture eight female actors and models whom he believes have shown the courage of their convictions to effect change, as Shakespeare’s doomed character Juliet does in one of The Bard’s most popular plays. Among the cast of modern day Juliets are Emma Watson, who launched the #heforshe campaign, encouraging men to join the fight for gender equality, and Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi, who worked with the Obama administration to help fund US classrooms in most need of teaching resources.


Critique OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

Film Judy Dir: Rupert Goold A dramatic biopic of Judy Garland who, in 1969, arrives in swinging London against the backdop of struggles in her personal life. AT BEST: “This is one of those solo turns where the star performance matters more than the story, and Renee Zellweger, playing the legendary singer Judy Garland in her sad last months - broke, anxious, drunk, rueful, but still in it - gives it everything she’s got.” Johanna Schneler, Globe and Mail AT WORST: Garland’s legacy may be tricky to recreate, perhaps too large for any biopic to contain, but the music speaks for itself.” Eric Kohn, Indie Wire.

Ad Astra Dir: James Gray AIR

An astronaut searches space for his lost father, who is connected to a threat which could destroy all life on Earth. AT BEST: “The movie’s visuals are halfway between dreams of space and the silvery, shivery majesty of the real thing.” Stephanie Zacharek, Time Magazine AT WORST: “Gravity, Interstellar or even First Man this isn’t. Brad Pitt holds it together heroically.” David Sexton, London Evening Standard

Jojo Rabbit Dir: Taika Waititi

AT BEST: “[Waititi] manifestly loves to show off his cleverness, to pose, to grandstand. On this occasion he leaves plenty of room for his young co-star to excel.” Todd MacCarthy, Hollywood Reporter AT WORST: “There are brief flashes of something worthwhile...but it takes so long to get there.” Hannah Woodhead, Little White Lies

Parasite Dir: Bong Joon-ho Set in South Korea, a class divide emerges the destitute Kim clan engage with the wealthy Park family. AT BEST: “You expect the whole enterprise to come crashing down around his ears, but this is a filmmaker in total control of his craft.” Ed Potton, The Times AT WORST: “It can’t precisely be labelled a comedy, a thriller, nor a socially conscious drama.” The Age 18

Credits, from top to bottom: David Hindley, courtesy of LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions; Francois Duhamel © Twentieth Century Fox; Larry Horricks; Courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment

Disney’s controversial satire sees a young boy mentored by his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler.


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Critique OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101




urrently running for a limited season in London’s West End until January 5 at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Ian McKellen on Stage sees the actor mix anecdotes with acting, with all profits from the show benefiting theatre charities. “There is clearly in McKellen an inherited campaigning zeal”, says Michael Billington of The Guardian. “While he laments the passing of the permanent rep ensemble, he also demonstrates its shortcomings: evoking the 80-year-old butler he once played in Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee, he lapses into a form of quivering antiquity hilariously at odds with his own octogenarian vitality.” Steph Campbell from The Boar pens, “The true highlight for myself was the second act, in which McKellen asked the audience to name all of Shakespeare’s plays. Having them all in front of him, there was not a single play where he did not have something to say. Whether performing entire scenes… or sharing stories and facts from other performances he had seen over the years. A true Shakespearean actor, the audience managed to name all of the plays, and McKellen truly shone in his enthusiasm and passion for Shakespearean theatre.” Having had a standing-room-only run in London, Jamie Llyod’s direction of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal moves to Broadway, where it plays at New York’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre until December 8. Says Dominic Cavendish of The Telegraph. “Llyod takes pains to emphasise the piece’s radical daring – its exposure of inmost agonies, however meticulously veiled by English understatement and an affectation of insouciance...Funny, sharp, oddly nasty, and memorably anguished, Lloyd’s Betrayal is fully faithful to a theatrical landmark.” Marylin Stasio from Variety astutely observes, “Thanks to the precision of Lloyd’s direction, our eyes are always focused on the proper bit of minimalist action – a quick sideways glance, a casual crossing of the legs – while our heads are occupied with


Credit: Pip / Camera Press

Pinter’s layered thoughts. Of all Pinter’s often-puzzling work, this play is the one that clearly speaks to you, thinks for you, and may even feel for you.” An impressed Michael Billington of The Guardian writes, “After a brilliant season of Pinter’s short plays we now get his full-length study of the complex mathematics of betrayal. But, while Tom Hiddleston is the big draw and gives a fine performance, what is striking is the spartan purity of Jamie Lloyd’s production. Of the many versions of the play I’ve seen over the past 40 years this one goes furthest in stripping the action of circumstantial detail.” Booking to November 2 at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre, The Son sees director Michael Longhurst and designer Lizzie Clachan do

a “genuinely beautiful job,” says Andrzej Lukowski of Time Out London, “The set is a sort of elegant sitting room with white-panelled walls that get trashed, graffitied, tidied up and trashed again in line with the shifting emotional state of Nicolas, a depressed teen whose continued refusal to attend school is driving his divorced parents Pierre and Anne to their wits’ end.” Greg Stewart of Theatre Weekly dives deep into the play’s portrayal of mental illness, “Anyone who has experienced, or been affected by, depression will see that this play is a shockingly accurate representation of not just the illness, but the attitudes and miscomprehension that so often surrounds it. The Son is more than a play, it’s a lesson that all we all need to learn, and the sooner the better.”

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Critique OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101


he Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina is an outstanding example of investigative journalism, illuminating some of the darkest corners of a world we often don’t think about…” says Gabino Iglesias of NP. “What he (Urbina) found ranges from horrible to shocking and from unfair to unbelievable… a magnificent read… proof that outstanding writing is still one of the best tools we have to get to know the world we live in.” Blair Braverman from The New York Times Book Review praises, “These chapters are vibrant as individual stories, but as a collection they’re transcendent, rendering a complex portrait of an unseen and disturbing world. Urbina pursues a depth of reportage that’s rare because of the guts and diligence it requires… The result is not just a fascinating read, but a truly important document… It is a master class in journalism.” “From The New Yorker’s beloved cultural critic comes a bold, unflinching collection of essays about self-deception, examining everything from scammer culture to reality television,” says Esquire of Jai Tollentino’s Trick Mirror. “It isn’t hyperbolic to say that Tolentino could be the Joan Didion of our time”, reckons an enraptured


Maris Kreizman of Vulture. “Writing about feminism, vaping, popular music, religion, and violent assault with equal amounts of ease and insight. In her debut essay collection, the writer unveils nine new pieces that help cement her place in the essayist canon. She’s an expert in the sweet spot where contemporary politics and youth culture meet and make out.” Kirkus Reviews hails Tolentino’s works as, “Exhilarating, groundbreaking essays that should establish Tolentino as a key voice of her generation.” While Adam White from The Independent notes, “At the end of each of her essays here, Tolentino struggles to discern any real answers. In some cases, she’s almost fatalistic, acknowledging the likelihood of social and economic collapse, or the pointlessness of speculating about things that are, whether we acknowledge them or not, here already. But there is something deeply comforting about the fact that for every ponderous and neurotic question we ask ourselves about the internet or capitalism or how to live and breathe in 2019, somewhere out there is Tolentino, if far more eloquent and thoughtful than we could ever be, asking them too.”

The Suspect by Fiona Barton Is “a nail-biting tale of missing teens and the parents who worry for them. Fiona Barton’s first two novels, The Widow and The Child, were international bestsellers…. The Suspect deserves equal success. It’s…expertly written…. Barton’s characterizations are exceptional,” writes Patrick Anderson of The Washington Post. Shari Lapena, a fellow New York Times bestseller for The Couple Next Door, says the story is, “Utterly engrossing…I lived inside this book for two days— and I’m still thinking about it. Superb!”. “Barton’s classic use of short chapters and multiple narratives keep the reader on edge, helping to move the story along at a brisk pace,” pens Mary Cadden of USA Today, “Her ability to sustain the tension while not overwhelming the reader is to be applauded. And, as with her earlier works, Barton’s skill in weaving both unexpected yet believable twists and turns right up to the final page is commendable. Library Journal hails Barton as, “a stunning storyteller. Her career as a journalist has helped make this story terrifyingly real. Every turn of the plot feels authentic and very scary.”

Credit: Penguin Random House



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Critique OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101




t would be hard to think of a more beguiling show than the Olafur Eliasson survey In Real Life at Tate Modern,” says Laura Cumming of The Guardian. “It opens with a waterfall of spectacular proportions and continues with a journey through the elements, including – literally – Earth, sea and fire. Anyone who remembers lying dazed beneath Eliasson’s gigantic glowing sun in the Turbine Hall, in 2003, will know how hypnotic the Danish-Icelandic artist’s work can be. The scale is more modest here, but no less mesmerizing.” Less impressed of its scenesetting waterfall, Ben Luke of the London Evening Standard says of the exhibition, which runs until January 5 at the London institution, “There are weaker moments, such as the waterfall outside Tate Modern; which lacks Eliasson’s profound sensory and emotional power. But that’s abundant in the other installations, which distil his ideas about nature and science meeting art, the idea of ‘seeing yourself sensing’, engaging with others around you, hitting an emotional pitch.” Rosemary Waugh from Time Out London was full of praise, however: “…When Eliasson captures the monumental power of nature it’s for a specific reason: to make it explicitly clear that THIS – this glorious, miraculous planet with its winds, rains and rocks – is precisely what we’re systematically destroying by letting it melt, crack and fall apart. This is epic environmentalism and, yes, it’s sublime.” At sister gallery Tate Britain, an exhibition of William Blake’s work is showing until February 2, 2020. Of it, Johnathan Jones of The Guardian says, “In this exhibition you will see images that look death and suffering in the eye and still believe in a redeemed humanity… To see this show in all its variety and generosity and not love him (Blake), you would 24

need a heart as wizened and shrunken as the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar who crawls below the ocean in one of his most coruscating images.” Alastaire Sooke from The Telegraph had mixed feelings, “Blake’s visions of the underworld, teeming with wraiths and satanic legions, like poorly paid extras, are hokey as, well, hell. What, then, makes Blake worth revisiting? I’ll tell you: in one dominion of art – the ability to invent – he reigns supreme. Blake wasn’t a ‘painter’, in the sense that his Romantic contemporaries Constable and Turner were painters. He lacked the virtuosic touch of, say, the brilliant portraitist Thomas Lawrence... but, boy, was he blessed with a powerful imagination.” Of Takis, at Tate Modern until October 27, Eddy Frankel of Time Out London writes, “Takis has made art out of what our world became after the war. There are ideas about Zen Buddhism and meditation here, but more than anything this

work feels like the product of a collapsed society. Draw whatever conclusions you want with the present day, this is just impressive, and very tense, modern sculpture.” Johnathan Jones from The Guardian remarks, “Takis wants to show us the true beauty of the universe and he keeps at it, like a teacher repeating the same lesson until it sinks in. This is a lesson we need more than ever… Takis is like a curious child who won’t stop investigating what we jaded adults take for granted.” Ben Luke of the London Evening Standard says, “Many works have a more reductive, sometimes menacing machine aesthetic… But Takis has also made dramatic, enveloping gestures, most clearly in the Musicals and Musical Sphere, where different mechanisms – in the latter work, a huge aluminium ball – hit amplified strings. The sound, at times cacophonous, at others drone-like, is magnificent.”

Credit: Radar (detail) 1960 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2019. Photo: Fay Zervos. From Takis at Tate Modern.

Art & Design OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

A Worthy Wall Hazel Plush on London’s new all-female focused gallery Boogie Wall



t shouldn’t be news, but – remarkably, outrageously – it is. There shouldn’t be any barriers to break down, but – sadly, typically – there are. Even in the progressive spheres of London’s art world, the launch of an all-female gallery is an event that captures attention, that provokes conversation. But it shouldn’t. If the world was an equal place, Boogie Wall would slip right under the radar. Name three of the world’s bestknown artists. How many of them are women? That’s the problem that Boogie Wall – London’s new all-female art space – is addressing head-on. “I want to break down boundaries formed by gender, race and class,” says its founder and curator Joe, who has staked her career on her principles. “Through art, we can challenge many topics, spark conversation, and create a progressive discourse of equality.” In fairness, 2019 has been a promising year for London’s female art scene, with some truly standout exhibitions: we’ve had Dorothea Tanning at Tate Modern, Lee Krasner’s Living Colour at the Barbican, and Cindy Sherman at National Portrait Gallery. At Tate Britain, Sixty Years will showcase works by the likes of Mona Hatoum, Sarah Lucas and Bridget Riley until April 2020 – one of the capital’s largest celebrations of female artists since… ever. It’s a step forward, yes, but just a tiny one. According to research by The Guardian, female artists account for just 4% of the National Gallery of Scotland’s collection; 20% of the Whitworth Manchester’s, and 35% of Tate Modern’s. On the international stage, the figures are just as depressing: male artists dominate 83% of Lisson Gallery’s solo shows (London and New York), 88% of Gagosian’s shows (New York), 76% of White Cube’s 26

These pages, clockwise from left: Past and Present, Alice Herbst; Tahiti, Nasuma Leuba Mosque; The Twilight Zone, Delphine Diallo

shows (London and Hong Kong), and 59% of Victoria Miro’s shows (London, Venice, New York). Boogie Wall, then, is a real barrierbreaker. Launching during London’s Frieze international art festival, it will exhibit contemporary pieces produced exclusively by women of all nationalities, backgrounds and artistic disciplines. Choosing to inhabit temporary spaces rather than a traditional permanent gallery, Boogie Wall will open its first show – entitled Notre Dame/Our Lady – on October 4, at a studio in Mayfair. At an exhibition preview, I was heartened to see that Boogie showcases some truly stellar talent: Notre Dame/Our Lady is an inquisitive, provocative show that progresses the gender conversation through the work of three artists. Swiss-Guinean photographer Namsa Leuba explores the sexualisation of Polynesian women with non-binary models: her images are 27


These pages, clockwise from left: Window Shopping, Alice Herbst; Shiva, Delphine Diallo; Tahiti. Namsa Leuba


lush, full of tropical colours and island foliage, but her ‘hula girls’ are strong and striking – with homogeneous, androgynous figures. They’re exotic and alluring, but not fetishised for their femininity. It’s a joyful moment. So too is The Divine Connection by Delphine Diallo: an image of a model covered in stars, moons and glittering celestial forms – though she is no fawning fairytale princess. Her eyes are dark, her stance firmly rooted, and her gaze defiant. Diallo, a French-Senegalese photographer and visual artist, was once a protégé of Peter Beard – whose photographs of Africa brought him great fame in the 1960s. Viewed through modern eyes, Beard’s ouvre contains some cringeworthy moments: think bare-breasted models draped over African wildlife, or posing provocatively beside acacia trees. One feels like high-fiving Diallo for usurping the tropes of her mentor. “It’s so important to build a gallery like Boogie Wall – a supportive, ground-breaking space for female artists, with a new kind of vision for those who have been dismissed by the mainstream art world,” says Diallo, who as well as building an impressive art portfolio has shot editorial assignments for Vogue, The New York Times, The New Yorker and VICE. Hers is certainly a name to watch The pieces by Swedish painter Alice Herbst, the final artist in Boogie Wall’s inaugural trio, are – in my opinion – harder to decipher. The show’s programme notes say her sketches and paintings of glamorous vintagestyle scenes ‘channel Alfred Hitchcock and Lucian Freud,’ but I couldn’t quite fathom Herbst’s intentions. Why, I ask Joe, is now the right time to launch Boogie Wall? “Male artists still have more visibility in the art world and are largely prioritised over female artists,” she says. Those Guardian figures spring to mind. “Female art exhibitions are often used as a marketing tactic within institutions, rather than being seen as a vital, necessary part of their exhibition programmes,” she continues. “This is something that has to stop.” I’m not sure I agree that London’s female-led exhibitions are simply marketing ploys – for the most part, they’re enlightening, inspiring, and

love unconventional artists who are not ‘ Iafraid to work differently, challenge the audience and to disturb ’ have enjoyed great critical acclaim – but positive discrimination is, of course, another hazard of our times. “Something is going wrong in our society,” Joe continues. “Women’s place in the arts often becomes a race, gender or class issue. Boogie Wall is all about making the artists and their work more visible, and it’s crucial to create more of these spaces.” Having spent much of her career in luxury fashion and interior design in Switzerland, Joe has a razor-sharp eye for aesthetics – and business. She specialised in private jet and yacht

design: not a conventional path to curatorship perhaps, but perhaps that’s what the gallery scene needs right now. “In the art world, gender disparity is pronounced in all aspects of the market that define the career of an artist, such as securing commercial representation or having solo exhibitions,” she says. “It is essential to reduce this disparity and support all artists – no matter what their gender.” Bravo to that. Boogie Wall’s inaugural exhibition, Notre Dame/Our Lady, will open on October 4. 50 Brook Street, Mayfair. 29

Timepieces OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

Ones to Watch Ahead of the Only Watch charity auction in Geneva, Christie’s watch specialist Remy Julia previews the top timepieces on show in Dubai WORDS: LARA BRUNT AIR


t is one of the most anticipated events in the horological world. Every two years, the world’s leading watchmakers create one-of-a-kind timepieces exclusively for Only Watch, a charity auction that raises funds for neuromuscular disease research. The eighth edition of the prestigious auction will take place on Saturday November 9 in Geneva, under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Ahead of the sale, collectors can view the timepieces at Christie’s salesroom in Dubai International Financial Centre from October 1 to 3. “To own a watch made especially for Only Watch is a privilege and a fantastic reference for collectors,” says Remy Julia, Christie’s regional watch specialist. “Two years ago, when we showcased Only Watch for the first time in Dubai, we could have continued for days. Collectors from various generations were really enthusiastic and some even travelled to the auction in Geneva to bid in person.” The auction was established in 2005 by Luc Pettavino, a former managing director of the Monaco Yacht Show, after his son Paul was diagnosed with Duchene muscular dystrophy. Previous


editions have raised more than US$40 million for much-needed research into the devastating disease, which primarily affects young boys. This year’s sale features 50 timepieces donated by 52 brands, including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille, and collaborations from De Bethune and Urwerk, MB&F and L’Epee 1839. “The watches are all unique and they are all supporting a great cause – that makes them very special and worthwhile collecting,” says Julia. “We really want to surpass US$10 million on November 9.” The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010 in steel – normally available only in white gold – is predicted to cause a sensation. “The potential result is already the topic of many conversations,” Julia says. “It has a gorgeous salmon dial on one side, plus a black ebony one on the other. It’s possibly the world’s only grande sonnerie in steel, and its chimes would be just as unique.” F.P. Journe’s contribution is also expected to fetch one of the highest sums in Geneva. “Offering two time zones as well as sidereal time and the equation of time, this very special



Middle Eastern collectors will go any mile to secure his or her dream watch

piece is one helluva watch,” says Julia. “There’s also a one-minute tourbillon, annual calendar, zodiac calendar, sunset/sunrise, and more. F.P. Journe typically debuts new complications at the Only Watch auction, so this is definitely one to watch.” The retro Breguet Type 20 is another lot sure to attract attention among bidders. “A tribute to Breguet’s Type 20 Chronograph from the 1950s, this 38.3mm watch comes with a bronze coloured dial and a vintage 13-ligne Valjoux Calibre 235. So it’s not just aesthetically faithful but mechanically, too. This movement is a direct descendent of the 14-ligne Valjoux 222 that Breguet used back then,” Julia explains. Other pieces will be coveted, not only for their originality, but for the unique experiences they come with. The Zenith El Primero A386 Revival is a case in point: the one-of-a-kind white gold timepiece is the only model with a turquoise/bluish subdial – a nod to Only Watch’s colour theme for 32

2019. “More important, it comes with a lifetime warranty including service and an invitation to tour the factory,” says Julia. Meanwhile, collaborations by some of most avant-garde names in watchmaking will excite aficionados of contemporary horology. Collectors have so far only seen a sketch of the De Bethune + Urwerk Moon Satellite, so it will undoubtedly attract interest when it is unveiled in Dubai. “This unique timepiece is a complex interaction of mechanisms specific to De Bethune and Urwerk. Just the sheer fact that two brands are working together to support Only Watch is a testimony to the great work and importance Luc Pettavino has gained in the watch world,” says Julia. Fans of inventive table clocks, meanwhile, will enjoy MB&F’s collaboration with Swiss clockmaker L’Epée – the eleventh between the two marques. The clock represents the story of Tom, a child struck by illness who goes on an adventure with his friend T-Rex. “The dial is made of Murano

glass, with curved hour and minute hands. Tom sits above, holding a smaller sphere of Murano glass,” says Julia. Collectors can view all 50 timepieces at the Dubai event, and Christie’s expects strong interest from the Middle East on auction day. “The passion for collecting unique, modern and vintage watches is very dominant in the region and a Middle Eastern collector will go any mile to secure his or her dream watch,” says Julia. Founder Luc Pettavino will also be at the roadshow, which kicked off in Monaco last month and will visit ten cities including Paris, London, New York and Singapore. “I am grateful to all the watchmaking groups and independent brands participating in this edition, demonstrating dedication and heart through their creativity and craftmanship,” says Pettavino. “This year’s auction promises to be, once again, record-breaking.” On view from October 1-3 at Christie’s Dubai,

Opening page: Tom& T-Rex’, cocreated by MB&F and L’Epée 183 Left: Voutilainen TP1 pocket watch This page: Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010




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



C O M È T E N E C K L A C E Gabrielle Chanel once famously remarked, “I want to cover women with stars! Stars of all sizes…” An emblem of Chanel, the shooting star, representing movement and freedom, has featured heavily in the maison’s collections since its very first - Bijoux de 1

Diamants, in 1932. Paying homage to those cosmic beginnings, the Comète necklace delicately sits on the décolletage, marrying 18K white and yellow gold with diamonds and harking back to the Chanel of many moons ago.



B L A K E L O W -T O P S N E A K E R S

Standing its ground this autumn, the playfully large chunky statement trainer is bringing its new-wave step into the new season. Sporty yet chic, these contrastingly colourful shoes are an ode to the ‘vintage in the future’ of Ramsay-Levi’s Chloé aesthetic. This low-

top sneaker is crafted in a mix of materials including suede calfskin and features a large rubber sole reminiscent of a hiking boot. The look? A nonchalant trainer that complements a versatile wardrobe while making a confident statement. 2




Proving that all that glitters is most certainly gold – albeit with a dash of black onyx crystal. This jewelled satchel from McQueen is the perfect party piece. Taking inspiration from the natural world, the satchel is fashioned from quilted lambskin leather and

features four stand-out embellished jewels, including the house’s ‘lucky charm’ spider. Each jewel is set on onyx with antique gold hardware. Exclusive to the Alexander McQueen boutique in The Dubai Mall, the satchel is available in two sizes. 3





C U S T O M L I N E 1 0 6’ Clean-cut lines and a minimalist design ensure the simple sophistication of this Francesco Paskowski-designed yacht. The interconnected floor makes for a fine feature, creating a visually appealing architectural balance between the interior

and exterior. Of the former, the main deck’s full-height windows cast light on the fullbeam master cabin; four standard cabins on the lower deck; two VIP cabins amidships; and the two twin rooms forward, all with en-suite bathrooms. 5




Paying tribute to post-war optimism, Vacheron Constantin has reissued its emblematic Cornes de Vache model. Originally released in 1955 in limited numbers, it was the manufacture’s first water-resistant chronograph and has

remained coveted by collectors ever since. Its 1142 chronograph calibre, with the Côtes de Genève on its back, can be seen through a transparent sapphire crystal caseback, while the grey velvet finish opaline dial is highlighted by dark red numerals. 6




Famous for her digital trompe l’oeil prints and feminine silhouettes, Katrantzou creates pieces that blend art and wearable fashion to an unflinchingly vibrant yet elegant outcome. Katrantzou’s exclusive capsule collection with The Outnet

showcases 14 styles in a signature print that has been redesigned into four custom colour blends. For the stand-out piece, the Queen of Prints has created a coat that demands attention, by way of its pansyinspired pattern and daring fuchsia colour. 7




Debuted on the FW19/20 runway, the Eden handbag is Givenchy’s new day-to-night statement piece. Inspired by paradise, hence the name, the Eden was designed to evoke a feeling of temptation, with its bold graphics and exotic finishing featuring, of course,

the iconic Givenchy buckle. Coming in a selection of sizes, with varying strap lengths, this distinctly shaped bag with overarching handles will continue to be customisable, as interchangeable straps will be released as part of future collections. 8

Timepieces OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

Dress to Impress AIR’s columnist Tariq Malik on the unmatched elegance of a simple dress watch


atchmakers love their complications. From fly-back chronographs, to minute repeaters and grande sonneries – horology is like a complex, miniature world of intricate engineering. It’s ironic, then, that the real mark of excellence can often be found in simplicity, rather than complexity. The most perfect dress watch, in my view, is often the simplest. In watchmaking history, it was the influence of the Bauhaus design movement that inspired some of the most unassuming, and also the most elegant watches of all time. Mies van der Rohe, an innovative German architect and the last director of the famous school of design, famously declared that ‘less is more’, and Bauhaus was not just a design style but a philosophy and a brand-new way of thinking. Perhaps they, in turn, were inspired by the much earlier mystic of the Zen tradition. About five hundred years before the Bauhaus movement, Zen artists in Japan were already applying the concept of minimalism in Zen arts, which most of us will recognize in the form of a Zen garden. Beauty and simplicity are inseparable. So in keeping with that spirit, I’ve selected three vintage dress watches that I believe most perfectly express the idea of ‘less is more.’ Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96 in steel If anyone understands complication, it has to be Patek Philippe, makers of the world’s most complicated watch (that is, before Vacheron Constantin’s Reference 57260 in 2015). Patek’s Calibre 89 has 33 complications and contains a total of 1728 parts. The Calatrava Reference 96 is a bird of another feather. It was inspired by the Bauhaus principle of form follows function, and the understated, elegant, minimalist

Rolex ‘Precision’ Ref. 8952

design created by David Penney distilled timekeeping right down to its pure essence. Since its introduction in 1932, the design concept has remained virtually unchanged. There are no extras, no unnecessary flourishes, and nothing superfluous. Every tiny element is perfect. The focus is on indicating the time, and only the time, in the clearest and most attractive way possible. Rolex ‘Precision’ Ref. 8952 The Reference 8952 is the dress watch you never imagined would come from Rolex. It was designed in the 1950s, which was an interesting period that ushered in a fresh creative direction for the crown manufacturers. Keep in mind that Rolex pioneered many complicated engineering breakthroughs: like water-resistant cases and automatic movements. In fact, Rolex of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s was flush with extravagant mechanisms. A wave of innovation arrived in the early 1950s, with the 8171 ‘Padellone’ triple calendar moon phase and the 6062 Oystercase – plus many more besides.

Then, unexpectedly, Rolex stepped out of its comfort zone and experimented with minimalist dress watch design. The result was this slim, yellow gold dress watch, which is the epitome of simplicity and elegance. Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso The Reverso collection is a study of classical Bauhaus design at its best. It was introduced more than 80 years ago, but even today it is still entirely faithful to its origins. Even the ingenious rotating case which uses grooves, pins and a clever locking mechanism to allow the central part of the case to rotate 180 degrees, is a study in form following function. It is simultaneously a highly practical and aesthetically elegant design – the best of both worlds. Like Patek Philippe, Jaeger LeCoultre did away with any unnecessary design flourishes to stick to the only important task at hand—displaying the time, legibly. Dubai’s DIFC is home to Momentum, Tariq’s co-founded vintage watch boutique. 35

Jewellery OCTOBER 2019 : ISSUE 101

Family Jewels As Italian jewellery house Buccellati celebrates its 100th anniversary, fourth-generation designer Lucrezia Buccellati chats to AIR about connecting its past to its future and carving her own signature WORDS: LARA BRUNT



iami-born, Milan-raised and New York-based, Lucrezia Buccellati has jewellery in her genes. A century after her greatgrandfather Mario Buccellati founded his eponymous boutique near Milan’s famous La Scala opera house, the 30-year-old is the brand’s first female designer. “In my opinion, the biggest inspiration is that all generations have been able to express themselves through the jewellery,” she says. “As the first female designer, I am excited to continue the tradition through my style.” Buccellati tradition dictates that two generations of designers work together to absorb the DNA of the brand, while also contributing their own design sensibility to allow the house to evolve. “I’m conscious that my family successfully maintains the integrity of the Buccellati style and craftsmanship


through generations,” she says. Each piece is still handcrafted by artisanal families that have worked for the jewellery house for generations, using intricate engraving techniques that date back to the Renaissance. Lucrezia works closely with her Milan-based father, Andrea Buccellati, who is responsible for the creative direction of the brand, just as he worked alongside his own father, Gianmaria Buccellati. “Working with my father can be both hard and easy at the same time,” she admits. “We are very similar in how we get inspired, but we are different in the precision of the design; I would say I am liberal and he is stricter.” Her approach to the creative process changes, depending on whether she’s working on a collection or a oneof-a-kind piece. “When I design a collection, I think about wearable



jewellery, which can stand out day and night, following the new trends,” she says. After analysing the market, she brainstorms with her father and then starts sketching. “For one-of-a-kind pieces, I say to myself that what I am creating is unique and out of the box; it will be a big statement but always keeping a modern touch of Buccellati style,” she says. The Italian marque expanded into the US in the 1950s, opening its first international boutique in New York, but her grandfather Gianmaria is credited with taking Buccellati truly global, opening stores across Asia and Europe in the decades that followed. Lucrezia, meanwhile, is now tasked with injecting youthfulness into the 100-year-old brand. “We live in an era where sporty/chic style has become the norm, versus formal wear. Fine jewellery is being curtailed towards a more wearable and suitable style,” she says. Balancing Buccellati’s heritage with 21stcentury trends may sound daunting, but the young designer is sanguine about the challenge facing her. “The balance is very natural because each generation, from my great-grandfather to me, incorporate new trends into the Buccellati style,” she says. Lucrezia joined the family firm in 2014, after studying at one of Milan’s top design schools, followed by the Italian Institute of Gemology and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. She immediately made her mark, unveiling gold-and-diamond iPad cases featuring rigato etching – a technique whereby lines are cut in parallel to create a silky sheen – and Buccellati’s first-ever line of engagement rings, with each design named after a noted literary heroine. The house had been creating custom engagement rings for decades, but the Romanza collection combined Buccellati’s fabled engraving with a modern, lighter touch. The company has been quick to react to the changing dynamics of the highend jewellery market. It has expanded into China and embraced e-commerce, launching on Net-a-Porter in 2017 and becoming one of the first high jewellery makers to sell online. The best-selling Opera Colour collection, meanwhile, aims to appeal to a younger 38

audience that favours more informal fine jewellery. The collection features a recurring floral motif, borrowed from Renaissance design, inlaid with semiprecious stones such as pink opal, lapis and onyx. Buccellati has always been popular with royalty and A-listers, but millennials such as Rhianna and Jessica Biel have also discovered the brand, stacking Buccellati bracelets and layering necklaces. Lucrezia adopts a similar experimental approach. “I like to wear jewels in a minimal way during my daily life. I usually like to play with chokers and necklaces, but often I like to go over the edge,” she says. A keen horsewoman and mother of two young boys (her husband, David Wildenstein, is the scion of the Wildenstein art dynasty), Lucrezia says her lifestyle also influences her designs. “I always tend to create effortlessly wearable jewellery, which follow trends but always keeping them timeless,” Lucrezia says. She describes her pieces, and the women who wear them, as “progressive, yet modern and chic.” To celebrate the centenary of Buccellati, the jewellery house has developed the Buccellati-cut diamond. Resembling a flower, with 57 facets cut to optimise its brilliance and sparkle, the signature-cut stone features in pendant necklaces, bracelet cuffs, earrings and rings. Among the exquisite pieces is the Elsa Eternelle ring, where a Buccellati-cut diamond sits in a rigato-engraved bezel on a band of fancy yellow and white diamonds, while the Sterlizia rigatoengraved cuff features three openwork rosettes, inspired by the bird of paradise flower, inlaid with Buccellaticut diamonds and further enhanced by ornato engraving. Buccellati has also curated a Vintage Collection featuring 200 one-of-akind creations – half are offered for sale, while others will be returned to the archive – and opened a new flagship boutique in Paris on Rue St-Honoré. “We have just opened two new boutiques in the Middle East too, including in Kuwait City,” Lucrezia says, adding to the brand’s presence in the region in Dubai and Beirut. For this venerable Italian brand, the future looks bright indeed.

Fine jewellery is being curtailed towards a more wearable and suitable style

Opening pages, from left: Leo Pendant, Vintage Collection; Lucrezia Buccellati These pages, left to right: Orologio, Buccellati-cut diamonds; a craftsman works on a Cnosso Pendant



Joaquin Phoenix relished playing the unhinged comic book villain in Joker. Will it finally win him the Oscar he deserves? WORDS: SUZY MALOY AND LARA BRUNT


oaquin Phoenix is famous for his intense commitment to roles. He learnt to play the guitar in Johnny Cash’s unique style for Walk the Line, had his jaw wired partly shut by a dentist for his role in The Master, and even pretended – for 18 long months – that he had abandoned acting and become a rapper for the mockumentary I’m Still Here. For his titular role in Joker, director Todd Phillips’ critically acclaimed new film that charts the formative years of Batman’s arch nemesis, Phoenix lost nearly 24 kilograms to help him get into character. “It turns out that affects your psychology. You start to go mad when you lose that amount of weight in a short space of time,” he says. The 44-year-old actor also spent hours studying videos of people suffering from pathological laughter, a disorder marked by bursts of uncontrollable and inappropriate laughing. Perfecting his laugh – a hysterical screech with an almost painful undercurrent – wasn’t easy, he admits, but was absolutely crucial for the role. “The second time I met Todd, I wanted him to audition my laugh,” he says. “It was important to me that I could do it. And to be honest it was more difficult than I thought. I tried to do it, and I struggled. But I could feel there was the potential for something there. It took shooting for a couple weeks until we got it right.” While the mythology of the Joker is familiar, the original 40



DC Comics never really explored the character’s origins in great depth, allowing the filmmakers freedom to interpret his backstory in their own way. The result is more character-driven psychological thriller – dark, disturbing and fiendishly good – than traditional comic-book fare. Set in a crime-ridden Gotham City in the early 1980s, Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, a clown-for-hire and aspiring stand-up comedian struggling to find his place in society. Depressed and frustrated by his failures, Fleck begins a slow dissent into madness as he becomes the murderous Clown Prince of Crime. Phillips pays homage to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, both starring Robert De Niro as social outcasts with deep-rooted psychological problems, and, as another nod to the latter, De Niro even pops up as a late-night TV host who is instrumental in Fleck’s evolution from troubled young man to future super villain. With Batman nowhere to be seen, the film is more nuanced than good versus evil. Boldly, it invites the audience to feel sympathy for the antagonist, a mentallyill man who is ignored, ridiculed and abused, while always reminding us that he is horrifyingly evil. “The way I look at him is somebody who had experienced a lot of trauma, and a world that doesn’t really know how to deal with it, so they just end up medicating him. I didn’t really approach him as mentally ill, but I do think he was a true narcissist,” Phoenix says. It was more than six weeks into filming before Phoenix shot a scene as the Joker. “I was terrified,” he admits. “But in hindsight it all made perfect sense. When I was Joker, I started to understand Arthur in a different way. Todd really created this amazing creative space where we could make mistakes. It was great that we weren’t so much on the clock to develop this character. We discovered a lot about the Joker while on set.” Joker premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 31, earning an eight-minute standing ovation from the audience and rave reviews from critics. The film won the top prize at the festival, and Phoenix’s brilliant 42

physical performance has also sparked strong awards buzz. Although he’s been nominated for an Oscar three times – for Best Supporting Actor in Gladiator in 2001, and Best Actor in Walk the Line in 2006 and The Master in 2013 – Phoenix has never taken home the golden statuette. Born in 1974, Phoenix had an unconventional upbringing with hippy parents who travelled across the Americas working as missionaries. By the time he was five, the family had moved to Los Angeles; his mother, now working as a secretary to the head of casting at NBC, set about turning the children – River, Rain, Leaf (as Joaquin was then known), Liberty and Summer – into stars. River hit the big time first, nominated for an Oscar in 1989, while Joaquin garnered attention for his role in Parenthood that same year. After his brother died of an overdose in 1993, Joaquin emerged from his shadow and won critical acclaim for his role alongside Nicole Kidman in To Die For. His performance as the paranoid young emperor in Gladiator in 2000 sealed his reputation as one of the most compelling actors of his generation. Phoenix is deft at playing unhinged characters, but admits he was initially reluctant to take on one of pop culture’s most iconic villains. “When they approached me, I thought no way I am going to do this. I always thought there was opportunity to explore more with these kind of characters that have not yet been explored. I have not seen it in other comic book movies,” says Phoenix. The Joker has been depicted numerous times on film and television, most famously by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, who was posthumously awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal in The Dark Knight a decade ago. Phoenix made a conscious decision not to watch past characterisations, nor did he read the original comics. “As we began doing the research, I thought I wanted to go my own way. I didn’t want to be influenced by any other comics or any of that,“ he says. “I tried to approach it from the inside as a man, and not from the approach of this iconic super villain that everybody knows. I felt




Interview: Suzy Maloy / The Interview People

I had a lot of freedom to find my version of the Joker.” Why does he think the Joker is such an enduring character? “I don’t know. Some of it is just that he looks cool. But maybe there is a certain irreverence about things that he displays. Everybody has different appreciations for him,” Phoenix muses. The actor worked with a choreographer to hone the Joker’s giddy malevolence. “We started watching these videos and one in particular really moved me. It wasn’t the dance, so much as the attitude that I liked. The arrogance was what I stole; that was where Joker comes out,” he says. “This idea of metamorphosis was intriguing to me. Who is this guy, and how did he become who he is? It was almost some kind of interpretive dance.” Despite the febrile intensity of playing such a character, the actor revelled in the process. “I want to say it was super hard, but I had a ball,” Phoenix says. “I would show up at set two hours early to just sit in the trailer and talk about it.” “It stayed with me every night after work for another two or three hours,” he continues. “I also didn’t really have a life at that time because I couldn’t go out to eat. I didn’t socialise at all. The person I interacted with was my director. That became my world. It was nonstop. That’s the best for me, I like working like that.” The film includes plenty of dark social commentary – disaffected white men, mass gun violence, lack of empathy – and is not without controversy; some critics feel Phillips has been too sympathetic in his depiction of the homicidal clown. “Is Joker celebratory or horrified?” asked Vanity Fair’s chief critic, Richard Lawson. “I like it that people are being challenged to different issues,” says Phoenix. “I don’t think Todd was making just one statement. I like that there weren’t any easy answers to these issues. I hope it brings up these feelings in the audience. Everybody felt differently about his motivations on set, too.” With the director already talking about a sequel, would Phoenix reprise the role? “That’s tough to answer. It really depends on the audience, doesn’t it?” he reflects. Whatever the outcome, Joker might well have the last laugh come awards season. 45

As a re t Londo rospective o n, AIR f the w ch o trailbl ats to curat rk of Zandra azing o design r Dennis No Rhodes op en er ’s 50 th years druft abou s in WORDS in : LARA f a s hion t the BRUNT







When Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli began working on his first, highly-anticipated collection after his long-time design partner left for Dior in 2016, he turned to flamboyant British designer Dame Zandra Rhodes for inspiration. Piccioli’s spring 2017 ready-to-wear collection featured Rhodes’ signature bold prints, drawn from Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, in every shade of pink imaginable. “She’s my icon,” Piccioli explained backstage, flanked by mood boards pinned with images of the magenta-haired designer. As Rhodes chalks up five decades in the notoriously fickle fashion industry, the acclaimed Valentino collaboration underscores just how relevant she continues to be. Her influence can be seen in the work of contemporary fashion and textile designers such as Mary Katrantzou, Alice Temperley and Matthew Williamson, while she has been tapped to work with brands as diverse as Royal Doulton, Mac and Ikea. Celebrity fans include Helen Mirren, Barbara Streisand and Sarah Jessica Parker, while collectors of vintage Zandra Rhodes pieces include designers Tom Ford and Anna Sui and supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. “She’s been going for 50 years, but I don’t think Zandra is in or out of fashion; if people love her, they really love her,” says Dennis Nothdruft, curator of a new exhibition of her work at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. “She has always approached it almost like an extended kind of performance art, and I think that is her key: she just does what she does.” Rhodes’ personal style, meanwhile, has always reflected the flamboyant quality of her designs: that pink bob, theatrical make-up and layers of jewellery. “She has always used herself as a canvas, she personifies what she does, and I think she is quite radical in that sense,” says Nothdruft. On show until January, Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous presents the avant-garde prints and era-defining garments, worn by the likes of Freddie Mercury, Diana Ross and Princess Diana, that have sealed her place in fashion history. “I was really clear that it needed to be 48

a full retrospective,” says Nothdruft, who has worked alongside Rhodes for more than 25 years, first as a design assistance and later as head of exhibitions at the museum she founded in 2003 next to her London atelier. “A lot of people focus on her early career in the Sixties and Seventies, and she really reflects fashion history through those decades. But the idea was to show the scope of what Zandra has done over her 50-year career, from when she founded the company in 1969 up to contemporary times,” he says. Delving into Rhodes’ extensive and immaculately catalogued archive, Nothdruft was struck by how fresh some of the designs felt. “She was creating these quite extraordinary dresses and the scale of her prints is amazing. We’re reminded how innovative, how beautiful, and how distinctively her own, they were,” he says. The exhibition features 50 looks in the main gallery – one from each year of Rhodes’ career – ranging from a 1969 ankle-length kaftan, screen-printed in silk chiffon to a fan-pleated jumpsuit in a shimmery satin from 2018. “You can see the evolution from very experimental things to becoming more and more fine – they’re always beautifully made, but they start to become more what we would consider beautiful dresses,” says Nothdruft. “But always the idea is about the print or the printed textile. There’s very few that don’t have a print on them.” In the mezzanine gallery, visitors wander through a forest of iconic chiffon prints, which hang in rows from floor to ceiling. Next up, Rhodes’ groundbreaking costumes for the English National Opera’s 2007 production of Aida; previous productions of Verdi’s Egyptian extravaganza often featured white nightdresses so, in typical style, the designer opted for a palette of gold, turquoise and ultramarine inspired by her Secrets of the Nile collection from the Eighties. “The thing with fashion is, at the end of the day, you have to sell a garment. But for opera, she really could just be creative and absorb the essence of the opera, and then come up with something quite extraordinary,” says Nothdruft. “She wasn’t making fashion, she was making an artistic

product, and it was just this amazing Zandra-Rhodes-world come to life.” Meanwhile, a collection of Rhodes’ original sketches of daily life and her distinctive fashion drawings offer insight into her design process. They are displayed alongside specially commissioned masks by milliner Piers Atkinson. “Zandra has a very distinctive vision. It always starts from her observational drawings, then it becomes a printed textile, and she hasn’t really changed that pattern for 50 years,” says Nothdruft. Born in Kent in southeast England in 1940, Rhodes was first exposed to fashion by her mother, who was a garment fitter for a fashion house in Paris and later taught dressmaking. After studying at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s, Rhodes began her career as a textile designer and sold her early Pop Art-influenced prints to the design-led furniture store, Heal’s. Despite this early success, she soon realised her textiles were too

I’ve always wanted people to think they “ were buying into a piece of wearable art ” 49


Opening pages: Zandra Rhodes ‘Cactus Highway’ print, 1976; Dame Zandra Rhodes, by Simon Emmett Previous pages: Z with Pink Hair Pink Nails, archived by Zandra With A Zee; Zandra Rhodes and models at Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall, July 29, 2017, by Louise Roberts. These pages, left to right: Zandra Rhodes SS19 Lookbook, by Bridie O’Sullivan; Zandra Rhodes photo for the poster for the S/S 1986 ‘Spanish Impressions’ collection, by Robyn Beeche

outrageous for many traditional British manufacturers. Undeterred, Rhodes began making floaty dresses from her fabrics and, in 1967, opened a boutique in Chelsea with fellow designer Sylvia Ayton, using a down payment from actress Vanessa Redgrave. She got her big break two years later when Diana Vreeland featured her first collection in US Vogue, worn by actress Natalie Wood and photographed by Richard Avedon. “I was a fabric designer who couldn’t find a job, and I happened upon the world of fashion by chance,” Rhodes once reflected. She approached fashion design differently to her contemporaries, designing the print first, then cutting and forming the garment in response to the fabric on the body. “She hadn’t trained as a pattern cutter or fashion designer, so she was using the shape of the printed pattern as a way of shaping and developing construction in garments,” says Nothdruft. While exotic hand-printed dresses became her signature, Rhodes was also at the forefront of the glam rock, punk and disco aesthetics. Highlyinfluentially collections included 1978’s Conceptual Chic, with its rips, 50

chains and adorned safety pins, and the Renaissance/Gold collection from 1981, with voluminous gold lamé skirts and puffed sleeves inspired by the Elizabethan era. An avid traveller, Rhodes’ globetrotting has given rise to some of her most memorable prints and shapes; today, each garment is still silkscreened, sewn and beaded by hand in her London atelier. “I’ve always wanted people to think they were buying into a piece of wearable art,” she has said. After being made a dame in 2014, Rhodes made a triumphant return to London Fashion Week the following year after a nine-year break, with a collection inspired by the traditional fabrics of Malaysia. She has since presented a handful of collections to considerable critical acclaim. The designer has also teamed up with high-end online retailer, Matches Fashion, to produce a number of archive-inspired collections. In 2016, she revisited ten of her most famous dresses, including Princess Diana’s iconic cherry blossom dress, and has recently collaborated with resort brand Three Graces on a series of bespoke prints inspired

by her celebrated Mexican bananaleaf print from the Seventies. “She influences other designers, but I think what’s been interesting is young designers, not necessarily there the first time she was doing all these amazing things, want to collaborate with her or commission her. They appreciate what she knows and she is seen as quite radical,” says Nothdruft. Alongside the London retrospective, Nothdruft has co-authored a book with the designer, Zandra Rhodes: 50 Fabulous Years in Fashion, which includes essays by the likes of Anna Sui and Suzy Menkes. “It’s interesting because I have my design historian’s view and my ideas is about Zandra’s work. But Zandra’s very articulate about how she works and why she does what she does, which a lot of people aren’t really able to do,” he says. Five decades on, the doyenne of British fashion shows no signs of slowing down. “She just has this amazing energy. It’s quite easy to bend with the times, but Zandra has taught me that if you believe in what you do, somebody eventually will believe in it too,” Nothdruft says. Zandra Rhodes: 50 Years of Fabulous, on show until January 26,


She has always approached fashion almost like an extended kind of performance art and I think that is her key






For his new exhibition, photographer Michael Brennan has brought together his greatest loves – boxing and music – and his images of everyone from John Lennon to Muhammad Ali WORDS: CHRIS ANDERSON


t is a warm September evening in Chelsea, southwest London. I am sat with photographer Michael Brennan outside Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant, right next door to the Iconic Images Gallery, where he is holding an exhibition. I ask him about his upcoming flight to Costa Rica next morning, and it immediately sparks an anecdote. “I flew on a private jet with Led Zeppelin once, from Newark to Detroit,” he says. “Well, it was their private Boeing 720, known as The Starship, which had been customised to suit their needs. I remember being taken to the stateroom, which is where the band would hold court. It even had a working fireplace! “I was with a journalist, heading to the sell-out show at Detroit Olympia Stadium. Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page were friendly, but cautious, as the band weren’t fond of the press, and John Bonham, the drummer, only joined us for a few pics. But the concert itself was 52

amazing, and I was given free access to go anywhere. At one point I was stood with Jimmy Page while a fan in the audience tried to hand him a drink!” Incredible images from the flight and the concert, part of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 tour across North America, hang on the walls of the gallery just a few metres away. In one, there appears to be barely any distance between the audience and the stage, as Jimmy Page leans back under the spotlight, guitar in hand. Next to it are Brennan’s images of other music icons, including John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger and Debbie Harry. Then, further on, we jump into the world of boxing, featuring Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. One particular shot of Ali, looking up during training, his face covered in sweat, hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. Pointing this out leads to another anecdote. “I took that in 1977 up at Deer Lake in Pennsylvania, where Ali had his training camp,” Brennan reveals. “It was 12 days

before he was due to fight Earnie Shavers at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Three sparring partners had been selected for their similarity in size, strength and fighting style to Ali’s opponent. The gym was uncomfortably hot, and Ali’s strenuous workout left him exhausted. He ripped off his headguard and leaned with his head cradled in his arms. “At that moment, an ABC TV cameraman flooded the scene with a bright, piercing light from over my left shoulder. Ali looked up, and at that point I raised my Nikon F2, with the focus racked as close as possible, and the bright strobe and some daylight creeping in. That’s what made the shot. “Some years later, I showed the image to Ali. It was just before his final fight against Trevor Berbick in 1981, the so-called Drama in Bahama. He wasn’t the same fighter then, and should have stopped years ago, which I think he knew. And there he was, looking at this image, tracing his right index finger over the sweat beads and mumbling, ‘All them years, all them years of hard work.’” It comes as no surprise that Brennan




Ali would always come out and do something for the camera, and I’d sell the picture to keep me going for a month

has called his exhibition, very simply, Boxers and Rockers. Brennan admits that it was not his choice to focus on boxing or music in particular, it was just that he was a freelance photographer, having moved to New York from the UK in the early 1970s, and these were the subjects in demand by the British press. “If bands from back home toured the States, I’d get the call, but also Muhammad Ali was very popular in the UK,” he says. “I’d already worked as a photographer for the British tabloids and won awards, but in the US boxing and music became my focus.” Brennan laughs slightly, recalling the stress he would endure after every shoot, getting back home, processing his film and sending it to the UK to meet deadlines, bearing in mind that in New York he was already losing five hours due to the time difference. It meant there was limited time for filing negatives or organising prints, and as a result some of his work has been lost, he believes, indefinitely. “It was always about getting the photos off and onto the next job,” he says. “I wasn’t thinking about an exhibition I might have in the future!” One shoot missing is his first with Muhammad Ali. “It was in 1973, up at Deer Lake, and he’d just lost to Ken Norton – which went the distance, but Norton won on a split decision,” Brennan recalls. “Ali was a bit grumpy, and also mischievous. He wanted to do something spectacular for the photos. He told me, ‘I’m going to cut down a tree.’ So he took his shirt off, and started chopping this tree. I was so busy taking the photos, I didn’t notice the tree coming down towards me – it missed me by a tiny amount!” 55



Lennon and I made up lyrics about drinking tea and sang them to the theme tune of Housewives’ Choice. I remember thinking, this is a bit surreal

Opening pages: Debbie Harry © Michael Brennan Previous pages: Muhammed Ali rests during a sparring session © Michael Brennan Left: John Lennon © Michael Brennan Below: Mike Tyson reacts in the aftermath of his disqualification for biting © Michael Brennan

Brennan clearly has fond memories of Ali, amazed as much by the man himself as he was with his abilities in the ring. “He used to call me The Limey,” Brennan reveals. “If I was ever short of money and the rent was due, I’d get the bus to the training camp and knock on his door. He’d always come out and do something for the camera, and I’d sell the picture to keep me going for a month. “He was so much fun. I mean, he could be terrifying, but he was only having a laugh. One time he was playing with his German shepherd dog, and I told him, ‘Boy, you’re great for pictures.’ He said, ‘What? Did you just call me boy, or was it Roy?’ And he started chasing me.” There are other famous characters that stick in Brennan’s mind. “It was 1973, and I went to photograph John Lennon at a record producer’s house in Los Angeles – even though he was famous, it felt like he was still trying to figure it out,” he says. “We did a few

shots, and then he invited me into the kitchen for a cup of ‘genuine’ English tea, as he described it. I took photos of him drinking it, and we started talking about an old BBC radio programme called Housewives’ Choice. We made up lyrics about drinking tea and sang them to the theme tune of the show. I remember thinking, this is a bit surreal.” He also met the subject of the recent movie, Bohemian Rhapsody. “Queen were playing at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the journalist I was with suggested taking Freddie [Mercury] to an antiques store before the show,” says Brennan. “I took photos of him looking around, humble, quiet and polite – and yet a few hours later, he was the greatest, most incredible frontman in the world.” And what of Mike Tyson? Brennan had such a fondness for Ali, what did he make of the man who took the boxing world by storm a few years after that final Berbick fight? “I’ve washed

the dishes with Mike Tyson, after my first meeting with him in 1985 and a Thanksgiving turkey,” he smiles. “But what a fighter. So intimidating. And like Ali, it all changed for him too. I remember being at the Evander Holyfield fight in 1997, with the famous ear-biting incident. Tyson got frustrated and lost it, and everything kicked off, the crowd were booing and the police stormed the ring – I got thrown over the side! But I managed to get a shot of Tyson from the back confronting the cops, and it made the front page of the New York Daily News.” These days, the knock-outs and rock-outs are no more, and Brennan prefers to spend his time at home with his wife and dogs in Costa Rica. “I love the people there, although my Spanish isn’t very good,” he laughs. “Putting my prints together keeps me half-busy. I hope they’re of interest to some people.” For more info, visit 57



Sentimental Journey

Holiday magazine captured the golden age of travel – and the pinnacle of publishing too. AIR delves into the richly storied archives of America’s greatest travel glossy WORDS: Hazel Plush




oliday magazine is dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. For all of those who see ‘go’ signs on the horizon, for all those who seek to get more sheer living out of life itself…’ – J. Frank Beaman, Holiday ‘editor’s letter’, issue one. It’s March 1946, just six months after the end of the Second World War, and America – like all of the Allied forces – is euphoric. Bloodied, battle-weary, yet hopeful for a brighter future, US citizens have an appetite for ‘sheer living’ like never before. Servicemen are returning home, economic prosperity rosies the air, and the jet age – which will make air travel more accessible than ever – is just beginning. Freedom has never tasted so sweet. In Philadelphia, a small editorial team works on the first issue of Holiday, a new travel magazine designed to capture this golden zeitgeist. After years of reporting on the most gruelling, grisly current affairs, America’s writers and publishers are craving cloudless skies and golden sands too – indeed, they need Holiday just as much as their readers. ‘Doctors are prescribing escape, and travel, and fun,’ writes J. Frank Beaman, the founding editor of Holiday, in the first issue’s mission statement. ‘Where—and what—and how? That will be Holiday’s job. By helping America to go places and do things, we aspire to serve this fascinating world of tomorrow.’ On the cover, a globe – overlaid with the silhouette of a jet – hints at farflung adventures, while one simple coverline promises a ‘Round The World’ story just a few pages away. Holiday’s premise was simple: a glossy wishbook of travel editorials, covering home turf as well as more exotic locales. California, Central America, China... Readers could lose themselves in the evocative writing and sumptuous photographs: whether for the armchair traveller or monied globetrotter, it was inspirational, entertaining, life-affirming. But it would also evolve far beyond its creators’ wildest dreams. Beaman was editor for just four issues, but his successor Ted Patrick arrived with fresh zeal, vision, and a contacts book bursting with America’s best writers and photographers. 60

This was when the real fun started. Patrick hired the likes of Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, and Truman Capote to write about their travels, in sprawling editorials that sang with each writer’s unique style. Nobel-winner John Steinbeck travelled across the US with his poodle Charley; Ian Fleming ate his way around London; and E.B. White penned his career-defining essay ‘Here is New York’ – a 7,500word love letter to the Big Apple, which remains stirring to this day. Budgets were vast, word-counts were limitless, and the bylines were star-studded. “The concept was basically to get famous authors who had maybe one or two weeks in between their books or projects to go and travel and write glorious pieces,” photographer John Lewis Stage told Vanity Fair. “So you’d have James Michener sent off to the South Pacific, for example. It was an intriguing way to put together a magazine.” Holiday quickly became a byword for intellectually-stimulating escapism. To capture the destinations in all their glossy, glamorous glory, Patrick enlisted the best photographers in the business: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Burt Glinn, Elliott Erwitt and Tom Hollyman – to name but a talented few. Most notable, perhaps, was Slim Aarons, who’d cut his teeth as a cameraman during the Second World War. He’d sworn never to photograph distressing subjects again, so delighted in snapping Spanish flamenco dancers, sunbathers in St Tropez, and Hollywood celebrities. Each image was beautiful, yes, but also had true journalistic realism for Holiday’s readers to pore over. Art director Frank Zachary also commissioned bespoke illustrations to accompany the pieces – as well as punchy, powerful cover artwork. Again, the contributor list was stellar: Milanese graphic designer George Giusti was a favourite for his vibrant surrealism – while Al Hirschfeld and Ronald Searle penned acerbic, striking caricatures. This wasn’t just the golden age of travel: it was the pinnacle of publishing too. Pamela Fiori, who joined the magazine as a junior fact checker at Holiday’s height, remembers: “The contributors were utter professionals;

Opening pages: The cover of Holiday from February 1951; pages from inside the magazine This page: The cover of Holiday from April 1950 Opposite: Truman Capote contributed many articles to Holiday Next pages: Photographer Slim Aarons slouches by the Acropolis; the front cover of Holiday: The Best Travel Magazine That Ever Was

it was priceless. Working on it was such a privilege... a gift that kept on giving.” Fiori, who went on to become editorin-chief of Travel+Leisure and Town & Country, is an authoritative voice on Patrick’s beloved periodical. In her new book Holiday: The Best Travel Magazine There Ever Was, published this month by Rizzoli, Fiori captures its golden era through carefully-curated archive photographs, artwork, and profiles of the magazine’s most notable authors and photographers. For anyone with a passion for travel and the written word, it is an utterly absorbing read – and a scintillating insight into the life and times of its readers. “Patrick was emphatic that Holiday would not be just a travel magazine,” says Fiori. “Worldly, well read and well versed, a jazz enthusiast and a gastronome, he wanted his magazine to serve up more sophisticated fare... He introduced his readers to places of the mind in addition to those on a map.” Flicking through the pages

Budgets were vast, word-counts were limitless, and the bylines were star-studded




A timeless reminder of the importance – and joy – of great writing, art and photography of Fiori’s book, one can’t help but feel inspired – and a little jealous of those fêted, globetrotting artists. As the ebullient postwar years gave way to the prosperous Fifties, circulation grew to almost one million – and the magazine’s revenue was just shy of $10m per year. Though travel was still far from a common pastime in America, the jet age was well and truly taking off. Patrick commissioned his A-list writers and photographers to cover multifarious angles of one particular country, city or region for special themed issues – trusting his team to deliver on the most minimal of briefs. “Whenever we’d discuss an assignment, it was usually over lunch,” photographer John Lewis Stage recounts in Fiori’s retrospective. “Once at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel, I asked Frank what he wanted me to do for a particular shoot. His answer was simple and direct: ‘You know what to do.’” It is tempting to end this story here, on a high note – to not speak of Holiday’s inevitable demise. It was a publication so joyfully of its time, but alas, those times were changing. Not only did the 1960s bring economic turmoil and civil unrest to America, but also the death of Ted Patrick – the life and soul of Holiday. Advertising budgets shrank, and with them the commissioning

purse-strings were tightened – and the instigation of new, untried editors-in-chief led to infighting between Holiday’s long-standing staff. Eventually, in 1977, Holiday was no more. ‘Gone were the glory days,’ writes Fiori. ‘And that, sadly, is how Holiday – once the premier travel magazine of all time – ended. Not with a bang but with a whimper.’ Actually, the story wasn’t quite over yet: the magazine was revived in 2014, as a biannual, by Paris-based design studio Atelier Franck Durand. But times have changed: “It is not like the old Holiday when they had a lot of millions and they’d travel for weeks and weeks,” Franck Durand, creative director, told The New York Times at the re-launch. These days, budgets and deadlines are harder to shake off. But enough reality. Let’s return instead to the height of Holiday, with its honeyed Riviera sands, snow-capped Swiss mountaintops, and crimson California sunsets. Each page is a postcard from simpler, halcyon days – and, as Fiori says, “a timeless reminder of the importance – and joy – of great writing, art and photography.” Even 73 years after its first fateful issue, the magazine still has the power to uplift, to inspire. And, after all, isn’t that what holidays are all about? Holiday: The Best Travel Magazine That Ever Was, by Pamela Fiori, is published by Rizzoli 63

Motoring OCTOBER 2019: ISSUE 101

Six Appeal A truly new experience without compromising the marque’s retro charm AIR



t’s a quantum push, a tiny movement but a huge leap for Morgan. “Push that button,” says James Gilbert, Morgan PR, pointing at a brushed aluminium button winking green on the facia. The button triggers some of the many firsts in this new Plus Six: it’s the first turbocharged production Morgan and the company’s first straight-six-cylinder engine. Significantly, it is also the first Morgan that I can sit comfortably inside, not to mention that it is also the first with doors that don’t shut with a crash like a dropped cutlery drawer... This is arguably only the fourth-ever major chassis change for Morgan in its 110 years of existence in England’s Malvern Hills. I’m surrounded by the state-of-the-art for small car manufacture; extruded and cast aluminium riveted and bonded together just like an Aston Martin or a Lotus. I’m also surrounded by the oldest of coachbuilding techniques; an English ash wood frame draped with handbeaten aluminium body panels. John Beech, Morgan’s chief engineer (formerly of Lotus) and his small team have worked miracles on this car.


It was developed before the company’s sale to Italian investment group Investindustrial, funded by retained profit and a small Government grant – Morgan did it alone with the help of its suppliers. The Plus Six is the first outing for the new CX (Roman numerals for 110) chassis along with a new double wishbone MacPherson strut-derived front suspension and a four-link independent rear, with 19-inch wheels and an all-new engine and transmission. BMW and Morgan have continued their relationship, choosing to do what Peter Morgan, company founder HFS Morgan’s son and the second generation to run the company, once described as “mission impossible”. This was the task of cramming a straightsix engine under the marque’s traditional long, louvered bonnet. He chose instead to create the famed, V8-powered Plus Eight of 1969, but now is a time for changes at Malvern and under the centre-hinged bonnet lies BMW’s B58 335bhp/369lb ft, 3.0-litre, single twin-scroll turbocharged straight-six coupled to a ZF eight-speed gearbox driving the rear wheels.



This is one of the finest “sixes” in production and will give the Plus Six a top speed of 166mph, with 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, a Combined fuel economy of 38.2mpg (we achieved 28mpg on a fast mixed route) and CO2 emissions of 170g/km thanks to a kerb weight of just over a ton. Morgan has done some squeezing to get it in there. Ancillaries have been remachined and remounted and the exhaust has been redesigned from a single 88mm-bore pipe into four smaller items, to allow sufficient rear ground clearance. Uprating the cooling system to extract turbo-powered heat has required the distinctive nostrils at the front of the bonnet, extra side vents and a few more louvres in the top. Those nostrils are a charming addition as you peer over the long bonnet through the 66

usual low windscreen with its three tiny wipers stolen, it seems, from a Corgi model. The cabin is traditionally Morgan, but different. From an additional 20mm in the wheelbase, the design team headed by Jon Wells has found another 200mm of leg room, 80mm more across the cockpit, and a deeper and profoundly more useful rear parcel shelf. Pretty much anyone will fit into this new Morgan, which has reach- and rake-adjustable steering, air-conditioning, even central locking. The dashboard has the traditional Morgan centre instrument layout, but with modern instruments and a small digital display screen. There’s no satnav, but there is a Bluetooth system so you can use your phone. I’m not totally convinced by the cabin update, although the extra space is welcome and even the cubby in front of

the passenger is a decent size. But you sit a bit too high, on stiffly sprung seats, and taller, larger drivers might wish for a lower seat cushion and wider seat backs. Wells’ team has redesigned the instrument backgrounds and while the central speedometer and rev counter are visually pleasing they’re not desperately visible, though there’s a digital speed readout in the centre screen, which is flanked by over-simple instruments for fuel level and coolant temperature. There’s also a lot of BMW in there, most obviously the gear selector, while the steering-column cowling and stalk switches are unremittingly dark plastic. Elsewhere Morgan has tried to lift the interior’s visual appeal and in most cases it works; the leather upholstery is quite lovely, as are the hessian carpets, but with the hood down the brightwork around

Credit: Andrew English / The Telegrapgh / The Interview People

the steering wheel boss and handbrake reflects distractingly in the windscreen. Did I mention the hood? Even though the soft-top’s front rail slots neatly over the windscreen, it’s a struggle to get it to fit and the aluminium frame is a malevolent finger guillotine (as well as being a source of rattles). Don’t try to put it up in a cloudburst either, you’ll be soaked by the time you’ve tugged and heaved away. So push that button... and those looking for a rasping engine note need to look elsewhere. Despite the optional sports exhaust, the BMW six has a muted, whirring idle; even at medium revs it’s quiet and refined and only when you floor the throttle does it gain a harder, guttural edge. Not that there is any shortage of power as the twin-scroll turbo picks up early and fast. Push the gearlever to one side and you access the Sport program, which sharpens the gearchanges and throttle response, with the Sport + button giving even more alacrity. As the Plus Six weighs at least half a tonne less than a BMW with the same engine, its mid-range response is effervescent, the top end stupefying – and if you launch it from standstill, the rear 255/35x19 Avon tyres will leave perfect black lines for as long as you wish.

It’s so fast, few owners are likely to go there after alarming themselves on first acquaintance In fact it’s so fast, few owners are likely to go there after alarming themselves on first acquaintance. I did a few fullbore acceleration runs in the course of the test and was left speechless at the way the horizon unzipped towards the Morgan’s bluff nose. Not that it is in any way frightening. There’s no traction control, but the long-travel throttle and gentle-giant low-rev response make the Plus Six an easy car to drive briskly, with absurdly easy overtaking. As with other BMW applications, the ZF gearbox is a little reluctant to kick down and wavering about its choice of ratios, but the steering-wheel paddles mean you can flip down to more suitable gears and for this lighter Morgan application the ZF feels a bit sharper than in BMWs. Those used to existing Morgans are probably scoffing now,

thinking about the way the rear axle steers on their cars, with a tendency to leap in the air, spin individual tyres and test the skills of the best drivers. Not this one, though. Beech and his team have found a compliance and chassis balance that rides and handles at speed over some pretty poor road surfaces. No longer do sharp undulations have the exhaust pipes grounding, no longer do you need half a turn of lock just to keep it in line driving fast down a straight road - in almost all states, this new Morgan’s nose goes where it is pointed. It’s set up gently and slightly more of a gran turismo than all-out scratcher, but that’s no bad thing; it’s what the vast majority of the market wants and the Plus Six’s light weight means you can still play if you desire. The steering isn’t desperately communicative, but the tyres are tenacious and if you choose to push the tail wide, you can get it back without too much drama. This is a sensational debut and the Plus Six is a Morgan that needs very little excuse to be included in sentences also containing Jaguar, BMW and Porsche, even if its slightly lounge driving style means that ultra-keen drivers might choose the competition for the moment.

All images: The RIMAC C-Two. Images courtesy of Rimac Automobili






The French Connection When Mirazur on the Côte d’Azur secured top place in the industry’s annual global awards, it was the first time a restaurant in France had won. The only fly in the soup for French foodies? The chef is Argentinian WORDS: STEFANIE MARSH


hen news broke this June that a restaurant in France had been named the world’s best, the reaction among certain French people was puzzlingly restrained. While the world’s foodies went bananas and Mirazur (the restaurant in question) took 8,000 bookings in 72 hours, the local paper, Nice-Matin, for example, greeted the announcement with a sceptical headline. “Is Mirazur really the best restaurant in the Côte d’Azur?” it queried – the article underneath put forward La Vague d’Or in SaintTropez as a better choice. Given that this is the first time in the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards’ 18-year history that a restaurant in France has won, it seems odd that the nation wasn’t celebrating more. Mirazur’s founder-chef is warm and energetic and many other good things besides, but the one thing he isn’t is French. Mauro Colagreco is Argentinian, born and bred – France’s only non-French three Michelin star chef. Would cheers for

his achievement in his host country have been louder if he, like the head chef of La Vague, was French? Colagreco is still buoyed by the prize-giving when I meet him in the cool, bright lobby of Mirazur. In other parts of the restaurant and the five acres of organic gardens that surround it, television crews from abroad are trying not to get in the way of chefs scurrying between services in their Crocs and stainless whites. An energetic, earthy, cheerful man, at 42 Colagreco has the compact, bullish body of a former amateur rugby player, which he is, and the mind of what one might describe as a chef-philosopher, with a terror of pesticides and a determination to unleash the creativity of his staff by any means – group yoga and, separately, acting classes were a success. He describes his first, somewhat tough years in France, having come to the country at 21, as a university dropout with few language skills: “Some welcomed me, of course.

The only reason I got where I am today is because France opened its doors to me. But it wasn’t easy. My first job was in Saulieu, a village of 3,000 people in the middle of nowhere. I was ‘the Argentinian’ – it was meant pejoratively. ‘What is he doing, this Argentinian here with us? He’ll steal our recipes. We need to stop him from doing that.’ Well,” he reflects, “that’s what I imagine they were saying. I always had French friends, but there were some people who put barriers in my way.” Being an optimist who reframes difficult periods in his life as important learning experiences, he intercepts this trajectory of thought. “The way I’ve overcome life’s obstacles is I worked very hard. I was the first one there in the morning and the last to leave. Everyone worked very hard, but I worked even harder. I knew to keep my head because it was a big opportunity for me. So I didn’t fall to pieces because of the first person who annoyed me. It wasn’t funny. But I 69

Opening page: Pigeon from Marie Le Guen, wild strawberries, spelt, and yarrow ©Eduardo Torres Right: Mauro Colagreco Following pages, left to right: Salt-crusted beetroot from Mirazur garden with caviar cream ©lopezdezubiria; Mirazur’s dining room ©Nicolas Lobbestael


We all have something hidden that will reveal itself, not necessarily from one day to the next, in a flash

tried to see the wood for the trees.” Geographically, Mirazur is barely in France. If you continue up the steep road out of Menton, you can walk across the border into Italy in under three minutes. But the restaurant’s modern floor-to-ceiling windows look squarely onto French territory – the Riviera. To eat at the world’s best restaurant costs 250 euro a head. People fly into Nice to dine here, then fly out again to other award-winning restaurants such as Gaggan in Bangkok, Central in Lima and, in London, the Clove Club. It takes one and a half members of staff to create every dish – Mirazur has earned him accolades but not a fortune. And here what you’re eating is high art, although in a less visually Dada-esque form than, say, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, where “the old book essence” listed as one of the ingredients in its puffed pastry of butter cookies, cream of Darjeeling tea and lemon madeleine ice cream is the shredded page of an actual book. Dishes here have lowimpact names – “Pommes de terre”; simply, “Green” – and their aesthetic draws from the bold Miró sculptures in the gardens of the Fondation Maeght and the stained glass windows of Matisse’s Rosary Chapel in Vence – all the saturated yellows, greens, blues, 70

reds and pinks of the Mediterranean. Naturally, there is foam. Too much, complains a reviewer on TripAdvisor. Another reviewer complains that the bowl of cherries picked freshly from the Mirazur garden she was served wasn’t complicated enough. Colagreco’s career, emotional and intellectual life have been shaped by a series of significant realisations, the first of which was that he hated studying economics. Reluctantly, aged 20, he dropped out of university in Buenos Aires. “I had a crisis. I felt like a failure. I felt contemptible. A loser.” He corrects himself: “What I thought was a failure. I had a period of depression. I was lost. I was sad and proud and I didn’t want to ask my parents to bail me out financially.” His father, an accountant, did however provide his son with the emotional support that set him on his way. “It was difficult to tell my parents, but I was very lucky in that they never put pressure on me. My father said to me, ‘Listen, if you’re not passionate about this, you’ll never be able to do it. You will find your path.’ He was extraordinary at that moment, not that I realised it at the time.” He doesn’t really know why his next impulse was to ask a friend who

ran a restaurant in Buenos Aires for kitchen work. “A week later I enrolled in a cooking school. I’ve always loved cooking. My father, mother, sister, grandmother all cook. But I never thought of cooking until I was 20, at that restaurant.” This, too, was a life lesson. “It was a good lesson in not giving up – because we all have a passion. We all have something hidden that will reveal itself, not necessarily from one day to the next, in a flash.” It’s interesting to contrast the arc of Colagreco’s rapid professional ascent from when he arrived in France in 2001 with the diminishing reputation of French cuisine at the same time. The first hammer blow to France’s longstanding gastronomic hegemony came in 2003 when The New York Times Magazine ran a devastating cover story alleging that the cuisine that had revolutionised cooking in the Seventies had “congealed into complacency”. Barely a year later, came the second blow, delivered by a veteran Michelin Guide inspector, Pascal Rémy, whose tell-all memoir revealed Gallic cultural imperialism at the leading food bible. French chefs such as Alain Ducasse, Rémy said, were regarded as “untouchable” by Michelin staff and ratings were prejudiced




Credit: The Sunday Times/News Licensing

towards French cuisine. Zagat and the recently set-up World’s 50 Best Restaurants exploited the moment to become rivals to the Guide Rouge. Soon restaurants in France and French restaurants outside France began to disappear from the top ten, replaced by the work of more progressive chefs in Spain, Denmark, the US and Asia. And in the middle of all this, a horrible tragedy. Bernard Loiseau, the world-famous French chef, committed suicide, fearing he’d lose one of his three Michelin stars. It was at Loiseau’s restaurant in Saulieu that Colagreco was working at the time. “Loiseau was my boss, my mentor,” he says. “Sometimes you’re put in a position that will go beyond who you are. And, with Bernard, I think he built a persona around himself and the persona ate the person. And when everything [he’d worked for] seemed suddenly very fragile, he fell apart. It was hard for me because I had a very good relationship with him. He was the person who opened the doors of French cuisine. Even 15 years later, I haven’t been able to go back. I think it’s important to stay who we are and try not to show something we are not. Or to think you always have to be at the top, like he did.” There are plenty of women in Colagreco’s kitchen – his pastry chef, for example, is female – but of those top 50 restaurants, only 5 have women at the helm. It’s a persistently intriguing state of affairs, given that, traditionally, in the domestic realm those statistics are reversed. “We [men] can cook at home,” suggests Colagreco (who does), “but maybe some of us don’t want to.” There’s more glory being a chef. “Men want to show off their feathers,” he grins. “They’re peacocks.” Having babies is still a problem for women with professional culinary ambitions. “Unless you have a partner who will look after the children and is supportive, it’s difficult.” He attributes his recent success – the two Michelin stars he’s won since he was named chef of the year in 2009 – to a woman: his wife, Julia, whom he met in 2010. “It was love at first sight. When I met Julia, I was completely, madly in love with her. She imprinted something feminine in my work. It

Sometimes you’re put in a position that will go beyond who you are

really helped me. She’s my business partner and my wife and she’s my rock.” He has two children, one from a previous relationship. “The birth of my children was very powerful for me. I realised that the first act of love is this mother who is exhausted by the birth but still has the strength to feed her child. For a chef, it’s profound to realise that feeding someone is the primary act of love.” Having children also intensified his worries about modern food production, switching him on to the Japanese microbiologist and agriculturist Masanobu Fukuoka, whose work changed Colagreco’s vision. Most of the food at the restaurant now comes direct from Mirazur’s organic garden. “All the chemicals in food – I’m terrified of pesticides. The way we destroy the earth and the sea and it makes me feel conscious of tomorrow and it is worrying. The effect is on our health and on our gut.” He blames weak environmental legislation in France. It took the team three months to find biodegradable gloves for use in their kitchen. Looking back on his life, “I’m grateful I did all these stupid things

when I was young. Drugs. Alcohol. At 13, I was travelling around South America with friends. Those are things that formed my character.” Later I scan the French reviews of Mirazur. They’re very positive, but I was surprised to see it all the way down at No 476 in La Liste, the French food guide launched in 2015 as a response to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Emmanuel Macron hosted its winners at the Elysée in 2017; five of the top 14 are in France, with Guy Savoy at joint No 1 and Alain Ducasse in third. Of course, the World’s 50 Best is fallible too – its voting system is vulnerable to lobbying. But I can’t help but feel that France’s attitude to food remains determinedly aloof. Colagreco thinks that’s changing. “It’s true French chefs have a reputation for navel-gazing, but I think there has been a real regeneration of French cuisine. It is much more open, full of people who share, people who travel, on a mission to inject a new freshness.” What a nice symmetry in a future where it’s Colagreco who helps reinvigorate the gastronomic reputation of a country which, however inadvertently, turned “the Argentinian” into a culinary star. 73

Travel OCTOBER 2019 : ISSUE 101



Four Seasons Hotel

Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island


ome to designer shopping haven The Galleria (which recently unveiled a super-sized expansion), as well as healthcare giant Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and the emirate’s new international financial hub, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Maryah Island is a coveted address for those seeking a luxurious stay in the UAE capital. Offering culture and indulgence in equal measure, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island cuts a distinctive figure on the skyline, with its architecture inspired by the colourful textiles of Arabia’s atmospheric souks. The ultra-modern sanctuary, which occupies a premier spot on the waterfront, has earned a reputation as a high-end playground for grown-ups, and it’s easy to understand why. Step inside and join fellow travellers and stylish locals for a cup of aromatic coffee in the elegant Al Meylas lounge before being escorted to your speciality suite. The Royal Suite is a fitting choice with its jewel-toned décor, which draws inspiration from the hotel’s sparkling waterfront location. Crystal chandeliers, hand-painted silks, exotic marbles and rich hardwood flooring combine to create a sophisticated space in which to rest and entertain, with its floor-to-ceiling windows framing unobstructed views of the city. Make the

most of this two-storey hideaway, thanks to the option to arrange extra bedrooms for your guests. If a restful night’s sleep is the hallmark of a successful trip, you’ll be pleased to know that you can customise the firmness of your bed. There are six creative dining concepts and lounges to discover, two of which have private dining rooms ideal for intimate gatherings. For an immersive experience, you can step into the era of Al Capone at Butcher & Still, a modern interpretation of a 1920s Chicago steakhouse. Let the awardwining chefs showcase their skills with their kitchen theatrics while you soak up the secret speakeasy style ambience as jazz music plays and your prime Black Angus beef (flown in exclusively from Kansas-based Creekstone Farms) is cooked to your liking in the charcoal Josper oven. To unwind, head to Dahlia Spa, which evokes an instant feeling of calm with its soothing water fountains and sea views. Indulge with a massage, visit the hammam, and brave the ice fountain in-between treatments for an exhilarating interlude to a stand-out stay. Charter into Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi and call upon the hotel’s luxury transfer service. To plan a stay, call +971 (2) 333 2222 or visit 75

What I Know Now




My mother truly is my best friend and has always been a major inspiration to me. She taught me from a young age to better myself and to create opportunities for myself. She has really supported me throughout thick and thin, and has shown me what it means to be a strong woman. Like any daughter, I always just want to make her proud. I think our definition of success shifts as we go through different stages in life and our priorities change. For me now, I think time is precious and success is having the luxury of spending time with my family and friends. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to always go with my gut instinct. Your instincts are shaped by past decisions and past 76

experiences, so I think there are definitely times when it is far better to trust your intuition than to overthink and over analyse things. Winning the title of Miss Russia was a huge accomplishment for me and it still feels surreal even now. In the wake of this I also gained the courage and the platform I needed to move onto other endeavours and continue to pursue my passions. One thing I am sure to do each day is to reflect on everything I am grateful for. I take the time to think about even the smallest joys in my life, and to be thankful for them. This reminds me to always be present and to count my blessings. I would tell my young self to trust herself and that everything will turn out the way it is supposed to be.

I wouldn’t change anything about my past as it has brought me to where I am now. I have learned important lessons from my mistakes and I have cherished every success that has come my way. A lesson I learned the hard way is that rejection can sting but it is better than regretting never taking the chance. Sometimes we are afraid to put ourselves out there because we are scared that we won’t succeed. But it is always better to have tried and failed than it is to wonder ‘what if?’. One of my biggest goals is to help empower young women to get involved in football. Women’s football has come on leaps and bounds recently, but we have a long way to go. Beyond football, I would love to give back by continuing to work with charities across the world that inspire me and make a real difference.

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