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ABU DHABI ABU DUBAI DHABI

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NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. THE WORD ITSELF SAYS “I’M POSSIBLE”. Audrey Hepburn

Choose your membership and use your time wisely.


Chairman SHAHAB IZADPANAH

EDITORIAL

PUBLISHING

Editor in Chief MOJEH IZADPANAH

Publishing Director RADHIKA NATU

Associate Editor SHERI IZADPANAH

Publishing Assistant DESIREE LABANDA-GAVERIA

Assistant Editor KELLY BALDWIN

Subscription Assistant gracelyn gabriel

Guest Fashion Editors Daphna Guttin Guillaume Boulez Julie Ragolia

Paris Representative GHISLAIN DE CASTELBAJAC Senior Advertisement Managers Pamela Bayram Cleave rana hatem

Fashion Writer Harry McKinley

Advertising Inquiries Tel: +971 4 454 20 50 Tel: +971 4 425 79 79 Email: advertising@mojeh.com

Editorial Assistant susan devaney Editorial Contributors Ada Zanditon Dan Hasby-Oliver Gautam Sharma Hussein Abdul Rasheed Paul McLoughlin Roy Yerushalmi Sophie Rust Tarek Barakat

Subscription Tel: +971 4 454 20 50 Email: subs@mojeh.com

LOUIS FOURTEEN FOR MOJEH Concierge Service Management ASSMA AHMED

ART

Head of Lifestyle OLGA KOVALCHUK

Producer LOUIS AGENCY

Corporate Manager JUBRAN HAMATI

Art Director AMIRREZA AMIRASLANI

Published under HS Media Group FZ LLC Registered at Dubai Media City Building 10, Office 345 P.O.Box 502333 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Digital Strategy LOUIS AGENCY Contributing Photographers Pieter Henket Riccardo Vimercati Steeve Beckouet

Cover shot by Pieter Henket | Styled by Daphna Guttin | Model: Bastien Grimal wears clothes by Dior Homme

In issue 2 of MOJEH Men the Kris Van Assche profile image was incorrectly credited to Gaetan Bernard. The correct credit is Willy Vanderperre. All other images in the Kris Van Assche feature by Gaetan Bernard.

WWW.MOJEH.COM Louis Fourteen for MOJEH Follow us on Twitter @MOJEH_Magazine, www.shopmojeh.com, info@shopmojeh.com MOJEH Swiss Representative Office: Rue de Rive 4, 1204 Geneva, Switzerland For the UAE printed by Emirates Printing Press LLC. Distribution- UAE: Jashanmal National Company LLC. Qatar: Dar Al Sharq. Bahrain: Jashanmal & Sons BSC (C). Oman: United Media Services LLC The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessary those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers particular circumstances. The ownership of trademark is acknowledged, therefore reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. All credits are subjects to change. Copyright HS MEDIA GROUP FZ LLC 2011

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Mojeh men Contents

28 Time Is Precious We speak with Damas CEO Anan Fakhreddin about a flourishing watch portfolio, new strategies and what 2014 has in store.

28

32 The New Season The taste, the talk and the trends: you’re guide to an audacious season.

32

56 Dolce&Gabbana We sit down with most famous duo in fashion to discuss everything from party planning to David Beckham.

56

132 It’s All In The Name

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Recently retired Jack Heuer gives us one of his last interviews as we discuss the evolution of watches and his role in shaping TAG Heuer.


Mojeh men Contents

142 10 For Men Hussein Abdul Rasheed, founder of concept store The Zoo, gives us his lowdown on the must-have gadgets of the moment.

142

148 Where Fashion Lives We explore why Dubai Design District is soon to be home to the best of the region’s talent.

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154 A Guiding Light Abdulnasser Gharem discusses vision, controversy and his role leading the way for a generation of Saudi artists.

154

171 171 - 12 -

Urban Nomad: Iceland From rugged landscapes to luxury retreats, we show you why a trip to Iceland will leave you feeling on top of the world.


A wholly owned subsidiary of


Editor’s note

Novel Thoughts

The beach boys, Photographed by Steeve Beckouet

One year in and MOJEH Men is still considered a ‘new title’. But we’re going to hang on to that label for as long as we can because there’s something totally inspiring and limitless about starting afresh. In today’s climate, people don’t only expect innovative thought, they crave it and ardently desire the infinite possibilities it offers. So this issue we’ve paid great attention to what’s either new or experiencing a revival. Whether it’s a namesake brand such as Saint Laurent, whose creative director is leading it into novel and conceptual realms, a heritage watch trader fighting spirit, Photographed by Riccardo Vimercati like Damas who is pushing forward stronger than ever, or a sport that has silently thrived for decades but is only now being recognised further afield for its virtues, surf’s up everyone. Meander through our pages to find fresh inspiration for everything from fashion to horology to gadgets or sports and culture. Whichever direction you delve into, I encourage you to test the waters with ventures new. Many people shy away from prints and patterns, but we tend to think it’s a worthy way of expressing oneself. There was a collective sigh of relief at the spring/summer menswear shows in London, Milan and Paris when bursts of colour and explosions of painter’s prints imploded onto runways. It was a sharp turn away from the sombre aesthetic of the season before and a strong sign of progression. Men’s clothing has advanced tremendously in recent times and is now used as a method of articulation, an emblem for the person you choose to portray to the world. ‘We believe that it is men’s attitudes towards fashion and personal care in general that has changed,’ Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana told us. ‘Until a few years ago it was unthinkable for a man to buy a beauty product or see an outfit as a way to express his personality, but today we find ourselves in exactly the opposite situation.’ It’s this new way of thinking that drives all our featured men forward, unwavering in their mission to present you with nothing less than the perfection and originality you deserve.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Mojeh_I and write to me at editor@mojeh.com

Mojeh Izadpanah Editor in Chief

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Season’s selections

1

‘Tis the season of sun, sand and slip-ons, so we’re stowing the duffle and opting for pieces that feel at home under the rays. We dare to bare with sophistication in shorts and vests with a dapper edge and leave the socks on the plane, donning a natty loafer in lieu of last season’s winter boots. Spring / summer might be an excuse to go Hawaii on the print front but for pieces that will see us from beach to bistro, an understated palette equals trans-continental appeal.

2

3

4

5

1. Alexander McQueen @ Saks Fifth Avenue | 2. Christopher Kane @ Harvey Nichols | 3. Saint Laurent | 4. Rolex | 5. Salvatore Ferragamo

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Season’s selections

7

8

9 6

11

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6. Dior Homme | 7. Kaushal Niraula | 8. Paul Smith @ MrPorter.com | 9. Dior | 10. Ermenegildo Zegna | 11. Salvatore Ferragamo

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Mojeh Men columns

W

hen is the private order sale?’ quietly enquired a once fashion-shy friend of mine to a well-known British designer at a London Collections: Men party on a wet, windy Wednesday evening in January. Menswear is the most exciting, progressive arena to be in at the moment as men are now, more than ever before, interested in style and their appearance. Once there was a Mars/Venus approach to trends and shopping, with morsels of seemingly irrelevant information gleaned from picking up a dog-eared copy of an out of date lifestyle magazine in a barbers. Today, as consumers, men are catching up with women in style spending and becoming more fashion-literate. In recent memory, global consultancy firm Baine & Co boldly stated that luxury menswear was growing at 14 per cent a year, outpacing womenswear at a pace never witnessed before. It is no coincidence then, that Tom Ford has three stores in the UAE alone, one of the world’s most progressive shopping nations. Once clothing and accessories from the fashion shows of London, Milan, Paris and New York fuelled the sales of the more classic pieces from a label and helped promote the ideologies of the industry. It made good business sense. Yet increasingly Selfridges and Harrods in London, Bergdorf Goodman in New York and Galleries Lafayette in Paris – as well as its Dubai brother – are selling more pieces directly from the catwalk. Everyone wants a piece of the dream and real fashion is being worn by real men. Taking to shopping malls around the globe, legions of men can be seen shopping in packs like a hunter stalking its prey in a marble jungle filled with both luxury and commercial boutiques. Men know that if they ask the opinion of their friends, they will receive an honest answer. A recent survey by Australian owned mall group Westfield showed that men annually spend an average of $1620 USD on fashion, only 1% less than women in the 18-34 age bracket. The fashion industry is not alone in seeing this type of growth. Research agency Euromonitor International found that the global male grooming market grew by an average of 6% between 2006 and 2011, reaching £22 billion in 2011. With the GCC and Eastern Asia dominating the market, dedicated spas and barbers now offer specialised facial hair maintenance, focused beauty treatments and wellbeing packages. The question men are asking now is, ‘how can I look my best, not just for social occasions but every day?’ Alongside this, it is clear menswear brands and labels have increased their ranges, from colour, fabrics and fit, to suit a wider range of customer. Fashion is no longer a young man’s game but a democratic adventure for everyone, young and old. As for my once fashion-shy friend, conspiring to outdo me in the style stakes – he works in insurance and has a bursting wardrobe of designers from A-Z. Fashion, it seems, has sold him the dream.

Buying Into Style How fashion is now every bit as much a man’s game.

by Dan Hasby-Oliver, Menswear Writer and Global Trends Analyst

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Coming soon. Style. Thought. Taste. M

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Mojeh Men columns

J

ust over forty years ago, sunglasses were banned here. Back then, there were just a few kilometres of paved roads connecting a wild and factionalised country the size of Italy. Now, Oman has opened up to the world with characteristic self-belief and modesty. Tired of reporting on Dubai’s resorts that are becoming a bit too synonymous with new money and footballers’ wives, the ‘Jewel of Arabia’ is now the terminus getting the attention of gourmet travel writers, but what makes it any different to other parts of the region? Firstly, life grinds down a gear here, and it could partly be down to the fact that Muscat is one of the Gulf’s oldest urban centres with little to prove to the outside world. It’s always been a trading port and a sense of transience still survives. It is a place of business but also a stop-offpoint. This sense of movement doesn’t come from the foreign workforce, coming and going like in other parts of the region. Expatriates in Oman are still considered newbies if they have been here for less than a decade and a whole clique has formed amongst the old timers, with minds fixed on dusty souqs and donkey trails of the past, reinventing those memories by printing books on traditional Bedouin jewellery or native fauna. Muscat is inexplicably connected to its hinterland. Looking at the city from sea you will see a panorama of jagged mountaintops in the touching distance, rather than skyscrapers that are ubiquitous to the rest of the region. Multistory buildings are either banned or not favoured by developers, depending on whom you ask. On Thursday afternoon the roads are frantic as local white collar workers (or white dishdasha workers in Oman’s case) who man hotel desks, head companies or work at the county’s myriad of ministries, pack their cars and drive into these mountains back to their ancestral homes, amongst soaring valleys and damp date plantations. If it’s a holiday, Muscat is an especially eerily quiet city. Even expatriates do camping, rather than margaritas, in their free time. You can still see battered Toyota Hilux pickup trucks fish through a stream of sports cars on the roads by seaside villas. In a zip, they rove onto the beach and crash into the tepid waters to drag small fishing boats to shore. The same men in slightly weatherworn dishdashas, sit on the floor in the early afternoon by five-star hotels handing out fish to small crowds that gather for the day’s catch. In Muscat, you’re never too far from the wilderness. I was sitting in a café in one upmarket part of town when a young man began to interject into my conversation with my wife, polite but eager to show that he was a worldly adult rather than the slight built teenager he appeared to be. ‘Camel’s milk makes you strong,’ he told me. When I said I’d never tried camel milk, he was out of the door and within ten minutes back with a bottle of the still warm local beverage, having been milked at his farm just a few hours before. Later, he was down the road in his 4x4 before we had realised he had paid our bill. It summed up the best of the country and its people; generous, modest and chivalrous. It might be a cliché, but it appeared that the young man, even when sipping on his black espresso, had his mind on his camels back home and was proud to show off the traditions he had inherited from a line of ancestors.

Bridging Gaps Why New Oman is Still Old Oman

by Paul McLoughlin, Oman – based News Editor and Middle Eastern Culture Writer

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Mojeh Men columns

O

n a rainy night during Paris Fashion Week four years ago, I walked into a dark club on the edge of the Marais to find myself at one of the more unusual after show parties. Karaoke is not the usual draw for the fashion crowd, and then there were the Josephine Baker clowns and mock baroque sofas. It was the first time I met Nik Thakkar. The cult of the individual is how many fashion brands maintain identity. At the end of a show, after countless hands have worked tirelessly to create a collection and to produce a vision, only one person steps onto the runway. This figure of the leader is not without merit, however recently there seems to be an increase in the number of shows where not one but two step out. Skip forward from that rainy Parisian night to January 2013. A week before making my successful Berlin Fashion Week debut with my eponymous womenswear label Ada Zanditon, I snatch just enough hours to spend with good friends for dinner. Nik asks me for the nth time when I’ll do menswear and I say, ‘when you make it with me.’ Ada + Nik is the sudden realization of two minds - that between us we had an unusual vision and that in bringing our worlds together we could make something that was exponentially greater than anything we could do alone. This collaborative approach to fashion design isn’t new, but it could be said to be having ‘a bit of a moment.’ Firmly established duos like Viktor & Rolf, Peter Pilotto and Proenza Schouler have quickly become industry leaders - with Peter Pilotto often referring to the ‘constant dialogue’ as the element that makes being a duo special. As a designer who previously worked solo and now as a duo, I can attest to the strength of the direct, evolving conversation with a specific yet complimentary other as the key ingredient that makes a duo thrive. At London Collections: Men, the ‘Power of Two’ showed up in exciting and dynamic partnerships. Casely Hayford brings together a father’s lifetime of experience in fine tailoring with a son’s sports-luxe aesthetic. Swedish duo Common, describe their collection as ‘tech noir’ - it’s a refreshingly clean look, yet fun and playful. Newcomers Vidur use bold blocks of colour on impeccably functional outerwear. Nik & I (Ada + Nik) made our runway debut in January to a packed room at the ME London Hotel with our collection, The Dark Wolf. It is Bauhaus-Noir masculinity for the modern prince. For this we teamed up with another incredible duo, philosophers and highly conceptual hat makers Yashkathor, who created the black knitted metal beanies that our rebels wore on the runway. For me, finding a creative partner brought me in a new direction and it’s clear that the new guard know that the power of collaboration is set to be the future of business.

THE POWER OF two Creative Duos in Fashion Design

by Ada Zanditon - Co Founder & Co Creative Director of Ada + Nik

Image by: Matthew JA Payne - 21 -


Mojeh Men online

SigFig, www.sigfig.com

Hot on

the Web

The new, the intriguing and the to-berediscovered from the virtual sphere. The Connectivist, www.theconnectivist.com

Exploring how ‘entertainment, technology and the consumer experience intersect in the digital age’, The Connectivist is a counterintuitive experience that brings intellect and pop-culture together. Articles jump from ponderings on the future of the Internet to what season 3 has in store for Game of Thrones.

An easy and tech-savvy way to keep a track of your investments, SigFig collates all of the data from your accounts and reports it back to you in a way that even the most novice enterpriser could understand. A nifty feature also includes suggestions for new markets that might be of interest.

The Business of Fashion, www.businessoffashion.com

Quartz, www.qz.com

This behemoth of a website, which has a devoted following of millions, has grown from a blog to an indispensible industry bible. Known for breaking fashion-related stories, for its uncompromising approach and its network of wellknown contributors; it’s founder Imran Amed has been named one of the ‘50 most influential men in Britain’ by GQ.

For ‘business people in the new global economy’, Quartz tackles broad-spectrum topical stories with an analytical perspective. Easy to understand graphs abound, making sense of the numbers behind the news and bringing new relevance to stories about everything from politics to fashion. - 22 -


Mojeh Men online

Narratively, www.narrative.ly

Uncrate, www.uncrate.com

Named one of TIME’s ‘50 Best Websites of 2013’, Narratively is still on our virtual radar. A platform devoted to ‘original, in-depth and untold stories’, each week brings a new theme with just one article per day - which may come in the form of a documentary film, a photo essay or old fashioned words.

Very simply, this is a site for ‘guys who love stuff’. Be it a supercar, a watch or a gadget, Uncrate is a dip-in, dip-out smorgasbord of products. What’s more, the handy ‘buy’ button means most of what appears can be yours at the click of a button. Impulse buyers beware.

Matter, www.medium.com/matter

MOJEH, www.mojeh.com

Billed as ‘the new home for deep, intelligent journalism about science, technology and the future’, Matter falls under the wing of Medium.com, the latest blogging venture from Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. Expect qualitative opinion pieces on everything from the population boom to wearable tech.

MOJEH.com will soon unveil a new look, building upon the success of our print publications with rich editorial content, multimedia channels and online exclusives. Our home on the web, MOJEH.com will give you access to the best of fashion and lifestyle from home or away on your mobile, iPad or desktop. Watch this space. - 23 -


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Image by Francesco Scotti


man of style

120

Seconds with…

The boys of

Taller Marmo When Italian Riccardo Audisio and Argentinian Yago Goicoechea met while studying Fashion Design in Milan, it’s unlikely they imagined their shared passion would bring them to Dubai. Now, as the founders of locally based fashion label Taller Marmo, they are serving up a slice of their distinct aesthetic to the Middle East. We took two minutes of their time to pose the burning questions and catch a joke or two.

Riccardo Audisio

Yago Goicoechea

When I was a boy I wanted to be: A painter | Hidden

When I was a boy I wanted to be: Santa Claus | Hidden

talent: Cooking | Biggest vice: Collecting works from

talent: Tying seemingly unrelated things together |

niche artists | Website I can’t live without: partnoveau.

Biggest vice: Reading every post on Buzzfeed.com

com | Favourite book: Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

| Website I can’t live without: dismagazine.com |

| Favourite film: All About My Mother | Favourite place in

Favourite book: Coelho’s The Alchemist | Favourite

the world: Basaluzzo, my hometown in the north of Italy

film: Pulp Fiction | Favourite place in the world:

| If I were a superhero I would be: Diabolik | My style is:

Miami | If I were a superhero I would be: Wolverine

Boy next door | Favourite designer: Mila Schön | Early

| My style is: Half preppy, half bohemian | Favourite

bird or night owl: Early bird | Favourite artist: Francis

designer: Nicolas Ghesquiére | Early bird or night

Bacon | Luxury I couldn’t live without: Trips around

owl: Night owl | Favourite artist: Ed Ruscha | Luxury I

the world | My favourite snack: Pizza | Tell us a joke: A

couldn’t live without: Holidays | My favourite snack:

man told his friend, ‘My wife only has two complaints,

Sunflower seeds | Tell us a joke: Two peanuts walk

nothing to wear and not enough space in the closet.’

into a bar. One was a salted. | Grooming secret: I only

| Grooming secret: I don’t have enough of a beard to

do it once a month! | Gadget I couldn’t live without:

have secrets! | Gadget I couldn’t live without: GPS | On

iPod | On my desk I keep: Block notes | Favourite

my desk I keep: Watercolours | Favourite aftershave: I

aftershave: I use aloe gel from Spain | If I were to

prefer a made-to-order moisturising cream | If I were

invent one thing: The time machine | Favourite

to invent one thing: ‘Teletransportation’ | Favourite

weekend activity: Playing table games with friends |

weekend activity: Small trips around Europe with

I am happiest when: I’m designing a new collection |

friends | I am happiest when: My mother cooks lasagne

On my iPod: Kanye West | Languages I speak: Spanish,

| On my iPod: Italian singers from the 60s | Languages

Italian and English | My party trick is: Explaining to

I speak: Italian and English | My party trick is: Salsa

people why I can’t dance, despite being Latin | Time

dancing | Time it takes me to get ready: Nine minutes |

it takes me to get ready: Ten minutes | My wardrobe

My wardrobe staple: White tees | Biggest style mistake

staple: Shirts and sweatshirts | Biggest style mistake

I’ve made: Grunge tees | Favourite sport: Swimming

I’ve made: An orange fluo beanie | Favourite sport:

| Lesson that changed my life: Keep your eyes open

Fencing | Lesson that changed my life: Stay curious

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Mojeh men moments

T h e S a rto r i a l

Touch

Sidle up to a seat, sip on a drink and slip on a pair of shoes, or four. This is the experience now on offer at the J.P. Club at the Tod’s flagship store in Milan. Home to the Sartorial Collection, the third floor has been converted into a gentleman’s club where personal service is the order of the day and where you can while away an hour or two on a tour of the collection, followed by a relaxed take on retail therapy. Lined with natural leathers, walnut and steel and dotted with contemporary art and travel memorabilia, the oh-so masculine space at Via della Spiga is designed to appeal to the modern gent. The Sartorial Collection itself is a new project for the label, which is taking ‘the hide back to its roots’. With a focus on leather, craftsmanship and technique, the collection features classic footwear and bags in a variety of traditional but timeless styles. With an aim to keep the aesthetic as natural as possible, pieces are brushed and polished by the Tod’s craftsmen so the leather retains its authentic essence. Footwear is available in a variety of characteristically refined tones – rich browns that fade from dark to light - and in the bags you will find the same attention to detail, with understated styles and a emphasis on the quality of material. For those seeking a more personal piece to match the personal service, a bespoke service is available. Initials can be embossed or painted on in silver, whilst for the those who truly know what they want, a variety of leathers are available, from Nuvolati skins and English crusted leathers in five colour options to exquisite and luxurious alligator skins. - 26 -


Mojeh men moments

Stars

to the Sun An ever-rising star in the world of photography, Pieter Henket is noted for his accomplished portrait pieces and for his work with celebrities from Anjelica Huston to Sir Ben Kingsley. Having gained worldwide renown for shooting the artwork for Lady Gaga’s debut album The Fame, he has continued to break ground with a varied oeuvre that includes landscapes, fashion photography and narrative work documenting the Carnaval de Rio. Born in The Netherlands to a fashion designer mother and architect father, Henket has creativity in his blood. Now living and working in New York City, he has developed a distinct visual vocabulary that marks him out as one of the most exciting photographers of his generation. In his first book, Stars to the Sun, we chart his diverse disciplines over 172 pages of visionary imagery. As the party comes to town in San Luis, Argentina, Henket takes us on a pictorial journey of the carnival, from the mountainous landscapes of the region to the characters that flood this traditional locale wrapped in feathers and glitter. Both documentary – in his unique cinematic style – and artistic endeavour, it evidences Henkets ability to find inspiration in everything from the curve of the rock to the sways of a dancer.

Available at fine bookstores and online.

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man of society

Time is Precious We met with Damas CEO Anan Fakhreddin at the company’s Dubai headquarters to discuss a flourishing watch portfolio, new strategies and what 2014 has in store for this market leader.

In your own words, can you tell us about the professional journey that has led to you becoming CEO of Damas? Well I’ve been in retail almost all my life. I started my career with American Express many years ago although I don’t want to remember the exact number of years! I was in charge of the retail network for card acceptance in Saudi Arabia and from there I focused on retail. I continued with American Express for nearly ten years and then moved to De Beers, where I established the regional office in Dubai in late 1999, early 2000. My primary assignment was to help develop the retail industry and, of course, sell more diamonds. Then I was with the World Gold Council for nearly 15 months, officially in charge of the Middle East and Turkey but - in reality - the global retail network and the restructuring of the US market. Then Damas came. So taking into account your significant experience, in which ways does the field of watches differ from that of high jewellery and in which ways are they similar? I think the biggest point of difference is that watches are the most significant product you can target to men. Arab men don’t traditionally consume jewellery and so the main product that you can entice them with is a watch. On average a Middle Eastern man will change watches twice a year and they are usually Swiss made, expensive pieces. Unlike jewellery however, we don’t usually have much control over the design components. With jewellery, even if it’s an international brand, because of the size of Damas we can usually influence areas such as the design, the colour or the price point. At present, watches would be less than 10% of our total turnover but we’ve already identified it as a growth area and I’m confident that in 2014 this percentage will increase.

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How do you maintain your level of success in the face of what is an increasingly expanding and more competitive market place? Our leadership comes off the back of two basic facts. One is simply size: We have 300 shops in the region and this obviously gives us a lot of credibility. Secondly is our product innovation. I’m very proud to say that from a brand equity point of view, our segmentation guidelines are more or less the guidelines for the market right now. When we identify niches and create strategies for how to treat them, these eventually become the benchmark for the market. It’s annoying that we get copied all the time but this is the price you have to pay as a market leader! Speaking of innovation, it’s listed as one of the four key pillars of Damas. How does the company continue to innovate in respect of the watch sector? Our influence on the design is limited but we always keep abreast of what is happening in terms of new products. We recently sent a delegation to Switzerland to get an understanding of what the big groups are launching and what the direction is for 2014. More importantly however, we try to showcase new brands that will help us open up new segments in the market. As CEO then, what strategies have you personally implemented within the company to ensure it stays ahead? I think first of all, a focus on maintaining the credibility of the brand and ensuring consumer confidence in Damas. Then a focus on assessing and predicting consumer tastes and producing products that cater to this, at prices the competition cannot compete with. We have great economies of scale and we always put them into play every time we buy. In the not too distant past there was a period of intense public scrutiny with regards to Damas. Does that level of attention create a greater degree of pressure as CEO? After the acquisition of the consortium a year and a half ago, all of these issues went away. The stories were never around the finances of the company, Damas as a business model was solid and it was profitable. Unfortunately during a certain period of time, there were issues with where the assets of Damas were invested beyond the jewellery market. It really affected the future of the company but if you look at the jewellery component alone, it was always healthy and always profitable. Are you able to say that the issues are fully resolved? When I first came onboard the regulator in the market was still on the case. We had regular meetings and strict instructions to ensure that the compliances


man of society

were sound. I think very shortly we’ll be able to announce to the market that we’ve achieved that 100% and that all of these issues are history. Damas is particularly synonymous with the GCC region but do you have any plans to substantially increase the company’s footing in other markets? Yes, absolutely. The new model is to grow Damas from being a famous brand in Dubai to being a famous international brand from Dubai. So obviously we’ve started looking for investment opportunities and making expansion plans. From the fashion capitals in the western hemisphere to the new markets in the East, we’re looking both ways now. Where do you see the greatest source of opportunity? I think in terms of scale, obviously the eastern hemisphere makes a lot more sense. The luxury market in China is by far number one, followed by India in some respects. Do you have a core watch brand? I think our flagship would be Parmigiani Fleurier, which we’ve had for four or five years. We are very proud of the relationship and have an exclusive agreement with them. While we have 20 or 25 other brands, I think Parmigiani sits as the main jewel in the Damas watch crown. If you look at your watch offering, what do you think it says about Damas as a whole? I think we had a confused offering until about two years ago, when the plan was to acquire from every brand that was available. It was a time in which Damas lost a sense of direction in terms of who we are and which consumer segments we market to. Now that the new strategy is adopted and announced, we have a very clear direction. The cleanup process is still ongoing, but the hope is that we’ll be able to replace all of the exiting brands with much more mature and sophisticated brands that are more suitable for our new positioning. What other interesting developments can we expect to see from Damas in 2014? In terms of watches our appetite for big brands is definitely there. We’re hoping to attract at least two and negotiations are well under way. We’re hoping by the end of the year we will have at least two senior brands sitting on our shelves. Overall the company is in a very good position. 2013 was very good for us and was one of the best years in the history of Damas in terms of net profit. I hope in 2014 we will do more of the same. Are you able to take some of the credit for that? I certainly hope so!

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mojeh men fashion

High Fashion Hipster

Image by Hedi Slimane

Contentious and controversial, the rebranding of Saint Laurent has divided opinion. We explore how Hedi Slimane is rebuilding a fashion house for the modern world and its modern man.

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mojeh men fashion

T

he reinventor. If there were such a title it would surely apply to Hedi Slimane. One would need to have been living under a rock not to be aware of the transformation he has wrought upon the house of Yves Saint Laurent. Headlines galore, column inches and heated conversation among the fash pack have all accompanied his tenure as creative director. It’s a somewhat unavoidable consequence of taking such a distinctively different approach to a house we all felt familiar with. When Saint Laurent was ‘Yves dropped’, the media mill went into a spin. It’s a story that has been rehashed, commented on and critiqued to near death. There’s little left to say. It marked a watershed moment for the house and guaranteed that Slimane would forever be considered a polarizing designer. What started with a name was soon echoed within the collections. The YSL of Yves and Stefano Pilati was a vision of sharp sophistication – all obsidian suits for the guys and billowing silhouettes in block colour palettes for the girls. There were sparks of eccentricity certainly, but it was always the serious fare one would expect to see on the Parisian runway; especially from a house founded in the early 60s and known for putting men in variations of black and grey. These were clothes for dinner in Paris, not drinks in LA. Slimane changed all that and when his vision of 90s-grungeremade took to the catwalk, jaws dropped. With his menswear debut for AW13 he showcased an aesthetic that was part street-kid, part Scandi-cool. There was tailoring, yes, but whereas suiting was previously the bulk of the collections, here it was sporadic. Pilati had well and truly left the building – not accounting for the fact the ‘building’ had changed continents, from Paris to Los Angeles . The tailoring that was now on offer was a different animal altogether. Out were the parade of toned male models in masculine but directional looks and in were lithe, slender indie-guys complete with bed hair and pointed boots. The greatest shocks of course, lay not in the few examples of formal tailoring on show but in everything else. A Dalmatian coat? A red leopard print cardi? Are we at the right show? We thought we knew who the Saint Laurent man was but he had clearly been retired, replaced with his West Coast son perhaps. Critics were divided. Like most things however, perspective comes with time and a little breathing room. Looking back at those oh-so-recent early days when the talk was frenetic and the loquacious worlds of fashion print and online seemed to focus on nothing else, we realise that our rhetorical question has changed. Instead of ‘Are we at the right show?’ we now look back with, ‘Wasn’t it exciting for a designer to engender such interest and conversation again?’ With Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane straddles two worlds. On the one hand, he’s presenting a vision of easy youthfulness. Almost as though sharing his ideal wardrobe with the world, he translates his personal style into collections for everyone.

Or if not everyone, then certainly a new audience who may not have otherwise considered the house of Yves Saint Laurent somewhere they resided. Looks that feel as though they have stepped from the streets of London’s Dalston or New York’s Bushwick are Hedi’s territory. On the other hand, Slimane is undeniably exploring what luxury means today. Through social media, collaborative projects and inventive campaigns, labels are beginning to court younger markets – grooming their loyal customers of the future. Slimane supposes a world in which the gap between streetwear and luxe needn’t feel so wide. At the risk of alienating some, he’s taking a punt on captivating the new guard. Hipster used to be a dirty word, an almost derogatory term to describe the millennial-cool. Now it has entered common vernacular and for the most part, the pejorative air has been replaced with an understanding that hipsters are merely another facet of urban living. Aspirational even. When Saint Laurent SS14 menswear took to the runway, for many the penny finally dropped. There were still the same criticisms from some camps that Slimane’s work felt a little high street (definitely a dirtier word than hipster in the world of high fashion) but reactions on the whole were more tempered. Whether one agrees or not, the high street correlations were understandable. It’s not to say that the collection was pedestrian but simply that Slimane was dealing in the kinds of wares more commonly associated with fast fashion. It felt trendy, a little vintage and looks were put together in a way that felt less prescriptive and more personal. Subconsciously it represented how one might style an outfit after a day of shopping at a smorgasbord of independent boutiques. At Saint Laurent it came together to represent the vision of one house; eclectic but accessible. Slimane is not a dictator forcing his homogenous vision for the season upon his audience, he is a craftsman creating a collection that can be dissected, reassembled and picked-from at will. Perhaps this is what some simply didn’t ‘get’. In an evolving market Slimane is providing a fast fashion experience with slow fashion principles, namely quality and technique. In many ways, he’s ahead of the grain. The fact that Slimane’s gamble has paid off is evidenced where it counts; Sales are buoyant. For all of the naysayers who categorized his rebranding efforts as a misstep, the customers have voted with their pockets. Leather jackets, bombers and accessories are selling out within days of hitting stores and the overall retail increase is estimated to be around the 40% mark. Slimane’s creative references may be a modern period piece – part 50s Teddy Boy, part 80s glam, part 90s rock – but overall he’s creating a Saint Laurent for the future. It may not be the label of old but, ultimately, fashion isn’t about the old. Slimane’s approach is new but, just like ‘hipster’ before it, we’re finally growing to realise that new is far from a dirty word.

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Season Report

In Print

Why SS14 is the season of pattern and why bold self-expression took the runway, and will soon be taking the streets, by storm.

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Image by © Zeinab Iranzadeh Ichme / ImageZoo / Corbis

P

attern is an awfully broad word. Like saying ‘trousers are in’, it could seem a rather catchall way of pulling lots of micro-trends under one comfortable umbrella. But it was unavoidable. There was no mistaking it. For SS14 the one explosively obvious thread running through the runways was print. From the relatively tame check to the daredevil oversized floral, rarely before have we seen such a preoccupation with pattern. Even the queen of minimalism Jil Sander played the game. They say that fashion imitates life and we’re undoubtedly living in a period of exuberant flux. We exist in a time of intense social interest. People are making their voices heard and, not to sound blasé, but we’re seeing that spirit of expression play out on the catwalk and in the collections. From jubilant to anarchic, pattern ran riot from New York to Milan. Behind the scenes it was also a season of interesting firsts and notable milestones. While Hedi Slimane continued to inspire heated debate with his continuing reinvention of Saint Laurent, former YSL ring master Stefano Pilati was letting his models loose in his first show for Ermenegildo Zegna. Alexander Wang took the reigns at Balenciaga, coming out of the starting gate with a whimper as opposed to bang. At Hermés, Véronique Nichanian marked 25 years at the house. The collection was predictably lovely (she hasn’t been there a quarter of a century for nothing) and the party afterwards also featured some predictably lovely gifts. We fashion folk do so love a shindig. But as one designer celebrated her longevity, at Jil Sander the namesake lady herself called it a day for the…how many times is it now? Nonetheless she bowed out with an accomplished collection that reminded us why her vision has endured for so long. Where last season saw tailoring subverted as masculine classics got a twist, SS14 was about indulging in altogether different interpretations of masculinity. At Etro and Saint Laurent the cowboy was back. Less rugged perhaps than the icons of Spaghetti Westerns, but fitting for the modern man who is readopting the beard, the bravado and everything in between. At Dolce & Gabbana, Stefano and Domenico continued to remind us that ‘real’ men have a place on the catwalk with their street casted chaps, whilst over at DSquared2, Dean and Dan’s parade of fresh-from-the-weights-room models reminded us why they sometimes don’t. As we stroll into spring/summer perhaps not all of us will be adopting a head to toe printed look or donning our bootlace ties in rodeo fashion, but at the very least these elements are certain to filter down in more restrained ways. The runway calls for a splash of extroversion and as the sun comes out to play for another season, who are we to argue?


Season Report

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trend Reports

Go Check Yourself 1

It’s perfectly acceptable to look square this season as checks return for a post autumn / winter encore. Little or large, street to suit, proportions vary and this king of geometric prints has found its footing across the casual to formal spectrum. - 34 -


trend Reports

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1. Bottega Veneta | 2. Ports 1961 | 3. Missoni | 4. Les Hommes | 5. Burberry Prorsum | 6. 3.1 Phillip Lim | 7. Neil Barrett | 8. Louis Vuitton

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trend Reports

The Flower Bomb 1

When it comes to the nature of fashion, florals have long been a staple of the menswear runways. For SS14, brazen trumps dainty as bold prints take root. Whether one piece or head to toe, combine pattern with classics to keep it masculine. - 36 -


trend Reports

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1. Gucci | 2. 3.1 Phillip Lim | 3. Alexander McQueen | 4. Dolce&Gabbana | 5. Kolor | 6. Dries Van Noten | 7. Valentino | 8. Les Hommes

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trend Reports

An Art Attack 1

Be your own canvas with motifs that feel part runway, part gallery. Think ‘could hang on a wall’ over ‘wallflower’ and disregard understatement. Cyber, graphic or retro modernism, this is one trend that exemplifies the season’s focus on all things print. - 38 -


trend Reports

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1. James Long | 2. Givenchy | 3. E. Tautz | 4. Paul Smith | 5. John Galliano | 6. Agi & Sam | 7. Versace | 8. Raf Simons

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trend Reports

The Modern Bandit 1

Wild West or Mexicano, SS14 is bringing the bandit back. Bandoleers swept across chests, bolo ties nestled under collars and fringing hung from shirts and vests. For a day at the rodeo or a night on the sandy plains, the only thing missing was a lasso. - 40 -


trend Reports

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1. Etro | 2. 3.1 Phillip Lim | 3. Costume National | 4. Etro | 5. Kris Van Assche | 6. Maison Martin Margiela | 7. Rick Owens | 8. Saint Laurent

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trend Reports

Walk the Line 1

If there were a beginner’s guide to pattern, it would surely start with the stripe. SS14 isn’t about the top-to-toe however; the band comes to town in singular statement pieces from knee-length coats at Louis Vuitton to classic tees at - where else? - Missoni. - 42 -


trend Reports

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1. Louis Vuitton | 2. Burberry Prorsum | 3. Issey Miyake | 4. Margaret Howell | 5. Robert Geller | 6. Missoni | 7. Neil Barrett | 8. Raf Simons

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trend Reports

Hot Weather Leather 1

Hot on the runways but hot in the sun, leather may not be the most forgiving spring / summer fabric but is nonetheless set to be a ubiquitous feature of the season. Slim jackets and geometric cutouts help you channel the look without wilting under the rays. - 44 -


trend Reports

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1. Iceberg | 2. Giorgio Armani | 3. Gucci | 4. HermĂŠs | 5. Les Hommes | 6. Lee Roach | 7. Richard Geller | 8. Valentino

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Colour Reports

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Get Nude Clean, crisp and contemporary, our favourite ‘not quite white’ palette of beiges, creams and nudes is seeing a revival. With an undeniably cosmopolitan vibe, this is the summer alternative for the modern urbanite tired of steely greys and blacks.

1. Ermenegildo Zegna | 2. Salvatore Ferragamo | 3. Emporio Armani | 4. Gucci | 5. Jil Sander | 6. Christopher Raeburn | 7. Margaret Howell | 8. Lanvin

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Colour Reports

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Orange Revolution Few colours lasso attention quite like orange. But whether retina-searing neons for the brave or dusty coppers for the introvert, there’s an entry point to this uncommon colour choice for most. So for SS14 be fearless and set your sights on Orange County.

1. Iceberg | 2. Kris Van Assche | 3. Agi & Sam | 4. Junya Watanabe | 5. Etro | 6. Versace | 7. Salvatore Ferragamo | 8. Ports 1961

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Colour Reports

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Tickled Pink Set aside your ‘pretty in pink’ reservations this season and reach for corals, salmons and lilacs when building a wardrobe fit for summer. In suits, sharply tailored outerwear and summer staples – shorts, polos and tees – the look is more cool than cutesy.

1. Burberry Prorsum | 2. Giorgio Armani | 3. Christopher Shannon | 4. Christopher Raeburn | 5. Paul Smith | 6. Richard James | 7. Lou Dalton | 8. Louis Vuitton

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Accessory Reports

In Hand Dior Homme

The new handheld, clutches are the carrier of choice for Spring / Summer. Structured, document-ready varieties provide a directional alternative to the briefcase while fold over options in rich leather are a fashionable accoutrement to casualwear. - 52 -


Accessory Reports

Slide Show Travel friendly, lightweight and ideal for sizzling temperatures, rebox your winter boots and invest in slip-ons. Avoid that ‘back from the beach’ feel with well-crafted options in leather and styles that will slide into your formal wardrobe with ease. - 53 -

Bottega Veneta


Accessory Reports

Going Round Dries Van Noten

With an eye to the runway, beat the glare and opt for circular shades. A style-led alternative to aviators and Clubmasters, they took a turn on the catwalk in shows from Dior Homme to James Long.

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Accessory Reports

Hat Trick The humble hat may have fallen out of favour as a wardrobe essential but behold its resurgence. DSquared2, Anne Demeulemeester and Junya Watanabe were just some of the labels to show some loving to headwear on the runway. - 55 -

Stella Jean


men of design

Dolce & Gabbana T

he most renowned duo in fashion, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, will next year be celebrating 25 years of menswear. That’s a quarter of a century in a business known for being as fickle as the wind - quite an achievement. And that’s not to mention that it was some five years before that when their first womenswear collection was shown and the label as we know it was born. In that time they have done more than merely create clothes, they have built an empire that spans the world and made household names of themselves. The famed scene in the Devil Wears Prada in which fashion novice Andrea Sachs asks just how one spells ‘Gabbana’, hit home purely because of its ludicrousness. Fashion or no fashion, everyone knows Dolce & Gabbana. They’re surprisingly unaffected by their ‘superstar’ status. That’s not to say they’re sedate. They are Italian after all. A conversation with them is much like one would expect. After decades as a team, they bounce off each other. They are two distinct personalities but come together in a way that only time, shared experiences and a kindred sensibility can create.

MOJEH MEN: So next year marks a quarter of a century of menswear at Dolce & Gabbana. How does it feel to reach a milestone like that and have you got any plans to mark the occasion? DD: At the moment we have no idea how we want to celebrate the occasion. We are still thinking about it! MM: It really is an incredible amount of time at the top though. Do you think your own menswear and menswear at large has changed a lot in that period? SG: ‘What we do is what we are’, I think that quote explains in a very clear way what Dolce & Gabbana men’s fashion is. It’s grown and is even more mature than it was 20 years ago.

but today we find ourselves in exactly the opposite situation. DD: Choosing a suit is no longer an obvious choice, it’s no longer seen as something that just covers the body. Today’s man wants to enhance his body. He goes to the gym, makes sacrifices and wants to see the results even when wearing, for example, a double-breasted jacket. SG: That is why the study of the proportions of the cut is very important and is the center of everything for us. MM: Over such a period you must have had ups and downs. On reflection, which were the greatest periods of triumph and which were the struggles?

DD: We believe that it is men’s attitudes towards fashion and personal care in general that has changed. And has for some time now, thankfully!

SG: Well the beginning is always a struggle! You have to put in a lot of time and effort in order to make your vision come true. Luckily the modern man has also evolved through the years.

SG: Until a few years ago it was unthinkable for a man to buy a beauty product or see an outfit as a way to express his personality,

DD: I think it was thanks to the world of sport that the breakthrough came, in particular, David Beckham. Before him, - 56 -


men of design

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men of design

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men of design

men regarded fashion as something for women only. David was the first to make it clear that it was important to have a winning image both on and off the field. MM: What do you think was so impactful about him in particular? SG: Just think of the white suit he wore during his presentation at Real Madrid. Before that practically no one sold white jackets, after he wore it white suits were flying off the shelves! DD: And the same is true for the body care. You know how the male cosmetics market has grown? The figures are impressive. MM: It’s interesting that you mention David Beckham because you are really seen as bastions of ‘Italian-ness’. How does it feel to be such an ingrained part of the cultural consciousness of your country? SG: We just like to do our work but we are honored to be considered cornerstones of Italian fashion.

MM: Italy continues to be a rich source of inspiration for your collections and you’re known for your vibrant motifs. Can you tell us a little about how you play with print, the messages these prints convey and your inspirations? DD: Sicily, no doubt. It’s been our main source of inspiration since our very first collections and even today, our DNA remains deeply rooted in its heritage and traditions. SG: In our latest collection we wanted to reinterpret the beautiful imagery of Sicily on our clothes - starting with the Monreale mosaics. Almond tree flowers are printed, hand-painted or applied on the fabric to obtain a three dimensional effect. Our SS14 collection draws inspiration from Sicilian mythology, the Greek origins of which are still retraceable in places such as the Valle dei Templi of Agrigento, at the majestic amphitheaters, like the one at Taormina, and at the Tempio di Apollo of Syracuse.

DD: Dolce & Gabbana is now one of the most iconic brands and recognized all over the world. Of course, that’s a big honour for us.

MM: You still cast local men to walk in your shows instead of raiding the model pool. Do you think this is important to maintain that sense of authenticity you’re talking about?

MM: You have an innate sense of who the Italian man is and you manage to sell this ideal to a whole world of men. Where does your insight come from and what does the ‘Italian man’ symbolise to you?

DD: I think for a time. After three seasons during which we showed real life, real men and the sense of authenticity, for our last men’s show (AW14) we went back to models.

DD: We started to make clothes for ourselves that we couldn’t find anywhere else – pieces that went beyond the look of a Wall Street banker and jackets with shoulder pads.

MM: Domenico, you’ve been quoted as saying, ‘There’s a moment when the creativity stops.’ If that’s true, then what keeps you ticking? DD: I’ve never said anything like that.

SG: I think it all depends on the personality of each man. For us, the first rule is that there are no rules and the thing I always recommend is to wear only the clothes that make you feel at ease, because they are never a trend. DD: For me, however, if it has to be traditional, it needs to be the male item par excellence. I am one for attention to detail, the slot of the button sewn in a certain way, the choice of the shirt collar according to the type of lapels of the jacket. For me doing this job, the beauty of seeing a man wearing a traditional suit as it should be, is priceless. - 59 -

MM: Oh? I definitely read that! DD: No, I think if one day my creativity stopped, that would be the moment when my work would have to finish. MM: In that case for both of you, with nearly 25 years of menswear from Dolce & Gabbana under your belt, do you believe you’ll see through another 25? Will you ever stop? SG: No, we will never stop, fashion for us is our life, our daily ‘linfa’ and our state of mind.


Tinker, Tailor Ermenegildo Zegna SS14

In his last gig at YSL, Stefano Pilati created collections that garnered not only critical praise but brought the house to profitability. Nevertheless his tenure was plagued with rumours that his creativity was curtailed, that it was a highly ‘politicised’ environment and that, under PPQ, the process of design was more ‘corporate’ – his word – than liberating. All eyes therefore, were on his debut collection for Ermenegildo Zegna to see just what a freer hand and the nurturing nature of a family business would spawn. From the first moments of the show, when wailing sirens roared through the venue and large-scale video screens sprung to life around a circular runway, it was clear that there was to be a sense of spectacle. The sirens faded into beat-heavy electro, rousing in places and piercing in others and as the first look rounded the corner, Pilati’s manifesto was revealed. A 43-look collection, it was perhaps more daring than we’ve seen from the house before. Certainly more attention had been paid to creative flourishes. Trousers that at first seemed to be plain were in fact adorned

with tonal patterns, scarves were just visible, peeping out from below crisp lapels and overall there was an appreciation for print and colour that felt unexpected but refined. Pilati’s strength lies in his very modern understanding of luxury and his ability to add interest in ways that feel unlaboured and thoughtful. In the styling we saw sleeves scrunched up, waists effortlessly cinched with skinny belts and models trailed huge swathes of fabric along the runway – oversized scarves, or possibly luxe blankets such was their scale. Nothing felt like a drastic reinvention of the Ermenegildo Zegna of old, but Pilati had clearly been afforded the creative licence he craved. ‘I’m thrilled to have Stefano in our group as he brings great talent, invaluable experience and enormous enthusiasm,’ Gildo Zegna told us. ‘We have been thinking about Zegna’s role in fashion for some time. With this appointment, we will be able to combine our tradition in tailoring and our leadership in innovative materials with a new vision for men’s fashion.’

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Show Reports

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Back from the Brink Nicole Farhi SS14

Joanna Sykes is no stranger to the cruel hand of the administrator. During her tenure as design director at British heritage label Aquascutum, the brand almost collapsed. Although the blame can hardly be laid at her feet, she bowed out of her role during the post-buyout management restructuring and moved onto pastures new at Nicole Farhi. Alas history was to repeat itself, and last year Farhi was narrowly pulled from the brink of bankruptcy following its own buyout – with the label purchased by heiress and businesswoman Maxine Hargreaves-Adams. SS14 marked Sykes’s first menswear collection for Farhi and there was undoubtedly pressure to both demonstrate the label could retain its fashion sense and also provide pieces that were commercial enough to shore up that troublesome bottom line. But from the beginning, Sykes has demonstrated retail savvy and it played out in the collection. It was sophisticated, it was understated and it still channeled enough of a ‘fashion vision’ to feel relevant, yet it was also wearable and, dare we say, inoffensive. Held at a glass tower in London’s Regent’s Place, guests at

the show were greeted with crystals on the seats. As the press release proclaimed, they were to bring ‘clarity and serenity’. Sykes was clearly in no mood to allow the choppy tides of change to affect her work. Instead what we saw was an exercise in tranquility. With a focus on smart-casual, the collection comprised minimal separates in an expensive feeling colour palette that oscillated between pale pastels and deep military greens. Shirts (short sleeved and long), cardigans, casual jackets, formal blazers, outerwear, shorts, trousers, knit sweaters – there was something for everyone. Two female models were even thrown into the mix, presumably an attempt to demonstrate the collection’s universal appeal and wearability. Not one to miss a trick, Sykes clearly has her eye on every sale. But for all of its ‘paired-backness’ SS14 managed to reignite interest in the label. Reviews in the immediate aftermath were almost all positive, many highly so. Whether that translates into sales remains to be seen, but for now we can at least celebrate that Nicole Farhi not only survived where many others have fallen, but that it’s back with a vengeance.

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Show Reports

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A Sharp Start Balenciaga SS14

In its menswear the house of Balenciaga has been channeling a cool brand of sharp modernity for some time, often in that mainstay of sophistication: black. It’s why the appointment of Alexander Wang seemed such a natural fit. You could say that monochrome minimalism is his bag, quite literally in many cases; such is his penchant for accessories. With such a comfortable equilibrium between Balenciaga’s approach to design and Wang’s aesthetic, it was hard to imagine a collection that would surprise. Any risk of him reinventing the wheel seemed so negligible as to be practically nil and yet still, we waited. There was no actual show of course, Balenciaga having done away with pomp and circumstance several seasons ago. Nor was there any explanation or description from Wang on what was to come or how he’d approached his debut. In a world where most shows are surrounded by chatter and postulation, Balenciaga maintained radio silence. The collection itself was assured as, of course, we knew it would be. Surprises? Well there were no moments of

soap-opera-shock. To see Wang’s stamp we had to look a little closer. In the clean-cut silhouettes and occasional splashes of subtle colour (in an otherwise slight colour palette), Wang continued the familiar Balenciaga trope. It was in the restrained use of asymmetry and recurring elements – such as the buttoning – that we began to see his creative signature. In some of his material choices there was a more obvious stab at the unexpected. Outerwear in translucent plastics was reminiscent of Christopher Bailey’s reimagined trenches for Burberry, a la AW13. Leather he took in a semi-formal direction. Yes there were the neat, boxy jackets, but also a blazer – complete with peaked lapels and breast pocket. As debuts go, Wang is unlikely to garner the column inches of someone like Hedi Slimane. In Balenciaga he has found a house that was a ready-made fit – as snug as one of their perfectly tailored shirts. Whether he brings a new sense of identity remains to be seen but, with Wang at the helm, any new face is likely to look much like the old. Then again, if it isn’t broke…

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Show Reports

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mojeh men style

From

Franรงois

1er

Taking a walk on the styled side, we explore the world of Dior Homme shoes and discover what it takes to bring a pair to life.

Images by Sophie Carre

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mojeh men style

T

hey say to understand a man you must first walk a mile in his shoes, for Dior Homme you need only take a stroll down Rue François 1er. A bustling thoroughfare in the heart of Paris, it is part of the 8th arrondissement and home to the city’s most iconic landmarks – symbols of French invention, ingenuity and innovation. It is fittingly the home of Homme and where a pair of Dior shoes take their first steps. The creation of a pair of Dior Homme shoes is much like the assembly of any finely tuned instrument. The process is painstaking and exquisite attention to detail is required before the first component has even been realised. Although the finished pieces will be a sturdy symbol of masculine style, they start as mere pencil on paper, with the designers at the Rue François 1er studio drafting sketches that innately channel the ethos of the house. There’s a classicism to the designs: elegant, understated and razor sharp. From there the magic happens. Calfskin tanned in Italy is cut and assembled, pieces coming together invisibly to form shoes designed to stand the test of time, both in form and appearance. The Goodyear construction technique is the method favoured by Dior Homme. The process involves shaping the upper part of the dress shoe over a last – a replica form of the human foot – and sewing a welt to the inner and upper sole. The sole is then attached using stitching. Although it means a lengthier manufacturing process, it also means a more durable - 68 -


mojeh men style

and longer lasting end result. As the sole can be replaced independently of the upper section, shoes crafted using the Goodyear process can last up to 20 years. It’s no wonder therefore that Dior Homme feel so comfortable branding the soles of their shoes with the CD signature. It’s as much a mark of pride for the house as a symbol of quality for the wearer. Finishing touches completed by hand are where the nuances are created. For the discerning modern gent, an expertly applied patina is often a telltale sign of luxury, and by default a certain modicum of care and respect for the piece. The process of applying the patina is repeated again and again on a single pair of shoes, the craftsmen imbuing soul with every coat. At Dior Homme there’s a tangible relish for these details and a commitment to craft. Even the sole is stained and polished with the artful regard of an artisan. Considering Dior Homme is scarcely a few decades old itself, it has managed to carve a distinct identity for itself – one based upon quality, enduring style and timeless appeal. In the house’s footwear can be found hallmarks of a fashion foundation stretching back half a century. In his work creating fashions for the contemporary chap, Kris Van Assche has defined the Dior Homme man as a pioneer – a man with his eyes on the future of style. Dior Homme shoes ensure his feet are firmly rooted in the now and that he takes generations of experience and technique with him wherever he goes. - 69 -


Fashion hunter

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all

Aboard For a modern take on nautical, think thin stripes versus thick, subtle pattern versus anchors and understated slip-ons versus deck shoes. A fresh palette of white, creams and crisp blues retains a seafaring vibe that looks as sharp on land as it does on the waves.

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1. Omega | 2. HermĂŠs | 3. Gucci | 4. Versace | 5. Dior Homme | 6. Sunspel @ MrPorter.com | 7. Thomas Pink | 8. Bottega Veneta @ MrPorter.com | 9. Olebar Brown @ Harvey Nichols | 10. Viktor & Rolf @ Saks Fifth Avenue | 11. Saint Laurent | 12. Salvatore Ferragamo | 13. Dries Van Noten

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Fashion hunter

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Classic Few things say classic style as much as rich brown leather, an earthy mix of colours and timeless pieces that transcend seasonal fashion. For spring / summer, keep it light and effortless with sleeveless tailoring, rolled up trousers and clean-cut layering. And don’t forget to offset those darker shades with a splash of sun reflecting white.

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1. Rolex | 2. Canali | 3. Tod’s | 4. Gucci | 5. Alexander McQueen | 6. Dior Homme @ Saks Fifth Avenue | 7. Dolce&Gabbana @ MatchesFashion.com | 8. CH Carolina Herrera | 9. Salvatore Ferragamo | 10. Ermenegildo Zegna | 11. Dior Homme | 12. Valentino @ Harvey Nichols

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mojeh men interview

Maison Martin

Margiela

We speak exclusively to the design house about deconstruction, anonymity and why their collections are a bit of all white.

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f Maison Martin Margiela, or MMM, were a ‘house’ in the traditional sense, it would be a sleek, modernist cube in which the curtains are always drawn but every season, spectacular garden parties are thrown which pull in the crowds. The design studio and what happens within it are something of a mystery but its collections continue to excite and inspire - such is the cultural impact of this mainstay of minimalism. Unlike most fashion labels, MMM has no face. Its founder and namesake quietly flew the coop some years ago. The house however, has continued as a collective of talents working diligently to produce clothes that are less about the singular vision of one designer and more a commitment to an overall ethos. ‘At Maison Martin Margiela, it is all about teamwork,’ they explain. ‘The whole studio is involved in the process of creation in order to move forward as a whole.’ With this statement it is understandable why pronouns can get a little tricky. MMM is both an ‘it’ and a ‘they’, and quotes come in the form of group declarations. They are the Borg of the fashion galaxy. It may seem confusing but for them, it works - merely another anomaly of a label that is defined by its eccentricity. ‘We may adapt ourselves to the evolving world, but we stay true to our foundations,’ they explain. It’s apparent that, despite collections that shift and morph with each passing season, there’s an innate sense of consistency within MMM. Or at least in what we see because anonymity, of course, is one of their hallmarks. Not just in the secrecy that surrounds the design team, but as a theme that plays out on the runway and even the stage. Who can forget Kanye West’s Yeezus tour and the array of bejeweled masks that obscured the face of one of the most talked about men in music? He may be known for unabashedly expressing his point of view, but he also likes his music to do the talking. With no façade to cloud our perceptions, the message can take centre stage. This diverting of our attentions and channeling of our focus is echoed on the catwalk. ‘During our Haute Couture shows, all the models walk on the runway wearing veils hiding their faces,’ they tell us, ‘this anonymity allows the audience to focus its attention on the pieces they are wearing.’

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mojeh men interview

For a label that puts such an emphasis on the discreet, the signatures of the house are instantly recognizable and if anonymity is a hallmark then deconstruction is the foundation. For decades MMM has been unpicking the seams of style, reimagining garment construction and toying with our aesthetic ideals. ‘We love to see how a garment can be deconstructed and then reinvented,’ they say. ‘We try to adjust this inspiration each season by offering new shapes and vibes in the collections but deconstruction is more than just a characteristic at Maison Martin Margiela, it’s a passion.’ A feeling of consistency is one thing but what of the surprise that comes from the unexpected? When we develop a liking for something, even in fashion, we are loath to see it evolve beyond recognition. With brands that perpetually reinvent, there are the collections we like, but inevitably, those we don’t. ‘Aren’t you surprised each season?’ Maison Martin Margiela retorts. The truth is that whilst each season we’re excited to see just how they’ll present the face of menswear for the coming months, MMM fulfills an unspoken mandate of comfortable, cool familiarity. Indeed when Renzo Rosso, the majority stakeholder of MMM, announced in 2009 that Martin Margiela himself had not been with the house for ‘a long time’, it also came with a statement on the direction of the label. ‘We are focusing on young, realistic energy for the future,’ he said. As a man who respects design but also the bottom line, it might have seemed to some a thinly veiled admission that, for all of its creative credibility, MMM needed to keep its eye on the commercial prize. But despite his ambiguously pointed use of the word ‘realistic’, there’s always room for interpretation. ‘Well, realistic may especially refer to ‘true’.’ Maison Martin Margiela told us. ‘Regardless, we’ve always stayed sincere and true to MMM’s roots. The team doesn’t think about the way it has to be cool or wearable but how each person can be touched in some way by a piece.’ For SS14 the surprise came not in what was present, but in what was missing. Where was the white? For a label so synonymous with a colour, this was the most unexpected twist of all in the unfolding MMM story. ‘The year before, for the SS13 menswear collection, the design team was interested in the changing shades of white but it doesn’t mean we don’t also love colour!’ they said. ‘At the Parisian headquarters, everything is covered or painted in white - lamps, desks, computers - but it does not necessarily apply to our collections.’ Ultimately MMM has managed to carve something of a niche for itself. Even if the team doesn’t design to be ‘cool’, there’s no denying this is a label with a vibrantly cosmopolitan attitude. It has blossomed from a brand for the artistic elite to something for everyone - like a great secret discovered by many yet still untainted by popular appeal. As they told us, ‘Maison Martin Margiela is constantly moving forward, without forgetting the past. Our customers can be everywhere. When creating, we don’t really think of a specific target, but instead love to see how each person finds their own Maison Martin Margiela in our collections.’ Maison Martin Margiela is available in Dubai through Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Black and Blue Stalwarts of masculinity, black and blue might seem an uninspired choice for accessorizing this spring / summer, but these two ‘B’s needn’t be boring. With the season’s focus on print, turn your eye to strikingly patterned pieces – be it scarf or bag – and mix with traditional staples.

Valentino

1. Versace | 2. Thomas Pink | 3. Dior Homme | 4. Salvatore Ferragamo | 5. Ermanno Scervino | 6. Tod’s | 7. Alexander McQueen | 8. IWC | 9. Dior Homme

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Break With Tradition Classic with a twist, there’s an element of the eccentric in SS14’s dapper wares. More antique than avant-garde, ornate design elements – from embossed details on leather bags to carvings on cufflinks – convey an old world vibe with a new world sensibility.

Dolce&Gabbana

1. Gucci | 2. Thomas Pink | 3. Ermenegildo Zegna | 4. Gucci | 5. Salvatore Ferragamo | 6. Alexander McQueen | 7. Omega | 8. Saint Laurent | 9. Dior Homme

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mojeh men style

His & Hers R

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Image by Zoe Duchesne

‘My objective is to create garments that can be worn by anyone at any time,’ Hourani tell us. Born to a Jordanian father and Syrian mother, he is in many ways the most pioneering name in couture. The first to be invited by La Chambre Syndicale de La Haute Couture to design and present a unisex haute couture show, he is treading never before trodden territory. ‘I fuse both genders to create a unisex canvas that can make bodies look taller and slicker, new and comfortable all at the same time. It doesn’t make sense to me that a woman should dress differently than a man or vice versa. I am not trying to dress a man like a woman or the opposite, I am creating a new way of dressing that makes people look modern without any limits,’ he explains. In his approach he subverts everything we think of as ‘fashion’. He isn’t interested in seasonal collections anymore than he is interested in defining his designs by gender. Although quietly sophisticated and achingly, painfully cool, his collections don’t immediately scream ‘rebellion’ and yet, arguably, by shirking the conventions that make fashion, fashion, he is something of an anarchist. ‘Fashion is a trend machine I don’t understand. I have no interest in fashion,’ he tells us. ‘I find it very limiting to be set in one category. Clothing is the first element in which you can express yourself and your personality. What we wear is what we are in a way. I never think of myself as a designer. I am someone living on planet Earth and I use different mediums to express myself, be it design, art, film, photography or music. You can call me a ‘visualist’ if you need to give me a title.’ It all might sound a little precious, but there’s an intellectuality with Hourani that is beguiling. In his work he is challenging the foundations of an industry that we are all apart of, whether directly or indirectly. While his pieces may be minimal, the concept is anything but. ‘My challenge has always been the same as that of any language: to be understood and make people react to what you say. Design for me is a tool for self-expression and self-invention. It’s about objects transcending simple functionality and gaining symbolic power as they engage in a dialogue with their environment and their time.’ Still just in his early thirties, Hourani demonstrates a kind of worldly wisdom that is probably partly innate and partly influenced by his upbringing, during which he travelled from continent to continent. It’s afforded him an admirable perspective on life that is not only evidenced in his designs but which could also provide a lesson for anyone. ‘Circumstances led me to move around the world early on in life and I’ve felt compelled to continue doing so. I think it is a wonderful thing to live and grow up in different societies and cultures. It shows you the world from different angles and makes you understand that we are all the same and that we are all looking to perfect ourselves in life. Above all it makes you realize that we live in just one world.’

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mojeh men style

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mojeh men style

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mojeh men style

In the

Details We speak with Giuseppe and Massimiliano Attolini of Cesare Attolini, about tailoring, expansion and why good taste is universal.

Cesare Attolini stands for timeless tradition, quality and the expertise of generations of artisans. This family-run Italian business has managed to maintain its air of exclusivity, despite being a firm favourite with the likes of Al Pacino and Antonio Banderas. With a limited production and a focus on hand tailoring, it is expanding its global presence now available in Dubai through Levant - but not at the expense of the traits that have made it such an enduring label. ‘Until five or six years ago we didn’t have a flagship store,’ Massimiliano tells us. ‘We produce 11,000 suits per year, which is nothing for the world but a lot for this quality. Now we’ve brought our whole company under one roof we will be able to produce perhaps 14,000, then we stop. Quality and quantity are not friends!’ There’s a level of quiet refinement with Attolini. Its suits are not about bold statement, at least in aesthetics. Instead the label prefers to focus its attention on superiority of design. ‘A suit can be very expensive but when it isn’t screaming ‘expensive’, only people who know and understand will detect it. It’s about subtlety. That is our philosophy,’ explains Giuseppe. ‘If you look at the big brands, they’re coming in our direction – quality, stitching by hand, made to measure. For us, that’s what we’ve been doing all along.’ That provenance is partly what sets them apart. Still a family business, they balance commercial realities with a commitment to the brand that is about more than dollars or dirhams. ‘It’s three generations,’ says Massimiliano. ‘People want to know that when they’re spending $8000 on a suit. They want to know who’s behind the product. In the luxury market it’s not just a question of price, it needs to be reflected in the quality. Our grandfather was the inventor of the Neapolitan style in the 1930s, and then you have us who, for 25 or 30 years, have been promoting the brand. And of course we’re tailors ourselves.’ But as the company makes it mark felt in the Middle East, how do they believe their distinct brand of Neapolitan classicism will translate? ‘Our style is the Neapolitan style but not local Neapolitan. It’s also international because it’s a clean look - very modern and very contemporary, in the volume and the design. There’s a certain man who travels all over the world. Now we’ve started to sell in the local market because we’ve found the right partner, but the taste is no different from London or Milan. When you have taste you can be from Dubai, you can be from Paris or you can be from anywhere. Good taste is good taste!’

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room 101 Photographed by Pieter Henket Styled by Daphna Guttin

Blue satin blouson, patch pocket and Prussian wool trousers, DIOR HOMME

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Blue lambskin boxy jacket, sleeveless t-shirt and blue satin front, DIOR HOMME

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Prune sweater, patchwork application, prune interlock shirt and Prussian blue wool trousers, DIOR HOMME

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Sleeveless t-shirt, Prussian blue boxy jacket and wool pleat-front shorts, DIOR HOMME

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Black leather coat, broadcloth long shorts and black calf derby shoes, DIOR HOMME

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Blue wool blouson, sleeveless t-shirt and long wool shorts, DIOR HOMME

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Blue wool jacket and sleeveless shirt, DIOR HOMME

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Black leather coat, broadcloth long shorts, black calf derby shoes and leather briefcase, DIOR HOMME

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Model: Bastien Grimal at DNA models | Grooming: Tonya Riner | Casting and Production: Roger Inniss at Boom Productions Inc | Film directed by: Peter Henket and Loic Maes | Director of photography: A.J. Del Cueto | Red dragon, camera courtesy: Off Hollywood Productions | Gaffer: Josh Bass | Stylist’s assistant: Megan Pastor | Production: Louis Agency | Special thanks to Mister and Misses Guttin

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Blue lambskin boxy jacket, sleeveless t-shirt and blue satin front, Prussian wool trousers, DIOR HOMME

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the beach boys Photographed by Steeve Beckouet Styled by Guillaume Boulez

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Left: Swimsuits, VILEBREQUIN | Hat, stylist’s own | Pocket, RAINS | Shoes, VANS | Board, THOMAS BEXON AT WAIT Right: Polo and swimsuit, VILBREQUIN | Sunglasses, VANS | Slippers, VANS | Board, JEFF MCCALLUM AT WAIT - 99 -


Shirt, jacket and swimsuit, VILEBREQUIN | Hat, stylist’s own | Sunglasses, OAKLEY

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Left: Shirt, swimsuit and shorts, VILEBREQUIN | Tong, COOL SHOE | Sunglasses, COOL SHOE Right: Shorts, swimsuit, towel and bag, VILEBREQUIN | Hat, stylist’s own | Shoes, VANS - 101 -


Vest and swimsuit, VILEBREQUIN | Cap, ISNOTDEAD

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Polo and swimsuit, VILEBREQUIN | Sunglasses, VANS

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T-shirt, trousers, swimsuit and towel, VILEBREQUIN | Cap, ISNOTDEAD | Sunglasses, COOL SHOE | Watch, KOMONO

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Shorts and swimsuit, VILEBREQUIN | Sunglasses, WAITING FOR THE SUN AT WAIT | Headphones, URBANEARS | Backpack, HERSCHEL | Board, THOMAS BEXON AT WAIT

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Swimsuits, VILEBREQUIN | Sunglasses, MARC O’POLO | Watch, KOMONO - 106 -


Make-up artist: Christopher Kam at Airport Agency | Hair stylist: Jonathan Dadoun at B4 Agency | Models: Tarik Lakehal and Amaury Baudoin at Success Models | Retouching: Francisco Vargas | Stylist’s assistants: Remi Meunier and Julien Jacquemin | Production: Louis Agency

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fighting spirit Photographed by Riccardo Vimercati Styled by Julie Ragolia

Trench coat, BILLY REID | Sweatshirt, OFFICINE GENERALE | Shorts, MARNI | Sweatpants, TODD SNYDER + CHAMPION | Socks, HANES | Boots, FRYE - 109 -


Sweater, PAUL STUART | Sweatpants, BALLY SUEDE | Socks, HANES | Shoes, PRADA

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Sweater, MARNI | Trousers and belt, EMPORIO ARMANI - 113 -


Sweater, PAUL STUART | Sweatpants, BALLY SUEDE - 114 -


Sweater, BILLY REID | Sleeveless hoodie, BAND OF OUTSIDERS | Sweatpants, TODD SNYDER + CHAMPION

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Hoodie, TOMMY HILFIGER | Sweatpants, BALLY SUEDE

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Hoodie, TOMMY HILFIGER | Sweatpants, BALLY SUEDE | Shoes, PRADA - 117 -


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Sweater, BILLY REID | Sleeveless hoodie, BAND OF OUTSIDERS | Sweatpants, TODD SNYDER + CHAMPION | Socks, HANES | Boots, FRYE

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Sleeveless hoodie, DIOR HOMME

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Shorts, PRADA | Robe, PAUL STUART

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Sweater, OFFICINE GENERALE | Sweatpants, J. CREW

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Model: Henrik Fallenius at Soul Artist Management | Grooming: Enrico Mariotti at See Management | Fashion assistants: Taylor Brechtel and Chris Sandford | Production: Louis Agency

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most desired

Eddie Handmade With the Grain

Taking a current approach to leather, Eddie Handmade craft their distinctive pieces in studios based in London and Dubai. Working with full-grain, 100% natural cowhide leather, the label has a focus on designs for the modern, urban gent. Discreet, modest but with a very ‘now’ take on luxury, they deal in everything from men’s clutch bags and phone holders to briefcases and document wallets. With the brand named after a mischievous Jack Russell called Eddie, it’s clear that a sense of personality is key and with a combination of subtle detailing and raw finishes they manage to lift classic accessories out of the doldrums - whilst retaining the sophistication so crucial to the contemporary chap. Only recently launched, the label has already garnered a loyal and growing following and in addition to the ready-to-buy collection, those looking for the ultimate in personalisation can opt for bespoke. So even if you’re not a dog person, this is one Eddie you’ll want to take home.

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most desired

Le Gramme Its Weight in Gold

High in concept but simple in design, Le Gramme is a label that mixes substance with effortless style. Founded by Adrien Messié and Erwan Le Louer, it all began with an ethically focused collection of 925 recycled sterling silver pieces. Now, with a global client base and the brand being stocked by the likes of Paris’s Collette and Tokyo’s Tomorrowland, the range has expanded to include luxe designs in red gold. As the name suggests, each piece is designed based upon its density and comes engraved with a unique batch number – numbered and laminated by French artisans. Throwing ostentation to the wind, Le Gramme’s aesthetic is one of erudite minimalism, mixing austerity with understated details and designed to be a reference to the ‘logical and rational masculine universe’, both in form and concept. At its heart Le Gramme is a label with an innate respect for material, with its pieces representing quality in its most distilled form.

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most desired

Rimowa Travel Light

As one of the world’s most famous luggage manufacturers, Rimowa has been breaking ground since its inception in 1898. The first manufacturer to create an overseas suitcase in lightweight metal in 1937, the first to make a suitcase in structural aluminium in 1950 and the first company to craft luggage in polycarbonate in 2000, it has proved a pioneering force in travel products. The Topas Stealth range, in furtive black of course, not only looks good but is also among the lightest in the world. With an aluminium shell, the pieces are designed specifically for tropical travel, with each item easily able to withstand temperature extremes and dramatic fluctuations from hot to cold and vice versa. With TSA combination locks, recessed handles and spinner wheels, form doesn’t trump function as Rimowa ensure practicality and aesthetics go hand in hand when the time comes to switch continents.

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most desired

LARKE Optics An Eye for Design

Handmade in England and with each set of frames carved from the finest blocks of Italian acetate, LARKE know good design. The minimal lines and clean aesthetic might belie the craftsmanship involved, but at this boutique label there’s an appreciation for artisanship, method and exclusivity. Using rare and often end of line materials, the production of pieces is limited, ensuring a degree of individuality for the wearer. But of course the end product is only part of the story and for those with a taste for technique, LARKE are committed to using age-old production methods that afford each design an unprocessed finish. The label’s fusion of classic processes, cutting edge lens technology and contemporary design is the ideal trifecta of intelligent style, and in LARKE’s pieces there is to be found a unique appeal – part minimal understatement, part forward looking finesse.

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most desired

Serge Lutens The Poetry of Perfume

A fragrance house with an unabashedly devoted cult following, Serge Lutens is the epitome of discernment in the world of scent. The Palais Royal boutique is a required pilgrimage for those with a keen interest in perfumery. Its namesake founder is not only a ‘nose’ but a photographer, filmmaker, fashion designer and hair stylist and this effervescent creativity bubbles up in everything the house purveys - its fragrances being some of the most coveted in the world. ‘What’s left when you’ve forgotten: fingertips dipped in a bowl of water, sprinkling the linen as if blessing a crowd and steaming the cotton, the iron pressing down on the crease. It’s the smell of the steam enhancing the freshness.’ So reads the description for L’eau Serge Lutens, the house’s ‘anti-perfume’ launched in 2009. With that preamble one understands that, more than simply scents, Serge Lutens hope to elevate their fragrances to the level of poetry.

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most desired

Turnbull & Asser In Your Pocket

British heritage label Turnbull & Asser have been kitting out some of the world’s most prominent men for generations. From Winston Churchill to James Bond (starting with Sean Connery no less), Charlie Chaplin to Picasso, its pedigree as a men’s clothier is beyond repute. But for all of its history – being established in 1885 – it has a decidedly directional approach to tradition and timeless style. Whimsical elements such as unconventional prints and eccentrically carved cufflinks offer a sense of modernity and remind us that this is a label for the man who truly cares about style. Owned by Ali Al-Fayed, brother of Mohamed Al-Fayed, the label has kept its roots firmly in the UK, manufacturing almost all of its pieces in Britain. Its desirable pocket squares are hand-printed in England and convey all of the tasteful panache one would expect from a brand that has been in the business for well over a century.

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MOJEH MEN interview

It’s All In The Name

As Jack Heuer, former Honorary President of TAG Heuer and designer of the Carrera, enters retirement, we speak to him about legacy, advancment and what he plans to do with his new found time.

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ne only needs to take a look at the surname to understand that Jack Heuer is something of an icon in the field of watches. His great grandfather founded TAG Heuer and, five years after joining the company in 1958, he designed the Carrera, one of the label’s most enduring pieces. Recently retired from his position as Honorary President, now is a time of reflection for the 81 year old. ‘I will certainly be reading more books, making more time for my wife and working on my fitness so I can continue to ski!’ he tells us, when we ask what this next chapter has in store. It seems a natural time for Heuer to settle into a life without time, although of course he’ll have more of it now. Last year the Carrera celebrated it’s 50th birthday. Yet despite its continued appeal, Heuer never realised the impact it would have on the brand or how much it would come to be a symbol of Tag Heuer’s very ethos. ‘I frankly never imagined it would become the leader of the entire TAG Heuer collection,’ he says. ‘I always knew the name Carrera was a perfect name for a watch, and when it launched in 1963 it was an immediate success. We continued to produce Carrera’s for the next 15 years and, since 1969, also an automatic version.’ With a 50-year history, the Carrera is a timepiece with a rich legacy and when Jack Heuer talks about its journey, he is clearly filled with a sense of nostalgia and also pride. ‘With the arrival of the Quartz crisis, the market for mechanical chronographs virtually disappeared. It was only after the takeover by TAG in 1985 that the new owners decided to relaunch a hand-winding old Carrera Chronograph replica, and that was again a rather successful version!’ he tells us, with a certain degree of faux modesty. ‘With the takeover by LVMH in late 1999, the entire watch portfolio was renewed and in 2012 a new self-winding Carrera was launched as my ‘40 year Carrera’. It was signed by me and in a limited edition of 1500 pieces. It very quickly sold out and from there TAG Heuer decided to develop the Carrera series further, with

the Grand Carrera and later on with many other Carrera models. So it really has taken on a life of its own.’ It’s often said that Heuer led the brand during one of its most creative periods. In many respects he was responsible for helping to establish several of the traits we associate with TAG Heuer today. He continued the strategy for sportsrelated marketing, an idea TAG Heuer were one of the first to seize upon. ‘You must remember that the old company, Heuer-Leonidas, was the world’s largest manufacturer of handheld stopwatches before they all became electronic,’ he explains. ‘As a stopwatch producer we were traditionally very involved in all types of sports, including motorsports where all of our Rally dashboard stopwatches became a must!’ But the brand was also one of the first to realise the connection between sports and those involved. Although Heuer is quick to clarify that it wasn’t about being elitist, there was certainly a correlation between those who watched and those who would – and could - wear. ‘For the launch of the world’s first self-winding Chronographs in 1969, we concentrated our marketing and advertising efforts on automobile sports. If I’m honest I can admit that in general they had a relatively wealthy supporting crowd, and of course that was good for us,’ he says candidly. Speaking to Heuer, who is still amazingly abreast of advancements in the field, one frequently forgets that he has first hand experience of the technical revolution. During his lifetime he’s seen the advent of digital and the rapid broadening of the market. There was even a time in which he feared that mechanical movements would fade away as relics of a bygone era or become an anachronism. ‘Frankly speaking, as an electronic engineer I expected their downfall. How could you envision in 1980 that there would be mobile phones and laptops that would always give you the exact time based on atomic accuracy?’ he muses. ‘I fought for all of my 25 years in the watch industry to make the mechanical movements of our chronographs more accurate. I never imagined that the public would accept inaccuracy and set their wristwatches to the exact time once or twice a week when sitting at a computer, or after noticing the time difference on their mobile phone. Today in a watch store, the buyer practically never asks ‘Is this an accurate watch?’ when that used to be the first question!’ As Jack Heuer prepares to leave behind the world of watches, at least for work, and ease himself into a period free from boardrooms and even people like us asking questions (this is purported to be one of his last interviews, if not his last), we’re keen to know what lessons he has to impart. ‘Along the way I’ve learnt that it is easier to be a consultant than a CEO,’ he says with a short chuckle. ‘That you should always plan for the worst-case scenario, that the unexpected is often around the corner and that being too optimistic has a dangerous side.’ And his greatest lessons? ‘Creativity is a gift, cherish it. Oh, and never give up!’

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mojeh men on watches

Watch Edit From one continent to another, keep track of time with our selection of timepieces for a season on the seas, in the skies or in the boardroom.

Montblanc TimeWalker Extreme Chronograph DLC

Breitling Aerospace Evo

Perrelet Turbine Playing With Fire

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mojeh men on watches

Longines Heritage 1973 IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000

Piaget Altiplano 900P

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mojeh men interview

involved, making the difference between the third and the fourth. That’s our spirit. Can you tell us a about what the Middle Eastern market means to Omega? It used to be one of those markets that people thought, ‘oh we’ll take some watches, we’ll put some diamonds on them and we’ll sell them in a souk.’ That was the spirit when I first started at Omega, but it isn’t like that anymore. The Middle East has increased very much in terms of the proportion of our business. In Dubai alone we have eight boutiques. The Middle East has truly become a part of the world and we want to show this region that we understand and believe in the advancements being made here.

An Alpha

of Omega We caught up with Raynald Aeschlimann, Vice President and International sales Director of Omega, at the Omega golf chalet here in Dubai to discuss sports, the Middle East and why watches are more than just a matter of time. What do you think are the points of difference between Omega and other watch brands? I think some brands work more on their advertising than on who they actually are. We have a long history and a heritage. The Seamaster, for example, has been there since 1957 and was the first watch that was waterproof. That legacy is what makes the difference between Omega and all of the other watch brands. Some are similar, but our history and DNA is different. We’ve created James Bond’s watch for six movies now and our designs have made history. When you buy a watch you want to think about the future. You might want to wear it very much today but in two or three years you want to have a watch that is still totally up-to-date. With Omega you can trust that this will be the case. Omega has a long association with sports. Can you tell us why this is so important for the brand? We first worked with the Olympic Games in 1932, if you can believe that. The whole evolution of sport was also the evolution of our watches and the evolution of our brand. So the relationship is something that is not only buying or sponsoring, it’s about our essence. We’ve been the official timekeeper of 24 Olympic Games in the 20th and 21st centuries. We’ve been there in a way that is actually

Who do you think the Omega man is? There’s a particular man that we’ve been working on who has been very successful for us. It’s the man between 18 and 35, the young man who has achieved something for himself. I call him the new James Bond generation! Prince William wears an Omega Seamaster on his wrist and I see him as an example. He’s part of a generation of young man that is ready to spend and wants something different. The other Omega man is slightly older and his focus is on value and quality. For men like him we have the Constellation and more classic watches. So in many ways we have two collections that are both Omega, but that are helping and supporting two kinds of customer. The first boutique was opened in 2000, so Omega has enjoyed a very rapid growth. Can you tell us about your strategy? Now when someone buys a watch it’s a statement of dress. We make it clear in our boutiques that we have a wide range. People want to see into our world when they step into a store and they want a certain ambience. We opened the first boutique because we wanted our customers to enjoy a certain experience, but without it having a negative impact on multibrand stores. So in London we have a lot of standalone boutiques, but you will still find us at Goldsmiths or Watches of Switzerland. We truly believe in our relationship with our partners. The evolution was more linked to the relationship we want to have with our customers. We’ve just recently opened our 130th store, in Hawaii. Now it’s about going in the right direction. We have a store in Burlington Arcade in London, which only sells classic pieces. It’s the only Omega store of its kind in the world. So there has to be a bit of everything for the benefit of our customers and for the communication of our message. So where do you think your next big market is? Some of our competitors will say China, but we’ve always been there. The first watch we ever delivered to China was in 1899! China is already a big market for us so it cannot be the next big market. The next big market is India, because they’re already familiar with us. We have the distribution. We’re the only big group with our own people working in Delhi. It’s one billion people in a market that knows about brands. How do you think the field of watches has evolved over time and how do you think it will continue to evolve? There has been a lot of evolution linked to the change in luxury goods. It’s all about emotion. When you go to buy a luxury watch, reason would tell you not to - you have the time on your phone, on the TV and on your computer. But there’s something in time that is linked with emotion and that’s true with watches. It’s probably the most intimate accessory you will have. It’s always on your wrist, your whole life.

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MOJEH.COM DAILY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

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mojeh men on grooming

From travel-friendly kits that equip you with all you need to stay trimmed, plucked and buffed to the products that will defy the sun but keep you glowing, we present our grooming essentials for the season. 1. Burberry Brit | 2. Czech & Speake | 3. Foreo, LUNA for men | 4. Suqqu | 5. Dr Jackson | 6. Guerlain | 7 Tom Ford | 8. Dr Sebagh | 9. Versace

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H o w t o S av e

Face From a basic skincare regime to cosmetic surgery, we take you through the best options for keeping your face in good shape.

R

Image by © Bernd Vogel / Corbis

emember when ‘metrosexual’ was still a thing? It’s difficult to imagine a time now when the growing popularity of men’s grooming was still considered a movement. We take it for granted that all of us, to varying degrees, take pride in our appearance. It’s good manners, good sense and good business to invest in a polished exterior. Some wise man famously said, ‘your face is your fortune’, and that sentiment has never been truer. From CEOs to corporate analysts, no man is safe from the glaring eyes of a boardroom or even the glaring lights of a studio, with us living in an age where success is bound to equal some kind of media involvement. When they pop your smiling face onto a press release, you’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to look your best. But is it enough to wake up in the morning, douse yourself with water and stroll your way through life hoping the face you were born with will merely forget to age or develop undefeatable defences against the ravages of modern life? You probably already know the answer. At the most intermediate level we can take a tip from the girls, who have long bestowed the virtues of a three-step skincare regime. All you need remember is cleanse, tone and moisturise. Easy, right? This simple approach will ensure you are ridding your skin of impurities, removing dead skin cells and replacing lost moisture that occurs through normal exposure to the elements. As you probably already know, this process should be completed twice a day and no more. Greater frequency and you risk over-stripping your skin of its naturally produced sebum. A greater amount is then produced which, in turn, leads to spots and greasiness, regardless of your age. So far, so old news. Less common knowledge is that men are far less likely to take adequate skincare precautions in the sun.

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A man’s skin is 25% thicker than a woman’s and we have a greater collagen density. All of this means that if one was to compare a man’s skin with that of a similarly aged woman, the woman’s skin should be 15 years ‘older’, analytically speaking. But this is rarely the case. Our relaxed attitude to sun exposure means that this gap is often cancelled out and we are unwittingly adding years to our façade through inadequate protection. The solution? Sunscreen or a moisturiser with an SPF. If only all problems were so easily solved. Next up the skincare ladder from basic maintenance is, well, slightly less basic maintenance. Face masks may have you looking like a Halloween villain while they’re applied, but they can help cleanse pores, rebalance your skin and leave you with that favourite description of the television advert, ‘radiant skin’. We’re now widely catered to in this regard with excellent, men-tailored examples from the likes of Nickel and Pour Homme by Hommage. As much as we all like to think we’ll live forever, visibly growing older is a natural byproduct of living and no amount of soap and water or Dead Sea mud will rid you of wrinkles or the more deep-seated signs of aging once they’ve manifested on your face. At this point skincare becomes rather more complex and visits to the beauty counter can be supplemented with visits to a specialist. We’re talking of course, about non-invasive cosmetic procedures. So washing and moisturising you might understand, but Botox? We’re all familiar with the stony faced cliché that supposedly characterises those who have felt the sting of the needle, but recent statistics from the UK (a nation of Botox early-adopters) suggests that men now account for 20% of the total number opting for the procedure. In fact, the number of men using Botox has tripled since 2011 and there was a 25% increase in 2013 alone. With the right practitioner Botox can be used to implement subtle changes that smooth out lines and reduce the visibility of wrinkles around the eyes, forehead and mouth. From non-invasive to entirely-invasive, the last resort for the man who wants to carve away the years is the facelift. Although advancements have been made that make achieving a more delicate result possible and, of course, success is based on the quality of surgeon, it’s still one area in which the ladies have the upper hand. If you’re considering it, always consider two words: Mickey Rourke. Finally we’d be remiss in our grooming advice if we didn’t at least touch upon the impact of lifestyle. Whilst potions, creams and even needles might offer a tangible way for improved image, the most effective way to maintain your appearance is the most basic of all. Keeping hydrated, eating healthily and even exercising all have the most proven impact on how well your looks will stand the test of time. The gym might seem an odd place to go to keep your skin looking fresh, but it’s a reality we all have to face.

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10

mojeh men on gadgets

As founder and owner of The Zoo, Dubai’s go-to concept store and general boy’s playground, Rasheed knows a thing or two about gadgets and design. He talks us through ten of his current favourites.

for Men

by Hussein Abdul Rasheed A.K.A. ‘The Zoo Keeper’

ULTIMATE EARS ‘UE BOOM’ SPEAKERS The UE BOOM is a 360-degree portable wireless speaker that drops bold, immersive sound in every direction. From my vast experience with portable speakers I have to say the Booms take the cake. Their slick cylinder design makes carrying them a doddle and the sound clarity and volume is top notch. www.ultimateears.com

EMPTY MEMORY USB BY ‘LOGICAL ART’ These well-crafted USB sticks are truly a work of art. With 4GB of memory they come in two different models and three different finishes - rose gold, rhodium and stainless steel. www.logical-art.co.uk

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FOB-PARIS POCKET WATCHES Probably this year’s newest trend, these pocket watches turn a classic into a modern-day accessory by allowing you to wear them on a chain - which comes included. Additional interchangeable covers in a variety of colours and materials (see snake skin and colourful leathers) allow for some form of customisation for the easily bored among us. www.fob-paris.com

PASOTTI SHOE HORNS As untraditional as they come, no modern man’s closet is complete without one of these shoehorns. Available in a variety of sizes and styles my favourites are, of course, the gold, silver and black skulls. Additional styles include a lion’s head, a Swarovski crystal ball, brass knuckles and plethora of other nifty designs. Available for sale in just 80 stores worldwide, we’re rather honoured The Zoo is one of them. www.pasottiombrelli.com

LACIE SPHERE HARD DRIVE BY CHRISTOFLE This glossy, handcrafted chrome ball is one of the most luxurious and well-designed hard drives available in the market right now. Unique in its finish, it affords more boring desk spaces a much needed design pop. The fact that it doesn’t require any electrical outlets is also a huge thumbs up for portability. www.lacie.com

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mojeh men on gadgets

PORSCHE DESIGN BLACKBERRY P9981 Whether you just can’t get onboard with using an iPhone or Samsung touchscreen or are simply a diehard Blackberry fan like myself, this Porsche Design Blackberry is at the top of its class when it comes to smartphones with keyboards. The user-friendly Blackberry Q10 software paired with Porsche Design’s distinctive aesthetic make this device every guy’s dream phone. www.blackberry.com

COR SINE LABE DOLI CERAMIC BOWTIES These subtle beauties are definitely a conversation starter and what better way to stand out from the crowd than with a ceramic bow tie? www.corsinelabedoli.com

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mojeh men on gadgets

SONY QX WIRELESS CAMERA LENS Fun gadgets, these 18MP wireless lenses connect to your smartphone. Allowing for unparalleled flexibility they move freely when you want to capture that special moment in still or video. They’re set to revolutionize the selfie and the fact they look super sexy doesn’t hurt. www.sony.com

GUN ALARM CLOCK Start the day with a BANG! This persistent alarm clock makes oversleeping a thing of the past. Combining target practice with sheer determination, the only way to disable it is by successfully hitting the bullseye. No more snoozing or missed meetings from now on.

MOPHIE JUICE PACK ‘POWER STATION’ Don’t you just hate it when your battery dies in the middle of an important phone call? Just as you are about to finalise a flight or hotel booking or seal an important deal, BING battery drained. The stylish Mophie Juice Pack is here to make sure this never happens again. Lightweight and compact, it’s easy to take everywhere with you. www.mophie.com

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mojeh men on design

An Architect’s World,

A Designer’s Universe Award-winning architect, André C. Meyerhans, blurs the boundaries between architecture, art and design. He takes us on a journey through his universe.

Only a few professions allow you to share your work as easily as architecture. It’s because our projects are visual and tactile; open for everyone to see and comment upon. Most people visiting Dubai have crossed the New Garhoud Bridge, linking the two parts of the city over the creek. Even when I look at the project now, I detect a strong influence from my early master, Santiago Calatrava. Interestingly, the same company that executed a smaller work of mine previously completed the formwork for the piers of Garhoud Bridge. This earlier work, an open-air majlis now located at Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi, overlooks the Formula 1 racetrack and consists of close to three hundred pipes of different shapes and length assembled in space to form a dynamic, free-flowing shape that is both seating and shading. At the beginning of this year, HH Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development, inaugurated Al Nadi Tower, together with the British ambassador. This sculptural viewing platform on the breakwater of The Club is visible from Abu Dhabi’s new financial centre as well as when entering the city from Saadiyat Island. The design plays with references to Arab culture, using a contemporary understanding of design. A similar approach of capturing a culturally rooted zeitgeist was applied at the Mashrabiya Cabana that was auctioned at Sheikha Lulu Al-Sabah’s art event in Kuwait a few years back. My understanding of architecture is wide. If the opportunity arises, I engage in urban planning, interior and landscape design. Leaving the traditional field even further, I often isolate architectural design ideas and investigate them separately. As a process it results in artwork and objects of design. I feel such a lateral approach across the trades enhances creativity - and what a reward when even these ‘side tracks’ develop a life of their own and receive acknowledgement. My art pieces have found their way into some of the most important collections in the Middle East and a ten metre long piece, that investigates a conceptual understanding of Arabic patterns, stretches behind the main lobby of the Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Many disagreeing discussions on architecture come to an end by saying, ‘there is no arguing about taste.’ Indeed, one can like or dislike a building. However, I trust that architecture – and in fact also art and any form that allegedly withdraws itself from objective judgement – can be evaluated on a rational level. Any aesthetic aspect can be assessed in terms of its consistency, its ability to capture the zeitgeist, its innovation or its quality of workmanship. Knowledge and the ability to see a project in a larger context and in relation to other similar work is, for me, the base for true appreciation. Architecture, of course, should not be reduced to aesthetic aspects only. There are many trades involved and many regulations are to be - 146 -


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followed from inception to realization. Financial constraints often rule the design. As architecture shapes the world in which we live, technical and ethical considerations of sustainability and social responsibility should influence the design. While I feel more tolerant towards different aesthetic approaches, I have less understanding for buildings that contribute little to enriching people’s lives. Most of the designs I create show an expressive character. People usually like them or dislike them. There is little indifference. This stimulates discussions and speaks for the design. However, behind the confident design statement lies a considered thought process and a stringent idea that reflects on the environment. Environment hereby describes all characteristics of a location – from topography and climate to history and culture. It is important for me to always reflect on these elements and use them as a source for initiating my design process. I always transform the findings in a way that embraces contemporary technology, materials and ideas. All of my buildings are meant to be a child of our time. As mentioned before, architecture is not all about aesthetics but many technical and regulatory aspects often hidden behind a nice design. A building battling with these fundamental issues is a building only architecture merely dancing above. It is the art of channelling an idea, first loosely enough to allow adjustments and - once larger things fall into place - ever tighter to ensure the original concept is preserved down to the detail. Behind every cohesive piece of architecture lies a flexible yet single mind. Many people identify patterns as the element of recognition in my architecture. Personally, I don’t believe I’ve found ‘my’ style yet. However, I have to admit that I am very curious about patterns at the moment. For one, geometric ornaments comprise a rich and easy entry point to explore a Middle Eastern context. On the other hand, there’s such a vast variety due to the characteristic of mutation and variation. I’ve found out that there are basically two defining variables: the system and the elements. Interestingly only the elements are carriers of connotations. Not even two years ago, I opened a jewellery company called MARIO UBOLDI Jewellery Art. The initial designs follow the same design modular I’ve just described. Each element is inspired by architecture, art, culture or nature. Through this basic stimulus, I create sculptural shapes with clear lines, keeping any reference points visible yet abstract enough to leave space for personal interpretation. One can feel the architectural mind behind the designs. The rationality seems to overwhelm the poetry at times, though it is the richness of thought that creates an interesting tale. I have to admit, in these little treasures I still see architecture, and I love them for that. Perception of design is different in jewellery versus architecture. I do not claim to have found the explanation, but it seems to be related to architecture being experienced in space whereas jewellery is seen as ‘object’. Furthermore, the acceptance of architecture to serve various needs might shift depending on the way one looks on aesthetics. Jewellery on the other hand is free of any use and has only one single purpose: to underline the beauty of its wearer. Because the lifecycles of the two are so different in length, it makes me ponder the nature of fashion. Fashion is a time driven characteristic. There is always a need to reinvent, to create the new. Style on the other hand is design driven and is, by its very nature, the search of a form that is timeless. While I give credit to fashion and its nature, I feel more drawn to longer-lasting designs. People often do not find the time to listen to the story an object has to tell when it comes to fashion. You could argue that the content in fashion is lesser, yet louder. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, the purpose of design is to inspire and inspiration can come from everywhere. - 147 -


mojeh men on design

Where Fashion Lives In many ways Dubai is a city built on communities. From Media City to Jebel Ali, the region provides enticing investment opportunities through a model of collectiveness – developing specialised areas that cater to global industries. Dubai Design District (or d3) is the latest bold scheme from Tecom Investments and their eyes are firmly set on fashion. Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of Tecom Investments, talks to us about the project.

What do you think the development of a dedicated design district says about the growth of the design sector in Dubai? The global apparel, accessories and luxury goods market is currently valued at a staggering $1.4 trillion, a big market by anyone’s standards. Dubai is well placed to increase its share in this industry but to do so, we must focus on fostering and facilitating designers in the region. Dubai can become a design capital in its own right, provided that right environment is created to allow businesses to grow. d3 aims to cultivate this community as part of our drive to assist in developing a knowledge based economy, but also to provide a platform on which the designers of our region can flourish on the world stage. What benefits are there in creating a single hub for design-focused industries? At present Dubai is seen as a shopping hub but to be thought of for design, we must cultivate this industry and demonstrate that Dubai is home to quality and creativity along the entire value chain, not just at the point of sale. Similar to what we have achieved in other sectors in Tecom, creating a design hub will provide the right infrastructure and facilities and also create a strong base for business interaction and networking. Are there any examples of other regional or international initiatives or models that are helping to shape the premise and development of d3? d3 is a TECOM Investments initiative and therefore it will benefit from the organisation’s long history of spurring cluster development by creating purposebuilt facilities. TECOM has proved that the industryfocused cluster model works in Dubai. It has helped the UAE to become the eighth most competitive nation in the world, according to a recent World Bank report, by collaborating with the Dubai and Federal Governments to develop business-friendly policies and regulations. In the same way that TECOM has fostered the growth of ICT companies in Dubai Internet City and media companies in Dubai Media City, we want to give design and luxury goods

companies a platform for growth and an appropriate base for their operations in Dubai. What are the biggest ‘pulls’ d3 offers for players in the industry? Dubai’s geographical location marks it as a bridge from East to West, acting as a facilitator for designers and the fashion industry to come together and reach far flung customer bases they wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. Our core objective is to act as a catalyst for growth of businesses and people. To achieve this, we realise the importance of implementing business-friendly, industry-specific laws and regulation that ensure Dubai is well placed to make the most of its position as a gateway to other major markets. In which ways is d3 innovating, whether in concept or in design? It’s innovating not just in the strategy of developing an entire design community from scratch, but also in the conceptual design of the project. There are a number of architectural elements that will be unique in Dubai and across the MENA region. d3 is set to be a living, breathing fashion and design community at the heart of the Arab world. It has been designed to encapsulate all the needs of the design industry with a truly multi-purpose approach. What developments will be made across the project in 2014? The first phase of development will be complete by January 2015 so work on the construction of ten buildings on the site will continue in 2014. In the meantime, we have begun planning for the ‘creative community’ aspect with a home for emerging design talent, the convention centre, iconic water front and a promenade of shops, restaurants and retail units that overlook the spectacular Dubai skyline. We will continue to speak directly with the design community to ensure that all their needs are catered for. I am sure 2014 will be an exciting year for d3 as we continue to evolve the district into something we can all be proud of. - 148 -


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mojeh men on culture

Culture Review 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and with it a slew of cultural events across the German capital. From coffee table tome to classic cinema, this issue we turn our attention to all things ‘Berliner’.

© Wolfgang Volz, Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Available from www.taschen.com

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Reichstag A large-scale work that had a nation and the global art scene enrapt, Christo and JeanneClaude first conceived of wrapping the Berlin Reichstag in 1971. It wasn’t until the summer of 1995 however, that their best-laid plans came to fruition and the daring and now iconic art project was realised. Over 700 pages this hefty coffee-table book, produced by Taschen, explores the preparation, execution and impact of the work. Featuring a comprehensive collection of sketches, documents and photos, it is presented as a limited edition and serves as the definitive guide to a project 24 years in the making. - 150 -


mojeh men on culture

Ai Weiwei 2012, © Gao Yuan

3 April – 7 July 2014, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

Ai Weiwei at Martin-Gropius-Bau One of the most important, and sometimes incendiary, contemporary artists of the moment, Ai Weiwei’s work returns to Berlin. Created in his Beijing studio, many of the pieces on display have been designed specifically for the exhibit, whilst the remainder have never before been shown in Germany. As a social and political figure, Ai Weiwei’s work often serves as a commentary on global issues but his innate sense of aesthetics lends itself to free-interpretation. A multifaceted artistic powerhouse, his pieces display the key pairing in contemporary art – an ensnaring message and dramatic visual appeal. - 151 -


mojeh men on culture

Fall of the Wall On November 9th the streets of Berlin will play host to a landmark installation that will set the stage for the weekend’s anniversary events. A light barrier of helium balloons will map the course of the once imposing Berlin Wall, providing an impactful and atmospheric reminder of the concrete and wire that once divided the city. ‘25 years ago when the wall fell, photos from the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin were sent around the entire world. In 2014, on this anniversary in the capital, we will take the opportunity to remember this important event in a worthy manner,’ said the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit. - 152 -


mojeh men on culture

Re-Viewed: Good bye, Lenin! Released in 2003 ‘Good bye, Lenin!’ was lauded by critics and audiences alike. Nominated for a myriad of awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, it remains one of the most internationally celebrated examples of German cinema. Set in 1990 the story follows Alex Kerner as he tries to prevent his mother receiving a fatal shock when she wakes after a long coma, with no knowledge that the Berlin Wall has fallen and her beloved East Germany is no more. Cue pathos, laughs and a stirring soundtrack from Yann Tiersen in a film that manages to fuse political allegory with cinematic credibility. - 153 -


mojeh men on art

A Guiding

Light

We speak to eminent Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem about his work, controversial perceptions and why social change is a gradual process.

A

bdulnasser Gharem is the highest selling living Arab artist. His work Messenger/Message broke sales records when it was sold in 2011 at Christie’s in Dubai. Simply put, he’s found that holy grail of artists: incredible worldwide success. On one hand it’s unsurprising, he deals with globally resonant issues in a way that feels dynamic and culturally insightful. On the other hand, for an artist who is now a figurehead of the Gulf artistic scene, his work is often controversial. In fact, living in Saudi Arabia, there’s a duality to what Gharem presents. Some of his most noted pieces have yet to be shown in his homeland, as he toes the line between creative expression and the more conservative values of the nation. But Saudi born and bred, it is his cultural background that so heavily informs his output. He uses the issues of the region to touch upon global concerns. His themes are universal: peace, faith, dialogue, the meeting of two worlds, a questioning of the status quo. Yet interestingly for someone who so openly confronts the nature of authority, he has a military background. But Gharem sees no conflict between unpicking ideas of power whilst also, in some ways, representing a symbol of it. ‘I am not challenging authority. My work comes out of a collective experience and observation of all that I have seen in daily life. This incorporates government, religion, economics, customs etc. In the military we use simulators to prepare for future on the ground situations. I feel that since the 1980s, society in Saudi Arabia has been living inside a simulator where people are fed ideas at a very young age and those ideas are never questioned later in life,’ he explains. Despite hoping to open the eyes of his fellow Saudi’s and foster a climate of free thought, there’s still the tricky business of his own persona at home and abroad. ‘When I show work abroad I am speaking to the first world, there it’s okay to express an opinion and to freely say what one thinks. Showing work in Saudi Arabia, I have to be respectful of culture, regulation and systems as they are practiced in Saudi Arabia,’ he tells us. But like so many across the world, social media is changing how he is able to communicate his message. Like ripples in a pond, so much is now disseminated around the world. With technology comes the potential to

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mojeh men on art

Abdulnasser Gharem, Camouflage, 2013, courtesy Ayyam Gallery

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mojeh men on art

Abdulnasser Gharem, In Transit, 2013, courtesy Ayyam Gallery

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mojeh men on art

reach millions, with the ripples even reaching as far as home, and Gharem is happy to throw the stone. ‘I think social media is changing the way information is received globally, so if I have a show in show in London, viewers from anywhere in the world can see some documentation of it. There are certain things we are not ready to see in Saudi Arabia but the process of making change can be gradual.’ Gharem is nothing if not respectful. Whilst he pushes the boundaries in a way that any artist should, it isn’t about dismissing the norms as they stand. One might think that given his worldwide reputation and the more provocative nature of the work he shows abroad that he would face problems at home, but it isn’t the case. He manages to work with the system without being complicit in what often forms the subject matter of his work. ‘I haven’t had any trouble until now. I like to explain to people what I do and I am ready to negotiate. You also have to keep in mind I am not simply focusing on a specific country but coming to artistic creation through a humanitarian perspective,’ he tells us. Indeed the whole issue of controversy is one he dismisses. ‘Controversy is created by misinterpretation and by those elements in religion that incite people to be violent against each other. In my mind, art is an important and universal language and that is how I make use of it, something that can be shared by people across borders and boundaries.’ Gharem is in some ways a tacit revolutionary. He is a pioneer of a mode of art that is still newborn in his homeland. As a guiding light he doesn’t feel pressure, but instead a kind of responsibility and creative licence based upon the acceptance he has received. ‘As a result of recognition, I have confidence. When I started out I was alone and struggling. There weren’t many art books available here! I come from a Southern village in Saudi Arabia. I educated myself by researching and reading across music, philosophy, theatre and law,’ he says. ‘My artwork now is based on knowledge. I would like to extend this knowledge to the younger generation of artists in Saudi Arabia. I would like to give them the shortcuts that I never had but have learnt though the years of being a practicing artist. I have set up the Amen Art Foundation, which has already fostered creative education for 45 artists. My goal is to educate, motivate and help young artists.’ But in his own work, what has him gripped now and which issue is at the forefront of his mind? ‘The issue of interfaith dialogue. This is a very important subject for me at this time. Watching what is happening around me in the world, I am very interested in this dialogue. In fact a new body of work that will be shown at Ayyam Gallery DIFC in March 2014, will exhibit work from the interfaith series.’ With interfaith an important topic for Gharem, it’s understandable why global events such as September 11th - which shock the world to its core – would feel like important catalysts for his message. He has no interest in merely creating ‘pleasant looking’ art, but instead he is that quiet ripple, hoping to affect change with the most subtle of waves. ‘After the events of 9/11 people woke up from the state of being in a simulator, and found themselves in the real world. Governments attempted to repair what they had done wrong. Everywhere around me, in mosques and in schools, I saw that people were worried. I lived during the time this was happening. It made me question why those involved in the attacks choose such a life for themselves.’ he says. ‘Often there is avoidance of talking about important events. I have my references and knowledge. I don’t think Saudi Arabia will evolve the way I hope but I am not the one who complains. I am here trying to do the best I can in the situation I have been presented with.’

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mojeh men highlights

The Road

to Success Why Japanese innovation and pioneering design is putting Lexus at the forefront of the automobile industry. by Gautam Sharma

W

hat are the first attributes that come to mind when you think of Lexus? If you’d been living under a rock or in a cave for the past decade, you might offer an answer that goes something like this: ‘They make cars that are wellengineered, reliable and superbly quiet and refined, even though they’re not the last word in flair or dynamism’. These were indeed the cornerstones upon which the premium Japanese brand was able to take the fight to the established German purveyors of prestige and luxury vehicles – namely, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi – when it was founded in 1989. But simply building cars that were immaculately engineered was not enough for Lexus, so it conceived a design revolution dubbed ‘L-Finesse’ in the mid-2000s, with the first tangible evidence of this coming

via the brand’s LF Series concepts and the second-generation IS compact sedan that launched in 2005. L-Finesse is represented by three Japanese kanji characters that translate as ‘Intriguing Elegance, Incisive Simplicity, and Seamless Anticipation’, and the introduction of this design philosophy represented a significant milestone for Lexus, which some buyers had shunned in the 1990s and early 2000s due to the formulaic styling of their products. The new design language changed all that, as Lexus models suddenly began to look sexy and desirable. They were no longer merely comfortable and well-equipped cars. The new visual characteristics of Lexus vehicles included a sleeker fastback profile, lower-set grille and the use of convex and concave surfaces that drew inspiration from Japanese cultural motifs.

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New-edge models such as the secondgeneration IS were followed by an all-new third-generation GS and fourth-generation LS (in 2005 and 2006 respectively), so the stylistic overhaul of the formerly staid brand was now well in motion. Further momentum came from the high-performance IS F model that was unleashed in 2007, adding a potent V8 engine and race-tuned suspension to the IS sedan that it was derived from. Its arrival made Mercedes-Benz and BMW sit up and take notice, as the new Lexus had the firepower to challenge the highperformance offerings served up by the German brands. What really added impetus to the way Lexus products would be perceived was provided by the thrilling LFA supercar that debuted in 2010. Here was a road rocket that was designed to rival the very best

that Lamborghini and Ferrari had to offer. Powered by a high-revving V10 engine that drew know-how from Toyota’s Formula One program, the LFA was a Lexus unlike any before it. The rakish sportscar was enthusiastically received by the motoring media, and a hefty pricetag hovering around the $375,000 mark didn’t deter buyers from snapping up the 500-unit build run that Lexus had allocated for the LFA. The new-model onslaught by Lexus has shown no signs of abating over the past couple of years, as the brand unleashed no less than three all-new vehicles in 2012, including revamped GS and LS sedans, along with a brand-new RX SUV range. They were followed last year by the avant-garde thirdgeneration IS sedan, which is pitched at youthful buyers. All these newcomers built on the bold design of their predecessors, but

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upped the ante with even more aggressive and dynamic looks, with the centrepiece coming in the form of the so-called ‘Spindle Grille’ that now distinguishes the face of every new Lexus in the range. The rewards of this concerted design revamp have been tangible, with Lexus sales volumes in the US and Middle East now matching or even exceeding those of their German rivals. Complementing their vehicles’ new styling finesse is a continued emphasis on flawless build quality and unmatched aftersales service. It certainly doesn’t end here, as the next new product waiting in the wings is the tantalising RC coupe that was unveiled just over three months ago at the Tokyo Motor Show. The new two-door model will compete against the likes of the Audi A5, Mercedes E-Class Coupe and all-new BMW

4 Series, with its rakish profile likely to be a hit among young style-conscious buyers. The RC coupe is expected in Middle East dealerships over the coming months, with a fire-breathing V8-powered RC F derivative following later in the year (or in early 2015). Also in the Lexus new-model pipeline is a new compact crossover that will be known as the NX. It will be pitched against the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, adding further diversity to the company’s lineup. Speaking of diversity, there’s also an all-new performance flagship in the works – it’s likely to be badged ‘LF-LC’ and will be a spiritual successor to the now-discontinued LFA, even though it’s likely to be much cheaper than the latter at around $200,000. When one considers the lofty heights that Lexus has now scaled, it’s hard to believe the

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brand didn’t even exist until 25 years ago. Its inception was precipitated by a meeting held in 1983 between then Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda and his company executives. Toyoda had not invited his enforcers over for cookies and tea but to question them about the possibility of developing a luxurycar line that could successfully compete with German prestige brands. The project was dubbed ‘F1’ – Flagship 1 – and the first fruit of this project was the Lexus LS 400, which launched in 1989 in the US market. The lengths to which its creators went to ensure it hit the mark can be gauged from the fact that the Japanese went as far as renting a house in Laguna Beach in order to observe the buying and living habits of their target audience. There were no less than 24 engineering teams working on the LS 400, and the investment

in the project was a staggering $1 billion. It’s clear the engineering dollars were well spent, because even today you’ll notice several high-mileage LS 400s cruising around on Middle East roads. Although initially targeted at the US market, the global footprint of Lexus has grown steadily over the years, having been introduced to its Japanese home-market in 2005 as well as other regions of Asia, South America, Europe and Russia. By 2007, Lexus had spread in over 50 countries, and it continues to grow. The company’s ‘pursuit of perfection’ is capably embodied by the current Lexus line-up, and there’s the promise of even greater things to come, based on the evidence of recent concepts showcased by the brand. It really has been a remarkable 25-year journey. Long may it continue.

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mojeh men on sport

Sports

Edit Whether on the track, on horseback or just at the gym, we’ve got you covered with our selections of the season’s most stylish sports pieces.

1. Gucci | 2. Tommy Hilfiger Sports | 3. Moncler @ Harvey Nichols | 4. Gucci | 5. Montblanc, falconry glove | 6. Lanvin | 7.Chanel

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Image by Š ClassicStock / Corbis

mojeh men on sport

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mojeh men on sport

Surf’s Up We explore what lessons surfing can teach us about business, life and success. Surfing is a sport that everyone is familiar with but few have mastered. To ride the waves with skill and panache can take years of practice and countless weekends spent sprawled on the sand in ungainly fashion. Yet unlike rugby or football, it’s rules are simple and its premise succinct – to conquer the surge. But whilst we might associate surfing with a laidback existence, dreadlocks and a certain reckless abandonment, it has proved a recurring analogy for success in business and in life at large. In his critically and commercially successful book Let My People Go Surfing, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard recounts how the act of surfing became a part of his business model. He realised that to create an organisation that would be not only sustainable but fulfilling, he would have to look to his hobbies and those of his employees. The idea of ‘good surf’ led him to implement flexitime, so his staff could take advantage of bouts of rolling waves ripe for traversing. The same idea meant that staff could equally ‘ski the powder after a snowstorm’ or stay at home to take care of a sick child. As he says, he wanted to ‘blur the distinction between work, play and family.’ His approach paid dividends and in 2012 this environmentally focused company had revenue of over $500 million. Famed American big-wave surfer, and coinventor of tow-in surfing, Laird Hamilton said, ‘Surfing’s one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what’s behind’. With such insightful philosophy seemingly endemic in the sport, it’s understandable why many feel its principles can often be used as a roadmap for success. But which surfing mantras have real-world applications? Firstly, go big or go home. Although ostensibly this natty piece of surfer lingo might be about taking on the highest swells, it’s also a keen piece of advice for life. In business this philosophy is most applicable

to entrepreneurs who should seize on opportunity whilst considering scalability. As Alastair Mitchell, CEO and co-founder of Huddle says, ‘who on Earth wants to set up the sixth most successful company? You need to be convinced that your business is going to be successful, otherwise convincing other people of that fact will be an uphill struggle. I’m a big believer in reaching for the skies.’ Next, understand you are not in control. Much as a surfer accepts that Mother Nature ultimately has the upper hand, so to we must recognise that circumstance is often beyond our ability to manage. It’s a lesson in considered and experienced thought. A knack for prediction can frequently ensure you avoid obstacles but, whether we’re talking about a fluctuating market or the element of ‘chance’ that exists in life, it’s our ability to skillfully react that proves the defining factor between success and failure. For a surfer this aphorism can be the difference between life and death. Finally, get wet. An adage that speaks to the negatives of over-cautiousness, it’s an esoteric take on ‘you have to be in the game to win it’. Steve Jobs said, ‘sometimes when you innovate you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.’ Essentially one mustn’t be afraid to diversify and try new things. Getting your hands dirty and having an involved approach to work and life will not only mean you have a grounded appreciation of the facets of your business, but that you will often touch upon opportunity by being inclined to take risks. No surfer ever made it to the top of the highest crest by keeping his feet on the sand. Surfing might be a sport on the high seas, literally, but it can teach us a surprising amount about approach, mindset and method here on dry land, so if in doubt, paddle out.

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Image by © Fraser Hall / Corbis

mojeh men on travel

My Amsterdam

The Dylan

Tarek Barakat, a leading Marketing Manager for labels such as Diesel and Pinko, gives us an insider’s take on his favourite city. When - The best time to visit Amsterdam is between the months of April and September. Dutch weather is notorious for its unpredictability. Even during the warmer months it’s not uncommon to endure grey skies and rain showers, but when the weather is at its finest a walk (or better yet a bike ride) around the city will allow you to experience Amsterdam’s charm in all its glory.

Stay - citizenM My number one recommendation. citizenM has a unique proposition uber trendy design that includes a comfy king size bed, rain shower, Wi-Fi and movies-on-demand. Handheld pads allow you to control everything from lighting and TV to room temperature and the window blinds. What’s the catch? The rooms are compact and facilities such as a gym or room service are unavailable.

Stay - The Dylan If you prefer a canal setting then The Dylan, a luxury boutique hotel, is certainly one to consider. Originally designed by Anouska Hempel, this converted 17th century theatre sits on one of Amsterdam’s most prestigious canals, the Keizersgracht. The hotel’s understated luxury is the perfect Zen refuge when you need a break from the hustle and bustle. - 166 -

citizenM


mojeh men on travel

T.B.A.

Do - The canals are Amsterdam’s veins and the best way to explore the city. Opt for private boat hire instead of the impersonal tourist options. Do - Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) is a small neighborhood within the canal belt. It’s home to some of the city’s best local boutiques, restaurants and lesser-known museums.

Do - For decades the Dutch have been celebrating the monarch’s birthday or ‘Queen’s Day’ - the Dutch answer to Brazil’s carnival. April 26th will mark the first ever ‘King’s Day’ in honor of the newly crowned King WillemAlexander. So plan your visit right and you will experience Amsterdam madness at its finest.

Eat - Mayur The Dylan

A centrally located Amsterdam institution and home to the best Indian meal I have ever had.

Eat - Vleminckx While technically Belgian, Amsterdam has done to Flemish fries what New York has to Italian pizza. Try the Patat Oorlog (War Fries), which come with peanut sauce, mayonnaise and onions.

Sundown - The Butcher You could be excused if you feel a little lost once you reach the entrance to this secret nightspot. The Butcher is actually a burger joint! A very good one might I add. Head to the back and you’ll pass a large walk-in refrigerator that leads to another door and buzzer. A voice will ask for the secret details given to you when you made the reservation - which is a must. If all goes well during this prohibition-era experience, the hidden door will slide open to welcome you to a swanky cocktail venue, appropriately titled T.B.A. - 167 -


mojeh men on travel

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Travel Edit Keeping you comfortable, stylish and occupied for the journey, we take a look at the essential pieces for a season of getaways.

1. Saint Laurent | 2. Aspinal of London | 3. Armand Diradourian | 4. Smythson | 5. Louis Vuitton | 6. WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie | 7. Mulberry | 8. Globe Trotter @ MrPorter.com

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mojeh men on travel

Istanbul:

Two Sides Growing up, my family and I used to spend our summer vacations in Istanbul, not too far from the shores of the peaceful Bosphorus Straits. ‘Why can’t we just bathe in the Bosphorus like we do in the beaches at home?’ I remember asking my Turkish-native mother, wondering why no one sane seemed to enjoy the cool water of the elegant straits, crossing the city in its centre. ‘If you look carefully, you’d be able to see how strong the streams are, underneath the calm surface’, she said. ‘There flow the most turbulent, dangerous waters in Turkey’. Regimes rise and fall but at the end of the day, when it comes to political engagement in Istanbul, not much has changed throughout the years. Kind, warm and welcoming as they are, the residents of the former Roman capital are known for their intense sense of social justice, manifested in numerous massive riots and demonstrations, through peace and war times. During the summer of 2013, hundreds of thousands of young Istanbulites filled the streets surrounding Taksim square, against plans to demolish the small adjacent stroll park, Taksim Gezi Park, and replace it with an Ottoman inspired theme mall that would restore the façade of the former military barracks that once stood there. Despite being a city that has always been in a state of flux, residents felt that losing one of the last green spaces would be to the detriment of the thriving, cosmopolitan junction of East and West that is modern Istanbul. The pictures sent by news channels and agencies from the heart of Europe’s

biggest city portrayed chaos. The Turkish are a passionate people and their sentiment spilled onto the streets in a way that more reserved Europeans or Middle Easterners found shocking. But this is the Istanbul way. Not just now, but evidenced throughout the length of its turbulent history. Surprisingly and even through the time of the Gezi Park demonstrations, the images from Taksim did not seem to bother most of the tourists. During that time, while I was corresponding from town, I remember being fascinated with visitors from Northern Europe to the Gulf and Far East, who were mostly complaining about the notorious city traffic that had just got worse and made the approach to some of the city’s famous social venues, located on secluded islands on the stairs, impossible. First world problems at their best. The plans regarding the Taksim Gezi park are still unknown and will probably be decided after the mayoral elections in March. One way or the other, the riots seemed to change little for both Istanbul’s image in global media and its visitors. The English version of Timeout Istanbul for example, has reported that 2013 ended with a significant rise in its exposure. New luxurious hotel chains such as Shangri la, Hilton and an upcoming St. Regis have or will open in town in addition to the ongoing construction of a gigantic new international airport. Though crucial election campaigns are ahead in Turkey and the fear of another rise of revolts is more real than ever, business and tourism are business as usual, at least until next time.

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Image by © Bruno Ehrs / Corbis

By Roy Yerushalmi, journalist and foreign correspondent


mojeh men on travel

Urban Nomad:

Iceland From rugged landscapes to luxury retreats, we show you why a trip to Iceland will leave you feeling on top of the world.

Image by © Arctic-Images / Corbis

I

celand may traditionally be associated with winter getaways – it’s frosty snowscapes and spectacular ice flows drawing many a luxury traveller – but as the landscape thaws and the blooms of spring and summer flower, there’s much to discover on this Nordic isle. The capital, Reykjavik, is a growing metropolis that straddles both Icelandic tradition and cosmopolitan modernity, and is the hub of the country’s urban exploits. Even with the intention to explore further afield, it is the natural base for anyone wishing to sample the best the nation has to offer. - 171 -

As the northern most capital of a sovereign state, what is likely to strike most first time visitors is the scale of the city. Compact and relatively low rise, the Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the skyline, towering over the area’s colourful rooftops. The architecture is distinct, the lack of trees in the area meaning that many buildings are fashioned from painted corrugated steel. It sounds somewhat utilitarian, but in reality the city exudes an inimitable charm. Iceland is a nation where understatement and not grandeur rules. Except in the landscape of course. Located in the centre of town, Hotel Borg is a 56-room luxury hotel that caters to the traveller with taste. Opulently decorated in deep browns, parquet flooring runs throughout and the monochrome bathrooms come complete with Philippe Starck fixtures and fittings. Luckily for those with an aversion to chintzy furnishings and an abundance of bouquets, Reykjavik isn’t the kind of place to find froufrou, but Hotel Borg provides particularly masculine styling. The Bang & Olufsen flat screens and phones are a nice touch for those who like a quality gadget. If you’re looking for a more boutique find, 101 Hotel, so named as it sits in one of the city’s most fashionable postcodes, is a sophisticated option. It’s cutting edge design – all monochrome furnishings and wooden floors – feels progressive yet has a distinctly regional feel. Situated in an imposing grey building (the former home of the Social Democratic Party), the minimally


mojeh men on travel

Escaping the spacious confines of your suite, you’ll find that most of the city’s attractions are easily accessed by foot.

What Reykjavik does offer is world-class cuisine. Fish Market (Fiskmarkadurinn) works with the freshest seasonal ingredients and is housed in one of central Reykjavik’s oldest buildings. At Grillmarkadurinn you will find an array of delicacies, cooked using fire, smoke and logs for an authentic taste. And over at Dill, classic Nordic food is served in an intimate space in Nordic House – one of the city’s foremost cultural institutions. For all of the home comforts, Iceland truly comes into its own when one escapes the cosseted confines of the hotels and eateries and dabbles in the great outdoors. The writer Stephen Markley notably said of the country, ‘The problem with driving around Iceland is that you’re basically confronted by a new soul-enriching, breathtaking, life-affirming natural sight every five minutes.’ And he’s not wrong. Iceland’s landscape is at times otherworldly. Gargantuan rock formations slip into icy - 172 -

Image by © Julian Calverley / Corbis

modernist vibe follows through to the interior where a glass roof hovers over the lounge and a gallery space includes rotating works by well-known Icelandic artists. The stylish business centre and conference suite also provide a useful area for those wishing to show off their taste for design when work seeps its way onto the trip. Escaping the spacious confines of your suite, you’ll find that most of the city’s attractions are easily accessed by foot. But be prepared when you hit the pavement that if retail therapy is your game, you might be in the wrong place. Whilst Reykjavik offers all of the usual fashion stores and a plethora of shopping malls, there’s little here to interest the person accustomed to the world’s more renowned thoroughfares. Then again, who really travels to the northern most capital in the world for clothes shopping? Should you be tempted to succumb to a little card bashing, be aware that customer service works a little differently in the Land of Fire and Ice. Just as the country is rarely warm and fuzzy, the same can be said of its people. Although courteous, Icelanders rarely indulge in the pleasantries more associated with some European climes. Their language has no word for ‘please’ and, when entering a store, don’t expect beaming smiles and all-over-you service. They’re far too restrained for that. That’s not to say they’re intentionally rude of course, it’s simply a cultural difference you should understand before calling for the manager.


mojeh men on travel

During the winter months light is a fleeting friend of Iceland but, come summer, the snowy plateaus are replaced with vast swathes of green.

waters, waterfalls cascade from mountainous peaks and in many places there won’t be another human being in sight, as your eye channels a path as far as the horizon. During the winter months light is a fleeting friend of Iceland but, come summer, the snowy plateaus are replaced with vast swathes of green and the sun shines for a full 24 hours during the solstice. Leaving the city behind, you can become better acquainted with Iceland’s natural wonder. At this point a hire car or personal driver becomes a must. About an hour and a half to the southwest of the country is where you will find the Great Geysir, which spouts a towering plume of water into the air at irregular intervals. Despite Geysir’s fame, the nearby Strokkur is a safer bet as eruptions occur every four to eight minutes and can reach heights of 40 metres. It might seem a hefty time commitment merely to see what - 173 -

amounts to a natural water show, but en route you will be exposed to some of the most dramatic scenery in the world. A little closer to home and about 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik, you will find the Blue Lagoon, one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. Although an obvious choice, this geothermal spa is one of the unique experiences that makes Iceland such an appealing travel destination. For those who prefer to enjoy the spot in a more private fashion, the Exclusive Lounge offers private showers, a fireplace to dry off by, refreshments (or a la carte dining courtesy of LAVA Restaurant) and even a private lagoon. After a day taking in the sights you might think that all that beckons is bed, but in Iceland nightlife starts late. In Reykjavik many establishments keep their doors open until as late (early?) as 5am with Laugavegur, downtown’s main street, still a hive of activity when the rest of the world would be counting sheep. All in all, Iceland deserves its reputation as an aweengendering destination. It may have become a popular spot in recent years but there’s still an unspoilt quality that permeates both the hip city streets of Reykjavik and the rugged landscape that exists outside its borders. As summer calls you might be inclined to book a more traditional beach break but, with its geothermal spas and lush grasslands, Iceland still provides more than enough opportunities to slip on the shorts.


Mojeh men review

A Close

Escape Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

They say, ‘what’s in a name?’ but when the name is Waldorf Astoria it’s fair to say our expectations are high. So let’s get that out of the way and admit that the chain’s latest luxury resort in Ras Al Khaimah didn’t disappoint. Although just a relatively short drive from Dubai, the locale is the ultimate escape. Traversing the tree-studded desert roads and arriving at a sanctuary where the views are unobstructed and there isn’t a skyscraper in sight, you won’t feel even a modicum of guilt in turning the phone off and relegating emails to that distant land of Sunday morning. On arrival you’ll be greeted by the usual array of smiling receptionists and introduced to your personal concierge. Nothing new here you might think, except that instead of the slightly Stepford smiles that usually accompany a check-in, there is an easy quality in the service. One gets the impression that no request would be an inconvenience, no task too great. The hotel itself is situated on a vast slice of land looking out to sea and its scale is impressive. It’s no surprise therefore that the rooms are equally grand in size. ‘But it’s huge!’ ‘Yes, we get that reaction a lot,’ goes the reply, ‘our rooms are especially big.’ Each deluxe room and suite covers at least 56 square metres, and up to 170. The décor is tastefully tranquil. Crisp cream walls are offset with powder blue furnishings and hints of geometric pattern. It’s a contemporary approach to luxury that feels especially refined. Walk-in wardrobes or well-appointed dressing rooms come as standard. There’s enough closet space for a month’s stay. We nearly checked the availability. With such comfortable and spacious rooms and suites, there might be a temptation to cocoon, but the resort holds a host of attractions that demand to be sampled. For food there is everything from an outstanding aged steak at Lexington Grill to world-class sushi at the recently opened Umi. In between you’ll find Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and traditional international at the hotel’s other eateries. Each contains private rooms should you and your party rather dine in solitude. If your night doesn’t end with dessert, you’re still spoilt for choice. 17Squared is the hotel’s in-house nightclub and, open until 3am on weekends and 1am on weekdays, it’s where to go if you want to burn off dinner on the dance floor. For a more sedate nightcap, the Cigar Bar offers undulating jazz music and a relaxed ambience. Of course during daylight hours there’s also the golf course, numerous swimming pools and a strip of white sandy beach to help you while away the day. The hotel’s spa offers a range of treatments for men, from facials to a 90-minute Royal Massage. At the health club you’ll find an extensive gym and even floodlit tennis courts for those who want to use the break to work on their backhand. A business suite with state-of-the-art conference rooms is ideal for those who have to mix business with pleasure. Situated within such easy reach of Dubai (and it’s airport) and Abu Dhabi, what the Waldorf Astoria provides is an escape on your doorstep. With unparalleled service and a commitment to the finer details of luxury, it is a go-to spot that is both close to home, yet out of this world. - 174 -


Mojeh men on travel

Milan

Room with

aView Four Seasons Suites

Riyadh

When you’ve made it to the top, there’s only one place to stay: well, the top. For any traveller the penthouse represents the best a hotel or resort has to offer and at Four Seasons, the penthouse experience is truly brought to the next level. The recently unveiled Kingdom Suite at the Four Seasons Riyadh is one of the most opulent examples for those visiting the region. With a grand living area, private office, dining room and media room, it is the ideal base of operations for those conducting business in the Saudi capital. Spanning the 48th and 50th floors of the Kingdom Centre, views of the city are, of course, spectacular. At the Four Seasons Buenos Aires, the newly renovated Owner Suite highlights Argentina’s cultural roots. Located on the 12th floor, the suite affords dramatic views of the Obelisk, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Inside you will find hardwood floors, customised handcrafted furniture and textiles representing the country’s various regions. With a warm and intimate feel, it provides a prime location for entertaining. A spacious dining area delivers room for eight people and the living room comes complete with a grand executive desk, ensuring you needn’t be far from the action while taking those all important calls or ticking off the last of the day’s paperwork. In Milan, fans of fashion and design will find a suite that feels as much like an apartment as a hotel room. Recently refurbished in collaboration with interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, a colour palette of bright Kelly green and monochrome accents give a modern urban feel. The apartment vibe is further echoed in one of the Fashion Suite’s most impressive features, a 25 square metre private terrace accessed through classic French doors. For those seeking a stay that is a cut above the rest, the Four Seasons clearly have a space for every season. - 175 -


Photographed by Pieter Henket

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Issue 3  

This is a Man's World Spring/Summer 2014

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