Emirates Man - Spring/Summer 2021

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His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud SPRING/SUMMER 2021

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Obaid Humaid Al Tayer MANAGING PARTNER AND GROUP EDITOR Ian Fairservice EDITOR/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Amy Sessions amy.sessions@motivate.ae SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Olga Petroff DIGITAL EDITOR Olivia Morris JUNIOR DIGITAL STYLE EDITOR Sarah Joseph GENERAL MANAGER PRODUCTION Sunil Kumar ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER Binu Purandaran PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Venita Pinto CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER Anthony Milne GROUP DIRECTOR Andrew Wingrove DIGITAL SALES DIRECTOR Sabir Khodabux GROUP SALES MANAGERS Bindu Gupta bindu@motivate.ae Chaitali Khimji chaitali.khimji@motivate.ae SENIOR SALES MANAGER Neha Kannoth neha.kannoth@motivate.ae GROUP MARKETING MANAGER – DIGITAL Anusha Azees WEB DEVELOPER Firoz Kaladi CONTRIBUTORS Andrew Wingrove, Varun Godinho, David Ndichu, Guido Duken

HEAD OFFICE Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE, Tel: (+971) 4 4273000, Fax: (+971) 4 4282261, E-mail: motivate@motivate.ae DUBAI MEDIA CITY SD 2-94, 2nd Floor, Building 2, Dubai, UAE Tel: (+971) 4 390 3550 Fax: (+971) 4 390 4845 ABU DHABI PO Box 43072, UAE, Tel: (+971) 2 6772005, Fax: (+971) 2 6770124, E-mail: motivate-adh@motivate.ae LONDON Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER, UK, E-mail: motivateuk@motivate.ae Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai

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E d itor’ s L etter Welcome to Emirates Man SS21. A Man of Influence on page 70. With exclusive This is your guide to being in the know. interviews from those leading in their From grooming to tech we’ll ensure you’re industries including Frédéric Arnault, CEO of ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest TAG Heuer in Timing is Everything on page gadgets. If you’re into watches, our resident 46, Alexandre Mattiussi, Founder of AMI in watch geeks will deliver all the detail you need The Modern Man on page 42 and Andrew to make the right investment, we interview the Maag, the CEO of Dunhill in A British Bastion guys making moves on a global on page 32, we have you covered and local scale and we’ll tell you in terms of what it takes to get LOOK where the coolest places are to to the top and stay there. We SMART, hang out. Welcome to the club. look at the coolest kit you can For the launch issue of buy in The Boys Toys on page 12, LIVE Emirates Man, we are exceptiothe essentials for modern man’s SMARTER. nally proud to welcome His beauty regime in Well Groomed Royal Highness Prince Khaled on page 16 and a rundown of bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud who speaks some of the best watches you can currently exclusively to us about his work as an investor invest in, in Ticking Heroes on page 22. and being an advocate for tech in Prince with With special thanks to AW, for the Purpose on page 66. With an approach of suggestion and support in launching Emirates excellence in business, Rashid Alabbar CEO Man and to an incredible team who never fail and Founder, SIVVI.COM and Co-Founder, to deliver. Alabbar Enterprises, exemplifies what it Style and substance are intrinsically means to be a successful, modern man. We linked, Emirates Man delivers both. discuss what it takes to stay one step ahead in Look smart, live smarter.




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The Monitor

p.12 The Boys Toys – The cool kit you need

p.16 Well Groomed – The modern man’s regime

p.18 A Gentlemen’s Word p.19 Monitor News


Fashion & Watches


p.20 The Edit – Slick summer brights p.22 Ticking Heroes – the best watches p.32 A British Bastion – Interview with Andrew Maag, the CEO of Dunhill

p.40 Ethical Soles – Interview with the founders of Veja, Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion p.42 The Modern Man – Interview with the founder of AMI, Alexandre Mattiussi

p.38 A Straight Cut – Interview with Jordan Davies, founder of Chaps & Co



p.60 All the Gear – The sports essentials to keep you in shape from home

p.46 Timing is Everything – Exclusive interview with Frédéric Arnault, CEO of TAG Heuer p.50 Lookbook – Saint Laurent SS21 p.54 A New Horizon – A season of escapism at OUNASS for SS21 p.58 True Torque – Carrera SS21

p.62 Sub Zero – Interview with the RESYNC cryotherapy studio founder

p.64 Limitless – Interview with Dubai-based extreme athlete Marcus Smith


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p.66 Prince with Purpose – Exclusive interview with HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud p.70 A Man of Influence – Exclusive interview with Rashid Alabbar p.72 Shock & Awe – Interview with Dany Bahar, founder of Ares Design p.78 Track Record – Interview with owner of Wolfi’s Bike Shop p.82 The Regional Champion – Interview with Arab Fashion Council founder Jacob Abrian



p.84 Do What You Love, Love What You Do – Interview with the founder of Wood Culture p.86 New Lease of Life – Interview with The Cobbler



p.88 The Pad – The coolest finds to add to the mancave

p.92 The Taste Maker – Exclusive interview with Chef Izu Ani

p.90 A Concrete Vision – Interview with the project leader for Concrete at Alserkal Avenue

p.96 The New Hotspot – Clap Dubai



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Covid-19 has reminded all of us that we should be doing better with our health and fitness. But the pandemic has also shut down or restricted access to gyms, leading to the rise of at-home fit-

ness programmes. In which case we recommend the Peloton Bike+. Not only are Peloton bikes well built, they offer the experience that drives riders to work out more than they would without the live classes. The new Peloton Bike+ comple-

ments cardio with a full-body workout. You can add classes such as strength, stretching and yoga to your routine for a well-rounded fitness experience right from the comfort of home led by world-class instructors. Dhs6,960 Peloton

THE BOYS TOYS Cool kit you need




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R O O M B A I 7+

You work hard throughout the week. We get it. But now there are no more excuses for your apartment to be messy. The Roomba autonomous robotic vacuum will leave your apartment spotless as you shed those pounds on your Peloton Bike or face your detractors on your new PS5. The i7+ features a 3-Stage Cleaning System that uses multi-surface rubber brushes and powerful suction to clear even the most stubborn of messes. The i7+ is one nifty robot. For up to 60 days, the i7+ will automatically empty its bin into the dirt disposal built into the stand. New mapping and smart navigation allow you to send the i7+ to messes when they happen, with just a voice command on Google Assistant and


Alexa enabled devices. This Roomba also learns your cleaning habits and makes personalised suggestions. It also recommends things you might not even think of – like extra cleaning during allergy or pet shedding season. Dhs4,799 iRobot

The PS5 you ‘pre-ordered’ months ago will get to you at some point. When you do, marvel at the fast loading with its ultrahigh-speed SSD, 4K HD, enhanced haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and 3D Audio. Then take revenge (hopefully) on BabylonC@ndle, the brash 14-year old who spent the better part of last year taunting you on Discord. Dhs3,079 Playstation

Right: Customized Apple Airpods Pro by Switch Dhs999 available at Jumbo.ae; The Nebula Mars II Pro portable projector Dhs2,020 Anker; Below: DJ PLX-500 Turntable Dhs1,599 Pioneer


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Now that you are spending a lot of time at home, that sagging bathroom door looks ominous. Prove your dad wrong with a little help from the Makita Cordless Percussion Driver Drill. From one of the biggest names in DIY, the drill is powered by a Li-ion battery. It is compact and lightweight and built to last with an all-metal gear construction. The ergonomically-designed rubberised soft grip provides more control and comfort. The rugged façade and green tint make you look like you know what you are doing. Dhs540 Makita



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If the idea of aerial imagery appeals to you (we all look thinner from above) then you should consider the Mavic Air 2 Drone from DJI, the biggest name in drone technology. The Mavic Air 2 combines high-end imaging features and powerful flight performance in a compact form factor. It features a 1/2-inch image sensor capable of 4K/60fps video output or 48MP photos. It delivers a 34-min flight time and comes with advanced obstacle avoidance technology. Please note that flying drones in the UAE requires a permit from the regulator GCAA. The rules forbid flying drones near, around and over airports. Also, federal and municipal authorities disallow flying drones over residential areas to protect people’s privacy. All drones need to be registered with GCAA. Dhs2,999 DJI


The desert is calling. Answer the call with this Kawasaki Brute Force 750 quad bike, and show those dunes who’s boss. This bad boy is powered by a powerful fuel-injected 749cc V-twin engine that delivers high-level performance for your outdoor adventures. With 1,250-lb towing capacity and independent suspension, this ATV is ready for punishment. Dhs36,726 Kawasaki


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WELL GROOMED The modern man’s regime



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Celestial Black Diamond Serum, 30ml Dhs1,678 111SKIN; Citrus Melange Body Cleanser, 500ml Dhs142 Aesop available at MR PORTER; Classic Scent Aftershave Balm, 100ml Dhs210 Claus Porto; Revitalising Fortifying Serum for Scalp, 60mlDhs653 Sisley; Shampoo - Hinoki, 250ml Dhs163 Le Labo; Refillable Razor Dhs400 Pankhurst London; Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum, 100ml Dhs186 Aesop available at MR PORTER; Neroli Portofino Conditioning Beard Oil, 30ml Dhs205 TOM FORD BEAUTY; Hair Styling Concrete, 60g Dhs112 Le Labo


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A Gentlemanʼs W ord Opinions on the prevailing state of affairs WORDS: ANDREW WINGROVE

O N H A R D WO R K Isn’t it funny how everything we think we covet changes over time to the point that we look back and smile at our wonderfully naive younger selves? We all experience this, with the process only accelerated by time, age, maturity, tragedy, loss – or in the case of now – a global pandemic that has forced us to re-evaluate our priorities. You can’t fault the priorities of artist Sacha Jafri then who recently painted the largest canvas in the world in Dubai and now plans to raise over $30m to help those most in need. Through hard work and honest conviction Jafri has succeeded where the majority have failed and he can be proud of the journey he has created for himself.

O N T E A M WO R K We are all extremely privileged to live in the UAE, now more than ever before. It is a country that promotes tolerance and an overall acceptance of different viewpoints. But that acceptance is often taken for granted. The UK media has come down heavily, and quite unfairly, on Dubai for permitting influencers from the UK to visit Dubai. As a result of the irresponsible behaviour of those tourists who visited Dubai and then flashed their disdain for social-distancing protocols (in blatant violation of the rules in the emirate) while partying across social media, now the majority will not be able to visit families because of the minority few – we need to think more like a team to conquer this.

O N WATC H E S I was talking to a friend the other day and he explained, quite incorrectly, that he was advised – naturally by someone ill-equipped to be discussing watches in the first place – not to buy a Rolex as they are unreliable. I pointed out this was quite possibly the least smart thing I had ever heard. Rolex is a brand built on being reliable and an absolute tool watch.



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Rolex, today, is also the ultimate status symbol. Anyone lucky enough to get a stainlesssteel sports Rolex is often flipping them, doubling their money overnight. The biggest problem the retailers now have is not how fast they can move stock, but who do they allot it to when they receive their limited consignment – always a great problem to have. If you’re looking for alternatives at varying price points, you’d do well to look at Tudor (it is but a Rolex, isn’t it?). The Black Bay is one of the best watches out there, and their Pepsi to me is more like the original Rolex than their current Stainless Steel watch. Then there’s tough-as-nails British independent brand Bremont; Breitling which has been steered through new territories under the leadership of marketing genius George Kern and now has timepieces at more affordable price points in order to capture a larger market share; IWC which features great in-house movements including a range of Pilot watches; Panerai – I genuinely believe everyone should own at least one of these; TAG Heuer – a young man’s watch, and by that I mean under 21; and Oris – an honest hard-working brand, with great dive watches, that will not let you down.

O N P U R C H A S E P OW E R The one thing that the lockdown has taught us is that comfort is key and you don’t need to wear a work shirt for the whole day – only on Zoom meetings. However, make sure you have a few in your home-office so that you rotate them. I reckon you can now get 2-3 weeks with four shirts, if you’re smart. Don’t bother getting measured up for any suits at the moment though, as like many your body shape has probably changed over the last 12 months due to inactivity. I bumped into my tailor the other day and he said, “Wow, what happened to you?” I tried to point out that culturally that type of comment is not always well received. He laughed

and said, “Don’t worry, we will wait until you get back in shape.” Speaking of which, there are a few things we should all own at home – dumbbells and a bench being two musthaves. You can’t go wrong by going straight to Technogym and their state-of-the-art gym equipment. It really is the bee’s knees. As we all have the luxury of leaving our homes, may I suggest you invest in an expensive cycle and join the Middle-Aged Men in Lycra tribe.

ON EPICURE Day-to-day, I tend to look at food more as fuel. Not that I am a top athlete, moreover that unless I am cooking for someone else I genuinely don’t have the interest in cooking something nice for just for myself. I was recently invited to a lunch at LPM and the experience was very similar to Covid recovery when you suddenly realise that your taste buds have returned. The food from start to finish was exceptional. I have never eaten a lamb chop quite as good and don’t get me started on the cheesecake. I am sure this is not how LPM is looking to sell itself. Since they now deliver, I’ll be ordering their lamb chops by the bucket load.

ON CARS The auto industry is going through something of a revolution right now as we open our eyes to the world of future mobility. But what does that really mean to me, the driver? The first question I ask myself is if I drive to Saudi in my brand new over-priced EV, can I get back? The simple answer is no as there aren’t yet enough charging stations between here and there. However, if I use my car for driving to Abu Dhabi or Hatta, I can find a growing number of charging options and have a less nervous time driving in a fully-charged vehicle. As more EVs hit the market and car manufacturers start to have greater economies of scale with their battery production, the cost of these cars will also come down. But for now, you must pay a premium, but at least sleep easier knowing that you are doing your bit for the environment. One question does linger, what do the companies do with the old batteries and is there an environmentally acceptable way of disposing off these seven years down the line (and don’t even get me started on the carbon emissions generated in manufacturing and transporting these batteries worldwide)? Lastly, has anyone noticed how certain friends or family members seem to have earned their degree in pharmacology overnight? Unfortunately, their unsolicited – sometimes dangerous – vaccine logic is based on hearsay or what they think they heard in the pub. Ignore the chatter, respect the science. Stay safe, get vaccinated.


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I l a ros

Hand poured locally in Dubai using 100% eco-friendly soy wax with premium fragrance and essential oils. Prepared in small batches for a personalised touch.

T H E H E R O B U YS Sure-fire staples for SS21

ilaroscandles.com @Ilaros.candles

Sunglasses Robledo Dhs588 Kaleos available on GOTHELIST.COM

Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt Dhs328 James Perse available on MR PORTER

Skinny-Fit Distressed Denim Jeans, Dhs913 Frame

E X ACT I N G STA N DA R D S For those in the know with discerning palates, PRIVEAT is the newly launched app delivering you the most exceptional dining experiences from your favourite chefs and restaurants, at home. PRIVEAT will be hosting private culinary experiences prelaunch in March on an invitation-only basis. Download now, you won’t be disappointed. @priveatapp; www.priveatapp.com

Original Achilles Leather Sneakers Dhs1,548 Common Projects


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Logo print silk shirt Dhs2,989 Casablanca available at FARFETCH

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CONNOR Oversized Aviators Dhs1,290 Tom Ford

Classic short sleeve T-shirt Dhs425 Tom Ford available at FARFETCH

Royal Batavia slim-fit chinos Dhs1,176 Incotex available at MYTHERESA


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Slick summer brights for those who are man enough

Classic short sleeve T-shirt Dhs425 Tom Ford available at FARFETCH

GINO Oversized Sunglasses Dhs1,375 Tom Ford

Gunners goatskin bomber jacket Dhs3,056 Polo Ralph Lauren available at FARFETCH


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Pleated Twill Drawstring Suit Trousers Dhs3,755 Tom Ford available at MR PORTER



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There’s a watch for everyone, but you must first

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understand the mindset driving the decision WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO

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A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Chronograph Honeygold

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Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060

Patek Philippe 6301P Grande Et Petite Sonnerie

Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique Skeleton

B oa rd room

P ow er M ov es

If you’re making a case for your boss’ job, start by letting your wrist do the talking. From a stiff presentation to board members to a far more relaxed post-work get-together with your colleagues, these versatile C-suite timepieces are all you need to slip between your many roles.


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Breitling Endurance Pro

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Beijing 2022” Special Edition

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Edition ‘Le Petit Prince’

Panerai Luminor Marina 44mm − Guillaume Néry Edition (PAM01122)

F iel d W ork There are the lucky few whose day jobs don’t require them to be tethered to a desk all day. When out in the field, these are the watches that keep up with a man always on the move. Sporty, sometimes bright, but always dependable and it helps that they aren’t built delicate.

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Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface Fagliano Limited Edition

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Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune

Bremont Hawking Stainless Steel

T h e Crea tiv es Spirited, free-thinking individuals usually have ideas that are always considered ahead of their time. These non-conformist watchmakers dare to dream beyond boundaries, shape ideas and redefine entrenched prejudices – and only because they can see beyond the curve.


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T h e I nd ep end ents There are those who don’t have a reporting structure because they’re only answerable to themselves. They’re much like these independent watchmakers who make their own rules – rather than being told what to do. Rebels, with an admirable cause.

H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser x MB&F

Chopard Alpine Eagle XL Chrono

WATC H I N S I D E R Hassan Akhras, founder of Arab Watch Guide What is your earliest memory of a timepiece? I have been collecting since I was 15. My first real timepiece was my Breitling Chronomat I bought in my early 20s after my first paycheque. How many watches do you own and which are your prized timepieces? I have stopped counting after 50. I love my piece unique

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from Laine, my special edition with Cartier Santos, Patek Philippe 5110G and the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 1942. Which is the first watch you paid a serious amount of money for? When I bought my Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre for $45,000, it was the first time I reached a threshold. Which is the most underrated watch at auc-

tion? I think Lange & Söhne watches like the Datograph and Zeitwerk pieces are very underrated today. Your favourite bargain buy? I would say my F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu. When I first bought it at retail, it was still unknown (I think I paid around $17,000). Today, this watch trades at over $30,000.


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Richard Mille RM 27-04 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal

F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance (with a rose gold case)

Best advice for those looking to start a watch collection? Buy what you like and not what the market or social media is telling you. Buy within your budget and build on it – it’s a learning process after all. Which is the timepiece from your collection that you will never part with? All my 15 special edition watches are part of my perma-


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nent collection that I will never let go of. Any watch regrets? I was offered an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak skeleton steel a few years ago for $40,000 and I wasn’t financially ready for it as I was buying a Patek Philippe Nautilus at the same time. I love that Royal Oak (which today costs $100,000) and now can’t find it at retail anymore.



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Andrew Maag, the CEO of Dunhill, is helping navigate the storied British luxury men’s brand through one of the bleakest global economic crises in recent memory. Here’s how he’s winning


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January 7, 2020. It will be a day that Andrew Maag, the CEO of ultra-British luxury brand Dunhill, won’t forget in a hurry. It was on that day that the brand’s outpost in Wuhan called the HQ in London to inform them about a flu – christened unceremoniously at the time as the Wuhan Flu – that was becoming increasingly worrisome for the city’s residents. That vicious virus would become the global wrecking ball that we all know today as Covid-19. “This pandemic is still troubling us around the world in various degrees, and it’s moved in waves through different parts of our business including supply chain and retail. Did we ever expect it to go this far, this long? No. We did get prepared though and always have contingency plans. I think Richemont has been incredible about protecting the maisons and all of the employees,” says Maag. In resolutely British fashion, and with a stiff upper lip, Dunhill is marching on, one monochrome Link Strap loafer in front of the other. Within the Richemont stable, Dunhill operates alongside the likes of Chloé, Azzedine Alaïa, Lancel and Montblanc. That Dunhill has a nearly 128-year-history, allows it to effortlessly peddle terms such as its pedigree and lineage, without coming across as inauthentic. Dunhill has many verticals within its business, but as Maag says, leather remains its core focus. After all, this is a brand that can trace its roots to the leather harness manufacturing business. “We’re going to continue to push leather goods, whether it’s large leather goods, bags, backpacks, small crossbodies and new belt bags.” He ranks menswear as the second most important category for the brand. As a Euromonitor International report from 2018 pointed out, the growth rate of sales within the luxury menswear arena is on course to outstrip that of womenswear – a fact that Maag and Dunhill’s creative director Mark Weston – are only too aware of. “On menswear, we continue to push on the more sportswear casual side,” he says, referencing the

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“I think the concept of masculinity hasn’t changed much, but I think the audience continues to change.” FAS H I O N

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“It’s become more acceptable for men to engage with what’s going on in fashion. Menswear is really at a tipping point.”

auto-inspired Abrasion capsule that was launched within the Spring-Summer 21 collection. And while sharply tailored business formal wear suits aren’t going anywhere, you’re more likely to see sweatshirts, hoodies and T-shirts becoming ever more ubiquitous from the brand’s sartorial department. An area where Dunhill is really pushing forward though is its footwear. “Sneakers and trainers have become a huge part of our business over the last three years. We launched the Radial Runner about 18 months ago and it’s been a huge success. The Court Trainer launched just six months ago, and we also have a new Aerial as well as brand new ones that are coming to showrooms in May and June.” Its accessories business comprises fine jewellery, pens, cufflinks and desk objects, among others. Its other chief categories also include eyewear and fragrances. In July last year, Dunhill inked an agreement with Kering Eyewear for the design, production and distribution of Dunhill sunglasses and prescription frames too. The new eyewear arising from that collaboration started shipping this January. As for fragrances, he says that this product line has seen a strong show of support particularly from the Middle East market, citing the success of the Dunhill Signature scent. “Since then, we have launched two new scents on that [family] a few months ago, and we have two more coming up. We also have a new fragrance launching, called Driven, in the next three to four months. Mark has worked very closely on all aspects of the bottle design, the framing, the juice, the packaging and the whole marketing side of it.” In 2017, Maag who was at the time with Burberry as the chief executive of its Europe, Middle East, India, Africa and the Americas, moved to Dunhill to assume the top role there. The same year, Burberry’s senior vice president of menswear, Mark Weston, joined as creative director at Dunhill too. “I actually recruited Mark to Burberry too. Coming into Dunhill, I wasn’t sure, who would be the right team. After really getting to understand the brand better, I asked Mark to join the company (Dunhill), and he was thrilled because he really under-

stood the codes and DNA of the brand and its true luxury positioning.” Weston didn’t waste much time finding his feet. His maturity in his role is only further evidenced by the Spring-Summer 21 collection which was unveiled a few months ago. Weston used it to reference Bowellism architecture which favours an insidecomes-out approach, which is why cotton, canvas, horsehair and even Hollan linen, often hidden away on the inside of a jacket, was made visible. Additionally, Dunhill fused a free-spirited Seventies-vibing “New Romanticism with relaxed Japanese and Italian tailoring” to that collection. But for Maag, the highlight of that runway show which was streamed to a global audience was not on the clothing, but a specific accessory – the Lock Bag. “Hands down a new star is born, and that would be the Lock Bag which we launched in that show. It’s so important for us to amplify our leather goods business. There are a few limited-edition Lock Bags launching digitally in coming weeks too,” he says. Maag has always had a practical approach to right-sizing the brand, mindful not to stretch it too thin across too many markets and touchpoints, thereby diluting its exclusive appeal. Months after he joined Dunhill, he was instrumental in shutting several stores in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in China and exited certain third-party representation of the brand to better control the brand’s messaging. The pandemic has resulted in the temporary closure of its own stores including its London flagship and that in Paris. Other stores with which it struck retail partnerships like Harrods and Galeries Lafayette are also closed as a result of the pandemic.


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“We have so many stores that are closed, I don’t need more closed stores,” says Maag when asked if there are plans to open further stores. But it isn’t clamping down altogether. “We have almost 100 stores worldwide. We’re working on a store in Qatar’s [Palace] Vendome project. We also have a new store in Tokyo opening this April in Ginza Six. We have projects to renovate or remodel some stores, and that will come up in the seasons ahead as we get past this.” But beyond physical markets, Maag says that the market that he is most bullish about at the moment is digital. “Digital actually supports the physical in many ways. We were always doing it, but our obsession is even more now and we have returned all efforts to improve our digital sites.” It’s an obsession that Maag initiated in the early pre-Covid years when he put into place digital teams in China and Japan to localize online content in the country’s language months after joining Dunhill. Besides striking up partnerships with e-commerce majors such as Mr Porter and Matchesfashion.com, he says that Dunhill has also struck an agreement with Ounass in the UAE. “[In the UAE] we have freestanding stores, we’re also in Bloomingdale’s, so we have department store representation, and now with Ounass we’ll have digital store representation too.” Its global digital push also includes initiatives like Dunhill Community live where Weston engages with creative individuals on the brand’s Instagram page and a Dunhill Community Created platform that also gives these creative individuals a space to crosspollinate ideas and build connections. Maag meanwhile has been in the enviable position of being a front-row witness to the evolution of men’s brands – some might even argue the very notion of masculinity itself – over the past few decades. “I think the concept of masculinity hasn’t changed much, but I think the audience continues to change. There are cues and codes that are evolving in social media, entertainment, art, film, and music. It’s become more acceptable for men to engage with what’s going on in fashion. Menswear is really at a tipping point.” Maag and team are well positioned to do just enough to tip it across that threshold.

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A stra ig h t cu t

Jordan Davies, Founder of Chaps & Co, has changed the way Dubai operates within the men’s premium barbershop space

Unruly beards, sloppy mops of overgrown hair and blackhead-laden noses were not uncommon sights among several men during the forced lockdowns over the last year. For many forced to abandon their routine grooming ritual, the importance of a barbershop couldn’t be understated. Just ask Jordan Davies, the founder of Chaps & Co, who witnessed a surge in customers rushing to its stores in Dubai shortly after they reopened post the lockdowns last March. “We acquired a lot of new customers in the first six months after the lockdown. It included people who may not have otherwise wanted to spend the prices that we charge, but valued the hygiene aspect more than the price or the convenience of their local barbershop,” says Davies of Chaps & Co where a haircut and beard trim can set you back by Dhs180 and a facial by Dhs445. But hygiene isn’t the only selling point that has made Chaps & Co a standout in Dubai. The barbershop with its signature dark wood-panelled, leather-trimmed décor and Takara Belmont chairs, aims to recreate an almost Gatsby-esque gentlemen’s club vibe that doesn’t reduce the experience of getting groomed to a mere necessity. “There were hundreds of barbershops in Dubai,” explains Davis of how the concept came into being. “But in the UK, and the whole of Western Europe, there’s been a massive growth of a new era of barbershops, and that just wasn’t the case in Dubai or the Middle East. We felt that there was a gap in the market for this new era, premium-style barbershop.” In 2015, the Dubai-based former executive at British American Tobacco who spent six years in the corporate world, including one in Jakarta as part of an international posting, decided to dive – mane first – into the grooming industry. “I was 26 at the time. No marriage, no kids. I think it was a case of me just taking probably a bigger risk than I would now,” offer Davies. Luckily, it paid off handsomely. Davies began by poaching his own barber who worked at what he described was back then a “rundown barbershop” in JBR. Along with his partners, Mark Aitchison and Chris Browne, he got busy scouting locations, bal-

ancing budgets, organising pop-ups, and creating just enough noise in the market to announce its arrival. The learning curves though were steep for Davies and his partners, none of whom came from the grooming industry – Aitchison had a background in real estate and technology, while Browne worked previously for a defence contractor. “It took time to understand how the barber industry works in terms of recruitment. We didn’t have a brand, and neither did we have any experience in the industry. We were relying on the look and feel of our shops to be attractive to barbers and for the barber to be the mouthpiece of our business.” Making barbers the real rockstar of the show was a neat trick. When Chaps & Co opened their outpost in Dubai Design District (d3), they hired Dubai’s first female barber, Samantha Lloyd. “We intended to make a statement,” says Davies of the decision to recruit Lloyd. “We are not permitted to hire a female barber in all of the zones of Dubai. The d3 freezone actually gave us their blessings and said that they thought it was a great idea.” Lloyd eventually moved on from Chaps & Co, although Davies says that the company has had a total of five female barbers since then, including two of whom are currently employed. “Both of them are based in d3. We’ve never not had a female barber there. A female barber has been integral to the atmosphere and envi-


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ronment in d3.” Chaps & Co currently operates six branches including five in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. Two more stores will open in Dubai this year. “We’re approaching tapping out our growth in the UAE. By the end of this year, we’ll have seven branches in Dubai, and one in Abu Dhabi. There’s probably space for one more in Abu Dhabi,” reveals Davies. The upcoming stores in Dubai will be small-medium sized shops. They’re likely to emulate the model in Reform Social & Grill, where a three-chair barbershop setup is located within the restaurant itself. “It was the first Chaps Neighbourhood concept, which is a spin-off from the Chaps parent brand. It’s smaller and there’s no waiting area. But we’re allowed to serve alcohol because Reform is licensed.” With the UAE market nearly reaching saturation, Chaps & Co has moved quickly to cast their net abroad. They are working with a local Saudi partner – who incidentally was a customer at the d3 unit – to open two stores in Riyadh this year. Davies says that the kingdom is where Dubai was five years ago in terms of men’s premium grooming spaces, and hence he sees major potential in other cities within the kingdom including Jeddah and Dammam. When we speak, Davies is sitting in New York City, from where he is overseeing the opening of the first store in the US which will be located on Broadway, and which is scheduled to open this year too. Being based in the US has also allowed him to explore another avenue – manufacturing Chaps & Co branded grooming products. While all its stores currently use top brands including Captain Fawcett, Uppercut and Gentlemen’s Tonic – the latter of which is used for all its facials, manicures and pedicure services – there is potential for Chaps & Co to debut its own line. “We’re working with a laboratory in Los Angeles to develop our own product line which should be on shelves by the end of this year. The five products are mainly to do with hair and will include shampoo, conditioner, matt paste, styling dust, and a sea salt spray.” Chaps & Co 2.0 is all set to roll.

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What inspired you to partner on the launch of VEJA? SK: Ghislain and I met when we were 14 years old. We graduated with an economics degree and then eventually started working in New York and Washington DC straight after. After a few months of working in banks, we decided that this was not the life we wanted. We started an NGO and travelled around the world for a year, while going on a field trip to study 70 projects. We went to China, Brazil, India, Bolivia, Vietnam, Australia and many more places to analyse projects and improve them when it came to reducing pollution, respecting the environment and enhancing social conditions of the local population. After seeing it first hand in the field, that actions did not follow words from companies, eventually at the age of 25 we decided to create a project that would be based on action, not words. Hence, VEJA was born. The brand was established in 2005, how has the retail market/brand grown changed since then? SK: We are not looking for fast growth, we focus on creating deep roots. Since 2005, VEJA has been growing organically, step by step, without investors. We source and control every raw material and the processes within our production chain so it takes time, but we are sure that it is the best way in order to create a positive impact. Today, VEJA has over 200 talented people in Paris, New York, and Brazil. We’ve bought more than 390 tons of organic cotton; 450 tons of Amazonian rubber and we’ve sold more than 4.5 million pairs globally. What is the core DNA of VEJA? SK: The core of VEJA since its inception is to know everything about our sneakers from the agroecological and organic cotton fields in Brazil and Peru, to the mud of the Amazonian forest where we buy our rubber from seringueiros (rubber tappers living in the forest who collect latex from the rubber trees). We spend months and months in the factories where we produce our sneakers, and we have a team in Brazil that visits them

E th ica l S ol es

Founders Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion of ecoconscious brand VEJA, share their secret to success 40 emiratesman.ae

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every day, while we’ve also managed to build a strong relationship with our suppliers. This is why we can say that ecology is not a burden for a company, but a strength. To understand sustainability, you need to meet people, spend time with them to understand their difficulties and find solutions together. Design is just as important as sustainability – were these both clear focuses for the brand from the outset? SK: VEJA is walking on two feet: ecology and social justice on one side, design on the other. We never compromise between the two of them. A lot of our clients don’t know what is behind the brand, which is not a problem for us. A lot of people are discovering it every day, and we are cool with this. Which piece to date has been your most popular shape? SK: We love minimalism and are inspired by the worker outfit, military shoes, trail shoes etc. We design pairs that can be worn every day, and that we love first. Our models are timeless (for example, we launched the Esplar in 2010, and it is still selling well). We launched the Campo style in 2019, and it is one of our best shoes. How has partnering with ecommerce platforms such as MATCHESFASHION helped to grow the brand? SK: We work with more than 2,500 retailers in more than 45 countries. Some are small but very cool stores in big cities, some are big e-shops. But we don’t differentiate. Since 2005 we haven’t held stock to ensure we don’t overproduce. Some clients sell-out after a couple of weeks and ask us to restock, but we tell them they will have to wait until next season! You have global clients – do you see trends in buying patterns as a brand? SK: Our first customer is always us, we never set benchmarks or carry out research studies as we always create what we like to wear. We love minimalism and are inspired by the worker outfit, military shoes, trail shoes... We design pairs that can be worn every day. Can you explain the biodegradability of the sneakers? SK: Usually, a pair of sneakers ends up in the trash. However, sneakers are among the most complex products to recycle. After all, they are made of many different materials, often fused together. For a long time, the end of life of our sneakers has been one of our main limits, and it’s still a complex subject. For several months now, VEJA has been developing its recycling project. The purpose is to sort the different materials of a VEJA trainer such as the Amazonian rubber, organic cotton or leather to establish a recycling chain. Being aware of the origin of our materials al-

lows us to create a different end life for our sneakers. But we are only at the very beginning of the project. Today, we have recycling boxes in our Parisian store and at our Store in Bordeaux, VEJA x Darwin where people can drop off their VEJA pairs that are no longer in wearable condition. Your use corn waste to construct the sneakers, how did you decide on this material? SK: We have been looking for smart alternatives to leather for years. In 2014, we started a research and development programme to enlarge our materials base, which made us visit dozens of innovative suppliers around the world, attend conferences and contact biologists who did many tests and try various different fabrics. Our objective was simple yet rather ambitious, it was to offer a biobased alternative to leather, something that has a great touch and feel, with very good resistance. Our goal was to find an alternative, without using plastic, something like the majority of vegan leathers in the market but replacing leather with plastic is not a good enough solution for us. Back in 2019, we released one of our first models made from corn waste leather (C.W.L), a vegan alternative to leather. It’s an innovative material that took us four years to find and yet unfortunately, we still could not manage to trace it entirely. Months of research and sourcing enabled us to find a better composition and source the raw material from its roots. The new C.W.L is a hundred per cent organic cotton canvas coated with P.U., corn starch and ricinus oil. The organic cotton used is the same we source for all our canvas, lining, and laces with everything made in Brazil. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had and how did you overcome them as a brand? SK: The main challenge for VEJA is to go beyond ourselves. We have come a long way in the last 16 years by creating the first sneaker that goes up the production chain, made with ecological materials like organic cotton or Amazonian rubber and that we source directly. VEJA is growing all over the world without investors, organically going from strength to strength. We’ve created a fantastic team of more than a 200 people. Our main goal is not a financial objective; it is to create a company that could draw a path that many others could follow if they like it and to create a company that Ghislain and I would have loved to work for. What advice would you give anyone wanting to launch their own brand? SK: Do what you like to do every day, even if people don’t believe in your project. Back in 2005, nobody was talking about ecology or social justice. When we


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“Ecology is not a burden for a company, but a strength.”

launched VEJA, everybody was laughing at us, telling us we were crazy to produce sneakers that cost 5 to 7 times the price of another sneaker brand and that we were crazy to still sell them at the same price by eradicating marketing and advertising budget. But we knew our reality was in the fields, close to the producers, in the mud of the Amazonian forest, and not paying for big advertising campaigns with stars. Just do what you want to see, as what matters is to act now. This is ‘The Wellness Issue’, what does that mean to you as a brand? SK: A slow time, to act differently, with more consciousness – I think that wellness starts here.



3/1/21 11:27 AM

Alexandre Mattiussi’s label, AMI, is an ode to elegant tailoring. He tells us what inspired him to launch his own brand while implementing life-lessons learned


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What inspired you to launch AMI, your own label? Before founding AMI, 10 years ago, I worked for some luxury brands such as Dior and Givenchy. I feel lucky to have been a part of these firms and I’m very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned. But there was always that need to do more, to go further and at the same time I realized that there was something missing within the market. That’s when I decided to give myself a year to create something and AMI was born on a piece of paper in my mind. AMI, a sincere and honest brand is a French label, conceived and designed in Paris created in connection with reality and with people’s real lives. I’m happy to say that AMI still holds true to its notion 10 years later. Tell us about your creative process? Every collection is different but a part of the same story, like a new chapter of a book. Sometimes I start where I left the previous collection, taking lessons from the pieces that worked well. I also like to take into account our clients’ feedback for my design process. In any case, a collection always starts with an inspiration and within my inspirations there are always many images and people from real life, the ones who surround me including my friends and my team. I’m always inspired by Paris and Parisians, as I like to observe what happens around me. What lessons did you gain from working with some of the main fashion houses in the industry? My previous experiences were indeed very formative. There was obviously a lot of emphasis placed on the quality of the garment in those luxury houses, which I carried down to my own brand. At Givenchy, I also had the opportunity to participate in a lot of things outside of design such as going to meetings related to marketing, production and supply. All the knowledge acquired during my time there was extremely useful when I started my own brand. What is the core DNA of AMI? AMI means friend in French and while friendship is the heart of our DNA, there are many other values that have been a part of our story ever since day one. Such as sincerity, inclusivity, joy, and Paris which is the inspiration while also being at the core of every collection. You have globe clients – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries? I would say that the buying patterns don’t change that much from region to region. For instance, our AMI de Coeur is incredibly successful internationally. More than a logo, it became the symbol of a community based on values of friendship, inclusivity and sincerity that resonate across borders. How has partnering with ecommerce changed the game in terms of brand awareness and sales? I founded AMI in 2011, back then ecommerce was starting to change the way we sell clothes, and I very quickly realized how important it was to have a strong online presence and e-shop. Hence, let’s say that ecommerce has been an essential part of AMI’s story and incredibly valuable in terms of generating brand awareness. What have been the biggest challenges to date and how have you overcome them? Launching my own brand was a challenge back in the day. At the very beginning I was alone and taking care of everything which included designing, buying fabrics, accounting, contacting potential buyers and basically everything. It was a difficult time period, but it taught me the importance of being disciplined and to believe in myself and my project no matter what.

How do you approach client retention and client engagement? Social media is a great way to stay connected to the people that love and wear AMI. When it comes to clients, I like to read all of their comments and hear their feedback regarding the pieces. This way, I can know what they like from every collection and what they would like to keep wearing. Some pieces like our straight fit jeans and wool leather jackets keep coming back every season. What is your approach to daily dressing? I like to stay simple and comfortable. I mostly own basic pieces, some of which have been in my wardrobe for more than 10 years. For instance, I still wear the first sample of AMI jeans that we’ve ever made. It’s a philosophy that I constantly apply to our collection as I like to make clothes that last and work throughout the years. Which Instagram accounts/books do you look to for inspiration? I love Instagram as I said, it’s a great tool for communicating but it’s not through social media that I get the inspiration for my collections. My inspiration comes from everyday life, the people I see on the street, my friends and yes, also books. Mainly books from photographers, my all-time favourites are Juergen Teller and Helmut Newton, Jean-Paul Goude and Paolo Roversi. What are your goals for Ami in 2021? There are many exciting projects that will be unveiled this year! I would like for them to be kept a secret until the time comes but you can expect store openings, cool collaborations, and more product categories. What I can tell you is that I want to keep surprising our clients while staying faithful to the ideals that made me found AMI, which is to offer a relaxed and authentic approach to fashion. What is Style to you? Style is something inherent to each individual, this “je ne sais quoi” attached to every person’s essence, and that is not even related to the fashion of the moment. In any case, the most important thing when it comes to your own style is to be elegant while staying true to yourself.

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3/1/21 11:30 AM

Frédéric Arnault, the 26-year-old CEO of TAG Heuer, has signed a far-reaching mega-deal to collaborate with Porsche – and he’s only getting started WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO

It’s difficult not to draw parallels between Jack Heuer and Frédéric Arnault. Both were in their 20s when they took the reins of the iconic watchmaker TAG Heuer (it was known only as Heuer until 1985), and neither waited long before radically changing the course of their company. In 1961, Jack, at the age of 29, took over the business his great-grandfather created. He aggressively pushed forward the development of Heuer chronograph timing devices, began establishing sporting partnerships to increase brand visibility, and was at the forefront of technical development at the brand including the creation of the Calibre 11, the world’s first automatic chronograph movement that came into being in the Sixties itself. Frédéric – the millennial son of the world’s third-richest person, billionaire LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault – was appointed as CEO of TAG Heuer in June last year at the age of 25. But don’t conflate his youth with inexperience, or worse still, an inability to perform at one of the Swiss watch industry’s most coveted jobs. Joining the brand in 2017, he has been the driving force behind the development of the Connected smartwatch – a seminal timepiece with which TAG became one of the first mainstream Swiss luxury watch-

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makers to go digital and take the fight to Cupertino (more on that soon). But more recently, adding to his winning streak, in February this year, TAG pulled the covers off its latest collaboration with Stuttgart carmaker Porsche – a deep-rooted, multi-layered, long-term partnership that speaks to its pedigree – in what many saw as the scion’s power move that few expected at the time of a pandemic, and one that proved him to be a canny operator too. “When I joined TAG Heuer three years ago, we reviewed all our partnerships and it quickly became clear that Porsche was the brand with which we want to form an alliance. When partnering with others, it is always important for us to have an authentic and convincing brand fit. With Porsche, this fit was recognisable at first glance,” says Frédéric in an exclusive interview with Emirates Man. “We are both disruptors at heart. We have not only a common DNA in motorsports, we also share the same mindset.” That mindset seems eerily similar in several respects. You can’t fail to recognize that both Porsche and TAG have products that go by the name of Carrera. The Heuer Carrera chronograph was named after the Carrera Panamericana road race, which was last held in 1954 before being discontinued. Interestingly, it was a


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Porsche 550 Spyder which won that last race. Additionally, the Carrera Panamericana was also the inspiration behind Porsche naming one of its most iconic sportscars – and one that remains in production until today – as the Carrera. Jack was an avid motorsport fan. He decided to name the chronographs after motorsport races, which explains why the square-shaped Heuer Monaco, the first square automatic chronograph wristwatch when it debuted in 1969, was named after the Monaco Grand Prix. It can’t escape your attention that it was a Porsche which won that Grand Prix thrice consecutively from 19681970. But the Heuer Monaco was immortalized when the swaggerer-in-chief Steve McQueen wore one on his wrist in the racing film Le Mans, while going hell-for-leather behind the wheel of a Porsche 917. McQueen said that he was channelling real-life ex-Formula One driver Jo Siffert by driving the same car as him, and stayed in character by wearing the same watch as Siffert too. Siffert was a prolific ambassador for Heuer. In exchange for CHF25,000, he added the Heuer logo to his racing overalls and car. He was also permitted to buy watches from Heuer at wholesale prices, and then sell them for handsome profits among his well-heeled racing colleagues. Not only was Siffert a Porsche racer, but he was also the official Porsche dealer in Fribourg, Switzerland. Heuer’s and Porsche’s paths would, over the next few decades, intermittently bisect. In the mid Eighties, TAG Heuer collaborated with Porsche to develop the TagTurbo engine which was used in McLaren F1 cars that won two consecutive F1 championships with Niki Lauda in 1984 and Alain Prost in 1985. But both, TAG Heuer and Porsche looked beyond each other. TAG has been associated with Audi, Nissan, Aston Martin and even Red Bull Racing. Porsche meanwhile developed its Porsche Design timepieces, and also collaborated with IWC, and then with Chopard for the FIA World Endurance Championship. It was Formula E though that would once again unite Porsche and TAG Heuer two years ago. “Formula E gives us the chance to prove ourselves in a new environment and to develop new urban and digital target groups. We are proud to support – since their inception – exciting platforms such as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship,” says Frédéric. “Formula E continues to gain momentum and fans all over the world and I think the series has developed greatly in recent years and offers the greatest compe-


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tition among manufacturers. We started as a rookie with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, but we have a goal of being at the top of the podium,” he adds, after the watchmaker became the title sponsor and the timing partner of the Porsche Formula E team in 2019. TAG Heuer is the golden egg within the LVMH Watchmaking division, which also comprises of Hublot and Zenith. Bulgari is an LVMH owned brand, though its business does not directly operate under LVMH’s Watchmaking Division. The watchmaking division is headed by Stéphane Bianchi, the former CEO of TAG. Bianchi led TAG Heuer for nearly two years from 2018, taking charge from the largerthan-life industry veteran Jean-Claude Biver, with the latter’s career in the watch industry spanning over four decades. Frédéric’s management style will, in the short-term at least, bank on the combined experience of Biver and Bianchi. “It was special encounters that brought me here, especially with Jean-Claude Biver, with whom I keep in regular contact. He has a real eye for the product and communication. Bianchi has also brought me a lot in terms of management. During Bianchi’s tenure as CEO, we worked very closely together on all TAG Heuer topics. In addition, I was leading the Connected watch development as well as the digital transformation of the business,” reveal Frédéric. TAG launched the third generation of the Con-

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nected smartwatch just before the first wave of the global lockdowns began to take effect last year. “Of course, traditional watches remain our main activity for the long term, but the Connected represents a new audience forming a relationship with the brand. We are still discovering new features and use cases, so the potential is very exciting. We’re seeing strong trends towards health and fitness at the moment, interests which we address with our new Connected and the TAG Heuer Sport app.” Not only will the Connected be a major focus for TAG going forward, but for the clued-in Frédéric, overall business plans for digital transformation and e-commerce will be accelerated. “TAG Heuer pioneered e-commerce in luxury watchmaking back in 2015 and it is a strong driver for the business. We’ve since opened our online sales platform in nine markets with more underway, and it’s becoming an increasingly strategic area of growth. While a flawless boutique experience remains a cornerstone of our business, we see e-commerce as a very powerful complement, offering our customers a highly personalised, interactive and educational touchpoint with the brand – even more during the times we are currently facing.” Frédéric will be looking East and West as he seeks to carve a larger footprint for the brand. “We have a great presence in the US… sometimes people think that we are an American brand. The UK, Japan,

Australia and Korea are also important growth drivers together with Europe. We still have to work on our presence in China. But we have great development ambitions for that region, particularly thanks to the launch of the new Connected Watch.” The Middle East market in general, he says, is an increasingly “fast moving market” for TAG, while Saudi Arabia specifically is a “very important market”. In a region with overall high-capita income and greater disposable incomes, a smart partnership with a luxury automaker, can only further its cause. To commemorate the new partnership, the watchmaker has launched the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph watch. There are two versions of it, one with a bracelet, and the other with a leather strap. Both the 42mm watches are fitted with a Calibre Heuer 02 automatic movement, and a grey asphalt dial above it. As Frédéric explains, the new timepiece is only “a first step and glimpse of what we could achieve together.” To look at the partnership as a mere branding exercise where the Porsche logo would be featured over a couple of timepieces, iterations in different hues of which are released every few months, is a limiting exercise. As TAG is keen to point out, this is a multi-pronged partnership. Take for example, sport. The carmaker backs the Porsche Golf Cup and the Porsche European Open golf tournament – both of which TAG


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has now announced that it too would partner on. As for tennis, TAG has said that it will also become the official timing, watch and chronograph partner of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. On cue and in preparation for these new sporting partnerships, TAG announced in January that it was signing on world number three tennis star Naomi Osaka (it came days after Louis Vuitton signed her on as the face of the Spring-Summer 21 campaign), and English golfing star Tommy Fleetwood as their latest ambassadors. “We have dedicated a lot of research and effort this past year to refocus the brand on its core values and translating them into all areas of the business including a very clear direction for our choice of ambassadors. We want to count on personalities who have a personal link with the brand, are passionate about our products. In this perspective, we have restructured our contracts and continue to work with for example Patrick Dempsey, as well as many friends of the brand locally, but others have been stopped,” says Frédéric. Fleetwood’s addition to the roster of TAG ambassadors will ostensibly push forward the development of the Connect wristwatch. “Tommy will be working closely with TAG Heuer’s Connected team software engineers in Paris and lending his professional expertise to further develop the TAG Heuer Golf app and enhance the overall player experience of the app.” TAG’s partnership with Porsche


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is already cross-pollinating across events, products and ambassadorial ventures. At 26, Frédéric has only to look at his family members, all of whom have top roles within the LVMH conglomerate, for inspiration on how to move forward. Alexandre was the ex-CEO of Rimowa and is now an executive at Tiffany; Antoine is the CEO of Berluti and chairman of Loro Piana; Delphine is the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton. “The way the group has managed to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship, independence and creativity for each brand, even if they are sometimes competing on the same markets, is remarkable.” When asked what were some of the lessons he has learnt from the family, he adds, “The desirability of a brand should be as strong now as in ten years.” That desirability comes from peering into its lineage, though not overtly relying on past hits. “History is a great source of inspiration for us – but we are not a nostalgic brand,” explains Frédéric of the brand which marked its 160th anniversary last year. “We are focused on the present – such as with this new Porsche partnership.” As for what comes next, he says, “You can expect real innovations from a movement perspective and drawing inspiration from automotive technologies from the Porsche world in the future.” It’s a cryptic, yet equally revelatory, statement of intent about the direction that he is driving the brand.

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CITY CLIMES Anthony Vaccarello for SAINT LAURENT SS21 takes summer to new heights

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A NEW HORIZON A season of escapism at OUNASS for SS21

This page: Full look Nanushka; Sandals Car shoe; Right page: Black Logo Bucket Hat; Triangle Logo Cotton Poplin Shirt; Garment-Dyed Cotton Cardigan; Garment-Dyed Cotton Pants; Wheel Vulcanizzato Sneakers in Cotton Canvas; Triangle Logo Crossbody Bag in Leather, all Prada

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Left page: La Chemise Jean in Organic Cotton, Jacquemens; Double Strap Sandals in Suede, Car Shoe; Le Gadjo Wallet on Strap in Leather, Jacquemus; Stretch Cotton Twill Pants, Ermenegildo Zegna; This page: Ski D-Shaped Sunglasses in Acetate; Political Campaign Vintage Jersey T-shirt; Short Sleeve Shirt in Camo Sporty Mesh Jersey; Large Cargo Pants in Cotton Ripstop; Track.2 Sneakers in Neoprene & Rubber, all Balenciaga

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TRUE TORQUE In the driving seat with Carrera for SS21

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Below: Everlast Training Bag Dhs495 Everlast; Breeze TechLoom Running Sneakers Dhs835 APL Athletic Propulsion Labs; Pro Dri-FIT Shorts Dhs243 Nike Training


ALL THE GEAR The sports essentials to keep you in shape at home

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Left from top: Resistance bands Dhs65 Stronger; Push Up 3.0 Grip Dhs99 Nike; Kettlebells POA Technogym; Hexagon Dumbbells POA Technogym

Right: Junya Nylon and Titanium sunglasses Dhs927 District Vision; 2XU XVENT Mesh-Panelled Stretch-Jersey Hooded Jacket Dhs397 available at MR PORTER


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3/1/21 11:43 AM

“Cryotherapy rejuvenates your skin by boosting your collagen levels. It

S u b Z ero

RESYNC Dubai founder Jenya Melay explains why going low to 110 degrees Celsius has extremely high benefits WORDS: OLIVIA MORRIS

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Tell us about your experience with cryotherapy? My career began in the fashion industry, it was essential that I maintained healthy skin and a toned body. Due to overtraining and fatigue, I suffered from a severe back injury, so I decided to travel to Australia in search of new remedies. This is how I discovered nitrogen-free cryotherapy, after just three sessions it healed and repaired my back pain. When did you decide to launch your own clinic? It was in October 2018, when we began doing in-depth research into various cryotherapy treatments. The benefits were so profound, that we explored it further and decided to create a studio concept that is focused on cold and light therapies. What has the reaction to your clinic been like? It has been so positive! The feedback from our clients has exceeded our expectations, some achieving immediate results after only one session.


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increases your level of endorphins, elevates your mood and reduces stress.”



Can you talk us through what is cryotherapy? Cryotherapy involves exposing the body to extreme cold, as low as -110°C in a safe, oxygen-enriched chamber. What benefits does cryotherapy have? The benefits are endless. It is the perfect postwork out therapy, it speeds up recovery time, decreases inflammation and reduces muscle soreness and stiff joints, while burning 500 to 800 calories at the same time. Cryotherapy rejuvenates your skin by boosting your collagen levels. It increases your level of endorphins, elevates your mood, reduces stress and improves sleep patterns. What results can you see from cryotherapy? You will feel immediate results from wholebody cryotherapy, such as reduced muscular pain and notice an improvement in your sleep patterns, however the more regular your sessions are the greater the reward is! From Cryo T-shock your skin looks tighter, brighter and your body more toned and sculpted.

Can you talk us through the story behind RESYNC? RESYNC is the fusion of three core components: temperature, healing and optimism. We believe that human preservation can be achieved through cold and light therapies. Our name reflects what we aim to achieve and that is to RESYNC your body back to a balanced and healthy state. What are the different treatments you offer and how do they affect the body? Wholebody cryotherapy is in an oxygenatedenriched chamber, reaching temperatures as low as -110°C. Sessions last 3 minutes, these can be private or you can share this experience with up to 3 friends at one time. Cryo T-Shock is the latest hand-held cryotherapy technology, using a combination of cold and hot, ideal for lifting the face and sculpting the body. NovoThor Red Light Pod is medically proven to reduce oxygenated stress, promote blood circulation and reduce inflammation. Perfect recovery for


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athletes or for those suffering from severe joint pain. We are also proud to be the first studio in Dubai to offer Endospheres Therapy – this reduces cellulite, aids weight loss and improves facial toning. How often should you do cryotherapy? To achieve all the benefits of cryotherapy, we recommend three sessions per week. For body sculpting and face lifting we recommend 10 sessions over the course of six weeks.

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3/1/21 11:45 AM

The indefatigable extreme athlete Marcus Smith is only too aware that endurance limits exist only for one reason – to be shattered


Dubai-based extreme athlete Marcus Smith ran 160km the week before he was diagnosed with Covid-19 in January. When we speak, he is convalescing at home. Homebound he might be, but he isn’t slouching on the couch ruing his fate. Hours before we speak, the performance coach and motivational speaker was on a call with 300 people, rallying them to – much like himself – raise the bar and not to view setbacks as inconsequential speedbumps. He’s a breathing example of what he exhorts. How else could you explain him being hit by a lorry, fighting for his life, and then recovering to run 30 marathons in 30 days? In 2018, while cycling in Fujairah, the ex-professional rugby player and founder of the personal training gym in Dubai, InnerFight, was knocked over by a lorry, and for hours after struggled to stay alive while being transferred from this remote location to the emergency room of a hospital. An accident that broke his shoulder, seven ribs and punctured his left lung, also left him learning invaluable lessons from the experience. “For three hours I was fighting [for my life]. It taught me to remain present, stay focused and it gave me tools I can use to push my own limits and boundaries.” And push back hard he did. Nine months after the

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accident, he ran 30 marathons in 30 days, with the incredible feat even being beamed onto the face of the Burj Khalifa. But those marathons aren’t Smith’s sole achievements. There are several others like the time he ran around a track for 24 hours straight, racking up 206.9km. Or when he completed a triple ascent of Mont Ventoux, the Tour De France’s hardest climb. Or even competing in the Marathon Des Sables, a 250km gruelling run across the Sahara, often regarded as the world’s toughest footrace. And then there’s that occasion when Smith cycled 50km, ran 50km, and then cycled another 50km, over eight hours, and in the thick of scorching 54-degree summer heat. But as he points out, physical health, is just one aspect of what he hopes to promote. A larger, and perhaps more important emphasis of his messaging, is on mental health. “There’s a lot of things that I do in my daily routine that really focuses on my mental health – from limiting my exposure on social media accounts, to spending some time of the day on just being rather than doing something.” Mental health, he says, also shines a spotlight on recovery rather than just endurance. “It’s important that folks talk about recovery. We’re in a world where more is better. We work for 16-18 hours a day. I want to know how many hours you’re able to sleep. What amount of time you’re taking to just relax with loved ones, develop relationships. I look at things holistically,” says Smith. Part of that mental self-preservation also involved him taking to his website to document his experience of coping with Covid-19, a move he says that helped with his mental health. “I’ve given respect to Covid-19. You don’t have to agree with everything you read about the virus, but you should just respect it. People think that because you’re fit, you shouldn’t be getting sick. But actually, we do get sick because we’re pushing our bodies quite hard, and the impact of that often destroys our immune system.” In 2008, Smith started the 5,000square-foot InnerFight gym in Dubai’s Studio City, with the aim to help people develop better habits and adopt healthier lifestyles. “Because we’re quite a tightknit community, we help people mentally as well emotionally. We have less than 500 members, whereas a normal gym would have 10,000 members at a particular location.” Crafting a rounded approach to healthy lifestyles, Smith and his wife Holly started a

paleo food company too. As he explains, the idea was born from the fact that when his wife worked as cabin crew, she would suffer from inflammation in her body. Switching to a paleo diet where there was no processed food, sugar, dairy and one which relied on natural ingredients helped her immensely, prompting them to start a small-batch food company that served the paleo diet. “We deliver to people around the UAE, We also have a small café within the gym,” says Smith. International expansion of InnerFight is on the cards. As he explains, there are already customers in five countries – Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand in America – who currently train remotely. While he might not have plans to open up just immediately in Saudi Arabia – a country where two-thirds of its population is under 30 – he says that he would like to undertake some endurance feats within the kingdom. This year, Smith was also appointed as the newest ambassador for British independent watchmaker Bremont. The brand first came up on his radar over a decade ago when he was involved with rugby clubs in the UAE. “When I started talking to Bremont, they were talking about a two-four year partnership. That’s a brand that actually wants to do something meaningful.” It was also the Henley-on-Thames headquartered watch company’s tagline of ‘Tested Beyond Endurance’ which Smith identified with and resulted in a partnership between the two. “Every endurance athlete understands the importance of having reliable equipment in the most hostile and unforgiving conditions, and there is no doubt that Bremont watches demonstrate the very best of British engineering and design,” Smith says. Nick English, co-founder at Bremont, when speaking about the partnership with Smith adds, “He is an extraordinary man with an incredible aptitude for endurance challenges. As a brand we are so proud to work with our ambassadors to put our watches to the test in a multitude of unusual and testing environments and we look forward to seeing what is next for this unstoppable athlete.” This year, the unstoppable Smith is planning to complete a 300km crossing of the Hajar mountain range, beginning their run from the top of Jebel Jais and running all the way to the InnerFight gym. In June, he will also be participating in the Ultra X World Championship where athletes will run 250km in 5 days. Smith – expectedly – remains unfazed.


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Marcus Smith was appointed as ambassador for watchmaker Bremont earlier this year. He’s seen here wearing a Bremont ALT1-B chronograph


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3/1/21 11:51 AM

P rince w ith P u rp ose

His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud speaks exclusively to Emirates Man about his work as an investor and being an advocate for tech

Can you outline how you approach investment? It’s easier to walk you through that starting from now and working backwards. So today, through KBW Ventures, I get to merge my love of tech with my passion for investing. I really do love what I do; it’s not a cliché to say that venture capital can be good. It all depends where you devote your resources – we have several investments that are mission-driven so these companies demonstrate massive commercial potential matched with a social good aspect. I always wanted to work in tech in some regard, but I knew that it wouldn’t be consumer tech. I loved trying out every type of device and using social media, but it wasn’t ‘clicking’ with me from a work aspect. I’m still a tech addict. This is how I started investing in emerging technologies including food tech. Some of these companies were based on what is called ‘moonshot’ ideas, which is exactly what it sounds like: shooting for the moon. The big idea that changes everything. We’re proud to be investors that got in early for many of these companies. What works in business? Work hard and have a consistent focus. Bouncing around makes you a master of none, and that’s okay if you don’t want to really excel and stand out. I’ve heard a lot of people describe themselves as a jack of all trades; I don’t think there is anything wrong with that per se but being a generalist doesn’t make you the most soughtafter guy in the room. It makes you useful, sure, but not the person people seek out to partner up with. Really know your stuff, make yourself indispensable in terms of added value from your knowledge base, skill set and network. Be honest and don’t waste people’s time. If it isn’t something you intend on pursuing fully, just be transparent from the get-go. What is your advice for entrepreneurs starting out? I’m not an entrepreneur, but I do fund entrepreneurs. I’d say it takes a great deal of guts to make that leap as it isn’t a secure career move, a lot of intelligence to be able to continuously assess risk vs. reward, and definitely some technical know-how in whatever field your business is in. My advice to entrepreneurs is to explore verticals thoroughly, know the sector backwards and forwards, really research your competition properly, and when you are pitching for funding make sure you research the investor – this is a big one. You might have gotten 50 ‘No’ responses simply because these investors don’t work in your field. If the investor has committed to a startup in say SaaS, for example, they may very likely do so again. Who would you say has really influenced the trajectory of your life and why? I think my father played a big role in helping me shape my business acumen; and he has such an authentic love and passion for what he does, so this clearly set a strong example for me to pursue the path that I feel most strongly about both professionally and personally.



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My mother has taught me kindness, respect, compassion, so much of her personality is admirable. People remember the smallest gesture from her, because she has the most genuine human to human quality about her. You’re also incredibly passionate about sustainability. How does this relate to your involvement in XPRIZE? XPRIZE is sponsored by Abu Dhabi’s Aspire. The Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) recently launched the ‘Feed the Next Billion’ Challenge with $15 million to be awarded. ATRC works toward big answers for pressing global questions, hence their interest in the XPRIZE and this is how I got involved. I’m acting as an advisor to this challenge as it is around food tech; they are looking for a startup – or even an established business – that can create whole chicken breast and fish filet alternatives. What I think is important to mention is that the competition is focusing on elements that haven’t taken a front seat thus far in food tech like achieving comparable nutritional value, minimal environmental footprint and prioritizing no harm to animals, basic things like serving size, and versatility of use. XPRIZE’s Feed the Next Billion is about sustainability pure and simple. The more alternative protein sources we have, the better it is for the earth and the most equitable it is for humankind.” You’re an advocate for animal welfare, environmental preservation and living a vegan lifestyle – how did this start? Now we’re closing in on a decade of what I consider living in line with my moral compass. Sustainability – everything we can do to preserve the planet and prevent the climate crisis – has always been an interest of mine. It is only in the past few years I was able to ‘vote with my investments’ so to speak. Through KBW Ventures, I recently invested in a startup working on carbon capture technology – Carbix. This, and a few other ventures that I have invested in have me really excited as they are all

working towards sustainability and staving off more damage to the environment. Some of our portfolio companies are headline-makers for their potential to change the world like Memphis Meats, working in lab-grown meats, and BlueNalu, working in cellular aquaculture. Both companies had record-breaking funding raises in their fields; the investor confidence is there and we know these companies will do so much good in terms of feeding people sustainably. What are the hurdles you’ve experienced during your career? Like everyone, I’ve had to find a way to create a system that allows me to work on what I love to do. Along the way, I have made mistakes, even bad investments – not everything is a winner. I’ve also made a few poor judgement calls on trustworthiness, skill levels, and dedication; people can surprise you. I wouldn’t say I’ve had the same challenges as so many others just mainly due to the advantages I have had in terms of mentorship, deal-making environment, opportunities and so on, but of course, like any person I had my own shortcomings to improve upon, right? What are the key milestones you’ve achieved? A few of our investments have been what I consider milestones in my work life. Investing in mission-driven companies from the early Seed or even Pre-Seed days and then seeing them take a product to market is just an unbelievable feeling. You actually see your investment create change; you see how your work can make a difference towards a larger cause. This goes back to voting with your wallet, and in my case, voting for the kind of world I want with my investments. What are the biggest life lessons you’ve learned to date? Studied evaluation of every situation is key to formulating a strong and suitable response. In some cases, you’ll find that many ‘situations’ that seem to need an immediate reaction from you need none at all. For more than a year now, I’ve been devoting a few minutes each morning to medi-

tating and increasing mindfulness in my life and this has been one of the things that have been made clear to me. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Everything is temporary. Beyond your work, you are the President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA). Can you talk us through this role? I was appointed President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation; taking over the position after Princess Reema bint Bandar who did an amazing job building the foundation. The SFA is mandated by the government, with the close guidance of the Ministry of Sports and the support of the Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee, to increase the participation of all of Saudi society in physical activity. We need to achieve 40 per cent of the population meeting international activity recommendation metrics, as part of the larger Vision 2030 goals. We’ve seen strong numbers of people from across the country participate in our programmes and activations, despite all the adversity that the pandemic presented. We have a very motivated and driven team; I’m proud to work alongside them every day. What are your hopes for the future of sport in Saudi Arabia? My hopes for the future of sport in Saudi: that everyone finds at least one activity that they love enough to commit to regularly. The SFA not only wants to get everyone active, for those who are moderately active we want to move them up what’s called the activity chain. Basically, if you walk three times a week for 30 minutes, that’s already great but we want to facilitate your move from that up to five times per week. And once you hit that five times per week, what about adding a run once per week? So, we want to activate the inactive, and we want to help get the already active demographic more active. We have some initiatives dedicated to this, like the SFA app that allows for peer challenges and gamifies your participation with monthly winners and so on.

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“Every challenge has a solution.”

AM a n of I nf l u ence

With an approach of excellence in business, Rashid Alabbar, CEO and Founder of SIVVI.COM and Co-Founder of Alabbar Enterprises, exemplifies what it means to be a successful, modern man


What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? I am an early riser, so the first 30mins of my day are typically for coffee and a quick re-cap of the overnight news before I head to the stables where I oversee the daily training of my endurance horses. What is your approach to business and building a work culture? My approach to business and building a work culture is centered on finding the right people. Having the right leadership and a wider team of innovative, experienced and enthusiastic people is essential. Keeping that same team motivated by feeling truly part of the business is key to its continued success. What was the catalyst for launching SIVVI. COM and what have been the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome? Ahead of launching SIVVI.COM there was a fastgrowing trend for Ecommerce in all markets globally, and specifically for fashion. So, given it was still very new for our region, which has a young and tech savvy audience, we saw an opportunity to explore this. Being one of the first means there is no blueprint or road map, so we really had to figure every aspect out from scratch.

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How do you approach challenges? Firstly, I would always expect challenges in any venture. I approach them with a lot of patience and try to understand them. I also seek advice from my mentors on how to overcome them; every challenge has a solution. How do you think last year affected the growth in ecommerce and digitally-driven revenue? The last year has changed the way businesses operate in every sense. The shift towards digital has witnessed astronomical growth for all sectors and consumers alike. I am very grateful that we had long since begun making the shift across all of our family businesses to digitalize wherever possible; it meant we were better positioned to continue serving our consumers and attracting new ones in this time. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? My father is one of my greatest mentors; he has a vast wealth of experience to build from and is always supportive of any ventures I wish to explore. What has been your approach to scaling the business to date? It goes back to the cornerstone of building a business in that you must have the best people in place. As a team you need to be prepared and ready for the changes that come with scale as well as have the ability to be reactive and fluid in handling any unforeseen challenges. What do you believe is the value of social media in business growth and which platform do you feel will next drive most success? Social media is a necessary medium to support any business, especially those centered on building a brand within the competitive space of fashion, lifestyle and the hospitality sector. It often helps drive awareness in more authentic ways and with a direct and targeted connection to your consumer. Alabbar Enterprises has a JV with YNAP – tell us about this partnership and the vision behind it? There is a great demand for luxury goods online in this region, to partner with an industry leader such as YNAP through our JV is something my family and I are very proud of. We are witnessing firsthand the growth in demand for luxury goods online with localised deliveries and Arabic customer service; we expect great things from the partnership. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs in the current market? Having a clear road map in place from the start and the right team. It’s not an easy time, but chaos creates opportunity and with hard work and dedication anything is possible.


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Shock and awe

Dany Bahar, the founder of Italian bespoke coachbuilding specialist Ares Design, has created a storm within the luxury auto industry. With a new showroom in Dubai and plenty more planned across Europe, Asia and North America, here’s what you need to know about the man and the brand WORDS: VAR UN GODINHO

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“One of our most significant milestones for us was the decision to have our The accusations flew thick and fast. When Dany Bahar was fired as the CEO of Lotus in 2012, the parting was acrimonious, and the ensuing litigation eventually settled out of court. But anyone who was even remotely aware of Bahar’s track record, knew better than to assume he’d let the experience result in him fading away and cowering in a corner. After all, this was a man who launched world-class F1 racing teams and was even tipped to become numero uno at Ferrari – but he had bigger dreams to catch. “Shortly after I left Lotus, I didn’t feel like continuing to work in a big corporate structure again, so I let my imagination run riot and explore other avenues. I soon realised that when people were speaking about bespoke vehicles, they were limited in what they could purchase. They pay millions of Euros and yet while their cars are bespoke [only] in some areas, manufacturers were still restrained in what they could ultimately deliver,” Bahar tells Emirates Man. While still toying with the idea of starting up his bespoke coachbuilding company, it



was an experience with a customer that finally pushed him over the edge. He recalls sitting down to lunch, nearly a decade ago, with a very wealthy Saudi prince at a café in a small village just outside Monte Carlo. The prince, one of the world’s most prolific car collectors whose garage is filled with hundreds of cars, drove to the venue in a $2m Bugatti. Just as the two were slicing into their fish, the prince saw through the café window another person pull into the parking lot – driving the same model as his Bugatti and in the same colour too. Livid that $2m could not get him something unique, he told Bahar to take the keys to his Bugatti, and do something special with it. “I knew then for certain that there was room for an Ares, a company that can coach build one-off genuinely bespoke creations. I then set about founding the company with my business partner Wahleed Al Ghafari and sourcing funding from our shareholders to make the company a reality,” says Bahar. Back in 2013 when Ares Design started, it was a five-man entity – an engineer, de-


wholly-owned design products that we announced last year” signer, financial backer, the customer and Bahar himself. The idea, he explains, was to position Ares as the ‘Hermès of the auto industry’ – low volumes, high margins and an ultra-luxury positioning. “Our USP is, without a doubt, the unlimited individualization possibilities that we can offer our clients. That doesn’t just mean the availability of colour choices or interior finishes – any good manufacturer can do that. We are talking about the actual car design, be it someone who wants an SUV with eight wheels, or seven doors, and to realise a dream design that they have wanted since they were a child,” says Bahar. “As long as it respects the local safety requirements and homologation rules, we can create it for our customers.” Nearly all the major luxury auto manufacturers have customization programmes. But even they are limited in what they can offer as the production lines cannot be reconfigured altogether each time a customer comes in with a request. Customers are given access to a configurator and they pick and choose from there. At Ares, the

configurator is a blank sheet. Hyper personalization is actively encouraged. “We had one client who wanted us to source the same denim as his partner’s jeans for his upholstery. We take it as a compliment if customers come to us with requests that are slightly out of the ordinary, because they trust us to deliver [on them].” Where the Ferraris, Bentleys, Bugattis and Rolls-Royces ask customers to rein in their imaginations when it comes to customization requests, that is the starting point from where Ares picks up. The Italian company has scaled rapidly and now has a 23,000-square-metre facility on the outskirts of Modena, with the three-storey structure formerly serving as a Fiat-Alfa-Lancia dealership. From a fiveman team, it today employs around 150 staff across design, manufacturing and engineering, upholstery, among others. Bahar has focused on developing in-house capabilities, with craftsmanship always regarded as a prized asset. “At Ares, everything is under one roof – from the initial line drawings to the final delivery, it is all taken care of here.


We don’t make the power trains or the chassis, we leave that to the experts with millions to spend. But we take that technology, and if required, improve on it, making the car quicker with a bit more power.” Ares has already undertaken some spectacular customisations. Think reskinning a Mercedes G63 in carbon fibre or converting a Bentley Brooklands 2 from a 4-door to a 2-door coupé. The possibilities of customization are endless. Back in 2001, Bahar joined Lichtenstein-based asset manager Fritz Kaiser Group where he was assigned to the client account of none other than Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian founder of Red Bull. Whatever he did with Mateschitz’s money definitely made a great impression on the billionaire, because the following year he took Bahar to work with him at Red Bull. Bahar proved his mettle and founded the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team – an incredibly successful team that has won four constructors’ championships since then. He also introduced Red Bull into NASCAR and football too, besides creating the Red Bull Media House. It was more than enough to get the attention of Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who handpicked him to join the Maranello-based outfit in 2006 as its senior vice president, commercial and brand. At Ferrari, he was tasked with overseeing the marketing of its road cars and F1 teams, as well as licensing and merchandising. During his time there, the supercar manufacturer also started its Ferrari Atelier and Special Projects division, perhaps giving Bahar a peek into a business that he would recreate himself one day. But before he could get there, in 2009 he joined as CEO of Lotus – a move many considered mad given that he was apparently being groomed to take over from Montezemolo himself, if the industry pundits are to be believed. Barely had the dust settled at Lotus’ Norfolk headquarters after his appointment, that by the following year at the Paris Motor Show 2010 Bahar shocked everyone by revealing plans for five new Lotus cars. By 2012 though, DRB-HICOM acquired Proton, which in turn owned Lotus, and announced that it would concentrate on only one of the planned models, the Esprit. Bahar didn’t stick around to see the ramifications of that decision and instead went on to set up Ares. At Ares, the average price of its creations are around Eur500,000 a pop, and the company can execute around 100 projects annually. Bahar says that his clients have never once haggled on the price, with their only pain point being how fast the team can deliver their project. Ares’ annual turnover is approximately EUR34m, and Bahar is aware that the 100 projects alone won’t be



enough to scale the business. While it creates one-off creations for customers, sometimes the finished product is so spectacular that – with the express permission of that client – they create a limited-edition series of the car that can be replicated for others. After customizing 53 Defenders for a customer in Angola in 2018, this year it unveiled the Land Rover Defender 1.2 which builds on that concept, and will be limited to 15 examples. Another example is the Ares Design Coupé, which also debuted this year, and transforms a Rolls-Royce Phantom into a two-door car, which will be limited to eight pieces. Apart from creating a limited series of some of the client cars, another of his initiatives is the Legends Reborn programme. “The Legends Reborn service is a tribute to past iconic supercar and motorcar designs which we feel merit to be reborn with today’s parameters. We adapt the retro design to today’s needs, safety, performance and comfort while always maintaining the original car’s characteristics,” explains Bahar. The Aresdesigned Panther ProgettoUno, for example, has a design inspired by Seventies-era De Tomaso Pantera, but has been fitted with modern Lamborghini Huracán bits and upgraded with all the creature comforts of a 21-st century car. The ProgettoUno is a car which will be produced in 50 units, and sold over 5 years. While B2C is a core component of its business, B2B will also be a major focus. Emirates Airline, for example, approached

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Ares to test the feasibility of designing vans used to shuttle its Invitation Only Skywards members – the highest tier of members which often includes heads of states and Alist celebrities. Formula E too approached Ares to design a high-performance sportscar for women which is expected to be ready this September. Other vehicle manufacturers have also gone direct to Ares. Bentley came to Ares with the idea to take a 4-door Mulsanne and convert it into a coupe, and Volvo tapped them for a project in China where the Swedish carmaker is creating a luxury version of its SUV only for the China market – each priced at $400,000 – with Ares tipped to design 200 of them. Ares is also intent on using its in-house team to create its own line of cars. “One of our most significant milestones for us was the decision to have our wholly-owned design products that we announced last year, such as our S1 Project and the Spyder S1. Together they will form a second business unit and sit alongside Legends Reborn,” says Bahar. Ares has received Eur42m in funding until now, with plans to invest Eur25m of that amount over the next two years. It leaves the brand with much financial muscle to expand its footprint rapidly. In December, it opened a brand-new showroom in Dubai. Located at Gate 4 in Dubai International Financial Centre, the 250-square-metre space has high-end art galleries and restaurants including Cipriani and Zuma for company.


“Waleed is an expert in Dubai,” says Bahar about his business partner. “Dubai and Abu Dhabi present an incredible market opportunity because the customer base is so demanding in terms of individuality and personalization. To have a market presence in Abu Dhabi is a natural progression for us.” Ares has also opened showrooms in Modena, Kitzbuhel, Munich, St Moritz, and will soon do so in Milan, Monte Carlo and London. “Our focus is currently in Europe. However, the primary business market for us is the USA, where we have embarked on a plan to enter with four showroom openings in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas in 2021 and 2022. And the final step will be openings in the Middle East, China and Japan and Hong Kong in the next two to three years.” It might not be long before you spot an Ares pull up beside you at a signal, just remember to take in the moment – it’s the only one of its kind that you will ever see.

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Dubai-based Wolfgang Hohmann, aka Wolfi, has been bringing cycling to the forefront on an entire nation’s consciousness for nearly two decades


Track record Shutting down a section of the 14-lane arterial Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai to allow only cyclists to come out onto it for the very first time was a bold, multi-tiered statement. The initiative, part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge 2020 season spearheaded by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, was one that not only prioritised health and fitness, but which also demonstrated the maturity of the cycling community here in Dubai and the UAE. Enjoying a ringside view of the growth of this community, and playing a vital part in keeping it lit, is Wolfgang Hohmann, aka Wolfi. He arrived in Dubai in 2002 and opened a small bike shop in the city with his only assistants back then being his wife, and another friend he brought over from Germany who worked as a mechanic at the shop. That small-scale business has today grown into a 700-square-metre operation on Sheikh Zayed Road which employs over 60 people and retails some of the top cycling brands – and which also counts Sheikh Hamdan among its customers. “We operate as a retailer. We also have a distribution department where we supply other bicycle businesses in the region with equipment,” says Wolfi who, through his

WBS Sport Equipment Trading, supplies to retailers in several other countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. Wolfi’s Bike Shop welcomes the entire spectrum of riders from amateurs to professionals. But the average starting range of its bikes is approximately Dhs2,500 and can go north of Dhs60,000 for Tour de Francestyle bikes. Some of the major brands it retails include Swiss manufacturer Scott, Italian bike specialist Colnago and Canadian cycling rage Cervélo. But Wolfi won’t encourage you to merely stroll in, pick a bike and ride out. At the store, he has installed a laser-guided measuring machine from Germany called the Radilabor Cycling Laboratory Smart Fit System. The body-and-bike scanner includes a database of frames from every major cycling company in the world to help fit and recommend the right bike for specific individuals. Also, another tech-driven product used at Wolfi’s is the pressure measurement system called GebioMized, used by the German National Cycling team for its pro athletes. It uses sensors to gather data around a saddle analysis, foot analysis and pedalling efficiency analysis. “We’re trying to eliminate this process of trial and error,” says Wolfi of the pro-


cess of helping people find the right bike for them. “It’s almost like a custom-made suit.” Wolfi could as much have had a flourishing career as a Michelin star chef, as he does within the pro bicycling industry. Back in the late Eighties when he was coming of age, he worked in the kitchen of a one-star Michelin restaurant in Freiburg, Germany. “In the Eighties, mountain biking was big. The area where we were was close to the French and Switzerland border. Along with a friend, I decided to offer a rental service of mountain bikes to the guests of the hotel and entertain them with some nice riding in the Black Forest.” It was then that he realised he had an above-average understanding of cycles. The lessons that he learnt in the kitchen meanwhile could serve him just as well in the bicycle industry too. “I learned a lot about working under enormous pressure [in the kitchen], delivering under time pressure an exact product where customers’ expectations are extremely high when it comes to that style of a restaurant.” When Wolfi decided to move to Dubai to start his bike shop, he says the community of riders was very small. By way of the Dubai Roadsters which he now leads, that community has mushroomed, and undertakes weekly rides across various locations

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in Dubai. The city has also responded to the needs of cyclists by building cuttingedge infrastructure. There are several dedicated cycling tracks including the 67km Al Qudra track which connects Al Barari area with Bab Al Shams, and the 13km Meydan Track in District One. As of August last year, Dubai’s Roads and Transports Authority said that it has built a total of 425km of cycling tracks, which will extend to 647km by 2025 by way of upcoming projects in DIFC and Jumeirah Corniche beach. Wolfi says that a crucial factor was that the biking community has been supported by the vision of the country’s rulers. “Sheikh Hamdan is the leading person behind all these events. It’s just incredible what he’s doing for us. I think it’s because he loves the sport so much,” says Wolfi, who notes that the Dubai Crown Prince is often seen riding his Colnago. “He has some other bikes that he enjoys too. We make sure that he always gets the latest equipment to enjoy the best things.” Investing in the cycling ecosystem even further, Abu Dhabi investment fund, Chimera Investments, last year acquired a majority stake in Colnago whose bikes have been ridden to victory at world-class competitions including the Olympics, the Paris-Roubaix and Tour de France. Professional cycling in the UAE had its moment when 21-year-old Slovenian Tadej Pogacar from UAE Team Emirates rode to a spectacular victory at the Tour de France last year. Earlier this year, in one of the biggest boosts for the country’s professional cyclists, the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala also announced a sponsorship deal that it had reached with UAE Team Emirates. Other events like the UAE Tour, a UCI WorldTour race, has already attracted top cycling talent to participate in the event including Chris Froome, Pogacar, Mark Cavendish and Adam Yates. Looking forward, Wolfi says that there are plans to expand his business into Abu Dhabi and perhaps into the broader GCC region too, although those plans haven’t been finalised. “The GCC countries are interesting for us because we feel cycling can be as successful as it is in Dubai. Qatar is a big market and we had a Tour of Qatar a few years ago. Israel is a big market to expand into too.” Wolfi has shown how it’s possible to build a ground-up grassroots passion for cycling. There’s little that stands in the way of replicating that model, as successfully, in any other country that he trains his sights on next.

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WO L F I ’S TO P P I C KS The cycling expert picks three of his favourite machines


The V3Rs is a true piece of history and was made famous by Tadej Pogacar of the Team UAE Emirates who rode the bike to victory in the 2020 Tour De France. This was the first-ever Tour De France win for Pogacar. This bike represents the best of Colnago technology and is fast on long climbs, windy plains and in big tours, it is perfect in all situations.


This bike is an absolute speed weapon. The goal of Scott when creating the Plasma 6 was simply to build the fastest bike the triathlon world has ever seen and we think they are well on their way to achieving this mission. To make this possible, the engineers came up with completely new ways to look at aerodynamics, cockpit adjustability, and storage integration. This bike will be the envy of all triathletes and would be perfect for UAE events such as Ironman 70.3 Dubai.


The Megatower is a fusion of big wheels and hard-hitting suspension – in other words, itʼs an absolute brawler. This bike can tackle any rough terrain or jump you throw at it but it’s also a clever piece of machinery that adapts nicely to technical climbs and open roads due to its sharp 76-degree seat tube angle. Not only will you feel confident on the fastest and roughest descents on the Megatower, but youʼll also feel relaxed tackling homegrown trails at Hatta and Showka.




around the world and to travel back and forth between the fashion capitals. What inspired you to launch the Arab Fashion Council? To make the Arab world a better reality for talent. When I was modelling and travelling, I had the chance to appreciate the delicate fashion system that the fashion capitals such as Milan and Paris have put in place. Along the way, I met


T h e R eg iona l Ch a m p ion Jacob Abrian, Founder of Arab Fashion Council, talks exclusively to Emirates Man about championing regional fashion designers and launching the first Men’s Arab Fashion Week

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many Arab designers who were flying to these cities to achieve recognition. However, I wanted this recognition to be achieved in the Middle East. This was a major drive for my to draw the plan of building the Arab fashion system. Along the way, I have been very blessed to be able to meet and work closely with great pioneers and amongst them including HE Cavalier Mario Boselli, the respected president of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion that coordinates the Milan Fashion Week. He later became the first President of what I founded in 2014, the Arab Fashion Council. You are flying the flag for the region, was this the aim from the start? From the very beginning, the aim was to position the Arab world on the global map of fashion. For many, it seemed unrealistic but we have leaders that proven that dreams can actually happen. This comes from the man who transformed Dubai into the one of the safest places on earth which has become an entertainment and financial paradise. The words of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum have always been a source of inspiration to realize that “sky is the limit” is nothing but possible. Today, we are the largest non-profit fashion council and regardless of all the challenges, we keep going. This is only the beginning. You launched Arab Fashion Week six years ago in 2015 – how has this evolved since? How fast time passes! I remember when Emirates Woman was one of the very first magazines to support creativity. At that time EW published an article titled, “Arab Fashion Week puts UAE on the global map of Fashion” that was very empowering when a very few really understood what a fashion system is about. It has been six years since we launched the first Arab Fashion Week that has now celebrated its 14 editions with many benchmarks achieved. Last year was a tough year for all sectors, but we managed to continue fostering the growth of our designers by becoming the only platform in the region to fully transform the traditional calendar into a full digital experience in partnership with Microsoft and Facebook. I am so proud of the achievement and very relieved that Arab designers now have homegrown support. You launched Men’s Arab Fashion Week in January 2021, tell us about this incredible milestone? I always believed in women’s empowerment, but I also knew that women’s empowerment is not fully achievable unless we empower and encourage men to embrace creativity. However, this was not very possible six years ago at the time when the Arab Fashion Week started, we barely had any menswear designers. In 2021 it became the right moment to ring the bells


Can you talk to us through your career? I started my career by studying life science and then film making to later continue my studies in Architecture. After I received my master’s degree, in 2015 I was scouted by a leading modelling agency to pose for some of the top brands. Modelling was my gateway into the world of fashion that enabled me to meet renowned designers from


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for celebrating the talent of all genders. The first edition of Men’s Arab Fashion Week in January has had an extraordinarily strong lineup of designers from the region. This was done alongside Parisian designers who showcased their collection on the AFW official calendar in collaboration with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM) that coordinates Paris Fashion Week. It was such a pleasure to celebrate global menswear creativity in Dubai. Did you see a gap in the men’s fashion market for a Fashion Week in this region? I have not seen only the gap, but also, I have realized the complete absence of the men’s fashion market, it barely existed. Most of the Arab men were very hesitant to be seen taking part in the fashion scene. However, this is now changing. Who would you say your mentor is in the fashion industry? Whilst I remain grateful for so many people who influenced my career, supported and advised me along the way. I proudly say that HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the source of my inspiration. To set up a fashion council I was motivated by creative designers, but I needed to be inspired by a visionary who proved to the world that we as humans hold all the power to shape our future. The story of Dubai and the vibes of unity are what gave me the strength to succeed. What are larges challenges you’ve experienced during your career? They are so many, starting from financial challenges when you start a new initiative to cultural limits or having to start a system from scratch. However, the most difficult one that usually drags down the hill most of the dreams and visions is peoples’ resistance to something new or unusual. I always tell those who I inspire that determination and persistence is the only way to overcome all the challenges. Without these difficulties, I would not understand the full meaning of a success story. In 2019, I went on to become the only Middle Eastern and youngest man to have be honored the F4D League of Gentleman Award in the presence of the world’s first ladies during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. What have been the key milestones to date? Apart from all the achievements and the success after success of every Arab Fashion Week, being able to give back has been a highlight for us. For example, the #AThread4Cause initiative was set up to produce PPE amid the spread of COVID-19. Also, after the Beirut blast, we set up the Beirut Fashion Relief Initiative to support the Lebanese designers who were affected. However, the biggest milestone is putting the Arab world on the global map of fashion and becoming one of the five most

important fashion events in the world. In short, this means supporting talent, incubating creatives, funding students, empowering both women and men, and building the foundation to a sustainable Arab economy based on creative knowledge. Finally, what are your future plans for the Arab Fashion Council in the region? Whilst continuing to build on the success goes without saying, we are paving the way to a


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strong and sustainable fashion system. This will ensure jobs to millions of people in the region and transform the businesses of the Arab designers into global fashion empires that will automatically contribute to the Arab economy. We want to see global brands manufacturing in the Arab world and Arab designers exporting their creativity to every market in the world. We also want to become the hub of fashion innovation.

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D o W h a t Y ou L ov e, L ov e W h a t Y ou D o Founder of Wood Culture, Jacob George discusses a bespoke approach to furniture and pushing your boundaries

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? We just opened a new branch in India, so due to the time difference, my mornings usually involve answering a lot of messages from our team based there. I also try to go for a run before the working day starts. Finally, I attempt to plan for all the things I should start doing in 2021 but sometimes I procrastinate. What is at the heart of Wood Culture’s DNA as a brand? Wood Culture is an amalgamation of the arts and crafts I’ve encountered over decades of travelling off the beaten path. We strive on being recognized as a boutique sized workshop emphasising on custom and bespoke products.

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You come from a family in the wood business. What ignited the idea to branch into furniture design? My father has just crossed 50 years as a timber merchant. Having worked in the same business, I was based in various parts of the world like Romania and Malaysia, importing timber from other sources which basically summed up the components of furniture production. We started off Wood Culture as a little side project whereby we produced furniture from offcuts of wood and the positive response led me to go all in. What has been the biggest hurdle since launching and how did you overcome it? Definitely the pandemic has been one of the most unique and difficult hurdles faced in

recent times. Thankfully, our early investment in an ecommerce website was timed well to launch around the lock-down period last year. We are a young brand and a relative newcomer to the industry. I do not come from a design background so every day is a challenge in reinventing yourself and staying ahead of the competition. You travel to source wood and for inspiration. Where has been the most interesting for you to date? Definitely my trip to Panama 2 years ago. It is one of the few parts of the world where one can source logs that have been lying underwater since the canal was excavated about 80 years ago. Apart from being surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Central


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America, the whole process of obtaining these logs involves air, road and a final push on a very questionably maintained fishing boat. What’s your favourite piece to date and why? Close to when we started, we were commissioned to create a few custom one-off furniture items for one of the local palace majlis. Back then, we were one of the few workshops in UAE doing resin work but the scale of the job was definitely beyond our capacity. I guess every single piece of furniture we made for that job is a favourite, as apart from the end result, it just showed our resolve to find a solution for new concepts along the way and really made us push beyond our boundaries. How do you think last year affected the growth in popularity of people investing in their homes? To be honest, we did not exist in our current form two years ago so there isn’t much data to compare to but despite all the challenges we went past even our most conservative forecasts. On a more industry scale, I believe it has been a positive uptick in all areas encompassing furniture and home décor. We also see more demand for bespoke furniture, as well as an increase in vendors providing the same service. The price point is accessible – was this a key factor from the outset? Yes, yes and yes. I

did not study design or any related field. I was someone who traded in the raw material and moved up the value chain. My expertise is and will always be sourcing the raw materials cheaper than the competition and this reflects in my pricing. We stay away from the ‘luxury’ tagline. We want our furniture to be affordable regardless of where you’re based. Everyone deserves to be able to showcase a well-designed and executed piece of furniture in their respective homes. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? I take what I can gather from those with more experience than me in various aspects of life. I don’t think there is a predetermined right or wrong path but only the path that makes you truly happy. Find what brings this happiness to your own life and eventually this feeling feeds into all other aspects of your life. Where do you produce the pieces and how challenging was the process to refine this process? We have our own workshop in Jebel Ali where all our production is done. Over the past 6-8 months, we have also started production in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brazil. So currently, the split between local and overseas production is 6040. Production, no matter what the industry,


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is a very complicated process. We are a young company so still fine-tuning various aspects of the business where we fall below par. As a young brand, what is your approach to scaling the business? Scaling up doesn’t just mean an increase in everything but sometimes getting rid of systems that are not working. As a young brand, we sometimes make more mistakes than gains on a particular day but these are priceless lessons on improving and growing as a brand. The more ambitious the goals are, the higher the risk of everything going upside down but I personally thrive on these situations. For me, the combination of all this leads to scaling the business. Which designs have been most popular to date and was this as you predicted? We started during the time when demand for resin was driving the market and this still stands strong. Of late, we see a similar demand for rattan and wicker and we have been one of the first vendors to have a larger collection to accommodate this. In both cases, we were early adopters of the local trends and in our case, this has definitely paid off. New trends will come and Wood Culture will deliver as always. You have clients the globe over – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries? Buying patterns within the GCC remain largely the same. We receive a more diverse enquiry catalogue from our European customers. The only similarity between all the regions is the demand for these items going up. How do you approach client engagement and retention? We let our quality do the talking. We deal with numerous interior designers who have always come back for their next project. We actively showcase our work on our website as well as social media platforms. How has social media affected building Wood Culture? We are a brand that has completely gained traction due to word of mouth. To date, we have avoided paid campaigns although we love doing collaborations with individuals who approach us for their personal projects. Social media definitely is our preferred channel for sales and marketing. Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration? @watersandacland, @ibukubali and @overgaard_dyrman. What advice would you give to your younger self, starting out? Don’t waste time asking everyone for advice. Trust your instincts, no one can reconstruct the vision in your head except yourself. Things will not be smooth, things will go upside down but always know your purpose and goal. Everything will fall in place along the way. If you had not launched the brand, which other role would you choose career-wise? Owning a beach bar or restaurant, meeting travellers from across the world and for a moment each day, living their lives through their tales.

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N ew L ea se of L if e

Re-invention is a smart, sustainable approach to luxury. We spoke to Partner & Chief Technical Officer of The Cobbler – Morgan Papin about breathing new life into leather goods


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What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine? On waking up I do a 30 min stretching and body weight exercise. Then I head to the shower, after checking the news and emails followed by a fresh and healthy breakfast and then it’s time to go to the workshop! What is at the heart of The Cobbler’s DNA as a brand and why was The Cobbler launched in the UAE? Craftsmanship, heritage, expertise and passion are some of the key DNA principles of The Cobbler. These have been our driving force since day one and still drive us today. We believe that is what customers recognize in our work. 10 years ago there was a gap in the market for shoe repair and luxury gentlemen’s footwear at an accessible price point. People were taking their bags and shoes back to their home countries as they couldn’t get them fixed the way they wanted here in the UAE. This is how the concept of The Cobbler began. Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path? I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who are smart, successful and knowledgeable in the field. So, when I face a situation, I always have the right experienced person to turn to for advice and that has been the best guide specially during rough times like the one we experienced during this challenging year. You operate a bespoke approach and can restore as well as re-invest pieces – tell us about this service? It’s about bringing a second life to an item you love. Most wellcrafted items can be restored and repaired. That’s the magic about it, to bring back to life items that were once damaged and to see the happiness in each customer’s eye once the items are ready What’s the most exciting overhaul you’ve ever given a piece? A limited-edition bag from Dolce & Gabbana that was completely burned including the handles and the front flap. We had to replace them entirely, but the only way was to dissemble the bag completely and then to reassemble it the same way as in their factory. Sourcing the right material, copying the grain, reproducing the stitching and thread – it was hard and stressful, but the result was great, and the customer couldn’t stop thanking us, which was wonderful. How should we be looking after leather/exotic skins ourselves? Never wear a pair of shoes two days in a row, the leather is a living skin that needs to rest always one day. Protect your items from direct light and humidity. Nourish your leather once in a week with a Saphir Me-


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daille d’or Lotion and polish them if necessary. Exotic skins can be extremely fragile, and we recommend our customers to leave them in the hands of our highly-skilled experts. Which colourways/designs have been most popular, and do you see patterns and trends emerging in the market? Well in the last 10 years, shoes and handbags are now produced in any kind of materials. And as craftsmen we’ve had to adapt to these creative demands. What does luxury mean to The Cobbler? Luxury is about a unique experience that brings you joy and allows you to relieve memories. Transforming pre-loved pieces and giving them a second chance at life is at the heart of the brand’s DNA. Reviving traditions, craftsmanship and passing it on to younger generations is integrated as a luxury experience at The Cobbler. How do you approach client engagement and retention? Customer experience is paramount to us. We want our customers to be able to engage with our experts wherever they are, which is why we have enacted a digital transformation. In addition to visiting our shops, our customers can now shop through our online platform and book a free pickup & delivery for their items to be repaired. This can also be done over the phone through our customer care desk. We are putting all our efforts into creating the most seamless and pleasant experience for our customers. How has social media affected building The Cobbler? It is amazing to be able to communicate quickly and easily with our audience. Social Media is a perfect tool to drive the brand’s awareness and is also an efficient way to engage with our customers, to reply quicker to their queries. It is the heart of our communication. Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration? ParisianGentleman, YoheiFukuda, Cifonelli, The Rake, Permanentstylelondon. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out? Take notes and embrace all the knowledge you can! I always thought I would remember everything, but I learnt that even the greatest forget things. So now as much as possible I write down things to not forget. If you were not at The Cobbler, which other role would you choose career-wise? Shoes have been my life since I was 16 and craftsmanship is a way of life, being able to transform a raw material into an item that brings a smile on a customer’s face is priceless. I’ve always been interested by the complexity of wood so I would have loved to be a carpenter, I think.

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Bellhop table lamp in cioko brown Dhs860 Flos


The coolest finds to add to the mancave WORDS & STYLING: AMY SESSIONS

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Vintage Black Leather Sofa by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia / C&B Italia, 1980s Dhs35,082 available on www.pamono.se

From left: Tray table large, black Dhs882 Hay; Taccia table lamp by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni Dhs3,830 Flos; Slub Stripe Sweater Rug Dhs1,250 West Elm; Easy chair in walnut and leather Dhs21,000 each available on www.1stdibs.com


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A Concrete Vision

Partner at OMA since 2011, Iyad Alsaka led the project for Concrete at Alserkal Avenue along with other acclaimed projects in the Middle East


What inspired you to spearhead the project for Concrete in the UAE? OMA has always collaborated with international institutions in both programming and developing public cultural venues around the world. For example, we created the Marina Abramovic Institute in Hudson, USA, Fondazione Prada in Milan, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, thereby having a long association with such institutes In that sense, it was crucial for us when Alserkal Avenue launched, to be part of it, as we wanted to move our cultural interest to the Middle East region. I find cultural projects deeply exciting and challenging, and the possibility to work in Dubai was no exception, especially as everything in the city is new, sparkly and shiny. Tell us about your creative process? It is a collective process, in all projects. The team thinks as a group, without almost any hierarchy, we try to make sure everyone expresses their opinion. In the case of Alserkal, the design brief was quite challenging – they were looking for a resilient venue, that would stand out from the existing surroundings without compromising the budget. We took the brief and considered every parameter, we exhausted every possible scenario, proposing multiple options and always working closely with the client. They had a young, ambitious team, which meant many brainstorming sessions. In the end, we landed where we are, with a project that matched everyone’s expectations. The entire process was very exciting. What is the core DNA of Concrete at Alserkal Avenue? The core DNA is the ability of the space to mutate. The existing space we took over was around 1,200 sq metres and the idea was to create a space that could go from being a 900sq metre venue to a70sq metre venue. The main space is framed by 8-metre-high walls that are able to rotate and move in many directions, creating multiple compartments within the venue. This

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enables the space to be divided into different areas that can be used separately with the right acoustic insulation. Depending on the goal of the curator, the space can adapt - the walls can become an artistic expression, an information stand, or rotate completely. That is the core DNA of the project – its multifunctionality. Could you briefly tell us about the other projects led by you? I have been working OMA since 2007, leading the office's work in the Middle East and North Africa in general. Lately I’ve also expanded to places such as South Asia mainly Bangladesh and Malaysia. One of my main projects at OMA was the Qatar National Library, on which I worked for almost a decade. We wanted to create an environment that went beyond a library, a non-commercial public space. A hotspot for people to meet in a protected and attractive environment, that was far from and contrasting with, for example, a shopping mall. With regards to the research projects at OMA, I was part of the publication of Al Manakh in 2007, which condensed our shift in focus on the Middle East from the physical to the non-physical environment. The result was a theoretical publication, but very applicable in the region nonetheless. What can guests experience when they visit this unique space? The quality of Alserkal Avenue, to begin with, is that it has its own charm. The creator of any exhibition now has a space that can be manipulated in any way. The effort put into both the inside and the outside was impeccable, enabling the 8-metre high doors to completely open up to the outside and create one single area - half sheltered, half open air. In a place like Dubai, this can be done from four to five months per year, providing the building with a unique quality. For the opening dinner, the inside blended with the outside, creating a striking, diverse space. What’s your approach to daily dressing? It’s very minimal with shades of black, white



and grey. I avoid patterns, as it’s mainly black that I like to stick to. However, when I’m in Dubai, I mostly wear white to avoid the heat. Which books are you currently reading for inspiration? Personally, I’m very much interested in the philosophy and science of the consciousness, that leads mainly to people’s behaviour, giving me an insight into physical planning. I’m currently reading a book by the philosopher Derek Parfait, entitled ‘Reasons and Persons’, in combination with some- thing on brain numerology by Iain McGilchrist called ‘The Master and His Emissary’. Basically, more non-fiction than fiction. What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self? It would be to consider different disciplines of studies. Our generation tends to stick to specialised subjects, which often leads to a narrow worldview, lacking the resilience for different circumstances. Especially with the rapid evolution of the environment we’re in, which no one can really cope with, having a diverse background can provide the resilience needed for true creativity to happen, for real creativity only happens at the intersection of different disciplines. In city design, for example, having knowledge in anthropology can prove extremely helpful, as it is important to understand people’s beahviour. I find it crucial to continue studying and to not stop developing oneself in different disciplines. To me, that adds value to the world. What is style to you? To me, style consists of two parts: self-knowledge and self-confidence. At the end of the day, style is an attitude. I don’t think people should confuse style with fashion, as style has much more to do with intelligence – you really have to know who you are to pull it off.




T h e T a ste M a k er

Having worked for some of the biggest F&B brands in Dubai, Chef Izu Ani is one of the biggest pioneers in this region’s food space


“As a chef, I am a storyteller through food,” says Chef Izu Ani. As a pioneering figurehead in the F&B space in the UAE and the wider Middle East, Chef Izu has brought a wealth of knowledge, talent and culture to the region through cuisine. To him, culinary traits from different places always trace back to the culture it comes from. “By understanding the culture, we have the privilege of knowing how to extract the experience and tell each story from the source,” he explains. Originally coming to Dubai to help launch LPM – previously known as La Petit Maison – Chef Izu has gone on to curate his very own restaurant portfolio in Dubai, which are now staples amongst the F&B crowd. The standout establishments are his Emirates Golf Club restaurant Carine – named after his wife – and GAIA – a crowning jewel in the DIFC food scene – both of which have been visited by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. Emirates Man sat down with Chef Izu to discuss his career history, making the move to Dubai, opening his own restaurants and what his plans for the future are. Talk us through your career history. In my early career, I spent a lot of time in France and absorbed everything I could about the culture and cuisine. It is where I met my wife, and it gave me a wider spectrum of knowledge and understanding. From there, I travelled to Spain and offered my services at the Mugaritz, one of the world’s best restaurants located in San Sebastián. By working for free, I earned more than I ever expected and learned more than I could have imagined. I believe that in life, we do have to invest in ourselves and in our passions. Invest our time, our efforts and dedication. My travels and experiences continue to shape my understanding of cuisine and have enabled me to translate this through the menus I work on. As a chef, I am a storyteller through food. I think it is important to remember that food belongs to the culture it comes from. By understanding the

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culture, we have the privilege of knowing how to extract the experience and tell each story from the source. My aim in life is to keep adding to my life journey through food and to be able to share this with people who are as keen as I am to explore how we can push the limits of creativity. What advice would you give to young chefs? When starting out, I encourage young chefs not to look at the prestige, position or money. When you are young or at the beginning of your career, your job is to extract as much information as possible. Ask questions, investigate, learn everything, take everything in and experience it all. Looking with the eye of discovery leads you to the knowledge that helps you evolve. Our experiences shape us and make us who we are, teach us our values and allow us to share these with the next generation. Passing on our passions and our knowledge for a beautiful future. Where does your love for food originate? For me, cooking is a way of expressing your happiness and sharing it with others. It is a philosophy, a principle, the way you see life and how you eat. Those who underestimate their food, underestimate the essence of life. Honestly, I chose to study homeeconomics at school as I noticed it was a class full of women who caught my eye. While that may have been what lead me there, when I started cooking my passion evolved and since then my love for it has grown. I remember my mother being so proud of everything I made. This is an industry that helps you travel, physically, mentally and with your wellbeing. It is always moving and lets you breathe fresh inspiration. What brought you to Dubai? In 2010, I moved to Dubai to open La Petite Maison [now known as LPM Restaurant & Bar], which was an incredible experience. I learned so much and fell in love with the Middle East. I remember the choices of Burrata being slim to none at the time. There was a scarce choice in the market, but I believe it to be an essential element of a Mediterranean menu. I asked my supplier to travel to Italy and bring it straight back to Dubai with him, so that we could use my favourite fresh Burrata in the restaurant.


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“How we react to the challenge’s life brings is what frames our minds.”

Since then, the soft cheese has become a firm favourite in the Emirate, loved for its balanced taste, contrasting textures and butter-like consistency. Does the F&B industry in Dubai differ from how it operates globally? Dubai is a dynamic and ever-evolving city, it makes you feel like anything is possible which accelerates our creativity. There is a beautiful and inspiring sense of community in Dubai, with so many expats and the welcoming nature of local residents, we have the ability to expand our skills and learn so much more about different cultures, tastes, flavours and people. It is an incredible place to have the opportunity to grow and develop. What led you to open your own restaurants in Dubai? I love seeing how food can bring people together, through mutual respect and enjoyment. Having respect for your ingredients and the people you work with enables you to understand how to bring out the best elements of both. When I had the opportunity to branch out with La Serre, it allowed me to explore my curiosity and creativity. It was a completely unique concept at the time, blending my passion for French culture and cuisine with a boulangerie by day and bistro by night. From there, I opened YSeventy7, a creative consulting and management agency specializing in F&B, followed by The Lighthouse,

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Izu Brasserie and Bakery, Carine, Gaia, Fika, Aya as well as the privilege of working on a number of consultancy projects. Having the freedom to create is really important to me, it allows me to keep expanding and growing without the fear of stagnation. We must keep moving forwards, standing still kills creativity. Can you talk us through the concepts behind GAIA and Carine? GAIA was named after mother earth, the Greek goddess of all creation. Combining warm hospitality with intricate details and alluring aspects, GAIA creates a journey of discovery in each and every visit, enticing the explorer within. Our cuisine showcases the core elements of Greek culture, humble, simple yet flavoursome dishes that are served in layers and designed to be shared between friends and family. Symbolism and authenticity are woven throughout the concept from the menu to the logo, taking inspiration from the mountains, the sun and the sea. Each part of the restaurant represents a different part of Greece, from the bougainvillaea laced terrace reminiscent of the Cycladic islands, the coastal bar and lounge area, as well as the Athenian souvenir shop and the hidden speakeasy NYX that has an elegant, yet enigmatic Mykonian energy. Carine is named af-


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ter my wife, I wanted to develop something that represented a part of me, for the person that has been by my side throughout my career. Carine is elegant, yet adventurous and edgy, and these elements make up my journey with her. The French culture woven throughout the restaurant stems from her and everything I learned in France, from where we met and what we have built together. A good home provides the foundations from which we can go and create. Carine provides that for me, and the restaurant reflects the warm, welcoming feeling that Carine brings to our home. A feeling that soothes the soul, calms the mind and allows you to unwind. Carine’s favourite dishes are woven throughout the menu. Her memories of working in a bakery in northern France are translated in the freshly baked breads and boulangerie, served alongside her incredible homemade plum and apple jams. The global pandemic has hit the F&B industry hard. How have you navigated through this difficult time with your establishments? The pandemic gave us a unique opportunity to rethink how we look at things, to go back to basics and realize what is most important. Closing the restaurants was completely out of our control and of course, it affected our business. Throughout the crisis and until now our priority has been to take care of our team and make sure that the quality of our work is not affected. The way I see it, this is a temporary change. People come to our restaurants to enjoy themselves, to indulge in an abundance of flavours and energy, to forget about the outside world. It has been gradual, as people have readjusted to life after lockdown, but we are pleased to see the restaurants busy again. We are social beings, we need to interact, to meet, hug, and spend time with each other. Dining together is a ritual. Sharing food, memories and experiences with loved ones is something we have enjoyed since the beginning of time, and I believe we will continue to do so long after the pandemic has left us. What are the hurdles you’ve experienced during your career? How we react to the challenge’s life brings is what frames our minds. If we look at our circumstances as opportunities instead of obstacles, we can positively impact our mindsets. I try to embrace being in an uncomfortable zone, because this is where we grow. Obstacles are a progression in disguise. They are the things that build who we become and give us a structure. Success is a road that is always under construction, every single day, so make sure that you bring your hard hat and keep building. Everything we associate ourselves with in life is

an extension and reflection of our ambitions. When we work with passion, we can see how much there is to achieve, and our success will be our evidence. What have been the key milestones? It is always so humbling and exciting to welcome members of the Royal Family of the UAE to our restaurants. I am so thankful for their support and endorsement; it is inspiring and motivating for myself and the whole team. I believe that the milestones are often found in the small moments. I find the most pride and pleasure when we are consistent and striving towards our goals every day. You’re expanding GAIA globally this year. Can you give us more insight into that process and where you will be opening more


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venues? My dream for GAIA is to keep it as honest as it was when we opened and make sure that our philosophy doesn’t get diluted. Our goal is to grow as a business while keeping the ethos and quality intact. We want to share the beauty of GAIA with the world and are set to launch in London and Saudi Arabia. When opening in a new location, we like to spend a lot of time sourcing ingredients and produce to make sure we provide the same level of quality. The conditions that our vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown in determines the taste, and can affect the balance of each dish. Cooking is about creating harmony on a plate and enhancing each ingredient. It is a way of expressing our love and sharing it with others, so we take a lot of care to ensure it is excellent in every country. And finally, what are your future plans for expansion in Dubai? We are currently working on an innovative food-technology concept, which I am really excited about. It is set to launch soon and has allowed us to explore our creativity, cuisine and techniques in the digital landscape.

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The latest hotspot to arrive in Dubai is Japanese restaurant Clap. With its flagship venue located in Beirut, Lebanon, Clap opened its doors at the end of 2020 and is set to be a firm favourite amongst those with a palate for incredible food and aesthetics to match. Located in Dubai International Financial District (DIFC), the venue is now the largest rooftop restaurant and bar in the area and boasts incredible Dubai skyline views, including a view of the Burj Khalifa. The interiors of the restaurant include some eclectic features like the chandelier made from 2,100 toys hanging above the restaurant’s reception and bar area, which is balanced out with the natural woods and solid stone used for the seating, flooring and kitchen in the venue. The restaurant has three distinct seating areas including the wrap-around terrace, the bar and the indoor dining area. There’s also the ‘Ongaku’ – meaning ‘music’ in Japanese – which is a separate area for a live DJ. The menu is just as spectacular as the venue. Boasting an impressive 141 dishes, some signatures include the Salmon ‘Clap Cloud’ (a salmon tartare with spicy miso and poppadum) yellowtail sashimi with tosazu dressing and wagyu beef, and foie gras gyoza. There’s also a fully immersive dining experience on offer – the ‘Omakase’ menu, which is Japanese for “I leave it up to you”. The staff, the venue, the ambience and the vibe are all fantastic, which is why we’re already in love with this new Dubai hotspot.



Padron Peppers – sweet honey miso sauce, sesame seeds


Wagyu Beef & Foie Gras Gyoza –


dashi parmesan cream, spicy ponzu

Oven Roasted King Crab Leg – mango gazpacho, mango salsa


Soft Shell Crab – masago, avocado, shiso, sesame seeds SF

There is nothing not to love at Clap, Dubai’s new Japanese restaurant 96 emiratesman.ae

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miso, rocoto, sesame seeds


Grilled Octopus – wasabi mashed potato, dashi wasabi tomato sauce Slow-Cooked Duck Breast – asparagus, mixed mushroom, anticucho honey, pickled apricot


T h e N ew H otsp ot

Hijiki Spicy Tuna – cucumber, hot


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Audemars Piguet merges art and mechanical wizardry in this ultra-limited timepiece

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Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Grande Sonnerie Carillon Supersonnerie, price on request


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