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JANUARY 2011


CONTENTS 16

ART HH SHEIKHA LULU M. AL-SABAH

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08 FOOD COURT THAI CUISINE AT ITS BEST 34 STOPOVER 48 HOURS IN MILAN 40 RETROSPECTIVE KIKUNOKAI AND THE ART 50 UPFRONT THE LATEST IN NEWS

CARS THE HOT LIST 2011

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FOOD VICENZO CAMMERUCCI

42 PLACES MILLENNIUM RESORT, MUSSANAH

ACCESSORIES ROYAL ASSCHER DIAMOND COMPANY

OF KABUKI PEOPLE UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH RAFFAELE RUGGERI BUZZ QATAR 2022 PLUS MORE........

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EDIT NOTE COVER PHOTOGRAPHY SUERAYA SHAHEEN CONCEPT & CREATION MAYANK SINGH DEEPA RAJAN CONTENT RANA ALAWNEH GHALIB ABDULLAH AL FORI FATMA AL ARAIMI MYSSAA AL HINAIAH SUSHMITA EXPERTS Travel - BRUCE STEWART, ANNE COLBY Fashion - NATASHA LUNN, NADIA FOUZI Finance & Investments - K. L PRASAD ART Senior Art Director SANDESH S. RANGNEKAR Art Director MINAAL G. PEDNEKAR Designer AHMED AL HOSNI Photographers RAJESH RAJAN SATYADAS C. NARAYANAN MOTASIM AL BALUSHI PRODUCTION HEAD GOVINDRAJ RAMESH ADVERTISING & MARKETING Business Head MIMI DEB Advertising Manager CHANDNI MANIAR Assistant Advt. Manager - FAREEDA S. AL BALUSHI CORPORATE Chief Executive - SANDEEP SEHGAL Executive Vice President - ALPANA ROY Vice President - RAVI RAMAN Senior Business Support Executive RADHA KUMAR Business Support Executive ZUWAINA SAID AL RASHDI DISTRIBUTED WITH OER by United Media Services LLC Signature is an OER presentation published monthly and released in the first week of every month. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining as a result of material in this publication. Signature accepts no responsibility for advertising content.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR ….And the fireworks are through Here we are, me and you Feeling lost and feeling blue It’s the end of the party And the morning seems so grey So unlike yesterday Now’s the time for us to say...

Happy new year Happy new year May we all have a vision now and then Of a world where every neighbour is a friend Happy new year Happy new year May we all have our hopes, our will to try If we don’t we might as well lay down and die You and I Sometimes I see How the brave new world arrives And I see how it thrives In the ashes of our lives Oh yes, man is a fool And he thinks he’ll be okay Dragging on (hoo-hoo), feet of clay (hoo-hoo) Never knowing he’s astray Keeps on going anyway Happy new year Happy new year May we all have a vision now and then Of a world where every neighbour is a friend Happy new year Happy new year…. - Abba Let’s hope we all have a vision now and then of peace and happiness in the years to come…

Happy New Year people…. See you next issue.


BLOCK YOUR DATES

World Orchestra for Peace with Valery Gergiev (Abu Dhabi Festival) Emirates Palace, UAE January 4, 2011

AccessoriesTheShow Spring/Summer, New York, USA January 9 - 11, 2011

27th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival Harbin, China January 5 - Mid February, 2011

Québec Winter Carnival Québec, Canada January 28 - February 13, 2011

Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival Dubai, UAE January 20 - February 18, 2011

Arab Health 2011 Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE January 24 - 27, 2011

Sundance Film Festival Park City, Utah January 20 - 30, 2011 London Art Fair\ London, UK January 19 - 23, 2011

Festival Au Desert Mali January 6 - 8, 2011


UPFRONT

THE LATEST AND OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY… GREEN INITIATIVE

HOMING IN

The expansive new Gautier outlet, which was opened by Oman Marketing Co. LLC in Ruwi recently, boasts of some of the widest and the finest ensemble of quality designer furniture catering to a vast array of customers. The Gautier home furniture range covers the entire spectrum of living spaces including Bedrooms, Living Rooms, Junior Bedrooms and Nursery, Dining spaces, Storage units and other furniture accessories.

Iskan Oman recently launched Zahrat Al Khareef, a gated community project, offering freehold ownership for Omani and GCC citizens, the first of its kind and the largest property development to date in Salalah. Construction commenced in April 2010, with the first phase of the development scheduled for completion by the end of 2011. Zahrat Al Khareef, Dhofar has been designed to harmoniously blend with the environment, complementing the surroundings that attract thousands of visitors each year to Salalah.

‘ZOUK’ IT UP Starting this January 10, every Monday is going to be about you

at the ‘Zouk Girls Night’. All you pretty girls (above the age of 21 of course!) coming to Zouk will get free beverages. The ‘Zouk Girls Night’, which will begin every Monday from 8pm onwards, is starting with a bang with Fashion Nights, which promises to bring the fashionista out in you and make her sizzle on the ramp. So how does this work? You dress in your ‘catwalk’ finest and turn up at Zouk to walk the ramp. From all the girls who walk the ramp, eight will be short-listed for the first two-three Mondays by a prominent jury and they will move into the semi-final rounds. Twenty participants will be selected for the grand finale that will be held on Valentine’s Day. The winner will be given the title, ‘Ms Zouk’ and a further 12 will be selected to feature in the Zouk Calendar 2011. The girls will also be given a thorough grounding in fashion, walking on the ramp and make-up by CB Modelling Agency before the grand finale. Here’s a look at what’s in store : Winners of the fashion contests can expect some really cool prizes. If you have a flair for music, painting, dancing or any musical instrument, write to us and we’ll give you an opportunity to showcase your talents on the ‘Zouk Girls Night’. Apart from dedicated fashion evenings, you can be part of fun activities that will be organised every Monday. Entry to the event and to Zouk is strictly restricted to those above 21 years of age. Entry is open only to single girls and couples at Zouk. For more details write to aabhatia@gmail.com is media partner of the event

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UPFRONT

TRADITIONAL EXTRAVAGANZA

The Women’s Korean Traditional Music Ensemble, “DASRUM”, recently performed at the Garden of the Diplomatic Club as part of the 40th National Day celeberations. The concert was held by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and was sponsored by the Korea-Arab Society and held as a part of ‘2010 Korea-Arab Friendship Express Caravan’. Interestingly, DASRUM was established in 1990 by eight female players who tried and succeeded in bringing Korean classical music to the fore.

SPORT THIS

GO FOR GOLD

The Tous Touch woman is refined, experienced and loves to quip, and ironically, she is only ‘bored by what’s boring’. For her, gold is not a symbol of being ostentatious; it is a symbol of complicity. Lotus, freesia, lily of the valley, Arabic jasmine, Tahitian gardenia, vanilla blossom, raspberry and honey-sweetened almond combine to form this sensual scent, all wrapped up in a beautiful bottle.

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In unveiling the Grande Seconde SW Red Gold, Jaquet Droz gives its ‘Urban’ London sports collection the recognition it so richly deserves. This new watch combines technical performance and ultimate elegance of design – red and black interact for dynamic visual impact. Featuring a mechanical self-winding, double-barrel movement and an 18-carat white gold sport oscillating weight, the Grande Seconde SW Red Gold is water resistant to five bars (50 metres).


UPFRONT

TROPICAL-URBAN CHIC

Bulgari recently unveiled the exclusive capsule collection of handbags designed by the British fashion designer Matthew Williamson for the 2011 Spring/Summer season. The collection is most clearly expressed in geometric lines, visionary kaleidoscope prints, maxi jewelled details and intensely powerful colours that lend a ‘tropical urban’ essence to the line. The collection will be available from January 2011 and is exclusive to the Bvlgari store in The Dubai Mall, Dubai.

MASCULINE ELEGANCE

The latest fragrance from Parfums de Marly, Godolphin, is composed of complex and deep aromas that are artfully blended together to create a uniquely sophisticated and masculine experience. As a Parfums de Marly creation, the fragrance carries with it essence of the free spirit and power of the Godolphin Arabia (after which the fragrance is named), the most powerful and elegant horse breed of the 18th century. The Parfums de Marly range is available at Capital Store.

TAILOR-MADE RADIANCE

Guerlain celebrates the season of renewal by creating a charming, playful and cheerful limited-edition collection, Sur Me Levres or ‘on my lips’. With tangy tones and vivid shades of pink, Guerlain invites you to see life in vibrant colours. Radiant fuchsia shades are coupled with an ultra-black case to bring out the collection’s radiant and luminous nature. The Sur Me Levres collection glorifies beauty by offering women infinitely adjustable tones and tailor-made radiance. Guerlain range is available at Capital Store, Qurum.

SPARKLE EFFECT

In partnership with Crystallized™- Swarovski Elements, Clarins has created a limited edition Beauty Flash Balm to celebrate the product’s 30th birthday. Thousands of sparkling crystals adorn the cap, placing Beauty Flash Balm directly in the spotlight making sure it is the star of the skin care show! This exceptional, radiance-boosting beauty balm, which eliminates all signs of fatigue, has been one of Clarins top 10 best-sellers for 30 years with one Beauty Flash Balm sold every 20 minutes around the world.

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SCULPTED TO MOVE

The all-new Volvo S60 makes its entry into one of the automotive world’s toughest segments backed by an extrovert attitude never before seen in Volvo showrooms. The S60 has been sculpted to move you – both physically and emotionally. The sporty design delivers a visual promise of enthusiastic driving characteristics and we can assure you that the allnew S60 truly lives up to that promise. The Volvo S60 is available at the Mohsin Haider Darwish showroom in Azaiba.

YACHT WATCH

Pershing 108’, which will be at sea at the end of January, is the new jewel in the Ferretti stable. Designed by Fulvio De Simoni, with the support of the technical office of Pershing, the AYT (Advanced Yacht Technology) of the Ferretti Group and the team of architects and designers of the Ferretti Group Style Centre, the Pershing 108’ is 32.90 m long, has four guest cabins and three crew cabins. It is equipped with three engines and surface propellers on board.

SPECTACULAR FINALE A spellbinding performance by the Warsaw Chamber Opera at the Oman Auditorium of Al Bustan Palace InterContinental hotel marked the end of the three-month long pre-launch season of the Royal Opera House Muscat. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s La finta giardiniera (The Pretend Gardener), K196 is a Dramma per musica in three acts. This opera is said to be the first mature comic opera (opera buffa) of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). He was 18 years old, an astounding achievement for that age.

GIFT OF LOVE

What can be more inspiring, more intoxicating or desired than true love? In his evocative new Eau de Toilette ParlezMoi d’Amour John Galliano captures intrigue and romance, and bottles first love for a new generation. The unexpected combination of musk, fruit and flowers produce an unmistakable new allure as Galliano creates a scent that is fun, young and unforgettable.


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Feuille d’Or (Gold Leaf) Dior phone and My Dior (www.diorcouture.com)

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EXCLUSIVE

ART

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BUILDING ARTISTIC BRIDGES

HER HIGHNESS SHEIKHA LULU M. AL-SABAH FROM THE KUWAITI ROYAL FAMILY ANSWERS DEEPA RAJAN’S QUESTIONS ON ART AND THE FUTURE OF MIDDLE EASTERN ART IN THE GLOBAL SCHEME OF THINGS…

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he’s an art lover, history enthusiast and amateur photographer. But then, it comes as no surprise because the love for all things art runs in Her Highness Sheikha Lulu M. Al-Sabah’s blood. Her mother is known as one of Kuwait’s most prolific and respected collectors of contemporary art. Hence it was a natural progression for Lulu, who obtained her MA degree from Birkbeck College, University of London, to pursue a career in art journalsim.

A Kuwait-based art journalist and former Middle East Director for Phillips de Pury & Company, Lulu is the founding Partner of JAMM (see box), and is primarily responsible for all charitable and artist talent functions of the business. She recently conceived and curated an exhibition of Arab & Iranian Modern Masters in collaboration with Saatchi’s breakthrough exhibition of Middle Eastern contemporary art. Lulu has also worked as a consultant for Christie’s International. A frequent contributor to CANVAS, the highly acclaimed magazine dedicated to art and culture in the Middle East, she has also written for the Eastern Art Report, an academic-based art magazine, for which she authored a special issue on ‘Art and Artists in Kuwait’. Lulu was a panelist at Art Basel 2006 contributing to a discussion on ‘The Future of Art Institutions in the Middle East’, and a speaker at Art Dubai 2008, as well as Art Basel 2008. In 2006 she co-organised an exhibition of paintings by Kuwaiti women artists at the prestigious Institute du Monde Arabe in Paris.


ART Lulu’s passion for art – and in particular her support for widening the exposure of Arab art in the West – has led her to chart new territories and make her mark in the regional art market. After Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest, it is now Kuwait’s turn, with JAMM all set to hold Kuwait’s first contemporary art auction on February 17 with an auction of Arab and Iranian art. In an exclusive interview with Signature, Lulu speaks about art and more art… It has been reported - that your mother is one of Kuwait’s most prolific and respected collectors of contemporary art. Has your family had an influence on your tastes and interests, and if not, how would you compare your different tastes? “My mother, Sheikha Paula Al-Sabah, has had an enormous influence on my tastes and interests. I was fortunate because she exposed me to the arts from a very young age, which led me to appreciate art, and specifically contemporary art, as a young adult. We do have similar tastes in many respects… but as art is subjective, we prefer different styles in technique and differ in our preferences towards specific artists.” You held your country’s first-ever contemporary art auction - What hurdles did you have to overcome in order to make this happen, and was there any resistance to the idea? “We were thrilled with the results of our first sale. The feedback was fantastic and we were grateful for all the support that we had received. The main hurdle was securing sponsorship from local Kuwaiti companies but we felt this was somewhat expected considering that it was the first contemporary art auction in Kuwait. We did not feel any resistance to the idea at all.”

Given that, how have organisations such as JAMM fared in changing pre-conceived notions? “We feel that JAMM is more than simply an art advisory. It is a vessel to promote cultural diplomacy. One of our goals is to promote Arab and Iranian artists in the West and Western artists in the East and thus encourage further collaboration between the two. We feel this is the best way to increase understanding and tolerance cross-culturally.” Where and how do you think the regional art market will grow by 2015? “By 2015, art from the region will become part of the mainstream and an integral component within the global art market. There will be more art patrons in the region and a vast growth in the development of the contemporary art market. I hope that by 2015, the Gulf States will have established art schools and there will be an increased number of curators, critics and art journalists within the region.” How does one value contemporary art? Who gets to choose what is/isn’t definable as art? Should there be checks and balances put in place to limit what artists can and can’t do? “The value of contemporary art is based on the reputation of the artist and the caliber of the work itself. Good art will stand the test of time. Anything can be presented as art but if there is no thought or concept behind the work, it will fail in provoking emotion or instigating thought. As I do not believe in censorship, I do not feel there is any reason to place limits on what an artist can or cannot do.”

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WHAT IS JAMM ESTABLISHED IN 2009, JAMM IS AN INDEPENDENT STRATEGIC ART ADVISORY SERVICE FOUNDED BY HH SHEIKHA LULU M. AL SABAH AND LYDIA LIMERICK WHO BRING A COMBINED EXPERTISE OF OVER 15 YEARS IN THE CONTEMPORARY AND INTERNATIONAL ART MARKET. THEIR MISSION IS TO CREATE CULTURAL PROJECTS WITHOUT GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARIES. PROJECTS RANGE FROM LARGE-SCALE EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS TO SMALL-SCALE ACTIVITIES FOCUSING ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ART MARKET IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND OTHER KEY REGIONAL MARKETS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON JAMM, PLEASE VISIT WWW.JAMM-ART.COM

Image Courtesy: Sueraya Shaheen

For centuries, the art world has been organised and mainly influenced by the European Renaissance artists and Orientalism. Why do you think that Arabic Art is only recently becoming known on the world stage? “There has been growing interest in art from the developing world. The Middle East has been overlooked for too long and it is a great moment to be working in the art world now that the art from this region is being collected and appreciated. Part of the reason there is an increased awareness and appreciation is because the Middle East has dominated the headlines for nearly a decade and people want to learn more about the culture and people in the various countries that represent the Middle East.”


THE EVENT

Afsoon, 2010 Icons of the 4 Corners Mixed Media on Paper, 50 x 50 cm

Hassan Meer Garden of Heaven,2010 Oil on canvas, 185x150 cm

Damien Hirst-1 Psalm Print: Ad te, Domine, levavi, 2010 Silkscreen print with glaze, 74 x 71.5 cm paper size

Andy Warhol Cow Pink on Yellow Art Print, 1966 Print, 31.75 in. x 51 in. (change to cm)

Celebrated artists, including our very own Hassan Meer, from the Middle East will be represented at JAMM’s upcoming contemporary art auction in Kuwait. The event, which will be held at The Avenues in Kuwait on February 9 2011, will be offering over 70 works of art by renowned Middle Eastern artists, including Nabil Nahas, Rokni Haerizadeh, Reza Derakshani, Ahmed Alsoudani، Rahim Sharif, Nabeela Al-Khayer and Mohammed Al Mahdi، and Farideh Lashai. It also includes works of artists such as Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol. The auction will provide an opportunity for both new and existing clients in the GCC region and beyond to add to their collections of contemporary Arab and Iranian art. Keeping in mind the fast-growing appetite and appreciation for quality artworks at the right price, all pieces at the auction will be under 14,000 KD ($50,000). The auction, which is being is sponsored by HSBC private bank along with support from Intishar Holdings and Va Va Voom cosmetics, will be conducted by renowned auctioneer, Aileen Agopian, who has been instrumental in the successes of many evening sale auctions of private collections as well as setting new records for artists such as Richard Prince and Julian Schnabel, to name a few. A part of the proceeds from the auction sale will go to a Kuwait based non-profit organisation, KAACH, the Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospital. A public exhibition of the artworks will take place at the exhibition hall of 360 Mall on 8 February, ahead of the auction. JAMM hopes that the preview will provide an opportunity for the public to visit and enjoy the art that will go under the hammer on the 9th.


ART SCENE

ART EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS IN THE CITY… Artistic Gesture An exhibition of masterpieces from Tate’s historic British collection, The Art of Seeing Nature: Masterpieces from Tate Britain is being presented at Sayyid Faisal bin Ali Museum, Muscat till January 25, 2011. The exhibition, a pioneering collaboration between the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Oman and Tate, is a British contribution to the 40th National Day of the Sultanate of Oman. The exhibition shows six masterpieces by six great artists born or working in Britain. This is the first time that these works have been shown in the Middle East. Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream circa 1760 Photo: (c) Tate, 2010

Miniature Art As part of the 40th National Day celebrations, Bait Al Zubair Museum recently unveiled its new miniature displays under the auspices of H.E. Salim bin Mohamed Al Mahroqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture for Heritage. Being showcased at Bait Al Bagh, the exhibition consists of intricatelymade miniature forts, and castles. There is also a miniature landscape with mountains, wadis, aflaj, terraced agriculture, mud-brick settlements and even mini people going about their business. Both attractions are aimed at children and offer a unique and charming experience to all visitors.

Novel Project The Oryx Caravan Oman 2010 exhibition that was inaugurated recently showcases 40 life-size Oryxes, out of fibreglass and painted by 40 Oman-based artists to signify the country’s 40th National Day. The Caravan was officially opened by Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry, at the Ministries District in Al Khuwair. Being hosted by the Oman India Fertiliser Company (Omifco), the exhibition is not just a tribute to the nation but it also aims to create awareness about this endangered species which His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has accorded special attention to preserve and protect.

Movement & Light Bait Al-Baranda Museum recently played host to renowned artist David Willis’ works as part of an exhibition titled ‘David Willis Retrospective’. Heat and dust, movement and light are the central themes in Australian artist David Willis’s paintings. As an entirely selftaught artist, his works are influenced by nature and the world around him. Through his pieces, the artist creates artistic motion, depicting the bodily gestures of both human beings and animals. Since coming to the Middle East, Willis has lightened his artistic palette to match the intensity of direct and reflected light so often encountered in the deserts of Oman.

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CARS

LUXURY @ INFINITI THE ALL-NEW SWANKY INFINITI SHOWROOM RECENTLY OPENED IN QURUM AND BROUGHT ALONG WITH IT THE REDESIGNED M RANGE…NOW THIS IS WHAT WE CALL, A DOUBLE TREAT!

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nfiniti, the fastest growing Japanese luxury automotive brand in the region, in partnership with Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, the sole importers of all Infiniti luxury cars into Oman, celebrated the launch of the first Infiniti exclusive showroom in the Sultanate. His Excellency Maqbool Ali Sultan, Minister of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, inaugurated the showroom in the presence of honourable ministers, His Highness’, and Colin Dodge, Executive Vice President Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA), India and Board Member of Nissan Motors; Sheikh Suhail Bahwan, Chairman of Suhail Bahwan Group; Atsuo Kosaka, Managing Director of Nissan Middle East; Sheikh Ahmed Suhail Bahwan, Chairman of Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, and Antoine Bartes, General Manager Infiniti Business Unit, Infiniti Middle East. Speaking at the grand launch event, Colin Dodge said, “The luxury market is experiencing some dramatic changes in consumer behaviour. The need for creating the sense of “exclusivity” has been a big challenge for marketers of luxury goods and services.” Infiniti has created a comprehensive global standard for new dealership facilities called ‘IREDI’ (see box), which captures that spirit of exclusivity. “It encompasses


the guiding principles of Infiniti Design and is reflected in all showroom elements,” he added. Sheikh Ahmed Suhail Bahwan summed up the significance of the momentous occasion by paying tribute to the vision of His Majesty the Sultan. He went on to add, “This impressive facility demonstrates our commitment to the customers in Oman in providing them with the highest quality products and ownership experience. This is an impressive facility, no doubt. But we want what’s inside this facility – the products, the people, the services – to leave a lasting impression on our customers.” The new showroom design has features that are energetic and modern with an accent on natural materials and open lighting. The layout provides a dramatic reveal of the Infiniti vehicles and highly convenient functional areas. M Launch Coinciding with the launch of the new showroom, Infiniti unveiled the redesigned “M” range – the all-new M37 sedan in addition to the M56. The full line-up consisting of Infiniti G Sedan, G37 Coupe, FX , EX & QX, the full size SUV will be on display

at the Infiniti Showroom. The 2011 Infiniti M is a stunning addition to the fast expanding Infiniti product range and embodies all of the brand’s best thinking in design and quality to date. Its inspired performance, luxurious comfort, craftsmanship and style provide a superior alternative to other European and Japanese luxury sedans. The 2011 Infiniti M will be offered in M37 and M56 model designations when it goes on sale at Suhail Bahwan Automobiles. The M37 features a refined 328hp 3.7-litre V6 engine. Both the M37 and M56 engines feature Infiniti’s advanced VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) system and all models are equipped with a standard seven-speed automatic transmission. New technologies include Infiniti Drive Mode Selector, a four-mode driver-selectable throttle and transmission control that helps optimise vehicle performance; Active Noise Control which provides a fantastically quiet cabin; Blind Spot Warning (BSW) which helps alert the driver if another vehicle is detected in the blind spot area; Blind Spot Intervention (BSI), a world’s first system that, in addition to the Blind Spot Warning, helps the driver get the vehicle back in the the lane in the event of unintended drift; Forest Air system which

helps reduce the intrusion of unpleasant odors into the cabin and provides natural “breeze-like” airflow; and Active Trace Control which adjusts engine torque and the control of braking at each of the four wheels to help enhance cornering performance. The M37 and M56 sedans come in rear-wheel drive configuration and in a choice of grade levels. The M37 can be specified in three different grades - ‘Excellence’, ‘Luxury’ and ‘Sport’ while the M56 is available in two grades - ‘Luxury’ and ‘Sport’.

THE IREDI CONCEPT IT INCLUDES TWO ASPECTS, A DYNAMIC EXTERIOR WHICH GIVES VISITORS A SENSE OF WARMTH, A GLASS WALL AND THE INFINITI LOGO WITH STRONG VISUAL IMPACT AT NIGHT ARE SOME OF THE MOST DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF THE SHOWROOM FROM OUTSIDE. SECONDLY, THE INTERIOR INCLUDES A SPACIOUS SEPARATE LOBBY AREA AND AN ARTISTIC LAYOUT OF THE EXHIBITION AREA. TOTAL OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE (TOE), INFINITI’S CUSTOMER CARE PHILOSOPHY, WILL BRING PRECIOUS VALUE-ADDS TO CONSUMERS IN THE COUNTRY. ACCORDING TO A COMPANY SPOKESPERSON, “TOE AIMS AT BUILDING A GOOD, LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS. CUSTOMERS WILL GET PREMIUM SERVICE THE MOMENT THEY ENTER THE INFINITI SHOWROOM, AND SUCH SERVICE WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE PROCESS, FROM PRE-SALES TO AFTER-SALES.”


CARS Infiniti Drive Mode Selector, a four-mode driverselectable control of throttle and transmission mapping that helps optimise vehicle performance (also adjusts 4-Wheel Active Steer settings with available Sport Package and Active Trace Control and Eco Pedal with available Technology Package)

TECHNOLOGY PERFECT

Active Noise Control, which reduces undesirable engine harmonics, providing a quieter cabin Blind Spot Warning (BSW), which helps alert the driver if another vehicle is detected in the blind spot area Blind Spot Intervention™ (BSI), a world’s first system that, in the event of unintended drift, enhances BSW with selective braking to help the driver return the vehicle back toward the center of the lane of travel away from the vehicle in the blind spot area Forest Air™ system, which helps reduce the intrusion of unpleasant odors into the cabin and provides a more natural breeze-like airflow

THE NEW M IS A SHOWCASE FOR INFINITI’S ADVANCED, USER-FOCUSSED TECHNOLOGIES, CARRYING ON THE TRADITION OF THE PREVIOUS GENERATION M. NEW TECHNOLOGIES INCLUDE:

Eco Pedal, which provides driver feedback to encourage eco-driving behaviour Active Trace Control, which adjusts engine torque and the control of braking at each of the four wheels to help enhance cornering performance Double-piston Shock Absorbers that control damping force according to frequency of input from the road surface Enhanced Intelligent Key, memory now remembers last used audio, navigation and climate control settings for each key (in addition to linking to seat, steering wheel and side view mirror positions through the dual occupant memory system)

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EVENT

VA-VAVROOM

Glimpses of the Abu Dhabi International Motor Show (ADIMS) 2010 Signature has always believed in being part of the best events there are. A case in point is the recently held Abu Dhabi International Motor Show (ADIMS) 2010, which Signature was a media partner for. The event closed its doors on Saturday having reported a successful five days for both exhibitors and visitors. The show, which provided 20 Middle East and UAE car premiers from over 60 exhibitors, also featured a wide range of activities for all the family at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Held under the patronage of His Highness Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, UAE, and organised by Reed Exhibitions, the event saw the likes of the Range Rover Evoque, Camaro convertible, Toyota FT-86G and Mazda Kazamai exhibited in the UAE for the first time. Among the companies benefiting from placing its products in front of the tens of thousands of visitors was Japanese manufacturer Subaru, which was making its first appearance at the show for many years. It was not just about cars, the event was also an opportunity for visitors to actually participate in a variety of other exciting, automotive-related activities. These ranged from a Red Bull Pit Stop game and racing simulators on the Ford, Toyota and Yas Marina Circuit stands to a Toyota SUV experience course and specially designed karting track, both set up outdoors. Such was the enthusiasm for the karting that it operated at virtually full capacity for all five days! All in all, it was a fun-filled five days that created the perfect va-va-vroom moments for car lovers from across the world!

was media partner of the event


2011

HOT WHEELS

AUDI A6

PRESENTING THE MOST DESIRABLE CARS OF THE YEAR…

BMW 1 SERIES M COUPE

The successor to one of the world’s most successful executive sedan features groundbreaking solutions in every area of technology. But we all know the real reason you want one is because of those amazingly addictive and attractive full LED Headlights.

With a maximum output of 335hp @ 5,900 rpm; a nominal peak torque of 450 Nm from 1,500 rpm to 4,500 rpm and a redline of 7,000 rpm. An additional 50Nm is on hand thanks to the electronically-controlled overboost function of this stunning 3.0 litre twin-turbo inline-6.

PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS This is the new ultimate 911 and it extracts 620 ultraefficient, twin-turbocharged horsepower from 3.6l to provide the industry’s best-in-class power-to-weight ratio and surprisingly efficient fuel economy.

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CHEVROLET CAMARO CONVERTIBLE

ASTON MARTIN DB9

Officially unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show the car will be available with either the 3.6 litre direct injection V-6 producing 312bhp mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic or the red hot optional SS package including a 6.2l pushrod V8 producing 426bhp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.

The DB9 has established itself as the definitive grand tourer. For 2011, this stunning work of art on wheels will receive the most significant programme of upgrades since its world debut in 2003 including a complete package of styling, engineering and equipment enhancements.

BUGATTI VEYRON SUPER SPORT The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport achieved a new land speed world record for production cars of 431 km/h, recently. The reason: the quad turbo 16-cylinder power plant producing 1,200-hp and a maximum torque of 1,500 Nm. The 100 per cent clear-lacquered exposed carbon body and the fact that it can pull 1.4g in a corner is just the icing on the cake.

MINI COUNTRYMAN The fourth model to be added to the Mini family opens up a new dimension of that unmistakable ‘Mini’ feeling. As a genuine Crossover, the Countryman offers the classic concept and iconic style of the Mini with the added utility and space of a modern Sports Activity Vehicle.

LAND ROVER EVOQUE The Range Rover Evoque has turned the much-acclaimed LRX concept car into reality, faithfully capturing the spirit of its landmark cross-coupé design. True to the Range Rover brand, the Evoque effortlessly delivers premium levels of craftsmanship, luxury and performance, but shrink-wrapped into a more compact package that will appeal to the younger crowd.

MCLAREN MP4-12C VW GOLF R The Golf R is simply the most powerful Volkswagen sports performance vehicle ever built. The car delivers the ultimate Volkswagen driving experience with dynamic handling, refined road manners and unprecedented power for a Golf.

This will be the first proper McLaren since its split with Mercedes and the spiritual successor of the legendary McLaren F1. With 592bhp and 443 lb-ft. of torque, delivering its output to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dualclutch transmission and weighing just 2866 lb, the MP4-12C will be capable of a 0–60 mph acceleration of less than 4 seconds and a top speed of over 200 mph.


CLUB-BING TIMES! THE MUCH ANTICIPATED 7TH OER CEO GOLF, TO BE HELD ON FEBRUARY 3, IS ALL SET TO THROW UP A NUMBER OF SURPRISES FOR GOLFERS AND NON-GOLFERS

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veryone looks forward to a New Year hoping for all the good things that are ahead of us. And when we reminisce about the past year, there are certain things or events which we enjoyed so much that we eagerly look forward to them happening in the New Year as well. This stands true for the OER CEO Golf event as well.

Yes, Oman’s biggest corporate networking event, the OER CEO Golf, now into its 7th edition is back with a bang, promising loads of surprises and fun for everyone. The event is scheduled to tee off once again on the verdant settings of the Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club on February 3, 2011. Asking all you golfers out there to brush the dust off your golf kits might be just another way to remind you to hone your golfing and networking skills because the OER CEO Golf 2011 is going to be the biggest and most memorable corporate event of the year. Call it what you may, a CEO’s day out, an exclusive club, a serious club and ball sport, an evening of gaiety and more – whatever your take on it is, what finds consensus is the power and glory of the OER CEO Golf 2011. Presented by Nawras Business Solutions, the event promises to be bigger, better and grander this time around. Exciting elements have been planned for both the golfers and non-golfers. The surprises begin with a new competition format for the golfers and non-golfers, go on to the gifts and extend to the evening’s entertainment as well. The grand finale in the evening is a climax befitting this by-invitation-only event for the who’s who of Oman’s corporate community. It is, as always, a glittering affair with high profile entertainment, a sumptuous dinner spread, and more! OER CEO Golf is a unique opportunity for the leaders of Oman’s corporate community to link up over the game of golf at the country’s finest, and one of the Middle East’s most exciting PGA-standard courses. For those new to the game it is a good chance to get acquainted with the CEO sport as they will be suitably inducted into the game in a congenial and friendly atmosphere. The previous editions of OER CEO Golf have always come up with innovative ideas both to engage the non-golfers as well as form a part of the day’s entertainment. In the earlier editions, OER CEO Golf had introduced variations of the golf like virtual, moonlight and crazy golf. In 2010, it was water golf where spouses joined their husbands to swing the clubs. The key category sponsors for OER CEO Golf include Times of Oman and Al Shabiba (Publicity); Hi and Al Youm Al Sab’e (Media); Signature (Luxury); and Axa Insurance (insurance). Rolex from Khimji’s Watches is the official timekeeper of the event. OER CEO Golf is an annual event organised by Oman Economic Review, the Sultanate’s premier business magazine.

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FOOD COURT

ASIAN FLAVOURS TREAT YOUR TASTE BUDS TO SOME BOLD YET SOULFUL THAI FLAVOURS AT MEJI’S AROY THAI, SAYS SUSHMITA SARKHEL

Tucked away in the heart of the city just off the road from Bareeq Al Shatti is the recently opened Meji’s Aroy Thai restaurant. This fine dining restaurant is unlike any other in the city and offers an extensive selection of authentic Thai cuisine that is light, fresh, and traditional. Last month, the restaurant opened its doors with the hope of providing the best Thai experience in town - and we’re glad to say that it doesn’t disappoint! Step inside and you’ll immediately be transported to the mystical island that is Thailand. Right at the entrance, enhanced by soft lighting, are two Kinnarees, beautiful half-woman, halfswan maidens to welcome guests. Inside, the traditional Thai parasols, exquisite wall hangings and murals, and beautifully crafted wooden Shoji screens lend an oriental charm to the place. And on weekends, customers are in for a special treat. In order to make the whole dining experience more memorable, Meji’s Aroy Thai features authentic Thai dances (Ram Thai) with classical music every weekend. The unique dance form characterised by classic and delicate movements of the performers dressed exquisitely in traditionally embroidered costumes have been infused within the culture since ancient times and is indeed a treat for the eyes.

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The soothing ambience sets the mood for a relaxed dinner and easy conversation. Why not make the most of the great weather now and enjoy an alfresco dinner? Meji’s Aroy Thai provides foodies true-blue Thai food. And we mean exactly that. Its menu ranges way beyond the standard Thai eatery and you may have your pick from an extensive list of starters, soups, salads and main courses and end it with a dessert of your choice. The special ‘Meji’ dishes are the ones to watch out for; but no matter what you decide to go with, we are sure that you’ll love it! While the menu is extensive, every dish is prepared well, proving that the kitchen is skilled in crafting intricate and harmonious presentations of taste and flavour. For starters, we recommend the Gai Satay, Chicken Hundred or Mixed Aroy Thai. For the main course, our first choice would be Khao Pad Khun Meji, which is rice in a delicious chili paste served with a crispy omelette on top. The Pad Thai (stir fried rice noodles), Pad Thai Meji’s Aroi Thai, vies for Oman’s best! And for dessert, the deep fried banana (Meji’s Kluay Tod) is a must. But of course, we really recommend that you try and be adventurous with what you order. However, if you’re unsure about anything, their friendly staff are there to guide you through. The masterminds behind the delectable fare are Chef Ekasit and Executive Chef Songsak, who is from the highly reputed Blue Elephant

Cooking School and Restaurant in Bangkok. So be prepared to experience Thai Food like no other. Think Kaffir leaves, think Thai Basil and immerse yourself in a truly delectable combination of classical flavours and seasonings. Already highly popular among the local as well as expatriate community, Meji’s Aroy Thai is sure to hold its own. Great food, one-of-a-kind entertainment and beautiful interiors - this restaurant is a gem in Muscat’s dining scene and is sure to become a staple in your dining-out schedule. The food is clearly the star of the show here. From dish to dish, from visit to visit, Meji’s Aroy Thai continues to please and the proof is on the plate.


EXCLUSIVE

FOOD

Mia Cucina

MICHELIN STAR CHEF VINCENZO CAMMERUCCI IN AN EXCLUSIVE CONVERSATION WITH DEEPA RAJAN…

GASTRONOMICAL DELIGHTS It was a time to celebrate all things Italian at Grand Hyatt Muscat from the 1st December 2010 – 8th December 2010 with the Bella Italia Gourmet Festival. The festival was held in association with the ‘Alta Cucina’ epicurean society, featuring exclusive menus in Tuscany Italian Restaurant, beverage-tasting evenings and cooking classes. The ‘Alta Cucina’ group is an epicurean society devoted to fine Italian food. The group originated in New York and hosts events around the world to celebrate gourmet cuisine from Italy. MichelinStarred Chef Vincenzo Cammerucci, from the renowned ‘Lido Lido’ restaurant, Cesenatico, Italy together with Fabrizio Valdetara of Tuscany restaurant and Executive Chef Marin Leuthard of Grand Hyatt Muscat created extraordinary cuisine for Italian food lovers. A special ‘White Truffle’ menu was one of the unique features. In addition, a cooking class with Chef Cammerucci was also held for those who wanted to learn about the art of fine Italian cooking and gain valuable skills to take home with them. Indeed, it was a week of gastronomical delights at the Grand Hyatt Muscat this December!

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here’s an Italian saying that goes, ‘Il mondo è paese.’ Translated in English that means the world is a village and Vincenzo Cammerucci believes that the saying may hold true for most things in the world, but not in the kitchen. “For, the way food is cooked is different in each kitchen.” And one is forced to aver with this genius in the kitchen. Cammerucci, who was born in Recanati (Macerata, Marche region of Italy), entered the culinary world at an young age. “My parents were farmers and I grew up in the countryside. But, I grew up watching my brothers cook (they were chefs) and it was then that I fell in love with food and the idea of cooking.” He did training at the Institute hotel in Senigallia (He went to school for only one year), but according to Cammerucci, that was the only formal training he ever had. “After that I learnt everything else on the ground, working,” he says. Looking for new experiences, he made several stops in restaurants in Italy and abroad, including the most famous: the Tivoli in Cortina, the ‘Artini and Des Alpes in Madonna di Campiglio, Cave of Brisbane, the Waldorf Astoria and The Ambassadors Hotel in Rimini, where close ties and important friendship with the chef Gino Angelini, led to many collaborations. He also worked with the legendary Gualtiero Marchesi. A member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, Cammerucci opened his own restaurant ‘Lido Lido’ in 1996. The restaurant, which means “a place next to the sea,” has developed a reputation for innovative and outstanding cuisine, with the focus being on fine produce that is sourced locally. It was in 2000 that he received his Michelin Star. According to Cammerucci, “Your kitchen, the beverages list, the quality of service and ambience all play a role in getting the star, but your kitchen is what holds the key. I would attribute 80 per cent of it to the kitchen, the rest of the factors make up the 20 per cent.” And, one is not surprised that his restaurant is one of the most popular places to eat in the world. For Cammerucci who strongly believes that “fusion is confusion”, says “We only cook authentic Italian in my kitchen. That is not to say that we do not try new combinations and concepts in cooking, but only in moderation.” He grows his own produce in a garden just

by the restaurant, so all his dishes are made from organic ingredients. In fact, it was this exact reason that made him decide to come to Oman and be part of the Bella Italia Gourmet Festival held at the Tuscany in Grand Hyatt Muscat recently. “I feel at home in Tuscany. All the products used for cooking here are original. Products such as mozzarella, tomatoes and olive oil come from Italy. And we can make the same dishes as in Italy,” quips Cammerucci. He is such a stickler for authenticity that when we ask him what is his advice to people who want to create the perfect Italian dish, he firmly asserts, “If you want to create a traditional Italian dish then you have to stick to authentic ingredients and not substitutes. Only original Italian products will bring out the correct flavour.” He adds, “This is because, even the most basic of ingredients will have different tastes according to where they are grown (even something as basic as a tomato).” So, what does this quintessential Italian (with the classic good looks and hand mannerisms that the Italians are famous for, might we add!) think is the best part of Italy and its cuisine? The history of the country and its art is what Italy is all about, he says and adds, “The best thing about Italian cuisine is that every part of the country has a different type of cuisine to offer. Be it North, South or Central Italy, each has a flavour of its own and the dishes vary according to the region and climate.”

TORTINO DI PARMIGGIANO CON RUCOLA , SEDANO , PERE E CIALDE PARMIGGIANO (Parmesan tart with baby rocket, celery, pears and Parmesan wafers)

Ingredients 250gms fresh cream 4 eggs 200gms parmesan cheese 100gms baby rocket 2 pears 50ml olive oil 10ml balsamic vinegar 100gms celery Salt and Pepper

Method And what is his favourite food? “It is difficult to play favourites, but I have a special fondness for seafood.” Cammerucci feels that fish in Italy is very different from the fish available in Oman and says that the taste is a memory he will take back with him to Italy.

• Combine in a bowl, the egg whites and yolk, grated parmesan and fresh cream, whisk all ingredients together for three to four minutes (use a hand blender). Add salt and pepper to season.

Cammerucci’s zeal for perfection and his ingenuity in the kitchen have led to many a invitation to culinary events such as the recent gala dinner at the Festival of Nations in Città di Castello. Cammerucci has also made several appearances on television at a local and national level and lectures at the Centre for Culture Enogastronomica ‘Aula Magna’ of Cesena and the Center for Gastronomic Culture ‘La Cucina di Petronilla’ in Bologna. An active local community member, he is also involved in training of students from various hotel schools within the region. His achievements in the kitchen and outside are awe-inspiring, so much so that one can say that this Michelin-starred genius makes sweet music in the kitchen, considering the fact that Cammerucci believes, “The kitchen is like music, because with music you can compose many songs.”

• Coat small aluminum cups with clear butter. • Pour stuffing in the cups. • Poach in a Bain-Marie (water bath) in the oven for 12 minutes at 160 degrees, till the parmesan tarts become brown on the top. • Slice pears, add baby rocket and season with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. • Arrange the parmesan tarts (served warm) in centre of an appetizer plate and decorate with baby rocket, sliced pears and celery.


2011

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

ROCCO BOVA, FOOD & BEVERAGE DIRECTOR – AL BUSTAN PALACE INTERCONTINENTAL MUSCAT, SAYS NO MATTER WHAT THE TREND, AUTHENTICITY IS THE KEY…

Oman is a beautiful country where tradition and heritage still thrive and has kept the country relatively untouched from the hustle and bustle of typical metros around the world. This is probably a good thing even though it is not giving space to new dining concepts and with mostly “been there – done that” places around Muscat and other major centres in Oman. This is a country with a very ‘mature’ market segment where buffets with International/themed nights are still the favourite or even the typical Seafood or Italian. Interest in Asian cuisine, with Indian and Chinese being the most sought after, is indeed growing with few restaurants opening as stand alone. Exotic or innovating cuisines and Michelin star level restaurants are hard to sell or seldom used for special occasions. But new announcements have been heard including some renowned European chefs setting up business here in Muscat in the very near future. Authenticity is a must however. Guests’ expectations are very high here, we deal with a discerning and well-travelled clientele (expat community) and they are ready to pay for the right quality. Oman itself has witnessed an incredible economic growth over the past few years and this is leading to a wider captive audience with a more sophisticated palate and a curiosity to taste and try new cuisines. Oman is also a growing market from a tourism destination point. Several new hotel projects have been announced and/or planned or are under construction right now. The likes of Four Seasons, Banyan Tree, Missoni, Fairmont and Kempinski to name a few, are due to open in the next two to three years and therefore not only the number but the quality and choice of F&B outlets will certainly raise the competition bar. In terms of trends, I find Asia a lot more exciting but this is a different market altogether. There you will find thousands of stand-alone restaurants

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in most large cities whereby the Middle East is mainly hotels’ restaurants leading the “eating-out” pattern. On the other hand, one factor that is revolutionising the hospitality industry is certainly “social networking”. This tool, which for me is still questionable in terms of its use and effectiveness, is for sure changing the way customers choose their dining destination (and many other things actually!). When I say “questionable” I mean that the industry is becoming so impersonal. We are now talking to each other over a computer terminal rather than face to face. This is sad but I suppose is the price to pay for modernity and technological evolution. I believe that customers will be still interested in seeing new concepts, but authentic cuisine will reign, be it Italian, Asian or else. Quality and value for money will remain a key for success and last but not the least exceptional service and guest recognition.


FITNESS= BALANCED HEALTH

RENOWNED WELLNESS EXPERT VANDANA LUTHRA, FOUNDER & MENTOR - VLCC, SPELLS OUT THE HOT TRENDS FOR THE YEAR… The wellness industry has seen a dynamic transition over the years. Rising disposable incomes, increasingly demanding and stressful work-place conditions and sedentary lifestyles have been the growth drivers for the wellness industry till now and will continue to be so. However, going forward, increasing awareness and scientific service offerings will be the dominant factors in the health and wellness space. The trend has moved from luxury to necessity. Wellness, at some level or the other, is now a need for all and not necessarily the comfort of the rich. The wellness offerings are becoming more varied both in terms of spectrum and price points.

rise and we believe the coming years will see an increasing market demand for programmes tailored to overweight and obese children.

A combination of demographic and lifestyle changes — including lack of exercise in daily life and changing eating habits — has meant that obesity levels have been rising steadily. The good news is - the popularity of foods that are low in fat and/or sugar has increased in the past few years. The focus has turned increasingly to the overall health benefits of reducing the consumption of fat and sugar.

Strength training is going to be the flavour of the season. What used to be the domain of bodyguards is becoming increasingly popular among young people – not only for the physical appearance aspect but also the health benefits of muscle strength. Body-shaping is another area garnering a lot of interest globally.

Here are some key trends in health and wellness that are increasingly gaining popularity with consumers: The days of Size Zero are thankfully over! Being healthy is replacing vanity as the primary reason for pursuing fitness and weight loss. Crash diets are out, balanced diets are in! With more and more people recognising the importance of eating a healthy diet, not smoking, exercising regularly and maintaining a normal body weight, the focus is gradually moving from crash diets to balanced diets. Prevention, rather than treatment of obesity and lifestyle-related medical problems, will become the buzzword. Child and adolescent obesity is on the

Age-appropriate fitness programs for senior citizens are rather lacking as of now, but we now see many older people joining our programmes and benefitting not only in the reduction of medicines and doctor visits, but also in learning the advantages of adopting a healthier way of life. ‘Gym-based wellness’ will be the other buzzword to watch out for. With cutting edge cardio and weights equipment, and on-screen entertainment, wellness is now fun!

VLCC’S SUCCESS STORY STEMS FROM THE UNWAVERING BRAND COMMITMENT TO THE IDEA OF ‘TRANSFORMING LIVES’ – THE GROUP’S GUIDING VISION. TODAY, VLCC IS AN INTERNATIONAL WELLNESS BRAND WITH ITS NETWORK SPREAD OVER 225 LOCATIONS ACROSS 90 CITIES IN 9 COUNTRIES INCLUDING UAE, BAHRAIN, OMAN, KUWAIT, QATAR, INDIA, NEPAL, SRI-LANKA AND BANGLADESH. THE BRAND INSPIRES TRUST THROUGH OVER 6000 EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DEDICATION TO SCIENTIFIC PROCESSES, AND THE FAITH THAT PEOPLE HAVE IN ITS NAME IS REFLECTED IN THE EXPERIENCE OF OVER 10 MILLION SATISFIED CUSTOMERS IT HAS SERVED SINCE ITS INCEPTION. ITS KEY STRENGTH LIES IN THE EXTENSIVE R&D THAT THEY HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY INVESTING IN, THAT HELPS THEM PROVIDE A PERSONALISED AND SOLUTION-ORIENTED APPROACH – A HOLISTIC AND SCIENTIFIC APPROACH IN ADDRESSING THE MIND AND BODY, AND ORIENTED TOWARDS COMPLETE TRANSFORMATION. TODAY, THEY REPRESENT A MOVEMENT FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, WHICH IS GAINING MOMENTUM AT A RAPID PACE THE WORLD OVER.


PLACES

ONE IN A

MILLENNIUM WEEKEND RELAXATION WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN. HEAD OVER TO THE MILLENNIUM RESORT, MUSSANAH TO FIND OUT WHY. BY DEEPA RAJAN

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or an establishment that is only now gearing up for a soft launch, The Millennium Resort Mussanah, already has a feather in its cap, having successfully played host to the athletes at the 2nd Asian Beach Games held here in Muscat recently. . The latest in Oman’s long line of exclusive beach resorts, the resort will open to the public during the second half of January 2011. But, what makes this resort different from the rest is that it is the only hotel in the Sultanate to have its own private 54-berth marina. Will J. Blake, Director of Sales and Marketing for the resort, says, “The Marina obviously is a unique feature of this property because everything looks on to it. Half of our rooms look on to the Marina itself and all of our branded serviced apartments have direct marina/sea views. Moreover, the marina is going to be managed by Oman Sail, who have a mandate with Omran, which of course is the owning company, to develop this resort. Activities include water skiing, banana boats, and sailing courses, such as Catamaran sailing, managed by Oman Sail.” He adds, “We will also have dolphin watching, PADI diving, snorkelling and boat chartering managed by Oman Charter, who are in a Joint Venture with Oman Sail. We see water sports as an integral part of our business model in 2011.” This is the first Millennium Hotel in Oman and the first resort for the region as well. The first phase involved the completion of the 234 rooms, 74 apartments - amounting

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Will J. Blake

LOOKING FORWARD “We’ve got over 120 hotels worldwide. We’re very strong in the Asia Pacific region, America and Europe. The Middle East is a growing region and our corporate offices are in Abu Dhabi. We currently operate 11 hotels in the GCC. I think cities like Dubai and the UAE are focusing on the shopping and glitzy lifestyle. One of the things that we’ve flagged on is that we’ll be offering unique cost-effective resort lifestyles. We are trying to make luxury affordable for people. We are looking at three Millennium hotels in Oman and one in Salalah. So for the next five or six years it’s going to be a very interesting ride for the company.”

to 308 rooms in total as well as its 54-berth private marina. Blake says, “While we are opening with very few facilities, the second phase is to gradually introduce a range of other resort attractions, such as the infinity resort swimming pool, health club and spa, gym and kids’ club, and another themed restaurant over the first eight months of 2011 in preparation for the autumn and winter peak tourist season. Blake emphasises on the very important point that this is a resort hotel that aims at offering a unique experience, different from the rest of Oman. “It’s going to be very much a familybased leisure destination focusing on the European markets, the regional market (like the UAE) and of course the local Oman market. Our focus is also on strengthening the relationship with the local community, where we can tap into the corporate business. Lately we have noticed volumes of enquiries for staff team building exercises, which is a great impetus for that kind of business.”

But, that’s not all. The resort has much more to offer. And nothing sums it up better than Blake’s statement, “Luxury has a new address in Oman.” Blake adds, “We want to offer the market value-added services as well as its unique product. Our opening rates will play a vital role in the development of the resort and will hopefully attract guests to experience what we think is a very peaceful and tranquil location in Oman.” “Whether you are from town and want to just get away for the weekend or you are a tourist looking to discover Oman, check-in to the Millennium Resort Mussanah, relax in its surroundings and comfortable accommodations, take a romantic walk along the beach (we have a one kilometre long beach), charter a boat, explore the sea, dine out in one of the hotel’s lavish restaurants, and leave the rest up to our impeccable service,” says Blake.


2011

HOTTEST DESTINATIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE FOR THE YEAR 2011...

Destination Anywhere

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New York The former WTC site opens up to the public with a National September 11 Memorial, a 6-acre, tree-filled plaza with waterfalls, rimmed by the names of the victims

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Valencia Along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Valencia has had a very long and rich history, and has grown rapidly along these last years to become the third most important city in Spain.

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Ghent Ghent might just be the best European city you’ve never thought of visiting. This city hides away in the middle of Belgium’s big three – Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp.

Tangier A stylish new Tangier is being created with a dynamic arts community, renovated buildings, great shopping and chic new restaurants.


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Tirana This city in central Albania is also the capital of the country and has been undergoing a major renovation from its communist days.

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Iquitos Pulsating with life, the city is a sultry slice of the Amazon life: Brazilian, Colombian, indigenous and expat. Iquitos is also a cultural hub and constantly buzzes with energy.

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Veneto Veneto is a fascinating treasure trove of art and a beacon of fine living, and only a few miles to the north the Alps begin, their foothills dotted with charming towns and lined with picturesque world-class vineyards.

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Delhi Huge preparations for the Commonwealth Games, which took place in October 2010, improved the city’s infrastructure, cleaned up its streets and added to its accommodation options.

Damascus Lord it up like a pasha, by staying in lovingly restored Ottoman palaces and sipping cappuccino after shopping it up in the souqs.

Curacao 2011 will mark Curacao’s first full year as an autonomous nation within the Netherlands, adding a new chapter to the island’s rich history.

(Source: The Lonely Planet & USA Today)


STOPOVER

48 HOURS MILAN La Scala

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ilan - the world’s undisputed fashion capital, home to famous Renaissance architectural masterpieces and a beacon for classical and avant-garde art. Needless to say there are a million things to do in this glorious city and if you’re pressed for time, figuring out what to see and what to skip might become very daunting. So we’ve broken it down for you…

Start your day on an artsy note. Visit the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to view The Last Supper, perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest piece of work. Although most of the church was destroyed during World War II, most of it has been restored and is a must see for all. Next head over to Castello Sforzesco whose defences were also designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Today it houses a series of 12 museums including, Museo d’Arte e Scienza, Palazzo d’Arte, Pinacoteca di Castello and Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Antica.

View of the Milan canal

Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery

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Enjoy the sights and sounds of Milan while having a fancy panini (think decadent layers of Italian salami, tomatoes and goat’s cheese) with world famous Italian cappuccino scuro in a café around piazza del Duomo. Your next stop would obviously be the Duomo, the third largest church in Christendom with a staggering 3,500 statues and 135 spires. This spectacular marble structure has a Baroque and neo-Gothic façade and took 500 years to complete.


SO YOU ARE IN MILAN AND YOU HAVE ONLY 48 HOURS... WE ADMIT CITIES SUCH AS MILAN CANNOT BE SEEN IN SUCH A SHORT TIME. BUT, WHEN TIME IS LUXURY AND YOU MUST MAKE YOUR CHOICES, THEN THERE ARE A FEW PLACES THAT YOU HAVE TO VISIT … Milan Santa Maria delle Grazie

Castello Sforzesco Milan, although not famous for its canals as its counterpart, Venice, does have some great cruise options and is a quick and convenient way of enjoying the city’s architecture as well as nightlife. Have a look at the ancient washhouses of vicolo dei Lavandai and San Cristoforo, the Scodellino bridge and the old Darsena port has you quietly waft over the gentle waters. If you’re an Opera buff then try and score a ticket to La Scala which stages cutting-edge

opera. The La Scala can accommodate over two thousand guests and has some of the best acoustics in the world. On day two indulge in some shopping and go all out to pamper yourself. The Rectangle of Gold is where you should be. Milan’s boutiques fit into one square, bordered by via della Spiga, via Manzoni, via Sant’Andrea and via Montenapoleone: the Quadrilatero d’Oro (Rectangle of Gold). Armani, Chanel, Prada, Versace…the list is endless! The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II takes luxury shopping up a notch. Frequented by the rich and the famous, this is the ideal place to unwind and people watch.

Duomo & Plaza

After all the shopping, get some R&R at any one of Milan’s über chic spas. The Bulgari Hotel offers a serene sanctuary with a stone and gold-mosaic swimming pool. For something hot and steamy, try Hammam della Rosa, where you can follow a circuit of varying temperatures, rooms and plunge pools

Fly There Oman Air now offers four flights a week aboard its ultra-luxurious Airbus A330 aircraft. Flights to and from Milan’s Malpensa Airport will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as follows: Muscat – Milan Monday Depart MCT 11.30 Wednesday Depart MCT 02.15 Friday Depart MCT 13.00 Saturday Depart MCT 12.00

Arrive MXP 18.10 Arrive MXP 08.40 Arrive MXP 19.30 Arrive MXP 18.30

Milan – Muscat Monday Depart MXP 20.00 Wednesday Depart MXP 10.35 Friday Depart MXP 21.00 Saturday Depart MXP 20.00

Arrive MCT 07.15 Arrive MCT 22.00 Arrive MCT 08.15 Arrive MCT 07.15


FEATURE

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Diamonds are forever... ANYONE WHO LOVES THE SPARKLING GEMS KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORDINARY CUT AND A ROYAL ASSCHER CUT. BREGJE VAN BAAREN MEETS MIKE ASSCHER, A SIXTH GENERATION DIAMANTAIRE FROM THE LEGENDARY ROYAL ASSCHER DIAMOND COMPANY

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iamonds often symbolise a love story, even if the story already ended, because diamonds are forever. They are also a girl’s best friend. So much so, that they inspired quotes such as the one from actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, “I never hated a man enough to give him diamonds back”, and another one from singer Shirley Bassey, who said, “Diamonds never leave you... men do!”

And, of course, no diamond story is complete without mentioning the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor, who is known for love affairs, especially the one she has had with jewellery (this has probably been the longest relationship she has ever had!). The story goes that billionaire Richard Burton’s (for the uninitiated, Burton was among one of Elizabeth’s many fiancés and twice her husband) first purchase for his then-wife-to-be, was a 33.19K Asscher-cut Krupp Diamond, in 1968. This diamond had formerly been part of the estate of Vera Krupp, second wife of the steel magnate Alfred Krupp. Elizabeth still wears this stone in a ring. She has worn it in a number of her films she made after 1968 and just about everywhere else she went. “Big girls need big diamonds,” as Elizabeth famously once said. We know you maybe as curious as we were

to find out where Burton bought it from. Well, the ones that cut the famous diamond were the Dutch Asscher Brothers of the Royal Asscher Diamond Company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They developed the Asscher-cut diamond in 1902. It is a stepped square cut, often called the “square emerald cut” and like an emerald cut, the Asscher has cropped corners. Fans of the famous SATC-series may remember that Aidan proposed to the main character Carrie Bradshaw with a solitaire Asscher-cut engagement ring, which she then famously wore around her neck instead of at her finger. But Asscher has more to offer to magpie eyes with a weakness for shiny things; such as the 31.05K ‘Stars of Africa’ diamond, cut by the Asscher family of jewelers in 1908. The ‘Stars of Africa’ diamond ring is crafted from white, yellow and rose gold and is encrusted/ embellished with enough diamonds to light up the sky as stars do. In fact, these diamonds even resemble stars as they are encased in a fluid filled sapphire dome, which allows the diamonds to fall freely, as if you have captured the shooting stars that appear at night at Wahaiba Sands. We decided to ask Mike Asscher, VicePresident, Royal Asscher Diamond Company, some questions about diamonds and the Stars of Africa in particular. It is not only a beautiful diamond ring, but also contributes to a worthy cause (whoever purchases one makes a significant contribution to a good cause in Africa).


FEATURE

What is it about the Asscher cut that makes it so unique and so famous all around the world? When was it designed and by whom? “The original Asscher Cut was designed by my great-great-great grandfather Joseph Asscher in 1902 and was the first patented diamond cut in the world. We were very successful with this cut, which has been copied unsuccessfully by many. In the beginning of the 1900s a patent was valid for 50 years, today the validity is 20 years. Right before the World War II, we had around 750 polishers working for us and now we have only 15 people, including our family. We had to rebuild our company from scratch and because the patent expired we focused on different diamond cuts. We began rebuilding our company. It was a momentous occasion for us when we received our Royal title from Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 1980. “In 1999, we began research on a new Asscher Cut and in 2001 we introduced the Royal Asscher Cut. It is a remake of the old Asscher Cut (today a square emerald cut is always called an Asscher Cut), but optimised in beauty, brilliance, and light performance. The greatest difference is that the Royal Asscher Cut is a perfectly square-step cut diamond and has 74 facets, 16 more than the original Asscher Cut. When one compares a Royal Asscher Cut with a so-called ‘Asscher Cut’ or square emerald cut, the difference in beauty is immense. “The success of the Asscher Cut in the early 1900s and the great success of the Royal Asscher Cut over the last 10 years has been mainly because there has not been one company in the world that has been able to match the beauty of our work. One can find many brilliant cut diamonds, however there is only one true branded square cut diamond and that is ours.” How did you come up with the ‘Stars of Africa’ project, anything to do with the

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so-called conflict or blood diamonds that damaged the diamond industry around the world? What does the ring stand for? “Two years ago my sister Lita Asscher travelled down to Sierra Leone. She spent about two weeks in the country and her first thoughts were to set up a project for the African diamond producing countries. There are about one million people depending on the diamond industry in all African nations and hence we decided to donate part of the profits from our jewellery collection to what we now call the ‘Stars of Africa’ project. The name connotes two things: Firstly, the Cullinan diamond, the largest rough diamond ever found till today, was called the ‘Star of Africa’. This diamond was donated to King Edward VII of Great Britain who then asked the Royal Asscher Diamond Company to cut and polish this diamond for him. Secondly, we decided to call our new jewellery collection also the ‘Stars of Africa’ collection. We believe the true ‘Stars of Africa’ are her people, whom we would like to support. “The project does not focus on blood diamonds. Our focus is on the children. We donate part of our profits to the diamond empowerment fund. Founded in 2007, The Diamond Empowerment Fund™ (D.E.F.) is a non-profit international organisation with the mission to raise money to support education initiatives that develop and empower economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource. So when you look at the ring and you see the diamonds floating freely in a fluid filled dome made of Sapphire crystal, we think of the ‘Stars of Africa’, her people.” Is it the first design of its kind in terms of the floating diamonds that resemble shooting stars? From what kind of gold are the rings crafted? “Yes, we even have a patent on the design as this is probably the biggest innovation in the


past decade of the jewellery industry. There is nobody in the world who has created floating diamonds before. The full collection now also contains pendants, necklaces, earrings, cufflinks and of course a beautiful ring collection, with five different styles, made from 18K white, yellow and pink gold and platinum.” If we were to buy one of your ‘Stars of Africa’ rings, will I be kept updated about the developments with regard to the project in Africa? “The reason why we have dedicated our project to the diamond empowerment fund is so that we can strictly follow what will happen to the money donated. Also the money is not donated to governments, but to create scholarships for children, who can study at the African leadership academy in Johannesburg. Everybody who purchases a ‘Stars of Africa’ ring can follow the diamond empowerment fund via their website and also via our website. We update everybody on a monthly basis.” How would you describe your own ‘affair’ with diamonds; what does a diamond stand for, from your personal perspective? “I would say my affair with diamonds is almost as intense as my marriage. I can look at diamonds all day long and think of them every other second. It is my passion and it is my life. Working with these beautiful gems is an enormous pleasure. Knowing you are always working on a product which will be given at a unique moment in someone’s life. One day it

is an engagement, the other day it is the birth of a child, an anniversary or just because one would like to show their eternal love to his or her partner in life. “A diamond is one of the most precious and rare products one can find on earth and it is as special to work with such a product. Specially, when you realise that, being the 6th generation, I work for one of the oldest diamond companies in Europe. With a heritage of more than 155 years is for me one of the most beautiful things we can embrace. But of course the first and most important thing in my life is my wife and family.” A girl’s best friend - what is that draws women in particular to diamonds? “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, why… firstly, because diamonds are the symbol of everlasting love. Secondly, every woman would love to own some glitter and glamour. The brilliance of a diamond is a mesmerising optical illusion of light reflected on its inner surface. The sparkle the catches your eye every time you look at it and know it is such a precious stone, make many heart beat a little faster.” What about the men? “Men also have a great affection with diamonds. Some like it because it shows luxury and a certain lifestyle, others because the sparkle is too captivating and catches your eyes every time you look at it. Especially now, with the launch of our Stars of Africa collection, men can wear floating diamonds as cufflinks of rings. I myself can look at them for hours. We have

had some great male customers throughout our history. Among them have been Emperor Hirohito of Japan and King Edward VII of Great Britain, who ordered us to cut and polish the world’s largest diamond ever found.” Is it true that Richard Burton’s first jewellery purchase for Elizabeth Taylor was a 33.19k Asscher-cut Krupp diamond in 1968? Are there any other famous wearers of the Asscher-cut? “Yes this is true. There are many famous people wearing Asscher Cut diamonds, but we cannot reveal their names because of privacy issues. Of course there are Hollywood stars such as Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba and many more. Our crown princess Maxima wears an orange diamond, which comes from our factory.”

Royal Asscher Cut


2011

Bling Bling

KARA ROSS, JEWELLERY DESIGNER, ON ‘THE’ BLING THINGS THIS SEASON…

Colour Blocking Colour blocking is a staple if you can do it well, and it’s staging a return. Most people think about it only in terms of clothing, but accessories can provide that block of colour as well. The delicate stones here are citrine, a lovely yellow shade that would pop when incorporated into a larger aesthetic – my favorite would be to pair it with lavenders, navys, grays…it can make an outfit fashionforward without being too forward for a day look.

The New Luxury It was pure fun when Marc Jacobs sent shoes with horse hooves as heels down the runway for Louis Vuitton, but there was something else there too – that dark, tactile appreciation of luxurious materials made into exceptional pieces. I think we’re really going to go in that direction, and it’s something I emphasised both in my first Gemstone Collection and now my second. The polished sheen of the silver contrasts with the rough edges of the facets, but there’s a beauty there that’s still very accessible and feminine. Tactile, architectural, but still with luxury’s trademarks of sterling silver, 18K gold, and gemstones – the new luxury is defined by irregular and astonishing beauty. Make it fun by piling them up your arm à la Zsa Zsa Gabor!

Gauguin-Inspired Palettes I think we’re really getting back into colour after a few seasons of very minimalistic palettes (I’m personally very excited by this – I make my team laugh all the time because I’m always asking how we can put more colour on everything, from our website to our pieces to our invites!). It’s defined by a brazen yet dreamy palette. I’m very proud of a new design innovation we introduced in my Resort 2010 collection – clear resin layered over python skin. It’s amazing, it magnifies the skin and makes the colour so rich. Here the resin is over sky blue glitter python, and it adds such a lux air to the piece.

Natural Materials Nothing represents Spring 2011’s focus on sustainability and green fashion better than natural materials. I myself have always found natural materials more fun to work with – I love that no two of my exotic skin bags are exactly the same! – and as a GIA-certified gemologist, can even admit that I’ve gone to school just because of that interest. These earrings actually detach to create a pair of studs and a pendant as well. It’s my little nod to sustainability, even in the world of fine gems. We may be using natural materials, but it’s still a very thoughtful use that limits as much waste as possible.

The Modern Classic The resurgence of the ‘preppy’ look in the past season has been amazing – I live for button downs and tailored pants. (Although, I have to admit – I do pair them with really powerful shoes and my vintage finds, like this tea-length blue velvet coat I bought at a bazaar in Turkey!) It’s really going to be here for a while – the loungewear-as-outerwear look seen on so many runways is great, but not appropriate enough for most daytime wardrobes. You can be classic but still be whimsical – never let a trend dictate every aspect of a look! This necklace has a clean, modern aesthetic that is still young and fresh.

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2011

ROSEMIN MANJI, FOUNDER OF RR&CO. BESPOKE LUXURY MANAGEMENT AND STYLIST TO THE STARS, ON WHAT’S HOT THIS SEASON…

CHIC’S THE WORD

The best part about Spring-Summer collections is the crisp whites and splashes of colours. Being spoiled with glorious sunshine in this region, we are fortunate to extend our Spring/Summer wardrobes more than any other fashion capital, which is another reason why you should invest in key pieces for the Spring/Summer. Trust me, as soon as September hits in London or New York the dark colour palettes of black and grey will take over the closets and closed toe heels and boots will have replaced the strappy heels and embellished sandals. For all of us that love fashion, it’s important to spot the trends early and make friends with the sales assistants in your favourite stores so you have first option on sizes.

Finally, remember not to wear a ‘trend’ head to toe. It’s all about personal style and incorporating a trend in your personal wardrobe.

THE VARIOUS SPRING/SUMMER 2011 COLLECTIONS HAD SOME COMMON THEMES:

BLOCK COLOURS Marc Jacobs Philip Lim Issa London Peter Pilotto

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CRISP WHITES Celine Narisco Rodriguez Valentino Chloé

FLORAL PATTERNS Oscar de la Renta Jason Wu Chanel Stella Mc Cartney Louis Vuitton Alberta Ferretti


Colour me pretty

OLIVIER ECHAUDEMAISON, CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR GUERLAIN, GIVES YOU THE HEADS UP ON THE ‘IN’ LOOKS… Colours are back! Spring will be joyful! Orange, coral, pink, lavender. The big trend is fresh, luminous, happy. It is to keep away from ‘nude’ or too dramatic, too theatrical, with touches of colours on the cheeks, on the eyelids, and, of course, on the lips. Lately, trends went from beige, nude, “flesh” colours to dark ones, which implied a dark makeup with features like a dark, smoky eye. And it has been a while since we have not had shimmering playful colours that give happiness and pep to women who use them. So, after this quite long ‘dark’ period in a context of global crisis, creators and designers think that it is the right moment to turn the spotlight on colour. As makeup is a coordinated accessory, it comes in pink, fuchsia, coral – all colours that are characteristic of springtime!


RETROSPECTIVE

THE ART OF DANCE KIKUNOKAI BRINGS FORTH THE ART OF KABUKI, A COLLECTION OF JAPANESE CLASSICAL AND FOLKLORIC DANCE AND DRAMA PIECES, FOR THE MODERN-DAY AUDIENCE. SIGNATURE MET UP WITH THE PERFORMERS FOR A CHAT…

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Satoshi Hata with troupe members

apan, since time immemorial has been the cultural capital of east Asia. And Japanese dance troupe Kikunokai is yet another testament to the artistic ingenuity emerging from there. For 37 years, the troupe has been dazzling audiences around the world with performances in Los Angeles, New York, Taiwan, Mexico, Germany, Czech Republic, Singapore, and Brazil among many others. And although performing in Oman was a first for Kikunokai, they have had a string of performances in various cities across the Middle East. About 25 years ago the troupe performed in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain and just four years back they visited and performed for audiences in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. “This is our first time in Oman,” says the troupe. “This year, the Japanese Embassy invited us especially for the 40th Year of Renaissance of His Majesty the Sultan.” Curious to know more we asked them about their first impression of Oman. “It is a beautiful country,” everyone agrees enthusiastically. “We haven’t had much time to go around but from whatever we’ve seen, it’s wonderful. Like an oasis, it’s full of greenery.” Kikunokai, which in Japanese means chrysanthemum, was founded by renowned dancer and choreographer Michiyo Hata. Michiyo herself trained under the great Kikunojo Onoe I, headmaster of the Onoe ryu school and successor of Onoe Kikugoro VI, one of the greatest kabuki actors in the post-Meiji period. Today, due to her unfortunate and untimely demise in August 2010, the troupe is being headed by Satoshi Hata. Satoshi was under the tutelage of Michiyo from the age of 10. He worked alongside her since and often starred opposite her in some of the major plays of Kikunokai. Satoshi however admits that although he is the representative of the group, they still work as a team. “Michiyo Hata was such a great dancer and choreographer, one person simply cannot take over everything,“ says Satoshi. “My colleagues and I have to work together.

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We need unity. And since it’s only been three months since her demise, we are still performing all her choreography.” Their performance in Oman comprised of two acts, combining traditional dance moves from different parts of Japan with modern elements of dance and storytelling. And maintaining this balance between contemporary and classical dance is what’s important. “We try to make our shows traditional, creative and modern because we want the younger generation to appreciate it. So our concept mainly involves traditional art form along with modernised performances. Michiyo Hata thought that in order to get accepted by the younger generation we have to infuse new concepts and creativity whilst keeping traditional styles. That’s why we are also popular with the younger generation.” And this, perhaps, explains why Kikunokai has lasted so many years in a field where dance companies don’t last for more than a couple of decades. Their first act features classical dance performances, namely, Kotobuki Kiku Sanba-so and Shakkyo, which is popularly known as the Lion Dance, as well as a Noh Comedy entitled Tsuri Onna or Fishing for Wives. Story telling is the main theme of the second act and comprises of pieces welcoming spring, celebrating the gifts of nature along with other folk dances that portray various facets of life in villages across Japan. Fisherman celebrating their catch (Goiwai), family relationships (Yasaburo Bushi) and even the spirit of love (Rokucho) are

expressed via fluid dance movements. Each dance incorporates styles and techniques distinctive to a particular region and reflects the local beliefs and way of life. Thus bringing forth the otherwise unknown folk culture to a modern-day audience in Japan and abroad. “Our image in the world is mainly related to technology, economy and animation,“ says one of the troupe members. “But we want to change that image. We want the world to see our culture and traditional creativity. We wish to introduce the ‘Japanese spirit’ to the world.” And there’s certainly no other better way to spread the ‘Spirit of Japan’ than through dance! In Japan, Kikunokai have about 300 members and to them, dance is a way of life. For some it

is because of dance that they met the greatest master while for some it is a way of communicating with the rest of the world. No matter what their beliefs it is clear that dance, for them, is like a religion - something deeply personal and spiritual. “Many bodies, one mind,” that is what they believe in their heart of hearts. And it is with this mantra that Kikunokai opens up a new zeitgeist of performing arts.


2011

SWEET MUSIC TOP ACTS TO WATCH OUT FOR THIS YEAR… Bruno Mars For Bruno Mars this is just the beginning; after two massive hits last year he’s set to rule the charts in 2011.

Avril Lavigne Because this punk-rock princess is set to prove that she’s still got the music in her.

Amos Lee A soft dulcet voice, smooth jazz riffs and lots of soul. Need we say more?

Britney Spears Despite some minor hiccups in her otherwise glittering career, she’s still going strong.

Akon Because the world just simply can’t get enough of this genredefying music icon

Rush Trust musically and lyrically evocative Rush to give us pure, unadulterated Rock

Lori McKenna This singer-songwriter blends the old with the new to create music that’s simply divine!

Brad Paisley Not only can he sing but also pick a mean guitar. Paisley is bringing country back!

Pearl Jam Fifteen years and still growing strong. And now it’s return to eminence for Eddie Vedder and his crew 52

Motorhead The trio convenes in 2011 to bring you an explosive album without retreating into techno-dazzle or flashy obscurantism.


WHAT’S ON? THE MUST-SEE MOVIES OF 2011

Even The Rain Two filmmakers get trapped in a labyrinth of exploitation and rampant human rights abuse during a civil war. This film-within-afilm takes Gael Garcia Bernal’s acting skills to a whole new level

Maladies A movie about a retired actor coming to terms with his illness and relationships. Finally a movie that explores James Franco’s immense acting potential.

Bel Ami With an all-star cast including the likes of Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Robert Pattinson, this movie revolves around a young man and his manipulative attempts to rise to power.

Zombieland 2 Continue your how-to-survive-a-zombieapocalypse education with this witty, humourous and action-packed sequel.

Restless From the director of Milk and Good Will Hunting comes the story of a terminally ill teenage girl and a boy and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII.

Biutiful Javier Bardem stars in this sinister movie about a man who possesses the ability to interact with the dead. Alejandro González Iñárritu makes this the most promising film of the year.

My Week With Marilyn Based on the books by Colin Clark, the movie focusses on Clarks interactions with Marilyn Monroe when he’d taken her about London in the summer of 1956.

Take This Waltz A heart wrenching story about a married businesswoman who falls in love with a man only to find out that he lives right across the street.

We Need To Talk About Kevin A high school boy goes on a killing spree and leaves his mother with daunting questions about her parenting skills. Based on the novel by Lionel Shriver.

Big Eyes Kate Hudson stars in this beautiful drama about painter Margaret Keane, her rise to fame and the legal turmoil that she faced when her husband began to claim credit for her works.


PEOPLE

Savoir Faire

RAFFAELE RUGGERI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICE OF BiCE RISTORANTE, SPEAKS TO SIGNATURE ON ITALIAN STYLE, FOOD AND EVERYTHING ELSE…

Raffaele Ruggeri’s passion for hospitality took flight as early as childhood when he spent Sundays with his father and grandmother at BiCE. Ruggeri’s experience paved the road for him as he began working in Los Angeles at the age of 15. From busboy to cook to assistant chef to ultimately participating in all the openings of new restaurants world-wide, there was no stopping Ruggeri. His broad range of skills and driven zeal for hospitality has sparked an illustrious career path and made him the clear heir apparent to his father and Chairman of BiCE Group, Roberto Ruggeri. Signature recently had the opportunity to meet up with Ruggeri, who was here to announce the opening of Bice at Opera Mall Muscat in partnership with Khimji Ramdas. Here are some excerpts from the conversation…

“I DRIVE A PORSCHE CARERRA 4S. BUT I MAINLY DRIVE MY BMW BECAUSE I HAVE THREE KIDS AND THEY DON’T FIT IN MY PORSCHE.”

ON STYLE “Right now, I’m wearing a custom-made suit by Loro Piana who’s definitely one of the top stylists. Italians are not as brand savvy as this part of the world is becoming now. We’ve had years with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci - and yes, we like all that but since there are so many smaller stylish designers in Italy you can find some really high quality outfits apart from the luxury brands. Style is mainly about expression and not about brand recognition. It comes from your heart…” ON FASHION & ADVICE “I think that to be stylish you have to do a little bit of homework and see what trends are out there. To be stylish is feeling comfortable with what you’re wearing. Therefore, have to figure out your own style. You can have all the money in the world and buy the best outfits, but you can’t buy class. Whatever you’re wearing, be comfortable with it. That would be my best personal advice.” ON FOOD “During my entire lifetime, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing many cultures and hence I’ve grown up appreciating all kinds of cuisine. As long as it’s a good meal, it could be in someone’s house, a casual restaurant, I’m happy. When you go out to towns like Dubai, New York or London, they offer you a variety of great food. But I’ll tell you one thing, I love Indian food. I love Thai food as well but Indian is one of my favourites.”

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The network of BiCE restaurants spanning the world today began in 1926 in Milan, Italy. BiCE is found in the fashion with tourist capitals in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. With a skillful mix of traditional and newer trends in Italian cuisine, BiCE Restaurants are a reflection of extraordinary hospitality, warmth and great cooking.


SIGNATURE PROMOTIONS

SOAK IN LUXURY

WANT AN ARMANI IN YOUR BATHROOM? GET READY FOR THE ULTIMATE IN INTERIOR DESIGN SOLUTIONS, ESPECIALLY FOR YOU BY ARMANI/ROCA…

Created by the Giorgio Armani group in partnership with the Spanish bathroom experts Roca, both companies world leaders in their respective sectors, this stunning new concept for the bathroom transforms it into a comfortable and harmonious environment with an elegant and personal ambience. Technologically advanced solutions distinguish this bathroom collection – well separated functional areas, tiling, flooring, wall covering, lighting and ceiling finishes all combine to project Giorgio Armani’s style and ethos for the home into the bathroom area. Armani/Roca embodies Giorgio Armani’s unmistakable flair for interpreting the mood of a home, transferring his individual aesthetic values to product development and interior design. The areas of beauty, wellness and basic necessities have been distinguished to preserve the intimacy of each, yet at the same time the sense of openness is not lost. These different areas are separated, or connected, by means of a sophisticated system of glass partitions encasing metallic material. Their opacity mechanism allows those who prefer greater privacy to control the degree of intimacy in the different areas. The Armani/Roca bathroom fulfills the strictest criteria of pure design without ever compromising on luxury and sensuality. It achieves this fine balance through the selection of materials, choice of textures and some unexpected pairings. For the first time, the bathroom nucleus is configured as an island with the exquisite touch of the finest porcelain, where the basin, sanitary ware, and bath and shower area are concentrated. This is a modular system in a range of sizes, offered in a dual palette of materials and shades: black with tap fittings in the same shade and ceramic wall tiling in a shagreen effect (a rare and precious material that epitomises the Armani style), and greige, with wall coverings in a reeded texture and fluid colours for the sanitary ware and flooring. Faucets, where functionality prevails, are reduced to the minimum; the bath, filled with water by an internal shutter, features a system unique to Armani/Casa, inspired by vanishing edge pools and never used in this context before. The system is completed by the jet shower, which performs a traditional and targeted massage. If desired, the illuminated false ceiling can be fitted with coloured lights for chromotherapy. As a result of the innovative island design, the surrounding walls of the room can be left completely free from major fittings.


BUZZ

KICK-OFF 2022 Lusail The new Lusail Iconic Stadium, with a capacity of 86,250, will host the opening and final matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. The stadium takes its inspiration from the sail of a traditional dhow boat and is surrounded by water.

Doha Port This new stadium will be a completely modular stadium with 44,950 seats. The stadium, which will sit on an artificial peninsula in the Gulf, is designed to evoke its marine setting. Water from the Gulf will run over its outer façade, aiding in the cooling process and adding to its visual allure. Fans will have the option of arriving on a water taxi or ferry.

Education City This Stadium takes the form of a jagged diamond, glittering by day and glowing by night. The 45,350 seat stadium will be located in the midst of several university campuses at Education City, easily accessible for fans both in Qatar and in neighbouring Bahrain.

Umm Slal Located in the vicinity of one of Qatar’s most historically important forts, this stadium will have 45,120 seats. The design is a modern interpretation of traditional Arab forts, like the one in nearby Umm Slal Mohammed.

Qatar University Replacing an existing track and field stadium on Qatar University’s campus, the stadium will have 43,520 seats. The stadium’s gold façade blends traditional Arabic geometric patterns with free-form open surfaces, conjuring both past and future.

Al Gharafa The existing 21,175 capacity stadium will be expanded to 44,740 seats using modular elements forming an upper tier. The façade will be made up of ribbons representing the nations that qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ and will symbolise football and the mutual friendship, tolerance and respect that the tournament represents.

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Did you Know?

A SNEAK PEEK AT THE ECO-FRIENDLY, CARBON-NEUTRAL STADIUMS THAT WILL PLAY HOST TO FIFA WORLD CUP 2022

All of the stadiums will harness the power of the sun’s rays to provide a cool environment for players and fans by converting solar energy into electricity When games are not taking place, the solar installations at the stadiums will export energy onto the power grid. During matches, the stadiums will draw energy from the grid. This is the basis for the stadiums’ carbon-neutrality The upper tier of nine of the stadiums will be removed after the tournament. One, Doha Port Stadium, will be completely modular, and will be deconstructed following the FIFA World Cup. The upper tiers will be sent to developing nations, which often lack sufficient football infrastructure

Al Khor This will be a brand new 45,330 capacity stadium with a stunning seashell motif and a flexible roof with 25,500 permanent lower tier seats and 19,830 modular upper tier seats. The stadium offers spectators a stunning view of the Arabian Gulf from their seats and will be located in a sports and recreation zone.

Al Rayyan The existing stadium with a seating capacity of 21,282 will be expanded to 44,740 seats using modular elements to form an upper tier. The stadium is designed with a special ‘media membrane’ façade that acts as a screen for projecting news, updates and current matches. The stadium will be downsized to its current capacity after the tournament.

Al Wakrah Al Wakrah is one of Qatar’s oldest cities, with a long history of commercial fishing and pearl diving. The stadium, with a capacity of 45,120, takes its cues from the sea that has played such an important role in the city’s history.

Al Shamal The stadium will have a capacity of 45,120, with a permanent lower tier of 25,500 seats and a modular upper tier of 19,620 seats. The stadium’s shape is derived from the ‘dhow’ fishing boat. Spectators are expected to arrive from the Doha Expressway, water taxis, the Bahrain-Qatar Friendship Bridge and the new metrorail.

Khalifa International Redesigned for Qatar’s successful hosting of the 2006 Asian Games, this stadium’s current capacity of 50,000 will be expanded to 68,030 for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. The stadium, which includes sweeping arcs and partially covered stands, is the centerpiece of Aspire Zone sports complex.

Sports City Drawing inspiration from traditional Arab tents, Sports City Stadium will have 47,560 seats, a retractable roof, partly retractable pitch and retractable stands.


THE LAST WORD 2

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9

I can’t live without my BlackBerry

IQÉ«°ùdG ºbôH ºàgCG ’ ÊCG øe ºZôdG ≈∏Y ¬«∏Y π°üMCG ¿CG πeBGh 7 ºbôdG ÖMCG ÊCG ’EG .2011 ΩÉY ‘ Although deep down I don’t care about the car number, I always want the number 7 (Hopefully I will get it in 2011)

1 0 .ójõŸG ∫ƒb ™«£à°SCG ’ ∞°SBG Sorry can’t think of anymore…

58

10

things we did not know about racer

Ahmad Al Harthy…

(I hope they got it right above)

The hardest time for me to fall asleep is the night before a race

É¡aô©f ’ AÉ«°TCG ≥HÉ°ùàŸG øY »KQÉ◊G óªMCG

Signature - (English) January 2011  

Signature - (English) January 2011

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