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winter 2013

south florida opulence magazine

T o p FEAT U RES Photo: Kate Benson,

for connoisseurs of luxury living


Bravo Romero Britto!

winter 2013 horizon publishing llc







An exclusive interview with world renowned neo-pop artist Romero Britto – and his latest portrait model: Palm Beach author and socialite Ava Roosevelt (granddaughter-in-law of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt)!

Thought Provoking


with a Churchillian Legacy Edwina Sandys & Sir Winston Churchill:

Granddaughter and Grandfather – His influences and how she basks in his sunlight


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013

Portrait of ava roosevelt By Romero Britto


Plot of an Undercover FBI Agent: Against All Odds

Author Geoff Hammond interviews the real Special FBI Agent behind his character “Alex Veracruz” in his novel The Last Khan.


Introducing our newest column!


Our newest columnist, Ava Roosevelt, launches her first Q&A in South Florida Opulence with an intriguing interview with musical maestro Itzhak Perlman and his wife Toby about how they're shaping the maestros of tomorrow.

Fisher Island Club, on legendary Fisher Island, is a true private island oasis where exclusive access to its historic cottages, pristine beaches, P.B. Dye golf course, Spa Internazionale, 18-court tennis center, deep water marinas & dining venues are reserved for a select few. Located just a 7-minute ferry ride from Miami Beach, this island enclave offers its residents, members, and hotel guests the ultimate in privacy & security. For information about membership, please contact the Membership Office. Call 305.535.6076 or visit


features 32 


igniting bazaar culinary magic Iconic Chef José Andrés’ first restaurant in Miami.


A Rich History of Rum Rum has long been known as the drink of the West Indies. Journey through rum's intoxicating history.

39  45  50  54


The Legacy of Rolex Hans Wilsdorf set about developing a precise, well-designed wristwatch and eventually launched the iconic luxury Rolex brand.

S t. Andrews: The Home of Golf Golf has been played on the links at St. Andrews in Scotland since 1400 AD.

s hoe Savoir-Faire Louis Vuitton – the world’s leading luxury brand – presents the new “Made to Order Shoes” service in Maison Aventura.

CIGAR  STORY INSPIREs AN ANDY GARCIA MOVIE The true tale behind The Lost City Cigar by Fuente Fuente OpusX was so moving it inspired Andy Garcia to direct a motion picture about it. Don't miss this interview with legendary cigar maker Carlito Fuente and Andy Garcia. Celebrating  The Grace of A princess Effortless style and beauty made Grace Kelly one of the most photographed women in the world.

66  interview with Saks Fifth Avenue

CEO Steve Sadove Get the inside scoop on the historic luxury retailer.

76  Cesar Ritz:

The hotelier of kings For the classic rags to riches story, look no further than the famed Cesar Ritz.


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013

A  rt in the Landscape: Part 1 Landscape architecture expert Hugh Williamson and his wife, butterfly garden expert Mary, provide a compelling look at Italian garden design in the U.S. and how butterfly gardens play a role.

84  vizcaya

Preserving the treasures of American splendor at Miami’s Vizcaya museum, the breathtaking historic Tuscan-style mansion built by farm-equipment magnate James Deering 100 years ago.

87  Chairs: A reflection of personality

Do you know what the chairs in your home say about you? Discover the surprising and rich history of chairs.

90 Designer Extraordinaire

An exclusive interview with Steven G. – founder of South Florida’s largest design firm.

108 Aston Martin Vanquish: Gentlemen’s exotic From the first glance, the Vanquish is unlike any supercar on the market today. This “gentlemen’s exotic” is a truly elegant statement in design.


Photo Courtesy of John D. Adams

features (continued) 112 Meet the World’s Best Frame

Ava Roosevelt Interviews Maestro Itzhak Perlman & his wife Toby about how they are shaping the maestros of tomorrow.

Dining Guide

116 The History of Mosaics

Discover how the Romans transformed mosaic from an art to a common decorative medium – and meet internationally known modern-day mosaic artists.

120 Night at the (resort) museum

Museum-quality sculpture art tours at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne and Boca Raton Resort and Club.

124 N ecker island

Anti-Aging Science


What if your body had a ‘reset’ button? Innovation in cellular regeneration and repair

Business Leader 130 New Jet International 20 years of passion, hard work and experience

Condo Law

Sir Richard Branson’s favorite hideaway.

28 -30

Newest Dining Spots in Miami and Weston

Federal Court Decision Further Narrows Service Animal Abuse

128, 138

How Loud Is Too Loud in Your Condominum?

Condo Living


Audit for Your Association?




An exclusive interview with Wicked star Christine Dwyer.


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013

How Board Members Should Negotiate Short Sales

Philanthropy 140

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere Docking Speakers Tabletop Saltwater Aquarium Folding Electric Mini-Farthing Non-Diluting Whiskey Cold Stones


132, 134

Hilton Head Island Heroes – A story of love and hope

18-19 20


Cultural Insights Q & A 24

Carver Par Excellence South Florida Opulence sat down with Eli Wilner to discuss his career, his idea of beauty, and the new projects he’s exploring.



South Florida’s most well-heeled ZIP Code


Editor’s Letter And Now You Know the Rest of the Story Those were the closing words of one of my favorite journalists – the late Paul Harvey – whose daily radio spot, The Rest of the Story, captivated listeners with stories of littleknown facts that ended with a compelling surprise. The thrill of the search for the storybehind-the-story is what makes me tick. And it’s a significant basis for the content in South Florida Opulence. Take, for example, our top cover story. While I’m certain you already know that Sir Winston Churchill was one of the finest statesman to ever live, the “rest of the story” you probably don’t know is that he was an avid painter. His granddaughter, Edwina Sandys, inherited his artistic talent – not to mention his wit and worldly insight. She resides in New York City and has created some of the most thoughtful, provocative, award-winning paintings and sculptures of recent times. Read our exclusive interview with Edwina on page 101. And then there’s Romero Britto. It’s a given you’ve seen the vibrant neo-pop art of this world-renowned South-Beach-based artist. However, “the rest of the story” is that his latest genre of painting is portraits of royalty and celebrities. His most recent unveiling was the portrait of Palm Beach author and socialite Ava Roosevelt, the wife of the late William Donner Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You’ll find our heartwarming interview with Romero on page 94 and our riveting interview with Ava on page 96. Speaking of Ava Roosevelt, I’m excited to announce she is the author of our newest column: Cultural Insights Q&A. In this issue, Ava interviews musical maestro Itzhak Perlman and his wife Toby. Find out “the rest of the story” on page 24 about how they’re shaping the maestros of tomorrow. Inside, you’ll also find the story-behind-the-story on many more fascinating topics including the life of iconic hotelier Cesar Ritz; the intoxicating history of rum; the legacy that makes Rolex tick; the little-known history of chairs; an incognito interview with the real-life FBI special agent behind the fictional character in the recent thriller The Last Khan; and the scientific cellular regeneration research unfolding in Tampa that may truly turn back the clock on aging and cure diseases with a cellular “restart” biomedical discovery. And now, my friends, turn the page to get “the rest of the story.” Robin Jay , Editor in Chief


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013

HORIZON PUBLISHING PUBLISHER Geoff Hammond Jayne Hammond David Hammond Mark Blackburn P U B L I S I N G


CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Adriana Naylor 954-331-3912 PR AND MARKETING MANAGER Chantal Forster 954-331-3390 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John D. Adams Michael Bender, Esq. Donna Berger, Esq. Susan Berkman Lilian Broca Brent Butterworth Carolina Cardona Charles L. Cox, Ph.D. Hope Gainer Jule Guaglardi Geoff Hammond

Cara Jay Steve G. Mason Andrew Rand Ava Roosevelt Richard Scott Alex Starace Joshua Stone Cynthia Terpstra Nicole Tufts Mary & Hugh Williamson

PHOTOGRAPHERS Kate Benson, Larry Hodge Mel Jay Douglas Lance Christopher M. Twardy PROOFREADER Susie Shaw EVENT MAKEUP ARTIST Tiane Fernandez (305) 781-1947 South Florida Opulence Magazine is published quarterly by Horizon Publishing LLC. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Horizon Publishing LLC, 6700 North Andrews Avenue, Suite 400, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 – Vol. 3, No.1, Winter 2013 (ISSN # 2157-5274) Subscription Rates: $40 per year, $10 per issue. For subscription inquiries or change of address, contact the subscription department, (954) 308-4300 Ext. 4312, Fax: (954) 331-6028. Horizon Publishing, LLC, its affiliates and contributing writers have exercised due care in compiling the information contained herein, but with the possibility of human or mechanical error, cannot assume liability for the accuracy of this data. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in part or in full in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording and any information storage and retrieval system without first obtaining permission from the publisher.

E c l e c t i c . C o n t e m p o r a r y. C l a s s i c .

E L I T ’ S C O L L E C T I O N – A C A N T H U S | D E S I G N : M A R C O P E N AT I & M A R I N A B A N I




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Gadgets Philips Fidelio SoundSphere Docking Speakers with AirPlay 

Bring life back into music with deep, natural audio delivered by acoustic SoundSphere technologies. Equipped with AirPlay, these elegant Philips DS9860W speakers let you stream songs directly from iPod, iPhone, iPad and also iTunes. $700

Tabletop Saltwater Aquarium 

Unlike typical tabletop saltwater aquariums with ineffective filtration, this superior aquarium filters the water 5X more often to maintain a clean, oxygenated environment. When the dome is lifted, it more than doubles the capacity of the aquarium, allowing you to clean the aquarium without having to remove the water or fish. $129.95

Folding Electric Mini-Farthing 

This is the folding electric bicycle inspired by the large-wheeled penny farthing popular in the late 19th century. The smallest folding electric bicycle in the world when measured by its 43-liter volume—the reason for which it holds the Guinness World Record—it compacts to 23 1/2” L x 6” W x 23 1/2” H in just 20 seconds for easy transport or storage. $5,000

Non-Diluting Whiskey Cold Stones 

This is a set of 12 cold-retentive whiskey stones that keep distilled spirits chilled without diluting the flavor like melted ice. Made from soapstone, a naturally cold-retentive metamorphic rock formed under intense pressure over millions of years, the tasteless, odorless, and non-porous stones cool a glass of whiskey while preserving the natural taste and aroma of the distilled spirit. $39.95


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013



6 Condos Sold

2 Condos Sold



4 Condos Sold, 2 Pending Sales

MURANO AT PORTOFINO 13 Condos Sold, 1 Pending Sale


6 Condos Sold


11 Condos Sold

Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE


Out and About February-may


12-5/19 26-30 19-24 february-march


The Curator’s Farewell Exhibition:

Ziff Ballet Opera House – Adrienne Arsht Center Miami

Cool Stuff from the Morikami Museum’s Collection Boca Raton After 35 years of dedicated service to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Cultural Director and Senior Curator Tom Gregersen will step down. But before he says “sayonara,” Gregersen will share some favorite objects from the museum’s treasure vault, while presenting the personal stories of adventure and triumph that lie behind them all. Go to or call 561-495-0233. 


Priscilla Queen of The Desert

Ziff Ballet Opera House – Adrienne Arsht Center Miami This spectacular show tells the uplifting story of a trio of friends on a road trip of a lifetime, who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed.


Parker Playhouse Fort Lauderdale Valerie Harper re-creates her Tony Award® nominated performance as Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo’s Looped. Southern, but by no means a belle, Tallulah Bankhead was known for wild partying and convention-defying exploits.


FELA!, the Tony Award-winning international sensation produced by Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith and Ruth & Stephen Hendel, comes to Miami for a limited engagement. FELA! is a provocative hybrid of dance, theatre and music exploring the extravagant world of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti., 305.949.6722


T h e at r e

5-17 Flashdance

Broward Center for the Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale FLASHDANCE, the pop-culture phenomenon and runaway international success, is now live on stage! It all started with a dream. To be bigger. To burn brighter. To dance harder.

Romeo & Juliet March 23-24 Olympic Heights Performing Arts Theatre Don’t miss the stunning performance of a romantic love story. For information, call (561) 995-0709.


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013



Barrett-Jackson Opening Night Gala



South Florida Fairgrounds Palm Beach

Barrett-Jackson, the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions,™” is hosting its Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. This fabulous event will kick off the only Barrett-Jackson collector car auction on the East Coast, which is April 4-6, with both events occurring at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

TANGO LOVERS IN MIAMI Julius Littman Center – Miami

Acclaimed as “The Best Tango Show in the city” by the press and media in Montevideo, Uruguay (“Ultimas Noticias,” March 2012), “A Tango Show at the highest level” (“Banda Oriental,” New York, September 2012) and qualifications such as “The Best Show ever,” Tango Lovers: Enamorados del Tango will be back in April to New York, Miami and now expanding to Palm Beach in Florida.

Up & Coming Events may




Fruit & Spice Park Miami

Admission: $10. A three day event on Friday, May 18, Saturday, May 19 & Sunday, May 20 is the largest annual orchid show in the U.S. featuring over 50 booths of educational exhibits and orchid vendors. An American Orchid Society judged event showcasing various types of orchids, plants, and supplies for sale, as well as lectures by experts, raffles, and international food.

Visit often to check for special promotions! Scan the QR code to visit us online


Broward Center for the Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale

17th Annual Redland International Orchid Festival 2013

Want to win free event tickets?

“‘Chicago’ still GLITTERS HYPNOTICALLY.” - Ben Brantley, The New York Times. A true New York City institution, CHICAGO has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz; one show-stopping-song after another; and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen.

January 2014

march-April 2014


American Idiot


Broward Center for the Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale

“We’re off to see…“ The most magical adventure of them all. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage. “Andrew Lloyd Webber finds new magic over the rainbow! A gorgeous sense of spectacle!” - New York Post


25-4/6 Broward Center for the Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale

Tony Award® winning hit musical AMERICAN IDIOT tells the story of three lifelong friends forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Their quest for true meaning in a post 9/11 world leads them on the theatrical journey of the season.

20-30 26-12/22 25-3/9 29-5/11 november-december

february-march 2014

April-May 2014

The Book of Mormon Broward Center for the Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale

Slava’s Snowshow

Ziff Ballet Opera House – Adrienne Arsht Center Miami The dazzling theatrical extravaganza direct from Buenos Aires, “Snowshow is to clowning what Cirque Du Soleil is to Circus!” – Variety. This thrilling aerial spectacular is  a “sexy, exhilarating, gravity-defying world” by more than a dozen aerialists, dancers and musicians creating a sultry kaleidoscope of action set to an achingly cool original hip-hop and tango-infused score performed by a live orchestra., 305.949.6722

Winner of 9 Tony Awards® including Best Musical! From Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of “South Park,” and Robert Lopez, co-creator of Avenue Q, comes The Book of Mormon, a new Broadway musical that Entertainment Weekly calls “the funniest musical of all time.“


Broward Center for the Performing Arts

From the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, comes a hot new Broadway musical that bursts off the stage with explosive dancing, irresistible songs and a thrilling tale about a white radio DJ who wants to change the world and a black club singer who is ready for her big break.

Winter 2013

GHOST The Musical Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Relive the iconic and magical moments from the Oscar-winning movie GHOST in a brand-new Broadway musical. GHOST The Musical follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic.

South Florida OPULENCE


An exclusive interview with Wicked star Christine Dwyer By John D. Adams On Broadway and around the world, the musical Wicked vividly reimagines the classic story of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, leaving critics and audiences alike spellbound in awe. The untold story of the famous characters – the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good – has captured 35 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards. Now, the national tour of Wicked is coming to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

The Story Behind Wicked From birth to college age, the show chronicles the life of green-skinned Elphaba (whose name was derived from the phonetic sounds of Baum’s own initials L.F.B.). Harsh life experiences alter Elphaba’s innocent reputation, stereotyping her as “wicked.” Spoiled rich girl Glinda, local prince Fiyero and the Wizard of Oz himself – a disturbed man quite unlike the one you may remember from Baum’s rendition – help weave a captivating story.


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013

A passionate political activist, actress Christine Dwyer’s Elphaba character fights the injustice of society in an attempt to undo past mistakes. Dark secrets and tragedies forge the history of Oz, paying tribute to the classic Wizard of Oz story, while changing fans’ understanding of it forever. Wicked reveals there are, indeed, two sides to every story.

Exclusive Interview with Elphaba – Christine Dwyer We sat down with one of this national tour’s stars, Christine Dwyer, who portrays Elphaba (better known as the future Wicked Witch of the West), the lead originated on Broadway by Idina Menzel. We talked about the young actress’s unique voice, her journey to get the role, and an unexpected benefit to playing Elphaba.

Finding her voice “Idina Menzel… she was my inspiration in college. I went to [Hartt School of Music in Connecticut] having a different tone to my voice than most of my classmates. My voice is very low. Hearing someone like Idina, who has a lot of weight to her voice, that really inspired me to work hard to get my voice to a place where I could play a Maureen [from Rent] and Elphaba. Once I trained and realized that there are a variety of voices in this profession, I was inspired to keep working at it.”

Working for the role “My first audition for Wicked was pretty much a disaster. I went to the wrong place for the audition, my voice cracked… I figured that dream of playing in Wicked was over. A couple people from the casting company then saw me in Rent and decided to call me back in again. I was called in for another 3 years. Because Elphaba is such a big role, you need so much stamina; you have to build that up over time. It’s like a sport; you have to train for it.”

Love for Wicked “It’s a show that has a lot to offer everybody. You can bring kids, but it also has a whole political side to it that adults can relate to. It is interesting to take things that the wizard says throughout the show and relate them to our own political climate. Wicked

Christine Dwyer plays the role of Elphaba (future Wicked Witch of the West) in Wicked.

has so many levels, that’s why it continues to stay popular and why there are companies across the world performing it.”

Growing with the role “I connected with Elphaba so much because I was insecure. She is, in many ways, very secure with herself but also she is very socially awkward. To relate to that and put that into the character has helped me to become more secure with myself. I have to play this character that is constantly fighting to have people recognize the good that she is trying to do and everything seems to backfire on her. If I were to continue to be insecure in my own life, I wouldn’t be able to bring that strength to the role… You can’t take yourself too seriously. Occasionally, I’ll think about what my job actually is, and I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and laugh. I think, ‘What am I doing? My job is to be a witch!’” For tickets to Wicked, visit or call 954-462-0222.

Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE


Literary Lounge


A plot of an Undercover FBI agent

By Geoff Hammond


recently sat down with one of the real-life characters in my book, The Last Khan, to share with me some very poignant experiences in his early life that had shaped him into the Special FBI Agent he is today. Those of you who’ve read the book know him as Alex Veracruz, the suave and handsome Puerto Rican sidekick of Xavier. For those that haven’t picked up The Last Khan as yet, the character of Alex Veracruz is portrayed by my very good friend and real-life hero. In the book, his character is enlisted by the protagonist, Dr. Jeremiah Xavier, to help save the world from a most diabolical plot hatched by a maniacal Chinese mogul. In actuality, Veracruz is a remarkable person, whose work as an undercover Special Agent for the FBI far surpasses any fictionalized accounting of his actions. How he became the successful modern-day crime fighter he is today is the stuff of legend and his story of overcoming all odds is very worth noting. For purposes of anonymity, I’ll continue to refer to him by his alias in the book.


South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013

Hammond: Why did you want to share your earliest life experiences? Veracruz: I’m pretty open about my background because I’ve been quite involved working with at-risk youth who may have had or shared similar experiences. Hammond: And what is your message to this at-risk youth? Veracruz: The theme of my message is all about empowerment. You cannot blame anything or anybody for your failure to succeed. While I accept and understand how much of an influencing factor environment can be, I believe to my core that we create our destiny either intentionally or not.



Hammond: What are some of your own earliest childhood recollections? Veracruz: My brother and I were born in the Bronx in the mid-sixties and, unfortunately, both my parents became addicted to heroin which ravaged New York completely destroying countless families. I have very few memories from my childhood, most likely a consequence of my subconscious efforts to block unpleasant experiences.   I was about four years old when my mom started dating Rene, a local drug dealer who pushed heroin from his apartment which we shared with him.  By five, I knew the difference between the product and the cut, the measurements, weighing and packaging.  Heroin is a very ugly drug and it sucks the soul out of you. Hammond: What specifically motivated you to want to write your own story? Veracruz: In one of my undercover cases, I unexpectantly encountered a situation that closely paralleled my own challenging and life-altering childhood. And much to my surprise, it played itself out in an actual FBI case narrative. The following is an introductory snippet from a soon-to-becompleted book about one of Alex Veracruz’s actual exploits: For Tino Lopez, life has never been easy. He grew up on the streets of Little Havana in Miami. His parents were poor immigrants with little education and less money. To make

matters worse, his father was in and out of prison and his mother cared more about heroin than him and his younger brother . . . Developing survival skills was a necessity, and not those Boy Scout survival skills. Tino didn’t need to know how to tie knots or start a fire. He needed food and money. By fourteen he was stripping copper from pipes in abandoned buildings to make some cash. He needed money to save his mother from the grips of heroin, even though she didn’t realize she needed to be saved. It was this dream that saved Tino. It gave him purpose and a reason to dream beyond the crime-ridden neighborhood, poverty and feelings of abandonment . . . By the time heroin won the battle with his mother, Tino was seeking to save someone new. Anyone. He knew how to deal with people. He could read them. Get an angle on what someone wanted, and he had a personality that made people trust him. People who met Tino thought they knew him. People figured Tino was a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of guy. People loved him and he knew exactly how to use this as an asset . . . This actual case is very close to Alex’s heart and strikes a resounding chord in his psyche. To learn more about this remarkable Agent, his struggles and eventual rise to the top of his profession, follow more of his story in upcoming issues of South Florida Opulence. The Last Khan is available at or Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE


Cultural insights

With Ava Roosevelt

photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco


Itzhak Perlman & his wife Toby 24

South Florida OPULENCE

Winter 2013


hree years ago, a mutual friend of the Perlmans and a childhood pal of Itzhak asked me, “How would you like to hear Itzhak Perlman Music Program’s students play at a private concert in Palm Beach? The party would be hosted by the founder of Netscape, Jim Clark. The Maestro and his wife, Toby, will be there.” Having admired Itzhak Perlman’s music, I jumped at the opportunity. Perched high above the sea, Clark’s residence assured a perfect setting. The dinner was superb, the wines were rare and the conversations enlightening. The joy that resulted from hearing students performing a complex, P. Tchaikovksy, String Sextet in D Minor, OP.70, was spellbinding and brought me to tears. Some of the students as young as 16 achieved a level of maturity and technical perfection worthy of the Maestro himself. What really clinched my commitment was last summer’s visit to Shelter Island, the home of The Perlman Music Program and the extraordinary new Kristy and James H. Clark Arts Center. Well into the 22nd century, acoustically speaking, but disguised as a modest housing complex, this 24-bed facility is lovingly called ‘The Ritz.’ Only minutes away from the Hamptons, Clark Arts Center provides an oasis of tranquility. But PMP is nothing less than the most rigorous regiment in a quest for musical perfection in the world. It has been thriving under the watchful eye and a ‘tough-love’ approach of the PMP founder and the wife of Maestro Itzhak Perlman, Toby, since its inception in 1993.

First, a Chat with Toby: Q: When did the idea of The Perlman Music Program come about? A: The idea had been percolating for years beginning in the Juilliard cafeteria during my student days. One day, over lunch, I designed what would later become the core curriculum for PMP. Later, as a parent, I searched for the perfect summer music camp for our own children. There are many fine programs, but my visits to a variety of summer programs always caused the same reaction, “If I were running this program…” I was also influenced by my personal experience. A poor student, I struggled to keep up and often wished for/craved a kinder environment. Q: Why Shelter Island? A: Shelter Island seemed like the perfect spot for us, and time has proven that we made the right choice. We got help from Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Ronald and JoCarole Lauder, and Alberto Vilar who enabled us to create our very own PMP campus. Q: What makes PMP different from other musical programs? A: There are many fine, excellent summer music programs in the United States. PMP is different, in part, because of its size. We accept a maximum of 40 students in our 7-week pre-college Littles  program and because students have the right of return through their 18th summer, we have very few openings each year.

photo: Lucien Capehart Photography

“The Perlman Music Program has been the most significant thing we have ever supported in the arts. Unquestionable excellence, dedication, passion, and the results are the hallmarks of the program.“ – Kristy and James H. Clark, the founder of Netscape. Q: What are the most important criteria of acceptance? A: Criteria for acceptance include level of accomplishment and what each faculty member listening to the DVD (submitted by each applicant) might intuit in terms of potential. The level is high, probably the highest of any pre-college music program out there. The teacher of each instrument decides on his/her own class; the viola teacher chooses the violists, the cello teacher, the cellists, and so on. Q: How did you get Jim and Kristy Clark involved? A: We met Jim Clark at a dinner party. He and Itzhak hit it off and the rest is history. Really, it was just one of those magical fortuitous moments.

Now, a Word with Itzhak: Q: Who were your teachers and was there a specific one who was a mentor? A: I studied the violin with 3 violin teachers; Rivka Goldgart in Israel and then, beginning at age 13, with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay simultaneously at The Juilliard School. They had different approaches and the combination was very successful for me. Certainly violinistically, they were the biggest influences in my life, but there were other important influences as well. The violinists of the time, Heifetz, Oistrakh, Milstein and Stern, all impacted upon me. I was lucky enough to know them and hear them live in concert. I heard and played with Leonard Bernstein, Winter 2013

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photo: Patrick McMullan

Photo: Patrick McMullan

“I wish I’d been able to go to a program like that. I studied classical piano for 12 years, but I didn’t practice enough. I was supposed to be learning Mozart, but instead I’d write my own stuff.” – Billy Joel

“The Perlman Music Program is one of the East End’s most treasured cultural institutions. I have tremendous faith that it will only grow to even greater heights.” – Alec Baldwin

“It was a great honor to be a part of securing a permanent home for The Perlman Music Program.” – Steven Spielberg

heard Pavarotti in his prime, and the great lieder singer Dietrich Fischer Dieskau. I became friends with the great musicians of my generation: Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Jacqueline DuPre. I went to school (Juilliard) with James Levine and, of course, my dear friend and colleague Pinchas Zukerman.

Photo: s_bukley/

Q: What is the value of music and what does it tell you about a person, culture and civilization? A: Life is hard. Art in general and specifically music, if it is great, lifts us out of our normal sphere of consciousness on to another plane, in to another world. It moves us, carries us away: a good thing. Q: Does it help to be a polymath [multitalented] to play violin? A: It helps if you want to be a musician and a knowledgeable person, of course, that’s wonderful. But if your question is just about playing the instrument, the answer is no, it does not help to be a polymath. Q: How big were the hands of Niccolò Paganini – the most celebrated Italian virtuoso of the 1800s? A: I have absolutely no idea, but I would hazard a guess that they were on the large side because of his compositions, which are full of intervals that ask for big left hand stretches.

The Tristan Piano Quartet

photo: Lucien Capehart Photography

Q: How does it make you feel to change a student's life? A: It gives me great joy to watch and hear progress as the student develops. PMP is the most amazing place. I love it. Everything about it is exciting on so many levels. I feel I grow because I am working with young talented students, eager to learn and always challenging me. Editor’s Note: Ava Roosevelt is the author of The Racing Heart. She is also a Palm Beach philanthropist and wife of the late William Donner Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. South Florida Opulence is pleased to have Ava as our newest columnist. Look forward to her inspiring Q&A interviews in each issue!

Q: Is chamber music superior to symphonic? Is voice the best conveyor of truth in music? A: Chamber music is the highest form of music for me personally. Some of our greatest works are in the string quartet literature. Late Beethoven never disappoints. In the end, I suppose everything is an imitation of the voice. When I want to convey a musical idea to my students, I always use the word “sing” because it is the default, the natural way to approach the music - sing the song.

Ava Roosevelt 26

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Winter 2013

Experience Makes Us Experts. At Brown & Brown, we know that we must be as agile as the cheetah in order to thrive in the competitive insurance environment. Our unique culture has enabled us to quickly chase down new opportunities, adapt our products and services to best meet market demands, and satisfy our customers.

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Serving South Florida clients’ needs since 1939 Winter 2013



Dining Guide Miami

Lobby level of the InterContinental Miami 100 Chopin Plaza in downtown Miami (305) 372-4710    BRUNCH WITH BRAVADO Since opening in October 2012,  Toro Toro has drawn raves for its ultra- Chef Richard Sandoval modern setting and innovative Pan-Latin steakhouse cuisine by acclaimed  Chef Richard Sandoval. Located on the lobby level of the eclectic  InterContinental Miami, the restaurant recently introduced  a not-to-be-missed “Brunch with Bravado,” offering endless eats and unlimited cocktails. “The menu features dishes that are a fusion of Latin and Asian ingredients – and they’re served in small-plate tapas style for sharing so that everyone can enjoy a little of everything,” said NewYork-based Chef Joseluis Flores, who is in Miami overseeing the new venue. “Come in on Sunday and have a party – relax and enjoy as many of the brunch tapas and cocktails as you like!”

Dream South Beach 1111 Collins Avenue Miami Beach (305) 534-8455 serafina/miami

At Serafina Dream South Beach, restaurateurs Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato offer a memorable Northern Italian dining experience. Serving more than 24 pizza varieties and a wide selection of salads, pastas and grilled fish and meat, diners enjoy recipes that use the highest quality ingredients. Sommelier Homemade Fettuccine Alessandra Rotondi has curated a wine list featuring highly rated wines from Italy, France, New Zealand and the U.S. “Serafina’s homemade pastas are to-die-for, as are the truffle pizza and truffle risotto,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief. “Ask for Enio to serve you – he’s a one-man show!” Enio

Things are hotter than ever at 1500°, the acclaimed farm-totable  restaurant with a steakhouse sensibility. Entering its 3rd  year at the historic resort,   executive chef  Paula DaSilva, sous chefs Tony Velazquez  and  Adrienne Grenier,  along with mixologist Rafa Dulanto, have unveiled a host of new temptations sure to set taste buds tingling this winter.  “Since we’re very dedicated to seasonality, our menu is ever-changing,” says DaSilva, whose work helped make 1500° one of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants in America” in 2011. 


Eden Roc Renaissance 4525 Collins Avenue MIAMI BEACH  (305) 674-5594 

Executive Chef Marco Zuccala

Grilled Octopus with Charred Artichoke

New entrees  include  grilled black grouper  with Beluga lentils, Benton’s smoked bacon, roasted root vegetables and pea tendrils, as well as a killer  paella for two inspired by DaSilva’s recent trip to Spain. “The steaks quick-seared in the state-of-the-art 1500° oven are outstanding,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief. “I told Chef Paula at a recent visit that if moms across the world could prepare vegetables as savory as hers, every child would beg for veggies!”

Chef Paula DaSilva


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Winter 2013

Pork Belly Taco with Kimchee

Dining Guide Miami



D’Angelo Pizza Wine Bar Tapas

Mandarin Oriental 500 Brickell Key Drive Miami (305) 913-8358

As you travel over the quaint bridge to Brickell Key, you’ll see the stunning curved architecture of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – shaped like the signature fan in the five-star hotelier’s logo. It’s no wonder that Chef Jacob Anaya in action Luciano Pavarotti was the very first guest when the hotel opened in 2000. You, too, will feel like singing opera when you visit the hotel’s signature fine dining venue – Azul. “Chef Jacob Anaya is as delightful as his menu,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of South Florida Opulence. “I recommend starting with the Grand Azul Platter. On a mound of crushed ice comes the finest oysters, stone crab claws, jumbo shrimp and other delicacies of the sea. If you love caviar, don’t miss the “Elit” Vodka caviar service. You’ll also adore the grilled Spanish octopus, the heirloom beet salad, the handmade tortellini and, my favorite of all, the acquerello risotto made with roasted chestnut, prosciutto di parma and a delicious port wine reduction.” Handmade Tortellini

1370 Weston Road Weston (954) 306-0037 South Florida’s culinary maestro Angelo Elia, who has received numerous awards and accolades for his flagship fine dining restaurant Casa D’Angelo, recently opened the second outpost of his hip, affordable Tuscan dining concept, D’Angelo Pizza • Wine Bar • Tapas in Weston. Chef Angelo Elia The menu – under the auspices of Elia and Executive Chef Tony Sassi, who hails from Barletta, on the southeast coast of Italy and previously worked for the Mezzanotte company – focuses on fresh, seasonable ingredients imported from Italy. “Chef Elia has truly outdone himself with this new venue! Just a week after opening, the place is packed,” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of South Florida Opulence. “The creamy burrata with roasted figs is the most amazing flavor and texture combi- Veal & Pecorino Meatballs nation ever. The veal meatballs melt in your mouth and the stuffed zucchini flowers are delicate and delicious!”

The Mexican

133 SE Mizner Boulevard Boca Raton 561-300-5280

The Mexican, a newly opened restaurant by celebrated restaurateur Dennis Max, Boca Raton entrepreneur Mitch Kaminsky and partner Fred Stampone, is now open for lunch.  The lively cocina and tequila bar features traditional Mexican “street food.” “The Mexican melds high quality, sustainable ingredients, now featured in traditional  Mexican street food,” said Max.  “ We source from local farms, including Swank and Heritage Hen Farm.”

Crab and Shrimp Ceviche with Crispy Plantains

Free-Range Chicken Tostada

“The atmosphere at The Mexican is as much fun as the food!” said Robin Jay, Editor in Chief of South Florida Opulence. “A vintage VW Bus inside the dining room holds glassware. The colorful and playful interior can’t help but make you smile when you walk in. It’s an instant fiesta!” Winter 2013

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Dining Guide 730 1st Street, Miami Beach • 305-604-6800

Best of the Best Greek Dining in Miami Kósmous kalýtera trófima – that’s Greek for world’s finest food – and it doesn’t get any finer than at Milos, the ultra-upscale Greek restaurant in South Beach – just across from Joe’s Stone Crab. CNN once reported that eating in Greece ‘feels like a glossy magazine spread come to life’ and that’s precisely the feeling that washes over you as you journey into Milos. From the white flowing sheers to the captivating iced fish array arranged like an art gallery, the Mediterranean dining experience at Milos will trigger every humanly sense you have. The focus at Milos is always on finding the best the world has to offer: the best produce, the best wines, the best honey, the best yogurt, and above all, the best fish and seafood. With that ethos in mind, Milos has gone to the edges of the world to find suppliers that meet uncompromising standards of quality and uniqueness. When products are of such flawless quality, covering them up with sauces and forceful flavors is exactly what should not be done. Milos prides itself on the clarity of its food, following an edict of perfect simplicity, to preserve each ingredient’s distinct flavor and nutritional


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Winter 2013

Milos owner Costas Spiliadis

value. Why interfere with what nature has already mastered? “Culinary decadence sums up our experience at Milos,” said Editor in Chief Robin Jay. “Our favorite dishes included the tuna tar tar; the skordalia, taramosalata, htipiti and tzatziki Mediterranean spreads; the charbroiled octopus with wild Santorini capers; swordfish on the charcoal; and the Creekstone premium prime tomahawk ribeye. For a sweet finish, the homemade yogurt with honey, the walnut pie with kaimaki ice cream and the baklava are divine.”

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"We knew the time would come that we'd have to step down [at El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain – the former No. 1 restaurant in the world and pioneer of molecular gastronomy] because we'd been winning Oscars for 15 years. I discovered this one day when I got home. My mother was reading a newspaper and she said, 'Again? What are you doing in the papers?' And I realized if my mother thought that of me, what would my enemies think?" – Chef José Andrés


ortunately for Miami foodies, Chef José has come to town – no need for a transatlantic flight to enjoy his iconic cuisine! The opening of SLS Hotel South Beach brings an enchanting Miami-inspired sequel to the magical world of The Bazaar by José Andrés, the witty, yet elegant, dining experience akin to a “modern piazza.” From its premiere in Beverly Hills to its new incarnation at the historic beachfront location of 17th and Collins, The Bazaar is a creative and lavish setting born from the musings of some of the world’s most talented minds – culinary director José Andrés, designer Philippe Starck, and hospitality impresario Sam Nazarian. Here, Andrés presents a new interpretation of the internationally acclaimed restaurant concept that has captured the attention of the industry and diners alike. “Imagine walking through a market, where you will find inspirations and ingredients from around the world – The Bazaar unites this magic under one roof,” said José Andrés. “In South Beach, the Latin background of Miami and the art deco connection of Singapore meet the best of Spanish cuisine.” ”The Bazaar and José have impacted the culinary landscape in an unprecedented fashion and it’s an honor to share the experience with the South Beach community,” added Nazarian. With a sense of place and a nod to its storied history – all with a decidedly innovative Andrés twist – The Bazaar captures a crossroads of cultures that speaks to the essence of Miami.


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Igniting Bazaar Culinary Magic Iconic Chef José Andrés’ First Restaurant in Miami

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Cones of Bagels and Lox

Dragon Fruit Ceviche

An array of influences and flavors merge to form an intricate reflection of Andrés himself: strong Spanish tradition meets an avant-garde thinker who travels, researches, shares and investigates the cuisines of the world. Intrigued by the sacred preservation of Miami’s past, Andrés discovered a unique art deco connection that brought him to Singapore. He showcases this melting-pot of cultures in Miami with menu items where “Miami Meets the World.” Spanish classics and modern fare come together in the “Spain Yesterday and Today” selections. This vibrant assortment of flavors is where The Bazaar makes its mark – with the full breadth of fun and flash that Miami has to offer.

Celebrating Spain Andrés and his culinary team explore the classic and modern fare of his homeland and imbue it with a sense of wonder and delight. Tapas reflect their rich history, such as Ajo Blanco, the cold soup made with Spanish Marcona almonds; and Mediterranean Mussels in escabeche served from a tin sardine can, a reference to the 19th century invention of canning. Rossejat, the classic noodle paella, is blackened with squid ink and topped with plump shrimp. Secreto de Ibérico, the grilled ‘secret’ cut of pork served with potato puree flavored with Ibérico fat, highlight new presentations of the prized acorn-fed Ibérico pork, also served cured and sliced along with Embutidos including chorizo, lomo and salchichon.

Mojito Dessert

For the Miami homage, small plates feature a bold interplay between fruits, vegetables and the coastal seafood of Miami’s environs. As an apt beginning to the meal, cones of ‘Bagels and Lox’ with salmon roe and dill cream cheese, along with a Japanese Taco of grilled eel, shisho and pork chicharrones, serve as global markers to the culinary journey, spanning

Coconut Rice with Scallops


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Winter 2013

native lands from the Pacific to Caribbean. South and Central American influences abound with new iterations of the classic Cuban Pollo al Ajillo slow-cooked with black garlic and Peruvian Papas a la Huancaína with sea urchin. Yucca ‘Churros’ come with a fun and flavorful side of peanut butter and honey. Seafood dishes take on an island air with items such as Conch Fritters and Coconut Rice. A colorful and creative Dragon Fruit Ceviche is made with tuna and topped with hot pink hibiscus foam. Miniaturized, modern takes on favorite sandwiches, also a signature of The Bazaar, allow Andrés to transform his popular Philly cheesesteak into a new Cubano of air bread, pressed Ibérico pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles.

A Starck Journey Orchestrating the vibrant and eclectic pairing to Andrés’ cuisine is worldrenowned




With two distinct dining rooms and Bar Centro out on the back terrace, The Bazaar is a visual as well as a culinary journey. Presided over by a Spanish bull’s head draped in a Mexican wrestler’s mask created by Andrés’ friend and artist Mikel Urmeneta, Starck’s front Rojo dining room design evokes a “Spanish cantina, or maybe an Asian cantina, perhaps it is both” as deep red curtains and dark wood tables mix with a swirl of Spanish and Asian images and icons on the floor. Described as an “out-offocus memory of the charming dining room of your grandmother who loved art,” the back Blanca dining room unfolds into an open, airy jumble of paintings, photographs, bookshelves and sculptures. The Bazaar by José Andrés is located within SLS Hotel South Beach at 1702 Collins Avenue. For more information or reservations, please visit www.thebazaar. com or call 305.674.1701.

A Rich History of

By Alex Starace

Rum has long been known as the drink of the West Indies. During the booming sugar trade of the 1600s, Caribbean plantation slaves realized that molasses, an unintended byproduct of the sugar refining process, could be fermented into a dark, sweet alcohol. After some tweaks to the practice, and the use of a distillery, rum was created – and a transnational industry was born.

Winter 2013

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seafarers alike, in both the New and Old Worlds. The drink was perhaps most prevalent within the British Navy: Starting in 1655, a ration of a pint of rum a day was given to each sailor. As one might predict, ranking officers soon had disastrously drunk men on their hands, and by 1740, the ration was mixed with water, though each man still received the same quantity of rum. In fact, the sailor’s daily “tot,” as it was called, was so popular that the tradition remained (albeit in smaller quantities) until 1970, when the Admiralty Board finally did away with it.

Rum Stateside Not to be outdone, the stateside colonies imported immense quantities of molasses, which fed its need for kill-devil, as rum was commonly called; when the American Revolution hit, New England had approximately 150 distilleries churning out the concoction. During his 1789 inauguration, none other than George Washington demanded that rum be served, and that at least one barrel be

“Aside from the taste of rum, what I love most about rum is the rum’s rich history which is not known by many people,” said Allen Smith, Master Distiller at Mount Gay Rum. “Being Barbadian, I take pride in the fact that Barbados is the birthplace of rum.   In fact, a deed dated Feb. 20, 1703 confirms the existence of a pot still on a sugar cane estate in St. Lucy, Barbados. This is the oldest documentation of any pot still distilling spirit from sugar cane, and this estate is still the home of Mount Gay Rum.   For the last 310 years, we have been handcrafting our rum from the same location. And, as the Master Blender of the oldest rum in the world, my goal is to maintain the robust, aromatic flavor that our founders set forth long ago.”  

A nautical drink In popular imagination, rum-swilling pirates sailed the high seas throughout the 1600 and 1700s – and while there is some truth to this, rum was consumed by landlubbers and


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Winter 2013

from Barbados, the highest-quality producer of the time.

bearer of traditional rums. With

While rum remained popular throughout

easy drink ability, neophytes and

the 1800s, its intercontinental dominance

experts alike admire it.

waned, in part because of the rise of American

Also recommended is Ron Zacapa,

whiskey, and in part because of a diversification of trade. By 1862, Bacardi, which is currently the largest producer of rum, was founded in Cuba – at the time, the company was known for its lighter, smoother rum – and it eventually became Ernest Hemingway’s rum of

a s

its fruity notes, dark color and

a Guatemalan brand aged in the highlands of Quetzaltenango, 7,500 feet above sea level, in a facility known as The House Rum distillery room at Above the Clouds. This rum, Mount Gay in Barbados. which is made from sugarcane juice rather than molasses, is a

choice. However, Fidel Castro, whom

dark, rich, viscous brown. However, contrary to its texture and

the Bacardi family initially supported,

appearance, its palate is smooth and sweet, with notes of oak,

decided to expropriate the company’s

honey and chocolate. Another recommended choice is Depaz

factory for the state – so the fam-

Blue Cane Amber Rhum, an agricultural rum from Martinique

ily fled, taking their precious yeast and

that has received the Appellation D’Origine Controlee (AOC)

recipe with them to Puerto Rico, where

from the French government, meaning it meets the highest

the company remains, manufacturing

standards of production and uses the best ingredients. Only

100,000 gallons of rum a day.

three percent of the world’s rum is agricultural (manufactured

A Modern-Day Toast

using fresh cane juice), so, like the Zacapa, this Depaz label

In the 21st century, rum is often seen

provides the opportunity to explore the boundaries of rum.

a mixer drink, but there still exist old-

It’s light brown, with a texture like that of wine. It has a strong,

fashioned bars where true aficionados can sip their rum neat, or

flavorful kick, with smooth grassy notes, a hint of vanilla and

enjoy a classic mojito. For example, the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Key Bis-

banana, and a citrus body. It’s a palate expander that can be

cayne in Miami features RUMBAR, which harkens back to historic Havana, and which has 64 varieties of rum in-house. Among

drunk neat or in a mixer.

the most notable selections is Mount Gay Extra Old, made in

But, these are just a few suggestions – when the Caribbean

Barbados on the Mount Gay Estate, the site of the oldest extant

sunset turns to night, kick back and revel in the long history

rum producer in the world. The Extra Old blend is the standard-

and mystery of a rich glass of rum.

The luxurious Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami features RUMBAR, which harkens back to historic Havana, and which has 64 varieties of rum in-house.

Winter 2013

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Life Savers. Our DOnOrS HeLp Save LiveS in Our COmmunity every Day. Join our philanthropic family and help Mount Sinai continue its lifesaving mission.

305.674.2777 •

Rolex Legacy The

By Alex Starace

Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE



dependable than pocket

n 1905, he set about developing a precise, well-designed wristwatch; he and a partner founded the watch company Wilsdorf & Davis in London and formed business relationships with Swiss craftsmen. They quickly had success: By pushing their manufacturer in Bienne, Switzerland, to make better, smaller parts, Wilsdorf was able to achieve his goal of a high quality wristwatch. In 1910, his company’s wristwatch was awarded a certificate of accuracy by the Official Watch Rating Center, and in 1914, one of Wilsdorf’s models received the prestigious “Class A” certificate from the Kew Observatory in England – the first wristwatch given the designation.

watches. Instead of

The dawn of Rolex

In the early 1900s, wristwatches had been invented, but due to their small size, they were less

But Wilsdorf was forward-thinking in more ways than one: He created an effective corporate brand when, in 1908, he came up with the name “Rolex” for his company. His criteria for the new name were simple: The name must be easy to pronounce in any language, easy to remember, pleasant on the ear, and short enough (five letters or less) that he could inscribe it on the dial of the watch. And so “Rolex” was chosen, and the legendary brand, as we know it, was created.

functioning timepieces, they were seen as a decorative form of jewelry for women. Enter Hans Wilsdorf, a German-born

The simple, elegant name no doubt contributed to the brand’s popularity and worldwide appeal. But Wilsdorf was not content to stop there: His next goal was to create the world’s first waterproof wristwatch. And he did it in 1926 when he developed the Rolex Oyster. Wilsdorf, who was a genius at combining high-functioning technical aptitude with sensational stunts, had a young swimmer, Ms. Mercedes Gleitze, wear the Oyster while swimming across the English Channel – and then he took out a front-page advertisement in London’s Daily Mail proclaiming the feat.

watchmaker who intuited that pocket watches would soon become a thing of the past.

Achieving amazing heights Still not content to rest on his laurels, Wilsdorf tackled his next challenge: He came out with the world’s first self-winding









First Oyster Cushion

First Date

Oyster Perpetual

First Explorer

First Day-Date

First Milgauss

Deep Sea Special

First Cosmograph Daytona


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wristwatch in 1931 by using an innovative system of oscillating weights attached to a central axle. The system, which was dubbed the “perpetual rotor,” is the forebear of today’s contemporary self-winding technology. As the years rolled by, Rolex developed watches that displayed the date and month, and continued to make smaller innovations. To demonstrate the watch’s ability to function in high-stress situations, Rolex was worn by men and women who were achieving incredible feats throughout the 20th century: Sir Malcolm Campbell wore a Rolex when he became the first man to travel 300 mph in a car; Chuck Yeager wore a Rolex when he broke the sound barrier; Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first humans to reach the summit of Everest – and they did it wearing Rolexes. A special Rolex was sent underwater to the Marianas Trench (at a depth of 10,916 meters) and survived to tell the tale, while another Rolex product was developed that resisted magnetic fields – and became the unofficial watch of nuclear scientists conducting research at CERN in Geneva. Wilsdorf, who remained a visionary to the very end, created a foundation that now runs Rolex – and which allowed Rolex to maintain its financial and creative independence, even after Wilsdorf’s death in 1960. The company, which had long since moved to Switzerland, was by this time famous for its quality and cache. In order to maintain this standard, in 1992 Rolex decided to vertically integrate its manufacturing and development processes by purchasing their suppliers and becoming a fully independent company. In a sense, this transition wasn’t complete until October 2012, when Rolex inaugurated its new 92,000 square-meter facility in Bienne, Switzerland – the location of its first high-quality manufacturer. The cutting-edge facility, which allows for complete in-house production and optimum industrial efficiency, ensures that the Rolex brand will continue to create brilliant watches for years to come.

Wilsdorf’s criteria for the new name were simple: The name must be easy to pronounce in any language, easy to remember, pleasant on the ear, and short enough (five letters or less) that he could inscribe it on the dial of the watch. And so “Rolex” was chosen.









First Sea-Dweller

First Explorer II

First GMT Master II

First Yacht Master

Cosmograph Daytona

First Yacht Master II


Date Just II

Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE


The Exceptional Components of a Rolex Watch By Alex Starace

Rolex has long been a world-renowned brand; what many don’t realize is that the company’s excellence stems from an unstinting belief in continued innovation. See below for some of the most impressive technologies and ideas incorporated into Rolex’s watches.

➊The Parachrom Hairspring This remarkable timekeeping component is only one centimeter in diameter, and is composed of a curled ribbon that is only 45 microns thick. It is insensitive to magnetic fields, and was created from a patented alloy of niobium, zirconium and oxygen.

1 3

Balance Wheel & Hairspring


Deepsea Oyster Case

Gold Crystals Dials

➋➎Oyster Case The Oyster case is one of the determining factors in the reputation for excellence of Rolex watches. Symbol of robustness and waterproofness, this perfectly proportioned and elegant watch case is a superb blend of form and function.

➌Gold Crystals Dials These

exquisite dials are created by putting a special treatment on an 18-carat gold watch dial – the result is visible crystals in the metal, with each timepiece’s interplay of crystals totally unique.

➍➑Precious Stones and Gem-Setting Through their unique brilliance and the extreme care taken in their setting, the high-quality precious stones selected by Rolex endow the gem-set watches with unparalleled prestige.

➏Perpetual Movements Not only was Rolex the first company to develop a self-winding wristwatch – Rolex’s self-winding product remains the most precise and durable because of the combination of interlocking pieces that form Rolex’s current line of self-winding watches.


5 First Oyster Case




Stainless Steel The 904L superalloy is corrosionresistant and commonly used in the aerospace and chemical industries. Rolex’s 904L manufacturing process is extremely rigorous: a first casting, a re-cast in a vacuum for purification purposes, and then inspection with an electron microscope to confirm no structural or surface defects.


Explorer in 904L Stainless Steel Movement

➒Cerachrom Bezel The bezel is one of the parts of a watch most exposed to shocks, scratches, corrosion and other environmental factors. With the robustness and durability of its watches in mind, Rolex developed and patented the cerachrom bezel for specific models in the Oyster collection, which thus retain all of their beauty and functionality even in the most extreme conditions.

11 Paraflex Shock Absorbers These absorbers keep the watch functioning in perfect precision, even after it’s dropped, or otherwise jolted. The Paraflex technology is 50 percent more effective than previous shock-absorbing technologies. 42

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➓UV-LiGA This manufacturing technology, which involves ultraviolet lithography, electroforming and molding, allows Rolex to manufacture extremely precise components for its watches; the process is so precise that it must be conducted in a controlled atmosphere totally free of dust.


Gem setting the bezel


10 Cerachrom Bezel


Paraflex Shock Absorber


Rolex Epic Adventure: Deep Sea Under the Pole Project By Alex Starace

Ever since Mercedes Gleitze (wearing a Rolex) became the first Englishwoman to swim the Channel in 1927, Rolex has been involved in boundary-stretching human exploits. The company sponsored the Deep Sea Under the Pole project. The goal was ambitious: to capture underwater footage of Arctic ice during the summertime. Because the ice covering the North Pole is melting at increasingly accelerated rates, scientists predict that possibly as early as 2015 the North Pole will no longer have a year-round ice covering. As a result, both scientists and filmmakers want to document what currently remains before the ecosystem vanishes entirely. So, the Deep Sea Under the Pole project was launched. It was an epic adventure: Eight individuals skilled in Arctic survival were air-dropped at the North Pole in March 2010, equipped with supplies, skis, scuba gear, and underwater video cameras. They were asked to cross-country ski toward the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada, while intermittently stopping to scuba dive and take underwater footage of what they saw. It was planned as an 80-day, 100-dive trip – however, the summer was one of the warmest in Arctic recorded history (temperatures got as high as -10 degrees Celsius), which caused fragmented ice, a higher frequency of storms, and difficult travel conditions. After 45 days, the team was airlifted out of the site. Regardless, the expedition has to be considered a success: The team was able to travel 170 kilometers, conduct 51 dives, and capture 40 hours of underwater video footage. The project, which was done in collaboration with European scientists who are conducting a long-term environmental study of the Arctic (DAMOCLES), has yielded valuable documentary evidence. And, not surprisingly, five members of the expedition did it wearing Rolexes.


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Tw o P r i v a t e 1 8 - h o l e l e g e n d a r y G o l f C o u r s e s E a s e o f Te e T i m e R e s e r v a t i o n s • C h a m p i o n s h i p L a y o u t s S p e c t a c u l a r Wa t e r F e a t u r e s • Fa m i l y E n t e r t a i n m e n t

C O N TA C T M E M B E R S H I P A M B A S S A D O R S TA C E Y P E R S I N G E R AT 3 0 5 - 9 3 3 - 6 5 9 5 P R I V A T E B E A C H | M I C H A E L M I N A’ S B O U R B O N S T E A K | S P A | T E N N I S | P O O L S

St. Andrews:

Golf The Home of


olf has been played on the Links at St. Andrews in Scotland since 1400 AD, and the Old Course is renowned throughout the world as the Home

of Golf. The history is fascinating. By the 19th century, golf was a way of life for many local people, whether as players, caddies, ball makers or club makers. Today, golf still plays a major part in the culture and economy of St. Andrews. As the 600-year history of the Links has unfolded, one simple track hacked through the bushes and heather has developed into six public golf courses, attracting hundreds of thousands of golfing pilgrims

The Secret to Obtaining a Tee Time on the Old Course at St. Andrews It is easier to obtain a tee time on the Old Course than you might think. There are four main ways if you have a suitable handicap (24 for men and 36 for women). The first way is to apply through the Advanced Reservations process at the start of September for play the following year. The second way is to enter the Ballot, which is drawn 48 hours in advance. Thirdly, single golfers can approach the Starter on the day they wish to play and he will try to slot them in with groups going out that day. Finally, guaranteed premium tee times can be purchased from the Old Course Experience. For details, go to

from around the globe. St. Andrews Links is the largest golfing complex in Europe – and for many it’s also the most breathtaking: The Castle Course, the seventh course at the Home of Golf, is situated on cliff tops overlooking the town.

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Golf Banned

and in, except for the 11th and 22nd

when James Cheape of Strathtyrum, a lo-

Golf was clearly becoming very popular in

holes. The golfers decided that the first

cal landowner and keen golfer, bought

the middle ages. King James II of Scotland

four holes, and therefore also the last

the land and, in his own estimation,

felt the golf attraction was distracting

four holes, were too short and that they

‘saved the Links for golf.’

young men from archery practice, so he

should be made into two holes instead

banned the game in 1457. This ban was

of four. This reduced the number of holes

Double Greens

repeated by succeeding monarchs until

in the round from 22 to 18, and that is how

James IV threw in the towel and in 1502

today’s standard round of golf was created.

became a golfer himself. In 1552, how-

Rabbit Wars

golfers playing out began to meet golfers

In 1797, due to ‘temporary impecunios-

playing in, at the same hole. Not surpris-

ity,’ that is to say bankruptcy, St. Andrews

ingly, this led to difficulties and disputes.

Town Council lost total control of the

To solve the problem, the decision was

18 Holes

Links, allowing rabbit farming to chal-

made to cut two holes on each green, with

In 1764, the Old Course consisted of

lenge golf for preeminence. Twenty years

white flags for the outward holes and red

22 holes, 11 out and 11 back, with golf-

of legal and physical war between golfers

flags for the inward holes. This was the

ers playing to the same hole going out

and the rabbit farmers concluded in 1821

origin of the famous double greens.

ever, Archbishop John Hamilton’s charter recognized the right of the townspeople of St. Andrews to play golf on the Links.

In the middle of the 19th century, St. Andrews and the course became increasingly crowded. The result was that

In 1754, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded under its original name of the Society of St. Andrews Golfers. This club, originally composed of 22 noblemen, professors and landowners, now governs the rules of golf everywhere except the USA.


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The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

guarding public access to the Links for

in 1993. In 1995, the first clubhouse freely

locals and visitors alike. The Council built

accessible to visitors was opened in St.

In 1754, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club

the Jubilee Course in 1897 and the Eden

Andrews. This was followed in 2000 by a

was founded under its original name of

Course in 1914.

second clubhouse, the Eden Clubhouse,

the Society of St. Andrews Golfers. This

In 1974, with the demise of the Town

for golfers on the Eden, Strathtyrum and

Council following local government re-

Balgove courses. With demand to play

form, St. Andrews Links Trust was created

on the Links continuing to rise, the Castle

by another Act of Parliament to continue

Course opened in 2008.

club, originally composed of 22 noblemen, professors and landowners, now governs the rules of golf everywhere except the USA. The club also runs the Open Championship and important amateur championships. The New Course was built in 1895.

running the Links as public golf courses open to anyone. After the Strathtyrum Course opened in 1993, St. Andrews Links

For a detailed account of the history of the Links, have a look at Tom Jarrett’s book,

The First Links Act

consisted of five 18 hole courses and one

St. Andrews Golf Links: The first 600 years. It

St. Andrews Town Council reacquired the

9 hole course, the Balgove, creating the

was updated in 2009 by Peter Mason with

Links in 1894 following the passing of the

largest public golf complex in Europe. An

a foreword by Jack Nicklaus, who won

first Links Act by Parliament, thus safe-

extensive Golf Practice Centre was opened

two Opens at St. Andrews.

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BY RICHARD SCOTT South Florida is a golf haven. There are more golf courses in the Sunshine State (over1,000) than in any other state in the country. But the history of golf traces back far beyond the existence in Florida. During the reign of Caesar, the Romans played a game similar to golf by striking a feather-stuffed ball with tree branches in the shape of clubs.

South Florida’s

Top Links

The sport was established in Great Britain by the 17th century when James VI of Scotland, and then James I of England, grew interested in golf. The British Open was first played in Prestwick, Scotland in 1860. Canada’s Royal Montreal Club was the first permanent North American golf club opened in 1873. In the United States, one of the first golf courses was a three-hole course established in 1888 at St. Andrews in Yonkers, New York. And the first 18-hole course in our country was the Chicago Golf Club opened in Wheaton, Illinois in 1893. Fast-forward to today. What makes Florida such a haven for golf devotees? Generally, it’s a mixture of seasons and smarts. “The big draw would be that we have outstanding playing conditions 365 days out of the year,” says Robert Coman, Director of Golf at Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Miami, whose two courses sit against the Intracoastal Waterway. Because of this, Fairmont Turnberry uses papsalum grass, a “saltwater-tolerant hybrid grass” that elevates year-round play – great for those from the north whose fairways are frozen in the winter. For South Floridians and visitors who want to put their handicap to the test, the following list of top local links features famous PGA tour destinations, historic sites, championship-designed courses and exclusive privileges for which you’ll require an inside connection. Let the games begin.


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Top Links P U B LIC

THE BILTMORE 1200 Anastasia Avenue Coral Gables 305-460-5364 The Biltmore Golf Course, designed by Scottish-born Donald Ross in 1925, is one of the South’s finest course layouts, attracting prominent sports figures, movie stars and dignitaries.



4400 NW 87th Ave. Miami 305-592-2000 Doral sports five golf courses, including the famed TPC Blue Monster and the Greg Norman-designed Great White. It also features the Jim McLean Golf School, ranked as the top academy in the country.

2100 Emerald Dune Drive West Palm Beach 561-687-1700 Designed by Tom Fazio in 1989, Emerald Dunes is a rolling beauty inspired by the great links courses of Scotland.

RIVIERA GOLF CLUB 48 Marseille Drive Naples 239-774-2011 A genteel public course, Riviera Golf Club is known as an “executive length” 18-holes, coming in at a hair under 4,250 yards.

P r i vat e


19999 West Country Club Dr. Miami 305-932-6200 A recent $45 million overhaul inspired by the designs of hall of fame golfer Raymond Floyd has turned Turnberry’s two on-site golf courses into pictures of Floridian beauty.

PGA National Resort & Spa

400 Ave. of the Champions Palm Beach Gardens 800-863-2819 Exuding championship caliber, the PGA’s national headquarters boasts five distinctive courses designed by golf luminaries, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Fazio, George Fazio and Karl Litten.

Indian Creek

La gorce

55 Indian Creek Village Miami Beach 305-866-1263 Constructed in a classic style, Indian Creek plays long and its greens are known to move fast. The 18-holer, designed by famed “Philadelphia School” designer William S. Flynn, is known to be ultra-exclusive.

5685 Alton Road Miami Beach 305-866-4421 With a history that stretches back to its opening in 1927, La Gorce is one of the outstanding long-runners that saw an eminent expansion in the post-war ’50s and the private club’s esteem stretches forth to this day.


seminole golf club

7740 NW 39th Ave. Coconut Creek 954-429-0990 Adios began as the dream course conjured up by Delvin Miller and a group of successful businessmen, among whom included Whitey Ford, Dave Thomas and Arnold Palmer.

901 Seminole Blvd. North Palm Beach 561-626-0280 Designed by Donald Ross, Seminole opened in 1919 and the 6,800-yard championship length course consistently ranks among the country’s finest.

Old Palm Golf Club 11089 Old Palm Drive Palm Beach Gardens 888-698-2565 Raymond Floyd has created something positively unique. Superb tee and water hazard placement make the beautiful Old Palm golf course perfect for all levels of play.

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Shoe Savoir-Faire

Louis Vuitton Made-to-Order Shoes

Since 1854,

Louis Vuitton has continuously searched for excellence through quality and innovation. Today, Louis Vuitton – the world’s leading luxury brand – presents the new “Made to Order Shoes” service in Maison Aventura, which is becoming the most spacious and exquisitely appointed Louis Vuitton store in North America. Synonymous with savoir-faire, Louis Vuitton’s bespoke leathergoods services are some of the most coveted in the world – and the new Maison Aventura offers the finest leathergoods and shoes.


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Couture Customization Convinced that each individual deserves to own unique objects, Louis Vuitton has always made customization one of the Maison’s distinctive features. The Special Orders Service, which has represented one of Louis Vuitton’s core values since its origins and contributes to its worldwide success, is today extended to the most sophisticated and characterizing of Men’s accessories: shoes. Louis Vuitton found in Luchino Visconti di Modrone the essential codes of the contemporary elegance, making him the perfect Ambassador for the “Made to Order” service. “Customization is the last frontier of luxury,” said Luchino Visconti “and, most of all, the most beautiful expression of savoir-faire passed on through generations. The objects of this customization were once Louis Vuitton’s trunks, today they are shoes, certainly the most personal of all Men’s accessories.”

Reflections of Personality “Made to Order” translates Louis Vuitton’s passion for innovation and quality through a creative journey, which allows designing the pair of shoes perfectly reflecting the owner’s personality. Clients of Louis Vuitton’s “Made to Order” may choose between six models in classic and elegant lines revisiting the traditions of stitching and perforations. Among these, the particularly technical and difficult Norwegian stitching, an expertise which Louis Vuitton

Customization is the last frontier of luxury.

– Luchino Visconti

The Manufacture de Souliers Louis Vuitton in Fiesso d’Artico The creation of the Louis Vuitton footwear division dates back to 1998 and is one of the cornerstones of a strategy devoted to the transmission of savoir-faire. All Louis Vuitton shoes, including Made to Order footwear, are born in the Manufacture de Souliers Louis Vuitton based in Fiesso d’Artico. Opened in September 2009, the new atelier is a treasure chest that contains a savoir-faire in constant evolution, reaffirming in the XXI century codes of a craft that combine the latest technology to a unique, cosmopolitan look on contemporary art, with a collection and works specifically realized by artists. Architect Jean-Marc Sandrolini invented the atelier thinking about a giant shoe box, within which are located the four footwear savoir-faires: elegant women, loafers, sneakers and elegant men with an area dedicated to the new Made to Order project.

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continues to preserve in the Fiesso d’Artico atelier. Four types of soling and three different insteps convey a special character to every shoe and define its style and use. Eight types of superior quality leathers, ranging from grains calf leather to a complete offering of exotic leathers (alligator, ostrich and python) are chosen one by one and strictly hand cut. These are exceptionally treated into eight elegant and deep shades: the hand patina. The owner’s initials or digit can be embossed inside the shoe for a discreet signature. From the atelier to the store, “Made to Order” will reveal a very sophisticated environment within the Men’s store universe. Available models of shoes and belts as well as color shades and leathers will be displayed in a cozy space inspired by the inside of a Louis Vuitton shoe-trunk. Louis Vuitton’s “Made to Order” redefines the rules of contemporary elegance under the sign of excellence.

Making a shoe by hand is a virtuous expertise that requires traditional and skillful gestures, which Louis Vuitton has chosen to preserve and pass on in the Fiesso d’Artico atelier in the Veneto region, the cradle of shoe-making savoir-faire dating back to the 13th century. “Made to Order” shoes are brought to life from the hands of expert artisans in this magical place.

n C  onceived by architect Peter Marino as a travel destination, the store is beautifully

appointed using the latest design inspirations becoming the largest in North America. n A prominent exterior façade is adorned with iconic hand set Louis Vuitton flowers,

the first of its kind in North America. n The Maison’s two stories are connected by a unique three radius grand staircase

made of polished stainless steel and glass with handrails wrapped in Louis Vuitton’s nomad leather leading to a custom radial teak floor. n The Maison’s second floor is delineated by an onyx and amber stone runway. n Art is a focal point for Maison Aventura, where clients’ first impression as they

make their way into the vestibule is a rotating exhibition space featuring prominent artists. At the opening, a joyfully colorful video and two panels of “paper cuts” by Janaina Tschape are showcased. n Hanging above the grand staircase is a work of art specially created

by the Cuban-born artist Jorge Pardo for Louis Vuitton. n The Haute Maroquinerie salon presents exceptional craftsmanship with the

customization of a Louis Vuitton bag. n An intimate Watch and Fine Jewelry area with a by-appointment space is accented

by a golden gate inspired by a Milanese palace.


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Customized insurance for condominium associations As the preferred insurance provider for over 1,000 condominium associations, Wells Fargo Insurance knows the challenges you face and how to effectively and cost-efficiently manage the risks associated with your environment. Our team has the capabilities to provide access to quality insurance programs for members and board of directors.

Services we offer •

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Dedicated service team

Coverage and cost analysis

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Personal insurance advisors for unit owners

Please call us today to set up a visit to your property. Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. 2601 South Bayshore Drive, Suite 1600 Coconut Grove, FL 33133 Jeffrey Samas Managing Director 305-443-4886 Products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. and Wells Fargo Insurance Services of West Virginia, Inc., non-bank insurance agency affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. Products and services are underwritten by unaffiliated insurance companies except crop and flood insurance, which may be underwritten by an affiliate, Rural Community Insurance Company. Some services require additional fees and may be offered directly through third-party providers. Banking and insurance decisions are made independently and do not influence each other. © 2012 Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. All rights reserved.

090612AMa_Opulence_ad.indd 1

10/1/2012 12:26:41 PM


he tale behind Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City cigar is so improbable and so intricate that it seems like the work of a Hollywood scriptwriter. In fact, the idea for the cigar emerged during the production of a Hollywood movie: The Lost City, a 16-year labor of love for actor/ director Andy Garcia (shown far right). As Garcia worked to film this powerful story about the struggles of a Cuban family during the Castro revolution, he received invaluable help from legendary cigar maker Carlito Fuente – and their collaboration resulted in the almost accidental birth of one of the world’s rarest and most extraordinary cigars.

The Lost City The Lost City portrays the passions and conflicts of a Cuban family torn apart by the revolution. Garcia plays club owner Fico Fellove, who faces intense pressure both from politicians who are pulling his country apart and from mobsters who want to muscle in on his business. In the movie’s most poignant scene, Fico’s brother Ricardo – who has become a high-ranking official in the new Castro regime – visits their uncle Donoso at his farm to inform him that Fidel’s regime will confiscate his tobacco farm. Donoso, who could not control his disappointment and anger with Ricardo, has a heart attack and dies at his own farm, and Ricardo, overcome by grief, commits suicide shortly afterward. “For that scene, I wanted to duplicate the environment of a Cuban tobacco farm,” Garcia explained. “While I was in the process of scouting for a location, I was introduced to Carlito Fuente. I explained to him what I was trying to do, and asked about the possibility of shooting that sequence at his farm in the Dominican Republic. We share a common culture, so he was immediately supportive.”

Filming in the tobacco fields Garcia had originally intended to shoot the scene in an office, and to use the tobacco farm only for establishing shots. In early 2004, after spending a day gathering footage of the lush tobacco fields at the famous Chateau de la Fuente, his vision of the scene changed. As he described it, “I said to Carlito, ‘It’s a shame you’re about to harvest – it would be great to shoot the scene right in the tobacco because this is what is being taken from him.’” Carlito Fuente responded with a magnanimous offer: He would plant a few acres of tobacco right after harvest, so Garcia would have a field of 3-foot-high plants to shoot in by June. The field of tobacco leaves striving for the sunlight proved a perfect backdrop for the film’s accurate and moving portrayal of what happened to the Cuban cigar makers as businesses they had worked decades to build were suddenly taken from them. Carlito Fuente told South Florida Opulence,


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Andy Garcia and Carlito Fuente

 by Brent Butterworth

An interview with Legendary cigar maker Carlito Fuente & movie actor/director Andy Garcia Winter 2013

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“The Lost City has a special place in my heart ... always will.” — Carlito Fuente

“The Lost City has a special place in my heart ... always will. It is such an honor to have experienced the passion, heart and relentless work of Andy and his friends, who gave their all for The Lost City.”

The birth of The Lost City Cigar In the Caribbean basin, cigar tobacco is normally planted in the beginning of the year and harvested in the spring. Thus, Carlito Fuente initially intended the summer crop only as a setting for Garcia's movie. Garcia, though, had other ideas. "When we finished shooting the scene, I asked Carlito what he was going to do with the tobacco," Garcia recalled. "He said if the tobacco was good he'd use it. I suggested using it to make a cigar with the logo from The Lost City, and that the project would benefit his foundation – the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation,* which provides education and health services to communities in the Dominican Republic. After five years of careful aging, the summergrown tobacco turned out to be superb: a leaf exhibiting all the celebrated complexity of the original Fuente Fuente OpusX wrapper, but with a unique character all its own. The medium-to-full body, and complex and sophisticated flavors of the summer-grown wrapper make Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City a distinctive experience for any cigar connoisseurs, no matter what their taste or preference.


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Asked how it felt to have the most renowned name in the cigar industry create a special blend to commemorate him and his movie, Garcia replied, "I'm honored, but it's not about me. It's about helping the poor children in the Dominican Republic, and about my nostalgia for the time Carlito and I spent together. Not only did he contribute financially to the scene by growing the tobacco for us, he also introduced me to the president of the Dominican Republic, who allowed us to shoot scenes in and around the presidential palace. The movie couldn't have been shot without Carlito's help." Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City is truly a story in itself: a partnership between two artists whose passion for their work resulted in the making of a compelling movie – and the creation of a remarkable cigar. *At the request of Andy Garcia, a portion of the sales proceeds will be donated to Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. Cigar Family Charitable Foundation was started by the Fuente and Newman families in 2001, who are longtime business partners in the cigar industry. They came together with the vision of improving children's lives in the Bonao region of the Dominican Republic. What began as a simple dream of adding a wing onto the local elementary school has evolved into Cigar Family Charitable Foundation's 23-acre complex that includes: primary and high schools; health center; sports and recreation facilities; and an organic farming area. Today, Cigar Family Community Complex serves well over 5,000 families and has achieved tremendous results.

License #30167

800.944.9886 • Call today to arrange your service anywhere in the world. Sedans • SUVs • Hybrids • Vans • Limousines • Hummers • Buses Awarded #1 Limousine Company in the Nation


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Celebrating the Grace of a Princess

The Inimitable Elegance of

Grace Kelly, American Icon, Princess of Monaco By Carolina Cardona

Effortless style and beauty made Grace Kelly one of the most photographed women in the world. The young starlet charmed America with her quiet, thoughtful and subdued qualities not immediately associated with “actress” or “Hollywood celebrity.” Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE



er admirable traits allowed her to conquer Hollywood with her inspirational elegance before “retiring” at the age of 26, when she chose to abandon a prolific and awarded film career to become a European princess.

Growing up Gracefully Born in 1929 to a prosperous Irish family in Philadelphia, Grace Patricia Kelly’s childhood was ensconced in all-American idyllic privilege. She attended the best schools and dedicated her leisure time to athleticism, charity and, now and then, mingling among Philadelphia high society. From an early age, Grace Kelly showed an early proclivity for the performing arts, which fueled her desire to move to New York with an autonomous resolve to make it as an actress. As modeling jobs led to commercial jobs that led to acting jobs, her budding theater career brought her steady work on television and, eventually, her debut on the silver screen. Although those first roles were sporadic and unremarkable, Kelly was not. Through every cinematic triumph, through every lackluster part, those who worked with Kelly praised 60

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“Grace Kelly’s spirit of

sophistication remains forever enshrined and palpably relevant today. ” her zealous quest for artistic perfection and a relentless pursuit of an elusive authenticity in each of her characters. She studied and researched and applied to her craft with a seriousness that belied her 24 years. With an alluring air and the magic of her worldly yet ferocious eyes, Kelly sought to tear into shreds the veil of the stoic lifelessness of the 1950’s beauty icon and emerge as a flesh-and-blood woman with strength, ferocity and the most exquisite vulnerability.

Reaching Stardom In 1953, the film Mogambo earned Kelly her first Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. It also marked her first collaboration with

costume designer Edith Head who, along with Oleg Cassini, helped to mold the young actress’ signature look: shirtwaist dress and, of course, pearls. Very soon she became muse to director Alfred Hithcock who cast her as the star of classic thrillers like Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. It is common knowledge that Director Alfred Hitchcock also took a meticulous interest in Kelly’s wardrobe. Not a big surprise, Kelly was an enchanting dream for any couturier, which is why Chanel, Madame Gres, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hermes and Balenciaga lined Grace Kelly’s wardrobe, taking her from actress to royal.

The Red Carpet to Royalty

as anchor throughout her years as Her

This transition came about when Kelly traveled to Cannes on April 1955 and met Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Falling in love with and taking an American actress for a wife was in itself a radical act, and to some staunch traditionalists, an unforgivable one. Yet amidst the unbridled fascination and harsh criticism that ensued after the fairytale marriage, Grace Kelly maintained a cool, dignified demeanor and faultless poise; her instinctive, almost inherent polish eventually won over many critics.

Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco.

The contrast between the effervescent and artistic scenes of New York and Hollywood, and the stoic and exacting Monegasque court, did not seem to faze the young bride. Home visits to Philadelphia, American baseball games with her children in the summer, and the cozy domesticity of a large and tight-knit family continued to serve

Grace Kelly’s Legacy Princess Grace died tragically on September 13, 1982, when she suffered a stroke while driving with her daughter, Stephanie. She was 52 years old. Yet, despite the tragic glory of a brief existence, Grace Kelly’s spirit of sophistication remains forever enshrined and palpably relevant tday. Her seraphic beauty and distinctive style still reigns in our collective imagination as the unequivocal embodiment of the spirit and elegance of an era, but also as a reminder of what is constant, undeniable and timeless. The proverbial magnificence of Hollywood’s most cherished muse continues to haunt us with its fearless and immaculate influence.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco & Princess Grace (right)

Montblanc Honors Grace Kelly In what has become another notable achievement for a brand that is so synonymous with luxury, Montblanc has unveiled the stunning Princesse Grace de Monaco Collection. Montblanc ateliers envisioned and crafted precious jewels, timepieces and fine writing instruments that capture and pay homage to the captivating elegance of this iconic American star who transformed into a beloved European princess. The Montblanc Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco 2012 draws inspiration from the fashionable splendor of her Serene Highness herself. The breathtaking artisanship of all four collections of High Jewelry, Fine Jewelry, Watches and Writing Instruments are linked together by the evocative leitmotif of the rose. Princess Grace’s favorite and emblematic flower is reimagined in precious materials like gold, diamonds and petal-shaped sapphires. Many of the handcrafted pieces are one-of-a-kind and limited edition.

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Anti-Aging Beauty Science

What if your body had a ‘reset’ button? Ribbit-ing Innovation in Cellular Regeneration and Repair by Cara Jay After years of studying epimorphosis – essentially nature’s “restart” button as it were – and oocytes, the human biological “restart,” scientists at Bioquark presented their findings and plans for the future in September of 2012 at the Rodman and Renshaw Annual Global Investment Conference in New York City.

Photo Larry Hodges

Dr. Sergei Paylian, Bioquark President, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer The trend of plastic surgery to reverse the effects of aging has increased tremendously in recent years. However, achieving a younger appearance through surgery may one day soon prove unnecessary. Bioquark Inc., a biopharmaceutical company currently developing proprietary biological drugs, armed with an amphibian-derived biochemical mixture called BQ-A, aims to make going under the knife a fad of the past.

amphibians & aging Students in elementary school learn that amphibians are capable of regenerating lost tails and other appendages. Dr. Sergei Paylian, Bioquark President, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, took these clues from nature to the lab and got to work on the “cure” for aging, diseased and degenerating cells. “Some species of amphibians and reptiles sprout the missing parts of the body after amputation. These regenerative mechanisms continue to work successfully in nature nowadays, millions of years later,” said Dr. Paylian.

“Existence of the reprogramming signaling system in amphibian oocytes of African frog Xenopus Laevis was demonstrated for the first time by Nobel Prize winning professor John Gurdon (UK) as far back as 1968, in which frog oocyte extracts were co-cultured with adult human cells,” said Dr. Paylian. Bioquark has refined this research and discovered that under a special incubation process, postactivated frog oocytes are able to release a very powerful reprogramming semiochemical signal, allowing the oocytes to trigger other cells to “restart.” And voilà, a previously damaged cell is transformed to a younger, healthier state. Scientists at Bioquark have successfully discovered how to use these principles and apply them to anti-aging technologies. In laboratory studies using BQ-A, Bioquark has increased the lifespan of mice and fruit flies by twice the standard life expectancy. In addition, BQ-A has reversed typical signs of aging like wrinkling skin and baldness. Bioquark studies have also had revolutionary results regarding melanoma skin cancer. After 45 days of injections, mice infected with melanoma made a full recovery. “We have an aggressive yet very disciplined program. Bioquark is offering a solution that


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Winter 2013

can both address regeneration and repair,

to the public within the next three years. “Bioquark brings to the table possibilities for not just disease treatment but for disease cure, and we look forward to bringing this therapeutic opportunity to the marketplace to the United States and globally,” he said.

be delivered to a patient in a traditional biopharmaceutical format, and would be cost effective,” said Ira Pastor, CEO Bioquark Inc. Bioquark is excited to begin human trials in the near future and is currently continuing to raise funds to fuel their revolutionary research. Ira Pastor foresees cosmetic applications of their technology to be available

Oocytes– The human biological restart button.

For more information on Bioquark Inc., visit

Turning Back the Clock By Cynthia Terpstra Is it possible to rejuvenate aging skin? Tony

Vitamin A and its derivatives (e.g., retinol)

Vargas, CEO of Vargas Cosmetics and for-

promote healthy skin cell turnover. Vitamin

mer vice president of new technology for

C promotes collagen production.

Elizabeth Arden and former development chemist for Avon, provides a look at the skin care industry and the latest trends.

The Aging Process

The next phase in skin care included Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), botanicals, and antioxidants. AHAs are a group of natural acids found in foods and include citric

Over time, skin becomes thinner, less elas-

acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid (in

tic, and less smooth. As a result, wrinkles

apples), and others. In skin care, botanicals

and sagging skin become more apparent.

refer to plant materials (herbs, roots, flow-

Two distinct types of aging play a role in

ers, fruits, leaves or seeds) and are chosen

our skin’s appearance. Intrinsic aging is a

for their healing properties, such as antioxi-

continuous and inevitable process that typ-

dants and vitamins.

ically becomes noticeable in our mid-20s. Production of collagen – a major structural component of the skin – slows. Elastin – the substance that allows skin to snap back when stretched – loses its elasticity. Old skin cells do not shed as quickly and turnover of new skin cells is depressed. Extrinsic aging, which is most associated with premature aging, is caused by external fac-

One of the latest advancements in the skin care industry is peptides. Peptides are naturally occurring chains of amino acids, which make up the proteins in your body. Synthetic variations of peptides are used to perform different functions including stimulation of collagen production, which plumps up the skin to reduce the appear-

Vitamin A (retinol) molecule, chemical structure.

Research & Future Trends Today, there is a dizzying array of skin care products on the market for consumers to buy, each making claims to reduce the signs of aging. Dermatologists recommend using products based on strong science and that have proven safe and effective in humans. Published research supports the efficacy of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and peptides

ance of wrinkles.

in topical anti-aging treatments.

can be controlled.

Vargas believes that companies will continue

Tilth Beauty products are made in the

Anti-Aging Products

to offer a combination of older technologies

USA and do not contain parabens, phthal-

(retinols) and newer ones (antioxidants and


peptides). Natural, sustainable ingredients,

ucts, silicones, synthetic fragrances, GMO,

such as botanicals (e.g., green tea) and anti-

animal/dairy derived products, or artificial

oxidant rich fruit extracts will remain popular.

coloring. Visit

tors such as UV radiation and smoking and

The skin care industry shifted its focus from primarily moisturizers to skin cell renewal around the early 1980s with vitamin A and vitamin C taking center stage.


Winter 2013


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Cosmeceutical Philosophy: Age Later By Cynthia Terpstra


ith so much information about the “latest” anti-aging skin care treatments, it is no wonder consumers are feeling overwhelmed by the choices available to them. “The biggest fallacy in skin care is that one product can do it all,” said Janna Ronert, founder of Image Skincare in Palm Beach. “Skin care requires a balanced diet and physical training. We must feed our skin with proper nutrition, protect it, and work it out with skin peels to remove dead skin. Our philosophy is: age later.”

Janna Ronert, founder of Image Skincare

“The biggest fallacy in skin care is that one product can do it all,” said Ronert. “Skin care requires a balanced diet and physical training.”

Ronert established Image Skincare in 2003 to fill what she considered a void in the skin care industry: a product line that was effective, simple to use, and affordable. After earning a marketing and business degree from the University of Nebraska, followed by her esthetician’s license,  Janna spent more than 10 years working for plastic surgeons and dermatologists around the country.  Her passion for skincare and business experience paved the way for a much bigger dream to one day start her own medical-grade skincare company.  After years of pharmaceutical research, planning, and investment,  Janna’s dream became a reality when she launched Image Skincare.  Her objective was to create results-driven products that treat skin conditions at the cellular level.  Using three basic philosophies – simplicity, value, and results, Image Skincare has become a leader in the cosmeceutical industry with a presence in over 36 countries.  Ronert shared her perspective on what your skin really needs:


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Sunscreens – Ninety percent of all skin aging is due to sun exposure. Sunblocks protect skin from the sun and help slow the aging affects of the sun. Antioxidants the skin.

Protect and nourish

Exfoliators – Used to resurface the skin by removing dead cells, exfoliators are made of alpha hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid and lactic acid, and beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid). Peptides – Promote stimulation of collagen production, which plumps up the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

A Balanced Diet for Your Skin Ronert says Image Skincare utilizes a threephase “CPN” system: correction, prevention, and nutrition. Ageless Total Eye Lift Crème is a blend of retinol and glycolic acid that tightens the skin and visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines. Max Serum is a unique blend of plant-derived stem cell technology and peptides that work together to provide cellular level protection against nutritional imbalance, oxidative stress, and UV damage. Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum contains vitamins A, C and E and antioxidants to nourish the skin. All of Image Skincare’s products are free of parabens, petrochemicals, and preservatives, and are not tested on animals. Using clinically proven natural ingredients, the line’s products are pharmaceutical grade and sold exclusively through licensed physicians and estheticians. Visit


Anti-aging Firming Moisture Cream Skin-enhancing and moisturizing ingredients – such as capric triglyceride-teprone, C10-30 cholesterol/lonosterol esters, pistachio seed oil and narcissus poeticus flower wax – will gradually improve the skin’s elasticity and firmness.

Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum A pharmaceutical grade vitamin C serum that immediately minimizes and soothes the visible effects of environmentally damaged skin. Available at fine spas.

Babor’s Skinovage Calming Sensitive Calming Sensitive with Poria cocos, bisabolol and ginger minimizes the appearance of redness to calm and soothe irritated skin.

Paula’s Choice Resist Resurfacing & Smoothing System Paula’s Choice two-piece resurfacing system allows you to gently and professionally exfoliate away built up sun damage with overnight smoothing results.

Interview with Steve Sadove CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue BY ROBIN JAY

Saks Fifth Avenue and South Florida Opulence are a superb team when it comes to stunning fashion spreads and opulent VIP events brimming with haute couture. In a recent golf game with our Publisher Mark Blackburn, with Saks CEO Steve Sadove – who, impressively, was just elected Chairman of the National Retail Federation – Mark shared with him my request for an interview. He graciously agreed. Here are the highlights of our chat:

What is your legacy to this iconic brand? Sandove: Before I was made CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, I was on the board of the company – what an honor, it’s an iconic brand – and they asked me to come on board to run the company. It was a great opportunity to evolve and contemporize. Saks Fifth Avenue continues to make great progress in luxury retail that caters to the affluent. However, consumer thinking is totally different today than it was 87 years ago when the first store opened in New York City. As a result of this retail revolution, we’ve transformed Saks into an omni channel – we’ve changed our foundational systems so that our customers can get what they want, anywhere, anytime – with the same sense of white-glove service they’ve come to expect. We’ve transitioned about 30 percent of our corporate marketing budget to be managed regionally and have brought on about 30 marketing directors at stores to tailor the customer experience according to their specialized cultures. For example, Miami has a large Hispanic and European clientele, whereas Georgia has a large African-American and Jewish customer base, and San Francisco has a large population of Asian and gay customers. Each region has its own business development plan: They determine who their target market is, which charities to partner with and the type of events they want to host. Yet all of them cater to the affluent audience.

What’s a day in the life like for a CEO of a luxury retailer? Sandove: Mostly strategy planning and relationship building. I travel to stores or fashion events, or meet with our investors on Wall Street. It’s a 24/7 job – I attend four or five functions a week.


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My wife is on the board of Women in Need that benefits homeless women. I’m on the board of Hamilton College and have been involved with the organization A Better Chance. Recently, I was named chairman of the National Retail Federation – which is the largest association of its kind in the world.

On a lighter note, what kind of fashions are hanging in your closet at home? Sandove: My closet at home (laugh) has lots of black suits and white shirts – pretty boring compared to my wife’s closet. On an average business day, I might be in a Brioni suit with a Corneliani tie or one from our own brand. When I’m in Florida, I’m casual – a blazer or sports jacket.

Where do you eat when you’re in Miami? Sandove: I love Miami – the food is as good in Miami as in New York! Some of my favorites are Khong River House, Prime 112, Zuma, and – of course, Joe’s Stone Crab.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Celebrating the Rich Heritage of a Retail Icon By Cynthia Terpstra


The New York Times reported the tremendous success of Saks Fifth Avenue’s grand opening. President Coolidge was the first to buy a hat and it was rumored that the Prince of Wales came, causing a stampede of women in the men’s department.

or nearly a century, Saks Fifth Avenue has dedicated itself to the extraordinary and the exclusive. It has become synonymous with stylish, gracious living and is distinguished for its passionate commitment to exceptional service and product selection. With its iconic flagship store in New York, Saks is a beacon for fashion-conscious consumers and the destination for sophisticated shoppers from around the world.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s Early Inception Saks Fifth Avenue was born during the height of the Roaring Twenties, an era marked by prosperity and innovative fashion. It was against this backdrop that Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel opened their “dream store” on September 15, 1924. Envisioning a unique retail experience catering to upscale customers, they created a store designed to help their clients live well and dress well. Horace Saks was the son of Andrew Saks, who established a successful clothing business in Washington, D.C. in 1867. Andrew moved to New York and opened Saks & Company in 1902 at Sixth Avenue and 34th Street. He ran the store until his death in 1912, at which time Horace took over operation of the store. Bernard Gimbel was the grandson of Adam Gimbel, who first launched the family business as a frontier trading post in Indiana in 1842. After much pleading with his elders, Bernard purchased the site at 34th Street at Herald Square and brought Gimbels department store to New York in 1910. He proceeded to grow the company into a multimillion dollar business.

President & Mrs. Coolidge

Bernard negotiated the purchase of rival Saks & Company with Horace Saks in 1923. With the combined financial resources of two retail dynasties, they purchased a site for Saks Fifth Avenue. Located between 49th and 50th Streets on Manhattan’s Upper Fifth Avenue, the store occupies an entire city block across from Rockefeller Center.

Extraordinary Vision When Horace died suddenly in 1926, his assistant Adam Gimbel (Bernard’s cousin) Adam Gimbel, 1926 President became President of Saks Fifth of Saks Fifth Avenue Avenue. Adam set out to create a “gateway to the good life” and his vision proved extraordinarily successful. Inspired by the Art Moderne style popularized at the 1925 Paris Exposition, Adam remodeled the entire store to give the impression of an elegant home and created a series of opulent boutiques within the store’s grand space, forever changing the face of the American retail industry. Adam Gimbel’s passion for introducing ambitious designs and exclusive treasures from around the world solidified Saks’ prominence as a retail icon. He introduced services such as personal shoppers, citywide delivery and branch stores. World-class instructors taught shoppers to golf and ski (in the store!) and Saks’ stylists introduced the “bob” hairstyle to the U.S. Since its inception, Saks has championed revolutionary brands including Estée Lauder cosmetics, America’s first Dior Boutique, and Donna Karan’s debut collection.

Saks Today Saks Fifth Avenue remains one of the world’s most eminent retail icons, renowned for its designer collections, cosmetics, handbags, jewelry, shoes and gifts. In fact, its shoe salon is so extensive it has its own zip code. With 43 Saks Fifth Avenue stores in 22 states, Saks remains committed to maintaining its legendary status as a luxury retailer delivering exceptional service and an exemplary shopping experience.

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Etro Silk Floral Dress Saks Fifth Avenue


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Stuart Weitzman Hitipper Studded Leather & Mesh Pumps Saks Fifth Avenue

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Saks Fifth Avenue Collection Cashmere/Silk Chiffon-Back Tunic Saks Fifth Avenue Saks Fifth Avenue Collection Colorblock Skinny Pants Saks Fifth Avenue


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Reed Krakoff Atlantique Straw & Leather Colorblock Tote Saks Fifth Avenue

Ralph Lauren Black Label Silk Paisley Dress Saks Fifth Avenue

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Gucci Cecyl Metallic Leather Studded Wedges Saks Fifth Avenue


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Designer Thomas Browne



Designer Oscar de la Renta


Designer Michael Kors

By Nicole Tufts

Designer Norma Kamali

An Exclusive Interview with Diane Von Furstenberg

rom the very moment a designer finds inspiration, to the instant he starts drawing the first lines of a new sketch, the making of an original collection undergoes an artistic process. Choosing fabrics, colors and patterns is similar to the process that painters or sculptors use to conceive their artwork. In honor of the artistry of American fashion, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and its president, renowned designer Diane Von Furstenberg, have organized an exhibition at the Boca Museum through April 21st. The show highlights the impact designers have had on America culture. Iconic designer Diane Von Furstenberg sat down with South Florida Opulence for an interview. South Florida Opulence: What inspired you to become President of CFDA, the leading fashion trade organization in the U.S.? Diane Von Furstenberg: At some point, when I had sold my company, I felt like an outsider. Stan Herman, then President of the CFDA, invited me to join the Board. It made me feel like I belonged in fashion again. Later I was asked to be President and that feeling of family is what made me do it. Fashion is a reflection of our times. It’s also a huge industry that creates a lot of jobs. I am VERY proud of where American fashion is now! SFO: Did you know Eleanor Lambert, the founder of CFDA? What was her impact on the U.S. fashion industry? DVF: I absolutely knew Eleanor Lambert … we lived in the same building in New York. She is the person who took the talented but anonymous designers out of the back rooms of 7th Avenue and brought them into the limelight.

Photo: Evian

SFO: How does U.S. fashion compare to international fashion now versus when you were a young entrepreneur? DVF: We now have our designers abroad. Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and now Alex Wang are leading major global brands! SFO: What’s the wave of fashion’s future? DVF: Technology is the revolution of this century…so it probably is technology that will change everything … including fashion.

SFO: What is your fashion legacy?

SFO: Anything you'd like to say about the Boca Museum exhibit?

DVF: The wrap dress and what it gave women … CONFIDENCE!!

DVF: I love that it invited our show! Winter 2013

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TAJ by Sabrina By Jule Guaglardi

Sabrina Crippa founded her fashion brand “TAJ” in 2006 after an inspiring trip to Asia where she discovered the ancestral technique of embroidery, handmade embellishment and printing silk, which was to become the cornerstone of her brand. Sabrina, originally from Milan, who has, however, now settled in Miami, has an affinity and love for colorful, handmade and freeflowing designs, and this is what makes Taj by Sabrina unique in its proposition and signature style.

Combining Pattern and color palette The delicate patterns and beautiful color combinations, whether bright or soft, are refreshed each season to create the most unexpected and stunning compositions. Sought after by celebrities and all women looking for authenticity, Taj by Sabrina has become an emblem of a bohemian-chic art of living. Almost immediately, she has risen to stand among the most successful luxury beachwear brands. Taj by Sabrina is now distributed in high-end boutiques, such as Roxy Lulu* located at 119 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL, and in luxury department stores worldwide including Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Bloomingdale’s and Saks, as well as in other selective stores around the world. Sabrina’s endless energy and passion drives her to develop Taj by Sabrina every season with new delicate designs, hues and embellishments. Going forward, she’s planning to expand the Taj by Sabrina experience into a true resort and beachwear brand recognizable the world over. Taj by Sabrina flagship stores are now in Miami Beach and St. Barth, and very soon online at *Any of the Taj pieces shown here can be special ordered through Roxy Lulu 119 NE 2nd Avenue • Delray Beach, FL 33444 • 561.779.5485 •

On Days When the Real McCoy Must Stay in the Vault … Try the look of real for the price of faux at Solitare Necklace This elegant “diamond” pendant and 18-inch sterling silver chain coordinates perfectly with any attire. $110

Pantina Stud Earrings The star of The Today Show, these 4 carat Pantina earrings are set in polished sterling silver. $195


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Ninette Bracelet–This sterling silver bracelet features an elaborate link-style design filled with detail along each circle and link. $430

Cesar Ritz:





By Alex Starace


or the classic rags to riches story, look no further than the famed Cesar Ritz. The man whose name adorns luxury hotels across the world was born in 1850 to a peasant family in tiny Niederwald, Switzerland. As the last of 13 children, in a village with a population of just over 100 people, Ritz had few opportunities in his place of birth, though from an early age he had an artistic bent.

An arduous climb toward success After limited success in school, at the age of 14 he was sent to a hotel in Brig, Switerzland, where he worked as an apprentice waiter. But after just one year at the position, Ritz was deemed unfit for the job, told he would never become a success in the hotel industry, and sent home. It wasn’t until he left Niederwald again, this time for the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris, that

Cesar Ritz this image is in the public domain in the United States 76

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he began to make a name for himself. Ritz waited on tables at the Hotel de la Fidelite, and then at the high-end restaurant, Voisin, where he learned the value of gourmet cooking and how to serve nobility.

By Alex Starace

After returning home briefly during the Franco-Prussian War, Ritz resumed his work in the City of Lights, where he was eventually promoted to headwaiter at the luxury hotel Splendide. The young hospitality enthusiast then received an unprecedented opportunity to run the restaurant at the Grand Hotel in Nice – and soon he was managing the Grand National Hotel in Lucerne. While at Lucerne, Ritz impressed with his creative ways to flatter guests and coined the mantra: “The customer is always right.”

The meeting that would change his life During this fertile period, Ritz met the famed chef August Escoffier, a man who ushered in modern French cuisine and amazed diners at the Grand National Hotel with his ornate, elegant presentations. “Good cooking is the foundation of true happiness,” said Auguste Escoffier, pioneer of modern cuisine. The hotel flourished and became known as one of the most luxurious resorts in

Chef August Escoffier all of Europe. Based on this success, Ritz and Escoffier were asked to save the then-floundering Savoy Hotel in London – and the turnaround was almost immediate. The hotel became the regular haunt of the Prince of Wales, and soon it became fashionable for aristocrats to dine in the hotel’s restaurant.

The First Hotel Ritz After eight years of success at the Savoy, in 1898 Ritz finally opened his own establishment. It was called the Hotel Ritz; it opened in Paris in a former prince’s palace at Place Vendome. “A little house upon which I am proud to put my name,” said Cesar Ritz about his hotel on the day of the inauguration. Winter 2013

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Marcel Proust and Grand Duke Michael, among other luminaries of the time, attended the elaborate inaugural festivities. And Ritz, who was always at the vanguard of amenities, made sure his was the first hotel in the world to have a bathroom in every room. He also had electric elevators and indirect electric lighting in every room – both of which were cutting-edge for the time. Because of these innovations, Ritz’s hotel was highly popular with the affluent, and his hotel’s restaurant, which was run by Escoffier, was one of the best in all of Paris – and served an exclusive crowd.

Ritz attracts legends in literature and fashion Ritz soon expanded his hotel empire to London and Madrid. Though he retired in 1907, his wife Marie-Louise took over, becoming the first female luxury hotelier. His son, Charles, also joined the family business. Throughout this transition, the bar at the Ritz in Paris remained a jumping combination of elegance, literature and fashion. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald drank there almost nightly. Cole Porter played the piano and Coco Chanel lived at the hotel. “The Ritz is my home,” proclaimed the famous designer. A veritable who’s who of the early to mid-twentieth century popped in: everyone from Rudolph Valentino to Ernest Wilde, from a British cigarette magnate (Captain Willis) to American millionaire (Gould Jennings), from war photographer Robert Capa to Austro-Hungarian Prince Esterhazy. Simply put, the Ritz in Paris was the place to be. And, even today, the Ritz empire is a preeminent marker of class and distinction, best summed up by the saying: “If you have to ask how much a room costs, you can’t afford to stay at the Ritz.” 78

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Custom closets, furniture, and sliding doors manufactured in Miami Call or visit for a complimentary consultation MiaMi 900 Park Centre Blvd. 305.623.8282

Art in the Landscape:

Opportunities Missed & Opportunities Realized This is the first of a collection of articles by Mary & Hugh Williamson on the topic.

Traditional American landscape design does not often incorporate art and when it does, it frequently is done poorly. This is because the overriding design principle used in most American landscape design, in order to achieve clarity and harmony, is simple repetition. Other important design concepts such as contrast, change in scale, surprise, drama, delight, texture and illusion are often skipped, but have always been interwoven in superior landscape designs found in English Manor Houses, French Chateaux and Italian Villas. These concepts are also found in important gardens and squares in the United States, such as the grounds of Vizcaya in Miami, and the beautiful squares of Savannah. Unique gardens contain art. Truly unique gardens contain art well. Art found in successful landscapes can be sculpture, fountains and land art, such as mazes, topiaries and hedges, or even the “living art” of butterflies.

Incorporating Living Art Butterflies are a dramatic opportunity for art and surprise in the landscape. The butterfly garden can be thoughtfully and aesthetically incorporated into a landscape, adds movement and color, and always generates wonder and delight for the owner and guests alike. Butterflies are simply part of nature’s art. They have no role in the pollination


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process and exist only to “be.“ Hurricanes and mosquito spraying have taken their toll on Florida butterflies, along with development that often eliminates their habitat. Butterfly gardeners can help to ensure that these beautiful creatures continue to be enjoyed by providing a welcoming habitat.  Butterflies are found in every state, but the varieties that can be attracted vary region to region. It is easy to educate yourself through wonderful resources that are available. One of the best is an online website, Gardens With Wings. In this site, you are invited to enter your zip code, and a full list and images of butterflies specific to your area is presented. This list includes pictures of each possible butterfly visitor, and the plants you’ll need in your garden to lure them. True butterfly gardens include both “host plants” and “food (nectar) plants.” Host plants are those on which butterflies lay their eggs, where tiny caterpillars then emerge, and where those caterpillars start to munch. And munch and munch. Often they will eat the plant down to almost nothing. For the diehard enthusiast, this is a sign of success. But to many, it is preferable to have those host plants screened from view. Also, many “hosts” are not the most attractive of plants. A good example is the host plant for the much-loved Monarch, which will only lay its eggs on milkweed family plants, such as butterfly weed. Butterfly weed gets leggy, and it is weedy looking. When the caterpillars get fat, they lose their voracious appetite and wander off, often to a different plant or surface to “pupate”… forming a camouflaged chrysalis. It is within this chrysalis that the caterpillar reinvents itself. It turns to liquid, and then reforms as a winged miracle. The butterfly is pivotal to the study of DNA, as the caterpillar genes

are turned off, and the butterfly genes take over. When the adult butterfly eventually emerges from the chrysalis as a fullgrown adult, it sets about finding a mate, and the process starts again. The adult is sustained by nectar plants. They are not too fussy about these, but do prefer brightly colored flowers. Here the massing and combinations of your flowering “nectar” plants will come alive with beautiful jewels of the sky. A well-established butterfly habitat can draw hundreds of these beautiful examples of kinetic art, and scores of varieties. Enjoying your morning coffee amidst large numbers of differing species is a pure delight and a wonderful start to any day.

and shape of the spaces. Textures and

Butterflies not for you?

materials are mixed and matched to create

Creatively utilizing design concepts and tools are required to make any landscape distinctive and interesting, whether it

cut stone is heavily used both vertically

includes a butterfly garden or perhaps a maze or sculpture garden. First, there must always be a theme or core concept. Too often garden sculpture looks like it fell off the back of a truck, without thought, or attention to scale, theme or composition. Most American landscape design utilizes clarity as the core concept. It is often simple and boring. This can be seen by contrasting the results with the more traditional oldworld designs such as found at Vizcaya. There you’ll find an ebb and flow to the size

contrast and interest. Hardscape such as and horizontally, and both these materials

Vizcaya Gardens

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Vizcaya Gardens

and cultivated plants are used as objects-of-art throughout the property. Most importantly, a series of experiences are created as the overriding theme of the design. Interestingly, the same ideas can be found in the Biltmore Gardens although the scale and materials are quite different. The concepts are the drivers in both designs, not the materials. If you have visited Vizcaya and made a mental checklist of the creative ideas, how would you score your own landscape? All art requires changes in the landscape to maximize the impact. You’ll need to employ the expanded range of design tools and concepts found in historic landscape design to enhance your property. All truly well-conceived spaces, either interior or exterior, are designed from the desired experience backward through the size, shape and materials that make up the space. Shallow design believes the reverse is true because it is easier to acquire objects than ideas. Does your landscape provide all the distinctive experiences you desire?

The Miami Blue Butterfly, native to coastal areas of southern Florida, became critically endangered after Hurricane Andrew ravaged the region. It may be the rarest insect in the United States. Its numbers have recently been increased by a captive breeding program at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Hugh Williamson is a graduate of landscape architecture programs at Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science. While pursuing his interest in urban planning through leadership positions in major architectural firms involved in national and international projects, he never lost his interest and passion for the landscape architecture and its possible impact. Mary is an interior designer by training at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Harrington Institute of Interior Design, and a butterfly enthusiast and gardener. They reside in Bluffton, South Carolina, where their certified butterfly garden and their registered wildlife habitat grow larger and more diverse each year.

Photo Courtesy Al Whitley Photography 82

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P r ese r ving the T r easu r es of A me r ican S plendo r By Carolina Cardona


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Gardens at Vizcaya

One of South Florida’s most iconic landmarks unveils its multimillion renovation that will bring us closer to the days of its gilded past like never before. On a picture-perfect winter day in South Florida, it would be difficult to find a more exquisite spot to relax with a good book than among the meticulously manicured hedged patterns, the many fountains and tiered gardens showcasing tropical, subtropical and indigenous flora around the exulted and labyrinthine grounds of Vizcaya. Here and there, intricate grottos, graceful gazebos and ancient Greco-Roman and Renaissance statues create a spectacular reflection of living history.

A Gatsbyesque Era As your eyes drift upward to one of the upper level balconies, you can almost James Deering see James Deering, an intriguing and almost Gatsbyesque figure, staring down at his visitors who still marvel at the breathtaking beauty of his glorious estate, 100 years later. Vizcaya’s original builder, owner and resident was the quintessential roaring 20s industrial magnate. He was Vice President of the International Harvester Company, a global agricultural equipment company, son of renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist, William Deering, and half brother to Charles Deering, owner of the Deering Estate at Cutler. James was an astute businessman who managed to expand the family fortune and amass great wealth on his own.

The Vizcaya Vision Vizcaya was originally conceived as his seasonal retreat. Deering inhabited the mansion from Christmas Day 1916 until his death in

Historic shot of Vizcaya (circa 1920s) 1925. When he began building his winter home, Deering procured the talent and aesthetic sensibilities of New York painter Paul Chalfin. Together, Deering and Chalfin found inspiration along with unique decorative elements during their travels throughout Europe. Architect  F. Burrall Hoffman and Colombian landscape architect Diego Suarez also came on board to contribute with their respective knowledge and expertise.  From its earliest planning stages, Vizcaya was intended to have a lived-in feel. In fact, Deering’s objective was to make the brandnew home appear four centuries old. The mansion was to be a paramount achievement on an undeniably grandiose scale. At the time of construction, Miami’s population was roughly about 10,000 people.  More than 1,000 workers were commissioned for this massive undertaking, including laborers and craftsmen imported from both the nearby Caribbean and across the Atlantic in Europe.  In an effort to make Vizcaya a self-sustainable entity and impervious to the lack of conveniences of Miami in the 1920s, the original estate would have its own efficiently run farm and livestock, produce gardens, fields for grazing and a village complex along an expanse of 180 acres of land. Winter 2013

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1. Vizcaya from the rear of the house. 2. Entry hall. 3. Fountain on the Vizcaya grounds. 4. Spiral staircase. 5. Guest room.

An Endearing Deering

installation of modern systems for climate and humidity control.

Although James Deering himself never married and seemed to long for the presence of family in his home, he was far from a loner. His name appeared frequently in social columns as a man of impeccable manners and social graces who was also an arts connoisseur, an international traveler and cultural ambassador. His New York and Chicago homes hosted French dignitaries, and prominent artists, such as silent film stars Lillian Gish and Mario Davies, and painters Gari Melcher, John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn were dear friends. James suffered from pernicious anemia all his life, and even though his health began to deteriorate rapidly in 1923, his active social life did not slow down.

A tinted glass enclosure was originally installed over the home’s

Deering was by all accounts a practical man with a weakness for beautiful and impractical things – such as choosing a hot, humid and hurricane-prone climate to erect a palatial Italian oceanfront villa that housed 15th through 19th century European, Asian and American furnishings, painted frescos, historic artifacts and works of art that spawn two millennia; among these the very carpet that Christopher Columbus walked down to collect payment from the King of Spain for his travels. Over the years the effects of South Florida’s humid climate and salt air have taken their toll, requiring Vizcaya to undergo continuous restoration. Although the house’s design allowed the free flow of tropical ocean breezes through the open courtyard, the need to preserve the structure and the treasures within required the South Florida OPULENCE

proved immensely effective at stalling rapid decay and corrosion.

100th Birthday of Vizcaya As Vizcaya approached its 100th birthday, it was time to update the enclosure with more technologically advanced glass and materials that would filter in more sunlight, while blocking more destructive UV rays. The now less conspicuous enclosure has since achieved two vital accomplishments: to bring Vizcaya to the 21st century and also to restore its old splendor with more historically accurate lighting in the courtyard that offers a stunning and crystal clear

Historic Relics


open courtyard back in 1986. This and other preservation measures

Winter 2013

view of the rooftops’ architectural details, as they were meant to be seen. This new skylight is one of many repairs that were completed in 2012. Among them: significant garden work and replanting, cleaning and restoration of the outdoor statuary, a brand-new cafe and gift shop, and other structural upgrades. But Vizcaya still has more treasures to reveal. Although until now, visitors have been able to marvel at the splendor of the opulent living spaces, the museum intends to open and exhibit twelve additional servants’ and workers’ rooms in the near future. This should give our National Landmark an irresistible “Upstairs Downstairs” dimension that will give even the most avid Vizcaya patrons a reason to return, again and again.

Chairs: a reflection of

By Robin Jay chair is not just a chair – it’s a reflection of your personality, not unlike your choice of shoes, ties or dinner plates. Do you know what the chairs in your home say about you? Trite you say? Not so. Just ask designer and furniture historian Florence de Dampierre, author of Chairs: A History. “Chairs have a social history. They represents the way people live and historical events,” de Dampierre told the New York Social Diary. “For example, during the Empire period, 90 percent of men were wearing pants and swords and boots, and that’s why furniture was designed in that way.” A chair is one of the few objects that can tell an eloquent historic tale. What else but a chair could trace trends in aesthetics, ergonomics, cultural growth, social status and technology?

The Origin of Chairs Interestingly, chairs with backs weren’t historically a piece of the ordinary domicile. For many thousand years, chairs represented a symbol of dignity and authority, such as with thrones for kings, or armchairs for leaders in the British House of Commons, where the term “chairman” derived. Not until the 16th century did chairs become commonplace in lieu of stools or benches. Historians trace early evidence of chairs to ancient Egypt, where artisans crafted them with ivory and ebony and wood gilded by hand. They say Egyptians thought building chairs with representations of nature – like the legs of creatures – would help keep the universe free of chaos. The belief became intrinsic among Egyptian chair makers throughout time. A well-preserved armchair was

Winter 2013

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– Henry David Thoreau

Proust Geometrica Proust Geometrica, reupholstered in a new cotton fabric by Alessandro Mendini and hand-finished according to tradition, preserves the forms of the original armchair.

Colombostile Esmeralda ArmChair This elaborate throne chair was designed in Italy by Giovanni Maria Malerba da Busca.

discovered inside a tomb in the Valley of the Kings that was nearly identical in detail to the chairs built after Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. Curators at The Design Museum in London feel the historic value of chairs is so important that their repertoire includes an exhibit called A Century of Chairs. According to their experts, until the mid-19th century, chairs were made by hand. But then, new industrialists like Michael Thonet in Austria tinkered with production technologies to make large quantities of quality furniture quickly (try saying that 10 times fast!). Historians credit Thonet as the massproduction pioneer of simple bentwood chairs – the first chairs to furnish homes for both factory workers and aristocrats.

Chairs that Rock By 1860, thanks in part to the popularity of the Arts and Crafts movement, the increased middle- and upper-class affection for rustic styles made the sale of rocking chairs soar. By the early turn-of-the-century, one in 20 chairs sold by Thonet was a rocking chair.


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Winter 2013

The War Impact During World War II, developments in chair design came to a halt. However, in 1944, designers caught on to wartime advances in defense industry production processes and harnessed them to create products for consumers – like the aluminum Navy Chair innovated by Charles and Ray Eames. After the traumatic impact of WWII, consumers pined for warmer, natural materials, like wood and fabric. By the1960s, however, designers rejected the organic modernism of the 1950s and began toying with bright colors and fluid shapes made available by using plastics.

Theodora Theodora is part of SICIS NEXT ART Collection, designed by Mr. Christian Lacroix. The chair is covered with silk brocade in the front, and the back in leather. The kidney-rest cushion and headrest lace are in velvet. The chair-back border is decorated with a series of studs which follow its outline. By the 1990s, the post-modern exuberance faded and led to a furniture approach geared toward purpose. Many people were working longer hours, and more often with computers, trends that inspired furniture maker Herman Miller to develop a new office chair “for the person who sits in it longer than he or she should.”

Modern-day Chairs Seeking to uncover modern-day trends in chair design, South Florida Opulence found one thing is for sure – there are no more rules. Whether functional or fanciful, chairs today come in all shapes and sizes – some of which are disguised not to resemble a chair at all. Now that speaks volumes. We hope you enjoy the brief tour we provide here.

The Fendi Casa Crystal Chair This multifaceted chair is like a precious jewel. The iconic sculptured form adds sparkle to a modern home. Available at Fendi Casa in Miami. Winter 2013

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Main floor of the four-story penthouse

DesignerExtraordinaire An Exclusive Interview with Steven G. – Founder of South Florida’s Largest Design Firm By Robin Jay

Designer Steven G.


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Turning heads and dropping jaws is designer Steven G’s specialty. That’s what has elevated his iconic design firm to remarkable heights. Interiors by Steven G. is the largest in South Florida. With design commissions from ultra-luxury resorts and condominiums, like St. Regis Bal Harbour, Trump Hollywood, Marina Palms Yacht Club, Gansevoort, Ritz-Carlton Residences’ at Singer Island, and countless others, there’s no stopping this powerhouse. South Florida Opulence sat down for a chat with Steven G. to get an inside look at this designer extraordinaire. Winter 2013

South Florida Opulence: When it comes to iconic stature, Steven G. is to the design world what Kenny G. is to the music industry – the brand conjures instant recognition with a mere initial. How did you go about developing a design flair that’s so instantly identified? Steven G.: Where most designers and design firms define only one look, Interiors by Steven G. designs  and creates around the taste and style of the client. Our work is different in every project because all of our clients are different. We do have a defined quality, but not a defined look. My team and I enjoy being creative and different, and if you meet my team, we are all very creative and very  different, which is what sets us apart from the rest.  SFO: How has South Florida’s consumer sophistication in design expectation changed in the last decade? Would you say South Florida is now a leader in setting trends and, if so, in what way?   Steven G.: It’s no secret that for so many years the majority of South Florida has been a more traditional Mediterranean look. It was so easy to see: The writing was on the wall 10 years ago when we saw that the sophisticated buyer of high-end luxury property was a modern or contemporary client. That led to art and  sculpture  becoming key to the environment that we were designing, along with incredible lighting and still being able to keep the comfort of a livable home. People from all over the world are flocking to South Florida, so it’s no wonder that the clientele for design has become as sophisticated as Manhattan, LA and Europe.

Top photo: Kitchen island 3 form Bottom photo: Master spa bath

Winter 2013

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360° view of Miami from the penthouse on the 63rd floor

My team and I enjoy being

creative and different, and if you meet my team, we are all very creative and very different, which is what sets us apart from the rest. — Steven G. 

SFO: How do you as a designer continually stay ahead of the curve when it comes to design? What’s on the horizon for Steven G. in 2013? Steven G.: Staying ahead of the curve is all talent. In the creative world, we must continue to think of the future.  It’s no different than a fabulous clothing designer who continues to lead the world of fashion.  Our growth continues.  We have just expanded our showroom to over 100,000 sq. ft.  We now display 1800 lines of product from all over the world and have taken a proactive approach on artwork and sculpture in our new gallery.  Works like Botero, Andy Warhol and Leroy Niemann, just to name a few, are on display. We currently have 200 canvases and various sculptures also on display.   And for those who enjoy Art Deco or mid century, we have over 500 authentic items. Being able to show the client our vast array of product continues to help us be the leader in our industry.  For more stunning design looks, go to


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Winter 2013

Bravo Romero Britto! An Exclusive Interview with World Renowned Neo-Pop Artist Romero Britto By Robin Jay


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Winter 2013

It’s everywhere you look. If you don’t know his name per se, there’s not a chance you haven’t seen the vibrant, iconic, Picassoesque pop art of Brazilianborn Romero Britto.

The colorful cubism style of now Miami-based Britto adorns handbags and posters and product labels, and – well – most anything that’s possibly imprintable. (In fact, at this very moment as I type, my keyboard is resting on a Romero Britto mat given to me by publisher Jayne Hammond.) As internationally notable as Britto’s work is today, it’s ironic that his art was discovered merely by happenstance. In 1988, the founder of Absolut Vodka’s Absolut Art Campaign strolled by the artist’s first studio in Coconut Grove. Michel Roux stopped in his tracks. After a long gaze at the paintings in the window, he entered the workroom and offered Britto the opportunity of a lifetime: to reinterpret the famous Absolut Vodka bottle through his art. It was an absolute (yes, pun intended) dreamcome-true for this self-taught artist whose first canvases were newspapers.

Agent for Positive Change Since receiving universal recognition for his work at Absolut, Britto has created corporate artwork for BMW, Disney, Pepsi, Royal Caribbean and the United Nations, just to name-drop a few. Patrons have viewed his exuberant and heartwarming work in galleries throughout 100 countries, and his art inspires smiles at Miami Children’s Hospital, Kennedy Airport in New York, the O2 Dome in Berlin, Hyde Park in London and in children’s books published by Simon and Schuster. South Florida Opulence recently spoke with Britto about his lifelong passion for art: SFO: Romero, you’ve said that French artist Henri Matisse influenced you as an artist. What inspired you most about his work? Britto: Matisse colors inspire me – his compositions and subject matters do, as well. SFO: Your work has become iconic in America – it’s instantly identifiable throughout the world. What is it about your style that has given your work such universal appeal? Britto: I think my vocabulary and language

A New Day that I communicate and share with everyone [through my art] is universal; everyone can understand. What I talk about is peace and love. And the world wants that, so this is our common ground. SFO: What inspired you to make your home in Miami? Britto: Miami reminds me so much of Recife [my hometown in Brazil]; both cities are on the Atlantic Ocean, both cities are sunny year-round. So I love Miami. The city has embraced me and supported my art so much. I owe so much to Miami.

Mona Cat selection of Britto’s original artwork? Visit his gallery on Lincoln Road in South Beach, and be sure to continue reading on the next page to meet the person in Romero Britto’s latest Palm Beach Portrait: Ava Roosevelt.

SFO: How would your Mom have described you as a child? Britto: When my mother was alive, she used to say that my art was the happiest art in the world and the most beautiful, too. But as you know, all mothers love what their children do. She was so supportive of me. SFO: What’s next for fans of Romero Britto? Britto: Right now, I’m developing my portraits collection. All these pieces are telling a story about the collector and about me. It is a great collaboration.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

In 2012, I did the portrait of Queen Elizabeth celebrating her Jubilee, and I’m so honored that my art is part of her collection. I also did the portrait of Princess Madeleine and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark! Bravo Mr. Britto. It’s an honor to have you and your gallery in Miami Beach. Like to see a

Great Coffee Winter 2013

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Enchantress of Romero Britto’s Latest Portrait:

Ava Roosevelt By Robin Jay


orld-renowned South-Beach-based artist Romero Britto surprised even his most inthe-know fans with a novel new genre: neo-pop-style portraits of European royalty and American socialites, such as Queen Elizabeth, Prince William, Duchess Kate, Dylan Lauren – and, most recently – Palm Beach socialite, philanthropist and author Ava Roosevelt, wife of the late William Donner Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I had the pleasure of attending the private Palm Beach home unveiling of Britto’s portrait of Ava (the public unveiling for which, I’m pleased to say, was subsequently held at South Florida Opulence magazine’s Evening of Opulence event in South Beach). Ava’s background is as interesting as Britto’s portrait of her. Here’s the short list: former fashion model, countess, wife of a steel baron, wife of actress Mia Farrow’s brother, wife of a president’s grandson, marketing director for an international intelligence firm, columnist for the Palm Beach Journal and, most recently, novelist. Since the unveilings of Ava’s portrait, we’ve become good friends. Following are snippets from recent conversations: South Florida Opulence: How did you come to know Romero Britto? Ava Roosevelt: In late 2007, at a black-tie dinner party hosted by Goldman Sachs during Art Basil, Romero was seated next to me. When he offered to paint on my car – a bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle – I politely declined, thinking we had both had too much to drink. Obviously I had no idea who he was. A few months later, Romero came to Palm Beach to see me, and during a visit at my house, he gave me his signature Enamel on Aluminum Iron sculpture, ‘Just for you.’ “Oh, you have a Romero Britto,” a friend remarked later, admiring the heart shaped sculpture. “Aren’t you sorry now that you didn’t let Romero paint on your car?” “Actually, I am not. I love to keep my whereabouts to myself,” I said, laughing, “A Romero-Britto-painted yellow bug surely would be hard to miss.”


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Romero’s idea for my portrait emerged late last year. No one believed I didn’t see the masterpiece until Romero personally unveiled it. Inspired by my novel, The Racing Heart, my portrait exudes warmth, optimism and love, and all the same, looks just like me. Imagine that! As Romero bestowed his genius upon me, I am deeply honored to be in such an esteemed company. SFO: People may presume you were born with the proverbial silver spoon. But when you were growing up in Poland, your mother sent you to live in a convent. Tell us about how that impacted your life. Ava: In retrospect, the years spent at the convent, no matter how lonely, were the best preparation for life I could have received. However, since most of the children at the convent were orphans, and the fact that both of my parents (even though getting a divorce) were well and alive, only compounded the isolation and abandonment I felt. I was 14 years old. My parents aimed to provide me with the best ‘private’ boarding school education available and the Catholic convent was the only option. I resented their decision for years as it felt as if they wanted to ‘get rid of me.’ I ultimately overcame these feelings. Forgiving them had liberated me from feeling like a ‘victim’ and created a survivor out of me. To this day, I make my own bed, even when staying in Five-Star hotels!

My tenure at the convent was short-lived. At 16, when a snapshot of me was taken in front of an infamous night club and appeared on a cover of a fashion magazine, I was promptly expelled to become a muse of the late Madame Grabowska, the creator of Moda Polska. Often dubbed the Coco Chanel of Poland, she taught me how to stand, walk and feel confident wearing her creations. Her wise advice has changed my life. “Beauty fades fast,” she said. “Always be on time!” My punctuality led to a chance-meeting of Christian Dior’s team scouting for a youthful beauty to represent their products at a major fashion show in Warsaw. Becoming ‘Miss Dior of Poland’ led me to Paris where I started working for Christian Dior, Madame Gres and Emilio Pucci, becoming  Christine, a Gothic novel’s heroine in a period-time-soap-opera printed in the Paris Match magazine and later joining Ford Modeling Agency in New York. SFO: You sometimes jest about a chronic bout of matrimony. Tell us about that. Ava: Had I not been brought up a Catholic, I would have done what most girls my age did these days – enjoy the romance and the company of their young male friends instead of catching a chronic bout of matrimony, which was my case! Actually, my first husband, Count Michel Jacques Albanel de La Sabliere, a Parisian photographer, and I met while working on a photo shoot. As I spoke very little English, and even less French, I decided to learn this beautiful language and French Literature at La Sorbonne.

We subsequently moved and married in Canada. As his wife, I became a countess. All that mattered was a European sensibility and making our lives meaningful and worthwhile. Manners, good taste and religion mattered. But above all, we were expected to always be on time! Despite all these good manners, we were not meant to last as a couple. I credit so much of my good fortune to stem from this very tedious habit and won’t stay long waiting for anyone who’s tardy beyond a reason. My marriage to Charles Farrow [brother of actress Mia Farrow], an aspiring young writer whom I met in LA, fell victim to our impossible work schedules and was far from glamorous, overshadowed by the tragic death of our dear friends: Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski, Gibbi Folger, an heiress to the Folger Coffee fortune, Vojtek Frykowski, a close friend of Roman’s from Poland and Gibbi’s boyfriend, and hair stylist Jay Sebring at the hand of Charles Manson’s madness. Grief stricken, I left LA for England and the South of France for a well-deserved break. I met Bill (William Donner Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin Delano Rooesevelt) in New York when a mutual and a much-married friend wasn’t able to join him for lunch because she was running late (see?) and sent me instead. Our stars aligned perfectly. That same afternoon, he invited me to a dinner. I hesitated, and Bill asked my why. I told him that given what had transpired at Yalta and how the fate of my native country, Poland, was

Ava and William Donner Roosevelt affected, I was not too keen on his grandfather, FDR, and wasn’t sure I would want to date him. “My Grandfather was very ill at the time of the Yalta agreement signing and was outwitted by Stalin,” Bill said. “I’ll make it up to you!” Bill kept his promise. We were married a year later and remained true soul mates and best friends for over 20 years. During our marriage, we developed many shared interests in flying, fishing, tennis, architecture, the stock market and philanthropy (the William H. Donner Foundation, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, and the American Cancer Society). We never quarreled or bickered, as we knew each other’s unspoken boundaries, which came from a

Photo left: Ava Roosevelt with David Manson Weir II’s GB Ferrari 512 M-No.16 entry for David Piper auto racing at the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans. Right: David is pictured on the far right of the black and white photo with David Hobbs (center), who was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009. Winter 2013

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deep respect, profound love and mutual admiration. Having had five previous marriages between us, practice paid off this time! Bill’s cancer diagnosis was devastating. We looked for a cure even in Cuba! Alas, it was not to be found. SFO: What do you consider your most cherished life achievement? Ava: Completing The Racing Heart, my novel, was, by far, the most difficult task I’ve ever contemplated, as it took six years, and countless rewrites in English, which, mind you, is my third language. Writing the book gave me the strength to overcome the grief I felt after Bill’s death. I found solace in creating my characters. Unlike in real life, I actually could control their destinies. When Tom Clancy, a dear friend, heard that I was writing a book, he bet me that I would never finish, “You socialites,” he said, “can’t stand rejection. Everybody I know is writing a book, but only a few make it to the end.” The Racing Heart was published on Dec. 1, 2011. The website was launched simultaneously. SFO: What inspired the plot? Is the novel in any way autobiographical? Ava: While shopping for a secondhand Ferrari in London, I was told an American motor racing driver and an heir to the National Steel fortune, the now late David

Manson Weir II, owned a Dino, so I contacted him. It turned out the Dino was not red, a must-have-color for a Ferrari, so I didn’t buy it. But when David invited me to join him at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he raced the famous 512 M Ferrari, I could not resist his invitation and joined him.  In the wee hours of the race, terrified for his life, I asked him to quit.  He looked at me as if I had lost my mind and suddenly along with David, I was infected with the Le Mans’ thrill and decided one day to weave it into a novel.  We fell in love during the race and even though he finished 4th  overall, when asked, some years later what was his greatest accomplishment to date, David said it was marrying me.

Ava Roosevelt with beau, Christopher M. Twardy, at the Cavallino Classic Ferrari Show at The Breakers in Palm Beach.

Here’s the essence of The Racing Heart. Set during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s signature sports-car race, a young supermodel becomes involved in a terrorist plot that could change the course of history. She finds herself in a life-and-death struggle to save the man she loves – the son of the president of the United States – while he races in the 24-hourlong trial of endurance and stamina.

SFO: Let’s talk more about being part of a presidential family. What did Bill tell you about FDR that isn’t in history books? Ava: Bill Roosevelt was 13 years old when FDR died. It was Eleanor Roosevelt, Bill’s grandmother, who had a profound influence on his upbringing as they spent a lot of time together at Val Kill, her beloved cottage

It was Tom Clancy who constantly reminded

at the Hyde Park residence. “Gradmare’s pa-

me, “Remember, fiction is based on fact.” I took

tience was often wearing thin,” Bill told me,

it to heart. My years as a ‘rainmaker’ for the

laughing. “She would discreetly turn off her

Fairfax Group was a contributing factor in my

hearing aid if a guest annoyed her by talking

ability to create the characters of the terrorists

too much, and no one was the wiser as she

and deal with the complexity of the FBI, Joint Terrorist Task Forces, and Special Forces. You asked about the young lady on the cover of The Racing Heart. Yes, Robin, you’re right! The young woman on the cover is me, at 24, the age of my heroine, Tygre.

nodded her head.” SFO: What advice do you have for other women on how to stay youthful? Ava: Someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to has been my mantra. ‘Doing’ for others gives me joy and has been most rewarding. Both the members of the

Ava Roosevelt with late husband William Donner Roosevelt alongside their Aerostar 90440.

Roosevelt and the Donner side of the family have ‘adopted’ me after Bill’s death. William Donner Roosevelt would have been 80 years old Dec. 1, 2012 had he lived, and every year we celebrate his life. I don’t think about my age. I work non-stop promoting my book and attempting to make it into a movie, my next goal. I will sleep when I am old, and rest when I am dead.


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Winter 2013

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Romeo Revisited, 1996 Acrylic on canvas, 44 x 64 in. Hunters & Frankau, London


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Winter 2013

Thought Provoking


with a Churchillian Legacy Edwina Sandys & Sir Winston Churchill: Granddaughter and Grandfather – His influences and legacy and how she basks in his sunlight By Charles L. Cox, PhD, Professor of European History, with Jean Cox

“When I get to Heaven, I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first five million years in painting, so as to get to the bottom of the subject.” – Sir Winston Churchill On a recent Sunday morning in January, in her SoHo, New York loft, artist Edwina Sandys answers the telephone in her soft, measured and charmingly English accent – with the quiet confidence of a Cleopatra. One might not surmise at first that Edwina’s grandfather was historically perhaps the greatest statesman the world has known: Sir Winston Churchill. She is by math one quarter Edwina Sandys Churchillian, proof of which is evident in their common red hair. Yet, Edwina is clearly more than that. This article is about Edwina Sandys’ emergence as a world renowned artist and her grandfather’s influence and legacy. He will hover in the background throughout. Winter 2013

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Chartwell (1983) Lithograph, 21x21 in., depicts Winston Churchill outdoors painting at his home in England.


closer look Edwina was born in 1938, the daughter of Tory politician Duncan Sandys, who later rose to the rank of elder statesman, retiring as Lord Duncan-Sandys, and Diana Churchill, first child of Sir Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine.

A word now about the great man. Churchill’s name, still today, invokes awe and fires the spirit. Some may include Abraham Lincoln in this classification, but one must remember that while he saved the United States, Churchill in May 1940, saved the world, telling his War Cabinet – some of whom wished to surrender to Hitler –“We shall go on and we shall fight it out … and if at last the long story is to end … not through surrender, but only when we are rolling senseless on the ground.” Had he done less, England would have surrendered and the result a Nazi victory. “The world would have sunk into the abyss of a new Dark Age,” Churchill later said. British leaders since Churchill’s death on January 24, 1965 (the date of which Churchill himself predicted eight years earlier – the same day his father died) have labored under his great shadow. 102

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1943, clockwise from upper left: Duncan Sandys, Rev. Hugh Edmund Worlledge, Mildred Lister, Diana Churchill Sandys with Celia, Clementine Churchill, Winston Churchill, Julian, Edwina.

Churchill from the eyes of a child Edwina’s earliest recollections of her grandfather was at Checquers, the country home of the British prime minister during the war. Her family visited frequently as Churchill’s schedule permitted. Luncheons and dinners were pleasant and the children were included in all activities, never shunted aside. “Grandpapa loved having people around him, especially children and was not only a great man, but a great grandfather.” Edwina also tells us that he loved animals. He did have pigs. He had a farm and cows and some special black swans. “He even got a lion once,” recalled Edwina. “Of course, we couldn’t keep it, so we had to visit it at the zoo. I remember it was a wonderful thing to go to the zoo and see Grandpapa’s lion.” Churchill inspired the children with poetry. He could quote all 70 stanzas of “Horatius at the Bridge” by heart. Also there were discussions of literary works and, above all, painting. It was this latter activity which truly inspired Edwina because, at her age of 5 or 6, she had never before seen an artist at work. “When he sat down to paint, he had his favorite hat, glasses, cigar [the famed Romeo y Julieta], brush, easel and canvas,” Edwina recalled about Churchill. “Grandpapa was all business when it came

“Once I have sketched someone’s features a few times, I have them firmly ingrained in my brain. I don’t have to look at them again. I can conjure them up at will.” — Edwina Sandys to painting, totally concentrated, and we would not dare to make so much as a peep.” Edwina was naturally good at drawing and would draw scenes on cards for her grandfather to see. “When he had time, he would critique them, giving advice on matters such as color and placement,” she said. This association continued over the years and she saw him frequently at Chartwell, his home in Kent. She received a first-class education and eventually married Tory M.P. named Piers Dixon and gave birth to two sons, Mark and Hugo. Early in her marriage, she served on her local town council and even considered running for

Double Vision (1972) Winter 2013

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a seat in Parliament, but decided to write a novel instead. When Churchill died in 1965, Edwina was 27. Over the next 18 months, she began to do pen and ink sketches, framing some and hanging them on the walls of her home. “One day, a friend, a restaurateur was visiting and expressed admiration for these sketches,” Edwina said. “He suggested that we hang them in his restaurant and sell them. And, we did, and they sold well.” This launched her career in art and eventually led to commissions to paint portraits of friends and others. Though good at it, she found it frustrating when many, it seemed, wanted her to redo the work showing them flawlessly. “No one liked to see their own double chin,” Edwina said.

Examining Edwina’s Artwork In the 70s, Edwina began to hit her stride. In the three decades that followed, she branched out into many artistic media and established a world reputation for herself. She had eclectic tastes and these led to works in acrylic on canvas, clay and bronze, marble, granite, concrete, steel, aluminum and paper.

In the library scene of “Winston at Work” (see next page), here is her grandfather in caricature at canvas, painting a landscape in his library. The message plays upon his notorious self-centeredness. As generous and giving as he was, Churchill probably was the most self-centered “good person of the modern age” (a possible explanation would be Teddy Roosevelt of whom Mark Twain once said: “He has to be the bride at every wedding, the center of every stage and the corpse at every funeral”). Churchill did not lack for confidence either. He once said, "We are all worms, but I believe that I am a glowworm." When one peruses the books lining the shelves in Edwina’s Winston at Work painting, one finds books mostly written by Churchill himself. But on closer inspection, one discovers a chronologically impossible addition, namely William Manchester’s monumental history of Churchill’s life entitled The Last Lion, written three decades after the great man’s death. This very likely would have been his favorite book because it depicts Churchill objectively, but in all his ability, grandeur and glory.

The third of these paintings is “Romeo Revisited” (page 100). This above all is “I don’t live all my life thinking touching, utterly apt and deeply humorous. To begin with, it relies on I’m Winston Churchill’s Churchill’s famous “Bottlescape” painted in 1931 (shown on page 105). It hangs granddaughter. Being his today at Chartwell, part of the National granddaughter has given me Trust of Great Britain. What strikes the viewer first is the similarity of “Romeo a measure to live up to,” Revisted” by Edwina and “Bottlescape” by Churchill. But there is much more Edwina said. in her rendition. In the top right corner is a pen and ink sketch of Churchill, While Edwina’s works show wit, many of her works are profound which looks like a photograph from the Times of London. Look at and deadly serious. The first subject prompted an important re- his left index finger and see it touching the middle of his upper lip. mark by Edwina. It is called “Double Vision” (1972) (shown on page Notice there is no cigar in hand. Now see his concentrated and 103) and it depicts the same woman from a left facing cant and a yearning gaze through the bottlenecks at the open box of Romeo y right facing cant. They are a mirror vision and only seem different by Julietas. His first longing is for the tobacco. Secondly would come the whiskey. This work is as seriously deep as it is whimsical. This piece being reversed. calls to mind two famous statements he made on whiskey and toWinston at Work bacco. On spirits, in his 80’s he said, “I have taken more out of alcohol Next comes a brief series of paintings called “Winston at Work”. The than alcohol has taken out of me.” On tobacco, "How can I tell that first, entitled “Chartwell” (page 102), depicts the once svelte and lithe my temper would have been as sweet, or my companionship as young Churchill now in old age, portly and overweight from the agreeable, if I had abjured from in my youth the goddess Nicotine?" back. Edwina’s depiction of him while painting at Chartwell gives Churchill loved art and “Romeo Revisted,” one thinks, he would the reader a sense of the home’s beauty and charm. have adored. Taking a look at a few of her most wellknown works, one can examine her motives, creative excellence and her profound subtle wit – another Churchillian characteristic. Churchill determined that he would be willing to “put up with the best life had to offer.” Having no inheritance to support such a style meant that he had to earn big money, and he did that by writing over 65 masterpieces. As he said toward the end: “I lived from pen to mouth.”


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Winter 2013

Churchill painting in his Chartwell studio

The Breakthrough

Winston at Work, 1991. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 in. Collection Barbara & Richard J. Mahoney

Perhaps Edwina’s most celebrated work is called “Breakthrough” (see picture on page 106). It is fashioned from a 32-foot stretch of the former Berlin Wall, which Nikita Khrushchev erected in 1962 to keep the East Germans from escaping to the West and to freedom. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, so did its puppet ally the Communist German Democratic Republic. Then the hated wall came down. Edwina was commissioned to take the massive stretch of the Berlin Wall and create art worthy of this triumph. Accordingly, the 70-odd ton section was transported from Germany to Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the very spot where, in the late spring of 1946, Churchill gave arguably the greatest speech of his life. It was a clarion call for “the English speaking people of the world to confront and prevent further Soviet expansionism and their relentless suppression of freedom in the world.” It was the famed “Iron Curtain” speech where he said that “from Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the face of Europe.” The work, finished in 1990, stands in front of the building where Churchill spoke and near his statue. “In “Breakthrough,” from the blank former-Communist side, you see light through the male and female shapes, and when you walk through to freedom, from dictatorship to democracy, it’s as if you were living in a black-and-white world, and now you’re in glorious Technicolor. Through these openings, visitors can pass freely – from East to West, from West

Bottlescape, circa 1932. Winston S. Churchill, Oil on canvas, 28 x 36 in. Chartwell, National Trust of Great Britain Winter 2013

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Mikhail Gorbachev and Edwina Sandys

At the commemoration of the Breakthrough sculpture (formed out of the former Berlin Wall) placed at the very spot where Winston Churchill gave his famous

to East. They can imagine what it’s like to be on the ‘other side.’ They can make their own ‘Breakthrough.’ ” Eighteen months later, Mikhail Gorbachev visited America for the first time and, interestingly, came to speak at Westminster College in Fulton. As he stood on that hallowed ground, he delivered an appropriate speech with Edwina and thousands of people present. One wonders what thoughts went through this man’s mind as he viewed the remnants of the wall. Although his intentions proved honorable in the end, he had, after all, dedicated the bulk of his life supporting a soul destroying tyranny that had tried to rob mankind of its most treasured gift – that of freewill. One may wonder if he 106

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"Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, MO., Edwina said, “My grandfather would have been thrilled about the Berlin Wall collapsing. I wish he could be here at Fulton to walk through my [Breakthrough] sculpture and see the closing of this chapter of history. But I know he’s here in spirit!” — Edwina Sandys about Winston Churchill

were seeking some atonement. In a photograph with them pictured together (page 106), Gorbachev stands a head taller than Edwina, but when one compares the principles by which each had lived, she rises a head taller than he.

No Coattails for Edwina It seems clear that Edwina Sandys is distinctly different from most of us. She instinctively understands the human condition and has displayed this gift in her world of art. Further, she understood that she could not, and should not, ride the coattails of her parents and illustrious grandparents. Edwina says of this: “I don’t live all my life thinking I’m Winston Churchill’s granddaughter.” She stands independently on the spot she carved for herself. Understand, there is no resentment here. On the contrary, she truly admires and appreciates his influence on her life. “Being his granddaughter has given me a measure to live up to,” Edwina said.

word or two in the conversation (well, maybe). Edwina is now in her 70s, still working – with a new humorous artistic book entitled Social Intercourse recently unveiled. Edwina is now comfortably fixed and happily married to Mr. Richard Kaplan for 25 years. Kaplan is a semi-retired architect who, with cane in hand, tousled hair, and a twinkle in his eye, is as spry as a teenager, and – like his wife – is utterly amusing and devilishly charming. These words from Edwina sum up her leitmotiv: “Overall, I want my work to have an immediate, instant impact. You look at it first because it catches your eye. And you want to look at it again. Then you realize it’s something different than what you originally thought. And when you leave, like after seeing a great movie, there’s a lingering feeling, something that makes you think beyond the initial experience.” And, so she has. William Manchester was right to call Sir Winston “The Last Lion.” History bears this out. Edwina is the pride of the “Old Lion’s” pride.

Not blessed with great wealth by way of inheritance, Edwina, like Churchill, had to earn her way in the world. He did that with pen and she did it with brush, so to speak. It is also clear to anyone who studies her and her work that she understood another fundamental truth – one that escapes the cognizance of most people today. She understood early on that no one is entitled to respect – not even the well-to-do. They are only entitled to courtesy. Edwina knew that respect had to be earned and that can only be done day by day, year by year, doing respectable things in life and in one’s chosen line of work. This she has done and become one of the great artists of the modern era, a Renaissance woman. In 1997, Edwina was awarded with the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists for Excellence. The United Nations has installed five monumental sculptures by Edwina at its centers around the world.                      

Churchill would approve Sir Winston, were he here today, would be immensely proud of Edwina. One can imagine them sitting and discussing her works of art and his. It is entirely possible that he would let her get in a

Photo Mel Jay

L-R: Richard Kaplan, Ava Roosevelt, Chris Twardy & Edwina Sandys at the Grand Opening of Art House 429 in West Palm Beach in January 2013.

*Author’s note: This article is based largely upon the exclusive interview with Edwina Sandys by South Florida Opulence. It is also supported with excerpts from Caroline Seebohm’s excellent book: Edwina Sandys’ Art, and from archived newspaper interviews.

Read more about Edwina’s controversial art including “Christa” (a female Christ sculpture) and “The Marriage Bed” at

Charles L. Cox Winter 2013

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ASTON MARTIN Vanquish: Gentlemen’s Exotic

By Joshua Stone From the first glance, the Vanquish is unlike any supercar on the market today. This “gentlemen’s exotic” is a truly elegant statement in design. Aston Martin has focused on the details of this car. For example, the rear fender, quarter panel, and window surround are all one enormous piece of carbon fiber. The trunk and spoiler are one piece as well, and the bumpers have minimal cuts and gaps for a striking, streamlined appearance. The real magic starts on the inside. This coupe’s leather seats other amenities have more than 100,000 individual stitches in its luxurious quilted-leather interior. On the dash, every piece that looks like it should be metal is – from the air vent surrounds to the control knobs. The gorgeous herringbone carbon fiber console trim pairs the look of precision old-world woodworking with modern composites. The instrument cluster is crafted like a fine Swiss timepiece. Every inch of the interior feels attended to – from the alcantara trim around the windshield and pillars, to the unbelievable stitched leather headliner and quilted leather seats that extend to the rear deck. And the seats themselves are among the most comfortable around. The Vanquish is a Grand Touring car, and I could easily imagine spending hours on end enjoying the drive and having nary a cramp from the bolstered and plush thrones. The attention to detail has no equal in the market, even compared to cars costing nearly $100,000 more than this top-of-the-line Aston Martin. Even the background of the Aston Martin name on the badge is black, versus green on the other cars, a detail proclaiming the Vanquish as the King of the Aston Martin family.

The Sounds of Vanquish The new navigation and audio system in the Vanquish is by Garmin and Bang and Olufson. The system was easy to navigate, but the temptation of hearing that V12 symphony was too much for me to pass up. 108

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There is a sport button on the steering wheel that sharpens throttle response, alters the shift programming and, most importantly, opens a valve in the exhaust to let the wonderful engine sing. And sing it does. While 565 horsepower may seem a bit low in these days of horsepower wars, what it lacks in sheer power it makes up in flexibility and instant throttle response and, of course, that signature V12 wail.

What a Ride! I had reservations about the automatic transmission, but it’s quite comfortable around town and shifts very fast in manual mode. While not as quick as a dual clutch or involved as a traditional manual, the sixspeed automatic rear mounted transaxle is perfect for this application. It is as comfortable tooling around town in traffic as it is up and downshifting on your favorite

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curvy road. As for handling, body motions are very well controlled in normal, sport, and track modes. The big grand touring coupe is stiffly sprung but never harsh. While usually reserved for racecars, huge carbon ceramic brakes haul this car down from speed with confidence, while remaining quiet and easy to modulate with great pedal feel.

A Welcomed Surprise In conclusion, this car surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to find such a flexible and truly capable machine. To have this car as a track car would belie its true purpose. The Vanquish is engineered to swallow long distances without even a hiccup, and embarrass many exotics while doing so. This is truly an elegant expression without issue in daily driving. Good trunk space, a comfortable cabin, and amazing yet flexible performance highlight this remarkable car. If this is any indication of the new direction of the Aston Martin brand, the future looks very bright indeed.


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The Aston Martin Vanquish coupe has more than 100,000 individual stitches in its luxurious leather-quilted interior.

uniform security | rovers | gatehouse | concierge | bodyguards | events 888.940.4747

George Washington portrait by Rembrandt Peale, circa 1830.

Meet the World’s Best Frame Carver Par Excellence By Alex Starace 112

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Marc Chagall - Les amoureux sur le banc - 1922.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Eli Wilner has changed the way people think about frames. During the course of his career, he has overseen the re-framing of 28 American masterpieces on display in the White House, re-created the original frame for Washington Crossing the Delaware, and framed some of the most expensive paintings ever put on the auction block. Through it all, he has wowed his clients, while demonstrating that frames can be considered an artwork unto themselves. South Florida Opulence sat down with Wilner to discuss his career, his idea of beauty, and the new projects he’s exploring. In typically

earnest fashion, Wilner explained that his fascination with framing began early: “I drew precociously as a child and I gave some of my artwork to my great uncle, who was a collector. At the age of 9, I walked into his home in Palm Beach … and saw my paintings hanging on his walls, among his Chagalls and Modiglianis … I thought for sure I was a great painter. As a kid, I didn’t realize it was the frames that allowed my paintings to even begin to share a wall with these masterpieces. So, that was my first initiation into what frames can do for art.” Wilner went on to acknowledge that it wasn’t until he was in his mid-20s (and after he had received a Master’s Degree in painting)

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Wilner, who is proud of his role in restoring America’s cultural heritage, has also redone numerous frames in the Met’s American Wing. Securing a Spot in the Oval Office

Eli Wilner among his frames.

that he realized he couldn’t be a full-time painter if he wanted to earn a living.

Wilner became the White House’s framer using a similar approach: “Like everything else in my life – introductions and networking.” He was on a guided tour of the White House and his tour-mates (who were museum professionals) repeatedly asked the tour guide about the White House’s framing needs, as a favor to Wilner. Then-curator Betty Monkman gave very specific answers, which Wilner used to fashion a very specific gift he later gave to the White House: a period-appropriate frame for the 1917 Childe Hassam painting Avenue in the Rain. The painting, which was hung in the Oval Office in 2009, now frequently appears behind photographs of President Obama at work – and, as a result of his gift, Wilner was commissioned to make period-appropriate frames for 28 additional paintings held by the White House.

Forging a Career

An Even Bigger Project

In the early 1980s, when he was considering a career in framing, frames were unpopular – art collectors and museums were literally throwing them in the trash. Wilner, who has a passion for restoration and preservation, said, “It just bothered me to no end, and it also intrigued me enough to look at it as a profession.” To revive the art world’s perception of frames, Wilner convinced art reviewers for the Washington Post and New York magazine to write reviews that focused on frames. He also became active in the museum world, and eventually funded an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the artistry of American frames. Through this persistence, Wilner was able to position himself as an expert in an emerging field.

Wilner, who is proud of his role in restoring America’s cultural heritage, has also redone numerous frames in the Met’s American Wing. The most challenging was that of Washington Crossing the Delaware, the famous painting that has been reproduced and hung on countless schoolhouse walls. What many people don’t realize is that the painting is immense: 21 feet wide and 12 feet tall. Because of this scale, it took Wilner three years to make the frame. The final result weighed 1,400 pounds and was assembled in nine pieces; it was so large that the Met had to install a special reinforced wall to hold it. The frame, which includes a statue of an eagle at its crest, made its debut during the January 2012 reopening


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of the Met’s refurbished American Wing, where Washington Crossing the Delaware was the centerpiece.

Requests of All Sizes Wilner also has all sorts of inventive requests from his private clients: “We get involved in framing television sets, we design frames around mirrors. … And there’s a new trend where, even if people don’t collect art, a lot of people want one or two great [empty] frames hanging on the wall.” He’s also filled requests to frame windows that feature great views, and to design a frame that can be flipped on its side, given legs and a glass top, and used as a coffee table.

Eli Wilner & Company master framers. But perhaps the freshest trend is one Wilner himself started. When he and his family were building their home in Montauk, New York, Wilner decided he wanted an ornate front door: “I said, ‘You know what, we’ll carve a door.’ ” He used the same techniques he uses on his frames – and he was bowled over by the effect. He decided to carve every door in his house. For a while, the story ended there: “I just enjoyed that and let it be.” But visitors started to see the results. First, a friend commissioned him to carve six doors

Emanuel Leutze‘s “George Washington Crossing the Delaware” (1851).

in a retail space. And, then, once the public saw those doors, Wilner was amazed by the response: “All of a sudden, everyone wants to know about the doors. We’re about to embark on a massive project in Abu Dhabi, of all places, with my doors. We carve scenes into the wood, and we gild them. They look like metal – or anything.” The doors are a testament to Wilner’s craftsmanship, creativity and adaptability: the man who once wanted to become a painter has become a doormaker and framer par excellence.

35-star guidon was carried by Company C captained by Thomas Custer himself at the Battle of Little Big Horn 1876.

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This stunning mosaic made by artisans at Sicis in Italy is a remake of the Venus and the Bride painting by Tiziano Vecellio in 1513.


By Susan Berkman

osaic is one of the oldest art forms known to human civilization. Small pieces of material cut to uniform size and shape, called tesserae, are fitted together on a surface to make a pattern. Mosaic designs were first created with small clay cones which were pressed tightly together, point first, into columns and walls coated with wet plaster. Triangles, zigzags and geometric shapes were the main design elements. This ancient cone mosaic art began in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C. and was a predecessor to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Byzantines. The Egyptians were the first to use fused glass and decorated everything with it including palaces, temples and ships. Small pieces of dull-colored glass were used to make mosaic jewelry and mosaic stones. Greek mosaics were designed using worn down black and white pebbles. One of the most famous mosaic tile locations was


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Pergamum (now Turkey), where the first school of mosaic tile was born under the master artist Sosos. The Romans transformed mosaic from an art to a common decorative medium, covering the walls of their houses, temples and baths. Marble tiles became a popular material for floors. The Byzantines made intricate patterns with scenes of people and animals inspired by ancient myths, religious scenes, hunting scenes, faces, and portraits of emperors and empresses. They also used special glass tesserae, called smalti, made from thick sheets of colored glass, sometimes backed with reflective silver or gold leaf. These mosaic tiles were set at slight angles to the walls of palaces, churches and temples, so that they caught the light in different ways.

Ancient mosaic in Villa del Cicerone, Pompeii, Italy.

Ancient Mosaics Span The Globe Mosaic art has a long and varied history. While it was widely popular in Europe and the Near East, ancient mosaics have been found in China and South America. Besides being decorative, mosaics protected walls and floors from wind and water. As civilization advanced, so did the materials and techniques. Today, mosaic art is even more specialized with various materials such as stone, ceramics, shells, art glass, mirror beads and even odd items. While ancient mosaics tended to be architectural, modern mosaics cover everything from flowerpots to guitars to park benches.

The Baptistry of Neon in Ravenna, Italy, is the most ancient monument remaining in Ravenna. Winter 2013

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Queen Esther Byzantine Style By Lilian Broca, mosaic artist hroughout my career, I have explored relationships and the nature of the human condition through symbols and metaphors. The Queen Esther Mosaic Series deals with sacrifice. I chose the biblical Queen Esther as a prototype for the courageous, selfless heroine who wins against all odds. As a young woman, Esther fulfilled her role as leader at a time of crisis with intelligence, persistence and dedication. Today we view her as a role model and, as such, she contributes significantly to the status of women in society.

The mosaic Art Form The bright, seductive colours of Venetian glass and smalti that I used in creating mosaics many years ago suddenly beckoned me. The coincidental fact that mosaics were first mentioned in the biblical Book of Esther (within the description of King Ahasuerus’s palace) contributed to my decision to further explore this unique art form. In our present Post-Modernist society, executing the Esther Series in an ancient method with added contemporary symbolism seemed most appropriate.

Why Queen Esther? Esther was totally disinterested in becoming a candidate to be crowned Queen, and the text emphasizes that she was taken to the palace against her will. Like all obedient women of antiquity, Esther complied with given instructions and continued doing her uncle Mordechai’s bidding, even after being crowned Queen.

Mosaic of Queen Esther by Lilian Broca.


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As Queen of Persia, Esther was as inferior in status as any other woman. Her life at court was luxurious, but since she was completely isolated in the King's harem amongst women of a different culture and customs, she must have felt lonely and sad. Esther first sacrificed her maidenhood; later she was obliged to put her life at risk when ordered to go before King Khashayarsha and reveal the treacherous plans Haman had designed without the King’s knowledge. She knew the danger to her was great and immediate, for anyone who approached the court uninvited was liable to be condemned to death. She wisely designed a plan in which she played King Khashayarsha and evil Haman against each other. It is my

Local Master of An Ancient Art By Susan Berkman

Permission to Speak by Lilian Broca.

intent to portray Esther as a glorious winner, despite all the demands and sacrifices required of her in a patriarchal culture of antiquity.

Broca’s Mosaic Process I use the Byzantine style of creating mosaics. After sketching numerous ideas, I paint the final choice as a guide. These designs are created in reverse as mirror images that later get transferred to the panel used as the final substrate. While looking at the painted design, I then cut Venetian glass tesserae imported from Italy into tiny pieces and glue them on a temporary surface of brown paper the same size as the final mosaic panel. Smalto glass, a combination of opaque glass and enamel, is also being used along with 24 carat gold sandwiched between two thin layers of transparent glass. Four

or five shades of each colour are employed to enhance the visual effect; the surface itself becomes a field of attention and more emphatic in its overall unity. Figure and ground merge into one another.

A modern master of an ancient art, Gina Hubler of Key Biscayne exemplifies her spiritual, ecclesiastic passion through mixed-medium mosaics. The world-renowned artisan – whose commissions adorn condominiums, commercial complexes and galleries here and abroad, and who guides professional historic mosaic tours throughout Europe – teaches other aspiring visionaries at the Miami Mosaic Academy, which she founded.

In a successful mosaic, the manner of the laying of tesserae and the intended image must function interdependently; each individual piece of glass retains its individual identity, yet the eye assimilates the pieces into a whole image. It is very different from my previous body of work – paintings and drawings – where the medium was subservient to the image. The mosaics' dramatic subject matter, emotive with vibrant colours though laid out in an orderly and rational fashion, reflect the present stage in my artistic development. For more information about Broca’s mosaic work, go to

St. Mary of the Angels, a mosaic created by Gina Hubler, is at the cathedral by the same name in Chicago.

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Museum-quality art tours within five-star resorts offer an original and vibrant experience By John D. Adams Guests staying at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne and the Boca Raton Resort & Club not only enjoy five-star accommodations, they can also enjoy an art gallery experience and museum-quality walking tours without leaving the resorts. Bringing this exclusive art gallery experience to guests at major hotel chains is the work of Elaine Baker and Deborah Sponder of the longstanding Baker Sponder Gallery in Boca Raton. “It was a simple idea,” remarked Elaine Baker. “Many of our clients and friends belong to the Boca Resort. And in their leisure time, if they weren’t shopping or playing golf, then they were at the resort.”


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Lifesize Pablo Picasso in bronze by Robert St. Croix at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.

An original art experience When Baker and Sponder presented their idea, hotel executives were enthusiastic about the concept with the established gallery owners. “We want to beautify their spaces while giving their guests another exclusive activity,” said Sponder. “We want to show amazing pieces that you may not get to see up close and personal otherwise. We want to jolt you a little to make you want to learn more about artists and artwork.”

Swimmer by Carole Feuerman at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.

And since all featured artworks are available for purchase, the gallery and hotel chains are continually able to showcase new and interesting works from a wide range of contemporary artists. “We want to keep the experience original and vibrant for those who visit often,” said Sponder. “The project expands the context of contemporary sculpture beyond the traditional confines of a gallery or museum and enhances the properties with a unique art-viewing opportunity.”

Museum-quality touring Sponder has ensured that the venues offer the most enjoyable and comprehensive art encounter. “We traveled all over the country listening to museum audio tours so that our cellphone self-guided tours were user-friendly. For instance, you don’t have

Niagra by Rob Lorenson at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

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Lifeguard by Aurora Cañero at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.

to shut your phone off between sculptures; if you don’t press a button right away, it doesn’t hang up on you; when you reach the next sculpture you simply push the next number.” The interface system also allows visitors and interested parties to submit inquiries, questions and comments. Sponder’s brother Steven, in charge of hotel acquisitions, also came up with the idea of putting QR codes by each piece. “We have a text panel at each sculpture with an 800 number for audio by either a docent or the artists themselves, which offers insight on each work of art and the artists’ lives. By using your phone to scan the QR codes, guests get an extended look into other works by the artists.” With the growing success of their on-premise gallery walking tours, Baker and Sponder continue to be grateful for their inspiring environment. “We have been so fortunate to be surrounded by and involved with those who have been creating the art Mecca that South Florida has become. It is our mission to initiate a lifelong process of cultural awareness and inspire creative thinking by engaging people in art experiences.”

Sculpture by Boaz Vaadia at the Boca Raton Resort & Club main entrance.

Learn more about the Baker Sponder Gallery and Sculpture Partners Group: email:

Sculpture by Bill Barrett at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. 122

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Sir Richard Branson’s Favorite Hideaway tiny slice of Heaven-on-Earth, Necker Island is Sir Richard Branson’s favorite hideaway consisting of 74 acres sitting on turquoise waters surrounded by coral reefs and fringed with sandy white beaches in the British Virgin Islands. He first purchased it in 1978 and opened it as a luxury retreat for private hire in 1984, accommodating up to 28 guests. Thrill-seeking adventurers who visit Necker Island enjoy windsurfing, kite boarding, paddle boarding, snorkeling, sailing, waterskiing, beach volleyball or just simply relaxing and admiring one of the many spectacular vistas. Branson married his wife, Joan, on Turtle Beach, arriving to the ceremony by helicopter. Today, the island is available for private weddings, as well. There is a fabulous, dedicated staff on the island, which is home to more than 200 flamingos who are all part of the Necker family.

Your Own Private Island Sanctuary To enjoy Necker Island as your very own private sanctuary, book the island in its entirety. However, Branson has created what he calls “Celebration Weeks” when couples or singles can book individual rooms and share the island ‘house party’ style. There are six Bali Houses, each with one bedroom plus the Temple House, Branson’s personal home with one master bedroom, and a separate house called the Love Temple. Combined, the captivating resort can accommodate eight, all with en-suite bathrooms. Necker Belle, Branson’s luxurious catamaran with four cabins, is also available for guest stays. 124

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Limited Edition Necker Island is now part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition, his portfolio of unique retreats. They include Ulusaba Private Game Preserve, Kasbah Tamadot Moroccan Retreat, The Roof Gardens in London, The Lodge in Verbier, Mahali Mzuri Kenyan Safari Camp, Makepeace Island in Australia, Necker Belle Catamaran and Necker Nymph Submarine. “We’ve never run our properties like a hotel. We run them like you’re coming to somebody’s home,” said Richard Branson. For more information: &

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Limited Edition Necker Island is now part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition, his portfolio of unique retreats. They include Ulusaba Private Game Preserve, Kasbah Tamadot Moroccan Retreat, The Roof Gardens in London, The Lodge in Verbier, Mahali Mzuri Kenyan Safari Camp, Makepeace Island in Australia, Necker Belle Catamaran and Necker Nymph Submarine. “We’ve never run our properties like a hotel. We run them like you’re coming to somebody’s home,” said Richard Branson. For more information: &

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Inaugural Necker Island Tennis Cup By Hope Gainer Imagine starring in a doubles tennis tournament on Sir Richard Branson’s private island with legendary tennis players, enjoying idyllic paradise settings, gourmet meals, endless beach activities, nightly parties and being spoiled by a 60-person staff catering to your every need! That, my friend, is the Necker Cup. The inaugural event was Dec. 9-13, 2012 and will rollout again in 2013 due to Branson’s delight, so stay tuned! “Necker Island is my home and favorite hideaway and as a huge fan of tennis I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to have Necker host this unique tennis experience. The Necker Cup was an amazing success and incredible fun for everyone involved; it’s something we hope to do again this year,” said Sir Richard Branson. The inaugural event was a scintillating success. Tennis pros and amateur international billionaires alike experienced the extravagance of a lifetime – one that money cannot buy. A handicapped scoring format was used to make it competitive for all levels. Branson opened his private island for the Necker Cup and also hosted a Virgin Unite Leadership retreat at his Temple House with guest speakers Jose Maria Figueres, former Costa Rican president, and Sylvia Alice Earle, first recipient of the Time Magazine Hero for the Planet and Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. The Necker Cup benefited Virgin Unite, a non-profit of the Virgin Group that unites people and entrepreneurial ideas, as well as the National Tennis Foundation, which helps gifted tennis athletes regardless of race or economic means.

Sir Richard Branson celebrates with players and fans of the first Necker Island Tennis Cup.


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Continuum South Beach Realty is the on-site real estate brokerage company for Continuum on South Beach. Located in the retail area of the North Tower (Continuum II), we specialize in buying and selling condominiums and waterfront homes, leasing luxury properties and guiding real estate investments throughout South Florida. Our on-site team is prepared to meet the expectations of a domestic as well as international clientele. An extensive network of buyers, sellers and repeat clients is your guarantee of success.

S O U T H B E A C H R E A L T Y, I N C . 40 South Pointe Drive • Suite 110 • Miami Beach, Florida 33139 • 305.695.1111 •

Condo Law

By Michael S. Bender, Esq., Kaye Bender Rembaum

FEDERAL COURT DECISION FURTHER NARROWS SERVICE ANIMAL ABUSE It has been a growing trend for residents to make the effort to circumvent pet restrictions in governing documents by claiming a disability that requires the use of a “service animal” in order to have full use and enjoyment of the property. When this practice began, very little medical support for the allegation was generally necessary by those agencies that reviewed and decided discrimination complaints. In recent years, more stringent requirements evolved, as are further set forth in our Legal Morsels article on Service Animals in May 2011. In a recent case in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, the Court provided Associations with bases to reject what may not be legitimate requests for a reasonable accommodation under Fair Housing laws. In Robins v. The Towers of Quayside No. 1 Condominium Association, Inc., Case No. 11-23831-CIV-COOKE/TURNOFF, decided on November 28, 2012, the Complaint of the owner claiming discrimination relative to an alleged service animal was dismissed and Summary Judgment granted in favor of the Association. In this case, the owner had rescued a dog that violated the governing documents of the Condominium by weighing more than the documentary limit. When the Association notified the owner of the issue, the owner then made the claim that it was a service animal needed to assist him due to depression. He presented a letter from a physician indicating that the dog was needed to “bolster his self-esteem, create an interactive social environment and would also assist him


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with major life activities such as resting and caring for himself.” The Association granted the request. Subsequently, the dog was involved in violent incidents with other residents and their pets. As a result, the Association notified the owner of the need to take steps to control the dog. However, additional incidents occurred and a finding that the dog was “dangerous” was made by the local Animal Services department. At that point, the Association demanded the removal of the dog from the Condominium. The owner filed suit, claiming discrimination. In reviewing and evaluating the facts of the case, the Court concluded that the owner failed to qualify as disabled and was not entitled to the requested reasonable accommodation. The Court stated that there was no real evidence that demonstrated the owner suffered from a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his “major life activities,” which is a requirement to qualify. In its analysis, the Court identified that the “major life activity” that must be involved in the analysis includes “the operation of a major bodily function” and/or “caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working.” The judge made note of the fact that the owner provided no indication of such a handicap until after obtaining the dog that violated the documents. The decision also stated that it is the obligation of the requesting resident to provide sufficient in-

formation to the Association to support the request for the accommodation. The failure of the owner to provide sufficient information to the Association results in the inability of the Association to conduct a meaningful review of the application for the reasonable accommodation, which is a requirement before the application needs to be approved. The initial letter from the physician was also found to be inadequate as not providing sufficient detail about the alleged disability, the level of any impairment, or any manner in which the specific dog, as opposed to some other mechanism or animal, would alleviate or lessen the disability. Many




factual situations when residents suddenly develop some form of handicap when confronted about a violating animal. The holding of this case, although at the lowest level of the Federal Courts, is an indication that simply submitting a letter from a medical provider with vague indications of disabilities is not sufficient to qualify for a reasonable accommodation from a pet restriction covenant.

It is important for

Associations to evaluate every application submitted on this topic fully and undertake what is considered to be appropriate due diligence before reaching a decision on whether or not to approve a request for an accommodation. The Robins case clarifies that, if the facts of the situation warrant, disapproving such a request is becoming a more available option than in the past.

Business Leader

New Jet International 20 years of passion, hard work and experience 20 years ago, Valerio Zamboni’s fervid passion for aviation led him to found New Jet International and start his journey in the private aviation industry. Because of his determined temperament and experience, he decided to take on the ambitious idea of founding his own company, New Jet International. Today, New Jet International – official Bombardier Business Aircraft and Sikorsky representative – celebrates its successful past, but most of all, continues to grow and develop, enlarging its team, skills and exclusive territories, efficiently meeting its clientele’s evolving needs. With its headquarters in Monte-Carlo and various Sales Directors placed in key countries, as well as affiliates all over the globe, New Jet can satisfy an international clientele, including both individuals and corporations


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in all corners of the world, offering the experience of its wide and prestigious network built over years of hard work and dedication. In addition to the Bombardier and Sikorsky full range of new corporate jets and helicopters, New Jet is also very active on pre-owned sales and acquisitions. With its brokerage services, the company covers all brands and needs of the market, and has experts that can provide professional services and assist on acquisitions, sales, market trends and product information. 2013 will be a special year for Valerio Zamboni and his company, who, after two decades of successful operations both on the professional and on the personal level, plans to celebrate this important milestone by fulfilling his plans for the future.

STATE-OF-THE-ART BUILDING SERVICES AND SUPERIOR WORK FORCE MANAGEMENT CSI International, Inc. provides Custodial, Mechanical and Corporate Support services to commercial Class A properties and the Fortune 500 clientele in the State of Florida. Since 1989, CSI has earned an incomparable reputation for cost-effective solutions with responsive service, unbeatable support, and uncompromising quality. We are committed to delivering healthy environments for all our clients through our green cleaning initiative. At CSI, everything we do stems from one simple premise: We are here to make life easier for our clients. We ensure this by providing the finest in: Janitorial services Green cleaning options Mechanical services

Operating engineers’ services Building mechanics services Corporate services

Fort Lauderdale Corporate Headquarters, 6700 North Andrews Avenue, Suite 400, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 954-308-4300 Winter 2013 South FloridaOPULENCE 131

Condo Living


Audit for your Association?

By Andrew Rand, Director of Association Accounting at CSI Management Services As a member or board member of a condominium association, there may be a requirement to have an annual financial independent audit. Whether there is a requirement or not, there are many benefits to engaging an independent certified public accounting firm to audit the Association. The ultimate responsibility of deciding to have an audit remains with the board of directors. As a board member, making the decision to have an audit is in the best interest of the association, which will assist in the budgeting for the future. The benefits include getting that annual physical or checkup of the financials and having an independent accountant

provide assurance to the financials that are being presented to the board of directors and members. The primary purpose of an audit is to assure users of the financial statements that these statements are reliable. What is an independent audit? The objective of the independent audit is to express an opinion stating whether the financial statements, taken as a whole, are fairly presented in all material respects to conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The certified public accountant will normally provide audit inquiries to gain an understanding of the Association and the internal control environment, the risk assessment process, the internal control communication process and the internal control monitoring process. What goes into an audit would be a thorough review of the past fiscal year as well as disclosure and reporting on material events right up to the issue date of the report. Once the board decides to have the independent audit, what does the board of directors look for when picking the auditor? The board of directors should consider an auditor with experience with condominium and homeowner associations. This is very important because they have current knowledge of requirements and understand how associations work. Due diligence on the auditor’s part means that the auditor should be interviewing the Association and asking certain questions and be provided basic information including prior year audited financials, current year financials and a list of relevant topics going on in the Association. Lastly, the adage “You get what you pay for� applies to all services and that includes the audit services. It is very important to gather the audit proposals and evaluate the choices. The board of directors should not pick an auditor based on price only but also experience, communication and quality.

For industry-related education events sponsored by the Community Associations Institute SE Florida Chapter, please scan the QR code at right for our Calendar of Events or visit our website at


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Winter 2013

Extensive Industry Experience, with a personal touch








Opulence.indd 1





1/31/2013 11:21:40 AM

» Condominium Association Policies » Directors & Officers » Crime/Fidelity Bonds » Workers Comp » Home » Auto » Flood » Investor /Rental Units » Wind Mitigation 401 East Las Olas Blvd., Suite 1400 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 T: 954.337.1555 F: 954.606.6464 Toll Free 800.299.5055 (USA & Canada)

Experience the Difference

Serving Community Associations Since 1984

Condo Living How Board Members Should Negotiate Short Sales By Steve G. Mason, LCAM, CMCA, AMS

As foreclosure rates remain unstable across Florida, a beacon of light has begun to shine across Downtown Miami: n

Y early sales have increased, with 2012 having a 24 percent spike above 2011’s rates.

n The

average price per square foot also jumped 7 percent from last year’s price.


S everal local new condo projects have been proposed or are already in construction.

How did this happen? So many condominiums in distress are selling and Associations are slowly moving forward toward a better financial position. Enter the expression, “cash is king,” or more importantly, enter the era of the “short sale.” A real estate short sale is when your mortgage bank agrees to take less than what is currently owed on the unpaid balance. A short sale can provide mutual benefits for both the homeowner and the bank because it helps both parties avoid foreclosure. What about the Association? While every short sale offer should be negotiated on a ”case by case” approach, the first question a Board should ask is, “At what stage


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is the unit in the lender foreclosure process?” The Board should consider the amount the Association will receive if the short sale is approved versus the amount they are owed. If the Board chooses not to accept the offer, the next question is how much longer would the Association have to wait to receive any funds, which could be limited by the Florida Safe Harbor provision as outlined in the Florida Statute 718.116(1)(b). If the unit is in the beginning stages, the short sale offer can be better negotiated. Otherwise, there are other factors to consider. The main factor is whether accepting the short sale offer will result in the Association taking less than full payment owed. In most cases, the answer is yes. This is where the creative process kicks into gear, and the Board of Directors should consider these other approaches: n

If any brokers/agents are involved and are taking full commission, then suggest that the broker/agent reduce his/her commission and redirect that percentage to the Association.


 sually in short sale scenarios, the buyer’s U offer has been approved by the lender,

which is usually under the current real estate value. Ask the buyer to contribute to the debt. n

It also never hurts no go back to the lender and “counter” their offer for a better deal.

While the Association is under no obligation to participate in short sales, it is good policy to review: (1) a copy of the preliminary HUD1 Settlement Statement (which shows the distribution of all funds in the transaction); and (2) a copy of the short sale payoff. It is also a good idea to have a real estate attorney review all short sale offers to evaluate a HUD1 Settlement Statement and see if anyone is making more money than they should be. At the final conclusion of all possible negotiations, when the short sale offer is accepted by the Board, the end result is usually that there will be bad debt to write off (loss to the Association). However, there will then be a new owner, which will hopefully result in positive cash flow for the Association moving forward.


Our experts understand the needs of community associations. We can FinanCe your essential projects, including: • Building Repairs • Improvement Projects We offer state-of-the-art LoCk Box and Cash ManageMent services, as well as a full array of other depository services.

Contact our South Florida Relationship Manager: Rebecca R. Prieto, V.P. 786-953-1221

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Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE


CSI Welcomes the Yacht Club at Portofino! The board of directors at the Yacht Club at Portofino in the South of Fifth neighborhood of Miami Beach recently selected CSI Management Services to provide the best in property management for their residents. Yacht Club at Portofino overlooks the pristine azure waters of Biscayne Bay on the South Pointe of the island. We welcome the residents of the Yacht Club at Portofino to the CSI family!

t h at s ur p a s s Eme ral d .

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Ask Sherwin-Williams™. 1-800-4-SHERWIN

Introducing Emerald™, the paint that’s unsurpassed when it comes to sustainable beauty. This best-in-class paint delivers rich, vibrant color with exceptional hide and durability. And thanks to our new breakthrough colorants, you can tint Emerald to any color without adding VOCs. Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex Paint is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified® ©2013 The Sherwin-Williams Company.

For more information, contact: Alicia Chavarria, Designer Account Executive 317 N Federal Highway Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Cell: 954.579.1185 Fax: 954.524.9936

Condo Law

By Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq.

how loud is too loud in your condominium? Last month I attended the Aerosmith concert at the BB&T Center. I left with my ears ringing. My husband, however, wasn’t fazed at all by the noise. It made me think about how often noise complaints have arisen in community associations and the best ways to address those complaints. Most governing documents contain a general nuisance clause. Florida common law also defines which activities rise to the level of a general nuisance. Generally, disturbing a member’s peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their property constitutes an actionable nuisance. Some noise issues are related to hard surfaces being installed without proper soundproofing and in areas that require noise absorbent material in order to safeguard the neighbors below. When that occurs, even normal daily activities resonate with more force than normal. Other times, the source of the problem is a resident’s unwillingness to moderate the decibel level of their television, radio or other device. Some noise issues arise from pets left alone during the day, domestic disputes, excessive partying and, occasionally, the racket is designed specifically to irritate a neighbor. Sometimes, noise issues can and should be resolved between neighbors without bringing the association into the equation.

When an owner contacts the association about a nuisance generated by noise, the association’s first response should be to undertake some due diligence to determine the source and decibel level of the noise and whether surrounding neighbors are similarly impacted. Noice issues become more complicated when the person complaining is more sensitive to noise than the average resident. Naturally, local ordinances on noise can be consulted to determine whether the noise in question violates municipal or county regulations, but even this avenue has become more complicated recently with the December 13, 2012, ruling by the Florida Supreme Court in the State of Florida v. Richard T. Catalano case. The Florida Supreme Court struck down a 2005 Florida law which allowed drivers who blast their car stereos to be ticketed or have their cars impounded when such sound systems were “plainly audible” from 25 feet away. The Florida Supreme Court, however, held that the state law was overbroad and unreasonably restricted free speech. Since the local ordinances may just have become less effective at controlling noise in private residential communities, it is more important than ever that boards, managers and association counsel discuss what can be done in terms of noise control.

Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq. is one of the Founding Partners of the statewide law firm Katzman Garfinkel & Berger (KG&B), a firm that devotes its practice to the representation of community associations. Ms. Berger can be reached directly at 954-315-0372 or via email at

Community Association Loans All the right tools for your next project.

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Hilton Head Island Heroes – A Story of Love and Hope When Hurricane Sandy ravaged homes along the coastline of New Jersey and New York last October, 1,500 employees of CSI International, the parent company of CSI Management Services and Horizon Publishing, were severely impacted. Some lost their homes altogether. CSI Founders Geoff and Jayne Hammond in Florida, along with CSI International Chief Operating Officer Chuck Wiese in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and their staffs, jumped into action. They called and emailed everyone they knew. The outpouring of support was heartwarming, but one family and community – in Hilton Head, South Carolina – went to staggering, exhaustive lengths to generously help others they had never even met. “Jayne and I had met Angela Mullis of Charter One North Realty while on vacation on Hilton Head last summer. She seemed to be very caring,” said Geoff Hammond. “When Hurricane Sandy hit, Angela was on my call list. A few days later, I got a message with some astounding news: Angela and her father Charles Sampson, founder of Charter One North Realty, were driving up to Pennsylvania with a tractor trailer filled with donations! They had selflessly rallied the Hilton Head community – and they responded with overwhelming kindness.” “The event started as a toy and coat drive, but evolved into much more,” said Charles. Businesses and residents came forward to donate new bikes, stuffed animals, board games and clothing.

(L-R) Ryan Moore, John Morris Russell, Beth Moore, P.M. Horseman, George Chambella, baby Neely Ciccarelli, Frances Sampson, Robin Smith and Charles Sampson with items collected during the toy and coat drive on Hilton Head to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, including employees of CSI International.

Members of First Presbyterian Day School on Hilton Head donated baby clothes and jackets. Scott Sutton, manager of Belk department store, donated 100 Belkie Bears. High Tide Professional Carpet Cleaning and Rainbow International Company president Ryan Moore donated a truck to transport the items. Sampson and Mullis made the nearly 800-mile trip to Pennsylvania where the items were delivered to CSI International representatives who wrapped the toys in holiday paper and then distributed the donations to employees and other families in need. “I remember in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo hit our area. Many people came forward to help others and this is our way of giving back. There is nothing more rewarding than helping others,” said Sampson.

Winter 2013

South Florida OPULENCE


fendi casa • versace • louis XIII • Calvalino

Social Living

Mathieu Levy, Remy Louis XIII Brand Ambassador at Fendi Casa event Julio Gallo, Carlo Gambino, Andrea Minnucci, Ricardo Britto

Michael Goldstein, President of Aqualina with Andrea Minnucci, Managing Director of Fendi Casa Luxury Living, and Nancy Degollado

Andrea Minnucci, Mark Blackburn at Fendi Casa-Louis XIII event

Carlos Garcia and Mathieu Duvert of Vine Dos Balmoral Wines, Spain at the La Mancha Wine tasting at the Versace Mansion

Guests enjoying wine at the La Mancha Wine tasting at the Versace Mansion Christopher M. Twardy, Mel Jay, Angel Prieto Sotos (Managing Director, Castialla-La Mancha Wines, Spain), Ava Roosevelt, Mark Blackburn, Robin Jay, Michael Jay

Publisher and author Geoff Hammond with race car driver Scott McKee (Acumen Motor Sports) The Palm Beach Cavallino Classic 2013 at the Breakers Breakers Photos Chris Twardy Robin Jay, Ava Roosevelt and Publisher Jayne Hammond at the Cavallino Classic Ferrari Show at The Breakers


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Photo Matt Rick Ava Roosevelt with Stephen Baldwin at book signing for The Racing Heart



Real Estate and Tangible Personal Property Tax Representation of Commercial and Residential Taxpayers throughout Florida. Federal Tax Credits/Local Abatements Available for the Rehabilitation of Historic Structures throughout the United States. Gary A. Appel, Esq., Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

PROPERTY TAX ADJUSTERS, INC. Bay Point Office Tower, 4770 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1100, Miami, Florida 33137 Phone (305) 576-0033,,

Photo mel jay

Editor Robin Jay, Ava Roosevelt and Publisher Mark Blackburn at Evening of Opulence Event at the Continuum North Tower, South Beach

Portrait of Ava Roosevelt by Romero Britto unveiled at Evening of Opulence Event at the Continuum North Tower, South Beach Continuum Photos Douglas Lance

Ava Roosevelt, Charles Cox and artist Edwina Sandys next to her sculpture at Art House 429 in West Palm Beach

Photo Douglas Lance

opulence • charity golf • live ultimate

Social Living

Wayne Schuchts, Marc Wachter and Mark Blackburn at the Live Ultimate Condo Challenge

Winners of the Live Ultimate Condo Challenge Live Ultimate Photos Douglas Lance co-hosted by South Florida Opulence

Michael Gordon (top center), owner of The Collection in Fort Lauderdale, with friends at Estiatorio Milos Restaurant in South Beach

World Golf Hall of Famers, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Raymond Floyd, “Give Back” in Devon Quigley Pro-Am The game of golf raises more for charitable causes than any other sport. “But at the heart of that giving and this event is a simple fact: Golfers help golfers; friends help friends,” said Jack Nicklaus in a PGA interview. On Feb. 3rd, the PGA Tour came together at The Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City for a pro-am to help raise funds to assist Devon Quigley, son of Champions Tour member, Dana. Devon Arnold Palmer, Mark Blackburn and was seriously injured in a car accident in December 2011 and contin- Lee Trevino ues his rehabilitation. He had no insurance at the time. Tournament Director of the 3M Championship, Hollis Cavner, agreed to run the event gratis. Jim Crane, owner of The Floridian and the Houston Astros, donated the course, rooms and food and beverage. The players paid their own way to participate. The night before the event, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus hosted a dinner at their home. Our publisher Mark Blackburn attended. The tournament raised nearly $1 million for Devon. “I can’t thank everyone enough,” said Dana Quigley to the PGA. “Devon is making slow steps but understands everything and is fully cognitive. When he was told about this event, he cried.” World Golf Hall of Famers 144

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Mark Blackburn and Jack Nicklaus


INTRODUCING THE NEW 2013 MASERATI GRANTURISMO SPORT. The thrill begins with its striking look, further refined with aggressive aerodynamics inspired by the limited-production GranTurismo MC. A more powerful 454 hp Maserati V-8 engine, the fastest-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and near-perfect weight balance for precise handling deliver an awe-inspiring driving experience you can enjoy every day. Turn the key and its sport-tuned exhaust creates a unique sound that only a Maserati can make. Settle into new, perfectly contoured sport seats finished in sumptuous Italian leather, surrounded by a driveroriented interior that offers more luxury and comfort for four than ever before. Take the new sculpted wheel in hand and discover why the Maserati GranTurismo Sport is our expression of the ultimate GT— delivering both style and performance in the authentic Maserati tradition. Starting at $126,000.*

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Sonata Streamline Self-winding. Patented manufacture movement with Silicium technology and 24 hour alarm and countdown. Titanium case with ceramic bezel. Also available with 18ct gold bezel.

Ulysse Nardin Boutiques Town Center at Boca Raton Next to Neiman Marcus

W W W . U LY S S E - N A R D I N . C O M

Boutiques Opulence 18926_Sonata Streamline 675-00-4 | C4 Winter 2013.indd 1

Aventura Mall Near Nordstrom Upper Level

1 . 8 5 5 . U N WAT C H ( 8 6 9 . 2 8 2 4 )

1/17/13 3:34 PM

Spring 2013  

This issue features art, fashion and luxury lifestyle

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