Page 1

SE P T E M BE R 2 018

MAYFAIR MEETS MONACO in association with Monaco Life MONACO BETTER WORLD FORUM under the high patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco PLUS: David Coulthard and Lia Riva


RULE THE WAVES Riva is the cream of the luxury yacht crop. We meet CEO Lia Riva, who is continuing in her father’s well-connected footsteps BY CORRIE BOND-FRENCH

34 |

Photo: courtesy of Monaco Boat Service, Riva Exclusive dealer for France

LEFT: A yacht takes part in this year’s Riva Trophy BELOW: Prince Rainier III, Grace Kelly and children, 1971

ave you ever seen any place in the world more beautiful? Just look at the colours of the sea down there and the sky.” Grace Kelly’s lines, spoken in character to Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, are as apt now as they were in the 1950s. From the craggy charms of the “rock” itself, shimmering azure seas stretch out under a hazy cerulean sky. In Port Hercule, the masts and sails rise like sunÀowers. This is a living, breathing canvas of pastels and deeper viridian hues, the very embodiment of sun, sea and joie de vivre. 1one of this was lost on Carlo Riva when he ¿rst arrived from Italy in the same decade to promote the sublime craftsmanship of Riva boats, the family business which he was determined to take to new shores and levels of exemplary engineering. When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco not two years after she had uttered those lines on camera, Carlo gifted Her Serene Highness Princess Grace a Riva Aquarama as a wedding gift, describing it as a boat “designed with love”.


Since then, the world’s most beautiful boats have been beloved by the world’s most beautiful people. Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Claudia Schĭer and $nita Ekberg are just a few of the bevy of beauties found onboard. With a client list including royalty and a fanbase of global movers and shakers, the charms of gleaming mahogany and quality craftsmanship have proven irresistible for decades. This perfect combination of innovation and artistry continues to inspire Lia Riva, now CEO of Monaco Boat Service since her father Carlo passed away last year. Passionate about the arts and indeed the joys of the Monégasque way of life, Lia has continued to work collaboratively with Prince $lbert in a bid to enhance and champion the Monégasque art and charity scene. To date she has championed a broad variety of artistic projects in Monaco and further a¿eld, including the 1ouveau Musée 1ational de Monaco, $rt MonteCarlo and the Festival Printemps des $rts, now highlights in Monaco’s cultural calendar. This year, Lia has also proudly hosted the biannual

| 35


Riva Trophy, a rendezvous for Riva owners combining yacht races, sporting contests, entertainment and gastronomy that is considered the jewel in the crown of the Riviera’s sport and social calendar. $ generation on, Lia is happily continuing the relationship initially forged by her father and Prince Rainier. “I am a member of the friends of the museum here in Monaco so we organise a lot of lectures, hold exhibitions and meet the artist. This is something that I share with a lot of people. I try to spend time with my friends but I’m always thinking about the museum, maybe too much! “I spoke to Prince $lbert because I wanted to build a fantastic museum of contemporary art here in Monaco, but it wasn’t possible immediately. I was maybe a bit of a, umm, stalker!” laughs Lia. “But ¿nally there was a donation of two beautiful villas to the government so the museum is there now, and the president is Princess Caroline, who is a fantastic president because she is very, very open to the arts; she loves art.” Lia believes her own passion for art is linked with the Riva design legacy: “I think there is a link because you’re dealing with beauty… In history, art was always linked with beauty, so beauty in design, when you invent something new, is the link between this kind of boat to art because it is a new invention. “I don’t know where my passion for art comes from, maybe from my father, but I was always very passionate about art. With the business I can do both, and they are connected, yet art is my passion not my job.” Lia’s love of art takes her all around the world, and she has a clear favourite: “My favourite artist is Rothko. In the Tate Modern, there is a painting by Rothko which is really incredible. I think one could stay there and die!” she laughs. “His paintings are so deep, he is someone who enters your soul completely, because there is art of the body, art of what you do, art for everyone, but this is the art of the soul. This is something which touched me very deeply, but it’s not only me, he’s a brilliant artist.” Lia also has no qualms about having a favourite Riva boat: “Its very simple,” she says. “It’s the Aquarama. In 1962, I had a picture taken of me with my father and now I have pictures of my granddaughter with me on the Aquarama. It is really the icon of Riva. Now Riva has a lot of beautiful boats

36 |

“In 1962, I had a picture taken of me with my father and now I have pictures of my granddaughter with me on the Aquarama. It is really the icon of Riva”

in ¿breglass, but the Aquarama remains the special one. The craftsmanship, the shining mahogany, they could be in the Tate Modern!” Lia is clearly deeply proud of her father’s design genius and achievements in Monaco, where the Monaco Boat Service has played a vital role in the daily business and life of Monaco since 1959. “The key to the success I think was beauty, design and safety, because my father always said that beauty is something underneath the surface. It was the engines, the precision of all the instruments, so you can really trust in them. $lso they were really beautiful boats and women fell in love with them! $ lot of actresses, of course. “Through the business, we’ve met a lot of royalty

ABOVE: A yacht takes part in this year’s Riva Trophy TOP: Lia Riva on Aquarama


and celebrities: Sean Connery was our neighbour in Marbella where we had a house, Richard Burton in St Tropez, now George Clooney, and even Sitting Bull was a friend of my father because when my father went to New York there was a Riva exhibition in the Rockefeller Centre. There was Prince Rainier and the Kennedys. Actually we are organising an event with Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert Kennedy, and she is doing an event for the RK foundation for human rights on October 25. Lia happily concedes that she has had what could be considered a charmed life in Monaco. “It was really amazing of my father to come to the places where the right people were to show his work but here in Monaco it was special because he met Prince Rainier and he was very comprehensive with my father, and together they decided to build the pontoon, which was an invention because there was no pontoon in the harbour in the 1950s, only the quay. So my father invented this pontoon so he could have somewhere safe for his clients in the harbour. Then, because wooden boats were very delicate in the winter, we have a fantastic place to store them here in Monaco, in the tunnel, done in the rocks with a mine! This was all done with Prince Rainier so it was a friendship, which became very good and very important and that’s why Monaco is so important for Riva.” However, Lia believes in living in the moment, and spends no time worrying about her legacy. “I don’t care really! I think that you do things because you think you like to do them and you have to do this, not to be remembered. The thing that I like is that the story of the family continues, the tradition of the family, but not necessarily on me. “Every day really I think I’m so lucky to live here, not just because I’m in Monaco but because I live in a beautiful place, and every morning I get up and in front of the sea, with sun and sea and nature and this, for me, is simply the best, the beauty of life is this, something which gives you joy. My family, my daughters, and I have four grandchildren and last night we went out on the boat. All of my grandchildren love the boats too. We all do.”

38 |

ABOVE: Brigitte Bardot on board Aquarama BELOW: Britt Ekland and Peter Sellers in 1974

MayFair Times - Riva  
MayFair Times - Riva