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Editorial Winter is finally upon us...

...and as the year draws to its inexorable end, 2014 will herald many changes for this venerable organ. We will soon be relocating to a shiny new office in Qatar’s shimmering West Bay, where we will continue our opulent editorial journey amid swish, new surroundings. You will also be able to consume your favourite luxury lifestyle journal in a myriad more places, as we cast our hand-spun silken net of sumptuousness wider into our fair region, bringing our unique brand of literary musings to hitherto untouched markets. In keeping with this, our Winter 2013 edition has a very regional feel to to it. Newly-anointed Deputy Editor, Laura Hamilton, visits the Regency in Kuwait, the country’s only locally-owned five-star hotel, her appraisal of which can be found in Revue. She returned a few weeks later for the celebrity-studded opening of Chopard’s largest global boutique, pictures of which can be found in The Scene. Senior Editor, Steven Paugh, jetted between New York, where he visited arguably the world’s most techsavvy hotel, the Yotel in Times Square, and Dubai, where he interviewed Emirati jewellery supremo, Abdul Hamied Seddiqi. Mr Paugh was not alone in the UAE, as Laura also covered the Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai and regular contributor, Damien Reid, got geared up at the Dubai International Motorshow, which can be found in our Exhibitions Special alongside a round-up of the inaugural Qatar International Boat Show. While most of this was in the offing, yours truly headed to the UK to spend some quality time with the family ahead of the upcoming festive season. However, I still found time to fly to Vienna for a supernatural encounter with the brand new Rolls-Royce Wraith for this issue’s In Motion feature. Then of course there are all the regulars; trends and style from Sophie Jones-Cooper, our spectacular fashion photoshoot and a world of “ridiculuxe” in For Your Eyes Only. With all of that to keep you warm as the cold nights draw in, all that’s left for me to do is wish you all a wonderfully prosperous and sybaritic new year. James McCarthy

Regional Managing Editor

. sur la terre . editor’s letter .






the list A r t , c u lt u r e , l i f e s t y l e


the scene W e r e yo u s e e n o n t h e s c e n e ?


f o r y o u r e y e s o n ly Th e t h i n g s yo u n e e d to o w n


rev ue G lo b a l ta s t e s a n d ta n ta l i s i n g s pa s


gl obe tro t ter Yo u r g u i d e to g lo b a l l u x u r y


st y le con fiden ti a l Autumn calling


u p cl ose & per son a l Ta l e n t e d & pa s s i o n at e p e o p l e


lifestyle Wh y g o l f i n t h e


tr en ds con fiden ti a l Rurban outfitters



i s a luxu ry





look book Th e b e s t lo o k s f o r g u y s


i n mo tion R o l l s - r oyc e w r a i t h


ac c e s s o r i e s Scent & sensibility




jetset NYC' s yo t e l


a rt opi a Da m i en h i r st


fe atu r e V o g u e fa s h i o n e x p e r i e n c e d u b a i


fa s h i o n Pow e r co u pl e


e x hibition speci a l D u b a i m o to r s h o w & Q IBS


m a r k e t p l ac e P r o d u c t s ava i l a b l e lo c a l ly


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I n seed time learn , in harvest teach , in winter enjoy. - W i l l i a m Bl a k e

the list arts and culture


Jan - Mar




19 - 22

Andrea Bocelli Live!

Dubai World Cup Carnival 2014

Art Dubai 2014

When: February 22, 2014 Where: Istanbul, Turkey What: Opera Wielder of one of the most iconically-resonant and melodically-arresting voices on the planet, Andrea Bocelli is no stranger to the Middle East. Long has he travelled throughout the region, entertaining a host of international heads of state, royalty and other high-profile people of interest with the dulcet tones of his infectiously memorable voice. Armed with a nigh-innumerable collection of accolades awarding his natural talent and imaginationgripping vocal presence, the Italian-born tenor will once again regale fortunate audiences at the Ülker Sports Arena in Ataşehir, Istanbul, undoubtedly delighting the near 14,000-strong throng of those desperately thirsty for an unforgettable musical experience.

When: January - March 2014 Where: Dubai, UAE What: Horceracing The UAE’s legacy with the fine art of horseracing began some thirty years ago, in 1981, when the Camel Track was transformed to accommodate thoroughbred racing. Since then, the region’s local, near-obsessive love of the socalled “Sport of Kings” has grown exponentially, and with it, the glitz and grandeur befitting such an event! Now in its 11th year, the Dubai World Cup Carnival (DWCC) celebrates that evolution in a festival unlike any the world has seen before it. Taking place on January 9, 2014, the Carnival will host 11 race meetings leading up to the big day and will greet the sport’s greatest champions and contenders from countries as farflung as Great Britain, the United States, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Australia and Hong Kong!

When: March 19 - 22, 2014 Where: Dubai, UAE What: Art Fair The Arabian Gulf has been (for some time now, really) experiencing something of a renaissance in the world of art, with many of the creative world’s most famed purveyors coming to the region to showcase their immortal pieces. Amongst the forerunners of this renewed artistic appreciation is Art Dubai. Now in its eighth year, the internationally-renowned exhibition still continues to up the proverbial ante with a series of galleries, commissioned projects and performances, workshops, forums and award ceremonies. As perhaps the crown jewel of the much-lauded Dubai Art Week, Art Dubai never fails to impress with a heady annual dose of artistic mastery and will unquestionably prove once again that the desert is indeed a fertile place in which true imagination can spring forth.


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Brit Floyd P-U-L-S-E World Tour

Michael Jackson : The Immortal World Tour

Torch Sports Event

When: December 21, 2013 Where: Beirut, Lebanon What: Concert Often billed as being an “alchemy of music,” Pink Floyd’s continuing stature as one of the most influential bands in the history of sound remains today as solid as a brick in the wall. Celebrating that inspiration, the ultimate Pink Floyd tribute group, Brit Floyd, will once again be hitting the world with their “Ultimate Light and Sound Experience,” stopping off in our neck of the global woods in Beirut, Lebanon, for the third year running! The three-hour extravaganza will see a minutely dedicated, full-five-album rendering of the original band’s finest works of musical art, including “Wish You Were Here,” “The Wall” and “The Division Bell.” If you want an aural experience that will truly melt your soul, but weren’t able to see the original article in its prime, look no further than Brit Floyd!

When: December 30, 2013 Where: Dubai, UAE What: Concert Gone from this world, but never forgotten by it, Michael Jackson has truly transcended mortality to become an eternal presence that continues to grace his legions of fans with an indefatigable spirit. Celebrating that imperishable legacy is the appropriately-named IMMORTAL World Tour: an unforgettable Cirque du Soleil showcase of dance, music and imagination that encapsulates what makes the King of Pop a one-of-a-kind figure. Exploring not just the inspirations of the man, but also the myth and legend he has become, IMMORTAL fuses together the world of pop culture with those of magic, nature and the fine yet powerful thread that binds them so breathtakingly together, all told in a voice that refuses to simply be a fading echo.

When: January 15 - 18, 2014 Where: Kuwait City, Kuwait What: Sports and health event In a valiant effort to raise the profile of personal health awareness throughout Kuwait, Pure Image has put together a fantastically diverse few days of friendly competition, boundless energy and kinetic fun! Amongst the various activities going on during the Torch Sports Event - the first of its kind to take place in Kuwait - there will be a wealth of games, galas and great performances, like a professional football control show, feats of strength and endurance, and a veritable medley of different races and relays! Of course, Pure Image is dedicated as much to a healthy mind as a healthy body, so the event will also host a blood donation drive, educational lectures on cancer prevention and treatment, and a series of celebrations honouring high-profile sporting figures!


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the list Lifestyle

27 jan 2 feb

24 - 28 dec


Omega Dubai Desert Classics 2014

Saudi International Motor Show

Gourmet Abu Dhabi

When: January 27 - February 2, 2014 Where: Dubai, UAE What: Golf tournament First teeing off back in 1989, when the European Tour rolled through our little slice of sand trap, The Omega Dubai Desert Classic has become just that: classic! Now standing tall as one of the golfing world’s most eagerly-awaited dates on the calendar - especially here in the Middle East, where the sport and lifestyle are devoured by ardent fans - the Classic has crowned quite its fair share of internationally-celebrated champions, including Seve Ballesteros (1992), Mark O’Meara (2004), Tiger Woods (2006, 08) and Rory McIlroy (2009). More superstars of the sport are set to return this year, each one vying for the US$2.5 million purse! Get ready for a showcase of the new sultans of swing!

When: December 24 - 28, 2013 Where: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia What: Auto show It’s no secret that some of the most passionate petrol heads on the planet live in the Middle East. Whether it’s the fantastic wealth here that fosters such a high-end hobby, or simply the pervasive cultural obsession with speed, automotive affection runs hot in this part of the world. Facilitating that fascination in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the 35 year-strong Saudi International Motor Show (SIMS), which brings in an estimated 100,000 fanatics to the annual exhibition. The best of the best are on display in Saudi - admittedly, an often infamous and contentious destination for drivers - and the event has become one of the most celebrated in the region, not to mention one of its oldest. With other attractions and a programme of events catered for every member of the family, this is one not to miss if you want to fill your tank with Grade-A good times!


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When: February 2014 Where: Abu Dhabi, UAE What: Culinary festival Fellow foodies, prepare to get hungry! Once again, that titanic tournament of the toothsome - Gourmet Abu Dhabi - is returning, and this year is meant to be more delicious than ever! Marrying together culture and cuisine into one robust, flavourful dish, the epicurean extravaganza delights and excites with a succulent series of events that will see some of the world’s most famed chefs educate, entertain and engorge your waiting bellies with cuisine from around the globe! With culinary competitions, gala dinners and moreish masterclasses, Gourmet Abu Dhabi is definitively catered for those who have a rather more refined taste, not to mention those with a zestier appetite for life in general!

th e scen e

Chopard's Largest Ever Boutique Opens in Kuwait —

VIPs rubbed shoulders with Middle Eastern celebrity at the store's inauguration.





1. Caroline Scheufele, Chopard co-President, with Trafalgar Managing Partner, Amer Al Ansari and Christiane Al Ansari. 2. Caroline Scheufele, Chopard co-President, with Lebanese songstress, Myriam Fares. 3. Myriam Fares dazzled in Chopard. 4. Lebanese Actress and beauty queen, Lamita Frangieh, wearing Chopard.


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th e scen e

Hermès Brings Haute Bijouterie Collection to UAE —

The French luxury house wowed guests with exquisite pieces


UAE VIPs and fashionistas gathered at the Armani Hotel in Dubai for the launch of Hermès' Haute Bijouterie collection, created by none other than Pierre Hardy, the house's artistic director and shoe designer. On show were leather, jewellery and haute couture items from the brand's Centaure & Fouet collections.


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th e scen e

BMW X5 —

Alfardan Premier Motors unveils the 2014 BMW X5

Members of the Alfardan family joined Her Excellency, the German Ambassador to Qatar, Angelika Renate Storz-Chakarji, and VIPs at the launch of the latest BMW X5 X-Drive at the St Regis Doha.


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th e scen e

Poltrona Frau Welcomes Downtown Design —

Poltrona Frau launched its campaign for the Dubai-based interior design fair

The Poltrona Frau design centre on the Pearl Qatar showcased the best of its brands ahead of the Downtown Design Dubai trade fair which took place at the end of October. With musical accompaniment from pianist Vincent Corver, invited guests were treated to a preview of the company's products that would be exhibited.


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th e scen e

Dining With the Stars at Hakkasan —

two internationally renowned michelin starred chefs visited hakkasan at the st regis in Doha to showcase their culinary skills in an exclusive limited edition menu.

1. Dagmar, Crystal, Gilles and Clementine 2. Carmen, Burak, Mr and Mrs Bris 3. Fracesca and Kathleen 4. Emad, Karen, Laith, Mohammed and Dhatir 5. Faisal and Katy 6. Badih, Greg and Ashlee 7. Mr. Alfardan and VIP’s 8. Rachel, Alicia and Brooke 9. Aleabova, Mohammed, Maja and Jelena


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th e scen e

Red Arrows Dazzle Doha —

The British RAF Display Team perform an impromptu airshow on Doha's Corniche

In the presence of local dignitaries and both the British and German Ambassadors, their excellencies Nicholas Hopton and Angelika Renate Storz-Chakarji, respectively, the world famous Red Arrows display team performed death-defying aerial stunts and manoeuvres against the backdrop of Doha's iconic skyline. The show ended with a flypast by the fearsome Eurofighter Typhoon, which rattled a few West Bay windows. Among the VIP guests were British Royal Air Force pilots and top brass, F1 supremo Frank Williams and executives from the aircrafts' builders, BAE Systems.


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th e scen e

Red Arrows Dazzle Doha (cont'd)


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th e scen e

Bob Sinclair Gets Doha Dancing —

Acclaimed French DJ gets the party started on the Grand Hyatt Beach

Music fans were treated to a spectacular show by critically-acclaimed French DJ, Bob Sinclair as the doyen of the decks returned to Qatar last month. Late night revelers and brought the Grand Hyatt's beach to life with a little help from sports fashion label, LaCoste.


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For your eyes only

WELCOME To a world where money is no object and Cool comes at a price. FYEO is A millionaire’s shopping list that gives you an iNSIDE track to the things you need to own.

robo-op >>> Here at Sur la Terre, we have long warned our readers about (and firmly spoken out against) the impending and unstoppable robot apocalypse. In an increasingly automated world, however, avoidance is becoming as much a thing of the past as our own free will. With that in mind, we have chosen to relent to our forthcoming automaton overlords by welcoming their most impressive herald to date. In all seriousness, the iRobot Ava 500 may sound nefarious (especially as its moniker harkens back to the film I, Robot, wherein the human world finds itself imperiled by authoritarian androids), but the only thing this little lady actually threatens is


your office’s outmoded business practices. Controlled through a tablet interface, through which you can direct Ava’s movement through an office anywhere in the world via audio/visual satellite link-up through seamless wireless connectivity. You can also pre-programme routes based on your schedule, allowing Ava to mosey about the office without you even having to be there to direct her. It will then dock itself for recharge so that you will never be accused of micromanaging. Take note, humans, the future of remote business is now.

. sur la terre . for your eyes only .

rewriting history >>> There are not many better wellsprings of inspiration than one of the most inspired inventors of all time: Leonardo da Vinci! Taking the Italian Renaissance man’s passion for rewriting the history of thought, Montblanc has created a very special limited edition run of exceptional writing instruments, each one celebrating his boundless and timeless invention. The ateliers spared no expense in making these pens shine with intricate, almost calligraphic beauty. All of the details come directly from his blueprints for elaborate flying devices, including hand gliders and helicopters. The shape itself is based on the double movement transmission, which da Vinci first conceived of some 500 years ago, and is now also used in automotive engineering today; meanwhile, the red gold-plated gear acts as a crown jewel, echoing the cogwheels with which the master was so obsessed. Topping it all off is a solid gold and rhodium-plated nib, engraved with one of his most famous drawings. Only 3,000 fountain pens and 3,000 roller ball models will be made in the Montblanc Great Characters Limited Edition Leonardo collection, making this both the mother of exclusivity AND invention.

Matte-Man meets Batman


Have you ever wanted to make Batman look like a jerk? Sure, we all have! Well, beside donning your own cape and cowl and taking up dark urban vigilantism, the best way to do that is by one-upping his personal automotive style. Oh sure, the Batmobile and “Bat-Pod” are sleek and intimidating enough, but set beside the Wazuma V8F, even these iconic modes of conveyance pale. Designed and manufactured by Lazareth, this atypical tri-wheel-designed monster beats with the bestial heart of a Ferrari 3.0 V8 engine, which hums with 250 horses reined-in electronically by the Sybelle system, allowing for minute computer-


ised modifications. The six-speed sequential gearbox rumbles in from a BMW M3, while the rest of this powerful Frankensteinian animal is made up by incorporating modified Momo rims with Brembo calipers, four 324mm brake discs, a specially-designed suspension system and four horizontal shock absorbers. Whether you dig the Dark Knight or not, all we can say is that when he sees the Wazuma V8F, looking especially ferocious in its matte black edition, he’ll be thanking his lucky stars that the trousers on his batsuit are made of rubber!

. sur la terre . for your eyes only .

Skyrockets in Flight >>> So far, pilotless, electronic drones have been relegated to the contentious world of military usage, but we here at Sur la Terre say NO MORE! Thanks to the Sensefly, now you too can survey your surroundings from a better, more aerial vantage point, but without the headache and muckity-muck of stirring up political turmoil! Enter the Swinglet CAM, Sensefly’s lightest, most flexible and dynamic drone. With up to half an hour of unfettered flight in a single go, you can angle the Swinglet above four square miles of terrain, shooting digital imagery from its 16 megapixel camera - the perfect way to map your hood in style. Rendered from lightweight foam, the Swinglet weighs in at just 0.5kg and is easy enough to be launched from your hand. Armed with a Sensefly autopilot and intuitive launchpad software that allows you to cater your flight’s trajectory to your most high-flying whim, you don’t even need logged hours in the air to captain this vessel. Moreover, its clever design allows you to stow it away easier than any carry-on luggage. Facilitating everything from forestry conservation and environmental observation to disaster management, the Swinglet CAM is also an uncontested hoot, and undoubtedly the best way to put your eye in the sky.

Making Music Beautiful Together


The piano is perhaps the most quintessential instrument for making music truly “grand” - it is, after all, in the name. However, that grandeur has recently enjoyed a perhaps even greater presence, but not for the evolution of “tone” you may think. Thanks to Steinway Piano Gallery in Qatar and CrystalRocked, a fine London-based purveyor of style enhancement, you can now own your very own crystal-encrusted grand piano. Festooned as it is with upwards of half a million Swarovski crystals, this piano, in the breathless words of SLT Managing Editor James McCarthy, “would make even the fabulous Liberace blush.” Of course, not only because it comes emblazoned with your choice of coloured crystals does this joint effort stand out. Whether you would like your own “crystalized” baby grand, grand or concert grand, each model comes handmade and customised to your own personal, musical dreams. As the manufacturers of the CrystalRocked Piano touts, this will allow you to outfit your super-yacht, penthouse apartment, mansion, luxury estate or palace in the best way you see fit and to the utmost bespoke degree. Making it that much more enticing, only 50 of these beautiful music makers will ever be produced by the collaborators, thus making sure that your taste in music, at least in this case, could be one-of-a-kind!


. sur la terre . for your eyes only .

r evu e h ote l

The halal hotel Four pearls


. sur la terre . revue .

Deputy Editor Laura Hamilton returns to Kuwait to experience one of the country’s most iconic accommodation destinations.


Oh, I remember The Regency,” said my mother, when I told her where I was staying. “I’m sure we used to have our Caledonian balls there.” Residents of Kuwait in the 80s, my parents (and myself) left at the beginning of the first Gulf War, when they started to hear gunfire from across the border, but from their stories it sounds like they spent four years frolicking on yachts and dhows amidst bars of gold. Years later, now living in Qatar, I returned to check out Kuwait’s only locally-owned hotel (and my parents’ former stomping ground), and found that although the hotel’s history is intertwined with the country’s, The Regency is so much more than a relic of the past. The Regency had the misfortune to be the place the Iraqis set up shop during their invasion, and was used for holding people, until the end of the war when the hotel was burnt down. Recently rebuilt, the past casts no shadow over this luxurious hotel, but the history is nevertheless an interesting component of its identity. Approaching the fortress that is the hotel, none of this past violence is otherwise present. From the outside, my initial impression is that the hotel is a large box, an impressive and vast structure built for maximum privacy and facing the sea. The Regency is Kuwait’s only locally-owned five star hotel; despite its grand name, however, it’s not part of an international chain. The charm of the hotel lies in the fact that it caters primarily to local tastes - the hotel is the only one in Kuwait that complies with Sharia law. This means no shisha, although smoking is allowed. It also means that a marriage certificate must be supplied in order for couples to share rooms, and that the gym and swimming pool facilities are similarly segregated by gender. Despite the restrictions, staying in The Regency allows you to experience true Kuwaiti hospitality; after all, there’s no point in visiting a foreign country without experiencing the culture. Who wants to stay in an identi-kit hotel suite when you could stay somewhere with real personality? My first impression of the hotel is that it is spacious and bright; inside the lobby, the light falls down from the glass ceiling, bouncing off the grey marble walls, where locals have Arabic coffee and chat as I pad over to the desk to check in, keen to see my room for the next few days.

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The Suites

Unusually for a hotel, The Regency has a surprising number of suites, cementing its position as the go-to destination for not only the well-heeled traveller, but the VIP executive. The 53 suites boast six very different personalities, catering for whatever your needs are, whether it be a jacuzzi overlooking the sea or a private dining area to entertain clients. The Qaruh Suite caught my eye, with its round mahogany table and French windows opening onto a king-size bed. It has a distinctly nautical feel, like I was in the Captain’s quarters on a luxury yacht or cruise liner. The Diplomatic Suite also appealed to me, feeling much more like an apartment than a hotel room. Neither of these options compared to Al Danah Suite, however, which is a sensational two storied apartment with a dining suite for eight and a marble staircase that leads to a master bedroom. While quite grand and spacious, it had a rather empty feeling about it, making it perfect for you to imprint your own personality. After a hard day of networking and checking out all the facilities, I collapsed into the marshmallow softness of my giant bed. In the GCC I am used to hotels that are spacious, minimalist, heavy on the white paint, decorated in a cutting edge design. Kuwait, I’m surprised to see, favours a warmer feel - plush custard bed covers, mustard curtains, pale yellow paint and dark wood; it is decadent and welcoming, rather than over-styled and futuristic. The bathroom was a marble heaven (light grey marble is the theme of the hotel), with a rain shower I had great


fun playing around with and a bath I soaked in luxuriously. For those unfamiliar with Arab culture, The Regency has printed one of the nicest personal touches I’ve seen in a hotel, stories with “Exotic Tales from Arabia” particular to Kuwait, with illustrations that speak of the warmth and history of the seafaring culture.


The recently opened Balsamico is an old-fashioned nod to the bistros of Italy, where simplicity and authenticity are the trademark. Kuwait, in general, I have noticed, is less interested in style than substance and Balsamico stays true to this approach. After a communication mishap, which led me to go straight to the restaurant without waiting for the rest of

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the group, I sat alone chatting to the chef, who is suitably plump (never trust a skinny chef) and from Milan, which I am convinced is the epicentre of the very best Italian food. The menu he planned for us was extensive to say the least, and several people declined a main course, which in the foodie culture of the Gulf, is highly unusual. I, on the other hand, powered through: a true professional. My taste buds trembling and my stomach expanding exponentially, it remained incredibly hard to say no. After consuming a ridiculous amount of bread and balsamic vinegar, I set upon the antipasto: a compote of arancini (fried rice balls), potato croquette, panzerotti (a kind of savoury pastry) and parmiggiana di melanzane (baked aubergine) with tomato and parmesan. There followed ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach, gorgonzola sauce and walnuts, which was perfectly al dente, delicious and easily my favourite dish of the evening; a great combination of textures and tastes. Then there was risotto porcini, which I delicately sampled, with juicy porcini mushrooms and thick and sticky rice. Finally, the main dish arrived, a choice of veal or salmon. I chose the salmon, and picked apart the pink flakes wearily, exhausted but satisfied. The Regency will make sure that you are never hungry at any given point and I suspect that if you don’t put on weight during your stay, they will be quite disappointed! After a brief respite and a coffee (The Regency was very welcoming to my lactose-intolerant needs and supplied me with a lot of soy milk), I took a few quick bites of the tiramisu, which tasted a lot better than the one I tried to make in Milan years ago when I was a student, and promptly fell asleep. Meanwhile, the rest of the group headed out to town in search of some illicit shisha. The Regency may only have two restaurants, Balsamico and Silk Road (more are in the pipeline), but that in no way limits them. Like most hotels in the Gulf, its bread-andbutter is brunch. Brunching is, of course, the new way to lunch at the weekends, and Silk Road does not disappoint, with a view across the terrace to the sea, it’s the perfect place to pile your plate high with sushi and sashimi, mini pizzas and mezze, before taking on the epic array of desserts and admitting defeat over a chocolate crepe.

The Ladies' Lounge

I love hotel gyms, in the paradoxical way that the chronically unfit see exercise as a novelty, and I always judge hotels based on their fitness facilities. In keeping with The Regency’s general rule of segregation, the gym is divided into two sections, both unoccupied as I slipped through the newly refurbished doors and hit the treadmill. Half an hour in, Maricar, the in-house personal trainer, turned up and put me through my paces, and as I shakily tried to uphold my dignity and build my muscles, I was glad that there were no men around to witness my workout. Other people who may be less inclined to self-torture, might be more interested in hearing about the pool, which is located on the large terrace area where barbeques are frequently held, with a view of the sea. However, men are not allowed to wear speedos, for which we may all be thankful, and women are not allowed in the chlorinated water without an “Islamic swimsuit,” aka the notorious burkini. Instead, The Regency has built The Ladies' Lounge, a wooden chalet to the left of the swimming pool where no men may enter, and where bikinis rule supreme. Inside is a small cafe, where the females of the species can relax and where I even saw one women pray, all replete with changing rooms and lockers. Outside is a small swimming pool lined with loungers, where Kuwaitis and Kuwait residents alike were sunning themselves in frilly swim-wear. There is even access to a private beach, where you can frolic unseen in the salty depths. For now, it is the only ladies area of its kind in Kuwait, and has proven to be extremely popular; it was full when I visited. The Regency are thinking of adding a nail bar and some shopping facilities, so keep your eye on the lounge, it’s a happening place! Our last evening was spent under moonlight at an al fresco dinner by the beach, with us chatting over mezze and grilled meat. Kuwait’s weather is far less humid than that of the UAE or Qatar, making it surprisingly pleasant during late summer. When I slipped into bed that night, I wondered if I could escape to Kuwait every weekend for a stress-free reprieve from daily life. When it came to check-out time, I was a lot more relaxed than I had expected after a busy weekend, a feeling I hope to repeat on my next stay at The Regency.

Kuwait city Kuwait is a low-key city, boasting a fun underground scene. For tourists, apart from a visit to the beach, there is, of course, shopping. The 360 Degrees Mall hosts all the fashion brands you could want, and for the fashionista who prefers more varied choices, The Avenues is a must. A luxury end of the shopping mall has just been added; built with a spacious and airy atmosphere, it feels like you are meandering down an avenue somewhere in Europe. Kuwait is known for its eclectic fashion taste; despite being more conservative than its neighbours, when it comes to style, limitation often breeds innovation. I’d recommend you pick up a turban.

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Where: mIAMI What: Art Basel Miami Beach When: December 5 - 7

Where: London, UK What: The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker When: December 10, 2013 – January 16, 2014

Global Gatherings Global Gatherings is your at-a-glance map of magnificence, directing you to all of the culturally essential, entertaining and luxurious events and happenings that will be taking place across the world (or perhaps, we should say, “sur la terre”) over the coming months.


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Where: London, UK What: Jameel Prize 2013, When: December 11, 2013 – March 23, 2014

Where: Sochi, Russia What: Winter Olympics in Solchi When: Febuary 7 – 23, 2014

Where: Hong Kong What: Dragon and Lion Dance Festival 2014 When: January 1, 2014

Where: Vienna WHAT: Le Grand Bal WHEN: December 31

Where: Dubai What: Dubai International Jewellery Week When: December 4 – 7

Where: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia What: American Express World Luxury Expo When: January 28 – 30, 2014

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Blue Note Bar


Where: Prague, Czech Republic GPS: 50° 03' 50.57" N, 14° 25' 58.50" E

Where: Kuwait, Kuwait City GPS: 29° 18' 11.23" N, 47° 56' 10.69" e

Is there a more perfect accompaniment to an after-work drink than tapas? At the Corinthia Hotel in the Czech Republic’s capital, the Blue Note Bar is a triple threat. Primarily a watering hole, it also serves as a tapas and cigar bar, offering Spanish delicacies to the hungry and Cohibas and Catracho Reservas to discerning customers who like a bit of puff with their quaff. Not to be outdone, the bar offers creative signature cocktails like its Mango Basil Martini and Strawberry Night (one of the ingredients, curiously enough, is balsamic vinegar). Sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful sites in one of UNESCO’s finest world heritage sites.

Co-President and Artistic Director of Chopard, Caroline Scheufele worked closely with renowned French architect Thierry W Despont to create a warm and modern environment for Kuwait’s largest Chopard store, which recently opened in Prestige Mall in The Avenues. Set over two floors, each collection has its own dedicated corner and there are three lounges (including a VIP area) where clients can browse through the Haute Joaillerie and haute horology. There is also an area where gentlemen can enjoy a fine cigar while looking through Chopard’s prestigious LUC collection. If you can manage to tear your eyes away from Scheufele’s magnificent Red Carpet Collection, which stars are often wont to sport at Cannes Film Festival, then you will see the equally stunning bespoke chandelier suspended above you.


. sur la terre . globetrotter .




La Spiga by Paper Moon

Where: Porto Heli, Greece GPS: 37° 19' 40.42" N, 23° 08' 37.52" E

Where: Doha, Qatar GPS: 25° 19' 47.56" N, 51° 31' 48.20" E

Despite Greece’s recent financial troubles, the country remains the go-to destination for jet-setters, socialites and high-flyers. Close to Porto Heli, perched atop a hill is Amanzoe, a boutique hotel with a panoramic view of the Peloponnese countryside. Amanzoe is the latest offering to the Aman empire, which boasts resorts in Montenegro and Turkey. This new hotspot for laid-back luxury was inspired by Greek acropolises; the architecture is a blend of modern and classical Greek, light and spacious, with courtyards and gardens joined by walkways, reflection pools and an Aman spa, set within colonnaded and walled gardens. Surrounded by nature, Amanzoe overlooks the Aegean Sea (which is often peppered with the super yachts of Greek oil tycoons) and olive groves. It’s close to the historic islands of Spetses and Hydra, which you can easily visit if you ever tire of your own private pool, its restaurants and bar, pilates and yoga studio, tennis courts, amphitheatre and beach club.

Completing the W Hotel’s holy trinity of culinary masterpieces is the newly unveiled La Spiga. Decorated by images of movie stars that peopled cinema’s golden era, the restaurant has a cosy yet modern feel, but the decor might pass you by as you’ll be enthralled with what is on your plate. In typical Mediterranean fashion, the restaurant aims to expand your stomach with several courses of parpadelle, battuta di manzo (pan-fried beef sirloin) and panna cotta, or a pizza from the earth oven behind the bar if you’re craving something a little bit simpler. Watch out for the Nutella pizza, a simple, yet delightful treat. La Spiga also offers business lunches, but remember not to eat too much or you’ll find yourself in need of a pisolino (powernap).

. sur la terre . globetrotter .


style confidential

A Wander Through Winter We take a look at what the coming season has in store, from resort favourites to royal wares, sparkle to scrunchies and pinstripes to pocket handkerchiefs.

Two of a Kind When it comes to fine jewellery this season, combine two of life’s most exquisite luxuries: diamonds and gold. These dropdead gorgeous gems are the statement of sophisticated style and with their subtle under-the radar style, you needn’t save them for your Sunday best. Let your bling shine every day of the week with our pick of the most wearable diamond and gold jewels heavy on the sparkle and shine, and dripping in effortless wearability.






5 4

8 7 1. Bracelet Halleh 2. Necklace Anita Ko 3. Necklace Brooke Gregson 4. Earrings Nina Runsdorf 5. Ring Pippa Small 6. Bracelet Jennifer Meyer 7. Earrings Ana Khoury 8. Bracelet Anita Ko

. sur la terre . style confidential .

All jewellery available at


Off the Peg Fashion designer Patrick Grant, the gent behind bespoke British tailors Norton & Sons, has teamed up with Debenhams for a new menswear collaboration, Hammond & Co. by Patrick Grant. Now you don’t have to head to Savile Row and pay out the hefty price tag for some impeccably well-tailored wares. Think sartorial elegance for your every day staples– great suits and sports jackets, slouchy jumpers, crisp shirts, handkerchiefs aplenty and leather shoes, belts and wallets.

Sometimes only smart will do, and nothing beats the perfect suit, on or off duty. Here’s what to look for this winter. Blurred Lines The pinstripe suit is back after years of hibernating following its hit stint on the style scene back in the 80s. But this time around, think more luxe and lean than bold and boxy. Go for a slimmer cut, a subtle stripe and dress it down with an open collar shirt or polo neck and brown brogues. Pinstripe suit by Hackett at

BFC for M&S No, this is not some fashion Morse code, but rather the insiders’ way of saying that Marks & Spencer has teamed up with the British Fashion Council for a three-year partnership to celebrate homegrown British talent - the “Best of British” campaign. The result so far is a very dapper collection including some very cool suits, for him and for her.

Made-to-Measure For simpler than bespoke, yet still tailored to your vitals and with a choice of fabrics and design details, a made-to-measure suit is a style-savvy option. With many of the big name designers offering the service including Giorgio Armani, Alexander McQueen, Hugo Boss, Prada, Gucci and Ermengildo Zegna, an M2M suit is a great way to buy into a designer at a fraction of the cost. At Hugo Boss, you can have your signature stitched into the lining, Gucci will produce matching shirts and shoes, while at Ralph Lauren, collars are handmade and shoulders hand-stitched as standard.

. sur la terre . style confidential .


Changing Rooms

V is for Victoria & Volume

Emma Hill has signed off at Mulberry after six years as the creative genius behind the British heritage brand, while Marc Jacobs has made his departure from Parisian fashion house Louis Vuitton to focus on his namesake brand. It is now over to ex-Balenciaga Creative Director Nicholas Ghesquière to continue to take the LV fashion empire to new heights. “I am proud to join the history of this great maison,” explains 42 yearold Nicholas. “We share common values and a vision. Together we will build the future of the brand while preserving its precious heritage.” Building is something Louis Vuitton is certainly no stranger to lately. When next in London, be sure to check out the new Louis Vuitton store in Selfridges, which spans across a whopping three floors and has a glass elevator that travels through the middle of the store. That’s what we call shopping super-sized.

Victoria Beckham is looking bloomin’ marvelous right now; no, she’s not expecting number five, but rather working autumn’s hot new look: volume. Forget fitted silhouettes, Lady V is going all out this autumn. “Combining enhanced volumes with new restrained outlines has allowed me to push my silhouette even further,” she explains. “Exploring how to evolve my signature aesthetic has been the key focus for Autumn/Winter,” adds the designer, who is also showing knitwear for the first time this season. “I am excited to show knitwear as well as the quintessentially British heritage materials of tweed, plaid and herringbone.”

Singapore Sling The Asia market is at the top of the hit list for many of the fashion heavyweights, so it comes as no surprise that Singapore is attracting more fashion attention that ever. In October, Singapore welcomed a mix of Asian designers, haute couture and ready-to-wear designers at Fide Fashion Week 2013, including French designer Pierre Balmain and Dubai-based designer Michael Cinco, while more recently Naomi Campbell opened Singapore’s Digital Fashion Week 2013. The ex-supermodel strutted down the catwalk for Singapore designer Zen Chi and other Singapore designers. British designer Holly Fulton also showcased her SS14 collection.

Best hope you have...

Royal Treatment British high street brand Hobbs has collaborated with Historic Royal Palaces for a limited edition capsule collection inspired by a unique royal archive of over 12,000 artifacts and clothes dating from the 17th Century. Collection No. 1, however, is far from dated. Head designer Karen Boyd has beautifully captured the essence and British heritage of the archives, but brought it bang-up to date and the result, a truly contemporary and wearable collection. We particularly love the simplicity of the Sovereign dress, whose chain embroidery detail is taken from a 1910 Royal Constabulary helmet.


Marc Jacobs and Missoni available at

. sur la terre . style confidential .

C hill airs and wintry winds ! my ear H as grown familiar with your song ; I hear it in the opening year , I listen , and it cheers me long . - He n r y Wa d s w o r t h L o n g f e l l o w

time on his hands

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. sur la terre . up close and personal .

Abdul Hamied Seddiqi As the Vice Chairman of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons - one of the region’s oldest and most renowned retailers of luxury watches - Abdul Hamied Seddiqi describes himself as having “watchmaking in the blood,” which stands to reason, being that he is the son of the company’s founding father, Ahmed Qasim Seddiqi. On the occasion of hosting the Middle East’s first Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, one of the luxury world’s most prestigious award ceremonies celebrating the fine art of watchmaking, Mr. Seddiqi sits with Sur la Terre to discuss the rich family legacy that has driven his passion for watchmaking and how it has shaped the future of the business in Dubai, the UAE and the entire Middle East.


e understand that you inherited the passion for watchmaking from your father, but tell us more about your history within the business. Where did it begin and how did you come to it? Well, our business first began in 1950, with my father. Of course, at the time, the market was very small. Dubai itself was so small, but even then, it was a centre for trade, with a spark of an appreciation for the skill in watchmaking. But it was nothing like it is today: we only had a small port, then: the Dubai creek. This was the only means of transportation, with the small dhow coming in and out and the larger vessels waiting outside. Like I said, though, it was still a hub, with boats coming from Bombay in India, stopping in Dubai and going to Kuwait and Bahrain; to Basra. My father would travel to these places in this way, taking the dhow to the bigger ships, going to these places and bringing back what he found there to sell in Dubai. How did I get involved? Well, I was in school here, and because it was still so small, we had nothing to do! There were no cinemas, no large centres like you have now. So our entertainment was to go to the souq, where my father had his shop. So back then, you were basically ‘hanging out with dad,’ and learning the ropes? Yes, exactly! That’s how we got into the business: watching him. After secondary school, we didn’t have a university to go to, so the government

sent students abroad to study. I went to Switzerland, where of course I learned more about the trade, after which I returned home and began working in the company. But the passion for the business? For watchmaking? I think it’s in our blood. We were born with these watches; we grew up loving them. It all came to us through family, and it remains that way today. Before you joined Seddiqi & Sons in 1979, you were a member of the foreign league. Tell us a bit about your time there: was it a bridge between your studies and the family businesses? Ah yes, I was working in the Foreign Ministry. At that time, you see, there was no room for me in the company. We were still quite small, only one or two shops. So I said, ‘Hey, let’s go somewhere else to work, try something different.’ So i worked in the Ministry for about six months. This was at the beginning of the UAE, the beginning of the growth and the structure of State. This was in Abu Dhabi, but I had an accident on the road and decided to come back to Dubai to try and work with my family again. And so I did! Working for the Ministry was a great experience for me. It put me into the field of communication, I got to know the people and began dealing with international organisations, so it opened new doors and taught me many things about doing business here. Has the market changed since you first began your tenure at Seddiqi & Sons?

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For example, have the styles, tastes and perhaps appreciation evolved? I’ll tell you one thing, Dubai is still a trade city, like it was in my father’s time, but much, much more now. So many people come and go, they travel through this city, bringing with them the new trends and styles from around the world. The people here are more up-to-date than ever with current fashions, whether it's women or men. They are on top of things - they travel, follow trends from the internet and from magazines. People here understand international fashion more than they ever have before, and that makes this market very important. I wouldn’t say there is ‘one Emirati style,’ no. Like I said, people here follow the latest trends, like big watches, but who knows if that will change? Sure, big watches are in-fashion; even the ladies are wearing watches for men. In China, though, smaller watches are becoming popular, so don’t be surprised if you begin seeing some here. The Seddiqi name is one that has spanned generations, beginning with your father, who brought about the inauguration of the brand in the 1940s, to your daughter Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, who is now an integral part of the business. How important is it to you that the brand remains one engrained in family, and why? Yes, my daughter and even my nephew are now both working in the company. A business is like a tree, you know? It grows slowly, and you need to give it water and light, and that’s how we treat our company.

Speaking of coordinating new things and bringing worlds together, has Seddiqi & Sons ever thought about fostering or facilitating a homegrown watchmaking manufacturer? Well, for me, I’m in retail. I’m no designer! Sometimes we do special additions for Dubai or the UAE with different colors, dials or a different combination, but to develop a new watch is difficult, not to mention expensive! It takes ages to do one! It’s like making a building; you need blueprints, a foundation and of course, time. I’m not sure if there will be a manufacturing company from the Middle East or Dubai. We are trying now to bring education here with our workshops and training classes for the next generation to learn, but they will have to have the patience for it. Watchmakers need patience; in fact, it might be their most important tool. You know, when you first go to watchmaking school, they give you a small file to take to each watch, like a tiny emory board. They give you a piece of wood and this file, and give you two or three hours just to see if you have the patience for it. There are small screws, small movements, tiny pieces, but if you love it, you can stay with it. Like everything in this business and in our company, it all comes down to passion!

I think it’s important to have a family business. At Seddiqi, we grow together, we restructure it to adapt for the new generation and the ones to come. Okay, there is no such thing as eternity - countries disappear, even people disappear - but we will keep our family tradition going as long as possible. To do that, we have to be united; if you look at some places in Europe, these family businesses have sold to bigger corporations and groups ... but they keep the name, so that it becomes a brand. That name is very important, that family connection. Seddiqi & Sons is the same, we are recognised in the Middle East and also the world, so we want to hold onto our name and our traditions as long as we can. Speaking of the traditional, we understand that you have quite a collection of fine pocket watches. What makes these particular pieces so special to you? Oh yes, I have quite a few. I remember in the early 1960s, pocket watches were very fashionable, and many people from India and Afghanistan were wearing them; that’s when I first fell in love with them. It was big business, back then, and now some of the big names continue to make them, like Patek Phillipe and Breguet - it’s a niche market, perhaps, but I still like them for their style and craftsmanship. Mine are all older, so I have sent many to Switzerland for renovation - some of them can be fixed, some can’t. Let’s talk about the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), the only globally-recognised independent international awards for excellence in watchmaking, which this year is hosted for the first time ever in Dubai. What is it like to host such an event on your home soil, and how do you feel it reflects on the Gulf region as a whole? Dubai is a big market; it’s a window for every brand. Today, there are many launches in Dubai. Part of that is that it is so easy for us, with taxes, transportation, communication, infrastructure; everything you need under one roof. In other countries, there are more procedures with customs and more red tape. People now are beginning to realise that we have everything here, in terms of structure and services.

I think it’s important to have a family business. At Seddiqi, we grow together, we restructure it to adapt for the new generation and the ones to come.

For our part, it’s a pleasure and privilege for Seddiqi & Sons to host the GPHG here in Dubai. It allows us to represent the entire Middle East, which as I said, has developed a strong appreciation for watchmaking; it’s like art! That is why we held the exhibition here in the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery at the DIFC. We thought about having it in one of the boutiques in Dubai Mall or the Mall of Emirates, or even one of the hotels. But then we thought, why not the gallery? The link is of course art, so I thought we could coordinate both of them together.



. sur la terre . up close and personal .




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. sur la terre . up close and personal .

Yann BOrgStedt After obtaining a degree in finance and entrepreneurship in Boston, Yann Borgstedt launched an Internet start-up business, which he later sold to a company listed on the stock exchange, before joining a venture capital fund in London. Having now become a successful entrepreneur, he splits his time between managing companies which are active in property development and logistics, and Womanity, a geneva-based foundation he started in 2005 that is dedicated to the emancipation of girls and women from underprivileged backgrounds.


Interview: Gaëlle Hennet


ow was the Womanity foundation started? In 2005, I went to Morocco because, as a member of the Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO) network, I was looking for a county close to Europe where I could develop the first programme. Once there, we became associated with INSAF, a local NGO who promotes the reintegration of single mothers. Most of them, living in the street, were once ‘petites bonnes.’ Smiling Children, renamed last year as Womanity, therefore started its activity by launching the Petites Bonnes programme, in partnership with this NGO, to return the girls to their families and to school. In order to be efficient, I understood the need to focus on one cause, and I chose the empowerment of young girls and women. Eight years ago, there were very few organisations active in this field. Besides, this topic goes far beyond the question of women’s rights: I am convinced that improving their circumstances favours the social and economic progress of a country. On this subject, the Council on Foreign Relations has notably demonstrated that when more than 10% of girls are educated, the state’s GDP increases on average by 3%.

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From very early on I was aware that I was living in a bubble, and this led me to question the meaning of my life.


Why did you rename the foundation? Due to the worry about coherence with our actions, but also because the term Womanity, which is a contraction of two notions, Woman and Humanity, evokes the global nature of our commitment. In order to use this name for the foundation, I had to ask the permission of Joël Palix, the former CEO of Clarins Fragrance Group, as Womanity is also the name of a famous perfume by Thierry Mugler. This meeting resulted in a collaboration! As an entrepreneur, your schedule does not seem to lend itself to a humanitarian project. What were the reasons behind your involvement? I have been fortunate to have been successful, to have had a good education and to never have wanted for anything. From very early on I was aware that I was living in a bubble, and this led me to question the meaning of my life. Having had so much from life, I think it is only natural to share your resources and abilities to help create a fairer world. Today, I devote half of my time to the foundation, which I run like a business. My entrepreneurial approach allows me to stay in touch with the market needs, so that our programmes don’t reproduce what has already been done and create real added value. What are the innovative solutions that you are offering to give women the possibility of having a voice in society? In 2010 we launched the first commercial radio for women in the Middle East: 96 Nisaa FM. Entirely run by women, 96 Nisaa FM has created employment and will soon be financially self-sufficient, thanks to its own revenues. In terms of audience figures, it is ranked fourth in the region. Today, we want to recreate this programme in other countries, particularly in Egypt, where the women are, in my view, the biggest losers of the Arab Spring. Recently, we launched the WomenChangeMakers programme in India and Brazil, which aims to identify, support and reunite social entrepreneurs offering the most innovative solutions in favour of women. For this programme, we notably established strategic partnerships with Accenture, Booz & Company, Egon Zehnder and Thomson Reuters, which helped our social entrepreneurs to develop their models to have more impact. Womanity is also involved with education… Promoting access to quality education and professional training is in fact part of our priority list. As such, in 2007, we widened our field of action to Afghanistan, where we transformed the biggest school for girls in Kabul, the Al Fatah School, into a model school. In order to do this, we trained the teachers, restored the infrastructure and provided the equipment to enrich the study programmes. Following this, we received a grant to reproduce this model in 12 other schools for girls. Furthermore, within the WomenChangeMakers programme, we are currently supporting an Indian female social entrepreneur who is promoting access to education for girls in 5000 schools in Rajasthan, and who wishes to extend her activity to 30,000 schools. Who supervises the implementation of your projects? Antonella Notari Vischer is the director of the foundation. Thanks to more than 17 years of experience in the ICRC, of which 10 years were in the field and 7 were spent as a


spokesperson, she has a vast understanding of the NGO world. She relies on a team and our foundation’s council, composed of four other philanthropic experts like Arnaud Mourot, who runs Ashoka in France, Switzerland and Belgium; Kathryn Imboden, a microfinance specialist, or Maximilian Martin, former director of philanthropy for UBS. We are also surrounded by people in the field, employees or volunteers, who actively participate in the managing of projects. How can we support Womanity? Through donations and volunteering, but also through the creation of partnerships with businesses, who want to become involved by supporting projects so that these have more impact. The search for experienced partners is fundamental for us, in that we think it is necessary to have a business approach to have more of an impact. Could you tell us a bit about your future projects and events? Until the end of the year, we are organising several meetings in the Middle East, London and Hong Kong with the aim of raising public awareness about the status of women in the world. At the end of next January, Womanity will be a partner of the 25 Heures Freeride event, initiated by the skier Dominique Perret. Over the course of a weekend in Gstaad, several teams made up of four relay runners will be sponsored by a business or an individual, on the basis of around US$5 per kilometre run, or a flat fee of $2,200. At the end of the race, the total amount raised by the teams will be donated in its entirety to Womanity. This event, for amateurs as much as for the ski and snowboard professionals, is a great occasion to support our programmes ( Finally, on the 30th of January next year, we are organising a charity gala, which will take place in the “Espace Hippomène” in Geneva. The event will welcome 900 invited guests, who will have the opportunity to meet Rosanna Arquette, our ambassador, to enjoy performances from a number of artists and to participate in a live auction.

. sur la terre . up close and personal .

life st yle

A Birdie In Hand: Why Golf in the gulf is a real luxury


. sur la terre . lifestyle .

This page: Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, which made Golf Digest's list of top 100 courses outside of the USA

Guest contributor Andrew Watson explains how, despite the inhospitable environments in which they reside, the lush, manmade oases that dot our desert region are on par with some of the world’s finest golf courses.


n words attributed to the great nineteenth century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, there are three categories of lies: “lies, damned lies and statistics.” The message being, of course, that statistics and other forms of data can be manipulated to suit a particular objective or to achieve a particular result. Whilst it may be stretching the point to suggest that a fourth category could be added to include surveys or polls, there is little doubt that their outcome can be determined to some extent by the quality of the samples taken and by the criteria against which judgments are made. So when it comes to assessing the relative merits of golf courses around the world, the benchmarks against which they are measured are likely to be the same, irrespective of location. Hence, in a survey last year by Golf Digest of the 100 Best Courses outside the USA, just one course from the Gulf made it into this select band. As to the other 99, most you would expect to see on such a list, with a sprinkling of unfamiliar names; but they all have the common denominator of being located in benign climates with a relative abundance of water. So if you think for a moment about the very considerable climatic disadvantages confronting courses in the Gulf, it is a major compliment to those involved to find even one in the top 100. But if environment was ever taken into account in these surveys, it would, in your correspondent’s humble opinion, be difficult to ignore the claims of several other Gulf courses to be included in this elite.

. sur la terre . lifestyle .


At this time of year, as residents of the Gulf mop their brows, sodden by the humidity and singed by the searing heat of a long, sweltering summer, and as they give thanks for the relief granted by the oncoming winter months, it is opportune to reflect on how very fortunate we are to have so many top class (even if not top 100) golf courses on our doorstep. After an attritional summer, it is all too easy to forget, and to take for granted, the formidable challenges involved in not only creating these courses, but in maintaining them as well. The Gulf States may be blessed with enormous mineral wealth, but they are relatively impoverished when it comes to Arcadian landscapes. Nor are they generously endowed with that colourless liquid which forms the lifeblood of any golf course; even if, paradoxically, they are surrounded by it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but fresh water is almost alien to this part of the world. So much desalinated water is needed to irrigate just a single golf course that the cost of playing would be prohibitively off the scale if it was not for very generous (and very welcome) government subsidies. So, the next time you watch your well-struck ball veer unerringly into that water hazard on the edge of the green, it may be worth taking a few seconds to consider the source of the water, its cost and the logistics involved in getting it there. Gratitude for one’s surroundings, rather than annoyance at a good shot gone astray, may even help you to relax when you step up to address the inevitable penalty stroke.

it is all too easy to forget, and to take for granted, the formidable challenges involved in not only creating these courses, but in maintaining them as well. -


. sur la terre . lifestyle .

It is, therefore, unsurprising that comparisons of Gulf courses to those outside the region are invidious. When Old Tom Morris looked out on what would eventually become the Old Course at St. Andrews, his gaze would probably have been met with a bucolic landscape of heather, of colourful flora and fauna and of dunes undulating gently down to the sea, from all of which he could mould his creation. The fundamentals were already there before him to craft his design. But what, for example, would have greeted Peter Harradine’s gaze when he first set eyes on what was to become the first (and currently the only) golf course in Qatar? The contrast between his panorama and Old Tom’s could not have been more stark. To describe the scene as one vast bunker would be to ascribe a degree of finesse or refinement to the landscape which simply did not exist. A more arid, barren landscape would have been difficult to imagine anywhere else in the world (even Arizona and Palm Springs have a certain amount of natural resources which are singularly lacking in the Middle East). There is no soil here, no rivers or streams, no grass no trees, no flora or fauna. Instead, acre upon acre of parched sand would have stretched out to the horizon, punctuated by a few rocky limestone outcrops, littered with boulders; a wasteland entirely bereft of the basic elements necessary for golfing life. To transform such Spartan terrain into a Championship golf course required not just craft, but radical transplantation surgery: the organs

This page and opposite: Doha Golf Clubq

of a verdant countryside had to be grafted into a body of land so hostile that its natural inclination would be to reject them. In an exercise which would have been repeated in one form or another across the Gulf, the lack of nutrients in the sand meant that vast amounts of water had to be combined with equally vast amounts of fertilser to facilitate growth of tons of Bermuda grass seedlings. Eight water hazards (euphemistically referred to as lakes) were created, supplemented by 5,000 shrubs and 6,000 trees. And, as if to prove the point about the sheer desolation of the terrain, 10,000 cacti were imported from Arizona. All of this has been laid out in such a way as not to disturb the existing topography, which is perhaps best reflected by the last five holes, meandering as they do left and right, rising and falling through the limestone rock formations partially lined by the aforementioned plants and trees. Equal, if not greater attention, has been given to ecological considerations. Like many other Gulf courses, Doha’s participates in the Audubon conservation programme, which seeks to offset the less environmentally friendly factors (such as fertiliser usage) against the need to protect and stimulate the natural environment. Testament to the success of this project is the sanctuary afforded to the bird population, with not just large numbers of migratory species such as hoopoes, bee eaters and whimbrels flitting here and there, but with small families of ducks and geese having settled noisily into the water hazards at the 17th and 18th holes. Even peacocks can be seen (and most certainly heard) flaunting themselves between the 3rd and the 4th. Having invested not inconsiderable amounts of time, money and human resource into successfully transplanting the fundamentals of golf into such an uninviting environmental body, the patient requires continuous nursing to ensure there is no rejection of its newly-acquired organs; care and attention three hundred and sixty-five days a year, year-on-year. In comparison to courses of similar size (7,374 yards, plus a nine hole academy course, and extensive practice facilities), the manpower required to operate and maintain Doha Golf Club is about five to six times greater than facilities of similar size in the UK. A team of about ninety good people are charged with the operations and upkeep, compared to about fifteen to twenty for similar facilities in the UK, a very significant indicator of the massively labour-intensive nature of golf in the Gulf. And if, very occasionally, there are glitches (such as problems with satnav on the buggies), or if extra medicine is required to improve the patient’s health (e.g. the annual overseeding), these are but minor irritations when measured against the miracle of being able to play golf in such an inhospitable environment.

. sur la terre . lifestyle .


If the relative harshness of the climate, and the concomitant challenges in keeping courses open all year round, were included as yardsticks by which to assess the relative merits of golf courses, the statistics touched on in this article perhaps suggest that the top 100 courses outside the USA could legitimately include more than just one representative from the Gulf. But this is where the league tables could be viewed as flawed: the natural disadvantages of Gulf courses, and the inherent challenges involved in overcoming them, seem for the most part to be ignored in the assessment criteria. Ultimately, it is the courses enjoying the natural advantages of scenery and climate which will, perhaps understandably, prevail. Gulf courses require huge effort in terms of manpower and resource just to compete. Yet compete they do; and more, as the European Tour testitifes with forthcoming tournaments in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha. And the course that made it into the Top 100? No, it was not Doha Golf Club. Yas Links in Abu Dhabi received the laurels, ranked 24th in May 2012. A fabulous course, of that there can be little doubt; but, from the perspective of only having had the pleasure of playing the course once, this was a good walk ruined not by the golf, but by the testing of Formula One cars at the adjacent Yas Marina Circuit: choose your tee times carefully! Which brings me to a few concluding remarks. Golf in the Gulf has taken enormous strides over the last couple of decades, but with the massive amount of investment required to meet the challenges identified in this piece, it has been necessary to link development and construction to other projects, such as hotels and residential developments. Recent examples include Muscat Hills and The Wave (both in Muscat), Saadiyat Island (Abu Dhabi), and Abu Dhabi Golf Club; and most, if not all, of the courses in Dubai. This is entirely understandable, and follows the model adopted around the world: even Pebble Beach has houses dotted around the course. And if this writer (who must declare an interest as a member of Doha Golf Club) was conducting his own survey of Gulf courses, the deciding factor in determining a winner would probably be based on which course feels most like a club. In this respect, it would have to be this member’s club, primarily because it has so far managed to sustain itself without having to take on any other appurtenance. Yet this is not by any means intended to denigrate the claims of other Gulf courses. On the contrary, the intention of this article is to convey how valuable they all are to the sport; how greatly appreciated they are by the golfing public; and how we marvel at the excellence of the facilities and services which we sometimes take for granted, but for which we are eternally grateful.


This page: Muscat Hills Golf Clubq

. sur la terre . lifestyle .

tr en ds confidential


Outfitters Are you ready to become a rurbanista? Give your city wardrobe and walls a countryinspired makeover where cool urban style meets rich rural heritage.


fter spending my years as a bona fide city girl enjoying stints in London, New York and Dubai, I now find myself as a fledgling country girl circumnavigating my way around chocolate box villages, weekly farmers markets and quaint country pubs. And to the surprise of my fellow urbanites, coming to grips with the rural way of life is something I have slipped into very naturally. Who can deny the pure, hedonistic pleasure of snuggling up to a roaring log fire with a bottle of something special, knowing you don’t have to fight the masses, hail a taxi or step foot on public transport in order to pour yourself another in the comfort of your own home? My newfound love of rural life also has something to do with the fact that I am now (sadly) nearer the 35 mark than 25, and embracing a new and very challenging role as a wife and mother. My weekday club nights, neon-lit takeaway stops, bustling shopping afternoons and simply going anywhere alone without my little boy by my side, are all a distant memory. But the slower, more tranquil speed of life here, away from the hectic city streets, is now a welcome retreat. That is, as long as I have routine jaunts to the city firmly marked in the diary. Without my regular escapes to the city to visit friends and colleagues, my bi-annual European fashion week fixes and much needed weekend city breaks, my quiet country life would leave me a little stir-crazy after too long.



The age-old saying “you can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl” certainly applies. Sometimes nothing beats a quick city fix and I find myself drawn to my nearest urban mecca, Cheltenham. It is not quite Notting Hill or 5th Avenue, but at least here I can wear stiletto ankle boots and a skirt above my knee without looking like a fish out of water. Amongst the tweed set,

. sur la terre . trends confidentional .


Dolce & Gabbanaq

Marc Jacobsq

even in the most cool and luxe country gastro pub, my neon blazer screams ex-city girl. Dressing for the city in the country always raises an eyebrow or two. Unless you are Kate Moss that is, who always manages to get the look right, straying refreshingly from the Barbour green uniform, but neither trying too hard to fit in, nor too hard to abandon her city soul. On a recent sojourn to London, I noticed the opposite effect; dressing for the country in the city is receiving quite the fashion following. Cool Shoreditch dwellers are swapping their much beloved converse for luxe loafers and it’s out with the minimal Perspex interiors and in with all things rogue and rustic. Donning your country-inspired best in the heart of the city is quite the “done thing.” You only have to look to this season’s catwalks to see the influence the country has over the city. It’s not just our wardrobes that are enjoying a rural makeover, but also our homes and lifestyles, too. London is home to a new breed of stylish city dweller – the rurbanista. These women are slick city fashionistas, but with a cool country influence and rural-inspired style. They work in a buzzing ad agency by day, sip prosecco at art gallery openings by night and at the weekend tend to their homegrown veg perched on the window box, offering guests their own label pear wine and saving the dinner party leftovers for the chickens laying eggs on the roof terrace. Omelets have never been so in-vogue; egg white only, of course. Tweed, vintage leather and heritage fabrics are sweeping across the city. Quilted jackets and flat caps are the new street wear, tartan armchairs and stag motifs the height of interior style and country pursuits the new way to while away your weekend.

Emporio Armaniq

. sur la terre . trends confidentional .


Of, course purveying such style is easily overdone and too much tartan and tweed is a serious no-no. So how much is too much? Here’s how to give your life a rurban revamp…

The Rurban Woman

Let’s call her the rurbanista. Her wardrobe is inspired by the heritage and tradition of the country but with a very cool and contemporary twist. This season she’s coveting plaid and tweed, but by no means in a stuffy manner. Think Barbour meets Isabel Marant. Skinny jeans and a chic fitted tweed jacket or a pencil skirt and plaid shirt offer the perfect blend of city and country. This is classic yet cutting edge; heritage with a contemporary spin. If she dons riding boots, they are accessorised with a new-length midi leather skirt and crisp white shirt for a demure yet edgy nod to riding classics. Shearling lines winter coats, while jackets are quilted and gilets trimmed with tan leather. Colours are muted and forest green; the new black. Rustic tones, rich fabrics and elegant ladylike tailoring (Downton Abbey is a huge influence) combine for a chic take on classic country casuals that look just as at home on Bond Street as they do in “Hunter” land.

The Rurban Man

Let’s call him the rurbanite. He’s channeling a cross between a new wave farmer and the landed gentry look. Jeans, muck boots, checked shirt and wax jacket make a great off-duty casual style, while a layered look of mustard chinos, plaid shirt, waistcoat and wool blazer work well for a smarter heritage-inspired look. He

Stella McCartneyq

doesn’t need to be a gun on the nearest shoot to be part of this new rurbanite gang. These men shop for their weekly free-range meat and homemade pickles and jam at West Hampstead farmers market and catch up with the lads at the pub for an organic fillet steak and pint of local ale. The very keen country filers among them not only subscribe to GQ, but the very latest must-have read for avid agriculture buffs Modern Farmer magazine. What’s more, the rurbanite isn’t afraid to swap his Tod’s loafers for tweed slippers after work and his rugged yet wel-kept style makes elbow patches, cords, flat caps and crew necks the epitome of cool.

The Rurban Home

Let’s call it the rurban manor. For autumn, our studios, apartments and city interiors are feeling the influence of classic English country houses and attracting a cool homely style where East London cool meets Downton Abbey heritage. Tartan and tweed armchairs, animal motifs and vintage look accessories all make up this eclectic look of the moment. The rich grandeur of old manor houses translates beautifully into smaller city dwellings. A statement over-sized armchair or sideboard makes a bold and grand impact, while a collection of smaller accessories such as vintage mirrors, brass lamps and bygone portrait art gives a country house feel, but on a smaller scale. Fabrics are rich and heavy while Edwardian and Victorian furniture is given a slick contemporary twist in bright yellow. For true rurban style, as well as luxe jewel tones and crazy brights, pared-down subdued shades (think anything Farrow & Ball) are a necessity. Grey is a great base colour to work from and is the perfect backdrop for the softer, more tactile side of rurban; understated patterns and muted colours.

Giorgio Armaniq


Even a hint of country goes a long way in the city. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines rurban as “of, relating to, or constituting an area which is chiefly residential but where some farming is carried on,” so even if you simply tend to your supermarket-bought basil plant on your apartment window-sill, as long as you do so in tweed, you can call yourself a rurbanista!

. sur la terre . trends confidentional .



Macr Jacobs..

Stella McCartney ..

It’s that time of year when glitter and glamour need no excuse. Simply sparkle and shine your way into the new year.

CATWALK MOMENT: Stella McCartney proves pale hues still stand out on the shine scale while Marc Jacobs’ black sequins add a chic after-dark glamour.

DRESS Day Birger et Mikkelsen at, DRESS Jaeger, JACKET Linea at House of Fraser, SKIRT Jonathan Saunders at, JACKET Monsoon, DRESS Lanvin at, DRESS Jaeger, DRESS Debut at Debenhams, DRESS Fendi at, BAG Monsoon, COLLAR House of Fraser HEADBAND Debenhams, SHOES Christian Louboutin at, SHOES Hobbs.


. sur la terre . look book .

TIP: This season’s shine need not call for an overdose of sequins, but a subtle metallic sheen. Try a luxe leather skirt or pair of glistening brogues.



A Need for Tweed Embrace heritage with a smart urban twist with winter’s hit jacket: a cool, classic tweed. JACKET Best of British at Marks & Spencer, JUMPER Crew Clothing, JACKET Margaret Howell at, JACKET Debenhams, JEANS Superdry, TROUSERS ASOS, JACKET Canali at, JUMPER House of Fraser, CORDS Oliver Spence at, JACKET Billy Reid at, SNOOD ASOS, SHIRT A.P.C at, BOOTS ASOS

For a more formal approach, team a tweed or check jacket with flannel trousers, a shirt and bold tie.


. sur la terre . look book .


I n winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires , the moon achieves a fuller triumph , and the heavens wear a look of a more e x alted simplicity. - Jo h n B u r r o u g h s

i n m oti o n


. sur la terre . in motion .



As the pallid orange glow of the streetlights paint distorted reflections across the wet cobbled streets of Vienna, there is a whispered warning emanating from shadowed archways of the espionage capital of the old Cold War: “Something Wraithy this way comes...” Managing Editor James McCarthy is dispatched to investigate.


nder a bruised sky, through zephyrs of Alpine mist, a sonorous growl approaches. As raindrops dance off the narrow black ribbon of tarmac snaking its way through the twisty mountain passes just outside Vienna, Austria, the approaching thunder breaks and a white streak flashes past. The world around it, as if caught in a strobe light, seems to stand still for a just moment and wisps of ozone part in its wake. As quickly as it appears, it’s gone and the low, guttural rumble recedes, echoing eerily off the distant hillsides. It’s not, as you might think, a bolt of lightning, but something far more elemental; it is the Rolls-Royce Wraith - the fastest and most powerful automobile ever to bear the noble burden of carrying the seductive and ethereal Spirit of Ecstasy at its parthenon prow. It’s a continentdevouring grand tourer of epic proportions. And, fortunately, I am at the wheel.

Photography: James Lipman / Rolls-Royce

If it wasn’t for the Herculean efforts of Mr Ronald Balit, Middle East PR maven for the great British marque, along with the whole of the Rolls-Royce events team, I would, instead, be sitting at my desk commissioning a review from Kevin “Always Give Them Moore” Hackett or Damien “Big in Japan” Reid.

. sur la terre . in motion .


I blame my advancing years and two decades of hedonistic living for the temporary leave of my senses that caused me to miss my original flight to Vienna; a mistake that came as close to denying me the chance to experience the launch of a brand new Rolls-Royce - an occurrence rarer than a pregnant panda - as I came to recreating the final scene of The Italian Job on at least one of the blind ascending hairpin bends that litter the vertiginous Alpine circuit, upon which I was set loose in this magnificent machine. So magnificent is the Wraith, in fact, that the only component propelling this car that is not beautifully engineered and perfectly constructed is me. That said, even if I looked like Bradley Cooper and possessed the wit and intellect of Stephen Fry, I would probably still fall short of the exacting criteria that passes for satisfactory in the eyes of Goodwood’s finest. I consider this as the rain-soaked road opens up invitingly before me with a long and straight stretch of blacktop, punctuated by some protracted, sweeping curves. I gradually apply pressure to the loud pedal and the power delivery is spectacular. There is no fuss, just the immediate, majestic strength of 624 thoroughbred horses being brought to bear with a deep, guttural growl; a rumble that grows in intensity in direct proportion to the proximity of my shoe to the deep, plush carpet. Like no other Rolls-Royce before, this car feels dastardly and malevolent; capable of dark deeds but each committed with all the grace and “waftability” you would expect of such good breeding. It’s the James Moriarty of automobiles: caddish, yet refined; genius in its devices but devilishly nefarious. It is most definitely the black sheep of the Goodwood family. There is, to quote the ineffable Richard Carter, Rolls-Royce’s Director of Communications, “a sense of the noir” about the Wraith. That is obvious from the exterior aesthetics; in the haunched stance, like a sinewy athlete in the blocks, across the sensual arched fastback, all the way along the phallic bonnet which sweeps inexorably to the dipped, provocative, forward stance of the ageless spirit. There is an essence - a “wraith,” if you will - of speed and power to this machine, even when it sits inert. Squatting lower to the ground than its Ghostly sibling on wider, lower profile tyres, its threatening, squinting, rectangular eyes burn


. sur la terre . in motion .

It’s the James Moriarty of automobiles: caddish, yet refined; genius in its devices but devilishly nefarious. -

. sur la terre . in motion .


full of challenge either side of the redesigned, recessed Pantheon Grille, which itself suggests an expeditious purpose. It’s with just such purpose that I steer the Carrara White behemoth - for it is just that at a stately 5.2 metres long and 2.4 tonnes in weight - as the potent 6.6 litre V12 hauls me into the curve at a steady, but speedy 120km/h. Even on the soaking wet road, which continues to be doused in Alpine precipitation, the Wraith feels completely capable, using every inch of rubber to stay planted to its line. I feel the traction control play against the wheel as we crest the curve into the next tempting straight. Seamlessly, the car ascends the eight-speed gearbox as cogs connect with the precision you’d expect of an exquisite Swiss watch movement, all while that immense engine delivers its visceral, but in no way vulgar, soundtrack. The road is consumed effortlessly as the Wraith pulls forward with a seemingly immutable ease, despite the power being put down on the road before it, in part thanks to the electronically-controlled air suspension system that ensures that, no matter how naughty it may seem, the Wraith still delivers that signature “magic carpet ride.” That said, this is, in my opinion, the most drivable RollsRoyce in the company’s 107-year history. I have long-held the belief that a Roller is to be driven in, not driven. In the Phantom, and the more agile Ghost, as the driver, you are as utterly detached from the proportions and weight of the car as your languidly-reclined passengers. So cosseted are the occupants of the cabin, there is little or no sense of play from the hydraulically-powered steering and there is most certainly no feedback from the road.


. sur la terre . in motion .

The Wraith, though, as we have already established, is a very different apparition. Graced with a smaller, more tactile steering wheel, when I haul the Wraith into a corner, at speed, I can feel a little of the car’s weight going with me, allowing me to more accurately gauge the car’s approach and exit. This, coupled with the all-new Satellite-Aided Transmission technology, which uses GPS data and the Wraith’s navigation system to predict the road ahead, adds to a far more dynamic driving experience than any of the Wraith’s predecessors. When I hit a blind bend, the car “sees” the road ahead, and with Stephen Hawkingesqe ability, makes a calculation in a split second based on my line, my speed and what waits beyond to automatically choose the correct gear I need to be in to deliver the exact amount of power required to make a seamless manoeuvre. This probably saved me the aforementioned Italian Job denouement on a number of occasions, allowing me to power out of some very trouser-soilingly tight turns where a single mistake will cost you something a lot more tangible than the 300,000 Euro price tag of the car in which you would find yourself careering off an Austrian mountainside. Of course, I am also being assisted by the glowing orange head-up display levitating in my peripheral vision. Like a Victorian-era sideshow oracle, it helpfully offers directions from the sat-nav, speed limit information and regular proximity alerts - a necessity as the Wraith is a not insignificant six feet wide - to assist in ensuring that such a mortallythreatening situation does not arise.

. sur la terre . in motion .

Only once did my exuberance get the better of the vast array of technology. Even then, my venerable and highly experienced co-pilot for the trip, the award-winning South African motoring scribe, Egmont Sippel, was also shocked by the sudden and unannounced manifestation of the terrifyingly sheer drop and blind hairpin bend. Amidst some colourful prose, which mostly rhymed with "clucking bell" and "goalie's spit," I was fortunate to be able to call upon a solid 800Nm of torque and those powerful Sussex ponies to wrench me out of trouble. After what seems like no time at all, a couple of hundred kilometres have been effortlessly absorbed by the Wraith, tolling the end of my tenure at the helm. Stepping from the rear-hinged “coach” door, I experience no fatigue. Like the car’s seemingly insatiable appetite for consuming miles and miles of road at a time, I too feel as though I could go on indefinitely, such is the comfort and ease with which the Wraith is capable of traversing long distances. The only pleasure I derive from leaving the driver’s seat is the opportunity to again bask in the exterior presence


of this wonderful car. Its coupé outline and long fastback tail knowingly alludes to the company’s classic coach-built forebears. The similarities to the 1938 De Villars-imagined Wraith Closed Coupé are a prime example of Rolls-Royce attempting to bond the past with this modern resurrection of the evocative moniker. It is a perfect blend of heritage and modernity that will remain as timeless as that exquisite pre-war De Villars effort. This is never more obvious than the way, when standing sentinel in the shadow of the immense Gothic basilica that forms the heart of Mariazell, a quaint village nestled deep in the Austrian mountains, the white Wraith exudes a nonchalant air. It is clearly upstaging its splendid surroundings with an aloofness that only a Rolls-Royce can achieve.

It is the first time all day that my senses have been allowed to drink in the sumptuousness of my surroundings, being pushed aside earlier by the heady emotional cocktail that comes from piloting this luxurious roadliner. Festooned in Rolls-Royce regulation finery, the belly of this spectral automobile is truly a tremendous place to be. The opulence of my seat eclipses that of a so-called “fivestar airline’s” A320 business class pew that barely carried me across two continents to be here. It is almost more comfortable than my sprawling bed back at the hotel, the über-upscale Palais Coburg Residenz. Almost.

In spite of the traditional sweet treats proffered by Lederhosen-clad locals, my appetite for the car remains unsatisfied, so with expedience, Egmont and I slurp down our coffees and climb aboard for the next leg of our Alpine adventure. This time, though, I have to enter on the passenger side. The heavy coach doors swing shut at the touch of a button and I am immersed in a womb of fine leather, heavy metals and rich wood.

The lavishly deep lamb’s wool floor mats are as beautiful as you would find in some of the world’s most palatial residences, while the soft leather finishing - farmed from bulls rather than cows due to their being prone to stretch marks, which can spoil the finish - fills the cabin with a


. sur la terre . in motion .

truly sybaritic scent. Heavy, polished steel fittings juxtapose the slightly anachronistic open-grain “Canadel Wood Panelling” that adorns the door panels. This woodwork, which takes more than twelve hours of labour per door, adds a touch of gravitas to proceedings and maintains the sense of a glorious coach-built past. Everything reeks of fine craft and skilled workmanship, subliminally signalling to your brain that you are submersed in nothing less than quality. So cosseting is the experience, that under Egmont’s expert captaincy, the car breezes along, losing all sense of the villainous intent I felt so succinctly behind the wheel. It manifests itself occasionally; when he finds an opportunity to plant his foot, we are swept along, not on a magic carpet, but on the breath of a curmudgeonly dragon. So enraptured were we by the portentous V12 choir, we forgot to explore the aural pleasures of the bespoke audio system, touted to be the best sound system ever fitted to a car of the modern age. With 18 individually-tuned and honed speakers, as well as more than 25Gb of on-board memory for storing a suitable musical accompaniment with which to set the hills alive, the system, by all accounts, turns the car into a mobile concert

hall. If, as it is claimed by the affable Dr Philip Harnett, Wraith Project Manager, it is better than the sublimely cacophonous perfection of the system fitted to the Phantom, then it will more than live up to the superlative nature of the beast that carries it. As Egmont, in the interests of objective motoring journalism, tries to find a negative counterbalance, I am content to revel in everything the Wraith does perfectly. Any supernatural encounter will be met with scepticism, but sometimes it is best, for the sake of a good story, to gloss over the plot holes and suspend one’s disbelief. Even the most jaded of motoring hacks will agree that the Wraith is possibly among the highest echelons of the great gentleman’s gran turismos. It’s definitely something Charles Rolls would be proud to call his own. It certainly embodies his adventurous spirit; perhaps his shade still haunts the company’s design department; his essence urging the boffins to achieve greater feats of speed, power and capability. As we pull into the rain-soaked arrivals terminal at Vienna International Airport, I alight from the car and bid farewell to my co-pilot. I turn to offer a wave of acknowledgement, but all I see are two wide tracks in the wet tarmac being erased by the creeping epidermis of displaced rainwater.

Festooned in Rolls-Royce regulation finery, the belly of this spectral automobile is truly a tremendous place to be... Everything reeks of fine craft and skilled workmanship. -

. sur la terre . in motion .

As quickly as it arrived, the white streak that has haunted my thoughts for the last few hours is gone, leaving nothing to suggest it was even there in the first place. Just a faint trace of something otherworldly lingers behind my eyes. Then, I hear it. That low, guttural rumble receding into the distance; not a thunderclap or a bolt of lightning, but a RollsRoyce Wraith, wafting speedily away in search of another imagination to possess. I step out of the rain and the bustle of the busy airport wraps itself around me like a blanket. The corners of my mouth curl, involuntarily, into a knowing smile and with a slight backwards glance, I find myself whispering a warning to no-one in particular, “Something Wraithy your way comes,” just as the doors hiss closed behind me.


acc e sso r i e s

Scents and Sensibility Creative Director: Laura Hamilton Photographed by Herbert Villadelrey Styled by Farah Kreideh Special Thanks to The One, Doha

(Clockwise from top) Valentin a Oud Assoluto by Valentin o, Si by Armani, Desire by Do lce & Gabbana, Roses de Ch loeĚ by ChloeĚ , Eau de parfum by Boucheron


. sur la terre . accessories .

(Clockwise from top) Just by Just Cavalli, 1000 Miglia by Chopard, cufflinks by Mulberry and Tiger Oud by Roberto Cavalli . sur la terre . accessories .


(From left to right) Pink travel tag by Mulberr y, “Moonraker� by OPI Nail Lacquer, light pink leather and woolly bag by Burberr y, Signorina by Salvatore Ferragamo, Eau de Sublime by CH Carolina Herrera, metallic shoes by MaxMara, tiger scarf by Kenzo.


. sur la terre . accessories .


Across the universe:

Nyc’s YOTEL Words: Steven Paugh


. sur la terre . jetset .

Luxury: the fierce frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Sur la Terre . Its ongoing five-year mission: to explore gilded new worlds; to seek out rich life and exclusive civilisations; to boldly go where no editor has gone before!

Our destination, the otherworldly cosmopolitan outpost of New York City, sub-designate: Times Square... Taking it upon myself to lead a solo landing party on behalf of Sur la Terre - an exploratory initiative charged with discovering luxury “across the planet” - I have teleported in from the dusty environs of our Doha base to explore unusual yet exciting tidings stirring throughout the planetary ether and gathering within what many call Earth’s global hub. The huddled masses of the already quite alien region of New York City hums with the clamour surrounding one of its denizens’ most celebratedly strange and ritualistic festivals. Known in the local tongue as “New York Comic Con,” it is an annual commemoration of one this planet’s perhaps most dynamic and singularly-arresting sub-culture: “Fandom.” Strange lifeforms in often ill-fitting yet ornate garments - each one more bizarre than the last - stride through bustling streets, painting this city’s neon retreats with ever-brighter costumes and talk of what they call “comic books,” “movies,” “video games” and a kaleidoscope of other unusual topics, all of which coalesce to fit within what the locals refer to as “geek culture.” As any editor worth his weight in Dilithium knows, however, each exploratory mission must first begin with the procurement of safe passage, and I had previously arranged such in a fellow luxurious body known to the stars as YOTEL, a unique accommodation destination that is truly out of this world.

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Blast Off and Settle In Indeed, this one is for the space vacationers and interplanetary transients; those most intrepid of galactic creatures who wish to experience the fine art of travel through a rather more fun sort of futurism. Beginning its voyage in June of 2011, YOTEL, which is currently docked in Times Square West (on West 42nd Street and 10th Avenue), is one of the most innovative hotel concepts this city has ever seen, and not just because its landing site is nearby the centre of Manhattan and easily accessible via the city’s famed public transportation, paramount amongst which is the New York Port Authority: a mere 10 minute jaunt (or .032 parsecs) away. The true enjoyment that comes from staying at YOTEL is most definitely its science fiction-made-fact spirit, an ethos that hits you like a tractor beam from the entrance, drawing you in with a storefront facade that appears like a recently-alighted spacecraft shimmering against the twinkling skyline of New York. Of course, it is upon entering the environment of the main foyer that you get an even more fulfilling close encounter. Indeed you would be forgiven in thinking that you had been transported into another vehicle entirely; one not housing anything so simple as hotel rooms. To your left, as you enter YOTEL’s docking bay, you are greeted by a small phalanx of onboard touchscreen computers, each mirroring the DIY prowess housed within the check-in kiosks Earthers might find in one of their terrestrial airports, but here calibrated to facilitate easier entry for YOTEL’s passengers. To the right is perhaps this spaceport’s most well-known and unconventional element, and a staple of every good star-faring craft anywhere in the known universe. That’s right, this ship is packing robots! The gigantic, seemingly-sentient robotic arm known affectionately to its caretakers as the YOBOT is a fantastic facsimile of facilitation; an automaton concierge, dedicated to storing and safeguarding each visitor’s luggage whilst he, she or indeed “it” is out exploring the outer “statusphere” of NYC’s upper crust. Interfacing with its simple touchscreen dash controls, it is easy to manipulate the YOBOT to do your bidding andthis editor is about 99% certain it will not turn on its crew. Earthmen and women will not be used to this type of feature, and it is sure to impress even the most swarthy and well-heeled traveller of the spaceways, just as it did the author of this Senior Editor’s Log. Of course, this thematic verve spreads further than just the welcome lobby. Lifting off on the nearby elevators takes you directly to the fourth floor (cleverly titled FOUR), which houses not only the majority of YOTEL’s dining options and public areas, but also its Mission Control. Yet another interactive station, this section has clearly been devised for those in search of a more human touch. The 24-hour desk is fitted with some of the friendliest and most helpful humanoids our landing party has ever had the pleasure of interacting with, and each was helpful in showcasing YOTEL’s firm sense of exploratory adventure. Of course, the true heart of this voyage - the nucleus of its exceptional expedition - begins, as most things do when dealing with stars... from above.

Warp Factor: FINE! Taking its inspiration from the capsule hotels made famous in another Terran outpost known as “Japan,” as well as from the first-class cabins on Earth’s airlines, the 669 rooms available at YOTEL stand out as much as the beings roaming the hallowed halls of the New York Comic Con; a perpetual parade of true eccentricity, also harkening back to renowned starship, the U.S.S. Enterprise. Whether its “strange visitors” decide to stay in one of YOTEL’s perhaps more intimate 170 square-foot Premium Cabins (which is where the humble editorial captain of this, your literary vessel, called home


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the hypnotic pulse of the streets while the rest of New York stood like a faraway alien landscape in the distance. Thankfully, with its windowedoff bathroom - which features its own monsoon shower - I was able to enjoy the view while performing my daily ablutions. The rest of the amenities are fairly standard fare - a petite yet entirely functional work desk, the by-now requisite flatscreen TV and an iPod dock - but there ruminates throughout the entirety of the space this definitive feeling that YOTEL is not of this world; a strange and wondrously unique creature itself set alongside a nearby population that quite simply puts the “extra” into “extraterrestrial.” It is in this Senior Editor’s professional estimation that if YOTEL was a federation-issued phaser, it would most assuredly be set... to stun.

Eat, Stay, Love: during his stay) or in one of its more spacious 19 First Class Cabins, or its relatively palatial three VIP 2 Cabin Suites, each one maximises its space in exciting ways for some truly astounding accommodating returns. Not only is each room awash in subtle purple neon hues and a bevy of mirrors, subduing them in a cozy yet breathable artificial atmosphere, YOTEL’s pods also incorporate fascinating technologies that would make any starship captain and his or her first mate swoon, including most notably a bed that retracts quickly and quietly at the gentle touch of a button, unleashing even more space into your interstellar experience. Enhancing the experience that much further are the floor-to-ceiling windows, which this editor himself gazed out of, staring unblinkingly at

Level FOUR is where the action is at YOTEL in terms of getting your fill of both food and fun! DOJO The DOJO restaurant once again uses as its basis a distinctively Japanese culture, and not just in name. The restaurant seats 110 people comfortably and is designed using a tapestry of Japanese visuals, not to mention the fact that it is built to the precise specifications of a classic sumo wrestling ring. The centrepiece of the restaurant - a large square banquet area - once again employs technology that you might find on a starship, using hydraulic capabilities to raise and lower seating areas to match the needs of those diners hungry for a bit more than just a bite to eat. The fare, of course, is par excellence, fusing as it does Asian with Latin influences.

StudiYO Matching the flavour of DOJO with a different kind of “taste” is StudiYO. One of the most dynamic public spaces we’ve seen, it boasts the same transformative properties experienced in the rooms and restaurant of YOTEL. It can fit up to 75 friends, acquaintances and/or strangers you would like to “wow” with presence! Servicing things like yoga in the morning, it can transmogrify into an afternoon business meeting space (outfitted as it is with ceiling-mounted projectors and dropdown screens) and then again in the evening for a bit of chilled-out relaxing and some karaoke! StudiYO even has a table that switches between boardroom and billiards, just in case your life needs to be that much more stellar!

Terrace At 4,000 square feet, FOUR’s Terrace is the largest of its kind in the entirety of New York City, a space that belies YOTEL’s perhaps more distilled sense of luxury accommodation. Drinks and nibbles are served daily and nightly, and in the right weather, there simply is no better place to enjoy the pulsating Times Square nucleus of the City That Never Sleeps!

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A rto pia

HIRST Among Equals Laura Hamilton visits Damien Hirst’s retrospective, RELICS, at Al Riwaq at the Museum of Islamic Art to see what all the fuss is about.

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ith his apocalyptic name and working class roots, Damien Hirst is a loveable villain who has either ruined art or spearheaded it into popular culture, depending on who you talk to. The man is the embodiment of Marmite; the one artist in the world that everyone has a strong opinion on, as he evokes such a contentious reaction. His work, which has dominated the art scene since he emerged as a Young British Artist in the 90s, is characterised by a serene minimalist aesthetic combined with a visceral confrontation with mortality. The idea of death, Hirst explains, cannot be grasped, and therefore, “it ends up exciting me.” For others, his work is derivative, using shock tactics to elicit a reaction - for those who see conceptual art as not “real” art, his work is reductive and lacking in skill, with art critics vocally deriding his mass-produced spot drawings. It’s ironic then, that in his youth, Hirst found minimalism empty and lacking in depth, preferring the abstraction of the 1950s. It was only when he was studying in London in the 80s that he became more interested in the genre that would make his name. After being championed by Charles Saatchi,


the controversy over his work was overshadowed by its sheer bankability, as his art was sold for millions at auction houses. Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) sponsored his retrospective at The Tate Modern in London in 2012, a curious choice for the small conservative country that punches above its weight when it comes to art collection and exhibitions. Hirst, at this point, had peaked. His artwork had been selling at auctions for unprecedented prices, but after the financial crisis, the money began to drop. Some of his pieces even went unsold, and there were whispers in the art world that Hirst was just a flash in the pan. Therefore, it was an interesting move by QMA to pick up this fallen angel. Yet, even when Hirst’s artworks were failing at auction, comparisons were made to Andy Warhol’s work, which lost favour in the 90s, only to rise exponentially in the following decade. Could Hirst’s work follow the same path? Half a million people visited Hirst’s exhibition at The Tate Modern last year, illustrating a continuing interest in his work. Still, does that mean Hirst's work is a good fit for Qatar, though? Although the fear of death is universal, the traditional and conservative peninsula that has been Hirst’s patron for the last few years seems to prefer decorative to conceptual art, and questions were being asked as to why the QMA hadn’t chosen an Arab artist to elevate to the dizzy heights to which Hirst’s brand has long aspired. Although a few years ago, auction houses in the West were saturated with Hirst’s work, he remained relatively unknown to the deep pockets in the Middle East - it is, for sure, a calculated move on his part. The exhibition, named Relics, is what remains after the hype is over. Spanning over 20 years, the underlying theme is death, but that’s not to say his work is grim, despite being acutely morbid. Some of his work is underwhelming, like his installation "Pharmacy," which was inspired by the medicine cabinet of his grandmother, who died of lung cancer. The piece recreates the eponymous pharmacy, complete with a counter and luminescent green cross. Hirst seems to be questioning the belief that medicine can defeat death, and the pharmacy has a curatorial quality to it, as if it belonged to the past like an apothecary, but it comes across as emotionless and cold. The poetic titles are often the most interesting parts of his artwork. The ping pong balls suspended in air in "I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever,

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Now" seem incongruous, like a fun science experiment, perhaps, and something that will entertain children, but hardly worth a second look. The spot and spin paintings are, according to Hirst, an exercise in fillingin empty canvas space. Fun and colourful, they are an antithesis to his grim depiction of death, but the mass-produced quality strips them of any meaning other than a defining feature of the Damien Hirst brand. It’s hard not to wonder if Hirst and Emma Bridgewater, whose teapot designs are composed of awfully similar spots, have any issues over copyright. “You don’t have to be original,” says Hirst, “The world we live in takes ideas from everything, I just think you shouldn’t even try to be original, it’s not about originality.” Perhaps he would not mind, after all. The artworks that solicit a personal response are the most conceptual and controversial pieces. The infamous diamond skull "For the Love of God" is encrusted with over 8000 flawless diamonds, an ostentatious celebration of death. Hugely expensive to make, the skull itself is diminutive, reminding us of the relative insignificance of our time on earth, a social commentary on money and death. As the saying goes, you cannot take your money with you when you die.

Inspired by Jaws, the shark is reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s The Scream; it’s impossible to tell whether the creature is about to attack you or is trying to fight off death, its jaws forever widened into a silent scream. The impact might be stronger if the exhibition didn’t feature several smaller sharks preserved in chemicals in the lead up to the final, climatic shark, but nevertheless, the lifeless fish still shocks and gives you a little jolt of fear from every angle. Hirst has said that he only wants a reaction from his audience, that if he has managed to keep them talking about his art once they’ve left the gallery, then he has succeeded. Considering that Qatar has been talking about him for months, and his artwork is beginning to hit the high prices at auction once again, Hirst may not be such a relic of the pre-recession art world after all.

Hirst’s trademark is his use of formaldehyde; in his quest to understand death, he has taken to preserving dead animals, like a mad scientist in a laboratory, and sometimes Relics feels less like an art exhibition and more like a scientific museum that feels no need for explanations. "Mother and Child, Divided," is composed of four tanks with half a preserved cow in each, with very strong religious undertones. As Hirst points out, however, in science, they kill things to understand them; a strange juxtaposition of science, religion and nature. The cow and the calf have been sliced in two and separated into different glass tanks, and guests may walk between them, gazing at the animals’ insides. It’s fairly unpleasant, but you cannot argue that it’s not unique. Hirst’s most iconic piece of work is "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" - the infamous shark tank that despite being over two decades old, still has the capacity to shock and stimulate.

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W inter is coming . - G e o r g e R . R . Ma r t i n

Fe atu r e

how a runway...

Takes Off

Laura Hamilton witnesses the fashion world sit up and take notice of Arab designers at the Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai.


ondon, Paris, New York, Milan - the four corners of the fashion world each have a long established fashion week; the promotional linchpin of a multimillion dollar industry and the most eagerly anticipated time of year for fashion editors. Dubai, the fashion hub of the Middle East, is trying to position itself as the fifth corner, allying its deep pockets with Vogue Italia’s credibility, and this year, Emaar Properties, which owns Dubai Mall, launched Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai. This calculated move may seem like an artificial way to kick-start a fashion industry in the UAE’s glittering city, but after a closer inspection of the now well-established fashion weeks, Vogue has been a catalyst or perhaps even the driving force behind the first “Fashion Week,” and indeed its position in the fashion industry. France had a monopoly on the fashion world until the Second World War, when editors, who used to fill their magazines with Gallic designers, were unable to travel to the occupied country. Instead, the editor of Vogue USA organised a fashion week in New York, inspired by the fashion parades in Paris couture salons, and began to feature more American designers that she felt were overlooked. The outcome? The languishing US designers reached a more international audience, and editors and buyers came from abroad to see the country’s best work at one time. The paradigm had shifted. Now that American style dominates the fashion world, it’s difficult to believe, even in their own country, that they were ignored. It’s actually not that dissimilar to how Arab designers must feel in the 21st century. The fashion week has evolved since then, with Paris Fashion Week officially starting in ’73. Milan, the textile and silk capital of Europe, followed suit in ’79, and the edgier London in ’84. Which brings us to the biggest fashion event held in the Middle East, Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai in 2013, a venture which was again underpinned by the fashion-canny and entrepreneurial giant Vogue to promote Arab designers. Held in Dubai Mall, which is the city’s answer to Covent Garden, Rodeo Drive and Times Square, it was a roaring success that made great use of its location; not only a fashion catwalk for fashion VIPs (including yours truly and Naomi Campbell, among others), there was a photography exhibition of the iconic Vogue Italia covers; The “Supermodel” Experience, where professional photographers took portrait shots and turned them into customised covers of Vogue Italia; ballet dancers pirouetted to R’n’B on the luxurious Shoe Level, as well as the myriad shops and boutiques that make up Dubai Mall putting on special offers. All in all, the mall was buzzing, the red carpets and the international fashion icons (who were easily visible due to their impeccable but eccentric style) made the vast landscape that is Dubai Mall a destination rather than a mere centre for commerce.

Razan Alazzouniq


Only one day long in its inaugural year, Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai clearly prefers to grow organically and slowly, handpicking the best emerging designers from the region, as well as the

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Ashi Studioq

rest of the world. It is fitting that Franca Sozzani, Vogue Italia’s Editor, chose new designers to celebrate her new venture; when the emerging designers are household names, they will look back at the beginning of Dubai’s fashion industry and see their own career growth intertwined with Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai. While each fashion capital has a very distinct style, Dubai carries on its shoulders the heavy burden of being the cornerstone of Arab fashion. There are already established Arab designers like Azzedine Alaia, but the Western fashion industry remains very much rooted in the West, instead of being global. Events like the Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai will pull the canvas further east and shed light on the talent in this part of the world. However, “Arab designers” is a loaded term, and the assumption is that they are merely interested in making abayas and traditional dress, but as Qatari designer Wadha Al Hajri notes, there was a long history of textiles

in her country, particularly embroidery, that the new media has barely picked up on, preferring to imagine its ignorance equates to a void. The proof, they say, is in the pudding. Fleeting though the swagger down the catwalk always is, the collection of clothes that the fierce models wore will have the fashion world talking and gossiping for months, which was the single most important aspect of the Vogue Fashion Experience Dubai. Let’s take a look at the six fashion brands and their latest collections.

Razan Alazzouni

The Saudi designer’s previous collections have all used simple and feminine structures to best show off the beading and embroidery, which she considers the most important aspect of her work. For her latest collection, Alazzouni promised something completely different, producing more sophisticated structures for her feminine attire, circling around her theme of dreams. Sur la Terre has been following rising star

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Alazzouni’s blossoming career with interest ever since we interviewed the Saudi couturier back in September 2012. The petite designer’s collection was true to her trademark femininity: bright and feminine, with a myriad of gold detail. The result was a marriage between gypsy princess and Greek goddess; regal, bohemian and most of all, arresting.


Inspired by the Danish Expedition to Qatar in 1959, when the only existing photographic record of the Bedouin tribes was captured, just before they abandoned nomadic life, Wadha Al Hajri’s collection is startlingly modern. Capes, exposed midriffs and sharp lines pepper the collection, but it nevertheless feels timeless; the outcome, perhaps, of the marriage between 1950s Bedouin style and contemporary minimalism. Wadha Al Hajri seems to be no fan of bright colours; her collection is severely monochromatic. Dramatic and arresting, she stays true to her Qatari heritage, while incorporating some very modern references.

Ashi Studio

When I spoke to Franca Sozzani in Milan before the fashion show, I asked her who her favourite Middle Eastern designer was, and her answer was Ashi Studio. Undeniably the star of the show, Mohammed Ashi’s manipulation of fabric and use of structure was subversive, experimental, theatrical and opulent. Continuing on his theme of subverting hemlines, feathers and frills featured heavily, and muted colours placed the emphasis on a heavily structured cut and style. His collection had connotations of the Swan Lake ballet, capturing the metamorphosis between swan and princess, which delighted the fashion world so much that gasps came from the crowd, crowning his collection as the pearl of the show.

Lulwa Al Aminq

Lulwa Al Amin

“Six months before I design a collection, I start an inspiration list,” said Lulwa, whose CV boasts stints at Matthew Williamson and Browns. “Anything and everything that inspires me goes down on that list. At first it looks very confusing, with lots of random words; however, when it’s time to design, I connect the dots and it all falls perfectly together. I’m a daydreamer, so many ideas come from memories and from my senses.” She describes the fashion scene in Bahrain as influenced and even dominated by social media, which makes fashion more disposable. “It has had an impact on the fashion scene, it has all become very trend driven. Whatever is circulating around blogs and Instagram, girls want it. They sport it for a short period and then move on to the next.” Her collection was dramatically different in feeling to the other designers: softer, younger and more playful, with an emphasis less on timeless style, but on personality.

Andrea Incontri

One of only two male designers featured, Incontri has only recently ventured into womenswear. His collection was characterised by fluidity and movement, and you can clearly see his Japanese influences in his dresses, and the


Andrea Incontriq

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Esme vieq

Ituen Basiq

nostalgic elements in his work. “I’ve been very glad and lucky to participate at this important, unique event in Dubai as an Italian designer,” said Incontri, who describes his work as a culture crash between contemporary art, movie, design and the people he meets everyday. “The Middle East is like the moon,” said Incontri, “Different, beautiful and rich in potential. I love this place and the people very much. They’re very elegant!”

Esme Vie

Headed by Russian-born, Milan-based Julia Voitenko and Daria Golevek, the name Esme Vie is derived from a rare French name “Esme,” which means beloved and the French word for life, “vie.” The two designers have a minimalist approach, heavily inspired by fashion of the 1950s. The collection was full of a-line skirts and dresses, oversized jackets, lavish materials and dreamy, muted colours. Uninterested in disposable fashion, the duo are inspired by timeless style, as personified by Coco Chanel and Grace Kelly.

Ituen Basi

Hailed as Africa’s most innovative designer, Nigerian entrepreneur Basi may be carrying on the strong traditions of her home country, but she was also trained

Simone Rochaq

at the London College of Fashion. The prints are recognisably Nigerian, bold, colourful and powerful, but the structures were modern, with more contemporary references like fringing and the a-symmetrical shoulder strap. Basi is an unusual designer in some ways; she sees fashion as fun, wants it to be affordable and encourages her models to smile, but her talent shines through all her designs.

Simone Rocha

The daughter of Hong Kong-born designer John Rocha, Simone’s collection had a punk edge - with knee-length sheer stockings - to her otherwise feminine and slightly ethereal range. Inspired by her Irish upbringing, her clothes deviate from her father’s preference for floatiness and are both structured and edgy, although the Rocha penchant for embroidery is evident in her designs. The exquisite pearl embroidery on the black dresses mirrors jewellery, a rich contrast against the velvety darkness of the material. Her use of texture made Rocha’s designs stand out from the other designers; her clothes more tactile than the others, and her collection more diverse.

The Conclusion

After the fashion shoot, when my heels began to ache, and I was overwhelmed by aesthetics, enjoying dinner at the seat of the Burj Khalifa, listening to Franca Sozzani auction off fashion experiences to the well-heeled, I looked at the fake diamonds piled onto the tables and realised that the fashion industry in Dubai had started with a bang. High fashion belongs to the few (outside of glossy magazines), but it trickles down to the aspirational. Dubai’s fashion identity is set to change, and by extension, the world is about to be changed by Dubai’s fashion.

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fas h i o n


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Power couple Qatar's fashion power houses, QELA and Wadha, dazzle with bold minimalism and sleek structures, marrying modernity with culture. Creative Director: Laura Hamilton Assistant Creative Director: Steven Paugh Photographed by Herbert Villadelrey Photography Assistant: June Delgado Styled by Farah Kreideh Hair Stylist: David Martinez, Blue Brush Make-up: Maeva Janin Model: Angelique De Lange Special Thanks to Living In Interiors and Ralph Lauren, The Pearl Qatar

Black dress by Wadha Grey shoes by QELA Ring and crystal bracelet by Lanvin Black and gold bracelet by CH Carolina Herrera

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White dress by Wadha Shoes by QELA Red belt by Lanvin


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Black dress by Wadha, black heels by QELA, gold bracelets by CeĚ line and CH Carolina Herrera


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White dress by Wadha “Love” necklace by Lanvin Gold cuff and straw hat by Céline Ring by CH Carolina Herrera

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Sleeveless black dress by Wadha Necklace by CH Carolina Herrera Red leather bag and black leather sandals by QELA


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e xh ibiti o n special

Dubai: Motor City We put UAE Motoring maven, Damien Reid, in the driver’s seat for a whistlestop tour of the Region’s biggest automotive event: The Dubai International Motor Show. Pictures: James Davison, Awesome Group

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he thing I love about the Dubai International Motor Show is that you can never rule anything out. Everything is possible and even when someone pulls the covers off a supercar that looks like the original Batmobile with what appears to be two jets protruding out the back and claims it will do 560kmh from its home-made, 5,000bhp V16, naturally you laugh. But under that nervous chuckle you also ask if they really could do it?

Unlike Frankfurt, Geneva or Los Angeles, the Dubai show is still small, yet flush with enough cash to allow potential car builders to dream

Of course the Devel Sixteen’s claims to reach almost half the speed of sound on public roads will prove to be total hogwash, but in the field of dreams that is the Dubai autoshow, this company is allowed its 15 minutes of fame and you never know, it just may happen; after someone develops solid billet steel wheels for the road, that is. Unlike Frankfurt, Geneva or Los Angeles, the Dubai show is still small, yet flush with enough cash to allow potential car builders to dream, but for 2013 it faced a bit of a crossroads. Seasoned manufacturers from Europe, Asia and the United States gave the show more importance in their scheduling this year, which was highlighted by the fact that there were 76 regional launches, 15 concept cars unveiled and 17 world first, global reveals on the agenda. Over 150 companies displayed their wares, so it’s hard to pick one car as the highlight. It could have been the 5,000bhp monstrosity or the world’s most expensive RollsRoyce, but in my eyes at least, it was the BMW i8. Here’s a sports coupé which embodies everything that this region loves about cars, with its exotic carbon composite materials, high performance figures, great looks and exclusivity. Due to be launched in the second quarter of next year, prices are yet to be announced, but in Europe it’s available for €126,000 with only one upgrade being €14,000 for the full-specced version that includes 20-inch wheels, a heads-up display, satellite navigation and full leather trim.

The Jaguar C-X17q

It’s the supercar of tomorrow, here today and one that’s capable of reaching 100kmh in just 4.4 seconds, complemented by drop-dead good looks and delivers 362bhp. The best part, however, is that if you want to save fuel, you can still motor along at up to 120kmh without using a drop of petrol. Its power comes from a 1.5-litre turbocharged, threecylinder engine driving the rear wheels while an electric motor up front takes care of the front wheels. The electric motor gets its charge from either the petrol engine on the move or if you prefer, you can plug it in at home to ensure you’ve got a full tank of gas every morning. Its styling harks back to the classic BMW M1 supercar of the 1970’s so the i8 somehow has managed to tap into the company’s performance heritage, while also delivering an exotic, luxury GT coupé good enough to park alongside any of its rivals from Germany or Italy. Meanwhile, underneath, it represents the future of how we’ll all be driving cars within the next few years.


Rolls-Royce's Celestial Phantomq

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At the other end of the scale, but still with the same parent company, Rolls-Royce showed the Celestial Phantom that was only on display for the opening day before being whisked off to its new owner in Singapore.

“In the Middle East, every car is bespoke. Worldwide, every Phantom is bespoke, Ghost is close to 70 percent and we’ve found that it actually helps resale value even though it has been made for a particular person, so it’s also a good investment and good profit for us,” he told Sur la Terre.

Valued at more than US$1 million, it was commissioned by the factory to commemorate the handover of the first Phantom, which was delivered to its owner at midnight on January 1, 2003, the precise second that BMW took the corporate keys to the iconic brand from short-term owner Volkswagen.

Having the ear of the CEO to ourselves so soon after a UK motoring magazine had published a Rolls-Royce SUV story a few days earlier, the question had to be asked.

Inside, the starlight headliner has been mapped out with the constellations that were visible from the Goodwood factory in the UK on that evening, while diamonds have been inlaid by hand to continue the starlight theme down into the door cappings, centre console lid and its rear privacy divider.

SUVs and Crossovers occupy a sector of the market which manufacturers are keen to capitalise on, with Bentley, Lamborghini, Maserati and now Rolls-Royce throwing their collective hat in to the ring. Also, on its stand for just the first day of the show was Jaguar’s interpretation of a Crossover SUV. The Dubai show was only the second appearance of the Jaguar C-X17 concept after its global reveal at the recent Frankfurt show.

It was one of four bespoke models on the stand and RollsRoyce Motor Cars' CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, was onhand for the media day.

“We are looking into an SUV and I’ve asked the design team to come up with some ideas, but there is no decision yet. We may still decide to not do it; there’s no urgent need to do it but if the market allows us, then yes, why not,” Mr Müller-Ötvös said.

While the Frankfurt car was a vibrant electric blue, this second version was a more subtle silver, while a third is being prepped to begin its road tour across China.

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Jaguar’s advanced design director, Mr Julian Thomson, was on hand to discuss what is still technically a concept, but about 95 percent production-ready. “This type of vehicle is very important for us going forward, especially in markets like this. I guess we’ve been one of the last to get into the SUV market, but we waited until we could do something that’s very credible, so the C-X17 is a big deal for us,” he said. “In the 1950s and ‘60s, when our heritage was established and our company philosophy emerged, the car market was very different to today, as car companies only made certain types of cars. The world has changed, and you can’t let your heritage be an anchor that holds you back,” Mr Thomson added. After the opening day, the C-X17 was flown back to the UK for a freshen up before being air-freighted across to the United States for the L.A. show on November 20th. Its bodywork is unmistakably Jaguar, though coupled with huge wheels and sitting on the most important part, an all-new aluminium platform which will also provide the basis for a new, smaller Jag passenger car that’s due to make an appearance next year. “The C-X17 shows how far the Jaguar brand has come. If we had’ve done this 10 years ago, people would have been in shock, but now we are a genuinely innovative company and the reaction from the public so far has been excellent,” he said. Although some wags would suggest that Jaguar is India’s greatest automotive success story, being owned by Tata, it is enjoying a welcome revival and is attributed with helping to restore the ailing British automotive industry, as is the newest UK auto manufacturer, McLaren Automotive.

on the stand this year and next year there’ll be another and then another and another, so it keeps progressing,” McLaren’s chief test driver, Chris Goodwin said. Pride of place was the much-anticipated, 903bhp P1 supercar, which does 0 to 100kmh in 2.8 seconds, hits 200kmh in 6.8 seconds and maxes out at 350kmh with deliveries now in full swing to customers around the globe. “P1 was a mega project to do because we are super competitive and not only did we have to hit our performance targets, lap times, straight line speeds and all our goals, but we wanted to be on the market before our competitors, so we started delivering our first cars to customers last month,” Goodwin said. Alongside the P1 was the 12C Coupé, 12C Spyder and the new 12C Sprint, which is a customer car purpose built for track days. “We always wanted to have a track version of the 12C that was able to show off what McLaren is all about. The Sprint has a standard engine and gearbox, plus it retains the brake steer, suspension and chassis control systems which are all things we had to remove for our GT3 race car. “It has ben stripped of a lot of weight, benefits from some new aero and engine remapping and I can tell you, it’s bloody quick.” Six Sprints are currently based in Dubai with Dragon Racing, who are leasing them out on a daily rate for track days to eager, wannabe race drivers. McLaren is also taking orders for them in Europe, the US and Australia. The 2013 Dubai Motor Show seemed to literally have something for everyone.

At the last Dubai Motor Show, McLaren had a small stand debuting a single 12C coupé, yet in just two years, the 2013 stand displayed an additional three models, such has been the growth of the Ferrari rival. “Last time we were here, we were an infant and now we’re all grown up. It’s great that we’ve got four products

The ridiculous Devel Sixteenq

McLaren Automotive's P1 Supercarq


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e x h ibiti o n spec ial


. sur la terre . exhibition special . QIBS2013 .

sur la mer The good ship Sur la Terre hoists anchor and sets sail for the recently completed Lusail Marina to support the inaugural Qatar International Boat Show


n the shadow of towering cranes and skeletal skyscrapers that will soon make up the heart of Lusail City, one of Qatar’s future premier lifestyle destinations, some of the world’s top boat builders and product suppliers to the marine industry gathered to inaugurate the country’s first event of its kind.

The leisure marine market in the GCC is on the rise and with Kuwait recently hosting its first yacht show earlier this year. Along with the continued and evolving success of the Dubai International Boat Show, it appears that Qatar is keen to compete for some of this lucrative market. As Craig Barnett, editor of Yachts Middle East wrote for Sur la Terre earlier this year, the purchasing power of residents in the GCC can be drawn along quite definite demographic lines. Middle and upper management positions are primarily filled by Western expats, who purchase smaller bow-rider or centre console boats and sometimes yachts up to 50 feet in length. Business owners from neighbouring Arab countries and the sub-continent, meanwhile, generally invest in yachts between 50ft and 80ft. GCC nationals with accumulated wealth from family “Group” companies purchase superyachts in excess of 100ft, while members of the ruling families dominate the world’s mega yacht sector. While the individual emirates of the wider region each have their own shipyard ownership aspirations, with some investing in the acquisition of existing European shipyards and the likes of Omani businessman Mohammed Al Barwani purchasing Dutch megayacht builder Oceanco, Qatar, too, has been busy in the segment. Entering the final phase of construction, on the outskirts of Doha, the Superyacht Halls at Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ) will open before the end of this year. The state-of-the-art facilities will have the capacity to build in steel and aluminium and refit the world’s largest yachts. The show’s venue is also testament to Qatar’s leisure marine vision; as the country’s coastline and infrastructure grow through projects like

. sur la terre . exhibition special . QIBS2013 .


Lusail Marina, so do the opportunities for boat and yacht owners. It is with this in mind that SLT, lifestyle partner for the event, made a point of meeting with the big players to get their take on the market and the show.

Art Marine

Long before he became the CEO of Art Marine, one of the Middle East’s most progressive rising stars in the leisure yachting industry, Gregor Stinner was simply an avid boating enthusiast, and he has worked hard to apply that appreciation toward the business model he spearheaded at the company. “Our slogan is ‘Passion at Sea,’” he says, “And we all have that passion at Art Marine. All of us have captain licenses, for example; we’re connected to the experience! We aren’t just selling a product, we’re connected to the lifestyle behind that product.” So it’s not just business as usual for Gregor, who himself has deep ties to the region. Raised in Egypt and having spent much of his life in the Middle East, Gregor shares his love of high-end nautical culture with the deep traditions here. “Boating was always part of the culture in the Gulf. After the mineral wealth ‘boom’ that happened some 15 years ago, leisure boating really picked up, but there were no serious dealerships or establishments to cater to its new clientele.” Understanding that deficit, Gregor implemented his passion for the high-end yachting lifestyle and used it to shape Art Marine into what they call a 360º service company, an approach he credits as in-line with the evolutionary nature of the region, especially here in Qatar. “Qatar is important for us because it is an emerging market. People here are starting to get used to the real yachting experience, and part of what we do is to create awareness for our prospective clientele and the market as such. Our motto is not ‘sell anything we have,’ but to advise, to gain the trust and confidence of our clients.


“We deliver excellence, and you can only do that if you have accountable management and a business model that is responsive to the market. We involve the people in that process, which I think is the most fun when building a boat, and they become a part of that evolution until the finished product is delivered.” Piloting that mentality forward, Art Marine attended the inaugural Qatar International Boat Show with two stars of its vast armada of luxurious vessels (the entirety of which can be drooled-over at the sleek, onyx ISEO 27’, which began its life as a VIP tender to accompany a larger yacht, but grew within a staggering popularity all its own, and the Itama 45’, the show model of which was sold even before the show began. This is all part of his and Art Marine’s aim to grow as strong in Doha as they have in Dubai and the rest of the Gulf, and that also means taking advantage of the more intimate atmosphere of shows like QIBS, which Gregor opines allows for a much more personal approach, rather than the unique yet intimidating presence of shows like Monaco or Cannes. He also revealed to Sur la Terre that the company is planning to open up a state-of-the art hub at one of Doha’s many emerging marinas, rededicating itself to the company’s bespoke, customisation-oriented approach in-country, an absolute must in this region as a whole. “It is very different in in the Middle East than Europe because here, it is more personalised. The approach has a greater focus on mutual respect. You grow a

. sur la terre . exhibition special . QIBS 2013 .

relationship; so, for return customers, we know how they use the boat and their family requirements. It’s very individualised, and you need to maintain that connection, which is why our after-sales service is such a huge factor in our success.” It’s no surprise why Art Marine, helmed as it is by Gregor Stinner, is literally making waves across the Gulf with its commitment to taking a robust approach to modern yachting, by incorporating the traditions - both old and new - so prevalent in the Middle East region with a dedicated, personal touch.

Gulf Craft

Showing off some fine examples of Majesty Yachts’ 70’ and 121’ models was local player, Gulf Craft. Welcoming the opportunity to showcase its wares on home turf for a second time this year, the UAE-based company was a highlight of the event. Mahmoud Itani was keen to show his support for the fledgling event. “It’s great to finally have an internationally-recognised show in Qatar, which is a major market for us,” he told SLT. “We do good business here in Qatar generally; after Dubai, it’s a home show for us, as you can see by the fact that there are three or four of our boats in the private marina here already. The market is definitely growing in the region.” The Majesty 70’ offers a dining area and lounge area, along with four staterooms complete with en-suite facilities. It can accommodate two permanent crew members and offers ample space on the flybridge and hydraulic swimming platform for plenty of sea toys and recreational vehicles, such as jet skis and kayaks.

The 121’ offers the latest high-tech toys and entertainment systems throughout the indoor and outdoor lounge and dining areas. A separate deck houses five bedrooms, including an owner’s suite and VIP staterooms, each complete with en-suite, as well as a semi-raised pilot house and accommodation for up to seven permanent crew members. However, like a number of big name exhibitors at the show, he expressed a few concerns about the venue, particularly the logistics of getting boats into the dock. “It could be a better location,” he noted, “we had some problems with the depth of the marina when we were bringing in the 70’; the GPS was showing just 2.9 metres, when the boat has a ‘draft’ of 1.17m. That’s quite scary!”

Princess Yachts

Coming off the back of quite a hectic few months with industry-leading shows at Cannes, Monaco and Fort Lauderdale, to name a few, British-based Princess Yachts was keen to come and see what QIBS had to offer, particularly as the company has seen a significant upturn in its activities in this region alone over the last few months. It all started in June, when Princess Yachts Middle East marked the delivery of its 100th Princess yacht to Lebanon with a lavish reception at the official residence of the British Ambassador in Beirut. The event was a double celebration as this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the distributor’s operations in Lebanon. As a result of that landmark achievement in November, its Lebanese distributor, Chehab Marine, was recognised at the UK Trade and Investment and the British Embassy’s first ever “British Business Awards” in Lebanon. In between all of that, in September, Princess launched its first official and exclusive distributor in Oman, Fairtrade Marine, part of the long-established Fairtrade Group, which has been operating in the country for more than forty years. Princess Yachts Oman is a new sector of business for the Group, which has been established solely for distributing the British manufacturer’s range of yachts and super yachts. Internationally, following the global success of the first Princess 40M, the company’s third hull at that size entered the final completion and commissioning schedule. The

. sur la terre . exhibition special . QIBS2013 .


40M, the largest composite motor yacht ever built in Britain, was launched last year, making an appearance at DIBS and claiming a World Superyacht Award. Princess is also set to add a new 35 metre boat to its growing range of M Class cruising yachts next year, so preparations are underway for that, too. It will be a semi-custom motor yacht capable of long-range cruising for owners, guests and up to six crew.

Marina that the depth issue will be rectified by the time next year’s event hoves into view, Gornati said that the company would hope to return for the sophomore event.

Chatting to Simon Colebrook, International Sales Manager for the company, he echoed that it had been a great year. “Cannes, Monaco and Fort Lauderdale delivered a lot of business for us, and there was a more upbeat vibe this year. With the slight upswing in the Euro economy, and in the US, things were more optimistic than recent years.”

Paurush Hyderabadwalla, after-sales executive for Sunseeker Middle East, explained that the brand was looking past the inaugural event and has a long-term view of the leisure marine market here in the GCC. “We have high hopes for the show,” he said, “it’s definitely a start.” He added that, in his opinion, “the market here is quite nascent and geared to the 40 to 80 foot boats.” He cites the lack of a real coastline to match that of the Mediterranean or the US, resulting in a greater demand for “day boats,” rather than long-range cruisers.

He added that the company was also optimistic about the Qatar International Boat Show. “We are hoping to do some decent business here, too. We have quite a few pre-arranged appointments, but we are hopeful for that additional interest from those that are just visiting the show over the course of the week. “We’re dipping a toe in the water here, it’s a great setting and every show has to start somewhere.”

San Lorenzo

An honourable mention for one of the biggest names at the show, which was unfortunately unable to bring its boats to the event due to the aforementioned problems with the depth of the marina. However, Mario Gornati, marketing manager for the boat builder who we met during our visit to the Monaco Yacht Show in 2012, remained positive about the show. He noted that the company has been using the time at QIBS to meet with potential partners to manage the shipyard’s business across the GCC. With promises from Lusail


He also claims that Qatar’s stifling bureaucracy is a major limiting factor to the local market. “The market here will not really expand until there is more freedom from the current red tape.” he notes. “It makes it very difficult to own a boat here and that puts people off. “However, over the next 10 years I think we’ll see that relax a lot, especially with the development of more marinas, the competition will see the cost of ownership drop and help the market grow.”

The Man At The Helm Brian Salter speaks with the man steering the Qatar International Boat Show to success.


he driving force behind the first edition of the Qatar International Boat Show, 36-year-old Faysal Mikati was born in Dubai and grew up in Abu Dhabi where, as he recalls, the ways of business were inculcated into him from an early age. “My father used to tell me, people buy people. Respect and personal ethos will take you everywhere. No matter what, you always keep your integrity intact. And this attribute was the catalyst for the Qatar International Boat Show – international exhibitors attending with very short notice! They trusted us – my personal promise, the Qatar brand and what the country is offering for the yachting industry.” Under Mikati’s leadership, Snow Conceptual Communications started operations in 2008, shortly after which its event management division set up a “first” for Qatar when he decided that it was high time for an international boat show to be held in Qatar. Why was he so passionate about setting one up? The answer, it seems, is obvious. “Because I have a passion for yachts! I have owned a boat since 2007, while my family owns a lot of yachts and super yachts, such as CRN’s award-winning Chopi Chopi. I was born into the world of boats. I love the sea and I have a passion for sailing around the Mediterranean islands, where we also charter boats. So it is all based on passion. “We got a lot of slaps along the way and doors were shut in our face and many simply didn’t believe in us. People were sceptical and wanted to test us. If this year’s show is a success then next year everyone will be on board. But it’s tough when the country as a whole will not support entrepreneurship. Even if a local Qatari is an entrepreneur, he will not get support until he has proven himself. For a foreigner, this is even more the reality.


“Qatar is a brand by itself. The brand that they have built is real, but it only really reflects government bodies. And it’s a very small market. The population is just over two million, of whom only about 3-400,000 are actually Qataris. Out of them, maybe 70,000 are earning; and out of them how many will actually buy a yacht? So it’s a very small market, but Qataris have the purchasing power and they have a great reputation for owning yachts and enjoying the sea.” Mikati and his team have been working on setting up the Qatar International Boat Show for two years, but he only got permission to stage it three months before the opening day. “It really needs a full year’s preparation. I could have gone bigger and done a much better marketing job with more time. But the truth is that many will not come on board for the first year and I know that whatever I did, I would not be able to get the sceptics to sign up. So the first year of the show is really a loss leader, encouraging real participation from the second year onwards. It is very much a long-term thing.”

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to the SLT Marketplace.

a go-to guide

Alberto Guardiani shoes, available at The Gate Mall.

CH Carolina Herrera Helmet from the “Biking” collection, available at CH Carolina Herrera boutiques region-wide.


of the hot products available in the regional market now.

Alfred Dunhill Single Zip Briefcase with extendable shoulder strap, available at Dunhill boutiques region-wide.

Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Titanium Red, available in Qatar through Ali Bin Ali Watches & Jewellery.

. sur la terre . marketplace .

Longines Dolce Vita , available through Rivoli Stores and Longines boutiques region-wide.

Odalische Luminose table lamp, available in Qatar at Venini Space, The Gate Mall; in the UAE through Pure Decor Enterprises and in Kuwait through Al Ostoura International.

Prada Luna Rossa Extreme, available at all Salam, 4U and other retail boutiques region-wide.

Valentina Oud Assoluto, available at all Salam, 4U and other retail boutiques region-wide.

Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available at Bose Stores region-wide.

. sur la terre . marketplace .


the Baker furniture Stately Homes collection, available at Living In Interiors showrooms in Qatar and Egypt.

Girard-Perregaux Chrono Hawk Hollywoodland, available in Doha through Alfardan Jewellery branches.

Anya Hindmarch Valorie Glitter Clutch in medium red, available at Fifty One East, Lagoona Mall branch.

Rolex Deepsea Challenge available in Qatar exclusively through Fifty One East and the UAE through Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.


. sur la terre . marketplace .

L’Occitane FLEUR D’OR & ACACIA , available at L’Occitane boutiques region-wide.

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DETAILS Director of Publications Mohamed Jaidah General Manager Joe Marritt - Editorial Regional Managing Editor James McCarthy Senior Editor Steven Paugh Fashion & Style Sophie Jones-Cooper Deputy Editor Laura Hamilton Contributors Andrew Watson Damien Reid Gaëlle Hennet - Art & Design Art Direction Helen Louise Carter Production Coordinator Ron Baron Photography Herbert Villadelrey June Delgado James Davison James Lipman - Sales & Marketing International Sales Director Julia Toon Area Manager Chirine Halabi Sales Coordinator Masha Ivanova - Printing & Distribution Distribution Manager Azqa Haroon Logistics Manager Joseph Isaac - Printer Ali Bin Ali Printing Press, Doha, Qatar

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© 2013 Sur la Terre (SLT) is published bi-monthly by Firefly Communications. All material strictly copyright and all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of Firefly Communications, is prohibited. All content is believed to be factual at the time of going to print, and contributors’ views are their own derived opinions and not necessarily that of Firefly Communications or SLT. No responsibility or liability is accepted by the publishers or editorial staff for the loss of occasioned to any individual or company, legally, financially or physically, as a result of any statement, fact, figure or expression of opinion or belief appearing in SLT. The publisher does not officially endorse any advertising or advertorial content for third party products. Photography and image credits, where not otherwise stated, are those of Getty/Gallo Images and/or Shutterstock or iStock Photo and/ or Firefly communications, each of which retains their individual copyrights.

SUR LA TERRE Doha No29  


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