Marie-Claire Daveu on Kering Sustainability plan
Kering sustainability goals

Courtesy of Kering

The luxury giant is taking the lead in sustainability – and now will the world listen?

We are all now accustomed to what could charitably be called eco-fluff, like the cards by your hotel beds saying the 300 room luxury hotel your are staying in can save the environment by not washing your towels. More effective would be turning the TV welcome messages off, investing in a fleet of electric hotel cars, and only allowing sales staff to attend travel industry events by videoconference; but these would all hit the bottom line, while saving money on laundry is good for the P&L.

One group stands out in the luxury world for the thoroughness and authenticity its messages, though: Kering, the French owner of brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta, has gone far beyond window dressing in introducing its strict ‘Environmental P&L’ for its brands. The result has been an acquisition of the high ground in environmental leadership in luxury, at a cost of many millions to the privately-owned company’s bottom line. But, in the refreshingly visionary (in these times) words of company CEO and owner Francois-Henri Pinault: “We have no choice”.

Kering sustainability goals

Kering’s vision for sustainability. Courtesy of Kering.

Kering launches sustainability program

Courtesy of Kering

One curious aspect of Kering’s eco-leadership is that it being done by a so-called soft brand, that of the mothership, and not in the names of the consumer-facing fashion and luxury brands it owns. As a result, few members of the general buying public have any idea about the eco-credentials of the Kering group products they are purchasing, in contrast to much hollow self-publicity around the issues elsewhere. It’s as if they are doing it for themselves.

Kering moved more towards centre-stage this week with the announcement of a broad and dramatic “2025 Program”. This specifies, among other things, reducing its brands’ “EP&L” (broadly, carbon emissions, water use, water and air pollution etc) by 40% over the next eight years; ensuring every one of its myriad suppliers of leather, textiles and other raw materials complies 100% with its strict standards; achieving gender parity at all levels; and building its own laboratories to create sustainable alternatives to unsustainable fabrics and textiles.

It’s big, it’s broad, it’s ambitious, it’s not window dressing, and, as Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs Marie-Claire Daveu, it involves “transformational changes”. Other luxury groups must follow suit.

Read our exclusive interview featuring Marie-Claire Daveu in the summer issue of LUX, out in July.

Reading time: 2 min
Reignwood group development, 10 Trinity square
Reignwood group development, 10 Trinity square

The colonnaded entrance to Ten Trinity Square

By Darius Sanai, Editor in Chief

Your Rolls-Royce breezes past the Tower of London, in the shadow of the Shard, the Cheesegrater and the Walkie-Talkie, London’s newest icon buildings, and drops you at a set of stone steps leading to a grand Edwardian entranceway, past four 10 metre tall Greek-style columns. Up a couple of floors, past a restaurant run by three-Michelin-star chef Anne-Sophie Pic and the reception area of the Four Seasons Hotel in the building, you are ushered through another set of thick wooden doors. Then, down a grand corridor with exquisite marquetry, and, voila, you have arrived in the Chateau Latour Discovery Room (the world’s only such space), just in time for a contemplative glass with two of the most powerful people in finance and the arts.

That is the vision of Songhua Ni, President of Reignwood Investments UK, and his boss Dr. Chanchai Ruayrungruang, Chairman of parent company Reignwood Group, one of China’s leading international investment groups. Reignwood is the owner of Ten Trinity Square, the landmark, former HQ of the Port of London Authority, in the City of London. In stages this year, after more than five years of planning and rebuilding, Reignwood will open the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, the Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant – La Dame de Pic, 41 private residences, and Ten Trinity Square Private Club, the ultra-exclusive heart of it all, which has been developed by Reignwood, Four Seasons and Chateau Latour.

As if opening the first luxury hotel in the City of London weren’t enough, Reignwood, which owns luxury real estate in Hawaii, Wentworth, and a stake in Voss water, among many other assets, has a bigger, bolder, and longer-term strategic aim. LUX Editor-in-Chief sat down with Songhua Ni in the Latour Room, to find out more.

LUX: This is going to be a magnificent club when it opens. What gave Reignwood the idea and why do it?
Songhua Ni: Dr Chanchai was just amazed by the prestige and the heavyweight and the culture behind Ten Trinity Square. And considering the history, the culture, the location, our first thought was to make this club a kind of world forum. A forum like the World Economic Forum in Davos – that’s the only thing we can do, to do justice to this building. Especially because this building has played a very important role in the history of Great Britain. And also a very important role in the glory times of Great Britain. We thought it would be a great idea, to promote culture and economic changes amongst different cultures. We think this is the right place to create a forum to promote multi-cultural exchange and understanding.

Read next: Anita Zabludowicz on the true value of art

London is playing a more and more important role in the global marketplace with the rise of Asian powers. And the emphasis is moving slowly from New York to London. London is the best location to connect Asia and the US. And London is a very inclusive city. So we thought it would be good to create a club here. But the club itself needs to show the right level of quality and respect of history. And be inclusive for all different people and cultures. This place also needs to show the vision of Reignwood, to be a responsible investor. There is a lot of short-term investment. What Reignwood is trying to do is create a long term commitment. And to try to promote responsible capitalism. We thought it was very important when Chinese people and Chinese companies come here, they should be doing the same thing. In China, there is a feeling that after the fast growth of the last 30 years, we should encourage Chinese companies to be more long-term thinking. And to be able to have the right mindset to create a real brand.

Reignwood group Luxury development, 10 trinity square

Inside the member’s club at Ten Trinity Square

LUX: And how important is the Reignwood brand in what you’re doing? How hard is it in terms of facing people who will be members – will they be aware that this is a Reignwood development?
SN: Not necessarily. Reignwood is more of a stand-behind. We own different brands. We let the brands run in the front. So every brand has its own DNA, its own management, its own culture. This is actually something we learnt from Mr Pinault [owner of Kering, which in turn owns Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves St Laurent and numerous other brands; and Christies, and Chateau Latour, inter alia]. He has so many brands running in the front and I think Reignwood in the future will be adopting the same strategy. We will encourage the improvement of the brand and give new life to them. For example, Voss water and Vita Coco are great brands but the long term vision for both of them is to be able to support health and wellness more broadly as well as social responsibility – which we intend to support them with.

LUX: From what you are saying this is a very long-term and quite philosophical exercise, almost creating something that didn’t exist before in terms of bringing cultures together at the very top level.
SN: I think there is a strong desire from people to see this happen. I think there is a strong consensus among top business leaders in the next decade. The important thing is to bridge East and West. To bridge the gap between Asia, China with the US and Europe. So that people from different continents can understand each other. So that bridge will create more economic growth potential. That’s why our family members are all agreeing to this. For instance Stephen [Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone] is very supportive. He said it’s a great idea to deliver something like this. So many people want this platform to be able to know and understand more.

European countries are looking for growth in Asia but I think most of them don’t understand Asian or Chinese culture. And Chinese companies are coming to London and looking for quality in brands but they really don’t understand here yet either. So when you combine this, that is the way to move the economy forward. Martin Gilbert [CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management], he also agrees with us as does Gerry [Grimstone, CEO] from Standard Life. These are some of our founding members, as is the Chinese Ambassador to the UK.

LUX: So far everything you have said has been about the very high ideals of what this is going to achieve. You haven’t mentioned commercial success. Is that not the number one priority?
SN: In commercial matters, value is created in different ways. Look at WEF in Davos, when they first started that nobody thought it was going to be a successful commercial effort. But now it is extremely successful.

Read next: Amsterdam’s best kept culinary secrets

LUX: Is it a challenge that global business has today, that people do not understand each others’ cultures?
SN: I think it is a big problem. And in the current world it is more important than ever because of social media. Social media has made the world so information efficient, in one minute everyone can know everything about things. And that can easily create misunderstandings. People see the information, and make their judgements very fast; they don’t have time to digest.

We need this type of club, this type of forum, to invite high level thinkers from China. And from here, high level thinkers from the City of London and the British Government, for example.

Ten trinity square latour room

The Chateau Latour Discovery Room

LUX: Reignwood is a very interesting example of a Chinese company that has very interesting holdings around the world. The big question in industry, the luxury industry, is when will there be a Chinese luxury group and a Chinese luxury brand (two different things of course)?
SN: Actually, before the Opium war in 1840 there were huge Chinese brands. We had all of the family businesses, great brands, great quality. For example, China silk, China teaware. A lot of Chinese things were so good and the quality at that time was a lot better than here. But after that there were a lot of wars. The Opium War, The First World War, The Second World War and the Sino War [the civil war and Communist revolution]. So all of these wars destroyed Chinese business. And now in new China we have only been about since 1949, its only about 70 years old. Seventy years is too short a period to have a brand. In the last 30 years China grew, its economic growth is so high, high speed, low quality. The next run of China economic growth will be driven by consumption, rather than investment. So for consumption, people who really own brands will be leading and have a competitive edge in the next decade. Chinese people are turning more and more attention to brands. For brands you either have to create it by yourself, or you need to buy. That is one of the philosophies that drives Reignwood. That is why we acquired Voss water, why we bought Vita Coco, why we bought Wentworth. Not many Chinese companies have this.

Read next: Fawaz Gruosi on luxury’s need for experimentation

LUX: Anything else that Reignwood is planning?
SN: Reignwood has a quite clear strategy; Reignwood is about global expansion and it is now quite confident. We are going to become a real global company rather than just a Chinese company. We are going to have our Voss water product which we are selling in 60 different countries. And for Vita Coco, 50 countries. Through this promotion of cultural exchanges, we are going to raise Reignwood into a global power rather than a Chinese company. I don’t think there is a real global company in China yet and our focus is two lines of business. One is our fast moving consumer products [FMCG] business and the other is leisure, sports and wellness. So these two lines will be acquiring good companies, good brands and make them combine and play together with Chinese resources and on the Chinese market.

Ten Trinity Square Private Club opens in the second quarter of 2017. For further information visit:


Reading time: 8 min

The annual Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free literary festival, attracting crowds of book-loving enthusiasts from across the globe. Set in the grounds of Hotel Diggi Palace, the festival is a jungle labyrinth of performance spaces welcoming poets, writers, journalists, politicians, historians and academics to the stage for readings, lectures and panel discussions. Unlike the sober and hushed atmosphere of many other literary festivals, JLF is loud, colourful and outspoken; here the crowds join the conversation laughing, jeering and fighting for the microphone to voice their questions. One fierce debate on whether we are living in a post-truth world very nearly resulted in a brawl between two Indian politicians.

Read next: Exhibition of the month, Give Me Yesterday at Fondazione Prada

This year’s line-up, for the tenth anniversary, welcomed Richard Flanagan, Sebastian Smee, Mridula Koshy, Alan Hollinghurst, Paul Beatty, and Timothy Garton Ash, amongst many other notable names, speaking on topics ranging from Brexit and Edward Snowden to the Magna Carta and Lucien Freud. Photographer, James Houston captured the scene exclusively for LUX.

Reading time: 1 min
Salt Magazine for swarovski

Aside from my role at LUX, I work as Editor in Chief of Conde Nast Contract Publishing, and this week we had a little launch party at Vogue House for Salt, the new fashion magazine we have launched with Swarovski. I co-hosted the party with Nadja Swarovski, and it was an enjoyable occasion in the autumn gloom of London, as Conde Nast editors and publishers mixed it with Swarovski’s glamorous executives, alongside by some interesting figures from the style and design worlds, and models and stylists from our shoots.

Magazine launches are all too rare these days, so it was good to be able to toast the rise of our reborn fashion and design title with a few cocktails and some creative buzz. LUX will have its own party next year!

Maddie Demaine

Saskia Sissons and Rupert Adams

Salt cover model Sydney Lima, Joanna Dalla-Ragione and Darius Sanai

Kate Reardon

Celine Cousteau and Carolin Wegerer

Darius Sanai and Nadja Swarovski

Stephen Quinn and Bill Prince

Darius Sanai, Harriet Quick, Albert Read and Nicholas Coleridge

Reading time: 4 min
Ferrari 575 Maranello

By Darius Sanai, Editor-in-Chief

A few months ago I was invited to take part in a panel discussion on investing in modern classic cars, by the Financial Times, at its annual reader event in London. It was a very FT-type of festival: intellectuals, entrepreneurs, CEOs and private equity principals lining up quietly to listen to the likes of Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor of the Economist, superchef Heston Blumenthal, and economic and political commentators of the likes of Martin Wolf and Gideon Rachman. I had a little chat with Jancis Robinson, the most thoughtful of all wine commentators, ahead of her talk on discovery wines, and then took to the stage myself to converse with the FT’s own classic cars guru Simon de Burton.

modern classic ferrari

As a quintessential Modern Classic, prices of the Ferrari 550 Maranello are set to rise ever higher – but only for the best examples

Modern Classics are a new category of collectible, loosely defined as cars made from 1985-2005. As well as being newer, more refined and more comfortable than traditional classics like a Jaguar E-Type or Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, and appealing to a younger generation, they tend to have been made in greater numbers. I made a good return on selling my own Ferrari Testarossa last year, but there were more than 7000 of those cars made, compared to dozens or hundreds of the multimillion dollar classics like the original Ferrari GTO or 275 GTB.

My message to FT readers was that they should choose carefully, because abundance will act as a natural brake on values, and modern cars can suffer hard-to-solve electrical problems that older, simpler cars do not.

For you, my LUX readers, I have a rhetorical question. Would you buy a classic car because of its design and status, or because of its performance and reputation? Old classic cars, like the GTO, 275 GTB, E-Type, 300 SL, Aston Martin DB5, and others of the 1950s and 60s, are real beauties. They were created by (mostly but not wholly) Italian designers, to look beautiful, and then married to an engine.

They have an objective beauty which transcends the motoring world. I work in an environment which is light on car knowledge, but thick with design, fashion, and art expertise. These cars elicit as much admiration from a magazine creative as they do from a mechanic.

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Modern cars are ruled by different principles: those of aerodynamics, engineering, performance, economy, safety and packaging. None of Sergio Pininfarina’s original designs would pass muster. Some of the most valuable modern classic cars don’t look interesting at all: try selling an Audi Sport Quattro short wheelbase or Porsche 993 Turbo S to a creative director and you’d get a blank look.

So I am going to go a step further than I did to my FT audience and say that if you wish to invest in a modern classic car, looks can be one of many important elements to take into consideration. The other important elements are driving quality, scarcity, brand, and the end-of-the-line factor. Ferrari will never make any more of its metal-gated manual transmission cars: they are all automated, “paddleshifts” now, much more efficient but with less soul. A Ferrari 575 or 599 with the manual transmission is the last such car (V12 Ferrari) ever to be made: it combines soul, driving quality, scarcity, brand and the end of the line kudos.

Ferrari 575 Maranello

A rare Ferrari 575 Maranello with classic manual transmission, right hand drive and the Fiorano Handling Package; it is likely that there were fewer than 20 examples made, earmarking it for classic status

a rare classic ferrariBut the canny collector goes further than that: he or she also identifies sub-brands within the category. There were more than 2000 examples of Ferrari 575 (2001-2005) made, a relatively large number. But only 246 of these were fitted with the gated manual transmission. The model’s handling was also vastly improved by its factory-option Fiorano Handling Pack, fitted to a minority of the cars. So with just 246 manual 575s made, and a minority of them with the “FHP”, the pool of ultra-desirable examples of this car is actually more limited than that of the legendary 1966 275 GTB/4, of which 350 were made, and probably more limited than that of the 1960 250GT SWB, of which 167 were made.

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That’s the kind of calculation collectors of modern classics are making, formed part of my reasoning (apart from sheer desire) when buying my modern classic Ferraris, which also include a F512M, F430 Spider and 550 Maranello, all from 1995-2005. And while I would never claim my own Ferrari 575 (2004, manual, with “FHP”) is anywhere near as beautiful as one of the 1960s cars, it has a 1990s elegance and is rather nicer to drive – and far faster and more comfortable.

Cars are correctly seen as an alternative investment – I prefer the term “Investment of passion” – because they don’t provide a dividend, unlike shares, or an income, unlike a rental property. Unlike wine, however, and unlike art stored in a warehouse, they do, however, provide a return throughout your ownership. This happens whenever I pull the cover off one of my Ferraris, gingerly put the key in the ignition, turn it, let it warm for a couple of minutes, slink the metal gearlever into the slot in the metal gate, balance the aluminium gas pedal against the drilled metal clutch, and ease forward with the music of 12 Ferrari cylinders in my ears, for a day’s blast through the English countryside. It has to be a passion – and the return is both joy and, if you’re lucky, one day it will be monetary too. Because classic cars taken as a whole have been the best-performing investment of all of the past decade, according to – who else – the Financial Times.

All of LUX’s Ferraris are taken care of by Joe Macari, the official service centre in London, with the exception of the 550 Maranello, which is looked after by The Ferrari Centre.

Reading time: 5 min
Melanie Bonajo photography
Antonio Rovaldi photography

Antonio Rovaldi, Orizzonte in Italia (dalla serie), 2011-2015

In a society bombarded with images and digital platforms our lives are constantly being recorded through new perspectives. The inaugural exhibition in Fondazione Prada’s newest space, the Osservatorio at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Give Me Yesterday invites 14 Italian and international artists (Melanie Bonajo, Kenta Cobayashi, Tomé Duarte, Irene Fenara, Lebohang Kganye, Vendula Knopová, Leigh Ledare, Wen Ling, Ryan McGinley, Izumi Miyazaki, Joanna Piotrowska, Greg Reynolds, Antonio Rovaldi, Maurice van Es) to meditate on the power of the gaze through intimate images from their personal lives, dating from the 2000s to the present time. Exploring identity, grief, relationships, objects and personal spaces, the exhibition is a fascinating and voyeuristic study of the modern day psyche.

‘Give Me Yesterday’ runs until 12th March at Fondazione Prada, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II



Reading time: 1 min
gorden wagener with mercedes benz concept car
Due to the technological revolution, design is more integral to our daily lives than it ever has been; but creativity will always be a fundamentally human trait, says our columnist, Gorden Wagener.
Daimler head of design

Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler

The world is changing rapidly and the pace of change keeps accelerating. Because of that, there is a growing awareness about the details of every aspect of your life. The fact that our knowledge is shared globally, instantly, has created a greater awareness of design and the things that surround us. What everybody is aiming for is to create their own perfect world, and design is a key part of achieving that.

You can see this happening in the design of cars. Just 15 years ago, you would have a car, add some instruments and surface details and that was it – there was no design at all. Now, the complexity of this process has increased by a factor of about 100. We design each and every little detail. The seats and their surfaces are very design-driven, and so is all the digital stuff. The satellite navigation screens have become such a big topic. Previously, the headlamps were just there to illuminate and it didn’t matter how they looked; now each one of them is a super-complex little piece of art and technology. And, of course, good technology always has to work hand-in-hand with good design – think of your smartphone.

Read next: Luxury tourism returns to Zimbabwe 

GW from Mercedes-Benz

Gorden Wagener in the studio

All of this has made the world change utterly, and it’s cool to be part of that movement. When I studied design, it was very much a niche. But now you see how powerful it is to the point where it’s actually transforming the world and it is reshaping multibillion-dollar industries like ours in a dramatic way. It also means there are other areas where designers can focus.

Mercedes-Benz is not just a car company but an international luxury designer label. It’s important to create a holistic brand experience that extends from the product to the retail stores (which we design) and to selected luxury goods – to create an entire world, in fact. On the one hand, that positions us well as a luxury company, and on the other, it gives us feedback from other creative design disciplines, which in turn influences our own work and opens new doors to let us create things differently.

gorden wagener with mercedes benz concept car

Gorden Wagener with a Mercedes-Benz concept design

In the past three years we have moved from being a traditional luxury company to being a modern luxury company – from the parents’ generation to the next generation, and it seems to have happened in an instant. Our aim is to attract our consumers into a total world so that they never leave Mercedes. We design their apartments, their homes, their cars, their commercial airplane, their boat and private jet, the Mercedes Me Store where they can go for dinner, and so on. It’s about creating a world that completely surrounds you.

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Our philosophy of Sensual Purity is a new movement; no-one has combined emotion and intelligence, the two basic tenets of humanity, within a single design movement before. Our designs are becoming more simplistic while keeping their sex appeal, which is again a natural thing. In the end, simplicity is always longer lasting than drama.

Emotional intelligence is deeply enmeshed in modern luxury and it is something a computer cannot have. A computer may have more intelligence than a human one day, but emotional intelligence is different. And to this day, we still make our key sketches on a piece of paper and only then do we digitize them and render them into 3D. Humans still lead design, despite the technological revolution.

Gorden Wagener is Chief Design Officer at Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz. ‘Sensual Purity: Gorden Wagener on Design’, published by Condé Nast, is available at good bookstores worldwide.

Reading time: 3 min
Matetsi River Lodge
Not far from the Victoria Falls, down dusty, winding tracks of thick red Saharan sand, hides one of the world’s newest luxury safari camps: &beyond’s Matetsi River Lodge. Digital Editor Millie Walton visits the banks of the Zambezi River, watched by a troops of baboons, bush buck and the invisible eyes of a leopard, and contemplates the return of luxury tourism to Zimbabwe.
Matetsi River Lodge

Candlelit dinner on the edge of the Zambezi 

Beyond the falls, Zimbabwe doesn’t attract many tourists. For one, it’s expensive. In 2008, inflation reached 79.6 billion per cent. In 2009, their currency was redundant and replaced with the US dollar. Crisp Z$200,000,000 bills can now be bought on the side of the road for a couple of dollars, euros or whatever else you have in your pocket. More seriously – and mistakenly – it’s considered a bit of a nowhere. Why go to Zimbabwe, when you can just as easily cross the border into Botswana?

Ask any Zimbabwean and they’ll tell you. It’s in the burnt red earth, the ancient trunks of the baobabs, the hidden caves of the kopjies, the warm golden hue of dusk and the open smiles of it’s people. It’s a country that’s loved deeply and widely, even by those who have been forced to leave it.

Zimbabwean luxury safari lodge

Suites are unfenced with private plunge pools and open terraces

Slowly, though, tourism is catching on. At the end of last summer, the luxury travel company &Beyond, renowned for it’s luxury camps across South Africa, returned to Zimbabwe, opening a lodge on the banks of the Zambezi in Matetsi private game reserve. That’s where I’m sitting now, as I write this, on the terrace of our private suite. It’s early afternoon, when the bush is lazy and hot. A large male baboon stares as he stalks past and dips his head to drink from our plunge pool. A bush buck daintly follows behind the troop picking leaves from the trees. A leopard is a resident in the area, but at this time of the day big cats are sleeping and the smaller animals can relax.

African luxury safari

A herd of elephants in Matetsi Private Game Reserve

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Our suite, like the rest of the camp, is un-fenced so nighttime is a tenser, more exciting time for us too. After a candlelit dinner on the river bank, we’re led by a member of staff back to our room just in case we happen to cross paths with a hungry predator. We know the leopard’s around. During an evening drive, our guide Milton received the call and instantly, the headlights went out, the torch beam sweeping the bush from side to side, catching the gleam of a startled kudu’s eyes. The leopard had moved on or – quite possibly – was watching us from the dark branches of a tree. It’s what I love most about safari: the unpredictability. No matter how good your guide is or how much you’re paying per night, there are never any guarantees. Some animals are so well adapted to the wild that they can seemingly melt into their surroundings and disappear.

Matetsi River Lodge, Zimbabwe

Inside one of the 18 riverside suites. Image by James Houston.

A good safari isn’t, for me, what you see, but the experience itself, which is where &Beyond excels. You can tell that instantly from the design of the camp. The buildings are open and inviting, made from materials that interact beautifully with the natural surroundings. Light is given privilege above everything else. It shines dappled through the roof onto concrete floors and licks down the curved walls of the outdoor shower. Smoothed and polished tree trunks act as tables and abstract paintings by an artist in residence hang on the walls. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity and calming in it’s unobtrusiveness.

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It’s not just the way the camp looks though that sets you at ease. It’s the staff too. They’re warm, fun people, who are genuinely enthusiastic about what they do. There are no set meal times and no menus. When you’re ready to eat, your table is waiting and the choice is limited to a couple of dishes, which can be adapted to your tastes. Honestly, it’s a relief not to be impressed with endless decisions and it’s fitting for the setting. Somehow, it would seem almost grotesque to be fed a seven course tasting menu of rich meats when all around you animals are struggling to survive in the wild.

Sunset game drive at Matetsi

A sunset game drive. Image by James Houston.

The game drives or activities (depending on what you choose) are twice daily. At 5am coffee and biscuits are pushed through the butler’s hatch with a wake up call so that the drive can commence just as the sun is rising and the air’s still cool. Whilst the afternoon makes the most of the soft sun before it dyes the sky orange, pink and gold, and dips behind the horizon.

Read next: How to chill in style on the slopes 

On our final morning, we kayak down the Zambezi. “Don’t trail your fingers in the water,” our guide warns. “Crocodiles sometimes follow the kayaks because of local fisherman who trail bait.” I watch warily for a yellow eye to appear, but we only see hippos at a distance and otherwise, the water stays still, reflecting the sky like a giant mirror. It’s the best way to see the kingfishers who hover and dive for insects and fish, or the thin legged storks picking their way through the reeds. On the opposite bank is Zambia, where a group of women are collecting water from the river, balancing the buckets on the tops of their heads. Depending on the size of their family, they may need to return three or four times in a single day.

As our truck winds its way back to the camp for the final time there’s rustling and whispering in the front. We seem to slow, then round the corner, a table appears laid for breakfast with champagne, fresh fruit and a braai under the spread arms of a kigelia tree.

Rates start from US$495 per person per night, based on two guests sharing and including all meals and twice daily game drives. For more information about wider andBeyond itineraries and combining Zimbabwe with South Africa, Botswana and island stays in Mozambique and Tanzania please contact your preferred Africa travel specialist or visit

Reading time: 5 min
In the heart of Knightsbridge overlooking one of London’s most beautiful garden squares is a new residential conversion that is long on that rare blend of uber-luxe and subtlety
Hans Place Knightsbridge residency

A rooftop terrace at the exclusive Kingwood development overlooking Hans Place in Knightsbridge

London’s garden squares have been a lure for investors and residents for centuries. A home on a garden square has all the advantages of city centre living, but with a view of trees, grass and carefully tended flowerbeds, and the opportunity to chill out in your private gardens – often surprisingly extensive – on the days when summer comes to town.

Many garden squares are, through a function of history, also in the most exclusive areas of town: Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Belgravia, Notting Hill. With typical London eccentricity, the most exclusive garden square of all is not technically called a square, but a ‘place’. Hans Place is just around the corner from Harrods – a hundred metres or so away, near enough for a quick dash for that Chanel gown for tonight. More oval than square, its northern side is being transformed into Kingwood, six of the most luxurious lateral apartments in Europe.

Knightsbridge apartment

The informal kitchen and dining area in one of the luxury residences

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The development was made possible due to the simultaneous conversion of four neighbouring historic townhouses. “What is incredible about Kingwood is that you have four houses together, built as vertical townhouses, which we are now converting into lateral apartments, on one of the best, if not the best, garden squares in London,” says Alex Michelin, co-founder of Finchatton, the developer. “The person we purchased the properties from spent half his life putting them together.”

Knightsbridge residency

The elegant dining room of one of the new Kingwood apartments

In a city not known for its opportunities for lateral apartment conversions, to get 600 sq m on a single floor was “entrancing”, says Michelin.

Some recent developments in Knightsbridge have owed more to Hong Kong or Dubai style, all glass and gold, than London. Not this one. “It’s an incredibly discreet development. We have taken the buildings as they were, with their original facades, and just restored them,” says Michelin.

Read next: Behind the scenes with one of the masterminds behind the world’s most exclusive members’ club

The interiors, designed by Finchatton’s in-house team, are subtle chic, with taupes and muted tones, evoking a contemporary luxury that would be as familiar to a fashion designer as a private equity principal. “It’s very sophisticated and elegant; there’s no steel, glass or chrome. Our style is understated elegance. People these days don’t want to be flaunting their wealth.”

Knightsbridge luxury property

A Kingwood master bedroom with a four-poster bed and floor-to-ceiling windows

But while the historic significance of the architecture has been respected, the build is completely up to date. The homes are governed by the latest Crestron home automation system, so you can switch on your air conditioning and the Café del Mar soundtrack, and have your robot butler fix you a dry Martini as you approach in your self-driving Tesla. (OK, we made up the part about the Martini but we’re sure it’s going to happen soon.)

The catch? Three of the six apartments have been sold already. We suspect LUX readers will purchase the rest now.

Reading time: 2 min
Amsterdam bar, Sanders

From a five course interactive dining experience to hip burger joints and Dutch pancakes, Francesca Peak discovers Amsterdam’s best gastronomic secrets.


De Culinaire Werkplaats

De Culinaire Werkplaats amsterdam restaurant

reative cooking at De Culinaire Werkplaats

What looks like a large unassuming kitchen on the corner of a quiet street in west Amsterdam is actually one of the best tasting experiences you’ll ever have. Five-course tasting menus are devised around a theme, such as Japanese imperfection and rituals, and presented beautifully, each with a brief explanation that in no way impedes your enjoyment of the complex flavours. One course is even interactive, so whatever ends up on our plate is of your own making. All they ask in return is that you take your own dishes to the sink – a small ask for what is an incredibly reasonably priced culinary experience.


Amsterdam restaurant Moeders
Photographs of mothers and grandmothers adorn the walls of Amsterdam restaurant, Moeders

The clue’s in the name – the Dutch for ‘mothers’ – but in case you don’t speak Dutch, the floor-to-ceiling photographs of mothers and grandmothers might give it away. Home-style comfort food is on offer at this cute spot, think mashed potatoes with meatballs, sausages and rich gravy. Order the starter selection for a cake-stand full of hearty Dutch savouries, and end on a high with apple cake or delightfully light French toast. All while basking in the glow of a hundred smiling mothers, even though none of them are your own.


French style restaurant cocotte in Amsterdam

Cocotte’s famous crepes

A mere 10-minute walk from the red light district, but a world away, this house of galettes brings a slice of Normandy to town. The rustic classic French cafe is filled with the smell of coffee and freshly baked goodies, from berry crumble to buttery brioche, not to mention the two hefty crepe machines behind the bar. Go for a classic ‘Complet’ galette, with ham, egg and cheese, and indulge with a large slice of justs-sweet-enough tarte tatin.

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Sanders Bar & Kitchen

Amsterdam bar, Sanders
Sanders Bar & Kitchen is a trendy spot for evening drinks

Whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail or hearty meal, this well-located spot on the edge of the shopping district manages to be casual, cool and cosy at the same time. The rustic interior and wide leather sofas make it perfect for a well-earned drink after a day of museum-hopping – the sharing platter of cheese and steak tartare is a winner.

Thrill Grill

Thrill Grill Amsterdam
Fine dining burgers at Thrill Grill

This isn’t your average burger joint piggybacking on the trend – this one’s backed by Michelin-starred chef Robert Kranenborg, and takes pride in sourcing only the best ingredients for every element of their ‘thriller’ burgers. From the newspaper-printed menus to the exposed brick walls, it may seem like a hipster’s paradise, but the proof’s in the meat, and this meat is worth the (fairly short) wait. Don’t skip the super-crispy truffle parmesan fries, either. When you’re done, nip around the corner to the Albert Cuyp Market and pick up a freshly-made stroopwafel for dessert.


Pancakes restaurants amsterdam
Pancakes to suit all tastes

If Holland battle with France for the title of best crepes, then these tiny restaurants, which lend themselves to substantial queues, are a serious contender in the transnational battle. With their range of savoury and sweet, they’ve got everyone covered, even those who prefer tiny American-style fluffy pancakes simply sprinkled with icing sugar. Be a traditionalist and stick to the light and flavourful Dutch version, then walk out rubbing your tummy in glee.

Reading time: 3 min
Italian mansion Villa Giuseppina

By Darius Sanai, Editor-in-Chief

As a collector of, and investor in, wines, I like to serve interesting and unusual wines to my guests, as well as the classics. This can be a two-edged sword, however. Traditions burn powerfully, rooted as they are in brand and desired perception as much as they are in quality.

If a head of state or CEO wants to impress her guests, she (or her cellarmasters) are likely to choose a famous Bordeaux or Burgundy, as they would have 100 and even 200 years ago. (Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, amassed a fabulous collection of Bordeaux while living in France, including Chateau Latour, Lafite, and Haut-Brion, and had it all shipped to Virginia when he moved back.)

I tend to do the same to guests whose tastes are either traditional, or unknown to me. If I serve an important client I don’t know bottles of Hundred Acre Kayli, Sloan Estate, or Dalla Valle Maya over dinner, he is far less likely to be impressed a priori than if I serve him Lafite or Latour. A client with only a passing interest in wine may feel insulted that I am trying to trim costs, when in fact those three Napa Valley wines cost the same, and in some vintages, more, than the Bordeaux classics – and get the same, or better, scores from influential critics. The same applies to wines like Penfolds’ Grange – Penfolds is a supermarket brand, but Grange is most definitely not a supermarket wine – and Guigal’s Cote Rotie La Turque, La Landonne and La Mouline, known collectively as the “La Las”, commanding vast prices, but likely to be dismissed by non-geeks as “a Guigal” or “a Cote Rotie”.

So for a recent LUX dinner, thrown by LUX Editor-at-Large Gauhar Kapparova at Villa Giuseppina, her fabulous mansion on Lake Como, I decided to mix it. The guests, from Milan’s fashion and jewellery world, would be given a tasting that effectively pitted Napa Valley’s new aristocracy (or new money) against the world.

Italian mansion Villa Giuseppina

Villa Giuseppina on Lake Como, Italy

The average retail bottle price was in the hundreds of dollars (all would have cost in the thousands if purchased in a restaurant), and more than half the wines scored a perfect 100/100 from Robert Parker, the uber-critic. There was even a luxury sub-theme, as we pitted Chateau Latour, a Bordeaux First Growth, against Araujo Eisele, a Napa estate which has also been purchased by Chateau Latour owner and luxury magnate Francois Pinault. (I can already hear the voice of Frederic Engerer, esteemed President of Chateau Latour and all of Pinault’s wine holdings, pointing out that the Latour was a 1996, which predated his refresh of the winemaking there, and the Araujo was a 2009, which predates Pinault’s purchase of the estate: duly noted). But some of the wines were world-famous brands, and others were tiny-production bottles completely unknown to anyone but the deepest connoisseurs.

Among the guests were connoisseurs, collectors and mere drinkers and enjoyers of wine. The latter, for me, provide an excellent litmus test and counterpoint to the professionals, most of whom cannot afford to buy and enjoy these wines nowadays. Indeed, most successful businesspeople in the 40s or 50s with just a passing interest in wine have a far better knowledge of top wines than many Masters of Wine I have come across.

Fine wines

A selection of wines served at the LUX dinner in Italy

We didn’t make tasting notes or score the wines; at the end of the dinner I just asked each guest to reveal their favourite. The wines were not tasted blind, because I was too busy enjoying them and the guests’ company to wrap up the bottles!

The result was that there is no result: tastes in wine are as diverse as the people tasting them. The 1996 Chateau Latour took some plaudits, though I don’t know how much of that was led by brand. It was certainly very correct but lacking the flair I like to think Frederic has added. Penfolds’ Grange 2002 was also very popular, as was the Chambertin Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 2005, and, from the US, the Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and the Dalla Valle Maya 2009. It’s always telling to see which bottles get finished first: I ended up drinking the Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque 1991 almost exclusively, wrapping myself in its velvet sheets.

Fine wines chosen by LUX editor Darius SanaiThere is a conclusion to draw, though, and it is that we should all be less conservative in what we serve. Buy some fabulous, lesser-known wines, take a few minutes to learn their story, and tell it to your guests yourself while your sommelier serves them. If nothing else it can brighten up a lull in conversation, and show an extra element to your character. Accompany these with the classics, by all means – the comparison is fascinating, and it will prove you’re not a skinflint – but do branch out. Stores like Hedonism Wines in London can help you. That where I helped Gauhar and her late husband Nurlan buy a good part of their fabulous cellar.

And if I serve you a wine you have never heard of next time you come to dinner, do take it personally. It means I think you’re smart and adventurous enough to appreciate it.

Editor’s note: All the wines in this tasting were purchased outright

The Villa Giuseppina Winter Tasting: The List:

The World:

Chambertin Grand Cru, Nicolas Potel, 2005

Falletto di Bruno Giacosa, Barbaresco, 2005

Cote Rotie “La Turque”, E. Guigal, 1991

Penfolds Grange, Shiraz, 2002

Chateau Leoville Poyferre 2003

Chateau Latour 1996


Araujo Eisele Vineyard 2009

Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon, Diamond Mountain, 2009

Tor Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009

Hundred Acre Kayli Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Dalla Valle Maya 2009

PS Can you guess the most expensive wine on this exclusive list? It’s one of the ones you’re less likely to have heard of: the La Turque, retailing at more than $12,000 a case.

Reading time: 5 min