Giraffe stands by tree in Africa against an orange sunset
Abercrombie & Kent founder Geoffrey Kent standing next to a red helicopter

Geoffrey Kent standing next to a helicopter in Tasmania, Australia. Image courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

Founder and CEO of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, and regular LUX columnist, Geoffrey Kent began his career by taking tourists on safaris in Kenya. Now his business operates tours across the globe by land, sea and air – on board the A&K private jet, naturally. As Geoffrey Kent launches his Safari Collection of travel apparel and luggage, Digital Editor Millie Walton asks the luxury travel pioneer about his greatest memories, worst fears and how it all began

LUX: If you could relive one moment in time, what would it be?
Geoffrey Kent: The moment I turned down the opportunity to have dinner with Nelson Mandela. What could have been more important than that? I can’t recall now, but I do keenly feel the regret I have that I never met him. He was so inspiring.

Alternatively, I would relive the dinner I had in New York with former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan, who passed away recently. I was so impressed with him and grateful to him for saving Kenya, my home, when he brokered a power sharing deal between the president, Mwai Kibaki, and the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, in the aftermath of the 2007-8 post-election crisis, bringing peace and prosperity back to Kenya.

On the action front, to win that US Open again would be amazing. It would be a ‘Field of Dreams’.

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LUX: What frustrates you the most about the current travelling industry?
Geoffrey Kent: The lack of regulation in the so-called ‘collaborative economy’ for businesses such as Uber and Airbnb. I’ve used Ubers and stayed in Airbnbs. I think both are amazing, innovative products. The problem is with licensing. I think if I were a taxi driver, I would be very unhappy about Uber. Likewise, Airbnbs are putting licensed hotel operators out of business. There can’t be rules for one and not the other.

Princess Diana, Prince Charles and a young Geoffrey Kent speaking post polo match

Princess Diana congratulates Prince Charles and Geoffrey Kent at the Guard’s Polo Club, 1987. Image courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

LUX: Where do you long to go back to?
Geoffrey Kent: I had the privilege to visit Gabon recently at the invitation of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. In an executive Puma helicopter, I cruised the coast and flew over forests, the sand cliffs, and Kongou and Djidji Falls. I fell in love with Loango National Park where I spotted elephant, hippo, and buffalo. One group of elephant were swimming off the beach with their trunks raised out of the water like snorkels. Tourism is still a fledgling industry in Gabon, but I predict it will take off in a big way and soon, and I hope A&K can be part of it. I’ll definitely be back.

Read more: Geoffrey Kent on finding new places in a well-travelled world

LUX: When were you last afraid?
Geoffrey Kent: I went into Iraq with some SAS guys in 2010. There were some hairy moments during that trip, however the thing that concerns me most on an ongoing basis is climate change. The polar icecaps are melting, there are prolonged heat waves and the sea levels are rising. My concern is there’s no way we can just throw up our hands and say “stop!”. We’re going down this chute far too fast and I believe it’s far worse than we think. Even if we stop burning fossil fuels in the next decade, we might tragically lose some low-lying countries. As both a father and a global citizen, I’m very afraid of climate change. It’s not just about carbon off-setting (though everyone should do that), it’s about sustainability going forwards. For my part, I’m very proud of what Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy is doing around the world in its 41 projects in 20 countries.

LUX: What’s the most recent lesson you’ve learnt?
Geoffrey Kent: That quality is synonymous with luxury has always been my mantra. When I launched the Geoffrey Kent Safari collection of timeless, high-performance, luxury travel apparel and luggage for today’s adventurer, I learned quickly that for me, quality means ‘made in Italy’. I found a manufacturer in Monza, a town just outside of Milan. I like to have a very close relationship with my suppliers and get involved every step of the way. There is such passion and detail put into each and every cut of leather and every stitch made by hand. That same flair and attention to the minutiae has always gone into every bespoke holiday and escorted tour that A&K has created – those are the secret ingredients that clients perhaps can’t put their finger on but always know if they are missing.

Giraffe stands by tree in Africa against an orange sunset

Geoffrey Kent and his parents set up Abercrombie & Kent with the intention of hosting safaris around Kenya

LUX: What did you want to be growing up?
Geoffrey Kent: I was obsessed with polo from the time I learnt the sport. When I was 14, Major Digby Tatham-Warter – a family friend – was training in me in three-day eventing at his farm in Eburru. One day he said: “Geoff, you’re excellent in the saddle and you’ve got quick reflexes. Why not try your hand at polo? It’s a much more exciting sport”. And how right he was. Polo excited me wildly and I spent hundreds of afternoons riding ponies with a polo stick in my hand. I became a world-class player and eventually I captained the Windsor Park polo team – which included HRH The Prince of Wales. Together with my US Abercrombie & Kent team, I also won a Cartier Open, World Open Championship, US Gold Cup, and two US Open victories. These victories were dreams come true and more than I could have imagined as a 14 year old learning at Eburru.

Other than that, I would have liked to have been a helicopter pilot or fly fighter jets. I love airplanes and helicopters, plus I’m a bit of an action junkie.

Read more: Northacre CEO Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro on creating dream homes

LUX: So how and when did Abercrombie & Kent begin?
Geoffrey Kent: In February 1960, the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan gave his famous ‘Winds of Change’ speech in Cape Town. This address stated that colonial rule could not go on and in 1962, the British government gave Kenya self-governance and determined that the farms in the highlands would be returned to the Kikuyu people. The Kenyan government forced my parents off the farm they’d spent two and a half decades creating in the Aberdares, South Kinangop in Kenya.

Fortunately, my parents – Colonel John and Valerie Kent – had sensed this coming and my father had landed a job as a part-time guide with a local travel company. He had been the first person to map the route from Kenya to Nigeria whilst in the army, so Dad knew the roads and sights of Africa better than any tour guide in the region and thus was able to earn a good wage – especially from American travellers, who tipped generously when they liked a guide.

In 1962, my parents and I made a decision to go in as partners, founding our own travel company (picking the ‘Abercrombie’ out of a phonebook), with the intention of hosting safaris around Kenya, and possibly moving into other areas of Africa.

LUX: And now you’re organising luxury tours across the globe as well as leading your own personal expeditions! What happens next?
Geoffrey Kent: A&K will continue to offer tailor-made luxury holidays and unparalleled escorted-tour experiences. Someone once calculated that I travel 300,000 miles per year. I’d say that was the average. My lifetime total is 17 million miles. When I last counted I had been to 148 countries and there are so many more I still need to see – I have no plans to slow down. I’m currently planning two or three of my Inspiring Expedition by Geoffrey Kent, which are innovative and amazing in every way.

To find out more about Abercrombie & Kent visit:

Reading time: 6 min
Munch inspired prints by pop art artist Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol's colourful print interpretation of the iconic painting by Edward Munch, The Scream

Andy Warhol, The Scream (After Munch), 1984 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Photo Sparebankstiftelsen DNB

Andy Warhol first became properly interested in Edvard Munch on a visit to Oslo in 1971, where he spent time at the National Gallery and the Munch Museum. He was said to be a great admirer of Munch’s prints, far more so, in fact, than of his paintings. The Norwegian master was not only a prolific printmaker, but also technologically innovative; he enjoyed experimenting with textures and colours, which naturally resonated with Warhol as a leading figure in the Pop Art movement.

Munch inspired prints by pop art artist Andy Warhol

Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton Arm (After Munch), Andy Warhol, 1984. © Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

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Between 1938 and 1984, Warhol produced a series of 15 prints, known as After Munch,  featuring some of Munch’s most renowned motifs. Like most of Warhol’s best-known works, these prints transform the meaning of the original image to lend a new and intriguing perspective.

Andy Warhol print of Eva Mudocci inspired by painter Edward Munch

Eva Mudocci (After Munch), Andy Warhol, 1984. © Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Read more: Why The Thief is Oslo’s coolest hotel

The most striking example of this – and the stand out piece on display in the Munch Museum – is Warhol’s interpretation of the The Scream. One of the most iconic artworks of the 20th century, if not of all time, Warhol’s reproduction of the The Scream using different colour variations and stencils gives the work a completely different mood, thus encouraging the viewer to more deeply consider the artistic process.

‘Andy Warhol – After Munch’ runs until the 26th August at the Munch Museum, Oslo. For opening times visit:

Millie Walton

Reading time: 1 min
Smart contemporary lobby area with cream sofas and modern light fitting
Grand entrance way with footman, pillars and arch with stairs leading into luxury devleopment

The Buckingham Gate entrance at Northacre’s No.1 Palace Street development

Luxury real estate developer Northacre was founded in 1977 by German architect Klas Nilsson. Owner of The Lancasters, a luxe development of 77 apartments in Bayswater, the company is currently developing No. 1 Palace Street, a Grade II listed building featuring 72 apartments overlooking Buckingham Palace’s Gardens and The Broadway in Westminster, which will be composed of six residential towers framed around a 20,000sq ft public thoroughfare and pedestrianised piazza. LUX Associate Editor Kitty Harris speaks to CEO Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro about Brexit, millennials and the importance of understanding your customer
Headshot of business man wearing a blue suit jacket and white shirt

Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro

LUX: Northacre provides management, interior architecture and design services. How do all of these components work together?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: How would it function without it is the question. I am always surprised to see other developers that don’t have an interior designer or architectural arm in-house because ultimately, what are we selling? Hopefully, beautiful apartments that people want to live in, and hence you have to create the emotional attachment between what you do and what they’re buying because without it you don’t create a premium. For us, the central part of our DNA is the design. Northacre is the only development firm in central London that was started by an architect. Klas Nilsson started Northacre roughly 30 years ago – he was a pioneer in space and an architect hence design has been at the core of what we do and not an add on. It’s a 360 degree holistic approach to developing.

LUX: Do you think there are irresponsible and responsible developers?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: You know I don’t know if it is about being responsible or irresponsible, I think there is a naivety and short-sightedness in cutting corners. The most important thing that Northacre has is its track record, doing the same thing thirty years in a row and doing it successfully. And so it would be very short-sighted to CGI and erase buildings in front of ours in order to make ours a better view because it takes a client to visit once and then you’ve lost them forever.

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LUX: Do you have repeat customers?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Absolutely, we have quite a few. We’ve probably sold close to 700 homes in central London in the high-end space. At the moment there are 330 transactions about the five million pound mark of which we have sold a decent percentage. One client of ours, who until very recently still lived in our show apartment at Kings Chelsea, subsequently bought another house in Kings Chelsea and he had bought 13 apartments at The Lancasters. He’s bought four more of ours at Park Street, and hopefully he will buy some at The Broadway too. He is a repeat customer, I think like many others, for several reasons. One is that he loves the homes, which I think is the crucial part of it. And secondly, the properties have done incredibly well investment wise.

If you look, for example, at The Lancasters, when we were doing bank evaluations they were saying no way would you be able to sell £1700 a square ft. because the area is at best £1000. A 70% premium is a damn good premium. But when we got it financed, the average sale price at the end was £2850. So yes, the market might have moved, but not from £1000 to about £2850 in the space of about 4 years. Even if it had doubled, it would be at £2000. So clients realised that we have quite a resilient product and in fact, the gentlemen that bought all of the developments I mentioned, decided he wanted to sell one at the beginning of this year. He was an early buyer, he bought in 2015, which we could argue was probably the peak of the market, he made 109% (£700,000) net return on his 10% deposit and it wasn’t on a small apartment in a market that’s gone down.

Smart contemporary lobby area with cream sofas and modern light fitting

The lobby in The Broadway – a current development by Northacre

LUX: Which is your keenest market area and are you selling more now to millennial generations?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Our markets really depend on the development because certain things that appeal to one kind of nationality do not appeal to another. Take two examples, No. 1 Palace Street and The Broadway. We retained the 1870s façade at No. 1 Palace Street, which overlooks the gardens at Buckingham Palace, but stripped the building completely so it is entirely new inside. The Asian market doesn’t see this as new and they don’t like older buildings so I would say that the largest group of buyers in that development are from the Middle East. Monarchy is very big there, they love it, and so you can see the different points of affinity between them.

When we bought The Broadway, we thought that it would be perfect for the Chinese market and for the Asian market in general because it was one of the very few mixed new build schemes where you are able to create a destination in central London of its size. It’s 1.7 acres and 268 units with all the amenities, and it has four world heritage sites around it. The mix of these two and its fantastic views resonates very well with them.

Read more: President of Monaco Boat Service Lia Riva on the romance of the riviera 

Where do I start with millennials…they think very differently. We’ve found that millennials are actually very asset light. They love experiences, and they don’t want to be necessarily burdened by having a big asset whilst they could be travelling and creating experiences. And so we haven’t targeted them especially. We will be putting out a property that will resonate with millennials very soon, but it is a different beast completely and so we are looking to target that in a completely different way.

LUX: How do Northacre approach developing?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Ultimately, we want to create an emotional attachment by making our buyers understand that we understand them. And I know it sounds like the ABCs of any company, i.e. understanding your customer, but look at some of the developments around you, it’s clear that the developer doesn’t understand their end customer. The reason is that there are a lot of improvised high-end residential developers because asset prices went up and high-end residential was the best use of these assets. They became high-end residential developers overnight and they don’t realise that it’s not an easy task. Hence they don’t deliver what buyers necessarily want. By understanding your clients, and knowing that real luxury to them is spending time with loved ones, we deliver something that creates an emotional attachment, enabling them at the same time, through in-house services, to focus on what they should be focusing on.

contemporary style bedroom with bathtub in the background

A master bedroom in The Broadway development

LUX: What makes The Broadway different to the other developments?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro:  The Broadway is a very challenging project; very few developers have ever delivered 268 high-end units in prime central London. But also it’s different in that it’s the first real mix-used scheme of high-end residential development in central London and many other cities. We believe this is the direction developing is going take, because you have got to create a sense of place that goes beyond the location itself. It’s important to control the types of shops and coffee shops on the site for the kind of buyer we attract. It’s also very important for the surrounding community because you are curating in an unexpected way by not putting generic shops in. Pret and Boots are fantastic, but we’ve seen enough of them. We are in a position to control that, which other developers can’t if it is just residential.

LUX: And how do you decide what locations to build on?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: The formula of Northacre hasn’t changed in the last 30 years. If you took a map of London and plotted all the Northacre developments by the year they were created, which is very important because areas change, you will see that the formula has always been the same. We develop in areas that are very central or very close to, but not in ‘the’ centre. We create a product that is better than anything else in that particular area, and then we play the price conversion. For example, No. 1 Palace Street: one would say ‘how absolutely fantastic to overlook Buckingham Place, but it would be nicer on the Mayfair side of Buckingham Palace’. Yes it would be, but on that side it was £6000/ 7000 per square ft. and this area is at £2000 and so we could push prices to £3000-4000. You need to understand the macro and micro of areas and of buildings themselves because it needs to become an aspirational building. The Lancaster was 140 metres of 1870s odd, white stucco façade overlooking Hyde Park. How many assets are there like that in London? Hardly any. How many times can you buy a whole block of 5 different architectural styles all in one next to Buckingham Palace like at No. 1 Palace Street? You can’t. So the fact that these buildings enable you to create an aspirational product, create additional value as well.

Read more: Model of the month Emma Laird on juggling acting and modelling

LUX: Do you think that phrase ‘re-defining luxury’ is dead?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: I never really understood the phrase to tell you the truth. For the simple reason that it might not be luxury to you, and it might not be luxury to me. Luxury is personal. For Millennials, like my son who is 16, ownership of an object is absolutely irrelevant. I said to him a few years ago: ‘When you turn 18 I will give you my watch’. ‘Why do I need a watch?’ was his response. Whereas if I gave him £10,000 for an incredible trip somewhere he would love it. So I’ve never been a fan of that phrase. I think you have to strike an emotional cord with people because that, to me, is how you convey luxury. Look at the things that the wealthy collect like art – how personal is art! You might love a painting I might not like it. Vintage wines too. All things are that are personal and rare –  you cannot have the same that I can have.

Luxury indoor swimming pool with plush sun loungers

The Swimming Pool at No.1 Palace Street – a development by Northacre

LUX: How do you think Brexit will affect the market, if it hasn’t done so already?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: It will affect it but there are many things that are affecting the market in general. We have to take a step back for a second and consider that from 1994 to 2014 we had twenty years of a booming market. We shouldn’t be too surprised that there is a pause in this market.

And what does Brexit do? First of all we don’t know what Brexit looks like because no one does. We only know it creates three things. Two that are negative and one that is positive. The first one is uncertainty. No one likes uncertainty, and in times of uncertainty asset prices don’t go up and it doesn’t give buyers a sense of urgency. Second, it is creating an opportunity for foreigners because the pound is weaker, which is the positive. However, this also has a negative ramification to it as well. This being that the weak pound gives an excuse to a lot of the foreign work force working in construction to go back home because their countries are booming more than they were before. They are now sending much less money home than they were before because £1 before was €1.40 now it is €1.14 – a very big difference.

If you look at it more granularly though, what I think is really happening is the market has become binary and it goes back to the fact that you have a lot of improvised high-end residential developers that are creating a product that does not actually meet what people really want. And so when someone says ‘the high-end market is down 15% from the peak’, that is a very misleading number because yes, if you take the who aggregate of it, but if you then look at properties that are actually really nicely developed property by a reputable developer that don’t have any compromises to it, there aren’t many and so the developer still has pricing power. It is not because the customer has become poorer all of a sudden, he is just picky, and rightly so because he is spending a lot of money. So the other developers that are developing a product that is not really ticking all of the boxes can’t attract the high-end market because those buyers want to spend their money on the best. They are not interested in something, even if you give them a 20% discount, they will say: ‘But I still don’t like it, it is not that I like it more’ so then they have to start selling to a different kind of market and that’s why the prices drop because the other buyer says, ‘OMG, it is nice and so expensive.’

LUX: What are your future predictions?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Did you bring the crystal ball?! We do have to look ahead, I think that there are clear trends in the market in general that have nothing to do with high-end residential. I think high-end residential is going slightly back to basics in the sense that for a long time you had developers that thought that the more expensive the property, the more you have got to put in it. And everything has to be covered up because that is going to give a sense of luxury and how much they have spent. Electronics, big screens everywhere etc. The fact is that high-end people like to turn the switch on and off and the button for fading the light is the most they want to see, right? So we are stripping back the technology to basics. And the sense of luxury really is the beautiful light switch. To touch it there’s a sense of satisfaction, it is bit like a door handle that it is the right length, the right thickness, the right feel, the right weight. We are really focusing on those subtleties.

And then there is nothing wrong with a white wall, because ultimately, for these customers, it’s about the art that they are going to put there. All their friends have nice apartments, they don’t need to go and show it off. But what differentiates them is that they have art that nobody else can have because it is one piece. And so how do you create gallery spaces? How do you create as much wall space as possible? So these are the trends that I see: the pairing back, the few great materials and simplicity, ultimately.

Read more: Why you should be checking into Monte Carlo Bay, Monaco this month

The other trend is really focusing on the staff of the development, so the concierge, the valet etc. How do you enable them to deliver the service you talk about them delivering? I’ll give you a practical example, when we were doing No.1 Palace Street and I was new at Northacre, I said let’s go and interview all the guys that work at the front desk in our past developments. Let’s learn from them because they are the ones that are in the front line. And it is interesting that they were saying, at the Lancaster they were saying: ‘you know we receive two bags of mail every single day, we receive three racks of dry cleaning every single day. Northacre did not give us enough space to put all of these things, and so we’ve got a few there, a few there, a few there.’ These are things you have to consider.

We are also creating an app, where you will be able to do everything from booking a massage to making sure the car comes up to seeing your service charges to booking a personal trainer, so that everything is done in a very, very simplistic way. That then frees up the time of the guys downstairs and enables them to deliver the best possible service.

LUX: Do you have your favourite residential area in London?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Well, I have been living in Chelsea for 21 years now, so that is my neck of the woods. I love it because it feels like a little village, but at the same time, you are 100 metres away from the hustle and bustle and if you have got to get to other central parts of London it is super, super close and it is very close to my office. But there are a lot of exciting places in London, not only where we develop, but also some parts of the East End are super interesting, and I think that how they are attracting tech start-ups is incredibly interesting. And actually the East End is really starting to cater to the millennial generation. Anywhere you go in London houses are very expensive. And so we have to start finding a new model based on how people will be living that also reflects how the millennials think, and that is what we are working on at the moment.

Facade of grand residential building in classical style with columned entrance

According to Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, No.1 Palace Street has been Northacre’s most challenging development to date

LUX: What has been the most challenging development for Northacre?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: No.1 Palace Street without a doubt! It has five architectural styles in one block with a façade retention of about 70% of the original façade with a great tall building in the middle. We had to demolish everything inside and dig down four floors underneath. We are doing a top-down construction approach, where you pour the ground floor slab, and then you start digging down whilst going up at the same time. The façade is not thick at all so it’s scary because you are creating the structure and then you have to tie it all back together. And obviously these façades are delicate.

LUX: Don’t blow!
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Exactly. When there were high winds last year we were praying a crane didn’t move, because can you imagine? Who is going to go to Westminster and tell them that the façade has come down?

LUX: We hear you are a keen sailor. What’s been your most memorable voyage?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro:  I sailed from the South of France to Hawaii and then from Hawaii to San Francisco. I did about 15,000 miles on a 39 ft. catamaran. The first 2,000 miles I did without a GPS – it was a fantastic trip!

To find out more about Northacre’s past, current and future developments visit:

Reading time: 16 min
Two images of red haired model on yellow and turquoise backgrounds

graphic banner in red, white and blue reading Charlie Newman's model of the month

striking red haired model poses in front of yellow background

22-year-old model and actress, Emma Laird. Instagram: @emmlaird

LUX contributing editor and model at Models 1, Charlie Newman continues her new online exclusive series, interviewing her peers about their creative pursuits, passions and politics

colour headshot of blond girl laughing with hand against face wearing multiple rings

Charlie Newman

THIS MONTH: Emma Laird was scouted when she was 18 by Models 1 at a festival  covered in mud, glitter and last night’s make-up. Since then, the 22-year-old from Chesterfield, England has appeared on the pages of some of the world’s most famous magazines including Elle, Grazia, Glamour and L’Officiel, and has starred in a campaign for United Colours of Benetton. She is also an actress and avid reader, as Charlie discovers

Charlie Newman: Firstly huge congratulations on your burgeoning film career! Can you tell us a bit about it and what you’re working on at the moment?
Emma Laird: Thank you so much! I always loved acting at school, but felt maybe a little naive thinking that’s a valid career path. Modelling set me up because I knew how much effort went into a photoshoot, the lights, the costume department etc…there are similarities there which transfer to acting. When I went to New York initially for modelling back in 2016, I started looking at studying whilst I was there. I went to an open day at New York Film Academy and the casting director there said that he had a spot for me, but I had to start on Monday. I said yes and have never been so thankful for making such an impulsive decision. This year I got two short films, one in particular that I’m very excited about. It will be hitting film festivals globally next summer and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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Charlie Newman: How have you found the progression from modelling to acting?
Emma Laird: It’s hard because modelling is addictive. It’s very easy to get addicted to money, but there comes a point when you go to work wishing you were doing something else and you realise you can’t be doing something with your life just to score a bigger pay cheque. I would always turn down a paid modelling job to work on an indie film. As long as I can pay my mortgage off each month I’m happy doing free shit that I’m excited about, smaller projects, just learning and working with talented people in film is what I get excited about. I’m trying to enjoy the ride and continually learn in the mean time; reading scripts, watching other performances, reading, writing and just educating myself in general. Some of the greatest actors are some of the smartest people. If you land a role set in a different time period you have to know your shit. Politically, who was in power at that time, how were women treated, what were their roles in society at that time, how did people dress, what things had been invented, what were people campaigning for? It’s all relevant. So I’m trying just to continually progress with education and spend more time with my head in books that on social media.

Image of red-haired model standing in jeans and crop top in front of plain background

Emma Laird, shot by Aaron Hurley

Charlie Newman: Being a model and actress must require a multitude of emotion and a lot of energy when you turn up on set. Does it ever all get a bit much?
Emma Laird: Yes it does, it’s hard. I think loving yourself is something every model needs to learn. You are constantly under scrutiny. Getting naked in a room full of people, going in bare-faced when you might have a few spots, people asking your age and what you plan to do with your life… Of course that requires confidence, but more importantly you have to love and appreciate yourself as a person in order for that not to affect you. Modelling more so, I feel the pressure because they’ve booked me on looks alone. At least with acting I’ve gone through that audition process and they’ve booked me because they see something inside me. Acting is more of an escape from my own emotions or I use the stuff I’m dealing with and build it into a character which offers me a release.

Charlie Newman: How do you think the film and fashion industry compare when it comes to female empowerment?
Emma Laird: For me it’s been very circumstantial. Sometimes it’s an all girl team and it’s fab, sometimes it’s been the women who have scorned me for having hips. Sometimes I’ve been vulnerable in a room with only me and a male photographer. In general I think both industries are progressing with more female directors, photographers etc. which have always been male dominated but I do think we’ve got a way to go in taking women seriously and judging someone on their talent not their gender.

Read more: Charlie Newman interviews model, actress, filmmaker and activist,Florence Kosky

Charlie Newman: What would you like to see change within both industries?
Emma Laird: I’d love to see women in male roles and vice versa. I hate to think that a boy would grow up with such a talent for styling but would never pursue it because he thinks its too feminine or is scared people will question his gender. I sometimes think these issues are linked to homophobia. If people were more accepting of the LGBT movement and if it was normalised in more rural areas (because London is very progressive, it’s the small towns that still have a long way to go) I believe there would be fewer problems with gender roles/norms and that people would feel less obliged to take on a career based on their gender. So yes, I’d love for everyone to stop worrying about men wearing pink and on a more serious note, all industries hiring on a strictly talent and skill basis!

Red haired model poses against turquoise background wearing yellow bucket hat, t-shirt and black and white jacket

Emma Laird for Skinny Dip London. Instagram: @emmlaird

Charlie Newman: You have such a strikingly beautiful look. Whilst growing up, did you ever feel like you needed to conform to more stereotypical beauty standards?
Emma Laird: You’re very flattering Charlie thanks! I tried too definitely but there came a point when I realised that heavy make up didn’t suit me and nor did fake tan. I either had to embrace my look or hate it. I learnt to deal with it, and I had a really great group of friends in secondary school so whilst I was never the ‘pretty’ one, I wasn’t bullied for my looks after about the age of 12. It’s funny, I always hated not having boobs growing up, I developed very late and now I actually have B cup and wish they were smaller! I don’t think we’re ever happy with our bodies are we?

Charlie Newman: What do you do for you, to keep you grounded?
Emma Laird: I go back North all the time, around twice a month. I also have a lot of friends with ‘normal’ jobs, who don’t live in London which I think helps. It’s great to be able to live such a normal life and disconnect from fashion and the media whilst having such an extraordinary job. Don’t get me wrong I have amazing friends like you in fashion, and it’s so exciting knowing so many creative and truly talented people. I just personally like the balance of both. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

Read more: Co-founder & CEO of Spring Francesco Costa on creative co-working

Charlie Newman: I know that you’re a committed vegan. What made you make this transition?
Emma Laird: I kind of did it accidentally at first. I don’t think I knew what a vegan was until after I became one. I was restrictive with food groups when I first started modelling so I wouldn’t eat that stuff anyway. I then started to research vigorously about food. I always loved learning and felt like I had to know whether I was doing my body good or bad by eliminating these things from my diet. That was when I started to realise there was all these health complications and risks with consuming dairy and meat that I started to call myself vegan.

Charlie Newman: Do you have any tips for aspiring vegans whilst travelling? I presume it’s quite difficult to maintain whilst on the move.
Emma Laird: I always say just be low maintenance. You can’t expect vegan joints all over the world but you can sure as hell expect supermarkets with fresh produce, places that sell side salads, fries, meals that you can ‘veganise’ and ask for things off of the menu. At the end of the day you’re giving a restaurant your money so you should get what you want. You just have to be a bit more creative when you travel.

Model on catwalk wearing gothic style outfit black silk shirt, skirt and hat

Instagram: @emmlaird

Charlie Newman: Are there any environmental causes you’re particularly passionate about?
Emma Laird: I’m actually spending the entire month of August plastic free, meaning all of my produce from shops I’m buying without plastic. I’m very passionate about our oceans – we should all be passionate about the oceans because we 100% need them to survive. The majority of our oxygen comes from the oceans, more so than trees and plants on land. It’s almost that out-of-sight, out-of-mind view that people have. We’re not really taught about environmental issues in school and how we can live a more conscious lifestyle, supermarkets make it very difficult to live eco-friendly when almost everything is wrapped in plastic. I’m not saying plastic isn’t effective. I know that it allows for produce to stay fresh whilst it’s being transported but I refuse to believe that other, less harmful materials can be used or even reused.

Charlie Newman: Lastly, who’s your role model of the month?
Emma Laird: My role model of the month is Sylvia Plath. I’ve been reading a lot of her work recently. It’s so inspiring and resonates so well with me that I almost create this world in my head as I’m reading her poems. Her and Leonard Cohen. He can make me cry like nobody else, his songs especially. There’s this verse in one of his songs that goes:

I walked into a hospital
Where none was sick and none was well,
When at night the nurses left
I could not walk at all

(Lyrics from Teachers)

I just love it. So I guess poets are my role models of the month!

Find Emma Laird on Instagram: @emmlaird

Reading time: 9 min
Vintage aesthetic of a Riva boat with Lia Riva on board
Vintage aesthetic of a Riva boat with Lia Riva on board

Ms. Lia Riva on a Riva Aquarama

The sleek, Mahogany retro-glamour of Riva boats sings of the Riviera’s Golden Era. The Riva family began making boats in Italy’s Sarnico back in 1842, but it is the founder Pietro Riva’s great grandson, Carlo Riva, who transformed the company. Carlo’s boats were designed for pure pleasure, and owned by the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Prince Rainier III.

Fresh from this year’s Riva Trophy in the South of France, Associate Editor Kitty Harris spoke to Carlo’s daughter, Lia Riva, the president of the Monaco Boat Service (sole importer of Riva boats in Monaco and France) about her most magical memory on a Riva, her dream cruise and the future of the company.

1. If you could re-live one memory on a Riva boat what would it be?

I would love to relive a particular memory with my parents aboard an Aquarama where we passed through the Corinth Canal.  The canal connects the Ioanian and Aegean sea, cutting through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth that separates the Peloponnese from the Greek Mainland.  It is such a narrow passing carved out of sheer rock on each side.  It was truly a special adventure.

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2. Who would you invite on a dream cruise?

A dream cruise would include all my family, children and grandchildren.  That would be quite something!

Vintage image of Carlo Riva pictured with Claudia Schiffer onboard a speed boat

Carlo Riva & Claudia Schiffer on a Riva in Monaco, 1986

3. Where’s your paradise?

Paradise on a Riva would be Greece, Corsica or Sardinia. Such special places.  If we are talking philosophically, I think paradise is a state of mind.  It’s important to be thankful for what is in front of you.  To try and appreciate where you are in the moment.

4. What keeps you awake at night?

I prefer not to think about this!

Read more: Inside the newly refurbished Wentworth Club

5. When you’re not out at sea, how do you like to spend your free time?

Art is my absolute passion.  I spend my free time at galleries, museums and art fairs.  Of course time at home is always a wonderful luxury. Free time at the pool with my friends and family is something I very much relish.

Speed boats travelling across the ocean with white spray spitting out behind them and the coast in the background

Riva boats speeding across the Med at the Riva Trophy 2018. Photo ©R Rastrelli / Blue Passion

6. Where do you see Riva in 50 years’ time?

Still based in Italy, still being enjoyed and discovered by new generations of families, friends and individuals around the world.

Discover Riva’s yachts at

Reading time: 2 min
large contemporary lounge area with sofas and armchairs
Auditorium with a BMW sports car parked at the front in preparation for the BMW PGA golf Championship at the Wentworth Club

The Wentworth Club, located on the exclusive Wentworth Estate in Surrey, is the birthplace of the Ryder Cup and the BMW PGA golf Championship

Invitation only, private members club Wentworth is home to one of the UK’s most exclusive and historic golf courses. After a shiny redevelopment, the luxury club house is trés chic and sophisticated – and it offers much more than just golf, as Associate Editor Kitty Harris discovers

Club houses are undeniably appealing (the lure of leisure activities, beautiful lounges, long lazy luncheons), but often their estates are difficult to get to and by the time you’ve factored in the journey and planning, it doesn’t seem so seductive after all, especially if you’ve only got half a day to spare. Fear not: Wentworth Club, on the south west fringes of London, is a short distance by limo from Heathrow, making it an ideal stopover en-route to the capital.

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Located on the Wentworth Estate, home to many a celeb and royalty (it’s one of the most expensive private estates in a London suburb), the Wentworth clubhouse sits at the end of a picturesque driveway past verdant, manicured lawns and golf courses fringed by leafy trees. We take a golf buggy (what else?) from the main clubhouse up to the Tennis and Health Club where a beautiful 25-metre indoor pool awaits along with a gym, dance studio and jacuzzi. There’s also a charming terrace where members can take their lunch whilst surveying the tennis courts and discussing the power of their serve.

large indoor pool with swimmer mid-front crawl in the middle lane

The indoor pool at Wentworth’s Tennis and Health club

The Wentworth Club was bought by the Reignwood Group back in 2014 and they have since invested over £20 million pounds in its redevelopment. Directed by Dr. Chanchai Ruayrungruang, a Chinese-Thai businessman, the group also own the likes of Ten Trinity Square in London – to which Wentworth Club members are granted immediate access (a serious perk).

The club attracts international, high flying business men and their families who travel to London for long weekends, as well as golfing enthusiasts, tennis patrons and spa denizens with houses in the estate where they visit and live for one week of the year. And of course, there are also the professional golfers. The club was the birthplace of the Ryder Cup and the BMW PGA golf Championship, and played host to the HSBC World Match Play Championship for over forty years.

Luxury lounge area with contemporary furnishings in a neutral colour palette

A cosy corner in the club lounge

One of Reignwood’s most impressive developments (and most popular attractions) at the club is the serene wood-panelled spa, kitted out with Natura Bissé products and a host of Bamford Skincare options for all skin types. We try the signature massage before gliding back to the main clubhouse to explore the nineteenth century castellated features that were maintained during renovation; what is now the club house, was the former home of the Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law. The new interiors were designed by Thorp Design of Sloane Street London, and the look throughout is plush and decadent with Chinese crafted carpets and Italian marble.

Read more: Why we love Club Dauphin on Cap Ferrat right now

We pause for a moment in admiration of the Wentworth Hall of Fame, which displays some of the club’s golfing memorabilia with a glass showcase of historic golf clubs. Members can have their clubs bespoke made and wardrobes kitted out at the Pro Shop, which more closely resembles a Mayfair boutique than a sports shop. We observe a few well-dressed members taking their coffee in the lounge, perhaps before moving onto a working lunch in one of the new private dining rooms where there are reportedly 25 chefs on hand to prepare super-deluxe menus.

large contemporary lounge area with sofas and armchairs

The club lounge where members can socialise

As it’s a beautiful day, we choose to have lunch on the terrace, which faces one of the club’s three eighteen-hole golf courses. Over duck salad garnished with pomegranates, alongside a tipple of champagne we learn that membership at Wentworth Club is a six-figure debenture. There is also a health and tennis club membership, but no access to the golf courses, so if you’re serious about your swing the full membership is a no brainer.

For more information visit:

Reading time: 3 min
Aerial shot of luxury swimming pool surrounded by wooden decking and cabanas
Exterior shot of Monte-Carlo bay hotel with pink mansion house, luxury swimming pool and azure ocean

The grand exterior of Monte-Carlo Bay hotel

Why should I go now?

Speak to Monaco residents and they may tell you that August isn’t the ideal time to visit their fairytale territory: there are too many tourists, apparently. And yet we at LUX have quite a few Monaco-based friends who are staying put in the principality this month, and the overwhelming reason is the Monte Carlo Bay hotel.

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To understand its unique appeal, you need to be a little familiar with the rest of the hotel offerings on the Cote d’Azur. Monte Carlo itself has the Hermitage and the Metropole, beautiful, formal palaces with limited outdoor areas that somehow make them better suited to a romantic autumn break than a summer holiday. Down the coast, there are other palace hotels, some of them with big outdoor pools; but there is nothing like the Monte Carlo Bay.

luxury swimming pool with arched bridge at one end, surrounded by lush greenery

The hotel offers a plethora of activities and boasts a large swimming pool complex (pictured here and below)

Aerial shot of luxury swimming pool surrounded by wooden decking and cabanas

Arrive at the grand main entrance (you will likely be in a short queue of special edition Ferraris, convertible Rolls Royces, and souped-up Lamborghinis) walk through the high-ceilinged foyer and onto the terrace and you could be in a resort hotel in Asia; below you other terraces gleam invitingly, but the main attractions are, cleverly, screened out of sight.

What’s the lowdown?

luxury dining room interiors with green chairs, round tables, arched ceilings and potted plants

L’Orange Verte

The Monte Carlo Bay is a rare hotel that, if anything, is too modest about itself. This is a full-on resort, built on a semicircle of land on Monaco’s seafront, extending out into the Mediterranean, with a complex of swimming pools, some of them sand-bottomed, extending under a maze of bridges and terraces towards the sea. Cafes and bars and speciality ice cream stalls pop up everywhere you turn, and the activity doesn’t stop at the seafront: you can swim in a specially cordoned-off area of the sea, 50 metres long, overseen by lifeguards and protected from jellyfish by a net. We tried parasailing and waterskiing, the former an absolutely spectacular way to experience the mountainous coastline surrounding the principality. And this being Monaco, the expertise of the instruction was unparalleled: our parasailing captain had been the French national champion.

Read more: Geoffrey Kent on finding new places in a well-travelled world

In the unlikely instance of the weather taking a turn for the worse, there is also a huge indoor pool and hydrotherapy area, itself connected to yet another outdoor pool. The design of the hotel means that all these extensive pool and terrace areas are invisible either from the street, or even from the hotel’s own restaurant terrace.

Line of luxury sunbeds along the ocean front

Guests can sunbathe right on the ocean’s edge

The Bay has its own Michelin-starred restaurant, Blue Bay, but we enjoyed our dinners from the expertly curated and created international menu (broken down by region) out on the terrace at L’Orange Verte, with its view over to the sea. The chicken satay and crudités plate was a perfectly summery compliment to a glass of Provencal rosé.

Getting horizontal

The Monte Carlo Bay is a four star hotel, rather than a five star, although you wouldn’t believe it from the facilities or the breakfast buffet, which offers everything from miso soup to a proper salad selection, a plethora of hot food, and two rows of every kind of fresh bread for toasting. The rooms reflect the fact that it’s a comfortable, but not a luxury, offering: stone floors without carpets, functional bathrooms of a decent size with excellent products, all without the extra fripperies of a luxury hotel, which felt unnecessary in the circumstances. Our room had a big balcony with a view over legendary nightclub Jimmy’z, just across the way, and to the sea and the palace of Monaco, on the famous rock across the bay.


It’s worth paying the difference to get a sea view room; the view on the other side (of buildings) is less up-lifting.

Rates: From €182.70 ( approx. $200/ £150)

To book your stay visit:

Darius Sanai
Reading time: 3 min