The ‘Evering Small Tote’ by BEEN London

This month, we’re celebrating designers who are paving the way for a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry. Here, Genia Mineeva, the founder of innovative London-based handbag brand BEEN London, discusses her mission to rescue waste materials, support artisanal techniques and preserve our planet’s biodiversity
woman sitting on stairs

Genia Mineeva

Previously a political journalist for the BBC newsroom and a campaigner for the likes of the UN and Change.org, Genia Mineeva’s entrance into the world of fashion was somewhat unconventional: via her frustration at throwaway coffee cups.

Initially fired up by the idea of making better use of these recyclable objects, she began researching the potential of waste materials and eventually, enrolled on a course in Sustainable Value Chains at Cambridge University followed by a degree in Accessories Design at London College of Fashion.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Her brand, BEEN London, was launched, amidst the pandemic, on Kickstarter in 2020 and has since been named as ‘one of the most innovative companies in the world’ by British Vogue. Their product range includes handbags, laptop cases, make-up bags and totes, all made from waste materials and handcrafted by local craftspeople in East London. Here, Genia explains why sustainability is so much more than ticking boxes.

LUX: Your bags are made from a variety of recycled waste materials including apple skin leather. How did you go about developing these?
Genia Mineeva: It all started with a mission to rescue as much waste as possible from going to landfill. And the rest is a story of collaborating with likeminded people and material innovators around the world who are equally passionate about changing the way we make things. Some of our key partners are an Italian fabric mill turning discarded clothes into luxury cotton, a Dutch social enterprise collecting used corporate uniforms from the likes of IKEA and making really beautiful felt, and a team that turns used fishing nets which are polluting our oceans into a stunning regenerated nylon. What we do is develop practical and well-designed everyday accessories that help our customers have a real impact on the things they care about.


The ‘Islington Backpack’ in three different colours

LUX: How would you describe BEEN London’s design aesthetic?
Genia Mineeva: British Vogue once described our style as ‘Scandi meets Greek island chic’ which I think is pretty accurate! Clean, colourful but most of all practical. We make bags for real people who need a good quality product.

Read more: All-access rundown of Ozwald Boateng’s return to London Fashion Week

LUX: What guides your decision to use a particular material for a specific design or collection?
Genia Mineeva: We have a very clear set of principles here. Firstly, the material has to actually rescue waste, that’s why we wouldn’t use mushroom leather for example or cactus leather – where a plant is grown specifically to make the material. There are some brilliant brands doing it, but this is not our mission. Secondly, we we only work with materials that have a recognised certification (such as Global Recycled Standard 0r Blue Sign) and thirdly, we consider the impact of the material. We look at CO2 emissions, water consumption and even the end of life of each of our bags, we take everything into consideration!

designer's studio

Genia with one of BEEN London’s artisans in their East London workshop

LUX: Each of BEEN London’s bags is handcrafted by artisans in East London. How did you go about finding your team of makers?
Genia Mineeva:
It’s all a bit of luck, people recommending other people and a definite gut feeling. My dream is for BEEN London to become the central hub for preserving the disappearing skills of leather makers. How cool would that be to merge artisanal training with innovative materials? All under one roof!

LUX: Why was it important for you to support craft methods?
Genia Mineeva: I think we seem to have lost the connection to how things are really made. A lot of the time, the things that we buy are made somewhere far away and we don’t give a second thought to the person who’s behind it and how their lives are affected by the work they do. To me, it’s about both human rights and wellbeing as well as the slow, beautiful process of making products entirely by hand, with a lot of love and skill put into it.

white handbag

The ‘Cecilia Crossbody’ bag

LUX: What inspired your decision to start planting trees in Peru? And how does the project work in practice?
Genia Mineeva: We always wanted to expand our impact from reworking waste to include regeneration. The Amazon, being the largest and the fastest disappearing rainforest on the planet, was an obvious choice. The challenge was to find the right partner. So many tree planting programmes are a bit of a box ticking exercise and plant mono-cultural forests (using the same plants all over) but it was very important to us that we planted them properly in order to preserve biodiversity.

Read more: Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi, founders of Preen, on their intuitive design approach 

LUX: How has your understanding of sustainability changed since you started?
Genia Mineeva: I had a degree in sustainability when I created BEEN London, so the fundamental education was there but as the science and research is forever changing, there is always a lot to learn! It’s about the learning mindset and measuring everything in order to see the brands progress and impact.

fashion shoot

The ‘Monier’ bag in black and white

LUX: What’s the biggest challenge of running a sustainable luxury brand?
Genia Mineeva: Time!

LUX: What are your future ambitions for your company?
Genia Mineeva: We want to become the go-to brand for a trusted, genuine approach. A collaboration from start to finish, we work hand-in-hand to combine traditional craftsmanship with innovation. We believe it’s so important to support local skills and techniques that have stood the test of time. For us, it’s a real dream to really preserve these artisanal techniques and to help train others.

View the collections: been.london

Reading time: 5 min
models waiting to go on the catwalk
models waiting to go on the catwalk

On Monday London bore witness to a storm of ages; and no, not Franklin, but Ozwald Boateng’s historic return to the fashion week fold after a twelve year hiatus. Fara Bashorun, one of the designer’s models and LUX contributor, shares his backstage report and photographs

One couldn’t think of a more befitting setting for Ozwald Boateng’s London Fashion Week comeback than The Savoy hotel. Upon arrival I was warmly welcomed by doormen who casually ushered me through to the ballroom, our backstage, just as if it were any other studio in Shoreditch. Catering was headed up by Açai Girls, who prepared a palatial assortment of fruit bowls, pastries and avocado toast for breakfast and an equally impressive feast for lunch.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine


Starting the day with breakfast served by Açaí Girls

model photographs

Putting the finishing touches to styling

clothes rails

A tribute to Jamal Edwards

Rehearsals in the Savoy Theatre

From arrival until rehearsals at around 6pm, the hair and make-up teams did their demos while stylistic genius’ ArtComesFirst put the finishing touches to the looks and figured out the run-order. From my experience, rehearsals can be quite anxiety inducing, but the vibe from the choir’s soundcheck helped put everyone at ease while we practised navigating through the hotel’s cloisters to get from the ballroom to the Savoy Theatre where the show would eventually take place.

Devoid of divas, egos and general industry malarkey, there seemed to be a subconscious agreement that we had all come together to be a part of something truly iconic and greater than self. I’ve genuinely had greater struggles at landing a chair at Bruce’s barbers in Burnt oak than cheekily squeezing myself into the queue for the onsite barber between Pa Salieu and Goldie. A star-studded yet familial essence made up the atmosphere; the juxtaposition a true testament to Ozwald’s ability to cultivate culture.

Read more: Patrick McDowell on why sustainable fashion and social impact go hand in hand

This energy underpinned not only the show but the whole occasion right through to the night’s end. Talent was instructed to walk however we felt comfortable, a touch of class demonstrative of Ozwald’s genius. Usually high fashion can be overwhelming, with the outfits wearing the people as opposed to vice-versa. Ozwald implored us to really own the moment, understanding that you look the best when you feel the best and creating an infectious sense of pride.

My look was a phenomenal velour dinner jacket pair with flared velour trousers, black round-framed sunglasses and grey Chelsea boots. Embodying the Ozwald’s afrofuturist design language, the jacket’s elaborate print drew inspiration from the Dinka tribe of South-Sudan with classically luxurious western silhouette.

Read more: Sol Golden Sato on Art & Identity

The show was an artistic myriad of poets, brass musicians, drummers, singers and other performers, closing with Idris Elba and a choir-led grand finale. The euphoria the crowd witnessed on stage wasn’t rigidly engineering, nor mere coincidence, but artisanally intentional: the result of meticulous design.

The feelings on stage were packaged up, ubered over and reverberated through the Annabel’s hosted after-party which saw generations of creatives, their friends and family shake body to amapiano till the early hours. The DJ set played by Kim Turnbull, Places +Faces founder Ciesay and Jimmy Vivendii was the perfect end to a night that shook the paradigms of London Fashion Week and reminded us of the ingenuity it had missed for so long.

View the collection: ozwaldboateng.co.uk

Backstage during rehearsals

Ozwald Boateng with one of the show’s models

My look featuring a velour jacket and trousers

Getting ready for the final performance

The after-party at Annabel’s

Reading time: 7 min
woman lying on sofa in red dress
As fashion week kicks off in London, we’re celebrating designers who are paving the way for a more sustainable and ethical industry. Here, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, the founders and creative directors of cult fashion label Preen, discuss their collaborative design process and instinctive approach to sustainability
man and woman

Justin Thorton & Thea Bregazzi

Justin Thorton and Thea Bregazzi have been upcycling and recycling materials since well before ‘sustainability’ became a fashion world buzzword. The couple first met as teenagers on an art foundation course on the Isle of Man, where they both grew up. They moved to London in 1990s after university to launch their label Preen in a small shop in Portobello, the creative hub of the time.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

One of their first design hits was drainpipe trousers, made famous by Kate Moss, and over the years, they have continued to draw a celebrity cult following. Their pieces have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Alexa Chung, Scarlett Johansson and Michelle Obama.

Today, the brand maintains its punkish sensibility, but with a grown-up edge of sophistication. With a focus on longevity and practicality as well as beauty, many of their pieces are made to be worn in different ways. A mac coat from their Pre-Fall 2022 collection, for example, comes apart into a cropped jacket and a gilet dress while a double-layer dress of red stretch tulle and acid green floral print can be worn together or as two separate pieces. Here, the duo talk through some of their recent inspirations.

two models in dresses

LUX: How would you describe Preen’s design ethos? And has that changed at all since the brand’s inception in 1996?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: We have a very organic approach to designing. There is a certain irregularity to all that we do. We have developed and grown throughout the years but “darkly romantic” has all ways been our style.

Read more: Patrick McDowell on the social impact of sustainable fashion 

LUX: What’s your typical process for designing a new collection? Do you each play specific roles or do you work collaboratively throughout?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: Every time we design a new collection, we try to open ourselves up to experience as many things as possible. We talk a lot about what we are loving and what’s inspiring us, and then we start to edit our inspirations and draw from those. We work very collaboratively throughout the designing and creating processes.

LUX: How do you think your experiences of living and working in London and then, New York have shaped your design thinking?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi:
Showing our collections in New York really made us focus on being an international brand. However, living and working in London is so inspiring to us, it’s such a multicultural, creative city.

LUX: You’ve said before that you pay some consideration to how your clothes will photograph. How do you think image-based social media platforms have impacted the fashion industry?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: When we design it’s important to consider [how the garments will appear] on all platforms, but at the heart of it, what we’re trying to create is an emotional reaction whether that’s in person or through a screen.

Read more: Olivia Muniak’s Guide to the Best Restaurants in Los Angeles

LUX: You’ve been upcycling fabrics more or less since the beginning and are now on a mission to become a 100% sustainable brand. What does that mean exactly?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: We’ve never considered ourselves to be “a sustainable brand“, but we try our best to offer as many sustainable, recycled and organic options within our collections as possible. It’s important that all designers make an effort to produce a product that doesn’t destroy our planet.

Two models wearing dresses

LUX: What was on your mood-board for the Summer & Resort 2022 collections?
Justin Thornton & Thea Bregazzi: We were greatly inspired by the work of [French artist and photographer] Guy Bourdin: his bold colours and strong graphic lines. We also looked at dance – in particular [Scottish dancer and choreographer] Michael Clark’s work.

View the collections: preenbythorntonbregazzi.com

Reading time: 3 min
palm trees and city skyline

Image by Sterling Davis

As the art world’s elite flock to Los Angeles for Frieze art fair, Olivia Muniak, founder of catering company La Cura and LA resident, shares her guide on the best places to drink and dine around the city
woman holding plate of food

Olivia Muniak

Growing up in the restaurant business, I learned to appreciate the subtleties of what makes a restaurant succeed. I saw my parents transform a casual European cafe into New York’s coolest lunch spot after which they launched two chic Italian fine dining restaurants in the heart of Greenwich Village and having worked myself in pretty much every front of house position, I know how much hard work it takes to deliver an exceptional dining experience. It goes without saying that the food has to be good, but the best restaurants know that it’s also the lighting, the decor, the people that define their identity and keep clients coming back for more.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2017 to set up my business La Cura, I’ve made it my priority to scope out the city’s best places to eat and below are just a few of my favourites. Some newly opened, other’s mainstays in my book.


The sister restaurant to the famed French cafe République.

Stepping down into the bistro feels like midnight in Paris, it’s a lively, warm space and almost every seat in the house gets a peak into the kitchen. Reservations are a must and make sure you arrive a little early for an aperitif at the bar. The food is classic bistro style, but so thoughtfully prepared. The soft egg, onion tart and bouillabaisse are amongst my favourites. Whether you go for a bottle of wine, or by the glass (my tip: ask for half-pours so you can explore the by-the-glass list), talk to the sommelier for their recommendations.


luxurious restaurant interiors

The interiors of Gigi’s Hollwood. Image: @gigis_la

Gigi’s Hollywood

A trendy favourite for a late night dinner that begins and ends with cocktails.

The emerald green and gold interior, and white tablecloths feel fresh and luxe in contrast to the sporty-clad staff – it’s a vibe and we’re all into it. The quintessential California-french menu has many hits including the baguette with butter and caviar, but the most unexpected dish, at least for LA, is the Schnitzel and it’s delicious. Be sure to make a reservation.


Read more: Michael Xufu Huang on Supporting Emerging Chinese Artists

Cafe Stella

A tiny garden restaurant tucked away behind an even better bar.

Go for dinner, plan to stay late for drinks, and possibly, a spot of dancing. The interior is a bit worn and rustic, but that’s what makes it cool. The menu is also French bistro style and has all the favourites: Moules frites, Steak frites, Poulet Roti and Sole meunière.


Crudo e Nudo

A very casual “fish market” with sidewalk seating, natural wines and the best crudo you will ever taste – trust me!

Crudo e Nudo takes sustainable seafood sourcing  to a new level. The chef knows every fisherman that brings in the day’s catch, and how that fish was caught. You can see the Japanese influence on a very Californian menu in the seasoning of the dishes but also in the discipline in the way the food is prepared. It’s worth striking up a conversation with the chef who’s friendly face you’ll see at the counter. The menu rotates but you can always find these dishes: Vegan caesar with Furikake and  Tuna Toast.


Read more: Koons, Kitsch & the Evolving Art Market

Grá Pizzeria

A funky local spot in the Echo Park area.

The interior is pared down with exposed brick and an open garden patio. A few things worth mentioning about the pizza: the dough is made with a long-fermentation sourdough recipe that the owner brought over from the UK, and cooks in a wood-burning stove so it’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. More importantly, it holds it shape when folded (a true sign of a quality pizza). The Margherita is my favourite but the seasonal pies are always worth a taste. The plate of prosciutto and green lovage salad should also be on your order.


outdoor dining

The patio at Gjelina. Image: @gjelinarestaurant


A well-known spot but deserving of the hype.

The menu is a journey through California produce, with some of the most creative, seasonal vegetables, pizzas and pastas. As soon as a vegetable is not at it’s peak, it’s off the menu. Gjelina is equally great for brunch, lunch or a relaxed, yet elegant dinner. If you can’t get a reservation, try  their sister restaurant Gjusta, which doubles up as a deli.



Reading time: 4 min
a red watch dial being made
a red watch dial being made

Bovet 19 Thirty Hours hand setting

Swiss watch brand Bovet is renowned for its artistic and mechanically sophisticated high-end timepieces. On the company’s 200th anniversary, owner and managing director Pascal Raffy speaks to Ella Johnson about his plans and dreams

Pascal Raffy is not, at first glance, a likely candidate to own a high luxury Swiss watch brand. Having left his native Lebanon aged 13, he embarked on a successful career in pharmaceuticals, and promptly retired, aged 38. Yet, in 2001, he went on to acquire one of the oldest watch companies in the world.

Swiss watchmaker Édouard Bovet established his eponymous house 200 years ago this year. It soon gained a reputation for the artistry of its engraving and miniature paintings; Bovet also invented the glass case back so beloved of collectors today.

After Raffy bought Bovet, he turned it into a genuine manufacture for the first time: now, even the spirals and regulating organs in each watch are made in-house. Raffy also bought a 14th century castle near Lake Neuchâtel in western Switzerland that was once home to the original Bovet family and restored it, turning it into the brand’s factory and headquarters.

Pascal Raffy wearing a watch and blue jacket with a blue scarf and turtle neck

Pascal Raffy, owner and CEO of BOVET 1822

LUX: You were originally from Lebanon, but were uprooted during the conflict there. What do you remember of that time?
Pascal Raffy: Whatever is related to human suffering cannot be forgotten. When the civil war arose, all parts of the country suffered a lot. It was a very difficult period, not only for myself and my family, but for all families. It is a disaster of what humankind can do, and is written in my body, in my blood.

Lebanon was, and still is, considered to be the Switzerland of the Middle East, with its beauty. It is one of those rare places where you can go swimming, and then half an hour later go and ski in the mountains. I had a true appreciation and love for Switzerland, too, because we had been going to Sion since my childhood on holiday. So, when I was unable to study anymore in Lebanon, at 13, we went to Sion. Like Lebanon, it is a beautiful, disciplined country, with so many assets in so many fields, and a deep civic sense.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What did your career look like before Bovet?
Pascal Raffy: My family were industrialists in pharmaceuticals, so after I finished my studies, I started working in that field. But I decided to stop everything when I was 38 years old, thanks to my oldest daughter, Audrey, who told my own father that although she was very happy, she was [sad to] not be able to see me more often. It was at that moment that I decided to stop doing absolutely everything. My family thought I was kidding, but I was very serious. I stopped everything and retired when I was 38 in beautiful Switzerland.

LUX: So what compelled you to come out of retirement?
Pascal Raffy: One day, one of my bankers came to see me with some brands in search of investments [and mentioned Bovet]. I already knew the house, and it was truly love at first sight. I dreamt a lot in the months after that conversation about paying the house its due respect with true facilities and artisans, and so I bought it in 2001. In 2006 I also bought Château de Môtiers – not because it was a castle, but because it belonged to the Bovet family, so it had the meaning. It was then that our journey with the facilities, where today we do our age-old dials, our hands, our movements, began.

a castle in the tree

Château de Môtiers, where all BOVET 1822 watches are manufactured

LUX: How did you know how to run a high-end watch company and expand it?
Pascal Raffy: I did not know at all. To be in the position of a collector is not the same as running a watchmaking facility every day. But between pharmaceuticals and watchmaking there are a lot of common parts. In healthcare you must be organised, clean, and disciplined. The most important thing is quality.

LUX: You could have bought a stake in Bovet, appointed a managing director and taken a back seat as chairman.
Pascal Raffy: The House of Bovet has never been exclusively an investment for me. It has always been clear in the long term that true watchmaking is based on patience. Time is a true luxury. If you expect a return on your investment in two years, it’s not this kind of watchmaking that you have to develop. If you want to defend a project where a house can become an institution in the long run, you have to establish true facilities over time, because the most important asset is the artisans, not the machinery or the buildings.

I also wanted, selfishly, to serve myself. That’s a fact. When globalisation started, and a lot of things became impersonal and mass produced, my project in life became to defend detail and heritage. I love to design my timepieces and have designed my collections since 2001. It’s not work, it’s a passion.

red watch with a car in the dial

BOVET 1822 x Rolls Royce Collection, bespoke timepiece

LUX: How did word about your reinvention of Bovet spread?
Pascal Raffy: To grow a house is like growing a child: it takes time. For us, it’s a generation. We all know that when we travel, we talk, we tell stories. But the most valuable thing is when people actually come to the castle, spend time with the artisans, and see that Bovet is creating all its timepieces in-house. That is very important, because then the collectors become like the press. They are our ambassadors. It is an authentic way of doing things.

LUX: Some of your timepieces, like Bovet 1822 Miss Audrey Sweet Art, which has a dial made from sugar, are quite creative.
Pascal Raffy: In French, my grandmother always used to call me mon petit sucre, ‘my little sugar,’ as a token of affection. I started working with the artisans to try to master a technique in which sugar could be used in our creations and would not melt. We had to choose every single sugar crystal, making sure everything was going to float beautifully around the dial. So it was poetic, and engineering at the same time. It was a great success because it is surprising and truly different.

A blue and purple watch with diamonds

Miss Audrey Sweet Art gradient sugar crystal dial

LUX: You mention the importance of family: are there any plans for your daughter, Audrey, who has now joined Bovet, to take over the company?
Pascal Raffy: Audrey has always been in love with what we do with the artisans, and I’m very proud of that. Yet she is the first one to realise that it takes time to understand all the elements, so there is no hurry. I am letting time take its time. I know I can rely on the wisdom of Audrey step by step.

Read more: Patrick Sun on Promoting LGBTQ+ Art in Asia

LUX: You have teamed up with Automobili Pininfarina, the car manufacture and design house that created some of the most legendary Ferraris.
Pascal Raffy: What happened with Pininfarina was destiny – a moment of life, not a business meeting! I happened to meet Paolo Pininfarina in California, and I realised that we had the same way of thinking about companies, entities, what we do every day.

Paolo kindly asked me if I would go on a journey to try and design a timepiece with him. The scale is different, but the will is the same.

Two men standing by a white car

Pascal Raffy and Paolo Pininfarina

LUX: And you also created something for the remarkable, bespoke $28m Rolls-Royce Boat Tail.
Pascal Raffy: The partnership with Rolls-Royce came about thanks to a couple of extraordinary collectors, who love and understand true luxury and the House of Bovet. We created something absolutely unique: two mechanical timepieces on the dashboard of the car, with all the additional capabilities to wear them as wristwatches, or use them as table clocks, with such dense artistry. In the same way as the sugar dials, this had never been done before.

Find out more: bovet.com

Reading time: 7 min
exhibition installation
installation of artworks

Olafur Eliasson: Your light spectrum and presence installation view at Tanya Bonakdar gallery

As Los Angeles gets ready to launch this year’s edition of Frieze, our Contributing Editor Sophie Neuendorf shares her must-see exhibitions and events happening around the city

Sophie Neuendorf

I have a special fondness for Los Angeles and not just for the sun and sea. My father spent a lot of time in the city. During his days as a gallerist, he travelled to LA to discover fresh talent, many of whom he showed or represented, developing several life-long friendships.

One of those artists was David Hockney, who loaned my father his car when he did his driving test and bought him an ice cream to celebrate. Another life-long friend was Robert Graham, a marvellous Mexican-American sculptor, well-known for not only his art but also his cameos in Wes Anderson movies (not to mention his glamorous wife, the inimitable Anjelica Huston).

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Venice Beach was one of his favourite spots, where his friend the artist Billy Al Bengston still lives and works today. One of Ferus Gallery’s artists, Billy’s unique, ethereal West Coast Pop is unmistakable and continues to inspire many artists and designers. Most recently, he worked with Yves Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane on a fashion show.

artist studio

Artist Billy Al Bengston at work in his studio

Now, as the art world flocks to the city for Frieze, I’ve put together a list of must-see exhibitions, events and projects.

Frieze Los Angeles

This year, Frieze (17 to 20 February) has moved from Paramount Studios to a new location, a tent adjacent to the Beverly Hills Hilton. It will, however, spill out across the city with monumental installations for Frieze Projects, including Mel Bochner’s Street Sign, which you can spot while travelling northbound on Merv Griffin Way across from the fair. The fair also welcomes a new director Christine Messineo and will feature 100 galleries, both local and international with exhibitors from 17 countries. The crowd promises to be nearly as colourful as the works for sale, studded with artists, collectors, celebrities, and fashionistas.

Felix Art Fair

Launched by collector and television mogul Dean Valentine, Felix (17 to 20 February) is a more intimate, edgier alternative to Frieze. Taking place at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, it will feature 60 international galleries, exhibiting in the cabanas alongside the David Hockney-painted pool and in the guest-rooms on floors 10 and 11.

Read more: Michael Xufu Huang on Making Art More Accessible


Curators Barret Lybbert and Stefano Di Paola are curating a show commemorating the 50th anniversary of Womanhouse, an immersive installation co-organised by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro featuring work by 21 women artists. In the same radical spirit as the original installation, there’s no set artist list and the exhibition will evolve over its duration (18 Feb to 2 April) in an East Hollywood storefront.

Gallery Exhibitions

To coincide with Frieze, Gagosian is showing 10 recent works by Jeff Wall, marking the artist’s first exhibition in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years (on until 26 March 2022). Seven of the photographs were made in LA, where Wall lives and works in addition to his native Vancouver.

Over at Sprüth Magers, a show by artist Lucy Dodd (on until 12 March) is also a must-see while Nino Mier gallery is opening a show by hard-edge painter Georg Karl Pfahler, whose groundbreaking works will also be on view at Simon Lee’s London space this spring (read my interview with Simon Lee here for more info on what to expect).

restaurant interiors

Manuela restaurant at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

If you’re stopping by Hauser & Wirth’s impressive space to see Phyllida Barlow’s exhibition (I highly recommend you do), get in some R&R at their iconic restaurant, aptly named Manuela after the gallery’s co-founder and then pop by Tanya Bonakdar gallery to see Your light spectrum and presence, a solo exhibition by Olafur Eliasson. The show features eleven circular paintings created between 2012 and 2021, demonstrating Eliasson’s long-standing investigation into light, colour and the ways we perceive and interact with our surroundings.

Read more: The Best Art Exhibitions to See in February

It’s always worth a visit to the Getty Center, which is currently showing Poussin and the Dance (until 8 May) in collaboration with London’s National Gallery. The exhibition establishes a dialogue between 17th-century French painter Nicolas Poussin’s dancing pictures and new dance films by Los Angeles-based choreographers.

artist sculpture

untitled: skirt i; 2019. © Phyllida Barlow. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: ©2020 Alex Delfanne, All Rights Reserved

End Frieze week on a high note by visiting the absolutely unmissable LACMA exhibition Black American Portraits with work by Kehinde Wiley, Calida Rawles, and Catherine Opie (on until 17 April). Several of the artists in the exhibition will also be showing work at Frieze, albeit at different galleries. Wiley – whose 2018 portrait of former President Obama was also on view at LACMA in a separate exhibition that included Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama – will be part of Roberts Projects’ group exhibition at Frieze. The gallery will also present an exciting new portrait by Wiley while Rawles’ work will be on view at Various Small Fires’ booth, and Opie will be part of Regen Projects’ Frieze presentation.

Sophie Neuendorf is Vice-President at artnet. Find out more: artnet.com

Reading time: 4 min
man in an orange suit and green patterned scarf and hat standing in front of a patterned wall
A man in a yellow suit standing by a green wall wearing a long colourful scarf

‘My path is full of petals- I have not swept it for others.’ Image courtesy of Sol Golden Sato

Born in Malawi, Sol Golden Sato is a London-based artist who incorporates philosophy into his paintings and sculptures. Here, he speaks to LUX Chief Contributing Editor, Maryam Eisler, about the connections between identity, place, community and art

Maryam Eisler: How would you define your identity Sol?
Sol Golden Sato: I came to London from Malawi on my twentieth birthday. I had a strong Malawi and African identity but I wasn’t really political, even though I had left because the politics had changed so much. I came to London and instantly found myself working as a commercial migrant. That was my first identity crisis. Living in Brixton in rented accommodation… I think I was paying around £25 a week rent, with no heating. I was really enjoying it at such a young age. I stayed there for four or five years and I found myself doing other jobs. I had never really thought of my identity in that sense at that point. I think it was only when I personally started changing, in particular when I started identifying more as a Londoner, that I began thinking ‘how do I or should I actually present myself’ ?

Maryam Eisler: The concept of being a ‘Londoner’ is interesting. Talk to me about that.
Sol Golden Sato: It all lies in the nuances. I want to be known as an international artist or a London artist or better yet, a London-based artist, who tells stories of my life here in London whilst equally referencing my experiences growing up in Malawi. It is no longer a conundrum; rather, it is normal for somebody like me in London, to have moved around a great deal and become malleable with the definition of one’s own culture or cultural identity.

A painting of an African man laughing

‘One message from home is wroth a ton of gold.’ Image courtesy of Sol Golden Sato

Maryam Eisler: Do you think you have had to sacrifice certain parameters in order to fit in? Or has it been a a seamless integration?
Sol Golden Sato: It is never seamless. I spoke to someone who was a diplomat at the time, and he said ‘you have to soften your edges so that you can walk into a room, not be what they want you to be, and yet be able to connect with a variety of people from the perspective of their point of view rather than your own.’ When you are in a diaspora, you soon learn how to be diplomatic.I see so many displaced people here and they all have something important to contribute to the conversation in this forever changing world. You may lose on some points but you definitely gain on others. And sometimes, you may just forget the environment you grew up in altogether. In my case, I have not spoken with anyone from Malawi for all this time, so I have forgotten most of the language, which is quite a painful and sad process. At the same time, I have spoken to psychiatrists and speech therapists and they all say ‘You will remember it as soon as you go back’. How is it possible that your brain can and will switch off bits of you altogether over time?

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Maryam Eisler: I would even push you further by saying that you are not a London artist, but rather a Chelsea artist, given that the Kings Road in particular seems to be home to your studio but also to your public art.
Sol Golden Sato: Yes, it is one of those things, when for years, I didn’t quite realize how much I was presenting within and giving back to the Chelsea community just by being in it. I think the history of the Kings Road and the manner in which I like to dress somehow connect with each other. I think place has both a psychological and a spiritual identity and it is something that I try and seek in other places too. When you invest yourself in a community and find out what that community’s identity is all about and how that relates to you, you can then, and only then, make it. The Kings Road is where I have learnt those principles actually. I have also done projects near the Portobello road, and I instantly found a way of connecting with people through the Grenfel community but also through the Notting Hill Carnival… with a particular interest in trying to understand how different cultures live together amongst themselves, but also side by side with other communities.

A man wearing an orange shirt and yellow shirt staring at a vase

‘You have been in my dreams, old friend- I miss you.’ Image courtesy of Sol Golden Sato

Maryam Eisler: You have an amazing way of tattooing yourself on the walls of these spaces and places because, even though you have a studio you are also very present and visible on the street. You have somehow managed to integrate the outdoor skin of these communities.
Sol Golden Sato: Yes, it is something that did not start with an ideology, just “Oh, there’s a piece of wall, we could do something there”. But now I am starting to see it as a mission: that the artist should always be present, not just where they live but where they are. I have been following a number of people who want to activate communities, especially via the act of making art. I did this in Portobello and I am trying to do these activities in other centres and gardens now too. Sometimes the local people can’t do it on their own, and it takes a cultural activator to come in and say, “I see this, we can do this” and then it is a way of tattooing culture into a place, like a renewal of some sort.

Maryam Eisler: We should open minds at a young age as opposed to allowing brains to be imposed upon by tradition and old world thinking, would you not agree?
Sol Golden Sato: Yes. When we were doing this project in Notting Hill, I had forgotten my brushes so I thought I would just pour paint on canvas and move it around with my feet. The kids said, “You’re dancing ! We want to dance on the canvas too !” Now I am talking to some people in Nine Elms, where the Battersea Power Station is, asking ‘ Why don’t we do a large, forty-metre-long dancing painting where you get all the kids involved together, side by side’. It is another way of activating a community that is continuously and radically changing at a fast pace.

a painting of two children sitting on a ledge with a yellow background

‘Wind, light and time ever revolve; Let us then enjoy life as best we can.’ Image courtesy of Sol Golden Sato

Maryam Eisler: What are the types of topics that interest you when making your art? What are your paintings inspired by?
Sol Golden Sato: My art still goes back to stories coming from people, almost all relate to time and place, and more often than not, to very specific times in history.

Maryam Eisler: Can you talk to me about your interest in the iconic gangsters, the Kray brothers and their trip to Nigeria as depicted in your current work- in-progress painting ? In a way, it is a perfect example of you linking two continents, but more importantly linking a very London story to stories elsewhere.
Sol Golden Sato: Yes, Northern Nigeria 1964; I found a little document in the form of a photograph and I just asked the question: what were the Krays doing there and most importantly, how did that trip affect them or better yet, did it affect them at all? From there, I linked other more universal questions about how different cultures communicate or connect with each other. If I were to say, “let’s look at black African migration in the East End of London,” it would be an equally interesting subject, but if we look at it from the cultural phenomenon of the Kray brothers, that is so much more interesting and potent to me.

A man in a pink shirt and checked beige suit standing infant of a painting

‘It’s all one single grief.’ Image courtesy of Sol Golden Sato

Maryam Eisler: You are always attracted to and explore the same kind of topics but you treat them from different perspectives?
Sol Golden Sato: Yes. Certain subjects I strongly feel should be portrayed through paint and others might be more cinematic in nature, like the story of the Kray brothers. I am also starting to learn that some thoughts can be better communicated through public art installations and others are better suited to a gallery presentation. That’s how you engage different and wider audiences.

man in an orange suit and green patterned scarf and hat standing in front of a patterned wall

‘Could I get mansions covering ten thousand miles, I’d house all the poor.’ Image courtesy of Sol Golden Sato

Maryam Eisler: Today, you have enveloped your own body in these beautiful, lush and colourful fabrics; I am assuming they are of African origin? You are using your own body as artwork and communicator of ideas.
Sol Golden Sato: Yes. It is interesting to see how different people do it. In my case, I have always liked and been inspired by Salvador Dali, mythologising himself and creating something beyond his own immediate persona. The fabrics I am using today are originally Dutch fabrics that were developed and designed for local flavour. As such, It is also interesting to study how trade and culture work together. One of my heroes or idols is Quentin Crisp. He used to get frequently beaten up  for being effeminate, so he decided, to wear make-up so it was easier for people to know who he was.I like that because it is actually quite inclusive, being different and making people come up to you and ask questions.

Read more: Michael Xufu Huang on Arts Philanthropy & Making Art More Accessible

Maryam Eisler: I suppose it is a visual cue that attracts people, the same way you caught my attention whilst crossing the Kings Road?

Sol Golden Sato: Yes, it attracts. Sometimes my rule is to just be the opening and see what happens from there. Sometimes it’s brilliant. I have had some funny moments: a football fan started a chant saying “who brought the pimp.” You can interrupt normality.

Find out more: solgolden.com

Reading time: 8 min
X Museum Exterior with lights shining against the building
X Museum Exterior with lights shining against the building

X Museum. Image courtesy X Museum and Weiqi Jin

Michael Xufu Huang is the co-founder of X Museum, a platform for cultivating talents and supporting young and mid-career artists within a global context.Here he  speaks to LUX Contributing Editor, Samantha Welsh, about making art more accessible in China and the impact it has on the next generation
Michael Xufu Huang sitting on a sofa

Michael Xufu Huang. Image courtesy X Museum

LUX: Londoner, Beijinger, New Yorker, where is ‘home’?
Michael Xufu Huang: Home is Beijing now. I went to middle school in England (Dulwich College) and university in the States (University of Pennsylvania), I spent a few years in New York. I do see myself as a world citizen. The global experience has influenced my vision to bring international artists to China and take Chinese talents to the world.

LUX: How has your international experience influenced your approach to build-up a cultural institution in China?
Michael Xufu Huang: When I lived abroad, I saw how other international institutions’ approach organising their exhibition programmes and fundraising. Places like New Museum and Palais de Tokyo gave me a lot of inspiration. You didn’t see institutions that focused on under-represented artists in China before I launched X Museum.  For example, most Chinese museums rely on ticketing, which limits the options for exhibition programmes because museums often need to organize “blockbuster” exhibitions with well-known western names or Instagramable shows to generate enough income to cover their costs. A museum couldn’t provide the most forward-thinking platform to support artists if they needed to make money from the public as that would require following the public’s taste. My international experience has made me learn to step forward and introduce patrons’ networks and corporate sponsorships to X Museum. This allows the museum to explore more innovative programmes and give the lesser-known emerging artists a platform to shine.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Why were you drawn to collecting art?
Michael Xufu Huang: I guess it’s partially because of my horoscope sign! My sun sign is in Pieces, I‘ve been drawn to beautiful objects since I was young. Going to museums like Tate when I was doing A-levels really opened my eyes and helped me to discover interesting art beyond the aesthetic level. This has taken me on a new journey where the meaning behind an art piece also appeals to me. I like to gather things I love together, that’s probably the reason why I love collecting.

lamps on a table with art on striped walls

The Endless Garment, exhibition view. Image courtesy X Museum

LUX: What is so compelling for you to curate emerging young Chinese artists?
Michael Xufu Huang: I want my peers to have more visibility on the international stage. In the international art world, Chinese emerging artists don’t really receive equal attention. I hope to give them more opportunities to be shown internationally.

LUX: Thinking of how fashion, music, art converge and lead discourse eg Punk, or artist-designer crossovers eg Schiaparelli, McQueen, Abloh, how are you finding crossover with other cultural fields helps young artists push their talent and their message?
Michael Xufu Huang: I think to crossover with other cultural fields can help artists attract a new audience. In China, art is still considered to be niche. I feel I have the responsibility to make art accessible to a mass audience, especially the young generation. One way of doing this is to integrate art with mass culture. X museum not only provides artists opportunities through exhibition programmes, but also links them with creatives from other cultural fields. We also discover artists from other disciplines with mass influence and offer them opportunities to show their talents through a special programme called “X Invites”.

Last summer, we invited the multi-hyphenate public figure, Sida Jiang, to present his first solo show as an artist at X Museum. Jiang is a very popular actor/TV producer/TV host and director in China. Here at X museum, he “transformed” his role as an artist and presented installation, video, performance, and multi-media works. These works explored the boundaries between personal identity and public domain. Through his popularity and recognition in the mass cultural fields, his show brought a group of new audiences to X museum and inspired people who didn’t know much about art to explore more in this field.

Blurry image of people walking through a grey tunnel like room

Issy Wood: Good Clean Fun, exhibition view. Image courtesy X Museum

LUX: How do your crossover partnerships with luxury lifestyle brands amplify conversations for your generation?
Michael Xufu Huang: Fashion and art, they are both expression of taste. Through making art crossover with luxury lifestyle brands, people can see how complementary tastes collide. In today’s world, contemporary art is part of lifestyle. Through lifestyle crossover, we engage a wider audience and inspire more people to collect art. For example, those young people who collect luxury hip sneakers have a huge potential to turn into art collectors.

LUX: How does the X Museum programme respond to how millennials engage with social media?
Michael Xufu Huang: If we have influencers come to the museum show, they take photos of the exhibition and post on their social media. That could organically bring more followers to our museum and give people access to art. For each exhibition, our PR team not only allocates budget to traditional press, but also budgets for influencers. We have different social media strategies to engage more people online and offline.

LUX: Are artists also digital disruptors?
Michael Xufu Huang: For instance, X Museum’s website developer is also an artist. Our website is a naked-eye 3D experience that not only supplements our exhibition but allows audiences to engage for longer with each artwork through its interactive feature. People love to absorb information in a gamification way.

LUX: Is globalisation going to change how the next generation supports the arts?
Michael Xufu Huang: In China, people are having more opportunities to see western art now. People have more opportunity to understand how the art world operates. Now younger artists can start working in a global context. Many talents studied abroad and come back to China to contribute to society. They build up global contacts rather than local contacts. They can create works to international standards.

paintings on white walls

Collection as Poem in the Age of Ephemerality, exhibition view. Image courtesy X Museum

LUX: What is the art philanthropy vision behind X Museum?
Michael Xufu Huang: We want to bring art to a broader public. We also have a social responsibility to support people who don’t usually get access to art. We have helped people who are in need, such as donating masks during the outbreak of covid and after lockdown offering people working in the medical services free access to our museum shows. Philanthropy is not only about donating money, but also nurturing artists and young collectors. It’s about inspiring them to do something innovative and beyond, and you could say it’s philanthropical when they achieve success.

LUX: In this connection, what is ‘Form the new Norm’?
Michael Xufu Huang: I think form the new norm is an attitude towards life. It is so easy to follow but I think if one really wants to be remembered, one should be brave to find ones own path and attributes that help to distinguish oneself from others. And I guess for us it really applies to our architecture, wall design, light design, website design and artists, and so on..

Read more: Patrick Sun on Promoting LGBTQ+ Art in Asia

LUX: What is the X Museum ecosystem and how is that expressed through an immersive experience?
Michael Xufu Huang: X museum always values the symbiotic relationship between art and technology. We launched X Virtual Museum to the public officially in 2020. This X Virtual Museum continuously renews and regenerates as our museum exhibition changes. It’s not like other online exhibitions which just show digital artworks. X Virtual Museum is not an online copy of the physical museum. Nor is it a simple documentation and archive of the exhibitions. Rather, it is an extension of the physical space and museum programmes. It is intended to accentuate the differences between the physical and the virtual and offers a game-like, treasure hunting experience. Many “components” found in the X Virtual Museum are extracted from the museum architecture and structure.

X Museum Exterior with lights shining against the building and a large X in the middle

X Museum. Image courtesy X Museum and Weiqi Jin

LUX: How did you interact with your community during covid lockdown?
Michael Xufu Huang: I think firstly our website was designed to be a naked-eye 3D experience that really attracts users internationally to view our exhibitions online. And we organized mask donation to the hospitals in Wuhan. And after the lockdown we provided free entrance for medical workers and provided free covid-19 insurance.

LUX: And what are you particularly looking forward to presenting this year?
Michael Xufu Huang: I’m looking forward to all our upcoming exhibitions. But there are a few major collaboration projects coming up which I’m very excited about. They are different than regular exhibitions, as these yet to be announced collaborations really let us curate in a broader context and can highlight our creativity and innovation.

For example, we will launch the Polestar Art Car in late 2022. It’s a unique and continuous programme set to make exciting creations that will change the world’s engagement with and interpretation of art and design in automobiles. We will invite the most innovative artists to transform the car in 3D and not only 2D format.

Michael Xufu Huang is the co-founder of X Museum

Reading time: 8 min
art exhibition installation
riverview at night

Walking back after dinner. Image by Darius Sanai

Paris, the eternal city, never changes. Or perhaps it does. After a two-year hiatus, Darius Sanai notices some interesting happenings during a week of meetings with luxury CEOs, art dealers and creatives

Meeting an old friend for the first time in two years, I wonder if she will have aged and find her instead fizzing with renewed life.

The friend is Paris. I am here for the first time since just before the pandemic hit Europe. “Since Brexit, people are coming here instead of London because it’s easier to get a job,” says Kai, a graphic designer I bump into at a gallery opening. Estonian, she moved to the vibey/slightly scary 19th arrondissement from Dalston, in London, in September.

That doesn’t mean that Paris hasn’t suffered from city flight, like London, New York and most other metropolises. Prices of apartments in the centre of Paris are down 2.5% year on year. The sellers are not like Kai. They are wealthy and middle aged. Maybe an exchange of the wealthy bourgeoisie for edgy graphic designers in their 20s is the reason for the vivacity. Property prices in the dodgy/cool 19th are up 3.8%, from a much lower base.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

To dinner on the Left Bank with Francois Pinault’s CEO of Artemis Domaines wine estate group. Frédéric Engerer has Château Latour, the celebrated Eisele and Clos du Tart estates in Napa and Burgundy respectively, and several others, under his thumb. I get the feeling from Frédéric that these may not be the last: luxury goods titan Pinault is buying great wine estates like he once snapped up Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent.

At Les Climats, the Parisian restaurant with “the best wine list in the world”, according to numerous magazines, the sommelier at first doesn’t recognise Frédéric, who is arguably the most powerful man in French wine. This could have been embarrassing but Frédéric is understated, leafing through the list as anyone would. The penny drops. “Ah…sorry, I didn’t realise who…” stammers the sommelier. It’s fine.

We do a side-by-side blind tasting of his own Clos d’Eugenie against another excellent Burgundy. Frédéric and I both manage to identify both wines correctly, simple for him, and a 50/50 for me. Having had a bottle of champagne and two bottles of Burgundy on a Tuesday night, with meetings all day Wednesday, we decline the suggestion of a dessert wine.

luxury bedroom

Our suite at the Hotel Costes Castiglione. Image by Darius Sanai

Back at Hotel Costes, I am walking slightly unsteadily towards the lift in the arresting, Christian Liaigre-designed lobby of the new Castiglione wing, when I am greeted by someone walking out of the bar. After establishing I am who he thinks I am (two years absence and a compulsory face mask have that effect), Jean-Louis Costes invites me for a drink in his bar.

Over a late-night glass of Badoit, the man who first created a new vibe for Paris with the Hotel Costes in 1995 tells me his plans to expand the Costes even more. A boutique is becoming a palace. It’s also turning into my kind of place: I found the Jacques Garcia-designed original Costes a bit self-conscious, or perhaps it’s the people I met there over the years. The Castiglione, with its high ceilings, visual drama and flair, is Paris showing Dubai, London, New York and anywhere with pretensions of grandeur, how contemporary luxury style is done. If Marie Antoinette were alive and holding court in 2022, she would do it here. I reflect on how the most talked-about hotel in France among the social and media (and social media) sets is owned and run by a man who doesn’t do interviews (the profiles I did with him for LUX and Condé Nast Traveller in 2021 were the first he has ever done for the international press) and isn’t on social media.

Read more: Why you should get your new car ceramic coated

The next morning, I walk downstairs as Jean-Louis walks into the lobby. He offers me on a hard hat tour of the new spa and swimming pool, under construction beneath the hotel, and the next wing, to be a loft-style chill out zone, opening later this year. I promise to say nothing about them until the time. Only, the pool is very big and will be special. “I don’t want to build something for three people doing lengths,” he says. Jean-Louis reminds me of Nick Jones, founder of Soho House. He looks at the same space everyone else looks at, and sees an idea for something nobody else can see.

photoshoot in paris

Bird’s eye view of Angie Kremer’s photoshoot for the next issue of LUX. Image by Darius Sanai

I walk to Montparnasse, to the Photo House studio where Angie Kremer, a happening young photographer and videographer, is doing a shoot for the next issue of LUX on young creatives in Paris. Gen Z Parisians entering the workforce seem far more open to culture and ideas from the rest of the world – and outside the Peripherique – than the previous generation of twenty somethings. A positive impact of social media.

Vanessa Guo & Jean-Mathieu Martini. Courtesy Galerie Marguo

Vanessa Guo and Jean-Mathieu Martini are not Gen Z. They are globally connected millennials on a mission. Vanessa, former director of Hauser & Wirth in Hong Kong, moved to Paris and opened Galerie Marguo in October 2020. The gallery is in in a former government building in the Marais and looks out onto a newly rebuilt courtyard – the Square Arnaud Beltrame – where public art and outdoor private views take place next to a kids’ playground. (No Takashi Murakami works here.)

Vanessa says a new generation of collectors is interested in collecting a new generation of artists. Back to Brexit: with taxes and paperwork on art in and out of the UK, Paris is vying to take over London’s preeminent role in the European art world. The collectors are coming here too, she says. So long a museum of culture and brands managed carefully by a closed elite, Paris is opening out. The imminent arrival of Art Basel, displacing the more local FIAC from its seat at the Grand Palais, will change things even more.

art exhibition installation

Installation view of “Ziping Wang: Obsession Indifference and Onionskin” at Galerie Marguo, Paris

Amin Jaffer, collector and curator of the sublime, is out of town this week so I can’t take him up on his invitation for tea at his beautiful home, where his art collection is so beguilingly put together that I never want to leave. Instead, he organises for me to have a tour of the new Al Thani collection, which he curated, at the (also) new Hôtel de la Marine. The building is on Place de la Concorde, directly in the centre of the north side. The collection is a sliver of the art from Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and surrounding regions, collected by Qatar’s ruling family over the last decades. It is presented delicately, clearly, warmly, with excellent descriptions that are both clear and authoritative. And have no “side”. Curators of far lesser intellectual worth writing dreadful, biased descriptions in some of the leading institutions of the Anglo-Saxon world should take note and learn from the Qataris, and Amin. I make a note to ask him to give me a personal tour next time.

Read more: Richard Curtis on the Power of Pensions

At meetings at Kering‘s HQ, at a former military hospital on Rue de Sèvres, I reflect that Francois-Henri Pinault’s sustainability strategy and introduction of environmental P&Ls for his brands felt revolutionary and a bit weird when I first spoke about them ten years ago. Now, it feels normal, the least you can do. Meanwhile the metaverse feels revolutionary and a bit weird now.

contemporary art sculpture

A sculpture at the Al Thani Collection. Photo by Darius Sanai

A final lunch with the LUX team and Angie Kremer at Château Voltaire. This new mini five-star hotel with 1970s themes is where Kanye West stayed for the last fashion week. I have tuna tataki with ponzu and frisée salad. Angie points out that frisée can misbehave when covered with dressing and goes for haricots verts. We plan a little party and exhibition for her shoot after the next issue is out.

Time to catch the Eurostar, where the security still doesn’t provide trays, so your Balenciaga coat sits on the conveyor and your Fragonard perfume bottle gets chewed up between the ramps.

At the Eurostar arrivals area of London St Pancras, the huge Dent clock above the Tracey Emin neon has stopped. It’s an easy omen for a writer. London hasn’t stopped, but in Paris, something has restarted.

Reading time: 7 min
Mercedes in black
Mercedes in blackProper ceramic coating, after a thorough paintwork correction, is the only way to make your new car look properly new, as LUX discovers with its recently purchased high-performance convertible

When you’re choosing a new car, there are many questions to ponder. Electric, hybrid or petrol? (The eco-friendly answer requires some research in each case.) Which brand? Exterior colour, interior colour, options? Which wheels? Did you think about tyre brand (a whole other world)? Are there any extras that will help with resale? (The short answer: you won’t get the extra couple of thousand you pay for the head-up display or the carbon fibre steering wheel back, but the right options make it easier to sell).

Very few people ponder one fundamental issue. Your brand new car is likely to be delivered with paintwork that is scratched and pitted, and it will only get worse unless you do something about it.

This is not due to some plot by manufacturers. But whether you buy a Ferrari or a Cinquecento, a Tesla or a Lamborghini, from the point it is painted at the factory, your car will spend weeks or months being transported to you, during which point it will (hopefully) not receive any plainly-visible scratches or marks. But it will be wiped, cleaned, dried and “valeted” on various occasions, and those actions, done in a hurry with the best of intentions, leave swirls and scratches on your paint, clearly visible on close inspection. And without further protection, that will only get dramatically worse during your ownership.

That’s where a proper ceramic coat comes in. Ceramic coating is to old-fashioned polishing and waxing what an iPhone 12 is to a Nokia, and here LUX hands over to Ahmed Al-Wajih, director of 1080, who was responsible for the shine on our Mercedes C63S Cabriolet Brabus 600 in these photographs, courtesy of products by market-leader G-Techniq.

red white and silver paint bottles

LUX: What happens to unprotected paint on a car under normal circumstances (without ceramic coating)?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Unprotected paint is exposed to elements in our environment, such as oxidation from the sun, contamination from pollen tree sap and bird droppings. These can be very harmful to your vehicle’s paintwork if not addressed immediately and safely. An unprotected surface has a much faster wear rate than a protected surface.

LUX: Can you describe the science of paint – that what most people think is a scratch in paint is actually in a clear coat?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Traditionally vehicles had a single stage paint, which was oil based and was just paint onto of the panel. Today we have three-layer paints on most panels, if not all. It consists of primer, base coat and the clear coat. The base coat is the actual colour that you see and the clear coat is a transparent layer that adds the final finish to the paint. The clear coat also provides a layer of protection to the base coat. Therefore the swirls, holograms, dullness in the paint are typically imperfections on the clear coat and not the base coat. Deep scratches that can be felt by your fingernail usually mean that the damage has gone beyond the clear coat and into the base coat or primer.

LUX: What does ceramic coating (and the other protection you supply) do?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: A ceramic coating for the paintwork is designed to protect the vehicle’s surfaces. The main purpose of a ceramic coating is to bond with the clear coat to make it harder, therefore more resistant to swirls and light scratches, as well as to provide protection against oxidation. It also provides high levels of gloss and hydrophobic qualities.

For the interior, chemicals were used to protect the floor mats and carpets. The purpose of this is to protect the carpets from stains caused by liquids and dirt that can become imbedded into the fibres. A sealant was used to protect the leather from dye transfer and to help clean the leather much quicker.

LUX: What is the difference between ceramic coating and traditional wax?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: The main difference between ceramic and wax to the paintwork is durability. A ceramic coating is a long-lasting coating that bonds within the clear coat particles. For example Gtechniq’s flagship ceramic, the Crystal Serum Ultra, is warranted for nine years. It will not wear away with aggressive washing chemicals, or even machine polishing, the only way to remove it is by sanding down the panel. A wax coating on the other hand may be topped up by layers, however an aggressive chemical will take the wax of the surface.

Tape and paint tools hanging on a wall

LUX: What exactly did you do in the process of coating our car?.
Ahmed Al-Wajih: First step in our process is to decontaminate the vehicle and strip off any sealants that are on the vehicle. This is a crucial part of the process as we need to ensure that the paintwork is clean and without any contaminates before we can move onto the next stage. Once the vehicle has been decontaminated and dried, we worked on the interior, again ensuring that all surfaces were clean.

The vehicle was then put on our ramp and we safely raised the car and removed the wheels. The wheels were then taken to our wash bay to be cleaned once again. The wheel arches were also cleaned again. Once the wheels were dried, they were protected using Gtechniq C5 wheel armour. The callipers were also protected using the C5 wheel armour. The interior was then protected using Gtechniq’s L1 leather guard for the leather surfaces and I1 Smart fabric for the carpets, alcantara and floor mats. The I1 Smart fabric was also used on the soft top.

We then inspected the vehicles paintwork and identified specific areas that needed extra attention and correction. We masked the vehicle and began our correction of those areas. Once this was complete we gave the vehicle a one stage enhancement process with the aim to further enhance the depth of the Obsidian black and ensure that the paintwork is in the best possible condition.

Once this process was complete we began prepping the paintwork using a panel wipe. The purpose of this process is to clean the panels and ensure that they are free from anything that may contaminate the application of the ceramic coating. Once this process was complete we began applying the Crystal Serum Ultra. Once we completed this process we left the ceramic to cure overnight. The following morning we inspected the paintwork to ensure that the ceramic had bonded properly. We then applied C2 Crystal laquer which acts as a top up coating for the ceramic. We also protected the glass using Gtechniq’s Smart Glass. Once we were happy that the ceramic to the wheels, body, interior and glass had cured we safely put the wheels back onto the vehicle and ensure that the wheels were torqued back up to the manufacturer’s specification.

Once again the vehicle was moved to our final inspection bay [with all round flourescent lighting] and we gave the vehicle a final inspection to ensure that it met our standards.

interior of a mercedes

LUX: Why use Gtechniq products?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Gtechniq is a leader in the world of ceramic coatings. They put a lot of research and development into their products and stand by them. There are many different brands for ceramic coatings but there are very few that have the same international recognition.

LUX: There are detailers offering clients mobile ceramic coating in hours. Your process takes three days. What is the difference?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: There are different levels of ceramic coating, There is a liquid ceramic coating which is very easily applied, you spray it on and wipe it off. There are also ceramic coatings which are not semi-permanent which can also be applied without the risk of causing much damage as removing the coating is easy.

Once you get to the semi permanent coatings such as the five year or nine year coatings, you need the paintwork to be perfect before you apply the coating as any imperfection will be locked in for the duration of the ceramic coating. It is not impossible, however it puts the person applying the coating at a big disadvantage.

We have a studio where we are able to control the lighting, temperature, and positioning of the vehicle. All of this helps us to produce incredible and consistent results.It would be a big disadvantage trying to correct a car with poor light and bad weather conditions.

LUX: People buying a brand new car may not believe their car needs paint correction (ahead of protection). Tell us what you find on brand new cars.
Ahmed Al-Wajih: Believe it or not I have yet too come across a brand new car that is without imperfections. To the untrained eye the car may be glossy and shiny but to a trained eye, there are swirls, light scratches from where the vehicle has been valeting prior to delivery. The vehicle may have been in transport and exposed to the elements. causing etchings on the paintwork Many people do not see the imperfections and are happy to live with it, but if you are going to project your vehicle, you would really need to perfect the paintwork, because if you see it over the coating, there is not much that can be done.

A man in a black uniform working in a car paint shop

LUX: Why choose a ceramic coat over a clear paint protection film wrap?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: If you are after protection, then the best form of protection is PPF (paint protection film). It protects the paintwork far better than ceramic. However PPF is costly and can cost more per panel than if you were just to have that panel painted. Also the level of shine and depth does not match that of a ceramic coating, although having said that, technology in PPF has come a long way and the quality is getting better.

LUX: For classic cars, you may still suggest a wax instead of a ceramic coat. Why?
Ahmed Al-Wajih: When recommending a product, we try to identify the purpose of why your vehicle is with us and what it is that you are trying to achieve. If you have a classic car that is garaged most days in the year and sees the odd outing to an event, chances are that the vehicle would not be exposed to a lot of contaminants. In addition tot his the paint may be very thin from previous years and a correction would not be suitable. A carnauba wax finish in this instance would be more suitable. The vehicle would still have protection, the paintwork would still have gloss and depth in the colour and more layers can be added on. If that same vehicle was to be parked on the street and driven daily thence would suggest a ceramic coating.

Portrait and product photography by Isabella Sheherazade Sanai




Reading time: 9 min
Richard Curtis and Keira Knightley wearing red noses
Richard Curtis working on a set with a camera crew
Richard Curtis, the screenwriter and film director behind Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Love Actually has launched a new campaign – to ensure people pressure their pension providers to follow sustainable principles. If successful, it could trigger a seismic shift in ESG investments. He speaks to Ella Johnson.

Richard Curtis is celebrated for comedic masterpieces like Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). Making nearly $300 million apiece at the box office, his Oscar-nominated films have starred everyone from Hugh Grant to Julia Roberts, Renée Zellweger to Colin Firth – to name but a few. Now, Curtis has launched a campaign aimed at ensuring fund managers put their money where their marketing material is on the green transition. For an industry worth $56 trillion globally, this would be a key pillar in achieving the Paris Climate Agreement goals.

It’s not the first time Curtis has turned his hand to social impact. He is the leader of Project Everyone, the not-for-profit creative communications agency raising awareness around the UN’s Global Goals. Following the 1985 famine in Ethiopia, Curtis also co-founded Comic Relief with actor and comedian Lenny Henry. Through its annual Red Nose Day comedy telethons in Britain, which have involved a star-studded roster of celebrities including Justin Bieber and the Duke of Cambridge, the charity has raised £1.3 billion for disadvantaged communities around the world. It also inspired the launch of a US edition in 2015, which names Jennifer Garner and Jack Black among its contributors and has raised $270 million to end child poverty to date.

Yet with trillions’ worth of pension schemes failing to commit to robust Net Zero targets, Curtis’ next venture could have an even greater (and greener) impact. According to him, it is all well and good spending your life fighting for great causes – but if your pension is funding precisely the opposite cause, what good are you really doing?

LUX: You describe people’s pension investments as a “superpower” hidden in plain sight. What does that mean?
Richard Curtis: It all changed for me when I saw a brilliant TED talk by an Australian cancer doctor called Bronwyn King, who discovered that a lot of her pension money was invested in tobacco companies without her knowing – meaning she’d actually been killing more people with her investments than she’d been saving with her life’s work.

The more I looked into it, the more examples of this I saw. From peace activists investing in weapons, to climate campaigners funding fossil fuel companies, to vegans investing in the meat industry – it was clear that many of us had become accidental investors in the practices we fight against.

pink billboard sign

LUX: What’s the key element of your campaign?
Richard Curtis: A key part of our campaign is to showcase what’s possible if we direct our money towards funding the best companies. Our 21x Campaign centres upon research conducted with Aviva and Route2, which found that moving from a default pension to a sustainable one could be 21 times more powerful at cutting your carbon footprint than giving up flying, becoming a vegetarian and switching energy provider combined.

Imagine if all £2.6 trillion in UK pensions was in sustainable funds; helping tackle the climate crisis, restore nature, alleviate poverty, provide affordable housing, and support medical research – the impact could be extraordinary.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Why is this awakening happening now?
Richard Curtis: I think we’re now at an incredibly exciting moment in civic activism. People are no longer waiting on others to change the world for them – they’re taking matters into their own hands and asking ‘what can I actually do to make a difference with my everyday actions?’ They are finding answers in unexpected places: in the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and how they travel. They’re discovering it in the products they buy, the brands they engage with, and the employers they work for.

Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, Richard Curtis and Domhnall Gleeson on the red carpet

Left to right: Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, Richard Curtis and Domhnall Gleeson arriving for the About Time UK Premiere held at Somerset House, London, 2013

LUX: Does following ESG guidance mean lower returns?
Richard Curtis: Research has shown that investing in sustainable, long-term businesses can have a positive impact on the environment and on society, and still secure healthy returns.

Morningstar examined the performance of 745 Europe-based sustainable funds and found that the majority of them had done better than non-sustainable funds over one, three, five and 10 years. In fact, many industry leaders have called the green transition the greatest economic opportunity of a generation.

We’re entering a time where it doesn’t have to be values vs. value, money vs. morals; you really can have both.

LUX: How are you raising these issues to the top of the agenda for the young generation?
Richard Curtis: Our first job is to get this issue on the radar of businesses leaders and CEOs – making sure that pensions are the new frontier for sustainability minded organisations across. After all, why serve vegetarian meals in the canteen if your pensions are invested in factory farming? Why install renewable energy across your offices, but continue to invest in coal? And why build a world beating sustainability plan if your pension money is directly undermining those actions?

This is a huge gap, but more importantly an enormous opportunity for impact. With customers, shareholders, investors, and employees increasingly asking businesses to ‘walk the talk’, authenticity and consistency across organisations’ climate change strategies can create a real competitive advantage, alongside real-world impact.

Richard Curtis and Keira Knightley wearing red noses

Richard Curtis and Keira Knightley for Comic Relief Red Nose Day

In putting their money where their mouth is, businesses can turbocharge their existing efforts in their race to net zero, engage new customers and clients, and help build a world fit for their employees’ retirement. All while protecting their investments from the worst effects of climate change.

Read more: Catherine Mallyon on The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Success

LUX: Your career has been dedicated to alleviating human suffering – through the £1.3 billion raised by Comic Relief to date; and now, through the £1 trillion worth of pension money that has been diverted towards tackling the climate crisis. How do you maintain clarity of vision and purpose on this scale?
Richard Curtis: Everything I’ve ever done has mainly been the work of so many other people. I’m the guy who opens the door for everyone else to come through. The real answer is that I sometimes do worry that I’m not doing the right things at the right time – but what I try to do is just work out where I, with my limited skills, can be most useful. And, when I find something like Make My Money Matter, I try to actually treat it like a proper job and spend my time making things, and organising events and campaigns – rather than just talking round things. My motto has always been ‘To make things happen, you have to make things.’

Find out more: www.makemymoneymatter.co.uk

Reading time: 5 min
luxury hotel
luxury hotel

The Royal Champagne is built into south-facing vineyards on the Montagne de Reims

In the final part of our luxury travel views series from the Autumn/Winter 2021 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks into Champagne’s newest and most luxurious hotel: the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa in Épernay

If the devil is in the detail, the Royal Champagne is a devil of a place. In the best possible way. What detail to pick on? The barista-style Italian espresso machine in the room? The pale-leather welcome box containing a bottle of boutique Leclerc Briant champagne in an ice bucket, two champagne glasses and some fruit slices? The delicate mesh on the light wood occasional table? So many.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

In truth, Champagne has been in need of this hotel forever. I have been visiting the region on business and pleasure for years, and the choice has been between a couple of old-school country luxe hotels with little in the way of contemporary pleasures, and an array of functional places wholly out of keeping with champagne (the drink) and its image of indulgence.

From the very start, it’s plain that the Royal Champagne is something else: an indulgent hotel created with extreme love and style (and budget) by deep-pocketed owners wanting the best and hang the cost. (That is my impression, and I challenge them to prove me wrong.)

spa swimming pool

The pool overlooks the champagne vineyards of Épernay

You approach from Reims by driving up the Montagne de Reims, the forest-topped big hill with vineyards on both sides that demarcates the territory between Reims and Épernay, the two capitals of Champagne. Through the forest at the top of the hill, onto a lane through the vineyards, and the hotel entrance appears out of nowhere.

The Royal is built into the hillside, a contemporary building and a feat of engineering beside the historic building that gives it its name.

Read more: LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai on Effective Climate Action

Inside, everything is light, open. The welcome is professional and swift, and our room, like all of them, faced out over the vineyards, with a big balcony and vista down to Épernay and to the hills of the Côte des Blancs beyond. The balcony table shaped as a hollow-sided mini-barrel was particularly cute. Inside, everything was generous, light grey, cream, gold: the big bathroom has a sliding wooden screen to the bedroom so you can bathe with a view.

The temptation to hang out in the beautiful bedrooms is extreme but should be resisted. A couple of levels below, an indoor pool stretches the length of the main building of the hotel, all with picture windows out to the vista; there are beds on pedestals at either end to relax on, as well as more conventional loungers all around, and on an expansive terrace outside there are more chill-out spaces and an outdoor pool, warmed to cope with the north European weather, on the edge of the vines.

luxury hotel bedroom

Then there’s the aptly named Le Bellevue restaurant, with a vast terrace with a view, where you can choose from an array of specialist champagnes and – amazing for the region – choose from a light, modern, organic-based menu. Bulgur and coriander tabbouleh, baked monkfish with chard risotto, that sort of thing. And do yourself a favour and allow the sommelier to choose for you from one of the small-grower champagnes: you may never have heard of them, because they only sell locally and make in tiny amounts.

The Royal Champagne is so good that it could be a destination hotel and resort for someone not interested in drinking champagne. It manages the trick of being desirable for couples, friends or families without overwhelming with one. The service is brilliant without being corporate (it’s not part of a group) and like another LUX favourite, the Alpina Gstaad, it redefines contemporary hôtellerie. It really is that good.

Book your stay: royalchampagne.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue.

Reading time: 3 min
fashion designer
fashion designer

Patrick McDowell in his studio at the JCA London Fashion Academy. Photograph by Aaron Bird

As the world’s fashion capitals gear up for fashion week, we’re celebrating designers who are paving the way for a more sustainable and ethical industry. Here, Patrick McDowell meets with Ella Johnson in his new studio at the JCA London Fashion Academy to discuss how sustainable fashion and social impact go hand in hand

Liverpool-born, London-based designer Patrick McDowell captured the world’s attention in 2018 with his graduate collection made from old Swarovski crystals and Burberry fabric donated by Christopher Bailey. Proving that sustainable fashion need not be synonymous with mundanity, McDowell was soon after nominated by Anna Wintour for the Stella McCartney Today for Tomorrow Award, and he subsequently went on to host London Fashion Week’s first ever Swap Shop.

Today, the 26-year-old has just been named the inaugural Designer in Residence at Professor Jimmy Choo’s JCA London Fashion Academy, where he will continue to make one collection a year under his eponymous label while carrying out sustainability advisory to other brands. But far from becoming a global brand overnight, McDowell is preoccupied with elevating other underprivileged creatives through scholarship programmes within the industry. Here, he explains why there is no time to waste.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Your first interaction with upcycling was when you created a bag from an old pair of jeans at 13. Was that a consciously sustainable act?
Patrick McDowell: It was the defiant act of a child who had been told ‘no’. Typically, in very working-class areas, your school uniform is bought three sizes too big so that you can grow into it. I was just sick of this really long satchel bashing against my knees, so I made one that was shorter out of a pair of jeans I knew I was never going to wear. Nowadays, it’s quite cool for kids to chop and make stuff, but back then it was all about buying. So, while I had made the bag with a needle and thread, people didn’t believe that I had made it. I quite liked that reaction, because I thought I must be alright [at fashion] if people thought I’d bought it.

It was crazy, really: I was this curly haired, 13-year-old child – nobody could tell if I was a boy or girl – walking around in this very sad uniform with these elaborate handbags that I had been making! It was a very working-class suburb of Liverpool, and looking back, I suppose it must have been quite unusual.

fashion shoot

LUX: Your ‘Catholic Fairytales’ collection addresses some of that disillusionment.
Patrick McDowell: I had a very Catholic upbringing. Every day started with a prayer. As a gay person growing up in that, it was quite challenging to realise that everything built around you was disagreeing with who you were. At 13, my Religious Studies teacher told me that it was OK to be gay, so long as I didn’t act on those feelings.

So, it was quite therapeutic doing ‘Catholic Fairytales’. The final irony of that collection is that what I did is way less avant-garde than actual priest robes, which have months and months of handwork. The recent history of the Catholic church is, on the whole, one of extreme extravagance. I did this very big, phallic hat for my collection, which people were surprised that I hadn’t invented – there was a papal tiara that shape, which they got rid of in the 1950s because they thought it was too over the top.

Read more: Patrick Sun on Promoting LGBTQ+ Art in Asia

LUX: What was your experience of joining Central Saint Martins as a northern, working-class, queer individual?
Patrick McDowell: I almost quit in the beginning. I somehow managed to get in without a foundation course, which is not meant to happen, and I failed the first year. I had such a panic because I’d spent six years trying to get there, but never considered what I’d do when I got there. All that self-limiting stuff comes from the class system and growing up working class. The school system is awful. It’s one of the reasons why I’m now such an advocate for creative education. I experienced how beneficial that kind of education can be, but also how hard it can be if you don’t do the ‘right’ things in the ‘right’ way.

fashion shoot

LUX: Do you feel a responsibility to elevate others in the industry?
Patrick McDowell: I’m very aware of how privileged I am, but my journey, from where I came from to where I am now, was a lonely one. I embody that journey, but at the same time, I graduated from one of the world’s best fashion schools with a collection made from Burberry fabric donated by Christopher Bailey, and old Swarovski crystals, with a British Fashion Council scholarship. All of those things opened the doors for me. That’s why I cried every day for two weeks, walking across Hanover Square, when I first came [to the Jimmy Choo Academy]: I was so overwhelmed. But I’ve realised that by letting myself get so overwhelmed, I wasn’t doing anything productive. When I started looking into it, I was shocked that there aren’t more scholarships available in schools. It’s so easy and inexpensive for brands to do it, plus there’s no bad press for starting one. That’s why I built a scholarship programme into my next contract with Pinko. It’s also why I’ll always push for as many social and educational initiatives as I can. It’s usually something people come to later in their career, but in my view, there’s no time to waste.

LUX: You say that it is not only a designer’s responsibility to ‘create beautiful clothing’, but to also ‘redesign the systems they sit within’. How are you doing that from a sustainability perspective?
Patrick McDowell: I was already sustainability ambassador for the Jimmy Choo Academy, and now I’m also Designer in Residence. I only do one avant-garde collection a year. I’ll be doing my next collection in September so there’s no rush, which I appreciate: I can do it when I want to do it.

The rest of the year, I work with brands, schools, and Graduate Fashion Week. I mentioned Pinko, with whom we have a social corporate and sustainability focus. I’m about to do my fourth collection with them, but this year we’ve expanded it so that the business is also committing to 30% of this overall product having a sustainable attribute. We’re also starting a social sustainability programme to start scholarships and a stronger internship programme.

I’m not interested in constantly producing thousands of the same dress in slightly different colours because that’s how you grow a brand through a wholesale business model. I’m not desperate to become a global brand overnight. The impact I’ve made with all the projects I have done has been way bigger because I’ve worked with bigger organisations to make it happen, rather than going at it alone.

fashion designer at work

Photograph by Aaron Bird

LUX: This disinterest in building a brand overnight, is it personal to you or common among your peers?
Patrick McDowell: These days, it’s definitely more common for Central Saint Martins students to say they want to do less or fewer collections. Richard Malone is a great example of someone who has a very successful business that he’s intentionally keeping at a certain size, and making beautiful pieces that a certain type of person wants to buy or order. He has a made-to-order service in Selfridges. I never thought I’d see that!

Read more: Markus Müller on the Importance of Global Sustainability Standards

LUX: Would you say that sustainability is a modern day luxury?
Patrick McDowell: I think it is a version of luxury that we see now. For a long time, harm was  fashionable. ‘How many exotic animals are in your Birkin? Mine’s got four’ – that kind of thing. Now, people take pride in saying ‘my jacket didn’t harm anything’. That’s an interesting shift. But it’s complicated, because for some people, wearing an outfit from a fast fashion company is their only way to feel like the person they want to be. I’m not going to be the person sitting in this Mayfair studio telling them that fast fashion is wrong. If that’s something that keeps that person going, then they need that. It always goes back to education and class systems, and to the fact that this country is set up to stifle the majority of the people that exist in it. And remembering too that it’s not sustainable either to completely change a business that supports thousands of people, because those people would then have no jobs.

LUX: What has the response been from the brands with whom you work on sustainability initiatives?
Patrick McDowell: It can sometimes be difficult going into a brand and disrupting the whole way they work. A brand is used to working in a very linear way, and then I go in and start asking people to work with each other who would never usually each other. But all those connections are exactly what businesses will need to grow and survive. I hope that I can do these things with brands and then, once I leave, there’s the infrastructure in place for them to do the work themselves.

LUX: It’s as though brands need external disruption to make change.
Patrick McDowell: It can’t happen with the teams as they already exist. Everyone is so busy; it just doesn’t work. But they’re going to have to start somewhere, so that’s where my consultancy approach helps. I’m not locked into these crazy fashion cycles. We have to rethink everything right now, to find creative solutions for everything from journalism to mathematics, science to fashion. It’s an extremely modern way to be working – to be passion- and emotion-led. It’s what resonates.

LUX: During London Fashion Week in 2020, you collaborated with the Global Fashion Exchange to host the first Swap Shop. What was that like?
Patrick McDowell: It was the first Swap Shop for any major fashion week, and we re-circulated 500 garments in 3 days. I always think that fashion weeks should be idea hubs; you don’t have to have it fully formed – just show an idea. We digitally tokenised all the swaps through QR codes, and we didn’t know if it was going to work, but now everyone’s doing it!

fashion photography

LUX: Is this pressure for perfection holding fashion back sustainability-wise?
Patrick McDowell: Sometimes we’re so scared of making everything so polished – especially with sustainability, where there is so much anxiety. We’d rather say nothing, because if we say something, people are going to criticise everything. But we all have a responsibility to just let people try things out and make mistakes. People think businesses are these holy grails of perfection, but the fact is they’re made by people, and people make mistakes.

LUX: It sounds like we need to put the fun back into fashion.
Patrick McDowell: Yes, you have to do sustainability in a way that’s fashion. It’s still fashion week, and it has to work for fashion week. It has to look great. Don’t be lazy. Just because you remade something doesn’t mean it can look bad, it still needs to be aspirational!

That’s one of the reasons my graduate collection went so well, I think, because it was all made from this old Burberry fabric, and it was glam, fab, and clean. It’s an easy message to get your head around: old stuff, turned into new stuff. I haven’t reinvented the wheel, or spent 20 years trying to get the spider make silk. Not everything has to be life-changing.

LUX: Can you tell us about your next collection?
Patrick McDowell: Marie Antoinette.

Find out more: patrickmcdowell.co.uk

All fashion images: Patrick McDowell’s ‘Catholic Fairytales’ collection, photographed by Aaron Bird

Reading time: 10 min
artwork installation

Installation view of Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, September 29, 2021-February 13, 2022). From left to right: Savarin, 1982; Savarin, 1982; Savarin, 1982; Savarin, 1982; Studio II, 1966. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

In our ongoing online monthly series, LUX’s editors, contributors, and friends pick their must-see exhibitions from around the globe

Sophie Neuendorf, Vice President of artnet & LUX Contributing Editor

This month, Hauser & Wirth presents glimpse, British artist Phyllida Barlow’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, opening on 17 February (until 8 May 2022) to coincide with Frieze LA. The show will include new large-scale works assembled on site and made in response to the gallery’s physical adaptation of the historic Globe Mills, a collection of late 19th and early 20th century buildings. It’s sure to be a knock-out and as an added bonus, the gallery has an excellent on-site restaurant named after one of its founders: Manuela.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

installation artwork

Phyllida Barlow, Undercover 2, 2020. Installation view, ‘Another Energy: Power to Continue Challenging – 16 Women Artists from around the World,’ Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2021. © Phyllida Barlow. Courtesy the artist and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo Photo: Furukawa Yuya

While you’re in LA, I also recommend stopping by Esther Kim Varet’s gallery Various Small Fires. The gallery launched in 2012 with the aim of fighting back against the traditional gallery system that allowed for already-big Western names to get even bigger. As a gallerist and dealer, Varet likes to keep it small: she only represents around 20 artists, fostering their growth right from the early-stages of their careers. As such, the shows here are always a great place to discover new talent before they take off. The current group show, for example, includes eleven artists curated by Todd Bockley of Bockley Gallery (on until 20 February 2022).

tapestry artwork

Julie Buffalohead, The Nourished, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist, Various Small Fires, Los Angeles/Dallas/Seoul and Bockley Gallery

Sutapa Biswas, Artist

Three powerful, beautiful and moving exhibitions which are ‘must sees’ over this next month (in addition to my own solo show at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead of course) are Lubaina Himid’s exhibition at Tate Modern in London (on until 3 July 2022), Shigeko Kubota Liquid Realities at MoMA, New York (on until 13 February 2022) and Jennifer Packer’s The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing at The Whitney, New York (on until 17 April 2022). I had the good fortune of seeing Lubaina’s exhibition, and the Serpentine’s iteration of Packer’s show, but I was devastated that the recent outbreak of the omicron Covid variant resulted in my having to cancel a scheduled visit to Kubota’s exhibition – I’m still dreaming of seeing it and hope this exhibition travels!

mirror installation

Shigeko Kubota, Video Haiku–Hanging Piece, 1981. Courtesy Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation. Artwork © 2021 Estate of Shigeko Kubota / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Digital image © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Denis Doorly

All three exhibitions bring together something vitally important in terms of our engagement with the subjects of their works in relation to the context, to form (the aesthetic) and to the nuances of meaning. I’m drawn to how each of these artists explore the intersections between art, history, form and our everyday realties and hopes. I love the confidence with which each of these artist’s works speaks through their works and what I learn as a viewer through my experience / encounter with their works. Moreover, I love how these artists’ works are haunting, opening thought in unexpected ways. Though the medium within which each of these artists work are so different, there is a language that connects them which relates to ‘the seeing’ and ‘the being’. Perhaps, for me, this ghosting of sorts is in part articulated through Kubota work titled Video Haiku – Hanging Piece, 1981. Prior to MoMA’s show I had not seen this work previously, but even on encountering it as a reproduction, I did a double-take. As a piece, it resonates deeply both formally and conceptually in terms of my own work as an artist. Such is the power and beauty of these women’s art.

figurative painting

Lubaina Himid
, Ball on Shipboard, 2018. 
Courtesy of Rennie Collection, Vancouver 
© Lubaina Himid

Darius Sanai, LUX Editor-in-Chief

The two shows I want to see most in February are shows I know I am not going to get to. First there is Mind/Mirror, the Whitney’s retrospective of Jasper Johns, in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art (on until 13 February 2022). It’s the most comprehensive retrospective of Johns’ work ever staged and likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us. He has long fascinated me for his reflections of the dramatic ructions in American society immediately after WW2, when within a few years, women in the western world gained arguably their biggest single step change in emancipation, segregation was officially abolished, and teenagers were invented. Along with Kurt Schwitters and Roy Lichtenstein, I think he is an artist whose importance will increase dramatically over time. If you’re lucky enough to be on the East Coast – go!

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf on Koons, Kitsch & the Evolving Art Market

david bowie photograph

Anton Corbijn, David Bowie, Chicago, 1980. Copyright Anton Corbijn

The other show is at the other end of the scale in terms of size, but not interest. Anton Corbijn first caught my eye when I was a child and my sisters worked for NME, the pre-eminent post punk newspaper. I didn’t have much interest in the bands featured in the paper at that stage, but Corbijn’s photography, artful, moody, powerful, and always monochrome, was memorable. As an outsider, I was also always fascinated by the idea of this Dutch guy being a mover and shaker on the British 1980s music scene. He moved onto photograph movie stars, supermodels and designers, including David Bowie, Naomi Campbell and Virgil Abloh. Now uber-curator and LUX contributor Simon de Pury has curated a show, viewed by appointment at The Hague, Amsterdam (which I’m not going to make) and online at de-pury.com. Speaking to Simon last week, I told him his next move in the pop world should include the works of Pennie Smith, who created the black-and-white imagery in the book The Clash: Before And After, a kind of epic, humorous Canterbury Tales of the punk band’s first US tour. Watch this space.

Read more: Legendary photographer Iran Issa-Khan on ‘The Forces of Nature’

Tarka Russell, Director Timothy Taylor Gallery

When in Los Angeles, I never miss a visit to David Kordansky Gallery. During Frieze LA, he has Jonas Wood showing a collection of new paintings and works on paper (on until 5 March 2022). Another unforgettable trip is the The Getty museum where you are immersed in treasures.

painting of garden

Jonas Wood, Future Zoo, 2021. Photo by Marten Elder, courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery

Loulou Siem, Artist

This month, Pal Project, Pierre and Alexandre Lorquin’s art space in Paris, is showing Paragone by Mateo Revillo (on until 12 March 2022). I had a preview just before the opening and it is electric. Revillo has painted lines in beeswax and pigment on tile shaped plaster boards and hung them like diamonds – lines that run away and towards each other, going somewhere and nowhere and wrapping the space in unseen tape that asks: what happens outside of the edge? Live snails crawl up the walls, creating yellowish, unconfident loops on the once pristine gallery surface. Meanwhile, the wonky lines in the paintings feel fast, like static, and seem to challenge the somnolent snails. Snails that tease the limits of the paintings: awkwardly sexy?

installation of artworks

Installation view of Paragone by Mateo Revillo. Courtesy of Pal Project, Paris

I normally think of tiles as existing in multiples, made up for architecture, but here each is given jewel-like space, and do not need a collective to communicate. In fact, the materials in the show are industrial, not typically decorative. The plaster board is part of the wall itself, the bench that has been burned has doodled soot down the wall at its fall and the relatively small church of wedged coal bricks is solid and uncomplicated. The paintings feel monumental to me in their abstraction. In some moments, paint has flaked off the edges of the plaster, reminiscent of some Mediterranean antiquity, except these tiles were always meant to be perfectly imperfect. If you’re in Paris this month or at any point the future, I highly recommend stopping by: I think there could be a lot of exciting things coming out of this space.

Reading time: 7 min
hotel on a harbour
hotel on a harbour

The Idle Rocks boutique hotel sits on the edge of St Mawes harbour in Cornwall

Located on the harbour’s edge of Cornish fishing village St Mawes, The Idle Rocks is a coastal-meets-contemporary hotel and locavore hotspot. Ella Johnson checks-in for a weekend of fine dining and relaxation

At 19 rooms, The Idle Rocks is an intimate hotel. Mementos of the owning family, which bought the hotel in 2013, are dotted about the place: photographs and well-read books populate the shelves; a pair of child’s red ballet pumps, un-pristine, sit poised beneath a bell jar. Soft furnishings are in exuberant and mismatched fabrics. The wall art – all by the same local artist – offers colourful, child-like iterations of the surrounding landscape. Signature scented candles and a log fire burn all day and night; shell-shaped light fixtures bathe the communal spaces in glow. Yet there is no music or forced ambience here: only the sound of the sea just outside the window.

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The Idle Rocks is located on the harbour’s edge of St Mawes, a small fishing village on the Roseland Peninsula. Described by The Times in the 1940s as ‘a kind of British edition of St. Tropez’, a mild climate means that St Mawes is attractive year-round, and some prefer coming here away from the hectic summer months when crowds of ‘staycationers’ from across the UK fill the county’s narrow lanes and surfing beaches.

luxury hotel bedroom

One of the hotel’s grand seaview rooms

You can hear the waves wherever you happen to find yourself in the hotel: bath, breakfast, bed, or otherwise. We took the corner room with the two Juliet balconies overlooking the harbour and slept with the doors open for maximum effect (the complimentary night-time hot water bottle meant there was no risk of getting cold). In the daytime, the room is light-filled; Breton-striped curtains, raffia rugs and a travel trunk nod to the nautical while letting the view do the talking.

Head to the fireside when it is time for aperitifs and plan a culinary trip around the peninsula. Of chef Dorian Janmaat’s seven-course seasonal tasting menu, our favourite course was the venison loin with celeriac, cavolo nero, and blackberries, washed down with a glass of Black Ram Cornish red from the local Trevibban Mill Vineyard.

Read more: Designer Ali Behnam-Bakhtiar on the future of luxury events

Seafood lovers will also enjoy the lemon sole with braised salsify, cep, Cornish caviar and verjus, or the Cornish monkfish with roasted chicory. (We tried both: with the water’s edge just metres away, it would have been rude not to).

hotel lounge

The lounge area with colourful artworks by local artists

If you book out the whole hotel for exclusive use, you get the keys to the Idle Rocks-branded Land Rover thrown in. Take it out for a day of shooting or beach walking with friends, stopping off at noon at the Hidden Hut in Portscatho to warm your bones with a bowl of fish chowder on the beach.

When we returned to the hotel, we booked in for a massage in the hotel’s treatment room. While the Aromatherapy elixirs were a tonic after a day braving the Cornish elements, none was so therapeutic as lazing about in our own private cinema afterwards. The Secret Cinema is located at The Idle Rocks’ sister establishment, the St Mawes Hotel, just across the road, and is a good alternative for those looking for something a little more laid-back.

Rates: From £230 incl. breakfast (approx. €250/ $300)

Book your stay: idlerocks.com

Reading time: 3 min
Penny Hughes wearing a black top and white trousers holding a book sitting on the arm of a sofa
A corridor with lots of books on the shelves

The Library in the Riverstone Kensington

Penny Hughes is the Chairman of Riverstone, a group that is changing the senior living sector. Samantha Welsh speaks to Hughes about why Riverstone is different from other retirement home models.

LUX: You have a track record of leading world class consumer brands, across diverse industries, Coca Cola and Aston Martin, for example.  What qualities have you come to admire in leaders?
Penny Hughes: I strongly admire tenacity, drive and enthusiasm, but most of all I admire leaders with the ability to evolve and overcome change. At the start of my career I had no female role models. As a leader, and through experience, I have moved to being a positive campaigner for diversity, taking decisions that result in enhanced diversity & inclusion.

LUX: What has driven the transformation of the senior living sector from Cinderella to a sweet spot in the alternative property assets class?
Penny Hughes: Internationally, 5-7% of the market is focused on later living, while in the UK it is less than 1%. It’s not just a new asset class, it’s an undiscovered one. We are getting older; populations are growing and we are living longer. Research indicates that over 65s want to downsize, they want to release equity to enjoy life, and, most importantly, age in the places they love. Growth in this sector is adding value in creating options for the over 65s to ensure they can live the life they want to live.

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LUX: Are institutions also meeting ESG targets through investing in later living?
Penny Hughes: Many institutions do not place enough emphasis on the ‘Social’. The pandemic spurred a renewed focus on community living. Already Riverstone is in discussions with local schools to provide engagement for our residents – such as reading clubs with school children – and learning opportunities for the next generation.

LUX: What are the public policy gains offered by the retirement home model?
Penny Hughes: Policy makers are opening their eyes to how bespoke later living schemes can help alleviate pressures on the NHS and the social care system. Our approach aims to focus on prevention rather than cure, yet we are also able to offer on-site GP consultations and prescriptions to residents’ doors should our residents wish to access this service.

A lounge with sofas and chairs and a coffee table

Riverstone Fulham Lounge

LUX: Has the pandemic offered new opportunities and ways of repurposing vacant property?
Penny Hughes: The pandemic has placed a heightened importance on our homes; there is a clear focus on what we need and what we don’t. For many of our future residents, they are at the stage in their life where they want to downsize, release equity, and live within a community that encourages healthy and active lifestyles. This further benefits the wider community as it unlocks appropriate and much needed housing for all generations.

LUX: Given the governments targets for delivering new homes, how do you compete with residential developers?
Penny Hughes: We’re living longer. By 2030, one in five people in the UK (21.8%) will be aged 65 or over (Age UK). The Riverstone offering, in prime central London, is meeting the demand for home ownership among the over 65s, which research indicates remains high, whilst also offering residents their own slice of luxury.

LUX: Your communities are disruptors, you celebrate metropolitan living, are you the new place-makers?
Penny Hughes: Metropolitan living is captivating. There is always something exciting going on, and most definitely keeps people active. I wouldn’t say we are place-makers as we choose vibrant established locations, however, we provide a wealth of private amenities and outstanding facilities, such as our gardens, curated by Chelsea Flower Show landscape and garden designer Andy Sturgeon, and our restaurants for the whole community

A herb garden in a courtyard surrounded by a building

The Garden at the Riverstone Fulham, landscaped by Andy Sturgeon. Herb garden by Jekka McVicar

LUX: ‘Live the life you want’ – why are the world’s Baby Boomers so demanding and what do they want?
Penny Hughes: We are creating a place that is welcoming and accessible, not too formal. We are also creating The Riverstone Club, which will comprise state-of-the-art wellness spaces including a pool, spa, treatment rooms and yoga studio, alongside cinema, library, espresso bar, and business suites for personal and private affairs. Equally we don’t want people to feel intimidated if they want their privacy, so they can enjoy the chef’s table, or dine with friends.

LUX: What differentiates the Riverstone brand from other equally recognisable names?
Penny Hughes: This is a new asset class for prime central London, there aren’t many operators within this sector. Our competitors are either operating through rental models, or locations that appeal to a different audience.

Read more:6 Questions: Paul White, Four Seasons

LUX: How does the apartment ownership structure assist in managing wealth transfer?
Penny Hughes: 75% of our future residents currently own a large home. Riverstone’s model presents an option to downsize and free up equity. Each apartment is sold with a 150-year lease. A monthly fixed membership fee is charged during residents’ occupation, and this covers staffing, repairs, security, maintenance and general operating costs. Additional care and other services are charged separately on a pay-as-you-go basis. When looking to sell a Riverstone apartment a deferred fee (a percentage of the sale price) is payable when the property is sold. This management fee is a new model for the UK, however widely used in New Zealand and Australia.

A yoga studio with green mats and a silver ball

Riverstone Kensington Yoga studio

LUX: What is the long term strategy for the group?
Penny Hughes: We are continuing to explore new central London sites as part of our plan to deliver a £3 billion portfolio. We have been very pleased with the reception for our Kensington and Fulham developments after they launched recently.

LUX: And can you share any well-being tips with us?
Penny Hughes: We should all – at every age – dedicate quality time to our own health and well-being. My passion in life is having a purpose and making a difference. I don’t do well sitting at home! Activities such as going to the gym, or paddle boarding on the river help give me space to unwind, whilst also being a fun form of exercise.”

Find out more: riverstoneliving.com

Reading time: 5 min

tat* by Andy Altmann

Some people collect wine or classic cars; others collect coins or stamps. Andy Altmann collects graphic ephemera – or what he calls ‘tat’. Altmann developed his interest in scraps during his career at Why Not Associates, the multidisciplinary studio he founded upon graduating from the Royal College of Art over three decades ago. Now, the graphic designer has compiled his collection in a singular, self-designed publication. Here, Altmann speaks to LUX about how the book mirrors his design evolution, and why brash design need not be devoid of beauty

man with box1. Of all the things you might collect, you chose ‘tat’. Why?

It’s hard for me to explain exactly why I collect tat*. When I was a young boy, my mother noticed me sitting at the kitchen table, carefully studying the label on an HP Sauce bottle. When she enquired why, I apparently replied, ‘someone must have to design this’. I was instinctively attracted by the lettering, the colours and the illustration of the Houses of Parliament on what is still my favourite condiment. It’s a classic example of what was once known as ‘commercial art’. It did its job and pulled me in.

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However, I didn’t start collecting any graphic ephemera until I was studying graphic design at St Martins School of Art in the early 1980’s. We were encouraged to keep sketchbooks, where we could practice our drawing and put our creative thoughts down on paper. I wasn’t as gifted as some of my peers at drawing, so I started to turn these sketchbooks into idea notebooks where I would also stick in any relevant piece of graphic ephemera. With time, these developed into pure scrapbooks with more and more tat* lovingly glued into their pages. There is a great nostalgic attraction to the particular era that the ephemera has been produced in. But it is also my fundamental fascination with popular culture, including the history of Pop Art, which was and still is a huge influence on me – where the everyday is embraced and celebrated.

2. tat* emphasises the disposability of graphic ephemera even while immortalising it in book form. What fascinates you about that interplay?

These ephemeral pieces of tat* were not designed to survive for a long time. They had a job to do and, in the majority of cases, they end up in the bin. There is certainly irony in me celebrating what some may see as poor graphic design, destined for the trash, ending up in a fancy hardback coffee table book. But I hope people can also see the beauty in the ugly. The cheap production values of much tat* means that the printing is often poor and mis-registered – but to me, this only adds to their aesthetic attraction. I don’t know why this should be: maybe it’s like a stamp collector who is looking for a printing mistake, which makes a stamp much rarer. I think it may however be that they just feel more human, less perfect.


tat* by Andy Altmann

3. You frequently extrapolate memories from the graphic scraps reproduced in tat* – of your upbringing in Warrington, or sitting and watching World of Sport with your grandfather. Could we call it a diary of sorts?

I guess it is a kind of diary, as it illustrates moments through my life in association with printed pieces of ephemera. They can evoke various memories of where I may have found them, who gave it to me or a subject that is dear to me. A good friend of mine, on reading a copy of the book, described it as now being his ‘favourite autobiography’. I really like that description. It was a revelation to me, as I had not thought of it in that context, but it’s a really interesting way of viewing it.

As a graphic designer, it is rare for me to be asked to write about anything. I consider myself more of a visual person, so I was hesitant to include any written words in the book. But I was encouraged by friends to have a go at including relevant stories after recounting some of them when showing them work-in-progress spreads. In the end, I found the writing a really enjoyable and rewarding experience, and it turned the final book into a much more interesting piece of work.

Read more: Pioneering Artist Michael Craig Martin on Colour & Style

4. Much of that depicted in tat* is brash, erroneous, or what might be considered ‘bad’ graphic design. What value is there to be derived from this kind of design?

Having a collection of graphic ephemera can be useful to any practicing graphic designer. It’s a library of visual thoughts. Some may be deemed naff or crude but any piece could spark an idea, illustrate a great colour palette, inspire a typographic layout or choice of font. It doesn’t really matter that it may be considered ‘bad design’ – there may well be something that could be taken to start a tract of creative thought.

I was a co-founder of the multidisciplinary design practice Why Not Associates. I used to keep all my scrapbooks of tat* in the cupboard next to my desk. If a designer was having a creative block I used to encourage them to flick through some of the scrapbook pages in the hope that they may spark an idea or just freshen the mind. Some of our best ideas started from a thought inspired by a piece of tat*.


tat* by Andy Altmann

5. tat* is clearly fascinated with vintage or retro design. Would you say that any one period inspires you most as an artist and, if so, which one?

That period would be the 1960’s and 1970’s because, as with many people, I think I am most strongly drawn to the period of my childhood. It is where we form our fundamental characteristics and loves that stay with us for life. I guess it’s the basic human desire for nostalgia for our youth. One only has to watch contemporary television to see the many shows dedicated to salvaging objects from peoples childhoods or early adulthood.

Read more: Big Boy Blue: In the Studio with Idris Khan

6. You ran a design studio, Why Not Associates, for 33 years before you decided to embark on more personal projects like tat*. How have you ensured that your designs stay inventive and surprising throughout your career?

I co-founded Why Not Associates with two fellow students on leaving the Royal College of Art in 1987. We never worked for another design company, and I think because of this direct transition we maintained the spirit for experimentation and surprise that we had developed as students. We left the RCA with just three drawing boards, but we were among the first design groups to buy an Apple Mac. We were not scared of the change, unlike many of our contemporaries, and we embraced the technology which led us to be one of the first multidisciplinary design groups. An open mind to change, collaborating with people of all ages and not taking yourself too seriously help to keep new, inventive and surprising ideas flowing.

I don’t think my approach to solving a creative problem has basically changed over the years. I am a curious person who loves researching the background to a project and this always forms the platform to relevant and strong ideas. However, you still need that child-like mind to embrace the unexpected. Look at it upside down and back to front. What at first may seem to be a daft notion or irrelevant idea could turn it into a thought provoking concept.

Find out more: circa.press

Reading time: 6 min
green and black car
old yellow car

1938 Bugatti Type 57 C Stelvio Cabriolet

Maarten Ten Holder, Managing Director of Bonhams Motoring, tells LUX his top picks at Les Grandes Marques du Monde in Paris, ahead of the sale on Thursday 3rd February 2022. A sale which features cars being sold up to £2,100,000
a man standing by a black car

Maarten Ten Holden

Les Grandes Marques à Paris, Bonhams’ European season-opener is an event I look forward to every year. Traditionally held at the Grand Palais, located between the Champs-Elysees and the Seine, this venue is one of the more spectacular settings for our many international car auctions.

This year, the sale has relocated to the Grand Palais 2.0, le Grand Palais Éphémère, a stunning temporary building which is serving as the city’s exhibition space during the restoration of the original. Located on the Champs-the-Mars, right at the foot of the Eiffel tower, this modular, sustainable structure is not only environmentally friendly, but through its design and location, might even outshine its historical sibling.

But there is more: inspired by the glamour of Éphémère, we decided to add a new luxury sale of more than 125 watches to our series of sales in Paris, which is the perfect complement to our regular line up.

We will present more than 100 of the most exquisite collectors’ cars, from the pioneers to contemporary supercars. Creating a shortlist has proven a tricky task, but here are just a few of my top picks…

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

1964 Porsche 904 GTS, estimate €1,300,000 – 1,600,000
One of the biggest racing stars of the 1960S, the mid-engined Porsche 904 GTS sportscar was owned by a star: the Hollywood great, Robert Redford, who drove it for nearly a decade. The model was called the ‘giant killer’ for its success in such famous events as the Monte Carlo Rally.

A green car

Robert Redford’s Porsche 904 GTS

2015 Ferrari LaFerrari, estimate €2,000,000 – 2,500,000
The F1-inspired hybrid hypercar was described by Ferrari as its most ambitious car, with its electric motor and V12 petrol engines combining to create a staggering power output of 950bhp. This rare yellow example has only driven 930km from new.

A yellow ferrari in the snow

2015 Ferrari LaFerrari Coupé

‘Le Patron’ 1938 Type 57C Special Coupé, €1,600,000 – 2,000,000
The Paris sale always showcases the finest French cars; and this Art Deco beauty is truly special. Known as ‘Le Patron’ it was named after and used by company founder Ettore Bugatti himself and its bespoke coachwork is believed to be the final design created by his son Jean.

green and black car

‘Le Patron’,1936 Bugatti 57C

1996 Bugatti EB110, estimate €1,100,000 – 1,300,000
The most modern of the five Bugattis offered in Paris, the record-setting EB110 supercar was the brainchild of Italian businessman Roman Artioli who revived the brand. The era’s fastest series production sports car has a top speed of 340km/h thanks to its turbocharged V12 engine. This example is one of only 95 GTs produced.

A blue Bugatti by the sea

1996 Bugatti EB110 GT Coupé

1902 Panhard & Levassor Type A2 7HP Tonneau à entrée par l’arrière, estimate €300,000 – 360,000

From the dawn of motoring, this is a remarkably authentic example and one of the best survivors of its genre. It has retained its original engine, coachwork and even leather trim. This car also has successfully completed the famous London-to- Brighton Veteran Car Run with its owner.

an old style black car

1902 Panhard & Levassor Type A2 7HP tonneau à entrée par l’arrière

Read more: ADMO: Alain Ducasse & Dom Pérignon’s Ephemeral Dining Experience

Michael Schumacher’s 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Estate, estimate €50,000 – 100,000 (No Reserve)
This was the daily driver of a true motorsport legend, seven times Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher. It was his company car when he joined the newly formed Mercedes GP Petronas Formula 1 Team in 2010. Not surprisingly, this top of the range C63 was equipped with €20,000 in luxury options.

A black Mercedes-Benz

Michael Schumacher’s 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Estate

A preview of Les Grandes Marques du Monde will be taking place on Wednesday 2nd February 2022 and the auction will be held on Thursday 3rd February 2022.

Reading time: 3 min