beautiful dinner arrangement
beautiful dinner arrangement

Since 1829, Champagne Bollinger has been making gwines, expressing the aromas of the fruit in all its dimensions.

James Bond’s champagne house of choice released the latest iterations of its new top-end champagnes amid glitz and glamour in Paris. Masha Nosova secured an invitation

The evening took place at the Bucherie in the Latin Quarter, originally an amphitheatre for medical students in the 17th century.

The cuvees served were La Grande Annee and La Grande Année Rose 2015. Bollinger uses oak barrels for fermentation, unusually for champagne, which creates richness, weight complexity and depth A tangible connection to this legacy was brought to life as Gaël Chaunut, the in-house head cooper, demonstrated the centuries-old art of barrel-making, a process as intricate as it is timeless.

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man with champagne glas

Charles-Armand de Belenet is the managing director of Maison Bollinger

The themes of ‘wood’ permeated throughout the evening, from the meticulously crafted canopy of 9,500 paper pieces, reminiscent of a forest, to the exquisite gastronomic journey curated by Two Michelin-starred Chef Olivier Nasti, masterfully incorporating elements of nature into his tantalising creations and transporting us on a journey of flavours. His venison tartare with Osciètre caviar and citrus ice with petals complimented effortlessly alongside La Grande Année, while the tender game of Alsatian hunts presented with a colourful quintuplet of sauces, found its perfect match with La Grande Année Rosé 2015. A mystery wine, which later revealed itself as the Grande Annee 1989 was paired with a 28 month aged Comte.

Read more: A tasting of Drouhin’s fine Burgundies

beautiful french house

The Maison Bollinger event took place in a beautiful house in the heart of Paris

Champagne-bollinger.com

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A woman wearing a white dress standing in a garden
A woman wearing a white dress standing in a garden

French actress and singer Stéfi Celma

Paris-born actor and singer Stéfi Celma, who plays the ambitious receptionist in Call My Agent, on her cultural inspirations, social- media advice and dealing with racism

LUX: When did your passion for music start?
Stéfi Celma: Very early- it was as if I could sing before I could speak. My father found a little audio tape I made, so I have the proof.

LUX: What types of music have influenced you?
SC: I would say Latin music, Afromusic, French chansons and hip-hop. I also remember, as a child, discovering Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2. her voice really affected me. Later, I listened over and over to her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

LUX: What do you do to relax and disconnect?
SC: I have lived in Brussels for a few years and I’ve developed a real passion for antique collecting – the city has some real treasures. I love spending time at the flea market in Place du Jeu de Balle, just doing my thing. It is a good area to discover if you are passing through Brussels.

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LUX: What are your favourite restaurants and cafés in Paris to take a visitor?
SC: I’m not really up to date on good restaurants in Paris, but I do know a few in Brussels. If you pass by, I really like Le P’tit Chouia En +, a delicious Moroccan restaurant in rue de la Pacification. Certo Faim et Soif in rue Longue Vie is a quite simple restaurant, with original dishes that change every week. Boentje Café, in Place Colignon, offers beautiful fresh products, has a zero-waste approach and makes delicious little dishes.

LUX: What has been you favourite memory of playing Sofia in the TV comedy-drama Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent)?
SC: The whole Dix Pour Cent adventure has been incredible – it’s been a real learning experience and I have met great people. But the scene that really comes to mind is the shooting of the theatre scene in episode 3 season 1. I perform the song Qui, which I also covered on my EP. It particularly touches me and is an important scene for my character.

A woman standing in a garden holding onto a wall with one arm and plants around her

Celma is best known for her role as Sofia in Dix pour cent (Call My Agent)

LUX: Have you ever experienced any racism or sexism in the industry?
SC: I have not experienced racism in the artistic world any more than I have elsewhere. I would even say that my experience has been better in the industry and that I have been encouraged to affirm my identity in the. projects I have been involved in. When I started, I did hear things like, “They are not looking for a black person for this role”, where colour was not a subject in the project. Luckily, that didn’t happen often.

LUX: What do you think of social media?
SC: For discovering artistic talent and for ease of communication it is brilliant. I also really like Facebook groups that help me to look for antiques and give a second life to things – I am very touched by that kind of approach. But I think social media takes up so much space in our lives and we have to know how to slow down and discipline ourselves. Easier said than done…

Read more: Alia Al-Senussi and Durjoy Rahman on art and cultural soft power

LUX: Are there musicians you would particularly like to work with?
SC: I have has the opportunity to be surrounded by great artists every day. I am blown away by the singer-songwriter Matthieu Chedid, who I have seen on stage many times, and the singer and actress Yael Naim. My favourite album at the moment is Hamza’s latest, Sincèrement. It is hard-hitting but also very free-form.

LUX: What advice would you give to young international actors?
SC: To try and stay true to themselves, whatever happens.

LUX: What were you doing before our interview this morning?
SC: I was looking after my baby daughter, who is eight months old.

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York
A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Nomad by Martin Brudnizki bring guests to the skies of New York

Martin Brudnizki and Bruno Moinard are two of the most celebrated names in interior architecture and design today. Here, Brudnizki takes LUX on a grand tour of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio’s most recent projects, while Moinard shares his design inspiration and creative process

Martin Brudnizki

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton new York, Nomad
With Nubeluz located on the 50th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, our concept for its interior was to create a star in the New York sky. The project’s core is a central backlit onyx bar, and the surfaces are designed to reflect its lighting. A high-gloss lacquer ceiling, a marble floor, mirrored and onyx tables, plus six statement brass saucer chandeliers ensure that light bounces around the room in a magical way.

A man sitting with this hands to his chin at a bar

Martin Brudnizki

The colour scheme takes the project from lightbox to jewel box with a teal envelope to the walls, floor and ceiling, highlighting the coral seating in its luxurious mohair and flame stitch-patterned fabrics. We didn’t want to disrupt the views, so sheer teal-trimmed roman blinds hang across the windows. Our interior is a celebration of light and the city, referencing the classic hotel bar and saluting the views over an iconic skyline. It is modern and quintessentially New York.

nubeluzbyjose.com

Hôtel Barrière Fouquet’s New York
This is the illustrious French five-star hotel brand’s first foray into the US. In Paris it is located on the Champs-Élysées, so you might think its natural New York home would be the Upper East Side, but its team chose Tribeca – a decision I love. Our design challenge was to combine a distinctly Parisian ambience with a downtown location.

A brown and red bar with velvets and wood

Hôtel Barrièrre Fouquet’s New York by Martin Brudnizki brings the iconic Parisian hotel to Paris

We have brought together high glamour and elegance in a modern, timeless design, while leaning on the building’s loft-style architecture that blends seamlessly into the Tribeca landscape. Parisian design accents can be found in the rich materiality and colour palettes, while a carefully curated art collection, featuring many local artists, has a gritty urban appeal.

hotelsbarriere.com/en/collection-fouquets/new-york

Vesper Bar at The Dorchester, London
With this project, it was important to respect the past while bringing it to a new era. We were inspired by celebrated Roaring Twenties creatives, such as Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel, who each had a history with The Dorchester.

Two green chairs next to a wooden table and wooden wall

Vesper Bar at the Dorchester by Martin Brudnizki

Their inspiration was integral to the spirit of this landmark bar. We also nodded to designer Syrie Maugham in our use of the mirrored columns. The hope is that the Vesper Bar inspires another Roaring Twenties.

dorchestercollection.com

Mother Wolf, LA
Situated off Sunset Boulevard, Mother Wolf is a playful Italian restaurant that has become a magnet for LA celebrities since its opening in 2022. Working with chef Evan Funke and Ten Five Hospitality, we created a homage to the glamour and elegance of Italian design.

A room with green plants and red leather furniture and mirrored walls

Mother Wolf, LA by Martin Brudnizki

References to architects Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa can be found in the dining chairs and central bar, while a trompe-l’oeil scene depicts lemons and pomegranates – an ode to Italy’s chic riviera. With its Murano-glass lighting, antique mirrors and Siena-marble table tops, every aspect of the restaurant’s interiors connects to the design heritage of Italy.

motherwolfla.com

Bruno Moinard

I am guided by lines, materials, light, energy and movement: whether in my work as an architect – in our projects around the world with Claire Bétaille for famous brands and high-profile clients – or in my more intimate work as a designer and painter.

A man standing amongst blue paintings in a studio

Bruno Moinard in his studio amongst his paintings

When I began to appreciate beautiful old cars – and I have three mythical English models – I saw their design is a distillation of everything that makes me vibrate in my creative process. I see these qualities in the bodywork, the leather, wood and chrome, the colours, the interplay between interior and exterior, the vision of the future in front of me and of the road travelled behind.

A red and white lobby with flowers hanging on pillars a large chandelier hanging over a rug

Interiors of Hôtel Plaza Athénee lobby, Paris by Bruno Moinard

So the challenge I set myself is to work with authenticity to evoke an emotion, to give a simple pleasure and generate unique sensations. This is luxury. It has nothing to do with glitz or so-called rarity.

A hallway with a marble floor and staircase

Hôtel du Marc lobby, Reims by Bruno Moinard

So in the cellars of Clos de Tart, a 1,000-year-old Burgundy vineyard with a Cistercian history, we built on the exceptional quality of the historic building, bringing light into the space, giving it life, to place it in harmony with the pure elegance of the wines.

A dark dining room with a chandelier hanging over the table

Hôtel du Marc dining room by Bruno Moinard

In “Résonance”, my recent exhibition in Paris, we made each painting an experiential space that I invited people to enter. My recent furniture collections also seek this sense, which has a direct impact on quality of life and on the welcoming nature of a space.

A living room with cream and grey furniture and a blue painting on the wall

One Monte-Carlo living room, Monaco by Bruno Moinard

My lights, furniture, carpets and objects bring freshness and softness with natural forms and materials. I am privileged to work in complementary fields and my inspiration in both is based on the same triptych of emotion, continuity and sustainability, while promoting the finest workmanship and expertise.

brunomoinardeditions.com

moinardbetaille.com

brunomoinardpeinture.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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photographs hanging on a wall with Helmut Newton in white a ona. red background witten on a wall and a projected image on an adjacent wall

photographs hanging on a wall with Helmut Newton in white a ona. red background witten on a wall and a projected image on an adjacent wall

A powerful show at one of Europe’s most spectacular philanthropic art foundations showcases the works of one of the 20th century’s most provocative image-makers

A complex comprising a converted industrial warehouse and storage silos in the far northwest of Spain may not seem, on first glance, like an obvious place for a major retrospective of one of the most glamorous photographers of the 20th century. Helmut Newton’s provocative, lustrous shoots, oozing on the edge of debauchery, were the mainstays of publications like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in their fin-de-siecle glory years, creating era-defining stories from the best that the great urban fashion houses of Paris and Milan could offer in association with the powerful media houses of New York and London – and of course featuring Newton’s unique relationship with the supermodels of the day. They were la cosmopolitan La Dolce Vita with a slice of outrage.

An old camera on a table

The MOP Foundation, which LUX visited to see the current “Helmut Newton Fact & Fiction” exhibition, is on the edge of the Spanish port city of A Coruna, in Galicia, at the top left corner of the Iberian Square, and feels a long way from the glamour of the traditional fashion world.

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And yet appearances deceive: the MOP is the creation of Marta Ortega Perez, of the Inditex Spanish fashion dynasty that owns Zara; a powerful effort to place their home city on the global cultural map, it is in a location whose drama and own cultural history would have enormous appeal to Newton himself, one feels.

Black and white photos hung on a wall lit up in a dark room

The exhibition itself shows a breadth to Newton’s works that some may have missed: alongside iconic fashion images are portraits of David Bowie, Charlotte Rampling and Margaret Thatcher, among many others. Newton’s works always have power: the power to shock, in some cases, and to provoke, in others, and the power of sheer visual brilliance, in others.

Read more: If Only These Artworks Could Talk

All are very much on show here. Newton’s works are also very much of their time – a man depicting women and their power in an era of liberation that sometimes now seems at risk, and of course we now live in a post-supermodel, post-celebrity fashion photographer era.

An exhibition room with photographs on the walls and objects in a glass box

The MOP specialises in photography and their work with the Helmut Newton Foundation in bringing this – the third show in the foundation’s history – to life is a fitting tribute to an art form that is sometimes at risk of being demeaned by a billion smartphones.

Helmut Newton, Fact & Fiction, MOP Foundation, is available to view until 1st May 2024

themopfoundation.org

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An outdoor terrace with yellow cushioned deck chairs and tables
An outdoor terrace with yellow cushioned deck chairs and tables

The roof terrace looks out over Notre Dame cathedral

Darius Sanai checks in to the newest luxury hotel in Paris. Does it have the substance to match the style?

It’s a winter’s afternoon in Paris and, laden with big bags from Moynat and Hermès, and a smaller one from JAR, you decide to walk the few blocks from Place Vendôme to the Rue de Louvre, the big wheel of the Tuileries Christmas market appearing and disappearing to your right and Francois Pinault’s Bourse du Commerce museum an apparition in front of you.

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Your arrival at Madame Rêve, the newest luxury star in the unrivalled Parisian swanky hotel galaxy, is a little unexpected – or ours was, anyway. There is no palatial lobby with a concierge desk a marble tennis court distance away from reception. The building is impressive enough, a palace from the Hausmann era, but you enter through a simple door on one corner and are immediately presented with two small reception booths beyond richly mosaiced floor area.

A bedroom with white pillows and duvets and beige wooden chairs, floors and walls

Junior Suite at Madame Rêve

Our receptionists were young, friendly and eager – evidently they had skipped the module of “Parisian hauteur” at hotel school – and soon we were rapidly whisked up via a lift, and two long, right angled corridors named after the streets that they line, to our room. The darkness of the corridors made the surprise of the room even greater: instead of a view across the street to a man in the apartment opposite sipping an espresso and smoking a cigarette afforded by so many Parisian hotels, there were angled skylight-type windows, letting in a sky’s worth of light, and looking over rooftops to the church of Sacré-Coeur on the hill of Montmartre.

plants on an outdoor roof terrace

Outdoor terrace surrounded by plants in the heart of Paris

Furnishings are delicious, swathed in caramel leather with bespoke throws, rosewood panels and a bathroom and separate toilet room on either side of the vast bed, located so you can prop yourselves up and watch the light change as the sky turns into night.

All rooms are situated along the quadrangle of corridors on the same floor, officially the third floor, but in effect the eighth floor as the lower floor ceilings of this former post office and repository are so high. So, with the exception of a few rooms facing the inner courtyard, every room will have a view, whether of the Eiffel Tower, mid-restoration Notre Dame, or our view of Montmartre.

A yellow couch in a wooden room with windows on the walls with a view of a large cathedral

Light-filled rooms at Madame Rêve

The hotel is celebrated for its rooftop terrace and bar, but this being winter, it was more compelling to have dinner downstairs on the ground floor in the casual chic restaurant/bar Kitchen. We recommend a pre-dinner aperitif seated at the long bar itself, where you can appreciate the wooden panelling and seemingly Eiffel Tower height ceiling of the room, while rubbing shoulders with art collectors and film producers who have made this their local hangout since the place opened a year ago.

A vegetable opened up with food inside it on a plate next to a glass of wine on a wooden table

Contemporary-classic cuisine at Kitchen by Stephanie Le Quellec

Then, retreat to the lounge style seating all around, order another Negroni and choose from a menu from two Michelin-starred chef Stephanie Le Quellec that blends super-contemporary and traditional, the dishes split into categories like “Healthy Trendy”, “Flashback” and “Gluten Free But Not Vegan”. Roasted cauliflower cacio e pepe style was influsingly spicy, and the Prime Rib of Normand Beef Blazed with Bourbon was served on the bone and had a succulent tang – although the brick-style fries could have had a little more crispness and contrast between skin and interior. A salad of red leaf lettuce with ginger vinaigrette was zingy and uplifting.

Paris has never been wanting for luxury hotels, but until quite recently, the choice of style was fairly constrained to old-fashioned high luxury, aimed at an international private jet and business traveller set rather than a new generation of more stylish and culturally demanding traveller.

A grand wooden dining room with yellow lights

Dramatic high ceilings at the ground-floor bar and restaurant, both hot social locations for Parisians

Madame Rêve addresses this, and how? The serving staff are less formal, more the type of people you might imagine bumping into at the right kind of bar, though they do their job just as well as their penguin-suited peers. As with any hotel with an innate sense of style, not built simply to please anyone and everyone, you may disagree with certain touches: we weren’t sure about the darkness of the long corridors on the room floor, for example.

Read more: Hotel Crans Ambassador, Crans-Montana, Switzerland Review

But that only provides even more of a contrast to the lightness and tranquility of the rooms. And did we mention the location? You are minutes’ walk away from the Louvre, the Marais, the Seine and the Pompidou Centre, as well as the retail temples of St Honoré. And when you come back from an exhausting day of meetings or museums, you have one of the most compelling social scenes in Paris inside your own hotel. Chic!

Rates: From £410 per night (approx. €480/$515)

Book your stay: madamereve.com

Darius Sanai

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Women standing together wearing big pink and black puffy dresses with petty coats
Women standing together wearing big pink and black puffy dresses with petty coats

First looks, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture 25

Giambattista Valli moves as easily in the classical world of haute couture as in the contemporary world of social media and in the boardroom as CEO of his brand. Harriet Quick talks to the modern couturier as he prepares to take his maison to the next level

Environments have a way of seeping into the psyche of a designer and a brand. Rome-born designer Giambattista Valli is currently in the throes of bidding adieu to the wood-panelled, fresco-ceilinged lateral space in Paris that has been home to his brand since its inception in 2005. “It’s my historical space. When we first moved in, it seemed huge, a big undertaking and commitment. But now it feels small,” says Valli of the elegant, characterful HQ that lies on the rue Boissy d’Anglas in the 8th arrondissement, near Place de la Madeleine.

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The office has witnessed the brand move in ebbs and flows since its inception, which was funded by Valli himself. The mid noughties were a volatile period in fashion, with extremes of bling and the highest of heels usurped by post-Lehmann brothers stealth wealth, as luxury brands clipped their wings and aesthetics to suit sober times. Now we are amid a new wave of financial crunches and the impact of the environmental crisis, triggering a new wave of quiet luxury.

Yet Valli is a deft hand at riding the waves and telling his own story in chapters that evolve and twist over time rather than chase hot trends. It means his company has been able to evolve and adapt, to the point where it is now time to upgrade and move his company of around 50 colleagues under one roof. Groupe Artémis, the Pinault family-owned company, has a stake in the brand, which in 2022 turned over an estimated $6.4 million. Valli himself has had an influence on fashion proportionately far greater than mere turnover numbers may indicate.

A man wearing a white t-shirt an jeans with his hands in his pockets

Portrait of Giambattista Valli

The new Valli offices are just up the road from the old, near Opéra, but offer two floors of light-filled space to house everything from the showrooms, atelier, PR and communications office, the commercial team and a VIP haute couture suite. “It is almost a townhouse, as we have our own entrance. The structure is good and there is beautiful stuccowork and frescoes,” says Valli of the interior, which features clean white “boxes” he has designed himself. “We always have so many prints, volumes and textures – I needed it to be neutral,” he explains.

With his dark thick hair, big eyes, fashionably deep yet sharply sculpted beard, Valli appears like a Renaissance artist transported into our times wearing a black T-shirt and chain necklace, instead of a doublet and ruff. He reserves his treasured 17th-century Mughal “good luck” pearl necklace for special occasions. “It is very rare,” he says. The pursuit of beauty in people, objects, environments and in fashion has been Valli’s lifelong pursuit. Soon he will be receiving VIP clients into his new showroom to choose from his latest haute couture offering, which was shown in Paris in early July 2023.

“I love to have the level of excellence that comes from pushing the boundaries of the atelier and the research required to propose new ideas of beauty. I approach haute couture in a classical-modern way, and each collection is like a new chapter of the same story,” says Valli, who frames himself as a romantic poet but is also CEO and an astute brand director, with a vision that appeals to a collective sweet spot.

The tradition of creating one-off gowns for an elite clientele who might attend three fittings before a garment is finalised might seem an anachronism in a click-and-produce era that can see whole collections turned around in a matter of weeks. But the experience offers an unparalleled luxury for both creator and client alike, a transcendental experience that sees centuries-old savoir faire reimagined for today. “Haute couture is the extreme side of this fantasy. It is also a practice that nourishes ready to wear, so what we see in the shapes, volumes and techniques filters through from a couture dress to a T-shirt or a knit piece,” says Valli of the osmosis. “When creating haute couture, ‘real’ time seems to stop and you float into another time zone.”

A woman wearing a long green ball gown that is long at the back and short at the front with a black bow around her waist

Look 09, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture 25. The maison describes the collection as “celebrating the modernity of classics and the timeless art of Atelier”

The 57-year-old couturier intertwines the many threads of his upbringing into his metier. Valli attended secondary school at a strict Vatican liceo near the Vatican Museum, took a degree in art, studied fashion at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Rome and in 1987 did an illustration course at Central St Martins in London. In 1988 he entered high fashion as an assistant for Roberto Capucci, the designer known for his opulent colour and sculpted gowns, who became a magnet for Roman high society during the 1960s and enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s.

“From Roberto Capucci, I can say that I learnt the philosophy of not being trendy; I learnt to step a little bit out of the spot of the moment and also to keep the human side intact,” says Valli. He went on to Fendi, which had Karl Lagerfeld at the helm, then Krizia in Milan. In 1997, he moved to Paris and the haute couture atelier of Emanuel Ungaro where, as first assistant, Valli learnt about the arts of flou and tailleur and the rituals including passing the pins in complete hush. Ungaro was so impressed by Valli’s light, fresh work that he made him Creative Director of ready to wear and the stores adored what he did.

Valli channelled that love of volume, of light, fresh romantic designs into his own label and started making a name for himself attracting socialites, creative types, young women and older women into his fan-club circle. Count in there Priyanka Chopra, Marina Ruy Barbosa, Eugenie Niarchos, Bianca Brandolini, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert (Valli made a macramé minidress with organza-chiffon cape for the party of her cliff- top Capri wedding in 2016), as well as more actors and royalty. They, in turn, became the best ambassadors for the brand and for its joyous, “go big or go home” dress-up daring.

“When I launched, all the houses had big stars, but we were independent and every cent counted. It’s almost like the Valli Girls chose us, We did not pay them to get dressed. They continue to be people who inspire me and they capture l’air du temps and I am nourished by that,” says Valli of his famously mercurial, nomadic, cultured muses and champions.

A man wearing a brown jacket, black top, necklace and sunglasses standing next to a woman with his arm round her wait who is wearing a green and black coord crop top and trousers

Giambattista Valli with muse Bianca Brandolini

In her 2013 book, Giambattista Valli, curator and fashion historian Pamela Golbin wrote of the designer, “Here is a story of duality, in which the exuberance of his Italian roots is artfully coupled with the formal rigour of the French.” She adds, “Complicity with women – through their body language and the gestures they adopt – is central to Valli’s practice because like a film director he directs his models as if they are actresses.”

In store and online that fantasy continues to seduce. “I have bought Giambattista Valli for most of my career. The brand consistently offers amazing and diverse occasionwear, from beautiful romantic floral gowns to tweed or bouclé suits and dress coats, which can be styled with a cute ballet pump or a sophisticated kitten heel depending on the occasion,” says Liane Wiggins, Head of Womenswear at Matches. “Giambattista Valli has a strong DNA and our customers continue to return for these well-cut, flattering pieces.” The store recently launched an exclusive capsule collection with the brand, which includes a floor-length silk fil coupé gown.

The current Giambattista Valli autumn/ winter 2023 line up finds raw-edge sleeveless tweed jumpsuits, semi-sheer tiered prairie dresses and a series of pieces including tunics and floral embroidered outsize jackets that were worn by men on the catwalk but are designed for every gender. “I do think there is fascination with beauty and how far one can push the fantasy,” says Valli of the zeitgeist. “The social-media message might be dreamy, critical or creative, but the platforms are a more democratic way to learn about this universe that was previously closed off and exclusive. It gives a chance for people to understand the work behind fashion.” He laughs as he adds, of his gowns that burst from the Instagram frame, “Image-wise, well, I have always loved big volumes, so that fits very well!”

Read more: Maryam Eisler’s photography series at legendary Parnham House 

From his new Paris HQ, Valli will lay the groundwork for the next chapter. “I would love the maison to sit alongside institutional houses like Dior and Chanel and to have that presence beyond my lifetime,” he says. “I want the brand to be coherent with a 100 per cent DNA that is about excellence and savoir faire. To do that, one has to move with consistency.”

With his 10-year-old son, Adam, Valli also has a young future to look after. “Right now, he is 100 per cent football! But he is very gentle, inquisitive, surprising, and I learn a lot from him,” says Valli. “How do I see myself age 70? Curious, still able to receive energy from beauty and wanting to share it. I hope I am going to surprise him, too.” This Roman in Paris knows his road.

Find out more: giambattistavalli.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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thread hanging on a wall coming of a textile
thread hanging on a wall coming of a textile

Works by Aiko Tezuka on display at Asia Now Paris in the Majhi International Art Residency booth

The Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) continues its mission to bridge the art communities from the East and the West through the Majhi International Art Residency, this year taking place in Paris

The Majhi International Art Residency was started by DBF in 2019, with its first edition in Venice. Since then, the residency has taken place every year in different locations in Europe including Berlin, Eindhoven, Amsterdam at the renowned Rijksakademie, and now Paris.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

This year’s two-week residency programme saw three artists from Asia and the Asian diaspora creating new works for an exhibition curated by Ricko Leung. Ricko Leung was born and raised in Hong Kong but has lived in Paris since 2014. Her art and curation focus on topics including, fear and control, cultural identity, and post-colonialism, as well as eco-feminism.

4 women standing together outside a building in Paris

The artists and curator involved at the residency, left to right: Aiko Tezuka, Ricko Leung, Raisa Kabir and Rajyashri Goody

The theme of this exhibition was textile and indigo, in particular, around the history and meaning of indigo, being a material very closely tied to the colonial history of Bengal. Indigo is a material also used very frequently in the textile industry, which coincided with the focus of the venue partner, Asia Now Paris. The artists selected for the residency were Raisa Kabir, Aiko Tezuka and Rajyashri Goody.

Raisa Kabir is an artist, textiles researcher and weaver based in London. Kabir’s creations cover the interwoven cultural politics of cloth, archives of the body and colonial geographies, by using woven text and textiles, sound, video and performance.

A room with a red tapestry hanging on the all and pictures hanging on strings beside

Works on display at Asia Now by Rajyashri Goody (right) and Raisa Kabir (left)

Kabir’s (un)weaving performances use queer entanglement to comment on structures of trans-national power, global production, and the relationships between craft and industrial labour. Her work speaks to cultural anxieties surrounding nationhood, textile identities and the cultivation of borders.

Aiko Tezuka was born in Tokyo but has lived in Berlin since 2011. Using different readymade fabrics Aiko produces unique works in which she unravels materials to create new structural forms using her own techniques.

A woven tapestry in pink, blue, yellow and green of a bird flying

Details of an artwork by Aiko Tezuka

Rajyashri Goody is from Pune, India and currently works between India and the Netherlands. She was also a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam from 2021-2023. Goody’s practice has been heavily influenced by both her academic background and her Ambedkarite Dalit roots.

Read more: Mera Rubell on catalysing cultural change

She focuses on messaging around how basic needs of everyday life, including food, nature, language and literacy are actively used as tools to enforce caste rules for generations. She shows this messaging through various mediums incorporating text, voice, paper, pulp, ceramics, photography, printmaking, video and installation into her works.

A poem next to a paper coloured in blue

Indigo not only has strong ties with the colonial history of Bengal, but its pigment is extremely prominent in textiles, which was a point of focus at Asia Now

‘Majhi’ can be translated into English as a ‘leader’ of a house or group of people. In some ways, the Majhi International Art Residency programme acts as a leader by bridging divides, connecting individuals and creating a vibrant channel for the exchange of ideas and experiences.

Find out more: majhi.org

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Reading time: 2 min
A man sitting on a blue couch with yellow cushions
A man sitting on a blue couch with yellow cushions

Francis Sultana in his apartment in Albany

World renowned interior designer Francis Sultana has been taking the world by a storm through his residential, hospitality and commercial projects. Here, he speaks to Samantha Welsh about how he went from designing his mother’s home in Malta to leading the design team at the Hotel Palma in Capri

LUX: What was your route into the design industry?
Francis Sultana: I come from a very small island off Malta called Gozo. Growing up in the 80s meant there was little access to the world of design and so I had to read magazines like House & Garden, and World of Interiors. I was lucky my mother was hugely supportive and so she let me start decorating her house, which in fact appeared on the front cover of World of Interiors – so I must have been doing something right!

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When I was 19 I moved to London. I had read about David Gill and how he was establishing a gallery offering collectible contemporary design and art which was functional as well as beautiful. Many artists from the turn of the century had created collectible furniture as part of their work, but David really began to champion artists such as Jean-Michel Frank, Garouste and Bonetti and Donald Judd and so I began to learn from him. I also spent a lot of my time at the Victoria & Albert museum where I taught myself all about the history of design and furniture. It is why the V&A is still so dear to me now and why I sit on the museum’s Advisory Council, and why supporting museums like the Design Museum, the Serpentine Galleries and now MICAS in Malta is so very important to me.

A room with a large colourful painting behind a striped blue couch with touches of gold around the room

In Francis Sultana’s palazzo in Valletta

LUX: Where have you most enjoyed living?
FS: I love London and I really owe my success to this city. However, my heart is still Maltese and several years ago I bought a palazzo in Valletta (the capital of Malta) and have lovingly restored it back to magnificence. I love interiors and I love travelling, so tying myself down to one place or location is very hard to do! I recently became custodian of King Henry’s Hunting Lodge, a National Trust property in rural England, that was once home to two legendary interior designers, John Fowler and then later, Nicky Haslam. I cannot wait to spend time relaxing, drawing, designing away from the hubbub of London.

LUX: What is your typical working day?
FS: I get up around 5:45am everyday and check my US and also my Middle Eastern/Asian emails and then go and do my work out – as one passes a certain age this becomes a necessary daily chore sadly, but I have a fabulous trainer Jack Hanrahan who keeps me on my toes. I get to the office and have a black coffee and Eloise, my EA, goes through my diary for the day, before my daily meeting with my teams. I then go downstairs to David Gill Gallery, of which I am also CEO, and check in with the team there as we will be planning new exhibitions. I usually have lunch meeting with artists or clients and am then often dealing with the architects and designers who are working on our projects that are based all over the world – so when one time zone ends, another wakes up, so it’s pretty relentless. However, luckily I do a job that I adore and get to work with amazing clients and artists who make all the hard work so worthwhile.

A blue bench in front of a beige stone exterior entrance

Part of the Chatterley Collection by Francis Sultana

LUX: You offer innovative solutions for large scale art installations, yet are renowned for the focus you bring to bespoke design and aesthetics. How do you take a brief and adopt your clients’ requirements?
FS: I am an editor, I am very lucky that my clients usually have a very advanced sense of aesthetics and often have collected their own works over many years. I also know many of my clients quite well, so I understand what they need to accommodate in their homes – from their family life, to socialising and entertaining, to their comfort and wellness. My clients all have very big personalities and so I design around them, to complement them and their lives. I bring an understanding of how to work with contemporary art and design for sure but I also love introducing clients to artisans and traditional skills and materials that really make their homes something very unique and elegant and not like anything they will see elsewhere. The word bespoke is rather overused these days but for me, each house or hotel is a special journey and I never create a one size fits all approach, I create homes and spaces that defy time, that will remain relevant. I do not do fleeting trends.

LUX: How can design also contribute to conserving heritage?
FS: One shouldn’t be scared of period houses but one should also honour the history of a house. I have worked on quite a few historic houses – my first commission was for a piece of furniture for Spencer House in London. My own apartment in Albany which was built by Sir William Chambers required meticulous attention to detail to get the correct colours and plaster work, recreating rooms, whilst not suspending them in aspic. It is important to make a property your home, to suit your needs but the history of it should always be sitting beside you. My work on Poston Court, an estate in Herefordshire (and another Chambers construction) was similar. We respected the past and paid huge attention to the details of the building but we also made sure it was a house fit for purpose for the 21st century. The Hunting Lodge is no different. We are taking huge pains to respect the house’s unique history with the work of both John Fowler and Nicky Haslam, but I am also making it a lasting home for me.

A dining room with a round table and green and wooden chairs with a purple patterned carpet

At Poston Court

LUX: In the Summer of 2023 you launched your first hotel project, for the Oetker, at ‘La Palma’, Capri; what was the appeal for you about this mandate, and how did your concept exceed expectations?
FS: I travel a lot. So I suppose I am my own perfect client – I know what works in hotels and what doesn’t – I also think a hotel must always reflect its location – what I would design for Capri would never be the same for London or Rome or Paris. Capri is about escape, about calm and peace and about going back to nature and this is what I did at La Palma. I created a beautiful home away from home, I looked at the hotel’s iconic history but also made it work for a new luxury traveller. The reviews have been amazing and I am thrilled that this project exceeded all expectations and will introduce the hotel to a new audience without alienating those who already love staying there.

LUX: Your passion for Italy is evident, where especially do you draw inspiration?
FS: Capri for me is inspirational which is why I created an entire collection of furniture and lighting entitled Capri – based on a white colour palette (with a touch of Verdigris) with materials like white plaster, white bronze and marble. It’s a big move for me to do an all white collection but people seem to love it. Earlier this year I collaborated with Italian brand Bonacina – who I have worked with for years. It is a large indoor/outdoor collection that we launched in Milan and really is all about summer living and La Dolce Vita which the Italians do so well. I also did a plate design for Ginori 1735 for David Gill Gallery which is rather pretty. I just love Italy and Italy seems to love me back, which is nice!

A white lounge with white furniture and two green chairs and some trees

Hotel La Palma in Capri

LUX: Outside Europe, where would you say there is a tradition and appreciation for design, be it architecture, furniture, craft?
FS: Funnily enough I recently started several projects in the Middle East and I find that my clients there are incredibly knowledgeable on design matters – if you don’t care about good design then I am probably not the best designer for you as it’s really at the core of what I do! But luckily it seems that across architecture and furniture as well as crafts and artisanal skills, this is something that a growing coterie of clients across the region are really focusing on right now. It’s not about new new new, it’s about finding something more lasting.

LUX: Do the destinations for multiple home-owners such as Monte Carlo, St Moritz, Middle East and the US influence how design ideas mutate?
FS: Of course – groups of friends tend to know each other and go to the same hotels, restaurants etc and so there are styles that move from one country to the next for sure – however I feel with most of my clients with multiple homes, whilst they like some elements to remain consistent like quality of bathrooms and bedrooms, they really like to have a sense of place in each of the homes – there is no point creating the same look in New York as in St Moritz – the climate wouldn’t suit and the past times are completely different after all.

A colourful blue, green, brown and yellow room with a mirror over a fireplace

Francis Sultana’s drawing room in Albany

LUX: In 2018, you were appointed Ambassador of Culture for Malta; what is your cross-cultural vision for MICAS, Malta’s new museum space opening in 2024?
FS: When I was growing up I didn’t have anything in Malta to help educate me – I had to go to Paris and to London to learn. For MICAS we are really focused on creating an international space for art and design that will be for the Maltese people, not only in terms of the level of global exhibitions that can be hosted in a space that can truly accommodate large pieces of work, but also providing educational platforms for the young Maltese to learn and be inspired so they don’t have to leave their home country to achieve a career in the arts.

Read more: Winch Design’s Aino Grapin On Sustainable Yachting

LUX: How do you feel London will hold its own against the fast-evolving Paris art ecosystem?
FS: London is London and Paris is Paris. They are two very different places which both have their roles. London has always been about business. Paris has always been about desire. I think the cultural heart of London is still very much here and people love London and living here, so whilst Brexit caused shockwaves that still have consequences for us all, London will always have its place at the heart of many deals.

Find out more: francissultana.com

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Reading time: 9 min
A house in a green field
A chef with a basket picking vegetables in a garden

Chef Davide Guidara in the garden of Veuve Clicquot

The champagne house Veuve Clicquot hosted a lunch in Paris in which eight chefs, hailing from Switzerland, France, Italy, Japan and the UK created dishes using only the produce from Veuve Clicquot’s garden in Reims to perfectly match La Grande Dame, its prestige champagne. The results were anything but expected. Candice Tucker reports

Over 200 years ago Madame Clicquot, the founder of Veuve Cliquot is said to have said, “If, in the search for perfection, we can take two steps at a time, why be content with just one?” This single statement was the inspiration behind Veuve Clicquot’s plan to gather some of the world’s greatest chefs to create a fine dining meal solely using produce from the estate’s garden, where “Grand Cru” vegetables mix with Grand Cru grapes. The event was intended to show that La Grande Dame, is a champagne to be enjoyed at the heart of any meal to compliment the fine food.

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The participating chefs were picked from regions renowned for their culinary traditions. Representing France were esteemed chefs Amélie Darvas and Emmanuel Renaut. From Italy, Domingo Schingaro, Enrico Crippa and Alberto Toè. Sally Abé represented the UK and Dario Cadonau, Switzerland. Japanese culinary excellence was demonstrated by Kanji Kobayashi.

A group chefs standing next to eachother

Left to right: Emmanuel Renaut, Sally Abé, Kanji Kobayashi, Alberto Toé, Dario Cadonau, Enrico Crippa, Amélie Darvas, Domingo Schingaro

What made this event so extraordinary was not just the culinary talent on display, but the unique constraint faced by each of the chefs: dishes had to be crafted using only products from Veuve Clicquot’s garden, while perfectly matching La Grande Dame champagne.

A table with yellow and wood chairs set

The Garden of Gastronomy event in Paris

The dishes that emerged from this culinary challenge were nothing short of spectacular. Among them were Cadonau’s garden herbs and yellow beets presented with an intricate lace pattern detailing framing the plate, constructed using herbs to adorn the dish with edible flowers, resembling the picture of a garden.

A dish with green lace herb detailing framing a plate of beetroots in a white source with herbs and edible flowers

Dario Cadonau’s Garden herbs with yellow beets

Domingo Schingaro created a dish based on lettuce with almond and anchovies; whilst anchovies might normally be the focal taste of a dish, they were simply used as a condiment in this case, not taking any attention away from the star of the show, the lettuce cooked to crunchy perfection in a yuzu sauce.

A chef preparing ravioli in green leaves

Amélie Darvas working on her Marigold ravioli, Hungarian Blue Squash, tomato water and fig leaf maceration

The champagne’s complexity, with its layers of citrus, floral, and fruity notes, found its perfect companions in the carefully composed dishes. The result was a symphony of flavours that danced on the palate, highlighting the quality of both the champagne and the garden produce.

Read more: Veuve Clicquot CEO Jean-Marc Gallot on the spirit of the iconic brand

The champagne was also poured into both narrow and wide glasses, depending on the meal, changing both its taste and texture to match the food being eaten.

A chef wearing a long white hat and uniform holding a bottle of champagne in a field

Chef Tadayoshi Kimura in the Veuve Clicquot garden finding produce to match La Grande Dame

Veuve Clicquot’s Garden of Gastronomy event in Paris was a celebration of culinary creativity. This event highlighted the versatility of prestige champagne in fine dining  and showed how a delicate complex and multi-layered champagne like La Grande Dame can be a brilliant match to an astonishing variety of food.

Find out more: veuveclicquot.com

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Reading time: 3 min

Jamiu Agboke

A recent exhibition spotlighted some of the most exciting young artists based in Britain. The twist? It happened in Paris. Artists photographed by Isabella Sheherazade Sanai

It is no secret that, post Brexit, Paris has been taking giant canvas-sized bites out of London’s position as capital of the European art world. So we loved Galerie Marguo’s playful contribution to the cultural battle, which took place in May and June of this year. The elegant gallery put on a show of British-based artists at its space in the Marais. Those taking part included Jamiu Agboke, Freya Douglas-Morris, Li Hei Di and James Prapaithong, photographed here, and others including recent RCA graduate Georg Wilson. Curated by Henry Relph, the show was entitled “A New Sensation”, in an arch reference to the iconic 1997 show, “Sensation”, at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, which featured the influential collection of Charles Saatchi, and was a major moment in triggering London’s art boom.

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LUX asks: what does it mean to be a London based artist today?

Jamiu Agboke
“I love London deeply and it’s my home, but it doesn’t mean anything to me personally to be an artist in London. That’s just due to the nature of my work and practice. Also, it’s a financial obstacle course for most artists.”

James Prapithong

James Prapaithong
“To be a London based artist today is to see the opportunities that the city can present, but also to accept the struggle that can go hand in hand, without giving up.”

Freya Douglas-Morris

Freya Douglas-Morris
“I was born in London and for the past 20 years I have lived and worked in Hackney. I am surrounded by people who look, listen, feel, make, share. I can access a multitude of creative sources, then retreat to my studio and work in a quiet setting. I need this contrast, to be surrounded by the inspiration and energy of a big city, and to paint in a room that is its antidote, calm and private. London is vast, giving room to the trials and errors of being an artist, but small enough to feel you belong.”

Read more: Visual art and music meet in Shezad Dawood’s latest exhibition

Li Hei Di

Li Hei Di
“I miss the sun. The lack of light makes me search for light in my paintings.”

Find out more: marguo.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 2 min
A silver piano in a bar with black and gold interiors
A long sitting room with black and gold pillars and couches with tables

The Dorchester London’s iconic Promenade’s revamp

Christopher Cowdray is the Company President of the Dorchester Collection. Here he speaks to Darius Sanai about the iconic London hotel’s latest renovations and maintaining brand identity in the process of modernisation
A man with grey hair wearing a suit with a blue tie

Christopher Cowdray

LUX: Can you tell us about the renovations over the last 18 months at the Dorchester London?
Christopher Cowdray: The Dorchester last had a major re-fit in 1989. It gets to a point where you really need to go behind all the walls and change all the pipes and make sure it’s ready for purpose. That’s what we’ve been doing: we remodelled the ground floors, the bar and the promenade, the Vesper Bar, and all the front entrance, while always ensuring we retain the hotel’s identity. What happens a lot in luxury hotels is that people will come in and rip everything out and modernise it without keeping the essence of what the hotels are.

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We are also redoing all the guest rooms. At the moment, the first and the second floor are about to be finished and will be ready for bookings in the next two or three weeks. They have been designed by Rochon from Paris who has done the ground floor as well. Martin Brudnizki did the Vesper Bar and will continue designing more in the upper part of the hotel. The final renovation will be the rooftop where we are going to create a new restaurant. During the pandemic when we weren’t allowed to entertain inside the outdoor seating area upstairs became so popular and got such great feedback, so we are creating a permanent fixture there and then extending the top floor. We are really restoring the Dorchester back to its rightful place as one of London’s leading, if not leading Hotel.

A silver piano in a bar with black and gold interiors

The Liberace piano in the Promenade

LUX: Are you worried by new competition in the market, for instance, Peninsula and the Rosewood coming soon?
CC: With any competition coming in, it actually ends up bringing more business into the city. It’s the same with Rome; there’s a lot of competition coming into Rome, and what it does is bring a lot more awareness to the city. One has to be aware of competition, of course, and when you are at the top of the market you want to make sure you are doing everything to remain there. A lot of this comes down to service levels. I think what the Dorchester has to its advantage is incredible service, location, and history. It has a significant history in the city, and we have an amazing staff. It takes time to build your staff and your reputation.

LUX: You mentioned you didn’t rip everything out and make it completely different. Is that decision dictated by the nature of the property? For example, would you avoid doing that at the Plaza Athénée, but consider creating super modern interiors in new builds?
CC: Yes, in a new build it’s different, but it has to be authentic to the area that we are in. For example, in Dubai we have a Norman Foster building. It has a lot of glass with light coming in, overlooking a beautiful marine area. It was trying to decide what the right interior for that would be, and Dubai today is a very vibrant progressive modern society. So how do we create a luxury and comfortable interior in this modern building? It’s not minimalistic but it is light, and it has modern undertones to it.

A courtyard with leaves over the windows and red umbrellas

La Cour Jardin at Hotel Plaza Athénée

LUX: If somebody had been a guest of Le Meurice and they walked into The Lana without knowing it was part of the collection, is the intention that they would realise it is a Dorchester Hotel, or is it more subliminal?
CC: It’s subliminal. They will know from a marketing point of view that it is, and they will receive the top quality welcome and service, but the interiors are very much about the building and the relevance to that building.

Skyscrapers in Dubai

The latest hotel in the Dorchester Collection is The Lana which will be unveiled in 2023 in Dubai

LUX: Is there a tension now between the young generation of the very wealthy who have very eclectic tastes, and an older, more conservative generation?
CC: We are finding that the younger generation like more traditional interiors as well as more modern ones. A good example is probably Le Meurice in Paris. It’s a younger generation going there at the moment, with the Belle Etoile nearby. At the Plaza Athénée you’ve got a bit of Art Deco and you’ve also got tradition, so there are people who love Art Deco and people who love tradition, but they still love the Plaza overall. Some people have certain tastes and I think as we go forward it’s about how to make sure that there’s room for everyone to be comfortable and to appeal to a wider audience.

LUX: What does a luxury group like yours need to do now that it didn’t have to do ten or fifteen years ago in terms of its experience and offering?
CC: The experience side of it is important and, I suppose, more relevant to some travellers, but the underlying essence of ultra-luxury comes down to the investment that you put into the property. The sub-furnishings and the whole design must be of high integrity. Then it’s about the service, it’s about the recognition, it’s about the efficiency of the service, it’s about the atmosphere and the friendliness, and so a lot of it revolves around the people.

A large white house with a field of yellow flowers in front of it

Coworth Park in Ascot

In other cases, it’s location. I see hotels being built today, even in cities like London, with the intention that they will become wonderful luxurious hotels and attract the luxury traveller. But that doesn’t end up being the case because your luxury traveller wants to be at the heart of where things are happening. They don’t want to be 5 or 10 minutes away; they want to be able to go down to the shops or the cinema right away.

LUX: You have celebrated restaurants in your hotels with many Michelin stars. Is it all about getting the Alain Ducasse and the 3 stars, or is this changing?
CC: The dining experience is very important. It’s about creating excitement for the hotel. It’s not only about appealing to the international traveller, but also very much about how you appeal to the local community. You want the hotel to be a part of that local community, you want them to come in and experience it and then talk about it, so the food and beverage and the restaurant are very important. We are very fortunate here to have Alain Ducasse – he’s been here since 2005 when we opened and has been very successful. He used to be at the Plaza Athénée, but then we brought in Jean-Philippe Blondet, a young chef.

A restaurant with a tree in the middle and red cushioned chairs

Hotel Eden’s Il Giardino Ristorante in Rome

With food and beverage, we did well with Alain, but there wasn’t always that excitement there. Today, food and beverage and the restaurants are doing exceptionally well because there’s just so much excitement around the energy that Jean has brought to the hotel. There are the people who really love to go to your fine, gourmet, 3-star Michelin restaurants, but there’s also a lot of people who just love food and want to try upcoming chefs and different cuisines. That’s no longer about French cuisine, it’s about the influences of Asia, influences from the Middle East, influences from anywhere. Food is so important today and people just love trying different experiences.

A table with a view of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel’s Suite signature dinner at Hotel Plaza Athénée

LUX: And what about the more casual F&B type of experience?
CC: Bars are doing very well on the promenade, and we’ve introduced a lighter menu there. Afternoon tea is always going to be incredibly popular for us; it’s not about heavy meals. There is definitely an emergence of clubs, and I’m not too sure where that’s going to go at the moment because there are so many clubs opening up, particularly in London. People are paying for a membership to be part of it, but at the end of the day it’s just another restaurant and you are really paying for a formal degree of recognition.

A gold bar with barstools around it in a semicricle

The Dorchester London’s new Artists Bar

LUX: How do art and artists come into the renovated Dorchester?
CC: At the Dorchester specifically, we’ve got the artists’ bar which is new. The Vesper Bar is completely new and very popular so I think you will start to see more and more happening there.
45 Park Lane has a very strong following from the art community. They have an artist circle there which was started when we opened in 2011. Different artists did different floors: Peter Blake did the penthouse and Damien Hirst did the ground floor, and they always retain their connection. Of course, we have all the exhibitions there, so it’s been very successful, and it continues to be. With the renovation we spent a lot of time selecting the right art to be featured. It’s about what art is relevant.

Art is becoming very important to us. We’ve had some great exhibitions in Los Angeles – the Warhol was phenomenally successful. In Paris, there’s the association with Museums and tours going on, and we are doing a lot of work there at the Plaza Athénée.

A bar with blue and green chairs

The Dorchester London’s Vesper Bar

LUX: The Dorchester collection has not expanded at the pace of some of the Luxury groups. Is that deliberate on your side?
CC: Very much so. Any hotel we add to the company has to be relevant. For a lot of hotel groups, expansion is just about putting their name on something. But we value our reputation, how we can retain our reputation and deliver on our promises. There’s not a need for us to expand at a tremendous rate. We want to expand, but it’s much more about finding the right hotels to complement the existing brand.

For instance, Dubai is at the heart of what is going on in the Middle East. We found a wonderful property there, not on the beach, but on the Marina, and it’s going to very much appeal to our travellers from around the world. In Tokyo we have the Torch Tower, which is under construction at the moment, but is going to sit at the top of the tallest building in Japan. This will be a great compliment to the company because the Japanese market is very important to us, and the American market going there is important.

A modern building on the sea with boats in front of it

Foster and Partners were challenged to create a building for the Lana that would stand out in a city known for it’s skyline

LUX: Are there any cities where you wish you had a property?
CC: We would love to be in Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Sydney and New York. We used to have a property in New York, the New York Palace, but we sold that because it was a 900-room hotel and although it had a wonderful location, we just felt it wasn’t relevant enough to the company. It came into the company by default, and we thought it was too big and in need of phenomenal renovation. We haven’t found what we want in New York yet. It’s a very challenging market, but we’re getting there.

LUX: How has your guest profile changed over the years in terms of age and demographics?
CC: Guests are definitely getting younger. They used to always be in their fifties and sixties, but now we are certainly seeing very young people in their thirties and younger. We see people from the technology world in particular, who are usually young people who can afford to travel and want to experience the finest.

In terms of origin, America is very important to us, as is the Middle East and Europe, so we are not reliant on one market. Asia is only just recovering so the vulnerable pandemic. Asia was a growing market for us, but then completely dried up over the pandemic. Now it’s coming back slowly. I think it will take a little while to recover.

A balcony with red and wooden chairs overlooking London

The Penthouse terrace at 45 Park Lane

LUX: You’ve been here since 2004 at this property as CEO, and have just been appointed Company President. It’s been an evolution rather than a revolution. Have you ever felt like you want to experiment and go wild and create something, do something completely different?
CC: No, I’ve never wanted to do that. We had a very clear vision from the outset, and we knew that we were never going to grow fast, but that we had to stay relevant. It’s been an incredibly busy 15 years, with the hotels going from five to where we are now, because during that period of time we not only added hotels but have also done very significant renovations in all of them. It’s a fascinating and exciting part of my job, but it’s also very time-consuming.

Read more: Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, Review

LUX: There are a number of luxury hotel brands that have become very big on branded residences, which you are doing in Dubai. Is this a main pillar of your plan?
CC: It’s not a main pillar, but it is a positive edition to the brand. Mayfair Park residences, which is attached to 45 Park Lane, has brought a new facility and a new market to the hotel. People who stay there also want to use the facilities and go to the restaurants. Then in Dubai, the Lana residences will open at the end of this year, and we’ve got various other ones coming up. The individuals who are buying these apartments are also becoming guests in the hotel, so it is creating a very strong market for us. The service that they are receiving is of a standard that meets and exceeds their expectations, and therefore they now feel that they are part of the Dorchester “club” – though it’s not a club, as such.

Find out more more: www.dorchestercollection.com

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Reading time: 12 min
Two men in suits sitting under an umbrella
For the winter 2023 issue of LUX, rising star photographer Angie Kremer captured the stars of an emerging Parisian creative scene. Her evocative images and her interviews with these individuals explore their relationship with the city and its evolving cultural ambit

Tom-David Bastok & Dylan Lessel
Co-founders, Perrotin Second Marché, which offers collectors a bespoke alternative to auction houses

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed recently?
The art scene in Paris is becoming more dynamic than ever. Some say that the city is regaining its essential place after New York, following Brexit in the UK and the coronavirus pandemic. Paris has always played a key role in art – especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was the absolute artistic epicentre of the world. Therefore, what the city has lately been experiencing feels more like a logical return to its roots, rather than an unexpected change. Paris has been providing fertile ground for artists and international galleries that have just opened their doors – such as David Zwirner, Skarstedt, Mariane Ibrahim and White Cube.

Anthony Authié
Founder, Zyva Studio, a trans-design architecture studio

LUX: What do you find most exciting about what you do?
The thing I like the most about my job is the fact that you can practise it in different ways. Architecture is plural. You can talk about it, write about it, draw it, virtualise it. I’d really like to write an architectural novel, to be able to do 3D, create NFTs, launch a furniture line. I feel that I can constantly reinvent myself.

A man with his tattooed hand on his face

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
For someone like me, who loves clichés above all else, Paris is the city of love, while London is the city of punk. While the idea of being able to design rock ’n’ roll architecture appeals to me, I will always choose the love and romance of Paris. So, yes, Paris forever.

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
I think this is a fantasy. I often have the impression that the provinces tend to have a harder time accepting Parisians than the other way around. Paris can seem harsh, but I think it’s really more about openness than rejection. Let’s just say that you can’t be too sensitive to live and work in Paris.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Sidonie Gaychet
Director, 110 Honoré, a new Parisian cultural venue on rue Saint-Honoré

LUX: What will Paris+ par Art Basel bring to Paris?
Since 1974 Paris has hosted the unmissable event of the autumn season – the FIAC. Last year was a little different, since the slot at the Grand Palais Éphémère was been allocated to Paris+ par Art Basel. On the bright side, it attracted the highest crop of art institutions, collectors, artists and critics.

A woman with a black bob

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
The London art scene is very different from the French one. London has always been the wild child. Paris takes a little more time to open up. But when it does… A concept such as the one that we’re launching with 110 Honoré has already been somewhat tested in London or Berlin. However, we will bring a very Parisian twist to it.

Brice & Regis Abby
Paris-based twins, known as Doppelganger Paris, who are visual artists and DJ/ sound designers

LUX: What are your biggest challenges?
Before the pandemic we had two separate activities – music and the visual arts. We are working now to create a bridge between our iconographic references and our new musical and cinematographic projects. They deal with our childhood and a period of tension in Ivory Coast. Inclusivity and difference need to be heard and seen.

A man and woman wearing sunglasses

LUX: How has the Paris creative scene changed?
The pandemic changed the creative scene globally, and Paris has been touched by the same phenomenon. Many artists are part of that scene, but don’t live in Paris any more; they moved to the countryside. But the renewal is definitely there, with new galleries and creative agencies. It was a challenging time, because the culture was non-essential.

Sophia Elizabeth
Co-founder, Spaghetti Archives, which presents a monthly selection of archival fashion pieces around a given theme
Olivier Leone
Co-founder, Nodaleto, a made-in-Italy luxury shoe label

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
SE: They are two different cities, but I love London and the freedom people have in their style. They don’t judge and don’t care about judgment. I love the way the city always evolves. But to be honest, I am a true Parisian.

OL: My fellow London friends won’t like it, but at the moment Paris is the best city for creatives. We are all gathered here, and the mentality is evolving. This city never ceases to amaze me.

A man and woman standing up wearing black

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?

OL: Less and less, mostly because many foreigners came to live here and they are making the city evolve. But it’s true that it’s not a city where you can make friends easily. I was born and raised here, but always grew up with an open mind. So many Parisians, though, are snobs for no reason. It’s part of our charm, but it can be difficult.

Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard
Founder, Ketabi Projects, a contemporary art and design gallery

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Well, you are asking a Parisian! How could I say no? Paris is the city of my heart and I don’t think I could live anywhere else. When I lived in London I would come back to Paris three to four days a week. I have never worked in London, but I know it’s been very complicated for some galleries since Brexit.

A woman with her hands over her chest

LUX: How has the creative scene changed recently in Paris?
More galleries are opening that show young artists from the French scene who have decided to remain in Paris – a few years ago a lot of artists fled to the US or Belgium. And many residency programmes, such as les Grandes-Serres de Pantin or Poush Manifesto, have been developing in Paris and its outskirts.

Anna Gardère & Raphaëlle Bellanger
Co-curators and art directors, KIDZ Paris, a book showcasing the creativity of today’s youth

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed?
We love to see initiatives promoting crossover between the art world and other universes. We were talking with Joy Yamusangie, an amazing British painter, who told us how they loved working with Gucci, who gave them carte blanche on a wall in Shoreditch. We love to see artists and their visions in dialogue with scientists, too, like the one at CERN, which has opened its door to a residence of artists.

two girls back to back with one resting her chin on her fist

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
Paris still has its own code, but social media has definitely disturbed Parisian snobbery. Influencers have forced the whole creative industry to reconsider its criteria. Nowadays you can break into this world with a simple social-media account, because you’re supported by a community that believes in you and that is ensuring a high rate of engagement. It’s much more egalitarian – even democratic in a certain way, but also much more competitive.

Roxane Roche & Capucine Duguy-Noblinski
Co-founders, Invida Communication, a PR and digital agency

LUX: How has the Paris creative scene changed?
What has changed is the emergence of new brands with real storytelling, and a very thoughtful brand image based on editorial content. There’s a vintage rebound, too, from the 1960s and 1970s, with the relighting of brands like Courrèges and Carel. But, above all, brands are turning towards an ecological and eco-responsible approach.

Two girls in black jackets and jeans standing back to back

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
Paris can be difficult for a non-Parisian. People often keep to themselves and don’t easily open their doors. It’s sometimes quite confusing, but no one is ever really alone in Paris.

Ferdinand Gros
Founder, superzoom, a contemporary art gallery that offers a platform for emerging artists

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed?
There are a growing number of younger galleries, and older ones that are refreshing their programmes. The emerging art scene is at its strongest ever. Additionally, there are great new artist residency programmes in Paris that work like incubators and host hundreds of studios, like Poush Manifesto. We are also seeing the established blue-chip galleries giving opportunities to younger artists.

A man wearing a white shirt with pockets on his chest

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Not quite yet. London has managed to stay very fresh and is always ahead of Paris, in terms of art trends. London collectors are bold and forward-looking. The Parisian scene is getting there, especially in this time of creative momentum. The recent private institutions contribute a lot to this. Perhaps it will surpass London in those areas, but I don’t believe it has happened yet.

Read more: Adrian Cheng Celebrates 200 Years of Couture

Annabelle Cohen-Boulakia
Founder, Millenn’Art, a club concept that connects young artists and collectors to the art market

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Paris is the historic city of the art world, but above all the city of my heart and the one in which I founded my project. Admittedly, it is not London, with Anglo-Saxon magic and a cosmopolitan dynamic.

A girl wearing a headscarf

LUX: What will Paris+ par Art Basel bring to Paris?
Paris+ par Art Basel, which belongs to an international group, opens up the art market beyond the Parisian sphere. I think it is a fair that leaves more room for artistic experiment and so has less conventional and, perhaps, more original content than FIAC.

About the photographer

Angie Kremer experiments with unconventional techniques in her ‘Elements Portraits’ series. “I explore the relationship between the controllable and uncontrollable, and nature’s four elements. It comes from a feeling that we have forgotten how to connect with the wildness of nature and its unpredictability.” Prints are dipped in the canals of Venice, creating a mysterious layering effect and adding tension to the portraits on these pages.

LUX: Why is Paris an inspiring city for your career ?
Paris is a truly unique place and I am fascinated with how each person living here and working in the creative field takes from its energy and uses it in their own way. Everybody in the industry has their own take on things, so they are definitely part of what makes the city so inspiring to me.

LUX: What do you have in common with all the people you photographed in the feature ?
The art industry is broad and encompasses so many different professions that there is always something inspiring about each actor of this world. Whether they specialize in design, art, fashion, music or work in Public Relations, everyone contributes to the ever-evolving culture of the city, which is something that we all have in common.

LUX: Can you tell us more about your photographic technique ?
My technique is rooted in the need to always experiment and find new ways of approaching photography. It is an ongoing process of discovery of my medium and how I can play with each stage of the creative process. For this series, I got to use a layering technique mixing chemical reactions, paper, pigments and water. So, the moving, lifelike feel of the photographs comes from me dipping the prints into the Venetian Canals and incorporating the elements of nature into the series along with a factor of unpredictability.

LUX: What are your future plans ?
I will keep meeting new inspiring people from different spheres in the industry and exchange ideas with them and have encounters that will translate into exciting future collaborations and projects. I also aim to keep working on the technique shown in this series, and I want to broaden it and turn it into something organic, that has a life of its own. I think that combining the physicality of this technique with the possibilities of the digital could make for an exciting creative venture, so I am eager to explore that.

Find out more:

angiekremerphotography.com

artbasel.com/parisplus

These interviews were conducted in June 2022
This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX
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A woman wearing a black veil and dress and red earrings

Zar Amir Ebrahimi, the first Iranian to win a Best Actress Palme d’Or at Cannes

At a time of upheaval in her homeland, the Iranian born actress and director, who won Best Actress at Cannes in 2022 for her role as a journalist hunting a killer in Holy Spider, speaks of the beauty and consolation she finds in Iran and her hopes for a new generation of women there

My favourite place in Tehran

Zahir-od-Dowleh Cemetery is a private cemetery in the north of Tehran. Many cultural figures are buried there, including Forugh Farrokhzad, a female poet I adore and admire. She was a modernist, very brave, but died in an accident in 1966 before she was 30. She made a very interesting movie that was the beginning of the nouvelle vague in Iranian cinema. Very few people can reach the cemetery, as it’s not public, but some who admire the poet sit there at the weekends reading her poetry. The cemetery belongs to my family, so I used to go there in sad moments and I would always find a good feeling. I miss it.

What reminds me of home

Jasmine. The scent is stronger in Iran than anywhere else. And borage, a very beautiful tea, which has a fruit whose odour is very strong and reminds me of springtime. I also miss the rain. Tehran is a dusty city, and when it’s raining wonderful smells come out of the dust.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The biggest difference between Paris and Iran

Paris is where I have found myself finally as a woman. I lived in Iran for around 25 years and, for almost all those years, I was trying to hide my femininity, to look like a boy. After one or two years of living in Paris, I became okay with my female feelings, my body, my hair. The freedom I found in Paris was so different from when I lived in Iran.

My hopes for the next generation of women in Iran

Women in Iran are so brave. The new generation is even braver. They don’t have boundaries or borders. If they don’t like something, they don’t accept it. If I wanted to send them a message, I would say “Never give up”, because we have the power. I don’t want to make it a feminist message, because we need men. If we are separate, nothing moves. So just keep hoping, keep trying to have liberty.

fields with flowers and a mountain in the distance with snow on the tip and a blue sky above

Spring wildflowers in Iran’s Alborz mountains

The most challenging part of my role in the crime thriller Holy Spider

One challenge I had was understanding the motivation of my character, Rahimi. At points in the film, she risks her life to arrest a killer, when no one else is even trying to find him. Why does she do that?
I think I finally found the answer in my personal life, and my personal experiences as a woman in a patriarchal country. But it was difficult to balance the two.

Read more: Mickalene Thomas and Steve Lazarides on art gamechangers

What it meant to win the Best Actress Palme d’Or award at Cannes

I was shocked. I think it’s just amazing: there is a message of courage, there is a message of justice.

My all-time favourite film

David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

What’s next

The meaning of life for me is just creating things – being part of creation. The most important thing now for me is my future film. I hope I can finish the writing and start production, and find the best producers in the world.

Find out more: @zaramirebrahimi

This interview was conducted in June 2022
This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX
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Hotel courtyard with leaves and red umbrellas and awnings
A lounge with large arched windows and cream and brown furniture

The Plaza Athénée’s effortlessly chic, light-filled La Galerie

In the first part of our luxury travel views column from the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris

Many hoteliers I respect have told me that the highest priority, when creating a landmark new city hotel, is not the architecture or the name of the chef running the kitchen, but engaging and attracting the local community. A great city hotel should feel like a private club. This is partly so that the public spaces are filled when business travellers and tourists are thinner on the ground, but also because any discerning traveller wants to feel they are going where the insiders go. 

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This philosophy drove the success of Ian Schrager’s first boutique hotels in the 1980s, and continues thanks to the panache of today’s hoteliers. It has also driven the world’s great hotels since their inception: what were the original Ritz and Savoy, if not gathering places for the great and good? Urban tribes may have diversified and expanded now, giving a greater spread of aspiration, but the principles remain. Conversely, it is dispiriting to arrive at a new hotel in a new city to find that everyone else there seems to be as foreign and clueless as you are. 

A lounge with a view of the Eiffel Tower out the window

One of the hotel’s peerless Eiffel Tower views

All of this brings me to the Plaza Athénée in Paris. You are welcomed into the marble-lined lobby and can take a peek at the outdoor atrium, one of many areas designed by interiors star Bruno Moinard. And you get a frisson that you have truly arrived in Paris because its Le Relais restaurant is the work, play and cutting place of the Parisian elite. If you want to form a new political grouping or gather key players together for a new deal, this is the place where your plan will likely be hatched, matched and dispatched. 

Having said all that, arriving in my suite, it wouldn’t have mattered if the hotel had only ever housed tourists. The living room of the suite, on the corner of avenue Montaigne, looks directly down the street, across the river, to the Eiffel Tower. Like the best views, it changes through the day, dusk and night to create a different illusion. By day, the tower is a glowering metallic structure. At night, illuminated and with lasers pointing from it as if it’s a gun turret in an old video arcade game, it feels otherworldly. 

Hotel courtyard with leaves and red umbrellas and awnings

The charming La Cour Jardin, designed by Bruno Moinard

The furnishing in the suite is determinedly classical. So much so that it has very much come back into fashion. You have a reception room big enough to hold a cocktail party for 30; there is a baby grand piano in the anteroom and bathrooms for guests of the hotel’s guests. 

Read more: Hotel of the Month: The Lygon Arms, the Cotswolds

My favourite moment? After dinner, a glass of Louis Roederer champagne at an outside table on La Terrasse Montaigne. For an evening, at least, I could have been a member of a Parisian “grande famille”, enjoying a nightcap at their local bar. Altogether a priceless experience at the Plaza. 

Find out more: dorchestercollection.com/en/paris/hotel-plaza-athenee

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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two chefs and a man in a suit holding glasses of champagne smiling at the camera
A bottle of champagne with flowers and butterflies on it

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2013

Champagne house Perrier-Jouët teamed up with the Rosewood Crillon and legendary chef Pierre Gagnaire in Paris for a series of evenings to remember on its 120th anniversary. You could almost smell the scent of the engraved wildflowers on the art nouveau bottles, says Samantha Welsh

In a world where luxury brands are digging up whatever tenuous historical links they can find to burnish their heritage, it was both reviving and exhilarating to be at the 120th anniversary of something very tangible. In 1902, botanist and artist Emile Gallé decorated a magnum of Perrier-Jouët champagne with a spray of Japanese anemones, to symbolise the stylish, floral freshness of the wine inside.

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The anemones became both the calling card of the champagne house, and a lasting symbol of the art nouveau influence on the flourishing Paris of the Belle Epoque, the first decade of the 20th century, when art and culture and gastronomy flourished in the French capital. In due course, Perrier-Jouët created its prestige cuvée – its luxury champagne – carrying the Belle Epoque name and the anemone engraving, and the rest is history, particularly for lovers of its poetic, natural, and complex yet subtle style.

A dinner table in a white and gold room with flowers along the tables

Nature is at the heart of the champagne house’s narrative

Now, 120 years after Gallé first created his design, Paris is once again flourishing as a centre of arts, catalysed in part by London’s exit from the European single market. And nature is once again at the centre of the luxury narrative, as the value of natural capital and the importance of nature-based initiatives become increasingly apparent in an era of climate change.

Meanwhile, two things haven’t changed: Paris is still the world’s centre of gastronomy, and the Crillon, now the Rosewood Hotel Le Crillon and run by the sophisticated, Hong Kong based luxury hotel group headed by aesthete and entrepreneur Sonia Cheng, is still its most spectacular address.

two chefs working in a kitchen with beige aprons

Pierre Gagnaire and Boris Campanella

So it was apposite that we – champagne connoisseurs, art collectors, thought leaders and media – gathered together at the Rosewood Le Crillon to celebrate the 120th anniversary last week. At a dinner cooked jointly by Gagnaire and Rosewood Le Crillon chef Boris Campanella, we started by selecting our own, personal, Belle Epoque era glass from an array of beautiful vintage glassware arranged on a table. We then bespoked the engraving on our own personalised bottle of Belle Epoque, from a choice of anemones, petals, butterflies and bees. In terms of the celebration of biodiversity, Perrier-Jouët was exactly 120 years ahead of time. (It also owns the largest private collection of Art Nouveau furniture and collectibles in Europe.)

people sitting around a table, having dinner with flowers in the middle

Celebrating the 120th Anniversary of Perrier-Jouët

The maison is very current as well, as the artist it collaborates with this year, Garrance Vallée, has created works showing the diversity and importance of nature, “Planted Air”, exhibited at a nomadic exhibition in Paris this month.

Read more: Thought leadership at the Cliveden Festival

None of this would have mattered had the champagne itself not been of the highest quality. But it was sublime, and the only challenge was – which do you prefer? As a standalone, one could only admire the purity, freshness, and breadth of the 2012 Blanc de Blancs Belle Epoque. But as a collaboration, when you have Gagnaire and Campanella in the kitchen, the pairing of the 2012 Belle Epoque Rose with dessert was, well, art.

Find out more: perrier-jouet.com

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Tumbled greek columns on the floor
A room with a green carpet and top of a greek column as seat with an entrance to a dome inside it

Andreas Angelidakis, Center for the Critical Appreciation of Antiquity, 2022, Commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary. © Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet

Samantha Welsh enjoyed a preview of Audemars Piguet Contemporary’s first superscale commission in Paris, ahead of the new Paris+ art fair this week

For the last decade, the world’s oldest family-owned watch manufacturer has been projecting its legacy and engaging with new audiences through art patronage. Plus ça change, you might say. But in true Audemars Piguet fashion, ‘To break the rules you first have to master them’ and the curators select challenging artists who provoke discourse, promote engagement, assemble an ecosystem. Lending support from inception through development to exhibition, APC nonetheless confers on its artists full rights of ownership to their work and this artistic licence produces ground-breaking art.

a large book with a yellow light on it

Andreas Angelidakis, Center for the Critical Appreciation of Antiquity, 2022, Commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary. © Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

In Andreas Angelidakis, APC turned to an LA-trained architect-turned-artist of Norwegian-Greek heritage who is gay and takes a playful approach to excavating shifting perspectives and societal dichotomies.

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In an artful curation of artist with venue, APC opted for Espace Niemeyer, former HQ of the French Communist Party and oeuvre of futurist architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Venue and exhibition are a conceit, Angelidakis’ installation being a reimagined Temple of Zeus of artefacts nestled matryoshka-doll fashion inside Niemeyer’s structure, itself a UFO-like 11 metre high dome, accessed via an excavated trench to basement level.

A tent with a green carpet and wooden beams

Andreas Angelidakis, Center for the Critical Appreciation of Antiquity, 2022, Commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary. © Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

All this is a metaphor for the visitor’s immersive deep-dive into the personal memories, experiences, mythologies of the artist. Angelidakis points to the subversion of truth through rumour, encouraging us to discern propaganda, celebrate diversity, embrace change.

A man sitting on a half doughnut shaped chair next to some scaffolding

Andreas Angelidakis, Center for the Critical Appreciation of Antiquity, 2022, Commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary. © Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet.

The visitor regresses, childlike, into kaleidoscopically spotlit multi-worlds of ‘let’s pretend’, learning through play by interacting with outsize art-devices. A quasi story-time on the book-chair, a lesson in apocryphal urban myth (or is it reality) conveyed through the story of the stylite and the column, roomsets of soft-play ruins, a fairground mirror revealing us as others see us, and windows onto VR.

Read more: PAD returns to Berkeley Square

Emerging, blinking, back onto an ordinary Paris street, APC shows us that like mechanical watches, art tells you about more than what you see. Both need emotional intelligence and experimentation to be successful.

Find out more: www.audemarspiguet.com/adreas-angelidakis 

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A silver metal bar with glasses in it in front of a red wall
A silver metal bar with glasses in it in front of a red wall

Barrha Bar by Yann Le Coadic. Image courtesy of Pouenat

After two years online, PAD returns to its home in Mayfair, and with it brings its eternal reverence to craft and tradition, as well as new faces to the artistic hub – heritage and innovation await

From the 10-16th October, the 14th edition of PAD London, sister to PAD Paris residing annually in the Jardin des Tuileries, returns with its celebration of 20th century and contemporary design, with “a roster of world-class interior decorators and designers”, as the various disciplines of art and design meet again.

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Grounded by the history of its founder, Patrick Perrin, a fourth generation antique dealer, the art and design fair coalesce modernist tradition and contemporary works, as 67 galleries bring designers from across 27 countries, with visitors able to walk amongst cachet mid century Italian cabinets and historic names such as Portaluppi, Scandinavian textile compositions, works from Poland to Portugal, only to gloss over the worldly exhibits awaiting. The booths will be sites of collaboration, “sparking a conversation between past and present”, as stated by Perrin, with exhibitors placing retro-futuristic and contemporary metal work alongside Brazilian modernist design; natural, sculptural forms rubbing shoulders with American furniture.

white splattered paint on a black board

‘Jackson Pollock’ Screen Room Divider by Dino Gavina & Kazuhide Takahama. Image courtesy of Portuondo London

“With their distinct approach to collecting, PAD London and PAD Paris epitomise how artistic genres across time and periods interact to reveal astonishing combinations and create the most individual and striking interiors.” says Perrin, “Over the past decades, the two PAD fairs have become a byword for connoisseurship, exquisite taste and curatorial flair, showcasing the very best in modern and contemporary design and decorative arts from the world’s leading galleries.”

green cushioned chairs with bronze metal

Chaise Maurice Armchairs by David Nicolas. Image courtesy of Nilufar, Amendolagine and Barracchia

The week will show returning masters such as Joy de Rohan, a reminder of the unique platform PAD London provides French artistry, and 18 first time exhibitors, such as London’s own Francis Sultana and Beirut based Galerie Gabriel and Guillaume.

Read more: The Special Relationship of Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and Ali Jassim

The most established and emerging of  new voices across art and design are being exhibited, as age old techniques are adopted by young maestros. Equally a beacon of innovation, the fair promises many designers focusing on sustainable practice, with responsibly sourced materials and repurposed waste, reflecting upon materiality as a result.

A bright yellow marble looking light in front of a blue wall

Aqua Fossil Chandelier by Amarist Studio. Image courtesy of Priveekollektie

The artful world of jewellery will be presented by a triad of female gallerists, as women dominate across other mediums too, as PAD continues to deliver unending variety rooted by a deep care for craftsmanship.

PAD London will be taking place from the 10th to 16th October.

Find out more: www.padesignart.com
For tickets: tickets.padesignart.com

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A valley of vineyards in the sun
A valley of vineyards in the sun

Château Quintus, so named as the “fifth child” of the Domaine Clarence Dillon family group

From Bordeaux to Paris and back again, Domaine Clarence Dillon, under the stewardship of HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg, is delivering two of those most signature luxuries of French life, haute cuisine and Haut-Brion – and more besides, discovers Anna Tyzack

At Le Clarence, just off the Champs-Élysée, in the golden triangle of Paris, the staff are used to seeing familiar faces: not only the actors and politicians who dine there, but the guests who keep coming back. One distinguished French couple returns two or three times a week to enjoy haute cuisine and traditional service à la française in château- like surroundings; afterwards, they head back to their apartment to dance. So successful is head chef Christophe Pelé in recreating the French art de vivre, that Le Clarence, which opened in 2015, won two Michelin stars in one year, and in 2022 was honoured as the second finest restaurant in France, with a global ranking of 28th, in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

two wooden doors opening to a room with a red chair and table with chandelier hanging over it

The group’s Le Clarence, which has won two Michelin stars and is ranked 28th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list

Le Clarence echoes the tastes and spirit of its founder, HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg, whose great-grandfather, Clarence Dillon, a Harvard-educated banker and Francophile, revived the fortunes of Château Haut-Brion, a Grand Cru on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, in 1935. The group also includes Château La Mission Haut-Brion, bought by Prince Robert’s mother, Joan Dillon, Duchess of Mouchy, in 1983.

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Prince Robert is devoted to his family legacy and became group president in 2008. Like his ancestors, the prince knows that the best way to preserve it is to innovate. Hence his decision in 2011 to expand the repertoire by acquiring a property now known as Château Quintus (meaning fifth in Latin, as the group’s fifth child), a Right Bank wine estate in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St-Émilion, and in 2015 to bring the spirit of Domaine Clarence Dillon to a 19th-century townhouse, Le Clarence, in what could be described as the Mayfair of Paris. According to his devoted staff, the prince is not a man who likes to sit still and is permanently seeking new ways to capitalise on the company’s past to build its future.

A man wearing a blue shirt standing by a table and red curtain

HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg, the fourth-generation scion of the Dillon family to look after its winemaking legacy

The building was in a sorry state when the prince first stepped inside. Built in 1884 as an hôtel particulier (grand residence), it had been an ophthalmologist’s for many years and was in need of major renovation. Yet the prince could see it was the perfect private mansion to house the passions of Clarence Dillon – fine wine and gastronomy – in Paris. Over the next five years, he meticulously restored the courtyard, marble staircase and exquisite formal rooms. He designed the interiors by researching and imagining how each room would have looked in the past, sourcing 18th- and 19th-century furniture, paintings and carpets from auctions around the world. When builders discovered a vaulted wine cellar beneath the building, the prince resolved to open a fine-wine boutique, La Cave du Château, in the style of the grandest cellars of Bordeaux and Champagne, stocking Haut-Brion (which had been enjoyed by Samuel Pepys and Thomas Jefferson), along with other fine wines, spirits and secret vintages.

little finger food on a silver tray

Seasonal, creative haute cuisine at Le Clarence

The prince knew, however, that it was people who would bring Le Clarence to life – in particular a head chef to recreate the ethos of Domaine Clarence Dillon in Paris. He was determined to find a chef with their own ideas, style and expertise who would bring a blast of modernity to this historic house. After many months of searching, Prince Robert came across Christophe Pelé through word of mouth; Pelé had worked at some of the best restaurants in France before shocking the gastronomy world in 2012 by closing his two-star restaurant, La Bigarrade, to focus on learning more of his art. Prince Robert invited Pelé to cook for him at Haut-Brion, where, along with creating a world-class gastronomy and wine library, he has installed a kitchen fit for Michelin star- winning chefs. First thing in the morning Pelé headed off to the local market, then spent the day creating a menu that combined ingredients from earth and sea; Prince Robert was so impressed by Pelé’s ingenuity and creativity that he invited him to collaborate right away.

someone using a spoon to drizzle raspberry coulis on a dessert

Le Clarence has earned two Michelin stars since its opening in 2017

By 2017, Pelé had earned Le Clarence two Michelin stars, adding the ranking of 28th best restaurant in the world in 2022. There is no formal menu: each artful dish is inspired by a classic recipe and prepared uniquely for each guest to express terroirs, cultures and seasons, and served with a number of smaller dishes to complement the flavours. Pelé, a horse rider and nature lover, devotes a huge amount of time to cultivating relationships with his favourite farmers and producers.

A chef sitting in his apron on a green couch

Head chef Christophe Pelé, who prizes classic service à la française alongside his modern cuisine

He is adamant that if his guests are to taste the seasons, he has to be great friends with his fishermen, farmers and suppliers. For example, Pelé works with family company France Ikejime for the freshest fish, while the organic sourdough is from local Parisian bakery Ten Belles. But while his cooking is unashamedly modern, Pelé’s presentation and service is resolutely traditional. “Some say that the art of service à la française is outdated, but what we offer is as relevant now as it always was: the extraordinary luxury of taking your time,” Pelé maintains.

a white small starter with green leave son top on a white plate

Le Clarence has achieved the rank of second finest restaurant in France

A little over 600km away from Paris on Bordeaux’s Right Bank, the staff at Château Quintus are also aware of the significance of time and deep-rooted relationships. In 2013, the prince expanded this newly named estate, where some of the vines, planted to Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, date back 100 years, with an average age of 30 years. In 2021, he added another venerable château. Along with Jean-Philippe Delmas and Jean- Philippe Masclef, Haut-Brion’s most senior winemakers, the prince has adopted the same vine-by-vine, plot-by-plot approach used at Château Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut- Brion. “At Haut-Brion there are centuries of knowledge; here we’re starting afresh but we have the fundamentals,” explains Delmas, who is the third generation of his family to be in charge of producing Château Haut-Brion wines. “Château Quintus is deeply rooted in the heritage of St-Émilion, one of the oldest vineyards in the world. Now we’re applying principles from our other properties to get the very best from this ancient terroir.”

Vineyard with green leaves and red flowers with a blue sky and the sun shining

Château Quintus vineyards, lined with trees and wildflowers to nurture the terroir and promote biodiversity

The prince set out his intention for Quintus to become the new star of St-Émilion when he commissioned a huge sculpture of a dragon to tower over an estate promontory. The outlook of Le Dragon de Quintus is nothing short of intimidating, as surrounding vineyards belong to the Grand Cru estates of Château Ausone, Château Angélus and Château Le Dome, as well as Château Berliquet and Château Canon, whose owners, Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, own Chanel. Yet the first vintages of Château Quintus have received critical acclaim. At a blind tasting with 28 top wine tasters in spring 2022 in London, three of the Quintus vintages were scored in the top 15 of 48 peer wines, with the 2016 Quintus ranking fourth. Of four perfect scores, three went to Quintus. It seems Prince Robert’s ingenuity is paying off. “The aim at Quintus is to make elegant wine in the spirit of Haut-Brion with typicity of St Émilion’s Right Bank,” explains Mariette Veyssière, manager of Quintus, who previously worked at both Haut-Brion and Pétrus, and whose father and grandfather are both cellar masters in St-Émilion. “The fact that there are 42 acres of vines on three orientations surrounded by oaks and acacia gives us a huge palette when it comes to the blending process.”

A contemporary bottle of wine and an antique bottle of wine

A first vintage of Château Quintus, 2011, with an antique Haut-Brion bottle found in a pirate’s cache

As a fourth-generation wine producer, Prince Robert is well aware that, to make the best wine, you need to nurture the terroir – not just for the next vintage but for the coming decades. “‘Terroir’ is a big word in France; it means more than just ground – it’s the whole ecosystem,” says Veyssière. “We are very gentle with it; not just with each vine but the whole terrain; we have to try to envisage what it will be like in 10 and 20 years time.” At Quintus, 800 types of auxiliary fauna with more than 80 species of wildflower have been recorded, as well as a profusion of bats, bees, insects and birds. Each year, parts of the vineyard are replanted, hedgerows are relaid and more trees and wildflowers are planted. No insecticides are used, and any ploughing is done with care to avoid soil erosion. “In order to have the best grapes, the vines have to suffer a little; at the top of the limestone slope where it is rocky there is a natural limitation to how much they can thrive, but where the soil is more sandy and fertile, we grow grass to prevent the vines from growing too vigorously,” Veyssière explains.

Read more: Prince Robert de Luxembourg on wine, gastronomy & storytelling

Harvest at Château Quintus is a painstaking three-week process with each plot (74 per cent Merlot, 24.3 per cent Cabernet Franc and 1.7 per cent Malbec) harvested by hand. “We’re gradually learning the soul of the plots and the grapes,” Veyssière continues. Once the grapes are off the vine, they’re sorted in terms of quality using a gravity sorting system: the best flow down into tanks: steel and concrete for Merlot and Malbec, oak for Cabernet Franc. Then, in November, an expert panel, including the technical teams from Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, decide on the blending of Château Quintus and the second wine, Le Dragon de Quintus. Only afterwards will it be put into barrels. “We decide on the blend first to ensure the oak is not masking the berries’ potential,” says Veyssière. “We use a ratio of 35 per cent new oak, 65 per cent old, as the newer the barrels, the oakier the taste of the wine.”

Flowers and leave with a church and it's spire in the background

A view of Château Quintus looking towards the spire of St-Émilion church

For Prince Robert, who in 2018 joined Primum Familiae Vini, an association of the world’s most historic and celebrated wine-producing families, Château Quintus is a cherished fifth child, not only as it expands Domaine Clarence Dillon into St-Émilion but because it fulfils the wishes of his great-grandfather. Clarence Dillon had great affection for the ancient vineyards around St-Émilion, yet he never succeeded in buying a château there. Nine decades later, the Quintus estate, like Le Clarence, is a nod both to the past and the future of Domaine Clarence Dillon. “When Prince Robert is here, he likes to walk slowly through the vines and oak copses, taking it all in,” says Veyssière. “There’s no better place to catch up with his team than walking through the terroir with the butterflies and bees and the church spire of St-Émilion in the distance.”

Prince Robert on creating a new legacy

HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg has been expanding the family business since taking over at the helm of Domaine Clarence Dillon, owner of Château Haut-Brion and other prestigious estates, in 2008. He speaks to Darius Sanai about the past, present and future.

On creating wine and gastronomic experiences
Wine is an experience. It has always been valuable only because it is something we share,
a shared experience. The fine-dining restaurant in Paris, Le Clarence, is part of that: we are bringing people into the heart of the world we have created. The style of the place is a reflection of the style of our Bordeaux château which I saw born around me when my mother redesigned and decorated it back in the early 1970s. I wanted to recreate that atmosphere in Paris. The cooking is totally different because it is hypermodern and the chef is innovative yet respectful of the ingredients. His cooking, to me, is close in style to the wines of Haut-Brion because it is subtle and elegant. It’s a composition. He treats all the contents of the plate in the same manner that our oenologues would the composition of the wine. You have a little bit of everything, but not too much of anything. It is a real art.

The exterior of a Parisian building with green awnings

The group’s Le Clarence restaurant, with wine boutique La Cave du Château, elegantly housed in a renovated 19th-century Paris hôtel particulier

On building a new carbon-neutral winery at Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux
The mandate I gave to the architects emphasised that it is not about a cult of personality, about the architect or about ego – whether that is the winemaker, the owner or the architect. We have an extraordinary story here, and we have to really put the focus on that and share it. It can’t be heavy-handed. The design element should not be too important, either. As much as I like Disney and am a big fan, we can’t recreate that kind of experience at Château Haut-Brion. It is like our wine and food: it has to be very subtle.

The carbon-neutral project was born 10 years ago, so we have been working on this with the architects. The technology we are using has improved significantly over that time, so we are going to be in better shape than we anticipated when we started, whether it is the geothermal energy we are using or solar cells. It is important for all of us and the planet, but especially important when you have a long-term vision of a family company that we represent. We are farmers, and our most important asset is our soil and our planet – without that we are nothing, so we have to look after it. I think that is why we see a lot of positive messaging coming out of this space. We are physically using our soil to build our buildings because the construction is going to be significantly made of rammed earth, so we are extracting our soil and we will have that reflected in the walls of our chai building. It is an exciting message, and we will literally be able to see quite gravelly soils within the actual walls. Some of it will be more traditional construction, but much of it will be rammed earth.

On creating a new St-Émilion first-growth wine, Château Quintus, on land that was previously three older properties
Creating a new name and brand ultimately means the promise of quality to the consumer. The reason for creating a new name is that we are not trying to make a better version of what was there before. We are making a totally different, better wine than all those estates. The selection process of the grapes for the wine is so drastically different compared to what was done beforehand. It is a totally different way of making this Right Bank wine. We are adopting the same kind of principles that we have at the Left Bank at Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion. It is daunting, but, ultimately, it is very exciting.

While the reconstruction of Château Haut-Brion continues, visitors can experience the group’s wines and hospitality at its new Pavillon Catelan, Bordeaux

Find out more:
domaineclarencedillon.com
le-clarence.paris
chateau-quintus.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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dark bar with black chairs and white flowers
dark bar with black chairs and white flowers

The lobby in the new Castiglione addition to the Hotel Costes in Paris

In the third part of our luxury travel views column from the Spring 2022 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Hotel Costes in Paris

My first encounter with the Hotel Costes was in the early 2000s, when I was meeting a Vogue photographer for a drink in the bar, on an evening a fashion house was also having a small gathering there. Despite being well turned out, and spending my working days at Vogue House, itself then a kind of office catwalk, I endured scrutiny by the beautiful boys on the door and by the beautiful girls inside before being let in, to a bar and lounge space, designed by Jacques Garcia, which gave the impression of sitting inside the bloodstream of a human being.

Jean-Louis Costes, the hotel’s owner, whom I interviewed in the last issue of LUX, is an iconoclast and an original. He created the velvet womb of the Costes and decorated its rooms with 19th-century oil paintings in the minimalist, contemporary-art obsessed 1990s.

A hallway and white marble staircase

A hallway and marble staircase

He has now opened a new wing to the hotel, or more precisely a new Hotel Costes adjoining the old one, making the second stroke of an L shape on the corner of Rue Saint-Honoré and Rue de Castiglione – without doubt the most desirable address in Paris. To check into the Costes, you now enter a grand, light, high-ceilinged lobby in the Rue de Castiglione.

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If you are staying in the old Costes, you can walk through the lobby and pull back a curtain, like passing through a looking glass, and voila. I, however, was sampling the new Costes: up on the second floor my suite was designed with the whimsical perfection of an obsessive and talented owner. A white carpet, like walking on a Persian cat, a bed with the black stained outline of a four-poster; a blood-red ottoman, a purple sofa and a lot of empty space. The bathroom had chandeliers and glass wardrobes: the message here is that your clothes had better be great, because they’re all on show. The walk-through shower and bath in light marble were immense: there is scale here that the original, boutique Costes, adjoining, never had. From the balcony you look out to Place Vendôme. From some of the suites, you have a view across Paris to Montmartre and Notre-Dame.

white bed

One of the new luxury suites

There will be a resort-style pool in the basement spa, currently being completed, and at the moment you still dine in the original and excellent courtyard restaurant of the original Costes. Another courtyard restaurant is being built at the Castiglione wing.

Read more: Paris Revisited: A Diary of Art and Culture

Every detail is both original and edgy: the Costes is the hotel that invented the hotel DJ and soundtrack, and bespoke hotel scent (both hard to believe now, as all the greatest and most pervasive inventions are). Twenty-seven years on, Jean-Louis hasn’t lost his touch.

Find out more: www.hotelcostes.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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a chef sitting at a table
The entrance of a grand home with yellow walls and an artwork coming out the house

The entrance of Pavillon Ledoyen with an installation by Tadashi Kawamata

Yannick Alléno is one of France’s top chefs, famous as much for his drive and ambition as he is for his expertise with sauces. He is redefining haute cuisine with a combination of playful and seriously researched innovations while challenging the classics. Alléno is also introducing a revolutionary new concept of bespoke dining at his flagship restaurant, Pavillon Ledoyen, in Paris.

LUX: Tell us about what is going to change at your restaurants.
Yannick Alléno: I think that the luxury, first-class restaurant has to think about the way it picks its customer, so I created the ‘conciergerie de table’. The Michelin concept is that for three stars, it’s worth making the trip, taking the plane, but the restaurant with a ‘no choice menu’ is over. Today, the customer’s freedom is very important. Of course, the creativity is fantastic, but when you are a customer, you would like to make your own choices.

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LUX: Is this thinking just for you or is it going to be a trend everywhere?
YA: I think we need new models, even for the staff. Pastry chefs are stars now, but you miss 30 per cent of the restaurant when you say that – you are missing out the service staff and it is the service that has to be at the centre of the conversation today. Our vision is to push them. We have to work on the education of service staff in their schools. We are changing the way we cook for our customers. They often want the menu dégustation, but we must go deeper with their choices. For example, the concierge calls you and introduces himself as your host when you come to Paris. He needs to know why you’re coming – it could be a special occasion, such as your wife’s birthday. He would ask what type of flower she likes, and we would arrange to have some for her. You could say that your son is allergic to certain things, which needs to be discussed. It is easier to speak about these things in private and knowing them in advance means the chefs can work on them. These are the fine details you can get with this new way.

a chef sitting at s table in a restaurant

Chef Yannick Alléno

LUX: Can this only happen at three Michelin-star-level service?
YA: For the moment it’s a premier-class treatment. There is another advantage in that the same food is ordered for each table – you don’t have multiple preparations. The écologie, the financial way of the restaurant is very important.

LUX: Why hasn’t this happened before?
YA: There was a development in the 1970s and ’80s, which was a time of new ways of making food and plates became more and more sophisticated. Now, it is a time to think differently again and create the next generation of those kinds of restaurants. Service in the service of taste – this is how I would explain what we have to do.

LUX: So, you could have 60 couverts, each of them with a different dish?
YA: Yes, but the difference is that the energy in the kitchen is more controlled – you know in advance what you have to do, you have the right information. Instead of different information for 12–15 tables, and the chef going crazy, now they have in advance any details and know the situation for tables. When people arrive at 8.45pm, immediately the food is on the table, and you’re happy that the champagne is ready at the perfect temperature. You know it is all in good hands.

pastry style dishes on separate plates

A dish created by Alléno for the Pavillon Ledoyen

LUX: Do you expect that you will start to invent new dishes in response?
YA: Yes. Let’s talk about a chicken dish. I can say to a chef, “Roast that chicken for our customers”, so two days before the customer dines I put cognac and vin jeune in the chicken’s mouth, and the inside becomes very perfumed. I don’t take anything out, I preserve everything in the kitchen. Before, I wouldn’t know how many chickens I’d have to save for one night, so I’d have to prepare it in advance. Today, I have time to cook the chicken for you. I want you to tell me it was the best chicken of your life – this is the key. In some restaurants, you don’t remember the taste – maybe the show, but not the taste. I prefer to give you a memory of the taste.

LUX: Can a new sauce be created by instruction, or is it completely personal?
YA: Sauce is the ‘verb’ of French cuisine. If you don’t have the verb, you can’t write the sentence. Without sauces, we can’t do any of our dishes. Sauces, for me, are 80 per cent of the success of your plate. You have to know how to make sauces, like a grand béarnaise. Creativity has to be founded on the real basics – the chef has to know how to create a fantastic base. We have just created the École de la Sauce. I say to the chefs and the professeur, it’s better that the young chefs learn the sauces first. A fantastic sauce will make a fantastic memory. This is the key to creativity.

a restaurant with a flower on the blind

The dining-room at Pavillon Ledoyen

LUX: When you were 15 and you started working, what did you dream of?
YA: I just wanted to cook. Nothing else. You have to remember it wasn’t the same as today – now you have TV, Instagram, and chefs are stars. I just wanted to work and my parents were happy because in that job you never missed food. In this city, this job allows you to do something with your life.

Today, I have to give young chefs and young female chefs a chance. I come from the Paris suburbs and it wasn’t easy to come to the middle of Champs-Élysées. I was not from that world. Today, it’s even harder. We have to tell them that they can actually do something and that we will help.

a fish with a side of green vegatablesI have said to my team that I want 50/50 women and men on my team by 2023. We have to be open to anyone coming to enjoy their life in our restaurant. Of course, we have to take care of our business, but they are free to say: “Friday night, I can’t be here”, so we tell them they can come on Friday lunch and they have the opportunity to do their shift and take a night off. This is the key to helping a woman become a grand chef. There are not enough grand chefs because it is very tough to acquire the knowledge. But you can have a normal life and become a grand chef. Three days a week you can work at the three- star restaurant. I think this will be a big evolution for our business.

Read more: Chef Rasmus Kofoed: The Vegetable King

LUX: Has this last year, with the pandemic, softened you?
YA: Yes. How can I accommodate disabled people in my restaurants? We have to be a better restaurant. Not in terms of food, but in terms of social consideration. We have a lot of young chefs with motorbikes and one of them could have an accident and end up in a wheelchair. I’d never thought of making a space for him. Being disabled doesn’t mean that he can’t learn to cook. Why don’t we make a space for him to create his dishes? If we were to close the door because he’d had an accident, what kind of people would we be?

A chocolate pudding in a bowl with gold leaf on it

A dessert created by Alléno for the Pavillon Ledoyen

LUX: Do you think that sustainability is becoming more important?
YA: Yes. We have to push in that direction. We have to tell people we won’t buy their food because it’s not made naturally. If you sell it, you have to produce it correctly. Customers place their trust in us, and they want to be sure we can take care of this for them. It is our responsibility to do this.

Yannick Alléno is chef patron of the three- starred Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen in the French capital. His other restaurants include L’Abysse, in Paris, La Table, in Marrakech, Stay, in Seoul and Dubai, Le 1947 at Cheval Blanc, in Courchevel, and Pavyllon Monte-Carlo at the Hôtel Hermitage, in Monte-Carlo

Find out more: yannick-alleno.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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Art works that look like plants in a gallery
a woman wearing a white shirt sitting on a brown chair

Founder of Fondation Thalie, Nathalie Guiot

The Brussels-based French founder of Fondation Thalie is from one of France’s biggest retail families. Nathalie Guiot speaks to LUX about the need for an all-round vision in facilitating arts and culture to support sustainability and biodiversity – and why you shouldn’t call her a philanthropist. Interview by Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem

LUX: What prompted you to start your foundation?
Nathalie Guiot: The aim was to support contemporary art linked to societal issues with three objectives. To give more visibility to female artists, as I don’t think they are represented enough; to promote dialogues between visual and savoir-faire craft, such as ceramics and textiles – I come from a family of entrepreneurs in retail and textiles; and to be involved in the ecological transition, to invite artists and scientists to create new narratives to call for action. It’s a multi-disciplinary foundation connected to new narratives, contemporary writing, new forms of creative writing, as well as visual arts and ecological transition, and how we can address this urgent topic.

Art works that look like plants in a gallery

Artworks by Kiki Smith at her solo show at Fondation Thalie

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Do you think of yourself as a philanthropist?
NG: I come from a family where we don’t really use that word. I don’t know why – it’s more like we are taking action, but we are not considering it as philanthropy, even if it is actually philanthropy. It’s a way of interacting with contemporary art creation now and how can we help these artists make their projects.

LUX: How can artists address the environmental issues?
NG: I think they have a vision that we don’t have. They have a vision to
project what the future will be. I think about Tomás Saraceno… it’s not only visual art, it is also in cinema, like the amazing film maker Cyril Dion. He just came out with a new movie called Animal talking about the end of biodiversity.

Nathalie Guiot speaking to a group at the Kiki Smith exhbition at Fondation Thalie

LUX: You are involved with artists and biodiversity.
NG: Right now, it’s more about conversations online, and from these conversations we will publish a book of 12. It’s about supporting people who are doing things. We are partners of the festival Action for Biodiversity in Arles at the end of August. I am also involved in the family business, which is Decathlon (the French sports retailer), as a board member of the Transition Committee. We’re working with the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, on a three-year research programme for the next generation of designers. It focuses on how to create products without destroying natural resources. Artists and designers will work with mycelium, for example. It will be inaugurated in September.

an artwork on a wall with a lamp hanging by it

Artwork by Kiki Smith

LUX: Is it a duty or a privilege for those with means to support the arts, given the pressures on public sector funding?
NG: I think it is a privilege to commission artworks, and to enable the creation of a community of patrons and collectors sharing the same passion! More than ever, we need creativity and poetry regarding our dramatic political context of the war in Ukraine. I am grateful to enable the support of artists in this context of a private foundation and to build this art collection over time.

A white building with an orange roof and blue sky

Fondation Thalie

LUX: What changes have you seen around the ecosystem of supporters of the arts/philanthropists, foundations, and museums in the past five to 10 years?
NG: They are more present and active – in particular, in Brussels. When I arrived 18 years ago, there were no galleries, artist-run spaces or contemporary centres. Nowadays, even my baker has an artist-run space!

Read more: Marina Abramović: The Artist As Survivalist

I am kidding, but Kanal Centre Pompidou (museum) has opened in an old car factory downtown, Wiels (contemporary art centre) has a cutting-edge programme of exhibitions, and numerous other galleries and private foundations are there now. Brussels is becoming the place to be!

Find out more: fondationthalie.org

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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A double staircase looking over at a terrace
A double staircase looking over at a terrace

The leafy terrace at Mandarin Oriental Ritz in Madrid

In the first part of our luxury travel views column from the Spring 2022 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz in Madrid

“A little bit more, Sir?” A bartender is holding up a bottle of artisanal gin, having already emptied what seemed like a half-gallon of it into a bowl-shaped glass, filled with ice, slices of limon (a kind of lemon-lime cross) and juniper berries. I look up at the trees, the expanse of the square behind them, the outline of the grand Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum beyond, and the moon above, and think: yes, why not. I have arrived.

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If the arrival is a key part of any hotel experience, the post-arrival at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid, was pretty important, too. I had left my bags to be taken to my room as I wanted to catch the last embers of daylight from the bar’s terrace, which sits above the garden restaurant, itself almost contiguous with the trees of Retiro Park. You are in the centre of one of Europe’s most vibrant and dusty metropolises, but surrounded by nature (and, in my case, soon immersed in a very good small-producer gin).

round bedroom with a sky painted on the ceiling

The hotel’s royal suite

Neither of Europe’s other two grand Ritz hotels, in London or Paris (the three were born siblings, created by César Ritz to redefine the grandeur of hotels at the start of the 20th century, but are now owned and operated separately), offer such an outdoor experience, or indeed such a refreshing one. I am not speaking of the gin here, but of the decor: Mandarin Oriental’s magic wand over the previously grandiose but fusty Ritz Madrid has created lavishness with a certain elegance and contemporary class.

It’s a perennial question: what to do with a grande dame hotel – in this case, one of the grande dame hotels – to bring it into line with what a new generation of traveller expects, while not destroying its soul. I have seen hotels with decorative ceilings ripped out, with hip bar designers imposing darkness where there was once light, and with questionable contemporary art replacing dusty but meticulous classics.

A white corner of a building with trees and a garden in front of it

The hotel’s Belle Époque façade

Fortunately the Ritz does not fall into these traps. Our Mandarin suite combined fresh but classic colours – pale walls, pale gold furnishings – with hints of MO style, such as black lacquer detailing. The service was up to date, effortless and effective without being stiff: just the right balance to cater for a wide variety of traveller.

Read more: Chef Ángel León: Ocean Sustainability Supremo

And the food in the Jardin (Garden) restaurant was also spot on: kimchi chicken skewer, Thai sea bass ceviche, grilled sole with artichokes. You can delve into the paella menu, as many others were doing. The hotel may claim it has updated its Belle Époque origins to work in the luxury travel world 110 years after it opened (I don’t know, I didn’t check, but it’s the kind of thing a hotel would say) and in this case, they would be absolutely right.

Find out more: mandarinoriental.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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a room with wooden chairs and tables and a large glass window leading to a terrace
A lounge with a floor to ceiling glass doors and a terrace with plants

L’apartement at Château Voltaire

The Arrival

We walked into Chateau Voltaire the wrong way, or was it the right way? The hotel is a striking corner building on a side street, Rue St Roch, just off the Rue du Faubourg St Honoré and a couple of minutes walk from Place Vendôme, in the luxury heart of Paris.

a lounge with an orange velvet chair, a blue velvet chair and a cream wooden chair

The lobby at Château Voltaire

We entered via the door on the apex of the corner and found ourselves in a buzzing brasserie; it was like walking into an auberge near a country town, and we were smiled towards the interconnecting reception area by a waitress. The small lobby is very chi-chi and relaxed at the same time. Check in was quick, and we caught a glimpse of a relaxed-looking bar and lounge area across the way.

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The in-room experience

Chateau Voltaire is a boutique five star hotel, and our room, while not big, was beautifully put together. It spoke of a lot of individual thought and craft and artisanship, rather than a single, overweening interior designer.

a cream and white bedroom

A bedroom at Château Voltaire

The marquetry was exquisite, with solid wood furnishings and intricate carvings, hinting at the building’s history, and 20th century modern art providing a juxtaposition. The hand-made bed was huge, the coffee machine grand and complex enough for a Turin caffe and the high-ceilinged bathroom was all white-and-chocolate tiles.

A dark bar with dim lighting

La Coquille d’Or bar

The out-of-room experience

The restaurant through which we had originally entered, Brasserie Emil, is an upscale brasserie, as casual as it is fancy, with handmade tiles, beautiful wood tables, no tablecloths.

wooden bar chairs on a marble bar

Brasserie Emil

The cuisine is also modern and fresh, rather than weighty and historic: we enjoyed a lunch of endive and olive salad, artichoke salad, and yellowtail carpaccio with ponzu. The lounge-bar is intimate and open; perfect for a quick glass of champagne pre-event.

Read more: Hotel of the Month: Cervo Mountain Resort, Zermatt

 An arch leading to a pool in a spa

The Spa

Drawbacks

Château Voltaire is perhaps the perfect boutique luxury hotel. It’s not a drawback per se, but if your taste is for big, grand hotels with swanky extensive lobbies, you will prefer the bigger Parisian hotels.

Rates: From £470 per night (approx. €550/$560)

Book your stay: chateauvoltaire.com

Darius Sanai

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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rooftop dining
Chef Alain Ducasse, who currently holds twenty-one Michelin stars, has teamed up with Dom Pérignon and renowned chefs Albert Adrià (one Michelin star), Romain Meder (3 Michelin stars) and Jessica Préalpato to create ADMO, an exclusive dining experience on a roof terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Candice Tucker travelled to Paris to find out more

ADMO bills itself as an ephemeral restaurant experience due to the fact that it’s open for 100 days only, but it doesn’t really seem the right way to describe a fourteen course, multi-sensory menu, created by five of the world’s best chefs and paired with Dom Pérignon Rosé 2008. Decadent is the word that comes to mind and perhaps, a touch hedonistic.

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Situated on the top floor of Musée du Quai Branly, the restaurant has a prime position overlooking the Eiffel Tower, which as the clock strikes the hour, is illuminated by brilliant lights. Cynics might pass it off as naff, but it feels suitably sparkly for a champagne feast.

fine dining

The fusion of philosophy and food makes ADMO stand out from other gastronomic experiences. The menu specifically excluded meat products, to emphasise its green credentials. Being presented in a minimalist fashion, it further highlighted the importance for people to appreciate food for its refined quality whilst fully satisfying one’s appetite.

Read more: Standard Chartered’s Eugenia Koh on Next Gen Investors

The small tables and dim lighting, made the grand culinary experience, warm and intimate. Between each course, there was lively conversation amongst the journalists, food and champagne connoisseurs, but as each course was placed in front of the guests, the room fell silent. Every plate – notably, the crispy pastry sheet with red mullet and fried scales – provided an explosion of perfectly balanced, fresh flavours that were enhanced by the champagne pairing.

rooftop dining

© François Goizé

Speaking at the launch event, Alain Ducasse explained how each dish at ADMO aims to encapsulate a philosophy of sustainability (all ingredients are locally sourced except the caviar which comes from the north of Shanghai), suggesting that this will, increasingly, define the future of fine dining. “There will be more of these types of projects. There will be more attention on better food, thinking more about the food we can eat and food that is better for the planet,” he said. “I believe this is the roadmap [for the future] and it will not end.”

Vincent Chaperon, Dom Pérignon’s Chef de Cave, also commented on the importance of taking a sustainable approach: “I believe that if we focus on [sustainability], more people will embrace this approach. More doesn’t mean quantitative, it’s qualitative. This kind of project encourages people to recognise a new art of living [that centres around] our relationship with nature. We have to preserve and not only interact.”

If ADMO is a taste of what the future will bring, we’re very much on board.

ADMO is open from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner at Les Ombres au Musée du quai Branly. For more information, visit: admo.lesombres-restaurant.com

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man sniffing glass of red wine

Prince Robert de Luxembourg. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon. F. Poincet @ OccitMedia

Prince Robert de Luxembourg is taking Domaine Clarence Dillon and Château Haut-Brion, one of Bordeaux’s most prestigious wine estates, into the future by creating new winemaking facilities, a fine wine shop and a visitor centre. LUX speaks with him about mixing the worlds of art and fine wine, and growing the family business

Prince Robert de Luxembourg – just plain Robert to his friends and this interviewer – is in a hurry, although you wouldn’t know it. He is about to embark on his first family trip to the US, to visit the American side of his family, since before the pandemic. But if he’s ruffled by having to deal with the stresses of international travel currently, he isn’t showing it. “And how have things been with you?” he asks, listening thoughtfully and diverting briefly into a conversation about how curious the media world is right now.

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Robert is someone who could easily have done very little at all; after becoming involved in the family company a decade earlier, in 2002 he became Managing Director of the family’s holding of Domaine Clarence Dillon, which owns, among others, one of the world’s most celebrated wine estates, Château Haut-Brion. Haut-Brion is what is known by connoisseurs as a ‘First Growth’, standing alongside Châteaux Lafite, Mouton-Rothschild, Latour and Margaux; the China-driven rise in values of these wines in the past 20 years has meant a surge in profit margins for their owners. A case of 12 bottles of 1989 Château Haut-Brion will set you back more than £15,000 (more than US$20,000); in a restaurant, a recent vintage will usually be priced north of £1,000 per bottle.

Haut-Brion also has more heritage than pretty much any other wine: American founding father Thomas Jefferson famously took a case home to Virginia in the 1780s; and, for those who care about these things, it has a distinctive style, often richer and more earthy than its fellow first growths.

grand drawing room

The salle des vignes in the 19th-century Pavillon Catelan, at Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux, which has been converted and extended into a new visitor centre. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon

Like his wine estate, Robert has strong links to the US: his mother, Joan Dillon, was a stalwart of the US political establishment, who married Prince Charles of Luxembourg, a direct descendant of King Henry IV and Louis XIV, and a member of the Bourbon family. The heritage of the estate and other holdings in Domaine Clarence Dillon comes from his mother’s line: it was his maternal great-grandfather, Clarence Dillon, a Texan financier, who purchased Haut-Brion in 1935.

There’s an element of the Texan in Robert; his warm-hearted greetings, openness to conversation, straightforwardness. His English is somewhere between the private-school British of his upbringing and the East Coast aristo of his US family.

There is another side to him that needs prising out a little: the creative. He started out as a Hollywood screenwriter, one with considerable potential it appears, as one of his screenplays piqued the interest of Stephen Spielberg and was eventually optioned by Colombia Pictures. Although we don’t talk about it much, he plainly enjoys his interactions and ideas with the media and film crews, and there is creativity in both his planning as he expands and recreates his Domaine for the next decades and in the execution of elements such as Le Clarence and Pavillon Catelan.

The former is the restaurant he opened in Paris in 2015, now with two Michelin stars under chef Christophe Pelé, which, though reflecting a decidedly modern version of French cuisine, has been created to feel like dining at a Bordeaux château. The latter is his new creation at Château Haut-Brion and its (almost equally celebrated) neighbour La Mission Haut-Brion, a lavish visitor centre with contemporary-Baroque drawing and private dining rooms. The key message: the visitor experience can now be as lavish as are the wines.

vineyards and chateau

Château Quintus in Saint-Émilion, part of Domaine Clarence Dillon. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon

LUX: To what extent have you transformed Domaine Clarence Dillon? It’s a broader business now than when you took over.
Robert de Luxembourg: It was a farm when I arrived as a child. We had no offices, it was just one venerable wine estate, Haut-Brion. There was an accountant who would come maybe one or two times a week to my great-grandfather’s apartment in Paris and that was the only ‘office work’ that was undertaken. There was also a gentleman who would organise visits in Bordeaux occasionally. At that time it was a farm and today, we have become a group of companies, the mother company being Domaine Clarence Dillon. This entity oversees five subsidiaries, three vineyards and many more wines. We have grown into a substantial and expanding wine business enjoying a multitude of related activities.

Read more: David Taggart on photographing our cover star Jeff Koons

I believe considered growth is important for a family company in order to survive and flourish. In the short term, you could do very well having one extraordinary trophy, but if you want to keep the family involved and the shareholders happy over the long term, you also have to evolve and grow. That is as important as the element of pride and belonging and being part of an exciting story. The bottom line is making sure that future generations of our family remain committed and invested in the business. So, yes, growth has been a part of my strategy along with enjoying the creativity of developing new lines of business. This company spirit is important to all of our stakeholders – my colleagues, my family and ultimately our customers. Tradition and innovation are an integral part of our DNA. As an entrepreneur, and standard bearer for our family and company, I find this mix both exciting and rewarding! Every time you start something new, it offers you all kinds of other directions in which you can take the business, whether it’s a restaurant, or retail or wholesale. I am very proud to say that we have accomplished this successfully in all of the related lines of business that we have developed. Clarence Dillon and Haut-Brion were my initial inspiration. This has led us to reach a level of excellence in all of our new activities that become references of quality in their own domains in the world of fine wine.

By the way, we have just had one of the most successful en primeur campaigns of all time. Quite unexpected, given the context! This is particularly exciting for Quintus but also for Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission. Our campaign lasted two-and-a-half hours during which we sold all the wine that we released on the market. Life slowly seems to be coming back to normal and it is gratifying to see interest and sales returning from hotels, restaurants and the airlines industry, which had remained very quiet over the previous 18 months.

luxurious dining room

The salon gentilshommes, one of the private dining rooms at Pavillon Catelan. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon

LUX: You are building a new cellar at Haut-Brion. What prompted this?
Robert de Luxembourg: All big changes at the estate, even dating back to the 17th century, have been driven by newer winemaking practices. Whether it’s the Pontac family producing new French claret or the introduction of adding sulphur and racking and even introducing estate bottling later, these winemaking developments are constantly driving innovation. When we brought in tractors in the 1950s, I think they were the first in Bordeaux and we had to house them somewhere, so we needed a building. When we brought in new vats in 1961, which were the first steel ones to be used in winemaking in Bordeaux, the buildings needed to accommodate them. And then in 1991, 1990 or even 1987, when we were rebuilding the entire chais at La Mission and designing new vats, this informed our advances during the following decades.

Over the past ten years we have been re-thinking our whole way of winemaking. This is driven by a desire to offer the finest winemaking tools in Bordeaux to our colleagues. We also aim to create carbon-neutral buildings that offer the perfect working environment for my colleagues and an exceptional visitor experience that focuses the attention squarely on the world’s most eminent historical winemaking estate, Château Haut-Brion.

None of this is particularly new. We started integrating the first solar panels back in the early 1990s at our estates, and we’ve slowly continued to build these up over the years. Now, with this new project, our intention is to complete this work at Haut-Brion by fashioning a totally carbon-neutral installation. Through our collaboration with the German-American architect Annabelle Selldorf and her team, we are developing the Château Haut-Brion installations of the future, while respecting the past and placing the focus back on this historic estate. This will be the most important undertaking at this estate for the past few centuries. We have been working on it for six years and it will take four more vintages to complete.

grand drawing room

The salle des vignes at the Pavillon Catelan. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon

LUX: Your winemaker and Deputy General Manager Jean-Philippe Delmas must have a big role in this?
Robert de Luxembourg: Absolutely. The technical considerations for this project were front and centre. Jean-Philippe, alongside our Technical Director, Jean-Philippe Masclef, have together been driving this key process. It is interesting to think that Mr Delmas’s family has been overseeing all of these technical revolutions at this estate across three generations, starting with his grandfather, Georges Delmas, in 1923. At the very start of this project, having identified our architect, I told them, “You have carte blanche. What tools do you need in order to make the very finest wine possible?” Then we built a whole concept around what they had come up with. That has to be the starting point because it is ultimately exceptional terroir and wine that have always driven our success. After this came safety, comfort, ESG, sustainability and the visitor experience. Covid-19 provided us with extra time for reflection.

Read more: Maryam Eisler’s Spectacular New Photography Exhibition Opens At Linley In London

It has been a wonderful experience working with Annabelle Selldorf. Her firm had no experience in the arena of wine but a deep and very varied experience in other sectors, with a particular focus on museums, galleries and art. They recently worked on the Luma Foundation in Arles in parallel with Frank Gehry. They are just completing the extension of the Frick Collection in New York and refurbishing the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, and she’s done galleries for David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth over the years, and has recently received an important commission to work on the National Gallery in London. So, it was interesting for me to bring all of that expertise into a technical project to look at how these two worlds could come together.

The main challenge for me was that Haut-Brion has the most extraordinary history of any vineyard in the world. We didn’t want to create a huge architectural statement. If anything, we wanted to put the focus back on the Château and its story. So, we needed something technically perfect, as I’ve described already, but also, from an architectural standpoint, a structure that was rather discreet. That’s why we needed an architect whose design principles and statements wouldn’t overwhelm the history but respect and celebrate it, all the while introducing a very modern concept.

bottle of wine and glass

Haut-Brion 1985, a classic vintage of the château. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon

LUX: What about the design of the new chai, and how will it relate to the Château?
Robert de Luxembourg: As I mentioned, it’s a modern, carbon-neutral construction using all the latest technology, whether geothermal or solar. As far as the design is concerned, it’s purposely discreet in order to focus the eye and mind on the Château, which is one of, if not the earliest château that was built solely to oversee wine production for the Pontac family whose house was not far away in Bordeaux. So the Château has sort of been obscured over the centuries as people have added on bits such as technical buildings and farm buildings. I would love to open up the Château again so that it is the first thing you see when you arrive. This is not the case today. And we’re trying to get away from having cars and tractors and stuff in the courtyards around the Château and just have serene parks and gardens outside. And that’s another concern: how do we monitor how people are going to be coming to us? Will they be coming in self-driving vehicles? Will they be coming in self-flying drones? How do we accommodate the new visitor over the next few decades? It’s not just about what’s going to happen in five years, but the next fifty.

LUX: So what will a visitor see in 2022?
Robert de Luxembourg: Well, in 2022, it’ll be a big hole, so there will be nothing. That’s why we have built our new visitor centre. And La Mission and Quintus will still be available for visits. Also, the shop, La Cave du Château Bordeaux, opened in July.

LUX: What will the private dining experience at the visitor centre be like?
Robert de Luxembourg: The idea is to recreate the atmosphere that we have in Paris [at Le Clarence Restaurant] so that people feel they are surrounded by the vineyards and they can have tailor-made tasting experiences. They can bring their friends and have access to an extraordinary range of vintages they will not have access to elsewhere. And the wine is going to be from our estate only.

parisian hotel

The façade of Hôtel Dillon, Paris. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon

LUX: Will there be a kind of VVIP experience that you can offer with this private dining?Robert de Luxembourg: I think anyone that comes to us should be considered a VVIP. That’s our culture here; we’ve always welcomed all visitors and everyone has been treated as a guest in our home. We’ve never, to date, sold anything. We’ve never had anyone pay for any experience: it has always been free, everyone’s always been given free wine. So, in time, that is going to have to shift, because it’s a huge amount of work to have people serve and run the visits and the rest of it. Today, we receive around 10,000 visitors a year, and pouring 20,000 glasses of La Mission and Haut-Brion for free has an impact on our stocks when we are producing very little anyway. So, I don’t think it can go on forever, but within the new buildings, we will have dedicated spaces for visitors and special dining areas. Access to certain areas, depending on what you’re interested in, will be limited, of course, because we have collections of documents in our library, our collections of cultural tools, etc. Our new facilities will be outside the new visitor experience, but for the next few years – because it’s a three-year process before we even start the other building – we will have people using this space and they’ll be able to have catered lunches or dinners.

Read more: Entrepreneur Utsava Kasera on finding his gap in the market

LUX: Is it returning to business as usual at Le Clarence, following the lockdowns?
Robert de Luxembourg: I’ve tried to bother the chef as little as possible because it’s been complex getting up and running again. So far, the feedback that I’ve received from people who are friends of mine who have gone there has been very positive. It’s getting back into training and if you’re playing at the top of the league, you need to build up slowly and so that’s what we’re doing. I anticipate that we will become a little bit more normal in our practices and open up further come September. Our private rooms have had little use – we haven’t felt comfortable doing that – but it’s all now slowly returning to normal. What’s great is that people are so excited to be there with us. People are coming and staying very late. That’s part of the advantage the way the Clarence is conceived: they come and they stay. It can be challenging for our team because we have people still finishing their lunch at 6.30pm just as we have diners arriving, so we need to accommodate that, especially when people have missed this experience so much that they don’t want to depart.

kitchen team

The team of the hotel’s restaurant Le Clarence. Courtesy of Domaine Clarence Dillon

LUX: Can you tell us more about the 2020 vintage and also a bit about Château Quintus?
Robert de Luxembourg: Well, 2020 has been a huge success. Obviously, over the past few years we’ve had Mother Nature on our side. One of the positive aspects of global warming – if you’re looking for them – is that we’ve been making some extraordinary wines with vintages that happen to be in line with some of the finest vintages made over the past century. When you look at vintages such as the ’45s, the ’47s, the ’59s, the ’61s, the ’82s and the ’89s, they tended to be hot, dry vintages but still with enough humidity for the wine not to be stressed. Even 2003, which was the hottest, still has lovely acidity in the reds and the whites didn’t suffer either. The weather conditions have been perfect in order to produce great vintages and obviously the techniques have also improved significantly.

With Quintus, we’ve acquired three sites with different vats, both concrete and steel, so it was also an amazing laboratory for us to work in. Ironically, there was probably more variety to work with here for our winemakers than they had at La Mission or Haut-Brion. It’s taken some time for them to fully come to terms with the terroir, which is normal, but with 2020 we’re now coming up to our tenth vintage.

We’ve grown with the property, we understand it better every year, and I think we’ve made the best wine so far in 2020 and it’s recognised by the market. It’s the first time where, you know, critics are confidently saying, “Yes, this is a truly great wine and terroir”. We have totally changed the winemaking practices here on the right bank. I have never hidden the fact that my motivation is to produce one of the top (if not the finest) right bank and Saint- Émilion wine at this estate. That is why we named the estate Quintus (as the Romans may have named their fifth child). Quintus has the same potential as our first four wines, both red and white, to be one of the very finest wines in the world. I believe that we are up to the task of making this dream a reality!

Robert de Luxembourg’s key milestones

2002: Becomes Managing Director of his family’s Domaine Clarence Dillon, owner of Château Haut-Brion
2005: Launches mid-market wine brand, Clarendelle
2008: Takes over as Chairman
2009: Completes major refurbishment at Château La Mission Haut-Brion and begins the same at Château Haut-Brion
2011: Acquires Château Quintus
2015: Opens Le Clarence restaurant and La Cave du Château wine shop in Paris
2021: Opens the Pavillon Catelan visitor centre and La Cave du Château at Haut-Brion
2025: Château Haut-Brion cellar refurbishment due to be completed

Find out more: domaineclarencedillon.com

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Reading time: 16 min
corridor and stairway
corridor and stairway

Inside the new Castiglione wing of the Hôtel Costes. Image by Alex Profit.

The legendary celebrity magnet Hôtel Costes in Paris is reopening with 38 spectacular new rooms and suites in a new wing on the rue Castiglione. Owner Jean-Louis Costes, who has never before given an interview to the international media, tells LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai about his lack of design philosophy and why the hotel owes its success to discretion

1. What is your design philosophy?

I don’t know what you mean by a design philosophy. I choose people; all my life, I have chosen people. My first designer was Philippe Starck [for the Café Costes, which propelled Jean-Louis and his brother Gilbert to fame in 1984], who was unknown at the time. Then I took Jacques Garcia [for the original Hôtel Costes in 1995], also unknown at the time. And now, as I am getting older, I have taken on Christian Liaigre, because we are both young fathers and our sons were at the same school. Each morning we would have a coffee together and he would tell me “Jean-Louis, I want to redo your hotel”.

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2. What is the ‘legend of the Costes’ that people talk about?

There is no legend. I don’t know. I didn’t do anything deliberately, but it happened. We are different. People talk about the music, the scent. There was no music in hotels 25 years ago. We had a CD that played on a loop, I got sick of having to turn it off all the time, so I spoke to one of our old waiters who had just come out of rehab. I said to him, “Take this space and play music all day”. He knew a few labels and artists and asked if he could make our own compilation CD, and I let him do it and we sold five million CDs. It became a legend, but it was by chance.

As to the scent, everything in the Costes has a little story. I was sitting downstairs when we had just opened, and an attractive woman stopped and said, “Monsieur, are you the owner of this place?” I said yes. She said, “I like it a lot, but it smells bad.” And at that stage it was true – we were just trying to get rid of the smell of the original building works. A few days later I saw her in the pages of Elle; she was the star perfumer of France, Olivia Giacobetti. When I saw her again, I asked, “So, what should I do?” She said, “You have to create something yourself.” And I told her to go and do it, and she created our candle, which is now famous and sold around the world. Before that, hotels just didn’t have their own scents. But I created it on the spur of the moment. There was no strategy, no marketing.

women leaving a hotel

Joan Smalls, Kendall Jenner and Lily Donaldson leaving a Paris Fashion Week party at the Hôtel Costes. Image by Ben Eade/GoffPhotos.com

3. What do you like your guests to do?

I don’t like people who stay in their rooms. The guests have to meet and see real Parisians. People eating in the restaurant need to feel like they are in their own town.

Read more: The gastronomic delights of Suvretta House, Switzerland

4. What makes the Costes different?

I wanted to make an urban resort, not a business hotel, even though we have a lot of business guests. I’m also not part of a group, which makes a difference; we can be more joyful, more dynamic. I am one of the hoteliers who, over the past 25 years, has created this ‘entertainment’ style. And it’s not enough to be in a good location. You have to treat guests better than anyone else does. Your hotel needs to be more beautiful and have better facilities. I am always amazed when people build ugly little hotels and they do well with them.

marble staircase

A staircase in the Castiglione wing. Image by Alex Profit.

5. What makes the new wing, the Costes Castiglione, so special?

I’m not sure. I treat this hotel as if it’s my home, and not just the current enlargement, but from the beginning. I always created it as if I were decorating my own home.

hotel bedroom

A suite in the new wing. Image by Alex Profit.

6. Why don’t you give interviews?

To speak about a place is interesting, but to speak about myself is not. It’s just not my thing. It’s not necessary to create media to succeed. You have to be a bit enigmatic. These days, any hotel which opens and changes its bathrooms wants an article about it.

Jean-Louis gave his first international media interview for this article and asked that we do not publish a picture of him.

Find out more: hotelcostes.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue.

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Reading time: 4 min
jewellery boutiqe
jewellery boutiqe

Goossens’ flagship London boutique in Mayfair

Parisian couture jewellery house GOOSSENS opens the doors to its first London boutique in Burlington Gardens, Mayfair

French jeweller Robert Goossens founded his eponymous brand in 1950 and is known for making jewellery and decorative objects for some of the most renowned designers of the last century, including Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristóbal Balenciaga.

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While the core aesthetic has stayed consistent since its inception, with a focus on tactile, handmade pieces, which combine metal with precious stones, the opening of the first GOOSSENS boutique in London marks a new chapter in the brand’s history under the leadership of Robert Goossens’ son Patrick (Director of GOOSSENS’ Heritage and Know-How) and as part of Chanel (the fashion house bought the brand in 2005).

jewellery display

The store itself is reminiscent of an art gallery with its white walls and minimal furnishings emphasising the bold beauty of the objects on display. Visitors can discover iconic heritage designs alongside new collections and six unique interior design pieces including two mirrors, a couture chandelier made in collaboration with interior designer Anne-Sophie Pailleret, and two wall lights.

The GOOSSENS boutique opens on 12 April 2021 at 3 Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, London W1S 3EP. For more information, visit: goossens-paris.com

 

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Reading time: 1 min
man giving speech on a stage
Headshot of man in blue shirt

Alexandre Mars is the Founder & CEO of non-profit foundation Epic and the Founder of Paris-based VC fund blisce/. Image courtesy of Epic

French entrepreneur, author and philanthropist Alexandre Mars founded nonprofit organisation Epic in 2014 to help change the lives of disadvantaged young people around the world through individual and corporate donors as well as partnerships with other social organisations. As part of our ongoing philanthropy series, he speaks to Samantha Welsh about the importance of encouraging people to give more often, building a strong team and putting in the hours to achieve success

LUX: When did you start your first business and what made you do it?
Alexandre Mars: I started my first business at 17 years old by organising concerts at my high school. While I didn’t have the natural ability to become a professional athlete or movie star, something about entrepreneurship resonated with me.

The goal was never just to make money. It was about what to do with that money – a means to an end. Growing up with a mother that instilled values of altruism and solidarity in me from a young age, I knew that I wanted to give myself the necessary resources to protect my loved ones and then help others in need around the world. This first business was a first step toward realising that mission. I earned enough money to buy my first computers and that’s how my career as a tech entrepreneur was born.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Why did you pivot from serial entrepreneur to successful philanthropist?
Alexandre Mars: I’d actually consider that it was more of a continuation than a pivot. As I mentioned before, it was always my goal to help those less fortunate. It just took me a bit longer than expected to generate the means of being able to do so on the scale I hoped.

When I was ready to create Epic, my foundation, I still came at it from a very entrepreneurial perspective. In fact, a close friend of mine asked me an essential question as I embarked on this new venture: ‘What’s your uniqueness?’ In other words, how could I help others in ways that someone else couldn’t. Entrepreneurship is what I know best, so I built Epic like my previous startups, methodically and always with market needs in mind.

Working with young people can make for the most measurable outcomes. We know empirically that intervening early on is the most effective way to change life trajectories. That’s why we’ve decided to specialise in helping children and young people aged 0 to 29 years old.

Disadvantaged youths can come from anywhere, whether it be halfway across the world or in our own neighbourhoods. While the specific issues may vary from physical safety and job prospects to education and healthcare access, the overarching injustice remains the same: no one should be denied the opportunity to live their life to its full potential just because of the circumstances of their birth.

children's charity

Alexandre Mars in Mumbai. Image courtesy of Epic

LUX: Tell us about Epic.
Alexandre Mars: Epic is the culmination of deep market research into the philanthropic sector and the solution to three major obstacles to charitable giving: lack of knowledge (about who to give to), lack of trust (that the funds would be put to good use) and lack of time (to do the necessary research).

Our vision is a world in which every child and youth has access to safety, empowerment and equal opportunity. Our mission is to find, select, back and monitor high impact charitable organisations in order to catalyse their impact on underserved children and youth, and the systems affecting their lives. We are able to effectively fund them thanks to our donors who pool their resources together via our platform.

There are currently 26 organisations in the Epic portfolio worldwide, working on essential issues like access to healthcare, employment, education and physical safety. To date, we have raised $30 million.

What sets Epic apart is the robustness of our methodology that promotes transparency and accountability. From the outset, Epic has had a rigorous selection process to ensure trust and confidence. We curate a portfolio of high-impact, mid-size organisations addressing the complexity of issues affecting children and youth in a select number of countries, through a thorough and cutting-edge sourcing, vetting and monitoring process.

Another important factor is timing. We intervene at a stage in these organisations’ development when our support is the most transformative, allowing them to scale and have an even greater impact on children and youth.

Read more: Alia Al-Senussi on art as a catalyst for change

LUX: You are the enfant terrible disrupting traditional philanthropy, yet you build great teams. How do you go about that?
Alexandre Mars: Whether at Epic or any other startup I’ve founded, an undeniable key to success has been building the right team. And it starts with humility: you need to evaluate your strengths as well as your weaknesses, and hire for those needs.

For example, I built my career in the tech space, but I don’t know how to code. I surrounded myself with talented, passionate people. But it’s not enough to hire them. You need to have trust and give them autonomy to do their best work. It sounds like a simple formula, but it really works.

LUX: What issues around methodology come up most frequently in conversations between your NGOs?
Alexandre Mars: One of the interesting things that comes up often is how we measure success. We have been working hand in hand with our portfolio organisations to define a specific set of KPIs that they report on and that are tailored to their issues areas and strategy, for example: academic success rates or job placements. It’s a very interesting data-driven process that enables Epic to understand organisations’ performance in the context of their own success metrics as well as in the context of our centrally defined framework.

LUX: You have ‘skin in the game’ and pay all operating administration costs yourself – what are your expectations of companies and individuals who give and outsource to Epic?
Alexandre Mars: Two words: involvement and trust. We make sure that donors are very engaged throughout the giving process and that they’re able to follow their impact. Thanks to our thorough monitoring that brings accountability, our donors are more likely to continue giving. It’s a virtuous circle. This relationship of mutual confidence keeps our donors coming back year after year.

I also ask our donors to move away from certain outdated views on philanthropy, and to understand that impact and success cannot always be boiled down into quantitative terms like the number of children served per euro spent. Our organisations are dealing with a complex set of issues, and change takes time, as well as precise methods of measuring and understanding those outcomes. But you are right, I do have a lot of skin in the game so that 100% of all donations are sure to go directly toward changing lives.

Man posing on chair on paris streets

Image courtesy of Broadsoft

LUX: How has your approach guided your selection of partners in diverse regions and cultures?
Alexandre Mars: Our methodology takes into account 45 criteria in three categories: governance, impact and operations. It was developed by our team that draws on experience from both the non-profit and private sectors. For example, we’ve integrated best practices from the venture capital sector and evaluate organisations as if we were investing in a tech startup, looking at factors like growth potential, the quality of the leadership and most importantly, the organisation’s ability to create changes in the lives of the children and young people they serve.

The principles of our selection process drive at an understanding of how an organisation fares against an objective set of criteria. By looking through the lens of each organisation’s internal and external contexts, we are able to look at a worldwide set of organisations operating on vastly different issues and across varying social, financial, operational contexts. Interestingly, we do observe a certain universality, to an extent, in these organisations’ frameworks.

LUX: What corporate structures are most open to outsourcing their philanthropy to optimise returns?
Alexandre Mars: We work with corporates, but also foundations and individuals. One of the most frequent reasons they choose Epic is because we address three major obstacles in charitable giving: lack of trust, time, and resources. This is especially true when it comes to funding organisations that are in other countries than where the donor is located. We are a sort of one-stop-shop that they can trust.

Furthermore, I believe that people go through Epic to support children and youth because they have confidence in our model that focuses on strategic philanthropy. We look for impact and have developed a cutting-edge selection and monitoring methodology to ensure a certain return on investment, to borrow a term from the business world. It’s quite innovative, which explains why Harvard University did a case study on the Epic model in 2019.

Read more: Michelin-starred high altitude dining in Andermatt

LUX: To the average person, charities want to get more people to give, whereas you want people to give more often. Why?
Alexandre Mars: Our experience has shown that charitable organisations benefit from having a stable source of funding, rather than volatile ups and downs throughout the year. It allows them to more effectively plan and allocate resources to those they serve. That’s why our model is centred on multi-year unrestricted funding, giving organisations the stability and autonomy to do what they do best. We encourage companies and individuals to make giving a habitual action and embed the social good in a way that fits seamlessly with their personal situation or business model.

The form this solidarity takes will vary from case to case. For example, we’ve worked with Société Générale on a simple yet innovative solution that allows the bank’s corporate clients to round-up foreign exchange transactions and donate to Epic. And for entrepreneurs, we created the Epic Pledge whereby they commit to donating a percentage from the future sale of their company.
You are mission-driven, so how do you control social media to deliver success?

LUX: How does blisce/ fit into your current vision?
Alexandre Mars: At my growth stage venture capital fund, blisce/, we support mission-driven entrepreneurs to build global consumer technology companies like Spotify, Pinterest, Headspace and Too Good To Go. So we’re approaching social impact from another angle, but it’s absolutely core to our collective vision.

Finance can be a powerful tool and, if yielded responsibly, can be a force for good. That’s why we’re committed to working with our portfolio companies to improve their (and our own) environmental, social and corporate governance measures. For example, our term sheet includes two non-negotiable clauses for ventures: an agreement to carry out an ongoing ESG evaluation every 12-18 months, as well as a commitment to interview at least one diverse profile for every open senior leadership position. Our team has committed to donating 20% of its carried interest revenues to Epic, so it’s really a virtuous circle between my investment and philanthropic activities.

As a testament to these engagements, we’re very proud that blisce/ recently became the first B Corp certified growth stage VC fund in the E.U.

LUX: How has this vision developed and what projects are you looking forward to over the medium term?
Alexandre Mars: It is my view that solidarity and sharing are going to become increasingly essential, and that we can no longer rely solely on public support if we are to address the challenges we face such as rising inequality, climate change, lack of diversity, gender inequality. We need the participation of the private sector and an engaged citizenry as well.

In the near term, we will be doubling down on our strategies at Epic and at blisce/ to identify and support exceptional social organisations and mission-driven companies that positively contribute to our communities and planet. I’m thrilled by all of the determined social entrepreneurs I meet on a daily basis, and look forward to announcing those that we’ll be backing soon.

LUX: Has Covid accelerated how you do things?
Alexandre Mars: In my opinion, Covid has accelerated a trend that has been building for the past several years. I’m old enough to remember how different the world was just 20 years ago. People viewed success differently: it was about the number of zeros in your bank account, about having a corner office and a company car. Today that’s all changed, especially with the arrival of the millennials and Gen Z. Today, we know that real fulfilment and purpose comes when you put that material success toward realising your mission, whatever it may be.

Covid has only reinforced this evolution, as it has given many of us time to pause and reflect while also exposing the ever-widening rifts in our societies. So in terms of how it’s changed things for us at Epic and blisce/, I can’t recall a time when we’ve seen such an outpouring of support from across the board, or so many entrepreneurs for whom combining purpose and performance is an automatic must-have. It gives me reason to believe in the work we’ve been doing and to be optimistic about the future.

Image by T.G. Herrington

LUX: What lesson did you learn with a start-up as a teenager that you will share with your own kids?
Alexandre Mars: Entrepreneurship, including my first venture, has taught me so many lessons over the years. That’s part of the reason I wanted to write my recent book on the subject (it’s out in French now under the title OSE ! Tout le monde peut devenir entrepreneur, and the English translation is coming soon).

If I had to pick just one piece of advice, I’d emphasise the importance and necessity of hard work. Luck and natural ability only account for a small fraction of success. What will set you apart is outworking the competition, which will inevitably require sacrificing other activities such as going to the movies, coffee breaks, and weekends with friends. You won’t be able to do everything and work hard at the same time. That’s the harsh reality of it.

In my book I talk about Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell and the 10,000 hour theory he popularised. He explains how, in any discipline, 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of world-class mastery. This theory is based on the experience of three psychologists in observing violin students at the prestigious Berlin Academy of Music. The results were surprising: future international maestros each had reached 10,000 hours of practice; good violinists reached 8,000 hours, and future music teachers did not exceed 4,000 hours.

To take another example: when the Beatles were successful in 1964, supposedly coming out of nowhere and taking the world by storm, in reality they had exceeded 12,000 hours of rehearsals and concerts. They didn’t just appear overnight.

And as a last piece of related advice, I always remind my children about the importance of having a mission. In the end, having a sense of purpose is what brings true satisfaction, plus it will sustain you on your arduous but rewarding entrepreneurial journey. When you wake up in the morning with something bigger than yourself on your mind, you’ll find the motivation you need to succeed.

Find out more: epic.foundation

Samantha Welsh is a contributing editor of LUX with a special focus on philanthropy.

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Reading time: 13 min

Artworks by Erwin Wurm installed in Cafe de Flore, Paris

Art historian Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem is the founder of the Parcours-Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a yearly contemporary art festival in Paris, and the B&C art and culture member’s club. She is also the co-founder of Spirit Now London which organises exclusive art events, and a board member of numerous cultural institutions across the globe. As part of our ongoing philanthropy series, she speaks to Samantha Welsh about supporting rising artists, the challenges of her work and plans for 2021

Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem. Image by Sonia Fitoussi

LUX: When did you first begin to support emerging artists, and what motivated you?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: I come from a family of art collectors and experts. I was born in Limoges into the Haviland family, a family of porcelain manufacturers. My mother was an art restorer. It is a family tradition to support artists and to become really good friends with them. Haviland, for example, worked with Wassily Kandinsky, who made a tea set for them.

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I first began to collect artists in 2000. The first show I curated was of the photographer Ange Leccia at the Armani shop in 1999. I bought four pictures with my first salary. I then started to collect the artists that I was exhibiting in my annual art show, Parcours Saint Germain, which I founded in Paris twenty years ago.

This exhibition presents about thirty artists in each edition, whom I chose amongst the projects that I like the most and of which I gather a few pieces.

More recently, I have started developing a collection of abstract paintings and I am trying to focus also on women artists like Suzan Frecon and Vivian Springford.

installation art

Sabine Pigalle and Philippe di Meo at Celine as part of Sweet Art, the 2007 edition of Parcours-Saint-Germain-des-Prés

LUX: Is there anybody in the philanthropy world who particularly inspires you?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: As an art historian I have always been admiring of all the important philanthropic families such as the Medici family. When I was working at the Centre Pompidou at the beginning of my career I realised how much public museums have been depending on private collectors. Many artworks in museum’s collections come from private donations, sometimes a private collection is the starting stone of building a whole museum.

I also witnessed the creation of collections such as the Fondation Cartier, Louis Vuitton, François Pinault as well as the birth of their private foundations and the opening private museums for the public.

I am also a big admirer of Patricia Sandretto and Frederic Jousset, and of philanthropic initiatives that help young artists and support education and diversity such as Fluxus Charity or Art Explora.

A sculpture at the 2007 edition of Parcours-Saint-Germain-des-Prés

LUX: What originally brought you to found the B&C Club?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: I had the idea of creating a club when I was living in France seven years ago, acting as a board member of the Tokyo Art Club of the Palais de Tokyo. I used to create programs around the current exhibitions and the artists exhibiting for the patrons of the museum. As soon as I moved to London I wanted to create a more international group and to offer my members the possibility to go everywhere. I thought that founding a private project which also raises funds for art and museums would enable me to offer a more diversified program.

Read more: Life coach Simon Hodges on how to break free from destructive behaviour

LUX: What exactly does the B&C Club do, and how did you ensure you get optimum results?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: The club is a private group of patrons, art collectors, intellectuals and open minded people, for which I organise very privileged access to artists’ studios, galleries, museums, art centres but also to eminent curators, museum directors and art historians. For me the key is the assurance of high quality visits and the excellent curating of all the speakers. I look carefully at what is going on in the world and I pick the artists, designers, and curators who I fundamentally believe have something different to say.

LUX: What are your proudest achievements?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: An encounter and talk between Antony Gormely and Idan Segev, an internationally renowned neuroscientist from the Edmond & Lily Safra centre for Brain Sciences of Jerusalem.

LUX: Do you enjoy participating in Fluxus Art Projects? What originally brought you there?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: The former cultural attaché of the French Institute in London approached me as soon as I moved to London to be on the board of Fluxus and its artistic committee. I enjoy it a lot, it is a fabulous feeling to be at the source of the future talents and help them achieve their goals.

LUX: How much of your time does it take?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: It takes a lot of time to read all the different projects and to prepare the two annual board meetings. I would say it takes a third of my time at the moment.

Read more: Keith Breslauer on combining business & charity

LUX: Do you have some specific examples of artists who have benefited?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: Ed Atkins, Ryan Gander, Ulla von Brandenburg, Zineb Sedira, Laure Prouvost and Camille Henrot (currently showing at Lisson Gallery) among others.

LUX: What are the biggest obstacles and challenges you have faced?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: The first lockdown was complicated because my job entails a lot of travelling and organising events with groups, but I immediately signed up to a Zoom pro account and started organising webinars.

LUX: How will COVID-19 affect what you do?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: It is still a challenge particularly in Paris for the Parcours Saint Germain, with my sponsors in fashion. So the main idea is to do the best as I can, work a lot, redesign the web portals, organise webinars, send newsletters articles, and wait and see.

Dior windows by artist Stephane Calais, 2002

LUX: How would you encourage people like you to get more involved in non-profit organisations that support the arts?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: Every event is an opportunity to communicate to my network the need of private initiatives in culture. A great example is a talk we had with Sandra Hegedüs and the Sam Art Projects in conversation together with Catherine Petitgas.

LUX: Any other advice for our readers who might be considering going into the sector?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: Crises often give birth to new opportunities. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Read more: A new honey-based concept restaurant opens in Selfridges

LUX: What led to you co-founding Spirit Now London?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: Spirit Now was the first group, and B&C the second. The main difference between the two groups is that I am the only owner of B&C and its program is more open to philosophy, literature and current affairs.

Installation of work by French photographer Natacha Lesueur as part of Sweet Art, the 2007 edition of Parcours-Saint-Germain-des-Prés

LUX: What does your role as director of the B&C Club entail?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: I am both the owner and director of the club. I curate the whole program, contact artists, collectors, curators, gallerists, museum directors and writers, sometimes from all over the world and invite them either to come to London for a talk, a webinar or a visit. We organise art trips as well.

LUX: What about B&C’s direction, as we head into 2021, what are you most excited for?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: I am creating an international category for the club called B&C Reports – there is a new page on our website. I have invited a curator based in Rio de Janeiro to write articles about his favourite artists which I regularly post on my blog. We also organise webinars with these artists based all over the word. We select them together, record them and post all the webinars. We are also signing partnerships with different institutions to help them support the arts and to develop strongly their philanthropic side.

LUX: Can you tell us a bit about your aim for your new project in 2021 with Parcours-Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris?
Anne-Pierre d’Albis-Ganem: We have very ambitious projects for the Parcours 2021. As the current situation limits visits indoors in all of the places where we traditionally exhibited them (Louis Vuitton, Armani, Hotel Lutetia and Café de Flore), we have decided to program a variety of outdoor installations. We are working on a huge installation with the international artist JR and  the students of the famous school for cinema Kourtrajmé which will be produced and installed on the place Germain des Prés. Another project is to create colours and patterns on the pedestrian pathways with Carlos-Cruz Diez, who was a teacher at the School of Beaux Arts and had his studio in St Germain des Prés.

As we wanted to include architecture in our program, we have also invited the Architectural Association and a collective of young architects from Place Furstenberg. Our opening event will be outdoor with chefs and food-trucks, and will aim to combine photography, design, sculpture, fashion, photography, street art, street food and art all together.

Find out more: thebc-club.com

Samantha Welsh is a contributing editor of LUX with a special focus on philanthropy.

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The lobby of Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg

In the final edition of our luxury travel views series, LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai enjoys the Parisian elegance and ease of Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg

Location, location, location. What is the nearest luxury hotel to the epicentre of Paris shopping, the original Hermès flagship store on the corner of rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré and rue Boissy-d’Anglas? I would understand if you were thinking Crillon, Ritz or Bristol, but you would be incorrect. The Faubourg is so close that you could fish a Birkin out of the Hermès window display with a fishing pole and a hook.

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The frontage, in a road now closed to traffic for security reasons as it is so close to the Élysée Palace, belies the grandeur of the entrance hall when you walk inside. The welcome is swift, efficient and friendly, as you would expect from this significant European luxury hotel group.

luxury hotel bedroom

The Faubourg Suite

My room was well-appointed in a very Parisian style: vintage mirrors, Vogue photography, plenty of plush. With the rue Boissy-d’Anglas closed to traffic, it was also wonderfully quiet for a city-centre room.

Read more: Life coach Simon Hodges discusses the complexities of familial relationships

I had declined the offer of dinner with a business contact, as I had some research to do ahead of a meeting the next day, so I slipped downstairs with my iPad and found a place in the bar, a cosy, jazzy little room at street level.

luxury hotel interiors

The Blossom restaurant

Sometimes, on travels, after a number of meals offered where different levels of cuisine are showcased, there is nothing you feel like more than a Caesar salad, which the bar provided with no qualms and in very Gallic style, with corn-fed chicken and proper fries on the side. Paris is near enough to Burgundy to justify choosing a medically necessary Macon-Uchizy from the excellent 2016 vintage as an accompaniment.

My meeting the next day was not at Hermès but at a brand located next door. A 90-second commute. Now, that’s luxury.

Find out more: sofitel-paris-lefaubourg.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue. 

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interior restaurant

La Muña restaurant at La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich.

In the second of our four part luxury travels view column, our editor-in-chief Darius Sanai discovers the elegant alpine charm of La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich

Have you come across a La Réserve junkie? They are fans of one of Europe’s most distinctive and chichi luxury hotel groups, a kind of micro-version of the original Aman concept. There are La Réserves in Paris, Geneva and Saint-Tropez. The Geneva and St-Trop (in fact, Ramatuelle, on the coast just outside) properties have similarities. They’re both resorts, with delicious swimming pools – Geneva’s is the city’s most bijou pool and spa, as well as an outdoor pool with a country-club feel for the summertime.

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So, I was interested when the owner of the La Réserve group, Michel Reybier, told me that he was opening a La Réserve in Zurich, not a city known for the quality or variety of its luxury hotels. But where would it be? Just outside town, on a greenfield site near the lake, like Geneva? Or a city centre hotel like Paris?

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The view from one of the hotel bathrooms. Image by G Gardette

The answer is, a bit of both. The La Réserve Eden au Lac is, as its name suggests, set on the shore of Lake Zurich, a ten-minute walk or five-minute taxi ride from the heart of downtown. It is still in the city centre, a conversion of one of the city’s most celebrated properties, Hotel Eden, which had become a little neglected.

Read more: How ethical blue economy investments support ocean conservation

My room, on the second floor, with a small balcony, had an entrancing view across the lake to the Alps beyond. The interior was just delightful. The bed was in the centre of the room, with a writing desk behind, a blend of 20th-century modern and contemporary touches in the design, bare walls, Ibiza-style white drapes and some beautiful Swiss marquetry.

luxury bedroom

The Eden Suite at the hotel

Reybier has made the Geneva and Saint-Tropez properties destinations in themselves due to their dining and bar options. Would Zurich be the same? The Eden Kitchen & Bar is melded into the lobby restaurant and, while many people would enjoy their Cecconi’s-type vibe, I like my hotel bars to feel a little bit more exclusive, more club-like.

Fortunately, Reybier also appointed Philippe Starck to create La Muña on the top floor. With a view across the lake and city on a clear summer day, it’s also a curious and rather wonderful mix of Alpine and ‘yachty’ (the concept is ‘an imaginary yacht club created by Starck’) in an attic-type space in the rafters of the building. It really feels like an Alpine chill-out bar serving fabulous Japanese food, with a hint of South America. Creamy spicy salmon tartar with tobiko, sesame, jalapeño and fried rice was gorgeous, as were the grilled vegan gyoza. La Muña also has a very painstakingly sourced list of Swiss wines, the best of which were superb and hard to find.

Chapeau, Monsieur Reybier, you may just have created your best Réserve yet.

Find out more: lareserve-zurich.com

This article originally appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2020/2021 Issue. 

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man in suit

Ali Behnam-Bakhtiar. Image by Marko Delbello Ocepek.

Iranian-born designer Ali Behnam-Bakhtiar does it all – interiors, architectural design, weddings. Whether large-scale events or private homes, a converted airplane or a château, he runs the gamut from extravagant to minimal with equal flair and imagination, bringing his clients’ stories to life. Torri Mundell reports

Architectural designer Ali Behnam-Bakhtiar is a man on the move. Since 2003, his striking design projects have made their mark on coastlines, private islands, mountainsides and city streets in Europe, Asia and the Gulf, while his events company operates from Dubai, London, Paris and Monaco. The spaces he conceives, from the cargo plane he transformed into an airborne apartment to a spectacular eco-friendly château in Provence and a refurbished 150-metre yacht extended with landscaped green spaces, are equally dynamic. “I think of spaces and events like personal books,” he says. “They are stories that we experience through an introduction, a body and a grande finale.”

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Though Behnam-Bakhtiar claims not to have a signature style, the emphasis on experiencing a space – rather than simply passing through it – is an essential part of his aesthetic. “To create this kind of extra dimension, I am very detail orientated. I study the space carefully, I envision the memories that can be created and I focus on the senses that can be discovered.”

floral wedding display

Behnam-Bakhtiar’s floral design for a wedding in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

Ali Bakhtiar Interiors clients do not commission him to create something they have already seen somewhere else. “Everything I do is one of a kind,” he says. “I don’t hold on to what I have done or what has been done.” Conceiving wholly original designs for every project can be hard work, he admits, but it means that he never caves in to “the dullness of repetition.” Instead, each project is always “a learning process that definitely keeps me challenged and excited.”

Read more: Meet the marine biologist pioneering coral conservation

Behnam-Bakhtiar’s curiosity, extensive research and the relationships he fosters with his clients to “deeply understand their values, wants and needs” all feed into his vision for a project. Every aspect of design is thoughtfully considered to create a harmonious whole, but his spaces are also full of daring, unexpected moments. Consider the château he restored in Provence: he preserved the historic façade and added a self-sustainable modern basement, a pond that irrigates the rest of the estate and a formal dining room with a glass floor that overlooks a garden lavishly planted with lotus flowers. “I believe it is important to embrace modernity as much as ancient knowledge, because something might look cool and new but it also needs to age well,” says the designer about his blend of the traditional and contemporary.

sunken terrace

A 2019 house on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat designed with glass walls to make the surrounding forest part of the interior. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

Though the scale of the properties he designs can be vast, Behnam-Bakhtiar imbues his spaces with personal elements as well. “Generally, my favourite events or interior projects are the ones in which I deeply connect with my client, because this is what inspires me to go beyond expectation, and create something ‘out of this world’, a visualisation of their dreams and more.” In the château, for instance, each of the 34 suites was decorated to represent places or moments in time that are meaningful to the owner.

Creating a blueprint that encompasses both grand design moments and personal detail requires a nuanced approach. “Architecture to me is about conserving memory; creating spaces that host our lives but remain in existence beyond it,” Behnam-Bakhtiar continues. “Unlike events, architecture has permanence and so you are not just working on one experience in time, you are working on a timeless structure that impacts repeatedly. I believe architecture, landscaping and interior design need to merge to bring true and lasting harmony.”

He takes his cues from the outdoors to create this harmony. “I used to design houses that stood out from nature,” he remembers. “I now create ones that integrate with nature. The house becomes engulfed by the landscape rather than being simply set in it.” This approach also chimes with the current drive for sustainability. “Much more than ever, we now see nature as something that needs to be integrated in interiors and architecture. Rather than fighting the rules of nature or working against it, which we have done for so long, we are finally starting to see the incredible benefits of an alliance.”

Luxury villa

A 2018 house design in Florida with a characteristic Behnam-Bakhtiar blending of natural and built environments. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

The “green and self-sustainable” glass house he designed for a client on a private island epitomises how this can work. In building the residence from scratch, Behnam-Bakhtiar gave it a “system that transmits and observes energy” along with an ultra-modern, sleek exterior and sumptuous Art Deco furnishings.

Read more: American artist Rashid Johnson on searching for autonomy

Similarly, on a property refurbishment in the French Pyrénées, Behnam-Bakhtiar preserved the ancient rocks that predated the house by encasing them in glass boxes and installing a “hydraulic system to make the house ‘convertible’; completely open towards the seascape, on multiple levels. We also created several distinct courtyards and fountains, to give the landscape exciting layers.”

architectural render

A render of an island house off the coast in Abu Dhabi, with an Art Deco inspired interior in contrast to the building’s ultra-modern minimalist exterior. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

Born in Tehran, Ali Behnam-Bakhtiar was still a child when he moved with his family to Paris after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He grew up surrounded by art and culture and his parents indulged his drive to “redecorate their interiors on a weekly basis”. Even so, he says, “it was very much a conscious adult decision to develop my creativity professionally.”

His early memories from Iran, particularly before the revolution, “in which large-scale events and gatherings were considered normal” may have informed Behnam-Bakhtiar’s other hugely successful business: event planning. Orchestrating large-scale, fantasy weddings, celebrations and parties is a complementary discipline to his design work but he came upon it entirely by chance. “I was working on the interior design of a palace for a client of mine, whose daughter was in the midst of planning her wedding. Completely uninspired by the process, she had sort of given up on her dream wedding until she coincidentally saw my plans for their winter garden. In love with the plans for the garden, she convinced me to design her large-scale royal-like wedding for 2,500 guests.”

events space

A reception that took place in Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

Behnam-Bakhtiar’s ability to imagine multidimensional, immersive spaces works as well for one-off events as it does permanent buildings, and working across the two disciplines allows for a beneficial cross-pollination of ideas. “I mix architecture and interior design with event planning, and do things that have never been seen or done before. This has allowed me to evolve and remain modern. I embrace the future and the process of change and growth.” In 2019, Ali Bakhtiar Designs was named “best wedding planner in the Middle East” at the Destination Wedding Planners ACE awards, and in the same year the company won an honorary award at the Influencer Awards Monaco.

As with his architectural designs, the events he designs are inspired by their setting. “The location and not the budget is what creates the possibilities,” he says. What would he conjure up for a wedding at a castle with an unlimited budget? “I’d probably create a sunset moment, curate different areas so there is movement and a multi-layered experience of the castle. I would also do something with the façade, so the guests can view it differently throughout the evening.”

Read more: Why the market for modern classic Ferraris is hot right now

He is delighted to be commissioned for wedding and parties abroad. “Like creating a world from scratch, the entire infrastructure is purposefully built and specifically curated for the event, in the middle of nowhere.” The possibilities are endless, he points out, describing a beautiful event he planned on “a private island lit by 50,000 candles. The guests arrived by raft laid with beautiful flowers and in the middle of the island, we created a pond and fountain on which the gala’s dinner tables floated.” More unusually, Behnam-Bakhtiar also oversaw a divorce party on a cruise ship.

As with his design projects, Behnam-Bakhtiar and his team ensure they have oversight of every detail. “The design of the food, the uniforms, the bar; anything that has to do with the visuals, the service, the presentation… To me an event is never just about decoration, it is about continuous implementation; everything needs to run smoothly and as we visualised it.”

floral wedding display

An impression of flower-covered columns for a wedding at the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata in Florence, January 2020. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

floral arch

A rendered image of a tunnel of flowers for a wedding in Cape Town, 2020. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

With high-profile architectural and interior design clients and starry party guest lists, discretion is part of the Ali Bakhtiar Design service. He will not be drawn on the high profile personalities that have commissioned him. “We work with a lot of different people including celebrities and royalty, but under no circumstances do we share our clients’ names, whether we signed confidentiality agreements or not. We pride ourselves on being private.”

Word, however, is out – partly because of the design company’s huge international reach. “We go where our clients are, so it was only natural to expand,” Behnam-Bakhtiar explains of his company’s outposts in Dubai, London, Paris and Monaco. The company does not promote its productions but exposure has come nonetheless through guests’ photos on social media. And who can blame them? The vast hall filled with reflective ponds and dancing LED lights for a party in Shanghai and the arcade of pink roses for a church wedding in St Barts demanded a selfie. “Much of the current exposure of our work is not just because we have expanded but also because it is shared,” Behnam-Bakhtiar agrees.

Contemporary living interiors

A digital impression of a 2019 building design in Switzerland that brings nature into the heart of the home. Copyright and courtesy Ali Bakhtiar Designs

Like the architectural design industry, the events business is also becoming more mindful about expenditure. “I would like to see more consciousness around long-term trust and a sustainable use of funds,” Behnam-Bakhtiar asserts. “Rather than creating an event for the budget and exhausting funds, we now look at what we need for the event. This means we spend less on unnecessary things, so that these funds can be used elsewhere or go to charity.”

Behnam-Bakhtiar’s diligence is even more relevant in a post-Covid era. “Events of up to 7,000 people are postponed for at least a year,” he says, “but the smaller events are starting to take place now, in a more down-sized manner. We’re on stand-by, like the rest of the world.” With his vivid imagination, a roster of international clients and almost two decades of experience, he won’t be standing by for long.

Find out more: alibakhtiardesigns.com

This article features in the Autumn Issue, which will be published later this month.

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vintage ferrari car

This 1995 Ferrari F512M Coupé will be on sale at the Bonhams auction in Zoute, Belgium on October 11

Modern classic cars, desirable machines from the 1980s onwards, are hotter than ever, with demand not damped by the pandemic or constraints against driving. So for that reason, LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai says he is reluctantly putting his beloved Ferrari F512M, one of the craziest Ferraris of them all, up at auction with Bonhams

The economic ramifications of the coronavirus across the upper echelons of the collecting market have been unpredictable. Walking home from an emptying office at the start of the lockdown in London in March, I bumped into a gallerist friend, who was in the process of locking up the doors of his famous gallery in Mayfair for a potentially indefinite period. What did he think would happen in the art market, I asked him (this was a time when I naïvely believed that people would knew the answers to questions like this). “Carnage!” he said.

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Last week I was having a drink with another friend, one of the most significant collectors of contemporary art in Britain, and a good client of the same gallerist. My friend was bemoaning the state of his investments – not his stock market investments, which were doing very well, but the companies and people he has invested in directly. The companies are in the hospitality and retail sector, and having to let good people whom he knew and liked go was was eating him up, giving him sleepless nights, he looked drawn, despite his fitness regime and wealth. And how was the art market, I ventured, expecting more sharp intakes of breath, and of single malt. “Brilliant! I’m selling, and the prices are amazing!”

sportscar

2014 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse sold for $1,750,000 at the Quail Motor Car Auction in August.

My friend’s observation was evidently a reflection of the specialised part of the top end of the market in which he is selling – abstract expressionism. The art world itself has been hit severely by lockdown. According to one survey, by UBS and Art Basel, art gallery sales fell by 36% in the first half of the year – although falling sales do not equate to falling prices for the most desirable works.

Another part of the collectibles market that could logically have been expected to collapse during the last ten months, but which has not, is that of classic cars. The sector has even more going against it than the art world at the moment. Announcements by governments that the sale of new fossil fuel cars will be banned during ever shorter time spans; ever stricter restrictions on driving in cities; coronavirus-induced road changes in favour of cycles and pedestrians.

vintage green sports car

1956 Lister-Maserati 2.0-Litre Sports-Racing Two-Seater sold by Bonhams for £575,000.

And unlike collectors of Rothkos, the classic car market is not restricted to ultra high net worth individuals who have seen the size of their wealth increase during coronavirus due to a boom in the stock market. Classic cars encompass everything from £5000 MGs to £50m Ferrari GTOs. And the different segments of this market, while separate, are not hermetically sealed. If the price of a Ferrari Daytona drops, then a Ferrari 355, at a tenth of the price, also tends to drop. Yet, despite everything, the classic car market has been doing well across some of its tiers.

Read more: British artist Marc Quinn on history in the making

“Despite the challenging circumstance, the collectors’ car market has fared better than other sectors,” says James Knight, Executive Director at auction house Bonhams. “Although some sellers were initially concerned that the timing was right for selling a valuable collectors’ motor car, our (online live auction) system has been successful. We have sold cars and have sold them well – many at pre-COVID level prices. This success has given others confidence and we’re seeing healthy volumes come to market and being sold for market-correct prices.”

Knight says the market has been doing particularly well in the “hot” area of modern classics, cars desired by the latest generation of collector. “We are seeing a trend towards more modern classics and supercars becoming ever more popular. The demographic of buyers is changing – younger buyers are entering the classic market and they are looking at the ‘poster’ cars of the 1980s, 90s and even of this century.”

Vintage red sports car

The Ferrari F512M had the final development of Ferrari’s famous “Flat V12” engine.

So, with this in mind, I have entrusted my beloved “modern classic” Ferrari F512M for sale at Bonhams auction in the swanky silver seaside resort of Zoute in Belgium on October 11.

After I bought it, in 2015, and drove it across southern England for the first time, I saw it as the last car in my small collection that I would sell. The F512M has all the elements of a true collectable. It is rare: only 500 were made, in 1994 and 1995. It looks striking, with the celebrated cats claw scratches down the sides, and a wide, flat rear straight out of an arcade game. It is the ultimate iteration, and technical pinnacle, of a famous model: the Testarossa, which was launched in a nightclub in Paris in 1984.

Read more: Four leading designers on the future of design

The Testarossa (Redhead) gained fame in Miami Vice, and was improved into the 512TR in 1991. Three years later, this evolved into my car, the F512M (“M” standing for “Modified” in Ferrari-speak). As well as a modernised front and rear (which does divide opinion – some found the original rear treatment more classic), it was the pinnacle of development of Ferrari engine and suspension of its time. The engine’s internal parts were made lighter by the use of rare metals, the suspension was modified for even racier handling, and the car in general was given the performance needed to be at the top of the Ferrari tree in the mid 1990s. The F512M was the fastest road car in the world, until the appearance of the special edition Ferrari F50, costing a multiple of the price, in 1996.

It is a quite astonishing thing to drive. The F512M has no power steering, And while it is a lighter car than its replacement, the 550 Maranello, it does as a consequence need quite an effort to haul it around corners in town. The flipside is there is nothing interfering with the communication of the road surface to your fingers, when you get out on to faster roads and the steering becomes both manageable and responsive. Power-assisted steering systems, and particularly the latest electronic power assisted systems, cannot compete in terms of pure road feel. And the F512M’s manual gearbox (newer Ferraris have the easier-but-less-exciting paddleshift) is such a thing that a senior Ferrari executive drove my F512M and tweeted about it in delight.

red sports car

Ferrari steering wheel

Bonhams director James Knight says this particular example has the “holy trinity” of superb condition, perfect provenance and low mileage.

The subsequent 550, and later V12 Ferraris, were tuned more towards comfort and cruising, attracting a broader selection of buyers than the hardcore purchasers of a F512M. And the focussed and rare nature of the 512 is reflected in its price: good examples retail for two to three times the price of its more modern, comfortable 550 Maranello successor. Indeed, the F512M is the the last of a monstrous line that began with the 365 Berlinetta boxer in 1973, a family of Ferraris with a 12 cylinder engine placed not under the bonnet, but right behind the driver and passenger’s head. The sound, from centimetres away from your ears, when accelerating at full spate, is quite frightening – as if you are inside the jaws of a ravenous Tyrannosaurus Rex.

There is something else quite special about the F512M. Every Ferrari made afterwards was equipped with safety devices like stability and traction control, which meant that if you were about to lose control of the car by accelerating too fast around a corner, the car would notice, and stop you from doing so, electronically.

vintage ferrari

The F512M being sold by our Editor-in-Chief was previously owned by one of Spain’s most prominent collectors, who kept it alongside the rest of his Ferrari collection in a heated underground garage. When we bought it, we put it though Ferrari’s official 101 point Approved car check, which it passed with flying colours

Not only does the F512M not have any kind of safety control “nanny”: it is also the most powerful-ever general production Ferrari with a V12 engine placed behind the driver. On the one hand, this means for thrilling handling: turn the feelsome steering wheel, and there is no engine weight over the front wheels to create inertia by creating momentum through its mass and resist the turn. It just turns.

The corollary of this is that when the back of the car also turns, a nanosecond later, the mass of the engine turns with it, and if you get your cornering wrong, will wish to continue turning, American-cop-car-in-street-chase-style, until you go round in a circle. Keeping this under control at high speed would be both a challenge and a delight – although to be fair, the advanced suspension and huge rear tyres mean breaking traction only really happens when you want it to. I’ve never done it.

Read more: How Chelsea Barracks is celebrating contemporary British craft

So why am I selling it? Firstly, I simply do not have the opportunity to take it out onto the road where it can be driven properly. This is a car that needs to be driven from London to Tuscany at high speed. I barely have time on a weekend to get from London to Oxford.

Also, in the little leisure driving time I have, I have become an increasing cultural fascist about convertibles. I believe cars with open tops are right, and everything else is wrong. Or something like that.

Vintage sports car

1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, sold for $2,232,500 at Bonhams Quail Motorcar Auction in August.

Sadly, they did not make an open top version of the F512M. So, I want to sell it and put the money towards an open-topped V12 Ferrari. You will find full details of my magnificent F512M, which I purchased from one of the most prominent collectors in Spain, here.

As Knight himself says about this car: “The Testarossa is one of the modern Ferrari icons and the F512M was the final and the rarest version with just 501 examples produced. This is a very special motor car as it represents the ‘holy trinity’. It is offered in superb condition, having been exceptionally well-cared for; it has covered fewer than 20,000 kms and has the all-important provenance, which includes full Ferrari service history.”

If you’re the lucky buyer, please promise me a ride. I will miss her. And meanwhile, long may the market for collectibles thrive – after all, driving a two-seater Ferrari, you and your passenger are in glorious self-isolation as you hurtle towards your destination, enjoying every second.

For more information visit: bonhams.com

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Reading time: 9 min
beetroot gnocchi

Beet gnocchi from Le Clarence cookbook of recipes by head chef Christophe Pelé. Image © Richard Haughton

Earlier this year, Domaine Clarence Dillon, the luxury French company who owns the iconic Château Haut-Brion estate, published a cookbook of recipes by Christophe Pelé from its two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Clarence in Paris. Here, we pick three of our favourites to cook at home

Beet gnocchi with amaranth leaves

20 red and green amaranth leaves

For the beet gnocchi
(10 gnocchi per person)
2kg raw beets
3 big Charlotte potatoes
100g flour
2 eggs
40g butter
75g milk
Parmesan cheese
fine sea salt
nutmeg

For the beurre blanc
300g shallots, finely chopped
200g white wine
100g alcohol vinegar
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns, crushed
a sprig of thyme
a sprig of rosemary
100g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Banyulus vinegar

To finish
40g tofu

For the beet gnocchi
Push the beets through a juicer to obtain 500g of juice. Reduce to obtain 100g of juice.

Make a pâte à choux: combine the milk, 50g of reduced beet juice and the butter in a pot and bring it to boil. Remove from the heat and sift the flour into the pot, stirring vigorously to combine.

Dry the dough over a low heat, continuously stirring until it clears the sides of the pot. Transfer the dough into a round-bottomed mixing bowl, and add the eggs one by one. Add the parmesan, salt and nutmeg to taste.

Cook the potatoes in a pot of boiling water. Then, remove from the water, peel and smash into a puree. Add the hot puree to the pâte à choux and knead well until the dough is smooth.

Transfer dough into a piping bag and refrigerate.

Bring a pot of salted water to a simmer. Remove pastry bag from refrigerator, and squeeze and cut 1cm gnocchis directly into the water. Poach for 2 minutes, then remove and return to the cooled beet juice.

For the beurre blanc
Combine all ingredients, except the butter, in a pot. Cook over a low heat for 30 minutes, reducing it almost completely. Transfer 150g of the reduced mixture to another pot over a low heat. Little by little, incorporate the butter, whisking to emulsify.

Strain and add 50g of reduced beet juice and Banyuls vinegar. Allow to cool.

To finish
Drain the tofu and cut it into cubes. Arrange the gnocchi, dried amaranth leaves and tofu cubes on the plate. Finish with the beurre blanc.

Barbajuans. Image © Richard Haughton

Barbajuans with ricotta & spinach

Makes 50

For the filling
200g spinach
400g ricotta
black pepper
the zest of 1 lemon
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

For the dough
500g flour
5g salt
265g water
25g extra virgin olive oil
fine semolina
olive oil for frying

To finish
Kuro shichimi (a speciality of Kyoto, generally composed of white and black sesame sees, red chili pepper, sansho peppercorns, poppy seeds, linseeds and green seaweed).
fleur de sel

For the filling
Blanch the spinach for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and finely chop.

Mix the chopped spinach with ricotta. Season with lemon zest, salt, pepper and olive oil.

For the dough
Combine the flour and salt in a mixer fitted with a chopping blade. Mix, adding water and olive oil little by little. Once a dough begins to form, remove and knead by hand until smooth.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 20 minutes. Then, roll it finely (2mm thick) and place a small spoonful of filling onto the dough, cover with another strip of dough and then cut into squares.

Line a baking sheet with a dish towel, and dust fine semolina over the towel. Transfer barabjuans onto baking sheet and refrigerate.

Before serving, fry the barbajuans in oil heated to 180 degrees centigrade, until they are golden. Drain on paper.

To finish
Dust with a pinch of fleur del sel and kuro shichimi.

Baba au rhum. Image © Richard Haughton

Baba au rhum

For 45 mini-babas
300g flour
10g sugar
5g salt
15g fresh yeast
150g eggs
120g milk
80g butter, room temperature

For the soaking syrup:
500g sugar
1 litre water
1 orange
1 lemon
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped

For the grapefruit caramel
150g sugar
300g grapefruit juice
50g butter

For the goat’s cheese cream
150g heavy whipping cream
50g fresh goat’s cheese

For the mini-babas
Combine all ingredients except the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead until a dough begins to form, then add the butter in pieces. Knead on medium speed until the butter is completely absorbed, then on high speed for 2 minutes.

Transfer the dough into a stainless steel bowl, form a ball, cover it and allow to rise for 15 minutes.

Punch the dough back down and allow to rise for 10 more minutes.

Transfer dough to pastry bag and squeeze to fill three-quarters of each mould. Allow to rise 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is nicely puffed.

Cover the mould with parchment paper and place a second baking sheet on the top. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes then remove from the oven and allow the babas to cool completely.

For the soaking syrup
Slice the orange and the lemon into rounds. Combine all ingredients in a pot and boil until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove from heat, allow to infuse for 30 more minutes then strain. Soak the babas in the cooled syrup. Remove them when they have doubled in volume and use a pipette to inject 3ml of rum into each baba.

For the grapefruit caramel
Make a dry caramel with the sugar. Meanwhile, warm the grapefruit juice. When the caramel is golden, remove from heat and dilute, adding 1/3 of the grapefruit juice at a time. Return the pot to low heat and reduce to obtain 250g of caramel. Remove from heat and allow to cool to 40 degrees. Use an immersion blender to incorporate butter.

For the goat’s cheese cream
Whisk the cheese into the cream until smooth and firm

The above recipes are taken from Le Clarence cookbook, written by Chihiro Masui and edited by Glenat Production. Purchase the book via: lcdc.wine

Find out more about Domaine Clarence Dillon: domaineclarencedillon.com

Visit Le Clarence: le-clarence.paris

 

 

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Reading time: 7 min
fine jewellery
fine jewellery

L’Arbre aux tourmalines (1976) by Jean Vendome © MNHN/F. Farges.

The heritage of Parisian jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels is being honoured by an exhibition at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, in which their gems from across the years are being shown alongside the raw stones that such jewels are made from. On the eve of the show’s opening, LUX meets with the maison’s CEO, Nicolas Bos
Red carpet photograph

Nicolas Bos & Cate Blanchett. © Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty.

LUX: How does seeing the raw beauty of stones extracted from the earth affect your appreciation of fine jewellery?
Nicolas Bos: The aim of this exhibition is to show alongside each other the raw minerals, faceted gems and finished jewellery creations. This juxtaposition really emphasises the stones’ journey from the depth of the Earth into the craftsmen’s hands that will reveal their beauty. In front of raw minerals, we cannot but be humble and admire what nature can create. It is also with great pride that we can see what we are able to accomplish today with these treasures through our know-how.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: The exhibition shows that humans have always been drawn to adornment. Is the lure of jewellery today different to ancient times?
Nicolas Bos: Since ancient times, both men and women have enjoyed adorning themselves with precious and rare materials. Over the centuries, jewellery and lapidary techniques have evolved, new materials have been found and new sources of inspiration and artistic movements have forged new creations. Society has also significantly evolved, with changes in how jewellery is perceived.

blue and diamond necklace

Cravat necklace, 1954. © Patrick Gries.

Jewelled bluebird clip

Bluebird clip, 1963. © Anthony Falcone.

LUX: Jewellery companies seem to be doing ever more exhibitions – why is this?
Nicolas Bos: Exhibitions are a great way for a centenary maison such as ours to reveal the evolution of its style across the decades. Furthermore, for Van Cleef & Arpels, transmission, education and culture are fundamental values. That is why we conceive or participate in exhibitions (be it patrimonial or even contemporary). We display creations not just by the maison; we also focus either on the spirit of a particular era (the 1970s and Alhambra, for example), or on a source of inspiration, or on a particular material such as gems. The maison has over several years initiated relationships with great cultural institutions such as the Musée des Arts Décoratifs or the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, both in Paris, to encourage thoughtful and pertinent dialogues between jewellery and other fields such as mineralogy or the decorative arts in general. The collaboration with the American artist Bob Wilson, in 2016, with a scenography based on Noah’s Ark’s highlighting a high jewellery collection, also expressed this wish to link our creativity with other arts. Another example, in 2017, at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, paralleled traditional Japanese craftsmanship and Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery expertise in the exhibition ‘Mastery of an Art’.

Read more: How Gaggenau is innovating the ancient art of steam cooking

LUX: How would you summarise the brand or aura of Van Cleef & Arpels to a new client?
Nicolas Bos: I would say that the maison puts poetry and enchantment at centre stage in all its creations, be it high jewellery or jewellery or timepieces. Over the years, Van Cleef & Arpels keeps reinventing itself while always staying faithful to its original DNA. Its sources of inspiration range from nature and couture to dance, astronomy and imaginary worlds.

vintage jewelled brooch

Eucalyptus seed clip, 1968. © Bertrand Moulin

LUX: The ‘Gems’ exhibition includes modern recreations of significant historical jewellery, such as the Toison d’Or worn by Louis XV. What does a piece of historical jewellery tell you about how the wearer once lived?
Nicolas Bos: I’m not a history expert and the maison did not participate in these recreations but it is true that they are impressive. The Toison d’Or underlines the magnificence in which French monarchs used to live and it highlights their taste for exceptional stones and adornment in general. I would like also to mention a special piece that belongs to the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle collection and is of real interest – the tourmalines mobile/tree created by Jean Vendome. This is a real masterpiece that exemplifies the fine work bringing together jewellery, sculpture and design.

LUX: Are lab-grown gems a threat?
Nicolas Bos: We do not consider them as such at Van Cleef & Arpels. They are another type of material which has nothing to do with our idea of jewellery. They are industrial objects which don’t have the rarity, the preciousness or charm that natural stones gain after spending millions of years in the depths of the Earth.

vintage decorative jewellery

Gladiator clip, 1956. © Anthony Falcone.

LUX: Does learning about the origins of gemstones in an exhibition such as this teach us about the earth from which they came? Does it influence Van Cleef & Arpel’s attitude towards provenance and sustainability?
Nicolas Bos: Sustainability is a core value of Van Cleef & Arpels: we are a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) which has the strictest standards of responsible practices for the jewellery industry. We also ask our suppliers to be certified with the RJC in order to promote good practices in the supply chain and we audit them as well. All diamonds purchased by Van Cleef & Arpels are compliant with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which has worked since 2003 to put an end to the trade in conflict diamonds. We also work with multi-stakeholder initiatives on responsible sourcing and supply-chain due diligence, in particular for coloured gemstones.

LUX: Can you describe the Van Cleef & Arpels high jewellery piece that is inspired by the exhibition?
Nicolas Bos: In order to fit in with the central theme of the exhibition, the maison imagined a unique high jewellery object comprising stones, gems and jewels, some faceted, some polished, some raw. Through the work of craftsmen’s hands these stones speak with each other, adding a highly original piece to the history of Van Cleef & Arpels. It provides a fittingly precious and poetic conclusion to this exhibition.

The exhibition ‘Pierres Précieuses’ runs until 3 January 2021 at Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris 

View the collections: vancleefarpels.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue, out now.

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Reading time: 5 min
Exhibition of kitchen appliances
Exhibition of kitchen appliances

Gaggenau’s new combi-steam ovens 400 and 200 series

Last week, LUX attended the launch of Gaggenau’s new combi-steam ovens, presented alongside underwater artworks by artist Jason deCaires Taylor and food prepared by executive chef Phil Fanning

Steaming food might be the latest trend in healthy eating, but it’s also a way of enhancing the natural flavours of ingredients. With an increased capacity of 50 litres, Gaggenau’s new combi-steam ovens offer chefs – both budding and professional – the opportunity to get creative with their steaming.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

At the brand’s launch event in Fitzrovia, London, executive chef and owner of restaurant Paris House Phil Fanning showed guests the kind of results that a Gaggenau combi-steam oven can achieve with not just vegetables, but also meats, baked goods or pastry.

Chef preparing food in the kitchen

Chef Phil Fanning preparing dessert using a Gaggenau combi-steam oven

Gaggenau’s ovens work by combining hot air with varying percentages of humidity (ranging from 100 to 0%), whilst an in-built probe monitors the temperature and continually revises the estimated cooking time to ensure best results and the preservation of nutrients.

Read more: Chef Alain Ducasse on the importance of telling your own story

Gaggenau’s new ovens shown alongside artworks by Jason deCaires Taylor

Strikingly sleek and minimalist in design, the ovens were presented alongside a series of intriguing glass-encased underwater sculptures by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. Made from pH-neutral cement, deCaires Taylor’s sculptures are ordinarily encountered on the seabeds where they transform into coral reefs as they are consumed and naturally transformed by aquatic microorganisms. Viewed in this new setting, the artworks appeared even more otherworldly, whilst also inviting guests to reflect on the poeticism of the steaming process.

For more information visit: gaggenau.com/gb/

 

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Reading time: 1 min
Restaurant dining
Restaurant dining

Interiors by Jouin Manku at the recently reopened restaurant Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London. Image by Pierre Monetta

With 21 Michelin stars to his name, Alain Ducasse is one of the world’s most decorated chefs. Over the course of his career, he has opened over 25 restaurants across the globe, launched a cooking school and an artisan chocolate company. Following the reopening of his flagship restaurant Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, we speak to the chef about sustainability, collaborating with Jason Atherton and the importance of telling your own story
Monochrome portrait of a chef

Alain Ducasse

LUX: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you started as a chef?
Alain Ducasse: My first memory is the smell and taste of the dishes my grandmother used to cook. We used to live in the countryside, and she was often sending me to the garden to pick vegetables. I loved to look at her cooking our Sunday roast chicken, and transforming the produce of the garden into delicious family dishes. She is my biggest source of inspiration, even today.

LUX: Your company Ducasse Paris comprises numerous establishments, how do you ensure a consistent level of quality across the restaurants?
Alain Ducasse: All of my chefs have been working with me for many years, sometimes for more than 20 years. This is the best way to ensure a consistent level of quality across my restaurants. They are totally instilled with my vision and I know they can perfectly interpret it with their own personality.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What’s your process like when you’re creating a new recipe? Where do you typically find your inspiration?
Alain Ducasse: When I create a dish, it is all about the local resources: what can I found locally? Where am I? What are the influences around me? Then, I apply the technics and DNA of French cuisine to create.

LUX: Over the course of your career, how have fine dining expectations changed?
Alain Ducasse: All the guests have nowadays all the information they need through social medias, and internet. You are now able to share all your experiences with millions of other customers, so of course now the expectations are higher and the customers are unfaithful because they have a lot of choice.

artistic dining dish

Salsify amuse-bouche. This dish is based on the contrast between a noble produce (the truffle), and an humble one (the salsify).

LUX: How much attention do you pay to dining trends?
Alain Ducasse: It’s all about moving with our times. The most important is to tell your own story. Each restaurant must be true to the location where it is situated, in tune with the lifestyle of the guests it is welcoming from all over the world.

Read more: The Thinking Traveller’s Founders Huw & Rossella Beaugié on nurturing quality

LUX: This year saw the reopening of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. What’s changed?
Alain Ducasse: I am delighted to partner once again with Jouin Manku to visually bring to life the most recent evolution of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. The new concept is a sensorial feast that champions nature’s unrivalled beauty and pays homage to our vibrant Mayfair location.

In the main dining area, Jouin Manku have opened the room, introducing curved wood and leather banquettes which anchor the tables within the space. In contrast to the dark, smoky colours of the furniture, the green and silver tones of the carpet suggest a mist through the park, progressively darkening to the edges.

Fine dining restaurant

The new concept of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester is “a sensorial feast” says the chef

LUX: How did the idea for a dinner in support of Hospitality Action with Jason Atherton come about and what can guests expect from the evening?
Alain Ducasse: I have followed this young chef for a while now. I love his vision and his open mind. To support Hospitality Action with this one-off dinner is a great occasion to work together for a charity we both love and to welcome our guests in the freshly refurbished restaurant.

LUX: What’s your collaborative working process like when you’re working with another chef?
Alain Ducasse: It is going to be a four hands dinner, with our two executive chefs. We will brainstorm all together to create a special experience. The dinner will be composed of a 5-course menu with a wine pairing and it is going to be awesome.

Read more: High altitude luxury at Riffelalp Resort 2222m, Zermatt

LUX: How are you incorporating sustainable practices into your kitchens?
Alain Ducasse: By changing all of our habits. I always say that a habit is a bad habit. More than ever, we have to change the way we work to take care of the planet and the health of human being.

I relaunched my restaurant Alain Ducasse at The Plaza Athénée five years ago with a new concept called naturalness, based on vegetable, cereals with less salt, less fat, less sugar, and less animal protein but better ones from sustainable fish.

It is very important to act and show to the industry that we are able to create differently, even in a three Michelin-starred restaurant.

dish of vegetables and fruits

Cookpot of seasonal vegetables and fruit

LUX: What has been your most memorable dining experience to date and why?
Alain Ducasse: It will be my next discovery for sure, the one I don’t know yet. I am an eager traveller, always looking for new discoveries. The world is full of talents, waiting to be discovered. It is not only about French cuisine and French chefs. You can find talented chefs all over the world, with multiple ways to express themselves.

LUX: What’s next for you?
Alain Ducasse: The next steps are the development of Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse in Asia, and my schools “Ecole Ducasse” too. We are launching an exceptional new campus in Meudon specialising in culinary arts which will welcome students from September 2020, with an English education. This Paris campus will be ultra-contemporary; a customised school with the aim of teaching and promoting world-renowned gastronomic expertise.

Alain Ducasse & Jason Atherton’s charity dinner for Hospital Action will take place on 22 April at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. For more information on Hospitality Action visit: hospitalityaction.org.uk

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Reading time: 5 min
Monochrome image of models backstage
Monochrome image of models backstage

Various looks from the Noir Kei Ninomiya SS20 show, with headpieces by flower artist Azuma Makoto

The weird and the wonderful come together in the extravagant creations of fashion designer and Comme des Garçons protégé, Kei Ninomiya. Harriet Quick gets to the heart of the extraordinary imagination that produces such challenging yet enthralling designs
Man with Mohican hair cut

Kei Ninomiya

First encounters with designers can leave strong impressions. So, visiting the Comme des Garçons showroom on the Place Vendôme in the heart of Paris and finding Noir’s founder Kei Ninomiya engulfed by one of his voluptuous, frilly topiary tulle creations, laughing and eyes glittering remains a portrait of joy. Wearing his trademark leather jacket, Mohawk and wispy sage-like beard, Ninomiya is a rebel with a cause. “I wanted to create a collection of this time, one driven by pure creation, something new and green,” he said, surrounded by gigantic bouffant gowns and headgear fashioned from live cacti, moss and Boston ferns.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Two mannequins are dressed in what could be best described as chandelier gowns made out of handmade chain-linked Perspex pieces cut to resemble giant snowflakes and cacti headpieces made by his collaborator, flower artist Azuma Makoto. The two flapper girls seemed to have been jettisoned from 1920s Paris and reborn via Ninomiya’s fertile imagination. On the rails, huge gowns fashioned from myriad hand-linked tulle flowers invite one to plunge an arm into the innards of the bizarre garments. Elsewhere, black leather harnesses encage a rippling tulle dress alongside a cocooning number crafted from dense clusters of wool, Cellophane nylon and tulle in shades of green.

Fashion design is a rare skill that relies on a sense of prescience. We talk about living in harmony with nature but Ninomiya pushes the aspiration du jour to a surreal, immersive extreme in his spring/summer 2020 collection. Noir’s work engulfs, terrifies and delights in equal measure. Imagine a future world where you could grow your own dress and morph into some kind of a supernatural eco-being or pull a cloud from the sky and wear it or emerge from the sea in a flamboyant seaweed number? That the showroom sits slap bang opposite the newly restored manicured splendour of The Ritz adds another layer of weirdness.

Models backstage at catwalk

Backstage at the Noir Kei Ninomiya SS20 show in Paris

Yet Ninomiya, who receives praise and attention bowing and clasping his hands in humility, is not given to explanation. Like his mentor Rei Kawakubo, for whom he began working in 2008 as a pattern cutter at the age of 24, he studiously avoids meaning. Ninomiya wants Noir to speak for itself through the performance-like Paris collections (spring/summer 2020 is the fourth), in-store presentations and, poignantly, when worn IRL.

The meticulous, ingenious engineering of his garments (stitches are rarely used) and the compulsive viscerality (touch, bounce, rustle, clink, stroke) speak louder than words. His shows frequently leave even seasoned critics discombobulated and enthralled. “I wouldn’t want to explain any message in my collections,” says Ninomiya when pressed on the connection between fashion and the environmental crisis. “I always look to create powerful and beautiful collections. As a result, they may link with the power of nature,” he concludes.

Yet brilliant designers, particularly those backed and incubated by Comme des Garçons (CdG), one of the most influential fashion houses of our time, do not create in isolation. They are plugged into the pulses, anxieties and aspirations of everyday life. Right now, issues to do with nature and ecology are triggering a swell of angst across the globe. In reaction, there’s a return to small-batch production, a renewed appreciation of the handmade and a quest for individualism and diversity. Noir seems to be capturing all those currents. For Ninomiya the process is instinctive. “I was first attracted to fashion and to making as a means of expressing ideas,” says the thirty-five-year-old who grew up in the southern Japanese city, Ōita.

Model on catwalk

Noir’s SS20 collection on the runway in Paris

Fashion’s relationship to the planet came into sharp relief at the close of 2019. The spring/summer fashion season came slap in the centre of a global climate-crisis awareness campaign, with Greta Thunberg (in flaming pink) thundering at the United Nations, Extinction Rebellion staging protests at the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2020 show in London, and Oxfam joining forces with stylist Bay Garnett and model Stella Tennant to urge everyone to up-cycle their wardrobes for the month of September. Kering-owned Gucci announced its commitment to going carbon neutral by offsetting its environmental footprint with reforestation. Material scarcity, climate change and the awareness of excess landfill and wardrobes bulging with unworn clothes placed a spotlight on the business and fell heavily on every fashion lover’s conscience.

Read more: The Thinking Traveller’s Founders Huw & Rossella Beaugié on nurturing quality

Some brands charged towards up-cycling initiatives, others re-examined minimalist, timeless aesthetics, and many took nature and naturalism as a guiding aesthetic or motif. Whichever direction was taken, it was evident that the fashion business at large was experiencing some kind of existential crisis. Yet indirectly and subversively, the Noir collection offered solace and optimism in the face of crisis.

Ninomiya and his small team use man-made and natural fabrics, vegan and real leather but the vision is brilliantly of now. “We employ handicraft to achieve what conventional sewing cannot do, like making volumes or using the construction techniques that we use here. Some collections start with exploring the technical aspects, but it’s different every time. This time round, I began with an image,” he says. As regards the engulfing volumes, Ninomiya remarks: “I haven’t really thought about it. I just follow my principle to make something powerful and beautiful, so the pieces often end up being big in size and volume.”

Model wearing voluminous dress

A look from the Noir Kei Ninomiya SS20 show

It seems the more banal and mundane the middle market of fashion becomes, the more outrageous and unpredictable the true creators will be. Ninomiya has one of those rare spatial imaginations, like an architect, that is capable of creating new forms with unconventional methods. Techniques might include chain linking (beloved of sixties entrepreneur, Paco Rabanne), invisible snapper and tab fastenings, grommets and rivets. The construction methods actually create the decorative effects as well as the structure. Peer inside a Noir piece and you will be astonished to see an inner matrix that resembles a molecular science model.

The craft/tech/engineering route gives Noir clothes a sense of substance and newness and plays into Japan’s rich tradition of technical innovation that supercharged the country’s economy in the post-war years and made the nation a subject of fascination and fetishisation in the 1980s. That was when Rei Kawakubo dropped a bombshell on the bourgeois traditions of Paris couture with her thunderbolt 1982 Holes collection of deconstructed, raw-edged gowns worn by androgynous waifs. Here was an unknown Japanese designer suggesting that frayed fabrics and bag-lady layers were the apex of style. Intellectual circles were quick to adopt the controversial look. Nearly two generations of designers have been inspired by the impact of Kawakubo’s radical work. We have come to expect experimentation, innovation and rigorous quality from a country that still values and rewards its true artisans.

Read more: French designer Philippe Starck’s vision of the future

Ninomiya grew up in the 1990s. After studying French literature, he moved to Europe to attend the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. During a holiday period, he returned to Japan and applied for a job in the CdG studio. Kawakubo was impressed by the young designer’s meticulous work and hired him. Ninomiya never finished his studies in Antwerp and worked in the studio for the next four years before Kawakubo invited him in 2012 to launch his own line under the company umbrella. International acclaim slowly grew with his move to Paris in 2015 and now invitations to his shows are among the most sought after.

To put Noir in context, it helps to understand the bigger Comme des Garçons International universe that is run by Kawakubo and president and partner, Adrian Joffe. It expands across several CdG labels, including accessories and the extensive perfume range, Ninomiya’s fellow protégé Junya Watanabe, and Noir (since 2012). CdG also operates as an investor, backing labels including Gosha Rubchinskiy and helping with distribution and production. Youths in Balaclava, (designed by a collective of polymath twenty-somethings from Singapore) is the latest launch.

Model wearing flower headpiece

Backstage at the SS20 Noir show

These labels and many more invited brands (including Alaia, Dior, Gucci and Balenciaga) are sold through a growing network of Dover Street Market (DSM) retail emporiums that first sprung up, hence the name, on Dover Street in London’s Mayfair. The string of alternative emporiums now stretches to Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, New York and Beijing. In Paris, a dedicated beauty emporium has recently opened. “Risk”, “instinct”, “experience”, “community” – these are all terms that Joffe uses frequently in the description of DSM stores that were originally inspired by Kensington Market, a cult underground streetwear market in 1970s London. The privately owned company now has a turnover of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Read more: Film director Armando Iannucci on David Copperfield & Fleabag

“As all others designers of the company, Ninomiya works freely, without constraints,” says Joffe. “He respects Rei’s work a lot and Rei respects his creations, too. The relationship is all based on mutual values. Rei trusted him from the beginning, as I do. We let him be free and Comme des Garçons is proud of what he achieves”. Joffe adds, “He is offering his vision linked to the world he is living in. I don’t know what he has in mind during his creative process as we never know what each is doing in advance.” The CdG collective is essentially an ecosystem and operates in contrast to the corporate micro-controlled worlds of LVMH or Richemont.

But then Kawakubo set the template early on. “I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design by denying established values, conventions and what is generally accepted as the norm. And the modes of expression that are important to me are fusion, imbalance, unfinished, elimination and absence of intent,” says Kawakubo at the time of The Met monograph show ‘Art of the In-Between’ in 2017. The biker jacket-wearing designer, now 78, named her own label after a Françoise Hardy song lyric. Kawakubo sees CdG as a guild of highly skilled designers, fabric experts and pattern cutters. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge at The Met’s Costume Institute, calls this play between creativity and commerce an example of what Andy Warhol dubbed “business art”. “Rei Kawakubo works in the fashion system but on her own terms. It is a much more elegant way to disrupt,” says Bolton.

Model wearing oversized outfit on runway

Another look from the SS20 Noir collection by Kei Ninomiya

Yet while the creativity on the catwalk is unsurpassed, what CdG does exceptionally well is ‘declining’ those ideas into wearable clothes. At the core of the Noir collection are cropped leather and faux leather jackets with intense detailing such as weather quilting or chains, and ruffled slip dresses and skirts, and sheer jackets, all with an elegantly rebellious, mischievous edge. The collection sells worldwide in avant-garde retailers such as Leisure Centre in Vancouver as well as Net-a-Porter. “Noir always puts on an incredible spectacle and although trends are always changing and evolving, Noir maintains its values,” says Libby Page, senior fashion market editor at Net-a-Porter. “Ninomiya is good at taking the idea from the runway and translating it into more commercial pieces in tulle and leather. The tulle tees are always a hit.”

Fans of Molly Goddard tulle gowns, Simone Rocha’s punkish romance, Sacai’s hybrid design (the label’s founder Chitose Abe is another former employee of CdG), and Martin Margiela would equally appreciate Noir’s puckish charm. All these designers reject glamorous cookie-cutter ideals of femininity and share a love of the colour black. Ninomiya relishes the many different shades of black, and any colours he uses are complimentary, such as the white and verdant greens for spring. The AW Rose collection featured sheer black layers, dried rose headgear, black-mask eye make-up and ruffled petticoat skirts. The parade of models, looking like they had fallen out of a Goya portrait via a Parisian club, offered up a twisted reverie on romance and love.

Noir’s cult reputation is growing apace. Remo Ruffini, CEO of Moncler, invited Ninomiya to create an innovative capsule of down-filled jackets for the brand’s Genius line alongside established players such as Mary Katrantzou and Valentino. But Ninomiya remains pure play and noirishly enigmatic. “Creation is what matters most and I would like to continue that in a sincere way,” he concludes.

Follow Noir on Instagram: @noirkeininomiya

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue

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Reading time: 11 min
Lighthouse villa with views over sea
Interiors of a chic living room

Masseria Cardinale is one of The Thinking Traveller’s larger villas in Sicily, located in the countryside with authentic design features

The Thinking Traveller is a villa rental company that offers exclusive access to some of the most desirable properties in the Mediterranean. Guests of The Thinking Traveller also gain access to local insider knowledge through the company’s on-the-ground concierge team who plan bespoke itineraries and experiences. Here, we speak to the founders Huw and Rossella Beaugié about their villa selection process, luxury retreats and their intrinsically sustainable ethos
Man and woman standing in tropical garden

Rossella & Huw Beaugié

LUX: How was the concept for The Thinking Traveller conceived?
Huw Beaugié: We started the company in 2002. Prior to that [Rossella and I] had been living in Paris, where we met in ‘98. Rossella was a cell biologist doing her PhD in Paris and I was an engineer working in marketing at that time. Rossella is from Sicily, so we had been travelling to Sicily a lot already. We went there in November 2000 and that was the kind of the catalyst. We climbed up a mountain called Stromboli, and doing that made us decide that we would like to move there for a bit, which we ended up doing two years later.

Rossella Beaugié: We started doing walking tours first of all and then very soon my friends started saying ‘oh we’ve got this nice house on the island, would you want to try renting it out?’. So the first brochure we put together had three walking tours with volcanos and hills, and then seven villas, I think. At the time we were doing everything ourselves but it worked.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Huw Beaugié: There wasn’t anything of great quality in Sicily so we realised that we needed to really help these villa owners to create a property and product that would fit our clients and the people we wanted to be our clients. We started advising [the property owners], helping with design and we even began advancing money to invest in pools or refurbishments. We would make contact with interior designers to help them develop the houses. Really quickly we figured that if we were making all these investments, the only way we could really work with these houses and make it profitable would be to deal with them exclusively. That is one of the things we have stuck with ever since. We started with seven houses and we now have about 220 in various destinations in the Mediterranean, but the really vital and big unique selling point is that they are all exclusive to us and that means we can still keep on investing to make sure the quality and service is right, and to have our people on the ground to support that. We are expanding slowly, being careful to always keep the quality increasing rather than diluting.

Pool views over countryside

Views over the Sicilian countryside from the pool at Masseria Cardinale

Rossella Beaugié: The secret has been that right from the beginning. For the first 10 years we were in Sicily so we were around the whole time and then we started hiring staff who are really knowledgeable people and know everybody locally, meaning they can find the best doctor if needed, the best yoga teacher or if you wanted to organise a dinner we can do that. We don’t have reps who move around, our staff work for us 12 months a year and they have insider knowledge.

LUX: What challenges have you encountered now that your main offices are in the UK and you’re based here?
Rossella Beaugié: We have developed quite slowly. There have been two regions that we were interested in but because we hadn’t found the right people or properties we wanted to offer clients, we decided not to go with them. We are happy with the regions we’re working in because we have amazing teams and the owners of properties share our priorities and ethos. The team here receive so many offers of villas everywhere, we could have 10,000 villas! We get that many offers because they see the website, they like it and we have a good reputation, but we have been careful of where we go and what we take on.

Lighthouse villa with views over sea

Faro di Brucoli is a refurbished lighthouse in Sicily with views of Mount Etna across the Ionian Sea

LUX: How do you select the villas to represent?
Rossella Beaugié: They tend to come to us. It is usually owners knowing us already, maybe due to our reputation amongst other owners who also have these kinds of top level properties. So what we do first of all is decide whether it’s for us and we can see that now straight away with Google and photos.

Read more: High altitude luxury at Riffelalp Resort 2222m, Zermatt

Huw Beaugié: Probably 70% of them we cut immediately. The next 30% we go further and ask for more information, and then perhaps the final 5% will end up with a visit and a detailed report and out of those, we probably only take on one property.

Dining table with sea views

Bedroom with sea views

Here and above: Iola is a contemporary villa located on the Greek island of Corfu with sweeping sea views

LUX: What are the key elements you’re looking for?
Rossella Beaugié: We are now at a stage where we know what our clients want so we have criteria, but at the bottom of it, we really need to truly like the property in terms of style and we have to know that the owner could be a good partner because it’s their house and they continue managing the property so they need to be able to reinvest and sort out problems quickly. In terms of more objective criteria, the location and views are important but it depends on the region. Greece, for example, is really all about location so being on the sea and beaches. Privacy is also important and then there are all the things like ensuite bedrooms, a good kitchen, a nice-sized pool, not being overlooked. Then once we take on the property, we have a list of stuff that they have to have such as good quality linen, appliances etc. We recommend things and then our local managers go and do what we call a quality check.

Read more: Founder of Nila House Lady Carole Bamford’s guide to Jaipur

LUX: Is it important to you to have a wide range of different properties in your portfolio?
Rossella Beaugié: Yes, we have clients that have gone from a very charming, chic, three-bedroom house in Puglia and then they book our best property in Sicily, which sleeps 24 with a chef because maybe they are doing a multi generation family holiday, or it’s someone’s wedding anniversary and they want to invite everyone. So yes, we need diversity in terms of size and level of service. Some people could afford to have service everyday but they just want privacy, they want to be able to go around without clothes if they like. Then there are also different styles of property. Some people want minimal or really cutting-edge design, and some other people want to go to a place in Puglia or Sicily with traditional charm.

Huw Beaugié: We also work a lot with people who haven’t even started building. The optimum situation is when someone comes to us and says ‘I’ve bought a piece of land’ or ‘I’m looking to buy a piece of land, and what are your suggestions?’ Or people say ‘I’ve bought this ruin and what should I do with it?’ With those projects, we are involved from the beginning right through to the delivery. We suggest interior designers, architects, landscape designers, everything. Those are the villas that tend to perform the best.

Antique furnished living room

 

Bedroom inside old building

Masseria Cardinale (here and above) offers guests traditional charm combined with luxurious modern amenities

LUX: Can you tell us a bit more about the experiences side of the business? What can you make happen for your clients?
Huw Beaugié: We try to make anything happen that the clients want as long as it’s not against the law!

Rossella Beaugié: The kinds of things that are becoming standard for us is that everyone wants a cook. Especially in Puglia and Sicily, people want to learn to cook and so we organise cooking classes either in the villas or on vineyards. We have three kids who were born in Sicily and grew up there which means we were able to try out things with them and find out what they found boring. From that, we designed some guided experiences with experts who will prepare the tours on two levels so that it works for the parents and it’s entertaining for the kids. Wine tasting is very requested, and water sports are popular, but then we also have occasions like weddings when people want a Steinway piano in the garden or a certain opera singer to perform.

Read more: Inside The Dorchester Collection’s first branded residences

Huw Beaugié: What we are starting to do more of is themed weeks so things like getting a celebrity chef out to a villa for a week and creating a programme for full immersion in the food, which might include cooking classes, demonstrations and tours of markets. This year, we are doing a partnership with Bodyism so that you can take a wellness instructor out with you to the villa.

Villa pool inside courtyard

Flower arranging

The Thinking Traveller has paired up with McQueens Flower shop to offer guests flower arranging courses at Palazzo Gorgoni (above), one of their properties in Puglia

LUX: What’s your approach to sustainability?
Huw Beaugié: It’s the same as when we started. The basic model of restoring or building unique properties in rural locations or old towns using local people to build, cook and garden, all of that is just inherently sustainable. Generally, you’re also using local materials and the money is staying local. The things that have been added to that model since 2004 is more use of solar energy. However, sustainable a client is they never want to give up on air conditioning, which is one of the single biggest consumers of energy in a villa so solar energy supplements that. Then the other big thing is water: drinking water and swimming pool water. Swimming pools lose hundreds of litres of water a day through evaporation so we encourage people to cover pools when they’re not using them and at night. Same with air con, setting the temperature between 24 and 27 degrees, for example, rather than at 18 degrees and wrapping yourself up in a duvet, which uses a lot more energy. In terms of drinking water, we are doing a big campaign to try and get people to install water filters in their homes, which is difficult in the Med where bottled water is standard, but it’s changing.

Rossella Beaugié: We have these little leaflets which we leave in the houses called ‘Think Green’ which have sustainability tips for guests. People are more aware of sustainability issues so it is easier now than it was in the past to encourage these ways of behaving.

View The Thinking Traveller’s portfolio of properties: thethinkingtraveller.com

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Reading time: 9 min
Artist desk with lamp, paintings and paints
Artist desk with lamp, paintings and paints

L’École, School of Jewellery Arts, is housed within the Van Cleef & Arpels headquarters in Paris

L’École is a school of jewellery arts based in Paris and supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, offering a luxurious learning experience led by industry experts. Digital Editor Millie Walton signs up for a class

Based one floor of Van Cleef & Arpels‘ headquarters in Place Vendôme in Paris, L’École was established in 2012 with the aim of introducing the wider audience to the world of high jewellery and its significance through the ages. Whilst the school was founded and is supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, it is not, as one might assume, an elaborate marketing stunt (during my class, for example, the only mention of Van Cleef & Arpels is via small-print on the slideshow), but rather a genuine centre of learning albeit a luxurious one. Classes take place in a palatial room which was once the office of Van Cleef’s President and CEO Nicolas Bos, with a break for tea, coffee and Parisian pastries in a stylish lounge filled up with glossy coffee table-books, whilst the teachers themselves are leading industry experts, which allows the classes to cater to every ability.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The classes fall into four main categories: ‘Introductory’ (which offers a general overview), ‘The Universe of Gemstones’ (with two classes exploring diamonds), ‘Savoir Faire’ (featuring hands on workshops in which you get to actually try out various jewellery making techniques such as Japanese Urushi Lacquer) and ‘Art History of Jewellery’ (which investigates jewellery aesthetics of different time periods). On this trip, I’m signed up for an art history class on ‘Gold and Jewellery, from Antiquity to the Renaissance Princes’, which begins with Ancient Egypt and ends with examining portraits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

Classroom set up with students sitting at round tables

Classes take place in the original office of Van Cleef’s President and CEO Nicolas Bos

Whilst the prospect of four hour lecture on jewellery is daunting, our teachers Inezita Gay-Eckel and Léonard Pouy are energetic and brilliantly knowledgable with infectious enthusiasm for their subject matter. The class itself mainly follows a standard lecture format, but we are encouraged to jump in with questions, and specialist terms are noted down on the whiteboard for us to copy into our L’École branded notebooks.

Read more: Founder of Nila House Lady Carole Bamford’s guide to Jaipur

Woman holding open a book with pictures of silver pendants

Halfway through, Léonard appears, gloved and bearing a tray of delicate jewellery pieces. We’re encouraged to apply our new found knowledge to locate each piece to its time period, and whilst it’s still largely mystifying, it’s satisfying to even know what kinds of things we should be noticing.

The point of these classes, Inezita tells us, to provoke curiosity so that students feel compelled to take their learning further. At the end of the class, we’re each given a tote bag with a certificate and reading list of books, websites and museums across the globe.

Find out more: lecolevancleefarpels.com

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Reading time: 2 min
Stainglass windows lining a corridor
Portrait of a man against a white background

French designer Philippe Starck. Image by JB Mondino.

Legendary French designer Philippe Starck gives Mark C. O’Flaherty his radical vision of the future: a time when designers won’t be needed – and maybe even chairs

“I’m not interested in aesthetics anymore,” says Philippe Starck, sipping on a glass of mineral water in the Royal Academy in London. “I am interested only in our evolution, and how the intelligent craft of human production is going to be rerun by dematerialisation. We are working on making things disappear.” As Starck speaks, I notice the periodic flashing of a red LED from beneath the skin on a fingertip of his left hand. It’s extraordinary. I ask him what it does – is it connected somehow to his laptop, perhaps? “Ah, it’s magic!” he says, cryptically, before steering the conversation to his ongoing project with the Roederer champagne house: “I never wanted to just design a bottle, I wanted to share in the making of what was inside. And it was about creating something that had less in it, nothing added, no sugar.”

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

We are at the Royal Academy for the launch of the new Roederer-Starck 2012 rosé champagne, where he is judging a competition between 13 artists at the Academy’s Schools to interpret the taste of the champagne through their art. His choice of winner – a white-on-white embossed spiral on paper called Cycles, by Sofía Clausse – is apposite for his ongoing philosophy of design: “It was the most accessible piece,” he says, “It was simple. It captured the spirit of champagne, which to me isn’t a wine, or a reality, but an idea.”

Contemporary plastic chair against white background

Starck’s AI Chair for Kartell

When the world first caught sight of Philippe Starck’s work in the 1980s, the Parisian-born designer had been creating products for a new way of living. He was changing the vocabulary of interiors, rephrasing the language with futuristic accents on everyday items. His choice of materials was aggressively different from the tradition of French design – he selected transparent plastics, metallics and pop colours. He was as New Wave as the cinema of Luc Besson and Jean-Jacques Beineix and of the architecture of Jean Nouvel. Today, at 70, he is one of the most prolific designers who has ever lived, having created literally (his studio can offer no official number) countless products from clocks to yachts. Today, he still works on an average of 200 projects a year. And yet, as he tells me, he believes that “fifteen years from now, thanks to technology, every material obligation will have disappeared.”

Read more: Chaumet’s CEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt on historic innovations

How does a designer who has been apocryphally credited with 10,000 products balance his current view of a future with nothing in it, with his business model? “The business element will shift,” he says. “We debuted the AI chair with Kartell at Salone del Mobile in Milan this year, and it was the first of its kind ever to be created with artificial intelligence. AI is going to create a new freedom in design. With AI, we can now ask any question, but it’s all about knowing the right question.” He also sees a time beyond furniture. “Design as we know it will be dead,” he says. “There will be better solutions to sitting down than a chair. I think a chair has always put you physically in a bad position. We can do better than a chair.”

Stainglass windows lining a corridor

The entrance to the Starck-designed L’Avenue restaurant at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, with stained glass by his daughter Ara

Starck has always been radical. In 1984 he created the interior for Café Costes in Les Halles. With its theatrical blue staircase and oversized minimal clock, it was as much a postmodern landmark leisure-time interior as Ben Kelly’s Haçienda in Manchester, and Arata Isozaki’s Palladium in New York City. All were created in the same decade, but Starck’s project was notably more dramatic because of its location. This was Paris, a city still stuck in Belle Époque aspic. French design was frozen in curlicues and froth. Starck was an iconoclast.

Contemporary artwork hanging on wall

Photograph of wine glasses

Entries to the Brut Nature competition from Royal Academy students, with (top) The Philosophers’ Reserve by Max Prus, and (here) Tidally locked by Olu Ogunnaike

After a series of successful Paris interiors, he was aligned for a long period with Ian Schrager’s fantastical hotel projects, bringing some of the eccentric visual flair that Schrager and his late business partner Steve Rubell brought to Manhattan nightlife with Studio 54. There was a fairytale, supersized element to much of what he did, from elevated swimming pools to triple-height billowing curtains. From the Royalton in Times Square in 1988 onwards, their partnership helped take Starck’s name and distinctive, witty style to the world.

Read more: Founder of Nila House Lady Carole Bamford’s guide to Jaipur

While his peers, including Marc Newson – who currently holds the record for a design object at auction after one of his Lockheed Lounge chairs sold for over £2 million in 2015 – focused on rarefied edition pieces, Starck focused on mass production. A rare blue glass Illusion Table sold for $50,000 a decade ago, but Starck is known more for his alien-looking Juicy Salif lemon squeezer – which first appeared in 1990 – and continues to be one of Alessi’s best-selling products of all time. At one point, the company produced 10,000 gold-plated versions, purely for display in the home (lemon juice discolours the surface). His transparent plastic chairs for Kartell – the La Marie, which launched in 1999, and the Louis Ghost armchair, which debuted three years later – are as instantly recognisable as any piece of furniture ever made. They brought avant-garde design to the mass market. But when plastics are being demonised, do his polycarbonate objects belong to the past? Starck remains a passionate cheerleader for the material. “For me, it’s the only way to achieve the quality product I want,” he says. “There is a great difference between single-use plastic and a chair that you can keep for a century or more. The media has created great confusion. I prefer to work with fossil energy than to cut down trees and I would rather use vinyl for upholstery than kill cows.”

Woman spitting fountain of water against black background

Artwork etching with mulitcolours

Two further entries from Royal Academy of Arts students to the inaugural Brut Nature competition judged by Philippe Starck, with (top) Self-portrait as a Champagne Fountain (2019) by Clara Halstrup and (here) Sun on the coast of the moon by Richie Moment

One area in which he, and indeed most of us, remain guilty in terms of the unfolding climate crisis is in carbon emissions from flying. But Starck is one of the busiest designers on the planet, and for someone who still uses pen and paper and tactile models to create (“If you create using a computer, you are just creating within the frame of the guy who created the software!”), he needs to appear in person for projects. The day after we meet, he has to get up at 4am to catch a plane to Milan where he’ll be for a few hours before flying off again, heading further south. “It’s fine – I am so used to it,” he shrugs. “I once went to Seoul from Paris for three hours.” At 70, he shows no signs of slowing down, but when he takes time out, it’s the most understated resort he has ever designed that he likes to head to. “I like lots of places I have been involved with,” he says, “but the one I really love is La Co(o)rniche in the Bay of Arcachon near Bordeaux. It’s really just a few cabanas on top of the Dune de Pilat, the highest sand dune in Europe. You are there looking at the waves and the sunset and it feels like the best place in the world.”

The choice of a fairly rustic, nay, Zen destination ties in with his world view right now, and his intention to both continue democratising design and make it vanish. Just as he believes the future is chair-free, so he believes our everyday tools and indeed all of our furniture will go. “Designers won’t dictate the aesthetic in the future,” he says, “it will be down to your coach and dietician, because telephones and computers will disappear and everything we use will be incorporated within the body. We will be naked in an empty room, and we will be able to conjure flowers or whatever we want from nothing.” As Starck gesticulates, the red LED flashes on his finger tip again. “So, come on, tell me…,” I ask, “is that part of the new cyborg tech you are talking about?” He smiles. “Oh, this? I got it from the Harrods toy department. Fun isn’t it!?”

Louis Roederer and Philippe Starck

Champagne bottle and caseThe recent launch of the 2012 Roederer and Starck rosé champagne marks 13 years of the designer’s collaboration with the French family-owned champagne house and maker of Cristal. Starck has been involved in each step of the production, including, of course, the champagne’s packaging. From the first brut-nature product in 2006, the champagne has been created sugar-free, with zero dosage. As Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Roederer’s chef de cave  says: “We have used nature as our collaborator as much as anything with our work with Philippe – it is organic, with minimal intervention and a focus on the real taste of champagne. This came from our discussions with him.” The presentation attempts to democratise the luxury product – it looks more like a chic bottle of olive oil than a grand cru. The hand-lettering on the label and box and the rough line of fluorescent pen creating the edging makes it look effortless. As Frédéric Rouzaud, president and family scion of Louis Roederer says: “It represents spontaneity. He wanted a simple paper for the label, and just wrote by hand what the product is. He wanted it to be approachable, to speak to everyone.”

Find out more: louis-roederer.com & starck.com

This article was originally published in the Spring 2020 Issue.

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Reading time: 8 min
Exhibition installation shot
Exhibition installation shot

Installation view of Maturation by José Yaque (2020) at Galleria Continua Roma, St. Regis. Image courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua

Founded in 1990 by three friends in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano, Galleria Continua now represents the likes of Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor and Michelangelo Pistoletto with spaces in Havana, Paris and Beijing. Last week, the gallery opened its first location in Rome within the St Regis hotel. We spoke to co-founder Lorenzo Fiaschi about the opening, artist residency programs and the year ahead

Man wearing pink suit jacket and red trousers

Lorenzo Fiaschi, Co-Founder of Galleria Continua

1. Why Rome and why now?

The people, situations and places we encounter are what inspires us, our projects don’t come from how the “market” works or from collecting. When we find somewhere with which we feel a certain type of harmony, we launch ourselves into it, body and soul. We let ourselves get swept away by passion and luckily, results follow. In Rome, we have collector friends who follow and appreciate us, so we’re happy to create this new adventure in order to see them more often.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

2. How did you first develop a relationship with the St. Regis?

We started our collaboration with The St Regis Rome through a project with Loris Cecchini. His exhibition had great success and created a lot of interest and buzz. Some Romans were curious about the installation Blaublobbing that you could see from outside and entered the hotel to discover the other works. A place that hosts international artists while creating a dialogue between the works, the space and the guests that stay there is something new and it worked. We then followed that with an exhibition by Pascale Marthine Tayou, an artist who celebrates life through his works. Forms, colours and a mix of human and geographical oddities invaded The St Regis and it was another thrilling experience.

The General Manager, Giuseppe De Martino, from the beginning has been a promoter of an open relationship towards the world of contemporary art, at this point he showed us a very unusual wing of the hotel, unknown to guests, the Sala Diocleziano. We liked it and so accepted the challenge, imagining what it could become and deciding to open a new exhibition space.

Artist installation in hotel lobby

If I Died (2013), sculpture installation by Beijing artist duo Sun Yuan & Peng Yu installed in hotel lobby at St Regis Rome by Galleria Continua. Image courtesy: the artist and Galleria Continua. Photo by Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio

3. What are some of the challenges of opening a gallery within a hotel?

The challenge is to stimulate and draw in people who don’t know, or don’t frequent the contemporary art world. The challenge is to bring the gaze of the hotel guests onto forms and languages that are unusual for them. Art opens us up to new realities and new ways of thinking.

The educational aspects of Galleria Continua Roma’s program aim to bring children closer to contemporary art by providing them with suitable reading keys, not only for the understanding of an artistic language for the time they live in, but also for the creation of creative knowledge and stimulants. The intent is to educate about art through art.

4.Can you tell us about the concept behind José Yaque’s exhibition Maturation?

José Yaque, as the first artist in the new space, represents a continuation of the Cuban experience which began with the opening of Galleria Continua Habana. He’s a witness and representative of a gallery experience which aims to weave relationships between cultures, geographies and diverse individuals, Yaque conceptually represents a bridge between Cuba and Rome.

Read more: Artist Richard Orlinski on pop culture & creative freedom

For Maturation, he presents a series of new paintings and an installation from the ‘Tumba Abierta’ series, an archive in transformation made up of natural elements (plants, seeds, fruits, leaves); new forms of landscape where matter, colours and smells magically transport the viewer to other places. José Yaque’s paintings are like windows opening onto a landscape. Mixing and applying the colours using his hands, a sort of magma is formed and transformed when he wraps the works with plastic film before removing the protective layer, once dried, resulting in an eroded painting.

Installation view of exhibition with artworks hanging on walls

Installation view of ‘Maturation’ by José Yaque (2020) at Galleria Continua Roma, St. Regis. Image courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua

5. How will the artist residencies work?

We’ll also be launching an artist residency program that will be selected by an expert committee every 6 months, giving an opportunity to young artists from emerging countries to stay in the capital, to increment their personal and professional growth by confronting themselves with the immense contemporary, and antique Italian artistic heritage. The works done during these stays will be presented to the public in the spaces of the gallery.

6. What other developments do you have planned for this year?

Coming up, with the Chinese artists Sun Yuan & Peng Yu (their exhibition constitutes a third stage in the collaboration project with The St Regis Rome, after Loris Cecchini and Pascale Marthine Tayou) we organised talks at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma and a talk at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara. We’re always open to any collaboration that can create an exchange and a dialogue.

In 2020, we are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Galleria Continua so there are many exciting things to come. At the end of the summer we are opening a new location in Sao Paulo in Brazil in the Pacaembu stadium, a historic building in the heart of the city, since 1940 it has been a central part of the city’s cultural life.

In September, we will be celebrating this anniversary where everything began, in San Gimignano with an exhibition of Chen Zhen inaugurating on 18, 19 and 20 September 2020.

‘Maturation’ by José Yaque runs until 28 March 2020 at Galleria Continua at The St Regis Rome. For more information visit: galleriacontinua.com

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Reading time: 5 min
Cosy hotel bar lounge area with fireplace
Cosy hotel bar lounge area with fireplace

Boutique hotel Les Manoir de Portes de Deauville offers a homely kind of luxury in the heart of Normandy

Located just two hours from Paris, Deauville has long been a chic weekend destination for Parisians and now with the newly opened boutique hotel Les Manoirs des Portes de Deauville, it’s perfect for families too. LUX Managing Editor Serena Hamilton discovers

Europeans tend to lean towards the same destinations in France. They go every summer, stay in the same house or hotel, get croissants from the same boulangerie and eat dinner in the same bistro. There’s something undoubtedly comforting about that kind of routine, knowing that your expectations will be met year after year, and yet, comfort as everyone knows doesn’t necessarily equal excitement or adventure. So this year, we decided to try somewhere new.

Deauville and its neighbouring town Trouville are often referred to as the “Parisian riviera” not just because of their proximity to the French capital, but also for their chic ambience. Deauville, for example, boasts a year round calendar of film festivals, yachting regattas and vintage car rallies as well as great shopping and a beautiful, albeit busy white sandy beach complete with Instagrammable candy-coloured parasols. The streets are immaculate and everyone is stylishly dressed, which is wonderful if you don’t have children hanging off your arms. For us, holidays are generally more about relaxation, and we tend to look for places which can offer adult-orientated calm whilst simultaneously catering to the children’s endless energy. Not a lot to ask for is it? Thankfully, Les Manoirs des Portes de Deauville fitted the bill perfectly.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Located a few minutes outside of Deauville town, the boutique hotel only opened its doors this summer and straddles the line between country manor hotel and Parisian chic. It’s set within acres of lush parkland, with a 16th century manor house at the centre and nine surrounding private cottages.The furnishings throughout are a mix of contemporary and antique, whilst the colour palette of pale pinks and creams pairs perfectly with the dark exposed beams and more rustic touches. Some of the rooms and shared spaces also have beautiful old brick fireplaces. More importantly, though, it feels like a space to be lived in rather than just admired, which means you can properly relax rather than stressing every time a child clambers over an armchair.

Historic manor house and lawn

The hotel is set within stunning parkland and gardens (see below) with bedrooms in the main manor house as well as private cottages

Garden of a manor house

We were staying in a very pretty little cottages (adjacent to the one booked by our family friends), which provided more space and the added luxury of total privacy, whilst still in easy access of the outdoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi. As parents it was pure bliss to sit drinking our morning coffee on the lawn whilst our children ran around the park and tipped each other out of the hammocks.

Read more: Half Moon Bay Antigua reveals Rosewood Residences

Sadly, the restaurant wasn’t yet open during our stay, but there were plenty of excellent nearby options including the historic town of Honfleur, where we enjoyed several lunches of delicious moules-frites on the harbour’s edge. In the evenings, after tucking the children into their beds, we strolled across the lawn to the main house for a cheese and charcuterie board with local wines in the cosy lounge bar. No need for hushed in-room dining, or babysitters.

Rustic elegant interiors of a hotel bedroom

Luxurious hotel suite with contemporary furnishings

The interiors blend rustic chic with contemporary furnishings and a calming colour palette

The staff, especially, made us feel immediately welcome and were wonderfully patient with the children’s endless requests for hot chocolates and snacks, which isn’t always the norm with luxury hotels. They were also very knowledgable about the local area and suggested child-friendly activities such as a cute petit train ride through the heart of Deauville, and strolls through the stunning countryside.

It might not be quite the place for the usual Deauville crowd, but for anyone wanting to relax in an elegant, unpretentious setting that’s within easy distance of a beach as well as upmarket restaurants and shops, it couldn’t be more perfect.

Rates start from €120 per night including breakfast (approx. £100/$150). Book your stay: portesdedeauville.com

 

 

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Mannequins in shop front windows

Number 16 Clifford Street in Mayfair, Cifonelli’s new residence

One of Paris’ most illustrious tailoring houses has opened the doors to its a new London boutique. LUX takes a look inside

It’s not often mannequins are intimidating, but the three standing in the shopfront windows of Number 16 Clifford Street are enough to make most men question their wardrobe. This is the new London residence of Cifonelli, a tailoring house renowned for its distinctive details and sharp lines. Karl Lagerfeld was famously quoted as exclaiming that he “could recognise a Cifonelli shoulder from a distance of a hundred metres.”

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The brand was established in Rome in 1880 by Giuseppe Cifonelli before settling in Paris via a short stint in London, and now it’s back in Britain’s capital with fourth-generation cousins Lorenzo and Massimo at the helm.

Interiors of a high-end suit shop

Interiors of a tailoring shop

Cifonelli’s boutique has been designed to offer clients a space to relax and shop

Read more: Truffle making & Michelin-star dining at St. James’s Hotel & Club

On a wintery evening earlier this month, LUX joined a crowd of handsomely dressed men to celebrate the opening with a glass or two of champagne, and dancing to tunes from the in-house DJ. Not the kind of scene you’d necessarily expect from a traditional tailors, but Cifonelli despite its heritage remains very much on the pulse.

Inside a luxurious suit shop

The shop itself, for example, is luxurious, but welcoming with plush velvet seats and flattering lighting, the idea being that customers can come in to relax as well as buy. It’s well worth a visit, if only to admire those well-dressed mannequins.

For more information visit: cifonelli.com

 

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Cinematic still featuring a bottle of champagne
Bollinger event with men in suits

Michael G. Wilson & Etienne Bizot from the Bollinger Family at Hotel de Crillon, Paris

Last week, Champagne Bollinger celebrated the 40th anniversary of its partnership with James Bond with a special event in Paris and a new limited-edition release

On Thursday evening last week, Champagne Bollinger welcomed the producer of the James Bond films Michael G. Wilson as guest of honour in Paris to celebrate the brand’s 40-year partnership with the legendary film series. Hôtel de Crillon played host to an exclusive list of invitees in celebration of the partnership, which dates back to 1979, when Bollinger became the official champagne of 007 upon the release of Moonraker.

Cinematic still featuring a bottle of champagne

The character Jaws opening a bottle of Bollinger R.D.1969 in Moonraker

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Champagne gift set with luxury silver box

The Moonraker Luxury Limited Edition by Champagne Bollinger with a gift box designed by Eric Berthes

Following a speech by Bollinger’s chairman Étienne Bizot, the brand launched its latest release ‘The Moonraker Luxury Limited Edition’ complete with a space-shuttle shaped gift box designed by Eric Berthes and inspired by the shuttle originally created by production and set designer Ken Adam. Guests enjoyed a first taste of this 2007 vintage against a backdrop of design sketches and stills from the Moonraker film.

Find out more: champagne-bollinger.com

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Woman standing on cliff

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

Middle aged woman posing in studio setting

British model and founder of Wilder Botanics Rachel Boss. Image by Aaron Hurley

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

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

Charlie Newman

THIS MONTH: British model Rachel Boss has had a longer career than most, shooting with industry legends including the late Peter Lindbergh as well as appearing in all the Vogues, the Pirelli calendar and numerous fashion brand campaigns. Alongside her husband, she recently founded her own brand Wilder Botanics, which specialises in holistic products created from organic, wild ingredients. Here, Rachel opens up about the tough side of modelling, becoming an entrepreneur and her aspirations for the future.

Charlie Newman: Let’s start at the beginning. What was your childhood like?
Rachel Boss: I grew up just outside of Manchester. I had the perfect mix of countryside and being on this great music city’s doorstep back in the late eighties early nineties, so I was constantly going to gigs when I could. We lived in this beautiful old farm, not that we used it, but my mum only ever cooked using home grown vegetables. I went to a convent which wasn’t great! I went there from 3 to 18 years old as a day pupil. Looking back it had a huge effect on me with the guilt that comes from Catholicism. It was awful, it was heaven and hell, it was retribution. My mum stuck up for us by not letting us do confession: what 7 year old has anything to confess? That’s why I had my confirmation much later because you can’t get confirmed without having confessed. I haven’t been to church in a long time now but it’s still in there. I remember going to school and seeing these propaganda posters and being so appalled by these extreme elitist views, but in reaction to this quite a few of us were rebellious. The young nuns were slightly more liberal singing Kumbaya with us, whilst the elder ones were just dreadful. The only two male teachers were science teachers which meant that we really weren’t pushed to do science – things have changed hugely since then. Safe to say, I would never send my children to a convent, in fact I went the complete opposite and sent them to a school where they call the teachers by their first name!

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Charlie Newman: How did fashion come into your life?
Rachel Boss: I can remember always being taller than my peers and everyone telling me I could be a model but I never even considered it because modelling wasn’t a career back then. I saw fashion as my escape, it was my ticket out of Manchester. Interestingly, people from Manchester generally always stay there, they don’t often move. I don’t know whether that’s typical of most towns but I couldn’t wait to get away. University was never on the cards for me, it wasn’t even something I wanted to do and I don’t know why because later on I went to study off my own back. Even though I didn’t go to university straight after school, I still want my children to because I hate the idea of them being out in the world without a purpose. When I left school that’s exactly how I felt, so when I got asked to be a model I took the chance. I was staying at a friends house in Dublin and then somebody asked me to do a show for John Rocha. From that show an agent picked me up, it’s not a very glamorous story! In that first season I worked for John Rocha, Katharine Hamnett and a few other Irish designers. After that, I came back to Manchester and then moved to London at 19 years old so I was a late starter for a model.

Model pictured standing on cliff edge

Charlie Newman: What were your early experiences of modelling like?
Rachel Boss: Once I signed with an agency I was whisked straight away off to Tokyo, and I didn’t really like it. Whenever I see friends who were also models at the time we look back now and realise that actually we really weren’t treated right as teenagers. Thank goodness for the way my mum brought me up else I would have ended up in some compromising positions. People were always saying to me, ‘Why don’t you relax? Why don’t you go to that club? Why don’t you go out for dinner with them?’ But I wasn’t having any of it which meant that I was spending a lot of time on my own. My first trip was to Tokyo for 4 weeks which was a real eye opener, it was like a cattle market. We weren’t marketed as human beings, never having time to eat or break. Then at night we had to go to club openings which was just not my thing. I left Tokyo with not very fond memories and from there went onto Paris after a brief stint at home in between.

Read more: Artistic visions of Louis Roederer’s Brut Nature 2012

Charlie Newman: Paris is the centre of old school fashion houses, and with it often comes an old school mentality. Did you come across this and how did you deal with it?
Rachel Boss:  I really s