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Patek Philippe presents ‘The Art of Watches, Grand Exhibition’ in New York

Step into the world of luxury watch craftsmanship with Patek Philippe’s New York exhibition

Luxury Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe celebrates its long history and prowess in watch making with a 10-day exhibition. The show, titled ‘The Art of Watches, Grand Exhibition New York 2017’ is slated to take place from July 13 to 23 at Ciprani 42nd Street. A showcase of the Swiss watchmaker’s 178-year-old history, the exhibition covers the tradition of haute horologerie and the brand’s heritage, giving visitors the chance to peak into the world of the last privately family owned Geneva Watch Company.

Watches and timepieces from 1530 will be put on show in a space of 13,218 square feet. The exhibition consists of 10 different rooms, each created to showcase different bits of history. Amongst these is the Napoleon room, which will display limited edition timepieces created specifically for the US market. For a trip back in time, visit the Museum room. Some of the greatest historical timepieces from the last five centuries, including the oldest timepieces to date will be put on view. Not to be missed is the Grand Complication room: Dedicated to Patek Philippe’s most complicated and innovative timepieces, this collection will no doubt showcase the brand’s mastery in horology.

Other than browsing through the informative sections, feast your eyes on Watchmaker and Artisan demonstrations at the Interactive room. Dive into the inner workings of luxury watchmaking by taking part in these activities. For a quick break, the Patek Philippe Café is a great place for rest and relaxation.

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon

According to Jasmina Steele, the International Communication & Public Relations Director of Patek Philippe, the aim of the Grand Exhibition is to recreate elements of the company that will provide an unforgettable experience for each visitor as close as possible to the feeling Patek Philippe guests have when they visit the company’s manufacture in Geneva, The Museum, and the historical Salons on the Rue du Rhone. “By offering visitors an immersion inside the world of Patek Philippe, we really want to share our passion for watchmaking and hope visitors will come out of the Exhibition with a greater knowledge and appreciation of the art of watches”, says Jasmina.

Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern commented “From its earliest days, when our founder Antoine Norbert de Patek made his first journey to America in the 1850’s until today, the importance of America to Patek Philippe can be seen through our history exhibited in the Grand Exhibition in New York. Moreover, it is a tradition in my family that the owners of Patek Philippe train in the new world, following the path of my grandfather Henri who founded in 1946 the Henri Stern Watch Agency in the Rockefeller Center and my father Philippe, I trained in the US when I started in the company. I am very proud that American visitors will be able to learn more about the historic and contemporary ties between our company and the American market.”

The Art of Watches, Grand Exhibition opens on July 13 and will be open to the general public. Admissions are free of charge from 10am-7pm on Monday to Sunday, with extended evening hours on Thursday, July 20 from 10am-9pm

Source: Luxuo.com     Photos: Luxuo.com

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Four Seasons Opens First U.S. Private Residences in Orlando

Love Disney? Now you can live there in style.

The first completed homes within Four Seasons Private Residences Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort have been unveiled and are now for sale. These homes, located within the Golden Oak residential community at Disney, are the first single-family homes in the nationwide portfolio of Four Seasons Private Residences.

This new  community promises residents year-round amenities and concierge-style services, plus access to the full suite of amenities available at the neighboring Four Seasons Resort Orlando.   Led by a dedicated Residence Manager, an expertly trained staff is available to arrange hotel-living experiences within a resident’s personal home. These services, available for an additional fee, include: resort deliveries to residences, in-residence spa treatments, personal laundry and dry cleaning and towel and bed linen services. Assistance with arranging private parties, residential maintenance, cleaning and personal shopping is also available.

There are also a number of attractive perks for homeowners, including access to the Tranquilo golf club and the resort’s tennis and fitness facilities, membership in the Golden Oak Club, a private club facility, pool, and dining area, and a “Club Life” membership, which offers numerous perks at Disney and a concierge-style program that offers special Walt Disney World Resort benefits and events.

The homes themselves are spacious, ranging in size from 6,000 square feet to over 10,000, and are located on half-acre plots. The residences start at $5 million. 

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The 7 Best Farmers Markets To Visit This Summer

It seems to be basic human nature to take everything outdoors in the summer. Answer us this: Why dine at the kitchen table when you could have a barbecue out in the sunshine? Who hits the treadmill when they could take a breezy sunset jog? It’s simple – when the weather’s nice, we want to be out in it, absorbing all that wellness-inducing vitamin D.

Here’s one last query for you: What are you doing still strolling down the aisles of the supermarket when you could be trolling your local farmer’s market for fresher, more organic food? Here are seven of our favorites across the U.S., but don’t fret if they’re too far – we guarantee there’s one nearby your neighborhood, too.

Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market – San Francisco (Embarcadero at Market Street)

Open year-round, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Whether you’re trying to spot one of San Francisco’s most renowned chefs or a delicious specialty bread stand, Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market is your best bet. Tuesdays and Thursdays are held in the front of the building only, while the much larger Saturday market extends into the rear plaza. We suggest planning your trip for the weekend, as you will not only be exposed to an array of meals from local restaurants, but also the picturesque view off the plaza of the San Francisco Bay.

Look for: Mariquita Farm vegetables (too many to list), Blue Bottle coffee, RoliRoti porcetta, sourdough bread

Chicago Green City Market – Chicago (1750 North Clark St.)

Open May 4 through Oct. 29, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. The vision of chef Abby Mandel after visiting sustainable markets in Europe, the Chicago Green City Market is the sole through-and-through “green” farmer’s market in the Windy City. Some, in fact, even think it to be the best of its kind in the entire country. For those in the area and seeking a fun “green” task for the fall, join in on the Locavore Challenge. Click here to pledge to eat locally from Sept. 8 to Sept. 22.

Look for: Breads from Bennison’s, local honey, Grass is Greener Garden’s wild black raspberries

Green Market at Piedmont Park Conservancy – Atlanta (1071 Piedmont Ave.)

Open May 7 through Oct. 10, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy live music and demos while you shop at the Green Market, which celebrates its eighth year of providing strictly local fare in 2011. It’s charm is in part due to its location – lovely Piedmont Park, which is an alluring alternative to a parking lot. Another bonus of a summertime farmer’s market in Atlanta? Georgia peaches. Enough said.

Look for: Pearson Farm’s peaches (obviously), West Side Creamery’s ice cream, Blue Tailed Lizard’s tamales

Union Square Green Market – New York (Broadway at 17th Street)

Open year-round; Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. June through November; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. December through May. New York City seems to do everything bigger and better – and Union Square Green Market is no exception. In busy season, you’ll find about 140 farmers, bakers, fishermen and the like stocked with the best of what their region has to offer. For the culinary-challenged among us, we recommend stopping by on Wednesdays. Joshua Stokes, creator and founder of Grill-A-Chef, will be doling out free advice and tutorials.

Look for: Red Jacket Orchard cherries, apricots, strawberries and apple cider, Cherry Lane Greenhouse Heirloom Tomatoes, Oak Grove Peaches, Tundra Brewery beer, pear and apple cider, fresh Amish cheeses

Boston Copley Square Farmer’s Market – Boston (139 Saint James Ave.)

Open May 17 through Nov. 22, Tuesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 a.m. Location, location, location. It’s a one-stop shopping extravaganza if you’re headed to this market. Located just off Boylston Street and minutes away from Newbury, you can find just about anything you need in this area – not to mention the beautiful backdrop provided by Trinity Episcopal Church. For information about the market vendors, click here.

Look for: Narragansett Creamery cheese and Danish Pastry House baked goods

Santa Monica Farmer’s Market- Los Angeles, CA (Arizona Avenue, between 4th & Ocean)

Open Wednesdays 8:30am to 1:30pm and Saturdays 8:30am to 1pm. Chefs from all over Los Angeles County converge on Wednesday’s Santa Monica Farmers Market for first pick of colorful produce from California’s rich agricultural land. And with 75 farmers spread out over four blocks, the selection is vast. Roots also run deep. Claiming the title “Organic Market,” Downtown Santa Monica’s Saturday farmers market offers the largest percentage of certified-organic growers of any market in the city. Each weekend features menu options from downtown restaurants like Border Grill or Pizza Antica.

Look for: Valerie Confections (seasonally inspired pastries, handpies, and cakes, both sweet and savory) and Thao Farms, which offers an assortment of Asian staples such as taro, turmeric, lemongrass, and ginger.

Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University – Portland, OR (SW Park & SW Montgomery)

Open 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, March-October; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, November-February. With six markets happening throughout the week all across town, the Portland Farmers Market is one of the most impressive in the U.S. The year-round Saturday market at PSU, which dates back to 1992, is the jewel in the crown, featuring both organic produce and prepared products like pickles, locally cured charcuterie, cheese and freshly baked bread. And there are additional prepared foods to munch on while shopping, like steamed tamales from Salvador Molly’s, fresh soups and breakfast burritos from Enchanted Sun. The winter edition of the market fills a compact park block, but come summertime the market swells to two full blocks, with as many as 140 vendors filling its stalls and attracting more 20,000 shoppers each week.

Source: Pursuitist.com     Photos: Pursuitist.com

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The Ultimate Tour of Mexico’s Top-Shelf Tequila Houses, Including LVMH’s Luxe New Launch

Photo Credit: T photography / Shutterstock.com

Photo Credit: T photography / Shutterstock.com

No other spirit has evolved in quite the way tequila has in such a short time span, from a drink favored by college students hell bent on inebriation to a treasured tipple enjoyed and savored by connoisseurs the world over. While the transition has taken place over the past three decades, in recent years the ultra-premium end of the category was created and immediately flourished, imbuing tequila with a new dimension and adding to its appeal.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Tequila was first produced in the 16th century near the location of the modern city of Tequila, Mexico, which was officially established in 1666, though the drink was known by other names until fairly recently. But it was not until it was first exported that it began to mature as a spirit, and to accommodate the tastes of the wide audience of the rest of the world, with an ever-increasing array of expressions pleasing to even the most sophisticated palate. 

Lately demand for tequila has outpaced all expectations. Since 2002, Tequila volumes have grown 121 percent, at an average rate of 5.8 percent, per year. In 2016 alone, 15.9 million 9-liter cases were sold. High end brands have been especially buoyant, growing 292 percent in volume since 2002. And, to the disbelief of most Mexicans, the U.S. market has now outstripped Mexico’s own to become the leading consumer of tequila, fueled in part by the booming tequila cocktail trend.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Virtually unknown in 2002, super premium tequila volumes have skyrocketed 706 percent and today account for 2.9 million 9-liter cases. Which is no doubt why LVMH’s spirits division, Möet Hennessy, is getting into the game, with the launch of Volcan De Mi Tierra, a new super premium brand, this month. Which also makes it the perfect time to visit Jalisco, the Mexican state where tequila is produced—beautiful, safe, and modern in many ways, but also mindful of its incredibly valuable heritage. 

Despite all the bluster emanating from the White House, there’s never been a better time make the trip. Wrapped up in the production of tequila is a rich tradition of Mexican culture and cuisine, which can be best experienced in the birthplace of the spirit. Added to the traditional tequila categories of blanco, reposado and añejo, reflecting different intervals of aging, you can now find extra and "super" añejo as well as cristallino, an añejo expression with the color extracted, to enjoy. Sampling them in the places where they’re made enriches them immeasurably.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Every tequila starts with Blue Weber Agave, distinctive-looking spiky plants which take seven years to mature. Every agave plant is harvested by hand; the plant is first cut from its roots and then the spear-like leaves are trimmed off with a sharp, round blade. Some tequila houses do this in the fields, others at the distillery. The core that remains, called a piña, is the raw material used for the making of tequila. There are different ways of processing and cooking it, but it typically takes about eight pounds of blue agave to produce one bottle of tequila. 

The exact method is different in nearly every distillery, but after the agave is harvested and cooked it is fermented, distilled in steel or copper stills (the more traditional process), and matured in oak or other casks. Some prefer virgin oak while others use second-fill or seasoned casks that bring with them notes of the sherry, bourbon, port or other spirits that were the original occupants. As with Champagne or Cognac, only tequila that is made from agave grown in the state of Jalisco can properly be called tequila.  

Here are the highlights from our tour:

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Casa Herradura 

One of Mexico’s most historic and renowned tequila producers, Casa Herradura has been operating at the Hacienda San José del Refugio, in the village of Amatitán, since 1870. Its horseshoe logo—herradura in Spanish—is an ancient symbol of good fortune and protection. Herradura carries on with traditional methods, such as slowly cookingthe piñas in traditional clay ovens, to produce a truly “sip-worthy” spirit.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Herradura also uses natural fermentation with airborne wild yeast. Credited with the introduction of the world’s first-ever reposado and extra-añejo tequilas in 1974 and 1995, respectively, Herradura has always been respected as an innovator in the tequila world. Its spirit is distilled twice and aged to perfection in American white oak barrels for 45 days to four years depending on the expression. Herradura lays claim to being the “last true tequila-producing Hacienda on the planet.”

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Casa Sauza

Casa Sauza produces all its tequila in the same location since 1873. It was the first brand to export tequila to the rest of the world, when it was known as “Mezcal wine.” In 1931, when the founder’s grandson, Don Francisco Javier Sauza, took over the business, the modern tequila industry was born. Don Francisco was the first to argue that “Tequila cannot be produced where the plant that originates it does not exist,” leading to the creation of the “Denomination of Origin” for tequila production and its regional requirements and legal standards.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Sauza practices a unique “gentle extraction” method for processing the agave, different from the other distilleries. At Sauza, the juice from the piñas is separated before they are cooked to “take maximum advantage” of the agave sugars, which, the distillery says, creates the distinctive herbal and fresh agave flavor profile that can be discerned in all of Casa Sauza’s creations. Sauza was also one of the first to experiment with wholly “organic” expressions, in response to the growing demand for responsibly produced spirits.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Volcan De Mi Tierra

LVMH’s spirits division Moët Hennessy, in partnership with Mexico’s aristocratic Gallardo family, has just made history with the launch Volcan De Mi Tierra tequila. The name, which translates to the “land of the volcano,” pays homage to the unique terroir where the distillery is located next to the Gallardo family’s historic hacienda and a volcano, appropriately named Tequila, now home to the brand, which by all indications is set to be a smashing success.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Volcan De Mi Tierra’s distillery sits in the lowlands, at the foot of the volcano, where 100% blue agave from both the low- and highlands is grown and used to produce its first two expressions, Blanco and Cristalino, developed by Maestra de Tequila Anna Maria Romero Mena. “It was my hope to create a spirit that is truly committed to expressing the heart of the agave and terroir from which it came,” she notes. “This is why—unlike many distilleries—we combine agave from the low- and highlands and embrace the nuances from each region to create a unique style.” The result is an authentically complex yet elegant and balanced liquid.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Don Julio

Don Julio, which dates back to 1942, is considered by many to be the world’s first luxury tequila, and has been widely imitated. Founder Don Julio Gonzales, who innovated many of the distilling and aging methods considered de rigeur today, initially produced it for his own family and friends, and wasn’t made commercially available until the 1980s. It is produced in the highlands of Jalisco, where the microclimate and mineral-rich clay soil allow the blue agave plant to thrive best.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

To make Don Julio, the agave piñas are cut by hand into thirds or quarters and then slowly steam-cooked in traditional masonry ovens for three days to release the sweet agave juice. Each of the distillery’s offerings is aged for a different amount of time in white oak barrels kept in a our temperature-and-humidity-controlled warehouse. One of its newest expressions is also its most coveted; Don Julio 1942, paying homage to the year the distillery was founded, is aged for at least two-and-a-half years and is exceptionally rich and smooth.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Patrón

Patrón, widely recognized as the world’s highest-quality ultra-premium tequila, is meticulously crafted, and the brand has not allowed the astonishing growth of its business to alter the traditional methods which first garnered it international acclaim. “Instead of building bigger stone ovens, or bigger fermentation vats and pot stills, we’ve actually replicated the original small batch process many times over, essentially creating a dozen little distilleries under our one roof,” notes Patrón master distiller Francisco Alcaraz, who developed its unique recipe and process. “That’s how we’ve been able to maintain our consistent high quality.”

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Patron uses a time-honored method of cooking agave, slow-roasting small batches for about 79 hours, then macerating it, fermenting it and distilling the result using two uniquely separate processes, the centuries-old tahona (volcanic stone wheel) process and the more modern roller mill process, Both produce distinctive tequilas, with unique combinations of distillation with and without the agave fiber, that are ultimately blended together to create the various expressions of Patrón.

Photo Credit: T photography / Shutterstock.com

Photo Credit: T photography / Shutterstock.com

Cazadores

One of the oldest and most recognized tequila brands, the Cazadores distillery is perched high above the town of Tequila, in the Highlands of Jalisco. It elixirs are created using a small batch approach overseen from start to finish by the Maestro Tequilero, which is based on the brand’s original 1922 recipe. The cooked highland agave is double fermented and double distilled, and is only ever matured in smaller than usual virgin oak barrels.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Unlike most brands, Cazadores’ Maestro Tequilero selects tequila from only the top one percent of these barrels for each batch he creates; not the most profitable method but one that ensures an extremely high quality product. That’s further guaranteed by a panel of 15 experts which reviews each batch to ensure that it meets the selective standards of quality and taste and is worthy of the Cazadores label—smooth, flavorful and redolent of the highlands, the heart and soul of tequila country.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Avión

If anyone can be considered a “disrupter” in the modern tequila industry, the honor goes to Avión founder Ken Austin. The tequila’s name, meaning airplane, comes from his background in the private jet industry. Avión agave is grown at 7,000 feet above sea level, an elevation that “creates stress on the piña that in turn leads to more depth and sweetness,” in Austin’s view. It is then slow roasted in brick ovens at low temperatures for three days; the Master Distiller then focuses on the “heart” of the distillation, a highly selective trait which means it takes 25-30% more Agave to make each bottle of Avión.

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Photo Credit: Jared Paul Stern

After distillation, Avión is filtered through its proprietary ultra-slow filtration system, another hindrance to efficiency that is up to ten times slower than other tequilas, but that results in a surprisingly smooth and “agave forward” tequila. Avión is currently available in five expressions: Silver, Reposado, Añejo, Espresso and Reserva 44—but Austin and his team are continually experimenting with special finishes and are never satisfied with creating something that is merely “good enough.”

Source: JustLuxe.com     Photos: Jared Paul Stern; T photography / Shutterstock.com

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Bethenny Frankel: 'I Had No Money. But I Had an Idea and Pushed It Through.'

Bethenny Frankel celebrates the launch of Skinnygirl Market Fresh Deli; Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com

Bethenny Frankel celebrates the launch of Skinnygirl Market Fresh Deli; Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com

Bethenny Frankel is unstoppable. Last week it was announced that Skinnygirl founder, author, chef and star of The Real Housewives of New York City will be a guest judge on Shark Tank in the fall. She is also producing and starring in her new series Keeping It Real Estate with Fredrik Eklund where they are each investing millions of their own money. She partnered with Dress For Success to launch B Strong to help empower women in crisis. And she has a new line of pre-packaged lunchmeat, Skinnygirl Market Fresh Deli, endorsed by the American Heart Association. How does she do it? "I am very, very organized and very passionate," says Frankel.

Before her luncheon at her SoHo Skinnygirl headquarters she shared more with Forbes.com. 

Jeryl Brunner: You are endlessly creative, working on so many passion projects. And you are also a thriving entrepreneur. How do you combine holding true to your passion while also being a successful businesswoman?

Bethenny Frankel: I’m lucky. I have a lucrative television career, which includes the Housewives, my own show, {Keep It Real Estate} with Fredrik Eklund that I’m producing for Bravo and Shark Tank. I also have a lucrative brand in the categories that I am in. But I’m not just grabbing onto anything. I see celebrities grabbing onto many things and putting their names on them. I don’t do that. If I decide to put my name on something or produce it, I try to make it a success.

I have always been focused. I have ideas and want to execute them. I’m driven and just go. I don’t believe in waiting around. I don’t believe in waiting for someone to give things to you. If you want something, go get it yourself.

Brunner: What advice would you give to young women starting their careers?

Frankel: Business is intense, incredibly competitive and so hard. You have to be the most driven person you ever dreamed of knowing, because there is someone more driven. It takes a certain drive and determination that I don’t see in many people. I can’t name three people who have the same drive and determination that I have.

Sources: Forbes.com   Photo: Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com

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Kris Jenner, Scott Disick And A New Real Estate Reality Show

Kris Jenner in Beverly Hills, Calif., earlier this year. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Kris Jenner in Beverly Hills, Calif., earlier this year. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Real estate reality shows proliferate, but none has had the coveted Jenner name attached. Until now.

Word broke this weekend that Kris Jenner and Scott Disick are working on a new reality TV show together tentatively called  'Royally Flipped.'

The show – about house flipping – is set to be produced by Kris Jenner as well, according to TMZ.  Scott Disick and his business partner, realtor Tomer Fridman will star in it, the website says. The duo are already shooting the pilot for the reality TV project, featuring homes in Malibu and the San Fernando Valley, TMZ says.

Kristen Mary "Kris" Jenner has a long reality TV show resume. She rose to fame after starring in the reality television series ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians.’

She’s been married twice. First to lawyer Robert Kardashian – who rose to fame defending OJ Simpson. Later she married Bruce Jenner, the former Olympic champion who is now known as Caitlyn Jenner. Her four children to Robert Kardashian include Kourtney, Khloé, Robert and Kim Kardashian. Kendall Jenner and Kylie are her children with Bruce Jenner.

Source: Forbes.com.    Photo: Rich Fury/Invision/AP

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We Were Fine Without a Mamma Mia! Sequel, But We're Getting One Anyway

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Mamma Mia! The Movie, like so many other films of its (low) caliber, boasts both an excellent cast and a hefty box office return. So, of course, a sequel is in the works.

According to Deadline, the first film—released a decade ago—grossed $609.8 million worldwide and $144.1 million domestically, so I am frankly dumbfounded that we’ve not already had a sequel.

Fans will delight in learning that the original cast is expected to return, together with some new folks. Ol Parker, screenwriter for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, will both write and direct. We can also expect a new track listing of ABBA songs—with, of course, some returning favorites.

Moreover, those who crave vacation porn should take note of this opportunity. The sequel’s setting, the Greek island of Kalokairi, will be as dreamy as the first. Perhaps this is one hint as to why the original cast will reprise their roles. If I were an actor, I’d be keen on filming in locations that supplied me with both a beach and glorious views.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! will be released on July 20, 2018—10 years and 2 days after the first film’s opening. And because it will star Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, and Colin Firth, I will absolutely see it. Here I go again, etc.

Source: Jezabel.com.    Photo: Universal Pictures.    Video: Jezabel.com.

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Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2017 in Antigua Features the PAM653 and PAM654

The Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge gets underway, with yawl Mariella winning the Antigua Classic Yachts Regatta

Watchmaker Officine Panerai has been plying the high seas with the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge for 13 years now; for the landlubbers out there, this is the world’s leading circuit for classic and vintage yachts. The 2017 season got underway with the 30th Antigua Classic Yachts Regatta in April, which is the first of the 11 legs that make up the Challenge. Bermudan yawl Mariella won the overall prize at this regatta.

The Alfred Mylne-designed craft (launched at the William Fife and Son yard in Scotland) picked up the Panerai Prize for overall victory but also saw off strong challenges from The Blue Peter and Latifa to triumph in her own class (Vintage B). Fifty classic yachts gathered in Antigua for the opening leg, classed into Vintage, Classic, Traditional, Classic GRP, Spirit of Tradition and Tall Ships categories. Obviously, Panerai has the right sort of watches for the Challenge, named as it is for the brand! This year, the PCYC (no prizes for guessing what that stands for) watches are PAM653 and PAM654, both flyback chronographs powered by the in-house automatic calibre P9100.

Source: Luxuo.com   Photos: Luxuo.com

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Louboutin Delivers Lush Lashes and Luxe Design

Photo Credit: Nordstrom

Photo Credit: Nordstrom

Christian Louboutin is known for those dramatic red soles on his haute heels, that women covet worldwide for their leg lengthening magic and classic sex appeal. Now he’s trading heels for lashes with his Les Yeux Noirs Lash Amplifying Lacquer that delivers pure drama, maxed out volume, and length to match any heel height.

The design of Louboutin’s mascara brush is utterly brilliant, and unseen by other makeup brands. The unique wand seamlessly layers the high-gloss lacquer to create a voluminous look that lasts all day without flaking. The special bristles run both vertically and horizontally, while the tiny bristles on the end of the wand lift and coat the tiniest lashes with ease. The concentrated pigment creates fierce color that accents eyes and completes any makeup look, whether it’s your 5-minute daily routine or more dramatic makeup for a night out.

From box to brush, this miracle mascara doesn't disappoint. The package design is perfectly Christian Louboutin in black and gold ribbed brass, reminiscent of Art Deco architecture. The mascara’s gold silhouette is topped with a delicate black shiny lacquer crown dressed in classic Louboutin spikes, and it rests in it’s own black and gold logo jewelry-like box. The Les Yeux Noirs Lash Amplifying Lacquer costs $70 and is available in two pigment shades.

Source: JustLuxe.com.    Photo: Nordstrom

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Luxury Brands Step Up Digital Strategies

Gucci Spring Summer 2017 ad campaign

Gucci Spring Summer 2017 ad campaign

Luxury brands are working harder than ever to get their online product and pricing strategies right with major change in the past year as more of them wake up to the importance of e-sales, according to a new report from Contactlab and Exane BNP Paribas.

And with consumers who buy luxury goods both online and in-store spending around 50% more per year than in-store-only customers, brands are working just as hard to find ways to increase digital engagement with their customers, while retaining personalisation “and the exclusive touch that defines them as a premium shopping experience.”

The report showed that the battle to maximise growth in what has been a tough luxury market has seen some luxury brands increase their online product offering and pricing quite dramatically while others were ahead of the game are radically reshaping their online-available offer.

The report, Online Offer Dive & Pricing Landscape, covers 32 luxury firms and showed the overall number of luxury products from them available online fell slightly (by 3%) for AW16 compared to a year earlier. This was perhaps a surprise given that the number had surged by 20% for AW15.

The dip came as some companies rationalised their brands, shrinking multiple labels down to one masterbrand. But the extent of such reductions was counterbalanced as some ‘laggard’ brands finally woke up to the importance of online and radically increased their line-up that was available to e-shop.

Firms that had been e-commerce pioneers, such as Burberry, Gucci, Tiffany, and Armani, reduced their offer in the high single or low double-digits while “e-commerce-cautious brands” started to catch them up,” Contactlab said.

Fendi (+306%), Chanel (+50%), Bulgari (+30%), Saint Laurent (+24%), Moncler (+23%), Cartier and Ferragamo (both +22%) all increased their online offer by more than 20% for AW16.

The presence of some ultra-luxury labels in this list means the overall entry prices of products available to buy online edged up, albeit only by 1.8%. And while the average price of luxury goods available online dipped by 1.5% (as some brands widened their ‘affordable’ offer), the sector did see a trend towards higher prices in brand e-stores. A number of high-end brands such as Hermès and Cartier embraced digital in earnest, and introduced more expensive products that would have only been shoppable in-store previously.

But there are concerns that diving too deep into online could discourage shoppers from visiting the brands’ lavishly designed and expensive-to-maintain stores. The report said that the ubiquitous access that e-commerce gives to a luxury brand’s products, could be a factor in driving consumers away from in-store shopping and could be a drag on luxury profits.

Some luxury labels have addressed this issue by increasing the availability of products to browse online but not making all products available to buy that way. The report said that has helped them capitalise on generating consumer interest, by encouraging in-store browsing and purchasing.

One trend that has been key over the last year is how a number of labels have shifted their strategies and thus made major changes to what is available online.

For example, traditionally, accessories have been key for the e-stores of many luxury brands. But we’re seeing a move into more ready-to-wear too. Kering’s Gucci, for instance, decreased the quantity of its products offered online but it directed this reduction towards two core categories: Bags and Soft Luxury goods. On the other hand, it significantly increased the offer in RTW (+60%) and non-core categories like Jewellery and Watches.

Other strategy re-thinks have seen Bulgari, Zegna and Hermès having significantly increased both median and entry prices. But Dolce & Gabbana, Tiffany and Burberry have reduced median and entry prices, making their products more affordable. It’s perhaps significant that both Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry have dropped their diffusion lines (D&G and Brit) in recent years but have committed to ensuring that the aspirational, less wealthy customer, still has something to buy in his/her price bracket.

Marco Pozzi, Senior Advisor at Contactlab, said: “Maximum online prices for products that can be bought online have increased from $150,000 in AW15 (such as a Tiffany necklace) to $181,000 in AW16 (Cartier watch). However, 11 brands out of 32 offer products below $20. The online channel, then, is ideal to capture ‘aspirational’ clients.”

He added: “Ralph Lauren, Tiffany and Hermès have overall entry prices below $150, and are masters in category segregation pricing. Even ‘luxury’ brands, such as Chanel and Dior, have very accessible entry prices at $38 (Chanel) and $28 (Dior). Both these prices are close to premium brand Swatch, whose entry price is $38.”

Source: Thetoptier.net via CPP-Luxury.com   Photo: Thetoptier.net

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Airbus Corporate Jets Launches Private Jet Version of A330neo

Airbus Corporate Jets has launched a private jet version of its new A330neo.

The ACJ330neo is able to fly 25 passengers up to a distance of 17,400 km, or 20 hours, which is enough to fly nonstop from Europe to Australia.

The new aircraft has a customisable cabin with conference and dining areas, a private office, bedroom, bathroom and guest seating.

Other features include the option of an onboard airport navigation system (OANS) – similar to GPS in cars – and a runway overrun prevention system (ROPS), for which insurance companies offer reduced premiums.

Like all Airbus aircraft, the ACJ330 features Category 3B autoland with a common cockpit, on which more than 100,000 pilots are already qualified, plus optional dual head-up displays (HUDs).

Airbus chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, said:

“For customers, such as countries needing to fly heads of state and delegations worldwide on government business, the ACJ330neo offers an unbeatable combination of modern design, proven capability and productivity, as well as being part of the world’s best-selling widebody family.”

Source: TheTopTier.net via Business Travel.    Photo: TheTopTier.net

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Brand Report: Confidence in Real Estate Market Rises

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Optimism toward the economy and real estate market is growing across all generations of current and prospective homeowners, but rising interest rates continue to be a concern among prospective homeowners, especially millennials, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ latest Homeowner Sentiment Survey.

Overall, 62 percent of prospective homeowners and 61 percent of current homeowners say they are satisfied with the economy, with respondents from both groups overwhelmingly reporting that the general economic outlook is a critical factor impacting their real estate decisions.

When looking at views toward the real estate market, 68 percent of prospective homeowners and 70 percent of current homeowners hold a favorable view, an increase of five percentage points and four points, respectively, from the last wave of the survey. Nearly half of current homeowners cited lower interest rates as the top reason for their favorability toward the market; 43 percent of this group also pointed to the increased value of real estate as a factor driving favorability.

Respondents are also encouraged by accelerating home construction, with three out of four citing a rise in available homes created by new construction as a factor contributing to market momentum. Additionally, 75 percent of current and 83 percent of prospective homeowners cited increased construction in urban centers, offering homeownership options close to places of employment, as a top factor.

“Optimism in the real estate market and economy are at levels we have not seen since we first began fielding this survey in 2015,” says Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Mortgage rates remain near historic lows even with recent upticks, and we’re seeing rising wages, job growth and construction rates, which continue to make homeownership a compelling and realistic investment for many Americans.”

Interest Rates Remain Top Concern; Housing Inventory Still Tight

Optimism notwithstanding, uncertainties related to rising interest rates persist, especially among millennials (defined in the survey as people ages 18-34). A full 68 percent of prospective millennial homeowners say they feel a sense of urgency to buy a home as interest rates may continue rising, and one in five reported a desire to buy a home before mortgage rates increase. Moreover, 55 percent of this group also reported “feeling discouraged” about buying a home due to the prospects of rising rates.

“The sense of urgency expressed by millennials shows they understand the advantages of locking in a low mortgage rate now,” Blefari says. “However, we also recognize rising interest rates can make the home-buying process feel challenging. It’s important to remember that interest rates and mortgage rates remain low by historical standards, and with guidance from a skilled real estate professional, prospective buyers can be empowered to find a home that meets their needs and financial objectives.”

A tight supply of available homes in many markets—particularly at lower and entry-level price points—presents another challenge for buyers. Builders this year are responding with more focus on lower-priced homes, according to builder trade groups, which may serve as an important nudge to hesitant millennials. In the survey, 70 percent of prospective homeowners said they are willing to wait—even with the likelihood of rising mortgage rates—to buy a home that suits their needs now.

“Younger buyers are telling us they don’t necessarily want a traditional starter home you fix over time,” Blefari says. “They want move-in ready without the hassles and hammers.”

Most Important Neighborhood Feature

Respondents made a surprising top choice for the most important neighborhood feature: friendly neighbors. Prospective homebuyers ranked “friendly neighbors” (50 percent) ahead of financial considerations such as the “accurate market value of a home” (39 percent) and “confidence that the home will be a good investment in the future” (37 percent). Other neighborhood characteristics valued by prospective homebuyers included walkability (45 percent) and a good school district (41 percent).

Large, walk-in closets topped the list of home amenities sought by current and prospective homeowners, ahead of patios/balconies and hardwood floors. Respondents cited energy-efficient appliances and smart-home features such as learning thermostats and automated lighting as the most important trends in home interior design.

“It will be interesting to see how rising consumer optimism plays out in the spring and summer home-buying buying seasons,” says Blefari. “All real estate is local—each market has its own characteristics and conditions. Contact your local real estate professional to learn how you may take advantage in the current environment.”

For more information, please visit www.berkshirehathawayhs.com.

Source: RISMedia.    Photo: RISMedia

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Puerto Vallarta Culinary Insider Anna Maria Davis Gives Us the Dish

Photo Credit: Janice Nieder

Photo Credit: Janice Nieder

With a bio that reads like a novel series, the exuberant Anna Maria Davis cannot be pigeonholed down to any one category. Documentary filmmaker, fashion stylist on Rodeo Drive, successful entrepreneur (she started the first indoor SuperFood farm growing micro-greens) and world culinary traveler are just a few of her titles. And, just as an aside, the Hollywood romantic comedy Fools Rush In starring Salma Hayek, was based on the rollercoaster courtship between Anna Maria and Doug Draizin, the film’s producers.

Photo Credit: Anna Maria Davis

Photo Credit: Anna Maria Davis

Anna Maria is a Mexican/American with ancestry in Durango, Mexico that dates back hundreds of years. Her heritage has fueled her reputation on both sides of the border for throwing spicy, eclectic, and wildly entertaining, dinner parties. Growing up on the West coast where she was influenced by both the Las Vegas and Los Angeles food scene, she later moved to Puerto Vallarta, which she feels is “the culinary paradise of Mexico.” Currently, Anna Maria is working on sharing her love of Puerto Vallarta by offering private “insiders” tours including Tapas, Tacos and Tequila or Shop, Cook, Eat and Talk your way around the Banderas Bay.

Here are some of her favorite Puerta Vallarta shops and eateries:

Best Shrimp Taco?

Several decades ago two brothers opened a humble taco stand, Mariscos Cisneros (pictured up top), which, due to its wild popularity, now includes a traditional restaurant behind the stand. The focus is on pristine fresh seafood, and while they get rave reviews for everything from smoked marlin tacos to poblano peppers stuffed with crab, shrimp & octopus, Anna says they serve the “sweetest shrimp taco I have ever had!” 

Best Tequila?

Baston del Rey, owned by the Avalos family, has been making tequila the old fashioned way for over 75 years. Their tequilas are made from 100% pure blue agave, and nothing else—no flavorings, added sugars, or chemicals. There is an interesting factory tour where you can taste their different tequila liqueurs. Love the coffee chocolate flavor tequila!

Photo Credit: Barrio Bistro

Photo Credit: Barrio Bistro

Best Mexican gourmet meal?

Search out the intimate Barrio Bistro in Versailles, one of Vallarta’s old residential neighborhoods, for a unique dining experience. The fun starts when the charismatic owner/Chef Memo of Barrio Bistro comes to your table, carrying a chalkboard, to personally review the changing weekly specials. Some dishes utilize ingredients that he brings to the kitchen from his own ranch, while others are based on old-fashioned Mexican medicinal recipes. 

Best Coffee?

The Vallarta Factory offers the three C’s: Coffee, Cigars, Chocolates or as they like to say, “Your Local One Stop Shop.” Everything is made, roasted or hand-rolled on site. Anna says, “It’s my favorite Americano stop in town!” The friendly staff is happy to give you a tour of the coffee roasting premises, complete with homemade chocolates to sample.

Best Bling Stop?

Joyeria Yoleris the only jewelry store in Puerto Vallarta that makes their creations in their own factory on the premises. They specialize in the finest gemstones set in gold or sterling silver, featuring custom designs to your taste. Ask to see the collection of the Los Castillo family’s silver jewelry for ideas.

Photo Credit: Toscana Mia

Photo Credit: Toscana Mia

Best Italian food?

Toscana Mia in Bucerias! Ask owner and Sommelier, Vincenzo, to recommend the perfect wine for pairing with a delectable sesame crusted seared tuna, light and airy fried calamari, and bruschetta -made with sweet local tomatoes and Vincenzo’s artisan homemade bread. The fresh pasta is made locally by Roberto Storzini another award winning chef and a close friend of the owners.

Best Massage?

Although it is a basic, no-frills establishment, Felipe's Theraputic Spa offers the perfect jet-lag antidote, a deep-tissue massage. Anna says when her N.Y.C. Joffrey Ballet friends come to visit the first thing they do is make an appointment with Felipe, a professional runner and an accredited massage therapist/body technician with over 20 years experience. He is often referred to as the Zen Master of massage for his healing touch.

Best Happy Hour?

Joe Jack's Fish Shack has a wide variety of delicious mojitos that are two for one during happy hour. The ginger-flavored one goes well with Anna’s favorite tuna poke, plus she loves hanging out with Tony and Ari, two of the top Mixologists in Vallarta.

Photo Credit: Mundo De Crystal

Photo Credit: Mundo De Crystal

Best Gift to Bring Home? 

After a bottle of Baston del Rey tequila, the next best gift stop is Mundo de Cristal for their huge selection of hand-blown glassware. Choices range from colorful glass heart ornaments starting at three dollars to intricate chandeliers. They do an outstanding job carefully wrapping your purchases for the trip home.

Best Way to Party with Artsy Locals?

Do the South Side Shuffle, held from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every other Friday, from November-April in the Zona Romantica district. Join this lively street party where you’ll be mingling with a mix of locals, tourists, and artists at the participating galleries and boutiques, complete with strolling mariachis and gratis cocktails.

You can contact Anna Maria for tours while visiting Puerta Vallarta

Source: JustLuxe.com   Photos: Janice Nieder; Anna Maria Davis; Barrio Bistro; Toscana Mia; Mundo De Crystal

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Indulge in the Art of Luxury Drinking with SinStella

Originally designed with high-end restaurants that endured many a broken glass in mind, SinStella's designer Vera Purtscher sought to create a champagne glass that would be equal parts beautiful and useful. Each piece is made of handblown crystal K-9 glass, with a sturdy base that holds the drinking glass upright. The base was designed to minimize glass breaking points as much as possible, which provides your beverage with a support that is also difficult to knock over or break. Clients interested in personalizing their experience even further can have their glasses engraved with a design of their own making.      

Photos Credit: Vera Pure

Photos Credit: Vera Pure

Since its launch in 2016, the brand has expanded to include an assortment of glass dishware in their product line. SinStella's glass dishes can be found in restaurants like New York's noteworthy Gabriel Kreuther, which recently received its first Michelin star this past year. SinStella glasses are available for purchase by contacting the brand directly, though their web store will be available online soon. Glass champagne flutes complete with crystal base start at $100 per set.

Source: JustLuxe.com.    Photo: Vera Pure.    Video: JustLuxe.com

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Lamborghini ALPHA ONE is a Smartphone Priced Like a Car

For one, it uses the same “stronger than titanium” liquid metal used in super cars, making the implicit promise of longevity. Its ruggedness, however, is hidden behind fine Italian leather on the back, handmade and lined with golden stitching.

Gone are the days when luxury phone makers settled for mediocre specs and simply banked on brand and looks to sell. Lamborghini acknowledges that its customers require their phones to not just look great but also work great. To that end, the ALPHA ONE gets a 5.5-inch QHD screen, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable memory, a large 3,250 mAh battery, and dual SIM card support. The only disappointing spec is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, which will still perform better than many mid-range processor.

All of that you get in one premium package that will set you back 119,000 RUB, roughly $2,110. That is, if you live in Russia. The Lamborghini ALPHA ONE will also be available later on in the UK, South Korea, China, and the UAE.

Source: TheTopTier.net via SlashGear    Photos: TheTopTier.net

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Singapore Gets a Gigantic ‘Vending Machine’ for Buying Luxury Cars

Singapore is a country known worldwide for both a very high cost of living and limited real estate space — that combination makes it hard to imagine a better location for a gigantic vending machine that spits out luxury cars.

That’s right, folks. Autobahn Motors, a company that started out selling used vehicles in conventional showrooms, recently opened a 15-story building in Singapore that looks like a real-life kid’s toy box hidden inside the Southeast Asian city-state.

The structure can hold up to 60 high-end vehicles — it includes cars from Ferrari, Bentley and Porsche — which can be purchased by customers who visit the location.

Rather than a regular sales process, visitors to the Autobahn Motors’ site complete their purchase via a tablet device and customized app. Their car will be delivered to them within two minutes of their payment thanks to a unique ‘fishbone’ delivery system that Covered.Asia experienced in a pre-launch demo last year.

“We needed to meet our requirement of storing a lot of cars. At the same time, we wanted to be creative and innovative,” Gary Hong, general manager at Autobahn Motors, explained to Reuters in a recent interview.

This approach has been adopted for inner city parking in many parts of the world, and there is one similar concept for car sales in the U.S. via Carvana — which recently went public.

It’s a pretty crazy system that looks like a concept, but it is absolutely real. You can find the Singapore-based building for yourself on Google Maps

Source: TheTopTier.net via TechCrunch    Photos: TheTopTier.net

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The VIP Soirée To Attend During Monaco F1 Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Amber Lounge

Photo Credit: Amber Lounge

The Principality of Monaco will ignite the fashion barometer with the annual Amber Lounge Fashion Show and Charity Event hosted at Le Méridién Beach Plaza hotel during the Monaco F1 Grand Prix 2017 festivities.

Scheduled for Friday 26 May, the Amber Lounge Fashion Show is the Monaco F1 Grand Prix's top VIP event that welcomes world famous personalities, royalty and influential figures from the motor racing industry to watch the only catwalk that features F1 drivers, who this year will be dressed in bespoke suits from Apsley Tailors.  F1 drivers Daniil Kvyat, Esteban Ocon, Nico Hülkenberg, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jolyon Palmer and Marcus Ericsson are confirmed to be the models for this year's show.

Leading British-based fashion house SAFiYAA will headline the glamorous runway show, highlighting pieces created exclusively for the Monaco event alongside designs from the AW17 collection.  The ladies of F1, the wives and girlfriends of the F1 drivers, will take to the runway after the men showcasing the exclusive silk collection created by Silviya Neri.

The fashion show will be followed by a charity auction, this year in support of F1 racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart's foundation, Race Aganist Dementia, with funds going to help research preventive treatments and eventually find a cure for dementia.

Guests will then enjoy a sumptuous dinner with sea views, followed by a night of hedonistic opulence at the Amber Lounge where luxury is elevated by the tunes from live international acts and renowned DJ's.

Date:  Friday 26th May 2017, starting from 7:00 p.m. 

Venue:  Le Méridien Beach Plaza hotel, 22 Avenue Princess Grace, 98000 Monaco

U*NITE tables (which includes Dining, Fashion Show and Amber Lounge after party) Tables from €7,200, shared table passes from €900

After party (access from 11:00 p.m. onwards only ) tables from €5,200 and €350 per individual pass.

Source: Justluxe.com.    Photos: Amber Lounge

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The Haute Bungalow: Inside Jocelyne Sibuet's Villa Marie in St. Barth

"You have to deserve St. Barth."

That's how Marie-Christine Albini, the general manager of the new Villa Marie Saint-Barth, describes the Caribbean island's character. There's no elitism intended, but a sense of knowingness pervades. Part of what makes the place so appealing is that it's a haven for what's known as the "gypset"—people of considerable good fortune who travel to spots where they can play for a few days as if they were just like anyone else. In order to visit St. Barth, you need a high limit on your credit card. In order to deserve St. Barth, you have to appreciate the low-key luxuries, the elemental simplicity and the quiet glamour of some of the world's best small resorts, as well as the Michelin-caliber meals and the jeroboams of spouting champagne.

The Main Lounge; Villa Marie St. Barth

The Main Lounge; Villa Marie St. Barth

Villa Marie is everything that makes the down-to-earth side of St. Barth so appealing. It's the 11th intimate retreat from the highly regarded hotelier Jocelyne Sibuet—best known for the Alpine getaway Les Fermes de Marie—and her first hotel outside of Continental France.

It is for good reason that Sibuet is known as the Martha Stewart of France. While she honed her signature aesthetic in her native Alps, where she now has seven hotels, she had no trouble capturing the bohemian spirit of the French West Indies island. "I want people to wake up and know they're in St. Barth," she says of the hotel, which is set above the beach in Colombier and which she built with her ex-husband and business partner, Jean-Louis. "That's very important. Other hotels here are more formal."

Villa Marie is not. It feels remarkably relaxed for St. Barth. The cliché of visiting the private home of a well-traveled friend holds true here. An extremely well-traveled friend: Sibuet sourced the furnishings for the 21 bungalows and villas (which start at around $525 a night) and beautiful public spaces everywhere from the prestigious Maison & Objet show in Paris to the souks of Tunisia and the markets of Java. Many of the headboards, whether rattan, wooden or fabric, are custom-made, and the gorgeous mother-of-pearl tables were commissioned in India.

Above all, the hotel is playful. The main motifs are pineapples and parrots—and there are two of the flying variety on the property, hanging out by the swimming pool. (Sibuet gave them a new home after a friend on the island who had owned the birds for years could no longer take care of them and knew that they wouldn't survive in the wild.)

The parrots are just two elements that animate Villa Marie, which opened last December. The place brims with history and life, in part because it occupies the site and some buildings of another small hotel and a restaurant that had been something of an island institution for 25 years.

"François Plantation has a soul," she says of the historic property. "It has a story. We wanted to keep those elements. I don't break things. I put a lot of attention into keeping the soul and spirit of the house and the story for the destination." She proudly notes that François Plantation fans who have returned since she took over like what she's done. (The excellent food is another good reason to come back.)

Jocelyne Sibuet; Maisons & Hotels Sibuet

Jocelyne Sibuet; Maisons & Hotels Sibuet

In her stylish sandals, gold-hoop earrings and breezy tunic, Sibuet could not have looked more at home than when we met for dinner at Villa Marie earlier this year, yet her creative locus is the Alps. It was there that she and Jean-Louis renovated and opened their first hotel in 1981 and there that she took on the "crazy and ambitious project" to rebuild a mountain hamlet with pasture farms, which became her best-known showplace. Opened in 1989, Les Fermes de Marie was ahead of its time in selling what Sibuet calls "authenticity and luxury disguised in simplicity." Its nine chalets are outfitted with old beams and feature mazots recovered from the surrounding pastures and country-style furnishings from secondhand shops around the world. All the shelter magazines took notice.

Sibuet, whose formal education was in aesthetics, had no idea that her sense of hospitality would turn her into a lifestyle brand. But after renovating and opening a half-dozen more hotels, she launched her own cosmetics brand, Fermes de Marie Beauty, based on the Alpine natural ingredients such as edelweiss that made that hotel's Pure Altitude beauty farm such a success. (Now all her hotels have Pure Altitude spas, and the cosmetics are sold under the same name.) She published a book, A French Country Home, in 2005, which cemented her reputation as the French Martha Stewart.

A Villa

A Villa

With all of that, and some 400 employees, the 58-year-old mogul has kept Maisons & Hötels Sibuet a bona fide family business and brought her children into the management fold. While Jocelyne and Jean-Louis have been intimately involved in every aspect of the St. Barth hotel's design--he planted some 1,000 plants around the property himself--it was their daughter, Marie, who pushed for the family to establish a presence here.

Jocelyne hadn't visited the island for 25 years when she went scouting for locations, but she fell in love at second sight. "We really like the spirit of St. Barth," she says. "There's a special atmosphere."

There's certainly a special atmosphere in Villa Marie. It's the culmination of decades spent creating and curating--and the product of someone who takes pride in being an amateur. "I think when you're doing something you love," Sibuet says, "you do a good job. You begin at the first step. Then you get better."

Source: Forbes.com     Photos: Villa Marie St. Barth; Maisons & Hotels Sibuet

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ATV Maker, Daymak Produces Prototype of the World’s Fastest 4-Wheel Vehicle

Forget the Bugatti Chiron and the large personal fortune needed to acquire one. For the comparatively tiny outlay of $59,995 you could soon take delivery of something capable of hitting 60mph from a standstill in under 1.5 seconds

A Canadian electric bike, scooter and ATV company called Daymak could be on the verge of building the fastest four-wheel production vehicle on the planet.

The current Guinness Record for the world’s fastest accelerating go-kart is held by Hochschule Osnabrück Institut MuT, and stands at 2.635 seconds and while the battery-powered Daymak-C5-Blast is still technically speaking in its prototype stage, it’s already comfortably beating the benchmark.

Even though an electric motor can serve up 100% of its power instantaneously, the vehicle it’s propelling forward still has to be able to overcome the laws of physics if it wants to turn that power into a record-breaking 0-60 time.

And that’s what makes the Daymak-C5-Blast so innovative. It uses 12 electric motors that provide a combination of forward momentum and upward thrust which in turn cut the go-kart’s weight from 200kg to 100kg.

“We could actually make it lighter and faster and at some point, the Go Kart would start floating like the Star Wars land speeder or we could add wings and it would fly,” said company president, Aldo Baiocch. “Speed will not be an issue and we think we can even go eventually under 1 second 0 to 60 making it faster than any vehicle in existence.”

Of course, testing this claim could prove challenging. “We just have to find someone fearless enough to drive it!” said Akili Sylvester, Lead Project Manager on the Daymak-C5-Blast.

As well as potentially breaking records — the company plans to get its claims officially validated as quickly as possible — the technology that enables the go-kart to punch through the air so effectively could be very easily applied to a host of other vehicles.

“We have a working prototype and we are currently looking to apply this technology to a variety of projects,” said company VP, Jason Roy “The potential is limitless.”

However, for the moment at least, the aim is to distill this technology into two production go-karts, the insane aforementioned C5-Blast complete with motors powering all four wheels, and a more affordable $10,000 version that uses just rear-wheel drive but the same upward thrust technology.

Source: Luxuo.com    Video: Luxuo.com

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Bentley Unveils a £200,000 Luxury SUV for Falconry Enthusiasts Complete with Perch, Tether and GPS Bird Tracker

The ‘Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner’, which costs £75,000 ($97,000) over the standard price, is fitted with a perch between the front seats.

Inside the boot are two compartments – a master flight station, which sits behind a second, artificially-turfed perch, and a case for refreshments.

The master flight station houses a GPS bird tracking unit, binoculars, hand-crafted leather bird hoods and gauntlets, tracking antennas and various tools and tethers.

The car’s dashboard boasts a sweeping desert scene featuring a Saker falcon which took nine days to craft

For the mega-rich who practice the ancient sport of falconry, a luxury British car maker has come up with the ideal hunting vehicle – a 180mph (290kph), £200,000 ($260,000) customized Bentley.

A blanket, face cloths and three metal flasks are housed inside the refreshment case.

However, it is the exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail which commands the exuberant price tag.

The dashboard boasts a sweeping desert scene featuring a native Saker falcon which took nine days and 430 individual pieces of wood to craft.

Each piece of the inlay went through four separate processes of cutting, hot sand shading, pressing and double cutting, before being assembled by hand.

Falconry enthusiasts are unlikely to be put off by the cost of the customisations – the top falcons are known to cost as much as £750,000 ($970,000) in the Middle East.

Geoff Dowding, director of Mulliner, Bentley’s commissioning division, said: ‘The Bentayga Falconry showcases what’s possible with our skilled craftspeople.

‘They can devise elegant and exquisitely executed bespoke solutions to compliment any lifestyle or hobby.

For a 4,000-year-old activity known to many in the Middle East as The Sport of Kings, competitors need to have the ultimate in luxury and practicality. So Crewe-based Bentley has decided to offer a bespoke product for its super-rich customers

‘Falconry is regarded as the sport of kings in the Middle East, so it was vital that the kit we created was as luxurious as it was practical and durable to appeal to our valued customers there and around the world.’

The ancient sport of falconry is widely practised in the Middle east, and has been popular for centuries.

Historically, Bedouin tribes used the birds to hunt in the desert to supplement their diet with meat.

Today falconry is a rite of passage for many young Emirati men – groups of friends regularly meet in the evenings to train their birds.

In the the United Arab Emirates the government spends a reported £20 million ($26 million) a year on protecting falcons in the wild, and an image of the bird appears on the country’s national flag.

The UAE even has specialist falcon hospitals to treat injured birds, which can dive at speeds of more than 200mph (320 kph).

Source: TheTopTier.net via Mailonline    Photos: TheTopTier.net

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