Emperor Jehangir's rare portrait at London's Portrait Gallery
The main attraction at London's National Portrait Gallery's exhibition The Indian Portrait 1560-1860, which opened on 2nd March, 2011 is a rare six-foot, life-size portrait of the Emperor Jahangir, allegedly the largest ever from the Mughal empire. The artwork is in gold and water color on cotton with relief jewelry detail and has a lengthy Persian inscription written in a fine hand around the edge of the painting. It shows Jahangir holding a globe in his right hand, seated on an European-style chair, with a halo of light around his head. The translation of the text indicates that it was painted in the 12th year of Jehangir's reign, the year of his Deccan conquests. His honorific Nur-al-Din (light of faith) and title Jehangir (world seizer) are explained with the globe and halo. The painting was never seen before, except in auction-house catalogue in 1995. It is coming up for auction in April at Bonham's auction house, with an estimated base price of one million pounds. Will Vijay Mallaya bring this one back home too, like he did the sword of Tipu Sultan?
Mukesh Ambani to acquire a €20,000,000 green yacht
The latest acquisition of our very own, home grown billionaire Mukesh Ambani is this luxury yacht worth a twenty million Euros, which is absolutely in keeping with his stature of being the richest Indian. The 58m x 38m 'boat' being put together by a well known French shipbuilder and a Monaco based ship company will have three decks, a 25m pool, helipad and the usual necessary mod cons like spa, sauna, gym, massage room, music room, cinema and such as these. With a floor area measuring 36,600 sqft, there will be enough room to accommodate 12 passengers and 20 crew members. Best of all, the ship is covered with 9,700 sqft of solar panels that will give an output of 500kW daily and contribute towards a saving of nearly 20-30% of fuel cost and 40-50% of electricity consumption. It will add some glamour quotient to the Breach Candy dock in Mumbai, where it will be parked, and where the paparazzi will hang out to give the minutiae of the glamorous visitors.
Good times at ROSE: The Watch Bar
We all know that a good shopping exercise is not complete without a fine gastronomic experience, and all good retailers of consequence will let the esteemed customer mull endlessly over their pick over a cup of good coffee or a chilled soda. Taking the same concept several notches higher is the Rose group, which has been retailing jewelry and has now added luxury watches to its inventory. At their newly refurbished destination in the Hormuz Mansion in Mumbai, one can dither over options of a Cartier or Hublot or Bulgari, or perhaps the relatively new Parmigiani Fleurier SA or the true blue Swiss Girard Perregauz, maybe even a Tag Heuer to gift. "Yes? What do you think? No..?". The new red and black, all mirrored and steel grey Watch Bar sports a LED video wall, a specialist team at the bar to spin innovative mocktails, a selection of fine teas and coffees and even a Library stacked with books on horology & catalogues of the world's leading watch brands. Several reasons to drop in.
Chinese buyer pays €1.4million for Belgian birds
Please note, we are discussing the avian species here, just in case someone thought otherwise. And that too, one of a rare kind, not your regular garden/zoo variety with flashy feathers. 'Ladies and gentlemen, behold, here, this flock of pigeons, all 213 of them including the Blue Prince, the fastest pigeon known to mankind or birdkind, for the first time ever in Belgium or anywhere….' The hammer came down at €1,400,000, with the Blue Prince alone costing a cool €150,000, sold to an anonymous Chinese bidder. These were a premium colony of racing pigeons, much coveted in China, where they are considered a status symbol. As per the rules of the game of racing pigeons, the speedsters are launched a 1,000 kms away from their loft and the first to return is the winner. Once upon a time in India, those with a well padded inheritance and thereby, with ample time on their hands, spent most of their days launching these birds from their expansive roof tops. It was the thing to do, you know. Not anymore, thankfully.
Google's Art Project – virtual treat for the art lovers
This is rich. Imagine being able to wander around the Uffizi in Florence and gape at Botticelli's Birth of Venus today, and move next to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or admire the ceiling of the Palace of Versailles in France in the afternoon, maybe the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid later in the day.. The choices are a plenty, thanks to Google's Art Project, which enables a free virtual tour of 17 of the world's top museums online, offering for viewing more than a 1000 art works by 486 artists from across the globe. The paintings can be seen in microscopic detail, offered at levels of up to 14 billion pixels. Check out the notes on the sheet of music in Hans Holbein the Younger's 'The Ambassadors' at the National Gallery in London. Google has used its Street View technology and adapted it to give 360 degree tours of the galleries. Manik Gupta, product manager, Japan & Asia-Pacific, Google explained that they fitted a trolley with a camera and went inside the museums clicking pictures. The website also enable one to create one's personalized collection by creating an account and adding favorites. Imagine, virtually having an art collection with a Botticelli, and a Van Gogh, and a Monet, and a…!
Delhi celebrates its century as a national capital
It was in 1911 that the British Raj in India under George V declared that the national capital be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. While history has witnessed several changes since, Delhi has continued to retain its status as the capital of the nation. Time to bring out the three tiered cake with a 100 candles and sing the 'Happy Birthday to You' ditty? Not exactly, since as a city Delhi has been around since forever in its various avatars. Suraj Kund dates back to the Pandavas! But we can uncork the Champagne for its first modern shopping complex – Connaught Place. It was planned on the lines of European Renaissance and Classical style by WH Nicholls, the chief architect to the Government of India. The design inspiration is more directly said to be from the Royal Crescent building in Bath in England that was designed by John Wood in 1774. An interesting story behind the circular shape of the Royal Crescent and Connaught Place is that Wood, being a member of the Freemasons, had infused Masonic symbolism in his buildings. Whatever! In the end, it was Robert Tor Russell, chief architect of PWD of Delhi who designed Connaught Place. Popularly called CP, it has many a traveler's tales that could take up many evenings in its telling, over several pints of beer, or cups of coffee. For now, we will make do with 'Keep thriving, be safe, stay clean.'
Flower Power – Uncaria extract to remove wrinkles
A cosmetic company has claimed the power of the Uncaria flower, nicknamed Cats Claws, to remove wrinkles and is rushing in to claim the patent before launching the product in the market. The Uncaria is said to have the naturally occurring deoxy sugar Rhamnose, which supports regeneration of skin. The flower has been in use in Chinese medicine. As per the researchers at L'Oreal, the extract of Uncaria coaxes the cells to produce more collagen, which in turns makes the skin more elastic and plump. They claim to have tested it on 400 people. Only four hundred! What if it produces a severe side reaction in one-in-a-thousand cases? And for how long did these guinea pigs use it? Help!
A spot of gold olive oil please!
This is extra virgin olive oil from the Croatian island of Hvar, infused with 24 carat gold flakes of the edible variety, bottled, individually numbered and packed in attractive wooden cases. Priced at €600 a piece, don't expect them to crowd the shelves of your local supermarket. Anyway, these are limited edition and only 444 bottles have been produced. The buyer gets a card of ownership and the right to buy a refill bottle that will come sans the wooden packing and cost a tad less. Kreativni Laboratorij, the creators of this unusual product, claim that it takes 12 craftsmen all of 120 hours to make one unit of the stuff. Their website, www.goldenoliveoil.com , recommends the use of this product as 'gifts to business partners or your beloved ones.' Not for gourmet cooking?
“Never answer a question unless you know exactly who is asking, why it is being asked, and what will be done with the information.”
It is a beautiful planet that we inhabit, and have this one life to explore and discover all that there is out there. The trick lies in being selective. We continue to showcase here, a glimpse of one or another exotic, not-to-be-missed destination that will awaken the spirit of the explorer. From a list of the world's ten exotic gardens, we have selected the rare Japanese garden of Meigetsu-in.
The Garden of Fugenzan Meigetsu-in
This here is Rinzai Zen temple located in Kanagawa in Japan. The temple is nearly a thousand years old, having been built by Uesugi Norikata 'Meigetsu' in the year 1160, for the worship of Goddess Sho Kannon. Meigetsu beckons with its beautiful garden of raked sand, rocks and plants that represent legendary Buddhist Mount Shumi, and where a thousand Hydrangeas bloom in the month of June. Originally Meigetsu-in was a small temple located within a larger temple, until it was restored by Uesugi Norikata, then a powerful warlord. Meigetsu-in is also known as the site of the tomb of Hojo Tokiyori, once the supreme ruler of Japan who was based in Kamakura. Look out for a 13th century statue of Uesugi Shigefusa, founder of the Uesugi clan, which is rated as the national treasure of Japan. Also present in the garden is one of the celebrated Ten Walls of Kamakura.
ART OF FINE DRINKING
Vodka! Vodka! Vodka!
Thus begins the score by Finnish metal band Korpilaani, totally identifying with an East European's passionate connect with Vodka. For a Russian, it is the magic potion that has several applications. Step into a book store in Moscow, and the books on Vodka will be found in the health section with titles such as 'Vodka Therapy,' 'Curing with Vodka. Fabulous Recipes for the Cure,' 'Therapy with Vodka and Moonshine', which pretty much gives us a clue as to why a Russian is never very far away from his Vodka. The Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus visited Russia in the 18th century and his experience with this brand of booze inspired him to write a treatise, 'Vodka in the Hands of a Philosopher, Philistine, and Medic.' He observed, "This drink has a magical power. It strengthens the weak, and revives those who have fainted. Those tired after work and physical activity can return their life forces by this drink much sooner than by nourishment. ... It works as a diuretic, an appetizer, an antitoxin." The reason for Vodka being attributed with medicinal powers is because, when it first appeared in Russia, the word "vodka" was used to describe medicinal tinctures that were sold in apothecaries. During the Chernobyl catastrophe, vodka was used as an antidote to radiation! Sounds crazy? Not really. Yury Zharkov, a narcologist at the Guta Clinic medical center explained, "Ethyl alcohol ties up and blocks destructive free radicals that are formed in the process of radiation. About 150 grams of alcohol would be consumed prior to entering a source of gamma radiation, such as a reactor on a submarine." That means that most Russians are radiation-proof most of the time? Da? While this theory has been bunked by several other noteworthy scientists, it is absolutely true that the cure for alcoholism in Russia is simply more vodka. Swear on my Absolut crate!
Vodka is composed mainly of ethanol and water. Traces of impurities may exist, and sometimes flavorings are added for variations. Vodka is simply distilled from anything rich in starch and sugar, like potatoes, or grains. In current times, vodka is produced from such grains as sorghum and corn, and the more superior variety from rye and wheat. Potatoes, molasses, soybeans, grapes, rice, sugar beets too work just fine. It was the farmer's privilege. Some vodka is merely byproducts of oil refining or even wood pulp processing. In Poland or thereabouts, they simply ferment sugar crystals with yeast. As the popularity of Vodka spread outside of the Eastern European region, more variations of this simple alcoholic beverage emerged. The clear vodka is just that – clear – ethanol+water mostly. The flavored vodka could have such flavorings as red pepper, ginger, fruit flavors, vanilla, chocolate (without sweetener), cinnamon, honey and pepper. Krupnik is Poland's famous honey vodka. The US has introduced a bacon vodka. As the whole world and its neighbor are producing all kinds of vodkas, the traditional vodka producers such as Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Sweden are now seeking for an EU legislation to categorize only spirits made from grain and potatoes as 'vodka'.
Clever marketing has seen the rise in popularity of vodka in the US, where today it has overtaken Bourbon, the American native. In the forties, after Smirnoff was bought over by the US based Heublein Co, it was tag lines such as 'Smirnoff White Whisky-No taste. No smell' that helped sales. Along came cocktails with vodka and ginger ale, 'Moscow Mule', served in a copper mug. The biggest hit was the advertising tag line 'Smirnoff-it leaves you breathless'. On top of the lists of ‘most popular cocktails’ are the vodka based Bloody Mary and Screwdriver. The martinis of Britain's secret service agent from MI5 (the one with the license to kill), James Bond, are now stirred, not shaken, with vodka instead of gin. Vodka rules!
Alfredo Arias is an Argentinean theatre director who has made Paris his home. Estelle Arielle Bouchet engages him in conversation, vis a vis his works, inspirations, his set at Art Dubai and more.
Interpreting Alfredo Arias
By Estelle Arielle Bouchet
Maestro Alfredo Arias is undoubtedly a renowned man of theatre but also a man of culture and creation, whose finesse, sensitivity, affable and smiling courtesy make him the perfect contemporary gentleman. The writer of numerous plays and shows of an international stature, he reveals his impressions on the set design that he created for the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels, around the High End 'Extraordinary Voyages' Jewellery Collections, inspired by the work of Jules Verne. Here is a sneak preview of the staging that brims with extraordinary aestheticism and imagination and that will soon be presented at Art Dubai 2011.
What is the origin of the set design that you imagined around Extraordinary Voyages™ by Van Cleef & Arpels?
The set design consists of five spaces that accompany the route of the 'Extraordinary Voyages'. The human presence is incarnated by four caryatids, four emblematic women standing four metres tall who immediately announce the invitation to this voyage. Each Woman carries the annunciating and symbolic elements of this voyage:
The Lady of the Sea, surrounded by maritime creatures, the Lady of the Stars, a warrior woman armoured amidst the sun and moon, the Lady of the bowels of the Earth, whose body is covered with suspended icicles and cut stones and lastly, the Lady of the Air, covered with foliage and fruit, who speaks of an opulent and generous femininity. In a jewel case, each of these Ladies presents a piece of jewellery that evokes the theme of Jules Verne's 'Extraordinary Voyage', with which that Lady is affiliated and which inspired the Van Cleef & Arpels Maison in these highly narrative collections.
We then dive into the abyss of the deep-sea, logically originating from the stories of '20,000 leagues under the sea', but I was not concerned about re-creating the historical reconstructions. As I have often mentioned, I came to know of this universe of 'Extraordinary Voyages' through my occupation as a man of theatre and I was already enthusiastic about these worlds of Jules Verne, having conceived these voyages anchored within myself, well before their actual creation. Within the closed space of the submarine world, through the portholes we can admire the boxes that act as jewel cases for the Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery. The sole objective of this décor is to highlight the incredible workmanship of these High-End Jewellery collections. We must never lose sight of this relationship between the space and these miniatures as even if the jewels are large and generous in shape, they must be respected within the décor and attributed a place of choice in the topography of the set design. There was the risk of the surrounding space actually crushing the pieces, which is something that we wanted to avoid at all costs.
The voyage towards the stars is incarnated by a Barbarella inspired travelling vestal. A phantasmagorical rocket crowned by a burst of stars reminds us of the fact that we no longer find ourselves in a closed and confined space as we were under the sea but we are now contemplating the cosmos, the stars.
All these spaces are decorated by enlarged drawings by Ruben Alterio, the designer who accompanied me throughout this adventure. I brought my ideas to Ruben, then through different types of sketches, we managed to determine the most suitable decorations. Each time that there is a vehicle that transports us towards a destination, that vehicle also transports the most representative jewels of each journey.
A reddish space dedicated to the "Journey to the centre of the earth" welcomes you, a drill leads you into the bowels of the earth, thus enabling you to contemplate the pieces that are part of this Collection.
The next piece is dedicated to the 'Balloon Voyage' with a carrier that allows us to appreciate the pieces dedicated to this universe, such as the Maximus Elephant for example.
The context is totally baroque and each item is studied to the millimetre.
This is the first time that you've worked on a project like this, we are amidst a much more static dialectic, where dramatic art obviously isn't the same as that in a theatrical representation, isn't that so?
I see myself more like someone who has come to tell a story, to lead the spectator through a story that passes through a series of decorative elements. For a set designer, a text is necessary and in this exhibition, the jewellery constitutes the text. I wouldn't have been able to tell the same stories with abstract jewellery. We have these Van Cleef & Arpels collections consisting of jewels having a highly dense narrative. When I was approached for this creation, I was able to consult documentation that was put together very well, the departure point for this collection made of designs, images reminiscent of the world of Jules Vernes, but also stones and aerial views that could supply sources of inspiration for us.
It is customary to present jewellery, as it is precious, in an isolated manner, and here we obtain the opposite, we have given the jewellery a framework, a story and we've interpreted the jewels like words, like the poetic phrases of a story.
The pieces of jewellery are integrated into an imaginary movement, accompanied by the story of Jules Verne and by what our imagination was able to conceive beginning from that. I believe that the issue lies in the inseparability of the exhibition and the jewels. These jewels have a timeless poetic inspiration. These are jewels that have stories to tell, like poems, writings, little words…
It is beginning from this beauty and this creation that we were able to create this set-design.
For artists, I would like to ask you about the creation and the vocation of the artist. Your creation, as of your fantasy, is very luxuriant, where do you get such creative power from, is it natural or worked? Have you experienced less fertile moments in your creation?
The problem for me, is that I already have stories for the rest of my days! (laughs) I don't wait for inspiration to crop up by chance or for a magnificent light bulb to come on and enlighten me. I am a permanent working laboratory. I prepare the terrain with my team; when a story interests me, I begin to form a sort of bibliography; all of this is done with a great sense of enthusiasm and elaborated in a free and non-scholarly fashion as time goes by.
Then I wait for the right moment in which to allow this creation to bloom. So, for 'Extraordinary Voyages' I accepted gladly as I had the experience of Médiès behind me, which I had worked on. It was therefore natural to imagine staging and spatial awareness. I am always very attentive to the fact that you can combine different disciplines in theatre or in other spaces: work as a plastic artist, sculpture and photography interest me profoundly and I am always available to look at other artistic expressions and follow other disciplines.
In this sense, an exhibition corresponds to a space that interests me; little by little, I return towards this type of configuration. Next year I am going to hold an exhibition in Buenos Aires in the museum restaurant, with a fashion designer, on a manner of culinary expression.
For a creator like you, the question of childhood necessarily crops up as there is all this part of spontaneity, imaginary, marvellous, what role did your childhood play in your vocation as a man of theatre. Who was the little Alfredo as a child and did your childhood influence the man that you are today?
I was an artist before being a child, I was born an artist and I think that in their genes there are people who have a mission to tell stories and in their life's journey they have this need to translate ideas, the fantastic, the myths and dreams of the community. I do not believe that you can improvise as an artist. The artist has this perception of reality that leads him to tell its story, to rebuild it through his imagination and present it to others in a clearer manner.
My parents didn't want me to be an artist and I overcame countless obstacles, for me being an artist is being in my workshop on a daily basis and searching.
Every reading allows me to earn a sort of space and to be richer in the direction that my life might take, in my imagination and in my own experience with respect to reality. The vocation of the artist consists of making the pathways more acceptable and it seems impossible to me for a human to live outside of a spiritual perspective, it is an elevation of the spirit and a purity that we must earn through all the events of our life.
Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano, the wunderkind fashion designer, Dior's celebrated couturier, decorated with a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, awarded the Royal Designer for Industry, recently shot himself in the foot, as he shot his mouth off at a restaurant in Paris. Clearly under the influence of alcohol, in one moment this destiny's darling child let fall the carefully constructed glitzy veil of silk and bared the scarred psychology in full view, caught on video camera, uploaded on youtube, witnessed by the world at large. Suddenly, the long list of his achievements seems questionable. Was he really such a genius or just a clever manipulator? Was it Galliano all the way, or was it the shy and chubby Steven Robinson who joined Galliano in 1988,(and Galliano won the Designer of Year for his Blanche Dubois collection), Robinson who was brilliant yet unassuming, working devotedly 16 hours a day behind the scenes, Galliano's alter ego, stayed with him until his death in 2007.
In his inebriated state, Galliano revealed his stained psych, his love for a crackpot like Hitler who would have shot him for being gay, his rabid statements against Jews and Asians who are a part of his group of supporters, clients, friends, his foul language despite all the cultivated sophistication. He has quickly appointed the law firm Harbottle & Lewis as his legal consultants and issued an unconditional apology and sought treatment for alcohol addiction. Galliano said, "I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination, having been subjected to it myself. In all my work, my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion. That remains my guiding light." The damage control exercise has begun. Dior has not yet announced his successor after sacking him post haste. His collection for the upcoming fashion week in Paris may yet be shown. We are watching John, without the tinted glasses this time.
At the pinnacle
The title of the feature may be misleading. This is not about Colin Firth winning the Academy Award for his lead role in 'The King's Speech'. Though, I admit, he is being featured here and you are reading it too, only because he did win the Oscars for 'Best Actor' this year, the ultimate dream of any actor. His achievements last year were good enough, when he won the prestigious BAFTA award in the same category for his sensitive portrayal in Tom Ford's first directorial venture, 'The Single Man', and a nomination for the Oscars for the same. With the backdrop of such acclaim and honor, the early years of his life take on another significance, by virtue of the disconnect between then and now, and how not-according-to-plan it all was. Also, perhaps, to make an attempt to understand what makes this fine actor such a fine human being.
Hampshire born lad Colin Firth's parents were both lecturers of religion and history and both had lived in India where their respective fathers were Congregationalist minister and Anglican priest. They were restless in England. When Colin was barely two weeks old, they shifted to Nigeria for a few years. Back in England, his house saw a stream of visitors from India and Nigeria. Colin calls this 'absolutely nothing but a privilege'. He also lived in St. Louis, Missouri USA when he was eleven years old, of which he has 'most hideous memories'. The influence of two generations in the noble profession of missionaries and teachers did not make Colin a good boy. He hated studies and was an outright rebel, flunked his exam and dropped out. In his words, "My education was deeply stifling. Nothing that I had experienced in the classroom has had anything to do with life. At that age your entire being is invaded by your sexual consciousness, and all you're getting is algebra and French! I'm delightfully happy as an adult, but I was not very happy as a child. I'm very suspicious of people who romanticize their childhood." To escape class rooms he enacted in a school play, where he received the only 'good' in his life, immediately giving him a career option. He became stage door keeper at the Shaw Theatre, workroom assistant at the National Theatre, tea-maker in the wardrobe department of Olivier's National Theatre. Somewhere along the way, he trained in theater, moving up to become 'third fairy on the left' in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Fade out and zoom in at Colin Firth today. People who know him say this of the man, that he is 'straightforward, modest, level-headed, well mannered, kind, considerate, amusing.' Wow! He only got to where he is at by sheer dint of hard work, but yet selects his roles carefully, shuns publicity and is wary of fame. He loves his family to death and has been a dutiful dad to his first born Will, from a live in relationship with Meg Tilli. If there is a halo around his head, it is not visible to naked eyes. The contradictions are huge. One might need to put him on the couch to analyze what happened along the journey of his life yet, that makes him so wholesome and wonderful. He is of the stuff that makes for good role models. Badly needed.
Art Dubai 2011 is ready to unveil the creative treasures from across the continents yet again. The fifth edition of this leading contemporary art fair in the region is being held from 16-19 March 2011, where over 82 galleries from 32 countries will mark their presence. Maison Van Cleef & Arpels, who have partnered Art Dubai for the last three years, present here their latest collection of exquisite jewelry, 'Les Voyages Extraordinaires,' based on four works by the famous 19th century French novelist, Jules Verne. We bring you a glimpse of the fabulous collection.
'The Extraordinary Journeys'
By Estelle Arielle Bouchet
At Van Cleef & Arpels childhood dreams become a reality in the new line of Fine Jewellery. We travel in the luxurious fantasy of aesthetic appeal orchestrated under the leadership of Nicolas Bos, Creative director and Chairman of the American branch in New York and exceptional "Mains d'Or".
The inspiration for the new line begins with an attempted voyage by the young Jules Verne at the tender age of eleven. He decided to board an ocean liner to the Indies as the ship's boy to bring back a coral necklace for his cousin Caroline Tronson, whom he was head over heels in love with. This incident earned him his father's ire, but this opposing utopia fomented in him a brilliant and prophetic literary work a few decades later. It is this work that inspired Maison Van Cleef & Arpels in creating these Collections of such rare and singular beauty.
"We have selected four of Jules Verne's books– Five Weeks in a Balloon, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, From The Earth to the Moon and the renowned Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. These fantastic adventures, known the world over, are reflexive prisms that allow us to rework Van Cleef & Arpels' codes and to make them even stronger. Jules Verne's dreamlike world resonates with that of a Maison whose artistic heritage built around the beauty of flora and fauna, the sky and the stars, imaginary creatures" confides Nicolas Bos.
How can one not be moved by the tenderness and childlike roundness of a polar bear or not wish to adopt the Maximus elephant from Five weeks in a Balloon? An entire cheerful and wonderful bestiary takes us on to the Noah's Ark of our childhood memories and dreams. The Around the moon clip studded with stars suggests a good many pledges of love and passionate promises under the full round moon of a summer night at sea.
These unusual peregrinations will take us on a ship towards the hot and volcanic lands of Stromboli and we will be charmed by the majestic beauty of a necklace of yellow and purple sapphires of the same name.
Let's be careful not to arouse on the Tyrrhenian seas the whimsical and impetuous jealousy of Olindias - half-siren half-woman - who in her Shiva's dance could draw us to the abyssal depths Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.
Milan Fashion Week - Autumn/Winter 2011-2012
The big four fashion events at New York, London, Milan and Paris happen back to back. Third in the lineup it may be, but Milan takes the lead when it comes to setting directions for the global fashion trends. It was NYFW from February 9-17 and LFW from February 18-23, and before one could catch one's breath and the flight, it was time for the premium Milan Fashion Week Women's fashion autumn/winter 2011-12 that overlapped London Fashion Week's last day, having taken place from February 23-March 1 in Italy. We bring for you reviews of a selection of top designer labels that lit up the runways with their creativity.
Emporio Armani autumn/winter 2011
Giorgion Armani chose the mysterious denizens of the cloak and dagger stuff, 'The Spy', as his muse and stayed close to the color of a moon less dark night – black. Silk, leather, velvet, glasses, wool caps, all black, very elegant and flattering for slender figures or otherwise, unmatchable in elegance, a marked return to the old and the established. Trousers were important here, whether as zouaves, jumpsuits, ankle length, slim, straight cut, wide leg, culottes, whatever, teamed with well cut jackets, cropped, biker style, blazers. Fur boleros in bright shades distracted. Nice square bags and flat footwear.
Prada autumn/winter 2011
Miuccia Prada felt the need for women to look more innocent, for which she visited the Twenties with dropped waists on dresses and a school girl look, over large sleeves, collars and lapels, broad belts with contrast buckles at hip, shift dresses, box plaids, big buttons, python boots and coats, dyed fur or sheepskin collars, plastic sequins in shimmering colours of orange, wine, rust and yellow. She started the show an hour late, but she did live up to people's expectations of Prada.
Versace autumn/winter 2011
Donatella Versace brings back the military influence for this year's winter. Little black dresses were huge here, but when did they really go away, might I ask? Here were LBDs with kilt skirts, pleated black leather coats, knits, bold tulips in bright purple and yellow, appliquéd or printed, brass buttons, diva gowns with feathered trains, silver, black, gold, bold, buttons with Medusa heads. Was Donatella paying homage to her brother? Her daughter Allegra debuted as a styling assistant.
Gucci autumn/winter 2011
Frida Giannini visited the Forties, and the rerun of the Forties year - the Seventies, andcreated a very colorful collection. She stayed with fur and snake skin, which kept showing up prominently in bright hues across waistcoats, jackets, stoles, boots. Sheer gowns, shirt dresses, well tailored skirts, tie back shirts, halter-necks, silk, chiffons, fox, lamb. A little shocking in the description, but an immensely desirable collection.
Alberta Ferretti Autumn/Winter 2011
Alberta Ferretti too stayed with the global trends that are clearly in favor of rich colors of fuchsia, orange, turquoise blue, albeit toned down to soothing effect. Thigh high boots remained with all skirts and dresses. Neat, structured overcoats, fur, black sophistication, and a jarring over embellished something over thigh high boots, interesting one shoulder evening gown. Some signs of confusion there, but yet there was something for everyone across evening or day wear.
The luxuries associated with success, fame and wealth are coveted, no doubt by each one of us ... be it with more vigour by some than others. With hard work as the primary quotient and luck playing its own part, is there a third element as well? The passage of an individual across the rough and tumble of a lifetime may or may not have been predestined, but the choices to be made at every cross road are certainly one’s own. Finally, does success give the person special liberties as well? Albert Einstein, who has marked his place in history for ever on, had this to say, ‘Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.’ For him the successful man remained just another person unless he had cultivated ‘values’ as well. On this note, we raise a toast to the Academy Award winner Colin Firth… Great actor, responsible father, good friend, genuine supporter of worthy causes – a truly successful man. On the other hand, John Galliano’s expose shows the ugly side of another success story. The balm of worldly success did not remove the warts in his heart and mind. As the cries of ‘shame’ resound across the globe, Galliano scurries for cover.
We launch another edition of Luxe Living, which reflects our ethos of real luxuries and true beauty, of adventure, art, craft, leisure, and more. We welcome our readers to write in to us, their comments and views.