This winter, prepare to get your island on.
September 20, 2010
As I close the door on the languid days of summer and head back to the daily grind, my mind immediately turns to where I might escape to for winter vacation. Despite a sluggish economy, one Caribbean hot spot in particular has gotten a facelift and is creating quite a buzz for the upcoming holiday season.
Arguably one of the most exclusive and private retreats in the world, the island of Mustique is a tiny (three-and-a-half-mile-long) jewel in the Grenadines, 40 minutes from Barbados and just north of Venezuela. A group of international jetsetters owns the mere 100 villas on the island—blue bloods like Prince Rupert and Princess Josephine Loewenstein, music royalty Mick Jagger and Shania Twain, and fashion heavy hitter Tommy Hilfiger.
The island has quite a colorful history. British aristocrat Sir Colin Tennant (who became Lord Glenconner) purchased the largely abandoned island in 1958 while visiting family estates in Trinidad. He then famously gifted good friend Princess Margaret with a prime 10-acre parcel in 1960 (she subsequently hired theatrical set designer Oliver Messel to build her home, Les Jolies Eaux). Tennant spent the next 50 years luring the rich and famous to Mustique and creating a veritable Caribbean Shangri-la.
Villas on the island are rented by the week and competition for the swankest properties is fierce during high season. All are under the control of the island’s management group, The Mustique Company, run by the charismatic Scot Pippa Ona. (The MC is, interestingly, owned by the group of villa owners, much like a New York City co-op.) Luxury is of the highest order in these custom-designed homes (compounds, really) that dot the island’s hills and gorgeous shoreline. The newest tend to be the most over-the-top, such as the recently completed thatched-roof Sheherezade that can accommodate 14; the largely open-air homage to Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin; and Sunrise, with its own private beach and coconut grove. For more intimate groups (with a more modest budget), the company recently started offering a package in which some of the great homes let out their guest cottages or portions of the estate. And the best news? All the villas come with a full staff to look after your every need and desire, and a funky souped-up six-seater golf cart called a “mule” (everyone drives them—even France’s first lady, Carla Bruni, could be seen tooling around in one during her stay).
On the intimate island you also have two hotels to choose from: the petite five-room Firefly Inn and the only real resort on Mustique, the 13-acre, 20-room Cotton House (pictured at right), which is a converted 18th-century warehouse. The latter property sports a spa, private beach, two restaurants, complimentary unpack/pack/press service and comfortable yet sophisticated rooms—many recently renovated and half of which feature their own plunge pools.
The more casual of the restaurants, the Beach Café, has stellar water views and is utterly charming. On any given day you’ll see diners playfully squirting pesky birds (who are trying to steal food) with water guns and Mick Jagger’s dog, Star, begging for scraps at someone’s feet. The menu at the elegant, upscale Veranda restaurant has been a focus of new general manager Andreas Pade (a very handsome Dane), who took over about a year ago. “My first mission was to improve the food,” said Pade. “Food in most Caribbean resorts is an afterthought to the gorgeous views. Not at the Cotton House. I’ve hired both the chef and sous chef from the One & Only Maldives and have added 150 new wines to the already extensive cellar.” Indeed, cuisine running the gamut from black bean soup to foie gras has been taken to a truly gourmet level, paired with an impressive international wine list.
The main draw in town, though, is a little beachside bar simply referred to as Basil’s. It’s where Prince William and Kate Middleton danced the night away barefoot during their stay and where, for 30 years, legions of high-profile revelers have sipped piña coladas. Owner Basil Charles—the man they call “The King of Mustique”—began as a barman at the Cotton House in 1969 and soon thereafter was set up by Tennant at his own establishment. But don’t expect anything fancy. Basil’s Bar is an open-sided Balinese pavilion-type spot set on stilts over the water in Britannia Bay with wood benches, a makeshift dance floor and an unwavering ban on paparazzi.
Make your reservations now to visit this enchanting, star-studded Caribbean island paradise… just leave your camera at home.
Emmy Fashion: Azure Like It
A roundup of three haute themes and the A-listers who wore them.
August 30, 2010
Mad Men, Modern Family, Glee and Temple Grandin were among the trophy winners at last night’s 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards, but which fashion trends captured red-carpet glory? For a dominant color, there was no contest: Blue was such a hot shade, it found its way onto women and men alike. Here’s a roundup of three haute themes and the A-listers who wore them:
In the Navy: Rarely does a color completely take over an awards-show red carpet, but last night’s ceremony was decidedly rooted in deep blue. That was especially true of two actresses in Glee: Jayma Mays wore a navy chiffon gown by Burberry, while Lea Michele topped many best-dressed lists in a navy silk-faille gown awash in ruffles from Oscar de la Renta’s Resort collection. Padma Lakshmi, whose Top Chef captured Best Reality Series, sported a strapless navy gown by Carolina Herrera, while Modern Family’s Julie Bowen chosen a strapless navy gown from J. Mendel’s Resort collection and 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski wore a custom gown by Escada in a navy and black print. (Not every choice won raves: By the time she hit the red carpet, even January Jones seemed a little ambivalent about her lapis-toned Versace Atelier gown with its overwrought structure and high-low hemline.) Even the guys got into the act: House’s Hugh Laurie sported a midnight-blue shawl-collar tuxedo by Brunello Cucinelli, but Glee’s Ryan Murphy, who captured Best Directing for a Comedy, went one better, not only opting for a tux in a more look-at-me shade of brilliant blue, but also thanking its designer—Tom Ford—in his acceptance speech.
Get Her to the Greek: Goddess gowns are nothing new on a red carpet, but this easy, breezy look undeniably ruled the Emmys, as there was nary a princess gown in sight (Glee’s Dianna Agron, looking quite perfect in Carolina Herrera, being the exception). Twitter was abuzz when Kim Kardashian hit the red carpet early in a diaphanous white gown, accented with a tribal-inspired beaded collar, from Marchesa’s Resort collection. Sarah Hyland also earned kudos for her bias-cut satin gown with twisted straps by Pamella Roland, while Edie Falco, winner of Best Actress in a Comedy, sported that detail integral to the goddess silhouette—the one shoulder—in her Bottega Veneta number. Other heralded one-shoulder looks: Emily Blunt in Dior, Joan Allen in Michael Kors and Glee’s Jane Lynch, winner of Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, wearing an eggplant-satin gown by LA-based Ali Rahimi.
Stunning Sparklers: No simple sequins at these Emmys—beading was on steroids. I loved the chunky, mirror-like paillettes on the navy L’Wren Scott gown worn by Julianna Margulies, while Rita Wilson opted for a short Prada dress with a chainmail-like overlay. The lush bronze epaulets on Anna Paquin’s Alexander McQueen Resort gown were not universally praised, but I will defend it: Sarah Burton’s first outing for the house since McQueen’s passing was rife with the drama he loved, and this gown (which looked amazing on a taller girl) was no exception. But the golden girl of the night? Apologies to Betty White, but it was without question Claire Danes, who looked so fantastically chic and effortless in a crystal-encrusted Armani Prive gown. Hair down and tousled, makeup and jewelry rightly kept to a minimum, Danes looked like a winner hours before she picked up her trophy.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim: Trend Report
The suits just keep on coming as the week continues.
July 27, 2010
Day 2: Friday night started with a trio of reality stars and ended with a fire-eater, proving once again that fashion is never boring—especially when bikinis are involved. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim at the Raleigh, the evening’s slate of shows kicked off with Beach Bunny, which debuted a line of suits designed by the Kardashian sisters: Kourtney’s Sailor Chic, Kim’s Divinity and Khloe’s Modern Majestic (their presence in the front row, with Selena Gomez, caused the biggest photo frenzy of the week thus far). Overall the line was heavy on lingerie influences, and it’s probably no accident that most of the models looked like, well, the Kardashian sisters. Following a showing of the floral-influenced Dolores Cortes line on a stage adjacent to the Raleigh pool, MBFW Swim hosted Swell Suits Miami, a group show of men’s designers: Naila, Olasul and Parke & Ronen (this New York-based duo is always a favorite for their modern-meets-minimalist designs, though some of the briefer suits should come accessorized with a personal trainer).
While Ed Hardy was sending its array of signature patterns down a Raleigh runway, over at the Setai, Inca CEO and designer Stacy Josloff hosted a private dinner and talked about the label’s pair of South Beach shops, her flagship location at the Gansevoort and another she’ll open at the W South Beach this fall. It was almost midnight by the time the first Inca suit hit the runway, which stretched across the ponds in the Setai’s courtyard, but Josloff made up for the late hour with plenty of wow factor. Cuban percussionists and folk dancers ushered the models to and from the runway, while a gold bikini-bedecked woman opened and closed the show with a fire-eating act. (It lit up the Setai just a bit more than some of the sparkled pieces in Inca’s 2011 collection.) The verdict? A hot show.
Day 3: Saturday means the Miami Beach Convention Center. Time to hit the trade-show side of swim before the runway events kick in later in the evening. Make no mistake: This annual monster show, hosted by the Swimwear Association of Florida (the largest swim trade event in the world), is the reason Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim and others who have jumped into the fray this year are able to attract the buyers who have worked the SAF show for years. Synergy is a word people tend to dismiss, but this week of trade-appointments-by-day, glam-swim-shows-by-night is precisely that. With more than 350 exhibitors, SAF is also a chance to see suits up close and personal, from the military-inspired pieces at Lunada Bay and Lucky Brand to the retro-Hollywood vibe of the suits at Jantzen, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
If there’s a theme to Swim Week 2010, it’s change and evolution, from the solid growth of runway shows outside the Raleigh (Cosabella Mare at the W South Beach, Just Cavalli at the Setai) to the group of designers who broke away from the SAF pack to set up at the W South Beach: Salon Allure, situated in a row of suites on the hotel’s ninth floor, features Red Carter (showing his eponymous line and Jessica Simpson, for which he also designs), as well as Tori Praver, Vilebrequin, Nycked (designed by Lorenzo Martone and Jules Kim) and others.
Back at the Raleigh, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim kicked off the night with Swimwear Anywhere, the group that oversees the swim licenses for such labels as DKNY, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Carmen Marc Valvo (loved his divinely simple white one-shoulder maillot, as well as the finale of poolside-chic pieces that signal the launch of his Resort Wear collection). An hour later, Mara Hoffman garnered a standing ovation for her thoughtful “Mystic Jungle” collection, a combination of batik prints, crystal-accented pieces and some of the best cover-ups and caftans seen this week. Rounding out the night at the Raleigh were Poko Pano’s florals and gingham, the denim-meets-boho vibe of True Religion and a dual show, Aqua di Lara and Qiss Qiss, which also featured one of the week’s key trends, ruffle detailing. A sweet end to a jam-packed day.
Timepiece editor Roberta Naas finds a very special watch at this year’s Baselworld watch show in Basel, Switzerland
July 13, 2010
Concord: The C1 EternalGravity ($1.2 million) is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece fusing haute horlogerie with haute joaillerie, bedecked entirely in baguette diamonds and carnelians and driven by a mechanical heartbeat with external tourbillon escapement.
Time-piece editor Roberta Naas shows a singular selection of watches from this year's Baselworld watch show in Basel, Switzerland.
July 12, 2010
This legendary family-owned firm recalls its past with this Ref 5950A ($440,000) split-seconds chronograph with steel cushion-shaped case inspired by its 1920s predecessors. It houses the ultrathin CHR27-525 PS proprietary movement with 60-minute counter and seconds subdial. The opaline dial has decorative black lacquer-filled engravings on the perimeter.
Updating the iconic timepiece, Corum releases this Golden Bridge Tourbillon with the smallest tourbillon cage in the world. Only 33 pieces will be made in red gold ($129,000), white gold or platinum, each with a unique dial.
Offering its legendary perpetual calendar movement in an 18k rose-gold case, Ulysse Nardin’s El Toro [$49,800 to $51,600] is water-resistant to 100 meters. The COSC-certified chronometer with second time zone and date, day, month and year indication features ceramic pushers and bezel. Only 500 will be made.
Crafted in black PVD-coated titanium, this exceptional DualTow NightEagle (price on request) is handcrafted and features a hand-wound CC20A caliber single-pusher chronograph with tourbillon consisting of 574 components, including 65 jewels.
Timepiece editor Roberta Naas reports her findings from this year’s Baselworld watch show in Basel, Switzerland—beginning with these auto-inspired pieces, which will be available in the US early this summer.
July 11, 2010
Conceived of in the Motor City, this BallJoint watch ($999) features fully flexible lugs with independent suspension to adjust to the movement of the wrist.
The stainless steel 48mm Renault Formula One Pilot watch ($450) with tachymeter and chronograph is representative of the brand’s status as official timing partner of the Renault F1 team.
The Carrera Calibre 1887 chronograph ($3,900) is the first timepiece to be powered by TAG Heuer’s new Calibre 1887 chronograph movement, which features a patented oscillating pinion and has the capacity to store energy as needed, ensuring less stress on the movement.
Breitling for Bentley
This limited-edition Supersports ($8,340) is crafted in steel on a rubber strap, and is inspired by Bentley’s fastest, most powerful automobile yet—the Bentley Continental Supersports. Only 1000 pieces will be made.
Skip the BBQs for a weekend of relaxation.
July 10, 2010
This weekend, head to The Standard Spa in Miami Beach for its Memorial Day Weekend Yoga Retreat (May 28–31) with instructor April Martucci. Martucci—voted “most wanted” yoga instructor by New York magazine—is the inventor of Fire Dragon Yoga and will help you de-stress with this “vigorous yet calming” method. Afterward, enjoy the spa’s holistic hydrotherapy playground, which consists of Turkish hammam, steam room, sauna, arctic plunge, pool and Roman waterfall hot tub. A weekend-long yoga retreat? Sounds much better than a weekend-long hot-dog-and-burger binge. The Standard Spa, 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-1717
A new travel website gives parents the best of all worlds.
July 06, 2010
If you’re already a member of A Small World, have kids and are hooked on TripIt, you’re going to love mylittleswans.com. Katrina Garnett, a tech-industry anomaly—she’s a beautiful, brilliant, stylish and insanely successful woman—founded My Little Swans earlier this year to fill the void in the niche travel market for parents who want more out of a family vacation than theme parks and food-on-a-stick. With its exhaustive list of travel resources, MLS provides members (sign-up is free) the tools they need to charter a yacht in the Seychelles, hire a camel in Giza or purchase the most authentic handmade ceramic vessels in Turkey. Follow one of Garnett’s own itineraries (she took all the photos on the site) or piece one together based on your own interests, habits and hobbies.
Vuitton Blossoms in South Beach
Get ready: Louis Vuitton debuts a Takashi Murakami-designed bag this month.
July 05, 2010
If you’re feeling any sense of familiarity about the ad campaign for Louis Vuitton’s latest collection by Japanese Neo Pop artist Takashi Murakami, there’s good reason: It was shot on South Beach. On April 15, Louis Vuitton releases Cosmic Blossom, the latest Murakami interpretation of the house’s iconic Monogram canvas, which in the past has included Eye Love, Monogramouflage and Multicolore (the latter continues as one of the label’s best sellers). The limited-edition Cosmic Blossom is arguably the brightest and breeziest of Murakami’s patterns, a mingling of flowers and smiling faces in bold candy colors of purple, fuchsia and deep turquoise, found on everything from coated-canvas bags to scarves, slingbacks, T-shirts and bikinis.
All of which made South Beach the ideal choice for the campaign’s locale. The attraction? Consider that countless books have been written about the neighborhood’s fanciful Art Deco elements, including one devoted to the beach’s vibrantly toned lifeguard stations, seen prominently in the Cosmic Blossom photos. The Gansevoort South rooftop, starkly white against Miami’s azure waters, also makes an appearance. Swiss photographer Benoit Peverelli shot the campaign, which features British model Daisy Lowe: “The shoot was so much fun,” she says. “I always love being in the Miami sun, and the team was so lovely. We just giggled the whole time.”
A fitting reaction, as Cosmic Blossom is undeniably Murakami’s happiest Vuitton collection to date.
Cover Girl Coverage
Behind-the-scenes shots of Selita Ebanks from the shoot for the March issue of Ocean Drive
July 04, 2010
AG Jeans design director Mark Wiesmayr and stylist Jeanann Williams on denim's cultural footprint.