From hoteliers and horologists to tailors, interior designers and jewellers, the Spear’s Luxury Index 2020 features the 50 innovators, tastemakers and leaders at the forefront of luxury today
Endurance sports had never really been ‘cool’ before. That was until the 2010s, when Rapha came along and transformed cycling with tasteful, minimalist clothing and moody photoshoots. Running’s ‘Rapha moment’ took longer to arrive – but it has been worth the wait. It comes courtesy of the Paris-based running brand Satisfy, the brainchild of Brice Partouche, a fashion entrepreneur. The aesthetic is often redolent of low-fi Eighties punk, but incorporates luxurious fabrics such as its ‘Justice’ shorts lining, ‘made with an experienced French silk-maker and inspired by medical bandaging’. Satisfy claims the material is 35 per cent lighter, making its shorts, which cost up to £273, ‘the lightest in the industry’. They also dry 60 per cent quicker – another detail that shows Partouche’s Commitment ‘to remove distractions’ in order to help runners pursue what he calls ‘The High’.
When London gets a new grand hotel, it’s big news. When the hotel in question is in one of that capital’s iconic buildings – one garlanded with rich associations with individuals like Churchill and Lord Kitchener, then it’s really big news. Step forward Raffles London at The OWO, one of the capital’s most audacious hotel reincarnations, created from the reborn Old War Office on Whitehall and opening in 2022.
With interiors designed by Thierry Despont – the New York-based French architect who transformed the Ritz Paris – then you can expect the 125 rooms and suites, and the nine bars and restaurants, to be seriously top-drawer. Part of Raffles’ rapid global expansion (it’s opening in Boston next year, too) overseen by global chief Jeannette Ho, if the OWO is half as good as the 133-year-old flagship hotel in Singapore, it promises to be a seriously hot ticket.
Good taste merchant
Members of the five Birley Clubs – Annabel’s, Harry’s Bar, Mark’s Club, George, and Bath & Racquets – now have a new club to enjoy, one offering them access to a range of online tastings, food pairings, tours and investment advice from the world’s top wine, spirits and cigar producers and experts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 650 members signed up for the recently launched Birley Wine Club ‘within 48 hours’, according to head sommelier Clément Robert. ‘The idea was to keep our members connected with the best vineyards and the best people in the world in this industry,’ he says.
Prince of the waves
The family-owned German yard Lürssen did it again this year with Project Opus’, another astonishing impressive ‘gigayacht’ – stretching to142 metres (465 feet) in length, with two helipads and a retractable hanger among the features. It also sleeps 36 in 20 state rooms and looks stunning, having been designed by the Italian studio Nuvolari Lenard. The Bremen Shipyard also gave the world Azzam (180m) in 2013, owned by UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan and still the second-longest superyacht in the world. After that came the 156m Dilbar in 2015. When it comes to mega yachts, the Lürssen family, in business for 145 years, is still leaving everyone else in its wake.
The real Bond girl
A producer of the last 11 Bond films, including No Time to Die, which is now out next year, Barbara Broccoli, also co-owner of EON Productions with Michael G Wilson, is one of the leading women not just in film, but in luxury. After all, which British icon has done more to promote well-heeled masculine style than 007? And where would Bond be without his Aston Martins (eight films and counting), Rolex or Omega watches, Bollinger, or Tom Ford clobber? Tom Ford returns for Bond 25, as do Omega and shoe-maker Crockett & Jones. ‘I could not be happier to be dressing Daniel Craig as James Bond again,’ Ford Said. Luxury lovers and shareholders couldn’t agree more.
Frank Akinsete’s Portobello Market boutique is a West London institution. He stocks an exceptional array of vintage clothing and accessories that attracts not only market-goers but also designers, stylists and clients from far and wide. So Akinsete’s collaboration with British brand Connolly presented a pleasing collision of worlds: Akinsete’s urban retro with Connolly’s classic aesthetic. For September, the legendary Portobello stand sold old Connolly collections upcycled by Akinsete. Taking inspiration from Connolly’s summer exhibition, ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue’, the vintage-connoisseur breathed new life into old pieces, using colourful dye to transform jackets, trousers, shirts and liquettes. The collaboration is timely with the fashion industry under fire for its wasteful habits. High-end upcycling is an elegant solution, in more ways than one.
Athens-born Kostas Sfaltos enjoys the privilege of managing one of the finest hotels in town, the Bulgari Hotel London in Knightsbridge. Appointed general manager of the Portland Stone-fronted Sloane Street icon in 2017, this veteran of One Aldwych and the Hotel Café Royal has guided it through the choppy waters of Covid-19 with a flair for innovation. Since reopening in September it has introduced B.Business – a luxurious ‘workation’ offering day access to its prestigious suites for groups of up to six or solo guests. (Includes use of the hotel’s pool and gym, as well as lunch, refreshments, and drinks in-suite or at the Sette Bar.) It has also introduced a trio of staycation’ offers, including B.Beautiful, for those keen to enjoy the spa, and B.Private, where you can enjoy private parking, in-suite personal shopping from Harvey Nichols, hair appointments and a private dinner party for your bubble.
When Jonny Fowle was hired as Sotheby’s’ first spirits specialists in 2019, confirmed in business terms what the auction world had known for a while: that demand for the best drams and casks was more than a passing fad. Fowle – whose Instagram is full of artful spreads and bottle selfies at @wanderingwhisky – has taken on the task of building a global spirits auction business with brio. In a short time he’s helped the house to set new auction records for single malt (£1.5 million for a 1926 Macallan) and a Cognac (a $144,525 Gautier 1762), and that’s all before launching its largest ever online auction of ‘ultra-rare’ whiskies this summer. Thatsale, which raised £1.2 million, was also notable for the fact that 47 per cent of buyers were new to Sotheby’s and 40 per cent of bidders were under 40. This Fowle is just beginning to take flight.
Where Eagles dare
Alex Eagle is the effortlessly cool creative director best known for Alex Eagle Studio on Lexington Street, a 360° take on curated retail with an offbeat aesthetic. Her remit spans fashion, lifestyle, art and furniture, with all pieces hand-picked by Eagle herself.
She is also the woman behind ‘The Store’, an innovative retail, creative and social experience collaborating with some of the world’s finest artists, designers, craftsmen, chefs and creatives.
But Eagle has something new in the pipeline. She has been floating mysterious new concept for some months: Alex Eagle Sporting Club was due to open in autumn, but the launch was postponed until winter due to Covid-19. A characteristically aesthetic Instagram page shows a selection of vintage images of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Christy Turlington wearing boxing gloves. What does it all mean? We’ll find out this winter.
Sir Paul Smith
Britain’s Ralph Lauren
Half a century ago in Nottingham, a stone’s throw away from the National Justice Museum, Paul Smith opened his first shop, Paul Smith Vêtements Pour Homme. The name suggests haute couture, but the man has since come to embody the style of the modern British gent: affable, smart, imaginative and perhaps just a little bit quaint.
With 166 stores in more than 60 countries, the word pioneer’ is overused, but it applies in this case: ‘He celebrates colour as if it were about to be made illegal,’ writes former Apple design supremo Jonny Ive in a new monograph.
Smith is perhaps to Britain what Ralph Lauren is to the US. Stripes and suits in particular have been redrawn under his maximalist, poppy vision, and he’s consistently been in the right place at the right time with the right people. Clients have included David Bowie, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jimmy Page, for whom he made trousers when he was just 18.
Australian luxury visionary Samantha Drummond is a veteran designer who founded the Habitus Design Group and is a dominant figure in luxury hospitality in Asia. Her projects include the astonishing Marina Bay Sands in Singapore – where she worked alongside architect Moshe Safdie and artist Antony Gormley to create one of the world’s most recognisable luxury buildings. She also worked on the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila and the Cotai Central in Macau, while her firm has advised on projects worth $35 billion. ‘Our clients trust us to deliver world-class destinations – and we always exceed their expectations,’ says Drummond. Her firm promises ‘bespoke interior design where an international sense of luxury is combined with authentic local character’ and hails Drummond’s ability to translate her clients’ vision and objectives into reality’. With studios in Hong Kong, Singapore, Denmark and the Philippines, Habitus plans to expand further.
Founded by Emma Deterding in 2006, Norfolk and Chelsea-based Kelling Designs has made a name for itself in the private client residential field and the commercial sector, notably with the luxurious refurbishment of the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket. Deterding, who formerly worked in the sales and rental market, also redesigns London and country homes for private clients – as well as their rental properties – in addition to working on their properties in Alps and further afield. She is described by The Times as a ‘specialist in staging irresistible rentals’, and her commercial clients include Knight Frank, Chestertons and Strutt & Parker. The interior designer says her reputation for not shying away from colour and pattern – evident in her stunning portfolio – sets her apart in the market. ‘She’s super-well connected and more than just a high-end interior decorator,’ notes a pal, who also praises her property market business savvy.
You can bet on it
If 5 Hertford Street were reincarnated as a sports bar, it would come back as Fitzdares Club. But this newly opened Mayfair bolthole has a history all of its own. The private members’ club is a physical manifestation of the bookmaker of the same name, which has been ‘taking the world’s largest sporting wagers’ since 1882. These days it has an app (and a good one at that), but after several ‘pop-ups’ the new, permanent club represents a decision by CEO William Woodhams to zig as the rest of the world zags. ‘While most bookies are closing their doors or just going online, we believe that the future of bookmaking is not algorithms or bombarding customers with mass advertising,’ he says. ‘It is the connection between the bookmaker and the sports fan that really counts.’ With comfortable surroundings, 4K streams of the biggest events, an excellent menu (try the beef Wellington) and an extensive wine cellar amassed by former bar director at Sketch, Dom Jacobs, there could scarcely be a better place for that connection to be made.
HRH The Prince Of Wales
‘Is it the same coat?’ asked someone on Twitter recently. They were referring to two photos of the Prince of Wales. One looked very recent, while the other must have been taken in the late Seventies or early Eighties. In both, however, he appears to be wearing an identical overcoat: a double-breasted affair, which looks as smart today as it did then. Can it be?
‘I’m a huge admirer of that coat,’ says Aleksandar Cvetkovic, menswear writer and keen observer of Charles’s Wardrobe. ‘It’s a stunner. Tailored by Anderson & Sheppard (HRH’s tailor of choice) about 40 years ago. He still wears it today.’ This ‘proper tweed polo coat’ is ‘exactly what Savile Row is all about,’ adds Cvetkovic. ‘Proof of the mantra, “Buy less, but better!”’ With Warrants granted to Gieves & Hawkes and Ede & Ravenscroft, among others, the Prince is a great supporter of the capital’s tailors, and obviously it’s a very ecologically friendly approach as well.
Man about town
Cliveden is an extraordinary place. The estate has been home to a Prince of Wales, two Dukes and an Earl. The Italianate mansion that sits there now was home to Nancy Astor and the Cliveden Set of the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1960s it was the scene of key encounters in the Profumo affair. Staying in the house (which is now a hotel), having dinner in the long dining room or lounging around the pool where John Profumo clapped eyes on Christine Keeler seems… forbidden. And all the more fun because of it.
So when the man behind the group that runs the hotel at Cliveden House announced a new establishment in Mayfair, it caught our attention. Andrew Stembridge is the executive director of Iconic Luxury Hotels, which has a small portfolio that includes Chewton Glen, the Lygon Arms and 11 Cadogan Gardens. Add to that list the Mayfair Townhouse, which opens this autumn. Something Tells you it’ll be the sort of place where you could have rather a lot of fun…
Mayfair’s Kiwi diamond
Diamond jeweller Jessica McCormack champions centuries-old craftsmanship techniques, which are applied to modern and wearable designs inspired by everything from Maori carvings to Japanese fairy tales. The resulting aesthetic is beautifully distinct, full of personality and symbolism. Her pieces can be viewed through home visits and virtual appointments and at her Mayfair boutique, ‘The Townhouse’. McCormack moved to London from her native New Zealand to take up an internship at Sotheby’s. Shortly after she opened her Clerkenwell workshop in 2008, Rihanna became a customer. The rest is history.
Capitalising on luxury
Tom March, formerly a partner at wealth management firm Smith & Williamson, is one third of the team behind Redrice Ventures, a seed stage investor focusing on the luxury sector. Along with partners Robert Senior and Jonathan Heilbron, former CEOs of Saatchi & Saatchi and Thomas Pink respectively, this is a venture capital firm with a purpose. The underlying idea that consumers are now ‘buying into’ rather than ‘buying from’, and one of the criteria for becoming a Redrice start-up is that ‘you are driven by a cause beyond the numbers’.
March has boosted such brands as Castore, a fully digital sportswear brand endorsed by Andy Murray, and WarPaint, a make-up brand for men. At the heart of these brands is the new value system defining consumer culture, according to Redrice: ‘More conscious, more mindful, more sophisticated, better informed.’
Setting the pace
Having turned 60 this year, Arne Glimcher’s Pace Gallery is showing no signs of slowing down, much like the man who founded it. Mega-dealer Glimcher, who famously sold Jasper Johns’s Three Flags for $1 million 1980 to the Whitney Museum of American Art, is renowned for his taste and the important relationships he fosters with his artists, including David Hockney. From Rothko to Rauschenberg, a look back at Pace’s exhibitions reads like a history of Contemporary art – as does its roster of artists, who include Picasso, Hepworth and de Kooning.
Marc Glimcher, who took the reins as CEO and president in 2011, has continued to guide the gallery to new heights. Already boasting ten locations worldwide (including at the Royal Academy in London), Pace opened 540 West 25th Street in 2019, a new eight-storey, 75,000 square feet gallery in its hometown, New York – a testament to its ability to push the envelope of Contemporary art with an oracle-like consistency.
High jeweller Boucheron’s latest presentation is an exquisite range entitled ‘Contemplation’, which demonstrates amply just why this Parisian maison is so well regarded. Creative director Claire Choisne, in post since 2011, has created 67 pieces dedicated to capturing the ephemeral so that it doesn’t fade away’. They reflect ‘the consistent feeling of detachment from the daily hustle and bustle’ she feels while at her home in Portugal, or the ‘flocks of flying birds’ you encounter during contemplative moments. To lend one piece an ethereal touch, she obtained a substance called aerogel, which Nasa has used to capture stardust, to produce a moonstone-like effect.
Rare materials aside, this was also one of the most technically complex collections to complete but also draws on Boucheron’s archives for inspiration. ‘The Jeweller’s art is about stopping time in its tracks, making instants eternal when, by their very essence, they are not,’ she has said.
Don’t lob those much-loved Louboutins in the bin just yet. CEO Vanessa Jacobs expert team at The Restory can work wonders on pre-loved shoes and bags. They’ll have them picked up by courier and whizzed off to their South London atelier, where they quarantine them for 48 hours before sending a quote for mending and refurbishing. Shoes tend to cost around £250 and bags £300,but more extensive overhauls can cost much more and take several weeks. They’ll clean bag interiors and exteriors, re-edge, remake handles. And restore colour, smooth that deep scratch on a Kelly bag, or change a lining.
If inspiration hits and you want a new colour or design, bespoke initialling or a different strap, your wish is their command. Plus they’ll buff brogues until you can see your face in them, cheer up Balenciaga trainers and restore Prada suede evening shoes so you can dance again. After restoration, items are returned in a dust bag, looking almost new: beaten-up favourites resurrected. So before coming to terms with sending your beloved items to shoe or handbag heaven, give them a call.
No one knew who Mario Dedivanovic was when he became Kim Kardashian’s make-up artist in 2008, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that, together, the pair have changed the way the world thinks about beauty.
Dedivanovic is the man behind the ‘soft glam’ look that countless celebrities now sport: skin that seems airbrushed, sculpted cheekbones and dewy highlighter, and a ‘matte’ finish. Makeup by Mario is credited with inventing ‘contouring’ – the practice of using highlights and lowlights to emphasise bone structure – igniting a trend that has been going strong for a decade.
He has also worked with Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Mary J Blige, Katy Perry, Ciara, Kate Bosworth, Chrissy Teigen, Tyra Banks and Chanel Iman. Having begun as a make-up artist at the ground zero of internet beauty culture, Dedivanovic is now one of the most influential people working anywhere in showbusiness.
Dunhill’s music maker
Formerly under Christopher Bailey at Burberry, Mark Weston joined Alfred Dunhill in 2017 as creative director and has been credited with breathing new life into the brand after a run of successes that was crowned with his autumn-winter 2020 collection, shown in Paris in January. Fashion critics hailed the collection, which celebrates the firm’s automotive heritage, passion for tailoring and excellence in leather goods, as a highlight of the season and a welcome return to form for the 127-year-old icon.
Weston was brought in by the CEO of the Richemont-owned firm, Andrew Maag, also late of Burberry and the man who recruited Weston there, too. Apparently the two have a ‘hive mind’, according to industry watchers – part of the reason that great things are happening at North Audley Street. Once a sleeping giant of British luxury, Dunhill has woken up.
The dream catcher
‘We don’t just build yachts,’ declares Dutch firm Heesen Yachts. ‘We turn dreams into reality.’ If that’s what you want, Mark Cavendish, its sales and marketing director, is the man to talk to. Founded in 1978, Heesen has brought 170 ‘dreams’ to life and in so doing earned an unrivalled reputation in the business for aluminium construction and innovative propulsion systems, giving clients faster and more efficient ships with longer ranges. In 2021 it is due to deliver ‘Project Cosmos’, at 80 metres the longest motor yacht ever built in the Netherlands. The Astonishingly beautiful yacht (exterior by London-based Winch Design) will also be capable of 30 knots, making her the fastest aluminium yacht the yard has built. Also Coming next year is the fast displacement 50m yacht Project Altea’, which promises ‘unparalleled fuel efficiency throughout the full spectrum of speed’.
King of trainer bling
Former e-commerce guru and self-confessed ‘sneakerhead’ David Franks turned his tech talents to trainers when he founded Kick Game in 2013 with his brother Robert. Posting a 48 per cent revenue increase last year, it now sells trainers to a clientele that includes Saudi and Qatari royalty. Its store has a ‘variety of high-value stock’, Franks tells Spear’s. That includes a £12,000 pair of Air Jordan 1 x Dior sneakers and a Louis Vuitton leather bag worth £10,000. ‘They command such a premium because of the luxury brand collaborations, and ultimately the scarcity of the items.
Prada’s northern soul
Raf Simons – formerly of Jil Sander, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein – took on the co-creative directorship at Prada in April. His first collection designed in collaboration with Miuccia Prada, in September, was met with great acclaim. The Belgian designer began his career in furniture before launching his own menswear label in the mid-Nineties. His latest work is characterised by a certain Flemish cool, which contrasts with Prada’s Italian vibrancy. At the time of his appointment she noted that the new partnership was ‘born from a deep reciprocal respect and an open conversation’.
With its wares being modelled by style maven Jack Guinness (described as ‘the coolest man in Britain’ by GQ, no less), Lock & Co – the world’s oldest hat maker – has a spring in its step. Counting Oscar-winner Sir Mark Rylance among its customers, the family-owned hatter has been going strong for 344 years and remains in fine fettle. In no small measure that’s down to managing director Ben Dalrymple, who joined four years ago from Bang & Olufsen and still considers himself a new boy. With past clients including Churchill (as well as Gary Oldman playing him in Darkest Hour), Oscar Wilde and Lord Nelson (he was wearing one of the firm’s bicorns at Trafalgar), Dalrymple tells Spear’s: ‘We are extremely proud of our heritage, but we do not rest on it.’ Hats off to him.
Stones meet science
Having arrived in the world of jewellery via architecture, fashion and art, Anabela Chan has found her niche. Her eponymous business is a fine jewellery brand pioneering in the practice of laboratory-grown gemstones. Although some may always favour what they regard as ‘the real thing’, the fact is this sustainable practice is gaining ground, and with the likes of Chan pairing lab-grown stones with high-jewellery design, the trend only looks set to continue. If you needed further proof, Chan’s stones have found their way onto the necks, wrists and fingers of the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong’o and Taylor Swift. And, of course, the pieces are beautiful. Chan begins by hand-carving the designs in wax before casting in parts. Every stone is painstakingly selected for its brilliance and colour; then cut, faceted, polished and set by hand by skilled artisans.
Best foot forward
Kristina Blahnik’s childhood was wrapped up in the world of Manolo Blahnik– a brand immortalised by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Kristina would spend her days watching her uncle, the founder and designer, sketch new collections and grew up wanting nothing more than to continue the family business. Now she’s CEO, and Kristina is steering Manolo Blahnik in a new direction. ‘I never had shoes to fill,’ she has said. ‘I came with my own shoes.’
Her uncle was always vehement about keeping the brand low-key; Kristina, however, understands the importance of the name and believes growth is possible without compromising its identity. So far she has grown the head office from six to more than 80 – and gone from one shop in London to outposts in Burlington Arcade, Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty. Manolo Blahnik is expanding – with Japan as a huge emerging market – but its soul is in safe hands.
Giving it a whirl
Throughout his career, South African-born aviation entrepreneur Dustin Dryden has been a disruptor. His latest tech business, AVIAA , was founded in 2016 and boasts a membership of more than 1,500 aircraft in Europe and the US. He’s also the founder of Oxford-based Volare Aviation , which has a reputation for excellence in full refurbishments and new avionics on Hawker and Challenger jets, as well as executive helicopters.
Dryden’s newest venture is My Heli, a helicopter charter service with ambitions to soon allow its users to book their next helicopter flight by app. Testament to his ability to drive new ventures forward at pace, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority issued My Heli with its air operator certificate in September, allowing its fleet of six stylishly refurbished Leonardo AW109s to begin charter operations throughout the UK and Europe.
Dr Mohammed Enayat
The age reverser
Dr Mohammed Enayat is a pioneer in biohacking’ – the practice of ‘taking control of your biology’ through nutrition, technology and therapies. Along with his sister Dr Shawana Vali, who oversees the aesthetic treatment, ‘Dr E’ co-founded Chelsea’s LMS Clinic, an invitation-only wellness spa that claims to ‘prevent and reverse ageing, both externally and internally’.
How do they do this? LMS Clinic conducts a screening process of 455 markers of health and creates bespoke strategies for correcting the areas that need it. It also offers personalised ‘immune support programmes’ as well as ‘health wearable monitoring’. Clients are given an ‘Oura ring’ which tracks the body and feeds back to a control centre at the first sign of infection. LMS also offers an array of therapies, which range from vitamin infusions to ground-breaking IV laser therapy.
In St James’s, opposite Franco’s, resides Emma Willis, bespoke shirtmaker and Jermyn Street mainstay since 1999. Willis, who is the first and only female bespoke shirtmaker with a storefront in the storied postcode, counts Daniel Craig and David Gandy among her discerning clients. Willis’s process starts with measurements: collar, waist, chest, hips, front yokes, back yokes, sleeve, cuff, biceps, forearm and tail length. Discussions on style, fit and fabric ensue before a sample shirt is created. She then makes adjustments, and once she and her client are satisfied with the prototype, the rest of the order can be created at her factory in Gloucestershire, where a team of cutters and seamstresses make shirts from luxurious Swiss and West Indian sea island cottons. Willis has also launched various charitable initiatives, including manufacturing luxury cotton scrubs for NHS workers.
Adrien Meyer is global head of private sales and co-chairman of the Impressionist and Modern department at Christie’s. ‘Auction houses are not necessarily well known for private sales,’ he tells Spear’s from New York .‘But it meets the needs of our clients in a very complementary way to the auction.’ The arrival of Vivid-19 has heralded a ‘new era for the art market’, especially in terms of digital adoption. ‘The change of collector habits has accelerated within three months what should have otherwise taken three years,’ says Meyer.
The aptly named Dr Jim Beveridge OBE knows a thing or two about drink. He joined Johnnie Walker as a ‘flavour chemist’ four decades ago and has spent his career at spirits giant Diageo honing his understanding of the art and science of whisky. Earlier this year he spearheaded the launch of ‘Prima & Ultima’, a limited-edition collection of rare single malts comprising such sought-after liquids as a 1979 cask of Port Ellen and a 1984 Caol Ila. There were only 238 of the eight-bottle sets available, which fetched £20,000 each. But he’s rumoured to be working on more collections. Whisky aficionado will raise a glass to that.
Fizz is England
Three years since the Kent winemaker Chapel Down launched its fizz in France, the firm is still on a roll. Despite the trials of Covid, the company announced ‘a strong set’ of half-year results in the summer, with revenues up 20 per cent. And with English winemakers hailing a bumper harvest this year, conditions are set fair for Chapel Down – widely regarded as a trailblazer in English viniculture and, of course, an official supplier to Number Ten – to blaze ahead into the 2020s.
Mark Harvey – a Frenchman selling English sparkling wine – is the firm’s managing director and joined the company after 12 years at Moët, Hennessy and LVMH before that. Harvey foresees ‘significant export opportunity’ for Chapel Down in the US, where the firm will ‘scale up significantly’ in the next five years. Let’s Hope they leave enough for us to drink here.
New caviar king
Perhaps it tells you something about Palestinian-American property mogul and entrepreneur Mohamed Hadid – whose offspring include modelling royalty Bella and Gigi – that he describes himself as ‘the second-most famous person from Nazareth’. The businessman, who also notes that he’s the only person to have represented Jordan at the Winter Olympics, has turned to haute cuisine and this summer released a brand of caviar with the aim of ‘revolutionising the world of fine food’. Hadid Caviar is produced exclusively from farmed sturgeon boasting roes of ‘100 per cent traceability’, and comes in a portfolio of flavours including Black (Imperial), Gold (Royal Oscietra), Black Diamond (Beluga) and Sultan’s (Almas). The company says part of its mission is to support the Aids charity amfAR and research to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
Phoebe Saatchi Yates
Chip of the old block
Charles Saatchi’s 26-year-old daughter sent chins wagging around the artworld when it was announced that she would be opening her own, massive 10,000 square feet gallery in Cork Street, Mayfair. Launched with her husband Arthur Yates and with her father on board as an adviser, the Saatchi Yates Gallery aims to promote emerging, ‘unknown’ artists at a time when the purpose of physical gallery spaces are coming under question.
‘What we’re trying to do with the gallery is start something that’s hopeful and a new way of looking at things,’ Phoebe Saatchi Yates has said. ‘It’s quite nice in a way to be doing something really positive after the strangest year we ever experienced.’
The new gallery has opened with an exhibition of Swiss artist Pascal Sender’s work, and with Saatchi senior in the wings it’s sure to be watched closely.
The Thomas Heatherwick of HNW design, Andrew Winch founded Winch Design in 1986. He is established as one of the world’s top yacht designers and his business is flying high, having scooped a top prize for its recent 80-metre superyacht Excellence at the Monaco Yacht Show. The firm branched out into aviation 20 years ago and has also moved into architecture. A natural empathy and listening are at the core of Winch’s approach: One client told him: ‘You have read my soul.’
Cashmere king Johnstons of Elgin has been making the finest Scottish cloth, knitwear and accessories for 220 years. Since 1797 the business has produced exquisite woven products from the finest of fibres. The first bale of Chinese cashmere to make it to these shores was imported by Johnstons of Elgin in1851, where it made its way to the company’s mill in Elgin in 1851. Today, the mill is the only remaining vertical mill in Scotland, using the gentlest manufacturing processes to take raw fibre through to the finished product and produce exquisite goods from luxurious scarves and throws to historic Estate tweed. It’s a British success story that has long flown under the radar, having supplied many of the top fashion houses, including Hermès. But now Johnstons’ own name is gaining renown – thanks to a beautiful range of cashmere products that bear its brand and the industriousness of CEO Simon Cotton.
Heir of cigars
Having grown up around the blue smoke of Cuban puros, it is no surprise that Max Foulkes – son of cigar-smoking Nick Foulkes, the Spear’s columnist and chronicle de luxe – should be drawn to the cigar world. Now a Master of Cuban Cigars no less, Foulkes Jnr can be found at London’s premier cigar emporium, Davidoff, where he advises customers old and new. He admits he’s younger than many of those working in the industry and relishes the opportunity to spread the word to a younger crowd.
‘It reassures me when a customer my age smokes a cigar I have suggested they try and they come back for more!’ declares Foulkes. ‘It’s such an elegant hobby that is now being enjoyed by young rappers and skateboarders alike and I’m incredibly happy to be involved in the movement.’ Of the St James’s shop, his father notes: ‘I brought Max here when he was about six weeks old and he liked it so much he came back to work here when he completed his formal education.’
God of luxury
Axel Dumas, CEO of the Paris fashion colossus Hermès, is a sixth-generation member of the billionaire Hermès-Dumas family and nephew of Jean-Louis Dumas, chairman from 1978 to 2006.
A Harvard graduate and former BNP Paribas banker, he took over the reins in 2014 and he has steered the company through the challenges of Covid-19, keeping it in good health – analyst Luca Solca from Exane BNP Paribas described it as one of the most ‘resilient’ players in luxury goods.
The brand is eagerly preparing for a post-pandemic world and has recently opened a workshop in Auvergne to train the next generation of leather artisans. During the Spanish flu epidemic, Dumas’s predecessors moved from making saddlery and harnesses to luggage in response to the switch to cars – and then eventually to fashion.
In the future, we hear the brand will focus more on ecologically conscious products.
For the next generation
A year ago, Patek Philippe cemented its place at the top of Swiss watchmaking’s tree when a unique watch it had made sold at auction for $31 million, by a distance the highest ever price for a timepiece. In 2020, despite a brief Covid-induced closure of its factories, Patek marched on with the completion of a new manufacturing base in Geneva, whose ten floors and 2,000 square meters of space expand facilities not just for current production, but for anticipated growth over the next decade.
Notably, as lockdown fell, president Thierry Stern – the fourth of his family to run the 181-year-old company – authorised the brand’s dealers to transact online for the first time. An important move, perhaps, but a symbolic one more than anything: waiting lists for the brand’s most desirable watches are reported to be longer than ever. In other words, the watchmakers filling those gleaming new ateliers are going to be furiously busy for a long time to come.
A NoMad in London
Andrew Zobler is the storied hotelier behind the New York-based Sydell Group. He was responsible for opening the Ned in partnership with Ron Burkle and Soho House, and is making another contribution to London’s unrivalled hospitality scene: this time, in partnership with Doha-based investment firm BTC to launch NoMad London. The NoMad hotel collection lures travellers of the highest calibre in the US, but London is its first international outpost. Opening in December, the NoMad London iteration occupies the former Bow Street Magistrates Court opposite the Royal Opera House, and will join Zobler’s portfolio of what National Geographic has described as ‘today’s coolest hotels’. The 91-key building is designed in collaboration with the firm Roman and Williams, and will combine NoMad’s trademark playfulness with the historical significance of the Grade-II listed structure.