Monthly Archives: January 2013

Charles Le Brun Painting Ritz Paris

Paris Ritz renovations uncover mystery masterpiece

Charles Le Brun Painting Ritz Paris

A renovation at Paris’s Ritz hotel has resulted in the discovery of a painting thought to be the work of 17th century artist Charles Le Brun that nobody knew was there.

Now, the giant tableau is to be sold by Christie’s auctioneers and could raise up to 500,000 euros ($665,000) for the foundation established by owner Mohamed Al Fayed in memory of his son Dodi, the late boyfriend of Princess Diana.

The oil painting has been identified by experts as an early work by Le Brun (1619-1690), completed before he became the official painter at the court of Louis XIV and established his reputation as one of the dominant figures of 17th century French art.

It adorned one of the suites in which Coco Chanel lived for more than 30 years but when exactly it was installed in the hotel remains a mystery.

The man who first spotted the painting was Olivier Lefeuvre, a Christie’s France specialist in the period, who came across it in July, a month before the Ritz closed its doors for a two-year renovation.

The painting depicts the killing of Trojan princess Polyxena after she was implicated in the death of Achilles. In the absence of any historical records, Christie’s have named the painting as “The Sacrifice of Polyxena.”

According to Lefeuvre, Le Brun most likely painted the scene after a three-year stay in Rome where he studied the work of Raphael and became close to Poussin.

Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantee

Fantasy watch creations from Van Cleef & Arpels

Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantee

As the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) takes place in Geneva (January 21-25), Van Cleef & Arpels has unveiled new watch designs for 2013.

The brand’s new collections, which are inspired by fantasy, enchantment and poetry, combine exceptional craftsmanship and original, refined design.

Van Cleef & Arpels has designed its new watch collections to enchant through the inclusion of highly feminine figures such as fairies, butterflies, ballerinas and swallows.

The most emblematic timepiece unveiled at SIHH 2013 was the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée (pictured above) featuring a dancer with gold wings carved in relief and set in diamonds. This watch has a dial with a translucent enamel decorated back case, a white gold case and a diamond-set bezel.

As well as this exceptional model’s refined design, the brand has focused on mechanical precision with a movement that shows the time on demand.

Feerie Dandelion watch

When the wearer presses the button at the 8 o’clock position, the dancer’s tutu starts moving: one skirt shows the hour and another shows the minutes. The wearer can then read the time before each skirt returns to its original position.

Two other Van Cleef & Arpels collections were presented at SIHH 2013: Cadrans Extraordinaires and Charms Extraordinaires.

Each model in the first — embellished with symbols such as lilies of the valley, lotus flowers, dandelions and swallows — bears a lucky motif, while the second depicts butterfly-style kites.

These last two subjects have become running themes for Van Cleef & Arpels who choose to reinterpret “the march of time” every year.

Lady Arpels Papillon Noir Argent

Penelope Cruz Loewe

Penélope Cruz Poses for Loewe Campaign

penelope cruz loewe

Penelope Cruz appears in the Spring-Summer 2013 advertising campaign for Spanish brand Loewe, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

The first of two images released so far by the brand shows Cruz leaning against a mirror with a luxurious coralcolored Paseo bag (€1,400), with the star shot in Madrid’s sumptuous Palacio Marqués de Villafranca.

The 38-yo actress also appears in a second image, posing alongside a classical statue and holding one of the label’s classic Amazon handbags in black, with one of the palace’s equestrian murals behind her in the new Mert & Marcus images.

“Loewe is an international brand proud of its Spanish roots and with a rich history. Its collections are made by Spanish master artisans and I have always admired their work. I feel fortunate to be a part of this project,” the actress said.

The actress, who is married to “Skyfall” villain Javier Bardem, is also designing a new lingerie line for Agent Provocateur called L’Agent alongside her sister Monica.

copacabana palace hotel

Rio’s Copacabana Palace gets a makeover

Copacabana Palace

The Orient-Express group, owner of the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, has spent 20 million dollars on a massive renovation of this luxury Brazilian hotel.

The establishment’s 145 suites and rooms have been remodeled with new furniture and fabrics, giving these intimate spaces a new lease of life.

Most of the bathrooms have undergone an expansion as well as been treated to a new design. They have been fitted with porcelain enamel bathtubs and double countertop wash basins trimmed with marble.

The hotel now also boasts two luxury boutiques — called 1923 and Vila Copa — in which guests can buy clothes, accessories, swimsuits and one-off pieces designed by local and international designers.

Meanwhile, the reception has been enlarged by 80 percent, creating the impression of elegant spaciousness upon guests’ arrival. The stairs, made of Carrara marble, have also been widened.

The restaurant of the Copacabana Palace, The Cipriani, was given a facelift in 2011. Entirely renovated with innovative design elements, the gastronomic establishment reopened in September 2011.

The conclusion of the renovations marks the kick-off of a year of festivities on the occasion of the luxurious Brazilian hotel’s 90th birthday. Prices start at R$1250.00 (US$610) per night.

Copacabana Palace lobby

mcq mcqueen spring 2013 campaign

S&M campaign for McQ by Alexander McQueen

Manon Leloup for McQ

After creating a futuristic campaign for Alexander McQueen for Autumn/Winter 2012, famous photographer David Sims is taking fashion fans into a sadomasochistic universe for McQ by Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2013.

McQ Alexander McQueen spring 2013

Models Manon Leloup and Matt Bell stage scenes that suggest the classic S&M dominator-dominated relationship in a shoot that suggests a world of erotic fantasy as it showcases the new male and female designs.

Just like the British brand, the pictures are quirky and provocative.

Matt Bell McQ Alexander McQueen


Dubai: land of the tallest, largest and the mosts

burj khalifa photo

News that the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, the tallest hotel in the world, will be opening the doors to its dining rooms for guests next month is a reminder of Dubai’s many architectural and engineering wonders.

Check out some of the city’s world record holders, including the largest indoor ski resort, the tallest building and the largest shopping mall in the world.
Continue reading

michelle obama

Michelle Obama chooses Jason Wu again

Presidential Inaugural Ball

US First Lady Michelle Obama stayed loyal to Jason Wu on Monday, choosing the Taiwan-born, New York-based designer for her much-anticipated inaugural ball dress as she did four years ago.

She appeared before a cheering crowd of thousands in Washington’s cavernous convention center in the ruby-colored, halter-top chiffon and velvet gown by Wu, with Jimmy Choo shoes and a Kimberly McDonald diamond-embellished ring.

Wu, who dressed Obama in a one-shouldered white gown for her first inaugural balls in 2009, told the fashion trade journal Women’s Wear Daily that he was floored to see her pick one of his custom creations once again.

Earlier in the day, for Obama’s public oath-taking on the steps of the Capitol, the first lady bundled up against the near-freezing temperatures in a navy Thom Browne coat and dress with a J.Crew belt and gloves.

Michelle Obama Chooses Jason Wu

Guess presents sensual new campaign

Yu Tsai photographed the Spring Summer 2013 campaign images of Guess at Bora Bora, featuring models Gigi Hadid and Stephan Lambert.

Dreamlike beaches and sensual couples also feature in the video imagined by artistic director Paul Marciano.

The new Guess line is dominated by denim, prints, fluid and light fabrics. Color-wise, the collection is dominated by blue and white hues.

Guess Spring Summer 2013