Lina Zhang and Zhao Lei star in the Shanghai Tang Fall Winter 2013 Ad Campaign that was photographed by Richard Bernardin and styled by Franck Benhamou.
The majority of travelers will never know the joys of a personal concierge service. After all, a person dedicated to responding to guests’ every need at all hours of the day and night, in addition to providing suggestions on where to wine and dine, is a rather high-end luxury.
However, internet users now have access to what may be the next best thing. The Four Seasons, whose 91-hotel network includes the George V in Paris, the Ritz in Lisbon and the Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles, just to name a few, has applied its expertise in the matter to a new virtual concierge service.
The Four Seasons offers this virtual concierge service through Pinterest. Users create a board for their trip, adding information on their destination and on the type of experience they are looking for, whether a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a cultural visit.
Next, the user leaves a comment on the Pin.Pack.Go board specifying the destination city.
The Four Seasons hotel located in the destination city will follow the user and send a request to collaborate on his or her board. Of the chain’s 91 hotels, 77 are participating in the service.
Users are not required to reserve a room at one of the Four Seasons’ hotels to take advantage of the service. Over 4,200 Pinterest users have signed up to follow the Pin.Pack.Go board since its launch.
Italian label Fendi is launching L’Acquarossa, an homage in scent to Rome, and also to passion and feminine beauty. The new eau de parfum will be available from September in select stores.
Created by François Demachy, along with noses Delphine Lebeau and Benoît Lapouza, L’Acquarossa blends fruity notes of Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian mandarin and prune with Lantana, a red and gold flower called to mind by the bottle design of the new perfume.
Rose, orange blossom and magnolia essences enhance the floral quality of the composition, underscored by base notes of red cedar, musk and patchouli.
According to Fendi, the rectangular bottle evokes “the perfect, mathematical and majestic architecture of Roman monuments.” The bottle is bright red, a color synonymous with passion, and is accented by a gold and black rectangular top and gold base, both with engraved lettering.
As announced last June, Chiara Mastroianni is the face of L’Acquarossa in the advertising campaign, shot by French photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
Edie Campbell and Lily McMenamy are the stars of Marc Jacobs’ Fall/Winter 2013-2014 campaign. Both models already walked in the most recent Marc Jacobs runway show.
Jacobs’ designs of bold metallic fabrics, furs and sequins are juxtaposed against a gritty setting with styling by Katie Grand. The campaign was once again shot by German photographer Juergen Teller.
Artist Billie Achilleos has crafted a giant sea turtle out of Louis Vuitton accessories for the brand’s store in Waikiki, Honolulu. Achilleos’s eight-piece exhibition in the store will be on display until August 31st.
If that boring black neoprene wetsuit is spoiling your beach-going fun, here are a few chic ways to dress up your days on the waves!
Travel Kit, by SeventyOne Percent
This kit comes with everything a seasoned surfer could need for a day on the water: energy shots, a sunblock stick, and cooling gel, with one percent of the profits going to the SurfRider foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping our oceans clean. €55
Cynthia Rowley’s floral wetsuit
Cynthia Rowley is reportedly a self-proclaimed surf addict. Her 2mm neoprene wetsuit features a feminine touch but with room for practical features like an exposed zippered pocket for keys. $375
For fashion victims who love the waves, Parisian fashion house Chanel has designed a set of surfboards in black, white, and red for the nifty price tag of €4,500.
Diane von Furstenberg’s Roxy line
If you dream of owning a swimsuit that is both fashionable and sporty, DVF Loves Roxy can fit the bill by matching Furstenberg’s iconic bold prints with Roxy’s surfer silhouettes — with surfers Kelia Moniz and Monyca Byrne-Wicke as the faces of the line. Comprising 35 pieces, the line includes swimwear, beach cover-ups, board shorts, rash guards, and beach bags. Prices range from $25 to $75.
Colored Nosecoat by Zinka
Brighten up the beach with California brand Zinka’s line of waterproof sunblock for your nose in a range of intense colors, all with 25 percent zinc oxide to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. $6.99
China has recently seen an exponential increase in towers of over 500 meters, all designed to house apartments, offices, shopping malls and luxury hotels.
Standing at 632 meters (2073 feet), the Shanghai Tower, the main structure of which attained its highest point in early August, is now the tallest skyscraper in Asia. Set to be finished in 2015, a luxury hotel is scheduled to open in the tower that year.
The 258 rooms of Jin Jiang group’s Shanghai Tower J-Hotel will occupy the 84th to 110th floors of this skyscraper, set to feature 125 storeys. Though taller than any other skyscraper in Asia, the Shanghai Tower has not unseated the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which remains the world’s tallest structure.
In addition to Shanghai, the city of Wuhan is making a name for itself with the Greenland Center, whose 119 floors stretch 606 meters skyward. The tower is expected to open to the public in 2017, offering 186 apartments and a 4,200 square meter five-star hotel with an impressive 292 rooms.
In Tianjin, the Goldin Finance 117 is scheduled to open in 2016. At 597 meters, this skyscraper in the city’s business district will also include a five-star hotel, whose 350 luxury rooms and suites will accommodate well-heeled guests. The 530 meter CTF Tianjin Tower, also known as the Chow Tai Fook Binhai Center, will also open its doors in the city in 2016 and include a prestigious hotel.
Finally, in Guangzhou, the Chow Tai Fook Centre, with its 111 storeys and height of 530 meters, will also be home to a high-end hotel.
Dior called upon Belgian fashion photographer Willy Vanderperre to shoot its Fall/Winter 2013-2014 menswear campaign, entitled “The Players.” The images, which feature both traditional and futuristic elements, provide a glimpse into the new collection designed by artistic director Kris Van Assche.
The futuristic looks worn by the models provide a striking contrast with the highly traditional setting of a gentlemen’s club, complete with oak paneling and leather club chairs.
This contrast centers the viewer’s attention on the clothes from the latest Dior Homme collection, which is inspired by the brand’s classic pieces and updates them with a contemporary, even futuristic style.
Black suits and monochromatic shirts and coats are among the star pieces of this collection.
North Korea said Wednesday it saw a “bright future” for tourism and would offer more international and domestic flights and open up the sector to foreign investors.
“Abundant in tourism resources, the (North) has a bright future to develop tourism,” Jo Song Gyu, director of the International Travel Company, told the state news agency.
The country was making “big efforts” to develop tourism as one of its major industries, Jo said, promising new flights to the capital Pyongyang from China, Southeast Asia and Europe.
Hotels in the showpiece capital were being renovated at the world’s level and new fitness centres and duty-free shops would be built, he said. Foreigners would also be allowed to run independent business or joint ventures in projects such as resorts, hotels and shops, Jo said.
Overseas companies which invested in the early stages of development would get preferential treatment so that they could begin making profits as soon as possible.
Foreign experts would be invited to help build and manage resorts, hotels and restaurants, he said.
The impoverished nuclear-armed state has recently stepped up efforts to lure more foreign tourists, to try to prop up an economy damaged by mismanagement and international sanctions.
Direct air links with other countries are currently limited, with China the main conduit for most travellers heading to Pyongyang. Foreign travellers are constantly accompanied by government minders and rarely allowed to speak to ordinary citizens on their own, or to mingle with them.
The North is also far from a cheap tourist destination. The nation, which is strapped for hard currency, charges high prices for everything from beer to accommodation.
Payments must be made in euros and foreigners are not allowed to use the local won currency.
Victoria Beckham, the one-time pop star who is now one of the most courted designers at the upcoming New York Fashion Week, says she has even bigger plans for her eponymous brand.
“I want to get bigger and bigger,” the former Spice Girl told the New York Times ahead of the unveiling of her spring-summer 2014 collection during fashion week. “I absolutely want an empire.”
Beckham, who was once only famous for her stint as Posh Spice and as the wife of David Beckham, has come into her own since her first runway show in New York in 2008 took the fashion world by surprise.
Beckham designs clothes she would want to wear herself, from chic, ultra-flattering dresses to her current fall line of masculine-influenced coats and body-skimming skirts and trousers.
She has also branched out into sunglasses, handbags and denim, and her main Victoria Beckham label is expanding rapidly in Asia.
Beckham has also created a new, more-affordable diffusion line, Victoria, which is more casual and colorful to appeal to a younger market. “I want to reach as many women throughout the world as I can.”
“There are more categories that I want to enter into. I have five categories at the moment. But at some point I would love to do shoes, I would love to do fragrance, I would love to do makeup, I would like to do underwear. There are so many things I want to do.”
French beauty brand Guerlain has released a short film exploring the inspiration behind its iconic Shalimar fragrance. The video stars Natalia Vodianova in the role of an Indian princess.
When creating the Shalimar fragrance in the early 1920s, Jacques Guerlain drew inspiration from the legendary love affair between a princess, Mumtaz Mahal, and the emperor Shah Jahan. As a testament of his devotion upon the death of his wife, he built the most splendid of tombs: the Taj Mahal.
This legend is at the heart of the new short film directed by French filmmaker Bruno Aveillan, who has also directed a much-buzzed about short film for Cartier in 2012, L’Odyssée de Cartier.
The Guerlain film depicts Natalia Vodianova as a sublime princess languishing in the Shalimar Gardens. The supermodel alternates between sensual scenes of royal luxury, in which she is barely clothed, and touching scenes of tenderness, in which she wears a delicate and flowing sari with gold embroidery.
The end of the short film shows the princess floating across a lake in a lovely boat. The music stops, and the Taj Mahal rises majestically from the still waters.
The full-length version of “The Legend of Shalimar,” at 5min45s, may be seen on Guerlain’s Facebook and YouTube pages. A shorter version of the video is expected to air on TV.
Designer and artist Lauren Moshi has signed up to create clothing collections out of some of Warner Bros.’ most celebrated names.
Cartoon and superhero characters Tweety, Wonder Woman, Batman, Batgirl, Superman and Supergirl will all be getting fashionable makeovers thanks to a new deal signed between Warner Bros. and Moshi.
Up first is Tweety, who will see the first of the 30 to 35 piece collections arrive at the end of this month. “These iconic characters are part of my childhood and the Lauren Moshi customer can really relate to them” the designer told WWD.
Further collections, one for each character, will hit stores over the next six months, priced between $98 and $202. The pieces will go on sale in Moshi’s own flagship store in Los Angeles.
Marriott International, together with British luxury brand Lily and Lionel and non-profit company SleepingBags, is releasing a limited edition tote bag made entirely of recycled bed linens from its hotels.
With the launch of this limited edition bag, Marriott International scores two points for corporate social responsibility. The first involves the reduction in waste that comes from upcycling its worn out linens, while the second involves committing a share of revenues from the initiative to The Prince’s Trust, a charity working to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth.
The dark grey bag has been printed with a blue and white design from Lily and Lionel, depicting birds in flight around a globe.
Only 1,000 of these tote bags will be produced, and each will sell for €23 (£20) through the Marriott website.
From affordable open-top frills to drophead coupes that require regular lottery wins simply to keep them on the road and topped up with fuel, the choice of convertibles to suit every size, style and wallet has never been greater or promised more fun.
The Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet from €21,000
The first iteration of this reborn icon was all style and no substance, but the mark II is a totally new experience. Built on the same platform as the much sportier Scirocco coupe, the new Beetle retains the good looks of the last model but now they’re suitably toned down so that they are less feminine and more androgynous, meaning that even a man’s man can still be a man’s man when behind the wheel.
The Mazda MX-5 from €21,500
When the first model hit the streets back in 1989, it was treated with derision by the world’s motoring press as a poor visual copy of old English sportscars. But then they actually drove it and fell in love with it and as a result it has been a fixture on roads the world over for 24 years.
The secret to its success is pure drivability, reliability and practicality. Want to know what it’s like to drive a classic E-type Jag or Lotus Elan, take an MX-5 (or a Miata in North America) out for a test drive.
The Porsche Boxster from €44,250
This car will never be totally accepted by some Porsche purists who see it as a vehicle to make do with when available funds won’t stretch to a droptop 911. And while the Boxster does lack a bit of grunt compared to its bigger brother, it was designed from the ground up to be a sports convertible so the handling is exquisite, the build quality is bullet proof, and unlike the 911, its engine is not hanging over the back wheels – it is exactly mid-mounted for perfect balance.
The BMW Z4 sDrive 35i, from €46,000
Like the Beetle, the first generation of this car was an uncomfortable disappointment, but BMW is probably the best car maker in the world when it comes to responding to criticism.
Even though this car is by no means the fastest sports convertible, even within its price range, it just gets so many things right – balance, poise, handling, and simple daily driving pleasure.
The Jaguar F-Type V8S, from €92,500
A car that instantly reminds you of how wonderful Jaguar used to be as a race car, sports car and luxury car company. It somehow manages to draw on all of that heritage while throwing something new into the mix. Its all-aluminum construction means it’s light and quick off the mark and its 5-litre, supercharged V8 feels like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but that’s the point.
However, softening the din and taking the edge off all of the noise is the car’s outward style. Its movie matinee idol good looks will make you stand out, whether crawling through gridlocked city-center traffic or competing with assorted Ferraris and Porsches on vast and sprawling open road.
The Audi R8 Spyder, from €117,000
A bit of a dark horse this one and one that started off as a crossbreed; but it is developing into a thoroughbred if such a thing is possible. Built by the same collection of companies responsible for the Porsche Boxster, Lamborghini Gallardo and Bugatti Veyron, it borrows from all of them but somehow the result is something else entirely.
A fabulous V10 engine with 525bhp, the best double-clutch paddle shift gearbox in the world and a quality, reliability and dare we say it, practicality that is otherwise alien in the world of the supercar.
The Ferrari California from €176,000
This car breaks a cardinal Ferrari rule, its V8 engine is front mounted. A Ferrari V8 always goes in the middle to guarantee perfect weight distribution and therefore handling. But with the engine in the middle, there’s nowhere to put the roof when folded down.
Like the Porsche Boxster, this has been built from the start to be a true convertible and yet still be a true Ferrari and one that can go from 0-100kpm in the blink of an eye and hit 310kpm flat out.
Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible, from €194,500
This car holds the title of the world’s fastest two-door, four-seat convertible but the truth is, while it is indeed an engineering masterpiece, with the roof down, 100mph and 200mph feel pretty much identical for the passengers at least. The interior is sumptuous and an exercise in discreet refinement.
The Mercedes SL 65 AMG from €195,000
Is it a straight-line boulevard cruiser, a car honed for the track, a cross-continental GT or a supercar trying to challenge Ferrari? The simple answer is that it’s all of the above and more.
The AMG edition makes a wonderful engine noise akin to that of a squadron of Spitfire WWII fighter planes while the interior is overflowing with creature comforts and cutting-edge technological breakthroughs, from active collision avoidance to radar-guided cruise control.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, from €350,000
The only car on the list that needs to be specified with a chauffeur, this car is fun to be driven in and there’s space in the back for an impromptu game of rugby, let alone for reclining and enjoying the cities whiz by on the drive down to the Côte d’Azur.
The roof contains more sound and heat insulation than the average house and the rear deck lid is carved from solid teak and needs regular oiling, just like on a luxury yacht.
The Italian brand has released a trailer for “Le Donne della Vucciria,” the sixth film in Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales collection of films. “Le Donne Della Vucciria” (“The Women of Vucciria”) shows off the vibrant women of the famous street market in Palermo, Sicily.
Directed by Palestinian filmmaker Hiam Abbass, the teaser trailer opens with a shot of miniature Sicilian puppets wearing the latest Miu Miu collection before building to a rousing musical crescendo.
Fifty-two-year-old Abbass has previously starred in films including Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” and made her directorial debut last year with “The Inheritance.”
Beginning in September 2011, Italian luxury brand Miu Miu has released a series of films exploring women’s experiences of love, with a diverse range of female directors including Zoe Cassavetes.
“The Door,” the last film in the Women’s Tales series, was directed by Ava DuVernay, who in 2012 became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Infiniti has provided a first look at the Q30 Concept which will have its world premiere at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show as the next step in Infiniti’s foray into new premium segments.
The Infiniti Q30 Concept signals the contemporary design vision for a compact Infiniti vehicle which will target a new generation of premium customers.
The shape of the Infiniti Q30 Concept deliberately challenges categorisation – not a coupe, not a hatch and not a crossover but a fusion of the three body styles. It is designed for younger customers seeking an alternative to traditional premium compact vehicles and open to convention-challenging approaches.
Led by Alfonso Albaisa, the Infiniti design team has delved into new territory, creating a bolder and more captivating vehicle, showing how Infiniti plans to further evolve its designs in the near future.
Audi has teamed up with Michelle Vale, the New York-made handbag brand, on an exclusive tote. The bags will retail for $395 with a choice of silver or black and taupe colored handles.
They’ve thought about function as well as form, giving the bag four pockets and interior compartments big enough to hold iPads.
“Audi places a premium on attention to detail when it comes to its performance vehicles, and we found a kindred spirit in Michelle Vale and the quality she designs into her products,” said Loren Angelo, Audi of America’s marketing director.
Audi will sell the bag via its US website, in the company catalogue and in select Audi dealerships. According to Vale, the colors were inspired by the Audi 2013 color palette, allowing her to create “customized styles based on my signature tote.”
High fashion is in the air at the Café de la Paix in Paris. Since 2006, the famous restaurant of the InterContinental Le Grand hotel has honored Paris Fashion Week with a high-end, €18 sweet.
This year, the cafe is offering a coconut and raspberry sweet created by the pastry chef Dominique Costa and designed by former model Inès de la Fressange.
Costa’s rich almond cake is topped by coconut cream and fresh raspberries surrounding a coconut panna cotta center. The dessert is served with a chocolate handbag containing a raspberry sauce.
The pastry chef’s inspiration was a pencil drawing made by Inès de la Fressange. The former model sketched a heart of raspberries surrounded by a creamy mousse. The resulting dessert will be available from September and through the rest of this year.
Burberry will unveil on August 29 the latest edition of its “The Art of the Trench” exhibition with two installations hosted at the brand’s K11 and L’Avenue store locations in Shanghai.
Emerging supermode Cara Delevingne will be heading over for the event, which features work by Chinese photographer Trunk Xu. Xu has shot some of the most sartorially minded Shanghainese in the city, all wearing distinctive Burberry raincoats and styled with a personal twist.
First launched in 2009, The Art of the Trench sees the London brand take its iconic outerwear garment out on the street, to be captured in the wild, worn by individual fashionistas.
Previous editions of the event have taken place in Chicago, Sao Paulo and New Delhi. China is a major focus for the label: Burberry has 71 stores in the country (two of them in Shanghai) and the brand is growing rapidly in the Asian superpower.
There will be more editions of the “The Art of the Trench” in Paris, Seoul, Kiev and Istanbul before the end of the year, with the French event also coinciding with the launch of a “Burberry Loves PRINTEMPS” capsule collection and a permanent pop-up space at the Parisian department store.