Kim Jones Plans ‘Real Clothes’ For Fendi

“I want all my friends to go, ‘I want that straight away,'” says the designer.

By Miles Socha 25/02/2021

“It’s quite a neutral collection to start the ball rolling,” Kim Jones said of his hotly anticipated ready-to-wear debut at Fendi today during Milan Fashion Week. “It’s real clothes.”

Jones approached the fall 2021 collection with an extensive crawl through the Fendi archives, much reflection, and deep discussions with Silvia Venturini Fendi and his trusted inner circle of fashionable women.

He also applied his meticulous and methodical approach to revving up heritage brands, having racked up an impressive track record at Dunhill, Louis Vuitton and Dior, where he remains artistic director of men’s collections in addition to his new duties as artistic director of Fendi’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and fur collections for women.

In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview in Paris, Jones spoke excitedly about his foray into women’s fashions, and the honour and challenge of taking up a role previously held for 54 years by fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019.

It is understood Jones has harboured ambitions to design women’s wear for some time, and held discussions with Versace and Burberry in recent years. He closed his swan song show for Louis Vuitton in 2018 with Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell striding out in monogram trench coats.

Jones famously amassed an impressive collection of rare vintage fashions spanning some 500 pieces, which he recently donated to an undisclosed museum, and it includes seminal looks by Vivienne Westwood, Leigh Bowery, Rachel Auburn and others.

A preview look from FendiÕs fall 2021 show, to be streamed today during Milan Fashion Week.

A preview look from Fendi’s autumn 2021 show, streamed during Milan Fashion Week.  Simone Lezzi

“Women’s wear is something that I’ve always looked at because it was more interesting to research and look at women’s wear than it is for men’s wear,” Jones said, seated in his office at Dior. “And obviously, a lot of my friends are women, and they wear my clothes.”

His ambitions for the show do not include any grandiose artistic vision or revolutionary fashion statement.

He simply wants to make “clothes that women will want to buy. I’m not gonna lie. I think that’s what my job is. I want all my friends to go, ‘I want that straight away,’” he said.

Jones said he doesn’t like being compared to Lagerfeld, and who would, considering the German designer’s illustrious and unprecedented fashion career not only at Fendi, but also Chanel, Chloé, his signature fashion house and a staggering array of unexpected design projects, from pens and tableware to luxury hotels and condo projects?

“I think I have the same work ethic, you can ask Silvia at Fendi,” Jones said, allowing one commonality with a designer he respected and admired to the max. “He was always super nice to me.”

Yet Jones does echo Lagerfeld in his wholehearted embrace of the fashion industry’s furious pace, his just-shut-up-and-do-it ethos, and his acknowledgement that fashion, however creative and artistic, must always be at the service of a brand and its business imperatives.

“For me the customer is always number one. It’s something I learned from Yves Carcelle when I joined Louis Vuitton, and it’s something that’s always stuck in my mind,” he said, referring to the late Louis Vuitton chief executive officer who helped build the historic trunk maker into a global luxury powerhouse.

When some designers arrive at a house, they often erase what was done by their predecessor, wiping clean social media feeds and sometimes complete product lines. Not Jones, who enters a solid and sizable business, part of luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. He said he’s seen other designers “go into a house and completely change things around and then get stuck when nothing sells.”

“And that’s not my job,” he said, adjusting his face mask and occasionally taking a sip of Perrier. “I think it’s really important to respect what the house is, especially when you’ve got someone there whose name is actually across the door.”

Kim Jones

Kim Jones  Courtesy of Fendi

Jones comes into the role with immense respect and affection for Venturini Fendi, whom he met about a decade ago at a luxury goods conference, immediately striking up a friendship.

The British designer collaborated with Venturini Fendi, artistic director of accessories and men’s wear collections, and her daughter Delfina Delettrez Fendi, jewellery creative director, on his spring 2021 couture collection for Fendi, shown in Paris last month. He said it was equally important to have received positive feedback from Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, and his wife Hélène; as well as the past CEOs of Fendi, Michael Burke and Pietro Beccari, who attended the filming of the couture show in a modernist glass maze set in the Palais Brongniart.

“My two roles are to do my job for A, the brand, and B, for her. The value of the family is ever present, so I want them to be happy with it. You know, I guess that’s me. It’s not about my ego. It’s about doing a job.

“I’m sure Karl felt the same with brands that he did. Not that I’m referencing myself as Karl, but you know he did Chloé, Fendi and Chanel, all at the same time, and each had different signatures. And I think it’s possible to do that when you’ve got good teams at each house,” Jones said, recalling that when he operated his signature label from 2003 to 2008 after graduating from Central Saint Martins in London, he consulted with other brands to bring in more money. “You put on your different headset, something I’ve always been used to.”

Indeed, he declared that overseeing two luxury brands is “more fun. Doing three shows in two months is kind of great.” he said. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s been difficult doing it under lockdown. Because you know, I can’t go home for the weekend, or I can’t pop out somewhere for three days for a mini-break. You know, it’s just that you have to be in one place, and I’m not very good at doing that.”

Yet despite the trying circumstances, Jones insisted on readying a couture collection for spring — something Fendi had never done — because he had already masterminded his “Orlando” theme and preferred to get on with the job as quickly as possible.

“He knows how to blend his vision with the heritage of Fendi,” Venturini Fendi said in an interview, noting the Roman house is to mark its centennial come 2025. “His work at Louis Vuitton and Dior showed us that he knows how to respect and how to use this story as a starting point for his vision….It’s not just about Kim; it’s about the brand.”

In addition, “he’s also a voracious observer of the moment, of people, and what are people’s desires and what do people need,” she continued. “He’s very interested in knowing what they’ll want.”

When Jones arrived at the Roman house last autumn, Venturini Fendi accompanied him to the archive, and he settled on the oldest pieces: luggage, whose parchment and leather colours inspired the palette for his RTW debut. “It’s very elegant, it’s very neutral-toned, I would say very Fendi,” Venturini Fendi declared.

Although Fendi has enjoyed unprecedented consistency in its design office thanks to Lagerfeld, Jones said he sees the fashion image at the Roman house as “really malleable.”

A preview look from FendiÕs fall 2021 show, to be streamed today during Milan Fashion Week.

A preview look from Fendi’s autumn 2021 show, streamed during Milan Fashion Week.  Simone Lezzi

“They’re silhouettes that can be updated quite easily,” he said, also lauding its formidable legacy in leather goods. “When I look at all the houses, Fendi’s bags are the most unique across the group.”

For his debut RTW effort, Jones zeroed in on three groups of bags from the early ’90s — not including the Baguette, introduced in 1997 — to see how they are constructed, and he transferred elements from the hardware, stitching and details onto the clothes. That implies “lots of handwork” and “quite high price points,” but Fendi has customers who seek this, Jones noted.

While Jones is honoured and humbled to take on a design job previously held by Lagerfeld, he said he certainly doesn’t dwell on it.

“I just get on with my work, and I don’t think too much. I just think that it’s good to be really honest about that. Because, you know, if you do these jobs at this level, if you think about it too much, you could drive yourself crazy,” he said. “I think I’m doing really good work. And I’m not being arrogant by saying that, but I think anyone else that works in my position that’s doing as much would probably feel the same with themselves.”

Fendi is probably first and foremost known as a fur house, and Jones arrives at a time when Venturini Fendi was already grappling with a new way forward, given how fraught and complex the use of animal skins has become.

“We’re looking at ways of how we work that ethically and, you know, in a better way,” Jones said. “It’s too early for me to talk about.”

That said, expect some fur in the autumn 2021 collection “because there are customers that want it.”

Fendi is also known for tailoring, coats and dresses, which historically sell well, according to Jones. “I didn’t know a huge amount about the Fendi customer before, and I’m learning on the job,” he said. “But I’m surrounded by a studio full of women that are very passionate about clothing. And if every single woman in that studio wants the pieces that we’re designing, then that’s a good sign.

“It’s a funny brand, Fendi. You know it and you don’t know it,” he mused. “I’m looking at it in quite a commercial design aspect, really. And I wanted it to be a palate cleanser.”

When the British designer arrives at a brand, he likes to scope out new territory, and for Fendi he already spies opportunities in shoes, and a broader offering of dresses and clothing items.

“Just easy pieces,” he said. “It was very designed as a silhouette and now the modern market requires it be designed as singles.”

Knowing Fendi’s reputation for outerwear, something Jones loves designing, he felt it natural to create coats in double-face fabrics, of which he said Lagerfeld was not very fond. “So you know, really looking at things that are very Italian in their traditional craftsmanship, and playing around with those ideas.

“It’s nice to have a shift, but not a groundbreaking shift,” he said of his first collection.

Jones didn’t flinch when asked if Fendi is expected to grow under his watch.

“That’s my mission,” he said, while demurring to share any particular business targets. “I like to see people wear what I design, or the things I work on. I think there’s nothing bigger than the thrill of seeing a stranger buy and wear your product. And when I’m in the street and I see people head-to-toe [in Dior] in Japan, New York or L.A., I think it’s super nice. And it’s touching.”

Given travel restrictions that continue to shift, Jones has not settled into a schedule as he would in normal times, but he said he’s managed to effectively juggle demands at Fendi and Dior. “I have a core team that’s with me in both. And then I have two really good teams in both houses,” he said, describing both brands as having a “family” atmosphere.

“I feel like they’ve been taking me in as part of the family. I listen to what they say,” Jones said of Fendi. “I work for the brand. The brand is first.”

To be sure, he was thoroughly impressed with the capabilities of Fendi’s ateliers.

“It’s nice to see things be created in a different way in front of you. I think that’s probably what the beauty of women’s wear is,” he said. “The only thing that overwhelmed me a little was the sheer amount of embellishment and embroideries and all those things that you could possibly do. You know I’m very clear and concise in my work.”

For his new show, Jones plans to livestream a catwalk event at Fendi’s vast showroom space on Via Andrea Solari in Milan.

“I think people enjoy seeing the runway experience. I think it’s what they want to see, especially when you’re buyers buying clothes, virtually. Now they want to see how the pieces move and understand them,” he said.

That said, Jones is also eager to exalt the workmanship of his Fendi collections, which is why he released a dreamy 20-minute film about three weeks after the Jan. 26 couture show presenting the mood and detail of the clothes and accessories. “Because, you know, it’s quite easy for people to criticise things when they look at them online. When you see them in reality, you understand what goes into it. The savoir-faire and the techniques are really important.”

Jones has had a storied fashion career, with John Galliano snapping up his graduate collection. He initially launched a signature men’s wear label, and experimented with some women’s looks in 2004. Known for its sporty, streetwear edge, the Kim Jones brand lasted for eight seasons and attracted the attention of Dunhill, where he was creative director from 2008 to 2011.

Now a veteran of LVMH, Jones came on board in 2011 as men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton, parlaying his zest for exotic travel into ultraluxurious collections with understated cool and sly functionality. He helped ignite the luxury streetwear phenomenon with the landmark 2017 collaboration with Supreme, the cult New York skate brand.

Since moving over to Dior Men in 2018, Jones has done collections with fine artists Peter Doig, Daniel Arsham, Kaws and Amoako Boafo, the surfwear maven Shawn Stussy, and Air Jordan. The latter yielded one of the most sought-after sneakers of 2020, the limited-edition Air Jordan 1 OG Dior.

Jones said some of the shapes from his debut couture collection will be felt in the autumn show, but he stressed that “the ready-to-wear is setting the pace for where it will go,” he said. “I think it’s always nice to start with a bang and then, you know, we’ll set a pace in a different way.”

Jones’ couture effort had a period flavour owing to the twin muses of Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell, both members of the Bloomsbury Set. Yet multiple decades were referenced. Jones revealed that he looked at Lagerfeld sketches from the time when each of his all-ages models in the show were born.

But don’t expect anything retro or vintage-looking on the Milan runway. “The Fendi ready-to-wear I’m doing now is of our times,” he said.

 

This article was originally published on WWD.

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Living La Vida Lagerfeld

The world remembers him for fashion. But as a new tome reveals, the iconoclastic designer is defined as much by extravagant, often fantastical, homes as he is clothes.

By Zarah Crawford 22/07/2024

“Lives, like novels, are made up of chapters”, the world-renowned bibliophile, Karl Lagerfeld, once observed. 

Were a psychological-style novel ever to be written about Karl Lagerfeld’s life, it would no doubt give less narrative weight to the story of his reinvigoration of staid fashion houses like Chloe, Fendi and Chanel than to the underpinning leitmotif of the designer’s constant reinvention of himself. 

In a lifetime spanning two centuries, Lagerfeld made and dropped an ever-changing parade of close friends, muses, collaborators and ambiguous lovers, as easily as he changed his clothes, his furniture… even his body. Each chapter of this book would be set against the backdrop of one of his series of apartments, houses and villas, whose often wildly divergent but always ultra-luxurious décor reflected the ever-evolving personas of this compulsively public but ultimately enigmatic man.

With the publication of Karl Lagerfeld: A Life in Houses these wildly disparate but always exquisite interiors are presented for the first time together as a chronological body of work. The book indeed serves as a kind of visual novel, documenting the domestic dreamscapes in which the iconic designer played out his many lives, while also making a strong case that Lagerfeld’s impact on contemporary interior design is just as important, if not more so, than his influence on fashion.

In the studio at the back of the Librarie 7L, Paris, in 2008 — a bookshop established by Lagerfeld himself.

In fact, when the first Lagerfeld interior was featured in a 1968 spread for L’OEil magazine, the editorial describes him merely as a “stylist”. The photographs of the apartment in an 18th-century mansion on rue de Université, show walls lined with plum-coloured rice paper, or lacquered deepest chocolate brown in sharp contrast to crisp, white low ceilings that accentuated the horizontality that was fashionable among the extremely fashionable at the time. Yet amid this setting of aggressively au courant modernism, the anachronistic pops of Art Nouveau and Art Deco objects foreshadow the young Karl’s innate gift for creating strikingly original environments whose harmony is achieved through the deft interplay of contrasting styles and contexts.

Lagerfeld learned early on that presenting himself in a succession of gem-like domestic settings was good for crafting his image. But Lagerfeld’s houses not only provided him with publicity, they also gave him an excuse to indulge in his greatest passion. Shopping!

By 1973, Lagerfeld was living in a new apartment at Place Saint–Sulpice where his acquisition of important Art Deco treasures continued unabated. Now a bearded and muscular disco dandy, he could most often be found in the louche company of the models, starlets and assorted hedonistic beauties that gathered around the flamboyant fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez. Lagerfeld was also in the throes of a hopeless love affair with Jacques de Bascher whose favours he reluctantly shared with his nemesis Yves Saint Laurent.

Hôtel Pozzo di Borgi, from 1977.

He painted the rooms milky white and lined them with specially commissioned carpets—the tawny patterned striations of which invoked musky wild animal pelts. These lent a stark relief to the sleek, machine-age chrome lines of his Deco furnishings. To contemporary eyes it remains a strikingly original arrangement that subtly conveys the tensions at play in Lagerfeld’s own life: the cocaine fuelled orgies of his lover and friends, hosted in the pristine home of a man who claimed that “a bed is for one person”.

In 1975, a painful falling out with his beloved Jacques, who was descending into the abyss of addiction, saw almost his entire collection of peerless Art Deco furniture, paintings and objects put under the auctioneer’s hammer. This was the first of many auction sales, as he habitually shed the contents of his houses along with whatever incarnation of himself had lived there. Lagerfeld was dispassionate about parting with these precious goods. “It’s collecting that’s fun, not owning,” he said. And the reality for a collector on such a Renaissance scale, is that to continue buying, Lagerfeld had to sell. 

Of all his residences, it was the 1977 purchase of Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo, a grand and beautifully preserved 18th-century house, that would finally allow him to fulfill his childhood fantasies of life in the court of Madame de Pompadour. And it was in this aura of Rococó splendour that the fashion designer began to affect, along with his tailored three-piece suits, a courtier’s ponytailed and powdered coif and a coquettish antique fan: marking the beginning of his transformation into a living, breathing global brand that even those with little interest in fashion would immediately recognise.

Place Saint-Sulpice apartment from 1972. At his work station with on the table, his favourite Lalique crystal glass, complete with Coca-Cola.

Lagerfeld’s increasing fame and financial success allowed him to indulge in an unprecedented spending frenzy, competing with deep-pocketed institutions like the Louvre to acquire the finest, most pedigreed pearls of the era—voluptuously carved and gilded bergères; ormolu chests; and fleshy, pastel-tinged Fragonard idylls—to adorn his urban palace. His one-time friend André Leon Talley described him in a contemporary article as suffering from “Versailles complex”. 

However, in mid-1981, and in response to the election of left-wing president, François Mitterrand,  Lagerfeld, with the assistance of his close friend Princess Caroline, became a resident of the tax haven of Monaco. He purchased two apartments on the 21st floor of Le Roccabella, a luxury residential block designed by Gio Ponti. One, in which he kept Jacques de Bascher, with whom he was now reconciled, was decorated in the strict, monochromatic Viennese Secessionist style that had long underpinned his aesthetic vocabulary; the other space, though, was something else entirely, cementing his notoriety as an iconoclastic tastemaker.

Monaco apartment, purchased in 1981: Lagerfeld sits at a tale by George Snowden, with Riviera chairs by Michele de Lucchi. On the table, a cup and sugar bowl by Matteo Thun, flanked by sculptural Treetops lamps by Ettore Sottsass.

Lagerfeld had recently discovered the radically quirky designs of the Memphis Group led by Ettore Sottsass, and bought the collective’s entire first collection and had it shipped to Monaco. In a space with no right angles, these chaotically colourful, geometrically askew pieces—centred on Masanori Umeda’s famous boxing ring—gave visitors the disorientating sensation of having entered a corporeal comic strip. By 1991, the novelty of this jarring postmodern playhouse had inevitably worn thin and once again he sent it all to auction, later telling a journalist that “after a few years it was like living in an old Courrèges. Ha!”

Reverse view of the Monaco living room, featuring Masanori Umeda’s boxing ring and George Snowden’s armchair. Against the back wall the Carlton bookcase by Ettore Sottsass.

In 1989, de Bascher died of an AIDS-related illness, and while Lagerfeld’s career continued to flourish, emotionally the famously stoic designer was struggling. In 2000, a somewhat corpulent Lagerfeld officially ended his “let them eat cake” years at the Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo, selling its sumptuous antique fittings in a massive headline auction that stretched over three days. As always there were other houses, but now with his longtime companion dead, and his celebrity metastasising making him a target for the paparazzi, he began to look less for exhibition spaces and more for private sanctuaries where he could pursue his endless, often lonely, work.

His next significant house was Villa Jako, named for his lost companion and built in the 1920s in a nouveau riche area of Hamburg close to where he grew up. Lagerfeld shot the advertising campaign for Lagerfeld Jako there—a fragrance created in memorial to de Bascher. The house featured a collection of mainly Scandinavian antiques, marking the aesthetic cusp between Art Nouveau and Art Deco. One of its rooms Lagerfeld decorated based on his remembrances of his childhood nursery. Here, he locked himself away to work—tellingly—on a series of illustrations for the fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. Villa Jako was a house of deep nostalgia and mourning.

But there were more acts—and more houses—to come in Lagerfeld’s life yet. In November 2000, upon seeing the attenuated tailoring of Hedi Slimane, then head of menswear at Christian Dior, the 135 kg Lagerfeld embarked on a strict dietary regime. Over the next 13 months, he melted into a shadow of his former self. It is this incarnation of Lagerfeld—high white starched collars; Slimane’s skintight suits, and fingerless leather gloves revealing hands bedecked with heavy silver rings—that is immediately recognisable some five years after his death.

The 200-year-old apartment in Quái Voltaire, Paris, was purchased in 2006, and after years of slumber Lagerfeld—a newly awakened Hip Van Winkle—was ready to remake it into his last modernist masterpiece. He designed a unique daylight simulation system that meant the monochromatic space was completely without shadows—and without memory. The walls were frosted and smoked glass, the floors concrete and silicone; and any hint of texture was banned with only shiny, sleek pieces by Marc Newson, Martin Szekely and the Bouroullec Brothers permitted. Few guests were allowed into this monastic environment where Lagerfeld worked, drank endless cans of Diet Coke and communed with Choupette, his beloved Birman cat, and parts of his collection of 300,000 books—one of the largest private collections in the world.

Metal-base on a platform covered with chocolate brown carpet. Stratified leather headboard attributed to Eugène Printz.

Lagerfeld died in 2019, and the process of dispersing his worldly goods is still ongoing. The Quái Voltaire apartment was sold this year for US$10.8 million (around $16.3 million). Now only the rue de Saint-Peres property remains within the Lagerfeld trust. Purchased after Quái Voltaire to further accommodate more of his books—35,000 were displayed in his studio alone, always stacked horizontally so he could read the titles without straining his neck—and as a place for food preparation as he loathed his primary living space having any trace of cooking smells. Today, the rue de Saint-Peres residence is open to the public as an arts performance space and most fittingly, a library.

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This Pristine 1960 Ferrari 250 Spider Could Fetch $24 Million at Auction

The car wears the same colours and has the same engine it left the factory with.

By Bryan Hod 22/07/2024

Some Ferraris are just a little bit more important than others.

Take, for example, the 1960 250 GT SWB California that RM Sotheby’s is auctioning off during this year’s Monterey Car Week. Any example of the open-top beauty would attract interest, but this one just so happens to be the first one that was built.

The 250 is one of the most legendary series of cars in Ferrari history. Between 1952 and 1964, the company released 21 different 250 models—seven for racetracks, 14 for public roads—of which the “Cali Spider” might be the most well regarded, thanks to its potent V-12 and a Pininfarina-penned design that is one of the most beautiful bodies to grace an automobile. The roadster, which was specifically built for the U.S., made its debut in 1957 as a long-wheel-base model (LWB), but it wasn’t until the SWB model debut in 1960 that it became clear how special it was. This example isn’t just the first to roll off the line. It’s the actual car that was used to introduce the world to the model at the 1960 Geneva Motor Show.

1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider by Scaglietti Remi Dargegen/RM Sotheby’s

Just 56 examples of the 250 GT SWB California Spider would be built by Scaglietti during the three years it was in production. The first of those, chassis 1795 GT, is finished in a glossy coat of Grigio. The two-door had a red leather interior at Geneva but was returned to the factory and re-outfitted with black leather upholstery before being delivered to its original owner, British race car driver John Gordon Bennet. Six-and-a-half decades later the car looks identical to how it did when it left the factory the second time.

In addition to its original bodywork, the chassis 1795 GT features its original engine, gearbox, and rear axle. That mill is the competition-spec Tipo 168, a 3.0-litre V-12 that makes 196.1 kW. That may not sound like much by today’s standards, but, when you consider that the 250 GT SWB California Spider tips the scales around 952 kilograms, it’s more than enough.

Remi Dargegen/RM Sotheby’s

The first 250 GT SWB California Spider is scheduled to go up for bid during RM Sotheby’s annual Monterey Car Week auction, which runs from Thursday, August 15, to Saturday, August 17. Unsurprisingly, the house has quite high hopes for the car. The car carries an estimate of between $24 million and $26 million, which could make it one of the most expensive cars ever sold at auction.

Remi Dargegen/RM Sotheby’s

Monterey Car Week

 

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5 Lounge Chairs That Add Chic Seating to Your Space

Daybeds, the most relaxed of seating solutions, offer a surprising amount of utility. 

By Marni Elyse Katz 22/07/2024

Chaise longue, daybed, recamier, duchesse brisée—elongated furniture designed for relaxing has a roster of fancy names. While the French royal court of Louis XIV brought such pieces to prominence in fashionable European homes, the general idea has been around far longer: The Egyptian pharaohs were big fans, while daybeds from China’s Ming dynasty spurred all those Hollywood Regency fretwork pieces that still populate Palm Beach living rooms. Even Mies van der Rohe, one of design’s modernist icons, got into the lounge game with his Barcelona couch, a study of line and form that holds up today.

But don’t get caught up in who invented them, or what to call them. Instead, consider their versatility: Backless models are ideal in front of large expanses of glass (imagine lazing on one with an ocean view) or at the foot of a bed, while more structured pieces can transform any corner into a cozy reading nook. Daybeds may be inextricably linked to relaxation, but from a design perspective, they put in serious work.

Photo: Courtesy of Egg Collective

Emmy, Egg Collective 

In designing the Emmy chaise, the Egg Collective trio of Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis and Hillary Petrie, who met as students at Washington University in St. Louis, aimed for versatility. Indeed, the tailored chaise looks equally at home in a glass skyscraper as it does in a turn-of-the-century town house. Combining the elegance of a smooth, solid oak or walnut frame with the comfort of bolsters and cushioned upholstery or leather, it works just as well against a wall or at the heart of a room. From around $7,015; Eggcollective.com

Plum, Michael Robbins 

Woodworker Michael Robbins is the quintessential artisan from New York State’s Hudson Valley in that both his materials and methods pay homage to the area. In fact, he describes his style as “honest, playful, elegant and reflective of the aesthetic of the Hudson Valley surroundings”. Robbins crafts his furniture by hand but allows the wood he uses to help guide the look of a piece. (The studio offers eight standard finishes.) The Plum daybed, brought to life at Robbins’s workshop, exhibits his signature modern rusticity injected with a hint of whimsy thanks to the simplicity of its geometric forms. Around $4,275; MichaelRobbins.com 

Photo: Courtesy of Reda Amalou Design

Kimani, Reda Amalou Design 

French architect and designer Reda Amalou acknowledges the challenge of creating standout seating given the number of iconic 20th-century examples already in existence. Still, he persists—and prevails. The Kimani, a bent slash of a daybed in a limited edition of eight pieces, makes a forceful statement. Its leather cushion features a rolled headrest and rhythmic channel stitching reminiscent of that found on the seats of ’70s cars; visually, these elements anchor the slender silhouette atop a patinated bronze base with a sure-handed single line. The result: a seamless contour for the body. Around $33,530; RedaAmalou

Dune, Workshop/APD 

From a firm known for crafting subtle but luxurious architecture and interiors, Workshop/APD’s debut furniture collection is on point. Among its offerings is the leather-wrapped Dune daybed. With classical and Art Deco influences, its cylindrical bolsters are a tactile celebration, and the peek of the curved satin-brass base makes for a sensual surprise. Associate principal Andrew Kline notes that the daybed adeptly bridges two seating areas in a roomy living space or can sit, bench-style, at the foot of a bed. From $13,040; Workshop/ APD

Sherazade, Edra 

Designed by Francesco Binfaré, this sculptural, minimalist daybed—inspired by the rugs used by Eastern civilizations—allows for complete relaxation. Strength combined with comfort is the name of the game here. The Sherazade’s structure is made from light but sturdy honeycomb wood, while next-gen Gellyfoam and synthetic wadding aid repose. True to Edra’s amorphous design codes, it can switch configurations depending on the user’s mood or needs; for example, the accompanying extra pillows—one rectangular and one cylinder shaped— interchange to become armrests or backrests. From $32,900; Edra

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First Drive: The Lotus Emeya Targets Porsche, Mercedes, and Lucid With Its 70 kw Performance

What the all-electric sedan lacks in cohesive styling is more than made up for in muscular athleticism.

By Tim Pitt 22/07/2024

The purists will protest, but the idea of a luxurious Lotus sedan is nothing new. Back in 1980, company founder Colin Chapman commissioned Paulo Martin—a former Pininfarina designer who penned the canopy-roofed Ferrari 512 S Modulo concept—to create a radical six-seat limousine.

Called the Lotus Eminence, Martin’s vision was a futuristic wedge that owed much to the Aston Martin Lagonda. There was talk of active suspension, a carbon-fibre-and-Kevlar monocoque, optional armour plating, and a 4.0-litre V-8 engine. Sadly, despite additional sketches by Harris Mann (of Triumph TR7 fame), the ambitious project never made it beyond the design studio.

Lotus Group

Now, however, there’s the Lotus Emeya. Introducing the new model, Clive Chapman, son of the founder, drew parallels with the Eminence. “It was part of Dad’s enduring ambition to always push Lotus forward into new areas,” he explained. “I was aware of the Eminence project . . . but then dad died and that was that. And it’s taken this long for Lotus to make it to four-door territory. I know for sure that’s where Colin was wanting to take the company.”

Like the Eletre SUV, launched last year, the Emeya is built in China, fully electric, and packed with enough technology—including cameras, lidar, and radar sensors—to drive itself when laws allow.

“All it requires is an over-the-air update,” says the vehicle’s line director, Sylvain Verstraeten. Unfortunately, you don’t get Paulo Martin’s spaceship styling, but the flagship Emeya R can summon seemingly otherworldly acceleration. Its rivals include Porsche’s Taycan, Audi’s E-Tron GT, Tesla’s Model S, Mercedes-Benz’s EQS, and Lucid’s Air.

The Emeya’s 38 cm central touchscreen, which controls a myriad safety systems and a host of other functions, looks crisp and responds quickly. Lotus Group

Our electrified road trip with the Emeya begins in Munich, Germany, and will end in the Austrian Alps. Along the way, we will—legally—hit the Emeya’s VMAX on the autobahn, refuel it using Europe’s ultra-rapid Ionity charging network, and put it through its paces on spectacular mountain roads. So how does this Anglo-Chinese “Hyper GT” measure up?

Even when parked next to the 1470 kilowatt Lotus Evija hypercar, the Emeya still packs a visual punch, particularly in its signature shade of Solar Yellow. Its “porous” styling is largely sculpted by aerodynamics, with an active front grille, almost-hidden headlights, and a deep rear diffuser. The result isn’t especially cohesive—bulbous in some places, angular in others—and nobody would call it beautiful. But for an automaker keen to reinvent itself, being distinctive, or even divisive, is arguably better than blending in.

The Emeya R covers zero to 99.7 km in 2.8 seconds.
Lotus Group

We start out in the Emeya R, which uses two electric motors and a 102 kWh battery to develop 665 kw and 100.3 kpm of instantly available torque. Drive goes to all four wheels via a two-speed transmission, and the vehicle comes with carbon-ceramic brakes, active anti-roll bars, and rear-axel steering as standard. As for acceleration, zero to 99.7 km takes 2.8 seconds as the Emeya rushes to a top speed of 255 kmph. A more important consideration when you have a road trip ahead is the official WLTP driving range, which is 434 kilometres.

Unlike some EVs, the Emeya doesn’t have an artificial soundtrack, so it piles on speed smoothly and almost silently. By contrast, the G-forces generated are brutal and quite uncomfortable; like the sudden drop of a roller coaster, you brace your body and leave your stomach behind.

Yet back off the throttle a little and the Emeya is relaxing over long distances. Its electronically controlled air springs adjust to the road conditions—not unlike the active suspension that Colin Chapman envisioned in 1980—and it rides comfortably, even on 55.8 cm  wheels, which are the largest option available. There’s also more space for passengers than inside a Porsche Taycan, and the vehicle comes with a choice of a three-abreast rear bench or two individual seats with an infotainment console set between.

The 603 hp Emeya S.
Lotus Group

The potential barrier to touring in any EV is the requirement to recharge. However, if you can find a suitable rapid-charging station, a task made easier by the Emeya’s nav system plotting your pit stops and predicting your remaining range at every stage, this is one of quickest charging EVs of all. Using a 350 kW Ionity device, a 40 percent-to-95 percent top-up takes around 20 minutes. Find a 400 kW DC charger and Lotus claims that charging from 10 percent to 80 percent needs just 14 minutes.

With the vehicle plugged in and parked, we have a chance to play with the Emeya’s 22 cm central touchscreen, which controls a myriad safety systems and a host of other functions. The display looks crisp and responds quickly; connectivity to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, and the optional 23-speaker KEF audio system sounds epic. As for the cabin’s overall quality, it feels a match to that found with other premium brands.

As we cross in to Austria, the scenery gets steeper and the tarmac twistier. Clicking the left paddle from Tour into Sport mode, we find that the Emeya’s steering becomes more alert, the sedan’s suspension stiffens, and the seat bolsters tighten around the hips. We can sense the rear-wheel steering at work as the road spirals skywards, but a lardy curb weight of 2590 kilograms (only 49 kilograms lighter than the Lotus Eletre) can’t be completely overcome by clever chassis tech. It’s an accomplished effort, but we would be having more fun in an Emira or a Porsche Taycan.

Find a 400 kW DC charger and Lotus claims that charging from 10 percent to 80 percent needs just 14 minutes.
Lotus Group

The next day, it’s time to do the same route in reverse. This time, though, we are driving the midrange Emeya S, which has a smaller rear motor, a single-speed gearbox, and a set of six-piston steel brakes. Peak output is 449.6 kilowatts, but it weighs 99.7 kilograms less than the “R” variant, and the official range extends to 609.9 kilometres.

In fact, the “S” version is more than quick enough. It hits 99.7 from scratch in 4.2 seconds and reaches a reported top speed of 247 kph. Without the active Dynamic Pack options of the Emeya R, it also feels more intuitive on alpine roads, offering the supple fluidity that the Hethel-based marque does so well. Its steering response isn’t too caffeinated, and extra squidge in its suspension paints a clearer picture of the available grip. We found the steel discs less grabby, yet still capable of slowing the vehicle quickly from autobahn speeds.

The Emeya is packed with enough technology—including cameras, lidar, and radar sensors—to drive itself when laws allow.
Lotus Group

Lotus expects the Emeya S to take 60 percent of sales, and rightly so. Better equipped than the equally powerful base model, yet comfier in its own skin than the somewhat schizophrenic “R,” it feels like the sweet spot in the range.

The Emeya–particularly in ‘S’ guise—is a well-honed package, combining the performance of a Porsche, the refinement of a Mercedes, and the charging capability of a Tesla. The purists still won’t like it, though, whatever grand plans Colin Chapman had in store.

 

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Celebrating Neil Perry, Our Culinary Master 2024

Celebrating Neil Perry, our Culinary Master 2024.

By Robb Report Team 22/07/2024

Tickets to Culinary Masters, our annual culinary extravaganza—feting the country’s standout chef, in a once-in-a-lifetime, money-can’t-buy experience—are now available for sale.

The fact that Robb Report ANZ has chosen legendary Australian chef Neil Perry as its Culinary Master 2024 should surprise exactly no-one.

As a chef, restaurateur and television presenter Perry has reframed this country’s gastronomy scene for over four decades and remains as relevant as ever.

His neighbourhood restaurant Margaret has reinvigorated Double Bay in the last year and earned him a host of new accolades, including the third best steakhouse in the world—and the best in Australia. More recently, Perry was honoured with the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards ‘Icon’ at a ceremony held in Las Vegas.

We are thrilled to celebrate Perry’s landmark-year accomplishments, at Song Bird, his hotter-than-Hades new Cantonese restaurant in Double Bay, in an extraordinary night honouring culinary excellence and the best of luxury in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. A night not to be missed.

Details as follows:
Date: Tuesday 17th September 2024
Arrival: 6.30 pm for sit down 7.00 pm
Address:  Song Bird, 24 Bay St, Double Bay, NSW
Dress Code: Cocktail
Price: $660 (includes a $50 donation to ASX Refinitiv Charity Foundation)

Since 1998 ASX Refinitiv Charity Foundation has raised more than $40 million for Children’s, Medical Research and Disability charities doing incredible work every day.
I look forward to welcoming you in person and sharing a memorable evening together.

Horacio Silva
Editor-In-Chief

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