The Most Jaw-Dropping New Jewellery Of 2020

Classic designs, modern combinations and lots and lots of emeralds.

By Paige Reddinger 20/08/2020

While Boucheron most aptly captured the mood of the season in its wildly imaginative high-jewellery collection that used everything from algorithms to NASA-employed materials to evoke the escapist and fleeting quality of nature, other jewellers turned out several jaw-dropping creations that would be at home in any museum-worthy collection. Emeralds largely set the tone for the year, while onyx, turquoise and pearls were favoured as accents to heavy-weight stones. Here are some of the most jaw-dropping pieces to make their way out of the world’s top jewellery ateliers in 2020.

Cartier

Cartier diamond, aquamarine, coral and onyx Panthère Tropicale Watch

Cartier diamond, aquamarine, coral and onyx Panthère Tropicale Watch Courtesy of Cartier

Cartier delivered several pieces that would make anyone drop their silver spoon right onto the floor at a swank soirée. And while there may not be too many occasions at the moment to trot them out for all to see, time will, no doubt, prove them to be a worthy investment. Case in point: A mouth-watering high-jewellery timepiece in yellow gold accented with two large octagonal aquamarines totalling 12.71 carats, flanked by 20.58 carats of two octagonal blue tourmalines surrounded by ribbed coral on one side and brilliant-cut diamonds with flecks of onyx on the other. The dial of the quartz movement is also encrusted in pave diamonds with an onyx marker for 12 o’clock, but no one will be checking the hour when it finally makes its debut on a wrist.

Thanks to the unusual contrast in materials, this piece looks unlike any other high-jewellery watch on the market—and despite what looks like a watermelon motif, its design is actually rooted in Cartier themes that date back to the 1930s. These themes bore fruit during the reign of lauded creative director Jeanne Toussaint. Not only was she known for blending unusual materials and colours, but she was also known for taking Louis Cartier’s panthère theme, which debuted on a watch in 1914, and turning into a 3D brooch for the Duchess of Windsor in 1948. Interestingly, it was also during the Great Depression era when Cartier began to use semi-precious gemstones like aquamarines for the first time. They were, of course, more economical, but the fact that they were offered in a larger variety of geometric cuts also lent to the architectural look of Art Deco jewellery that was en vogue through the ’20s and ’30s. The new Panthère Tropicale is a stunning reinterpretation of the house’s greatest decades of design.

Cartier diamond, sapphire and lapis lazuli Sinopé Necklace

Cartier diamond, sapphire and lapis lazuli Sinopé Necklace Courtesy of Cartier

But the Maison didn’t forgo precious gems. Cartier found five rare matching sapphires totalling 39 carats to adorn its diamond Sinopé necklace, which mimics the flow of water. Peeking through on the top is a glimpse of the lapis lazuli that lines the interior. The necklace has been carefully articulated for movement on the neck so that its waves move easily along the skin. It is part of a suite that also features a matching necklace and earrings.

Cartier rubellite, turquoise and diamond Tovel necklace and earrings

Cartier rubellite, turquoise and diamond Tovel necklace and earrings Maxime Govet

Exercising its knack for extraordinary gems and colour combinations, another standout was the Tovel necklace set in platinum with two pear-shaped cabochon-cut rubellites totalling 32.51 carats, one 13.37-carat oval-shaped cabochon-cut rubellite, and several smaller cabochon-cut rubellites contrasted with turquoise surrounded by pillars of diamonds. It is part of a set that includes matching earrings and in addition to its striking design thought was also put into its versatility. The large rubellite drops can be removed from both the earrings and the necklace and in the case of the latter, it can be attached to the back of the clasp to hang down the back for a full-on display of gems on both sides.

Cartier emerald, diamond and onyx Opheis necklace

Cartier emerald, diamond and onyx Opheis necklace Courtesy of Cartier

Playing further into the appeal of Cartier’s roots in the graphics of the Art Deco period, the Opheis necklace has an interplay of geometries in its snaking collar of onyx and baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds. Taking the French name for Orpheus, the Greek god of music famous for mastering the Lyre, the necklace coils around the neck just like the bottom of the mythological character’s instrument. Set in white gold, the centrepiece of the necklace is its rectangular-shaped Zambian emerald that tools a whopping 53.94 carats and is surrounded by diamonds totalling 5.42 carats.

Orpheus was also known for trying to lure his wife, Eurydice, back from the dead with his music, but these days a giant emerald rock from Cartier might do the trick instead.

Cindy Chao

Cindy Chao Black Label Emerald Plumule Brooch and Earrings

Cindy Chao Black Label Emerald Plumule Brooch and Earrings MLEVASLOT

Emeralds proved to be among the most exceptional examples in Hong Kong-based jewellery designer Cindy Chao’s collection this season, and with good reason. Chao waited a decade before settling on the perfect setting for a pair of pear-shaped Colombian emeralds, totalling 90-carats, that adorn her stunning green plumule earrings. They come topped off with two briolette-cut brown diamonds weighing 9.6-carats total. The contours are enriched with 456 tsavorites, 7 alexandrites, 547 yellow diamonds and 325 colour-changing garnets to create texture around the feather design. The gems rest on titanium which has been anodized to varying blue-grey and purple-grey tints to highlight the emeralds and add lightness for a weight of just 43 grams for the pair.

A matching brooch decked with 487 fancy-cut emeralds of 172.58 carats was also created to maximize Chao’s treasure trove of the vivid gems. Seventeen of the emeralds are Colombian; the largest, weighing in at 30.06 carats, crowns the piece. Each of the 14 veins of the feather, which are flexible to give movement to the piece, are linked together by a yellow and brown paved diamond stem and adorned along the edges with colour-changing garnets and tsavorites. Also set in titanium, the 15 cm brooch weighs less than 49 grams, which Chao says is less than the weight of two macaroons.

Each piece took around 10,000 hours of work and both are based on Chao’s yellow-diamond Phoenix feather brooch, which sold at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong in May 2017 for HKD 8,700,000, or approximately $1.5 million according to exchange rates at the time. And this pairing far outshines its predecessor.

Bulgari

Bulgari

Bulgari tourmaline, turquoise, amethyst and diamond ring Courtesy of Bulgari

Green, a colour of renewal and energy, was evidently the go-to this season for the big jewellery houses. At Bulgari, a richly-hued 11.28-carat cushion tourmaline took centre stage in a pink gold ring. It topped off buff-top tourmalines (0.58 carats), turquoise (0.53 carats) and amethysts (1 carat), along with pave-set diamonds (0.58 carats). “This ring is my favourite piece from the collection,” Bulgari creative director, Lucia Silvestri, told Robb Report. “I wanted it for myself. The centre is eleven carats of green tourmaline, I love how that it’s not a green with blue, but rather a green with a hint of yellow, paired with turquoise, amethyst, and rubellite. You can see from afar that it is a Bulgari piece, very modern yet very timeless.”

Bulgari Emerald Star Necklace with Diamonds and Pearls

Bulgari Emerald Star Necklace with Diamonds and Pearls Courtesy of Bulgari

The Italian house elevated emeralds in a necklace inspired by the Sant’Ivo all Sapienza church, one of Borromini’s baroque masterpieces. Design elements of the church’s exterior apex are reflected in the pearls and unusual sassi-cut of the emeralds. Set in white gold, the necklace has 145.75 carats of 7 tumble emeralds, along with pearls, buff-top emeralds and round brilliant-cut and pave-set diamonds. It took 900 hours for Bulgari’s workshop to adapt each element to the irregular shape of the emeralds. It is part of a suite that includes earrings and a bracelet.

“I really enjoyed creating this collection because Barocko is perfectly imperfect, beautifully vibrant in colour, with an edge of rock and roll,” says Silvestri. “The idea to do a Baroque theme came to us about two or three years ago. Baroque is in our veins. It’s in our DNA.”

Bulgari Rocking Tanzanite Necklace with diamonds and Akoya South Sea Cultured Pearls

Bulgari Rocking Tanzanite Necklace with diamonds and Akoya South Sea Cultured Pearls Antonio Barrella

The ornate, antique design of the Baroque era seems like a far cry from rock n’ roll, but pieces like this Rocking Tanzanite necklace demonstrates how the house was able to blend the two together for a modern take on the 17th-century style. Onyx and diamonds decorate the chain, while the Akoya South Sea cultured pearls are tipped with white gold studs. Crowning the piece is a knock-your-socks-off 48.77-carat cushion tanzanite.

Chanel

Chanel Tweed Graphique High-Jewelry

Chanel Tweed Graphique High-Jewelry Courtesy of Chanel

Chanel also incorporated onyx into its high-jewellery by weaving it in with diamonds in a nod to its perennial inspiration, tweed. The result was an eye-popping graphic collection that proved the house codes translate as seamlessly into Place Vendôme gems as they do on the runway. Each piece is set in white gold, diamonds and onyx. The largest diamond comes on the ring in 6.07 carats. The set also comes with a pair of matching earrings.

Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald and Diamond Necklace

Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald and Diamond Necklace Bertrand Moulin

Not be outdone, Van Cleef & Arpels presented two extraordinary emerald necklaces fit for a queen. The first, the Merveille d’Emeraudes comes with five pear-shaped Colombian emeralds totalling 70.40 carats hanging from a white gold and diamond setting featuring one pear-shaped DFL type 2A diamond (5.81 carats), two pear-shaped DIF type 2A diamonds (7.18 carats) that opulently hang down the back of the neck.

Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond Earrings

Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond Earrings Bertrand Moulin

The emerald pendants detach and can be added to the earrings to replace the diamond drops in case you want the gems dripping from your ears and your neck.

 

Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald and Diamond Necklace

Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald and Diamond Necklace Belonging to Princess Faiza of Egypt Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

It takes its cues from a necklace that once belonged to Princess Faiza (pictured above). It was acquired in 1947, almost two decades after its creation in 1929, by the Egyptian court’s representative in France for the princess.

 

Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond Bracelet

Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond Bracelet Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

Silver screen royalty inspired the new Rubis en Scène bracelet, modelled after a ruby Van Cleef & Arpels version that once belonged to Marlene Dietrich. She was regularly photographed wearing it during her lifetime and it also made an appearance on her wrist in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 film Stage Fright. The Jarretière cuff was the only piece of jewellery the actress didn’t sell off to pay her bills before her death in 1992. It was sold later that year at Sotheby’s for $990,000 and remains in a private collection.

But for anyone looking to get their hands on the next best thing, the new creation will be as good as it gets until the Jarretière’s owner decides to sell. It comes with 72 Burmese rubies totalling 84.74 carats and is set in white gold with round, square-shaped and baguette-cut diamonds for a 21st-century femme fatale.

Dior

Dior Diamond, Sapphire, Garnet and Cultured Pearl Ring

Dior Diamond, Sapphire, Garnet and Cultured Pearl Ring Courtesy of Dior

In fashion, it’s pervasive to see low-brow references inspiring high-brow design at astronomical price points, but in high-jewellery, it’s as rare as the jewels themselves. This season, Victoire de Castellane took an ’80s DIY trend and elevated it to create the kind of jewellery you almost never see in the streets. Tie die was the inspiration behind the explosive twists of colour at Dior. The new spin on coloured gemstones and pearls demonstrate why Castellane has been Dior’s rock star since she took on the role as creative director of its fine jewellery division over two decades ago.

Case in point: A pair of asymmetrical yellow gold earrings piled with diamonds, blue and Paraiba-type tourmalines, tsavorite and spessartite garnets, emeralds and pink, blue and yellow sapphires come topped off with an opposing pale pink and sea-green cultured pearls with large tourmalines offering juxtaposition just beneath.

Dior Diamond, Sapphire, Garnet, Ruby and Tourmaline Earrings

Dior Diamond, Sapphire, Garnet, Ruby and Tourmaline Earrings Courtesy of Dior

The strongest pieces played to this composition like two rings that also play off their big centrepiece stones. A sea-green pearl appears to nestle into the side of a large sapphire flanked by diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and garnets, while another ring that curves around the finger without completing the circle, is crowned with an orange pearl on the bottom left and a pink pearl on its top right.

Dior Diamond, Sapphire, Garnet, Emerald and Cultured Pearl Ring

Dior Diamond, Sapphire, Garnet, Emerald and Cultured Pearl Ring Courtesy of Dior

It might be based on arty ’80s fad that’s seeing a renaissance, but these pearls look as though they are resting in a mosaic gem-studded representation of the sea’s natural technicolour flora and fauna.

Messika

Messika Diamond Equalizer Collar Necklace

Messika Diamond Equalizer Collar Necklace Courtesy of Messika

Diamonds are a specialty of Valerie Messika’s family business and oh boy, did she deliver. This collar necklace’s centrepiece is a 17-carat pear-shaped diamond. It appears to float in between crisscrossed lines of baguette and round diamonds meant to capture the up and down musical vibrations of equalisers which oscillate on monitors in recording studios.

 

Messika Diamond Equalizer Earrings

Messika Diamond Equaliser Earrings Courtesy of Messika

Keeping tempo with the necklace, a set of earrings in mismatched sizing feature a zigzag of diamonds, which also take their cues from music, in the pattern of a swinging metronome. A pair diamond of 4 carats quivers at the tip of the XL earring, while a 1.50 carat dangles from the shorter version. Literally, music to the ears.

Harry Winston

Harry Winston Wreath Necklace in amethyst, sapphires, peridot, euberlite, aquamarine, tsavorite and diamonds

Harry Winston Wreath Necklace and ring in Amethyst, Sapphires, Peridot, Rubellite, Aquamarine, Tsavorite and Diamonds Courtesy of Harry Winston

Harry Winston kept its designs classic but offered a burst of colour in a necklace outfitted with a bouquet of amethysts, sapphires, peridots, rubellite, aquamarines, tsavorites and diamonds, weighing in for a total of 152.40 carats. The wreath of gems also comes with matching earrings in the same configuration of gems, excluding tsavorites, at 7.31 carats. Both pieces are set in 18-carat yellow gold and platinum.

Harry Winston Cluster Wreath Diamond Necklace

Harry Winston Cluster Wreath Diamond Necklace Courtesy of Harry Winston

But staying true to its history of creating major diamond showstoppers, a platinum necklace set with 260 diamonds at 92.41 carats took the cake as the premiere heirloom piece.

Harry Winston Cluster Emerald Earrings and Rings

Harry Winston Cluster Emerald Earrings and Rings Courtesy of Harry Winston

For those that can’t get enough of the emeralds in this year’s high-jewellery spread, the house offered a few richly hued Cluster creations. The ring, which will likely be the most coveted of the three, is a 4.63-carat solitaire set in yellow gold and platinum and surrounded by 10 diamonds weighing 2.80 carats. But why just have one when you can have a set? A pair of triangular earrings with two emeralds at 2.55 carats will appeal to those looking for just a touch more flair in design, but for those set on weight, the 5.01 carats on a pair of studs with wings of pear-shaped diamonds for a crown are a must.

Chopard

Chopard emerald, sapphire and tsavorite Ginkgo Earrings

Chopard Ginkgo earrings in emerald, sapphire and tsavorite Courtesy of Chopard

Major statement earrings were the stars of Chopard’s Red Carpet Collection, and while they’ll see few opportunities this year to show off on any carpet other than inside a home, they serve up plenty of inspiration for future affairs. Large showpiece earrings, like these pair of Gingko tree stunners dripping with 33.3 carats of pear-shaped emeralds, 16.5 carats of brilliant-cut yellow sapphires and 14.9 carats of tsavorites, can be excruciating to wear if a jeweller has not taken great care to consider the weight on the ear, but Chopard’s come set in ultra-lightweight titanium to ease the heft of its gems. The emeralds are held in place with ethical 18-carat rose gold.
An even lighter pair of titanium-set Pansy earrings show off nature’s paintbrush in ombre shades of purple via 30.8-carats of sapphires and 6.3 carats of amethysts with 14.8 carats of yellow sapphires shading its petals. At the centre of each flower are 8.3 carats of yellow-brown diamonds, while tsavorites sit like dew drops on the petals.
Chopard Pansy earrings in sapphires, garnets, yellow brown diamonds, amethysts and tasvorites

Chopard Pansy earrings in sapphires, garnets, yellow-brown diamonds, amethysts and tsavorites Courtesy of Chopard

And for those that prefer old Hollywood style, these diamond earrings that hold a 10.03-carat rose-cut pear-shaped diamond and an 8.02-carat rose-cut pear-shaped diamond at their centre should capture the spotlight. Each giant pear-shaped rock is surrounded in 5 carats of smaller pear-shaped diamonds and .78 carats on minute round diamonds and set in 18-carat white Fairmined certified ethical gold.

Chopard 10.03-carat pear-shaped diamond earrings

Chopard 10.03-carat pear-shaped diamond earrings

Pomellato

Pomellato Gourmette Assoluta Rose Gold and Brown Diamond Necklace

Pomellato Gourmette Assoluta Rose Gold and Brown Diamond Necklace Courtesy of Pomellato

While it might seem unusual for Pomellato to come out with its first high-jewelry collection in the midst of a global pandemic, it delivered pieces that felt the most relatable in today’s current environment. Nearly every piece would look as good with a white button-down and jeans as it would with an evening gown, should we ever see the gala circuit remerge one day. One of the most versatile highlights included a pavé-diamond version of its classic chain necklace decked with 3,000 cognac-coloured gems set in pink gold.

Pomellato Iconica Choker in Rose Gold and Diamonds

Pomellato Iconica Choker in Rose Gold and Diamonds Courtesy of Pomellato

Another was a thin pavé-diamond choker necklace backed by rose gold that is only visible on the interior that took 226 hours to create. While there is certainly nothing simple about a neck full of 1,706 diamonds, Pomellato’s design felt both modern and tastefully subdued. “La Gioia di Pomellato truly expresses who we are—our deepest identity—and Pomellato is not an elitist jeweller,” said Sabina Belli, Pomellato CEO, in a press statement. For high-jewellery clients looking for something on the more subtle side, the Italian house has certainly filled a new niche in the market.

 

 

 

Pomellato Nudo Necklace in Topaz, Peirdo, Rhodelite, Amethyst, Garnet and Diamond

Pomellato Nudo Necklace in Topaz, Peridot, Rhodolite, Amethyst, Garnet and Diamond Courtesy of Pomellato

But the Milanese Maison didn’t forgo its signature use of semi-precious coloured stones. This Nudo necklace combines nearly the entire rainbow with a myriad of blue topaz, sea green peridot, raspberry tourmaline, lemon quartz, orange garnet, purple amethyst and pink rhodolite. Each strand of stones hangs from gold chains suspended from diamond-encrusted circles. Even in an explosion of hues, Pomellato managed to create high-jewellery that felt thoroughly primed for 2020.

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Everybody Loves Naomi 

Fashion fans adore her. And so do we. Lucky, then, that a new exhibition is paying homage to four decades of snake-hipped catwalking.

By Joseph Tenni 22/06/2024

Naomi Campbell contains multitudes. Since emerging on the scene in 1986, modelling for British designer Jasper Conran, the statuesque stunner has used the runway for takeoff. She has ventured into all aspects of the culture, from Vogue to Playboy and reality TV. In the business arena, she has dabbled in publishing and the two F&Bs (fragrance and beauty, and food and beverage). Her philanthropic efforts are legion.

Naomi is better known than any of her peers and, aged 54, remains more relevant than ever. As a testament to her pervading influence, a new exhibition, Naomi: In Fashion, is opening at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Celebrating her 40 years in the spotlight, the show includes clothes from the model’s closet and some of the designer fashion she has helped to immortalise.

We all know her snake-hipped walk, her glowing skin, her famous paramours, and—yes—her many tantrums and tiaras. But how much do we love her exactly? Let’s count some of the ways. 

1. She Was Born to Be Famous

Many people know Naomi for her appearances in music videos for Michael Jackson’s In the Closet and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90—the latter also featuring fellow supermodels Linda, Cindy and Christy. But Naomi has been in front of the camera since she was a child, and her prolific music-video career predates her modelling. At 8, she appeared in the official video for Bob Marley’s 1978 hit Is This Love. At 13, Culture Club cast her as a tap-dancing teen in I’ll Tumble 4 Ya. It would be another two years before she was discovered by model scout Beth Boldt, while shopping in London’s Covent Garden.

Courtesy Off-White. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

2. She Hits All the Right Notes

As anyone who has ever seen Unzipped, the 1995 cult fashion documentary by Douglas Keeve, Naomi always has a song in her heart. She put her mouth where her money was in 1994 and recorded an album, Babywoman. The cover art featured Naomi, photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth, shaving her legs while sitting on the toilet. Fittingly, the album was canned—despite assistance from contributors like Donna Summer and PM Dawn. 

3. She’s Always Ready for Her Close-Up
Hollywood’s history is full of models who went on to become successful actors. Naomi is not one of them. But not for want of trying. Her turn as a nightclub singer in Vanilla Ice’s 1991 movie Cool as Ice flies under the radar but doesn’t deserve to. Nor does her scene-stealing cameo as a French cheese shopper in The Night We Never Met, alongside Matthew Broderick and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Or her playing a sexy telephone operator in Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Who else has that kind of range? 

4. She Tells It Like It Is

We’d be remiss not to mention her 1994 novel Swan. A roman a clef about a young girl breaking into the modelling industry, flanked by her four besties who are also divas in training heels, it certainly played with genres. A murder-mystery-cum-sexy-romance-cum-vocational-advice page-turner, or something like that, this guilty pleasure was cruelly overlooked and relegated to the annals of bargain bins everywhere. 

5. She’s Got a Mind for Business

Naomi has been vocal over the years about making less money than her white peers and was not going to wait for the industry to catch up. Instead, she has ventured into businesses ranging from her former stake in the Fashion Cafe in New York to her signature fragrances, first released in 1999. What does Naomi smell like? Subtle yet complicated, consisting of top notes of peach, coconut and bergamot with a deep, woody base of cedar and sandalwood—apparently.

6. She Gives Until It Hurts

For a so-called narcissist, Naomi has often put her fame to philanthropic use. She has galvanised black models in fashion with the Black Girls Coalition and has raised money for Africa, Haiti and disaster relief worldwide, including after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. When she was dating the Russian billionaire and Aman Resorts owner Vladislav Doronin, she became committed to saving the tiger. Is there anything this overachiever can’t do?

7. She Can Make Hay From Anything

When she was sentenced to community service following allegations by a former employer that Naomi had attacked her with a mobile phone, the model emerged from her punishment dressed in couture and trailed by a photo crew who were shooting a fashion layout of her for W magazine. And when she was summoned in 2010 to appear in a war crimes trial against former Liberian president Charles Taylor—in relation to an uncut blood diamond he’d allegedly given her—our girl showed up in an Azzedine Alaïa twin-set and wearing a silver “evil eye” necklace, turning the courtroom into a photo opportunity.

8. She’ll Be on Your Side for Evermore
The fashion industry is hardly known for its loyalty or congeniality, but Naomi has maintained decades-long friendships with not only her supermodel sisters like Christy Turlington but also some of the most powerful and difficult players, including John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. That she has remained tight with so many of her friends is not lost on her adoring public. She must be a loyal person and in return, fans everywhere remain loyal to her.

Naomi: In Fashion runs from June 22, 2024, until April 16, 2025, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; vam.ac.uk

Courtesy Vivienne Westwood. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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The Sapphire Dinner 2024 Raises Support for Ocean Conservation

This year’s boldfaced bash raised funds for our critically under-supported national treasures. 

By Horacio Silva 22/06/2024

The big fish of Sydney society came out Thursday night for the third annual Sapphire Dinner to raise much-needed money for ocean conservation. Held in conjunction with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the boldfaced bash was the first sit-down dinner held at the Tank, a repurposed World War II fuel container that sits beneath the Art Gallery’s new wing. 

Set against a backdrop of immersive ocean-inspired video projections by South Korean digital creators d’strict, and with a dress code that inspired guests to recycle their most fabulous fashions, the zero-waste dinner supports The Sapphire Project’s mission to galvanise the community to take action to protect our oceans and the Great Barrier Reef.

Deep-pocketed VIPs who walked the evening’s blue carpet included  Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, real estate maven Monika Tu, Penelope Seidler, Anna Marsden (Managing Director of Great Barrier Reef Foundation), Michael and Tina Brand, Andrew Cameron, MCA Chair Lorraine Tarabay, Myer boss Olivia Wirth, benefactors Paris Neilsen and Beau Neilson, and Paul Howes and Olivia Wirth, the power couple known as ‘Paulivia’. 

Retired swimmer Giaan Rooney MC’d the event, hosted by Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie and Ryan Gollan and committee members Ian Thorpe AM, Luke Hepworth, Clare Herschell, Susan Wynne, Brioney Prier, Bianca Rinehart, Doris Ma, Kate Champion, Ellie Aitken, and Chong Chua. 

A troupe of former Australian Ballet dancers and a musical performance by the Fijian-Australian singer and actress Paulini entertained the revellers.   

Among the auctioned items was an original work by Del Kathryn Barton, which raised more than $200,000 in a high-spirited bidding war led by Four Pillars Gin founder Stu Gregor, whose expletive-laden entreaties were suitably salty. 

Nobody minded, given that more than a million dollars were raised to support the criminally underfunded ocean conservation (it’s estimated that only about 2 percent of philanthropy in Australia goes towards the preservation of our precious national treasures), with funds going to support important initiatives such as The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station, the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station, the Australian Sea Lion Recovery Foundation and Biopixel Oceans Foundation’s Project Hammerhead

The Sapphire Project Dinner 2024
Clare Herschell, Kate Champion, Bianca Rinehart & Hayley Baillie
The tablescapes at the Sapphire Project Dinner
Ian Thorpe
Adrian and Beck Buchan
Monika Tu
The Sapphire Project Dinnner 2024
Lucy & Malcolm Turnbull
Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie & Ryan Gollan

For further information, visit SapphireProject.com.au

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.

Tod’s

In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”

tods.com

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Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

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