Sunday, July 7, 2013

CoutureLiving Rebrand

Dear Members and Guests,

It is with great pleasure that I today announce that after a tedious rebrand process, CoutureLiving has officially relaunched as NEUE LUXE

As a result of our rebrand effort this CoutureLiving blog will cease to operate as of today. You are invited to visit for all of your luxury lifestyle news in the future..

The decision to rebrand is part of a deliberate strategy targeted at proactively widening our non-member audience while strengthening our member service commitment; but also at delineating our brand from those recently established external companies making use of the CoutureLiving name.

I look forward to sharing in the successes of this next phase of our future with you all.

Best Regards,

     Christopher Deravenal, Chairman

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rolls-Royce Reveals Wraith in Geneva

After weeks of teasers, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. revealed the Wraith, a sleek, fastback model that is arguably the closest a Rolls has ever come to being racy.

The new model is the most powerful Rolls-Royce, with a 12-cylinder engine that generates 624 horsepower that is channeled through an eight-speed automatic transmission. It sounds fairly common, except that the transmission uses GPS map data to determine in advance which gear will be right for the road ahead.

The engine and transmission combination also enables the car to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, compared with 4.7 seconds for the Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Wraith buyers can order from a long list of special options and custom features including the Starlight Headliner, which was previously available only on the flagship Phantom models. There are 1,340 fiber-optic lamps woven into the roof lining by hand to give the impression of a starry night sky.

“Today we launch the ultimate gentlemen’s gran turismo, a car that embodies the spirit of Charles Stewart Rolls,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which is a unit of German luxury-car maker BMW AG. “The most powerful Rolls-Royce in history, Wraith promises the sense of adventure and speed that drove our founding forefather.”

The first deliveries of the Wraith will begin in the fourth quarter of this year, the company said. In Europe the car will cost €245,000. Rolls-Royce said it would release more pricing details later this year.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mercedes-Benz to offer illuminated emblem star

Mercedes-Benz Accessories has announced that an illuminated front grille star will be offered on its compact model range.

Using optical fiber with LED technology, the star emblem is lighted up only when the car is stationary, when the car is unlocked or the engine is stopped.

It also lights up when the car’s doors or trunk is opened, and once they are closed, the light will go off in 15 seconds.

Already available for the M and GL Class SUVs, the optical fiber white LED-lit tri-star emblem will be extended starting next month for the C, CLS, and E Class models.

The luminous star is priced at €300. So far, this has only been announced for the European models. No word on US availablity.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rolls-Royce Wraith will be a ‘fastback’

A final teaser image indicates that the Rolls-Royce Wraith will be a serious Grand Touring car focused on the driver, rather than the rear passengers.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has confirmed that the Wraith is indeed a coupe or, as it prefers to call it, a ‘fastback,’ and as such has published a final teaser image of the car in profile, ahead of its official launch.

Of the car’s lines, Giles Taylor, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Design Director explains: “Inherent in the graceful line that sweeps from the top of the screen to the very rear edge is the promise of fast, yet effortless touring.”

“Yet, perhaps my favourite aspect is the expressive gesture that comes from the side window graphic, gliding through Wraith’s glamorous coach door.”

Scheduled to make its first official appearance at the Geneva Motor Show on March 7, the Wraith could attract more than its fair share of admiring looks from clients that would otherwise be heading straight to the Ferrari, Bentley or Mercedes stands in search of something with four comfortable seats tied to a massively powerful engine.

Earlier images of the car suggested that the latest Rolls-Royce would be powerful and muscular and that its interior would be designed to evoke the company’s aeronautical heritage as much as its motoring history. The final image confirms that the Wraith will be a two-door, four-seater luxury cruiser.

There is no mention of how much the Wraith will cost but, as Rolls-Royce is famous for saying, if one has to ask…

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mila Kunis Named Ambassador Of Emerald Company

Mila Kunis, star of “Black Swan” and “Ted,” has signed a new deal as global brand ambassador for precious stone specialist Gemfields.

As the company’s new brand ambassador, the Hollywood actress has added her face to Gemfields’s latest advertising campaign, photographed by Italian fashion legend Mario Sorrenti and styled by Anastasia Barbieri.

In her new ad campaign, Mila sports one-of-a-kind emerald and ruby accessories created in partnership with Fabergé, which was acquired by Gemfields last year.

Kunis recently toured Gemfields’ Zambian mine, Kagem, which produces approximately 20 percent of the world’s emeralds. “Mila has blown me away with her energy, enthusiasm and dedication,” said Gemfields CEO Ian Harebottle.

London-based Gemfields is the world’s leading colored gemstone producer, but this is the first time the company has hired a brand ambassador. The adverts are set to run around the world in publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Bazaar and W.

Monday, February 18, 2013

An armor-plated BMW for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall

Renowned car brand – BMW had, in 2011, announced its 7 Series High Security, a high-tech cruiser that ensures the security of its owners. Now again in 2013, the luxury brand is rumored to have gone a step ahead, building an armor-plated high security vehicle for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Nicknamed the ‘uber technical land yacht’ by experts in its field, and still at its testing phase at Scotland Yard, the BMW new entrant claims to be the ultimate high security vehicle.

The $464,000 worth rider, though shares a few advanced features with its 7 series brethren, is pumped up with additional features: removable bulletproof windscreens, anti-kidnap remote locking mechanism, and an anti-terrorist device enabling the engine to be started from 150 yards to avoid explosions. Apart from these, the car is equipped with poisonous gas detector that automatically shuts down windows and doors activating the oxygen supply.

Armani to convert iconic Admiralty Arch into a luxury hotel in London

Giorgio Armani, one of the biggest fashion icons, now wants to give a makeover to the prestigious Admiralty Arch in London. After building luxurious Armani Hotel in Milan and Dubai, the Italian designer has set his sight on London. The landmark Admiralty Arch, which lies between The Mall and Trafalgar Square in memory of Queen Victoria, will now transform into $155 million luxury hotel. The iconic hotel will house 80 to 100 guestrooms, including royal and presidential suites. It will also include a restaurant and bar for public with official Armani shops selling the luxury label’s goods.

The bid for Admiralty Arch to the British government has not been made public, but apparently, the deal is at an advanced stage. It was touted earlier that the Government has leased the landmark to Rafael Serrano, a Spanish entrepreneur, who desired the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge.

The Armani – Admiralty Arch luxury hotel is expected to start operation from December 2015.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New teaser pic of Rolls-Royce Wraith

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has published the second official image of its new model Wraith, which will be presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013.

The BMW-owned luxury car company is being typically vague about what potential owners can expect from the new vehicle, other than that it will do justice to the name Wraith, a powerful V6 Rolls-Royce developed in 1938.

The latest picture shows its rear quarters in silhouette and suggest that the car may break with the marque’s 108-year reputation for discreet power and performance.

The little that can be seen is muscular and reminiscent of recent Bentleys in terms of flared arches and muscular haunches.

The hints that Rolls-Royce is dropping also suggest that this will be a driver’s car. It describes its power as being “more than ample” rather than the more traditional “adequate, sir” and therefore will have to combine luxury and a magic carpet ride in terms of suspension and dampening with road handling and feedback.

Of the new car, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said: “Rolls-Royce Wraith will draw superlatives when it is unveiled in Geneva.

Expect the boldest design, the most dramatic performance and the most powerful Rolls-Royce that has ever played host to the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.”

Champagne sales lose fizz in 2012

Sales of champagne fell by 4.4 percent in volume terms last year, but increased exports helped compensate for sagging European consumption and kept revenue flat at 4.37 billion euros ($5.86 billion), a trade association said Tuesday.

The slide in annual sales to 308.8 million bottles in 2012 was primarily due to the sharp 13.3 percent fall in European sales and a 8.8 percent fall in France in December, the Champagne Wine Professionals Committee (CIVC) said Tuesday.

Exports of the high-end French sparkling white wine rose by 3.2 percent however to reach a record high of 61 million bottles.

“More than ever champagne has an international value, and other countries represent an essential conduit to growth due to their strong consumption of prestigious vintages,” said CIVC spokesman Thibaut Le Mailloux.

David Beckham to live in luxury suite

After much speculation as to where David Beckham will rest his head every night in Paris, it seems the newest player for Paris Saint-Germain has chosen the luxury Hotel Bristol, a five-star property that sits along one of the ritziest streets in the city.

Beckham will be housed in the largest suite at the hotel at a cost of an estimated €17,000 a night. The hotel bill will be footed by his new team for the next five months.

At 322 square meters, the 4-room Imperial Suite includes a sitting room, 2 bedrooms and a dining area that overlooks the hotel’s French garden and can seat 12 people.

Beckham will get ready for his games in a bathroom made of pink Aurora marble, which features a steam shower and bath.

The hotel boasts a triple Michelin-starred restaurant — Epicure helmed by chef Eric Frechon. The gastronomic experience, meanwhile, comes in at astronomic prices for many, with the exclusion of superstar athletes with a bevy of endorsement deals.

A first course of crispy asparagus velouté or sauce, light zabaglione and black truffle ice cream, for instance, will set you back €95, while macaroni and cheese with black truffle, artichoke, duck foie gras and mature Parmesan cheese costs €92.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Van Cleef & Arpels Returns to World of Ballet

Famed for his choreography for “Black Swan,” the new head of the Paris Opera Ballet will work with Van Cleef & Arpels on a new piece titled “Reflections.”

Benjamin Millepied doesn’t start as Director of Dance at the Paris Opera until autumn 2014, but he’s already keeping himself busy in the French capital with a new collaboration celebrating precious stones.

More than forty-five years after Van Cleef & Arpels first debuted “Jewels”, a ballet by George Balanchine inspired by the jewelry of the famous Parisian gem-specialist and watchmaker founded in 1896, the brand is working on a new project.

The music for “Reflections” has been composed by David Lang. Costume and stage design will be handled by American artist Barbara Kruger.

Millepied is no stranger to luxury labels; in July 2011 he became the face of Yves Saint Laurent’s L’Homme Libre fragrance.

“Reflections” will be performed from May 23-25, 2013 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dior opens first boutique in Australia

Christian Dior opened its first Australasian flagship boutique in Sydney last week, reflecting continued demand for luxury fashion despite the tough economic climate.

The new store is designed to replicate Dior’s renowned boutique on Paris’s Avenue Montaigne. It is located in the former Louis Vuitton store on the corner of King and Castlereagh streets.

Designed in the style of a grand Parisian apartment, with over a dozen distinct rooms, the store spans four storeys and features women’s ready to wear, menswear, timepieces, accessories and fine jewellery.

In recent months, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Miu Miu, Salvatore Ferragamo, Canali and Bottega Veneta have either set up for the first time in Australia, opened in more locations, or rejuvenated existing stores.

Australia has become a target for luxury brands lured by a high Australian dollar, a healthy economy compared with Europe, and proximity to the emerging Asian market.

Wynn acquires $33.6 million Tulips by Jeff Koons

Wynn Las Vegas unveiled artist Jeff Koons‘ sculpture titled Tulips at the hotel-casino on Thursday. The sculpture was bought at an auction last year for $33,682,500.

The legendary piece is the sculptural culmination of Koons’ Celebration series. Created in five unique versions, Tulips is one of the largest and most complex sculptures in the series.

The sculpture represents a bouquet of twisted balloon flowers, which have been cast in stainless steel and brought to a high mirror polish and plated in a vivid spectrum of color.

The gleaming surface and vivid color palette of the sculpture reflect both the viewer and itself, resulting in a kaleidoscope of color and near infinite reflections.

The sculpture creates the sensation of weightlessness but is paradoxically heavy, employing more than 3 tons of meticulously sculpted stainless steel.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Paris Ritz renovations uncover mystery masterpiece

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ladurée opens first chocolate boutique in Paris

Renowned macaron maker Ladurée has expanded its sweets repertoire with the opening of an opulent chocolate boutique in Paris near the Tuileries Gardens.

Les Marquis de Ladurée has opened the doors to its 18th-century-inspired chocolate boutique at 14, rue de Castiglione in the city’s tony first arrondissement where, instead of macarons and classic French desserts like millefeuilles and éclairs, the display window reveals rows of ganache-covered bonbons, pralines and truffles.

On the chocolate menu, gourmands will find both classic and unexpected flavors such as rum, violet, rose, black tea and fruit or sesame.

Truffles are flavored with raspberries or wine spices, while macaron lovers can still get their fix with chocolate-covered cookies or chocolate-flavored macarons such as white chocolate and passion fruit and chocolate yuzu.

In the similar tradition of Ladurée’s tea houses, the chocolate boutique in the affluent area of Paris near the Tuileries Gardens and Place de la Concorde is a den of opulent but elegant extravagance, with a color palette that alternates between ivory and grey, embellished stucco ceilings, Italian white marble counters and a Murano crystal chandelier that serves as the centerpiece of the boutique.

Ladurée’s opening adds to an already rich and spoiled city for fine, premium chocolates and master chocolatiers.

Bonbons from Jean-Paul Hévin, Jacques Génin and Michel Cluizel, for example, inspire pilgrimages by chocoholics from all over the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Valentino to launch first menswear store

Italian fashion house Valentino has announced plans to expand its men’s business by opening its first dedicated menswear stores.

With new financial support from Qatar-based company Mayhoola for Investments – which acquired Valentino Fashion Group SpA in July – the label will open a string of new menswear boutiques, starting with Paris, followed by London and then Milan.

Head designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have enlisted the help of architect David Chipperfield to construct an aesthetic for the stores.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rolls Royce Wraith: First Official Image

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars published Tuesday the first official image of its new model Wraith, which will be presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013.

The BMW-owned luxury car company is being typically vague about what potential owners can expect from the new vehicle, other than that it will do justice to the name Wraith, a powerful V6 Rolls-Royce developed in 1938.

Of the new car, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said: “Rolls-Royce Wraith will draw superlatives when it is unveiled in Geneva.

Expect the boldest design, the most dramatic performance and the most powerful Rolls-Royce that has ever played host to the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.”

Aston Martin land Vanquish on Burj Al Arab

Aston Martin Vanquish Helicopter Dubai

Aston Martin stopped traffic in Dubai in the latest of a series of events the company has organized throughout this year to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Airlifted via helicopter, an Aston Martin Vanquish was flown over the streets of the city en route to the helipad of the Burj Al Arab hotel, over 300 meters above the ground.

Aston Martin Vanquish Burj Al Arab helipad

Of the stunt, Aston Martin Chairman and CEO Dr Ulrich Bez said: “Aston Martin remains one of the most exclusive and sought-after brands in the world, so it is only right that a key element of our year-long centenary celebrations takes place in a similarly high profile destination.”

Other events organized to mark the company’s centenary include a week-long Aston Martin festival in July and special appearances at a number of key motoring events throughout the year such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Le Mans 24-hour race.

Aston Martin Burj Al Arab

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mercedes CLA revealed

Daimler is taking aim at the youth market with the compact, stylish — and lower priced — Mercedes CLA coupe, unveiled Sunday on the eve of the Detroit auto show.

A sleek silhouette delivers world-leading aerodynamics, while frameless doors offset the sporty, muscular look of a bold grill and sweeping curves in the body.

The interior offers all the high-tech gadgets and luxurious features customers expect from a Mercedes, like a multimedia console that seamlessly integrates with the iPhone.

The powerful engine, smooth suspension and four-wheel drive also promise agility, power and an efficient drive.

It will also be outfitted with the latest in collision prevention, including drowsiness detection and a radar that warns drivers of obstacles even at very slow speeds and will initiate braking if the driver is distracted.

“With the new CLA-class, we will open a completely new gateway to the Mercedes brand here in the US,” Mercedes sales chief Joachim Schmidt told reporters.

The CLA is aimed at both the youth market and the “young at heart” who value “trendy and high-class design, quality and refinement and personal expression through authentic brands,” Schmidt said.

Set to hit US dealerships in April, Daimler will launch an advertising blitz — and announce the price — during the Superbowl on February 3.

A luxury hotel at 2,000 meters to open in Oman

Boutique Asian hotelier, Alila Hotels & Resorts has revealed its plans to expand into Oman in late 2014 with the opening of Alila Jabal Akhdar.

The resort will be set in the Jabal Akhdar mountain range, a region of the sultanate that has seen limited tourist development, two hours’ drive from the capital Muscat.

Alila Jabal Akhdar will offer 78 rooms, 6 suites and 2 royal suites as well as a hillside restaurant. There will also be a pool, a spa, a fitness center and an event space.

This establishment at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level will offer all its visitors a luxurious retreat in a part of the sultanate that is largely unknown to tourists.

This luxury hotel will be the group’s first establishment in the Middle East. Alila also has plans to open more establishments in Indonesia, China and Europe.

Swatch to buy jeweler Harry Winston for $1 Billion

Swatch Group, the world’s leading watchmaker, said on Monday it would acquire US jeweller and watchmaker Harry Winston for up to $1.0 billion (750 million euros).

The Swiss group will pay $750 million to acquire the company and add a maximum of $250 million to take over its net debt, a statement said.

The transaction, which still needs the go-ahead from regulatory authorities, does not include the mining activities of the Harry Winston Diamond Corporation, it said.

Swatch said it would take over the Harry Winston brand and all the activities related to its jewelry and watches business, as well as 535 of its employees worldwide.

Swatch chairwoman Nayla Hayek said the deal made sense since “Harry Winston does brilliantly complement the prestige segment of the (Swatch) Group.”

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Louis Vuitton Boutique in Gstaad

Louis Vuitton has opened a new “winter resort” store in one of the most sought-after seasonal destinations, Gstaad, Switzerland.

The boutique, which is equipped with a lounge and a fireplace, is housed in a 1913 Swiss ski chalet, pairing luxury with a sense of warmth and adventure.

The boutique’s range contains collections of leather goods, travel accessories, shoes and ready-to-wear for men and women.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Döttling unveils the Guardian, it's first ever travel safe offering

How do you travel with your personal goodies, your precious watches? Huge safes and bulging wallets will affect your security, and make you seem unstylish too. So carry all your expensive watches with you on all your exotic journeys with “The Guardian” - the world’s first travel safe from Döttling. The "multi-walled" cylinder shaped safe has a leather outer shell and a top-secret carbide component that is almost as hard as a diamond, and can keep drills and saws attacks at bay. It also boasts of "several layers of highly tear-proof and cut-resistant aramid carbon-fiber fabric" that is found in bulletproof vests. The outermost and innermost walls are crafted using polycarbonate, which is a common component in anti-riot shields and helmet visors. The safe's "door", which opens with a 3-digit code has also been crafted using aramid carbon-fiber fabric. Once opened, the lock which is made up of four high-gloss polished steel bars slides through.

The safe can be customised too: the high-gloss polished stainless steel handle brackets can feature engravings, and you can pick any leather of fabric option of the outer finish. Finished with a handle as well as a shoulder strap this 35 cm long cylinder with a 13.5 cm diameter can also go inside your suitcase without issues. It is light too, as it weighs around 4 kg, making it feather weight considering all the frills it packs in.

Europe’s ‘Zero-G’ aircraft to start commercial flights

Until now restricted to trainee space explorers and scientists, Europe’s “Zero-G” aircraft is to start making commercial flights for paying customers from March 15.

The Airbus 300 flies parabolas, offering around 30 seconds of gravity-free experience at the top of each loop. Over a flight lasting two and a half hours, those onboard acquire a total of five minutes of weightlessness, drifting in a big padded cabin.

Three flights are scheduled for 2013, each of them carrying 40 adult passengers, said France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), which operates the specially-adapted plane with the firm Novespace.

And the cost 5,980 euros ($7,770) a head. Zero-gravity flights are already available commercially in the United States and Russia.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Air France to serve caviar to first-class fliers

Over the Christmas and New Year season Air France will serve its first class passengers a new menu of dishes, including a special caviar appetiser.

The Eggxiting by Petrossian, will be served as an individual glass “egg” of Caviar Alverta Royal and is available on flights departing from Paris until January 31!

December will also be an opportunity for La Première (first class) customers to enjoy gourmet dishes by a great French chef, Jacques Le Divellec, with two of his own recipes: fillet of turbot with clams and seafood medley with shellfish sauce.