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Why Chinese collectors are heading to London to buy up Chinese art

A turquoise-ground vase with Qianlong seal mark is the star lot at Bonhams' auction of Chinese art on the 10th November in London, estimated to fetch between $8 million (£5 million) and $13 million (£8 million)
A turquoise-ground vase with Qianlong seal mark is the star lot at Bonhams’ auction of Chinese art on the 10th November in London, estimated to fetch between $8 million (£5 million) and $13 million (£8 million)

at CNN

It is a year since an 18th-century Chinese vase was sold in London for $68 million, smashing world records.

Now dealers and auction houses in London are feverishly anticipating a slew of sales as part of Asian Art in London, a week-long event that has been attracting newly-wealthy Chinese buyers and collectors to the capital for over a decade.

Max Rutherston, Chairman of Asian Art in London, says the week of Asian art sales and exhibitions in London has been running for 13 years, and has seen a “Chinese art boom,” with collectors from mainland China and Hong Kong flocking to London to check out the array of antique wares laid out in the salesrooms and galleries.

Antique vases hailing from the much-sought-after 18th-century Qianlong period are going under the hammer at major auction houses Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams and on display at the commercial galleries, alongside decorative objets d’art and furnishings.

Bonhams is selling a rare vase estimated to fetch between $8 million (£5 million) and $13 million (£8 million). The 50cm tall vase features delicate chrysanthemum blossoms in white and pink tones and bears the Qianlong seal.
The Chinese weren’t allowed to buy anything under Mao and they are developing very quickly, tending to go into an area and exhausting it completely before moving onto another one
Daniel Eskenazi, Asian art dealer


Inside Billionaire’s Luxury Train Car

at abc News

Patron Tequila’s John Paul Dejoria rides the rails like only a billionaire can.

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ArtPrice Top 50 Contemporary Artists

at ART Market Monitor

Last week, ArtPrice put out their report on the Contemporary art market hoping to catch a contact high from FIAC. The firm’s obsession with China is immediately apparent (as is some of their stranger self-promotion about the “de-materializing” art market,) but lack of reliable data from China means those sales and artists need to be viewed with some skepticism. How much of the spectacular numbers seen during the first half of this year is a product of adding domestic Chinese sales to totals that previously did not record Chinese sales. Nonetheless, says a record 34,700 works of Contemporary art were sold during the 12-month period from July of 2010 to June of 2011. Those works were sold for €895m. And that is only publicly auctioned work:

Finally, after the jump, you can see the top 50 Contemporary artists on Artprice’s list of 500 auctioned artists. Again, the list is over populated with Chinese names whose work is not well known in the West. Even so, there are some very interesting rankings, including Jean-Michel Basquiat’s position at number 1. Notice the volume of works for Murakami, Nara and Haring.

Gerhard Richter’s absence is strange and calls some of the list’s methodology into question.

Hermès’ first ever interior design for a hotel

Owned by Century Group, the Trump Tower in Manila Phillippines), the most luxurious building in Manila, features high-rise condos with public areas (lobbies, libraries, pools) and apartments decorated by Versace, Missoni. Hermes Library at Trump Tower Manila, PhilippinesHermès was approached to design the public spaces of the building complex and, suprisingly, they accepted, making it the very first Hermès interior design for a public project. Despite the fact that Hermès has recently launched an extended home collection, including carpets and furniture, the French maison remains deeply focused on its core product range emanating from their exceptional craftsmanship.
Hermes Library at Trump Tower Manila, Philippines


CHRISTOPHER GUY at Maison et Objet Paris

Luxury Shopping in Madrid

Variety is the essence of shopping in Madrid, retailers and products are never limited to a defined style nor a single look and feel. It is a city where you find almost everything, particularly if you are seeking the sophisticated, the unique or the eccentric. From the elegance and flair of the boutiques in the Salamanca district, through to the more cosmopolitan charms of the Chueca district, and beyond to the large department stores and popular chain stores, Madrid truly has it all. Combine all this with the city’s history, art, culture, good weather and gastronomy and you may just have found the shopping capital of Europe!

District of Salamaca

This is one of the most distinguished neighbourhoods of Madrid. Created in the 19th century, it was the first district with running water and famed for the French-style boulevards. The richest man in Spain at the time lived here, the Marquis of Salamanca, and he promoted the construction of this neighbourhood. Paseo de la Castellana, Alcalá, María de Molina and Francisco Silvela are the avenues that border this district. When shopping here you will find some of the most prestigious boutiques in the world: Versace, Hermès, Dolce & Gabanna, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Louis Vuitton or Chanel. If you are looking for local designs, there are also a number of talented Spanish designers such as Victorio & Lucchino, Adolfo Domínguez, Loewe, Roberto Verino and Elena Benarroch, to name a few. Every September this district is converted into the venue for Vogue Fashion Night Out. This is also the central area to find diamonds and other precious stones. C/Serrano is where you will find most of the exclusive jewellery stores in the Salamanca district. Jewellers such as Carrera y Carrera, Cartier, Rabat, Suárez, Tiffany & Co, Wempe, Brooking and Bulgari have superb diamonds and gems for jewel lovers.

Chueca and Triball District

Chueca, city centre and the triangle known as Triball (between C/Ballesta and Corredera Baja de San Pablo) offer a large choice of the most varied fashion stores, from leading labels of casual wear to a wide selection of vintage clothes. In Chueca you will find the Fuencarral Market where originality and the avant-garde stand out with colourful and psychedelic products. This attractive market also has a DJ as well as little shops where you can get a tattoo, a piercing or a surrealistic hairdo. This area was the epicentre of the Movida Madrileña cultural movement in the late seventies and early eighties that gave Spain a new cultural identity. It brought new ideas and colourful changes to places like Chueca, Malasaña and Fuencarral. Triball triangle is a rehabilitated area alongside Chueca where new designers, gourmet boutiques and organic restaurants thrive.


Puerta del Sol, between Gran Vía, C/Preciados and C/Arenal, forms a fashionable and diverse shopping district lined with the well-known department stores. You’ll find El Corte Inglés, fashion chain stores and franchises, such as Zara, Mango, Benetton, Springfield, Sfera, and Blanco. In Plaza de Callao, you will come across one of the largest music and bookstores, FNAC. Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, Puerta del Sol and surrounding streets are the traditional shopping areas in Madrid, home to many traditional establishments, some centuries old, offering products such as classical guitars, Spanish fans and mantillas, handicrafts, ceramics and even ‘flamenco’ costumes and accessories. If you’d like a trip down memory lane, visit C/Luna and Malasaña, to find bizarre items, comics, forgotten old records, retro fashion and second-hand clothing. Traditional establishments include

• Casa de Diego (since 1823) specialized in fans, umbrellas and Manila shawls

• Casa Yustas (since 1894) which sells military hats, caps and accessories

• La Favorita (also since 1894) selling all types of hats

• Other traditional shops inlcude Belloso, Capas Seseñas, Doña Manolita, El Gato Negro or the haberdashery Pontejos. These stores, over a century old, can be distinguished by the bronze plaque affixed to their shop fronts that certify them as being Comercios Centenarios – Century-old Stores. The neighbourhood that lies between Plaza Santa Ana, C/Huertas and C/Atocha, is home to both avant-garde stores and traditional stores such as silversmiths, jewellers, antique stores and bookshops.


Old and Bargain Book Fair – on Cuesta de Moyano

Stamp and Coin Market – the oldest in the city, open every Sunday in Plaza Mayor

El Rastro – is the most popular and oldest market in Madrid, and it is also one of the oldest medieval markets in Europe, but today one of the most modern. Held every Sunday all year long, you will come across it in Plaza de Cascorro

Mercado San Miguel – very close to Plaza Mayor, although quite “touristy”, this market dates back to 1916. Here you can taste an assortment of ‘tapas’.

Chain stores

C/Princesa and C/Alberto Aguilera are lined with multiple shops, including leading fashion chains, shoe shops, jewellers and department stores such as El Corte Inglés. Located in many districts in Madrid they have a large array of merchandise to choose from. If you do not like crowds, I recommend El Corte Inglés in the Nuevos Ministerios district as it is one of the biggest and you will find absolutely everything. Another place which is a must visit if you love top designer fashion without the price tag is to visit Las Rozas Village. Here you can visit 100 outlet designers stores with up to a 60 percent discount all year round. This is found in the outskirts of Madrid, about 30 minutes from the city centre. Open 7 days a week from 10 am to 9pm.


• To enjoy the best prices in Madrid it is worth noting the exceptional sales that take place here two times yearly. Winter sales start on the 1 January, although the best ones start from the 7 January which is the day after Reyes, when most Spanish children receive their gifts from the Three Kings. Summer sales start 1 July – 21 September.

• Please remember when shopping in Spain and using a credit card, you must provide some sort of identification.

• In the city centre, near the tourist areas, restaurants and shops are open all day, every day, most public holidays and Sundays.

• Shopping Centres, department stores and supermarkets are open all day, Saturday included and only the first Sunday of every month. During the Christmas season, they have longer trading hours and are open every Sunday.

• In the residential areas, small establishments open between 10am and 2pm in the morning and 5pm to 8pm on weekdays. On weekends, shops only open in the mornings and are closed on Sundays. Establishments stay open later in the summer.

bonus video : Madrid Luxury City Guide 


St. Regis, Christian Dior Team for Atelier Accommodations

Dior Suite The St Regis New Yorkat – Photos By George Chinsee

The St. Regis New York has unveiled its new Dior Suite, the second fashion-centric abode for the hotel after ifs collaboration earlier this year with Tiffany & Co. Consisting of a bedroom, one-and-a-half bathrooms, a dining room and living room, the suite’s design details were inspired by the house’s Parisian ateliers. The decadently designed, 1700-square-foot space is almost entirely “whispering” gray, the house’s signature shade.

Dior Suite The St Regis New YorkThis is the hotel’s second go-around with the Parisian house, having opened an original Dior Suite in 1991.

“Dior has had a long history with us. They’ve been here since the hotel reopened in the early 1990s,” said Paul H.F. Nash, the St. Regis’ general manager. “So this is a reinvigoration of the partnership that we have had for 20 years.”


Guests can stay at the decked-out digs — for $8,500 a night.

bonus video : St. Regis NYC Hotel Room Review New York City, NY (not Dior Suite)


the Art of the Automobile : Interview with Ralph Lauren

at RL Magazine
 This summer at the renowned Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, one of the most celebrated car collections in the world—that of Mr. Ralph Lauren—will be on display. Running from April 28-August 28, the exhibit, appropriately titled The Art of the Automobile, is a must-see for any enthusiast. For the exhibition catalog, curator Rodolphe Rapetti interviewed Mr. Lauren. The following is an excerpt from that interview.How and when did you start collecting cars? What was your initial motivation when you first started collecting? Has it changed over time?

I don’t think of myself as a collector of cars. In my mind, they are like parts of me. Cars are fun, like toys, and when you start to experience different kinds, especially when you can’t afford them, you look at them and dream about them. Each car offers a different experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new Bugatti or a 1961 Morgan. I have that variation in my collection. I never thought of myself as a person who was going to buy cars to put them out there; I thought of myself driving them. I thought of myself living and experiencing them as they were part of me, not possessions or artistic beauty for someone else to look at, but for me to drive and drive my kids around in, and ultimately become the character of the car.

Some of the cars in your collection go back to an era when the craftsmanship of car manufacturing was more similar to a work of art than mechanical engineering. Is there a relationship between this distinction of craftsmanship and the work you do in your world of fashion?

Very definitely. The cars are to me works of art. Many of the older ones from my collection were actually handmade. The details, the metal work was done by artisans. I’ve always loved machines that are the product of someone taking his passion for building and using it to create beautiful shapes or sounds that give pleasure. Ettore Bugatti was an artist like that. His cars were built by a team of real craftsmen. I love that craftsmanship. It gives one a sense of personal connection to the maker. Today there is so much more technical sophistication involved in the creation of cars, but the ones that I love and collect and drive are still special and maintain an artistic integrity. Handwork is what my design process is all about. Many of the products we create, like our handbags and timepieces, are handmade by real artisans around the world. These things are very desirable because they have an enduring timelessness that makes the owner feel like a collector. To own something that is handmade, handcrafted is very desirable today.

You’ve underlined on numerous occasions that your cars are a source of inspiration when creating your clothes, objects or accessories. Could you explain that in more detail?

My day-to-day life, my work, the things I enjoy and the people I meet continue to be my library of inspiration. I am constantly seeking ideas to impact my creative vision. Cars have always been a rich source of that process. I look at a car and love its highly stylized air vents, a row of steel rivets, a hubcap or a gas cap, a perfectly crafted steering wheel, soft buttery leather upholstery, a richly polished burl-wood dashboard or the beauty of a leather strap over the hood. I take those details and integrate them into everything I design from a watch to a chair to a woman’s evening dress. A few years ago I was inspired by the carbon fiber of my McLaren. I was struck by the thought that these fifty-four layers of carbon tissue once found only in high-performance jets and racecars would make an incredibly sleek yet durable chair. We introduced the RL-CF1 carbon fiber chair in 2003, the first of its kind. When we launched our Ralph Lauren Timepiece Collection last year, many of the shapes and styles were inspired by icons from our design archive. The newest one is directly inspired by my Bugatti Atlantic. I call it “The Dash” because its face is a direct representation of the car’s burl-wood dashboard. It has the sleek sculptural design spirit of the car itself. I look forward to wearing it behind the wheel of its namesake.

The restoration process of old vehicles is a delicate procedure which requires a great deal of preliminary studies into the history of the car and how modern techniques are adapted to the model in order to respect the most specific detail of the original state and characteristics of the car. Could you describe the main guidelines involved in the restoration process of your vehicles? Have you confronted any specific dilemmas during the restoration process of your cars? Which restoration brought you the most satisfaction? Which would you refer to as the most difficult one and the most delicate one?

The most important thing about restoration is to go to the experts—the people that really know. There are different experts for Ferrari, for Mercedes, for Mercedes Gullwings, for Bugattis. You look for authenticity. All my cars have been restored because I never wanted to get stuck on the road. Restoration, to me, is all about quality and restoring a car to as it was with all the original details. I am not a restorer, so early on I was lucky enough to find Paul Russell, a car historian and restorer from Boston who has worked with me for over twenty years. Restoration is a sensitive job.

For me, there’s no cheating in the process. Once we restored a 2.9 Alfa Romeo with so much care and so much detail. The original color, a bright red, was found after uncovering five layers of paint. When the car was shown some people thought the color was so bright it couldn’t be right. Though I would have preferred a darker red because it looked older, I respected the restorer’s decision and commitment to the car’s authenticity and history.

Would you like to create a car?

Designing a car and designing a fashion collection both require a certain craft and vision, but they are totally different. Though I know what I love in a car, I would never consider myself a car designer. Choosing the color for a car is not designing a car. I have tremendous respect for those that do it. They live their career like I live mine. When I was growing up I would look at a Bentley or an old Mercedes and say, “Wow, that car is so beautiful. Look at the leather interior, the burl-wood dashboard.” Then, comes along a Porsche that is totally spare and minimal. And you might ask, “Which one is more beautiful?” I would make a case for either. I don’t think I would ever have conceived of the Porsche or the Bentley. But I might have conceived of how to make them the most beautiful Porsche or Bentley.


Dubai Marina – Dubai Real Estate

Marina living has become one of the most desirable and sought-after lifestyles in the world. Now you can enjoy it all, right in Dubai. The exclusivity, the status and the rewards of waterfront living are awaiting you at Dubai Marina. One of the world’s largest, most meticulously planned waterfront developments, Dubai Marina offers you the exhilaration and vibrancy of a chic, urban lifestyle together with all the advantages of owning a home on the water. Unobstructed views across the marina, fresh sea breezes and the experience of a lifestyle most people can only dream about.

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