Category: Luxury Life Styles

Kneeling Hitler statue sells for $17.2 million

Kneeling Hitler statue sells for $17.2 million

A 2001 statue of a kneeling Adolf Hitler sold for a record $17.2 million at a Christie’s auction in New York.

“Him,” a wax statue of a child-like Hitler by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, fetched a record for one of the sculptor’s works. The statue, originally estimated at $10 million to $15 million, was part of the auction house’s “Bound to Fail” sale of themed artwork. Cattelan’s work, which features real human hair, is from an edition of three depicting Hitler praying.

“Him” has caused outrage several times when exhibited. In 2010, the mayor of Milan forbid the reproduction of a poster illustrating a black-and-white photograph of Him, and in 2012, the work was publicly exhibited in a former ghetto in Warsaw, where an estimated 300,000 Jews died of starvation or disease or were sent to their deaths in concentration camps under Nazi rule, Christie’s said in its press release.

“I wanted to destroy it myself,” Cattelan has previously said of the work, according to Christie’s, “I changed my mind a thousand times, every day. Hitler is pure fear.”

The statue was sold Sunday to an anonymous bidder by telephone.

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New fashion trends in an Age of Technology

New fashion trends in an Age of Technology

During New York Fashion Week in February, the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled the thinking behind its next costume exhibition, “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”. Eighteen months previously, a bunch of fashion editors were absent from the spring / summer 2015 season of New York because they were on a 36-hour flying visit to San Francisco to witness the unveiling of the Apple Watch. Why? Because fashion and tech are closer than ever before.

It isn’t so much about houses such as Chanel eschewing stitching in favour of selective laser sintering (read: 3D printing) to craft garments, although that makes great pictures (and, by all accounts, a wonderful Met exhibit). It’s more about pumping up technology we already have with fashion kudos – such as a cheap iPhone case glitzed with silly bits, as spun out by most designers to great commercial gain.

A more interesting luxury subset, however, has emerged in the form of headphones – not only are luxury merchants chasing the bandwagon, but entire brands are emerging to satisfy this perceived niche in the marketplace, appealing to audiophiles and the fashionable in equal measure. Dolce & Gabbana are at the forefront: they have created headphones that recall the crowns that adorn Madonnas in regional Italian Catholic shrines, attached to retro over-ear cups. As financial offerings to the gods, these are hefty: this spring’s passementerie-fringed style will set you back £3,850.

Those are an extreme example – but headphone prices have soared across the board, seen as a status symbol as opposed to a techy tool for music insiders. In 2012, the market research firm NPD Group reported that Beats by Dre, an audio-focussed subsidiary of Apple originally founded by the rapper Dr Dre, boasted a 64 per cent market share of headphones priced higher than $100.

New fashion trends in an Age of Technology

In August 2014, Apple’s acquisition of the company was the largest in the global tech behemoth’s history, costing around £2bn. Those prices have been hiked even higher, for last spring, Beats unveiled a collaboration with the Italian fashion house Fendi, in the label’s hand-stitched Selleria leather. After an unfashionable delay, these have finally gone on sale this spring for £950 a pop – a bunch of colourways are already sold out.

In the same year as Apple’s acquisition of Beats, a new company named Master & Dynamic launched. Forbes magazine has des cribed it as the “anti-Beats” – focusing not on Beats’s athlete and musician-heavy marketing campaigns, but on sound quality, a niche market and timeless design that appeals to aesthetic aficionados. “We think of the products as luxury technology accessories,” says CEO and president Jonathan Levine, thoughtfully. “We have an incredibly discerning customer base: form is certainly as important as function to this market. It’s a group of people who are quite fanatical about design.”

One of Dolce & Gabbana’s ostentatious four-figure styles
Master & Dynamic marketing imagery – featuring well-dressed sorts, often cropped at the neck – show them being clutched like accessories, alongside a Givenchy Antigona bag. The implication being, of course, that a Master & Dynamic headset is a similar sort of status symbol – but in its own right, without needing the cachet of a brand name.

“Top fashion retailers were quick to adopt our brand,” says Levine. “In the cases of some of the fashion stores we work with, we’re the only technology brand they carry, which is interesting. Customers who care deeply about the brands they buy into from a fashion perspective care naturally think in the same way about all areas of their life.” I’m guessing the same ideal customer would have a Prada coat, Diptique candles and furniture by Gio Ponti and Eames. It’s lifestyle.

Master & Dynamic headphones – like so many of these new tech brands – are being marketed direct to fashion consumers as wearable status symbols. It’s difficult to lug about an Eames lounge chair, but subtly but distinctly sporting the right lumps of technology is like reading a clever book on the bus. “We’ve definitely noticed the rise of a customer who wants their tech purchases to be as considered as the fashion they buy, and we’ve greatly increased our lifestyle offering in response to this, more than doubling our brand offer within that category,” says Damien Paul, head of menswear at MatchesFashion.com, which stocks Master & Dynamic.

The primary market for these products is seen as male – playing into lads’ gadgetry stereotypes. But the look is definitely as important as the tech specs, even if we’re not talking D&G crowns. “A great pair of headphones are indisputably a fashion statement,” says Levine. “We have a growing following among those in the fashion world, which plays nicely into headphones’ rise as a must-have luxury accessory similar to a great watch, bag or pair of sunglasses.” Or maybe all of the above, rolled into one. Bargain.

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Azimut 88: A Mission Impossible for Designers

Azimut 88: A Mission Impossible for Designers

Take a masterpiece and try to improve it. A tough challenge, practically a mission impossible for the Azimut designers who redesigned the new 88. While maintaining its untouchable profile and its 55-square-meter flybridge, a veritable terrace on the sea, and therefore without altering other strong points like the asymmetric windows in the hull, the magical areas like the 10 square meters of the cockpit, the service dinette and the enormous galley space, the changes that add further value to this model are basically two: the layout of the lower deck and the decor.

The first involved moving the bathroom in the master cabin toward the stern, thereby creating a buffer that isolates the master cabin from the engine room even more. The new layout also made it possible to modify the stairs, which now have a more discreet access into the suite. To port, in full light, a breakfast zone was created, with two armchairs and a table. Corresponding to the opposite window is the vanity. The wardrobes are built into the walls and have a slightly larger storage volume.

Azimut 88: A Mission Impossible for Designers

The second layout change can be seen in the saloon, where the changed characteristics of the stairs going down to the master cabin made it possible to position the day bathroom longitudinally, with a resulting gain of space for the dining area.

The decor stands out immediately. All the forms have been changed. The architect Salvagni, who designed the interiors, transformed the shapes by softening corners and creating curves. Breaks in continuity between ceilings and walls are seen everywhere. The system of portals that separate the rooms become a new loop system that invites passage through the softness of the rounded forms. Also in the master cabin the rotundities of the new decor are repeated, seen in a wraparound headboard that includes the bedside tables.

Another instance of particularly interesting design is represented by the slits for opening the wardrobes: they design a soft shape, an invitation to open and enter into the comfort of one’s clothes. There is no lack for mirrored surfaces, which further augment the sensation of space.

Azimut 88: A Mission Impossible for Designers

Azimut 88 Characteristics

Length overall (incl. pulpit) 26.80 m (88′)
Beam at main section 6.40 m (20′ 11″)
Draft (incl. props at full load) 1.80 m (5′ 10″)
Displacement (at full load) 85 t
Engines 2x1825mHP (1341kw) CAT C32 ACERT V12
Maximum speed (at half load) 30 knots
Cruising speed (at half load) 27 knots
Fuel capacity 9.000 l (2.377 US Gls)
Water capacity 1.300 l (343.4 US Gls)
Cabins 4 + 1 crew
Berths 8 + 3 crew
Head compartments 5 + 1 crew

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Azimut 60: More Privacy, More Comfort

Azimut 60: More Privacy, More Comfort

An 18-meter flybridge yacht that is sure to give satisfaction to itsx owners thanks to a great level of comfort and a separation of crew and guests that is typical of the biggest boats. A privacy made possible by a large crew cabin with two beds and access from the swim platform. The layout of this cabin is modular and changes (two twin beds, either separate or adjacent) depending on whether or not the Seakeeper is mounted.

Externally the 60 reprises the new elements of the flybridge collection, with the characteristic innovative fin on the deckhouse that joins in the play of curved lines of the windows and makes the boat’s profile unique even from a distance. Also on the flybridge – very spaciously proportioned – we find a glass insert on the outer part of the roll bar.

Azimut 60: More Privacy, More Comfort

Azimut 60: More Privacy, More Comfort

The interiors faithfully interpret the new tendency of Azimut flybridges, which favor light contrasts, with honey-tinted oak and cream-colored valances. Just beyond the glass door, to starboard, where the sofas are usually placed, a furniture unit has been designed to hold the retractable video screen also. The galley, equipped with anti-roll structures and shock-absorbing drawers, is on the main deck in a raised position, directly serving the dinette.

The lower deck has three cabins. The full-beam, full-height master cabin is amidships, with two large windows in three vertical segments that put the owner couple in direct, continuous contact with the seascape. A living area, located along the starboard bulwark near the window, competes for the role of protagonist with the large double bed placed at 45 degrees on the opposite side. The VIP cabin is forward, equipped with a double bed and horizontal windows, while a third cabin hosts guests with two twin beds, a large wardrobe and cabinets for a comfortable stay on board.

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Famed diamond fetches record price $21.5M

Famed diamond fetches record price $21.5M

The 76-carat Archduke Joseph Diamond sells for well above the expected $15 million.

Christie’s auctioned off the Archduke Joseph Diamond for nearly $21.5 million Tuesday night, a world auction record price per carat for a colorless diamond.

The Archduke Joseph Diamond was the first of two out-of-this world diamonds being auctioned off this week in Geneva. Sotheby’s on Wednesday will auction what it calls an exceptionally rare fancy deep blue briolette diamond of 10.48 carats expected to get up to $4.5 million.

Christie’s kicked off Geneva’s jewelry auctions, held in five-star hotels along the Swiss city’s elegant lakefront, that seem a continent if not a world away from the grim austerity gripping much of Europe.

The Archduke Joseph Diamond went for $21,474,525 including commission at Christie’s auction. That was well above the expected $15 million and more than triple the price paid for it at auction almost two decades ago. The 76.02-carat diamond, with perfect color and internally flawless clarity, came from the ancient Golconda mines in India.

The seller, Alfredo J. Molina, chairman of California-based jeweler Black, Starr & Frost, said immediately afterward that there were two main bidders and that he was delighted with the result. Molina said the winning bidder, who wished to remain anonymous, is going to donate the diamond for display at a museum.

“It’s a great price for a stone of this quality,” Molina told The Associated Press. “It’s one of a kind, so it’s like saying ‘Are you pleased when you sell the Mona Lisa?’ Or ‘Are you pleased when you sell the Hope Diamond?’ It’s all what the market will bear, and the stone sold for a very serious price.”

Named for Archduke Joseph August of Austria, the great-grandson of both a Holy Roman emperor and a French king, the diamond passed to his son, Archduke Joseph Francis, who put it in a bank vault, then to an anonymous buyer who kept it in a safe during World War II. From there it surfaced at a London auction in 1961, then at a Geneva auction in 1993, when Christie’s sold it for $6.5 million.

It wasn’t the only mega-diamond to go under the hammer at Tuesday’s auction in the hotel room packed with well-heeled bidders. Beneath a row of three enormous chandeliers that cast panther-like shadows on the ceiling, the participants eagerly pounced at the jewels while competing with bidders from around the world calling in to Christie’s employees seated in rows on both sides of the room.

But perhaps the buyers weren’t entirely immune to the harsh financial climate in Europe — or at least some Geneva version of it. Two plus-sized diamonds did not sell Tuesday night. A yellow diamond with 70.19 carats failed to sell because the final bid was 2.8 million Swiss francs, just slightly below the reserve price. A 12.16 carat pink diamond didn’t sell because the final bid was 1.8 million francs, well under the reserve price.

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Spyker C12 Zagato: All-new design elements inspired by Formula 1

Spyker C12 Zagato: All-new design elements inspired by Formula 1

The Spyker C12 Zagato is the second production car from the Dutch automobile manufacturer Spyker. The C12 Zagato is an all-aluminium, mid-engine/rear-drive exotic luxury sportscar.

The Milanese design house Zagato co-designed the model. The C12 Zagato featured all-new design elements inspired by Formula 1. Though the exterior styling is somewhat of a departure from the C8, retained features include: scissor doors, interior styling, and general aviation theme. The C12 Zagato is powered by a 6.0 L W12 engine sourced from VW Group (the same engine as featured in the Audi A8 and Volkswagen Phaeton).

For the C12 Zagato, Spyker Cars have tuned the W12 to produce 500-bhp. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. Although the nomenclature suggests otherwise, the C12 Zagato is not based upon the C12 LaTurbie prototype. The Spyker C12 Zagato is priced at EUR 495,000 (approximately USD $740,000 or £450,000), and Spyker plan to produce only 24 copies.

The C12 Zagato develops 368 kW (493 hp) and 610 N•m (450 lb•ft) from the specially-tuned W12 engine. With a KERB weight of 1,480 kg (3,263 lb), the Spyker will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and then on to a top speed of 195 mph. Braking is accomplished by steel ventilated discs and features anti-lock braking. The automatic five-speed gearbox features a torque-converter in lieu of a clutch. Spyker say the move from manual gearboxes as seen in the Spyker C8 is as per customer request, and the new Aileron model will feature a ZF automatic gearbox similar to that of the C12 Zagato.

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Tushek Renovatio T500: A Welcome Sight

Tushek Renovatio T500: A Welcome Sight

The boutique Slovenian car manufacturer Tushek Supercars has revealed their latest, the Tushek Renovatio T500. This sharp, aggressively-styled sports car can achieve speeds of up to 193mph and will hit 60mph in 3.7 seconds from a standing start.

Thanks to a carbon and composite body, the Renovatio T500 gets plenty of speed out of the 444hp Audi V8 that powers it. The inside is lined in leather and alcantara with carbon fiber accents, providing a bit of luxury in a vehicle that is otherwise “all business”.

The Tushek Renovatio T500 may not stand far out from its class, as the design is attractive but largely forgettable. Yet any offering from a boutique super car manufacturer is a welcome sight. The feeling of driving something so close to unique is one that we can certainly respect.

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Puredistance combines classic and modern design

Puredistance combines classic and modern design

Puredistance Master Perfumes are among the most exclusive perfumes in the world. Elegant fragrances made by Master Perfumers in London & New York. Timeless & Truly Exclusive.

Puredistance is an independent company that offers a truly exclusive collection of Master Perfumes created in London & New York by renowned Master Perfumers. Customers can choose between three elegant and timelessly beautiful fragrances (Pure Perfume Extrait) and various accessories that harmoniously combine classic & modern design. Exclusivity is at the heart of the company. Worldwide Puredistance is only available at a limited amount of luxury stores and perfumeries.

Puredistance I is the first creation of the Puredistance company settled in the heart of Vienna (Austria). Only Vienna seamlessly fits the philosophy of the Puredistance concept. Vienna is the city of elegance and pureness, it also has for many centuries been a center of art, notably the world famous Wiener Werkstätte (Wiener Werkstätte was a production community of visual artists, it was founded in 1903. by the artists Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser). The Wiener Werkstätte style is characterized by pure lines and minimal decoration.

The concept of a perfume spray hidden inside a pure Crystal Column was envisioned by Sender Sinot. Puredistance I was created by Annie Buzantian from Firmenich, NY. She considers it her favorite perfume and personal Masterpiece. The composition is sophisticated floriental with the fresh opening, warm floral heart and the soft base.

The perfume opens as top note with a fresh, ozone-tangerine blossom blend with a hint of cassis, complemented with neroli bigarade and crisp watery nuances. The heart of the fragrance warms to a sophisticated, modern blend of magnolia, rose wardia & jasmine; parmenthia & natural mimosa, before finally settling softly into the rich classical notes of sweet amber, vetiver and white musk.

The perfume extract contains 32 % perfume oil.

This limited edition Crystal Masterpiece is available as:

A Crystal & 24 carat Gold version – 2048 pieces (2750 Euro retail)

A Crystal & high-grade Steel version – 4824 pieces (1750 Euro retail)

The separately available refill, a 17.5 ml. perfume spray (165 Euro)

Please read more in the article “Puredistance – idea of absolute beauty”

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BeoVision 12: Sight and sound to stimulate your senses

BeoVision 12: Sight and sound to stimulate your senses

BeoVision 12 combines elegant design, superior sound and outstanding picture quality to create a cinematic experience to delight the entire family. Every detail of BeoVision 12 has been carefully and painstakingly developed to deliver superior performance. The result is that everyday activities like watching TV, listening to music, viewing a film, become entertainment events.

BeoVision 12 is a breathtaking, 65-inch television, with an ultra-slim plasma screen and 3D capabilities. The first thing you’ll notice about BeoVision 12 is that although it is impressive in size, it actually appears thinner than it is. This seeming weightlessness is achieved through a unique optical illusion. Notice how the two profiles of the television bend inward, forming a V-shape.

The section facing the viewer has a natural aluminium colour, while the section facing the wall is seen in anodised black. The result is that you see something more slender than reality. BeoVision 12 literally floats on the wall, quite a feat considering its significant size. And that’s just the beginning.

65 Inches of Discretion

Every detail on BeoVision 12 contributes to its discreet, slim appearance. From the frame itself, to the speakers and controls, we’ve left no stone unturned in our quest to make 65 inches as light as air.

Picture Perfection

BeoVision 12 incorporates the latest plasma technology in order to give you and your family an experience to remember, every time you turn it on.

Made for Surround Sound

Of course, there’s more to a television than a picture. A true cinematic experience engages all your senses, and offers spectacular sound to complement dazzling images.

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Amosu iPad 2 with 360 Swarovski stones

Amosu iPad 2 with 360 Swarovski stones

Let walk far away from CES 2012 for a second! We need to refresh our mind with something different. How about this one, a gold edition of Apple iPad 2? I knew iPad 2 is no longer a hot thing to be discussed. Do not get wrong, maybe you are not an Apple fan boy, but it is from Amosu.

Every time someone hear about Amosu, it’s common feel so excited to talk it. It might be because everyone could not afford to buy their products. Anyway, this time Amosu reconstructed the Apple logo using pure silver and adding the 360 Swarovski stones on it. Surely, it dazzles the glamorous and luxurious into your eyes, more, it placed in middle of 24-carat gold casing. In short, Amosu has succeed in turning the original Apple iPad 2 64GB into something that could change every woman heart.

Amosu iPad 2 64GB Gold Edition with Swarovski Apple logo is available now in MSRP 2,800 GBP. Like always, Amosu could personalize the device with other option according to your request.

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