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The fashion world is seeing dots, polka dots courtesy of the amazing collaboration between Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton and Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.Marc Jacobs finds inspiration in artists. As Creative Director for Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacob’s previous merchandise collaborations include artists Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, and Richard Prince. In a recent interview with WWD, Kusama says, “Marc Jacobs came to see me in Tokyo in 2006 and he asked me if I wanted to come to the states and do fashion. Fashion has always attracted me. I was honored when Marc came to see me in Tokyo. I still have a photo of that visit hanging on the wall of my studio. We are standing with one of my creations, this huge pumpkin, between us.”Kusama is one of Japan’s most preeminent contemporary artists. Born in the late 1920’s, she has been passionate about art from her earliest days. Kusama grew up in the Japanese countryside, the youngest daughter of an upper middle-class family. Yayoi Kusama survived WWII and continued to paint and to show her work while still a teenager. In the 1940’s she was frustrated with the confines of traditional technique, so she began to study America and European avant-garde.In 1957, Kusama landed in New York City. She struggled in the early days, but left America 15 years later a major figure of New York avant-garde. Over the course of her career, Kusama has exhibited works as a fashion designer, novelist, poet, sculpture, painter, and installation artist. Currently, the Yayoi Kusama retrospective is open in the Whitney Museum of New York until September 2012.
Porfirio “Rubi” Rubirosa was the most notorious gigolo/playboy in US history. Rubi was also a political assassin. Between assignments, he supplemented his income by servicing rich and famous women or marrying the richest women in the world. His penis size was legendary, a reported 14 inches when fully aroused. Ian Fleming based the James Bond character on Rubirosa and author Harold Robbins based the lead character in his book “The Adventurers” on him.
THE MOST NOTORIOUS GIGOLO/PLAYBOY:
The year was 1932, Porfirio Rubirosa married the oldest daughter of Gen. Rafael Trujillo Martinez (dictator). Her name was Flor de Oro. The marriage would end in 1937 due to Rubi’s womanizing. He remained close to the family and Trujillo made him a Dominican Ambassador of Argentina. During World War II, Rubi was imprisoned by the Gestapo, he spent six months in jail.Upon his release, his military training came in handy. He was recruited as a political assassin. He was suspected as the trigger man in several high profile assassinations but the authorities never had enough evidence to arrest him. He would marry French actress Danielle Darrieux, they would divorce after five years.
The term “Latin Men Make The Best Lovers” derived from the exploits of Rubirosa. Rubi’s underwear had to be tailored due to his 14 inch endowment. He also had a medical condition that left him half erect at all times. This ailment increased his staying power, he could satisfy several women in one night, each encounter would last for hours, he was insatiable. Afterwards, he sent a single rose with a note attached “A la mas de la mujeres.” Translation: To The Most Beautiful Woman.
Rubi caused a commotion in Hawaii, when he arrived in swim trunks, the women gawked in disbelief when they saw the bulge in his trunks, the thickness and length was amazing.
Rubi was in the men’s urinal at the Waldorf in New York, the man standing next to him happen to glance over, “damn, how on earth do you stuff that thing in your pants? You are deformed and blessed.”One of Rubi’s girlfriends was shopping for shoes with her friend, she pointed at a men’s shoe, size 11, she told her friend, “see that shoe, Rubi’s penis is wider and longer.” A model told Truman Capote, Rubi’s penis is as thick as a man’s wrist.
Rubi was also a master of all trades, a true renaissance man. He was a adventurer, tennis player, soldier, diplomat, a chef, a world-class polo player and a treasure hunter. He also raced his Ferrari on the LeMans circuit.
Appearance meant everything. He kept his physique in top shape by working out with a professional sparring partner. His suits were tailored to perfection, his nails were manicured and his toes were pedicured. He was suave, continental and debonair. Rubi also spoke several languages and he was named to the International Best Dressed List on several occasions. He was the only polo player who wore a ascot with his jacket, he also protected his skin with honey.
Within an hour of checking into a hotel suite, the hotel would become besieged with women, hoping for the opportunity to sleep with the great Rubirosa. Gossip columnists tracked his movements to Monte Carlo, St. Moritz, Cannes, London and New York.
Rubi was romantically linked to Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Jayne Mansfield, Eartha Kitt, Empress Soraya, Eva Peron, Veronica Lake, Dolores Del Rio and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
After the dating phase wore off, he married billionairess Doris Duke, the richest woman in the world. During the wedding ceremony, Rubi showed great panache and elan when he retrieved rubies from his pocket to symbolize his nickname.
The marriage would crumble due to his numerous infidelities. He would net a six figure income unless he remarried. A few months after the divorce, Duke missed Rubi terribly, she offered him two million dollars to remarry her, he declined. Doris Duke carried a special torch for Rubi throughout her life, his picture was in all of her homes. When she died, her wealth was estimated at $8 billion dollars.
Rubi was back on the market again, his reputation preceded him. He was so hotly pursued by women that he had little chance to pursue on his own. When he did, he became a collector of beauty, showgirls, models and actresses.In 1953, he married the second richest woman in the world, Barbara Hutton. Rubi cost her $65,000 per day in expenses. Hutton also bought him the biggest coffee plantation in the Dominican Republic. The marriage lasted ten weeks. In the divorce settlement, Rubi received five polo ponies and a private plane.
He became a member of the international jet set. Rubi had been a friend of Joe Kennedy, Jr., he often dined on the Kennedy yacht. On one outing, he had dinner with Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. He couldn’t make a move on Monroe because she was John Kennedy’s guest. The Latin Lover and the Sex Goddess did exchange steamy looks on the sly.
In Paris, he partied with Sammy Davis, Jr. into the wee hours of the morning. Afterwards, he gave Davis instructions on how to kiss a woman’s hand properly, the lesson lasted two hours. Davis returned to his suite and passed out. A few hours later, Davis was awaken by the doorbell, it was Rubi, impeccably dressed and refreshed. He told Davis to shower and shave, they were going to the Champs Elysees to flirt with the beautiful women.
Rubi played golf with Frank Sinatra often, on one outing, Sinatra asked him, Rubi, have you ever held a full-time job? Rubi replied, “women are my full-time job, most men save money, my ambition is to spend it.”
Friends were flattered when they received personalized invitations to one of his dinner parties. He could easily out cook the top chefs of the day. America was very lucrative for Rubi, in and out of bed. Money seemed to gravitate towards him and he was constantly cited by irate husbands in divorce cases.
In 1956, Rubi married his fifth wife Odile Rodin, she was an actress. She was nineteen and he was 42. He remained faithful to her and began work on his memoirs, he would never finish.
While driving in the early morning hours on a wet Paris pavement, Rubi lost control of his Ferrari and crashed into a tree, the steering column crushed his chest, he died instantly. The year was 1970, he was 56.
His funeral was attended by Dukes, Barons, Counts, movie stars, politicians, two of the Kennedy sisters, dressmakers and fellow playboys. Odile Rodin would remarry and relocate to New England.
Perhaps the most famous nightclub in France, Les Caves du Roy is a dance institution that defies age and time. Located within the renowned Hotel Byblos, the club is a sanctuary of modern music that has been resurrected with a namesake CD that has circulated the world over.
Nestled off the main passageway of the hotel, the entrance is protected by guards larger than most army officers. Ensuring that celebrities and elite are given a private environment free of paparazzi, the guards do their best to secure the safety of Byblos royalty that in the past has included everyone from Mick Jagger to Kanye West.
The women are the most beautiful in the world and the men; unlike in LA or New York, actually know how to dance. Champagne corks pop by the minute as platinum cards swipes to the percussion of trance and techno remixes. At the helm of the Les Caves du Roy is deejay Jack-E who can spin everything from a Patricia Kaas track to the latest Beyonce track flawlessly.
During the summer a soft wind blows down the main corridor of the Byblos Hotel as stiletto heels and Gucci loafers make their way to the Les Caves du Roy. The tanned skin of locals, who spent their days at the beach club, moistens as they begin to sway to the music of the Byblos. From mellow grooves to ladies dancing on the tables at 6AM, when Les Caves du Roy comes alive there is no scene or words to compare its allure and sex appeal.
Hotel Byblos Avenue Paul Signac 83990 Saint-Tropez, France (04) 94 97 16 02/04 94 56 68 00
London’s most famous society haunt was an after-hours home to minor royals and well-groomed celebrities for decades. We toast the glittering past and scandalous present of Annabel’s nightclub.
The Mayfair boite makes an absurdly incongruous pick-up joint. It is posh London’s premiere watering hole, a home from home for fun-loving aristocrats, Eurotrash and minor royals.
Uniquely, amid the shifting sands of the after-dark “scene”, Annabel’s has survived more or less unchanged these past 40 years. It remains London’s most famous society haunt, a magnet for celebrity that has occupied a more or less uninterrupted place in the premiere league of the world’s party venues.
Like all such institutions, the place divides the opinion of visitors. To detractors, it’s a joint where Middle East meets Middle Age, a stuffy, fading establishment.To fans, it is – and always has been – the sine qua non of society hedonism. Right now, no matter which camp you fall into, one thing’s for sure: Annabel’s is mustard-hot. Just as it provided a backdrop to swinging London of the 1960s, so it has now captured the zeitgeist. Currently, the club’s on the crest of a wave, packing ‘em in like never before.Tonight, were you to descend the blue and gold canopied staircase marking its entrance, the place would be heaving. You’d almost smell the wealth dripping off starry punters, anyone from Roman Abramovich to Philip Green, Bryan Ferry to Hugh Grant, whose fling with Jemima Khan was first exposed when they were “papped” leaving the club together.
And if a club really does stand or fall on its cast of characters, then Annabel’s has to take the ginger biscuit. It remains the only such venue that Her Majesty the Queen has ever set foot in, and the likes of President Richard Nixon, Frank Sinatra, and (very recently) Camilla Parker Bowles have propped up its bar. Entertainers too have played there include Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Diana Ross.Of late, it’s also attracted a young, posh crowd that includes a high-living set of minor royals. “Going to Annabel’s right now is just bloody good fun,” says one regular. “The crowd is posh, but not like at some sort of St James’ club, where you’ve got people snooting around who are actually down to their last pair of shoes. It’s actually full of very glamorous, rich, new London society, like it used to be during the 1960s and 1970s. All the different generations can go there to party. In fact, it’s a bit like a society wedding in that respect, with all the exclusivity that entails.”Ah yes, the exclusivity. Nine thousand members of Annabel’s pay anything up to £750 a year for the privilege of making it past the top-hatted doorman. Once there they’ve got to shell out about a tenner for each drink. Want dinner, and you’re looking at upwards of £80 a head. Since guests are banned from paying for drinks there, a night on the sauce requires a pretty healthy member’s wallet.
A smart dress code is also rigidly enforced. It always has been, bar a hiccup in 2002, when the proprietor, Mark Birley, relaxed the requirement that men should wear a dark suit and tie. He was forced to perform a U-turn several months later, when his club began to resemble an airport waiting lounge.
“I had overlooked the simple truth that the British have no tradition of casual clothes,” he wrote. “We seem to have a uniform for anything.” Jackets are now de rigueur and jeans are banned.
Unlike a lot of supposed “clubs”, entrance really is restricted to members and their guests. In fact, a bylaw in its constitution stipulates that the ex-wives of members are not allowed to cross the threshold. Anyway, make it past the front door, and a staircase takes you into a long, ornate basement. A bar and series of drawing rooms – decorated in the manner of a slightly over-indulged country house – lead to the main dining area, which looks like a cross between a lapdancing club and the palace of an Arab sheikh.
The lavish interior decoration of Annabel’s stands like a two-fingered salute to the slick minimalist interiors of other modern venues. It’s very much the baby of Birley, and, while not to everyone’s taste, has barely changed since the club was founded.“You’ve got to add to that the sort of people who sit there. I mean these boys with names like Thierry and Jean-Claude, with their big curly hair and a pair of English girls on their arm. It all looks rather modern, although you’ve got to set that feel against the particular quality of the loos, and the butler-like staff.”
Another key moment in Annabel’s renaissance was the appointment of Birley’s son, Robin, and daughter, India-Jane, brought in a couple of years ago to bring the sparkle back. In the words of one member, it had become the sort of place that the young avoided, in case they caught their dad there with his mistress. That soon changed.
“It’s been a series of tinkerings,” Robin says, when asked to describe recent innovations. “We didn’t want to make it too fashionable, because if you do that, it’s a bit like a lightbulb: it becomes too bright but then fizzles out. So we made the food much better, and redid the dance floor to open it up and make it less of a dead space at the end of the club.
“Getting the music right was also important …we’ve tried to find something that everyone likes. The club is now so much more international than it used to be, and you get lots of attractive 30-year-old European girls coming in, but we’ve tried to retain old-fashioned glamour rather than becoming aggressively modern.”
Annabel’s has a starry history. Birley Snr founded the place in 1963, after his friend John Aspinall decided that they needed somewhere to party after an evening’s gambling. As a result, Birley turned the basement of Aspinall’s casino, Crockford’s, into a nightclub, and named it after his then wife, Annabel, who went on to marry the late Sir James Goldsmith.
In her memoirs, Annabel Goldsmith – mother to Jemima Khan and Zac and Ben Goldsmith – recalls shovelling 6,000 tons of London clay out of a garden in order to construct the venue. It was shortly established as the capital’s premiere venue.
“Nowadays, it’s much harder to maintain our members’ privacy. Every night we’ll have four or five snappers standing outside. But we like to think that once you’ve got past the door, then things are as discreet as ever.”
During New York Fashion week,nightlife guru Nur Khan opened the doors to the Electric Room at the Dream Downtown Hotel—his latest project in a résumé that has included the Rose Bar, Sway, Hiro, and the recently departed Don Hill’s—which, if his previous offerings are any indication, is surely destined to become one of the city’s newest hot spots. “I’d say it has sort of a ‘cool Britannia’ vibe,” says Khan, who likens the space to his first Manhattan bar, Wax, launched in 1995 when Britannia was all the rage in the art and music scenes.
The hotel’s streetside loading ramp will make for a private entrance through which guests can admire a street art wheat-pasted installation designed by Kahn and artist friend Harif Guzman before entering the club. As always, Khan’s personal touch is evident in every detail, from the Union Jack sofas to the Marilyn Minter artwork and glass mirrors custom-made by Brooklyn artist Chris Stain, to the DJ’s playlist. “My market has always been geared towards the musically literate,” Khan explains. “You will usually hear a new British song coming through one of my rooms before it catches on in the States.” The exclusive space fits no more than a hundred guests .“The design, the vibe, the intimacy . . . that’s what drew me to the room,” says Kahn. “I think it will appeal to everyone from the uptown social to the downtown artist.”
Electric Room at the Dream Downtown Hotel; 355 West Sixteenth Street at Ninth Avenue, New York.
Why He’s A Style Icon
Peter Beard is the kind of guy you love to hate. He comes from a long line of blue-blooded wealth — the kind where family members have numerals affixed to the end of their names like fictitious kings in a WASPy monarchy. His grandfather, Pierre Lorillard IV, was a tobacco tycoon and is credited with popularizing the tuxedo. His great-grandfather, James Jerome Hill, was responsible for plundering colonial Africa through the construction of railroad and infrastructure.
While Beard had great disdain for such massively destructive Western expansion into Africa, the trust fund baby didn’t reject the money and jet-set lifestyle that came along with it. His obsession with the mysterious continent took definitive shape when he read Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa and subsequently traveled there in 1955.
After beginning a contrived career at Yale as a premed student, the adventurous side of Beard took over and turned him toward art history; it was a not-so-shocking twist in the life of a young man who came from a long line of arts patrons. Photography became the medium of choice through which Beard’s life experiences began to meld. Art, Africa and autobiography all came together to help tell his story.
Fortunately, Beard’s story is one worth hearing — and seeing. Beard took countless photographs on his trips to Africa and mingled them like a scrapbook with everything from insects and blood to images of Hollywood glamour and Kennedy’s Camelot. The result was an eerily sexy view of society through the eyes of Joseph Conrad. He became more deeply entrenched in the fashion industry after marrying supermodel Cheryl Tiggs discovering Iman and photographing rock stars like Mick Jagger,David Bowie and The Rolling Stones.
Through all of this, Beard himself became a style icon He wore khakis and casual button-down shirts that were as well suited for photo shoots in the African wilderness with some of the most beautiful women in the world as they were for strolling the idyllic beaches near his home in Montauk. As if that weren’t enough, this serendipitous style icon is dashingly handsome to boot. Told you that you’d hate him.