IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS: “I forgot to take the plastic off,” said Dakota Johnson, removing the protective cover of her new watch — a timepiece from Vacheron Constantin’s “Heures Créatives” collection.
It was Wednesday evening in Beverly Hills, where the luxury Swiss watchmaker hosted a party to unveil a short film while showcasing pieces from its new “Overseas Skeleton” line — models featuring both a tourbillon and skeletonized look, in grade-5 titanium or 18-karat pink gold.
Johnson — next embodying protagonist Anne Elliot in Netflix’s take on Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” — stood alongside Alexander Schmiedt, president of the Americas for Vacheron Constantin. She handed him the watch, at his suggestion, and he twirled its crown, setting the time — minutes past 7 p.m. — before placing it back on her wrist.
“She chose a beautiful piece,” Schmiedt later said. “You know, for Vacheron, heritage is very important. We always say, we are the oldest Swiss watch brand. But just for the sake of being old, no one cares. You become old-fashioned. Like living in a museum. For us, what’s important is heritage. That inspires us for the future. She chose a watch, which was actually created three years ago, but inspired by a jewelry piece from 1917.”
Founded in Geneva in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron, Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest operating watchmakers in the world. The luxury Swiss company, with brick-and-mortar stores and retail partners globally, runs a number of shops in North America, including in New York, Chicago, Miami and Houston. On the West Coast, its footprint is in Las Vegas at The Palazzo; in Costa Mesa at South Coast Plaza, and Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive.
“We wanted to create something that perfectly fits to L.A.,” Schmiedt said of the night. Bringing together VIPs, top clients and Hollywood faces, there was Kate Mara, Riley Keough, Aldis Hodge, Travis Bennett, professional basketball player Chris Paul, as well as a slew of stylists — Ilaria Urbinati, Jamie Mizrahi, Jeanne Yang, Jenny Ricker, Tara Swennen, Tracy Shapoff, Courtney Mays and Enrique Melendez.
“The link with a film creator, producer, director, the perfect place is L.A,” Schmiedt went on.
The brand tapped filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg (of “Fantastic Fungi”) to create the short, which will live in stores and online. The film was created to bring to life the company’s motto for this year: beauty is in the detail. Screened at the party, it’s a hypnotizing look at the intricate parts of a watch, superimposed with footage of wildlife.
“We always try to create beautiful products, but a watch can only be as beautiful as the sum of all its details,” Schmiedt said. “And that’s why we put so much attention to even the smallest details. When we speak about small, we talk about tenths of millimeters that make all the difference. We wanted to make the link, the parallel with nature, which is exactly the same way. You perceive something as beautiful, but when you look close, you see where the beauty comes from. We were looking for ways to express that and that’s how we met Louie and his work, and we thought it was just the perfect match.”
“I’m always trying to ask the big questions, what is life and doing a deeper dive, looking at the little things,” said Schwartzberg, an innovator in the time-lapse technique. “It’s the little things in life that make the world go round.” — RYMA CHIKHOUNE
GUCCI SIP: Gucci cocktail on the go? It’s now a reality as the luxury powerhouse is introducing Elisir d’Elicriso, a collectible pre-mixed cocktail developed by mixology maestro Giorgio Bargiani for Florence’s Gucci Giardino 25 café and cocktail bar.
An esteemed Italian bartender who’s been working at London’s hip Connaught Bar as assistant director of mixology for eight years, Bargiani created a signature blend that is all about evoking personal memories, revering the Tuscan region and telegraphing the values embedded in Gucci’s 100-year-plus history.
“Personality makes each cocktail unique, I’m always looking for something that makes customers remember the cocktails and especially the moments linked to it,” Bargiani said unveiling Elisir d’Elicriso at the cafè on Piazza della Signoria Thursday.
Coming in a finely chiseled glass bottle that’s reminiscent of fragrance flacons, the peach pink-hued liquor is a complex yet balanced mix of several ingredients, some unexpected.
Bargiani went through 15 tastings over seven months to find the perfect blend. Based on Vermouth and its citrusy and herbaceous notes, further exalted by the Vetiver and N.4 Podere Santa Bianca liquors, the cocktail is capped off with drops of London Dry Gin, white vinegar, red wine from Tenuta San Guido, as well as helichrysum essential oil.
The latter, Bargiani said, “smells like home, like Pisa [his hometown], the sea and Mediterranean scrub.”
He suggested tasting it in four different ways, as is, with the addition of ice, with a dash of sparkling wine, or adding soda or tonic water for a long drink iteration.
“This collaboration with Gucci proved I did something right,” said the mixologist who started his career at a luxury hotel in Italy’s resort destination Portofino before joining the London hot spot. “Gucci and I share the same Tuscan roots, and we have the same vision, in pursuing excellence, looking for elegance without being stuck in the past, and always craving for innovation,” he said.
Elisir d’Elicriso will be added to the cocktail bar’s menù and it will also be available for sale in Italy in a limited run at Giardino 25 and its online store, as well as on the Gucci Osteria e-commerce in the pre-mixed version for 140 euros.
As reported, Gucci Giardino 25 is the latest addition to the multidisciplinary space designed by creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci Garden. It quietly opened last January and is helmed by the Umbria, Italy-born Martina Bonci. — MARTINO CARRERA
IN THE CANYON: Markarian designer Alexandra O’Neill brought the garden party to the Houdini Estate on Wednesday night, hosting drinks and dinner for Los Angeles friends to celebrate her new collaboration with Summersalt on swim and loungewear.
There were photo ops aplenty at the Laurel Canyon venue popular for weddings, where Markarian-dressed women Rainey Qualley, Hillary Rhoda, Olivia Scott Welch, Maddie Hasson and more posed under floral arches, sitting at the lilac-decorated dinner table, holding vintage crystal Champagne coupes and more as the sun set.
O’Neill was circulating around an artfully displayed rack of pieces from the collaboration, featuring powder blue florals inspired by an 18th-century Italian relief, including Summersalt’s trademark Side Stroke swimsuit, a ruffled side-tie one-piece, a bikini and breezy poplin loungewear.
“We’ve been following her since [she dressed] Jill Biden when she skyrocketed,” said Summersalt cofounder Reshma Chamberlin of how the d-to-c swimwear brand headquartered in St. Louis teamed up with the New York-based luxury label. “If I were to get married again, I’d wear Markarian.”
The collaboration strategy has worked well for Summersalt, who has also teamed with Tanya Taylor, among others, and is known for its well-fitting swimwear made from research from more than 10,000 body scans.
“What I love is we’re dressing a different demographic every time, but still true to who we are,” Chamberlin said.
The lineup would be perfect for the Italian Riviera, where several guests are planning vacations this summer, including O’Neill.
“I would live in Rome in a heartbeat,” she said, confessing that she’d love to meet an Italian boyfriend while she’s in Ponza this summer.
Stylist Jessica Paster, who brought her pooch as a date, helped her scroll through potential matches on her phone in between courses.
The stylist set came out in force, including Brit Elkin, who dressed Emma Roberts in Markarian back in 2019 before the designer even had a website.
Rebecca Ramsey was remembering that when she first met the cofounders of Summersalt during an advertising shoot, she asked them what their dream collaboration would be, and they said Markarian.
Then, poof, it happened. Just like Houdini magic. — BOOTH MOORE
KIDS’ PLAY: OshKosh B’Gosh, the childrenswear brand, is entering the metaverse by forging an exclusive partnership with Super League, a network of metaverse games, as the exclusive partner in the new Roblox game, “Fashion Runway.”
As the brand’s first foray into the metaverse, OshKosh looks to raise brand awareness and engage gamers with brand experiences including creating avatars to model down the custom runway, design their own clothing and access to their favorite OshKosh B’Gosh apparel via Roblox’s new layered clothing feature.
The new collection launches with a special Father’s Day campaign, “Take Your Dad to the Metaverse Day,” encouraging dads to spend quality time with their kids in a meta way with a call-to-action to style their dad’s “Fashion Runway” avatar and share their looks on Instagram tagging @OshKoshKids.
Jeff Jenkins, executive vice president of global marketing at Carter’s, parent company of OshKosh B’Gosh, said, “Childhood fun looked a little different back when I was a kid wearing OshKosh B’Gosh overalls. As we look at this next generation, OshKosh is the perfect brand to reimagine a moment of togetherness between today’s parents, who grew up wearing the brand, and their children.
“This venture into the metaverse with ‘Fashion Runway’ and our ‘Take Your Dad to the Metaverse Day’ campaign tied to Father’s Day is a first for OshKosh B’Gosh, and it marks a milestone in how we are reaching parents in a new, innovative way tied to a cultural moment. Super League’s expertise coupled with their presence across Roblox, makes them an ideal partner for the brand’s entry into the metaverse and engaging parents in a new way,” added Jenkins.
“Super League has been creating opportunities for parents to connect with their kids through gaming since our founding days,” said Matt Edelman, chief commercial officer of Super League. “We are thrilled to be doing so in an entirely new way with the iconic children’s apparel brand, OshKosh B’gosh. Meeting kids where they are in the metaverse, in an authentic way timed to Father’s Day, is exactly the type of program that creates lasting impact.”
In the game, players are prompted and then have 120 seconds to design the most unique, stylish and/or crazy outfit for the Runway, inside a large open OshKosh B’Gosh store. Once time is up, players are then given another 30 seconds to style their runway pose and than choose different backgrounds, posts, music and particle effects to showcase why their outfit is the best. — LISA LOCKWOOD
LOOKING BACK: Adman David Lipman has developed the creative for the Mandarin Oriental Residences that are opening in New York at 685 Fifth Avenue and at 9200 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills later this year.
“This is one of the great projects,” said Lipman, recalling how his grandmother used to take him to Fifth Avenue to ride the bus and stop at Saks Fifth Avenue and Schrafft’s for an ice cream sundae. He would also travel to Beverly Hills with his father and stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel. This nostalgia inspired him to create a campaign that goes back in time.
The campaign has the tag line, “It Happened” and is a love letter to the city. It has been installed along 12 blocks down Fifth Avenue for the month of June and in seven windows of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship. It is also running in Beverly Hills and is installed in the Saks windows there. The campaign was created, directed and photographed by Lipman.
The campaign features Carolyn Murphy, Sasha Pivovarova, Hadar Kel, John Pierson, Ryan Kennedy and Charlie Lipman.
According to Lipman, the Mandarin Oriental Residences, developed by luxury real estate developer SHVO, are private homes “offering all the legendary services of a great hotel, with none of the guests.” The New York location has 69 completely furnished residences that come with housekeeping and all the amenities, a private restaurant with chef Daniel Boulud called Boulud Privé, a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center, a salon and rooftop swimming pool.
The Mandarin Oriental Residences in Beverly Hills, spanning a full city block atop Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle, will feature 54 residences, and also has a café and restaurant by chef and restaurateur Boulud, as well as full services and amenities. It opens in the third quarter of this year.
Residents of both get various in-residence offerings, VIP services and curated lifestyle programming such as a dedicated Saks concierge and Saks Stylist, private after hours in-store shopping, at-home styling and same-day delivery.
“Partnering with Saks Fifth Avenue furthers our mission to bring together several of the world’s most coveted names and partners to create a new standard of elevated luxury living,” said Michael Shvo, founder and chairman of SHVO. “Residents at Mandarin Oriental Residences, Fifth Avenue and Beverly Hills will experience a new lifestyle paradigm unlike any other, which is now further strengthened by the introduction of Saks’ exclusive services.” — L.L.