Muscle from Modena

Overview

The 2012 Maserati GranTurismo MC. Plus, 12 perfect private islands: tranquil retreats in Fiji, Mozambique, Italy, Cambodia, Seychelles & more. Tux redux: formal wear for the nonconformist. Also, fine watches and jewelry special issue.

From This Issue

The Robb Reader: Guy Laliberté

Former fire-breathing street performer Guy Laliberté transformed the age-old circus with Cirque du Soleil, the imaginative and artistic entertainment troupe he cofounded in 1984. The Canadian entrepreneur, now 52, drew inspiration for Cirque du Soleil from his extensive travels and the cultures he encountered along the way. His most ambitious adventure—a trip to space he […]

Racer’s Edge

In his 1978 top-40 hit “Life’s Been Good,” Joe Walsh sang about his Maserati doing 185 mph (and about losing his license as a result of driving that fast). The boast was as dubious as the rock star’s run for president two years later. No road-going Maserati of that era could achieve such a speed. […]

Robb Design Portfolio: O Gibson, Where Art Thou?

When he founded the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Co. in 1902, Orville Gibson initially focused his efforts on the former instrument, often fashioning models with scroll-shaped bodies and other design elements that were purely aesthetic. Likewise, the line of Style O guitars that Gibson introduced in 1908 included features intended primarily to enhance their appearance. But because […]

Watches: Sunken Treasure

“It is inconceivable that a man with my professional background and experience would not jump into it,” says Hublot technical director Mathias Buttet. “He would be crazy not to fall in love with it.” Buttet—who for years ran one of the watch industry’s leading complication specialty shops, BNB Concept—refers to his own inspiration to produce […]

Aviation: Good Connections

Alex Wilcox is no stranger to innovation. He was the first JetBlue employee, in 1999, before moving to Mumbai to launch Kingfisher Airlines, which has become one of the largest operators in India. Each of those companies secured a sizable portion of its market, he says, by offering a better flight experience at a lower […]

Brilliant Mines

Photography by Lisa Charles Watson. Styling by Charles W. Bumgardner. The lore may twist back through centuries, but the allure of colored gemstones is simply immediate and irresistible. From tempting pink spinel to lusciously green tsavorite, an especially rich cache of rare gems has turned up in remote mines around the world, inspiring some of […]

Now and Zen

Photography by Benjamin Benschneider The serene retreat of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Bill Nguyen and his family sits discreetly above Maui’s Honolua Bay, a spot renowned for epic surfing and the eerily titled Slaughterhouse Beach (named for an abattoir that once sat onshore). Completed in 2009 as three separate pavilions by Tom Kundig, co-owner of Seattle-based […]

Wine: Côte d’Oregon

Véronique Drouhin knew she had discovered a special place when, in July 1987, she first crested the remote Oregon hillside that would become home to one of the most respected vineyards in the New World. Dropping gently away to the southeast, the idyllic slope before her offered breathtaking views across the Willamette Valley toward the […]

Travel: Porto of Authority

Across the Douro River from the medieval heart of Porto, the Vila Nova de Gaia neighborhood houses a dozen warehouse-like port lodges along the waterfront. Installed during the 1700s, the lodges have for centuries stored aging barrels of port wine made from grapes grown upriver in Portugal’s Douro Valley. Patios beckon passersby to come in […]

Jewelry: Victoire’s Garden

Carnivorous plants, Disney cartoons, hallucinogenic drugs—the inspirations behind Victoire de Castellane’s jewelry designs are about as unconventional as it gets. But for more than a decade as the creative director of Dior Fine Jewelry, de Castellane has won acclaim for the French fashion house with mind-blowing combinations of major gems, vivid colors, and visionary, if […]

Health: Eye of the Beholder

Valmont consultant agnès teffaud stares intently at what appear to be aerial photographs of a barren desert landscape. Studying the dry cracks and fissures running this way and that among dunes and craters, she comments intermittently: “Not so bad,” “Needs some work there,” “Quite dull indeed.” Teffaud’s remarks refer not to satellite images of Afghanistan, […]

Dining: Toque of the Town

Paris has waited a long time for Thierry Marx. For 10 years he ran the kitchen at Château Cordeillan-Bages in Gironde, where he made a name for himself as one of France’s most progressive chefs. Yet with two Michelin stars and daring dishes like risotto made of soy sprouts, he always seemed a little too […]

Home: Master Tribute

While summering in London in 1992, 19-year-old Francis Sultana paid a visit to David Gill’s furniture gallery in South Kensington. Sultana was familiar with Gill’s limited-edition contemporary furnishings and engaged the gallery owner in a conversation about the design world’s masters. Gill was sufficiently impressed with the young man’s knowledge of luminaries such as Emilio […]

Motorcycles: Road Glide Rules

An unadorned hog seems to scream for a few trinkets, and many Harley-Davidson customers respond by spending thousands of extra dollars to add meaner engine components, louder pipes, and chrome accessories to their new bikes. For owners who want their machines to stand out from the rest but are not inclined to à la carte […]

Autos: Huayra Hits a Headwind

Good news for America’s children and vertically challenged who are going to ride shotgun in the Pagani Huayra: You will be able to do so without fearing harm from the car’s passenger-side airbag. But while Pagani tests a child-safe airbag for its $1.2 million, 700 hp supercar, the handful of U.S. drivers planning to become […]

Rosewood Hotel Georgia

The best way to see Vancouver is from the back of Jim Dudley’s Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Dudley, the former general manager of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, serves as a chauffeur, impromptu tour guide, and trusted local friend to guests of the city’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia. In the comfort of his Continental, he guides […]

Banyan Tree Macau

Amid the spectacle and dazzle of the 2,200-room, $1.9 billion Galaxy Macau’s grand opening in September, an exclusive enclave debuted discreetly in the megaresort development’s South Tower. The 256-room Banyan Tree Macau features its own private drive-up entrance and a 21-treatment-room spa that guests enter through a living bamboo forest where the sun beams in […]

45 Park Lane

London’s 45 Park Lane, home of the Playboy Club casino during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, has been recast as the Dorchester Collection’s newest five-star haunt. Overlooking Hyde Park and the grande dame hotel for which the Dorchester group is named, 45 Park Lane presents a clubby complement to its sister property next door. Conceived […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Zagato’s Zeitgeist

1965 Lamborghini 3500 GTZ When Lamborghini came on the scene with its first V-12 GT, in 1964, the car wore an elegant—if eccentric—Superleggera body designed by Milan’s Carrozzeria Touring. Soon thereafter, crosstown coachbuilder Zagato acquired two GT chassis from Lamborghini and penned and produced bodywork of its own. The resulting 3500 GTZs were a sleek […]

Hours Away

It has been said that you do not need a wristwatch in the modern age—unless you need to know what time it is somewhere else. Our present society’s need for continual intercontinental travel—one of the many burdens of globalization—sets us apart from previous generations in that we seldom have the luxury of focusing solely on […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Bahamas: Musha Cay

At Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay—700 acres spread across 11 private Bahamian islands that illusionist David Copperfield acquired in 2006—guests choose their adventure. With 40 beaches, a host of watercraft, and a specially trained staff that can pull off everything from the mundane to the unimaginable, this one-of-a-kind property offers plenty of […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Cambodia: Song Saa Island

During construction at Song Saa Private Island, Melita Hunter sent fishing boats on daily excursions through the Gulf of Thailand to gather branches, warped tree trunks, and remains of painted longtail fishing boats. Hunter, a talented organic-sculpture artist who owns Song Saa with her husband, Rory, then placed the found items discreetly throughout the island’s […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Fiji: Dolphin Island

If private islands have a downside, it is that they are at times too private—cut off from the communities and cultures that make most destinations worth visiting. Not so at Dolphin Island, a 13-acre Fijian hideaway that is blissfully secluded yet never feels far removed from Fiji. Set just offshore from a forested peninsula on […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Seychelles: Frégate Island

At some point in the 16th century,piratesweary from pillaging and plundering took a break on Frégate Island, a 740-acre haven some 1,000 miles off the east coast of Africa. The island’s remote location, dense jungles, and pristine waters made for an ideal hideaway for the bandits, who claimed Frégate as their own. Stories of buried […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Italy: Villa la Cassinella

Villa La Cassinella is technically not a private island. In fact, the 18th-century estate is not even on an island—it is perched on a secluded peninsula in Italy’s Lake Como. But this gloriously restored landmark, which can only be accessed by boat, offers all the comforts, cachet, and exclusivity of the world’s finest private-island resorts—if […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Australia: Makepeace Island

Hannah “Shotgun” Makepeace would not recognize her namesake today. After moving to Australia’s Noosa River region in 1924, the housekeeper-turned-proprietor of Makepeace Island became known for firing her shotgun twice into the warm Queensland sky to summon the local villagers, who would row their boats through the river’s mangroves and eucalyptus to see what she […]

Ultimate Private Islands: British Virgin Islands: Necker Island

Sir Richard Branson’s original resort, the 27-year-old Necker Island, experienced a setback just a month after the Virgin mogul’s property in Australia opened to the public. Lightning struck the Caribbean island on August 22 and started a fire that sent guests—including Branson, his 90-year-old mother, and actress Kate Winslet—scurrying to safety. Winslet helped rescue Branson’s […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Fiji: Laucala Island

At nearly 3,000 acres, Laucala Island is by far the largest private island featured in these pages. The Fijian hideaway thus has ample space for an 18-hole golf course (designed by David McLay Kidd), a runway that can accommodate midsize business jets, and an equestrian center, as well as a farm that supports the resort’s […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Seychelles: North Island

A typical day at North Island might involve tracking a rare Seychelles white-eye bird through the jungle, following a sea turtle into deep ocean chasms, or simply lying on one of four sandy beaches watching the tide ripple in and out. Twenty minutes by helicopter from the main island of Mahé, the 500-acre island housed […]

Ultimate Private Islands: British West Indies: Calivigny Island

Even at its 50-guest capacity, Calivigny Island never lacks for living space. The 80-acre island just south of Grenada was purchased in 2000 by a French businessman and his wife, who subsequently built a sprawling residential compound complete with a 10-bedroom, 107,600-square-foot main house. The couple added on to a second mansion, the nine-bedroom Overhang […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Mozambique: Vamizi Island

Though just two miles off Mozambique’s northeastern coast, Vamizi Island seems a wild and secluded sanctuary. Even the civil war that devastated the rest of the country by the early 1990s never made it out to this crescent-shaped coral island in the Indian Ocean. Sea turtles still nest along the downy-white, butter-soft beach. Sailfish and […]

Ultimate Private Islands: Spain: Tagomago

A 100-acre speck in Spain’s Balearic Islands, Tagomago is arguably the Mediterranean’s most exclusive exclusive-use rental. The island retreat, set a half mile off the east coast of Ibiza, opened to guests last year after its once-forlorn, solitary, 1970s-style dwelling was transformed into a rousing whitewashed villa with five modernist en suite bedrooms, large dining […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

If the taste of a whisky literally reflected the topography of the place where it was made, then one would expect a dram of Laphroaig to be lean, even austere. The south coast of Islay, after all, is a bleakly beautiful stretch of rolling hills punctuated with periodic copses of trees and rugged reefs; yet […]

FrontRunners: Envy of the Greens

For most amateur golfers, putter customization used to involve only the minute adjustments that some manufacturers make to the length and lie of their off-the-shelf models. However, London-based newcomer James Ingles Putters (www.jamesinglesputters.com), named for the company’s owner, now offers made-to-measure models and even allows golfers to design their own sticks. The putters are made […]

FrontRunners: Holy Writes

The commander of the angels, the archangel Michael, appears on the barrel of the Tibaldi Sanctus Michael Archangelus (www.tibaldi.it) pen. The resin image depicts Michael bearing a sword, spear, and cross while standing atop a vanquished devil. The angel’s wings and armor and other details on the barrel are highlighted with engraved relief in either […]

FrontRunners: MST in the Forecast

A plucky Birmingham, Ala., upstart is on track to deliver the next great American sport touring motorcycle. Engineered with assistance from automotive speed shop Pratt & Miller, the Motus MST and MST-R (www.motusmotorcycles.com) are case studies in American ingenuity. (The MST-R is the lighter, higher-performance model.) A cast-aluminum V-4 powerplant displaces 1,645 cc—or, as company […]

FrontRunners: Flexible Flybridge

The Azimut 45 (www.azimutyachts.com) features the most adjustable configuration in the Italian builder’s flybridge collection. The 45-foot weekend cruiser boasts a nearly 130-square-foot upper deck with a modular layout. On the flybridge, a large table allows for top-deck dining, though with the twist of a few knobs passengers can stow the table and reshape the […]

FrontRunners: Mining the Past

A new collection of 40 one-of-a-kind designs, the Ultimate Adornments by Harry Winston (www.harrywinston.com) references key people in the brand’s 79-year history as well as cultural ideals of costume and adornment. The Caftan series, for example—one of seven themes within the collection—pays tribute to Ambaji Shinde, who was the house’s chief designer for over 40 […]

FrontRunners: Open Season

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s aphorism “Less is more” certainly applies to the Ferrari 458 Spider (www.ferrari.com), which is scheduled to arrive in North America early next year. The Spider has everything that makes the 458 Italia the darling of the sports-car set, except for a fixed roof—and it is better for it. Instead, […]

FrontRunners: Hertz Lockers

Standing 3 feet tall and weighing 30 pounds apiece, the Danish-made Dali Fazon F5 speakers (www.dali-speakers.com) sound even bigger. The pair packs punch and precision from 49 to 23,000 Hz, thanks to two powerful drivers (one midrange and one woofer, each 5 inches in diameter) and a 1.1-inch dome tweeter. The aluminum housing, so rigid […]

FrontRunners: Slide Ruler

From Hublot Genève, the watch company and oft official timekeeper of downhill racing events, comes the $10,500 Hublot Sledge (www.hublot.com). Created in collaboration with Graf Sleds and the ECAL fine-arts school in central Switzerland, the design is a sophisticated take on the competition sleds used in natural-track luge racing. The sled, which will be limited […]

FrontRunners: Opus Eleven

A panicked school of fish inspired the mechanical display that Denis Giguet designed for the Harry Winston Opus Eleven (www.harrywinston.com). The 42-year-old Frenchman, who worked on Opus editions one through six, has again participated in the annual collaboration between independent watchmakers and Harry Winston that produces each Opus. Giguet’s design departs from the digital display […]

Forever Elizabeth

The escort swipes his security card past the magnet, and the door opens. Then a second secured door, and a third. At last, we arrive in a small salon in the inner sanctum of Christie’s New York, where more security personnel is standing guard. Inside, 20 of Elizabeth Taylor’s most prized personal jewels are casually […]

Black-Tie Rebellion

Photography by David Roemer. Styling by Christopher Campbell. Formal attire once meant strictly black tailcoats—no exceptions—until one memorable evening in October 1886, when a few rebels attending a social event at the haughty Tuxedo Park country club caused quite a sensation by arriving in shortened black coats. This jacket without tails was christened the tuxedo, […]

Home Electronics: Instant Gratification

Kaleidescape, a leading producer of home movie servers and playback systems, has devised a component that eliminates inconveniences associated with Blu-ray Disc viewing while also addressing movie-industry concerns about illegal content sharing. The M700 Disc Vault, which dealers began offering this summer, copies the contents of Blu-ray Discs to a Kaleidescape server, enabling any player […]

Art: Micro Masterpieces

Oliver Cromwell may have famously instructed artists to depict him “warts and all,” but he had nothing to worry about when Samuel Cooper painted his portrait. Cooper ranked among the greatest painters of miniature portraits in 17th-century Britain, and his unfinished oval of Cromwell measures a mere 33/16 inches tall, leaving little chance of finding […]

Wheels: Fast Exit

A final set of admonishments prompted the expected groans of displeasure as we prepared to drive Lamborghini’s latest and maybe last versions of the Gallardo on the track at New York’s Monticello Motor Club. “There is no passing. This is not a race. There is no winner,” Lamborghini test-driver Richard Antinucci told us. “And the […]

Journeys: New Kid in Town

It is an hour before midnight, and a large crescent moon has risen above San Miguel de Allende. The clangs of a church bell mark the hour, but silence soon returns to the Mexican city’s historic core. Suddenly, the whinnies and snorts of horses and the clippity-clop of hooves slapping against cobblestone streets signal the […]

Leisure: Blanc Check

Rich, extracted, full of fresh acidity, and rife with wild-honey, spice, and ginger notes, the Raats Family 2009 Chenin Blanc is powerful, elegant, and uniquely South African. Part of what makes Raats Chenin Blanc such a seducer is the lushness of grapes from 50- and 60-year-old untrellised bush vines, which produce lower yields and more […]

Collectibles: Small Wonders

Joseph Kurstin’s first netsuke was inexpensive and unattractive. But after five decades, the piece is still part of his collection, which now numbers some 800 examples of the Japanese art form. The Miami ophthalmologist’s cache also includes a 3.25-inch-tall ivory horse that holds the world-record auction price for netsuke of £154,000 (about $300,000 at the […]