Celebrating the Leaders of Luxury


Special 25th issue celebrating the leaders of luxury including Bernard Arnault, Ralph Lauren, Richard Branson, Tom Ford, Alain Ducasse, Greg Norman, Laurence Graff, Detlev von Platen, Michael Kowalski, Herve Humler, Thierry Stern, Sue Harmsworth, Michel Rolland, Malcolm Barber, David Zwirner, Carlos Fuente Jr., Paolo Vitelli, Brent Handler, and Richard Landry. Plus, Bentley Continental GT Speed, the world's fastest four-seat convertible hits the road.

From This Issue

Masters of Modern Luxury: Alain Ducasse

Alain Ducasse has redefined what it means to be a great French chef. He was the first one to open restaurants around the world, and today his 20 restaurants on four continents hold a total of 17 Michelin stars. Across this far-flung empire—which stretches from the gilded Louis XV in Monaco to the bistro Benoit […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Bernard Arnault

As this issue of Robb Report went to press, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton—the luxury behemoth that owns such brands as Bulgari, Thomas Pink, and Dom Pérignon—was preparing to host Les Journées Particulières in June. During the two-day affair, which was last held in 2011, LVMH would open the doors to more than 40 of its […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Brent Handler

Brent Handler Pioneered the destination-club concept when he cofounded Exclusive Resorts in 2002. Nine years later, he reinvented the industry he had helped create with the launch of Inspirato, a membership organization that offers access to vacation homes worldwide without the large up-front fees of a traditional destination club. Inspirato’s portfolio ranges from châteaux in […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: David Zwirner

In the 20 years since David Zwirner opened his first New York City gallery, he has ascended to the top tier of contemporary art dealers. He represents an international group of luminaries including Neo Rauch, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Doug Wheeler, and Alice Neel; most recently he added Jeff Koons and Yayoi Kusama to his […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Detlev von Platen

By the time Detlev von Platen joined Porsche in 1997 (and two years later established its French division), the brand had long ago earned a zealous following with the 911, a sports car that has been in production for five decades. Today, as president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, von Platen oversees operations […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Greg Norman

Few athletes have made the transition from winning on the field to winning in the boardroom as smoothly as Greg Norman has. Since turning pro in 1976, Norman has captured 91 golf tournaments worldwide, including two British Opens. The 58-year-old Australian’s business ventures have built on his golf success—sportswear, course design—as well as his personal […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Herve Humler

Born in the South of France and raised on the Ivory Coast, Herve Humler was one of four visionaries who in 1983 founded the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Now president and COO of the global hospitality brand, Humler has overseen the development of more than 80 hotels and resorts, dozens of Ritz-Carlton Residences, and the company’s […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Malcolm Barber

Malcolm Barber is a 43-year veteran of the auction industry and a collector of cars and watches. He specialized in automobiles at Sotheby’s for 20 years, eventually ascending to the top of its motoring department. Barber was an executive with Bonhams when it acquired the San Francisco–based Butterfields in 2002 and established Bonhams & Butterfields […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Michael Kowalski

As the chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co., Michael Kowalski has led the jewelry house through a global expansion that enabled it to post nearly $4 billion in revenue last year. At the same time, Kowalski—who has spent half his 61 years at Tiffany—has been promoting responsible mining of precious metals and gems through […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Michel Rolland

In the world of fine wine, no name is more pervasive than that of Michel Rolland, the oenologist from Bordeaux who has not only profoundly influenced the style of winemaking in that region but also transformed the way vintners from Cape Town to California think about wine. Since the mid-1970s, when he established his laboratory […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Paolo Vitelli

In 1969, while studying business and economics at Italy’s University of Turin, Paolo Vitelli founded Azimut Yachts as a charter company with savings he earned running a nightclub. Today his Azimut Benetti Group is the world’s largest yacht builder. With Vitelli, 65, becoming more involved in politics—he was elected to the Italian Parliament in March—his […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Ralph Lauren

For more than 40 years, Ralph Lauren has reimagined classic American icons—the range-riding cowboy, the polo-playing Ivy League gentleman—to create this country’s most successful lifestyle brand; corporate revenues reached nearly $7 billion last year. At 73 years old, the designer still dictates his vision of the life well lived, creating the high-fashion lines and sportswear, […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson has rarely played by the book. Known as much for his publicity stunts and daredevil exploits as for his ever-expanding portfolio of enterprises—which range from cell phones and soda pop to alternative fuels and stem cell banks—the headline-grabbing billionaire has enjoyed extraordinary success in both business and philanthropy throughout his 43-year career. […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Richard Landry

From his bustling, brick-walled office in West Los Angeles, Richard Landry—the architect behind Robb Report’s Ultimate Home honorees for the past four years—creates unparalleled custom residences for clients in locales ranging from Southern California to Shanghai. His diverse designs cannot be defined by one particular style. Whether it is an Italianate villa in Beverly Hills or […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Sue Harmsworth

Arguably the world’sleading spa expert, the British-born Sue Harmsworth is the mastermind behind Espa, the global wellness and beauty brand she founded 20 years ago. Today her company manages more than 350 spas at hotels and resorts—from brands including Ritz-Carlton, Peninsula, One&Only, and Bulgari—in 55 countries worldwide. In recognition of her service to the spa […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Thierry Stern

One could argue that continuity is the primary element distinguishing Patek Philippe from its Swiss watchmaking rivals. The company’s adherence to mechanical watchmaking during the quartz revolution of the 1970s paid huge dividends when the craft returned to prominence in the 1980s. In the ensuing decades, demand—and aftermarket prices—for Patek Philippe’s most exclusive timepieces soared. […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Tom Ford

Tom Ford has been a high-profile designer for more than 20 years. After successfully reinvigorating the house of Gucci in the 1990s, he established his own exclusive brand in 2005. His rigorous attention to detail and unerring instinct for striking the perfect balance between glamour and sex appeal have made Tom Ford an A-list label […]

Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown

From the outside, the new Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown, resembles nearly every other building in the neighborhood, including the Ritz-Carlton around the corner and the Four Seasons six blocks away. But inside the red-brick building, located on the edge of the historic C&O Canal, the quaintness of Georgetown cedes to a strikingly styled space that […]

Entertainment: Experiences in Store

In March, Oliver Quinn treated his bride-to-be to an evening on the town in San Francisco. The occasion, however, was not one of the couple’s usual outings. Quinn had purchased a pasta-making class with chef Thomas McNaughton, of the restaurant Flour and Water, through IfOnly, a members-only website offering one-of-a-kind experiences that McNaughton’s friend Trevor […]

Aviation: The Long and Short of It

The New Falcon 2000S business jet is more agile than the 2000LX—meaning it can take off from and land on shorter runways—but it cannot cover the same distance. Its range is about 700 miles shorter than that of the 2000LX, a Robb Report Best of the Best selection this year in the super-midsize category. However, […]

Art: Moon Strokes

Nothing on the surface of the moon is violet or orange or pink or blue. Alan Bean knows better than anyone that everything on the moon appears gray. He’s been there; during the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, Bean became the fourth person to set foot on the moon. Nevertheless, he uses colors to […]

Golf: Home in the Highlands

Scotland’s Royal Dornoch Golf Club has long been considered one of the world’s great courses. But the location of the Old Tom Morris design—in the remote Highlands county of Sutherland—has kept the club off the itineraries of most golf pilgrimages to the British Isles. That could change with the opening of Links House at Royal […]

Wardrobe: Mac Men

In 1823, a Scottish chemist named Charles Macintosh developed a process for waterproofing fabric by bonding it with rubber. Unfortunately, the chemical solution he used left the material hard, brittle, and malodorous. Twenty years later, his business partner, Thomas Hancock, resolved these issues and patented the technique; yet Macintosh’s name (the variant spelling Mackintosh later […]

Sport: Seasoned Pros

Shawna Cropas, a fashion model turned triple-crown windsurfing champion, peers nervously across Maui’s southwestern shore. “See the clouds over the mountain?” she says, gesturing to an ominous bank looming in the early morning sky. “It means it’s already windy on the North Shore. We should leave earlier!” Maui, especially the windward side of Haleakala Crater, […]

Autos: Audi’s Subtle Supercar

Sometimes the fanfare created by one’s arrival in an Italian or British exotic is inappropriate for the occasion. Even when parked and silent, the angular missiles from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and McLaren can be as loud as a plaid suit at a wake. Audis are made for understated entrances, for when a more sober […]

Wheels: Air and Graces

When Bentley Motors brought forth the Continental in 1952, it was the world’s fastest four-seat passenger car and an apogee for the pedigree. A 4.6-liter inline 6 shoved the car along at a then-blinding 120 mph. This year, for our continued high-velocity driving pleasure, Bentley has introduced the 2014 Continental GT Speed Convertible, which follows […]

Titans at the Gate

Few rivalries in the world of sports match the face-to-face intensity of Russell Coutts versus Jimmy Spithill. Though little known outside of sailing circles, the feud between the two America’s Cup captains is deep-rooted and fierce, an underlying enmity that extends to each of their many encounters on the course. Coutts, a 51-year-old New Zealander, […]

The Robb Reader: Trevor Traina

Napa Valley wine flows more freely than sap through Trevor Traina’s family tree. He and his mother, brother, wife, and father-in-law all own vineyards—as do his stepsiblings, who inherited the ones belonging to his and their late father. Traina, for his part, inherited the collecting gene from his parents, focusing his efforts on photography; last […]

From the Editors: Divine Inspiration

Penury and disappointment are seldom the parents of invention. Though each of the individuals in this month’s pantheon of luminaries (see “Masters of Modern Luxury,” page 71) has achieved unprecedented success, few if any of them have done so as the result of thwarted ambitions. Such, however, was the case with the gentleman who, on […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar July 2013

Scottish themes abound in the nomenclature of Torbreck, the celebrated Australian winery founded in 1994 by David Powell, who once plied his hand as a lumberjack in a forest in Scotland of the same name. Having gained valuable experience during his tenure at Rockford Wines in the Barossa Valley, Powell decided to strike out on […]

Masters of Modern Luxury: Carlos Fuente Jr.

Like many in the cigar business, Carlos Fuente Jr. traces his lineage to Cuba. In 1912, his grandfather Arturo came from that country to Florida, where he founded what is now Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. Under the direction of Carlos Jr. (who prefers to be called Carlito), the business produces 30 million cigars a […]