Iconic Beach Cars

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As many return from overseas holidays, stay-cations and City breaks I wanted to send a “wish you were here” digital postcard – also my 300th Aestheticons post – from a wonderful visit to France’s Cote d’Azur, more particularly, the iconic French beach-side town of St Tropez with it’s simply beautiful pastel shaded port.

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Fame was assured for this picturesque coastal town when the 1950’s French actress, Brigitte Bardot, born in 1934 and still a local resident at Baie des Canebiers, featured in the 1956 Roger Vadim directed and ground breaking “And God Created Woman” (“Et Dieu Crea la Femme”). Mdme. Bardot’s impact on the region has been honored by local baker “Senequier” who in 1956 launched the delicious “La Tarte Tropezienne”, a delicate almond cream filled brioche topped with powdered icing sugar and chopped pistachio.

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Shot on location in and around St Tropez the film also provided a springboard for the world renowned beach club/restaurant “Club 55” that was founded from a dilapidated beach shack by the parents of current owner, Patrice de Colmont, who provided food for the cast and crew of filmmakers. Rumored to have recently been offered €30m for his iconic beach club M Colmont is understood to have politely turned down the offer as he preferred not to become one of his clients eating the signature dish of “Panier des Crudites” with anchoiade mayonnaise!

The town’s along this stretch of the Cote D’Azur are each rather distinct and have their own style. The beach is never far from people’s minds as they negotiate, sometimes to the frustration of the locals, the summertime traffic of fellow tourists.

Naturally in this style capital it is vital to get your beach or port transport right. For those not seeking to impress in the vast array of American muscle cars that are to be spotted in many locations, my preference is to celebrate the more quirky and classic vehicles.

Aestheticons readers will already know of my passion for the GRP bodied Citroen Mehari – see our previous post here – Citroën Méhari – A reliable French classic that is patriotically supported and really enjoyed in St Tropez and its surrounding villages.

The Mini Moke, which has the look of a vehicle that was designed for the breeze of the Cote D’Azur, is a very popular ride either to the beach or to park up alongside a visiting boat transporting provisions for a day at sea. For the the right clients it is possible to rent one of these wonderful and iconic cars for your stay. See our previous posts here – Mini Moke Goes Electric .

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Closer to the original Mini, I have seen parked in Grimaldi Village, a beach version with wicker seats and no doors, called the “Austin Mini Beach”. It was very beautiful and, I understand, extremely valuable! See our previous post here celebrating the iconic Mini – Mini – the best selling car in Britain

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The third leaf of this Fleur de Lys of wonderful beach and port transport is the Ghia designed Fiat Jolly based on the equally iconic Fiat 500 – see our previous post here – Fiat 500 – 1957-2017

Seemingly one of the most valuable of these iconic beach cars price points of $100,000 have been mentioned for these basket weave seated, frilled canopied expressions of Italian style.

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Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis is said to have had and loved his Fiat Jolly.

In 2108 this charming little car celebrated its sixtieth anniversary and to coincide the guys at Fiat commissioned Garage Italia to produce a reimagined version of the Jolly, limited to 1958 editions, and called the Fiat Spiaggina.

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Image Credits – used with grateful thanks – Hemmings Car Auctions and Garage Italia/FIAT

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Philippe Starck

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Whilst a designer cannot be defined by one of their designs, Phillipe Starck’s “Juicy Salif” is definitive of an era when form and function were not mutually incompatible but certainly pushed boundaries. It’s designer has proved to be one of the most versatile and influential on an entire generation – or two – of consumers.

As many readers will know, I used to live and work in Paris in the early 1980’s for an international law firm housed on the Champs Elysees. I was intoxicated by Paris but it was not all Pastis and Gitanes. I knew of the young Parisien designer, Phillipe Starck, who had been appointed as Art Director to the furniture business of the House of Pierre Cardin, a client of the firms, but couldn’t have anticipated his impact on my World.

Starck was born 18th January 1949, after studying at the prestigious product and interior design École Camondo on Paris’ Left Bank, he worked for Adidas and founded his own design business Starck Design/Ubik. This led to his work with Alessi – see our previous post on the power house of Italian Design  – Alessi Bollitore kettle  in 1990, Starck designed the Juicy Salif for Alessi.

It is said that the idea came to Starck whilst having lunch on the Amalfi coast. He realised that his plate of calamari hadn’t been dressed by lemon juice and had an idea. He scribbled some thoughts onto a napkin that is now preserved at the Alessi Museum. Some say that the Juicy Salif is a triumph of form over function in that it’s said it doesn’t work that well …. for Starck, he is rumoured to have said: “It’s not meant to squeeze lemons, it is meant to start conversations.”

Early projects included the refurbishment of the interior of newly elected President Mitterand’s apartment at the Elysee Palace, followed by the interior design of the iconic Cafe Costes in Paris in 1984, for brothers Jean-Louis and Gilbert Costes, a design which included the now celebrated leather and bent-wood, Costes Chair.

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By the late 1980s Starck was designing environmentally sensitive buildings in Japan including the 1989 “Nani, Nani” and in 1990 the Asahi Beer Hall in Tokyo.

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The late 1990’s into the new Millenium saw Starck heavily involved in the revitalization of the hotel sector with signature projects in New York with Ian Shrager’s “Paramount”

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The Delano in Miami and in London, The Sanderson. The latter is sympathetically based in the Grade II listed 1950’s Reginald Uren’s designed building at 50, Berners Street, London W1 that until 1992 housed the showrooms of Arthur Sanderson’s fabric business deep in London’s Rag Trade area.

Starck interest in things nautical has led to commissions to design some of the world’s most stunning yachts including two “A” motor and sailing yachts for Russian Billionaire, Andrey Melnichenko.

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Starck’s more recent work has involved designing four e-bikes in partnership with Mousthache Bikes, customized to the environment of use including snow and sand….

and the Pibal cycle for the City of Bordeaux.
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UK TV viewers may recall the 2009 BBC2 series fronted by Starck “Design For Life” reality TV show. Over a number of weeks selected Design Students were encouraged – and sometimes railed on by the Gallic Starck – to revive an English passion for design. The weakest were iliminated and the winner was given a six month placement at Starck’s Paris office. Arriving on set with his wife riding pillion on his motor bike, Starck clearly engaged with a UK audience. A fluent English speaker, you were left wondering whether his elaborate pronunciation was part of an act. Excellent TV, but it didn’t make a second series.

Would you like to add a Juicy Salif to your kitchen? If so, click on the Amazon link below the image of the Juicy Salif

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Alessi Juicy Salif Citrus Juicer

Image Credits – with grateful thanks – Starck Network, Moustache Bikes and Alessi

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AesthetIcons – Happy New Year

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For this, my 250th AesthetIcons’ post and first of the New Year, I am going to be a little self indulgent, introspective and, perhaps, somewhat overly analytical. Many of you will have read my praises of the “aesthetic” and the “iconic” – often both – but I want to regroup in order to further develop Aestheticons.com.

What may be aesthetic and/or iconic, is probably in the eye of the beholder. Clearly, it’s primarily subjective. Indeed, I am happy that not all of us with love the same designs. Conversely, it is entirely possible to appreciate something that we don’t particularly like. The Toyota Prius, whilst I recognise it may be iconic – in a curiously evolutionary way – it’s just not particularly aesthetic!

Not all will appreciate my almost clinical devotion to the products produced for over seventy years by the Stuttgart based Porsche AG, from the earliest incarnations of the 1950’s with 356 to the most recent iterations of the Porsche Targa. To me, Porsche cars are the very definition of what is both Aesthetic and Iconic.

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The use over many hundreds of years of Icons by the Russian Orthodox religion gives us much of the substance to our present day usage of the expression – although the etymological root of the word itself comes from the Greek “eikōn” meaning “image”. Whether worship of icons is entirely sound is a matter of personal faith but they do present a focus for devotion.

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The word “iconic” is often used in the media as short-hand for “famous”. Is David Beckham an “icon” – possibly – he was certainly was an amazing footballer who is now using his brand equity for commercial and philanthropic purposes. Coco Chanel, the originator of the Little Black Dress and the wonderful No. 5 perfume, is often described as an icon and her creations are equally titled. She also very ably ticks the box that spells ”Aesthetic”.

Kim Kardashian is described as having her own “Aesthetic” aside from her charms I struggle to see this as being more than “style”. This may result from the relationship between the host of a Twitter or Instagram account and their legion of followers, who, sadly, are unlikely to ever see yet alone meet their icon! For me Aesthetic is adjacent to “Art”. Essentially, the viewer’s reaction that confirming the objects status – again entirely subjective.

It seems that an adopted definition of an “Icon” is that the subject acquires its title through familiarity, use and enjoyment, especially, over a number of years.

Whilst New York’s Chrysler Building – see our previous post here Chrysler Building, New York City– or the Guggenheim Museum – see our previous post here Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and London’s Battersea Power Station – see our previous post here Battersea Power Station are undisputed icons of world architecture and they enjoy substantial praise for their aesthetic values. Is it time alone that has cemented these giants into the public’s consciousness, appreciation and nostalgia? Can London’s The Shard by Renzo Piano, The Gherkin by Foster and Shuttleworth or Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao see our previous post here Guggenheim Museum Bilbao hope to stand shoulder to shoulder with these masterpieces? Obviously yes, but it is much more than a question of  merely adding time.

It seems that there are certain icons that are loved and cherished that fail, taking their brand equity with them. Some of the familiar brands that have disappeared recently include: The US airline, once the emblem of the “Jet Set” international travel, Pan Am collapsed into bankruptcy in 1994. Hummer, once the Schwarzenegger of SUVs, in 2008 General Motors sensing the end of the road for conspicuous consumption tried to sell the brand but due to a lack of commercial interest in 2010 the doors were shut. Woolworths, the Home of Pic’N’Mix, largely due to the 2007 Credit Crunch, filed for Administration in November 2008, closing all stores within a couple of months. Athenasee our previous post here – Tennis Girl and Friends – founded in 1964, the home of student poster decoration, entered administration in 1995.

Some truly iconic brands have been saved and thrive, evolving into new markets whilst ensuring the continued affection of fans. These include: Falcon Enamel Wear see our previous post here – Falcon Enamelware Bugatti was founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, following years at the leading edge of motor racing the factory was bombed in WWII and with Bugatti’s death the business was eventually acquired by Volkswagen in 1990s today producing £2.0m supercars. Moleskinesee our previous post here – Moleskine Notebook the original manufacturer, a France-based family, ceased production in 1986 following the death of its principal. The brand was very successfully revived eleven years later by Italian publisher Modo & Modo.

I am particularly determined to revive – see our previous post here – Woods & Sons “Beryl Ware” crockery – quite simply the most familiar crockery that you have known for years, as used in all manner of cafes and, I suspect, you’d love to own. Do you remember the Husky Quilted Jackets? Loved by English Princesses and Milanese businessmen – with the corduroy collar and cuffs that came in fire-engine red, marine blue and Hunter welly’s green – see our previous post here – Hunter Green Wellington Boots My research has shown the brand was acquired in a corporate buy-out but I challenge you to find a new Husky jacket.

My interests in the Aesthetic and Iconic are unlimited by genre, item or product type. There are the new and old, the familiar and less familiar. As we evolve, our core philosophy remains constant – to celebrate beautiful things. We will continue to curate and to introduce our audience to iconic designs. I relish the journey!

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Image Credits with thanks: Porsche AG, Volkswagen, Falcon Enamel Wear, Hunter Wellingtons, Moleskine, Tudor Watches, Chanel.

Aestheticons’ Men’s Guide To Perfect Gifts for Ladies

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Guys, it’s that time of year when we know you may struggle to make the right gift choices for your ladies. At AEstheticons, we’ve done most of the hard work for you. Our recent affiliation with AMAZON allows us to offer you a carefully selected range of gifts – as you’d expect they are all beautiful, iconic and design classics.

We believe your choices will be a perfect way to show your ladies just how thoughtful and full of the holiday spirit you are……I acknowledge receiving some help from Mrs W – but then again she has such good taste! Please enjoy!

PS. You’ll need to do the wrapping!

Oh….and there’s nothing stopping Ladies buying for themselves or other Ladies!

After each image of the product is an Aestheticons post – if there is one – followed by the AMAZON link for ease of purchase. 

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Chanel – the Home of the Little Black Dress – founded in 1909 by Pierre Wertheimer and Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, also known as “Coco Chanel”. Their fragrances include the fabulous:

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Chanel AllureSo that’s what “Allure” means Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum – 50 ml

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Chanel No 5 – the iconic perfumeChanel No. 5 FOR WOMEN by Chanel – 50 ml EDP Spray

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Clarins tinted moisturizer – six colours to chose from depending on complexion. Mrs W is blond so No 4 (Blond) is her selection.

Clarins HydraQuench Tinted Moisturiser SPF15, 50 ml – 04 Blond

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Carmex: Taste those lips – Carmex Lip Balm

Carmex Original Tube & Pot duo pack

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Tiger Balm: Go on just relax Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm Red, 3 pack

Clothes

CK ladies

Calvin Klein Underwear: Chic comfort

Calvin Klein Bustier. 3 Pack Womens Cotton Bralette (Black / Grey / White, S)
Calvin Klein Women’s Underwear Cotton Thong, Grey (Grey Heather 020), 8 (Manufacturer Size: S)
Calvin Klein .. Women’s Cotton Bralette and Thong Underwear Set (Black, M)

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Fruit of the Loom T Shirts: Simple and beautiful Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

Fruit of the Loom Lady-Fit Valueweight V-Neck T-Shirt SS047 (S, Heather Grey)

Wolford

Wolford tights: Sheer elegance

Wolford Hosiery Opaque 70 Matt Tights Small Black

Levi 711

Levi Jeans 711 – for size selection check her wardrobe for similar fitting trousers!

Jeans Levis 711 City Blues 2932 Blue

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Burberry Coat: Stylish, iconic and elegant  Burberry Trench Coat

BURBERRY Women’s Wkensington Long Coat, Beige (Honey 70500), Medium

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Gloverall duffle: Traditional warm  Duffle Coat – by Gloverall

Gloverall Women’s Mid Duffle Coat, Grey (Silver), 14

Rab parka

Rab Parka: The best down by far… Rab Down Jackets

Rab Women’s Microlight Parka – Indigo, 16

Boots and Shoes

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Hunter’s Wellington: They don’t need to be Green! Hunter Green Wellington Boots

Hunter Original Tall, Women’s Wellington Boots, Red (Military Red), 6 UK (39 EU)

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Ugg Boots: Warm feet…warm heart

Ugg Australia Classic Short II, Women’s Boots, Light Brown, 5.5 UK (38 EU)

Ugg Slip

Ugg Slippers: So that’s Winter sorted!

Ugg Australia Dakota, Women’s Casual, Chestnut, 6.5 UK (39 EU)

Bass Weje Lady

Bass Weejuns: Very stylish – Bass Weejuns Penny Loafers

Womens G.H Bass Weejuns Esther Kiltie Slip On Smart Work Loafers Shoes – Black – 6

DM for Lady

Dr Martens: Yes, these look great on ladies too – Dr. Martens

Dr. Marten’s Original 1460 Patent, Women’s Boots, Black, 6 UK(39 EU)

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Converse: Cool with jeans –  Converse – Chuck Taylor All Stars

Converse Allstar All Star Core Ox Canvas Navy M9697 5 UK

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Birkenstocks  – Heading for the beach? Birkenstocks

Birkenstock Gizeh, Womens-Adults’ Sandals, Blue, EU 37

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Skechers – she will love you for this, I challenge you to find a more comfortable shoe 

Skechers Women’s Go Walk 4-Pursuit Trainers, Black (Black), 7 UK 40 EU

Jewellery

Cartier tank

Cartier Women’s Tank Francais Stainless Steel – Because she really is worth it!

Cartier Women’s W51008Q3 Tank Francaise Stainless Steel Watch 

Swatch Rab

Swatch – an everyday watch to face most things! – Swatch

Swatch Women’s Watch YLS453

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Thomas Sabo Bracelet: A bracelet for memories

Thomas Sabo Women-Charm Bracelet Charm Club 925 Sterling Silver Length 17 cm X0031-001-12-M

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Thomas Sabo Charms: A snowflake for Christmas

Thomas Sabo Women-Charm Pendant Snowflake Charm Club 925 Sterling Silver 0281-001-12

Desk

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Cross Sterling Silver pen: For fine writing  – Cross Classic Century – Sterling Silver ballpen

Cross Century Classic Hallmark Silver Ball Point Pen

Smythsons Notebook

Smythsons Notebook: Poems and Prose

Live Love Laugh Panama Wallet Note Book Smythson red red One Size

Moleskine 18 red

Molskine Diary: Keep a track on your appointments

2018 Moleskine Scarlet Red Large Weekly Notebook Diary 12 Months Soft

Accessories

Dents gloves
Suede glove by Dents

Dents Ladies Short Classic Plain Soft Suede Gloves (Black, Medium)

Longchamp

Longchamp Le Pliage Bag

Longchamp Women’s Le Pliage Large Tote Bag bag

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Longchamp Le Pliage Rucksack

Longchamp Women’s Le Pliage Backpack Backpack

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Rayban Wayfarers: Always and icon  Rayban Wayfarers

Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses 52mm, Black (901)

Graham Cash socks

Pure cashmere socks: Not just bed socks!

Graham Cashmere – Womens Cashmere Rib Socks – Made in Scotland – Gift Boxed – Mirage Blue

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Pure Cashmere Tartan Blankets: wrap up! 

Pure Cashmere Tartan Blanket, Royal Stewart

Sweet tooth

Bendicks
Bendicks bittermint: a mint hamper 

Bendicks Standard Hamper

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Charbonnel and Walker sea salt caramel truffles

Charbonnel et Walker Double Layer Sea Salt Milk Caramel Truffles 245 g

Stuff

Fit bit 2

Fitbit Alta HR Fitness – Pulse racing? 

Fitbit Alta HR Fitness Wristband – Fuchsia, Small (5.5-6.7 in)

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Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer – More Advanced Technology From Dyson

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer – Fuchsia

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Amazon Kindle Fire: A quite read Amazon Kindle Fire

All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1” 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black – with Special Offers

Ipod
Apple iPod Touch – load a playlist featuring some of her favourites. 

Apple 32 GB iPod Touch – Blue

Bose 35 c

BOSE Bose QuiteComfort 35

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

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Roberts Radio Roberts Radio

Roberts Revival iStream2 DAB/DAB+/FM Internet Radio – Duck Egg

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Vogue UK Kindle Edition Vogue UK – Sorry UK Only!

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Images courtesy of the Manufacturers

Citroen DS

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In the mid-1970’s South West France was my family’s holiday destination of choice. My Father believed that an ability to speak foreign languages broke down barriers and what better place to explore our newly acquired school French.

Myth and legend has it that my Father’s family, apparently Huguenot and named De Winton, hailed from La Rochelle and left during an early era of persecution to settle in the South West UK. So returning to our ancestral roots felt very natural to our DNA.

My sister had the bright idea to contact certain Cognac makers asking if we could visit their production facilities. She received several embossed replies, and we visited several but the most engaging and somewhat surreal visit was to the House of Hine. We were flattered to be greeted by Jacques Hine at his empire’s front door; forty years ago it was unusual for a factory to receive non-trade visitors.

M. Hine made us very welcome and showed us around the wonderfully archaic catacombs of his business explaining in poetic detail the process of making their fine Cognac – which to this day holds the Queen’s Royal Warrant.

You can enjoy a bottle of Hine’s fine VSOP Cognac by clicking the link under the following image 

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Hine Rare Vsop, 70 cl

M. Hine apologised but explained that he has to attend a funeral but had asked his works Director, Gilles, to continue our tour to the company’s new facility outside town. He insisted that we should use his car. The image of this charming, and I suspect wealthy French distiller, in his black suit disappearing into Jarnac on his aged Solex scooter – see our post here – Solex moped – was comical.

Meanwhile Gilles beckoned us to the courtyard where M. Hines’ gleaming black Citroën DS sat waiting to for us. The clunk of the heavy doors, the smell of the black leather and the oh so Bentley-comfortable gliding ride was truly magical. The Citroën DS had always been my Father’s favourite car. This was truely a French icon of progress and technology and always ahead of its time.

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The Citroën DS – if pronounced carefully sounds like the French word for “Goddess”-  was manufactured by Citroën from 1955 to 1975 – selling over 1.4m cars and was a true symbol of French ingenuity. The classic French icon was designed by the genius, Flaminio Bertoni, engineered by André Lefèbvre and the ingenious pneumatic self-levelling suspension was developed by Paul Magès. It was the first production car to have front disc brakes, it also had power steering, semi-automatic transmission and directional head lights.

Our featured image shows the DS Pallas 23 from the mid-1970’s.

Our visit to the then new facility was fascinating and upon our return to the main office we were ushered into the Hine tasting room. M Hine, having returned from the funeral, proceeded to present us some souvenirs of our visit including a silk scarf for my Mother and a bottle of Hine’s finest, for my Father. He then explained that we all needed refreshment and produced a ice-chilled bottle of champagne which he served into the finest Baccarat crystal glasses Baccarat Chrystal Paperweight

Dreaming of beautiful and fine Baccarat Champagne Flutes? You can order them individually by clicking the link below the image

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Baccarat Mille Nuits Champagner Flute

If like me you love the car why not get the T shirt – in appropriate Burgundy – by clicking the link below the image

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Men’s Citroen DS T-Shirt Burgundy, XL

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Images courtesy of Citroen, Hine and Baccarat Christal with grateful thanks

 

 

 

 

Compagnie Internationale des Wagon-Lits

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It’s 1979 and I’m on the Night Ferry, an overnight sleeper-train running between London’s Victoria Station to Paris’ Gare du Nord. Cue the accordion soundtrack, the slight hint of Channel No 5 and certainly the distinctive aroma of a Disque Blue. Where else could we possibly be? Ah…Paris!

 

The Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (literally “Sleeping Cars”) maintained twelve carriages that were custom designed to fit the smaller gauge of the British railway network. The service departed daily from Victoria – from platform 2 to Gare du Nord, starting on 5th October 1936 and discontinued in 1980 – using the same rolling stock throughout.

 

Prior to Eurostar it was the only non-stop way to get from London to Paris by boat train. The carriages were loaded onto “train-ferries” for the cross channel section of the journey and at Dunkerque the carriages were off-loaded for the onward journey to Paris.

 

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The luxurious Wagons-Lits was founded in 1872 by Belgian, Georges Nagelmackers, who had seen the Pullman night carriages operating whilst on a trip to the United States in the late 1860’s. He imported the idea into Europe. Wagon-Lits quickly established itself as the premier provider and operator of European railway sleepers and dining cars. They only provided the carriages and relied upon the domestic or state-wide operators for the locomotives that pulled them.

The journey that I would have loved to taken would have been on The Côte d’Azur Pullman Express which ran from December 1929 until May 1939. The service was operated by Wagons-Lits and the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (known as the PLM). The train was scheduled to leave Paris at 08:50,  stopping  at Dijon, Lyon and Marseilles and making further stops at the resort towns along the French Riviera including, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, Nice and Menton  reaching its final destination, Ventimiglia (Italy). The entire journey took 15 hours and 10 minutes.

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Accompanying the promotion for this new service many iconic travel posters were commissioned including in 1929, the Pierre Fix-Masseau piece – shown as our featured image.

Pierre’s father, Pierre Félix Masseau, was, until 1935, the director of the École Nationale d’Art Décoratif  (“Art Deco”) in Limoges. The inevitable result was that, Pierre’s poster work – and that of his many poster-art contemporaries, Roger Broders, Cassandre and Paul Colin – was heavily influenced by Art Deco, a successor to and reaction against Art Nouveau.

Art Deco was above all associated with both luxury and modernity; it combined very expensive materials and exquisite craftsmanship realised in modernistic forms – hence its use in these seductive travel posters.

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These wonderful posters were designed to lure inquisitive travellers into sampling the delights of the then modern European and luxurious railway system, to holiday in alluring destinations of snow and beach but, above all, they are the most remarkable examples of stylised commercial art. Our continued fascination with these fine works has resulted in their comparative scarcity and justifiable value.

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Image Credits – With thanks to SNCF, Wagon-Lits and the estate of Pierre Fix-Masseau

 

 

 

 

 

Vilebrequin swim shorts

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The beaches within easy reach of most Northern European airports, namely those on the the Côte d’Azur, the Costa Smerelda and the Costa del Sol have for several years been the scene of a particularly charming Father and Son(s) bonding custom – which I am happy to admit my son and I have been part of. The engineer of this pan-European display are the nice people at Vilebrequin.

In 1971 photographer and motor racing enthusiast and Saint Tropez resident, Fred Prysquel, was inspired by the local artists, the light and colour of the Cote d’Azur to sketch a design for a pair of classic swim shorts – known as the “Moorea” cut – that would give birth to the dynamic and iconic brand, Vilebrequin. Curiously, its name is the French word for the “crankshaft” which we understand was inspired by the metal spiral staircase in the first shop to bear its name.

Given the prevalence of sailing in the area, Prysquel decided to use spinnaker sail cloth – noted for its quick during properties and resilient to sun and wind – for his shorts which, since their debut, have featured vibrant colours and maritime patterns. With the success of M Prysquel’s early design the signature and witty sea turtle image has become synoymous with the beaches of the South of France.

The brands fame spread to other European hotspots, becoming essential kit – almost a uniform – for the beach bound “Yuppy” where it would usually be accompanied by a signature and highly waterproof Swiss watch – up to at least 300m – often made by Rolex or Omega Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Master Co-Axial

In 1991, Loïc Berthet, took over the brand and added new models. The original model was also enhanced by the addition of a over the brand. He further develops the brand by adding a back pocket secured with Velcro with an eyelet “draining” hole and a cotton lining.

As our Yuppy hero grew up he would often confront the challenges of parenthood. Vilebrequin, being savvy to their customer’s circumstances, realized that they could expand their collection and exponentially grow their market by the introduction in 1995 of the matching Father and Son range – with boy’s sizes starting at a minuscule 6 months.

My son and I each had a deep blue pair with curiously stylised wrapped toffees which we adored. His pair were a little large for him when bought so we had several years of seriously cool beach co-ordination! See our picture below on Spain’s Costa de la Luz – paradise but don’t tell too many others!

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In a decade from 1990 Vilebrequin opened stores in London, Paris, New York and Madrid with a distribution network in more than 50 countries.

In 2012, Vilebrequin was acquired by US fashion corporation, G-III Apparel Group, Ltd., who, in addition to a drive to expand its operations in the Far East, have extended the range with a “Mother and Daughter” collection.

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Photo Credits – with grateful thnaks – Vilebrequin and author’s own!