Life is much more exciting if you can spice it up with some interesting international events. I know the economy is not that great and even the billionaires are cutting back spending and selling their megayachts and mega-mansions. But life still needs to be fun and exciting. Besides, attending events is a great way to promote business, which certainly is my case as a luxury realtor. Exciting events are constantly taking place around the world, but if I was pressed to choose the finest gatherings I attended from recent years, the following certainly epitomize glamorous travel.
The event included the fashion show, a lunch, a tour of Coco Chanel’s apartment, and a cocktail reception at the Chanel Jewelry boutique on Place Vendome.
Paris Fashion Week
This twice-a-year event (March and October) is the Mecca for everything fashion. From all around the world, designers flock to Paris to show off their Spring and Fall collections. The event is laden with five days of shows, parties, luncheons, and dinners set in Le Grand Palais, the Louvre, and the most fashionable hotels and restaurants.
For Spring, I was impressed with Elie Saab’s show, which was utterly magnificent for this not-quite-so-famous designer. Ungaro, owned by my friends Asim and Isha Abdullah, also presented a wonderful collection by their new, young, and chic Cuban designer. But certainly the highlight of the week, as has come to be expected, was the Chanel show at Le Grand Palais. Barbara Cirkva, President of Chanel, USA, extended invitations for me to the extremely exclusive affair. House of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld consistently reinvents the “Chanel look,” keeping it fresh, chic, and beautiful after all these years. The event included the fashion show, a lunch, a tour of Coco Chanel’s apartment, and a cocktail reception at the Chanel Jewelry boutique on Place Vendome.
Monaco Yacht Show
Monte Carlo, Monaco
This annual megayacht event, which takes place in the world’s best yachting playground, is a must if you enjoy boating and partying with the super rich. One weekend each September, the finest mega-
yachts from around the world gather to exhibit watercraft for charter and sale. Of course, there are plenty of crafts there solely to be shown-off. The yachts are polished to perfection, and the yacht owners, crews, and brokers welcome guests on board for tours and cruises. Those deemed worthy enough receive invitations to the soiree at the Monte Carlo Yacht Club and the Boat International party, held at the Hotel Hermitage overlooking the harbor, where the people-watching is almost as entertaining as touring the yachts. Somehow, women in Monaco and the South of France look so chic and sexy regardless of age, shape, and form. Maybe it’s the jewels. The first time I attended, I was told to bring my smallest dog and wear my largest diamond.
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Porto Cervo, Italy
Held in the Italian yachting heaven of Porto Cervo, Sardinia, in June, this is a serious sporting event as opposed to a social affair. The participants are here to win. I was lucky to be invited by my friend Brian Stewart, whose yacht financing and tax-structuring firm, Golden Anchor, was one of the sponsors. We joined a team of media photographers on the press boat and spent the day speeding alongside the racing yachts, often risking collision while trying to get the perfect shots.
Last year, a rare treat was a tour and a spin with Luca Bassani on his 118-foot Wally Power. Wally, with the radical design and exquisite attention to details, has achieved a faint stirring, raising the question that perhaps it is time for yacht designers to go back to the drawing board to rethink their designs in the 21st century.
China International Luxury Property Show
After escaping from Communist China with my family, I had no desire to go back for more than three decades. But, in 2006, when I was invited to speak at this three-day event, which is held every September in Shanghai, I decided it’s time to reconcile. I was pleasantly shocked; Shanghai far exceeded my expectations. The city’s new, state-of-the-art skyscrapers numbered in the thousands, and made New York look like a third-world country. In addition to speaking, I was given a booth to exhibit San Francisco properties. Thousands of Chinese visitors were amazed that our California properties are cheaper than those in Shanghai. We toured a luxury condo development overlooking the Bund, which was priced at $2,500-per-square-foot-far above the $970-per-square-foot average in San Francisco for similar quality buildings. I was featured on the cover of Shanghai Talk magazine and invited back to speak again in 2007. Shanghai is now at the top of my “favorite-city-in-the-world” list.
The World Superyacht Awards
Every April, Boat International magazine, along with Golden Anchor, hosts this event in a magnificent palazzo to honor the world’s finest yachts, designers, and builders. I had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in the yacht industry: Fabio Perini of Perini Navi; Peter Lürssen of German shipbuilder Lürssen; Alice Huisman of Royal Huisman; and yacht designer Ron Holland. The 289-foot clipper Maltese Falcon, owned by my client Tom Perkins, won the “Best Sailing Yacht 45m and Above” award. I had the pleasure of attending the debut celebration of Maltese Falcon at Perini’s shipyard in Viareggio, Italy, the year prior and witnessed not only the beauty but also the technological innovation of the yacht. We partied for three days on this magnificent yacht around this beautiful coast of Italy.
International Women’s Forum
Aman, Jordan & Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nearly 500 women business and political leaders, from more than 75 countries, attend this annual May event. I attended in Jordan in 2007 and in Buenos Aires in 2008. The forum’s topics included promoting women’s rights in the workplace in developing countries, encouraging women’s political participation in government, and more. It was so invigorating to be with so many Type-A women for three days. After the conferences, we stayed a few extra days to discover the beauty, history, culture, sights, and sounds of the host country.
Queen Rania of Jordan attended the entire morning session at the forum with us. I had a brief chat with her and was very impressed by her beauty and wisdom and surprised by how down-to-earth she was. Following the event, I visited Wadi Rum and Petra, one of the world’s new seven wonders. Indeed, it was a magical place that should top everyone’s “must-see” list. I also fell in love with Buenos Aires. This city of elegance, beauty, and tango grabs your heart and soul. It has the world’s widest boulevard (16 traffic lanes!), a scenic river, a thriving economy, French-inspired architecture, and Italian-inspired hospitality.