The recent trend for avant-garde superyachts continues with visionary designer Igor Lobanov's Star. Two concave lines create a revolutionary silhouette, swooping dramatically upwards to form a point. Aside from its unconventional, futuristic design, the 132-metre-long, 60-metre-tall, eight-deck Star includes only the most cutting-edge and luxurious features, among them a helipad and an underwater viewing deck that's connected by lift to a viewing platform at the apex of the yacht. Until a daring buyer steps forward to make the design a reality, however, the Star will remain a spark in Lobanov's creative mind.
Lebanese manufacturer W Motors has undoubtedly built a seriously fast supercar, but it’s the little touches that justify the eye-watering US$3.4 million price tag. The Lykan Hypersport, which made its European debut at the Top Marques Monaco show in April, comes with 420 diamonds in the headlights and more throughout the interior, suicide doors and all kinds of other neat touches. Under the skin, it’s a reworked Ruf CTR3, which costs just a few hundred thousand. So there is some serious badge engineering going on here, but W Motors needs just a few customers to make a case for the Hypersport, and it has them already. Only seven cars will be created, and buyers can customise each with rubies and sapphires in place of diamonds, for instance. With a top speed of 390km/h and capable of 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds, blink and you’ll miss it.
British sports car marque Lotus made a dramatic motorcycle debut this year with a US$137,000, 200-horsepower superbike designated the Lotus C-01. Designed by Daniel Simon -- the man behind the neon cyberpunk light cycles in the movie Tron -- the futuristic vehicle is inspired by the legendary Lotus 49 Formula One car of the late 1960s. The impossibly sleek-looking body is made from a cutting-edge blend of carbon fibre and aluminium, and rockets along on the power of a tuned up 1,195cc V-twin engine. Only 100 will be made. Given the racing riding position and the long throw of the front forks, only seasoned riders should consider taking the Lotus C-01 out on the road. But the stylish machine would also look good as a showpiece in your foyer.
There are skis and then there's Switzerland's Disentis-based ski-maker Zai, which creates the most innovative blades on the planet. Each prized pair combines wood with unusual materials such as gneiss stone, carbon composites, felt and Zai's famous "bent" stone cores. Zai made a prestigious pair of limited edition skis for Bentley (to complement the Bentley Flying Spur model) and will custom-make skis for clients. Piste aficionados can stop by, tour the workshop and enjoy gourment dinners with CEO Benedikt Germanier. There's even a newly launched concierge service whereby Zai will deliver customised skis to your destination. So get thee to the slopes and let Zai take care of the rest.
To look stylish while on the putting green, search no further than the ValGrine Haute Creation Cupidon. The elegant half-mallet's brass alloy and gold body, finished with seven layers of lacquer, is set with no less than 56 diamonds, making for a beautiful blend of masculine and feminine. Priced around €45,000, it can be further customised with different engravings, finishes or colours -- from blue to orange to red alongside the standard austere brass. The French maison ValGrine is well-known for its artistry, craftsmanship and bespoke services.
Call it the Bilbao effect, but since Frank Gehry created his game-changing Guggenheim landmark in Spain, which opened in 1997, his work has become as iconic as the pieces residing inside them. No less so is the Fondation Louis Vuitton at the Jardin d'Acclimatation in the centre of Paris, built for France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, which opened in October. Dedicated to Arnault's extensive collection of contemporary art, Gehry and his billionaire client first discussed the project more than 15 years ago. Arnault's staking the future on it, too. As well as being a platform for cultural appreciation and exchange in the present, the museum will become a gift to the City of Light when the 55-year lease ends.
Step aside Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and the rest; the ultimate in luxury footwear has emerged -- a pair of calfskin boots sporting 38,883 coloured diamonds and 4,783 grams of gold that took 30,000 hours of craftmanship to create. Valued at US$3.2 million, the one-of-a-kind pair of boots -- a collaboration between Belgian luxury fashion label AF Vandevorst and diamond dealership Diarough -- dazzled the crowds at Paris Fashion Week in March. Billed as the most expensive pair of shoes in the world, they take over from the Rita Hayworth Heels created by Stuart Weitzman in 2006, which are embellished with sapphire, rubies and diamonds, and valued at US$3 million.
If the precious metals and painstaking hand-crafting that go into the making of a fine timepiece aren't enough for you, why not add US$55 million worth of coloured diamonds to your wrist? The Graff Hallucination watch is believed to be the most valuable timepiece ever made. The beautiful statement piece features more than 110 carats of rare coloured diamonds of different hues, which took the brand's master craftnen thousands of hours to fit and finesse. The watch was unveiled at the Baselworld watch and jewellery fair in March.
We've already seen Karl Lagerfeld reimagined as a Steiff teddy bear, and his feline companion Choupette has leapt into the mix, but for unbridled flair, and fur, it was hard to beat seeing the designer remade into a Fendi bag key ring. The mini-Karl, nicknamed Karlito, was the must-have accent for autumn/winter 2014 and attracted waiting lists of more than 600 devotees. Not one to rest on his laurels or his Lagerfeld, the Kaiser's next stunt sounds tantalising. Toymaker Mattel is preparing the ultimate crossover doll, Barbie Lagerfeld. Watch. This. Space.
Befitting her credentials as the hottest creative talent in Asia, the inimitable Chen Man made her US debut in March at Denver's RedLine gallery with a solo exhibition, A New Attitude. The show reflected the evolution of Beijing-born Chen's career, from fashion photographer to artist. Her ability to transform supermodels into space nymphs, oriental warriors or ancient goddesses with artful post-production techniques, tackling issues from gender to politics along the way, has seen her published on the covers of innovating Chinese art and fashion magazines, along with esteemed international titles Vogue, Elle, ID and Esquire. Chen launched a second US show at the Los Angeles gallery LA Louver in December. On this evidence, expect a gallery of her own to follow soon.
Channel your inner eco-adventurer with a visit to Newfoundland's Fogo Island Inn and its stunning sapphire-streaked icebergs and ice floew. Go whale-watching, fishing, biking, or take the Little Boats of Fogo weekend package and learn to make your own wooden punt, using traditional skills practised for centuries and paddle and race with instructors who are veterans of the annual 16km Grand Punt Race. Then take a breath, slide back to the inn and indulge your new-found self with cocktails splashed with glacier ice, forage-to-table grilled cod and Prince Edward Island Beef, and just, well, chill out.