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First, to the superyacht. Recent months have been very generous to the very wealthy, who have throughout this period been making money in a manner quite unlike that seen before. In a world in which multiple personal chefs, a lifestyle concierge and a numinous wellness guru are now considered standard, the accoutrements of the rich have changed very little. Houses, private jets and wine cellars still remain priorities. Still, nothing says “I’ve made it” like a bespoke yacht in which to sail.
Brendan Greeley, the FT contributing editor more used to covering monetary policy for the news desk, has been getting the spec on what’s hot in boat land, and has discovered yacht builders and brokers are having a bumper year. “Boats that had spent two years on the market in the past are now gone in a month,” he writes. “Yards are on pace to deliver 494 new superyachts this year.”
Curiously, size matters less for the current crop of aspirants. While billionaires may previously have wanted some floating monster in which to cruise the Med, the new trend is for something smaller, nippier and more expeditionary in style. Clients today are as likely to require centrifuges, Arctic ice crushers and ski rooms as they are a plunge pool or drinks deck, although these new boats have helipads and banja spas as well.
Few of us will ever own a superyacht. But you may well be a guest on one. Will your tribe be jet-skiing around Amalfi with the Euro-hedonists, submersing with the Expeditionists, plunging around the Komodo Archipelago with the other Ride-or-Divers or hitting the decks with the Yankee Doodle Purists? Avoid float shame by first consulting Maria Shollenbarger’s guide to the vessels, drinking holes, accessories and lingo that will see you assimilated with your crew. We’ve also added a few practical tips from Fergus Scholes, who endured a 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic, and who has compiled his must-have list of accessories to ensure your comfort while off-shore.
Escape isn’t all about hitting the high seas, however. And there are adventures here for landlubbers as well. In one of my favourite fashion shoots to be published in HTSI, photographer Bruno Staub and stylist Giovanni Dario Laudicina have used the rugged Almería coastline as a backdrop against which to shoot our cover hero Victor Ordoñez on a road trip combining motorbikes, a Casanova spirit and some truly epic clothes. Similar freedoms, albeit more urban, are embraced in “Look, No Hands” in which Sara Semic extols the joys of ditching her cumbersome handbag for the abundance of accessories that one can now strew about one’s waist and neck. She also models in the accompanying shoot by Kenny Whittle and Aylin Bayhan – the epitome of hands-free chic.
For more sedate pleasures, we have postcards and the whole genre of art that they inspire. Francesca Gavin, who has amassed her own 4,000-strong collection, has spoken to the artists who use them to create new works and finds they are still the perfect encapsulation of the escapist dream. “Super-saturated blue skies that bleed into turquoise seas, with the slightly-too-vibrant greens of trees and fields punctuating the ups and downs sketched out by the deep blues,” says Damien Roach, whose Transit collages use vintage postcards to make new landscapes of aspiration and desire. Of course, today we just post our travels on social media. But whatever medium, the right image still provokes the same reaction: how we wish that we were there. ¡Hasta la vista!
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