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Morning has broken at The Moodie Davitt Report Interim Zürich Bureau and what a blissful panorama greets me. Alas, my stay at The Dolder Grand comes to an end today so it will be back to the more mundane early morning view over my back garden in West London until my next trip but over two days here I’ve packed in enough memories to keep me in high spirits for a long while.
As mentioned in yesterday’s Blog, I’m in Switzerland to cover a fascinating fusion of the luxury and art worlds, a landmark event hosted by luxury skincare house La Prairie. Yesterday La Prairie opened an art exhibition within an art exhibition. Its own project, ‘Eyes in Focus’, represented the enthralling creative interpretations by three young Swiss women photographers – Daniela Droz, Namsa Leuba and Senta Simond – of ‘the female gaze’. How would three eclectic talents celebrate the female gaze through their own eyes and lenses?
At the La Prairie Pavilion in the Collectors Lounge within the magnificent annual Art Basel exhibition, we discovered the answers. La Prairie described the trio as the “new guard of contemporary photography”, each with her own unique approach.
I liked the words of La Prairie Group President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Rasquinet very much as he explained the concept, one linked to today’s launch of La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Lift. “We decided to put a special focus on the eyes as they represent the mirror of the soul,” he told media from all around the world (The Moodie Davitt Report is representing the travel retail sector, one of La Prairie’s biggest success stories). “La Prairie decided to explore this emotional, this powerful, this defining quality of the eye.”
Rasquinet, whose personable company I had the pleasure of enjoying at a magnificent dinner at Degenried last night, dubbed the project “an artistic dialogue”.
“These three artists have a lot in common,” he said. “First, they are all young because La Prairie believes that emerging artists have the power to shape the future. The second commonality is that they are all female artists, because La Prairie strongly believes that women’s wishes and desires are at the forefront of everything we do. And all are Swiss, because we love to express our Swiss heritage through the prism of art.”
You can judge the impressive and intriguing results for yourself below (I’ll bring you professional images in next week’s Moodie Davitt eZine).
The trio’s works were not the only art we were treated to yesterday. Before the launch of Eyes in Focus, we visited Fondation Beyeler in Basel, which was showing the unforgettable works of the young Picasso, featuring his Blue and Rose periods, plus an exhibition of work from contemporary painter Rudolf Stingel, a creative master renowned for the way he constantly probes and interrogates the status quo of painting.
The Picasso exhibition ranks as the most ambitious ever staged by the Fondation Beyeler. It is devoted to the paintings and sculptures of the young Pablo Picasso from between 1901 and 1906. It is unlikely that they will be seen again in such a concentrated collection in one place.
“For the first time in Europe, the masterpieces of these crucial years, every one of them a milestone on Picasso’s path to pre-eminence as the twentieth century’s most famous artist, are presented together, in a concentration and quality that are unparalleled,” read the promotional tagline and the reality did not disappoint.
Our artistic sojourn then continued at Art Basel, one of three events under that name held in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami, designed to connect collectors, galleries, and artists, and support the role galleries play in nurturing the careers of artists.
I spent several enjoyable hours wandering the exhibition in the convivial company of La Prairie Group Business Development Director Global Travel Retail Katharina Walter, a human dynamo who has played a pivotal role in the brand’s impressive and sustained growth in travel retail over recent years.
But the link between luxury beauty and art was not finished yet. Last night we were treated – and I use the word ‘treated’ in its purest sense – to dinner at The Kunsthaus Zürich, an art museum that houses one of Switzerland’s and the world’s most important art collections, with works spanning from the Middle Ages to contemporary art – including an appropriate emphasis on Swiss pieces.
The dinner itself was art. The three-course menu was created by Nenad Mlinarevic, a Swiss chef who was named Gault Millau’s Chef of the Year in 2016 and who received two Michelin stars in 2013. In a homage to today’s launch of Skin Caviar Eye Lift, the evening was entitled ‘Caviar Dinner – Fine Dining meets Art’: An artistic encounter between Chef Nenad Mlinarevic and artists Daniela Droz, Namsa Leuba and Senta Simond. The menu itself was themed ‘Revive, Raise, Redefine’, each of the three terms inspired by Ms Leuba (starter), Ms Simond (main course) and Ms Droz (dessert), respectively, and interpreted by Chef Mlinarevic.
The result was both delicious and artistic. It was in fact art on a plate, though due to the quality of the cuisine, also art of the disappearing kind. For something more enduring, guests were then able to take a private tour of The Kunsthaus Zürich and to be, once more, in the presence of multiple geniuses. I am sure you will recognise many of them in the pictures below, which do scant justice to the beauty, majesty and power of the real thing.
La Prairie has triumphantly underscored the link between luxury and art over these few days. This morning it will build on that relationship at the official launch of Skin Caviar Eye Lift. It promises to be an eye-raising press conference in more senses than one.