Whatever Floats Your Boat

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“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” So said Ratty to Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s “Wind in the Willows”, and (apart from shoe shopping perhaps), it’s a sentiment I share.

Poetry in motion: The Prada Luna Rossa catamarans in Venice

So I was overjoyed in May to be invited to Venice by Puig, to the official reveal of Luna Rossa, the new men’s fragrance from the house of Prada. The scent was inspired by the Prada Luna Rossa AC 45 Catamaran, which forms part of Prada’s America’s Cup Luna Rossa Challenge, of which Prada Chairman and CEO Patrizio Bertelli is Team Principal.

The entire fragrance concept clearly, and cleverly, draws on the Luna Rossa sailing universe; the TV ad campaign in particular is mightily impressive. The objectives too are ambitious. “This is the biggest ever masculine fragrance launch from Prada,” declared Prada Fragrance and Skincare General Manager Francesco Riosa, at the launch presentation. “We aim to achieve sales of €20m in 2012, rising to €60m in 2014.”

Enjoying life on the Venetian lagoon with Puig and the WDFG team

After the fragrance reveal, guests were fortunate enough to watch at close quarters the Venetian fleet races, which form part of the America’s Cup World Series. And in what must surely be a good omen for the fragrance, both Prada boats claimed victory. Prada’s Luna Rossa – Swordfish catamaran took the day’s opening race, while Prada’s Luna Rossa – Piranha won the second.

It’s difficult to articulate how breathtaking those boats are in action. They are fast, powerful and graceful. Beautiful to watch and, I imagine, even better to sail. My father, who passed away earlier this year, was a proper boat buff. During most of my childhood he worked on the sailing base at an Outdoor Pursuits Centre in Wales. It’s a little-known fact that I could competently sail a Topper by the age of seven; crew a Wayfarer by the age of nine; and on my honeymoon in Corsica taught my (rookie) husband how to handle a catamaran on pretty choppy seas. In hindsight, this was perhaps not the ideal way to begin a marriage but 17 years later he still hasn’t divorced me, so I reckon I got away with it.

Prada Luna Rossa is being launched in domestic and travel retail doors this month

Reader, I would have sold my soul – and my shoe collection – for a chance to crew on one of those catamarans in Venice, although these days I realise I lack the necessary strength, stamina, agility and balance to do a decent job. So I took the only other sensible option: sat back in the sunshine, sipped Champagne and toasted the success of Prada Luna Rossa. Don’t you just love it when work is such plain sailing?

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