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Movie Starring John Malkovich To Be Released 100 Years In The Future By Hannah Norman

Louis XIII Cognac, one of the most luxurious spirits in the world, is the brand behind 100 Years, an original and innovative film written by and starring Hollywood legend John Malkovich. Except there’s a catch – the film will not be released until 2115.

John Malkovich

Directed by Robert Rodriguez, 100 Years – The Movie You Will Never See (to give the film its full title) was inspired by the century of careful craftsmanship and patience it takes to make each decanter of Louis XIII Cognac, with four generations of cellar master putting a lifetime of passion into creating a bottle that they will never get to drink. “We developed this innovative aritstic project to explore the dynamic relationship between the past, present and future,” explains the brand’s Global Executive Director, Ludovic du Plessis, pictured below. “Louis XIII is the master of time,” he adds.

Ludovic du Plessis

To ensure that the film remains secure until its official premiere on November 18th 2115, one whole century into the future, the film reel has been placed in a state-of-the-art safe which features bullet-proof glass and a revolutionary countdown timer. The door to the safe will not open until the one hundred year countdown is complete. The first luxury safe box in the world that cannot be opened with a code or a key, it will open automatically regardless of access to a power source, further guaranteeing that there is no way that the film can be accessed before its 2115 release date. One thousand VIP guests from around the world have received an exclusive invitation to give to their descendants to attend the premiere at the House of Louis XIII in Cognac, France.

Louis XIII

A French art de vivre enthusiast, Malkovich developed the original screenplay for 100 Years. “John knew Louis XIII through its reputation,” du Plessis says of his involvement. “Given the unique concept, he was intrigued. The first time we met with him, we asked him to create a film that won’t be released until 2115. John loved the idea and immediately understood the link between the film’s concept and Louis XIII’s story.”

John Malkovich

Shuya Chang was cast as Malkovich’s onscreen partner, and the two journey through an unknown future achieved by innovative set design and extensive CGI effects. “When I was first approached, I really loved the idea,” Malkovich says of the film, adding, “it seemed exciting to imagine.” The actor then quipped, “I mean, in a way, I wish all the films I made wouldn’t have been seen for a hundred years – I don’t know how much that would change the way they are regarded!”

Shuya Chang and John Malkovich

Interestingly though, Malkovich hasn’t seen the film. Neither has the rest of the cast and crew. In fact, even director Robert Rodriguez has allegedly only seen a rough cut before it was sent to have special effects added in, after which it was put straight into the safe without him having seen the final version. This was done during an exclusive preview of the film’s trailer in Los Angeles, with Malkovich doing the honours and placing the film reel into the safe, setting the timer for the 2115 premiere.

Shuya Chang and John Malkovich

The safe will be transported around the world under high-level security for an international tour beginning in Hong Kong, before reaching its final destination at the House of Louis XIII in Cognac. When the safe is finally unlocked in one hundred years’ time, guests will be welcomed – including the future cellar master, and a descendant of each guest who received a ticket to the film’s preview in 2015 – to the exclusive premiere, on November 18th 2115. “Our goal is to inspire as many people as possible,” du Plessis concludes. “Much like the cellar masters who won’t know how their masterpiece turns out, no-one will be able to see the film in its entirety until 2115.”

For more information, go to www.louisxiii-cognac.com, or click here to watch a teaser.

David Gandy – The Original Catwalk King By Hannah Norman

David Gandy

Being the world’s only male supermodel with film star looks must surely make one just a little self-assured! However, when The Luxury Channel meets David Gandy, aboard the John Walker & Sons Voyager, he couldn’t have been more down to earth. He even laughs at my unfunny jokes (and trust me, that’s going way beyond the call of duty!).

We’re on board the Voyager yacht because Gandy’s role as an ambassador for Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky means he just so happens to be co-hosting a party to celebrate all that is good about the amber nectar. “Johnnie Walker is a very high-end brand and I’m quite an advocate for anything British,” he tells me, as we sit sipping Johnnie Walker cocktails, looking over the panorama of Tower Bridge. “We went to the Cardhu distillery, and then we went to the Diageo castle, which was a lot of fun, as you can imagine, so it was good. The lovely thing is, the master blender is called Jim Beveridge – I’m absolutely not making this up! When I met him, I was like, really? But when you learn all about the whisky, you have a different appreciation for it. You can suddenly taste it. They’ve got [the whisky] downstairs [on the Voyager], and they have all the different flavours and they go, what does this taste like? You go, I have no idea! But downstairs, there’s figs and dates and pineapple, and then suddenly you smell them and you can taste them in the whisky, and it makes you appreciate it so much more.”

John Walker & Sons Voyager

Gandy may now be sitting pretty as the co-host of an exclusive celebrity party, but his rise to super stardom was probably a little less conventional than many people realise, after he was unknowingly entered into a nationwide modeling competition. Despite winning, his career didn’t take off overnight, but he freely admits that may have been a good thing. “For the first five years, even though I was doing a lot of commercial work, it was very observational for me,” he reflects. “It was probably a great learning curve.” Even the advert for which he is probably best known (yes ladies, that 2006 Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue ad), came about due to a bit of good old-fashioned blagging and orchestration on his part. “It hasn’t been easy,” he says of his career trajectory, “but it’s been an adventure. But anything that’s easy isn’t very exciting.” Although becoming successful has brought its own unexpected rewards. “Guys are always coming up to me and saying, how do you get to where you are and do you have any advice? It’s really, really nice,” he smiles. “But I never know where to start because it’s been a thirteen year progression, so there’s no magic formula!”

Today, Gandy is a firm favourite on the fashion circuit, and his place in history was cemented when he took part in the London Olympics closing ceremony as the only male model. “The Olympics were just phenomenal,” he enthuses. “Being typical Brits, we were all a bit skeptical about the Olympics and not very excited, but they turned out to be brilliant.”

David Gandy

As well as the day job, he writes and edits for various publications, and is an ambassador for several organisations, including, as you might expect, for London Collections: Menswear. As LC:M grows in stature and popularity, is image something men should be more aware of? “The British have never been the best,” he confesses. “If you look at Europe – the Italian men and the Parisian men – they’re very aware of their image, and they’re very high-end. British men have probably been a bit behind them. It’s not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think it’s great to take everything so seriously in fashion. I think that’s proved now with LC:M, it’s just getting more and more powerful. We have McQueen, we have Burberry, we have Tom Ford and it’s going from strength to strength. But you can see it in the street. There’s guys walking around in very colourful trousers and T-shirts, and there’s this individuality, which London always started off. I really think we’ll be the number one male fashion capital in the world in a few years.” He laughs and then adds, “Milan and Paris are getting a little bit worried!”

DG6

One of the other organisations Gandy is an ambassador for is Battersea Dogs And Cats Home. “I was there today,” he says. Interestingly, despite being a lover of dogs, Gandy isn’t a dog owner, so where then does his love of dogs come from? “I don’t know,” he admits. “I think you either have a love of dogs, or you don’t – you just have a love of animals. I got a kennel sponsored for me as a birthday present a few years ago. I walked into Battersea and said, can I help out in any other way? So I went on to become an ambassador. That’s why I was there today, because we have the Coats & Collars Ball in November so we were thinking of how to raise money.” The idea that looks like a winner may be familiar to those who keep a close eye on Gandy’s charity work. “Something we did for my charity, the Blue Steel Appeal, was a celebrity dog walk. We did one-off prizes and events, and Simon and Yasmin Le Bon very kindly did a dog walk in Richmond Park, which raised a hell of a lot of money. So I said to Battersea, why not do the same thing? So I think that’s the way we’re going to go with that, so you can have a dog walk with a very famous celebrity or a sportsman and their dog. So yeah, hugely involved with it. People think it’s strange I don’t have a dog, but what I’m trying to push is responsible ownership. I take ninety flights a year, and even when I’m in London I’m working, so I would not be a responsible dog owner.” So how about when he gives up the modeling? “Yeah, one day, of course, absolutely!” he smiles. “I’ll have five dogs, believe me, I really will!”

Philanthropy, it would seem, is something very close to Gandy’s heart. As well as the Blue Steel Appeal and his work for Battersea, he is also an ambassador for Style For Soldiers, a charity that supplies luxury goods to injured military personnel founded by Jermyn Street shirt-maker Emma Willis. “I think it’s a necessity,” he muses when I ask him about his charity work. “If you’re in the public eye and you can raise money in that way, then you should do it – it’s not an option. There’s people who don’t and that’s up to them, I suppose, but we try to encourage those people. But sometimes, you need a platform and then once you build that platform, people will join in.”

David Gandy

Flying all over the world to work with the biggest names in the fashion industry must surely have exposed him to some of the most extraordinary luxuries in the world, so I’m curious to know what his favourite luxury is. “My favourite luxury?” he considers, thinking. “Right okay, I’ll try not to disappoint. I don’t know what my favourite luxury is. This could be something stupid! I have two very expensive habits – watches and cars. I’m renovating a 1960s Mercedes Benz at the moment. That is a luxury. It’s a very expensive luxury that I’m regretting!” he laughs. “The only other thing is my watches – I’ve got quite a good watch selection.” I tell him I’ve had watches before when I’ve asked other people this question. “But not a Mercedes? Go with that one, then. I don’t want to disappoint with something unoriginal!” As the world’s only male supermodel, being unoriginal is surely something Gandy doesn’t need to worry about. His crown as undisputed king of the catwalk doesn’t show any sign of slipping just yet.

Ralph & Russo – Dressing Beyoncé Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

When she stepped out on stage for the opening number of her Mrs. Carter world tour, few would have disagreed that pop star Beyoncé looked anything less than her usual polished self. All eyes were on that now iconic white outfit, which perfectly showed off her enviable physique. But the real secret behind the style lies in the dress design, dreamed up by couture house Ralph & Russo. We caught up with its CEO, Michael Russo, to talk gowns, glamour, and what it’s like to dress one of the most famous derrières on the globe.

Beyonce

“She’s amazing to work with – a real treat,” Russo smiles when we ask about Beyoncé. “She’s amazing fun. She’s one of those genuinely lovely people. She’s a very hard worker, very focused on what she does.” So, just how involved is she? “Usually, we’ll get a general brief from her about the theme of the show or what she’s looking for, and that’ll be it,” Russo reveals. “She’ll let us come up with the ideas and the options, and then we’ll sit together and go through them and she gives us her input.”

This isn’t the first time Beyoncé has called on the creative talents of Ralph & Russo, however. “We’ve just had such a great relationship and we’ve worked with her on so many different things, from the red carpet to stage performances to a private performance for President Obama – it’s all been so varied,” Russo tells us. “To have her in our outfit in front of the President, that was definitely a real highlight. There have been so many different highlights over the last few years, but that was definitely a moment where we were very proud.”

For her current tour, Ralph & Russo have created the majority of Beyoncé’s main stage outfits. “Stage is something we only do for Beyoncé,” Russo admits. “It’s more of a creative outlet – it’s done for the purposes of entertainment and it’s a little bit more fun and fashion-forward. It’s very different to doing haute couture gowns, not only because they look different but because there’s so much to take into consideration – she has to get changed so quickly between performances, but you’ve still got to make it look amazing on stage with the crystal work.” Not only that, but there is the added pressure of dealing with one of the globe’s biggest stars, but as Russo reveals, “she knows what she wants, and working with her is a real collaborative process.”

Ralph & Russo

Russo should know about collaborative processes. He and Creative Director Tamara (the Ralph half of the duo), founded their couture house in 2007, after they quite literally bumped into each other in the street. “Tamara had been in the country for literally only three or four hours and had just dropped her bag off at the place she was staying and went out to discover London for the first time,” Russo says of their chance meeting. “I was just walking the other way, and we literally bumped into each other. I apologized and realised she had a very heavy Australian accent at the time – it’s now been diluted somewhat! We started talking and realised we had the whole Australian thing in common and it went from there.” It took another two years before the pair set up Ralph & Russo – and the rest, as they say, is history as Ralph & Russo is now considered a world-class haute couturist. “From the feedback we get from everyone, from clients to press to retailers, we are perceived now as a major couture house, which is so impressive for us,” Russo says. “We feel so proud, as we’re only five years old, and we’re stood in the realms of other houses who have hundreds of years of heritage. In such a short time frame, we’ve managed to elevate ourselves so much.” But, he continues somewhat pragmatically, “we’ve always got to stay ahead and be different.”

It’s this commitment to brand and business that has seen Ralph & Russo becoming something of a celebrity favourite. “It happened that two of our first clients were the Minogue sisters – Kylie and Dannii – and we had the Australian connection, so that helped! The really put us on the map put the name out there. To be honest, the whole brand today is really just grown from word of mouth,” Russo reveals.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

The Aussie stars aren’t the only famous clients on the Ralph & Russo books, having even attracted the attention of Hollywood royalty, in the form of Angelina Jolie. “We do a lot for Angelina Jolie,” Russo smiles. “She’s great to work with. We’re making a piece for her at the moment actually, which I’m sure you’ll be seeing on the red carpet very shortly. Angelina Jolie is very elegant and very stylish and the outfits we tend to do for her have more simple cuts and shapes, but they’re always quite unique in their style. So there isn’t a lot of fuss, but there’s always something that makes it a little bit more unique and different and keeps her that one step ahead in fashion.”

So, what about Kate Middleton? “Watch this space!” Russo laughs. “Definitely watch this space. There’s a lot happening in that area. You may very well see something! Kate is amazing. She’s so great for this country – really good. She’s a great role model. Her style is really not over-the-top and she knows what works for her.”

It’s not hard to see why Ms. Middleton and the toast of Tinseltown have come knocking at Ralph & Russo’s door. “Quality’s become more important to people,” Russo reasons. “If you come for a really beautiful, tailored jacket from us, it’s something that you will buy for a lifetime – it’s not just going to last you a season, because of the quality of it. Each of our jackets has something like four and a half thousand hand stitches. It can take four or five weeks to create – the quality is incredible. It will last for fifty years and it’s still very timeless. All the stitching is done here in London. Our craftsmen come from all around the globe but everything’s hand-made here for quality control. I think we’re one of the few brands that do everything here – every bead, every crystal.” But with two Aussies at the helm, is Ralph & Russo an Australian company? “No, we’re definitely not an Australian company!” Russo laughs. “We’re definitely global. But in terms of our craftsmanship, it’s all British-made. We make everything in Britain and we pride ourselves on that – it’s very important, as it allows us to control the quality.”

Ralph & Russo

So, what’s next for Ralph & Russo? “World domination!” Russo laughs. Joking aside, the next step for the brand is in fact a diversification into making a range of limited edition handbags. For a company whose work centres on creating bespoke, one-of-a-kind dresses, creating a matching, bespoke handbag seems like a logical step. “It’s our first product that isn’t associated with couture gowns,” Russo confirms, “but they are very high-end and the most incredible bags. You’ll have to come and see them when they’re ready!” That, Mr. Russo, is a promise we’re holding you to!

Visit the website at www.ralphandrusso.com, or have a look behind the scenes at a Ralph & Russo photoshoot.