FT

Serpentine Gallery Fosters Connoisseurship

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

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Recently the Financial Times reported on Future Contemporaries, a new group founded by London’s Serpentine Gallery for the purpose of making younger people (under the age of 39) enthusiastic about art (and perhaps interested in becoming benefactors of the Serpentine). For £1000 annually, the Serpentine offers members a contemporary art education programme that it hopes will encourage a lifelong appreciation of art. The group has been to private showings in artists’ studios and has had personal tours by artists in private gallery settings. A membership cap of about 100 helps to keep to keep the group exclusive and also of a manageable size for intimate events.

It’s a great idea for a gallery with art worth appreciating to encourage connoisseurship. Oftentimes people need a little guidance as they begin down the road to connoisseurship–and the experts at a gallery are just the people to provide it.

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‘How to Spend It’ Highlights

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

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The latest issue of the Financial Times’ How to Spend It supplement came out on Friday (October 12), and not unexpectedly it includes some great stories about luxury. My personal favorites:

  • The Reign of Terroir by John Stimpfig (p8)–a profile of Bernard Magrez, wine magnate. Magrez owns 35 wine estates around the world and is rapidly buying up more. Output is about quality over quantity, thereby creating demand for a niche luxury product. He puts his umbrella brand name (Vignobles Bernard Magrez), picture and signature on every bottle he produces as a way to create competitive advantage, not for his own hubris or vanity. He says:

Compared to watches and fashion, wine is a much more complicated luxury good. So the message needs to be simpler and more recognizable. Moreover, the new affluent consumer wants to know the person behind the wine.

  • No Flowers Please by Karen Wheeler (p15)–about how alpha women are wearing masculine scents in the workplace in order to project discrete power. Old favorites (Acqua di Parma, Terre d’Hermès) and new scents (Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford) are mentioned.
  • Take My Breath Away by John Gibb (p19)–about the Javelin, a ‘Very Light Jet’ that looks like a fighter jet and has space for one executive who needs to get somewhere in a hurry.
  • The Captain’s Table: Christophe Navarre as told to Max de Lotbinière (p70)–on the philosophy and typical day of the Moët Hennessy CEO.

Moët Hennessy is in the business of luxury wine and spirits so the moment of eating and drinking is very important to us. We are selling l’art de vivre à la française — even when we are selling a malt whisky, with all the DNA that its brand has, we are still selling that essential French identity.

This ‘How to Spend It’ is a bonus issue and doesn’t appear to be online (yet?)–so have a look if you missed it in Friday’s FT.

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