In its entire 164-year history Great Britain has never won the America’s Cup. Land Rover and the dashing Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, are looking to change that in 2017 at the 35th America’s Cup race in Bermuda. In order to challenge defender Oracle Team USA, which is backed by BMW, the newly formed Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslee Racing) team will first have to win the 2017 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Ainslie has had a good showing so far, having won the first race in the UK and placed second in the next, though points-wise the Brits are lagging behind Team Emirates New Zealand heading into the final World Series event of the season in Bermuda in October. Sir Ben and the boys are counting on Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Engineering division to give them an edge. All of the America’s Cup teams are racing in foiling multi-hull catamarans with no engine to help work the hydraulics.
When many say “those boots can’t be re-soled,” cobbler Dave Page says, “bring it on”. At his shop in Seattle Dave has been resoling hiking boots since 1969, and even though the complexity of hiking boots has increased dramatically in the past 40 years, he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. In an “age of disposable footwear,” it’s good to see someone like Dave bringing new life to boots with many miles left to give. It fits our fix don’t replace consumption philosophy nicely.
Vasque took an interesting look at Dave Page and his quest to give new life to perfectly good boots — including many pairs of repaired Sundowners. The timing couldn’t be better to think about classic hiking boots with the recently released Sundowner GTX hitting the trail this month. The 2015 Sundowners use the same stitch pattern, sole construction and design as the originals Vasque sold 30 years ago making them a modern day equals. Or that’s the hope, and if there’s any trouble it’s good to know that there’s someone like Dave Page out there at the ready to bring them back to life.
What we carry everyday inspires devotion. That’s why people obsess over watches and bags, and know their phones’ width and weight and texture without even looking. Not many set out with a fountain pen, but those who do leave an impression. This group of hearty souls has feelings, some quite strong, about all details of their pens. And that’s a good thing—it’s refreshing to know there are still people who obsess over the width of a nib. (We see you Big Apple Pen Club.)
So it was natural that when Montblanc approached Marc Newson to design a pen, it made an impact. Both are defining names in their fields. Newson, of course, is the industrial designer who’s rumored to take over at Apple when Jony Ive moves on. He’s worked with everybody from Jaeger Le Coultre to Heineken, designing furniture, airplanes, backpacks—it’s not uncommon to see his work at Gagosian gallery or setting records at auction houses. Montblanc of course needs no introduction, they’ve been making pens since 1906, in their Hamburg factory (they’re German, not Swiss, despite the name). The company’s line has expanded to include finely made watches, bags and leather accessories. But the fountain pen still represents the soul of the company.
Montblanc had never worked with a designer outside the company. They turned to Newson, who draws regularly, and gave him free rein. The result is the new Montblanc M. It’s singular and elegant, something you want to look at and want to use. The cap snaps shut with a satisfying click, and an internal magnet aligns it with the base of the pen. It has a perfectly measured weight and writes beautifully (even for those of us who are left-handed, and notoriously struggle with fountain pens).
The bucolic town of Taghkanic, NY is known mainly for its proximity to Hudson. But it’s also where entrepreneur, race car driver and sometime restaurateur Alan Wilzig has built a private pean to the world of motorsports in the form of Wilzig Racing Manor, the result of a hard-fought battle with the town and various opposition groups. What he calls the “only privately-owned personal-use professional-grade grand-prix style circuit in the world” cost some $8 million to build. On a recent visit to the 275-acre facility to test out the new Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop however it was Wilzig’s incredible motorcycle collection that caught our eye.
Every year in the middle of winter I start to think about Maine in the summertime. This usually happens at the lowest of cold weather lows and without fail it drives me to start to planning my summertime escape back to my favorite place on earth. That sounds like hyperbole, but it is definitely not. Anyone who knows me will tell you that Maine my happiest of places. Granted, there’s nothing that can replace NYC on a fall day, or lunch near the sea in Southern Italy, but if I had to be one place for the rest of time…drive north to Maine and that’s where you’ll find me.
Everything about Maine is great. The friendly people, the food, the picturesque landscapes and even the bitter cold salt water — it all comes together to make for an especially wonderful escape. I recently had the privilege of listing my favorite Maine spots for RL Mag as a sort of travel guide to Southern Maine.
- A vision of the perfect life in Normandy wearing the perfect boots. [Le Chameau] [Pictured]
- The environmental crisis in your closet. [Newsweek]
- These first hand photos from the Vietnam War sat in a shoebox for 40 years. [Daily Mail]
- Read this book about American manufacturing. [Factory Man]
- Polo Ralph Lauren’s newly launched modern take on menswear. [Bloomingdale's] [Sponsored]
Florence is a reassuring city. You go there for stone walls, old frescoes and steaks as thick as a reference book. They love their country clothes there (it’s a surprisingly good place to get a second-hand Barbour). You see hunting dogs, tweeds in winter, and it feels perfectly natural when an old man bicycles down the street smoking a pipe. All bets are off when Pitti Uomo arrives with its parade of clowns, though most of the year the calculation remains the same. But there are still surprising ways to visit the city on the Arno and remake the classic equation.
Consider Villa La Massa, your dream of the Italian countryside made real. This 16th Century Medici Villa was converted into a hotel in 1948 and then renovated in 1998 by the owners of the renowned Villa d’Este. It’s set right on a bend in the river, across from fields and gentle hills. It’s about a twenty minute drive from town and they have a shuttle that regularly drops you near the Ponte Vecchio.
You can take your café or aperitif next to pool, there’s a small but elegant spa, and walking paths through a 22-acre garden, with rosemary, irises and pear trees. This is a much less formal affair than Villa d’Este (coats are not required for dinner, but you are in Italy, so why not?). It’s a low-key pastoral setting that’s intimate, handsome and contemplative.
Villa La Massa succeeds beyond its setting: You can attend cooking classes, wine tastings, eat white truffles in October or head out to visit distinguished towns and churches around Tuscany. But it doesn’t make you do more than you want to: You can sit by the river, read a book and drink your Negroni. Villa La Massa understands that you want to travel on your own terms. And in this setting, those terms are always good.