Naphalai's Diary: November 4-17
I was in Sydney from November 6 until the end of last week, hence no Diary the week before. Christmas decorations were going up, but with temperatures in the 30s and wildfires breaking out in several parts of the country (the smoke and haze from the burning in the northern suburbs of Sydney were a bit too close for comfort) it just didn’t seem like the best setting in which to welcome Santa Claus. But there were some cooler days, in the 20s, although the Ozzie sun is really fierce and there was lots of it even during lower temperatures. We were advised to slash on sunscreen when going outside, a smart move considering the damage the sun there can do to your skin.
The first part of the trip was to see a friend who lives at Cronulla, a beachside suburb south of Sydney. Her house is located in a park a few steps from the beach and it’s like resort living 365 days of the year. Although I was told that during the winter it can get very cold, and a walk by the beach in single-digit temperatures is something I can easily do without. My friend is a great cook and it was a delight to watch her putting together Australia’s fresh vegetables, meat and seafood into delicious meals.
Van Cleef & Arpels Presents Romeo & Juliet
The main reason I was in Sydney was for Van Cleef & Arpels’ launch of its Romeo & Juliet high jewellery collection. It was first unveiled in Paris and the Asia Pacific launch was attended by media and clients from the region. The collection was inspired by Shakespeare’s play and told through the main characters and the setting of Verona. The dominant palette of red and blue comes from the coat of arms of the Capulets and Montagues, while the blend of the two shades, mauve, represents the passion of the young lovers and green the hope that fills their hearts. Over 100 unique pieces were produced but the presentation in Sydney presented fewer than this as many have already been sold.
At Sydney Harbour we were taken by boat to the northern suburb of Manly, where a former seminary with towering turrets and spires was the setting for the presentation. A huge transparent marquee had been built in front of the imposing building, which presented a striking backdrop for the fashion show. VC&A president for Asia Pacific Nicolas Luchsinger and managing director for Southeast Asia and Australia Hugues de Pins were the hosts for this special event. Guests enjoyed a gourmet lunch prepared by celebrity chef and VC&A friend Bruno Menard followed by the showcase of the dazzling creations worn on the models. The searing heat melted the butter and wilted the floral decorations but the beautiful jewellery was well worth what little hardship we had to endure. The next day we were able to get up close to the amazing jewellery at the VC&A boutique in downtown Sydney.
Downtime In Sydney
We had quite a bit of time to explore the city and although this was my third visit, it was still fun to cruise the harbour and see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as check out some of the museums. Our hosts made sure we experienced some of the city’s good restaurants, with a dinner on the first day at Café Sydney at the Customs House, dinner on the second day at Bennelong at the Opera House, lunch on the final day at Catalina at Double Bay and dinner at Bea at the city’s Barangaroo redevelopment area. Most interesting I found was the masterclass by celebrity chef Peter Gilmore of Quay and Bennelong restaurants who prepared three dishes for us that were innovative, creative and representative of the best of Australian cuisine.
Previously: Naphalai's Diary: October 28-November 3