Wednesday, May 8, 2013

John Walker & Sons Voyager: "Portofino" by David Gandy

John Walker & Sons Voyager is a glamorous 1920's-style yacht which will be traversing the four corners of the world this year. The yacht's journey will re-create the epic ocean voyages that took Johnnie Walker from Scotland to the four corners of the world. It will arrive in Europe this May to mark the launch of the new triple malt John Walker & Sons Odyssey. To mark their centenary in 1920, the Walker family commissioned a luxury travel guide called "Around the World." After completing the Asian leg of its journey, which retraced the original spice route, the yacht will begin its European voyage from the historic port of Genoa in  May 8, 2013. It will visit Cannes, Monaco, Athens, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Hamburg and Copenhagen before finally docking in Edinburgh in August - returning to the brands home of Scotland1).



Brand Ambassador for Johnnie Walker and Game Changer David Gandy has written a beautiful article for the JW & Sons site on the magnificent port city of Portofino.



Portofino
By: David Gandy 2)

Tucked deep in a cleft on the ragged coast of Liguria, Portofino should be able to hide its glories from prying outside eyes. But - perhaps because of its relative isolation - a once sleepy fishing village has become an icon of global exclusivity. Elegance, style, heritage, refinement – this Italian jewel has become a byword for them all. It is still home to some fishing craft, remnants of its history, a safe haven for those who sought their living from the gifts of the Mediterranean. But today they are outnumbered by the yachts – a clue, if one were needed, to the changing fortunes of Portofino. Today this tiny village is home to less than 500 ‘genuine’ locals but year after year thousands more are won over by its timeless appeal. It’s the holiday home of the jet set; the private party destination of celebrated actors, models and musicians; the luxury destination for society’s elite. Step back 100 years and that story was just beginning. British aristocrats and European travellers were just starting to explore this unspoiled corner of Italy. But its fame didn’t take long to spread and by the mid-20th century the likes of Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman could be seen strolling its narrow pavements or relaxing in its intimate piazza. Tourism had become its business, celebrity its currency.
I first visited in 2010 for a fashion shoot and everything I’d heard was true. Portofino is beautiful and romantic - the setting is extraordinary and the views are picture-perfect. But more than that, there is something about this secluded village that captures the very essence of Italian style. Portofino is effortlessly sophisticated and deeply traditional, the embodiment of a generations-old commitment to luxury and excellence – it is organically elegant. Italy will always be important to me... In many ways it’s where I learnt my profession and made my mark. At a time when the fashion was for androgynous male models, I found kindred spirits in Italian designers who were prepared to take a risk, to challenge and change the industry. I loved their ambition, their commitment to creating iconic imagery, their vision for celebrating those things that are classically masculine. At an important time for the fashion industry as a whole, we shared a passion for change and innovation – and, perhaps more importantly, the conviction to see it through. Today, of course, those values are thriving in fashion houses across Europe, not least in the country of my own birth, Britain, where craft and invention know no limits. In the world of fashion, Italian ideals and British principles are comfortable bedfellows, each informing and inspiring the other, driving new levels of creativity, thinking and accomplishment. The times are changing and in an ever-evolving world of digital photography, online content and apps, Portofino is, to my mind, a pretty good metaphor for the best way to go about things: be authentic, stay true to the values that are important but grow with the times. The hillsides around this extraordinary village are dotted with private and secluded villas, the bay and harbor act as temporary homes to floating modern luxury palaces and the celebrities who walk its streets have moved-on from old-style Hollywood glamour to include the likes of Madonna, Heidi Klum, Beyoncé and Eva Mendez. But its spirit is still that encountered by its early tourists – warm, rich and relentlessly charming. Portofino is both history and the present, comfortable hand-in-hand; a story of heritage and progress interwoven; style and craftsmanship seamlessly joined. This iconic port is the Riviera destination and the perfect departure point for a new adventure in luxury.

Source: 1) Dramscotland.co.uk , 2) JWSVoyager

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