Four tastemakers speak their minds about the hot topics of the season

Artwork Naomi Otsu

Artwork Naomi Otsu

Everyone is buzzing about these trends in tech, travel, and style. Here, four opinion leaders share their provocative thoughts on the zeitgeist. 

GLENN O’BRIEN,  writer and editor currently at work on a book about the art world 

Kanye West x Adidas Originals debut collection: “I kind of like the way the girls dressed in what looks like 8 pairs of nylons, but if I were going to dress cheap, I’d prefer authentically cheap. I can destroy a sweater myself.” 

Cuba: “Been dying to go ever since the Bay of Pigs.”

Apple Watch“The iPhone is what stopped me wearing a watch in the first place. But all those Apple Watch ads do make me want to wear a Casio.” 

Charcoal Juice“Do you mean lye? I’m always careful draining the barbecue after a rainstorm.” 

Maarten Baas Beach Chair for Louis Vuitton’s 2015 Objets Nomades collection“I dig the chairs, but my idea of going to the beach isn’t about lying there. Let’s play gin rummy!” 

The Residence by Etihad, a $15,000 private three-room airplane suite“That’s kind of how my ancestors came to America, except it was three decks below the waterline and there were 30 of them.”

NICOLA VASSELL, curator of “Edge of Chaos” at the Venice Bienniale 

Kanye West x Adidas Originals debut collection: “As Henry van Dyke said, ‘Genius is talent set on fire by courage.’ Contemporary existence can definitely claim Kanye West as a genius. This show felt like an immense amount of courage cast onto infant embers. With Vanessa Beecroft's help, it was a collage performance artwork about skins—the skin you're in, the skin you become and the skin you make. The collection seemed like the first layers of something epic.” 

Cuba: “I was 11 years old the first time I went to Cuba. There was a cruise to the South East province of Santiago touted as a vacation package in the Jamaican papers. Distinctly, I felt Cubans had it worse than Jamaicans. We've had a powerful, mostly unspoken bond for decades. Now Cuba is starting to open up. This is exhilarating. Cubans are incredibly sophisticated and intelligent. Their reemergence will send all kinds of beautiful shockwaves through the Caribbean. I am excited to be a witness.” 

Apple Watch: “Tech junkie would not appear in the first line of my definitive self-proclamation. Old-fashioned is more like it. However, the Apple Watch is a sexy sign of the times. Its functions are said to be superb and without a doubt it’s good-looking metal.” 

Charcoal juice: “If it means soon after drinking, I'll turn into a diamond, I'm in.” 

Maarten Baas Beach Chair for Louis Vuitton’s 2015 Objets Nomades collection: “I like that Maarten Baas is about the burn. His materials live elegantly after being set ablaze. This chair is a stylish, witty take on sun worship."

The Residence by Etihad, a $15,000 private three-room airline suite: “The word ‘splendor’ first appeared in the 15th century. Its usage spiked around 1800 during the Romantic era when awe was the reigning sentiment. It means brilliant and impressive beauty. That is one way of describing this. But rather than traveling in such splendor, I would like to live there.” 

CHRISTOPHER HACHE, head chef, Les Ambassadeurs, Paris' Hôtel de Crillon,
A Rosewood Hotel, reopening… 

Kanye West x Adidas Originals debut collection: “An American rapper who designs clothes and a German sport brand that makes couture. Everything is possible in the world of fashion! Personally, it is not my style, but why not!” 

Cuba: “A country of character and a connoisseur of cigars. I like it.” 

Apple Watch: “I am fascinated by watches in general, but I could never imagine buying this kind of product. I prefer things to be more authentic. Modernity can be mesmerizing, but classicism is timeless.” 

Charcoal juice: “This drink offers a good detox, but it will never replace fresh-squeezed juice.” 

Maarten Baas Beach Chair for Louis Vuitton’s 2015 Objets Nomades collection: “The perfect seat for watching the waves in comfort.” 

The Residence by Etihad, a $15,000 private three-room airplane suite: “This airline is a true hotel in the sky. They allow you to enjoy a journey with all amenities, service, and comfort of a luxury hotel.” 

TALI LENNOX, artist 

Kanye West x Adidas Originals debut collection: "I like how Kanye has put unique twists on streetwear and sport. I feel like this is an accessible and wearable collection for a large market. But personally, it's not my style." 

Cuba: “I’m the kind of person who romantically fantasizes about the past. I think every city would be more beautiful filled with vintage cars and colonial architecture. Plus I find the South American vibrancy so appealing." 

Apple Watch: “Honestly, I have no idea what this thing does; I'm not very tech savvy. That’s one of the good things about being a painter—you don't have to use any technology, just an easel, paints, brushes, and a canvas."

Charcoal juice: "I'm always up for tasting anything, but I like to keep my food healthy. I haven’t tried charcoal but would like to! I have a strange taste palette—I was obsessed with olives and tonic water when I was 5 years old—so I enjoy things like spirulina and bitter green juice that can make other people gag."

Residence by Etihad, a $15,000 private three-room airplane suite: “This feels excessive. I also question how many people can use this on one flight? There is so much pollution emitted from one plane in a single journey that I think it's more correct if a lot of people are getting use out of it. I'm sure you would get a good rest, but I would never think of needing this level of luxury for a flight.” 

Portraits, from top:
Glenn O'Brien: Photography Inez & Vinoodh courtesy Glenn O'Brien
Nicola Vassell: Photography Alexei Hay
Christopher Hache: Photography Philippe Martineau
Tali Lennox: Photography Billy Farrell Agency

Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades by Maarten Baas
Beach Chair Unique Edition, price upon request

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