Test Drive: The 2012 Bentley Continental GTC
The new Bentley Continental GTC is open-top luxury redefined.
October 24, 2011
It was an exciting flight to Pula, Croatia, to drive Bentley’s 2012 Continental GTC. Not long ago Croatia was engaged in a fierce war. An undiscovered landmark on the European map, it is now full of energetic tourism and is geographically one of the most extraordinary locations I have ever seen. Our stay in Rovinj at the Hotel Monte Mulini off the Adriatic Sea was a picture-perfect rendering of what one would see on Travel Channel. Croatia is also one of a few parts of the world where truffles are plentiful, and the world record for the largest truffle ever was recorded here.
On the eve of our driving tour through the country, the Bentley staff opened the floor to its chairman and CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer, who introduced the second generation Continental GTC and briefed us on the company’s positive outlook and growth with great passion and vigor. Since driving the $212,800 super convertible, I can truly relate to his enthusiasm. It is open-top luxury redefined.
Under the Hood
It has been five years since the first GTC launched, so you can imagine the amount of new technology and sophistication instilled into the new vehicle. The formula begins with a 6-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine with 567 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque available up to 2,000 rpm. W.O. Bentley, founder of the British motoring company, came from a railroad engineering background and preferred powerful, unstressed, high-capacity engines. The company is still keen on that philosophy, though an 8-cylinder will soon be on the way and will afford Bentley a better marketing position to attract new customers.
The GTC’s rapid acceleration capability was evident when we needed to pass several slower moving vehicles on open roads. Like tennis phenomenon Serena Williams, the engine to vehicle size combination is powerful, quick and a bit intimidating (as well as charming and tranquil). When it comes to fuel efficiency, it is possible to achieve 11 city mpg and 19 highway mpg in the GTC, which can also operate on ethanol (though mileage will decline somewhat). Full-time all-wheel drive is standard, as is the new QuickShift transmission (borrowed from Bentley’s Supersports models) that allows for double downshifts. Track width has been increased and available 21-inch wheels provide a dominant stance. A programmable air suspension and adjustable springs (comfort or sport) allows the driver to manipulate the vehicle’s ride quality to his or her liking. Additionally, 0 to 60 mph clicks off in 4.5 seconds—similar to some of your favorite two-door sports cars.
Form Follows Function
Overall the 5,501-pound GTC is 150 pounds lighter, three-tenths of a second faster and structurally stiffer than its predecessor. Its lines are more distinctive and flowing, inlcuding a new front fascia. My favorite color combination is the granite gray exterior and merlot soft-top (seven-bow construction, three fabric layers) with a matching leather cabin. It is wondrous. The interior offers the availability of 17 various hides and seven unique veneers. And as Bentley would say, “Everything that looks like metal is metal.” (For example, the dandy organ stops that control the vents.) The four-seater luxury convertible is quite comfortable up front thanks to new seat designs with a massage function and an integrated neck warmer. They are also narrower, allowing for additional rear legroom. The back-seat spacing is the only qualm I have, since an adult would be cramped over long periods of time.
I plugged in my iPhone and let the bass vibrate through the high-end Naim audio system. A convertible must have powerful sounds and this one does, employing defense technology utilized for helicopter sound deadening. Google Earth enhances the eight-inch navigation touch screen, so there was no chance of getting lost in a foreign country. (I was amazed by the detailed graphics.) The second set of “turn by turn” instructions that appear in a micro window over the steering wheel is a definite plus, and all of the vehicle’s key operations can be set by touch on the new screen. It is good to see Bentley advancing into the world of connectivity, which it has previously seemed to ignore. The Mulsanne Executive Interior Concept with its video conferencing, multiple iPads and Mac Mini could be the ultimate technology link.
Back on the road, time moved slowly as I took in the beauty of the region and the exquisiteness of the car. If I were to deliver a discourse on the new Continental GTC, it would go something like this:
The Winged B: Its immense merits are sure to leave an inspirational imprint on the entire luxury market. Simply put, it is fluent in excellence.
Read more about luxury cars at Automotiverhythms.com.
J Brand Jeans for City Year
A capsule line of J Brand denim benefits a good cause.
October 21, 2011
Last week J Brand launched its very first charity collaboration. The denim brand made its classic “811” mid-rise skinny jean ($144) in three exclusive fall colors—vine, plumberry and Apache—in honor of City Year, a nonprofit organization that focuses on fighting the dropout crisis plaguing American public schools by mentoring and tutoring at-risk youth across the nation. One hundred percent of proceeds from the sale of City Year jeans goes directly to the charity, so feel free to buy all three hues.
Auction Block: Evening Editions
Phillips de Pury & Company hosts an evening auction of works by some of the most notable artists of our time.
October 21, 2011
Roommates by Roy Lichtenstein
Whet your appetite for the upcoming New York Print Week with an art auction at Phillips de Pury & Company. The Evening Editions sale on October 26 features 78 pieces of 20th and 21st century works by notable artists such as Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Richard Prince. Highlights include large linoleum cut bullfighter prints by Picasso, Duchamp’s mustached Mona Lisa playing cards, and a large-scale Lichtenstein nude done in his characteristic style inspired by comic books (shown above). Pieces are on view from October 22 to October 26 at Phillips de Pury. 450 Park Ave., 212-940-1200
Find artful shoes by Charlotte Olympia at Moda Operandi.
October 21, 2011
These stunning Avalon sandals ($2,395) by London-based accessories designer Charlotte Olympia were featured on Moda Operandi this week. Depending on how you look at it, this purchase is either a solid shoe-wardrobe investment or an absolute steal for a piece of sculptural art.
Paranormal Activity 3 Does Its Job
The premiere of Paranormal Activity 3 brought out the reality stars and the screams.
October 20, 2011
Greta Gerwig and Ariel Schulman
Even the seriously buff dudes of New Jersey reality TV were humbled as they arrived at the New York debut of Paranormal Activity 3 on Tuesday. Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, the beefy (if not so tall) star of Jersey Shore wore de rigueur bling, a diamond-covered Rolex and sparkling chains. “The first in the series, where the daughter gets dragged out of bed, was definitely one of my top three scary movies,” he said.
“I have to be honest, I only saw half of Paranormal Activity 2,” admitted Chris Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and The Millionaire Matchmaker. “I wasn’t ready to see the whole thing." Nervous? “A bit,” he admitted sheepishly. “The preview scared me off the first two,” offered his brother, Albie Manzo (also built like a not-so-tall rock). “But tonight seemed like a good time. I’ll see how long I last in there.”
“I like to be scared,” said a cheery Greta Gerwig, who rooms with one of the directors (totally platonic and not at all paranormal). “I’m expecting good things.” Have the directors experienced paranormal activity? “Yes, something crazy did happen,” said co-director Ariel Schulman, who had the ends of a fake knife sticking out of each temple. “I remember thinking there was a curse on the set. We gave the writer, Chris Landon, a framed antique Rosemary’s Baby poster of Polish design. Among the three of us, it’s our joint favorite horror film. He hung it up in his house. That night, in the middle of the night, his other Rosemary's Baby poster, which was an American-made one, came crashing down and shattered in its frame." “Which is a very paranormal-activity event,” added co-director Henry Joost (of Catfish fame). So does Joost believe? “I don’t know if it’s the power of the human mind or it’s something that’s out there,” he said.
The real question was whether or not Dispatches—no fan of roller coasters or the suspense-and-scream genre—could sit through the entirity of Paranormal Activity 3. The taste-free aesthetics of the suburban Californian house in the movie were nearly as horrifying as the paranormal activity captured in the videos within. But from the first scream, Joost and Schulman had me hooked. When an unexpected face popped up, everyone in the audience squealed like little girls. And this writer, holding a jumbo Diet Coke, squeezed it so hard the soda shot up in the air, drenching my tie, blazer and lap. A sodden Dispatches sat through the rest of the picture shivering and drying. By the finale, the veins in my neck ached from crying out so often, so loudly and at such a high pitch. Let's just say I didn’t close my eyes until daylight.
photographs by gettyimages.com
New Bar: The Tippler
The Tippler serves up creative cocktails in the bottom of Chelsea Market.
October 20, 2011
FROM LEFT: The Screaming Greenie and the Buzzing Black Buck
Tucked away in the basement of the Chelsea Market is a swanky bunker of brick, wood and steel called The Tippler. This is a place where the “Odd Balls” (sake, hard cider, mead) and the “Lushies” (sophisticated frozen drinks) are on the menu, not on the bar stools, and cocktail making is a serious craft. The bartenders—known as tipplers, liquid libertines or beverage geeks (the list goes on)—know how to make a helluva drink. The Lushies blend fun ingredients such as tapioca pearls or “exploding basil leaves” with gin, rum, vodka or whiskey. The “Fast & Furious” shots section of the menu features adventurous items like the Little Neck 8 (citrus vodka, clam juice, lemon, horseradish stuffed tomato). And cocktails like the Buzzing Black Buck, a rum drink that incorporates a shot of espresso from Ninth Street Espresso (The Tippler’s upstairs neighbor), and the Booty Collins, a combination of gunpowder tea-infused Belvedere vodka, passion fruit, lemon, yohimbe and cayenne, keep the creativity—and the good times—flowing. 425 W. 15th St., 212-206-0000
Yohji Yamamoto celebrates 10 years of Y-3 with a special documentary DVD.
October 20, 2011
Yohji Yamamoto is notoriously private, but the Japanese designer lets his guard down in a Y-3 documentary about his life and creative process called Yohji Yamamoto: This Is My Dream. Y-3, a collaboration between Yamamoto and Adidas, celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2012. To commemorate the revolutionary sportswear line, a crew set out to document the creation of a collection from concept to presentation and every facet in between. We follow Yamamoto from Tokyo to New York, from show castings to fittings, and watch his ideas carefully come to life. The special DVD package ($95) comes with an aroma candle and a sleek, black collector’s box. 317 W. 13th St., 917-546-8677
Rock 'n' Roll Cool at Macy's
Steven Tyler hits the red carpet for his new fashion line for Macy's.
October 19, 2011
Once upon a time only the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger could afford to wear rocker vests and bejeweled jeans. Now the look is ubiquitous. And, thanks to the new Andrew Charles line by Steven Tyler and Tommy Hilfiger’s biz-whiz brother Andy, Tyler's own brand of rock cool is available at Macy’s.
Known best as the lead singer of Aerosmith, Tyler has always been a spectacular rock 'n’ roll dresser. He has touched the hearts of America as a judge on American Idol, and he’s reaching out now as the face of the new collection. Andy “Charles” Hilfiger, who previously created a fashion line with Jennifer Lopez, launched the project after taking a hard look through Tyler’s endless closets in his LA home.
Fans lined up at Macy’s last Friday to take a moment to hug their idol from Idol, and Tyler didn't disappoint in bedazzled bell-bottom jeans that buttoned up the sides with baroque pearls. His forearms were covered with tats and man jewelry; his fingernails were painted black. “I love you,” Tyler told an aging, tearful female groupie as photogs snapped their picture. A younger woman nearly dropped her baby as she embraced the rock star.
“I’m androgynous,” said Tyler, whose collection is for both men and women. “I’ve always had more female energy.” How did he hold on to all the vintage rocker gear that inspired the line? “I never throw anything away,” he said. “And my daughters put this stuff on, and it looks stunning.” Apparently, the whole family shares fashion. “When I was living at Liv’s apartment working on my book,” he explained, "I went through her closet and found this crazy shirt. I put it on and wore it for about a month.”
Two of Tyler’s daughters, Mia and Chelsea Tyler (the latter appears in Andrew Charles ads with her dad), were also on hand. “It’s great,” said Chelsea. “There are so many different pieces you can mix. Some of the leopard prints are really nice... They’ve got great jeans.” "I’m size 10,” said Mia. “Their jeans are perfect for girls with butts.”
When Tyler originally wore these clothes, he made waves. He said his look has "held up over the test of time," but that doesn't mean his kids—who now love the stuff—didn't have a thing or two to say about his sartorial choices. “I grew up as a hippie,” offered Tyler. “I wore that stuff because it made me feel free... crazy, cool. And when they were growing up, my girls would say, 'Daddy, you’re going to wear that onstage?'"
photographs by gettyimages.com
Tiffany Blue Book
This year’s presentation of special jewels from Tiffany dazzles.
October 19, 2011
FROM LEFT: Two views of the Tiffany Novo 11.22-carat ring; Conique necklace by Jean Schlumberger
Tiffany just released its annual Blue Book collection of special jewels, and the offerings are extraordinary. Find many enchanting colored stones, including several rare, flawlessly vivid yellow diamonds and violet-blue tanzanites and tourmalines in settings that resemble a peacock’s splendid feathers. A standout diamond is the Tiffany Novo, an 11.22-carat flawless beauty in a platinum setting that fully reveals its facets. The Tiffany archives inspired a handful of period pieces, like a diamond floral cluster necklace, stylized bow pendants, bracelets as intricate as lace, and graceful chandelier earrings. The work of Tiffany’s legendary designer Jean Schlumberger were also brought back: The team followed Schlumberger’s original drawings to create his intricate Conique necklace and bracelet of diamonds and red spinels.
Jewelry Tips from Esther Fortunoff
The fine jewelry maven gives us her picks for the season.
October 18, 2011
Fall 2011 runways were chock-full of jewelry trends that stole the spotlight—from architectural chokers to arm cuffs fit for a warrior princess. But how many of these trends will last beyond the spring snowmelt? Esther Fortunoff’s guess is few. “Those kinds of necklaces are really hard to wear and few people can take that trend and wear it in real life,” she said. “Those pieces on the runway and in magazines rarely translate into fine jewelry.”
The chief merchant in her family’s jewelry business would rather focus on fine jewelry trends that tend to last longer than one season. The Fortunoff family has been in this business for more than 85 years (starting with a little push-cart in Brooklyn) and has seen many looks come and go—and sometimes come again. Here, Fortunoff picks the current top trends in fine jewelry that will complement your new winter wardrobe. All jewelry available at fortunoffjewelry.com