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Heirloom Week: Automobile Edition

  • Kempt Staff


Typically, one thinks of an heirloom only after it’s weathered a few generations, gathering its own uniquely handsome patina and lived-in warmth along the way. But before all that, it started out shiny and new in some factory or on some store shelf. And since there are still a few companies out there making stuff that looks timeless and will last longer than you, we’ve set out to find the new breed of future heirlooms in this weeklong series. Yesterday we began with watches. Today we’re looking at cars...

Herewith, the five new cars to buy today, that will be heirlooms tomorrow...»

The Ultimate Driving Machine Is Now a Desk Chair

We’re of the mind that luxury sports cars should remain luxury sports cars and chairs should remain chairs. It’s a slippery slope otherwise, a slope that nine times out of 10 leads to fire-engine-red Ferrari armchairs with matching slippers, grease stains on the head rests, monthly ExtenZe shipments and so on...

All this to say: we like the new BMW Clarity seating series. They’re all about “design through reduction,” which seems like the right way to approach, you know, chairs. As a result, the omissions are the features: no mysterious, Aeron-esque collection of pulleys/cranks/levers, no armrest detachments and (mercifully) no dickish Beemer logo front and center.

After all, we wouldn’t want to take away from your snow-camouflaged Lambo...

The Largest Catamaran in the World Sets Sail

Summertime has brought with it a billion-dollar conundrum: you love the superyacht, but its massive hull deems shallow-watered ports inaccessible. Numerous dredging requests have gone unanswered by the Monégasque government. Normally, you’d risk it and just ease her in, but, well, Showtime’s had Titanic on a loop for the last month and a half...

Luckily, we at Kempt are in the business of solving billion-dollar conundrums. Allow us to introduce you to the SS Hemisphere, the largest catamaran ever built. Most importantly, it’s got the roominess of a destroyer, but the depth of a dinghy.

Permission to climb aboard, granted...»

Bespoke Backgammon

The summer months will invariably bring a handful of heart-wrenching rainouts. On these days, you could convince yourself (and the bishop) that the heavy stuff isn’t coming down for quite a while, or you could bust out the table games. Like this $387,890 backgammon set from Geoffrey Parker, featuring an alligator/stingray playing field and diamond-encrusted, 18-karat-gold checkers. The numbers on the dice are also set with 1-carat diamonds, which opens the door for spontaneous wedding proposals (the ultimate doubling cube).

A closer look, after the jump...»

Dusting Off: The Concorde

It was the crown jewel of aircrafts from the moment it lifted off in 1976 until its sudden, catastrophic extinction 27 years later. The Concorde.

On the outside: a supersonic, transatlantic rocket ship with four Rolls-Royce engines cruising along the outermost layer of the earth’s atmosphere at Mach 2. On the inside: the last of the 1960s’ international jetsetters and the wealthiest of the 1980s’ Wall Street tycoons sipping champagne and moving twice as fast as everyone else in the world. “You can be in London at 10am and in New York at 10am,” said Sir David Frost, a Concorde regular. “I have never found another way of being in two places at once.”

And then, like Keyser Söze, poof: it was gone.

We’d like to dust off the fleet...»

French Luxury Deathmatch


We were digging through our magazine pile when we belatedly ran across the Wall Street Journal’s magazine profile of LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault, which is amazing mostly as a masterpiece of diplomacy. The Journal is just getting its WSJ fashion periodical on its feet, and the last thing they need is to tick off the richest man in France.

As a result, there’s nothing too juicy, but we did get a peek at an old rivalry we’d almost forgotten about. This one concerns two French luxury giants tussling over an iconic Italian brand, only to stage an uneasy reunion over their shared love of money. It’s heady stuff—in fact, we’re working on the movie version already.

The dramatic machinations of Bernard Arnault»

Built to Last

depression_crop.jpgvia LIFE

It’s tough to say what luxury looks like during hard times, but it’s a question fashion houses are going to have to answer one way or another. We’ve got a few ideas ourselves—most notably this one—but we imagine the Louis Vuitton folks have smarter minds than us working on this one as we speak.

The Choosy Beggar just weighed in with an answer we can get behind: sturdier, more durable clothes to last through whatever comes our way. This is what raw denim was reaching for, and it might be the only thing that would get modern consumers to drop serious money on clothing again. But after 15 years of churning out disposable duds, are labels ready to think long term?

Only time will tell.

Bulletproofing, Vagabonds, and the Most Expensive T-Shirt in L.A.


I Wish I Was… If this man is wearing a bulletproof suit, we’re going to have to give up on Washington entirely. Luckily, we strongly doubt it. [Wired]

The Greatest: The most expensive t-shirt in L.A. is a black cashmere tee that’s completely blank. As for how much…we don’t want to think about it. [LAist]

Runaways: The latest dispatches from Milan is heavy on the vagabond look and something called “Rat Pack zest.” [The Moment]

Been a Long Time: The last eight years, in convenient slideshow form. Goatees are involved. [Men.Style]

Natalie Gets Her Freak On, Nic Elevates Himself and To Pop or Not To Pop


Freak Folk: Always on the hunt for a deep, sensitive mate, Natalie Portman is reportedly nuzzling up to Cripple Crow crooner Devandra Banhart. Yeah, we don't know how we feel about this one either. We mean, he is wearing a woman's jacket. [Egotastic]

Napoleon Complex: Lil', wee plutocrat Nic Sarkozy is kicking up a press dust storm in his fierce heels. [Shoeblogs]

What Would Moz Do?: Dress like Morrissey and you're set for life. [Style Salvage]

Spit and Polish: The geopolitics of the shoeshine. [NYT via On The Fly]

Throwing Sparks: Sharp dockside looks from Philip Sparks. [Philipsparks via Notcouture]

Blinded by the White: N.B. to African-American society partygoers - some photogs may require you use nametags. [Radar]

Environmental Hang Up: Going green starts at your dry cleaner. [Fox23]

Out of Africa: A brief history of the safari jacket. [Mercury News]

New Journalism: The Wall Street Journal is set to launch a new luxury magazine to compete with the Times' glossy insert, T. Yes, yes - you're right - they're calling it WSJ. [Editor and Publisher]

Luxury Hacks: Next time you're in Moscow, flag down a Maybach. [Autopark]

Home, Jeeves: In other auto news, The Chauffeur magazine has named its "Car of the Year." The Chauffeur magazine? We should really get our guy a subscription for his birthday. [Autoblog]