Where celebrities and royalty mingle
Friday evening of the Grand Prix F1 in Monte-Carlo there were many events each of them taunting to be the most glamorous of them all! Born in Monaco in 2003 under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert, Amber Lounge was with no doubt the place to be. For her new U*NITE concept this year, founder extraordinaire Sonia Irvine moved the show indoors this time around. So instead of Cocktails and fashion show by the pool under the blue sky and views of the Mediterranean sea, the VIP guests were welcomed inside with her main goal of creating a cozy ambiance and guard from the elements. It seemed wise as the day before the weather did not cooperate with heavy winds and hail falling on the Principality. But it remains to be seen if it was the best idea from a logistics point of view. There was a buzz in the room at the arrival of Prince Albert accompanied by no other than Canadian singer, dancer and actor Justin Bieber who joined other celebrities like Tamara Ecclestone with husband Jay Rutland, Victoria Silvstedt and actor Kellan Lutz, on the star studded first row. Nathalie Pinkham, the British TV presenter and F1 pit-lane reporter for Sky Sports, alongside her colleague F1 commentator David Croft presented the show with Pixie Lott as the main star and F1 drivers on the runway.
Pixie Lott opened the evening parade with a splash
British singer-songwriter, Pixie Lott appeared on stage to the loud cheering of the privileged guests! The 23-year-old global pop superstar performed a mix of her greatest hits and new songs from her upcoming album to no surprise entitled Pixie Lott. She was quoted saying “I am so excited to be performing live for the first time in Monaco, and there is no better stage than at the original F1 party.” Pixie rose to fame in 2009 with her UK no. 1 debut single Mama Do, and followed by album Turn it Up, that spawned five consecutive top 20 singles, and sold over a million copies in the UK. Pixie posed for a photo with Oliver Cheshire, the British male fashion model who had been scouted by Select Model Management at 15 years of age while studying drama.
F1 Pilots and their ladies trotted the runway
The spectacle continued with the anticipated fashion show. When the F1 pilots are not racing at super fast speeds on the track in Monte-Carlo they elegantly trod along the catwalk at Amber Lounge to raise funds for a good cause. They were modeling Apsley’s latest designs in tailor-made suits, embodying the brand’s reputation as the pioneer of luxury British tailoring. Apsley Tailors, established in 1889, bringing its heritage and over-century-long years of experience to discerning clients with a modern twist and uncompromising commitment to creating the finest and most innovative men’s fashions. Managing Director of Apsley Tailors, Arshad Mahmood said: “Apsley Tailors are beyond delighted to dress F1 drivers for the most anticipated event during the Monaco Grand Prix, Amber Lounge Fashion Show.”
Among the young handsome race drivers on the catwalk were: Jules Bianchi (24) the French racing driver, who currently drives for the Marussia Formula One team. He made his Formula One debut in 2013, driving for Marussia alongside British Max Chilton (23) who was also on the runway. Esteban Manuel Gutiérrez (22), the Mexican racing driver for the Sauber-Ferrari F1 team, partnering with Adrian Sutil (31) from Germany. Daniil Vyacheslavovich Kvyat (20) the Russian autoracing driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Also there was thee new kid on the block is Swedish Marcus Ericsson (23), racing for Caterham-Renault. And last but not least Daniel Ricciardo (24) from Australia who when Mark Webber announced his retirement from F1, was confirmed as his replacement at Infiniti Red Bull Racing for 2014, having as teammate no other than German Sebastian Vettel, the 2010-2013 world champion.
The glamorous drivers ladies’ followed on the runway alongside a bevy of glamorous models in seductive resort wear by Odabash & Macdonald, one of the hottest collaborations in British fashion. Julien McDonald OBE (Order of the British Empire), better known as JMac, is a Welsh fashion designer who has appeared as judge on the TV program Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model with supermodel Elle Macpherson, as well as Project Catwalk. In June 2006 he was awarded and OBE in the Queen’s birthday Honors for services to fashion. His first love was dancing but a course at Cardiff Art College revealed his talent for fabric design and from then on he has been moving onwards and upwards in his successful and rather controversial career because he dares to go the extra mile. JMac’s ability to design show-stopping, figure-hugging, revealing pieces is clearly appreciated by the rich and famous; Joely Richardson, Danii Minogue, Gery Halliwell, Carmen Electra, Naomi Campbell, Beyonce, Bonnie Tyler, Selena Gomez. His creations have a true star quality. At the recent London Fashion week the catwalk master showed slicked-back-hair models in very high heels, not a lot of underwear under the super tight dresses, with angel wings spread across the back and chest perfect for jet-set Queens, definitely only for women in top shape.
The other part of the winning pair is Melissa Odabash, an American fashion designer and former swimwear model based in London, who lived and worked in Italy for many years. She has appeared on many TV shows from mentoring models in British & Ireland Next Top Model to being a worldwide network correspondent for France 24 during the Royal Wedding and using her fashion expertise in Strictly Come Dancing it Takes Two. She is well known for her beachwear designs and Vogue described her collection as being the “Ferraris of swimwear”. Odabash is the ultimate luxury holiday lifestyle brand and her exotic, attractive and rather sensual designs are indispensable for the sophisticated global traveler. Her pieces have everlasting style with use of top quality fabrics to make women feel their best no matter her body type. She continues to be the designer of choice by top celebrities during their flamboyant holiday escapades; the likes of Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Rhianna, Lady Gaga, Heidi Klum, Chery Cole, Beyonce to name just a few. As an extension of her luxury collection Odabash collaborates with good friend JMac, and together they have produced two capsule collections stretching the swimwear boundaries creating bold and unique signature pieces that Amber Lounge is bringing exclusively to its privileged guests.
Behind the scenes of the Fashion Show
Charity Auction benefiting Brain & Spine Foundation close to Amber Lounge’s heart
The charity auction was conducted by auctioneer extraordinaire Charlie Ross, who is in high demand throughout the world and has raised millions over the past few years for numerous organizations. The official charity organization selected this year was the Brain & Spine Foundation, a careful choice inspired by driver Michael Schumacher who back in December 2013 suffered a serious head injury while skiing at the French resort of Meribel, and has been in an induced coma where he is currently in critical but stable condition.
The Brain & Spine Foundation association was founded back in 1992 and assists people suffering from severe brain and spine disorders. The recent distressing circumstances involving F1 legend Michael Schumacher shattered the racing world. The seven-time F1 World Champion is a long-time friend of Amber Lounge founder, Sonia Irvine, who decided to select the Brain & Spine association as the official charity this year. Valuable works of art, jewellery and one-and-only experience packages, were some of the many Amber Lounge exclusive items that were put up for auction, with proceeds benefiting those suffering from severe neurological conditions. Among the lots was a portrait of Michael Schumacher by Brazilian artist Marcos Marin that fetched 40,000 Euros. Notably, Prince Albert himself donated 73,000 Euros in support of a registered nurse to manage the helpline at the Brain & Spine Foundation for a year. Amber Lounge is honored to support the Brain & Spine Foundation, a charity of high emotional value to the industry they have served for over a decade. For more information go to www.brainandspine.org.uk
Motorsports celebrities galore
Among the many celebrities and VIP guests we spotted Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson, the famous English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May.
Joining the fun was Adrian Newey OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) is a British F1 engineer and technical guru behind the vastly successful Red Bull Racing operation. Speculation ended about a move to Ferrari who after some disappointing years are desperately looking to recruit. Newey is believed to have a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2017. His future at the team is tied to that of team principal Christian Horner whose own contract is thought to run for the same period. He was quoted saying in Monaco « I remain committed to Red Bull for the foreseeable future. »
Partying all night long
After the chic fashion show, a lavish dinner concocted by Michelin star chef Michael Caines was served to the guests accompanied by flowing bubbles of champagne, adding to the memorable experience. But the night was young and clubbing followed suit, with the pleasure seeking guests alongside the likes of Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and other celebrities, partying all night long until the wee hours of the morning! Sonia Irving was quoted saying “We put a lot of effort into ensuring that our guests have a good time and our parties are a lot of fun, if not a bit wild as well! If people aren’t dancing on my sofas and tables by 1am then I haven’t done my job properly!” And those at Amber Lounge on Friday know she remained true to her word!