ROYALTY AND LUXURY MEET IN SWITZERLAND
ST. MORITZ SHINES & GSTAAD SPARKLES
Bulgari´s glamorous cocktail reception at the St.Moritz Palace, kicked off the February celebrations. Guests were given the opportunity to admire around 50 of Bulgari´s most exquisite jewelry creations. Among the one-of-a-kind pieces were two elegant jewels, shaped of magnificent emeralds and sapphires, featured for the occasion. It was in St. Moritz that founder Sotirio Bulgari decided to open this sister Bulgari location in 1906 and became the first jeweler to open shop in the village. He initially intended for Bulgari to have a presence within the chic mountain resort during the summer seasons only, but the store met with such resounding success that soon St. Moritz became a permanent key location and the first jeweler in town. The St. Moritz location is a cherished subsidiary of Bulgari, as it represents a milestone for the brand´s global expansion.
The splendid Bulgari High Jewelry pieces displayed in the St. Moritz Palace, Bulgari literally serve as perfect examples of the creative research and unparalleled expertise that have defined the brand. Bulgari jewels have proudly stood as the worldwide emblem of Italian excellence, since 1884. With a voluptuous sense of volume, daring color combinations and unmistakably distinctive designs, these are the iconic features of every Bulgari creation ““ epitomized foremost by the High Jewelry Collection. Lace woven of diamonds and platinum, kaleidoscopes of smooth colored gemstones, supple, wearable necklaces, and rings of vivid opulence“¦all of these sparkle alongside each other for glamorous events such as these. As well, said events allow guests the opportunity to appreciate jewelry-making of this caliber ““ as it straddles the boundary between Italian craftsmanship and art.
Some of Bulgari's elite guests sharing my canapés included iconic German actress and former model Nastassja Kinski, Lucio Velo and Ester Velo van Hulst, the Prince d'Asburgo, Francesco Trapani and Princess Lorenza von Liechtenstein, Leonardo Ferragamo, Sven Ley of Escada, Massimiliano Maggi and Maria Sole Brivio Sforza, Raquel Marquard , the Mittal family, Count Von Bismarck Carl Edward, Oliver and Dina Von Boch of Villeroy&Boch, Matilde De Medici, and Prince Alexander Zu Schaumburg-Lippe.
While selected guests enjoyed a sit-down dinner offered by Bulgari in the Palace´s grand ballroom, I made my way to the Le Restaurant de Palace where 2 Micheline Star Chef Anthony Genovese- in residency from Ristorante Il Pagliaccio in Rome- prepared formidable creations and won my heart with a fabulous chocolate soufflé.
Up-village, where the exclusive Cresta Club celebrated 130 years, a more private festivity took place. The first Cresta Run was completed in January 1885 and took nearly nine weeks to build. Since its inception it has been, and remains, the most thrilling ice run in the world. It is still built from scratch every year using the natural contours of the valley and earth banks to provide a framework on which to pile the snow. The Run from Junction is built first, the upper banks second. It has 10 testing corners, all of which are named.
The St. Moritz Tobogganing Club, with its world-wide membership, has always enjoyed a strong partnership with the town and people of St. Moritz since the first Run was built in the winter of 1884/1885. The Run and the traditions surrounding it remain constant, although the toboggans and equipment have evolved. It remains one of the last truly amateur sports. The SMTC is a private Club, founded in 1887, three years after the creation of the Cresta Run; its principal activities: “"...the conduct of races and practice on the Cresta Run and the encouragement of tobogganing generally...".The Charity Auction held by Friends of Sheba Medical Center in Switzerland to benefit the new, expanded Pediatric Intensive Care Department in the Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital, took center stage February 15th at the Carlton Hotel in St. Moritz attracting 170 invited guests and raising over 480.00,00 CHF. Countess Christiane von Rantzau (Christie´s Chairwoman for Germany) swiftly and rapidly opened guests´ wallets, collecting donations for hospital equipment and medical training while auctioning off expensive trips, exquisite jewelry and designer furniture. Countess Renate von Rehbinder who attended from Munich was honored for her contribution and tireless dedication to the cause with the title of “ Ambassador for Sheba“.
Among guests helping the cause while enjoying the elegant evening and the sounds of Karl Friedrich Count of Hohenzollern´s “Royal Groovin Jazzband“, dining on delicious cauliflower truffle soup, sea bass and desert variations, were Lakshmi Mittal, Rolf Sachs, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, Dr. Gabriele Princess zu Leiningen, the Marquards and Maximilian von Fürstenberg
Cooling off from a hot night of champagne and dancing at the Carlton, I walked down to the Lake where the races were in full swing. “The White Turf, a unique, exclusive, top-class event with exciting horse-racing, gourmet catering, lively music and inspiring art exhibitions, all taking place in winter sunshine on the frozen lake among the stunningly beautiful, snow-capped mountains of St Moritz. This spectacular, major event is not just one with Champagne on ice for the rich and beautiful but an annual event where race-horse owners, trainers and jockeys from all over the world meet up as well as being an unmissable fixture on the calendar for local people. It is thanks to the sponsors as well as the municipality of St Moritz and the local tourist board, who have been supporting White Turf for decades, to make this top-class race-meeting possible“ says Silvio Staub President & CEO White Turf. Members of the organizing committee along with their staff and countless volunteers ensure that the 35,000 visitors who attend these unique race-meetings on 7th, 14th and 21st February can enjoy a flutter, cheer on the horses they have backed and enjoy top-quality catering in a number of marquees put up specially on the frozen lake.
It was difficult saying good-bye to sunny, glittery St.Moritz but charming Gstaad, the Palace, GreenGos, Charlie´s Cafe and its famous Le Rosey Institute which is celebrating its 100th, were calling. During the second week in February serious academic meetings between parents, doyens and teachers, guidance counselors and university admissions officers from UCLA, Emory and Cambridge and the Deans of Admissions from Dartmouth College in the USA and King's College London make their way to the tiny village, enticing prospective students with their exclusive offers. Ski races with excellent snow conditions on the Wasserngrat, and a good serving of raclette in the tent at the bottom of the slopes make for a cozy end on a cold winter day. Hundreds of Roséens meeting up with their friends in Gstaad restaurants, playing music together at the "Jam in the Alps", playing ice hockey against current students, taking part in backgammon and curling tournaments. Nearly a thousand parents, ancients, teachers and students coming together under the immense Alpengala Tent for a wonderful event, enlivened by music, dance and speeches, all in favor of Rosey's future "Ecole des Métiers" in Bamako in Mali. Gstaad turns into a celebration and the Palace becomes home to 2 to 3 generations, families from all around the world. Gildo,the matre´d and Andrea the concierge who have been part of the Palace team for over 40 years, know everyone by name- have known me as a child and seen me grow up-the same rooms are reserved by the same people for over 40 years, the staff knows the tea preferences of the guests and piano player knows to play a certain song when you walk into the lobby ““ “my castle is my home“ becomes reality for a week..or longer.
Sadly, all celebrations are coming to a close and work is awaiting over the Pond. “Uf wiederluege“ beautiful Switzerland, until we meet again!
more information: https://www.ambassadorialroundtable.org