Monte Carlo, Monaco – Imagine feeling like you’re on a nonstop episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Envision the world renowned voice of Robin Leach delivering the most phenomenal verbal descriptions of some of the most luxurious items known to man. Maybe something like: “getting to this 325 foot yacht by helicopter is only half the fun, rivaling any destroyer on the seas this yacht has its own fully equipped hospital, disco nightclub, movie theater with 800 films, and 11 VIP suites each named after a precious jewel.” Now imagine none of these items are yours……. Welcome to Monte Carlo!
Remember how I raved about Cannes in the last blog? Remember how I referred to it as almost The Stop on the Sterling Ascots tour. Did you notice how I made use of the word “almost?” That’s because “The Stop” on this tour is Monte Carlo. Located only 35 miles from the home of the Cannes Film Festival (taking place now 5/14/16), Monte Carlo took me in as one of its own.
Monte Carlo was everything I thought it would be: clean streets, an abundance of fine Michelin Star dinning, luxury condos, expensive cars, and yachts…plenty of yachts. Yachts in the water, yachts on billboards, yachts advertised in commercials just as frequently as McDonald’s ads run on American television, just yachts everywhere. What’s the point of taking a trip to the South of France if you can’t gawk over yachts you don’t own?
After a 2 hour flight from Barcelona and an unreasonably priced taxi ride from Nice to Monaco, I’m greeted at the front door of my hotel by the bell hop and swiftly checked in. While laying out my first ascot of the trip, I decided to open up the curtains and allow some of that pristine Monte Carlo sunlight in. As I draw the curtains back, the sunlight touches the sea and provides a hypnotizing shimmer of constant light into the room. As the sun tap dances of the top of the Mediterranean, the sea-view leaves me in complete awe. So much awe that I just have enough power to grab a seat on the balcony and take in deep breaths of that fresh Monte Carlo air. At this point, I’m well aware I maybe running late for dinner but who cares……apparently Q, my gorgeous photographer, cares and I’m reminded that our car service to dinner will be expecting us in the lobby in 45 minutes.
The selection for the night: the Monte Carlo Sterling Ascot and pocket square combo with a white dinner jacket. The jacket sports a sharp black trim and comes equipped with a Romeo y Julieta – Romeo No. 1 Cuban cigar in the inside pocket. Dinner was phenomenal but my vice, as always, is the craps table and a fine Cuban cigar. After few handshakes and a couple of friendly James Bond compliments, I took my act over to Le Casino de Monte Carlo. Ironically enough that was where Bond and Xenia met in Golden Eye. After a short stay, I am off to the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel where the Sun Casino is located.
It’s a little after midnight and the bar at my hotel is still open. After a long night I sit outside at the bar and order a beer. The night sky is endless and the moon is just as bright as the sun at 5:30pm. It made for the perfect opportunity to take some breath taking stills. We retreated to the room balcony and prepped the 50mm lens for low light.
As we overlook the Port de Fontvieille, faint sounds of Fetty Wap’s “My Way” rap song blasts from someone’s car below. We laugh in amazement that a piece of New Jersey has followed this far into Europe. After a few adjustments of the lens, Q finds a couple of sweet spots that make for great contrast between the night sky, the port, the moon, and myself.
The Monte Carlo Sterling Ascot was the star of this shoot. Since Sterling Ascots opened for business, we have luckily sold out of this ascot. The fabric for the Monte Carlo was found in my grandmother’s basement. Originally used as a vest lining in 1994, the fabric laid dormant for 20+ years. Once salvaged, we were able to create ascots out of the fabric. The Monte Carlo’s design is one of the original 4 Sterling Ascots. Reviving the Monte Carlo is something A. Soleil (co owner & sister) and I are considering bringing back to the Sterling Ascot line.
The color of the Monte Carlo Sterling Ascot is primarily black with some hints of burgundy, ivory, and plum. The contrast between this ascot and a white dinner jacket is as smooth as it gets. For the ascot lover looking to make a long lasting impression at a black tie event, show up in the Monte Carlo Sterling Ascot and be prepared to shake hands and receive compliments all night long.
After about 30 shots or so, Q begins to add a little bokeh action into the shots. The lights from the yachts are perfectly blurred out while extra detail was drawn to the ascot, bringing out all the colors that makes the this ascot an eye catcher.
This seems like the end but in honor of father’s day and the Monaco Grand Prix just two weeks away, part II will be here sooner than you think.