I’ve never been a dog lover, until I fell in love with this particular dog. He’s a Lagotto Romagnolo, a lake dog from the Romagna region of Italy – we called him Dado, after aristocratic Alessandro ‘Dado’, Principe Ruspoli, the man said to have inspired Fellini to make La Dolce Vita. He’s one of the oldest breeds known, with the most incredible range – active, working, a gun dog and of course a water retriever. Nowadays in Italy they’re most often used for hunting truffles! But most importantly, he’s so tender with the kids. A true beauty, real grace, but he also loves a bit of rough and tumble along the beach, in the waves, chasing me about on the paddle board – any adventure, really! The ultimate gentleman’s companion.
Of all sports, sailing has to be one of my absolute favourites. So when I was invited up to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, I leapt at the chance.
Flying in over the Whitsundays is a spectacle in blues and greens and blazing white sand – and the brightly coloured spinnakers of yachts sailing around the islands. I was met at the airport by staff from the Qualia luxury resort, and whisked off to the hotel in an Audi S8 – growl! – to find my bags waiting for me in my pavilion nestled among the trees. The ‘pavilions’ are enormous, but still manage to give a relaxed, laid-back – very Australian – vibe. To have such quality service in the middle of tropical forest, is an incredible experience.
As was having my own Mr Porter buggy to get around in! With time to myself, I went paddle-boarding in the pristine water, looking for whales. Then, after a long bath and grooming I session headed to the Audi/Kylie Kwong dinner at Pebble Beach. Kylie’s food is so perfectly balanced, simple, wholesome and authentic. It’s always a treat.
After a relaxed breakfast on the beachfront, it was off on the paddle board once more. Then a quick duck into the Qualia Spa stocked full of my favourite Sodashi products. I really like the Clay Cleanser with Lime and the Calming Skin Boost gel (both smell strangely manly). Then to the Mr Porter x Charles Heidsieck lunch. It was very glam, some 250 people – a mix of locals, yachties, and a lot of Sydney and Melbourne types. I was wedged between Nicky Tindal (Nicky’s grandfather Bob Oatley is the grand patriarch, the owner of Hamilton Island, and of course the maxi yacht Wild Oats XI) and Alison Veness, editor or the Australian edition of 10 magazine – she’s always a pleasure)
After lunch I headed for a quick meditation/re-fuel at the pavilion, then to Pebble Beach for drinks on the sand, then out on Andiamo with drinks, DJ, a select gang. It wasn’t so much ‘gin palace’, more champagne and vodka and a group of the youngest, hippest and most adventurous on the Island – many of whom were finishing a week of Island racing before heading to Burning Man. This boat is built for entertaining – it’s wide, it’s flush from inside to outside, and it’s trimaran hull makes it very stable!
Race day! I headed out on Wild Oats XI. What a machine! This is the seven-time winner of the Sydney to Hobart, 100 ft of the highest tech, lightest weight, sailboat ever. It's like a giant sled, so fast! Skippered by legendary captain Mark Richards (who also created and founded Palm Beach Boats. Even Bob Oatley (aka Popeye) was aboard. When it comes to racing no one comes near Wild Oats, it was nearly lonely way out front there! Except for some whales teaching their calves some tricks. The fact the crew were so 'in sync' they were nearly silent added to that wonderful feeling of being alone on the ocean. Bliss.
Upon returning to dock, I headed out for a trail run up to Passage Peak (the highest point on the island, in fact, of the Whitsundays). I meditated on a rock looking over the islands and ran back for some quiet time in the pavilion before heading out for the Net-a-Porter fashion show. It was an incredible set up by The Projects with the catwalk going over the pool, great tunes, blazing beauties, and the clothes were good too! It was overall a pretty social event as you can imagine with a lot of lingering and chatting afterwards.
Thank you so much to Sophie Baker for inviting me, The Oatley Family, Qualia and Hamilton Island for making the stay a real gem. It was amazing to witness the Oatley vision in all its glory, it has to be seen to be believed.
The other day I received an email from a friend, saying he’d seen me in Bondi. Impossible, I replied – I’ve been traveling through Europe with Miranda and the boys this past month! Turns out, what he’d seen is a picture of me, hanging larger than life in the window of Witchery. I’d been asked by style bureau Oliver Grand to be one of the ‘real guys’ – along with AFL player Jimmy Bartel and hair stylist Richard Kavanagh – enlisted to represent WitcheryMan in its Transeasonal campaign. With a wardrobe that spans the super formal (I love my Dior evening suit) right through to cool casual stuff like ACNE slim fit jeans, I figured, Why not?! When I saw it was to be shot by Trevor King, I was extra chuffed – he’s great at capturing the kind of carefree, stylish (but not overstyled) masculinity that feels so right for our times. We shot on location around Sydney harbour, and the girls behind Oliver Grand – the lovely Jesse Arifien and Gabrielle Weller – pulled out all the stops to make great fun, as well as great imagery. As for the clothes, I have to say they’re perfect for an active lifestyle. I can be at the studio one minute with sleeves rolled up, poring over plans. The next I can be in the car speeding off to a client meeting at a high-powered business restaurant in the CBD. I need to be neat and groomed and permanently on-call. Witchery Man facilitates a high-performance urban wardrobe. In fact, I packed quite a few pieces for this European grand tour. Thanks WitcheryMan