Vicuña: One of the Most Coveted Materials in the World

I was in Loro Piana years ago when I first learned of vicuña. I had picked up a sweater, and it melted in my hands like butter. I immediately bought a few items including one of their scarves, which I wear every time I’m in Aspen or on an unusually cold day in New York. It’s practically weightless but keeps me incredibly warm.

Vicuña Scarf
Christopher R King Vicuña Scarf bought during his trip to Peru

While to those that have not experienced it, it may not be the most obvious status symbol of wealth. However, for those that do know and appreciate the value of this rare material, there is nothing else like it in the world.

Loro Piana Vicuña Sport Coat
Loro Piana Vicuña Sport Coat

Vicuña clothing was originally made only for the most elite in ancient times. This ancestor to the modern alpacas was a wild species that was sheered every few years to produce the best wool on the planet. It is also the smallest of the Camelids family and lives at altitudes over 10,000ft. Vicuña wool is fine and contains fibers that are hollow and that interlock in a way that holds in warmth without the extra weight.

Loro Piana Vicuña Coat Lining
Loro Piana Vicuña Coat Lining

The wool from these creatures is like no other in its ability to protect one from nature and in its comfort. Imagine the indigenous peoples of Peru parading their elite around in warmth and comfort. The Inca believed that the vicuña was a representation of a woman whose hair was made of fine strands of gold. At a production of only 9 ounces of raw fiber every two years, of which only 5 ounces can be used, vicuña is produced much more slowly than other natural ones. The material is so great because unlike sheep’s wool and other materials, vicuña do not produce lanolin which makes it light and hypoallergenic.

The regulations that surround the incredible vicuña fiber have been crucial to the production of the wool. With the conquest of Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador began the massive devastation of the population of vicuña. In the 1960’s the estimated population was down to roughly 6,000 vicuñas. In a cooperation between U.S. groups, the World Wildlife Fund, Peruvian governmental organizations, and others the creation of a team to protect and increase the number of the wild animals helped to get the population up to over 70,000 in the Andean region. In 1994, once the numbers of wild vicuña were high enough, the wool began to be sold worldwide at a premium price, and the ban was lifted on the sale of vicuña fibers by the Peruvian government. The idea was to directly financially support the community that had brought them back from almost extinction. All of the sheering and production of fiber has to be done ethically so that the animals don’t get hurt.

Loro Piana Vicuña Jacket
Loro Piana Vicuña Jacket

Today prices for vicuña wool are more than $2,500.00 USD per yard, and a single scarf can cost around $4,000.00 USD. This is an experience that is an investment in a piece of clothing that will be with you for life. There are only two options for purchasing vicuña yarn from South America on the world market. These two companies are Loro Piana, owned by LVMH, and Agnona. If they don’t want to sell to a company, they can merely force you to go to the other who can also turn you away if they like. There are also limits to how much material they will sell to any one vendor.

Loro Piana Vicuña Top Coat Lining

Reserved originally for royalty, and known for its rarity, unique softness and warmth, the value of a vicuña article cannot be overstated. You are getting the best. This is one of the finest and most exclusive materials, and worth every dollar.

The Beauty of the Baccarat Hotel

I have always appreciated old world history and amazing attention to detail and style. Immediately after walking into the Baccarat Hotel, the distinct smell of a signature perfume greets you with a welcoming invitation. Having a memorable smell is a detail I can appreciate; certain scents can trigger memories. The experiences that I have had, related to The Baccarat Hotel have created so many incredible memories worth revisiting from time to time. I love the Baccarat Rouge 540 fragrance, created in a collaboration with world class, perfumer, Francis Kurkdjian. I purchased a bottle just to spray it in my bedroom, bathroom or office so I can get that NYC luxury hotel experience. Just the hint of the scent can bring back the memory of designing one of my creations in the hotel room and inspire me to explore it further.

Le Gran Salon West View Baccarat Hotel New York City
Le Gran Salon West View Baccarat Hotel New York City

The Baccarat brand was created over 250 years ago in France by order of King Louis XV. It has teamed with celebrities of film and music to bring this iconic brand into the modern era and to keep its relevance. From its foundation in mirror and glass making to the creation of chandeliers, hotels and even a fragrance collaboration, Baccarat has captured the imagination of those who see it. The Baccarat Hotel in Manhattan doesn’t stray form the brands level of quality.

Le Gran Salon East View Baccarat Hotel New York City
Le Gran Salon East View Baccarat Hotel New York City

The entrance to this hotel is a subtle one, but it quickly escalates as you step off the elevator into Le Grand Salon room filled entirely with Baccarat crystal. Overall, the hotel has over 8000 glasses made of Baccarat crystal. When I arrive in NYC, which is usually in the evening, I love to unwind in Le Bar or Le Petit Salon. These are excellent spaces to enjoy a drink or a meal. My favorite dish to order is called the Cheese and Charcuterie paired with a glass of burgundy. The selection of drinks and food are diverse, with something for everyone with good taste. My suggestion is to always order “The Grilled Hanger Steak.” The heirloom lentils and celeriac puree that come with it are the perfect comfort food after a long day.

Cheese and Charcuterie in Le Petit Salon
Cheese and Charcuterie in Le Petit Salon

In the main floor of the hotel, hang some of the most beautiful chandeliers I have seen, made exclusively of Baccarat crystal. There are 17 chandeliers in the hotel, all Baccarat and one that is made of wood. It is such a relaxing feeling to enjoy a drink under such luxurious craftsmanship. Matthieu, the wine director, quickly became a dear friend over all my stays here. If you like to watch a bottle of champagne get sabered, then just ask him. We discuss wine, champagne and burgundy, often over laughs and shared experiences. He has plenty of knowledge that compliments an outstanding wine list, a detail that can create a memorable experience. And of course, each decanter and glass is the heavy pure Baccarat crystal.

Christopher R King in Le Bar Baccarat Hotel New York City
Christopher R King in Le Bar Baccarat Hotel New York City

The detail of Baccarat extends to each room, including Baccarat glasses in the bathroom. The rooms are very detailed and have spared no expense in the details to ensure a comfortable and unforgettable stay. Their presidential suite was creatively designed with each element thoroughly thought out and executed perfectly, from the fox fur chair in the bedroom to the beautiful view of NYC I get sitting at the desk while I work on the new designs and concepts for CCCXXXIII.

Christopher R King in the Presidential Suite Bathroom Baccarat Hotel New York City
Christopher R King in the Presidential Suite Bathroom Baccarat Hotel New York City

The beds are so comfortable and the bed linens are high quality like I have at home.
My room had a romantic, yet homey, feeling like a high-end upper east side penthouse. The lighting and décor are by far some of the best in city. Most of my design meetings in NYC take place in my suite, so it is nice when you can be comfortable while getting things done. We can easily plow through deadlines and projects list while we drink still water from Baccarat crystal glasses as we stare out into Manhattan through the oversize, floor to ceiling windows in pure luxury and comfort.

Christopher R King in the Presidential Suite Bedroom Baccarat Hotel New York City
Christopher R King in the Presidential Suite Bedroom Baccarat Hotel New York City

The Baccarat Hotel in Manhattan is a hotel recommendation I can feel confident in giving to anyone who is looking for a luxurious and memorable experience while in New York City. This is truly one of the very best hotels I have visited in New York in the past 15 years. The design and functionality of the rooms creates an environment unlike others, and it’s a place that I look forward to returning to time after time while on my travels, for both business and pleasure.

Bulgari Hotel: My Milanese Home Away from Home

When you travel, it is often hard to capture the sense of ease and comfort that comes from being in your own home. Spaces that I have personally cultivated in my homes help me to relax and enjoy a moment of calm in an otherwise hectic lifestyle. The Bulgari Hotel in Milan has found a way to capture this feeling of security and comfort with the added perks that only a luxury hotel provides.

Christopher R. King in his Bulgari Suite

As one of the oldest jewelry houses in Italy, Bulgari has defined itself as a brand that offers only the finest artisan-crafted goods. The label was founded by Sotirios Voulgaris in 1884 after he had moved to Rome with little to no money. The beginning of the brand was dedicated to capturing the style, class, and essence of early Greco-Roman design, which implemented bright colors, ancient coins, and intaglios. After more than 130 years, the easily identifiable creations possess a quality that few other jewelry houses have been capable of expressing.

Bulgari Suite Dining Room

Bulgari has always relied on the close relationships with its wealthy and often celebrity clientele. This association led many world-famous women to become collectors of the works over the years. Princess Grace of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn are just a few of the more notable collectors of the unique and dazzling line. And it is no wonder. It truly has the best to offer in Milan.

Christopher R. King in Bulgari Bar

From this foundation sprung a line of products that still range from sunglasses to watches and fragrance. The creation of the exclusive luxury hotel in Milan was born out of this obsessive desire to provide luxury that spared no expense, from the 4,000-square foot garden in central Milan to the spa and the optional Maserati pick up service. The rooms give a respite from the chaos that exists outside the walls of the 18th-century structure. The warm interior lighting and décor give you the feeling like you are in your own home. As a businessman, I appreciate the little details like the personalized business cards they provide with the hotel address and the cigar lounge where I can relax with a glass of wine and cigar, after a long day of meetings.

Bulgari Suite Bedroom

The hotel was created to be a jewel among Milanese travel destinations. Since I frequent Milan for CCCXXXIII, I appreciate that it is conveniently located to my meetings, yet just a quick trip to some of my favorite places. I can spend the day working with the local artisans on my designs, visit Lake Como and still be able to enjoy a dinner on the hotel’s stylish garden patio with some of the notable fashion personalities.

Bulgari Suite Bathroom

My favorite place in the entire hotel has to be the wrap-around terrace, one of the best features of the spacious Bulgari suite on the top floor. I love starting my day with an espresso on the balcony, overlooking the view and reviewing my latest designs. The bathrooms in the suite offer oversized tubs, giving you a relaxed ending to a 15-hour workday. The staff is so attentive that every need is met, with warmth and effortlessness. Some hotels around the world, even luxury ones, leave me feeling like I’m not entirely at ease. Here, I feel like I’m staying at a great friend or family member’s home where I can come and go as I please and really “just be.”

Bulgari Lobby

Why I Love the Bentley Mulsanne Speed

Bentley is a name synonymous with luxury, but for me, like everything it is about the details. In my opinion, the new Bentley Mulsanne Speed is the perfect example of luxury and performance. Claimed to be the most powerful four-door car worldwide, the experience of driving this vehicle is both exhilarating and comfortable. You can barely hear the engine hum as it races at an impressive top speed of 190 mph, as you sit back in the sumptuous leather massage seats. But that is just the beginning of why I fell for the Bentley Mulsanne Speed.

I have always loved luxury cars. Pick any six-figure sedan, and I have owned it. For me, it is about the details. From a design perspective, I was blown away by the quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into the Bentley Mulsanne Speed. Of course, Bentleys are known for their exquisite design and state-of-the-art touches, and this model doesn’t hold back. The moment you open the door and have a seat, you notice it even smells different. Instead of the usual new car smell, you are enveloped by this distinctive scent of high-quality leather.

Like a handcrafted briefcase, every part of the exterior and interior have been perfected. The interior is a masterpiece of its own. The seats and door pads are made from diamond-quilted perforated leather hide, adding a luxurious yet sporty touch to the vehicle. The entire interior has an incredible amount of the most supple leather with custom options to design to your specifications, so you can create your own experience. Giving the car that unique Bentley image, the brand logo is stitched onto each seat. The drilled alloy sports pedals ensure an eye-catching sporty interior as well. The glove boxes are all lined with leather, including the entire inside of the trunk. It has four umbrellas to ensure all guests have one.

Every aspect of this car has been fashioned with operational beauty in mind. The exterior has matrix grilles, a chrome radiator grille, a wing vent, and B wing vents, all adding to the famed, sleek Bentley look. Subtle “B’s” are incorporated throughout the entire vehicle.

Matrix Grill of Bentley Mulsanne Speed
Bentley Mulsanne Speed Matrix Grill

Not only is it designed like a piece of art, but this ultra-luxe sedan runs on a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, moving the vehicle smoothly from 0 to 60 mph in a blink – 4.8 seconds to be exact. The engine can generate 530 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 1,100 Nm of torque. If you know your stats, that makes the Mulsanne Speed the highest torque car out of any luxury sedan.

There’s no way a car weighing almost 6,000 pounds should be able to accelerate so smoothly, yet the Mulsanne Speed offers complete driving satisfaction, including massage capabilities in all four seats, assuring you are completely relaxed before you reach any destination. Only a few hundred Mulsanne Speeds are available for sale each year in the US. So if you’re one of the lucky few who owns this six-figure vehicle (priced at almost $400,000), you know what I am talking about right now.

I have been known to be a luxury car collector and have owned cars from Rolls Royce to Aston Martin and have a love for all of them, including the Bentley. But it is not about the status for me. It is all about the experience it provides when you drive the car. Each car has been designed with the driver’s pleasure in mind. Every detail has been considered, touching all of the senses and assuring complete user satisfaction. That is true luxury.

Christopher R. King getting in his Bentley Mulsanne Speed

A Sensory Experience that Goes Beyond Taste

When I explore and write about success and luxury, I’m always looking for brands, products, and locations that are the best in the world. The Macallan Distillery’s 62 year old and 65 year old single malts in exquisite Lalique crystal decanters are definitely in that category. Without question, they represent the pinnacle of Scotch distilling achievement.

Like the finest wines or most desirable cigars, the best single malt Scotch whiskies are a sensory experience that goes far beyond taste to smell, touch, and even sight. Scotch connoisseurs the world over know and respect The Macallan, and for good reason. Its 62 year old and 65 year old single malts are some of the oldest bottlings you’ll find.

Known and loved for its sherry influence, The Macallan uses the finest Spanish Oloroso sherry casks made from European oak and some American oak. While they now offer Fine Oak and Double Cask expressions, their traditional sherry-cask-aged bottlings remain the most popular.

To say The Macallan is iconic is an understatement. Agent 007 sipped 50 year old Macallan with his nemesis in the 2012 film, Skyfall. Macallan stills adorn the Bank of Scotland’s £10 banknote. The Macallan 64 in 2010 sold at Sotheby’s New York for a record-breaking $460,000, and four years later, a bottle of The Macallan M fetched $628,205 at a Hong Kong auction. This isn’t just a major player in the world of extraordinary single malts—The Macallan is the player.

Founded in 1824 as one of Scotland’s first legally licensed distilleries, The Macallan was born when farmer Alexander Reid leased eight acres from the Earl of Seafield, and set on the path of world-class distilling when it was bought seven decades later by Roderick Kemp. Today, The Macallan Distillery has surpassed Glenfiddich to become the world’s largest single malt Scotch producer, second only to Glenlivet.

The Macallan Distillery’s reputation has been helped by the collaboration with Lalique to release six of its oldest and rarest whiskies in custom decanters. Each decanter was designed and created to capture the essence of one of the distillery’s Six Pillars. The first was a 50 year old, followed by expressions aged for 55, 57, 60, 62 and 65 years.

The decanter for the 62 pays tribute to the centuries-old Easter Elchies House, known as Macallan’s spiritual home. The 65’s decanter, capturing Macallan’s Peerless Spirit, reminds me of a brilliant tiger’s eye.

When nosing the 62, I’m always struck by how gentle it is for 53-percent alcohol—smooth on both the nose and palate. The sherry cask imparts a sweetness that carries notes of rich toffee and raisins. As I inhale deeper, I find apple and blood orange followed by cinnamon, ginger, and dark chocolate. The finish is long and heavy, which I love, given the amazing aromas and flavors it imparts. This is an incredibly complex whisky that pairs beautifully with a fine cigar.

The 65 is an intense and true walnut color. I say “true” as the distillery adds no caramel coloring, something Scotch whisky purists relish. On the nose, balanced yet powerful aromas of honey, cinnamon and dates come forward. I catch the cinnamon and Madagascan vanilla swirling in the glass as I breathe in—and I’m not even halfway through this experience.

The Macallan 62 & Macallan 65

The smoothness is no surprise from a Macallan of this age. What is a surprise is the hint of peat, which was once used for drying on the malting floor. Resting for decades in a sherry cask softens the peat, so I only pick up a slightly smoky taste. The finish is rich and long, ending with notes of dark chocolate and, again, delicious honey.

There really are no other whiskies in the world that compare to The Macallan 62 or The Macallan 65. I revel in these amazing, rare single malts after a long day of going over designs. I have them at £10 in Beverly Hills, where they’re served in Lalique glasses. I especially enjoy my Macallan 65 while having a Partagas Habana No. 2—it’s a perfect pairing.

Some say whiskies aged beyond 25 years lose flavor from too much time in the cask. I believe this misses the reality of the cask aging process. Each year, day, hour, minute, and moment in the cask changes the whisky. Some changes are powerful, others subtle. These two fine single malts rested in casks for more than six decades, so you’ll see, smell, taste, and feel every one of those changes.

Distilling, aging, and bottling fine single malt Scotch whisky is a true art. Take my word as a connoisseur: the experience of these expressions goes far beyond the liquid itself.

Christopher R. King enjoying the Macallan 62 & Macallan 65

Designing A Custom Wardrobe

One of the first lessons that I learned as a successful entrepreneur was that you have to dress for success. When I first became truly successful, I decided I needed to create a wardrobe that communicated to people something about my personality and what set me apart from my competition. That has always been my unwavering attention to details and my discipline to execute to perfection.

So how do you communicate this through clothing?

For me, it starts with the fit. If your clothes don’t fit right, then it shows you don’t care. It says that it wasn’t worth the extra step or extra money to make sure the hem fits right or the sleeves hit the wrist at the right place. It can even be a form of a distraction if you are always pulling at the fabric that isn’t fitting correctly. But when you walk into a room wearing a suit with a perfect fit, there are no distractions. The only thing people are going to notice is that you know what you are doing.

But beyond fit, you have to talk about fabric. I am lucky enough to be able to wear clothing made from some of the finest, rare fibers in the world. And as a result, I have honestly come to appreciate them. This also communicates to those in the know that you have refined taste and an appreciation for real luxury goods, not just labels.

I also need to be comfortable, which is why I eventually started keeping a tailor on retainer. If I’m sitting in a meeting, conscious that my shirt feels too tight across the back, I can’t focus on a project’s finances or timeline. I need to be as comfortable as I am confident.

After years of having my clothes tailored, I made the confidence-building leap into custom bespoke tailoring with companies like Kilgour on Savile Row and the venerable Italian fashion house Brioni, which offers an exclusive bespoke service dedicated to creating your personalized wardrobe. When you are selecting Savile Row or an Italian fashion house, you know that all these garments are modeled and handcrafted with unparalleled craftsmanship and highly trained master tailors.

Brioni for example, offers more than 800 variations of wool, light cashmere, wool and silk in a wide variety of colors and patterns. You can select your fabric, model, cut, and fit, as well as lapel shape, buttons, lining, shirt collar, and cuffs either in the VIP room at any Brioni store or the comfort of your home or office. Lifestyle, ergonomics, gait, and body type are all considered before a new pattern is designed from scratch.

Christopher R King during a Brioni Fitting

Its codes of craftsmanship are rigorous. Creating a Su Misura suit for a client is a 220-step process. Buttonholes are hammered by hand; jackets pressed more than 80 times to contour fabric to a client’s body.

Just becoming a Brioni master tailor is an arduous process, with barely a dozen students accepted into its Scuola di Alta Sartoria school in Penne, Italy, every year.

Another building block of my wardrobe is Tom Ford, which produces suits known for being edgy and masculine. Before launching his line, the Texas-born Ford was the creative director of Gucci for what I consider some of its best years.

Tom Ford suits are structured and inspired by Savile Row tailors (although produced in Italy), while Brioni suits are in the Italian design tradition. Brioni and Tom Ford have both designed suits for heads of state, powerful executives, and James Bond. I also love the trimmer cut suit with the deconstructed jacket by Brunello Cucinelli for the summer months to stay cool and still sharp enough for business. But even the best suits, the best fabric, and the best fit doesn’t communicate everything. It is also how you put it together, the watch you wear, the briefcase you carry, the shoes. But now as the founder and designer of a new luxury company, I can create pieces for my wardrobe that I only dreamed of doing before. It is just a matter of time before I can share all of that with you.

Leica: Picture Perfect

The comparison made between the buying of a Leica camera and the purchase of a luxury car is well-earned. The quality and craftsmanship were apparent from the first time I picked up my Leica Q.

Much like a Greubel Forsey, the Leica is a precision crafted masterpiece. Any brand that takes this level of detail and craftsmanship gains my respect. For me, there is no substitute. I first heard from a good friend about his experience with the camera, but at that time I wasn’t sure anything mattered more than megapixels, aperture, shutter speed, and whether the camera was digital or a traditional film camera. For me, I have always loved photography and believe that to capture a story; you have to be able to visualize it. So, when I heard about the history of the Leica, I was intrigued.

The beautifully designed form of the Leica Q and its weight felt right in my hands from the first time I picked it up. It was immediately clear that this was no ordinary camera. The precise German engineering was far superior to anything I’d experienced in a camera before. Since its founding in 1924, Leica has designed and created traditional film cameras that have captured the imagination of professional and amateur photographers alike. Now, Leica produces the most sophisticated digital cameras in the world. There is a distinct pleasure gained through the use of a precision instrument employing the most exceptional mechanisms and attention to quality.

In the years before the start of WWI, Oskar Barnack created the original prototypes that would give rise to the legend that is Leica. Ernst Leitz was so impressed with Barnack’s design and craftsmanship that he forever attached his name to the soon to be an iconic instrument. The new Leitz camera was branded “Leica.” The Leica premiered at the 1925 Leipzig Spring Fair and was an immediate success. After WWII, increased foreign competition along with reduced costs dramatically impacted the European camera industry. However, professional and serious photographers remained loyal to the brand as Leica maintained its commitment to uncompromising quality and innovative design.

Not only does my Leica produce near perfect images, but it has the weight and feel that so many newer digital cameras lose. I love knowing that I’m using a device that has evolved from camera designs that have taken some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. It feels like tapping into the creativity of photographers of the past. Leica uses only the finest lenses, leaving crystal clear images that genuinely represent reality in a snapshot.

In today’s world, it is a rarity to find luxury goods made by hand to exact specifications that will last for years and years while continuing to outperform all others. Leica cameras do all of this in spades. My Leica camera pushes me to be a better photographer. When it comes to the price of these exceptional works of art, it takes only a few minutes in my hand or a few snaps of the shutter to realize that the end product justifies the cost.

Leica Q Camera
Leica Q

Moments captured with a blur or with the wrong lighting are everywhere. I scroll through Instagram and Facebook and am often surprised that people post the photos that they do. Essentially, they must have a strong desire to share that millisecond of their lives with the world, but more than 95% of those milliseconds captured in digital photography are not worth keeping. With my Leica Q, I know the photographs I capture will be preserved with pure clarity, always ready to remind me of that exact moment in my life. Picture perfect.

Why I love the Gulfstream

What’s so special about a Gulfstream? As an entrepreneur and founder of a luxury brand, I would say that I have pretty discerning taste and have spent plenty of hours doing business in the air. But once I had experienced the Gulfstream 450 and 550, it was hard to fly anything else.

When you buy (or charter) a Gulfstream, you’re not just getting an airborne piece of eye candy. But there is no denying their appeal. The company’s iconic business jets are known for their sleek designs: smooth, swept-back wings; a T-shaped tail; and oval windows that let in plenty of natural light.

Passenger compartments are designed for both premium comfort and maximum productivity. In Gulfstream’s longer-range jets, the supple leather seats can be used for high-altitude strategy huddles, then stretched out for sleeping so the team will arrive refreshed for their long-distance meetings.

Christopher R. King inside the Gulfstream GIVSP
Christopher R. King inside the Gulfstream GIVSP

Some extra appreciated touches: Luggage is readily available from the lavatory or passenger compartment. And screens, lighting, shades, and entertainment systems can be controlled with the touch of an app.

The Gulfstream brand is about style and substance. You obviously wouldn’t want to purchase a multi-million-dollar private jet without doing your due diligence. Luckily, Gulfstream aircraft measures up just as well under the hood.

In a Gulfstream, there’s more going on below the surface than meets the eye. Fabric sidewalls muffle excess noise as you and your teammates comfortably crisscross the country—or the Atlantic—at nearly the speed of sound. Cabins are extra pressurized, enriching the air with additional oxygen to make flying less tiring.

This thoughtful attention to detail extends to Gulfstream jets’ performance and safety. The Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System for Pilots and fly-by-wire aircraft controls give pilots access to state-of-the-art systems to increase situational awareness and reduce pilot fatigue. Winglets make for added fuel efficiency, while the T-shaped tail creates stability during turbulence.

If you’re wondering why Gulfstream manages to outperform competitors on so many levels, the answers can be found in the company’s long history. Gulfstream originated as Grumman Aircraft, a manufacturer of military planes. Company co-founder Roy Grumman succeeded in launching an entirely new class of airplane with the Gulfstream I in 1958. He followed it up with the Gulfstream II, which in 1968 became the first business aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean nonstop.

Gulfstream didn’t stop there. The Savannah, Ga.-based company has been perfecting the design and performance of its business jets for more than a half-century, adding to their range, speed, size, altitude, and features.

Its flagship, the G650ER, now exceeds the performance of other business jets with a nonstop reach of 7,500 nautical miles at Mach 0.85. And that’s only one of the reasons there’s a two-year waiting list to purchase a G650ER. (Gulfstream aircraft are known for their strong resale value too).

Christopher R. King Gulfstream GIVSP

Gulfstream business jets have also become something of an award magnet. Gulfstream has won more Collier Trophies than any other entity: one in 1997 for the Gulfstream V, a second in 2013 for the G550, and a third in 2014 for the G650. The National Aeronautical Association hands out the coveted trophies for the greatest achievements in aeronautics and astronautics every year. But who cares about awards. At the end of the day, it is what it does for you.

For me, being able to continue through my work day on a smooth Gulfstream ride with soft leather seats and high quality finishes with a lot of the luxuries from my life on the ground is everything.

I mean if life is a journey, why not enjoy the ride?

Christopher R. King Gulfstream GIVSP

Tricks of the Tux

Like ordering fine wine to perfectly pair with a meal, most people don’t know how to coordinate the elements of a tuxedo. But unlike wine, learning about how to dress in proper black tie can be pretty simple if you have the right guidelines. I emphasize “guidelines.”

But first a little history on the tuxedo for those of you (like me) that love the back story. The concept of the tuxedo first emerged in the UK in the 1860s when Edward VII, Prince of Wales opted for a tailless jacket to be worn as formal evening wear. His Savile Row tailors made the custom suit, and the style eventually made its way across the pond. By the 1880s, it was extremely popular with New Yorkers in the wealthy upstate enclave of Tuxedo Park, hence the name. The addition of the bow tie came a bit later though. Originally worn by Croatian mercenaries during the 17th century, bow ties spread around France in the 18th century. But it wasn’t until the late 19th century that Pierre Lorillard III, one of the original developers of the Tuxedo Club—a country club within Tuxedo Park—matched a black bow tie with his tuxedo jacket for a formal event. The look caught on, and the concept of “black tie” was born. Of course, I love this story since it is about a king that broke the rules.

It is pretty incredible when you think of how long this look has remained the same. Sure, there are a few variations, but the overall look of the tuxedo remains the standard attire for formal affairs, so it is good to know the basics.

For starters, I don’t follow trends, but I definitely have my own style. I grew up looking to icons like Frank Sinatra, and you see even today their style was on point. Stay traditional. Black is the obvious color choice, but midnight blue is an excellent way to stand out without calling too much attention to yourself. The midnight blue is still elegant but has a little more personality, and I love it paired with my custom John Lobb velvet slippers. It is one of my favorite looks. Recently, I was at the Tom Ford store on Rodeo Drive and was getting one of my cocktail jackets altered (as shown in the pictures). While the incredible satin pattern is different than the typical black or navy I wear, the cut is traditional and the tailoring impeccable. Like I said, keep it appropriate, but it is okay to make a statement.

As with my suits and shirts, there is no substitute for a well-tailored bespoke tux. In fact, this is one garment you should always have custom made for you, if you can. For those that don’t have the option of hitting Savile Row, I suggest going to Tom Ford or Brioni, who make an incredible made-to-measure tuxedo. The classic look for the tuxedo will have larger lapels and should be a shawl collar or peak lapel, preferably in a one-button or double-breasted option. No one understands the importance of that better than Tom Ford, whose attention to detail is amazing. “I probably do have an obsessive personality, but striving for perfection has served me well,” the designer has said.

For me, living in Beverly Hills, I have always been fond of the Tom Ford store on Rodeo Drive. (If you’re heading there, be sure to ask for Jason.) They won’t fail you for an immediate off-the-rack option. They can get you fitted right away and have your garment tailored properly quickly.

Tom Ford White Dinner Jacket with Shawl Collar

Finally, put it all together. A proper tuxedo is about more than just a jacket and bowtie. These are a few of my guidelines and points I have learned along the way. Try incorporating a few and see if it works for you.

Jacket: I do not consider a notch lapel to be formal attire. I see trendy red carpet looks in notch lapel or a grey tuxedo. In my opinion, you should always go for a shawl or peaked lapel. The jacket should be a one or two button, or I also prefer a double-breasted jacket, which is a little more formal and is an exceptional fit for a slimmer man.

Tom Ford Velvet Peak Lapel Cocktail Jacket

Pants: These should match the jacket. Whether you choose a grosgrain-trimmed lapel or all satin, the stripe down the side of the pants should coordinate. You should also pay attention to the pant length. They should be a little shorter and not have a break as suit pants would. And they should never have a cuff; they should be flat front and not have pleats.

Tom Ford Satin Tuxedo Pants

Shirt: My favorite is a custom, crisp white Brioni. However, I do own a light blue one to pair with a midnight navy tux when I want to be more expressive. I also love monograms on my custom shirts. Of course, monograms for my suit shirts are done on the front panel of the shirt below the chest, but on a tuxedo shirt I have it done on the sleeve, so the cummerbund doesn’t cover it. Also, I always suggest showing a little more cuff on your tuxedo.

Custom Brioni Tuxedo Shirt for Christopher R. King

Bow tie: Learn to tie a proper one. And please don’t wear a clip-on tie, unless you are under the age of 16. Always make sure the material matches your lapel and trim on the side of the pants. I also love wearing a satin scarf if I choose not to wear a bowtie. Don’t dress down your tux with a satin necktie instead of a bow tie. The whole point of a tux is to dress formally.

Tom Ford Midnight Navy Satin Shawl Tuxedo

Shoes: I love velvet slippers. But the main guideline here is that your shoes should match either the fabric of the satin or grosgrain.

Those are the basics and of course, just my guidelines. Take them or leave them. You can take it from there. Just like everything I do in life, I learned everything I know from the experts. Follow the guidelines, but make it yours. Even if you don’t have a reason to wear a tux now, you never know when the occasion will show up, and you want to make sure you are communicating the right statement.

For the Love of Summer Truffles

Christopher R. King sampling summer truffles

Flavor, experience, exclusivity. Few culinary delights come together in such a divine combination as truffles. But nature’s perfect fusion of sensory experiences isn’t always easy to obtain.

For those new to truffles, let me give you a quick rundown. Truffles are a type of fungus generally found near tree roots. Since the truffle is found subterranean between a few inches to as deep as 30 inches, specially trained hogs and hounds have been used to help hunt down their locations. Their difficulty to farm lies in the fact that they only flourish under certain kinds of soil and trees that cannot be cultivated or controlled. Their rarity makes them highly sought after, and the deepness of the flavor and aroma adds to their soaring prices, as much as $900 a pound for summer black truffles and as much as $9,000 a pound for winter white truffles, likening them to caviar and fine wine.

My fondest memories of consuming truffles would be at the Georges V in Paris. Years later, I’m still haunted by breakfasts of toasted, butter-coated baguettes used to scoop up scrambled eggs cooked with truffles. Here in Los Angeles, I’ve attempted to re-create the experience at Cecconi’s, and just about any restaurant with a robust truffle inventory can whip up a plate of tagliatelle with cream sauce and shaved truffles—even if it’s not on the menu.

Black summer truffles from the “Truffle Brothers”

As we round out the summer season, I plan on enjoying as much as I can of the black summer truffles, which you can still find at top restaurants and suppliers into early fall when the season has had a good run. Black truffles are milder than white and have a woodsy, almost hazelnut flavor. Some consider it to have a sweet, chocolate-type flavor that is generally less potent than the winter variety and pairs incredibly well with the lighter spring and summer dishes. There are many different options in the world from Australian to Chinese black truffles and of course, the Middle-Eastern Terfez. But just like a fine-tailored suit, Italian truffles have their strong—and much deserved—cult following. When it comes to finding them in California, I’m continuously blown away by Michael and Marco Pietroiacovo, otherwise known as the “Truffle Brothers.” Born and raised in Italy and now the premier supplier to restaurants like Spago, Providence, Bestia, Melisse, and Wally’s, earning them some serious street cred. Their family has been in the truffle business for two generations now, and their love for the truffle date back to childhood. It’s definitely worth stopping by their new retail location to experiment with the different products like truffle oil, salt, or honey truffle. I plan to try the truffle honey over some crostini with a soft cheese like a Brillat-Savarin. It’s a lovely late-summer treat to indulge in as hints of fall’s cool breezes start to arrive.