A Setting To Last For A Century

Hermes Tea Set, A Setting to Last for a Century

Growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of fine plateware or expensive flatware. It wasn’t something that was considered a priority in my family.

When I was making my first million, I was more concerned about my focus and reinvesting back into my business then I was about investing in assets for my home. But when I made my fortune the second time around, I was in a much different place.

I was a father and wanted to start building my family heirlooms. I wanted to get a dinner collection, an espresso set and a tea set that would complement some of the fine art I had been collecting and would also be suitable to serve high profile guests and business partners. I also just wanted something special for my own family. I mean let’s face it, why wouldn’t we want to eat on luxurious table setting?

I had been looking around for a few weeks and came across this beautiful Hermès Bleu d’Ailleurs collection. I love the color blue and this was just so beautiful. I had already decided that I wanted real gold cups and flatware, so the gold accents in this collection were stunning paired with the blue hand painted plateware. For me, there was always something about blues paired with gold that just felt regal to me.

Now I want to tell you, I am not the guy that buys anything expensive just because of the label. Having worked my way to the top, I genuinely appreciate every detail that goes into something like this. I care about the craftsmanship, the work that went into each piece and the materials that were used to create it. So, the fact that this was a Hermès piece only told me that it was held to high standards. What really spoke to me were the details.

The Hermès Bleu d’Ailleurs collections are all specially handcrafted, as well as hand painted in Limoges, France. The painting on each cup is remarkable, so incredibly perfect. These pictures don’t do it justice. The porcelain comes from a very special white sand specific to one region of France. It is a much finer, white sand than most and therefore produces a lightweight porcelain, that is almost translucent. You can even see a shine through these feather light cups when you hold it to light.

I knew this was the set to have in my family for generations to come and was well worth the investment. It just elevates the experience of enjoying a meal with family and friends, or entertaining for business. Or even just a nice cup of tea after a long day. It makes me feel like every day is special. It reminds me of how far I have come. It also reminds me that make each day special. Life is short, enjoy it and savor it!

The King’s Table

The King's Table, Christopher R. King, Phillip Dunn

This picture was shot out of pure fun. Phillip Dunn, the Wine Director for Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants had become a dear friend of mine. Perhaps because of my love and appreciation for wine, or maybe just because we have always had a mutual respect for each other. We were at Spago doing a big photo shoot for a magazine and had just framed the shot when he stepped in and poured the wine. It was a beautiful accident and I played up my part showing off as the hungry entrepreneur businessman. We all laughed so hard as I was trying to catch the right facial expression.

The point of this shot was to capture a visual of the way a founder of a luxury wine lives, eats and breathes. We chose Spago for the shoot because I love dining there and find it to be one of the most relaxing atmospheres with incredible cuisine and fine wines.

My own wine label, King of Clubs ($799/bottle featured in Forbes) is showcased on the table in the picture. This venture was a passion project that I set out to create with a few partners and am so proud of today. The wine starts out with a hint of cherry and chocolate, which gradually changes to a sensuous and luscious full- bodied approach. As the wine develops after opening, you find an intriguing black currant note hidden in the background that adds to the continually expanding levels of complexity. Crafted for the ultimate wine connoisseur, this wine was created with the utmost attention to detail and delivers exceptional smoothness from start to finish.

Of course, I really enjoy exceptional wines from around the world. I tend to drink wine from the 60’s, 70’ and 80’s these days. The 1988 Sassicaia shown in the picture (which happens to be one of my favorite wines in the world) is my choice to drink on all occasions. I know the 1985 Sassicaia is arguably the best Italian vintage in history, however for me, I prefer the 1988 vintage. This was also the Italian Oenologist, Giacomo Tachi’s favorite vintage, as he also considered it to be better than the 1985. I couldn’t agree more. I truly enjoy the concentration and aromas of this wine. It has intense, yet succulent scents of red fruit and is bold with tannins that just linger with sweetness in your mouth. The Sassicaia wine is from Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast, which is considered one of Italy’s most prestigious areas for wine. There are so many stories to tell you just about Sassicaia, but I will save those details for another time.

The other wine at this table is the 1975 Petrus, also a favorite of mine. Petrus is a great investment and the value of it only continues to climb. I seldom drink this wine unless it is a special occasion or celebration. Some of my favorite vintages of Petrus are 1950, 1961 and 1989 all of which I collect and have had the pleasure of enjoying. The 1975 vintage really offers an array of truffles, sweet and earthy spices and has a very smooth finish. Petrus is a French Bordeaux wine that is classified as a Merlot. It is from Pomerol and is one of the most respected and luxurious brands in France. I have personally visited this location while in France and I tell more of this story in my book releasing this year.

We had to have the glass bottle of Acqua Panna water on the table. This is a really important element because the type of water you are drinking can affect and alter your palette. That is why you see this brand and brands like San Pellegrino being served to guests at fine hotels and restaurants around the world. Acqua Panna is actually my water of choice and everyone who knows me knows how much I am obsessed with this brand. I have cases delivered on pallets to my house. And no, I wasn’t paid to say that!

What you drink often tells a lot about your preference on food and your palette. The water, the wine, down to the linen, napkins, and flatware you eat all have an effect on how you feel, tastes and functionality, Spago by far is one of the best in Beverly Hills!

Wingtip, Cap Toe, loafers, Monk Strap, Do You Know The Difference?

Wingtip, Cap Toe, Loafers, Monk Strap, Do you know the difference?

They say you don’t know a man until you have walked in his shoes. You could learn a lot about me, walking in mine. I appreciate my life and the journey it took me to get here. I earned my way here and am privileged enough now to have achieved great success and can wear the shoes I always dreamed of owning. Not because of the status, but because of how it makes me feel.

But let’s talk about shoes.

I see a lot of guys just wearing the wrong shoes. Listen, I get it. I didn’t grow up knowing this stuff either. But I saw the difference it made in the way I appeared and the way I felt when I was taking those meetings, pushing for the next level and just trying to make it happen. So, if I can help someone else with what I have learned, then I want to do it.  I personally think man or woman, everyone should invest in at least one pair of nice shoes.  For now, I want to talk to the men.

Let me go into a few basics. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules and depending on where I am in the world, I have broken these rules too. So, let’s just call these guidelines.

Wingtip: One of my favorites, a classic shoe. The toe cap has a full brogue and is usually perforated and serrated along its edges. Most have decorative perforations on the cap. This shoe almost always has laces and is worn best with a suit. I have more than a dozen pair of these shoes in all leathers and variations especially crocodile. By far the best of the best in my opinion.

Cap Toe:  This is my least favorite but was really popular in Britain. It is an Oxford shoe with no seams, apart from the one seam across the toe cap. It’s always a laced up shoe and considered a staple dress shoe all men should have. It is also considered more conservative than the Wingtip. I have only one classic pair of these from Tom Ford in Crocodile, but still my least favorite.

Monk Strap: This shoe style does not have any laces, but instead uses a buckle and strap to secure the shoe, and is by far one of the most beautiful shoes a man can wear and is considered moderately formal. I have mine in Crocodile and Suede and I always feel special when I am wearing these types of shoes.

Loafer: This is the most casual out of this list. It is a slip-on shoe that comes in many styles from the classic loafer to the driving shoe. I have these in so many variations to pair with jeans or for summer and casual outings.

When you choose an inexpensive pair of trendy shoes, it can just kill your entire look and make everything you are wearing look inexpensive and in poor taste. That can translate into communicating to a potential business partner or associate that you don’t really care, or you aren’t in it for the long run.

The reality is that if you purchased a really well-made Italian shoe with leather soles and paid around $900 to $1500 for those shoes and cared for them, they can last you a lifetime. I have shoes from over 15 years ago that I still wear today, stored in their cedar shoe trees, with dust cover and original box.

Of course, if you really have the funds and want to take it up a notch, go for the custom Tom Ford crocodile shoes that cost around $15,000 and communicate that you have both confidence and taste. If you want something that will last, go for timeless style. An elegant, quality shoe will last a lifetime if you take care of it. For me, I have been obsessed with crocodile shoes in monk strap and loafers.

Whatever you do, always be you, always be true to your style and your preference. Just remember that the shoes you wear is also telling a story. Just make sure that is the story that you want to tell.