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Maxim USA – December 2017

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MONTH 2XXX
DECEMBER
2017
TILMAN
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ob jec t s of de sire
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The Victoria’s Secret Angel is
more than just a pretty face
Exquisite gifts for the
discerning holiday shopper
Our guide to America’s
sexiest city
18
dri v e time
58
Timepieces from world-class
automakers and horologists
Watchmaker Richard Mille on what
inspires his incredible designs
20
cLose encounter s
62
The fragrance makes the man
with these seductive colognes
How Land Rover became a
dominant global brand
22
au to focus
72
Ferrari’s last naturally aspirated
V-12 marks the end of an era
Photographer Bruno Bisang
has become a living legend
24
m a k ing it Look e a s y
80
No director has done more with
less than Joe Swanberg
How Midual crafted one of the
world’s best motorcycles
26
a r t s & enter ta inment
82
This month’s roundup
of the best in culture
Tilman Fertitta on building his business
empire and owning an NBA team
28
r ay fisher
86
The 30-year-old actor makes an
epic leap from stage to screen
Meet Nick Popovich, the world’s
top airplane repo man
mi a mi
time a nd pa s sion
the m a k ing of a Legend
m a s ter pL a n
the french connec tion
the hous ton rock e t
a ir r a ider
30
pri vate s ta sh
Bottles from a $23.5 million
vintage liquor collection
the jus tise Le ague
The Miami Heat’s rising star,
Justise Winslow, is poised for
a career-making season
4
D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
gilles Bensimon
32
on the cov er
Martha Hunt wears a silk
shirt by Mes Demoiselles,
bra by Victoria’s Secret, and
velvet trousers by the Kooples.
Photographed by
Gilles Bensimon.
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The Leading Voice in Men’s Luxury Lifestyle
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managing editor
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Mitch Moxley
senior vice president of sales
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Caroline Christiansson
vice president of marketing & events
Scott Lehmann
Jessica Athanasiou-Piork
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West Coast director
Larry Stevens
Justin Rohrlich
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gift guide
OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Extravagant items for the man
who thought he had everything
FOR THE
Aperi
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AVIATOR
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exerest, odipisti conet, simus magnihi llupta invendaerum
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courtesy of 2sympleks
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017
9
gift guide
Spending six figures on a home audio
system might guarantee you’ll hear
every note perfectly, but it’s no
assurance of beautiful aesthetics.
Pennsylvania-based OMA’s AC1
loudspeaker is both a world-class
audio experience and a visually
stunning speaker system. Handcrafted
from locally sourced hardwoods, the
AC1 works best in midsize and
large rooms and will almost certainly
draw a crowd. (Above: AC1 loudspeaker.
Below, from left: OMA Mini; OMA
Monarch)
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D E C E m b E r 2 017
maxim.com
c y n t h i a va n e l k / o m a
FOR THE AUDIOPHILE
gift guide
FOR THE COFFEE
AFICIONADO
Super Veloce, the South African
company better known for its
masterful automotive designs, has
now turned your coffee maker into a
work of art. The Espresso Veloce
Aurum 18ct—a single-serve, capsuletype espresso maker with a grappa
dispenser—is based on the V-12 engine
that once defined Formula 1 racing.
It’s crafted from surgical steel, nickel,
titanium, anodized silver, aerospace
alloys, and 18k-gold plating; even its
baseplate is made from exotic carbon
fiber. Just 10 units will be produced.
While the five-figure price tag is steep,
it’s still more affordable to start your
morning with a V-12 in your kitchen
than in your garage.
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D E C E m b E r 2 017
maxim.com
GET
E XC L U S I V E
ACC E SS
S I G N U P F O R YO U R W E E K LY
MAXIM NEWSLETTER
G O TO M A X I M .C O M / N E W S L E T T E R
p r e v i o u s pa g e : c o u r t e s y o f s u p e r v e l o c e . t h i s pa g e : c o u r t e s y o f p g
gift guide
FOR THE SUNDAY RIDER
With a production run of just 667 units, the PG Bugatti Bike
provides the same level of craftsmanship, design, and exclusivity as
the brand’s automobiles. The entire bicycle weighs in at less than
11 pounds, thanks to high-quality carbon fiber (95 percent of the bike
is crafted from it). The design is inspired by Bugatti, while Kussmaul,
which produces components for other Bugatti vehicles, oversees
the handcrafted production.
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D E C E m b E r 2 017
maxim.com
gift guide
FOR THE CURATOR
The “Baby” (above) is a four-meter baby grand piano based on nature’s
Golden Spiral, crafted from polyurethane foam, fiberglass, brass, liquid
metal, and Tramazite (an artificial material invented by Based Upon). The
“Gentleman’s Desk” (below) is constructed of Tramazite, liquid metal,
phosphor bronze, and oak. For more information, see page 94.
courtesy of based up on
Based Upon, an artistic collaboration between British twins Ian and
Richard Abell, has earned acclaim in the art world with audacious creations
that range from social commentary (a toilet made of gold and a diamond
covered in rust) to award-winning furniture design and metal sculpture. Its
clients include Nobu, Donna Karan, Gordon Ramsay, and Giorgio Armani.
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D E C E m b E r 2 017
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Style
DRIVE TIME
Partnerships between
automakers and horologists
are resulting in must-have
timepieces
To mark the major milestones of life
and work—that big promotion, the
game-changing deal, retirement—
you reward yourself with one of two
things: a watch or a car. And there’s a
reason: Both, at their best, are grand
achievements in design, aesthetics,
and function. Elite watchmakers and
automakers spare no expense to
create their signature products, and
the price tags reflect that. They are
rare, they are exquisite, they are
statements. Because of their shared
attention to detail and pursuit of perfection, horologists and car designers
make for natural partners, and the
results of their collaborations are
ideal rewards to mark whatever milestones lie ahead.
1. Hublot’s MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire
has a polished sapphire crystal case
and suspended vertical tourbillon.
2. From the Breitling for Bentley
collection, the Bentley GMT Light
Body B04 S features a titanium case
shielding a black or silver face.
3. The Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti
Aerolithe catches the eye with its palegreen dial color, supple Hermès
Epsom calfskin band, and titanium
and white-gold case.
5. The Bremont Jaguar MKII has
a face inspired by the instrument
display on the dashboard of a classic
Jaguar E-Type, with a slim steel case
and a double-domed crystal for a
vintage look.
For more information, see page 94.
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
No. 1
COURTESY OF THE BR ANDS
4. From the first-ever series of timepieces by Porsche Design, the Chronotimer Series 1 Black & Gold features a sturdy titanium case attached
to a bracelet of matte black titanium.
No. 2
No. 5
No. 3
No. 4
GROOMING
Close enCounters
With these seductive colognes, the fragrance makes the man
P h o t o g ra p h e d b y M AR K P L AT T S t y l e d b y O L I V I A P ER RY
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
Good manners and good cologne transform
a man into a gentleman, Tom Ford is believed
to have said. As the designer knows, good
cologne should express the wearer’s identity—
it’s as much a personal statement as it is a fragrance. For the brooding, mature man, there’s
Orto Parisi’s Terroni and Frederic Malle’s
Monsieur, with notes of spices and patchouli.
For those with a lighter step, try Vilhelm
Parfumerie’s Basilico & Fellini or Maison
Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Universalis.
Fragrances, clockwise from far left: Deux, TRUDON. Terroni,
ORTO PARISI. Aqua Universalis, MAISON FRANCIS
KURKDJIAN. Mille Feux, LOUIS VUITTON. Monsieur
Beauregard, PENHALIGON’S. Colonia Pura, ACQUA DI
PARMA. Monsieur, FREDERIC MALLE. Cote d’Azur, ORIBE.
Basilico & Fellini, VILHELM PARFUMERIE. Serving tray,
CB2. Gold frame, AERIN. Crystal stemware, vintage.
For more information, see page 94.
Cobra
S P E C I A L O P S W A T C H . C O M
Designed, engineered and hand-assembled in the US
AUTO FOCUS
SUPER, FAST
Ferrari’s last naturally aspirated V-12 marks
the end of an era
Te x t b y k EI T h g O R d O n
The “8” in the car’s name stands for 800 PS
(789 horsepower), and the “12” for the number
of cylinders. The term Superfast carries a lot of
weight: Some of the most beautiful, bold, and
dramatic Ferrari designs have been honored
with the name.
To earn the Superfast moniker, you need
power. This comes via a refined V-12 that is
slightly larger than the motor from the F12berlinetta (6.5 liters versus 6.3), features upgrades on
75 percent of engine parts, and produces more
horsepower (789 hp at 8,500 rpm) and torque
(530 lb/ft at 7,000 rpm) than its predecessors.
The 812 is also lean, with a dry weight of just over
3,300 pounds, meaning it can reach 62 mph in
2.9 seconds, with a top speed of 211 mph.
The Maranello-based automaker’s latest
grand tourer, rumored to cost north of $335,000,
has Ferrari’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and
power steering, updated Side Slip Control for
easier drifting, and a groundbreaking fuel injection system. A 6-into-1 exhaust manifold amplifies
the V-12, and the entire car is outfitted with aerodynamic improvements such as a passive front
aero design and a rear diffuser that provides stability at low speeds and reduces drag at high speeds.
While Ferrari’s special creations, such as
LaFerrari, will draw the most attention, and
its base models, like the 488 GTB and the new
Portofino replacing the California T, will record
the most sales, it’s the V-12 Grand Tourer that
has always served as the brand’s flagship. And
with the 812 Superfast, this era of Ferrari is
closing out in style.
COURTESY OF FERR ARI
When a company like Ferrari, with seven
decades of sports-car-industry dominance,
announces its most powerful naturally aspirated production vehicle ever—one with no
turbocharger, supercharger, or hybrid system—
you know it’s an event. And the brand-new
812 Superfast, the successor to the previous
Ferrari V-12 grand tourers, the F12berlinetta
and the F12tdf, is a high-water mark in the
company’s history.
From the 1956 410 Superfast Pininfarina
Speciale to the 1964 500 Superfast, the name has
been synonymous with some of Ferrari’s most
remarkable creations. The 812 Superfast will
likely be Ferrari’s last nonhybrid, naturally aspirated Ferrari. The company says cars built from
2019 onward will all feature some battery assist.
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
S U B S C R I B E TO
F O R A S LO W A S $ 1 . 2 5
AN ISSUE
G O TO
M A X I M .C O M
INTERVIEW
Making It Look Easy
After 15 years of
working from home or
in coffee shops or on
spare couches, the filmmaker Joe Swanberg
finally rented an office.
It’s comfortable, but
nothing extravagant: a
signless concrete storefront on the North
Side of Chicago next
to a Central Asian restaurant. There’s a studio apartment
upstairs with a kitchenette and built-in shelves. “All these
books were in my house as of a week ago, driving my wife
bonkers,” he says, folding spare towels. “Just that alone is
worth the rental price.”
Swanberg, 36, had spent August and September in Los
Angeles finishing postproduction on Easy, his Chicago-set
Netflix anthology series, the second season of which debuts
on December 1. In truth, he’s still getting the place set up.
(It took him three tries to figure out how the ceiling fan
worked.) That the office feels to Swanberg more like “a
bonus” than a necessity isn’t remotely surprising: Few directors working today have done more with less.
During his first years in the entertainment business,
Swanberg was so tenacious, and churned out so much material, he says people had a hard time keeping up. He’s made
an astounding 18 feature films so far; the first, Kissing on the
Mouth (2005), he shot for a few thousand dollars and sold to
a now-defunct DVD distributor. (The New York Times once
called Swanberg’s films “flagrantly noncommercial”; he’s not
sure his parents have even seen everything he’s put out.) Easy
feels like a modest departure. The show, a collection of
loosely connected vignettes about Chicagoans and their
middle-class concerns (namely, romance and money), is noticeably more polished and accessible than some of his early
stuff, without losing the emotional intimacy or specificity.
Stories seem to pour out of him—about love and sex and
ambition and responsibility, often drawn from his own life
or the lives of those close to him. His movies are largely improvised, acutely observed, and impressively naturalistic.
Indie darlings of the ’80s and ’90s—the Coen brothers, Jim
Jarmusch, and Kevin Smith—were inspirations, as were
foreign filmmakers he met as a part-time employee of the
Chicago International Film Festival in 2003 and 2004. To
a guy who’d only picked up a 16-mm camera a few years
earlier, they “demystified the experience,” Swanberg remembers, proving that “if you commit your life to poverty and the
craft of film, you can survive.”
In the ensuing years, Swanberg has carved out an
unusual degree of professional autonomy. Aside from
college, he’s never left Chicago, living with his wife (fellow
filmmaker Kris Swanberg) and their two children, rolling
meager profits directly into future ventures and covering the
rest with funds he raises via Forager Films, the production
company he cofounded.
Hannah Takes the Stairs, in 2007, lifted Swanberg’s
profile and launched the career of Greta Gerwig. (With a
budget of $60,000, he says he felt like he was making
Ben-Hur.) Five years later, he finally hired a Hollywood agent,
who helped him find financing for Drinking Buddies, starring
Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, a scruffy romantic comedy
and his first mainstreamish success. From there, and without
major studio interference, he’s hustled his way into some unexpected clout, attracting legitimate stars (Anna Kendrick,
Orlando Bloom) and solidifying a fruitful partnership with
Netflix, which distributed his latest feature (the wellreceived Win It All ) and his first foray into television with
Easy. Swanberg finds actors who are “relatively comfortable
playing themselves” and who let life play out on camera.
That sensibility is on full display in the incisive Easy.
Swanberg’s pitch to the streaming giant was simple: “What
if it was just my movies, but they were 30 minutes instead of
an hour and a half, and what if some of these characters
knew each other, so there were these little incidental bits,
like it was all happening in real Chicago?” The sexual
connotation of the title felt appropriate. So did the feeling it
evoked, of mature and capable people working through the
messy problems of adulthood. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood
is a reference point; rather than compressing 12 years of one
family’s life into less than three hours of footage, Swanberg
wants to tell disparate stories about a diverse group of
Chicagoans as they grow older and the world changes
around them, in real time.
Swanberg’s ideal version of Easy “is one where we’re
always Netflix’s cheapest show, and we’re always being
left alone over here to do our weird little Chicago thing.”
(It would also run for “50 years.”) In the meantime, he’s
writing a script with Johnson, a simpatico collaborator,
and starting to imagine how his specific skill set could
transfer onto bigger stages. If streaming services are intent
on disrupting independent cinema’s traditional distribution
model, taking movies out of the art house and moving
them onto viewers’ television sets, nobody is better
positioned to capitalize on the coming revolution, aesthetically or ideologically.
Downstairs, Swanberg pulls from a cardboard box a
framed stained-glass panel, deep blue and ornate, with easy
written in the center. Chicago’s oldest glass company
custom-designed it; for one season-two episode, Swanberg
shot the glass as his title card, an expense his younger self
could never afford, let alone justify.
“Isn’t that awesome?” he says, stepping back to eye the
handiwork. “Usually my shit just goes into storage.”
Te x t b y adam d o s t er
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
Drinking Buddies (top), starring Olivia Wilde,
found a wider audience than his previous
films and paved the way for Easy
c lo c k w i s e f r o m to p l e f t: j ay l . c l e n d e n i n /c o n to u r by g e t t y i m a g e s ; a f a r c h i v e /a l a m y s to c k p h oto ( 4 )
No director has done more with less than Joe Swanberg. Now,
with 18 films under his belt and an acclaimed Netflix show, the
36-year-old Chicagoan is finally finding a mainstream following.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The MonTh in
CULTURe
Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, Errol Morris’ trippy
Netflix miniseries, a political album from U2, and more
Te x t b y t h o m A s fr eem An
TV
Will the Game of Thrones formula of sex and swords make actual history more gripping? The History channel unveils the Jeremy Renner–
produced series Knightfall (Dec. 6), which offers a wildly speculative
look into the Knights Templar, the fabled military order of the Middle
Ages. Netflix melds documentary and scripted narrative with Wormwood (Dec. 15), a six-part miniseries from Oscar winner Errol Morris
(The Fog of War). Actor Peter Sarsgaard reenacts the last days of CIA
employee Frank Olson, who plunged to his death in 1953 after being
secretly doped with LSD. His son Eric, still fixated on his father’s
death, probes the psychochemical warfare program responsible.
U2 had nearly completed its 14th album when escalating political
tensions altered its direction. “The world had changed. We needed to
put things on pause to take in the scale of the change,” Bono told the
New York Times. After retooling the sounds and imbuing the lyrics with
pleas for compassion, Songs of Experience (Dec. 1) is here. With his recent
collaboration with singer Hailee Steinfeld, “Let Me Go,” still resounding through nightclubs, Swedish DJ Alesso is releasing his sophomore
album, However (Dec. 8). After years of working with megawatt stars
like Madonna and David Guetta, it’s his chance to shine on his own.
FILM
Nineties tabloid fixture Tonya
Harding is somewhat redeemed
in the biopic I, Tonya (Dec. 8).
Margot Robbie plays the disgraced
Olympic figure skater for sympathy (and Oscar recognition) while
Sebastian Stan delivers chills as
Jeff Gillooly, her diabolical exhusband, who orchestrated the
1994 attack on rival skater Nancy
Kerrigan in “the whack heard
round the world.” Robbie thought
the script for I, Tonya was so outlandish she didn’t initially realize
Harding and Kerrigan were real
people. “I thought it was entirely
fictionalized,” she told Vanity Fair.
Meanwhile, The Disaster Artist
(Dec. 8) chronicles the failure of
another unlikely icon: Tommy
Wiseau, the creator of The Room,
a movie considered “the Citizen
Kane of bad movies.” James Franco
directs and plays Wiseau, the foolhardy actor and director whose
romantic drama later earned a cult
following for its stilted dialogue
and unintentional humor. Also, a
little movie called Star Wars: The
Last Jedi hits screens Dec. 15.
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
BOOKS
An unexpected entry on the 2017 Man
Booker Prize shortlist, Fiona Mozley’s
Elmet (Dec. 5) will be published in the
U.S. by Algonquin Books. The grim
English noir centers on a family living
in a secluded home in the woods of
Yorkshire, whose ostensibly ideal life is
threatened by a rapacious landowner and
encroaching violence. The rarefied New
York City setting of One Station Away
(Dec. 5, Ecco) seems more like a world
away. Olaf Olafsson’s fifth novel entwines
the stories of three women—a dancer, a
pianist, and a comatose patient—and
their relationships with Magnus, a lover,
son, or doctor, depending on the character. Who knows when Olafsson, an
executive vice president of Time Warner
when he’s not writing, found the time.
Clockwise from top left: James Franco in The
Disaster Artist; the History channel’s Knightfall; U2;
new books by Fiona Mozley and Olaf Olafsson
C lo C k w i s e f r o m to p r i g h t: © 2 0 1 7, A & e t e l e v i s i o n n e t w o r k s ; s i m o n e C e C C h e t t i / C o r b i s / g e t t y i m A g e s ;
C o U r t e s y o f e C C o ; C o U r t e s y o f A l g o n q U i n b o o k s ; © 2 0 1 5 wA r n e r b r o s . e n t e r tA i n m e n t i n C .
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LEADING MAN
IntroducIng
rAY FISHEr
These days, actors don’t just sign on for a single film; they hitch their star to
entire cinematic universes. For Ray Fisher, who was first cast as Cyborg in
Justice League all the way back in mid 2014, it has occasionally felt a little more
like falling into a black hole. “It’s like I’ve been counting down to Christmas,”
Fisher says, “but for the last three years.”
Thankfully, all that waiting came to an end last month when the superhero film finally hit theaters. Audiences were given their first opportunity
to catch Fisher in action as the cybernetic crime fighter, saving the world
from CGI devastation alongside
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and
Ben Affleck’s Batman—as well as
fellow franchise novices Ezra Miller
(the Flash) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman)—as part of DC Comics’ most
powerfully synergistic superteam.
Amazingly, the gargantuan production isn’t just Fisher’s first major
Hollywood project—it’s his first real
film role, period. But the 30-year-old
actor says it was worth the wait for a
debut of this scale.
Plus, it’s not even like this is the
first time he’s had to keep a role on ice
for so long. “What’s crazy, man, is I feel
like the milestones in my career have all
had a gap between them,” he says.
Fisher first caught the movie
industry’s eye playing Muhammad Ali
in the stage play Fetch Clay, Make Man.
His work there earned him a spot in
the audition finals for Star Wars: The
Force Awakens, before he eventually
snagged the gig as Cyborg. “We did
the original run of that show in 2010,
but the production in New York didn’t
happen until 2013, so for three years I
was just lusting and fiending after this
thing, keeping up the training and
knocking on wood,” Fisher recalls of
playing the boxing great. “I think that
helped me build the patience I needed
for [Justice League]. And it was also
going from one black superhero to another.”
The hero Cyborg is the alter ego of Victor Stone, a highschool athlete who transforms into a bionic hero once his
injured body fuses with one of the three all-powerful doohickeys at the
center of Justice League’s epic-scale conflict. The five heroes (presumably
minus Henry Cavill’s dearly departed Superman) unite their Olympian
efforts to keep these ancient MacGuffins from falling into the hands of an
extragalactic villain.
Considering he is essentially half man, half plot device, Cyborg understandably ends up playing a key role in the proceedings. Even so, Fisher found
joining up with a franchise already in motion an interesting process. “Obviously Ben, Gal, and Henry had all been involved in other films with those
characters prior to this,” says Fisher of joining the superensemble. “Jason,
myself, and Ezra are coming into it kinda baby-faced and wide-eyed.”
Going straight from theater to a
blockbuster megaproject like Justice League
is akin to going from driving a four-door
sedan to a Boeing 777: There are a whole
lot more bells and whistles involved.
“With theater, you can generally tell how
things are going in the moment,” says
Fisher. “Whereas with this, I’m in pajamas
jumping in front of a green screen with
someone saying, ‘Okay, you see that tennis
ball? That’s Steppenwolf. Go!’ I don’t even
know how I’m going to look half the time.”
The film has also undergone a number of reshoots since director Zack Snyder
handed the reins over to Joss Whedon,
and a number of new scenes feature
Fisher. Maintaining emotional continuity in the face of corporate rescheduling
isn’t exactly something they taught Fisher
when he attended the American Musical
and Dramatic Academy. And Cyborg or
no, it’s easy to lose one’s humanity once
plugged into the Hollywood system.
Luckily, Fisher seems to have
figured out how to keep his heart
going amid all the machinery, both
for his character and for himself. “I’ve
accomplished a huge amount in 30
years, but 10 of those years were grinding, trying to make ends meet, having
to move into my mom’s house multiple
times because I couldn’t afford to pay
rent and act simultaneously,” Fisher
says. “After 10 years of that, all of a sudden something clicked. I’m not doing anything different from what I was
doing before. It’s just bigger. Now it’s about what’s next.”
He’ll probably do a little theater, to refresh his system, and there’s a
good chance he’s going to have to return to orbit in the DC Universe if the
announced Cyborg standalone film ends up moving forward. Whatever’s
on the horizon, Fisher is definitely done waiting.
Te x t b y k ei t h s ta s k i e w i cZ
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e n t e r ta i n m e n t p i c t u r e s /a l a m y s to c k p h oto.
o p p o s i t e pa g e : n o r m a n j e a n r oy/ c o u r t e s y o f wa r n e r b r o s . p i c t u r e s
With his star-making turn as Cyborg in Justice League,
the 30-year-old actor makes the leap from stage to screen in an epic way
DRINK
PRIVATE STASH
Bottles from a $23.5 million vintage liquor collection
will soon be available in the U.S.
The owner of one of the world’s greatest booze collections rarely partakes
in its pleasures—in other words, he doesn’t get high on his own supply.
So when Bay van der Bunt, an eccentric antiques dealer turned spirits
collector, pours two different cognacs distilled in 1848 into glasses in front
of me, he’s making a rare exception. “I have a glass of cognac and I’m not
right for two days,” he jokes. “That’s the advantage to me. They buy to drink
it. I buy to collect it.”
Van der Bunt’s unassuming countryside estate is tucked away in the
sleepy outskirts of Breda, in the Netherlands. It looks like little more
than a charming farmhouse and a few barns. And that’s essentially what
it is, except that Old Liquors is also headquartered here. In the cellar of a
former cow barn are some 10,000 bottles of liquor worth more than
€20 million (about $23.5 million). The crowded storehouse is stuffed to the
brim with bottles proudly coated with centuries of dust that testify to their
age and authenticity.
As the thirst for rare spirits has risen in recent years, Old Liquors is, for
the first time, bringing parts of its collection to retail stores in the U.S. This
was never part of a grand plan, but is instead the culmination of a hobby
that turned into a passion, and then snowballed into a veritable treasure
chest of a hooch collection. “There’s no why,” van der Bunt says about the
beginnings and expansion of his private stash. “I couldn’t imagine this 20
or 30 years ago.”
Van der Bunt’s company procures its stock from major auction houses,
amassing thousands of bottles per year in bulk lots. In an adjoining room
next to his main collection are stacks of hundreds of unopened brown
boxes—recent auction purchases yet to be cataloged. The company used
to sell bottles privately and at auctions, but now operates exclusively as a
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
wholesaler. Old Liquors utilizes an intensive system to authenticate and
appraise bottles in order to connect to potential buyers. Most bottles sell
for between $2,500 and $50,000.
His oldest cognac dates to 1760, and his oldest bottle overall is a
Madeira from 1715. There’s the six-liter bottle of cognac from 1795, said to
have traveled with Napoleon’s army, and there are the shelves of prestigious bottles obtained from floundering fancy restaurants in need of a cash
influx. There’s rum from 1780, some chartreuse here and assorted liqueurs
there, and the occasional bottle of scotch. But primarily, Old Liquors has
cornered the market on absurdly old cognac and Armagnac. If there was
a prized vintage from any of the major cognac houses at any point in the
19th century, van der Bunt probably has it.
By the end of 2017, the company hopes to establish a presence in a
select number of fine liquor stores in major cities including New York,
Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. It’s easier said than done.
The bottles aren’t in standard U.S. sizes, labels are in many cases partially
or entirely missing, and there are the logistics of importation and distribution. Further, every product sold at retail is required to have a specific,
approved label, and because each bottle is a unique specimen, or one of a
mere handful, a new label must be created.
Then there are the intertwined matters of authentication and convincing prospective buyers to make a purchase. The company builds minutely
detailed histories for each bottle, who sold it to whom, when, and for how
much, its distillery information and contents painstakingly authenticated
in every way possible. Each bottle will then be housed in a “museumlike” plexiglass display case with its personal fact sheet included. “It’s like
art: You need the provenance,” says Bart Laming, managing director of
Old Liquors. “It’s not about price; it’s about uniqueness. Some of these are
the last bottles in the world.”
Old Liquors’ collection features bottles dating back
to 1715. Most sell for between $2,500 and $50,000.
F R O M TO P : B A R T L A M I N G ; A D VA N B E E K
Te x t b y JAK E EM EN
DON’T BE ANTISOCIAL
F O L LO W M A X I M E V E RY W H E R E
good sport
The Justise League
After a stellar rookie season, an injury cut short Justise Winslow’s
sophomore effort. This year, can the Miami Heat’s rising star
move into the ranks of the NBA elite?
Te x t b y K EI T H G O R D O N
P h o t o g ra p h e d b y N I C K GARC I A
I S S A C B A L D I ZO N / N B A E V I A G E T T Y I M A G E S
I
t’s the second game of the 2015-16 NBA season and the Miami Heat
are in Cleveland to play the reigning Eastern Conference Champion
Cavaliers. Heat rookie forward Justise Winslow, fresh off a college
national championship at Duke, checks into the game midway
through the first quarter. The Heat players pick up their defensive assignments, and Winslow is faced with a borderline impossible task: In only his
second NBA game, the young guard finds himself face-to-face with one of
the greatest players of all time, LeBron James.
“I got in around the six-minute mark and immediately match up with
LeBron, and I’m guarding him well and he’s hitting tough shots,” Winslow
remembers. “That’s when it triggered in my brain that these guys are really
talented, and sometimes you just got to give it your best. Sometimes that’s
good enough, and sometimes it’s not.”
The rookie held his own, and before long became his team’s top
perimeter defender. His success on the defensive end of the floor helped
him stay on the court while his offensive game developed, and it gave him
the confidence to thrive at the NBA level. “This is where I was meant to
be,” Winslow says. “I take pride in matching up against the other team’s
best players...It was LeBron, then it was James Harden, then it was Derrick
Rose. I was thrown in the gauntlet early.”
Winslow’s defensive skills earned him NBA All-Rookie Second Team
honors. Then last year,
Winslow upped his scoring
from 6.4 points per game
to 10.9 and more than doubled his assists per game
before requiring seasonending surgery in January.
Now entering his third
NBA season, the versatile
small forward is determined to become the twoway superstar the Heat
were hoping for when they
selected him with the 10th
pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
If the team is to develop
into a legitimate threat, they
will need Winslow to develop into a legitimate star.
An All-American, fivestar prospect in high school,
the 21-year-old Houston
native played for coach
Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, where he won a national championship in his
only season. After defeating Wisconsin in the 2015 title game, Winslow had
a tough decision to make: keep playing for the Blue Devils, or declare himself eligible for the NBA draft. “Once we won, I didn’t want to leave at all.
It took until the day before the deadline for me to decide to leave.
Ultimately, winning that national championship did play a major part, and
as a competitor I wanted that next challenge and that was the NBA.”
During the 2015 NBA draft, the Boston Celtics reportedly offered the
Charlotte Hornets four first-round draft picks to trade up for the chance to
grab the 6'7" Winslow with the ninth pick. He had considerable attributes
that could make him a formidable NBA player: A two-way small forward,
he could guard the opposition’s best attacker, rebound, run the floor, and
finish at the rim. The Hornets refused Boston’s overture and passed on
Winslow, leaving the Heat, picking 10th. They were rewarded with a player
who showed flashes of brilliance as a key member of a new core of young
players. The Heat were in transition, having experienced the breakup of
the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh—a
nexus that appeared in four consecutive championship series, winning
Winslow’s foundation, Robin’s House, is aiding in hurricane relief efforts in his hometown
of Houston. Donations can be made at robinshouse.org.
“when my game’s aLL said
and done, i feeL Like i’LL
be an mVP candidaTe.”
two—and needed wing players who could fill the enormous shoes James left
behind went he returned to Cleveland. Winslow was, and still is, a big part
of that transition.
Immediately, Winslow established himself as one of the league’s
top rookies and a fearsome defensive stopper. But his offensive numbers showed enormous room for improvement, as he was shooting just
40 percent from the field and 25 percent from the three-point line. A bigger
concern was his low usage rate: He was attempting just 5.9 field goals per
game. (By comparison,
James, who is as prolific
a passer as he is a scorer,
recorded 17.6 field goal
attempts per game in his
last season in Miami.)
Entering his second
year, Winslow’s points
per game reached double
digits, and he more than
doubled his shot attempts.
After Winslow’s season
ended with a torn labrum,
the Heat showed promise
down the stretch, going a
stellar 30-11 in the second
half of the season, but
missed the playoffs.
“I tried to find a silver
lining [in the injury] and
just get better,” Winslow says. “Find a way to improve even while injured,
and that’s what I did. It teaches you a lot going through an injury like that,
about yourself as a person, about discipline, about paying attention to details.”
This year’s Heat hold a lot of promise. Hassan Whiteside provides a
legitimate interior threat on both ends of the floor, and Goran Dragic is
capable of leading the offense after averaging 20.3 points per game last
season. Winslow is optimistic. “Our goal is to get home court in the first
round and go on from there. We definitely want to be a top-four team in
the East, and I feel the way we ended last year, we were a top team in the
league, and that was without me...We’re gonna try to keep that momentum
going in the right direction.”
As he enters this pivotal season, Winslow appears poised to make
the leap to stardom. “As my offensive game grows, it’s just gonna help my
game and my teammates around me,” Winslow says. “Once my jumper gets
consistent, I feel like there’s just not going to be really anything I can’t do on
the floor. This year my goal is to win Most Improved Player. I feel like when
my game’s all said and done, maybe seven, eight years from now, I feel like
I’ll be an MVP candidate.”
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017 33
Turtleneck,
M MISSONI.
Hoop Opposite:
earrings, JACQUIE
Sequin jumpsuit,
OUD pARIS.
AICHE.
SuedeYVES
boots,SALOMON.
GIUSEppETrilby,
ZANOttI DESIGN.
Mink
trench,
tHE KOOpLES. Over-the-knee boots,
MAISON ERNESt.
COVER STORY
A
BEAUTIFUL
MIND
Victoria’s Secret Angel Martha Hunt
meditates, writes, and spends her
downtime watching TED Talks.
More than a pretty face, indeed.
Te x t b y A . D. PAR K
P h o t o g ra p h e d b y G I L L E S B EN S I M O N
S t y l e d b y c ARO L I N E c h R I S t I AN S S O N
M
artha Hunt has a showstopping body, but her
headspace is just as enviable. The Maxim Hot 100
model and Victoria’s Secret Angel practices transcendental meditation, plays brain games, and
writes in her spare time.
Though Hunt is constantly flying from job to
job—or perhaps because she is—she makes time
to stay still. “I’ve hardly been home this month,
and it just really blocks out the noise,” she says of
her meditation practice. “I can be in any environment and ground myself and feel more centered.”
Staying grounded is increasingly important for the model, whose career
hit new heights when she was named an Angel in 2015. “I still pinch myself
about doing it,” she says. “When I was first cast for the show, I was screaming
and freaking out and calling my entire family to share the news.” The gig has
made her one of the biggest names in modeling, and new doors have since
opened, like starring in the Chainsmokers’ music video for “Paris.”
Meditation is just one of the ways Hunt sharpens her mind. She also
uses Lumosity, a brain training program, when she’s on the road. “I think
it’s really important to work on your mind just as much as you work on your
body,” Hunt says. “I also like to read when I travel and I write in my free
time…Maybe one day I’ll write a book, but for now it’s relieving stress. It’s
very cathartic for me.” Hunt says she’s been writing since she was a kid, and
she even dreamed of becoming a writer.
But Hunt, a North Carolina native, could hardly have imagined walking the Victoria’s Secret fashion show one day; she grew up watching it on
TV, but never thought she would actually strut down its runway with giant
36
D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
wings on her back. Hunt’s career has taken some unexpected turns since she
was named an Angel, with opportunities like the Chainsmokers music video.
“I had so much fun filming that video, because I really got into that
character,” she says. “It was about a person living a double life: On the outside
everything’s okay, but on the inside she’s battling demons. So I channeled people I know who gave me that impression—friends of mine I knew personally.”
Hunt also sort of made a surprise appearance in the music video for
Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” when her name appeared on
Swift’s T-shirt. “I didn’t know that was coming,” she laughs, recalling all the
hype she received after the video premiered. “I think everybody and their
grandmother and goldfish watched that video.”
While Hunt is open to more acting opportunities, her modeling
career doesn’t allow her much time to send in tapes for auditions. She’s had
her hands full with a jewelry collaboration with Pluma, called the Inégal
Collection, to benefit scoliosis research. As a teen Hunt suffered from
scoliosis, a malformation of the spine, and she helped choose several girls
with the condition for a photo shoot to promote the jewelry.
“I want them to know that I had my own insecurities with my body and
they should embrace these as well and not feel too inhibited by scoliosis,” she
says. Hunt had an operation to treat her scoliosis when she was 18, and she
says her experience gave her more incentive to work out after her surgery,
which helped her self-esteem.
Of course, working out goes hand-in-hand with her career now. Being
a Victoria’s Secret Angel means she always needs to bring her A game.
“Year-round, working for the brand, we consistently stay in shape because
we have to shoot in lingerie all the time,” Hunt says. She says lately she’s
been alternating different workouts, including isometric body movements,
Thong, VICtORIA’S SECREt. Boots, MAISON
ERNESt. Ring, ELIE tOp. Opposite: Silk
dressing gown, OUD pARIS.
maxim.com
n o v E m b E r 2 017 37
Leather mesh dress, MARtA MARtINO. Opposite:
Satin bomber jacket, MAJE. Corset and lace
panty, VICtORIA’S SECREt. Stockings, FALKE.
Crystal necklace, REINE ROSALIE.
Strapless plunge bra, COSABELLA. Stud
earrings (worn throughout), model’s own.
Opposite: T-shirt, MAJEStIC FILAtURES.
Y neck chain, DAVID YURMAN.
maxim.com
n o v E m b E r 2 017 39
40
D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
weight training, and cardio. “I’m always doing something different to
challenge how my brain connects to my body,” she says.
Hunt says while she does make sure to maintain a healthy diet, she’s not
a fan of the phrase cheat foods. “It associates guilt with the food, and I think
that I personally don’t feel guilty if I’m enjoying food,” she says. “I think it’s
all about moderation.”
It doesn’t hurt that Hunt enjoys staying active in her downtime, either. She
plays tennis, walks her half-beagle, half-Pekingese dog, and has tried surfing, in
addition to attending concerts, though she says she “cannot sing” herself.
–
Mohair knit tank top, WEER. Gold chain anklet, MEN E.
Hunt is also fascinated by artificial intelligence, and she spends time
watching TED Talks and reading about tech. “When I was younger I went
on a nerdy phase, learning HTML codes and designing my own websites,
and later coding came back as a fundamental part of technology evolving
into what it is now,” she says. “I wish I’d kept up the coding…Some of the old
codes I used still work, but it’s so different.”
She laughs when asked if determined fans could perhaps find an old
Angelfire website she designed. “They probably totally could!” she says.
“That would be so embarrassing.”
Panty, VICtORIA’S SECREt. Patent leather pumps,
MAISON ERNESt. Opposite: Dress, ALEXANDRE
VAUtHIER. Leather
booties, GIUSEppE ZANOttI.
–
Gold bracelet, MEN E. For more information, see page 94.
Hair, Massato for Massato Salon paris. Makeup, Lloyd
Simmonds for Agence Carole. Nails, Johanna Sanchez.
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017 43
Magic city
Miami’s always been a party town. It still is—only now it’s got thriving restaurant, art, and culture scenes to go with it.
Welcome to America’s sexiest city.
The UlTimaTe PenThoUse
The Aston Martin Residences, rising from one of the last
parcels of available land along Miami’s waterfront, will be
a 66-floor ultra-luxury skyscraper that will tower above its
neighbors once completed. The building’s design is borrowed
partly from Aston Martin’s own vehicles. Resident perks will
include 24-hour valet service, an art gallery, a fitness center,
movie theaters, and even an infinity pool, on the 55th floor.
Buyers of the property’s pricier apartments will receive a
special limited-edition Aston Martin “Miami Riverwalk” DB11.
Only 47 units of the car will be produced, with customized
interiors made from the finest materials. And the buyer of the
$50 million penthouse will be handed one of the most soughtafter cars on the planet: a $2.3 million Aston Martin Vulcan.
That’s what we call an amenity. —Keith Gordon
MIAMI
the party moves
Downtown
Hot neighborhoods like Brickell in the core of Miami are pulling crowds from South Beach and beyond
Te x t b y s h aY n e b en oW i t Z
o p e n i n g s p r e a d a n d t h i s pa g e : a s to n m a r t i n / g & g b u s i n e s s d e v e lo p m e n t s
i
t’s a Thursday night in Brickell. Diners at Komodo nibble on hamachi
crudo as a wave of leggy young women parade through the dining
room around them, filling up tables in a section inconspicuously
presided over by a large security guard. David Grutman darts around
the floor with the alertness of a regal hunting dog, nose in the air, iPhone in
hand, anticipating the imminent arrival of the evening’s VIP guests.
The managing partner of Miami Beach nightclubs LIV and Story,
Grutman (see Q&A, page 50) opened Komodo in 2015 as his first foray into
both the restaurant world and the rapidly developing Brickell financial district
on Miami’s mainland, located across Biscayne Bay from South Beach and
adjacent to downtown, bordered by the Miami River. In recent years, Brickell
has seen a boom in luxury condominiums, restaurants, and nightlife venues,
making the area a desirable place to live and play, especially among Miami’s
young professionals.
Tonight at Komodo, Diddy is throwing a Welcome to Miami party
for retired New York Yankees captain and new Miami Marlins co-owner
Derek Jeter. In attendance are a cast of characters who regularly headline
Grutman’s establishments: DJ Khaled, Busta Rhymes, and French Montana.
This is exactly what diners at Komodo are here for—a chance to rub elbows
with the celebrities Grutman has famously befriended by throwing legendary
parties in Miami for the past decade.
He initially saw potential in Brickell when he noticed guests were
dining at popular restaurants like Zuma and Perricone’s Marketplace & Cafe
before going to the beach for his clubs. “I think they just want to go with the
hot places, to tell you the truth,” he says. “And for the first time ever, people see
Miami has an urban area now and not just South Beach. It amazes me that
people travel from all parts of Miami to go to Komodo, despite Brickell being
known as more of a business and financial district. I never thought in a million
years people would leave the beach and come over here.”
On the way back to South Beach, there are more restaurants and bars in
Brickell and downtown worth swinging by than ever before. A U.S. subsidiary
of Hong Kong–based Swire Properties debuted the $1.05 billion mixed-use
development Brickell City Centre, a high-end, alfresco shopping center with
multiple restaurants, office towers, and condominiums, in November 2016.
“Coming from a European background, in which apartment living
was the norm, led me to develop here,” says Ugo Colombo, a Milan-born
developer who was one of the first to build luxury condominiums in
Brickell back in the 1990s. “I saw a void in Miami’s condo market because
buyers typically associated ‘luxury’ with larger-style homes. So I set out to
develop ‘mansions in the sky,’ a.k.a. large, luxury condominiums with water
views, over-the-top amenities, security.” Colombo’s latest project, Brickell
Flatiron, is slated to debut in 2019. “I always believed that sooner or later
that area would become very attractive. It needed a catalyst like Brickell
City Centre to really give it a boost.”
Across the Miami River, downtown Miami is a neighborhood of
contrasts. Historic beaux arts architecture and cozy hipster haunts abut
cavernous warehouses turned after-hours nightclubs. The intersection of
N. Miami Ave. and NW 11th St. offers a concentrated snapshot of this
juxtaposition, where E11EVEN Miami, the 24-hour nightclub-cabaret,
quasi-gentlemen’s-club hybrid, is kitty-corner to Club Space, the city’s
long-standing after-hours techno club, which has been known to stay
open continually.
But between these two megaclubs, a trio of homey bars and restaurants
offer a completely different kind of night out. The Corner is a softly lit bar
with large picture windows and rough-hewn wood paneling serving some
of the city’s most expertly mixed classic cocktails to an eclectic local crowd.
A few doors down, Fooq’s is an intimate restaurant specializing in global
fare with Persian and Italian influences, where a wall of ephemera features
both a Native American dream catcher and a Grateful Dead acid bear.
While the area is still on the rise, downtown is ripe for further development, and many see it as Miami’s next It neighborhood. “As more people
move in, you’ll see increased demand for restaurants and shopping at the
ground level,” Colombo says. The Brightline high-speed rail service and
its MiamiCentral station will connect downtown Miami to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach before the end of the year, and the forthcoming,
nearly 30-acre, $3 billion–plus Miami Worldcenter mixed-use development
is slated for 2019, exponentially increasing the area’s curb appeal.
As Grutman puts it, “There’s a lot going on. Miami should be excited.”
But Don’t Rule Out South Beach Just Yet…
Sure, downtown and Brickell are heating up, but South Beach will always be hot. Visitors in the know will always want a room at sls south Beach
or The setai, a steak at Prime 112, or a table at liV. But South Beach is also evolving. New hotels, restaurants, and nightlife are moving inland and
away from the busiest stretches of Ocean Drive to hot spots like Collins Avenue and the area surrounding Collins Park, where boutique hotels are
being built or refurbished. The Plymouth, for example, brings an art deco redesign to its property, featuring an outpost of NYC’s acclaimed Blue Ribbon
sushi Bar & Grill and its famous fried chicken.
Kimpton angler’s hotel offers pampered seclusion steps from the beach, featuring suites, lofts, two-story villas, and three-story poolside bungalows. The
hotel is expanding and plans to have a new 85-room tower, complete with a rooftop pool, finished in early 2018. Washington Park hotel, meanwhile, is an art
deco refuge and home to the second outpost of New York’s employees only, a speakeasy hidden in the venue’s historic coral house. —KG
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017 47
MIAMI
BeyonD
ceviche
A growing rank of talented local chefs,
such as Stubborn Seed’s Jeremy Ford, are creating
a bona fide Miami food scene
At Stubborn Seed, chef Jeremy Ford’s new South Beach restaurant, a large
picture window, framed by a wall of vertical white subway tile, offers a portal
to the kitchen where diners can glimpse the athletic ballet required to
prepare Ford’s artfully plated, thoughtfully sourced chef ’s tasting menu.
With a Top Chef Season 13 win under his belt and a stint as chef de cuisine
at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room at the Miami Beach
Edition hotel, Stubborn Seed is Ford’s first foray as chef-partner. In his new
role, he’s relishing the intimacy and immediacy of being at his 74-seat restaurant after working the volume-driven kitchen at Matador Room. “It’s just us
and the guys here cooking every day,” Ford says. “It’s a great place to be. I’ve
never been so happy to come in and get my ass kicked as much as I do.”
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Ford, 32, is part of the growing rank of
local chefs turning Miami’s culinary scene on its head. “It’s completely different than when I came down here 10 years ago. A lot of local heroes have made
their mark,” says Ford of the emergence of a legit Miami food culture. This
new class of homegrown and local talent includes chefs Brad Kilgore,
Giorgio Rapicavoli, José Mendín, Eileen Andrade, and Niven Patel. Not
only are they building empires with multiple restaurant concepts, they’re also
shaping the identity of Miami’s burgeoning neighborhoods, like Wynwood
and South Beach’s Sunset Harbour, by drawing a devoted local fan base.
In the kitchen, Ford is impossible to miss, with a tall, athletic build, shaved
head, and sleeve of tattoos. He and his longtime chef de cuisine, Joe Mizzoni, are
awhirl in constant motion as they conduct their kitchen staff through a symphony of inventive plates, like the smoked foie gras on grilled sourdough with
aged sherry vinegar, quince-paste ravioli, and a dusting of microplaned
Marcona almonds soaked in Sambuca. This, delivered to the table beneath a
glass dome to release the smoke for an olfactory hit and a dramatic presentation.
Some of his more surprising ingredients include Egyptian star flowers,
mingling with quail egg atop a bed of caviar in his warm celery root and
crackling maitake mushroom dish; and Monterey Bay sea grapes, for a briny
splash of the ocean, when served with kajiki fish flown in daily from Hawaii.
Ford also has an affection for more straightforward ingredients: the
humble carrot, making multiple cameos. “Teaching someone how to
properly glaze a carrot is actually a lot harder than you think,” he says with a
laugh. Heirloom carrots are even the centerpiece of a mural on his kitchen
wall, framed by radishes and fish bones.
He insists that Stubborn Seed’s product-driven, meticulously plated
dishes are not overly precious. “It’s really not that complicated. We take our
time making sure all of the components are flavorful and they look as good as
they should on the plate, but it’s not a molecular-style kitchen at all.”
He says his time under Vongerichten was particularly influential in
honing his skills for contrasting and balancing flavors, as well as the use of
acids and, specifically, dried chilies, an ingredient found in Stubborn Seed’s
menu almost from start to finish. There’s the garbanzo chili dip served with
warm bread, Thai chili mignonette, Fresno chili oil, pickled chili, and
fermented green chili buttermilk.
“Jean-Georges was a game changer. It was probably the smartest career
move. His style of food is going to be part of my repertoire for the rest of my
life,” Ford says. “And we use a lot of chili, that’s for damn sure.”
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Chef Jeremy Ford (top left) has developed a devoted local fan base with
creative dishes including slow-cooked snapper (right)
t h i s pa g e , F r o m to p : n i C K g a r C i a ; C o u r t e s Y o F g r o v e b aY h o s p i ta l i t Y g r o u p.
o p p o s i t e pa g e : C o u r t e s Y o F g r o v e b aY h o s p i ta l i t Y g r o u p
Te x t b y s h aY n e b en oW i t Z
FoRd’s miami eaTs
Flanigan’s seafood Bar and Grill
“I love Flanigan’s for simple stuff with the
family. It’s somewhere I take my daughter, and she
loves the ribs.” 2721 Bird Ave., Coconut Grove &
various locations (305-446-1114; flanigans.net)
momi Ramen
“I go for noodles in Brickell with the boys.
They’ve got a great kimchee ramen. I’m actually
craving it right now.” 5 SW 11th St., Miami (786391-2392; momiramen.com)
Pubbelly sushi
“Pubbelly spots are always cool. I get their
crab roll; that thing’s addictive.” 1424 20th St.,
Miami Beach & various locations (305-531-9282;
pubbellysushi.us)
Tacology
“This is a new spot at Brickell City Centre.
I always get their ceviche made to order.”
701 S. Miami Ave., Miami (786-347-5368;
tacology.us)
matador Room
“I already miss the chipotle chicken tacos with
grilled jalapeño salsa.” 2901 Collins Ave., Miami
Beach (786-257-4600; matadorroom.com)
MIAMI
the night king
David Grutman might not party like he used to, but he still rules Miami’s club scene
Te x t b y K ei t h g o r d o n
What gives you an edge in such a hypercompetitive industry?
I’m a really energetic person. I love what I’m doing. I don’t really do stuff
that I’m not passionate about or that I’m not that into, so I like to convey
that to people. How I do that is through my energy. Listen, I have bad days
like everybody else, but if I walk into an environment, I want to make sure
that I’m setting that tone for everybody else around me because I think my
energy and my feeling is contagious to the rest of the team.
What makes miami unique as a party city?
Miami was one of those cities where in the ’80s and ’90s people kind of saw
it as the wild, wild West. It actually gave people a really safe environment
for them to let go of their inhibitions, which really helps. That’s why these
celebrities and big clients will come here with
us, knowing that they’re safe.
how do miami parties differ from those in
l.a. or nYC?
When people party in the city that they live
in they’re a lot more reserved than they are
when they let loose in a vacation or jet-setting
scenario. If you go out in NYC it’s pretty
fucking boring. People are really uptight
and reserved because they don’t know who
from their company is there or what could
happen. In Miami, there are no rules for that,
so people let loose.
liV is widely recognized as the crown jewel of miami nightlife. What’s
the key to keeping guests surprised and entertained?
We really feel like when people come to Miami they look at LIV as that
benchmark of what nightlife is supposed to be. The one thing we focus on
is we don’t just sit back and not do anything. We really try to give clubgoers
a different experience every night they come.
how do you fight off competition from the constant stream of new clubs?
Once you get [to the top], everyone is gunning for us. Anytime a new club is
opening, they always say, “We’re going to be the next LIV.” They always refer
to us in everything they do. Which is fine; I think it’s cute.
What is it like having to work within the context of a huge party? is it hard
to stay professional and on task in the middle of the revelry?
When you’re trying to throw the party, it’s like you don’t want to really be
part of that party. My care is about other people, so I’m just looking toward
them. Listen, when I was younger I’m sure I would love to have shots with
everybody and do everything with everybody. As you get older it’s just about
making sure that [the guests] are having the best time.
What are your best miami nightlife recommendations?
The Design District is a new up-and-coming area. We actually have a really
cool coffee shop there [OTL] and are opening a new restaurant [Swan] with a lounge
above. So many cool stores, a lot of really cool
designers, and stuff you can’t get anywhere else.
You need to go to Little Havana. It’s
supercool to see the guys, the old-school
Cubans, playing dominoes. There’s a lot of
great art there: Cuban art. And a place called
Ball & Chain that makes great mojitos. Or
the ice cream parlor Azucar: They have CocaCola ice cream. It’s the best.
But definitely get on a boat while you’re
in Miami. You have to see Miami from that
perspective.
hoW To PaRTY on a YaChT
There’s nothing that says “Welcome to Miami”
quite like cruising through the aquamarine
waters of Biscayne Bay, popping bottles, and gazing at the glittering skyline aboard a sleek yacht.
Whether it’s a fast and stylish 40-foot red VanDutch
open, or a luxurious, fully loaded 76-foot Sunseeker
Manhattan with Jet Skis and multiple staterooms,
there are plenty of charter options to choose from.
hoW To ChaRTeR
The Advantaged Yacht Charters & Sales is a
favorite among celebrities for its wide selection
of megayachts and fully customizable packages.
Their marquee vessel, the 122-foot Oceanfast
Never Say Never, was featured in the SNL Digital
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Short “I’m on a Boat” and has been taken for a
spin by Justin Bieber. On-demand yachting services, like YachtLife and Boatbound, provide a
platform to search thousands of available charters,
narrowed down based on your needs and budget.
WheRe To Go
Explore Biscayne Bay, spy on Star Island
mansions, get lost in Elliott Key’s nature preserve,
or party at the Haulover Sandbar. If you have
more time, the Florida Keys and the Bahamas are
easily accessible from Miami.
doCK & dine
Cruise along the Miami River between a
canyon of high-rises and arrive in style at downtown hot spots like Seaspice and Kiki on the
River, which provide dockage and a festive,
Champagne-soaked scene. Alternatively, the
Standard, Miami Beach offers mellow,
bohemian vibes, a swimming pool, a spa, and
a restaurant with dockage (best for smaller
boats), all floating on Belle Isle between South
Beach and the mainland.
BY The nUmBeRs
Powerboats start from $1,400. Small open yachts
(under 50 feet) go for $1,800 and up. Yachts (50
to 80 feet) start at $2,200. Yachts larger than
80 feet are $5,500 and up for a full day. —SB
i n s e t a n d o p p o s i t e pa g e : s e t h b r o Wa r n i K / W o r l d r e d e Y e / C o m
D
avid Grutman is the reigning king of Miami nightlife. And
in a city of glitz, glamour, and celebrity, heavy is the crown.
Grutman, who worked his way from bartending in a mall
to overseeing a nightlife empire, owes his success to his
nonstop energy, enthusiasm, and determination. His flagship club, LIV
at the Fontainebleau, is a model for the modern superclub. The 43-year-old
Florida native, who is developing a flurry of new restaurants and lounges,
and has a hotel deal in the works, took a few minutes from his busy schedule
to speak with Maxim about his reign.
MIAMI
Jay aJayi’S
MiaMi
The star running back on the
best of South Beach and beyond
Te x t b y K ei t h g o r d o n
Just as Maxim went to print, Jay Ajayi was
traded by the Miami Dolphins to the Philadelphia Eagles. But Ajayi spent the first years of his
career with the Dolphins, and he still knows the
best spots in the city. He finished last season a
breakout NFL star, ranked fourth in the league
in rushing with 1,272 yards. He’s a workhorse
back and three-down runner, as dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield as he is crashing
between the tackles. Born in London and raised
in Maryland and Texas, the former Boise State
sensation is living his dream on and off the field,
recently launching his own clothing line, YURP^.
Maxim caught up with the 24-year-old for an
insider’s look at Miami and what keeps him busy
when he’s not steamrolling opposing defenses.
Best spot for good eats
I love eating at STK [an upscale steakhouse and
lounge] in South Beach.
Best place to grab a drink
I always like to vibe with good company and
people-watch at low-key spots every now
and then. Kiki on the River [Greek food] and
Sugar [an Asian fusion restaurant and bar at
EAST, Miami] are my favorites for that.
miami’s car culture
The car culture is huge in Miami. You always see
the nicest cars when out in South Beach, to where
it almost feels like a competition. I drive a Benz.
miami’s reputation as a party town
I definitely think the Miami [party] culture is
exactly how it’s portrayed, but I try not to get
caught up in the nightlife too much. I will occasionally step out to LIV or Story.
The best off-field outdoor activities
Definitely having a fun boat day. Every now and
then I enjoy going out on a Jet Ski.
Favorite aspect of miami
I just love the style of life out here in Miami.
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I’m still young, so I’m able to both enjoy my
career and live in a place where people from all
over the world come for vacation.
home after football
I’m not sure yet. London, Texas, New York,
Cali. But yeah, Miami is definitely in the mix.
t h i s pa g e , C lo C K W i s e F r o m to p : s p e n s e r h a r t u n g ; s e t h b r o Wa r n i K / W o r l d r e d e Y e .C o m ( 2 ) .
o p p o s i t e pa g e : C o u r t e s Y o F m i a m i e xot i C a u to r a C i n g
Favorite miami neighborhood
Wynwood. I love the vibe and the creative
environment. The area is inspiring and helps
inspire my own fashion brand [YURP^].
oCean dRiVe
How to ride around Miami in style
To get past the VIP ropes in South Beach, you’ll
want to arrive in a hot ride. Consider a convertible
Lamborghini or Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead
from MPH Club, a rental company whose roster
includes supercars, private jets, and yachts. Car
rentals start at $395.
For a more adrenaline-fueled option, check out
Miami Exotic Auto Racing, where drivers can test
out the newest McLaren or Ferrari at HomesteadMiami Speedway. A few hundred dollars gets you
behind the wheel, but consider the three-car package
($799–$899), which includes the finest Italian, British,
and German automobiles. —KG
MIAMI
a Guide to
MiaMi’S art Scene
With galleries popping up all over town, Miami is
about more than just Art Basel
Te x t b y s h aY n e b en oW i t Z
design district
For a snapshot of Miami’s art scene,
Salpeter recommends starting with a
morning in the Design District. ICA
Miami’s inaugural program inside its new
37,500-square-foot space includes the
thematic group exhibition “The Everywhere Studio,” spanning the early 1960s, with works by Picasso, to the
present day, with a new commission by Margaret Honda featuring
50 artists and over 100 works that explore the organizing principle of artists
and their sites of production.
Nearby, the de la Cruz Collection stages annual exhibitions as one of
Miami’s long-standing, world-class private art collections. Admission is
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D E C E m b E r 2 017
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always free at both institutions, so Salpeter recommends “spending your
dollars on a great coffee at Blue Bottle,” which is slated to open a few blocks
away by year’s end.
The Design District is also home to the Haitian Heritage Museum
and Locust Projects exhibition space, as well as a new public sculpture
program in collaboration with the ICA Miami that will feature two monumental Sol LeWitt sculptures at the eastern entrance to the area and
Thomas Bayrle’s Wire Madonna in the atrium of the Moore Building.
Wynwood Walls
Just south of the Design District, Wynwood is home to a concentrated
collection of street art by local artists such as Magnus Sodamin, Typoe, and
Jessy Nite as well as international superstars like Shepard Fairey, RETNA,
Swoon, OSGEMEOS, and Maya Hayuk, in large part thanks to
the Wynwood Walls outdoor project conceived by the late developer
Tony Goldman in 2009.
museum hop
Continuing south, the game-changing
Pérez Art Museum Miami, dedicated to
modern and contemporary art, moved to its
present home downtown in 2013. Designed
by Pritzker Architecture Prize–winning
firm Herzog & de Meuron, the building
overlooks Biscayne Bay.
Similar to ICA, the Bass museum on
South Beach, established in 1964, has new
digs to flaunt after a two-year-plus renovation to its original art deco building, which
created 50 percent more usable space for the
contemporary institution. The adjacent
Collins Park is home to Art Basel’s Public
sector, exhibiting site-specific installations
and sculptures, under new curator Philipp
Kaiser, for the annual fair.
Gallery Crawl
Once concentrated in Wynwood, Miami’s
galleries have dispersed to new neighborhoods, like downtown and Little River,
and returned to South Beach. Salpeter’s
go-tos include Nina Johnson, Spinello Projects, Emerson Dorsch, and
Fredric Snitzer. She finds the presence of a local gallery scene to be absolutely essential. “The notion that you would be a city just of presenting
work is not sustainable,” she says. “You need to have the artists here.” And
if she has anything to do with it, Miami will continue its ascendancy as a
thriving, singular destination for contemporary art and emerging artists.
Left: A section of a mural by Fafi at the Wynwood Walls, which
spotlights graffiti and street art. Right: Juliana, a sculpture by Frank
Benson, at the Rubell Family Collection, one of the largest private
contemporary art collections in North America.
p h oto g r a p h s , i n s e t a n d o p p o s i t e pa g e : j e s s i C a at h a n a s i o u . t h i s pa g e , u n t i t l e d , m u r a l bY Fa F i , i n
t h e W Y n W o o d Wa l l s , 2 0 1 5 . o p p o s i t e pa g e : j u l i a n a s C u l p t u r e bY F r a n K b e n s o n , 2 0 1 6 , pa i n t e d a C C u r a ®
x t r e m e p l a s t i C r a p i d p r otot Y p e , 5 4 x 4 8 x 2 4 i n ( 1 3 7. 2 x 1 2 1 .9 x 6 1 C m ) . pa r t o F t h e r u b e l l Fa m i lY
ColleCtion, miami. From the exhibition “high anxietY”
“Miami has its own rhythm and energy,” says Ellen F. Salpeter, director of the
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, which opens the doors to its newly
built permanent space in the Miami Design District on December 1.
Designed by Spanish architecture firm Aranguren + Gallegos with a contemporary façade with overlapping metal forms and illuminated inset
panels, it’s a new addition to Miami’s ever-expanding, shape-shifting cultural
landscape. Since its inception in 2014, the museum had been housed inside a
temporary space at the historic Moore Building in the same neighborhood.
Salpeter made the leap from the New York City art world,
most recently as deputy director at the Jewish Museum, to join the Miami
institution. “The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something
new, and help shape the ICA Miami and grow the cultural ecology and
landscape of the city, was intoxicating,” Salpeter says.
With an impressive contemporary art scene, the emergence of
Wynwood’s kaleidoscopic street art, and Art Basel Miami Beach ever
present in December since 2002, Miami
has chiseled a unique identity on the
international art stage.
“What’s great about Miami is that it
is a relatively young city. There’s all this
energy and youth and cultural diversity.
It’s multilingual. It’s a portal to South
America, Latin America, the Caribbean;
all of those things add to the mix of
Miami,” Salpeter says. “It’s very different
from long-standing or more established
cities. It’s also very different from cities
that sprung up quickly in, say, China or
the Middle East. Miami has its history,
and it’s constantly reinventing itself as it
moves forward. For me, what that adds to
the international art world is a flavor and
a point of view.”
tK gutter Credits
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017 55
eScape to the
everglaDeS
The best ways to explore the wetlands (and hunt predatory pythons)
Te x t b y K ei t h g o r d o n
© h u b e r i m a g e s / e s to C K p h oto
MIAMI
MIAMI
South Florida is inhospitable to humans. In fact, few people
lived there until a series of projects in the 19th and 20th
centuries drained much of the area to allow for development.
What remains of South Florida’s natural wetland makes up Everglades National Park, a complex and diverse ecosystem that
covers 1.5 million acres. A unesco World Heritage site and designated biosphere reserve responsible for a third of all Floridians’
water supply, Everglades National Park is an ecological nirvana.
Just over an hour from Miami, the Everglades offer a range
of activities for visitors. There are miles of hiking paths available,
but many choose to explore the area on the water. everglades
national Park Boat Tours rents kayaks and canoes ($45–$55
per day for a kayak, $38 per day for a three-person canoe), ideal
for paddling through the mangrove trees. For a more thrilling
outing, try an airboat; Gator Park airboat Tours offers private
boat rentals (starting at $250 per hour). Remember, this isn’t
a zoo: The animals in the wetlands are wild, and that gator
lying motionless beside the footpath likely isn’t dead. Keep your
distance if you don’t want to become a cautionary tale.
FoReiGn inVadeRs
The Everglades are under attack from invaders from abroad,
upending the entire region’s ecosystem. Burmese pythons—
some were pets that were foolishly released, while others
escaped from a facility during Hurricane Andrew—have
taken over much of the Everglades. These snakes can grow to
more than 20 feet, and have no natural predators in the area
once they reach even moderate size. The result has been the
decimation of the Everglades’ mammal and bird populations
as the python population grows unchecked. The State of
Florida has instituted specific trapping and hunting programs
to try and combat the problem. Visitors can sign up for a
python hunt, but the animals are nearly impossible to track
and capture, meaning this ecological wonderland faces a real
threat—one with no solution in sight.
FASHION
time
AND PASSiON
Watchmaker Richard Mille, who carved his first design from a bar of soap,
draws inspiration from tennis greats and Formula 1 racers alike
W
hen Rafael Nadal won the U.S. Open in September, marking
his 16th Grand Slam title, it was also a victory for watchmaker Richard Mille. Only 16 years after he released his
first timepiece in 2001, French-born Mille has already come
to be regarded as one of the all-time great watchmakers, producing pieces
like the $725,000 tourbillon Nadal wore when he defeated Kevin
Anderson in the men’s final at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal is Mille’s most high-profile brand ambassador,
and his feats on the court while wearing Mille’s incredibly
lightweight watches have helped earn Mille, who carved
his first watch design out of a bar of soap, worldwide
renown. Mille, who calls Nadal “a born winner, and
a great guy to work with,” says the relationship with
the Spanish tennis sensation is more than merely a
financial arrangement.
“I don’t believe in just paying people to wear one
of our watches,” he explains. “It has to be real love
and real passion; otherwise it’s just fake.” In fact,
Nadal has been instrumental in developing the highperformance pieces he wears. “We learn a lot when
a timepiece is really on the court in the heat, on the
racetrack, golf course, or cockpit,” Mille says. “We can
then analyze its shock resistance, functions, its comfort
factor during a swing or under high g-forces, and many
more real-life conditions.”
Tennis is just one area of interest for Mille, whose
passion for automotive excellence led him to found the
Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille in France in 2014;
it has quickly become one of the world’s preeminent classiccar events. He lives and works at his own 18th-century château, which
also houses his personal car collection; it includes a Porsche 917
that was raced at Le Mans, a pair of Lancia Stratos rally cars, and
classic Formula 1 cars.
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Famed F1 driver Felipe Massa first introduced Mille to the idea of
using the high-tech, lightweight materials for which Mille is now famous.
Massa “threw down the gauntlet to see if I could make a watch so light that
he would not be distracted by it on the racetrack,” Mille says. “You have to
remember that under extreme g-forces, even light objects can feel very heavy.”
The result was Mille’s first light tourbillon: the RM 006 Felipe
Massa, weighing in at just 48 grams, including the strap.
Mille, who has a partnership with McLaren’s F1 team and
has been the presenting sponsor of the Le Mans Classic since
its inception, says he gets inspiration from cars “in every
way imaginable. A watch is not fast like a racing car, but
the requirements in terms of stability, shock resistance,
longevity, friction, and capacity to function under
extreme situations are exactly the same for both in
regards to technical design and execution. In
terms of the purely visual aspects, the connections for inspirational design concepts are everywhere as well…Inside a car, I find a beautifully
finished and crafted engine can be as sexy as any
piece of erotic art, and for me the same applies to a
beautifully thought-out and executed watch movement. The only real difference in aesthetics between a
car and a watch is that one is bigger than the other.”
Chantilly Arts & Elegance, with its unmistakably
French panache, allows Mille to indulge his love for both
cars and design. “For me, at any rate, great racing cars are the
same as great works of art, architecture, fashion, or sculpture,” he
says. “Since I really hate the artificial boundaries we set up between
all these areas, I wanted to be involved in an endeavor that simply unites all
these areas: incredible cars, incredible architecture, art, fashion, history, great
food—all within an artistic atmosphere at a very high level.”
Mille prides himself on exacting precision, and his product is priced
accordingly. “The extreme pricing of my watches fascinates people because
Mille has had a long love affair with automobiles. He has a partnership
with McLaren’s F1 team and founded the Chantilly Arts & Elegance
Richard Mille, one of the world’s premier classic-car events.
c o u r t e s y o f r i c h a r d m i l l e . o p p o s i t e : t h o m a s l av e l l e / c o n to u r by g e t t y i m a g e s .
n e x t s p r e a d, f r o m l e f t: t h o m a s l av e l l e / c o n to u r by g e t t y i m a g e s ; m at h i e u b o n n e v i e
Te x t b y Jar ed pau l s t er n
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017 59
it is so high,” he explains. “Yet the pricing is directly based on the actual
cost of production and research. Our quality control is the strictest
in the business…Almost 90 percent of the parts we use, even movement and case screws, are specially manufactured to our specifications.
[The] cost of the research and studies we undertake is astronomical.
I will never cut corners in a way that might compromise this production philosophy.”
Nor does he need to. Even those who still consider his designs
overly avant-garde have to admit he’s onto something. As for future
plans, “Apart from some fine-tuning, why change a winning approach?”
Mille asks. “We plan to continue doing what we have been doing for
almost 20 years now. Our clients have no complaints about what we
have achieved to date, and even today we still cannot fulfill all the
orders we receive each year.”
That includes Nadal’s watch, which was produced in a limited run
of just 50 pieces, guaranteed to be in even higher demand now that
the Spanish ace is ranked world No. 1 again. “When we first met,
Rafael was still coming out of the period after his injury, and honestly
speaking, no one knew how that was going to resolve itself,” Mille
says. “At the time, I was simply deeply impressed with his personality
and willpower; I was convinced he was going to go very far.” And Mille
is someone who would know.
“The only real
difference in
aesTheTics beTween
a car and a waTch is
ThaT one is bigger
Than The oTher.”
Known as the Spectre Defender, this vehicle is one of 10 made for the James Bond film Spectre and one of the lucky few
to have survived the shoot. The vehicle is a double cab and features a snorkel that allows it to wade through deep water.
Opposite: Queen Elizabeth II has been a longtime Land Rover owner and driver (and even mechanic).
C O U R T E S Y O F R A N G E R O V E R . O P P O S I T E : P O P P E R F OTO / G E T T Y I M A G E S
“it hit like lightning,
with a demand they
had never anticipated.”
AUTO
the making of a
legend
Land Rover was born from a driftwood sketch on a Welsh beach seven decades ago, manifested via British ingenuity,
and built into a dominant global brand. Much has changed along the way—and even more has stayed the same.
a
s with anything in life, context is everything. To understand
the genesis of Land Rover, one first must survey the smoldering landscape of its birthplace in Great Britain. It was 1947,
just a few years removed from the devastation of WWII. The
nation lay in rubble, infrastructure destroyed, factories barely powering
back up under heavy limitations on materials, energy, and capital.
This is the setting where, on an overcast beach in Wales, brothers
Maurice and Spencer Wilks found themselves discussing their next move.
As board members of one of the largest automakers in the land, the Rover
Car Company, there was little room for error.
Rover was then known for building sprawling luxury cars, for which
there was now zero demand. Maurice grabbed a piece of driftwood, bent
over the golden sand, and sketched the outline of a Jeep-like vehicle. “This,”
he said, looking up at his brother as he roughly outlined the small truck.
“This is what we’re going to build.”
That this sandy image looked a lot like a Jeep was no coincidence.
While laboring on and clearing his Anglesey farm, Maurice had fallen in
love with a surplus military Willys, his do-everything beast of choice.
Taking inventory of the countless obstacles that his company—and
the nation at large—would have to overcome to slog their way out
of the war-torn decade, Maurice’s idea was a wise one. “The country just
came out of a massive war; it was victorious, yet the entire area was on
its knees. The industry was down, there were massive issues overall, and
literally no running economy,” says director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic
Tim Hannig. “And so they said, ‘Look, we need to try to do something that
can be a tool to help get this country back on its feet—or let’s say
its wheels,’” Hannig says. “A go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle. And
that was its sole purpose; it was nothing but to get around in it and
be as flexible and versatile as possible.”
Compounding complications was the asphyxiating rationing of
raw materials. The war industry had swooped up most available steel,
making the metal rare and prohibitively expensive. Yet aluminum,
Te x t b y N I CO L A S S T EC H ER
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 63
ENDS OF THE EARTH
As the chariot of choice for traversing the fading British colonial
empire, Land Rover had established its off-roading foundations early
on. But the brand set itself apart with a series of expeditions that
immediately separated it from all pretenders.
In 1954 Land Rover participated in the Oxford and Cambridge
Trans-Africa Expedition, in which two teams of university students
raced 86" Land Rover Series I station wagons across 25,000 miles
of Africa, from Egypt to Cape Town and back. The following year
the Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition traveled from
London to Singapore, an absolutely brutal, never-before-done
campaign that defined Land Rover’s abilities to plumb well beyond
the edges of civilization.
Harnessing this pedigree, Rover returned for the British TransAmericas Expedition in 1971 and 1972 to prove the off-road integrity
of its nascent Range Rover model. The punishing voyage traversed
18,000 miles from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, crossing harrowing
terrain including the roadless Darién Gap, previously thought
So the Wilkses built a rough prototype with central steering,
both to save money, by not having to develop both left- and right-hand
drive models, and to appeal to tractor-acclimated farmers. Development was accelerated beyond comprehension: From that first beach
sketch, the vehicle was designed, engineered, tested, and produced
in one calendar year. It debuted in April 1948 at the Amsterdam Motor
Show. The initial 48 preproduction vehicles were a landmark.
What came next not even Maurice could have dreamed in the happiest
moments pulling stumps on his Welsh farm. “It hit like lightning, with a
demand they had never anticipated,” Hannig says. “They just could not
make them fast enough.”
to be impenetrable. Led by the British military, the team bridged
the Panama and Colombia border and later crossed the finish
line in Chile.
In 1980, the most famous Rover-centric expedition, the Camel
Trophy, was born. It soon earned the title “the Olympics of offroading.” Developed to demonstrate the surreal capability of
off-road vehicles, every year the Camel Trophy aimed to conquer
the Earth’s most remote corners. In 1981 several teams crawled their
way through 1,000 miles of Sumatran jungles. Then eight teams
crossed Papua New Guinea.
The topography the Camel Trophy attempted to negotiate was
so challenging it famously forced teams to work together to survive,
fording dangerous rivers and penetrating uncharted rain forests.
Expeditions through Zaire, Borneo, Australia, Madagascar, Siberia,
and Sulawesi followed.
It is here, under the crucible of the planet’s most trying terrain,
that Land Rover matured from sturdy off-road machine into the
unrivaled icon that it is today. —NS
Evolving into an expedition to push Land Rover off-road vehicles—and the men brave enough to drive them—to their limits,
the Camel Trophy brought these rugged vehicles to some of the harshest locations on earth, such as Papua New Guinea and the Amazon
C O U R T E S Y O F R A N G E R O V E R . O P P O S I T E : N I C K D I M B L E BY
widely used in the suddenly vanished airplane industry—was in
surplus. So the Wilks brothers designed this four-wheel-drive
prototype around what was available, using steel only where
absolutely necessary (e.g., chassis, bulkhead, and engine), and incorporating only the simplest light alloy body panels to circumvent
expensive presses. To optimize the vehicle for export, and to jumpstart British industry, the mandate was to use as many Rover parts as
possible, especially expensive R&D components like the gearbox and
1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. They even shaved pennies with the paint,
a hue dubbed Grasmere Green, reputed to have been salvaged from
surplus aeronautics.
ENTER THE SERIES II
As utilitarian as the Land Rover was, it soon became
apparent the company would have to build a newer model
with a diesel option, which was the preferred fuel on farms.
The Series I was also rough around the edges and even
rougher on riders.
“I do not want to discredit anything that was ever done
by the company, but it wasn’t the smoothest of all rides,”
Hannig admits with a tinge of guilt, as if mentioning any
Rover deficiency were some sort of British sacrilege. “So they
needed to sort all the issues they accumulated with it and
create an upgraded version.”
In 1958 the Series II debuted, retroactively dubbing its
predecessor the Series I. The standard wheelbase increased
from 80 inches to 88. A bigger rear window, nonscratch
glass, and rounded quarter rear windows were added
for better visibility, as were such luxuries as exterior door
handles and locks. It was made easier to drive thanks
to a new synchromesh gearbox that eliminated the need
to double clutch into second gear. By 1959, the 250,000th
From top: The Holland & Holland edition ($245,495), a collaboration between Land Rover and the firearm brand, was limited to just 30 vehicles
arriving in America. A leather-trimmed, aluminum gun locker is located in the trunk, ideal for storing a pair of Holland & Holland shotguns or rifles.
The limited-edition Range Rover’s door handles have intricately carved designs, including the Holland & Holland logo and signature acanthus scroll.
COURTESY OF HOLL AND & HOLL AND (3). OPP OSITE: ALEx HOwE
And so the Land Rover was born. The boxy, crude,
8-bit stamped metal creature you’ve fallen in love with
through grainy black-and-whites—mud-splattered and overcoming unbreachable obstacles—that was no object of
design. Or rather, it was an object of pure design, of an
almost Bauhausian obedience to function over form. Make
it capable to an ideal, use as many bin parts as you can,
and make it as affordable as possible.
For the first years of the Land Rover’s existence,
every few weeks tweaks were made. Created in just
12 months, its design, construction, and production all
evolved on the fly. So a Land Rover built in April could
be significantly different than one built in August.
“There was no luxury behind it; there was no performance
behind it,” notes Hannig. “It was purely and only about
capability.”
The Land Rover’s capability was so pure and pervasive
(52 horsepower, 23 mpg, 60 mph top speed) that word of
this feisty British four-wheeler spread like a postwar meme.
During that era England was still profoundly connected to
its commonwealth, so exports to Australia, New Zealand,
India, and throughout Africa exploded; within a year they
were exporting to nearly 70 nations. This is where the Land
Rover mythos was made, rolling over the vast Serengeti
in search of big game; clawing its way through uncharted
jungles chased by locals; breaching golden Saharan dunes;
whisking Winston Churchill or Queen Elizabeth or Ernest
Hemingway to the edge of the empire. It is said that for one
third of the world’s population, the Land Rover was the first
mechanized vehicle they ever saw.
As many as 150 varietals were available from the
factory during that decade, including ambulances, pickups,
armored cars, station wagons, and lightweight versions
built for airdropped delivery. Maybe 50 were built with
welding stations installed to work on trains and remote
repairs, as were 340 fire engines, fully equipped with pumps,
hoses, and flashing red beacons. One delivered to Norway
in 1953 was only recently retired. Thanks to an entrepreneurial
Scottish company that configured Land Rovers with tank-like
treads to better negotiate the sodden soil, the Cuthbertson
edition was born.
HOLLAND & HOLLAND RANGE ROVER
Roll around the palm-studded boulevards of Los Angeles in the
apex Range Rover model, the SVAutobiography, and you’ll enjoy
an intoxicating degree of luxury—one usually reserved for the
TMZ-baiting crowd. Developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s esteemed
Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) unit, the interior is the apotheosis
of luxury for an SUV (e.g., foldout aluminum tray tables, Champagne
cooler, sliding panoramic roof, electric sunblinds, etc.), powered
by a growling 550- or 557-horsepower supercharged V-8. While
unwanted attention is minimized thanks to subtle exterior badging
and famously reserved British styling, first-class attention from valets
is still all but guaranteed.
But because enough is never enough in the rarefied world of
ultra-luxe, the SVO team develops even further considered vehicles
for those seeking, well, more. One such opus, the exclusive Holland
& Holland edition, elevates bespoke attention to the next level.
The collaboration with the venerated British gunmaker is finished
in Holland & Holland’s signature green custom paint formulation,
and features an interior swathed in deep espresso and tan leather,
the buttery hide covering acres of cabin including the dashboard,
doors, and transmission tunnel. French walnut-veneer trim accents
the interior and comes from a single piece of wood, much like the
stocks on a pair of oil-rubbed Holland & Holland rifles or shotguns.
To further advance the brand messaging, the Holland & Holland
logo can be found carved into the console, intricately engraved onto
pull handles along with an acanthus scroll design, embroidered on
seats, and on door and tailgate badges. There are deployable walnut tables in the reclining Executive Class seats in the back, as well
as a 29-speaker Meridian Audio stereo and interior mood lighting.
The most singular element of the Holland & Holland Range Rover
edition, however, is the aluminum rifle and shotgun cabinet tucked
in the trunk. The leather-trimmed locker is lined in matching espresso
Alcantara, and is custom-built to neatly store a pair of firearms for
weekend trips into the misty countryside. Harris Tweed hunting
jackets are not included. —NS
THE DAWN OF THE LUXURY SUV
After decades of relative global dominance, Land Rover knew it was
time to make its next sketch in the sand, and the company’s inner circle
set out to develop a more civilized utility vehicle. Under the leadership
of Gordon Bashford and Charles Spencer “Spen” King, Land Rover
began experimenting with a more comfortable, car-like vehicle that still
offered all the off-road capability of the Land Rover. A decade earlier
Bashford had experimented with one that used Rover’s station wagon as its
base, but that experiment halted in 1958. In 1966, it began anew.
Regardless of Land Rover’s worldwide success, in America Jeep
was king. And as the 1960s wore on other proto-SUVs, like the International Harvester Scout, Ford Bronco, and Chevy Blazer, were also
making noise, and, on the U.S. market, were presumably doing so for
far less money than the British product. So under the code name Velar
(derived from the Latin for “to veil” or “to cover”), Bashford, King,
and company built 26 prototypes, camouflaged at the time to
hide them not only from nosy pedestrians but also dubious Rover
board members.
Finally, in June of 1970, Land Rover unveiled the Range Rover.
Bearing an unrivaled suspension of long-travel coil springs, permanent
four-wheel drive with a vacuum-operated center differential, a 215-cubicinch V-8, and safety technology such as disc brakes and seat belts, the
Range Rover—much like its Land Rover predecessor—revolutionized the
automotive landscape. For the first time, a truly capable off-road vehicle
boasted car-like handling and manners.
The simple, clean-line design of the Range Rover was so revolutionary that it garnered awards and was displayed at the Louvre as a totem of
superb design. When the Range Rover was finally introduced to the
United States in March of 1987, it offered real luxuries—novel in a truck—
like power seats, a leather-swathed interior, wood trim, and a premium
stereo. The age of the luxury SUV was born.
In front of the Packington Estate, the Range Rover Sport (left) and the Range Rover (right) flank the 1948 Land Rover Series I Amsterdam
Motor Show vehicle, one of the first Land Rovers and an inspiration for its successors, including the current model lineup.
Opposite: The Spectre Defender was built by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations department. It was then sent to Land Rover
specialist tuning company Bowler, which boosted the power and suspension and fit massive 37-inch tires.
T H I S S P R E A D A N D F O L LOw I N G S P R E A D : CO U RT E SY O F R A N G E ROV E R
Land Rover rolled off the assembly line, and by April 1966 sales had
doubled to a half million.
“It actually started off as a tool. And I think this is important to
understand: The undisputable emotional connection that people
have with Land Rover is not necessarily because the car is so special
mechanically or technically, but it is because of what memories they
have with the car,” says Hannig. “The Land Rover is the car that
people learned to drive in on their farms, that rescued them from
lions in water holes, that actually brought the help when they were
in trouble and rescued them out of the snow. It’s the Land Rover
that did it.
“So this emotional love affair people have with Land Rover is
all about what you can do through one. The car is a pretty rough tool,
and it always was a pretty rough tool.” Hannig pauses for a moment,
before adding: “All that changed with the Range Rover; that is a
different animal.”
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D E C E m b E r 2 017
maxim.com
ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION
Now with its latest clean-sheet model, Range Rover segues into a new
phase in its design paradigm. With the Velar—named in homage to those
first veiled prototypes—the goal of Land Rover’s chief design officer, Gerry
McGovern, was to modernize the brand’s DNA, in the truest sense of the
word. In the vein of modernism, which transformed the visual language
of architecture, furniture design, fine art, fashion, music, and more in the
mid-20th century, McGovern embodied the philosophy by reducing
the Range Rover’s aesthetics to only the most necessary elements.
Unnecessary lines were deleted, extraneous bells and whistles removed;
the Velar is Range Rover distilled into its purest form. “Everything is left bare,
carved from the solid; it’s more about taking what you’ve got and honing them
to precision,” says McGovern of the Velar, and more holistically of Range
Rover’s reductionist mandate. And one can expect that as each model evolves
into its next generation, this modernization will work its way across the Range
Rover landscape. Might the already gorgeous Evoque be next?
But don’t get it twisted: The Velar is not a precious objet d’art. “My
job as the sort of spiritual leader of the brand is not just about where I’m
taking the brand visually. When it comes to design it isn’t just about the
appearance; it’s about the way it functions, it’s about the versatility, it’s about
the way you use the vehicle. Design and engineering are at one,” McGovern
argues. As McGovern is aware, design may be the most salient factor in
Range Rover’s newest, shiniest model, but it is hardly the most important
one. Those who know what defines a Land Rover—well, they know. They
look at any Range Rover and see right past the sumptuous leather and
walnut comforts, the intricately knurled aluminum switchgear, high-tech
gadgetry, and other indulgences, and see instead a tool of great utility. One
that was engineered not with luxury as its sole motivation but rather an
undying directive to be the most useful, dutifully capable, and unstoppable
off-road vehicle on the planet. And while it’s unlikely most will ever know
about Maurice Wilks and his sketch on that soggy Welsh sand, they most
definitely will feel his mandate.
The most recent offering from the British automaker, the Range Rover Velar fits between the entry-level Evoque
and the Range Rover Sport in the brand’s current lineup, positioning the company as a strong contender for
superiority in the luxury SUV category that features competitors like the BMW X5 and the Porsche Macan
PORTFOLIO
master plan
Bruno Bisang has accomplished what he set out to do at 19: become a legendary photographer
Te x t b y K EI T H G O R D O N P h o t o g ra p h e d b y B RU N O B I S AN G
m
any top photographers come to their calling via a combination of curiosity, exploration, and luck that turns a hobby
into a career. There’s no plan, and the route to a life behind
the lens is circuitous. Not so for Bruno Bisang.
Born and raised in a picturesque small town in the Italian-speaking
region of Switzerland, Bisang attended photography school in Zurich.
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D E C E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
He then landed an apprenticeship before becoming a freelancer in 1979.
“I was inspired by the Italian films of the ’50s,” he says. “One day I just said
to myself, Let’s go and try.”
What followed was four decades of fruitful work in genres spanning
beauty and fashion to automotive and portraits. Now in his mid-60s, Bisang
has shot for magazines including Cosmopolitan and Photo and for brands
slug here
HEADLINE TK
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Te x t b y t k n am e
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Model: Alyssa Miller @luvalyssamiller.
Opposite: Model: Elsa Hosk @hoskelsa
74
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v E m b E r 2 017 maxim.com
Caption info here
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Fashion credit,
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P h o t o g ra p h e d b y t k n am e
such as Chanel, Givenchy, Ford, and Triumph. He has established a reputation as someone capable of sculpting any photographic project. But he’s best
known for his portraits of models. “I like to work across a larger spectrum,
but I’m faithful to images of sensuality…I love to photograph women.”
Though he has worked with some of the industry’s most celebrated
models, Bisang is just as comfortable with unknown or up-and-coming
subjects. “I have an image in my head [before the shoot], but I also allow
space for improvisation,” he says. “I cultivate a set with relaxed music and an
intimate atmosphere.”
Crucial to capturing a memorable image is a partnership and trust
between photographer and model. “I believe respect for the model is everything, so I try to involve the model in the shoot as a partner,” Bisang says. He
feels this not only puts the subject at ease but makes it easier for him to balance
the need for sexuality with a desire to avoid gratuitous or objectifying images.
Bisang has spent nearly 40 years working his way to the top of his
industry. But for a man with a plan, he takes a rather laissez-faire attitude
toward his future subjects. “I have no idea,” he confesses. “I just follow what
my inner voice says to me.”
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017 75
maxim.com
j u n E / j u l y 2 017 77
Previous spreads:
Boots, DR. MARTENS
(worn throughout).
Jeans, HUDSON.
This page: Blanket,
NAKED CASHMERE.
Hair and makeup,
Tina Lipman.
MOTO
THE FRENCH
CONNECTION
How Midual crafted one of the world’s best motorcycles
Te x t b y K EI T H G O R D O N
M
ost vehicle makers design their products based on their
customers’ needs. But some companies—Bentley, RollsRoyce, Bugatti—build to let their customers experience
what is possible. In the motorcycle realm, this crown is
worn by French motorcycle builder Midual and its roughly $185,000 Type 1.
The long-awaited offering from Midual, cofounded in 1997 by
Frenchman Olivier Midy, is a new benchmark in performance and design. Midy
is of the belief that brand identity is
first and foremost an engine, and the
rest of the bike is there to serve it.
A lover of big two-cylinder engines,
Midy was intrigued by the potential
of a flat engine, with its balance and
reliable performance. In
2007 he tested his
own flat-twin engine, tilted down 25 degrees, mounted parallel to the
road, and attached via a chain drive. The result is a balanced setup with
an output of 106 hp at 8,200 rpm, and 93 Nm of torque at only 5,500 rpm.
Once Midy had created his dream engine, he needed to craft the
chassis, a process that took at least five years. The result is a doublewall aluminum alloy monocoque that serves not only as the frame but as
the fuel tank as well. Suspension is entrusted to the experts at Öhlins, while
the brakes, two four-piston calipers up front and a two-piston caliper
at the rear, are sourced
from industry leader
Brembo. The production run is short—
just 16 units are currently in
the works—so move fast;
this bike is worth
the price tag.
cOuRTEsy Of mIDual
TITAN
THE
HOUSTON
ROCKET
Tilman Fertitta talks to Maxim about building his
business empire, his commitment to customers, and
his latest acquisition—a star-studded NBA team with
stratospheric ambitions
T
ilman Fertitta is a relentlessly civic-minded businessman
and TV celebrity who could probably win the mayor’s job in
Houston if he wanted it. But why downgrade? Fertitta owns
the new Post Oak tower going up and the luxury hotel and
Rolls-Royce showroom that will reside there. He owns the city’s
aquarium. He owns the Kemah Boardwalk amusement park south
of Houston. He’s chairman of the University of Houston System Board
of Regents. His company, Fertitta Entertainment, owns more than
500 restaurants both locally and nationally, including Landry’s, Mastro’s,
Rainforest Café, Morton’s the Steakhouse, and Bubba Gump Shrimp
Co. And in his spare time he stars in his own reality TV show on CNBC,
Billion Dollar Buyer.
The show’s title became even more fitting when Fertitta wrote a
check for a reported $2.2 billion to buy the Houston Rockets of the NBA,
the highest price ever paid for a basketball team. He bought the Rockets
because he’s a lifelong fan. And because, well, he really wanted to own
them. “I knew where the ballpark [was],” he says, referring to the other
bidders. “And I knew this is what it was going to take to buy it. I was going
to buy this basketball team and that’s it, period.”
Buying the Rockets was even more satisfying for Fertitta considering
that he was outbid when the team came up for sale almost 25 years ago.
He wasn’t going to come up short again, even if he had to spend an extra
$100 million or so to win. “You gotta remember the New York Yankees
sold for $10 million in [1973] and the Cowboys sold for $140 million in the
[late ’80s],” he explains. In other words, major sports franchises never go
down in value. Still, he reasons, baseball is history—and the NFL is now
iffy. Basketball is youthful and global. “If you try to look into the future
10 years, 20 years, 50 years,” he says, “I think the best franchise to own in
America today is an NBA team.”
Fertitta brings to the Rockets his rare mix of determination, skill, and
work ethic. His company—restaurants, hotels, casinos, amusement parks,
an aquarium, and other assorted assets—will bring in almost $4 billion in
revenue. He’s also an active philanthropist: He recently donated $1 million
to a Hurricane Harvey relief fund, and in 2016 he gave $20 million to the
University of Houston to help transform its basketball arena.
Fertitta was in some ways born for business. He grew up in the
restaurant his father owned, learning from the ground up. Although he
could do everything from peeling shrimp to loading in the fish order, he
realized he had a head for numbers. By the time he was a teenager he knew
he could run the family business. His ambition was bigger, though. After
dropping out of business school (he says it didn’t have much to teach him),
he borrowed $6,000 to invest in a seaside hotel in Galveston, Texas.
Te x t b y B I L L S AP O R I TO
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A few years later, the savings and loan crisis hit Texas-based banks
extra hard and leveled the real estate industry. Fertitta took the
opportunity to buy out his partners. “When the world fell apart in Texas
in the ’80s,” he says, “when I bought my partners out, I said, ‘I think I will
start building restaurants—since you won’t be building any.’ ”
It would become a pattern that served him well. When the economy
tanked, Fertitta would be on hand to soak up risk as if it were Gulf
sunshine. “When things are really good, we forget they’re ever going
to be bad again,” he says. “And when things are really bad, we forget
they’re going to be good again.” And in 2008 and 2009, things were really
bad. By then, Fertitta’s outfit, Landry’s Inc., was a public company, and
the stock, like many others, had been hard hit. Increasingly, CEOs had
been subject to close scrutiny under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Fertitta
had had enough. “You’re the majority owner of the company still, even as
a public company, and all the auditors wanted to do was look at my
American Express bill,” he says. “It just didn’t make any sense, and I
just said, ‘This is ridiculous.’ The stock had fallen. And I said, ‘I’m just
gonna take it private and own it 100 percent again.” So Fertitta bought
the company back to become sole owner, winning a lengthy battle.
In addition to building more Landry’s locations, Fertitta continued
to acquire struggling restaurant companies: Joe’s Crab Shack in 1994;
Crab House restaurants in 1996; Rainforest Café in 2000; Muer seafood restaurants, Chart House, and Saltgrass Steak House in 2002.
There would be a lot more over the next decade, including high-end
places such as Morton’s the Steakhouse, Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse,
Brenner’s Steakhouse, Grotto, and La Griglia. Last year, he bought
New York City’s BR Guest restaurants.
Fertitta made a big leap in 2005, buying the Golden Nugget
Casino in Las Vegas. The logic is simple: It’s the big-box theory.
“If you’re gonna do 50 restaurants that do $5 million each, that
make a million each, you gotta go out and find 50 general managers,
50 locations. Takes a lot of corporate support. You go out and you
do one casino, it’s one general manager that does it and it does
$250 million and it makes $50 million.” And you can also install your
$5 million-a-year restaurants in them. He would expand Golden
Nugget to five locations, including Atlantic City, where he bought out
the struggling Trump Marina casino and turned the property into a
thriving Golden Nugget.
There are no spare customers. This is the mantra by which Fertitta
operates and the essence of his management style. You are either gaining
customers or losing customers, so everything you do as a business has
to be focused on them. As a manager, Fertitta continues to be obsessed
with details. “You teach the culture—there’s no spare customers—and you
pay attention to the details, and you set a strategy and a culture for your
company. But you can’t micromanage when you’re this big. I’m not out
over there picking out the fish,” he chuckles.
The same will apply to the Rockets, who have one of the
best operations in the NBA but also the misfortune of being in
the same division as the league champion Golden State Warriors.
On the other hand, the Rockets have just added the standout guard Chris
Paul, who joins the all-galaxy James Harden in the Rockets’ backcourt.
It will at least make the playoffs more interesting, and Houston
expects to be there. “It’s nice to have a James Harden and a Chris Paul,”
says Fertitta. “This is a superstar league. If you don’t have a superstar, you’re not getting to the playoffs and you’re not getting past the
first round of the playoffs.”
And if the Rockets should need to sign a third superstar
to get them up to championship level, they know that the guy
holding the checkbook will add another zero if he has to. Because
in 10 years fans might forget whatever it is that Fertitta spent to get
the team, the players, and the arena. But they always remember
the championships.
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Fertitta’s company—which includes restaurants, hotels,
and casinos—brings in almost $4 billion in revenue
P R E V I O U S S P R E A D A N D T H I S S P R E A D : T I m PA N N E L L / f O R B E S
cO L L E cT I O N /cO R B I S V I A g E T T y I m Ag E S
ADVENTURE
AIR
RAIDER
When bankrupted airlines, corrupt dictators, and broke money managers stop paying
for their jumbo jets, expect to see Nick Popovich—the world’s top airplane repo man
s av e r i o t r u g l i a
Te x t b y er i C s P i tZN ag el
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airplane hangar in Joliet, Illinois, puffing on a cigar as big as a baby’s arm.
Popovich is a repo man who deals exclusively in planes, helicopters, and
private jets. The harrowing ordeal in Haiti may have been more than 30
years ago, but he’s had no shortage of misadventures and near misses since
then. Tapping into a database of 4,000-plus pilots ready to fly for him at a
moment’s notice, Popovich estimates that he and his team have repossessed
more than 1,800 fixed and rotary planes since 1979 and made millions in
revenue, while somehow managing to repeatedly cheat death. In a field with
very little competition—Popovich claims there are maybe four other plane
repo companies in the world—he’s become the most successful guy in a
career that didn’t technically exist until he started doing it.
Popovich never planned on repoing planes for a living. He got his
pilot’s certificate when he was just 16, because his father told him it “might
come in handy.” In the late ’70s, he cofounded a small airline called Liberty
but soon learned it wasn’t his cup of tea. “I was bored out of my mind,”
he says. But then he got a call from a banker friend looking for a favor.
“Somebody stopped making payments on their Boeing 747s and parked
them in Sri Lanka,” Popovich says. “My friend asked me if I’d go get them.
I’d never done anything like that before, but what the hell. It sounded
like a real adrenaline rush.”
Popovich brought back the planes, and after realizing the number of
zeros on his paycheck amounted to much more than anything he was
Co u rt e sY o F t H e sag e - P o P ov i C H F i l e s
N
ick Popovich woke up with two black eyes, several missing
teeth, and no shoes or wallet. His face was swollen “to the size
of a watermelon” and he was pretty sure he had a few broken
ribs. To make matters worse, he was in a Haitian prison.
How Popovich ended up there was a long story. He’d come to Port-auPrince, Haiti’s hard-bitten capital, to track down a Boeing 720 jet owned
by a small Caribbean airline. The company had skipped a few payments,
and their lender, a U.S. bank, had hired Popovich to repossess it. Though
the plane was only worth $600,000, the airport manager in Port-au-Prince
demanded a million in “service fees.” Popovich tried to make a late-night
getaway without paying, but a jeep full of kids with machine guns stopped
him on the runway and, in his words, “beat the crap out of me.”
Popovich might still be in that prison today, if not for some fortuitous
timing. Just a few weeks into his prison stay, there was an uprising in Haiti
and President Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was overthrown. Port-auPrince erupted into anarchy, and one of the rioters ran into the prison and
opened all the cell doors. In the ensuing chaos, Popovich and the other prisoners made their escape. He walked several miles barefoot to a Sheraton
hotel, called a pilot friend with a Learjet in the U.S. to fly out and get him,
and then stole a courtesy van to get to the airport. “I showed up in Florida
with no shoes and no passport,” he laughs. “But I was alive.”
It’s easy for Popovich to joke about it now, as he lounges in an
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earning at the time, decided it might be time for a career change. “My mind
was made up,” he says. “This is what I wanted to do with my life.”
For the past four decades, Popovich and his team have repossessed
planes on every continent—an average of 12 to 15 per year, with planes valued
at anywhere between $1 million and $30 million—and they’ll go just about
anywhere as long as the price is right.
A plane repo isn’t all that different from a car repossession. Somebody
takes out a loan to buy a fancy mode of transportation, then realizes they can’t
afford it and stops paying their lender. That’s when Popovich is brought in
to retrieve the asset. He charges between $25,000 and $250,000, depending
on the size of the plane, the danger involved—and how much he likes you.
More than half of the planes Popovich repossesses are from certified
airlines, either small charter companies or commercial airlines on the verge
of bankruptcy. The rest are either corporate or personal plane owners who
invested beyond their means. The clients are almost always investment
firms or banks, like Transamerica Corporation and Citibank, looking to cut
their losses on a bad investment.
Popovich’s business ebbs and flows, depending on the economy. When
times are good and people can pay their bills, he doesn’t get as many calls.
During the 2008 recession, business was booming. But lately, despite
a strong economy in 2017, Popovich says he’s been busier than usual. “It’s
been picking up,” he says. “It’s the opposite of what we usually see. People are
too confident.”
In most cases, Popovich says, the hardest part of a repo job is just
making sure you show up with all the paperwork. If you’ve got the right
documentation and lease terminations, usually nobody will try to stop you.
But every once in a while, you get a pissed-off hedge fund trader with an
Uzi—a real scenario Popovich once encountered.
He has a seemingly endless supply of movie-worthy stories. The only
place he won’t return is the Democratic Republic of Congo, in central
Africa. “We repo’d the president’s [Gulfstream II] jet while his wife was
shopping in Switzerland,” Popovich says. “He wasn’t really happy about
that. There’s still a death warrant out for me there, so I don’t want to
take any chances.”
He’s repossessed planes from New York mobsters, Ponzi scheme
money managers (like Arthur G. Nadel, who fleeced investors out of
$162 million), and well-armed white supremacists in South Carolina, who
held a gun to his head and threatened to “blow my fucking head off ” when
he tried to repossess their Gulfstream II jet. (Popovich ignored their
warnings and took the plane anyway. One of his rules is “If a guy says
he’s going to shoot you, he’s not going to shoot you.”)
He was also put in chains after trying to repossess a Boeing MD-81
from French jewel magnate François Arpels, who had launched his own
charter service, called Fairlines, but didn’t pay off the planes. Popovich
called to try and work out a deal, but Arpels purportedly scoffed at him,
saying, “I’m François Arpels and this is Paris. You will never find the plane.”
Popovich responded with, “Frankie, it’s all but gone.” (Arpels “hated that I
called him Frankie,” Popovich says.)
Popovich soon found the Boeing parked at Charles de Gaulle airport,
but ignored a judge’s orders taped to the cockpit, grounding the plane
because of unpaid fuel bills. He was stopped by airport cops before he could
take off. After spending the night in a cell, he told a French magistrate, “It
was written in French, so I didn’t think it was important.” (He was soon
released and escorted back to the States.)
Now 65, he’s not in mortal danger as regularly as he once was, but his job
still has the crackle of rogue excitement. His hangar is buzzing with activity
as full-time employees and freelance pilots refuel his Hawker jet for an upcoming flight. Popovich has two planes always at the ready, a Hawker 700A
and a Challenger 601-3A/ER, that can cross the Atlantic. Popovich sits at
a table right in the middle of the action, oblivious to the roar of jet engines,
and flips through a big folder filled with info on his loyal and pending clients.
These days, he’s expanded his business—which is called “Sage-Popovich
Inc.” even though Sage, one of his ex-wives, no longer co-runs the business—
to include more than just repossession. The firm sells airplane parts, offers
airline management consulting, and runs a charter operation, including free
flights for post-9/11 military veterans. But repossession is still their number
one service. While Popovich could easily stay in his hangar, counting the
money that comes pouring in, he still enjoys the thrill of the hunt. Sometimes he’ll do a repo “just because it’s going to be fun,” he says.
Just a few months ago, he was hired to pick up a Hawker in West Palm
Beach, Florida, and the owner took off before Popovich could get a court
order. “He called the client and said, ‘When your guy wants to learn how to
repo an airplane, tell him to give me a call.’ That pissed me off.” Popovich
put the word out with his numerous airport contacts, and soon learned that
the plane had been spotted in Fairhope, Alabama. Popovich flew down and
grabbed it within a few hours. “The first thing I did was get on the guy’s
airphone and call him up,” Popovich says. “I said, ‘Hey, guess what? This
is Nick Popovich. Turns out I don’t need your repoing course, cause I’m
sitting on your airplane and you’re paying for this call.’ ”
Earlier this year, Popovich was given one of the highest honors of his
profession, the Living Legends of Aviation award. It’s like the Pulitzer Prize
S U B S C R I B E TO
F O R A S LO W A S $ 1 . 2 5
AN ISSUE
G O TO
M A X I M .C O M
for pilots, with a very small and iconic list of honorees that includes Buzz
Aldrin, Sir Richard Branson, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, and Bob
Hoover. In a ceremony last January at the Golden Globes Ballroom in
Beverly Hills, Popovich received the rare accolade before an audience that
included Harrison Ford and John Travolta.
Popovich scoffs at the idea of retiring. “I’m in this business till I die.
I’ve got four ex-wives—I’m working till I’m dead,” he jokes. “I don’t want to
retire, but I’ve got grandkids now. I kinda like being the guy who says, ‘Hey,
kids, let me take you to Paris and show you where your grandpa was in jail.’ ”
maxim.com
D E C E m b E r 2 017 92
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