In Conversation With

LAURENT LECAMP | Independent Luxury

Santiago In Conversation With December 9, 2017


Why did you decide to write a book about independent luxury brands?

There are numerous publications about the big luxury groups. There is also an abundance of literature about the history of luxury. But, strangely, there is nothing about independent luxury brands, nor about their different approaches, innovations, difficulties, successes or failures…But can we really think about luxury without talking about these independent companies that take risks and are incubators?

Independent Luxury is the first book in the world that deals exclusively with independent luxury brands.

With my co-author and very close friend, Jonas Hoffmann, we decided to study independent luxury brands from very different fields: gastronomy, automobiles, jewellery, watchmaking, fashion accessories… These brands all possess what we summarize in our book as the BA2RE approach.

Would you please explain to us the BAARE philosophy?

B for BELIEVING – this is the passion inherent in an individual that creates his or her brand.It is a vital force that you can neither buy nor create. Either it is there… or it is not.

This first stage shows the strength of an entrepreneur who has to have enough self-confidence to create what he wants rather than what his customer (or sometimes his investor!) wants. Remember the famous quote from Henry Ford: “If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse!”

A for ANTICIPATING – this is the very clear vision that an independent brand needs to have of how the market, the environment and the competition will evolve. It’s a question of keeping in tune with the times and future developments.

A for ACTING – then it is a question of getting down to action and launching your products on the different target markets, at the same time developing the resources, competence and processes that this requires.

R for REACHING – this is not about reaching the end consumer but the “fan” or future fan of the product, the person who will like the brand, its products and who will be a genuine ambassador for the brand. In this case, it’s the emotional factor that is key.

E for ENDURING – this is a question of ensuring that the brand can develop and gain strength over time.

Do you think that it could apply to luxury groups as well?

Of course!

The majority of brands which belong to luxury groups were initially independent brands and/or family brands which were subsequently bought out.

For brands belonging to groups though, the most difficult thing, in my view, is being able to give full effect to BELIEVING. Since the founder is rarely still involved after a luxury brand is acquired by a group, it is essential to breathe passion and belief into the brand and the product. How can this be done? Extra special care must be taken in selecting the CEO and the management team. You need people who are passionate and motivated, who are sincere in their desire to stay with the company over the medium and long terms; key people who can identify with the product, and take ownership of it as if they had developed or invented it themselves. They need to “bleed” passion, because this passion will subsequently spread throughout the company’s “arteries”, “contaminating” every team member, every employee. As a result, each one of them will become an ambassador for the brand. It is the concept of BELIEVING which gives meaning and establishes an emotional connection with future buyers of a brand.

In this respect, it is relevant to talk about millennials and generation Z, audiences which are of key concern to luxury brands. These generations are first and foremost seeking an experience, an emotion, a meaning – ahead of the product. BELIEVING therefore becomes critical to understanding this target group, too.

In your view, what are the main qualities that an entrepreneur or CEO needs to possess?

Both entrepreneurs and CEOs must be passionate, and they absolutely must have a presence in their markets!

I’ve seen a lot of luxury brands where the CEOs don’t know their markets and don’t know their business partners, because they travel so little. This is a serious mistake in my opinion.

If you agree with the idea that everything starts with BELIEVING, then it is only logical to share your passion with others. You have to “contaminate” them. A CEO, just like an entrepreneur, is the key person who can do that. Someone like Jean-Claude Biver – who needs no introduction – is a fantastic example. He spends a huge amount of his time traveling and sharing his passion and enthusiasm in a way few people know how to do.

We work in a sector where human relationships are a vital part of developing our businesses. The worst thing that a brand can do is to cut business travel during a period of crisis. This makes utterly no sense: it is precisely in such difficult times that markets have most need of reassurance and support.

I personally devote an average of nearly 60% of my time to professional travel so that I can meet my business partners (retailers, department stores, duty free stores, etc.), journalists, bloggers and private clients. These relationships sometimes become something so special that the contacts you make will stay with you throughout your career and, in some cases, your life.

Finally, knowing the Japanese and Russian markets as well as you know the Indian market, for example, gives an enormous advantage in terms of both product development and anticipating trends. But also and above all – and this is a point which is frequently forgotten – if you know the sales teams in your markets (including those of your local partners) and if you treat them with respect and consideration, this can be an incredible driver of success.

This takes time, but nothing sustainable has ever been built in the blink of an eye.

The last point I want to make is this: if there is an investor behind the CEO or entrepreneur, it is essential that he or she has a long-term vision for building the business, and gives the person establishing and developing the brand time to do so. Here too, there is no room for haste in the world of luxury brands.

We heard that you are also a lecturer. Is that correct?

Absolutely. In particular, I teach on master’s degrees focused on luxury brands and other specialist training courses (new trends, intercultural differences, etc.) in Switzerland, France, the UK and China. In recent months, I have had the opportunity to give lectures at EDHEC Business Schools, SKEMA Business School and CREA in Geneva. In 2016, Jonas Hoffmann and I spoke at the LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION. And I’m currently pursuing discussions about a new project for the end of this year.

Through teaching in several languages in a variety of countries, I’m able to stay constantly active in the various sectors of the luxury industry: watches, of course, but also accessories, jewellery, wines and spirits, and even cosmetics. It allows me to conduct ongoing research into both current and future trends.

Which functions do you have now?

Having been the co-founder and CEO of Cyrus, I was able to join Carl F. Bucherer, and I am now the company’s Executive Vice President for Sales, CEO Japan and a Board Member.



Tell us more about your philosophy of life? Is it based on the BAARE philosophy as well?

Naturally! Those who know me know that I am a hugely passionate person.

Without passion, man does not amount to much.

Everything starts with BELIEVING. If you get up in the morning and you don’t feel this force within you, then you are not on the right path.

What we get out of life is directly proportionate to what we ourselves put in it.

You have sold and developed luxury products in more than 70 countries… Do you have any particular anecdotes you can share with us, something special for our readers?

At a watch fair (there were about 40 brands exhibiting), a small boy aged about seven or eight went around the stands asking questions. None of the brands took the time to give him any answers. This little boy came over to my stand and asked me to explain to him one of the products I was exhibiting. He asked so many questions that I ended up spending more than 40 minutes with him! Well, there is no need to tell you that the other brands thought I was being ridiculous spending so much time with a little boy. Why bother?

This same little boy came back to my stand a few hours later, accompanied by his father. His father told me that he had been surprised by the extremely detailed explanations his son had given him and asked me if he could see a specific model, the one that had most impressed his son… It cost EUR 68,000. And he bought it from me!

That is a story worth reflecting on 😉

What should we be most afraid of in business?

Allow me to answer this one with another story.

There is a temple in Kyoto, Ryōan-ji, where there is a rock garden measuring 25 meters by 10 meters.

Whichever angle you view the garden from, you can only see 14 rocks, although there are actually 15. Business is a reflection of this garden. It is important to always be vigilant and not have too much confidence. There is always a rock missing, preventing us from seeing a clearer, more accurate picture. It follows that we must work constantly, be curious and humble, and know how to listen and observe. This applies not only to your own field – it is also important to take an interest in everything going on around you. You have to keep looking for that fifteenth rock.

Where does your incredible energy come from?

I have always been like this, I think, but I became even more energetic when someone close to me got sick.

I have no time to lose, so I embrace life to the fullest, with enthusiasm and passion. And I try to keep educating myself as much as possible. Learning provides sufficient satisfaction. I also think that energy levels maintain themselves when you expand the scope of what is possible and give yourself the time to do it. I learned Russian all by myself in eight years. I began to run short distances and now I am taking part in marathons and even trail and ultra-trail events. And tomorrow… let’s see what life brings.

Where will you be in ten years’ time?

I will be answering Ccercle’s question: tell us what you’ve been doing for the last ten years 😉

Welcome to Chloe -Jane’s World

Santiago In Conversation With July 6, 2017


Ah weekends, so many choices – so little time. How to spend that time is the question. Party at some of the world’s greatest clubs, rub shoulders with Lady Gaga at Tommy Hilfiger’s latest fashion show or get ready to attend that little event called the Grammys? Yes, well we’re all allowed to dream, all of course but Chloe-Jane, the rising DJ sensation of New York City. For thirteen-year-old Chloe, she does all of the above and more for her weekends.


At such a young age, Chloe has already found herself in a unique position of privilege. Not simply just down to her great pedigree, music genes and well versed connections, but also due to her own unique sense of hedonism, outstanding talent and charismatic “bubbly” charm. Well known throughout New York as the ‘cool girl on the block’, Chloe-Jane encapsulates every element of the iGeneration popular teen. Adorned for her chic sense of style, her unwavering glamour and access to some of the world’s most elite parties, Chloe already boasts a large social media and YouTube following.

But what else grants her such notability, you may ask? Well why don’t you give media guru Russell Simmons a call to ask? He is, after all, quite the fan. Not to mention the many iconic producers she’s working with such as Jellybean (John Benitez) who has worked with and produced for the likes of Madonna, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. Or the fact that she has already performed in St Barth’s and Ibiza’s most prestigious clubs hosted by A listers such as
Paris Hilton.

The fact of the matter is, whilst it would be easy to place all credit to this growing star’s shine on her expansive network of prominent musicians, she, unlike many other young fabulous girls of her generation, has managed to create a career for herself that, at this level and extent, nobody can create for you. Chloe-Jane has dedicated her life, education and general focus on the DJ industry. She works hard writing new material, learning new skills and challenging her advancements every day to create the substance she needs to back up the star sensation that keeps many of her fans captivated.

So Chloe, how did you find yourself professionally DJ’ing at such a
young age?

I come from a musical family. My parents love music – my mum used to be a saxophonist, my aunt is a professional singer. My whole family is involved in the industry some way or the other. I’ve been DJ’ing properly for over a year and a half. It started two summers ago during a trip to Ibiza, we’ve been going every summer since I was born and it is definitely one of the biggest music Islands in the world. Growing up there with music all around me, I had my ear open to the evolution of sounds. I started catching on and I was like this is really cool. So when I was twelve, my friend and mentor Jellybean Benitez, who is an absolute legend in the industry – he helped produce Holliday for Madonna and many more hits, recommended I go to Dubspot in New York. Dubstop is this great DJ school so I started taking lessons for a year and then the following summer I went back to Ibiza and just worked hard.

Would you say that being an American in a European landscape helped you nurture your talent and really jump start
your career?

Definitely. When I returned to Ibiza that following Summer after taking classes at Dubstop, I performed at charity events, kid’s parties and then I got this really big break- I was asked to perform at this club called Amnesia. Anyone who knows Ibiza knows that Amnesia is one of the biggest clubs and I was asked to perform at this event there, making me the youngest DJ to ever perform there. It so happened that Paris Hilton was hosting the party and came in the booth with me, it was such fun! From there on I got a few more gigs and got to perform at KM5, this really chic lounge in Ibiza. It was a family night so the vibe was really cool, it’s all a lot of fun.

So you got the chance to perform for Paris Hilton, not many 13 year olds can say that, tell us about some more of your impressive
audience members.

I also get a lot of work in St Barts. I often DJ in LeTi, in fact the last time I worked there was in December. DJ Cassidy came to see me, Russell Simmons which was really cool. And then the next night Russell had a party at Eden Rock and DJ Cassidy performed so they asked me to come and watch. DJ Cassidy said I did an amazing job and he really wants to help me in my career now. Kris Jenner also came to an event of mine at LeTi.

How does it feel to have these huge guests with all these high expectations on you?

I honestly just think of it as fun. I’m really young and I don’t even need to be doing all of this but it’s my passion, it’s simply what I love to do and I feel so blessed to be able to do it. It’s exciting when big guests are there but I’m never stressed because it is what I love to do.

What advice do you have to anyone young who wants to get into the music industry?

The balance is hard with school but if you love it, it’s worth it. Go to classes, if you can’t afford them then go to a DJ shop and just play with equipment. You have to practice. If you love what you do, practicing should be fun. Go out, hear music, listen, observe and learn. You need to soak up what’s around you, people would want to help if you show them
your interest.

Do you surround yourself with other young talented artists?

Yes, this year I started attending this school called the Professional Children’s School on 60th street, It’s a special school for dancers, actors, DJ’s/producers, singers etc. It’s given me a great opportunity to be surrounded by so many different types of talented people. Just in my friend groups alone I get to be around ballerinas, models, sports professionals, fellow musicians and actors, it really is great to be around such a diverse set of creatives. We all hang at lunch and learn so much about each other’s passions. And everyone works, my friend Lily is signed to Wilhelmina – just an example but everyone is so proactive.

How do you manage to keep the curriculum balance? It must be hard to juggle a career and schoolwork?

I have a totally normal school life, I do all the regular tests and get a ton of homework, like everyone else. Education is very important. But yes, balancing is important. I always have a lesson after school whether it could be singing, piano, dance or DJ’ing, I always have a lesson after. Then I do homework and get on with anything else I need to get done.

On top of all that you have quite the social media following, you engage with so many young people by inviting them into, what you call yourself on Instagram, Chloe-Jane’s World. What is it, you think captivates so many of your young followers to be so invested in your life?

My favourite thing is to interact with my followers. I love live streaming and speaking to them. A lot of them are my age or younger and they love seeing me reach for my dreams, it inspires them and they have a lot of questions. I like to talk with them, make friends with them and build strong relationships. The YouTube channel has also done well. The schools in New York are quite close so everyone knows each other so a lot of the kids my age in New York know me and follow or subscribe to me and from there it just grew really fast. It’s funny because I wouldn’t call myself a celebrity, but when I walk down the road I get kids running up to me like “You’re Chloe-Jane!” because they know me from online. I think they follow me for my music and style. I love fashion, I have a chic yet fun and bubbly style.

So tell us, what has 2017 got in store for Chloe-Jane?

Well, as a singer, I’ve been working on my own music. I just worked with this group of producers called The Eleven. I just did two songs with them. They also just finished with Meghan Trainor, they are the best I absolutely love them. I also met producers in Ibiza who helped me put together six new songs. We had a studio built in our house in New York so I am just constantly making music. I’m currently taking meetings in LA. A couple production companies are interested in doing a Chloe’s World show. I’m also going to be taking meetings with record companies that are interested in my music. But for this weekend, I’m just excited to attend the Grammy’s and have my photos taken on the red carpet, that should be really fun!


Santiago In Conversation With December 2, 2016


Born in Los Angeles, of Armenian and Lebanese descent, a lifetime of travel has inspired designs that capture the motivations and passions of the modern woman. channeling feminine simplicity for any occasion, ease of movement, enjoyment and comfort are fundamental characteristics behind every piece.

Education and Career

I was born in Los Angeles but raised in London where I went to school. I would always go back and fourth to LA for vacation as it was like my second home, which I think has really influenced my character and style.

After graduating from high school, I went to the European Business school in Regents Park, London and studied business for 2 years until I realised it was not my true passion. I then went to GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and studied diamond and jewellery design. I learned about diamond grading, different types of stone and everything you could possibly want to know about jewellery. From there I did a few years of custom jewellery design for high profile and high-end clients. I would be approached to create and source pendants and all types of jewellery. I would have total control to design, choose precious stones and use my imagination to create some really
beautiful pieces.

I would only ever use precious stones and precious metals and would create really simple, elegant and classic pieces, rather than costume jewellery. I am allergic to the nickel used in costume jewellery so it wasn’t really an option to me to wear myself. Exquisite luxury jewellery has a style and quality I just adore. This is reflected in my choice of fabrics and style of clothing within my collection today, where I use very high quality fabrics that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also luxurious to touch on the skin.


Growing up I was always into fashion. I would sit and read all the magazines and even from a young age I would look at outfits and clothing and would pick it apart and say how I would like to change it. I guess that has never changed since and that’s why I chose to create my own collection, where I could really design for myself and what I felt would make a woman feel sexy, confident but also comfortable. Even from a young age, every day before school I would dress my mum in her clothes and make her wear the outfits I chose to take me to school. I have been lucky enough to have been surrounded by beautiful clothing which has allowed me to have a good eye for it.

When it comes to jewellery, I have always loved art & art history. It was my favourite subject at school as it allowed me to be creative and allow my imagination to run free. I think I got that love from my dad who is a huge art collector and has a true appreciation for it. However, compared to my dad I have a much more relaxed approach in the way I create it. From a young age I’d always be sketching, painting and doodling in my own little world and from there I’d just come up with designs from my own imagination. To this day, that is how I create and design clothing and jewellery through free flow doodling.

Why Jewellery Design?

Even from the age of 2, I’ve always had a love for jewellery and sparkly things. My mom has the most beautiful jewellery collection that included timeless and one of a kind pieces that my dad designed just for her. When I was around 4, my mother had this gorgeous and very expensive ruby bracelet that I was obsessed with. So, for Christmas, she wanted to get a matching one for me, but tricked me with a less expensive one from Butler and Wilson. When I opened it, I immediately knew and told her I only wanted hers! I guess being involved in luxury jewellery was always meant to be.

For me, my love for jewellery is from the heart. I have a deep passion for it and it is not just about the materialistic aspects of it that makes me want it. My signature style is delicate, everyday wear with simple designs, and that is the same for my clothing. With my Siran collection, I wanted to incorporate soft, beautiful fabrics that look like jewellery, so you don’t necessarily need to wear jewellery with it.

Siran Collection

At the time, 5 years ago, there were so many new jewellery designers coming up, which made it quite difficult to truly establish myself as a designer. I’d love to go back to designing jewellery again in the future, but I do feel you can be more creative with fashion, which goes better with my free-spirited approach.   

With my collection, I designed clothes exactly how I would wear them and exactly how I wanted them to fall, to fit and to look. I would design everything that I could not find in store. With most of the big designers now being male, they don’t necessarily wear the clothes themselves so can’t experience how they feel on. The dresses they design are beautiful and appealing to the eye, but what is most important for me is what is comfortable as well. If you’re spending that kind of money on an evening gown, you don’t want the night to end just so you can take it off. You want it to be luxurious to touch and comfortable to wear day or night!

The name ‘Siran’ for the brand was the most difficult to choose and it actually took me a few months to finally make a decision on it. I didn’t want to use my own name initially because I was worried people would pronounce it incorrectly, or that it would seem a bit narcissistic. A couple of months later, once the collection was designed, I realized that the brand was so true to myself and everything I believed in that it made sense to name it Siran.


It is all based on my love for jewellery and my belief in always being comfortable in what you wear and in yourself. All the fabrics look like precious stones and metals. Beautiful to touch and to look at. They are simple, yet really eye-catching and classic. You can also mix and match the whole collection, dress it up or down, plus it’s multi-seasonal. I believe a collection should be timeless and classic, and I wanted women to be able to wear it at all times and all occasions.

Has it always been an interest of yours to have your own business?

It’s really important to me to be true to myself and genuine in anything I do and I think that’s what really drove me to want to start my own business. I am very independent and I have my own style and like to do things my own way. I think I have also got that drive and determination from my dad, who was a businessman himself. I have a fierce, entrepreneurial side to me, which my dad passed on and has really influenced how I run my own business. In fact, my whole family are all strong individuals and are happy to express their views, so I don’t think I could run my business in any other way. My parents are so supportive to me and the brand. They know it is truly my passion, which is always important.

Personal Interests and Hobbies

I love going to shows and seeing the collections on the runways, but I would only attend the ones that truly appeal to me. I’m not so keen on the mayhem and craziness of the shows
and parties.

I love going to see art exhibitions and try to go to every new exhibition there is, whichever city or country I am in. I am involved in a lot of charity work, which I really enjoy. My parents have their own foundation and I often support Unicef too.

I’ve recently started travelling a lot and have taken the opportunity to see the world. When you go on family vacations as a child you only experience so much culture. Now as an adult, I love to travel and I really love to immerse myself in the culture of wherever I go.  Last November, I went travelling to Bali with my boyfriend and had the time of my life. I fell in love with the culture; the spirituality of the country and how carefree and humble everyone was. I felt I could really relate to the locals and loved being in such a beautiful environment. I stayed in Ubud, where it was less touristy so I could truly understand the Balinese way of living and I tried surfing for the first time. It was an incredible trip.

Yoga and Meditation

I love yoga and I love to meditate, which I believe is really important to get in touch with yourself and to be able to clear your head. I used to have a lot of anxiety and meditating and regularly doing yoga has definitely helped. I can leave a room for about half an hour and easily zone out and have some time to myself if I need to. It’s strange as my mind is constantly going and I’m always thinking non-stop, but to be able to zone out for a moment keeps
me sane!

Describe your own style and where you get your clothing

I would say my style is refined LA style, with a touch of European glamour. It is really influenced by my upbringing from living in between London and LA. I love the laid back, free-spirited LA look, but I like to always add a bit of luxury to my outfit. I literally live in jeans and t-shirts but the fabrics will always be sumptuous to refine my look. I love E-com and I mainly always shop online. Net-A-Porter is incredible; you can see everything right in front of you, see all designers and filter it if you know exactly what you want. I love how much variety there is online and I also hate trying clothes on, so the ease of sending things back is just amazing. It helps that I know what I like and I know what styles suit me, so it is much easier for me to
shop online.


I love attending the Unicef ball in the states, which is always such a great night and also for such an amazing cause. I support my parents foundation, where they help to support underprivileged children go to university around the world. I’ve also recently been asked to be on the board at UNICEF, which is really exciting. I try to do as much as I can to be involved in charities to help other less fortunate people out.

BIRTHDAY PARTY hosted in London

The week coming up to my birthday was really hectic, with people coming from all over the world to celebrate with me. I had a pre-party and was doing things with my friends and family the whole week so I didn’t really get the chance to properly think about my party.

When it came to the day of the party, it was everything I could have wanted. I had envisioned a Winter Wonderland, a happy place where people would be blown away and it would feel like you were in a different world. It was basically Narnia, which was amazing. I invited all my family and friends and we literally danced and partied all night. Even my parents stayed till 3am!

Because my party also fell on fashion week, everyone was in London for the week so many random people showed up to the party, which was hilarious. There were big celebrities there who gate crashed – It was so funny.

The highlight of my party was definitely when my younger brothers flew in from LA with his band and actually performed at the party. Everyone was loving the performance, dancing along. They had no idea that it was my brother! Watching him perform really inspired me to follow my dreams, like he had followed his.

I was in awe at how carefree and humble he was, and how focused he is on his work. He is honestly so talented and has the most incredible voice. My other brothers also gave the most beautiful speech, which truly meant so much to me. There was so much love and positivity in the room and I think that is why everyone had such a
great night. 


Santiago In Conversation With March 26, 2015

International Outlook

I was born in Siberia. Many people meet me and say SIBERIA!? In a way it makes me laugh. I can see and hear their curiosity. But of course, to me, Siberia was normality. As a child wherever you are it’s your life. You go to school like anywhere else and make friends.

On the other hand, I can’t pretend that life in Siberia under communism was exactly exciting. The ethos was to conform. Like every other schoolgirl of my generation I had to wear uniform and the red scarf. First I was a Young Pioneer and later part of the youth party, Komsomol. So for me moving to America was an amazing experience: I was still at an age where the unfamiliar is exciting rather than overwhelming. In your early twenties, it’s easy to make new friends and absorb new influences. Everybody is exploring themselves and life itself. So I just went with the flow. It felt very liberating. Or that’s how I remember it anyway.

Of course, it would have been quite different coming here if I’d been my parents’age or the age I am now. Even relocating back to Russia, for instance, seems now quite a challenge. I’m thinking of doing that for a few months as I’d like my son to explore his Russian side. But, ironically, it’ll be me who’s feeling a little bit strange.



I have insight into two different types of education, because I did my undergraduate work in Russia and then finished my education in the USA. There’s a substantial difference. I don’t think I’m biased but I would say that the Eastern European and Russian approach force you to make more of an effort. 

At the medical academy in Russia, the expectations were more exacting. First, in order to pass the exam, you absolutely have to attend the lectures. The professors present and explain the theory and then you have to synthesize it into essays. And when it comes to the examination, it’s essay-led. I found that fulfilling. You learn and then you answer and then you develop your own thoughts.

When I came to the USA I studied in New York. It was a real eye-opener. In the USA you get a lot of books. You then read them and then you get set multiple questions. I think that is more superficial.


My career

Both my parents are doctors and so it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps.

While I was at medical school, I specialized in obstretics and gynaecology. These are wonderful areas to specialize in because you are dealing with the wonder of the female body and the wonder of birth.

However, after I graduated, I took a slightly different course from what maybe even I had expected. I was becoming more and more interested in natural beauty and aging and I therefore applied to a very famous clinic in the USA called Path Medical. It specializes in anti-aging treatments and is reputed to be one of the best clinics not just in the USA but the world.

The clinic is famed for its use of blood analysis and the emphasis it puts on rebalancing the body’s natural resources. I ended up working with natural estrogen, progesterone, HGH and parathyroid hormones. So I’m still using my medical background but in a slightly different way from what I envisaged.

The decision to branch out into anti-aging medicine turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. Everything for me started to fall into place after that. Not only did I learn a lot, but it also introduced me to a new strata of society. It even ended up giving me my husband because he was thinking of investing in the clinic!


I’ve been extremely lucky in my life and of course I’m medically trained. So it’s only natural for me to be attracted to medical charities.

The one I’m most involved in is Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research. They hold two black tie events each year to raise money – one in New York and one in London. There’s always a very moving moment when a one minute silence is held for those who have died. The charity’s co-founder is Denise Rich whose daughter died of acute myeloid leukemia when she was very young. Denise has become a great friend of mine.

The charity engenders a huge amount of support. We do everything we can to make the event something people want to attend. For instance, we usually hold the events at Cipriani on Wall Street. I think it’s becoming a fixture on the New York calendar.

More recently I’ve set up a related charity called Angel Helpers. The idea behind this is to find people who will actually support those who have cancer.

My Wedding

As a girl my head was pumped full with Russian literature and poetry. I think that mental landscape gave me an abiding sense of the power of love. Like any bride, I wanted my marriage to be something my husband and I would remember for ever.

I was lucky because I was able to indulge my sense for the dramatic. We married in St Tropez – a place I absolutely adore. Everything about the day was special. I can’t really single out everyone who was there. But, naturally, we wanted to have a lot of our close friends there. They included Janna Bullock, Carol Asscher, Steven and Christine Schwartzman, Ivana Trump, Monica Bacardi, Nicolas Begruin, Len Blavatnik, Mark Rich, Denise Rich, Maria Buccelati, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Dibelius, Nathalie and Carl von Bismarck, Ranny Davidoff.

One of the two best men was Fawaz Gruosi. The name, Fawaz Gruosi, of course is special to many people in so far as they adore his jewellery designs. Artistically he’s got such a vivid imagination and a great sense of what women like.

But for me, he stands for something else altogether. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anyone more warm-hearted than he is. He’s taught me what friendship really means and been an excellent mentor to my son. He’s totally generous and sees the good in everyone. 

On Motherhood

The most magical moment for me was when 9 years ago there was a huge snow storm in NYC. My medical office closed early, so I went for a walk in the central park. Crowds of children were rushing about, hurling snowballs at each other and having fun. I love snow and I had one of those moments where you just feel supremely happy. That night, I discovered I was pregnant with my son. I’ll never forget that day.

Everyone says that children change you. In my case it’s been for the better. My son is mostly very mature for his age. The only thing is we’ve given him a taste for eating out at Cipriani. In a school essay, he recently wrote it was his favourite food. It’s not really surprising, we always go to their restaurants in other cities as well as New York.

Having a child has also made me much more aware about the underlying ingredients of our diet. There’s a huge debate about this rightly and I’m glad that at the Expo in Milan people are going to be looking at the meaning and importance of food in the twenty-first century. On a personal and professional level I worry about the overuse of pesticides. So I understand why Gwyneth Paltrow insists that her kids only eat organic food.

My social life has also turned into a profession – as I am now the Social Ambassador of Haute Living in New York. I have to say it’s probably one of the best jobs anyone could have. It means I get to go to the best parties in the world and then report back on them. It’s an extraordinary opportunity.

It’s not the sort of job you think you’re ever going to get. It’s yet one more benefit of having worked at such a famous clinic. My job led to me getting to know a range of people including Dee Hilfiger, Ivana Trump, Denise Rich. Really everything snowballed from there.

I started going to charity fund raisers and sitting on boards and, in the process, people who began as acquaintances became friends. Then, even better some of these friends, become close friends and even confidantes. I think to be surrounded by friends is the secret of happiness.

In the Party Spirit

Because I’m a social ambassador for Haute Living, a lot of people ask me what my favourite events have been.

Obviously you can throw small parties together very quickly but the larger the party,the more important planning becomes.

In certain seasons and on certain occasions, the degree of planning needs almost military precision. For instance, during the summer season at St Tropez, people book their schedules months in advance so as not to clash with one another.

I’m always impressed by the atmosphere in the Rivieria, Cannes and St Tropez. It may well be because I carry memories of The Great Gatsby in my head. Really no one celebrated the Côte d’Azur more tenderly than F. Scott Fitzgerald. From the glamorous summer season to the glittering guest list, it’s still his Riviera party that so many of us think about. I think that is particularly the case after last year film by Baz Luhrmann.

And, of course, the better the food, drink and décor, the more a party swings. But when all is said and done, it’s the guests who make a party come alive. They don’t have to be famous but they have to have a positive energy to them. I love it for instance when everyone makes the effort to dress up.

I always say that Andrea Dibelius has an amazing facility to throw memorable parties. Her 1000 people Love and Peace party is of organization. It’s super fun and she brings together the best DJs in Ibiza. It’s the kind of party where everyone dances till dawn. You just don’t want it to end.

Another consummate host is Tony Murray. The sit down dinner he gave for 400 people with fireworks afterwards was a spectacular event in so many ways. A very different affair – but one where every detail had been thought through – is Gihad Saad’s Arabian night party. He covers his whole property with Persian rugs and the food arrives as a procession with fireworks, belly dancers, and men carrying whole roasted lambs and pigs. When you first get to see it, it’s amazing.

In the end, however, if I had to single out one party, I’d probably select Carol Asscher’s unerring sense of style. She seems to get it right every time.

Health and Beauty

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more interested in what the Greeks already recognised: namely, that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind.

A positive outlook and healthy way really make you look and feel better. As someone who now works closely with cancer charities, I also believe that complementary therapies are an important weapon in the fight against cancer.

I do juicing every day and go to the gym whenever I can. Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve also been a keen runner. I find it a wonderful way to calm down. Once you get into a rhythm you almost go into another spiritual dimension. I love to run in New York Central Park and along Maimi beach – any beach in fact.

Down Time and Down Town

Because of being a social ambassador, it is really hard for me to separate my private life from my working life. On the other hand, everybody needs to have time and space to be with those who are closest to them without the pressure of being “on exhibition”

Robert and I love to eat out. For all sorts of reasons we love the Given an option I will always plump for somewhere like Cipriani. The great thing is that there are outposts dotted around the world. My son has followed my example. Rather amusingly, when asked at school to describe his favourite food, he simply wrote Cipriani! I’d say that’s better than just liking burgers. Our attitudes towards food are probably more those of French parents than American parents.

I’m extraordinarily lucky in another way. My girlfriend, Tina Storper, is onthe board of the Metropolitan Opera. This means she receives weekly tickets that give her access to the best seats. In Russia, I studied music and that interest has carried over into adulthood. I am a big fan of Italian operas and particularly love the work of Donizetti and Puccini.

My Fashion Sense

I get to attend quite a lot of fashion shows and that, naturally enough, influences what I wear. I particularly love Dolce & Gabbana clothes for their colors, flowers and prints. I find it very happy and feminine.

As an aside, I have to say that the Alta Moda runway event held each year by Dolce & Gabbana over a period of three days are quite extraordinary affairs as well as being beautifully organized.

I’ve attended their events in Sicily, Venice and in Capri. The planning and attention to detail is exquisite: they look after you in so many ways from picking you up at the airport to delivering surprise gifts to your bedroom. In addition the scheduled parties are out of this world.