Sailing With The Stars At St Barths Annual Bucket Regatta
Hollywood actor Chris Pine is running barefoot across the main deck of our superyacht chasing a stray straw boater that’s somersaulting in the salty Caribbean breeze.“It’s too windy for hats,” warns Czech supermodel Karolína Kurková, who is taming her flailing blonde hair with a Loro Piana scarf. Meanwhile, Peaky Blinders star Annabelle Wallis is posing Titanic-style on the bow for a photo with department store heiress Hayley Bloomingdale and fashion A-lister Indré Rockefeller.
Posts from these style-savvy It gals and other jet-setting crewmates, including violinist Charlie Siem, Fashion Guitar blogger Charlotte Groeneveld, style guru Taylor Tomasi Hill and British socialite Violet Manners, are whipping up a storm on social media and making our nautical knees-up the talk of the ultra-chic island of St Barths.
A ship full of stars
This shipshape assemblage of actors, musicians, models and fashion insiders has been invited aboard the swish vessel Far Niente (an Italian expression meaning the pleasure of doing nothing) by refined fashion house Loro Piana. We’re here to experience the St Barths Bucket, one of the world’s most famous regattas, which attracts superyachts and elite racing crews from around the globe.
Strong winds and sea spray keep us cool as we follow the race around the island, cruising past sugar-white sandy beaches and palm-fringed cliffs, spotting sculling turtles and dive-bombing pelicans as we glide through the crystal-clear turquoise water.
We are cheering for My Song, a sleek 40-metre craft owned and helmed by Italian textile titan Pier Luigi Loro Piana, whose family started the eponymous clothing brand in 1924. Today Loro Piana sits within the LVMH group, but Pier Luigi—also known as Pigi (pronounced Pee-gee)—remains a shareholder and deputy chairman.
It’s a day of triumph, with My Song winning its race in a gripping battle that sees the crew stealing first place by only eight seconds.
As the sun sinks into the cerulean sea, we cruise back to Gustavia, the buzzing capital of this tropical paradise, for a rambunctious prize-giving ceremony. Champagne froths and flows as we celebrate with Pigi and his crew who, despite a day on the high seas, look remarkably dapper in their crisp white Loro Piana cotton polo shirts, linen shorts and aviator-style sunnies.
Sailing has been a passion of the high-octane billionaire since he was 15 and continues to be his favourite way to unwind. “I’ve always been attracted to the sea,” says Pigi, his arms draped across the shoulders of his jubilant teammates. “I love nature, and sailing represents the ultimate way to be outdoors, far from the coast, far from towns and traffic. You just leave everything behind.”
Celebrating in style
The fun and frolics continue the next day with a sun-soaked, wine-fuelled lunch at hip restaurant Shellona on Shell Beach, where we feast on freshly caught seafood prepared by Yann Nury, one of New York’s most sought-after private chefs, and tipsily singalong to feel-good summer hits performed by wandering acoustic band The London Essentials—both of whom were flown in specially for the occasion.
Among the festivities is the launch of Loro Piana’s summer capsule collection at the newly revamped and reopened (post-Hurricane Irma) Le Sereno hotel.
Although famous for winter wear crafted from ultra-soft, wonderfully warm cashmere and vicuna, the fashion house is now building its reputation as a brand for all seasons. And where better to unveil its latest bright and breezy hot-weather designs than a Caribbean island famous for sailing, sunshine and laid-back luxury vibes.
See also: Here Comes The Sun: Loro Piana's Spring/Summer 2019 Collection
The label’s chief executive, Fabio d’Angelantonio, walks me through the range, which spans beachy bohemian ponchos and feminine silk frocks with a nautical nod. “The theme of our St Barths getaway is ‘Sail into Summer.’ Sailing brings us close to the beauty of nature, so it’s also the perfect way to experience the joy of life that is at the heart of Loro Piana. We see summer less as a season with a fixed timeframe and more as a 365-day state of mind, and this collection is a reflection of that philosophy.”
Falling in love with Loro Piana
As we partake in an indulgent weekend itinerary of island exploits, many guests sport looks from the new collection, with Karolína rocking a silk jumpsuit during an intimate sunset supper at Le Toiny hotel’s panoramic restaurant, Chris hitting the beach with an oversized canvas tote and straw fedora from the Loro Piana suitcase-stripe range, and others showcasing flowing kaftans, embroidered sundresses and strappy leather sandals.
During our farewell supper at the waterfront restaurant Maya’s, Karolína and friends admit they hadn’t previously considered Loro Piana a summer brand but would now place it at the top of their vacation packing lists. With Loro Piana boutiques in Capri, St Tropez, Cannes, Portofino and Hong Kong, this cosmopolitan crowd certainly won’t be short of shopping opportunities as they trot the globe living la dolce vita.
Update: On May 28, yacht transport company Peters & May released a statement about the loss of My Song, which slipped from a cargo ship into the Mediterranean at 4am LT on May 26. The Baltic 130 Custom sailing yacht was due to attend the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Porto Cervo, Italy.
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