Bergdorf Goodman, the iconic Manhattan department store, was a fitting location for our latest AFAR Conversations, which explored the intersection of style, design, and travel. It has the kind of neighborhood identity that panelist Alexandra Champalimaud, founder of Champalimaud Design, appreciates.
“I’m actually sad when I see a hotel being built on the Upper East Side that belongs in Soho,” Champalimaud said. “It matters to me that we keep the DNA of each village we’re in.” She drew murmurs and tweets of approval from the crowd as she continued:
“I know this is becoming a world where everything is the same, but it’s not necessarily healthy. You want to dress up and go somewhere, and you want to dress down and go somewhere. It shouldn’t all be the same. That is my point about NYC, and it applies to everything I do.”
AFAR Deputy Editor Jennifer Flowers, who moderated the lively panel discussion, went on to raise the M-word—millennials—asking whether it’s a demographic or more of a mindset.
Jim Shay, president of the Neapolitan men’s clothing brand ISAIA, shared that they talk internally about the concept of generation everyone. “Never in the past have the lines been as blurred between different age groups and what they desire,” he said. “It’s more a matter of socioeconomics than age.”
Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president of Crystal Cruises, chimed in that she’s the mother of a millennial who buys bespoke ISAIA suits. And she does view millennial as a mindset—one that’s helped inform some of her innovations for Crystal, such as the launch of a 62-passenger yacht. “It’s not your grandparents’ yachting experience: we’re the first to have an actual submarine to take you under water.”
Crystal’s expansion plans also include river cruises and Crystal Luxury Air, a private jet service slated to debut in 2017 with round-the-world trips. “We try to take the foundation of our core designs and figure out how to translate that into each of these genres,” said Rodriguez.
Champalimaud echoed that point and summed things up nicely when she noted: “Craftsmanship is like the air we breathe, it has to be really pure and true. If you get that, I think you’ve got a brand—and if you’ve got service and really brilliant management and organization.”
Pictured above from left: Joe Diaz, AFAR cofounder; Edie Rodriguez, CEO & president of Crystal Cruises; Jennifer Flowers, AFAR deputy editor; Jim Shay, president of ISAIA; Greg Sullivan, AFAR cofounder.