“What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?”
Sitting down to write about corks vs screw caps, I think of this infamous line from WC Fields. The cork polemic is often simplified into an Old-World vs New-World wine debate. While us Europeans have clung to the tradition of cork since Greek and Roman times, our New-World counterparts have embraced screw caps. Australia and New Zealand have led the charge with even top-end wines at €100 per bottle under screw cap.
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A delegation from the Tourism and Congress Department (DTC), accompanied by several Principality tourism partners, travelled to India, specifically to Goa, Pune and Bombay, for a promotional tour organised by the Indian Representation Office of the DTC during the third week of March.
The Monegasque delegation was led by Corinne Kiabski, DTC's Director of Communications, and Charlotte Valli, South Asian Markets Manager in DTC's Marketing and Sales Department. They were accompanied by Koji Ito from the Fairmont, Sophie Ducroux for the SBM and Sophie Codogno for the Méridien Beach Plaza, and Dominique Milardi, President of the Monegasque Association of Sommeliers.
In Goa, around 30 travel agents and opinion leaders took part in a fun weekend dedicated to discovering the Principality. Corinne Kiabski, supported by Jamal Sheikh, publisher of Hindustan Times and Huma Qureschi, the Bollywood actress, enabled guests to discover the many facets of Monaco, thanks to the new campaign of the DTC, “Green is the new Glam.”
Also in Goa, Dominique Milardi, President of the Monegasque Association of Sommeliers, offered interactive tastings of Indian and French wines to various invited audiences. It was then on to Pune, the second largest city in the province of Maharashtra, where the delegation continued its promotional tour with tourism and media professionals.
Finally, in Mumbai, Rajeev Nangia, head of the DTC's representative office in India, and his team introduced hotel partners to wedding planners. The wedding industry in India is a very important sector and is of great interest to tourism professionals in Monaco.
India is the fifth largest economy in the world and is showing remarkable growth. Great opportunities for the Principality and its tourist market are to be expected.
ML: How did you end up in Monaco?
DB: I grew up in Berlin, back when the Wall served as the horizon. It was there that I met my husband Thierry Boutsen and we moved to Monaco together.
ML: When did you start Boutsen Design?
DB: Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved design and exquisite objects. During art school I discovered a passion for fine tableware during an apprenticeship at the renowned porcelain manufacturer KPM in my native Berlin. Later in life I joined my husband’s company Boutsen Aviation, which specialises in selling business jets, and when a client commissioned me to outfit the entire interior of his aircraft, Bousten Design came to be in 2012. I knew this is where I could put my love of design to good use.
Thierry and I don’t work together; we are in the same industry and obviously collaborate, but our offices and teams are apart.
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ML: How do you define luxury?
DB: Luxury is a question of point of view. Sometime it’s working with beautiful handcrafted pieces and prestigious projects and sometimes it is just about spending time with family.
ML: Can you talk about your clientele and recent projects?
DB: We have a varied clientele with highly sophisticated tastes. As far as recent projects, I’m very happy to talk about the exiting collaborations I have coming up for the Monaco Yacht Show, such as bringing together under one roof the president of Boeing Business Aviation, Gregory Laxton, and Linda Pinto of Alberto Pinto Design to showcase our House of Excellence.
We are highlighting our achievements in the Aviation Industry that has naturally also extended into Yachting and Residential projects. In this way, we can advise our clients on their different projects with one seamless experience.
ML: Is designing an aircraft similar to designing a yacht?
DB: We specialise in the decorating process that compliments the interior design. Doing an aircraft is the master category because of the diligence of respecting technical issues and it requires a high knowledge about air safety regulations and also about dealing with extremely small spaces. Yachts are easier, but we still have to consider the placement aspect and sea fastenings. Residences are a breeze!
ML: What is the 4D concept?
DB: This refers to the pillars by which we can seamlessly manage and execute our bespoke services: Discover, Develop, Design, and Deliver.
ML: What are some of the current design trends you see?
DB: Lately I must say people are going for more traditional and classic styles, back to pieces and brands that have royal and empire style with history and lots of craftsmanship and details.
That’s why I am very exited to bring ODIOT to present at the Monaco Yacht Show this year. They are the perfect example of a brand with history; it’s exiting and an honour to work with brands that had commissions by Napoleon and the courts of Europe.
ML: Can someone develop an eye for design, or is it natural instinct?
DB: I think it can be both. But, for sure, there has to be a natural instinct to be able to do it well. One can learn what the famous or trendy brands are, but to bring it together there has to be a natural affinity.
ML: You host a breakfast during the Monaco Yacht Show. Do you do this every year?
DB: Indeed, it’s becoming a tradition! We do a breakfast everyday in our showroom as we find it is a great opportunity to host our clientele during these important days in the Yachting world and for them to discover the exclusive collaborations we have. Key representatives from such brands as Atelier Swarovski come to present their most important pieces. It provides an opportunity to see design pieces only available to a VIP clientele.
ML: How did you become involved with the Gustavia Yacht Club in St Barts?
DB: First let me say that the recent natural disaster that caused so much devastation in the area was completely disheartening. I am joining Stelios' efforts for St Barts and will have collection boxes at Boutsen Design events during the Monaco Yacht Show. All the donations will go towards helping people in the area. They will need it.
I love St Barts, I am a big fan. It came naturally as Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is the commodore at Gustavia and when I was asked to become a member I jumped at the opportunity because of the connection I feel between Monaco and St Barts.
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ML: What’s the hardest part of running your own business?
DB: It’s a question of being very well organised to run a good company and have a family life. It’s not hard because I love it.
ML: What is this advantage and disadvantage of being a woman in business?
DB: I strongly believe that we should no longer make a distinction; there are challenges in any business both for women and men.
ML: What is the one app you cannot live without?
DB: My iCloud family calendar with my husband Thierry. It keeps us on the same page.
ML: You work in the world of luxury. What is luxury to you?
DB: Time with my family at home.
Article first published September 27, 2017.