The Singapore Grand Prix is one such race, the only event on the calendar to rival Monaco for prestige. As a result, the weekend is replete with events and launches.
On Wednesday evening in Singapore Dom Reilly – formerly of Williams F1 and now boss of his eponymous leather goods empire – launched a new collection at the world-renowned Raffles Hotel.
A small coterie of invited guests gathered in the Presidential Suite to sip champagne, drink Singapore Slings – the cocktail of legend – and admire the fruits of Reilly’s labour, a canvas and leather collection designed in concert with Raffles, from the orange lining that mimicked the flowers in the garden to the modern colonial style that evoked 126 years of the hotel’s history.
For Raffles is all about the history, from the teak flooring and colonial architecture that remains an untouched oasis of peace amongst the hustle and bustle of one of Asia’s major cities. Standing on the balcony of the Presidential Suite, it was easy to ignore the towering skyscrapers that encircled the hotel, and to imagine oneself a star in an eastern edition of Downton Abbey.
As guests soaked up the luxurious atmosphere of one of the world’s most famous hotels, and waiters bearing silver salvers passed between groups, the weekend’s racing seemed a world away. Instead, temporarily cosseted in the lap of luxury, it was a time to admire the quiet grace of the hotel, a perfect partner for Dominic Reilly’s luxury leather range.