So — what am I doing in Rio? Well, it’s for a speaking engagement. As you may know, if you have read LLG for a while, I am sometimes asked to hop on a plane to go speak at various events and conferences around the world, usually on some combination of trends, digital innovation and luxury, drawing not just on my 5+ years as a blogger, but my 10+ years as a style editor & journalist in the luxury goods space.
This week I’m a guest of Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS, for what they are calling, “an exhilarating week of glamorous events and thought-provoking luxury seminars”.
What that actually translates to is Diageo’s investment in a global training programme for the world’s best bartenders from some of the most exciting bars and hotels in the world. WORLD CLASS Brazil is the culmination of a series of competitions featuring 15000 bartenders. Those entrants have been whittled down to just fifty and flown out here for the finals to compete to be the Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year, with a judging panel, that includes Salvatore Calabrese & Dale de Groff.
Clearly I’m not a cocktail expert (well, not in *that* way), and I am not competing, so my role here is to sit on the daily panels talking about style, retro chic ( the theme of this year’s WORLD CLASS) and the role of luxury and CSR. Or, as Diageo puts it “they are insightful luxury seminars lead by global trendsetters Dylan Jones, Editor of UK GQ, Tony Chambers, Editor of style magazine Wallpaper*, Sasha Wilkins of LibertyLondonGirl, Mark Izatt of Vertu, and Jason Beckley from Dunhill.”
Here I am in action yesterday here in Rio on the Retro Chic Luxury Panel with Mark Izatt, Vertu Head of Experiences & Enrichment and Alfred Dunhill Global Marketing Director Jason Beckley
Apart from the panels, there are daily bartender challenges, which I am looking forward to seeing today, and each night there is an event showcasing each of the brands in the Diageo Reserve luxury portfolio – Ketel One® vodka, Cîroc® vodka, Tanqueray® No.TEN™ gin, Don Julio® tequila, Zacapa® rum and Johnnie Walker® Gold Label Reserve™ Blended Scotch Whisky and Johnnie Walker® Blue Label™ Blended Scotch Whisky.
Last night was the turn of Ketel One who, with Wallpaper*, took over an extraordinary ex-plantation house in the hills & turned into the chic-est party. Of course, as they realised there’s not a lot of point in serving bartenders, so they set up a DIY cocktail bar, which was the hotspot of the party, as the bartenders got their thing on. (Top photo)
Second Photo credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images