A weekend for connoisseurs

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Richard Mille

A confluence of art, elegance and super cars

Classic car enthusiasts and art lovers were hosted by renowned watchmaker and innovator Richard Mille at Chateau de Chantilly in Northern France in an event to remember.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 October, 2017, 9:23am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 October, 2017, 9:23am

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Held on September 9 and 10, “Art et Elégance Richard Mille” at Château de Chantilly was everything its name suggested, and some more.

The annual gathering started on a high note, immersing guests in art and theatrics as they were led to the inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to Poussin’s masterpiece “Le Massacre des Innocents” by talented singers and dancers from Chantilly round the park in a mesmerising performance conceived by Mélanie Treton-Monceyron, the brand’s Artistic Director.

At the front of the château, they were then treated to a mise en scène of Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus, before entering the Museum where a moving rendition of “Hallelujah” was performed in front of Picasso’s “Charnier”. The work, one of many inspired by Poussin’s original, had been brought back specially to Chantilly, with Richard Mille’s support, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

And that was just to unveil an exciting weekend to come.

The height of elegance: The 4th World Class Automobile Contest

In the aristocratic surrounds of Château de Chantilly, elegance was in no short supply. The 4th edition of the World Class Automobile Contest, Over 16,000 visitors, a 20% increase from last year, were attracted to the contact held over that weekend, with 90 classic cars competing in the Concours d’Etat and close to 800 in the Grand Prix des Clubs.

The first rally brought together vehicles entered in the Concours d’Etat, while the second consisted of similarly rare—but much sportier—supercars. McLaren provided a fascinating introduction to its range on the challenging Mortefontaine circuit.

On display were the most famous electric cars in automobile history, from 1899 to the present: the renowned Jamais-Contente from 1899, the first vehicle ever to clear 100 km/hr, and the avant-garde Porsche Mission E, boasting 600 hp and a 500-km range.

The event coincided with the celebration of Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, fêted with a display of around 30 of its prized creations, all of which participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours. A legendary Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa stood side by side with a 250 GTO. The 330 P4, 312 P and 512 S Spyder were lined up on lawns which were designed by none other than Le Nôtre himself!

It was also a place to get starstruck. VIP-spotters would not have been disappointed with sightings of eminent Richard Mille partners such as Mutaz Barshim, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Jean Todt, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Alain Prost. Friends of the brand like Didier Drogba, Eric Boullier and Frédéric Sausset among them, all relaxed in the dedicated Richard Mille lounge around a Delahaye MS 135 coupé CHAPRON 1937 and serenaded by French music from the Belle Epoque.

On Sunday, after a stunning equestrian show performed by Mario Lurashi and his team, the judges, including FIA president Jean Todt, bestowed the Richard Mille Concours d’Élégance prizes on the Renault Trezor—an electric-drive sport coupe GT—and the Citroën CXPERIENCE & Yang Li.

The prize for Best of Show was conferred on the unbelievable Bugatti 57 S Atlantic (1936) in the Pre-War class, and the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (1958) in the Post-War category. The Concours des Clubs distinguished the Fiat Fan Club for the quality of its refreshments, as well as its mise-en-scene of the traditional garden-party picnic.

As with anything you can expect from Richard Mille, art and elegance have come together in such a stunning way that sets the bar even higher for next year’s 5th edition in September 2018.