A night in Portofino

IWC celebrates a gala evening with international stars



Geneva, 19 January 2011 – On the occasion of the SIHH watch show in Geneva, IWC Schaffhausen celebrated its new Portofino watch collection with a glamorous event attended by 900 guests and well-known Friends of the Brand. Cate Blanchett and Kevin Spacey enjoyed “A night in Portofino” in the same carefree style as Elle Macpherson, Jean Reno, Matthew Fox and Marc Forster. Other friends are Boris Becker, Luís Figo and Zinédine Zidane as well as Tim Jefferies and Ronan Keating. Further highlights of the evening included the world premiere of a photo exhibition featuring these friends and other stars shot by celebrated photographer Peter Lindbergh, along with a “making-of” film of the shoot and an impressive performance by the Zurich Opera House, featuring a 60-strong orchestra and joined by tenor Neil Shicoff.

For 900 guests from all over the world, “A night in Portofino” was an unforgettable event that captured the irresistible style of the 1950s and 60s. Stepping on to the red carpet were Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett and Kevin Spacey together with other Friends of the Brand such as Matthew Fox and Jean Reno, sports legends Boris Becker, Luís Figo and Zinédine Zidane, director Marc Forster, top model Elle Macpherson, vocalist Ronan Keating and gallery owner Tim Jefferies. Each of them had seized this opportunity to come to Geneva to celebrate the elegant Portofino watch family from IWC Schaffhausen.

IWC SIHH Lindbergh Photo
—Peter Lindbergh takes one more photograph of the Portofino cast

This select group had already caused quite a stir in Portofino back in May 2010, when the Schaffhausen-based company invited the Friends of IWC to a photo shoot in the Italian coastal resort that had inspired the name of the Portofino series. Influenced by the spirit of the 1960s, the period props and clothing provided a realistic setting for a glamorous portfolio of photographs. None other than Peter Lindbergh, one of the greatest photographers of them all, portrayed the Friends of the Brand against the nostalgic backdrop of a 50s/60s-style Hollywood film set. Whether it was Cate Blanchett eating an ice cream whilst clutching Kevin Spacey’s arm, Elle Macpherson and Eric Dane on a scooter radiating genuine Italian lifestyle or Luís Figo and Matthew Fox aboard a sleek powerboat, the stars clearly had a whale of a time and set off the Portofino watch models to their best advantage. The resulting exhibition, “Peter Lindbergh’s Portofino”, consists of a series of impressive black-and-white photographs and celebrated its world premiere at the gala evening. The exhibition is scheduled to take on a world tour and will provide an additional highlight at IWC events in various big cities throughout the Middle East, Asia, America and Europe.

Inside SIHH with IWC

Behind the scenes of the 2011 SIHH with IWC


Highlights of the evening

Tim Jefferies and Georges Kern got the evening off to an entertaining start by introducing the Friends of the Brand, before announcing the next attraction. During the photo shoot in Portofino, a camera team had followed Peter Lindbergh at work and had put together a “making-of” movie showing the – occasionally unintentional – comic situations that arose featuring paparazzi, bodyguards, umbrellas and overly enthusiastic autograph hunters. Produced exclusively for the gala evening, this peek behind the scenes showed that many of the stars had made the journey to the picturesque harbour town with their families, some of the Friends of the Brand gave impromptu demonstrations of their many talents. Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, the Italian specialities that followed the “making-of” movie were no less imaginative. But before the culinary voyage came to an end with the dolci, there was one more special treat that promised entertainment at the highest level. Zurich Opera House took to the stage with a 60-strong orchestra to perform pieces redolent of Italy’s rich cultural heritage in the form of well-known arias such as “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot”, “La donna è mobile” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and the incomparable “O sole mio”. Under the baton of conductor Paolo Carignani, the orchestra performed flawlessly, providing the perfect accompaniment to Neil Shicoff, whose powerful tenor voice enraptured his audience. Guests danced away the final part of “A night in Portofino” to the music of DJ Jack.E.

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