RICHARD MILLE - CHANTILLY ARTS & ELEGANCE 2017

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Never before has the “Art et Elégance Richard Mille” event at the Château de Chantilly, held this year on the 9th and 10th September, demonstrated so spectacularly why it bears its name...

Art-lovers were thrilled with the kick-off to this year’s gathering: the Inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to Poussin’s world renowned painting “Le Massacre des Innocents”. The most talented young singers and dancers from Chantilly led guests round the park on their way to the exhibition with songs and artistic happenings, the brainchild of Mélanie Treton-Monceyron, the brand’s Artistic Director. In front of the château, they were treated to a stunning mise en scène of Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus, and inside the Museum itself the highlight was undoubtedly a moving rendition of “Hallelujah” 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.

Elegance was in no short supply either at this, the 4th edition of the world class automobile contest, attracting over 16,000 visitors, a 20% increase in turnout. 90 classic cars were competing in the Concours d’Etat and close to 800 in the Grand Prix des Clubs.

Saturday’s 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.

A highlight of this edition was the celebration of Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, fêted with a display of around 30 of its 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!

VIP-spotters will not have been disappointed either 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 also visited in, Didier Drogba, Eric Boullier and Frédéric Sausset among them, all relaxing in the dedicated Richard Mille lounge around a Delahaye MS 135 coupé CHAPRON 1937 and serenaded by French music from the Belle Epoque.

It was on Sunday, after a stunning equestrian show performed by Mario Lurashi and his team, that the judges, including FIA president Jean Todt, bestowed the Richard Mille Concours d’Elégance 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.

Never have Art and Elegance come together in such a stunning way, setting the bar very high indeed for next year’s 5th edition in September 2018.