Profile of the Hedonister:
THEY WEAR Their own uniquely lurid and louche brand of bad taste. When the Hedonister shops (at boutiques in St Tropez or the clothes shop at Park Lane Hotel), there are no rules. “Won’t Guido and Amir be jealous when they see me in this ? He thinks, trying on a Cavalli snakeskin blazer while his friend Serena stares, bored, at the Rolex Daytona he lent her. The result is a pastiche of the 1920′s Playboy: a little bit Gatsby, a little bit Steve Rubell. His favorite label? Flavio Briatore’s Billionaire Italian Couture, accessorized with the skin of the animals he most closely resembles – lizard, crocodile and shark. He also loves complicated watches, although quite why is anybody’s guess, as he is never on time.
THEY COME FROM All over. It’s a common misapprehension that Hedonisters have to be European. Most are a bit Saudi, a bit Greek and a lot Swiss — because that’s where most of them went to school. They can answer the phone in 10 languages, but speak none of them well. There is also quite a lot of Americans (most of them come from Brown University, Providence, the most Euro university in the world), and even the English can go a bit Hedo if they spend too much time on St Tropez’s Nikki Beach — although the English sense of decorum usually means that the transformation is short-lived.
THEY LIVE Everywhere and nowhere. They keep several apartments — all of which have female friends living in them — but have no fixed abode. Instead, their lives are spent following the party (although they are convinced it is actually following them) from Sardinia to St Tropez to St Barts to Russia (for work) to Qatar (for work) to Mexico (for work) to Iran (for fun). “Iran is wild, man!” I was once told. In London, they dine at Cipriani and Nobu Berkeley (they always order the black cod, but don’t eat it). They dance at Tramp in London, Marquee in New York and VIP Room in St Tropez. They are everywhere from May to September — then disappear until it’s time to go skiing.
THEY DATE Models, mostly. Hedonisters always have a gay friend who is a booker at a model agency, and who will tell the new girl, Sandi from Nebraska, that she simply must meet Guido because he’s a hoot. A dinner is arranged. He is charming, and always gets a bear hug from the sushi chef at Nobu. And he always pays for everything. He sends flowers and jets and boat tenders. He aims high — and it works.
When it comes to romance, the hedonister’s inspiration and patron saint is the Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore. He is the man baby hedonisters want to be when they grow up. He is not classically beautiful, yet women are drawn to him like Eurotrash to the Etro sale. His life looks fun: full of boats, cars, open shirts and Clarins sunscreen. Hell, even I’d date him.
THEY LISTEN TO Fifty, Puffy and Jay-Z (all of whom they “met at an Ibiza after-party?), the whole Electronic Panache of the Med Scene and anything produced by their “great friend? Nellee Hooper”. They are never happier than when they are dancing, and when they’re drunk they have a tendency to scream: “I love boogie, man!? They have their own table at nightclubs, and dance badly but with supreme confidence. Occasionally, confidence falters, so instead of dancing, they’ll grab a bottle of Belvedere, shake it around a bit and say something like “Yeah, baby, yeah?.
THEY WORK AS Work? Like the second button on the collar of their Interno 8 shirt, most Hedonisters are a bit useless. Instead, they rely for their income on an estate in Perugia or a dubious business relationship with a sheik — and because they’re always domiciled somewhere like Monaco, they rarely pay tax. They pretend to be in property, oil or music. They work over lunch via BlackBerry until five, when they start receiving calls from nightclub promoters. But mostly they’re just sitting about in marina bars. This is fun for a week — but try doing it for years. After a while, doing nothing starts to feel like, well, doing nothing.
Of course, you may think all this sounds rather fun, in which case you’re in luck, because being Hedonistic is easy. Just quit your job and go on holiday. For ever. Find a large, shady source of income, throw away anything you own that could be described as subdued or tasteful, give a lunch party at the Eagle Club, in Gstaad, and invite lots of models. Then empty a bottle of Cristal over your head while saying “Yeah, baby, yeah?. Finish up by saying “ciao? a lot, and you’re there. You will be fabulous and tanned, and will look beautiful in your gold watch and emu-skin bomber jacket. You will also be an ass — but for the Hedonister, that’s a small price to pay.
Via Michael Henry and the Times.