LVMH Acquires Luxury Travel's Belmond Hotels | Will Bernard Arnault Help Save The Elephants

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AOC awoke Saturday morning to news that LVMH has set in motion the acquisition of Belmond Hotels. “Belmond, a fast-growing company based in London, offers its wealthy customers some of the most opulent travel experiences money can buy in settings like the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Orient Express trains connecting major European cities,” wrote The New York Times.

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury company based on revenues from brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Fendi, offered to pay $25 a share for Belmond, a premium of more than 40 percent on the company’s closing price, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

The deal emphasized the limitless financial resources available to the world’s very rich customers. as well as the ongoing move away from buying ‘things’ and the growing appetite for ‘experiences’. This transition to the value of ‘experiences’ is pronounced among the entire younger generation, regardless of income, and dovetails well with their environmental concerns over accumulating more stuff.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Friday’s Porter Edit had a sponsored post from Belmond Africa, based in South Africa and Botswana. The luxury hotel jumping off point gave us an opportunity to update the hot topic of the well-being of Botswana’s elephants, the largest elephant population in Africa and one that has been relatively stable until disputed reports of almost 90 dead elephants hit headlines in September.

One of the greatest conservation challenges in Africa is the cost of upgrading the continent’s parks and employing the resources to fight animal poaching. As many African leaders are quick to note, Europeans, Americans and other armchair conservationists are are more concerned about elephants and lions than African babies. AOC finds it difficult to dispute the assertion.

In October 2018, researchers put a price on protecting Africa’s wildlife at a minimum of $1.2 billion each year.

Our mind is always big picture at AOC — along with connecting dots — so of course the first question that came to mind after reading about the LVMH acquisition of Belmond Hotels was wondering how Bernard Arnault help help save the world’s elephants and other big game.

Conservationists argue that luxury hotels, capitalizing on the beauty and majesty of Africa’s wildlife, simply must become a source of revenue and creative policy making in keeping wildlife alive. LVMH may not have the in-house skill set to sponsor such an initiative, but Arnault’s teams certainly have the financial budget to acquire it.

Nancy Pelosi's Max Mara 'Fire Coat' Worn To Obama's Second Inauguration Will Be Reissued

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Nancy Pelosi's 2013 Max Mara ‘Fire Coat’ is about to make a comeback!! ‘Beale’ Street Director Barry Jenkins must be orgasmic.

On Wednesday evening, Max Mara announced that the jacket setting Twitter blazing was its "Fire Coat," which the Italian fashion house last sold in 2013. However, because the coat is drawing so much attention, the Italian fashion brand confirms that it will reissue it in 2019 in a range of colors, including Pelosi's red/rust shade.

Now all we need is 'Beale Street' director Barry Jenkins -- who really was the catalyst behind the red coat blast -- and Pelosi in a DC ad shot, and fashion has made history.

In a statement, Max Mara Creative Director Ian Griffiths said:

The FIRE COAT is a boule shaped coat with a funnel collar — which is very feminine — but it has a shoulder and sleeve that are cut quite sharply. So whilst the body is soft, the shoulders give it structure. That contrast between masculine and feminine gives it modernity. This coat was designed over 6 years ago; a good coat is a life companion so it should be designed not to date. Ms Pelosi wore this coat to the Presidential Inauguration in 2013, and again for her historic meeting at the White House in 2018, so it clearly means something to her. You develop an emotional relationship with a coat like nothing else in your wardrobe and Max Mara coats are much more than just clothes. They represent lasting values, they project personal strength and glamour. I can imagine why Ms Pelosi chose to wear the FIRE COAT for this important moment and I'm honoured.

Jenkins rubbished the idea that fashion has no deep resonance in the larger culture, acknowledging that the soon-to-be Speaker of the House Pelosi’s high-level budget negotiations in the company of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were more important than the designer of the coat, BUT . . . he then went on to describe just why this coat became such a hot-button item so quickly: "And she knew exactly what she was doing wearing THIS coat on THIS day coming out of THAT room, placing THOSE shades on JUST so. This is diplomacy in motion, soft power wielded like a machete through the diligent, decisive act of dressing," he wrote. "They've never been JUST clothes."

Now that is a man with sartorial insights! Note that Nancy Pelosi does not have a high-powered stylist dressing her always impeccable style. Madame Speaker's "stylist" is Northern California business man Paul Pelosi, aka her husband, Jezebel wrote in 2010. The two have been married since 1963.

 Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul at the White House in 2011.

Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul at the White House in 2011.


Elephant Conservation Update From Botswana Includes Pending Prince Harry Transfer Of Elephants To Zambia

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PORTER escapes to Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, an adventurous tented hideaway in Botswana’s Savute Channel, part of Chobe National Park and boasting the highest concentration of elephants in Africa.

Belmond Savute prides itself on a “happy marriage of style and substance; for the eco-conscious traveler”, offering “the tents’ sustainable design features (that) include the removal of all concrete, the use of eco-friendly composite bamboo decking in the principal areas, and a 95% solar-grid system for power.” 

In March 2019 camera lovers can enjoy a photographic adventure with Belmond as home base, led by famed photographer and Global Leica Akademie Ambassador Marc Stickler. A marine and wildlife biologist, based in Salzburg, Austria Marc Stickler’s past research has focused on Lemon Sharks in the Bahamas and Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. He lived in the Okavango Delta whilst conducting his thesis on the social behaviour of Chacma Baboons. Conservation and sustainability are key themes of his work.

Elephant Deaths in Botswana

Since September 2018, controversy has swirled in Botswana around the story that 87 elephants were reported to be “killed by poachers’ in Botswana. The high-impact story originated with “Elephants Without Borders,” an NGO in the USA and Botswana surveying the elephant population.

Under the new government of Mokgweetsi Masisi, Botswana’s parliament is exploring its ban on trophy hunting, citing the large size of Botswana’s elephant population and the growing issue of human-elephant conflic (HEC) in the country.

Politicians have quoted the Botswana elephant population to be as large as 237,000. However the African Elephant Status Report (AESR) estimates Botswana’s elephant population to be 131,626 individuals migrating across an area of 228,073 square kilometres. The vast majority of these elephants occur in the northern region that includes Chobe, Moremi, and the Okavango Delta.

One of the reasons why there is disagreement over Botswana’s elephant population size is the fact that these animals form part of one large freely migrating population of an estimated 216,000 individuals. These animals regularly cross borders between Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, moving within an area of 440,000 square kilometres called the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).

There is no disagreement that African elephants are being decimated. How to proceed with protecting elephants and other wildlife, while also protecting farmers rights is complex and easily misunderstood by westerners vitally concerned about protecting elephants. Frankly, we rarely focus any attention on the African people co-living with elephants. This negligence on our part irks many African national leaders, as well as local populations.

This article posted on South Africa’s IOL website, and issued by the African News Agency is a new survey of the entire complex issue. We are digesting and verifying exactly what it says about the mindset of Botswana’s current government regarding its elephant population. The article appears to be positive, but we do not want to mislead readers. .

My biggest takeaway from the read is that there has perhaps been a breakthrough on the topic of alive elephants being an African eco-tourism resource and not only Botswana’s problem. To that end, this brand new article about Prince Harry caught my eye.

The next question is if the elephants will be relatively safe, although I’m sure Prince Harry is laser-focused on that challenge, along with Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu.

Prince Harry Will Facilitate Elephant Move From Botswana to Zambia

 Prince Harry offers transfer of Botswana elephants to Zambia president Edgar Lungu.

Prince Harry offers transfer of Botswana elephants to Zambia president Edgar Lungu.

In late November, Prince Harry traveled to Zambia, offering the country support with boosting the nation’s dwindling elephant population. As president of animal conservation charity African Parks, Harry met with Zambian President Edgar Lungu and his ministers, offering to bring elephants from neighboring Botswana.

“Prince Harry told the president during closed-door talks that African Parks will help move between 500 and 1,000 elephants from Botswana into Zambia’s Kafue National Park,” Lungu’s spokesman Amos Chanda said.

“He said this should help boost Zambia’s tourism and create jobs, especially for the youth.”

African Parks manages national parks on behalf of governments to help protect animals targeted by poachers, including elephants and rhino. In a sobering October 2018 article, the New York Times reports that it will cost $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion each year to renew Africa’s parks and protect the wildlife.

Related AOC articles on Elephant Conservation.