A Summer of Luxury | Holiday with… Robert Ettinger
From the season’s must-have accessory to little known idyllic island getaways, Robert Ettinger, CEO of luxury leather accessories brand Ettinger, shares his hottest tips with Walpole, as we move into week two of Summer of Luxury.
What is your favourite travel destination?
I don’t like to travel for work in August as it is just too hot and airports are so crowded. I once had to go Japan at this time, the combination of heat and humidity made me severely regret it. We do the trade shows, PittiUomo in Florence in June and MRKET in New York at the end of July. Then that is it, if I can help it, until there is a big Far Eastern trip in October.
Saying that, the Greek Islands are a favourite summer holiday spot. We usually try to visit three islands. Tinos is perhaps my favourite and is just across the straight from its busy and rather glitzy neighbour Mykonos. In contrast, it is a verdant and peaceful island where churches outnumber people, mountain streams cascade through ancient villages, and dovecots anoint the hills. We also cannot resist Antiparos, a small island, whose main town is surprisingly sophisticated for such an outpost with some first-class eateries, good but simple accommodation and great walks and beaches. Naxos, one of the larger islands, has everything: a green bucolic hinterland, lovely byzantine churches, a fabulous old main town and also superb beaches.
Ettinger’s must-have summer holiday accessory?
The Ettinger style is timeless, elegant and distinctive, using only the finest leathers in bold and beautiful colours to produce contemporary classics of singular appeal. If you want to look cool when it’s hot, the Ettinger glasses case, in this season’s fashionable yellow, is essential to keep your shades in when trying to avoid that panda look. Of course, four other stunning colours are also available to complement your outfit or style (including blue, pictured below).
Favourite al fresco summer spot?
Together with friends and colleagues, Ettinger has been celebrating summer on the lawns of the Hurlingham club, sipping Pimms and eating al fresco lunches while watching the prestigious, pre-Wimbledon grass tennis court event.
Have you ever had a ‘lightbulb’ moment related to your business or career while taking some downtime?
I was driving through Mazamet, a large attractive market town on route from Toulouse to my parent’s old house in the Black Mountains, when I remembered that my father had worked with a goat leather tannery there in the 1950s and ’60s. On impulse, I contacted them and from this sprung our new Capra goatskin collection, available to purchase from mid-September (pictured below). This goatskin range is much sought after as it is thin, soft and supple but very hard wearing. It also has a cool retro look, more Humphrey Bogart and Casablanca, but still uncompromisingly Ettinger.
What is your holiday read this year?
The Immeasurable World by William Atkins. It is a book about the great deserts of the world, including the one I like to visit every December: the Empty Quarter in Oman. We camp with only two friends, in solitude in the rolling sand dunes, where all you can hear is the ringing in your own ears.
What is your top tip for surviving the summer heat in style?
I cannot believe I am saying this but it has to be a Dyson desk-fan. I place it on my windowsill to draw in the cool night air, for I hate to be hot when I sleep. I even take the fan to Sri Lanka on holiday, where I can also use it to blow away the bugs and mosquitoes on my balcony, so that I can enjoy an uninterrupted sundowner.
Style wise, a lightweight wool suit and a crisp white cotton shirt not only look good but feel good. These natural products do much to keep you cool and comfortable.