THE DRESS CODE WAS “smart casual” and the long table setting was “natural elegant” at the dinner Saturday night that marked the end of the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendez-vous 2015. The illuminated shells gave the dinner a lovely glow–and people could see across the table to chat comfortably, an often-forgotten goal at formal dinners. The meal was held on a terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, high over the jauntily illuminated boats in the marina below. Heading the table was Pier Luigi Loro Piana, a man of easy charm and deputy chairman of the Italian “absolute luxury” goods company named for his family, which sold an 80% stake in its business almost two years ago to LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA). Over the week here in Virgin Gorda, I came to think of Dottore Loro Piana as “Mr. Baby Cashmere,” but he’s just as likely to be known for his vicuña throws and lotus flower linen-like jackets (it takes the fibers from inside the stems of some 5,000 lotus flowers to make an average-size men’s jacket).
As the yacht club staff informed me later, the large illuminated shells were not real shells at all but porcelain replicas of same, the light provided by battery-powered “candles” underneath the large conch-type and smaller (but real) sea-urchin shells. (So, not totally natural but definitely elegant.) And the meal? A heavenly match-up of Italian peninsula and Caribbean island–spaghetti in a light marinara sauce followed by fresh fish.