By Maria Doulton in London
A sunny Sunday in September in the glorious grounds of Chantilly was the perfect backdrop for a day of dressing up in hats and couture and admiring beautiful cars and glamorous timepieces with Richard Mille watches. The very first edition of this event attracted 500 classic, vintage and concept cars, which competed in the various categories of the competitions that were the high point of the day. While the focus of the event was evidently cars, there was plenty of time to enjoy some other events.
Richard Mille sponsored the event as the brand has strong links to the world of motorcars as well a very glamorous and artistic side. On display were a selection of Richard Mille watches with their sophisticated mechanics drawing admiring comments from the car buffs. I was, of course, attracted to the diamond and gem-set models, which looked right at home in the bright sunshine, alongside the hats and couture dresses.
Amongst the acres of perfect lawns, auto clubs from around Europe displayed their finest specimens and set up their lavish picnics next to the highly polished metal of their motors. Children raced around in miniature pedal cars, enjoyed a hot air balloon ride and were conveyed in pony traps, in steam boats or on the back of Shetland ponies. Goyard, the French luggage makers, brought a vintage Bentley, complete with a picnic set designed to slip easily out of the boot and under a tree for the perfect dejeuner sur l'herbe.
The Concours d'Elégance was the main focus of the day, with prizes for various categories, which took place once the dust had settled following the hair-raising display of equestrian daring by Mario Luraschi's team of accomplished horsemen, who performed acrobatics on galloping horses. There was also time to enjoy the art galleries of the chateau as well as displays of floral art, table settings and champagne appreciation.