MYKITA was founded 2003 by Harald Gottschling, Daniel Haffmans, Philipp Haffmans and Moritz Krueger. What to some may sound like an Asian-style name was in fact inspired by the firm’s first premises – a former day-care centre for children (in East Germany abbreviated to „Kita“).
Just a year later, the world was introduced to MYKITA *Collection No.1* – an evolutionary step up in terms of both design and exclusivity. The all-new range of metal frames was unveiled at the Silmo international eyewear fair in the fall of 2004. A highly innovative functional design comprising simple plug connections made complex soldered joints and screw connections redundant, while the frames themselves were cut out of stainless sheet steel before being folded into form. As well as being incredibly light, the latter could be adjusted to the wearer thanks to a wide variety of configuration options. The corrective spectacles andunglasses in the collection ranged from the classically elegant to avantgarde designs in a wide range of frame colours. A frame for every face. Exactly two years later, a new collection was unveiled at the 2006 Silmo. In a marked departure from previous frames, MYKITA *Collection No.2* were made from full-bodied acetate – a material that enjoys a huge tradition in the eyewear industry. What set the new spectacles apart was the hinge – a connecting element that hugs the front and temples in the style of a sheath. The designs are crisp, clear and distinctive and are each related to frames from the metal collection. A carefully selected range of nine distinct colours gives *Collection No.2* a varied but nonetheless homogenous collective look. All frames are hand-made at MYKITA’s own production site in Berlin and are available at over 1,400 high-end opticians and selected department stores across the globe.
These glasses are made with top-quality stainless steel, just 0.5 mm thick, ensuring an ultra-light feel. The actual production of MYKITA eyewear sees every part of the frame cut out of sheet metal and folded into a lightweight but full-bodied format. Linking these is a remarkably elegant and intelligent screw-less hinge design that ensures total flexibility and allows complete, custom-fit adaptability of inclination and frame according to the wearers’ facial proportions. The technical wizardry is coupled with aesthetic clarity and optimum vision to provide a recognisable trademark for MYKITA. To apply most of the colours featured in the collection, MYKITA chose a PVD finish – a state-of-the-art vacuum-heat coating technique that guarantees a non-oxidizing and highly wear-resistant surface. The prescription frames in *Collection No.1* are available in a choice of ten colours, the sunglasses in eight colours. MYKITA collection No. 1 – over 50 styles available in a choice of 10 colours.
The MYKITA design team had for some time been planning to make a collection incorporating a fuller-bodied material, and eventually decided on cellulose acetate. Basically composed of cotton, wood pulp, acetate and pigments, it is a natural material that has a long tradition in the eyewear industry. *Collection No.2* indeed shares a variety of features with the original concept. It features a “snap-hinge” made of 0.8 mm flat sheet metal familiar from the construction principles applied in the first collection. A major new innovation was the use of photomechanical etching technology. The connection point between the hinge and the acetate frame likewise represented a unique challenge for the designers. The fourteen prescription styles and six sunglasses are available in a range of opaque colours, with no lamination.
Mykita glasses are made with the best-quality stainless steel ensuring an ultra-light feel. Each part of the frame is folded into a lightweight but full-bodied format. A state of the art vacuum-heat coating guarantees non-oxidizing and highly wear-resistant finishes. MYKITA frames are all about: timeless designs, lightweight, flexibility, and comfort
David Coulthard and Eddie have no similar problems – this is them tucking into some nosh during Q1 on Saturday.
Jordan doubts FOTA split
Eddie Jordan believes that the Formula One Teams’ Assocation (FOTA) would be able to sustain its own breakaway series next year. The FOTA announced early on Friday morning at Silverstone that it would be breaking away from Formula One next year, after failing to find a compromise with governing body the FIA over the ongoing budget cap issue.
With the FIA having insisted a cap and teams still unhappy with the proposal, FOTA announced that all of its members (which includes all current teams apart from Williams and Force India) would be departing F1 at the end of this season. Eddie, who ran Jordan Grand Prix between 1991 and 2005, is not convinced towards the outcome of the situation.
“It’s posturing, but it has become very serious and heads will roll before this sorts itself out,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. The former team owner went on to describe that there is ‘absolutely no chance’ that the sport would be able to progress in a healthy state when two rival series are at war.
EJ at Silverstone today
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull racing dominated the British Grand Prix to win in style at Silverstone on Sunday afternoon. Mark Webber completed a magical day in the team’s home race as Rubens Barrichello completed the podium for Brawn. Championship leader Jenson Button had retained his grid position by the time the chequered flag fell, crossing the line in sixth place.
Fifty minutes of the interview have elapsed and Eddie Jordan has pushed back his chair and jumped to his feet. He is foaming at the mouth and swearing like Gordon Ramsay. He is pointing his finger angrily at my chest and hammering the table with rage.
“I’ve seen how desperately in need of help these kids are and we’ve got to do something about it, you f****** included,” he fumes. “We need to give these kids a focus. Don’t bang them up in nick — it f****** doesn’t work!” The kids are the subjects of a new reality TV series that begins a five-week run on C5 tomorrow evening. Eddie Jordan’s Bad Boy Racers charts the progress of eight young offenders from tough suburbs of London who embark on a seven-week course in motoring and mechanical skills and are shown an alternative to a life of crime.
“Eddie Jordan has always done things the hard way,” a narrator announces as the opening credits roll. “He made his millions in Formula One, the toughest, richest and most competitive sport in the world. He’s the man who discovered Michael Schumacher and single-handedly took on the might of Ferrari and McLaren. Now Eddie is facing his toughest ever challenge; he is trying to transform the lives of eight hardened car criminals.”
“The series is made now,” Jordan explains, “and some of them are training with Honda and some are with Audi and Volkswagen, but I don’t want this to be about the chosen few. There are thousands more of these kids out there. I know what can be achieved; I know what needs to be done. I want the government and the people of the world to start thinking about this.
“These are not bad boys, in fact they are not bad at all, but when you put them all together in a group, they become horrors. We need to start looking at new ways to address the problem. It doesn’t have to be a garage, it can be an MoT station or work experience with The Sunday Times. We don’t need masses of kids locked up in jails. Prison is not a deterrent to these kids — most reoffend — it just doesn’t work. We’re only addressing the symptoms of the problem; we need to address the causes.”
He fixes me with a curious gaze and sits down to catch his breath. He presents his case with the same passion and conviction as Bono and Sir Bob Geldof on Third World debt and the starving in Africa, but I’m not sure that I am convinced. The series is being promoted as entertainment with a social conscience, and I’m curious about the mix.
The 58-year-old Dubliner is unquestionably the most entertaining team boss in the history of F1, but nobody has ever mistaken Jordan for Mother Teresa. He lives in Wentworth, he drives an Aston Martin and he parties with the social elite. He is a shareholder at Celtic, loves the scent of a deal and is a regular at Stamford Bridge. He is a patron of the child leukaemia charity CLIC, but is entering new ground with these juvenile delinquents.
This is my dilemma: would you buy a lecture on the ills of social deprivation from a man wearing a designer suit, with an office near Park Lane?
WE MEET on a sunny Tuesday morning at the offices of Jordan Media in Park Street, close to the Grosvenor House hotel in Mayfair. He bounds into the boardroom clutching a mug of coffee and is charm personified for almost an hour. Then the interview suddenly ignites from an innocent inquiry about his new company.
“Jordan Media is just something that owns the rights to the format (for the programme),” he explains. “I got no money for this; I didn’t want any money — that was very important. People will naturally say, ‘Ah, motor racing, money, TV — it’s a money-spinning exercise; he’s doing a Simon Cowell’. But I’m not. It cost me and I’m quite happy that it cost me.”
How much did it cost? “I don’t know. I haven’t a clue; I didn’t even think about what it cost me.”
You don’t honestly expect me to believe that? “No, but you’re a complete cynic, aren’t you? You’ve always been a cynic. I was thinking about you the other day when that Floyd Landis (the American Tour de France cyclist) tested positive. It must have made your day. I knew when I was doing this interview that there’d be a spin on it.”
What about the charge that you are exploiting these kids for entertainment? “No,” he replies. “I know what I’ve done. I know what was achieved. I know what can be achieved. Banging these kids up is not a solution.”
What about the charge that you don’t really give a damn about them? That you will go back to your comfortable home and your wealthy friends and life will move on? “Well, it’s possible that could happen,” he says. “The kids may not want to continue (with their training) but I hope that they will. I speak to them on a regular basis; I spoke to one of them this morning . . .
“They’re hopeless at getting up in the morning — that’s a thing I’ve noticed with young kids: they cannot get out of bed. You’d tell them, ‘Okay, we are on the bus at six tomorrow morning’, but we wouldn’t be able to leave until a quarter to seven. They just wouldn’t turn up. It just didn’t register with them. You give them a time and it’s in one ear and out the other. But I have that with my own kids, so it’s not just them.”
I laugh and ask if he is still buying racehorses.
“I’ve got a few legs with Mouse (the Irish trainer Mouse Morris),” he says.
You had one great one — what was its name? “Rostropovich?” No, not that one. Master-something.
“Master Of Illusion?” Yeah, that’s it, I say with a smile, the Master Of Illusion.
“You liked that,” he observes. “Good name, wasn’t it?” It was a great name, I reply. It was absolutely perfect.
“What do you mean perfect?” he asks warily. “Are you implying it had something to do with me? What’s the point you’re making here? I need to know.”
Why? “Because I haven’t got a clue how you’ll write this.”
Trust me, I smile.
“I’ve always trusted you,” he says. “But you are very unpredictable. There will be an edge to this because that’s your nature — you like to have a cut. You don’t like writing pretty pieces because it’s not your style. And I know your style, the same as you know my style.”
FIFTEEN summers have passed since the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours when I first succumbed to the charms of the Master of Illusion. It was a glorious Saturday afternoon on the first weekend of July and he was sitting on some tyres, chatting to one of the mechanics after the qualifying session when I nervously approached.
It was my second year as a reporter and I had been commissioned to write a feature on the proprietor of the new Irish F1 team that was grabbing the headlines in its debut season.
“What do you know about F1?” Jordan asked.
Nothing, I replied innocently, sure it was the wrong answer. But he put his arm around me with a twinkle in his eyes.
“Perfect,” he said, smiling.
My education started with a tour of the Jordan garage, where John “John Boy” Walton, a Dubliner like Jordan, was supervising work on one of the cars. Jordan called him over and began an interrogation.
“What team were you with last year, John Boy?” “Benetton,” Walton replied.
“And why did you leave Benetton to come back to work with me?” “Coz you’re my hero.”
“Stop messin’ about, John Boy . . . why?” “I’m tellin’ you,” Walton insisted. “Coz you’re my hero. I always said I’d be back when you came into F1.”
Such was/is the enchantment of Jordan. “He has the annoying habit of making you want to believe in him,” Giselle Davies, a former team media manager, once observed. “It’s a sort of heart-and-head thing. You are listening to him and your head is saying this is all nonsense, but the other side of you is saying that this is believable, and you feel drawn by it all the time. It is the power he has over people.”
And by the end of the weekend I had joined the ranks of the bewitched.
Over the next five years, as my career in journalism progressed, I became a Jordan correspondent, penning stories on his march to the motor racing summit from the four corners of the globe. He was always a great interview, always brilliant, but access became more difficult once you had been lured to the honey trap. And when he was fretting over a deal he had the attention span of a gnat. I remember a Belgian Grand Prix at Spa once and sitting around the motorhome until 10 o’clock at night for an interview that had been scheduled for lunchtime. It was almost midnight by the time we had finished. I was facing a two-hour drive to my hotel, my car was parked five miles from the circuit and the shuttles had stopped running hours before.
“Why don’t you come back and stay with me?” he offered. “There are two beds in my hotel room.”
We jumped into a Porsche Carrera Turbo that somebody had lent him for the weekend, screeched from the paddock on to the finishing straight and he gave me a white-knuckle guide to the circuit. Then we got to his hotel and he threw me a spare toothbrush and a pair of slightly worn but recently laundered Hugo Boss boxer shorts.
How great was my love for Jordan? How deep was my obsession for this man? I put them on. I wore those boxers until the crotch was in shreds. Every time we would meet he would ask: “Are you still wearing my knickers?” And I would smile and tell him they were hanging on my trophy wall. And then, late one night at his home in Oxford, after an extremely affable dinner, we got into a long and heated debate about an Irish swimmer called Michelle de Bruin who had won three gold medals at the Atlanta Olympic Games. Jordan was adamant that De Bruin should be feted as a hero; I was adamant that she should be banished as a cheat. Fingers were pointed and voices were raised. Suddenly the spell was broken. He continued to be one of my favourite interviews. I continued to be one of his favourite hacks. But for some strange reason things were never quite the same.
THE CHOPPY waters have calmed as the interview enters its second hour and he is regaling me with fantastically witty (but extremely libellous) tales about his life in F1. Or rather his former life.
Almost two years have passed since he sold his team to Midland, and although he insists he hasn’t missed it — “I haven’t been at a race since” — he does not deny that he found it hard to let go. “It took me 35 years,” he says.
“That’s a major chunk of anybody’s life. The pressure was huge. The pressure was massive. You don’t live a life. I commiserate with any partner of a person who is at the forefront of F1, because it’s non-stop, it’s very hard; and I promise you, you pay the penalty somewhere along the line.
“I came in on a wing and a prayer; whatever I made I put in; whatever staff I had were paid; whatever sponsors we had got bang for their buck. It grew. At this moment only five teams have won multiple grands prix in the past 20 years. Jordan is one of them and I’m proud of that. But I’m not here to talk about that. I thought this interview was about the programme and the kids.”
It is, I tell him, but I’d like to place it in context. Tell me more about the withdrawal symptoms. “Well, I’ve hardly used a business suit,” he says with a laugh.
“I see them all lined up in front of me, Gucci, Gucci, Gucci, Prada, Prada, Prada and 50, no a hundred, fantastic ties and think, ‘What am I going to do with them?’ It’s like someone has died.” This is at home?
“Yeah. And Marie (his wife) says, ‘Get rid of them. When is the last time you wore that tie?’ And she’s right, but, I don’t know, I just like looking at them.”
Marie always said you would be impossible to live with if you retired. “Yeah, she said she’d shoot me, but my days are full,” he insists. “I’m a director of Clareville Capital, a venture capital business, and I’ve got some directorships and investments with a publishing company, a high-technology business and a bet-broking business. I’m committed to CLIC and Amber (a charity for homeless kids who have lost focus in life) and some of the bike rides you can do in Windsor Park are unbelievable.”
They don’t carry the same profile as F1, I say. “No, and I don’t want them to,” he replies. So how did the series come about?
“In Germany the TV station RTL asked me to do a few pieces for them talking about racing and I said, ‘Sorry, I don’t want to be a commentator. I don’t want to give people the impression that I’m still living my life through motor racing. I need to make the cut’.
“But they own Channel Five and we started talking about other things. At first it was a concept of finding the next Michael Schumacher.” The Pop Idol format applied to motor racing?
“In a way,” he concurs, “but it would have taken a lot of time and it would have been very bitchy, and I thought, ‘Jesus, I don’t want to do this’. And then I thought about some of the stuff I’d seen with Amber and I came up with this idea: why not take some kids and give them a project, instead of going racing? Would I be able to change their minds? Could I get them to do something positive in their lives?” And you did?
“You’ll have to watch and see how it unfolds.” I’ve seen the trailer. It looks pretty good. “Yes,” he agrees, “but I think I got much more out of the programme than they did.” You did? “Yeah, it made me see life from a completely different view; to be more tolerant, less arrogant. F1 breeds arrogance. You have to be brutal and horrible, almost nasty. These kids have had a lasting effect on me. I saw how desperately in need of help they are.”
He jumps to his feet and draws an imaginary line down the middle of the table. “You grew up with the same family structure as me,” he says. “Working father, mother bringing up the kids. Solid. Secure. This is the line. Now, I had a passion for cars and I ended up on this (the right) side of the line, but these kids have a passion for cars and they end up on this (the wrong) side.
“Why? Because they don’t have a family structure, it has disintegrated. It’s the classic young-girl-meets-guy-gets-pregnant scenario. He does a runner. She doesn’t want to abort and has the child. A few years down the road, when life has been incredibly hard, she meets another guy, but he doesn’t want her child. The child is sent to a home. He commits his first crime.” He slams the table with his fist.
“But what chance has he got?” he explodes. “Tell me what chance he has. And he hasn’t done anything wrong. It is not his fault. We’re just lucky enough that we had a family. This all comes back to the family. Banging up these kids is not a solution. We need to think outside the box!”
He slumps back in his chair and you nod in agreement. Old rebel. New cause.
Eddie Jordan’s Bad Boy Racers, Monday, 8pm