Pictorial: Top Marques Monaco 2016
It hasn't taken long for Top Marques Monaco to become the world's highest profile show of luxury goods - this was just its thirteenth edition and what began as a supercar show has now diversified into a showcase where a wide range of luxury goods and services can launch new products and build their brand profile to just the right audience.
The city-state of Monaco is the world's second smallest and most densely populated country. The extreme cost of real estate in Monaco is due to its 150-year status as a tax haven which has attracted a population of "tax refugees" including many of the world's highest paid sportspersons, businesspersons and celebrities, further contributing to it being recognized as the playground of the rich and famous. One third of Monaco's citizens are millionaires, making it the perfect venue for the event, particularly when you consider its proximity to Switzerland and the French and Italian Rivieras.
This year a plethora of new toys went on display, with the 270 hp Arcaboard (no, it's a flyboard, not a car), the shape-shifting Kormaran boat, the Martin JetPack, Icona's titanium-bodied 670 hp Vulcano, the retro-Italian Effeffe Berlinetta, Apollo's 986 hp Arrow, Kahn Design's 510 hp Vengeance, Mazzanti's aero-revised 751 hp Evantra, Belassi's new 333 hp B3R PWC, Newtron's all-electric Fiat "Spiaggina" (a modern version of the Jolly Ghia), plus a full complement of A-list manufacturers of watches, jewelry and luxury goods of all descriptions.
While the advertising in the locality might center on the show being a supercar show, it has become as much a luxury goods show because the press group that attends is more the luxury press than the automotive press, or the watch, nautical or fashion media, which is part of the attraction. It's easier to get coverage here for a luxury automobile announcement than it is at Mondial de l'Automobile (Paris Motor Show) or Salon International de l'Auto (Geneva Motor Show), similarly for watches than it is in Baselworld and ditto for fashion than it is in Fashion Week in London, Milan, and Paris. That's because there isn't nearly as much "clutter."
For the voyeur in us all (guilty, yer honor), it's also an opportunity to get a look inside a world you know exists, but perhaps don't otherwise get a chance to see - what it's like to have fun without any budgetary constraints.
As with Techno-Classica, which had finished a few days before, heritage was important at Top Marques, but only in establishing the bonafides of the brand that would be worn on the car or watch.
In Techno-Classica, manufacturers blessed with a storied history used the cars of yesteryear to build bridges to the cars of today, but it was all about the stories that created the marque and its values. At Top Marques, there were only four cars older than ten years of age in the entire exhibition, and three of those were dressed to look like film cars driven by James Bond (the DB5 and two Lotus Esprits).
This exhibition might be based around marques, but it centers entirely on the "now" and how good you're going to look wearing it now.
For lots more details on the pick of the exquisite, extravagant creations on show, take a walk with us through our Top Marques Monaco photo gallery.