When ZZ Top sang
“Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don’t know where I am goin’ to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don’t need a reason why.
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
Coz’ every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man”
they could have had Clovis Taittinger (export director of the eponymous Champagne brand, below) in mind. Crocodile skin belt, white Swatch watch, medieval cuff links, Sami reindeer wrist bracelet…
Clovis left the white snakeskin cowboy boots he bought on Friday in the King’s Road in London, at home in Paris (1st arrondissement, near the Louvre). “I’m not a crazy man. They didn’t cost me £2,000 a pair, but I do love colour.”
And bubbly, as his eponymous fizz is the last word in Blanc de Blanc elegance. “Our sales were up 10% last year” he shared over lunch at Bizerca Bistro – the most fashionable table in Cape Town as its next to Max Models – “in fact, since we bought the company back from the Americans six years ago, we’ve had our five best years ever.” And SA is no exception, as sales of Taittinger were up 50% last year. Which should ring bells for ambitious hotel sommeliers, planning to take local fizz to the Next Level.
Let’s hope Clovis has time to visit some Cape Town clothes designers before he shoots off to Jozi, which swallows 60% of Taittinger imports in SA. Clothes and Nederburg Rosé will be on his shopping list as Clovis fell in love with Razvan’s Rosé in Namibia where he spent many a happy holiday sipping Nederburg and Comte de Champagne around the camp fire, built high to keep the wild animals away.
After studying history at the Sorbonne in Paris, Clovis is now in charge of exports (which make up around ¾ of production) to 150 different countries, with SA the thirstiest market in Africa. On his historic Christian name, Clovis comments that as things get tougher economically for France, heroic names from the past are becoming ever more popular: Napoleon, Charles, Clovis… although he does note with a disarming grin that every rural village still has an idiot, most likely called Clovis.