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Fashion / Style File

Hugh Jackman Brings Real Showmanship to This Starry Houston Party

Celebrity Ambassadors and a New Pen That Looks to the Future

BY // 06.13.19

Suggest to Montblanc creative director Zaim Kamal that there’s limited need for writing instruments in the digital age, and he will kindly tell you otherwise.

In addition to guiding the Montblanc empire, Kamal also teaches at the Creative Academy in Milan, Italy and the Polimoda in Florence, Italy, and when his young students inquire about the necessity of a pen, he gives them the following exercise.

“Think of a person you love and with a pen write, “I love you.” Now, take whatever digital device you have and in Helvetica 12 point type, “I love you.” Tell me honestly, which of the two will be preferred?” Kamal says.

He calls the exercise kitschy, but highly effective when communicating the value of something handwritten. In a time when sound and image can be texted and type, a note appeals to a different sense.

“When I write a note and I give a note to somebody, I have touched it,” Kamal says. “I give you a touch. Something tactile is one thing we can not fake.”

Kamal brought the message and mission of the luxury brand to Houston in celebration of the reimagined StarWalker pen. Originally released in 2003, the StarWalker was an appeal to a younger audience and a break away from the iconic Meisterstück pen the company was known for.

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In 2016, Montblanc decided it was time to re-examine the StarWalker, tasking Kamal and his design team to explore what the StarWalker would look, feel and work like in the future.

With the emphasis on space and what it took to get there, Houston was the natural location for the grand unveiling of the new StarWalker, drawing A-list stars and an international crowd to the Lone Star Flight Museum Tuesday. The event nicely coincides with the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing, adding an extra bit of revelry to the event.

Surrounded by space suits and aircrafts at the museum, Montblanc rolled out the cerulean carpet for stars Hugh Jackman, Diane Kruger (in a feathered pink Valentino confection), model Winnie Harlow and Riverdale heartthrob Charles Melton. They joined a mix of 160 Montblanc aficiandos, retailers and fans from as far away as the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain.

Jackman serves as a Montblanc Global Ambassador and made congenial tours through the crowd, stopping and posing for pictures and chatting with party-goers. Kamal notes Jackman’s commitment to craft and shared values as reasons why he was a natural fit for the role, but there was also something else.

“He’s just a really cool, nice guy,” Kamal says.

That assessment is spot on.

From his recent role as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman to Jean Valjean in the film Les Miserables and Wolverine in the X-Men series, combined with his A-list status, Jackman could be mercurial celebrity.

His interactions with everyone from party guests to catering staff suggest otherwise. Charming and genuine, Jackman took time to chat about his upcoming concert tour. Jackman’s taking a week off before returning to Houston this Tuesday, June 18th to kick off the American leg of his “The Man. The Music. The Tour.” He has high expectations of the hometown crowd.

“I’ve only really ever worked in New York, so I am looking forward to it,” Jackman says. “It’s going to be a party. There’s a little bit of a competition because I was just in Dublin and they know how to party, but I’m expecting to see some hats and partying, and lots of dancing.”

So, no pressure Houston, but if you have tickets to Jackman’s show, be ready to bring it.

While he didn’t give away any show secrets, Jackman did promise one heck of a show.

“I treat every night like it’s the first and the last, and I’m super excited to do it here,” Jackman says.

A StarWalker for Today

This new pen was designed to be eye-catching.

“They asked me to find its expression in today. We looked at the engineering, asked what do we want to keep? How do we find its expression in today?” Kamal says.

While many were looking to explore the life beyond planet Earth, Kamal and his team found comfort and inspiration in the terra firma of the familiar, while also discovering the beauty of what lies beyond.

“Everybody was talking about leaving the planet and we said no, why do we want to leave earth? This is our heritage, this is our cradle, this is where everything comes from,” Kamal says. “It doesn’t mean you can’t move forward but there’s so much on earth to reconnect with and we need to celebrate that.”

That reconnection process led to the StarWalker’s latest iteration, blending the otherworldly with the concrete. The pen features a blue translucent dome beneath the Montblanc emblem which is reminiscent of the Earth emerging above the lunar horizon, while the platinum-coated cap and barrel represents the astronaut. Subtle nods to 1950s and 1960s rocket design are seen in the body of the StarWalker, while staying true to Montblanc’s essence.

Jackman did his part, hosting a panel discussion with Montblanc CEO Nicolas Baretzki and former astronaut and space station commander Leroy Chiao in a pop-up planetarium for the second act of the night. Post-panel festivities involved delicious Tex-Mex influenced bites (hello warm lobster mini tacos) by Catering by Culinaire and a liquid nitro ice cream bar, while a universe of stars twinkled overhead. 

The greatest show indeed.

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