Partying with Nicole Kidman: Inside Omega’s fantasy fête in Vienna
Twilight takes its leave in Vienna, Austria, as I’m transported through a triumphal arch onto the grounds of the historic Liechtenstein Garden Palace. I exit the car, touching heel to pink carpet and following it across a courtyard full of fastidiously placed flickering lanterns parted by two lines of footmen in cream-coloured suits and a pair of white rearing Pegasus statues—all dwarfed by the Romanesque building bathed in silky light behind them. Inside, the grand foyer is flush with fragrant flowers. Commanding the centre is a gilded rococo carriage. A bell tolls and, as I ascend the marble staircase into the 17th-century frescoed ballroom, a fairy tale comes to mind: Cinderella.
This is one enchanted evening, though the woman of the hour is no upstart cinder girl but rather fabled actress Nicole Kidman. In this setting, wearing a beaded Oscar de la Renta gown with shoulder-grazing blonde curls, she looks every bit the part of a princess. But the linchpin accessory for this storybook night is a watch: the latest incarnation of Omega’s legendary Lady-matic, of which Kidman is the face (and wrist). To fête both its ambassador and its timepiece, the watchmaker threw a gala worthy of a fairy tale.
A glass slipper pales in comparison to the glamorous chronometer clasped to Kidman’s wrist. One of this year’s new Ladymatic styles, it retains the sculptural, undulating design of the 2010 model, but elegantly alternates 18-karat gold and stainless steel on the bracelet with a bezel of glittering pavé diamonds.
Dating back to 1955, the original Ladymatic was Omega’s first self-winding watch made especially for women, featuring the smallest movement the brand had ever produced. While Omega is well-known for its connection to male astronauts and secret agents, it has long made time for ladies, designing a jewellery wristwatch for Princess Juliana of the Netherlands as a wedding gift in 1937. For the Ladymatic’s 21st-century revival three years ago, the watchmaker took inspiration from—what else?—a woman’s curves, further elevating the everyday timepiece from strictly business to artful accessory.
“It’s the equivalent to shoes and bags, in a way,” says Kidman. “I think it’s a very important fashion accessory now.” And, like a Birkin bag or Manolo pumps, this year’s Ladymatic comes in a variety of colours to consider and collect. The spiralling supernova dial now comes clad in muted hues of aubergine, pale pink, baby blue and go-with-it-all grey. There are also matching leather straps that have been treated to resemble brushed
satin. “Practical” and “beautiful” are the words Kidman uses, an impressive amalgam that even our most prized carryalls and peep-toes can’t always achieve.
In the eight years since Omega signed Kidman as brand ambassador, the actress has picked up a few more roles (and not just the movie kind), making her time especially precious. “I have young children now, so I’m very aware of how I allocate my time,” she says. She has two children with husband Keith Urban, five-year-old Sunday and two-year-old Faith, and says that Sunday already shares her mother’s proclivity for timepieces. “She has this obsession with wanting a watch,” Kidman says. “It represents being a grown-up.” Her own days as a watch wearer coincide with her start in acting at the age of 14. “Working in film as a child, you learn to be on time,” she says. “It’s a sign of respect for others.”
Like watch, like spokesperson: Kidman is passionately punctual. On gala night, she leaves before the stroke of midnight to catch up on her beauty rest for tomorrow morning’s press conference. Needless to say, this Cinderella had no problem leaving the ball on time.