This summer all eyes are on the tennis, and in a bid to lure the fashionable gentleman courtside a handful of sponsors are doing their bit to bring a touch of European cool to Kooyong Classic and the Australian Open.
The Kooyong Classic in Melbourne kicks off the season and Stella Artois joins as a sponsor, bringing with it the newly installed Stella Artois Eastern Terrace. But this is more than just a beer association. By turning up the class stakes, gents in fabulous attire will surely follow – think Italian street style without the pretension and summer casual that's less surf-inspired and more preppy college.
Wooing the peacocks
With paralympian Dylan Alcott helping promote the space, the new terrace will be unveiled this week to a host of VIPs and media guests over an intimate lunch, guaranteeing the space to be the pecking ground for any peacocks not at this year's Pitti Uomo.
While tennis is the still the focus, adding celebrities and VIPS will make the event a destination and turn Instagram hashtags into more than just disposable memories.
The Stella Artois Eastern Terrace will be open to the public, but it's been carefully curated to fuse elements of Wimbledon wow and European al fresco.
Aperol at the Open
By the time the Australian Open kicks off on January 16, the focus will be on the classic northern Italian cocktail – the Aperol Spritz.
The popularity of the spritz in Australia is thanks to Aperol's feisty push to switch summer tastebuds to the classic Italian refresher. It's particularly adored in the northern pocket of the Veneto region.
Tennis stars, VIP guests and the attendees are invited to meet at Club Aperol at Rod Laver Arena to indulge in an al fresco tipple, eat from charcuterie boards and play 'I spy' which famous tennis star has come to sip the Italian aperitif.
While Club Aperol is open to the public, there is a designated VIP area for the stars and guests to hang out.
Lavazza is another sponsor who makes a comeback at the Australian Open – not just servicing coffee to fans and players, but a Lavazza Café Bar is also located at the new look Grand Slam Oval. It's where guests can reload with an espresso or opt for cold beverages like Cremespresso and Nitro Cold Brew.
But the real VIP action takes place within the Lavazza Superbox. This year, Lavazza tops its gastronomic ambitions by bringing back last year's executive chef Giovanni Pilu – owner of award winning Sydney restaurant Pilu at Freshwater. He is joined by Jake Nicolson – executive chef from Brisbane's Blackbird Bar & Dining and Buddha Lo from Matteo's (Melbourne) – formerly from Melbourne's Hare & Grace and the Gordon Ramsey group in London.
Each chef is tasked with creating bespoke dishes to be featured on the menu. Some dishes include pecorino and Lavazza coffee agnolotti pasta with coffee consommé and coffee and pecorino crumble plus a banana and Lavazza coffee custard dessert.
First class destination
Luxury airliner Emirates returns to the Open with an elegant retreat for VIP guests. Inspired by nature, green and rich browns set the tone this year where marble and dark wood is the emphasis in this chic invitation-only destination.
The modern contemporary design comes with copper-painted grids for statement wall pieces and when combined with green plants, acts as an oasis away from the city swelter.
And when it comes to catering, Emirates' VIPs will be treated to a buffet style menu in the first week and a la carte service in week two of the tournament.
Whether you score an invite depends on your executive credentials, celebrity 'wow' factor and media status. The tennis culture is less showy than the Spring Racing Carnival and more laidback as a result, but the VIP suite is where the classiest treatment is experienced. If you're anyone who matters to the brand you'll be invited.