Paved in luxury

7 11 2014

Luxury gleams on the world’s best shopping streetSOME SAY that luxury has lost its luster.  But all you need here in the Lion City is take a leisurely day of shopping on Orchard Road to see that it – luxury – has in fact lost none of its charms.

The façade of ION on Orchard.  I hear the word "ION" and my senses are arrested by thoughts of a positive charge powering and energizing Orchard Road.  So apt.

The façade of ION on Orchard. I hear the word “ION” and my senses are arrested by thoughts of a positive charge powering and energizing Orchard Road. So apt.

Leisurely’ is the operative word to guide the pace of shopping on this famed street.  While the sheer number of shopping options that dot the whole stretch may prove to be dizzyingly daunting to the faint of heart, the lineup of 22 shopping malls – the best of which house under one roof an eclectic mix that juxtaposes world-famous mainstream luxury brands with labels that have yet to garner the same global attention – and six departments stores could very well be the playground of the tasteful rich.  Think Aspen minus the snow.

This claim was all the more put to fore after Presence Mystery Shopping, a Paris-based marketing consultancy firm, revealed in 2012 that Singapore’s Orchard Road came out in first place on the list of the world’s best shopping streets.  The more seasoned in retail therapy would be quick to zoom in on the ranking and would be quite surprised to see that of the 29 other iconic shopping destinations on the short list, Orchard Road beat Paris’s Champs Elysées, 16th place, and New York’s 5th Avenue, 26th, by a wide margin.

ION Orchard on 2 Orchard Turn is “where it all comes together.”  Imposing at daylight when the rays of the sun hit the award-winning architectural latticework and more captivating at night time when the multi-sensory multi-media façade comes to life, ION Orchard has come to be the flagship of the Singapore shopping experience.  The play of lights and virtual short films on display perfectly set off a veritable marquee of who’s who in the world of fashion and style – Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana.  You can step into its cavernous space – eight levels of covetable brands – and instantly feel that if appearances alone make for the best shopping street, you could not be at any better place.  But then again, the street offers plenty of equally tempting choices.  So off you go.

Who again wears Prada?!

Who again wears Prada?!

 

A beanie by Louis Vuitton.  I love how the Louis Vuitton logo is composed of the colors of the Philippine flag.

A beanie by Louis Vuitton. I love how the Louis Vuitton logo is composed of the colors of the Philippine flag.

 

Like slices of medium rare lamb strewn atop mesclun greens, contemporary pieces of art are scattered all over ION on Orchard.  And it has to be said, beautifully so.  This one is the "BA PANDA", a painted bronze sculpture, by Julien Marinetti.

Like slices of medium rare lamb strewn atop mesclun greens, contemporary pieces of art are scattered all over ION on Orchard. And it has to be said, beautifully so. This one is the “BA PANDA“, a painted bronze sculpture, by Julien Marinetti.

Across the street from ION is Wisma Atria, fresh from a facelift in 2012 that welcomed the Tag Heuer flagship store to its fold.  Sharing equal billing on this strip is the eponymous fashion label Tory Burch, a name synonymous to preppy-bohemian chic, business savvy and philanthropy.  But before these brands bannered the new and improved Wisma Atria, it has long been anchored by one of its top tenants leading Japanese department store Isetan, the GAP, and Nike on two levels of athletic shoes and apparel love.  These and about a hundred other specialty stores are Wisma Atria’s claim to fashionista heaven – and haven – fame.

Blue is the warmest color.  And it has always been synonymous with Wisma Atria.

Blue is the warmest color. And it has always been synonymous with Wisma Atria.

 

The façade of the Wisma Atria store of Tory Burch's eponymous label.  There's no better address for one of the world's most powerful women.

The façade of the Wisma Atria store of Tory Burch‘s eponymous label. There’s no better address for one of the world’s most powerful women.

 

So, Matthew McConaughey is wearing HAMILTON in his latest movie INTERSTELLAR.

So, Matthew McConaughey is wearing HAMILTON in his latest movie INTERSTELLAR.

Further down Orchard Road is Ngee Ann City, the place where there is “something for everyone” beginning with the lovers of two of the most iconic names in the world of style and merchandising – Chanel and Takashimaya Department Store.  In keeping with the times, Chanel has just recently undergone a sprucing up and has come out fiercer in their window displays that marry the traditional (those quilted 2.55s will never go out of style) with the cutting edge (have you seen their mix of materials and the cute backpack?).  It has always been on a par with fellow tenant Louis Vuitton which in recent memory has enticed with their aviator-themed displays and collaboration with renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  But still it is Takashimaya that anchors Ngee Ann City in its rightful place as a staple on the world’s best shopping avenue.

This photo doesn't convey how compelling or I guess, inviting, the façade of Ngee Ann City is at night time.  But I've come to love this snapshot as it shows how the trappings of luxury and modernity marry harmoniously with nature, quite evident with the number of trees that dot Orchard Road.

This photo doesn’t convey how compelling or I guess, inviting, the façade of Ngee Ann City is at night time. But I’ve come to love this snapshot as it shows how the trappings of luxury and modernity marry harmoniously with nature, quite evident with the number of trees that dot Orchard Road.

 

This leather bag sit unassumingly at the display window, until closer inspection reveals the impeccable craftsmanship that can only be Hermès.

This leather bag sit unassumingly at the display window, until closer inspection reveals the impeccable craftsmanship that can only be Hermès.

 

Louis Vuitton has always had amazing window displays.  They are a spectacle all their own.  Tells you that luxury is (should be) synonymous with high quality and work of art.

Louis Vuitton has always had amazing window displays. They are a spectacle all their own. Tells you that luxury is (should be) synonymous with high quality and work of art.

If it’s another layer of sophistication you’re after, then the Mandarin Gallery may just be the place for you.  Home to Bell & Ross and Montblanc, the place can surely remind you that there is a time for indulgence after all.  And it could very well be a handsome timepiece on your wrist, just what you need to time your pace as you check out the sartorial offerings at Paul Smith, Emporio Armani, Marc Jacobs and Y–3, just a few of the undoubtedly well-curated selections at this “gallery.”  If you feel like you’re starting to lug around more than you had initially hoped, a sturdy and well-crafted Mulberry might just be the bag you need – to carry your loot in style, as well as your daily essentials.

Mandarin Gallery, with all its lighting treatment, is always a visual feast.

Mandarin Gallery, with all its lighting treatment, is always a visual feast.

 

Coming from ION on Orchard, Mandarin Gallery is an array of namedroppables, beginning with EMPORIO ARMANI.

Coming from ION on Orchard, Mandarin Gallery is an array of namedroppables, beginning with EMPORIO ARMANI.

The attention-grabbing storeys-high LED screens that have shaped the Orchard Road skyline echo the recent influx of high-end mass-market labels to this center of luxury.  Abercrombie & Fitch and H&M – both of which opened to much fanfare and queuing frenzy – hog one of the belt’s busiest intersections, on the way to 313@somerset, the address Forever 21’s flagship store calls home.  At this mall, style of European provenance – Zara – stands vis-à-vis the fashion sensibility and multifarious offerings from the land of cherry blossoms – Uniqlo.

Crossing the street to our next stop!

Crossing the street to our next stop!

 

Where there is H&M, there is a crowd.  No matter what time of day.

Where there is H&M, there is a crowd. No matter what time of day.

 

The walk to 313@somerset on its own is paved in luxury of the gastronomique nature.

The walk to 313@somerset on its own is paved in luxury of the gastronomique nature.

From the convergence of purveyors of style basics, it’s back to upmarket choices at luxury central Paragon Mall.  Mirroring the enticing sight that is ION Orchard, Paragon shimmers amidst this seeming paradise with its lit-up Miu Miu storefront, opposite from the virtually gilded Gucci façade that makes a case for that oft-spoken line “all that glitters is gold.”  Inside, its rather unassuming interiors belie the affluent choices that are bubbling to the surface, waiting to be consumed.  You see it in the perfect tailoring at Alfred Dunhill, and the exceptional pieces at Salvatore Ferragamo and Bulgari.

Paragon Mall is dressing up for the holidays!  I see this and couldn't help but burst into song.  Though the weather outside is frightful...  Hahaha!

Paragon Mall is dressing up for the holidays! I see this and couldn’t help but burst into song. Though the weather outside is frightful… Hahaha!

 

Paragon Mall is framed by Miu Miu on one side...

Paragon Mall is framed by Miu Miu on one side…

 

...and by Gucci on the other.

…and by Gucci on the other.

 

The ROBINSONS Department Store building is a requisite stop too!

The ROBINSONS Department Store building is a requisite stop too!

Appearances do seem to make for what the world calls as the best shopping street.  But with its wide open spaces, clean pavements and service staff with a ready, welcoming smile, Orchard Road clearly has one up against any other world-famous shopping haunt.

Here in the Lion City, these shopping malls fling their doors wide open to welcome you for the ultimate in luxury retail experience.  But while the images of multi-media wall screens and well-lit windows from the outside haven’t fully left your cerebellum convolutions, you soon realize that in their place is inching your own smile – brought about by a usual day at the mall turned into a pleasant multi-sensory jolt – that best speaks of the luxury that has not lost its luster.

Copyright © 2014 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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Geek in the pink

19 12 2011

With six of the 11 who make my Teambuilding Committee at the office.

LIKE A kid on Christmas day, I opened presents on Friday morning, donned a new shirt, and started to play with a new toy.

It’s because last Friday, we had our department’s office Christmas Party.  It was, as I had enthusiastically texted someone, officially my first R-E-A-L party here in Singapore!  The very first one I truly enjoyed.  Everything about it worked.  The speeches (the explanation about the door gift was cool), the entertainment, the games, and the lucky draw.

This chandelier hung over my head. It was so beautiful.

 

With one of my closest friends, Jossel.

I’m all about the food and I L-O-V-E-D everything!  And it did help that while lined up at the buffet, my new good friend Camy was passing by.  She pointed at each dish, and gave me her signature no-frills, succinct, honest review of the culinary offerings.  I have to say that I trust her taste.

My first plate has a vegetarian spring roll, a salmon treat in a puff pastry crust, and chicken wrapped in pandan leaf.

 

I also had to have a couple of the steamed shrimp dumplings and some fried vegetarian bee hon on the first round.

 

Seeing this bowl of pickled green chillies at the buffet spread was enough to make me do my happy dance. I love this condiment!

 

See, my second plate had the pickled green chillies as the star.

I enjoyed myself the whole time and never had a dull moment.  There wasn’t really a downside to the full-packed two or so hours we had, except that I wish there really was…  dancing.  Hahaha!

Like a kid on Christmas day, I went to the party in some of the best I could put on, with everything revolving around my brand new Dior shirt.  And to capture great moments for posterity, I finally debuted my SONY NEX-5D digital camera.  I haven’t really gotten around to playing with all the features of this gadget.  But I can say that the best is yet to be realized.

I told YC that we had to maximize use of the camera they gave me. Haha!

 

One more snap before I had to change to a different line.

 

"Thanks guys for my new Dior shirt and my SONY NEX-5D camera!" Here with KS, WH, KL, WC, WS, and T.

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





So this is how it feels

14 12 2011

If there's any doubt as to the provenance of the white shopping bag, this ribbon helps take care of it.

ALL THIS time, I thought that I’ve got the art of pulling a surprise down pat.  I have believed that nobody would be able to pull one on me.  Well, until yesterday.

It started with an invitation to an “emergency” meeting to discuss some late-breaking feedback on the event the committee I’m chairing just threw.  Even when it had the line, “Especially you eNTeNG, we need your insight,” I didn’t suspect something was up.  If anything at all, it sort of bothered me and actually threw me off a bit from the many tasks that I had lined up for the day.  I was trying to think what could’ve gotten wrong that needed mending.

I tried to pry by way of Instant Messaging and asked for “clues” if the actual matter couldn’t be discussed virtually.  It came to the point of asking if it was something “good” or “bad.”  “Do you think I will call an urgent meeting if it was good?”  At that point I was almost restless.

The two words “command responsibility” kept buzzing like neon in my head.

The appointed time came and the couple of follow up calls asking where I was just further impressed upon me that I needed to drop everything I was doing and make time for this meeting.

I walked through the door and saw everyone quietly seated and patiently waiting.  I can’t remember if I opened by asking, “Okay, what’s the problem?”

All I can remember right now was that they said that nothing was wrong and that they were there to give me something.  Actually, some things.

They brought out a bag full of camera accessories.  We had lunch together last week and they must’ve probably noticed that I would almost always end up not in the photos because I would be the one taking them.  “There’s a tripod in there,” I can still hear one of them saying.  And then one by one he brought out a dust buster cleaning set, an extra battery, a memory card, and a carrying case.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up pulling a rabbit out of the bag.

What was happening still didn’t dawn on me.  My head was still processing the sense of relief over the fact that nothing was wrong.  I don’t know if my face was blank.  But I know I was staring at the things they brought before me.  But I couldn’t say a word.

Then they said they had a “real” gift for me.  It was something in a Dior shopping bag.  At this point, I could feel a lump form in my throat.  I couldn’t speak.  The “powerful” voice that others had complimented me on days before was nowhere to be heard.

Seriously, one of the best shopping bags ever. It almost has the luxurious feel of exotic leather.

 

If I understand it correctly, the girlfriend of my committee member who took charge of getting this gift knows someone at the ION Orchard store. So they were able to make special arrangements, including the use of this really wonderful gift box. The box alone is a gift in itself!

 

Box and ribbon... lovely stuff.

 

I kept taking photos of the box. If I could, I would have left it unopened forever.

 

Just like the paper bag, the box has this luxurious feel of exotic leather.

 

Dior and Dior

 

Pulled the ribbon loops...

 

Finally, the ribbon is unraveled.

 

I so love love L-O-V-E this gift! The fit is perfect. I can't wait to wear it!!!

I felt so overwhelmed hearing some of them speak words of appreciation about having me as their committee chair that I still couldn’t speak.  I attempted to, but I realized I really couldn’t.

That’s when they handed me their ultimate gift.  It came in the form of a “property pass,” a card issued at the front desk for packages deposited for safekeeping.  It was for a SONY NEX-5D Double Lens camera kit.  S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y?  “And here’s a card for you from all of us.”

They said it even through the gift wrapper. Sweet =)

 

Two boxes to make anybody feel to be somebody loved.

 

I've never had a camera with a detachable lens. So this is my first.

 

I'm really lovin' the look of this camera. I was told it has had great reviews!

 

They said they got me this for my blog. Again, sweet =)

 

I can't wait to use this!!! I've got to name this camera!

 

This is the card they gave me.

 

Sometimes all it takes is one word...

 

I will never forget how they made me feel. (The balloons at our last event were my idea. So drawing them on the card was a touching gesture.)

 

They made me feel so good that nothing could put a damper on the rest of my day. I was, to quote one of them, "on a high."

So this is how it feelsI had to write them a letter.  I love all eleven of them for how good they made me feel.  They didn’t have to.  But they did anyway.

I can’t say thank you enough – K, W, W, and T…

 

...and T, Y, W, V, and K. As well as J and K.

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved