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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Xīnnián kuàilè!

2 02 2013
Chinese New Year 2013 - Paragon Mall Ceiling Decor

Ceiling decor, Paragon Mall, Singapore

I LOOKED up the ceiling of Paragon Mall and realized that the Chinese Lunar New Year is upon us once again.  I took my sight back to eye level and swore that I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself on the steps of The Great Wall instead of at the doorstep of Gucci.

This season – for all the obvious reasons – brings to mind all things wonderful and Chinese.  And as I was poring over thousands of shots snapped in the past 19 months, I came across one photo of who could arguably be my Chinese best friend.  It’s set right in front of the Ferrari store at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and with all the red in this photo, it does feel very ‘Xīnnián kuàilè!

Here’s to another great year in the Lion City!  And in Shanghai where best friend is!

100912_Bin&eNTeNG_Ferrari

eNTeNG and his Chinese best friend Bin! Ferrari Store, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

 

Chinese New Year 2013 - Marc by Marc Jacobs 00

Speaking of all things red, I liked this styling on the window display of Marc Jacobs on Orchard Road, Singapore.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Long-shum

28 11 2012

The Longchamp Parisis Men’s Cross-Body Bag in lambskin leather, trimmed with cowhide leather.

ONE OF my brothers gave me a genuine calf leather cross-body bag of French provenance that I have been wearing out like crazy (read: pinanghaharabas in the Filipino vernacular).  One lazy day, I emptied it of its contents, looked at it, and realized that I wouldn’t be able to stand to see it literally fall apart.  For purely sentimental reasons.

So what I did was reach for one of my many Kinokuniya (plastic) shopping bags – I must get at least 10 magazine titles from them every month – tumbled all of my daily essentials in and resolved that from that point hence, I would take the incarnation of a literal bagman.  A blue plastic Kinokuniya bagman.

Kinokuniya Shopping Bags

But to borrow the name of that game we used to play as kids – hide-and-seek – delight in the pleasures of natural hide and one shall find one’s self seeking to have it back.  So I had decided to get myself something I would be willing to wear out.

Before long I found myself overcoming my fear of the price tag in some of the shops here in Singapore, walked past their imposing, triumphal archways for doors, approached the first available sales associate, and in a calm voice asked, “Do you have this bag?… But in all natural leather?

Every time, my worn-out Kinokuniya (plastic) shopping bag would endure the stare before it (the stare), in all its expressionless botoxed glory, would move to me.  Often, I got a flat out “Sorry, but no.”  In a few instances, I got treated to a veritable run through of everything in the “spring summer” or “fall winter” line-up before I would just lift up once again my Kinokuniya and say, “Thanks but just like this.”

Then it was time to pay one of my Mama’s favorites a visit – Longchamp at Paragon Mall on Orchard.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t need to ask for a sales associate’s help.  Because it was there at the top of the shelf at the back of the store, the section elevated by a short flight of steps.  I took it from its all-stainless steel display stand, got immediately captivated by the supple leather, and knew that it was the one.

The Longchamp Parisis Men’s Cross-Body Bag in lambskin leather, trimmed with cowhide leather (and goatskin leather per the sales associate) with palladium hardware.

I absolutely loved it at first sight.  Though I did find the price a bit prohibitive.  So after quite a lingering admiration, I decided to let it go.  But as with all things meant to be, I ended up losing sleep over it.

So one night when there was just simply no way of getting transported to dreamland with persistently nagging thoughts of lambskin leather, I got out of bed, showered, changed, and hopped on the Purple Line, changed to the Circle Line at Serangoon, and in minutes found myself at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – at way past 10:00 PM.  I know the stores there close at 11:00 PM.

By 10:40 PM, the only piece they had in store was mine.  Happily so.

“LONGCHAMP” perfectly heat-stamped on to the lamskin leather, two handles in cowhide leather, enhanced by two small Russian ears, snap button enclosure also in cowhide leather.

 

 

On the back, the epic brand’s epic equestrian logo heat-stamped on to the lambskin leather.

 

The bag, perfectly slouchy, in the canvass bag bin at Din Tai Fung.

 

At the Orchard MRT Station

 

At the Malaysian Food Street beside Universal Studios Singapore

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





A couple of wristwatch events and a reminder on what is precious

24 09 2012

“H” marks the spot. This huge logo hung from the ceiling of the Main Atrium, Paragon Mall, Orchard Road.

I GOT invited to a couple of wristwatch events this September.  The first one was to the soft opening of a brand new wristwatch store.  The second one was to the opening of a renowned brand’s first ever pop–up store in the world.

Just some invitations

 

I’ve gotten three pieces from The Hour Glass at Takashimaya. And from time to time, I hear from them.

 

So happy to get this invitation!

 

A close-up of the pretty invite

 

The flip side has details of the event.

Given that work has been crazy – crazy good, I have to say – I have totally dismissed any chance for me to make it to any of these two events.

I totally missed the first one.  The brand traces its provenance from the United States (if I remember it correctly) and the owner decided to bring it here to the Lion City.  I’ve seen the wristwatch up close on the owner’s wrist – he is, after all, his brand’s ultimate walking advertisement.  For me it sums up the three B’s I look for in something that tick-tocks – big, bold, and beautiful.

I was ready to miss the second one altogether.  But with the resolve of someone who has to beat the incessant teasing of a ticking biological clock, I suddenly found myself making the time to the event mere minutes before it would have closed.

HUBLOT presents BIG BANG, HUBLOT’s first ever pop–up store in the world, celebrating the Essence of Art & Fusion, at the Main Atrium, Paragon Mall, Orchard Road.  The event was presented by The Hour Glass.

I was running late. Since I didn’t have time to go to the restroom, I just made a quick check of my reflection on the mirrored wall of Coach. It has served this purpose perfectly well all the time. Haha! It’s just my hair I fuss about.

 

The event is right smack in the center of the mall, yet it exudes elegance. It’s the subdued hues, and of course, the timepieces themselves!

 

I loved this “celing” treatment. It competed with the watches for my attention. I just loved looking up. Haha!

 

I just had to take a snap of the decor. The photo doesn’t do justice to how these folded gray art paper looked stunning in person.

 

BIG BANG… HUBLOT pops up!

 

The Essence of Art & Fusion

Nothing says aspirational quite like ogling at the one–and–only 5–million–dollar Big Bang, covered all over in top quality diamonds.  It felt like hundreds – no, thousands – of engagement rings slammed on to a chunky timepiece.  I wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Haha!  For me, the concept of luxury starts with the words, “entry level.”  Haha!

It is quite ironic that lately when I seem to have been losing track of time, I get a couple of reminders that nothing is more precious than time.  I gave the price tag of the limited edition Big Bang a glance back and a long stare.  All I can say is I couldn’t agree more.

A paper bag on the purple line.

 

I like the attention to details. Even the paper bag handles are engraved with the theme.

 

I think this paper bag would look great in all calf leather. Then I would be able to use it to no end!

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Big bold letters in red

24 06 2012

If there is ever any doubt in your mind what season it is in Singapore.

I’VE LONG claimed in this space that I only shop where they say sale in big bold letters – as in SALE.  And being here in the Lion City, home to Orchard Road, ranked first in the list of 30 of the world’s most famous shopping streets, I’ve come to realize that sale does still come in big bold red letters, though they spell a different word:  GSS (the Great Singapore Sale).

The paradox of it all is that I seemed to have lost all urge to shop.  And when I do, it is to run an errand for family or friends back home.  But for myself?  Nah.  Well, not anymore.  My only little piece of heaven as of late is the second-hand wristwatch stores that dot the stretch of malls along the world’s most famous shopping street.  I fix my favorites with a long, focused stare that pierce right through the vitrines.  But before any of their beauty lulls me into a false state of security I would get by acquiring them, I snap right out of it with the screaming thought, “I cannot afford any of you!”  Haha!

For now, I’m quite happy and content to be able to strut down Orchard Road.  How often can one be in a place touted to be better than, say, Paris?

At Coach, Paragon Mall

 

By the Ralph Lauren store on Scotts Road. I love it for sentimental reasons.

 

Back at Ralph Lauren. I told you I love this store.

 

At Kate Spade, Raffles City

 

My Mama and Sisters-In-Law will be so happy.

 

At Louis Vuitton, ION Orchard

 

Me and mirror panels…

 

My reflection framed by funky timepieces and knick knacks.

 

One of the come-ons at Paragon Mall is live entertainment. This trio was good. I looked at them and thought up three names who can help put up a similar act. “Shall I start singing for my supper?”

 

It’s practically summer all-year-round in Singapore. The only other season is… GSS.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Sidewalks dressed in holiday style

11 12 2011

It's a gold-and-blue Christmas Tree for Paragon Mall. (I was there that night when they were putting this one up!)

 

THE SIDEWALKS paved in luxury just got dressed in holiday style.

One tradition that I’ve kept with best friend Batman is checking out the Christmas décor in the malls once they’ve been put up.  Greenbelt and The Podium have been usual destinations.  But now that we’re at different distances from the equator, I’d have to observe this fairly young tradition on my own.

Finally, I was able to stuff my old, beaten, yet still trusty Canon IXUS 860IS into my bag and snap shots of Orchard Road.

“See the sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style.”

This photo doesn't do justice to just how beautiful these blue lights are.

 

Mandarin Gallery in red...

 

...then in green.

 

Takashimaya S.C. is lit in Swarovski!

 

Even Gucci is awashed in gold and blue.

 

Tang's went for the gold, so to speak.

 

I saw this décor and instantly heard a blast from the past. "Ladies and gentlemen, Spandau Ballet... You are gold!" Hehehe...

 

Takashimaya S.C. is having a Blue Christmas.

 

This Christmas Tree is H-U-G-E!!! It almost reaches the mall's ceiling. And it's tall ceiling!

 

Inside Paragon Mall, this Christmas Tree hangs from the ceiling.

 

Probably, Paragon Mall thought just how the holidays could turn people upside down.

 

Me and the Paragon Christmas Tree

 

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





P.S. I love you

19 11 2011

Three Cheese Penne, PS. Café, Paragon Mall, Orchard Road, Singapore

I’VE LONG been in search of the perfect macaroni and cheese.  Here in Singapore.

With all due respect to that familiar blue box that I’ve loved for the longest time, sometimes, what I long for is macaroni and cheese made the old-fashioned way.

I’m taking about starting with a roux of butter and flour, cooked just enough so that the flour is toasty before whole milk – that has first been simmered to the point that a skin has formed on top – is added.  A few minutes over low fire and the sauce will have thickened, at which point it can be seasoned with a pinch of cayenne pepper and a few scrapes of nutmeg on a microplane.  It will be taken off of the fire before at least two cheeses will be added.  I’m thinking Gruyère and cheddar.

Then, to this sauce will be added perfectly cooked penne, and in the context of the macaroni and cheese on my mind, “perfectly” means a couple of minutes under what the package instructions tell you.  Everything will be mixed well so that the sauce coats every single piece of pasta.  This is now ready to be tipped over on to a large baking dish, and then topped with more cheese.

Into the oven it will go where the inside will get even creamier, as the top gets to a golden brown color.  The sauce and the cheese will bubble over.  And that’s when it is ready to make it to the table.

That’s when it is ready to be devoured by me.  And that was exactly the image in my head as I waited there, at a corner table at PS. Café at Paragon Mall on Orchard.

And how was PS. Café’s “Three Cheese Penne”?  I sum it all up with, P.S. … I love you.

The macaroni and cheese is served with a side salad of baby greens, highlighted with sections of a Valencia orange.

I washed everything down with a tall glass of Iced Moroccan Mint Tea.

Apart from the iced Moroccan mint tea, I enjoyed the restaurant's water. It is "spiked" with slices of cucumber, lemon, carrot, and sprigs of mint.

Everything in this water is meant to "cool" it down.

I saw "Triple Cheese Penne" on the menu and didn't have to read any further!

PS. Café at Paragon has both an indoor dining section and this kiosk that overlooks the heart of the mall.

I love how Paragon went with this upside down Christmas Tree to be the focal point of their holiday decor.

Paragon Mall on Orchard Road has dressed up for the season!

Chicken Tau Kwa, Paragon Mall, Orchard Road, Singapore. This was The Boy Wonder's dinner.

So, who's the "Boss"?

Great company makes a sumptuous dinner amazing. Here, with Partner.

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