Monthly Archives: October 2009

Hey, Boils and Ghouls

Loft

Entrance to Loft, Discovery Center

Thais love ghosts. How else do you explain the massive popularity of scary movies and Halloween? Only in Bangkok do people celebrate Halloween as a “festival”. Many of the young seriously believe this is as important as Christmas! I have never seen such enthusiasm elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Here, the stores dress up their retail space and windows (in the season’s icons—skulls, witches, bats…) more zealously than Songkran or Loy Krathong. Strange.

MBK

Even low-end Mahboonkrong is all dressed up!

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Shy Not Of Shine

One of the handsomest weekender that can be found in Bangkok is Givenchy’s super-soft quilted PVC bag. Even when the bag is not completely filled, it holds its shape up extremely well. You, therefore, won’t have to lug around a limp carryall when you have nothing much to carry at all!

Available at Club 21 Accessories, Siam Paragon, for 39,800 baht.

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This Really Should Be It. The End.

This Is It

I have to admit, I am not a die-hard fan. I was never able to understand the music, let alone dance to it. When Thriller became the phenomenal hit that it was, I could not fathom what the fuss was about. By the time Michael Jackson transformed into the ghoulish figure that was as creepy as his voice was thin, I found myself more distant to his music than ever. His death in June, while poignant, was not as sad for me as it was for so many around the world, and This Is It did not move me as it did for so many who saw it at the preview screening last night.

The movie is really a making-of picture, and is clearly for fans, particularly those who had bought tickets to go to the London concerts, but could not any more. It’s the consolation prize at the office D&D’s lucky draw; the one of numerous assembled to ensure that not too many people go home empty-handed. As a documentary, it did not elucidate; as a film, it told no stories.

I shall not be cynical and call this a cash-in. I will not disagree with those who are convinced that from the movie, you can be sure that the concert would be a smash hit and visually stunning. In fact, even before MJ’s demise, we could be certain of that. But as a behind-the-scene reveal, we’re not given a large enough tour into the machinations of staging 50 performances on such a scale. While the music in This Is It will take you down memory lane, MJ rehearsing was not MJ performing.

Unimpressed with the music (obviously pumped up by post-pro) or the musician’s and dancers’ unabated gushing, I started observing the odd clothes the man himself put on for the rehearsals. Some of them looked like they were bought from Platinum Mall. MJ wore his jeans high-waisted, the way he always had. He liked his shirts untucked and adorned (with prints or something glittery or with military stripes on the sleeves), and would wear them over an undershirt or beneath a jacket, never singly. No doubt, his jackets were statement pieces. I can’t be sure, but one looked like a Balmain with its distinctive pointy shoulder that is so much the rage now. And another, with  colourful curved panels, seemed somewhat Balenciaga. Both, it should be noted, were from the womenswear.

Many fans consider MJ a style icon. The military jacket and sequinned one-hand glove were his signatures even when it is still debated whether they’re tasteful. In the film, we were not given a look at the costumes that he would have worn in London, but from the clothes he sported to rehearse in, they would likely be attention-grabbing, if not fashionable. Music had been MJ’s strength, allowing him to go mainstream, but in fashion, he was, sadly, from its fringes.

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Fave Pic | His Skirt

Are Scotsmen by default more amenable to wearing below the waist garment that does not separate the legs? Ewan McGregor appears in the latest issue (No. 10) of Fantastic Man in a skirt rather than a kilt. Has Obi Wan transgressed a gender code? The Comme des Garcons pinstripe wrap hanging above feet shod in vintage Converse All Stars looks nothing like traditional Scottish highland wear. It’s not knee-length, it’s not in tartan, and, by the looks of it, not pleated in the rear. Yet nothing of this long skirt has diminished Mr McGregor’s masculinity. Leaning astride a plastic garden chair, he looks as comfortable as Sean Connery wearing authentic Gaelic dress, banishing rather convincingly the supposedly natural link between clothing and gender.

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Fashion At The Cinema

Just as you thought you saw the last of this year’s fashion shows at Elle Fashion Week, Issue staged their spectacle at SF World at CentralWorld two nights ago. It was named ‘Anti-Gravity’. I did not see the Issue show, so I could not tell you why the collection would defy the force that pulls all matter to the centre of the earth. Burning with curiosity, I asked those who attended what stunts they saw. This is what they said:

“It was very dark. I couldn’t really see anything.”

“The light show was very impressive.”

“They always do something different.”

“I think it is very futuristic.”

Mai roo.”

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Absolut The Nudist

absolut nudeThe people at Absolut sure know how to dress (or not dress) their iconic vodka bottle. After last month’s studded leather gear that would delight any Harley groupie, they decided to go to the other extreme and outfit the carressable bottle in its birthday suit. Now you have Absolut No Label!

I imagine this is what it would look like if Muji were to offer vodka. The bottle’s quite naked except for the compulsory label at the bottom declaring the liquor’s alcohol content. Some people think Absolut isn’t Absolut without the typographic surface treatment (so unapologetically cursive). I, on the other hand, have always considered less to be more.

Sexiness hasn’t been so perfectly clear.

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Stamped & Delivered

Unlike other celebs, Paul Smith is not the target of a stalker. Instead, he’s the target of a mailer. This unknown person has for the past 15 years sent Sir Smith objects rather than letters. Each is mailed without wrapping or envelope. They’re simply stamped and addressed to the designer.

At the ‘Stamped Objects’ exhibition, which opens at Siam Paragon this evening, you’ll come face to face with amusing but not terribly unusual stuff such as a toy car, a football, a miniature tricyle, a skateboard, a spade, a watering can, an ET doll… you get the idea. 

This repeated and regular mystery mail reminds me of a similar act in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first of the ‘Millennium Trilogy’ by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. The murder victim’s uncle Henrik Vanger has been recieving, since her death, pressed flowers by an unknown sender every year during his birthday.

Sir Smith said of his beloved objects, “It seems to me to be more artistic than a lot of so called art which is revered around the world.” The act is perhaps artistic, but are the objects art? You decide.

‘Stamped Objects’ is on at the Fashion Gallery, level 1, Siam Paragon till 25 October

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