Monthly Archives: January 2010

Two Brits For China

Two years ago, while walking on Nanjing Donglu in Shanghai one autumn morning, I spotted Me & City, a store that appeared to be China’s answer to Zara. Stepping inside, I noticed that the models in the in-store media were all Caucasians, sporting the trend-correct, monochromatic clothes that chacterised the brand’s collection that season.

While Me & City has not gone beyond the shores of China, their latest advertising campaign feature two very Brit internationalists: Agyness Deyn and Orlando Bloom, perhaps bringing new meaning to (and augmenting?) Sino-British relations.

The 18 pictures published in Me & City’s website show the model and the actor in scenes that look like those in stills for a Valentine’s Day movie: sweet, playful, and brimming with love.

A media observer I know feels that given the many Chinese models succeeding in the West (e.g. Du Juan and Liu Wen), the marketing people at Me & City should have cast their compatriots instead of westerners, who are already dominating the advertising media in China.

Well, all I can say is that two Brits do not an invasion make!

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They Did It In Denim

Following my earlier post on the backpack’s comeback,  a few friends have asked me where they might find reasonably-priced ones in Bangkok.  I pointed them to this from the Adidas STR series: denim hiking pack in a not-so-predictable anthracite.

What really caught my eye is the minimalist styling. The contrasting brown leather details and the 3M inverted triangle light-reflecting patch on the denim make this more for the city gym than the Kao Yai outdoor. And I’d certainly recommend it to go with the season’s must-have chambray shirt.

The Adidas STR series backpack, 4,590 baht, is out now at all Adidas outlets. Also available are messenger bags and holdalls (they call them “flight bags”) .

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Table Talk

A table is one of the most used pieces of furniture at home, and yet we do not always look at it as a thing of beauty. More often than not, we accord chairs more regard than tables (think famous chairs and you can name Van der Rohe’s Barcelona, Machintosh’s high-backs, or Starck’s Pratfall, but tables?). Chairs, when not accommodating our bodies, are usually left unoccupied. Tables, on the other hand, often contain enough to take up the entire real estate even when we’re not using them. So, it was a delight to see a showroom dedicated primarily to tables, big and small.

At P. Tendercool early this evening, I was introduced to some tables that are alluring because of its stark simplicity. So devoid of superfluous details and gimmicky forms that they could be mistaken as some kind of post-modern monastery tables with the simple lines of Shaker furniture.  The table tops are made of reclaimed hardwood, and they sit on polished brass, bronze, or aluminum bases–the most arresting being the rectangle dining tables.

The loft-like space of P. Tendercool is in a colonial-style building that’s amid old godowns and refurbished shop-houses on Soi Charoen Krung 30, a skip away from the Royal Orchid Sheraton. The uninitiated may think he has stumbled into the living space of some hot-shot media maverick. This only attests to the company’s unconventional approach to table design, manufacture, and retail.

P. Tendercool takes considerable pride in their “cross-cultural creations”. Each table is a collective effort of Belgians, Italians and Thais, yet each bears no cultural distinction of the creators. The tables are as culturally neutral as the wood they’re made of, which means they could be  just at home in Bangkok as they are in Bahrain or Beijing.

Photos: Ptendercool

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Catch This If You Can

Saw on CNN this morning: J D Salinger has died. He was 91.

J D Salinger wrote only one novel: The Catcher in the Rye. I read it some twenty years ago when teenage angst was compelling stuff to me. After CNN‘s report, I searched for my copy of Catcher, but it was not to be found.

“If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye…”, I remember reading then. Now I wonder, why not let the body be well dressed? Just last week, I came across this website that offers great literature through T-shirts with mostly out-of-print covers emblazoned on the chest, and was attracted to the Catcher tee. Out of Print Clothing offers 100 percent cotton T-shirts featuring seminal works by writers such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. Interestingly or, perhaps, curiously, all the writers picked for the tees are male!

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i-Phone On Steroids

Even without first seeing the initial images of the product, I found the name extremely unappealing. I shudder at the thought of replying to a question such as “what are you carrying?” with a ridiculous “i-Pad”! It does not help that the “i” rhymes with “my”. The rest, I think, requires no arousing of your imagination. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s just i-Pod misspelled!

To those who know me, my reaction is hardly surprising because I am no fan of the i-Phone. Apple‘s latest tablet PC does look like a maxi-me version of their mobile, so in the looks department, there’s hardly anything enticing. While Netizens have been registering their disappointment with the machine (and joking about its name!), I would not be surprised that it could be successful. As with most of Apple’s products, users buy them not because of the gadgets’ usefulness, but because of the cool they supposedly bring to the owners. Yes, I do not like Apple fanboys (and girls).

From the published specs, the i-Pad is a lame machine.The initial release comes with wifi connectivity only, no 3G. There is no camera, so no video chat, no Skype. Some reviewers pointed out the lack of Flash support, so no YouTube, no graphic-rich Websites. There’s no USB port, no HDMI port… well, I should not go on. Like i-Pods, there may be “so much to touch” on the i-Pad, but so little to desire.

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Single Route To Success

In the latest season of ABC’s The Bachelor, also called “On the Wings of Love”, single man Jake Pavelka is no doubt fully aware of his own attractiveness, so much so that he likes to describe himself as “too perfect”. As I stood among women in abbreviated dresses in Zense, that six-kitchen restaurant ten floors above Zen Department Store, I can’t help but wonder if the guys parading before us thought that they were “perfect”, never mind the “too”.

I was at Hi Magazine‘s 08/09 Bachelor of the Year by Shiseido Men, an event that should be, by now, hackneyed, tedious to watch, and an embarrassment to the participants. How many bachelors of the year do we really need? Cleo mag offers their yearly share of unmarried males too, not to mention all the eligible ones (and so named!) that appear not infrequently inside Thailand Tatler. With all these bachelors attending events honouring them, and taking time to preen before making their appearance, is it any wonder they’re unwed?

The guys who finally appeared to be ogled, after more than an hour’s wait, were, not surprisingly, young. I dare say that they appeared juvenile. If they looked like they’d just emerged from their teens (some could be auditioning for a Korean boy band!), were we surprised they were bachelors? If not, did they deserve to be honoured as if they were CEOs of the year?

I spoke to a former honoree who does not want to be named. Such events, according to him, pave the way for the bachelors to stardom, by way of modeling, acting or singing. They afford these fellows a better future, not to mention the advantages that set them apart from a newbie with no Bachelor of the Year accolade. Contrary to popular belief, the event does not make them more attractive or available to the opposite sex. Unlike in The Bachelor, no roses are offered and no pairings are forged. It’s not a self-promotion to state that they’re up for conjugal felicity.Yet, judging by the screams from the women on the floor, it’s likely the guys will get what talk show host Jimmy Kimmell calls “instant harem”.

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Smell The Flowers

Bangkok’s so-called winter did not arrive, and chances are, we’re heading straight into summer in the next couple of weeks even before Songkran comes acalling. But sometimes we can dream.

Helping us get into spring, pre-Chinese New Year, is Hermes’s latest ad featuring Karlie Kloss (the girl who raked in the most Vogue editorials in 2009!), shot by Paolo Roversi. With all the flowers in the hair–Bali high style–you almost miss the bracelet Hermes is highlighting. As suggested by the flowing typeset of the copy (“Life as a fairy”), I can almost feel the breeze.

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