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#unCOVERED – Meet the Man who set the benchmark for Luxury Resorts in Sri Panwa Phuket.
Perched on one of the globe’s most majestic coastlines, Sri Panwa Phuket sets the benchmark for luxury resorts in Thailand. The brand is the brainchild of a veritable real estate entrepreneur in his own rights and his audacity to choose the road less travelled.
Though the audacious entrepreneur hails from a family of one of Thailand’s most established real estate developers, the Charn Issara Group, Wan Vorasit Issara was determined to forge his own footprints and ventured into the luxury hospitality industry. At the age of 23, Wan Vorasit Issara rode against the odds to conceptualize, build and manage Sri Panwa Phuket Resort to be the benchmark of luxury villa residences in Phuket.
COVERED: Hailing from a family of one of Thailand’s most established real estate developers, the Charn Issara Group is well known for developing iconic residential and commercial real estate in Thailand. What inspired you to forge your own footsteps to venture into the hospitality industry instead of following your grandfather’s and father’s footsteps to focus on residential and commercial real estate?
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: I grew up surrounded by my family members, who were all somehow involved in the industry. My family is a well-known developer and owns some of Bangkok’s most iconic buildings. I grew up on the construction site. The first construction site was at Charn Issara Tower 1, and I was about 2.5 years old. Every day after school, I spent time in my father’s office.
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: I started my first job as a trainee in the hospitality business when I was 15 years old, cutting paper. I normally worked every summer. Other people chose to work at McDonald’s or shops, but I always preferred to work in a beautiful hotel and a beautiful place. I am a diva like that. I like beautiful things and beautiful properties, cars, restaurants, and clubs. I have also worked in restaurants and clubs since I was 17 years old.
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: While studying in Switzerland, I always took an interest in researching for the best hotel around and enjoyed driving every weekend. When I was young, my mission was to own a restaurant or a hotel. Thus, when I first saw Sri Panwa, I felt like I had achieved my goal and uncovered a gold mine.
COVERED: At the age of 23, you were tasked with the responsibility of setting up and managing Sri Panwa Phuket Resort to be the benchmark of luxury villa residences in Phuket. At that point in time, we understand that the plot of land included merely a few pools. How did the idea of Sri Panwa come about?
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: We started with 4-5 people; they are my friends from DCT International Hostel and Business Management School in Switzerland. At the very beginning, we talked to all the brands, and they had plenty of ideas. But they weren’t developers. My family has been in the development business for more than 30 years, so we had our own ideas. For the resort, I wanted to apply our own concept and be free to choose key elements, like the design, the music, the food, etc. You never know what will happen if you give your baby to others.
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: Back in the day, when people booked through travel agents, brands had the advantage, but now online is king, which suits our business model, as we appeal to that independent spirit.We had complete trust in each other as well as a shared vision of what we wanted Sri Panwa to become. When you know you can count on your team, you will run into a lot less problems. We all had the full support of our parent company and their expertise in development. We wanted Sri Panwa to be a five-star resort with lots of fun rolled into one.
COVERED: We understand that Sri Panwa Phuket Resort was the first property fund converted to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in Thailand. What made you decide to convert from a property fund (Sri Panwa Property Fund) to a REIT?
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: It has been a very proud couple of years for all of us. We unveiled our new baby, Baba Beach Club, in both Phuket and Hua Hin and laid down the plans for the next exciting project, Sri Panwa in China as well as two IPOs. Last year, Sri Panwa was marked as a major milestone for Thailand’s capital market development, as Sri Panwa became Thailand’s first REIT. The conversion to a REIT ensures that our company will run it professionally and officially.
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: The purpose of its conversion is to facilitate the acquisition of new assets and increase the size of its asset portfolio to enhance returns and liquidity. We believed that Sri Panwa’s assets had great potential, with its management team highly experienced in hotel management.
COVERED: What are your future plans for your hospitality development arm? Are you planning to create another product of a similar asset class to Sri Panwa Phuket Resort?
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: Baba Beach Club, Phuket and Baba Beach Club, Hua Hin are our newest babies that are managed and developed by Sri Panwa. This brand is a luxurious music lovers’ hotel that will open this October in two of the most popular destinations in Thailand. We also run private residences just like Sri Panwa. Another one is in Hainan, China, which is under construction now and will be managed and developed through a collaboration between a leading Chinese property development company.
COVERED: Since the opening of Sri Panwa Phuket Resort , there has been an emergence of multiple five-star boutique hotels in Phuket. How do you stay relevant in the competitive five-star hotel industry in Thailand?
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: I believe in the importance of being a team player and being personable. With all of my projects, I like to incorporate aspects of my passions, including boutique hotel design, great food, music, and even my passion for cars.
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: A unique location, views, quality of workmanship of the villas, design, a spacious layout of villas and the entire resort allows for utmost privacy and a young and trendy brand image, which appeals to a growing young audience that wants luxury service without too much formality and stiffness.
COVERED: What is the future of Sri Panwa Phuket Resort ? Will we be able to witness a new dimension of Sri Panwa Phuket Resort?
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: Sri Panwa is an internationally recognized brand and we have been through many challenging and have made it successful. As for Sri Panwa’s REIT, we are also looking into hospitality assets abroad, including the UK, Italy, and other European countries, as prices are quite cheap at the moment.
COVERED: This is my fifth time at Sri Panwa Phuket Resort and I am still enchanted by Sri Panwa and the panoramic ocean views of the Andaman Sea. Will you bring these concepts to other islands around the world?
WAN VORASIT ISSARA: Yes definitely, for both Baba Beach Club. in both Phuket and Hua Hin. I’ve already laid down the plans for the next exciting project – Sri Panwa in China is now under development, and it will be open next year.
Planning your next getaway?
Baba Beach Club is located at 88 Moo 5, North of Phuket ,Natai Beach, Thailand, Takua Thung, Khok Kloi, Phang Nga 82140, Thailand.
For more about the Sri Panwa REIT, read more here.
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#throwback – 7 highlights from the Singapore Tatler Fashion Awards 2017
Fashion has no precepts or rules. Contrary to mathematics or grammar, fashion is a field without conventions. After a decade of the Singapore Tatler Fashion Hall of Fame, the game changes have switched their gears. The brainchilds behind the legendary annual style extravaganza has re-engineered and re-designed Singapore Tatler Fashion Hall of Fame into the inaugural Singapore Tatler Fashion Awards. Covered Asia’s editors highlight the best of Singapore Tatler Fashion Awards 2017.
#1. Fashion is never just skin deep
“After all, fashion is never just skin deep – it is a reflection of the choices we’ve made, the experiences that have shaped us, and hard-earned perspectives on how to live your best life.”– Jane Ngiam, Editor-in-Chief of Singapore Tatler.
#2. The Most Classic Dresser 2017 – Grace Yeh
Contesting against myths and traditional notions, Grace Yeh floored the audience with her recipient speech while receiving The Most Classic Dresses Fashion Award 2017: “Women are like fine wine, we get better with age.”.
Whilst the beauty and fashion industry ride on women’s perpetually notion to aesthetically enhance their appearances, Grace Yeh accurately highlighted that it is more important to be beautiful on the inside. It is not the apparel that makes the man; inner beauty will always reign over outwardly appearances.
“My parents taught us that it is not what you wear that matters, but how you present yourself to the world. Every woman benefits from beauty and youth, but what’s important is having confidence and pride in yourself, and allowing your inner beauty to be reflected in your appearance. “ – Grace Yeh
#3. Fashion Disrupter – Margie Van Elten
Fashion Disrupter, Margie Van Elten, defies all of vogue rules by embracing the process of change and allowing nature to reign. The beauty industry and scientists are ceaselessly cracking the code on ways to reverse the ageing process. Yet, Margie Van Elten ventures against the norm. True beauty and the heart of fashion lies therein understanding that time will change our appearances and it takes a bold spirit to embrace change graciously.
“About four years ago, I decided that spending three hours in the salon to get my hair coloured was a big waste of time. So I got a pixie cut to cut all the dye out, and I haven’t looked back since. Going grey has changed my fashion too. I used to dress more conservatively, but when I changed my hair, I realised that conservative plus grey hair equals old. So I started gravitating towards edgier pieces.”
#4. The Symbol of Power Dressing – Comfort
“Comfort – if you’re not comfortable and functional, that can take away your confidence. Whether you wear a suit or Speedos, that’s not going to change your intellectual capacity. Look at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the founders of Instagram and Snapchat, or Alibaba’s Jack Ma. They’re in jeans, hoodies and T-shirts. My family business deals with retail, so corporate attire for us usually means jeans and T-shirt.” – Sanveer Gill
Comfort is the new black. The true form of the symbol of power dressing – comfort. Decking up in a tailored haute couture suit does not equate to a man of fine character, high intellectual capacity or a dapper gentleman with a great sense of style; fashion is more than just the clothes that make the man. It is a hard-earned perspectives on the way we live our lives based on our life experiences and the choices that we make.
#5. The Set –Fashion Olympics
Welcome to the arrivals arena, some of Tatler’s guests flex sartorial muscle in a Fashion Olympics, against a backdrop of glitz and glamour.
#6. Jim Roger turns into a South Korean Rapper
Decked in a South Korean rapper gears, Jim Roger walked the fashion runway with a glass of whisky, started throwing money on the fashion runway, dipped his gold chain into a glass of whisky, licked it and kissed the hand of the emcee before making a grand exit. #whataballer
#7. The Singapore Tatler Fashion Awards concluded the night with fashion moguls exploding onto the runway
Theinaugural Singapore Tatler Fashion Awards concluded the night with fashion moguls exploding onto the runway in Adidas “rapper” gears. Flashed on the theatre screen was a remixed version of the music video of the “Good Boy” by South Korean artists GD X TAEYANG; the fashion moguls have become the stars of the South Korean music video.
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“The Pearl Necklace” by MIKIMOTO – a tribute to the legend of the Pearl Necklace.
It is without a doubt that The Pearl Necklace is an emblem of tradition, quintessential heirloom and a symbol of feminine purity. Earlier this March, Mikimoto presented the world’s most authoritative periodical, at the MIKIMOTO Pearl Necklace Book Launch event in Singapore. MIKIMOTO’s “The Pearl Necklace” book is co-authored by jewellery historian, Vivienne Becker and award-winning journalist, Assouline. The book lends insight into the legacy of the MIKIMOTO pearl necklace. This authoritative volume transports readers on a mesmerizing, and insightful journey through the history of the pearl necklace.
Adorned by Royalty
Renaissance Queens, Maharajahs, and Hollywood starlets have infused the pearl necklace into their wardrobes. A rich exploration of the lustrous gem since antiquity, Vivienne writes about the evolution of the pearl to become the object of desire, fascination and fantasy. Encrusted with myth and legend, and radiant with intrigue and romance, the pearl necklace is a universal icon that has threaded its way through the history of jewellery and fashion.
The Legend of the Cultured Pearl
MIKIMOTO was founded by Kokichi Mikimoto in 1893; the year he pioneered the technique for pearl cultivation. In today’s prime modern society, the pearls on sale are mainly cultured pearls, with MIKIMOTO remaining the world leader in cultured pearls.
Unveiling “The Pearl Necklace” Book in Singapore
Earlier this March , MIKIMOTO presented a launch of The Pearl Necklace at the JW Marriot South Beach Hotel in Singapore. On display was the spectacular Marilyn Monroe Pearl Necklace – a classic 16-inch cultured Akoya pearl necklace (Click here for more about the Mikimoto Akoya Pearl) worn by undoubtedly one of the world’s most renown on-and-off-screen icons, Marilyn Monroe herself. The MIKIMOTO Pearl Stream – a glorious body jewellery piece set in 18k white gold, with Akoya pearls and diamonds was also exhibited at the presentation.
A Glamourous Gathering
The event was attended by Mr. Yasuhiko Hashimoto, Director & Senior Vice President of Sales Division & Marketing Group, Mikimoto and Mr. Tomotsugu Ito, Managing Director of MIKIMOTO Singapore.
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About that L’OFFICIEL Singapore Rated-X Party at Zouk last week.
Constantly on the frontier of fashion and opulence, L’Officiel Singapore’s 10th anniversary party was one of the hottest of the year. From Swarovski crystal-emblazoned black carpet to Lamborghinis and sizzling pole-dancing performances, the ‘Rated-X’ theme definitely punctuated the event, held at Singapore’s new Zouk Club.
Swarovski Crystal-Emblazoned Black Carpet
Red-carpets are way over-rated. Instead, L’Officiel Singapore’s X-Rated party sported a dazzling Swarovski crystal-emblazoned black carpet with a shimmering colossal “X” statue at its arrival grounds. Their anniversary issue this March, also marks the debut of the all new “L’Off Squad” comprising of Sonya Davison, Tabitha Nauser, Tan Min-Li, Calista Cuaca, Natalia Ng, Karisa Sukamto and Rozz Lee.
The Lamborghini Bulls Ride In.
A convoy of Lamborghinis ferried the L’Off Squad to the event and a myriad of stations were lineup for the guests: Alessia Landi’s live illustrations, beauty makeover counter by Clinique, DIY scent bar by Oo La Lab, fresh juices from Joe & The Juice, ice-cold beers from Heineken.
Capture Your Scent in a Bottle at the Oo La Lab Counter
Individualism on a full display. There is nothing more intriguing than crafting your very own personalised scent in a bottle. Breaking beauty rules, Oo La Mixologist worked with guests to design their very own bespoke hand-crafted fragrances. At Oo La Lab in Singapore, you may formulate your personalised glass bottle with your name or customised message printed on the label. Capture your scent in a bottle.
Plump up for a night of seduction at the beauty makeover counter by Clinique
To gear up for a night for ‘X-Rated’ seduction, L’Officiel’s guests were extended invitations to the beauty counter by Clinique to plumper up their luscious lips. Seductive red hot lips spells for a sizzling night ahead.
Alessia Landi’s Illustrations
A portrait on paper. One of the best gifts in the world is not in the material object that one can buy, but in the memories that we make with the people with love. The best part is to have memories and expressions captured on paper. Alessia Landi’s live illustrations of the guest captures memories, emotions, details and beauty of the human. L’Officiel‘s guests were treated to Alessia Landi’s live illustrations of themselves with runway looks from Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2017 collection.
Tabitha Nauser slayed the crowd with her live performance of her single ‘Bulletproof’ and Natalia entertained the guests with her songs.
The Brass Barre
The Brass Barre displayed a myriad of provocative Rated X moves on the pole; the pole-dancing performance literally blew the crowd away.
For the full story and more pictures from this epic fashion event of the year, check out www.lofficielsingapore.com/rated-x-10th-anniversary-party/l-officiel-singapore-10-anniversary-rated-x-party-2017-event-pictures
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Our Pick of the Top 10 Red Carpet Worthy Dresses seen at the 2017 Oscars.
From Valentino crimson gown to Gucci chartreuse gown, Covered Asia presents the best red carpet dresses to hit Hollywood’s most glamorous night – the 89th Academy Award, otherwise known as the Oscars 2017. The Academy Awards is undoubtedly one of the most illustrious and high-shine elegance events in Hollywood’s history; the industry’s finest congregates at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles to deliver fiery arrivals on the red carpet. Here’s our Top 10 Red Carpet Worthy Dresses as seen on the red carpet of the 89th Academy Awards.
#1. Emma Stone
#2. Hailee Steinfeld
Queen of Pop (Hailee Seinfeld) floored the red carpet with a whimsical gown from Ralph & Russo.
#3. Dakota Johnson
Fifty Shades of Grey’s lead actress hits Hollywood’s most glamorous night in a Gucci chartreuse gown.
#4. Jessica Biel
Jessica Biel in Kaufmanfranco and Tiffany & Co.
#5. Ruth Negga
Ruth Nega delivers a fiery arrival in a Valentino crimson gown.
#6. Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen in Zuhair MuradCouture.
#7. Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson in custom Alberta Ferretti.
#8. Auli’i Cravalho
Auli’i Cravalho in Rubin Singer.
#9. Teresa Palmer
Teresa Palmer in Prada.
#10. Karlie Kloss
Lastly, Karlie Kloss hits the Dolby Theatre’s red carpet in a high-shine elegance wearing Stella McCartney gown.
Images: courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Vogue Australia
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Our 7 Date Night Picks this Valentine’s Day.
We are just 4 sleeps away from February 14th. Choosing that special place to impress can stress even the most street-smart individual, and we know just how important that perfect somewhere needs to be. Just in case you still haven’t yet quite decided where to on that special night, here is our 7 Valentine’s Day date night ideas that might just be the right kind of place you were looking for.
#1. Soak up the sun and teeter on the edge of the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands
Enchant the love of your life with the city’s glittering skyline staggering at 57 level; teeter on the edge of the world with your Valentine and swim on the top of the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands.
Your valentine’s day date will be mesmerised by the beauty of a sunset amidst the cloud; float on top of the world and sip on champagnes together.
#2. Cruise around the beautiful coastline of Singapore
Dazzle your valentine’s day date with a boating trip cruising around the beautiful coastline of Singapore. Nothing beats the liberating sensation on the ocean; imagine you and your soulmate surrounded by tranquil waters, summer breeze and red wine.
Sunbathe on the yacht with your special someone and a favorite book in hand. Bewitching coastlines, horizons, islands and beaches are spectacular when appreciated from a distance out in the ocean.
#3. Enjoy multi-sensory culinary fine dining experience at Equinox Restaurant
For the couple who adores multi-sensory culinary experience and breathtakingviews, Equinox Restaurant makes a perfect pick for 14 February. Equinox offers a decadent menu highlighting Modern European cuisine.
A romantic 6-course Valentine’s Day dinner will be available at $236 ++ per person; your gastronomical adventure begins with Yellowtail Sashimi, Grilled Oyster Mushroom, Seared Foie, Spiced Monkfish and Elderflower Jelly. End off the enchanting evening with a Ivory Champagne Mousse served with a glass of Moët&ChandonVintage Rosé 2006 and a box of praline.
#4. Book a Staycation at Oasia Downtown Hotel
Surprise your partner with a staycation at Oasia Downtown Hotel; set against an urban landscape and covered by a lush green facade, the 27-storey iconic hotel commands breathtaking view of Singapore’s waterfront city.
Experience an aura of living, lush greenery, infinity pool like no other with your valentine’s date in Oasia Hotel Downtown, your respite in the city.
#5. Hop on a jet plane to your next destination – Sri Panwa Phuket Villas
Perched on one of the globe’s most beautiful coastlines, Sri Panwa Phuket Villas soar at 40 – 60 meters above the sea and it is at the very tip of the cape. Your valentine’s day date will be swept away by the panoramic ocean views and breathtaking sights overlooking the Andaman Sea.
Leave the hassle of the city life behind, grab a plane ticket with your love and jetset to Thailand (Phuket). For Valentine’s Day, indulge in an oasis of calm and luxury with panoramic ocean view and uninterrupted 360 degree ocean views. Nestle in the tropical rainforest, Sri Panwa Phuket Villascommands breathtaking views of the surround islands and Andaman Sea.
Sri Panwa Phuket Villas,88 Sakdidej Rd, Vichit, Muang, Chang Wat Phuket 83000, Thailand, p.(+66) 76 371 000
#6. Hit up the swankiest club in town – Suite 26
From the creators behind Filter Member’s Club, Mink, Royal Room, Dream, Fenix Room, Bang Bang, head down to Massive Collective’s latest crown jewel: Suite 26. Here, conspicuous consumption is the norm, and this would be perfect for the unconventional couple who would love to have a balling good time, hit up the swankiest club in town.
#7. Head for a dose of tropical sunshine away from the city life at The Tanjong Beach Club
Getaway from the city with your loved one for a day, laze by the infinity pool or indulge in a Tanjong Martini with truffle fries.
Nestled on one of Sentosa’s most exclusive powdery white sand beaches and tranquil waves is Tanjong Beach Club. It is a the perfect venue for a valentine’s day date for the couple who seeks for a dose of tropical sunshine away from the city life.
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Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for her.
Forego the cliché chocolates and Valentine’s Day gift ideas this year. Covered Asia’s editors have curated an array of Valentine’s Day gifts for the woman of your life. Whether she is an astute businesswoman who spends most her days slaying deals in the office, a sports junkie with an insatiable appetite for a wide range of workouts, or a princess at heart, these choices are certain to satisfy even the most discerning lady.
#7. Saint Laurent Quilted Leather Card Holder
Saint Laurent’s quilted leather card holder is a perfect gift for the girlfriend working in the corporate world. This sleek black card holder is ideal for keeping credit cards or business cards neatly tucked away. Equipped with card slots and center compartment, the quilted cardholder is crafted in Italy from black textured-leather.
Saint Laurent Quilted Leather Card Holder – USD$ 250 (Available at https://www.net-a-porter.com/ )
#6. Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme
Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme could ideally be your darling’s next best friend. Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme is designed to deliver intense moisture to her skin and restore skin’s beauty and natural radiance.
Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Creme – USD $87 (Available at http://www.chanel.com/)
#5. Gucci’s Padlock Bag
Adorned with faux pearls and studs, the Gucci’s Padlock bag is suspended from a polished gold chain. Enchant your darling with the dazzling label’s interlock and suede-lined interior.
Gucci’s Padlock Bag is priced at USD $1,850 (Available at www.gucci.com/)
#4. Kailijumei Lipstick
The Kailijumei Lipstick features a flower and gold specks encased within a clear jelly-like bullet. Akin to the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast. Your special someone will be captivated by the aesthetically gorgeous lipstick. We note that the colour of the jelly lipstick changes according to your girlfriend’s temperature. Kailijumei Lipstick is currently retailing exclusively at Zalora.
Kailijumei Lipstick – S$29.90 is available at www.zalora.sg .
#3. Ethan K Handbag
Ethan K handbags are ideal for the girlfriend who feels she has it all. This gift is for the girl who is on the cusp of getting bored with brands and logos. The Ethan K handbag is definitely a unique commodity, as not everyone can get their hands on an Ethan K. Given the rarity of crocodile skins today, there are only a limited number of bags made each year.
Visit the Ethan K. official website at www.ethan-k.com.
#2. THEIA Active
For the girlfriend who adores sports, a high performance full-length legging with compression fabric will be the perfect gift for her. THEIA’s signature legging has intersecting mesh lines for strategic ventilation and a streamlined tapering effect. Feminine in appeal, yet a bold, eye-catching statement with high-performance functionality. THEIA’s signature leggings will be an ideal Valentine’s day gift for the active lady at heart.
THEIA Active – S$42 (Available at www.theiaactive.com )
#1. Nicole’s Flower
Make a statement of love this Valentine’s Day, with these exquisite Valentine’s Day Flower bouquet creations. Charm the love of your life and make her heart melt with a gorgeous looking flower bouquets from Nicole’s Flower.
Nicole’s Flowers is available at Oxley Bizhub, 61 Ubi Road 1, Block 71 Lobby 4 #08-41.
For more info, contact Nicole at (65) 8338 8511.
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Ethan K. Opens Up About Crafting Out His Own Artisanal Path in Luxury.
Meet Ethan Koh. – fashion designer, entrepreneur, and fourth generation member of the family behind one of the world’s leading crocodile tanneries – Heng Long Leather in Singapore. Though the daring entrepreneur hails from a family that specialises in supplying exotic skins to top luxury fashion houses such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton, Ethan Koh chose to stamp his own footprint in the world of luxury handbags and accessories with his own label – ETHAN K.
With his collection available at Malmaison in Singapore, Harrods in London, and SAKS Fifth Avenue in the U.S., ETHAN K. has undoubtedly won the hearts of many with a discerning appreciation for exotic leather skin handbags the world over. In paying tribute to where his journey as a luxury bag designer begun, Ethan was recently back in town to unveil his latest KITE Collection at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore.
#UNCOVERED – ETHAN K. in Singapore
COVERED : Congrats on the unveiling of your new KITE Collection. The ETHAN K. brand has certainly come a long way since starting out with leathers at your father’s tannery.
ETHAN K. : Yeah, thank you. It is today a 4-generation business. My father took the business to a different dimension and it’s been a pleasure for me to carry on the family’s line of artisans.
On Artisans Born-and-Bred in Singapore
COVERED :So how does it feel to be a true-blue, born-and-bred Singaporean brand? Being a small and young country, you often hear “whispers on the street” about how local artisans are young, and lack that cultural background and traditions. Rebuking those “whispers”, how does it feel to be flying the Singapore flag high in that sense?
ETHAN K. : Singapore has definitely come very far too in just the last few decades, from being a fishing village to developing into a regional financial hub, but As such, I see ETHAN K. as something more than just handbags. We want to share our unique culture and way of life with the world. It is because we are a small country with many different races living together, that we have come to enjoy a unique entrenched culture. This is how I was inspired as a kid. All of the beautiful colours that I have in my designs are inspired by Asian fruits, plants and spices. They are all unique to Singapore. Look closer at my designs and you’ll even see Asian fruits like mangosteen, jackfruit, or durian on the clasp of my bags.
When I mention the word Singapore to many people, they always mention the chewing gum ban. I instead tell them that we’re not just known for that, nor our efficient business structure nor casinos, and that we do have artisans and many different talents here as well. This is all possible because we are such a unique country. The last 10 years have been about building the nation, and I foresee the next 10 years being about sharing our talents and unique ways of life with the world.
On His Inspiration
COVERED :I see. In terms of design inspiration, is there afamous or iconic designer that you have looked up to over the years?
ETHAN K. : Well, one of my favourite bags is the Doha bag. I am based in London, so my creations are a mix of the East and West. In Paris, I once met a Qatari Princess and she was wearing a necklace. I saw her necklace and was inspired. A lot of my bags are inspired by my encounters with people. I also think functionality is important. For example, there’s a special long chain on this bag that you can turn, and you can add another chain such that it becomes a cross body bag. This is one of our bags that are selling extremely well. But also as you mention, the family story is extremely important to us. Colonial history and architecture, especially the presence of mosaic tiles have inspired us as well. Take, for instance, another unique clasp that we have invented in the last few months. It is reminiscent of our architecture in herald hill and our old family home.
Other than that, a lot of my bags are very whimsical. One was inspired by a French bulldog, owned by a customer in Los Angeles who loves to bring her French bulldog everywhere. My whimsical animal collection is inspired by childhood fairytales of Hans Christian Anderson.
On That Milestone, Breakthrough Moment
COVERED : Any significant milestones or hallmarks where say, somebody prominent recognised your talent?
ETHAN K. : Well, I would say that I have been very fortunate up till today. When I had just graduated in fashion about 4 years ago from Central St Martins, and was on the way to a conference in Marrakesh, I met a lady on the plane. She saw my bag, was very excited and told me to design a bag for her. This lady, unknown to me at the time, turned out to be the Chief Merchant at Harrods. Following our chance meet, I then started drawing out more designs, and she began ordering a few more bags from me. She subsequently became the President of Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S., where ETHAN K. is also available at today.
COVERED :Oh wow, that is quite a story.
ETHAN K. : Yes, I would say my career has been like a kismet. As with every entrepreneur, we all start out with a dream in hope that it becomes a reality, but I think visualisation is very important. Just last month I was having a drink with my friend at 5 Hertford Street in London when someone told me that Elizabeth Hurley needed a new bag. I subsequently went into Gucci, bought a shirt, and went into a club. And, at that club, I bumped into her. Elizabeth Hurley ordered a couple of pieces from me. So I think that if you have the creativity, and you are open to what the world brings to you, things happen.
About that Upcoming Men’s Line and Upcoming Events
COVERED : Amazing how opportunities come to those who are prepared to chase their dreams. So also, I heard a little rumour that you are about to launch a men’s line soon. Could you tell us more about that?
ETHAN K. : Yup, we plan that this line will be launched in 6 months, and at Harrods. I think that whilst in the past it was largely only women who love bags and colours, in the last few years, men all around the world have started to become increasingly sophisticated. In the last 10 years, luxury was about a status symbol. In the next 10 years though, I think luxury will be about expression beyond just a status symbol. I think the best way for men to express themselves is through beautiful messengers, surpassing just a canvas messenger and the monogram that we have today, to more of a bespoke experience. Because luxury is not just material, it is also an experience.
COVERED : In Singapore, any plans for an upcoming event presentation or even a show?
ETHAN K. : Absolutely, we have a unique way and theme every year. So, within the next 6 months we will be having a special event with an art gallery, because our customers are also art collectors.
On What Aspiring Designers Need to Know
COVERED : One last question – any words of encouragement for aspiring bag designers or designers in Singapore in general?
ETHAN K. : I think that first of all, it is very important to have a dream. Second of all, you have to be crazy enough to pursue it. Singapore is such a safe country, I mean, it’s so well situated. We have to be thankful for where we are, dare to bring different, and be different from others. We shouldn’t be afraid to express our opinions and work hard for it. There is no shortcut to success and most importantly, you have to value your opinion and know your customer.
Connect with ETHAN K.
Photo Credits: All photos in this story are owned by COVERED Asia unless otherwise credited.
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Get ready to disco on at the Marc Jacobs & MTV Resort ’17 party at Cherry Discotheque.
The 80’s was a defining era of non-stop glamour, music, television, and culture. Fast forward to three decades later, Marc Jacobs recently unveiled an 80’s kitsch Marc Jacobs & MTV capsule collection as part of its Resort ’17 offering.
As we arrive at the second weekend of January ’17, we’re getting our fav pair of party footwear on, as we begin to countdown the hours till the Marc Jacobs & MTV party at Cherry Discotheque, Singapore begins.
The brainchild of Earn Chen and Hasnor Sidik, Cherry Discotheque in Singapore evokes a nostalgic 80’s vibe, with neon signs and a chequered dancefloor adding to its retro architecture. Located at the York Hotel, Cherry Discotheque offers cultural-savvy clubgoers with a top-notch blend of Hip Hop sounds. Not to mention, there are our old-school favourites – Pacman and Street Fighter arcade games to fill in those “time-out’ moments at the disco..
The Marc Jacobs & MTV Resort ’17 Capsule Collection
Bright “electric” neon accents, animal graphic prints, and military-styled silhouettes are emphasised in the 2017 Resort Collection. Acid-washed denim jackets and leather coats come adorned with embellishments and embroidered patches.
I Want My MTV
The collection also features statement tees and sweatshirts with the iconic MTV logo on front and centre.
Bags from the Marc Jacobs Resort ’17 Collection
An ongoing highlight in every Marc Jacobs’ collection, the Resort ’17 collection will also showcase a range of youthful and vibrant range of printed patchwork shoulder bags with metal hardware chains and embellished backpacks.
Photo Credits: All photos in this article are provided by Marc Jacobs unless otherwise stated.
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Put your Best Heels Forward this New Year with our Cinderella-worthy List of Haute Couture Heels of the moment.
Cinderella is a fairytale ‘testimony’ that a new pair of heels can transform your life. This season, we want you to live that fairytale. Our crew has put together a 2017 Covered Asia guide to this season’s most coveted haute couture heels of the moment to get you off on the right foot. From Christian Louboutin, Ralph & Russo, Sophia Webster, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe
#8 Saint Laurent
#7 Sophia Webster
#6 Christian Louboutin
#5 Ralph & Russo
#4 Dolce & Gabbana
#3 Manolo Blahnik
#1 Jimmy Choo
“If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true. One shoe can change your life.” – Cinderella
Get it now! See something you like and want it now? Write to us and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We might well be able to get it for you.
Price Note: Prices listed are correct at time of publishing.
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