Bio: "To be or not to be, is not what it should be, but what you think it can be." These are the words that stay firmly rooted in the heart and mind of Nicholas Tan. Better known to the media scene as Nick T., the media veteran has over 15 years of industry experience. Nick T. is the 2017 Executive Director of the Media Publishers' Association of Singapore, the Marketing Director at marketing and events consultancy, COM3, and is the Founder and Managing Director at COVERED Asia.
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A look into the ever changing trends, fabrics, business of fine suit-making and tailoring.
Not all suits are made the same. As you may well expect, signs of a good suit goes beyond just how it sits on your shoulders, and of course the price tag that comes with it on the rack. From the purpose of the suit, to its stitching, weight, breathability, thread count, and the type of fabric chosen and its blend, the considerations that should go into the tailoring process is one that requires a learned individual, with a keen eye for detail and style. When it comes to fabric selection, there are few that have 180 years of mastery in the art, as do HOLLAND & SHERRY.
We recently had the privilege of chatting with Josh Lane from HOLLAND & SHERRY at The Prestigious tailor in Singapore, on the ever changing trends and business of bespoke suit-making:
#unCOVERED – In conversation with Josh Lane, at HOLLAND AND SHERRY
COVERED:As we all know, modern day suit-making is not quite as it used to be in its yesteryears. Do tell us more about HOLLAND & SHERRY.
JOSH LANE: I should probably start from the beginning. The year was 1836 in London, Old Bond Street. Based on this road were two merchant traders of the time, Stephen George Holland and Fredrick Sherry. The two got together and started a woolen and silk trading business. At the time, London was the epicentre for such textile merchants yet, over the course of the next century, many fell by the wayside, like any other burgeoning capitalist economy, only the strongest survived. Whether it was through our better positioning, better management, better strategy, or a combination of the three, the company went from strength to strength, focusing initially on wool and silks then later expanding into cottons, linens, mohair, vicuna and beyond.
Today, the company now has its head office on Savile Row, a natural choice given most of our longest standing customers were based around a few square kilometres of that address. Moving north up England, HOLLAND & SHERRY have our factory in Yorkshire, a mill called Clissold, in the centre of Bradford, just a few miles from where I grew up actually. Still today, a lot of our weaving, dyeing and finishing is still being done within that famous Yorkshire catchment. From there, if you continue up North to Scotland, we have our main office, where, amongst other things, we have our vast warehouse and distribution centre. This is really the epicentre of our business where we design, select and market all our cloths as well as produce the bunches. All the cutting takes place, here too and most of the company’s directors and majority of our staff are based in this small town of Peebles. Although it is a very small Scottish borders town, in total we employ over a hundred people, servicing our regional offices and the different markets we cater for around the world. Whenever someone orders a HOLLAND & SHERRY fabric length, a ticket will be printed out in that Peebles warehouse next to the very spot where the fabric is housed, where it will then be measured out, cut, and dispatched, out to various parts of the world, that very same day.
More recently, the Asian market, for a lot of companies, is fast becoming more and more important for growth. We responded by opening a flagship show room in Shanghai just last year, in part also commemorating our 180 Year anniversary of operations. We hope that will be a good launch pad for our brand to continue expanding in the China market and beyond, as is so important now.
COVERED: Personally, how do you feel the awareness for proper suit making and tailoring has evolved over the last decade or two, especially in this part of the world, in Asia? Would you feel that customers are more educated now, and do you see a growing trend in bespoke fine tailoring?
JOSH LANE: Yes, aside from how the world is increasingly more connected, helping the circulation of information, I think there are still surprising regional differences in the level of education amongst the consumer in the various regions. Obviously in Savile Row, most of the customers there are more experienced, more discerning, as many have been buying tailored suits their entire lives. As these clientele retirement age, they’ve grown familiar with their tailors, fabrics and their own sense of style as well. So I suppose that sort of market would be the benchmark for knowledge globally. It would probably be comparable there to the rest of the mature markets in Europe; like Paris and the key fashion centres in Milan and elsewhere.
The Asian market is a special one because it is so diverse. Hong Kong, for example, is quite a mature market. The expectations and the craftsmanship would be comparable to what you get in Savile Row perhaps. But China itself is also such a diverse market. There are such regional differences within China itself – you have Shanghai, and Beijing – which would be more reflective of the Hong Kong market, but still lagging behind in places in terms of your general knowledge level. And as you move West from there to Chengdu, Chongqing and beyond, you will find it is generally a more juvenile market in the way that customers don’t necessarily always know exactly what they’re buying, nor would the consistency and quality of craftsmanship from garment makers be comparable to places like Savile Row etc. – although as we know, China is capable of catching up fast and this is something we are seeing here too
Fortunately, Holland & Sherry as a brand, has a strong pull globally. In China, I think, by virtue of the fact which we are produced in England, the rather abstract concept of “Britishness” has good brand equity amongst the Chinese consumers. Customers there are still prone to buy based on the fact that it’s European-made (versus made in China). Without necessarily differentiating too much yet among the subtler nuances of English as opposed to Italian or other European mills I don’t think. Again, it varies from person to person and place to place but generally speaking I think those markets aren’t quite as educated just yet, to differentiate between the different brands and the different products and certain more technical variations. But I think that will be part of our role going forward. Essential to the sustainability of the sector is actually educating people on what is a good fabric, what’s not such a good fabric; what’s suitable for different occasions and climates. In fact, the variations are endless. Nobody, myself included, can claim to be an expert overnight, but it’s a journey that we’re starting now, and starting more conscientiously now I think.
COVERED:Okay. What are some of the key changes in the trends that we can expect in the coming year, in your opinion?
JOSH LANE: I think generally, the somewhat dated idea of wool being produced for old, scratchy business suits that nobody really enjoys wearing – especially not outside the office – is disappearing, and in its place, you now have a lot more variations and choice. There are very fine, luxurious wool qualities and technical innovations as well that help improve both the manufacturing process and wearing experience. For example, HOLLAND & SHERRY has a trademarked finishing process called AquArrêt®, which makes the suit a lot more practical for the modern lifestyle. What I mean by that is it is water resistant, it’s crease resistant, it’s dirt resistant, also making them very good travel suits; they’re a better alternative for outdoor activities like if the weather is a bit wet, say in places similar to Singapore or the UK. Wool is naturally a very absorbent fabric. But with this finish, spills onto the cloth will bead up and roll off.
COVERED:So it’s water repellent kind of?
JOSH LANE: I would say, it is more water resistant. Worry less about splashes and spills when you’re out and about. A modern lifestyle, in the realm of fashion today, means you’re not just wearing a suit, or wool jacket in the office anymore. I think that’s a general trend that’s also being followed – a more casual approach to what was a classical formal suiting material. Whether it’s a more flamboyant jacket with cotton trousers for a smarter casual look, or let’s say if you go to the races or the casino, and you want to dress up a little for the special occasion, black tie events too – people are experimenting more now. Very seldom would you see 100 per cent of people to be wearing black at a ‘black tie’ event. Now you can get tartans, velvets, all kinds of colour schemes. I think the general lesson to take from that is that the rules themselves are changing, and the rules of formal or semi-formal attire are no longer set by the social elite or the designers quite as much anymore. They’re coming more from the bottom up; and everyone has their own interpretation of what to wear and how to wear a suit.
Another good thing about HOLLAND & SHERRY is we’ve got such a diverse range of options, that you can find something for every customer, for every kind of occasion, whilst still within the premium segment of the market. Just looking at some of the collections we have here (in The Prestigious), the format of our presentation is also evolving. As we look here, there’s an interesting hopsack which can be a very nice option for blazers. That seems to be very popular nowadays, among the younger people. People wanting to go for a less formal look but still wearing a blazer or sport jacket. There is a lot more versatility, a lot more flexibility. Not just the rules of the game change have changed, it is the rule-makers too.
COVERED:Yes, I also hear you have a collection with gold woven into the cloth as well?
JOSH LANE: Actually yes, though that’s not necessarily new. Within our vast range, at the more luxury end of that spectrum, we like to add some more unique features which appeal to certain customers. Certainly far from mass market but we have a collection called “Imperial gold”, which is composed of 90% cashmere and 10% vicuna, but wherever you see a gold pinstripe or thread, that pinstripe thread itself is actually 22 carat gold.
Going beyond that, in terms of luxury customization, we have the signature collection where you can customise the pinstripe to have your name, or anything meaningful to you, embroidered into this pinstripe. From a distance you wouldn’t know, because the font is very small so it would just look like a regular gold pinstripe, but under inspection, you would see it was someone’s name or any kind of creativity- just an extra level of customisation to bring to people who like to spend on very special items, unique literally only to themselves. I feel that is also part of people moving away from ready-to-wear garments. Because there’s nothing stopping the next thousand people from buying the next thousand jackets – identical to the garment you have. But with our customers and their clients, the tailored garment – entirely your own selection from the fabrics to the shape and style of cut, from the lapels to the buttons to the lining, it is uniquely your one-of-a-kind garment.
COVERED:Okay, now let’s talk a little bit about climate. Climate plays a very big part in our suit choices, especially in humid countries like Singapore and Southeast Asia. So what are the key things we should look out for when making a good quality suit in Southeast Asia? Do you have any tips or advice that we should heed?
JOSH LANE: People naturally assume that a lightweight cloth is more suitable for hot countries. While that makes logical sense, we must not forget that the weight of a cloth will affect the drape of the garment. Lightweight material, would not hang off somebody as well as a heavier, more traditional wool let’s say. For that reason, you should look away from the more traditional binary way of thinking, and lean on your tailor for advice too. For example, our Mesh Blazers collection – the hopsack weave has what are effectively small holes between the individual threads of yarn so it can breathe better. Merino wool, as a type of wool itself is a very breathable material, and all the wool we use almost exclusively at HOLLAND & SHERRY is this type of high performance merino wool. When it comes to customisation you can choose to have a half-lined or even unlined jacket as opposed to a heavier full lining. So, although some people prefer it, you don’t always have to be looking for the lightest fabric just because you live in a hot country, as that will affect how it is cut and drapes. There are less conventional methods and options to make sure you’re staying cool or dry. Linen and cotton too are having a resurgence for that reason because they are very cool lightweight fabrics. Nowadays you get people wearing cotton pants with a wool jacket, which is probably a bit more comfortable in cool climates actually. The collection we have for cotton this year contains a 2% stretch alongside 98 per cent cotton. Kind of like a Lycra effect which helps the flexibility and therefore the breathability and comfort of the fabric.
It’s not a precise science, but with Singapore, it is a very well air-conditioned city lifestyle, so I’ve actually been comfortable going through my day in a 3-piece suit today. Actually, the modern consumer is so mobile now, a suit bought in Singapore is likely to be also be worn in colder countries too. So it’s always good to have a few versatile suits in the wardrobe that will help you cater for every different occasion.
COVERED:We agree. One can never have enough suits. So now let’s talk a bit about technology. We can see from the logo that HOLLAND & SHERRY is adapting a cleaner look. How about with technology, is that changing when reaching out to consumers?
JOSH LANE: Digitalisation for one affects many aspects of the business, especially for example marketing platforms like WeChat in and around mainland China today. You have to be on WeChat and have a strategic plan to leverage that. Word of mouth and social media is so important and these tools can help amplify a branding or marketing message and awareness unlike any traditional medium, when used in the right way.
COVERED:My reason for asking that is you see a lot of online e-retailers who are coming up with options to buy and tailor your suit online. Yet does that really replace the experience of actually coming in to feel the cloth and have measurements and fittings done?
JOSH LANE: The key word you said in there is – ‘experience’. When people are spending substantial amounts of money on a suit, they expect not just a nice product but also an experience. With regards to the tailoring process, this experiential value can come from being measured by a very dapper, knowledgeable and experienced gentleman, (probably also sporting an incredibly stylish moustache) on Savile Row; to then witnessing him drafting your pattern in his workshop (still underground on the basement floor of their retail site, as many of these tailors are); and enjoying a whisky or a cigar over a chat while you browse through the collections and discuss your desired outcome. It’s these things that allow many luxury products to price where they are. Because you’re not necessarily just selling a product, you’re selling a lifestyle and an experience. So, yes online tailors will disrupt the market a bit and younger people, being a lot more digitally savvy, I suppose they would be more inclined to buy a suit online, and I’m sure they have some great products available, but the word experience and the chance to actually see and feel the fabric is something that will never be replaced with online tailors. Unless maybe Virtual Reality technology progresses substantially faster than its current rate within our lifetimes!
Such new trends are developments we, as a company, have to be aware of and stay relevant to. With our branding, we’ve now adapted a sleeker, cleaner navy blue colour scheme, replacing the old burgundy style as we seek to maintain our appeal to changing tastes and evolving markets. Going forward, we have to stay on top of e-tailors and others like it. As HOLLAND & SHERRY, we’re still able to sell to these guys as suppliers so it can be viewed as another opportunity. How we sell to them may also be different, with bigger volumes, lower cost, and more competition. So those are the trends that we have to stay abreast of. But the fact that Holland & Sherry has been around for so long, and survived several revolutions and transitions, is testament to our ability as a company to adapt and stay relevant.
COVERED:I get a sense that HOLLAND & SHERRY is going to be a lot more in front of the consumer, doing a lot more marketing and making a stronger appearance around town. Can you share with us some of the plans you can expect from the brand?
JOSH LANE: Yes, I would like to think so. British business culture historically is quite conservative or risk averse generally. But recently there has certainly been a strategic change of direction and culture. We’re fortunate that we have been able to build such a strong brand name, supported of course by the quality of our finished product – we often say we never lose customers, and that the product sells itself – as long as we present, market and distribute correctly. Take our operations in Asia for instance, I’m only the second member of staff to be brought on board to cover our Far East region, but that coincides with the opening of a 3 storey showroom in downtown Shanghai – evidence for our strong commitment to Asia for generations to come.
Going forward, social media and events is something we’ll be looking more into, as a mean of reaching out to the next generation of tailors and consumers. A number of our long standing customers are probably closing on retirement age now, it’s a cyclical feature of the industry. So we need to have plans in place to appeal to younger people. I know Vishal (from NJ Bhagwan, exclusive distributor for SEA market) has some great plans as well. He’s got a good marketing background and he’ll be pushing more local marketing activities and events. We also always try to support students – we invite students to pass through our showroom in the UK and offer discounts. We also give out small samples or swatches to help initiate and inspire their interest in textiles and high quality fabrics. Even here at The Prestigious, Master Tailor Thomas Wong is doing some great work with his tailors – most of whom are ladies. So that’s another trend as well, part of the evolution of tailors and tailoring. More women today wear suits than ever before. Like I said before, the rules of the game have changed, and you’re now only really limited by your own creativity and bravery. More and more of our collections could be considered unisex, and to coincide with our 180th Anniversary, we launched a specifically ladieswear collection in the presentation format of a capsule wardrobe. Within that wardrobe we have some Chanel inspired tweeds, silks, cottons, flannels, allowing mixing and matching for people to come up with their own versatile style and identity.
COVERED:So here in Singapore, we know that HOLLAND & SHERRY is available through NJ Bhagwan which celebrates its 66th Anniversary this year. Our next question is for Vishal Advani from NJ Bhagwan. Could you tell us a bit about NJ Bhagwan and what can we expect from NJ Bhagwan and HOLLAND & SHERRY in the near future?
VISHAL: Our tradition is old, but we’re trying to evolve over time. A big strategy is to attack brand awareness at the consumer level. We find that is quite key in Southeast Asian markets. Even a well-educated consumer may not be willing to ask questions, perhaps because he’s shy or nervous. He’s almost entrusted to a tailor, which is not a problem if you’re a frequenting well established tailors like Prestigious, but we want the consumer to ask the questions. We want the consumer to be aware of the choices available to them before they wear the garments.
COVERED:Fantastic. Well thank you both, Vishal and Josh for your time.
About Josh Lane: Josh Lane is the Regional Sales Manager for HOLLAND & SHERRY – Far East region, and is based in Shanghai.
About Vishal Advani; Vishal Advani is the Managing Director of NJ Bhagwan in Singapore.
For more information,
For any more questions or queries, Josh Lane can be contacted via email@example.com.
To get a feel of HOLLAND & SHERRY’s range of fine fabrics, do visit their Preferred Tailor – THE PRESTIGIOUS, which is located at 62 Boat Quay, Singapore 049850. Connect with THE PRESTIGIOUS on Facebook here and on Instagram here.
All photos in this article are by Michelle Julia Ng at COVERED ASIA.
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A Look Back at that Marc Jacobs & MTV 80’s Party at Cherry.
Barely into 2017, and already Marc Jacobs & MTV held one of the hottest fashion parties of the year. The 80’s-inspired disco party was held in conjunction with MTV at Cherry Discotheque in Singapore, and featured Marc Jacobs Resort ’17 collection.
Here’s a look back at some of the coolest cats who came out to party with us that evening.
Above from Left: Jean Danker, and Dick Lee
Above from Left: Guest, Jade Seah, Guest, Guest, and Tabitha Nauser
Above from Left: Jamie Chua, and Stan Lui
Above from Left: Jamie Smith, Luanne Alphonso, Wilber Go, Guest, Guest, and Angelique Teo
Above from Left: Bibi Chia, Guest, and Evelyn Angelia
Above From Left: Evelyn Angelia, Johannes See, Jamie Chua, Terence Koh
Photo Credits: By COVERED Asia.
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Team behind Diamond Walker Launches Sneaker Customiser with 5 Sextillion Design Combinations.
In 2012, we learned of a passionate pack of gentlemen in Singapore who were on a mission to stretch the imagination of shoe lovers everywhere. Offering an unmatched selection of bespoke shoe options and design possibilities, Diamond Walker set the initial benchmark in bespoke shoemaking. Fast forward to today, the same enthusiastic team now unveils yet another milestone offering; the world’s largest range of fully customisable luxury sneakers online – YSNEAKERS.
#UNCOVERED – Over coffee with Conrad Chua of YSNEAKERS
COVERED: Congrats on your amazing success on Kickstarter. I hear you guys had YSNEAKERS fully funded within 15 hours of going “live”!
So, YSNEAKERS and your obsession for shoes? What has been the inspiration behind custom kicks?
CONRAD: Our obsession for shoes arose from the frustration from years of not finding good-looking quality shoes that fit really well.
As an individual and a shoe-lover, I was frustrated by the lack of range and customisation options offered in the market or being charged a high premium if they do offer them – mostly because of brand heritage or lack of production capability. Because many of the good shoes are from European brands, they tend to cater for Caucasian feet which tend to be narrow and long, and they don’t fit very well on Asian feet which tend to be broader and shorter. They thus may look beautiful but lack comfort and cost a lot. Some popular shoe brands which are made to be very comfortable have designs which are not as aesthetic as I would like them to be, and are usually made of poor quality materials as they were more for mass production.
I felt that there was a gap in the market for handmade shoes that could offer the best of both worlds. So thus Diamond Walker bespoke shoes was born – to bring the best of affordable luxury, full customisation, comfort and a wide range of designs beyond what other bespoke brands offer.
We pride ourselves on being more in tune with today’s fashionable male and their changing tastes than most bespoke shoe brands which have not changed much in their outlook, with hundreds of years of tradition, but ironically tied down by their heritage baggage, restricting them to classic shoe designs and a shoe-making ideology that has not changed for hundreds of years.
YSNEAKERS was created to address a market segment outside of our bespoke services in Singapore, with the made-to-measure aspect replaced by standard shoe sizes but with the exciting full-customisation aspect given to our casual range of footwear – sneakers!
COVERED: So 5 Sextillion designs (that’s a “5” followed by 21 zeroes)? That’s a lot! Personally, which leather skins are your favourite, and how hard are they to procure?
CONRAD: Yeah, we too were so astounded by the sheer number of the combinations offered, that we had to have independent verification by different people good with numbers because there were so many zeroes involved!
My personal favourites are the exotic skins, namely the python (read on to check out Conrad’s favourite pair). These can be harder to procure because you need to find two different snakes with more or less similar scale sizes to match up both sides of the sneakers.
We also have some brilliantly-coloured calfskin that would make some parts of the YSNEAKERS to stand out!
COVERED: So about unveiling of the world’s largest range of fully customisable luxury sneaker online, this is an obvious winner for sneaker-heads everywhere, but will orders placed online be trackable each step of the production and delivery process?
CONRAD: All YSNEAKERS customers will certainly be kept informed of the status of their YSNEAKERS up to delivery!
COVERED: Ok, so which so far has been your favourite pair? Do show us.
COVERED:What makes this one so special?
CONRAD: Nothing says luxe like exotic skins! This pair of python YSNEAKERS is da bomb!
Conrad Chua is the Chief Marketing Officer for DIAMOND WALKER and YSNEAKERS.
Follow YSNEAKERS on Facebook here for more info and latest updates.
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Here’s our recap of 5 Iconic Fashion Moments of 2016.
Take a moment and look back at the year behind us. Yes, there were shockers, and there were many upsets. But as with each passing year, there were many a moment that inspired us to think forward on what new and exciting advancements the coming years would unveil. And so on this day, the first TGIF of 2017, we bring you a recap of 5 iconic fashion moments of 2016:
#5 Vogue Paris: Karl Lagerfeld & Lily Rose Depp Dec/Jan ’17 Cover
VOGUE Paris ends off 2016 with one of its most momentous covers ever, with Lily-Rose Depp & Karl Lagerfeld gracing its front page.
The 17-year old actress, Lily-Rose Depp is the daughter of celebrated actor Johnny Depp, and is also currently the face of Chanel No. 5. She shares this cover with the iconic German fashion designer, artist and photographer, Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld.
Stepping behind the camera to capture the duo is yet another icon. The photographer held responsible for this momentous cover is non other than former Saint Laurent creative director, Hedi Slimane.
#4 The “Big” Unveil – Raf Simons’ Debut Date For Calvin Klein Announced
Since his departure from Christian Dior in October 2015, the fashion industry has been eagerly anticipating the re-emergence of one Raf Simons. Reputed for his magical creative touch in furniture and fashion design, Raf Simons was subsequently announced as the Chief Creative Officer of Calvin Klein in August last year.
“Not since Mr. Klein himself was at the company has it been led by one creative visionary, and I am confident that this decision will drive the Calvin Klein brand and have a significant impact on its future. Raf’s exceptional contributions have shaped and modernised fashion as we see it today and, under his direction, Calvin Klein will further solidify its position as a leading global lifestyle brand.” – CEO of Calvin Klein, Steve Shiffman
In November last year, Calvin Klein revealed that Raf Simons’ much anticipated debut collection with Calvin Klein will take place on 10 February 2017 at the New York Fashion Week. His first collection will feature women’s and men’s ready-to-wear. Joining the trends set by the likes of Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Burberry, Calvin Klein plans to switch to a unisex show format from the next season on.
#3 From Fashion Runways to Shoppable Collections – Burberry reinvents retail shopping
In September last year, British luxury fashion house, Burberry, transformed its fashion runway into a shoppable collection at the New York Fashion Week. From catwalks to checkouts, customers had the privilege to purchase the coveted designer pieces straight away as it appeared on the runway, remotely from their own computer or mobile device.
“If you go back 100 years, catwalks used to be small, private events that brand put on to show buyers, and eventually the press and clients, what they were doing. It can be argued that the catwalk has now become a platform to speak to customers, rather than the industry,” – Graeme Moran, head of content at the fashion-retail-industry publication, Drapers
#2 Gigi Hadid wins “International Model of the Year” award at the 2016 British Fashion Awards
Gigi Hadid has had a laudable year in 2016 – from strutting down the Victoria’s Secret runway, hosting the American Music Awards, becoming a “chart topper” with the most gained followers on Instagram, to bagging home the “International Model of the Year” award at the 2016 British Fashion Awards. Presenting this award to one deserving Gigi Hadid on the evening, was fashion icon, Donatella Versace.
According to Vanity Fair, Donatello had commented,
“She’s (Gigi Hadid) fearless. She’s funny. She’s a new icon of the 21st century.”
Gigi afterward, graciously thanked her supporters at the British Fashion Awards 2016 by saying: “To everyone, who has been so genuine, and looked beyond what the rest of the world looked for, that has meant so much to me. You guys know who I am, and that to me means so much, so thank you for inspiring me, and for teaching me to look beyond — and for being the most amazing industry I could ever ask to be a part of; you guys are a dream come true. So thank you so much.”
#1 Yousef Akbar–The Designer behind “that” Chrissy Teigen Dress
Topping our list of 5 Iconic Fashion Moments of 2016, is how the world of fashion learnt of Yousef Akbar’s designs. In December last year, we featured a talented Yousef Akbar who was responsible for Chrissy Teigen’s eye-catching dresses worn at the 2016 American Music Awards. Yousef’s Resort 2017 collection dresses were so eye-catching in fact, that Chrissy found herself making headlines all around the world following a controversial wardrobe malfunction of sorts.
Nevertheless, it was a blessing in disguise for the young Sydney-based fashion designer, Yousef Akbar. Following the “unveiling” of his designs in 2016, Yousef has since received much media exposure for his Resort 2017 collection, which according to Yousef, aims to celebrate the courage and strength of women through times of adversity.
“I dedicate this collection to all women – the widows, the orphans, the teenagers fighting to get an education, the sexually and physically abused, the brave women fighting and standing up for their rights, revolting against their cultures, challenging the norm in their fight for equality and freedom, by shedding a light on their pain, suffering and struggles they face in their lives.” -Yousef Akbar
For more about Yousef Akbar and his collections, check out our exclusive interview with him here.
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Tribute to a King – The first of the LOUIS XIII TIME COLLECTION Unveiled.
Step back in history; a hundred and forty-two years ago. A remarkable blend of the finest tipples was crafted for the first time. Yet throughout the course of time and change, the maison responsible for celebrating the lives of the most distinguished, continues to remain true to staunch traditions up-kept by its cellar master, Baptiste Loiseauup to this very day. Today, the maison commemorates the origin of that dream, with the unveiling of the LOUIS XIII TIME COLLECTION : The Origin – 1874 in Singapore.
LOUIS XIII TIME COLLECTION : The Origin – 1874
Within the crystal walls of each decanter, contains a distinctively crafted, delicate blend of up to 1,200 eaux-de-vie; the youngest of which comes in with a maturity of 40 years. The select grapes of choice, are sourced from the coveted Grand Champagne region.
Paying homage to its origins, the decanter used here will feature 13 dentelle spikes on each side, instead of the usual 10 that LOUIS XIII is accustomed to. Also unique to the LOUIS XIII TIME COLLECTION’s : The Origin – 1874, is a unique decanter stopper, shaped like an inverted decanter, with the brand’s iconic fleur-de-lis stamped on its top.
“When it comes to LOUIS XIII, some refer to it as the King of Cognacs. I however, know it as the Cognac of Kings.” – LOUIS XIII Asia Director, Vincent Géré
The Singapore Launch of the The Origin – 1874
The much anticipated LOUIS XIII TIME COLLECTION : The Origin – 1874 was unveiled for the first time in Singapore earlier this month at Goodwood Park Singapore.
Here are some of the esteemed guests in attendance on the evening.
Recommended Sale Price SGD $7,560 at time of publishing
” The Origin – 1874 ”, is the first edition in the LOUIS XIII TIME COLLECTION. For purchase queries, contact the Singapore LOUIS XIII Private Client Director, Chris Kwek at Chris.Kwek@louisxiii-cognac.
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Light-Up the Room this Festive Season with Martell NCF
#NCF – There’s a cool new “hashtag” worthy making taglines around the party scene. A few weeks back, the 300-year old cognac maison, Martell unveiled its new NCF variant in Singapore. Breaking with tradition,this Non-Chill-Filtered cognac version is filtered at room temperatures instead of at sub-zero temperatures. The result? Smooth, refreshing aromas that inspired us to try out with these easy to prep party concoctions.
#5 TOASTED LEMON
Here’s a classic. A simple yet delicious cognac cocktail. Expect toasty, caramel noted from the grilled lemon, over the smoothness of the cognac.
What you’ll need:
#4 The Party Flat
This one is really simple. Easy and quick to put together individually, or for groups. Leave it on the counter-top, and your guests will be floating over to it for seconds and thirds.
What you’ll need
Add ice into the glass. Then with the back of a spoon placed over the soft drink, slowly begin pouring the cognac over the the spoon.
*TIP – Bring out that punch bowl for larger groups, and serve it into individual glasses for guests as they arrive. This is great as the party centerpiece too.
#3 The Perfect Serve
Whilst this number isn’t a drink that requires any bottle-juggling, bar-tendering flare, it does add a nice zesty twist to the body of the cognac.
*TIP – We twisted our orange peel over the cognac, releasing some of that zesty orange oil goodness into the glass.
#2 Plum Spritz
Here’s one from the Martell cocktail guide. Whilst we weren’t quite sure how it would turn out at first, it didn’t take us very long to appreciate this one. Ladies, we asked around, and we think you’ll love this one.
#1 Robust Coffee
Coffee loves can have the best of both worlds. Your after meal drink decisions now couldn’t be easier.
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Kate Hudson’s surprise appearance with Michael Kors in Singapore.
It was a star-studded affair at the Michael Kors Mandarin Gallery grand opening event earlier in the week. Officiating the grand opening was non-other than Michael Kors himself, accompanied by the ever bubbly Kate Hudson.
Whilst it had been long planned for Michael Kors to officiate the grand opening of his newest flagship store, the news of the “surprise” accompaniment with Kate Hudson did not stay a secret for long. By early Tuesday morning, word of the pair attending the opening together had already made its way to several invited guests.
Supporting a Real Cause
Be it being seen together at events or in supporting Michael’s social initiatives, this is not the first time that Kate has been by Michael’s side. In October 2015, Kate had announced that she would be teaming up with Michael in their bid to spread awareness and raise funds to end world hunger. As part of the ongoing campaign titled “Watch Hunger Stop“, Michael had pledged to donate US$25 for every “Watch Hunger Stop” timepiece sold to the United Nation’s World Food Program .
“A Golden Dress for a Golden Girl.” – Michael Kors
In 2013, Kate Hudson was Michael’s Date to the Met Gala. She wore (of course) a sleek golden dress by Michael Kors.
A Second Floor Dedicated to Menswear
On the second floor of the new Michael Kors Mandarin Gallery boutique is a dedicated space just for the men. The refined menswear floor features a designer pool table centrepiece, adding a luxe touch to the space.
Celebrities previously at the Michael Kors Mandarin Gallery Boutique
This is not the first time a celebrity had made an appearance at this boutique. Earlier in the year at the boutique’s pre-launch event in September, Formula 1 Driver, Jenson Button held a meet and greet with fans and media.
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Nocturnal Animals – directed by Tom Ford
Out on cinemas in December ’16 is Tom Ford’s latest silver screen offering, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon – a story about an art gallery owner who is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.
[ Giveaways ] Contest Details:
Be one of 5 lucky winners to each win a pair of exclusive passes to the preview screening of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS in Singapore.
To win, simply like our Facebook Page, tag a friend, and comment on our Facebook post with one of the following review quotes as see in the trailer.
Date : Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016
Venue : Shaw Theatres, Lido
Time : From 7.00pm onwards (Runtime: 2 hours)
Winners will be announced on our Facebook page on Monday 21st November 2016
Winners can collect their tickets from the United International Pictures (UIP) redemption table located at Shaw Lido (level 5 foyer) from 6pm onwards on the event day.
* Rating & Consumer Advice: M18 – Nudity *
Trailer and Images are courtesy of, and © 2016Universal Studios.
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Cheryl Chou opens up about her inspiration, dreams and pageants.
Poise, confidence, and eloquence were some of the main qualities attributing to the coveted opportunity for Cheryl Chou to represent Singapore at the 2016 Miss Universe Pageant. Come January 30th 2017, the 20 year old will compete alongside 100 other finalists at the Miss Universe grand finals event in Manila, Philippines.
Amidst her Miss Universe preparations and press interviews, Cheryl is also pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts (Fashion Media & Industries) at the LASALLE COLLEGE of the Arts. Despite her hectic schedule, Cheryl still graciously managed to squeeze in a moment to speak with the Covered Asia team on her inspiration, dreams, and future plans.
Congratulations on winning the crown of Miss Singapore Universe 2016. What inspired you to join the pageant?
Thank you very much! I joined Miss Universe Singapore 2016 because I wanted to be more adventurous with my life. One philosophy that I live by is to never sit back and let opportunities pass you by. I believe that if you never do the things that scare you, you will never be able to grow as a person. If I did not break of out my comfort zone, I would not be here holding the title as Miss Universe Singapore 2016.
On The Childhood Dream
Was participating in the Miss Universe pageant always something you wanted to do since young? What was your childhood dream and/or hobby?
I was quite the tomboy growing up, so participating in the Miss Universe pageant was not a childhood dream of mine. In fact, for the longest time, I wanted to be a policewoman, because I wanted to fight crime and help others. Even though I did not end up being one in the end, I believe that being Miss Universe Singapore 2016, I will still be able to make a positive impact.
What is your ambition in life? Would you like to share with us about your future plans after graduating from LASALLE?
My ambition is to work in digital marketing after graduating from LASALLE. I believe that social media is a powerful tool for us to be able to communicate our ideas to the masses. Through that, I wish to be able to curate campaigns that will make an impact – the Miss Universe Singapore title is a great platform and way for me to start curating my own campaign to that end!
On Health & Wellness
Prior to entering the beauty pageant, what was your diet and exercise regime?
I have always lived a very active and healthy lifestyle, so there were not any major changes to my diet and exercise regime after joining the pageant. I love doing HIITs (High Intensity Interval Training) and working out at the gym. With regards to my diet, I am currently transitioning into leading a plant-based lifestyle and I find that it has definitely improved my health since making the change to go meat-free.
For Social Good
Should you win Miss Universe 2016, how would you make a difference using the title? Are there any causes or organization that you are currently advocating for?
One of the main issues that I would like to bring light to is the promotion of body positivity, particularly on social media. Social media is a powerful platform that is very pervasive. Teens and young women are constantly shown photos of airbrushed and perfect women online that then builds the false belief that there is a need to have a perfect body and a perfect face to be popular and accepted. I disagree with this and want to bring across the message that it is okay to be yourself and to build body positivity by eating healthy and normally and being active doing the things you love. We are all different and these differences make us special and unique in our own way – you should never therefore change yourself just to look like someone else.
On Who’s Gown It Will Be At Her Finals
Which fashion designer’s gown will you be wearing for Miss Universe 2016 in the Philippines?
I will be wearing a gown that is designed by Karla Jasmina who is designing and making 2 couture gowns especially for me in collaboration with the Miss Universe Singapore Organisation. She’s a thread and needle genius and I’ve already had the honor to wear one of her designs during my evening gown segment when I won the title in Singapore so I am confident that she knows what gown will suit me best to shine on the international stage. I am so excited to see what she has in store for me, and I am sure it will be beautiful.
On Any Talent Segment Acts We Can Expect
What will you be performing for your talent segment in Miss Universe 2016?
Haha, there is no talent segment in the Miss Universe pageant! I guess only my shower head gets to hear me sing – *winks*!
About Negative Pageant Sentiments in Singapore
How do you feel about the negative stigma regarding beauty pageants in Singapore?
I understand that many people perceive pageants as a distraction from the “real world”. Personally, I think they are judging this on the basis of a stereotypical perception of a beauty queen parading in heels and a swimsuit in a bid to achieve world peace. The reality instead is that pageants are very much like any other competition – you learn how to push yourself to achieve goals, to believe in yourself and in the current world we live in, to manage your own personal online brand and statement as to what you stand for. Being in Miss Universe Singapore made me grow so much as a person, physically and mentally and I learned so much in just a few short months. I’ve also had many fun opportunities to do things I would never dream of (like a bikini photoshoot on a jet ski in Bintan! How exciting is that?) and speaking on live radio and TV. I hope that people would see pageants and their contestants in a different light when they understand the rigours of competing, because it takes a lot of strength and courage, and they do become a better version of themselves in the end.
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Guo Pei will open Singapore Fashion Week ’16 with 2 Show Seatings
Opening Singapore Fashion Week 2016 with 2 show seatings this Wednesday is the much anticipated haute couturer, Guo Pei. Hailed as China’s Queen of Couture, Guo Pei, who has been designing since the early ’90s, is responsible for the head-turning golden dress worn by Rihanna last year at the 2015 Met Gala. According to a report by Fashionista.com, the dress weights in at 55 pounds, and took 20 months to make.
#unCOVERED: A Moment with Guo Pei
COVERED: What inspired you to take your first steps towards studying fashion design?
GUO PEI: I grew up with my grandmother in kindergarten. She was born during the Qing Dynasty, My fondest impression of my grandmother was when she told me that growing up, she always wore “smooth” clothes. As I closed my eyes and listening her story, I pictured in my mind that she was wearing slippery-smooth clothes, embroidered with beautiful flowers. This vision was so vivid in my mind, that it influenced me to want to create the most beautiful clothes. That is why at a very young age, I begin to learn painting. My biggest wish at that time was to enter an academy. During my elementary school, I altered and fixed my own clothes. Up to then, China was never offered a certification in fashion design. It was only in 1982, that China offered its first fashion design certification. Without hesitation, I entered myself for an examination in fashion design.
GUO PEI: 我在上幼儿园之前是跟祖母长大的，她是清朝那时候出生，我印象最深的就是她跟我讲她小时候穿的衣服是滑滑的，我闭着眼睛听着她讲故事，脑海里浮现出她穿着滑滑的衣服绣着漂亮的花朵，都是那么地真实，我就特别想把这种美丽给实现出来。所以我小时候就非常喜欢画画，最大的愿望是考美院。小学五六年级时，我都是自己给自己修改衣服。中国以前是没有服装设计专业的，很幸运的是，1982年中国有了第一个服装设计专业，于是我毫不犹豫的报考了服装设计。
“My fondest impression of my grandmother was when she told me that growing up, she always wore “smooth” clothes.” – Guo Pei on her inspiration to becoming a fashion designer.
COVERED: It has been 19 years since you created your own fashion brand. When would you say was the moment when you felt your creations started getting noticed, and what do you most attribute it to.
GUO PEI: Upon graduating, I served as the chief designer for the clothing brand Pegasus. I feel that it was from that moment on that I felt my work started to gain recognition. In 1997, I was interviewed and my work was reported on “Asahi Shimbun“, and also in an Australian made documentary. In 2006 I showed my first collection titled “Reincarnation”. It was from after that show, that my work started to get recognized not just in China but also at an international level. I felt this was the first big highlight in my career after having done “sur mesure” (bespoke tailoring) at my own company for nearly ten years. This was my first breakthrough, the result of 10 years of learning to truly hone the art of “sur mesure“. Moving forward I then created “大金” or “big gold” which required 50 thousand hours to complete. From then on, I firmly believed that Haute Couture was the only road for me.
GUO PEI 可以说我从校园出来，担任成衣品牌天马首席设计师的时候，我的作品就已经开始受到了关注。1997年的《朝日新闻》和澳洲的一个纪录片都对我进行了采访和报道。但广泛被国际时尚界设计界所关注是在2006年，我的第一场作品发布“轮回”之后。可以说当时在中国国际时装上发布了这个作品系列之后，一时间，引来国际国内众多媒体的强烈反响。那是我做自己的公司，做定制设计近十年后的第一场发布，也是我真正意义上的高定作品发布，是我对设计对高定有了十多年积累之后的第一次爆发。在那场发布会上，我用5万个小时制作了“大金”，也是在做那场发布会之后我更加坚信高定是我唯一的设计道路。
COVERED: This year, we understand that you are now a guest member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. This is a noteworthy accomplishment. To all aspiring local Singaporean designers out there, what would you say in encouraging them to pursue their dreams as a haute couture fashion designer?
GUO PEI: I believe that to be invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture
is the dream of every designer, I think I am very fortunate. every step I’ve taken has always seemed to be in the right direction. I feel like haute couture is like a steep peak, one where the road to the top is narrow and rugged. Persevere on. Stay strong. Have faith and belief in yourself, and you will reach the peak.
GUO PEI: 我想能够参加巴黎高级时装周是每个设计师的梦想，我觉得我很幸运，在设计的道路上一直在向着正确的方向前行。我觉的高定就像一座陡峭的高峰，通向山顶的道路狭窄而崎岖。唯有坚持心中的信念，坚韧不拔的一路前行，才能最终达到顶峰。
For the full schedule of shows at this year’s Singapore Fashion Week, check out the official website here. This year’s Singapore Fashion Week shows, and extra show highlights will be available to stream right here with Digital Fashion Week.
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