Few footballers come to Asia beyond the promise of money or comfort; even fewer believe in the possibilities that run deep in the soul of Asian football. Yet, there is a young European premier footballer with French and Italian heritage who loves Asia and has returned to Singapore to grow with Asian football. For Antoine Viterale, football is life beyond those 90 minutes. COVERED Asia’s Liyann Seet speaks with the man who embraces the spirit of Asian football, about his football journey and life in Asia.
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Meet the man behind the homegrown fashion label showcasing the beauty of wearable art. A fashion designer from unconventional roots, Giuseppe De Giosa, was a corporate man who has successfully clocked over 40 years in the banking and finance industry. Formally a banker for one of the oldest banks in the world established in 1472 in Siena (Italy), he became the joint General Manager in a subsidiary of the bank for several years in Australia.
The birth of DGA threads started from Giuseppe De Giosa’s constant passion in art, textiles and exquisite objects. It has been the base for his desire to design and create one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces which incorporate vintage fabrics combined with contemporary natural textiles with a modern twist to suit the current lifestyle.
Did you study fashion? What is your background?
I did not study fashion. I was a banker for 40 years and worked exclusively for the oldest bank in the world established in 1472 in Siena (Italy). I had the opportunity to travel for my job extensively and headed Singapore & Hong Kong office. I was also the joint General Manager in a subsidiary of the bank for several years in Australia. I lived and worked in London and Mumbai.
My way of connecting with the places was through the arts. A small part of my extensive collection of old and antique Tibetan rugs was published in 2004. The title of the book is ‘Dream Weavers; Textile Art from the Tibetan Plateau.’
Would you like to share with us some of the lessons you have learnt through your fashion entrepreneurship?
Every day, life provides new experiences and lessons – bad or good. It is useful to strengthen, discipline and propel us to face new challenges and discoveries. Despite my professional background, I had the energy, determination, and vision to create and draw enormous satisfaction from assembling different cloths like an artist (and I’m not one) that, on a canvas, draws and uses colors to create a painting.
The emotions are the same and the rewards – equally satisfying when creationis appreciated and purchased. This validation I get is the force that moves me forward. Connecting easily with different people in a different environment from banking and finance has been gratifying. I love establishing strong relationships with tailors who have become my friends and with whom I share a passion and enthusiasm in bringing to life new creations. Creating relationships with clients, who often become friends, is an invaluable experience that provides motivation and adds color into my life.
What are the inspirations behind your favorite collection?
We have just recently completed, helped by DGA Thread’s team, an exciting collection of garments, both for men and women; it’s called BLU. Our latest ensemble has indigo fabrics as its crucial point. I was fascinated by reading that the Japanese Samurai would wear underneath their armor indigo fabrics to protect them and make them, in their own eyes, invincible.
This thought coupled with the natural indigo colour extracted from plants and having these garments on the body, like a second skin, has helped to determine the flavor of this collection. My style takes inspiration from Japanese antique and vintage apparels which are comfortable, one-size-fits-all (usually), elegant and timeless. The resulting creations have the prerogative to suit the modern lifestyle and can be worn by anyone, wherever and whenever.
Would you like to highlight the key processes that go behind the art of making of a bespoke designer women’s wear?
When I’m presented with a vintage Japanese kimono or jacket to be unstitched as it no longer serves its original purpose, I take on the task. The process is quiet, relaxing and creative simultaneously.
Unstitching brings to my memory the skillful hands of who assembled the garment; the love, the thoughts, the happiness and the sadness that went through the minds of those creating. I too, in this unwinding process, have splashes of ideas of the design, of the coloursof what I would like the garment or the creation to be like. It’s almost like meditating, andat the end of the process, I have a clear and free mind which is the foundation of my inspiration. Therefore, each piece of fabric is converted into various creations, all different from one another, all exclusive.
Where do you envision the brand to be in the next 5 – 10 years?
Our creations are limited due to the long and meticulous process by which they are brought to life. Wearable art is reserved for a particular audience; those who treasure and appreciate the highest quality, the finest details, the combination of textiles and colors, the style, the elegance and the ability to feel comfortable enough to dare as we do.
We are a newly established company which has existed less than two years. We see expansion and new markets opened to us as the brand gains awareness and recognition. Therefore, growth will be there for the foreseeable future. Success will depend very much on continuous creativity, availability of prestigious vintage and antique fabrics mainly from Japan and the continuous support of the team of people who have been instrumental to our success.
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What was Antoine Viterale’s childhood and what inspired you to be a professional footballer?
Football is my passion. Growing up as a child, I have never wanted to be anything except a soccer player. I was born in an extraordinary city with a loving family and with football on my mind 24/7. My dad introduced me to the game, and I also had my football heroes who I wanted to emulate but could only see them on the TV or on the big billboards. When I was a toddler, my dad was the first man who taught me how to kick a ball. The first word that I could pronounce was “ball”. I knew from an early young age that there is nothing else I wanted to be except a professional footballer.
We understand that you left Hong Kong and your family at the young age of 13 to pursue a career in football. What was the driving force behind it?
An opportunity presented itself to go to Italy for trials. At that time, this particular opportunity was not very clear, but it was a chance. When you are a kid from Hong Kong, you feel like you are far away from that dream. Even when the tiniest of chances came, I knew that I had to take it. I was scared, and I really didn’t want to leave my family. Nevertheless, there was something in me that said I had to do it.
Would you like to share with us more about the obstacles that you faced in the process?
It was hard for me to leave my family at the age of 13 to pursue my passion for football. I was alone in a foreign country far from home. I learnt that I have to be independent early in life. Growing up in Hong Kong, I have assimilated into the Asian culture. It was hard for my peers in Europe to accept that I am a Caucasian man with an Asian heritage, so I struggled hard to be accepted by my peers in Europe. I am a Caucasian by birth because my father is an Italian and my mother is French.
I am glad to be given the opportunity to grow up in Hong Kong. Yet, I feel that we should not be discriminated because of our race or background. Football is a sport that unites us as one. It didn’t matter where we grew up, our heritage or education background, it matters that our heart beat as one for the sport and we fight for the best interest of the team.
What countries have you played in and what have you learned on and off the pitch?
I started playing in Hong Kong and then moved to Europe. In Europe, I played in Italy, Switzerland, and Spain. Every place has taught me a life lesson. I would say that my learning curve was the steepest in Europe. On the pitch, I learnt discipline and professionalism of top-level football. Off the pitch, I learnt the harsh realities of life at a young age. Hong Kong was like a bubble and facing them alone in Europe has given me great strength today.
Would you like to share with us more about your earliest memories of growing up playing soccer in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is such a special city in every aspect. However, there was not a lot of space and grass to play in comparison to Singapore or Europe. My fond memories were playing soccer with my best friends literally anywhere, mostly on concrete or dirt pitches. When we felt adventurous, we would sneak into the schools’ field to play football.
Your father is a successful hotelier, what is his impact on you?
I cannot sum up in a few sentences what impact my dad has had on me. If I try, I would be here all day. He was the one who used to throw me the ball to kick and control. Everything started and happened because of him. I remembered growing up when my dad was not the successful man he is today, I watched him climb up the ladder through hard work and dedication. At the end of the day, people might perceive Giovanni as the hotel veteran. To me, he is a loving father.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
A couple of years ago, I would have never thought that I will be playing in Singapore. Life is never a straight line. I believe in conquering the small goals one at a time with the big goal always in mind. For now, I want to be the best player here in Singapore and in the region. And then, I will work hard and strive to go back to Europe to finish what I started.
My final objective is to go back and play in the top leagues in Europe. I need to demonstrate to myself that I can do it. If I am to play the rest of my career in Asia, I would still be a very happy man because as a young boy from Hong Kong, my dream was to become a professional football player. I am here because I want to do big things and give back to Asian football. It is them that helped me from my origins till today.
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1. Chanel 2.55
Originated from a hat stand to one of the most iconic fashion houses in the world, Chanel is a marriage of timeless style and practicality. Chanel 2.55 was born from the desire to create a hands-free classic handbag . The number 2.55 represents the month and year in which the first design was introduced: February 1955. Chanel 2.55 encapsulates the 180 stages involved in the making of one Chanel Flap bag An artisan’s training period is almost one decade using only the best quality cuts of lambskin and each stage is performed by hand.
2. Hermes Kelly
The Hermes Kelly bag gained popularity with its namesake of today from the glamorous Princess of Monaco – Grace Kelly. The Princess appreciated its purist aesthetic design and eventually procured a number of Hermes bags in various colours.
A study conducted by Baghunter, revealed that the Hermes bag far outperformed both the S&P 500 and the price of gold in the last 35 years. The S&P has a real return average of 8.65% and gold has offered an average annual returns of -1.5%. However, Hermes Birkin has outperformed the S&P averaging an annual increase in 14.2%.
3. Dior Lady
On the occasion of Princess Diana visit to Cezanne exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, the Lady Dior bag was presented to her by France’s First Lady, Bernadette Chirac. Princess Diana was photographed by the International Press with the Lady Dior Bag on numerous occasions. In 1996, as homage to the Princess, it was renamed “Lady Dior” with her blessing.
Created in a couture spirit, the stitching pattern is inspired by the Napoleon III chairs once used by Christian Dior during the first day of his fashion show in 1947. The letters D.I.O.R. on charm pendants act as an eternal signature.
4. Prada Galleria Bag
The Prada Galleria Bag is a veritable icon of the luxury fashion house; it was a homage to Prada’s very first boutique opened in Milan within the Galleria Vittori Emanuele II. A true badge of honor for Prada, Saffiano veal leather yields unique striations as it is hot pressed. The classic iconic design is scratch-resistant, water-repellant and durable. This leather was used to make trunks for the royal family and it will remain as one of the designer classic.
5. Hermes Birkin
At Hermes, every collection tells of an inspirational and sometimes whimsical story. The story of the iconic Hermes Birkin bag goes that Jean-Louis Dumas was on an Air France flight from Paris to London. Five years earlier, he had taken over the fashion house founded by his great-grandfather. He found himself sitting beside Jane Birkin, actress and singer, who dropped her Hermes diary scattering a flurry of paper. Birkin complaint that it was hard to find a leather bag to hold her papers and a bag with sufficient pockets. He introduced himself and it has given birth to the Hermes Birkin bag.
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#unCOVERED – Meet Dr Chayanon Phucharoen who raised the standard of luxury resorts in Phuket.
Clandestine perched on the western edge of Phuket, The NAKA Phuket epitome of contemporary design, featuring 94 glass-built villas nestled amid an exclusive beach and magnificent mountain. Equipped with a private infinity pool and balcony, each iconic villa optimally integrates the basic elements of nature with a sweeping view of the Andaman Ocean.
The hotel’s design is the brainchild of veritable architect Duangrit Bunnag and academic Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen. Armed with a PhD in economics, Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen rode against the odds and ventured into the real estate and hospitality industry through the establishment of his first hotel design: The NAKA Phuket.
Coupling Business with Academics
COVERED ASIA: Coming from an academic background with a PhD in economics, how does that contribute to your success in the property development of The NAKA Phuket?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Economic tools are good for business decision making. However, investment decisions cannot solely rely on economics for the final decision. Initially, The NAKA Phuket was an investment project that I did not concur with, as the financial projections did not look good. Using a regression analysis, other quantitative tools were conducted to determine if the board of directors should invest in this plot of land. At that point of time, the financial indicators did not look good.
The Last Plot of Land of the West Coast
COVERED ASIA: Despite the unfavorable projected quantitative indicators, why did you go ahead with the real estate development project?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Our two founders are equipped with the animal spirit and strong business acumen. From their gut feelings and long-accumulated experience, they had proven investment paths. Both of our founders had explained to me the reasons behind this project’s decision, as Phuket can be divided into the East and West Coasts. When you take a satellite picture at night, you will find that the West Coast is the brightest region.
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: The bright lights indicate that most of the major developments occur in the West Coast. The NAKA Phuket was among the last freehold plots of land available for sale in Phuket. As it was among the last legitimate freehold plots of land available, they believed that this was a good investment opportunity.
Academics and Real Estate
COVERED ASIA: Would you concur that academics has no place in the realms of real estate and investments?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: No. The study of economics is a good tool to improve business models. Academics can show the calculated risks involved in an investment project. For example, we ran a test to research the most important indicator that affects our customers’ satisfaction. Using a multiple regression analysis on one of our premises, the results show that the lack of pest control will cause great guest dissatisfaction. One pest found can result in a 0.6 minus. With the research, we have allocated more resources to deal with pest control.
The Naka Phuket
COVERED ASIA: Would you like to tell us more about The NAKA Phuket and the architectural inspirations behind the resort?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: The Naka Phuket is a prime asset with the mountain at the back and the sea in the front. When there is a mountain behind you, it provides excellent protection and support for the inhabitants of the house. The water at the front of the house will bring tremendous wealth for years and years. Our shareholder purchased the last plot of land along the West Coast because of the mountain at the back and beach in the front. It could also be an excellent product for guests who either seek the beach or mountain experience. In addition, The Naka Phuket is a 10 – 15 minutes ride from Patong. It is a good balance between the mountain and sea, between hideaway and city.
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: For the architecture design, our directors at that time requested for our architect, Duangrit Bunnag to add in an equilibrium concept. The villa is built with a cantilever concept; it is a balance between the sky and sea. The idea behind it is for the guest to live between the sky and sea.
Equilibrium balance between sky and sea
COVERED ASIA:Who is your greatest inspiration?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Both of our company founders are men whom I deeply respect, and they have taught me priceless business lessons, which are not inherited from my education path. The most important lesson that I have learned from them is how they look after their subordinates. We have had employees working with us for about 20 to 30 years, and my father frequently reminds me that it is important to realize your employees’ roles and contributions. It is imperative to form a personal bond with your staff.
The Next Business Dimension
COVERED ASIA:Where do you envision yourself to be in the next 5 to 10 years?
Dr. Chayanon Phucharoen: Giving back to the local community is on my list. I hope to be able to do good and contribute back to the local community in Thailand. As for my academic career, I would aspire to be an Associate Professor in the next 5 to 10 years. In terms of businesses, I will be focusing on consistency, sustainability and solid expansion into a growing tourism industry in Thailand.
For more information on The NAKA Phuket, visit https://www.thenakaphuket.com/
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#unCOVERED – Meet the Man who sets the benchmark for Functional Luxury
Behind the history of Tocco Toscano lies James Lor – a veritable artisan in his own right who had the temerity to choose the road less travelled to establish a fashion house. James has handed over the reins of the family business to his son, Joseph Lor. Under his father’s tutelage, Joseph has taken Tocco Toscano to greater heights, while maintaining his artistic individuality through the launch of his own functional luxury brand – “Faire Leather Co.”
Meeting the Man Behind the Brand
COVERED: Would you like to tell us more about the history behind the brand and the man behind Tocco Toscano?
JOSEPH LOR: Tocco Toscano is an Italian leather goods label now owned and operated by my family. I started working for my father, James Lor, 8 years ago, and I have always respected him for his creativity and work ethic.
The youngest of four children, he went through the school of hard knocks in 1960s Singapore. A chance opportunity to work on binding leather Bibles gave him his first encounter with the basics of leather production which grew to become a lifelong passion. This is what fueled the successes of first TOSCANO, then TOCCO TOSCANO.
Fast forward to 2015, I was finally ready to take over as CEO. This gave my father some breathing room to focus on his passion; designing and creating leather goods. I drew up plans to improve operational efficiency and grow the business.
COVERED: Your father sounds like a man of great passion, fortitude and ambition. Would you like to tell us more about your apprenticeship journey under your father?
JOSEPH LOR: In terms of the craftsmanship aspect, I have only learnt the basics. My primary duties are on the distribution end of the business, which I have since taken over. My father is the brain that focuses on product development. So while I contributed a lot in terms of the design of Faire Leather Co.’s products, I relied on my father for the manufacturing aspect. However, I do love design, drawing and arts and crafts in general. I designed the second iteration of my father’s company logo when I was 9 years old. So one day, I do hope to take on the challenge of moving past product design and into product development one day.
COVERED: Would you share with us some of lessons that you have learnt through your apprenticeship? How does it feel working in the family business and continuing to build his legacy?
JOSEPH LOR: My father managed to turn his life around completely. He raised a family and built a business without the traditional privileges of money or education. Instead, he relied solely on undeniable passion, a hardcore work ethic and God. To me, that’s a pretty inspirational story that has taught me that good old-fashioned hard work and focus can overcome life’s obstacles and lack of privilege.
JOSEPH LOR: As a kid, I remember how tiring it was for him to constantly travel and work late. Being the first-born child in my family (I have 2 younger siblings), I feel that is my responsibility to carry on his legacy. But don’t get me wrong, I am not doing this purely out of duty, being a part of this journey has been both stimulating and enjoyable too.
Building a Legacy: Faire Leather Co.
COVERED: We understand that you have decided to forge your own footprints and started your own new label: Faire Leather Co.. Would you like to tell us more about Faire?
JOSEPH LOR: A contemporary take on men’s leather goods, the idea for Faire Leather Co. was sparked when my business partner, Ryan Choy, and I observed the lack of well-priced, quality leather goods that combine classic style with functional design.
Ryan is your typical male working professional who needs a laptop, notebook, power bank all in a stylish bag. But he didn’t feel like there was anything available that was solving a truly simple and fundamental problem. This problem was a messy bag which made it impossible to find anything. This was when he approached me to see if we could figure out a bag designed to neatly fit literally all the essentials.
COVERED: What is the inspiration behind The Bond Collection and The Specter Collection?
JOSEPH LOR: Faire Leather Co.’s products are sleek and polished, as befitting a men’s luxury label. We have named our debut collections after iconic television and movie characters who are both timeless and stylish. It isn’t about just how good they look, but how well they go about their daily lives. Our debut collection, The Bond Collection, pays homage to James Bond, a man’s man who always keeps his tech and gadgets in their proper place. This way, they’re easily accessible – and they help to get the job done.
COVERED: Would you like to share with us more about your factories and business model?
JOSEPH LOR: One of Faire Leather Co.’s hallmarks is its direct-to-consumer (DTC) pricing. This means that it is without the mark-ups that typically inflate the pricing of luxury brands. In addition, Faire Leather Co. is a vertically integrated company – we run and own our factory, the same factory that has also produced for several luxury brands.
This means Faire Leather Co. controls every process from production to delivery. We make savings throughout the entire production process, which we then pass on to the consumer. This sets us apart from other DTC brands, since we never have to pay a manufacturer’s fee or a sample production cost. This keeps our costs low, ensuring that we offer great value for a fair price compared to everyone else.
The Next Business Dimension
COVERED: Will you be coming up with more products? Where do you envision the brand to be in the next 5 – 10 years?
JOSEPH LOR: We are planning to offer customisation options such as a monogramming service and interchangeable bag straps of different colours, materials and designs. In addition, we are also looking to expand our product line to include:
- Functional business card holders
- Key pouches
- Unisex diaper bags
- A matte gunmetal hardware option for all products
In 5 to 10 years, we hope Faire Leather Co. will be synonymous with Functional Luxury at a Fair Price. We aspire to be the go-to label for leather goods. Our consumers believe in our commitment to quality. Each product we create, not only make their lives easier, but also make them look good. We do all of these at the same time, without charging exorbitant prices for it.
COVERED: In the past decade, fashion aficionados have seen interesting uses of technology in fashion and on the runway. With the rise of e-commerce, will Tocco Toscano or Faire Leather Co., be joining in the fight to capture a share of the fashion pie?
JOSEPH LOR: Data is paramount for Faire Leather Co., the result of a joint venture earlier this year between Tocco Toscano and Yventures Group. Yventures is a Singapore-founded, data analytics-driven e-commerce company with a presence in over 20 online marketplaces around the world. The partnership has provided Ryan and me with insights into consumer mindsets and behaviours while guiding us to offer great value, leveraging on Y Ventures Group’s proprietary data analytics and specialisation in online retail and distribution channels.
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8 Christmas Gift Ideas
Forego the cliché Christmas’s gift ideas this year. COVERED Asia’s editors have curated an array of ingenious gifts for your loved one. Whether your friend is an astute rainmaker who spends their days slaying deals in the office or a sports junkie with an insatiable appetite for killer workouts, these gifts are certain to satisfy even the most discerning gentleman or lady.
Acquiring one of the Parisian label’s iconic style is a present that appreciates in value over time; in the last six years, the value of Chanel bags had increased by a massive 70%.
Launched in 1955, the iconic Chanel 2.55 flap bag retailed at $220 (£154). By the 90s, its price had risen to $1,150 (£810). Today, the investment bag is priced above $5,000 (£3,500).
For the lady who desires a radiant glow, treat her to Clinique’s better clinical dark spot corrector and optimizer. Designed to reduce the appearance of dark spots and blemish marks in four weeks, the CL-302 provides a two pronged approach to an even skin tone and lasting brightness.
3. Crème Maison Cakes
Christmas is all about the delicious sweet treats in life – cakes, macarons, cupcakes and gingerbread. Whether you are looking to host the best Christmas office party, or pamper your clients with festive gifts, home-grown Creme Maison Bakery has you covered. Indulge their taste buds with Crème Maison’s signature Floral Cupcakes. This year, they come in the iconic Christmas Wreath and Red Poinsettia designs. And for those who especially wish to impress, how about a specially made Macaron Tower Cake this year?
4. Faire Leather Co.
Redefining true value as functional luxury at a faire price, Faire Leather Co. has designed a collection inspired by James Bond. Charismatic, polished and intelligent, the iconic 007 always keeps his tech and gadgets in its proper place such that they are easily accessible because they help to get the job done.
The Specter Travel Wallet will be an ideal gift for jet setters who wish to travel light, but travel smart. The travel companion features dividers to separate cash currencies, card slots, sleeves to organise SIM card ejector pins and SD/SIM cards, and a back slip pocket that fits the Specter Slim Cardwallet or a mobile phone. It also includes RFID Blocking technology to protect the individual against credit card fraud and identity theft.
5. Theia Active
For your female friend who adores sports, an edgy-chic piece combining femininity and sportiness with an edge will be the perfect Christmas gift for her. Theia Active has designed a range of high-performance sports apparel with maximum support for medium to high impact workouts.
6. Yacht Cosmo
The best gifts in the world are not in the material objects one can buy, but in the memories that we make with the people we love. This Christmas, create lasting memories by sailing out to the deep blue ocean with your loved ones. Charter a yacht this Christmas festival with Yacht Cosmo and embark on a voyage of a lifetime.
7. Ground Zero
For that friend who wants to get in shape next year, how about some tough love from Ground Zero? This Christmas, find their tribe, get sweaty, smash those goals and have fun. What more to begin the new year with a renewed sense of confidence and spanking hot bod.
8. Azimut Yachts
Azimut yachts are ideal for individuals who have it all, seek an adventure beyond the horizons and have a burning passion for deep blue waters. Give a gift unlike any other, a key which unlocks a whole new world in the vast expanse of the ocean. The Azimut yachts collection represents a brand that offers some of the most popular flybridge motor yacht and sport yacht styles in the world.
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5 Signature Timeless Perfumes that withstand the trends of time.
For the fashionable intrigued, every season presents an au courant engaging stylistic alternatives packaged to engage the senses. In spite of the seductive messaging and game-changing narrative, these classics have always held its place as the most timeless perfumes of all time. The bottle can only be uncovered by the woman for whom it is destined.
#5 Gucci Flora
Galvanized by princesses from the past, present and future, Gucci Flora is designed for the sophisticated, classy and refined woman. The formulation is an expression of the Flora legacy; the enchanting layers mirror the whimsical details and glistening chromaticity that channel the heart of the fashion empire.
Coupled with the ‘Gucci edge’ of power and passion, the Flora donna is a young, refined and discerning lady. She is graceful, recherché and cultivated. Experience the enthralling formulation of Gucci Flora – an exquisite, ethereal and floral fragrance for the discerning lady in a bottle.
#4 Shalimar Perfume By Guerlain
The Shalimar perfume by Guerlain encapsulates the promise of eternal love forevermore; the star oriental fragrance was inspired by the love story between an emperor and an Indian princess. In Sanskrit, Shalimar connotes temple of love. With its impertinent and shouldering character, the bottle embodies oriental fragrance, spell binding scent with a hint of the forbidden.
#3 Estee Lauder Wood Mystique
A pact of opulence and exclusiveness is sealed into the mystifying bottle; the Estee Lauder Wood Mystique transport the we are into a world of luxuriance and opulence beyond compare. Honoring artistry and elements true to the Middle East, the fragrant is a quintessential concoction of ancient hand-crafted splendor and extravagance. The lavishly woody formulation is a enchanting masterpiece with treasured rose flourishing at its heart.
#2 Chanel No.5
The birth of Chanel No. 5 launched a revolution in a bottle. The classic bottle has since become an olfactory heritage; it is a timeless masterpiece and symbol of sophistication. The scent unfolds with a surge of orange tree blossom fragrance preluding into a impeccable unification of epicurean Jasmine and voluptuous May Rose, then on to vivacious woody base of Sandalwood and concluding with Bourbon Vetiver and Vanilla.
#1 Miss Dior
The birth of Miss Dior launched a revolution in a bottle. With veritable riches concealed in her heart, Eau de Parfum Miss Dior fragrance is formulated for the elegant and spirited young lady in love. Romantic by nature, Miss Dior personifies the spontaneous joie de vivre of the prime modern women; she represents noble elegance, freedom and seduction.
The fragrance glides from a sharp allurement of mellow crisp citrus preceding into efflorescent floral notes, then on to the noble elegance of patchouli, before concluding with musk, the last trace of memory.
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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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