Thursday, January 29, 2009

Here's Looking at you, Baby.

One of my closest friends, Ju has given birth to a lovely baby girl and I have been wondering what to get her. It's a toss up between something to pamper her or something for the baby. Then there is the occasional thought of getting her something practical. Here are some items that have caught my fancy.

Dr Brown's Baby Bottles. They help reduce colic, spit ups, burping and gas. They also help maintain vitamins A, C and E.

Cath Kidston Mini Bud Nursery Melamine Set. This makes a great first feeding set. 

Cath Kidston Washed Roses Kids Wellies. Wished they came in adult sizes for these wellies. Playing in the rain never looked more fashionable.

Chloe Dusty Pink Pinny Dress. This is so beautiful. So Chloe.

Missoni Diaper Bag. A diaper bag doesn't get more fabulous than this. Love it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

10 Corso Como.

10 Corso Como Milan, also dubbed, the Milan temple of style was founded by a gallerist and publisher, Carla Sozzani in 1990. The complex started with an art gallery and a bookstore and in 1991, a fashion boutique was added, in 1998, a cafe and in 2003, a 3 room bed and breakfast was opened. 

Now it sells everything, from furniture to clothes to even memorabilia. It is a showcase for top notch Milanese designers. It's a pity that I couldn't find any photos of the hotel itself. It is gorgeous. If there is anywhere that I could pack my bags and just move into, this must be it. To be surrounded by beautiful things and good food constantly would be living in a dream, my dream.

By the way, famous  Tunisian designer, Azzedine Alaia has teamed up with 10 Corso Como to open his own 3 rooms hotel, designed as an extension of the designer's own flat. Famous models - Linda and Naomi - have spent the night here, sleeping on mattresses right on the floor. Alaia's idea was creating a night's lodging where everyone would feel like they were at their Paris home. The details of the décor are constantly changing and transforming, just the way it is with every flat. The interior is perfect, just like Alaia's collections, and combine objects from the past and present. What makes the three apartments special is the unique collection of XX century furniture. Breakfast prepared in the designer's nearby flat, is served by his personal chef. Yum.

Exterior of 10 Corso Como.

The boutique.

The cafe.

The courtyard leading back into the store.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Restaurant De Kas, Amsterdam.

I think that a restaurant that cares about the quality of their food enough to grow or breed their own produce must be a good restaurant. Of course, this is me generalising things. Only recently that this is becoming a trend. Nowadays, chefs are not just the hardworking, kitchen toiling individuals, they are also the farmer. 

Terms like heirloom vegetables (a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture as they need to pollinated openly) , which has long been wiped out of our dictionaries and gardens have slowly been resurfacing. This makes it really exciting for foodies like myself to actually have the opportunity to taste such rare varieties of vegetables and fruits. Recently, one of such restaurants which has adopted the "grow your own vegetables scheme" is Circa, St Kilda. They were featured in a recent article of The Age.

However, the one of the earliest pioneers is Restaurant De Kas. In 2001, top chef Gert Jan Hageman, who had earned a Michelin star in Dutch haute cuisine, found a new direction for his own career and a new purpose for the old greenhouse that belonged to Amsterdam's Municipal Nursery. The greenhouse, which dated from 1926, was due to be demolished. With a lot of luck and, most importantly, with help from the municipality and his family and friends, Hageman succeeded in converting the unique 8-metre high glass building into a restaurant and nursery.

Situated in Frankendael Park, between the Rembrandt Tower and the nineteenth century facades of Watergraafsmeer, De Kas is an oasis of calm for the fifty-thousand guests who dine there each year; either in the breathtaking dining room designed by Piet Boon, or at the chef's table in the kitchen, or  if weather permits,  outside in the herb garden.

De Kas serves one fresh, daily set menu priced at € 49.50. The five-course menu is based on what they've harvested that day, and always consists of a selection of small starters, followed by a main course and a dessert.

For those who like to be at the heart of the action may prefer the exclusive chef's table in the kitchen, where dinner is at the mercy of the kitchen brigade (€ 125 including wine).

At lunchtime, they serve a four-course menu for € 37.50 By the way, it is also possible to order only ala carte.

For those picky eaters out there who need to know if they are organic, yes they are.

View of the exterior at night.

View of the main dining hall.

Another view of the dining hall.

The private dining room.

The nursery.

Circa, St Kilda's vegetable and herb patch at Albert Park. They are currently growing more than 50 types of fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Christopher Brosius' Manifesto.

I hate perfume.
Perfume is too often an ethereal corset trapping everyone in the same unnatural shape
A lazy and inelegant concession to fashionable ego
Too often a substitute for true allure and style
An opaque shell concealing everything – revealing nothing
A childish masque hiding the timid and unimaginative
An arrogant slap in the face from across the room
People who smell like everyone else disgust me

* * * * * * *

Perfume is a veil that reveals the soul
Perfume is the fanfare of our individuality sounding differently to everyone who listens
Perfume is a signpost to our true selves – a different journey for the brave to travel
Perfume is the weather of our inner world bringing life to a personal landscape
Perfume is an art that shows us who we can be if we dare – an invisible portrait of who we are
Perfume is discovered fully only by our lovers when we are together - naked

* * * * * * *

Do I agree with him? Yes. Terribly. Do I think that it is oxymoronic? Yes. How can one hate perfume for its lack of individuality and yet "mass" produce his scents to sell? I can't understand. Maybe it is just the thought of spreading his believes, that spur him to contain his "art" in a bottle.

Do I feel nostalgic when I smell "Winter 1972" or "At the Beach 1966"? Yes I do, I feel as though I were transported to that day and experiencing it with him. I love the feeling of familiarity in a bottle. It's amazing how scents can actually trigger the imagination. It makes me realise that it is possible to bottle an emotion.

Which do I love so far? "Teal Rose", "Winter 1972" and  "Russian Caravan tea". I must admit that I haven't smelled enough to comment on all the scents. However, the scents are true to their names. Spookily accurate. Why not put on "Gathering Apples" or "Burning Leaves" to intrigue your date? It just might make an excellent talking point.

The different scents available.

Gathering Apples.

Winter 1972.

Memory of Kindness.

Mr Hulot's Holiday.

At the Beach 1966.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Surface To Air.

For a nine year old company, Surface to Air from Paris is tres bien. It is a multi-disciplinary company dealing with film, communication and fashion. Sounds like an odd mix at first but when I realised that it was started by a group of friends who wanted to pursue their passion, it all made sense. 

By the way, they have a fabulous sale online for their clothing. Highly recommended!

Surface to Air Studio 

Surface To Air creative direction and consultancy studio is a group of Art Directors operating worldwide in highend fashion, art and luxury markets (Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, L’Oreal Luxe, French Ministry of Culture, Tsumori Chisato, EMI, Sony, Chromeo, Scenario Rock)

Surface to Air Film

Surface To Air film consists of a team of cousins Jeremie Rozan & Martial Schmeltz. Each with their own culture, have developped together a particular style that we recognize in their commercials, and music videos (Louis Vuitton, Sony, Justice, Diesel, Scenario Rock)

Surface to Air Men's and Women's Collections

Surface To Air is first of all a collection which offers a modern interpretation of classic and technical garments. From printed tee shirts, well tailored coats and jeans, to fine accessories and bags for men and women. Every season, alongside the collection, we also develop special collaborations with people from different fields (artist, designers, musicians) who are linked to Surface To Air. The collection is now distributed in Surface To Air’s own stores (Paris, Sao Paulo, and soon Copenhagen) and in more than 106 stores around the world (Barney’s, Le Bon Marché, Le Printemps, Lane Crawford, Isetan)

Wanda Jeans.

Leaf Top.

Chung T.

Blazer Cardigan.

Pinpoint Shirt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dwell Studio.

I think that to be able to crease your bed linens is a luxury. Maybe that's why I would even bother ironing my sheets and duvet covers. I love bed linens. It is an obsession that my mother has infected me with as a child. 

During this time of the year, just before Chinese New Year, my mother would take me to departmental stores to buy (Sheridan) bedding. She loved cotton sheets with generous amounts of pastel floral details. She often reminded me of how beautiful it is to have the sheets match with the duvet covers. She loved them as a set, from the same collection.

I, however never realised that I have had the obsessive disease till I went away to study. Being in engineering, the boys never bothered about bedding and were hardly the house proud sort; as long as they had their telly, bed and food, they were happy campers. I remembered how lovely it was to walk through shops looking at the latest homewear. I loved country road's bedding. They had the simplest yet most outstanding designs. I would be planning which sheet sets or duvet covers to get when they would go on sale. 

There is so much to learn about how to make the bed inviting. I would recommend goose down pillows and duvet, crisp (very crisp) cotton sheets, and a few (but not too many throw pillows). I would even go as far as to iron the sheets with a little rose water or eau de linge (only when laying out a clean set). Everyone loves crisp, lightly perfumed sheets.

What sheets am I into at this moment? Sheets from DwellStudio

Dwell Home Furnishings was founded by Christiane Lemieux in 1999 in an effort to bring modern textile design to the world of home. Christiane was soon joined by Jennifer Chused as Partner and Vice President of Sales and Merchandising, and later by Christiane's husband, Joshua Young, as President and CEO. The company quickly established itself as a leader and innovator in the bedding market - and expanded to a fuller offering of home furnishings products, including table, baby, and junior. With a unique sense of color, an unwavering commitment to quality, and always remaining a step ahead in design, DwellStudio continues to create its own distinctive interpretation of home furnishings design.

Hedgerow in Saffron.

Draper Stripe in Ash.

Stanton in Blue.



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thomas Paul.

Thomas Paul was born and raised in New York City. He got his start in the fashion business working as an intern at DKNY in the mid-nineties after graduating from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in textile design. While working as a colorist and designer for a silk mill specializing in neckwear and scarves, he worked on neckwear collections for such designers as Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, and DKNY. This eventually led to the creation of his own neckwear collection, the short-lived digities in the late 90's. From this was born the start of the thomaspaul pillow collection, launched in 2001, which was originally conceived of as an idea of utilizing the silk printing mill's capabilities for home accessories instead of personal accessories. Since then the line has steadily expanded into other categories apart from silk pillows to include tabletop, stationery, and lamp shades. The ultimate goal being to have products covering every aspect of the home, all with Thomas Paul patterns gracing them.

I love the colours and the choice of graphics. There is a little nostalgic feel when you look at his work. My favourite without a doubt is the Oology pillow. I love how a bird's nest looks; so rustic and sometimes you might find something unexpected waiting for you (like speckled eggs, maybe something someone lost or in the saddest case, a plastic wrapper.) Life is sometimes too expected; too mundane. We constantly need surprises. 

Some of these pillows have very refreshingly different graphics from the usual boring prints and patterns. It is sure to command a second or even a third look from your house guests.

Oology Front.

Oology Back.

Herbarium Front.

Herbarium Back.

Sarah in Beet.

Greyhound in Dove.

Blossom in Indigo.

Damask in Moss.

Matryoska in a lumbar pillow.

Matryoska as a square pillow.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In a Glass of Your Own.

As Chinese New Year draws nearer, you know that it is another inevitable season of entertaining. The importance of stemware is always neglected. There is nothing like drinking punch out of a beautiful glass. It makes the guests feel instantly important. 

On normal days, how about pouring your favourite wine or making yourself a cocktail and sipping it in your favourite crystal ware to celebrate making it through another hard day? 

Here are some glasses that have caught my eye.

Mosaique Crystal Tumbler in Olive from Baccarat.

LSA Coco Liqueur Glass.

Elizabeth Stemware By Marc Jacobs for Waterford.

Alissia's InsideOut Martini Glass.

Alissia's Inside out Collection.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sugared Flowers and Pineapple Tarts.

Since Chinese New Year is fast approaching, I decided to bake pineapple tarts. I did do some research on baking them and after modifying the recipe, I came up with what I thought was the ideal recipe. By the way, this is not for giving away, it's for the guests.

Chocolate Banoffee Cake. The sugared flower are from etsy. They have finally arrived.

Home-baked Pineapple Tarts fresh from the oven.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vincent Van Duysen.

There is no other designer that understands and defines obstinate minimalism and formal reduction like Vincent Van Duysen. His approach to architecture, interior design and industrial design is sensual with an explicit clarity. His is an architecture of quietude and calmness, never straying far from the essence. He never subjects himself to style or fashion, only seeking his own brand of timeless expression.

In 1985, Vincent Van Duysen graduated in architecture at the higher institute for architecture in Sint-Lucas, Ghent (Belgium). From 1986 to 1987, he worked as Aldo Cibic's (a very famous Italian architect whose works are very well received. He also designed some items for Herman Miller, Kartell and Bisazza) assistant in Milan. Finally, he founded his own architecture office in Antwerp in 1990. His qualities as an interior designer didn't stay unnoticed. Hence, he was commissioned to do a lot of interior designs, but there is more. He had received assignments to design lighting and furniture for producing companies such as Obumex, Modular, B&B, Cappellini, Swarovski to name a few. Nowadays, Vincent Van Duysen is operating on an international level. His work can be admired in every part of the world from New York to Tokyo.

Maybe someday, he'll design for me a house to live in. Maybe Someday...

M Pavillion.

VDE-L Residence.

VB-HB Residence.

Finca Mallorca Interior.

Atelier Table.

Tiles for Obumex.

From the Primitives Collection.

From the Primitives Collection.

His design for a kitchen piece.

Inspiration for his kitchen piece. Look at the drawers.

Cousy Sofa by Arflex.

Ceramic and Wood Containers from the "When Objects Work" collection.

Swarovski Cascade Chandelier. His grand and powerful tribute to the often baroque and fancy chandeliers.