While the launch of the new iPhone has got many talking, it is the Apple Watch Series 2 by Hermès that has caught our eye. With a range of new styles and colours, the timepiece is the perfect blend of design and sophistication in one. To find out more about the new Apple Watch Series 2 by Hermès, visit Men’s Folio. For our part, we are still of the opinion that Apple has given up on creating the luxury watch for everyone…at least for now. It is item four on our list, if you are in a rush.
Apple knows how to put on a good show— and orchestrate a media circus around it. You, like us, have probably been waiting for the Apple media event in San Francisco even if you care so little about Apple that you think a lightning connector is a kind of lightning rod. You can admit it even if you are an Android lover or if you just love to hate Apple (despite shrinking sales, the iPhone is still the best-selling smartphone in the world). Apart from rolling out the expected new generation of products, CEO Tim Cook is hoping these clever — and perhaps brave— introductions are set to jumpstart growth at the tech company. Here are five key things to note from the announcement, although really we are mainly interested in the Apple Watch, which is why that part has the most meat in this tale…
The event saw Apple introduce two new upgraded versions of the flagship smartphone — but still at the same price. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which will be slightly larger, pretty much look the same as the iPhone 6 and 6S Plus. With a powerful processor called the A10 Fusion chip, improved camera technology and even water resistance, it is all set to lord it over other new models in the industry. Seriously, that A10 chip is a big deal, bringing more power to the table, without consuming more power, and calling attention once more to Apple’s proficiency with processors. For the selfie lovers, the new dual cameras will allow for pictures with better quality. The most controversial move, however, is the removal of the headphone jack. There is nothing in its place; the proprietary Apple “lightning” connector will function as a headphone jack, with the help of an adaptor. Apple however isn’t encouraging the use of the lightning connector for this purpose. Instead, Cook, Ive and co are inviting you to cut the cord…
Cutting the Cord
Forgoing the plug-in headsets that usually end up entangled, Apple has introduced a new pair of wireless headphones. Using a new wireless communication chip called the W1, the new AirPods (we recall the days Apple made another product called the AirPort — similar sounding but totally different — but we digress) can detect if a user is listening to music or not, staying ready for action in standby mode. The AirPods connect automatically to all devices linked to a user’s iCloud account. As you can see, the AirPods are tiny so you can expect to lose them frequently. Then again, Apple has never made the best headphones for its own products so this is merely par for the course. Also, they have a company that happens to make headphones, as you may have heard…
Super Mario on iPhone
In collaboration with Nintendo, Apple announced the launch of “Super Mario Run” that was designed for mobile. The iconic game featuring everyone’s favorite plumber will be available on the App Store this year. Alongside SuperMario, Apple announced that users of the Apple Watch will be able to enjoy the popular game Pokémon Go later this month.
Apple Watch Series 2
Speaking of the Apple Watch, the brand will be introducing the upgraded Apple Watch, which boasts a water resistance of up to 50 meters. Fitness junkies will welcome the GPS that allows users to track their workouts without having to bring along a smartphone. Just so you know though, your watch needs to be water resistant to at least 100 meters before you can safely swim with it. Apple will also be introducing new designs in collaboration with Nike that will be targeted at runners. For those favoring something more fashionable, Apple is also working on new styles for its Hermes edition and here is where things get interesting because observers are not buying it. For the record, neither are we.
The Verge — and others — have noticed Apple’s nod in the direction of utility, meaning its dream of conquering the Swiss fine watchmaking business might be over, or at least on hold. Basically, there is only one watch brand that is truly for everyone, middle class and up: Rolex. The Apple watch was meant to be all things to all people, whatever their station, and that was probably foolish — at least for now. Even mighty Rolex did not arrive as the King of Watches overnight, though it was born with a crown. Well, Apple will have to content itself with being the world’s most valuable brand and largest publicly traded corporation (by market capitalization).
iOS 10 Release
The new mobile operating system is aimed at working with the new hardware, on September 13, including upgrades to its maps and news applications. A test version of the software, which helps accelerate Apple’s efforts in home automation, was released earlier this year.
Hermès is a leading luxury retailer and a dominant name in the world of fashion — a far cry from its roots as a saddle manufacturer. Paying homage to this, the luxury French brand has launched a new fragrance named “Galop” that also marks a new chapter in its history.
Two years after being appointed the in-house perfumer of Hermès, Christine Nagel is unveiling her first major creation for Hermès Parfums. To craft the scent, Nagel drew from two sources of inspiration. The first being the equestrian roots of the brand and the second a celebration of the modern woman. With a love for raw materials and skill for combining ingredients that typically clash, Nagel has earned a name for herself in the fragrance industry.
An example of this skill is seen in “Galop” where two unexpected ingredients play a key role in capturing the envisioned scent. Doblis calfskin — more frequently used in men’s scents — brings an animal side to the scent, whereas feminine and refined rose lifts the fragrance with a more sensual side. These two aromas are blended with notes of quince and saffron.
The fragrance is housed in a distinctive bottle that also pays homage to the brand’s heritage. Shaped like a stirrup and completed with a leather lace, it will certainly be difficult to forget the connection that the brand has with its history.
To find out more about “Galop”, visit Hermès.
On the metiers d’art front this year, Hermès has unveiled the stunning Arceau Tigre, created in partnership with the husband-and-wife team of Olivier and Dominique Vaucher. The timepiece marks the first time the shaded enamel (enamel ombrant) technique is used in watchmaking, and sports the motif of a tiger in the likeness of an illustration by Robert Dallet, an artist with whom Hermès collaborated in the 1980s.
As a technique, shaded enamel is derived from lithophanes – thin and translucent porcelain plates that display three-dimensional images when backlit. The design on a lithophane is formed by the porcelain’s varying thickness, which lets different amounts of light through to create this effect. In the Arceau Tigre, ambient light is used instead; to create the same effect, the tiger’s image is first carved in relief on a base of white gold, before translucent black enamel is applied over it and fired. This two-step process combines the best that each technique has to offer. The engraving is able to capture every nuance of Dallet’s original drawing, down to the individual strands of hair on the tiger. Enamelling, on the other hand, accentuates the engraving’s depth, as deeper parts of the engraving contain a thicker layer of enamel and appear correspondingly darker. The final product is an extremely lifelike recreation of a tiger that looks three-dimensional despite the smooth dial surface.
Housed in the asymmetric Arceau case, the timepiece has a simple two-hand layout that maximises the view of the dial art. The Arceau Tigre is limited to just 12 pieces worldwide.
- Dimensions: 41mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes
- Power Reserve: 50 hours
- Movement: Self-winding Hermès H1837
- Case: White gold
- Water Resistance: 30 meters
- Strap: Brown alligator with white gold ardillon buckle
This article was first published in WOW.
‘How to Disappear into a Rainbow’ is a new installation by Singapore artist Dawn Ng, commissioned by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. It is on show now till 14 August 2016 at Aloft, one of the foundation’s five art spaces around the world. Situated at the topmost floor in the luxury house’s newly refurbished Singapore flagship store at Liat Towers, Aloft is a platform for contemporary artists to create original works.
The theme of the year for Aloft, set by curator Emi Eu, who is also the Director of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, is ‘Horizon’. In response to the theme, Dawn has created an ethereal world of pale daybreak colours, looking to the Singapore skyline in the early morning for inspiration. The artist says, “I thought about the first light in the morning. And how even before you open your eyes, there are colours which seep through your eyelids: those pale hues of pinks, yellows, blues and greens… a kind of unadulterated palette that your senses slowly awaken to. I wanted to create an environment which borrowed from and played with that soft spectrum.”
In the installation, rectangular blocks of different heights and sizes in pastel shades of mint green, pale pink and similarly soothing shades are placed at irregular angles. Washed in even warm light, the installation envelops the visitor walking through the labyrinth. The colour blocks are interspersed by narrow sheets of mirrors on which bits and pieces of other colours as well as the self are reflected as one meanders through the installation, allowing visitors to continually get lost and find themselves within the work, almost in a game of hide and seek with oneself.
Quiet, playful humour comes through in Dawn works, even as she explores outwardly sober themes of emotion, identity and nostalgia, such as in this work. “I think humour is one of the most interesting and disarming tools in telling a story. Humour puts people’s defenses down,” says Dawn. “There’s a strange and incredible duality in everything: sad things are actually funny, and things that are very poignant often tend to possess a silliness as well. I appreciate that dichotomy and tension between these things. I love to play with humour whenever possible.”
Recent works have seen the artist use cooler shades, such as in a light, airy mobile centrepiece at the restaurant Odette at the National Gallery Singapore, and in ‘A Thing of Beauty’ (2015), a series of photographed installations of items from over a hundred mom and pop shops in Singapore, with each photograph featuring a single colour, such as beige and blue. ‘How to Disappear into a Rainbow’ continues in this direction. “The palette I gravitate towards has become a lot lighter, gentler and calm. I think that’s reflective of this stage in my life, where new things are happening yet I have a peace about them,” says Dawn. “In this particular work, I wanted to make something that I could get lost in as well. It came from a very introspective space.”
Dawn has employed a myriad of materials to make her art, a method of working she attributes to her training as a journalist in college. “I think it has helped me articulate my thoughts. I’m always clear about the story before it even has a form. That is why I’ve never stuck to one medium. If you understand a story, then you are able to tell it in the way or form it deserves to be told,” says Dawn.
One thing that has remained consistent is the artist’s fondness for making installation works. “The great thing is that in an installation, you can create a world for a person to be immersed in. I think that when work is two-dimensional, as with a painting, or even three-dimensional, such as a sculpture, it takes for someone to be in a receptive frame of a mind to appreciate it,” says Dawn. “With a spatial installation, you can cut all the noise out, and pull someone in fully and quickly into your universe.” ‘How to Disappear into a Rainbow’ is probably best visited on a quiet weekday afternoon, for the artwork’s introspective qualities to be appreciated.
This is the first time Dawn has worked with the luxury house. Commenting on the experience, Dawn says, “What I appreciate about Hermès is their integrity in being patrons of art. They gave me full creative license, and that’s one of the reasons I really took to the project, and was excited about working on it.”
This article was first published in Art Republik.
The talent of artist Guillaume Airiaud is the subject of much fascination for Hermes, which is an incredible feat considering he is only 32. It is no surprise, then, that the storied fashion house would call upon his expertise for the “Crafting Time” exhibition. It not only unveiled three new exceptional timepieces, but also reinterpreted five key areas that apply to Hermes timepieces. Each one is translated into a series of visually-intriguing sculptures.
Crystal art glass
Airiaud’s interpretation of dial creation is a mesmerizing showcase of the processes a “gob” of crystal experiences after it goes through the furnace.
In an alluring kaleidoscope of pigments, the exhibit showcases the transformation of glass powder as it evolves into an infinite palette of shades in various degrees of translucency upon repeated firings in the kiln.
Slow rotating sculptures, combined with graphic art and transparency effects create optical illusions. The sculpture’s double H emblem alludes to the famed Fauborg Saint-Honore store in Paris, a meaningful parallel to the Hermes‘ dedication to high watchmaking.
Playfully deconstructed numerals appear and vanish in a slow dance between the exhibit’s wheels and gears, mimicking the delicate but destructive mechanics of time.
Airiaud explores the brilliance of precious stones in this showcase, highlighting the facet of a diamond being cut and radiating its sparkle with movement and light.
An executive at a bicycle company in Taiwan has been indicted of embezzling $7.19 million to sustain her luxury shopping habit. According to a report in the Taipei Times, the Accell Group accountant skimmed money off the company’s books and spent it on high end products from Hermes, Cartier, Loewe and Mikimoto; apparently her item of choice was the Hermès Birkin, of which she purchased at least six. It never ceases to amaze us how far people will go for a Birkin.
The Chinese-language Apple Daily revealed the accused’s name as Liu Fang-ting and reported that she worked at Accell’s Taiwan branch as an accountant and cashier. In January, the company noticed that it had a “hole” in its accounts and the police started an investigation shortly after.
Liu turned herself in to the authorities at this point, claiming she spent every dime she stole on her shopping habit. She reportedly told police that she was trying to emulate Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau’s girlfriend Chen Kaiyun, who it seems favors the aforementioned Hermès Birkins… Lau of course is known to us for his blue diamond purchases.
Interestingly, although Liu reportedly used the ill-gotten gains to buy department store credits, much of her spending spree was online. Apple Daily cites online sellers as confirming that they sold the six Hermes Birkins to Liu, for upwards of $62,000 each.
Liu was indicted on charges of embezzlement and forgery. She was released on bail pending her scheduled trial Friday. Read the original story here.
Hermes’ acquisition of a minority stake in Pierre Hardy comes at a very opportune time. With the shoe market performing better than usual in the first financial quarter of 2016, this strategic move may prove beneficial for the footwear label’s expansion plans.
It isn’t all altruism on Hermes’ part, obviously – Pierre Hardy has designed the French label’s shoes and jewellery collections since 2001. In line with Hermes’s history of supporting designers it works with, it is a step towards fostering closer working relationships.
For more information, read more on Men’s Folio Singapore.
In a world where the benchmark of beauty glamour are dictated by sirens of the celluloid screen, we bring you 9 insider tips to help you sparkle and shine in your unabashed realness.
Beauty note 1:
Opium from Yves Saint Laurent is a behemoth of an oriental spicy scent. The time-tested classic conjures cigarettes left burning and the shadow of a demi-mondaine. M.A.C. Face and Body foundation is fantastic for giving exposed skin coverage and an even finish. To achieve an all-over glow, Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil will leave a decadent cast of gold.
Beauty note 2:
Red is as timeless as it is powerful: a strong lip in the classic M.A.C Rubywoo lipstick is faultless and universally flattering. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Jeanne is a vampy alternative. On the eyes, try the Matte Eyeshadow in Persia from NARS for a colour-blocked statement on the lids.
For colour-treated hair, Sachajuan Silver Conditioner deeply moisturises and tones the colour to prevent brassiness and dullness. Hanz de Fuko Claymation gives good lift and structure to hair, allowing you to style it any way. A bit of the timeless L’Oréal Elnett Hairspray will keep things in place, with a subtle flaxen finish.
Beauty note 3:
The waft of seduction and desire is captured in Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, a spicy-sweet fragrance that combines the heaviness of a musky wood base and the masculine sweetness of cloves and cacao – the kind of accords that make you stop and take a deep breath.
Beauty note 4:
Express your inner lady-in-red with a spritz of Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower, rendering a piercing gauze of animalic camphor married to the feminine wiles of tuberose. Mousse Fort and Volupt Spray from Sebastian Professional build volume and give silken lightness to hair. Define and introduce mystery to the eyes with the Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen, NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Pasiphae and Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Mirage.
Beauty note 5:
To achieve hyper sculptural facial structure, put a shadow to the cheekbones with Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate, using the namesake Shade & Illuminate brush. Head-turning highlights can be achieved using NARS The Multiple in Copacabana, copiously smeared on the high points of the cheekbones, nose bridge and brow bones. Coat the eyelashes in these layers: Tom Ford Extreme Mascara, Chanel Le Volume, finished with M.A.C Opulash to tube and set.
Prep the hair with Shu Uemura Art of Hair Volumizing Mousse to give a voluminous start, followed by Sachajuan Styling Cream for a sleek finish. A light spray of OSiS+ Extreme Hold Hairspray will lend a pliable but finished gloss for hair that flies and defies gravity.
Beauty note 6:
A good pucker takes effort – Clé de Peau Lip Treatment is a luxuriously smooth and refined serum that leaves lips soft and plump. Follow that with a swipe of Tom Ford Matte Lip Colour in the delicious shade Black Dahlia to enhance the pout – all the better to kiss with.
Beauty note 7:
Prep the face with a dollop of Illamasqua Radiance Veil for a lit-from-within lustre. The high points of the face can be brought forward and given light using Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. For a golden pout, try NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Gold Digger.
Beauty note 8:
Pamper the body with a generous layer of Les Exclusif de Chanel Crème Pour Le Corps body cream from Chanel, designed to maximise and increase the longevity of perfume worn after – Coromandel from the Les Exclusifs range is a spicy balsamic inspired by Chinese lacquered screens. Follow with Guerlain Sunless Tinted Self-Tanning Gel for a bronzed finish – vacation in Ibiza not necessary.
Beauty note 9:
Seduction for boys and girls comes in Sege Luten’s Five O’Clock Au Gingembre, combining the unexpected spice of candied ginger and the sweetness of over-ripe fruits. Call it bronze or call it gold — NARS Monoi Body Oil I can be used on for daily for moisture and the subtle glimmer of gold flecks. Chanel Le Vernis in Pirate is a timeless red that, when worn, imbues the hands with a beguiling pop of color.
Photography Chuando & Frey
Styling Joshua Cheung
Hair Marc Teng/ Atelier using Sebastian Professional; Sean Ang FAC3INC using La Biosthetique
Makeup Rick Yang, FAC3INC, assisted by Hong Ling using Make Up For Ever
Model Brigitta Liivak, Fabio Toledo, Matthew Djordjevic, Nicolai Otta
This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.
Luxury brands that use exotic skins are sure to run afoul of activists, as Hermes recently discovered. During its annual general meeting, PETA France spokeswoman Isabelle Goetz quizzed Hermes CEO Axel Dumas about the slaughter of ostriches on a farm said to be a supplier to Hermes and Prada.
The skins of exotic animals on the farm in South Africa are reportedly used in the brand’s luxury handbags. The treatment of the animals came to light in a video that showed the ostriches being slaughtered. The PETA video, which was published online in February, shows an ostrich being rammed into a pen to be stunned and then having its throat slit in front of other birds. Of course anyone who has ever frequented a wet market in Asia will wonder what the fuss is about.
Dumas maintained that the luxury brand does not have a specific supplier of Ostrich skin for its handbags but instead sources it from tanneries that are vetted by Hermes. “We ask all our partners to not only respect international laws but also Hermes’ rules, which are much stricter,” he said.
This is not the first brush with PETA fanaticism for Hermes, obviously. Last year, PETA released a film that exposed the maltreatment of crocodiles and alligators at farms in Texas and Zimbabwe. Following the scandal, British singer Jane Birkin — the muse behind the Birkin bag — asked Hermes to remove her name from its iconic crocodile-skin Birkin bag. Birkin reversed course, the relationship was restored and the Birkin remains, happily, the Birkin.
A diamond-encrusted crocodile-skin Hermes handbag with white gold details has broken the record for the world’s most expensive ever sold at auction, fetching nearly $300,000 at a Hong Kong sale.
The rare Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 went to an unknown phone bidder late Monday for HK$2.32 million ($298,655), beating a pre-sale estimate of HK$2 million, the auction house Christie’s said.
“It was the world record price for any handbag sold at auction,” Bingle Lee, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Christie’s, told AFP.
Designer handbags are increasingly seen as investment opportunities and are the latest craze for collectors, taking global auction houses by storm and scoring record prices.
The new record beat one set last year, also in Hong Kong, when a fuchsia-colored Hermes bag sold for $222,912.
The handmade bag — described by the London-based auctioneers as the “rarest, most sought-after” — is encrusted with diamonds, while the buckle and trademark mini Hermes padlock are made of 18k white gold.
“It is believed that only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year, globally, making it one of the lowest production runs for handbags,” Christie’s said in a statement issued before the sale.
The bag was made in 2008 and is from Hermes’ iconic “Birkin” series named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, who was born in Britain and lives in France.
A smaller Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 25 handbag will go under the hammer June 1 with an estimate price of HK$1.3 million to HK$1.5 million.
The auction was part of the firm’s 30th anniversary sales to mark its presence in Asia, with a range of luxury goods on offer, including Chinese paintings, watches and wine.
Always pushing the boundaries of exclusivity and luxurious design, cognac house Remy Martin, in collaboration with some of the biggest names in artisanal design, has come up with a full luxury set featuring its Louis XIII cognac at the heart. The aptly titled L’Odyssee d’un Roi (A King’s Odyssey because, of course) features a bespoke trunk by Hermes, pieces by silversmith Puiforcat, and glasswork by royal crystallerie Saint-Louis. It will be auctioned off in New York at Sotheby’s in September. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the Film Foundation, a non-profit that works to preserve and restore classic films. You might recall that Louis XIII enjoys grand theater, as evidenced by its efforts with the John Malkovich film.
The bespoke trunk by Hermes is entirely hand-stitched with fine leathers and bears the same design as a classic steamer trunk (fitting in with the Odyssey theme). Puiforcat has its hand in making the elegant white-gold pipette bearing the name and the logo. The beautiful decanter with its ridges on the side, as well as four serving glasses, were blown by a craftsperson, cut, and engraved with impeccable skill at Saint-Louis. The whole package comes with a book chronicling the global journey of the cognac that boasts a history stretching back to the 1870s. All of it added up together as 1,000 hours of labor split between 50 artisans.
Of course we have to take note of the cognac itself. The liquid gold in each decanter is the work of both the current cellar master Baptiste Loiseau and his predecessor Pierrette Trichet. The blend invokes tints and notes of myrrh, honey, immortelle, plum, honeysuckle, wood bark, leather and passion fruits. What we know from oficial sources is that this blend is not the standard Louis XIII offering, although it is still all Grand Champagne. Before the auction, the three sets created will be exhibited in New York, Hong Kong and London.
You can watch how the process of craftsmanship comes together below, and if you want to know more, you can check out Remy Martin’s website.
Hermès brings us back to where it all began in sunny Singapore. The newly refurbished store at Liat Towers is a result of thoughtful design and innovation. Spanning four floors, the store has dedicated sections for various needs, just as it did before. Ok, it is basically the same as before, except better. When we visited at the official launch, we found the flow of human traffic to be well coordinated, which is largely thanks to good design because no one was issuing any directions. That of course is the proof of the pudding when it comes to the “thoughtful design” bit. Filled with warm and inviting tones, take a closer look at what makes this the perfect place to shop till you drop.
To find out more about the new Hermès store at Liat Towers, click here.
French artist Fred Allard says, “Art is the way I express my feelings.” Allard’s style is creating art pieces surrounding fashion using different textures, colors and pictures that express his artistic voice. As a result, Allard revolutionizes the way we look at the bag as a fun, characterful and quirky object.
His recent project ‘Vide son bag’, features a series of bag designs that combine the ordinary with luxury: Campbell soup cans with Chanel handbags, Coke cans with Louis Vuitton bags, Chup-a-chup lollipops with Cartier paper bags – resulting in a style that is funky, unique and fresh. The bags of ‘Vide son bag’, fall in three different categories: the IT Bag, the Basket Bag and the Shopping Paper Bag. With each of these types of bag, he questions our way of using them – the shopping bag does not contain luxury articles but is amongst the most practical; the basket bag, an epitome of practicality and function; and the IT bag, authentic high fashion bags that he fills with everyday products to show the place of the luxury in our everyday lives.
With a background in fashion, Allard has a keen sense of textiles and colors and how they shape imprints, iconographies and culture. He is deeply inspired by street art, pop art, and music and finds food for thought in magazines and department stores. He finds value from observing the street, mixing the array of colors and materials from everyday life in his pieces and weaving commonplace objects into his works. The Allard style is an enthusiasm for materials, words and colors. He manifests his style onto his bags, which he seems to treat as sculptures of the humanistic desire for material wealth: the bag is a symbol of the lives we carry with us – it is both an intimate and personal object.
Beyond just the commonplace, at the heart of Allard’s works is the desire to portray the zeitgeist of the modern society: how our consumerist attitudes and need for status symbols blinds the simple joy of living in the ordinary. His works capture the “everyday objects, like uniting two opposites, the contradiction and the mix,” says Allard. By aligning Hello Kitty next to Hermes, he highlights the contradiction by “combining high end shopping bags and filling them in with products that can be bought from the supermarket, a perfect combination which perfectly blends together to create a unique object.”
Allard studio mirrors that of his works – spray cans lying around, graffiti all over the walls, machinery to create his sculptures of bags, as well as his artist tools: sand, boards, buckets, masks, clamps, brushes, hammer, screws. His studio has the same wealth of textures as his bags have colours. It is no wonder that his studio in the south of France is the incubator for his expressive thoughts.
“Luxury becomes popular and what’s popular become precious”, says Allard. ‘Vide son bag’ juxtaposes the ordinary with the luxury to bring out the fun contradiction of everyday living.
*For more information, please visit www.galeries-bartoux.com.
This story first appeared in Art Republik.
A thousand flowers from Mexico – one could easily imagine this to be the title of a follow-up book to Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years Of Solitude, but it is the name of a new Hermès timepiece dedicated to the natural beauty of Mexico, the country in which Márquez lived until he passed away in 2014. Away from the sleek, fashion-forward streets of Paris, Hermès ventured into the lush forests of Mexico to find the inspiration for this dial, housed in the recently introduced Slim d’Hermès case.
The French maison, however, didn’t do it alone; it had the help of Mexican graphic designer Laetitia Bianchi, who had earlier created a design for an Hermès Carré scarf. Bianchi’s design embraced the Mexican tradition of using bright bold colours to form a tapestry of leaves and flowers reminiscent of the 15th and 16th century artistic style, hence the name Mille Fleurs.
Of course, as a nod to Hermès’s equestrian heritage, the designer made sure to feature amid the rich foliage, a horse – most probably an Azteca horse, which is a breed that’s indigenous to Mexico. But no one except Bianchi knows for sure because the original artwork is skewed a little more towards the abstract rather than figurative. What is certain is that it is made up of a profusion of feathers, flowers, leaves, and animals native to the land, transforming and disappearing or appearing depending on one’s perspective. With the Slim d’Hermès Mille Fleurs du Mexique, the scene had been miniaturised and replicated on a mother-of-pearl dial by an enamellist.
Work on this six-piece limited edition timepiece begins when the enamellist creates a sketch of Bianchi’s artwork on the natural mother-of-pearl dial. He then etches more vividly the lines that define the scene and prepares the colours required to fill them. Using extremely fine paintbrushes, some as fine as a strand of hair, he applies the colours to the dial in layers as many as 20, each of which is followed by a round of firing in the oven at 90 degrees Celsius. The enamellist’s proficiency is apparent in how he manages to balance the precision of each stroke with variations in colour tonality, emphasising the handcraftsmanship behind the artwork. The selection of colours, as well, was tastefully put together to coax the eye towards the prancing horse without taking attention away from the dazzling verdure.
Paired with a posh forest-green alligator strap, which needless to say was handcrafted at the Hermès leather workshop, the Slim d’Hermès Mille Fleurs du Mexique adds a bright blast of colour to any ensemble. And collectors with a penchant for abstract art might be tempted to express their artistic inclinations with this vivacious timepiece.
- Dimensions: 39.5mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes
- Power Reserve: 42 hours
- Movement: Self-winding Calibre H1950
- Material: 39.5mm in white gold
- Water Resistance: 30 meters
- Strap: Smooth green alligator leather with white gold pin buckle
Text by Celine Yap
This story was first published in World of Watches.
A confluence of European and African culture, Tango brings ballroom formality and elegance to a boil, marrying the primal urgency of a mating ritual into the discipline of dance. A watch to suitably balance the twin pillars of tango should then bear the elegance of dress watch, yet carry an undercurrent of athleticism, precision, and passion.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo
In a tux? Then there’s hardly a more fitting extension of sharp tailoring than in the Octo Finissimo’s marvellous angles and ultra-thin side profile. It’s also a feat of engineering, as Bulgari has squeezed a tourbillon into a movement that’s just 1.95mm thick, a
Tango isn’t a solo sport; that would be like playing air guitar. Hence, it is most gratifying that this iteration of the 1966 is not only accented by a beautiful guilloché dial; it also comes in an adequately sized ladies’ version with a ring of diamonds on the bezel – for the power couple.
Hermès Arceau Automatique
There is such a visual affinity between the equestrian-inspired Arceau Automatique and tango, we couldn’t resist. One can find a correlation between the dignified canter of a show horse and the controlled steps of the tango; then there is the wild swirl of numerals on the dial like a dancer’s skirt.
Funky design details like the pie pan dial, fluted bezel, and sleekly bevelled case make for a standout dress watch, available in steel, platinum, or Sedna gold. In addition, the “Master Chronometer” label on the dial says the Globemaster has passed through very rigorous rounds of testing for reliability, resistance to magnetic fields, and precision. So tango.
Text by Yeo Suan Futt
Photography by GreenPlasticSoldierS
Styling by Ong Weisheng
This story was first published in World of Watches.
One of the best traits about the Apple Watch is its ridiculously easy-to-swap out band. It seems that specially designed bands, as well as band adapters, have turned into their own kind of market. Easily interchangeable straps have are nothing new so it is not surprising to learn that the Apple Watch Hermès has special edition wristbands to be made available for purchase from Apple and Hermès stores, as well as select luxury retail locations.
The whole package for the watch and strap retails between $1,100 (38mm watch, single tour band) and $1,500 (42mm watch, wide cuff), but the strap alone will go for $340 (single tour), $490 (double tour), or $690 (wide cuff). A range of new colors will also be introduced, with peacock blue, sapphire blue, orange, and white joining denim blue, brown, gray, black, and red.
For more information on the product, you can check out Apple’s site over here.
There are the typical parts of a watch where watchmakers show the world what they are made of (and capable of doing): the movement, complications and beyond, the case, be it jeweled or not, and the dial – the more artistic, the better. These days, in a bid to outperform each other, manufacturers are less prone to giving anything beyond the lugs of a ticker more attention than what is on or within. Not many brands would say as much about a bracelet as opposed to a retrograde hour, 600 snow-set diamonds on a pink gold case, or a dial decked out in sculpted gems. Our friends at L’Officiel Singapore take a look at one brand that does.
Hermès, on the other hand, has a lot to say about its straps. These are, of course, famous (see Apple, for example) which begs the question, why exactly is that?
The French house would credit its expertise with leather bracelets to its beginnings as a saddler, and as wristwatches progressively replaced pocket timepieces in the early 1900s, it would highlight its role as the brand with a know-how for making exquisite straps. Straps are what make saddles and stirrups work, as this Wikipedia entry illustrates.
In 2006, Hermès opened a workshop in Bienne, Switzerland dedicated to this craft (watch straps that is). Under this roof is an array of supple, precious leathers – spanning from goat and calf to ostrich and alligator – cut, stitched and finished by a team of skilful artisans (where consistency matters, Hermès shares that each employee works on an entire bracelet by himself or herself).
An Hermès watch strap goes through four stages of work. For starters, the leather selection process is rigorous, with scratches, wrinkles and veins strictly avoided. Using a single flaxen thread and two hand-held needles, an artisan creates the brand’s signature saddle stitch on the skins before applying a careful treatment process to ensure all areas on a single strap look perfectly uniform. A furrow is then pressed between the sewing line and the edge of the leather to make the strap suppler than it already is. After loops are meticulously fixed, a finishing stitch (with great attention to detail given despite being invisible to the wearer) forms Hermès’ iconic ‘H’.
With gorgeous looks and a buff physique often revealed via Instagram posts of his gym and basketball sessions (he used to represent Hong Kong as a strapping 1.82m player) and shirtless magazines covers, Pakho Chau is afflicted by the same malady that has plagued many of his predecessors: pretty boy syndrome. Our friends at Men’s Folio had a chat with Chau late last year and tried to get beneath the surface while also producing a lovely spread featuring the Cantopop star.
Often labeled with a disclaimer for a perceived character flaw, these good-lookers ironically have an easy start as pop idols but it doesn’t require a lot of range. There are reasons why pretty boys are having it tough when it comes to longevity and credibility. It goes to show that looking like an Adonis cramps your style.
Cases in point: Many hated Aaron Kwok and his floppy hair in the 1990s before his Golden Horse Award wins; Wang Leehom was similarly the subject of vehement verbal abuse in the new millennium despite being able to play different musical instruments; and detractors who remembered Takeshi Kaneshiro as a Taiwan-based pop idol despised him in both decades. It was with great effort that Miuccia Prada and Giorgio Armani (and maybe Biotherm) convinced them otherwise about the latter.
To drive home the point on the international front, I recall lesser male specimens cursing as Brad Pitt sleepwalked through Meet Joe Black and exhibiting the middle finger each time Tom Cruise grinned like a proboscis monkey onscreen. Have you ever watched a Tom Cruise film after Risky Business and Top Gun and be so aware that it’s Mr Cruise on screen in every subsequent film. The man does not inhabit a role. The role has to audition with back-flips and quadruple summersaults. Boy-band bashing is likewise extensive on both sides of the pond. And don’t get haters started on Justin Bieber. That would just be uncivilized.
As a counterpoint, female colleagues pointed out that raging heterosexuals did not display a similar disdain when the members of Girls’ Generation sashayed meaninglessly throughout the recent music video of “Party”. Point taken, but hardly a paradigm shift.
The gripe being that many of these handsome male homo sapiens commonly lack that the necessary talent in correlation to their physical attributes, with weedy wannabes that are a dime-a-dozen falling by the wayside. This clearly isn’t the fate that awaits Chau. “I believe that true success requires sacrifice,” he says. “It’s not safe to rest on your laurels because only the hard workers earn the respect they deserve that makes them living legends in their own right.”
Throw Show Luo, the brooding vocals of Eason Chan, and a sprinkling of Hong Kong singer and actor Daniel Chan in a mixer and you’d probably get Pakho Chau. While the 30-year-old is blessed with good looks, he literally got his start at the bottom at film composer Chan Kwong-Wing’s recording studio as a junior engineer. “I had modelling gigs on the side,” recalls the Hong Kong native. “But my time learning music production had the most impact on my career as I learned the tricks of the trade. I learned not just the technical process, but also that success requires time, persistence, and patience to nurture.”
Just as well, with peepers that resemble Bambi’s, his cheekbones are also dangerously defined, and his wry smile can turn sane females (and the occasional male) into shrieking banshees at the drop of a snapback cap. Chau first caught the attention of Chan, whose claim to fame includes scoring Hong Kong blockbusters The Storm Riders, Infernal Affairs and Bodyguards and Assassins, putting him in good stead. A recording contract with Warner Music in 2007 soon followed.
It helped that he can carry a tune (without the help of Auto-Tune), play the guitar, and write his own songs. His musical inclinations date back to the age of five, when he was already playing the piano. “My dad was an audiophile and used to buy CDs very frequently,” he says. “As a result, I was exposed to Cantopop at a very young age. My mom also fervently encouraged me to attend piano lessons, and that’s how I became infatuated with music.”
Thankfully, there were no heart-thumping dance tracks or an artificial transfusion of street cred courtesy of faux hip-hop posturing in Chau’s music. Instead, we’re treated to forlorn ballads that are lyrically poignant and, every so often, heart wrenching. “There’s always a real-life incident that inspires a song,” he mentions candidly. “However, not one aspect of life completes me. There are notches in our short time here on Earth that is represented lyrically and in the melodies of my composition.”
This is not intentionally skewed as his latest single “We’ll Be Fine” tells a melancholic tale of loneliness and the desire for emotional fulfillment. The accompanying music video shows Chau driving and walking aimlessly with the ambiguous ending suggesting the death of his beloved. The nimble strumming of guitars in the background showcases his sturdy vocals. “I’m sure everyone affiliates to the emotions that resonate from my songs in some ways,” he says. “And that’s what makes each one of us unique.”
The solo artist is well aware of the steep learning curve, and after seven studio albums, he’s delivered a more polished and sophisticated sound. There is truth in that, in a sea of homogeneous Asian celebrities, he has made efforts to differentiate himself by being true to himself without a regurgitation of a manufactured pop template. The reception from fans so far has been wonderful, even as Chau gives props to those that paved the way for him and his peers.
“Jackie Cheung, Aaron Kwok, Faye Wong, Eason Chan, Joey Yung, Miriam Yeung…” he rattles off a list of Cantopop superstars and crooners that he notes as having been instrumental in shaping his outlook to making music that’s accessible and honest. “They each have facets that I emulate and incorporate into my repertoire. I’m also heavily influenced by [Irish singer-songwriter] Damien Rice’s song writing expertise and his effortless way with the acoustic guitar that’s second to none.”
So sure, he has his singing career. But we’re back to the original Zoolander-inspired conundrum. Is there more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking? The film roles are steadily pouring in with him joining the fray of romantic comedies S for Sex, S for Secret, 12 Golden Ducks, and Love Detective last year alone. “My schedule these days is crazy, so to have opportunities to dabble in film is a godsend,” he says, to which he was quick to point out that “music is still my focus. I don’t ever want to stop making music. Hopefully, fans of my music will like the films I appear in as well.”
It would also seem natural that Chau would be an ambassador of youthful lifestyle giants Watsons, Adidas, Levi Strauss & Co. and Clinique Men’s Skincare, extolling the virtues of grooming elixirs and treatments for men, just like any auntie-killer would. Yet, as an indication of maturity, Montblanc has designated him as the Asian influencer for its luxury timepieces. “I didn’t like watches when I was younger,” he admits. “However, I’m gradually realizing the importance of time and how the amount of it that we’re allocated is finite. I’m a budding collector and Montblanc’s rich heritage is one that has constantly caught my eye over the years.”
Far from fearing the repercussions of overexposure, he is receptive that the additional visibility will only broaden the appeal of his music. And why shouldn’t his mug have its day in the sun? Everything is about making a good first impression these days. Chau gravitated with his best face forward on a grand stage. “I remember my concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum (in 2014) as being the biggest scale performance of my career,” he lets on. “I was extremely nervous and completely in awe when glancing at the sea of faces in the crowd. In my mind, each member of the audience came because of me. That was a very touching moment.”
By Jason Kwong
Photography Matt Hui / Sugarsugar Production
Styling Tok Wei Lun
Styling assistant Chua Chin Chin / Arm Collective
Makeup Kris Wong
Hair Cliff Chan / Hair Corner
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, marriage looms large in the minds of many couples. For others, it is the state of the marriage that might benefit from something extra special. Here’s a look at five original spots to pop the question, as they say, or just to take a chance on romance, whatever the date or status of your relationship may be. Seriously though, even if you’ve missed the boat this year (it is quite late in the day after all) all of these experiences can be savored at any time. Yes, the offerings will be different the rest of the year but you can recreate the magic with a little effort – we are sure that all the hotels and establishments listed will be happy to work with you on an exotic escapade. Speaking of which…
An exotic escapade to the Savoy Resort & Spa, Seychelles
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s day than with a romantic trip to a paradise island (pictured top)? Throughout the month of February, the Savoy Resort & Spa is offering a seven-day, five-night package priced at €890. The deal (excluding flights) includes an upgrade to an Ocean View room, a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, breakfast, and a couple’s spa treatment with a saltwater peel, a Dead Sea mud treatment and a massage. This modern hotel is located on the island of Mahé, just ten minutes from the capital, Victoria.
In a Chantal Thomass room or a Hermès suite at Le Pradey hotel, Paris, France
Chantal Thomass has designed two rooms (above) at Le Pradey, Paris, a four-star hotel right next to the Tuileries gardens, not far from the Louvre. In line with the designer’s typically baroque style, the rooms take guests back to an era of sumptuous cabarets, with a red and black décor complete with frills and velvet. On the fifth floor, the hotel’s suites have been designed by Hermès. Two different ambiances for a memorable proposal on February 14. The hotel is offering a Valentine’s Day package with one night’s stay, breakfast, a bottle of champagne and roses in the room for €320.
A historical hotel in Verona, Italy
Just steps away from Verona’s Roman amphitheater, the Palazzo Victoria (above) is a five-star hotel built around medieval frescoes and Roman ruins. In the town famously home to Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet, this stylish hotel is offering a two-night Valentine’s Day stay for two adults priced at €215 per person (approx. $230). The package includes two nights in a Deluxe Double room, an American buffet breakfast and access to the hotel’s fitness suite.
The Michelin-starred restaurant at Le Bristol hotel, Paris, France
The triple Michelin-starred Epicure restaurant (above), run by Chef Eric Frechon, will be serving up a special Valentine’s Day meal for fans of fine dining. The menu includes premium ingredients such as blue lobster, cooked in a bouillon with claws, infused with ginger, lemongrass and coriander. Scallops accompany caviar from Sologne and Bresse pigeon is prepared with duck foie gras. The meal comes priced at €690 per person, excluding drinks. Le Bristol has also teamed up with the Maison Boucheron jewelry house to offer one lucky Valentine’s diner drawn at random a “Reflet” watch.
A refreshing road trip in Iceland
Travel agency Island Tours has a four-day long weekend in Iceland (above) from February 12-15. This takes couples to the geothermal village of Hveragerdi, where they’ll stay in a luxury hotel located on the lava field. Couples can then relax in the warm waters of the Fontana Spa at Laugarvatn and bathe in the milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon. The trip costs €762 per person (excluding flights).