Naphalai’s Diary: November 12-18
Xmas Fever Begins.
We may not be a Christian/Catholic nation, but Thailand has embraced Christmas with fervour. Christmas tree lighting events began as early as last week with Central World, Gaysorn Village and Emporium/EmQuartier leading the way. Because of a very busy week, I was only able to make it to EmQuartier, where the Quartier Parc had been turned into a winter wonderland with a huge 20-metre tree. The space was crowded with fans, a sure sign that hot entertainment figures would be performing. They were not disappointed as a special show featured Taew Natapohn Tameeruks, Gam Wichayanee Pearklin, Kit Kittinant Chinsamran and Project 9x9. Would have felt more wintery though if the temperature had dropped a few degrees.
The Emporium group also held a gala dinner together with SCB Private Banking for their partners and customers at Mandarin Oriental. The dinner was prepared by the chef of the award-winning Le Normandie, with the highlight a presentation of jewellery by nine top jewelers and watches by Hublot, Omega and Tudor, with a combined value of more than 600 million baht. Welcoming guests were executives of the group led by Supaluck Umpujh and Kriengsak Tantiphipop.
Another gala dinner was the annual charity concert of Kamala Sukosol and her family and friends at The Sukosol. This very talented businesswoman has been live on stage for over 40 years to raise funds for charity and this concert, held over three days, was in support of the Princess Sirindhorn Craniofacial Center under the auspices of the Thai Red Cross. I had not been to the annual concert for several years and forgot what a heart-warming and feel-good experience it is to watch Kamala, her children Noi, Marisa and Sukie as well as the band, chorus and dancers perform. The journey from Hollywood to Broadway and the West End was truly enjoyable.
More dinners to come included one at the residence of the Norwegian ambassador HE Kjersti Rodsmoen hosted by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Norway is the world’s second largest exporter of sustainable seafood, while Thailand is the largest importer of Norwegian salmon in Southeast Asia, says Jon Erik Steenslid, director for Southeast Asia of the Norwegian Seafood Council. Former head chef of Nobu and owner of Kita restaurant Oyvind Naesheim created a five-course menu featuring fresh seafood prepared with a Japanese twist.
And finally, as part of the Michelin Guide Dining Series, co-sponsor Citibank hosted a dinner at Gaggan, with chef Gaggan Anand still basking in his latest triumph at maintaining his two stars in the new TAT-sponsored Michelin Thailand guide. The dinner was a joint collaboration with chef Antonio Mellino of Quattro Passi and featured a 15-course menu. Dinner started at 5:30 pm and ended after 8 pm, with a second round following that. Eating is meant to be fun, and at Gaggan, the chef makes sure it is that, with a dish that is has to be licked clean, and another accompanied by music at the table that correlates with the food.
There was one lunch event, held by ST Dimension to celebrate its becoming the official dealer for Chopard and opening of a dedicated boutique at Siam Paragon. Flying in for the event were Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and his wife Christine. The lunch was held at Spirit of Jim Thompson and included Stephan Ritzmann, CEO for the brand in the Asia Pacific region, a veteran in the watch and jewellery sector. The Jiramaneekul family members of ST Dimension were all there except for Kongpatr, whose wife, Tanunya was in hospital giving birth to their first child. Congratulations to the proud parents.
And there were two tea events. One was hosted by Nontakarn Dapparungsi Ng at Met Café in Thonglor to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Lampe Berger Paris, which has now changed its name to Maison Berger Paris. It has launched three new home fragrances under the Aroma collection. The other was to introduce UK-based Newby tea, held at Pacific City Place. A tea appreciation class was conducted including tasting of some of the unique flavours of this premium brand.
Men will be happy to know that Berluti has opened its first boutique in Thailand, at Central Embassy. The French shoemaker has earned a reputation since 1895 for its products displaying quality leather and patinas. The opening was hosted by Pranapda Phornprapha and was attended by a crowd of men about town who were there to look over the elegant shoes and leather goods.
Also at Central Embassy was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Omega’s Seamaster Diver 300M. Tipanat Lenbury, country manager of The Swatch Group and Omega brand manager, organised an exhibition to showcase the history of this watch and how it came to be admired for its design and ocean technology. This year, Omega is unveiling a complete facelift of this iconic watch, with 14 unique models.
An interesting event was held at Jim Thompson House to present the story behind Jim Thompson scarves. Design director Tinnart Nisalak took guests through from the early scarves and designs 53 years ago when it was first produced, to the current ones now also made of jacquard, silk twill, silk chiffon and hand-woven. In addition to its own designers, the company also works with artists such as Suthipa Kmyam and Phannapast Taychamaythakool.
French perfume house Creed has opened its first and only boutique in Asia at EmQuartier. Distributed by Prestige Products in Thailand, the fragrances have been crafted for royal houses and discerning patrons for over 250 years. Six- generation member Oliver Creed is the master perfumer and runs the business with his son Erwin, who was in Bangkok for the opening of the boutique.
I also stopped by briefly at the M2Spop event at GMM Live House at Central World to introduce a website featuring the clothing designs of 17 leading actresses. Organised by Pitharn Ongkosit in collaboration with Mahithorn Pongsarat and Tawanna Thara, there was a fashion presenting the designs of these talented stars.
And finally, to Sretsis Reimagined, a pop-up space for products by Sretsis made from discarded fabrics. Rather than throw away unused material collected from 16 years producing clothes, the socially responsible Sukhahuta sisters of the Sretsis brand decided to reuse, recycle and reimagine. They have now made a range of lifestyle products available at the pop-up store until December 6, with proceeds going to non-profit organisations. In addition, 1,000 yards of leftover fabric will be donated to universities for the use of design students.