Naphalai's Diary: November 20-26
Most weeks I go to an average of three events per day, with a mix of cocktail and some lunches and dinners. Well, last week was my first where from Monday to Friday, there was a sit-down dinner every evening. Not good at all for my waistline, let me tell you.
Dinner 1: Mercedes Benz
On Monday there was a dinner by Mercedes-Benz to launch its AMG sports cars, the GTR and GTC at a unique venue, a warehouse-turned-event space on New Petchburi Road. MB's Michael Grewe and Frank Steinacher welcomed guests, followed by dinner by young chefs known to all foodies: Pruek Sumpantaworaboot and Kongwuth Chaiwonkachon. Then Australian sports racers Peter Hackett and Dominic Storey demonstrated their adrenaline-pumping driving on an open space below the dining venue.
Dinner 2: Vespa x Red
The next evening was Vespa's turn to celebrate its international partnership with Red, a charity to help fight AIDS. The ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental was decorated in a fun red and white theme, with all guests dressed with a touch of red, including hostess Pornnada Techapaibul. The highlight was the unveiling of the Vespa 946, US $150 of which goes to Red for every motorbike sold worldwide.
Dinner 3: St Regis
The holiday season starts early in Bangkok and last week there were Christmas-tree lighting events as well as year-end parties. Central World and the Emporium/EmQuartier brought out their amazing decorations to the delight of admiring crowds and I really mean crowds—hardly any walking space available! St Regis, meanwhile, lit up a tree that went way up in the lobby and then very generously hosted dinner for a small group. General manager Klaus Christiandl—a very appropriate name for this time of year, as we noted—joined in the Italian Christmas dinner at Jojo.
Dinner 4: Beauty Gems
Then it was Beauty Gems' annual celebration at the Park Hyatt, although this year it was co-hosted by Assets Insurance, the jeweller's insurance arm. With hosts Suriyon and Mega Sriorathakul and guests dripping in diamonds and gems, it was indeed a glittering event. Looking at the models with million-baht necklaces around their necks plus other similar adornments, it was difficult to remember our late king's sufficiency theory.
Dinner 5: American Express
And finally American Express took the opportunity to unveil its new benefits for Platinum card members at The Athenee Bangkok's exclusive Kandhavas room. Country manager Marlin Brown was on hand to have his picture taken with guests before the start of dinner, which featured a demonstration by chef Toshi Onishi of Sushi Zo and for the fashionistas, a fashion show by Roberto Cavalli and John Varvatos.
(Relevant: The Intricate Balancing Act Of Sushi Zo)
I know I shouldn't complain, as many would love to be invited to dinners every evening. But so much good eating can be disastrous for the figure. As well, the dress code for most of them was black tie, so it can also be disastrous for the wallet! Unlike Vogue's celebrity editor Anna Wintour, who gets dresses sent to her by top designers and also has a wardrobe allowance, everything comes out of my own pocket! And since you are mostly likely to be photographed, you don't want to be caught wearing the same dress.
But dinners weren't all last week. I managed to squeeze in the Dusit Thani thank-you party, a property which I won't be attending again until it re-emerges as a collaboration with Central on that piece of premium real estate at the corner of Rama IV and Silom. Meanwhile, developer AP Thai led by Sappasit Foongfaungchaveng, head of corporate marketing, invited guests to an exhibition at Woof Pack to show what can be done in small spaces. Designer Sam Baron of the Italian company Fabrica helped in the design of accommodations for the “co-living generation”.
There was also Gaysorn Village's Christmas celebration, with both Charn and Korakot Srivikorn there to greet attendees, this time held at the Cocoon, the area linking the new wing with the old. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the lunch by two Michelin-star chef Jean-Marc Banzo at the InterContinental’s Fireplace Grill—truly delightful.
My week should have ended there but I was persuaded to attend the 7th Celebration of Silk at Centara Grand Convention Centre on Saturday. This event was probably the best-kept secret ever. If I hadn't been invited by some of the ambassadors including HE Mary Jo Bernardo-Aragon of the Philippines and HE Francisco Vaz Patto of Portugal, I wouldn't have known about it. It was a big event, where almost 30 international fashion designers had been invited through their embassies to create clothes from Thai silk and presented at shows over three days at a hidden corner at Central World. This culminated in five sets of fashion shows on the last day featuring Thai super models, senior government officials, international models, ambassadors and their spouses. It was something that should have been promoted to as large a crowd as possible. Such a pity that the organisers decided to keep it to just among themselves.
After all that, I am sure you would agree that I deserved a good rest on Sunday.
(Revisit: Naphalai's Diary: November 13-19)