A bit of a history lesson with the iconic orange box. In the beginning, it was brown. During World War II the Nazis occupying Paris, Emile-Maurice Hermès later chose this shade for the newly acquired pieces. But the original brown shade still remains with the logo stamp as well the thin borders around the box.
The Kelly bag was renamed after the late fabulous Princess Grace of Monaco when she shielded her pregnant belly from the paparazzi. And the celebrity bag of status was inspired by Jane Birkin in a flight where she can’t find a bag that would fit everything for her carry-on bag. The third trinity of the holy grail would be the Constance bag, carrying the shiny ‘H’ depicting the brand of epitome in luxury and class. These are the fundamental knowledge of the brand you will know before getting yourself into buying the brand as a lifestyle. Hermès place significant stories about their brand history and captivate the audience.
Each time you made a purchase when you took the product home, the unboxing experience is like a dangerous drug. Adrenaline rush comes rushing when you are browsing the boutique and the dopamine really hits you hard after you have done with the current purchase, you have already thought of what to buy next! It’s really a marketing genius creating real-time desires with a follow-up desire for future sales. It was designed to ensure that you will be hooked for life! Why do you think many Hermès collectors have many stacked up orange boxes?
Acquiring a Birkin is not money well-spent. It is money well-invested. Why? Simply because when you purchase it first, it is at retail but depending on the rarity of the bag in question, materials used and, how coveted it is (demands meet supply concept) You may just end up selling it at a handsome profit! Not too shabby. Certainly not as risky as buying stocks, bonds and, unit trusts.
The handbag, which also comes in cow, calf or ostrich leather, is made entirely by hand in France. Each bag takes anywhere between 18 to 25 hours to finish. But the coveted handbags recently became the focus of an expose by rights group Peta on crocodile farms from Texas to Zimbabwe, where the reptiles are allegedly crammed into concrete pits before being “cruelly hacked” to death. It takes two or three crocodiles to make one Birkin bag.
Having said that, however, it is what it is. I’m not going to sugar-coat the subject. Since the dawn of time, mankind has been using animals to fulfill their survival. We are at the top of the food chain after all. Though the topic is subjective, I find myself drawn into the world of fashion and orange boxes.
I probably had this lust after this bag for the longest time ever! The Louis Vuitton keep all bandouliere in Daimler graphite in 45cm. It was indeed a 10-year wait for me and, I am finally getting it today.
My first keep all bag is a 60cm in the classic monogram that has been with me through thick and thin, like a good friend. I got it when in Singapore for only $880! Yes, it’s vintage-like my age. I got it in my twenties back in the hay-day of circa 1990s. Like me, this bag has aged very well and patina to tanned leather. It survived 22 years of traveling to 3 continents. Because of its size, i had to checked-in the duffel bag whenever I traveled. It is still in a mint condition with the inevitable scuffs and marks in the base of the luggage. Today’s price-point in this bag have sky-rocketed close to $3,500. That’s one thing about buying in a designer’s product, it appreciates over 10 years and, it depreciated after.
The pièce de résistance, I present to you the bag that I ever wanted for traveling as a carry-on. Understated checked pattern with a distinguished brand that is Louis Vuitton. My initials are stamped with a silver hot stamp bearing my first and last name. I.K. Idham Kardashians! hahaha kidding, it’s Khairon.
Luxury goods when purchased wisely, it is money well-spent. How I justify paying $2,560 is if a product can last you for 10 years, it is $256 per year. You divide that between 12 months and you get $21.33 per month. Now that is luxury that’s within reach.
So when you are questioning whether or not you should make an expensive purchase, use this rule of thumb. If the item in question lasts more than 10 years, it’s a no brainer. But whatever you decide, as long as you are happy, everyone else perception of you is irrelevant. You work hard for your money and I believe you deserve it.
My brand spanking new kicks from Saint Laurent. It’s lonely without Yves though hahaha I read an article about the lawsuit that goes on with this a few days ago. It was such a mess and frankly a media frenzy. Though it’s just a simple canvas with a little lining of leather and tab. I find it is the most comfortable shoes! The kind that doesn’t bite you on your first wear. I have always been a shoe person, next to being a bag person. Shoes are an investment. Wearing your new shoes, you feel so great at a night in a party but maybe you will have a crippling effect the next day when you found yourself with a bad hangover. It’s pretty much like a bad volatile financial investment with a diversified portfolio. I just had to reference this statement from a romantic-comedy, “Confessions of a Shopaholic!” Something that I can so relate to. I am a shopaholic without a doubt but unlike the heroine in the movie, I am right on track with my personal finance.
It’s not Saint Laurent without Yves”. YSL
Let’s spark some inspiration for our next purchase. Because they designed it that way”.
Here I come to the Marina Bay Sands to shop at a luxury retailer. I remember I used to work here at Lancôme Beauty Institute a long time ago when the mall was recently launched. Working in the retail industry commands long hours. I was a Branch Manager. Today, I get to enjoy the experience as a shopper. I came over to YSL and started browsing at the latest high-fashion. Over the neatly stacked piles of t-shirts, there it is I saw a cute backpack. I have never been a backpack kind of guy but when I first saw it – it’s fabulous! I must admit that it is quite fetching especially in full leather. The sheen that the leather gives just stunning. I love labels that are understated. No loud brand names, you are wearing the brand and not the other way round. When I just graduated from college. I knew a terrific soul named Jay Escoe Bell. He was the former retail manager of Club 21. My fashion taste today, I got mentored by him. He is now working as Vice President for Barneys New York. I tried on the backpack but, I thought to myself I should wait a bit longer because I need to get the shoes first. And, I did. I was frugal. I tried a few other models which I will reveal to you sometime later. It is because there are a few things that I like and would love to purchase it all. I seldom behave impulsively, so I decided to wait and get one thing at a time. But, I got this as well!
After I’ve paid for my shoes, my God-sister and I walked around The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and had high-tea at TWG. We visited a few brands such as Louis Vuitton, and Cartier to spark some inspiration for our next purchase. Our shopping escapades will not end. There will always be things to get. Oh, they designed it that way – Consumerism.
Your home should be the reflection of your personality, style, and taste. Splash across many high gloss magazines, there is endless style group on home interiors. In trend styles, people keep up with the time almost like Keeping up with the Kardashians. Their houses are fabulous.
I got my house keys a few years ago, but not much is being done. I was battling cancer. Getting your own home is a huge undertaking. I was fortunate enough to have paid my mortgage in full. Not everyone is so lucky. Though it’s not a big flat, it is home. I got really lucky with my unit number and the address I lived in to be of the same digit – 222. Nestled on a high floor like a regal eagle’s nest. You don’t have to over-decorate, it just needs tidiness. However, remember that Phillipe Starck furniture that I was eyeing? I finally got it! I bought myself a Kartell La Bourgie lamp in addition and 2 Kartell Louis Ghost chairs. Financing a home needs planning and commitment. There is renovation cost, flooring, water piping and lots more to it if you desire a perfect home. There is also furniture selection and home styling if you can afford to hire an interior designer. My 42 sq meter of personal space is quite minimalistic by design. My kitchen is simple. I don’t need bells and whistles with a lot of features.
Here are some fundamental things to cross against your checklist: • Lighting • Bathroom • Kitchen or Pantry • Bedroom • Walk-in closet • Living room • Air-conditioning
Getting the basics done is easy. Go to IKEA! There have a plethora of items to get your basics covered. Spend big on the major purchase as they will last a long time and get smaller purchases. Get some designer accent pieces. Spending a bit more will go a long way on great pieces. I’ve had my 2 Kartell La Marie transparent chairs for 12 years now, and they are still in immaculate condition. By spending on a few designer pieces not only break away your home style like an IKEA catalog, but it also gives character which may reflect your persona.
Your electronic and other appliances are essential when you want to make your house a smart home. It is your daily ritual, like waking up and turning the radio by your voice, making your morning coffee, and getting ready to seize the day. Believe it or not, my favorite part of the day is starting it right. Enjoying my morning coffee while listening to what’s in store for me on my Google home and commanding the lights off before that, yes I sleep with a night light! When you are in a good mood at the start, nothing will go wrong later in the day. While selecting my clothes for the day before taking my shower makes the experience enjoyable.
If you always dine outside most of the time, you don’t need a full kitchen. Just a pantry will suffice. Having the cooking basics covered through steam and grill makes you eat more healthy. I don’t use a microwave oven, and I don’t have a refrigerator mainly because I do not drink ice cold drinks, but I do have a drink fridge for my guests tucked hidden from sight in my pantry cabinet. I love the hidden design, no distractions to the eye when it travels. If you are living alone, you end up cooking a lot more food than usual. Not to waste food has been my mantra.
When you are in a good mood at the start, nothing will go wrong later in the day…”
My bed is the most comfortable place next to my sofa, you spend one-third of your life sleeping, and my bed is a lux hotel quality. A 42 inch Samsung smart TV for Netflix and chill around the sofa is a must. A dining café style for two as a dining area next to my pantry is adequate. Spending a little more on security such as a digital lock gives you peace of mind, convenience to your friends or family members.
Kartell La Marie La Bourgie lamp by Ferruccio Laviani.
It is originally introduced by Kartell in 2004, the polycarbonate La Bourgie lamp by Ferruccio Laviani has been completely re-imagined with a series of alternate designs, each boasting its unique flair. From being ironically interpreted by decorative costume jewelry and typical french symbols like the Eiffel tower. A fresh thinking of exaggerated ideas in modern contemporary design.
Kartell Louis Ghost Chair by Phillipe Starck
The story of the Louis Ghost Chair, as it’s named, begins with a man named Louis XVI — the King of France. During the reign of the 19-year-old monarch and his better half, Marie Antoinette, a refreshed interested in classical Greek and Roman design developed, which manifested itself in all sorts of trendy architectural and interior design elements throughout the king’s reign. Louis XVI Chair inspired from a Gustavian period. This formal chair remains one of the most popular chair designs today and is a timeless classic. It is re-imagined in polycarbonate by Phillipe Starck, a genius product designer.
Lastly, say it with flowers. There’s nothing worse than having plastic flowers in your home. My late mother loves having fresh flowers in the house. I got the inspiration from her that she passed on to me. A flower arrangement lasted for a week. I have some tips for you to stretch it to 9 days in my new post. Not only it brings good energy to the house, but it also brings homey vibes. Potted orchids, on the other hand, lasts over a month. You may alternate the choice. I also place a bowl of fresh fruits in my kitchen. It encourages you to eat fruits for supper before bedtime.
I suddenly love this bustling city of Indonesia. Beginning to fall in love with Jakarta once again even the numerous times I visited here purely for the nightlife in notorious Kota. I couldn’t help but wonder what would become of me if I were living the sordid lifestyle I had shortly after my stay in Europe. After all, I was a retired circuit party boy. The first time I visited this city is when I was a little boy, I was 12. My dad is Javanese while my mom is an Arabic descendant. It was vague. I hardly knew any of my relatives in Jakarta or somewhat they have migrated to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore just after the second World War. The city has indeed prospered over the years but it has character.
The second time I was here was for a business trip and the third time I was here was a surprise gift from a good friend as a birthday present. That year, I did not go on a holiday for well over 14 months and he decided that would be a great gesture for me to take a break. Being the workaholic that I am, I only took a short 4 days break to this city of life.
A friend, Jessica took me to this hip and happening café smack in the middle of nowhere. The coffee I must say it’s better than Starbucks. The ambience, people, and the circulation of Indonesians are close-knit culture. Everybody knows everybody. The Indonesians are all about aesthetics. Everything revolves around it. The clothes you wear, the bag you carry, the shoe you wear, the car you are being chauffeur in and the address you lived. The first impression is the only thing you get, made a so-so first impression, forget it. Why are you fat? You are the lazy bottom line. You lazy to do something to yourself, therefore, you’re fat and chances are you are lazy to work or procrastinate a lot of tasks you’re meant to do. So there’s go your future job from a job interview or how rather they would judge you. That’s how it is here. If you’re a good looking girl from a good family background and with a good university, you are most likely to have been pair up with a good husband with family’s wealth. In my opinion… This is how I view it as an outsider into the world of Indonesian’s elite socialites.
And now, I am here again in Jakarta for the wedding of the year at Mulia Hotel at Senayan City. It was grand and it was a night to remember as the Instagram came flooding in at #togijessica hashtag. Here is pretty much like in New York when a girl coming of age is being debut into society with a debutante party. Same goes with announcing of wedding bells across page 6 of the Jakarta Posts. The marriage or rather a business partnerships of the two families are arranged and merged. Forging a fabulous new breed with each generation and so on and so forth.
Designers Prêt-à-Porter are the quintessential essence of this series of happy events. Pretty much like a red carpet event or a fabulously put together black tie event. The world is of great vast contrasts of the poor and the filthy rich.
Dessert cafés and hip restaurants are really the deal here. Although back home in Singapore there’s lots of places to eat, in Jakarta it’s a lifestyle. The palate of restaurants that blooms in the city one after another had become a place to be seen and spotted and perhaps being discovered by someone. I enjoyed my brief stay immensely and it was a good getaway from my slightly monotone routine.
Speaking another language or being bi-lingual is a norm when you’re an Asian. You speak English as a first language and your Mother Tongue, which is your dialect or your race. I happen to speak 4 languages, lucky me! English as a first language, Malay and Bahasa Indonesia, although similar but different and last but not least, French. It’s tough growing up in a school. You had to take a third language to be able to pass the semester as a special academia. Funny thing is I didn’t really learn French when I was in school, I learn it the hard way – Living in Paris, as everyone refuses to speak in English even if they knew. You tend to pick up the language fast. I speak of it less nowadays as most of my French friends have moved to several different cities. I, on occasion however practice it when I visit Alliance Française la bibliotheque or when I dine at Joél Robouchon restaurants. Some of the finest Maître d’ at the Atélier de Joél Robouchon seems to enjoy conversing with me. Maybe they were entertaining me and being polite haha oh how I missed Paris.
“I want a Nero Venite 9, maybe a dressed shirt and a number 48 with satin lapel…perhaps with a Nero saffiano la Cinta”
Speaking Prada however is a totally different language altogether. Being able to speak in the definition of fashion per se. I met a friend in one of my shopping escapades in Hong Kong and we have not seen each other in 10 years since he moved to Hong Kong to start his journey (being somebody) We were rather more than friends. I decided to meet up with him for brunch. When spent the whole day and evening together. It was wonderful and I’m glad that we did.
Throughout the conversations we had in the day was all about fashion and what’s in trend, a bit about our news update and so on. I began saying to him “I want a Nero Venite 9, maybe a dressed shirt and a number 48 with satin lapel, perhaps with a Nero saffiano La Cinta” Ryan, immediately understood what I meant. Translation: “You want a black dressed leather shoe size 9, a pleated dressed shirt and a tuxedo suit with a classic black belt.” We both laughed! The terms used in this conversation described the color, style, materials used and the Italian sizing options in the current Autumn Winter collection like saffiano nero for example which describe an embossed black leather that Prada use on their leather goods. Ryan quickly quoted, “I always loved aesthetics. Not particularly fashion, but an idea of beauty.” – “Can you remember who spoke those immortal words?” Ryan asked me… “MIUCCIA PRADA!!!” I replied with excitement.
Oddly enough, after brunch we find ourselves shopping in Prada, searching and trying that Venite dressed shoe that I desired for a wedding ootd. I bought 2 pairs of shoes that day. At the end of the day, speaking Prada is really the connection, the chemistry and the same frequency that you and your friend have. When you are so closed-knitted you can know what the other is thinking. It’s about friendship. But sadly, Ryan is not into Prada anymore, he has move on up to go with the infamous red bottom soles on his feet.
“I always loved aesthetics. Not particularly fashion, but an idea of beauty.”