Category Archive for Art + Design
One of my goals, in coming to Bangkok, was to seek out the local, experimental fashion that’s been receiving worldwide buzz. To get the scoop, Seby and I hit Siam Discovery and its sister malls, where brands like FlyNow, Wonder Anatomie, and Sretsis are based.
Most of you are familiar with Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Seoul style. But what’s the streetwear scene like in Bangkok? Colorful, vintage-inspired and experimental.
My number one shopping destination in Bangkok: Siam Square. (989 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok.) You can easily spend a day (and a lot of baht) in this entertainment district, which consists of several branches…
♥ Siam Paragon houses international luxury brands, like Chanel and Cartier. Seby and I didn’t even step foot in there, since that’s not where our interests lie.
♥ Siam Center has multiple floors of both local and international clothing brands.
♥ Siam Discovery is part of this complex, and my favorite of them all. It’s brimming with concept labels and avant-garde couture.
♥ MBK Center caters more to BKK residents, with both knock-offs and authentic goods.
With so much to see in one space, no wonder Siam Square is a favorite hangout for young Bangkok locals.
Izzue, a Hong Kong favorite of ours, has a boutique in Siam Center.
The designs are plush and poppy as ever. This pink jacket can double as a travel neck pillow!
Izzue makes winter-wear fun, although you wouldn’t need hats and jackets for the warm weather in Southeast Asia…
Angelababy looks out from her B+ab poster. You can feel Hong Kong and Japanese influences here, but as you’ll see below, Bangkok fashion takes a mind of its own.
The Discovery section encourages boutiques to get creative with their store displays. I ran into a robot-monster…
… and got into a sticky situation at Models Own, a cosmetics and nail polish bar.
My mind is swirling with memories of Bangkok. The golden temples, avantgarde street style… I feel inspired and refreshed after my trip to Thailand, and am eager to share my stories with you!
We’ll start with a photoshoot inside Sofitel So, a modern hotel styled by famed designer Christian Lacroix.
As you’ll recall, Thai Tourism sent Seby and me to report on the city’s innovative fashion, pop culture and districts.
No hostels and backpacking for this duo. We were hosted by Sofitel So Bangkok, a blissfully elegant 5-star hotel in a central location (about 10 min south of my favorite local mall, Siam Discovery, which I’ll show you soon).
Before you assume our stay is out of your budget — remember, this is Southeast Asia. Luxury hotels and spas are literally a third of the price you’d pay in Vancouver, LA, London or Tokyo. It’s great value to spend a bit more for a nice room in Bangkok, especially if you’re here for a honeymoon or special trip.
The hotel is divided into five Elements, with each theme customized by different designer. My cavern-like blue abode is part of the Earth group. Other guests stay in Water, Wood, Metal and Fire rooms (interior photos coming soon).
Since I’m a design-addict, I appreciated the subtle decorative elements everywhere, such as these horse and human silhouettes reflected in the elevator mirrors.
Who is this chic lady next to me? One of the sweet staff members! French couture genius Christian Lacroix designed all the hotel uniforms — what a nice perk of working here. I’m doing my best to match her style in a grey, drapey 2Percent top/dress from Hong Kong.
Monsieur Lacroix also had his hand in the lobby’s design, as you can tell from the imaginative lighting and furniture.
Seby and I had “Club Signature” access, which meant a number of benefits including entry to the 25th floor lounge. (Most of these photos are by Seby.)
The Club Lounge balcony gave us this view of Lumpini Park. We traveled to Bangkok in early October, during the rainy season, but the weather was pleasant — it only rained briefly — and I didn’t get a single bite from my nemesis, the mosquito.
We spent a lot of time in this VIP lounge, also designed by Christian Lacroix. After a day of sightseeing, it was nice to unwind with free cocktails, look at the fashion displays and magazines, and snack on the never-ending supply of food.
Even the fresh pineapple had a pretty shape!
In the mornings, we couldn’t wait to come downstairs for breakfast. The selection included…
… Greek yogurt, tropical fruits, smoked salmon, cottage cheese, special salads, and fresh mango juice.
And if, by some miracle, you are still hungry — there is a Bonnet chocolate shop on the ground floor.
Since it was near Halloween, the main window featured Jack O Lanterns and bloody eyeballs. For those with less morbid inclinations, there were gourmet cakes, chocolates and other sweets.
The couture theme extends throughout the hotel. Near the elevators stood a ballgown by Thai designer, Tawn C.
The dress was surrounded by these gold bunnies.
Not far away, this goat greeted guests.
On the first evening, Seby and I had dinner at Park Society, the top floor restaurant with a futuristic feel.
A woman in a long flowing gown led us to our table, through a matrix of glass, mirrors and stainless steel.
Our table overlooked the bright lights of Bangkok. Outside, customers lounged and drank molecular cocktails at Hiso rooftop bar.
It happened to be the Thailand Vegetarian Festival, a time for locals to cleanse their bodies for health and peace. To celebrate, Park Society offered a meatless tasting menu. I was in heaven since they served two of my favorite dishes: pumpkin ravioli and warm, chocolate lava cake.
Can you tell I had a wonderful time at the Sofitel So Hotel? So, so worth the splurge if you travel to Bangkok! I still have to take you inside their spa, swimming pool and unique rooms.
And of course, Seby and I did plenty of urban exploration. Coming up: reports on the coolest Thai clubs and fashion.
Are you an admirer of Christian Lacroix’s work? What do you think of our royal Thailand experience so far?
My ghostly tour of Seattle, Washington continues… with a trip to a haunted morgue, and a Goth artist’s collective!
Let’s start with the Mourning Market. Every few months, the darkest artisans of the Pacific Northwest come together to display and sell their handmade works.
Since October 2009, Ginger and Alicia have been organizing Mourning Market. They write:
“We’ve been lucky to channel an incredible group of artists, and bring them all together. There was nothing of this genre in Seattle or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. So we took matter into our own hands and created an event like no other: one that would showcase and honor artists with a dark edge. We have had the pleasure of working with some outstanding people. This October will be our four year anniversary and we are so excited about it!”
Their success was obvious: a long line draped around the venue, El Corazon, and the two large rooms were packed. There were also spaces to eat, drink and socialize with people in the subcultures scnee.
At some arts & crafts fairs, items are of amateur quality. Not so at the Mourning Market. I was impressed by the high level of design and craftsmanship, and the originality of offerings (one of the first booths we visited let us try on dark, glittery lipsticks).
Among the highlights: glammed-up Ouija board accessories, handmade from resin. Elegant leather masks. Unnerving photos and paintings.
A cobweb of spider jewelry, and drop dead dolls.
Steampunk accessories: love the octopus and clockwork parts.
Laser guns and fetuses in jars? Hell yes! (For details about the brands I’m wearing, including the Gothic Lolita dress and faux fur scarf, see this outfit post.)
Met so many kind people at the Market. Thanks to everyone who gave me tips for Goth haunts to visit in Seattle! I hope to come back soon for a longer stay.
And huge hugs to the vendors who chipped in and presented me with a generous goody bag! Basil Farrow says you’re very talented (and slightly disturbed, but we like that).
I made more spooky new friends at Georgetown Morgue, an infamous haunted house that has been generating screams for over 10 years.
The Morgue (5000 E Marginal Way, Seattle) is a 10 minute drive south from downtown Seattle; look for the winged beast on the roof. Presented with Kube 93 radio station, the haunting takes place in a bona fide morgue from the 1920s.
This haunted house is consistently ranked one of the best in the USA, and deservedly so. Every year, the owners construct elaborate sets designed to frightened the most jaded Goth. The actors go through an intense audition…
… and wear movie-quality special effects makeup. Let me tell you, I screamed when the clown popped out with a roaring chainsaw.
We went through the Morgue before it opened, and the experience was next-level scary – both technically and creatively. I’ve been to a number of haunted houses in my day, but I’ve never seen one with falling floors, a lake of boiling bloody water, and head-to-toe smothering. Every sense is attacked, including smell (was that a whiff of charred flesh?)
My friends must have gotten bitten along the way, since they transformed into zombies. The blood is a special concoction by the makeup artist.
Trick or treat: we got to be actors in the haunted house. The doors opened to the public, and the scaring began. My friends did a bloody birth scene, while I was creepy doll popping out when you least expect it.
We loved getting to know the crew — many have worked here for years, and the greenroom felt like a big, happy Addams family. Nothing makes me happier than seeing offbeat outsiders banding together, and creating something imaginative (in this case, a haunted house).
I hope you’ll experience the brilliance of the Georgetown Morgue before it closes on November 2nd. The team also does costume rentals and special events year-round, which you can keep track of on Facebook.
What are your plans for this Halloween? Remember, I’ll be in Portland with my Pirate film team – do keep the PDX travel tips coming. As they say in the Morgue, “Scare you later!”
Are you ready for my travel team’s newest video? You’re in luck: our Dubai and Abu Dhabi episode is published on Business Insider, one of the world’s most-visited news sites!
In this 4-minute webisode, I visit the world’s tallest tower (Burj Khalifa), largest shopping center (Dubai Mall), highest-rated hotel (Burl al Arab), and more. There’s even a dressing room montage scene, featuring glittery dresses… you don’t want to miss this!
Watch our video above and here on Business Insider.
We feel our story-telling is getting stronger each time, and want to thank you for supporting us over the years. Any share or comments on the article would be much appreciated.
Super happy with the cinematography in this episode. Major props to my LA-based filmmakers, Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann.
I’m glad to have them with me on my journeys to far-off places.
I hope our blog posts and videos give you a taste of wanderlust, and that you’ll witness these Arabian marvels someday.
In the second half of the video, we visit the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The white minarets reminded me of hard-boiled eggs or scoops of ice cream!
Opened in 2007, the mosque is considered one of the most beautiful on the planet. Look at how the water reflects the graceful columns.
Let me warn you, there’s a dress code… Clothing should be loose and fully cover the arms and legs. Women must wear a veil.
I thought I dressed according to the rules — until filmmaker Eric pointed out that my long lace skirt was see-through! No need to fret: women and men go into separate lines at the entrance, and receive a long, flowing garment (abaya) to put over their clothes.
The men wear white, and the women wear black robes with hoods.
Gold and flowers everywhere. The mosaic courtyard is the biggest in the world.
Indescribable, the way the light reflects the curves of the arches and minarets.
Inside, the hall of worship glitters with stained glass and crystals.
There are seven chandeliers, and the main one is one of the largest ever made. The prayer hall is air conditioned, so the space feels as airy as it looks.
The 99 names of Allah are written on the wall in Kufic calligraphy.
Everyone takes off their shoes outside before stepping on the world’s largest carpet.
Thank you to my filmmakers, Melissa and Eric, for their hard work in bringing these travel videos to life!
We hope you enjoy the latest episode about the United Arab Emirates. Please take a minute to watch and share.
Are you awed by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque? What were your favorite moments in the video?