What's the worst thing that can happen to a writer?
Hmmmm...what about no one reads what he or she writes? So it was a great shot for the ego when Rajan Khurana mentioned to me that he reads Naphalai's Diary on a regular basis. He is the general manager for e-commerce at lebua Hotels and Resorts, not someone I would expect to follow my exploits. But he says he finds the column interesting and I should continue with it. So since it's not only just PR people and the mother of a staff member who read it, then I suppose I can't stop just yet. Of course if I find out more people are reading it then that would be even more incentive to continue, so don't hesitate to drop me a line to let me know if you are one of them.
Lebua's New Bar: No 3
I met Khurana at the opening of lebua's new bar, No 3, a rooftop zone on the 52nd floor that incorporates the latest technology including a digital P4 Retina Display dance floor. CEO Deepak Ohri celebrated the launch over several days partnering with Pernod Ricard and IWS.
A Penfolds Takeover
Penfolds in the meantime took over the House on Sathorn at W Hotel and turned it into Max's Speakeasy Bar as a tribute to the brand's first chief winemaker Max Schubert. The neon-themed pop-up speakeasy was the first in Southeast Asia and for five days guests were able to participate in various activities in honour of the man who revolutionised Australian winemaking.
2 More Trees To Light
There were two Christmas tree lightings last week. The first was at Anantara Siam which, for the last many years, has organised a tree competition designed by creative minds in Bangkok. HRH Princess Soamsawali presided over the event and presented the prize for the winning tree before guests enjoyed the turkey, salmon and other Christmas goodies served at the lobby. Shangri-La Bangkok was the other hotel to have guests over to see its tree light up complete with carollers accompanied by a harpist.
Lady Dior As Seen By
Last week also saw several fashion events led by Dior to introduce its new store at Iconsiam and the Lady Dior As Seen By exhibition. On until January 20, the display features the iconic Lady Dior bag reinterpreted by leading artists. Country manager Sebastien Baudru and public relations manager Saarunthorn Techaphaiboon welcomed the country’s fashionistas including HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana who stopped by for a private viewing.
Christian Louboutin at Central Embassy invited clients to discover its latest Loubigraf collection of products with the graffiti print not only in black and white but also in bright red and orange shades. Although still available in its sky high heels, there are models with more reasonable, lower heels as well.
Opening Of OVV
International fashion label OVV, which stands for Original Vogue and Value, opened its first store in Thailand at Central World. Part of the Shanghai fashion giant Heilan Group, OVV offers affordable luxury styles for working women. I found many pieces which would look great on me.
Bag brand BOYY opened its first pop-up store at Siam Paragon where designer couple Wannasiri Kongman and Jesse Dorsey unveiled their Cruise 19 and Cruise Colour Block collections. Customers can visit the store until January 28 to pick up one of the signature Buckle bags or small leather goods to present as gifts for the festive season.
Ricardo Andrez Show
I wasn’t able to attend the Celebration of Silk grand event organised in conjunction with the diplomatic community at Centara Grande which had international beauty queens modelling Thai silk outfits created by international and Thai designers. But I did stop by for the mini fashion show of Portuguese designer Ricardo Andrez hosted by ambassador HE Franciso Vaz Patto. A total of 48 embassies participated, each holding mini shows following the gala event which were well attended compared to the year before.
Over at Central Embassy’s Penthouse, Vacheron Constantin presented its new FiftySix collection that was first launched in 1956. With well-known musicians such as James Bay and Benjamin Clementine as the faces of its new campaign, the event had a musical feel to it. Khan Khanngoen Nuanual of the Thaitanium band was not only the DJ, but also presented a workshop on spinning the disc for media members. The event was organised by distributor Pendulum.
A Bencharong Journey
For lovers of Bencharongware, MR Narisa Chakrabongse of River Books and River City is holding Bencharong Journey: From China to Siam, an exhibition of coloured enamelled porcelain curated by Dawn Rooney. Produced using Chinese technology combined with Thai motifs, over 100 rare pieces from private collectors are on display at River City until January 25. It was good to have the opportunity to catch up with Dawn and her daughter Sarah, who worked briefly for Thailand Tatler in the early days.
The Most "Iconic" Cinema
From River City it is easy to take a shuttle boat to Iconsiam, where I went to the Lady Dior exhibition as well as the opening of the huge Icon Cineconic by Major Cineplex on the sixth and seventh floors. There are 12 cinemas plus an Imax, 4DX, VIP and children’s theatres, all in very plush and luxurious surroundings. There was a huge crowd there for the opening with Major CEO Vicha Poolvaraluck hosting the event.
3 Gala Dinners
Then it was back to the Mandarin Oriental for the Taste of Music, An Italian Festival gala dinner to celebrate the 150th anniversaries of relations between Italy and Thailand and the death of Rossini. Following dinner guests enjoyed music by Italian baritone Marcello Rosiello and tenor David Sotgiu, father-son pianists Nat and Pana Yontararak and the choirs of the Bangkok Music Society and Bromsgrove International School produced by Camillo Pellegatta and Alice Law. Part of the proceeds go to the Home for Aged Ratchasima.
Another gala dinner was the 66 Sensailai Bovorn Royal Charity at the Peninsula Bangkok. Organised by the Stream of Arts to Foster the Artists Foundation, there was a unique collection of pencil arts by Suppakit Uttaranakorn and works by other artists on display to raise funds for five foundations of the Chakri royal family. Presiding over the event was HRH Princess Soamsawali, who enjoyed performances by honorary singers and stars such as Viyada Komarakun Na Nakhon and Winai Phanturak. The after-party continued with a huge cake to celebrate the birthday of the foundation’s president Lalisa Chongbarami and more songs and dancing.
The last dinner is from the week before, but I didn’t manage to get it in last week’s Diary, so I am including it in this week’s. Not that it is one that I can easily overlook, hosted by Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, a Belgian aristocrat who has made Thailand his home. He loves to entertain and this was a get-together for his cousin Count Francois van der Straten Ponthoz who was visiting Bangkok. The dinner was held at Tables Grill at the Grand Hyatt Erawan and consisted of a small group of very interesting people including MR Jaruwan Rangsit, MR Narisa Chakrabongse, Mink Yongsakul, ML Sirichalerm Svasti better known as Chef McDang and Vikorn and April Srivikorn.
(Previously: Naphalai's Diary: November 26-December 2)